30 Before 30: #26 Dye my Hair a Crazy Color

Proud to proclaim my first 30 before 30 challenge has been completed. At the beginning of the summer a very good friend of mine, who happens to also be a hair stylist, helped me complete my first challenge: Dye my hair a crazy color.

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We went with pink, both because it’s my favorite color and because it was the only bold color in the salon. Happy coincidence.

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I would have to say this slightly bold move out of my typical comfort zone absolutely paid off. Looking down and seeing the pink tips of my hair brought instant smiles to my face. As summer faded so have my pink tips, looking more like the faded strawberry blonde that once was. I will miss this bolder move in my life and certainly will be willing to do it again!

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MIA once again

Hello my pretty people! Once again I have fallen by the wayside. I’m in the process of getting myself re-organized, re-focused, re-energized, and (re)blogging once again. Thanks to all who are still following and thanks to everyone who is still happening upon this blog! So great to see.

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There are a bunch of new and exciting posts soon to come! Some items to be checked off the 30 before 30 list, way more furniture and DIY projects, and the long awaited breakdown of all the wedding details and DIY items, just to name a few.

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In the interim I have been getting rather active on Instagram. For anyone interested you can check me out @makinglifepretty. I’ve also creating the [hash tag] #momentofpretty;  would love to see the beautiful moments you are all enjoying in your little corner of this stunning world we call home. There’s always something to stop and admire each day.

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Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Ever since my bridal shower I’ve been on a major bundt cake kick. Bundts are pretty, quick, and require no frosting after they come out of the oven. A step to cake making that I find cumbersome and most times annoying, although delicious.

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I found this recipe from Lick the Bowl for a Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake. My husband has a mild obsession with snickerdoodle cookies so I figured I would try my hand at a cake version of the treat.

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This cake is AMAZING. Hands down scrumptious. The best part is the caramelized cinnamon sugar crust around the entire exterior of the cake. The only part of the recipe I’ve altered is adding a bit more cinnamon (3tsp rather than 2tsp).

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If you love cake, and love snickerdoodles run don’t walk to your kitchen and bake this little number up.

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Something for Mom

Last weekend was Mother’s Day. My mom the outdoorsy nature girl she is had the same request she has every year “I just want to be with my girls and be outside”. I decided to take the reins this year and host a brunch for my family (and now extended family).

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Apparently I really enjoy brunch and may have overdone myself just a little. (Below is one of two food tables.)

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Menu included bagels (with lox), scones via Stone Gable, muffins, fruit salad, Greek salad, spinach and goat cheese frittata via Epicurious, granola, yogurt, berries, and mimosas.

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I set up a table outside (to follow with Mom’s wish) on one of the most spectacular days of the year so far. My mother is a gardener and nature lover so cut flowers are never an option. She prefers hers with roots. I went to the local farm stand and grabbed some plants for centerpieces (which doubled as mommy day gifts) and supplemented with affordable supermarket cut flowers.

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We also FINALLY unpacked our wedding china and were able to use some of it for the first time. Very exciting stuff. I did a mix match of our every day china and our fancy pants china to encourage the casual elegant feel.

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I’m pretty sure the moms were really happy and grateful for the beautiful brunch. They seemed pretty relaxed by the end of it.

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I hope all the mommies out there had an equally relaxing and beautiful mother’s day as these two did.

 

 

 

For Those Extra Hippie Weekends

The husband is on a slightly more normal schedule these days so every other weekend we get to have fancy pants breakfast together. A few weekends ago I decided to try my hand at an old hippie favorite. Granola.

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Home made granola is incredibly easy to make and will make you question why you ever purchased the commercial made stuff. How much more tree-hugger can I sound amiright?

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Recipe was found at Gimme Some Oven. I nixed the dried fruit and subbed olive oil for coconut oil. (Would have loved to use coconut oil but didn’t have any in the house.) Frankly on one of the first delicious Spring mornings of the year this breakfast was superb. We turned the home made granola into Greek yogurt parfaits complete with berries and honey.

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DElicious. Let me tell you guys. It’s also a really quick and easy (yet very scrumptious) breakfast to throw together. The granola takes max 1/2 hour to make, you  can even make it the night before if you prefer to get up and dive into breakfast.

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Light. Healthy. Scrumptious. Easy. Best Saturday morning decision you’ll make. Promise.

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Tripple B

Banana.

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Brownie.

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Bundt.

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Brilliant.

Found this recipe from Alida’s Kitchen while trolling Pinterest (and on a health kick). The whole wheat flour made it a little dense but that means it’s filling and won’t eat the entire cake in one sitting, so that’s a good thing right? I would recommend cutting the whole wheat flour to 1 1/2 cups and add 1/2 cup of white flour to make it a little less “wheaty” (anyone who’s baked with whole what flour knows what I mean) Other than that, I would totally make this ” Health Kick” treat again.

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Irish Soda Bread Pudding (booze not optional)

I was raised in a house that takes Saint Patrick’s Day very seriously. VERY seriously. Come March 17th every surface is covered with green paraphernalia, the bag pipe music is blasting through the rooms, the BIG stock pot gets dusted off and filled with corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes, the cabbage leaves are proudly adorned on our heads, and, most recently, the oven is consistently churning out my mother’s (award winning) Irish Soda Bread.

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oh, and lots of Guinness

She gave me a loaf to take home a day or 2 before the whole fam got together to celebrate the holiday (a few days early). This got me thinking,  a whole loaf of bread for 2 little people is a lot of bread, could there be anything else I could do with this fabulous carb fest? A quick internet search confirmed: Irish Soda Bread Pudding. (lightning bolt to the brain guys, seriously)

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I would describe this recipe as easy as making corned beef and cabbage is (hint you can successfully do both while drinking). A little advanced planning is required as the bread needs a few hours to soak up the custard deliciousness. I would say the advanced planning is well worth it. This dessert was amazing, texture, taste, undertones of Jameson. Perfection.

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Irish Soda Bread Pudding with Jameson Caramel Sauce

Irish Soda Bread Pudding

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ Tsp. ground cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbs. melted butter (slightly cooled)
  • 3 Tbsp. Jameson’s Irish whiskey (as I always say, generous tablespoons)
  • Drizzle of Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • A generous 6 cups of 3/4-inch cubed Irish Soda Bread

1.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, spices and salt. Whisk in the milk, continuing until all the ingredients are well-combined and the sugar is dissolved. Whisk the Jameson and melted butter until just combined. Add the cubed bread, pressing down to submerge it into the milk mixture, and set aside to soak for around 30-40 minutes (minimum). By that point, most of the liquid should be absorbed.

2.  Preheat an oven to 350°F (175°C).

3.  Grease a 9″x9″ baking pan.

4.  Pour the bread cube/custard mixture into the prepared pan.

5.  Drizzle Bailey’s Irish cream over bread mixture right before entering the oven.

6.  Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Best served warm with Jameson caramel sauce and an Irish coffee.

Jameson Caramel Sauce

  • 1 ½ cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. Irish whiskey
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 1/2 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk, divided

1. Combine sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat. Heat until sugar is dissolved.

2. Turn heat up and allow the sugar to boil. DO NOT stir if you can help it – swirl the pot around a bit. Boil for about 5-7 minutes until caramel turns a deep bronze. This happens very quickly and goes from caramel to burnt in a matter of seconds.

3. Shut off the heat and carefully add the vanilla, 1/3 cup milk, and whiskey. It will bubble up violently, so stand back!

4. Turn heat back on to medium and let boil, stirring occasionally until the caramel is smooth. Add the remaining milk and stir to combine. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

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Sochi Inspired Doodle Stich

It’s that time of year again folks! That magical time every 2 years when all standard programming stops and the Olympics take over my life. This year was no exception complete with opening ceremony party and some down time crafting.

Although I’m technically classified as a mutt…aka American… (basically name the country and it turns up somewhere in my heritage) My father’s side is straight forward Polish and Russian. With the games being in Russia the little Russian babushka in me got excited. My absolute favorite part of these games was the matryoshka doll set up on the slope style course. I ignored every jump every athlete completed near that babushka and would simply giggle with glee at the sight of her ready to hit the slopes, ski goggles and all.

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Seriously though, how great is she? Photo courtesy of Sergei Grits / AP

While watching the games, and admiring the Russian heritage I know little about, I became inspired to complete an embroidery of my own matryoshka doll.

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I am very happy on how well she turned out. Looking forward to creating a mini series of sorts of a couple of dolls with varying patterns and styles. At the minimum my two sisters are already asking when they get one. So expect a 3 doll series, minimum.

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Did you all watch the Olympics? Get inspired to do anything crafty thanks to Russia? Let me know!

A Hand Made Valentine

There’s a tradition in my house. Every Valentine’s Day, since the first year I was born I believe, my mother has made my father a home-made Valentine. Always out of construction paper, sometimes with paper doilies, almost always featuring a picture (or 12) from the last year, and progressively more witty/corny as the years pass. We’re talking almost 30 years of hand made cards.

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Valentine Circa 1989 (I’m the shorty on the right)

It’s one tradition my sisters and I always look forward to. Usually pictures of “all of Daddy’s girls” make it into the card. The crowning jewel in the collection is the year we moved into the new house, Mom worked the lyrics of our family theme-song “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads into the card:

“and you may find yourself in a beautiful house”

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“with a beautiful wife”

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“and you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”

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Ever since my hubs (what?!? Still so weird to say) and I moved into our apartment I’ve carried on the tradition of making hand-made Valentines. I always look forward to breaking out the construction paper, glitter, scissors, and glue and rifling through the last year of pictures for a theme/idea. Lets just say this year’s is going to be epic (and easily 100 pages long). I can’t post this years just yet (need to keep it a surprise for my Valentine).

One of my favorites from years passed is our 5th Valentine together.

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They aren’t super fancy and polished, but they don’t need to be. Getting down and dirty with old craft skills and slapping something together is sometimes the best way to express your love. It’s also something to cherish forever. These Valentine’s are also great for a last minute “oh no I forgot to get a present!”

Pear-fict Mini Rustic Tarts

One of my new years resolutions is to tackle (and maybe master) rustic tarts. I’m talking ground up. From that amazing crumbly buttery crust to the delectable filling.

My first attempt of the year was a rustic bourbon pear tart. If anyone is craving some pure earthy rustic goodness (with a little smokey bourbon kick) make this today.

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As for my first attempt at a tart crust I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t perfect, but I wasn’t that far from my goal of tart crust heaven. The recipe (CRUST ONLY) was thanks to Sweet Fine Day. I will confess I have never made scratch crust before. The horror stories of the complication of a pie crust left me running for the refrigerator section poking that famous giggling dough boy.  Unfortunately our favorite sugar-rushed cartoon doesn’t make the crumbly, heavenly crust I’m determined to master. As far as I know scratch is the only way to go.  Do not be afraid to try this recipe. If you can manage your way around a typical scratch recipe you can handle this.

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As for the filling, I found this absolutely scrumptious rustic bourbon pear filling thanks to Design Sponge (FILLING ONLY).
For those that know me I doubled the bourbon, other than that minor change follow the directions as listed. Assemble the pie (lay out the pear slices pretty if you feel so inclined) bake as directed and enjoy a pure rustic symphony of flavor. These tarts actually get better a day or 2 after baking. The flavors really meld and intensify making for a truly earthy treat.

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