Life Lessons From Something's Gotta Give

May 27, 2015

Something's Gotta Give is one of my all-time favorite films; I watch it every time it's on TV, and if it's not on TV, I pop in the DVD every chance I get. I've never tired of it and I probably never will. Besides being hilarious and adorable and smart, there are important life lessons to be learned from the movie. Here's what I've taken away from it after watching for what seemed like the millionth time recently.  

1. Light candles at dinner.
I've watched the movie no less than five dozen times, yet I only just realized while watching the other day that Erica Barry had placed lit candles on her table at dinner. It wasn't a particularly fancy or romantic dinner, no special occasion or anything, but by lighting candles it made something special out of something ordinary. Light candles at dinner--I mean this both metaphorically and literally (because they really do look so pretty).

2. Find inspiration in everything.
After having her heart broken by Harry, Erica, a playwright, manages to turn her pain into a masterpiece. She took all that emotion--the pain, the rejection, the anguish--and turned it into fuel to get over the writer's block she was suffering from and create a Broadway hit. 

3. Cry...and cry and cry. 
It's therapeutic and cathartic, and most of all, necessary. A couple of years ago I was going through a really difficult time and no one, not even my husband, knew what to say or do to help me. I was angry and heartbroken, and the only thing that gave me any reprieve, no matter how short-lived, was crying, and then crying some more.  

4. Go to Paris for your birthday.
Or do something else if you like, but just make sure it's fabulous. I spend a ton of time every year making sure that my daughters have the most magical birthday celebrations, and that I do something meaningful and special for my husband and friends, but I honestly can't remember the last time I put any real thought into my own birthday. That's going to change. Birthdays are meant to be celebrated!

images via 1, 2, 3, 4 

Almond Joy Ice Cream

May 26, 2015

When I was a kid, the small town that we lived in had an Italian eatery called John's Pizza. It wasn't a chain or a huge, gimmicky place, but every kid who lived in Ridgecrest, California had a birthday party there at some point in their pre-adolescent lives. The reasons were simple: 1) the pizza was cut into squares instead of triangles, which totally blew our young minds, and 2) they had the most incredible homemade ice cream with candy bar flavors. Snickers was always the most popular (chocolate ice cream with giant pieces of Snickers candy bar swirled in), but Almond Joy (vanilla ice cream with chunks of Almond Joy) was a close second. Instead of pieces of candy, my version lets each ingredient stand on its own, so you get coconut (toasted to bring out the flavor), crunchy almonds, and chocolate in every bite. It's as good, if not better, than John's version, and I didn't even need to pull out my ice cream maker!

Almond Joy Ice Cream
2 pints heavy whipping cream
2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup whole almonds
¾ cup shredded coconut

Place two clean metal loaf pans in the freezer and preheat oven to 350°. Spread coconut on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, or until it's lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. While coconut is toasting, roughly chop almonds so you're left with both big and little pieces. 

Pour whipping cream into a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sweetened condensed milk and blend until combined. Gently fold in your coconut, almonds, and chocolate chips and lightly stir to distribute the ingredients throughout the ice cream base. Pour the ice cream mixture into the cold loaf pans, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 6 hours. Scoop and enjoy!

Memorial Day

May 25, 2015

In 2013, we took a trip to our nation's capital. It was winter, and our California bones stiffened against the biting chill of the forty degree weather. But even with the numbing cold, it was this, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that gave me goose bumps. The sheer length of the wall was astonishing, almost frighteningly so, and the number of names carved into it seemed an impossibility. And that was only one wall, for one war. It's hard to imagine the many, many more lives that have been lost to protect our freedom. 

To the countless men and women of the armed forces who fought so bravely to preserve our freedom, and who took their last breath doing so, I honor you and I thank you. Thank you for your unyielding courage. Thank you for your commitment. Thank you of your sacrifice. 

photo by Angelica Golden


May 25, 2015

image via Instagram 

Friday Favorites

May 22, 2015

May has absolutely flown by, and it took me totally by surprise when I learned last Sunday that Memorial Day is already upon us. I'm definitely grateful for the long weekend and excited that summer is just around the corner, but I've got to admit, my enthusiasm is laced with just a twinge of sadness. My little girl is being promoted from kindergarten in a couple of weeks, and just typing that sentence was enough to set off the waterworks. I'm so proud of my sweetie, but I just wish time would stand still so I can keep her little for as long as possible. The summer means that I have to let go of my kindergarten baby and accept that I have a first grader. It's such a bittersweet feeling. So this holiday weekend I'm taking advantage of the extra day to have some special time with her. We'll probably go get manicures, and she's requested pot roast for dinner (a dish I've never made, and she's never actually eaten in her life), so I'll recruit her help in the kitchen as well. Enjoy your long weekend, be safe, and God bless!

The pot roast recipe that I thinking of attempting this weekend. (Unless you have an awesome recipe you'd be willing to share with me...anyone?)

Tips for hosting a midweek game night.

CasaSandra, an artsy boutique hotel on an island off the coast of Cancun.

Jenna Lyons wearing this feather skirt for Solange Knowles' wedding--I love everything about that sentence!

The Kate Spade Madison Flamingo Clasp Clutch.
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