Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Moment in Time: Cascadia Iris Farm

("Team Player" shown above)
It is a little premature to send you specifically to see the iris garden at Cascadia Iris Farm in Lake Stevens, WA but I want you to know about them and reach out to them if you are looking for a certain variety. If you love iris, there is a moment in time when they are in their glory and I couldn't resist tracking down an iris garden within reach.
I was impulsive and jumped in the car without reading their website, which specifically says there are only certain days that the garden is open. Whoops.
So I tip-toed around and took a few pictures to share. Their website explains a tough transition to their new property and some related crop loss. But they are on their way back and the varieties in their display gardens were healthy and happy. I wish them well and will watch as their business grows.
  ("Marrying Kind" shown above)

#iris #irisgarden #springflowers #seattle #momentsofdelight

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 during a trip to West Seattle farmer's 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 #moving

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  

Thursday, May 17, 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

Monday, May 14, 2018

Dinner in Waco: Diamond Back's

I know where you should have dinner when you are visiting The Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas. Diamond Back's

I was in line to check out at Magnolia Market and I overheard the women next to me talking to the shop girl about her dinner plans. I jokingly said, "Where are we going?" She kindly looped me into her conversation and told me that she had heard great things about Diamond Back's and their broad menu. She had made a reservation for 8 people and felt happy to have secured a place for dinner. She generously referred to her phone and gave me the restaurant's phone number.
It was exactly what we were looking for! After a long hot day of fun, a beautiful dinner in a cool and quiet restaurant was perfect. We both had a big salad with apples and pecans, warm popovers and a trio of salmon, steak and shrimp. The food was delicious and frankly, I wished we had doubled back here for our 2nd night instead of trying a casual barbecue place. This was perfect for a girls trip and I highly recommend it!

#dinnerinwaco #magnoliamarket #wacotx #diamondbacks #fixeruppertrip 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Magnolia Market: Shopping at The Silos Part 3

Inside the Magnolia Market in Waco, a home accessory area is loaded with beautiful, functional pieces. 
This message board is for sale and I can see families filling it with seasonal phrases. I loved this simple and happy message.
A great gift to bring envious friends, here is a large display of candles and kitchen soap/lotion.
An expansive table set with farm-style favorites makes imagining the products in your home even easier. 
"Oh, Clint? Would you make us a 20 foot ling dining table please?"
The view inside the store from another angle. Swoon.
There is a section of baskets, large lanterns and throws that backs up to the fireplace wall. Here, natural wood, black and white are accented with apricot peach tones.
I just adore her tiled fireplaces and this one is so cute! A great way to showcase the vases for sale and some signature black shiplap. 
Attached to the Magnolia Market is a sales floor reminiscent of a barn. It's not air conditioned, it is a grand space and this is where you can shop for t-shirts and Chip's corner.
And some really good looking hats...

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Visiting the Silos: Magnolia Market, Shopping Part 2 Kitchen

This is the area of the Magnolia Market where I stopped shopping and started fan-girling. The genius of the Magnolia Market is that it is designed to showcase Joanna's signature style. Of course it is, right? But until you stand inside it and realize "Oh! There's her white subway tile with black grout!" or "Oh, there's their cement counter top!" (and then rub your hands across it for analysis), you don't realize how much you wanted to see all the components of the Fixer Upper television show in person. 
When you realize that you are seeing her open shelves, her black ship lap stove hood, her patterned brick floors...the store becomes a big dollhouse that you get to explore. I loved every minute. I wasn't in a position to buy-buy-buy. This trip was a perfect example of valuing an experience, though boy did I want that striped marble cutting board (below). I bought a few things, but my favorite souvenirs are these pictures that I can share and the priceless time spent with my cousin.
The kitchen area had a great selection of accessories and tools that looked right out of the Fixer Upper kitchens. The color theme this time of year was aqua and maple wood with black and white accents. I'm sure the accent color changes with the seasons. It all looked beautiful and achievable. 

#magnoliamarket #thesilos #wacotx #fixerupper #joannagaines #chipgaines #magnolia #subwaytile #cementaccents #farmhousestyle #momentsofdelight #fangirl

Visiting Magnolia Market at the Silos: Shopping, Part 1

These beautiful Magnolia mugs are the foundation of the shopping experience at the Magnolia Market at the Silos. They are made by local artisan in Waco. Their shape emulates the creamy silos and boast the original Magnolia sign. Their price point is under $25. This mug is the perfect souvenir from a trip to Magnolia Market at the Silos. There are loads of beautiful items at reasonable prices throughout each department, but this is the cornerstone. Bravo.
This was the welcome display when we arrived at the store. A beautifully balanced display of cookbooks and mugs. Easy access to top sellers and the story of the moment - Jo's new cookbook. I held off buying a copy in Seattle hoping that the store would be selling autographed copies. Seeing the volume of customers, I now know that this would be an impossible task for Joanna.

The store layout leads to the right, into a garden-themed area. Flour sack dishtowels, faux flowers and herbs, planters, pots and vases. The displays are clean and color-focused. And the walls are SHIPLAP! 
What impressed me most was the quality of the inventory. Chip and Joanna Gaines are doing it right. The items for sale are made well and have dignity. I did not see one item that I thought was a stretch or wasn't up to their caliber. 
In addition to the cookbook, I wanted to buy a set of their salt & pepper shakers I saw online. They.Are.Silos and they couldn't be cuter. I think they cost $9 which is very reasonable. Anyhoo, they were out of stock when I arrived and I had to buy them online. Such is life. I just love them and recommend them heartily. 
I admired this beautiful carved wood planter. The wood finish is sanded smooth and would be gorgeous in any home. 

The next section of the store is all about it here.
Read about getting Magnolia cupcakes here.

#magnoliamarket #thesilos #magnoliamarketatthesilos #fixerupper #wacotx #milestomagnolia #shopping #shiplap 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Visiting Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco Texas: Logistics

Visiting Magnolia Market at the Silos


Fly into Dallas, rent a car and drive 1.5 hours to Waco.
I met my cousin outside the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) airport baggage claim. She arrived by plane a few hours earlier and had taken the shuttle to pick up a rental car for us. She waited at a Starbucks nearby until I texted her that I'd landed. When I had my bag and was ready to leave, she pulled up to the baggage area and we were off.

*Tip: There are several airports in Dallas, make sure everyone is booking a ticket to the same airport.

Driving from Dallas to Waco:
Eat in Dallas before you head to Waco.
Dallas/Fort Worth is huge and you'll be excited to drive to Waco. You can find something to eat much easier before you get on the road. 
My husband has family in Texas and I really like Chuy's Tex-Mex. We drove to this location in Arlington, TX so that we were heading south. We laughed, strategized and enjoyed guacamole/chips and fajitas.

We drove I-35W South for the majority of the trip and it's an easy drive.
*Tip: We like the Waze app for directions, which will tell you of hazards ahead etc. If they offer a 2 minute reroute, take it. We didn't think a 2 min reroute made sense so we ignored it. What it meant was that there was an accident ahead and they were trying to have us get off the highway for 2 min to skip and then reenter the highway after the problem. Instead we were in a slowdown that added 30 min to our trip. Lesson learned.  

Reserving a Hotel in Waco:
We stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites on Woodway Drive in Waco. It was just what we needed: clean and air conditioned rooms, free breakfast so we could get to Silos without delay, easy access to the highway, safe parking. 

Waco, Texas is big. We were surprised by the scale of the city and the huge highway running through town. Everything was much bigger than we expected. The bustling part of the city is not cozy or charming. The highway and "feeder road" was a bit of a challenge for us. Pay attention to what lane you're in and whether it is a "turn only" lane that heads back under the overpass. You'll get the hang of it, but give your driver a break and don't distract her on her first trip to the hotel, the Silos and back. For example, after exiting the highway, we missed the driveway into our hotel every time! The 7-11 (handy to pick up bottled water and snacks) next door shares a driveway with the Fairfield Inn and always threw us off.

There is a large free parking lot on the South side of the Magnolia Market/Siols property, behind the row of food trucks. There is also street parking and other lots that seemed to charge $10. I didn't hear anyone complain about parking or access so I assume other visitors had luck finding a place, just as we did. (*Note: I didn't hear anyone complain about anything the entire trip. Good job, Chip & Jo!)

Our visit was the Monday/Tuesday after the Sunday "Marathon at the Silos" and we were expecting huge crowds hanging around after the big event. The store was busy, but there was no line to enter at 9 am. The bakery line at 12:30 took about 30 min outside and 5-10 min inside. The Magnolia Table line (Tuesday morning at 9 am) took 30 min to put our name in and 15 min after that to get a private table for 2.

It's hot in Texas and at 95 degrees, it was unseasonably warm when we were there May 6-9. My Pacific Northwest self was used to 58 degrees and it felt very hot to me. Take advantage of the shade! There are covered picnic benches on the stage of the Silos. There are super cute black & white striped awnings over
many picnic tables on the lawn. The main store is air conditioned as well as the bakery. There is a free cold water bottle fill station on the grounds near the Silo stage. (What a smart idea!) as well as cold bottled Magnolia water for sale for $1.50.

*Suggestion: I would love for them to sell cups of ice for a nominal amount on the property. Drinks go warm quickly and a cold drink is better.

On the lawn area off to the side near the barn store exit, there is a separate building that's a multi-stall bathroom. I don't know if it is air conditioned inside, but the line for it is in the sun. I opted to wait in line inside the main store (air conditioned) for the 2 larger individual bathrooms that were air-conditioned. The wait was never more than 20 min and I was always glad for the chance to admire the displays while in line. There is also a 1-person air conditioned bathroom inside the bakery. After waiting in line outside, be sure to take advantage of this cute and handy bathroom.

We flew into Dallas in the afternoon. Ate an early dinner at Chuy's and were at our hotel in Waco by 7:30 pm. We unpacked and talked endlessly about what we thought it would be like. We were up and out of the hotel and at the Silos (10 min drive?) by 8:45 am. We spent the first day there. We made a 7 pm reservation for dinner at Diamond Back's and it was perfect (more on that later). We drove back to Magnolia Market to look around and take pictures of the Silos lit up. We knew it would be closed, but noticed that they certainly could have been open as people did arrive to check things out just as we did. We were in line the next day at Magnolia Table at 9 am. It took about 30 min to get through the line to put our name in. After that we had coffee in the courtyard until they texted us that our table was ready, maybe 15 more minutes. We got a darling table and loved our breakfast. We headed back to the hotel to shower, pack and check out. Then we went to Magnolia Market at the Silos for a last bit of shopping and picture taking. Then we drove around Waco and found Clint's shop, the Magnolia shop on Bosque and a beautiful retail home store called The Findery. Then we had coffee at Common Grounds, ate a late lunch/early dinner at George's (not recommended for a girl's trip), drove through Baylor's college campus and then left for Dallas at 6:45 pm hoping that we missed the rush hour traffic. We did and the trip to our airport hotel was smooth. We spent the night and both had flights around noon the next day. It was like clockwork! Don't shortchange yourself. If you're going all that way, don't schedule your flight out of Dallas the 2nd night, it's too tight.

Okay, I will gush and share the details tomorrow, but I wanted to get the logistics down for you. Hope it helps you have a wonderful trip to Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, Texas!

Read about getting cupcakes here.
Read about shopping at Magnolia Market here.

#magnoliamarket #magnolia #milestomagnolia #wacotx #chipandjo #chipgaines #joannagaines #girlstrip #thesilos #magnoliamarketsilos

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. I would buy Toasted Coconut every day until the season is over.

Read about shopping at Magnolia Market here. And more here. And some tips here.
#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