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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Americana Dinner Party

Do you have a close group of friends? My husband and I have belonged to the same couples book club for over 15 years. We rotate choosing a book to review and hosting duties and then get together every other month.

It was our turn to host and we chose to review Garrison Keillor's book  "Lake Wobegon Days".  Keillor is retiring from his long running radio program Prairie Home Companion this summer so we thought we'd reminisce and share some of our favorite stories of his. And since it's Memorial Day weekend, I went with an Americana theme for the party. 

 I pulled out my trusty ironstone dinnerware and layered it with red or blue chargers on a burlap tablecloth.

 I've wanted to do a grilled cheese bar for awhile. It was so easy to do!
 I laid out assorted breads, 
sour dough, multi grain and marble rye

 four kinds of cheeses, 
cheddar, pepper jack, swiss and havarti

 and a variety of meats, veggies and condiments. Everyone had a great time creating their own perfect sandwich!
ham, turkey, bacon, tomato

dijon mustard, craisins, cilantro, basil, mushrooms, pickles

For the sides I served Mediterranean pasta salad, potato salad and fruit kabobs. (oops, forgot to take pictures of everything!)

 For drinks I bought an assortment of old fashioned sodas.

And to finish it off classic Tollhouse cookies and fresh strawberry pie.

 It was a fun evening with great friends, good food and a chance to remember how lucky we are to live in this free country! 
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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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