Category Archives: Holiday

Lean in, lean out

Once upon a time, about three years ago.. a dear friend named Bonnie introduced Lauren and I. Bonnie is one of those fabulous people who everyone adores.. she also knows a lot of people and has this amazing super power in connecting people.

Lauren was(is) a photographer and fashionista and I was a fashionista wanna-be and creative person! I was pregnant with my son at the time and Lauren did a pregnancy photoshoot for me and helped put together outfits. She had (has) this amazing collection of clothes, shoes, accessories.. all specially curated and found at thrift and consignment shops. (Lauren’s super power is finding diamonds in the thrift shopping rough).

Anyway, we became friends (because Lauren is also fabulous!) and I suggested she start a fashion blog. I tried to convince her the world needed to see her unique and timeless style and be inspired. She said she would think about it if I would do the blog too.. and so it started and evolved and we created Dit-Elle a fashion, food, lifestyle mommy blog.. in attempts to inspire other busy moms. We’re both introverts so it felt a little awkward at first just putting ourselves out there in this blog and on social channels, but it took off.

Lauren did most of the fashion posts and I did most of the food posts. I love food photography and wanted to build a collection of my favorite, true and tried recipes. I was also gluten free and dealing with stomach pains.. and wanted an arsenal of recipes I could refer back to anytime, a go-to cookbook. When I made a new dish (and if it was good!), I’d immediately put it on a fancy plate, place it by my kitchen window, and with one kid on my hip, the other playing on the floor, snap a bunch of photos, hoping to get at least one good one! And then I blogged those food photos twice a week when the kids were asleep.. sometimes I would do posts on wellness, health, gluten free or paleo living, food allergies and other tips and tricks. On occasion Lauren would talk me into doing a fashion post. We rarely saw each other, but we alternated fashion and food posts to create a rich collection of inspiration for our readers and for ourselves!

This past fall.. it seems like life caught up to me and I had to stop blogging. I work full-time outside of the home in a very demanding job and industry. Then I have that other full-time job of raising two kids which I think is actually the more demanding job (and kudos to all those moms who do that full-time because it truly is a full-time, 24×7 job!). For me, juggling the office job and home job provided a kind of balance. I love (most of the time) going to an office and working on demanding projects with intense people.. success was always defined and I felt like I was growing and doing great things. Raising two small kids was very hard. Everyone says “enjoy it, because those toddler years are so fleeting, they go by so fast..” but for me, every day was slow and tough and difficult. And people don’t talk about that. And when midnight rolled around, and the house was finally quiet, and I was still amped up from getting the kids to bed (feeding and bedtime in the zoo!) and then perhaps some “fire drill” project that had come my way from work.. I would blog. And it would bring me some peace and quiet and space for my creative energy.

Anyway, there you go.. which brings me to now. My kids are  demanding attention from me in a different way.. Ava is in kindergarten and Anders is a little 3 year old terror (a super cute one, but still trying to tear the house down at every opportunity). I rarely cook and am thankful for food services like Munchery (read my post about “Not Doing It All” here). When I’m home with them, I want to give my kids undivided attention. I want to take care of my body (hot yoga, walking the dog, sleep..). And on that topic, after years of a huge sleep deficit I am now enjoying finally sleeping through the night on a regular basis (wahooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Sometimes you have to lean in to what inspires you and gives you energy. And sometimes you have to lean out. Right now I have to lean out. And take a break from blogging.

My philosophy has always been this: every parent is different, every kid is different, every family situation is different.. you simply have to find what works for you at that moment in time! And hopefully have some fun, and laugh at yourself a bit along the way! 🙂 I will not be blogging much this year but if I do make something interesting, it will find its way here! 🙂

Happy happy 2017! Wishing you a wonderful year ahead! 🙂

christoffersen-xmas-2016-family

One of our family goals is to spend more time outdoors and less time in front of screens (because we do a lot of that for work!). Here the huz, Ava and Anders and I on a fall hike on Crystal Mountain! 🙂

Little White Dress…Day to night (Night)

I showed this dress on Monday as an every day wear, but honestly…it begs to be worn out!!

All the little details…kill me!  Oddly, when I got home, I swear the attached slip shrank like 4 inches!!!  I don’t remember it being so short in the store, so I added another slip underneath for coverage!

If I were to go out for New Years, this would absolutely be an option!blog-doma-leather-joie-oshea-dress-nine-west-1 blog-doma-leather-joie-oshea-dress-nine-west-2 blog-doma-leather-joie-oshea-dress-nine-west-3 blog-doma-leather-joie-oshea-dress-nine-west-4 I told Maya we could do whatever she wanted for these next shots.  I’ll reveal what she really had us doing in the “keeping it real”… :}

All in all, I just want her to have fun, so whatever she suggests, I’m game for 🙂  AND, I got some great shots of us laughing, so I’m beyond happy too!blog-doma-leather-joie-oshea-dress-nine-west-5 blog-doma-leather-joie-oshea-dress-nine-west-6 blog-doma-leather-joie-oshea-dress-nine-west-7 blog-doma-leather-joie-oshea-dress-nine-west-8 blog-doma-leather-joie-oshea-dress-nine-west-9 blog-doma-leather-joie-oshea-dress-nine-west-10

On me…

Leather Jacket- Doma (old, similar here)
Booties- Nine West (I think 20+ years old! Love these!)
On Maya…
Vest- Zara (thrifted, but similar here)
Dress- Hanna Andersson (thrifted, but similar here)
Boots- See Kai Run(hand me down)
Keeping it Real…
And for those following along, yes…she’s still in the licking phase ;{
blog-outtake-1In her words when I asked what we should do…
“Make funny faces, and pee in our pants!”
“WHAT?!?!”
“Just preteeeeeending!!!”
blog-outtake-2
Behind the scenes video here!
(all pictures taken with a shutter release and tripod, except ones of Maya :))

dit-elle-Lauren

Dressing for a party in pajamas! (I mean cashmere and silk joggers…)

 So, we took these images right before Thanksgiving.  Yes, that was a little bit ago, but still…

Tis the season!

And who says you can’t be comfortable when you go to a party or host one??  I literally felt like I was in my jammies, and I was in heaven!blog-joie-sweater-trina-turk-silk-joggers-tracy-reese-gina-booties-1 I can’t even handle her…blog-joie-sweater-trina-turk-silk-joggers-tracy-reese-gina-booties-2 She’s a one woman show, I tell ya!blog-joie-sweater-trina-turk-silk-joggers-tracy-reese-gina-booties-3 I’m her one woman audience… 🙂blog-joie-sweater-trina-turk-silk-joggers-tracy-reese-gina-booties-4 blog-joie-sweater-trina-turk-silk-joggers-tracy-reese-gina-booties-5 blog-joie-sweater-trina-turk-silk-joggers-tracy-reese-gina-booties-6 blog-joie-sweater-trina-turk-silk-joggers-tracy-reese-gina-booties-7 blog-joie-sweater-trina-turk-silk-joggers-tracy-reese-gina-booties-8I couldn’t decide on which image to post of these next three (there were actually 5!), so…I’m posting all three.

Because, are you kidding me?!!blog-faux-fur-jacet-crewcuts-silk-tutu-old-navy-riding-boots-1 blog-faux-fur-jacet-crewcuts-silk-tutu-old-navy-riding-boots-2 blog-faux-fur-jacet-crewcuts-silk-tutu-old-navy-riding-boots-3 Coming in for a punch to the gut.  It’s her new thing, and she thinks it’s hilarious… :{blog-faux-fur-jacet-crewcuts-silk-tutu-old-navy-riding-boots-4

On me…

Sweater- Sweater- Joie “Tambrel” (eBay, here with a super fun back!!)
Pants- Trina Turk (eBay, similar here in black)
Booties- Tracy Reese “Gina” (thrifted, similar here)
On Maya…
Jacket- (thrifted, similar here)
Skirt- Crewcuts (thrifted)
Leggings- Tucker + Tate  (thrifted, but similar here)
Boots- Old Navy (thrifted, but similar here)
Keeping it Real…
I’m in trouble…blog-outtake-1 Didn’t know we were going to do this, or I’d aimed the camera a little higher-grrrr.blog-outtake-2I don’t even remember what she was about to do here, but obviously, it wasn’t good haha 😉
blog-outtake-3
(all pictures taken with a shutter release and tripod, except ones of Maya :))

dit-elle-Lauren

Blackberry Lemon Pudding Cakes

I made Lemon Pudding Cakes for dessert on Easter, and they were DELICIOUS!!

SO…I decided to make them again the other night when we had some friends over.  I shook it up a little and incorporate some blackberries that Maya and I picked earlier that day.Blog Blackberry lemon pudding cakes-1 Blog Blackberry lemon pudding cakes-2 Blog Blackberry lemon pudding cakes-3

What you need…

  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • large eggs (separated)
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (room temp)
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Finely Grated Lemon Zest
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice and Blackberry Juice ( just strained a handful of berries and then filled the rest of the 1/3 Cup with lemon juice 🙂
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 3 Teaspoons Turbinado or Some Other Coarse Sugar

What to do…

  • Heat oven to 350° F.
  • Place six 4-ounce ramekins into a 9×13 Pyrex dish.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and flour; set aside.
  • In a second medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and butter until combined.
  • Whisk in the milk and lemon zest and juice. Add the lemon mixture to the sugar mixture and whisk until smooth.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • In 3 additions, gently fold the egg whites into the lemon-sugar mixture.
  • Divide the pudding mixture among the ramekins (about 3/4 of a cup each). Dividing evenly, sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
  • Refrigerate for a couple of hours if you have the time.
  • To the roasting pan, add just enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Bake until the tops are golden brown.  I accidentally undercooked mine at 35 minutes, and honestly the general consensus was that was a happy accident.  Original recipe says to cook for 40-45.
  • Take out of the pan and let cool on a rack.
  • Here’s what I would do again, but didn’t have time to do this time, which is why the pudding and cake aren’t as separately defined.  I refrigerated the cakes for a few hours before cooking and the pudding was creamy and the top cake was solid but moist.  Also, you can eat them right away, and it will be more like a lemon molten cake.  To each his own, but cold lemon sounded better to me. 🙂
  • Can make one large cake (probably best in an 8×8 pan).  If you do that cook for 30-35 minutes.

For reference, here’s what the original lemon cakes looked like that I refrigerated for a few hours before baking.  A definite distinction between the pudding and the cake.  Blog Real Simple Lemon Pudding Cakes-3Either way…still so good!

Enjoy!!  We did! 🙂dit-elle-Lauren

HAPPY Easter from us :)

 It had been raining off an on most of Easter Day for us.  To tell the truth, this was the first year we didn’t do any kind of Egg hunt.   Maya never asked, and one of her best friends had a birthday party on Saturday (when most of the neighborhood community hunts were) so… Not sure if I should chalk that up as a mom fail, or a mom win, because…less candy!

We did make a delicious Lemon Pudding Cakes, and honestly, I think she had more fun making those.  Or so I’m telling myself!!

ANYWAYS.  My parents came over for dinner, and afterwards, there was a break in the rain!  I asked my mom if she wanted to go out and take a few pics, and thankfully the answer is almost always yes!  Like Mother, like daughter.  Ok, I take it up a notch, but whatever.

Oh, and did I mention these were after dinner….and a couple glasses of wine? 😉

I get clients all the time that worry about double chins etc.  Um…I say if you are laughing and happy-WHO CARES!Blog Liza Tara Goldsign Mayhem Lola Keim-1 Maya was in RARE form!!  Seriously, cracking us both up-as always.Blog Liza Tara Goldsign Mayhem Lola Keim-2 Loooooove this next one.  Her looking back up at me…dying.Blog Liza Tara Goldsign Mayhem Lola Keim-3 And then…. a little dance off?Blog Liza Tara Goldsign Mayhem Lola Keim-4 Blog Liza Tara Goldsign Mayhem Lola Keim-5 Blog Liza Tara Goldsign Mayhem Lola Keim-6 Blog Liza Tara Goldsign Mayhem Lola Keim-7 Blog Liza Tara Goldsign Mayhem Lola Keim-8 Blog Liza Tara Goldsign Mayhem Lola Keim-9 I totally love this one, except for the fact that my head looks GINORMOUS!??

Oh, well.  Still love it.  Ok, really…love her 🙂Blog Liza Tara Goldsign Mayhem Lola Keim-10I triiiiiiiiied to take that gum wrapper out of her hands.  She’s obsessed with gum.  I kid you not, she probably has 5-6 pieces a day (sugar free!).  And she loves to hold onto the wrapper.  So, she can spit it out after 10 minutes and give it back to me haha 😉Blog Hanna Andersson Velour Twirl Dress Josmo Boots-1 Blog Hanna Andersson Velour Twirl Dress Josmo Boots-2 She loooooves her Meme!!Blog Hanna Andersson Velour Twirl Dress Josmo Boots-3

On me…

Top- Liza + Tara (eBay)
Jeans-GoldSign “Mayhem” (old, similar here and here)
Boots- Lola Keim (thrifted, similar here)
On Maya…
Dress- Hanna Andersson (thrifted)
Leggings- Hanna Andersson (thrifted)
Keeping it Real…
So, in typical Maya fashion.  If I WANT her to take a picture with me, half the time she won’t.  BUT…if I want to try and get a picture of just me, she’s all up in my business.
SO…me demonstrating the super cool bell sleeve?  Or telling Maya to go play in the grass (which she wouldn’t do haha).   Ok, the fact that this is under “keeping it real” pretty much answers that question ;).Blog Outtake
(all pictures taken of me and me with Maya taken by my mom :))

dit-elle-Lauren

Lemon Pudding Cakes

We made these for dessert on Easter, and they were SO GOOD!!!  While I wouldn’t call these necessarily healthy, they really were surprisingly light and refreshing!  The flavor was amazing too!

I acctually tore this recipe from my Real Simple magazine back in April of 2012.  Yes…I still collect and keep magazine tear outs (even in this Pinterest driven day!!)  I didn’t deviate from the original recipe with the exception of accidentally undercooking them-which I will do again when I make them next time.  It was a huge hit.Blog Real Simple Lemon Pudding Cakes-1 Blog Real Simple Lemon Pudding Cakes-2If this next image doesn’t make your mouth water, I don’t know what will!  And those cute little fingers?  Maya was such a good assistant! Blog Real Simple Lemon Pudding Cakes-3

What you need…

  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • large eggs (separated)
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (room temp)
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Finely Grated Lemon Zest
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 3 Teaspoons Turbinado or Some Other Coarse Sugar

What to do…

  • Heat oven to 350° F.
  • Place six 4-ounce ramekins into a 9×13 Pyrex dish.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and flour; set aside.
  • In a second medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and butter until combined.
  • Whisk in the milk and lemon zest and juice. Add the lemon mixture to the sugar mixture and whisk until smooth.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • In 3 additions, gently fold the egg whites into the lemon-sugar mixture.
  • Divide the pudding mixture among the ramekins (about 3/4 of a cup each). Dividing evenly, sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.Blog Real Simple Lemon Pudding Cakes-4
  • I chose to refrigerate mine for a few hours, but you don’t have to.  If you do, the batter will separate, like above, and the end result will be that creamy pudding at the base, and light fluffy cake on top.  If you don’t have time, the separation will be less noticeable, but still delicious!!  Seen in a slightly different variation when I had less time here. 🙂
  • To the roasting pan, add just enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Bake until the tops are golden brown.  I accidentally undercooked mine at 35 minutes, and honestly the general consensus was that was a happy accident.  Original recipe says to cook for 40-45.
  • Take out of the pan and let cool on a rack.Blog Real Simple Lemon Pudding Cakes-5
  • I refrigerated mine for a few hours after cooking and the pudding was firm and the top cake was moist.  You can eat them right away, and it will be more like a lemon molten cake.  To each his own, but cold lemon sounded better to me. 🙂
  • Can make one large cake (probably best in an 8×8 pan).  If you do that cook for 30-35 minutes.

You can find the original recipe here.

Enjoy!!  We did! 🙂Blog Real Simple Lemon Pudding Cakes-6dit-elle-Lauren

Easter Egg Tree 2016

It’s the season.. daffodils, cherry blossoms, puddle jumping and Easter Egg fun!

Want to make an Easter tree? It’s a fun project especially for older kids and the result is pretty stunning. Preparing the eggs takes quite a bit of time and effort (you will actually empty egg out of the shell through a small opening by blowing through a small hole on the opposite side of the shell), but the good news is that if you are careful, these eggs can last for years and be used on your tree again and again!

Check out our Easter “science” project from last year here – naturally dyed eggs!
And from two years ago, our Easter Tree here.

Ready to get started? See instructions captioned in each photo.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fresh white eggs
  • Something sharp (like a large yarn needle) to make small holes in the shell with
  • Small sticks (toothpicks or bamboo skewers broken into 3/4″ length
  • Sewing thread
  • Food color/egg dye, vinegar, hot water
making an easter egg tree blog (2)

Use fresh white eggs

 

making an easter egg tree blog (1)

1) Hold the egg firmly in one hand and using a large sharp pointy tool (I used a large yarn needle) tap the “north” or “south” end of the egg – like a bird might chip away at something, or think of a woodpecker in a tree! 2) You’ll tap firmly ~10 times and a small hole will form. Make it bigger by continuing to tap and clear some shell away. The bigger the hole, the easier to get the egg out, but you don’t want it too big. About 1/4″ or less should do. 3) flip the egg upside down and now start chipping a hole on the opposite side (this hole can be smaller). 4) Once you have two holes, insert needle about an inch into the egg to pierce the yolk (this will make getting the egg out of the shell easier). 5) You will now blow a thin stream of air into one of the holes (smaller one) and gravity should pull the egg out the other end. 6) Pour some water into hole and rinse by repeating step above.

 

 

making an easter egg tree blog (3)

You’ll have plenty of egg yolks and whites – save for an omelet or cake!

 

making an easter egg tree blog (4)

Let eggs air dry before dipping in dye

Ave and Anders helped with the dye process – using bamboo skewers to turn the eggs (hollow eggs float!). They loved comparing colors and watching the eggs turn deeper shades.

Note that you can get standard food coloring from the grocery store (e.g. McCormick makes a small box of four bottles: red, yellow, green, blue) and following the instructions we made some pretty cool mix & match colors.. sunset orange, jungle green, raspberry, etc. Other than dye, you’ll need vinegar and hot water.

While the eggs dry, fasten a piece of sewing thread to a small stick (e.g. broken toothpick or bamboo skewer), drop this into the egg so that the stick flips to the horizontal and becomes an ‘anchor’ from which the string is attached. Now the egg is ready to be decorated further and/or hung. Ave put colored feathers into each egg and was in charge of hanging. And yes, every step of the way there is risk of the eggshells breaking – they are eggshells after all – but make a bunch and have fun!

Beautiful, right? 🙂

Have fun! 🙂

dit-elle-Esther