Saturday, March 23, 2013

braided crown

an update on life:

1. working full time is a semi-strange thing. i get home at five, and one might think that i would get everything i ever needed to done with all this free, non-homework-filled time... and yet, i don't.

i often come home and just rest, read, watch andrew study, watch downton abbey, and forget to do the dishes, or send an email i've been meaning to for weeks, or blog. after one of these seemingly unproductive nights, i often feel bad for "not doing anything," and then have to remind myself that i actually worked a very productive and busy eight hour day! it's okay to just rest.

it seems as though work and the rest of my life are just two separate worlds. it will take some getting used to, but i'm starting to adapt to the earlier schedule and the longer days.

2. i am currently serving as the relief society president in my ward. the relief society is an amazing women's organization (that just celebrated its 117th birthday) that is made up of all the women who are members of the LDS church. i get to serve on a smaller scale within my ward, so i look out for about 50 women who are in a similar stage of life as anj and i. it has been an amazing opportunity to learn and serve and get to know so many people.

3. it was almost spring. we had a week of beautiful sunny days getting up to 70 degrees, and now we are waking up to snow. oh, fickle utah! i so look forward to spring break 2013 - a little getaway to arizona this weekend!

in the midst of the sunnier days, i whipped out one of my favorite spring and summer hair styles, the braided crown. it's definitely one that has taken some practice to get right, but when i want to get all my hair up and out of my face, it's a nice mix up from my go-to messy bun.

it's a little bit boho and a little hippie, but it's a perfect spring look. i want to share a couple tips i've figured out along the way, so here's my advice for a beautiful braided crown.

1. As with most hair styles, day-old hair is always better. Texture is a good thing.

2. While a regular french braid looks equally pretty, an inside out braid is easier to hide bobby pins in for any stray hairs or bumps! 

3. On that note, have plenty of bobby pins handy to pin any lumps or bumps, one mistake isn't worth redoing the whole braid! 

4. One of my best tips has to be don't use a mirror! Looking in a mirror while you do this will totally throw you off. Trust me, trust your hands. It may take practice, but i always get a better result when i avoid the mirror until the end!

5. Start with a nice deep side part. 

6. When i am doing this style braid, i switch hands twice. (it's impossible to go all the way around your head with your hands in the same position! at least for me...) i always switch when i get past my ear, then once again when i get around the back to the other ear. I usually switch hands by putting each strand of the braid between separate fingers and moving the free hand to the other side. this also takes practice. 

7. I usually stop french braiding when i get to my second ear, (so hopefully i've used all my hair in the braid by then!) and just continue braiding normally to the end. I recommend using a clear elastic for the end of your braid, it will make it easier to hide! (which is done by tucking it behind the start of the braid and pinning.)

8. Last but not least, don't fear a few bumps. People will be impressed that you braided all the way around your head and won't even notice!

and there you have it, a braided crown!

 and then the next day you can have this!

happy spring!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

treats for days

i love to bake. it makes sense, considering my mom probably makes cookies about once a day.
(and they really are the best!) so i was destined to love baking, right?

the bad thing about loving baking - when there are only two people to eat the treats, you end up eating way too many.

oh well, when they are good, they are good. 

and speaking of good, have you had tres leches before?
it's this cake that's drenched in sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream, and it's one of andrew's favorite desserts.

i saw a recipe for this tasty treats on one of my favorite recipe sites, our best bites
and i knew it would be a good one. 

the link to the recipe to tres leche-fy the cake can be found here.

it calls for whipped cream on the top, but because i am not quite yet the expert baker that is my mom... something always has to go a little bit wrong.

for this recipe i happened to let the whip cream beat in that kitchen aid just a little too long, and i turned it into butter. kind of cool. honestly, they didn't even need anything on top, they are that good.
(i think the topping is mostly to hide all the holes you make to add the deliciousness)

for the cupcakes i used their recipe for half homemade cake here

best white cake i have EVER had. pretty sure i ate three cupcakes plain, straight out of the oven.
you can probably use any cupcake recipe you like, but this one is definitely worthwhile... 

anj likes his super-soaked (it really is better that way) so poke some holes, put the milk mixture into something you can easily control and pour, and drench 'em good. let it soak all in, then maybe even add some more holes and pour more tres leches juice in the holes again. you can even open the sides a little bit and pour some down there so it is good and soaked. 

foil cupcake liners are definitely a must and drips are inevitable. 

so if you are a lover of anything good. you should make these. right now. 

good luck!

p.s. have you heard of the app imadeface? it brings hours of enjoyment. 

these are some of our versions we made of ourselves. too fun.
so now you should go make those cupcakes and play with this app while they bake. enjoy!