Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pottery Works

Last Saturday, I went out with my friends Richelle and Heather to Pottery Works, a place where you can pick out and paint your own piece of pottery. I decided on a little honey pot (although I'm sure I will not put honey in mine) and painted it a nice taupe color with blush pink polka dots and white scalloped edges.

I decided to paint the inside the same pink color as well.

I absolutely love how my little pot turned out. It's so cute and girly - just the look I was going for. I had such a great time doing this little project. Painting pottery is a great way to relax and catch up with your girlfriends. Richelle even brought appetizers and drinks for us to snack on as we worked on our pottery.

In case you're wondering, my little pot cost about $15, and then I think they charge you based on how long it takes you to paint. For me, it took about an hour, which tacked on an extra $9 to my total.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

For my birthday last month, I got a free gift set of Fresh Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Duo from Sephora. 

These mini lip treatments are actually a pretty good size. The set came with the their regular lip treatment as well as the Rose Tinted version. A bonus - they're SPF 15. 

I absolutely love the Rose Tinted treatment. The smell and color remind me of a cherry Starburst (mmm, Starbursts...)

These lip treatments are pretty fantastic. They're super smooth and they smell great. And the Rose Tinted version provides just the right hint of color. These lip treatments can also be layered under your favorite lip gloss or lipstick. Once I run out, I might have to pick up the full-sized version, which costs $22.50 at Sephora.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chanel Ballet Flats: The Look For Less

While out and about shopping last week, I came across some ballet flats that look very similar to the Chanel two-toned ballet flats seen above.

Scotty Ballet Flats by Banana Republic

Madisen Ballet Flats by Jessica Simpsom

These ballet flats are adorable, comfy, and well-made. They can also give you the same chic, classy look of the Chanel shoes for a significantly lower price!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presents From Paris

My husband just got back from Paris today and he brought me back the most amazing gift - French macarons from the famous Laduree bakery!

From left: pistachio (my favorite), chocolate, vanilla (John's favorite), and rose

These are seriously the most heavenly dessert ever. They're made from just almond flour, sugars, butter, and eggs - that's it. There's really not much to these macarons, but somehow they're still so gosh darn hard and tedious to make! There's surprisingly a lot of technique that goes into baking these. My Mom bought me the Laduree cookbook for Christmas one year and I've attempted to make them several times.

This is probably my most successful batch yet. I'll probably write a blog about how to make these once I've perfected them. For now though, I will just enjoy the macarons my husband brought back for me. Yum!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Anthropologie Snakebite Belt: The Look For Less

I bought Forever 21's Woven Slip In Belt after seeing it on Elizabeth's Behind the Dressing Room Door blog. I thought it was such a cute belt, and I'd been looking for a cream-colored belt for such a long time and I thought this one was perfect. And it was only $4.50 - you can't beat that!

Woven Slip In Belt in Brown/Cream by Forever 21

If you don't like the brown/cream color combo, they also have it in black. 

Woven Slip In Belt in Black by Forever 21

After looking at some Outfit Of The Day posts from Carol of In Pursuit of Pretty Things, I realized it was almost an exact replica of an old belt from Anthropologie - the Snakebite Belt. I'm not sure what year this is from, but I'm guessing it's from 2010. Anyway, both belts have the same type of closure and elastic band. And although I don't know the original price of the Anthropologie belt, I'm sure the Forever 21 version is significantly less expensive!

Anthropologie Snakebite Belt

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

BLT Pizza

One of my favorite pizzas is the BLT from Al's Pizza. I know what you're thinking - bacon, lettuce, and tomato on a pizza? But trust me - it's delicious! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

What I'm Wearing:
Slung Sash Tee by Bailey 44
Jacket by Guess
Stevie Pants by AG
Heels by Mossimo

I usually take every opportunity to wear a dress, especially for an occasion like Valentine's Day. However, this year I decided to go for a very casual, crisp look. My husband and I went out to one of our favorite restaurants - Bistro Aix. 

I love these chairs because they have the quatrefoil design I love so much. John says we should try to get chairs like this for our dining table :)

We started off with some of the most amazing crab cakes we've ever had. For our main course, John chose the short ribs with whipped potatoes and I got the filet mignon with au gratin potatoes.

The meal was delicious. And for dessert, we EACH got the profiteroles - we just love them that much that we didn't want to share :)

Afterwards, we enjoyed a relaxing evening at home, catching the last half of New Girl. What a great way to end our evening :)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Outfit Of The Day

What I'm Wearing:
Gathering Harvest Cardigan by Gro Abrahamsson
Thermal top by the Gap
Hair barrette by Missoni for Target
Devote Jeans by Citizens of Humanity
Maryjanes by Doc Marten

For this outfit, I decided to break out my Doc Marten maryjane shoes (or as my husband said, I went "old-school.") I've had these shoes for YEARS and I used to wear them all the time. They have that nice vintage, worn-in look now and I thought they went well this this outfit. Ah, the 90's.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Williams-Sonoma Cinnamon Bun Mix

I am not a baker.

About a month ago, I set out to make some cinnamon buns from the Williams-Sonoma mix that my friend Richelle got me for my birthday.

Here's what's inside:
Dry mix
Frosting mix

You'll also need 10 Tbs. unsalted butter and 3 oz. cream cheese.

Richelle suggested I read all the directions before I got started so I did. Afterwards, I felt confident I was ready to proceed with this mission. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to make these delicious cinnamon buns.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, beat together the dry mix and warm water on low speed for 1 minute. For the warm water, I just microwaved some water for about 30-45 seconds and poured it in the mixing bowl.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the dough is elastic and slightly sticky, 14 to 15 minutes. 

15 minutes?! I thought that was such a long time to keep my mixer running. I felt bad for my husband because he was still asleep at this time and the mixer was so loud!

After about 5 minutes.

After about 10 minutes. I don't know why, but I love this picture.

After 15 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 25 to 30 minutes.

25 to 30 minutes later, here's what it looked like. Nothing changed!

This resulted in a frantic text message to Richelle on how to make dough rise. I looked up suggestions online. Pretty much every site I looked at stated that the top of the refrigerator is the warmest place in the house. Well, that's where I had it the whole time and nothing! Other sites even suggested leaving it in a car parked in the sun. No, I was not going to do that. Some other sites suggested turning the oven on to warm for a few minutes, then turning it off and placing the bowl inside. But I read that if it's too warm, then it might kill the yeast. John just happened to be cooking an omelet that morning, so when he was done, I place the bowl near the stove hoping that the heat would help the dough rise. Success!

After 2 freakin' hours(!) here's what the dough looked like. Still not quite "doubled in size" but at that point, it was close enough for me. I proceeded to the next step.

Punch down the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a 13-by-17 inch rectangle. I didn't know how to roll it into a rectangle, so I went for a more oblong shape.

Brush the top of the dough with 4 Tbs. of melted butter.

Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon-sugar.

With the long side facing you, carefully roll the top of the dough downward into a tight roll.

Cut the dough crosswise into 9 rounds.

Place the rolls, cut side up, in a greased pan, spacing them equally apart.

Lightly brush the tops with the remaining 2 Tbs. melted butter. Set the pan in a warm place and let the rolls rise until they are about 1 inch apart, 20 to 25 minutes (here we go again.)

Meanwhile, I started on the cream cheese frosting.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low, add the frosting mix and beat until combined.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Increase the speed to medium and beat until creamy and dense, 1 to 2 minutes (mmm, frosting).

Now back to the cinnamon rolls!

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the cinnamon rolls until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.

Frost the tops of the rolls with cream cheese frosting and voila! Fresh cinnamon rolls. Yum!

What started out as a simple one hour recipe turned into a 2 1/2 hour ordeal, what with all the rising and picture-taking. My parents came over that morning and we all had a nice breakfast of cinnamon rolls. My parents and John loved them. They were absolutely delicious and I would totally make them again now that I know what I'm doing! BUT at the same time, our local Cinnabon sounds so appealing now! It's fun to bake though, and this way you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor, as my Mom always says.