Friday Favorites

February 24, 2017

Despite battling (and seemingly losing to) some sort of nasty cold/flu thing, I managed to get through this week with a smile on my face. Mostly. But more importantly, I somehow managed to avoid passing it along to the rest of my family. This weekend is my niece's 6th birthday party and my girls couldn't be more excited. There's going to be a backyard movie with lots of friends and family, and of course treats, so there's a lot to be excited about. And since it's the first Sunday this month that we haven't had plans, I'll get to rest, which I couldn't be more excited about.  Have a wonderful weekend, and God bless!

Super pretty marshmallows that are also super easy to make. 

Custo Barcelona booties that are just unreal

These floors

The cutest fall coat from Orla Kiely

More Last Minute Ideas for an Epic Oscars Party

February 23, 2017

Maybe you've been wanting to host an Oscar viewing party but don't know where to start, or perhaps you weren't even considering throwing a party because you don't think you have time. Either way, I've got you covered with last minute ideas for hosting a fabulous Oscar party that will come together in no time. 

Offer Guests a Popcorn Bar
Movies and popcorn go hand in hand, so pop up some kernels (I've got the perfect recipe) and set up a bar with a variety of sweet and savory toppings and seasonings for guests to make custom blends. Here are some popcorn situations that might inspire you. 

Set Up Movie Theater Concessions
Candy is popcorn's other BFF. Arrange candies on a tray or table to look like the candy case at the movies--think M'n'Ms, Red Vines, Goobers, and anything else you would find at the movie theater.
Add Sparkle to Your Treats
Glam up store-bought treats, like frosted cupcakes, macarons, or brownie bites, by sprinkling edible gold glitter over them. 

Whip Up a DIY Red Carpet
Pick up a few red plastic tablecloths from the dollar store and lay them end to end to create a red carpet for your guests' arrival. 

Decorate with Stars
Use any cardboard you have on hand, from cereal boxes to shoe boxes, to cut out stars, then cover them with glue, then glitter. You can toss them on tables, tape them up on the walls, even place them randomly on the floor.
Create a Sea of Balloons
Blow up a ton of black and gold (or whatever colors go with your Oscar party theme) balloons and toss them all around the house. Let them land where they may, as long as it's not near an open flame. 

Make a Movie Theater Curtain
Drape red plastic tablecloths on either side of the TV and tie back with a ribbon for a movie theater curtain effect on you small screen. 

Want more last minute Oscar party ideas? Get them here

images via 12, 3

Wordsmith Wednesday: Fractious

February 22, 2017

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

Friday Favorites

February 17, 2017

There are few things worse than when my littles aren't feeling well. Long lines at Target, traffic, dental appointments--none of them compare to the helpless feeling of when my bitties are under the weather. And this week was a doozy, which is why there were so few posts (apologies for that, and for actually writing the word "doozy"). But I'm a real woman with a real life, and when my family needs me I have to shut everything else down. I'm happy to report that both girls are feeling better, however, I had a flu shot earlier this week, so now it's my turn to feel crummy. We've got a jam-packed weekend ahead of us, so I'm resting up today, enjoying the sound of the rain and allowing myself to just chill for a change. Have an amazing weekend, and God bless!

Palm trees against a positively electric sunset. The colors are to die for!

The perfect pink skirt.

A DIY fur bench that I'm thinking of making for my closet. 

Lemon crumble breakfast cake that I promise I will be making soon.

A simple print I'd love to put in my daughters' room. My big girl told me her squad at school call themselves 'Girl Power,' and I couldn't be more proud!

Wordsmith Wednesday: Ruminate

February 15, 2017

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

Friday Favorites

February 10, 2017

It's been a long, rainy week (actually, I am quite pleased about the rain, which we so desperately needed), and I'm ready to enjoy some down time. We've got birthday celebrations or family functions every weekend this month, so while there will be very little "me" time in February, I'm totally looking forward to it all because spending time with the people I love most in this world does wonders to help me relax. This weekend I'm feteing one of the first people I met when I moved to Los Angeles almost fifteen years ago. She's one of those "pick up right where we left off" kind of friends, and I'm beyond excited to see her on Saturday. I hope you have fun plans this weekend. God bless!

Gorgeous tulips

These sweet baby birds. So sweet, in fact, my 3-year old jumped up and kissed the computer screen!

Bold stripes from Carolina Herrera.

Heart-shaped waffles

This cool kid from this month's issue of La Petite Magazine

Get Gorgeous With Milk

February 9, 2017

Using milk as a topical beauty ingredient dates back to ancient Greece and Egypt (Cleopatra was known to bathe in it), and it can be found in countless skincare products currently on the market. The lactic acid, calcium, vitamin B12, protein, and other nutrients found in milk all work together to slough off dead skin cells (lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid), moisturize dry skin and hair, repair damage, stimulate collagen production, and promote more youthful skin and a healthy glow. Here are ten ways you can get gorgeous skin and hair with milk. (HINT: stick with full fat milk for maximum benefits!)

1. Make a nourishing milk and honey scrub by mixing 3 tablespoons of milk with 3 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon of raw oatmeal (crumble the oatmeal a bit).
2. Mash ¼ of a ripe avocado with 1 tablespoon of milk to make a smooth paste for a nutrient-rich face mask.
3. Use milk as a toner after washing your face. The lactic acid will unclog pores and help to give you clear, clean skin.
4. Add 3 cups milk, ½ cup Epsom salts, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a hot bath for a nourishing, spa-like soak.
5. To repair dry, damaged hair, toss half of a banana, 3 tablespoons of milk, and 1 tablespoon each of honey and olive oil into a blender and whip until it's the consistency of conditioner. Apply to hair and leave on for 30 minutes to an hour. 
6. Whip up an acne-fighting face mask by mixing a tablespoon of milk with a pinch of turmeric powder and ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
7. To soothe a sunburn, soak a soft cloth in a bowl of cold, fresh milk and apply to skin as a cold compress.
8. Add 2 tablespoons of milk to a smashed banana, apply to your face, leave on for 30 minutes, and rinse. Your face will feel soft and moisturized. 
9. Mix equal parts milk and lemon juice and apply to your face with a cotton ball to treat acne and brighten dull skin.
10. Make a hydrating pre-shampoo hair mask by mixing together 2 tablespoons each of milk, plain yogurt, olive oil, and mayo. Apply to hair and cover and leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse well and shampoo and condition as usual.

image via

Wordsmith Wednesday: Reciprocity

February 8, 2017

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

Double Chocolate Espresso Muffins

February 7, 2017

I don't make it a habit to serve my family chocolate for breakfast, but I'm always willing to make exceptions on some mornings, like Valentine's Day. This year, the holiday lands on a Tuesday, so there won't be any deviation from our regularly-scheduled weekday programming--breakfast, brush teeth, get ready for work/school, etc--but I'd still like to mark the occasion with something extra special. Double chocolate espresso muffins are the perfect way to start my beloveds' day--they're fragrant and super chocolatey.  And they're warm, just like a hug from me.  
Double Chocolate Espresso Muffins
¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup milk
 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons instant espresso (this intensifies chocolate flavor; you won't taste coffee at all)
2 teaspoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease or line a standard muffin tin. Dissolve instant espresso granules in the hot water and set aside. 

Combine dry ingredients and chocolate chips in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, oil, egg, the dissolved espresso granules, and vanilla, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined (batter should be lumpy). 

Distribute batter evenly into muffin tins and sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, or until muffins have risen and are springy. 

Friday Favorites

February 3, 2017

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." -- Maya Angelou

It has been a rough week, to say the least, and my emotions have ranged from deep sorrow to rage to an overwhelming sense of helplessness. We are not in a good place; this nation is not in a good place. But in the midst of it all, I remain hopeful. Hopeful because I have seen love. I've seen it in the marches and protests and on social media and even in Senate hearings. I have seen people unwilling to yield in the belief that we are all equal, whether Muslim or Christian, gay or straight, woman or man. I have seen love in the tears of detainees and in the angry scowls of protestors--because they recognize that there are no barriers, and that our love will trump the hate.  Our love will triumph! And we will jump hurdles, leap fences, and penetrate walls until it does. God bless you!

Valentine's Day Rice Krispy treats that will surely impress my two little girls, no matter how simple they are to make. 

Pretty neutrals.

DIY pineapple doormat.

This moment for Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae at the SAG Awards

The exact spot I'd like to be right now. 

3 Simple Ways to Transform Store-Bought Salsa

February 2, 2017

Chips and salsa are easily one of the simplest appetizers you can serve--the only work required is to open up a bag and a jar--so there will no doubt be countless bowls served as the Patriots take on the Falcons in the Super Bowl this weekend. Instead of serving store-bought salsa as-is, upgrade it to something that will really impress your guests. Here are three ways to transform a jar of your favorite salsa, and trust me, they're worth the effort. 

Toss in some black beans and corn to give it a Tex-Mex twist. The amount of each you mix in depends totally on your taste. 

Add fresh fruit like pineapples, peaches, watermelon or mangoes. Fresh fruit delivers a punch of sweetness that counters the spiciness. 

Throw it into a blender with a few sprigs of fresh cilantro and make it restaurant-style. 
Because few things are better than the chips and salsa served at your favorite Mexican restaurant, amiright?

Wordsmith Wednesday: Venal

February 1, 2017

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

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