New Portraits

I just popped in to share some fun news: I had portraits taken!

A few weeks ago, my friend (and very talent photographer) Kate McCann met up at a new mural in South Philadelphia to take some portraits for the blog and my social media accounts! As someone who HATED photos of herself for years, it's nice to finally feel comfortable in my skin and actually love having my picture taken. Still definitely make a lot of dumb faces, but sometimes we get some gems!

I've been really trying to up my blog game lately. I've separating my blog and personal Instagram accounts, been posting more frequently and scheduling content on Instagram, creating more blog content, and all around trying to be a little more consistent and on top of things. It's definitely been amazing to see my hard work pay off (I was regrammed by A Beautiful Mess not once, but twice, in one day!) and I'm thrilled to have some photos that really tie everything together. 

I'm hoping my creativity energy can keep at it for a little while longer!

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Recipe: Peaches and Cream Breakfast Popsicles

Did you know that according to the internet it's now appropriate to eat popsicles for breakfast? It's a real thing! Google it! 

So today we are making breakfast popsicles because the internet said it's acceptable and because I have too many peaches in my house. Trader Joe's got me with the box of peaches. They smelled so good that I couldn't resist! Now, my go-to way to use up peaches is always a peach crisp (which I use a similar recipe to this apple crisp), but I've been trying to rethink that (hint hint) and think up something new and different. So today we are mixing them with vanilla yogurt and granola and making frozen peach parfaits. Perfect summer breakfast when you need to eat something quick. 

Peaches and Cream Breakfast Popsicles

Makes 10 popsicles

1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt**
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granola
1 peach

Slice a peach in half and cut into slices. Mix together milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract until well combined. Fill your popsicle molds (I have this one) and place two slices of peach into each popsicle slot. Top with granola, shimmy a popsicle stick in, and add enough milk/yogurt mixture to fill each mold. Freeze for at least 4–6 hours or until frozen solid.

** You could substitute greek or plain yogurt with a little honey if you aren't a fan of vanilla yogurt.

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Weekending: New York State

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As you read this, we are driving to New York state for a long weekend of camping and seeing family and friends! Even though New York is close to Philadelphia, I've never spent too much time in the state and I'm excited to explore what it has to offer. We're camping and visiting several state parks, hoping to swim in waterfalls and swimming holes, have some dinner plans, and just happy to be getting out of the city for a little while.

Follow me over on Instagram for some updates!

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Recipe: Perfect Summer Strawberry Shortcake

Baking in the summer is hard for me. I don't have AC, so deciding to turn the oven on is a struggle. Add to that making frosting, which I actually really dislike doing in the first place, in a hot house and it's just never a magical experience. But we're pushing through today, because this cake is easy-peasy and comes together without much effort or cake decorating ability. And it's perfect to throw together for a summer bbq or just feed a lot of people. 

It's also perfect for eating for breakfast, which is something I always look for in desserts. This cake is totally breakfast acceptable.

What I do with this cake is make it the night before (when it's less hot in the house), let it cool on a rack, wrap it up overnight, and assemble in the morning in time for festivities. Need to make something red, white, and blue for a summer gathering? Throw some blueberries in this and DONE. This cake is a crowd pleaser.

Strawberry Shortcake

Yields 8-12 slices

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9-inch round cake pans by coating in butter and a thin layer of flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to remove any lumps and combine ingredients. Mix in half of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, then mix in the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the other half of the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combined. Scrape down the bowl.

Split the batter evenly between the two 9-inch cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then finish cooling on a cooling rack.

Whipped Cream

Yields enough for two-layer cake

2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 containers of strawberries 

Place your metal mixing bowl and wire attachment in your fridge 10 minutes before you begin whisking. Add heavy cream and sugar to the bowl of the mixer. Begin whisking on low, and then gradually increase the speed until medium-high until you have siff peaks (about 5-7 minutes).

To assemble the cake, place one cake on the center of a cake stand or large plate. Using a rubber spatula, spoon half the whipped cream into the center of the cake and spread towards the outside. Cutting as many strawberries as you need, slice them vertically and place in an even layer on the whipped cream. For presentation purposes, you want to them to be all the way to the edge of the cake so you can see them once you assemble the rest of the cake. Place the other cake on top, add the rest of the whipped cream, slice more strawberries to cover and then add whole strawberries, pressing them down slightly to get them to stay in place. Because this is a "naked" cake, you'll want to eat the same day as the exposed cake will dry out faster.

To get the more naked cake look, use your finger to press some powdered sugar into the sides of the cake. This helps hide imperfections and look a little more naked.

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5 Things I'm Loving Right Now

This past weekend marked 1 year in my house! Though I'm already thinking about where I want to maybe move next, it's SOOOO nice to not be focusing on packing and moving or spending money on moving. I get to take the summer to enjoy myself instead of unpacking boxes and putting together the inevitable ikea furniture. Also, this is the first photo I took in my house a year ago! <3

Next week G and I are headed to upstate New York for a camping trip and some time with his family. We have plans to find waterfalls and swimming holes. I have plans to eat greasy breakfast diner food and hunt down some ice cream parlors. Hoping to not get too many mosquito bites. I'll be hopefully knocking a few things off my Summer Bucket List. In the meantime, here's some things I've been loving lately:

  1. An acquaintance from high school started a fashion blog, Derek Du Jour, which is honestly incredible. So honest, inspiring, and interesting.
  2. I've fallen back in love with Beauty Bakerie Lip Whips. I took a little break from my Mon Cheri, but it is the most long-lasting liquid lipstick I've yet to find. Currently thinking I might need another shade, maybe Versailles?
  3. I paint my nails often to prevent myself from biting them. I love Essie polishes, but recently I've been really into these Gel Finish Polishes from Avon. I have a handful of colors and they just dry differently than my other polishes. They look shiny and really creamy on the nails. Though they don't last as long as an actual gel manicure, they last pretty decently for an at-home polish. I also didn't know they had so many new colors!
  4. I've been using the Qapital app to try and save some money and I find it extremely fun and rewarding. The app is designed well, pretty, and just works in the background of my life. I saved up for my scooter cover without even feeling like I was putting any money away! You set rules and it's very customizable. Also, if you use this link to sign up, we both get $5!
  5. I bought these Pylo bell bottoms a while ago and just got them tailored and LOVE them. These are some serious bells, my friend. The only bummer is that they only come in a 35" inseam, which is a little nutty to me. I'm 5'8" and usually wear 3inch heels and I still needed a good 3 inches tailored off. I believe they now make other bells with shorter inseams, but be warned with these. Also, their return shipping is free, but they only except things up to 14 days later.
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