Saturday, January 31, 2015

jan book club: wild by cheryl strayed

this month, we did a special mother/daughter book + movie club. my mom loved wild by cheryl strayed and loaned me her copy. I tried my hardest to read it before leaving for paris, but couldn't finish it. of course, I finished the book on the tarmac before even taking off... I just couldn't find those 20 extra minutes at home. as soon as I got back, my mom and I went to see it in theatres which was really fun! (ahem, and sad).

top 10 parisian souvenirs

ahhh there's nothing quite like paris. always the same, yet always refreshing... such a beautiful and special city.

I've made several trips to paris over the past few years, and I've definitely solidified my souvenir shopping list. even though my shopping time has typically been limited, I'm a self-proclaimed expert souvenir-ist. I love cultivating items from around the world and picking up small gifts while traveling.

without further ado, here's my list of top ten souvenirs to bring back from paris. happy shopping!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

je t'aime paris!

another trip to paris has come and gone... while the majority of my trip was spent working, I managed to soak in a few parisian moments on the side. here are some of my paris recommendations, compiled from all of my trips over the years.

to do:
for an all day shopping extravaganza - hit galeries lafayette and champs elysees.
stop at mathilde m. for lovely smelling little parisian gifts.
if you haven't been to notre dame, do it.
of course, the louvre or musee d'orsay for a less crowded but equally awesome museum day.
gorge on laduree or pierre herme macarons, they don't have calories in france.
pick up inexpensive french wine at monoprix (sssh! my secret).
take a bicycle tour and visit the gardens of versailles in the spring/summer.
walk around the luxembourg gardens.
have dinner in montmarte and book a show at moulin rouge.
stop by shakespeare and co bookstore - they'll stamp any books you buy (makes a great gift).

 notre dame

galeries lafayette haussman

the louvre

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

prickly pear margarita

in celebration of my sister's recent birthday and in conjunction with two other family birthdays plus my parent's wedding anniversary, we had a mexican celebration this past weekend! my mom cooked up queso, guacamole, rice, beans, enchiladas, prickly pear margaritas, and an almond birthday cake which was to die for. 

prickly pear fruit is a beautiful bright pink and is found naturally in the desert on cactus plants. don't let the color fool you, the flavor is not overly sweet. we picked up some prickly pear syrup on our trip to sedona, arizona last year and have been waiting for an occasion to crack it open. these margaritas did not disappoint, beautiful color and flavor just like the margaritas we had in the desert. 


Sunday, January 18, 2015

gifting a baker's box... happy birthday sister!

I wanted to do something a little different for my sister's birthday this year. she is an amazing baker so I put together this fun box of sweet treats, hopefully she'll end up baking something that I get to eat!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

my favorite non-burger burgers

while I do enjoy a cheesy beef burger from time to time, I am also a big fan of non-burger burgers. but not all turkey or veggie burgers are created equal. I once came upon a 'thanksgiving burger' with cranberry and stuffing integrated in the turkey patty - definitely not for me. however, I have found two home-run non-burger burgers that I'm obsessed with: a jazzed up portobello mushroom veggie 'burger' and a simple, delicious turkey basil [four-ingredient] burger. bon appetit!

Monday, January 12, 2015

sweet and spicy broccoli

my hands-down favorite veggie is broccoli, steamed and lightly buttered with salt and pepper. we eat it at least once a week and I honestly could eat the whole batch without a main dish. simple and yummy and I realize, slightly plain jane. sometimes... you gotta shake it up and this recipe does just that.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

nordstrom tomato pesto jam jar

a few weeks ago, my sisters and mom went to nordstrom without me. I assured myself they were buying christmas presents for me. most likely not true. anyway, they were raving about this tomato pesto jam jar from the restaurant at nordstrom called ruscello. somehow my mom got the recipe on the spot - made it for christmas eve and turned it into the most adorable christmas present for us: a little box of tomato basil jam, pesto, and a mason jar for serving.

I finally got to try the original at nordstrom with my mom. every bit as delicious and pretty as when she served it at home! the tomato pesto jam jar has now become a staple in my hors d'oeuvres line up since it takes no time at all to whip up and can be refrigerated ahead of time.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 resolutions + holiday break recap

I've been thinking about my new year's resolutions over the past few days, trying to nail down exactly what my goals should be against the vague ideas already in my head. I knew what things I wanted to focus on (health, money, etc)... but what goals do I want to achieve, what progress do I want to make in 2015? so here's what I've come up with: 

source: lettersfromatoz

Sunday, January 4, 2015

hello houston! a tribute to texas fast food

we spent the weekend in houston for a wedding and I also got to catch up with my college friends for lunch at el tiempo. all in all, it was a great way to spend the last weekend of our holiday break. happy january!

of all the wonderful things about texas, it dawned on me that one thing you don't necessarily realize as a texas resident is that your state is a fast food beacon. the options are endless yet easily taken for granted - as a texas native, I didn't eat much fast food. now, a stop at whataburger is a requirement for every texas trip of mine. so without further ado - here's a list of fast food 'musts' if you find yourself in texas. xo, lam

Friday, January 2, 2015

"dirty 30" birthday party!

my sister hosted a "dirty 30" themed birthday party for her boyfriend on new year's day. they just moved into a new home a few days ago and it already looked so put together - hosting a party a few days after moving in is quite a feat! everyone gathered around the tv to watch college bowl games and nosh on yummy food my sister made [I am seriously obsessed with the mini chicken and waffles!]:

powerade and water for those nursing a NYE hangover
mimosa bar with fresh fruit and juices and beer
hummus and pimento cheese served in bell peppers
mini chicken and waffles
chocolate peanut butter "dirty" dump cake