Wanna make macarons?

Here at the Sugar Factory we love decadent desserts. (My favorite macaron spot is The Sweet Lobby in Washington, DC.) That’s why we theme mane of our products after them. So what better way to share our love for sophisticated sugar than with an homage to the all delicious French Macaron & how to make them?!!

Enjoy & post some pics! 🙂

 

 

Planning a Saturday Brunch

I’m so in love with brunch. It’s breakfast & lunch – two of the most important meals of the day for me, typically the one two I really get AND it’s typically a great opportunity to bring friends and family together to catch up or do some business networking, so on and so forth.

This weekend we’ve teamed up with Sumptuous Spirits to share some of their mmmm mmm mmmmmmmmmm Mimosa recipes. (It’s Thursday evening & I’m planning ahead for that strawberry pineapple one already lol) So with such decadent drink shares I thought it might be cute to bring some ideas to the blog to add a little brunch flair – try these on for size.

Plan your menu ahead. Since it’s brunch these possibilities are limitless. Eggs (frittatas, omelets, quiche, scrambled, broken, boiled, poached, etc.) go over best but you can also have something a little more fulfilling for your guests that came to throw down AND get their networking on. Don’t skip on the veggies or the fruit – a nice fruit salad or veggie tray is always welcome and of course plan for a delicious drink. You can check out Sumptuous Spirits online drink catalog here. They’re the most creative bartenders I’ve seen & their drinks are always in style for any event!

Add something sweet & light to the table by way of crepes, french toast, pancakes or waffles. A myriad of toppings is always a welcome addition & will keep your guests satisfied!

Coffee and tea please and don’t forget the fresh breads, cakes or muffins!

Fresh squeezed fruit juice is a double plus. It can be served by itself or mixed up with any of the mimosas, cocktails or mocktails you decide to add to your menu.

Always serve and slay in style. Bring out your best for your guests. You can pick up a few very nice and inexpensive items from several local retailers around the way that can be used over and over again. Good kitchenware is priceless and timeless because it hardly ever goes out of style and it’s a great investment.

When in doubt choose fruits for your salad that are in season. Fresh fruit is also a welcome addition on pancakes, waffles, crepes and french toast making your brunch even sweeter with a healthy kick!

Add a colorful theme to your table or room that will give guests something to admire and add some visual appeal beyond your menu to your brunch. Table settings, flowers, streamers, wall/ceiling hangings, decorative napkins and more can also create conversation among your guests especially as they arrive while you welcome everyone and prepare to host your guests.

Enjoy!!

 

Saturday Brunch with Sumptuous Spirits

What’s better than Saturday brunch? Mimosas from Sumptuous Spirits with Saturday brunch! That’s right! The mobile Sumptuous Spirits bar (click here for access to their decadent drinks) is sharing two of their best mimosa recipes with our readers in hopes of helping your brunch acclimate to a whole new level – their strawberry pineapple mimosa & the Moscow Mule mimosa. Yumm! Check them out below:

Sumptuous Spirits Mimosa 1

Sumptuous Spirits Mimosa 2

 

 

Here’s a few menu items that would accompany these two lovely drinks perfectly for your guests. Don’t forget to invite the XOXO Sugar & Sumptuous Spirits crew! Well, at least take pics to share! 😉

 

Add some class to your Saturday brunch & mimosas with a perfect frittata. Eggs make brunch, well, brunch! Plus they’re easy on your stomach & go great with a few fresh veggies like some cherry tomatoes or spinach.

French toast beats pancakes any day of the week but especially on Saturday. It’s light, sweet, accompanies these mimosas perfectly & you can whip up your batch the night before & warm it up in the oven the day of. Don’t forget the strawberries & powdered sugar!

Quiche is the perfect addition without filling tummies up too much to tuck! Ladies especially still want to be glamorous – even at brunch – so mini quiches are perfect for an elegant brunch that won’t make your belly bulge.

Bake your bacon instead of frying it. Less mess, less grease & more time to sip your mimosa while you prepare for your guests to arrive!

For more new & classic fresh drink ideas follow Sumptuous Spirits on Instagram & Facebook @SumptuousSpirits & XOXO Sugar @xoxosugarcosmetics

Increase your net worth thru your network!

I’m such a social butterfly. I love to network. I look at just about every social experience I encounter as a chance to meet new people that can connect with what’s going on in my network. I’ll be honest – most times it works for the best, sometimes it doesn’t. But even if the people I’m around don’t hit it off well or make new connections that can benefit one another I still like to look at the positive and view things from a “sky-high” standpoint – meaning if you’re looking up there’s no way things can go down. So to kick things off I’d like to share some suggestions for power networking to create meaningful connections with the people you meet & interact with.

  1. Keep it real – don’t put on a facade when you meet new people, just be yourself. Authenticity will take you far. You never have to fake who you are or what you have. Networking is the best time to start building trust by showing your character and how genuine you really are. Just be you.
  2. Go in with goals – know what you want out of the situation before you put yourself in it. Every function you attend is an opportunity to network but on what level? Know the crowd. This is important because you don’t want to discuss the wrong topics around people who have no interest in it.
  3. Be a resource while you’re being resourceful – success at networking events is two-sided, give and take. You should be open to offering what & who you know to the group as well as volunteering your time & ideas when asked. Building a successful network means being the go-to person from time to time.
  4. Keep your word – if you say you’re going to do something, do it & follow up. Be a stand up person because in this life all you have is your word. Always remember your reputation will proceed you – make it worth your while to build a stellar rep.
  5. Always bring business cards – in this digital age people think it’s okay to skip on business cards & just swap information via phones or devices. But nothing & I mean nothing will ever replace a great business card. It’s one of those lasting impressions that are paramount to any introduction and allows people to remember you in more ways than one. Plus you never get a second chance to make a first impression!

Thee are just a few wise words I’ve always lived by in building my network from event to event. You’ll add to your list as you get yourself out there & grow your net worth. Just remember they go hand & hand so always put your best foot forward. Oh & smile!

 

Weekend Wind Down with Sumptuous Spirits

Heeey!! It’s the weekend wind down! That means it’s time to kick back, unwind & pour up a few delicious drinks – especially before the end of summer rolls around. We’ve teamed up with Sumptuous Spirits to indulge our taste buds with some decadent drinks for you to enjoy. The recipes are listed here – just add liquor & a few friends (or maybe just company for one or two) and let the kick back session begin! For more drink recipes follow Sumptuous Spirits on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/sumptuousspirits/ & make sure you tell em XOXO Sugar sent ya!

Enjoy!

Sumptuous Spirits 1

 

Sumptuous Spirits 2

Sumptuous Spirits 3

Give Thanks

Often times we get caught up in the hustle & bustle of life & achieving our goals & we forget to simply give thanks. No matter what way you do it it’s important to be grateful for all that you already are & have. I’m not saying don’t strive to be better or want more but not complaining about what you feel is “missing” in your life is the key component. Here’s a few tips on how to give thanks & be grateful. (P.S. You can start by sharing this information with someone else.)

  1. Share – nothing says you are appreciated or acknowledged or recognized more than sharing what you have with someone else. Whether it be bringing snacks in for co-workers, giving someone less fortunate something they need, or writing a simple note, sharing is caring.
  2. Express your thankfulness – many people love to hear they were some benefit to you. So tell them. Simply letting someone know how much their care, concern or help guided you in the right direction is enough to put a smile on their face & let them know the work they’ve done was appreciated.
  3. Pay it forward – drop a few coins in a parking meter, pay for someone’s coffee or snacks at the store or coffee shop. Think of other ways you can do things for others without being asked. It’s only human.
  4. Mean it when you say it & let your actions show it – words can be powerful & we can carry them with us, both good and bad. Actions back up the words we speak so if you’ve spoken highly of someone back it up by showing your confidence in that individual as well. If you are thankful for a job well done demonstrate that gratitude by showing them.
  5. Hugs & smiles are free – greet people with smiles as often as possible. This shows you are inviting to that individual & you never know – they might need attention like that if they’re going thru hard times. Hugs always work to boost an individuals mood. It’s scientifically proven & they’re free!
  6. Volunteer – nothing says you’re worth it more than sharing something you cannot buy or replace – your time. Volunteer at local shelters, food banks, boys & girls clubs, schools or even to tutor someone whether young or old. Share your time & that person will share those memories for a lifetime.
  7. Make a donation – time flies & sometimes the best way people know how to show they care or are concerned is by donating to a worthy cause. Clothes, food, personal and household items, cars, furniture and cash are always accepted at charities, community organizations and churches where resources are scarce. Plus they’re usually tax deductible. That’s a win-win!

Remember it doesn’t take much to show others that you care or to demonstrate how thankful you are for what you have. What ways will you contribute thanksgiving today?

Beach Ready Beauty Babe

Summer is almost here! Time to get that body beach ready you beauties & babes!! Here’s a few tips so those Baywatch lifeguards don’t catch YOU off guard. If he’s hot get your damsel in distress ready. Here we go!

1. Sunscreen
This is an obvious one but I had to mention it as a reminder. An SPF 15-30 is ideal to keep you from burning. To find out for sure consult your physician. Everyone should apply some kind of sunscreen, no matter what your ethnic makeup. The sun delivers harmful rays for all skin & it’s necessary to take precautions to guard against those rays.

2. Hair Removal
Sporting a mini afro under your arms or peaking out of your bikini bottom is not hot. Trim it, wax it and say goodbye! Shaving is kool but can irritate your skin and cause bumps which is also not so hot on the beach. Using a cream hair remover like Nair is also a great idea if your skin isn’t sensitive to it. While you’re at it arch your eyebrows and rid your face of that stache & any hairs on your chinny chin chin. This way your face will be even more flawless if you need rescuing by Hasselhoff’s proteges.

3. Moisturize well.
Ummm. Don’t go to the beach ashy. That’s not hot. You’re already subject to a bit of ash being in the salt water (if you’re beaching in the ocean waves). Make sure you have a light but effective moisturizer with you to tackle those not so smooth spots and to wipe out any dead skin spots.

4. Fight Cellulite
Okay. So some people say coffee is an effective way to eliminate cellulite. I’ll be honest. I’ve heard both arguments and I’ve tried it – it didn’t work. If you feel uncomfortable in your bathing suit at home chances are you will feel the same or worse on the beach. However, it’s important to also not give in to body shaming – and if you feel the need to flaunt it GIIIIIRRRRLLLLL you better work!

5. Tackle those feet
Ashy, dry feet is never cute. Treat yo feet girl. Exfoliate, detox and moisturize. Do this effectively with a scrub, soak & lotion or butter – BEFORE you go to the beach. Add a coat of polish or two to match your bikini and honey, accessorize!

6. Finally girl, apply a light body bronzer to give your skin a sun kissed glow. Try to steer clear of bronzers that contain metallic glitters. Use more mica based products. More importantly – HAVE FUN & STAY CUTE!

Dye to dye for: natural & effective dye tips

I’m such a fan of color – especially in my hair. Nothing says freedom to me more in the summer than a light, bright dye job that introduces me from miles away. I love it. Unfortunately my hair does not and bleaching can cause a lot of damage to your locks just to get that Powerpuff Girl pink, purple, blonde or blue. So here’s a few tips I found helpful in the pursuit of higher hair colorization.

 

Photo courtesy Pinterest

Ditch the Chemicals — 7 Ways to Color Your Hair Naturally

Give em the boot!

black-woman-looking-in-the-mirror

 

It’s time to kick some of these bad skincare habits that are doing more harm than good. Many are obvious, some can be a little more sneaky than others. Either way it goes here’s your chance to recognize them and give em the boot before they do any more damage to your beautiful skin!

1. Get more and better rest
Sure, sometimes being a night owl can be fun especially when you’re the life of the party or using your second wind to capture the essence of your creativity towards your next project or idea. But the truth of the matter is we really need a minimum of 7 hours per night. If you’re a mom to youngins this can be tricky. My two year old is just getting started with ideas at 5am – typically 5 hours after I’ve laid down. But beauty rest is an absolute must. And the quality is as well. To avoid breakouts change your pillowcase twice a week – and spring for the good stuff when you have a few extra bucks – Egyptian cotton is my fav & so is satin and silk. Also, turn OFF your screens at night. Bright lights can disrupt your melatonin levels and turn your circadian rhythm on it’s side like a turtle in its shell. When all else fails try a warm shower or bath before bed and even a humidifier can be effective in keeping your skin moisturized and supple through the night.

2. Ditch the alcohol & the sugar
Okay. Sooooo I’m not a true fan of this rule in it’s entirety but I’ve learned if you can but back on the sweets and drinks you will do your skin a LOAD of help. I don’t have time to party, party, party anymore but when I do – let the good times flow! And by good times I mean good drinks. With alcohol. Private stock. I noticed after a little while it was making my skin really dry! Plus I cannot deal with a hangover which is really your body drying up like a sponge and demanding water. So I kicked it. I typically only drink a few times per month and between drinks I make sure I’m sippin on some good ol H20 so I stay hydrated and I’m flushing the Courvoisier out of my system. Plus I kicked the hangover habit by limiting my drinks and I could remember the jokes I told a whole lot better. WIN WIN! The sugar on the other hand? Well that’s a different kind of beast. You see, Au Bon Pain & Pret are directly across from each other in the train station I travel thru on my daily commute. Resisting a chocolate croissant or the urge to turn my steel cut oatmeal into something that resembles an oatmeal sundae is my weakness. What can I say? Try your best to ignore them and the urge to devour them will go away. It will take more willpower however to stay away. Let the force be with you my beauties.

3. Abrasive cleansers
I was raised by a Southern grandmother who once washed her clothes in an antique wash tub. So it stands to reason that years of hard scrubbing has been ingrained in my mind and I find it difficult to shake the idea that unless I wash my face like I’m scrubbing dried mud off a horse it ain’t clean. But that’s so not true! In fact I’ve found it’s doing way more damage to my skin when I clean it rough & stuff with hard exfoliants that resemble powder Tide detergent. Truth is we’re washing away dirt, grime, makeup, oils and dead skin. None of these require the use of steel wool. Your face shouldn’t hurt after you remove them or become red or irritated. If it does you’ve done way too much. Sugar is gentle but also rough enough to get down and do the job but if you want something lighter, especially before bed try a soy cleanser.

4. Breakout Buster to the rescue!
I get pimples still in my thirties. Breakouts are a whole other topic. For real. And I can usually pinpoint when they’re going to get out of hand. I run down the checklist of things I forgot to do: change my pillowcase, limit my pop and sugar intake, stress out, binge on chocolate croissants at Au Bon Pain or apply 8,000 new kinds of products because I overdid it on Youtube and now I want to try everything Suzy Makeover is talking about. This can be dangerous and cause more breakouts so my solution is simple: don’t. Stop and cleanse with a simple cleanser, something that penetrates the skin’s surface and has salicylic acid in it. A Noxzema pad usually does the trick. One per day. I wipe and let eyes tingle long enough to tell me it’s working and then I wash. Again, a soy based cleanser is based. It’s light, all natural and really fights those pimples both present and future but you also have to gauge where your skin sensitivity is and how severe your breakout is. If you need something more powerful consult your dermatologist.

5. Skipping the Sunscreen
No matter what race or nationality you are the sun is not always your friend. Sure it can give you a gorgeous bronze but it can also penetrate your skin with harmful UV rays that can cause that dangerous c-word. So to avoid premature aging, fine lines and wrinkles that can clearly wait their turn in your life and of course skin related diseases always apply a sunscreen that is SPF friendly for your skin. If you’re unsure ask your doctor. Better safe than sorry.

7 tips on relieving dry skin

woman scratching arm.jpg.838x0_q67

There’s nothing fun about dry skin. At all. It can pop up on you at the most inopportune time and if it’s in a sensitive area can make you look like a scratching creep in public. Here’s a few tips how to get some much needed relief.

1. Skip the hot water
Dry skin begins with hot water in the shower or bath that strips the skin of it’s natural oil barrier that helps to keep your skin moisturized & smooth. Try warm showers that last between 5 and 10 minutes long. When you get out it’s best to pat your skin dry with a towel and then apply a moisturizer.

2. Use a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser
Some cleansers are so harsh they strip your skin of natural oils that are difficult to replenish and leave you dry and itchy. Avoid cleansers with extra alcohol as they tend to dry your skin out completely & don’t scrub too hard.

3. Shower then shave
The best time to shave is after you bathe. According to the American Academy of Dermatology “hair is more pliable & softer after a shower or bath, making it easier” to remove unwanted hair. Always use a sharp razor. Dull razors can bring on unwanted irritated skin. Always shave with a gel or cream & shave in the same direction your hair grows.

4. Protect yo self – from the elements.
No matter the season the elements can bring on some serious skin issues. With the summer coming up remember to apply a sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. A good sunscreen can actually be beneficial year round. The elements whether sun or cold can do damage to your skin and severely dry it out. Avoid clingy clothes that don’t allow your skin to breathe & keep a moisturizer on your lips especially in the winter.

5. Steer clear of the grease

Greasy moisturizers don’t fully penetrate your skin or replenish the moisture you lose. Look for products that contain all natural oils and butters, preferably Jojoba or Coconut and Mango or Shea butter.

6. Humidify

Adding a humidifier to your bedroom or home can bring on some much needed moisture to your skin, especially while you’re sleeping.

7. Be good to your skin

Choose clothing made from natural materials that allow your skin to breathe like cotton. Try to use soap that is free from unnatural chemicals or antibacterial detergents.

If your dry skin persists or gets worse you might want to consult a physician for an accurate diagnosis and follow up care. Take care of the skin you’re in.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, WebMD, American Academy of Dermatology