{everyone needs a side of sparkle}


as american as ice cream

I hope you enjoy your holiday weekend and all the gastric delights that abound across the spectrum of Independence Day favorites.  My Fourth of July would not be complete without ice cream.  Though frozen sweet treats have been around since the Persian Empire, ice cream as we know it really appeared in 18th century England and America.  It remained a rare indulgence in England, but became widely available by enterprising Americans during Colonial times.  Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, is a contemporary enterprising American, offering an array of quirky, adventurous flavors.  I instantly fell in love.  There are but few days left to pin my sweet tooth cravings on baby no. 2... (the official due date is the 3rd).  One last ice cream hazzah seems an appropriate way to celebrate the birth of our nation and quite possibly the birth of baby no. 2.  I'll keep you posted.

Jeni graciously shared her recipe for roasted strawberry buttermilk ice cream via Tasting Table.  

Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream
yield: 1 pint

Roasted Strawberries
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced ½-inch thick
⅓ cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 

Ice Cream Base
1½ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
1¼ cups heavy cream
⅔ cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup¼ cup buttermilk
1. Prepare the strawberries: Preheat the oven to 375°. Combine the strawberries with the sugar in an 8-inch-square glass or ceramic baking dish, stirring gently to mix. Roast for 8 minutes or until just soft and remove from the oven. Let cool slightly. Puree the berries and the lemon juice in a food processor. Measure ½ cup of the pureed berries; refrigerate the rest of the puree for another use.

2. Make the ice cream: Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

3. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat; boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

4. Gradually add the hot-milk mixture to the cream cheese, whisking until smooth. Add the reserved ½ cup strawberry puree and the buttermilk and blend well. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

5. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister of an ice cream maker and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
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oh, wear!

I think bold eyeliner and a nude lip would be smashing with this party dress.  Or, a subtle smokey eye and ruby red lips would also work nicely... Either way, don't forget to daub some perfume behind your ears and knees before slipping into those lovely satin shoes.  I could not decide whether to pair the Marissa B. earrings in jet black or gold crystal... what do you think?

dress | shoes | mb earrings | eyeliner | sunglasses | perfume | eyeshadow
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thanks for the treat stupid

Honey Badger don't care...the honey badger is just crazy!  Unless you have seen this video (which has been veiwed over 10 million times!) you probably have no idea what I'm talking about or why these mugs by Jen Ray of Corduroy are so wittily wonderful.   

For the t-shirt aficionado there are these honey badger shirts. And this fuzzy guy might have to become part of the girls' plush collection (of course, I won't let them in on the hilarious video that inspired the acquisition until they are much older).
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simple brownies a la mode

Brownies a la mode have been on my mind for the past week and by Saturday night I had finally amassed all the key players for this classic treat.  After a morning packed full of chores and an epic rainy afternoon outing at the playground swings with Violet, I was not in the mood to bake the brownies.  Fortunately Betty and Martha saved the day with convenience and cleverness.  I used just half of a Betty Crocker mix and divided it among two greased ramekins a la Martha Stewart's recipe.  A 20 minute stint in the oven and they were the perfect foundation for the rest of the goodies.  A little lot of vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, whipped cream, and walnuts piled on top of the warm, freshly baked brownies nestled in their bowls made for the perfect ending to a long day.  And, the best (well, second best) part was there wasn't a caked on/baked on pan to scrub to break my post-brownie a la mode bliss.

I would love to try Martha's "from scratch" brownies recipe sometime.  It looks delicious!

image via marthastewart.com and slashfood.com
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ah, the weekend

Baby no. 2 is officially due in one week and I have been exhaustively feathering the nest and psyching Violet up for big-sisterhood.  I think it's time to rest up and enjoy what seems like the last moments of relative sanity before baby makes four.  My first impulse when I think of relaxing?  Paint my toenails a happy color.  I love all three of these colors and their sassy names, neo whimsical, sand tropez, and tart deco... which to pick?  Second on my list of relaxation is to get crafty with this diy project.  I know, I am one of those odd people who is more relaxed with busy hands.  I'll be posting the results!  Third, I will partake in some balancing prenatal yoga.  Despite Violet running underneath my down dogs, I am looking forward to a relaxing back-yard session.  I just need to remember to swipe on enough bug repellent to fend off those delightful marsh mosquitoes that so gleefully nip.  One application lasts about an hour for me, which is just enough time to do some poses, water the garden and peek over my bump at my freshly polished tootsies.

images via essie, spool sewing and balanced birth
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eeny, meeny, miny...

Choices are what make our lives.  Since we are constantly making choices, we are constantly able to reshape our lives and redirect the paths we travel.  Life really comes down to the choices we make.  This sounds like such a serious post!  I intend it to be a lighthearted commentary on the power of choosing to be kind.  It's a simple way to tune your energy into the positive side of things and spread that positivity along the way.  I love sarcasm and snarky comments as much as the next gal, but I do appreciate it when someone is kind to me even if I'm in a grumpy mood... it reminds me to be kind back and choose to be nice.
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a lovely thing about summer


A lovely thing about summer (perhaps the loveliest) are the visual treats around just about every corner - flowers.  Their colors, blossoms, leaves, shapes, heights... I could prattle on about how charged and vibrant life becomes in the summer when you have flowers abounding in fields, pots and gardens, but I'll let their beauty do the talking.  I have always admired the floral vignettes created with window boxes.  They make storefronts more inviting and soften the exterior walls of houses.  Most of all I love their playfulness, and knowing that they are temporary works of art makes my eyes all the hungrier to spot them.  

images by Marissa B. and via the grumpy gardner and little brown pen
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daddy dearest

I hope all the dads out there had a happy father's day filled with love and family.  We aren't big on giving gifts for every occasion in our family, so we celebrated by making a day trip over to visit with my Hero Husband's mom and dad.  I adore these pictures of Violet and her dear daddy and they are a reminder of the importance of a strong bond between a girl and her father.  

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clever cookie

I admit my weakness for sweets of all tastes and textures, but add the element of wit or whimsy and suddenly my enjoyment of eating them multiplies.  Whatever the confluence of sugar and starch, I am interested in taking a nibble or two... or finishing off the plate.  Confections are my kryptonite and these clever lovelies made me smile (and lick my chops).  Enjoy, and have a sparkling weekend. 

sweets and stilettos via Vogue Korea
miette wallpapper cookies via design*sponge
fork, knife, steak cookies via all i wanna do is bake 
birth control cookies via tasty morsels bakery

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wild for ikat

Pounce on this summer's bold, yet wonderfully wearable print!

yellow ikat pillow and fabric clutch via ave styles
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color inspiration: sky blue + lemon yellow

Sky blue and sunny lemon yellow are having a delightful romance in these photos.  Just imagine those pyrite and blue lace agate earrings adorning that stellar Phillip Lim outfit.  I love the wedding table styled by momental designs and that gossamer two piece pictured above is just stunning... a nice way for a bride to match her lingerie with her wedding colors.

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hold the phthalates, please

There is so much information exposing traditional additives in skincare products that raise questions of their safety.  Being one to lean toward products that are closest to their natural form, I would choose nothing short of that philosophy for my babies.  Here are the products I have used with confidence and a few I am going to try out soon.  Here's a great article from The Daily Green reviewing an assortment of effective natural sunscreens.

For a future post, I'll list some natural bug sprays along with their pros and cons.  Have a wonderful weekend! 

Burt's Bees | Calendula Cream | Sunscreen
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mid-century baby

My love of mid-century modern prevails as I consider acquiring a rocking chair for the baby room upstairs.  Violet seems to be a late bloomer in her discovery of liking to be rocked while I, Dad or Grandmum read her a story and I know baby no. 2 will also enjoy the soothing motion (so will my back during 3:00 am nursings).  Though I'm tempted, the price tag on this Eames Rocker seems a little steep to justify.

With a little google-ing, however, I came across another version for much less.  It's not the true craftsmanship of Eames I adore, but the price is nice.   

images via poshlittle.com
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simplified slumber

Our tiny addition will need a place to sleep and fitting a second child in our little marsh house seems  impossible.  Where does one turn when a small space issue comes up?  To IKEA!  Ah, IKEA - the stuff of stylish efficiency and compact greatness.  How I dream of living in that neat world of melamine and particle board.  I could just dive into the catalog (the kids section, please) and wade in the organized hipness of the STUVA system... Yes, how peaceful the new babe would slumber in a GULLIVER crib dressed in FABLER KAMRATER linens. 

Despite those pesky nesting instincts to turn our upstairs into compartmentalized fantasy land, I have rationally chosen a simple old fashioned Moses basket for our baby to sleep in.  We found a traditional wicker one in a local consignment shop, but check out these other Moses baskets worth drooling over. 


I'll have to do a post about my adventures in sewing the bedding for our basket.  I'm currently browsing through Amy Butler's fabric collection to find the perfect combination of patterns and colors.  Stay tuned...
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Milk Maid

Nursing my baby is something I am dedicated to doing for as long as I can mentally and physically handle.  Violet and I made it 6 months.  It's not always an easy (or convenient) process, but, in my humble opinion, it's one of the best ways a mother can nurture her child.  Nursing is a choice as well as a contentious topic.  Fortunately, general understanding of mothers nursing their babes in public is increasing as is awareness of how beneficial breast milk truly is.  It's nice to see some hip nursing clothes out there (who wants to feels like a schlub shrouded in a too-loose t-shirt?)

This work-horse garment is designed for nursing, but I've already ordered it to wear asap during this swiftly heating up final month of pregnancy.  The cross front moves up to allow for easy nursing while keeping your chest pretty much covered.  Thank you, Japanese Weekend, for creating a wardrobe staple that will function for maternity, nursing and beyond.  Toss on a pair of Marissa B. jade and pyrite earrings and you are one hot mama.
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baby no. 2

Baby no. 2 is almost here.  Hero Husband and I do not have a name picked out and we have decided to be surprised (it's a boy! or, is it a girl?).  With less than 30 days left and a huge list of pre-hello-baby tasks I'm starting to think we will never find names.  To quell my distress, and check off a few things from that list, I have been shopping around online (thank goodness for the web...what else is a pregnant mum with a toddler to do) for some essentials.  Each day this week I'll be posting about my finds.  Maybe this will inspire other mums-to-be and save some time!   

Is scarlet red too tarty for a diaper bag?  This bag is just the right size for carrying around the daily baby/toddler essentials (bonus: it can go in a washing machine).  Look at all those inner pockets...a thing of beauty.  It even has a tab with a clip that can swing out of the bag to clasp a zippered pouch.  I learned the hard way that the contents of a leather wallet and a malfunctioning sippy-cup make for a disastrous day.  So, I intend on keeping my stash in a cute little number outside my bag of tricks.

Also available in light turquoise... 

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lovely things

Much of my inspiration for designing jewelry comes from home and textile fashions.  While browsing one of my favorite home decor websites, huset, I came across these lovely things and wanted to share!

espresso cups + dessert plates | bird pots | melamine cups + saucers 
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