Happy Mother's Day! Our Day at Sherwood Gardens

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Feminine Ruffles and Jewel Tones

Mother’s Day at Sherwood Gardens

I hope that all of you wonderful moms enjoyed your Mother’s Day weekend! My mom and I did a mini photoshoot at Sherwood Gardens here in Baltimore. It was my first time visiting the gardens and I’m so glad that I did. The garden is currently filled with azalea blooms EVERYWHERE. It was the perfect backdrop for a mother-daughter photoshoot.

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I opted to wear this ruffle sleeve dress from the Rachel Parcell Collection at Nordstrom. This is my first piece from blogger turned designer, Rachel Parcell. Prior to her exclusivity contract at Nordstrom, this dress collection only went up to a size 8/10 and was dubbed a “large.” I knew that the collection probably ran small due to it’s size chart. Now that the dress collection is available at Nordstrom, the sizes go up to an XXL (est. size 18).

I LOVE this dress. The fabric is lightweight and perfect for Spring and Summer. I normally wear a size 14 dress size, so I ordered an XL (14W). The fabric on this dress does NOT stretch. It’s also properly lined so you don’t have to worry about any seeing through.

One of the things that I always admired about Parcell’s Dress collections are that they are so feminine. She always presents different shades of pastels, especially pink, in different fabric options. Her Fall and Winter collections are a little bolder - but still classic - with hues of navy, crimson and oxblood.

Rachel Parcell dresses can be a little pricey. Also, keep in mind that during the first release in April, not all Nordstrom department stores carried the collection in store (or only had select styles). I recommend sizing since it may be difficult finding the same style in store, hoping to try on.

And the May Rachel Parcell Collection released today! If you’re a Nordy Club member, you can shop first, now. If you’re not a Nordy Club member, don’t worry, you can shop tomorrow.

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I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

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Shop My Outfit:

Dress: Rachel Parcell Collection Ruffle Sleeve Dress | Shoes: Aldo (old), similar here | Earrings: Amazon Fashion.

Pepper’s Dress: Fitwarm

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The perfect baby. The perfect life. The perfect crime: The Perfect Mother

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Happy May as we celebrate our first best friends:  Mom, Mommy, Momma, Mother, Madre, Mimi.  The first woman who loved us – dreamed of us – before they even laid eyes on us.  I’m very blessed to still have my mother.  I call her every day, to catch up on how our days went, although she’s retired now, living the senior life in Florida, with days spent by the pool while she watches Days of Our Lives.  I, on the other hand, am usually complaining about the chilling weather in the Northeast, venting about my latest dating escapades, or excitedly bragging about my latest DIY project.

 When you’re young, your mother is perfect.  She is always right – about everything.  She is nurturing and kind, but she is also  cultivating and preparing you for the world.  My mother was my protector, but she didn’t hover.  To me, she was perfect, while I (in hindsight), was spoiled rotten with the latest toys, ballet, cheerleading and swimming lessons.  Now that I’m older, surrounded by friends who are married with toddlers, I have no idea how any of you mothers do it.  You work full-time jobs, without a nanny.  You send your children to daycare, which costs as much as my mortgage.  And, let’s not forget the monthly expenses like clothes, and diapers and formula.  Anything more is a luxury.  None of the mothers I know are perfect, but they do their damned best for their babies.

 I loved The Perfect Mother.  The author, Aimee Molloy, captures the struggles that new mothers face:  sleepless nights, difficulty lactating, intimacy issues with their partner, and post-partum depression.  Winnie, the protagonist, joins the “May Mothers”– a mommy group organized in Brooklyn, for new local moms.  They call themselves the “May Mothers” for the most simplest reason as it sounds: their babies are due in May.  Winnie joined the group for the same reason most women join mommy groups:  seeking a village of commonality.  Despite her introversion, Winnie attends the meetings with her newborn, Midas, for “May Mothers” gatherings at their local park.  Winnie is a single mom, with little help; so, when the “May Mothers” organize a  girls’ night to relieve some new mom stress, Winnie feels anxious about leaving Midas with a sitter for the very first time.  When Midas is kidnapped, this happy-go-lucky gentrified Brooklyn for the “May Mothers” completely turns upside down and each member has secrets waiting to be told.

What I liked… 

I liked how the author went back and forth between the first and the third person.  One minute, you’re outside looking in.  The next minute, you are in the mind of that particular character, absorbing all of their emotions as they feel the panic for their friend, Winnie; but also, the hysteria, confusion and dread as a mother faced with the reality of a missing child in a large city.  Whether you have children or not, you feel for these women as they try to juggle their lives as they once were, and balance their new little one.  I thought the characters were very authentic and loved how Molloy developed each one.

Truthfully, this book reminded me a lot of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, based on the book’s format and character voices.  Nonetheless, I think I enjoyed this book more than Big Little Lies, in the sense that once I got through 75% of the latter, the ending became indubitably predictable.  On the other hand, The Perfect Mother had an ending that was completely unexpected, up until the last moment and surprise, everything isn’t as it seems.

What I did not like…

I honestly cannot think of one negative critique for Molloy’s first novel.  I thought the plots and mini plots were very well laid out.  I thought each character’s secrets were exposed in due time.  Most importantly, I thought the surprise ending was worth it. 

Kerry Washington is set to star and produce the film adaptation of The Perfect Mother .  As always, I cannot wait to see her on film and bring this book to life.

Have any of you read this yet?  What are your thoughts?

 

You may also like…

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Mother's Day 2019 Gift Ideas: Buy Black Guide

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This Mother’s Day, I decided to gift my Mom some of her favorite products available by minority and women owned companies. Here are some of our favorite items, from skin care to coffee and tea houses, that I’m sure your mom will love as well!

Home

 

Face and Body

 

Teas and Coffees

 

Books

 
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20 Minute Colorful Baja Fish Tacos

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20 Minute Colorful Baja Fish Tacos

Beer Battered Fish with sautéed vegetables and Garlic Aioli Sauce

Happy Taco Tuesday! In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I thought I’d share my colorful fish taco recipe. It’s so easy and quick for those weekdays. These simple ingredients are powerful and I was full after two tacos. I hope you enjoy.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes

What You’ll Need (feeds four):

For the Taco:

  • 4 Corn Tortillas

  • 4 Gorton’s Beer Battered Fish

  • 1/2 cup of Mexican Style Cheese (Cheddar, Monterey Jack Cheese, Asadero Cheese, and Queso Blanco Cheese)

  • 1/4 cup of chopped Red Cabbage

  • 1 TSP of Minced Garlic

  • 1/4 cup of Cherry Tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup of Spanish Onion

  • 1/2 Lime

  • 1 TBSP of Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 TSP of Salt

  • 1 TSP of Pepper

  • 1 TSP of Paprika

  • 1 TSP of Garlic Powder

  • 1 TSP of Goya Adobo

  • 1/2 an Avocado (optional)

  • Vegetable oil for frying fish

For the Garlic Aioli Sauce:

  • 1/4 Cup of Mayonnaise

  • 1 TBSP of Garlic Powder

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First, heat olive oil in sauce pan. Chop the onions and tomatoes. Once diced, add minced garlic and cook in medium sauce pan on low. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, Adobo and paprika.

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Stir frequently. Next, squeeze lime over the veggie mixture.

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While veggies are cooking in sauce pan, heat your deep fryer to 350 degrees or heat vegetable oil in frying pan. Add fish and fry until golden on both sides.

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Next, mix mayonnaise and garlic powder for aioli sauce. For hard taco shells, heat tortillas in oven for five minutes at 350 degrees. For soft taco shells, heat in microwave for 30 seconds.

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Place cooked fish in tortillas. Sprinkle the veggie mix, red cabbage, shredded cheese and top with aioli sauce and avocados (optional). Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Easter Trip to the Tulip Farm

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Easter Trip to the Tulip Farm

Our Day at Burnside Farms

My mom and I visited Burnside Farms in Virginia for the first time. It was absolutely gorgeous! Nokesville, Virginia is only 1.5 hour from Baltimore.

We decided to spend our Easter roaming around in the mud, picking tulips, because it was such a gorgeous day!

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As you can see from the pictures, the tulips peaked and it was the very last weekend to see these blooms until next year.

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I love tulips, and the brightness of each breed’s petals. It’s such a shame that they don’t last very long.

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I wore this Boden “Addilyn Linen Dress” in a canary yellow. One of the reasons why I love Boden dresses is because they are vibrant, just like these tulips. I dress my home, like I dress myself in the sense that I want to live in vibrant color. This linen dress was very loose fifting and lightweight, perfect for a day bending down and picking tulips. And it has pockets! I paired the dress with classic military matte red Hunter boots. Trust me, if you’re visiting a flower farm - or even a pumpkin farm in the Fall - you want to wear your garden or rain boots. Did I mention this dress has pockets?

I will definitely be visiting Burnside Farms again (they have a sunflower field in the late Summer). The farm only charges $1 per stem; and, if you want to keep the bulb, it’s only an additional dollar. I purchased about 5 stems, and 5 stems with bulbs. The bulbs, I replanted in a planter and water every other day. I will replant the bulbs in my garden this Fall.

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My Tulip Care Tips:

  1. For replanting bulbs in the Spring, cut the stem above at least two remaining leaves.

  2. Add soil to your planter box. Make sure the soil is loose — if not, use a garden fork or tiller to loosen it up. Plant bulbs deep—at least 8 inches, measuring from the base of the bulb. The bigger the bulb, the deeper the hole it needs.

  3. Place the bulb in the dirt, with pointy ends up. Next, cover with soil.

  4. Immediately water bulbs. Move bulbs to outdoor garden in the Fall.

  5. For planting bulbs in the Fall, plant bulbs in your outdoor garden and repeat steps 2 through 4. In addition, provide your bulbs a tulip fertilizer like, Jobe’s Organics Bulb Plant Food Fertilizer.

  6. Caring for cut tulip stems in a vase? Just give them fresh water every two days to help them last longer!

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Shop My Outfit

Dress: Boden | Boots: Hunter | Necklace: J. Crew (old), similar here | Boater Hat: Zodeys (sold out), similar here and here.

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8 Ways to Incorporate Florals into Your Home Decor Without Using Flowers

All this month, we’ve been talking about flowers and how to arrange beautiful grocery store bought flowers (or silk flowers) just like a professional florist.  But, I know some of you have expressed that buying real flowers (or even some silk ones) can get very costly, which is true.  I usually buy a bouquet of fresh flowers once a week, when I do my grocery shopping.  That can get costly!  So, I thought I’d share some other ideas on how you can incorporate florals into your home, and obviously get more bang for your buck as these décor options aren’t going anywhere.

Floral Wallpaper

I’m currently on the hunt for wallpaper, and one thing that I noticed is that floral wallpaper has no intentions of going out of style.  Even better, some designers have opted in creating a new trend – large scale floral wallpaper.  I like these much better, than the smaller scaled floral wallpapers because they are much more dramatic, becoming the focal point in the room.  They look like beautiful murals, once completed.

 

Floral Upholstery

You can also use floral fabric to bring blooms into your home.  I bought these beautiful floral chinoiserie pillows from Tonic Living. But, you don’t have to stick to pillows! You can upholster a headboard, for example, with a beautiful floral print, to give your room that pop.

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Floral Stencils

If you’d like to go with something a little less permanent than wallpaper or upholstery, try stenciling.  Royal Design Studio Stencils and Cutting Edge Stencils have great stenciling options, including these floral damask patterns.  If you ever get tired of your stenciled blooms, simply paint over them.

 

Floral Scented Candles

Nothing screams, flowers than a lightly scented floral candle.  I sometimes will burn a floral scented candle, and a light linen or fresh laundry scented candle so that the floral scent isn’t too overpowering in the space.

 

Floral Art Prints

This is another option for those of us who don’t want huge (or small) flowers plastered all over the walls.  I love this botanical diagram print from McGee & Co.  Once again, the large scale floral becomes the beautiful focal point, drawing your eyes to the print.

Source:  McGee & Co.

Source: McGee & Co.

 

Floral Dinner Plates

A common Spring theme is incorporating floral dinnerware into your home for seasonal celebrations like Easter and Mother’s Day. Here are some beautiful floral dinnerware options that I’m currently obsessing over.

 

Floral Decor Accents

 

Floral Lighting

Floral lighting is in and it is quite whimsical. West Elm, Potter Barn and Horchow have some great options!

 
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DIY on a Dime: How to Arrange Your Spring Flowers Like a Pro

If you haven’t noticed by now, I enjoy having both silk and fresh flowers in my home.  It’s a habit I picked up from my Dad, who buys a bouquet of flowers from our local grocery store when he does his weekly shopping.  I usually have a small bouquet of silk flowers in each room, including the bedrooms.  I place the fresh flowers in my gorgeous brass vase in the kitchen, and sometimes an extra bouquet in the dining room.

In 2018, the University of North Florida conducted a scientific study in conjunction with the Society of American Florists.  The study provides empirical evidence showing that flowers can reduce stress.  So, it’s no surprise that buying yourself flowers boosts your mood, especially when you come home from work and you can smell the fresh floral scents.

I wanted to share some tips on how I arrange my pretty – and reasonably priced flowers – with all of you (I can find beautiful flowers at Harris Teeters or your local market).  You don’t need to purchase expensive bouquets for everyday flowers, and still get the look of a professional floral designer.  Since it’s Spring (YAY!), we’re going to focus on making a beautiful and colorful Spring arrangement, so you know exactly how to make your momma, wife, or girlfriend a bouquet just in time for Mother’s Day.

What You’ll Need

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Step One:

 Place your vase on a flat surface.  For this arrangement, I chose a dark navy ceramic vase (approx. 18”) to give my arrangement a modern and sleek look.  Next, place your flower frog on top of the vase opening. If you use Easy Arranger’s flower frog, you can bend the outer parts of the flower from to hug the vase opening.

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Step Two:

First, add your peonies.  I chose beautiful pink peonies to distribute first. Your peony blooms she be open.  If not, use your fingers to help open the flowers.  Remove any outer petals that are worn or damaged. If you need to cut the stems, remember to cut at an angle.

Since I used the Easy Arranger flower frog, I also removed some of the leaves.

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Step Three:

 Next, add the roses and ranunculus in groups throughout the vase.  For my roses, I used off white / light peach cabbage english garden roses, and bright yellow ranunculus. Remove any leaves and/or outer blooms that are not appealing.  You should also remove any thorns, if present.  You can prep your roses with a knife or your garden shears. Again, remember to cut the stem at an angle.

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Step Four:

Then, add the sweet peas.

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Step Five:

Finally, continue to remove any worn or damaged petals from your arrangement.

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Voila!  Your first floral arrangement is complete and beautiful as ever.

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After you’ve completed your floral arrangement, be sure to maintain so that they last a little longer (and you get your money’s worth).

  • Change the vase water every other day.

  • Mist petals with spray bottle.

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Happy Easter! Garlic Herb Stuffed Lamb Leg with Roasted Carrots and Garlic Mushroom Quinoa

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Garlic Herb Stuffed Lamb

with Honey Roasted Carrots and Mushroom Quinoa

Happy Easter!  I decided to cook lamb this year. Lamb is probably my favorite red meat.  It’s tender and lean, and so easy to cook.  So, I wanted to share with you my Garlic Herb Leg of Lamb recipe with garlicky quinoa and mushrooms, and roasted honey garlic carrots.  LOTS. OF. GARLIC.  If you’re not a fan of garlic (screaming), then this recipe may not be for you.  Me, being a lover of any food seasoned with garlic, I thought this meal was absolutely delicious and will definitely be making it again.

What You’ll Need

1 Leg of lamb

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Whole Carrots

Quinoa

1 Can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

½ cup of mushrooms

Fresh head of garlic

2 tablespoons of Minced garlic

Fresh Rosemary

Fresh Oregano

Extra Virgin or Virgin Olive Oil

½ tablespoon of Salt

½ tablespoon of Seasoning Salt

½ tablespoon of Pepper

½ tablespoon of Adobo

1 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder

½ cup of honey

½ a lemon for lemon juice

½ an onion

2 tablespoons of butter or ghee butter

Twine

 

Lamb

First, roast pieces of whole garlic cloves in the oven for 10 minutes on 400 degrees, allowing to roast.

Next, cut lamb leg in half down center and create an opening.  Rub meat down with extra virgin or virgin olive oil.  Season entire lamb with salt, pepper, Adobo and garlic powder.

Next, rub minced garlic all over meat. 

Next, place the whole pieces of roasted whole garlic inside opening of meat, along with fresh herbs of rosemary and oregano.  Then, add herbs on outside of lamb meat.

Next, fold over the lamb meat. Take the twine, and tie the lamb meat closed.

Place meat in fridge and allow it to marinate overnight or for at least 4 hours.

 

After lamb has marinated, preheat oven to 400 degrees and cook for 45 MINUTES for well done.

 While your lamb is cooking, begin preparing your quinoa.

Quinoa

 Follow the box instructions for cooking your quinoa.  While quinoa is cooking, begin chopping fresh mushrooms. 

In a separate sauce pan, heat Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.  Add fresh mushrooms to sauce pan.

 

Then, add cooked quinoa to sauce pan, combining soup and mushrooms.  Add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Roasted Carrots

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For the glaze, combine 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and honey in a bowl.

Next, rub garlic honey glaze all over fresh carrots.

Finally, squirt ½ a fresh lemon onto carrots.

Cook in oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

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Serve with a glass of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.  Happy Easter!

What does your family usually have on the menu for Easter?  If you end up using this recipe, please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

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