Image Map

Sometimes Simple Is Best – My Perfect Weekend Lunch

Fall lunch in southern California fruit cheese smoked yellowtail and sparkling water

What comes to your mind when you think about your perfect lunch? A delicious over the top sandwich with steak fries, pizza from a tiny hole in the wall restaurant, or maybe even an elegant restaurant. For this southern California blogger, there are few things that I enjoy more as an afternoon meal than what I had yesterday afternoon.

I have heard it referred to as a poor man’s dinner, but that does not lessen my love for this simple meal. On a cutting board I set out sliced apples and oranges, a wedge of bleu cheese, crackers, and smoked yellow fin tuna. The fish was locally caught and we smoked it in our yard the day before. There was something about the tart of the cheese with the smoke of the fish that really play off each other well.

You could easily dress this up for a holiday party with friends. Use a wooden cutting board, a variety of cheeses and maybe some other dried meats to pair like salami. You can also add more seasonal or exotic fruits bringing this delicious meat and cheese plate up a few notches.

I had my lunch with soda water, a lime wedge and new favorite glass straw in a tall glass. But you could serve this with tea or cocktails if you are entertaining.

Do not be afraid of easy when you are serving food to friends. It can still look as elegant as you want it to be. It is all in the presentation.

Related posts -

DIY: Matte Black and Gold Party Inspiration
DIY Cocktail Recipe: Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail
Your Thanksgiving Pie Dilemma Is Solved
Meet The Man Behind Mod Palm Springs

*Southern California Lifestyle Blogger. Fun, Food, Fashion and Drinks.* Follow me on YouTubeFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, and Google +Visit us on Google+!

Cocktail Recipe Thursday: Autumn On The Rocks Hard Cider Cocktail

Add some autumn flavor to your next get together with this cold hard cider cocktail recipe.  Prefect for that in between weather in Southern California

Hard Cider Cocktail Recipe

The weather is turning and with that comes days that are a little warmer than expected in addition to the sweater weather. On the days that things are a little warmer than expected this fall cocktail does the trick. It still has the familiar comforting flavors of fall, apple cider, licorice, and lemon, but in a nice cool drink.

Autumn On The Rocks Hard Cider Cocktail Recipe

1 oz. CAMUS VS Cognac
¼ oz. Lucid Absinthe
2 oz. hard cider
1 oz. lemonade
Lemon zest for garnish

In a shaker add all ingredients with ice. Shake and strain into a tall glass filled with ice and garnish with lemon zest and serve.

How fabulous is this hard cider cocktail for those warmer than usual fall days? Here in southern California we are still in the 60s and 70s but with a call for rain this weekend. Depending on the way the weather sways we could have this or one of the warmer cider recipes I have waiting for you on the site.

More Cider Cocktail Recipes -

Like I have said before, I am a fan of the hard cider drinks. They tend to be refreshing with just a kiss of sweet. The lemon and Cognac give this a balance to the absinthe and cider. You might be able to do this drink hot if you replace the hard cider with hot apple cider. I would slice the lemon and let it float on top of the mug for the flavor and as a nice garnish.

*Southern California Lifestyle Blogger. Fun, Food, Fashion and Drinks.* Follow me on YouTubeFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, and Google +Visit us on Google+!

Fabulous Holiday Hair Braid How-to

The holiday season is here, that means lots of cocktail parties, cookie parties, office events, and of course dinners to attend. With all of the styling, for work and for play, paired with the dry cold weather, your hair can take a beating. But that does not mean that you cannot have fabulously styled hair for all of your holiday events.

Fishtail braid how to video.  This is perfect for lazy weekends or for all of my holiday parites.
My new favorite style for a lazy weekend, or a glammed up Christmas cocktail party with friends, is the side fishtail braid. Carly Musleh from gives a great and EASY how-to video on this beautiful style. It has the look of something complicated, and is perfect for all of your holiday celebrations.

dove hair oil

Women crave beautiful, silky hair but don’t want it weighed down by heavy products that claim to nourish and add shine.  The new Dove Pure Care Dry Oil collection is ideal for all hair types and delivers five times silkier hair [after just one wash], without making it feel greasy or heavy.  Proven to absorb quickly, the dry oil features a blend of African Macadamia oil and Coconut oil it  gives you 5x silkier hair when using the system of shampoo, conditioner and treatment vs. non-conditioning shampoo.

dove hair oil

Just as a side note, not only did this leave my hair nice and smooth when it normally looks like a haystack, but it smells great.  Not fruity or sweet, but it has a nice nut smell, musky and lovely.  It smells like something I used to have around when I was little but I cannot quite figure out what it is.  Not only do I love it, but my partner even complimented the way it smells.  So there is that.

Don’t just take my word for it on how well Dove Pure Care Dry Oil works.  Dove Hair is daring women everywhere to try Dove Pure Care Dry Oil, risk-free now through December 31, 2014. They dare you to try Dove Pure Care Dry Oil and fall in love with the touch and feel of your hair or your money back*  Not only that, but you can also have a chance at $20,000 in prizes from Dove!  Share your silky results at #silkyhairdare on twitter, Instagram and Facebook for  a chance to win** $20,000 in prizes up for grabs. Visit for more information.

*If you are not completely satisfied with the Dove Advanced Hair Series Pure Care Dry Oil system, Dove will refund your purchase (from 9/21 – 12/31). Visit for details. **No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. The Dove Silky Hair Dare Sweepstakes is sponsored by Conopco, Inc., d/b/a Unilever. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 & older. Begins 12:00 p.m. ET on 9/25/14 and ends 12:00 p.m. ET on 11/20/14. For Official Rules, visit

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

*Southern California Lifestyle Blogger. Fun, Food, Fashion and Drinks.* Follow me on YouTubeFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, and Google +Visit us on Google+!

Why Not Call Marilyn Monroe’s Home Your Own?

Marilyn-Monroe-color photo

Marilyn Monroe’s Home For Sale

Want to own a piece of Hollywood history? The only home that Marilyn Monroe owned by herself is for sale in Southern California Brentwood, CA.

The listing for the 4 bedroom 3 bath calls it “A Rare Hidden Jewel In Brentwood”. And he is not kidding. This home is gorgeous, but not massive like most of the Hollywood star homes that you now find in the Los Angeles area. This is probably the most visited listing that the agent, David Offer Fine Homes, has had in a long time.

Marilyn Monroe's home in Brentwood California in Southern California is for sale.  This is the only home that she owned by herself and was the last home that the Hollywood Icon lived in.

Sprawling and very special authentic 1929 Hacienda situated behind tall gates at the end of a quiet cul de sac on over 23,000 square feet (per assessor) of tree-filled grounds. The crown jewel and largest property of all the Helenas (one of Brentwood’s most romantic and coveted locations) affording lovely vistas and great privacy & seclusion yet in close proximity to San Vicente shops & restaurants and the Sunday Farmer’s Market. Thick walls, traditional casement windows, polished concrete and terra cotta tile floors, original wood beamed ceilings and period hardware & tiles create a warm, inviting and unique environment. French doors open to private courtyard, expansive grassy yard, pool, citrus grove & beautiful setting. Four bedrooms, three baths plus formal living room, family room, office, pool-side game room and separate children’s play house. Sun-filled cook’s kitchen opens to spacious courtyard garden. Wonderful charm and great architecture inside and out. Magical property in the finest Brentwood neighborhood.

Marilyn bout this “Hacidenda” at the behest of her therapist at the time. He suggested that in order for her to get a better hold on her life that she “set down roots” and she chose those beautiful home.

Own Marilyn Monroe’s Last Home: Hollywood History

The home has gone through a MAJOR transformation since Marilyn Monroe has lived there. House Beautiful has some great photos from the 1960s of how the home used to look.

It is absolutely a great looking home with a Hollywood Celebrity Icon history that you just cannot pay for. Well, I guess if you have $3,595,000 you can buy this piece of Hollywood history.

House Image via

*Southern California Lifestyle Blogger. Fun, Food, Fashion and Drinks.* Follow me on YouTubeFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, and Google +Visit us on Google+!

DIY Cocktail Recipe: Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail

joyce ballantyne blonde champagne pinup bubbles

Celebrations and entertaining usually means break out the bubbly. How about we break out the bubbly and make it a little more interesting? The Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail is a great way to take a less expensive dry sparkling wine or Champagne and turning it into a fun cocktail for your party.

Kir Royale Champagne Cocktail’s Cousin

The Kir Royale is the reigning Champagne cocktail with Champgne and Kir or the blackcurrant liqueur ‘Crème de Cassis’. This is a heavenly sparkling wine cocktail, but if you do not have the money to spend to make a Kir Royale, this is a great substitute.

Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail Recipe

One bottle dry sparkling wine | Brut
One bottle of cranberry juice
4 Champagne flutes.
Sugar to run the glasses *optional
Cranberries *optional

Moisten the rims on the flutes dip them in the sugar. Pour cranberry juice in the bottle of the flutes and add the dry sparkling wine. Optional – Use colored sugar on the rims or float cranberries on the top as a garnish.

As for the AMOUNT of sparkling wine and cranberry juice in each glass, some suggest it to be 50/50. I find this to be a little too fruity. I love my dry sparkling wine even on its own and I use the juice just to add a little color and a hint of flavor. I would say that you should really go by color. Just a touch of pink in the glass is how to do it about 1:3 at the most. Try a few different amounts before your party as each bottle of sparkling wine is different.

This can be perfect for a holiday party or even a back yard summer lunch. It is my go to BYOB throughout the season, though, and it never fails to impress my guests.


*Southern California Lifestyle Blogger. Fun, Food, Fashion and Drinks.* Follow me on YouTubeFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, and Google +Visit us on Google+!