Birth of Venus

The first time I remember seeing the depiction of Venus de Milo was in the movie “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen“. It left such an impression that when I saw the painting “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli, I was like, hey! It’s like that scene from the movie!

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(Everything always comes back to the movies for us…)

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Since that time as a 7-year-old, it remains a painting I still obsess over. Her imperfect and irregular body! Floating on a seashell! Mystery, jealousy, divine! I loved it as a little kid, I love it as a big kid.

Which might explain this recent art purchase by the talented Sarah Jones:

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Made me wonder what other Venus-inspired treasures I could add to my collection…

Namaste, Mfers

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to start yoga. So I bought an old paperback from the 1970s, called Richard Hittlemans Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan.

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It…is definitely from a bygone era. As in, entire chapters devoted to the housewife and her daily chores. But it was a great self-paced introduction, and I spent about 30 minutes every day doing the routines. For an entire month!

The next logical step for me seemed to be yoga videos, but I absolutely hated them, and so I gave up. I need accountability, but I hate other people being near me when I exercise* (*sweat and groan). After about a 3-year hiatus, I did it. I worked up the courage. I bought a pair of yoga pants and a new t-shirt, and I went. To. A class.

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Also not me. Photo from Unsplash.

Good Health: The Ultimate Luxury

Every month this year, I’m focusing on a specific theme of gratitude. In January, it was hygge. In February, it was women artists I admire, and in March it was books that impacted me. April will be on ways I am able to take care of myself.

Note: I am unhealthy. I eat poorly, I drink too much alcohol, I barely exercise, and I have mental health and thyroid issues. Hey guess what!? Did you hear diet and exercise help make you feel BETTER!?

If you’re like me, though, it’s hard to take care of yourself, when you’re busy taking care of kiddos, husbands, your jobs, your hobbies, your passions, etc. Taking care of yourself is a luxury and good health is something to be EXTREMELY grateful for.

What are ways you take care of yourself? Morning jogs, bullet coffee, vegan diet, regular massage? We’d love to hear! Over the month of April, I’ll be chiming in with ways I add a bit of self-care into my routine, and I’d love to try some of your suggestions! (Below I have listed a few things I regularly do.)

–Nicole C.

Mood Board: Winter is Going

Here in SWMO, the sun is starting to shine, the days are getting longer, the weather just a bit warmer. With the arrival of Spring, we are finally saying goodbye to winter. But I won’t lie. I love winter, and this one was particularly cozy. Full of family, nights by the fire, strong cocktails and hot baths, I’ll be taking some of the #hygge with me into Spring. Here are a few things coming along with me:

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That’s What She Said – Started revisiting The Office and it is so delightful. A decade ago I was smitten with Jim & Pam. Now I just want more Creed and Dwight. I rush home from a night out with friends because I want to spend it with my Dunder Mifflin friends.

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Old Books – Book Lovers’ Candle – I have a stack of well-loved library books, just waiting to be opened. And I tipsily went on a buying spree to get some old classic paperbacks that I’ll probably never get around to. Like Mrs Dalloway & Jamaica Inn. Light a candle, draw me a bath, and I’m set.

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Herbivore Botanicals – Dead Sea Bath Salts – Did someone mention bath? My body has been *hurting* lately, and my winter of flu prevention included eating and soaking in pounds of sea salt. I’ve been making my own bath salts and soaks (future post!), but I’m tempted to try this ylang ylang and vanilla soak. Ahhhhh. Light a few prayer candles and listen to some classical music, and you’ve got yourself a well spent evening.

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My avocado toast that I am currently addicted to would taste SO MUCH BETTER if it popped out of this Smeg , instead of my boring ol’ Cuisineart. (Just kidding, I love you, boring toaster. But…pale blue retro toaster!?)

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Did someone mention avocados?? And cozy socks? I’m wearing both right now!

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Are you ready for Spring or sad to see winter go?

{featured Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash}

Eyelash Envy

Some women are blessed with long, dark, beautiful lashes. The kind that get in the way of their sunglasses, and trap flies.

We are not those ladies.

Both of us are eager to try eyelash extensions, but the price tag is a bit steep for us to maintain. Until we can save some money, we’ve both been using Castor Oil Eyelash Serum,

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This has been compared to R&F serum at a fraction of the price. Results typically take at least a month of nightly application, which means patience and remembering. Ugh. Two things we are not great at…

…but if it means eyelashes that a giraffe would be jealous of…well. Worth it.

Working Girl Cake

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Cakes. Birthday cakes, baby cakes, wedding cakes, cookie cakes, naked cakes, drip cakes, vintage cakes, meringue cakes…you name it, I’ve pinned it. I have the best intentions of making Nicole and I the most grandiose, sparkling and macron themed birthday cake, but then every year our birthday pops up OUT OF NOWHERE and I just make us cocktails.

This past weekend I hosted a baby shower and I had all intentions of making the most grandiose sparkling blueberry drip cake, and then as everything else, the date popped up OUT OF NOWHERE. Bound and determined to still make a cake, but knowing I didn’t have time with my 438 jobs I currently have, I had a creative working girl solution.

I found an inspiration photo on Pinterest.

Then, I ordered (from a local grocery store) a 3 tiered chocolate cake that was just iced. No piping. No decoration. Just iced. It was $17. That is the greatest time and mess saver and I will never, ever bake a cake again after coming up with this genius plan.

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Then, I made a ganache. It’s easy. Equal parts chocolate and heavy whipping cream. Melt slowly in the microwave with 25 second increments until melted and smooth.

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Next, the drizzle. Spoon it around the edges of the cake to give it the drip look. Mine got a bit wonky on some spots, but that’s the charm of home made.

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Then, fill in the top.

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Since it was a baby boy shower, I decided to top the cake with blueberries and blackberries. Just pile them on. No rhyme or reason.

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Tada! They will think you worked days in the kitchen, when in reality, it was more like 15 minutes. And all under $25. They will love it. Here’s proof.

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If you are a more tactile, flip-through-the book kind of baker, here are some of my favorites from my home collection:

Butter Celebrates!: Delicious Recipes for Special Occasions

Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes From a Little Neighborhood Bakery

How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking

The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook