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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…

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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.

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.

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 drink  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.

Friday Favorites

Favorite Feline

Who doesn’t love Grumpy Cat?! I’m obsessed. Get on Pinterest and have a good laugh.

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Favorite Travel Fantasy

Viva Espana! Bring on the Cava and Manchego.

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Barcelona

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The Pyrenees

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Old Barcelona

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Burgundy Street, Madrid

Favorite Fashion

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Modcloth is awesome. Sadly this was sold out, but I put myself on the “email when available” list.

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Lovely and romantic.

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Normally not a fan of this style, and I’d fall over in a heel that high. But I love these! I need to borrow them from someone’s closet and walk very slowly.

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Hello gorgeous bag.

Favorite Photo

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I’m so sad I didn’t see this before my Grandma passed, such a beautiful way to capture the generations.

Favorite Natural Phenomenon

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Individual images taken of Venus in one year to create a full curve. The summer solstice being at the top, winter solstice at the bottom, and equinox where they lines cross.

Favorite Weekend Family Event

December Nights at Balboa Park. I’m so excited for all the festivity! Warm drinks and beautiful lights, I hope Leia loves it as much as I do. We’re leaving early tonight, I’m determined it won’t be a repeat of last year.

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Caroling at the Organ Pavillion

Favorite Body Art

Usually I think couples/friends tattoos are cheesy, but this is really sweet.

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Favorite Dream Home

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Must have a big kitchen that opens into the living room.

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Stonework, lots of windows, big grassy yard and a little stream? Magical!

Friday Favorites

Favorite Inspiration

Image from the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

I love this post by Melissa King on loving our bodies. I’ve come a long way in appreciating my body. It’s strong, healthy, it created and sustained life. It’s beautiful. That last is a little harder to say with 100% sincerity. Somewhere along the way, little girls who are told they are beautiful grow into insecure women. One of my highest priorities as a parent is raising a little girl who loves her body, feels beautiful and strong, doesn’t perceive her uniqueness as strangeness. I’m not foolish, I know insecurities can’t be avoided. I want to make sure the coping skills to deal with them are there, for both of us.

Favorite Boozy Snack

Pumpkin Bourbon Balls from Dessert For Two. Oh lordy, I need to make these now. I think I might try gingersnaps instead of vanilla wafers.

Favorite Photos

Amazing! I love this kid, and his parents. I wish I would have traveled more during and after college. I’d be thrilled if Leia said “Hey Mom, what do you think about this study abroad program? I think I want to go.” I say this now fully anticipating the heart stopping fear of my baby being continents away.

Favorite Hair

Long, red, wavy, fabulous. If I ever get the desire to color my hair, this is what it’s going to look like.

Favorite Dream Home

Are you kidding me?! I am moving to Montana right now. Okay, maybe not right now, but right after I win the lotto. These pictures aren’t all the same home, but they are all the same architect.

Favorite Use For My Microwave

Popcorn! Just put some kernels in a brown paper bag and pop them. About 1/3 cup for 2-2.5 minutes. So simple, it’s genius. I like to toss the a little melted butter and salt on the kernels before popping them. I tried to make caramel corn to smuggle into the movies last night and it was a total failure. There’s a ton of recipes floating around for easy caramel popcorn in the microwave, I can’t remember which one I used.  It involved melted the caramel mixture then tossing it with the popcorn in the bag and heating again. The smell of burnt sugar is finally gone a day later.

Favorite Music

Try not to laugh. Ready? I’ve been listening to a lot of Celtic music this week. Yep, that includes the Riverdance soundtrack. I think I’m still on an Irish kick after finishing the Fever series (Fantastic books! If you like urban fantasy, pick these up right now.). Maybe that’s why I’m crushing on the red hair too, hmm.

Favorite Snack Idea for Leia

Edible necklace.

Favorite Guilty Pleasure

Twilight! Yes, I know, the movies are a little over the top. But even if I roll my eyes every time Kristen Stewart appears, I really enjoyed the books and embrace the films as an interpretation. There’s a twist! Obviously I won’t elaborate, but I thought it was a good choice and gave the final movie and enjoyable farewell. Ashley got tickets for a 7pm premiere through her work AND we didn’t have to wait in line, score.

Favorite Eye Candy

Oh, hello Jesse Spencer. Looks like I need to put Chicago Fire on my DVR list.

Favorite DIY Gift Idea

Solid perfume by Crunchy Betty

I love lockets. I love things that smell pretty. I love natural ingredients in my health and beauty routine. Win, win, win.

Friday Favorites

Favorite Music    Michael Franti & Spearhead. Funky, reggae, hip hop, feel good music for the soul. Perfect for relaxing on a sunny afternoon.

Favorite Books    I am loving the Fever series by Karen Moning. I found this inspired image of Jericho Barrons on Pinterest, ’nuff said.

I read a lot of urban fantasy/paranormal romance, the fae world is a nice change up from vampires and werewolves. The characters are fresh and engaging. The evolution of the heroine is well written. Overall, I’m glad I started this series after all the books were written, I’d hate to wait between books!

Favorite Travel Fantasy   Patagonia. Breathtaking natural beauty split between Argentina and Chile at the southern end of South America.

Photo by Rafael Rojas

Photo by Rafael Rojas

Photo by Ian Plant

Photo by Kevin Moloney

Favorite Fashion   Denim on top and tall boots. Inspirational quotes on chunky cuffs.

Favorite Kitchen Gadget   Vacu Vin Wine Saver. Since I’m the only wine drinker in the house (the cats prefer beer), this nifty gadget helps keep my bottle fresh all week long.

Vacu Vin Wine Saver

Fancy! Maybe someday I’ll get one of these for my kitchen.

Favorite New Breakfast Food   I was sold on trying this expensive yogurt by the simple, clean packaging. Siggi’s markets skyr as Icelandic style strained yogurt. I learned it’s technically “strained skim milk cheese,” thicker and less tart than my usual Fage. The ginger and orange flavor is so good! I didn’t need to fall in love with a pricey breakfast item, given my strict budget, so hopefully it goes on sale soon.

http://www.skyr.com/skyr.html