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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happy Weekend!

This past week has been utterly fantastic. I have so much to share with all of you, and so many photos to sort through still. Even the little things this week have been fun! From making paper flowers at work for a Mother's Day project to some new books for late night reading. The best part, though? Taking a road trip to Newport Beach. My mom and I have been talking about taking a girl's trip to the beach for over a year now and this was the week to make it happen. With Mother's Day last Sunday and her birthday two days later, the timing was just perfect. As was the trip. We were only there for two days, but it felt like ages. The perfect sort of vacation.

The wind was intense on our first day there, but we still spent some time at the beach. My favorite part though had to be the hotel room with the wall of windows that opened up to a beautiful view of the bay. I'm so thankful to be at a point in my life now where I can treat my mom to things she enjoys. This definitely won't be the last you'll be hearing about Newport Beach. I've got a fun DIY project and some travel tips to share this week.

In other news, I had my first wedding cake consultation on Thursday. I'm really excited about the concept they're going for and I'm excited to share the process over the next few weeks. While I don't know if I'd want to pursue cake baking as a full time career, this has been a fun learning process so far.

Some of my favorite things from around the internet this week...

Food52 consistently inspires me through their Instagram feed. Gorgeous.
• This farmhouse kitchen is so dreamy.
• With the weather heating up, this Honey Plum Splash looks deliciously refreshing.
• I am completely smitten with the branding for the Oyster Inn.
• With my float obsession still going strong, these Root Beer Float Shooters look as delicious as they are charming.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Raspberry Pomegranate Float

Summer is coming and with it brings the season for tasty frozen treats. I love ice cream in just about any form, and this fruit sorbet is great for layering in beverages. Perfect for a Mother's Day bunch, a girl's crafting night, or just to sip on the patio with a good book, this drink in particular is quickly becoming a warm weather staple.

Raspberry Pomegranate Float

3 mini-scoops raspberry sorbet
1 bottle pomegranate soda

Scoop your sorbet into a pretty glass and then top with chilled soda. Finish with a colorful straw or paper umbrella.

It's as easy as that. Where this gets fun is the variations. You can layer different flavors of sorbet to mix it up (a raspberry/blackberry combination is a personal favorite) or change up the soda. For an adult twist, the sorbet pairs perfectly with prosecco. Making these for a party? To simplify your prep time pre-scoop the sorbet into a container and store in the freezer until party time to avoid the mess.

What are your plans for the weekend? With Mother's Day tomorrow and my mom's birthday on Tuesday we're heading to the beach for a few days to unwind and celebrate. This will be my first time actually staying in Newport and I'm excited to explore the bakeries.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Simple Spring Makeup

As much as I love playing with makeup and trying new things, sometimes you need to keep it simple. Over the past few months this has become my default look during the day. It takes less than ten minutes to put on, the layers are light for warm weather comfort, but there's still just enough sparkle to keep it fun. Added bonus? Without all of the extra colors and brushes this makes for a perfect vacation look that can be easily dressed up with a little eyeliner and a bolder lip.

My skin is crazy sensitive so you'll notice that I stick pretty closely to the same brands. I've been slowly adding some new pieces to my makeup bag, but after two years of painful allergic reactions (and their aftermath) I'm a little trigger shy. I have more freedom with my lip and eye choices, but after purchasing the Lorac TANtalizer set a few weeks ago I've become hooked on their gloss.

Preparation; My morning skin prep consists of a light mist of Evian Mineral Water Spray ($12) and a gentle massage of coconut oil. Lightly mist your face with the spray (or dab lightly with a clean washcloth and tepid water). Taking a dime-sized dollop of coconut oil in your palm, massage lightly into the skin. Finish off with another light mist.

Base; Using a buffer brush (mine is most similar to the Buff & Go Retractable Face Brush), brush on your base in small circular motions. I use bareMinerals Original Foundation in Fair ($27), but substitute with your base of choice. Using the same brush apply a light layer of blush to the apples of your cheeks. Also using the same brush, sweep bronzer over the bridge of your nose, top of your cheekbones, and your temples for a subtle glow. Here I'm using bareMinerals Blush in Beauty ($19) and Lorac TANtalizer Baked Bronzer ($32).

Eyes; Sweep a neutral, shimmery eyeshadow on your lid from eyelashes to crease. I'm using bareMinerals Glimmer in Queen Phyllis ($14), but the goal here is to find something close to your skintone to give your eyes a low-maintainence subtle shimmer. Apply a single layer of mascara to the upper and lower lashes. Here I'm using Lorac Cobra Mascara ($20). If you want to transition this look to evening, apply a second coat of mascara and some winged eyeliner for a bolder look.

Lip; I've been hooked on this pale peach shade from Lorac, Lip Lustre Gloss in Peach Lustre ($15), these past few weeks, but any pale pink or peach will give you the same basic look. I'll be doing a spring lipgloss round-up soon with some of my favorites because I can't seem to stop picking them up.

And that's it! I've been doing quite of bit of traveling this spring and that's really forced me to find a simple look that I love because carrying around my full makeup bag is not my favorite. What are your go to shades this spring?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Twenty Seven

A little over a week in to being 27 and the word that continues to resonate is content. Twenty six was a weird year in a lot of ways. It was messy and often painful, but through the bad comes growth. For the first time in a very long time, I feel comfortable with who I am and who I am becoming. It's a nice feeling.

Now that I am officially in my late twenties I am at a place where I am ready and excited to move forward. Being more comfortable in my own skin, I'm ready and excited to make some changes to better reflect the person I want to become. New routines, new habits. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

I love the idea of choosing a word to reflect the year ahead, but I find that my birthday resonates more personally for a fresh start than New Year's Eve. This year, that word is delight. If there's one clear thing that I can be critical of in the past year it's that I spent much of it getting bogged down in my daily routine. Delight isn't just in the big gestures, delight is in the details too! How can my days be more delightful, and how can I share that delight with others? These are the questions I want to be intentional about exploring this year.

As for my birthday itself? This year was particularly lovely. Even though my birthday fell during a particularly busy week at work, my coworkers decorated my cubicle and surprised me with the darling birthday basket below. My mom surprised me with some beautiful flowers, and my parents took me to my favorite pizza place for dinner. At the end of the day I felt so loved and special.

This year also marked a new tradition of taking myself on a birthday vacation. I made reservations for my favorite hotel back in January and this past weekend I was able to savor a thoroughly wonderful stay at the Bellagio. More on that soon because I couldn't stop myself from taking a ridiculous amount of photos. This tradition, though? Definitely a keeper.

What are your favorite birthday traditions?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer

It's no secret that I adore YA literature, or that I have a thing for murder mysteries. So it's no surprise that I couldn't resist a supernatural YA murder mystery set in France. That and the gorgeous cover led me to pick up Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender on a recent trip to the bookstore.

Heads will roll! Paris, France: a city of fashion, chocolate croissants, and cute boys. Colette Iselin is thrilled be there for the first time, on her spring break class trip. But a series of gruesome murders are taking place around the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours the sights, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks like Marie Antoinette. Colette knows her status-obsessed friends won't believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they discover that the murder victims are all descendants of people who ultimately brought about Marie Antoinette's beheading. The queen's ghost has been awakened, and now she's wreaking her bloodthirsty revenge. And Colette may just be one of those descendants . . . which means she might not make it out of this trip alive.

First impression? Love! This was the perfect book for curling up with a mug of cocoa after a long day. The descriptions of France, especially the food, had me closing my eyes to soak up the atmosphere. I've been on a French food kick ever since. I also particularly enjoyed how Katie was able to imbue modern-day France with an air of centuries old supernatural flair. The transitions between the two created the perfect amount of tension.

While the mystery itself wasn't packed with twists and turns, watching Colette come into her own as she navigated an increasingly complex situation was key to her character development. Starting out frozen at the thought of deviating from her popular friends she finds her voice as the novel progresses, and while the conclusion felt a little abrupt for my liking Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer is a worthy and enjoyable read.

Some favorite quotes...
"They resumed their conversation, Hannah glancing around the room, collecting bits of other people's envy like seashells." - Page 76
"Ah, but that's not me. That's France. Perhaps that's why I want to be a historian - so that I can become more interesting by knowing things about the past" - Page 175

Final Rating: ★★★★☆
Pick it up for a fun weekend read, especially if you love all things France.

Monday, March 31, 2014

In March...

If I had to sum March up in a single word it would have to be change. This month I relaunched my blog. I bought new furniture and reorganized quite a bit of my space. I broke out some supplies that I've been hoarding and did some craft projects. I stepped out of my comfort zone and celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a table full of strangers. I took a staycation and enjoyed the beautiful change in weather.

Some change is more difficult to photograph. Bittersweet news from a dear friend and mentor. Finding my voice. Learning how to let go. My relationship with this past month is complicated, but that leaves me all the more ready to seize everything that April has to offer.

I have some fun new projects on the horizon that I can't wait to share with you so here's to fresh starts. Here's to taking more photographs. Here's to celebrations, both big and small. Here's to simple joys and the whimsy of the everyday. Here's to April.

PS. Want to see more photos from me? Follow me on Instagram (@alittlefancifully)! I have some fun plans for this month...

What are you most looking forward to this April?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Weekend!

Did you have a fun St. Patrick's Day? Dinner ended up being just about the best thing I could have imagined. Plate after plate of the most amazing food. Fresh veggies with whipped ricotta. The best salad with manchego and locally grown greens. Ale braised lamb shank. My eyes glaze over just thinking about it. Even the community style table was a surprisingly enjoyable experience. I ended up sitting across from two food writers and talking with them about their work was fascinating. They do these events twice a month and I know I'll be back.

Other than that it's been a lovely, languid week full of long work hours, kitty naps, and planning out my mini-vacation this weekend. Life has been so intense lately that this little break is much needed. What are you up to this weekend? Anything fun to celebrate Spring?

Some of my favorite things from around the internet this week...

These beautiful pens. I saw them in the new issue of Domino and I am smitten with the pretty colors.
• This pretty chipboard album project.
• Have you seen the Oh Joy! line for Target yet? The colors are so prefect for Spring.
• I need these banana blondies with chocolate peanut butter ganache in my life.
• I want a stove top smoker if only to make this spicy smoked sweet potato salad.
These 3 tips for creating your perfect pitch.
• The entire new Capri line from Kate Spade and the gorgeous lookbook shots.

Have a most wonderful weekend!