Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book Review: Lessons from Madame Chic

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in ParisLessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book while looking for inspiration for the 10-item wardrobe or capsule wardrobe as Jennifer Scott terms it. I have to admit I actually went and bought the book and have since loaned it out to a few friends and family members.

Jennifer Scott went to study abroad in Paris while she was in college and the experience forever changed her day-to-day life. In the book she details how her host family, specifically the mother whom she calls Madame Chic, lived their daily lives through fashion, fine food, and friends. Jennifer inspired me to think better and do better. To wear those things that accentuate who you are and to discard the rest. I admit after finishing this book I purged my closet and gave 5 bags of clothes to the Goodwill that no longer fit, were less than flattering, or I had just never worn. (My closet is quite Spartan now.) In fact, I have not bought a single piece of clothing since reading the book and am appreciating the wardrobe I have now. I have since been setting the table every night for dinner with my nice napkins and dinnerware. Appreciating those mundane daily tasks that I never knew I loved. Just sitting down and sipping my tea in the morning for my quiet time can really make my day.

In a way this book did remind me a bit of Mireielle Guilano's book "French Women Don't Get Fat" in that you are challenged to enjoy the little pleasures in life, not over indulge, but to just make a mental note of those things each day.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book and how much it effected my life. I would recommend this book to any woman to just stop and think about this life you are living and the quality involved.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Traditions

Remembering family.  We had the traditional Christmas brunch with my mother which included the following...

Baked eggs in Canadian Bacon cups, my Nana Sally's potatoes topped with corn flakes, and Nana Sally Orange Cranberry bread.  Of course there was tea and fruit cups as well.  These were staples for Christmas brunch and we kept up the tradition.

Later that night I made my homemade marinara sauce with my homemade meatballs (of course spicy sausage was included).  These were traditions on my father's side as my grandmother made the best sauce and meatballs usually with a big bowl of pasta.  My middle sister made these great stuffed shells Florentine style and the oldest sister made a great spinach and pomegranate salad and cooked up the spicy sausage separately   Dessert was tiramisu and Spumoni ice cream.  All paired with wine and laughter.  

These traditions always make the holidays feel more special.  Hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wine Tasting in Solvang

That is right folks, I went on another wine tasting trip.  This time the sisters and I and a few others stayed in the quaint town of Solvang.  And by quaint I mean awesome.  EveryAugust and I drove up early Saturday morning as we both had parties Friday night.  As we strode into town I was agape and giddy as a school girl.  Have you ever seen Solvang?  The small town is straight out of Denmark with classic Danish foods, buildings, and of course tons of windmills.

For some time now I have wanted to go to Denmark, specifically Copenhagen and I will someday.  Solvang was just enough to wet my appetite even more.  We walked around town taking pictures and laughing and I even went into a few tourist shops which I usually detest.

There was a park that had carolers and fun decorations for "Julefest".  The town felt magical, inviting, and buzzing with energy.  Why I had not been there before I cannot say.  Apparently we went as a family when I was really young but who can remember that!?

Of course we then went wine tasting and had a great time.  We went to a few repeats, but discovered a new one we all really liked.  In fact we liked it so much we ended up staying there for quite some time and making friends.  The winery was called Demetria Estate.  Nice wines and fabulous staff.  We made friends with Steven who informed us we were voted best table of the day.  We laughed, drank, and ate yummy snacks and just had a lovely time.

Dinner was had at Full of Life Flatbreads.  Just out the complimentary starter.  So good.

Believe it or not, I ordered the Cavalo Nero Salad aka Kale Salad (I wanted the Sunday Supper but apparently that is only served on Sunday.  Go figure).  I have to say, this salad was so good that EveryAugust ordered it after having her salad.  Did I mention there were red and golden beets in it too?  I am a sucker when it comes to beets.

Sunday morning we walked downtown and had breakfast at Solvang Restaurant. 
So of course when in "Denmark" one must eat a traditional Danish pancake, also known as aebleskivers.  I am not going to lie, they were delicious!

Upon parting I knew I would be back soon and I will.  I love you Solvang!