Best of November

Rue Audran

How did your November turn out?

Mine has been a little bit of a blur. 2017 has been a year of planting seeds for me, and some of them have sprouted and grown a little sooner and with more vitality than even I anticipated. All of a sudden I have a whole garden of young things to tend to. It’s a good problem to have, certainly, but add to that two small children — including one who’s not sleeping all that well — and you have to manage your mind even more carefully.

I remind myself that overwhelm is not a function of how long one’s to-do list is; overwhelm comes from not knowing what to do first. So I work on keeping that to-do list realistic, yes, but also maintaining clarity on what my priorities are. Does that resonate with you in any way? (If it does, have you already received my 3 Secrets of Productivity?)

Anyway. Amidst said blur, here are the things that brought me delight:

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Best Gifts for Creatives

Best Gifts for Creatives

A love of cooking and baking often goes hand in hand with a creative streak. It’s certainly what drew me to cooking in the first place! And I find I need to feed my creativity beyond the kitchen, so I make sure I carve out time for drawing, painting, and lettering.

If this is you, too, or if you have an artistic friend or relative to shop for, I have put together a round-up of the tools and books and classes that keep me inspired and joyful year-round.

So here’s my selection…

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Best Gifts for Paris-Loving Kids

Gifts for Paris-Loving Kids

It’s never too early to fall in love with Paris!

Whether you already have a young Francophile on your hands, or want to stimulate the interest of your child, your nephew, or your friend’s kid in the City of Light, here’s my selection of tasteful and whimsical gifts for all ages.

Gorgeous books, fun toys, colorful stationery, French learning games, cool shirts…

All of them are great opportunities to discuss French culture and history, and they will prompt many questions you’ll love answering about this glittering, inspiring city. You may be so charmed that you’ll decide to order them for yourself, too!

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Super Easy DIY Natural Cosmetics

Super Easy DIY Cosmetics

Our relationship to beauty products says so much about ourselves: do we spend a fortune on tubes smaller than our pinkies that promise to erase any proof that we once smiled? Have we been buying the same stuff, month in, month out, since age fifteen? Do we follow the (totally unbiased) magazine reviews and share in the enthusiasm for this or that new molecule? Do we lose sleep over sulphates, chlorides, glycerines, and nano-particles ?

Do we go full granola and… make our own?

If you’re in the latter camp, but feel intimidated by the long lists of exotic ingredients you would have to special order and then store in some cabinet until they rot or stale, this post is for you!

I’ve put together this list of quick recipes for homemade all-natural cosmetics, selecting ones that are very easy to follow. You can often make them your own by swapping ingredients for ones that will work best for your skin type, and the best thing is, they mostly use ingredients you already have at home!

No excuse not to give them a go, and any of these would make a lovely homemade gift this holiday season.

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Food Blogger Pro: Why I Joined and You Should Too

Food Blogger Pro

If you’re a Chocolate & Zucchini reader, there’s actually a good chance that you have a blog of your own, or are thinking about starting one.

And whether you’re just in this for the fun of it, or have ambitions to turn your talents into an occupation that pays the rent, I’m sure your number one goal is to grow your food blog: blogging is such an all-consuming activity that it’s natural to want the greatest number of eyes on the fabulous content you strive to create.

This means working really hard to hone your craft and put out content you’re excited to share (if you lie sleepless because you can’t wait to hit publish in the morning, you’re doing it right) but it also means staying in the game in terms of social media and, for those with professional goals, monetization.

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