Summer Skin Prep

March 31, 2014

1. Paula's Choice Resist Skin Revealing Body Lotion 10% AHA     2. Bliss Foot Patrol   3. Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask     4. Dermadoctor KP Duty Body Scrub     5. Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash   

Summer is still a few months away, but now is the perfect time to start getting ready for the warmer weather and all the skin-baring attire that comes with it. To get my skin prepped for sandals and tank tops and (!!!) swimsuits, I have a few go-to products that I start using in the spring so I'm perfectly soft and glowy by summer. Here are some of my favorites, plus a couple that I can't wait to try. 

1.  I just started using this but I'm telling you, I wake up to softer skin every morning. Use it all over, or on problem areas like rough, dry knees and elbows. 
2.  This is skin softening magic for tootsies that have been stuffed in boots all winter. 
3.  I've heard nothing but good, nay, wonderful things about this product, namely that skin is brighter after just one use. 
4.  A body scrub that combines both physical and chemical exfoliants. I've loved this stuff since the first time I used it!
5.  This stuff is gentle enough for daily use (love that!) and it's great for prepping skin for serums, creams, or any skin treatments you use. 

Friday Favorites

March 28, 2014

The fact that today is the last Friday of March is kind of freaking me out a little--anyone else? This year is flying by! My plan for the weekend is to soak up every precious moment with my husband and little girls, and when they're asleep, work on the details of my bitty's first birthday party (I've only got four months!). I hope you have a wonder-filled weekend, and God bless!

A new book that I bought partly for the recipes, but mostly because of the pretty cover. 

Miserable_men -- the hilarious Instagram account of men being forced to shop. 

This sweater.

Cute and colorful DIY cake toppers

A dreamy setting at a Parisian cafe.

Pantry Staples for Unexpected Guests

March 27, 2014

I love entertaining and my friends and family know they never need an invitation to come over. Since it's impossible to know when someone is going to drop by (and in case I haven't made it to the market all week), I always like to have a few low maintenance nonperishables in my pantry--they allow me to be a gracious hostess without spending too much time in the kitchen. Here are some of my go-tos:

1. Dry pasta
Dry pasta has a long shelf life so you can always keep some on hand without worrying about it spoiling. And since pasta pairs well with virtually anything you may have in your fridge or pantry at any given time, you'll have a quick meal to serve to hungry guests who show up on a moment's notice.

2. Bread or muffin mix
There's nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread or muffins. Look for a bread or muffin mix that doesn't require eggs or milk, just in case you don't have any. Alternatively, you can keep cookie dough in your freezer and pop it into the oven when people come over.

3. Champagne or Wine
Preferably both. If a friend pops by with good news you can celebrate with champagne. Or turn a bad day into a good evening with a glass of wine, Olivia Pope style. 

4. Nuts
Nuts are a healthy, light, fuss-free snack you can just toss into a bowl and serve at virtually any occasion. You don't have to offer a variety; keep your favorites on hand so you know they won't be wasted.

5. Chocolates
I like Ferrero Rocher because the chocolates are individually wrapped, plus the gold paper makes them look extra special.

6. Jarred Spreads or Dips
Think bruschettas, pestos, or tapenades. Anything that doesn't need refrigeration and can spread on crackers, crunchy breadsticks, or, if you have some on hand, fresh veggies.

7. Crackers (or Breadsticks)
If you happen to have cheese to go along with them, great, but if not your guests won't mind simply munching on crackers.

Must Have: Kurt Geiger Gunning

March 26, 2014

One of my favorite trends of the season is color, bright, bold, beautiful, eye-catching color. These acid bright pumps from Kurt Geiger are exactly right for infusing a punch of color into spring's neutrals and pastels, but they'll also be great with other brights--I'm thinking turquoise, red, and yes, Radiant Orchid. What trends are you most excited about for Spring 2014?

Happy Birthday, Diana Ross!

March 26, 2014

image via

Cheese Grits with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage

March 25, 2014

Breakfasts on the weekends are a big deal in our house (my husband once told me it's his favorite part of the weekend), so I like to mix things up with new recipes every once in awhile. A few weeks ago I made this shrimp and grits dish and we were both a little stunned--it was that good! The grits were the creamiest I've ever eaten, with just the right amount of heat from the jalapeño and andouille sausage. It's a bit more work than these pancakes, but totally worth it!

Cheese Grits with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage
For Grits
1 cup yellow grits (not instant)
1 cup extra sharp white cheddar, grated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced 
¼ cup heavy cream
freshly ground pepper

For Shrimp 
½ cup andouille sausage, diced (you can also use bacon if you can't find andouille)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons butter
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup beer, more if necessary
¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
Cajun spice mix

In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a simmer, then slowly whisk in grits. Turn heat to low and gently simmer until grits begin to thicken. Continue cooking until tender, stirring often and adding water by the 1/4 cup if the grits become too thick. Stir in cheese, butter, and jalapeño, then cream. Season with salt and pepper and cover to keep warm.

Heat vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, then add andouille and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and butter; stir until butter melts. Add shrimp. When garlic begins to brown, pour in beer and chicken stock (add more beer if liquid cooks down too quickly). Simmer until shrimp is cooked through, about 2 minutes. 

To serve, divide grits into four bowls, then spoon shrimp, sausage, and broth over them. Sprinkle Cajun spice mix on top.

Friday Favorites

March 21, 2014

This week started off dreadfully slow but picked up a little at the end. To celebrate the arrival of spring, I bought cookies, and my daughters and I had an indoor picnic (which will probably be repeated today). And since we didn't get a chance to eat any macarons on Thursday (it was Macaron Day!), I'm planning a trip to a French grocery this weekend to make up for it. Have a lovely first weekend of spring, and God bless!

A pretty gold dish from my sweet cousin.

This slightly retro swimsuit from Anthro.

The launch of Oh Joy! for Target (Have you gotten anything from the collection?).

Fresh asparagus, a springtime must.

Mocha mud pie pops, another springtime must, obvi.

The Cutest Totes for Spring

March 20, 2014

1. Deux Lux Key Largo Tote 2. Gap Crossbody Leather Tote    3. Jonathan Adler Squiggles Scooter Icon Duchess Tote    4. Kate Spade New York Capri Espadrille Francis Tote    5. Madewell Holepunch Transport Tote    6. Merona Tote w/ Accent Scarf    7. Tignanello Summer Large Tote 8. Topshop Pineapple Print Tote    9. 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent Neoprene Zuma Tote   

Picking fresh flowers at the farmer's market, picnicking in the park, trips to the shore--spring has sprung, so it's the perfect time to get a good tote bag.

1. I'm in love with the metallic gold crochet, obviously. 
2. The palest of pale pinks.  
3. The scooter just screams springtime, doesn't it? 
4. A printed tote with lots of pretty details and plenty of room. 
5. Perforations breathe new life into a simple leather bag.  
6. A crisp white bag with a ladylike scarf.
7. The perfect springtime tote, the color of daffodils. 
8. The pineapple print is just adarable. 
9. Neon pink and tan--the coolest color combo. 

Must Have: Disco Tech Wristlet

March 19, 2014

I'm so into's new collection--it's playful and vibrant and girly and pretty much everything I love. This darling little wristlet is perfect for toting just the essentials when I'm running around with my little girls (certainly beats lugging a handbag and a diaper bag), but as the name suggests, it's a must for a night on the town. Plus, I love that it comes with instructions: have fun!

Trend to Try: Floral Pants for Spring

March 17, 2014

When I was a little girl I absolutely detested wearing pants (they were a form of punishment as far as I was concerned), and it wasn't until I was in my twenties that I started to fully embrace wearing jeans and trousers. With warmer weather ahead, I'm looking forward to finally wearing pretty little skirts and dresses, but I'm also drawn to one of spring's hottest trends: floral-print pants. They're surprisingly versatile, and a fresh take on florals, which are usually reserved for flirtier, more feminine pieces. Here are three styles that every girl should have in her closet this season. 

INSPIRED BY: J. Crew Spring 2014  || SAVE:  MinkPink Poison Lover Pant  || SPLURGE:  Haute Hippie Floral Print Drawstring Pants

INSPIRED BY: Kate Spade New York Spring 2014 || SAVE:  Mango Slim-Fit Floral Print Trousers|| SPLURGE:  Nicholas Melted Floral Jeans

INSPIRED BY: Zimmerman spring 2014  || SAVE:  BB Dakota Sundra Wide Leg Floral Pant  || SPLURGE:  Alice + Olivia Super Flare Floral Print Pants

St. Patrick's Day Cocktails for Non-Beer Drinkers

March 14, 2014

St. Patrick's Day is Monday--what are you drinking? If you're not into the celebratory green beer, order one of these cocktails when you head out to your local watering hole, or make them at home and bring the party to your place. 

You don't want to sip this in the morning (or maybe you do; I'm not judging) but this makes the perfect after-dinner drink.

A boozy take on the shamrock shake.

Possibly better than mint chocolate chip ice cream.

A fruity cocktail for anyone who's not into the standard minty drinks or pints of Guinness.

A shot of creme de menthe turns this Cuban classic into an Irish refreshment.

Looks like Guinness stout but tastes like coffee thanks to Kahlua and Bailey's.

Something sparkly and fruity for the champagne drinkers.

Friday Favorites

March 14, 2014

This was one of those weeks when I made a ton of plans (visit this friend, then that friend, take my little girl to the movies, then meet up with a different friend, etc) and none of them ended up happening. Instead, I got to spend a lot of time with family, which is always a good thing, and actually relax a little. I even got myself a pair of new shoes--the tip of the proverbial iceberg though, because I want to do a huge closet overhaul for spring. What are your weekend plans? I hope you have a good one. God bless!

A tasty-looking use for any leftover Girl Scout cookies (should you happen to have any).

Free printable bow tie drink markers...just because.

The most adorable shoes by Sophia Webster.

A cool photo series by Russian photographer Murad Ossman that has me longing to travel the world.

Collecting ideas for decorating our Easter eggs this year. Yes, already.

Must Have: Sugar Paper Polka Dot Journal

March 12, 2014

One of my favorite things in the world is a brand new journal or notebook; its emptiness represents to me infinite possibilities and the chance to make something brilliant happen. I love to keep a notebook of some sort on hand at all times because I never know when an idea will strike, or when I'll get a bit of pertinent info for a piece I'm working on. This one is small enough to fit right in my bag so I'll never miss an opportunity to capture my thoughts on paper. The fact that it's so darn cute is merely the icing!

Chocolate and Walnut Scones

March 11, 2014

I don't typically keep buttermilk in my fridge; I buy it when a new recipe I'd like to try calls for it, but then I've got this leftover buttermilk that I'm never really sure what to do with. When I found myself with an almost full bottle of buttermilk recently, I decided to forgo the pancakes I was going to make in favor of these scones. They were so good with coffee (like, really good!), and as much as I love chocolate, I think it was the toasted walnuts that made these so special. They were the perfect way to use up leftover buttermilk...but also a really good reason to go out and buy a bottle.

Chocolate and Walnut Scones
1¾ cups all-purpose flour 
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
¾ cup coarsely broken walnuts, toasted
½ cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

To toast walnuts: Spread walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350° for 5 to 8 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, then, using your fingers, crumble the cold butter into the dry mixture until it becomes a rough crumb. Add chocolate and walnuts and stir until mixed. 

In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg, and vanilla, then slowly add to the flour mixture. Stir lightly just until dough comes together (you can use your hands). Use a large mixing spoon or your hands to drop dough (about 2 to 3 tablespoons worth) onto ungreased baking sheet. Alternatively, you can press dough on a lightly floured surface and use a biscuit cutter or drinking glass to cut out rounds of dough. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

photos by Angelica Golden

Gilded Brick Bookends

March 10, 2014

I love a DIY that involves spray paint because they're always the easiest kind. This gilded brick bookend project was so ridiculously simple and inexpensive (did you know bricks cost, like, eighteen cents??), it's hard to believe that it resulted in something so beautiful. 

Materials Needed
2 bricks
Gold spray paint
Self-adhesive felt dots

Wipe the bricks with a damp cloth before starting--they're extremely porous so you want to get them as smooth as possible. Using both the hammer head and the nail remover, start chipping away at one end of the brick only (you'll want to do this outside, as brick pieces can go flying). I found that, even though I was hacking away at one end, the brick eventually split in two, horizontally, and had a really cool shape and texture. Do the same with the second brick. Using the brick pieces that have flat bottoms, start spray painting the bricks, moving the paint can back and forth to cover each side of the brick. Once the paint has dried completely, apply the felt dots to the bottoms (this will prevent the bricks from scratching your furniture).

photo by Angelica Golden   

Friday Favorites

March 7, 2014

I always hear people talk about how important the little things are, and I know it is definitely true. This week was full of little moments that put a big smile on my face, including watching my four-year old do a happy dance because she got a pink spoon at the fro yo shop, and my seven-month old blowing spit bubbles with such seriousness you'd think she was getting paid to do it. Have an amazing weekend, and don't forget to take note of the little things. God bless!

The juxtaposition of the bad girl and the 'It' girl sitting side by side at Fashion Week.

A Chanel supermarket.

Pink sunnies.

Waiting for Saturday night.

Spinach and artichoke grilled cheese (plus nine other incredible-looking spring veggie recipes).
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