I would like to start out by apologizing an for no fore-warning of my week off last week, but everyone needs a vacation now and then. I am back now and have lots of free time to make things and blog about them. Now that that is out of the way, I had an excellent time in Curaçao and recommend it to anyone who likes to go places with beautiful diving opportunities, beaches, delicious food, and without many American tourists mucking it up. The island is small and colorful, and I found some great stocking stuffers for my friends and family back home. Every morning I would walk to the beach passing no one but bunnies and iguanas on my way. Just what I needed.
When I came back I realized I still had a few people that I wanted to get things for but going to malls this time of year is... hectic to say the least. So, I went to some local shops around Houston (which caused me to get lost as I am not good with knowing my way around H-town), but it was worth it because I found this store that sold jewelry by 31 bits. The jewelry is not only priced reasonably and beautiful but it also benefits women in Uganda who make it by hand. The company buys the jewelry from the women there every month and that not only gives them a stable income but they also use some of their profits and use it to teach these women about financial planning, AIDS, and vocational training to help them expand beyond 31 bits.
They are all made out of paper and locally sourced materials in Uganda. I think that the face that they make the paper look this beautiful is really something special. These are a few of my favorites from the website but my favorite that they were selling at the store is no longer online, I knew I should have bought it! I wouldn't mind fighting the traffic and maybe getting lost all over again to try and find some of these, but if you aren't in a hurry like I am, then you can just order online!
The best part of my week by far would be getting a letter in the mail from my brother written in the language of the Noldor Elves. It definitely made me laugh and smile and was the icing on the cake of the day I finished finals! It is so nice to get things in the mail and know that someone was thinking about you. I am so thankful for my sweet brother and can't wait to see him over Christmas break. I am spending my Friday cleaning, packing, and spending time with Beans. I hope that you all have a great weekend!
A self cleaning coffee maker
A book full of pretty photographs
Funny little chocolates
Pretty geometric jewelry, simple and cute
Sponsor a wild space this Christmas
Drink some red velvet hot chocolate
Finished with classes and finals, and in two days I will be headed off to the Caribbean with my best friend. I can't wait to go and lay in the sun with nothing to do but relax, it is definitely needed after the past few weeks of no sleep and hundreds of pages of reading I have done. I do hope that the weather only gets colder here while I am away and that when I come back I can be in full on Christmas mode. I know that is going to be something I miss when I have a job, no full month Christmas breaks anymore. Well today, I wanted to wear one of my softest sweaters that I got at a thrift store during my undergraduate and my comfortable black pants that look like dress trousers but almost feel as comfortable as pajamas. I paired the sweater with a white button down and my free people necklace that I got on sale last Christmas for about $15.00!!
If you are looking for some great gifts this holiday season without wanting to spend a fortune, I have compiled this list of things that I think are special and sure to make people smile. I am especially a fan of the cheeky cheese servers and the seashore candle because I love the smells of the beach when it's so cold outside, it's like a mini escape. I don't use a sleep mask but the hibernating bear definitely makes me wish I did. What are a few things you hope will be in your stocking?
Where to get the goods:
1. Chatty Cheese Knifes- $40 6. Seashore Candle- $30
2. Pyramid Clutch- $27 7. Mast Chocolate Bar- $10
3. Ponytail Lotion- $11 8. Rosebud Co. Gift Set- $16
4. Hibernating Sleep Mask- $25 9. Tocca Solid- $30
5. Fluer de Sel- $9 10. Canine Coasters- $18
It turned cold this week, barely getting to 50 degrees, so I am finally able to pull out some of my adorable coats and hats and I am beyond excited about it. I couldn't wait to wear my beret, but I knew i had to wear it with something simple so I didn't look like I was pretending I was French or dressed up for Halloween. My navy dress was exactly what I was looking for and I love how warm and how flattering it always is. I stepped outside and still a little cold, so I ran back in and grabbed my cape-lette and it did the trick.
When I was younger my step-mom used to make banana's foster and I loved it, not only because she lit it on fire but because it was amazingly delicious with ice cream. The fire was my favorite part though, I like fireworks and theatrics in every other part of my life, why not food? I have never gotten around to making banana's foster myself, but do know the best places to get it in Austin. Well, a month or two ago I bought a Bon Appetit magazine, or as I like to call it food porn, I found a recipe for these banana tatins with the caption "as delicious as and four ingredients can be" and I knew I had to make it. I actually feel guilty looking through it and drooling over the beautiful food and planning all the hypothetical dinner parties I would throw if I had space/money (soon), so I was glad that something in the magazine was simple enough that I could make it during finals.
4 tbsp. sugar
First, you preheat the oven to 400 degrees and coat the dishes with a thin layer of butter.
Next, you add one tablespoon of sugar to each dish (the Bon Appetit recipe says two, but I thought that was too much)
After that, you slice the banana and place it in the dish and layer it upwards.
The last thing that you do before baking is take your puff pastry sheet and cut out circles to place on top. They should be just slightly larger than the dish. I used the lids of my dishes to indent the pastry and then used a knife around then outside of the indention.
Then bake for 22-25 minutes. Wait for them to cool slightly and then turn them out onto a plate. They can be eaten by themselves or with vanilla ice cream.
Of course the one that I remembered to take pictures of is the one that turned out a little ugly, but it was still delicious. I think if I make this again for a dinner party I make add the rest of the ingredients for banana's foster and flambé them at the table... fireworks.
So, I have been studying like crazy... so much so that my computer charger gave up on me! So I am a little late on getting these updates to you but I figure it needs to be done because I have so many great things to share. This past weekend I spent studying the majority of the time but did take a little time to Christmas shop (though it only lasted a minute because I couldn't get in the spirit with 75 degree weather) and grab a quick bite with my best friend and her mom to catch up and have a little release. We ordered a lot of food and split it all over a lot of laughter and planning of the weeks and months ahead. It is amazing to go through such big changes with someone who has known you for a long time and to go through the fires with them and know you will come out changed, hopefully better and stronger.
A great affordable gift benefitting UNICEF
Turning slums to art work, everyone needs beauty
An audience with my main man, Christian Louboutin
A gift for Canadians or cheese lovers
Delightful winter muffins
Everyone can afford to not be a Scrooge thanks to this
I love this glamorous decor
I love going to the drugstore because of it's propensity for having random things that you never knew to be necessary before you found them but once you've seen them you can't imagine life without them (like this UT Christmas Tree perhaps?). It is also a great place to pick up great basics and staples when you don't feel like going through the hassle of going to the busy grocery store. I get overwhelmed at HEB fairly regularly with all the screaming children and people who think they are the only ones in the store. My parents raised me with the idea that you should be considerate of others, some parents seem to have forgotten to teach this lesson.
I love Essie nail polishes as you have seen in most of my posts when I have painted my own nails. I love these colors that I found for winter. Dark nails are still a big trend and the only issue I have with that is that chips show in dark colors a lot easier, so they are harder to maintain. I did read an article that says that if you paint a clear top coat 20 minutes after your nails dry and then also 3 or 4 days later it protects the polish and keeps it from chipping. I have been doing that and it seems to be working for me. Do you have any tricks for maintaining a perfect manicure?
This friction block is one of my favorite things on the planet. I have said it before that my foot is not built for flats, every time I wear flats I get a blister. This stuff comes in this tiny little stick like a miniature deodorant, it is the perfect size to just toss in your bag. I am addicted to this stuff because of my addiction to new shoes and this makes the "break-in" time non existent. Highly recommend getting yourself some, or stuffing them in some stockings!