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 😉



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!



i love my hopeless romantic: spread [your] love project

I love myself.

Three simple words, that unfortunately in today’s world are seldom heard. We are always trying to fix those little problems that we think are wrong with us rather than embracing what the universe has blessed us with. You should love yourself whether you are tall or short, or thick or thin…remember that you are beautiful.

To help spread this message and help every woman realize her true beauty, Victoria of Garden of Eden Designs and Lindsay of Scenic Glory have asked their fellow bloggers, designers, crafters, and writers to come together and share why they love themselves. And I am here to join in on their project. We as a community should show that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. It is our spirits that should shine through.

I love my hopeless romantic.

I was raised in a world of Cinderella stories, happily ever afters, and white picket fences. I’ve seen my parents’ love that has grown and grown through 22 years of marriage. I’ve watched with admiration as my grandparents – high school sweethearts – celebrate over 40 years of marriage. I was raised in a white house with a picket fence and lots of white roses, all of which has made me truly believe that I am Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice. And you know what? I love it.

And now, I ask you to join in on our project. We are declaring the week of June 1st through June 8th Spread [your] Love week, and we want to know why you love yourself. So take a photo of yourself with a sign and let us know why in a post. Help spread [your] love and promote positive body image for all our girls out there. And once your post is up, go link up with Victoria at Garden of Eden here. Your self-love post will remain there for the rest of the year to encourage others to love themselves as well.

Participating? Grab the badge below to encourage others to get involved and spread [their] love!



mba lesson of the week #7



grilled shrimp with mango salsa

After rock climbing yesterday with my two brothers, my arms are incapable of doing anything productive today…they feel like lead. So because I can barely use my arms today, I gave up on doing anything productive, instead looking through Oprah.com recipes outside in the sun.

I’ve been hoarding Oprah recipes for the past 5+ years in a folder on my computer, and when cleaning them out this weekend I came across the most amazing shrimp recipe! I’ve had this recipe saved since 2006 – so worth the extra space on my computer!

Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa

Adapted from Oprah.com

Ingredients
For the salsa:
2 large mangoes, peeled and chopped into salsa-size pieces
1/4 cup of red onion, minced
1/4 cup of cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon of ginger, minced
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper

For the shrimp:
1 1/2 pounds of large shrimp (I used pre-cooked tiger shrimp)
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
4 tablespoons of orange juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil

1. For the salsa, mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate until serving.

2. For the shrimp, place shrimp on a tray and cover with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Let marinate for about 10 minutes.

3. Place marinated shrimp in the saucepan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 2 more tablespoons of orange juice and soy sauce. Cook for about 8 minutes, flipping when necessary.

4. Serve with mango salsa! Enjoy!



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