Monday, March 18, 2019

Reflecting With Andrew McMahon

Hello everyone!
Last Tuesday my sister Heather and I went to our 4th Andrew McMahon concert together.

I was around seven or eight years old when she first introduced me to his music.
At that time he was in the band Something Corporate and I remember hanging out at her apartment and begging her to play the song Hurricane.
Since then we have seen him four times.
Once with Something Corporate, once with Jack's Mannequin and twice as a solo artist.

Two years ago we saw him at the same venue we did last week.
We were jamming and having a good time when I started to cry.
At first I thought it was because I was so happy and then it turned into full on hard ugly crying and I was so confused...
I was honestly happy and enjoying myself.
Nothing should have been making me sad.
"What is wrong with me?" I thought.
The first response that came into my mind was "I don't want to be miserable anymore..."
I realized that was the first time I had been happy in awhile and it affected me in such a weird way.
I was doing what I thought I needed to do to be happy at the time.
I was working hard and making the most money I had ever made.
I was able to support my family.
We finally had a house.
We were able to afford things we never could before.
We were "successful."
But man was I sad.
I think that was the first time I was honest with myself about my feelings.
It led me to acknowledge that I needed to take care of myself.
It led to a conversation with Erik of putting more than half of my earnings into savings so that I could quit my job.
It led to the realization that I was suppressing a lot of things.
It led to some major changes.
Last Tuesday as we were standing in the same same spot seeing him again,  I reflected on that moment and how far I had come.
The last month or so I have been the happiest I have been in a long time.
I cried on the way home from the concert but this time they were happy tears.
I am so grateful to be where I am now.
And I am so excited to see where I will be the next time we go and see him.

All my love,

Saturday, March 16, 2019

How To Make A Rainbow Piñata Cake

Hello everyone!
St. Patrick's Day is this weekend and I have the perfect cake to help you celebrate.
A rainbow piñata cake!
A piñata cake is a cake that is filled with a surprise center.
And what do you find at the end of the rainbow?
A pot of gold!
So, I decided to fill mine with chocolate gold coins.

I wanted to make a white cake recipe so that the colors would be nice and vibrant..
Who wants a dull rainbow?
Not me...
My favorite white cake recipe is from Rosanna Pansino's Cookbook.
It has a touch of almond in it and it might be my favorite thing ever...

You will need:
2 Cups Of Flour
2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
1/8 a Teaspoon of Salt
1 Stick of Salted Butter, Room Temperature
1/4 a Cup of Vegetable Shortening
1 and 1/2 Cups of Sugar
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla
1/4 a Teaspoon of Almond Extract
5 Egg Whites
3/4 a Cup of Whole Milk
White Buttercream Frosting
Food Dye 
Gold Coins

Preheat oven to 350o.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and shortening until soft.
Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Mix in the vanilla and almond extract.
Add the egg whites one at a time beating well after each addition.
Alternate adding in your dry mixture and milk to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and mixing until just combined after each addition.
Divide your white cake batter evenly into six bowls.
Color the frosting in each bowl a different color of the rainbow.
One red, one orange, one yellow, one green, one blue, one purple.

Layer the bottom of 6, 6 inch round cake pans with parchment paper and grease.
Pour each batter into a separate pan.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Let cakes cool.
With a 2 inch round cookie cutter cut a circle in the middle of the orange, yellow, green and blue cake layers.
Leave the red (top) layer and purple (bottom) layer solid. 
Place a small dot of buttercream frosting in the middle of your serving tray.
Place the solid purple cake layer on top of the dot of frosting.
This will help the cake stay in place.
Add a thin layer of frosting around the edge of the purple cake and smooth.
Place the blue hallow layer on top.
Add a thin layer of frosting around the edges of the cake and smooth.
Place the green hallow layer on top and repeat till you reach the orange layer.

Before you place your red (top) layer on the cake fill the hallow cake center with your gold coins.

Once the center is nice and full add your top layer.

Complete frosting the entire cake.
I wanted to add some festive decorations to the outside of the cake as a preview of what was inside.

I added a dot border around the top of the cake.
Then I added some round rainbow sprinkles on top of the border and around the bottom of the cake.

Serve and enjoy your rainbow surprise!

This cake was so fun to make!
I love that it appears a little plain on the outside but then turns into not only a rainbow cake but a rainbow cake with a golden surprise.

This is the perfect cake to make and enjoy this St. Patricks Day (or any) weekend.
What would you put inside your rainbow piñata cake?

All my love,

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Leading Ladies In My Life + A Golden Giveaway!

Hello everyone!
As you probably know International Women's day was last Friday.
I love International Women's Day and the chance it gives us to celebrate one another.
I feel that we are at such an exciting age for women.
We are finally getting recognition for all we have done and we get to do some pretty amazing things because of it.

Growing up I never felt like being a girl was a disadvantage.
Not because I was told or shown differently, but because I had so many amazing women showing me that was untrue. 
My three older sisters, my mom, my grandmothers, my aunts, my teachers.
I am so grateful for the women who paved the way and fought for our rights.
And I am so grateful to have the opportunity to fight for a brighter future for the little ladies in my life.
My nieces hold such a special place in my heart.
Don't get me wrong, I love my nephews.
My nieces are just interested in things I can relate to.
Music, photography, fashion.
While my nephews favorites pass time is pretending to urinate on me...

My niece Stella is the gentlest, purest soul I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
She is so sweet she gives me a toothache.
For Christmas last year she asked Santa for a "real life violin "
What six year old has an interest in the violin?!
I know I didn't...
She loves to bake and create new foods. 
She wants to own her own bakery when she grows up.
She found out that I also love to bake and asked to come over and bake at my house.
On a Saturday night all she wanted to do was bake with me.
It made me so happy!

My niece Baylee loves life more than anyone I have ever known.
She loves to celebrate and is always looking forward to the next event.
She likes YouTube and is interested in videography and filmography.
Santa brought her a Polaroid camera and she takes better pictures at six than I do now...
She has always had an interest in becoming a doctor.
I recently asked her what kind of doctor she wants to be.
She said a baby doctor.
I asked "So you are going to take care of the babies?"
Her response.
"Nope. I'm going to bring them into the world."
Mic drop!

My niece Bella is eighteen months old and can only say a few words but, she is the most independent and feisty little thing.
She knows what she wants and I would advise you not to go against her wishes.
She is persistent and will do what it takes to get it. 
I think she will be a little fashionista.
She loves to spend the day trying on clothes.
She will bring me outfit after outfit to put on.
She loves to wear items from her big sister's closet and always makes sure to accessorize.
She also loves my phone.

I am completely inspired by my nieces.
I love how creative they are and that they dream big.
My goal in life is to encourage them to be whatever they want to be.
To try new things and explore all their opportunities.
I truly believe that they will change the world. 

All my love,

P.S. I am holding another giveaway on my Instagram.
It is a gorgeous gold Made By Mary necklace.
Head over here to enter!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

DIY Four Leaf Clover Balloons

Hello everyone!
I don't know about you, but when it comes to holidays, St. Patrick's Day is a hard one for us to figure out.
Erik and I don't drink and we don't have kids to catch leprechauns with so, when it comes to the big day we usually don't have much planned. 
We have landed on eating a themed meal and festive decorations.
Today I wanted to show you a quick and easy decoration that we like to put up.
Four leaf clover balloons!

You will need:
Green Heart Shaped Balloons, Four Per Clover
A Pump, Optional
Gold Ribbon, Optional

Blow up your balloons. 
I didn't want to use helium as I wanted them to stick to a wall. 
If you want to use them as one big balloon feel free to use helium.
I used an air pump.
Once all of your balloons are blown up, arrange four of them into the shape of a four leaf clover, placing the points of the heart next to each other.

For our balloons I used metallic mylar heart shaped balloons.
I liked that they weren't see through and provided a deep clover green.
Because I used mylar balloons they didn't have the usual lip that latex balloons have.
If you use latex balloons you can easily tie the four balloons together with the lips.
Since my balloons didn't have lips I taped them to the wall individually.
Apply a few pieces of rolled tape to the back of the balloons and stick them to the wall.
Continue till you have placed all four balloons into the shape of a four leaf clover.
If you use latex and have tied them together apply a few pieces of rolled tape to the back of each balloon and put them all up at the same time. 
I felt that putting the balloons on an angle made the clovers look more realistic.

The clovers are adorable on there own but, I felt ours needed a little something more.
And you know I can't get enough gold... 
I took a few pieces of gold curl ribbon and hung them from the center of the balloon to create the look of a stem.
I think it was the perfect St. Patricks Day touch!

These clovers are so quick and easy to create, but add a dramatic affect with their 3D look.
And if you use mylar balloons like we did, treat them carefully and they are reusable!
How do you decorate for St. Patrick's Day?

All my love,

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Best Birthday I Have Ever Had

Hello everyone!
I turned 26 last week and it was hands down the best birthday I have ever had.
Erik and I spent the night at my favorite hotel, the Grand America.
It is a luxurious hotel in Downtown Salt Lake City.
Since it tends to run on the more expensive side, Erik and I stay here only on special occasions.
I thought my golden birthday was reason enough.

The minute you enter the Grand America you are surrounded by gorgeous scenery.
The lobby is decorated with several crystal chandeliers, marble and fresh florals.

And they always have fresh cookies and citrus flavored water on hand.
I think that might be Erik's favorite part.

When we checked in, they informed us we were staying on the 23rd floor. 
I knew it was a higher floor, I just didn't know how high.
It was second from the top!
We have never stayed in a room that high before.
The window was arched, gorgeous and offered the most amazing view.

The rooms are exquisite.
They are covered in the most beautiful designs and patterns.
The carpet, bed and chairs are all so plush and comfy.

It wouldn't be a golden birthday without some gold decorations so, we brought a few to make it really feel like a party.

My favorite part of the rooms is definitely the bathrooms.
They are so spacious and covered in marble from floor to ceiling with gold accents.
I could spend our whole stay in the bathroom and be happy.

I like to spend as much time in the rooms as possible so, Erik and I ate in for dinner.
I love to order room service at the Grand America.
They cart in a little dinner table and set it up for you.
Erik asked them to put it next to the gorgeous arch window and we watched the sun set while we ate. 
It was magical.
The whole valley turned gold and then started to spark to life with lights until it all glittered. 
For dinner Erik tried his first lamb burger and I don't think he will ever be the same.
I have been instructed to see if I can find lamb the next time I go grocery shopping.

Since it was my birthday, the Grand America provided me with a complimentary cake.
It was a chocolate mouse cake with raspberries and it was delicious...
Also, everything on the cake was edible.
Including that cute little Happy Birthday sign!

As if spending the night at the Grand America wasn't celebration enough, we also went and saw Wicked at the Eccles Theatre.
I love the play Wicked and have been lucky enough to see it a few times.
When I saw it was going to be here on my birthday I knew we had to go.
Erik was kind enough to go along with my crazy plan.

We came back to the hotel and immediately changed into the comfy robes that are provided in each room.


Then we devoured my chocolate mousse cake while watching the Princes Diaries.
It was definitely a night all about me. 😂

The whole day was a dream and over much too soon...
I will be looking at these pictures and daydreaming about the Grand America and Wicked for the next several months.
What would your dream birthday consist of?

All my love,