Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gift Guide: For the Host/Hostess

1. This scalloped cake stand would be a lovely way to serve all kinds of desserts (not just cakes!)

2. This minimalist vase from the MoMa Store is so cool!

3. A few simple but useful kitchen utensils, like this wooden pasta fork, would make a great host/hostess gift!

4. Who couldn't use a shatterproof drink set? (Especially around the holidays!)

5. A drinking game, like this simple (but effective) spin-the-shot game would make for a fun party.

6. This wood and marble serving platter is SO beautiful and only $30!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gift Guide: For the Guys

1. I love the worn look of the metal buckle on this belt. (The burgundy one is also nice!)

2. This duffel bag looks so sturdy and stylish! Plus, it has a shoulder strap and handles on the sides and the ends for easy carrying.

3. This leather key chain looks much nicer than a plain metal key ring. 

4. I think men should wear scarves more often. After a lot of searching I think I've found the perfect one, a gradient plaid scarf- at a very reasonable price!

5. For the bearded man, this shaving kit would make a wonderful gift! It includes soap in a mahogany box and a boar bristle brush!

6. These nested shot glasses, containing the words for a Spanish toast, are such a fun gift!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gift Guide: For the Ladies

I'm one of those people who absolutely loves holiday shopping! It's so much fun to find the perfect gift for someone you care about. I'm excited to kick off this year's holiday gift guide, starting with gifts for the women in your life!

1. I'm in love with this belt from Asos! It would look so pretty paired with a simple dress (like this one) and a scarf in the winter.

2. This watch is so classically stylish. The tiny rhinestones in place of numbers are adorable!

3. Essie is probably my favorite nail polish brand, they always have such lovely colors! I especially like the color Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Low (a shimmery gold hue) in the winter collection.

4. This bath bomb from Lush is too cute! Pair with a few of their other bath and body products for the perfect pampering gift set.

5. A unique headband would add some pizzazz to any outfit. Even better: this one's on sale!

6. This urban decay bronzer, highlighter, and blush palette is a great value for a high end brand and comes in several shades for different skin tones.

Also, I still stand by last year's gift guide!

Friday, November 14, 2014

This Week

This week was quite busy and included a quick trip to Florida to visit family! I got one last taste of warm weather (and short sleeves!) before returning to NC where I am currently bundled in a fuzzy blanket. Luckily, I've been feeling ready for cooler weather for quite a while now. (That is subject to change once we're a few weeks into winter)

 Crunchy leaves...

 A campfire (complete with s'mores, of course)

 A tiny owl who wanted to join in on the fun.

 Birds (herons, I think) on the beach. The water was too cold for me, but the weather was perfect for a nap on the sand!

 A beautifully camouflaged butterfly.

Can you spot the manatee?

Happy weekend! Hope you had a wonderful week!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Listen Up!

While listening to NPR the other day, I heard this story (from March) in which Julian Treasure discusses the importance of listening. The part that really stuck with me was this:

"I often think that listening is the most generous gift you can give to another human being."

How true is that? Everyone just wants to feel like what they are saying is being heard and understood. In a world where distractions are prevalent, it can be hard to really focus in on what someone is saying. I think that as a society we've begun to value speaking up and sharing one's ideas more often (which is great!) but with that in mind, we sometimes forget to take our turn at listening.

Treasure also brings up the fact that we're so plagued by noise that it can make listening difficult and even exhausting. When was the last time you sat in complete silence? I find that it happens so rarely. I've actually gotten to the point where I don't find silence as relaxing as I used to. Especially when I'm alone, I like to have background noise (like the t.v., music, etc.) or I start to feel nervous and uncomfortable. I think silence is so uncommon that it often feels eerie. Treasure suggests several exercises for helping improve one's conscious listening, including spending at least 3 minutes a day in silence (or as close to silence as you can possibly get.) He also suggests breaking down what you're hearing at any given moment and focusing in on each individual sound (what it is, where it is, etc.)

I think as children were often reminded to listen (to teachers, parents, classmates, instructions, rules). Listening is presented as an essential skill and a big part of our development, especially in school! But as we grow older, we're not reminded of the importance of listening nearly as often.

All of this is to say: listen at least as often as you speak! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Leftover Halloween Candy + Ice Cream

When I was a kid I used to save my Halloween candy for ages. In October, I would still have candy leftover from the last Halloween. Not that I didn't like candy, I was just into saving things. Now that it's been almost a week since Halloween, I'm not sure whether or not most homes are devoid of candy. But, if you do have leftover candy, why not use it to make some homemade magic shell (you remember- the chocolatey syrup that hardens into a shell on ice cream)? It's so easy to make! Instructions + 3 delicious ice cream/candy combinations below!

This recipe really couldn't be more simple. Makes enough for 1 ice cream sundae. All you need is candy and a little bit of coconut oil. In a small microwave proof bowl, place 2-3 mini chocolate bars. Melt in microwave (about 18-20 seconds). Add a tiny bit of coconut oil, I didn't measure but I only used about 1/8 of a teaspoon. (Otherwise the taste of the coconut oil will overpower the chocolate.) Stir in the coconut oil and heat in microwave for a few more seconds until melted. Stir again. Drizzle over ice cream! 

Strawberry ice cream with a cookies and cream chocolate bar may sound like an odd combination but it was actually my favorite!

Mint chocolate chip ice cream with a classic milk chocolate bar (like the original magic shell). I actually would have preferred to use dark chocolate if I had any on hand but decided it wasn't necessary to buy more candy right after Halloween. This was still delicious!

Sea salt caramel ice cream with peanut butter cups. The sea salt and peanut butter go together perfectly!

What's ice cream and candy combination would you choose? I forgot how much I liked those cookies and cream bars! I hadn't eaten one in years.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

This Week (Halloween!)

We did Twin Peaks for Halloween: Agent Cooper + the log lady

Toasted baguette with dark chocolate, sea salt, and olive oil.

This guy wanted to help us paint.

 Dog sitting for this pretty pup.

A beautiful Autumn walk at the lake.

 Amazing pumpkin, butternut squash, and coconut curry at Vimala's (which I'm determined  to recreate at home!)

Fall colors in downtown Chapel Hill.

Hope you're having a wonderful Halloween weekend!