FRIDAY FINDS: Quinoa Salad

What exactly is Quinoa and why all the hype?  It's a grain full of protein, known as the trendy 'superfood.'  Let's explore that further.  According to Mind Body Green, there are seven benefits to eating Quinoa.

1. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.

2. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. 

3. Quinoa contains Iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. 

4. Quinoa contains lysine. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.

5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. 

6. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.

7. Quinoa has a high content of manganese. Manganese is an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.

With that being said, and the benefits clearly presented, how does it taste?  Absolutely fantastic!  After ordering this salad at a small sea-side cafe on the coast of Oregon several years ago, my sister and I decided that dissection was mandatory.  Here's a breakdown of the recipe calling for tricolor Quinoa (found at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and most markets).  

Quinoa Salad.jpg

Rinse 1 Cup Quinoa in a strainer until water is clear

Cook according to directions and let cool to room temperature on stove

Place cooled Quinoa in large mixing bowl

Chop one red bell pepper and one bunch green onions into small pieces

Add pepper and onions to Quinoa

Add 1/3 Cup currents to mixture

Chop 1/2+ Cup salted pistachio meats and add to mixture

Squeeze 1/2 Meyer Lemon over mixture (1/4 at a time)

Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over mixture (start with a few tablespoons)

Sprinkle 1 - 1.5 teaspoons of Cumin over mixture

Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and mix well.  Continue to add salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon and cumin a little at a time until you're satisfied.  You really cannot ruin this recipe.

VOILA!  Healthy and delicious.

Quinoaly yours,


PS Donna, now you have the recipe!



The Monochromatic Collection

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So sorry for the absence.  It's been a crazy few weeks.  Besides a quick visit to Spokane to take a college visit, we've been working hard on new custom orders and preparing for the launch of our new collection, Monochromatic.

Without a lot of fanfare we initially introduced Eti-Kits with our Valentine Collection. Etiquette as you may know it is the practices and forms prescribed by social convention.  A Carde Blanche Eti-Kit is the practice of putting pen to paper. We promote letter writing, list making, and artistic design using a variety of paper, pens, and embellishments.  Our collection Eti-Kits combine a variety of our favorite products at a reduced bundled price.  

Whether we are adding to the beauty or functionality of our desk, we are always striving to make it a better place to spend time.  A beautiful notebook is a must have for lists and design doodles, while a clean burning candle provides the ambiance necessary for a productive work day. Most of you already know about my pen obsession, so it won't surprise you if I explain that a Sherpa (the perfect case for your sharpie) is an absolute necessity.  For those of you who enjoy letter writing and receiving as much as I do, you'll be thrilled to see we are including sealing wax in each collection.  We're bringing old school back and this wax won't chip in the mail…we promise!

We are proud to introduce our new collection, Monochromatic, and the methodically designed Eti-Kits to keep you organized and encouraged to write, doodle, and make lists.

While we know these are going to make the most fabulous gifts, you must pick out one for yourself first.

Candidly yours,


Here are a few of our favorite Monochromatic Eti-Kits: Loving Ava  |  Say It or Seal It  |  Pen Envy  |  Desk Perfection


Friday Finds: Black and White

 This one is mine…can't tell you where to get it because then you'll buy it and we'll be twins.

This one is mine…can't tell you where to get it because then you'll buy it and we'll be twins.

We make choices on a daily basis.  We pick out our clothes, makeup, and if you're like me you ponder what pens to write with.  The choices we make for gifts and decorations for our home are endless.  There are trends to follow, Pinterest boards to covet, and dog-eared magazine pages in everyone’s home signifying personal favorites.

But, what is it with constantly defaulting to black and white?  I find myself drawn to these two options more often than not.  Is it because I’m tired of making difficult decisions or committing to a color?  Is it because I know these two will stand the test of time? Four out of five days a week, I’m wearing a different black or gray sweater. (I consider gray a just a variation to black.)  I just bought a new eye shadow from Dior and did a happy dance when I realized the container had a black lid, thinking to myself, “it’ll look good on and in my drawer.”  Am I totally crazy?  Don’t answer that.

  Available   here   at Carde Blanche

Available here at Carde Blanche

I find peace in a minimal decision making process.  I’ve committed to basic black as a default and have not been disappointed.  So why change? When deciding which Lafko Candles to add to the Carde Blanche desk collection, I secretly prayed the black and white options would not be offensive fragrances, as I have a very sensitive sniffer.  Crisis averted.  These two are by far the most popular among retailers…at least that’s what the sales rep said.  Just think of the variety of uses for those glass containers when the candle burns down (after 90+ hours).  Options = endless. Details in a future blog post.

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Whether it's gifts, notepads, pens or purses, if it’s any shade of black, consider it sold.  How about you?  What color(s) do you gravitate towards regardless of the trends?  Do tell.  It may help move me out of my monochromatic life (that I love).

Candidly yours,


Initial Stationery

The Lango Messenger

Dior Eye Shadow (Mirage Taupe)

Black Le Pen

Christian Lacroix Notebook

FRIDAY FINDS: The Hello Kitty Encounter

This post is literally about a true find, my Hello Kitty Collection.  I won’t skirt around the issue, it all started in 1976 with the original Stapler.  Believe it or not, it still has staples inside.  My love for collecting Hello Kitty items was known to all who knew me.  I had an ongoing wish list that consisted of both Hello Kitty and Little Twin Stars kits, papers, stamps, pens and pencils.  Come on…you know you’re getting tingly inside just thinking about your own collections and wondering what ever happened to them.

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While I’m thrilled at the thought of using those relatively sharp pencils today, I’m disappointed that I didn’t truly enjoy them to the fullest extent in my childhood years.  That notebook is 80% full of blank pages.  The sewing kit is still complete with needles, thread and extra buttons and snaps.  This begs the question of why?

Since making the discovery, I’ve pondered the reasons behind the careful protection of this collection and gracefully acknowledged that, “hindsight is 20-20.”

ANGER - At my siblings for wanting to use my Hello Kitty stuff because it was more neat and organized than their own

  20-20: I may have missed out on lots of make-believe time with my sisters in the world of Sanrio

FEAR - Of not being able to properly sharpen the pencils again if we used them

  20-20: who cares, at least I would have enjoyed coloring in those notebooks

PARANOIA - Of running out of those printed papers in the structured boxes

  20-20: imagine the letters I could have written to my family and friends

CURRENT GUILT - Of not wanting to give this collection to my own daughters when they were younger to fully enjoy

  20-20: now two generations have missed out on the happiness of Hello Kitty

Although looking at my Hello Kitty Collection makes me smile (and want to make a quick trip to the Sanrio store), I’m also embarrassed about my selfish tendencies and the lost opportunities to enjoy each and every coveted and collected item.  Hmmm?  There’s definitely a life lesson here.

Moving forward, I pledge to live in the moment.  I will use my favorite collectibles until the ink runs dry or the last page of the notebook is written in.  I will share my toys, makeup, purses and hot tamales, as long as it brings pleasure to those who ask.

And to answer my daughter’s question when this collection was discovered, “Hey Mom, do you think I can give these to my kids?” ABSOLUTELY! 

Candidly yours


FRIDAY FINDS: A Rendezvous in Red

LOVE finds.jpg

Sing it a la Beyonce, "If ya like it, you don't have to put a ring on it!"  Isn't that right?  While diamonds are a girl's best friend (or so they say), we think there are lots of other ways into her heart.  Be creative.  Shop early.  Pledge your love in a card with your own handwritten message.  She'll love you to the moon and back.  In case you're not sure in what direction to go, we're giving you a head start with our personal favorites.  We can vouch for every single item here…and love them all.  She will too!

1. Dainty Heart Initial Necklace from LOVE ALWAYS COUTURE

2. Valentine Eti-Kit Hearts from CARDE BLANCHE

3. Valentine Eti-Kit Love Ya from CARDE BLANCHE

4. Travel Candles from SIMPLE CURATED

5. Heart Bundt Pan from WILLIAMS SONOMA

6. Chocolate Heart Scotchmallows from SEES CANDIES

7. Copic Red Glitter Pen from CARDE BLANCHE

8. Red Lambskin Tassel Keychain from BLAIR RITCHEY


10. Valentine Eti-Kit LIKE from CARDE BLANCHE 



Dear Platinum,

Let me start by telling you how much I have loved being with you these past eight months.  It’s been fun and exciting...never a dull moment.  Everyone should experience a relationship like ours at least once in a lifetime.

While we were together, there was never a shortage of conversation. It impressed me that the attention you received never went to your head.  I am grateful to have known your bright, shiny, and edgy personality.  While I had hoped my commitment to the process would have helped us last longer, I’m afraid that recent turn of events indicate otherwise.

I’ve started to notice you breaking away lately...a little at a time.  Are you giving me a sign?  There also seems to be physical changes that concern me. You seem somewhat stubborn and appear a little brittle.  It makes me question the integrity of our relationship.  And, to be honest, I’ve been warned this could happen with you over time.  I’m sorry to say, you have a reputation and it seems clear you are now breaking up with me.

So, after some tears, soul searching, and acceptance, I’ve decided to move on and go back to my roots. I know, a little dull and non-descript, but it allows me to start all over with a clean slate.  (Keep cutting comments to yourself.)

Please know that my future relationships will all be compared to you.  If you see me around town, please don’t show-off who you’re with.  I can already say, I’ll be sick with jealousy.   Although, it’s a good thing I’m not too picky, as I’ll continue to seek out someone short like you.  No offense…it happens to be one of the things I loved most about you.

In case you care, here are some of my current prospects.  Do you know any of them?  I’m even open to your choppy seconds.

less is more.jpg

All my love,


PS I miss you already and you’re still here.