Julia Reed’s South

20160428-063317.jpg Just arrived the other day at the shops, Julia Reed’s South. Part cookery book, part entertaining book, it is filled with family recipes and tips on being a gracious host/hostess. We have been a fan of her writing over the years, as her take on things and wit are such fun to read. Walking to dinner last eve, I told TPS what I connect most with is her view on life and relishing the small moments. This quote by Julia sums it up. “What I love about the South is that there is nothing too insignificant to celebrate, and if you’re really lucky you learn about grace and small joys, which are, after all, what make up big lives.”



 

 

The Gift of a Dogwood Branch

20160427-044722.jpg This post is about giving of what we have. It also about this divine Dogwood branch that was a gift to me yesterday by our friends Peg & Brian. The branch broke off in their yard, and they thought of me. So incredibly sweet I get teary just typing this. They knew how much I would appreciate the beauty. They know me well. Sometimes the best gifts come at unexpected times, out of the blue. Often these can be some of the very best gifts. A sign of friendship & love. It could be a book just read passed on to someone you know would enjoy it. Or a beloved sweater outgrown that you know a friend would adore. Or a loaf of just baked banana bread given unexpectedly for no reason. Gifts can come in all shapes and sizes, at all times. It means you are giving a part of yourself–truly the best gift you can give.



 

 

A Classic: Agraria Bitter Orange

20160426-062851.jpg A classic to me is something that stands the test of time. When I walk around the shops there are certain goods that we have stocked since we first opened in 1998. Many of those things had been around for quite a few years at that point. Close to 20 years added to that and ‘classic’ status is achieved. Agraria, once a little shop in San Francisco creating exquisite bath & home products, was the initial maker of their bitter orange. The product line was later sold and then moved to Los Angeles where they continue to make the beloved Agraria bitter orange. Candles, room spray, bath salts, bar soap, lotion, bath gel and liquid hand soap–we stock it all. The scent unmistakable. A classic.



 

 

A Sea of Scented Geranium

We picked a rainy Sunday to make our annual trek to DIG Nursery yesterday to choose our scented geraniums for the season. They will fill the pots at WestWard, to be enjoyed now up until November. Fingers crossed, the scented geranium have not been of much interest for the deer. We will hope that holds true this year. Sylvia & Ross, our friends who own DIG, are as much artists as nursery purveyors. Their establishment is like walking into a live art installation–where plants, flowers & people meet. It really is unlike an other nursery I have ever seen. You just ‘feel good’ and energized while in the space–to me that is what good design evokes. They always carry a stellar stock of scented geranium. Here are a few images I clicked away as the rain fell making the greens even more green.

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Ted’s Tip No. 62

20160424-113048.jpg Sometimes a big un-ironed cotton or linen napkin can be just the thing that pulls the place setting/table together.



 

 

A Saturday Thought

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Flower Friday

20160422-054142.jpg Flower Friday a new post idea. Not sure why it has taken me close to 5 years to think of this. Insert very large smile. Silly me. So look for my favorite blooms coming your way each Friday. These intensely yellow tulips echoing the incredibly beautiful sunshine we have had a bunch of the last few days. Yellow equals happiness in this case.



 

 

My Favorite Things Today

I spent yesterday at the 86 Pine Street shop, so I snapped away at a few things that caught my eye as the sun streamed in through the oversized window that faces out to the Market and the water. Often it is images I am capturing down at the other shop as the big First Avenue & Spring Street windows let in an incredible amount of light which is ideal for picture taking. But the beautifully sunny day had the light dancing about so I hopped right to it. More bath-centric–towels, toothbrushes, shampoo and bath gels became my favorite of the moment. With vetiver being the winning scent. I had the door open the entire day, the sound of the fountain gurgling away and folks milling about in the background, the natural music of our beloved Inn courtyard.

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And Why am I Mr Pink Rosé

20160420-042845.jpg This Wine Wednesday post is the kick-off to the rosé season. I say that with a smile, because I think pink wine is pretty great all year long. Rosé on a super chilly day by the fire thinking of Summer can be pretty swell. But I know many reserve it for the hot months and it has already been hot in Seattle a few days already, so I know many folks have started the season early. Rosé, similar to wearing white, is reserved by many for sipping from Memorial Day through Labor Day. I think that rule is changing for quite a few as the huge wine display right as I walked in to the grocery store the other day was all rosé. Which brings me to the bottle, And Why am I Mr Pink. The label instantly caught my attention, as it looks like it was hand-written on with a Sharpie. As I perused the mountain of pink wines, the fab wine department salesperson came over and we started chatting. I asked her what her favorite rosé was at the moment. She immediately reached for this bottle. Done. We would give it a try. I knew not of the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ scene from which I am assuming the name was pulled from. But I listen to the folks who run the wine departments. They are sampling and taking note of wines all the time. I always want to know what bottles they are taking home and enjoying themselves. This 2015 rosé of Sangiovese made in the Columbia Valley by Mark Ryan McNeilly & Trey Busch of the Underground Wine Project is a winner, not only for the tasty-ness of the rosé in the bottle, but for its exceptional price. Around 12 bucks a bottle, this is perfect for large group dinners or a party. Cheers to drinking pink!



 

 

A Brie, Sliced Apple, Fig Jam & Turkey Sandwich

20160419-060329.jpg This began with a good sized piece of Brie left over from having guests last Sunday to dinner. I had read somewhere of Brie with apples on a sandwich so it got my mind thinking in that direction. A hearty sandwich rates pretty high in my book, so next came turkey as I thought it would work well with the two. The Black Mission fig jam by INNA jam would seal the deal and add another flavor element. Jam and cheese go so well together. Off came the rind on the Brie as I was just wanting the creamy texture and then took the skin off the apple and made large thin slices. Lastly, the bread needed to be not overly rustic, so the potato bread from Macrina would be perfect as it has a softness to it. The combination of it all made for a many layered hearty lunch where not much else was needed.