Friday Favorites

January 29, 2016

This is the first weekend of 2016 that we don't have any obligations--no weddings, birthday parties, playdates, nothing--and I have to admit, I feel like break dancing! January has been really fun and full of celebrations, but I'm exhausted. We're gonna chill out this Saturday and Sunday, maybe try out a couple of new recipes (cooking is how I relax), and perhaps pop some popcorn for a good old-fashioned movie night. However you're spending your weekend, be safe and have fun! God bless.

This wildly gorgeous 30th birthday dinner.

Korean nachos that look amazing! The chips are fried wonton.

A pretty (and super simple) DIY gold-dipped vase

Fun coasters.

This beautiful and cozy formal dining room.

Creole Rice Fritters (Calas) and Creole Coffee

January 27, 2016

Until recently, I thought beignets were the only fried, sugary Creole dessert that I could love, but then I tried this recipe for calas--Creole rice fritters that are laced with nutmeg and dusted with powdered sugar--and I believe I may have found a new favorite. They're tender on the inside, and crispy and chewy on the outside, with this great texture from the rice. And unlike beignets, there's no need to roll out the dough and cut it into shape--these airy little fritters are simply dropped into hot oil and deep-fried to golden perfection. Plus, calas have a rich history (imagine enslaved women selling baskets of calas in the French Quarter to earn money for their freedom) that you can read about here as you enjoy them with a cup of Creole coffee.

Creole Rice Calas
6 tablespoons flour
3 heaping tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon salt
pinch nutmeg
teaspoon vanilla
2 cups cooked rice, cooled (or cooked the day before)
2 eggs
peanut oil
powdered sugar

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix the rice, eggs, and vanilla together. Add the dry ingredients to the rice and eggs and mix thoroughly. Meanwhile, heat about two inches of peanut oil in a large skillet. When oil is heated all the way through, drop dough by spoonfuls into the oil and fry until brown. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar, and serve them hot with Creole coffee.

Creole Coffee
To make Creole coffee, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of molasses into a cup of strong brewed coffee with chicory and stir until it's dissolved, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons of warmed half and half. 

Wordsmith Wednesday: Festoon

January 27, 2016

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


January 25, 2016

image via Instagram (@kofielam)

Friday Favorites

January 22, 2016

It's already starting to warm up here in SoCal, and I'm a little sad that I'm having to dress my girls in their lighter sweaters and dresses so soon after the holidays; I'm going to miss cozying up on the sofa with mugs of hot chocolate or bundling my girls up in coats and scarves for park playdates. I'm not entirely bummed though, because, warm weather or not, February promises to be full of fun with Mardi Gras, the Super Bowl, and Valentine's Day. I can't wait to whip up some Cajun dishes that would make my Nana proud! Have a fabulous weekend, and God bless!

Mini bun-less cheeseburgers that might be perfect for Super Bowl Sunday.

A cute Valentine's Day craft for my little ones. 

This pretty pink fur.

The most adorable treat bags (which also look like a super easy DIY).

A favorite quote from C.S. Lewis.

Wordsmith Wednesday: Bonhomie

January 20, 2016

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


January 18, 2016

image via Instagram 

Friday Favorites

January 15, 2016

I was saddened by the news of David Bowie's death this week, and my heart immediately broke for his lovely wife, Iman. Not wanting to believe it, I quickly checked her Instagram and found her most recent post was simply, "The struggle is real, but so is God." So positive and gracious, even while facing what is surely one of the most difficult struggles of her life. It was such a beautiful reminder that God is in this with us, no matter what storm we may be in the midst of. This weekend I'll be celebrating with my family as my cousin marries the girl of his dreams. I bid you a wonderful weekend full of love and happiness as well. God bless! 

This dreamy office/dressing room set up that is totally me. (All it's missing is a pretty bowl filled with Ferrero Rocher!)

A quick prawn and coconut curry that might just make it into the weeknight rotation. 

This adorable DIY hammock chair for an afternoon read.

A look the late David Bowie's influence on the fashion industry. 

Chipotle shrimp tacos that look like the perfect way to shake up Taco Tuesday.

Get Gorgeous With Avocado

January 14, 2016

Avocados are, in my opinion, one of nature's most delicious gifts, and besides tasting good they're so good for you--there are over 25 vital nutrients packed into that little green fruit (vitamins, protein, antioxidants)! And all those good for you vitamins and minerals can do wonders for your skin and hair. Here are ten ways to get gorgeous with avocado.

1. Warm a couple of drops of avocado oil between your palms and rub through your hair to fight frizz.
2. For shiny hair, apply a mixture of one smashed avocado with an egg yolk and one tablespoon of coconut oil, leave it on for 20 minutes, then shampoo and condition as usual.
3. Make a moisturizing hand and body scrub my mixing mashed avocado with enough sugar to form a paste, rub on skin in a circular motion, then rinse after five minutes.
4. Throw equal parts avocado and cucumber into your blender to whip up a refreshing face mask that will rejuvenate dull, tired skin.
5. Use avocado oil as a natural sunscreen. You can also treat sunburn with it.
6. Get glowing in a flash with a simple avocado face mask; just smash a ripe avocado, apply to face and neck, and rinse after 5 or 10 minutes. It also combats wrinkles.
7. Apply smashed avocado to rough, dry skin as a pre-shower treatment, then rinse to reveal soft, supple, healthier-looking skin.
8. Rub avocado oil into cuticles for healthy nails.
9. Toss one ripe avocado, one cup of milk, and some honey to sweeten into a blender and make a smoothie that will give you glowing skin from the inside out.
10. Mix with olive oil to make this hydrating hair mask

image via

Wordsmith Wednesday: Glitterati

January 13, 2016

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


January 11, 2016

image via Instagram (@therealdebbieallendanceacademy)

Friday Favorites

January 8, 2016

You know that feeling you get after a vacation or long break, like you need a vacation after you've just had one? That's what I'm experiencing now after having two weeks off for the holidays. We got back to our school/work routine this week, and it's been a little rough for all parties involved, including my two-year old who has asked no less than six times a day where her sissy is. I'm confident that we'll get it together--we always do--but after looking at my calendar, I'm realizing we have some sort of obligation every weekend this month and won't be getting much "Netflix and chill" time. Still, I'm grateful for the new year, grateful to be busy with weddings and birthday celebrations (it means I'm loved, or at least liked), and grateful to have work to return to. Have a fabulous weekend! God bless.

Mac and cheese jalapeƱo poppers that would be the perfect football-watching food at a Super Bowl party.

The new Balmain campaign featuring runway icons Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Claudia Schiffer.

Cute felt cup cozies.

Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.

This sweet photo I spotted on Facebook.

2016 Beauty Resolutions and a Deal From Julep

January 7, 2016

$20 off $50

Admittedly, I'm much more low maintenance when it comes to my morning beauty routine, especially makeup, now that I freelance from home and don't go to an office every day--a sad fact coming from a former beauty editor. I blame lack of available time, being a stay-at-home mom/housewife/writer and everything that goes along with those roles, but the truth is, I've simply gotten a little lazy. Since the top of the new year is the perfect time for change, I've decided to shake things up a bit and focus a little more on myself in 2016, instead of putting all my effort and energy into taking care of my family and home. I'm starting with a few simple beauty resolutions that I know I can stick to:

1. Incorporate monthly facials into my skincare regimen. These will likely be DIY facials at home, with the occasional splurge at a day spa.

2. Find a low maintenance but still super cute style (besides my go-to chignon) for my curly hair that I can rock on a daily basis.

3. Try orange lipstick. (I tend to stick to reds, berries, pinks, and the occasional nude.)

4. Wear a cat eyeliner more often. A lot more often.

5. Try at least six new perfumes (one new fragrance every other month).

What are your beauty resolutions for 2016? Whether you want to boost your skincare regimen or experiment with color, I've got you covered with a special deal from Julep! Today through 1/10, use promo code NEW14159X at checkout to save $20 off any purchase of $50 or more. You must have a total of $50 or more worth of merchandise in your cart in order for the promo code to work.

5 Favorite Books to Empower Kids

January 6, 2016

Reading to my little girls, or having my oldest daughter read a book to me is a big part of our daily routine--it's a sweet time to spend with my loves and something that we all look forward to each day. My daughters definitely have their favorites like Madeline and Fancy Nancy, which we recite several times a week (and no less!), but it's the books that have valuable life lessons for them that I treasure the most. These five books are favorites because they not only empower my children to express, love, and be proud of themselves, they also open the doors to discuss the crucial issues that all children will face at some point.

1. What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom
Encouraging our kids to have independent thoughts and celebrate their ideas is incredibly important, but also very difficult once they start school. This book describes how one child goes from not quite knowing what to do with his idea, to letting it grow and blossom into something so magnificent he can't even contain it (despite some initial fears that people might laugh at it). 

2. One by Kathryn Otoshi
This is one of my all-time favorites, and my six year old and I used to discuss it in great length before she even started school. It's a book about standing up to bullies--an all too important message these days--and how it only takes one brave person to do it. The imagery is clean and simple, and it beautifully depicts how that one courageous soul can change everything.  

3. I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
One of my greatest concerns about raising girls is that they will inevitably be subjected to images of other women that reflect societal beauty norms which are impossible to attain (hello, Photoshop!); it breaks my heart to think that they might ever feel inferior or inadequate. The tiny heroine of this rhyming book loves herself no matter what she looks like (even with a hypothetical snout that snorts or purple polka-dotted lips), and she won't let anyone, ever, make her feel that her physical appearance is all she has to offer.

4. I Think, I Am! by Louise Hay and Kristina Tracy
A book that teaches kids about positive affirmations can also teach grown-ups a thing or two. This book becomes interactive when you let your children read the affirmations on each page aloud. It's also a great way to open up conversation about some of the thoughts your little ones may be having, from learning to have patience when they have to wait for something they want, to much bigger issues like feeling unloved or lonely. 

5. It's Okay To Make Mistakes by Todd Parr
I love this book because it reassures and reminds my girls, particularly my oldest, that everyone makes mistakes, and that it's okay. It teaches us that every mistake we make, no matter how big or embarrassing, is an opportunity to learn something, and knowing that makes it easier for my first grader to accept when she gets an answer wrong or has difficulty reading a particularly long word. And moms and dads, it's a good reminder for us as well!

Wordsmith Wednesday: Morose

January 5, 2016

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

Friday Favorites

January 1, 2016

It's the first day of 2016, and the beginning of what I am certain will be a fabulous year (because I'm determined to make it fabulous). I can't say for sure what's in store, but I'm believing God for amazing things to happen, and I pray you have a wonderful year as well. 

Happy New Year, and God bless!

A sweet little reading space for my little girls. 

Thandie Newton's curls. 

Deeply chic, organizing shelves

Adorable recipe book party favors. 

Encouraging words to remember in 2016.
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