Business · Decorating · Home · interior design · Organization

Paper versus online?

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I love office supplies and stationery stores.  So many tempting items.  Pens, pencils, notebooks, calendars, agendas, and supplies to organize.  Can we name January organization month?  It is the beginning of the year and time to start fresh and organize everything for the beginning of a new year.

I use a combination of online and paper to keep my life organized.

  • Agendas – I keep two one that I keep by my bed (Inslee by Design at Inslee.net) and one that fits in my tote.

 

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  • Office calendar – I use a circa calendar (weekly version) in the office.  It serves as a diary in addition to a calendar.  Appointments, phone numbers, meetings and projects and related notes end up there.
  • Online calendar – I keep all my appointments entered in an online calendar that is synched to my phone and iPad.  I love having that information electronically available and at my finger tips.
  • iPhone reminder app – I love this app.  I keep my to do list, grocery list and every other kind of conceivable list there.  It synchs across my devices and I can enter due dates.
  • Ulysses notebooks – I keep three going at all times.  One has important facts related to contacts and other key life information.  It is the notebook I take in advent of fire.  Also, it includes information I don’t want available online.  The other notebooks are more project based and hold notes for various projects and from related meetings.  One or both always seems in my tote.

 

  • Online file storage – this is a must and is available from a variety of different services.
  • Circa notebook system – I love this system.  I have custom notebooks for every project.  Small ones for travel, large ones for large projects and everything in between.

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Last but not least is my converted hope chest.  I’m southern so, of course, I have a hope chest.  Actually I inherited it from my grandmother who got it from her grandmother.  While my grandmother kept lines and her memories in her chest, I’ve turned mine into a file cabinet.  I outfit the interior with hanging folders and use it to organize and keep the papers I don’t want online or those things that simply don’t lend themselves to scanning. Added bonus is that the chest looks beautiful in my office.

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Food · Home

Rosa’s scrambled eggs ala Carol

New year, new recipe!  Scrambled eggs seem so basic don’t they?  Who knew there were so many different way’s to scramble an egg?  In the waning days of 2017, I learned a new quick and easy method to make light and fluffy scrambled eggs!

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Admission time, I rarely eat eggs for breakfast.  My preference for breakfast and corresponding appetite mean that I typically grab a breakfast bar or English muffin or half of grapefruit two or three hours after I’ve been up.  I’m just not one who wakes up wanting food.  I do, however, love breakfast so when I want to treat myself I do breakfast for dinner.  Eggs and bacon or sausage muffins or waffles or pancakes, now I’m just making myself hungry.  Breakfast for me means many dishes to wash so any steps I can take to enjoy a wonderful dish with little effort is a plus I’m happy to embrace.

Past favorites include making mini frittatas  in a silicone muffin pan and keeping them in the freezer or making extra waffles and toasting them when ready to eat.  This year I was inspired at a visit to a friend where I learned of Rosa’s microwave scrambled eggs. I’ve embellished the recipe slightly to add cheese and onion and be a bit more of an omelette type of scramble.

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Into a microwave dish add two eggs and a bit of lemon juice.  Beat up as if you were placing the eggs into a pan.  Place in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds.  Remove and whisk or beat further and add salt, pepper, and onion.  Return to the microwave for an additional 30 seconds.  Remove and add cheese beating further and return to the microwave for a final 30 seconds.  Adjust the cooking time based on how done you like your eggs.  I like mine DONE so the final 30 seconds of cooking time is critical to making my eggs well done.

 

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Family · Holiday · Home · Travel

Happy New Year!

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I love the period between Christmas and New Years.  Christmas is festive and full of family and friends, food, gifts, visits, and parties.  It is ending the year on a high note of fun and festivities and yes, endings.  When I think of the New Year, I think of new beginnings, everything clean and white and sparkling with the potential for wonderful new adventures and excitement.

In addition to seeing family and friends, I enjoy the time between Christmas and the New Year as a time to clean.  This past week, I cleaned out closets, organized and visited with friends.  We reflected on the year and made plans for the new one extending that sense of anticipation of Christmas to the potential for new things in a new year.

I’m not much for resolutions but I love to dream and plan.  The new year is like an open promise with only potential.  So for the new year, I’m working on new dreams and making plans to see those dreams become a reality.

  • Travel – Where to visit this year?  I’m thinking of the Mediterranean and Scotland.  Beaches and mountains sound balanced.  I love visiting new places and experiencing new cultures. There is nothing better than being jolted out of your comfort zone by learning something new and what better way to expand your view than travel?
  • Career – I’m looking forward to wrapping up existing projects and unleashing my creative juices on new ones.
  • Romance – I’m ready for my lost knight in shinning armor to tap into his internal GPS and find his way to me.  I’d be happy to meet him half way.  Maybe my GPS needs a tune up?
  • Friends and family – I’m looking forward to spending time with those close to me.  Sharing and creating new memories.
  • Fun – I am dreaming of a new year filled with fun.  New people, new projects, lunches, dinners, decorating, shopping, museums – well you get the picture.
  • Creativity – I have a creataive gene that needs to be exercised.  Photographs, drawing, this blog, cooking, decorating and fashion are all things that I dabble in.  I’m not certain what my new outlet for creative expression will be this year.  I’d love to take a drawing or art history class.  Hum, something to consider.
  • Exercise – Walking, hiking, Pilates, yoga, barre – okay this one sounds more like a resolution so perhaps one resolution for the new year?IMG_0044

If I have one resolution for the new year, it is to embrace your dreams!

Happy New Year!

 

 

entertaining · Family · Holiday

Merry Christmas!

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Christmas is a big deal for my family.  We celebrate on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christmas Eve begins with a dinner followed by church and then an evening snack.  We move from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day watching mass from the Vatican even though we’re not Catholic.  Dinner would vary based on who was there from pasta to turkey and all the trimmings.  The midnight snack was always the same, cheese straws, sausage balls and cookies.  A plate of cookies was always left for Santa with a glass of cold milk and carrots for the reindeer.

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Christmas morning was always an early celebration.  A fire in the fireplace, juice, and coffee while we opened presents  and stockings and then a huge breakfast.  Breakfast was always a breakfast casserole and sugar cake.  If you’ve never had sugar cake you are missing a treat.  I love to tell everyone it is mashed potatoes as it has a potato base.  It is truly a treat.

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Christmas day was always spent with family and friends dropping by the house for a cup of eggnog.  My Dad was the nog maker.  He would begin on Christmas Eve “cooking” the egg yolks in a bourbon and brandy bath overnight.  Cheese straws also made by Dad, fruitcake cookies, Chinese chews and sands (cookies) made by Mom would accompany the egg nog as we visited with our guests.

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The day would end with a delicious dinner of beef tenderloin, potatoes, asparagus and applesauce raisin cake for dessert.

 

I have my own version of holiday traditions now but I’ve kept many of those I grew up with. I make the cheese straws and eggnog now and we’re having beef Wellington on Christmas Eve rather than for Christmas dinner.  No cookies this year but the cake is made! The DVD of White Christmas is ready to watch and I’ll be up late for church.  Christmas Day will be filled with visits with friends and my box of sugar cake arrived, after all what would Christmas morning be without sugar cake.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Fashion · Travel

Shopping in Paris

IMG_9440I’m not certain if I am an Anglophile or a Francophile but I am mesmerized by Paris and London.  There is nothing like the lights of Paris or exploring the City.  I can and have spent hours and lots of steps just walking and ducking in boutique after boutique at my leisure.  December and Christmas is a wonderful time to explore.  The red flocked Christmas trees, a glass of champagne at the Ritz, or sitting at a cafe for dinner it is a perfect way to spend a few days at this time of year.

There is something serendipitous about what you will find and where you find it.  On my most recent trip I stayed at this wonderful boutique hotel in the triangle d’or.  I arrived from Atlanta to Charles De Gaule at 6 in the morning and made my way to drop off my bags.  It was snowing which added something special to the morning.  I dropped off my bags and headed to the Museum of Decorative Arts for the Christian Dior exhibit.  The exhibit was mobbed but entirely worth it. After lusting over Dior collections I made my way to a lovely cafe for the quintessential lunch of onion soup and much needed caffeine and then returned to my hotel for a nap.  Once refreshed I headed out to explore the area around the hotel and an idea of dropping by the bar at the George the V.

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The area is full of wonderful boutiques in addition to the known designers.  On my previous trip I discovered Davidor, a wonderful jeweler originally from Florida and now in Paris and Hobbs, a store with the most beautiful cashmere and leather goods.  The sweater I’d purchased previously from Hobbs remains a favorite.  Snowing again, a wonderful shop with a display of scarves and sweaters caught my eye and in I went.

Crimson (8 Rue Marbeuf or https:// http://www.crimson-cashmere.com) is a wonderful store with the most beautiful items of cashmere and lambs wool made in Scotland. Scarves, gloves, ponchos and sweaters to die for available for both men and women.  After trying on and selecting a beautiful purple cashmere sweater with the perfect twist on the classic crewneck design, I encountered this wonderful voice that simply could not have been from Paris.  The owner, Linda, is a delightful lady originally from Texas exuding this amazing sense of style.  She is as fun as her designs which are amazing.  After a delightful interlude in the store, making new friends in Paris, purchasing the sweater and gloves, sharing a gold dustedchocolate covered marshmallow, and armed with her advice regarding pickpockets, I returned to my quest for a glass of champagne at George V.  Thwarted by a full house and no room at the bar by everyone else that had the same idea and wanted out of the snow, I retraced my steps to a lovely cafe I’d seen and enjoyed a dinner of steak frites in traditional Parisian cafe style.

My trips to Paris have included other such wonderful discoveries from Dehilleran, a cookware store on steroids, to Christmas markets, pharmacies, and paper stores. A treasured souvenir carted home from Paris is a sheet of hand made paper framed in glass that hangs on my wall.  The best part of Paris is simply finding something unexpected.

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Decorating · entertaining · Holiday · Uncategorized

The Christmas Tree

My tree is a book of memories.  The ornaments are from multiple generations.  I’ve purchased some, some my mother made or bought, some are from my grandparents and a few from the great grands.  Each Christmas as I open the boxes of carefully packed ornaments I am reminded of the many Christmases past, those special family moments, trips I’ve taken, special friends, and anticipation of what this Christmas will bring.

 

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Acquiring the tree is the first step.  My family always has a live tree and acquiring the tree was always an adventure.  One of the first Christmas trees I remember involved a trip to the family farm to cut our own tree.  The following year the farm was gone so we were off to the tree lot.  Drama ensued when Snowball, my puppy, escaped from the station wagon only to be found curled up by the heater in the cashier’s hut after much drama and tears.  That year was somewhat cursed.  My Dad cut off too many branches from the bottom of the tree as he put the tree in the stand and had to wire them back on to please my Mother.  Once the tree was set up, lights added and fully decorated, my Dad climbed the ladder to carefully place the china angle on the top of the tree.  This angel was cherished and beautiful and a wedding gift.  Yes, you can guess, disaster ensued as the ladder collapsed resulting in Dad on the floor, tree on top of him, and broken glass ornaments scattered across the living room floor.  I still recall my Mother’s cries of my angel, my angle as my father was trapped on the floor under the tree.   Dad was rescued, the tree put back up, new ornaments purchased, and a new tree topper located.

 

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The one thing I never got was why my Mother refused tinsel on the tree.  Her Mother’s tree was a work of art with icicle tinsel perfectly draped.  Her trees were the most gorgeous one’s I’ve ever seen.  She would begin the weekend after Thanksgivingworking diligently up to Christmas Eve on her tree and emptying cases of icicles in the process.   My Mother hated icicles and they were banned from our house.  Then again she decorated three live trees., a small formal one for the living room, the large one in the family room and a white flocked tree in the foyer

I decorate a large tree for the living room and a small tree for the TV room.  They make my Christmas special.

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Food · Travel

Project cheese soufflé

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My last trip to New York included visits to two of my favorite French restaurants.  I’ve long loved a butter lettuce salad with a smile vinaigrette.  On that trip I had the most delicious and simple butter lettuce salad with a sherry and shallot vinegarette.  This inspired me to attempt to make my own.  Salt, pepper, sherry vinegar, good olive oil and shallots thinly diced turned into a wonderful dressing for my salad.


Next up was the soufflé challenge.  I’ve made cheddar cheese soufflés for years to varying success.  The soufflé I had for lunch at Cognac sent me back to my kitchen determined to surpass the disappointing soufflé I’d made the last time.  It should be simple, right?  Separate your eggs, whip the whites, make a cheese sauce, fold the sauce into the stiff egg whites and bake.  Nothing to it?

Well, the last soufflé I’d made seemed to separate and left a ton of sauce at the bottom of the dish.  Not what I’d intended to serve.  So inspired by my visit, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving I tried again.  This time success was in the air.  I think I’d add a bit more pepper and salt but, overall, the soufflé was a hit and tasty too!

Maybe one more experiment?  Next time, I’m going for individual souffle’ dishes for each person rather than one large to share.