Friday, March 29, 2013

Molten Lava Cupcakes

A certain co-worker of mine completely spoiled me on my birthday and brought in not only hostess-style cupcakes, but a strawberry cake as well.  Woman went cray, but I knew the reason she did it was because she was dropping serious hints and guilt trips that she wanted molten lava cake for her birthday. 

Well played co-worker, well-played.

Most recipes I found for molten lava cake yielded a small result and seemed liked I'd have to make a ton of them in order to feed my office.  Thank goodness I found this recipe for red velvet molten lava cupcakes from Crazy for Crust

I made the cupcakes above with my favorite Devils Food cake recipe and added the ganache center.  Overall an easy and quick recipe.  Mine made 22 cupcakes. 

For the ganach you're going to simmer a 1/2 cup of heavy cream and add it to 8oz of semi-sweet baking chocolate.  Now, if you're lazy like me (see above) and barely break up your chocolate pieces prior to adding the heated heavy cream you're going to have to put your mixture in the microwave a bit to soften up the chocolate pieces.  This is a PSA to not be lazy and you should go ahead and break up your chocolate pieces more than I did.  I'm looking out for you. 

You want your chocolate ganache to look like that above - smooth, creamy, delicious, etc.  You might also be tempted to dip your whole face in the bowl of chocolate, but I recommend that you avoid temptation.  Throw that bowl in the fridge to cool for an hour or two.  The fork is totally fair game though. Just saying. 

Follow the directions and only fill up your tins half way! Remember you've got to add the ganache!

Okay, every other recipe I looked at said they used an ice cream scope to get perfect sized teaspoon balls of ganache. LIARS!  My ice cream scoop is for giants and wasn't giving me a teaspoon sized ball of chocolate goodness.  Instead, I used a melon baller thingy and it gave me two nice balls of chocolate and then massive chunks of chocolate.  Whatever, it was ganache in a cupcake. If someone came to me and said they didn't feel that the ganache was a perfect ball inside the cupcake I might have snatched their cupcake and said, 

"No cupcake for you!"

Overall: a pretty easy recipe!  Highly tasty!

Yes, most other recipes say to dust with powdered sugar and you can certainly go that route.  I didn't because I made these the night before and let's be honest... powdered sugar looks good if applied and then eaten immediately.  Otherwise it soaks into the cake and disappears. 

One final thing: definitely pop these bad boys in the microwave for 5-10 seconds before eating if you don't eat them fresh out of the oven.  That quick zap heats up the center and makes these things delicious on a high level.


Anyone else tried to make molten lava cakes? What's your favorite recipe? 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Black and White Stripes

Top: Gap // Skirt: Vintage score (made in the USA!) // Necklace: Spike The Punch // Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (via Gilt) // Shoes: Goodwill // Shades: Ray Ban // Accesories: Hello Fab, InPink, iSanctuary 

Okay, I know, I know. I promised to wear less black this year.  However, Kristina over at Pretty Shiny Sparkly is hosting another edition of "Bloggers Do It Better" and the assignment this time was Black and White Stripes. 

Bloggers Do It Better

If you're interested in seeing how other fashion bloggers (woah, did I just throw myself in as a fashion blogger?) take on this spring trend, then head on over to Pretty Shiny Sparkly to all the posts that are linked up for the series.

How are you incorporating black and white stripes into your spring wardrobe? 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Well Played Mother Nature

Monday, March 25th the Baltimore/DC region gets its most significant snowfall of year.  Okay, maybe not, but the second most significant snowfall of the year! 

For a quick second the trash in the roadside marsh doesn't look so terrible. Okay, second is over. 

If I could live in a world that looked like this every second of every day I'd be blissfully happy. 

Office fish is not impressed with the snow. 

Hunters & Polka Dots! Best winter combination ever!!!

Monday morning I slept through my alarm, as usual, but then the hubs woke me up.

"Heids, it's snowing outside."

Annnnnd I'm up!  There was a mention of snow in the forecast, but after that whole snowquestration debacle last month I had given up on any dreams of snow until December. 2-3 inches of the fluffy stuff in March?!?!


All of the photos above were taken with my trust iPhone5 on my way to work. I was like a kid in the candy store and I didn't want to go inside to work any sooner than I had to, but eventually being an adult prevailed. 

What are your thoughts: snow in spring. Yay or nay? 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nautical with eShakti

Yeah, I'm 30 and I wear sparkly headbands from time to time. Deal with it! 

Dress: c/o eShakti // Cardigan: J. Crew (in mint!) // Headband: Anthropologie (similar) // Shoes: Target // Purse: J. Crew (old) // Jewelry: Derng, BaubleBar, Hello Fab, vintage 

When eShakti reached out to me to try a product sample I was initially very skeptical. I had seen a few other bloggers review their products and the general consensus was that the clothes were well made and adorable.  However, the items are not made in the USA and that bugged me.  

Then, I got over it.  Yes, I'm trying to bring more USA made items into my life, but I'm not going to stop buying imported clothes all together.  Really the only con I had against eShakti is that their clothes are imported.  That can be said about 97% of the clothes sold in this country!

When I got over myself and actually looked at the eShakti website I was quickly won over.  First, their tagline, "We design, you customize," had me at hello.  Then I noticed that their clothes come in sizes 0 - 36W and that really meant a lot to me.  A company that realizes not everyone looks like a model and makes clothes for everyone is admirable in my book.  

I know what you're thinking, "b%tch please, you're a size 4/6."  

Yes, I am. However, I'm a size 4/6 with a massive bubble butt, tree trunk thighs, and man calves thank you very much. A-line shapes are my clothing besties. 

eShakti allows for consumers to customize their clothes based on their own measurements and not on some pre-determined measurements that are supposed to flatter and fit every single woman. You can also alter necklines, add sleeves, adjust lengths, add pockets, etc. For more information on how to customize your clothes, go here.  You can customize for free with your first order.  

Did I mention that many of their pieces are machine washable?  Yeah, that's another point for eShakti because dry cleaning sucks. 

And my dress has pockets. Point.Set.Match.

To recap: adorable clothes + lots of sizes + customization + machine washable = get in my closet! 

I know I'm going to be reaching for this dress over and over again this spring and summer while sipping a tasty beverage near the bay. 

Disclaimer: I was provided the dress by eShakti to review. However, the opinions in this review are my own.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I'm going to have to give up something during my weekly grocery run because it seems I'm going to buy flowers every other week. I used to think keeping fresh flowers in the house was frivolous, but after the past few weeks of gorgeousness I don't think I can go back to a flower-free house.

I think fresh flowers are able to light up a room even when the weather is fickle or dark.  You might not be able to tell, but it was raining when I took these pictures! The double windows in our living room bring in so much light it's insane some times. I love that just the simple addition of flowers can make the house constantly feel like it's spring outside even through the spring weather changes faster than Taylor Swift's love life. 

Even better - these daffodils were $3.98.   That's less than a decent beverage at Starbucks and these babies didn't add on any calories and have lasted for ten days already.  Your move Starbucks,  your move.

Are you a fresh flower person?  If so, what are your favorites to keep in the house? 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

- Albert Einstein

The past few years of my life have found me rekindling that love/hate relationship with running.  Love the strong feeling, but hate the bitter taste after a terrible run.  Like any relationship there are ups and downs, with periods of constant butterflies and then periods of distance.  For the most part it's been a healthy relationship - if your definition of healthy includes running in the dark and/or running 20 milers in blistering heat and humidity.  It's not for everyone.

But it's made me insane. Well, according to Albert Einstein I'm insane.  I've been running for years and that's all I've been doing.  Cross-training meant walking or playing with the dogs. Maybe a little flag football or dodgeballl here and there. Lifting weights meant shuffling 5lb bags of flour and a stand mixer around while I baked cookies.

Really what I'm saying is all I've been doing for the past few years to stay in shape has been running.  Don't get me wrong, it has certainly fared me well, but I'll admit in hindsight that it's been an incomplete workout. Looking back my race times have barely come down since I started running.  Sure, it's a hard comparison to make when I only race a few times a year and my races have been focused on marathons.  That's a tough distance, but the truth is my fastest marathon time is still my first marathon. OUCH!

After Marine Corps 2012 I took time off from running.  I was frustrated, emotional, pissed off, hurt, and tired of running. I got myself into what I thought was the best running shape of my life only to be sidelined by a measly cold and bombed at mile 20.  Truth be told, I've only gone running a handful of times since November.

I miss it terribly.  I went on a five mile recovery run with my bestie last weekend and I had to repeatedly ask the other runners to slow down.  This was even more embarrassing because my bestie had just done a 20 mile run the previous day.  She should have been the tired one!

Then, this past weekend I volunteered at the B&A Marathon and Half Marathon put on by my beloved Annapolis Striders. I showed up at 6am with absolute giddiness to volunteer at my first race and hoping to finally meet Dorothy Beal aka MilePosts. I'm constantly inspired by Dorothy and her path from taking her marathon time from near five hours down to 3:11:26.  Yeah, she did that all while having three kids. You can imagine how excited I was when at mile five on the course she waved at me. Yes, I got giddy because a runner waved at me. To be fair - Dorothy isn't just a runner, she's a freaking runner rock star   

While at the race I ran into so many of my marathon training buddies and each of them looked at me with a bewildered face when I told them I wasn't running that day.  The next question they asked was, "are you signing up for Marine Corps?"

Here I was ready to jump in with both feet and start the cycle of inanity again.  I missed running. I needed it. I hadn't been sleeping properly, eating healthy, or functioning normally for months and I knew running would cure all of those ailments.

But I'm a wise 30 year old now :)  And I've got a hubs who is still recovering from surgery and who was just cleared to start inclined pushups. That means we're ready to stop the cycle of insanity and try something new: Insanity.  It was actually my hubs' idea.  I'll give that man all the credit in the world because he did all of the research and found a program that will work for both of us so we can work out together.

Woah, that doesn't usually happen.  We're the couple who golfs and plays football together, but never the couple that hits the gym together.  Actually, neither of us goes to a gym and that's part of the problem.

Over the next 60 days I'm hoping to break my cycle of insanity by doing Insanity.  That's kind of fun!  The hubs is really into it and I'm excited that we're going to be doing it together.  We did our fitness test last night and I may or may not have yelled at him more than once to be careful with his shoulder, but other than that we're good to go.

For once in my life I'm excited to have someone else put together a workout program for me and I'm honestly looking forward to the strength and cross training. I'm also thrilled that in exactly 60 days the hubs and I are taking a beach vacation and I haven't bought a bathing suit in almost six years, which means not am I over due for a new suit, but I'm actually excited to buy one this year.

Bring it on Insanity!

Anyone else done Insanity? Any tips?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spring Overload

Warning: Do not adjust your monitor. I am not wearing black. I repeat, I am not wearing black! 

I know, I was kind of shocked as well. 

It was windy out! I actually brushed my hair for once. 

Blazer: Ann Taylor (Similar) // Dress: J.Crew (Similar) // Shoes: Goodwill ($6 haaaaay!) // Belt: J. Crew // Purse: Kate Spade (on sale!) // Shades: Ray Ban // Accessories: Hello Fab, vintage 

Four things: 

1. Holy color overload! Seriously, even the hubs looked at me twice when I came down the stairs in this outfit. Where is the black? That blazer is navy blue, thank you very much. Don't worry, I'll probably wear a black turtleneck tomorrow just to get my flow back to center. 

2. I have been obsessed with belting blazers since I saw The Proposal. You can keep Ryan Reynolds to yourself and I will hoard Sandy B's wardrobe from that movie until the day I die. And her hair because it was amazing.

3. I have no idea what color those shoes are or the brand. I got them for $6 at Goodwill. In some lights they look navy and in others they look black.  Kind of like my blazer and I think that means they are officially best buds. 

4. I officially have a sad face because I'm running low on my absolute favorite nail polish color of all time. Yes #FirstWorldProblems. The color is marathin by Essie and it was a Fall 2012 color.  I'm not kidding if you see it in a store, buy the remaining stock and I'll send you money if you ship it to me. No really, I'm not kidding.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Case of the Mondays

Just a quick puppy post. They've been uncharacteristically absent from the blog lately. 

If you thought daylights saving time was rough for you, then you are sorely mistaken.  Let me introduce you to two Boston Terriers who were not having any of it this morning. 

This guy usually barges in on me in the morning. He has knack for using his massive head as a battering ram and forces his way through the bathroom door. I'm not kidding, but on Monday morning I heard him hit the door, seeing the door not budge, give up, and put himself to bed in the hallway. Game over. 

Jewels, true to form, put herself back to bed immediately after going out in the morning.  The snooze alarm hadn't even gone off and Jewels was back to snoring while buried in her blankets.  I'm pretty sure the hubs had to carry her outside just to get her outside in the first place.

Now, the one perk of daylights savings time is being home with lots of daylight to spare and getting to take the dogs for a long walk and still have time to play in the yard.  These guys were not in the mood for playing yesterday.  Again, had to carry Jewels outside! 

Even my chubby puppy looks tired and he's always ready for playtime.  Those little eyelids looked so heavy. 

Seriously tired! 

If anyone else is struggling this week due to the time change, fear not because you are not alone (cue the Michael Jackson!). 

I'm not a fan of leaving for work when it is so dark out, but I do enjoy the extra hour of daylight in the evenings.  I'm hoping to start running again and that'll allow me to walk the dogs and get 45 minutes of daytime running in the evenings.  Daylight running = less chance of getting hit by a car!

Anyone else struggling with the time change? 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Green for Spring: Made in the USA

Wine Bag // Peplum Top // Harveys Seatbelt Bag // Tights // Jade Clutch // Eye Shadow // Striped Shirt // Dress // Mint Jeans

It's no secret that I am a die-hard fall/winter person who merely tolerates spring and loathes summer with a fiery passion. Yet, after yesterday's fake snow-storm I'm so over winter and ready for spring.  Nothing ticks me off more than the promise of 4-8 inches of snow and then having absolutely zero snow accumulation.  Rain and freezing rain do not substitute for snow!

Vent over (for now!).

The first thing that spring has to offer is St. Patrick's Day, which happens to be my least favorite holiday in the year. I told you, I'm not usually a spring person.  Traditionally, I avoid wearing green anytime near St. Paddy's Day like the plague. My anti-St. Patrick's Day feelings stem from years and years of every single person in the world making the assumption that I'm Irish because my hair is red.  My first name is HEIDI people... not IRISH!

Second vent over (for now!).

This year I'm going to try something different and wear something green on St. Paddy's Day. Thankfully, I was able to find quite a few cute, affordable, green items that are all made in the USA.  Maybe I'll just be lazy and swipe on some green eye shadow, but that would be a marked improvement over previous years.

If you're looking to add a green bag this season then you've got two solid options.  First, the Harveys Marilyn Tote is not only on point with its shape, but it features colorblocking as well. Double win. In need of a clutch? Then get the Gigee Marie Jade Clutch in patent leather.  Full disclosure: Gigee Marie is a MD/DC based designer and I've been in love with her clutches ever since meeting her at a G.L.A.M. event last June.

I can't even deny how badly I want those Rich and Skinny mint jeans.  Did I mention that they're on sale? Because they are! If I'm going green, then I'd go all out and pair that zigzag Ella Moss shirt with the jeans. Or, I'll just go with a peplum top and dark wash jeans.

Although I'm a sucker for a nice green dress. And that baby is marked down from $190 to $66! But the ribbed tights are more in line with my price point at this moment in time.  I'm a tights hoarder, so these might end up in my house sooner rather than later.

Last of all, maybe St. Paddy's Day outings are not really your thing.  Maybe you would rather get together at someone's house with a small group of friends. Me TOO! Bring your bottle of wine in an adorable Map Tote wine bag.

So bring it St. Paddy's Day! I'm ready for you!

Are you wearing green for St. Paddy's Day?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lemon Mini Bundt Cakes

It's been more than I care to admit since my mixer and I had a date night together.  I'm also taking a cue from my aunt and starting to use my china more often.  I have service for ten and I'd bet half of my pieces still have a sticker on the back of them! 

I recently picked up two new Nordic Ware baking pans and I've had the urge to get the mini bundt pan filled with yummy goodness.  Nordic Ware is one of my absolute favorite bakeware manufactures and except for things noted, "Nordic Ware International," the rest of the items are made in the USA. I'm saving that baker's half sheet for pumpkin roll season.  Yes, there is a pumpkin roll season in my house :) 

There was a recipe for lemon cakes on the back of the mini bundt cakes packaging.  Will update post later with the recipe!  I took for granted that I'd be able to find it online, but it doesn't appear to be online.  I have it mostly memorized, but I'd hate to mess up how much baking soda goes in the recipe and throw off the consistency! 


Lemon Anniversary Cakelets
Ingredients: Yield 6 mini bundt cakes (or cakelets) 
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used vanilla because it's what I eat for breakfast every morning)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar (recipe did not explicitly say granulated sugar, but that's what I used)
  • 2 Tbsp corn syrup

Just me and my mixer.  True harmony in the kitchen. 

  1. With your mixer combine the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. 
  2. Add in vanilla, eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest. 
  3. Add in remaning ingredients and blend on low speed for 1 minute.  Then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until well blended.
  4. Divide batter evenly in pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. 
  5. Cool 10 minutes in pan.
  6. Invert pan onto cool rack and cool for 15 minutes.
  7. Prepare glaze while cakes are cooling.  In a small saucepan combine all of the glaze ingredients.  Stir constantly until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. 
  8. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  9. Brush glaze over cakes.
  10. Eat! 

I could zest lemon and lime all day and be the happiest person in the world.  Fresh lemon is one of my absolute favorite scents.  Whoever decided to put lemon in most household cleaners was a genius. 

Naked mini bundt cakes!

I'll be honest, I grabbed the cake that had frosting overflowing from it's middle section.  Who didn't see that one coming! 

Any other bundt cake recipes you'd like to share my way?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Spring Flowers

My aunt bought these two simple arrangements down with her from New Jersey.  I love that she selected simple flowers that were grown in the USA.  She knows me so well.  I was also thrilled that my mother tripled my fancy vase supply when she gave me two gorgeous Wedgwood crystal vases for my birthday.  I now have three crystal vases! It's like I'm a real adult! 

It's that time of the year again: spring is coming. 

My initial reaction is to throw on as many pieces of black clothing I own, pout, and throw dirt at everyone wearing spring clothes. 

I realize that might be a bit childish and I'm a grown woman now... I should save such childish behavior for more important moments.  Like when someone else drinks the last of the vodka coffee and doesn't replenish my supply. 

I don't know. It was pretty nice to curl up with a magazine book and read whilst basking in the sunlight pouring in my living room windows, all while smelling fresh flowers.  The best part, I didn't even have to put on sunscreen :)

How about you - are you looking forward to the coming season change or are you holding tight to winter like me?