Always Aubrey

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday Lately: Basking, Discovering, Tinkering, Feeling, Switching

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe
We e-hangout every Sunday, sharing a small glimpse into the past week of life in our own words.

This week was something else!  It was simultaneously fast and slow, and I can't believe it's already Sunday again.  Here's what I've been up to lately.

BASKING...  in the birthday love!  Yesterday was my birthday, but I've been feeling the love all month.  I've been showered with gifts, Dan took me out for fancy sushi, and we stayed up until almost 1 a.m. playing poker with friends.  Low-key and super wonderful day!  My friend Lindsey sent me the gorgeous bouquet from Farmgirl Flowers, which has become a gorgeous dining room table arrangement.

DISCOVERING... that I can do more in the evening than watch Netflix documentaries.  I've been trying to do little things to tidy up, food prep, reading, blogging...  I've been in such a funk, I think that I have more energy these days.  I need to wallow less, do more of what is productive.

TINKERING... with our dinnerware.  I had these Lou Rota plates that I got at Anthopologie, all nature-y and mismatched, but they'e smaller plates.  They needed a complementing dinner plate, but they are in a variety of colors.  Last week I found some Kate Spade dishes at TJ Maxx that were bright and seemed to go with them nicely. You can't see it in the pic, but they're white with a yellow rim.  Now I can't wait to use these dishes more!  What a bright table they'll make. :)

FEELING...  a bit guilty that I quit Korean classes.  Something had to give, and I needed the 5-6 hours a week I was driving/studying/in class.  I found that it directly resulted in me working out, which is a benefit.  I can always come back to learning more Korean, but sometimes you have to say no to some things in order to say yes to others.  I took this class once where they emphasized that everything you say "yes" to means you're turning down something else you could have done with your time.  It's eye-opening to think about, because many of us struggle to say no.  So I said no to Korean class, but yes to these Korean-inspired burritos that I made at home with Plated. (LOL)

SWITCHING...  to a healthier mode.  I hit workout classes four times this week, and I'm feeling really sore, but it's got to be helping my progress, right?  I'm generally eating healthier, though I'm not exactly dieting.  It's more about trying to make healthy choices.  I wasn't so great this weekend, but being active is definitely something I've been lacking.  It also helps that I've been actually scheduling workouts in my planner!

  • On the Blog:  I finally got to reveal the big Morton Salt event I attended for their Next Door Chef campaign.  It was a really special event, and I had to wait months to be able to share!
  • On Twitter:  Talking about how one of my funny birthday gifts from Dan was a back scratcher.
  • On Pinterest:  Loaded cauliflower mash bake, looks yummy and pseudo-healthy, right?
  • On Instagram:  My baby kitty Bourbon being all cute and stuff.
  • Shopping:  I haven't been shopping as much lately, with my birthday and Stitch Fix that came this month.  I did purchase a few bras from True & Co., and I was so impressed by the great fit I got after taking their quiz!  Turned out way better than if I had purchased in-store for myself.  I won't shop Victoria's Secret for bras anymore; they just don't fit me right!

How was your week?

Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe

Friday, March 24, 2017

Morton Salt's Next Door Chef: Nashville!

Do you remember the teaser back in November when I attended Morton Salt's Next Door Chef: Nashville?  Morton Salt partnered with local chef Karl Worley to teach a Nashville local, Travis, how to cook... and then they turned his home and backyard into a pop-up restaurant!  On March 20th, the video from the event at "Indie's Kitchen", named after Travis's daughter, went live, and I couldn't be happier to share the big reveal.

photo courtesy of Morton

Upon arrival at Travis & wife Claire's house, we were truly transported to a beautiful outdoor restaurant!  I loved all of the spring flowers, and the entire menu was tied around springtime cooking, perfect for this time of year.

We started with a cocktail hour, featuring a Lemon Spring Tea cocktail.  The lemons preserved in Morton Kosher Salt really enhanced the flavor of the drink!  Super refreshing for spring as the weather get warmer, and you know Southerners can't live without their tea.  You can find the recipe *here*.

As for the meal, for me it was more than just eating the amazing food that Travis learned to make.  It was about noticing to the subtle flavors enhanced by different types of salt!  I never thought about the salt that enhances pimento cheese; Chef Karl recommended Morton Fine Sea Salt, which easily blends and dissolves for consistent seasoning.  (Find the pimento cheese recipe *here*.)

If you've been using table salt in all of your cooking, you need to check out their tips and recipes.   Kosher salt, coarse sea salt, and fine sea salt all have the ability to bring out the flavor in your home-cooked meals.  All of the dishes we tried, from cocktails to main course to dessert, were transformed by the proper use of various types of salt.

A few lessons I learned at the dinner... 
  • Morton Kosher Salt is the preferred salt of many chefs because it is easy to control for perfectly seasoned food.  It's the salt that I keep in my salt keeper by the stove.
  • Morton Coarse Sea Salt adds a visual "pop" that you can see and taste.  I like to sprinkle a little bit of this on top of warm brownies, or caramel ice cream.  I think it's great for a little contrast with sweet desserts.
  • Morton Fine Sea Salt is perfect for blending while cooking.  The crystals dissolve quickly, which means it's the best for marinades, soups, sauces, and dressings.  I can't tell you the number of times I've cooked a dish where I realized too late that I didn't mix well enough for the larger salt crystals to dissolve!

The dish that surprised me the most?  The Salt Roasted Beet Salad.  I'm not a fan of beets!  But these didn't have all of that beet juice runoff I'm used to seeing, because Chef Karl says the Morton Kosher salt absorbs it during roasting.  I was much happier with the flavor and taste of these beets as a result.

Salt Roasted Beet Salad

The Chicken Country Captain with curry, served over cheesy grits, was probably my favorite dish of them all.  There were so many great flavors, all in one perfect dish.

Chicken Country Captain

I didn't get a great picture of dessert, because I devoured it!  So I had to steal one from the professional photographer.  But I think I could make this Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake at home... using the *recipe* provided of course!

photo courtesy of Morton

Travis and Claire (and baby Indie!) were so brave to open their home to a bunch of strangers like us... it was so much fun!  I'm sure it has inspired them to turn to their kitchen for well-seasoned meals more often.

You can go to to see more from our meal and learn how you can host your own Next Door Chef with the same recipes we had at our event.

photo courtesy of Morton

Morton Salt has shared that they will be releasing video and recipes from their third Next Door Chef, in New Orleans, this summer. Stay tuned to the website for some amazing grilling inspiration.

Thank you to Morton Salt for sponsoring this event and blog post!
The images (unless noted), text, and opinions expressed are all my own.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Stitch Fix: 14th Fix

Disclosure:  I paid for my own Stitch Fix; all opinions are my own.  If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix, I'd love for you to use my referral link so I can get $25 towards my next Fix!

Even though I only kept one items from my last Fix, I enjoyed it so much that I moved my next box up to March!  This box was a tough one, because there was one item I didn't love, and at least one that I liked but was on the fence about keeping.  Here's how it played out.

Skies Are Blue Verne Tie Sleeve Top
First, my stylist hit me with my favorite color, mustard yellow, with the Skies Are Blue Verne Tie Sleeve Top.  The picture isn't fantastic, but I really liked the "peasant" look of it for an easy weekend shirt.  I could wear it for work too.  I liked this one a lot, not love, but strong like.

I had another "strong like" moment with the Pixley Lagio Mixed Material Top.  I thought the floral was a little abstract, but I realized it would be great under a lot of my cardigans and jackets.  I also loved the comfortable back panel, super soft!  It was a maybe for me...

The photo isn't the most flattering, but I needed a true red blazer and this Kensie Rebekah Mini Checkered Crepe jacket fit the bill.  Patriotic colors always work for me, considering all of the DAR and Veterans events that I attend.  Plus, perfect for office attire too!  I pegged this as a keeper early on.

The only item I didn't love in this Fix was this French Grey Rosanna Neck Tie Detail dress. It was too short for my preference, and very plain.  I decided I would only keep it if I kept the whole box.  Meh.

I was on the fence about collarless jackets.  But this color, again, patriotic and on trend, and I loved the feel and fit.  41Hawthorn Dorie Stretch Collarless Blazer, for the win.

 This is the point where you might be guessing that I kept the whole box.  Yep.  Basically, the entire box was $352, but if I kept the entire box, it came to $264.  I wanted to keep 4 of the 5 items, so keeping the whole box made sense, because it would "cost" me money to return a single item.  Even though I really liked the tops versus love, I know they'll be worn.  If not, I'll resell them on Poshmark.

I don't plan on having another fix until June, so if I buy more for my closet, I'll be shopping for myself!

Past Stitch Fix Reviews
(all reviews, in reverse order)

Disclosure:  I paid for my own Stitch Fix; all opinions are my own.  If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix, I'd love for you to use my referral link so I can get $25 towards my next Fix!

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