Shopping

Blue Apron Takes the Logistical Blues Away

One of the ways I have streamlined my lifestyle in 2014 is through a meal delivery service called Blue Apron.  I talk about it more on this post, but essentially it sends ingredients and recipes for three meals each week to your doorstep, and you can skip weeks whenever you want. Average cost is $10 per person per meal, or $60 a week. There is  a meat and vegetarian option.

Dec 29 2013 118

Dec 29 2013 119

I personally wouldn’t do more than two shipments a month, because our schedule tends to ebb and flow with busy-ness around dinner time.  Instead of being less stressed by Blue Apron, I’ve been more stressed during busy weeks because I was worried our meals would go to waste. It’s nice to take off-weeks and eat normal dinners, like cereal and hot dogs.

Here’s what I like about it:

  • You only need salt, pepper, and EVOO on hand to do any of the recipes. Everything else is shipped in the most adorable little baggies and packages.
  • Tristan likes the food and the program, and helps out with the cooking – bonding, aw.
  • I’m able to enjoy the cooking process and learn new techniques without the stress of meal planning and shopping.
  • The meals have only taken around 30 minutes to prepare and have had quite a range of flavors and formats.
  • The ingredients are all seasonal and fresh, some of which I would’ve had no motivation to explore if left to my own devices. A good example of this would be bok choy and treviso.
  • The recipes are easy to follow and well thought out – there are photos and a timeline; there’s not that panic at the end, when I’m cooking on my own and everything seems to be burning at the same time.
  •  The recipe cards are laminated with measurements so we can make the recipe again, if it was a hit. And call me old fashioned, but I don’t have a tablet and I’m real sick of trying to keep my cell phone from timing out every five minutes while I’m trying to follow a recipe. It’s been nice having the old-school recipe sheet.
  • They often have you use the same pan for multiple steps and everything comes in pre-measured packages, so there’s no ingredient waste and a lot less cleaning. A very high-ranking perk for us.

What I don’t like:

  • I mean, nobody wants to pay $60 a week for three meals when the afore-mentioned cereal will run you $3. But I will say, when I’ve tried new recipes in the past, a single ingredient can run me $7 (i.e. spices).
  • There can be a lot of chopping, depending on the recipe. Get a garlic press FOR SURE.
  • It’s despairing if you realize you forgot to skip a week online and immediately receive a shipment. Kiss those happy hour plans goodbye! You can skip several weeks at a time, though.
  • Some people don’t like seafood. There isn’t a way to select to receive specific meals, or omit the seafood dish from the meat option. It’s a prix fixe menu.
  • As mentioned, I looooove all the little packages and baggies the ingredients come in, but some of my eco-friendly Seattle neighbors might find all of the packaging wasteful.
  • I’ve had a few ingredients go bad by the end of the week, as fresh produce has a tendency to do. Nothing disastrous; I was able to salvage them all. But it’s as if I expect the produce they send me to have super secret life-extending powers (…and for $60, shouldn’t it?!).

We’ve made six meals thus far – here’s some photos:

Roast Beef with Horseradish Sour Cream & Grilled Treviso

Roast Beef with Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Chopped Chicken, Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Blue Cheese, Currants and Sherry Vinaigrette

Chopped Chicken Salad from Blue Apron

Cioppino Tagliatelle with Bay Scallops, Crusty Bread & Garlic Aoli

Scallop Dish from Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Scallop Dish from Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Minute Steaks with Picadillo-Style Sauce & Yellow Rice

Steak at Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Steak at Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Steak at Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Pan-Seared Cod with Soy-Maple Glaze, Baby Bok Choy and Rice Noodles

Cod from Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Cod from Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

And, Tristan and I agree that this was our absolute favorite – Chicken Wedge Salad with Crisp Apple, Walnuts, and Lemon-Blue Cheese Dressing

Chicken Wedge from Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Chicken Wedge (15)

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If you’d like to give Blue Apron a try, TODAY through Feb. 2 Gilt City is offering 50% off your first Blue Apron shipment when you purchase from the mobile app. A coincidence, being “Blue” Friday? I THINK NOT… Go Hawks!

Let me know if you decide to give it a try and what you think!

-t&T

T&T

Christmas Card Reveal

I started looking into newlywed Christmas card ideas back in November, and finally finished them yesterday. Technically, I can’t mail them until Monday, but I cleaned up the Christmas Card craft abyss in my living room, so it feels as though I’m done.

If you recall, I wanted to use leftover wedding vellum to make these cards. All of my inspiration pics are on this post. We ended up only having enough supplies left to make cards for some aunties and members of our bridal party, so I thought I’d share the results with the rest of you here. Think of it as your Christmas e-card :).

Torie & Tristan Christmas Card - www.torieandtristan.com

Note: Addresses shown are not real 🙂

Dec 29 2013 11Torie & Tristan Christmas Card - www.torieandtristan.com2

Up close:

Torie & Tristan Christmas Card - www.torieandtristan.com

Torie & Tristan Christmas Card - www.torieandtristan.com

The best part about these cards is that they ended up rivaling Costco for total card price. Since I already had the envelopes, gold brads, and most of the paper, the costs were mainly postage and printing. I went to Office Max to print the photos on matte photo paper, “Married & Bright” on velum, return address stickers, and text on the back. I bought red A-2 flat cards and a scrapbook tape runner at Paper Source. The most timely aspect was cutting out all of the components.

Side note: I’m all for DIY projects that are actually “D”-able. You will never find a project on this blog that requires intricacy AND mass production. Frankly, I just do not have the attention span, and get beyond upset when the results aren’t as nice as expected.

Since we had a short Christmas season this year with Thanksgiving being so late (it’s the same thing next year, too – booo!), New Year’s Eve is totes the new Dec. 15 for Christmas card delivery. I did get a few cards from friends in the normal time frame, but I’m definitely still receiving them. Here’s to being late and it being A-OKAY!

-t&T

T&T

A Christmas Couch – 2 Ways

One of the ways I’m spicing up my Christmas decor this year is by adding a bold punch o’ red. Pillows are an easy way to make a big impact. Easy to make; plus, I have an obsession with buying fat quarters of fabric. Just ask my mom – during college, I amassed a collection of 12 different (clashing) patterned fat quarters, and one summer, she turned them into six pillows which I proudly displayed on my XL twin bed that fall.

Before fabric shopping, I needed to research and see what type of Christmas pillow look was speaking to me. Click on the image for the source.

I definitely need to have something Moroccan Wedding Blanket in my life at some point:

Pillow Inspiration 10

But I’d settle for cable knit:

Inspiration 5

I’m almost sick of pillows with words on them, but these are exceptions:

Pillow Inspiration 11

Pillow Inspiration 12

I love plaid, and the coziness of these textures are definitely appealing:

Inspiration 7 Inspiration 8

And Parisian, always:

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I was most inspired by these retro Christmas pillows from Etsy (speaking of reverting back to childhood):

Pillow Inspiration 1

Pillow Inspiration 2

Pillow Inspiration 3

Pillow Inspiration 4

Last week, I initiated my hunt. I unfortunately couldn’t find ice skating children (and I went five different places), but I eventually settled on a few spunky prints with red:

Christmas Couch 2 Ways (2)

Christmas Couch 2 Ways (3)

I decided to make two pillows with two prints, one on each side, so I could create two different looks.

Christmas Couch 2 Ways (4)

Christmas Couch 2 Ways (5)

Here is LOOK ONE:

Christmas Couch 2 Ways (10)

Christmas Couch 2 Ways (11)

Christmas Couch 2 Ways (12)

Here is LOOK TWO (note the plaid pillow in the middle – I took a Forever 21 scarf and safety pinned it around an existing pillow. The plaids don’t line up, but whatevs. “Good enough.”)

Christmas Couch 2 Ways (14)

Christmas Couch 2 Ways (17)

Christmas Couch 2 Ways (19)

Christmas Couch 2 Ways (20)

I settled on the first look, but if I get sick of it in one week… Hey! I have options (well, at least one other option). I also have options with the 4 other fat quarters I bought.

Up next: A Christmas Cookie & Cocktail Party for Two!

-t&T

6 Flawless Christmas Exteriors

There’s something about those homes in iconic holiday movies — Christmas Vacation, Home Alone — that have me convinced that Christmas decor is only “done right” if it’s on a colonial home on Wisteria Lane, with tons of snow (jealous!). This of course is not reality…but like, isn’t it?!

COME ON:

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Here’s the Home Alone one:

Top 5 Flawless Christmas Entrances - 6

Love the matching wreaths, 1-2-3!

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Fun lanterns, no?

Top 5 Flawless Christmas Entrances - 1

I’m ALWAYS down for some topiary action, but I think even the neutral-to-mild topiary fan would find this version using gift boxes charming:

Top 5 Flawless Christmas Entrances - 2

I love “mossy” monograms! Totes on my DIY list for the front door.

Top 5 Flawless Christmas Entrances - 3

Aside from the architecture and snow, I’m gauging that swag, wreaths, and topiaries must equal “flawless” in my book, as those are the common features amongst most of these examples. Oh well… fact is fact!

Side note — I think it’s a blessing that I don’t have a front porch to obsess over because I just don’t think my mind has room to obsess over one more thing. Several times a week I post on this blog things I’m obsessing over and it’s NOT just a figure of speech. This newlywed Christmas business is exhausting!

What are some of the best Christmas exteriors you’ve seen? I know, tall order, as clearly I’ve captured them all. Just kidding! 🙂 I didn’t really explore the holiday lights realm. That might be an interesting research project! See? This is how the obsessing starts… some mild Google image-ing and a “quick” Pinterest search and before you know it, obsession!

Images from Wonderful Palmetto Life, Active Rain, The Gifts of Life, Style State, Decoration for Life, A View Along the Way

-t&T

Monogram

Links of the Week

After planning a wedding, many brides enter a post-event planning slump of boredom. This website, an offshoot of wedding blog 100 Layer Cake, shows you how do fabulous family and kid events, complete with invitations, tablescapes, favors, etc. The party continues!

tRiPpY-awesome photo and tRiPpY-awesome video.

My new go-to salad recipe.

I do hope we all know what IKEA hacks are – awesome updates to cheap furniture? Love these ones.

Some pumpkin-spiration for my Harvest Bucket List #5.

One of the funnest home tours I’ve seen in awhile. It’s definitely of the “more-is-more” persuasion.

Enjoy!

-t&T

Monogram

Breakfast at Watson & Kennedy

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?

Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Paul Varjak: Sure.

Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!

Well folks, my “Tiffany’s” is a Parisian-inspired paradise in downtown Seattle called Watson & Kennedy. Thankfully, they have a website and blog, for when I can’t go in person.  But a few weeks ago, during some down time at the IFBC conference, I took the opportunity to feed my non-food obsession – decorating. These pictures only show half of one location (the one on 4th Avenue; there is a très petit location near Pike Place Market).

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NOT surprisingly, I found about a bajillion crucial items for our future house. However, I created an apartment-sized wishlist for our current apartment.

1. Bitter Orange Diffuser by Agraria, $48, also available on the WK website.

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I’m always on the quest for the perfect fall scent…pumpkins, orange, cinnamon, maybe some apple spice. None of that sugar cookie cake crap. This year, I will probably try to achieve the scent with this DIY simmering pot version, but I would dare say this diffuser encapsulates the season with one whiff. There, I said it. Judge me.

2. Okay, a small departure from decor — Olivier Napa Valley Dipping Oil, $16, in Blue Cheese & Mission Fig and Toasted Parmesan, Garlic and Herb (can’t find online – help anyone?)

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I am such a sucker for gourmet-in-a-bottle, and I’m pretty sure my friend Jen was just raving about this same Parmesan dipping oil. Add une baguette, et voilà!

3. ANA Taper Candlesticks, $22, also available on the WK website.

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Okay, so technically I already have these. But they were so worth the money, and they come in many colors.

4. All things horn. Look at this display!

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5. Tortoise & Abalone Sauce Dish, $34, also available on the WK website.

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I love me a good small dish – perfect for a book of matches, a pair of earrings, or just lying around being its gorgeous self. And shells are totally more unisex than, say, a china dish! These are the things I tell myself to convince me that yes, Tristan would definitely want me to take advantage of this co-ed decorative piece…for the both of us.

6. Scented Incense Paper Books, $10, available online here.

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These tear-out fragrance sheets smelled so unique yet familiar, like something from my childhood. I also liked that the booklet was written in French, as if all of France  infuses their homes with these mysterious tear out sheets, and if I purchased the booklet, I too would ooze European. AND it was only $10… sometimes, it’s the little things. 🙂

What are your favorite spots to unwind, check out, and/or get creatively charged? What Parisian items are on your wish list?

-t&T

Monogram

Best Daily Deals Ever

I thought I’d share my favorite daily deal site with you all: GroopDealz. It’s very much geared towards females, and Tristan probably would warn other husbands that it could result in your wife wanting to spend $15-$30 a day on its products. You’ve all been warned!

The site (and daily e-mail) features hugely discounted home decorating items, clothing, jewelry, monogrammed goods and kids paraphernalia. Some of the items are “so last year” (*ahem* chevron), but other items (jewelry in particular) look straight out of a J. Crew. catalog.

For instance:

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You can buy it here for the next day. This is the J. Crew necklace it’s modeled after, for your reference. Not too bad, eh?

Other recent favorites of mine (now expired) include:

Convertible dress – usually these are $100+!

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This gray two-tone watch is very Timex-chic. And look at all of the other colors it comes in! At that price, you could buy one for every outfit :):

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And this monogrammed bag also comes in several colors/styles and is reminiscent of Longchamp’s popular Le Pliage bag.

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Thankfully, many of these items resurface a few times over the next few months, so I’m hoping to have the opportunity to buy them later on.

You can subscribe to GroopDealz here. Happy shopping! 🙂

-t&T

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