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Monday, May 23, 2016

Gardner Village

Gardner Village is a delightful shopping experience just south of Salt Lake City. I call it an experience because that's what it is! It's not a mall or a shopping center, it's a quaint, historic mill that has been turned over into boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, bakeries, craft shops and antique stores. 

I love to visit in the Fall as they go all out decorating for Halloween. But when I was in Utah a couple of weeks ago I had a free day and decided to see what was happening in May. 

 I discovered a Spring Fairyland! There is a an entire woodland fairy village with fairies, sprites and elves hanging in the trees.

 Spring bulbs were in full bloom and the ducklings were learning to swim in the brook.

 There are boutique for big girls and little girls alike.

Don't forget to treat yourself with something sweet!

 There are family activities including storytime and pony rides.
If you are visiting the greater Salt Lake area 
Gardner Village is definitely worth a stop.
For more information and directions visit their website

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

5 Reasons to Shop at Thrift Stores

I love thrift stores. I've been shopping at them for over 40 years! Why? 
I've narrowed it down to my top 5 reasons.

1. You can get brand new items (often still with tags) at a fraction of the cost. Yesterday I bought these cute capri pants at one of my local thrift stores. The tags are still on. I was not familiar with the brand Weatherproof, so I looked them up. They make quality outdoor wear for men and women. These would retail at about $35 and I paid $5.  Other brand new items I have found while thrifting are Cole Haan shoes, Portmeirion fine china, cashmere sweaters, and leather handbags.

8 Portmeirion porcelain dinner plates

2.You can get gently used designer and other high quality merchandise for next to nothing. When I shop for clothing at a thrift store I only look for designer or top name brands. I figure why buy a shirt from Target at the thrift store, when I can get them new for only $5 on sale at Target? So I typically look for and find items from Ralph Lauren, Talbots, Waterford, Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn.

Waterford Crystal Biscuit Barrel

I also found this bar stool yesterday for $5. I have 2 more just like it that I bought last year at $50 a piece :( 
Pottery Barn bedding

3. Collectibles! Whatever your collecting passion may be, chances are you can find your treasure at a thrift store. I personally have a dish addiction and have found lovely old ironstone pieces, English transferware, and vintage Fiesta Ware. Plus there's the estate silver, tartan tins, jewelry, cut crystal, and old wood cutting boards. You might prefer vintage toys and games, old tools, books, vinyl records  - whatever is your thing you can bet someone else has donated it to a thrift store. Will you find what you are looking for every time? No. You have to make thrift shopping a habit to find the treasures. And that's what makes it fun, the thrill of the hunt!

vintage English ironstone
Blue Transferware
Estate silver servers

4. Thrift shopping is good for the environment. Wouldn't it be nice if we could stop throwing so much into our overflowing landfills? I feel like I'm doing my part in reducing, reusing and recycling by giving a second  life to someone else's cast offs.

5. It's good for your community. Most thrift shops are run by charities. The national chains like Goodwill, Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul and Deseret Industries are committed to help those in need by providing education, job opportunities, meals, shelter and clothing.  Many thrift shops are run by volunteers in your community who have a desire to help those in need and use the proceeds in a variety of ways such as providing school supplies and meals to under privileged children.

Assistance League volunteers
So basically, shopping at thrift stores is a win, win, win, win, win situation! 
What have you  found this week?

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

House Tour

So, we've decided to move. After living in Arizona for almost 18 years my husband and I think it's time to live closer to family. The house is on the market and a photographer came to take professional photos. Wow! What a difference they make! I've shared a lot of pictures of my house before, but it's fun to see what a pro can do to make things look really nice. 


front foyer

 living room

 dining room


 family room

 master bedroom

 master bath

 bedroom and bath

 bedroom and bath

 guest room and bath

 powder room

I did lots of de-cluttering to get the house ready to show. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Double Chocolate Mint Cookies - fail

I love cookies. All kinds. There's hardly a cookie I've met that I didn't like. And I love trying new recipes. So this is a public service to report on a recipe that was NOT everything I hoped it would be.

I was going through my pantry with the idea of using up some of the items I purchased for holiday baking but hadn't used yet. Ooh, mint chocolate chips! They would be good in brownies or cupcakes or cookies. I searched the internet for some chocolate chip cookie recipes, but look! The package has a recipe right on it.

However,  this was confusing. Note the insert box below the main recipe. It says for a "delicious chocolate all-in-one" version add 1/2 cup cocoa and reduce flour by 1/2 cup. But wasn't this already a chocolate all in one cookie? It's called Double Chocolate Mint Cookie. It already has 1/2 cup cocoa powder. Hmm. I decided to stick with the original, I couldn't imagine a full cup of cocoa powder in the ingredients.

 The rest was a pretty straight forward drop cookie recipe.

 Cream the butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla.

 Mix the dry ingredients, then add to the sugar mixture.

Then stir in the mint chips. The dough was very stiff.

The first batch baked up like small mounds with very little spreading.

 So I flattened the rest before they went into the oven. They look better, but there was none of that soft and chewy goodness that you expect from a chocolate chip cookie.
 Let me say that the flavor was good. A nice amount of chocolate with that zing of mint. They were certainly edible. It was a texture thing. Too dry, too stiff. I'm not enough of a baking expert to know what this recipe needs. More butter, another egg? Haha, I took some to my neighbor anyway.

So, if you've got a great Double Chocolate Mint Cookie and would be willing to share, let me know!!

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