Sunday, November 20, 2011

Oh! The Places You Will Go - Colorado Edition

While visiting Colorado Springs, Colorado earlier this week, a group of us rode the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. (Oh yes, yours truly was 14,115 feet in the air. Which was 15 degrees, and that said air was blowing at 70 mph - creating a windchill effect of -50 degrees. Yes, minus!)

But on the way to Pikes Peak, we went through this fun, quirky town called Manitou Springs. The next day, we took a cab and spent a few hours there. Got a pizza at Marilyn's Pizza House (decorated with all Marilyn Monroe photos), "The Royal Canadian Mountie on a Surfboard." Canadian bacon, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, pineapple and basil. Super yum!Bought Hawaiian Salted Chocolate Bark at Chocolate & Ice Cream . . .

Warmed up with a White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha latte (I almost got the White Chocolate Pumpkin latte, but the eenie-meenie-meinie-moe game sealed the liplock fate) at Marika's Coffeehouse...and a takehome package of Rooibos Caramel Cream looseleaf tea (watch for upcoming Thursday Teatime review!) bought purely on the scent alone. I had to keep from opening the bag and shoving a wad of tea leaves in my mouth right then and there.

And then we stopped in this store with a bathtub out front filled with concrete soap bubbles called Salus. There I found and bought for $15 three "slices" of homemade, organic soaps -- Sand Dunes, Tahitian Vanilla and Tuberose.

Earlier in the day, I went to Seven Falls - so beautiful and icy this time of year.

And two days before that, I went to the United States Figure Skating Museum - Here's Michelle Kwan's skating outfit from the Long Program of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, designed by Vera Wang. All in all, a fun little escapade to Colorado and Colorado Springs, as I try to see, eat, drink and shop my way through all 50 states!
Now y'all know I do not accept advertising, nor promotionals - anything I blog about here is just personally what I like. And figure well, maybe you might, too. I also love to support and encourage people to shop independent stores and entrepreneurs. Win-win all around. They stay in business and I don't miss out when I need more or want to visit again.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hello Kitty Target Ornament

Albeit 2 1/4" tall, a definite buy for a buck at the Target Dollar Spot. Isn't she adorable and the perfect size for a tiny tree or package decoration?

Target Dollar Spot Christmas Finds

From upper left - the camera cropped off the true size of the cards, which are really nice and a real deal -16/$1. At that price, you could easily glue a sequin at the top of some of the trees for added glitz.
Clockwise continuing - Cute yarn wrapped ornaments/gift tags/decorations. I have them hanging from my entertainment unit knobs. $1 each
And set of two Christmas trees, which light up! for $2.50 I plan to add some glitter and sequins to make them sparkle.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Zhena's Gypsy Tea - "Chocolate Chai"

Cost: $6.99 at Whole Foods on Kirby

Number of teabags: 22

Caffeine: Yes

Type of tea: Rooibos Red

Steeping time: 5 minutes

Add ins: A little bit of fat free condensed milk

Teabag fragrance: Faintly spicy-chocolate

Ingredients: Rooibos, Mediterranean carob, ginger, cinnamon bark, chicory and licorice root,

Opinion: I was disappointed. I love chocolate. I love chai. I anticipated a home run with this tea combining both. But alas, it just seemed...OK. Neither was that pronounced nor distinct flavor-wise. It was still good, but not great compared to the other chocolate and the other chai teas I've tried.

Rating: 2.75

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dear ABC, You are almost but not quite forgiven for cancelling "Flash Forward"

This was the song (Amos Lee - "Sweet Pea") they played at the end of "Suburgatory" -- a very cute show on ABC Wednesday night. It is sandwiched in between "The Middle" and "Modern Family" Enjoy before ABC finds out I like this, too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

November 17/19
Butterick - $1.99
Vogue - $3.99

Merry Moolah Sale - November 19/23
McCalls & Simplicity - $1.99

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


These slices below were from a whole pickle. I think it best to preslice them first. But they do look pretty and holiday-ish.

I found this recipe in the August/September issue of Country Woman magazine, page 51. Click here for the recipe. I used Cherry Kool-Aid. They taste...interesting. Kinda grow on you, like sour cherry pickles. Might make for an interesting Christmas/holiday gathering treat. (Though personally, I'd bring something else as a backup!)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

New Stila Palette at Costco

Stila's "Ultimate Color Palette" includes cheek blushes (center) and lipglosses/lipsticks (top) in addition to all those eyeshadows; you also get 4 lipbrushes and 4 double-ended applicators for $19.99. Item #588718

Monday, November 07, 2011

Hot chocolate!



For research purposes only, we did try the pie. Suffer as I am willing for my faithful blog readers! Our findings concluded it is a pretty intense, gooey chocolate.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Yellow and Blue make. . .Red?!

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you into something else is the greatest accomplishment

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Easily bought

I wasn't able to get to Quilt Festival this year, but sweet hubby took me to my favorite Barnes & Noble today and got these magazines for me.

(Even with two of them clocking in at $14.99/pop -- Don't you think he got off way cheaper than an opportunity for me gawking at that new price barrier-busting $12,000 Bernina sewing machine...?! Besides, I'm a loyal Viking/Husqvarna gal - shhhh! With a serious magazine jonesing.)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Chantal Finds! Get thee over there tomorrow, Houston peeps!

First, I found and bought four of these little guys for $5 each. The 2 cup size. They also had two more larger sizes for $10 and $15. I plan to use these to bake my gingerbread in and to give as gifts...and use as a holiday decoration!

If you donated four canned goods to the Houston Food Bank at the Chantal Warehouse entrance, they gave you a 20% off coupon. Which I used on this $10 tea and teapot set, so I paid $8 for tea and a teapot and an infuser! I found this in the back warehouse section, on the shelves -- not in the front of the store. Bloomingdale's is currently selling this set for $50!

Shoot, I'd pay $8 for the tin alone! I love the embossed flowers and the cool yoga girl on the label! Wow! I just checked -- This tea alone is worth $19.50 on the Kusmi website!

The outlet is open tomorrow from 12-5 PM. And also for the next two weekends. Click here for directions and times.

Sandra Betzina's Fashion Forecast - Fall/Winter

Just the other day I was wondering where Sandra's Fashion Forecast was, and today this appears in my email inbox --

So where is the fashion forecast this season? With few exceptions, when I look at women on the street, in shopping malls, attending sewing fairs, I have concluded that most women in the United States over 40 have simply given up. They grab the biggest most comfy items they own and head out for the day. If you are one of the few women who still cares what they look like, have an interest in fashion and love to sew; there is plenty of information out there, in fashion magazines and online. European fashion magazines are great sources for color combinations, details and silhouettes. This season, I am excited about combining leather with knits, woven fabrics with knits. Big chunky bracelets and necklaces are already in my wardrobe, so I will be wearing those. Tall well made boots are always in fashion. Make some tops and dresses with big cowl necks Vogue 1197, tunic length with the best pair of skinny pull on pants I have designed. Dresses and skirts with draped sections still look new: Vogue 1234 and Vogue 1210, blouses and knit tops with sheered sections Vogue 1275 and Vogue 1260. All patterns mentioned were designed by me and are in the Vogue book under the Today’s Fit tab. Take your time when you sew, enjoying every moment of the process. While I continue to design patterns for Vogue and teach classes, this will conclude many years writing the twice yearly fashion forecasts. If we have your e-mail, we will let you know about the just realized Today’s Fit patterns and new WebTV show topics, filmed by Ron Collins and myself. We are in the process of updating our website once again. Fondly, Sandra

Well, pooh! I always looked forward to Sandra's spot-on fashion, fabric and pattern combination advice (I still have her forecasts from the 80's!). Maybe she was just in a bad mood. . .?

I know that personally I try to make an honest effort to look good when going out in public, and reasonably well/yet comfy when at home -- you never know when you'll need to make a mad dash out of the house. And isn't that inevitably the time you will run into someone from your past or someone you know? I am also the first to admit the manager and clerks at J.Jill either recognize or know me by name. They do have great sales and clothes, great in a pinch when you don't have time to sew. And sometimes yes, it is cheaper to buy them than to sew them. That helps save me the time and money to sew something really special when I get the chance.

So dear Sandra, please rethink and don't give up on us. I consider you a role model, both fashion and sewing wise.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Republic of Tea Pumpkin Ginger Spices of Fall Tea - a World Market Exclusive flavor
Cost: $11.99. Yeah, a little pricey. Fortunately I Googled and found a World Market 10% off coupon and used my smart phone to scan to bring it down to $10.79. Then again you also get 50 teabags as opposed to the usual 36 or even 20.
Number of teabags: 50
Caffeine: Yes
Type of tea: Black
Steeping time: Per label 3-5 minutes, I did 6 minutes
Add ins: A little bit of fat free condensed milk made it taste just like pumpkin pie latte! I also tried it with fat-free evaporated milk and a little bit of honey. Good, but not as creamy as the condensed milk. I'm thinking next time using whipped cream and sprinkling a little pumpkin pie spice on top.
Teabag fragrance: Ginger and pumpkin!
Ingredients: Black tea, ginger, natural flavors, cinnamon, sweet blackberry leaf, cloves, allspice and nutmeg
Opinion: Very smooth, not overwhelmingly "pumpkin-y", but a nice spice/pumpkin pie flavor without a strong bite. Grab this while you can!
I also like the quote they have on the label -- "Tea Mind allows life to live us. It frees us from the hubris of trying to control what cannot be controlled. The life of tea is the life of the moment. We have only Now, and we each sip it in our own cups." "Tea Mind" - I like that!
Rating: 4.50 - definitely worth finding and buying!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Chantal 2011 Warehouse Outlet Sale

Chantal's 2011 Warehouse sale will be the first three weekends of November, Friday through Sunday --
November 4/6, November 11/13, November 18/20
Friday and Saturday -- 9 AM - 6 PM
Sunday -- Noon to 5 PM
5425 North Sam Houston Parkway West (just east of Highway 249/Hollister)
If heading from the West, take the 249 exit and stay on the feeder. I always get off one exit too early by the Racetrack.

And if you bring in four or more cans of food for the Houston Food Bank, you will get 20% off any one item! (One coupon per visit)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Cooking Light Way To Bake

The latest offering from Cooking Light. It was just published October 4. And Costco's price is $18.99! (listed at $29.95) ISBN 0848734750
424 pages. Lots of tips and recipes, well worth the leap into your shopping cart. While some of the recipes look familiar, others seem new to me. Chai Latte Brownies? How did that escape me till now? And sometimes seeing the others reappear helps remind you to give them another try!
P.S. The pictures are delicious!