tidbits from san francisco

What a whirlwind of a trip my Mom and I had on Tuesday! I felt like the entire trip was one comedic event after the next. It started with waking up at 4:30 am…

We were not very happy campers.

But we made it to the airport on time and got pumped up about spending the day shopping and eating yummy food and having some much-needed girl time!

We even got over the fact that the Starbucks barista at the airport yelled at my mom and dumped a bunch of coffee grinds in her coffee.

We made it up to San Francisco and to our point of interest: the Indian visa office. My family may or may not be going to India at some point in the next six months, so it was us girls’ job to secure our visas! And who would’ve guessed it was SO much work! I had no idea that India was so picky when it came to giving out tourist visas.

After dropping off our papers, we headed over to Tartine, one of the best bakeries in San Fran! We could tell the second we walked in. There was not a table to be found in the 100 degree, packed restaurant!

Just look at the dessert case.

I wanted to try this cake/meringue/unidentifiable treat so badly! But opted for a double chocolate cookie with walnuts instead.

We poked around the Mission District, Fillmore Street, and ultimately ended up at Union Square (we made it back 5 minutes before the taxi strike began!) and spent the rest of the day shopping. This fox was one of our finds on Fillmore Street. We weren’t quite sure why, but something about a little fox wearing plaid pants like this was too cute to pass up.

I just had to take pictures of these flowers outside Tartine. They were too pretty!

And this pooch parking spot…too cute!

I can’t forget to mention the two-story Williams-Sonoma.

Here’s a picture of me at Anthropologie. My feet hurt! Yes, I’m a wimp…

We shopped until we literally dropped into the plush couches in the Bloomingdale’s women’s lounge where we promptly fell asleep. If you are ever in San Francisco and need a quiet, comfy hangout spot, check the women’s lounge! My mom and I clearly don’t do too well on four hours of sleep.

We got our visas and made it back home late that night. I slept like a rock!

Thank you so, so much for all of your sweet suggestions!!! I wish we could have done all of them – maybe I’ll have to do a longer trip in the future! ūüôā

mba lesson of the week #10

dorkiness…and a trip to san francisco

I hope you had a happy Father’s Day weekend! We had a perfect day with family, VGs donuts, and Phil’s Barbecue.

Here’s my brother and me on the boat.

Realizing that I’m a major dork, I tried to make up for it with the cool kid “pout.” This is the hip/trendy/cool thing to do when you take pictures. Not that I’d know, as it’s clearly just a little bit awkward on this girl. So glamorous, right? Not at all dorky.

Tomorrow my lovely mom and I are taking a day trip up north to San Francisco! We have a little bit of business to take care of, but the rest of the day should be breakfast at Mama’s, lots of antique shopping, and lots of pictures. I’m most excited for the two-story Williams Sonoma in Union Square. I start hyperventilating just thinking about it!

Any suggestions for our ten hours in San Francisco?

Image taken from Pinterest.

beaded gift tags

Happy Friday! I don’t know about you girls, but I am so looking forward to slightly warmer weather now that it’s (almost) officially summer! I’m so excited to get rid of my sports bra tanline. Don’t worry, it’s not from exercise! I have a much better excuse – it’s from the day I spent painting my hopeless romantic sign!

I saw this idea for beaded Christmas ornaments years ago in Martha Stewart’s magazine and have been making them as gift tags ever since. They’re cute as Christmas ornaments, but so special as gift tags to be tied on top of a brightly wrapped birthday present! I hang all of my extra letters on my bulletin board.

To make them, all you need to do is bead tiny glass beads on some pliable wire, and bend the wire into the letter or word you want! Make sure to seal the ends off well with pliers. I hope you like them!

It’s much harder to make words than you’d expect! This was my third try – the trick is finding words without ‘a’ or ‘i’ – I couldn’t figure out how to bend the wire into those letters!

I just love these colored beads. So much fun!

These are for my Dad for Father’s Day…I know he’ll love such a manly gift ūüėČ

mba lesson of the week #9

words to live by

I just love this list of words to live by. I found it a few months ago and have been meaning to dress it up in a pretty document to hang on my bulletin board and look at each day. I added a few of my own too!

Adapted from Elements of Style.

chocolate dipped marshmallows

My cousin, aka the cutest baby in the world, is turning one this week! And she is one lucky girl to have the cutest butterfly birthday bash in the world, organized and planned to perfection by her lovely mom, my amazing aunt!

As a treat for the party, I spent the entire day yesterday – 8 hours straight – standing in the kitchen, dipping dozens of marshmallows in dark chocolate, white chocolate, pink chocolate, butterfly sprinkles, and decorations galore! It definitely trumps the mounds of homework I have to do before my weekend class tonight.

I thought I’d share the pictures from the marshmallow dipping – they make such cute party favors and eye candy on the dessert table!

Aren’t these cute? Be warned though – individually wrapping each marshmallow stick is VERY time-consuming!

Lots of sprinkles and decorations.

More sprinkles.

Here’s my kitchen, pre-dipping.

Lots of marshmallows!

These are three jumbo marshmallows on lollypop sticks, dipped in dark chocolate with rainbow sprinkles!

Here is a close-up. So good!

I also dipped them in pink and white chocolate too! The white with rainbow sprinkles are my favorite.

Lots of pink!

Love these! The all white ones have little frosting flowers on top.

These are five miniature marshmallows on a lollypop stick. I like this marshmallow to chocolate ratio more than the jumbo marshmallows – it’s a little bit less overwhelming to eat in one sitting!

I love these miniature marshmallows!

Miniature marshmallows with chocolate sprinkles – yum!

mba lesson of the week #8

perfect chocolate cake

Just to ensure that my hourlong spin and pilates class at 6:30 yesterday morning was for nothing, I made a point to spend the day baking the most delicious, irresistible, perfect chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted.

What’s nice about this recipe is that it’s not too heavy – it’s the perfect chocolate cake for summertime. I’m a sucker for the dark chocolate ganache cakes…and while this is definitely a very chocolate-y cake, it’s not going to make you feel bloated like those rich cakes sometimes do! I hope you enjoy it!

Perfect Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa At Home and Hershey’s Frosting Recipe

Ingredients for Cake
Slice of butter to grease pans
1 3/4 cup of flour, plus more to flour pans
2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 cup of buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Ingredients for Frosting
2 sticks of butter, melted
1 1/3 cups of cocoa powder
6 cups of powdered sugar
2/3 cup of milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, and butter and flour the pans.

2. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in an electric mixer. Add buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well.

3. Pour batter into cake pans evenly and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool.

4. While cakes are baking, make the frosting by combining melted butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix well, until smooth.

5. Turn one cake pan onto a cake plate and let cool. Spread the top of the cake with frosting. Place the second layer on top of the frosting, and continue spreading frosting on both the top and the sides of the cake. Decorate with fresh flowers, but be sure to wash the flowers thoroughly before placing them on the cake! Enjoy!

chocolate marshmallow surprise cookies (+ a little country update)

One of my family’s favorite recipes are these chocolate marshmallow surprise cookies – and after dozens of begs and pleas to pleeeaaaasseeee make these cookies, I remembered why they’re my favorite cookie in the world too!

I made about 40 of these cookies on Friday. By Sunday, every last crumb was devoured. And that’s without my help in eating them! I was in class (my 3rd to last MBA class EVER) Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoon, hence the lack of blogging these past few days.

Summer school, you are so not conducive to my blogging schedule!

The best part of my weekend, aside from these cookies, was seeing Luke Bryan, The Band Perry, and Tim McGraw in concert! Though I have to say, Luke Bryan definitely stole the show!

Chocolate Marshmallow Surprise Cookies

Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

Ingredients for Cookies
1 stick of butter, at room temperature
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups of flour
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
20 large marshmallows (cut in half horizontally)

Ingredients for Frosting
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/3 cup of milk
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cream butter and granulated sugar in electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, vanilla extract, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined.

3. Drop small 1-inch drops of dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake until cookies are firm (though not entirely cooked) for about 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Remove baking sheets from oven and quickly press half of a marshmallow (cut-side down) in the center of each cookie.

5. Return cookie sheets to oven and bake for 2 minutes until marshmallows start to melt. Let cool.

6. To make the frosting, whisk together powdered sugar, butter, cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla until well-combined.

7. Once cool, add enough frosting to cover the entire marshmallow. Trust me, this is not something you want to skimp on! Enjoy!

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