California dreamin’ and lovin’

Meet the most handsome couple ever: Anna and Spenser. Are they just as cute as can be? I love this engagement shoot. Full of sunshine and smiles, these simple shots capture the couple perfectly — natural, relaxed, and full of light & love. The California coast ain’t too shabby of a backdrop, either. Congratulations to this beautiful pair, set to tie the knot later this month. Cheers!

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Photo Credit: Jessica Hill Photography

Paint this on.

Screen shot 2013-04-14 at 9.35.36 AMLet’s just say this — I’m pretty sure all women can agree that nothing makes you feel more feminine, put together and chic than having manicured nails…especially in a fun color. Right now I’m LOVING “Jealous, much?” by Orly. It’s flirty, soft and fresh — perfect for Spring. Get to painting!

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Snowy beginnings.

As we bid adieu to winter, I’d like to toast the beautiful beginning of my two dear friends Gavin and Sonal. In Whistler, amidst a wonderland of white, an unknowing Sonal followed Gavin on a snowy stroll, which ended on bended knee with a resounding ‘yes.’ Luckily Sweet Pea Photography was camped out to capture the sweet, whimsical moment.

Looking forward to their nuptials this fall in Philadelphia. Congrats you two lovebirds.

And yes, her ring is even more gorgeous in person.

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Credit: Sweet Pea Photography

Cheers!

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Posted in Wed

Southern Living Weddings Gift Guide

If there’s one thing I learned while living in the South, it’s how to say ‘thank you.’ Southern hospitality is alive and well. In a time when everything seems to have gone digital — e-cards, e-mail — Southerns still take the time to hand write a note, deliver a thoughtful gift in person and bake ‘welcome’ goodies for newcomers. A lost art in this day and age.

Your wedding is a giant production with a cast of characters, all integral to the success and happiness of your big day. From a shower hostess to your groom-to-be, it’s important to thank the special people in your life with a token that’s equally as special.

With wedding season approaching, I wanted to share my article featured in Southern Living Weddings (on newsstands now),  which provides some sweet gift suggestions that are sure to show your gratitude. Happy giving!

(Click for larger image.)

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Credit: Southern Living Magazine

Posted in Wed

Dinner for Two: Grilled Vegetable Pizza

One of my favorite places in the world is Trader Joe’s—a true gem where you’ll find quality items at reasonable prices. Something I always stock up on is the Whole Wheat Pizza Crust, and I’ll freeze it if I don’t have plans to use immediately. Even with the added fiber and nutrition from the whole wheat flour, it surprisingly doesn’t taste like cardboard. Check out the pizza I made last night!

Thinly slice eggplant and yellow squash. Season with olive oil, seasoning salt, and black pepper.

Grill until you have faint grill marks on both sides (don’t overcook–they’ll cook more in the oven).

Cut red onion and tomatoes however you prefer. Sauté until soft (helps take juice out of tomatoes).

Roll out dough until 1/4 in. thick.

Apply light coat of olive oil and sea salt to crust.

Spread sauce.

Add mozzarella.

Fan squash and eggplant on top of the cheese, alternating.

Add onions and tomatoes.

Top with salt, pepper, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes.

Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano and freshly torn basil.

Bake at 350°.

Eat every. last. slice.

Posted in Eat

Get the Glow: Miranda Kerr’s Dewey Demure Look

M·A·C, Benefit, Ulta, Laura Mercier, M·A·C

Miranda Kerr floated down the runway on the tails of a pink-blush confection last week at the Liverpool Fashion Fest Autumn/Winter 2011 in Mexico City.

The soft Grecian draping was surely a feast for the eyes, but it was Miranda’s luminous look that truly lit up the stage.

What’s the recipe to the Victoria’s Secret Supermodel’s radiant glow?

The origin of her luster is, well, genetics, sorry girls. No doubt the Australian beauty can also attribute her beam to her completely organic lifestyle, the coconut oil she consumes daily, the joy of being a new mom and wife, and the magic of makeup. Here’s where we step in.

Miranda’s dewy skin allows her best features—gorgeous cheekbones, plump lips, porcelain skin and baby blues to make a statement all on their own. Pale perfection in a nutshell. We’ll show you how to get the look.

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Step-by-step guide:

1. After priming and concealing, use a large kabuki-style brush to apply a mineral powder foundation (try Laura Mercier’s Mineral Powders) in a circular motion. Continue buffing until you reach your desired coverage.

2. Contour cheekbones with a natural bronzer (try “Hoola” by Benefit), starting from the hairline and sweeping forward. Lightly dust the whole face with a kiss of bronze.

3. Dab a bit of coral or berry-hued cream blush (try Ulta’s Extreme Wear Mousse Blush in “Berry Glow”) on the apples of your cheeks for a pop of color.

4. Use Mac’s Cream Color Base in“Fawntastic” to add that glow and highlight all of your features. This is the trick! Apply a bit to your fingertips and tap along the top of the cheekbones and down the bridge of the nose, along the brow bone, and over the eyelids. Watch your face come alive.

Okay, so now you’ve got a glowing, incandescent base. To complete Miranda’s makeup look, continue with the following steps:

5. Work a gray/brown shade (try “Smog” or “Darkhorse” from the Naked Palette by Urban Decay) into the crease of the eyelid and a hint along the lower lash line.

6. Finely line top eyelid with a black liquid eyeliner and brush (try Smashbox’s “Girls on Film Eyeliner”).

7. Finish eyes with your go-to mascara (try Pro Lash by Mac).

8. Get her sweet, sexy pout with a coral-red lipstick (try Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipcolor in “Fire & Ice”).

Recipe Makeover: Whole-Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

What do I love the most about my mom’s cooking? I could ramble, but I’ll stick to the simple answer. She’s flexible, adaptable, and spontaneous. I believe flexibility distinguishes a great cook from its “good” counterpart. A great cook can look at a recipe and instantly know if it is worth a go. Does it have intriguing flavor combinations? Would it be a party favorite, or rather something that would go over well with the Supper Club? Once a great cook identifies a good recipe, he/she also knows instinctively how to improve it. Maybe a baked chocolate confection calls for two tablespoons of water, but you use some of your leftover morning coffee instead—we all know a little coffee goes a long way when it comes to highlighting the rich flavor of chocolate.

My mom is inspiring in the kitchen. Sometimes she follows recipes to a T; sometimes she uses them as a loose reference; but most of the time, she wings it using whatever she has on hand—and every time, her food is phenomenal.

ImagePhoto: A Dash of Sass

Like mother, like daughter. I always use whatever I have on hand as well. I was frantically searching for a way to satisfy my love of warm oatmeal cookies and milk and my desire to fit into skinny jeans (not easy living in the South). I then came across this recipe for Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from A Dash of Sass. I had a random assortment of items on hand, so I used this as a rough guide. I swapped whole wheat flour for all purpose flour and egg beaters for the egg (it was all I had); I chopped four different (extremely) dark chocolate bars into chunks (left over from my Valentine’s Day packages from my mom); and I omitted the nuts (not my first choice, but didn’t have them).

The cookies were moist and rich, sans guilt trip. The nutty whole wheat flower paired perfectly with the hearty oatmeal, and the dark chocolate chunks added a depth of flavor that was sheer decadence.

How many times have I made them since I discovered the recipe? I’ll never tell.

Posted in Eat