Monthly Archives: September 2014


Modern Bathroom Inspiration

When searching for our current apartment, I had one non-negotiable: a great big bath tub.  I live for a good bubble bath (and my family … and cookies.)  But really, the bubble bath was key in the property search.  And somehow, in the blink of an eye, we’ll be on the move again in just a blink of an eye, and in just a few short months we’ll be packing up and moving for hubby’s residency.  I’m already dreaming about our would-be bathroom, because, priorities.

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And once we find our perfect home in that new city, I’ll be tackling our bathroom design first, with a little help from DecorPlanet.com (because seriously, they have everything!)  I’m dreaming of something modern (with design-forward staples in classic white), plus rustic/vintage touches (wood floors, subway tiles, white washed window frames, a great big Moroccan rug or cowhide.)

DecorPlanet.com has gorgeous modern vanities – (I absolutely love the Fresca Distante bathroom vanity with a round sink!); stunning lighting (because every dream bathroom should come equipped with a devastatingly glamorous chandelier); mirrors in every shape and style; and the freestanding neptune tubs (I’m pretty sure I fall in love with a freestanding tub in every Pinterest picture of a bathroom I have ever seen.)

Disclosure:  This post is kindly brought to you by DecorPlanet.com; all opinions are my own.  

Image via:  Domino // Ryan Street & Associates (featured on Glitter, Inc.) // Adore Your Place // Centsational Girl // Domaine Home


Lexi

Fall Dinner Party Planning: From Prep to Cleanup

Fall has me in the mood for dinner parties, so I’m dreaming up the perfect Fall-inspired dinner party for our little family and a few friends (Scarlett is a big fan of being the center of attention … especially if you indulge her and make funny faces.  She’s a big big fan of funny faces.)  I love the idea of an intimate rustic glam dinner, complete with DIY glitter pumpkins and mini apple pies, because it is Fall after all!  I’m also sharing tips for keeping it easy, with the world’s simplest cleanup.

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Floral invitation inspiration: Nothing says “party” like a paper invitation, and these floral invites have my heart.

Starry string lights: I love these sparkly little light strands, and I love how they set the mood for an intimate little gathering.

Flowers: Anytime we have guests over, I love to fill the apartment with fresh cut flowers.  They add so much brightness with not a whole lot of effort, and Fall is blooming with some seriously gorgeous blooms.

Dip-dye glitter pumpkins:  This is one DIY I’ll be breaking out again and again come each Fall season; simple and sparkly and the perfect centerpiece (or even party favor).  Yay for pumpkins!

Table-setting inspiration:  Linen, ceramics, and feathers – chic and understated … perfect for a small dinner get-together.

Rose gold flatware:  Rose gold flatware is the perfect partner to a rustic tablescape – glammed up rustic, that is.

Fresh vegetables with garlic and white bean dip:  I went crazy for this adorable little app the moment I spotted it on Lonny – the root vegetables paired with dips is the perfect Fall starter.

Individual apple pies:  There is something absolutely adorable about individual or mini desserts, and apple pie just screams Fall (and ice cream).

Electrolux Stainless Steel Dishwasher with IQ-Touch™ Controls (EI24ID50QS):  When the night is over, and your feet are aching, the last thing you want to do is scrub stacks of dishes.  The new Electrolux dishwasher is the best way to optimize entertaining, because this little wonder will set you up for an easy clean at the end of the night. This dishwasher gives you a professional-level clean with four super impressive targeted wash zones (to clean even the most challenging of dirty dishes) in just 30 minutes – so your dishes are clean and ready just in time for you to fall into bed.  Now that’s brilliant!

Be sure to check out the Electrolux Facebook page for more details on the incredible Electrolux Stainless Steel Dishwasher with IQ-Touch™ Controls (EI24ID50QS)!

AuthorLogo_Electrolux

The new Electrolux dishwasher provides a professional level clean with its 30-minute wash and dry cycle. As the highest rated dishwasher on Reviewed.com (http://dishwashers.reviewed.com/content/electrolux-ei24id50qs-dishwasher-review ), it also features SatelliteSpray Arm technology which provides 400% more water coverage than a traditional dishwasher. Visit ElectroluxAppliances.com for more information on this and other stylish and functional options available from Electrolux.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Electrolux via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Electrolux.


Lexi

Little Love Notes

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TGIF, in a big way.  Though I’ve taken to working mostly from home, at least for now (and at least when I can), I still relish the weekends (mostly because hubby is home, and can take on some of the baby-care duties, but also because there is something to be said for Saturday morning coffee and dinner on Friday night on the sofa watching re-runs and Sundays spent running simple errands that just feel like “weekend” errands though you could probably just as easily scoop those things up on, say, a Tuesday.)  Is it just me or aren’t weekends just grand?

And with that, a few love notes …

Dear ambitious DIY’s to try, make your very own indoor swing.

Dear hankering for yet another throw blanket, give me an excuse … any excuse … to snatch up another throw for our living room … because this one has sequins.  Sequins, I tell you.

Dear foodie spin on a new classic, avocado toast with cilantro lime cashew cream; sign me up.

Dear Scrubs re-runs, thank you for introducing me to the Cary Brothers … can’t stop listening to this song.

Dear Sarah (and crew), this is easily one of the cutest pregnancy announcements I have ever seen.

Dear Budweiser, not only did I never expect to write you a little love note, but I must admit, it is fully deserved.  Such a beautiful anti-drinking-and-driving message.  Kudos, Budweiser marketing department.

Dear brilliant career advice, 10 career lessons from Joanna Goddard.

Dear weekend baking, because it’s that time of year, 9 Fall-worthy apple desserts.

Get the origins of these sweet little love notes, here.

Image via Park & Cube


Lexi

Fall Boots to Love: Ariat (+ A $250 Giveaway)

I am a boot-lover through and through (Fall is my absolute favorite season – for so many reasons – but fashion-wise, it’s an excuse to break out all of my favorite boots … missed you guys!)  When Ariat asked me to check out their boots, I jumped at the chance.  Ariat also gave me the opportunity to try a style of boot I wouldn’t normally have chosen … I went for fringe and a bit of Western flair, and I am in love.

Meet the Ariat Gold Rush fringe Boot in Terra Brown. The fringe adds major on-trend styling to this must-have western boot (I pretty much want to put fringe on everything these days.)

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Ariat boots are not only gorgeously made out of perfectly distressed leather with classic nods to equestrian English and Western traditions (and yes, a pair of Ariat authentic riding boots are next on my list), but each pair of their lightweight boots are designed with Advanced Torque Stability (ATS®) Technology that supports and cushions the foot as you move, promoting good posture and reducing fatigue so that you can work or play all day. The moisture-wicking footbed provides cool, dry comfort and the gel-cushioned footbed with heel stabilizer delivers support, rebound, and stability.  They really are that comfy.

As the temperatures cool (and we start to travel for hubby’s residency interviews), I’ll pair my new boots with tights and skinny jeans, but until then, I’m wearing these fringe beauties with my favorite dresses (like this maxi slip dress).

Ariat-Fringe-Western-Boots-Fall---glitterinc.com Ariat-Western-Boots---fringe---glitterinc.com

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY DETAILS:  The giveaway will be open from Monday, September 22, 2014 to Friday, October 10, 2014 and is sponsored by Sway Group.  Four winners (from all 15 bloggers’ giveaways) will be selected to receive (1) $250 Ariat Boot Gift Card (approximate retail value or “ARV”: $250).  Sway Group will select and notify winners once the giveaway closes.

So what are you waiting for? Enter using the rafflecopter widget, below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Glitter, Inc. is not responsible for prize fulfillment, and prize will be sent directly from Ariat. Entry ends on Friday (10/10/14) at 12:00AM EST. Please note entries will be verified. No purchase necessary; void where prohibited. By entering into this sweepstakes, the entrant acknowledges that they are eligible for this sweepstakes according to all laws set forth by their state of residency.

Do you have a favorite style of boots?  What are your must haves for Fall?

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of target=”_blank”>Ariat.
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Lexi

How to Make French Macarons {Strawberry Cheesecake Macarons Recipe}

I’ll be the first to admit that I have been totally intimidated by French macaroons. They look so delicate and beautiful. But they are completely doable and delicious, and I’m here to tell you, you’ve got this!  

Rachel of Sugar-Coated Inspiration is going to show you (literally, with an amazing little video) how to create your very own homemade French macarons.  She also went a step further and chose a totally amazing recipe to teach today’s macaron class:  strawberry cheesecake French macarons.  So good.

From Rachel: In my opinion, there’s nothing quite as impressive as homemade French Macarons – a cookie that is notoriously tricky to make. The main goal is to get that signature ridge, or “foot,” lining the bottom of the meringue cookie. (I literally shrieked the first time my macarons came out of the oven with feet.) However, after making them at home a few times (pretending to be a professional pastry chef), I’ve realized that these delicious & delicate little cookies aren’t nearly as difficult as I thought they’d be. And they’re so impressive once you get them right!

DIY-How-to-Make-French-Macarons---Strawberry-Cheesecake-Macarons-Recipe - glitterinc.com

STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE FRENCH MACARONS

Makes 20 Macarons

INGREDIENTS

COOKIES

1 cup almond flour
2 cups powdered sugar
3 room temperature egg whites
A pinch of salt
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
¼ cup granulated sugar
Seeds from ½ of a vanilla bean

FILLING

2 tbsp. salted butter
2 tbsp. cream cheese
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Up to 3 tbsp. fresh strawberry puree (fresh strawberries, blended & strained)

 

DIRECTIONS

Prepare yourself – these cookies are quite step intensive! However, they’re really, really fun to make and so rewarding once they’re finished! (Also, super delicious. Can’t forget that.)

Start by sifting together 1 cup of almond flour with 2 cups of powdered sugar. Make sure to use a fine sieve, any larger lumps of almond that make it into the batter will result in a macaron that’s a bit bumpy on top, rather than perfectly smooth.

Once the dry ingredients are sifted, prepare the wet ingredients (you’re basically just whipping up a fluffy meringue!) Use a metal mixing bowl to whip up 3 room temperature egg whites. (For a shortcut to room temperature eggs, submerge them in warm water – in their shells – for 5 minutes.) As you beat the egg whites on high, add in a pinch of salt and the cream of tartar. Once the eggs begin to turn white and fluffy, you can slowly pour in the granulated sugar and add in the vanilla bean seeds. Continue to whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks on the end of the beaters (takes about 8-10 minutes total.)

Now that the wet and the dry elements are ready, it’s time to combine them. This is where it gets a little tricky. Two spoonfuls at a time, add the powdered sugar/almond flour mixture into the whipped egg white mixture. Gently fold the dry into the wet, making sure to keep the egg whites fluffy – be sure to watch the video for proper technique. Continue folding the dry ingredients in until everything has been incorporated (takes approximately 70 folds, if you’re willing to count!)

Load the macaron batter into a piping bag, fitted with a large round tip, and pipe out 40 evenly spaced 1-inch circles onto two parchment lined baking sheets (20 on each sheet). Once your cookies are piped, be sure to tap the pan hard on the counter to release any air bubbles. Leave them out to dry for up to an hour. (This causes the cookies to rise up when baked, rather than spread out – creating the signature ridged “foot” around the edge of the macaron.)

How-to-Make-French-Macarons---Strawberry-Cheesecake---Recipe - glitterinc.com

Preheat your oven to 300 F and, once the batter is no longer sticky to the touch, bake the macarons for 15-20 minutes. (Baking time can vary depending on your oven, so keep a close eye on them! If you can remove the cookies from the parchment without them sticking – they’re ready.) Also, be sure to cook each baking sheet separately to make sure that the heat is distributed evenly.

As the macarons bake & cool, work on the strawberry cheesecake filling. Whip together the butter and cream cheese. Then, slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, until smooth. Finish with the vanilla extract & the fresh strawberry puree (add this in slowly, as well.) To make the fresh strawberry puree, simply blend around 5 -10 fresh strawberries, depending on how large they are, and then strain out the seeds. Use up to 3 tbsp. of the strawberry puree in the filling.

Final step! Yay! Group the macarons together in pairs, based on similar size. Pipe a bit of the strawberry cheesecake filling onto every other vanilla bean macaron, and sandwich the pairs together.

How-to-Make-French-Macarons---Strawberry-Cheesecake-Macarons-Recipe-3 - glitterinc.com How-to-Make-French-Macarons---Strawberry-Cheesecake-Macarons-Recipe-2 - glitterinc.com How-to-Make-French-Macarons---Strawberry-Cheesecake-Macarons-Recipe-hands - glitterinc.com

NOTE:  Macarons are supposed to taste better over time, so if you’d like, refrigerate them for up to 48 hours before serving. Be sure to bring them back to room temperature before eating them, though!

Recipe Adapted via Entertaining with Beth

How-to-Make-French-Macarons-close-up---Strawberry-Cheesecake-Macarons-Recipe - glitterinc.com

There is also an awesome troubleshooting guide on Food Nouveau. (It has the solution to any problem you might encounter while making macarons!)

And this ridiculously helpful video …

Special thanks to Rachel of Sugar-Coated Inspiration for this amazing recipe and tutorial!

Video Music: Siesta (creative commons license)


Lexi

Weekend Outings: From Farmer’s Market to Yoga

Now that Scarlett has passed the two-month mark, hubby and I have started to (slowly) venture out of the house with her. We usually save our outings for shorter activities on the weekends, and first up this past weekend was a trip to our local farmer’s market.

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Lately I live for comfort, and Athleta’s leggings are a perfect style solution, especially when I’m going from errands, to a daytime date, to yoga and need to change in a pinch. For instance on Saturday, I paired this printed tunic and a cardigan with my favorite pair of leggings — a strategic move — so at the end of the day, I could quickly slip into a comfy tank for yoga class. Basically, these leggings are a new mama’s wardrobe staple; especially through Fall, when leggings are the perfect layering accessory. The ease of a quality pair of leggings is necessary for my on-the-go lifestyle, and Athleta’s leggings also happen to be soft, fitted, and thick enough so that everything stays where it should (they’re are as close as you’re going to get to pants, while still feeling like you’re wearing a great pair of leggings.)

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Take your leggings look from a day at the market to an afternoon yoga class with ease …

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Get the Look:

 

This post brought to you by Athleta, the premier fitness fashion brand for women.


Lexi