Friday, June 29, 2012

friday's fancies: beachy chic

It's summer and it's Friday, which means that my mind is probably somewhere other than work right now. And man, what I wouldn't give to be down the shore {I am from NJ, therefore I say "down the shore" not "at the beach"}! Sunny skies, hot temperatures, sand between my toes, cool water - all of that sounds pretty perfect to me. Since I'm not headed to the beach anytime soon, I'll have to settle for looking at pretty bathing suits, easy cover-ups, and a bag for all the essentials. Don't forget the sunscreen!

Enjoy the weekend! I've got a busy one ahead of me. I'm heading to Syracuse for a quick trip tomorrow and then seeing my new apartment on Sunday!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

baby bags

You may think this is strange, but I'm a huge fan of baby bags. Why? Because they're incredibly spacious and have so many pockets. I sometimes use mine {color is discontinued} as a work bag or when I'm traveling. Lately though, I've been toying with the idea of sometimes even using it as a camera bag {though I did just buy this one from Jo Totes}. The best part is, unless you tell someone, no one will have any idea that you're using a baby bag because they're so trendy and cute nowadays.

These are some of my favorites.

Adorable right? And so functional!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

w8fit activewear

I've posted a lot of baking recipes and pictures lately. Chocolate cake, frostings, brownie pops, cookies. And of course, there's my weekly Eat This, Wear That posts. I thought it was time for a post dedicated to being fit or attempting to get fit.

I stumbled upon W8Fit Activewear and think it's such a genius idea! W8Fit sells weighted workout clothes that are designed specifically for women. All you need to do is insert their 1/2 pound or 1/4 pound weights into the pockets of their pants, tanks, or arm cuffs and you're all set for a weighted workout. Added weight can make your muscles work harder and help you burn more calories {there is a reason why you should add strength training to your workouts!}

I love the Run Crop Pants and X-Training Pants. Cute and fashionable workout gear with the added bonus of weight training? I'm good with that.

Well, what are you waiting for? I think it's time to head to the gym with these!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

the infamous chocolate chip cookie {and the only recipe you'll ever need}

I've seen these chocolate chip cookies mentioned many times. The New York Times, Crepes of Wrath, Cupcakes and Cashmere, A Cup of Jo... so many people know about the infamous chocolate chip cookies made by Jacques Torres. I finally decided that it was imperative that I give these a try. And I was not disappointed.

Let me tell you something.

They are delicious and full of chocolate goodness. The perfect chocolate chip cookie. Seriously life changing. You will never need another chocolate chip cookie recipe ever.

The only difficult part was waiting at least 24 hours to let the dough rest in the fridge. But you'll be glad you did once you've had one. Because then you won't be able to stop yourself and you'll probably have a few more.

Monday, June 25, 2012

eat this, wear that

Summertime means a lot of barbecues and grilling. We gave my dad a new grill for Father's Day and it's been getting a lot of use. We love to grill hamburgers and hot dogs and this chipotle corn burger is one that I would love to make. The combination of corn salsa, crunchy peppers, a juicy burger, and a spicy chipotle mayonnaise on a crunchy bun sounds like a great meal on a summer night. Serve up a platter of these at a barbecue in a bright bathing suit pairing in yellow and tomato red with a trio of bangles in complimenting purple and green, one of my new favorite color pairings. And if you're aren't the bronze goddess that you want to be just yet, a light brush of bronzer and layer of tanning lotion will do the trick.

{Image via Food Network}

Friday, June 22, 2012

friday's fancies: color block

OK, I'll be honest. I've never tried the color block trend. It's not that I don't want to; I just haven't been brave enough to try. This week's Friday's Fancies have me itching to give it a go. I actually really love this combo of papaya orange, purple, and green - bright and fun! Pairing it with neutral colored accessories tone it down for those, like me, who are easing their way into color blocking.

And a tip to always remember when color blocking - using the color wheel, wear colors directly across from each other or colors that make an equilateral triangle. You'll end up with complimentary colors, not clashing ones.

Have you tried the color block trend? What pairing did you put together? 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

golf ball brownie pops

One of the best parts of the golf cake I made my dad for Father's Day were the little brownie pop golf balls. I toyed with the idea of making either a hollow or solid white chocolate golf ball but decided that adding brownies {another favorite of his} would work really well.

This candy mold that I found on Amazon worked really well; they popped right out! I used a boxed fudge brownie mix, which I really don't do, but it cut down on prep time. If you're planning on making brownie pops, I think the fudge-y kind work the best because it eliminates the need for frosting to keep it together. For the white coating, I used white, vanilla flavored candy wafers for the shell but white chocolate would work too!

Candy mold
Candy melts
Lollipop sticks
Small ice cream scoop

After brownies have cooled, use a small ice cream scoop to scoop brownies out of pan. Form into balls just slightly smaller than the golf ball mold.

Place onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 5-10 minutes.

Melt candy wafers. Dip one of the lollipop stick into melted wafers and place into the brownie balls. Be sure not to go all the way through!

{I used a spoon for this step.} Coat the golf ball molds with melted candy wafers and place brownie pop inside. Freeze for 15 minutes and then repeat on the other side.

And that's it! Pretty - and yummy! - golf ball brownie pops! I'd never made cake pops or brownie pops before {or even used a mold for that matter} but this was easy enough that I can't wait to try it again.

If you give these a go, let me know and send pictures!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

favorite chocolate cake

I mentioned yesterday that I was inspired by this golf cake from Love & Olive Oil that I made it Father's Day. I just didn't use the same cake recipe.

{Cake recipe today, brownie pops tomorrow!}

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this chocolate cake before. Like, when I made it for my mom's birthday and it collapsed after I frosted the entire thing. I've learned my lesson since then so no more broken cakes here! And that's a good thing because this is my family's favorite chocolate cake. It is actually the best chocolate cake we have ever had.

Seriously. It is that good.

Make this once and you will never need another chocolate cake recipe ever again. Trust me.

That Chocolate Cake
{recipe from The Essence of Chocolate}

2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup whole milk
1 cup boiling water {Yes, that's right. Boiling water.}

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease bottom of cake pans with butter and flour. Line bottom of cake pan with parchment paper and butter and flour paper and sides of pan. I used three 9-inch cake pans and eliminated the parchment paper because I used Wilton Cake Release.

Combine all of the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and mix with a paddle attachment on low speed.

Add in the wet ingredients - the lightly beaten eggs, canola oil, and whole milk. Mix on medium speed for two minutes.

While this is mixing, boil water. Add one cup and mix on low. 

Yes, this is strange. Yes, it will look weird. Yes, it will be like soup. No, you will not regret this.

Pour batter into pans and bake for 30-35 minutes. The cakes are done once a skewer comes out clean.

This cake comes with a frosting recipe but my parents and I also have a favorite chocolate buttercream recipe. I used that in between the layers and frosted the outside with this vanilla buttercream from Martha Stewart.

All three of these recipes are my go-tos. When I can't decide what to make for someone's birthday or holiday, I will end up making this cake with one of these frostings. Or both!


Monday, June 18, 2012

eat this, wear that

Yesterday was Father's Day and I did my best to recreate a version this cake from Love & Olive Oil {recipe and pictures this week}for my dad. Take this look to the course with golf appropriate capris, a polo, and comfortable shoes {change from Sperry's to your favorite Nikes} because walking 18 holes with your clubs may tire you out. And a golf glove tan? That's something you won't have to worry about with this Evertan gloves. With this outfit, you'll be all set for the course. Just make sure to keep your balls in the fairway, no one wants to end up in the rough.

{Image via Love & Olive Oil}

Friday, June 15, 2012

friday's fancies: outfit crush

I had the most difficult time trying to find an outfit that I wanted to replicate for this week's Friday's Fancies. I had been searching all week and it wasn't until around 11PM last night that I finally found one. Sometimes, an outfit just calls out to you. Like this one. I'm not sure why I didn't think of Jessica Alba sooner because I've always loved her style. Effortless, trendy, classy... I consider her to be one of my celebrity style inspirations.

I'm loving the polka dot trend and pairing of navy and orange so this is a look that I will definitely be trying out myself.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

white out with accessories

Since summer is nearly here, I've found myself wanting to add more white accessories to my growing collection of shoes, pretty baubles, and nail polish. I've been wearing white polish on my nails all week and am loving it! And white sneakers, specifically my Jack Purcells, are my favorite to buy, even though I only wear them when there's absolutely no chance of bad weather or me walking through mud or dirt. I'm looking forward to breaking out more white accessories and shoes {my white Sperry's especially} in these coming months.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

gym bags

Since I've started working out and going to the gym before work, I've been looking for a new gym bag. Currently, I use a duffel bag that my parents got from a conference so it's not really the cutest thing to carry around. I've been searching for a bag that will fit all of my work-related things {clothes, shoes, make up, accessories} with my essentials {toiletries, water bottle}but haven't been successful so far. I found these four bags though and think that one of them may be the one!

If I had the money, I would love to splurge on the Stella McCartney bag. But since I don't and I'm trying to be more cautious about my spending, I think one of the other three are just as perfect. Which would you choose?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

work hard

Just a little inspiration from one of my favorite blogs as I sit here in an empty office at 8:10 on this Tuesday morning.

{Image via}

Monday, June 11, 2012

eat this, wear that

One of my favorite drinks is Thai Iced Tea. Take the creamy and sweet beverage and put in into a cupcake with a condensed milk buttercream and you'll satisfy your craving for something sweet and delicious. Transform it into a wearable work outfit with orange pants, a tiered dot tank, nude pumps, and a pretty gold wrap bracelet. Orange pants too bright for your workplace? Just switch it around - white bottoms with an orange top still capture the essence of this delectable treat.

Happy Monday!

{Image and recipe via Honest Cooking}

Friday, June 8, 2012

friday's fancies: short and sweet

Sorry for such a late blog post today! Our internet wasn't working last night so I wasn't able to put together a post. Thankfully it's up and running tonight!

Shorter hemlines are everywhere now that summer is here. Shorts are a warm weather staple and I frequently wear them during these months. Since I've been working, I'm always trying to find new pieces to incorporate into my work wardrobe. With temperatures rising, more work-appropriate shorts will be added to my closet. A few rules to stick to: 1. when in doubt, go with bermuda shorts {the perfect length}, 2. dress it up with a pretty blouse, a blazer, and jewelry, 3. pair them with cute flats or wedges, and 4. stretch cotton is a better choice of fabric than anything that wrinkles easily.

And if you're looking, the Gap and J. Crew both have great work-appropriate length shorts! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

green goddess grilled cheese

On Monday night, I stumbled upon this picture of a grilled cheese sandwich on Pinterest. But it wasn't just any grilled cheese. Nope. It was a Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Sandwich, a recipe I found on TasteSpotting. Kale pesto? Spinach, avocado, goat cheese, and mozzarella cheese? Count me in! My mom and I decided we needed to try out this recipe as soon as we could so we each had one for dinner last night. And let me tell you, it was delicious! From the pesto to the bite of the goat cheese to the creamy avocado - this sandwich is perfection. You must, must try it!

{Doesn't that look so good? It is, I promise!}

Green Goddess Herb Pesto
Note: This will make more than you need for one or two sandwiches. But save it because this can be used for so many other things.

1 clove of garlic
1 anchovy fillet in oil {I didn't use these}
½ small shallot, chopped
1 tsp. lemon juice
handful chopped fresh Italian parsley
handful chopped kale
2-3 tbsps. chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp. chopped chives
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, pulse the garlic and shallot {and anchovy if using} until chopped. With it running, add the lemon juice, parsley, kale, chives, and tarragon. It won't come together just yet, but don't worry!

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the kale and herbs are chopped and everything is the consistency of pesto. I used exactly a quarter cup of oil but this may vary depending on how big a "handful" you use for each. Remember to turn off the food processor and clean the sides of the bowl every so often.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Since I didn't use anchovies, I had to season a lot. If you use them, you probably won't need this.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Note: This recipe is for one sandwich.

2 slices of your choice of bread {I used whole wheat}
2-3 tablespoons Green Goddess Herb Pesto
2 slices mild white melty cheese {I used mozzarella}
handful fresh baby spinach
¼ sliced avocado
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
olive oil

Spread an even layer of the Green Goddess Herb Pesto onto each slice of bread. Because I didn't use anchovies, the taste isn't too strong or overwhelming. If you do though, I would think the taste is much stronger. Taste it before you use it.

Add one slice of cheese, the sliced avocado, goat cheese, and spinach to one slice of bread. Add the second slice of cheese to the other slice of bread and press together.

In a frying pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the sandwich and cook until the bread if golden brown. Flip the sandwich and cook until the other side golden brown. {Or you can use a George Foreman Grill like I did. It works really well!}

Now, all you have to do is eat and enjoy!

{Recipe via TasteSpotting}

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

DIY: tassel earrings

Sometime last week, I stumbled upon this picture of Natalie Portman wearing tassel earrings. That was all it took for me to develop a love for them. I decided right then and there that I needed to own similar earrings but knew I couldn't spend too much money on it {I'm strict about saving money since I've started apartment hunting). I chose to take this on as another DIY project and it was simple and very easy. I plan on making more this weekend!

Earring hooks
Jump rings
Embroidery thread
Gold cord {or any color of your choice}
Crazy glue

Step 1: Depending on how long you want your earrings to be, measure your embroidery thread to double of that length. For instance, I wanted the tassels to be 2 1/2 inches so I measured out 5 inches to cut. Cut out 20-25 pieces for each earring. This will most likely vary depending on the thickness of your thread.

Step 2: Thread your bunch through the jump rings and fold in half. Try to keep the ends as even as possible so that you won't have to trim too much.

Step 3: Attach the jump rings to your earring hooks. Trim the ends of the thread if necessary {I had to do this}.

Step 4: Wrap your cold cord around the top of the thread. Use crazy glue to adhere it together. Then you're done and they are ready to wear!

{Excuse the messy hair and bumps on my face. I had a reaction to something while vacationing in Florida and am still waiting for it to heal.}

I hope you try out this DIY! Super easy and I think the end product looks just as good as something you could buy in stores.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

lips as red as blood

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I saw Snow White and the Huntsman over the weekend. Much to my surprise, the movie actually topped the box office, something I seriously didn't think it would {sorry Kristen Stewart lovers}. One thing I couldn't help but notice was how Kristen's lips were the perfect shade of red. It had me wishing for some lip stains or lip balms to achieve it myself.

I'm a big fan of Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments and Buxom products, though I've never tried the lip tarnish, so I would consider spending the money on those. But these Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains have gotten better reviews than its predecessor and are more in my budget. I may have to take a trip to the drugstore soon!

Do you use lip stains? Have you tried any of these? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, June 4, 2012

eat this, wear that

This past weekend, my parents and I went to see Snow White and the Huntsman. Much to my surprise, we all thought that movie was pretty good, mostly in part to Charlize Theron. An iconic symbol of the story is the apple the Evil Queen gives to Snow White. I chose to go with a much sweeter version with this caramel covered Granny Smith apple drizzled with white and dark chocolate, something I choose to consider healthy with the addition of fruit {I can wish right?} Dress it up with a maxi dress, high wedges, and a fun arm party {I love the giraffe bangle!} and you're ready for some summer fun!

{Image via Annie's Eats}

Friday, June 1, 2012

friday's fancies: rock the white

Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, people will probably find it more acceptable to wear more white. This cotton dress from J. Crew is sweet and airy, perfect for the weekends when your plans include running errands, a stroll through town, and brunch with your girlfriends {or maybe your special someone!} Add accessories in fun, bright colors for that perfect pop and you're all set for the {hopefully} warm and sunny weather. Who doesn't want that for a summer weekend?

Whatever you plans are for the next couple of days, I hope you enjoy it and have fun! Have a great weekend!