Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Weird Things + Organized Necklaces

What weird things do you like doing or find calming? OK, answers to that could go sideways pretty quickly so I'll just get to the point...

(Insert smiley with heart eyes emoji)

I've always enjoyed detangling necklaces. I know, I'm a weirdo. I also enjoy detangling/unknoting slinkies. For some reason, I find it really calming. You have to focus on just that and can actually start to see your progress pretty quickly. It's so satisfying to unknot and organize something that's a complete mess. I'm sure there's a metaphor in there somewhere, but I'm too busy eying my pretty now-untangled necklaces to complete it.

This is at least three necklaces, and there's even an earring tangled in there! Jackpot.

While I do enjoy a good necklace knot, I don't always have the time to deal with the untangling process (zen as it may be) in the morning when I want to wear a necklace. I found this organizational idea here. So easy, right? This barely counts as DIY...I mean I even avoided having to eyeball a straight line by arranging the nails diagonally. This is where laziness meets creativity. I don't mind the silver nail color, so I didn't paint them the same color as the wall, but I might in the future.

I may have cured myself of the necklace knots for the time being, so if you have a mass of jewelry that needs untangling, I'm your girl!


Friday, May 23, 2014

Meryl and Maks

If you watch Dancing with the Stars, then you know what I'm talking about here. James and Peta may have been the talk of the show for most of the season, but I was so interested in Meryl and Maks! The finale was days ago, and I'm still thinking about them!
I want them to be a couple SO BADLY.

I realize it's completely silly to be this interested in the lives of these people I've never met and will never meet, but I would seriously be so mad if it turned out that they weren't dating.

Ugh, just make out/get married/have a million babies already.
Anyways, that's it. Just my celebrity couple obsession. Not gonna lie, I google "are Meryl and Maks dating" multiple times a day, hoping to see a credible source that says they are. It's getting a little inappropriate.

Happy weekend!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Do You Skimm?

I consider myself pretty well-educated, but until a year or so ago, I had very little awareness of current events, nationally or internationally. I just couldn't see an entry point to even start educating myself. All the 24 hours news networks were always in the middle of a story...how could I ever catch a story when it started? Newspapers and news websites seem like a huge dump of information...how could I wade through it all?

That's why I'm so glad I found the Skimm. It's a free email service that sends you important national and international news every week day. It gives you enough to be dangerous and has a link in pretty much every story for if you want to learn more. Plus, the writing is fresh and interesting. Reading the Skimm is seriously the first thing I do every morning.
Things I Like: The Skimm 

As if it could get any better, the Skimm is a start-up created by two awesome young ladies in New York. I'd like to think that by reading, I'm supporting amazing women striking out on their own and achieving great things. I follow the Skimm on Instagram and regularly read their blog--I wish they were my big sisters! They give entrepreneurial advice that they learn (sometimes the hard way) on their blog; it's a really great picture of what life at a start-up is like: exciting but incredibly hard work.

Sign up for daily Skimms here! You will be so glad you did!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Strawberry Season

In case you haven't heard, strawberry season is in full swing! It's funny; as soon as spring starts...springing, I develop this sense of urgency with my cooking, knowing that I only have a certain amount of time with the local (when possible), in-season produce that I love so much. Any Saturday that I miss the downtown farmer's market between May and October feels like a lost opportunity. 

Strawberries for days

I picked up some lovely strawberries at the market this past weekend, and while I love tossing them in a bowl and munching on them solo, my goal of making at least one new recipe every week demands that I branch out.

 What to do with the beauties? Other than just pop them in my mouth by the handful...?

Here are some recipes I gather from my two favorite food blogs, Joy the Baker and Smitten Kitchen:

Spinach and Strawberry Chopped Salad (I'm not usually a fruity salad type of gal, but this combo looks delicious!)

Roasted Strawberry and Toasted Coconut Popsicles (I've actually made these before, so they don't count as a new recipe for me, but, I can tell you they are tasty!)

Ugly strawberries need love, too.

Strawberry Cream Scones (These just cry out for an iced cafe au lait.)

Strawberry Tart (Think: strawberries + pastry cream...no brainer.)

Mixed Berry Pavlova (The strawberries in this are just cut and used as topping, but it looked so light and fresh and everything I want in a dessert right now, that I had to include it.)

Strawberry Massacre

Are you taking advantage of strawberry season? Hooray for spring and all the tasty bites it brings!

All done.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Gatsby Hates Baths

You know how Gremlins get when they get wet? That's a little like it is when it's bath time for Gatsby. My sweet nugget has many wonderful qualities, but affinity for water isn't one of them.

These bath time pictures, captioned with what I can only guess are his thoughts, are just too hilarious not to share.

"Wait, what. You know I hate baths. Stop this now."

 "Oh wow, this water's really wet. Can we be done yet?"

 "Are you taking pictures of this? I'm totally going to pee in your closet."

 "You're so lucky Grandma's holding me back right now. How is anyone supposed to take me seriously when I look like something that got stuck in the drain?"

"We are still not on speaking terms. But, yes, you can continue blow drying me."

What Gatsby lacks in size and ability to swim, he more than makes up for in attitude. 

Happy weekend!


Thursday, May 15, 2014


I mentioned yesterday that I spent the weekend in New Orleans at a reading conference. I visited New Orleans briefly in college with a school group. It wasn't anything crazy, though I did get the opportunity to drink a PBR at a bar/pool hall/laundromat. #innovative

To me, planning and anticipating a trip is almost as good as going on the actual trip. When you get stressed the week before a trip, just try googling a travel guide (Bon Appetit is a go-to for me) and finding a great restaurant to go to your first night there. See? Stress gone!

Needless to say, I had all our reservations set four days before we left. Food is the best way to get to know a city, hands down.

Here are the highlights...

Beignets (and iced cafe au laits) from Cafe du Monde. Eight million people (I may be exaggerating, but probably not) waiting in line every day can't be wrong.

 Pimm's cups at Sazerac. I tried three different Pimm's cups in Nola, and this one was my fave. My research is nothing if not scientifically sound.

Roasted head of cauliflower at Domenica. The fact that there was half left by the time the cameras came out should tell you it's that good. Yes, cauliflower.

Monteleone Hotel, home of New Orleans' only revolving carousel bar. I drank my pinot noir while happily revolving around a spinning bar. I now believe that wine should be standard issue at all carousels.

My mom, me, and my brother's roommate's mom who happened to be at the same conference. Crazy right?! She was my dinner and drinks date after my mom left on Sunday :)
Oh, and dinner at Luke that night was delicious. Get the shrimp and grits.

Not pictured here, which should be a crime: Any one of the three, THREE, lunches I ate at Cochon and their deli next door. I had this kohlrabi salad with lemon yogurt dressing and spiced cashews that dances around in my dreams. I will make it my own one day and then my life will be complete. My mom and I also split their pork ribs with pickled watermelon that was just...so good. Plain and simple. We also had the Cuban sandwich and BBQ pork sandwich at their deli, coupled with the hero of the day, the mac and cheese. I wanted to rub it all over my face and...I'll stop there.

Thanks, New Orleans. You were a ton of fun.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Happy Mother's Day...Week!

It's been a week since I last posted, but, guys, I promise I have a good reason. Last Thursday, I traveled to New Orleans for the International Reading Conference. I felt so lucky because my amazing mama was able to meet me there! We kicked off Mother's Day weekend early with a couple of pre-dinner sips at Sazerac in the Roosevelt Hotel.

Seriously, how cute is she?! Also, we made it our mission to try all the Pimm's cups in New Orleans. How are you supposed to find the best if you don't try them all?!

Just in case you needed proof that she's the best mom ever: She had a Captain and coke and a bag of beignets waiting for me each day when I came back from my conference sessions. Like, what?!

Waiting in line at Cafe du Monde for beignets. Turns out there is truly no such thing as too much powdered sugar. Pro tip: don't wear black pants while eating beignets.
I'm being completely honest when I say that I could have nothing good ever happen to me again, and I'd still be the luckiest person ever to have such an incredible mom (and not just because she can make a great drink). I almost (and sometimes do) cry every time I have to leave her because I feel so loved when I'm with her. No other person I have ever met has ever made me feel as loved she does. She's the best friend I'll ever have, and I truly hope that one day I can be as selfless, kind, and beautiful, inside and out, as she is.

Post-beignet photo sesh in Jackson Square.

I know that Mother's Day was a few days ago, but I don't think my mom would mind being celebrated a few days late. We definitely celebrated together all weekend long! Who could get mad at a Mother's Week, instead of just a day?!

I love you, mom. Every day should be your day.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Brownie Bottom Cupcakes + White Chocolate Icing

Yesterday, I told you about the fun spiral sugar cookies I made for my school's bake sale. These cupcakes were my other contribution to the bake sale effort. They were a huge hit! It may have had something to do the fact that they were covered in pretty sprinkles.

Little known fact: Sprinkles have hypnotic qualities.

Brownie on the bottom, funfetti cake on top, all covered with a homemade white chocolate icing. What's not to like?! This brownie bottom cupcake recipe has so many possibilities. You could pretty much use any cake mix on top...customize is cool!

Another little known fact: The more times you tell yourself NOT to eat the icing, the more spatulas you have to wash because you just ate the icing.
Just the cupcake is amazing, but why not top it off with something equally memorable? This white chocolate icing was easy to make and was one of those flavors that just kept getting better (I switched white chocolate chips for regular ones). I'm not usually a white chocolate fan, but the flavor of this icing was amazing. Creamy, buttery, sweet, but not sickly sweet. Everything I'm looking for in an icing. I dunked the freshly iced cupcakes in a bowl of sprinkles to make sure they were completely covered.

I'm out of little known facts. The sprinkles have me in their grasp.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Spiral Sugar Cookies

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Last week, I mentioned that a bake sale has been ruling my life for the time being. The community service club at my school participated in the national bake sale sponsored by Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry. I was so proud of how organized and excited the kids were to participate in helping such an awesome cause!

Ready to go in the oven!

One of my contributions to the bake sale was these spiral sugar cookies. I think they turned out pretty cute! The color combinations are endless, so they could be used for any occasion. I went with teal/purple and orange/pink.

Most turned out great, but a few got a little wobbly.

I used four batches of this recipe and dyed each batch a different color. After rolling out the colored dough, I placed two colors on top of each other and rolled them into a spiral cookie log. The cookie logs went in the freezer for a day, and it was pretty much slice and bake after that! It was a bit of a process, but I did it over a few days. The kids loved them!

Happy baking!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Great Clip + Possible Party Game?

Sorry posting has been a little light lately; a certain bake sale has been ruling my life.

I'm hoping to make up for it with this awesome clip. If you haven't seen Jimmy Fallon lip sync battling Emma Stone, you've made a huge mistake. But don't worry, I've got it here for you. Watch it now. Spoiler alert: Emma kills it.

Wouldn't a lip sync battle be the most hilarious party game? You could tell everyone to come with at least one song they know well to lip sync and just watch hilarity ensue.

PS: Do a YouTube search of other lip sync battles on The Tonight Show. I'm about 30 minutes down the rabbit hole, and I regret nothing.