Macaron Madness

After almost three years of coveting macarons, I finally found the gall to make them myself. I  just felt a little adventurous with all the morning free time I have now. I used the basic macaron recipe from The Frugalette and got started! I definitely took the time to look up the tips and tricks to macaron making. DSC00518

Separate the egg whites and make sure they are room temperature before the fun begins

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Mix the almond meal and powdered sugar together

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When eggs have reached room temp, beat the eggs until they are frothy

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Add the sugar and continue to beat until there are firm peaks

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Add the almond meal mixture in three parts, and make sure all the mix has been wetted

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Fill a pastry bag (or ziploc) with the batter

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After piping the batter into small discs, let it sit for 30 minutes or until there is a dry shell over the top. This prevents the macarons from spreading horizontally.  The vertical expansion is what gives the signature “feet” on macarons

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Wait until they completely cool down before removing them.

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Turn them over and match the sizes together with their “partner”

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Spoon or pipe the filling on–I used Trader Joe’s lemon curd.  Tart, but very yummy

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Sandwich your macaron, but careful not to spread it over the edge

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yummmmmm

Summer Cool Down

Anyone else feeling this brisk weather we are having right now? I can’t believe I am contemplating longer sleeves and a sweater at the end of July.  Sudden weather changes are not exactly fun when you are a grown up and you have to dress appropriately for work.
I am having an inspired week, as now my new job will require me to wear more office-appropriate clothing.  I am pretty sure I should have been wearing office clothes this whole time, and I have not. Oops.
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I have been loving slim pants that hit just above my ankle and some cute flats.  As for shirts, with the cooler weather, a half-sleeve or a three-quarter sleeve is more desirable, as short sleeves are way too little and long sleeves are way too much. Total Goldilocks moment. When I wear a boring button up, I definitely have to jazz it up with a large pearl necklace.

At-Home Mani

Hey, remember that spending freeze? That means not going out for manicures. But what is a girl to do when her nails are looking rough? Oh that’s right! Do it myself! I mean, I did amass a huge collection of nail polishes, top coats, scrubs, and other implements, right?

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Remove polish or freshen your nail. I like these wipes I had gotten from a PopSugar box a few months ago.  Meant for travel, but it is perfect for the lazy heart.

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A little Tweezerman set I had gotten in New York at a Duane Reed

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Get under the nail to get that crap out. Like I said… rough

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I use a hand scrub from Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa called the “60 Second manicure” it is an exfoliant that turns into a luxurious cream.

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Nice, clean, and pampered.

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Polishes for this week: Julep base and top coat, and an OPI neutral (Samoan Sand)

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Looks great, clean, and best of all, FREE

Make Up Monday 7/28

I am completely unashamed in my obsession with make up (exactly why I need a spending freeze, right?). For one last hurrah, I wanted to share a haul I had from Ulta a few weeks ago.  And to be honest, it’s really just a NYX haul since it was 40% off the whole line! I also got some brushes that I had been eying, so let’s dig in:

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1) Two Timer eyeliner: Kohl pencil liner on one end and felt tip liquid liner on the other. Because I love eyeliner to no end.

2) Wonder pencil: I love it so much I had to buy another one.  It is seriously one of the best concealers out there.

3) Cream Lipstick: I got it in Gala. Like its matte counterpart, the cream lipstick lives up to its name.

4) Dewy Finish make up setting spray: I love the matte spray, and have heard great things about the dewy finish look. Maybe I won’t look so flat?

5) Stay Matte but not Flat foundation: speaking of flat…..Emily Noel on youtube calls this the best liquid foundation at the drug store level, so I am excited to try it out.

6) Matte finish make up setting spray: again, stocking up on something I love.

7) HD Studio photogenic foundation: I am always intrigued by HD foundations and seeing if it lives up to its name.

8) Eyebrow shaper: I am in love with this chunky wax pencil.  Because it is clear, it gives a natural look when you do your brows.

9) Real Techniques Core Collection: Best of their brushes for face application. Includes a detailer, pointed foundation, buffer, and contour brush.

10) Real Techniques Starter Kit: A ton of eye shadow brushes to provide a complete detail.  While I love love love my eyeshadow brushes from ELF, I need something better.  YouTube land has been raving about these brushes so I really wanted to try them out.

Subscription Saturday: July

I will never tire of getting my PopSugar box every month. There is something about getting a surprise (even from yourself) full of things you didn’t even know you love yet.  The July box was no where near as good as the June box, but it was still pretty darn good.

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1) Michael Stars Beach Hat ($48, on sale for $34) Honestly, I am quite sick of getting Michael Stars items.  It seems to be the staple of the accessories in PopSugar boxes.  Not only is it overpriced for the item, it isn’t that unique or exciting. Also, the hat is too small for my big head

2) Acme Party Box Company Pastel Chevron Straws ($7) I can find similar items at Marshalls for $3. While these are adorable, I can definitely find them elsewhere.  In fact, I have like a billion pastel straws left over from my best friend’s bridal shower last year.  The quality may be better, but I have yet to test it out.

3) Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen and Cool Down Hydrating Lotion ($20) It’s sad that I got this box after all our vacations this year.  Sun Bum looks cute and smells great.  Maybe I can sneak in a tropical get away in the fall.

4) French Bull Ziggy Salad Servers ($12) These are definitely quirky and unique.  Kind of a random item, but I like them.  They look fun for a dinner party serving set.

5) TKO Jump Rope With Soft Grip Handles ($12) I can’t find these on the website, it may just be a PopSugar limited edition item.  I don’t know what PopSugar is trying to tell me, but I could use a little cardio.  PopSugar also has some fitness tips on their main website to use with the rope, so at least they aren’t leaving me hanging.

6) Dang Foods Toasted Coconut Chips ($3) These are yummy! They have a hint of coconut, but not an overwhelming fake flavor like other coconut items these days.  There are other flavors that you can buy, as listed on Amazon, but I have yet to see any of these in the stores.

7) Revlon Bold Lacquer Length & Volume Mascara ($8) I don’t usually like getting drugstore items in the PopSugar box, but this is considered a bonus.  Getting makeup in my box is very welcome considering my spending freeze, so this is more than welcome!

Value of the box: $110

I hope the boxes get better.  I still love getting the little surprise each month, but since each box is $40, it is a little bit much to get some mediocre items.

Daily Dose 7/25

Today is a good day. I can share more about it next week, but I am happy to have a day off and great news to share with you all soon.  While you gaze and wonder, here are my highlights from this past week:

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Prime rib dinner for everyone!

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Portion control, my butt, Disney

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A hilarious TBT my friend posted yesterday. Sums up my childhood pretty accurately

Fifty Shades of Grey trailer…oh my Judge away, I finished the second book and just started the third and I am ashamed to be obsessed.

Have a great weekend!

Spending Freeze

So the cat is out of the bag–I have a new job.  Bad news, this job pays substantially less than my current job and I need to cut back on my spending until I have everything under control and can make some adjustments with my loan payments.  That being said, I am putting myself on a spending freeze (during the middle of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, no less!). I know, it seems absolutely daunting at first, but I absolutely need it.

When I first got my job, I was so excited to be Miss Money Bags, and I spent, and spent, and spent, and bought useless things I do not even need, nor do I even know where they are.  It is so embarrassing.  So I have established a few rules for myself:

 

1) NO SHOPPING: really, I have so much stuff, I have no where to put it and it is scattered all over my bedroom floor.  If I am not going to die without it, there is a 100% chance I don’t need to buy it.  I don’t care if it’s on sale or if it’s a good price, I can buy it for probably cheaper or second hand once I get my finances under control. I also have a HUGE couponing stock pile, so I have no reason to buy toiletries, laundry detergent or make up.  I have no reason to buy anything because it seems like I have been preparing for this moment.

2) NO EATING OUT: I have plenty of food at home. I can go to the grocery store and buy food and cook it and it will probably be better and more satisfying than anything I could buy in a restaurant.  My sister is on board with this one since we are enablers for one another.  We decided we are only going to go out for planned meals once a month.

3) NO SNACKING: A snack here and there really adds up.  When I look at my credit card statement and I see a bunch of small charges to CVS for the occasional soda and bag of chips, I cringe.  I mean, it REALLY adds up.  This will also help with the old weight problem that I have with snacking at work throughout the day.

It sounds like a daunting task, but I really need to do it. I have also found some ways to help me out with my freeze:

1) Gift cards.  I have tons of gift cards.  More than gift cards, I have tons of credit card points that will give me $100 gift cards.  I can use these as gifts, or get the cards to buy wedding presents.  I can also use cards like Wal-mart and buy some groceries to reduce the spending I am allowed to do (I know, I am cringing too).

 

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2) Use everything I have.  Again to the stock pile.  I have more shampoo, soap, and lotion than I can count.  I have more make up than a tranny. If anything, I am now forced to use up everything before it goes bad, and then I get to re-discover some old favorites.

3) Cook healthy and eat at home. My parents hate that I work late and eat at work.  At least now I can eat something she makes for free (win-win, eh?)

4) Bring a water bottle to work.  I have so many water bottles, and a water filter, and tons of those Mio water enhancers, that I should be able to enjoy some flavored water for free.  I definitely need to use the resources I have instead of just buying something.

This freeze will go on for two months, so I am REALLY looking forward to the end of September (holy cow, where did all the time go??)

Thank You

Never underestimate the power of a Thank You note.  In light of recent interviews that I had, I decided to crank out some Thank You notes for the people who have interviewed me.  For some reason, I always end up with a large collection of Thank You notes–probably from buying a 12-pack and only using eight of them, then buying another set.  What can I say, I am a hoarder.

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I asked my business-world friends their opinions on Thank You notes, and learned that it was more acceptable these days to send a simple e-mail.  While I value the concept behind an email, they can get deleted by accident or filtered into spam.  With a mailed in note, I can be sure that it at least gets seen.  Besides, who gets mail these days that isn’t an ad or professional newsletter? I know my heart jumps a little bit when I get a hand-written thank you from a friend’s wedding.

I read once that a woman’s boss once told her she was selected for a job because, out of dozens of interviewees, she was the only one to have sent a hand-written Thank You note. When I am a professional one year out of school, I am desperate to stand out among candidates who are seasoned professionals.

So, when writing a note, I have a few rules:

1) Address them professionally: “Dear Dr. Smith” unless they have requested you to address them otherwise.  Being addressed as Dr. is key for egomaniacs such as myself.

2) Thank them for the time they took to interview you–they have real jobs to do, you know.

3) Add something personal from your conversation with them. “I enjoyed learning about you how you started your career”

4) Sustain interest: “I am so interested in learning more about the program you have developed”

5) Show commitment and close: “I look forward to working with you”

6) Professionally sign off: “Sincerely, Full name”–now, I have not used “sincerely” since the fourth grade.  Probably because I had no idea of its place.  I find this to be neutral and professional.  More casually, I would go with “Thanks, Kathy” but this is not the place for that.

PS I GOT THE JOB!!

Orlando Snaps

Remember when trips meant vacation and relaxation? Yeah, no. When you are an adult, most trips are business trips.  While you get to go to fun locations, you are basically all cooped up in a windowless room all day and you don’t get to enjoy the change in scenery. With that said, I just wanted to share my version of my Orlando trip with you all.

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We stayed at the Buena Vista Palace at Disney World, so I did get quite the fun view of Downtown Disney. It is REALLY pretty at night.

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This was our meeting space. Hungry women discussing things for 10 hours leads to many snacks and refreshments.

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On our last night, we had dinner at Downtown Disney and a little bit of souvenir shopping.  Found this hilarious shirt for my boyfriend.  When I sent him a picture of it, he begged me to get it so he could wear it to Fantasy Football Draft Day with his friends.

Fear not, I have to go to Orlando next year (for the same reason) and hopefully I will get a smidge more free time to enjoy the children-infested streets of Orlando.

Make Up Monday: 7/21

The reason I started these Make Up Monday posts is because I love trying out new products.  I love re-visiting older and forgotten products. I especially love seeing what all the hype is about with some other products. In the end, I just love make up and love to see what else is out there.

When I went to New York, I skipped many of the more famous landmarks and bee-lined it to the flagship ELF store. Not on very many people’s list, right?  I’ve always loved ELF products, but actually being in a store and getting to try stuff out is phenomenal.  Sure, I can buy them in the store at Target, but TESTERS! One of the products I have been dying to “test” is the Moisturizing Foundation Stick.

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I love the Daily Moisturizing Stick from ELF. It is incredibly hydrating throughout the day, so seeing a foundation form of it got me super excited.  I was a little suspicious since I was surely not a fan of other foundation sticks that I have tried (I’m looking at you, Maybelline).

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It is a nice solid stick with the perfect consistency.  With other sticks I have used, it was way too soft and would cake on my face or it was way too hard and chalk on.  In the immortal words of Goldilocks, this little gem was just right.  It smears on easily without resistance and gives a nice thin layer with buildable coverage.

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The shade I got was perfect for my skin (my hands are darker than my face here) and I hope to get a darker one so I can play with some contouring.  This product is definitely a thumbs up for me.  I had featured it in my Packing for Orlando trip since it is not liquid and I don’t have to put it in my TSA plastic bag.  Great all around.