What Do You Mean No Sugar?! – A Baker’s Adventure in Whole30!

Hey Y’all!

Wow. It’s been a while. Happy 2018! I can’t believe I went all of 2017 without writing but some awesome things have been happening with my baking business and I really got to focus on that in 2017!

But anywho! I’m writing today not because of baking or makeup, but because it’s the new year and you know….#resolutions. We all have them, eat better, get to the gym, get enough sleep, drink enough water, etc… and I am right on that train with the rest of the world trying to improve my health and overall happiness (not that 2017 made me unhappy in the least, it was actually an awesome year) but I felt all of those things that everyone feels that makes them want to make a change. Tired all the time. Hating how my body looked. Hating myself for falling short on my 2017 resolutions to do all of the above. So this time I decided to try something pretty big. Last year I started the year off great with my healthy eating and stuck to working out 5-6 times a week for a good 4 months. But then summer comes and vacations happen and a relationship with a guy who loves Chik-fil-a just as much as me (we’re just mutual instigators “Babe, I really want pizza tonight” “YES LET’S DO IT”) which is great because you never feel ashamed of admitting you want chicken nuggs and a yummy beer, but caused us both to take a step back after the holidays and realize we needed to step away from the junk food and eat a dang vegetable! So that’s where our Whole30 journey comes in! It was tough, but we did it!

We first learned about Whole30 from his family, just about everyone had done it and encouraged us to do it saying they just felt better all around, most lost weight, and when they ate fast food now, they could feel it sitting in their stomach and realized it’s just not worth feeling that way. So we decided we’d give it a try in the new year, picked our start date (Jan 2, so we could enjoy some yummy food and champs with my family on New Year’s Day) and gave it a go. I want to run through exactly what I was feeling when I was feeling it and share some things I loved, and some things I hated (hello not being able to eat cheese) for anyone who’s considering doing this.

Before we even started the program we were discussing things we could and couldn’t have and reading the Whole30 cookbook and I was so excited to try this. I had heard that people were losing weight and feeling amazing about their bodies and thought giving up wine really wouldn’t be that hard for me. I was nervous of course, but desperately wanted to cleanse my body of all the gross (but delicious) foods I’d been eating and heard the program was designed to do just that. So here’s my breakdown of what to expect, what are some challenges, and what are some triumphs of this program!

Days 1-5: Ok, so I know if you have the book you can read a breakdown of exactly what you’ll be feeling each day and there aren’t 5 days lumped together but I’m going to be totally honest with y’all. The first five days for me were an awful terrible blur. I mean, I was miserable all. the. time. I was constantly hungry, always had a headache, and thought that if I saw one more vegetable I was going to barf. Props to my boyf and my friends for not killing me for complaining literally all the time. I didn’t know what to eat and was completely overwhelmed with just how much added sugar is in normal things I would eat every day. I didn’t know what to do for a snack now that my favorite go-tos that I thought were healthy (hummus, yogurt, cottage cheese) were out of the picture. I was furiously googling “bad experiences with Whole30” because I was sure I couldn’t be the only one who was totally miserable doing this. I read some articles and sympathized so much with the people who said the were just hangry for 30 days and didn’t learn anything. I felt the same way. Sure I had eaten a lot of junk during the holidays but I didn’t think my eating habits were so bad that I needed to cut out dairy and grains completely. I was convinced that I was never going to do this again. I didn’t even want to eat anymore. I felt like this was probably a great thing for someone who was having a lot of digestion or medical problems they just couldn’t pinpoint but definitely wasn’t for someone like me who’d never had an issue with food. But on Day 3 we went to a going away party for one of my very best friends on planet earth at A BREW HOUSE and managed to stay on track so I knew I wasn’t going to give up too easily.

Days 6-10: I think stuffed peppers saved me. Since day 5 was on a weekend, it meant meal prep time. I remembered these delicious stuffed peppers I had tried before and thought “OMG as long as I leave out the cheese this is ALL Whole30 compliant” thank. the. LAWD. (and Newman’s Own Organic pasta sauce.) I wanted to give up until I remembered just how delicious and easy these were to make and take for lunch throughout the week. I know it sounds silly but these literally changed my attitude about this program. You CAN find things you like that are compliant, you just need to look and prepare! I was excited about eating again because I knew I liked these and with that new attitude about things I was able to cook and enjoy some yummy dinners and ended up picking up some berries as snacks for the week. This was a turning point FOR SURE.

Days 11-15: SO. MANY. EGGS. I have been eating eggs for breakfast for 15 days straight and I might scream if I see one more. Oh yes, you will be so so so sick of eggs. That I can promise. There really aren’t any other Whole30 breakfast options that provide you with the amount of protein you need to be eating to start your day, even their other breakfast options in the book all contain…you guessed it! EGGS. Sure there’s omelettes and frittatas with veggies and eggs with sweet potato hash but seriously, WHO HAS TIME to make those things every single morning when you work a 9-5 job. So I found an “oatmeal-like” breakfast option for days 16-20 that has fruit and nuts to break up the eggs a bit. It might not be exactly like the Whole30 plan or the amount and types of foods they want you to eat for breakfast but, hey, five days of fruit and raisins for breakfast isn’t going to kill me.

One thing I also wanted to point out that I really started noticing in this chunk of time is the fact that my skin is out of this world smooth. I’m talking baby butt smooth. If you’ve read my blog before you know I’ve struggled with acne and that I’ve been using a product religiously that has helped my skin more than I thought possible. But Whole30 has taken it NEXT LEVEL. I didn’t know my skin could get any smoother. I thought hey, everyone’s going to have breakouts sometimes, I can’t expect my skin to be 100% clear all the time. But my skin has done nothing but improve since being on this. Now, in some of the blog posts I read when I wanted to commiserate about how awful I felt doing this, most of the people said they didn’t notice any change in their skin, but I think it’s important to remember that this is going to give different results to different people based on what is happening in your body. I’ve had doctors in the past tell me to cut dairy and had some tell me that what you eat doesn’t effect your skin as much as people think, so don’t believe everything you hear or expect everything to change by doing this but be excited about the things that do!

Days 16-20: LARABARSSSS! Why I didn’t find these sooner I’ll never know. These are the bomb. A snack that both my boyfriend and I have said we’ll continue to choose even after we’re done Whole30. They have a TON of flavors (as long as you’re eating the compliant ones) and are awesome for those times when you know you’re going to be out running an errand or just need something to tide you over until you have time to cook again. I personally love to eat them after a workout since they’re so quick and easy and hold me over until I get to make dinner. I highly highly highly recommend trying out a few of the compliant flavors (apple pie is so good, I’m drooling while thinking about it) so you know you always have a snack in your bag if you need it! Of course, don’t go overboard! I limit myself to 1 a day so I don’t overdo it on the fruit and nuts.

On day 19 I even got to go out to eat with my parents! They asked where I wanted to go and my only veto was the most delicious Italian restaurant because I would just be sad watching everyone else eating pasta (my favorite food on planet earth) while I grudgingly ate a salad with oil and vinegar dressing. NO THANK  YOU. So we settled on our tried and true favorite Mexican food spot and I had the most delicious fajitas. I just ate the meat and veggies without the tortilla or cheese! It was awesome to feel like I could go out and eat and enjoy hanging out with people while still choosing something delicious and compliant even after Whole30 is done. And my wonderful dad, the always thoughtful person he is, made me a totally compliant bacon, eggs, and hash browns breakfast the next morning because he’s the greatest. I was worried that straying from my fridge where I know I have compliant foods was going to throw me off but I was pleasantly surprised at all my options! I was feeling great and super empowered!

Days 21-25: Here’s where it started going a little downhill again. Not totally downhill, we were still in it to win it, but closer to day 25 I just looked at the food in my fridge and said “nope. I can’t. I can not eat another piece of chicken/pork/steak with sauteed veggies again.” And I just ate a banana and an apple pie Larabar and called it a day. Your food will get really repetitive unless you don’t work all day and have tons of time to research recipes, go on grocery store hunts for random ingredients, and spend a few hours in your kitchen at night prepping but seriously, who has time for that? My advice for this is to stick with recipes that have simple ingredients that you’re familiar with. I was trying to get crazy with spaghetti squash and Whole30 homemade mayo and my recipes didn’t turn out even half as good as the week where I made some guacamole, threw some seasonings on veggies and steak, and called it a fajita bowl. Find things you like and find out ways to make them Whole30 compliant!

Days 26-30: Sweet sweet victory! These last few days actually went by really quickly. Maybe because I could feel how close I was to the end, maybe because I was actually learning what kinds of foods I liked eating that were actually nourishing my body. At the very beginning of this I sat every day making a laundry list of foods I wanted to eat when this was over. Cheese, yogurt, bread, pizza, a sandwich, something other than a vegetable. And day 30 rolled around and I wasn’t really looking forward to any of it. Yes, I did eat a sandwich on Day 31 and went for pizza on Day 32 but I ended both of those days in bed with stomach pains. Don’t get me wrong, they were delicious, but I figured that bread is probably what causes me to bloat so much at the end of every day. Sure, the foods at the end of it were getting a little boring, but I made it work and I DID IT. And if I can do it, so can you!

Over these past 30 days I learned A. LOT. about food.  I learned that what I was eating before I started this made me feel awful all the time. And I had no idea because I had never felt any other way. Sure, everyone knows when you eat a greasy cheeseburger from a fast food place, you’re going to feel bad. But even eating normal things people eat all the time like pasta would leave me feeling overly stuffed. I learned about how much sugar is put into things you don’t even think about. Next time you’re at the grocery store, just pick up something you would normally purchase and take a look at the sugar content. Not just the % daily values, but the ingredients too; sucrose, glucose, fructose, corn sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, etc. The list of sneaky ways sugar is put into food is enormous. This is not me standing on my soapbox like I’m now the queen of Whole30, this is me being genuinely baffled at how much sugar I was actually eating by eating things like greek yogurt and hummus thinking I was making a healthy choice. It’s crazy. And eye-opening!

I also learned which types of whole foods would keep me full and keep me from needing a snack that turns into a meal in between meals. I’m sure everyone knows that protein is what keeps you full but I learned about what proteins do it for me and my body. It’s annoying and repetitive to eat every day, but eating 3 eggs for breakfast with veggies around 9:30 (I’m not the person that can get up and eat first thing, it makes me sick) would keep me full completely until lunch time, and sometimes I was full even past then and didn’t eat lunch until around 1:30. A handful of almonds when I’m feeling munchy would keep me satisfied until I made dinner at night. It’s all about finding what good foods do it for you!

Now here are my pros and cons of doing this program. Again, some of the benefits might not happen to you, and that’s ok because other benefits will! Maybe you’re not as tired anymore or you don’t get headaches as often, it’s all dependent on your body and your needs. But let’s start with the cons first and get those out of the way.

Cons:

  1. Eating healthy is a little pricier. I don’t know that the ingredients are more expensive, but the fact that fruits and veggies don’t last more than 5 days or so means you’re probably making more trips to the grocery store than before. Also, without dairy I tried some recipes with coconut milk instead and substituting things like that (or plain almond butter for peanut butter) can up your grocery bill.
  2. It takes A LOT of planning. Please please please don’t think you can just decide to do this and then start the next day. That’s setting yourself up for failure. Trust me. Go to the grocery store a day or two before and pick up some things you know will be staples for you or things you know won’t go bad like onions, sweet potatoes, and almonds, get some fruits and veggies for the week, different meats you can freeze and take out the day you want to make them. Prepare prepare prepare.
  3. You will struggle the first few days. It will be hard, especially if you’re going from not watching what you eat AT ALL to eliminating entire food groups from your diet. I don’t want to sugarcoat anything or discourage anyone but just know that your body will be in an adjustment period for the first few days and you will crave crave crave until your body has the time to adjust. It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult so keep that in mind!
  4. Meals do get repetitive. I was at the point where I would rather be hungry than eat another piece of meat. CAN A GIRL GET ONE DAY OF PASTA?! That isn’t the point of the program but hey, you can’t help how you feel. If you want, get the cookbook. My boyfriend has it and he made some different things but all in all, he still felt just about the same way as I did about not wanting to eat another dang sweet potato.

Pros:

  1. Please see Days 11-15 above for baby-butt-smooth skin.
  2. I know how strong my will-power is to avoid bad foods. On Day 12 I made RESSE’S CUP CUPCAKES for my office’s potluck and didn’t even lick my hand to get batter off of it ONCE. I didn’t eat any cupcakes or cookies or delicious meatballs covered in barbecue sauce. And afterwards, everyone else got sluggish and felt tired and I felt GREAT. It was kind of an awesome feeling. That’s not to say that I won’t indulge in a cupcake for a special occasion or eat pizza with my girlfriends when we finally find a weekend we can all get together, but I figured out that I don’t NEED those foods like I thought I did. I can live without them!
  3. I learned that I can still eat healthy while going out and socializing! Food tends to be the center around gatherings with friends and I learned that going out to eat with a group doesn’t mean I can’t have something yummy. It doesn’t mean that I’ll give up my coveted cheeseburger forever, but maybe I’ll only do that every once in a while when going out to dinner and I’ll try to find some healthier options most of the time.
  4. I just feel better. Sure I’m still tired in the mornings, that didn’t really change for me. But I never feel bloated from eating something I know I shouldn’t have or have any guilt over eating any foods I know aren’t the best because I just avoid them entirely. It’s kind of liberating and awesome.

I will be 100% honest. When I first started this, I HATED it. Like legit hated it. I couldn’t wait until the 30 days were over and I could go back to eating how I used to. I thought I’ll stick this out but I will never ever ever do this again. I just want a dang yogurt! But I gave it a chance, stuck with it, and ended up really liking this program. I think that eating like this 24/7 is pretty unrealistic, but I’ve learned that I can and probably will continue to go dairy-free and both my boyfriend and I have decided to try and keep almost all of the rules during the week and then allow ourselves to get a little lax with it during the weekend. That’s not to say we’ll go crazy every Saturday and Sunday, but if we want to brunch with friends one day, we’re going to get some mimosas and french toast ;). It gets repetitive with the meat/veggie/potato dish every night for dinner, but I think if I keep looking, I can find some yummy recipes that’ll be good and good for me!  Overall I think this program is definitely worth it. If you’ve been on the fence about it I say give it a try! Giving up alcohol was so easy and drinking my coffee black was a breeze, it’s all about your mindset I’ve learned. So why not try something new for 30 days and see if you come out better on the other side!

Thanks for reading!

xoxo,

Kristin

 

 

 

 

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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting!

HEY Y’ALL

PHEW it’s been a while! Life seems to get away from me these days, is anyone else FREAKED OUT that it’s already mid-July?!?!?! WHAT!? Where does the time go?! But anyway, I HAD to get another post up because I’ve been baking like CRAZY these days and for just about everything I made I used the same buttercream frosting that got really great reviews from the eaters of all the treats!

Over the past few weeks I’ve made birthday party cupcakes, a bridal shower cake, and some baby shower cupcakes (all pictured below.) The buttercream recipe I used is seriously SO easy, quick and delicious and only has 4 ingredients!

So here we go!

Ingredients

6 Cups Powdered Sugar

3 Sticks of Butter

3 Tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream

2-3 Tsp of Vanilla (to taste)

Step 1: Combine the powdered sugar and softened butter (this makes it easier to mix) until smooth

Step 2: Add the heavy whipping cream and mix until desired consistency

Step 3: Add the vanilla and mix again until all combined into the frosting

AND THAT’S IT! Seriously, how easy is that? A few things I learned from making it, DON’T add your vanilla until your butter and powdered sugar are combined. I added all the ingredients together at once and the vanilla make the powdered sugar clump up a little and it was hard to get all the clumps out! Another thing was this amount above is perfect for 24 cupcakes with a good amount of frosting on each. It was hard to determine what the right amount was and to avoid making an excessive amount of frosting I would just start small and make more if necessary, but if you’re going to color the frosting and want it to stay consistent this is the right amount for the typical 24 cupcakes!

So there ya go! It’s a short post today but that’s how quick it is to make this frosting! I hope you guys try it out and love it as much as I do! Thanks for reading!

xoxo,

Kristin

 

 

My Acne.Org Journey – One Year!

HEY Y’ALL

Happy April!! I’m so so SO excited for nice weather and no more gross/cold/winter weather! By the title of this I’m sure you can guess that this post is about my acne journey I started one year ago (WHAT?! where has the time gone?!) and how far my skin has come since then! The last time I posted about this journey was three months after I started using the Acne.org products and I was so incredibly happy that my skin was finally clearing up and I was FINALLY getting over the worst acne I’ve ever had in my life. And I’m so so so so so so happy that even after a year my skin has gotten even better!

After my three month update I kept buying and using the kit exactly as the directions instruct you to but after watching a few YouTube videos of people that have used this system also I decided to just keep using the benzoyl peroxide as a treatment and see if I could get away with using a (cheaper) gentle cleanser and picked up Cetaphil to give it a try. For a while it seemed like it was keeping my skin clear but after a few months using it I started seeing some new breakouts on my cheeks like I had gotten in the past. So I stopped using the Cetaphil and switched back to the cleanser sold with the kit. My skin was SO thankful and has been consistently clear ever since with a few breakouts every now and then which is absolutely to be expected.

So here are my one year updated pictures!! I’m so incredibly impressed and happy with my progress with this kit!

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The texture of my skin and the coloration is better than anything I could have ever imagined and I’m so incredibly thankful to have found this product. I’ve also now started using it on my arms, chest, and back to help clear the acne I have in those places as well. It’s certainly an investment but one than I’m absolutely willing to continue investing in. $70 every 3-4 months is absolutely worth my self confidence and security and if you’re suffering also, you know the feeling of being willing to do whatever it takes to get clear skin.

As cheesy as this may sound I know everyone who has suffered with acne will understand; I feel like my whole life has changed from getting the clear skin I’ve always wanted. I feel more confident now and don’t feel disgusted anymore when I look in the mirror. I even love playing with makeup more because I feel like it goes on my skin so much better. I honestly can’t thank the creators of this product enough for completely changing my life in the best way possible! If you are suffering from acne and feel like you don’t know what to do I’m am telling you to TRY THIS PRODUCT. YOUR HAPPINESS IS WORTH IT!

THANK YOU for following this journey and PLEASE feel free to ask me any questions you have!

xoxo,

Kristin

Liquid Lips and Other Makeup Trips!

HEY Y’ALL!

Happy Sunday! Hope you all had a super fun and relaxing weekend! For some reason February was  a crazy whirlwind every weekend for me so I relished in the fact that I had no plans but to go with the flow and fall asleep at 9pm 😉 So obviously I spent a little time getting some new makeup this weekend and with the few makeup trips (to the Morphe and ColourPop websites) I had the past few weeks, I figured I should share some of my favorite things!

I’ve recently become obsessed with liquid lips (like every other makeup lovaaaaa) so I’ve purchased a few different liquid lips from different brands and I figured I’d give you guys a run down of each one I picked up and which ones I think are worth adding to your collection!

ColourPop!

I first bought Colourpop’s Ultra Matte Lips back in December when they were doing some

colourpop

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips – $6

holiday packages and I got 5 small travel-sized tubes in 5 shades that I probably would have picked up on my own anyway. I was so excited to try them because the only other liquid lipstick I had at the time was the Kat Von D brand and while I LOVE them, I was absolutely looking for a better deal (who isn’t on a budget?) so when I got them and tried them I was a little disappointed because they made my lips so unbelievably dry! And I know I know, uhhh Kristin, they’re matte they’re supposed to be dry! But these were uncomfortably dry, unlike the Kat Von D ones that don’t bother me at all. So after a few more YouTube videos and a little more research I decided to try a color that I really loved and bought the full size and I was pleasantly surprised at how different this one feels on my lips! I don’t know what the size has to do with it, if it does at all, but maybe the little ones were just a bad batch because the full sized ones I bought are a total 180! The color is so solid and you only need one coat to get a really great color payoff! So I would absolutely recommend the ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips if you’re looking for a liquid lip that won’t break the bank!

 

  • Color: AMAZING
  • Texture: A little sticky when applying, but dries completely
  • Long-Wearing: VERY long-wearing

After the liquid lips left me with a bad impression upon first try, I decided to try the

colourpoplippies

ColourPop Lippie Stix – $5

ColourPop Lippie Stix in my next trip to the ColourPop website since they’re closer to a regular lipstick, not a liquid lipstick, making them a little more hydrating but also have shades that come in a matte finish. Unlike the Ultra Matte Lips, these ones will come off a little after drinking and eating, but are SO pigmented as well and are a little silkier on the lips if you aren’t into matte liquid lips! A great addition to your collection if you’d rather have a long-wearing lipstick instead of a liquid lip (or if you’re like me and just want them all!)

 

  • Color: AMAZING
  • Texture: So silky smooth
  • Long-Wearing: Not quite as long as the Ultra Matte Lips but long lasting for a lipstick

NYX!

I’ve been wanting to try the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams for forever but every time I went to

nyx

NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams – $6

the Target near my house they were out of stock or had one shade left that would look CRAZY with my skin tone so when I went the other day and saw they had the one color I’ve been DYING to try I had to get it! I got home and IMMEDIATELY tried it on, obviously, and was so incredibly disappointed with it! I was crushed because I really wanted to love it! I absolutely love NYX because they have great products for every girl on a budget who loves to do makeup but doesn’t need the high-end stuff for everyday wear. The color on my lips was nowhere near the color in the tube and went on SO patchy. I put on about 3 coats and the color still wasn’t as rich as I thought it would be. I’m not sure if it’s just because I got a pretty dark color, so if you’ve tried a lighter more neutral tone and you love it, let me know! Again, I love love love NYX but I definitely wouldn’t recommend, spend the money on Colourpop instead!

 

  • Color: Disappointing 😦
  • Texture: Smooth but patchy
  • Long-Wearing: …I didn’t even leave it on long enough to find out

Along with the Soft Matte Lip Creams, I’ve been dying to try the Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick from NYX also so of course I picked on of those up also on my Target run and

nyxliquid

NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick – $7

HOLY COW are these a total 180 from the Lip Creams! Just like the Ultra Matte Lips compared to the Lippie Stix, these are more of a lipstick (just in a tube with an applicator) rather than a full-on liquid lipstick, so they don’t dry and stay on like a liquid lipstick usually does but these are SO much more pigmented and really smooth going on the lips. Overall I would say a much better product than the Lip Creams if you’re looking for a really good color payoff and don’t mind a little transfer when you’re eating or drinking.

  • Color: Very pigmented
  • Texture: SO so smooth and soft
  • Long-Wearing: Pretty long-wearing for a lipstick!

 

So now onto the “Other Makeup Trips” part of this post! I recently purchased some Morphe brushes and just wanted to briefly talk about how amazing they are and how much the right brushes make a difference!

I went on YouTube and watched a bunch of different YouTube-ers talk about their favorite must-have Morphe brushes and decided which 5 to get based on their combined suggestions and what I was missing from my collection. I got a foundation brush, a couple of blending brushes, an under-eye setting brush, and a pencil brush for under my eyes and I love literally absolutely every single one of them. I don’t know how I ever did my makeup without them. I have so many makeup brushes from random stores or various makeup companies but none of them even come remotely close (besides my Real Techniques brushes) to these Morphe ones. I even love my shadows more now that I’m using the right brushes! I get more color payoff from my shadows and my foundation is smoother and more flawless looking than with any other beauty tool I’ve used (brushes, sponges, etc.) I’m sure that Sigma brushes and MAC brushes are equally as amazing but the Morphe brushes are about 1/3 the cost of the others (I’m talking Morphe is $5 for a brush and Sigma’s same brush is $16…..) so if you’re looking for some really really great brushes that won’t completely break the bank you should DEFINITELY check these out! Especially if you’re just doing everyday makeup and just need a few amazing staple brushes that will last you a really long time!

And that’s all I have for now! I have a few new drugstore products I want to tell you guys about so stay tuned for a new Drugstore Finds Friday! Thanks for reading, beauties!

xoxo,

Kristin

 

Galentine’s Day Cake Pops!

HEY Y’ALL

I’m BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK! It’s been approx. ten million years since I posted a blog, give or take a few years. SO LONG that the format of the website has changed! YIKES!

I thought I would be able to get some Christmas cookies or treats up, some new makeup hauls, or new drugstore finds but I’ve had such bad writers block (along with a bakers block) that it all kind of slipped through the cracks! BUT I’m back on top of things and will have some new affordable makeup I’ve picked up and definitely more yummy treats within the coming months! Starting with today’s cake pops!

My roomie and I decided  back in January that we wanted to have a Galentine’s Day (a la Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec) and just have a super fun girl’s day doing brunch, drinks, and a fun girly movie and we all had a BLAST! So in true Leslie fashion we decided to give everyone Galentine’s Day gifts and I thought, what better gift than CAKE ON A STICK?! PLUS I’d been given a heart shaped cake-pop mold that I’d been dying to try (but more on that later). So while these are specifically decorated for Galentine’s/Valentine’s day, you can absolutely make these for any occasion and decorate them however you want!

So here we go!

You’ll Need:

Cake Mix (and it’s ingredients)

1 can of frosting that compliments the cake flavor

Cake pop sticks

Candy melts (I used Wilton’s Candy Melts, pictured below)

candy melts


Bake!

Step 1: Bake the cake as instructed on the box, or according to your favorite homemade recipe

Step 2: Let the cake cool COMPLETELY

Step 3: Once the cake is cooled, begin crumbling the cake in a bowl until the cake is clump-free and pretty fine


Mix and Mold!

Step 4: Begin adding the frosting to your cake 1 scoop at a time

Step 5: Begin to mold the pops once you’ve added enough frosting. *You’ll know the cake has enough frosting when you can roll it in a cake-pop sized ball and squeeze between your fingers without the ball cracking*

Step 6: Mold the balls about 1″ tall by 1″ wide by rolling in between the palm of your hands without applying too much pressure so you don’t get a lopsided cake pop shape!

*Optional Step 7: To make into a heart, gently squeeze the side of the ball together while pressing your pinky into the top

FullSizeRender (35)

Step 8: Refrigerate for 2-4 hours

**Tip: I read a recipe that said you only need about half a can of frosting for the right consistency but I used about 3/4 of my can to make sure the cake crumbs were all sticking together**


Dip!

Step 9: Melt the candy wafers in the microwave according to the instructions on the package

**Another Tip: The candy melts I used said microwave for 1 minute and stir and then in 30 second increments until the chips melted. For the first color I did the chips just weren’t melting to a nice consistency (or so I thought) so I kept microwaving them and ended up heating them toooooo too much. These melts in particular ONLY need 1.5 minutes I PROMISE. It looks like they’re not melting but just keep stirring like crazy after the 1.5 minutes is up and the consistency will be SO much better**

Step 10: Working with about 5-8 of the cake balls at a time (leave the rest in the fridge until you’re ready) dip the cake pop sticks into the chocolate and then directly into a cake pop, then let them sit for a minute or two

Step 11: Dip the entire cake pop into the melted candy and pull straight out tapping the stick on the side of the cup/bowl you’re using to get off any extra and avoid weird drips

Step 12: Stick them in a cake pop holder (or if you’re me, an upside down empty box…..lol) and let them dry until the candy coating is hard

Below are pictures of the over-melted candy (white) vs the perfectly melted candy (pink)


Decorate!

I looked everywhere (Target, Michaels, Giant) for heart shaped or Valentine’s Day sprinkles to no avail so to decorate my cake pops I melted a little more of each color chocolate, put it into a piping bag, and drizzled over all the pops!

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Once they were all decorated I popped them into the fridge overnight and then took them out the next morning to put into little candy bags (found at Michael’s) and tied them off with a little pink bow

So there you have it! Galentine’s Day cake pops! But like I said, you can easily make these to fit the theme of whatever party or get together you want to make them for! I hope this helps any of you that have had any problems with cake pops in the past! The only downside to these is the amount of time they take as opposed to cupcakes but they are MUCH easier to transport than cupcakes or a birthday cake, a little less messy for little ones, and just as delicious!

Thank you guys SO much for reading and be sure to leave any comments with your cake pop tips and tricks! 🙂

xoxo,

Kristin

Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting!

HEY Y’ALL!

I’m back with some baking treats for you before this lovely Thanksgiving weekend! Now, they’re not Thanksgiving themed and don’t include any pumpkin flavored ingredients BUT my awesome manager at work is going on maternity leave in December so our team threw her a little baby shower lunch and she said the only thing she wanted was for me to make cupcakes! She knows my love of baking and my aspirations for owning a bakery someday and she’s been trying to get me to bring in some treats for months!

So after much searching and trying to find something cute to make that was baby-themed or baby-boy-themed but also easy to transport and not too messy I settled on chocolate Oreo cupcakes with blue and white swirled cream cheese frosting! With a little mini Oreo to top it off! SO let’s get this party startedddddd!

You’ll need:

For the cake – 

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You’re favorite chocolate cake mix (homemade or from a box)

1 package of regular Oreos (or mini Oreos; I went mini because, BABY; and I only needed one package, not two!)


For the frosting – 

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2 packages of 8oz cream cheese

2 sticks of butter (salted or unsalted)

2 C Powdered sugar

2 tsp Vanilla extract


Cake

Step 1: Preheat your oven to the given temperature

Step 2: Prepare chocolate cake mix as on the box or per your favorite recipe

Step 3: Crush the Oreos with either a food processor or in a Ziploc bag until you get about 1 1/2 C of crushed cookies and mix them in with the cake batter

Step 4: BAKE! As instructed


Frosting

While your cake is baking you can get started on the frosting or make the frosting first and stick it in the fridge! Just be sure to take it out about 10 minutes before you go to decorate!

*To swirl the icing, prepare as follows. If you want your frosting one color you don’t have to separate the ingredients*

Step 1: Using a hand mixer/standing mixer (or if you’re me and forgot you don’t have a mixer at your new house, a potato masher…….lol) mix 1 package of cream cheese until smooth

Step 2: Add in the butter in small chunks until all butter is added and mixture is smooth

Step 3: Add 1 C of sifted powdered sugar and 1 tsp of Vanilla extract and mix until most of the chunks are gone; don’t mix too much because you will be adding color and will mix more!

Step 4: Add in food coloring until you reach your desired color and mix until smooth

*TIPS: 

  • DON’T over-mix or the frosting won’t be as stiff (if you’re looking to pipe), that’s why I recommend not mixing until smooth before you put the food coloring in
  • A little more powdered sugar is ok if you want it a little sweeter (I wouldn’t do more than an extra 1/4 C) but too much powdered sugar will also make it a little more drippy and not as stiff (again, if you’re looking to pipe)
  • If you want your frosting to be white, choose a butter that is closer to white in color, yellow butter will make it look a little off-white

The picture below is about the consistency you want to reach, maybe even a little tiny bit smoother

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Repeat Steps 1-4 with the remaining ingredients for your second color! If you want white, stop at Step 3 and just make sure your mixture is smooth and lump-free!


NOW FOR THE FUN PART!

To make swirled frosting, load your piping bag with one color on one side of the bag, and the other color on the other side like the picture below

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The frosting won’t fall all the way into the tip so squeeze gently onto a paper towel until you get the color combination you want! For me, I put the white color in first so the white came out before the blue so I just squeezed the white frosting back into the bowl.

To get the swirled look I frosted from the inside out. Start at the very center of the cupcake and swirl to the edges. Once you’ve made a complete circle, without stopping begin to take the icing up! If it’s easier to visualize I found a picture tutorial here!

The icing will get a little softer as you go on since your hands will warm it up but I had no problems with it staying up! I also had at least 2 cupcakes-worth of frosting left over so feel free to be a little generous with your frosting!

The final touch was adding a little mini Oreo to top it off but feel free to add some crushed Oreos too!

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The cupcakes went over really well for the baby shower lunch and I had a blast making them! If I had more time I would have made a homemade chocolate cake recipe but I digress! Thanks for reading, lovers! It’s good to get back to baking!

xoxo,

Kristin

High-End Products Worth the Money!

HEY Y’ALL!

I’m BACK. It’s been TOO LONG. I’ve been drawing such a blank on topics to write about for a new post that I went all of September without writing! BUT with the holidays coming up (seriously, Halloween is in two weeks, HOW did it sneak up on us so fast?!) I have some yummy treats planned and some fall makeup looks I’m dying to try and will obviously share with all of you!

But to start the jump back into things, I wanted to give you guys a list of things I’ve splurged on a little in the past and think is worth the money spent! It’s only a few things but they are things I will now NEVER go without!

Hoola Bronzer by Benefit Cosmetics

Hoola

Hoola Bronzer – Benefit Cosmetics $28

This bronzer is.the.bomb. I think I’ve mentioned in posts before how I can never find that perfect bronzer shade for my skin tone. I always feel like it’s too orange or makes me look like I rolled around in dirt or something but this one is PERFECT. It’s super smooth, such a pretty color for a pretty good range of skin tones (depending on how much you use) and really really easy to blend and build color. I’m obsesseddddd with this one and will definitely be purchasing it when I run out (which feels like never because I don’t need a lot AT ALL it’s so pigmented so it looks like I’ve barely used it and I’ve put in on every day for a few months now!) so if you’ve been looking for that perfect bronzer shade but have been at a complete loss like me, GO GET THIS ONE or at least go to Sephora or Ulta and test it out!

urban decay

All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray – Urban Decay $30

Urban Decay All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray

GURL. Let me tell you about this. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times, I have incredibly oily skin. It’s not as bad as it has been in the past because of the skin care regimen I’ve been using but still, OILY. And oily typically means that the majority of my makeup pretty much melts off my face by noon, no jokes. But with this spray my makeup stays put FOR.EV.ER. I bathe in this stuff if I’m going out that night or really need my makeup to stay all day for something. I have never used MAC’s Fix+ so I can’t compare the two, but if you really want your makeup to last a really long time I would INSIST you buy the Urban Decay one! They also come in three different versions based on what you’re looking for. The one I’m talking about is the “all nighter” spray but they also have a “chill” spray for hydrating and a “de-slick” spray for oil control which is next on my list!

Brow Wiz by Anastasia Beverly Hills 

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Brow Wiz – Anastasia Beverly Hills $18

OK. REAL TALK. If there is one thing I love the most about makeup it is brows. I have ridiculously dark, thick, hair on my head and for some reason that I will never know, I have the skimpiest little brows known to man. And everyone’s reaction is like “ohhh you must have over-plucked them when you were younger” and let me tell you that is NOT the case. I didn’t start tweezing my brows until I was maybe 17 and I just plucked the ones that were closer to being eyelashes than eyebrows…..cute, I know. I just have ridiculously thin brows and I hateeeee it so as soon as I started getting serious about makeup, brows were first on my list. I’ve always used a pencil rather than powder because my brows are sooo so thin that I can use a pencil to make little hair-like strokes to make them look a little bit thicker. I typically just used a drug-store pencil but heard rave reviews about the Brow Wiz and decided to see if it was worth the hype. HI HELLO YES IT IS. and I’m sure there are other products much cheaper out there that are very similar to the Brow Wiz (which will be in an upcoming drugstore finds post if I find a good dupe) that work just as well but this product is absolutely amazing. The pencil side is so small that it makes filling in your brows look more natural than a regular pencil. It’s just so easy to use and makes brows (at least my brows) look a little less harsh. I would 100% buy this again and probably will during my next Sephora/Ulta trip and absolutely recommend for nice neat brows!

So those are the three things I splurged on that I think are definitely worth the money! I bought a few other things here and there that I’m not absolutely in love with or don’t think I could find somewhere else for much less but these are by far my favorite high-end things I’ve purchased that I would recommend! So if you’re looking to treat yourself a little bit I hope this post helps! As always, thanks for reading and let me know your favorite high-end products you’d recommend! I love learning about new products!

xoxo,

Kristin