Saturday, April 9, 2016

Brown Butter Coffee Cookies with Caramel and Chocolate

WHOA. You guys, oh my god it has been SUCH a long, sad break since I've last posted on here. I'll refrain from going into too much detail because once I start talking about school and life, I know I will not shut up about it and write 5 pages and bore you all to death. I'll probably actually dedicate my next entire post to just that revealing all the juicy news and gossip in my life. Haha just kidding all I do is go to school and study now and my life is actually really boring :'(

I thought, what better way to start back up than with the tastiest brown butter cookie recipe EVER? I know it's Spring time and I should be concentrating on eating healthier for summer time and all, but It's been fricken' snowing here in Chicago off and on and all I want is to eat comfort food and be sad about this crazy weather. Who else has snow going on in April? Mother Nature's a real bitch trickster isn't she?

Ok so these cookies are ridiculous. I've actually never made brown butter before but always heard of how wonderful it was so I thought i'd give it a shot. Not only is it super easy, it smells AMAZING and it really elevates the flavor of these cookies. It has a nutty, sweet, complex flavor and this sounds stupid but it smells really buttery... Hahaha ok I KNOW it's butter but brown butter becomes more buttery somehow. Don't ask me how, just make it yourself to see what I mean! :) Also, there's a nice, subtle coffee flavor to tone down the sweetness of the chocolate and caramel. Basically this recipe has everything delicious in it so how could it ever turn out bad?

Brown butter chocolate chip caramel cookies

You Will Need: 

  • 3/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules (2 tablespoons = 4 Starbucks Via/Foldgers packets!)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I actually omitted this entirely)
  • 1 cup caramel bits (recommended, but I used these cut into tiny squares) 
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter starts to foam, start whisking continuously. The butter will start to darken to a nice golden brown and become fragrant. Once you start seeing little brown bits at the bottom of the pan forming, remove from heat immediately and transfer to a bowl. Let it cool. (How to with pictures here
  2. Mix together flour, baking soda, instant coffee and and salt into a bowl and set aside. 
  3. Cream the butter, eggs and sugars together until well combined. Add vanilla and eggs and mix. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and caramel chunks. Refridgerate dough for 30mins-1 hour. 
  4. Drop 1.5 tablespoons of the cookie dough onto a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges turn golden brown. Devour cookies
  5. Devour all the cookies immediately and wonder why you've never made brown butter cookies before (optional) 

Cookies with brown butter

There you have it! I apologize that I don't have any more process shots making these cookies. I made this dough before class one day and had to bolt out the door to catch my train! These cookies are chewy, flavorful, salty and sweet with a nice crisp exterior. Please let me know if you make them for yourself! Hope everyone is doing really really well and I promise to catch up soon :) 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sheer Thing

 Dress: Cheap Monday//

I'm Back! 

Hi everyone! I am finally back after a much needed little break. Carl and I are doing OK and I started class this past Wednesday. Eek! Can you believe that?! I luckily have a pretty light load with 3 classes (biology, math and chemistry) so I'm happy I wont be drowning in school work right off the bat. I have a little car now to run errands and visit friends with so that's been really nice. All in all, everything is just fine but I have been WILDLY emotional! Like I don't think a day has gone by where I haven't cried at something stupid. The other day I cried at a perfume commercial (wtf?) and then I cried on the train because it was snowing (double wtf??). I'm definitely getting better and more emotionally stable though since i've been busier now (I needed that) and i'm learning to swallow my pride living under my parent's roof. As you can imagine, coming from living on my own with no rules to suddenly having rules that aren't your own has been difficult, haha.  Jake and I are doing well and he seems to be advancing in his career already, so I am extremely proud of him! Also in case you're wondering, Carl has been doing good... TOO GOOD! He's never seen stairs in his entire life so this house is his personal jungle gym for him to run around and scream in at 3am. My parents were really apprehensive about me bringing him along but now they're obsessed with him and carry him around, buy him toys and talk to him like a person. It's pretty funny because they're both self proclaimed dog people, hehe! 

Now, I don't want to dwell on my silly problems because I've had tons of time to ramble on about that in my previous post, but while I'm on this topic I just want to talk about how amazing you guys are.... I literally didn't think anyone would read my last post and was mostly just typing so I could make sense of the entire situation for myself. I can't believe how kind, and thoughtful you were with reading and taking the time out of your busy lives to make sure I was OK and support me. I had to take several breaks from reading these comments, which is why it's taking me SO long to respond because my heart was just overflowing with emotion and you guys brought tears to my eyes several times! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I cannot tell you how much your support and thoughtful words have truly helped me. Nearly every night I've been here, I've been feeling so stupid and thinking I made a huge mistake and I've been calling Jake freaking out and thinking I can't do this but each and every one of your kind comments have helped me stay strong and remember why I am doing this. Thank you so much for being so caring and non judgmental. You have no idea how much this truly means to me! 

Happy Place

The first thing I did when I got home was visit my best friend of 14 years. She's also conveniently my neighbor, so I ran over to her house and we watched The Bachelor (don't judge xD) and other terrible reality TV shows in her bed for a very long time. I really don't know how I have the stamina to do that since I usually can't sit still for more than 15 minutes. After that, I hit up my other bestie, Brysen (pictured above) and we visited the conservatory. I know i've posted pics of this place before, but every time you go it's different and there's always so much to be seen! It's truly my happy place in Chicago and I always find myself returning to it when I'm stressed or upset. I love just sitting and poking moss, looking at ferns and listening to the running water. It's so soothing, and it's free to visit! Awhhh yeah ;) 

With all of these gorgeous backdrops, I naturally used and abused Brysen to take pics of this dress I bought before leaving SF. I absolutely love the oversized, sheer, mesh cocoon that drapes over this strappy slip. It's absolutely gorgeous on and I can't wait to see how else I can wear it! I was thinking maybe with a distressed denim jacket,  layered necklaces or a belt? It's so versatile but I don't want to cover up the interesting silhouette or *gasp* SNAG THE FABRIC. I am sooo so gentle with this, like every time Carl gets within 10 feet of it I would RUN towards it and snatch it up before his toenails can pierce it hahaha. 

I hope you are all are able to enjoy your weekends! I know I have A LOT of catching up to do on your blogs and I can't wait to sit in my big comfy chair and catch up this weekend and see what I've been missing out on :) Love you ladies and thank you so much, once again for being so kind! :) 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Long Trek Home

So.. Hard.. To stay serious... :D
Glasses: Warby Parker//Top: Anthropologie// Scarf: Handmade// 

New Beginnings 

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may know that I've been mentioning moving across the country, once again. I will now spill the beans and stop being so mysterious since I have finally settled and come to terms with everything that is happening. 

To give you a little bit of a back story, I moved to San Francisco only 7 months ago with my Fiancee, Jake. Since I was 16 (10 years ago, yikes!) I've been working in animal clinics and went to school to become a licensed veterinary technician. I practiced as a CVT for about 5 years now, and towards the end, I was working in emergency neurology/neurosurgery and was growing my experience to apply to veterinary school. I absolutely LOVED the work, but the longer I worked in this field, the more I realized how crappy it was. I would always make jusstt barely above minimum wage and I was constantly struggling to stay afloat financially. Combine this with a few horrible bosses in a row and working full time (sometimes going into 50+ hours a week) while going to school full time was just enough for me to hang up my scrubs and call it done. I was just super burned out towards the end. 

After moving to San Francisco, I started entertaining the idea of changing my career entirely but the only work experience I have is in a laboratory or in animal medicine. I felt completely out of my element and I really missed working with animals. I started looking into transferring universities to finish my Biology degree (I have 1 year left!) and all the nearby schools were either wildly expensive, completely impacted or they were NOT able to accept any transfer or biology students until Fall 2017. At this same time, my parents gave me a call out of the blue and offered to support me financially so I could finish school IF I moved back home. I wouldn't have to work so I can concentrate on my studies and I would be able to return to the original university I was part of before moving. I was really pissed off at first, like, "I don't need you guys and I can do this on my own like i've been" but I eventually realized that school and animals is what i've been missing, and that my parents were making it really easy for me to get back into the swing of things. I called my school back in Chicago and was able to sign up for classes that day. The only catch was that my spring classes started two weeks from that point! My family and I made the snap decision to fly me out immediately and I was on a plane within 5 days. 

The Silver Lining

Ok, so here I am, writing this in Chicago during a freaking snow storm. I've been a complete emotional wreck this entire time and I cried so hard at the airport, they gave me free priority access and a window seat upgrade to cry out of some more. It's been hard to swallow my pride and move back home since I've been living independently away from home for 6 years now, but I really am grateful that I have family who can and wants to help me. OH, one more thing that is making this decision extremely hard- we decided that it was best if Jake is stayed in San Francisco while Carl and I flew home... Yeah... Jake is doing exceptionally well out there and there's no way I could expect him to sacrifice his career and happiness for me. I feel extremely heartbroken and traumatized, but I know deep down that this was the best decision for me right now and my future. Jake supports my decision 100% and he wants to make sure I am doing what makes me happy. We are going to be a long distance couple and visit each other as often as possible. :)

I start classes next week, and I'm really nervous. You guys should see how many new stress pimples I have grown, it's actually really impressive. I do plan to apply to vet school in the near future, so I will keep everyone updated with that! Meanwhile, I am busy hunting down school supplies (I LOVE school supplies) and I also decided to make myself feel more studious with a fresh new pair of glasses and silver hair. Old lady vibes, anyone? I like to think I was going for older and wiser haha. I was feeling really frumpy and stressed out, so I ordered 5 pairs of classes from Warby Parker from their at home try on program and took them all for a spin ;) I really like the ones pictured above and think that mixing up my look will help me transition better to the new me. Also, before the move, I naturally procrastinated packing hardcore and just sat around in bed, alternating between naps and drinking coffee. 

I just got to Chicago yesterday afternoon, and it's been a rough adjustment. Also, it's like 2 degrees right now and snowing, but I got a cute little car to get me around and I am ready to start school again. Wish me luck everyone and I'm so sorry for the lack of posting lately! 2016 has just been a complete rollercoaster so far but I am ready to enjoy the ride! Thank you all so much for reading and for your continuous support! :) 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

DIY Daenerys: A Hair Extension Story

Hair Extensions: Irresistible me//Dress: Free People//Ear Cuff: TopShop//

I Dream of Khaleesi 

Hi everyone and happy Tuesday! For those of you who read about my sad hair mishap a little over a month ago, you might know that i've been a little depressed about my hair situation. I was in the process of growing my hair out but it got totally effed up and I lost about half of the volume in the process. Womp womp... It's been doing OK with deep conditioning treatments, multivitamins, and coconut oil hair masks, which has seemed to breathe life back into my otherwise thirsty, damaged locks. *Sigh*. Luckily it's growing back so quickly!

Fast forward to a week or so after the hair incident and I magically get an email from Irresistible Me who wanted to send over some clip in hair extensions. I don't think the timing could have been any more perfect since I was planning to buy extensions on my own to play around with, so this really worked out! Naturally, I got obsessed when I received them in the mail and was wearing them around the house, feeling like a disney princess or Lady Godiva. I've been DYING to do a Khaleesi photoshoot for ages, so I decided that this was a good time and went completely overboard, like I tend to do. With my new head full of hair, this gorgeous Free People dress, and pet dragon, I feel like my Daenerys dreams have finally come true! 

Before and after! 

A Quick Review on Irresistible Me Hair Extensions  

I'm a hair extension n00b and i've only ever used the ones you can get from Sally's (you might know which one's i'm talking about) and I only ever could afford the lightweight ones that I had to cut and sew clips on myself. Needless to say, I looked like the crypt keeper each time I tried to wear my sparse, rough, bargain hair. Since these are much thicker than anything i've used (literally twice as thick as my own hair) it's pretty easy to trick people into thinking that I actually grew it myself. I learned quite a few tips and tricks to getting the styling and positioning jusstt right, and don't get me wrong, it does take practice! After trying different techniques and watching a few You Tube videos (this one really helped me!), I became a master at placing and blending them in. Here are a few things you need to know if you are considering hair extensions for length, thickness, or just for fun!

  1. The color might be slightly off: My hair is almost as white as it can get, so it's hard to find extensions that are processed enough to match my hair perfectly. These had a bit of a warmer blonde tone to them and they looked fine straight out of the box, but I knew I wanted to make them look as natural as possible. I consulted my hair stylist friend who recommended a professional bleach and toner to get them looking more like my hair. It was a super easy fix, but it was a bit time consuming to wash, and dry and style them afterwards. 
  2. The texture might be slightly different than you hair: My hair is really fine, silky and straight, so these are more coarse and thick in comparison. I definitely don't notice just by looking at them, but they do feel different. A really awesome thing about the texture, however, is that they hold a curl ridiculously well. I can't ever get my hair to curl and hold it for longer than 2 minutes, but these babies practically turn into mermaid hair just by looking at a curling iron. They also hold the curl without hair spray or product. I used a 1" curling wand for mine here and brushed the curl out with a wide toothed comb for these soft, pretty waves. 
  3. Blending them with a blunt cut can be challenging: When the extensions weren't curled, you could still see the blunt edges of my hair cut peeking through. If my hair had layers, the shorter bits would just look like shorter layers to the long hair. If you have shorter hair like mine, I found that by incorporating the short pieces on top into a braid, or pinning it back in a half up do' looks pretty good! Also, by giving the hair some texture and waves, it's easier to blend your hair into it without the cut being too noticeable- much like I did! If you look really closely, you can still sort of see the shorter pieces, but overall it just looks like layers. 
All in all, i'm really impressed with these and how they looked once I style them with my hair. They were extremely fun to play around with, and I can't wait to use the individual segments to do some fun braids with next. There definitely was a little bit of a learning curve, but it's easy to get the hang of and I'm really enjoying how they make my hair look so different. I also love having the option of swapping between a short, modern lob and ridiculously long mermaid hair in 15 minutes. Plus, it's funny to freak everyone you know out when you attribute your "sudden hair growth" as a result of "miracle grow" shampoo hahaha. This joke mostly works on boys, who know nothing of extensions, FYI.

Oh I almost forgot! I wouldn't be the "Mother of Dragons" if I didn't have a dragon, now would I? As you can see, Carl is NOT enjoying himself one bit but before you feel bad for him, remember that he wakes us up every morning at 3am, screaming and running around like a crazy person. Also, in case you're wondering where this costume came from, Carl has an entire dress up trunk for special occasions such as these. :)

Let me know your thoughts on hair extensions and my hair transformation down below in the comments! I hope you're having a wonderful week everyone! Thank you so much for reading!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year's and my Resolutions!

Happy 2016! 

Hi everyone! Sorry I'm late to the party with a resolutions post but I have been sooo freaking stressed out lately. I'm in the process of making a big decision so I've been a little elusive while I sit and think on it. Anyways, can you believe it's 2016 already? Where has the year even gone? Part of me gets freaked out this time each year because I realize how OLD I am getting, but part of me really likes it because I'm older and wiser (maybe?)? Also, if I stuck with my resolutions from last year, I will already be a better person this year than the last and hopefully in the next 50 years, I will be a super human who eats healthy 24/7, doesn't procrastinate and is living life to the fullest.

SO This year I have A LOT that I want to do and accomplish, so I have kept my resolutions as specific as possible so it's more of a checklist for me. Here's what I plan to do!

  1. Get Back to School: After moving to California, it's been extremely hard to find any universities that will accept me as a junior transfer student. All of the schools out here are terribly impacted and I can't get into a single one until Fall 2017, so I'm thinking of alternative ways to accomplish this and finish my degree. More on that later! 
  2. Keep Up with Yoga: I keep hearing how wonderful yoga is for your body and mind, and a lot of my friends are getting really into it. I've been wanting to try, but I always get distracted during it or I end up "too" relaxed in sleepy baby or corpse position. I want to find a program I like and stick with it so I can actually see the effects for myself. Anyone practice yoga out there? And do you have any recommendations to get started or perhaps a program I should try? 
  3. Less Snacky Foods and Sugar: Notice I didn't say "NO SNACKS AND SUGAR" hahah because that's impossible for me! My biggest weaknesses are Cheezits (hell-lo Tabasco Cheezits) and Swedish Fish. I don't seem to have an off switch when it comes to eating them, so I will devour them until they are completely gone and nothing remains but crumbs and shame. I always buy them "for Jake" but I know deep down that I will eat them all before he even gets home... I gotta do less of that for sure! 
  4. Eat At Least One Piece Of Fruit A Day: I neglect fruits and vegetables and when i'm hungry and make a sandwich or something that's more filling and satisfying. I completely ignore my fruit drawer in my refrigerator and all our fruit goes bad from weeks of being ignore. Time to change that and make healthier choices! 
  5. Less Phone Time: When we saw the whales migrating for New Years Eve, we noticed that we were the only ones who noticed them at all. Everyone else was too busy taking selfies and texting. I am not even over exaggerating when I say that tons of people repeatedly lined up, took selfies or pictures of their friends and left without even glancing at the view... I don't ever want to be like that but I know it's a slippery slope with technology. I frequently surf Instagram or Facebook first thing in the morning or while I'm waiting to cross the street. In the process, I waste so much time and also fail to notice things that are happening in the world around me. I want to start setting rules for myself where I'm not allowed to take my phone out at all, like when I'm with a friend or after 9pm. I'll let you know how that works! 
  6. Start a Youtube Channel: With my new camera, the world is my oyster! However I have NO idea what I will be talking about yet and just the though of being on camera gives me stress colitis. As soon as I have something to talk about and do with my hands, I will be all over it! I can't wait to start but am super nervous about it. Do any of my fellow You-tubers have any advice for me to get the ball rolling?
So there you have it! My resolutions for the year. What are yours? What do you plan to focus on and what are your goals for 2016? Happy New Year everyone!