Saturday, June 30, 2012

Marble your nails for Summer! (Tie dye inspired tutorial)

This is such a fun look for Summer.
If you are in love with nail art... like most women under 30... this is perfect for a day when you can let loose, if your leaving on vacation or if you are looking for a new trend to try. Plus, if you are thinking about the 4th coming up- a pattern of Red, White and Blue could be most impressive. Brag about yourself, and while everyone is focused on "all the hard work" that went into the look, your can know that it really was effortless!! Enjoy your weekend.

xx ciao

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summertime Style

Summer is here, and I am so excited!!

 Summertime is a great season for showing off all your hard work in the gym. Unlike the winter when all your cute outfits have to hide under big coats, summer is a time when you get the flaunt all that you have. There are so many different combinations of outfits; shorts/tanks, skirts/v-necks, dresses/platforms, and of course the ultimate cut off denim short (a staple) paired with anything. I have picked up a few new summer items but I know I'll never truly be finished lusting over the new designs. 

As I have been reading some of my favorite blogs, I can’t help but fall in love with some of the outfits that they are putting together. Some of their posts are reminding me of other sunny outfit choices that I was forgetting on my shopping list. I always pull inspiration from what they wear in their posts. I like to have a different look for what I am feeling at the moment. I couldn't really pin point one style that I tend to follow, there are far too many that I love. 

Taylor from SterlingStyle, has such a classic California girl image. Her looks are so easy and carefree- I love her simple tank and cuffed jeans... this is perfect for a trip to the boardwalk, farmers market or even a low key date night out to listen to music downtown. Plus her bag is amazing.
Bella from Vintage Lollipops, adds just the right amount of edge to her button up blouse. Whenever you add a pair of Chuck Taylors to an outfit it instantly makes it seem more casual- even if it’s a dress (one of my favorite things to do) plus the cut-offs add to the grunge a little... but the flowers in her shots balance it out.
Joanna (my girl) from Style Porn, is the perfect blend of hipster meets rich girl <jk>. Bottom line..She’s a boss and she knows it. Playing up the country girl image with the truck in the background really does make the perfect shot to showcase that amazing full skirt. I like how she knotted her chambray top in the front. My summer checklist is for sure going to include a chambray top and colorful full skirt.
Megan from Megan & Melbourne, is such an amazing makeup artist. I love getting tips from her site, but what I love more is that this girl isn’t afraid to push the limits... isn’t that what fashion is all about? Pairing a simple black summer dress that you wore in the day, with tights for the evening is an easy way to transition your outfit without any major changes. I want to look into getting some patterned ones for this season.
Rumi from Fashion Toast has a very girly/romantic vibe with the way she dresses. In the outfit I featured- I love her bubble skirt mixed with sky high platforms. I can’t wait to wear it out to a GNO (girls’ night out) dinner. Plus I can throw on a tailored blazer to keep the look chic, classic and simple.
Denni from ChicMuse has been anywhere and everywhere. So if you're looking for a new trend, she would be your girl. Whenever she travels she always tries to embrace the culture and dress, all while still being true to her own style. The beautiful sundress that she wears in the shot is one that I instantly fell in love with. In the summer I gravitate toward dresses because they're such an easy outfit and there isn't any guess work.. just accessories to add. I also can’t wait to bring out my "too big for your face" sunglasses- the perfect summertime accessory out here in California.

so readers... what are some of your summer must haves?


Vintage Lollipops

Style Porn

Megan & Melbourne

Fashion Toast


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

::homemade dressings::

The summer time is filled with backyard BBQ's, picnics at the park and late night get-togethers with friends. And I really cant imagine any of those settings without a salad as one of the dishes to share. As I've told you here, I love a good salad. Sometimes all I really have is the spinach, so I rummage through my refrigerator and pantry until I find some goodies to throw in with the leaves. Most times, my unusual combinations turn out pretty pleasing... I try to write those down or store them well in my brain for next meal.

How fun would it be to impress your friends with some homemade salad dressings...? You can brag how they're all natural and that all the ingredients are organic (mine are) and that you just threw it together, last minute. They would be so thrilled. I have found and created a few that I think are some healthy options. They taste great and are so flavorful without all the empty calories and  extra fat. Plus, most of the dressings are created to enhance the natural flavors in your salad mixture- like the use of ginger or lemon.

my dinner from the other night

All recipes can be stored in an air tight container (glass or plastic) and in the refigerator for a few weeks, any longer and it gets a little questionable. I hope these recipes help you to excite your friends and treat yourself to a delicious DIY creation that you can personally be proud of!!

Speaking of DIY, I have just completed a project that had been inspired by Emily over at Cupcakes and Cashmere. I decided to try her bottle topper idea, but tweaked it a little to make it my own. I hope to show you a little later in the week.

Thousand Island Dressing
3/4 cup greek yogurt
3 TBSP sour cream ( I use non fat)
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup pickle relish
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1 hard boiled egg, chopped (optional)

Italian Dressing Mix
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoon oregano
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried celery flakes
to make the dressing- Add 2 TBSP dry mix, with ¼ cup (red wine or balsamic) vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup lemon juice 2 TBSP water

Almond Ginger Dressing (great for a Cobb salad)
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup water
4 tablespoons tahini
1 medium clove garlic
3-4 basil leaves
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
Blend together in a blender till smooth and add water 'till the right consistency.

Orange hummus dressing (great for a salad with fruit in it)
3 Tbsp plain Hummus
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp honey
½ lemon squeezed
1 tsp garlic powder
Red pepper flakes to taste (depends how hot you like it)

Creamy Avocado Dressing (it's a really great dip too)
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. lime zest
1 Persian cucumber
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 to 1 tsp. chili powder
Dash of sea salt
blend all together and add additional water if you like it thinner.

sources 1,2

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Size does matter...

No, this isn't a post about those annoying info-mercials. This is something that you should use to educate yourself with. Most people don't know the proper amount of food they should be eating for their body size, and unfortunately people are eating way too much food.  Did you know that from the late 70's to today, the daily average intake of calories has increased by over 500 calories. If one pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories, then that equates to people gaining an extra pound PER WEEK!!! And if you aren't active enough to burn off those extra calories, then they just stick with you.

This article that I found in Fitness magazine, is all about the correct portion sizes and what you should realistically be eating in one sitting. There are a few tricks that I use when I'm eating out, because everyone knows restaurant portions are way too big. I know that the palm of my hand in equal to 3 oz and that my entire hand is 5 oz. I try to use it to measure my steak or chicken, so I know when to stop. Sometimes I ask for half of my entree to be packed in a to go box even before I've started my food. And my favorite is to always order a salad before, that way I fill up of healthy veggies while everyone is noshing on the bread basket.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!! Get outside and go for a hike, bike ride or just a walk... The weather int he Bay is going to be beautiful, I know I will for sure be outside soaking it all in.

xx ciao

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mental Health Kick

I know I write a lot about physical health on this blog, but it is also really important to keep your mental health in balance as well. Sometimes people get so stressed out with their day or irritated with the people in it, and they have no release for the tension that is building up inside of them... this my friends is bad news.

Everyone should have some kind of outlet or have special tricks for dealing with the stress. I have a lot of demands from work and everything has to be right All The Time (no slip ups) or I would loose my job. Which is hard because humans make mistakes, it's common knowledge and there are millions of examples... but when you're dealing with people's money it's a whole 'nother story. Life at home is stressful sometimes too. After a long day, all you want to do is come home and veg out. But if you have laundry, dishes, making dinner and errands all on your to do list, it can be hard to get relaxation time in. Then you go to bed and have to do it all over aging the next day. I can go on and on about different triggers, but what it comes down to is... how you handle them.

I like to practice yoga, its a hour and a half of quiet time just for me. I can focus on my breathing and work out the problems in my head while I work on strengthening myself. Breathing is something I do for calming down in a tight situation. Removing myself from the problem and taking a minute break of deep breathing helps me. Then when I come back to the problem, I have a better mindstate and I can see the solution much clearer. I know it sounds cliche, but taking a moment for yourself can make life a little easier to handle sometimes. Not being able to handle your stress levels can lead to physical problems for your body, not just mental. Unfortunately, I know people who fall into his category and it's sad to see that they can't help themselves. 

I have compiled a list of healthy habits for you that can help in certain situations, like the ones mentioned above. I hope the next time you start to wig out, you take a deep breath and take some of my advice. 

1. Guided Imagery- Practicing guided imagery is a fun and simple way to take a break from stress. Clarify what you want, and build optimism, and go for your goal. It's a relatively quick pathway of mental peace. When you focus on your objective, think of your path to get there- talk up your confidence... you CAN get through this hurdle.

2. Journaling- Journaling can be used in several different ways, all of which can relieve stress. Because journaling is proven by research to bring several health benefits in addition to stress relief. Write about the people who cause your stress, maybe you just need to detox them out of your brain. Work out your problems and brainstorm ways to change them.. where should you start?

3. Meditation and Progressive muscle relaxation- Meditation  and PMR bring short-term stress relief as well as lasting stress management benefits. There are many different forms of meditation to try--each one is unique and brings its own appeal. One of my best friends swears by this practice. She downloads different podcasts on itunes and gives herself 20 minutes before bed. Bonus**She also says it helps her sleep better. : )

4. Music Therapy- Music can alter your physiology in ways that help you to relieve stress. It's an enjoyable, passive route to stress relief. Getting your mind off the problem and getting joy from your favorite tunes can change your mood instantaneously and when you deal with your problem after, it's easier with an optimistic outlook. But, maybe stay away from music that is too depressing. Creating playlists for various moods (a cathartic mix for when you want to process feelings, an upbeat mix for when you need more energy, etc.) can help you to relieve stress passively, enjoyably, and conveniently.

5. Work it out- Exercise is a fantastic stress reliever that can work in minutes. Taking a walk allows you to enjoy a change in scenery, which can get you into a different frame of mind, and brings the benefits of exercise as well. Hitting the gym is a great way to relieve tension build up, it will leave you with a clear head. Physical relief is a a great option, plus with that extra adrenaline, you might push harder during your session.

6. Work on your time management skills- maybe this is an area that's your not so good with and it is one of the major causes of your stress. Honing your time management skills can allow you to minimize the stresses that you experience, and better manage the ones you can't avoid. When you are able to complete everything on your "to do" list without the stress of rushing or forgetting, your whole life feels easier and you aren't overwhelmed.

7.  Learn Assertive Communication Skills- Relationships can be great stress relievers. Knowing how to keep your relationships healthy through effective communication is one of the best investments of time and energy for stress relief. Your significant other is on your team, tell them when you need a listening ear or when you need to talk out a situation without being judged. Verbally releasing the bad emotions/thoughts that have been stuck in your head all day, can also help you process things easier just by hearing it outloud.
8.  Don't Procrastinate- Don't set yourself up for failure, it didn't work in high school and it doesn't work now. Putting off a stressful or labor-intensive project can only increase the stress you experience. Learning how to stop procrastination can allow you to get done what you need to do, without the added stress of rushing for a deadline. The worst is when some unexpected event happens and forces your focus away from your project, resulting in unfinished work.... don't be the person whose "dog ate their homework."
9.  Connect- When you're stressed and irritable, your instinct may be to wrap yourself in a cocoon. Instead, reach out to family and friends and make social connections. Social contact is a good stress reliever because it can distract you, provide support, help you weather life's up and downs, and make you feel good by doing good. So take a coffee break with a friend, email a relative or volunteer for a charity with your significant other.
10. Get some help- You might want to do it all, but you probably can't, at least not without paying a price. Learn to say no to some tasks or to delegate them. Saying yes may seem like an easy way to keep the peace, prevent conflicts and get the job done right. But it may actually cause you internal conflict because your needs and those of your family come second, which can lead to stress, anger, resentment and even the desire to exact revenge. And that's not very calm and peaceful. So when you know you need help, ask for it.

sweater- Ann Taylor, jeans- William Rast, glasses- Electric

sources 1, 2.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

wine tasting {{part two}}

The winery that we visited after lunch was Darioush and it was breath taking. Right when we pulled up we thought that it looked more like a royal palace than a winery. It was designed and built using many different materials from all over the world, and boasts its influenced design. "Reminiscent of the great noble architecture that once existed, the imagery of the Darioush building evokes Persepolis, the illustrious capital of ancient Persia" The gift shop that is housed inside the tasting room is more like a pop up Barney's Boutique. With uniques finds from Missoni, an assortment of crystal champagne flutes and serving dishes, multiple high profile biography novels, and other classic home and entertaining goods, you could finish up your Holiday shopping in one swoop.

After a beautiful tour of the grounds and the buildings, our host took us down into the cellar where he had prepared a wine and cheese pairing with 5 of their special release and library wines. Out of all of my favorites the Merlot was my favorite and I had to take home a bottle at the end of the night. I'll save it for a special occasion however, before I taste it again. Aside from the wine being delicious, the tasting room was very extravagant. In middle eastern culture the term my home is your home is more of a way of life, than just a saying stitched on a hanging tapestry. Our host made it very clear that the owner wants you to enjoy your time there and everything is put in place to make you feel as welcome as possible. If you're in Napa and you feel like vacationing to another part of the world I hope you get the chance to experience Darioush Winery.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wine tasting {{part one}}

in the barrel room
  As I told you before, I had a wonderful trip to Napa Valley a few weeks ago, I had never been. On our trip we were able to visit two wineries, Silver Oak and Darioush winery- both were exquisite. Silver Oak had more of an old world vibe in their decor and Darioush had a very glitzy, high- class feel. After admiring the first winery and enjoying a complimentary tour we got to sample some of their classics. Gorgeous grounds, especially the vines, they were lush and green and looked to be right off of a wine label. If you are in the area and love a good Cab, I highly reccomend their place.  I felt a little funny having a glass of wine before noon, but as they say... do as the Romans do

view of the property

:: me with my cupcake tray ::
Lulu dress from Therapy, swarovski havaianas sandals

Jackie had the most gorgeous nails that day. A deep coral color with gold tips. Which she explained to me to be much easier to do than it looks. I love to have pretty nails, but I didn't believe that I could do them myself (because I'm terribly uncoordinated). And I don't always want to pay extra at the nail salon.
Turns out it only takes a few steps.
1) paint you base color x 2
    2) use a make-up sponge with a small amount of glitter
nail polish on one end and dab the tip of your nail.
3) start to dab about 3/4 of the way out on your nail
and concentrate it more as you get closer to the edge.

It creates the perfect ombre effect because the porous surface of the sponge doesn't allow too much glitter to rub off when you apply it tot he nail.

I don't know which shines more..

We decided to head to the Oxbow Market and check out the competition for San Jose's new market. For lunch we dined at the the Kitchen Door and I had a wonderful soft shell crab sandwich. It had just the right amount of crunch and salty flavor, but the dressing that came with it was cool and creamy and added just the right of smooth to every bite. Totally not on the regular menu, but it was a special occasion so I thought it would be acceptable. The market was very eclectic inside and reminded me of a future San Pedro Square Market. i hope ours will be as successful. It had everything inside from cheeses to spices to coffees and ice creams. It really did hold quite a few vendors, who I would be interested in seeing again. I also liked the layout of the interior, it seemed as though all the shops were crowded together but still had a comfortable flow throughout the stands.

bloody mary, sweet potato fries, crab sammy

Oxbow Cheese Market

baked delights
"it's ok, they're organic"

Sunday, June 17, 2012


farmers market flowers

swimsuits signal the beginning of summer.

This was one of the first weekends that we didn't really have to do anything, well I didn't have to any way. My boyfriend had a day trip to Santa Barbara for business on Saturday and Father's Day was today. The weather was set to be warm and sunny. It was the perfect combination for a weekend filled with relaxation. I feel like the last few weekends have been a whirlwind and really the only thing I wanted to do this weekend was, be lazy. I missed my usual activities, and made a promise to myself that I would try to slow down. From the pictures you can see my enjoyment from previous weekends. PLUS the rejuvenation project of a ten dollar table we found from a moving sale. Quite the deal of the century.

cupcakes from Icing on the Cake bakery

loved the over grown yard

I was able to catch up on reading some of my favorite magazines while laying outside, Saturday after work. Then ran a few errands and picked up my hunny from the airport that evening. Sunday morning we enjoyed breakfast at home and then a trip tot he local farmers market. easy breakfast idea- an Ezekiel Brand english muffin with a TBSP of Almond and Flax Seed butter and smashed bananas on top. It weighed in at 210 calories and filled me up till 1. pretty easy meal, if you ask me...

organic vegetables from the Veggie Box

flowers from the farmers market

We rode our bikes to the farmers market in Japantown to pick up fruit for the week. We don't get our vegetables there that often. Ever since the Veggie Box opened in the San Pedro market we don't shop anywhere else, we cant find cheaper organic produce anywhere. Later in the day we headed to our bbq, which was delightful and very filling. My mom brought her famous blueberry salad
:: spinach, blueberries, cheese of your choice (Gorgonzola, feta, blue..) pecans, raspberry vinaigrette::

Sitting here on my couch reminisceing about my weekend, it was just what the doctor ordered. I got to relax and enjoy some of my old weekend activities... plus it was the perfect way to spend the last of my time with the boyfriend.. he leaves me for two weeks on a "boys excursion" what will I do for that long!??  ha ha ha ill tell you what.. eat Ben and Jerry's right from the carton, watch the Real Housewives marathon on Bravo and enjoy the fact that I could have breakfast for dinner each night if I really wanted. But really, Maddie and I will miss him like crazy. Before he leaves on a trip i always stuff his bags with little notes. I figure if I miss him this much and get to be at home, it must be harder missing us and being away. So when he sees my notes, I hope it makes him smile.

Also I got this pretty amazing cupcake cutter, that I really want to try. I'm thinking that a German chocolate cupcake with a coconut caramel center and chocolate ganache topping might be in order.. but who knows i might do half with the topping and the filling reversed, just to see which I like better. And below is the rehabilitation project of the table we found in Los Gatos. We needed a new end table in the living room and I had wanted room for a blanket basket- so this seemed like a good idea. Since then, Maddie has assumed that the blanket basket was set up for her and has taken it as a bed.


After (sanded and re-finished)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fitness and Travel

Sometimes its hard to keep your motivation up when you're on vacation. But your body will thank you when you return home, if you keep at it even when you're on the road. When we are away from home we always like to try and get a workout in because it helps us stay on track with the rest of our routine. If you go for a jog in the morning, you are more likely going to grab some fruit and eggs for breakfast instead of doubling up on the pancakes. It just makes you feel better.
On a side note, but still connected with healthy eating, one of my coworkers recently switched up his eating habits. He began with a "clean" diet on Monday and was really feeling good about himself.  Then he went out to dinner with his fiance's family to an Itallian food restaurant. The next day at work and he told me he had the lasagna of course and how horrible he was feeling. I asked him if it was because he felt guilty for eating it and not sticking to his new clean eating routine. But he said it was because he could literally feel the food sitting in his stomach. I tell this to people all the time, once you start giving your body clean food it is so important not surprise it with a "bad" meal- because you can feel your body rejecting the fuel.

1. Pack the right clothing

When I travel I always pack a pair of running shoes, yoga pants and a couple sports tops. I can usually manage with these items and keep a rotation going. I choose thin material garments so I don't use too much space in my luggage.  Because let's face it, who wants to waste all that room on workout gear when it could be filled with cute vacation clothes. So be smart when you pack, think "what do I really need, and can I reuse this after a rinse in the shower".

2. Know your location.

When you know where you're going, its easy to tailor your activities to what is available to you. Livestong is a great site for finding trails, running routes, and biking locations. But, even a simple Google search will tell you if there is a high school in the area with a track. If that's not your idea of fun, then see if you can find any community parks near to where you're staying. Many parks  nowadays have gym equipment installed near the play structures. Create your own work out with the pull up bars or balance beams. Some even have self rotating elliptical machines, sure they aren't powered but from experience at the gym you should know about how many calories you burn each hour- I do about 700-800 cals.

3. Workout in the room

If you're pressed for time, maybe a 20 minute High Intensity workout is a better fit. Have a jump rope on hand ( about $5 to $10) it is a great cardiovascular workout and warm up to any routine. Start with some weightless activities, unless you brought some- they're always good to incorporate into any workout. Squats, lunges, pushups, crunches, burpees, and planks are all great to incorporate with one another for an entire body workout. For the more advanced athlete you could try hand stand push ups, double unders, or jumping squats. Note: Be conscious of the other hotel guests... No jumping before 7 am.

4. Eat right, take a tip from my co-worker

When you are away on vacation don't just give up on your regular eating habits and go willy nilly. I agree that when your on vacation its ok to splurge a little, but not at every meal.. you'll hate yourself when you get home and have to get back on track. If you know you'll be eating out for dinner, opt for fruit and wheat toast for breakfast. Or if you skipped breakfast have a nutritious spinach and cranberry salad at lunch to pump your body full of vitamins. You don't have to eat fast food everytime your away from home. Most places offer many healthy alternatives on their menus- so you can keep clean. But if you have to be naughty I suggest the Turkey burgers from Carl's Jr, at around 450 cals they're packed with protein and won't undo your hard work. Another BIG TIP is to remember to drink MORE water than you do on a regular basis.

Enjoy your trip. Ciao xx

Friday, June 8, 2012

Oreo Hazelnut Truffles

This dessert is so decadent, I don’t know if you should even try it because you won’t be able to limit yourself to just four?? Heaven knows I wasn't able to. I pop them like M&M's- I do like to make them on the smaller side, for that very reason. They are very simple to make and only require 3 ingredients (4, if your are adding a flavor).

I like to give them as gifts at holiday time or as special gifts for close friends who just cant get enough. They are also great as hostess gifts… because you can whip them up fairly quickly, if you are invited somewhere last minute. I always try to decorate my packaging, because I believe presentation is just as important as the item you created. I like to make my packaging look effortless, not over the top or over done…

All you need for the truffles is a large package of jo-jo’s from trader Joes (they are the equivalent of Oreos, but I like the texture of them better) some non fat cream cheese and chocolate chips, I like dark. This time around, I made hazelnut truffles and used the Justin’s Hazelnut Butter for the filling.

Grab 2 gallon sized plastic bags and put all the cookies into one and then put that bag into the other, this part can get messy if you don’t double up. With a rolling pin, crush all the cookies then shake the bag and repeat. Do this until all the cookies are crushed into crumbs- NO LUMPS!! Pour your crumbs into a bowl and add two Tablespoons of the cream cheese and start mixing. Add more cream cheese if the mixture is too stiff. If you are adding a flavor, like a butter or bananas, put one Tablespoon of cream cheese and one Tablespoon of the other ingredient at a time. Again, if it is too dry add one spoonful of each ingredient until it forms the consistency you’re looking for. You want it to be moist enough to roll into balls and stay together, but not loose their shape after you set them down on a tray.

Let them chill in the refrigerator for a half an hour or so…. You want them cold when you drop them into your melted chocolate. I just put the bag of Ghirardelli chocolate chips into a pan and let them melt (set your range on medium). Drop 5 or 6 in at a time, roll them around so they’re fully coated and pull them out with tongs. Put them back on your baking sheet and back into the fridge. I like to put sprinkles on top for color, but they taste just as good when they’re plain.

I used clothing boxes and formed a holder out of aluminum foil to set inside. Tissue paper was rolled for the edge where the foil doesn’t quite meet the box. Then I just tied some red raffia around the top after I boxed them up. Perfect!! xx

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Homemade Cinnamon Chai French macarons

So, I debuted my macarons the other night on my twitter/instagram and I had a lot of responses asking for the recipe... so I suppose I could share...

I started with this recipe here . My sister had mentioned to me the other day, a cupcake recipe that she wanted to try. When I heard the flavor combinations, I thought it would be just as good as French macaron. Now I had never made the cookie.. but I didn't think that it would be too hard, which it wasn't.  I looked up a few recipes and landed on the one I just shared with you. The only thing I changed was that I added cinnamon to the dry ingredients and pumpkin pie spice and cardamon... just a sprinkle of each. 

Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)
1/3 Teaspoon of cinnamon
1/3 Teaspoon of Cardamom
1/3 Teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice

Turn the oven on to 200 degrees, grab your lined baking sheet.

I mixed the dry ingredients together in one bowl. And then mixed the egg whites with the blender and made it into soft peaks (when you lift the beater out they make a peak and the fall over) in another. Then I added the sugar in with the whites and did it in three batches. I beat the eggs until it formed into hard peaks (you can guess what that means.)Then I mixed the dry ingredients in with the eggs, in 3 batches.

Pipe the mixture onto the baking sheets, about 11/2 inches wide.Bake them for 5 minutes. I did them in a circular pattern and then helped it to even out.  Then take them out and raise the temperature to 375 degrees, return to the oven and bake them for 7-9 minutes. Watch to make sure they don't get too dark- they don't taste the same.  

Grab a sauce pan and pour your heavy cream in. I bought a 1/2 oz of chai tea at Whole Foods, but I think if you open two tea bag it should be about the same. Steep the tea in your cream for 3 minutes of high, 'till bubbling, then let it sit off the heat for 1/2 hour. stir it ever so often so it doesn't clump. Then add in your white chocolate chips and let everything melt/blend together. use the cream to bind two cookies together, and VoiLa you have a French Macaron!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

tomorrow, you're only a day away...

Technical Difficulty

effortlesslii.blogspot is have problems...
I have tried numerous times today to try and upload my pictures that go along with this post and it will not allow me to. and I'm so proud of how my cookies turned out, their little feet are perfect! So I guess the long wait contines and hopefully I will be able to show you my treats tomorrow..

Last night I had the house all to myself. My boyfriend had to work late, so I played housewife and took over the kitchen. I decided to make Oreo hazelnut truffles and French macarons. My sister was telling me some brainstorming ideas for cupcakes and one really made me excited. I decided to alter it and turn it into a little sandwich cookie. I made cinnamon cookies and a white chocolate chai butter cream. I still have to assemble them tonight, so we will see how they turn out. Ill post pictures soon, but today you only get a sneak peak.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

sweet potato salad

Had a really fun weekend for Memorial Day. I got Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off- a real 3 day weekend. I went to the I Love The City Tour on Saturday night and it was amazing. There were tons of great DJs on all of the stages, I especially liked the small stage out in the parking lot. It featured a ton of dub step artists, kinda my thing. There was also a really cool areal/cirqe de soliel performance that two women did at one of the stages. They were really strong and super buff.

favorite stage at the concert.

On Sunday we went and saw the movie Chernobyl Diaries.  It is a similar plot to the Hills Have Eyes... if you saw that a few years ago. Well if you like the movies of things that "go bump in the night/ behind all the actors that only the camera can see".. then this is right up your alley. Even if you don't get scared easily I think some parts will startle you. I wouldn't have minding just seeing it at home once it's released and would pass along the advice to you- so you can skip the theater.

fresh flowers for the kitchen

On Monday we went out to Breakfast to Betsys Restaurant in Morgan Hill. I had the pleasure of trying their Chili Verde, which was amazing!! I also got to sample their homemade corn beef and hash- the meat was so tender and flavorful. If you have time and are in the area it is a great family owned place for breakfast or lunch. Plus, it's located right next to Morgan Hill Bowl- if you're up for a game afterwards! The remainder of Memorial Day was spent at BBQ's- please enter my fabulous potato salad, featured below.

Pierre, my friend at one of our BBQ's

On Tuesday we went and spent the entire day in Capitola, the weather was fabulous. I walked to the beach and took a trail that wrapped along the coast. I also had the pleasure of taking a trip to the famous Gayles Bakery. Everytime I think about that bakery, my mouth starts watering. Let me just tell you that the blackberry tart is very good and I highly recommend it if you can take the time to get out there.

walking the cliffs in Capitola
Healthy Sweet Potato Salad

3 or 4 large sweet potatoes
10 small red potatoes
balsamic vinegar
champagne vinaigrette
olive oil
1/3 cup of raisins
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Italian seasoning
black pepper
fresh garlic
fresh chives

Turn your broiler on high and fill a large pot with water. Cut your sweet potatoes into 1.5 inch cubes and add to the pot of boiling water. smash your garlic with the side of the knife and throw those into the pot as well. Cut your red potatoes in half and toss them with the champagne vinaigrette and olive oil. spread them onto a baking sheet and broil for 15- 20 minutes- flipping and stirring every five minutes. check on your sweet potatoes after about ten minutes, they should be easy to puncture but not mushy. Drizzle it with the balsamic vinegar for flavor... but not too much. When both sets of potatoes are finished cooking remove them from the heat so they can cool. Add as much or as little of the spices as you like ( I like a lot of flavor). Toss in your raisins and yogurt and gentle mix together. Add the chives for garnish... and your done!!
and the hit of the party!!

sweet potatoes cooling

roasted red potatoes

finished product

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