30 April 2014

Gifts for Mom

Gifts for Mom

This year I got inspired with Gifts for Mom for Mother's Day by the colour pink. Its such a fun, fresh colour without being overstated. Here are my picks for Mom:

Perfume - Why not get mom one of her favourite scents this Mother's Day. There are a tons of options to choose from and every time she uses it she will think of you.

Purse - Find me a girl who doesn't like a good bag. I love this Rebecca Minkoff. The chain adds some edge to this other wise girly bag. The shape and quilted textures are definitely classic so Mom can use it for years to come.

Flowers - Flowers are a great way to let Mom know that you are thinking about her especially if you cannot be with her this Mother's Day.

Scarf - I think a scarf is the perfect accessory. It can really add a punch of colour to an outfit and make it that much more exciting. There are so many different patterns and colours out there, surely there is something your mom will love.

Beauty Products - Treat Mom to some high end beauty products that she may not splurge on for herself. These One Love Organics (gift set available at Shop by Monika) use all natural ingredients and are supposed to be good for all skin types.

Tea - David's has a great collection of teas for Mom and their special edition Perfect Mug is adorable.   Stock up on her favourites or find her a new favourite. You can't go wrong with Cream of Earl Grey.


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28 April 2014

Hair Care


It all started with my trip to NYC. I couldn't bring my own shampoo with me because I was just using a carry-on for the plane. So I borrowed my friends shampoo. She used shampoo and conditioner that was sulfate free. I immediately noticed how much softer and easier to manage my hair was after just one use. So I went home and purchased some sulfate free shampoos and conditioners. I have been alternating between Tresemme naturals and  Organix.

 I have been debating back and forth if I want to take my hair care one step further and go an all natural homemade route. I don't think that the no-poo method is the way to go for me but I am intrigued by different honey and coconut milk formulas that are floating around. Has anyone tried them or any other natural hair care? I use pure coconut oil to deep condition my hair a couple of times a month and I love it, which is why I think I am leaning towards trying the homemade coconut milk shampoo. 
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23 April 2014

Graduation Gifts for Friends


Gifts for Grads

The majority of my friends are graduating this year. They are off to start the next exciting chapter of their lives. Here are some ideas that I came up with to get them as a small congratulations. All are under $50. 

Starbucks Giftcard -  A Starbucks (or other coffee or tea) giftcard is a perfect gift for someone who is about to enter the workforce. Pair it with a thoughtful card and provide them with coffee for their first day of work. 

Book - There are so many great books out there for grads. Lean In is one that I would recommend for any recent grad. 

Manicure - Treat your friend to a manicure. Its nice to feel pampered after studying for so long.  Many places have gift cards you can give, but even better why not go with her and spend some time together before things get crazy again. 

Travel Journal - So many of my friends are taking time off after graduating and before they start working to travel. A journal is a great way for them to record their thoughts and memories while abroad. Fun add ons: a sleep mask and ear plugs for those train, plane and car rides. 

Necklace - Dogeared has some really cute necklaces that are perfect for grads. Wether you want to wish you friend good luck on her next chapter or thank her for always being there for you. I like the simplicity of them. Etsy also has some great options for unique jewellery and personalized necklaces.


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21 April 2014

Toasted Coconut and Lemon Cupcakes


As promised, the recipe for the Toasted Coconut and Lemon Cupcakes that I posted yesterday. They were a hit with my family and friends this Easter. Lemon and coconut is such a classic combination. The cupcake itself had a nice light texture and the tartness from the lemon cut the sweetness of the buttercream.

For the Cupcake: 
Adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 12

Ingredients: 
1 Cup all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking power
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shredded coconut 
1/2 unsalted butter, at room temp 
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites (save yolks for Lemon Filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. 
In a medium bowl whisk together first four dry ingredients
In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat together butter and sugar, until light and fluffy
Beat in egg, egg whites and vanilla until completely combined
With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with coconut milk, beat until combined
Divide batter between cupcake liners, filling 2/3s full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
Remove from oven. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack and allow cupcakes to cool completely before filling and frosting. 

Lemon Filling
I used Wilton's Lemon Filling Recipe. Its perfect because it needs 2 egg yolks and it thickens nicely. Allow it to cool before filling. 

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter
3-4 cups icing sugar 
3 teaspoons vanilla 
2 tablespoons heavy cream 

Beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla and cream.

Toasted Coconut
1 Cup Shredded Coconut 

Preheat Oven to 350. Spread Coconut out on rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 3-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Watch it closely - it burns quickly! 

To assemble: 
Fit pipping bag with round tip - (I used Wilton Tip 10). Fill bag half way full with cooled Lemon Filling. Push tip in center of cooled cupcake and gently squeeze lemon filling into cupcake. 

Frost Cupcakes as desired (I used a large round tip to get a mound of icing). Using a shallow dish, roll outside rim of cupcake in toasted coconut. Top with mini eggs. Enjoy! 



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20 April 2014

Happy Easter!


Have a wonderful day full of family and friends! I will be back tomorrow with the recipe for these Lemon Coconut Cupcakes! 

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15 April 2014

World's Toughest Job

A friend of mine shared this video on Facebook yesterday. I was on what felt like a never ending internship search ( I finally got one! Yay!). I have done my fair share of Skype Interviews but no job has ever come close to measuring up to this one. 


After watching the video I emailed the link to my Mom. She emailed me back that it brought tears to her eyes. I am sure she then quickly forwarded it to all of her friends. Make your mom's day today and email her this video. :)  

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11 April 2014

snapshots

Pink Pedicures

Life Organization 

Homemade Spanakopita for Girls Night

Delicious Tropical Drinks

Attempts at Eating Healthy 

First Signs of Spring

Debating which watch to get from Chapters. Suggestions welcomed.

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9 April 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes


A classic combination. One of my favourites for sure! These cupcakes are a chocolate base, filled with a whipped peanut butter filling and topped with a creamy vanilla buttercream. Drizzled with melted chocolate and peanut butter to finish them off. 


For the Cupcake (makes 12):
Adapted from Annies Eats

1/4 cup cocoa powder 
1/4 cup hot (almost boiling) water
1 cup flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon baking Power 
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract 
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350F and line cupcake tin with liners.
In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and hot water. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. 
In a small saucepan combine butter and sugar over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Transfer butter and sugar mixture to bowl and using an electric mixer (or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment) mix for 3-5 minutes until mixture cools and becomes pale yellow in colour. 
Add in eggs one at a time, mixing throughly between each addition. Mix in vanilla extract. 
Add the flour mixture in 2 batches alternating with the sour cream. Beat until just incorporated.
Fill cupcake liners 1/2-2/3s full and bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

For the Peanut Butter Filling: 
Adapted from Cook Like a Champion
1/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
1 cup icing sugar 
1/2 cup butter, room temperature 
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract 

In a clean bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, whip cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. 
In a separate bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and peanut butter, mixing on medium-high speak until smooth. Reduce speed and add in icing sugar. Mix in vanilla. Beat until fluffy. 
Using a rubber spatula, fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture in two parts. Do not over mix.


For the Icing:
1 cup butter
3-4 cups icing sugar 
3 teaspoons vanilla 
2 tablespoons heavy cream 

Beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla and cream.

To Assemble: 
Once cupcakes have cooled completely, use the cone method to fill cupcakes with approx 1-2 teaspoons of whipped peanut butter mixture. 

Frost cupcakes as desired. Drizzle with melted peanut butter and chocolate sauces. 






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7 April 2014

My Top 3 Apps during Exams

Its that time of year again! Exam season...my favourite.  I am not a huge app person and I make my study schedule the old fashioned way but these are some apps that I find myself using more during exam season. 
iCal
Basic, but a must. It is synced on all my devices which is really helpful and I can quickly see what I have going on that day and plan around it. 

 30/30

I love this app. I just recently downloaded it and have been using it ever since. If you download one app on this list, make it this one (cause you probably already have the others). I love that I can pick how long I want to do an activity for and it will cycle through my list and alert me when time is up. When I am studying I will usually just set it on a simple study for 50 minutes, break for 10 schedule.

Songza
I can't listen to music with lyrics when I study but sometimes I need some background noise. I love the different classical playlists for this. They help me focus on what I am studying without getting distracted.  

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