Posts by month
Posts by category
Author Archives: Julie
One of the things I said I wanted to focus on this year was self care. I’ve been doing a few things to take better care of myself and make my life a little easier. One of the more indulgent things I’ve been doing is taking a nice tub soak at the end of a particularly long day. It started out with the tub and whatever soap I could squirt under the faucet to make bubbles, but as I’ve made this a bigger part of my routine I’ve started adding different things to make the experience a little more luxurious. Below I have curated some items that I would love to keep on hand for the perfect evening bubble bath.
- Fizzbanger – Lush
- Teak Bath Caddy – Bed Bath & Beyond
- Verbena Shower Gel – L’Occitane
- Threshold – Target
- Botanica Trinket Dish – Anthropologie
- Volcano Candle – Capri Blue
- Imperial Purple Robe – Soma
- Volition Wine Glass – ModCloth
- Evolution Salt Massage Stone – Urban Outfitters
As you can see, there are a few items in there that aren’t for the bath exactly. A gold catch-all for the jewelry I am always forgetting to take off, glasses for a beverage to enjoy during the soak, and a pink salt sphere to use on any tension the soak didn’t alleviate. Little touches to make things my version of “perfect”. What do you need for your perfect soak?
I consider myself a fairly competent amateur baker, and I have made some really delicious things, but every once in a while I surprise even myself. That’s how I feel about these Lightly Lavender Lemon Meringue Cupcakes I made this weekend. I’ve wanted to frost something with simple meringue ever since I tried this recipe a few weeks ago. The meringue was so pretty and glossy, and the flavor was lovely on its own. Perfect for a spring cupcake. We all know lemon is a time honored companion for meringue, so figured that would be a safe bet for my main flavor. Last year, I had lavender in lemonade so I decided to make that the “something special” that would take these cupcakes up a notch. Honestly, I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever made, and my taste testers RAVED about them. I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys, and I hope you love them as much as I do.
- 1 box King Arthur Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 tbsp veggie oil
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup of milk
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp lavender extract (optional)
- 2 tsp chopped or pulverized lavender buds
- 1 jar of lemon curd (I used Wilkin & Sons, Ltd)
- 5 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
Special equipment: Kitchen torch
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Combine cake mix, butter, veggie oil and eggs in mixer until combined.
- Mix in zest, milk, extract and mix until thoroghly combined
- Fold in chopped buds.
- Fill cupcake liners
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow cupcakes to cool.
- Using a knife or a cupcake corer, create a hole in the center of each cupcake.
- Transfer lemon curd to ziplock bag and clip off one corner. Use to fill cored cupcakes.
- In a double boiler, heat 2 inches of water in the lower pot. When water boils place top pot over boiling water carefully so that the boiling water doesn’t touch the bottom of the upper bowl.
- Combine egg whites and sugar in top bowl.
- Whisk gently over heat until mixture become slightly more opaque and the sugar has fully dissolved.
- Transfer the mixture to a mixer and whip on high for 10 minutes until it doubles in size and reaches stiff peak stage.
- Pipe your meringue onto your filled cupcakes.
- Toast meringue lightly (and carefully) with kitchen torch.
- I’ve doubled the amount of lavender called for in my first trial. Lemon is a strong flavor, and my first batch only had the passing hint of lavender. Don’t over do it though; too much lavender will leave your cupcakes tasting like soap.
- I recommend chopping or pulverizing the lavender buds before incorporating them into your batter. A whole lavender bud in a single bite can be off putting for a lot of people. I usually crush mine with a mortar and pestle. Same flavor, just a little more diffused throughout the mix.
One of the prettiest places in Tallahassee during the spring is Maclay Gardens. I visited for the first time my freshman year of college and have been taking visiting friends and family ever since. The best visit I ever had was with my mom; it was the very beginning of spring and the trees and flowers were blooming so fiercely that you could scarcely see the leaves. The entire garden looked like it had been covered in pink and white snow. This year I missed the sweet spot, but my mom and I still decided to make a morning of it this weekend.
The main walk of the garden is shaded by massive trees dripping with Spanish moss and flanked by numerous camilla bushes (trees?). It’s such a picturesque setting; in fact we ran into several groups taking advantage of the beautiful weather to do everything from birthday photos to engagement/save the date shoots. There were even a few groups from the college. Frequently on this blog, you hear me lamenting the hot stodgy weather that blankets Tallahassee for the better part of the year, but during this brief period where the flowers are blooming and the weather is fine, I can see why so many people fall in love with the sunshine state. This knurled old tree seems like something from a storybook, and it’s one of my favorite places to go to in the garden. Its lowest branches gracefully rest on the ground and are covered in moss and tiny ferns. The upper branches reach up and out, providing the perfect amount of shade. I love watching the light filter through its leaves and wondering how many people have stood there before me and how many stories must this old guy have born witness too? This tiny gated garden is my mother’s favorite. It’s a bit too orderly for me, but the walls around it remind me very much of reading the Secret Garden and how Mary Lennox must have felt stepping through the gate for the first time.
It was a really nice way to spend a morning, even if we had to share it with a lot more people than we’d initially thought. We’ve hopefully got another week or two of nice weather, so I might try to make it out there once more before the season is over and my vampiric tenancies reemerge.
I fell in love with fantasy long before I fell in love with fashion. When I was a little girl, I didn’t dream of runway shows or owning chic boutiques, I wanted to make clothes for fairy queens and story book heroines. Things made with cloth spun from spider silk and adorned with dewdrops and colorful tiny flowers. Gowns that were so beautiful that they could make princesses out of the grubbiest scullery maids. That dream gave way to slightly more practical aspirations, but there is always that part of me that will dream about making clothing so spectacular that is seems otherworldly. When I saw this article, it brought back all of those long lost dreams. These gorgeous creations by Sylvie Facon are 100% storybook worthy.
Completely fantastical, right? The attention to detail in these garments is down right swoon worthy, and the incorporation of nontraditional materials? I can’t even. Legitimately can’t even. I don’t know what I’d make or who’d wear it, but this has left me itching to dust off the dress form in my home office. I even think I remember where some of my old textbooks are.