monday giveaway: crab apple clay (NOW CLOSED)

I am so excited to introduce to you the Etsy shop, Crab Apple Clay. This shop boasts beautiful handmade ceramics for the home. There is just something so soothing to me about a piece of pottery sculpted by hand.

Liz, the owner of this shop, says, "I am a potter in St. Paul, MN. I’m also a wife and mom to 3 great boys. My youngest started school last fall, so I’m back in the saddle of my kick wheel. I’ve had an Etsy boutique (PageCreations) open for awhile that sells sets of handmade beanbags that are a huge hit with kids at craft fairs. I found that sewn items are more forgiving of prolonged absences than clay and a lot more portable! But my true love was patiently waiting, and after a 10 year break, my ceramics studio, a heated space attached to the garage, is now back in business.

My ceramics tend to be an eclectic mix of items, often with a bit of added humor. I am inspired by natural history, genealogy, and the material itself. Against a backdrop of mass production, and true to Etsy’s “handmade” mission, there is nothing like clay to communicate the human touch. The marks of the potter, intentional or not, are left on the surface of the vessel, and for the most part, pots and bowls are meant to be held and used by the recipient."

Liz is giving away a small turquoise bowl. It is made of high-fired white stoneware and is food safe. Liz says, "It is the perfect size for a ring as you do the dishes, a used tea bag, or maybe a Hershey’s kiss!"

To be eligible, you must be a follower of my blog so, if you aren't yet, make sure you sign up! (And if your "follower" name is different than your "comment" name, be sure to let me know.)

To enter: Please visit Crab Apple Clay and leave a comment below telling me what your favorite item in the shop is.

For another chance to win: Write about this giveaway on your blog and leave a second comment below with a link to your blog post.

This giveaway ends Thursday, March 3rd at 7 pm Eastern Time. A winner will be chosen at random.


weekend: pre-birthday fun

an birthday surprise from friends, ashley and pat . . . enjoying a birthday gift from my grandparents and dreaming of our upcoming trip to the caribbean . . . a birthday surprise from the Hubs (even though he wasn't supposed to buy me anything) . . . our new media console
a little inspiration for the coming week:

fashion costs

my soul's perfect everyday tablescape

keds to launch apparel line

hey, look! la chapstick fanatique is featured on cnn's eatocracy blog
Loves, how were your weekends?


francophile friday: repetto

With all the ballerina trends out there thanks to Black Swan (which I really need to go see), I thought it would be fitting to talk about the French brand, Repetto, for today's francophile friday. Repetto started out as a ballet shoe company in 1947. They are said to be the first company to ever make ballet shoes. In the 50s, the brand reached cult status when it created the ballet flat for Brigitte Bardot. Although the company still makes shoes and uniforms for actual dancers, their company is best known for their street ballet flats (although they also make heels and oxfords too.)

All the shoes are handmade and take about 20 minutes to create each pair. Go watch the video of a shoe being made on their website - it's really very interesting. What is also great is that you can find a pair to go with any outfit as they come in a wide range of colors and their simplicity makes them very versatile.

I have heard that you should not try on a pair unless you have the cash. Because once you go Repetto you never go back. And all pairs are limited edition and once they are gone, they are gone. So don't even look at them (SHIELD YOUR EYES) unless you have the cash. But once you own them, if you take care of them, they will last you a very long time. (The website has a whole section on how to care for the shoes.)

I don't own a pair yet - and I don't plan to anytime soon as the price is a bit steep for me right now. Although, I guess I could write it off as an investment. They are a classic, non?


winner of the simply nesting giveaway

I am pleased to announce that the winner of the twenty 3D butterflies from Simply Nesting is Liz from Liz Secret Rendezvous. Congratulations Liz! Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com with your information.

{image from here}

renovated barn love

I think besides having a little French style maison, my dream would be to renovate an old barn into a home (or find one already renovated.) Wooden beams, high ceilings, and all things charming are already there - all it would need is a little kitchen garden in the backyard. Do you prefer to renovate something old or find something new that already suits your style?
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inspiration: a girly tea party

My friend, Julie, was the party planner for my bridal shower at work and she threw me a lovely tea party. I had always loved the idea of tea parties - my grandmother is British and I have been drinking tea since I was four. Julie did a fabulous job! All the ladies brought in fancy tea cups, tea sandwiches, and mini desserts. And Julie did a great job of decorating. I seriously had no idea she had been planning for months and she executed all of this right under my nose.

Lately, I have been wanting to host a tea party - very girly with lots of frills and pink. I would prefer an intimate gathering where everyone brings a food of their choosing. (That was one of the best parts of the work party - everyone was so creative!) I suppose I should wait until the spring so everyone can arrive in a pretty spring dress. And, of course, there would be tea!

Have you ever been to a tea party?


shrimp pad thai

makes 3 to 4 servings

12 oz. rice noodles
1 1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. canola oil
16 uncooked shrimp, peeled but with tails intact
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh green chili, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 eggs, lightly beatened
2 scallions, sliced
3 cups bean sprouts
3 Tbsp. dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp. cilantro

1. Soak the noodles in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain.
2. Whisk together fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar in a small bowl.
3. Heat wok on high and then add 1 Tbsp. of the oil. Stir-fry shrimp for about 2 minutes until pink. Remove shrimp from wok and set aside.
4. Heat remaining Tbsp. of oil in wok and stir-fry the garlic and chili for 30 seconds.
5. Add the noodles and stir0fry for 30 seconds.
6. Push the noodles to the side of the wok and add the eggs and cook them until they are set. Stir eggs into noodles.
7. Add the sauce mixture and the shrimp and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
8. Add the bean sprouts and peanuts and stir-fry for 10 seconds just to warm. (You don't want the bean sprouts to lose their crunch.) Remove from heat.
9. Add the scallions and cilantro.



monday giveaway: simply nesting (NOW CLOSED)

When I saw Serena's new room at Blair's house, I was completely fascinated. I am not a big fan of using butterflies in decor but the black color and dramatic placement of these was nothing short of perfect. So when I stumbled upon Simply Nesting on Etsy, I knew I had to contact Sara to see if she wanted to do a giveaway.

Sara says "I am a wife and new mommy to a beautiful baby girl. I just recently opened my shop at Etsy where I sell wall art, paper goodies and soon will be introducing mobiles for nurseries. I opened my Etsy shop after being inspired by my daughter. As soon as I found out we were having a girl (probably before we found out) I started looking for the perfect nursery decor. In the end, I wound up making mostly everything myself and loved how it all turned out."

Sara is giving away the set of 20 3D Wall Butterflies in the color of your choice. Aren't they lovely? And you aren't just limited to the bedroom. I think they could work in a darker color for a sophisticated soirée or in a muted tone for a lovely garden wedding.

To be eligible, you must be a follower of my blog so, if you aren't yet, make sure you sign up! (And if your "follower" name is different than your "comment" name, be sure to let me know.)

To enter: Please visit Simply Nesting and leave a comment below telling me what your favorite item in the shop is.

For other chances to win:
1. Write about this giveaway on your blog and leave another comment below with a link to your blog post.
2. LIKE Simply Nesting on Facebook and leave another comment below telling us you did so.

This giveaway ends Thursday, February 24th at 7 pm Eastern Time. A winner will be chosen at random.


weekend: wine and beer

a friday early evening lounge on the patio . . . a saturday wine class at bin 604 in baltimore . . . tapas with a side of flamenco dancers (notice the polka dots) . . . a few drinks at an irish pub
a little bit of inspiration for the coming week:

definitely my style

the perfect bedroom

challenge yourself to be greener
How was your weekend, loves?


francophile friday: sac á baguette

I am loving the Sac á Baguette! I really wish I had one of these when I lived in Bordeaux. Whenever I would go and buy a baguette, I would slip it under my arm but normally I had other bags from the market so it would get smashed between my arm and my body. Or if I didn't have my hands full with bags, I would eat my baguette on the way back to my place and half of it would be gone by the time I got home. This may have prevented both of those issues. I think my favorite is the Rotterdam (grey). What's yours?

winner of the smiling dog crafts giveaway!

I am so excited to announce that the winner of the Smiling Dog Crafts Valentine Soap giveaway is Vicki S who said her favorite item in the shop is the Gardener's Soap with Lavendar & Herb. Congratulations Vicki! Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com with your information.

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accepting sponsors for the spring!

Looking to take your business to the next level? Sponsor la chapstick fanatique! I am now accepting ads for March, April, and May. My readers are lovers of fashion, design, food and weddings and my rates are low, keeping in mind small businesses and Etsy shops. Plus, you get a blog post dedicated to your shop to introduce you to my readers!

Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com for more information.

{image from here}

marc loves dots

You know that I love polka dots, so I am especially loving Marc Jacob's ready-to-wear fall collection for New York fashion week! I have to find me some tights with bigger dots. Are you loving this collection or is it dot overload?


bhldn is open

I am sure by now you know that Anthropologie's wedding shop, BHLDN (pronounced Beholden) opened on Monday. I am seriously stunned by the beauty in this shop. Although it was difficult to pick only a few, I thought I would share some favorites of mine.


Anthro has really covered every type of bride too. I see great things for a beachy wedding, a garden setting, or even a ballroom. It almost makes me want to get married again . . . almost. What items are your favorite?


fancy franks and corn

When I stumbled upon this retro recipe on the Eatocracy blog, all I could think was "Really?! People used to eat this and feel fancy??" But then the more and more I looked at it, the more curious I became. My relationship with hot dogs has come a long way. I used to despise them as a child unless it was a corn dog. Oh how I loved corn dogs! (In college, they would sometimes have them in our great room and I would knock over anyone who got in my way. Hmm, so that is where that 20 pounds came from freshman year.)

But as I got older I learned to like them as long as they were surrounded by a bun and smothered in mustard and relish. And I even learned to like them cut up in mac n' cheese. (But, c'mon, anything tastes good with mac n' cheese.)

And then the blog pretty much challenged readers to make it with "Seriously, if you have blog and you make this at home, we will totally feature you." Move over sausage and orechiette, I am making the Frank and Corn Crown for our V-day dinner!
I really thought about trying to make this recipe more appetizing. Surely, if I added cheese it would be better. Anything tastes better with cheese! But then, with creamed corn, I thought maybe not. And I even thought about getting frozen corn since fresh corn is out of season and I cannot remember if I have ever bought vegetables in a can. But since I had never made Frank and Corn Crown before, I figured I shouldn't knock it until I try it in its purest form. (And we had plenty of leftovers from our Italian dinner out on Saturday, just in case.)

Then and Now:
1. I am sure when they say soft bread crumbs, they meant from some sort of Wonder Bread. All I had on hand was a whole wheat French bread I had baked the day before so that is what I used.
2. I didn't really noticed when I picked the cans up at the grocery store, but I grabbed ones with no salt added. Did they even have that option back then?
3. My eggs were cage free. Again, I doubt there was this option in grocery stores back then. Unless you got them from a local farmer, maybe?
4. I am sure they were thinking table salt when they ask you to add it in but I added kosher salt.
5. Geez, there is a lot of butter in this!!!
Was it edible? Yes. Was it good? Eh. As my husband said, "The hotdogs taste like hotdogs and the canned corn taste like canned corn." There really isn't much flavor or anything special about it.
And it certainly was not fancy! My grandmother's vintage apron and my stepmother's vintage costume pearls were the only thing classin' this dinner up.
My husband remedied his by putting cheese (yup, cheese really does fix everything), ketchup, and the hotdogs in a tortilla (since we didn't have buns.) He said, "I picked a really bad day to skip lunch." The hotdogs made a really gross suction sound everytime you slid one out.
Would you try making Frank and Corn Crown for dinner?


monday giveaway: Smiling Dog Crafts (NOW CLOSED)

Remember the holiday gift guide I did for the pup? Well I featured an item from the Etsy shop, Smiling Dog Crafts, and now Antje wants to giveaway one of her new products to you fine readers!

Anjte says, "We married 26 years ago and back then made a list of the things we wanted to accomplish in life. On top of my list was to be self-employed. Two years ago I took the step to make it all happen: I left the corporate world and daily rat race behind and started my own pet care service. Now, I am also following my second passion and creating 'useful things' - many are inspired by my clients, others by the dog parents.

My creations turned from small gifts to my customers, to request from friends and family and best sellers at craft shows. I use only organic certified, natural oils, waxes, butters, and essential oils in my products, and fragrance oils only occasionally. I make only small batches at a time, to avoid loosing the wonderful scents and benefits of the essential oils."

Antje is giving away two pet inspired Valentine soaps which can be used for humans and pets. They are made with organic certified saponified oils and Moroccan Rose fragrance. The scent is not overpwoering and will not stick to the coats of pets. Aren't these adorable? And so perfect to celebrate Valentine's Day!

To be eligible, you must be a follower of my blog so, if you aren't yet, make sure to sign up! (And if your "follower" name is different than your "comment" name, please be sure to let me know.)

1. For one entry: Please visit Smiling Dog Crafts, and leave a comment below telling me what your favorite item is.

2. For a second entry: Write about this giveaway on your blog and leave a second comment below with a link to your blog post.

This giveaway is for residents of the US & Canada only. A winner will be chosen at random. This giveaway ends Thursday, February 17th at 7:00 pm Eastern Time.


weekend: valentine's fun and baking

an early "valentine" for the Hubs . . . a post dinner trip to baskin robbins . . . and after dinner kiss and glass of wine . . . whole wheat french bread right out of the oven
a little inspiration for the coming week:

so obsessed with this house

travel lust: cave hotel

my favorite flower is white ranunculus (for those of you who would like to get me some for Valentine's day . . . or my birthday)

go enter this lovely giveaway

renovating grey gardens

i would love some of these from my valentine

$45 for a rose!

these videos make me want to live abroad again

amazing bag . . . oh how i love feathers
Loves, how was your weekend?


francophile friday: tolix chairs

I love that rustic meets industrial look and, lately, I have been swooning over Tolix chairs. I would love to match these up with a vintage farmhouse table to put in my home.

Tolix was originally created by Xavier Pauchard. In the late 20s, they became a style staple in outdoor cafés across France. Now, after a revival tributed to Chantal Andriot, the company exports a quarter of what they produce to the US.

Would you try these out in your home?

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