Monday, June 29, 2015

This weeks favorites: afternoon tea ♥

Good Morning Loves ♥
I hope you all had a nice weekend!
I wanted to share with you a few favorites of mine from the past week. 
Yesterday I went to afternoon tea at Fancy That
I've posted about Fancy That before (see here) but I couldn't resist snapping a few more photos because it's so lovely.
I went with my Mom and my Aunt.  We had a 2:30 seating in the "pink room".
I ordered the Royal Palace tea.  It was a citrus blend of orange, lemon, and grapefruit.
It was delicious!
We also got a selection of  scones, tea sandwiches, and desserts. My favorite was the cucumber cream cheese sandwich and chocolate coconut macaroon ♥ 
Yum ~
The highlight of my day....look what I found in the gift shop!  There was also a Mrs. Patmore blend. 
 I was so tempted to get this just for the tin!
Back at home...  
This hydrangea is blooming in my backyard.  I wish I remember the name of it.  The variety of colors are so pretty!

Did you see my post on key lime pie? I made it again this week.  Soooo good!

Earth Therapeutics has the BEST foot scrub ever! You rub it on your feet dry, and then rinse it off with warm water.  Its made with tea tree, mint, and chamomile and smells heavenly.  It makes your aching feet tingle and feel amazingly smooth after.  I got this one at Khols. 
It's the next best thing to getting a pedicure ♥
Oh William! I don't always understand you, but I do love you.... ♥ 
I spend a few moments a day with William, either first thing in the morning or right before bed. 
I started this ritual in the winter and I've kept it up ever since.  The Sonnets are my favorite.  Depending on my day (or my mood : ) I interpret something different. 
My high school self would be horrified that I actually enjoy Shakespeare and read it
I can feel her rolling her eyes at me... : )   
Have you all tried this? It's orange vanilla seltzer - takes exactly like a creamsicle!
I snagged this one at work the other day. I'm hoping they restock the fridge with more of these. 
It was so good! I could get addicted for sure!

Summer camp starts tomorrow for my little guy.  He's very excited to see his friends again....even though it's only been a week since school ended! I heard "I'm bored" on day one of vacation.
Camp, here we come!  ♥
I'll be working all week, but I'm hoping to somehow squeeze in some beach time for a nice walk or at least a bike ride. Fingers crossed!
Hope you all have a sunny week ahead! xoxo

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Key lime pie ♥

I love key lime pie.  This was my first attempt at making it. 
I was very happy with how it came out. 
So cool and refreshing for summer.
I searched online for a recipe.  There are several different variations of key lime pie.  I choose this one (slightly adapted) from the Pioneer Woman. 
I never realized how easy it was ♥
For the crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (8 large crackers)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Crush crackers in a food processor. 
Just dump them in, and with one little press of a button.....
there you have it! :)
Pour them in a bowl with sugar and melted butter. 
Press into a 9 inch pie plate and bake for 10 minutes or until golden and set.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
For the filling:
1 heaping tablespoon of lime zest (which is the zest of one lime: )
1/2 cup of fresh lime juice (6 medium sized limes did it for me)
2 whole egg yolks
1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
With an electric mixer, mix the lime zest, lime juice and egg yolks in a bowl. 
Add the condensed milk and mix on high until smooth and thick. 
Pour into crust and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, allow to cool, and then refrigerate for at least an hour - more if possible. (overnight is best).
Serve cold with whip cream if you desire.
Enjoy this summer treat! ♥


Monday, June 22, 2015

Blueberry pie and other loves of the week ♥

Hello Friends!
And just like that another week has gone by.  I hope you had a good one! Here are some of my favorite things of the week:

We had a lot of rain this week...I mean...a lot! But after it was over I went outside and found this! My hydrangeas are blooming! Such a beautiful sight to behold.  I love this bush because it has so many flowers that I don't feel guilty cutting some to bring inside.  ♥

Last day of school.  And just like that I have a 3rd grader!
This guy is on summer vacation!
Hubby and I are huge fans of Carlo Rossi wine. In the summer we like the Sangria.  It's very fruity and delicious.  We christened our first bottle on Saturday night.  So gooood!
I had an ugly visitor this week.  Ugh.  You would think that after turning (OMG) forty, this wouldn't happen anymore.  Apparently that's not the case.  My chin has always been an issue for me and every once in a while I have nasty flare ups. Over the years I've tried everything on the market to get rid of them, but all I end up getting is dry irritated skin on top of the problem.  Until now.  I tried Neutrogena's On the Spot treatment and I was blown away with the results.  Within one day my blemish started shrinking and the cream did not dry out my skin.  After two days it was almost completely gone.  I am definitely keeping this on hand for next time! Oh, and I only paid under $5 for it at Wal-Mart! Bonus!
I read online that Alan Leech (a.k.a Tom Branson) will be returning for the final season of Downton Abbey in January! Did you hear me scream?  I'm so happy about this because Tom is one of my favorite characters on the show.  I was so heartbroken at the end of last season when he announced that he was leaving and everyone said their tearful goodbyes at the Christmas party.  It was emotional.  When I read this article I literally did a happy dance!
Crock pots are the best!!!! I made BBQ pulled pork sandwiches for a family dinner Saturday night.  The crock pot did all the work! : )
And blueberry pie for my Dad for Father's Day.
I followed this recipe that I posted a few years ago.  It's my tried and true recipe that comes out perfect every time!
Check it out here....blueberry pie...if you want!
And here I am this morning having my coffee in the morning light of summer.  The living room is so bright in the morning (I'm actually squinting).  Either that or the caffeine just hadn't kicked in yet. Sometimes it takes a few cups.... : )
As usual I've been night stalking the stars. 
So many beautiful ones up there and I have a wish for every one ♥
So that's it for me. What are you loving this week?
Have a happy Monday! It's summer!!!! xoxo

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Strawberries & cream scones and some Summer favorites ♥

Hello from sunny Massachusetts! It feels so good to step outside on a Sunday morning and see these beautiful peonies looking up at me. We had coffee together this morning.  It was nice ♥
So far June has been busy.  We went to a surprise anniversary party Friday night, saw friends for dinner on Saturday, and this week I am catching up with my best friend who is visiting from Ohio.  We are getting in some quality girl talk at our favorite coffee shop tomorrow and I can't wait.  It's also the last week (i.e. the FUN week) of school for John. After Friday he'll no longer be a second grader. Eeek!  I can hardly believe it!
 A lot of excitement around here this month : )
Since Summertime is here I thought it would be fun to give you a weekly update of some of my summer favorites - things I am currently loving about the season.  I'll try to change it up every week for you and I would also love to hear about your favorites too. 

Here's my new summer bag.  I got it at Target for $15! I don't know who makes it because there is no label on it.  I love it because it's big and can fit everything I need inside.  I've finally accepted that I just cannot carry a small purse.  As cute as they are I need to carry my life with me wherever I go.  This one is big enough to fit my day planner/journal, which I cannot leave home without.  Plus I love the flower pattern.  It's so pretty for the season. 
A perfect summer lipstick is Bare Minerals Moxie in Raise the Bar.  I got mine at Ulta for $18.  Since cutting my hair short I like to do a more bolder lip color.  The Bare Minerals goes on so smooth and lasts a long time! I actually love the Bare Minerals line and have been using their foundation for years.

Last week I whipped up a batch of these strawberries and cream scones. They are topped with sugar and cinnamon and will make your mouth water.  I got the recipe from Taste of Home. One of my all time favorite websites for easy, old fashioned recipes. 
Strawberries are everywhere right now.  I've been buying them every week for smoothies and to pack in lunches.  This scone recipe came together in minutes and the results were yummy! There is nothing like a sweet scone with my morning coffee ♥♥♥


Here's how to make them:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
2/3 cup half & half cream
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
1 egg lightly beaten

In a large bowl combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, lemon peel, salt and cinnamon.
Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream just until moistened.
Knead in strawberries.  (I used a potato masher to gently mash them in).

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. (*tip- flouring your hands will help the dough from sticking to you*) Pat into an 8 inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges and place on a baking sheet - greased or lined with parchment paper.  Brush with egg and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Bake at 425 degrees  for 9 - 12 minutes. 


This week I downloaded Echosmith's Bright on my IPOD. I'm in love with this song, listening it to in on repeat forever! If you are obsessed with the moon & stars like I am, you are probably loving it too!

I hope you are all having a relaxing Sunday.  I'm off to make a big Italian dinner tonight for the family. With extra red wine for my hubby and extra garlic bread for me! Xx



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Playing tourist in your own city ♥

I really love museums. I think it comes from my love of being surrounded by old things.  Things with history and sentiment.  It's emotional for me. I know that sounds realllly nerdy - but it's true ♥  So when my husband asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day I told him I wanted a day at a museum.  Since museums aren't his thing, he offered to be my driver and babysitter for the day.  Yaaay! 

So I made my yearly (although I wish it was more) visit to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on Sunday. It's one of my favorite places.  The amount of inspiration in this building is immeasurable.  Famous artwork and artifacts from all around the world. 

I went by myself, as I usually do, and took my time wandering from room to room.  Paintings speak thousands of words. Don't get me wrong, I am not an expert in art. Just an expert in pretty things, like Monet's Water Lillies. How lovely is this? It's even better in person! 

For $5 I rented a headset (that was like an ipod) and got a guided tour around the museum. It was very informative! People keep asking me if I mind going places alone and the truth is I don't at all.  I rather enjoy it.When I was younger I never ventured out or did anything by myself.  I got to a point where I felt like I had been missing out, so I quit wasting time and now I do what I want weather I have company or not. Turning 40 will do that to a person. It's a great feeling : )  

I can take my time and see what I want to see.  When I needed a break I got an iced cappuccino and lemon scone in the cafeteria.  It was total ME time and I loved it! 

It wasn't crowded that day and at times I found myself in hallways all by myself.  This one on the third floor had one wall of windows that treated me to a nice view of Boston! 

It's fun playing tourist in your own city.  Sometimes we take for granted places and things that are right under our nose!  

I had a lovely morning exploring the museum and the grounds.  The landscape is gorgeous! All the trees are in bloom.  It was 87 degrees and felt like a summer day! 

After my visit, I met up with my family and we took some time in the city together exploring some of our other favorite places, then home for homemade pizza and banana cream pie. 

It's nice to change it up once in a while.  Kinds of feels like being on vacation.  

Do you like being a tourist in your city? I can't be the only one ♥ 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Roasted parmesan broccoli ♥

Here is a recipe for the best broccoli you'll ever have.  I've roasted broccoli in the past before but never like this.  I've found that if you roast it on a high heat for a short amount of time (opposed to a lower heat and a longer roasting time) the broccoli becomes crispy and caramelized around the edges.  And the parmesan cheese adds the perfect touch to finish it off. 
Here's how to make it:
1 bunch fresh broccoli florets
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  Don't be scared.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread the florets on it. 
Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt.  Toss to coat and roast for 12 - 15 minutes. 
Toss the broccoli and turn the baking sheet halfway through to ensure even roasting. 
Remove from the oven and season with fresh ground black pepper and parmesan cheese. 
Serve immediately!
Even you non broccoli lovers (and you know who you are.... : ) will love this recipe. 
Give it a try!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Brown sugar spiced baked chicken ♥

My son John made his First Holy Communion on Saturday.  We couldn't have asked for a better day.  The ceremony was beautiful and after church we had a lovely brunch with family and friends. 
So proud of this little guy!

It's been a busy time around here.  I've been very preoccupied with planning his big day.  Now that it's all said and done I couldn't be happier with how it all turned out.  Nothing got spilled on his white suit and the cake was delicious.  He's growing up.
It's all good ♥
As you know I've been in a food rut since the winter.  I have been pushing myself to try new recipes in hopes of breaking my boring routine.  I found a new chicken recipe on Pinterest and tried it out on my family last weekend.  It was so good I made it again during the week.  What I like best is that you can prep it the night before and then 20 minutes before you eat just pop it in the oven.  After a busy day at work, I really appreciate that!
Here's how you make it:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon garlic power
salt & pepper
Salt and pepper the check breasts.
Pour the brown sugar, paprika, oregano, and garlic powder
  in a plastic bag.
Add the chicken and shake to coat. 
Leave the chicken in the fridge at least 3 hours  (or even overnight) to absorb the flavors. 
*overnight is best! the longer it marinates the better it is!
When ready to cook, arrange the chicken on a foil lined baking sheet.
Bake 20 - 23 minutes.
The chicken will be nice & juicy!
This recipe has definitely been added to my rotation.  It's really delicious!
 I served this (at my parents house) with roasted broccoli, rice, and rolls. 
It was a hit! And better yet....a change for the same old - same old. 
A little prep the night before is definitely worth it!
And speaking of roasted broccoli, I am going to share this recipe with you soon.
Broccoli has never tasted so good!
I literally just came inside from looking at the full moon tonight.  It's bright and huge and I love it!  I know some of you (and you know who you are : ) were moon gazing too.  It may sound silly but I love how we are all looking up at the same moon.  It makes the world feel just a little bit smaller. Don't you agree? ♥
I once wrote a post about the magic of the moon.  It's one of my favorite posts I've ever done.
Wishing you a happy week ahead! Spring is (finally) in full bloom! It's going to be 80 degrees tomorrow and I'm going for walk in the morning.  I want to start my week off  right!