My Baking Wish List

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I’m known as the Mrs. Claus of the office-place because I show up every Monday morning without fail with a batch of fresh-baked cookies for everyone. And they all gone approximately twenty minutes after I put them out. (Who says millennials don’t like sugar?!)

Baking was always an aspirational hobby for me. I thought it sounded fun and all but never actually ever did it beyond making pumpkin bread using the Trader Joe’s mix that comes out every Autumn. SO MUCH PUMPKIN BREAD. But recently I’ve really started diving into baking and I love it. It’s very relaxing, and there’s so much to learn. But you guys, there’s so many tools you need to bake! All I really want to do is make a three-layer cake with a rotating cake tray, is that really too much to ask?

Which is what leads us to this wish list. These are the things I would buy if I was going to invest in some baking tools. But there’s this thing called rent and I promptly remove everything from my cart on Amazon. But let’s talk about a few of these things..

Up first: cookbooks. Tanya Bakes & Sally’s Baking Addiction. Tanya is my favorite vlogger and Sally is my favorite food blogger (her cookies always get high praise at work).

Next up: the tools. A hand mixer because sometimes a recipe really doesn’t require a stand mixer (and they are a ton of effort to get out & clean, etc.) I want this light blue one to match my stand-up one (obviously). And then a rolling pin because literally I don’t know how I don’t own a rolling pin (??). This one from Anthro is a beaut. And then of course a scale because it’s actually much more accurate to weigh your dry ingredients than to use cup measures. Who knew? (I didn’t. I just learned this recently.)

And then to round out the mix, bowls for ingredient prep, a rotating cake tray (as stated above), a frosting spatula, a vat of sprinkles, and A COOKBOOK STAND.

Tanya Bakes | Rainbow Sprinkles Bulk | Kitchen Scale | KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand MixerRotating Cake Stand | Frosting Spatula | GIbson Latte Bowls | Hand-Painted Lucerne Rolling Pin | Sally’s Baking Addiction | Cookbook Stand

My Favorite Drugstore Foundation

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I am fully aware that I look naked in the above picture, but I can promise you that I am not (!!!!). It’s just five thousand degrees in my apartment so I am wearing a tank top. Anyways, today I’d like to share my favorite, favorite, favorite drugstore foundation, Maybelline’s Dream Pure BB Cream.

Okay so technically… it’s a BB Cream. But I use it as a foundation. It’s my favorite because it’s literally so easy to apply. I just smudge it all over my face and it blends like a dream. The coverage is medium (and completely weightless – you can’t feel it at ALL). I use the shade Medium. It’s suuper grey-toned, which I find to be perfect for covering red spots & any zits. I also match with the shade Light, but I prefer Medium because it gives me more life and color in my face (without looking unnatural – did I mention it blends like a dream?). My only semi-problem with this foundation is that the staying power is not greeeat. If I apply it at the beginning of a work day, it definitely does not look as great come 5pm.

So how does it compare to Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB Cream? The Dream Fresh version is more of a tinted moisturizer formula, meaning that it’s a bit sticker to blend & has lower coverage. However, that being said, it is much glowier & has SPF in it, which is great. It’s what I use when I’m just running out for errands and don’t want to spend too much time on my skin but still want to plop something on.

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Drugstore foundations are really hit-or-miss. I’ve tried so many but this is the only one that I consistently re-purchase every time. What’s your favorite drugstore foundation or face product? Let me know!

Let’s Talk

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Can we talk? I feel like I haven’t just talked on here in so long and I just have SO MUCH TO SAY. I am currently at work an hour early sitting in the kitchen and sipping my coffee. I get here pretty early every day because I need some sort of time to de-compress and drink my coffee before work starts. Anyways, the thing with making my blog actually useful is that I don’t get to rant and chat and ramble about my life happenings. So that’s what we’re gonna do today :) HERE ARE SOME LIFE UPDATES:

  1. I cut my hair. I told the hairstylist that I wanted it collar-bone length and to make the back taper up a tad shorter than the front, and she took that to mean a full-fledged bob. So basically I look like Rachel from Season 7 of Friends. …and I kind of love it. Except for the fact that it requires me to actually style my hair instead of just rolling out of bed every morning. Because if I do not style it, I look like a human mop. Somebody send me Rachel’s hair & makeup team, asap thx.screen-shot-2014-12-29-at-1.11.3020PM
  2. I went to Santa Barbara this past weekend! I posted on Facebook asking if anybody wanted to go with me and NOBODY DID. So I went by myself. And it was glorious. Honestly, there’s just something about the beaches there that re-aligns your life and makes things make sense. I walked on Hendry’s Beach in the morning before all the crowds came and it was very relaxing and therapeutic.
  3. Today is team day at work. I am always very disappointed in team days nowadays because they always used to bring donuts to them. Seriously, last summer I had donuts like every other week. And now they are nowhere to be found and it makes me very sad. But we do get free lunch. So there’s that.
  4. Speaking of pastries, I made mini pies this weekend! I made two kinds (this recipe & this recipe), and they turned out great except that I burnt the first ones (TIP: the peach recipe calls for way too long of a bake time. I’d cut it to 15 minutes in the oven if you make them yourself). But I also realized that mini pies are one of those pastries that needs to be eaten the same day that they come out of the oven. Because I brought the extras to work yesterday and they were just cold & a bit soggy & sad. See picture above for real-life image of me with my mini pie in a meeting yesterday morning. Very important meeting essentials, obviously.
  5. I really want a dog. I know this is kind of like a constant pressing matter of my life but Hendry’s is a dog beach so I saw SO MANY DOGS and ugh I just want one. And you can just tune out my cries because there is no way I actually have time for a dog right now, sadly. *sigh*

And that’s the most pressing matters for today. I gotta go now because everyone keeps walking by and asking me why I am sitting in the kitchen by myself. So that’s cool. Hope you have a great Tuesday!

Winc Wine Review: Passarola

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My box of wine from Winc arrived, you guys! And now my wine shelf is looking a lot less lonely. I got four bottles, two white & two red. They look lovely next to my sparkly wine glasses that I got in a white elephant gift exchange last year.

The first wine I tried was a 2015 Passarola Vinho Branco from Portugal. Let’s talk about it. 

Disclaimer that I’m absolutely not a wine professional so take everything I say with a grain of salt. I just like wine and want to share it with all of you lovely humans!

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Each wine came with a handy guide with information about the wine on one side, and a recipe to pair with it on the other. This wine was paired with a coconut milk shrimp risotto (which I did not make, whoops.)

Depth: It’s definitely a richer white that has a deep body & finish (as opposed to a crisp finish).

Flavor: The flavor felt pretty light – the body of the wine kind of took over and buried the flavor beneath it. Definitely a very mild flavor if any.

Dryness: This is how I judge all white wines – IS IT DRY? HOW DRY IS IT? ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 12, HOW DRY DO YOU THINK IT IS? I’d say that this is a medium dry wine – it’s not so dry that you can actually notice it. It has a smooth depth that’s not too sweet and not too bitter.

Allover, I’d give this wine a 6/10. Definitely not my favorite I’ve had, but still pretty good. I think it was my first Vinho Branco (and my first from Portugal). It’s the kind of wine you bring to a dinner party and everyone will love you but not the wine that you treasure forever & keep re-buying. Honestly, I used to hate white wines. I still prefer red, but now realize that not all whites are super sweet to the point of being mistaken for birthday cake. You live, you drink wine, you learn.

Have you tried this wine before? What did you think?

MY FIRST MARINADE.

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I made my first marinade yesterday and it was glorious. Lemme tell you about marinades. I was always so scared of them (I was scared of a lot of things, apparently…). But I was really craving shrimp this week so I wanted to make a really good shrimp dish. This may or may not have been inspired by the shrimp recipe in Chrissy Teigan’s cookbook (MY FAVE), but that one required too many ingredients I did not have, so I went with this recipe. So. Simple.

Oh, I just remembered that I sliced my finger while mincing garlic for this. Whoops. (Nobody freak out it wasn’t that deep..) But be careful with sharp knives, friends.

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The marinade is just three ingredients: Honey, Soy Sauce, and Garlic. Make it in the morning & pop it in the fridge for the day.

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After work, I just popped the shrimp into a cast-iron skillet. One minute each side, and add the extra marinade to the pan when you flip them.

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AND THAT’S IT. Seriously so easy. I served it with some brown rice and topped it with a bit of extra soy sauce, but these shrimp would also go great in a stir fry or with steamed vegetables.

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What did you have for dinner last night? Lemme know :)

Subscription Boxes For Grown-Ups

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You know that moment when you need more paper towels and there’s a split second when you actually consider just ordering them on Amazon instead of walking to the store? No? Just me? Sometimes being a grown up with actual responsibilities is tough. And I’m not trying to be ungrateful, I’m just saying that sometimes you have a long day at work and all you want to do is fall into bed and watch How I Met Your Mother because their life problems kind of mimic your life problems and it’s comforting to know that you’re not alone. Okay I’ll stop talking about HIMYM now.  What I am talking about is that fact that I just signed up for a wine subscription and I’m so excited I may pass out at any moment. And today I’m sharing the subscription boxes that you might just have to consider getting..

  1. Club W: Say hello to the wine subscription box of your dreams. I just signed up for it (as I said) and they are sending me 4 bottles of wine for $30 (such. a. deal.) and literally I keep checking my inbox to see if it’s shipped yet because I’m so freaking excited. Their website has videos about each of their wines & you get to hand-pick whichever ones you want. From what I can tell, a lot of their wines are from California but they also have varietals from Portugal, Chile, and other areas of the world.
  2. Unlimited by Rent The Runway: This is basically a subscription for your closet. You pick three items a month from dresses, tops, bottoms, accessories, etc. for $140 per month, and you exchange your items on a monthly basis (or you can keep certain pieces for longer!) They have a huuge selection of designer items. I found out about this from a girl at work who is absolutely obsessed with it.
  3. Play! by Sephora: Anyone who loves makeup knows that Sephora is the mecca of makeup. You can’t go in there without wanting to buy everything in the store. And that is exactly why I don’t even allow myself to visit anymore because there’s this other thing called rent that I have to pay for. But for $10 per month, Sephora will send you a selection of items from their shelves and if that’s not the best thing you’ve ever heard, then I don’t know what is. (Kidding, there are other better thing such as hazelnut lattes & the smell of fir trees & fluffy dogs.)
  4. The Book Drop: This subscription sends you a different book every month! The amount of books getting published at any one time is completely and totally overwhelming, and I find it difficult to filter through the mass of the publishing world so a service that picks for you sounds pretttty good. There’s a ton of Young Adult (YA) book subscription services, so if you love YA then definitely check out OwlCrate or Uppercase.

And that’s not even really scratching the surface on the selection of subscription boxes out there. There are subscription boxes for DOGS for crying out loud. Now I just need ban.do to have a stationary subscription box and I will be set for all of life’s necessities. Any boxes you subscribe to? Lemme know!

My Top Baking Tips

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Hi, nice to meet you! My name is Sally and I’m that girl that brings a full batch of cookies into the office on Monday mornings because A) Cookies make everything better (ESPECIALLY FUNFETTI SUGAR COOKIES LIKE I BROUGHT THIS MORNING) & B) I just really love to bake but don’t want to eat it all. My co-workers are excellent test subjects for my baking experiments. I’ve learned that there’s a huge difference between following a recipe & actually understanding what steps are going into the recipe. That’s when the switch flips, when you start to think about the process instead of just following the words on the page. Today I’d like to share some basic tips I’ve picked up that I hope will help you in your baking endeavors.

  1. Measure everything beforehand. You guys. I recently started doing this and it makes life SOOOO much easier. So much easier. Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone through a recipe only to realize that you’re missing an ingredient or that your butter needs to be melted? Ah yes, I see all of your hands are raised. Also, just for plain convenience, it’s soo much easier to have everything ready before you start.
  2. Use room temperature butter & eggs for cookies and cakes. Set your butter & eggs out for an hour or so before you start baking so they can thaw. Room temperature butter & eggs cream into your dough much smoother than when you just take them out of the fridge, and it will make your cookies or cakes that much more chewy & unison in texture. Raise your hand if you’ve ever softened butter in the microwave? Ah yes, all of your hands are raised (including mine). Microwaved butter will make your baking more oily instead of fluffy.
  3. Refrigerate your cookie dough before putting it in the oven. This is something that I learned very recently, and it’s a miracle-worker. Chilling.. A) helps dryer/flakier dough stick together during the baking process B) helps the dough spread less during baking, and C) brings out the flavor of your cookies.
  4. There’s a difference between a Wet Measuring Cup & Dry Measuring Cups. This seems super simple, but I didn’t know for so long that there was a difference! I thought they were just different ways of measuring the same thing. A wet measuring cup allows for a more precise measurement of liquids, which would otherwise spill over with regular measuring cups.

Short & sweet! I wish I had more tips, but I’m really just getting started learning how to bake. Any tips you’ve picked up along the way? Lemme know!

We Were In Screaming Color

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The rest of the world was black and white, but we were in screaming color.

I fell madly, deeply, dumb-in-love last year with a boy with blue eyes. We had puppy love. We were that annoying couple that everyone hated who never sat on opposite sides of the table from each other at restaurants and who would literally sit in each other’s laps at parties. Consider this my formal apology but also I’m not sorry at all.

We were each other’s first loves. We grew a bond so deep that it honestly brings me to tears every time I think about it. (Seriously I’ve cried at least five times this week over it.) He taught me things and showed me things and challenged me and helped me grow all while holding my hand and blanketing me in the kind of love that puts romance movies to shame. Ugh I’m crying again.

Breakups suck. Lemme just say that. It was not pretty. It was not fun. I felt like I would never surface for air ever again. It was ripping off the band-aid when the medication for my wounds was him and he was gone. I had to learn how to exist without him. But breaking up was the best thing we ever did for each other. I know that’s dramatic, but in the weirdest way it saved our relationship.

I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty details because that would take f-o-r-e-v-e-r and we’d be here all day, but I am going to share what I’ve learned. Holy hell I’ve learned a lot. Let’s talk about relationships. They’re hard. They’re really freaking hard.

  1. You have to put the relationship first. If you want any chance at happiness, you have to put the relationship first. You have to put the other person at the top of your list of priorities. I put my job at the top of my list for a long time because I thought I didn’t have any other choice. You always have choices. Always.
  2. The little things are the big things. Don’t let love cloud your judgment. I pushed a lot of things aside as unimportant because I loved him so much it that I thought that was the only thing that mattered. Spoiler alert: it’s not.
  3. Tackle conflict immediately & directly. It feels so weird to actually type those words because for so, so, so long I ran from it. I ran from conflict. I hid it in the corner next to the wine cabinet & decorated around it. And that’s a big part of what broke us. Don’t be scared of conflict. It’s not the enemy, but how you handle it can be.
  4. You have to stand in their shoes. Everyone always says that you have to acknowledge the other person’s feelings in an argument, but that’s just the surface level of it. You have to understand the other person’s feelings.  If you don’t understand where they’re coming from, you’re always going to think that you’re right and you’re going to tear each other apart.
  5. You have to prioritize the relationship. This is similar to putting the relationship first, but a bit different. When you’re in a relationship, that relationship has to be prioritized above any and every other relationship in your life. That sounds crazy, but it’s true. If there’s someone in your life that does not treat your significant other with respect, you have to let them go. You have to fight for the other person 100%. They deserve that. And you deserve that.

And that’s just scratching the surface on everything. Is there anything you’ve learned from relationships, broken or enduring? I’d love to hear :)

Sparkly Shoes

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It is Friday morning & I am sitting here in my favorite coffee shop in Pasadena (it’s called Lavender & Honey and they actually just started serving matcha lattes sourced from my best friend’s matcha company!) and I am sitting here cross-legged in my favorite corner spot. I write better in coffee shops. I function better in coffee shops. I think better in coffee shops. I don’t know what it is, but they make all my problems seem not so big.

I am sitting here in sparkly shoes (obviously), and my favorite plaid shirt that is probably way too hot of a wardrobe choice for today because it’s like 90 degrees out (not really but it feels like it because of this plaid shirt choice.)

I am currently in the process of moving and I just packed my first box this morning. And I realized that I’m really not going to have that many boxes. Which is weird and also great. In other news, I finally finished all ten seasons of Friends and have now moved on to How I Met Your Mother and I LOVE IT. I’m only a few episodes in and I may love it more than Friends already. And one of the nearest and dearest humans I know loves How I Met Your Mother and I can already pick out mannerisms that he does that he picked up from the show (but probably doesn’t know they’re from the show.)

In other news, my work had a company party yesterday (okay well technically it was a team-building and training day with a happy hour afterwards) and they had CUPCAKES AND TACOS AND CHAMPAGNE AND REALLY GOOD RED WINE AT HAPPY HOUR. Please note that I did not say that the champagne was that good because it was not. #kbye. But the tacos were some of the best I’ve ever had. Which I know is really important information to you all.  Obviously. Also the cupcakes were from Susie Cakes, which I had never had before but I highly suggest.

Anyways, I just wanted to say hello. I have included above a picture of Lavender & Honey that I just creepily took just now. What are you up to today? Lemme know!

Rain & Coffee Shops

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It’s currently raining in Pasadena (okay fine it’s misting, but it feeeeeels like rain), and I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop in my favorite corner spot. It is not the picture above, but I wish it was. I have my tea (with a splash of milk) that I brought from home & I just wanted to pop in and say hello here. It feels like a very cozy morning. Someone is wearing a pea coat and it is making me very jealous. I wish I brought my pea coat. I pushed that away into the back of my closet like six months ago (there’s no such thing as cold in Los Angeles). I’m going through a lot of thinking about things right now. People, places, ideas, and basically everything else. And I think coffee shops in the rain are the best place for that. They’re very centering.

Anyways, I hope you all are having a good day. Sending love your way this morning <3