30.6.11

guest post over at seductively french

I just wanted to let you all know that I am guest blogging over at Seductively French today. I share my secrets on how I think French women get that je ne sais quoi based on my experiences while living in France. Go check it out!

organics for your face

A lot of people have started to think more about what type of food they put into their body. Many people have made the switch to organics, or at least for certain items (like fruit where you would eat the skin) if they can't afford to go fully organic. But what about what you are putting you your face?

I plan to transition fully to organic skin care and make up as I run out of my current products. Zina, owner of Enza's Organic Salon, encourages this. Her husband had cancer so she is always very careful about what he uses on his skin and puts in his body as well as the rest of her family. My thought is, why not be safe, rather than sorry later? And, in most cases, it is also better for the environment. So a few weeks ago when I was getting my haircut there, I purchased the Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Sun Protection for my face. It actual comes in a powder form with a brush (so it can go right over your make up) but is waterproof and is so much better for you than normal sun screen. (I actually have a picture of it here.) I tested it out a few weekends at the pool and I would venture to say it worked better and lasted longer than what I normally use.

My daily moisturizer that I put on in the mornings was running out so it was time to replace it with something organic. I went to Enza's and they helped me pick out something (with spf) from the Eminence Organics brand - which is the skin care line they carry. I am really excited to start using it but it is a real shock to my budget since it is seven times more than I normally spend. Ouch. I don't mind spending a little bit more for something better for me but I am shopping around to find something a little less expensive for when this runs out.

I am very new to organic skin care so I have been slowly trying to educate myself. There is just a lot of information out there that sometimes gets confusing. Like what is the difference between all-natural and organic? If it is organic does it mean it is paraben free?

I have found out that sometimes you are not going to find a product that is organic but rather just all natural because there is an active ingredient that works well and it is not produced organically. I also have pretty much figured out that paraben free does not necessarily mean organic and vice versa. But feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

Since you guys gave such great advice for my dark circle problem (my readers are awesome), I was thinking maybe you all could help me with learning more about organics. Do you use any organic skin care or make up products? Do you know of brands that are more budget friendly (aka they carry them at Target?) Are there some good resources (books, blogs, websites) where I can learn more about organic skin care and make up?

{image via here}

winner of the white lily design giveaway!

I am excited to announce that the winner of the White Lily Design giveaway is MoonRae. Congratulations! Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com with your information. And special thanks to Petra for sponsoring this giveaway.

{image from here}

29.6.11

find me on pinterest

My invite from Pinterest came a few months ago and I kept forgetting about it. It just moved further and further down in my inbox. I finally signed up a couple weeks ago and I kept forgetting to let you all know. I really wish I had this while planning my wedding instead of saving a bunch of links in my email. It also makes organization a lot easy for this blog as well. So stop by and visit and if any of you have a pinterest let me know - I would love to follow you!

Also, you may have noticed on the most recent giveaways that I finally got Twitter, as well! I know I am way behind the curve as far as bloggers are concerned but it just didn't feel right until recently. So go on and follow me. I am definitely very new to this and still learning but maybe you guys can help guide me. And feel free to use this contact me or give me some blog ideas.

{image via my pinterest}

28.6.11

italian seasoned burgers with grilled corn

When my mom used to make this burger, I hated it. I wasn't too fond of oregano or onions growing up. Now I crave this burger. The Hubs prefers just a "normal" burger seasoning but every once in awhile we change it up and I make this. However, the Hubs always has the job of forming the patties - mine always come out like small deformed hockey pucks when they are done.

When I saw this corn at the farmer's market this weekend, I knew they would be perfect with our burgers. I always find that combo to be an essential American summer meal: burgers and corn. More recently, though, I have started doing the corn on the grill instead of boiling it in water like my family used to do. It leaves the kitchen heat free and there seems to be less clean-up.

ITALIAN SEASONED BURGERS
serves 4

1 1/4 lbs. ground beef (I prefer 90% lean but use whatever you like)
1 egg
1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1/2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 large onion, chopped
4 slices provolone cheese
4 Italian style buns
optional: tomato slices, mixed greens, mayo

1. Using your hands, combine beef, egg, oregano, and Italian seasoning in a bowl. Add onion and combine well. Form four hamburger patties.
2. Grill patties to your desired temperature. Add provolone cheese in the last minute.
3. Put patties on buns and top with sliced tomato, mixed baby greens, and mayo.

PARSLEY GRILLED CORN
serves 4

3 Tbsp. parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ears of corn, shucked

1. In a small food processor, add parsley and garlic and puree until finely minced. Add butter and puree until well combined (you may have to mix it a bit with a spoon to combine.)
2. Place each ear of corn on an aluminum foil sheet and spread with 1/4 of the butter mixture. Wrap corn so that there are no holes for butter to melt out.
3. Grill corn for 15 to 20 minutes being careful to not grill for too long or the corn will get mushy.

Enjoy!

27.6.11

monday giveaway: white lily design (NOW CLOSED)

Today's giveaway is from the Etsy shop, White Lily Design, which carries a great selection of handmade jewelry. You can find everything from an everyday ring to a necklace fit for a bride.

Petra, the shop owner, says, "I am a thirty-something HR lawyer living in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. I will be married by the sea in a month and thus, all my free time has been occupied pretty much with all things related to our wedding. I also love to dance (especially latin, jazz, show), travel, read and take photographs. My main inspiration to start making jewelry was my two little sisters who were (and are still) making beautiful jewelry. First, I just bought some nice necklaces from them but when they agreed to teach me how to make jewelry, I was so happy and started to make all my own jewelry. Ever since, I have made different kinds of jewelry for myself, my mother, friends, colleagues and anyone who would like to buy something. I have a passion for everything I do so it was very natural for me to try my "luck" on Etsy. My Etsy shop is fairly new and buyers have not yet really found it but I am positive that it will happen someday. My favorite item in my Etsy shop must be one of the nice rings. I especially like my glass stone rings which come in different colors. The greatest thing in selling your handmade items is definitely when you see or hear that someone truly liked your jewelry and would also like to recommend you and your work to others. That's a great feeling!"

Petra is giving away a handmade glass stone ring in red. The ring is adjustable and made of antique brass. The color of the glass stone changes depending on how the light reflects on it. I think this would be great to dress up a white tee and a pair of jeans.

To be eligible for this giveaway, you must be a follower of this blog so, if you aren't yet, be sure to sign up either through Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin'. And be sure to let me know what name you are following with.

Ways to win:
1. Visit White Lily Design and leave a comment below telling us what your favorite item is.
2. Write about this giveaway on your blog and leave a separate comment below with a link to your post.
3. Follow both of Petra's blogs, White Lily Design and Absolutely White, and leave a separate comment below telling us your did so (with the name you follow with).
4. Follow me on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway making sure to "mention" me and leave a separate comment below telling us you tweeted.

This giveaway ends June 29th at 7 pm Eastern Time. A winner will be chosen at random.

26.6.11

weekend: very productive

the view from our friends' new deck . . . a sunday morning macchiato at viva espresso . . . playing bocce in the afternoon . . . a tomato almost ready to pick
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:

i would love to do this in a neutral palette of of creams, browns, and tans

i could live here

definitely going to use this next time i go to paris

giant chickens make me laugh
~~~~
This weekend was pretty productive. Although I didn't get all the projects finished that I wanted to, I did cross a lot off of my list which always feels good. And I still had a little time for fun - beers on our friends' deck, pizza for dinner both Friday and Saturday, trying out our new bocce ball set, and grilling this evening.

Loves, what did you do this weekend?

25.6.11

my week in clothing: june 18th - june 24th 2011

This is a new feature on the blog. You can read the introductory post here.

Ok so what I learned this week: My eyes sometimes look like they are sunken in in pictures since I have dark circles under my eyes. Does anyone have any make-up tips, photography tips, or photoshop (elements) tips to make it look like I actually have eyes instead of holes in the middle of my head?

Saturday, June 18th
For a Father's Day Lunch: Shirt - Gap, Shorts - Old Navy, Sandals - Old Navy, Necklace - Vintage (from my step-mom)

Sunday, June 19th
For a Father's Day Dinner: Shirt - F21, Shorts - Mossimo (Target), Flats - Merona (Target), Necklace - not sure

Monday, June 20th
For work: Blouse - Gap, Skirt - J.Crew (Factory Store), Pumps - Etienne Aigner (Macy's)

Tuesday, June 21st
For work: Cardi - Gap, Blouse - Banana Republic (Outlet), Pants - J.Crew (Factory Store), Flats - J.Crew (Factory Store)

Wednesday, June 22nd
For work: Dress - Mossimo (Target), Flats - Merona (Target)
For the Hub's lacrosse game: Tank - J.Crew (Factory Store), Shorts - Ann Taylor Loft, Sandals - Mossimo (Target), Sunglasses - Marc by Marc Jacobs

Thursday, June 23rd
For work: Cardi - Ann Taylor Loft, Blouse - Banana Republic (Outlet), Pants - Michael Kors (Nordstrom), Pumps - Bandalino (Marshalls)

Friday, June 24th
For work: Shirt - Banana Republic (Outlet), Skirt - BCBG (Outlet), Flats - Merona (Target)
For pizza and beer with friends: Shirt - J.Crew (Outlet), Shorts - Old Navy, Sandals - Merona (Target), Camera Bag - Kelly Moore

What do you guys think? Any faves?

24.6.11

francophile friday: wedding in the loire valley

I wasn't sure if this video was francophile worthy considering neither model Coco Rocha nor her husband James are French but considering the setting was in the Loire Valley, I think that is French enough. The couple were married at the French castle where James proposed. It was an intimate ceremony with only 50 guests. I'd say it was the perfect fairytale wedding!

{video found here}

23.6.11

members only

Are you a member of one of the fabulous "members only" shopping sites? I was a bit skeptical at first. I HATE signing up to receive emails and getting a bunch of spam in my inbox. But I was convinced to sign up for one when a friend told me a website was selling Bensimons. Although I didn't buy any that day, I saw how cool these websites could be. I have signed up for a few different ones over the past couple of months. I have only made one purchase so far: a pair of Charles by Charles David sandals for over half off. I find it just really fun to browse the websites.

Now it could be dangerous: having an email sent your inbox everyday saying there are great deals on your favorite designers. Oh and you have to buy it NOW or it will be gone. But I have created a little rule for myself. If I cannot spend the money, I simply delete the email - I don't even open it.

Some of these sites you can just sign up for while others are by invitation only. Links and invites are below to the "shopping communities" I am a "member" of. (Oh la la! SOOO exclusive. Haha!)

I only joined Century 21 recently and since I have been on a spending freeze, I haven't looked at it as much. The flash sales run much longer than other sites (72 hours) and they seem to have a more random assortment of clothing for men, women, and kids. Upcoming sales include Calvin Klein, French Connection, Betsey Johnson, and Tommy Hilfiger. You can join Century 21 here.

Joss and Main carries items for the home. You can find furniture, home accents, lighting, bakeware, cookware, serveware and much, much more. I am ridiculously excited for their rose & iris sale coming up that will have French country furniture. You can join Joss & Main here.

Swirl tends to have sales geared towards the younger, trendier crowd. Although they have designers you will recognize, they also have a lot of newbies that I have never heard of which I like. I also like that they not only carry clothing and accessories but also a lot of skin care products. I am highly intrigued by their current sale (that ends today) for myfaceworks which is selling portable "sheet" masks for your face. I may have to get a pack before the sale ends. You can join Swirl here.

I was catching up on the latest Gossip Girl season when one of the scenes panned to Lily shopping online (since she is currently on house arrest.) What website was she on? Well, GILT, of course. I love how well-organized this site is. They have clothing for men, women, and children as well as items for the home. I love the deals they also have for activities in certain cities as well as travel deals. My current obsession is their newly-added Taste section which allows you to order gourmet food right to your door. You can join GILT here.

This site is set up a lot like GILT but with a very different look. They also always have a lot of sales going at once. They always have a great selection of shoes which is very tempting. Their current Charles by Charles David sale is calling my name. You can join ideeli here.

And what is extra nice? You don't have to spend a dime "window shopping." Are any of you members of shopping websites?

winner of the baggu giveaway!

I am excited to announce that the winner of the Baggu giveaway is Schkinner who said, "I really like the Daypacks and the Backpacks. Fun colors and would be REALLY useful this summer!" Congrats Schkinner! Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com with your information. And special thanks to Baggu for sponsoring this giveaway!

{image from here}

22.6.11

teaching your children about food

One of my favorite things to do each week is to go to the farmer's market. It has become a ritual that calms and excites me all at the same time. I watch the hustle and bustle of patrons going from stand to stand. I listen to the noises that surround me - vendors yelling prices, dogs barking at one another, the loud whispers of local gossip. The colors and smells still astound me.

This isn't the way I was brought up. My mother used to crazily clip coupons each week and then we would cart off to the grocery store stuffing our carts with mainly processed foods. The only meals that were ever really made from scratch were the Italian recipes she had learned from my grandfather.

My father and then-stepmother didn't cook much either but they did introduce me to an array of different cuisines at restaurants. By the time I was out of middle school, I had tried most of the ethnic foods available in the metro DC area.

And maybe that is why I started cooking for myself as early as middle school. There was a need when I was at home (at my mother's house), to have something more than just Stouffer's. Any fresh ingredients that were in the house were gone before my mother would come home from work. I would make myself a meal when I got home from school and then claim that I was "not hungry" when it was time for dinner. In high school, when it was my "dad's weekend," I would go to the Asian market and bring home the tools and ingredients needed to make sushi much to my current stepmothers dismay - weeks later she would find sticky sushi rice stuck to some strange place in the kitchen.

When I go the grocery store here, I am the minority. My stack of groceries always takes longer since the cashier has type in the product numbers for produce. I also look around me in amazement - some families are pushing two to three carts full of highly processed food. I can never find a vegetable in their cart. I always wonder if they know that my produce probably costs a lot less than their carts and carts of pre-made meals. I wonder if they know how to make a meal from scratch - or if they even care?

Listen, I am all about convenience. I understand that this is part of the reason for the way people buy the way they do. We always have frozen pizzas on hand just in case I mess up dinner or have to work late. But most of the meals I make during the week take me less than 30 minutes to do. I hardly ever have to use that frozen pizza and we like making our pizzas from scratch anyways. (And a food saver is a wonderful invention! I will make healthy meals and freeze them for another time. Take that Stouffer's!)

So I guess you are wondering what started this rant. Well, when I was at the farmer's market yesterday I heard a little voice beside me say, "Mommy, can we get some yogurt." I looked down to see a little girl no older than 5 and her little sister that looked to be about 3. Their mother handed them some cash and told them they could go pick out their flavor and get it themselves. I was amazed. The children were just thinking about the yummy snack they were going to get but what they didn't know was that their mother had already empowered them with the knowledge to make healthy choices for the rest of their life.

I cringe at the thought of having picky chicldren. I love eating all sorts of food. I also want to teach my future children to make healthy choices naturally. I have heard all sorts of information but here is what I think my game plan is:
1. Make my own baby food. Maybe I am being a little ambitious here. But if I can prepare food for my husband and I every day, can I not just take the basic ingredients used for that? This way I can introduce new flavors as the doctor allows. Besides, baby food in the jars is expensive!
2. Make different types of food at home but also take them to all different kinds of restaurants when they get older. I definitely want to introduce them to different cuisines.
3. Enforce the two-bite rule. My current step-mom started this a few years back with my brother and sister. If they said they don't like something but my step-mom knew they had never had it before, they had to try at least two bites of it. Since they were/are both stubborn, this normally ended with them saying they didn't like it but sneaking bites when they thought no one was looking.
4. Won't be a short order cook. I am not cooking different meals for different people. I will always make sure there is something on their plate so that they like so they won't go hungry.
5. Cook with them! This seems fun, although messy, and it gets them interested in what they are eating.

I am not a parent so maybe some of this stuff won't work. If you don't have kids, are there any things you are excited to teach your kids about food? If you are a parent, what have you found works for raising adventurous eaters?

21.6.11

french green lentil salad

I went a little overboard eating this weekend. Celebrating two father's days can definitely make your pants tighter. But I also found French green lentils at Whole Foods on Saturday which are impossible to find in Salisbury. So I made up a healthy green lentil salad to take for lunch this week so I can get back on track.

This is best served warm but you can definitely make it in advance and it will last in the refrigerator for two to three days.

FRENCH GREEN LENTIL SALAD
makes 3 servings

1 1/4 c. French green lentils
1 bay leaf
2 large sprigs of oregano
sea salt
2 Tbsp. EVOO
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. EVOO

1. Rinse the lentils.
2. Put lentils in medium saucepan and cover with about 4 inches of water. Add the bay leaf and oregano sprigs.
3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, season with salt, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Be sure not to overcook them.
4. While lentils are cooking, heat EVOO in a medium skillet and add carrots and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, stirring frequently. Set aside.
5. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and EVOO. Drain lentils and add to bowl along with carrots and onions. Add salt and pepper and combine. Remove bay leaf and sprigs.
6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Bon appétit!

20.6.11

monday giveaway: baggu

This week's giveaway is from BAGGU, a shop that carries colorful and fun reusable bags. These are perfect for the grocery store, the farmer's market or any activity where you want to be eco-friendly and stylish.

"Started in 2007, BAGGU makes simple, high quality bags in many bright colors. They're durable and fill many uses so you can own less stuff. Carry it in your hand or over your shoulder. Using one BAGGU for one year replaces 300 to 700 disposable bags. In addition to Ripstop nylon products, BAGGU makes Duck Bags and Backpacks in several California surf inspired colors out of 100% Recycled Canvas. Be good, reuse!"

BAGGU is giving away the BAGGU X3 Kit in Blue to one lucky reader. "The X3 Kit contains three standard BAGGU bags in an assortment of blues with a zippered pouch. Capable of holding 50 pounds, each standard BAGGU can hold 2 - 3 plastic bags worth of stuff. Made from 100% Ripstop Nylon, these bags are also machine washable."

To be eligible, you must be a follower of the blog so, if you aren't yet, be sure to sign up via Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin. This is open to US residents only.

Ways to enter:
1. Visit BAGGU and leave a comment below telling us what your favorite item is.
2. Write about this giveaway on your blog and leave a separate comment below with a link to the post.
3. "Like" BAGGU on Facebook and leave a comment below letting us know you did so.
4. Follow me on Twitter and leave a separate comment below letting us know you did so.

This giveaway is open until Wednesday, June 22nd at 7 pm Eastern Standard Time. A winner will be chosen at random.

19.6.11

weekend: for father's day

stranded in the hallway, luckily with pizza . . . celebrating a friend's bday . . . i wish there was a whole foods in salisbury . . . peach bellini from lunch at cheesecake to celebrate father's day with my dad and family
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:

tasty paintings

10 tips to be seductively french

coolest family reunion shirts

best animal dads
~~~~
Friday, the Hubs and I headed to the other side of the bridge to celebrate my friends birthday with pizza and drinks. Unfortunately, since we had to wake up early the next day we couldn't stay for fun in Adams Morgan. Saturday, while the Hubs played golf with my dad and brother, I ran errands with my stepmom. Then we all headed to Cheesecake Factory for lunch. After that it was naps for us and then back here to Salisbury. Today, rain canceled plans to go to the pool, so I had a productive day doing laundry and cleaning. Then, we had dinner at the Hub's parents for Father's Day.

How was your weekend?

18.6.11

my week in clothing: june 11th - june 17th 2011

This is a new feature on the blog. You can view the introductory post here.

I definitely learned a few things this week. One was that I hate pictures of me with my hair wet. I normally let my hair air dry for work but for the sake of these pictures, I hit it with the blow dryer a little bit after Monday. I also learned that I am a very awkward "model." I have no idea what to do in front of a camera all by myself. I also learned that I need a better cover-up. The one from Sunday is just plain inappropriate.

Saturday, June 11th: Dress - Maggie London Petites (Nordstrom), Heels - Nine West

Sunday, June 12th: Sunglasses - Marc by Marc Jacobs, Cover-up - Merona (Target), Swim-Suit - Kenneth Cole Reaction, Flip Flops - Rainbow Sandals

Monday, June 13th: Shirt - Gap, Skirt - H&M, Pumps - Etienne Aigner

Tuesday, June 14th: Shirt - J.Crew, Pants - Banana Republic, Belt - Merona (Target), Flats - Merona (Target)

Wednesday, June 15th: Cardi - J.Crew, Tank - J.Crew, Skirt - J.Crew, Flats - J.Crew

Friday, June 17th
For work: Blouse - Gap, Skirt - Ann Taylor Loft, Flats - Kate Spade
For pizza with friends: Top - Old Navy, Shorts - Ann Taylor Loft, Shoes - Bensimon, Camera Bag - Kelly Moore

What do you guys think?

17.6.11

francophile friday: guest post from the boot

This week's francophile friday post is from Marissa over at the boot. She is currently living in Italy but recently took a trip to Paris and has kindly offered to tell us about her experience at l'Orangerie. Thanks Marissa! (Oh and I am secretly jealous about the Paul cart. It was one of my fave places to eat at the train station in Bordeaux before traveling somewhere.)

After a week of visiting museums in Paris, the Musée de l'Orangerie was like a breath of fresh air. I was completely transported while looking around the oval room at Monet’s precious water lilies. He intended them specifically for that spot, and I got goosebumps as we walked in. The brightness of the white walls made the panels burst and you felt as if you really were in the middle of his Japanese garden. The audioguide played tinkling piano music from Monet’s era, while a sweet British lady told us all about the lilies, in full detail. It was exquisitie, to say the least.

Next in the museum are the rooms housing the collection of the great art collector Paul Guillaume. The works are modern and fun and we loved the relaxed atmosphere. Plus, the audio guide was so informative that we left learning so much about artists we thought we knew well!

Photobucket
And after feasting your eyes on all that Cezanne, Utrillo and Derain what is the best part of the Orangerie? Hanging out in the beautiful Tuileries gardens after the visit and eating delicious pastries from a Paul cart. And people watching of course.

Thanks again to Morgan for having me here today, and I hope you'll all stop by the boot sometime for a does of style, food and Italian fun! :)

15.6.11

winner of the boom pom pom giveaway!

The winner of the Boom Pom Pom giveaway is Diana Mieczan from the blog Express-o. Congrats Diana! Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com with your information. And special thanks to Katie for sponsoring this fun giveaway!

{image via here}

sun care

Since the weather is allowing for more time out in the sun, I wanted to talk about sun care. I am by no means an expert. Actually, I would think I am quite the opposite - I am still learning. But I was inspired by the post {av} did here on tanning and melanoma and how important it is so take care of your skin.

When I was younger I rarely used lotion. Of course my parents put it on me when I was really little but as I got older I would maybe put on spf 15 but normally it was spf 4. My mom is mostly Italian (I am half) so she rarely would burn and would spend her summers (she is a teacher) baking in the sun and really putting on spf 4 to attract it.

In high school, I went to tanning beds every once in awhile mainly before something like prom. In college, I did the same thing. I never thought it was a problem. I didn't go everyday like "those other girls" and I never looked weirdly orange in the middle of December. But again, I would go before galas, before my birthday, before a wedding. But I had an olive skin tone so "my skin could handle it."

Last spring when I was at my palest I started to notice sun spots on my arms and thighs. I made sure to mostly wear spf 30 all summer but I couldn't help but to tan a bit before my wedding. And it was going to be the last time. Would there ever be a time that I needed to look as good as my wedding day? Nope. So I tanned in September about two to three times a week to "maintain" my summer tan for October. The Hubs hated when I would tan so I would sneak around. And then one day I opened my eyes when I was in the booth. The purple lights accentuated my sun spots. And for the first time (and maybe this was in my head) I thought that I would smell my skin burning. I freaked and walked out mid-session. My "unlimited monthly tanning" could go ef itself.

The Hubs got a little upset that we didn't develop a fabulous tan when were in Jamaica in April since I made both of us put on spf 30 the entire time and reapply like crazy. But I would rather not have crinkly skin when we are older and I don't want to risk skin cancer, it just isn't worth it.

One thing you should make sure to have is some short of hat to cover your face. I don't always wear a hat like I should but you don't want to have wrinkles when you are older. Plus, as my ex-step-mom used to say, "you can always put make-up on your face."

You should also make sure you have a pair of sunglasses that offer UV protection. I love being able to buy a cheapo pair at Urban Outfitters to change up my style but when I am going to be out in the sun for extended period of time I try to remember to bring my Marc by Marc Jacob sunglasses that have UV protection. I actually bought them before a trip to Bermuda a few years ago and they are great. UV radiation can not only damage the skin of your eyelid but also the cornea, lens and other parts of the eye. It can also cause cataracts (which my grandmother had to get surgery for when I was little.)

Wear sunblock! And make sure you reapply! And make sure you apply your first layer 30 minutes before you go out in the sun.

I guess my point is: I am 24 and I already have sun spots and a few wrinkles around my eyes which I am convinced are mostly from tanning beds but definitely also from being neglectful in the sun. But it is never too late to start taking care of your skin. It has to make it through the rest of your fabulous life...

What sun care tips do you have?

14.6.11

orecchiette with broccoli rabe and chicken

This is one of the first recipes created from just going to the farmer's market without a recipe and creating something with the produce I had picked up and what we had at home. I had only recently tried broccoli rabe. The cafeteria at work has become a bit more inventive and I got broccoli rabe sauteed with garlic and butter as a side.

Since I enjoyed it so much, when I saw it at the farmer's market I had to pick it up even though I had no idea what to do with it. This dish turned out incredibly well and there were no leftovers (which is rare considering the Hubs isn't a huge fan of pasta.)

ORECCHIETTE WITH BROCCOLI RABE AND CHICKEN
serves 4
adapted from Food and Wine

2 lbs. broccoli rabe, thick stems discarded
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced 1/2 inch thick
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. EVOO plus 2 tsp.
2 c. orecchiette
6 tsp. garlic paste, I used Amore brand (6 cloves can be substituted, minced)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
3/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan

1. In a large pot, boil salted water and then blanch rabe for about 3 minutes. Strain in colander and rinse well with very cold water. Coarsely chop.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and then cook in EVOO at medium high heat until brown all over for about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
3. In a large pot, boil salted water, add orecchiette and cook until al dente.
4. Heat remaining EVOO in skillet. Add garlic paste and red pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, being careful not to burn the paste. Add chicken broth and scrape any chicken bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan and cook until the broth is reduced two-thirds, about 5 minutes. Add the rabe and cook for about a minute.
5. Meanwhile, drain the pasta and add to the pan. Toss well. Serve on plates topped with Parmesan.

Buon appetito!

13.6.11

monday giveaway: boom pom pom (NOW CLOSED)

Today's giveaway is from a colorful Etsy shop, Boom Pom Pom, with retro inspired stationary and prints. The birth announcements are the most unique I have seen so far and I am absolutely smitten with the French themed items.

Katie, the shop owner, says, "BoomPomPom started from my two obsessions that started around the same time: cutting paper, and the arrival of my new little niece. My cards and prints come largely from experimentation with cut paper designs, but also from drawings I've done to decorate my niece's room. I'm trained as a textile and graphic designer, and have always loved anything to do with print or pattern. The next step is screen-printed fabrics, so watch this space! Imagine how cute those marching legs will look across a pillow case or tshirt!"
Katie is giving away a mixed card set of Bird Song, Un Deux Trois, Moon Face Man, and Balloon Ride. Any of these would be a fun and whimsical way to send a sweet note to a friend!

To be eligible for the giveaway, you must be a follower of my blog so, if you aren't yet, be sure to sign up through Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin'. And be sure to let me know what name you are following with.

Ways to win:
1. Visit Boom Pom Pom and leave a comment telling us what your favorite item is.
2. Write about this giveaway on your blog and leave a separate comment with a link to your blog post.

This giveaway ends Wednesday, June 13 at 7 pm Eastern Time. A winner will be chosen at random.

Katie is also offering free shipping to la chapstick fanatique readers until the end of June. Just enter the code SHIPFREEJUNE11 during checkout.

12.6.11

weekend: caribbean themed

saturday evening at lighthouse sound for a caribbean-themed fundraiser event . . . the ocean city skyline from lighthouse sound . . . peyton hanging out on the in-laws deck
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a little inspiration for the coming week:

if i ever get a male dog, this is what he will wear

i love putting together cheese platters but next time i am going to make mine fancier

let's escape here
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Friday night, the Hubs and I went to Green Hill for dinner and went to bed early (I had had a long week at work and he had been on a business trip for the past few days.) Saturday, I went to the pool with my SIL and then the Hubs and I headed to Lighthouse Sound for a fundraiser event. Unfortunately, we did not win the all-inclusive trip to St. Maarten's. Today, the Hubs left early for a business trip so I spent the day at the pool again with the SIL and then we had dinner at the in-laws. It was nice to have a weekend at home.

How was your weekend?