Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Links

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Happy Friday! I leave for LA on Sunday to spend a week with my good friend Laura, attend my company's LA Christmas Party, and work out of the west coast office for 4 days. I'm pretty excited to get away from the east coast for a few days since it always makes me come back and appreciate everything a bit more after I take a vacation. This weekend is full of things: 3! holiday parties, my boyfriend and me are celebrating one year anniversary (wow), and I have to pack for my trip. These links are a nice bit of distraction before diving into this crazy weekend. xx - Annie

1. The 2014 Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog is hilarious.

2. These unconventional makeup photos are gorgeous

3. Cup of Jo put together a great food gift list from Mouth for those on your list that you need last minute gifts for! 

4. I've been thinking about investing in a new curling iron and this list of curling techniques and the right sized irons is proving to be extremely helpful.

5. I'm obsessed with these dog pillows. If only I could make one featuring an actual photo of my dog!

6.  This gingerbread house puts the paint by numbers version  from Trader Joe's that I created with my girlfriends to shame.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Dress Up

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With all the parties throughout the holiday season, this is a perfect time to invest in a few special occasion pieces that will stand out at your next soiree. The new suit collection by Bonobos is well-priced and has a modern fit perfect for any guy in your life. Pair their Foundations Suit with a great pair of loafers and classic tie to complete the look. This gorgeous dress by For Love and Lemons is high on my wishlist this year. I would love to pair it with a striking pair of heels and clever clutch to really stand out.  Who doesn't love an excuse to wear sparkly things? Get inspired with these looks and start putting together your next party look!

xx - Annie

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Friday!

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(1) Lauren Conrad's gift guide for your "bestie" is absolutely adorable {via}

(2) I love this outfit and I also love Emma Stone {via Refinery 29}

(3) Ina Garten gave some great advice on what to make ahead for Thanksgiving {via Food52}

(4) This cute book about what to make and give is inspirational as I start to think about Christmas shopping vs creating presents for my friends and family this year {via Oh Joy}

(5) Great information on when to throw out your makeup. I'm definitely quite behind on a few of these items. {via TheCoveteur}

(6) Iconic costume design from Almost Famous {via}

Have a great weekend! xo - Annie 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Baking Classes at ICE

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I've had an ICE gift certificate from a close friend sitting in my email inbox for longer than I'd care to admit. I finally took it upon myself to sign up for a class this fall and jumped at the opportunity to learn about the pricey and notoriously difficult to make Macaron Cookie.

The class I  took was taught by Kathryn Gordon, author of Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home. The class sizes are small, held to 10-12 people and 3 cooking aids help make sure all work spaces stay immaculately clean and any questions are answered throughout the 4-hour class. Each individual work space comes with an apron, all necessary baking tools, pre-measured ingredients, as well as a Kitchen Aid mixer to make you feel even more like a pro. Coffee and snacks were provided but I treated myself to an Espresso Buzz smoothie from Grass Roots Juicery on my way to class :). 

Below, I've listed out the basic recipe that we followed during class.

Basic Macaron Recipe (from our class)
123 grams almond flour
123 grams confectioner's sugar
1 pinch sea salt
110 grams of granulated sugar
3 grams powered egg whites (helps with whipping into stiff peaks)
86 grams whisked egg whites, about 3 large eggs

GET READY: Preheat the oven to 350ºF (if you are air drying your batter) or 200ºF (if you are going to use the oven to dry the batter), and position 2 racks in the lower section of the oven. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

(1)  Grind the almond flour, confectioner's sugar, and salt 4 times in a food processor until the mixture is very fine,  holding the ON button for 4 seconds each time and taking time to cool the mixture with a quick stir of a spoon. Sift the mixture onto some parchment paper.
    (2) Place powdered egg whites, liquid egg whites, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high until soft peaks form (setting 7 for approx 11 minutes but WATCH your mixer since the time frame varies greatly.
    (3) Take a spatula and fold in your sifted powder mixture slowly into the  meringue with salt and any coloring/added flavor until well incorporated (don't mix too much or this causes the cookies to crack!). When you have mixed enough, you can lift the spatula and the mixture should flow off the end almost like lava.
    A shot from inside the classroom at ICE
    (4) Spoon batter into a pasty bag with a 1/4-inch round tip. Pipe meringue onto your prepared cookie sheets. We used printed guides slide underneath the silicone to help guide the size of the cookies which was very helpful. 
    (5) The fun part. Chef Gordon had us bang the cookie sheets 10 or so times against the counters to smooth out the tops. These could either be left out to air dry or placed in a cooler oven to dry the edges of the cookies to a thin skin and prepare for baking.

(6) Bake for 9 or so minutes at 350, checking periodically for browning or any other issues.

(7) Cool and use a spatula to flip over the cookies. Use the freezer to help lift the cookies off if they are giving you trouble. 

I chose to make an orange filling but macarons can be filled with jellies, caramel, ganache, butter cream, and the list goes on

120 grams almond paste
1/2 stick of butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch fine sea salt
Orange Oil to Taste

(1) Measure out your almond paste and butter using a scale for accurate measurement.

(2) Use a paddle attachment to beat in vanilla, orange oil, and sea salt. Beat until smooth.

(3) Use a piping bag to pipe the filling onto your cookies and assemble.

All Done! As you can see, my cookies didn't cook to a perfect rounded "macaron" shape but they were absolutely delicious. That's all that really matters, right?

While I highly recommend Chef Gordon's macaron baking class, there's an endless list of amazing classes to choose from here. I'm going to have a hard time picking out which one to take next!

xo - Annie 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tibi Sample Sale - - Part II

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I scored this embossed scuba-jersey dress yesterday at Tibi's sample sale. 

Original price - $475.00

The sale is still on through tomorrow, make sure to check it out if you are in NYC.

xo - Annie 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sample Sales - - Tibi

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Tibi is hosting a sample sale this week in NYC. An old roommate of one of my best friends always had the most incredible pieces on when she'd be getting ready to go out and every time I inquired where something was from, the answer was "A Tibi Sample Sale!" I'm excited to check out what the sale has to offer and was also inspired to visit their website and seek out some of their best pieces for further inspiration. I'm obsessed with this feather trimmed blazer as well as this elegant striped skirt that reminds me of my grandmother's gold version that I wore last year for my annual Holiday party. All the pieces are so gorgeous but timeless which is what I've been looking for as I want to build a more sustainable and less trendy wardrobe.

Deal: Up to 70% off

When: Today, November 11th through November 13th. 
Tue 12pm—8pm
Wed 9am—8pm 
Thu 9am—5pm

Where: 42 Greene St between Broome St. and Grand St. via NY Racked 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Browser Browsing: Totokaelo

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Totokaelo has a physical location in Seattle, WA but for those of us that can't get to Seattle there is a wonderfully curated online store full of dreamy pieces by Rachel Comey, Dies Van Noten, and Commes Des Garcons. 

The shop's owner, Jill Wenger, did make a great list of the best stops in Seattle that I now have to bookmark for whenever i finally make it out to the Northwest. 

xx- Annie 

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