Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Coming Soon - Hunter!

I had the privilege of creating memories for a sweet friend of mine over the weekend. These are some of my favorite shots from the session. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Hurry up Hunter! We can't wait to meet you!

Monday, September 23, 2013

brown butter cake + cookie dough frosting

There are many things I am thankful for, but I think it's safe to say that family is the thing I am most thankful for. Growing up in our house was loud and silly, and as my sisters and I have gotten older I couldn't be more happy at how close the 5 of us remain. As adults we can still enjoy time with our parents and I count that one of my life's greatest blessings.

I've sorta grown into being the cake baker for celebrations in our family, and I think it suits me. Nothing makes me more fulfilled than filling bellies with cake! 

This past weekend was my middle sister's birthday. She's not a huge fan of chocolate or things that are too sweet, so this cake was perfect. It's dense and buttery with a frosting that tastes exactly like cookie dough. At one point over the weekend she even announced that this was her favorite cake of all time. 

Happy birthday, Chels. Love you more than I could possible write in a blog post.

**The cake recipe makes 2 round cakes. If you decide to use both cakes and want to frost the whole cake, I would triple the frosting recipe. I only used one, and the frosting recipe below was only enough to cover the top.

Brown Butter Cake with Cookie Dough Frosting

recipe from here

For the Cake

Vanilla bean pod, seed scraped out
12 oz unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 whole eggs + 4 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk

Brown your butter, and pour it into a bowl. Refrigerate for an hour or until solidified. (I followed the directions from here)

Preheat your oven 350 degrees, and grease/flour two round cake pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the brown butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In alternate batches, add in the flour mixture and the milk. 

Pour the batter into prepared pans, and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. Let cool completely.

For the Cookie Dough

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add in water and vanilla and mix until combined. Mix in the flour and salt. Fold in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate the dough while you make the frosting.

For the Frosting

1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla until creamy. Slowly add in the milk. 

Pull the dough from the fridge, and add to the frosting mixture. Pile it all on top of your cooled cake.

Friday, September 20, 2013

creme de couture.

i am a marketing person's dream. i love gimmicky, themed products...which probably explains why i love Disney so much. when I talk about our trip there the first thing i talk about is that the floats at the parades actually smell. yep, that's right there was a float that looked like peppermint, and when it went by? smelled like peppermint. I'm ridiculous. 

anyway, i love themed products, adorable packaging, and bright colors. so, when i got the email from sigma that they were releasing their creme de couture collection i was totally in. it didn't even cross my mind that i am a neutral makeup girl normally. i really have no use for a palette of eye shadows in bright fun colors, but did that stop me? N.O.P.E!

i bought the entire thing. all the shadows. all the blushes. all of them. and i don't regret it for a second. in fact, I've been wearing the blushes all week!

even though these colors look super scary, they are so wearable! the shadows and blushes are creamy, pigmented, and blend easily. I've been smudging these colors on my lower lash line for a pretty pop of color. and, i even created a gold and blue eye look last weekend for football Saturday. 

You can buy the eyeshadow palette and blushes from Sigma Beauty

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

the baked brownie.

Ok guys. Oh. My. Goodness. Theeesseeeee brownies. Just think about all the good food words - rich, dense, super chocolate-y, perfect, delicious - multiply them by 1,000,000 and you have an accurate description of these babies! I want to live in these brownies and then eat my way out of them. Gosh. 

I've made these three times in the last week. Once just because I wanted to try them, then for my worship team, and finally for my coworkers. Every single person RAVED about these brownies and I cannot get enough. I ate a whole pan by myself...despite the fact that these have a whole cup of butter in them. Woops!

Make these immediately and share them with everyone you care about. Or share them with someone who doesn't like you because these will definitely change their minds. Or be like me, make a whole pan and eat them all by yourself while watching the Real Housewives of All the Cities...I wish I was kidding.

Baked Brownies - Yield 24 delicious, perfect brownies
slightly adapted from the Baked: New Frontiers in Baking Cookbook 

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed, light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and butter the sides and bottom  of a 9x13 inch glass baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.

Put chopped chocolate and butter in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water, and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold flour gently into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour is visible.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.

Let the brownies cool completely, then cut, and eat!

these are worth every bit of dirty dish cleaning and crumb sweeping. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

fall 2013 style

Fall is almost officially here, and I wanted to share some of my must-haves for the season! Fall is my favorite fashion season because I can get a little more edgy with my style - leather jackets, tall boots, bold lip; but you can so easily throw on a simple, cozy outfit and look put together. For me, this season, can go either way. Hooray for versatility! See below for what i'll be rocking this fall!


this fall i'm totally into printed bottoms - leggings, jeans, tights - if they're on my legs I want them to be as loud and printed as possible. i've already purchased this pair and this pair from white plum boutique. they are so comfortable and fit me so well that I almost wish the cooler weather was here!

fall for me is the most accessory heavy. boots, scarves, tall boot socks, and structured handbags are my jam! i have my eye on these quilted boots from modcloth. they look so comfortable, and the quilted detail gives them a little something extra!

this season i'm really into dark, vampy shades on my lips and nails. i bought essie's damsel in a dress and can't get enough, and a matte lip shade with compliment it perfectly!

i'm really interested in trying Calvin Klein's new fragrance, Downtown. i don't know if it's the description of the scent or the style of the bottle that's pulling me in, but it may the perfect fall scent!

what things are you loving for fall?