Music Monday: Churchill

Change by Churchill
I loved the song first. But the video. Oh the video. Dear man in the video, can we be best friends? Because, mister has swagger. And he's quite the little lip syncer. Happy Monday

Besties






















Meet Brooke. She is my oldest and dearest friend. My family moved across the street from her 25 years ago, and we've remained close ever since. I don't have a childhood memory that doesn't include Brooke. I've never met anyone else who can make me laugh as hard or reflect as much as this girl right here. She is the type of friend who still remembers your birthday, will let you crash on her newlywed couch for a month, and taught you about the birds and the bees during a sleepover when you were 8. The type of friend that is never awkward to catch up with even if it's been 4 years and two babies later.

Here's to the next 25 years of laughing till we cry.

PS. She's also the type of friend who will enlist her husband for a besties photo shoot. Because, you know, you have to document these types of things. And because he's really quite talented.

PPS. Don't forget about the giveaway!

80 bones

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A little giveaway for your Friday pleasure.

What could I do with an extra $80 in my pocket? My mind swirls! 

Summer Reading List














































1. The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain because the summer is meant for love.
2. Wonder by R. J. Palacio because we could all learn to be a little kinder.
3. Blog Inc by Joy Cho because I've super sucked as of lately.
4. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk because the movie was so good.
5. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple because the cover is rad. (Bad but honest reasoning going on over here.)
6. Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington because she was my favorite personality in The September Issue.
7. Enders Game by Orson Scott Card because you have to read the book before you see the movie.

Time to get crackin!

Lake George













































My parents have a friend who owns a house on Lake George. When I went home recently, he invited us out to watch the Thursday night fireworks. Because, Lake George does it right, meaning weekly. We arrived just as the sun was setting. That cutie is my youngest sister. She's 10 and she took the images of me. Not bad, eh?

Going home did make me miss summer nights spent around campfires on the edges of lakes. That is how I spent every night the summer after senior year. Someday, maybe if I'm real lucky, I'll have a camp in northern New York to summer at.

Happy Monday

Sequined























































































I need to apologize for my absence.  Between a few work trips, some crazy client meetings, and a few other things on my plate, I let the blog slip for a few weeks. I don't have any up-coming travel planned, hallelujah. Which means I should have more time to dedicate here.

What you can't see in this photo is the severe pain screaming from every muscle in my body. I started a barre class last week, and even a yoga class on Monday couldn't cure my inability of sitting up in bed. I've literally rolled out every morning since Saturday. Pathetic. Here's to hoping those thighs are better toned in a month. (Is a month an unrealistic goal? Just go with it, k?)

Shirt: J Crew
Pants: Target
Belt: Target
Shoes: Steve Madden (similar)

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes













































Recently, it was a friends birthday and his only request for the cake was that it not be lemon. And I thought to myself, how can you not have an overly specific birthday cake request? I mean, c'mon. I could tell you right now. I want homemade (non-no-bake) cheesecake or red velvet and my birthday is in November. I guess some people don't feel the same way as I do about cake. Regardless, this gave me a little freedom to experiment. I opted for my go-to chocolate cupcakes and trying out a salted caramel frosting.

I used this recipe for the cupcakes. And this one for the caramel.

Cake
1 pkg devil's food cake mix
1 (3.4oz) pkg instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 tsps vanilla extract (mexican if possible)
1/2 cup warm water

Combine all the ingredients and mix until there are no clumps. Fill cupcake tins 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees F for 15-18 mins.

Caramel
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp kosher salt

Stir sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar completely dissolves (meaning no grains at all.) Turn to high and bring to a boil without stirring.  Use a wet brush to keep the mixture from crystallizing on the edges of the pan. Continue to boil until syrup turns a deep amber color (5-6 mins.)  Remove from heat and whisk in the heavy cream. After completely combined, add in the butter and salt. Transfer to other dish and allow to cool.

Frosting
2 lbs powdered sugar
Caramel (1.5 above batches)
2 1/2 sticks butter
3-6 tbs heavy cream

With the paddle attachment, cream the butter and caramel until well combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar until it's well combined. Add the cream one tablespoon at a time until the frosting is lighter.  Note: this frosting isn't very stiff, so just be forewarned when you go to frost.

Frost your cupcakes using the remaining 1/2 batch of caramel to drizzle over the top.  I also sprinkled a little kosher salt over my cupcakes for a little more of the salty taste!

8 Catholic Priests and I

Photo Credit























I went to Florida and New York last week. I've been living in the west too long. I forgot how much I love those muggy, lush summers. I can't wait to share some of favorite moments and people with you later this week.

My oldest and truest friend, Brooke, took the above picture shortly after we got caught in a rainstorm. We hid under a boardwalk with 8 Catholic priests. True story. I awkwardly put back on my sundress and asked them about seminary. They attended in Italy and had all their classes in Italian, which none of them spoke. It was so great to see people who were so devout even in their youth. They probably ranged from 25 to 35 in age. What a sacrifice, can you imagine?

Sidenote: I was convinced they were foreign (Canadian, specifically) because they were all wearing water shoes and white t-shirts in the water. No no, they were just modest. 

All-American

Photo Credit: Holly

























































































This fourth of July, I decided to break the heat and head to cooler places.  I'm spending it in Upstate New York with my parents. Which of course means I'll be gorging myself on my favorite meals; cheese and ham potatoes, blueberry pancakes, strawberry shortcake, just to name a few. It also means that I may actually be able to enjoy a parade. Phoenix lacks in that department for the obvious reasons.

So here's to the All-American holiday and our favorite ways of celebrating: People, Pigging out, Parades and Pyrotechnics.

PS. It feels a little elementary school teacher to wear a holiday themed outfit, but just go with it, k?

Shirt: Madewell (similar)
Skirt: Target
Shoes: Target (similar)
Scarf: Vintage (Thanks Mom!)
Watch: Asos
Necklace: Greece (similar)

Weekend


















Drink to me only with thine eyes,
         And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
         And I’ll not look for wine.
-Ben Johnson

I hope you have a poetic weekend.