Friday, April 5, 2013

Sisterhood Adventures & Chips Drenched in Butter

by Ann

Sister – gives several options for its definition:
1.  a female sibling.
2.  a female friend or protector regarded as a sister.
3.  a thing regarded as feminine and associated as if by kinship with something else.

Sisterhood -- whether it be my two wonderful siblings or my many friends from the various aspects of my life (work, family, community involvement, book club, childhood pals, etc.), it is one of the things I treasure most.   Friendships are top priority in my life, so I do everything I can to keep them going – which leads to fun adventures!  In fact, the Friendship, Life and Style blog is the result of a wild-haired, friends-gotta-try-something new idea.

A couple of weekends ago I went on a short road-trip to Globe,  a small copper (one of Arizona’s 5 C’s) mining community  with my friend Sue to eat Mexican food, shop, and catch up.  There are several “Sue friends” in my life including a sibling -- Susan was such a popular name in our era.  In fact, I have been to Globe with three of the Susans on similar outings.  It’s only about an hour and a half drive; just enough time to get caught up on the gossip.

Downtown -- on "Broad Street" -- where all the action is!
This trip included a special treat that we hadn't known about prior to our trip – a vintage trailer “home tour” of about 20 mini mobile homes owned by members of Sisters on the Fly, an organization that I’d read an article about in Sunset magazine, but didn't realize was as big as it is until talking to these fascinating ladies.  I urge you to check out their website.  A couple of “real sisters” from Montana and their adventurous mom enjoyed fly fishing and outdoor activities so much that in 1999 they started the organization that has since grown to over 2,400 members with the goal of “Bringing women together to challenge themselves to be all they are capable of being.”  The group hosts a myriad of activities throughout the year that members can take part in; most of them outdoorsy, but include wine tasting events, which certainly caught my interest!  When Sue and I talked to one of the members in Globe, she said that the only rule was that for the events there were no men, children, or dogs allowed – that the only thing members had to take care of was themselves.  (However, when I checked out the website, I saw that that rule is broken for some of the events.)
The vintage trailers are cute, and make for great publicity and "home tours" but is only one mode of travel and lodging.  The site made it clear that it is not a requirement to own a trailer, and that in fact many members sleep in hotels or bed and breakfasts on get-aways.

Most of the homes had a theme --
This one was all about the wild west -
Perfect for Globe!!

Don't know that I'm convinced it would
be safe t
o cook in a place so small ,
but I guess it's ok....

Back to Sue’s and my original purpose – Mexican food and shopping!  My first teaching job was on the San Carlos Apache Indian reservation about twenty five miles outside of Globe, where I lived.  Globe is a very old, western, “rustic” town where no one dresses up because there isn't anywhere fancy to go.  The lifestyle is laid back and the cost of living is low.  Almost all of the restaurants serve Mexican food, and it is very authentic, delicious, and absolutely filled with fat grams!  In fact, the thing I look most forward to is corn tortilla chips served drenched in melted butter.  (Don’t knock it until you've tried it – it’s a true taste sensation!)

Me digging into the chips with butter!  YUM!!  (Sue declined her photo opp)
The food had arrived!  Following lunch Sue suggested an "after" picture, which I declined, not wanting to show that we ate it allllllll......
When I lived in Globe there were few shopping opportunities other than for groceries and sundries, but Phoenix was a relatively short drive.  Since then the town has striven to become an old mining town tourist destination, which has led to a couple of very fun boutiques, art galleries, and attractions.

About four years ago one of the other Sues in my life introduced me to Patty, her old college roommate who owns the boutique “Pretty Patty Lou’s”.  Since that first trip I have made a point of going to her shop at least once a year because her stock is unique and most of it is made in the U.S., which results in  the clothing being more expensive than department store options, but it is definitely worth it!  There is another cute shop named “Simply Sarah” that another must-stop spot.
Pretty Patty Lou's boutique on Broad Street -- Heck -- almost everything is on Broad Street!
Whether it is shopping, blogging, supporting one another in time of need, or eating chips drenched in butter, the power of sisters, blood-related or not, cannot be overestimated.  I value and appreciate each of the women who have touched my life.  I am also grateful to the readers of our blog who I will never meet, but know that we share many of the same goals, values, challenges and victories.  Here’s to sisterhood!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Going Coastal: Summer Decor Part I

by Heather

Going coastal in Arizona? It's not as far-fetched as you might think.
We have a lot of "beach" here; we're just missing the water. 
Decorating for summer is similar to any other season: I make a really big mess first, my husband threatens to move out until I'm done, and then over the course of a couple of days
spring decor gets put away
and the natural organic elements of the coastline 
(where I'd like to be spending more time) 
come out. 

For those of you who are thinking, "But hey, spring just got here; why is she rushing the season?" the answer is that the temps are in the 90s and it feels like summer!
 So come on in and check out what I've been up to!
The little drop leaf table in the front of the house keeps the spring flowers in the big white jug, but other tabletop items get changed out. 
    The antique marble-topped table was handed down from Tom's grandparents.

    The living room gets a makeover with summer candles and pillows, shells, rope, and 
    manzanita branches. 
    Wild, crazy out-of-control coral branches from Z Gallerie above.
    I added some fish net inside the glass-topped tea table along with ropes of shells and starfish.  Check out the very cool wooden books here and also on the glass-topped tea table. I found them at Global Elements, a new store in north Scottsdale. I've taken pictures of this unique store and will share them in an upcoming post.
    All senses are important to address in decorating a home seasonally so the potpourri gets changed to a fresh aroma of coastal elements and shells bathed in gold.
    The glassware cabinets get a little summer makeover, too.
    Yup, that's a horse up there to the left on a very high plant shelf. We were much younger when we lifted it up there. No plans to ever take it down. Granddaughter Peighton keeps asking how she can jump from the loft over to it so she can ride it.
    The small glass bottles get filled with shells and a few flowers.

Come back and visit me a week from tomorrow (Friday, April 12) when I'll continue with
Going Coastal: Summer Decor Part II.  

The weekend is coming up -- make it a great one! 
It's the start of AZ Bike (Motorcycle) Week here so we'll be out and about at the "kick-start" events. If you're in town, stop by Harley of Scottsdale this Sunday to see Steppenwolf in concert, and then WestWorld this coming Wednesday through the following Sunday to see lots of motorcycles, bikers, vendors, and great bands.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pack for Travel; Make Your Plan

by Sheila
I could travel for at least 5 days with this collection

Are you ready for a break? Need a little adventure? We all do every now and then. Get that trip scheduled and then look no further for some tips on packing for your get-away. I prefer to travel as light as possible, making it easy to get on and off trains, planes and automobiles. To avoid schlepping lots of bags around while you are on the road, here are some suggestions for traveling light.

First, list the actual activities you will be doing. Are you touring wine country? Riding bikes through the countryside? Does your itinerary include hiking or sightseeing? Will you be attending an event that requires dressing up? Think this last one through very carefully. If you are attending a wedding, that's one thing, but do you really want to get dolled up to go out to dinner? Frequently people bring dressy clothes on vacations and never wear them. This is further complicated by your choice of shoes. If it is really important to you, then plan on it but if not, reconsider.

Don't forget to check the weather. I know this seems obvious, but as a flight attendant I often talk with people that didn't bring a jacket and it's raining, or no sandals and it's 90+ degrees. Seriously? That being said, plan to layer. I always bring a tank top, sweater of some sort and lightweight jacket that will layer over my tops, allowing me to adjust to the climate.

Now for the specifics. Activity list in hand, think about what you actually need for this trip. List any specialty items first, such as a bathing suit, hiking shoes & backpack, etc. From there, add in your basics. I select items that can be worn with more than one thing. I don't bring "outfits" that include clothing that will only go with each other. To be honest, I don't own outfits that only go with each other. I never leave home without jeans - consider length & heel height for shoes you plan to bring. I love the newer skinnies, cuz you can leave them longer or roll them up and they go with all shoes, from tennies to heels! It is worth finding a pair that fit you perfect. Go for a dark wash without all the "fading" and wear marks - these you can dress up or down. Here are the items I would likely pack for a long spring weekend get-away:

NYDJ Jeans from Nordstrom.  Love the option to roll them up or leave them down - great option with skinnies!

Wear for travel; skinny stretch jeans, tank (if it's warm), sweater (if it's not), and cute scarf for a pop of color that doubles as a pillow or picnic cloth in a pinch - love that!  Shoes that slip off easy in security...

White capri jeans
white t-shirt
Denim jacket
accent colored tank top
accent color long sleeved sweater
accent color print scarf
Khaki skort (I can ride a bike in this, or dress it up as a casual skirt)
Black Capri workout pants
Workout top
Swimsuit (doesn't take up much room, and that hotel jacuzzi might entice you)
khaki platform sandals (comfy, but a little dressier)
White Keens (casual athletic)

Shoes: This is always one of the hardest parts. I always bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes ("cute" tennies, or my latest fave; Sperry Topsiders). Also a thin "flip-flop" which can go to the beach, pool, or down the hall to get ice. I will likely also have a fashion shoe that will go with everything else (cute, but still comfy sandals?)

Accessories; I don't bring lots of jewelry on the road, but a few fun things for variety don't take up much room and can change your look, dressing it up or down. Think about scarves, belts, bling that can give you variety without bulk.

Lay this all out in one place and double check that you have the basics. If it seems you can pare down further, I suggest you leave more at home. This way you'll have room for that fun new sweater or beautiful scarf you find in your travels.

Casual white capris & striped T with sweater
White capris with black tank, denim jacket and scarf
White capris with long sleeved gauze beaded top and scarf
Sexy green silk top (Bloomingdale's thrifted from Goodwill - love that!) with skinny jeans and scarf

Khaki skort, sport tank & denim jacket (also from Goodwill - how can you go wrong with Levi's brand?)

Skort, Striped T and denim
Skinny jeans (NYDJ dark wash - can be left long or rolled up), white T, black sweater, scarf and mules
These are just a few of the combinations I could wear from these items.  Lots of options from casual to dressy - I am ready for anything!

Check out my other posts on travel, if you are interested, and check in on upcoming Wednesdays this month for more travel ideas. Thanks for reading and have a great trip!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tangy Jicama Salad

by Ann

When the weather warms up we eat a lot of salads.  Years ago I had “jicama coleslaw” at an upscale Mexican restaurant that I haven’t forgotten about.  I am pretty good at analyzing the ingredients in recipes to try to duplicate them at home, but too much time passed for me to try to recreate the slaw I found so delicious.

I was thrilled when I came across the recipe I am sharing today because it is oh-so-tasty, easy and very healthy.  If my memory serves me, most of the ingredients were those in the slaw that I enjoyed years ago.  There is a chance that some of you that live outside the southwest might not be familiar with jicamas.  They are root vegetables with a mild, somewhat sweet flavor.  I've heard them referred to as “Mexican Potatoes,” but they look more like potatoes than taste like them.  The consistency and sweetness is reminiscent of apples.

The key to getting this recipe right is uniformly sized pieces of jicama, apple, and red pepper.  Think of old-fashioned wooden matchsticks, and have that be the goal size.  To do this a very sharp knife is useful.  Lucky for me that I had just brought my knives to Sur la Table for sharpening!  (Yet another perk of my Kitchen Assistant job…)

You can't get much fresher than these ingredients!

Tangy Jicama Salad
1 large jicama, peeled and cut into shoestrings
1 apple, cored and cut into shoestrings
1 red bell pepper, cut into shoestrings
1 serrano chili, minced
1 c chopped fresh cilantro
2 T freshly chopped chives (I used scallions and it was fine)
juice of one very ripe lemon

Cut the first three ingredients as closely in size as possible.  You will need a mandolin or very sharp knife to get these ingredients cut into slivers as close to wooden match-stick sized as possible.  (It would NOT work to grate them!)
Clean and mince the chili, leaving seeds in if you like heat
Roughly chop the leaves of cilantro
Finely chop the chives (or scallion)
Squeeze the lemon over the mixture and toss.
This fresh, delicious salad will keep refrigerated for a few days.

Laying on top of the slices is the "prototype" matchstick that I gave my hubby, the "chopper" to use as a guide for the size to cut the jicama, apple, and red pepper.

This salad is a perfect accompaniment to Mexican food in place of rice and beans.  Hey -- there needs to be something on the plate that isn't filled with fat grams!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dreamsicle: Cream Lace and Orange

by Heather

Do you have an outfit that garners compliments every time you wear it? This outfit always elicits some sort of kind comment when worn and I think I know why: it reminds people of a favorite summer day when they were young and Dreamsicles were available from the ice cream truck. Dreamsicles seem to have given way to Creamsicles with the only difference being that the former has ice milk inside, the latter has ice cream. Still good no matter what you call it!

 Cream lace blouse and cami: Lucky's; blue jeans: WHBM; double-wrap belt: BCBGMAXAZRIA; 
sunglasses: Michael Kors
  Orange and cream wedges: Nordstrom's; orange Hamilton purse: Michael Kors
 Pearl and orange flower necklace: J Crew; 
Seahorse ring: Loew's Ventana Canyon Resort (Tucson, AZ)
Pearl and orange flower bracelet: J Crew; gold watch: Michael Kors; orange, tan, and cream bangles: Alexis Bittar

Just in case you've never had a Dreamsicle or a Creamsicle (are they even sold all over the world?), here are several recipes that people swear taste just like the real thing. 

Orange Push-Up Smoothie 

Orange Dreamsicle Delight

1 - 3 oz box of Orange Flavor Sugar Free Jello
1 - 1 oz box of Fat Free Sugar Free Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 - container of Cool Whip Free (8 oz)               

    Prepare Jello according to package directions by adding the hot and cold water. Stir in instant pudding powder mix (do not prepare as normal).
    Fold in entire container of Cool Whip Free, and wisk until completely blended. Refrigerate for a few hours until set.

    Orange Creamsicle Cookies
    Source: by Baked Perfection
    2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons orange zest (for me that was the zest of 2 oranges)
    2 cups white chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
    In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and white chocolate chips.
    Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies; it will make them dry. Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overcook! Cookies will be plump. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.