Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Business Chic

One of my favorite ways to jazz up an outfit is to add a statement piece. Sometimes you can even have 2 different statement pieces in an outfit and it will still work together. After purchasing my second blazer, I could not wait to wear it. I kept the outfit simple by wearing a dark red bustier style tank top and dark skinny jeans, but I still felt as though something was missing. So, after looking through my jewelry, I picked out a statement necklace that's only been worn once before and it's been with me for 2+ years. 

I think the blazer is a statement itself, because it gives a more sophisticated vibe to a young girl. Horizontal stripes get a bad rep. I love the way this blazer was made and tailored - faux pockets, an amazing collar, and a silky fabric on the inside that can be flipped over and shown at the cuffs. 

Blazer: Vera Moda, Tank: Aritzia, Jeans: American Eagle
Necklace: Forever 21, Ring: Material Girl

Q: How would you wear a blazer? Do you like statement jewelry?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Finds 2

About a month ago I posted my first post in a series called 'Friday Finds'. When I browse the internet, I come across many things I like to bookmark and save; recipes, inspiring posts, etc. Here is the second edition of a Friday Finds collection. First up, a great post to inspire you...

Chiara from The Blonde Salad inspired me though her post on potential. If you feel like you're stuck in a rut, struggling through something, check out this post. It's uplifting and exciting. We all have a purpose in this world, so live out your potential and follow your dreams.

When I baked a carrot cake for Mother's Day, I researched tips for frosting the cake because it needed to look professional. If you've ever been interested in icing a cake with multiple layers, check out this post from Whisk Kid for a no-fail frosting tutorial [pictures included].

I don't think I will ever lose my liking for ripped jeans when paired with a simple white top. Or black. Or gray for that matter. One of my new favorite blogs [Andy Heart] posted an outfit like this, with the addition of a white blazer. Cool, crisp, simple. Monica approved. 

I've never been a huge pasta fan. It's too heavy of a meal, but I do sometimes try the gluten free varieties when they're on sale [I'm trying to lower my gluten intake], and occasionally I'll try the whole wheat varieties, but white pasta just isn't for me. I love tomato pasta sauce though [homemade please], but I have yet to try a really good alfredo sauce. Over at A Cozy Kitchen I came across a recipe for vegan fettuchini alfredo. The sauce contains cashews, nutritional yeast, a shallot, garlic and salt. So simple, and cashews don't offer a strong flavor, so once it's seasoned up, I think this dish has a lot of potential to be a great one!

And to finish off, I bring you a jewelry find! I'm all for unique statement necklaces. This is the 'Geometric Leather Triple Chevron Necklace' [here] from the Rare Bird Etsy shop. I love anything with an orange/mustard color, and it's a great color for summer accessories!

Q: What are something interesting you found recently? A thought? An article? A joke? A recipe for bacon cheesecake? Anything. Please share!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Colorful Shopping

Neon pink. Minty green. Royal blue ombre. 

It's about time I got my summer shopping started. My closet contains far too many black, grey or 'boring' coloured tops, so it was definitely time for an upgrade. I've been seeing neons everywhere: tops, shoes, accessories, even doors! Ombre has been gaining popularity since last year, especially in hair color department, and now I'm seeing it in clothing. It's actually very easy to make homemade ombre clothes at home with some dye (fabric dyes or natural dye). Think tie dye (which was all the rage last summer), but ombre is an easier project.

This picture is not exaggerating the brightness of the neon pink, definitely hot pink. I love it paired with beige jeans or white shorts. Purchased at Dynamite

A tad too big, but I just had to purchase this top from Zara. While it's semi sheer, it's made from a comfortable, light fabric that is ideal for hot summer days. I can't wait to wear this one with white shorts, and possibly red or white Converse sneakers to tie it together.

This tank is a lovely bright mint green, quite opposite to the mint pastel shade that was trendy last spring. Think nail polish - 'Mint Candy Apple' by Essie for last year [I wore it here]. Now it's more of a 'Turquoise and Caicos' by Essie shade [worn here]. This was also purchased at Dynamite, a store I usually never step into, so I was quite surprised to find 2 summer tops that I'm in love with, and will definitely wear a lot this summer.

The low back line really intrigued me to this top. The front neck line is similar to a crew neck, and the back droops low, but not too low where it would expose your bra. I think I would wear a bandeau with this top, although it's not necessary. The bottom on the back droops low, so this top is perfect to pair with leggings because the leggings will cover your booty! Purchased at Zara.

Q: What are your favorite spring/summer trends? What will you be wearing this summer?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mama Loves Carrot Cake

Flowers. Cake. Presents. 

This year, my mom didn't ask for anything special for Mother's Day, which is what she says every year. But, I still wanted to make it a special day for her, so early in the morning I picked up fresh flowers, and wrapped up her gift - a picture frame that says 'family' on the bottom, purchased from Chapters. We have one that says 'friends' displayed in the front of our house, so I have a feeling the 'family' frame will go near that one. 

Even though my mum didn't ask for anything, I knew she had wanted some real, authentic, home made carrot cake for quite some time. Mother's Day was the perfect occasion. I spent my Saturday night baking up a storm in the kitchen. I used this recipe because it had a high rating. I did make some substitutions such as: less sugar, no coconut or raisins, more carrot, more cinnamon, and I subbed a cup of all purpose flour for whole wheat flour. These changes made it a tad healthier, but everyone still raved about the flavor and texture of the cake. I also baked it for 10 more minutes because I had a feeling it was not done through the toothpick test.

Since I baked the cake on Saturday night, it had the chance to completely cool off overnight. I sliced off the top portion with a long, serrated bread knife, in order to make it flat. If you're going to frost it, it's a good idea to gently flip the cake over, like shown above. Another tip is to place the cake in the freezer for 1-2 hours before frosting. It will slightly freeze and firm up, therefore making it easier to cut and less crumbs everywhere, especially mixed with the frosting. Don't worry about perfecting it here, the frosting covers it all up.

The next step is to cut the cake in half because two layer cakes are much more interesting than single layer cakes, right? I suggest using a long, serrated bread knife again to evenly cut through. If you mess up the cut, that's OK! Trust me, the frosting covers it up and no one will notice.

The recipe that I used for the cream cheese frosting can be found here. I used 2/3 vegan cream cheese and 1/3 of regular cream cheese. Delicious frosting, especially infused with organic vanilla extract. After the layers were separated, I used a spatula to spread on approximately 1/3 of the frosting in the middle. This is why cooling the cake is important: since it's firm, it's easier to deal with and the frosting wont become runny.

Once there is a layer spread in the middle, stack the other layer on top. Now, you can begin to frost the outside. Don't be stingy! Apply a huge dollop on top, and carefully spread it around with your spatula. Avoid making it too thin because you will bring crumbs up from the cake that mix with the frosting (it looks more visually appealing with less crumbs mixed in the frosting).

Reserve a bit of your frosting because you're going to dye a portion of it orange, and another small portion green. If you having piping bags on hand, those work well, but plastic Ziploc type bags are also fine for this. Use a spoon to insert your orange frosting into a corner of the bottom of the bag and squeeze it down. Cut a tiny hole at the tip and now you can make your carrot designs on the cake. Repeat the process with the green, but in a separate bag.

And voila! The final cake. My cursive could use some work... but poor penmanship won't change the taste, I promise! Cream cheese frosting + moist carrot cake + a crunchy outer crust...

... of pecans! I took crushed pecan pieces, chopped some up and slapped it onto the sides of the cake. Authentic carrot cake with the addition of nuts! You can use walnuts too.

Now for the taste test: everyone loved it! Especially my mom :) Making people happy with food is one of my favorite things about baking. Seeing one's face light up as they let the flavors develop on their tongue, it's always a lovely feeling. I'm already coming up with new ideas for what to create next... any suggestions? What do Fathers like as desserts?

Happy Mother's Day! 

Monday, May 07, 2012

The Naked Eye

I might be the millionth blogger to finally talk about the Urban Decay Naked palette, but it's better late than never, right? I got mine as a Christmas present, so I've had it for quite some time now, thus have had the chance to create a variety of different looks using different combinations. I know they already launched the second version of the Naked palette, but I'm a big fan of the first one, so I'll probably hold off on the second version... for now at least. 

The full shot. 12 beautiful shades. The website says, 'shades range from delicate champagnes to dark, gritty gunmetal'. As you can see, there are two light shades, and two dark colors and in between fall the 8 gorgeous browns, from sparkly, metallic, matte, etc. The Urban Decay eyeshadows are known for their great pigmentation, and when they're paired with the famous UD primer potion, you're guaranteed great pay off for many hours in the day. It's definitely worth the investment [you also get a great brush and mini primer!]. 

It also comes with a mini version of the primer potion, and an eyeshadow brush that fits inside the palette. I like using the brush for the base color, crease, and others, and I use my finger to apply the highlight under the brow bone. I'll use an eyeliner brush with a light, shimmery color in the inner tear duct, and finally blend it all together with my MAC 217 blending brush, concentrating on blending the darker outer/crease shade into into the inner part of my eyelid. Then, top if off with a few coats of volumizing mascara and liquid eyeliner if I'm feeling the darkness for that night, and voila! That's all that goes into my Naked look! 

I would love to start posting some makeup tutorials on my blog, and I would love to start with my favorite smokey eye look using this palette. Since there is such a broad color range, the possibilities are endless and I think I've found a great combination - especially for my green eyes! Colors are usually harder to work with, but browns/neutrals can be pulled off by anyone, as long as they're blended properly! Major pet peeve: poorly blended eyeshadow - ick! 

Q: What's your favorite eyeshadow look: colors, neutrals, black smokey eye, or bare? Do you try to match them with your natural eye color? Please share! 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Adios April

Hello lovelies! I'm so glad that you all enjoyed my last post with my Alexander McQueen scarf. It was definitely an investment piece, but so worth it. I have already started thinking about my next fashion investment piece. I'm leaning towards a handbag, perhaps a Marc by Marc Jacobs bag? I have been eyeing them at Aritzia for years, but can't seem to save up enough money - it all goes to Starbucks! Any other fancy coffee addicts out there? If you are, head to Starbucks for their annual 'Frappuccino Happy Hour' (info). 

I was going to talk about my favorite dresses in this post, but I thought a recap post looking back on the month of April would be more appropriate. It passed by SO quickly, right? That means 1/3 of 2012 is already over. Insanity. One thing I'm currently obsessed with is the iPhone app, Instagram. I showed some of my previous pictures here, but I wanted to feature a few more recent ones in this post, so that's what the images are from. See more photos on my Instagram

On the sad news front... my laptop adapter broke. I haven't been able to go on it for about a week, and that is where I upload all of my photographs. I could upload them on my mom's computer [which I'm on now] or my sister's, but I don't think they would enjoy millions of my selfies. Or they might, who knows? Realistically, I could drive over to Future Shop and get a new one, or have it repaired within a few minutes, but I've been lazy. Oops. It doesn't help that I love my mom's desktop computer and my sister's Macbook Pro so much more than my Sony Vaio [that's 2.5 years old]. 

This photo in this post is one of my favorites that's recently been taken. Statement jewelry + striped blazer = a great look. I took photos of myself in the outfit, but since my laptop broke, it's hard to access them. But seriously, I think you guys will love the outfit :)

Another thing that I wanted to mention... the May Photo Challenge! This has been going on for at least a few months now, and I've always wanted to take part. I may be starting three days late, but late is better than never, right? I'm going to try to catch up and get them all in. Let me know if you are taking part in the challenge too! 

Anyways, that's enough rambling from me. I just though I'd get a few words in before I begin taking summer math courses at University. I need them to transfer into the Commerce program, which I've been working hard for. The courses are Monday through Thursday evenings, and basically all summer long [until the end of august]. There goes my summer, but I'm determined to get good grades in the classes and then I'll be accepted into the business program at my school. It will all be worth it. Hard work is always worth it. That being said, I may not be able to reply to as many comments or post as frequently as I'd like, but I promise I won't fall of the face of the earth! Rambling over. 

Q: How did you find the month of April? Other than it being rainy, I enjoyed it! Exams were finished and parkas were put away. Bring it on, summer!