Things I Love : November, 2014

Take time to stop and bake mini donuts with your kids. Random things that I loved this month…

I usually work on blog stuff in the mornings. Even the weekend. So it was a really nice change of pace when my son found our mini donut baker in the garage and all but demanded we make them immediately. So we did.  And they loved them. And it was really fun to make something for breakfast and take a little more time with them instead of being on the computer. I guess sometimes you have to stop and smell the mini donuts.

The styling in Bon Appetit Magazine is the best. They get me. I die for food magazines. I rarely make anything from them, but I have to read them each month. Over the last year or so I’ve been falling in love with Bon Appetit and their styling. They just get me. It’s all I can do to wait patiently for the new issue to arrive each month. The creative direction is SO GOOD. Like, I want to rip out these pages and decoupage them on my dresser like I did with bands in high school.

Celebrating a friend who is following her dream. This didn’t happen in October but I didn’t download the photo until now so it missed last month’s ‘Things I Love.” My dear friend, Erika, was an extra on Brooklyn 99, one of my fave shows. So of course we had to have a viewing party at her house and experience it together. It was the Halloween episode. She nailed it. I love watching her explore this new path in her life and think she is awesome. See her on Cougar Town here.

My favorite Erin Wasson for RVCA shirt and vintage necklace. You guys. I’ve only been wine tasting twice now but both times I really felt like I needed to wear this vintage grape necklace that my grandma gave me. Do you really need to have a good luck charm for wine tasting? Because I think this is mine. My grandma wasn’t in to wine per se although she always ordered a Chablis when we ate at the pizzeria. One of the funniest conversations I ever had with my grandparents was them making fun of pretentious wine tasters and the adjectives they use to describe the wine. I will never forget it. I love this necklace. And this shirt. I will die if anything happens to it. It’s Erin Wasson for RVCA and it is my all time fave. If we’ve hung out in person you have certainly seen me in it. And I love my new necklace from Shop Serene Sky. I won it at a blogger event and it’s totally my style! So glad I didn’t win the free month of exercise.

Fried Green Beans from The Habit. Dearest fried green bean, how did I not know about you until now? I saw someone post about these on their instagram account and later that day went to try them. I adore green beans. It’s the world’s best vegetable. And fried?! Yum. This was my first time at The Habit, although it is in the same parking lot as my Joann’s so you know I’ve passed it and smelled it like a gazillion times. The burger was also amazing! Can’t wait to go back and try out more things! I also love that they put a gummy hamburger in the kids meals! Nice touch.

Nerds against bullying! You know I love Nerds, right? They are my fave. But if Nerds and green beans got in to a fight, I’m not sure whose earrings I would hold. That’s not true. I would mean mug the green beans and back my Nerds. And then eat the green beans and then the Nerds.  So when Geeky Hostess posted this it made my heart sing. Candy against bullying. Now that is a cause I can get behind. Well done Wonka.

High waisted jeans changed my life. YOU GUYS! I’m sorry to shout at you but these pants changed my life. So I’m pretty cheap about my denim. I used to buy pricey pants, and they really did fit and wear well. But it just isn’t the right time for me to spend a lot on good denim. So I’ve been hitting the cheapy stores for my pants. These stores usually go for a younger audience so the pants are all low-rise and terrible whiskering. Well, I finally came across that was high-waisted (but not in a Jessica Simpson high-waisted pants debacle, high waist) jeans and they are awesome! The whiskering and details are still not something I would typically go for, but the fact that my muffin top is fully ensconced in these pants is amazing! I instantly felt pounds lighter. Shirts lay nicer. And I don’t constantly have to hitch them up. Because they sit above my hip bones, they don’t slip down much to create saggy butt. Life changing. So now I wear them every day. I apologize in advance.

Kids on the red carpet. This one is also from last month. My husband has a friend who is an artist and he created some custom pieces for a show at the Long Beach Museum of Art. One of the pieces is a sort of team photo from a made up sport and my husband is one of the players. So of course we had to go see my husband hanging on a museum wall.  We took the kids and they were so much fun to have there. My oldest dressed like he was going for an art heist (here he is missing the beanie and hood up). And my youngest was super in to the receptions happening outside including dancing like a spaz to the band and sucking down Sprite from the bar. And, of course, we had to get them on the red carpet. The docents only had to talk to the boys a dozen times to remind them not to touch anything.

My favorite wines from @lorimarwinery/.I have new favorite wines! I fell in love with Trio from Lorimar Winery on my first visit (a red with notes of coconut, yum). But this last visit I was lucky enough to get to taste even more of their wines. Their sparkling wine is my fave sparkling! SO delicious!  And the Grenache Blanc is where it’s at. I can’t wait to crack that baby open! Looks like I’ve got my holiday drinking game plan set.

Tillamook Chef event with Haven Gastro Pub at Provisions Market in Orange. I was invited to attend a Tillamook cheese event a few weeks ago and it was amazing. Tillamook partners with chefs from all over the country and has them create sensational dishes using Tillamook product. This event was in conjunction with the Chef’s of Haven Gastro Pub and Provisions Market in Orange. The servers strolled around with platters of beer and cheese beignets and other delightful cheesey dishes. There was a fantastic cheese tasting spread set out complete with beer pairings and then there was this Mac and Cheese. Best. Ever. For this recipe they used the Extra Sharp White Cheddar and added bacon and other yummy goodness.  The event was awesome but my favorite part is that they are sharing all the recipes! I want to make everything!  Here is the White Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese.  I fell in love with the Black Pepper White Cheddar and can’t wait to find that again in a grocery store. Mmmmmm.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestStumbleUponShare

Things I Love : October, 2014

Dying over the colors on this Good Housekeeping magazine. Crap. October is over. That means that the holidays are right around the corner. Life is just moving way too fast. I’m going to make every effort to slow it down a little bit and actually enjoy the holidays this year. But for now, here is what I loved during the month of October:

Good Housekeeping NAILED it with their November cover. I never pick up this magazine but the colors really spoke to me. I’m not even a huge fan of Eva Longoria but I really loved the graphic design and so I bought it to check it out. I enjoyed the magazine and look forward to seeing what next month’s cover looks like. Maybe they are trying to young it up a bit? I love me some Erin Phraner and I know she works at the mag so…I’m going to just give her all the credit since it has a crisp clean look like her site :)

Ghostbusters Krispy Kreme donuts! When your oldest son loves Ghostbusters and Krispy Kreme puts out Ghostbusters themed donuts, you drive way far out of your way to pick up a few dozen. Not sure when they will stop selling these but I am guessing Halloween so RUN to your nearest store and buy some! They were so much fun. They also had ones that looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

I can't stop wearing this House Dress from Henry Mack. I can’t quit wearing this House Dress by Henry Mack! It’s super comfy, can be dressed up or dressed down and I love the pattern! I wore this dress 3 times in one week to all kinds of events. One to a nice dinner out sponsored by a local magazine, a fashion show and a blogger event where I paired it with comfy flats. So versatile. I’m hoping they get more prints in soon! This is def a staple in my wardrobe.  Do your kids live for a photo bomb opportunity?

He is finally out of a car seat! Look how happy that makes him! Look at that face!!! It’s pure joy because this was the day we realized that it was legal for him to ride without a car seat. He felt like a million bucks. I still have him ride with the bottom booster most of the time to ensure that he is the safest. But I now know that he can ride without one. They are growing up WAY too fast!

Just the Wine drops for neutralizing sulfites in wine which I have an intolerance to. YOU GUYS. A few years ago my doctor told me that with my allergies and history of headaches that I should probably not drink wine. My nose gets all stuffed up. I get headaches pretty much immediately and the next day can be pretty unbearable. And that can be after just one glass. I pretty much stopped drinking champagne or sparkling wine completely because of the instant headaches. But stop drinking wine altogether? Absurd. Recently, I’ve been feeling exceptionally miserable after drinking wine. So much so that one morning I woke up and decided I couldn’t drink it anymore. Luckily, a mere 5 minutes later, I was reading OC Metro and came across a story on Just the Wine. The symptoms listed in the story were pretty different from mine, but I decided to try them out anyway. I am still trying them out to see if they really help me with my wine consumption. And so far I think the answer is yes! My nose still gets stuffed up, but I’m not getting the headaches like I had been. I tried these drops in a mimosa the other day and had no headache at all! These do not prevent headaches the next day due to over consumption. You put 3 drops in your 6 ounce glass of wine and give it a stir for 20 seconds. This is basically food grade hydrogen peroxide and it neutralizes the sulfites. I even take them with me when I go out now. My husband says it looks pretty shady when I put them in my wine but I don’t care. You can read more about them here.

Self-serve Iced Coffee at Whole Foods.Somewhere along the way I started upping my daily coffee intake. But as the day goes on, I’m less inclined towards a hot cup of coffee, and turn instead to iced.  So I was super excited to see this Cold Brew set up at my local Whole Foods! I pretty much have no understanding about what the different brews are, but love that you can serve yourself. And it was delicious too! I feel like this might be the next big thing. They took out their juice bar. And while this doesn’t exactly replace that, it seems like this is where the focus has shifted. And I quite like it.

Finger Limes! I finally got to try finger limes. The inside is not like a normal lime but are like tiny little balls that are tart and crunchy and awesome. While at Whole Foods, I came across a package of Finger Limes! I had seen them in a food magazine last year and almost went so far as to order them online. I’m a lime fanatic and these sounded super interesting. But I thought it might be a little obsessive to buy limes online. When I came across the package, I FOR SURE had to try them! They smell just like a normal lime, but the insides are totally different. I took the tip of my knife and sort of scraped at the flesh and these little orbs came out. They are crunchy and tart with a limey flavor. These would be so awesome as a garnish for a cocktail or appetizer. I made my whole family try them because who knows when the next time I’m going to have finger limes again! The kids thought they were hysterical. LOVED them! If you see them, pick them up!

The first time he was able to dip his cookies in Cow's Milk! He's outgrown that allergy! This kid has had food allergies since he was one year old. This right here is the first time he has ever dipped Oreo‘s in to cow’s milk. We are so grateful that he has outgrown that allergy. He seems to be fine with eggs as well, but he still resists the foods that were harmful to him for so long. This was such a great moment for me to see him acting like a normal kid and not being afraid to try the milk. I know that over time he will learn to like eggs as well. So cool! And we’re keeping our fingers crossed about the nuts as well. Because Butterfinger.

*I’ve been making some changes to the back end of my blog and as a result I have lost my spell check! I read through this post to the best of my ability but there could very well be some errors…I don’t need to know about them. And I guess I shouldn’t rely so heavily on the spell checker, but I do! Fingers crossed I can figure out where it went!

Body Image : Shorts or No Shorts?

Short black romper with geometric clutch. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo, I guess I’m really going for it this summer with all these posts about myself.  I mean, I showed you my big old face last week, wrinkles and all.  I’ve shared my scars with you.  Well today I’m sharing my cellulite, stretch marks and body image issues with you.  If you are a regular reader, you know I like to keep it real.  But I also think it is really healthy for me to share this stuff with you.  For years I wouldn’t leave the house without blow drying and straightening my hair.  But I am WAY past that now and it has been very freeing.  Ok, well I still always have makeup but my hair is air dried.  But I have another goal for myself.  One that I think many other people also have.  So let’s encourage each other and see if we can all free one of our body image phobias.  It has been YEARS since I’ve worn shorts.  Yes, I wore them once last summer in Palm Springs.  And guess what, I wore them a few Saturdays ago to the grocery store.  But I’d really like to get to a place where I feel confidant enough to through them on whenever it’s hot out.  When was the last time you wore shorts?  Are you afraid of them like I am?

Black shorts romper.  My goal is to wear shorts this summer. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI bought this CUTE black shorts romper from Old Navy while on a vacation in May.  I have not worn it yet except to take these pictures in the safety of Lauren’s back yard.  I didn’t even wear it home.  I changed back in to my other clothes before I left.  Why does it have to be this way?  For me, I think my image issues are two-fold.  Half of it is man-made (ie my cellulite from my love affair with Pop Tarts and my love handles from all those desserts) and the stretch marks I had no control over from growing very fast.  The chalk-white skin doesn’t help anything but since worshipping the sun is out for me, I can only rely on creams to give them color (if I want a nice orangey hue).  I see all kinds of people wearing shorts and it is encouraging to me that one day I’ll be able to wear them too without a second thought.  And since I had a trip to Mexico coming up, where it is like a trillion degrees, I knew that I would HAVE to wear shorts.  

Body image.  How come I can't wear shorts?  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt took all my effort to play it cool standing still for Lauren to take these photos.  Sitting is a whole other problem.  I was so uncomfortable sitting in these shorts!  I know that we always see our flaws in a much more pronounced way than others.  I’m choosing to share these photos on here in an effort to help myself overcome my fear of people judging my flaws, which most people wouldn’t do unless they are total a-holes.  Since the beginning of June, I have really changed my diet and have started seeing some crazy improvements.  It really is true, diet and exercise works.  I haven’t put too much emphasis on the exercise portion yet, but the diet has helped me start to improve my body from the inside out.  As well as how I view my body.  I don’t have a scale so I can only go by how my clothes are fitting and the fact that my muffin top is almost gone!  Huzzah!  So the other day when it was super hot and I had to run out to the store, I felt like I could finally reach for a pair of shorts.  I texted 3 different people to let them know I was outside in shorts and I climbed in my car to do my grocery shopping.  Guess what?  No one laughed at me or my legs.  Liberating.  I felt proud that I had really made a difference with my lifestyle for the better and was able to change some of my problem areas just with making better choices.  And there are things that I can do for the stretch marks as well.  I can’t wait to try out this body scrub from Frank which targets cellulite, stretch marks, eczema and more.  I get that it will take more than just a scrub to completely erase my trouble areas, but it is nice to know there are things, especially made from natural ingredients, that might help them out. 

Black ruffle shorts with t-shirt.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBefore I left for Mexico I got a spray tan since I knew it would help me feel more confidant in my shorts and DEFINITELY in my swimsuit.  Our first full day there, I wore shorts.  And I didn’t hate it!  I made Lauren take a picture as proof.  This is my best Giselle pose.  Because I am sure she throws herself in to a corner to get THE shot.  We walked around town all day and I ended up loving wearing the shorts.  I felt like a huge hurdle was cleared.  I wore shorts the next day as well.  And when I got home, I didn’t hesitate to put on shorts.  As my tan is gone at this point, I do feel a little more self conscious about wearing them.  But it is WAY less than it was at the start of summer.  I’m going to keep up with my healthy eating and perhaps add in a little more exercise.  Perhaps.  But I have some bad news to report.  I wore those adorable ruffled black shorts one time and since they got ocean water on them I washed them when I got home.  I hand washed them and hung them to dry.  They totally shrunk!  Such a bummer!  I think I can still wear them but only to the pool.  I would NEVER go to the store in them now as I think they may frown on actually seeing that much of a woman’s bum.

We see our flaws.  Other people wouldn't agree with them.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comNow can we talk for a second about my man hands?  This is another problem area for me.  I mean, look at that dainty little wrist.  And then look at that gorilla hand hanging off of it.

Don't touch my punch bowl. I mean, a girl should be able to drink out of a punchbowl and not feel like she is in a Seinfeld episode.  I was going to share this image last year on Instagram but didn’t because my man hand was just too much to share.  So here it is.  Although diet is not going to change my opinion or size of my hands, I’m going to let my insecurities about them go.  What are the insecurities you need to let go of?  Will you pledge to wear shorts with me this summer and beyond?

What to Pack : Beach Vacations

Things I'm coveting for my trip to Mexico.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com
How good does a beach vacation sound right now?!  So I’m prepping for a trip to Mexico later this week and you know I had to do a little shopping.  And since one of my summer bucket list items is “wear shorts” (you know you are stupid and old if your summer bucket list item has something about wearing shorts…) on it, I thought a beach vacay would be the perfect time to try some out.  I picked up those adorable black ruffle shorts (bottom right photo) from Ascot + Hart and can’t wait to wear them! (Dang it! These look like they are all sold out.  Check out their other fun short options here!)  Of course I need a spray tan first but then I’m going to wear the sh*t out of those shorts.  I’m also ellipticizing (I know this isn’t really a thing but if you can Jazzercise I really think you oughta be able to ellipticize) so hopefully my thighs won’t clap together as I wear my shorts around the resort.  And I have been making awesome food choices.  I see a little bit of a difference in my body and am totally going to stay on this healthy food business until at least my Palm Springs trip in August.  Of course I want to continue it after, but I really think I need a weekend where all I eat is cake.  I really like cake.

So um, Sharon, how is this post about packing for beach vacations again?  Oh right.  So another item I picked up for my trip, and summer in general, is this fantastic ruffle bikini top by Roxy.  This is perfection for small boobed, birthing hips gals like me.  It helps to balance out the silhouette and guess what else?  Ain’t nothing going to fall out of anywhere.  This would be a great bikini top for playing smashball in the sand (whoa, that sounded so 80’s, right there) or being more active than just lying on your towel.  This is going to be my go-to top for swimming with my kids.  Why are little hands so grabby?  Like, OH NO I think I may be drowning!  You know what will save me?  My moms triangle top bathing suit!  And I’m realizing that this isn’t much of a “how to” post.  It’s more of a “you should totally get these items post.”

And the other items in that photo?  All wish list items.  I keep seeing this round beach towel and it wants to be part of my family.  This white Cleobella kimono is perfection (holy crap!  This item is no longer available either! Here are some other great kimonos and jackets).  I can’t stop dreaming about these Nena and Co. bags.  One day I will break down and buy one.  The colors make my heart happy!  This Tacos and Tequila shirt should be mandatory when even thinking about Mexico.  And I’ve seen these rad little booties in action and think they want to be on my feet.  I can’t even tell you the last time I wore heels, so these would sort of be like training wheels.  That thick heel is right up my alley and I love the color.  All I have at the moment are black shoes and that is just too heavy for an easy, breezy oceanfront dinner.

I really like shopping, so I picked out some other things I would want for a beach vacation:

*This post contains affiliate links. Read more about my editorial policies.

Birthday Gift Ideas

Someone buy these things for me okay? \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy birthday is this weekend!!  Yeah!!  I have no real plans at this point aside from a date night with my hubby.  This year doesn’t feel like it requires a crazy big celebration.  It does however, require a pedicure.  Here are some birthday gift ideas you all can buy for me.

Birthday Gift Ideas

A clutch that screams my name  .  a new sunbrella to keep me shady   .  cool shoes for my feet  .  this super fun picnic  basket/box  .  it’s time to start working on my summer wardrobe and this dress should be part of that  .  and this dress – I wear the heck out my other Novella Royale pieces and I love this print  .  and this fantastic gold tray wants to be in my house.

(You may notice that the link for the shoes is different from the shoe shown.  My husband explained that they change out their selection frequently.  And I’m too lazy to redo my collage.  And in fact I like the shoes in the link even better.)

See last year’s birthday post here.  It’s insightful.  I promise.