Pretty Blue Rose

life musings and inspiration


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Teaisms

To compliment my tea of the month post, I figured I’d share my everyday/go-to teas:

Vanilla Almond from The Republic of Tea. I first had this at the Borders book store in Madison, WI and I’ve never turned back. It got me through cold Madison winters and the long days of “studying” at the book store (which really meant reading all of the magazines and sipping tea with some breaks for studying).

Vanilla Almond Black Tea Bags

 

Wild Sweet Orange from Tazo. This tea will brighten any bad mood. It always makes me happy.

 

Throat Coat from Traditional Medicinals. This tea is ridiculous! Every sore throat (or wanna be sore throat) I have is instantly gone after drinking this tea.

 

Chai tea. This tea has been reintroduced into my weekly routine. I find it helps my creativity, so on late nights working on my posts, I’ll drink Chai–even decaf– and I’m ready to go! Funny, now my daughter likes it–so I have a four year old asking for Chai tea. How cute!

 

 

I almost forgot Earl Grey! (I’m drinking it now as I’m typing this). A former econ professor introduced me to Mr. Grey and I’ve hardly strayed. The title sounds so stuffy, but once you smell the orange bergamot (it’s in many perfumes) you won’t be sorry. The added caffeine (it’s a black tea) is a nice pick-me-up for cold and dark fall/winter mornings.

 

Enjoy the weekend!

 

Stay inspired and enjoy each sip of tea


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Scents-ability

Who doesn’t love candles? Although I must admit my use of candles has dramatically decreased now that I have a little person in the house.

Here are my go-to scents year round:

1. Annapolis has this great store called Candles off Main that carries A Scent of Scandal candles with naughty names. My fav is d-cup melons–it’s a fruity spring/summery scent.

2. Williams-Sonoma’s Fleur de Sel epitomizes all things nautical.

Williams-Sonoma Essential Oils Boxed Candle, Fleur de Sel | Williams-Sonoma

As a lover of beach homes and lake houses, and this scent takes me there every time. I even have the hand soap and lotion (and my hubby even likes it!!).

3. For Fall/Winter I like to go with vanilla and spicy scents.  Oh Snap! and Sugar Daddy from A Scent of Scandal are good bets.

4. In my younger days, I loved Bath and Body Works’ Sweet Pea.Sweet Pea® 14.5 oz. 3-Wick Candle - Slatkin & Co. - Bath & Body Works

So there you have it, some scents that make life smell a bit better. What would you add to the list?

Stay inspired and enjoy the (good smelling) journey.


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The best day to shop

I’ve come to the conclusion that Tuesday’s must be slow for most businesses. My hair dresser takes $10 off every service on Tuesdays and my daughter’s hair dresser does the same. My local Message Envy gives free aroma therapy on the first Tuesday of the month and I saw a Wall Street Journal article that discusses purchasing airline tickets on Tuesdays for the best deals. So it looks like Tuesday’s are a really good day to shop–I thought I’d share to see if anyone noticed anything similar.  But, Shhh! We don’t want to let on that we figured it out!

Stay inspired and enjoy the (cheaper!) journey.


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Pretty Blue Plates

My cooking style varies.

Sometimes I am on a pure health kick, other times I am all about quick (I know healthy and quick aren’t mutually exclusive), and other times I am channeling Nigella Lawson, Giada D., or Ina G. with sophisticated dishes, it all just depends.

(Only a few) Years ago, in graduate school, when time was abundant (read: major procrastination) the food network and I became fast friends. I’d frequent the grocery stores of Madison, WI locating semi-exotic ingredients for my next Giada inspired dish. Fast forward to my long(ish) work commutes and even longer work days, I don’t cook as often as I’d like. Although I rely on my wonderful hubby to prepare dinner most nights, something in me longs for my grad school days of cooking for fun.

Pretty blue plates is the section where I will document the process of selecting recipes and my execution of cooking them.  (that sentence sounded so analytical—I can’t help it!) I’m looking forward to getting back to making food that I love and conquering the recipes I find interesting–even if I am the only person in my house to eat it. Lord only knows how many cookbooks and Cooking Light issues I have!

 

Now on to my next post about French onion soup…


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French Onion Soup

My first memory of french onion soup (FOS) was at a restaurant called Hess’s Patio in Center City Allentown, PA.

Now this was in the mid-80’s, but I recall my mom (who LOVES french onion soup) encouraged me to order some soup. She said it was the best she’d ever tasted. Boy was she right! Hess’s Patio served ridiculous sized portions and the bubbly brown cheese served in a ramekin was to DIE for!  Unfortunately, Hess’s has long since closed, but I will never forget my first introduction to FOS.

Now fast forward 10-15 years, I recall my grad school days in Madison, WI where I became reacquainted with FOS, it was at a little known place called Panera Bread.  I would order the you pick 2 and FOS was always one of my picks. It wasn’t Hess’s Patio quality, but it made me miss home less and kept me warm during those cold Madison winters.

For some reason, until recently, I never attempted to make FOS at home.  Although it’s summer, I am a soup junkie, and I can eat it all year—even if it’s 100+ degrees outside.

I looked at a few recipes to get the general idea of the main ingredients.

I had a great time making the soup and eating it was even better! It’s not nearly as hard as I thought.

Ingredients: individual size crock pot, vegetable stock, balsamic vinegar, beef broth, red wine (around $9), Worcestershire sauce, onions, thyme, bay leaf, unsalted butter and Gruyere cheese. [Note: You don’t see a baguette, but see my later comment on why the baguette is needed]

Onions sautéing…

 

After all the broth and seasonings were added and simmering, the soup was for the cheese and the oven.

 

Voila!

What the pictures don’t tell:

So I skipped the toasted baguette because I rush in a rush to leave the grocery store (let’s blame the kid for story sake…) — for some reason thought I could just add the cheese to the top of the broth. Well the cheese kept falling to the bottom of the mini crock pot while melting. I panicked, and then I realized the purpose of the toasted bread! It’s to keep the cheese afloat allowing it to brown in the broiler (duh!). So…the dish I photographed has very light colored cheese in the middle because I added toasted bread after I tried to brown the cheese without it. Thought I’d share so others don’t do the same thing…

stay inspired and enjoy cooking!


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Wednesday Wisdom: Chase your goal, but pace yourself.

Decide on your goals and stick with them. There have been times when I’ve selected my goal but ended up chasing a different goal because it was more popular or it was the goal society said I should want.

 

There is nothing wrong with money, but make sure the prize you chase is what you actually want.  There are few things worse than exerting energy to acquire something you never wanted– or even worse, you’re miserable when you get it (I can’t help but mention work promotions. Everyone pushes them, but remember with the promotion comes more responsibility).

Also, in the pursuit of your goal remember that the number of stairs you have to climb should determine your speed. Others whizzing by you may question your slower pace, but just tell them you need to pace yourself because your climb is higher. You wouldn’t sprint to the 100th floor would you? Marathon runners pace themselves differently than 100 meter sprinters–I encourage you to do the same.

 

Stay inspired, and enjoy your journey.


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Wait! It’s not fall yet…

I know September is always fall fashion month. To get a jump on the newest trends, August is the month that magazines and blogs discuss fall fashion and the newest fall make-up looks…and in just a few weeks I’ll fall in line and do the same. But for now, I just want to bask in summer. No need to rush, fall will come.

The end of each season brings great sales, so why not take a look…

I found some cute summery purses from Brahmin’s Chevron Stripes collection:

 

I think I may like the pink version even better…

Another cute tote from the Copa Cabana Collection:

 

 

This Pour la Victoire ‘Gunter’ Tote from Nordstrom’s clearance says ‘sophisticated beach’ to me.

 

For some more reasonable priced summer bags (and shoes) I went to my trusty Banana Republic clearance and found:

Trina Turk pinking shears tote

Vierra espadrilles

Boardwalk tote

This Boardwalk tote from JCrew–is only 39.99!

 

The good news is that summer bags, shoes, and clothes are all super cheap now. So savor the last days of summer and go get a cute summer outfit!

 

stay inspired and enjoy shopping