Sunday, November 06, 2016

I've always loved the look of calligraphy. I remember when I got engaged, I started perusing Pinterest for inspiration, and I always loved the effortless and beautiful look of modern calligraphy. Then I found out the price of invitations with this style and let's just say, I shifted my focus to a different style! But the love of this style never left me, and in recent months I've found myself looking at Instagram photos and videos of hand-lettering. 

Hand lettering is a modern version of calligraphy, not requiring you to use a traditional calligraphy or fountain pen. I started following many artists on Instagram, and felt inspired to learn the craft myself. 

I recently took a Modern Brush Calligraphy class at the Rochester Brainery, and I cannot say enough good things about it. It was a two hour class, and practically flew by. It was so nice to learn the art from someone in person, and get personalized tips catered to what I wanted to create. 

I have never considered myself to be a creative person - like a hands-on, creative person, but I am so proud of what I have managed to create. Christmas is just around the corner, and I've found that all of my pieces revolve around the most wonderful time of the year. All of the items pictured above are available in my Etsy Shop -- click here to take a look at the listings!



Sunday, July 17, 2016

We were recently in San Diego, and it just so happens there was a MAC store a block away from our hotel. Fate, I tell you. So, I told my husband to find something to do for about 20 minutes while I browsed. 

I feel like I've been hearing about MAC for so long, it's surprising I didn't own any makeup products yet. I went to my local MAC counter a few months back and picked up Mac Fix Plus (you can see my blog post about it here. Spoiler: it's amazing) but I hadn't grabbed any makeup products until now.

The store had a sale going on - buy one lip product, get the second free. I picked up two lipsticks: Brave, a satin finish with a pinky-beige hue, and Patisserie, a lustre finish in a natural pink. Brave is great paired with a neutral eye, while Patisserie can be worn every day, or paired with a more dramatic eye look. I would have to say Patisserie is my favorite of the two, simply because it's a more wearable everyday color for me.

I also picked up an eyeshadow duo - at MAC they have different size compacts that you can fill with whatever shades you'd like. I went for a few that seem to be staples in the beauty world - All That Glitters and Cork. All That Glitters is a pinky-beige shimmer shade that looks great all over the lid, while Cork is a golden brown matte shade that works perfectly in the crease. Paired together, these are the only two eyeshadows I need to create a natural eye look.

Now that I've seen what all of the fuss is about, I get it. The lipsticks apply beautifully, and while the ones I purchased are not particularly long-wearing, they do wear off evenly throughout the day. The eyeshadows are blendable, and when applied over an eyeshadow primer they last from morning to night.

Left to Right: Brave, Patisserie, All That Glitters, Cork



Sunday, July 10, 2016

I hope you're enjoying these cooking posts on the blog lately...I know this is the second one in a row, and I'm sure I'll get back to the beauty stuff soon, but this is the type of content I've felt like posting lately.

I was on the mission for the longest time to find the perfect banana bread recipe. My friend brought these to a potluck once and I instantly knew they were the best banana muffins I had ever had. I haven't tried to make them into a loaf of banana bread, because the mini-muffin version is just so good that I don't want to mess with it. I hope you enjoy this step-by-step recipe!

Get yourself some over-ripe 'nanners...

Mash 'em up with a fork.

Add some melted buttah.

along with some sugar and an egg...

and mix until smooth.

add some baking powder

and baking soda

and salt.

Add a splash of vanilla...because it feels right.

Mix just until combined - it's ok if there are lumps!

Get out your baking pan of choice - you can use a loaf pan, or any size muffin pan, but my favorite is this mini-muffin tin.

Hey look! It's Pam! No, not your friend Pam, don't get too excited. 
Grease the baking pan with whatever you choose - could be vegetable oil, melted butter, but I chose Pam today. Because she looked lonely.

Now is my moment to remind you that while these photos look pretty, the process of baking is not. And that's ok!

Get out your tool of choice to divide the batter among the muffin tins - I like to use this handy mini-ice cream scoop.

Put them in the oven to bake...

Look at that. It's like magic.

Aren't they beautiful?


The original recipe can be found here.



Sunday, July 03, 2016

Pasta with red sauce is one of my favorite meals ever. I could eat it every single day, no problem at all. This is a recipe that my brother Rick shared with me years ago, and I've adapted it to make the most incredible and flavorful pork bolognese. 

Small dice some onion and add it to a pan with olive oil over medium heat.

Mince up some gah-lic.

Using a mortar and pestle, crush up some whole fennel. You could also use a coffee grinder.

While you're at it, add some oregano. Let those flavors loose!

To the pan of onions, add some ground pork, the garlic, the herbs, and salt & pepper.

If you're like me, you can't stand chasing ground meat around the pan to crumble it up. This is where aggression and force comes in with a potato masher!

Ah, San Marzano tomatoes. You are so beautiful...and delicious. Open these babies up and squish (this is a technical term) the whole tomatoes by hand.

Add the tomatoes to the pork mixture and simmah simmah for however long you've got. In this case, a half hour.

Grab some fresh basil from your garden. Oh, you don't have fresh basil in your garden? You should really get on that.

Chiffonade the basil (stack the leaves, roll them up, and slice), and add it to the sauce.

Now add some sugar. It will add a nice sweetness and balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. Trust me.

Now plate this up with the pasta of your choice. Something with ridges, like penne or rigatoni would be great with this - but I was feeling like spaghetti.

And here is a picture of the wedge salad we had with our bolognese. Because my husband told me to take a picture of the wedge salad.



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 tbsp whole fennel
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 2 28 oz cans whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 10-15 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sugar to taste

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add diced onions, sauté until soft and translucent. Grind whole fennel using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Add fennel, oregano, garlic, salt & pepper to the pan; cook over medium-high heat until pork is cooked through. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you add. Cook the sauce for at least 20 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Chiffonade the fresh basil and add it to the sauce. A few minutes before serving, add a dash of sugar. Serve over the pasta of your choice with parmesan cheese.



Sunday, May 08, 2016

The number one complaint that I have about my eyelashes is that they do not hold a curl. I curl my eyelashes, they look AMAZING, then I start to apply mascara and they fall. After I apply eyeliner on my upper lash line, you can't even see my eyelashes - they might as well not even be there!

The only thing that has helped over the years is using waterproof mascara. I have some drugstore favorites, but I've always found waterproof formulas to dry really hard, and make my lashes feel and look spiky. And all they seemed to do was allow my lashes to hold a curl; they didn't really provide any additional volume - which is what we all want, right?

I tried Benefit's Rollerlash Mascara and absolutely loved the formula. It makes your lashes look full, and feels soft after it dries, but it didn't hold a curl for my lashes. I had all but given up on finding a mascara that would work for me.

I've heard great things about the original, non-waterproof formula of Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, but I figured it was a waste of time for me to use it because of all the reasons I just talked about. But then, they came out with a waterproof formula. I rushed to Sephora to pick it up.

Let's talk about the packaging - isn't it beautiful? The water droplets on the outside of the bottle? So damn cute. This mascara has some weight to it, and I like that in a high-end mascara - I want to feel like there is some substance to what I bought!

I have found my holy grail, all time favorite mascara. It makes my lashes look full, dries with a soft finish, and most importantly holds a curl! I will warn you, the wand on this mascara is huge, which can make application messy (I got mascara on my eyelids the first few times I used it) but once I got used to the wand that didn't happen as much. Since this is a waterproof formula, you'll want the proper makeup remover to take it off easily. An oil-based makeup remover should do the trick.

What is your favorite mascara?