23 June 2016

Wedding Update: No. 1

As of today, Alex & I have 226 days until we get married! I can't believe it and I'm getting a little impatient over here. I spend most of my days fantasizing about what our wedding will be like and how it will feel to look at his left hand and see a wedding band resting on his ring finger. I figured it was time to do a wedding update, because we've figured out a lot of the details.

Here's what Alex & I have decided on so far:

Wedding Date: February 4, 2017
Venue: We found a stunning woodsy, enchanted forest style ranch (no western decor AT ALL, thank you!) an hour just outside of town. We're booked and ready to go!
Colour Palette: Black and grey with hints of mint and maroon.
Cake: A two tier naked cake, a sheet cake for guests.
Cake Flavour: Traditional wedding cake flavour aka almond.
Dinner: Italian! Manicotti, ravioli and lasagna.
Decor Style: Whimsical, dark and moody, with a bohemian vibe thrown into the mix.
Music: We're not having a DJ, we hate them. Instead, our friend Derrick will do an excellent job as our MC. A fun side note, Derrick was there the night Alex & I re-met. We're going to be using Spotify as our music source - Alex & I are working on the playlist.
Officiant: Alex's "uncle" Tom. He's known Alex since he was a baby and he is very poetic. I honestly can't picture anyone else as our officiant.
Photographer: My friend Laura, she also did our engagement photos.

Alex & I have finished designing the invitations, the wedding website, our registry and we've started putting together the table centerpieces. As for the decor, the venue is so beautiful that I don't plan on decorating too much. I want to focus on letting nature shine through and only placing a few finishing touches on everything to really make it our own. A lot of the decorations are going to be made by hand and focus on natural elements.

I found my wedding dress, actually I found it awhile ago, and I am IN LOVE with it. It's not traditional (at all) and I just know Alex is going to love it. I won't be posting anything in regards to what it looks like, because Alex reads my blog and I don't want to spoil it for him. Thankfully Megan is a pro at tailoring- what a bonus when your best friend is so crafty, huh? - and we should be starting on that soon.

Alex has also found what he's going to wear and I am so, so excited. A coloured, velvet blazer & combat boots. That's all I'm going to say. ;)

Hopefully as things continue I will remember to post more updates on here.

Question of the day: Are you married? Do you have any wedding tips? If you're not married, what wedding style do you dream of doing one day?
13 June 2016

Random Starters

Alex is at band practice as I'm writing this... he's typically home in the evenings now that his job has settled down, so the prospect of a night alone leaves me with a sense of endless possibilities. Love is a funny thing. Even when he's gone for a few hours I miss him dearly, a sense of my other half missing abounds, but I'm a solitary creature by nature so I learn to embrace the time without him.

Before he left I told him about some of the things I might do while he's gone. Write, read, make another yarn wall hanging, take photos of some of the wall hanging I've already made because Yelle said she wanted to see them.

Instead I  am doing this and listening to the new Sucre album (and still deciding if I like it or not) while trying to use this blog post as a diving board into writing something more creative - something substantial. So let's see how it goes...
08 June 2016

Our First Beach Trip & More

This past weekend was incredible and I've been so busy playing catch up on housework and my side hustle (hello, freelance content writing!) that I haven't had time to sit down and write a post about our weekend spent together aka three whole days of awesomeness.

Saturday was what really kicked the weekend into fun overdrive. Alex & I went to Ikea a found a few things outside of our main objective, which was to replace one of our chipped plates. I ended up buying the wooden tray I've been wanting for awhile and something else that I can't seem to recall - because it was probably something random Alex threw into the cart.

After we made it out of the maze that is Ikea we went to the oddities shop in downtown Ybor, Dysfunctional Graces. It was incredible and I want to take half of the store home with me. There was so much antique medical equipment, coffins and bedazzled taxidermy that my mouth was left open the whole time we were in there.

After that, I needed some espresso and we made our way to  Blind  Tiger where I had the most delicious double shot espresso with sweetened condensed  milk. It was so good that drinking espresso without condensed milk makes me feel as though I've been bamboozled.

We then drove down to Saint Petersburg and before we made it to the beach we stopped by Bandit Coffee Co. and enjoyed some delicious housemade mocha lattes. Their coffee was to die for and the whole setup, vibe and constant rotation of 80's new wave made me want to live there for awhile.

For dinner we went to Casita Taqueria for super delicious tacos. I had a chorizo one and I wish I hadn't ordered just one. Once we finished dinner, we stopped by Goodwill where found a wooden coat rack stand and a Suffolk Pottery sugar bowl - both of which I am delighted with and paid almost nothing for.

Then we finally made it to the beach and it was perfect, aside from more people than we both would have wanted. But the weather was nice, the ocean felt fantastic and I got to watch the sunset with the love of my life. We made a pact that next Next time we go to the beach it will be much later after the sun has gone down so we can avoid all of the people.So yeah, that was my awesome weekend all wrapped up in one whole day because on Sunday and Monday we didn't do much except for finishing Lady Dynamite (Maira Bamford, I love you!) and watching Aquarius (David Duchovny, I love you too!)

Also, Alex has been creating artwork like crazy, he will be attending an art show in July and what he has created so far has been incredible and I'm not just saying that cause he's mine. If you'd like to checkout his progress or see some of the art he will be selling you can follow him on Instagram.

I will also been making some of my yarn wall hangings for the art show too. I have them all drawn up, I just need to start making them. Hah.

I hope everyone else had a great weekend and  I wish you an awesome rest  of the week as well.

Do you have any plans for this coming weekend?
02 June 2016

Strawberry Shortcake Macarons

Yesterday I attempted to make macarons for the second time and they were a success. They were not all round, but that is something that can be tweaked next time. They had the most perfect lacy feet and had just the right amount of crunch & chewiness. As for the middle, the strawberry buttercream was to die for!
The cookies are a basic recipe with only the sugar as the flavor. You can add vanilla if you'd like, in fact I think I will add it in next time as well. The recipe made about 14 cookies (which translates to 7 macarons). Keep in mind that I used a 2 inch cookie cutter to draw circle outlines on the back of my parchment paper. However you can use this template to make smaller cookies.

What You'll Need
a stand mixer
a large sieve or flour sifter
parchment paper with circle templates
2 baking sheets
batter spatula
whisk attachment
flat batter attachment
2 piping bags
1 circular piping tip

Cookie Ingredients*
4.80oz finely ground almond flour
4.40oz powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 egg whites
1/4tsp cream of tartar
  1. Sift almond flour, salt, and powdered sugar together into a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Place eggs into stand mixer bowl.
  3. Beat your egg whites until frothy (using the whisk attachment), add the granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Sprinkle in cream of tartar.
  4. Beat at medium high speed until thick and glossy. When you turn the bowl it shouldn't pour out.
  5. This is where I stopped using the stand mixer. Add in 1/3 of your almond powdered sugar mixture and continue to add the rest in small amounts. and then fold with a batter spatula until thick but still flowing.
  6. Put it in a piping bag and pipe out 1-1.75 inch circles (I used a small cookie cutter to trace circles on the back of my parchment paper that I placed on top of a baking sheet. Then bang the bottom of the baking sheet on the counter - this will remove all of the air bubbles in the batter. Be sure to pipe one tray at a time because only one pan can go in the oven.
  7. Now preheat your oven to 300 F.
  8. Let the macarons sit for about 15 minutes. Once they are done resting, you can pipe out your next tray.
  9. Bake the macarons in the middle oven rack for 15 minutes.
  10. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Repeat for the other tray.
Strawberry Buttercream Filling
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1tbsp milk
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1tbs strawberry preserves
  1. Slice up the butter and place into the stand mixer (use the flat beater attachment). Beat until nice and fluffy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Beat until well combined.
  3. Add strawberry preserves and beat for just a few seconds until combined. If you see chunks of strawberries, don't worry, it just adds to the whimsy. ;)
Match up pairs of similar cookies and allow them to cool before you add the icing. Place icing in a piping bag and pipe icing in the middle of the one cookie, top with another cookie and you are done! Let the completed macarons sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours for maximum yumminess.
*cookie recipe adapted from Love & Macarons
01 June 2016

Errands, Macarons and Bridesmaid dresses

This past weekend was a busy one in terms of going somewhere each day - I feel like I really haven't had a chance to relax. Saturday consisted of afternoon errands with Alex and my sister. Later that night we went to a local band show and on Sunday Megan and I went looking for my bridesmaid dress for her wedding (and we actually found one online instead). Megan and I checked out Whole Foods because she had never been there before (what?!?) and I ended up leaving with two cans of chickpeas and a half pound of almond flour. Which leads me to Monday's baking adventure.

I attempted to make macarons for the first time and miserably failed. I erroneously chose the recipe that didn't call for cream of tartar. I wasted four eggs and a half cup of almond flour in the process because the first time I tried making the meringue I read the recipe wrong and added the almond flour to the egg whites. I messaged Alex after my failed attempts, telling him about how defeated I felt, and he brought me home a bouquet of roses and a little jar of cream of tartar. So sweet, right?

I want to try making them again. I am determined to master those fancy little cookies if it takes me the rest of my life!

This coming weekend Alex & I have off together and I'm not sure what we will do, but I know whatever it is - it will be amazing. There was some talk about dinners and possibly going to the beach one night, so we shall see.