Tagged: Cooking

Creative Habit: Work with Your Hands

Last month I kicked off a new series called the Creative Habit, inspired by Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit (which I highly recommend reading). For September’s Creative Habit challenge, I encouraged you to embrace the last few weeks of summer weather and go outside every day. However, I really urged you to take it a step further, be present in the outdoors, appreciate your natural surroundings, and remove the extraneous technology, noise, and distractions to better connect with your environment.

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Now that fall is in full swing, we’re slowly but surely beginning to spend more time inside. Sometimes these cooler months and increased confinement indoors can really stifle our creativity. We may start to feel more lethargic and less inspired to be creative. That’s why it’s more important than ever to develop and maintain a creative routine!

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As we get older and as technology advances, we begin to work with our hands less and less. Instead of writing with pen and paper, we type on a keyboard or tap on a touchscreen. Instead of making cookies from scratch we buy dough at the store or order a batch on Seamless. When was the last time you gardened or painted or did any type of work with your hands?

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I recently had an experience that reminded me of the value in working with your hands and experiencing the sensation of touch. I attended a Salsa/Burlesque class, and the instructor encouraged us to touch and feel the movement of our bodies as we danced and use our hands as an extension of movement through our arms. It was here I remembered how the hands can be used as a mode to express and communicate. I realized what a powerful tool we have available to us.

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During the month of October, make a creative habit of working with your hands. Find a fun DIY project or pottery class and build something. Pick up an instrument or take a sign language class. Get festive and carve a pumpkin or craft a handmade Halloween costume. The opportunities are endless! How are you going to take on this month’s Creative Habit challenge? Please share your experience making a habit of working with your hands using the hashtag #AOCBlogCreativeHabit

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is this Sunday! So, there’s still time to get mom something special. Whether your mom is into food, fitness, or fashion, I’ve got seven gift ideas for you to suit your mom’s unique style PLUS a bonus Mother’s Day idea for daughters on a serious budget!

FASHIONABLE MOM

Images courtesy of Hot Mama

Images courtesy of Hot Mama

Where better to get some stylish items for your fashion forward mom than from Hot Mama. If you don’t live in the Midwest, you might not be familiar with this boutique chain, but they have a website you can shop that ships to all fifty states! Hot Mama is a concept boutique created by a mom for moms. From the design of each store to their buying techniques, Hot Mama keeps moms in mind. Needless to say Hot Mama is gearing up for the holiday honoring moms with 10 Must-Haves for Mom, one each day in May. So, you’ll have to stay tuned to their Facebook page for picks 7-10, but here are their first six must-haves for mom!

1. AG Middi Ankle, $215

2. Summer Scarves, $28-$48

3. Graphic Tees, $38-$68

4. Ray Ban Sunglasses, $115-$160

5. Sanctuary Shorts, $69-$79

6. Prairie Underground Sweatshirt, $199-$268


FOODIE MOM

Image courtesy of the Food Network

Image courtesy of the Food Network

If your mom loves to cook and entertain, there’s a brand new cookbook that just hit the shelves in time for Mother’s Day: Extra Virgin – Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen ($20). I’ve been watching Extra Virgin with actress Debi Mazar and her Tuscan hunk of a husband Gabriele Corcos on the Cooking Channel since its debut three years ago. Finally this gem of a show is getting the recognition it deserves! The couple just released their first cookbook, and I imagine every recipe is sinfully good given I can’t help but swoon over every single dish they prepare on the show.


FOXY MOM

Image courtesy of Salon DM3

Image courtesy of Salon DM3

What mom doesn’t love a day at the salon to make her FEEL GOOD and LOOK GOOD? Get her a gift certificate to her favorite salon so she can enjoy a day of pampering and beautification! Not sure which salon your mom loves? If you live in the Atlanta or Athens area, I recommend Salon Dm3. They’ve got an amazing deal going on for Mother’s Day Gift Certificates! Buy a $50 gift certificate for $40, a $100 gift certificate for $75, or a $200 gift certificate for $150! Salon Dm3 offers cuts, colors, blowouts, extensions, waxing, and other treatments. Visit my amazing stylist of over six years, Catie McWhirter! Head to their site to purchase and book. Offer is good through this Saturday, May 10!


FIT MOM

Image courtesy of MyBOD Wellness

Image courtesy of MyBOD Wellness

Is your mom into fitness? Does she travel frequently for work or play? Does she live across the country from you? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, I might just have the perfect Mother’s Day gift for you. You may have seen me feature my favorite online fitness program, MyBOD Wellness, in a post or on social media. MyBOD offers Personal Training, Pilates or Yoga sessions via Skype or Google+. Simply set up a computer, smart phone, or tablet in your living room, office, hotel room, or anywhere on your time, and one of Mybod’s certified instructors comes to you over Skype or Goggle+ for a personalized workout session. Needless to say this gift is ideal for busy, jet setting moms. MyBOD believes consistency is crucial for good health, and their online mindful fitness allows an activity plan to be maintained on the go. Better yet, MyBOD offers semi-private sessions, so even if mom lives across the country, you could have a duet session together! Please visit MyBOD’s site for a FREE 20-minute consultation before purchasing and booking


PHOTOGENIC MOM

Image courtesy of Suburbanite Photography

Image courtesy of Suburbanite Photography

Recently I realized my mom and I haven’t had our pictures taken together since the days when we wore matching outfits, so I decided to gift her a photo shoot for the two of us. You may have seen me dote on my all time favorite photographer, Angie Webb of Suburbanite Photography in previous posts. While Angie’s specialties are senior portraits, boudior, and wedding photography, she is up for any challenge and has the creative mind and talent to tackle any shoot, which is evident throughout her amazing photography featured on this blog! Contact Angie for scheduling and pricing!


FEISTY MOM

Limited Edition Hand Pressed Mother's Day Card

Limited Edition Hand Pressed Mother’s Day Card

Mom’s love lingerie just as much as any girl, and of course my all time favorite lingerie brand is Hanky Panky. They’ve got an exclusive Mother’s Day pack of two V-Kini panties for $54, and while supplies last, you can get a beautiful, limited edition, hand pressed Mother’s Day card with the code MOMSDAY for FREE with any purchase. If mom’s not into lacy lingerie, Hanky Panky has lovely tanks and sleepwear to suit any mom’s style.


FANCY MOM

Rolex Datejust and Chanel J12

Rolex Datejust and Chanel J12

If your mom likes the finer things in life, gather your siblings and your dear old dad to go in on a gift together. Buy her a luxury timepiece for Mother’s Day. Last Mother’s Day, I compiled a list of ten fabulous ladies watches that would be perfect Mother’s Day gifts for Crown & Caliber, the premier place to buy and sell high-end luxury timepieces. As you skim through this gift guide and find something that catches your eye, head over to Crown & Caliber’s “Watches for Sale” to find a stunning pre-owned timepiece to purchase for your mom!


BONUS: For a Daughter on a Serious Budget

Images courtesy of Hello Giggles, Food Network, and Fashionista respectively

Images courtesy of Hello Giggles, Food Network, and Fashionista respectively

If you’re on a super tight budget this Mother’s Day, remember when it comes to mom, it’s truly the thought that counts. Get mom a great card, like the ones featured in this post on Hello Giggles. Make your own Mother’s Day brunch by trying a new recipe like this one for Cream Scones with Currants from the Food Network. Give mom a mani/pedi by creating an at-home spa treatment like the one I featured in this post back in March. If you get creative and infuse it with love, it will be the perfect Mother’s Day gift!

How to Stay Fashionable this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is officially one week away, and I know all you style setters want to stay fashionable this year. I’ve got some tips for your best Thanksgiving ever!

WHAT TO WEAR

What’s your Thanksgiving look? Do you keep it comfy or go chic? No matter what’s your style, I’ve got some cute and casual holiday looks from J. Crew and Madewell at 25% off. Madewell is offering 25% off their favorite styles with the code UNWRAP25. Better hurry, this sale ends tomorrow, November 22. Don’t worry, it’s not too late to get the perfect look for Thanksgiving! You’ve got a bit longer to shop the deal at J. Crew. Now through Sunday, November 24, take 25% off their winter favorites with the code WINTER. As usual, I’ve got my picks below:

Comfy

Madewell Elbow Patch Stadium Sweater, $67.13, J. Crew Boy Shirt, $67.13, and Madewell Denim Boyshirt, $66.00.

Madewell Elbow Patch Stadium Sweater, $67.13, J. Crew Boy Shirt, $67.13, and Madewell Denim Boyshirt, $66.00.

Chic

J. Crew Lace Trim Swiss Dot Top, $103.50, Madewell Driector Shiftdress, $100.87, and J.Crew Schoolboy Blazer in Velvet, $133.50.

J. Crew Lace Trim Swiss Dot Top, $103.50, Madewell Driector Shiftdress, $100.87, and J.Crew Schoolboy Blazer in Velvet, $133.50.

WHAT TO DRINK

Courtesy of Cosmopolitan Magazine

Courtesy of Cosmopolitan Magazine

Lord knows we’re all going to need a cocktail (or two or three) to survive the family functions this Thanksgiving. Why not drink your dinner with these cocktails inspired by Thanksgiving flavors:

Classic Cranberry Cosmo

2 Parts Vodka

2 Parts Cranberry Juice

1 Part Orange Liquor

1 Part Citrus Juice

*Shake with ice then pour and serve!

Wild Turkey Spiked Cider

(Inspiration from Cosmopolitain Magazine)

1 1/2 Parts Wild Turkey Bourbon

1 Parts Apple Cider

1 Part Cranberry Juice

Garnish: 1 Sprig Sage and 1 Sprig Thyme

*Shake with ice then garnish and serve!

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Mulled Wine

(Inspiration from Bethenny Frankel)

Red Wine (recommended: Skinnygirl Cabernet)

Pumpkin Pie Spice to taste

Honey to taste

Garnish: Orange Slices

*Stir on low heat then garnish and serve!

WHERE TO SHOP

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We all know the most important day of the Thanksgiving holiday is not Thanksgiving, it’s Black Friday. While you’re holed up in the house on Thursday, get your Black Friday game plan in order. My suggestion: avoid the mobs and masses and shop online. Don’t think you’re going to skirt the frenzy by shopping the web. Snagging the items you want will still be cutthroat, but at least you can battle from the comfort of your pjs. Build your wishlists preemptively so you know exactly what you plan to purchase from these cyber sales:

Ann Taylor

Friday, November 29: 50% off cashmere collectible sweaters

ASOS 

Thursday, November 28 – Monday, December 2: 20% off all merchandise with code GIMME20.

Bailey 44

Wednesday, November 27: 50% off past season styles THEN  Friday, November 28: 30-50% off past season styles and new items added to sale.

Bauble Bar

Friday, November 29:15% off 2 items with code FRIDAY15, 25% off 3 items with code FRIDAY25, 35% off 4+ items with code FRIDAY35.

Gorjana & Griffin

Friday, November 29: 40% off sitewide

Rue La La

Friday, November 29: 24 “Today’s Fix” items that will be seriously reduced.

True Religion

Thursday, November 28 – Monday, Decmeber 2: $75-$100 off select denim.

Last Minute Haute Halloween

Tomorrow is Halloween! Do you have all your ghoulish goodies? Is your house haunted with holiday decor? How about your costume? I’ve got everything you need for a last minute haute Halloween!

Dracula Goodies

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Only five components make your perfect Halloween goodies from The Girl Who Ate Everything. You’ll need:

1. Chocolate Chip Cookies

2. Butter-cream Frosting

3. Red Food Coloring

4. Mini Marshmallows

5. Slivered Almonds

Spooky Cider

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No hunch punch needed for your cauldron this Halloween. Try this Spiced Amaretto Apple Cider from How Sweet It Is for your brew of choice. You’ll need:

1. Apple Cider

2. Amaretto Liqueur

3. Spiced Rum

4. Honey

5. Optional Garnishes:

Cinnamon’sugar mix for rims

Apple slices for garnish

Cinnamon sticks for serving

Cushy Black Cats 

cat pillow

Run to your nearest Nordstrom for last minute Halloween decor, like this black cat pillow. P.S. Much of this is on sale for a great deal!

Perfect Pumpkins

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Carving pumpkin is a serious undertaking, particularly when there are other ways to find some yummy pumpkin seeds to munch on. Here is an easy and awesome way to make your pumpkin festive from Young House LoveP.S. Since you won’t be carving, your pumpkin will keep til Thanksgiving. You’ll get the most bang for your buck!

Skull Art

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Why not spook up your car, fridge, or magnetic board? This skull magnet will add a little sugar and spice and everything nice to your wheels, kitchen, or office. P.S. Live in Roswell, GA? You can snag this magnet tomorrow just in time for Halloween at The Pie Hole Roswell

The Ultimate Guide to Your Best Halloween Costume Ever!

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Ladies, this is by far the most extensive collection of Halloween costumes I’ve discovered yet! Check out this guide from Rent the Runway. You will win the costume contest with one of these looks!