10 Best Coffee Cakes for National Coffee Day

September 29, 2015

It's National Coffee Day! If ever there was a day to bake a cake, it's today, and one of my absolute favorites is a yummy, cinnamon-y coffee cake. Sadly, I'm ill-prepared to do any baking today (besides not having enough flour I honestly can't imagine turning on the oven in this Southern California heat wave), so my coffee cake fix will likely come from a pink bakery box. Still, I've rounded up some amazing looking coffee cakes that I'd like to make at some point this fall. Happy National Coffee Day! What's in your coffee cup this morning?



















Monday

September 28, 2015



image via Instagram (@wedesignla)

Friday Favorites

September 25, 2015

The start of a new season is such an exciting time, and I am always especially excited when the seasons change from summer to fall. There is just something about it--perhaps the sweater weather, the brisk morning air, the smell of logs burning in fireplaces--that feels wonderfully cozy and magical. I've gotten my girls excited about it too, with promises of homemade soup, fun science experiments (because we'll be spending more time indoors now), and a trip to a football game (my husband's idea, of course). This weekend we'll be celebrating my first grader, who received Student of the Month today. We're having a big toast with sparkling apple cider after school today, and she'll even get to drink from a grown up glass. I can't think of a better way to kick off the weekend, and kick off the new season. Have a safe and fun weekend. God bless!


Fall picnic ideas.


This piece on literary babes with style


Pumpkin buttermilk biscuits that I'm thinking might need to make an appearance on our Thanksgiving table. 


A perfect layered look for fall. By the way, have I ever mentioned how much I love a ladylike glove?


Pastel pumpkins

Welcome Fall

September 23, 2015

Today marks the first day of autumn, a season of falling leaves, sweater weather, and pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks. I love this time of year and always try to make it as special as possible, so this year I plan to make a bucket list that will include making homemade pumpkin donuts, taking my little ones to pick apples, and of course, our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. Here are a few ideas that I hope will help you have a wonderful fall as well. 


101 Pumpkin Recipes
'Tis the season for all things pumpkin--decorating with them, carving them, and best of all, eating them. From sweet cookies and cannoli to savory pastas and pizzas, here are 101 pumpkin recipes to fall for this season.  


Best Home Fragrances
Coming home to the warm smells of pumpkin chai or freshly baked apple pie is definitely one of the perks of autumn. These beautiful candles fill your home with all the wonderful smells of the season.


Beautiful Fall Tablescapes
A beautifully set table can make even the simplest meal feel special and grand. Since there are so many reasons to celebrate with friends and family during the fall season, here are tips for creating a gorgeous table that will impress your peeps.


Chic Halloween Decor
If you're like me and you're not into the creepy, gory, or scary variety of Halloween decor, here are several chic and subtle little touches to decorate your space and get your home ready for trick-or-treaters or a fun, grown-up Hallows Eve party.

5 No Cook Meals (Because It's STILL Hot)

September 22, 2015

It may be the last official day of summer, but this heat is unrelenting (it's supposed to "cool off" to 90 degree temps next week). I have all but given up on cooking actual meals for my family, and since I can't feed my loves chips and guacamole every night (because believe me, if I didn't have little ones...), I'm on the hunt for no-cook meals with some sustenance that I know my family will eat. 

Greek Vegetable Sandwich with Feta Spread
My husband loves Greek pizza and salads, so I know this sandwich would be a hit with him. To make it work for my girls, I'll simply omit the onions, pepperoncini, and perhaps the sprouts. 

Ahi Tuna Ceviche
I'm always down for some sushi-grade tuna, and my husband and I are both into ceviche, so I'm pretty excited about this recipe, which apparently takes just minutes. I wouldn't serve it to my kids though, so unfortunately I may end up turning on the oven to heat something up for them. 

Creamy Spinach and Shrimp Dip
I'm a big snacker so I love the idea of a simple dip with crusty bread for dinner. And even though I know my little ones might give me the side eye for serving them shrimp, once they see how fun it is to eat they'll be on board.

Artichoke, Fresh Mozzarella, and Salami Sandwiches
A hearty sandwich is always a good option, and this one seems a nice change of pace from the usual tuna salad I serve when it's too hot to cook. We don't eat much salami, so I'll most likely replace it with peppered turkey or something light like that.

Tuna and White Bean Salad
This salad couldn't be easier to make and I typically have everything I need on hand to make it. The best part is I can add whatever fresh veggies I have to make it even more nutrient dense. 

Friday Favorites

September 18, 2015

Historically, I've been that person who rants about how stores start decorating for upcoming holidays months in advance, causing us consumers to feel rushed; we already rush through our daily lives and then we're expected to start preparing for Halloween before we've even finished our Labor Day barbecue. But lately I've been feeling like I could use a good, fat dose of Christmas in my life--not necessarily the presents (although I certainly wouldn't turn one down), but rather the joy and merriment and all the good feelings that the holiday season embodies. Also, since it's still ridiculously hot in Southern California, the cold and snow that Christmas brings along with it wouldn't be so bad either. Have yourself a merry little weekend, and God bless!

Koosh balls on shoes and pillows!


This pup


Lupita Nyong'o's spread in the October issue of Vogue


A locals-only guide to San Francisco


The craft studio of my dreams. 

Current Beauty Favorites: Drugstore Buys

September 17, 2015

A "quick trip" to Target or Walgreens is rarely just that, and it's not uncommon for me to end up with more in my bag(s) than I'd intended to buy; typically it's something from the beauty aisles. Here are a few drugstore finds I recently added to my beauty arsenal that are now officially on my list of favorites.  

Essie Leggy Legend
A deeply dramatic bronze color promises to give my fingernails serious '70s glam realness. This is going to look perfect with fall's ubiquitous jewel tones, particularly a sapphire blue maxi dress I've got my eye on. 


Yes to Grapefruit Pore Perfection Toning Mist & Yes to Tomatoes Blemish Clearing Facial Wipes
This ridiculous summer heat has been completely disrespectful to my skin, so I'm trying to combat breakouts by basically putting salad on my face. Both the wipes and mist are super refreshing and ideal when I'm on the go.


St. Ives Naturally Indulgent Body Lotion Coconut Milk & Orchid Extract
One requirement I have for body lotion is that it smell amazing, and this one totally delivers. It's lightweight and non-greasy, which I love, but it was the clean, floral fragrance that made me by four bottles at one time. 


Maybelline Lash Sensational in Blackest Black
I'm a bit of a mascara snob and can't remember the last time I purchased a tube from a drugstore, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover this one. My lashes were full and lush and had zero clumps.


Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in Poppy
A good red lipstick is essential to every makeup bag, and what I love about this one, besides how smoothly it glides on, is the hint of orange that mingles with the red. It's definitely a bold lip color, but hey, if you're going to wear red lipstick, wear red lipstick. 

What to Pack for a Day at the Spa

September 16, 2015

A while back, a few girlfriends and I took a quick road trip down to San Diego to spend the day at a spa (which we all agreed was the best decision ever!), and while it wasn't my first time getting pampered at a day spa, it'd been quite some time since I'd visited one, and I somehow managed to forget some very important essentials (like, ahem, a swimsuit). For the most part, a good day spa takes care of things like slippers and robes, as well as a selection of toiletries--so I wasn't completely out of luck--but next time I'll be sure to pack a better bag that includes the following: 

Swimsuit
Some spas have outdoor pools, jacuzzis, whirlpools, and even natural clay mud baths, so you'll definitely want to take a swimsuit. And obviously if you're going to be outside, sunscreen, sunglasses, and perhaps a hat are essential.

Workout Gear
Many times hotel and resort spas will include use of the fitness center with a spa day pass. If you're up for it, re-energize yourself with a good workout, before relaxing with one of the spa's treatments. 

A Book or Magazine
If you have time to relax a bit, before or after your treatment, you might like to have a good read with you. Lots of facilities will have a variety of reading material available in the relaxation room, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared with your own. 

Cash
You'll want to tip your massage therapist or aesthetician, and most will appreciate the cash. 

A Comfy Change of Clothes
After spending hours in a plush robe and slippers, and having your body practically melt under the skilled hands of a massage therapist, the last thing you'll want to put on is a pair of  jeans. Bring something comfy, like a soft, cotton maxi dress or cute, knit joggers.

Toiletries
As I said, any good day spa will provide a selection of toiletries for your use post treatment (think shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, etc), but you're on your own for things like deodorant, toothbrush, and makeup. And if you're going out to dinner or something afterwards, bring along any hair products you may need just in case the facility doesn't offer any.

image via

Friday Favorites

September 11, 2015

New York Fashion Week and the start of the official 2015-16 NFL season kicked off this week--both indicators that fall has arrived--but somehow Southern California missed the  memo. It has been crazy hot this week! This weekend we'll be doing our best to stay cool while we watch the games (and while I simultaneously peruse photos from the runways). I hope you have a lovely weekend, and God bless!

Mini crumb cakes that would be perfect for a brunch spread. 


This color--gorgeous!


A pretty platter I'd love to show off during the holidays. 


The most beautiful and eye-catching tile


Fairy pools in Scotland. I would love to take my little girls here so they can search for fairies. 

How to Repurpose Leftover Game Day Food

September 10, 2015

Having friends over for game day is always a lot of fun, but once our guests are gone, I'm usually left with an assortment of food that I don't necessarily want to eat throughout the week; there's either too much of something, and I feel obligated to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner just to get rid of it, or there's not enough of something to make a complete meal for my family. Here's my game plan for all the leftovers I'm  expecting to have this NFL season.

Pizza
Bake directly on oven rack until the crust is super crunchy, then cut into bite size pieces and use as croutons in tomato or red pepper soup.  

Chili
Top baked potatoes. 

Spinach artichoke dip
Use as a filling for omelettes or lasagna.

Nachos
Top with salsa or enchilada sauce (because next-day nachos are already soggy anyways), add more chips or cheese as needed, and turn it into an enchilada casserole. 

Wings
Take the meat off the bones and divide amongst grilled cheese sandwiches or quesadillas.

Carrot and Celery Sticks (that go with the wings but are always left untouched)
Chop them up and add to soups, stews or casseroles. 

Any Dessert
Mix into vanilla bean ice cream to create an original flavor.

image via


Beautiful Home Fragrances for Fall

September 8, 2015

It's not officially fall yet (and it certainly doesn't feel like it when I step outside) but it's still the perfect time to switch out summery home fragrances for more autumnal ones. These are all evocative of everything that's wonderful about fall.

"...Pumpkin Chai creates a cozy autumn ambience with a blend of wild pumpkin, spicy Masala chai, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon..." 


Jo Malone Incense & Embers Home Candle
"...Curls of smoky incense. Brightened with silver fir and white pepper. Sensual with napa leather on a base of elegant vetiver and golden amber..."


Henri Bendel Cashmere Signature Candle
"...Let the scent of cedarwood linger in the air, blending with subtle bursts of violet and lily of the valley..."


Voluspa Ambre Lumiere Candle
"...a warm exotic mix of light amber, vanilla benzoin, and Indonesian patchouli..." 


DL & Co Golden Orchard Candles
Apple: "...a blend of crisp fuji, vetiver and verdant oak moss mingle with a hint of antique patchouli..."
Pear: "...anjou and tonka bean mix with exquisite persimmon, starfruit and a touch of vanilla..."



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