Monthly Archives: February 2013


Mexican Hot Chocolate + Recent Reads

It’s a Friday night.

Another busy, busy week.

You’re exhausted.

It’s cold, rainy, foggy, nasty outside.

Currently curled up on the sofa with your UGA sweatshirt (or other team affiliation) holding the remote control flipping through absolute hogwash and utter nothingness. I ask you… how can there be so many channels and nothing on? That is a question I may never find the answer to.

Instead of mindlessly flipping through sappy made-for-TV movies, work-out infomercials, and Antique’s Roadshow (not knocking the merits of that show by the way), make yourself a hot cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate and dive right into a great new, fun read. That’s my idea of a great Friday night. At least until Prince Charming comes along and we go salsa dancing… or something like that.

Mexican Hot Chocolate … ole’!

*Note: this recipe makes enough for 2 good-sized mugs full of SPICY hot chocolate goodness! That will make sure Prince Charming comes running.

First, pour 2 cups of milk into a medium saucepan over medium heat. I use 2%, but use whatever you have in the fridge.

Biltmore Trip Jan 2013 040

Then, because I cannot leave well enough alone, add 1/2 cup Half n Half, or if you have heavy whipping cream, throw that in! After all, this is an indulgence.

Plop (that’s a technical cooking term) in 2 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar and whisk until the sugar dissolves into the milk. I love the smoky sweetness brown sugar lends this instead of white sugar, but if that is all you have, throw it in!

Time to gather the rest of your troops while the milk warms: shaved chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. You simply have not lived until adding these ingredients to your hot chocolate.  

Biltmore Trip Jan 2013 042

Don’t leave the milk unsupervised for long though…

Continue to whisk until tiny, foamy bubbles form around the outside of the pan. Your product? Scalded milk, just below the boiling point. Be sure NOT to boil the milk, just scald it. 

Here is how mine looked:

Biltmore Trip Jan 2013 043

Take the pan off the heat for just a minute and add 5-6 tablespoons shaved chocolate* (depending on how chocolatey you like your cocoa). Just shave it right off the bar! For this recipe, I like bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate.

Look at how great it looks when the chocolate hits that warm milk.

Biltmore Trip Jan 2013 044

Then add about a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, and a healthy pinch of cayenne pepper. You won’t believe what that cayenne pepper does to it. Return to heat and whisk away until the mixture is warmed all the way through and simmering.

Serve hot into warmed mugs. No “dressing up” or garnish needed. All this bad boy needs is your lips.

Biltmore Trip Jan 2013 048

*Note on shaved chocolate: I buy Williams Sonoma Premium Hot Chocolate shown here. It is literally a can of bittersweet chocolate shavings. In a word, it’s sheer goodness. But you can buy a premium bar of chocolate at the grocery store, grate it or chop it finely and store in a Ziploc bag in the freezer so they don’t melt on you. I have tried that trick too!

This is a delicious, sippy, take-your-time-with-it hot chocolate. Savor it over this fun read I’ve been reading this week…

(Thanks for letting me borrow it Ms. Debbie!)


Boy oh boy! Marlboro Man stole my heart just like he did hers, and he is sure to steal yours too! Have you ever seen her show? Who could say “no” to those crystal baby blues?  All in all, what a sweet and precious read filled with Ree Drummond’s, aka Pioneer Woman, real-life love story. It is filled with equally tender and laugh-out loud, slap your thigh moments.

So, just be still, enjoy the quiet, enjoy the hot chocolate, and laugh to yourself. It’s Friday night and it only comes once a week.

Have a great, fabulous, fun-filled weekend!



Feeling Blue?

You don’t have to look very far to find it.

Spring 2013’s biggest trend is a color trend.

Cobalt Blue

I myself have never been much for any shade of blue really. I have always been partial to cooler shades of blue like teal or aqua, and then later got completely burnt-out wearing navy during my school uniform days. I can honestly count on one hand how many true blue pieces I have owned over the course of my lifetime, and I think one of them was a bridesmaids dress.

Until now.

Mom and I journeyed to Asheville, NC for a long weekend not long ago to enjoy a few days away and decided to go shopping. Big surprise. In the course of one afternoon, I purchased not 1, not 2, but 3 cobalt blue items for my closet! Who am I? It was like they were speaking to me, calling out my name.

I definitely have a case of the blues.

And you should too…

“Kiki” Ostrich-embossed Leather shoulder bag from Tinley Road for $78, can be found online at

Ann Taylor Sunray Sheath Dress, now on sale for $89.99

(I love a good sheath dress for fall and winter with tights and ankle boots that I can easily transition to spring with nude pumps for work. This one fits the bill, and I love the interesting neckline.)


Tolani Cobalt Paisley Scarf for $85, from Polyvore


Tory Burch Cotton Simone Cardigan, $225

(An investment, but a classic no doubt.)


Kate Spade Square Studs for $38

(I am really digging oversized studs lately…)

kate spade small square studs

JCrew’s No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Double Serge Cotton for $110

No. 2 pencil skirt in double-serge cotton

Gianni Bini Hugh Jewel-detailed Smoking Slippers, $79 from

Gianni Bini Hugh Jewel-Detail Smoking Slippers

Just try resisting any of these beautiful offerings. I dare you!

Start looking for your case of the blues on your next shopping trip! Cobalt pairs beautifully with all neutrals (grays, black, white), lemon yellow, spearmint and other shades of green, fuchsia, and khaki.

Always remember to be colorful! I know you are… don’t try to deny it. If there is one thing Southern women are, it’s colorful.


“A woman should be two things… classy and fabulous.” — Coco Chanel