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Thank Heaven for Little Girl Dolls

You know that cuddly doll that you carried with you wherever you went when you were a kid? Land of Nod's Little Girl Dolls just may be the ones for a new generation of kids. They're hand knit in South American from super soft, 100% cotton. They are made by Blabla and are machine washable. You can choose by hair color: brown, green, lavender or orange. ($40.95 at Land of Nod)

Little Girl Dolls from Land of Nod
Little Girl Dolls from Land of Nod zoom

Posted by Amanda, in General.

Today is National Milk Chocolate Day (not to be confused with National Chocolate Milk Day which is September)

There are lots of flavors of chocolate but milk chocolate is the favorite chocolate for millions of people. Today should be spent consuming and savoring generous amounts of your favorite milk chocolate treats.

Milk chocolate is chocolate with milk powder or condensed milk added. The U.S. Government requires a 10% concentration of chocolate liquor. EU regulations specify a minimum of 25% cocoa solids. In the 1870s, Swiss confectioner Daniel Peter invented the process of solidifying milk chocolate using condensed milk, which was invented by Henri Nestlé in the 1800s.

Hershey process milk chocolate, invented by Milton S. Hershey, founder of The Hershey Company, is able to be produced more economically, by being less sensitive to freshness of the milk. Although the process is still a trade secret, experts speculate that the milk is partially lipolyzed, producing butyric acid, which stabilizes the milk from further fermentation. This compound gives the product a particular sour, "tangy" taste, to which the American public has become accustomed, to the point that other manufacturers now simply add butyric acid to their milk chocolates.

Two landmark chocolate events occurred in 1879 in Switzerland: Rodolphe Lindt invented the conching machine, enabling the production of the smooth, velvety chocolate we know today. And Daniel Peter, a chocolate manufacturer, made the first milk chocolate, by substituting powdered milk for the whole milk or cream that had been used previously, with unsuccessful results. Powdered milk had been invented by his neighbor, Swiss chemist Henri Nestlé. So while the Spanish were responsible for bringing cacao to Europe from the New World and Englishman Joseph Fry created the first chocolate bar, the Swiss have full ownership of smooth, silky milk chocolate.

With a taste more of sugar and milk than cacao, milk chocolate was first made for children. The typical milk chocolate on the market today consists of no more than 33% cacao (cocoa solids), but many companies drop that percentage even lower, sometimes to the teens, since sugar is cheaper than cocoa. Another reason for cheap milk chocolate is that a high ratio of milk and sugar mask any irregularities and bad tastes that poor cacao beans often possess. Thus, manufacturers can buy the cheapest, lowest-grade beans (which are still more expensive than sugar and milk solids) and hide their off-flavor with blankets of milky sweetness. That means that the remaining portion of the bar is comprised of milk solids and sugar, and that's why inexpensive chocolate bars taste like no more than sugar: They are! By law, the FDA enables manufacturers to use as little as 10% cacao (also known as cocoa solids or cocoa liquor), no less than 3.39% milk fat, and no less than 12% of total milk solids. The remaining ingredient is sugar, so an inexpensive chocolate bar can be about 75% sugar. (The formula, or "recipe," is up to the manufacturer, as long as the percentages do not drop below the FDA's minimal requirements.)

Today, no one need eat bad milk chocolate. The greatest chocolate producers in the world make milk chocolate bars that are as good as it gets. Using the best cacao beans, the most meticulous processing techniques and the finest recipes, they create eye-opening milk chocolate. This chocolate is so good that those chocolate lovers who ran from cloying, characterless milk chocolate long ago will return to the fold.

In honor of National Milk Chocolate Day, pamper yourself with some chocolate from Hershey, Cadbury, Nestle, Dove, Godiva, or one of the many different manufacturers of the delicious treat. Happy National Milk Chocolate Day!

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars

Source: wikipedia;

Posted by Amanda, in General.

Fekkai Summer Hair Collection is summer detox for your hair

Summer style is all about sexy and undone, but achieving the perfect "just-off-the-beach" look shouldn't mean exposing your hair to the damaging effects of the sun, saltwater, and chlorine. Frédéric Fekkai brings you a collection of summer hair basics for $23 at Sephora.

Marine Summer Hair Zero-Humidity Frizz Control: Conquer frizz all day with this weightless, alcohol-free mist.

Marine Summer Hair Beach Waves: Sexy on or off the beach. Create a tousled, "beachy" look with this heat-activated UV shield and styling mist.

Marine Summer Hair Clean Detox Shampoo: A gentle daily purifying shampoo

Marine Summer Hair Beachcomber Leave-In Conditioner: A bi-phase, daily, leave-in conditioner.

Frederic Fekkai Summer Hair Collection

Source: In Style

Posted by Amanda, in Beauty and Cosmetics.

Free weekend in August at all 147 National Park sites

The National Park Service will offer fee-free weekends this summer to encourage cash-strapped families to visit national parks -- and to help boost local economies. All 147 National Park Service sites that charge entry fees will waive them on August 15 and 16. The fees at these parks normally cost from $3 to $25, so it's a nice savings. 

National Park Service logo
Source:  WalletPop; WikiMedia

Posted by Amanda, in Travel.

Janice Pierced-Metal Pendant Chandelier with artfully placed openings is on sale at Horchow

This unique enclosed light fixture is pierced by artfully placed openings to shed light in a play of pattern. Made of iron with golden highlights. 27.5"Dia. x 41.5"T. Uses six 60-watt bulbs.   (Original price:$1,400.00; now $979.90 at Horchow).  Note there is a $150 delivery and processing fee associated with this lighting fixture.

Janice Pierced Metal Light Pendant Chandelier

Posted by Amanda, in Houses and Home Decor.

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