French Macarons With Candied Rose Petals + Fail-proof Tips

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Any sweet plans today? Well I don’t know about you but Valentine’s Day always got me in the baking mood… it kind of became a tradition for me each year (last year I shared my Greek Yogurt Chocolate Banana Bread). I mean, I bake alllll the time but on Valentine’s Day I like to make something a little challenging and put in a little more effort because a big part of this day is about desserts, am I right?

This year I decided to make macarons. Ok, I may have tried these in the past too, but after many failures, I gave up (sigh). I remember the first time I made them and they turned out perfectly! But trust me, it was pure luck cause when I tried them over and over again it was one fail after another… pride comes before the fall, people. As someone who enjoys baking, macarons can be a little discouraging at times. But I promise, with the right steps and techniques it’s really not as bad as you think (and I thought). After my last attempt (nearly a year ago) I said I wouldn’t bother again… but what kind of food blogger would I be if I couldn’t make macarons? I had to try again.

So this past weekend, my lovely cousin and friend were over and we decided to make this happen- we were extremely determined. We each have experienced our failures in the past so we came prepared with our research and high hopes. And guess what? They turned out picture-perfect (literally)…and they tasted even better. My friend, Ema came up with the idea of decorating the macarons with candied rose petals (which are SO easy to make, see recipe below). They’re a great way to add detail, and elegance to your dessert. And yes, desserts can be elegant. 🙂

So if you’re a little discouraged and have no idea where to start, follow my basic recipe, and make sure to read my most valuable tips on achieving the best macaron outcome. I’ve tried this recipe twice just to make sure it was fail proof, so I encourage you to read through the whole recipe once and be brave enough to try it out too. 🙂

Macaron Filling

These are the classic French Macarons with my favorite filling, cream cheese frosting. Once you feel comfortable with your outcome, it’s so easy to switch up the flavours, colours and fillings. There are a bunch of recipes online that you can find. In the mean time, let’s master the art of the macaron.

French Macrons with Candied Rose Petals

TIPS:

Personally, these tips worked best for me, based on the recipe that I used.

  • You don’t need to weigh your ingredients, I mean you can if you really want too, but I didn’t see a difference
  • Sifting and mixing dry ingredients is a must. This is a delicate batter so you want to make sure you have fewer lumps to lessen mixing time and avoid overmixing (which is a big reason for failure)
  • Eggs must be at room temperature. This is something I never really considered in the past, but now I see how important it is! Forgot to take your eggs out? No problem, let them sit in warm water, about 20-30 mins.
  • Stiff peaks: This can mean so many things to different people, but just think of it as shaving cream, it needs to be firm and glossy, in addition to that, if you can hold the bowl upside down without leakage, they’re ready.
  • Use almond flour, and not almond meal. As mentioned above, this batter is very delicate. You need flour because meal is not fine enough.
  • Over-mixing/undermixing: this can be so hard to interpret, what helped me understand this consistency is thinking of lava; its thick, and runny. That’s exactly what you want. Fold your batter slowly, and try to achieve that outcome.
  • Tapping: tap the pan after you pipe the macarons to eliminate any air bubbles, if you skip this step then you may get cracks during baking time.
  • Resting time: this is something new that I tried and that worked out perfectly for me! Resting the piped macrons helps create a “coat” to seal their shape and structure. If you’re still unsure about the batters consistency, let them sit a little longer, up to 50 minutes, max.
  • Piping mark: depending on how you pipe the macarons, sometimes a little tip remains, before you get worried, just let it sit for 10 minutes, and slightly dampen your finger with water and gently smooth out the tip.

I hope these tips help you, as they personally helped me achieve the best macaron. 🙂

French Macarons With Candied Rose Petals + Fail-proof Tips

Ingredients

    Macarons:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp liquid vanilla
  • 1/4 cup caster/fine sugar
  • Your choice of food colouring
  • Candied Roses:
  • Fresh Rose Petals (edible, unsprayed, I used about 25)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup caster/fine sugar

Instructions

    For the Macarons:
  1. Start by sieving (sifting) the icing sugar and ground almonds into a large mixing bowl. Throw any lumps left behind away then thoroughly mix the two together.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites using a stand-mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes until soft peaks form (read tips for more info). Add sugar through out mixing, slowly and beat on high for 2 more minutes until stiff, glossy peaks form (see tips).
  3. Add vanilla, and food colouring and beat on high for another 30 seconds.
  4. Gently fold (by hand with spatula) in dry ingredients and repeat until mixture is smooth and shiny, (see tips) and begins to run a little but not too runny. Do not overfold.
  5. Take a pastry bag with a round tip and fill with the batter.
  6. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and pipe batter into round circles, about 1 inch apart.
  7. Tap the baking sheet firmly against the counter, or on the floor to release any air bubbles.
  8. Fix the pointed tip on macarons caused by the pipe gently with your dampened finger (see not) if necessary.
  9. Let stand at room temperature for 30-45 minutes (see tips) until they form a skin.
  10. Now preheat oven to 325 F.
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway, until cookies have risen and just set. To be sure doneness, the cookies should be able to just come off the baking sheet when you try to lift them.
  12. Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.
  13. Once dry, you can fill them with your desired filing, See above for cream cheese frosting as an optional, and popular filling.
  14. For The Roses:
  15. Carefully pluck the individual petals from the rose bloom.
  16. Gently, use a dampened paper towel to clean the rose petals. Place the petals on paper towels until completely dry, if necessary.
  17. Crack the egg white into a small bowl and whisk it with a fork.
  18. Dump the sugar onto a plate.
  19. Gently coat each rose petal with the egg white using your fingers, turning to coat both sides.
  20. Place the petal in the bowl of superfine sugar, turning to coat both sides and sprinkling on extra, if necessary, so the petals are completely coated with sugar.
  21. Space the candied rose petals apart on a paper towel and leave until dry and hardened, about 3 hours.
  22. Best used the same day or store in fridge up to two days.
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Prepping My Skin For Valentine’s Day

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… that one day you wait for all year ’round… just kidding. But honestly, I do get a kick out of Valentine’s day. I always did. It’s probably because I’m a hopeless romantic, and any formal occasion to celebrate “love” gets me excited! Oh, and how much more exciting is it now that I have two little loves (hubs + Evalyn) to celebrate it with? Ah-huh.

Anyways, I am so excited to share more products from Skin Forum today. I worked with them recently and was very happy to work with them again. I loved their sheets masks that I have tried in the past. So here I am sharing my insight on their recent products.

I’ve always been a routine kinda gal- especially when it comes to my skin. As I mentioned in a recent post (prepping my skin for the holidays) I shared the acne struggle I battled for years. I still get a random one here and there but it’s nowhere near what I went through in my late teens. Ever since that time I always maintained a strict morning/bedtime and weekly routine that helps my skin be the best it can be. Yes, I have my favourite go-to’s products but I am always looking to try new products that are as natural (as possible) and safe for my skin, and that’s exactly where Skin Forum comes in.

Along with my morning/bedtime skin routine, I love incorporating a weekly routine that helps take my skin to the next level. AND I love prepping my skin for upcoming events, dates or photo shoots to make my skin look its best. Back when my husband and I were dating, we were only able to see each other once a week because of our long distance relationship, so the night before we would see each other I  always had a mini at-home spa night. I’d take a long bubble bath, shave/wax, paint my nails, apply a face mask and light a candle. A little extreme, I know…but it made me feel beautiful and it was a great outlet after a long week too. I look back now and totally miss those moments to myself. I mean I wouldn’t trade being a wifey, or motherhood for anything but those quiet moments are a great time to reflect and are soothing for the soul. 🙂

Well, now that baby E is sleeping through the night, I get to sneak in a few of these moments, and let me tell you… as a busy wife/mom spa nights at home are SO FUN! I especially loved these two sets from Skin Forum, they were a little different than what I’ve used in the past. Keep on reading to see what I have to say about them.

Disclaimer: I only work with brands that personally suit my niche and all reviews are my honest opinion. This is not an ad, but products were received complimentary for testing purposes.

Lift + Firm Sheet Mask

  • Contains Peptide, Collagen, and Hyaluronic Acid
  • Delivers a firmer, lifted, supple skin, leaving a silky soft and refreshed feeling
  • Made with a fine cellulose fiber and a gold-coated metallic surface, this mask creates a protective barrier, allowing essential nutrients to penetrate fast and deep within skin’s surface and help lock in moisture

My thoughts: A lot of info, but it’s only the good stuff! I really enjoyed this set, especially the gold mask appearance and benefits! After using the whole set my skin honestly felt softer than my baby’s you know what! I did this facial right before my makeup routine and let’s just say I felt like a superstar with the overall look. My skin felt and appeared super soft, flawless, and refreshed…I literally felt like I just had ice cubes all over my face once I was done with the facial. Oh, and my friend commented on how flawless my skin looked shortly after too, yay! I highly recommend this mask before apply your makeup for your big/special events for that extra glam!

Hydration Sheet Mask

  • Contains Hyaluronic Acid, Collagen and Aloe blended with essential extracts
  • Reveals dewy, translucent and youthful radiance
  • Made of Cupra Cotton and fine cellulose fiber that allows pores to fully absorb essential nutrients and high-quality ingredients for an ultimate hydration therapy

My thoughts: I really wanted to put this mask/facial to the test when I had an early morning a few days ago. I woke up with tired eyes and dull skin. But this treatment did wonders! My skin felt SO refreshed, I had a natural glow, and my makeup had a flawless finish. Now I’m almost tempted to go through the same process every morning! If you have something special happening in the evening (like Valentine’s dinner 😉 you’re going to want to try this mask out to make sure your face stays fresh all day long. Oh, and my pores were none existent, I absolutely love the exfoliating brush, great concept- unlike anything I’ve come across and the results were evident.

In short, I had so much fun with these masks. I tied my hair up, took a long hot shower/bath, drank my coffee, and it felt like a mini spa session in the comfort of my bathroom. As a mom (or busy person) this was true bliss. This is usually my routine the night/morning before a special day/event I have coming up. It’s something I’ve done for years and I love it.

So this Valentine’s day, do something special for your skin and yourself. Get ready for your hot date, Galentines, or just get ready for…you.♥

Ps. Have you heard of Skin Forum yet? They’re a fairly new skin care line that offer amazing products – I really wouldn’t be sharing this if I didn’t think so. Here’s a fun coupon code for your new purchase too: ohlafemme15 for 15% off. 

xo I.P.

STYLED: Lovely Lavender Dress

It’s no denying that lavender is the color of this season and Spring! Like it or not, it seems to be everywhere lately and it happily reminds of Spring blooms. Lavender is such a lovely color, it’s so romantic, fresh, and I’m sure it’s a very different shade then what you already have in your closet. I’m all for lavender this season so when I came across this dress from Pink Blush, I knew I had to have it. I mean… chiffon, a flowing dress, and pastel colors are just a few of my favorite things.

Disclaimer: I got this dress complementary from Pink Blush, as their style ambassador. This review is my honest opinion, and I only choose pieces that personally suit my style. To find more dresses like this or other beautiful styles, check them out here. Pink Blush has various styles that range from maternity, nursing, plus sizes, and women clothes, making every piece versatile.

I don’t know whereabouts you live, or what the weather looks like there, but it’s been clear skies and warm weather here in So Cal. And this dress is perfectly fitting my mood for Spring (which you can find here ).What gets you in the mood for Spring?

PS. Scroll down for more lavender trends!

Need more lavender inspiration? Check out some of my favorite picks for this season below!

All products linked below↓

handbag |sandal | skirt | ankle pant | dress | sunnies | night cream | nail polish | kicks | bow top | heel sandal|

XO I.P.

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Bread (Gluten/Dairy Free + Vegan)

I know. The title sounds so overwhelming and too “healthy” for a dessert. Or the title could be totally deceiving and this is just another bland, dry, weird tasting gluten/dairy free and vegan dessert… but it’s not, I promise. I definitely wouldn’t be sharing it if it wasn’t up to OH LA FEMME standards. Common, you guys should know me by now, riiiiight? I always post bad-for-you desserts with no regrets (like my Baklava and Chocolate Salted Pecan Cake, for example). But it’s the new year, new goals, and I really wanted to limit my sugar intake, while satisfying my baking (at least once a week) obsession. Also, I have a few friends that are on strict diets or have intolerances and I love to be a good host and cater to them too…cause I’m the do-it-all-wifey. 😉

Anyways, I was on the lookout for a free-of-everything recipe for months. I tried several cookie recipes (flop), a couple cakes that tasted really weird, and got sooo frustrated with the endless ingredient list that I needed to buy in order to make one recipe (it was so annoying and not to mention, expensive too). So I gave up on buying gluten-free flours, xanthan gum, and agave — they just weren’t making me happy. I simply wanted a recipe that suited what I had in my pantry, and of course, one that tasted normal. Is that too much to ask for? Well, if you’ve tried g/f, d/f vegan recipes, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

And then I came across a recipe. I made it, changed it up to my preference (cause that’s just my style), and bam. This gluten/dairy free, vegan, paleo- whatever you wanna call it, was incredible! And the best part? It tastes just as good as a bad-for-you dessert. I was so happy! My husband didn’t even know and was impressed too. And let me tell you, he isn’t usually a fan of “healthy” desserts. And I don’t blame him, but the fact that he said he couldn’t even notice, was kind of a big deal.

So now I have this awesome go-to dessert for those days when I need a sugar fix (without the regrets) and catering to a variety of my crowds. Everybody wins, and tummies are happy. 🙂

If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. 😉

Recipe Notes:

  • Oat flour: you can buy oat flour, or you can prepare it yourself simply using a food processor to ground your oats. Just make sure it’s as ground as possible for the best outcome.
  • Flax egg: this is a substitute for eggs. By combining water to ground flax and letting it sit, allows it to create a “gel” texture which resembles an egg yolk. This really helps in adding moisture and texture to the batter. It’s a genius substitute!

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Bread (Gluten/Dairy Free + Vegan)

Ingredients

  • 1 can 100% pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water, mix, set for 5 mins)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups gluten free oat flour (you can ground your oats with a processor too)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 soft banana
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • top with walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a loaf pan with greased parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Add the wet ingredients to a large bowl: pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup, sugar, flax egg, and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. In the same bowl, add the dry ingredients: oat flour, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together, making sure no flour patches remain.
  4. Then add the mashed banana and chocolate chips, and mix until just incorporated, don't over mix.
  5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and spread into an even layer and top with our choice of nuts/seeds.
  6. Bake for 50-65 minutes, you can check for doneness with a toothpick or butter knife.
  7. Allow to cool before lifting it out of the loaf pan (about 1-2 hours).
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Have a wonderful Monday!

XO I.P.

Baby Must-Haves: Binxy + Ollie

Hello January! Another month passing and baby Evalyn is another month older. I’m going to keep calling her baby cause I know I won’t be able too sooner than later.

Evalyn turns 8 months and it’s oh so bitter-sweet. I often find myself looking through pictures of previous months, that are filled with sweet memories and a lot of growth…for the both of us. This whole first time-mom thing is not easy. You can read endless blogs, reviews, and buy a bunch of products, only to find that your baby is very different and from others. Thankfully I have used a lot of recommendations that have worked for me (like the DockATot) but I know this is something I am constantly learning.

So in light of that, I am sharing a couple baby products that we have been using that seemed to work well for us in the past few months, which I hope will work for you and baby too!

Note* these products were received complementary for testing purposes. This is my honest review, and I always work with brands that personally suit and enhance my niche.

Baby Must-Have #1: Binxy Baby

Have you ever heard of this handy cart hammock? Well, this has been a BIG help for me when I have to run out to get a bunch of groceries, without worrying about making two trips or overloading my stroller (cause I’ve been there, done that!). The Binxy works so well for us, and from the moment I put Evalyn into it, she definitely seemed impressed. She was very interested being placed in a new setting, being oo-ed and aww-ed by literally every passing stranger and was easily entertained by the surrounding colours and me (of course). Oh, and did I mention how much easier my target trips just got? I love making my rounds at every department which means that items easily add up, so this just made my life 10x easier when it comes to any shopping trip! A mama-outing must-have!

Just a few points about this awesome Binxy product:

  • Compatible: It fits most standard grocery store carts, Target being one of them (and a favourite of mine, if you haven’t noticed, aha!).
  • Capacity: Holds a car seat and supports up to 50 pounds in weight. It has all the buckles and straps to secure your car seat so don’t fret, mama! I personally like putting baby Ev in the hammock, she gets really excited about the change.
  • Age: Used for babies approximately 6-8 months until they sit up on their own. The last time I used this was the previous week when we got back from our 3 week family vacation. As you can imagine, our fridge and pantry were completely empty! So I wanted to make a one-stop shop at a nearby grocery store and load up on everything that was needed. Ev was much more curious and active at this stage (almost 8 months) so I made sure to keep a steady eye on her at all times. For safety reasons, that was probably the last use, because it seems Ev has outgrown it. So I will have to use it with the car seat and/or definitely saving it for the next baby. 🙂
  • Safety tested: make sure to always buckle up your baby with the provided straps! You know as easily as I do that accidents can happen in a blink of an eye or just looking over for a second. It’s always better safe than sorry.

So if you’re looking for convenience and functionality for your shopping trips, make sure to try this Binxy hammock out. You can thank me later. 😉

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Baby Must-Have #2: The Ollie

Next, let me tell you a little bit about this important and essential item when it comes to sleep training and baby comfort…

Evalyn was born mid-May, in So Cal- meaning already super hot-beach-weather temperatures, so I never knew the importance of swaddling a baby at an early stage. But after reading different sleep training aids, and advice from other moms, I came to realize how important swaddling is for babies- especially in the early months. Well you know what they say, it’s never too early to start! So, I started using this swaddle for Ev’s day naps in conjunction with the DockATot and I found that it helped with longer naps, and it kept Ev warm without having to worry about giving her a blanket. There was a period of time where she liked to pull the blanket over her face so ever since then I felt very uneasy about letting her sleep with a blanket for naps/bed time. And that’s where this Ollie comes in handy!

What you should know about the Ollie Swaddle:

  • Material: It’s made from custom moisture-wicking material to reduce the risk of overheating. We definitely needed this feature for our hot climate!
  • Size: Custom fit to allows for fit to be individualized to meet the needs and size of each little one. Because of it’s design, it’s easily assembled and adjustable (comes with velcro pads) as baby grows, and is a “one-fits-all” size.
  • Convenience: It’s easy to access diaper changes accessible through the opening at the bottom.
  • Benefits: It’s therapeutic qualities ease the transition from the womb, self-soothing, and improves quality of sleep. I also like that it’s an extra layer over the baby while they sleep.

For more tips and FAQ about this product, check it out here. Oh, and how cute is the box that it comes with it? I’m definitely keeping it as a keep sake.

So go on, and try out whatever works for your baby. It’s a very personal thing for you and your baby. It may take a few trails, but once you find what works, be consistent. 🙂

 

Have a great week!

XO. I.P.

5 New Year Goals of a Busy Christian Mom

January is all about setting goals, right? At least it is for me … year after year I always say this year I’ll start working out … or read more … or do this more, or that more (you get the picture).

But this year I’m all about being realistic. Sure, I want to set goals, but I want to be honest with myself and what I think I’m capable of doing – with the Lord’s strength of course :).

Honestly, I’ve always been a procrastinator. I’m the type to stay up all hours of the night studying or finishing that school paper that is due the next day. The type to start reading ten books that I never finish. That’s me. Well, that WAS me until I had a baby. Yeah, you read right, I’m not so much a procrastinator anymore … although I do have my moments of weakness, I can happily say that I have become more disciplined in many aspects of my life since I had Evalyn.

Now you’re probably thinking that my baby is an angel … well that’s not necessarily true. I have to say I am blessed with her because she is really chill and content for the most part, but for the longest time she would only nap for 30 minute intervals 1-2 times a day … until I got the Dock-a-Tot (read more about it here). Plus, we don’t live close to any family so I’m on full duty all day (until dada gets home), so the only alone time I have is when baby is sleeping. I know it’s a lot of info, but I want you to understand where I’m coming from, since I know many of you are in the same (or very similar situations). Yet somehow (by the grace of God), I am more disciplined now then when I didn’t have a baby. I guess it has something to do with my days being more structured and knowing I have less time for myself (which I don’t mind). Because I have so much less time, it forces me to focus on what is most important, and to make time for those things first. It is true that you are as busy as you make yourself.

With that in mind, I decided to make a few new year’s resolutions that I hope to maintain for this new year – even in the business of motherhood. We one-time mommas know how busy our days can get, I can’t imagine how much more so with two, three, four, or more kids in the picture! But I know little changes in my routine will go a long way in increasing my spiritual growth. Spending time reading/studying God’s Word leads to a renewing of mind, and an improving of behavior. This is true for all of God’s people – including you too, momma!

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

5 New Year Goals of a Busy Christian Mom

1. Buy a daily planner and use it:

I’m so bad at doing this; I always love buying a cute planner each year but have such a hard time using it on a daily basis. So this is my goal for the year. I am going to try to structure my days and write down all my goals, prayer requests, and verse of the day to keep my days as organized (and God-focused and Christ-centered as possible).

Here are some cute planners for some inspiration:[show_shopthepost_widget id=”2985968″]


2. Read through the whole Bible in one year:

I know this one is a little cliche, isn’t it? But seriously, no more excuses, for me at least. In the past few months, I started a good and practical reading schedule each morning – its either when I wake up and baby is busy playing with toys, or when baby takes her late morning nap. There is always that short quiet time in my day that I have to myself (in my case I only have one baby so it’s doable). And if I don’t manage to fit in a time during my day, I try to get my reading in the evening when baby is down for bed. I don’t want to make it seem like this is something I am doing out of habit, rather it’s something that I desire and aspire to! Reading Gods word is SO refreshing. It feeds my restless soul, and the truths gives me hope and peace for each day. Even a 10-15 minute read does wonders for me. I highly recommend you mommas try it out. To help me out with this, I started reading “The John MacArthur Daily Bible” which has been an extremely beneficial resource to get me reading the bible in one year! This is not a devotional, rather the Bible broken up with an Old Testament passage, Psalm, Proverbs, and New Testament passage too. It even comes with notes in the margin that help unfold difficult parts of scripture. AND a section of weekly devotionals for the year with selective scripture. As useful and convenient daily devotionals are, nothing compares to reading Gods word on a daily basis – try making that a priority in your life! Ps. I’m not here trying to advertise this Bible, it’s simply something that worked for me, and I hope will be a blessing to you too.

Click here for the Daily Bible I use.

Other great resources (some of which I have):[show_shopthepost_widget id=”2985988″]


3. Be a little selfless each day:

Motherhood is selfless enough … right? Well, how about a little more? What about struggling friends and family, or someone you bumped into at the grocery store who is in need of prayer? Personally, when I focus more on other peoples problems, I forget how “big” mine may seem. I like to make a list of prayer requests and date them to help me remember. And this is where my planner comes in handy too! I like to make a weekly/daily note on who I’m praying for. This also helps me stay in prayerful thought throughout the day. I’ll be honest, I’m not too good at sitting down and praying for too long, I get very distracted. So in conjunction with that, I like to pray in my car rides (when baby is asleep, yay!), while washing dishes, and whenever I have moments of silence. It soothes my soul.


4. Make healthy choices one sip at a time:

Honestly, I NEVER liked working out or going to the gym for that matter … such a chore! Instead, I like making healthy food choices and finding ways to cleanse my body naturally. I have been doing this for a while on and off. Lately, I like to drink warm lemon water every morning. Lemon does wonders for your body- like boosting your immune system, and helping with weight loss (read more here). It leaves me feeling refreshed and I know it’s doing good to my body. You know what they say, you are what you eat!


5. Join a women’s Bible study:

I mentioned this before in a previous post, How To Be Joyful in Motherhood, but I want to say it again! Ever since I joined, my life has never been the same. I have a weekly study that helps motivate me to be in God’s Word. I’m also encouraged by other women going through the same life trials as I am – the fellowship is so sweet. As great as my husband is at encouraging me, it’s also nice to be connected with women who understand the daily difficulties/hardships of motherhood experiences. It’s also a great excuse to doll yourself up and get out the house … and it breaks up the week nicely since mine happens to be on a Wednesday :)!


Ps. If you’re reading this and feel a little disheartened ’cause you can’t seem to manage anything on this list because of how hectic your life is now, don’t let that bring you down. Let your heart be at peace, God knows the seasons in your life and the struggles that come with it, because He is sovereign, and has ordained both! Do what you can do enjoy the good days, and take advantage of those days where you do have a little more time by spending them in study. Don’t worry about the difficult days, or the days where you don’t have time for yourself (and your study). God understands, because He has ordained both. What’s important is for you to remain joyful and worshipful always!

 In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider— God has made the one as well as the other. Ecclesiastes 7:14

I hope this inspires you mommas, to rejoice in the year ahead! Every day is a blessing, choose your battles, enjoy the small things, and live your life abundantly.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Your fellow Momma for God’s glory,

XO I.P.

Pom Pom Obsession

Ok, if you haven’t noticed, pom-poms are everywhere now. You’ll find them on hats, blankets, shoes, handbags- you name it! Although, I really don’t mind it, and I’m really hoping this pom-pom trend will stick around. I have teamed up with Lorena Canals and today I’m sharing my favorite pom-pom blanket. It’s so stylish and cozy. I love throwing it over my sofa, on my bed when it’s a Netflix kinda night, and baby Ev loves the pom-pom details too. I’ve gotten so many compliments whenever I have company over, and I always get asked about this unique pom-pom throw. Well, allow me to tell you a little bit about it! Lorena Canals products offer a home collection for sophisticated adult and kids home goods which are loved by top celebs and picked by Vogue as top baby product for celebrity nurseries! If you haven’t checked out their stuff, you need to here, you’ll totally understand why. Their products are made in India, designed in Spain, so the quality is evident! Also, the neat thing about any Lorena Canals products is that they’re all machine-washable and fit into a standard washer and dryer… that even refers to their stylish rugs, baskets, and cushions. Lastly, all their products are made with natural dyes, handmade, eco and contain no VOCs like most carpeting and rugs AND proceeds support the Sakula project provide schooling for children in India. I know that sounds like a bunch of info, but as a mom, I’m always looking out for the best and safest products to have in my house and especially around baby’s space. And if you’re a mom you know that messiness is inevitable, so having the ability to throw a carpet, basket or a fancy throw in the washer/dryer is a life saver! This is seriously every parent’s dream… ok, and secretly mine too because I can be sooo clumsy at times! Check out some more of my favorite products from Lorena Canals here:

*FYI: I received products complimentary from Lorena Canals.

[show_shopthepost_widget id=”2969259″] Want more pom-pom inspiration? Who is with me when it comes to pom-pom obsession? Well, check out some of my favourite picks that are the perfect accent from your wardrobe, to your household products. I feel like pom-pom details easily give off a fun trendy look that works so well with dressy and casual items too.

Shop picture here:

pom pom sweater | basket | two toned bag | “going places” beach bag | pom hoop earrings | heels | blanket | pillow | scarf | hat | pink earrings | slippers | basket bag |

Shop more here:

Prepping Your Skin For The Holidays

Today let’s talk skin. I don’t know about you, but skincare routine has always been important to me. I know some people are blessed with flawless, picture-perfect skin and others…need to invest a little more care and time to maintain healthy skin. That someone is definitely me.

For as long as I could remember I had very soft skin, but as soon as I hit 17, my skin completely changed to acne prone, and the oily/dry combination was something I had to deal with. In truth, having acne, dry, uneven, and dull skin sucks. Take it from someone who has been through A LOT when it comes to skin. I spent countless hours researching remedies, and from expensive products to dermatology treatments, I finally feel like my skin is in the best state that it has been in years!

I know a lot of things could have contributed to that… like pregnancy hormones, age, stress etc. but I’m a strong believer in good quality products and a daily skincare routine. I swear by these two.

That being said, I’ve partnered up with Skin Forum to share some of these awesome products that I have been using for the past week.

*Disclaimer* I only use products that fit within my niche and that I personally recommend. This is not an ad, but these products were received for complimentary purposes.

OK, I just had to throw that in there because I wanted you to know that I’m being authentic, and honest when I recommend products.

So what exactly is Skin Forum? They are Korean inspired ingredients, made in New York. That help dry, oily, wrinkled, or dull skin- you name it, their products are the perfect match! I tried their “Botanical Fuse” line, one mask a day which is the easiest K-beauty routine for naturally glowing, flawless skin…and I can attest to that after my 5 days of masks.

Here is a little review of each:

*tip: before placing the mask I highly recommend exfoilating. It doesn’t have to be fancy…you can use seasalt, or baking soda with warm water. Scrub, rinse and apply your sheet mask!

Citrus:
Glowy skin starts with me. Squeezed with orange, lime and grapefruit extracts, I’ll handle your skin’s hangover, toxin and all that.

My thoughts: This mask made my skin feel completely refreshed…it almost felt like I had mint/peppermint sensation on my face.

Herb:
Your skin is safe and supple with me. I’m bulletproofed with Rosemary, Witch Hazel, Green Tea and Aloe to get rid of skin irritation and premature aging.
My thoughts: This mask really helped my tired mommy skin appear more refreshed. As a mom, I often have tired/stressed skin and I feel this really helped with that.

Lavender:
Let me be your skin’s blanket. I’m packed with Lavender Oil, Chamomile, Aloe and Rosemary top wrap your skin in soothness and relaxation.

My thoughts: After applying this mask my skin felt and appeared very smooth! My makeup never looked so fresh. It almost seemed like I had a primer on before applying it to my face.

Charcoal:
Your daily dose of healthy skin. My dark and rich combination of Activated Charcoal and botanical ingredients will banish dry skin and strip off impurities.

My thoughts: Ok, this was my favorite! I had a few dry spot around my eyebrows and after this mask, my skin was as smooth as my baby’s bum…haha! But seriously, this mask was very effective. Also, another neat thing was the mask gave off an “ice cold” effect while wearing it as if I was wearing ice on my face! Really cool.

Oxygen Bubble:
Ready, Set, Flawless! My oxygen-infused wash-off black charcoal bubble mask will give you the plumping and rejuvenate your skin deserves.

My thoughts: This mask was so fun! Totally a mask to a girls night/slumber party! It was so fun to watch this mask in action as it bubbled up! And the result? My pores looked so much cleaner.

Face/body contouring roller:
I’ll be honest, I never thought this roller would be effective when I first looked at it until I applied it to my face! It really helped message my skin- which aids in moving water cells, helping the skin look more awake and plump (this is a theory that came to mind- something I learned in one of my biology classes back in university days lol)! I used it on my mama-tired face in the morning and I feel like it took away that tired face syndrome after a few minutes, you know what i’m talking about, right? I think this is a mama/busy-gal must have!

Summary
Honestly, this was the first time I ever used sheet masks. But now I see what all the fuss is about! I feel like the products were better absorbed in my skin because the mask serum did not dry up during the application process unlike non-sheet masks (in my theory at least), and overall (honestly) my skin feels VERY smooth, glows, and it really helped with dry spots on my face. And if you don’t believe me, ask my hubby! He definitely noticed too. 🙂

Check out Skin Forum today if you feel like you have any of those issues, and how about try this 5 day mask challenge, as I did? It’s always worth a try! And don’t forget to stick to a skin care routine that works for you, consistency is key.

Use ohlafemme15 at checkout to receive 15% off your purchase from SkinForum. 

XOX. I.P.

 

Styled: Embroidery Sweater

With only 5 days until Christmas, my excitement is real! Who else can relate? Since we’re spending the holidays in Canada, I made sure to stock up on all my favorite knit sweaters now that I can finally wear them…meanwhile it’s still summer in Cali-land (but I guess I shouldn’t complain about that).

This pink cut-out embroidery knit sweater from Pink Blush was definitely in my luggage for this trip! I mean, what’s not to love? A chunky knit, blush color, embroidery sleeves, and a neck cut out makes it a perfect-stylish sweater for this season. Also to mention, that it’s a nice length which makes it easy to style with boots or jeans. Buuuuut since I’m not so much a jean-girl, I styled with my favorite black leggings and sock heels. What do you think?

You’ll probably see our little family at the Americana at the Brand (in L.A.)very often because it’s sooo Instagramable- just that’s a word! This time of year they have all the lights, decorations, and Christmas music playing in the background so it has easily become my favorite day trip location. Oh, and they just opened up a Laduree cafe (a cafe originated in Paris) a few months back and needless to say, that may be another hidden motive why we frequent this place so much. 😉

FYI: Cute location=happy blogger. Enough said. 🙂

Don’t forget to stop by and check out more styles from Pink Blush. It’s a one stop shop for in-style maternity, nursing, and women’s clothes!

// SHOP SIMILAR //

 

 

XOX I.P.

How To Make A Whole Chicken And Potato Roast In A Cast Iron

This post is sponsored, but I only work with brands that personally suit my niche. #ad

Let my just start off by saying how much I love using a cast iron for my many of recipes. Seriously, lately I’ve been using it for 99% of my cooking and I feel like I’ve been living under a rock by not discovering it sooner. I mean, I’ve wanted to invest in one for a long time prior and had every intention to get one, but once I finally got my hands on one, it took my cooking to a whole other level. Uh-huh.

So like always, I wanted to do my research (by research I mean Pinterest and goggle—duh!) before I officially started using one because I’ve heard they are a lot of maintenance and that’s the last thing this tired mama needs! After using a cast iron for the past year now, I have come to realize that it’s a total myth (rolling my eyes). Of course, there are methods of taking care of the cast iron, but there is no need for constant maintenance if you’re properly taking care of it after each use. And, using a cast iron has some pretty cool benefits too. Let’s just do a quick overview of this, and I’ll get to that recipe really soon, promise.

Why you should start using a cast iron:

  • It’s naturally non-stick: who doesn’t like this feature when it comes to dishes? Seriously, I can make anything in it and it comes off with a slight rub and warm water…no soaking required (most of the time).
  • Made without Teflon: what exactly is Teflon? Well it’s that bad stuff that manufactures use to coat your regular pans to make it a non-stick feature. And what’s worse is that these chemicals are transferred to your food when cooked at high temperature…yeeks! Needless to say, I stopped using Teflon pans a long time ago.
  • Releases Iron: yup! I found this very interesting because I first invested in a cast iron during my pregnancy and I was not iron deficient at all, which is actually the case of many women during pregnancy, and personally, prior to my pregnancy. You can do your research on the science behind it all, but at high temperatures, and depending on the acidity with certain foods, iron is best absorbs and then released during these processes, pretty cool stuff.
  • Long lasting: if taken care of, these pans can last a lifetime! And the more you use it the better it gets, the smoother the texture of your pan becomes too. When I first bought my pan it was very dry and rough, but now it actually looks better then when I first got it. How’s that for investment?
  • Pretty much indestructible: as you’ll notice this recipe requires baking time at a super high temperature- and it’s able to withstand and function just as well. Also, frying at a high temperature will give your food a nice braised/BBQ effect too.

If you want more information about how to maintain, “season” your cast iron for prolonged uses and ultimate effectiveness, check it out here.

Bottom line, I just love using a cast iron for many of my recipes.

Anyway, I’ve partnered up with Southern Kitchen in order to share this amazing recipe I made in a cast iron. I used this Smithey Cast Iron and it has a nice vintage appearance and the quality of it was evident when I put it to work. And as expected, this chicken and potato roast was a success too!

I have to say, I was excited when I decided to make a chicken roast. I mean, you can easily buy a rotisserie chicken for about $5.99, but then you don’t get to brag about making this splendid meal yourself. 🙂 I added potato, carrots, and onions around the chicken to give it a complete meal. Then I took the chicken juices after the roast was done and made gravy out of it (totally optional). I was pretty impressed with the outcome. It seriously beats buying an already-prepared chicken when you can make it in the comfort of you own home, and then show off too, aha!

Now this particular recipe calls for a cast iron, because as mentioned above, you’ll need to use something durable to withstand the hot heat during cooking time- and I mean hot, this baby is going up to 500 F, but that’s the secret to a nice crispy skin, while maintaining moist chicken meat.

You really can’t go wrong with this recipe. And if you have any recipes you’d like to share that are a big hit from your kitchen, submit your own recipe to Southern Kitchen. (Southern Kitchen has regular recipe contests – more info here.)

Lastly, if you’re convinced that cast iron cooking is the way to go…then make sure to get one today. I promise you won’t regret it…I didn’t. Use coupon code WELCOME10 ($10 off first purchase over $50) towards any Southern Kitchen Purchase 

Now let’s get to this recipe, shall we?

Cooks Notes:

  • I like to roast my chicken breast down because it absorbs all the flavour and moisture from the juices during cooking time.
  • You can easily make a gravy by using the remaining juices as a sauce- the cooking juices have all the flavour!

How To Make A Whole Chicken And Potato Roast In A Cast Iron

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Chicken 3-4lb
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil or melted Butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 3 rosemary twigs
  • ½ cup water
  • Half a lemon, juiced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 500 F with (empty) cast iron in the oven.
  2. Rinse and pat dry chicken. Coat chicken with olive oil or melted butter, marinate chicken over night if desired. Generously season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  3. Next, combine potatoes, carrots, onion, spices and cheese, set aside.
  4. Once oven and cast iron is preheated, carefully using kitchen gloves, remove cast iron and place prepared chicken in cast iron (breast side down), place back into oven for 15-20 minutes.
  5. After time is up, add the potato mixture, drizzle water on top of potatoes, turn heat down to 450 F and bake for another 30-40 minutes- until juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh or the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F when probed with an instant read thermometer (roasting time may vary depending on size of chicken).
  6. Remove from oven, squeeze half of the lemon juices over the chicken, and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes covered with foil. Carve and serve.
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