October 07, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Pine, Arizona


Travel Tuesday: Pine, Arizona
This has been a summer of road trips, of playing tourist in my own state.  Being a weekend explorer has been such fun!  I hope that I can continue the adventure right on through Autumn.  My latest weekend road trip found me in the small town of Pine, Arizona with a few of my favorite ladies.  Pine is about ninety miles northeast of Phoenix, and covers less than 32 square miles of land.  It's a lovely place to spend a day, even if you find yourself there on a rainy day like we experienced.
Travel Tuesday: Pine, Arizona
Travel Tuesday: Pine, Arizona
The highlight of our time in Pine was lunch at the quaint Randall House cafe.  Serving breakfast and lunch, the historic home is filled with shelves of homemade jams, crafts, tables covered with doilies and mason jars full of wild flowers.  Known for their quiche baked on-site, the menu also  includes soups, salads and sandwiches made from scratch.  I enjoyed the best grilled cheese sandwich ever.  Really- the best grilled cheese ever!   (I mean, it's made from dill Havarti!!) I also picked up a jar of bourbon pumpkin butter and a bag of Amaretto flavored tea that I am excited to use once it gets a little cooler.  The butter will be the perfect pancake or muffin topping and that tea smells so amazing in the bag that I know it will make my favorite tea latte of the season. 
Travel Tuesday: Pine, Arizona
Travel Tuesday: Pine, Arizona
We also enjoyed browsing through the many antique and gift shops in Pine.  At Visions Speaking Rock Shop, we enjoyed looking at the geodes, desert roses (a local rock that forms into a rose shape) and other curiosities.  We also got some tips from the owner for hunting crystals at Diamond Point.  I was excited to find more pieces of my Arizona Cactus tea set in a few of the antique stores we browsed.  I will share photos of my collection soon!  Another treat was stumbling upon the Pine Public Library, housed in the tiniest little building.  Everything in Pine was quaint and picturesque, perfect for an afternoon's exploration.  As we left the last antique store, a torrential rain began and we packed up our treasures for the ride home.  A day well spent!!
Travel Tuesday: Pine, Arizona



September 15, 2014

Arrivederci Tea Party and a Recipe for Peach Basil Sangria

Arrivederci Tea Party and a Recipe for Peach Basil Sangria
Four years ago, I met some pretty special ladies during my study abroad summer in Nottingham, England.  I'm happy to say we have kept in touch, getting together every few months for a girl's day or afternoon tea party.  A few weeks ago, we had one last tea party together as we sent our friend Sara off to Italy with an Arrivederci Tea Party.  Sara has been working towards an overseas teaching position since I first met her, and I am so proud that her determination has finally paid off with this dream job in Rome.  She is settling in with her kindergarteners, and making the rest of us jealous with her posts of her lovely apartment and beautiful new home town.  Our last tea party together was bittersweet, but we had fun hearing about Sara's adventures ahead and stuffing our faces with Italian themed food and drink.  I made a delicious Peach Basil Sangria, perfect for an afternoon girl's get together.  Join me in raising a glass and wishing the best of luck to my friend.  Arrivederci, Sara! 
Arrivederci Tea Party and a Recipe for Peach Basil Sangria
 Peach Basil Sangria:

- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 bottle Pinot Grigio
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 4 cups peach nectar
- juice of one lemon

Instructions:

- Combine the sugar, basil leaves, 2 cups peach nectar and lemon juice in a saucepan and simmer just long enough until the sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Strain out the basil.
- Pour the liquid into a pitcher, then stir in the rest of the nectar and the bottle of wine.
- Add ice and serve.
Arrivederci Tea Party and a Recipe for Peach Basil Sangria

September 08, 2014

Chasing Crystals in Payson


Chasing Crystals in Payson
I have spent a few weekends in Payson this summer, and I have found myself on the hunt for crystals each time.  I recently learned there is a place in my mom's neighborhood where you can search for crystals right along the side of the road.  The Diamond Point site is located about 15 miles northeast of Payson on Highway 260.  You simply park your vehicle and start your treasure hunt!  Diamond Point is known for its double termination crystals, which means they have points on both ends.  The search can be tedious, but if you spend some time with your eyes on the ground, you may just see a sparkle that points you to one of these lovely crystals!

Chasing Crystals in Payson
Chasing Crystals in Payson
We spent a few hours looking for crystals, and found a handful.  Most of them were small pieces that had broken off of larger crystals.   In the top photo above, you can see a handful of rocks and quarts crystals that I unearthed.  On the left side of the plate, you can see some of the clear crystals, and on the right are some that have a milky white color.  In the photo above, you can see one of the better crystals we found.  It is only a single termination stone, but the point is well defined and it sure sparkles!
Chasing Crystals in Payson
Chasing Crystals in Payson
Chasing Crystals in Payson
On another weekend trip to Payson, we visited the House of Amethyst Rock Shop in the Western Village shopping plaza.  The shop has a wonderful collection of gemstones, minerals, fossils and other fun finds.  Many of the semi-precious and precious gemstones are harvested locally, making them wonderful souvenirs.  I fell in love with the enormous crystal quartz in the store window.  It was so big and all the different edges gave off such lovely sparkles!   Though I couldn't afford that particular gemstone, I did pick up some rose quarts and some sliced geodes. 
Chasing Crystals in Payson
Chasing Crystals in Payson
The geodes made for a fun and easy DIY when I came home.  I picked up some magnets at Michaels, and hot glued them to the geode slices.  Now I have a pretty reminder of my adventures in Payson where I can see them everyday!  If you are a rock collector, or simply a fan of anything that sparkles, I recommend a trip to Payson and Diamond Point.  Happy hunting!!
Chasing Crystals in Payson

August 04, 2014

Local Love: The Henry


Local Love: The Henry
If you live in the Phoenix area and haven't been to The Henry yet, go.  Go now!  One of the newest additions to the Fox Restaurant Concepts team, The Henry has been open since Fall 2013 and has been packed both times I've visited.  The food is good, but the main draws for me are the fun decor and separate coffee bar area.  This is an equally great place to go on a dinner date, lunch with the girls, or just to work on your laptop with a good cup of coffee.  The Henry is located at 44th Street and Camelback Road.
Local Love: The Henry

Local Love: The HenryLocal Love: The Henry
The Henry has serious curb appeal.  From the grey-blue building, to the black awnings, this place exudes cool.  And don't even get my started on that marquee arrow or the lettering Fox used for the sign.  You can't pass walk past without wanting to stop and take a photo, and most people do stop!  Inside, the place is divided into several areas: the restaurant, the bar and a grab-and-go coffee bar counter area with plenty of tables for work or play.  If you are into design, this place is a feast for the eyes.  I particularly love the blue Eames bar stools at the bar, toile wallpaper in the coffee bar, foxed mercury lanterns and the French style cafe chairs on the patio.  Are you sold yet?  Do I even need to mention the food?  Well, I enjoyed that, too.  I tried the signature starter cheddar popovers with smoked ham butter.  Very tasty.  I enjoyed my buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, topped with delicious Havarti.  And the fig and ginger mule is the best cocktail I've had in awhile!  If you are in the area, pop in for a coffee.  You may then find yourself staying for the popovers!
Local Love: The Henry
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