Monday, February 25, 2013

Apres Weekend

[Is there anything more beautiful than the sun shining through a flowering tree?]

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I don't shy away from documenting the memorable parts of my day: the sudden influx of magnolia trees lining the streets; the last, gorgeous morsel of one of my favorite breakfast foods; an ode to my sunny hometown. My weekends are sometimes packed full of back-to-back activities, and are sometimes so slow I can't stand it. Whatever their pace, they never lack moments that restore my belief in everyday magic and I'm so glad I can always look to those to get me through another week. Happy Monday, everyone!

 [A rainbow of hues that got me excited for spring]

[Chocolate chip French toast at a local sidewalk cafe is always a good idea]

[I wouldn't want to live anywhere else]

  [Decorative accents that make me long for a summer spent by the shore]

[A quick and light lunch with my sister in our backyard]

[Trying out a new app on my iPhone led to capturing the most remarkable moment of my weekend]

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mini Lemon Tarts

Every Friday night I reward myself with something sweet and sinful - a treat I usually don't allow myself to indulge in during the week. There's something so comforting about digging into that perfect morsel, especially after five straight days of work. Last week it was a chocolate croissant from Le Pain Quotidien, which I dug into quite enthusiastically after scarfing down a big bowl of pesto pasta. It was beautiful. While at my favorite little cafe, I spotted the most precious little tarts that tempted me beyond belief, but I only let myself have the pain au chocolat. I couldn't get them out of my mind, so I took matters into my own hands and tested out a recipe I had been dying to try - the lemon tart - especially because my favorite baking activity involves making and kneading dough. These bite-sized pastries are equal parts sweet and tart and perfect for a dessert table or over mimosas at brunch. Most of all, they were the perfect ending to an eventful week that I was eager to see pass.


Monday, February 18, 2013

DIY Brown Sugar Lip Scrub

All of my DIYs are borne of some sort of failure. So when I walked into a Sephora store yesterday morning and saw an array of punch-colored lipsticks and lip stains, I knew I needed to make a change. You see, the weather in LA has been super dry and lip balm just isn't working hard enough to hydrate my chapped lips. I spotted a sugar lip scrub loaded with a billion-and-one odd-sounding chemicals and decided against buying it. When I got home, I raided my pantry and whipped up my own scrub that was both all-natural and came at low/no cost to me--all good things! I combined equal parts brown sugar (natural exfoliant), olive oil (moisturizer), honey (alpha hydroxy) and lemon juice (lightener) in a bowl and rubbed it on my lips in a circular motion for about 10 seconds. It tasted good and sloughed off the dead skin that had accumulated there all winter. More importantly, it allowed me to glide on a fuchsia lipstick that I've been dying to rock all season.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What to Wear: Three Looks for Valentine's Day

{I was going to title this post "What to Wear: Valentine's Day Three Ways," but that's a story for another day.}

Let's be real here. After all of the love and romance and pomp and circumstance, Valentine's Day is all about the outfit. What you wear on the most romantic day of the year really communicates how you feel about it. In love? Wrap yourself in shades of red and layers of silk, satin, and tulle (or a black-and-white floral print in this case). Not sure about your date? Get edgy and show him who's boss. Flying solo? Keep it low-key and semi-casual to kick it with your girls. 

During a recent shopping spree I came across a cream colored asymmetrical peplum top with gold studded sleeves from H&M. I usually shy away from peplum hems due to my long torso and wider hips, but this one lied flat against my body and whittled my waist. Check out how I styled it to achieve the three distinct looks that I mentioned above. What will you be wearing tomorrow night?

 Skirt: Prabal Gurung for Target // Shoes & Bracelet: Forever 21
  Leather-like Pants: Zara // Shoes: Steve Madden // Necklace (as bracelet): Sequin
 Pants: Target // Boots: Forever 21 // Necklace: H&M

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Day Dessert - Strawberry Clafoutis

I like to think of myself as a simple girl, but as much as it hurts to admit, it takes a lot to impress me. I certainly haven't seen it all--not even close--but my imagination is so wild and free that I truly believe I've experienced most of the things I have fantasized about. I wish I could be satisfied with just the ordinary, but is it so bad to want to expand my horizons and try things that excite and delight me? It's way too easy to dip a strawberry into melted chocolate or ice a boxed mix cupcake and call it dessert. For Valentine's Day, I wanted to branch out of my baking comfort zone and try a simple yet refined recipe (this one for strawberry clafoutis) that has enchanted me for years. It's delicate, indulgent and satisfying--perfect for a romantic night in or to serve any other time of the year.

Thank you to my cousin, Lori, who gifted me with these beautiful dessert plates. I love them!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Handmade Valentine's Day Cards

Growing up, crafting was my life. Because I was the creative one in the family, my parents went to great lengths to nurture my budding passion for the arts (and crafts). I could papier-mâché and macrame the crap out of anything and no surface was too precious to work on. For my 8th birthday, my mom cleaned out Michael's of their plaster figurines and acrylic paints and set up a long table in our TV room for all of my friends to choose and customize their favorite statuettes. I still have a library of idea books and have kept the reindeer ornament that I painted, although its antler broke off at some point in the last 20 years. It now serves as a reminder of a lifetime of DIY love.

Homemade is still my route when giving one-of-a-kind gifts to special friends. These handmade Valentines will hopefully warm the hearts of everyone who receives them.

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