Friday, May 25, 2018

Anne Held Reeves, Beta Pi, Michigan State has Moved to Seattle

I am honored to have this little article I wrote published in print in my sorority's national magazine, as well as online on their website. Enjoy!

(Photo after a trip to my new favorite haunt, Seattle's Pike Place Market)

I was moving to Seattle and could count the number of people I knew out there on one hand. Kappa Alpha Theta has an alumnae chapter in Seattle, so I transferred my membership with high hopes of making friends out West.
I immediately joined the alumnae chapter’s book club. I famously arrived at my first meeting directly from the airport the night I moved. Now, when we all introduce ourselves at a chapter event, one of the girls invariably remembers meeting me when I first arrived in Seattle and tells everyone, "And I mean when she first arrived!" It's fun, and it tells the others that connecting and showing up when I say I will is important to me. 

That winter, I attended several Theta alum book club nights and it felt wonderful to belong. It might sound funny, but after a day of strangers, it felt so nice to be invited into someone’s home. The tradition in this book club is for the hostess to serve a light meal, usually a hearty soup with fresh bread. The members do their best to contribute wine, appetizers, and very often store-bought cookies. We have a glass of wine and spend the first little while getting reacquainted. It’s great because in addition to the core 10 members (who may or may not make it each month), we always have one or two new women drop in. The attendance ebbs and flows due to work schedules, and that’s okay. The members are understanding. You’ll be interested to know that our ages range from mid-20s to early 70s. 

The differences in our lives foster terrific book discussions. Although most of the book club members have lived in Seattle for at least a few years, when we start talking, our anecdotes and reflections remind us that we began our lives as Thetas at different times and places all over the country. It is that life experience that makes our discussions so rich. Making friends as an adult is challenging, but leaning on your affiliations (school, church, volunteer) can really help you get a leg up. I am so thankful to have our sorority to help us connect (finger snaps).

It has been two years since that first night at book club and I am indebted to these women who were the first in Seattle to learn my name. In that time, we have built a house, moved all our possessions out of storage and have started making a life for ourselves in the Pacific Northwest. 

It was such a nice night! We tried new recipes and ate a lovely meal out on the patio. We even talked about the possibility of making an all cookbook book club, because we all like to cook and really enjoyed having a full meal at our gathering. Who knows, it just might happen! I look forward to whatever my Theta sisters cook up.

I wanted to highlight our book club and this evening in particular because it was the night the Theta alumnae dedicated our August meeting to our love of cookbooks. The leaders suggested we check out fellow Theta and Seattleite, Heather Christo's cookbooks and blog for recipe ideas. Heather was the guest speaker at our 2016 holiday luncheon, and she has a gift for making allergen-free recipes look especially tempting.

Anne Held Reeves, Beta Pi/Michigan State, is a member of the Seattle Alumnae Chapter.

#kappaalphatheta #sorority #thetaforalifetime #seattle #bookclub #momentsofdelight #bloglife #theta

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Royal Wedding: Celebrating Harry, Meghan & Windsor Castle

How could I be so lucky? I am in a new neighborhood and some ladies on another street put together a Royal Wedding viewing party. It was festive, fabulous and I met some terrific women. When Prince William & Kate married in 2011, I had my family over for a party at 4 am. Remember my Royal Brunch?
The invite to this party suggested wedding attire and a facinator of your choice. I accepted the challenge and made mine out of a sheet music, burlap roses and leaves (Hobby Lobby), pleated brown silk ribbon and a Steampunk-esque metal/crystal brooch attached to a headband with duct tape and luck. 
The group went all out for this British buffet, including authentic sausage rolls from a shop called The British Pantry in Redmond, WA. How have I not heard of this place before? I was told that it is a pub and a gift shop. I'm hoping that they sell mugs to commemorate the marriage. Stay tuned.
I brought a jar of homemade lemon curd and a plate of mini scones and brown sugar shortbread. They were a welcome addition to the party.

Brown Sugar Shortbread

1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
3 T. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
3/4 t. vanilla

Combine flour all ingredients in a food processor (fit with a blade) and pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling to itself. On a clean surface, form the mixture into a ball and knead until smooth. Roll onto a lightly floured surface (I love this baking mat) into a 8 x 6 inch rectangle. Cut dough into strips and place on ungreased cookie sheet (using parchment paper on your cookie sheet is okay). Bake at 325 degrees  for 20 min or until just beginning to brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy alone or with lemon curd. 

Did you know that I've been to Windsor Castle? We went specifically to see Queen Mary's dollhouse. Cameras were not allowed inside, but my memory of that visit is vivid. Grand canopied beds, intricate wallpaper, tiny exquisite paintings - all created by craftspeople in the 1920's. The link includes a video of the dollhouse; I highly recommend viewing it.
One of the neatest things I photographed outside of Windsor Castle was this wall that shows how men were able to shoot arrows out of the fortress to protect the monarchy. Simple and ingenious. 

This Royal Wedding was everything I could hoped it would be. I found some kindred spirits, had a chance to eat some favorite British fare and I witness every moment of this grand occasion. Best Wishes to the happy couple.

#royalwedding #royalwedding2018, #harryandmeghan #windsorcastle #england #shortbread #recipes #britishfood #britishrecipes #royalfamily #royalcouple  

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Edible Seattle: Sunsets & Salami

It was as spectacular as it looks. A birthday celebration for our friend Shannon diverted to the roof of her apartment building to enjoy the sunset. Time waits for no man and thankfully someone realized it was almost sunset and we were able to make our way to the roof in time. This was a 70-degree day ending in a sunset behind the Olympic Mountains. We waited through a lot of rain for this; Spring is finally here. 
I confess that I had to hit a lot of "adjust" buttons to make this photo turn out. We were back lit and completely dark before technology intervened. Don't count on the lighting or the shade of the sky, just know that Dan and I were there together on a gorgeous night in our new life in Seattle. 
We returned to the apartment for cake (!) and more of this absolutely gorgeous offering. I photographed it to show you how high quality ingredients, like salami and prosciutto from Salumi and one show-stopper item, in this case Salt Spring Island Cheese (which comes adorned with edible flowers) can make a charcuterie platter Insta-worthy. Now that is what I call Edible Seattle

#seattle #foodie #pnwlife #salumi #saltspringislandcheese #appetizerplatter #sunset #seattlesunset #iloveithere #birthdayparty #edibleseattle #foodieparadise

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Magnolia Market: Most Anticipated Cupcakes

I took this photo the moment I walked onto the property from the parking lot. Gasp! There they are! The Silos at Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas.

The building to the right (white with black staircases) is the main Magnolia store. Ahead of me is the large green open space for running and playing corn hole. Below the silos is the covered stage where they host the music and microphones during the Silobration each year. 

*I just added "Silobration" to my computer's dictionary. tee-hee 
You can watch the official HGTV Silobration on YouTube above. 

When I told people that I was traveling to see Magnolia Market, the #1 reaction was, "Oh I love them," then when they had a chance to think about it, they asked if I was going to get a cupcake. So I am not the only one who's sugar-driven. I know the power of a good cupcake.
The patterned grass outside of the Silos Baking Company is so-darn-cute! A great example of Joanna Gaines adding a design element to make something better than we thought possible. I mean it, this courtyard is fabulous.

The 1st annual Silos Marathon was held the day before we arrived in Texas. That fantastic fundraising event brought 20,000 people to Waco and many of the participants stayed on into Monday. We were concerned that the crowds would be too big and that our Magnolia experience would be affected. Nope!
The retail store was busy and the bakery had a line, but it was just fine. To give you an idea, we got in line outside of the bakery at 2:45 pm on Monday May 7 and our cupcakes were paid for and ready to eat at 3:10 pm. Frankly, that is impressive considering the number of people visiting the Magnolia complex.

When you get in line, you receive an order form and pencil to make your choices. So smart! It was fun to talk over the selections and ponder what would make us happy while we waited. 
The line outside moves along the wall of the bakery, complete with blooming flower boxes, and when it is almost your time, a shop girl lets you into the air-conditioned bakery to wait for the last 10 minutes. You hand in your order form and pay, and take pictures and marvel that it is really real. 
The staff is nice, and happy and friendly. And I would say the guests are even more so. If every there was a group of people who would pitch in and help if asked, it was these customers. 
Okay, remember the episode of Fixer Upper called "Sweet Surprise at Magnolia Silos" where Joanna and Chip work on the bakery? She finds an antique door and asks Clint to strip the paint off it and make it pretty. Yes, I took a picture in the bathroom, but I had to show you. Also, you need to know about this lovely 1-person air-conditioned bathroom for your trip. Don't miss it when you get into the bakery, the door is on the right.
And the wallpaper in the bathroom! Too cute! It's called "Homestead" and you can find it here.

I bought 5 cupcakes (It was research, I tell you.) The flavors I chose were: Toasted Coconut (seasonal), Silobration, The Classic, Lemon Lavender and Shiplap. The Shiplap and Lemon Lavender cupcakes had a green (white chocolate, I think, definitely edible) m-a-g-n-o-l-i-a leaf on top and we loved it. A darling touch that made us unreasonably happy.
The cupcakes were moist and delicious and that buttercream is no joke. Mmmmm. My cousin and I cut 4 of the cupcakes in quarters and tried some of each. My favorites in order were Toasted Coconut (such flavor!), Shiplap, The Classic, and then Silobration, though I would happily eat any of those all over again. Joanna's cupcakes are sturdy, a good size with ample frosting and honest flavors. I give them my highest marks.
We ate our cupcakes (and a cold brew coffee that I bought from the refrigerator case) at a picnic table on the stage under the Silos. The most important factor was shade, as the day crept up to 95 degrees. The stage is also a great place to connect with other visitors. While we were waiting in line for cupcakes, we made friends with the older couple standing behind us. When it was time to eat our treats, we noticed each other up on the stage and decided to enjoy the experience together. Happiness!
The next day I ate the last of the Shiplap cupcake and tried the Lemon Lavender. The lemon frosting on the Lemon Lavender cupcake was great; I never really enjoy eating lavender sweets, though I seem to chose something lavender to eat every year: lavender ice cream, tea with lavender buds, lavender sugar. I am weak when it comes to girl-y offerings. It was good, but the other flavors are more in my lane.
#magnoliamarket #fixerupper #visitingthesilo #milestomagnolia #joannagaines #chipgaines #magnolia #cupcakes #silobrationcupcake #homesteadwallpaper #wallpaper 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Magnolia Market at the Silos and Everything in Between

I made it! My cousin and I spent 3 beautiful days in Waco! We visited (and revisited) Magnolia Market at the Silos, Magnolia Table, the little shop on Bosque, Clint Harp's studio, Magnolia Seed & Supply - we did it all! I can't wait to tell you all about it in detail. I will get my first post up by this time tomorrow. We have a family wedding coming up and I'm taking my mom dress shopping today. Then I'll be back at the keyboard. 

#MagnoliaMarket #MagnoliaTable #JoannaGaines #MagnoliaattheSilos #girlstrip #wacotx

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Destination Waco, TX

I am going to Magnolia Market at the Silos today! My cousin is meeting me in Dallas and we're driving down to Waco for a girl's trip for all things Magnolia.

For "in the moment" moments, follow me on Facebook and Instagram

#magnoliamarket #milestomagnolia #girlstrip