Friday Link Love

Have you ever had one of those weeks that leaves you feeling like the musical dance number from the 1989 Batman? No? Is that weird? Anyway, this week has left me feeling a little frantic. Work is crazy stressful, so I am to try combat that by being creative and engaging in my down time, though I am feeling like I am more acting like “Julie” than actually being Julie. I don’t completely understand it, and I don’t think I’m explaining it well, but there it is. On a lighter note, my fur babies have been super cuddly this week. They’ve been enforcing down time by laying on my chest and staring at me. I am incredibly susceptible to fluffy-guilt, and they can usually wrangle about 15-30 minutes of ear/chin scratches before I make them move. Even longer if it’s Octavian. I just can’t say no to him. He’s been with me since I was 18, and he is old, slightly blind, diabetic, and has arthritis in his hips. One plaintive “meow”, and I am using heated towels to create a nest and giving him kisses on his nose. Yes, I know I am being manipulated, but it doesn’t keep it from being effective.

I’ve been holding on to a Sephora gift certificate the birthday fairy brought me, but I think I know what I want to spend it on now.

Who would’ve though that giving up on your dreams might just be what you need to be happy and live your best life.

It’s true; these are the best sandals in the world. I have three pairs, and I’m not sorry.

I’m not a festival person, but I am very much a festival makeup person. All the glitter.

Normally, I don’t like my cookies to be overly complicated, but after the week that I’ve had, these extra cookies might be just what the doctor ordered.

Some good tips for utilizing tableware you already own for your next dinner party table.

There will never be enough posts about cats on the internet.

 

 

Image from here


How I Unwind – Man About Cake

We all have those things we love to do when we’re world weary and in need of something fun and inspiring. A few months ago, Andy introduced me to a show called Man About Cake hosted by the delightful Joshua John Russel, and it has been at the top of my YouTube watch list ever since. Now before you click away thinking “well I don’t want to make big fancy cakes so this isn’t for me”, hold on – if you bake at all, there are great tips to be picked up. For instance, using powdered fruit to flavor your frostings so you get maximum fruit flavor without the added liquid. I’ve also picked up some decorating tips that can be scaled down for cupcakes and smaller single tier cakes, like gilded blackberries and using bubble tea straws to hold your multi layer cakes steady. Here are a few of my favorite episodes:

Impressive, right? JJR and the crew put out new videos on their channel every Tuesday. This month the focus is on wedding cakes, so there should be some really great cakes.


DIY Moisturizing Coconut Lime Bath Salts

One of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year was to regularly indulge in self care. This is especially critical this time of year when things are insanely stressful at the office. One of the things I’ve discovered that works wonders for me is a nice long soak in the tub. It helps the tension in my neck and shoulders release, it increases circulation, AND with this awesome bath soak I’ve been making, it keeps my skin super soft. Which normally isn’t a big problem since Florida is incredibly humid, but we had a surprisingly cool dry winter and my poor skin was in bad shape. Nothing is as distracting dry itchy butt that you can’t scratch, am I right? TMI? I digress. When I first started using this soak, I didn’t add any scent because I thought the coconut was lovely on its own. Now that the weather is warmer though, I wanted to add something extra. I took inspiration from one of my favorite parts of Practical Magic, the scene where they make Midnight Margaritas and sing about putting the “lime in the coconut”.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Epsom Salt
  • 1/2 cup Pink Himalayan Rock Salt
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Coconut Milk
  • 6 drops of Rose Hip Oil
  • 10-15 drops of Lime Essential Oil

*Combine all the ingredients together in a large baggie and shake until thoroughly combined. Store in cool dark place for up to 3 weeks.

Super simple, and your skin will feel amazing. I catch myself absentmindedly running my hands over my arms or legs after I get out. How do you exercise self care in your routine?


Friday Link Love

It’s Easter weekend! Andy and I have big plans to go watch our nephews hunt Easter eggs for the first time. They’re pretty small, and I don’t think they’re going to get the “hunting” concept, but I think that’ll make things even more fun. Plus I get baby snuggles, and that’s always pretty great. I say this every year, but next year I want to have brunch for my friends and host a grown up egg hunt. Still put candy in the eggs, except for one that’ll contain a $20. I figure that will be incentive enough to get everyone to participate 😉 Here are some links to get your weekend going:

Andy and I got an Instapot for Christmas, but neither of us has been brave enough to try it out yet. I think these recipes for “10 Things You Didn’t Know Your Could Make in an Instapot” might just be the push we needed.

I am thinking about whipping up this little wreath to brighten up our new purple front door.

This charming lemonade bar is charming and perfect for this warmer weather.

Some ideas and recommendations for a quick and easy Easter brunch.

Coming from humbler beginnings, this article on class anxiety really resonated with me.

I picked up this pretty purple dress a couple of weeks ago, and I have been LOVING it. Super comfy, and I get complements every time I throw it on.

This before and after on the renovation of a childhood home is heartwarming. It’s wonderful to see an old place given new life by people who really care about it.

Kids always have questions; here is some great advice on how to positively talk about something that might be considered “different”.

 

Image from here


Back to Basic: Blueberry Muffins

For the last couple of years, my yearly lists of goals have included trying a certain number of recipes from a cookbook I’d purchased. This started in part because I was one of those people who bought books and very seldom used them, and also because I wanted to be more intentional about the things I was bringing into my life (books included). For years 30 and 31, I picked books that would force me to stretch my abilities and push me further out of my comfort zone, but this year I wanted to try something different. With me starting to write recipes of my own, I wanted to go back to the basics and really work on refining my scratch baking. Also, regardless of how I look, I am southern, and I think it’s a bit embarrassing that I bake and I’ve only made biscuits once or twice. So I took to Amazon and found Muffins and Biscuits, and just a few days after my 32nd birthday, I tried my first recipe: Blueberry Muffins. I am hoping to alternate and make their basic biscuits the next time around.

Notes:

  • Yummy, yummy muffins! And the streusel recipe for the topping!? These are great without it, but it really elevates the whole muffin.
  • I split the difference between 12 regular muffins and 6 jumbo muffins, and settled on 9 muffins in a regular tin, but just really full. My baking time increased by 5ish minutes, but they turned out just fine.
  • Don’t be afraid to really layer in the fruit. I got a bit jumpy, and I didn’t use the full 2 cups of blueberries because everything was looking a bit crowded as I assembled, but they puffed up quite a bit and, while delicious, would have benefited from the additional fruit.