Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lovely Cakes: Strawberry Strawberry Cake

I must be on a baking kick. I blame it on the Rice Krispy Treats I made last week when I was looking for something sweet and found the ingredients in my pantry to fix them up. Which was followed by the cupcakes for last weekend's tailgate. Yesterday, I had a hankering for Strawberry Cake.
When J and I were in Dallas, J took me to get the most awesome strawberry cake from Celebrity Cafe and Bakery in Highland Park Village. So in an effort to recreate this delicious cake, I found a strawberry cake recipe and a strawberry frosting recipe and combined them. (I had to triple the frosting recipe to adequately cover the cake)
The result? Very close to the cake from Celebrity Cafe & Bakery. I think next time I'll add more pureed strawberries to both the cake and the frosting. You can never have enough strawberries!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lovely Cakes: Chocolate Cupcakes

Today is the second to the last tailgate for the UH football season. This week, my J and I are responsible for bringing a dessert. I haven't baked in a very long time, partially because I've been lazy and partially because everytime I bake for no reason, we end up eating the goods which is not a good thing!
I've been searching for a good chocolate cupcake recipe for a while now and I think I've come across the perfect recipe! I came across Cake on the Brain, a blog by a Canadian who loves food and baking. She posted a recipe from Cooks Illustrated for Dark Chocolate Cupcakes and topped them off with Vanilla Swiss Buttercream Meringue Frosting by Martha Stewart. The cupcake recipe is a keeper...they are not super moist, but not dry and very tasty. I'm on the fence about the frosting though, because the buttercream is not very sweet and very buttery. I may try a different frosting the next time I make these cupcakes.
J said it reminds him of a Hostess Cupcake.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lovely Eats: Greek Yogurt with Honey

Ever since I started exploring vegan foods, I started exploring the different types of yogurts.  Although the point was to experiment with non-dairy yogurts like coconut or soy yogurts, in the process I've realized that those ones taste like shit, and Greek yogurt is the bomb!  Non-fat greek yogurt, plain, with honey, to be specific.  Although some greek yogurt brands come with honey on the side, Yoplait is much cheaper, but their honey flavored yogurt seems to have the honey mixed in, which is a lot less fun than getting gobs of honey you can actually almost chew on.  So I just buy the plain Yoplait and add my own.  It's yummy, smooth, creamy, healthy (aside from the fact that honey is not used in moderation for this recipe, it's probably still better than the artificial sweeteners they use in other fat-free yogurts), and has tons of protein and calcium.  I've honestly never liked honey before, but now it seems I can't get enough of the stuff.  

Honey is my new obsession!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lovely Designers: Lanvin for H&M

{Photos via Fashionista}

These are my faves from the Lanvin for H&M collection to come out November 23rd.  I wonder how fast they'll sell out-- like within hours? Or days? Or is it more like minutes? I usually don't succumb to fashion events like trunk shows, store openings, or even huge sales, because I hate crowds, and let's be honest, I'm really no "fashionista." But this one I might actually plan ahead for. M & R, you with me? I'm dying for that zebra trench and necklace as logical, useful, wearable, and therefore justifiable purchases. But the dresses are absolutely irresistible—the styles are fun and classy, and the detailing definitely shows the designer quality of the pieces.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lovely Beauty: Birchbox

I've been ordering makeup online at www.Sephora.com a lot lately, and I've been loving the samples I get with every order.  Every beauty product out there makes lofty claims and promises, but how many times have you purchased some well-reviewed name brand product only to find out it seems to work just as good as some generic product you already have at home, and for triple or quadruple the price?  So spending $50 on some moisturizer I've never tried is such a risky investment.  I've definitely discovered some great products through free samples, so Birchbox is sounding pretty appealing right now.  Every month, you pay $10 to receive a box of hand picked deluxe samples, along with instructions and tips on how to use the products.  They also apparently have informative articles and tutorials on their website on various products, which sounds like a great idea.  What good is a great beauty product when you're using it all wrong?

Seeing the products they have on their website currently is tempting me to join Birchbox...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lovely Tunes: Katy Perry

CANDY LAND was my favorite game ever!  Princess Lolli and Queen Frostine were my favorite characters, I thought they were so pretty.  And I loved Gumdrop Mountains (and who wasn't excited to make it to the shortcut through the mountain pass?!)!  The game is so simple, and just like so many other board games, but the fact that there are different places for different types of candy with fun characters residing in them makes it such a likable game.  I never realized they changed the game every 10 years until I looked up the game just now--
I definitely had the 1980's version:

Katy Perry is awesome, and I just love this video!  The only thing I don't love about it is the fact that they're wearing whipped cream with cherry nipple bikini tops!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lovely Eats: Portillo's Hotdogs

(I cannot remember what sandwich is on the left, but the Chicago Dog is on the right. There's tomatoes, mustard, pickles, peppers, relish, and onions in it.)

Four of us went to a conference for work in Schaumburg, Illinois. It's about a 45 minute drive to Chicago, but it was a nice area. We went to Portillo's because we wanted to eat a Chicago dog and someone at the conference recommended it, and it was sooo good! For someone who doesn't like hot dogs, I was amazed that I absolutely loved it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lovely Adventures: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

{entering hogsmeade}

{roller coaster}
{fake owls perched on beams inside an open pavillion}
{the butterbeer was delicious! the non-frozen version tasted like sweet cream soda topped with melted ice cream. the frozen version tasted like a cream soda flavored icee}

{hogwarts. there was a cool ride inside the castle. }
{in the hogwarts greenhouse}
{dumbledore's office. he's on the balcony.}

{the people in the pictures were animated and actually spoke; this is the room where the staircases always changed}

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lovely Eats: Texas State Fair

J & I made it a point to visit the Texas State Fair while we were in Dallas. We were dying to sample all the unique and yummy deep fried food that we would never be able to find here in the Islands. Our favorites included the chicken fried bacon, deep fried frito pie, and fried green tomatoes. The deep fried beer was a soggy-cracker-miss, and the deep fried butter was surprisingly yummy - but only in a one bite and you're done sort of way. We even stopped in at an aquarium where we saw an albino crocodile and fed stingrays (super cool but sorry, no pictures for that) and also visited a petting zoo where we had fun feeding all the animals.

{Big Tex - he even talks!}

{tons of animals at the petting zoo}

{deep fried butter with garlic butter sauce}

{caramel apple; fried green tomatoes (top); deep fried beer (bottom)}

{deep fried frito pie}

{chicken fried bacon}

Friday, September 17, 2010

Obsessions: J.Crew Factory Store

{J.Crew Factory Store}

it's heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere!  I have 7 things in my cart...
prices range from about $15 to $160, most items more like $40 to $100. aaaaagh.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lovely Home: Organization

Since my computer got infected with malware yesterday at work, I spent a good amount of time going through my files looking for my darn desktop wallpaper image after it was back up and running (yes, very important stuff), but to no avail. But I did find some images I had saved from the Martha Stewart website that re-motivated me to organize! I am about to go hunting for one of those bamboo wooden organizers for my makeup and hair brush and accessories.  I swear I've seen that exact one at Crate & Barrel...

Which reminds, me, I have to show you all my new mirror!  Got it at West Elm last weekend!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Obsessions: Isabel Marant

{photos via net-a-porter}

...if only i could afford a brand new, more sophisticated wardrobe:
Louboutins, comfy sweaters, leather jackets, blazers, skinny jeans, and silk blouses
would be at the top of my list.  Isabel Marant's designs never really stood out to me,
but seeing these outfits made me realize these are the kinds of clothes I could really wear.  I guess it makes sense since I'm always like, years behind the fashion curve.  Not to mention that I'm usually about two seasons behind in shopping, as I'm currently buying summer's oldies at an "additional 30% off lowest sale price," while the fashion folk are purchasing pre-ordered, straight-from-Vogue winter clothes.  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lovely Cakes: Wedding Cake

Happy Anniversary Grandma and Grandpa!
My first attempt at making a wedding cake. French vanilla cake with cream cheese frosting. Boy was it much harder than I thought, but they enjoyed it. We had a cake cutting ceremony and all...hehe!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lovely Blogs: Victoria Törnegren

This is what I picture minimalism to be at its best.  Her bedroom is all white, and straight out of an Ikea showroom (which I might have just made up knowing that she is from Sweden).  It's incomprehensible that this girl's closet comprises of just two racks.  And yet every outfit of hers is so complete.  I love every single one of them!  The idea of an almost all-black wardrobe sounds so tempting--the fact that everything matches multiplies your outfit permutations by like a million!  And don't you just love that yellowish-greenish top/dress?  It just wouldn't be as special in an all-neon wardrobe.  

I'm addicted to her blog, even though the Google Swedish-to-English translation just doesn't quite cut it--although it's pretty entertaining to read all the broken English.