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Friday Favorites

Favorite Confection

Lavender cupcakes with honey cream cheese frosting from Jessie's Kitchen Chronicles

Lavender cupcakes with honey cream cheese frosting from Jessie’s Kitchen Chronicles

Leia and I took a trip to Seaport Village to ride the carousel. We’re sort of carousel connoisseurs, there isn’t one in a 60 mile radius we haven’t tried. If I’m wrong please let me know! The one at Seaport is my second favorite. It’s trumped purely by the nostalgia of a photo of my four year old self riding the Balboa carousel in the newspaper. Anyway, back to Seaport Village, Leia and I skipped our usual ice cream in favor of equally overpriced cakepops ($2.50?! I seriously need to open a bakery…). I tried the lavender flavor and it was delicious! I’d never tried an herb flavored dessert, I was a little skeptical. It’s definitely a strong, distinct flavor, but left me feeling inspired to try making a batch on my own. Even Leia enjoyed a few bites. But like her mother, she has yet to say no to a dessert.

Favorite View

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Visiting my Grandma and Grandpa at Ft. Rosecrans. My Grandpa lied about his age to join the Marines before he was 18 and fought in World War II. I can’t say enough how much I admire and appreciate the people who put their lives on the line to fight for something bigger than themselves. Leia was her normal silly, adorable self. It meant a lot to me for them to see what an amazing little person she is.

Favorite Dream Home

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Love the reclaimed pine flooring!

How fun is this wine display and glass holder?

How cool is this wine display and glass holder?

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Beach bonfire in the backyard? Pass the s’mores.

Favorite Pinterest Idea I Wish I Would Have Seen Years Ago

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What a fun way to display the places I’ve traveled to! The white labels and all-caps text look a little tacky, but that’s an easy fix.

Favorite Songs from an Artist I Otherwise Feel ‘Meh’ About

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You like that title? Me too. So last year I posted a primitive version of Friday Favorites, in which I mention how I’m loving Calvin Harris. In hindsight I should have added an asterisk that explained “Feel So Close” was probably the only song I’d listened to. Almost a year later I’m still in love with that song (and the video), I could listen to it 10 times in a row. I also really like “Sweet Nothing” because Florence Welch is amazing. But I’ve tried listening to a handful of other Calvin Harris songs and…meh, I’m just not feeling it.

Favorite Investment

Works out to about $25 per month, includes unlimited tanning (of which I will limit myself for fear of cancer) and unlimited hydromassage. I’ve been going almost every night for the last two weeks. I’ve even worked up to running 4 miles some nights! Somehow this still does not counteract the massive amout of processed and sugary crap I’ve been eating. I’m still feeling too tight in all my clothes…

Friday Favorites

Here you go Nikki! I aim to please, my friend. Punctuation makes a difference.

Favorite New Restaurant

PrepKitchen Little Italy

PrepKitchen Little Italy

Danielle and I had dinner at PrepKitchen during restaurant week. For $30 I chose an appetizer, entree and dessert from their whole menu. The atmosphere was hip without making me feel like a non-hipster outcast. Food was great, staff was friendly. I will definitely go back. Oh, Leia came too. Her favorite part? The bacon off Danielle’s flatbread appetizer. She’s my child, for sure.

Favorite Bedtime Ritual

Every night when Leia goes to bed we talk about our favorite things that day. “Leia, what was you favorite part of the day?” followed by “Mama, what’s your favorite part?” We go back and forth talking about the things we did, meals we ate, people we saw. Hearing about her day through her eyes melts my heart and makes everything right in this world.

Favorite Pinterest Experiment

Did you wake up this morning and discover someone used that last splash of coffee creamer? You know, that little bit at the bottom of the bottle you saved yesterday so you would have enough for today? Mix one can of sweetened condensed milk with two cups of milk and a splash of vanilla. Viola, coffee creamer!

Favorite Motivation to Workout

All hail the skirted bikini. I’m 31, I grew and birthed a human, I have cellulite. Did I mention having a kid means trips to the pool and beach require me to run around? Running = jiggly flesh. Call me matronly all you want, I think these are totally sexy.

Favorite Home Decor

Picture ledges from IKEA. These are genius – affordable and easier to put on the wall than a bunch of individual frames. I love the idea of using these to display Leia’s books too.

Favorite “Reality” TV

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The Bachelor. I might be the only girl who didn’t swoon over Sean during last season’s Bachelorette. He was just a little too wholesome, in an annoying way. But I have to admit he’s really grown on me this season! Now if he would just kick Tierra to the curb where she belongs I’d grab my pom poms and cheer him on to finding true love. Team Desiree FTW.

Favorite Fashion

Tangerine and aqua, maxi skirts, white and silver, denim jackets. Loving all of it.

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Finding glasses that look good on me is near impossible, so I never buy them online. But darn, these Roverto Cavalli’s are cute!

Favorite Reading Material

A blog that reviews wine from Trader Joe’s. Who doesn’t love a tasty bottle of wine that costs less than $10?

Favorite Recipes To Try Soon

Much like this blog, I’ve been neglecting my “Kitchen Experiments” board on Pinterest. Now that we’re getting settled in at the new place, I’ll probably get to enjoy more time in the kitchen.

Tomato, basil, parmesan soup. Made in a crockpot. Love.

Tomato, basil, parmesan soup.…made in a crockpot. I’m not a huge tomato soup fan, but this looks delicious.

Favorite Local Business

My mom and I finally used our Groupons for a shellac manicure and spa pedicure at La Dolce Belladonna salon. Five stars for the adorable Candace who was the right balance of professional and fun. She made my nails look amazing. It was my first experience with shellac polish, that stuff is no joke! It held up flawlessly through packing, moving and cleaning. After a week it started to chip a little on the corners so I decided to take it off myself…which was also serious business. They needed to be soaked in acetone for about 15 minutes and scraped clean.

Milestones (part two): Potty Training

Potty training is like sky diving. Or how I imagine sky diving would be…scary, intimidating, anxiety inducing. You watch other people do it and survive and you think “ok, I can do this” as you inch a little closer to the unavoidable edge. Then you just jump, fingers crossed you survive.

I dreaded potty training. It sounded miserable. Spending every waking moment watching her every move and anticipating her bodily functions? Using the word “potty” no less than a thousand times a day? I cringed. As my friends braved the trenches I tried to pick up tips from their experiences. I knew the general rule is to wait until the kids show signs of readiness. But what the heck does that mean? Leia wasn’t telling me when she would go, she didn’t wake up dry in the mornings. It was all so confusing. My main reason for procrastinating? I didn’t want to give up the convenience of diapers. I wasn’t ready to hear “mommy I have to pee!” then frantically drop everything and rush to the nearest bathroom.

My car broke over Thanksgiving. Knowing I would be home bound for several days, it seemed like the perfect time to face my fears. I didn’t follow a specific method, and tried to keep low expectations. I let Leia run around half naked and followed her around with a small plastic toilet all freaking day and night. There were lots of accidents. I was exhausted, and felt defeated. When she peed in the toilet for the first time I was beyond excited! I clapped and cheered and hugged her…I was so enthusiastic it scared Leia into tears. Days passed and eventually going in the potty clicked. She started having fewer and fewer accidents.

Just a normal day, chasing cats, naked.

Just a normal day, chasing cats, naked.

Nearly two months later I feel totally confident in saying my child is potty trained. No accidents in weeks. She can hold it if I tell her we need to wait to find a bathroom. I put her in pull ups for naps and bed, but they are consistently dry. The only time in the last month she woke up wet was the one time she didn’t wear a pull-up…figures. She’s been going by herself more often, especially if I’m busy in the kitchen or taking shower. Sometimes she announces her stuffed animals have to potty. She takes them to the bathroom, shuts the door, and all I hear is a flush before she comes out again. I’m sorry fragile planet for the water she’s wasting, it’s a temporary fascination.

New Years Eve, watching fireworks in a parking lots. I brought the potty with us just in case. Since then I've discovered she's pretty good at just squating on the side of the car if there isn't a potty nearby. My kid is awesome.

New Years Eve, watching fireworks in a parking lot. Good thing I brought the potty with us. However, I’ve since discovered she’s pretty good at just squatting next to the side of the car if there isn’t a potty nearby. My kid is awesome.

True story…it’s 11pm as I’m writing this (or it was yesterday when I was writing this…not when I published it) and she just woke up and came into the living room to tell me she had to pee. I went with her, then carried her back to bed. She fell back asleep right away. Who is a proud mom? This lady!

So we survived potty training. Stopping to find a bathroom when she needs to go isn’t as impossible as I feared. I love not using diapers. That said, it was definitely the hardest parenting task I’ve tackled so far. I realize potty training will seem like a piece of cake compared to the parenting challenges as she gets older, just let me have my moment! After the first few weeks it wasn’t as terrible as I expected. See? It’s exactly like skydiving. Once your feet hit the ground you feel like a bad ass and it wasn’t that scary.

Milestones (Part One): Weaning

I don’t often feel those heart tugging “where did my baby go?” moments. I’d like to think that’s because I do a good job of enjoying her in the moment, free from wishing I could go back and do anything differently. Or maybe I just like each stage better than the last. I know, sort of parent blasphemy to say I think I like toddlers better than newborns, right?

Either way, I’ve been having more than a few “wow, you are growing up fast!” epiphanies lately. Leia will be two and a half at the end of this month. She is officially weaned and potty trained (potty training is part two on the topic of milestones). I’m starting to talk about things like preschool and her first overnight without me. When I think about it all together it seems like she’s driving off for college and I want to slam the brakes.

Let’s talk about the boobs. They are amazing. I love them for sustaining life and providing comfort for my child. I nursed on demand, nursed her to sleep, nursed her when she was sick or hurt or scared. I didn’t have to buy formula or wash bottles. Breastfeeding empowered me as a new mom, gave me confidence in my post-baby body. Seriously, I’m going to tattoo gold stars on them, they’ve earned it! When Leia was born my goal was to nurse for three months – it’s not all rainbows and puppies at first! Then at three months we had a good routine so I just kept going. At one year I gave myself a big high five, assumed Leia would start drinking cows milk and be done with the boobs. Ha! The girl still hates milk unless it’s in cereal. So after a year we kept nursing. I stopped offering but never refused. Around 18 months I started offering food or water instead of nursing, or trying other methods of soothing if she was hurt or upset. I never imagined us nursing into toddlerhood, but it worked for us. At two she was only nursing before bed and naps. She was also starting to fall asleep on her own. I’d leave the room after she nursed but while she was awake. So all those naysayers who told me my kid would never sleep on her own if I didn’t stop nursing her to sleep….you can suck it. Pun! One night about a month ago (or maybe two?) Leia didn’t ask to nurse before we sang our usual bedtime songs. I took it as a sign she was ready to start the weaning process. The next day she asked…and I told her the boobies were all gone, all dried up. She freaked out. She screamed. She cried. I hugged her and kissed her and told her I loved her. When she calmed down a little I patted her back and we sang songs like normal. The next night was the same, except she was a lot less upset. The third day she only seemed a little frustrated. For a few following weeks she would say “mommy, boobies are gone, all dry” when I’d lay down with her in bed. Then she just stopped talking about them all together. It was so bittersweet to realize after more than two years, we were all done nursing.

First week home.

First week home.

Three months and we're nursing champs!

Three months and we’re nursing champs!

One year!

One year!

Almost two, boob coma.

Almost two, boob coma.

So now that my boobs are my own again…I want new ones. I want firm, perky, slightly bigger ones. Pre-baby I never would have considered implants (liposuction on my thighs? That’s another story). My boobs were just fine, small but cute. Now? They just look tired and worn out, terribly deflated. I know it’s all in my head. I should embrace the pride I have in creating and sustaining life and shout “this body is perfect!” It is. My body is amazing, I don’t disregard that. It’s hard to find the right words…maybe I feel like I’ve earned the right to alter my body? I struggle how to tell Leia that I surgically altered my body in the same breath as I tell her “your body is perfect and beautiful exactly as is.” Thankfully I have friends (hi Jamie!) who know what I’m talking about and can give me advice if and when I decide to invest in new boobs.

Til then I’ll be shopping around for comfy new bras that give the girls the lift and support they deserve!

Friday Favorites

What a slacker I’ve been around here! This is for you Nikki.

Favorite Purchase

I hate workout DVDs, but I sporadically go through these “I want to workout at home” phases. During one of these phases I bought a treadmil through Groupon. I was skeptical $150 would buy anything decent, but convinced myself I’d workout more if I could watch True Blood reruns simultaneously. Obviously it’s not on par with the treadmills in a gym. The base is narrow and short. There’s no motor, so it’s on a permanent incline and only goes as fast as you can move the belt. That said, I’m surprised at how well it’s held up! I put about 3-4 hours a week on it without any problems.

Favorite Song

I haven’t listened to The Heist as a whole album yet, but I can’t get that damn Thrift Shop song out of my head! Take a listen. “This is fucking awesome” indeed. Plus, their blog is great. How cute are Macklemore and his lady?!

Favorite New Recipe

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I made The Ultimate Cheesecake for my sister’s baby shower. This recipe lived up to it’s name and 5 star (490 review) rating. Thanks Tyler Florence! This is definitely getting tucked away in my favorite recipe book. I cooked for 60 minutes, then let it sit in the oven with the temp off and door cracked for another hour. Another 30 minutes at room temperature before refrigerating overnight.

Favorite Guilty Pleasure

Bev Cooks

From Bev Cooks

Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. Further proof I need to spend some time in the south. My inner fat girl is screaming at me to try this recipe. If it’s delicious I’ll need to spend a lot more time on that treadmill. Normally I’m not a fan of sausage, but in gravy on a fresh biscuit? Yes, please.

Favorite Fashion

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Someday (when I’m employed with a paycheck again) I’m going to splurge on a pair of diamond earrings. Nothing fancy, just a classic piece of everyday jewelry. Considering the $5 earrings I wear everyday now are leaving my ears tarnished, I need to upgrade to at least some CZ and stainless steel soon.

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Love the bright mint green! I don’t know if I could pull off the loose sheer shirt, but it’s pretty.

Favorite Giggle

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Let’s just be honest okay?

Favorite Way To Keep Warm

I’m cold when it’s below 68 and hot when it’s above 82. Spoiled from growing up in San Diego right? I know. It’s been freezing lately! So my dream home bedroom will definitely need a fireplace.

2012

January

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Most of the family together in one photo (missing everyone on the east coast, Uncle Carl and Andy)! Celebrating my Mom’s 52nd birthday.

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One of my favorite photos from our frequent trips to the zoo.

Look who finally likes taking a bath in the tub! No more bath time in the kitchen sink.

Look who finally likes the tub! No more bath time in the kitchen sink.

February

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Hiking Cuyamaca with our friends. Just a few crazy moms trying to push strollers uphill in the snow. We ditched the strollers and carried them for a while, before deciding on a picnic on the side of the path. Want to try this again…in the spring.

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My very serious Valentine did a charity photo shoot.

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Riding on the duffy in Newport Beach with Mike and Leilani.

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Photographer in the making. Me learning Instagram and the magic of filters.

March

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Decorating kites with friends for the festival in OB.

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Playdate with one of her besties, Cyler.

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Pure, heart bursting, life affirming, love.

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The easiest lemon blueberry cream pie ever. Seriously, one of my favorite recipes from the whole year.

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Discovering lip gloss.

Finishing my first 5k.

Finishing my first 5k.

April

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Easter egg hunt with cousin Faith at Gramma’s house in Newport.

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First pigtails!

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Aunt Cathy passed down a family recipe book.

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My kid loves asparagus?! Awesome!

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Decorating the cake she helped make for her Dad’s birthday.

May

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Leia autographed my copy of 50 Shades of Grey. I hope she finds this funny someday, I sure do.

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I have never lacked a warm lap, we’re big on cuddles in this house. Daphne still naps with Leia almost everyday (mostly on the bed….).

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M.I.L.F.’s (Moms In Lots of Foam), Foam Fest 5k with the ladies.

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Feeding the ducks at Lake Murray with Grammy.

June

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Face cream, my first attempt at homemade beauty products on a chemical detox kick.

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Flipped that car seat! At 23 months my toddler started forward facing.

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June 15th, Leia’s sister Dresden was born.

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Grilled corn at the Del Mar Fair.

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Playing with cousin Johnny at Grammy’s house.

July

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Cousin Sarah visits from the east coast. Had such a good time while she was here, especially watching her get an amazing tattoo!

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4th of July party with the Souzas.

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My hopes for my daughter.

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Helping make rainbow cupcakes for her birthday party.

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My heart.

August

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Best post-nap hair picture, ever.

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The kitchen is my favorite place for making memories.

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She’s sort of amazing with chopsticks! Enjoying our favorite lettuce wraps at PF Changs.

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Where’s Leia?! Oh, she’s holding my birthday flowers, thanks Aunt Jamie! I turned 31 on the 31st, hello golden year!

September

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Leia was a race car driver…and chased Grammy off the road.

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It’s important to me that I raise Leia around animals, to teach her compassion and kindness to those who depend on us.

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Few things are better than Paula Dean’s red velvet recipe – a special request from Rachel for our joint birthday celebration at Wine Steals.

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Look who stopped biting her nails!

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Pumpkin patch in Irvine on the first day of Fall.

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Meeting my brother’s girlfriend and her daughter in Arizona. Visited Andy for his birthday, but forgot Leia’s birth certificate, so she missed him.

October

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Leia discovers how to take pictures with the iPhone…and never stops.

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Carving pumpkins at Grammy and Uncle Randy’s house.

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Most of the Star Wars crew! We had 13 toddlers total (I think?) for trick or treating craziness this year.

Moms night out! Dinner and drinks (do you see that big white punch bowl?!) at Craft & Commerce.

Moms night out! Dinner and drinks (do you see that big white punch bowl?!) at Craft & Commerce.

November

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Color Run 5k with Becca. We got covered in colored dust, it was a blast!

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Honey Beer Bread. So amazing it’s making this list. It’s only 5 ingredients too!

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Chargers game with Rachel and Pina! Thank goodness we won, Chargers had a terrible season. No Norv or AJ for 2013, yay!

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Bonfire and s’mores at Mission Bay with our friends.

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A sleepy hug on Thanksgiving. What a blessing.

December

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Wiggin’ out for Crystal’s bachelorette party!

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“Merry Christmas, best friend.” Leia learned that from a cartoon and says it often, turns me to mush.

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Annual Girls Christmas Party!

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Hating Santa for the third year in a row. Priceless.

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Straight out of a celebrity tabloid, these are some adorable kids.

Our beautiful Christmas card! Thank you Brooke for your amazing design skills!

Friday Favorites

How did this week go by so fast?! I know it’s not Friday, but I really love writing these posts, so it’s a little late.

Favorite Music

Lindsey Stirling. Holy smokes, this woman is talented. It’s violin meets dubstep. Her contemporary dance moves are fun too. Looks like she’s coming to House of Blues on April 1st, I definitely need tickets. Check out her video for Crystallize on YouTube.

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Favorite Purchases

#1 Lingerie from Nordstroms. Lacy panties and a matching bra is as sexy as my wardrobe gets. I’ve never bought a corset, a garter or anything even remotely risque from the lingerie department. Aside from feeling completely silly and self conscious dressed up like a Victoria’s Secret model, who would I wear them for? So shopping for something to wear for Carrie’s birthday boudoir photo shoot was intimidating.

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Then I found this adorable black lace wrap, and fell in love. I realized if wearing it makes me feel pretty, I don’t need anyone else to wear it for.

#2 Having my makeup done by a professional at MAC. Buy $50 in makeup and a MAC artist will do your makeup for free. Since I genuinely needed new makeup, this was an easy splurge to justify. It was so worth it relax and let someone else create my sultry alter ego, perfect for a boudoir shoot.

Favorite Fantasy Travel

When I went to France with Rachel and Carrie in 2007 we made sure to see Paris and drinkĀ  real champagne in Epernay. I enjoyed Paris, but it wasn’t my favorite place. Blasphemy right? I loved the more rural, remote Epernay. So my next trip I want to see the countryside.

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Lavender fields in Provence.

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Favorite Things Party

Chelle hosted the girls for mimosas and brunch last weekend for a “favorite things” party. Each person brings 5 of their favorite thing. I didn’t realize until later it’s 5 of the SAME favorite thing, oops. Then everyone draws 5 names and those people get one of your favorite thing. So each person ends up with 5 new favorite things! It was so much fun. I scored two samples of Jo Malone…ahhh! Seriously, the best fragrance brand ever, they all smell like heaven.

Favorite Holiday Tradition

I’m on an extra tight budget this year and cringed at spending $50 on a Christmas tree. Decorating the tree with my mom and daughter? Made it worth every penny.

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You know what else was worth the cost? Another year with a screaming picture of Santa.

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Favorite Fashion

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Cozy. I think I need a puffy vest.

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For my inner bad ass.

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More tall brown boot obsession. Pretty burgundy pants too.

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Love the arm bands and the color combination.

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