Monday, February 22, 2016

Four Books to read to your four-year-old perfectionist

Little Miss has decided that she cannot wear dresses anymore because her hair is "not perfect enough for them." There is always "a little piece that sticks up in the back" and therefore dresses are a no go. Before now, she insisted she must only wear dresses so now her drawers are overflowing with dresses and we have a real pants shortage. I'm not sure where this idea has come from, but I see it in other areas as well where she is already on a quest towards perfectionism and anything that does not live up to her vision results in a meltdown.

I've told her it's okay if her hair sticks up. I love her hair, to me it is perfect! But anyone who has tousled with four year old logic knows none of this will do. I decided to enlist the help of my wiser friend with an older daughter who has also struggled with similar frustrations.

She recommended several great books that got the message across in simple but effective ways.

1. Crazy Hair -  By Neil Gaman and Dave McKean

This book was the one my daughter was the most excited to read. I think the picture sold her.
The name is apt. This guy truly has crazy hair. In fact there is a whole magical world happening inside said "crazy hair." And if you try to comb it, well lets just say don't.

2. Beautiful Oops - By Barney Salzburg

I think this book was the most apropos, and equally loved by my 20 month old. It's about seeing the beauty in mistakes, and letting things evolve creatively.  Fabulous fun book. Wish I'd had it when I was in art school!

3. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes - By Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein

This one is about a little girl who never makes mistakes, but has a rather joyless existence.
Spoiler, she finds out in the end that not being perfect can be freeing.

4. I'm Gonna Love Me - Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell

Sweet book about loving everything about yourself, especially the things that make you unique.

After reading these books for a few nights, I'm happy to report that dresses have made a comeback!

My next quest is to find books dealing with disappointment.

Let me know if you have any recommendations!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Photo by Flitterin
My poor little Doodlebug is allergic/sensitive to eggs, dairy, and some nuts, which makes baking a real challenge.  Basically, all of my baked goods these days are vegan, and although it has been an adjustment, I'm starting to get the hang of it. Vegan baked goods are edible! Delicious even, and depending on your substitutions, can be healthier then the usual fare.

I'm still working on texture and taste, so healthy took a back seat today as I tried my hand at pumpkin muffins, with chocolate chips of course!

I adapted this recipe from the Minimalist Baker and it turned out very well, not too dense, and moist but not too greasy, which has been an issue with previous attempts. The troops all approved, so looks like it's going in the rotation.

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 8 Large Muffins


1-1/2 Tsp EnerG Egg Replacer
2 TBs warm water
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup non dairy milk (I used unsweetened coconut milk)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 TB canola Oil
1 Tsp vanilla Extract
1 Tsp baking powder
1/2 Tsp baking soda
1/2 Tsp kosher salt
1 Tsp cinnamon
a pinch of cloves
1-1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks (non dairy for vegan. I like Whole Foods 365 Dark Chocolate Baking Chunks)


1. Preheat the oven to 375 and place liners in muffin tins or spray with non stick cooking oil.
2. In a small bowl, mix 1-1/2 teaspoons of EnerG Egg Replacer with 2 tablespoons warm water and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together, the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and a pinch of cloves
4. In another medium bowl, whisk together the EnerG egg mixture, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, non dairy milk, canola oil and vanilla extract.
5. Gradually stir or or whisk the flour mixture into the wet mixture until just combined.
6. Stir in the chocolate chips until mixed.
7. Using a half measuring cup fill the muffin tins and place in the oven.
8. Bake for 22- 28 minutes until a toothpick comes out with just a few clinging moist crumbs.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's Teacup Flower Arrangements

Photo by Flitterin
For Valentine's this year, I wanted to do a little something for my daughter's teachers at her preschool, and decided to do a small flower arrangement. I am not a florist by any means, but really enjoy putting together an arrangement and have taken a couple of classes for fun at an amazing florist here in Los Angeles: Floral Art. I found these pink teacups on sale at Joann Fabric and voila! The teachers got teacup flower arrangements.

Photo by Flitterin
My technique is not by any means professional, but does produce an impressive arrangement to give as a gift, or decorate a table for a party. These would be lovely at each place setting at a tea, shower, or garden party.

To get my flowers, a took a trip to the amazing LA Flower Mart in downtown Los Angeles. This is one of my favorite places to go to in Los Angeles. There is a stunning array of blossoms any time of the year and half the price of a florist and much less than even your local grocery store. I plan to do a more thorough post with all the details soon...

Photo by Flitterin
With roses, you get the most bang for your buck, but I'm not a huge rose fan and usually gravitated towards more delicate garden flowers. One of the first vendors I went to had a beautiful selection and being short on time, I snapped up two bunches of white with a hint of pink anemones, pink ranunculus, and star of bethleham. I also bought some dusty miller, which is a fuzzy silvery green leaf for texture, but decided against using it. With all of the flowers bought I was able to make four arrangements, which came to about $10 an arrangement.

Photo by Flitterin
So here is what you need:

1 Teacup (any size or shape will work)
Block of Wet Floral Foam
Garden Shears ( easier but a sharp knife will do.)
Flowers I used:
4 Anemones (mix of open and closed)
4 Ranunculas (mix of open and closed)
2 Stems of Star of Bethlehem
Aqua tubes (optional)

Any mix of flowers would work for this. When I do arrangements I usually try to have three different textures, a big flower like a peony, or rose, a smaller flower or more closed flower, like tulips, callas lily, hydrangea, star of Bethlehem (here), lily of the valley, tuber rose, and a leaf or greenery of some kind which I omitted here. These would be great with all one flower too, and I think  hot pink roses especially if retroflexed could be more fun and modern.

To start, soak your floral foam in a sink or bucket of water for a two to three minutes. When saturated, remove from the water and place your teacup upside down on top of the foam.

Photo by Flitterin

Press down lightly to make an impression,

Photo bt Flitterin
Then, using your knife follow the outline to cut out a cylinder. You will need to trim the cylinder down until it fits snuggly in the cup. You want the foam to stick up about an inch or two above the container, but more then that you will want to trim down. I then cut the sides at 45 degree angle to make decorating easier and filled the cup with water.

Photo bt Flitterin
Next, trim your flowers at a sharp angle to about two and a half inches removing leaves unless close to the head of the flower.

Photo by Flitterin

Start with your smallest flower here the star of bethlehem, and push the stems firmly but delicately, into the foam on either side of the arrangement. With floral foam flowers with thick stems work best, but if you are using a delicate stem, or if your flower breaks off too short while you are trying to press it into the foam, you an put them into water filled aqua tubes, and then press those into the foam.

Photo by Flitterin
Then take two of your your biggest or most open flowers, here the anemone, and press them into the top of the floral foam.

Photo by Flitterin

I then began filling in with flowers using clusters of similar color until the arrangement looked full and no floral foam was exposed.

Photo by Flitterin

Photo by Flitterin
Since these were small, I kept them overnight in the fridge and the next day the looked equally fresh. You can always add more water to the foam or mist the blossoms with flowers to keep fresh. I have found no matter what my floral foam arrangements just don't last as long. If anyone has any tricks or advice, let me know!

Photo by Flitterin

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kayce Hughes Coats for $40 Today Only

To celebrate the snowy weather that has fallen upon Nashville, today only Kayce Hughes is offering her women's coats for only $40. I've seen the  khaki jacket in person and it's very chic and water resistant. 

Wondering if it would be warm enough for my upcoming ski trip?

Photo by Kayce Hughes
Photo by Kayce Hughes

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Kitson is Closing!!! Last Few days to snag a deal......

Image from
So we live walking distance to shopping on Robertson Blvd. While previously I had never shopped at Kitson (with Kitson Kids being the exception) I did enjoy the spectacle that was always happening around the store. In it's heyday, there were paparazzi pressed up against the glass snapping pics of  Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, and even Victoria Beckham!

Now Kitson has announced it is closing all stores across the country.  I don't know what the story is, maybe over expansion? The kids store has already closed, but it seems that the women's store on Robertson is where all the best deals are. I have been back three times and the stock is definitely flying off the shelves now that items are 80% off already significantly reduced prices.

I wasn't sure there would be anything since a lot of their merchandise is either kitschy or too flashy for my taste. But to my surprise there are some good things left. I scored a Paul Smith red pea coat. Originally $700 for $80,  a Cashmere sweater originally $300 for $30 and silk pants originally $200 for $20.

There are still some Vivienne Westwood knit asymmetrical cardigans that I left behind. Originally $600 they are probably down to $100.00.

Go grab them! Who am I kidding I'll probably go back again!

Kitson Women
115 S. Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA
Open until January 29th, or until everything sells out which might happen soon!

Estate Sale of the Week - Charlton Heston's Beverly Hills Home

This is your chance to get your hands on something touched by Charlton Heston or maybe even one of his glamorous celebrity friends. I once bought a set of china from the estate of comedian Jan Murray who was friends with the rat pack and liked throw big parties. Whenever, I use the set, I think "Maybe Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin ate off these plates!"

There certainly look like some treasures are to be had like this huge Moroccan chandelier that originally belonged to MGM...

MGM Moroccan Chandelier (Photo by Vanya Estate Sales)

This lovely Picasso print....

Picasso Print (Photo by Vanya's Estate Sales)

And my favorite this completely gorgeous horse mural....

Horse Mural on Panels (Photo by Vanya's Estate Sales)

The sale has been going on since Friday so may be a bit picked over, and I'm thinking prices will be steep with no deals. But, it looks like it would be fun just to even have a look around the house!

Here's the info:

Vanya's Estate Sales
Sunday January 17th
Monday January 18th

10:00 a.m. to 4:00 P.M.

2859 Coldwater Canyon
Beverly Hills 90210

There is no parking on Coldwater Canyon. They suggest taking Uber, or parking on side streets, which will be a bit of a walk. 

Usually Vanya's take credit cards, check, or cash.

Happy Hunting!!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

"Come Out and Play" Jingle - Jesse Ledoux /The Little Ones - Yo Gabba Ga...

We have some serious Yo Gabba Gabba addicts in my house. And I totally get it. It's fun trippy, relevant to a preschooler and has some amazing music. One of the catchiest is this little Jingle by the "Little Ones." Every time I hear this song for some reason it always makes me feel like crying, which is odd because it couldn't be more up beat, but I think it is so nostalgic and reminds me of being a kid and knocking on my neighbors doors and seeing if they wanted to come outside.

Of course, they have to sneak in that "Childhood won't last, won't somebody come outside and play."

What? I'm not crying, I just have something in my eye.....

Tummy Taming Coconut Rice Pudding

Coconut Rice Pudding (Photo Property of Flitterin)

Is there anything worse than when your child has a stomach bug? Seems like Little Miss gets a bought of it every winter. This one started two days ago with a sore throat, then came the throw-ups. Thankfully, she now has great aim, which made things easier for me and it only lasted about 10 hours. Still it's always hard to know what to feed a hungry child with stomach issues. I have been told that the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) is out of vogue, and she could eat whatever she wants but best to avoid dairy. Not easy when my daughter is a little milk addict. My son; however has a dairy allergy (more on our struggles with that later) so we always have coconut milk on hand. I thought I would make a coconut rice pudding sweet, warming, and hopefully (fingers crossed) binding. Perfect for both kids to have for breakfast.

Skeptical at First (photo property of Flitterin)

Not easy when my daughter is a little milk addict. My son; however has a dairy allergy (more on our struggles with that later) so we always have coconut milk on hand. I thought I would make a coconut rice pudding sweet, warming, and hopefully (fingers crossed) binding.


Success! It turned out to be a perfect breakfast for both kiddos.

Tummy Taming Coconut Rice Pudding

Serves 4

1 Can Coconut Milk (13.6 fluid ounces)
1 Cup Filtered Water
Squeeze of Orange Juice
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup White Basmati Rice
Pinch of Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup or Honey

Combine the coconut milk, water, orange juice, vanilla, rice, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring contents to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 20 to 30 minutes until almost all the water has absorbed stirring occasionally. Stir in the Maple Syrup or honey and cook a few minutes longer until soft and creamy. 
Serve warm and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Bed Clothes fit for a Fairy Princess and Super Hero

I am always look for new and creative ways to convince my children to go to bed. My daughter in particular is very picky about what she is willing to sleep in and will only wear a "princess nightgown" or a "baby nightgown."
 Due to the fire retardant laws it is very difficult to find night gowns in the U.S and I have resorted to buying  cotton knit dresses that are soft and comfortable.

So, while looking through Cyrillus's website (a wonderful moderately priced French brand by the way) I was thrilled to find this whimsical Princess Costume Night Dress
The nightgown is made out of super soft cotton with beautiful sparkling stars, and it comes with a little mask and a magic wand.

Princess Costume Night Dress (Image from Cyrillus website)
This year, I really wanted to start the Christmas tradition of letting my children each open one gift on Christmas eve. My sister and I always got to pick one present to open which usually was from a Great Aunt, or cousin and not the most exciting of gifts (a commemorative spoon, or cat sweater!) . Still it I satiated us for the moment and made us even more excited for the gifts to come.I thought perhaps if they unwrapped an exciting new pair of pajamas or nightgown. They would eagerly run to take their bath and get ready for bed! Indeed it worked! My daughter was thrilled to get dressed and flitted about with the wand and mask.
Boys Superhero Night Costume (Image from Cyrillic Website)
Unfortunately, my son was too young for the incredibly adorable Superhero Night Costume.

Image from Cyrillus website
Instead I got him this Faux Fur Lined Dressing Gown
He had been wearing his sisters pink handy- me-down and while I love little boys in pink,  I figured it was time get him his own attire. In this little robe, he's like a baby Hugh Hefner prancing about.
All items are still available on there website, and the night gown and robe are 30% off!