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Monthly Archives: January 2014

How About a Little Sun(flower)?

Oh man, this winter is really trying to make us say “uncle”. Today is the second day in a row I have worn tights underneath my pants, two pairs of socks, a thermal shirt layered with a standard blouse and an oversized cardigan with a pashmina draped around my shoulders for good measure. Basically, this winter has effectively turned me into an Olsen twin.

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So how do we show Jack Frost who’s boss? How about baking up a little sweet treat so bright and cheerful you forget for a moment you are as puffy as the Michelin man from all those winter layers.

My dear, sweet, adorable co-worker quit last week, and I decided to make these sugar cookies with royal icing for her send off. Her favorite flowers are sunflowers, but of course these cookies would work just as well with whatever cookie cutter shape you want to use. (Again, I apologize for the crummy cellphone camera pic–I snapped the photo quickly at work!)

Crazy Daisy Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Pre heat oven to 350

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
cakepop or popsicle sticks

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat at low speed until combined.
Whisk together flour, baking powder & salt; add to butter mixture and beat until combined.

Roll out on a floured surface about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies.
Place on parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart, and insert stick about 1/3 of the way into each cookie. Keep a close eye on your cookies as oven temps can vary, but mine just started to turn golden at about 9 minutes.

Cool at least 10 minutes before transferring cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

3 cups powdered sugar
4 tbs water
2 tbs light corn syrup
1 tsp almond, lemon or vanilla extract (I use 1/2 almond and 1/2 vanilla)
food coloring as needed

Mix all ingredients together, and use immediately. Note that the glaze spreads out perfectly smooth and shiny, so use less than you think you need. If the glaze begins to harden, you can add a tiny drop or two of water and stir.




New Face Favorites

Over the summer, I abandoned the retinol product I was using because it caused my (already sun-sensitive) skin to break out in nasty, painful hives.


Notice the fan I’m wielding above? That’s because it was over 100 degrees in the Tuscan countryside. I was slathering on SPF during the day, and straight argan oil at night to heal my parched skin. Anti-aging was my last concern.

Come fall, I was dreading reintroducing retinol to my nighttime routine–my skin takes about six weeks to adjust to retinol use and in the interim is dry, flaky, and red, which is a very common (but temporary!) side effect in the initial weeks of usage.

Enter what can only be called The Miracle Product: Roc Retional Sensitive Skin Night Cream.

I’ve already gone through 3 tubes of this. Obsessed. This is, without a doubt, the gentlest retinol product I have ever used (and I’ve tried a ton). I noticed a major improvement in my skin’s texture, particularly on my chin and around my mouth. It is also starting to diminish those dreaded fine lines on my forehead! From the get-go I’ve been able to use this every night without any annoying side effects–just soft, clear skin. Win!
I usually stick to just concealer throughout the winter as my super pale skin is difficult to color-match with foundation, but I have a new holy grail face product:
Rimmel Match Perfection foundation. It claims to have “Smart-Tone Technology to mimic your exact skin tone and texture.” I have to say, I am using 101, classic ivory, which looks far too dark/yellow in the bottle, but miraculously blends so beautifully and is truly invisible on the skin.
There are supposedly light reflective particles in the formula, but I can’t detect them at all. That being said, it does have a dewy finish–perfect for winter skin! The texture is just dreamy, like a very absorbent lotion, and has a gorgeous, fresh scent. It has SPF 18 in it, but I can’t detect it at all–no smell or stinging around the eyes. I use just my fingers to blend this in, but I think a makeup sponge would work well, too. My one tiny complaint is that it could really use a pump–it’s so runny I’ve had more than few “oops!” moments…
Although it feels extremely light on the skin, it is definitely a medium coverage and buildable up to a full coverage. It has decent staying power, too. Here it is on my skin at the end of the day (I apologize for the awful cellphone camera selfie, I leave before the sun is up and return after it has set for the day, so for decent light I had to snap these at work!):
What skincare products are you loving right now?

The Gallery Wall

This has been on my to-do list for years…YEARS! In every apartment I’ve lived in, I’ve always wanted to create a gallery wall. Quirky, effortless, intimate–I just love them. In my current bedroom, I have super high vaulted ceilings, which begs for some vertical-climbing artwork to create visual interest. I finally gave the ol’ gallery wall a go, and love the results!

I still have some tweaking (leveling, sanding/repainting the empty frame and adding something to it!), but already like what I see:



From left: cardboard taxidermy , honeymoon photo of my parents, Nate and me, horseshoe, Smead family crest, engagement photo of Nate’s parents, vintage shot of 72nd and Broadway in nyc.



I haven’t decided what to put in the empty frame. I think it would be a bit cheeky to hang mistletoe, but would that look out of place come February? I definitely want an object…I’ll have to go treasure hunting in my mom’s basement later and see what I can find!

Would you try a gallery wall in your home?



New Year, Same Resolution…

Write more. Here. There. Write more. Buy stamps. Remember your camera. Remember to take pictures with your camera. Write more.  Maybe in cursive. Figure out how to write capital Q in cursive. Rinse. Repeat.

So, it’s been…a while. Where have I been?

















But I’m here now, so I guess I’ll be seeing you once in a while.

It’s good to be home.