My Favorite Mascara



Okay…I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but I’m pretty sure that if I could only bring three things with me to a desert island, one of them would be mascara.  Yes, I know that sounds vain and absolutely idiotic, but that’s basically how much I love me some mascara.  In the summer, it’s pretty much the only makeup I wear.  Well, that and a good lip gloss.  I about died when Maybelline dropped my favorite mascara last year, so I knew I had to find an adequate replacement fast!  So, after trying numerous brands, I found Bare Mineral’s Lash Domination in Intense Black.  It’s absolutely amazing and worth every penny!









Here are some tips to applying mascara:

1. I start by applying the brush directly to the root of my lash and move the brush back forth several times.

2. Make sure to get the lashes towards the inside of your eye in order to really open up your eye.

3. Take the brush and sweep it over the inside of your eyelashes a couple times.

4. Separate any lashes with the tip of the brush.

Don’t forget to always take your mascara off before you head to bed to preserve those lovely lashes!

Happy lashing!


Paris Quotes



America is my country.  Paris is my hometown.
Gertrude Stein

A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.
Thomas Jefferson 

You know, I sometimes think, how is anyone ever gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony, or a sculpture that can compete with a great city. You can’t. Because you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form and when you think that in the cold, violent, meaningless universe that Paris exists,–these lights. I mean come on, there’s nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune, but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafés, people drinking and singing. For all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe.
Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris 

Ajoutez deux lettres à Paris : c’est le paradis.
~ Jules Renard


To err is human.  To loaf is Parisian.
~ Victor Hugo

The whole of Paris is a vast university of Art, Literature and Music… it is worth anyone’s while to dally here for years. Paris is a seminar, a post-graduate course in everything.
~ James Thurber

What an immense impression Paris made upon me. It is the most extraordinary place in the world!
~ Charles Dickens

I could spend my whole life watching the Seine flow by. It is a poem of Paris.
~ Blaise Cendrars


In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.
~ Mark Twain

When good Americans die, they go to Paris.
~ Oscar Wilde

The best of America drifts to Paris. The American in Paris is the best American. It is more fun for an intelligent person to live in an intelligent country. France has the only two things toward which we drift as we grow older—intelligence and good manners.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me.
~ Marion Cotillard in MIdnight in Paris



Photo credits:,,,

Burlap Bow


Burlap ribbon (at least 7 ft. or 2.3 yds for 4 loop bow)
Glue gun

Step 1:  Cut your burlap ribbon about 7 ft. or 2.3 yds.

Step 2:  Hold ribbon as pictured leaving enough ribbon hanging for 1 tail (roughly 1 ft.)









Step 3:  Make one loop on the left.  Don’t make the loop too big or the burlap will not hold its form.









Step 4:  Make another loop the same size on the right side.









Step 5:  Loop back and forth so that you have two loops on each side.  For larger/fuller bows, keep looping back and forth so that you have four loops on each side.









Step 6:  Cut a piece of twine and tie around the center in a knot to hold the bow together.









Step 7:  Cut tails at the end.  Fold tail in half and cut diagonally upward towards the fold to get the scissor tail look.







Step 8:  I like to cut another smaller piece of burlap to wrap around the center of my bow.  Hold it together at the back with hot glue.


Now you have a beautiful bow to decorate wreaths, parties, presents and more!


Easy Baked Salmon Pour Trois



8 oz. of Wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon
¼ cup of GF soy sauce or Tamari
2 tbs. of honey
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Sriracha hot chili sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Put a large piece of foil (large enough to wrap up your salmon) on a pan.  Place salmon skin side down on the foil.

Add soy sauce, honey, and garlic.  seasonedsalmonSprinkle some pepper on top and top it off with as much Sriracha as your taste buds like!

Wrap foil around salmon and bake for 12-15 minutes or until salmon flakes with a fork.  Serve over a bed of brown rice and pour the leftover sauce on top.  Enjoy!


Thoughts on discipline



Discipline…ugh.  It’s a topic that I tend to steer clear of on most occasions; however, a trait that we all need nevertheless.  Typically, I consider myself a free spirit.  One who doesn’t like to follow rules—a walk to the beat of my own drum kind of girl.  That makes discipline a very hard thing to swallow.

I like how Julie Andrews describes discipline: “Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.”  Her positive spin on an otherwise not-so-fun topic makes it seem more manageable and actually appeals to my free spirit soul.

Think about how much more you can accomplish when you have some sort of schedule to your day.  I know for me, waking up is one of the hardest things to do. However…the days that I do wake up early, I’m always amazed at how much I can get done.  My body also feels better when I wake up around the same time on the weekends as I do on the weekdays.  Now, I’m a sleeper.  In fact—I love me some sleep!  So, since I wake up earlier now, I’ve had to go to bed earlier.  That was quite a switch for this night owl, but the way I feel the next day makes it all worth it!

Exercising is another thing my body needs to feel my best.  There are some days that I would rather die than go to the gym!  I’m tired after a long day at work, stressed out and all I want to do is lay in bed.  However, I know though that going home and lying around will only make me feel worse and lazy.  Have you actually ever regretted exercising?  Probably not!  Usually the hardest part is getting up and actually getting out the door. Once I’m out, it’s go time! So, to make it easier, try setting out your gym clothes the night before.  Maybe you create incentives for yourself for each day you work out?  Do you have an accountability partner?  A partner in crime always makes difficult tasks easier.

For all you teens out there, I know that discipline is the last thing you want to hear about.  So, if you’ve read this much of my article—way to go!  I will say one thing to you: You will be thankful for the discipline you have received from your parents one day.  I know it’s hard to understand that right now, but your parents have limits on you because they love you and want the best for you.  They want you to be ready to fly in this great big world once you leave their nest.  As crazy as it sounds, discipline is the practice that teaches you how to fly and sets you free.

discipline mcmanus

First days in Paris: A journal entry

shabbychictoureiffelSo, the other day, I started reading back through some of my journals that I wrote during the time I was living in Paris as an aupair.  I thought I would post some of the funnier excerpts as an American trying to figure out things in France.

August 28, 2004

“I was so excited to dry and Chi my hair after living in the Alps for a couple months.  However, as my luck would have it, a disaster befell me!  I started to use my straightener and was amazed at how hot it started getting.  It was really working well!  But…when I brought it up to do my bangs…well, they fell out and crumpled into a pile on the counter!!  Oh le drame!  On top of that, my Chi melted and fell apart!  Mon pauvre cheveux! Lesson #1:  Make sure to use the right converter. I guess that’s the first and last time I’ll have sleek and straightened hair while living in Paris.  God, please help my bangs to grow back soon.  Merci beaucoup.”

Unfortunately, the hair drama continued the next day…

“I am sitting under a weird lamp right now with color on my hair as I journal.  I had been walking around looking for a place to have my hair cut and highlighted-not a hard place to find in Paris.  I meandered into a Salon de Coiffeur while I was lost.  (Side note: getting lost is a common theme for me lately.)  At least they were able to do highlights or as the French say “les mèches.”  I’m not sure how it will turn out because I realized after walking in here that I am very limited in my French hair terminology!  One thing weird about French salons is that they don’t automatically put conditioner in your hair.  In fact, you have to pay extra for that!  Either that, or they took advantage of a naive American girl.”  

(A little note:  My hair turned out…uh…decent.  Although a little on the orange side.  I decided to embrace it; however, as this was only the beginning of a crazy new adventure.  Thankfully, they didn’t say much about my bangs.)




If there’s one thing that I say repetitively to the teens who I see in my office, it is this: “You’ve got to be comfortable with you!”  However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.  It involves several thoughts—being confident in who you were created to be, being content just being by yourself, and not worrying so much about what others think of you.

1.    Be confident in who you were created to be. 

You were created uniquely you; you are the only you that exists.  Love yourself for the incredible person you are!  Know yourself well enough that you recognize your strengths and weaknesses.  Remember—no one is perfect.  We all have flaws.  When you feel insecure, focus on your positive attributes.  Set goals to improve your weaknesses so you can become an overall stronger, more confident individual.  You were created for a reason, so discover your purpose.

2.    Be content just hanging with yourself.

Independence comes naturally for some, but for others, it’s really difficult and scary to have fun without a friend, significant other, or family member around.  It’s important for you to develop your independence and not become dependent on others for your happiness.  Community is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but people will fail you at times.  When that happens, you need to be comfortable being by yourself.  Have a “happy place” to go where you can reflect, relax, and restore.  Mine most often is a bubble bath with a nice glass of Cab or hot tea.  What’s yours?

3.    Be yourself and don’t worry about what other people think.

As much as we like to think we are not affected by other peoples opinions of us, we all are to some degree.  We have to learn how to look past and let go of others judgments and look within ourselves for the truth.  Honestly, it doesn’t matter that someone doesn’t like my outfit.  They aren’t wearing it, right?  So why should they care?  If things about you bother other people, it’s most likely because they see something in you that they wish they had but don’t.  Their confidence is typically sub par and they make up for it by putting others down.  Keep that in mind before you pass judgement next time.

Get to know yourself and love that face in the mirror looking back at you.  Remember, you are the only you that exists.  You can choose everyday to be your own worst enemy or your greatest ally.  If you choose the former, unfortunately, you have an uphill battle that you will never win.  The freedom that comes from the love and acceptance of oneself is pretty incredible!  Embrace it!

What are your experiences?  Comment below and tell me what you think.  Is there anything that has helped you jump this hurdle or any advice you’re willing to share with others?

Chicken Vegetable Soup


1 carton of organic GF chicken broth (I use Pacific Foods)
½ onion diced
2 medium sized zucchini chopped
2 medium sized carrots choppedchicken soup
2 celery stalks chopped
1 small bag of frozen sweet corn
1 small rotisserie chicken
3-4 cloves garlic minced
1 ½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Additional toppings:

Shredded cheese
Avocado slices
Tortilla strips

Bring the broth to a low boil and add zucchini, carrots, onions, celery, corn, garlic, cumin and chili powder.  Turn heat to low.  Cook vegetables while pulling apart chicken.  I use an organic, GF, rotisserie chicken for the flavor and convenience, but feel free to make your own broth by boiling a small chicken.  Shred chicken and add to soup.  Cook for another 25 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle your bowl of soup with a little cheese and tortilla strips, and add a couple slices of avocado to enjoy as a tortilla soup!

Yields 4 servings.

Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery



Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery is a must if you are looking for some incredible GF options in the Dallas area.  It’s not only adorable with its pastel, southern charm, but this adorable café has some of the best GF edibles I’ve ever tasted!

From vegan agave brownies to spinach, scallion and cheddar quiche, this bakery has something for everyone at any time of day.  Oh and did I mention they make doughnuts?!  Yes, they have a variety of doughnut flavors everyday—but get them early because they typically sell out.

You can place a custom order at any time.  In fact, my non-GF husband wanted Tu-Lu’s soft, fluffy iced sugar cookies for his birthday party with friends.  They were a hit and no one could tell they were GF!

tulusdessertSome of my favorites include:

– Raspberry almond crumble muffin
– Dark chocolate brownie
– White cheddar jalapeno corn muffin
– Ham, gruyère & tomato quiche
– Chicken w/ cheddar & chipotle mayo Panini

tuluscakeThey have two locations in the Dallas area one in West Village and the other off of Sherry Lane not far from Preston and Northwest Highway. The original location is actually in NYC between 1st and 2nd Avenues off of East 11th street.

Visit their website at


Felt Flowers

Below are three different instructions to creating felt flowers.  I used mine to create christmas wreaths (see at the bottom) that I gave to my family this year for gifts.  The materials are the same for each flower:  Felt, scissors, and a glue gun

Loopy Flower

Step 1:  Cut the felt piece about 3 inches wide.


Step 2:  Fold it in half long ways and glue at side.


Step 3:  Cut 1” slits at a diagonal on the folded side.


Step 4:  Start rolling your felt.  Glue a bit down as you start to roll and again every inch or so to keep the roll together.


Step 5:  Fluff your loops to your liking.  Now you have a loopy flower!



Step 1:  Cut a circle out of the felt–the bigger your circle, the larger your rose will be.  (The circle doesn’t have to be perfect)

Step 2:  Cut a spiral in your circle starting skinny and getting larger as you wind to the inside.


Step 3:  Start rolling your spiral.  Glue a bit down as you start to roll and then again every inch or so to keep the rose together.


Step 4:  Fold the center of your spiral to the bottom of the rose and glue it down.


Now you have a cute little rose!



Step 1:  Cut out 7 circles about 4 inches in diameter.  Not sure why there are 8 here, you only need 7!  Again, they don’t need to be perfect.


Step 2:  Fold 6 of the circles in half (don’t glue) and then fold over again and glue together to look like a pie shape.



Step 3:  Place 4 of the pie shaped pieces you just glued down on the remaining felt circle so that they make a circle.  Glue down.


Step 4:  Take the remaining 2 pie shaped pieces and glue them together with the folds on opposite ends.


Step 5:  Cut the cones a bit off the bottom to make them flat.


Step 6:  Put glue on the bottom and place it in the middle of the flower base.  Now you have a carnation!


I used these flowers to decorate the wreaths below:


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