Lush

Lush is one of my happy places. Like Anthropologie, I could spend hours there… in fact I think it borders more on the edge of obsessive, but we just won't share that with the nice sales folks who work there. I don't want to scare anybody. Haha. I want to try EVERYTHING they have and I can't go in the store without getting one of their famous hand treatments. They sell a lot of their items by weight, so you can buy just as much as you want/need, they have a fantastic return policy, and will give you samples of anything you ask for. I love that all of their products are made without preservatives, that they are all natural and, strange as it sounds, you can probably eat most of the things made to put on your face/body. Not that you'd want to, but still. Can't say that about Neutrogena.

Their only Arizona location is in Scottsdale, 35 miles away from our house, but it's not too bad because my parents live very close to the mall, so I can just get my Lush fix when I'm on one of my frequent jaunts to visit the fam. Last week I bought a small tub of Ocean Salt, and I am pretty much in love with this product. I have so many favorites from Lush that I will share here, on a list that I am sure will only grow over time. But for now, here ya go:

Ocean Salt- face and body scrub
Ocean salt
Fresh Farmacy- face wash:
Fresh farm

Wiccy Magic Muscles Massage Bar:
Wiccy
Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter:
Lemony flutter
Aromacreme deodorant- aluminum-free, and works better than ANYTHING I've tried before!
Aromacreme

Coconut Powder- I layer this over my deodorant, and wear it all over when I want to smell sweet and tropical. A fave of the husband- he says it reminds him of our time in Hawaii.
Coconut
Big- shampoo. Strange looking because it has sea salt in it- but it works better than any shampoo I've ever used. Also worth a try: their solid shampoos. Non-messy and great when you're on-the-go.
Big

American Cream conditioner- my hubby LOVES how this smells. When I mentioned that to the sales person there, she gave me the solid perfume version. What a deal!
American cream

Rub Rub Rub shower scrub- smells fantastical.
Rubrubrub

To treat yourself to one of their hand treatments: rub Lemony Flutter all over hands, followed by Ocean Salt. Rinse off, then follow with a dab of Dream Cream and you will have new hands… on your hands.

Natural products during pregnancy = bliss.

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Vanilla Raisin Scones

I have been meaning to post this for a while but just never got around to it. I made some pretty stinkin' spectacular scones over Easter weekend thanks to a great recipe from a friend and took some pictures of the process. I was really hoping for a good go of it the second time around, because the first time around, I followed a recipe that I had written down incorrectly, and the scones tasted like pure baking soda. That was gross.

Dough on the cookie sheet:

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Baking:

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My sweet monogram cup from Anthropologie, a.k.a. my happy place:

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A close-up of the finished product:

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I feel a craving coming on…

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Next on the baking list: Coconut Chocolate Chip Scones! But for now, here is the Vanilla Raisin recipe.

6 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

3 1/2 T baking powder

1 t salt

4 cups heavy whipping cream

2 t bourbon vanilla (Trader Joe's is great!)

3 cups raisins

Soak raisins in warm water with some vanilla (I winged it with the amount of vanilla- the strength of the vanilla flavor is a matter of preference. FYI, this is different from the 2 t called for in the recipe) for 30 minutes to an hour. While the raisins are soaking, mix the 2 t vanilla with the whipping cream and set aside. Mix dry ingredients. Drain raisins and mix with dry ingredients, then mix in cream. Fold like biscuit batter; cut into twelve pieces. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until slightly golden on top.

Weddings and parties and scary baby faces, OH MY!

I just let out a big ol' sigh of relief: the summer wedding madness has come to an end. While it was so much fun and such a blessing to be an attendant in two of my dearest friends' weddings, I have to admit that I am glad it's behind me. Three out-of-state weddings in the span of three weeks was indeed a daunting task for us, but no doubt worth it to witness my friends marry some great guys. Here's a picture of my BFF Amber and me pre-ceremony:

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She was a gorgeous bride.

Found out another friend from college is pregnant and due two days after me. I say we just all get together in the labor and delivery room and have a party since there are enough of us to have a legit fiesta. Celebrate by throwing back a Hoegaarden or two, perhaps the ones that are sitting in my fridge right now, mocking me in all their white, wheaty, delicious glory. For now I'm just living vicariously through my husband and anyone else who comes over to partake of our beer stash, catching whiffs as I pop the caps and hand them out to guests. You may catch me hanging on to the bottle a little longer than I should when you try to take it from me. DO NOT TAKE THIS BEER FROM ME. IT'S ALL I HAVE LEFT OF MY YOUTH.

Amber and Matt got married in the same church he grew up in, which is so old that it didn't have an air conditioner until this summer, a Catholic church full of all the traditional stained glass, statues, and carvings you would expect. Fortunately, because Amber is not Catholic, we did not have to sit through a full Mass, but what we did have to endure were the horrific baby faces staring down at us from above. Amber warned me about this, but really, nothing can prepare a first-timer for the sheer terror they invoke deep in the pit of your soul. Apparently they had been there all along, carved out of the wood frames around statues of Jesus and Mary, but some genius decided that they should be painted in "lifelike" colors, and let me be the first to tell you that there is nothing natural looking about these evil cherub wannabes. They all looked like demon seed and one in particular looked like a vampire because the red paint (yes, red) they used to paint its lips was running down both sides of its chin. The eyes were wide open and were the kind of creepy that no matter where you stood in the church, it always looked like all four of them were watching you. All the time. NOT OK.

Amber's sister Brandie, a fellow bridesmaid, was seven months pregnant at the time of the wedding.

Me: "Did you SEE those baby faces? How can they not think those are THE MOST TERRIFYING things their parishoners have ever seen? Ever?"

Brandie: "I'm going to have nightmares about them…"

Me: "You and me both."

Brandie: "Ha. You're going to have a nightmare that you're going to give birth, and your baby will look like that!"

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The heat has cooked my brain.

I know, I know… HUGE hiatus over the past three weeks or so. Between my surprise birthday weekend (my best friend's visit was the surprise… not my birthday), the Month of Out-of-State Weddings Extravaganza and Other Festivities, and EXCESSIVE HEAT on top of my fun first-trimester symptoms, I've hardly had a moment to gather my thoughts. I'm gearing up for the final wedding in Pasadena this weekend, and ALSO getting ready to experience everything that goes along with second-trimester joys. I am still, however, eagerly awaiting that magical day when I wake up out of the fog I've been in over the past three months, jump out of bed, run a few laps around the neighborhood, cook up some garlicky pasta, eat my body weight in fried chicken, and finally clean the entire house top to bottom; then, after said activities I will not have an overwhelming desire to sleep for 24 hours straight, or die. For now, we just avoid having guests over altogether for fear that they might get attacked by the tornado of paperwork that we haven't bothered to sort through yet.

Over the Fourth of July weekend I was in Minnesota as a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding. I'd say the ratio of pregnant women-to-non-pregnant women in the wedding party (including groomsmen's wives) was 1 in 2, no joke. I was told there were 7 pregnant women at the wedding, and there were 14 attendants, so… huh, look at that. I can do math after all. A childhood friend of mine, fellow bridesmaid and accidental travel partner happens to be due in January as well- three days after me! She is convinced that she is having a boy, and that I am having a girl, and that they will have the same birthday and when they grow up they will get married. If the random ways we connected over the weekend are any indication of our kids' future, it may not be such a long shot after all.

The wedding I'm in this coming weekend in Pasadena is also chock-full of women with child, especially in the wedding party. I mean, really, it's just kind of getting ridiculous.

On another note, this whole time I haven't had even the slightest inkling of what I may be having. There's no reason that I should know anything at this point, but for some reason I've been thinking that I'm going to have a girl. I don't necessarily want one over the other- I would be perfectly happy with either one, of course- but for whatever reason girl names stand out to me more, and I absolutely melt when I see, for example, a little girl all dressed up in a red velvet, white-fur trimmed dress over her summer pants and sandals because she ABSOLUTELY REFUSED TO WEAR ANYTHING ELSE and, according to her mom, wouldn't leave the house unless she could wear her Santa dress, bringing Christmas in July at its finest. My mom immediately decided that I was having a boy, so given a 50/50 chance we may just have to start a guess-the-sex pool after all.

Speaking of adorable little girls, please visit prayforkate.com and follow the updates on this precious 5-year-old. Two weeks ago today, which is really hard to believe given all that has taken place since then, doctors discovered a rare malignant tumor in her brain. The prayer movement has become a globe-spanning wildfire, the only kind we want to spread further until everyone is praying for Kate and her family. As a soon-to-be mom, I cannot even begin to fathom the pain of what her parents are enduring, but I have tremendous respect for their trust in God, and I can only hope to have such unshakable faith should we ever be faced with the unimaginable.