{everyone needs a side of sparkle}


beach day hopeful

Mornings with a newborn and a toddler have been rough going these past weeks, but this morning I had the motivating factor that Saturday we are headed out for a long anticipated day at the beach.  Normally going to the beach is not such a big production - grab some snacks, sunscreen, a few towels... Hero Hubby stashes a spare diaper in his back pocket on the way out and we are good to go. 

However, with baby no. 2 to consider a family outing looks more like a chaotic cyclone than a breezy sweep-up of a few kid essentials before jumping into the car.  There's got to be some cool math analogy I could insert right here: two kids equal...? Maybe if I was better at algebra I'd come up with something clever.  Anyway, the point is that it takes hours just to get out of the house on any given weekend morning.  You might be wondering why I'm looking forward to Saturday morning's adventure.  Well, it's because I've realized what I'm sure every new mother of two comes to understand: the night before preparation.  Yes, I am joining the ranks of the organized, the plan ahead-ers, the (ok, you get the idea).  Always one to wing it, I have summoned my powers of premeditation to plan an efficient and chill day at the beach. 

Below is a visual manifestation of my plan of action.  Oh, yeah.. did I mention we have to be there by 7:00 am to get a parking space?  I hope you have a wonderful weekend whatever your plans, or non-plans may be!

cover-up | girl's sunglasses | men's sunglasses | women's sunglasses | sun hat | beach umbrella | kid's swimsuit | women's swimsuit | sandals | beach tote | pressed sandwiches
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cool off

Summer in New England this year has been either rainy and cool or extremely hot and humid.  While wishing for that happy medium during this last heat spell, my mother and I started reminiscing about our favorite cool summer treats.  On the top of the list is her homemade limoncello.  We were too busy enjoying (read: entertaining) Violet and Laela to make a batch, but here is the recipe for the best limoncello you may ever taste.  My mother has played around with the amounts of the ingredients to create varying results.  I hope you try this recipe and make your own adjustments.  Whatever you do, please use a high quality vodka - it makes a huge difference in the taste. 

10 lemons
1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
3 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. 

Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.

Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.

photo credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner
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the eyes have it

Love this look!  Half cat-eye, half smokey eye - all gorgeousness.  Here's how to achieve this natural yet dramatic face.  I'm not going to be spending hundreds of dollars at Bergdorf Goodman anytime soon, so I'll be trolling through my make-up bag to find the right ingredients...
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take-out's new take

After seeing these porcelain take-out dishes I knew I had to blog about these!  Artist Lorena Barrezueta translates the iconic take-out containers we are all so familiar with into porcelain beauties fit for your dinner table.  But don't stop there... these would be fabulous as desk organizers, a place to keep your jewelry, or just a clever catch all.  Available at the Curiosity Shoppe.

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pretty please

If only I could do as Audry does... all day long.  Have a restful weekend, dear readers.
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delightful dwellings

It might be hard to live in any one of these houses and not be exceedingly cheery.  Neighbors may call these rainbow inspired exteriors eye-sores, but I'm digging the display of color and confidence.  Not shy about color myself, my personal favorites for house colors include rusty coral and lilac.  Not sure what Hero Hubby thinks about those color options...I'll let you know what we decide when the times comes.  For now I'll keep my love of living in color to the inside of the house. 

via izismile
via smoont
via objectifregarder
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happy hump day

Ok, it's Wednesday and, as the post title says, it's hump day (get your mind out of the gutter) and time to celebrate the downhill coast into the weekend.  Alas, coasting into the weekend may be wishful thinking... my experience is typically an uphill slog.  Fancy mantras like "this too shall pass" and "keep calm and carry on" are cute, but I need a little more to get me through.  Enter coffee.  I adore coffee.  Not only do I relish each sip, I like to have fun with the drinking experience.  Here are my latest coffee crushes.

one | two | three | four
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elegance and edge

Erdem's resort 2012 collection is so enticing and I really like the way these looks were photographed.  Read more about Erdem and see the full collection at style.com.
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Just a few interesting visuals from around the web that I happened upon over the weekend during my hour of web surfing therapy.  I kept seeing such colorful candy related images and started to wonder if my subconscious was trying to tell me something.   I especially enjoyed reading Jessi Arrington's candygram, Love Sick.  Perhaps only few of us can relate, but I love this quote: I'm sure he’s never swooshed a concoction of Coca-Cola and Circus Peanuts in his mouth until he became convinced he could break through walls with the charisma of the Kool-aid man. 

love sick candygram 
wedding cake topper
taffy jewelry via Elle Mexico
day of the dead sugar skulls
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have a care-free weekend

As our toddler, Violet, adjusts to having her baby sister around (no longer just the bump on mum's belly), I am adjusting to having a messy house again (lest I forget the chaos a newborn can bring)!  This picture reminds me that chaos isn't always a bad thing...it can spark joy and excitement into what was once a predictable routine.  The toys are everywhere, the sink's loaded with a few days of dishes and emails have gone for days unanswered.  All of that can wait, but witnessing Violet discovering how fabulous her purple sunglasses are, can't.
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color inspiration: lavender

When putting this post together I could almost smell the sweet herbal aroma that is distinctly lavender.  Dried lavender wrapped in brown paper is simply romantic.  I love the combination of navy blue with lavender in the outfit... perfect attire for a bicycle ride down a country road or stepping into a taxi on a warm summer afternoon in the city.  The wedding cake displays lavender in all it's culinary beauty and lavender vanilla lip balm looks as delicious as it is soothing.  I love this color and I am on the prowl for some recipes for lavender confections.  What are your favorite ways to use lavender?

outfit | cake | lip balm 

lavender flowers photo via purplefoodie.com
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apricot dreams

Summertime brings around fresh apricots to our nearby farmers markets and I am all too eager to snap up a pound before they vanish for another year.  Since the locally grown beauties all come from greenhouses, supply is limited.  When I think about using these apricots for anything other than just eating them all on the drive home, I turn to only the most delicious sounding recipes.  Today, I discovered this recipe at mowie kay's fabulous food photography website, mowielicious.  I just so happen to have some frozen puff pastry dough in my freezer which will really make this sophisticated treat easy to make.  

p.s. don't you just love the colors of crushed green pistachios against the bright apricots?
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and baby makes four

We are proud to announce our newest addition, baby Laela.  After a relaxing yet anticipation filled weekend wondering when this little life was going to join us in the world, "it's a girl" rang happily in the delivery room on Wednesday morning.  I am grateful to the midwives and nurses that guided us through another natural birth with exceptional care and warmth.  Violet is not sure if she wants to keep Laela, but we're doing our best to convince her that her baby sister is a blessing.
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cutie pie

The concept of baking mini pies in glass canning jars is a fun, unexpected treat high on novelty factor.  Though I've come across the idea in the past, this recent post at the family kitchen has renewed my interest in finally making these.  I also like the recipe over at squawk fox for another version of tasty tiny tarts.  Whether blueberry, cherry, apple... these little cuties will charm your dinner guests, impress your family and tickle just about anyone to whom you gift these.  Have fun decorating the lids of the jars - cut a square of fabric and tie down with a ribbon, or glue a fancy circle of paper to the top inner lid.  Want to make creative wedding or shower favors that will be talked about well past your event?  Just head on over to creative montage or more and more originals for personalized stickers and tags.  My plan for these pleasingly petite pastries?  Present them to my small gathering in celebration of today's festivities.
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colorful kisser


It took becoming a mum for me to discover the power of lipstick.  Be it lip gloss, lip stain, or good 'ole fashioned lipstick, I am smitten with my compatriot in the trenches of motherhood.  Though my hair may be a clump of indeterminable fuzz on the back of my head and my clothes resemble the food pyramid more than Marc Jacobs, my face is aglow with dewy color that lets the world know I still care about upholding some sense of style.  

I just adore these color palettes via Refinery29

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