Read More

One of my many goals is to read more this year.  Let me state that my preferred shopping will always be with small independent book stores first!

It is no wonder that Amazon is the empire it has become.  From their bold early vision of a limitless online bookstore to the giant they are today, Amazon has always embraced the mantra of putting the customer at the center of everything they do. Today, in a rather ironic twist, Amazon is inviting those customers into a physical store that sells (of all things) books. Say what?

I recently experienced amazon books.  I wanted to see for myself what all the hoopla was about.  The mere fact that Amazon is opening brick and mortar bookstores is worth a peek.  Upon entering the store it was obvious that Amazon did their homework and have dialed into a great consumer experience.  The staff is friendly but not overbearing.  The space is laid out in an Apple store sorta way.  It just makes absolute sense with no confusion.  All books are front facing with rating cards and reviews .  So smart, so easy, and absolutely genius!  All sections are clearly marked at the top and are in plain view.  Being able to see all the covers of the books invites you to browse, but more importantly, clearly see the titles of the books.  There is no difficult searching or awkward body positions while you try to kneel down to read the sides of the books that are just lined up by the hundreds. amazon books is making it as easy as possible for shoppers while offering a well curated selection of books.

The store is not huge so it creates a more intimate setting.  A large coffee shop ( serving Peet’s Coffee) is tucked into in the middle of the store so one can grab a drink and sit down at one of the large communal tables to browse their finds.  Overall a lovely experience.  Books appear like candy.  Everything looks more intriguing and eye-catching.  I will say judging a book by its cover in this case opens your eyes to spotting a book you may not have otherwise noticed!

Amazon Fact:  Amazon curates their book selections from their online sales, customer ratings, customer feedback, and popularity off goodreads.

The Everything Soap

A new favorite!  I was recently gifted this lovely refillable hand and body soap by Follain. It  is a gentle soap that really does feel hydrating while using it.  It smells amazing with scents of fresh lavender and feels buttery while washing.  Also available in lemongrass.  I love that it is friendly to all including my tail wagger friend, Iso (aka Griffy), just like the bottle reads.  Think of it as a more refined and less stringent option to Dr. Bronners, Castile Soap. 

Read Me

I love the idea of a cozy weekend and a good read.  Perhaps this winter it will actually happen.  My sister in-law highly recommends Loving Frank.  It tells the story of Mamah Borthwick’s love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright.  I have a few days of upcoming downtime in Vermont.  Perhaps this is a relaxing way to wind down 2018.    

Sweet Buns For The Holidays

Overnight Eggnog Brioche Rolls from Half Baked Harvest

At some point the rushing around stops, your inbox can’t take anymore gift suggestions, and the lengthy to do list is complete.  May the rest of your time be filled with friends and family.  I came across this eye-catching picture along with the tag line “easiest overnight” in my insta feed from Half Baked Harvest.  There is nothing more special than sitting around casually with the people you love sharing meals and conversation.  Indulge a bit and find time to just be this season.  Simplify and be efficient with your time so you too can enjoy this special time.  May this recipe do just that.  If not, Half Baked Harvest is also sharing some dangerously inviting holly jolly cocktails that just may catch your fancy!  Thank you Half Baked Harvest for your sweet inspiration! 

Happiest of Holidays!  Love, isostilo

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup high quality eggnog, warmed (you can also use whole milk)
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

FILLING

  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing

FROSTING

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  •  cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 1. To make the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggnog, yeast, honey, eggs, butter, 3 ½ cups flour, and salt. Using the dough hook, mix until the flour is completely incorporated, about 4-5 minutes. If the dough seems sticky, add the remaining ½ cup of flour. It’s better to have a sticker dough rather than a dry do, so add flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

    2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

    3. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, and cinnamon. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment. 

    4. Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Turn out the dough, punch it down, and roll it into a rectangle about 10 x 16 inches. Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the butter and lightly push into the butter. Starting with the long edge closest to you, carefully roll the dough into a log, keeping it fairly tight as you go. When you reach the edge, pinch along the edge to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12-15 rolls. Place the rolls in the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 20-30 minutes or transfer to the fridge to rise overnight (this is ideal if you have time).

    5. Remove the rolls from the fridge. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

    6. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the butter is lightly browned and smells toasted. Immediately remove from the heat. Let cool.

    7. In a medium bowl, beat together the cooled browned butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla until smooth. If the frosting is too thick for your liking, add a tablespoon of eggnog or milk.

    8. Spread the frosting over the warm rolls. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt (if desired) and serve.

The Non-Movement Trend For Weekends!

 

Sleep and rest are the keys to healthy and happy days.  Between Christmas and New Year, I will be practicing the art of lounging.  In fact, I plan on taking full advantage of all the upcoming winter weekends with some lazy downtime and turning off my screen.  Which is why a stylish uniform for lounging is always welcomed.  Sleepy Jones has a sleepwear collection that says it is ok to just pause and enjoy a quiet moment. Here’s to a new goal for 2019. I am with Sleepy Jones’ non-movement approach to slowing down. Wishing you most rest and relaxation this holiday season and beyond.  Sleepy Jones

Roll On With A Subtle Scent

Maison Louis Marie perfume oil is something that I keep on my desk.  It is a convenient size to pop into a purse or to tuck into a travel bag.  It comes in a 15 ml rollerball form glass bottle which means no spill and a good chance you will use up the whole bottle. 

Maison Louis Marie has a deep French botanical history dating back to 1792.  This L.A. based company is creating beautiful oils, perfumes, and candles that will delight your senses.  They have gained a fashion cult following.  I originally discovered Maison Louis Marie at a Steven Alan store.  Scent No.04 is all about its top notes of sandalwood and cedarwood.  A wonderful unisex scent to wear all year long.  The packaging only compliments the product with its attention to detail and the environment.  Choose between the Perfume Oil or the Eau de Parfum.  They are free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates as well as a long lengthly list of other harsh ingredients.  Maison Louis Marie 

(all images from Maison Louis Marie)