Friday Favorites

May 27, 2016

Last night as I was getting my two-year old into her pajamas, she whispered, "I have an idea mommy. Let's build a party house!" My oldest daughter immediately chimed in, and so today I am building a party house. I have no idea where to begin, or what exactly they have in mind for this party house, but I'm mom and there are few things I've done that haven't impressed my little ones. (And by the way, I'm so grateful for this fact because I imagine in ten years when they're teenagers there will be little I can do to convince them that I was ever cool.) Besides our party house, my girls also want a movie night and manicures--a fun start to our long weekend. I hope yours is just as much fun! God bless!

The most colorful and cute candy kabobs

My new favorite mantra.

Pretty DIY ombre soaps.

Baby besties.

These updated hoop earrings

Get Gorgeous with Strawberries

May 26, 2016

Juicy, ripe strawberries are one of nature's sweetest gifts, and besides being a favorite summertime snack, they're a natural beauty enhancer that can work wonders on hair and skin. Loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and alpha hydroxy acids, strawberries can transform and balance oily skin, banish wrinkles, and even reverse hair loss. Here are ten ways to get gorgeous with fresh strawberries.

1. Mash 2 or 3 ripe strawberries and mix them with 1 tablespoon of raw honey to make a deep-cleaning face mask. Leave it on your face for at least 15 minutes then rinse with warm water.

2. Mix ½ a cup of sugar, 4 or 5 ripe strawberries, and 3 teaspoons of olive oil to make a luxurious body scrub.
3. Prevent hair loss and promote growth by whipping up a hair mask with 2 ripe strawberries, smashed, with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of raw honey.
4. For a skin-balancing facial, mix 3 smashed strawberries with 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt and slather on your face and neck; leave on for 15 minutes. 
5. Make a simple exfoliating wash by rubbing your face with a couple of smashed strawberries. The natural AHAs will slough off dead skin cells. 
6. Get a whiter, brighter smile by rubbing half a strawberry back and forth over your teeth and letting the fruit do its thing for a minute or two before rinsing.
7. Mash 2 ripe strawberries and mix with 2 teaspoons of sugar to make a lip scrub that will soften and plump your pucker.
8. Put cold strawberry slices on your eyelids to treat puffy eyes. The alpha hydroxy acids in the fruit will make eyes look smoother and younger.
9. Mix 7 or 8 smashed strawberries with a tablespoon of mayonnaise to make a nourishing hair conditioner that will leave strands silky and shiny.
10. Combat acne scars and dark spots by applying fresh strawberry juice to the site with a cotton ball or swab. Rinse thoroughly after 5 or 10 minutes.

image via

Wordsmith Wednesday: Revelry

May 25, 2016

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

7 Grilled Veggie Recipes For a Memorial Day BBQ

May 24, 2016

Memorial Day is coming up this weekend, and in the grand tradition of the unofficial start of summer, there'll be a whole lot of grilling going on. This year, in addition to his famous chicken wings, my husband and I are looking forward to throwing some fresh vegetables on the barbie (our 7-year old selves are cringing) to lighten up our holiday menu; here are a few recipes I want to try out this grilling season.

Friday Favorites

May 20, 2016

This marks the first weekend in a month that we have nothing to do. Our house hunt has, thankfully, come to an end and we'll be moving into our new home this summer. And miraculously there are no birthday parties, weddings, or showers to attend or shop for this weekend, so I'll actually get to relax a little, perhaps sleep in (if my girls let me), and hopefully test out a few new recipes. I hope you have a gorgeous weekend. God bless!

The cutest ice cream truck gift tags

A pink and tropical tablescape.

This margherita pizza.

Gold kicks.

The pink wall, the gold mirror, and all that gorgeous natural light in this dreamy bedroom.

10 Ways to Be Kind to People

May 19, 2016

At a recent trip to Coffee Bean, I received a valuable lesson, or rather a reminder, while waiting in line to order.  As I was standing there, I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned to find a young man smiling at me. He simply said hello and asked me my name, before introducing himself.  I learned that he was from Syria, had come to the states about a decade ago, and had just completed a course to counsel and encourage people who'd had issues with substance abuse. I'll admit that I was suspicious at first to turn and see this person grinning at me (and I carefully studied his face in case I needed to ID him later), but talking with him, this complete stranger, was a reminder of how detached we all are from one another, and how unaccustomed to simple acts of kindness--like saying hello--we've become. I decided to buy my new "friend's" coffee, and he promised to pay next time we bump into each other. Our exchange was brief--just a fraction of my 24-hour day--but it was enough to inspire me to do my part to throw as much kindness out into the world as I possibly can. Here are ten ways to do just that:

1. Pay for the person behind you in line at Starbucks or wherever you get your morning fix.

2. If you have small children, high five their classmates as they file into class. (If they're older this will totally embarrass them, so resist the urge.)

3. Look the cashier or server in the eye and ask how their day is going. And really listen to their answer so that you may reply accordingly. Don't forget to tell them to have a nice day as you leave.

4. Smile and wave at the cars next to you at the stoplight. They might think you're crazy, but at least they'll have a nice chuckle about it later.

5. Buy a box of donuts or cookies and take them to the nurses' station at a hospital. (I would say bake them, but the nurses might be suspicious and throw them away.)

6. Find coffee mugs with inspirational quotes at the dollar store and leave them in the break room at work with a sign that says "Please feel free to use and return."

7. Help an elderly person, a pregnant woman, or a frazzled momma with her kids put their shopping bags in the car. 

8. Before you leave the office, write out a thank you card or note for the cleaning crew to find.

9. Send dinner over to the elderly widower, new parents, or another one of your neighbors who may not have time or energy to cook a nice meal for themselves.

10. Pay as many compliments as you can to family, friends, and even strangers.

Wordsmith Wednesday: Anodyne

May 18, 2016

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

Friday Favorites

May 13, 2016

My daughter's elementary school has an alphabet calendar for the last 26 days of school, and each day there is a fun activity or dress-up day that starts with whatever the day's letter is (e.g. A was art day, B was backwards day, etc)--it certainly makes the countdown to the last day of school more fun. And summer can't get here fast enough! It's not that I'm anxious for the sweltering heat, because I'm so not, but I am looking forward to swim play dates with friends, treats from the ice cream man at the park, eating dinner al fresco, and of course, sleeping in (at least sleeping in as late as my two littles will let me). What do you look forward to in the summer? Have a fabulous weekend, and God bless.

A DIY acrylic calendar. I hate the look of calendars hanging on the wall, but this is actually so stylish and I'd love it in my home office.

Santorini--still at the top of my bucket list.

Insanely gorgeous cakes that look like polished marble.

Gold wedding shoes that I would totally rock on any random day to get coffee.


Wordsmith Wednesday: Inchoate

May 11, 2016

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

Get Gorgeous With Salt

May 10, 2016

Steering clear of excess salt is important if you're trying to get bikini-ready (and live a long, healthy life), but as far as getting gorgeous skin, healthy hair, and fresh breath, consider salt your new go-to. Here are ten ways to get gorgeous with salt.

1. Mix 1 teaspoon of finely ground sea salt with 3 teaspoons of raw honey to make a skin-balancing face mask that will simultaneously control oil and retain skin's moisture.
2. A good soak in salt water helps to purify skin by removing toxins and absorbing dirt and grime, plus it softens and helps retain skin's natural moisture barrier. Mix a third cup of sea salt with your warm bath water, let it dissolve, then soak for 15 to 20 minutes. 
3. Salt is a natural disinfectant and can kill bacteria that causes bad breath. Mix up a homemade mouthwash by combining ½ teaspoon of salt with ½ teaspoon of baking soda and ¼ cup of warm water.
4. Make a skin-softening body scrub by mixing ¼ cup of sea salt with ½ cup of coconut oil. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you want.
5. Fill a small spray bottle with tepid water and add a teaspoon of sea salt to make a refreshing, oil-absorbing skin toner. 
6. Get rid of puffy eyes by placing cotton pads soaked in a hot salt water solution over your eyes. (About one teaspoon of salt and ¼ cup hot water for the solution.)
7. Make a clarifying conditioning treatment for your hair by mixing equal parts Epsom salt with conditioner. This will give your hair volume and get rid of product buildup.
8. For a hydrating and healing body scrub, mix ½ cup salt with ¼ cup each of coconut oil and pure aloe vera juice or gel. You can also add 10 drops of lavender essential oil, which has antiseptic properties. 
9. The next time you steam your face, add ⅓ cup sea salt to the pan of water before it boils, then proceed as usual. 
10. For bright, healthy-looking nails, mix one teaspoon each of salt, baking soda, and lemon juice with ½ cup warm water in a bowl. Soak fingers in the solution for 10 minutes, then gently scrub with a nail brush or old toothbrush.

image via

Friday Favorites

May 6, 2016

Our mini getaway to Disneyland last weekend was just what this family needed! We had a blast eating way too many hotel cookies, riding It's a Small World, hanging out in Pixie Hollow with Tinkerbell, and a photo session with our favorite, Princess Tiana (my six-year old was wearing her own Tiana gown, which made the moment even more perfect). And crashing on a plush hotel bed two nights in row wasn't half bad either. This weekend promises to be equally fun, as we'll be with family celebrating Mother's Day. Have yourself a fabulous weekend, and Happy Mother's Day to all the moms (and yes, fur babies count!). God bless.

Claire Danes' Cinderella-esque, glow-in-the-dark Zac Posen gown at this year's Met Gala. 

Cinnamon roll oatmeal cookies that I plan to make asap. 

A lesson for my girls, especially my impressionable six-year old who's now in school. 

The sweetest little girls' room.

This denim jumpsuit

15 Brunch Casseroles for Mother's Day

May 5, 2016

One of my favorite Mother's Day traditions as a child was waking up extra early to make breakfast for my mom. We would serve it to her in bed and she would feign surprise every year, as if she couldn't hear the pots and pans banging in the kitchen. Since then, I've always considered the second Sunday in May to be the premiere brunch day of the year, and for the past several years we've met up with family--including aunts, uncles, cousins, and all the babies--for a festive Mother's Day brunch. There are a lot of us, so picking a restaurant and letting the professionals do the dirty work is much easier than having brunch at home. Still, I love hosting and I'd really love to prepare a beautiful brunch for my family and friends; one that includes plenty of make-ahead recipes so I can enjoy the day with my loved ones. These casserole recipes are perfect for a Mother's Day, Father's Day or any day brunch because they feed a crowd and can be prepared in advance so I can focus on setting a gorgeous table and mixing up champagne cocktails. 

Wordsmith Wednesday: Supercilious

May 4, 2016

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

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