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Single Girl Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

Maintaining a healthy diet is always a struggle, but I find it to be an ENORMOUS challenge when the cooler months roll around — the swimsuits are gone, sweets are everywhere, and there’s a constant crave for comforting foods. It’s tough!

But no matter how difficult it is, I know I feel better when I’m putting good stuff into my body. And that doesn’t mean everything has to be boring or bland.

One of my favorite flavors of the fall season is, of course, pumpkin (although I do feel like the whole pumpkin thing has gotten out of control this year) and I always look forward to Starbucks’ release of the PSL. But let’s face it, that thing is full of fat and sugar that my waistline just cannot handle.

So, you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon an easy, homemade version of the PSL that’s waaaayyy healthier and just as delicious!

This recipe is from the gals at Tone It Up!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Shots of espresso, or 1 cup of coffee
  • 1 Cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 Packet of Stevia
  • 2 tbs Pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin spice (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp allspice)

Blend ingredients together before adding coffee or espresso.

Want to kick it up even more? Use pumpkin spice coffee for an extra pumpkin POW, and/or whip some almond milk until frothy, and spoon over the top of your latte for an official taste and feel.

Keep things convenient and make a bigger batch of this, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge, so you can just pour and enjoy in the mornings! Time to cozy up — without the guilt.

Pic of the Week.

Upping our carving game.

Upping our carving game.

Every year, my friend Marcy has a Pumpkin Carving Party (BYOP), and this year was pretty special because it was the 5th Anniversary of the party! So, Sunday night, we all gathered at Marcy’s, equipped with pumpkins and carving ideas.

As a kid, Halloween was a big deal. My parents really got into decorating the house, and lots of thought went into carving pumpkins — my parents would buy the most difficult templates to complete, even if it meant creating a toothpick-suture to make things looked perfect in the end.

Truth be told, I always get really pumped to carve a pumpkin, but when it comes time to actually scoop the guts out, and get serious about poking all the holes and carving tiny pieces, I’m not really big on it. I only like the part when I light the candle and turn the lights off to see my creation.

Call me lazy, but I admitted to Marcy that if it weren’t for her party, I probably would retire my sad collection of orange plastic carving tools.

This was my third year at the party, the first year I had no idea what to expect, although I heard it was a little competitive. That year, I painted my pumpkin white, and carved Jack Skellington’s (The Nightmare Before Christmas) face… it was easy, but it looked pretty cool.

Last year, I jumped on the Hash Tag craze and shaved “#Pumpkin” into my pumpkin… needless to say, it was a hit on social media. This year, I wasn’t sure what to carve.

I wanted to do something current, and relevant to pop culture, and then I realized, DUH, I’ve been watching The Fault In Our Stars nearly every night before I fall asleep, so why not do a tribute to the book and movie via pumpkin?

There is a line in the book, and a scene in the movie, that revolves around champagne: “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars.”

In the movie, the waiter tells Augustus and Hazel, “We have bottled all the stars for you tonight.”

I love it!

So, I created my own template that features a set of champagne glasses clinking, several different sizes of five-pointed stars, and letters to spell T-F-I-O-S.

While no one at the party really understood what my pumpkin was all about, I love it! I can’t wait to light it up on Halloween night!

2/50 Shades: Cosmo Confetti.

Covergirl's Cosmo Confetti

Covergirl’s Cosmo Confetti

My overflowing collection of pink lip products has been screaming at me to share another shade of pink with you! For the second shade in this series, I could not help but share “Cosmo Confetti” from Covergirl.

Why? Because I’ve been wearing it DAILY for the last two weeks! Cosmo Confetti is from Covergirl’s Queen Collection, with looks and colors created for darker skin. The line is represented by Queen Latifah.

The jumbo gloss balm

The jumbo gloss balm

And while I have fair skin, Cosmo Confetti is offered as a jumbo gloss balm, which is basically a giant lip crayon — my first experience with a lip crayon — and it goes on sheer (no need to bother with a mirror), so even though the color on the packaging looks bright, it’s totally an acceptable hue for all skin tones, and occasions.

I also love this lip product because it really is a “gloss balm,” as it adds moisture and shine to my lips, all at once — who doesn’t appreciate that? Especially with the cool temps quickly approaching!

The only downside? There is no scent, or flavor, like a typical gloss usually offers. It smells/tastes just like lipstick. So, there’s that.

While we’re talking all-things-pink, what’s the rule about rocking pink in the fall months? Can it be done? Of course!

I found a great article on Glamour.com, which explains that those old fashion rules, especially when it comes to colors, are right on out the door. So go ahead, wear your girly hues all year ’round!

And always, always remember to follow the only fashion rule that matters: Whatever you wear, own it.

—Christina Perez, Glamour 

Dating by Astrology.

Are the stars aligned for love?

Are the stars aligned for love?

I have always been interested in astrology, although I don’t live by it, I love reading my weekly horoscope — scoffing when it’s completely incorrect, and gasping in awe when it’s right on-point. When it comes to dating, I’ve discussed matching via personality test, but what about zodiac compatibility?

Born on July 2, I am a Cancer, meaning:

  • All about home, comfort of family, maternal, domestic, nurturing
  • Loves tradition, patriotic
  • Has a good memory, is emotional
  • Quick to retreat, moody, often vindictive
  • Quick to help others, avoids confrontation
  • Devoted, romantic, listen to their gut

Cancer traits have always fit me to a T, which is probably why I love reading horoscopes and compatibility charts. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look up compatibility as SOON as I get a birthday for the person I’m crushing on. Let’s take this to the charts:

So colorful.

So colorful.

According to this chart, my perfect matches are a Scorpio and a Pisces. Hmm…

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

  • Fiercely independent, like to be in control
  • Moody, possessive, yet loyal
  • Wise in business, ambitious, determined
  • Intense, misunderstood, often secretive

I’ve actually dated several Scorpios, and obviously, things didn’t work out. I have yet to meet a Scorpio that I get along with very well. But, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, stars! If you know of a Scorpio that is single and could be a match, point me in that direction!

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

  • Needs other people to keep them positive, grounded
  • Sensitive, loyal, will go out of their way to help a friend
  • Mysterious, molded by surroundings
  • Intuitive, sensitive, treat others the way they wish to be treated

I do not THINK I’ve ever dates a Pisces (if I did, I obviously have forgotten about it), but perhaps that is my ideal match! Quick, find me a man with a birthday between February 19 and March 20!

Now, I know astrology won’t answer all of my dating woes… but at this point, I’m open to try just about anything.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

—Julius Caesar

 

Coolest Fan Mail… Ever!

Cover idea from a reader!

Cover idea from a reader!

Monday night, I received some fan mail from a reader in Indianapolis. She, Samantha, drew this after reading my first book, How I Fell, and then she transferred it to Photoshop.

Umm… how cute is it?! I actually like it better than my original cover, but don’t tell anyone. Without even knowing it, Samantha drew me wearing a pair of heels that look like some I actually have!

Recently, I’ve started getting notes, and links to articles and blogs you (my readers) think I need to see — I love this!

So, if you think there’s something out there I need to see, please send it my way via the comments, Twitter, Facebook, or feel free to email me directly at Wittywriter7@gmail.com

Thank you for my drawing, Samantha! And thanks for reading!

Pic of the Week.

I'm old school with the radio.

I’m old school with the radio.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a new morning radio show had taken over one of the stations I listened to (104.1 New Orleans). The show was a syndicate, Johnjay and Rich.

It’s two guys and a girl, and the show revolves around calling people, although each day, it’s a different bit.

  • Monday: Machaca — This is any reason to call someone that doesn’t fall under the categories of the other days. In the past, they’ve called someone pretending to need a job reference to see what the person would say.
  • Tuesday: Second Date Update — Someone calls in, they’ve had a great first date, and can’t figure out why there’s no second date, so Johnjay and Rich call and get the scoop.
  • Wednesday: Humpday Dumpday — Someone gets dumped, and doesn’t know why, so Johnjay and Rich call and find out the real reason for the dumping (are you catching a trend?).
  • Thursday: War of the Roses — This is their signature show. Someone calls in, suspects their partner is cheating on them, so Johnjay and Rich call, disguised as a flower shop saying “Congrats, you just won a dozen free roses, who should we deliver them to?” And they either get a bust, or the person delivers them to the original caller.
  • Friday: Fiance Friday — Very similar to War of the Roses, only they call saying “You won a free couples massage” and obviously, it’s an engaged couple involved.

I really love the Machaca, because it’s always something different, and the theme song gets stuck in my head. But my all-time favorite show is Second Date Update, I think probably because that’s where I’m at in my dating life right now… just going on a lot of first dates (not saying that’s a bad thing).

But really, all of the shows are enjoyable, and often shocking. Sometimes I wonder if the calls are staged, but I kind of feel the same way about that as I do about all the reality television I watch: as long as it’s entertaining, I don’t care how “real” it is.

The point of this is all to say, that these past few weeks, this show is what’s been getting me to work on time! As sad as that sounds, the shows usually start about 20 minutes before I need to be at the office — just enough time for me to get there. It makes for a pleasant drive to work, and I can get a good laugh in before my work day begins.

Once I get into work, I listen to the rest of the show using my “I Heart Radio” app. And no, I wasn’t paid to say any of this, but if someone from the Johnjay and Rich Show ever reads this, I would DIE to be a guest.

Find out if a station near you plays the show, and/or check out their podcast, or listen live on their website!

Fresh Friday: Abercrombie Classic.

Ay bay-bay.

Ay bay-bay.

I know, I know, Abercrombie & Fitch fragrance is nothing new (although from the looks of their website, they’ve got some new scents), but I just couldn’t resist featuring the fragrance from the Home of the Hunks on my blog! I swear, I’ve got good reasons for it, so let’s get this started.

The Hotties. Abercrombie is infamous for their racy ads and exploitation of incredibly sexy people. And you know what? I love it. Yeah, it was a little (okay a lot) unrealistic… but aren’t we all dying for a dream, anyway? From a marketing standpoint, it’s pretty genius, because let’s face it: everyone loves to look at beautiful people and things, and in the words of Augustus Waters, I’m not in the business of denying myself pleasure.

K? Moving on.

The Lifestyle. I worked at Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as abercrombie (the kids store) for the greater portion of my college years. I remember being in 7th grade, and hearing the most popular girl in school say that she shopped at Abercrombie. Her clothes always fit perfectly, and I wanted to be her.

In middle school, everyone is a sellout just trying to fit in, so I was thankful that the very few shirts I could get had ABERCROMBIE plastered all over them. In those years, Abercrombie had yet to embrace their cottage-feel, as far as the stores go, so the Abercrombie I shopped at was still outfitted like a hunting store, complete with antler chandeliers and plaid carpet.

I love that kind of shit.

It’s like a frat house, only much cleaner, and more expensive.

What I didn’t know then, I learned in my years as an employee. Like all successful brands, Abercrombie was selling a lifestyle that was impossible to actually get: beautiful people wearing distressed, layered clothing (sold at a high price point).

They didn’t have to worry about dress codes, because they didn’t have jobs or cares or worries. They didn’t need shoes, because they have no need to go anywhere, but if shoes were, for some reason, necessary, they’d wear neutral-toned flops, even in the winter, because… leg warmers and hoodies keep the pretty people warm.

It was a style all its own, while still embracing the classic American look — denim and neutral.

And despite the fact that I made shit money while working there, it’s a brand I’ve always admired. Sure, there was controversy. But y’all know I’ve never been one to stray from a controversy.

A&F Classic

A&F Classic

The scent. Abercrombie sells a ton of different scents, and because I worked there for so long, I’ve developed quite the collection. But today, I’ll just talk about Abercrombie & Fitch classic (for women).

It’s often described as a mostly citrus-scent with white floral notes, which I agree with, but I also smell a little woodsiness in there… because, Abercrombie, duh.

It has longevity, and it’s a scent I have always loved wearing.

Le sigh. So why am I getting all sentimental about one of my favorite brands? Because I saw an article that explained the Abercrombie brand as we know it, is leaving.

The article basically explains that Abercrombie plans to remove its logo (the large ABERCROMBIE, or even the small moose) from their articles of clothing in hopes to boost sales.

This part doesn’t bother me — even though I love the little embroidered moose — I really love the clothes more than people knowing that I overpaid for a cheaply-made tank top.

Another article also states that Abercrombie failed as a brand because they didn’t change with the times — but this is precisely the reason I love the Fitch. Jeans and tanks will always be in style. Whether the jeans are skinny or ripped, dark or light, we will always love jeans. And easy tops. Some might be skinny strapped, beaded, sequined, or braided… but it’s simple and it looks effortless. Isn’t that what being sexy is all about?

If my office job allowed me to actually wear cool clothes, I’d “relive the 90s” and rock my Ezra ripped jeans and beaded hoodies until the day I die. But perhaps I’m not quite as cool as the kids in the ads, who don’t have to work — outside of modeling for A&F. But either way, I love admiring their world from afar.

Save the Date: October 17.

Nope, I’m not getting married.

But I am judging a Pop Culture Hair Show on October 17, right here in Baton Rouge and I’m SO (or should I say “SEAUX”) excited!

Join me, along with the amazing team at The Garrett Neal Studio (yes, this is where I get my hair done) Friday, October 17, starting at 8pm, right in the hair studio. Here’s what the Facebook event says:

Be sure to come support our stylists with their first “in-salon” hair show! Enjoy seeing the creativity behind these master minds with their Avant Garde looks and uniquely created Up-Cycled looks. Mix and mingle with some of your fellow Baton Rouge friends! Enjoy a great time with wine and food catered by Zorba’s Greek Bistro. 

Not only will I be judging the hair show, but I’ll also be there with books and some merchandise from my Bitter Lemon store. Really, I just want to meet other creatives, and if you’re a reader, I’d love to say hello and snap a picture together!

So mark your calendars for the 17th, and I hope to see y’all there!

Pic of the Week.

Yes, that's a leopard-print glue gun.

Yes, that’s a leopard-print glue gun.

Hobby Lobby has officially dumped the contents of its shelves into my apartment — and it is a beautiful, sparkly mess — which, is actually really exciting for my kitty, Blanche.

After that crappy week I told you all about, I was really excited to get involved in a good craft project.

Every year, one of my best girlfriends and her boyfriend compete in a Gumbo Cook-off. Three years ago, they asked me if I wanted to join their team. Let’s see, tons of Southern food, gumbo, beer, and people-watching? HELLS YES.

So now, it has become an October tradition to pack up our cars, drive an hour away, and spend the weekend cooking (and eating) delicious food. It’s something I look forward to every year.

While our team is smaller than most of the teams we’re competing against, we’ve stepped up our game these last few years — selling out of gumbo, sporting matching shirts and aprons, and this year, I volunteered to decorate our booth!

Every year, the Gumbo Cook-off has a theme. In previous years, it’s been things like “America the Beautiful,” or “Choot ‘Em” (Swamp People). This year, the theme is “25th Anniversary.”

Umm, because of course the year that I decide to decorate, they would have the theme be something un-fun, and really freaking difficult to figure out.

At first, I was just thinking I could have silver decorations (since 25 is year of silver). And then I decided that was lame and boring. Then I was just thinking about gumbo itself — chicken, sausage, bell peppers, onions, etc. I was imagining strands of faux veggie garland.

But… turns out, plastic veggies are super expensive. So, fail.

Over brunch, one of my guy friends suggested a play on words: Twenty Fifths…as in, 20 bottles of alcohol.

At first, I wasn’t sold. But once I got to Hobby Lobby, I went down every aisle and starting seeing some different options where I could make the “20 fifths” thing work.

So, two hours later, I had my cart filled with hot glue sticks, scrapbook paper, twine, bottles, mason jars, faux plants, mini martini glasses, and small Solo cups, among other things.

It took me all week, but I made:

Table Banner — “Cheers to 20 Fifths” using the scrapbook paper. I used 20 sheets of scrapbook paper, traced bottles of Jack Daniels and wine on them, painted the bottles black, and trimmed the paper into equal rectangles. Then, I used the twine and tiny clothespins to make it a hangable banner.

Table Decor — Hobby Lobby had these giant cardboard-ish numbers, so I bought a 2-0, and then a large glass wine bottle, which I painted “5ths” on it, and filled it with faux hay and glittery, silver sticks (to signify 25). To add a little something extra, I found a stockpile of beer bottle caps, which I glued to the numbers. Finally, a use for the things I hoard!

Cocktail Garland — I used the small, red Solo cups, along with the tiny, plastic martini glasses to create a cocktail garland (using the twine). Holes were poked into the cups and strung, then I used hot glue to secure it (I didn’t want the cups to move). I hot glued the twine to the martini glasses, so the garland would be Solo cup-tini-cup-tini, etc. To add some detail, I hot glued toothpicks with tiny faux olives on them (I made these) into the glasses.

Tent decor — I used the mason jars to fill with faux hay, glittery silver sticks, and other flowers, along with wine corks. I know this doesn’t have a direct relation to our “drinking” theme, but I really just wanted something that would decorate the sides (the legs) of our tent, and I couldn’t think of anything that would really catch people’s eyes.

While I’m not sure if we will be in the running to win the decorations-portion of the competition, I think people will at least appreciate our love for booze. If you’re indoors crafting this week, good luck! Make something beautiful.

Fresh Friday: Desire.

Where the DG party at?

Where the DG party at?

Dolce & Gabbanna ads — much like Michael Kors ads — seriously send me into a frenzy of wishes, often leading to a quarter-life crisis. Everyone is so beautiful, on an island, with a hot guy, never mind that it’s not real. Dreams!

But for the last week, I’ve been wearing Desire by Dolce & Gabanna, and I absolutely love it!

As described by Sephora:

dolce-gabbana-desire-fragrance

Pretty bottle.

Desire by Dolce&Gabbana is a deeply feminine fragrance that illuminates everyday moments into something special. A blend of luxurious ingredients as potent and captivating as the emotion of desire itself leads us on a journey of opulent seduction. 

Fresh top notes of mandarin, lychee, and bergamot play softly against the sweet innocence of lily of the valley. At the core of an intense heart is a trio of ultrafeminine florals. The elegance of madonna lily and the heady opulence of Indian tuberose are blended with velvety jasmine and addictively sweet plum nectar. Adding an indulgent richness to the base is a gourmand note of vanilla infused caramel, melded with warming sandalwood, and a touch of mysterious musk and cistus labdanum. 

Although it’s described as “potent,” I don’t think it’s a strong perfume by any means. Strong enough to last throughout the day, but not overpowering. It’s definitely worth a try!

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