October 26, 2011

"No Make-up" Makeup

Many people are always looking for that "natural" look. The look where you are wearing make-up to feel human, but only so to enhance your natural features rather than to turn you into someone else. This doesn't mean that those who enjoy wearing colorful eyeshadows and disguising themselves, but, I personally can't pull off (don't know how) colorful looks.

After I had bought my Naked Palette by Urban Decay, I began researching the hundreds of possibities. It wasn't long before I found this look that is now my every day go-to. It took me about twenty minutes to do for the video, but, on an average morning I can get it done in ten. After you've watched the video above, you can see the products that I used listed below. I hope you enjoy and I always love seeing your make-up looks! Especially the possibilities that you can come up with using the Naked Palette!

  • Nobody's Perfect Concealer Palette by Hard Candy (Wal-mart exclusive)
  • Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Roller (Most drug stores)
  • Glamoflauge Heavy Duty Concealer by Hard Candy (Wal-mart exclusive)
  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (Ulta, Sephora, etc.)
  • Revlon Colorstay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin in 300 Golden Beige applied with a make-up wedge (Drugstores)
  • Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder (Ulta, Sephora, etc.)
  • Tarte Mineral Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess applied with the Coastal Scents angled kabuki brush (Ulta, Sephora, etc.) (Coastalscents.com)
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay Long-wear Blush in Natural Beauty (Ulta, Sephora, etc.)
  • Naked Palette by Urban Decay (Shadows used: Dark Horse, Smog, & Virgin) applied with a Coastal Scents fluffy brush and pencil brush (Ulta, Sephora, etc.) (CoastalScents.com)
  • Milani Liquif'Eye Metallic Eye Liner Pencil in 05 Brown (Walgreens, CVS)
  • Bad Gal Lash mascara by Benefit in Black (Ulta, Sephora, etc.)
  • MAC eyeshadow single in Handwritten applied with an angled eyeliner brush (MAC Counters)
  • Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Tint in Moody (Ulta, Sephora, etc.)
  • NYX Gloss in 13 Peach (Sephora, NYXcosmetics.com)

October 21, 2011

Cutsie Onesies!

A few weeks ago, we had the chance to go back up to Joliet and visit our friends and family for the weekend. My now step-sister-in-law had recently had a baby a few weeks before our wedding, and I was so excited that I finally had a chance to make some adorable onesies for a precious, little girl! We unfortunately didn't get a chance to visit them, but I made sure to leave these gifts with family, to make sure that they got into the right hands.

I had found these ideas MANY weeks ago on Pinterest and just thought that they were the most adorable things I had ever seen, and couldn't wait for wedding stuff to be over so that I could have a chance to make these.

The first one I made was the more "time consuming" one of the two, but it was still fairly easy and requires minimum sewing abilities, I promise.

Start with any color and color onesie that you would like. I chose this soft pink in a 6 month size. Since I couldn't find any long sleeve onesies, I chose a bigger size so that she can wear it this coming spring, maybe with a cute little sweater! Then, you want to head over to the fabric department, and find any color jersey knit that you would like, then ask for about a quarter of a yard. This is just regular soft T-shirt material, and you won't use a whole lot. You could even use a regular T-shirt if you don't find the color fabric you would like. I love the look of pink with gray, so this is what I chose. (Jersey knit is usually very cheap! I believe I only paid a little over $1.00 for this quarter yard.)

Now, when you get home, find four or five circular objects of all different sizes. Each "flower" will be made of these circles. Think about how many flowers you would like. The bigger size onesie, the more flowers you will probably want to use. I only did three, because my flowers were fairly large. After you've decided on a game-plan, trace and cut out all of your circles for the flowers. Stack them on top of each other and sew a few stitches through the middle to hold them together.

Now, you'll want to lay our your flowers on the onesie and decided on a design. Once you've planned this out, place some stitches through the center of the flowers to sew them onto the onesie. Remember, this will be worn by a baby, and babies pull on things! More stitches is better here than not enough. I then held up the onesie to see where the flowers were falling and tacked up the falling petals in a few places, just to make sure that they laid nicely.

And you're done! The jersey knit doesn't need to be hemmed, because it won't fray. After it's been laying out for a bit, the edges will start to curl up for more texture.

The second onesie I made involves painting and just a tiny bit of sewing. I love the classic look of this "little black dress" with a classy pearl necklace and sparkly bow.

I started with a black onesie. For the paint, I used a matte white, metallic white, and white glitter fabric paint. I used two different sized dotters. (I found these "dotters" in the aisle with hobby paintbrushes. You could use regular sponge dotters, but these provided a crisper "pearl.")

I started with the matte white paint, and dotted three necklaces around the neckline. Once it dried, I went over the matte white paint, with the metallic white paint, followed by the glitter paint. I used a sheer sparkly ribbon to make a bow and sewed the center onto the side of the strands. I also placed a few stitches in the loops to help keep it secure. I'm hoping that the bow isn't too high. I would hate for it to be too high and always be in her face! But, I think it's okay.

And you're done making some incredibly cute, affordable, and easy gifts for the little girl in your life! You could also very easily put these onto regular T-shirts for a toddler. I have a few more onesie projects that I would like to try, so be watching for those around Christmas!

Enjoy! And, I always love seeing the results of your projects!

October 16, 2011

Our Wedding Cupcake Recipes

The day before the wedding, many of our family and friends got together to help us cook all of the food and decorate the hall. (Yep, we did it ALL ourselves!) It took the entire day to get everything finished, and we were rushing to the rehearsal dinner after barely having time to put the finishing touches on the last cupcakes.

The cupcakes went over incredibly well and I am so happy with how they turned out! I give credit to my maid of honor, Kelly, for having all of these great recipes! I also must thank Alisha, a bridesmaid, and Lacey, my soon be sister in law, for all of their help with these, also!

Now, on to the nitty gritty. We had five different flavors of cupcakes, and baked a little over 200 of them. We were expecting about 200 guests, but thank goodness we didn't have that many! If we would have, we would have surely run out of cupcakes way too early! We didn't take into consideration that since they were homemade, guests would like to try more than one. Which, was fine with me! I wanted everyone to be able to get a taste of them all. We cheated just a little and made two of the flavors from box mixes with a personal twist to make them taste homemade. (But that twist is my little secret.) Those "cheated" flavors were the red velvet, and of course, the funfetti. (The funfetti was a request made by Adam, and then he didn't even eat one!) The icing that we put on those was homemade.

For the red velvet's cream cheese icing, we used the most simple of simple icings. Cream cheese and powdered sugar. That's it! Easy peasy. We decorated these with one white sugar bead.

For the funfetti, we made a homemade strawberry cream cheese icing, with the same simple cream cheese recipe from the red velvet, with the addition of some warmed and mashed fresh strawberries. Then, we rolled the edges of these in rainbow sprinkles to make them colorful.

My personal favorite cupcake of the night, was the blackberry lemon. These are heavenly and just to die for. The blackberry let us hold on to that last end of summer (which is still hanging around!) and the lemon helped to tie in some of our decorations, lemons and limes. We placed a fresh blackberry on the tops of these cupcakes, and the recipe is as follows:

     For the cake:
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespooon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons of seedless blackberry jam
  • a few drops of concentrated blackberry oil (This is very optional, but really adds to the blackberry flavor. You can find this at specialty baking shops, or online.)
     For the icing:
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 5 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and smooth, which shoud take about 3-5 minutes using an electric beater.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.

Sift the two flours together into a seperate bowl.  Mix the milk and vanilla extract together.  Add one-third of the flours to the creamed mixture and beat well.  Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again.  Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added. Add a few drops of the oil, and stir.

Heat blackberry jam in microwave for 10 seconds and stir.  Gently fold in the blackberry jam, being careful not to overmix. You want a blackberry marble. Carefully spoon the batter into the cups, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Once the cupcakes are cool, spoon out the center of the cupcakes and fill them with blackberry jam. Cut off some of the cut of "cone," and replace on top of the jam.
For the icing, in a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and half the confectioners' sugar until smooth.  Gradually add the remainder of the sugar. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring if desired. Ice cupcakes once they are cool, and garnish with a blackberry.

Another big hit of the night, was the white chocolate pink champagne cupcakes. These are such a grown up cupcake flavor, while still indulging in childhood sweets. The cake was very light and fluffy, and the icing, which had white chocolate, turned slightly harder than an actual "frosting," and was more like a disk of white chocolate on top. No one was complaining about that! Here's the recipe:

     For the cake:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 cups champagne (Any champagne will do. We used a fairly inexpensive {okay it was cheap} bottle of champagne.)
     For the icing:
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup champange
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degress F.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.  In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar for three to five minutes or until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg whites. Beat thoroughly.

Beat in the flour mixture and champagne in three alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour to prevent curdling. Bake for 19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter for one minute. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, champagne, milk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy. Slowly melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave. Start with 30 seconds, followed by ten second increments, mixing after each, until the chocolate is thoroughly melted. Add to the butter mixture and beat until mixed. Ice the cupcakes when cooled. We garnished these with edible glitter.

And last, but certainly not least, was our biggest hit of the evening. Kelly's recipe for chocolate maple bacon cupcakes. Yes, you read that right. Chocolate maple bacon. These were popular with everyone and everyone was pleasantly surprised with how amazing these really are! If you ever want to friends and family to be scratching their heads over a dessert, serve these at your next get-together. Now, we trust you with this secretly amazing recipe:

     For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • finely chopped bacon (about 9 strips)
     For the icing:
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup (Make sure it's real!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. If you'd like these in cupcake liners, be sure to spray them with nonstick spray. We forgot this step and the cake stuck horribly to the paper, but no one seemed to mind.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; set aside. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs, then stir in the melted and cooled butter. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk together until just moistened and combined. Like pancakes, lumps are okay! Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake until puffed and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, use the whisk attachment of a stand mixer to whip the butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it’s mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the maple syrup and the vanilla and whip for another minute or so to incorporate.

When the cupcakes are completely cool, they can be iced. We garnished them with a 1/3 of a piece of bacon dipped in milk chocolate. Mmmm!

I hope that you get a chance to try out these recipes! If you do, let me know how they turn out and how your friends and family liked them. They're all favorites of mine!

October 12, 2011

Our Wedding Photo Booth Pictures!

Thank you to all the hard work of our families and friends, our wedding was an absolute success! I can't imagine things going any better. The food turned out excellent; the cupcakes were a hit; the decorations really came together; and, our guests got really involved with the photo booth and karaoke!

To view a picture larger, simply click :)

To all of our guests, here are your pictures, and we hope that you had as much fun as we did! Thank you to everyone again for all of your help and generosity. We love you.