Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Favorites

It's Friday and I'm back with some more Friday Favorites this week! Can you believe July is over?? I can't. It was a big month for us. Moved from SoCal to NorCal.  Both of us started new jobs. Big things happening over here.

French Pastries
I have a French pastry problem. The problem is... I love them and can't stop eating them.  These pastries are from Craftsman & Wolves in San Francisco.  The one of the left is a raspberry eclair and was delicious! The one of the right is called a peach twinkie.  It is nothing like a twinkie!  With the edible flower blossoms and fresh peach cream inside, it is a delight!  If you are heading to San Francisco, I recommend going there.  I wrote about them in a blogpost here.

Honey
This honey from the Savannah Bee Company is one of the best honeys I've ever had. It's an orange blossom honey and it actually tastes like orange blossom! I've many other orange blossom honeys but they never actually taste like orange blossom.  But this one does! As you can see, we already used half the bottle!

Pumpkins!
We planted pumpkins on July 1 when we moved it and this was them earlier this past weekend. We planted them from seed. There are 6 different varieties.  I've been outside cackling around like a witch... grow my pretties!  While they look really big, they need to started growing like mad if we are to have pumpkins by Halloween!

Pretty Tile
This past week we were playing at the San Francisco Design Center and I saw this pretty tile design on the wall.  Wouldn't you love to have this... in your kitchen, bathroom, or outside, or anywhere? It's so beautiful!


 Liberty London at Nordstrom
This past week when we went to the downtown San Francisco Nordstrom's we checked in at Liberty London's pop-up store!  If you've never heard of Liberty London, LL is actually a department store in London that sells really cute products!  They are known for the cute floral prints! They have no current store in the USA, so Nordstrom struck a little deal with them.  Nordstrom is exclusively selling their merchandise for 1-2 months.  If your local Nordies doesn't have the pop-up store, that's okay, you can get everything online.  I purchase the gardening gloves on the bottom right - they are soft and cute, and long to protect my arms from the rose thorns!  Here are some of the other things I eyed as well... oh, did I mention they give you a free cute little shopping bag if you buy something?

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Friday Favorites with A Little Bit of EverythingMomfessionals, and Grace and Love
Five on friday at A Liz Adventures .
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Oh Hey, Friday! at September FARM

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer French Table Setting

I have assembled my first tablescape after the big move!  I was inspired by the beautiful roses that are blooming here, the orange topiaries, and my new French burlap fabric I bought!
I put a freshly picked rose on each place setting.  It's not just to look at - pick it up and take a little sniff and you'll be treated with the most pleasant smelling rose!  These are david austen roses and they smell heavenly!
I saw a very similar table runner in Napa recently but they wanted $100.  I found very similar fabric at a fabric store and bought it for $6/yard.  I intended to make placemats with it but I think I like it as a runner for now!
I put one of my madeleine anduze candle pots in the center. It has a really nice fragrance.  Purchased these at Pierre Deux years ago (RIP).
I like the Frenchie Summer feeling of this table.  The cups and plates are from Williams-Sonoma.  The cups are printed in French with fruits on them.
Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

Monday, July 27, 2015

White Chocolate Blackberry Macarons

I've been back in the kitchen baking again.  You will love what I came up with! I was inspired ball of the pretty french pastries I saw in Paris! White chocolate blackberry macarons!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Weekend Whimsy!


I almost forgot about weekend whimsy this week!  I'm quickly writing this before I head into work...


A tour of some of England's Stately Homes... I love this! 

While this is technically a baby shower, I do love the French theme of this party!

Kate Spade announced plans for a new line of activewear, home goods, and baby.  Save your money now!!

As I still have a bunch of peaches, I like this recipe for peach iced tea. This will be nice for next week when the high is near 110!

The Converse chuck taylor, one of my main shoes that I wear, is getting a redesign for the first time ever.  Nike is adding softer inserts to it. 


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Happy 2nd Blogiversary!

You're invited to.... my second blogivesary party!  Last year we had a little blogivesary party like Marie Antoinette in Versailles (and then for my 30th birthday in real-life!).

This year we are going to a nice little dinner in Napa on some private grounds...

First you will enter through the gates below...
then drive up this tree lined driveway...
You'll then stroll along the pretty private grounds hearing the pitter patter of the fountain...
 ...and eventually find this beautiful affair...
 ...where we would dine under the vines with lights dancing like stars above our heads...
...we would feast on some dinner under the warm evening air...
 ...before diving into this beautiful cake for dessert!
Hope you all enjoyed my little pretend soiree in Napa today! I can't believe it's already been TWO years since I started blogging.  I have had a lot of fun continuing to run this blog. 

I love everyone's comments; sometimes it takes me a little while to respond because I do work a full-time job "in real life".  If you've never left a comment here and enjoy reading my blog, leave me one today! 

Thank you for reading my little blog! 

If you aren't following me, you can follow me here : bloglovin, instagramtwitterpinterest, and google plus.
I am going to highlight some of my readers' most viewed posts from the past year!



 You loved the orange blossom macaron recipe...
 You loved the taupe, greige, and grey kitchen round up...
 You liked this French country lavender table..,
And lastly, you agreed last Fall that Starbucks' pumpkin scones sucked and were curious why they were recalled.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!  Also, I won't be doing a Friday Favorites this week since I did this post instead.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

FitBit Charge HR review

I have had my FitBit Charge HR for a month now and am ready to write my review!
There are several different FitBits available.  I purchased the Charge HR.  What that means is that it tracks steps, sleep, miles, calories, and my heart rate.  The heart rate monitor was essential for me... I can track calories burned during exercise more accurately.
FitBit Charge HR review
Here's a look at the home screen...
 It tracks and trends your steps for the week.  I love getting the 10,000 steps!  However, it doesn't happen every week like it did on this one.

 It also tracks floors climbed.  As you can see, I don't climb a ton of floors.  I live in a single story house.

It tracks your exercise too... You can do biking, walking, running.  Here I did my PiYo and walking.  If you use it while on the treadmill, it will NOT count your steps *unless* you have your arm swinging down at your side. If you arm is not moving the FitBit assumes you aren't either.
 What's cool with the charge HR model is that it lets you track your sleep.   It shows you how many times you were restless and how many times you woke up.  As you can see, I like to sleep at lot and sleep pretty solidly through the night.
 It also tracks your sleeping pattern over time.  In the screenshot below, I was working various shifts during various times of day.  As you can see, it totally messed up my sleep. I mean one night (which is actually when I slept during broad daylight) I only slept 3 hours.  People who work night shift and swing shifts have chronic sleep deprivation... You can see that evidenced below.
 ... then I went on vacation.  And had a normal circadian rhythm like the rest of the world.  Check out how I consistently slept the nearly the same duration every night!

Here is a sample of a work out I did on July 4th. I went bike riding this day.  You can see how my work-out truly went. It measures your heart rate during your work out! It calculates your target HR based on height, weight, and age.
 It also takes resting heart rates when you sleep.
If you have friends or family with a fit bit, you can add them as a friend and challenge them! It's kind of fun (if you're winning!)

It can also do calorie tracking with food that you enter manually into the system.  I haven't done that (yet). 

I sync mine with my iPad and iPhone without any problems.  I find the battery lasts about 4-5 days.

PROS
- It helps me exercise. I like getting 10,000 steps!
- It allows me to better calculate my burned calories while exercising.
- It lets me know how I am sleeping which helps me with my night shift planning
- did I mention it motivates you to exercise? I think that's really the biggest plus and is worth mentioning again.
- It lets me measure how far I walked!
- You can sync it up to other apps and map your runs
- the battery life is long and can be easily recharged

CONS
- it did cause a rash on me one day. To avoid this, I recommend taking it off right away after exercising and cleaning it regularly. 
- if you do swimming for exercise, it doesn't count it
- it's not 100% accurate.  My mom's fitbit and my fitbit will measure different steps for the same distance, which is expected that there will be some variation but it shouldn't be a large difference.

At first I thought the fitbit looked really ugly and I would never wear it... but now that I've been wearing it around I barely notice it on my arm!  I got it in the black because I thought that would be the least annoying of all the colors.  The color selection is below...
There is a wide range of FitBit products.  The fitbit flex is the most popular and allows you to change arm bands with Tory Burch accessories!  But for me, the heart rate monitor was necessary and was only available on the two fitbits on the bottom right of the picture below.  FitBit also makes a scale that syncs with their program.  Here is a comparison of all the different models!  I considered other tracking devices but thought this one delivered the most bang for the buck!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Multnomah Falls and Wahkeena Falls Loop Hike in the Columbia River Gorge

As you may or may not know, I grew up in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon.  One thing we did almost every weekend in the Summer was to go on a hike.  One of my FAVORITE hikes is the Multnomah Falls - Wahkeena Falls loop hike.  It is located in the scenic Columbia River Gorge

If you love waterfalls, then this hike is for you!  There are officially 8 named waterfalls but the numerous little falls that "don't count" as you hike your way up and down Multnomah creek and Wahkeena creek.
Multnomah Falls!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Weekend Whimsy

Hey everyone! It's the weekend so you know what that means... weekend whimsy.  I round up a few of my favorite links from around the web that I've found.  I've had a few people request for pictures with my links... I would love to BUT for now, my internet is super slow.
Oneota Falls
Check out these most elaborate hedges and topiaries. They are so beautiful!

Do you love MacKenzie-Childs??  Take a virtual tour inside the MacKenzie-Childs Estate!

I'm sure you've heard of Birch Box by now or some other boxes of the sort.  Well, Hermes is getting in on the box business... it's called the Petite H box.

While we were at the Chateau de Versailles during our vacation trip to Paris, we learned that every year there is a period masquerade ball held once a year.  Anyone can attend, but the caveat is that you must wear period-appropriate costumes! How much fun! check it out here.

The Nordstrom anniversary sale opens to the general public this weekend.  If you haven't checked it out, here are my picks for the sale!  This sale is unique because it offers Fall 2015 clothes on sale BEFORE the season instead of clearing out old styles!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Favorites

Hey o! It's time for Friday Favorites!

Nicky Hilton's Wedding Dress
How beautiful is this wedding dress that Nicky Hilton wore to her wedding last weekend?  It is custom-made Valentino gown costing $75,000!  Isn't it just beautiful?  The bride is beautiful too, of course!
Normally I would not be a fan of the sleeved gown with the turtle neck, but this is such a beautiful creation I love it!
I am sure the pictures do not do the gown justice.
Isn't the bride just stunning?
But even when you're a billionaire, your wedding day cannot be perfect.  The driver of this Bentley (!!) drove over part of her veil!  Luckily it did not wind around in the wheel well, but I am just horrified for her!  And this was on her way TO the ceremony, to make matters worse.  
She married a Rothschild and got married at Kensington Palace.

THIS PIZZA
I know, the picture is blurry.  But this pizza was soooo good.  It is from Kaleidoscope pizza in Medford, Oregon.  It has fresh spinach, red pepper, mushrooms, garlic, mozzarella on garlic olive oil.  It is soooo good.  I've put my husband on a mission to try to figure out how to copycat one of these.

MOONSTRUCK CHOCOLATES
Ever heard of them?  They are a local chocolatier in Portland, Oregon and they make the cutest chocolate truffles!  Look at them below! A school of clown fish! From left to right: sea salt toffee, peanut butter, raspberry, and blackberry. So cute and delicious!
The other flavors we tried were: peach (left), vanilla caramel (middle) and lemon (right).  The lemon truffle was to-die-for.  Like how these look? You don't have to go to Portland to get some, you can have some shipped from their online store here. (no I wasn't paid by them to write this, but I'll gladly accept payment in the form of chocolate hint hint)


MOVE COMPLETE!
I just wanted to give everyone an update about my moving: our stuff FINALLY arrived. Only 10 days late.  It arrived the day we headed up to Portland... went to Portland... came back and now we've been busy unpacking like mad!

We moved out into the country on a couple of acres.  It's my parents house but they don't live here.  They are letting us live here in the meantime.... I will tell you what we did with a big announcement in a separate post!  I started a new job this week too.  I was so super stressed out but it has gone well. One problem in the country though is the internet.  We had major major internet problems that just got fixed last night.
wahhhh I need the internet.
Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com
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Friday Favorites with A Little Bit of EverythingMomfessionals, and Grace and Love 
Five on friday at A Liz Adventures .
Friday Favorites at the Diary of a Real Housewive
Oh Hey, Friday! at September FARM