Friday, August 30, 2013

Macarons! Loving Laduree and Pierre Herme

Macarons! J'adore!!!

What is a macaron? It is a meringue cookie made with egg white, sugar, and almond powder.  The filling is then made with jam, ganache, or buttercream.  It is a French cookie that developed in the 1700s. And boy, is it good!  This cookie is not to be confused with the macaroon, the coconut based cookie. Since we're learning about macarons and macaroons, let's learn how to say them correctly too:
  • Macaron: mack-ah-ron (Ron as in "on", like the light is on!)
  • Macaroon: mack-ah-roon (as in ra-coon!).  
So, let's let our eyes have a feast!

I've linked up with The Scoop! Visit Confessions of a Plate Addict blog, Tablescape Thursday at 'Between Naps on the Porch', Wow us Wednesdays! at Savvy Southern Style, Open House Party at no minimalist here,  Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage, and life of the party at the grant life!

Aren't they pretty?
There are two big French macaron houses: Laduree and Pierre Herme!
These are the regular flavors at Laduree!

Of course, such a precious cookie needs a pretty box to go into! 

Aren't these boxes pretty?!  So that way when you're sad you ate all of your cookies in 1 day, you still have a pretty box leftover to remind you of them.  
 Now onto Pierre Herme... known for their cat boxes!
Le Chat



The flavors from Pierre Herme! 
 What one do you want to eat??

A raspberry one, from Pierre Herme?
What about a pistachio one?

Or a white chocolate orange blossom?

...and a raspberry, and a blackberry, and chocolate, and lemon, and and and!
Here I am in front of the Laduree store at Harrods in England.  Even the store is cute like the cookie! 
I feel like Marie Antoinette when I eat macarons! You can see above!
I love them so much, I even had them at my wedding!
Can you believe these were at my wedding!  The corset in my dress was so restricting, I was only able to enjoy one macaron (a pistachio one!).  My 15 year old male cousin however, informed me that he ate 10 of them and did not feel sick at all!  For future reference, if you think you'll feel sick after 3, apparently you can still feel good after eating 10...

Have you ever had a macaron?  On another day I'll post about how I have attempted at making my own, but this way is much more fun!

I've linked up with The Scoop! Visit Confessions of a Plate Addict blog
I've also linked up with Wow us Wednesdays! at Savvy Southern Style, Open House Party at no minimalist here, and Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Elusive German "Swan" Tea Cup

The Elusive German "Swan" Tea Cup

I'm getting ready to fly off to Germany soon and it has me thinking... am I going to ever find that tea cup with the swan handle again?  Back in 1999 when I visiting Germany for the first time, I remember seeing a beautiful porcelain tea cup that had a swan head/neck shaped as the handle.  I had never seen anything like that before.  I swore to myself I would some day purchase said tea cup... except now I can't remember who makes it! 

I can't remember exactly where I saw it either... there's only two places.  One is either in the fancy porcelain display case at the Neuschwanstein Castle or at a fancy porcelain shop we went to in Munich.  At the castle, it would have been a copy of the swan service that King Ludwig II would have used.  

There are several German porcelain manufacturers that could have made it:
  • Meissen
  • Rosenthal
  • Dresden
I know it was not made by Villeroy and Boch or R.S. Prussia.  I thought perhaps by Nymphemburg since the palace is associated with swans... but I can't find a single cup with a swan handle by them.

Here's what I have found through my search on the internet:

Dresden swan

Meissen Swan cup from 1820.
 I don't think the cup was all gold.  I think it kind of looked like the ones below, but I thought there was more blue.
From Meissen's "Swan Service", pattern from 1737.
Maybe it was like this one:  But, the bottom is purple. I thought it was blue.  Plus, I don't think it is manufactured any more and I think the ones I saw were repro of old patterns.
Dresden demitasse tea cup from 1895-1918 on a Rosenthal blank with an eagle handle

Meissen "Swan Service" Espresso cup

Maybe it was the espresso cup as above! I'm totally confused!  The longer I stare at the espresso cup from the Meissen Swan Service the more I am convincing myself that is it!  But, I swear there was more blue on the cup!!
It was 14 years ago... well, I'm still going to be on the hunt for it!  

Are you able to help me with my hunt? Any ideas?

I've linked up with The Scoop! Visit Confessions of a Plate Addict blog
I've also linked up with Wow us Wednesdays! at Savvy Southern Style, Open House Party at no minimalist here, and Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage!
I've also linked up with a new link party, life of the party at the grant life

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Doc Martens back in style?!

First Birkenstocks... now Doc Martens?!

I was at Nordstrom's last week and ran into a whole display of... Doc Martens boots.  Huh?!  I thought those went away with the 1990s!  Well, they're back.

Now I am a child of the 90s.  I also grew up in the Northwest.  Dr. Martens were a staple to have in your wardrobe.  It was coincidental that Doc Martens were highly popular during the rise of the Grunge movement out of the Northwest.  I assure you as a grade-schooler I did not know about Nirvana and Green Day.  They are also very practical shoes to wear in a place where it rains all of the time.  No wet socks for me! 

Company history first... because I think it is interesting.

Dr. Martens is a British brand, founded by Klaus Martens.  He was a German Army doctor who injured his ankle while skiing in the Alps.  The regular German army boot hurt his foot, so he designed a new boot with soft soles made from discarded rubber from the Luftwaffe (German air force).  The German housewives loved how soft and comfortable his shoes were, and 80% of his boot sales were to women.  His company was bought out by a British shoe Manufacturer in 1959.  The rest is history.

Let's take a look at a selection of their shoes:

"Brielle" Boot, this is a new look to me.  I think this boot would be rather nice to have if you lived somewhere that had a lot of snow.  

'Mary Jane'.  A classic.  I had a pair of these once.  They were nice.

classic oxfords.  I had a pair of these at some point as well.

An original, the 'Pascal' boot.  I always thought this looked like an army boot... didn't know it was designed as an actual Army boot until today.  Go figure!  
'8053'.  This was the last part of Dr. Marten's that I owned.  When I went off to college and was walking a few miles a day, the weight of the shoe really started to hurt my bad knee.  And that was the end of Dr. Marten's for me.
'Hackney' Boot.  I tried these on at Nordstrom.  The smaller sole on them is really nice; it makes for a light weight boot.  If I were to purchase another pair of Dr. Marten's, it would be one like this with the thinner sole.   I can't wear heavy shoes anymore!  

They don't make these anymore.  This is what I would wear in the Summers.  With socks, of course!  

Jessica Alba wearing the Dr. Marten's boots

While they may be in again, I don't think I'll be joining this trend.  While the shoes are comfortable, they weigh too much and make my knees hurt.  Sucks getting old.
Here are some of my favorites:

This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mackenzie-Childs DIY napkin rings

Mackenzie-Childs DIY Napkin Rings!

I love Mackenzie-Childs.  But my budget does not.  So, I came up with an idea to get the look for less.  I have been wanting these napkin rings below for a while:
Mackenzie-Childs Courtly Check Napkin Ring
But at $16 each they are a little out of my price range right now.  So I came up with the idea of making my own.

  • Mackenzie-Childs Ribbon (you may it purchase here).  I purchased the 1" ribbon for $28 for 10 yards.  There are larger sizes if you would like to use that instead.
  • Another napking ring for size
  • scissors
  • needle and thread
1" Courtly Check ribbon

 STEP 1:
Wrap the ribbon around another napking ring for proper sizing.
step 1.
 STEP 2:  Give yourself extra overlap so the ribbon will not unravel.  Then bend back the ribbon ends so a nice seam is left.

Sew the overlapping edges over each other with a simple running stitch by hand.  Then VOILA! done!
Finished product next to the old napkin ring for size.  Notice how the ribbon edge on the inside of the napkin ring is folded over so the ribbon will not unravel.
 Coincidentally, the Courtly Check napkin rings match my old Mary Engelbreit pin cushion!

The finished product! Not too shabby!

While the normal napkin rings would be nicer, the project cost was $28 (I made only eight of the napkin rings, but you could make a whole bunch more) vs at least $128 for eight real napkin rings.  I get the look, for 80% off the price, which is what I wanted.  Plus I have at least 9 yards of Mackenzie Childs ribbon to play with!  Now what to do with the extra ribbon... I'm sure I'll think of something!

I've linked up with The Scoop! Visit Confessions of a Plate Addict blog, it's a good one!
I've also linked up with Wow us Wednesdays! at Savvy Southern Style, Open House Party at no minimalist here, and Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Taking Antique Prints and Framing them

I have on my hanging on my wall a series of 16 reproduction prints of antique German landscapes.  Below I have them arranged around my tv.  In my previous apartment I had a nice big wall where I had them lined up 4 by 4.  It looked fantastic. (And of course I can't find a picture).
My repro German prints from the 17th century!

A close up.

Anyone who comes over always comments on them.  They are from Williams-Sonoma Home, from the physical store itself when they were still around.  I found them on the clearance table.  The prints were stacked up in a little box for less than $100.  The frames were purchased on amazon.  For the amount of impact I get from them, it was really a good "bang for your buck" deal.  

Now for some information about them:

They are from a work entitled Der Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft Nahmen, Vorhaben Gemaehide und Woerter.  It was originally published in Frankfurt, Germany in 1646 as a manual produced from an old German society, Die Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft, that sought to improve human virtues and to purify and improve the German language.  Each print contains a flower with a background of a German town, garden, or countryside.  They were 

Below are some pictures of the original plates, in closer detail.  I figured I would show close ups of these prints instead of mine exactly... trying to take a close up picture a picture can prove difficult.
Entitled "Red Flower".  I have a copy of this print hanging.

This one is called "Tree"

This is the "walnut tree". I wish I had this one!

This one the "potato"! I wish I had a copy of this one too, as I am a potato lover!

I have a copy of this one hanging, "blue flower".

 Have you ever seen anything like these?  I've yet to run across them anywhere.  It actually took me a year to figure out what they were exactly.  I found the information on them here

I've linked up with The Scoop! Visit Confessions of a Plate Addict blog, it's a good one!
I've also linked up with Wow us Wednesdays! at Savvy Southern Style, Open House Party at no minimalist here, and Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Birkenstocks on Vogue?!

Vogue blog features Birkenstocks? Did I read that right?

Never would I have thought I would have heard the word Birkenstocks and Vogue used in the same sentence!  They featured a piece on their blog not too long about, talking about how Birkenstocks are in fashion.  Huh?

Now, I grew up in the Pacific Northwest.  This is a staple shoe in the Pacific Northwest.  But... this is how us Oregonians/Washingtonians wear this shoe:
Sock with sandals shoe offender! Must live in Oregon...

Trying to style socks with sandals... still doesn't work!
 But... socks with sandals? That's a huge fashion faux pas!  Well, I'll tell you why. It's COLD. That's why.  When you live in a place that's cloudy 300 days a year, socks are a must. Even with sandals.

Well Vogue says they're cool. So we can all go buy this hippie dippy German shoe.  Look! A supermodel is wearing them all over L.A. in July of this year! So they must be cool, right?  Yes, Heidi Klum is extremely fashionable. But she's German!  Of course she will wear the German sandal.  She probably has wide German feet.. like me! like my whole family! 

She's super fashionable, wearing Birkenstocks in LA!
Did you know Heidi Klum also designs for Birkenstock?  Does that also change your opinion of how trendy they are?

I will say though, they *are* comfortable.  I may be guilty of owning a pair and wearing them with socks... in the 1990s.
The classic Arizona sandal
 Nah. still think they aren't very cute.  But, they ARE comfortable.  If I had to go on a trek in sandals, I would buy a pair of them.

Actually though, I do work in a hospital... these 'Boston' clogs look pretty comfortable.  I actually might consider a pair...  my Dansko's have been causing my old knee injury to hurt recently because of their weight.
Boston clogs
 Next time I go to Nordstrom's... maybe I'll try a pair on.  After all, they're trendy now. Says who? Says Vogue.
Here are some of my favorites...

This post contains affiliate links.

EDIT 5/19/15- While I wrote this post 2 years ago, the Wall Street Journal is just *now* posting about how trending this shoe is.  Check out the article here: Trendy Birkenstocks 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mixed Berry Scones

Mixed Berry Scones

I love scones.  I have tried to make them from scratch before.  I found a mix at Trader Joe's, a mixed berry scone mix that was incredibly easy to make.... just add water! 

Heat the oven to 375F, bake for 13-17 minutes, and voila! Fresh scones! 
Fresh mixed berry scones!
 I liked them because I find that a lot of mixes require a lot of oil, butter, eggs. fat. fat. fat.  These ones are much lower in fat! And tasty too!
No, this Juliska china doesn't match the place mats. My 7am brain didn't care. 
Would I buy this again? Yes. Quick. Cheap. Easy. Low-fat. 
Only sold at Trader Joe's!

I've linked up for Wow-Us Wednesdays! Click here to see a wonderful collection of other posts!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Leopard Print Shoes

I wanted to share with you my new shoes for the Fall! They are right on trend with Fall 2013 flats, smoking slippers, and animal prints!

They are shiny because they are actually calf-hair

They are by VC signature purchased from Nordstrom's .  I *almost* purchased these instead of the leopard print:
Cole Haan 'Sabrina' Loafer (Online Only Color)
These are by Cole Haan, can be purchased here

 I will say, I LOVE Nordstrom's shoe department.  They usually have really good service.  They are also really good with returns.  One time my mom even wore a pair of tennis shoes all day at Disneyland, they hurt her feet, took them to the Nordstrom's right near Disneyland, they took them back with no questions or dirty looks!

I can't wait to wear these!

What shoes have you purchased for the fall?