RAINY DAY GEAR

5

It’s been a while since I’ve had to get the umbrella and rain boots out, but we are experiencing a rain storm in Los Angeles that’s one for the records.

California Rain Forecast

 I really don’t mind it at all. California is in a serious drought and we need this downpour desperately.

 I like the change in weather and the rain is nice.  It’s hard to complain about months of sunny skies and low 70′s when my Chicagoland sister is smack in the middle of the Polar Vortex (she now thinks  Zero is balmy) but it does get a tad boring having the same forcast day after day.

 I was looking forward to staying in baking and making soup, but had a few necessary errands before becoming a shut in.

Scalamadre Umbrella

  I dusted off my rainy day gear and got ready to brave the rain. After getting dressed I realized my raincoat was 20 years old and needed to be put down.  My beloved Scalamadre Zebra umbrella has been played with too many times by a 6-year-old  and is bent and sad looking.

Hunter-Wellies

And I really wanted a shorter rain boot for running around.  I love my Hunter Wellies, but sometimes they’re a pain to pull on and off.

 When I returned to my warm house and a crackling fire I poured a large glass of wine and  started doing a little internet shopping to update my rainy day gear.

Much more fun than sorting tax receipts.

How cute are these Valentino rain boots?

 I’m obsessed with anything with a “V” and a Spike .

Valentino Rain Boots

www.saksfifthavenue.com

It’s a tight race, because these Rag and Bone for Hunter boots are adorable.  Any black and navy color combo always catches my eye.

Rag and Bone Rain Boots

www.shop.nordstrom.com

I love a trench and this is the perfect model to replace my sad old coat.

The khaki/camel color is classic and timeless.

The price is right too.

It’s $128 and you can get 35% off your purchases!

Gap-TrenchCoat

www.gap.com

This Jean Paul Gaultier is the perfect umbrella to replace my newly retired one.

It’s fun and sure to brighten any rainy day.

I also love that it’s compact and I can throw it in a bag or purse.

Jean Paul Gaultier Umbrella

www.hervia.com

It may be another 6 months, but  the next time the rain comes I am armed and ready!

xoxo Carrie

Photos: Top www.500px.com, Second www.acuweather.com

Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

We all have Holiday Traditions

That’s what makes Holidays fun.

One tradition I wait all year for is Monkey Bread.

Christmas morning would not be complete without it.

Coffee/Fire/Christmas Music/ Monkey Bread and it’s been that way as far as I can remember.

I also like knowing that the same thing will be going on with my sisters at their homes Christmas morning.

It is the perfect thing to tide you over until Christmas Brunch.

It’s gooey, delicious, makes the whole house smell amazing, and it’s super easy so no added stress.

It is a recipe that will take you 10 minutes and you do it the night before.

The next morning all you have to do is pre-heat your oven and pop the pan into the oven.

It’s midwest goodness, certainly not a culinary masterpiece or high-end in any way, but even the biggest foodie snob will be swayed.

Here’s the recipe.

Monkey Bread

1 package frozen dinner rolls (18-20)

½ cup pecans

1 package butterscotch pudding (do not use the instant kind, the old school real deal)

6 Tablespoons melted butter

½ cup brown sugar

3 teaspoons cinnamon

  1. Grease a Bundt pan with Pam or Canola Spray
  2. Sprinkle bottom of pan with the pecans
  3. Arrange 18-20 dinner rolls in pan
  4. Sprinkle Package of pudding over rolls
  5. Combine melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon
  6. Drizzle mixture over rolls
  7. Cover with plastic wrap that you have sprayed with Pam so it doesn’t stick to rolls
  8. Let the Monkey Bread Sit over night
  9. Bake in 325 degrees oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Invert on plate and serve

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!

xoxo Carrie

Gift Giving: Treating Others (and Yourself) This Holiday Season

Cottage and Wreath

Happy Holidays Everyone!

It’s getting down to the wire for Holiday Shopping, so I thought I could help you all along with some of my favorite Holiday Gifts.

 I’m in the buy one gift for someone else and one gift for me type holiday shopper.

So use this list as a guide for others and don’t forget to treat yourself!

Shopping is such hard work.

Scalamadre Umbrella

I adore Scalamandre’s Jumping Zebra pattern.

I always have and always will.

This umbrella will be sure to brighten any cloudy day.

Scalamandre Umbrella

I bought these cork screws by the dozen and paired with a nice bottle of wine it’s a great gift.

Anchor Cork Screw

Anchor Cork Screw

My Mother’s Maiden name was Fox and so I gravitate towards all things Fox.  This little guy is named Franklin and he makes an adorable doorstop or a desk accessory.

Franklin Fox doorstop

Fox Doorstop

It’s hard to go wrong with this tray.

The blue color is so chic and will be a nice accent color to other serving pieces. Or use it on a table or desk, great for office supplies or a perfume collection.

Square Serving TrayServing Tray

I love Valerie confections Peppermint Bark.

It comes round once a year, a great grab and go gift.

Presented beautifully in an ivory box tied with a red bow.

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

I love a home filled with a beautiful scent.

Here’s a candle with a beautiful scent and a gorgeous container that you can keep and use forever.

Fornasetti Candle

Fornasetti Candle

Check out this gorgeous piece.

I love the shape.

Chilling Bucket

Chilling Bucket

I like giving shoes as a gift.

The plaid is so fun and the Etta pumps are extremely comfortable.

So even my flat wearing friends can pull these off.

Plaid Shoes

Plaid Etta Pumps

The black and white geometric ring from Kelly Wearstler is a winner.

Simple and sexy.

Sottsass Ring

Sottsass Ring

I’ve loved Donna Tartt since her Secret History days.

We’re the same age, she’s a brilliant writer and has a perfect haircut.

Girl Crush.

Her latest  novel is a must read.

The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch

Good Luck Shopping!

xoxo Carrie

Veg Out!

Cooking Club Table

I hosted Cooking Club this past month and decided on a vegetarian theme.

I am always looking for a vegetarian option at home and when I am entertaining.

I have a good number of vegetarians in my life so I like to have an arsenal of recipes on hand that will impress them and still satisfy the others at the table who are not.

I also try to have our family eat a vegetarian diet a couple of days a week and I was bored with my usual recipes, and needed some inspiration.

I knew my Cooking Club gals would turn it out and would introduce some delicious new recipes that I could put into rotation.

They did not disappoint.

I think it may have been one of the top meals we have cooked.

Tarts

The host makes the main dish so I decided to make a couple of tarts.

Always a crowd pleaser and filling.

The first was a Corn and Heirloom Tomato Tart  recipe by Daniel Boulud published in  Elle Decor a few months back.

Perfect for the last days of summer sweet corn and juicy tomato’s.

Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

The other, a wild mushroom tart from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

I am a wild mushroom fanatic and this recipe satiated that obsession.

An added bonus was that it was super easy.

Either tart is perfect for a light lunch or dinner party.

 Make one for the family and dine on the left overs all week.

Sally's Cauliflower RecipeSally  made a Roasted Cauliflower and Chick Pea recipe from Gwenyth Paltrow’s new cookbook,  “It’s All Good”.

Gywneth Cookbook

I’ll come clean and will admit to owning the cookbook.

I have actually found numberous recipes that are not short on flavor and  healthy to boot.

 Of course there are the annoying “Gwyneth” bits to the book.

But I will give credit where credit is due.

Sally's Eggplant

Sally raised the bar with this Burnt Eggplant and Tahini recipe from the “Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi” Cookbook.

Plenty Cookbook

Normally not a huge fan of the eggplant, but this had such depth of flavor, the smokiness of the blackened eggplant and sweet pop of pomegranate made it a winner.

I hoarded the left overs and hid it from my husband.

plenty-green-bean_custom-4be4dfd80e3c2429378e93d05b2418ec790e768c-s4-c85

On a side note, member Heather was unable to attend, but she swears by Plenty’s

Green Bean Salad with Mustard and Tarragon  recipe.

Jessica's Carrot Soup

Another hit was Jessica’s  Carrot Soup with Lime Creme Fraiche.

A recipe from a family friend and it rocked.

It’s officially my new go to soup recipe.

Carrot Ginger Soup w/ lime crème fraiche

Ginger Oil:

1 c. canola oil

2 T ground ginger

1-1/2 T ground turmeric

Carrot-Ginger Soup:

2-1/2 T olive oil

1 white onion, thinly sliced

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 small jalapeno, seeded & thinly sliced

1 t peeled grated fresh ginger

4 large carrots (~1 pound), peeled & sliced

4 c. chicken or veg broth

salt & cayenne pepper

Lime Crème Fraiche:

1/2 c. crème fraiche

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 T minced fresh cilantro

Salt & Garnish w/ Sprigs of cilantro

Freshly cracked black pepper

To make the Ginger Oil:

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Carefully whisk together &

pour into a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over med-hi heat & return to

the bowl.  Refrigerate overnight to infuse the oil w/ flavor.  The following

day, carefully ladle off the yellow ginger oil & store in a bottle or other

airtight container.  Discard the solids.  The oil will keep in the

refrigerator almost indefinitely.

 

Heirloom Tomato with Yogurt Basil Drizzle

We finished off the night with Lentils from Lulu,Heirloom Tomato with Basil Yogurt Drizzle from Megan, Truffled Israeli Cous Cous with Meyer Lemon and Basil and Zucchini Parmesan Crisps from Nicki. For dessert Stacy made her family’s Zucchini Bread recipe (not only perfect for dessert but also with a cup of coffee the next morning) and my hero Vanessa who rallied despite being 38 weeks pregnant (I was couch surfing at that stage in my pregnancy) with her delicious and complex Chocolate Thai Green Curry Cake.

Seriously good stuff.

Try out the recipes and let me know which is your favorite.

Bring more vegetarian dishes to your diet.

Healthy, flavorful, delicious.

So my dear readers kick that pork chop to the curb and get cooking!

xoxo Carrie

Food Photos: Sally Horchow, Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi and Whole Foods.

Moc Me All You Want

B_BabysTearsTangletown

I LOVE my new moccasins!

They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned.

And damn good-looking.

I’m a fan for life.

I purchased the moccasin at the Itasca Leather Goods Store  in Hayward, Wisconsin.

Itasca_logo

Here’s a little background on the company.

“Itasca Moccasin was founded in 1986 by Mardel Bents who learned the moccasin-making business after being sold leather working equipment by a salesman from St. Paul, MN. Bents opened the original factory store in Lake George, MN, located in the northwestern quadrant of the state between the towns of Park Rapids, Bemidji and Walker. The location was ideal — just outside of world-renowned Itasca State Park, the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Since its opening, the store has attracted visitors traveling to the park from throughout the country. Also among its early customer base were Native Americans living in the nearby reservations of Leech Lake, White Earth and Red Lake; the native Ojibwe wear moccasins as a part of their regalia for Powwow dances and for other cultural events”

The price is right too.

$122 for a handmade pair of moccasins.

I wear them out and about and though they do not have a hard sole, they are wearing quite well

thank very much.

Here are my moc’s.

I love the olive, buff and red color combo.

They go with everything.

WC_GlenPlaid_45Cota Glen Plaid

$122

Next up on my moccasin wish list.

Cota French Lavender

 Cota French Lavender

$122

and these

Obion Chukka Boots

Obion Chukkaa Ankle Boots 

$248

My sister Darbie loved these boots.

They will be in her closet shortly.

Mermec Boot

Meramec 12″ Boot

$278

and so will these

Nokasippi Chocolate Suede

Nokasippi Chocolate Suede

$302

Here is my sister Jenny’s pick.

Cota GroovyCota Groovy

$122

And they also make Men and Children’s Shoes

These mini moc’s kill me.

So cute for little feet.

The perfect baby gift!

Maquoketa Fringed Children's Moccasin

Children’s Maquoketa Fringed Moccasin

$58

Here’s another thing that’s cool about this leather goods company.

Itasca will customize your order.

You can add fringe, beads, create your own color combination, type of leather, etc…

They have an on-line store and I suggest you order a size smaller than you normally do because leather stretches.

One or two wears and you’re set.

So go wild, be creative and get your own personalize unique pair of shoes.

Your feet will thank you.

xoxo Carrie

Photos: Itasca Pinterest Page

The Little Things

Flowers from Dandelion Ranch

Today, make a conscious effort to appreciate the little things.

Appreciation in the smallest amounts will lead to a large and open heart.

Take a second to discover what little things make you happy.

And you’ll soon see how quickly they add up.

Here are some of the simple things I appreciate in my life.

Pablo in Bed

The love of an animal.

If you have one of your own, sit down and hug your creature.

If you don’t then stop and give a pet to one.

They want nothing in return other than a little love and the act of giving you will get so much more back in return.

cheese

Cheese

Unless you are lactose intolerant.

Go buy some cheese today, splurge, get something good, sit down and relish it.

I dare you to indulge.

Sisters

Siblings

Call a sister or brother today.

They share your DNA, they know you like no one else and if your siblings are like mine they make me feel better even with a 5 minute phone call.  We usually end up talking about our parents and laughing about something only we get. It’s an intimacy that only siblings can share.

Cooking Club at Lulu's

Dining Alfresco

Turn off the damn TV.

Enjoy the last few days of summer.

The smell of the grill, being outdoors and breathing in the air.

Take some time to make your table special.

Putting a little effort into and changing up the routine is good for you, it’s good for the family.

IMG_0781

Fresh Flowers

I buy them every week and scatter arrangements around the house.

 To appreciate their beauty or the aroma is good for the senses and in turn good for the heart.

Even if you are picking up some from the grocery take the time and trim and arrange them in a vase.

You’ll actually find it therapeutic.

(Why don’t you put them on your outdoor dining table?)

Flat White

Coffee

The first sip of a perfect cup of coffee.

Never underestimate the joy in a good cup of coffee.

Enough said.

Los Angeles Sunset

Watch the Sunset.

Right now in LA I am loving the purple, lavender, magenta and pale pink skies at sunset.

To me those colors signal the end of summer.

And with that goes the sadness that summer is coming to an end.

Or for many, joy that the kids are headed back to school.

 Sit back and take in the beauty of it.

cocktails

The Evening Cocktail

My friend LuluPowers aka” Queen of the Sneaky” makes a ritual out of cocktail hour.

It’s so civilized.

 Sit down, relax and enjoy.

It’s a way to stop and slow down for a little reflection on your day.

Mom and Scrabble

Board Games

Remember when we all used to sit down and play games together?

 Today, with all the electronic games, you don’t need a partner to play, it’s isolating.

Get your old board games out.

They promote interaction with another person and besides it’s really fun.

Book Shot

Books

A real, actual book printed on paper.

Turn the pages and dive into another world.

 Morning

I enjoy the quiet of the morning before anyone in the house gets up.

I suggest going outside for a minute or two and listen to the sounds of the birds and neighborhood waking up.

Hand & Soil

Gardening

Dig, weed, trim, prune, water.

Get your hands dirty, it’s a good feeling to take care of living things.

IMG_1912

The love of your spouse.

I try to appreciate the small gestures my husband makes for me.

True signs of his love and once I string them all together I realize just how lucky I am.

To me love is not in the grand sweeping gestures, rather the often mundane  little ones that I sometimes take for granted.

For instance, each morning my  husband leaves me the newspaper on the front doorstep when he leaves for yoga class so I don’t have to run outside to the driveway to retrieve it.

Thoughtful, kind and considerate and it means a lot to me.

So today take a moment to notice a few little things that make you happy.

You’ll be glad you did.

xoxo Carrie

Photo Credits: Carrie Carr, and www.happynews.com

Gordon, Wisconsin Population 176

Forrest Road

 I announced to a group of ladies at a dinner party that I was beyond excited to go to Wisconsin for vacation.

 I would be unplugging, away from news, tv, phone calls, work.

The kids had to play outside and create their own fun.

Declan by window

Make forts, swim, take walks, play in the forest.

I was amazed when one of the women said, “why would you want to do that?”

The thought of being so remote and having an electronic free zone seemed horrific to her.

 I’ll tell you why I was so excited.

Doc Shot

I had no idea what was going on in the world other than my own world.

I enjoyed talking to my family face to face instead of texting.

sunset feet

Each night I got to watch the sun set.

I enjoyed daily four mile walks with my sisters and Mom.

Wild Roses

We discovered wildflowers, followed animal tracks, walked through the woods, heard a symphony of bird songs.

We waved to and were waved back by every person who passed us.

They slowed down to 20 mph to let us pass (try that one in Los Angeles).

We saw a bear.

We made wonderful nightly meals and all sat down as a family to eat.

We drank some awesome wine.

We drank even more awesome beer.

Beer Chair

We saw more eagles than crows.

We saw more deer than people.

My 6-year-old now knows how to kyack.

Caroline Kayak

My daughter learned to fish.

We played for  hours in water  so clear you can see your feet and all the fish swimming around.

Clear Water

We drank tap water from the faucet.

It’s ice-cold, delicious and clean!

I did some canoeing.

Canoe

I listened to big, loud Midwest thunderstorms at night.

Powerful and majestic and perfect for sleeping.

View of Lake

When we woke up we made huge pots of coffee and sat on the screened in porch, surrounded by old pine trees and an amazing view of the lake and slowly embraced the day.

We went to a Lumber Jack show.

 I learned a lot about logging  and I got to see some super cute Lumber Jack’s.

Lumberjack

We ate at a local joint for a Friday Night Fish Fry,we drank beer, ate cheese curds, played Pac-Man (yup, the original version was still in working order).

Long Branch

No flash or frills, no one was dressed up, it was real, delicious and down home fun.

cheese curds

I felt American.

I know it sounds corny, but there were American flags all over the place and it wasn’t because of the 4th Holiday it was because the people of the small town communities we visited love their country.

It’s nice to be around and especially after the controversial verdict that has our nation divided and up in arms.

   I almost cried when I ate an iced chocolate raised donut because it was that good.

We played family charades and ate popcorn.

The sound of the Loons on the lake, eerie and beautiful.

I love the fact each year I can count on nothing changing.

Cabin Wall

The creak when you hit the second stair on the way down, the sauce pan that was struck by lighting, the elephant foot stool, the pheasant taxidermy on the mantle, the fireplace made from stones from the near by St. Croix river, the old faded map of Wisconsin, the porch swing.

They will all still be there, unchanged when we return.

Lighting Sauce Pan

Wisconsin Map

The memories I had as a kid will be the same memories my daughter will have.

Carrie 1972

 Carrie 1972

Caroline On Dock

Caroline 2013

It’s so nice that there is a place that stands still in time.

Gordon Forest

Standing still is not a bad thing.

Darbie & Sunny

I came home with a clear mind and a full heart.

Gordon

I whole heartily recommend going away to a place Like Gordon, Wisconsin.

Population 176.

And now I hope you understand why.

xoxo Carrie

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,117 other followers