I wanted to make a fun and not-so-naughty holiday cocktail and went with a twist on a margarita for our Christmas party. A hibiscus margarita is one of my favorites and I usually make them with hibiscus tea sweetened with honey, lime juice and tequila, with a dash of orange bitters. For the holiday version, I simmered the hibiscus tea in a pot with whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. (Yes, the house smelled great!) I transferred the cooled tea to a pitcher, adding lime juice, frozen cherries, and bitters. A vintage pitcher and glasses found at local thrift and antique shops made it even more festive. Later, for a Christmas brunch, I added the spiced hibiscus tea to prosecco.
More on better-for-you cocktails: My story for Purist magazine, with drinks made in LA, NY and Aspen.
When I was in high school, I attended a program called the “Presidential Classroom for Young Americans” in Washington, D.C., with other idealistic, civic-minded teens who wanted to rule the world. I remember meeting my Congressman, sitting on the floor of the House of Representatives, and feeling so inspired. I didn’t end up in the political arena, but I’m so excited for the next generation of young women seeing history being made and thinking they want to be President one day.
I vote in every election and proudly wear the sticker. Today, I walked to and from my neighborhood polling station and had a few friendly exchanges with neighbors. It was a lovely Southern California evening and I paused to remind myself about how very lucky we are to vote for our leaders and shape our futures.
I’m grateful my parents raised me to be aware and to be part of the process, whether that means casting a vote for the candidate of your choice or taking a stand and fighting for what is right. It’s an honor.
Lately, I’ve been getting as excited composing a well-balanced lunch bowl as I do dressing for a fun occasion. Staples include homemade hummus, brown rice, wild rice or quinoa, sauerkraut, sauteed greens, quick pickled red cabbage and carrots, roasted yams and other vegetables, and sometimes chicken or chicken sausage. Sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and Bragg’s Sea Kelp Delight seasoning. Yum.
This & That (& Green): New finds and old favorites I’m loving right now. A combination of vintage or second-hand items; beauty products and other goods made responsibly with better-for-you, non-toxic ingredients; and DIY creations.
Spring’s arrival in Southern California is never as dramatic as in other regions, but we still welcome its arrival with the sights and sounds—birds chirping, springtime flowers blooming, and the extra light. It’s only natural to favor lighter, brighter colors and embrace floral patterns this time of year.
Camellia flower in bloom.
New spring wardrobe staples—all from thrift shops—include a bright and multi-patterned Antik Batik scarf I scooped up during a lunch shopping spree with friends last week. The vintage bucket bag is from the Original Earthbags by Fred Salerno line (and it was only 10 bucks!). Because I suddenly have no interest in wearing any of my black or dark denim jackets, this fitted Esprit jacket in faded blue is going into heavy rotation.
Jewelry for spring: Bangle bracelets with floral patterns, both vintage and second-hand. The earrings and necklace are DIY creations: I made the earrings with peach glass beads from a rosary and the bird charm on the necklace is actually an old button.
Bring on the butterflies! We have milkweed plants in the yard to attract monarch butterflies and it’s always a thrill to watch the caterpillars grow—and to see butterflies in the yard. I also picked up this seed packet to attract even more.
This & That (& Green): New finds or old favorites I’m loving right now—vintage or second-hand items, plus beauty products and other goods made responsibly with better-for-you, non-toxic ingredients.
The strawberry plants in our yard are flowering and the gaviota strawberry variety is available from at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market. Sweet!
Harry’s Berries at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.
Our flowering strawberry plant.
My new spring kicks: A pair of Converse Jack Purcell sneakers with a Marimekko strawberry print. I liked seeing the sneaker recycling bin at the front of the Converse store, with information on the ReUSE A SHOE recycling program with Nike.
A Ball Mason jar filled with filtered water, lemon slices, and frozen organic strawberries from Whole Foods. This idea came from the lovely Elisha Reverby, founder of the Elique Organics skin care line. I met up with Elisha at the Natural Products Expo this month on a hot day and she was sipping water from a jar just like this. She said she adds the frozen strawberries so they’ll act like ice cubes and keep the water cool—as well as sweet-tasting.
Two dried strawberry snacks, both made using organic strawberries and nothing else. The first are freeze-dried and crunchy and come from Nature’s All Foods (available at Whole Foods); the second are chewy and dried using a dehydrator from a farmers’ market vendor. I’ve been reducing the amount of refined sugar in my diet and find that healthier treats like these satisfy my sweet tooth.
Strawberry-red for lips and nails from companies that use better-for-you ingredients in their beauty products: Primitive Makeup’s lip gloss in Rio, the creamiest and softest red lip gloss I’ve found; and Mineral Fusion nail polish in Fiery Lava.
Update: our strawberry plant is now in bloom—and I found my new perfect, everyday red lipstick. Logona’s lipstick is made without any synthetic colors or preservatives—and the color I chose is actually named strawberry. It’s creamy, warm, and looks like a red I wore years ago. Perfect.
Photos of clover: around the pink flamingo in the yard, in the Santa Monica Mountains, and in the house.
The Irish Claddagh ring is a recent thrift store find. I love the design to represent love, loyalty, and friendship. Tradition holds that it should be given as a gift, but I didn’t want to pass up the bargain—only $6 and sterling silver—so I brought it home and told Mr. MVP he could give it to me (and he happily obliged). It is shown here on a vintage handkerchief embroidered with shamrocks, given to me by my mom.
The rosary beads—another thrift store find—are wood with shamrocks all around the beads. I’m a collector of rosaries and often find them rusty and broken; repairs are easily made with a pair of small pliers, and I like to use some of the beads to make upcycled earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.