Sophomore year of college, I had the incredible experience of studying abroad in Vienna. I absolutely fell in love with the city. The to-die-for cakes and pastries, the cobblestone roads, the beautiful old churches and buildings, the museums, the violin players in the Stephansplatz, the u-bahn (it's just fun to say!) Vienna is a truly gorgeous city that is just saturated with art, history, and culture. If I could, I would so move there in a heartbeat. Except my German is a bit rusty. Well, like really rusty. I'd have to work on that.
So of course, I felt compelled to create a Viennese-inspired wedding board. How romantic-slash-totally-awesome would it be to get married in Vienna? Yes, please.it.
1. First, we have a classic column-style gown, perfect for an evening soiree in such a historical setting.
2. Lots of gold accents, inspired by Klimt's paintings. A gorgeous gold-toned crystal headband for the bride.
3. Gold nail polish, with 18 karat gold flecks! Because you need a little bling.
4. Beautiful hand-made clutches that can be personalized for your bridesmaids!
5. Gold teardrop earrings covered in crystals completes the glamorous, classic look.
6. Vienna's Rathaus (City Hall), decorated for the holidays, looks straight out of a magical fairy-tale land (image from here)
7. A fox and mink jacket keeps the chill away as you celebrate long into the night!
8. Cafe Sacher, home of the famous sacher-torte. Instead of a traditional cake, serve up sacher-torte, an Austrian classic!
9. The Wallpaper City Guide to Vienna will keep your guests busy during their stay.
10. Beautiful deep blue sparkly shoes are your "something blue" and the perfect finishing touch to your classic ensemble!
Now, someone take me to Vienna! Please?
So I'm sure you've all heard by now that Pantone named Emerald as the color of 2013. It's an...interesting choice. Whenever I think of emerald green, I think of the '80s. Although I suppose the '80s was more hunter green than emerald green. Anyway. I'm actually starting to really like emerald green. It can be very fun, vibrant, fresh, and alive. Green in general is a very lively color -- an instant dose of energy! Here are some ways you can add some emerald-ness into your life!
1. A beautiful printed flare dress (yes, it has pockets! Score!) Gap - $59.95
2. Geo-modern chevron dangle earrings. Forever21 - $4.80
3. This handy-dandy crossbody bag to stash all your must-haves. Target - $19.99
4. Gorgeous suede high heel pumps. How fantastic would these look with a little black dress? Or some beige trousers? The perfect pop of color! Piperlime - $129
5. A dark green velvet chaise that's perfect for curling up on and reading Sense and Sensibility. Or The Hobbit. Or Confessions of a Shopaholic. Or whatever you happen to be reading. Urban Outfitters - $649
6. A dark and moody nail polish -- so much drama! You could paint your nails on your velvet chaise! Just don't spill anything, like I always do. On second thought, I would not recommend painting nails on the velvet chaise. Sephora - $14
7. How about these adorable green gingham cupcake liners? The perfect addition to your baking arsenal. Sur La Table - $4.95
8. Another perfect addition to your arsenal -- this green KitchenAid mixer. Bake up a storm with this baby; make some delicious cupcakes to fill those adorable liners! Or muffins. Either one. Or both. Macy's - $349.99
9. Add a burst of cheer and color to your home with this witty emerald green print. Amanda Catherine Designs on Etsy - $15
One thing that pretty much everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Ikea. Love, love, love it. If I could, I would fill and decorate my entire house with Ikea things. Of course, I don't have a house right now. Or even an apartment. But my imaginary house and apartment are completely decked out in all things Ikea. A girl can dream, right? Last weekend, I went to Ikea and seriously had to restrain myself from buying the entire store. A gray and white dish set was just calling my name -- and it was on, like, SUPER sale. However, I already have a lot of dishes. And they are all currently sitting in boxes in my parents' basement. So it wouldn't do much good to buy more dishes. It was a challenge, not placing those dishes in the cart and blissfully skipping off to the check out. Well, more like not placing the dishes in the cart and then not getting lost in the maze that is the Ikea marketplace and convincing myself that I need a silverware drawer organizer (which I also already have) or a new throw for the end of my bed. Oh, Ikea. Here are some Ikea things that I'm really digging:
1. I love these Blomster candle holders. Okay, so I don't have a dining room right now, but I think these would look really fantastic on a dining table. Or a mantle. They're so graceful and modern -- everything you could ever want in a candle holder.
2. This pendant lamp is really pretty awesome. It's so futuristic and whimsical. If I had a living room, this would totally be in it. Or over a dining table.
3. I am so into this gray Karlstad sofa. The lines of this sofa are so clean, simple and modern. And I've decided that when I have a living room, I want a gray couch and yellow accents. This couch as the perfect gray. Plus, it has a little bit of texture, which is perfect! Gray is such an awesome color -- I'm really into gray lately. The color pairing possibilities are endless!
4. This pillow is so colorful and happy! The print has somewhat of a tropical feel to it, but not super tropical, like palm trees. A subtle tropical quality. And I just love that green.
5. This little side table is so cute! I love the curved legs and the fact that there are two surfaces for things. This is an important quality in furniture.
6. I am so into rattan lately too. Hm, the tropical pillow, the rattan chairs -- is my subconscious trying to tell me something? Anyhow -- I love the natural color and quality of rattan and this chair is super comfy. It's big enough to curl up in -- also a highly important factor in furniture.
7. These plates. Oh, how I love these plates! The pattern is so much fun and whimsical, and the light green color is just so pretty. These would look gorgeous on a dark, rustic wooden farm table or on a super sleek, modern white table. Versatile!
I'm planning on another Ikea trip tomorrow. We'll see if I can stop myself again from buying the whole store. I'm not making any promises!
So, last week, I saw Les Miserables with my best friend and one of her friends. Oh. My. Gosh. I loved it. I have been so excited for this movie, and it definitely lived up to expectations. I make it sound like I've been waiting for this movie for forever. I actually had no clue they were turning Les Mis into a movie until I saw a commercial for it on TV like a month ago. Maybe even more recent than that. That's what living in your own little grad school bubble will do. Well, I'm all done with grad school now, so I shouldn't have any excuses about not having a clue of what's going on in the outside world. Maybe there's a residual bubble post-graduation. ANYWAY. Loved the movie. I know that it hasn't received the greatest reviews, but shhh. Ignore the reviews. Hugh Jackman -- that man can do anything.
Afterwards, I was totally inspired to create a Les Mis-inspired wedding board. I know -- you're like what? How can such a bleak and serious story inspire a wedding? Well, it was really Cosette's dress from the wedding scene. I wanted to take that and bring it into the 21st century. Think really ethereal and romantic, traditional styles mixed with modern!
1. Start out with some gorgeous pink shades for your cheeks and lips. Dior's Rosy Glow, Healthy Glow Awakening Blush is perfect for creating that "blushing bride" look. Pair it with Tarte's LipSurgence Matte Lip Tint in Lucky for a totally soft and cherubic vibe.
2. Use gorgeous light pink and white roses paired with lily of the valley in your bouquets to up the romantic factor.
3. The super-puffy sleeves of Cosette's traditional 1800s-style wedding gown have been translated into the super-voluminous skirt of this gorgeous ball gown by Vera Wang.
4. Have your ceremony and reception by candlelight -- how romantic is that?
5. Serve petit fours on these charming plates with vintage-inspired patterns. Don't worry about being matchy-matchy -- the more mismatched, the better!
6. A top hat perfectly completes the groom's look!
7. These wedding invitations have a traditional lace overlay, but the pink ombre peeking out underneath brings a modern edge.
8. How stunning is this antique Victorian engagement ring?
And, finally -- it's not on the board, but a floral head wreath would be a fitting final touch. Either buy one or make one yourself!
First post of the year! Woo! 2013 -- here we are! Has anyone made any good new year's resolutions? I can't even remember the last time I did. I do remember back in elementary school, we had to write down a list of resolutions. I can't remember any of them. And I probably never actually did any of them either. I'm just so not good at making and keeping resolutions. Maybe one year I resolved to floss my teeth on a regular basis. I still don't floss my teeth on a regular basis. I'll floss my teeth for like a week, and then I'll decide to skip a day, and then it's all downhill from there. Maybe that should be my new year's resolution. I know a couple of years I've also resolved to exercise more. Pffftt. Exercise. And now here I am, posting a decadent dessert after all sorts of holiday feasting. Yup. Exercise? What. Naahhh. What you need is chocolate. You just can't go without chocolate. Plus, cocoa powder is good for you! Really. Promise. PLUS the raspberry also adds an extra boost of nutrition -- right? Raspberries are full of vitamin C and high in polyphenol antioxidants. See? Healthy. We'll just ignore all the sugar that goes into it.
Actually, I did make this flourless chocolate cake and raspberry sauce for our Christmas dinner dessert (along with a gluten-free vegan gingerbread cake -- you'll be seeing that soon!) And since my uncle is diabetic, this dessert is sugar free! (Well, sort of.) I used a mixture of stevia and agave nectar in the raspberry sauce, and stevia replaced the granulated sugar in the cake. This is just getting healthier by the second!
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce
gluten free, soy free, sugar free
4 oz of Enjoy Life semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of Earth Balance Soy Free spread
3/4 cup stevia (you might want to use less, perhaps 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
16 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup stevia
1/4 agave nectar (any kind)
1/4 cup water
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8 inch cake pan (I used a spring form pan, which I think may have been a 9 inch. This resulted in a very thin, almost torte-like cake. You can certainly do this, just take the cake out of the oven sooner. You can also certainly use a regular cake pan as well. That is all. Now back to the recipe.) In a double boiler, or, like I did, a glass bowl set on a saucepan with simmering water, melt the chocolate and the Earth Spread, stirring together. Once it's all melted and and smooth, remove from the stovetop and whisk in the stevia. (You can definitely use regular sugar if you want. I would actually use less stevia next time. I simply subbed in the stevia for the sugar 1:1. However, I felt that the taste of the stevia was a little overpowering, and I think I would probably use 1/2 cup or even 1/3 cup next time. Okay, back to the recipe again!) Whisk in the eggs. Sift the cocoa powder over the mixture and whisk that in as well. Pour the batter into the pan and place it in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until there is a thin crust on top of the cake. (If you're using a 9 inch pan or spring form pan, you may want to check the cake around 15 - 20 minutes into baking.)
For the raspberry sauce: Combine the raspberries, stevia, agave nectar, and water in a saucepan. Mix it all around and bring the saucepan to a simmer, continuing to stir. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sauce has reduced down a bit. Let cool, and then drizzle over flourless chocolate cake and dig in! This sauce would also be awesome on ice cream or lemon cake. Or pancakes! Or waffles! Mmmm!