Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Out with the old, and in with the new!

Here's to a fabulous new year!

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Now You Can Eat Chocolate and Keep Your Resolutions!

You're welcome.  Or actually you should be saying thank you to Kristi from Mommy Crib Notes.  She is sharing two recipes that are a sure way to satisfy the sweet tooth and make sure you have no regrets!  Need I say more?  I think not.  Read on my peeps, read on.

Whoever said, “A woman cannot live on chocolate alone,” must have been a man. Like many, one of my New Year’s resolutions is be healthier in 2012. That includes cutting back on sugar. But give up chocolate? No friggin’ way.

After being told this year by my doctor that my triglycerides are too high, I called up my svelte, Raquel Welch-type grandma to ask her what dietary changes she made to bring her cholesterol down. How thrilled was I when her sole recommendation was to eat one or two pieces of dark chocolate after lunch and dinner? Done!

But, being a gal who thrives on variety, I needed a more than my bag of Dove chocolates to get by. So, I found two rich desserts that have become my go-to staples because:

1. Their primary ingredient is chocolate.
2. They include fiber and antioxidants.
3. They take five minutes to make.

If you’re a brownie woman, then you’ve likely heard of pairing vanilla yogurt with a box of brownie mix to make a low-fat version. Even better is to take that box of brownie mix and pair it with pureed black beans. You will be amazed by how fudgy and yummy these fiber-rich brownies taste. For specific directions on how to make black bean brownies, click here.

If you want a beautiful and tasty treat to give yourself, or your gym-worshiping girlfriend, try Health magazine’s Holiday Fruit and Nut Bark. I actually made this up to give to a co-worker, but couldn't help but snag a few pieces for myself. The bark is made from dark chocolate sprinkled with dried cherries, pistachios and crystallized ginger. A small piece seems more satisfying because of all the flavor and crunch.

If you’re looking for true decadence, pair one of those indulgent treats with some bubbly.  Hey, it’s New Year’s and a glass of champagne has fewer calories than wine. Now that’s a treat worth toasting!

Thank you, Kristi!  And for those of you who are wondering, here is a bit more about our author today:

Kristi Valentini does whatever it takes, a diet heavy on chocolate and caffeine, Gregorian chants, whatever, to maintain inner peace among motherhood, career and the pursuit of domestic glory. Like other moms today, she strives for balance but makes do with a multi-tasking juggling act. Kristi began her blog,, to give other moms a "cheat sheet" of discoveries, tips and gadgets that can make parenthood easier. When not changing diapers or playing dolls with her two little beauties, Kristi is a marketing communications strategist and a freelance writer.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cute Ruffle Jeans!

Hello Everyone,
My name is Suze from Time Well Spent, and I am originally from Haiti. In an interesting turn of events, I found myself living in the Mountain West of the United States. Being in a different environment took a little time for adapting, but I'm loving it here. I have two beautiful children(a 4 year old boy and a 2 year old sassy & bossy girl) who keep me busy most of the time and married to the most amazing man (November 2006). I love making bows, photography, sewing ( just started) and scrapbooking.
Actually, let me tell you when I started making bows. It all began when our family had a bit of a shock! Our second child was supposed to be another boy, but lo and behold, the doctor pulled out a girl! From that moment I have enjoyed the process of raising a little princess. I started to make hair bows and all things girly. 
So now, I am a total bows and tutus addict, but wouldn't have any other way! My daughter has about three hair bows holders full with hair accessories   (in the process of making her a fourth one, need more room) and about 5...6...ok 12 tutus and I even have one too( it was for Halloween, [don't judge me]or was it...?!
Recently, I decided to open a Etsy shop and share my passion with everyone... In the hope that they will pay for themselves and I can always continue making them knowing that some little one is enjoying having them. Hope, I haven't bored you guys to death, so here are some stuff you will find in the shop


Today, I will share a tutorial on how to make a raffle jeans by reusing a pair that your daughter has outgrow...Hope you will enjoy it.

So since I really suck at giving directions, I tried my best to take as many pictures to explain as I can...Hope you will find them useful and make one...They take about 15 to 30 min depend on if you sew it upside down and need to cut it off and redo it ( ha ha ha!).  

 My pair of jeans that I cut off the very tip of the bottom because trying to sew it will be way too hard on my machine and will keep it a bit smoother.
  Then I measured two piece of fabric 12 inches each.

 Then I sewed the edge using the longest stitch on my machine and after I was done...I tied one end of the thread so it wouldn't undo the stitch that I made and use the other end to pull on one thread and make the ruffle ( hope that made any sense)

 Then it was time to sew them together which made it look like a sleeves...I don't know the name of the stitch so I took a close up pic so you can see it better.

 Then I use pins to pin my fabric to the jean and getting it ready to be sew together...Careful not to sew it inside out, so you have to make sure the inside of the fabric is facing you.
 Then sew it together and you are ready for your cutie to go and show off your newest creation.

 And here is the finished product...Pretty cute, huh!

Let me know if you have any questions and I will try my best to answer... Sorry if my explanations are not so great but I hope at least the pictures help a bit. Also, if you know the names of those stitches, feel free to leave the names and it will be really appreciated.

Please let me know if you make one and leave the link so I can see :)
PS: tutorial is for personal use only!

Thanks Natalia for letting me stop by and hope that you will come visit me♥

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How to Make (and KEEP) Special Traditions, Even When Life Gets Hectic

Today I have another blogger friend of mine here today.  I met Tina a while ago and am so glad I did.  She is real and fun and personable and I especially love our e-mail chatting!  I hope you read on because she has some great tips.  Thanks Tina!
Hi guys! I'm the Tina (aka Christina) part of Tico ♥ Tina: a unified contradiction where we jot down all our random thoughts and bits about life from our Latin spice/Irish spunk perspective. (I've aged a bit since that picture...)

I'm so glad I found Natalia's blog this fall. I was immediately drawn in by how real and down to earth she seemed, and as I stuck around a bit I saw how great she is at building community. I especially loved and identified with this post of hers from a couple weeks ago. She's the real deal, folks! Oh but why am I telling you, you're already here so you probably know that :)

ok, so back to the currently scheduled programming. let's have a little chit-chat about making and keeping special traditions. seems like a good time of year for such a conversation, no? who wouldn't like that? perhaps green, hairy, grinch type people I guess. if that's you then click away quickly because I'm about to give you a glimpse into a mushy gushy little tradition of ours that just might make your toes curl in disgust.

obviously you can have traditions with one other person, a group of people, and even just with yourself. traditions have a way of bonding people together and adding little bits of comfort and fun to what can sometimes be an otherwise downer day, or week.

the problem is when we let life get in the way and the fun little traditions start to fall by the wayside. then one day you look up and realize that life is running you over and you're just trying to survive it.
well, somewhere along the way I realized that there are two fool-proof things that protect you from this potential tragedy! lucky you, I'm going to share :) it's actually rather simple:
  1. lower your expectations [and]
  2. COMMIT!
I realize this sounds like a. a recipe for mediocrity, or b. a way to zap the fun out of it with legalism. BUT the funny thing is, if you get the right mindset, these two things balance each other out and work together to make awesome MEMORIES :)
Mr. D (aka Tico) and I
have had a once a month standing date ever since we first started dating.
(yep, there's definitely a story behind that shirt - it has yet to be recorded, but it has something to do with a dare)
it took us long enough to become an official couple that we really wanted to celebrate it regularly and we just had our 100th monthaversary this month! that works out to 8 years and 4 months and we haven't missed one yet.
now that I write it out, I'm kind of amazed.
but really, it just shows how well the method works.
we knew that if we didn't commit to a specific day every month we would be scrambling around trying to reschedule all the time so that we could have the perfect date night, which sounded like an inevitable death sentence for our celebrations of "us".

at the same time, we knew it was completely impractical to expect life to align to our ideal plans with any sort of regularity. I mean, sometimes you have babies the day before and are still in the hospital, ya know? special date nights are just not the same when you're soaking those ever so attractive mesh "new mommy diapers" with blood... it is what it is, kids.
(this particular monthaversary was the first one we went out by ourselves after having our first child.
might have been a wee tiny bit horny...)
so we decided early on that the key was to keep that day every month sacred with the policy of not scheduling anything else. BUT when life DID unavoidably happen, to just make sure to do something a little special and out of the ordinary, even if it was only for an hour. this tends to be our fallback on those days things just aren't ideal.
this little tradition of ours has worked out very well for us and has been a catalyst for making and keeping lots of other fun traditions as a family. (which I'll be writing about over time - I only recently started up blogging again after one of those momentous life occasions that makes you take a step back and reevaluate what you're doing)
so what kinds of traditions do you already have? are you going to start any new ones in the coming year? I'd love to hear about them! pop over and visit us if you'd like, maybe catch a few rays of sunshine from Costa Rica as we move down there in two weeks for the rest of the winter :)
Happy Holidays
from our family to yours!

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Guest Blogger & Ikat

Good morning everyone!  I hope everyone had a beautiful Christmas!!  While I am galavanting around the south of France, hopefully having the time of my life, I have some amazing guest bloggers for you to meet!  Friday was Kelley from The Grant Life with an awesome & easy cookie recipe and today we are stepping into the world of fashion.  I will let Stephanie do the rest, but I am sure you will love it!

Hey there, Ma Nouvelle Mode readers. I'm Stephanie, from Luxe Boulevard.

I run a women's fashion and beauty blog, and create custom bridal pieces. When I'm not doing those things, I'm either reading or writing. Yeah, I'm kind a of a book nerd. But geek is chic. Don't forget it!

When Natalia asked me to share something girly, I immediately knew what I wanted.

i-kat: /ˈēkät/ (n) 

Fabric made using an Indonesian decorative technique in which warp or weft threads, or both, are tie-dyed before weaving.

This is one of my favorite trends right now. 

[Images via: 1 | 2 | 3]

There are so many ways you can spin this print. So many colors you can combine. And it's nearly impossible to go wrong with. 

How gorgeous is this dress? Doesn't it make your heart go all pitter patter?

{images via: 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8]

A mix of colorful ikat and solids is perfect for stepping out of the ordinary with your style and wardrobe.  It can be worn dressed up, like the shawl and skirt above, or dressed down like the knit sweater in picture eight. 

Or glam up that LBD with a print clutch. I'm actually working on a bangle bracelet tutorial where I'm making one in ikat. It's not even done, and already I'm in love with it!

images via: 9 | 10 | 11 | 12]

Ikat is one of the biggest trends in home decor right now. I just love how simple or grand you can make it.

Fill your walls or furniture or simplify with decor pieces. With so many different prints and colors, you can mix and match like crazy.

I really want to reupholster my sofa (it so desperately needs it), but it's hard where the hubs is concerned. He is a man and wants to sit on a man's couch. My desire is to reupholster it like that blue and white chair up there. Now, I am having a hard time finding blue and white ikat home decor fabric within my tiny price range, so I'm considering getting some plain white canvas and just painting it. Yeah, you can paint ikat designs. Hannah Flora gives a super simple how-to video here.

[images via: 13 | 14 | 15 | 16]

Oh, why, hello brides who love lots of color and can't decide on just two or three!

Give yourself an ikat style wedding. 

How sweet are those table runners draped across? You can easily paint that for your guest tables. Heck, you could paint all of this, even the pink chairs. 

Open up Gimp or Photoshop, design yourself a custom ikat wedding invite or program or thank you card for your guests.

And why have your bridesmaids in solid dresses? An ikat print dress next to a groomsman in his black tux and matching ikat tie would be stunning. Hit up your local thrift store, pick up plain white dresses and hand paint the designs onto the dresses yourselves. Such a fun way to spend some quality time with your girls. And make those boys paint their own ties. (Just don't be upset if you end up with clean up duty.)

I hope you love everything I've gone through. I would love to have you over to my neck of the woods some time.

Thank you so much, Stephanie! I love it all!  Now go show Stephanie some love!

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