The Best Sugar Cookies

I've always loved baking cutout sugar cookies. I love rolling out the dough and piping on the icing.  And while I've mastered the actual cookie part, I had yet to figure out the perfect consistency for the icing. I had never been able to get it perfectly smooth and they never would dry properly. But this weekend, it happened. I figured it out thanks to Sally's Baking Addiction.

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She had a very helpful video listed in her recipe that helped me to see the consistency that the royal icing needed to be and that was the gamechanger for me. The best part is that with this recipe, you don't have to make two versions of icing - a thick one for outlining and a thinner one for filling in. This is the perfect texture for outlining and filling in. 

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Her recipe doesn't call for it, but I added a dash of clear almond extract because I'm obsessed with almond extract and it's also in the cookie itself. The cookie recipe that I absolutely love is from Bake at 350. And don't forget about the Fancy Sprinkles. They're v important.

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Now that I've got the icing figured out, I have decided to dedicate my life to proper piping technique and making pretty cookies all of the time. Because I've got plenty of time for that, right? 

XOXO,

Di

My favorite beauty products of 2017

We're a week into 2018 but I want to share my favorite products from 2017. It seems like I tried out a lot of new things last year and so many of them were huge hits. It's always a little nerve-wracking when I discover another product that I can't live without because I'm always thinking that they could discontinue it at any minute - have I mentioned that I'm a worrier? But never-the-less, here is my list of can't live withouts from 2017. 

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1. Invisibobble Hair Rings - these are my new favorite hair ties! They don't leave a crease and they're so darn cute!

2.  Kate Somerville Tight'N Cryogenic - this stuff is definitely a splurge but my face has never been smoother! I wear it day and night.

3. Oribe Dry Texture Spray - one of my top favorite hair products ever, this texturizing spray is powder light and gives my hair body and, of course, texture!

4. Smashbox Liquid Lip - a pigmented gloss, liquid lip has a great texture and stays on even after drinking my afternoon La Croix. 

5. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better - I wear this CC cream everyday instead of foundation. Great coverage, lightweight and SPF 50. I've loved everything I've tried from IT Cosmetics.

6. Tarte Drink of H2O - I am always trying to combat my oily skin and I read something somewhere that a gel moisturizer is the way to go if you've got excess face oil. I've noticed a little difference but my skin is still pretty shiny throughout the day but I really like this moisturizer!

7. IT Cosmetics Pressed Powder - if you're looking for a great setting powder, this is the best one I've tried in a while.

8. Fabuloso Platinum Blonde - if you've got blonde hair, this stuff is a must. It keeps the brassy tones at bay and smells amazing. 

9. Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara - my top criteria for mascara is easy removability. My second criteria is that it doesn't smudge under my eyes and my third criteria is volume. This mascara meets all of my criteria. 

10. Tarte Shape Tape - this is by far my favorite product from 2017. It's my under eye concealer and it stays on all day long! I can't recommend this stuff enough.

11. Browfood Aqua Brow Powder - this aqua powder is so easy to apply and fills in brows in a hurry.

Have you guys tried any of these too?

XO,

Di

Shape Tape / Oribe Dry Texture Spray / Invisibobble Hair Rings / IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better / IT Cosmetics Pressed Powder / Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara / Kate Somerville Tight'N Cryogenic / Tarte Drink of H2O / Fabuloso Platinum Blonde / Browfood Aqua Brow Powder / Smashbox Liquid Lip 

Thanksgiving Recap - Hosting on a budget

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love hosting people in my home. I may not have a big formal dining room or table settings for 18, but I do have a folding table, mismatched chairs and cute paper dessert plates that I picked up at TJMaxx. You don't have to be fancy to pull off a pretty Thanksgiving! So today on the blog, I'm gonna get real with y'all and give you the 'story beyond the instagrams', if you will.

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I spent $20 on some greenery from Trader Joe's and I probably could have gotten away with less. I had a ton leftover! (Not pictured: red and green solo cups).

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I took all of the little pumpkins I had leftover from October and used them as place cards or actually, place pumpkins. I bought paper napkins and copper plasticware from Target.

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The moral of the story, you don't have to have the best of things to make the best memories. I love to get creative and make things pretty but I have no doubt that Thanksgiving day would have been just as good without the extra $40 I spent on a few things for the table.

XOXO,

Di

 

Fun bonfire tips for your next fall gathering

I'd like to start out by apologizing for the photography you're about to see. I took my own photos with my iPhone and I'm ashamed but I wanted to show you some things I did for a casual hangout at my house this past weekend.

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We had some friends over for dinner and a bonfire last Friday and I think it's important for me to call out that we survived Tim's giant, 7 foot tall, bonfire that was fueled by my anxiety and gasoline. He had a rather large woodpile in our backyard (aka the tree he chopped down from the front yard) and I think I was in denial that he'd ever burn it. But he did. And I had to apologize to all of my friends after the fire died out because I may have overreacted a bit (or just reacted normally) but the jury is still out on that. All I know is I shouted things like "make it stop!" and "get the hose!" and I had my kitchen fire extinguisher in hand - as if it would be able to battle the fire. But in true Tim fashion, he knew it would be fine and it was. And now I have the trauma of the whole scenario to discuss with my counselor next week. Anyway, I digress.

What we served for dinner:

We made two different types of chili - white chicken chili and also a vegan option where Tim basically replaced the beef in his normal recipe with things like zucchini and carrots. It was delish. I would give you guys the recipe but I have no idea what it is. Tim just throws things in a pot when he makes chili and it's amazing. I will however share my go-to white chicken chili because there's an actual recipe for that. Y'all, it is so. good. You must try it.

We also had a little baked potato bar and it was my favorite part. It's a super cheap and easy way to feed your friends. And who doesn't love cheese and bacon on a potato?

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I found those cute little gold buckets and the letter stickers at target and I lined them with parchment paper before I filled them with the good stuff. Except onions. I hate onions. But I know people who like them so I had to make them a bucket full of chives.

I scrubbed the potatoes, poked some holes in them with a fork, rubbed olive oil all over them and salted them. Then I wrapped them in tin foil and baked them on a sheet pan for a little over an hour on 400 degrees. 

The Smores situation:

Because I knew that my nerves wouldn't allow me to get within 30 feet of the mega-fire, we also lit a proper fire in the fire pit. So while the men were shouting and pouring gasoline on the monster bonfire, my gals and I sat around the lovely lady fire. There were smores so the men joined us eventually.

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Have you tried a smore with a Reese cup? A friend of mine told me about this magic so I had to try it out. It was definitely next level. Also, pro-tip, whenever serving smores, be sure to have some wet naps on hand. Your guests will love you for it.

What are your favorite tips for a fall gathering?

XO,

Di

My latest obsession, burrata toast

In August, my best friend Danielle and I went to the beach to celebrate her birthday and I'm still sad it's over. Our favorite 30A restaurant is Caliza, so that's where we went for her birthday dinner. It's the most incredible poolside restaurant and every single detail is absolutely gorgeous. I wish you could tell from this adorable selfie of Danielle and I, but you can't. 

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Anyway, while we were there, we ordered the burrata toast with tomato jam and from that moment on, it was love. What is burrata you ask? It's a soft, fresh cheese made from mozzarella and cream. It has a texture like ricotta and it tastes like heaven. So when I got home, I tried to recreate it. And while I don't have an amazing poolside table to sit at with incredible chandeliers and a waitress with the most beautiful European accent, I did find some burrata cheese at Costco and I have a pretty cute dining room with a handsome husband to pour my Pellegrino. And I must say, my homemade version was pretty darn good.

 Brittany Wood Photography

Brittany Wood Photography

It's just three ingredients, burrata cheese, tomato pesto and a delicious crusty bread of your choice. I lightly toast the bread, spread on a thin coat of tomato pesto and then add as much burrata as you like on top. I also like to sprinkle on some fresh ground pepper. It's simple as that!

 Brittany Wood Photography

Brittany Wood Photography

So next time you're having your girlfriends over, whip this up in just a few minutes and be prepared to wow them. 

Happy Monday!

XO, 

Di