Monday, March 23, 2015

hello shiso ...

I still can't believe that Easter is just around the corner!
This Spring weather has me straight up giddy, and so excited for some fun outdoor adventures!
We headed out to do some early spring exploring with my little bunny. (More on this favorite magical adventuring spot of ours in an upcoming post!)
I am so excited to partner up with Hello Shiso on today's post!  Hello Shiso is a design studio out of Berkeley, California that sells unique accessories for boys, and girls, and sometimes their parents!
This bunny headband my little Norah is wearing is almost too much for me to handle!  Just too adorable!  She was so excited to wear it out on our little adventure!
With Easter only a few weeks away, these darling accessories would make such a great Easter basket filler!  I mean, the bunny headband couldn't be more perfect, don't you think?!
Norah was also excited to wear the cat headband.  Next thing I knew, she was crawling around our favorite tower playing doing her best kitty impersonation!
The Hello Shiso simple little clips are also a favorite!  This kitty clip,  big heart clip, and pineapple clip being top on my list!
I can't wait to fill Norah's Easter basket with a few Hello Shiso hair accessories!

Norah's outfit:
Dress: H&M
Cardigan: Crew Cuts
Sandals: Old Navy
Hair Accessories: Hello Shiso
Necklace: Bling Jewelry
Easter Basket: Thrifted

Thank you Hello Shiso for sponsoring this post.

Friday, March 20, 2015

soulstice retreat ..

My good friends over at Albion Fit are teaming up with Stein Erikson Lodge at Deer Valley to bring you one amazing Retreat!  Here's a little more information about it!

RELAX. RECHARGE. REFOCUS. RETREAT. For 4 days, and 3 nights, immerse yourself in one of the world's most pristine mountain settings at the exclusive, Forbes 5 star, Stein Eriksen Resort and Spa in Deer Valley, Utah.  Begin your retreat with a welcome basket, brimming with fabulous fitness and beauty gadgets and accessories. Enjoy an Albion Apparel gift card for a weekend's worth of premium fitness, swims, and loungewear. Exercise your body under the watchful care of Awaken Retreat instructors, industry-leading professionals available around the clock to help you set fitness goals and create a plan to achieve them. Create your own schedule from a broad selection of fitness activities: Start your day with a sunrise Vinyasa atop a mountain overlook at 9,000 feet. Sign up for daily pilates reformer classes with hands on instruction. Experience weightlessness for the first time in aerial yoga, gracefulness in a barre class, or hit the mountainside in an adrenaline-boosting trail run.  Alongside elite fitness classes, Soulstice also offers a wide variety of intellectual and soulful workshops, providing experiences and memories to take with you beyond the retreat. Have fun with new friends learning healthy eating tips from a New York Time's best selling author, taken an oil-painting workshop and create a landscape portrait to hang on a wall at home, or learn how to use natural light from a professional photographer.  In your free time, take hot air balloon ride over the Wasatch mountains, go horse-back riding on aspen-laden trails, or pamper yourself at the 5 star spa and get a 90 minute, hot stone massage. Enjoy exquisite cuisine with fresh, local ingredients hand crafted by America's finest artisanal chefs and shop on Park City's historical Main Street.  At Soulstice, your time is yours, to spend as you please.

How amazing does that sound!  For early bird pricing and more information, head over to www.soulsticeretreat.com

And, for a chance to win a HUGE GIVEAWAY! We are giving away one lucky winner and her BFF a trip to this amazing retreat at the 5 star at Stein Lodge each valued at $3500.  Awaken Retreats will be teaching reformer Pilates  anti-gravity, barre classes, SUP yoga in a crater, and special guests teaching oil painting, photography, and lectures by Melissa Hartwig of Whole 30 and Stephanie Nielsen and much more.  

To enter, head over to my post on INSTAGRAM, follow @albionfit @steinlodge and @awakenretreats and @armelle_blog and tag your BFF. That's it. 
For a bonus entry, repost the above photo on Instagram, and post and tag @soulsticeretreat.  
Relax, recharge, refocus, retreat. Giveaway ends Sunday, March 29, so be sure to head over to Instagram to enter soon!! GOOD LUCK!  

Monday, March 16, 2015

st. patrick's day ….

St Patrick's Day Ideas Green Food Ideas
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is a fun holiday for my little family.  It's the anniversary of the first day my husband and I met, so it's kind of like the anniversary of our family in a way.  I thought I would share some fun St. Patrick's Day Ideas, and some fun green food ideas for the holiday!
St Patrick's Day Ideas Green Food Ideas
I always like to pull of a festive feast for my family on holidays if I can.  I try to make sure that it is something that I want to do for them, instead of looking at it as a chore.  But, really I truly do like to see their faces of excitement when they see the festive table!  I think maybe because my parents grew up in France and Vietnam, so many holidays are a little foreign to them.  While we celebrated many, things weren't over the top, so maybe that's why I tend to go a little that way.  It's fun for me to live and experience the holidays right along with my children!
St Patrick's Day Ideas Green Food Ideas
My daughter Norah especially loves to help me set up for holidays.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, huh?. She loves to help me set the table, and often plans parties as part of her pretend play. So cute!
St Patrick's Day Ideas Green Food Ideas
St Patrick's Day Ideas Green Food Ideas
St Patrick's Day Ideas Green Food Ideas
I set up as many green items to go with the St. Patrick's Day theme as much as possible.  
Green rolls, green grapes, gold coins, green mint and chocolate chip cookies.
St Patrick's Day Ideas Green Food Ideas
St Patrick's Day Ideas Green Food Ideas
St Patrick's Day Ideas Green Food Ideas
For the rest of the food, we had my favorite Kale caesar salad (all ingredients can be found at Harmons Grocery) with crostini's, green tortellini with pesto sauce, and steamed broccoli.  The beauty is you can homemake, or store buy many items depending on how much time you have, and you can pull of this festive spread without too much work involved! I always turn to my party supply box, and as always being a hoarder pays off for me, wink!
Kale Salad Recipe
Kale Caesar Salad with Crostini Croutons

For the Salad
Combine:
Kale
Crumbled Crostini's from Harmons Grocery
Grated Parmesean Cheese
Kale Salad Recipe
For the Lemon Caesar Dressing:
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 tsp lemon zest 
2 tablespoons Garlic olive oil from Harmons Grocery (sciabica's brand)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 shakes cayenne pepper (more or less depending if you like a kick)
1 cup olive oil
Kale Salad Recipe
Whisk all together well, and toss over Kale, crostini's and parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!  And, Hope you have an amazing St. Patrick's Day!
St Patrick's Day Feast Armelle Blog

{all photos by me}

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

eleventh avenue ...

Today I'm helping celebrate something really exciting! If you haven't heard already, Groopdealz is now Eleventh Avenue - and there's SO much to love!
Not only are you going to find even better, more fabulous deals at amazingly low prices, but also Eleventh Avenue was created with the social shopper in mind! A handpicked boutique marketplace, dedicated to providing you with a unique and personalized shopping experience.

What's New?

When it comes to amazing fashion, fabulous home decor and adorable children's items, their boutique marketplace has got it all in one avenue!

Women's Fashion


Stuff for the Kids
Home Decor, and more!

With hundreds of handpicked boutiques and their products being added daily, there's no doubt you'll find something you love.

If you haven't had a chance to experience Eleventh Avenue for yourself then head on over and take a look around. When you find something you love, take another 11% off with code "11avenue" to get an even better deal!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

deconstructed lemon curd tart ...

I love a good lemon dessert. In my opinion, lemon is the perfect combination of tart and sweet!

I made these cute little deconstructed lemon curd tart with torched meringue for a dinner party with some friends.  I loved serving them in individual little jelly jars.  I torched the meringue at the end for a little marshmallow like taste.  Tastes just like a lemon meringue pie, but without all the fuss of putting one together.
I love the idea of the deconstructed tart.  It's hip, it's modern, and it makes putting together a large amount do-able.  In fact, this past weekend with Orson Gygi, we made several hundred tarts, including at least 70 of these little lemon curd tarts out at an event at Daybreak.  It was fun to see if people wanted to participate and torch their own meringue.  Some people either really like playing with fire, or are afraid to set things on fire. 

Deconstructed Lemon Curd Tart with Torched Italian Meringue

Thick + Creamy Lemon Curd
2/3 fresh-squeezed lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)*
2 Tablespoons (packed) fresh lemon zest
2/3 cup sugar
6 eggs
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cubed

Zest lemons and set aside.  Halve lemons and juice. Whisk together juice, zest, sugar and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan.  Cook over medium low heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently with the whisk.  Slowly add bits of cubed, chilled butter, continuing to whisk frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of your whisk and the first bubbles appear on the surface (about 5-6 minutes).

Press curd through a large sieve into a shallow casserole dish (a 9×13 Pyrex works well).  Cover the surface with plastic wrap to keep a film from forming on the surface of the curd.  Chill overnight or for 8 hours before serving.  Enjoy!

Graham Cracker “Crust”
2 packs (about 3 cups) graham crackers, crushed
1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Combine crushed graham crackers, melted butter, and powdered sugar, and mix well.  

Italian meringue
INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 large egg whites, room temperature

Pinch of salt and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

DIRECTIONS

Bring sugar, water, and corn syrup to a boil in a small saucepan, do not stir, watch for sugar to dissolve. Cook, undisturbed, until syrup registers 248 degrees on a candy thermometer. Or soft ball stage.  Test by dropping a drop onto a surface, if mixture stays in a half dome shape rather than dispersing, it is ready.
Meanwhile, whisk whites with a mixer on low speed until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Increase speed to medium, and whisk until soft peaks form.
Reduce speed to low, and pour hot syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Increase speed to high, and beat until mixture stops steaming, about 3 minutes. Use immediately. 

To assemble: Place a small amount of graham cracker crumble, then some lemon curd, and top with Italian meringue.

Torch or Brûlée the meringue with small culinary torch, just until golden. Try not to light it on fire or it will have a burnt taste.

Enjoy!


{photos by me}