Earring Obsession

We all know I love a good earring, and edgy earrings are having a major moment right now. I love it when trends line up with my personal taste, it means I have some shopping to do! From the geometric studs, to climbers, to tassels, to detailed backs that add another layer of interest, I am all about it!

As always, I’m looking for a statement piece that is hopefully work appropriate (frankly, I have a loose definition of “work appropriate” when it comes to earrings). I have been stalking a lot stores and I finally caved at South Moon Under the other day and bought a couple cool ones.

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I don’t usually love pearls, but I love the juxtaposition of this look. If you can’t tell, the pearl goes in front and the chains are hooked onto the back of the earring giving it a little more dimension. It’s like preppy in the front, punk in the back!

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These aren’t the exact ones I got, but they are the closest thing I could find on South Moon Under’s website. I got a pair with one “climber” and one stud, so it’s an asymmetric look. I’m obsessed!bananaearing

I also believe that I need these from Banana. I find them very simple but refreshing.

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How cool are these simple geometric earrings from Vince Camuto. Love!

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Triangles seem to be the answer right now. These look so cool, but simple, light, and comfortable at the same time. These are by gorjana.

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And, finally, the pull through or thread look is one of my favorites. It looks so cool, and makes everyone do a double take.

These are really just the tip of the ice berg of the cool earrings out there right now.

What styles are you liking right now?

Last Five

songs I downloaded from iTunes.

I really needed some new music to listen to so I went on a little bit of a shopping spree with these five songs. I don’t have much of story behind any of these, so no explanations this time. I just listened to the sample on iTunes and decided to get it. I’m not disappointed with any of my choices!

1. Somebody by Natalie La Rose (feat. Jeremih)

2. She Knows by Ne-Yo (feat. Juicy J)

3. Geronimo by Sheppard

4. Talking Body by Tove Lo

5. Wrapped Up by Olly Murs (feat. Travis McCoy)

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Hottest Ticket in Town

Late last year my Mom mentioned to me that the writer of In the Heights, one of my favorite Broadway shows, was working on a new Broadway show about the founding fathers. So basically my two favorite things in one. In the Heights is known for it’s hip hop score and down-to-earth portrait of immigrant culture in New York City.

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Lin Manuel-Miranda applied a similar treatment to the story of Alexander Hamilton in his new show Hamilton. He read a biography about Alexander Hamilton during his run of In the Heights, and loved Hamilton’s story so much that  he bought the rights to the book and began consulting with the author to write the musical.

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Hamilton is technically Off-Broadway right now, but to say it’s getting buzz would be an understatement. If you tell any Broadway fan that you’re going to see Hamilton, the first thing they’ll ask is how you got tickets. The good news is that it just solidified it’s opening on Broadway on July 13th.

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So the question is: did it live up to the hype? Of course! The contemporary interpretation meant a multi-cultural cast, a script written in modern American English, and a combination of hip-hop and more traditional Broadway music. Manuel-Miranda turned stuffy, historical caricatures from American history into accessible people with the daunting task of founding a nation.

Not only did I love the music, dance numbers, and hilarious characters; I felt like they were sneaking vegetables in my mac and cheese. I learned a lot about American Revolution history. I am a colonial era fan, and I love seeing more focused vignettes of the period because it gives so much more context to some of the larger events. Alexander Hamilton is big name because he’s on currency, but I doubt you know a lot about him. Go see this ASAP, and then you will!

PS- I cannot wait for the soundtrack to come out!!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies head to head

A couple weeks ago my best friend asked me if I had a recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I thought about it for a few minutes and realized that I haven’t made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in long time, so I had nothing to recommend.

As luck would have it, I browsed through the cookie recipes that I’ve pinned on Pinterest and I had several oatmeal cookie recipes on my “to-do” recipe board. I decided to give this one a try because it looked unbelievably simple. And then two weeks later I needed another cookie recipe so I tried this one.

The first ones were a little on the crumbly side, but they have really good flavor. I would definitely recommend giving these a try! I felt the need to add pecans to this recipe, but you can certainly keep it to just chocolate chips!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Adapted from Half Baked Harvest, yields 2-3 dozen cookies depending on size

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c old fashioned oats
  • 2 c AP flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (you might want to start with 1 cup and add if needed)
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans (a little more if desired)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Add all ingredients except chocolate chips and pecans in mixing bowl. Mix with an electric mixer until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans. Batter will be kind of loose and crumbly.

batter up3. Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to portion batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. As you portion out approximately 1.5 inch balls or mounds, the dough might not stick together very will, but it should all be resolved in the oven.

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4. Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies are just golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

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The second recipe was a little more involved because it added coconut. So they were more like an everything cookie between the oats, coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips. This batter was more moist than the previous recipe, and I think letting it rest overnight gave it really good flavor (note to self: start these the night before you want to bake them!). Both recipes got raves, but I think I’m leaning towards this one if I need to make oatmeal cookies again soon.

Chunky Lola Cookies

Adapted from Ink Lemonade, yields about 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 3/8 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 2/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2/3 c light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 9 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2/3rds of a bag)
  • 1 1/4 c pecan halves, toasted and chopped
  • 1 c sweetened shredded coconut

Method

1. Cream together butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.

2. In a separate bowl combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Mix with a wisk or wooden spoon.

3. Add wet mixture to dry and fold by hand with wisk or wooden spoon. Fold in coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips.

photogenic batter

4. Allow batter to chill in refrigerator overnight (or at least a few hours).

5. Preheat oven to 350. Portion cookie dough with a tablespoon or ice cream scoop. Flatten the dough balls into thick disks on the parchment lined cookie sheet to encourage the desired shape.

ready for the oven

6. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on wire rack.

(I’m sorry I forgot to take a pic of the final product)

Academy Awards: Best and Worst

First, I must say, everyone look exceedingly clean at the Academy Awards. I was especially proud of the boys because it seemed like everyone shaved and combed their hair. I think it’s clear from my “best” choices that I love a simple statement. I don’t think there were many bombs or huge statement successes this year, most women seemed to stay in their lane. A lot of middle of the road, pretty dresses. I could have easily added two or three more to my best list. As always, the photos were borrowed from People.com. My Best: Reese Reese Witherspoon. It’s so simple but so perfect. She really found the silhouette that works for her, and she’s sticking to her strengths. I can’t fault her for that. Cumberbatch Sophie Hunter (Cumberbatch). Take note, this is maternity glamour done correctly. I think Keira Knightly needs to pay attention. Usually maternity gowns are more voluminous, etherial, or floaty, but the new Mrs. Cumberbatch was spot on with this red number. I promise I didn’t just pick this because of her husband… Gwenyth Gwyneth Paltrow. I am usually not Ms. Paltrow’s biggest fan, but I am a sucker for a dress with an architectural statement flower. This choice definitely seems well within her comfort zone and reminds me of many of her previous choices, but I’m not bored. I think she found a good version of her look this time around. Sienna Sienna Miller. This has a very French sensibility to it and I think it works very well. It’s beyond chic and definitely on the classic and glamorous end of Ms. Miller’s fashion spectrum. A nice change from some of her bohemian moments. My Worst: Gayle Gayle King. I’m not quite sure why she was at the Academy Awards, but Ms. King knows better than this. This looks like a poorly tailored, cheap prom dress. It’s the wrong color and wrong silhouette for her. Chastain Jessica Chastain. Usually she is on my best list, but I think this one is a yawn. Everything seems to be a little bit off. The slit is awkward, the neckline is awkward, the fabric is weird. We can do better. Chrissy Chrissy Teigen. I feel like this is Ms. Teigen’s best impression of JLo. I think it was just redundant and too much at the same time. Stacy and Clinton from “What Not to Wear” always said that you need to pick one focal point, and she just picked all the focal points. She needs to watch some vintage TLC programming.

Last Five

Songs I downloaded on iTunes.

1. “Daft Punk” by Pentatonix. This was a Pandora find. It has come up a few times in the last few months and I finally decided I needed it all the time. It’s a mash up of several Daft Punk songs in a cappella form. I’m not even that much of a Daft Punk fan, but now I’m rethinking my ways.

2. “Work It” by Missy Elliot. This is pretty obvious. I saw the Superbowl half time show and had a major nostalgic moment.

3. “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner. Similar to the Missy moment I had, I recently realized I did not have this song in my library and felt the need to immediately remedy the situation. My life is much improved.

4. “Take Your Time” by Sam Hunt. This song caught my eye on the iTunes list of Top 50 songs which I monitor regularly. It’s a great low key country song that is a twist on the typical love song. I could do without the speaking parts, but other than that, I’m kind of obsessed.

5. “Truffle Butter” by Nicki Minaj featuring Drake and Lil Wayne. Nicki Minaj has been a little cooky ever since Iggy Azalea has stolen some of her female rapper spotlight (Isn’t that how Lil Kim reacted with Minaj came on the scene? It’s like deja vu all over again…). But I like this song, and it’s clear with the supporting characters, that she’s back to doing what she does best with her original crew.

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The Highly Overrated Valentine’s Day

With or without a beau, I always have a fantastic Valentine’s Day.  It’s just another excuse to make sure you have fun!  Last year, I was taken out for dinner and given a bouquet of roses.  The typical Valentine’s tradition was placed upon me for the first time and I can confidently say that it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.  Ladies, do yourself a favor and make sure you have a man who can come up with something a little more creative to captivate your attention.  I have a feeling that I’m going to have more fun this year with my 7 year-old friend, Fionna, who I am watching over the weekend.  I have made plans to take her to Lowe’s on Saturday morning for their kid’s workshop, give her a Jamberry manicure, bake cookies, dance around the house, craft a heart puzzle wreath, and to go to see Paddington.  Sometimes it’s freeing (and let’s not forget exhausting) to be a kid again.

Needless to say, I have the house all decorated for our Valentine’s festivities.  Hopefully they will inspire you to get into the spirit.

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I used mini cupcake liners to hold these candlesticks into place.

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I often use cake stands and swatches of fabric to decorate tabletops.

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I keep my Christmas tree up and decorate it with hearts.

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I’m constantly changing the decor on my Hoosier. I got the Hoosier Mama Book of Pie as a Christmas present and now display it on a cookbook holder.

Tonight, I am taking the Valentine’s theme to a party at the VIM thrift shop where I volunteer. We’re hosting a ladies’ night for heart awareness month. We’re having blood pressure checks and giving tips on keeping your heart healthy. We have to have snacks that are a little more health conscious than I would normally make. I whipped up some marshmallow treats made with Cheerios.  I also gave myself a heart friendly manicure with my new Jamberries!

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Cheerio Marshmallow Treats

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Jamberry Manicure

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Cupcakes for Fionna