summer in the south

August 23, 2014

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named the ‘devil’s elbow cottage,’ our sweet, abode is nestled among 300 year live oaks.

we watch over the marshes and waters of the pinckney island wildlife refuge, in what’s called “low-country;” a snippet of south carolina’s most beautiful and historical land.

for one week, we have made merry on this 150 acre private island.

from hour one we were in deep smit.

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with a front porch made for afternoon, sipping of sweet tea, we spy on baby dear and a neighborhood of great egrets play in the bog.

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tea for him, coffee for me; a screened porch for us both.

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scrambled eggs and a smile every morning for the boy i adore.

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early mornings {when the temperature is in the cool 90′s} we meander through different parts of the quag; a hose down at our dock is always our final stop.

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late-afternoon cocktail hour adjourns under the palmettos and myrtle oaks.

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i really don’t see the need for a car.

yes, it is hotter than georgia asphalt, but i can always nose out a breeze.

my husband disagrees vehemently with these statements; the only fight between us concerns the use of air conditioning.

if i had my way we’d eliminate it completely.

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i swing for hours.

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and we find a church so stinking adorable, i become a believer right there on the spot.

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south carolina’s history is inescapable.

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even in the 19th century, the people of low-country revered their pets.

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in this building i have the meal of a lifetime: an endive/arugula salad drizzled with black truffle vinegarette, a cheese plate so good i ask for smelling salts, and a blackberry cobbler topped with homemade brown butter ice cream that will haunt my culinary dreams for years to come.

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i make a friend.

reading

 reading spots, with every possible view, are uncovered each day.

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there may have been some pampering.

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the look of not wanting to go home.

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the seduction continues for one more day.

i don’t know what i’ll miss most about this trip.

the night-blooming jasmine providing a sweet, fragrant balm from sunrise to sunset?

the surround-sound sonata of cicadas harmonizing within the live oaks, heavy with spanish moss drapery?

i’m already yearning for more thunder and lightning storms who show up unannounced, smack in the middle, of a sunny, hot day.

and i regretfully admit to my new attachment to this salty, muggy air that has transformed my hair and skin back to a shiny, dewiness i haven’t seen in 20 years.

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but most of all i’ll miss this time with my man. we hardly get these long stretches together, and i’ve bottled these memories up to last me until next time.

so….until next time.

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it’s friday i’m in love…

August 15, 2014

afterlight

friday happy to you m’loves!

it’s smiles and snuggles all around here these days.

why does priscilla think she’s a canine-blanket?

she’s thanking me for finding newport tails, a dog-walking, dog-obedience, & daycare service located in newport beach.

twice a week priscilla and jones are taken out with their neighborhood friends, and for two hours they play, swim, and get the exercise i’m unable to give them, lest it’s on a spin bike.

we LOVE newport tails!

here are few other things i’m loving:

reading

this summer i have read more books than i did during ms. mooney’s dreaded AP english course.

some have been great; some just provided a pretty accessory for my nightstand.

i still have a full shelf i’m trying to tackle before the leaves change and pumpkin spiced lattés return.

but i’m already looking forward to fall; this list of incredible books coming out has me rethinking my workload next season; wishing to swap a paycheck for historical fiction.

alta

speaking of fall, have you seen the new lookbook for joseph altuzarra for target?

it all goes on sale on september 14th.

i don’t think there’s an item i DON’T want.

i’m not one for sleeping on sidewalks the night before a movie opens, or camping out for concert tickets, but i might pluck down a lawn chair for tuxedo jackets and wrap dresses.

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if given the choice of sandwiches, the peanut butter and jelly will always win queen of my homecoming court.

supply me with a plate with this salty/sweet combo bite, and i’m 8 years old again, back on coral tree circle, gobbling down back t0 back episodes of different strokes and facts of life.

when i’m having a rotten day i definitely can cheer myself up with a peanut butter & jelly sandwich….or two.

apparently we have sandwich stereotypes.

what’s your favorite, all-time sandwich?

check out what your favorite says about you.

stellar

so are you guys on stellar?

please tell me you are.

i am obsessed with steller; an app that takes instagram and storytelling to the next level.

i definitely have the blind barber on my brooklyn to-visit list, and outside lands 2014 looks like it was a show not to be missed.

i have signed up; don’t judge me by my first story; it’s a learning process for sure.

{you can judge me by how many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches i can consume in one sitting; paging OA.}

soludos

yesterday i snagged this beach bag from soludos.

i’ll be using it as my carry-on for my upcoming week in the south.

it holds everything and is machine-washable; a plus for me…… i freak out about all the germs that get on bags, etc when i travel.

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so yes tomorrow hunkiest and i take our summer vacation.

remember this post on lake life?

we’re sorta, kinda re-creating this; maybe even add a road-trip along the way.

the theme for our trip is “screened porches and sweet tea.”

wishing you a restful weekend of slow-jams, afternoon naps, and make out sessions at midnight.

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summer beauty secrets….from the expert!

August 4, 2014

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monday happy to you m’loves!

southern california is channeling her inner southern belle; a weekend of fervent thunder and impromptu rain have turned this drought state into a bona-fide steam bath of dramatics.

tongues wagged for two-days straight over foolish car washes, clammy clothes, and neurotic skin; i more than once overheard commiserations about the wild, summer weather and its direct disruption to beauty regimes all across orange county.

no, we’re not talking gaza strip problems, but give a girl issues with her skin, and she’ll bring out the scud missiles if need be.

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enter beauty expert, misha messelrod, my very first girl crush.

misha IS orange county’s guru for good looks.

for over a decade, at holiday salon, THE one-stop shop for hair & beauty, misha has been transforming faces with her expert eyebrow shaping, lash extensions, and make-up artistry.

besides being nutzo-talented, misha is also wet-your-pants-hilarious, and has a heart of gold, platinum, silver and rainbow.

her beauty is just as enthralling as her one-liners, and each time i’m in her chair i’m more and more obsessed with what she’s doing to get prettier and younger looking….while the rest of us get more wrinkly when we step up to the make-up mirror.

misha was happy to share her summer skincare secrets with us.

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the first weapon in her arsenal is the protein mist enzyme toner from epicuren.

misha sprays this all over her face, first thing, when she gets out of the shower, before drying off.

this toner goes deep, down into pores where it exfoliates and hydrates the skin.

the enzymes in this product restore collagen and create smoother, dewier skin.

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the next step, another epicuren magic-maker, is the orac age-protect serum.

orac {oxygen radical absorbance capacity,} a method used by scientists to detect anti-oxidant efficacy, is a major player in anti-aging.

misha slathers this ground-breaking formula on, post-toner application, again when the skin is still wet, and watches her face get an instant lift.

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misha finishes this skin-perfecting trifecta with the luxurious, result-delivering marula oil.

no need for makeup with this product, i’ve watched my own skin transform with marula oil.

best described as ‘radiance in a bottle,’ marula oil plumps, hydrates and infuses faces with a healthy glow.

all of these products are cruelty-free and can be purchased online or the next time you’re at holiday salon.

thank you my darling, misha!

you make us prettier just by being in your presence; now we can take some of your magic home with us too.

{purchase links have been included in body of post.}

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it’s friday i’m in LOVE

August 1, 2014

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happy august to you m’loves!.

the speed of this summer is giving me whiplash.

i have two words for august:

SLOW! DOWN!

i hope you guys stopped by the mary jo matsumoto’s summer flash sale i told you about yesterday; you don’t want to miss these deals.

dress

speaking of mary jo matsumoto and her fabulous’ness, a couple of weeks back i spied this embroidered fable dress from freee people in her art inspired blog post on joaquin sorolla; i couldn’t get into my greedy, little hands fast enough.

i’ve been living in this dress all week.

crazy-comfortable, this v-neck maxi works all year-long. right now it’s summer appropriate with sandals, but come winter-time i’ll be rocking it with my motorcycle boots and favorite puffer vest.

the colors they offer seem to change…already the tangerine version i bought {along with a black} has been replaced with this shadow purple rendition.

parasol

so it’s no secret i’m kind of a psycho about the sun.

protecting myself from those dangerous and pesky UVA/UVB/UVC rays feels like a second job sometimes. it is a rare occasion when i’m not underneath some sort of hat.

the half-japanese in me has been forever on the hunt for a parasol-type cover for when i MUST be outdoors longer than the walk from my car, to whichever edifice i’m heading toward.

enter the brelli.

the brelli is an eco-friendly, luxury umbrella that protects 99% of UVA/UVB/UVC rays, and withstands up to 40 mph wind and rain.

hand carved from thailand and then manufactured in the usa, the lightweight brelli is coated with a sun protection canopy that never wears off.

i snagged one up on the one king’s lane sale {still in effect until today,} but if you miss the sale you can still get a brelli directly from their website.

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have you guys heard meghan trainor‘s single “all about the bass” yet?

so fun.

we’ve been tucking and squeezing to it all week; it’s a perfect, happy, bee-boppy, summer tune.

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did you know that every time you throw your hands in the air it raises your dopamine {the neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure and motivation}?

my friend dawn summerford, of working your body, filled me in on this little, known fact; she and i are often involuntarily throwing our hands up in the air mid spin class {typically during a favorite hip-hop song,} and it’s no wonder we both get ridiculously happy from doing it.

so, with my hands in the air, i wish you a happiest of weekends.

see you on the other side of sunday m’loves.

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summer flash sale!

July 31, 2014

maryjo

psst.

to all my fashion-forward, kittens:

listen up, this is not to be missed.

tomorrow, friday august 1st, running for three days, mary jo matsumoto is having a have-you-lost-your-mind!?!? flash sale on her website; we’re talking 50% off the already, reduced prices—i had to email mary jo twice for clarification on sale; i couldn’t believe the bags were actually going to be available at these prices.

they are.

all of my most beloved mjm bags are available:

{clockwise from top left}

the bridge tote, the linen + leather tote, the trestles tote, and my summer favorite, the newport harbor tote.

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here’s me last summer showing off my newport harbor tote, and tomorrow you can get it half off.

crazy cakes!

mj

need to get a jumpstart on the holidays?

the cloudy with a chance of surfing tote, the pink snakeskin print clutch, the cloudy with a chance of surfing wallet and the myth hunter tartan wallet all make the best christmas presents.

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and my most favorite bag, in the history of bags, the knot clutch, will also be available for 50% off the already reduced price.

start staking out your booty now–and then on friday, august 1st the 50% flash sale code goes into play {it will be on mary jo’s website.}

happy shopping m’loves.

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california LOVE

July 29, 2014

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as if my love for all things california couldn’t get more visceral, yesterday my EUREKA! state showered me with the sweetest summer storm.

nothing to get an umbrella out for, but just enough of mother earth’s sprinkle and humidity to get the tongues wagging about hair frizz and a futile, sunday morning car wash.

the weather was begging me to wear my new billabong pullover hoodie, a french terry knit, with a vintage rope draw-cord, and califorina flag print.

it’s the perfect layer for nights at the beach, and will be great when the weather really starts to cool down.

and in keeping with my ode to california, this tupac/jason derulo mash up will be making an appearance this week in spin class for my peeps who “know how to partay!”

california love to you!

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a cherry on top….

July 28, 2014

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lately it’s been the romancing of the cherry around these parts.

suckered in by a farmers’ market sample, i practically bought the stand out of these sweet and sour candies.

most afternoons you can find me at my desk with a bowlful of these summer, baby stone fruits.

of the many benefits cherries offer, one of my favorites is their natural melatonin supply; a hormone that lowers body temperature and makes us sleepy.

i’m not quite sure if it IS the cherries, but our sleep has been very sound {apparently it rained last night.}

as it gets warmer, even during the evening, we try not to go too heavy on our dinner; a cheese plate teeming with cherries has been the go-to meal of late.

oh my gosh!?!? a cherry/goat cheese/honey drizzle is probably the best combo-bite in town right now.

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cherries are also rich in queritrin, an anti-oxidant that not only boosts exercise endurance, but has anti-cancer benefits as well.

some people have reported a decrease in their migraines due to cherries’ anthocyanin and bioflavonoids properties; these compounds mimic aspirin and ibuprofen in the body.

while i {and priscilla} can’t think of anything better than eating them straight off the stem, finger-food style, cherries always make a splash in summer recipes.

i would definitely help myself to seconds {and maybe thirds} of this fresh cherry cobbler.

this cherry salsa, served over grilled fish or bruschetta, is screaming to be served at your next bbq.

and to keep everyone on the dance floor, these cherry mojitos  are just as vital to your summer block party as your playlist.

what are your favorite ways to eat cherries?

william

pitting the cherries is as easy as downing that mojito; the gadgets they have make it super simple.

my oxo pitter does a fine job, but how fantastic is this cherry pitter from william sonoma ↑

hurry up, cherry season is almost over and we’ll soon have to break-up until next summer {cue sad lana del rey music.}

monday happy to you m’loves.

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the fountain of youth in a blue bottle…

July 22, 2014

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oh happy day my beloved readers!

today’s post could be your winning lotto ticket in the battle against fine lines, discoloration, and slack skin.

we have laurie herman to thank.

laurie herman and her all-natural, AFFORDABLE, effective, skincare fell into my lap last month when ms. herman got in touch after reading about my love of fitness and healthy living.

thinking our obsession for all things ‘mother earth‘ could collaborate, and hearing about my affinity for skincare, sometimes at the behest of my pocketbook, laurie wanted my opinion on her products.

no strings attached, no promises to find the nearest mountain-top whereupon i sing her praises; i agreed to use laurie’s serum, toner, body moisturizer and facial wash.

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the first product i tried was the pacific facial wash.

unlike any face cleanser i’ve ever used before, this product comes out in a dry, grainy, powder.

it’s best to wet your face first, and THEN pour out a little bit of product into your hands, mix into a velvet scrub, and then apply to face.

each time i use this wash i am instantly surprised at the difference in texture and softness in my skin.

it’s a bizarre grand finale of squeaky clean and satin-pillow soft.

most skincare lines use heavy fragrances to make their products more pleasing; these perfumes, many of them phthalates are actually very toxic, and have been linked to hormone disruption. using only essential oils, laurie’s products are completely fragrance-free; therefore sometimes the scents truly are NATURAL. the face wash has a strong kelp scent.

i actually like the fact that i can smell the ingredients {even if it is a bit oceany} of this product.

toner

next was the neroli water hyrdating toner.

typically i’m not a big believer in toners. i think they’re kind of a waste of time; like first marriages or foreplay, just let me wear my vera wang dress and buy me my breakfast in the morning.

but as i get older {less hydrated} i’m noticing the importance of toners and their hydrating properties.

this neroli water hydrating toner, designed to tighten and firm, gives a nice boost, post wash.

serum

last but not least is the face serum firm it.

this is a game-changer.

using the neroli firm it serum all the way up to my eyeballs and down to my chest, i noticed an immediate difference–i’m talking “let’s make an infomercial” results here.

it’s like my skin gets a juice-cleanse and barre class every night.

toned, lifted, full of vigor, and more vivacious; my face drinks this serum up like a sad, wilted, dehydrated, desert animal.

i could give you my opinion, but i think the opinion of my friends and husband are more convincing.

hunkiest, a man who typically wouldn’t notice if my hair was on fire, let alone when i cut it 6 inches shorter, has been a factory farm of compliments; churning them out like well-packaged, precise hamburger patties of kindness on how pretty my skin looks; he even missed a crucial left turn opportunity on 17th street one saturday afternoon he was so confused by focused on my new complexion; we’re still in the center divider, by the way, waiting to make that left turn.–i’m typing from the car.

and a couple of weeks ago, in the harsh morning, non-instagram filetered light, my friend alexei, who at 8 months pregnant doesn’t have time to stroke my already texas-sized ego, told me:

you’re skin looks amazing, what are you doing different?

i was all:

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you, like?

but then her husband marc, excited to also notice my new, dewy skin, tried to play with the big girls in the compliment game, by adding:

yeah..i was like…is THAT????………that’s not katie is it?????”

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um, thank you? i guess.

a compliment, even served wrapped up in a tortilla of insult, is still worth gobbling down.

thank you laurie herman for turning this troll katie into something safe for public consumption.

social

now it’s your turn to fool your friends.

even if you think your skin is flawless and you’ve been dunked in a vat of perfect, i still implore you to try laurie’s products.

she has a 100% satisfaction guarantee good for 365 days {that’s one year for you english majors} and she’ll even pay your shipping.

 laurie has graciously offered a limited time 20% discount and free shipping on all of her products to my readers; thank you so much laurie.

when checking out use the coupon code: xokatie

this will be valid until august 8th.

laurie and i both like to keep you informed on the latest and greatest in health so make sure you stay connected with us for more offers and deals.

find laurie on facebook, twitter, instagram + pinterest.

and you know i love it when you like/follow me/tweet/pin with me …i always follow back…

here’s to happy, shiny, all-natural skin m’loves.

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let’s get baked!

July 21, 2014

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a monday happy to you m’loves.

despite my damnedest to choke back the reins on a runaway, speeding summer, summer still barrels ahead at a breakneck pace.

this weekend was no exception.

my self-esteem got off to a proper, humiliating start on friday afternoon courtesy of the blow dry bar, where i had hoped to get an upper hand on my hair for my saturday photo shoot with samantha jacoby–which as the day neared i was 1000% regretting knowing i was nowhere near the level of subject she typically shoots.

going through the obligatory script, the hair stylist asked me if i had any “big plans” for the weekend. i replied that i had a photo shoot on saturday, and thus was getting my hair done for it; whereby she stopped my shitty head massage, peered down at my figure and face with autopsy focus, and said {I. SWEAR. TO. GOD.}:

“oh. so you’re a photographer?”

i laughed so hard i concussed my head on the shampoo bowl.

serves me right for being such a lazy bitch, and not washing my own hair.

ego decimation aside, samantha was a blast.

i don’t care if i end up looking like an old cow in the photos, i made a new girlfriend which is the bigger win.

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with my self-regard in the toilet, compliments of a round-brush wielding witch, the only way to clinically feel better about myself was to get immediate access to sugar and butter.

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although the plan was try this nectarine concoction; i got all fraidy cat and instead went with an old standby i’ve been making since college that has never disappointed me; kind of like cashmere, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and amy adams, this plum cobbler does not let me down.

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 truly a summer dessert, my red plum crunch relies on the sourness of summer {red} plums to give it a very tart contrast to the sweet of a traditional cobbler.

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i’m pretty sure this is the same bottle of créme de cassis i used in college.

you cannot taste the alcohol; i hate desserts that taste like liquor.

i don’t even like my cocktails and wine to taste like booze.

the créme de cassis gives the dish a rich, almost smokiness that plays so well with vanilla ice cream.

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if you ask me though the “crumble” is really the upshot of the recipe.

brown sugar: good.

butter: good

oatmeal & cinnamon: good

i double the recipe for the topping.

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and even with the double there may or may not have been an extra bowl of crumble made for the emotionally borderline,  “photographer” and her need to binge it out.

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the finished product….made prettier with flowers and china.

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i have a feeling that “look” back there is how pillow-mageddon began last week.

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although delicious on its own, the red plum crunch becomes a bowl-scraper with vanilla talenti gelato.

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my 20 year old recipe still holds up to the emotional eater test.

i devoured my bowl in olympic record time.

tummy love to you my darlings.

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it’s friday i’m in love…

July 18, 2014

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shiny, happy, friday to you my doll-babies!

another week in the books, another year older for my most significant of others.

last night, alongside family from out-of-town, we celebrated with chocolate cake and mint gelato; hunkiest’s two most favorite foods.

the weekend foresees to be one, long spree of extolling the people i love; but first here are few of my friday favorite’s:

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 i am digging jenny lewis’ new single “just one of the guys.”

her video with anne hathaway, kristen stewart, and brie larson {in and out of drag,} is a sweet, silly counterbalance to, a lyrically, melancholly song. jenny lewis wrote the song the night after her father died.

brie larson, a girl crush of mine since her days on the united states of tara, more than makes up and cancels out my involuntarily gag reactions to kristen stewart and anne hatha-vain, in this fun video.

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those who have been to my house have seen my fanaticism:

i’m addicted to the color white.

in all of its shades, moods, and variances, white makes me happier than any other ‘color’ in the paint box.

finally someone else feels this same fancy; in an article for THE LINE, master colorist donald kaufman, who with his wife taffy dahl {what a name!!?}, works with top architects and designers to create over 104 variable shades of white, talks about the power and beauty of this often “un-romantic,” misunderstood color.

pardon me while i swoon.

grace

this week i finished a great book, “ordinary grace” by william kent krueger; a coming of age story, about two young brothers during the summer of 1961, in a small town of minnesota, where death and loss are as common as the 90 degree heat. krueger’s message of grace, in both the young and the old, the tortured and the guilty, is one that has stayed with me for days and i know will linger on for months, maybe even years to come.

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tomorrow i’m getting my photos taken with the famous samantha friedman jacoby; samantha takes insane fitness photos, and i’m so excited to work with this talented genius.

i’ve been living on a diet of cigarette’s and spin bikes.

{oh and chocolate cake with mint gelato}

in truth, it’s just been a week of less peanut/almond butters {my crack} and more cardio.

except for last night i’ve made an enormous version of this salad for dinner every night this week; no cheese {which is like water boarding for me,} this bibb lettuce/tarragon combination is delicious and crazy easy to make.

although saturday night, post photo shoot, all bets are off, and i’m face-planting into a baking dish of brown sugar and butter.

i’m making this nectarine and plum crisp with oatmeal streusel to negate all the cardio and clean eating i’ve committed to this week.

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 wish me luck angel-babies.

here’s to sucking it in, high eyebrows, and photoshop.

cheers to making a weekend splash so big, you get everyone else to join in your pool party!

see you on the other side of sunday m’loves.

~images: helmut newton

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