Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pinterest Challenge- White Chocolate Decorations

I'm just putting this out there right now. I have been up for two hours already. I had this image in my head where I would make myself a coffee and finish this post up. But no. We are out of coffee. All that is left is decaf, and that is just not going to cut it on a day like today. I am soooooo sleepy right now. But I will power through this.

So I have another addition to my Pinterest challenge. I don't know about the rest of you who have tried this, but I also have at least five windows open while writing this. It takes effort! Anyway, this post is not exactly like the others. It is more inspired by Pinterest than anything else. The link led to an article on Squidoo with ideas for Valentine's Day cupcakes. I don't know if you've noticed, but it is not February. So my friend and I decided to make a more summery cupcake. There isn't exactly a recipe for this either. So we'll just get into this.

The Cupcake















You don't even know how hard it was to find a good lemon cupcake recipe. It did not exist in my  cookbooks. So we took to the Internet. The right one was on Favourite Family Recipes. It was a really good, really moist cupcakes, so I would suggest using it. Also, how cute is the cupcake liner?

The Decorations

















This was a little difficult. It turns out that white chocolate has a low burning tolerance. So if you are melting white chocolate chips, then you have to microwave it for only 20 seconds at a time. ONLY 20 SECONDS! We learned the hard way. We put the melted chocolate in a piping bag and piped out the decorations on a pan covered with parchment paper. Our decorations were not always the best looking (upper right picture, the one not being piped is a prime example), but it was fun to do.
















Make sure you put them in the freezer overnight though. We did not, and they melted in a a few minutes of starting to place them on.

The Final Product

















Any Harry Potter fans out there? But how great do they look? We also filled the cupcakes with lemon curd and used a great icing recipe, but I didn't end up taking pictures of that process, so no recipes for those today!

These cupcakes tasted so good, and now that I actually know how to do it, the decorations are easy to make. It would work the same way with milk chocolate too.

Have you tried a challenging baking decoration before?

-Daniella


Friday, July 18, 2014

Lessons Learned- Summer Edition

I think this summer has been the summer of bad luck for me technology wise. I have had the most problems with my laptop. Currently, it's my charger causing the issues. My charger is frayed. I got a stern talking to about the fact that a frayed charger is a fire hazard. That means my laptop is dead and I have no way to access all the stuff on it. Did I mention that that's where I pre-write my posts? I mentioned before that I will make an effort to really stick to blogging. So I can't just leave you all hanging could I? What this really means is that this post is 100% made up on the spot because I don't have time to form a thoughtful post as originally intended (because I do some serious edits on those). So here are five things that I have learned this summer.

1. Making an actual plan for the day is probably better than making a list.
I start work later in the morning, and sometimes the afternoon. Typically, that means I would sleep until I have to leave. Instead, I have been waking up early to drive my ever so busy sister to her co-op. So I have a few extra hours in my day. I used to spend them wisely. Now, I have sunk into a routine of eating breakfast and then going back to bed for a little nap. That is awful. That also means that my room is a disaster zone because I'm not giving myself the time to clean up. I blame the fact that I used to write a schedule out for myself and I don't do that anymore. I would watch tv until this time, then tidy my room, workout, get ready for the day, and start a project to finish later that night. I have a to-do list, but it's just sitting there. I need to change this.

2. Taking care of myself and having me time does help me function better.
As a continuation of that last point, I have also not scheduled time for myself. I have not been allowing myself to do my nails every week, or spend time looking through magazines. I have noticed that I have lost touch with myself as a result. I am able to focus and stay determined if I take the time to check in with myself and recuperate on the weekends. Also something I need to work on.

3. Giving back to people is the best feeling in the world.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but I have had a couple opportunities to help others and it has only solidified this fact. Last night, I held an impromptu birthday party for a friend because her family is away on her birthday and i didn't want her to miss out. It was so fun (and totally cute because it felt like we were playing house), and I felt really good about giving her a special birthday. And to think we were planning to only hang out! I'm still smiling over how much fun we had.

4. Don't let family fall behind when you get busy.
This is not one I have experiencd, but I have witnessed.This summer is the busiest for my family. Between figuring out a way to get my sister to multiple destinations and me trying to get a vehicle, we haven't exactly been the most in-tune with each other. And I really miss Brianne. My sister and I have opposite schedules and the only time I get to see her is in the morning when I drive her. The big issue with that is that she is grumpy and not up for talking so much. The poor kid is stressed out over how much she is juggling, and she sometimes starts to push the rest of us away when her emotions peak. I can tell that the lack of communication with us has been affecting her, even if she doesn't realize it herself. She could also take a lesson from #2.

5. The biggest strangers can be your closest friends.
Before this summer, I knew two people from my staff. Now, I know everyone. I know that one guy doesn't like cheddar cheese on roast beef sandwich, and one girl is too nice when she plays soccer, and my boss's favourite flavour of Gatorade is the blue kind. I've witnessed our cashier kill flies with his bare hands, and our building attendant being over-dramatic when he takes the garbage out. It's been pretty amazing how quickly you can get to know someone in a matter of three weeks. I feel so comfortable and so at home with my staff. So open yourself up. Get to know the people around you. Remember:strangers are just friends you haven't met yet.


So there are the things I have learned this summer. Some not so good, others fantastic. It has been a great summer so far, and hopefully I will be able to fix what needs to be fixed and the rest of it will continue to flourish.

How is your summer going?

-Daniella













Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lush Haul

I will be 1000000% honest; I hate hauls. I never think it has any relevance to me. So if you feel the same way and you choose to skip over this, I understand. However, this is different to me. My good friend Marlee at Marlee and You suggested I make a blog post about this because I was so excited about my new products. I fully stand behind what Lush products are all about. I love the idea of all natural, all fresh, all handmade products. My only issue is there is only one store in my city, and it is on the opposite side of town from where I live. When I go to Lush, I spend a lot more money than I should because I want it to last me a few months before I have to drive back out. So it works out. I am always trying new things, but I know the products that I really love. The store itself it incredible, as it has the best customer service I have ever experienced. The last time I went, I ended up making friends with the girl working there. Everyone knows their products front and back. I am also allergic to peanuts and nuts, and they have been able to give me products that are perfectly safe for me. I have only had one product suggestion that didn’t work out. So the base line here is that I love Lush.

Bath Products



1.       The Comforter Bubble Bar
This bubble bar is my absolute favourite. Bubble baths are my favourite. It makes a lot of bubbles, and they last for a long time unlike other bubble products. This product also has Bergamot Oil, which works as an anti-depressant. So basically, use this when you have a rough day. Another bonus about this product is that it can be split into two pieces, so you get double the baths!

2.       Honey Bee Bath Bomb
I have never used this bath bomb before, but my friend suggested it to me. It also has Bergamot Oil in it, which is something I love. I mean, who doesn’t want to have a bath after a tough day? This product was suggested to me when I mentioned I was a lifeguard. It has aloe vera in it, so if I end up with a nasty sunburn, this could be very useful.

3.       Fizzbanger Bath Bomb
This is another new purchase for me. I base most of my product choices on scent. This one is no exception. It also sounds so exciting. The website says it “goes off in the bath water as if it were loaded with miniature fireworks.” I am so excited to try it out based on that description alone! But my bathroom is getting redone, so it will be a while before I get to have a bath again.

4.       Avobath Bath Bomb
This is the first time I have bought this bath bomb. The only word I can use to describe this one fresh. I typically don’t like fresh or floral scents, but this one was different for some reason. I was intrigued by the avocado ingredients too. It also has the Bergamot Oil, and it has olive oil which is a skin softener (who doesn’t love supple skin?). ­­­­

Beauty Products


1.       Bubble Gum Lip Scrub
I have never used a lip scrub before. I spent two weeks in the sun, and my lips got so dry as a result. I decided to try this out. Next time I go in, I will buy some lip balm to go along with it, but I certainly love it on its own. The scent itself is enticing, but the best part is that you can lick off the excess. I mean, BUBBLE GUM! It tastes as good as it smells.

I got this as a sample product for Christmas from my aunt, and I love it. The first time I ever went into Lush was because of this cleanser. It smells sweet, and it feels great on my skin. It does a really good job of stripping the day off of my skin. It is gentler than most exfoliating products. The base of this cleanser is corn which seems odd, but I won’t argue the results!

                Hair Products



           1.       I Love Juicy Shampoo

I just used this shampoo for the first time a couple nights before I wrote this post. I loved the feeling of my hair afterwards, even when it was wet. My friend has been using this product for a while now, and she has said only wonderful things. The both of us have thin hair that gets greasy easily. She says it has been helping with second day hair, so bonus! Another great thing is that it works as a clarifying shampoo. As I mentioned, I am a lifeguard and that means that I pretty much always have chlorine in my hair. Hopefully, this will help my hair this summer. It also contains lemon juice, so between that and the sun, I could very well be blonde by the end of this summer.

The description on the bottle says “strawberry vanilla milkshake,” so you can only imagine how great this conditioner smells. I had no intention of buying a conditioner, but it was better for me to buy another all-natural product to help my hair. I didn’t get as much information on this product, but I know it has already worked to soften my hair the next day. And it really does smell heavenly.

That is everything I bought! I’ll say it again, I love Lush. Let me know if you end up trying any of these products. And let me know if you're interested in seeing more Lush hauls from me! What’s your favourite Lush product?

-Daniella


P.S. How amazing are these jars that I put them in? I found one buried in the back of my bathroom cabinet, and I picked up the other one at the dollar store (it’s actually a vase). 


Friday, July 11, 2014

Pinterest Challenge- Brownie in a Mug

Anyone who has actually been reading this blog knows that I have been obsessed with Pinterest. As it is summer, I no longer scroll through Pinterest on an hourly basis, but that does not mean that I have not been using it to my advantage! I found this pin for a brownie in a mug, and it was only three ingredients, so I was intrigued. I made it almost instantly (Pinterest tells me I pinned it 14 weeks ago at this point), and since then, I have been making over and over to the point where I have the recipe memorized (thank goodness, because my computer does not want to let me get on the site). If chocolate is your thing, then write this recipe down. You will never go back when making an entire batch of brownies is simply too long a process. It is certainly moist and gooey and heavenly.



Ingredients:
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
- 1 egg

Instructions:

1. Use a regular sized mug. Please excuse my Christmas mug, but it is the only size sufficient for this recipe. 
2. Add the icing sugar.
3. Add the cocoa powder (if you're not a fan of extreme chocolatey goodness, then 1 tablespoon works well too).
4. Add the egg.
5. Whisk all the ingredients together until it becomes a gooey mixture.
6. Place in the microwave for 60 seconds.
7. The brownie turns out in a puff.
8. Top with your favourite topping. I have used dark chocolate chips and ice cream, but my favourite by far has been a splash of creme on top. The brownie soaks it all up and it is even more perfect than it already was.

So there you go! Super easy, super quick, and super yummy! I strongly suggest trying it out, so let me know if you do! Remember that you can find all of my Pinterest Challenge completions on my board. Happy brownie making!

-Daniella

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Personal Updates

There is one fact about me that I simply must share at this point. I am not good at routine. It does not come easy to me whatsoever. I get things done when they need to get done, but as I told a friend last night, I typically end up giving up sleep in order to get things done. I started my summer job about a week ago. I'm also doing additional work-ish things outside of work. I have also taken on more responsibility by picking my sister up and dropping her off more often. I'm not trying to make excuses, but I feel the need to tell you all these things to illustrate the fact that I am finding it hard to balance everything. I am certainly trying my hardest, but it's just not so easy to me.

As for this blog, it has taken a downfall. I can tell, and I want to change that. I want people to be interested in what I have to say and share, so I know that I need to put more effort into this. Because I love it. I find inspiration everywhere, and I love having this as an outlet for all of my opinions that may pop up. So I need to focus on sharing. I also planned it out so I can make two posts a week (the three a week I tried to do was never to work out). I'm aiming for every Wednesday and Friday. I also still plan to do my Pinterest posts, because I am still loving the challenge of searching for things to do. 

So. I am going to work at this. For real. I have gained some control (for lack of a better word) for some of the aspects of my personal life and I feel so good about it. I'm hoping to gain that same feeling with complete focus on this. Wish me luck! 

-Daniella

Thursday, July 3, 2014

No Nonsense Nails

I had some family things going on last week, and I did not have much time to sit down and think about what this post will be about, and I was not around on the weekend to actually write it. So I put this all together last week before I went out of town. Also, shout out to past me because she thought this far ahead. Every so often (a.k.a. when I remember), I take pictures of my the nail polish of the week. Because I have not stopped painting my nails, but I have no more weekly post to show you what colour I'm trying out. So I have a few pictures on my phone to show you! This will be short and sweet.

1. Essie- Eternal Optimist

 This is by far one of my favourite colours I have tried. I'm starting to get into more of the neutral shades out there, and this was a perfect colour for it. It went on lighter than it looked in the bottle, and it made it even better.










2. Essie- Mochacino

 I bought this nail polish because I liked the slight sparkle in it. It was okay, but it turned out to be not as pretty when I put it on. I had a lot of issues with making it look even on all of my nails. So this was not my favourite polish.










3. OPI- Give me the Moon

First of all, how great is that name? The lighting is awful in this picture, but the polish in the bottle looks almost pearl-like with a tint of metallic blue. When I put it on my nails, it was a lot more blue than I expected. I still love it though. I'm not sure if it's the polish, or me, but it did turn out a little bubbly. I'll be trying it again though!









Those have been a few of my choice colours for the past couple months. I definitely suggest trying Give me the Moon and Eternal Optimist. And I will try my hardest to take pictures of ALL of the colours I use, because if I ever get stuck again, this was a fun thing to fall back on! What was your most recent favourite colour that you've tried?


-Daniella