Happy Sunday. I’m feeling super motivated this month. I think the fact that the sun is slowly beginning to set later each day combined with my grandmother getting her vaccine is giving me HOPE. I’m putting in a request for spring to come early this year … I can’t wait!
Is it too early to start spring cleaning? Nothing feels better than tackling a junk drawer, deep cleaning your kitchen, or organizing your closet. It’s like a fresh start! We prefer working on one room at a time so it’s not too overwhelming, and a cleaning checklist makes it easier as well. One of our go-to cleaning tools are Magic Erasers. We love using these to wipe off kitchen cabinets, walls, and baseboards. They are truly… like magic. Haha.
Dessert cocktails aren’t usually my first choice drink, but this perfectly smooth, sweet and boozy chocolate martini has me converted! It’s super rich and chocolate-y but isn’t cloying, even with the swirl of chocolate syrup and chocolate shavings on top. If you love chocolate like I do, I think you’re going to be obsessed.It’s a straightforward drink to mix. Shake equal parts chocolate liqueur, Irish cream and vodka with ice, then pour. If you want to make the martini a little less boozy, feel free to use heavy cream instead of Irish cream. I topped mine with grated chocolate which made for a fun extra dose of chocolate with each sip. My favorite part of making this drink is the chocolate syrup swirl. I found that chilling the glasses for a few minutes beforehand helps set the syrup so the lines don’t run too much. Also, practice over the sink!It’s easy to double everything to make two drinks—Valentine’s treat, maybe? You can serve these in a classic martini glass, a vintage coupe glass, or something just plain fun! Check out all the other yummy concoctions we have in our cocktail archives. Cheers! xo Kayleigh
Are you celebrating Valentine’s or Galentine’s Day this year? Either way, we are wishing you lots of love. Not to be too cheesy, but the world needs more love, right? We hope you receive a lot of it this coming year, and we also hope you will join us in trying to spread as much love as possible. 🙂
And in honor of this very pink (and red) day, we thought it might be fun to showcase some of our favorite past Valentine’s Day-inspired projects and recipes.
Knowing how to make your own fancy balloon arch is helpful for all sorts of occasions (like birthdays) and this foolproof tutorial is all you’ll need.
Absolutely love the tutorials on how to make paper flowers in this DIY floral picnic basket post. You could use your florals for all sorts of things, like a gift box, tablescape, or even just to create a pretty bouquet that will last much longer than fresh flowers.
Homemade candy is always a good idea—here’s how to make your own chocolate bars. These are full of real, whole ingredients and can be naturally sweetened to your taste. Yum!
How often is your hair in a messy bun? (raises hand because the answer is all the time.) This heart-shaped braid is so pretty and easy to do.
How adorable is this kiddo-inspired lion face pancake? We can’t think of a cuter way to start Valentine’s Day morning (or any special day).
If you need some decor for a future party or just to dress up your home (this would make a fun headboard, right?), learn to make this hanging flower heart DIY.
This next one is for all those chocolate lovers out there! We don’t need a reason to enjoy a rich chocolate treat now and again, but if you do, it feels like Valentine’s Day might be the perfect excuse. Here’s how to make this no-bake chocolate silk pie. Our favorite part is the crust (it’s made of saltine crackers!).
If you happen to listen to our podcast, then you know that this sugar cookie recipe has been much requested. Ha. During the holidays, I made a double batch of this recipe, packaged them up, and left them on friends’ porches. I had multiple friends text me after to get the recipe so they could make them with their families, and after talking about it on our podcast, I’ve had even more requests. So, today I am sharing Aunt Judy’s Sugar Cookie Recipe with an easy royal icing frosting, as well. This recipe comes from my MIL (aunt Judy is her SIL) and I’ve updated it just a little from its original version.
The original sugar cookie recipe calls for a half butter and half Crisco mix, but I always make these with all butter. And, Aunt Judy tops her sugar cookies with a simple glaze, but I like to add royal frosting. As you can see, I am no expert-Pinterest-pro-level sugar cookie decorator. This recipe is simple enough that anyone can have success with these and I’ve gotten enough reviews and requests at this point that I think I can safely say this sugar cookie recipe, although simple, is excellent!
From the below recipe, you will be able to make around 36 standard size cookies and enough royal icing for all. You can cut this recipe in half, or you can double it if you want to make a LOT. The key to cutting any recipe in half (or making smaller in some way) is to start with the eggs. So, recipes with an even number of eggs are typically much easier to work with.
For sugar cookies, I feel like the biggest question is always “do I have to chill or freeze the dough?” If you are making shaped cookies, you don’t want the dough to puff or change when they bake—you want them to hold their shape. I’ve tried this recipe every way, and I find that chilling and freezing is not necessary. Unless you have started with melted butter, as opposed to softened (like you forgot to set the butter out and then left it in the microwave a bit too long). In that case, I would go ahead and chill the cut dough shapes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before baking.
This royal icing recipe is VERY simple but can be changed up slightly if you like. Some people like to add just a little bit of lemon juice in place of some of the water to cut the sweetness. You could add a small splash of vanilla extract. And of course, you are welcome to add food coloring. But this basic recipe works well all on its own too. Happy baking! xo. Emma
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Then stir in the eggs and vanilla until just combined.
In another mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Then stir the dry ingredients in with the wet until a dough forms.
On a floured surface, roll the dough out so it's 1/4-inch thick or a little less. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
Bake at 350°F for 6-8 minutes. The centers may look a little undercooked, but the edges should just be beginning to brown. Remove to a cooling rack and they will firm up.
To make the royal icing, simply whisk together the meringue powder, powdered sugar, and water. Start with five tablespoons and add an additional one (or two) as needed. The mixture should flow in thick ribbons, but not be super runny. Use a piping bag or ziplock to pipe the frosting onto the cooled cookies.
The cookies are best if left to set overnight, but you can also consume them immediately if you like. The frosting will get harder as it sets, so this is best if you plan to transport the cookies anywhere.
It’s been a while since I shared my makeup routine here, and I have changed things up quite a bit. I LOVE trying new products and the clean beauty space has been exploding with great products for the past several years. With this update, I finally am using both a clean foundation and concealer (which in the past was an area I had trouble making clean swaps). I also found some really amazing brow products recently that have made a big difference, as my microblading has really faded away (I will get it redone in the future, but it’s been almost three years since I have had my brows done—you’re supposed to go once a year). I am a true fan of using clean beauty whenever possible and I think this is the cleanest my routine has been so far!
OK, ready to jump in? I tried to minimize this as much as possible, so what I am showing here is my favorite (or most used) product from every category. I could definitely do it twice as big, but these are my absolute favorites!!!
I am going to note the exact colors I use in case you are curious or you happen to be in the market for something similar.
Primer: I am loving Vapour Essential Daily Primer. I can tell a big difference when I use it (and when I don’t) for how smooth my makeup goes on, so I never skip it anymore.
Foundation: This past year I tried SO many foundations. I became obsessed. I really wanted one that makes my skin feel glowy and had SPF built in since I tend to be lazy on SPF. I used to say I wore sunscreen, but after having two children with albinism I now realize I BARELY wore sunscreen—it’s like when you say you drink green juice, but really you have one a month. Anyway, Serum Skin Tint by ILIA has nice coverage and blends so well with my skin. I use shade 5.
Concealer:Kosas Revealer Concealer. I have under eye circles, and this does the trick without being too heavy or fake looking. Over time, I have been embracing the less is more makeup mentality. I am leaning more on products that create a more natural effect. I use shade 03.
Concealer brushes: I wanted to try these oval makeup brushes for a long time and I LOVE THEM. To me, they are even better than beauty blenders. I feel like my makeup is the most blended it’s ever been!
Here’s a swatch so you can see the texture of the three products. I use these every day.
Brows: For my brows, I am loving Milk Makeup Kush Fiber Brow. I use it to create a bit more volume. My brows are pretty small, so the products that add fake little brow hairs (like this teeny little wand does) are great for me! It looks real. I use the color “Herb“.
Next, I use the Anastasia Brow Wiz to fill in my brows “bald spots” and darken them overall. I have been using the method of adding lots of little lines and it does create a more realistic effect, especially since my brows need to be lengthened on the ends—I don’t want them to look fake (even though they 100% are!). I use the color “Auburn“.
Mascara: I haven’t had eyelash extensions since last March. However, I have had time to try out every single clean mascara, and I have to say—ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara is IT for me. You can see the wand in the photo above. For whatever reason, this helps my lashes not get clumpy like the fuller wands can. I do a LOT of layers of mascara (3-4, drying between each layer) to get my lashes as dark and full as I can.
Curler: I’ve been using this curler from Saie. It’s purple and really cute.
Eyeliner: For the first time in my ENTIRE adult life, I am not wearing much eyeliner. I think, like many people, I’m just embracing a more natural vibe during Covid times. And when I do wear eyeliner, I have not been doing gigantic cat eyes, which were my thing. I’m sure I will go back to that look eventually, but for now I’m enjoying a natural look. Anyway, this clean gel liner from ILIA is really nice for a natural look! I use the color “Twilight“.
Liquid Blush: I am obsessed with liquid blush—it’s definitely my go-to. I love how it blends. If I had to cut it down to only blush, I would keep this one from Glossier. I really like this shade, as it works well for my skin tone. I use the color “Dusk“.
Peachy Blush: Peachy blush makes me feel like I look “more awake,” so I use a ton of it, especially when I’m sleep deprived. With certain outfits, I think it’s really pretty. I use the color “Nectar” by Beautycounter.
Lip Crayon: I use BITE Creamy Matte Lip Crayon to line my lips. Sometimes I put on lipstick after, or I just gloss. It make my lips look more defined and bigger. I don’t do heavy or dark lipstick, so this is the darkest color I wear. I use the color “Amaretto“.
Lip Gloss:I’m loving this gloss. It’s a bit shimmery, but doesn’t look like full ’90s glitter (don’t be scared). It says it’s plumping, but I don’t notice anything in that department. The color is really nice and it looks pretty as it wears off. I use the color “Cider Donut“.