Monday

November 30, 2015



image via Instagram (@colorusbeautiful)

Friday Favorites

November 27, 2015

You know those commercials that depict a big, loud family sitting around laughing, and everyone seems to be talking at the same time? That's kind of how my family works; there are a ton of cousins and aunts and uncles, and we're all laughing and telling stories and looking at old pictures and just loving being together. Thanksgiving always seems to bring out our loudest, lovingest selves, and yesterday was no exception. I had an awesome holiday, and I hope you did too. I also hope that your long weekend is an extension of the holiday, and that you are filled with love and gratitude for many days to come. God bless!


A cheap and chic DIY dessert stand that even the most uncrafty person can put together in no time. 


Buffalo plaid, leopard, and a pop of red. 


Cheddar-cranberry sauce cornmeal biscuits, and other ways to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers. 


A beautifully lit tablescape for an al fresco dinner party.


Pastel roses that look a bit like French macarons.

9 Outrageous Hot Chocolate Recipes to Try This Holiday Season

November 25, 2015

Coffee has always been my hot beverage of choice, but, this time of year especially, I love to indulge in a steamy mug of hot chocolate with my little girls. I've got a go-to hot cocoa recipe that always yields the perfect cup, but lately I've been in the mood for cocoa with a twist. Here's a roundup of a few of the hot chocolate recipes I've been looking to try.

1. S'mores Hot Chocolate
One of my favorite desserts in a drinkable, but no doubt just as messy, form. 

2. Lavender Hot Chocolate
A French Provençal twist on a creamy classic.

3. Salted Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate
Like a candy bar in a mug.

4. Spicy Hot Chocolate Mocha
A kick of cayenne and warm cinnamon combined with two of my favorite things--coffee and chocolate.

5. Red Velvet Hot Chocolate
A classic flavor with a Christmasy color. 

6. Almond Joy Hot Chocolate
Because I'm never opposed to anything that involves chocolate and coconut. 

7. Kahlua Hot Chocolate
A grown up version to drink with my husband as we wrap gifts when the girls fall asleep.

8. Ciccolata Calda (Italian Hot Chocolate)
A rich, elegant drink made with bittersweet chocolate.

9. Bacon, Bourbon and Hazelnut Hot Chocolate
..................... (because there are really just no words...)


Wordsmith Wednesday: Lassitude

November 25, 2015

Here's where I share my favorite words with you. Because savvy girls have impressive vocabularies.


Monday

November 23, 2015



image via Instagram (@therealdebbieallendanceacademy)

Friday Favorites

November 20, 2015

As we get closer and closer to the holidays I find myself longing for a wintery vacation in a rustic log cabin somewhere in the mountains. I can almost feel the warmth of a roaring fire in a big brick fireplace as my husband and I lounge on the chaise watching Christmas movies (actually, if I'm imagining correctly, I'm watching Christmas movies and listening to the gentle snore of my sleeping spouse). It's all very idyllic, with glistening snow falling outside the window and the smell of cookies baking in the oven, and a scene that I'd love to make a reality for my little girls this holiday season. What are your plans for the holidays?

Have a safe and fun weekend, and God bless!


Cool photography from Jen Zahigian



Salty chocolate chip and caramel cookies that I think might become a favorite.


This photo of the strikingly beautiful Dorothy Dandridge


The sickest cuff of all time from the J. Mendel Spring 2013 collection. 


Sage advice

Create a Pinterest-Worthy Dessert Table

November 19, 2015

There's really no denying the appeal of a beautiful dessert table, whether it's a candy bar or an array of baked treats. Here are my surefire tips for ensuring your dessert display is picture perfect.

THEME
Cohesion is the name of the game when it comes to Pinterest-worthy dessert tables, so the first thing you've got to do is pick a theme or a color scheme and incorporate it into every element of the display. Of course, if the celebration has a specific theme, such as a Gatsby-themed wedding or a girly Super Bowl party, then the dessert table should follow that theme. 

VARIETY 
The key to a well balanced dessert table is variety. Even if you're only featuring one type of dessert--cakes, for example--offer guests a few different flavor options, but also include visual distinctions to make it aesthetically pleasing. Whatever treats you're serving, make sure you have a mix of different cake pedestals, plates, apothecary jars, candy dishes, and other serving pieces in different colors, textures, and heights. 


SPACE
Don't overcrowd the goodies. When you look at images of beautiful dessert tables you'll notice that there is always some space between the treats. Instead of having serving trays covering the entire service area of the table, which can look flat and boring, build your display upwards (see the next tip) and leave some negative space.

HEIGHT
Adding height gives your dessert table dimension and visual interest. You can add height by using apothecary jars, cake pedestals, and tiered stands of varying heights, or by placing boxes underneath the tablecloth to create flat surfaces for bowl placement. 


BACKGROUND 
Remember the backdrop! It may not seem like a big deal to have a backdrop for a dessert table, especially when you know all eyes will be fixed on the beautiful desserts, but it really is essential to have one. Even if none of your guests realize how much time it took to make all those tissue paper flowers, you'll be glad you took the time to do it when you look back at pictures.

DECOR
Decor elements such as flowers, figurines, confetti, candles, or any item that relates to your theme (a decks of cards for a game night, for example) help to add to the cohesion of your theme/celebration. Watch placement of the decor--if you cluster everything into one area the table will look unbalanced. 


LABELS 
Pretty labels really complete the presentation, plus they help your guests determine which desserts to choose. There are a bazillion websites and blogs that offer free printables (if you're willing to search), you can print your own, or you can hand write them for a personal touch. Another cool option--place chalkboard contact paper in a pretty frame and write out the dessert menu using a white paint pen or sharpened chalk.


images via 1, 2, 3, 4

Wordsmith Wednesday: Frabjous

November 18, 2015

Here's where I share my favorite words with you. Because savvy girls have impressive vocabularies.



Friday Favorites

November 13, 2015

I'm doing everything I can to extend the holiday season as long as possible this year. Instead of easing into it, like previous years, I've sort of crashed into it at full speed--my car radio has been tuned to a nonstop Christmas music station since the beginning of the month, I've started receiving boxes from all the online gift shopping I've already done, and I've even got my little girls in on the action, with cozy afternoons cuddled up with hot chocolate and popcorn while we watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and Home Alone. It's not that I'm trying to rush things, because that's not at all the case, I just want the build up to last longer.  Does anyone else feel that way? We're headed out of town to celebrate a friend's daughter's birthday and one of the highlights will most certainly be the two straight hours of festive holiday music--I can't wait! Have a holly jolly weekend, and God bless!

 Roasted cauliflower and chickpea tacos that look SO good.


The prettiest holiday window display.


A pop of pink in an unexpected place.


These bud vases


A winter white faux fur coat

DIY Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub

November 12, 2015


I've been really into pumpkins this fall, and I'm not just talking about eating them (although I have eaten more than my fair share of pumpkin seeds, pumpkin loaf, and these pumpkin madeleines). Since making this pumpkin and egg white facial mask last year, I've been looking for more ways to incorporate pumpkin into DIY beauty treatments and I came up with this pumpkin pie sugar scrub. It's less grainy than other sugar scrubs--the true star is the nutrient-dense pumpkin (it's packed with vitamins and antioxidants) and, of course, the delicious pumpkin pie smell--so it gently exfoliates while leaving skin supple and smelling heavenly. I love to use it on my hands and have found that it also makes a great treatment for my legs before shaving. 


Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub
1 cup brown sugar
cup white sugar
½ cup pumpkin, puréed (you can use canned but make sure it's pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons cinnamon 
teaspoon allspice 
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix all ingredients until well combined; double or triple as needed. Scoop into a sealable container or decorative jar and use as often as desired for soft, touchable, yummy skin. Since the pumpkin is perishable, refrigerate whatever you don't use right away, and be sure to enjoy the scrub within 2 weeks.

Wordsmith Wednesday: Logophile

November 11, 2015

Here's where I share my favorite words with you. Because savvy girls have impressive vocabularies.


Friday Favorites

November 6, 2015

It's been over a month since my family had a free weekend so we're taking advantage and planning a Saturday and Sunday of absolutely no plans. We have no idea what we'll be having for dinner on Saturday night, or where we'll be on Sunday afternoon--we're playing the whole weekend by ear, and I couldn't be more excited about it. I'm pretty certain, given that the holiday season is officially upon us (I've got my car radio tuned to the Christmas music station already), that it will be our last free weekend until 2016. I hope you enjoy yours, and God bless!


This one pan Mediterranean chicken stew that I want in my belly right now.


A monochromatic tablescape for Thanksgiving.


Her jacket




Cosmic brownie pop tarts that I know my daughter would love to help me make. 

10 Ideas for a Brilliant Friendsgiving Celebration

November 5, 2015

I'm blessed to have a very close knit family, with lots of cousins and babies running around, and even more blessed that I don't have to worry about booking airfare or making arrangements to see them at the holidays since, for the most part, we're all located in Southern California. Still, I love the idea of hosting a Friendsgiving dinner because I consider my friends to be an extension of my family. Plus, I love any excuse to have another celebratory get together with some of my favorite people. Here's my idea of the perfect Friendsgiving potluck. 


I love candles, so I'd create a warm and inviting ambience with tons of lit candles all around the house, everything from tall, elegant tapers on the dining table to little tealights along windowsills. I'd also light scented candles in seasonal fragrances to add to the cozy environment.

I'd keep it casual and allow guests to show up in more relaxed apparel as opposed to their holiday best that might be required at Aunt Edith's. 


A colorful tablescape with fresh flowers and seasonal produce is so pretty and festive, but I'd also include DIY paper placemats that allow my friends to write what they're thankful for. 

I love serving a signature drink at a party, and a holiday-centric cocktail is just another way to help create a fun, festive atmosphere.


I'd ask friends to bring many of the traditional Thanksgiving favorites, but I'd also serve some new dishes that are colorful and fresh and full of flavor. 

It's the hostess' job to do the Friendsgiving turkey, but I'm still a little intimidated by the idea of cooking one. Instead of a whole bird I'd roast a bone-in turkey breast (maybe two, depending on the number of friends) with plenty of butter, herbs, and garlic. 


While the hope is to have everyone show up to the potluck with their respective dishes at the same time, the reality is some friends will trickle in a little later than others, so a variety of appetizers, and lots of them, will ensure that everyone has something to hold them until dinner and to graze on after we eat, since an evening with friends tends to go into the wee hours. 

After dinner coffee is a must, but I'd make it extra special by serving up homemade pumpkin spice lattes in lieu of an ordinary drip.


Since I always want my friends to feel right at home, I'd have a pile of snuggly throws at the ready so they can kick off their shoes and relax after dinner as we chat, watch football, or play board games. 

I always like to send my guests home with something, and few things could be better, or more appreciated, than leftovers from a delicious meal. Affixing a pretty label with calligraphy letters totally elevates an ordinary brown box.



Wordsmith Wednesdays: Zaftig

November 4, 2015

Here's where I share my favorite words with you. Because savvy girls have impressive vocabularies.


Get Gorgeous with Yogurt

November 3, 2015

Yogurt, or yoghurt--your call, is a superfood loaded with vitamins, minerals, and good for you enzymes, so it makes sense that it's just as beneficial topically as it is when eaten (of course I'm speaking of the plain, unsweetened, unflavored variety here). It contains lactic acid, which exfoliates and tightens pores, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties to fight acne, and soothing zinc to calm skin, particularly when sunburned. Here are ten ways you can incorporate yogurt into your skin and hair care routine.

1. Gently massage yogurt onto skin, leave on for ten to fifteen minutes, then rinse to reveal a healthy glow. 
2. Mix two parts yogurt with one part oats for a gentle face and body scrub. 
3. Concoct a skin brightening face mask with 1 teaspoon yogurt, 1 teaspoon raw honey, and two mashed strawberries. The strawberries contain a natural salicylic acid, which brightens and exfoliates. 
4. Mix yogurt (2 tablespoons), honey (1 tablespoon), and coconut oil (1/2 tablespoon) for a nourishing, frizz-fighting deep conditioning treatment for dull tresses. 
5. For a protein-packed hair mask, combine 2 tablespoons of yogurt with one egg and apply to hair. Don't worry about your hair smelling like egg, the yogurt neutralizes the odor. 
6. Add yogurt directly to your bath and enjoy a relaxing soak; emerge with luminous skin. 
7. Mix a few drops of chamomile essential oil with plain yogurt and apply to skin to soothe a sunburn. 
8. Get rid of skin discolorations, blotchiness, and age spots by applying a mixture of yogurt (about 2 tablespoons) and a squeeze of lemon juice to face for 30 minutes. Do this a few times a week for best results.
9. Fight wrinkles and fine lines with a yogurt and olive oil face pack. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to 3 tablespoons of yogurt and apply to face for 20 to 30 minutes.
10. Make a foot scrub with two parts yogurt and one part finely ground walnuts. 

image via

15 Fun Things to Do With the Kids in November

November 2, 2015

Coming up with new ways to keep your little ones entertained can seem an impossible task at times, so each month I will offer up a few fun ideas that you and your children might enjoy. Have fun!


1. Pull out the construction paper, markers, and glitter and craft handmade placemats for the kids table for Thanksgiving. 

2. It's Good Nutrition Month, so find a healthy recipe you can make together to share with family, friends, neighbors, and teachers. 

3. Go see The Peanuts Movie together, out Friday the 6th.

4. Write letters to Jolly Old Saint Nick on 'Dear Santa' Day (November 8). Emailsanta.com is a fun site. 

5. Make handprint turkeys. 

6. Volunteer to help feed the homeless or at a local food bank. 

7. Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade together.

8. Teach your children about veterans and why we honor them on Veterans Day. Check your local news stations, newspapers, or websites to find out if there are any activities going on that support local vets.   

9. Bake these peanut butter bars to celebrate National Peanut Butter Lovers Month.

10. Let them be your sous chef as you test out holiday recipes. 

11. Take them to see The Good Dinosaur, preferably in 3D, after the big Thanksgiving meal. 

12. Spend Black Friday cozy on the sofa, watching their favorite movies and eating leftovers.

13. Have a pumpkin pie eating contest. 

14. See how many random acts of kindness you can commit on World Kindness Day (November 13).

15. Make an 'I am thankful for...' garland. Cut out paper leaves, write down reasons you are thankful on them, then string them all together and display as a reminder of how blessed you and your kids are.

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Monday

November 2, 2015



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