Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The LBDD (Little Black Dancin Dress)


Dress: Forever 21//Shoes: Target

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

As a very infrequent online shopper, I wearily ordered this dress online from Forever 21 because I just wanted some affordable tassel action in my closet.  I also haven't been feeling particularly social and the days I want to put on pants and wear makeup lately are an extreme rarity (aren't I just lovely?).  I definitely am the one person who shouldn't be shopping because I'm still on a super tight budget, so I was planning on returning this dress after a bout of serious buyer's remorse and guilt but then the unexpected happened....  This thing amazing!!!   

So I know Forever 21 is frequently used to describe the opposite of fashion and it's frequently the synonym of cheap.  I do feel that often the clothes also wrinkle extremely easily and become generally dilapidated after one measly wash, but c'mon!  How could you pass this thing up?  It's from their special contemporary collection and in the online photos it looks a little like a circus tent, but in real life it's actually pretty darned interesting.  It has 2 layers, one being sort of a solid, sheer-ish split sheet (like bat wings) that covers a square shaped fringe layer (like a Grandma's table cloth) and when you move, it separates a little and swings around all crazy.  I got SUPER dizzy spinning around endlessly and I was shaking my hips side to side at every stoplight on the way home which makes me realize I should probably NOT be wearing this at night alone... People might get the wrong idea.

Here is a close up of the bottom layers of the dress because I did kind of a weird and lousy job of explaining it.  Not entirely sure what the correct cut of this dress is classified as, but I guess it's very similar to one of those scarf dresses?  God, is THAT even the correct name?  A scarf dress?


What do you think about this?  Is this something you would add to your closet or would you toss it aside?  Also, what are your general thoughts about Forever 21?  Is it worth paying for something that's cute that will not hold up for the long run?  Or do you splurge on key items that are well made? Comment below!  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Easiest Cinnamon Rolls EVER


Another Easy Peasy Recipe

Greetings!  This Tuesday I bring you a modified recipe from The Minimalist Baker yet again! I'm sure you can tell that I'm pretty much obsessed with her recipes and every time I search for new ones, I always stumble across her page because she has recipes for absolutely everything.  Next time I promise I'll stop copying her and I'll find another source to obsess over.

So I've never actually made cinnamon rolls from scratch before, but looking at the ingredient list made me want to give it a shot because I had everything needed to make these in the pantry!  We always end up buying the pre-made kind that come in a biscuit can that are usually very delicious, but there's something I love about the smell of a good ol' yeasty dough as it rises and bakes.  Our apartment smells fricken delicious right now, like the Pillsbury Doughboy's butthole (haha JK). 

These took practically no effort but the worst part was probably just waiting for the dough to rise for an hour because I'm super impatient and I kept wanting to POKE it repeatedly.  I think you can actually see some finger marks in the rising dough picture.  I also still don't have a rolling pin (don't hate) so I had to use an old Jameson bottle.  Next time I'll get one before tackling ambitious rolling projects. 


You Will Need:

  • 1 package instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup almond milk (I used vanilla but the original recipe calls for unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tbsp (separated) 
  • Cream cheese frosting


 

Method:

  1. On the stovetop in a medium saucepan (or microwave in a small bowl, heating in 30 sec increments) heat the almond milk and butter until warm, but never allow it to boil.  Remove from heat or microwave and let it cool until it' slightly warmer than room temp- not too hot, not too cool.  We don't want to kill our yeast! 
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and sprinkle packet of yeast into the mixture.  Gently mix and let sit for 10 minutes to activate.  Mix in 1 tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp salt. 
  3. Start adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time and mixing until a sticky ball of dough forms.  Remove from bowl and knead on a floured surface until dough is smooth.  Place in bowl and let it rise for 1 hour.  The dough will just about double in size. 
  4. Preheat oven to 350F.  Roll the dough into an elongated shape and brush on 3 tbsp butter. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon.  Roll as tightly as possible and place the seam on the bottom.  With a sharp knife, cut into wheels about 1 inch thick and transfer to a greased baking dish (I used an 8x8 casserole dish).  Bake at 350F for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle with cream cheese frosting, if you want (who doesn't want frosting??).  You're all done!  


Whooaa Momma! *poke poke*


Carl the Kitchen Helper, being worthless as usual 

Aren't they gorgeous?  They taste amazing too, especially straight out of the oven.  I totally cleared out half a pan all on my own after making these so just be warned!  Also, these reheat pretty well for the day after.  Just pop one in the microwave for 15 seconds and you're good to go.   
Let me know if you end up making this recipe and if you add any changes, let me know!  I want to try making these again with chopped walnuts or raisins inside.  

I hope you're having a wonderful start to your week! 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tickled Pink





Top: H&M//Leather Belt: TopShop//Shoes:Madewell//Leather Pouch: American Apparel//Jeans: Pilcro//Sunnies: Anthropologie//Watch: The Horse//Earrings:Bauble Bar

Weekend Vibes

Happy Saturday!  As you can see, we spotted this candy colored wall last week and now absolutely addicted.  I promise I will try to stay away from it after this post but look just at it!  It's just too damned cute to not stop and take pictures in front of.  

In other news, I finally got a new pair of shoes that aren't sneakers!  I've always been such a sucker for a versatile, well made (har har see what I did there?) pair of leather oxfords, so these fit my criteria quite nicely. I'm still a little unsure about the cream color since I usually gravitate towards darker colors, but I think they'll fit into my closet nicely once they get roughed up and dirty.  They look amazing with a cuffed pair of jeans and i'm dying to see what else they might pair well with! 

So about that hair picture...  It's been sort of a personal goal to do more with my hair because I always admire those girls that manage different braids, buns and updos on the regular.  How do they make it look so effortless and where do they even get the inspiration and skills?  I must have missed the crafty hair gene when they were handing it out because I'm more of a wash and wear kind of person who rarely does more than a ponytail.  

Here is my latest pride and joy!  You can recreate it with 2 small rubber bands and a brush.  All you do is take the top third of your hair, make it into a small ponytail, part it in the center and pull it through itself.  Place another rubber band a few inches down the pony and pull it through once again. Super super easy, it's almost embarassing to admit how proud I am of myself for pulling this off.  I'm sure you don't ACTUALLY need directions but I'm the kind of person who's all thumbs with any sort of hairstyle.  This also has kind of a sexy khaleesi vibe that I'm totally diggin'. I bet it would look better with curled or wavy hair but lets be honest, us lazy girls aren't doing that. 
Where the dragons at? 

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Color Pop




These toned biceps are strictly from shlepping cat litter up hills 


Dress: Target//Purse: Primecut Bags//Jean Jacket: Heritage//Watch: The Horse

Pretty in Pink

After a morning of job searching and cleaning up around the apartment, I thought I'd take a little break and trek down some less explored side streets.  I picked up this little bird of paradise plant at a local flower shop along the way and promptly named him 'Jerry' (man, I need friends pretty badly).  The shop owner mentioned that these plants are totally toxic to cats, but only a "deranged and disturbed animal" would attempt to eat it... It's pretty obvious he's never met a cat like ours, because that describes Carl to a T.  I'll take my chances though for some beautiful tropical foliage.  If Carl starts foaming at the mouth, we will know immediately why. 

Caught a local street artist in action just off of a main road and snapped a few pictures before my meeting up with this cute little tortoise shell kitty in an alley on the way home.  I must of sat with her for a total of 30 minutes, petting her and trying to stuff her into my bag. 

I'm still terribly homesick and after experiencing our first earthquake the other morning, I've just been feeling a little antsy and paranoid.  That earthquake was scary stuff!  We never had to deal with anything like that back in Chicago but I guess you have to pick your poison. The choices are:
Good weather year round PLUS freakyass earthquakes?  OR knee deep snow, freezing sleet and huge hail for almost 6 months out of the year? Hey, suddenly earthquakes don't seem too bad! 

I hope you have a great rest of your week!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tasty Tuesday- Roasted Beet Hummus


Happy Tuesday!  Lately I've been desperate to find some new recipes to add to the mix, so naturally I scour Pinterest or All Recipes to find some new ideas.  I truthfully feel a little unfulfilled, since I frequently encounter several "easy" weeknight recipes that seem to revolve around pastas, cheese, meat and processed ingredients.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a short cut in the kitchen and all the tasty, tasty processed foods but sometimes I just want simple fruits and vegetables as the main focus of the dish.  I found myself turning to vegan websites and recipe books to satisfy cravings for simply prepared, minimally processed and fresh recipes.  I stumbled upon The Minimalist Baker and I am smitten.  All her recipes are vegan, GF and they're just soo good.  I can't wait to share one with you! 

By the way, I'm still trying my damndest to make Tasty Tuesday a thing (it WILL happen *eye twitches and crooked finger points at computer*) so don't think you'll be escaping my weird food photos.  So here we are.  I present to you, Roasted Beet Hummus!  

This hummus is finger lickin' good and is directly from The Minimalist Baker!  It's tangy, robust, sweet, creamy, and earthy all at the same time while it provides us that garlicky, savory flavor we all love about hummus.  Did I mention that it looks semi radioactive with this beautiful hot pink beet color?  Let's talk about how to make this. 


You Will Need:

  • 1 small roasted beet
  • 1 15 oz. can (1 3/4 cup) cooked chickpeas, mostly drained
  • zest of one large lemon
  • juice of half a large lemon
  • healthy pinch salt and black pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 heaping Tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


Method: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Wash and scrub your beet until clean and remove and stems or roots.  Cover with a generous amount of olive oil and wrap tightly in foil.  Place in a baking dish to prevent oil from spilling into oven and bake for 1 hour, or until beet is soft enough to easily insert and remove a knife. 
  2. Cool, peel and quarter the beet and blend until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and continue blending, drizzling the olive into it as it's mixing.  Taste as you go and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice as needed.  Add water if the mixture becomes too thick.  You're done! 

BEET MURDERER


So there we have it!  This was delicious with crispy little sourdough baguette rounds and veggies.  This also keeps in the fridge for 1 week after preparing so you can use it as a sandwich spread or dip for quite a long time.  Let me know if you try this super easy recipe!  

I hope you have a great Tuesday!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Adventures in Chinatown













A Day Well Spent

Happy Happy Friday!  Here are a few photos of one of our first and favorite destinations we marked off the ol’ San Franciscan checklist.  I’ve read quite a bit on this neighborhood before moving, so I naturally couldn’t wait to bring my camera by to capture it!

Here’s an interesting fact we learned: San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and it also has the largest Chinese community outside of Asia.  How AMAZING is that? 

Jake got sick of my people watching shenanigans almost immediately as I stalked and photographed anyone who dared to walk in front of an interesting wall or shop stall.  NO ONE was safe from my itchy shutter finger and before long I had snapped so many photos of strangers that we had to take a moment and re-evaluate my creep factor before it got out of hand (e.g. hiding in bushes, following people home).  Maybe they will find these pictures floating around the internet and be extremely flattered someday. Yes, yes, we will go with that.

Have you ever visited Chinatown before?  If, so, do you have any favorite things to do or favorite restaurants?   I would love to know.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: DIY Strawberry Poptarts!


An Afternoon Treat

Happy Tuesday Everyone!  I have decided to start making this rather boring and uneventful day of the week somethin’ special by sharing an easy, fun, and super tasty recipe with you every week from now on!  

This week I decided to try making a yummy breakfast staple of my childhood from (sort of) scratch. I took everything we love about strawberry poptarts and made them, fresher, cuter, and wayy more impressive than the old pastries you get out of that silver sleeve.  Plus, did I mention you will be using fresh, whole strawberries for the filling?  YUM!  Here’s how to make ’em!


You Will Need:

  • 1 package (2 crusts) pre made refrigerated pie crusts (I like Pillsbury)
  • 1 cup freshly diced strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pasteurized milk
  • Sprinkles for topping






Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.  In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup diced strawberries with a splash of water (about 1 teaspoon) and 1 tablespoon sugar.  Stir frequently over low heat for 10 minutes, or until strawberries resemble a sauce.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Prepare your crusts by unrolling onto a clean, dry surface.  I used a notecard folded and cut (so it’s just a little smaller than original size) as a template to ensure all of my crusts will be the same size.  I was able to get 6 individual cuts from each pie crust, but you may be able to get one more assuming you’re way better at arranging things than me!  Shouldn’t be hard, I’m basically the worst. 
  3. Place one side of each crust onto a greased cookie sheet and top with about 1 tablespoon of filling, be careful not to get too close to the corners!  Flatten the filling and distribute evenly across the bottom crust, and gently lay the top crust over the filling and press the edges to seal.  Using a fork, crimp the edges to further seal the pastry and prick the top for ventilation.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are brown and top is golden.  While the tarts are in the oven, combine powdered sugar and milk in a medium bowl and mix until nice and smooth.
  5. Let your homemade poptarts cool before frosting, and get to it!  I found that applying a log shape of frosting in the center and then gently pushing it out towards the corners was the easiest, prettiest way to frost them.  Add sprinkles to top and you’re all done!  Time to impress your friends and family!
The finest kitchen helper in the land.




Tada!  Super tasty and easy, as promised.  I even made a tiny pop-tart for sampling purposes but let's be real.  I totally kept that thing around until it got stale because I couldn't bear to see it's cute little self get crushed.

Extra Credit: 

I hate wasting food in general, so why not use the leftover filling and pie crusts as ice cream topping!? Here’s how to do just that:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F (same as before!) and cut leftover pie crust scraps into matchsticks. Sprinkle 1-2 pinches of sugar over the top and spread evenly onto a greased cookie pan.  Bake for 7-10 minutes until golden and crispy.
  2. Add strawberry topping and crispy pie crust onto vanilla ice cream or whatever ice cream you choose!  It’s delicious.  Trust me!


As always, please let me know if you try this recipe and let me know what you think!  

I hope you have a great Tuesday!