Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Casual Weekend Look

Comfy casual outfit
Comfy casual Old Navy outfit

Last weekend I went on a Downtown Los Angeles art tour and needed something comfy to wear for the two-mile walk. The most important part of the outfit were the Dr. Scholl's Slip-On Sneakers. Legit the most comfortable shoes ever. Also comfy, the Old Navy Relaxed Shirred Blouse that is currently on repeat. It's relaxed and flowy, and added bonus, I get so many compliments on the print. Jeans are also Old Navy trusty Rockstars. I decided to accessorize with this clutch from Tobi. The Paulina Envelope Cross Body Clutch, as you can probably guess, is a chic clutch that comes with straps to transform the bag into a stylish purse. I have so many clutches I get tired of holding, so the straps are the perfect solution to that problem.

Paulina Envelope Cross Body Clutch
Paulina Envelope Cross Body Clutch
Casual daytime look

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Beanies From Day to Night

I had the hardest time finding a beanie I liked, then I found two! One was at online shop Tobi and the other, strangely enough, I found at Ulta. By chance, both have pom poms on them - my first pom beanies actually. One is a little more casual and perfect for the everyday look, while the other can be incorporated when dressing up. If only it stayed cool enough in Southern California to wear them more often!

White Pom Pom Beanie
White Pom Pom Beanie
White Pom Pom Beanie

Black Pom Pom Beanie
Black Pom Pom Beanie
Black Pom Pom Beanie

Do you wear beanies? If so, as more of a casual accessory or part of your attire for a night out?

Joining these linkups: Trendy Wednesday, Style Me Wednesday, What I Wore, The Blended Blog Style

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Youngfield, A Perfect Denver-Area Airbnb

Denver Airbnb

If you're like me, when traveling you may debate on what type of property to stay in - hotel or Airbnb. Hotels can be so expensive, but you have an idea what you're getting. However, if you find a good Airbnb, you're experience is much more cozy, and usually at a fraction of the price.

When I visited Denver in the fall, I reached out to a friend, Jason, who has a Denver-area Airbnb. The Youngfield in Denver West-Golden is perfectly located - just 10 miles from Downtown Denver, 10 from Red Rocks Amphitheater, 30 from Boulder, and under 70 from Estes Park (home to the Stanley Hotel and entrance to the Rocky Mountains), it's right in the middle of many things visitors will have on their itineraries.

The Youngfield, Denver West-Golden Airbnb
The Youngfield, Denver West-Golden Airbnb

In addition to being centrally located, the private suite is incredibly nice, reasonably priced, and has a five-star rating! Ratings are everything in my book. If someone has a sub-par experience, they don't hold back. So the fact that Jason has 163 reviews that have earned him five stars for all six Airbnb categories (including accuracy, communication, location, cleanliness, check in, and value) really shows what a gem his property is. And shows that my review isn't biased, since we're friends.

Upon arrival I quickly discovered why the coveted perfect rating is in place. Jason has taken every opportunity to provide comfort and a real sense of home to his visitors. From a bed that may literally be made of clouds (OK, it's actually an organic, latex queen), to a fridge stocked with fresh fruits, chocolate croissants, and a plethora of other options, and a bathroom with every supply you could imagine, there was not a thing that we wanted for during our stay. In fact, I have home envy! It was nicer that any apartment I've ever lived in, and with more amenities.

The Youngfield, Denver West-Golden Airbnb

Here are just a few of the many features of The Youngfield:
  • In-suite washer and dryer
  • Roku - Netflix, SlingTV, etc.
  • Free WiFi
  • Microwave
  • Keurig coffee maker with a variety of organic coffee K-cups
  • Pull out sofa bed (in addition to main bed)
  • Backyard hot tub
  • Whisper quiet fan with remote

While staying at The Youngfield, Jason is very friendly and happy to have conversations with you and provide area recommendations, but if you like to keep to yourself, no worries. The garden-level suite is attached to the main home, but there's a private entrance so you can come and go as you please.

Denver Airbnb
Denver Airbnb
Golden, CO Airbnb
Golden, CO Airbnb

If you travel to the Denver area, I highly recommend The Youngfield. The price is well under most hotel rooms and much nicer, and you're sure to love the suite and location. To be quite honest, I'm not sure of any other Airbnb will compare after this experience.

Visit The Youngfield Airbnb listing for more info and to book your stay!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Discover Daily Holidays with National Today

Let's Celebrate

In 2018, I've made it my mission to enjoy life to the fullest and celebrate every day. It doesn't have to be a big to do, but I think just taking the time to smile about something is important. Enter National Today, a site that provides a listing of viral holidays. National Today is the perfect place for teachers to find fun classroom ideas, companies to get team-building inspiration, and social media lovers to discover days to curate content around. Each day has a "How to Celebrate" section that'll help you take full advantage of the holiday.

Let's jump into the fun days found on National Today!

National Cheese Lover's Day (Jan 20) - I mean, a day dedicated to my favorite food group?!
Celebration of Life Day (Jan 22) - A day to be grateful and reflect on you and your loved ones' lives.
National Hot Chocolate Day (Jan 31) - Fun for kids and adults alike.

National Wear Red Day (Feb 3) - Raise awareness for heart disease, the #1 killer of women.
National Random Act of Kindness Day (Feb 17) - A reminder we should all be good to one another.
National Clam Chowder Day (Feb 25) - I'm adding this to my list purely for my love of clam chowder!

World Wildlife Day (March 3) - Wildlife conservation is extremely important. Let's spread the word.
National Day of Unplugging (March 8) - Disconnecting is vital. We can do it one day a year, right?
International Day of Happiness (March 20) - Make it a point to have fun, smile, and laugh.

National Walking Day (April 4) - Grab a friend, or a few, and get walking. Make it fun and start a habit.
National Burrito Day (April 5) - Good thing we walked yesterday. Today's reward is a burrito!
Arbor Day (April 28) - Arbor Day celebrates nature. Join in and plant a tree.

National Paranormal Day (May 3) - Given my affinity for ghost tours, I'll need to visit a haunted house.
National Teacher's Day (May 13) - Show the teachers in your life how much they're appreciated.
National Mimosa Day (May 16) - Make 'em bottomless, please!

National Donald Duck Day (June 9) - I just discovered my great aunt drew Donald Duck's hands for Disney!
World Oceans Day (June 16) - Help clean a beach. If you're not near one, spread the word about recycling.
International Sushi Day (June 18) - Since it's my favorite food I will definitely be at an all you can eat joint.

National Mac and Cheese Day (July 14) - If you have a cook off, I volunteer to be a judge!
National Cheesecake Day (July 30) - Best celebrated by eating cheesecake and watching Golden Girls.
National Mutt Day (July 31) - As a proud mutt mom, this day is near and dear to me.

International Beer Day (Aug 4) - Beer. Need I say more?
National Underwear Day (Aug 5) - Also my bday, I was bound (pun intended) to love this day's holiday.
National Beach Day (Aug 30) - Perfect excuse to take in a beach sunset. Newport Beach is my happy place.

International Day of Charity (Sept 5) - Whether you give big or small, money or time - it makes an impact.
National Guacamole Day (Sept 16) - You bring the guac, I'll cover the margaritas!
World Tourism Day (Sept 27) - I've got the itch to travel. What destination do you recommend?

National Homemade Cookies Day (Sept 1) - Chocolate chip, PB, snickerdoodle...I'm not picky.
Global Handwashing Day (Oct 15) - Washing hands can literally save lives. Plus not doing it is gross.
National Pit Bull Awareness Day (Oct 28) - I've helped foster over 15. Breaking stereotypes is SO important.

National Singles Day (Nov 11) - If couples get Valentine's Day, it's only right to celebrate singles too.
National Happy Hour Day (Nov 12) - If National Singles Day was a bust, you can count on happy hour.
World Television Day (Nov 21) - Before binging on Thanksgiving, binge on your favorite TV shows.

National Brownie Day (Dec 8) - Cream cheese swirl cupcakes are my jam. Have you had them?
Answer the Phone Life Buddy the Elf Day (Dec 18) - This is the weirdest holiday, but I also love it.
National Call a Friend Day (Dec 28) - Seems like the perfect way to close out the year!

See any holidays on my list you're excited about? Head over to National Today to see them all and start plotting a year full of unique celebrations.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Bake With Confidence Using Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk

Caramel Cheesecake Bites

When baking, one ingredient has been a constant in recipes since 1856 – Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk. My mom uses it, her mom used it, and so on. Now that I am learning to bake, I'm carrying on the tradition.

There are so many uses for condensed milk, from fudge to cookies and cupcakes, and even as a beverage sweetener. No matter how you choose to incorporate it into your recipe, you can rest assured that you are using a quality product that has been in kitchens for well over a century. Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk has that rich, decadent flavor that many know and love.

I decided that I wanted to make holiday treats but didn't know where to start, since my background in baking previously consisted cookies prepared with pre-made dough scooped out of a tub. Enter Eagle Brand’s The UnCookie Exchange site, featuring incredibly easy recipes. As you can guess, there are no cookie recipes, but you will find various bars, truffles, and much more. I decided to test out the Salty Caramel Cheesecake Bites and they came out really, really good.

Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk

These cheesecakes were pretty easy to make, which says a lot coming from me. At first the ingredients list was intimidating, but the items needed were all pretty basic and combining them was simple. The directions were broken down into three steps. Head over to The UnCookie Exchange for baking instructions, or find out how to make a batch of mini cheesecakes below.

2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup butter, melted
Coarse sea salt
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk, divided
1 1/4 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons pancake syrup
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Baking Instructions:
1. Heat oven to 300°F. Line 48 mini muffin cups with mini paper baking cups. Combine graham cracker crumbs and 1 tablespoon sugar in small bowl. Stir in melted butter until evenly moistened. Divide evenly into prepared baking cups using about 1 1/2 teaspoons for each. Press to form an even layer. Bake 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling.
2. Beat cream cheese, flour and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, sour cream and vanilla until smooth. Spoon over crusts until baking cups are almost full. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool in pans 15 minutes. Chill 1 hour or until cold.
3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in brown sugar, syrup and remaining sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Cook until mixture bubbles, about 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool 5 minutes. Spoon onto centers of cheesecake bites. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

*The one amendment I have to the recipe is the amount of caramel that it calls for. You can cut it in half and it'd be perfect. As is, too much caramel gets produced and they need to melt a little before eating. 

My mind is blown that I made something so delicious! In fact, I'm planning on making these again for a Super Bowl party.

Caramel Cheesecake Bites Recipe

I also discovered that Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk tastes delicious in hot chocolate as well. You can go by the hazelnut hot chocolate recipe, or do as I do, and simply add a few spoonfuls to your mug after you've heated up a pre-packed mix. It adds a nice creamy flavor.

Disclaimer: I was provided with product in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed here are accurate and my own, and not influenced by the company in any way.