Easy Chocolate Milkshake

May 31, 2013

I'm at my mom's in Palm Springs and it's hot as Hades out here--milkshakes are in order! This simplified version of my favorite chocolate shake replaces the vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup with chocolate ice cream, so it's much faster and easier to make. Plus, this recipe makes a great base that you can totally customize by adding malt powder or Baileys or any other fun ingredient you can think of.

Easy Chocolate Milkshake
3 scoops of chocolate ice cream (or whatever flavor you like)
½ cup cold milk
whipped cream (optional)

Combine ice cream and milk in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy, about 20-30 seconds. Pour into a glass and top with whipped cream.  You can add more milk or blend for a bit longer if you prefer a thinner milkshake. You can also add a few ice cubes before blending for extra coldness (and tiny little crunchy ice chips, which I love!). 

photography by Angelica Golden 

Happy Friday

May 31, 2013

It's Friday and we're in Phoenix again to settle this housing thing once and for all, then it's a quick turnaround back to Cali to celebrate one cousin's graduation from high school and another cousin's  graduation from law school (so proud I am!).

Here's to a wonder-filled weekend! I hope yours is fabulous!

image via Pinterest

Must Have: Gold Cat Ears Ring

May 30, 2013

I'm not a cat person--I simply adore dogs--but this ring is way too cute to ignore, no?  It also comes in a steel or bronze finish and I'm thinking the bronze might be just as irresistible as the gold. It's available here, and it's only $49!

Things Have a Way...

May 30, 2013

So I've been keeping something from you: we're moving to Phoenix in two and a half weeks.  I've had to find a new doctor to deliver my baby (and I'll only know her for a month before baby #2 makes her debut), we've had to find a place to live (and we still haven't finalized anything), and on top of all that, I've had to move down to my mom's in Palm Springs because someone decided it was a good idea to start fracking...near my home...in Los Angeles! Needless to say, it's been a very busy/stressful/sleepless/emotional few weeks and I was very grateful to come across this quote. 

I hope this quote inspires you too...  Have a beautiful day!

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Happy Friday

May 24, 2013

I always love the excitement in the air when a long weekend approaches. As a freelancer, I work from home and make my own hours, so I'm not really affected by a 3-day weekend, but I enjoy seeing how excited my family and friends get to have that extra day off. This Memorial Day weekend will definitely be low key for us, but I'm looking forward to spending time with family, eating some good food, and basically doing a whole bunch of nothing. 

Happy Memorial Day to you, and have a fantastically wonderful and relaxed weekend!

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Stay Strong Oklahoma

May 22, 2013

Oklahoma, I am holding you in my heart. May God bless you!

To learn how you can help the victims of the devastating tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma on Monday, click here.

5 Cool Uses for Denture Tablets

May 21, 2013

When you think of cool things, denture cleaning tablets probably aren't on your list, but seriously, they are so handy to have around. Here are a few cool things that might make you pick up some Polident next time you're at the drugstore.

1. Got an ugly stain in your favorite mug?  Fill the cup with warm water and drop a tablet in. Once it's dissolved and the water is clear, empty the cup. If there are still traces of the stain, just repeat the steps (if the stains are really bad, you'll likely have to repeat several times). It also works for unsightly stains in your coffee pot. 

2. If your diamonds have lost their lustre, denture tablets can help restore the original shine and sparkle. Drop a tablet into a cup and as it effervesces, drop in your diamond rings or earrings. Let them sit for a few minutes, then take them out and rinse. Your jewelry will look like it's new again.

3. This may be the best one: soak your fingers in a bowl of warm water (about one cup) with a denture tablet and when you take them out, your nails will be bright and white. This is perfect for those bothersome manis that leave a slight tint on your nails.

4. Nobody enjoys cleaning toilets, but denture tablets can make the chore a little easier. They get rid of hard water stains and mineral deposits and work in about twenty minutes. Just drop one or two tablets into the bowl and let them work their magic.

5. Next time you clean your hairbrushes and combs, drop a denture tablet in with the soapy water; it'll help get rid of product buildup, hair oil, lint, and dirt. Let the brushes and combs soak for a few minutes, swish around the water a few times, then use the comb to scrape the brushes. You'll be amazed!

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10 Essentials for an Ice Cream Social

May 20, 2013

When the weather gets hot (and it's definitely hot!) I start thinking about hosting an old-fashioned ice cream social. I used to have them all the time as a kid, but now that I'm grown, I'd like to have a more elevated social with lots of colorful details

1. Sprinkles!
2. Chocolate syrup truly makes the sundae.
3. Catch spills and make clean-up a breeze by covering the ice cream table with a cute paper tablecloth.
4. An ice cream starter kit makes it faster and easier to whip up homemade ice cream.
5. No dish washing! Colorful bowls that you can toss when you're done are a must.
6. Every fun occasion starts with fun invitations, like this free download from Eat Drink Chic.
7. Multiple ice cream scoops for multiple flavors--these are only $1.99 each!
8. Chic sugar cone wrappers add an unexpected dose of color and style.
9. Toppings like nuts, sprinkles, or crushed cookies look even more appealing in glass candy jars.
10. These wooden spoons are not only super cute, they're much more eco-friendly than plastic.

Happy Friday

May 17, 2013

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend!
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5 Favorite: Drugstore Buys

May 16, 2013

A favorite pasttime of mine is perusing the beauty aisles of my local CVS or Walgreens. It's serious fun and I've discovered several must-have products that have become staples in my beauty routine.

This smells absolutely divine. I'm also obsessed with their argan oil treatment for hair, which has the same heavenly fragrance.

These make throwing your hair up into a top knot so much easier.

My latest obsession! This stuff smells amazing!

A must for when I'm feeling too lazy to wash my makeup off at night. These are super quick and even contain a waterproof eye makeup remover.

A pretty, summery blue polish that, I promise, looks so great on everyone. 

A Girly Bridal Shower Playlist

May 14, 2013

Whenever I host or co-host a party I like to create a fabulous playlist that goes with the theme of the occasion, so when I co-hosted my cousin's bridal shower a couple of months ago I came up with this sweet wedding-themed playlist that's loaded with girly songs from the '50s, '60s, and '70s.  

1. "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)" -- Natalie Cole
2. "Today I Met the Boy I'm Gonna Marry" -- Darlene Love
3. "How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved By You)" -- Marvin Gaye
4. "Third Finger, Left Hand" -- Martha and the Vandellas
5. "Chapel of Love" -- The Dixie Cups
6. "Wishin' and Hopin'" -- Ani di Franco (the song at the beginning of My Best Friend's Wedding; if you want the original it's by Dionne Warwick)
7. "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" -- Stevie Wonder
8. "You Beat Me to the Punch" -- Mary Wells
9. "Then He Kissed Me" -- The Crystals
10. "For Once in My Life" -- Stevie Wonder
11. "I Hear a Symphony" -- The Supremes
12. "Baby, I Love You" -- The Ronettes
13. "We've Got Honey Love" -- Martha and the Vandellas

original image via 

Deciphering Wedding & Party Dress Codes

May 13, 2013

It's wedding season, which means, between the engagement parties, showers, and actual weddings, you can probably expect to buy at least one new dress some time soon. But before you do, here's a lesson in exactly what all those wedding and party dress codes mean.  

White Tie
If you get an invitation that says "White Tie" you are in for the wedding or party of the century--like royal wedding standards. A floor-length gown is required (black is your best bet but you'll also do well with rich jewel tones), as are long gloves, which are to be removed when you eat. Also, don't forget jewels--think diamonds and pearls; nothing trendy.

Black Tie
For evening weddings, galas, charity balls and the like you can choose to wear a floor-length gown, but you do have other options: a really fancy knee-length dress or dressy tuxedo pants paired with a silk blouse are acceptable. Technically, black tie attire is for after 6pm, but if you get a wedding invitation that says "black tie" and the ceremony starts at 3pm, just comply with the bride and groom (however clueless they may be). And again, no trendy accessories.

Black Tie Optional
This is a tricky one because you don't want to be the only one at the party who opted out of wearing black tie attire. Play it safe and use the same guidelines for a black tie affair. After all, 'tis better to be overdressed...

Semi-formal can be another tricky one, but the key to remember is that you don't have wear a long dress if you don't want to; an elegant short dress (think just above the knee, but nothing too much shorter) is perfectly suitable. Accessories can be on the trendier side, and of course a great pair of heels always works. 

Cocktail Attire
This is my favorite because the dress can be flirty and playful. A short dress will work, or you can try an on-trend high-low hem, along with great accessories. Don't be afraid to wear something embellished--think beaded throughout or with an ostrich feather skirt. Fun accessories like an animal print clutch or sequined pumps are perfectly in order.

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Mini Donut Muffins

May 10, 2013

Lately I've been on a major cinnamon kick (I'm blaming this on the pregnancy); I just can't seem to get enough of the stuff. These mini donut muffins are just what I've been looking for to satisfy my craving--they have a yummy cinnamon coating and they're bite-sized so they make the perfect snack. Plus, the recipe calls for things that I've already got in my pantry and fridge.

Mini Donut Muffins
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour 

For coating
¼  cup butter, melted
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375° and grease 24 mini muffin cups. For donut muffins, mix the sugar, melted butter, and nutmeg together, then stir in milk. Next, mix in baking powder and flour until just combined.  Fill the prepared muffin cups about half full, and bake until the tops are light golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. 

For coating, mix cinnamon and sugar in one bowl, and have the melted butter in another. When the muffins are done, dip each one in the melted butter then roll around in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Allow to cool, then serve.   

photography by Angelica Golden

Happy Friday

May 10, 2013

I'm not really sure what this picture has to do with the weekend, but I'm taking it as a message that I should consume enormous amounts of frozen yogurt, which is totally cool with me. The hubby and I are taking a quick road trip to Phoenix and it will no doubt be insanely hot--fro yo will be necessary.

I hope your weekend is delicious!

image via

Get Gorgeous with Lemons

May 8, 2013

When life hands you lemons, you can make lemonade of course, but you can also use it in myriad ways (from clearing pimples to treating dandruff) to get beautiful on the cheap.
1. Cut a lemon in half, sprinkle with sugar, and rub the sugared flesh over your face for a skin-brightening exfoliant.
2. Mix with water (1 part lemon juice, 3 parts water) and spritz in hair before heading outdoors to achieve natural, sun-kissed highlights.
3. Rub lemon juice on your scalp to get rid of dandruff.
4. Soak fingernails and toenails in lemon juice for 10 minutes to get rid of yellowish stains and strengthen them.
5. Use a cotton ball to rub lemon juice on blackheads. Leave the juice on overnight and rinse in the morning; do this every night for a week.
6. Apply lemon juice to blemishes several times a day to get rid of redness and dry up the pimple quickly.
7. Rub a lemon half on elbows and knees to soften and smooth the rough skin.  Add a little sugar for extra exfoliation.
8. Suck on a lemon wedge or drink lemon water throughout the day to keep breath fresh. 
9. Add fragrance to a hot bath by dropping lemon slices (or even just the peels) into the water.
10. Get beautiful skin from the inside out by drinking a warm cup of water with lemon juice and honey every morning. 

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Shopping Success Story

May 7, 2013

Once in awhile I have a shopping trip that's makes me so happy I just have to share it. That's what happened when I went into Sephora yesterday to pick up facial cleanser and serum.

My beauty haul: Wen Cleansing Conditioner; Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil (seems counterproductive because I have oily skin, but this has made me a believer!); Caudalie Buff & Brighten kit (contains my fave Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and a sample of Gentle Buffing Cream); Aqua di Gioia Eau de Parfum Rollerball

I walked away with a little more than planned, but honestly, who among us has the willpower to get only the things we need when we go into Sephora (or Target for that matter)? So, I got my cleanser and serum, and after talking to an associate who claimed to be a walking billboard for Wen, I grabbed a bottle of that too (I'm captivated by the infomercials). Yet another associate informed my that I could earn triple VIB points with a fragrance purchase, so I grabbed a rollerball of Aqua de Gioia for $20.

Here's the part that makes me so giddy. The 500-point perk was from Benefit, which happens to be one of my favorite cosmetic lines, and it included a full-size tube of Girl Meets Pearl! And since I earned triple points for buying the rollerball, I got all 500 of my points back. Squeeeeeeee!

By the way, you can earn triple VIB points with any fragrance purchase from Sephora through May 19, so go! 

10 Super Pretty Mother's Day Cards

May 6, 2013

I just love these cards for Mother's Day; they're so pretty and nothing at all like what you'd find at Target or a drugstore. 

Daisy from Luxe Paperie

Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas

May 3, 2013

Cinco de Mayo is always a fun holiday. There's no buildup like there is with holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving, but there's good food, good drinks, and lots of colorful decorations. Here are a few ideas to spice up a Cinco de Mayo fiesta. Olé!

Individual nacho servings, guacamole presented in an authentic pestle, and cactus leaves as serving platters--brilliant ideas, and so colorful!

A tequila cocktail for anyone who isn't into margaritas, a crowd-pleasing margarita recipe for everyone who is, and horchata for the kiddos. 
Piñatas as cookies, centerpieces, or hanging decorations.

images via 1, 2, 3

Happy Friday

May 3, 2013

The Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo are this weekend--both excellent excuses to have some fun, no? I've yet to make plans for either, and that's fine with me; sometimes the best times are had when decisions are made on the fly and we simply play it by ear. One thing I do know, with this warm SoCal weather I will definitely be indulging in copious amounts of frozen treats.

Whatever your plans this weekend, have fun, and be good!

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5 Favorite: Picnic Perfect Sandwiches

May 2, 2013

In keeping with my picnic-centric posts this week (can you tell I love a good picnic?), I've rounded up a few sandwich recipes that I'm looking forward to trying soonThese certainly aren't the lunch-meat-and-cheese-slice sammies we ate as kids; these gourmet sandwiches look good enough to please even the foodiest foodie.

New Markdowns at Shopbop

May 2, 2013

Shopbop just added a ton of new stuff to their sale; we're talking seriously cute stuff at deep discounts, ya'll.  With my growing baby bump I can't really buy any new clothes (much to my husband's relief), but I am obsessing over this Rebecca Minkoff bag. What do you think--isn't she cute!? Have you shopped the sale yet?

Posh Picnics

May 1, 2013

Warm weather and long, sun-filled days are the perfect recipe for fun, and picnics are way up there on the list of fun things to do. Forget about the typical fare of hot dogs or barbequed ribs; these picnics are totally next level, with inventive presentations and reimagined versions of food faves (think feta and spinach stuffed watermelon cubes and chicken and waffle sandwiches). Get inspired for your next picnic or BBQ. 

Hearty food, like macaroni and cheese, chicken wings, chicken ceasar salad wraps, Bavarian pretzels, and sausage hot dogs, along with a rustic presentation make this the Super Bowl party of picnics. There's none pictured, but I imagine there's a wooden barrel of cold longnecks nearby. 

I'm inspired to make the watermelon cubes with feta and spinach, but everything else (roasted potato salad on chive sticks; grilled corn with an assortment of toppings; mini spinach salads in bacon cups; apple pie parfaits; "hamburger" and "hot dog" macarons) looks equally delish.

Such lovely presentation and an elegant menu! Scattered amongst the vintage buckets, teapots, and wooden crates is a chopped salad with salami and provolone, egg salad sandwiches with watercress, and a ricotta pound cake with Meyer lemon curd. 

Another beautiful presentation with bento boxes featuring chilled Italian antipasti. To drink, sangria with blood orange ice cubes (must make!), iced tea with lemon zest and mint, and Peroni beer. An Italian feast under the sun!

This picnic is almost too pretty to eat. That's macadamia nut biscotti and coconut alfajores in the far left corner, along with a hoison duck salad with quinoa, cucumber rolls, an ahi tuna salad with pineapple-sesame dressing, and a cocktail made with ruby red vodka and lychee liqueur. 

I just love this idea of a "chic'nic!" Not only is the presentation super stylish, the food sounds amazing: bento boxes with chicken and waffle sandwiches; proscuitto, Parmesan, and sherried jam sandwiches; gazpacho in a cucumber bowl; Caprese potato salad skewers; and sweet-and-savory suckers.

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