December 23, 2014

EAT: buttermilk biscuits with salted honey butter



Get 'em while they're HOT!  I love biscuits.  Actually, I love just about any delicious carb out there but biscuits are definitely near the top of that list.  Such a comfort food and perfect for a winter breakfast with coffee.  I prefer mine with butter and honey, so for the batch I made I also whipped up some salted honey butter to slather on.  Make sure you eat them while hot - or if warming up, warm up until hot.  Enjoy!


December 18, 2014

EAT: fig and pistachio salted dark chocolate

 

I have about 5-6 different dark chocolate bars sitting at home at any given point in time.  You just never know when you're going to crave a square of bittersweet chocolate.  And when you do, you need some variety!  Although equally delicious, everyone knows a chocolate toffee bar is completely different than a coconut caramel one - right?  I guess what I'm trying to say is that chocolate is good.  And you can never have too much laying around.  And if you feel the same way that I do, you should try making your own chocolate bars!

It's as easy as it looks.  There are so many different topping combinations you can try.  For mine, I used dried figs, pistachios and sea salt.  Partly because I love all those ingredients and partly because I already had them stocked in the house.  Use whatcha got! 

I learned a lot about chocolate when making these, namely TEMPERING.  More on tempering in the instructions, but if you're taking this route you'll need a chocolate thermometer for the method below.  This is a good route to take if you'll be gifting these for the holidays as it allows the chocolate to sit out at room temperature and not melt as easily.

December 16, 2014

DIY: watercolor christmas gift tags

 
 
Only ten days away from Christmas!  Where does the time go?  I feel like time flies twice as fast during the holidays and I can barely keep up.  I am majorly looking forward to some quality family and friends time, eating more than I should and just some R&R next week.  Some fantastic coffee and a good book and I'll be in heaven.  But in the meantime I'll be finishing up things at work, attending a couple more holiday parties and of course - some last minute shopping for gifts and wrapping them up.

This year I made some simple and easy watercolor gift tags for my presents.  I love painting and it was actually somewhat of a stress reliever to paint these up before wrapping my gifts.  I used some old gloss paint I already had around the house and bought some inexpensive paper tags.  Watercolor is so fun because it's difficult to mess up.  I just had to make sure I diluted the paint enough with water and to keep it very light and layer on if I wanted some deeper colors in certain areas.  I'll probably try these in different colors later on for some non-holiday themed tags!
 
 
 

December 10, 2014

EAT: french honey crullers



Tis the season for...FRENCH HONEY CRULLERS!  I found a recipe for these while perusing through Pinterest (still so addicted) one day and had to find out what they were.  They're essentially a version of the almighty donut/doughnut, except lighter and fluffier inside, topped with a delicious honey glaze. Think glazed churro, except not as dense.  Hope I've sold you on this because despite what looks to be lengthy instructions, it's actually quite easy to make and doesn't require a ton of special ingredients.

I tweaked the recipe to make it a light pumpkin flavor in both the cruller and glaze.  Feel free to add more pumpkin spice (or less) to your liking.  Happy Frying!


November 30, 2014

DIY: studded spikes and rhinestone headphones


What is life without music? Music has the amazing power to set any mood. Through the darkest times in my life, I would have to say music helped me get through it. So what's better than listening to your favorite jams through studded spikes and crystal rhinestone headphones?  You can pay good money for some high quality headphones.  However, you most likely would  want to keep the expensive headphones as is! But on the other hand, nowadays, you can can get some pretty decent headphones for not very much money as well and then bedazzle them yourself! With the latter, you don't have to worry so much about losing or damaging them.  I got the headphones below as a gift from my old job that had their logo emblazoned on the side. The sound quality is actually great but I didn't want to use them at my new job with the old job's logo on the side. I came up with an idea to cover it and dress it up with spikes, rhinestones and Swarovski crystals that I had leftover from previous projects. Voila, new job, new headphones and perfect for holiday travel season. I'm bringing these bad boys on my next flight - hopefully, the spikes won't be a problem. Continue below to see how simple it is to bejewel your headphones. 


Supplies: headphones, studs, rhinestones, E600 glue


Instructions:
  1. Lay your choice of studs and rhinestones design on back of headphones until you achieve your desired design.
  2. Glue pieces to surface.
  3. Allow at least 1 hour to completely dry.
  4. Rock your star studded headphones.  
Read more for outfit pics and enjoy links of tunes shared below!

November 18, 2014

DIY: leather cord organizer


Device cords have a knack for flip-flop-skidoppin all over the place - especially in backpacks/travel bags which can lead to a tangled mess.  And we all know Ain't Nobody Got Time For That.  I had some leather pieces that I've been wanting to put to use so I made some handy dandy leather cord organizers to keep my wires neatly tucked away when traveling or not in use.  

It doesn't take long and is super easy to make.  Inspired by the always fun and peppy designlovefest.com.  Go with a favorite color or even prints - just get wild and crazy with it! 



November 13, 2014

EAT: oxtail beef stew



BRRRrrrrrr it's friggin cold out there!  Cold is just plain painful if you ask me - I'm a warm weather gal at heart.  I consider a mild cool breeze sweater weather.  As we creep further and further into winter (or is it already here?), I find myself going into full hibernation mode.  That (unfortunately) includes cravings for hot hearty meals.  And it doesn't get much more hearty than a rich beef stew with toasty french bread.  Oh la la!

For my stew I decided to go with oxtail as the star of the show.  If you've never had or heard of it before, it is what it is - the tail!  It's fattier but incredibly tender and delicious after being stewed for hours.  Fall off the bone delicious.  Rich, steaming hot stew with crusty french bread delicious.  Delicious!!

The entire process is a labor of love and does take a few hours.  But do not fret, you can always prepare the dish a day ahead and then keep it in the fridge overnight to serve the next day (it's even better at that point).  Pair it with a nice glass of Petite Verdot or Petite Sirah and you'll pretty much be in heaven.


November 10, 2014

DIY: fall succulent centerpiece



I fell upon a fantastic garage sale find last weekend where I scored an octagon glass pedestal thing (I have no idea what it's called) for $3!  CHA-CHING!  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it at the moment but decided later on that it'd be great for a centerpiece stand.  

Succulents were a given because I am borderline obsessed with them and already had a ton laying around on my patio table.  So I snipped a few stems to use in this fall centerpiece and added in some holiday decorations to make it that much more snazzy.  And there you go - a cute little centerpiece to use for holiday parties and get togethers.  AND unlike fresh blooms this will actually last through the season and on (so long as you keep them alive)!



November 5, 2014

INSPIRATION: monochromatic colors

pictures belong to Vanessa Hong from thehautepursuit blog. 


Always inspired by the fabulous Vanessa Hong of The Haute Pursuit with her bold yet effortless styling.  For this particular post, we wanted to showcase how amazingly she pulls off  the monochromatic look in neutral colors. I will forever be a fan of all black everything but she has inspired me to take it to the next level to try all beige everything and even 50 shades of grey. 

Below are links of some monochromatic items to try this look for yourself. All items in grey or camel and all in the $20 to $200 range. :)  

Camel asymmetric skirt - BCBG/Revolve Clothing

xoxo, NB. Happy shopping! 

November 4, 2014

EAT: salted dark chocolate avocado mousse


Hellooooo November!  Here comes all the good and bad of colder weather and holiday happenings.  On one hand I love this time of year when I get to use my fireplace, snuggle up in PJs and sweatpants (oh, how I love thee) and spend lots of time with family and friends.  On the other hand there's the inevitable winter weight gain from an increase in heavy foods, holiday sweets and decrease in exercise.  In the end, it's a great trade off if you ask me!

Regardless, it's always nice to be mindful of what you're eating and exactly what's in it.  And if you can make it a bit better for you without sacrificing flavor you're in a win/win situation.  Behold - a salted dark chocolate mousse that's quite delicious and not (as) bad for you!  The main ingredient is avocado which gives it that rich, smooth texture.  And although there is that slight hint of avocado flavor (which I already love), it really tastes similar to a classic chocolate mousse.  The best part?  It's super easy to make!  I found the adapted recipe from Adventures in Cooking and made sure to sprinkle a bit more sea salt on the top.

October 23, 2014

INSPIRATION: dainty gold jewelry


We're all about that dainty gold jewelry.  Less is more and simple is always better in our book.  And the kicker with all these pieces - the price is RIGHT!

personalized nameplate bracelet // shopLUCA, $46+

mini linear earrings, small // byboe, $30

cusp studs // byboe, $20

personalized skinny nameplate necklace // shopLUCA, $45+

October 21, 2014

EAT: crispy eggplant fries with honey


I love fried chicken, fried shrimp, and fried sliced potatoes - infamously known as french fries.  There I said it.  I shouldn't but I do. So to balance this love for fried goodness, I'm always looking for alternatives for a low(er) carb meal.  Or you can think of it as, I'm always looking for something to fry! haha. Enter the eggplant fries. Healthier than regular fries? Probably just by a smidgen because it's still fried, but I'll take it.  You can try baking them as well, but I wanted to keep them in "fry" form as much as possible.  This idea of frying lower carb veggies such as zucchinis and eggplant is not a new idea,  you can find various forms of this simple recipe all over the internet as I did! But I've never had an eggplant fry,  let alone try to make it,  so its new enough to me.  


Ingredients: serving size 4 
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsps garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 eggs to coat
  • oil for frying
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • salt for seasoning
  • honey

October 15, 2014

DIY: chalkboard painted pumpkins



HHS (Happy Holiday Season)!  October surely did creep up on us!  Hope you all are enjoying the cool, crisp weather.  This year we wanted to do a fun spin on the traditional pumpkin decor by using a more neutral color palette via chalkboard paint.  Painting pumpkins is a game changer and takes much less time (and less mess) than carving a pumpkin.  From there, you can add lettering, decorations/embellishments and even turn it into a vase to add some character to your pumpkins.

We went with a classic dark gray and lighter gray for our color scheme.  There are a ton of colors to choose from - I'm eying some of those beautiful pastels for next time.  Whatever you go with, remember to have FUN with it! 



October 7, 2014

EAT: ahi tuna poke



HOKEY POKEY!  If you've never had ahi tuna poke before, it's basically heavenly seasoned tuna that can be served atop crispy wontons, crackers or rice.  I've been craving this for a while and decided to whip up my own version with big chunks of avocado and scallions with plenty of sesame oil (kind of obsessed lately) and sesame seeds.  

The beauty is that it's so easy to make and after the tuna is thawed (if you're buying frozen), you're literally just tossing the ingredients together and serving it.  My version is served with rice for a heartier meal.  You can also try serving it on top of crispy wontons or crackers as an appetizer.  Make sure to pick up sushi-grade tuna at the store to avoid any possible mishaps with your stomach (you know what I'm talking about).  ENJOY!


September 29, 2014

DIY: orange citrus soy candles



It's candles - PART DEUX!  I'm a bit of a candle junkie.  You can always find me rummaging through the sale section at Anthropologie looking for pretty and aromatic candles.  I have them in almost every room in my house and they make any hanging out/chillin/snuggling/cozying up moment even better.  Books are better, movies are better, a cup of tea is better, conversations are better with a lit candle nearby!  You get the point.

Homemade candles are actually pretty easy to make.  Sure, they're no luxury Diptyque or Voluspa candles but they surely do the job for everyday lighting.  

I had some leftover soy wax and essential oils from our DIY mosquito repellent so I decided with fall coming fast and furious it was time for some more candle-makin fun.  I'm a fruity scent kinda gal (versus heavy floral scents that make me dizzy) so I used this sweet orange essential oil to add to the wax.  It's light and citrusy and perfect.  For containers, I mixed things up by using a floral printed mug, a decorative drinking glass and vintage jar.




You can find all the supplies and instructions here at our Part Uno Lavender Soy Candles post.  Here's a little tip to reuse all your cool containers.  After the candle has burned to the bottom, simply reheat the ceramic/jar in a pot of simmering water until the leftover wax melts down.  Using an oven mitt or towel to handle, pour the remaining wax into a plastic sack or other container that you can throw away.  Wash the ceramic/jar in hot soapy water.  Viola!  Use again.


xoxo, NB

September 22, 2014

EAT: egg and farro salad bowl



Happy Monday, World!  After weekend recovery usually includes a healthy meal for me - without meat if possible.  I know, for all you meat-eaters this may sound like torture but trust me it's not really that bad!  Try it for one meal and you might just like it.  Throwing in hearty, hot ingredients also helps to make it feel more like a meal and less like a boring salad.  

This egg and farro bowl also has cooked okra (one of my fav veggies), tomatoes and mushrooms.  Throw in any veggies that may be your favorite - grain salads make a great base for just about anything you want to toss in there.  And of course we can't forgot the almighty powerful and delicious FRIED EGG.  It makes anything better.


 Ingredients:

- 1 pkg. farro
- arugula, spinach or your favorite salad, washed
- 1 egg
- cherry tomatoes, washed
- okra, washed and sliced
- shimeji mushrooms or your favorite mushroom, washed and cut
- olive oil
- fresh lemon juice
- chives, washed and sliced
- sesame seeds
- coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper

Instructions:

- Follow the directions on the package to cook the faro.  Set aside.
- Place the tomatoes, mushrooms and okra on a baking sheet (or separate ramekins). Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the okra is cooked all the way through.
- Use some olive oil to fry the egg in a frying pan.  Season with salt and pepper.
- Assemble the bowl.  Toss the faro and arugula/spinach/salad in a bowl with some olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Place in a bowl as the base.
- Layer on the tomatoes, mushrooms and okra.
- Season with chives and sesame seeds.


Enjoy!
xoxo, NB