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by Nickie Bagai

11.22.2017

Apple Cake for Thanksgiving




This apple cake would make the perfect addition to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dessert table . It is super easy to make and only requires four apples plus pretty standard pantry items. I used two Granny Smith and two Honey Crisp. I also sprinkled the top with powdered sugar.  Serving it right out of the cake pan gives it a rustic feel and makes for easy travel. Happy Thanksgiving!! 

MARIE-HÉLÈNE'S APPLE CAKE 


YIELD
Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • Pinch of salt
    • 4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons dark rum
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled



PREPARATION

    1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.
    2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
    3. Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
    4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they're foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it's evenish.
    5. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
    6. Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it's fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
  1. Serving
    1. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream. Marie-Hélène's served her cake with cinnamon ice cream and it was a terrific combination.
  2. Storing
    1. The cake will keep for about 2 days at room temperature and, according to my husband, gets more comforting with each passing day. However long you keep the cake, it's best not to cover it - it's too moist. Leave the cake on its plate and just press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper against the cut surfaces.
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11.16.2017

Trend | Red Lace Dress for the Holidays





1 | 2 | 3| 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |


I wore red out to dinner while staying at Ashford Castle and I do believe this is going to be the color of choice for holiday parties. In the past I would have gone for a subtle nude pump but this year we are going bold and wearing black. The dress I wore I sold out but above are a few beautiful options. 
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11.09.2017

Ten Months


Onesies Cat and Jack | Pants Old Navy
I know this is not the perfect picture,   yet it perfectly captures the my little monkeys at ten months.  They are happy, silly and determined little people. With each passing day you see how incredibly alike the girls are and completely different! 

Both girls love music and acting silly, which you can see in the video below. They LOVE going to the park and spending some time flying high on the swings. Both my girls also love to laugh and think daddy is VERY funny. He is way more silly then mommy! 

Their differences, Margot is very sensitive and becomes overwhelmed by her own emotions easily. She loves meeting new people but sometimes can be moved to tears. She’s not sure of what to do for the first five minutes of a visitor and looks to mommy for reassurance but within five minute she is the flashing her pearly whites ( all two of them) and demanding the attention of the room. She is a talker!  She has lots to “say” . It’s all about the “do’s” and the “de’s”!! 

Sophie is a mini Shaun. The little wild thing can not sit still. She seems to have some quota of wiggles and kicks to meet everyday. She growls. I am not kidding!!! You can say “who’s the monster?” She will growl at you!! If Sophie sees something she wants, she becomes a little nut until she gets what she’s after. My little monster gives the best hugs! She leans in and stays there. She loves books and listen very intently to a story. 


I am currently on a little trip to Ireland and will not be home for the day they turn ten months and it kills me! I miss then so so much. Walking out my front door was incredible difficult. I know this sounds dramatic but if you are a mommy you get it! All I can say is I am vey much looking forward to coming home to my, now, ten month olds! Goodness, they are growing up way to fast.
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10.28.2017

Target Find | Sweaters 20% OFF

Here are my picks for this great sweater sale to get us started in the right direction for Fall! Some of my picks are pretty classic while other are very on trend. I love the idea of buying pieces that are the seasonal must-haves that don't cost a ton to avoid buyer's remorse in a few months if the trend doesn't last more than the season.  Use the code COZY at check out for 20% off!!

1. This sweater coat would look gorgeous over dark jeans and tall brown boots.

2.  I'm LOVING all the ruffles on sweaters this Fall! This one especially. So feminine.

3. A great go-to sweater. Jeans/black boots and done.

4. The sleeve on this sweater makes what would be basic very stylish. 

5. I can not get enough stripes. Can you? This sweater/black pants/ thigh-high boots.

6. I think of animal print as a neutral. I have this sweater and have either worn it over a LBD or a t-shirt and jeans. 

7. Ok, I also have this sweater.  My uniform is a t and jeans and throw on this preppy cardigan with Chuck Taylors...I'm all set.

8. And I have this one! It's just too pretty to pass up. 

9. A classic sweater!! I need this one too! 


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10.23.2017

Sophie & Margot Visit the Pumpkin Patch












Last week the girls (finally) got to visit the pumpkin patch for the first time! We went to the most adorable pumpkin patch in Los Gatos, and the girls loved it!! Thankfully my sister, Jessica, came along so we could take these cute and pictures and of course spend some time with auntie!

~What We Wore~

The Girls: unfortunately the cute romper is no longer available, but I found this one which is perfection. The top is from Baby Gap and very similar socks here.

Mommy- Gap Boyfriend Shirt | Banana Republic Skinny Jeans | I bought these navy Hunter boots at Nordstrom | Sunglasses Gucci | The watch is Stella & Dot as are my daily pieces.....the Signature Engravable Necklace and the Wishing Necklace
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10.10.2017

White Jeans | Brown Boots










First of all I would like to apologize. I am having trouble getting the pictures right on this post because I am using my phone...you see I spilled a entire cup of coffee on the keyboard of my laptop on Monday. So fingers crossed the kitty litter my MacBook Air is currently sitting in does the job of drying it out and it works:( Ok back to the post. 


I think we can all agree that you can now wear white jeans for fall and winter. Yay!!! All links for the clothing are right below but if you want this beautiful bad you can find that here. The pictures do not do it justice. Its gorgeous and the leather is SUPER soft. It's gong to be on serious repeat. The long layered necklace is stunning and will instantly dress up a v neck tee. The ring is very delicate and so so sparkly!! 









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10.09.2017

9 Months & Sleep Training....again




Oh my goodness! These little ladies are nine months and Sophie woke up with her first cold:( Besides the cold let’s see what is new in Sophie’s and Margot’s world. 

First of all, both girls have two adorable bottom teeth. They look like little bunny rabbits, and having teeth has changed their baby smiles a bit.

Second, we are trying lots of new foods! The girls now have three meals a day along with their bottles. Their current favorites are scrambled eggs and cucumber. 

The third and biggest change this past month has been sleep training. I tried it in the past but it just was not fully working. The girls got pretty good, initially, at falling a sleep, but then the night waking would start and the WHOLE night would fall apart. I think my biggest problem was the internet. I searched and searched for solutions and would find different ones daily, and I was so exhausted putting me in a position of not seeing whole picture and what needs to be done. The girls naps were all over the map too. We became desperate so we hired a sleep consultant. 

I would rather not go into what her (now our) approach is because what works for us may not work for your family, but it was hard…I will say that. What motivated me to stick to it was seeing the results of a good night’s rest, and I am not taking about mom and dad although that is pretty nice too. 

The girls are SO happy with a good night’s sleep and two solid naps. They giggle, laugh, and well just seem so joyful. Our home is happy during the day. That was my motivation. Them. This is good for the girls…healthy sleep habits. The first sounds I hear each morning are happy babies. Giggling and chatting which is like music to a momma’s ears. 

Are our nights perfect? No. They are ever changing babies after all. Sophie still wakes once, usually around 2am, but quickly puts herself back to sleep with in one to two minutes and Margot wakes up really early but puts herself back to sleep after about twenty minutes of chit chat.  I feel we now have a foundation for healthy sleep habits to build on. 

The fourth and cutest change…the girls take a bath together! They  are doing such a good job sitting up, I thought they would enjoy playing in the water and they really do! I need to get them some bath toys and something that makes the transition to the big tub easy and safe.  If you have a favorite or any ideas please let me know in a comment below:)
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10.06.2017

Apple Season | A Harvest Salad


The pasta bowl used I bought ages ago at William Sonoma but these are very similar. 

What's for lunch? I am having left over roasted chicken with figs, pomegranate seeds, honey crisp apple, walnuts and Roquefort cheese served with red leaf lettuce.  I don't buy bottle dressing so I just salt and pepper the salad directly and add oil (for this salad I used walnut oil) and vinegar (champagne) and then toss. I love saving a big salad in a beautiful pasta bowl and below are a few of my favorites . Bon appetit!!!




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10.01.2017

Target Find | Canary Yellow Skirt & Gray Bag


 



SWEATER | SKIRT | SLIDES | BAG

These photographs were taken during our anniversary weekend at the beautiful and luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay. The weather could not have been more perfect...it was so relaxing. This was my first time away from the girls for the night, and while it was hard, it was nice getting much needed couple time! 

Now on to the Target finds: this feminine skirt and a versatile gray bag.  I love this sunny color with a neutral and I feel it brings this warm bright color right in to Fall. I would also wear it with brown, but last weekend I wore it with gray. The sweater and slides are both from Banana Republic and the slides are on SALE!! I love a shoe you can just slip on, and it makes life easier when you are holding a baby or two;)  Is this bag not the cutest?!?! The gold hardware makes the bag, and it comes with a strap so it can be worn as a crossbody. 
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9.10.2017

Eight Months and Teething.....


My very silly girls!! 

The girls are eight months old, and to celebrate we are teething!! Yay!!!!! Kidding….teething is awful. I know, I know my children need teeth, but does the process have to be so painful? My poor girls are so uncomfortable, and with the pain comes sleepless nights and short naps.

A few things have helped during this painful process. The drool bibs have been great because the girls drool like Saint Bernards. Here is a cute collection I bought on Amazon. We also use teething toys since one can't use teething gels and tablets any more…it’s been strongly advised not to by the FDA. You can see the report here. I don't like putting the toys in the freezer, like some, because my girls don’t seem to care for them that cold. The refrigerator seems to do the job. 

What I am really loving are these cute teething necklaces that mommy wears. When I carry my girls, now they have something to chew on that is safe, and I look stylish at the same time!! Its a win win. Each necklace is made from 100% food grade organic silicone, BPA free, lead free, and has a breakaway safety clasp. Here is a cute video I made for Wolf + Cub showing off the Sara Teething Necklace!

 

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9.06.2017

Target Find | Stripes and Olive Green Utility Vest









So.....I went into Target for formula and nighttime diapers and walked out with this striped top (can't have too many striped tees) and green utility vest, which are two great transitional pieces from Target's new line, A New Day. The line consists of wearable, practical, and stylish pieces that are perfect for a busy momma! 

 I styled the the boat neck tee and vest with these cute jeans from Banana Republic and ballet flats which I also got at Banana but are no longer available.  Not to worry.  I found these Nine West flats in the exact same pink! Sunnies are Karen Walker. I bought them at The Rack for 50 bucks (this was one of my most happy moments) which is not available online but I found these oversized tortoise shell glasses by Alexander McQueen that would give you the same look. These Diane von Furtenberg are also cute and under 50. 

I am seriously loving Sonia Kashuk's Moisture Luxe Tinted Lip Balm. It's just enough color, yet super easy to apply, unlike lipsticks where you usually need a mirror. I am always looking for easy beauty products having zero time for application, and this is a keeper. I am wearing Hint of Berry 44 and looking to add Red 43 to my makeup drawer for fall. 


          



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8.24.2017

Datenight | Giving a Dress Shirt the Cold Shoulder





Happy Friday Friends! Here is a simple look I wore to dinner with the husband last Tuesday. These days, we end up going out on a weekday rather then a weekend. It's easier to get the girls a sitter on a weeknight. We sat in bar at The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse and ordered all of our favorite appetizers. Yummy! A Little funny but the entire bar was filled with men. All business. To be honest I felt like I stumbled on the set of Silicon Valley....which happens quite a bit in the Bay Area! 

Top Banana Republic ( on sale also available in blue) | Jeans also Banana Republic (very similar to what I am wearing) | Bag Similar Here | Shoes Similar  | Glasses Gucci | Watch ARVO |
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8.17.2017

DATE NIGHT | COLORBLOCK










Dress Banana Republic Limited sizes left so below I have listed many similar options | Shoes Similar Here | Watch ARVO | Bag Similar Here

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dress!! I have worn this eye catching dress for two different date nights so far and I would love to wear it for day with black ballet flats....brunch perhaps? 

The first date night I wore this ultra feminine dress was to one of our favorite Italian restaurants Osteria Toscana in Palo Alto.  Order the beef carpaccio.  It's the best I have ever had, and yes, I have been to Italy:)

I wore this entire look last Wednesday. We started our date meeting a few friends at Jazz in the Plaz in beautiful down town Los Gatos.  Then the two of us went to Nick's Next Door for dinner. Nick's is probably one of the best spots to dine in Los Gatos. It's not only our favorite so be sure to make reservation. I would say call at least a week in advance.  We are never disappointed! I have to add the best part of the night was that the girls slept through the night!! Yay!!! I just had to share this wonderful news. We are so proud of Margot and Sophie. Hopefully this is a permanent thing and just not for that one night....fingers crossed! 





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8.08.2017

Motherhood at Seven Months

Outfits Cat and Jack | Shoes Starry Knight Design on Etsy

Seven months of motherhood has flown by, yet I can’t remember the days when I did not have to worry about my little bugs. My entire life, I knew I wanted to be a mother, and here I am doing it!  Somedays it hits me: “Oh my god. I am a mom. These two beautiful girls are mine.” 

Days with any new baby can be a blur, but with twins things are extra blurry.  It is so easy to think, “what’s next” and getting caught up in the “task” of motherhood. A bottle. A nap. A walk. A diaper change. Repeat. I have been trying really hard to hold on to the moment and value where the girls are at today. Live in the moment. It sounds like such a cliche but, god, it’s especially true when kids are concerned. You don’t get this time back.

Being a mommy to identical twins, I feel it’s very important to celebrate their differences and at the same time foster their very special unique twin bond and relationship. I am absolutely loving watching the girls develop their own little personalities.

Margot loves to smile with her cute little tongue out. She is an incredibly curious little girl and needs to reach out and touch everything including mine and her daddy’s face. Margot loves meeting new people and is quick to give a smile. She can’t stop rolling over but does not yet understand why she needs to be on her tummy so she becomes frustrated through out the day. I am sure she will figure out soon enough this position will lead to crawling and exploring which our Margot will love.  She loves when I give her kisses on her cheeks and belly. Margot has a hard time falling asleep but once she is out she is out!

Sophie can’t stop moving. She kicks all day long. We call her our little River Dancer! All I have to say is kick kick or wiggle wiggle and she starts moving. At home she is VERY out going but out and about she holds back the smiles a little and is more of a observer. She love books and music. When you talk to her she really listens. Sophie loves to cuddle and falls asleep pretty easily but wakes easy.

Both girls love their mommy and hang on every word. Who knew I was so interesting? We giggle all day. I am loving that, for the moment, I can be the center of their world. I know one day that this always won’t be the case so I am living in the moment and loving every minute of it. I love being their mother with my whole being. It is the hardest, most exhausting thing I have very done, but I would not trade a minute of it for the world. Seven months…where has the time gone? 

These super cute outfits are available at Target! Really? How cute are the girl's chucky monkey thighs in those knee high sock which are included in the set?! Sooooo CUTE!! I could eat them up! The mocs are available from a wonderful shop on Etsy.They come is lots of colors. I love supporting small business owners and they are exteamly high quality at a very reasonable price point...which is key when you are buying everything times two! 
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8.04.2017

LWD

Flats | Hat bought in France but similar HERE

The little white dress. It's crisp, clean and whispers summer much like a cool breeze on a warm day. 
I have built quite the collection of whites dresses this year. A little nuts considering I have 6 month old twins. What can I say? I like to live dangerously. I love wearing a LWD with a neutral shoe and bag keeping the look soft.  Unfortunately the one I am wear, above, is no longer available but found a few you will love below!  


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7.27.2017

Our Bedtime Routine



Little Miss Sophie holding sissy's hand. Melts my heart. 

Love Bug Margot

Cutie Sophie- She is teething so she looks like this most of the day. 
Honest Dipers They have the cutest prints | Triple Paste Best diaper rash cream on the market in my humble opinion | Water Wipes Great for sensitive bums | Our favorite bedtime read The going to Bed Book by
Sandra Boynton |



A HUGE part of getting the girls to sleep at night has been a bedtime routine. Our little nightly ritual gives the girls a sense of what's to come and this creates security for my little dolls. 
 When I first started this process, I was very strict about the order of each step and even made sure we were in the same space and used the same blanket to prep them for the night. You can create whatever works for your family, but this routine is ours. Now that the girls are champs at self soothing, I don't have to be quite so ridged. Sometimes, when don't I have time in the AM, we work in a bath. The whole process takes about 40 minutes. I do have double duty! 

~ We listen to spa music. I am not sure if this helps calms the girls, but it calms me, and I think if mommy is calm all is right in the world. I use Pandora on my phone.

I change their diapers. I love Honest as far as diapers go, but I have shared my love for two products that have helped tremendously concerning Margot’s diaper rash. I am sure she will appreciate my sharing this when she is a teen. She has very sensitive skin and we would battle a rash weekly. Her doctor told me to use Water Wipes and Triple Paste. Triple Paste is a game changer. I feel like I tried every product on the market, and this is the only stuff that works. I use it at every diaper change and she has not had a rash since and it’s moisturizing.   Some of the other products are very drying. Of course if your little one has issues with diaper rash please speak to a doctor. Speaking to ours really helped.

~ I put moisturizer on them. Both girls have mild eczema. We use and love CeraVe Cream. It works the best for my girls and I started using it as well. 

~ I change them into their PJs. These Cat & Jack Sleep N’ Play are my FAVORITE!!! Why? I sorta kinda struggle with snaps at 3 AM and these super awesome pajamas zip from the bottom up. Changing a diaper, in my case two, is a snap..or should I say zip. That was a joke;) They come in three-packs and only 16.99 for the three! Deal!  They come in very cute prints and wash well. Here is the link for the pink set the girls are wearing and here is the neutral set, which I have and a cute set in blues.

~ We read the same book…Every. Single.Night. The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton. It’s short yet long enough, it rhymes which babies love, and the subject matter fits the occasion. I have it memorized because I have read it 10,000 times. I was a nanny for 17 years. Spoiler alert- there is a great plot twist. The animals exercise in their PJs! Crazy. 

~ Nobody likes this except my girls. I sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as we cuddle. I have a terrible voice! I know the words and again fits the occasion. Thank god six-month olds don’t judge your singing ability. 

~ I feed my loves. I use Avent Natural Bottle. I also like Dr. Brown but I found all the part a bit daunting having to wash twice as many bottles so I went with Avent. I have been pretty happy with my decision. 


 I am sure things will change, and we will have to make  adjustments as the girls grow but so far it has been a beautiful calm way to end our day. What is your bed time routine? Has it helped to get your little one to sleep? 

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