15992205_10154938210200127_2005652850_o

MC 8.2: Knot Headband

Hi friends! I’m sorry I skipped last week’s blog post, but I have a good reason!

As you saw in my first post this month, I was spending some quality family time in Oregon. And even though there was a huge ice storm last week, Matt and I were able to escape and had a short 1 year anniversary celebration in San Francisco! Our anniversary was on a Monday, and since I had been spending time enjoying family and being in a friend’s wedding, I hadn’t had the chance to write my blog post. So I had two options: a) try to scramble and write a post on our anniversary or b) postpone a week and hope my amazing readers will understand 🙂

Since my goal this year is to be more present, I chose the latter option, deciding to not stress and instead enjoy celebrating 1 year of marriage with my wonderful husband. #noregrets

BUT in all the driving to and fro, I was able to make this adorable headband! I’m not one for huge headbands, but with all the ice, rain and snow I definitely was wanting one in Oregon and San Francsico. This one from craftsnob was super easy to do and adorable! Basically the only reason I’m glad it’s still raining here in SoCal is so I actually have a legitimate reason to wear it.

Pretty much all I did was knit 20 stitches across until the strip fit around my head, then stitched the ends together, pulled tight, and wrapped the extra string around. So cute!

15992205_10154938210200127_2005652850_o

If you’re looking for a fun yet relaxing new hobby to start this year, knitting is a great one! See you next Tuesday!

new sig

screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-8-32-16-pm

1/17 Friday Favorites

Welcome to the first 2017 edition of Friday Favorites! I think this roundup is a really great one, enjoy!

screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-8-03-16-pm

Kendra Scott Elisa Necklace

I don’t know if you guys remember when I talked about the amazing jewelry subscription Rocks Box, but I was OBSESSED with this Kendra Scott necklace I got in one of the boxes. So obsessed that I asked my mom to get it for me for Christmas, and being the generous gift-giving, Nordstrom-lover that she is, my wish was granted! I’m not even kidding, I think I wore this necklace every day for a week after I got it. It goes with everything. It’s so easy to dress up or down, and perfect to layer with other necklaces. It’s a little spendy at $65, but you can tell that it is a really high quality necklace #worthit. Sorry For Love 21, but this jewelry is top notch.

 

When Calls the Heart Season 3

When Calls the Heart

My mom has been trying to get me to watch this show for a few months, but seeing as I am currently binge-watching Gilmore Girls, I put it off. (Side note, Matt got me an “I drink coffee like a Gilmore” t-shirt for Christmas and it was perfection). But since I had some time over the break, I watched the first episode with her and was hooked. Don’t let the fact that it’s a Hallmark show deter you, it’s a great show! It’s kind of a blend of Christy Miller and Little House on the Prairie. It’s clean, good TV, which is hard to find anymore! And not only is the main character the most adorable girl (I may have a slight girl crush), Lori Loughlin from Full House is in it too! The first two series are on Netflix, so get watching!

 

artistry

ARTISTRY light up lip gloss

My bestie Mary got this lip gloss for me for Christmas and it’s the coolest lip gloss I’ve ever had. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s GENIUS. When you unscrew the lid, a light comes on so you can see in the dark when you apply! AND it even has a mirror on the side. It’s brilliant and everyone needs one.

screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-8-08-32-pm

Katie and Kelly Ballet Flats

I have had these adorable flats for a few months now and I can confirm that they are amazing shoes! Katie and Kelly shoes never fail, they are always SO comfortable. I really needed some new flats, but was unsure whether I should get the red ones or go with something more practical, like gray. I got home with the red ones still unsure if I should keep them, but Matt encouraged me to spice it up and keep them. I’m so glad I did! They add a fun pop of color to my usual navy and black work clothes. And did I mention they are super comfy? And affordable at $40?

 

Iphone camera lenses

Matt got me these portable iphone camera lenses as a rogue (AKA it wasn’t on my list) Christmas gift and I was probably the most excited about them! They come in a little case with 5 lenses to attach to your iphone. I have loved testing them out and I’m sure they will help me have even better pictures on my blog. The kit is only $20 and so fun to play with!!!

 

screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-8-32-16-pm

Escape The Room game

OK, I saved the best for last. You might remember that when I visited my sister last August in Phoenix, we went to a fun escape room. She found this game that was similar to our experience and I knew that I had to get it for her for Christmas. I’m so glad I did! There are four different scenarios: Virus, Prison Break, Temple of the Aztec and Nuclear Countdown. And you can get 2 expansion games when you finish those! Each scenario has a different level of difficulty. At first we wanted to go right to the top and do number 4, but the instructions advised us to start with the level 1. So Prison Break it was.

I thought since it was number 1 it would be easy, but I was wrong! Each room comes with 3 different packs, which include maps, clues and other accessories, as well as hint cards. The timer has 4 different decoders on it, one for every room. There are also 16 keys, and you must use 4 specific keys to pass each of the three levels of the room. The game was a blast to play, so much so that we ended up doing the Virus room as well! I’m hoping Meleah will save at least one of the other rooms to play with Matt and I sometime, but if not we will just have to get one of the expansion packs!

Hope you guys enjoyed my Friday Favorites! Check back on Tuesday for an update on my knitting challenge!

new sig

img_8066

MC 8.1: Simple Washcloth

Hi friends! I apologize for the late post today! Yesterday we did a little road trip to central Oregon and I also came down with a pretty nasty cold. So I totally blanked on writing a post last night! But at least you have some good nighttime reading, right?

I wanted to do knitting because I knew it would be perfect for all the road trips I’ll be doing this month, and I’ve also done knitting before, so I thought it would be pretty easy. BUT I was wrong. I can knit just fine, but I was REALLY struggling understanding how to read patterns. So I found this helpful article called How to Read a Knitting Pattern that explained a lot!

I also called my grandma, who is a great knitter, and she not only loaned me her size 8 knitting needles, but explained to me what a gauge is and was really helpful in helping start me off! Thanks, Grandma!

Thankfully, Michael’s was having a great sale on yarn last week, so I picked up a few medium-weight skeins from Lion Brand. I also discovered that they have an amazing website with free patterns and tutorials.

While I wanted to dive right in, I quickly learned it would be best to start off with the basics. I found this simple washcloth pattern from this Knitting for Beginner’s Guide. I just had to learn the knit and purl stitches, and how to add and drop stitches.

Here’s after I’ve done a few rows.

img_8046

Ignore my chipped nail polish 🙂 I’m used to knitting straight rows, but I went from 4 to 49 stitches!

Here’s the finished product! I did it in one day – it was a great project to do while watching TV. If I can do it, you can too!

Hope you enjoyed my first attempt at knitting and found some helpful resources! Check back next week for a another fun knitted project!

new sig

img_8032

MC 7.4: O Little Loaf of Apple Bread

Hi friends! Sorry I’m posting a little later than usual today! Matt and I took a trip home to Oregon and have been busy seeing our family and friends. BUT I was able to bake my final treat yesterday morning! It was the perfect post-Christmas breakfast: Peanut Butter Apple Banana Bread from Averie Cooks.

I wanted to make this recipe because it had a fun twist on typical banana bread with the apples and peanut butter. And it was delicious! Here are the ingredients:

img_8028

Shoutout to my mom for getting it all for me 🙂 Although there were a lot of ingredients, it was really easy to make! First I grated the apple and mashed the banana, then mixed all the liquids together…

img_8029

Then added the everything else! At first it wasn’t super pretty…

img_8030

But after baking for an hour it turned into a beautiful golden brown!

img_8032

I had to let it cool a while, but it was SO yummy! The gala apples give it a little zest and the peanut butter chips are a fun bonus. I think this would be a good one to make with kids if you need something for them to do over the break!

And since this is my last baking challenge, here is my next challenge for the new year:

mc-jan-fb

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve! See you in 2017!

new sig

img_7903

MC 7.3: Do You Smell What I Smell?

Said the husband to his baking wife: Do you smell what I smell? Garlic knots come to change his life – do you smell what I smell?

Hey friends! Hope you enjoyed my cheesy attempt to incorporate baking into Christmas carols! I put a lot of effort into that one.

I was real nervous for my first try at making bread with yeast, but I figured if I was going to do it I would have to have some good old garlic on it! I found this amazing recipe from Ruchi’s Kitchen for homemade garlic knots and knew I would have to try them!

Here are all the ingredients:

img_7895

First I began with proofing the yeast. Although there are pictures of what it is supposed to look like in the recipe, I still wasn’t sure that the first batch I made was alive. At which point I texted my mom: How do you know if yeast is alive? And she replied with a super helpful: I don’t know, look it up on google. You’re supposed to know all the answers, mom! Anyways, google wasn’t too helpful, but I gathered that either I didn’t do it right or the yeast was dead, so I tried again. Thankfully the second time looked like the pictures and the yeast began to froth up, so I knew it worked!

Then after adding flour and baking soda, I mixed it all up, kneaded it, and let it rise for about 1.5 hours.

img_7899

After that, I kneaded it again, rolled it out on the counter and cut it into strips…

img_7900

…then made the yummy parsley garlic butter paste…

img_7898

…tied the strips into knots and brushed the butter sauce on…

img_7901

…then baked them!

img_7903

They were SO DELICIOUS! I was super happy with how they turned out and I think this recipe will be one of the best I’ve done (even if it took about 3 hours to make). I have been enjoying the yummy, buttery, garlicky goodness all week. If you need something impressive to make for your Christmas dinner, I would recommend these! Be sure to check back next Tuesday for my last installment of the baking challenge – you won’t want to miss it! Have a Merry Christmas!

new sig

 

img_7850

MC 7.2: Holly Jolly Cheesecake

Hey friends! I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m up to my ears in Christmas parties! Not complaining though, I love it! This week, I thought it would be fun to make a Christmas dessert that’s a little more advanced – Candy Cake Oreo Cheesecake from Mix and Match Mama!

img_7835

Here’s all the ingredients!

In the original recipe, it says “2 cups of crushed oreo cookies plus an additional cup.” Not being a baker, I thought that was a really odd way to phrase “3 cups of crushed oreo cookies.” BUT after I had blended the oreo crumbs and butter to make the crust, I realized when I read further down the recipe that the additional cup was for the filling. Oops. As a result, the crust was pretty thick! But I still had some spare oreos to add.

The recipe actually made quite a bit of filling, so I decided to make two. However at this point, I was pretty low on oreos to make another crust, so I had to add a spare bag of Milanos I had for the crust. #sothrifty

I put the cakes in the fridge because I had to run out to meet a friend for dinner, and entrusted hubby to put the cakes in the oven for an hour to bake. When I left the restaurant, I saw a text from him that the cakes sunk a bit and looked a little burned, but when I got home discovered it wasn’t that bad. Nothing a little whipped cream can’t cover.

img_7846

We tested the cake out with some whipped cream and candy cane on top, and it was actually pretty good! Next time I will definitely make the crust a little thinner and not bake it so long, but overall it turned out well!

img_7850

Though the Candy Cane Oreo Cheesecake looks fancy, it was actually pretty simple to make, definitely a good thing to bring to your next Christmas party! Hope you enjoyed this week’s post, stay tuned for some advanced baking next week!

new sig

cookie

MC 7.1: On the first day of baking…

…My cookies gave to me a kitchen that smells yummy!

This past Saturday, I had a Christmas party for my high school small group girls   And decided to try my hand at baking sugar cookies for the first time!

Before baking the cookies, though, I had to get my first rolling pin, icing tubes, and even almond extract. I texted my mom after saying that “I feel like a real housewife now.” For some reason owning a rolling pin made me feel like I was truly adulting, until I realized that I probably should’ve gotten a rolling pin from an actual kitchen place… because you get what you pay for at Walmart.

Anyways, I found a recipe where you didn’t have to refrigerate the dough before cutting it, which really came in handy since I made them Saturday morning!

img_7690

Notice the extracts – so fancy. Here are my ingredients! I mixed the butter and sugar, then the egg and extracts, and lastly the flour and baking powder. It was pretty thick dough! I rolled out about half the dough, which was really difficult to do on a cutting board. In retrospect, I probably should’ve just done it on the counter. I got basically the same amount of flour on it anyway.

I did end up putting the second half in the fridge to firm up a bit, because as you can see below, the edges didn’t hold their shape super well.

I made about 3 dozen cookies, and checked on them pretty often so they wouldn’t be too crispy! I almost ALWAYS overcook cookies, and that’s definitely not something you want for sugar cookies. They ended up turning out pretty well!

img_7695

The girls and I had lots of fun decorating them! Hopefully I can figure out how to make the edges a little firmer next time, but I think it went well for my first try! If any bakers out there want to give me some tips, they would be much appreciated. I’m going to do something a little more challenging next week, so make sure you check back in!

new sig

50215247408__c6b30069-8e93-4ea7-b2ca-169ad78c764f

Friday Favorites 12/16

It’s already December!! I can’t believe we are already at the end of 2016. With Christmas coming up, I thought I would help out all of you #ballersonabudget with some DIY gift ideas I’ve tried out! You’re welcome, wallet.

Exploding Year in A Box

This gift takes some work, but the end result is worth it! It’s perfect for a significant other – I made this gift for Matt a few years ago and had a blast. Though inexpensive, this gift is extremely personal, with a picture for every month of the year. Check out Glitter Adventure’s tutorial to make this adorable box!

Dry Erase Frames

I made these gifts for a few of my friends for Christmas one year, and they were super fun to make!

Need:

  • Frames
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Scissors
  • Dry erase markers

Remove the back of the frame and trace the outline on the scrapbook paper. Cut to size. Stick the scrapbook paper in the frame and put the backing on. Write a fun quote on the front with the dry erase marker. Wrap it up and give it to a friend!

Cocoa Ornaments

These ornaments are not only inexpensive to make, but they are super cute AND tasty!

Need:

  • Plain clear plastic ornament
  • Hot cocoa mix
  • Sprinkles or broken up candy canes
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Funnel
  • Bows
  • Gift tags

Unscrew the top of the ornament. Fill about half of it with hot cocoa mix. Use the funnel to layer in mini chocolate chips, marshmallows, and sprinkles. Put the top back on and add a tag with instructions for making the hot chocolate. This is a great gift for kids! Make sure to keep them upright so they still look pretty when you deliver them!

Quote Scarf

My friends and I have made a few of these for each other over the years! Quote scarfs are great, especially for book-lovers who can wear a quote from their favorite book. You can also do song lyrics or verses!

Need:

  • Scarf
  • Fabric pens (get at least two)
  • Cardboard
  • A quote

After choosing the quote you want, try to eyeball how much room it will take on your scarf. Try to write bigger or smaller accordingly. You can write vertically or horizontally as well. Lay down some cardboard in case the pen bleeds through. Write the quote on the scarf – take your time so the ink shows up clearly. Give to a stylish friend!

Instagram Pillow


These pillows from Zazzle are so fun to make! Simply upload your instagram pictures and create a cute collage for your friends to decorate AND snuggle with! I’ve made this for several friends and it’s a super fun, unique gift!

Memory Jar

img_7651

Another great sentimental gift – perfect for those friends you’ve had since junior high.

Need:

Write down any fun memories or quotes, and add any fun memorabilia like play bills or pins. Add as many memories you can think of, then roll up each little paper and put it in the jar. Write something like “Jess and Matt’s Memory Jar” on the outside in the puff paint. Your friend/family member/significant other will love reminiscing on all your fun memories together, and you can add to them over the years!

I hope you enjoyed my collection of DIY Christmas Gifts! If you end up making any of them, I’d love to see how they turned out!

new sig

img_7648

MC 6.5: Mixing It Up

Hi friends! I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I think I’m still recovering from my food coma.

I spent some time this weekend decorating more journals – the first one turned out so well I decided to do some more for Christmas gifts! They were really fun to make!

img_7622

I also played around a bit more with my Tombow Dual Brush pens – they are a little harder for me to control but I think I am making a little progress!

img_7642

I also tried to do some different kinds of lettering styles! Bet you can’t tell what Netflix show I’ve been binge watching lately…

img_7644

Lastly, for my final project I decided to letter my favorite verse with a few different styles. I think it turned out pretty well!

img_7648

I had a BLAST doing lettering this month and it’s definitely a hobby I want to continue! I hope you got inspired to do some lettering of your own – it’s definitely a good skill to have, especially during the holidays!

Speaking of the holidays, my next challenge is an especially fitting one for December!

mc-dec-fb

Make sure to subscribe so you can get some good baking inspiration for the holidays! I can’t wait to eat all the goodies I make. Don’t forget to check back for Friday Favorites!

new sig

img_7599

MC 6.4: Getting Fancy

Hi friends, Happy Thanksgiving to you! I love thanksgiving. It’s a great reminder for us to take a moment and be grateful for everything we have. It really is a sacred holiday. And I’m especially excited that my sister will be coming from Phoenix to celebrate with me – the first time in 6 years I’ve had thanksgiving with one of my immediate family! It will be a great time.

This week, I practiced some fancy letters…

img_7564

And some even fancier embellishments!

img_7604

I also did this quote – this song has really been a source of comfort to me the past few weeks! I still have some work to do on spacing but I like how it turned out.

img_7599

Finally, I did this lettering on a notebook for my giveaway winner, Tiffany!

img_7615

Congrats to Tiffany, and thanks to all who participated! Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and see you next week!

new sig