Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Best of January + A Birthday

Guess who's turning 1 today? The blog! I can't believe it's been a year! I'm so happy with how much my little blog has grown. I've learned a lot in the past year and I'm excited for what's in store!

In other news, I've decided to start doing a little round-up at the end of each month highlighting my favorite posts. January was a big month for me! Here goes...

I started my blog planner this month and I absolutely love it. I feel so much more organized. This photo is from my very first post where I featured a photo an hour.

My Aunt Lynnea sent me another delicious cookie recipe! I featured her first recipe, chocolate brownie cookies, almost a year ago. Both recipes are excellent.

This simple pin cushion DIY was one of my favorites this month, and it's so useful! 

I did a little experimenting with my camera and got some really cool shots of my Christmas lights at the beginning of the month.

I discovered an extremely simple appetizer recipe just in time for the Super Bowl!

Valentine's Day made an appearance in January with this no-sew felt garland. It's never too early to start decorating! 

My Aunt Jen sent me her spicy bloody mary recipe and I shared it over on My Girl Thursday!


Last but definitely not least, I created my first e-book this month! It covers the basics of creating a simple sidebar ad.

So there you have it... my little January round-up. Bring on the month of love!

Monday, January 30, 2012

100,000 Pageview Giveaway Winner!


Drumroll please! The winner is...

HEATHER BELLE


Congratulations, Heather! I'll be contacting you shortly.

Flourless Dark Chocolate Cookies


I made these cookies yesterday and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. If you're as big of a chocoholic as I am, you'll definitely want to give these a try. Original recipe found here.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips and set aside to cool slightly.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add in 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Continue beating until the mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme.

Combine 1 cup of the powdered sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt.

On low speed, beat the dry ingredients into the meringue. Stir in lukewarm chocolate and the remaining chocolate chips. The dough will be very stiff.


Roll the dough into balls about the size of a tablespoon. Roll the balls in the remaining powdered sugar until thickly coated. Space about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake until the tops crack (about 10 minutes). Do not over bake! I made this mistake and burned the bottoms of my first batch. They should be soft and gooey inside (even gooier than the top photo). 

You're going to need a big glass of milk for these bad boys!

Psst... I'm picking the 100,000 pageview giveaway winner tonight at 8PM PST!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up


It's been a busy week! 

I shared my Aunt Jen's spicy bloody mary recipe (pictured above) over on My Girl Thursday yesterday! Be sure and check it out if you're as big of a fan of bloody marys as I am.

I have a little interview up over on Allison Lehman's blog, Show & Tell, as well as a giveaway... and it ends today!

Speaking of giveaways, I'm picking the winner of the 100,000 pageview giveaway (pictured below) on MONDAY! Click here to enter!


Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

DIY: No-Sew Felt Heart Garland


Let the Valentine's Day DIYs begin! I ran across these heart garland tutorials by Betz White and was inspired to make my own. I knew I wanted to use felt. I also knew I didn't feel like dragging out my sewing machine... and so, the no-sew felt heart garland was born!


What you'll need:

  • felt (I used wool felt)
  • hot glue
  • scissors
First, cut two strips of felt. The width will determine how large your hearts are (I cut my felt to be about 5 inches wide). The length will determine how many hearts you will make (the longer the strip of fabric, the more hearts you will be able to cut).

Using a thin strip of hot glue, glue the pieces together along the longest edge.

Now glue the two open edges together so that the felt forms a heart (not an oval).

Cut 1 inch strips to create the hearts.

Hot glue the hearts together and you're done!

As you can see, since my hearts are large, they stretch out when hung. If you don't want yours to stretch this much, I recommend cutting your original felt strips (the two pieces you cut before you start gluing) to be a little thinner.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Art by Emi (and a Giveaway!)

Today I'm pleased to introduce you to Emily Cobett, the mastermind behind Art By Emi. Emily and I have actually been friends since elementary school and even as a kid, she was a terrific artist. I'm so glad that she has continued to draw and paint because she really does incredible work.


As a native Southern Californian, I gain my inspiration from the wide array of local cities and beaches, and their cultures that flourish around me. Ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon, I've had a drive to create images with bright, bold colors, on everything I can get my hands on. I guess you could say I see the world through rose colored glasses; and turquoise.. and chartreuse... and BRIGHT yellow.. and magenta...and.... you get the idea.


My belief is that art can be everywhere, and should be accessible by anyone. I work with multiple mediums on an endless variety of surfaces, in an effort to bring art to those who crave the less mundane. Recent work has included: Surfboards, Bicycles, Musical Instruments, Motorcycle Helmets, Clothing and Accessories for adults/babies, and a lot more. I'm grateful for each unique request I receive, and it warms my heart to connect with others who embrace having art as a prominent part of their day to day life.


Learn more about Emily...



GIVEAWAY!

Emily is giving away this awesome Sea Biscuit print from her Etsy shop!

To enter, simply leave a comment below. One comment per reader please. 
Don't forget to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win!

I'll be choosing a winner on Friday, February 3rd!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED - THANK YOU FOR ENTERING!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bloomin' Onion Bread


The second I saw this recipe for Bloomin' Onion Bread, I knew I had to give it a try. Well, I did... and it's delicious! It's bread and butter and cheese, how could it not be?

Ingredients:
  • 1 loaf of sourdough bread, unsliced
  • 1 package (12-16 oz.) monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice your bread lengthwise and widthwise to create a grid without cutting through the bottom.


Slice the cheese and stuff the slices into the bread between the cuts.

Chop the onion.

Combine the onions and butter. Place the bread on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with the butter/onion mixture. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Cover the bread with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted (gently pull the bread apart to check the cheese inside too). That's it!

We had about 1/2 of the loaf leftover the next day so I reheated it and dipped the bread pieces in marinara. I highly recommend that too!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Photo an Hour

I stayed in this weekend because my sinuses have been acting up and I needed the rest. So... on Saturday I decided to try my hand at taking a photo an hour. Here goes...

9AM

10AM

11AM

12PM

1PM

2PM

3PM

4PM

5PM

The rest of the night pretty much consisted of sitting in front of the computer... nothing interesting to photograph there. I'm going to have to try this more often... especially on a day when I leave the house!