April 24, 2014

In My Book Bag: Bridget of Tales of Me and the Husband

I discovered Bridget's blog, Tales of Me and the Husband, a year or so ago and was immediately won over. 

She has the most friendly, personable writing style that has me totally convinced we'd be instant friends if we were to meet in real life. 

We share a love of cookbooks (and ice cream - this raspberry ice cream with cracked chocolate recipe is top of my list for this summer) and I can't get enough of her laid-back style (I love this outfit so much). 

She also lives in Boston and she JUUUUUST about makes me want to consider moving back (and then she mentions the snow and I remember one of the major reasons we left. . . ). 

And, if you're in the mood for a good love story, the story of how she married her college professor and inherited four children is not to be missed. (I'd read it before, but when I went back to link to it last night, I ended up reading the whole thing again). 

I was beyond thrilled when she agreed to share some of her favorite books (and the book she didn't like? One of the books I did NOT enjoy either. I knew we'd be friends!).

And if magazine reading is wrong, well, I don't want to be right. 

Childhood Favorite: My childhood favorite was probably The Giver or Ginger Pye. I remember flying through Ginger Pye in, I want to say, fourth grade?? It was the first book I couldn't stop reading and I suppose it's a bit symbolic cause my love of reading never really stopped from then on.

Currently Reading: East of Eden by John Steinbeck. That man can write. I wish I could write a novel as well as he can.

Comfort Reading: Magazines. Hangs head in shame.

A Book Everyone Else Seemed to Love, But I Didn't Like: Eat Pray Love. I would like to try another by Elizabeth Gilbert (I heard Committed is great!) but she sort of bothered me in Eat Pray Love. I'm sorry Elizabeth!

A Book on My To-Read List: Steve would love if I'd read one of his favorites. Brothers Karamazov is at the top of his list. But he told me I might need a family tree to keep all of the Russian characters straight and, I'll be honest, that sounds like a lot of work so I haven't begun yet....

Book I'm Most Likely to Recommend to Someone Else: Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. It's a pretty messed up story, in a lot of ways, but I remember walking to and from my locker in high school with my head in the book literally unable to stop reading. Probably my favorite English teacher of all time, Mr. Filinuk, assigned it. It's a great book. I also love books that feature the Middle East. From Beirut to Jerusalem is great (nonfiction) and so are Khaled Housseini's books: Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Thanks, Bridget!

P.S. You can check out other posts in this series here!

April 23, 2014

Strawberry & Brie Scones

Strawberry and Brie Scones

I love scones.

I mean, I REALLY love scones. 

When I was growing up, scones meant fried dough and then covered in honey or cinnamon and sugar.

Then, I went to London and had a real scone, and I've never looked back. 

My "Carbs, Carbs, Carbs" board on Pinterest is peppered with scone recipes, and I make scones probably once a week. 

Breakfast, snack, dinner. . . .I never say no to a scone. 

I made a blueberry version of these a few weeks ago and they were delicious, but I wasn't overly impressed with the scone itself. I'm something of a scone snob - it better be flaky and light. If it's muffin-y and dense? Fail. 

I remade these scones with my favorite scone base from Smitten Kitchen and used strawberries instead of blueberries. 

Definitely not a fail.

(Also, Ani sat on the counter next to me while I was making these and she ate all the extra bits of brie and kept asking for more ("ma, ma, ma"). No question she is my baby, even if she does have curly hair and blue eyes.

Strawberry and Brie Scones
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Completely Delicious)

Makes about 12-16 scones, depending on the size

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
4 ounces brie, chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped strawberries

coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)

(Tip: I chop my strawberries first, then stick them in the freezer while I do everything else so they aren't so juicy when I add them to the dough)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter chunks (with a pastry cutter, two knives, your fingers, or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment) until the butter is the size of peas.

Stir in the brie chunks until evenly distributed.

Add the half-and-half and egg until the mixture is just barely moistened (it's fine to still have dry pockets). Fold in the strawberry bits.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for just a second or two to get the remaining dry ingredients incorporated (don't overmix!). Flatten it into a 3/4" disc and slice into wedges or use a biscuit cutter to cut into rounds.

If desired, brush the tops with egg white or half-and-half and sprinkle with sugar.

Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are golden-brown.

Serve warm!

April 22, 2014

A Tee Shirt Dress Three Ways

I'm pretty convinced that there is no person alive with a body that doesn't have at least one tricky feature that makes shopping somewhat difficult (and, let's be honest, most of us have multiple). 

One of mine is that I have very narrow shoulders.

And a dress or shirt with shoulders that are too big means you look like you are a nine-year-old wearing your mother's clothing.

(Buying a blazer or jacket is nearly impossible). 

I was at Old Navy last week and when I was walking through the girls section to get to the little girl section, I noticed these striped maxi dresses

And I thought. . . "I bet that would work for me." 

And it did. Thank you, little girls, for having tiny shoulders so I can wear a dress made for you. Also, a maxi dress for little girls means it's a knee-length dress on me. Which I like better anyway. 

The dress was also on sale for $10, so that was extra awesome (for reference, this is a size medium. I also tried on a large with pink stripes instead of blue, which I also loved, but eventually decided I liked the knee-length more than the midi-length). 

I'm planning to wear this all summer long, especially when we visit my parents this summer in Las Vegas and enjoy some cool temperatures of 115. 

I also love the circle hem, which is a nice extra touch. 

I put together three outfits with this dress, but I could have done at least five more. Don't be surprised to see this popping up all summer. 

#1: Hat, Flats, Done. 

I really love that this dress doesn't need anything to be a full outfit. That's my kind of summer dress. 

Dress: c/o Old Navy // Hat: Old Navy // Flats: DSW

#2: Dressed up with a jacket and wedges

We will be visiting beaches on both sides of the country this summer (yippee!) and I have visions of wearing this dress over my swimsuit during the day and then tossing on a jacket and nicer shoes and going out with Bart when the girls are in bed.

But I think we all know the chances of that happening are zero. More likely, after a day at the beach with small children, we'll all collapse into bed at 7 p.m. 

Still, it doesn't hurt to dream. 
Dress: c/o Old Navy // Jacket: c/o Old Navy
Wedges: Payless // Bracelet: The Shine Project

#3: Top it off with a button-down and belt.

You know I won't be doing this in the summer, but right now, while it's spring and the weather isn't the temperature of the noonday sun? This is perfect. 

Also, I bought these wedges (you can see them more clearly here) a couple of years ago when Old Navy had a 50% off one-item coupon, and then never wore them, but this year I'm wearing them non-stop. This is why I am afraid to get rid of anything. 

Dress: c/o Old Navy // Button-down Shirt: Kohl's
Belt: Aeropostale // Wedges: Old Navy

P.S. Old Navy also has a similar dress in adult sizes.


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