Monday, December 12, 2016

Cran-Raspberry Lacroix Holiday Punch

'Tis the season for lots of parties! One thing I've found when hosting holiday gatherings is small touches can do a lot to up your game. Enter: This punch.

When you're having big groups of people over, it's good to have a variety of options for those who have different dietary restrictions and concerns. Obviously, the only way to completely ensure you're serving the right foods to your friends and family is to text every single person on the guest list and ask if there's anything they can't or won't eat. But, when you're having a larger get-together, it's nearly impossible to contact everyone and perfectly accommodate their food needs. I mean, it is possible. But then you wouldn't have had time to binge Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life for the second time this month.

So here's my solution: I play it safe. I try to go with the most wow-worthy, clean ingredients that pack a punch — and YES, that pun was intended. (Do you feel like I'm about to start talking about Lacroix? I might be about to start talking about Lacroix...)

Okay, you guessed it. Lacroix is the not-so-secret ingredient in this holiday concoction! In my humble option, the absolute worst thing at parties is punch that tastes like melted sherbet. So instead of buying a bunch of sugary mixers and adding in a dessert, try this recipe instead:

Single Serving
- 8 oz. Cran-Raspberry LaCroix (3/4 of a can)
- 4 oz. Cranberry Juice
- Splash of Orange Juice
- Garnish with orange slice, frozen cranberries (to keep it chilly!) and rosemary

For a Punch Bowl
- 8 cans LaCroix
- 1 46 oz. jug of Cranberry Juice
- 1/2 cup Orange Juice
- Garnish with orange slice, frozen cranberries (to keep it chilly!) and rosemary

The best thing about this punch is you'll still feel great after drinking 10-12 glasses of it! Don't ask me how I know...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Spiced Apple and Pear Pie

People. We've got PIES today. Well, OK, just one pie — but if you're looking for pies (plural), I can point you in the right direction.

My friend, Stephanie, is kitchen queen extraordinaire, and she's been one of my dearest pals since college. Steph is one of those people who is gifted at everything, and she's still sweet and incredibly gracious. Trust me, I have hard evidence from the one time we tried to do kickboxing together.

Serious paragraph: Springfield, MO (where we live) is home to some great nonprofits including iPour Life, which has what they call a "10x10" women's empowerment program in Korah, Ethiopia. The women who live in Korah have leprosy or a HIV diagnosis, and they're at risk of losing their children. The goal of the program is to train women in different skills and business knowledge, so they can sustain themselves and provide for their families. You can learn more about the program, including why it's called 10x10, here.

And where does Stephanie come in? Glad you asked! She's baking pies to support a trip she's taking in June. She'll be on the ground in Korah to encourage these women and aid them with home repairs. Stephanie is baking up a storm to support her trip, so if you're into women's empowerment (or if you're shamelessly into pie), head over to for more!

AND if that wasn't all enough, Stephanie is going to share her pie recipe here today! Here we go:

Dough Ingredients:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), diced 1 large egg
- 3 to 4 tablespoons very cold water

Dough Directions:
- Put flour, sugar, and salt into a large food processor bowl and pulse to combine. Cut cold butter into - 1 inch cubes and put into processor with dry ingredients. Pulse processor until the dough resembles coarse dough (like cornmeal with only small, pea-sized pieces of butter left).
- Beat the egg with 3 tablespoons of the water; then drizzle it evenly over the dough in the processor. Pulse the dough just until it begins to hold together. If you need to, you can add about 2 tablespoons of ice water to get the dough to come together.
- Take the dough out of the food processor and mold into one large ball. Divide the dough in half and flatten into 2 discs. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. (The dough can also be frozen for 2 months and defrost the dough in the fridge overnight.)

Filling Ingredients (Recipe adapted from The Food Network):
- 1/2 lemon
- 3 pounds baking apples, such as Golden Delicious, Cortland, or Mutsu (about 6 apples) 1 1/2 pounds baking pears, such as Bosc or firm Bartletts (about 3 pears)
- 2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the pie
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, beaten

Filling Directions:
- Finely grate the lemon zest and set it aside.
- Peel, core, and then slice both the apple and pear into 1⁄2 inch slices.
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the fruit, then toss fruit with the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, salt and nutmeg.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fruit and cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves and juices simmer, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, uncovered, until the fruit softens and the juices evaporate some, about 10 minutes.
- Evenly mix the flour into the fruit; then cook about a minute more to thicken the juices slightly. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest; and remove from the heat. (The filling should resemble a tight compote.) Cool completely.

Form the Pie:
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees and place a rack in the lower third of the oven.
- Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Roll one disk of dough into an 11 to 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to 9-inch glass pie pan by rolling the dough up around your rolling pin and then unrolling across the pie pan. Then, trim the dough so it hangs about 1/2-inch over the edge of the pan.
- Fill the crust with the prepared fruit so it mounds slightly in the center. Roll the remaining dough into a 12-inch circle. Brush the rim of the crust already in the pan with some of the egg.
- To make a lattice top, cut the flattened dough into 8-10 strips, about 1 inch wide. Carefully layer about 4-5 strips of dough across the top of the filled pie. Then, carefully begin crossing the remaining strips above and under the pre-laid strips until it creates a lattice with about 2 inch gaps between all strips. Trim the dough strips until they match the length of the bottom crust. Press the lattice ends to the bottom crust and use a little egg to seal.
- For a regular pie top, roll the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll it over the fruit so it hangs over the edge of the pie pan by about 1/2-inch. Trim crust if needed, reserving the scraps for decorations or for patching, if needed. Fold the top crust edge under the bottom one, then press the edges together to seal. Cut trimmed scraps into designs if desired and set aside. Flute the crust by pressing a finger into the crust against the other hand's index finger and thumb to make an even impression. Repeat every 1/2 inch around the pie to create a ruffled edge (see photo). Cut a few small steam vents in the top of the dough.
- Brush the top of the pie with egg and sprinkle with sugar.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips, and cook for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees, and bake until the crust is golden brown (about 50 minutes).
- If the edges begin to brown too quickly, put a piece of aluminum foil around the edges to cover while the rest of the pie cooks.
- Once the pie is golden brown and cooked through, take the pie out of the oven and cool it on a rack.
Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with ice cream. (Always with ice cream.)

So, clearly, it's a lot of work! But if you have the patience and stick with it, it's SO worth your efforts. Plus, the best part is if you live in Springfield, you can just buy one from Steph! Not only will you have a great pie, but you'll be supporting women in Ethiopia — sounds like a win-win to me!

Pie, guys!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Giving Thanks for the Small Stuff

It's easy to be grateful when you're in the middle of an exciting season or things are going well. But if you're feeling like a droopy sunflower, sometimes it's harder to pull yourself out of the funk to see all the good that surrounds you.

Giving thanks is so important — not only on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. Why? Well, you're probably a crank to be around if you're an eternal pessimist. But science supports the idea too: One study shows that people who kept a gratitude journal for 10 weeks were happier and more optimistic than those who simply journaled about everyday occurrences. At the end of the study, the gratitude group also happened to be exercising more and visiting the doctor less! Gratitude clearly matters.

If you're wanting to cultivate gratitude, it's as easy or as hard as you make it. Your brain can only handle so many thoughts, so if you can capture negative emotions and replace them with gratitude, you're rewiring your brain to feel more positive emotions and reduce anxiety. Sounds like a good plan, huh?!

Here are some ideas on how to cultivate gratitude, if, y'know, you're just not feeling grateful.
- Buy a journal, and only use it to record what you're thankful for. You're not allowed to unpack your day or vent about traffic/work/relationships/whatever you might be frustrated about in this journal. It's simply a happy place.
- Ok good, then read the journal regularly. I really believe there's something about seeing things in your own handwriting. It reminds you that you're human.
- Also, you're human. Be grateful you woke up today!

You can copy off my small things list if you want. Truthfully, I'm most grateful for the big things in my personal life — family, loved ones, health, etc. But we can all be grateful for the following:

- pizza
- a bed, or somewhere to sleep at night
- internet connection (did you know almost 60 percent of the world doesn't have internet access?)
- Google (seriously. You can learn anything in the world on Google.)
- coffee. This wouldn't be a true gratitude list if it didn't include coffee
- music
- art
- Burt's Bees Hibiscus tinted lip balm (am I getting too specific now?)

So yeah, gratitude. Easier than it sounds, harder than it sounds, way more important than it sounds.

Outfit details: Jacket - Urban Outfitters (Sold out, similar here), Dress - c/o StyleWe, Boots - Aldo
Photos of me by Austin Elliott of Locke + Stache

Friday, October 28, 2016

Snapchat Deer Halloween Makeup

If you're looking for a last-minute, easy-breezy Halloween costume, may I recommend my favorite Snapchat filter??

Katie's going to show us how to do it! And I promise, it's way easier than the mermaid look. (p.s. and the recipe for those deer ears is in my last post, so you're all set to be the cutest Halloweener around.)

Step 1: Apply orange face paint on the lower portion of your forehead and the top bridge of your nose. If you don't have the orange paint, you could use a matte bronzer as well. Below the orange portion, apply white face paint all over your nose and on the sides of your cheeks in the shape of a snout.
Step 2: Color in the tip of the nose, making a "V" shape on the front. You can use a liquid eyeliner to outline the area you will fill in with black face paint — this will make the tip of the nose more likely to stay on and less likely to smudge. Both good things!
Step 3: Using the end of any eyeshadow brush, dip it in white face paint and apply to the forehead above the orange. This will help you get even dots that are the same shape.
Step 4: Apply the orange face paint in round circles on cheeks. If you think about the first time you ever applied blush when you were about 13, that's the shape you're going for here.

Step 5: Apply white eyeliner to your waterline and below the eye to mimic the larger-than-life eyes on the Snapchat filter.
Steps 6-7: Apply eyeliner directly above lashes, and create two wings going up toward the brow with a liquid liner. This is the trickiest part, so we'll share a close-up below.
Step 8: Apply false lashes, and you're good to go! This part can be left off if you choose, but it makes the eyes look even bigger!

This eyeliner look is to mimic the Snapchat filter, but you could just create one large wing if you wanted, and people would still get the i-dear.

Don't forget to snap all your friends when you're wearing your cute costume! What are you going to be for Halloween?!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Easy DIY Deer Ears

Like I said in my last post, I am all about the easy (but still fun!) Halloween costumes. So I figured I'd show you a quick way to make DIY ears for a deer costume!

This is a really inexpensive DIY, which makes it even better in my opinion. 

And here are the steps!

Step 1: Cut out an orange piece of felt in your desired shape and size. Cut a smaller, off-white piece to be the inside of the ear.
Steps 2-3: Apply hot glue to the back of the smaller felt piece, and glue it to the larger piece.
Step 4: Cut a 1 inch slit up the middle of the felt pieces.

Step 5: Apply a line of hot glue to the left side of the slit you've cut in the felt.
Step 6: Overlap the right side over the left side and glue together. You've got an ear!
Step 7: Cut a small tab the width of the bottom of the ear. 
Step 8: Glue to the front of the ear.

Steps 9-10: Apply hot glue to the back of the tab, fold around and glue to the back of the ear.
Steps 11-12: Use a black marker to outline the top of the ear and give dimension. (Or you can use a liquid eyeliner if you don't have a black marker on hand... No judging!)

Ta-da! Easy as pie, dears.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Modern Mermaid Halloween Makeup

I'm gonna be honest with you guys: I've never really gone “all out” for a Halloween costume. Usually I’ll just do something where I can wear clothes I already have, maybe DIY a little floral crown or steal my dad's old cowboy boots, but nothing that I'd ever be too embarrassed to wear to Target.

But y'know what? I think Halloween is a really fun excuse to get creative. And my friend, Katie, is increeeedibly talented at getting creative with makeup.

Um, told ya! Katie is a licensed esthetician and a makeup artist at Sephora. (If you've been reading for a long time, you might remember her from this post!) She's going to share a little about how she achieved this killer look.

Step 1: "Apply an eyeshadow primer to the eyelid and set with a matte nude shadow. Then, with a fluffy brush, apply a matte peach shade to the crease. Afterward, apply a darker pink to the inner and outer corner with the same fluffy brush, taking extra care with blending. The key is to gradually go from lighter to darker in the inner and outer corners to create the "halo" effect. I went from light pink to a deep purple. Then, taking a white liquid liner, create a wing and fill the wing in until the white is completely opaque. After the white liner, you can apply mascara or lashes if you so choose."

Before moving on to the scales, Katie highlighted the tops of her cheekbones, tip and bridge of her nose, her cupid's bow and above her brow. Don't be afraid to go overboard — mermaids live under water!

The sneaky-smart makeup artist trick here is to use fishnet pantyhose to create the look of scales. Brilliant, huh? Katie achieved this look using lime, green and teal shades. This surprisingly isn't difficult to achieve, but you'll want to pay attention to how you use your brush. Katie says you'll get the most texture and color payoff if you use patting motions instead of swiping the color over the fishnet.

The last step is adding purple lipstick, which Katie topped with a little more of the purple shadow, to set it and enhance the color. In Katie's words, "Voila! You're a mermaid!"

Personally, I think one of the things that makes this look SO fun on Katie is her mermaid hair. If you're into the pastel hair trend, a mermaid would definitely be a fun look for Halloween. Isn't she just gorgeous?! I love how this look turned out so fun and bohemian — definitely a 2016 mermaid, although I've gotta be honest and say I love the traditional Ariel look too. (Also I just googled and discovered The Little Mermaid was released in 1989. What?! How!)

You guys can see more from Katie on her Instagram; she lives in Springfield, MO, and she's available for freelance work! Oh, and if you feel like this whole mermaid thing is an "Expert" level and you're a little more of a beginner... I relate to you. We'll have another look coming soon!

Products used: Benefit "Stay Don't Stray" Eyeshadow Primer, Inglot Peach Matte Eyeshadow, Makeup Geek Duochrome Eyeshadows in Blacklight and Rockstar (for eyes and highlighter), Urban Decay Electric Pallet for Lime, Green and Teal Scales, Suva Matte White Eyeliner, Gerard Cosmetics Lilac Moon Lipstick

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How to Style a Bandana 3 Ways

Has anybody caught on to this bandana trend? Madewell, Zara and others have been showing them this season, and it's such an easy trend to try out. You'll want to be careful that you don't look like a "bandana" person tho — you know, like a bandit, a cross-country motorcycle man (unless that's what you're going for, in which case, totally cool), or that guy who really wants to be in a country band. Bad.

But if you steer from the traditional bandana pattern and style it in a creative way, I think you'll have fun with it. I did! Here's a few ways I thought of wearing mine:

1. Use a Bandana as a Belt (?!)

Obviously, it depends on the size of the bandana whether or not you'll be able to use it as an actual belt-belt, but this one was oversized, so I was able to play with it this way.

If the bandana is small, you could tie it around your front-left belt loop for the same idea!

2. Wear a Bandana in Your Hair

I've had an on-again, off-again relationship with tying scarves in my hair (evidence here) since I first received several of my grandma's as hand-me-downs. I'm an only child, so I guess getting clothes and accessories from my grandma was akin to most of you getting clothes from your older sister or something? Score.

Personally, I usually tuck the ends of the bandana underneath the "headband" part, so they don't stick up like rabbit ears, or worse, a tv antenna. Sometimes they look cute that way tho — it just depends on the size of the bandana and how much they stick up.

3. Style a Bandana Around Your Neck

The current trendy gal way, I'm pretty sure, is to tie it around your neck. Plus, it's easy as pie!

I wore my bandana like this for a bit over the weekend, and my boyfriend said it looked like I was about to go for a drive in a convertible in California.

I figured I should make his vision come to life, so I'm thinking roadtriiiiip! Who's with me?!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Scandinavian-Inspired Home Decor (That You Can Afford!)

If you're like me, you love following trends, but you don't always have the cash to drop to jump on the bandwagon. Anybody else laugh when Vogue says "here's 5 sweaters you can afford" and they all cost the same amount as your car?!

That being said, the Scandinavian vibe has been happening for a while in home decor, and it doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. If you want to add a few Scandinavian-inspired elements to your home, but don't have a gazillion dollars to spend, check out these ideas:

Links: (1/2/3/4/5)

I didn't know affordable sheepskins even existed, but of course Ikea made it possible. My personal favorites are the sheepskin and the pendant lamp — they seem like the best investments to take ya into the next trend that arises. Super versatile!

Have you found any favorites from this look? Have any in your home? Tell me, tell me!