April 17, 2015

backless spring lbd

spring embellished little black dress (lbd)
[Ann Taylor dress, Nine West heels, Anthropologie clutch, Mac 'Snob' lipstick]

The weather this week has felt intoxicating. Every day that I'm not wearing a coat (or sporting goosebumps) is a checkmark of spring's victory. With the new season comes the need for swapping out heavy winter pieces for lighter staple options. This backless black dress was first on my list. E actually gave it to me back in December as a birthday gift, so I've definitely waited the appropriate amount of time for its debut. I swept on a smokey eye with my new Tarte shadow palette and these strappy heels for an evening-ready look. 

backless spring embellished dress

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April 16, 2015

would you rather

Well folks, we're back by at least semi-popular demand. Today we've got a new game, questions from an impartial bystander, and everything from being a Marvel superhero to eating a stick of butter (yeah, we went there).

Got another game for us to play? Leave it in the comments below! 

April 15, 2015

the mom jeans trend

mom jeans spring fashion trend
[Gap tee, vintage jeans, Calvin Klein heels, H&M crossbody, Milani 'Sweet Nectar' lipstick]

Rewind six months and I would have sworn against the mom jean trend. I get the seventies flare resurfacing and the eighties neon having their time in the limelight, but these? Never. Alright, well apparently not never. But it was really low on my list of 'would try' fashion statements. I equated 'mom jean' with 'unflattering from all angles.' Yet the more it cropped up on my Pinterest feed, the more curious I got about how leggy models and Parisian ladies were strutting this vintage denim. E pulled me into a consignment shop the other day (his favorite) and this pair just begged for an experiment. At $3.99 (really, that's what they cost), I couldn't pass up the chance to test it myself. Spoiler alert? I don't hate it. In fact, they're really quite comfortable and more shapely than I imagined. So if you're venturing the way of the mom jean, here are a few shopping tips to keep in mind:

1. Pick a light wash NOT acid wash: a whiter wash is more likely to accent the places you'd rather not.

2. Leave them loose: these aren't meant to be another pair of skinny jeans, so look for ones with a wider leg that slims toward the waist.

3. Pair with a form-fitting top: some of the street style fashion stars pull off the trend with a billowing white shirt; but for someone who's new to the trend, I'd contrast a looser leg with a waist-defining top. This will enhance (or create) a great silhouette.

4. Keep them off the ground: if the jeans are bunching on top of your feet/shoes, cuff them or go for a shorter inseam. Bunching gives the appearance of drowning in hip-enhancing denim.

5. Give some height: playing off the previous tip, elevate the mom jean with a simple heel. These slingbacks are the perfect daytime option to modernize the older trend.

blush tee and tangering lipstick
messy ponytail
how to wear mom jeans fashion trend

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April 14, 2015

classic carrot cake

classic carrot cake recipe with cream cheese frosting

In my book, carrot cake is the under-appreciated gem. Somehow it got the reputation of being outdated; I'm guessing that has something to do with the sickeningly sweet store-bought options. But I've always had a soft spot for it since that was the flavor of my parent's wedding cake. To be honest, though, I'm not even sure they loved it that much--maybe they just had fewer options. So I made it a little mission to perfect the recipe with a heavy hand on cinnamon and sans nuts or raisins. I played off the recipe listed below and added a garnish of spiced nuts. So, forks up to changing the carrot cake perception!

candied pecan carrot cake topping

Ingredients

cake:

1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
6 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 lb. finely-grated fresh carrots
(optional: 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts and/or 1/2 cup raisins)

frosting:

3 (8 oz.) bricks cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
6 cups powdered sugar (or more if needed to thicken)

Directions

cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Or alternately, you can use two 9-inch round baking pans. (Just be sure that every square inch of the pans greased and coated in flour so that the cake does not stick!)
2. In the bowl of a large stand mixer, mix together oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined and smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and mix until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves) until combined. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the mixing bowl, and beat on medium-speed until just combined, scraping down the pan at least once to be sure that everything is well mixed. Then fold in the grated carrots by hand, and stir until combined. If you would like to add nuts and/or raisins, stir them in at this time as well.
4. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Then bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove pans and let them cool on a wire rack until the cakes reach room temperature.
5. I then like to pop them in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to cool off slightly. Then remove them and use a large knife or a cake leveler to level off the domed tops of the cakes so that they are level and even.
6. Layer the cakes with the cream cheese frosting, and then frost the outside of the cake as you desire. Serve that day or store, covered, for up to 4 days.

frosting:

1. Using an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter on medium speed for 1 minute or until smooth with no lumps remaining. Add in vanilla extract and salt, and continue mixing until combined. Lower speed to medium-low and gradually add in powdered sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until combined.
2. If frosting is too thick, you can add in a teaspoon or two of water. If it is too thin, you can add in more powdered sugar.