Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Now's The Time to Splurge...

Hit up Bloomingdales for their "friends and family" sale!  Now's the time to get those designer jeans, Uggs, or Juicy suit you've been lusting for! 

Happy Shopping!

Tiffany

(As a reminder, check out "Taste{Full}: Shop our Closets" for mall store and designer duds on the cheap!).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ball Jar Banana Puddings

Since these beauties were such a hit at my little one's birthday party a few weeks ago, I wanted to pass along the (super-simple) recipe for you all to enjoy!


I picked up the Ball jars at my local grocery store for $8.99 for 12.  I used the 4 oz. size, which was perfect for the dessert buffet, where people helped themselves to a few things each.  If you were serving these as the sole dessert, you might want to consider the 8 oz. size.  

All you shortcut lovers will love the fact that this is a quick & easy recipe.  I was tempted to make true banana pudding from scratch, but due to the amount of desserts I was making myself, I was delighted to find this recipe that claimed it tasted homemade while requiring very little time!  They were fun to both look at AND eat, and I'm already planning all the other fun desserts I can make in the Ball jars... individual apple crumb pies? Peach cobblers?  The possibilities are endless! Enjoy :)  

PUDDING

2 - 3 oz. packages instant French Vanilla pudding
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 cups milk
8 oz. Cool Whip
4-6 bananas, sliced
1 package vanilla wafers  (the recipe I found used the mini Nilla wafers, but I went ahead and used the regular ones!)

Mix the vanilla pudding with milk and mix per package directions.  Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and fold in the cool whip.  In the Ball jars, layer wafers, bananas and pudding mixture until you reach the top of your container.  

MERINGUE

3 egg whites
5 Tbsp granulated sugar

In a bowl, beat the 3 egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Gradually sprinkle in the sugar until stiff peaks have formed.  Spread this on top of the banana pudding and brown in a 425 degree oven for about 7-10 minutes.  Watch them carefully to achieve your desired level of toastiness!

Let the puddings cool, then return to refrigerator to keep chilled until you're ready to serve.  

Friday, September 24, 2010

If You ♥ Amy Butler, Meet Michael Miller.


A while ago Megan posted about Amy Butler’s incredible fabrics. Well I have another love to speak of. Michael Miller’s fabrics are amazing. They make me want to quit my full time job (never mind that I just started two weeks ago and actually like coming to work everyday) and become a full time seamstress or fashion designer or craftress (yes, I just made that word up). His prints are vintage, mod, whimsical….and everything else I love. The possibilities are endless. For instance, take a look at this adorable burp cloth idea over at How Does She (my new favorite blog). I almost don’t even want to mention this idea because I am certain I will be bringing this affordable homemade gift to the next baby shower I attend. And yes, I want everyone to ooh and ahh and not have any idea that I didn’t come up with the idea myself. Tell me what you’d do with this (or any other fun) fabric? And give me a shout if there is another line of fabrics that Megan and I should add to our ♥ list?!







Ok I have to force myself to stop...I could upload pictures of his gorgeous fabric all day.  To see more of his collection, go to fabric.com.






Thursday, September 23, 2010

Baby's First Birthday Sunshine Celebration!

Recently this little lovely turned one.....


Yes, I'm obviously biased.  However, this little sunshine party, full of cheery yellows and spiked with accents of hot pink, would be great for any little one!  I was inspired initially by this lovely spread over at the Hostess Blog, and then took it in a few of my own directions.  

One of the very first things I knew I wanted to do was make sure that there was plenty to entertain the kids.  I also know firsthand from my own experience at little kid's birthday parties that as a parent, you usually spend most of the time chasing your own kids around, while not really being able to relax, eat and socialize with the other adults.  It's just how it works!  I really wanted to see if there was an alternative to that however, so I ended up making my best party move potentially EVER and hiring two of the most amazing teenagers that we know through a family at work.  These kids ROCKED.  They were the best party entertainers ever, and delighted the kids with everything from balloon animals to face painting to active games and more.  I had set up the children's area in a big grassy area on the bottom of the decks where the adults would be, so parents were able to still see the kids and what they were doing, while still being able to socialize.


Kids favors were a variety of kid toys/treats, such as coloring books, crayons, twirly straws, punching balloons, etc., in bright beach pails that I found in the dollar section at Target.  

Of course the grown-ups weren't forgotten.  For adults, I feel there's really no better entertainment than good food.  Especially when guys are involved, I am a big believer that although decor is definitely crucial, having a solid menu with great food is almost even more important!  To follow the light-hearted and summery theme, I decided on doing pulled pork sandwiches, along with corn on the cob, honey cornbread, potato salad, cole slaw and chips.  Let's just say that 20 pounds of pork and 40 satisfied adults later, I was pretty sure the menu was a hit.  Sorry for the lack of pictures, but basically all hands were either working or eating... no time for the camera! 



I love being creative with the drink stations at parties, and what better end of summer treat than lemonade?  A Lemonade Bar set up with 4 different simple syrups (strawberry, blueberry, lavender and basil), fresh berries and fresh herbs was one of my favorite parts of the party.  



It is usually guaranteed that at a first birthday party some of your guests will still be the kind not yet on solid foods.  Since our party had 8 little ones under the age of 1, I set up a Baby Snack Bar with an assortment of puffs, yogurt melts and dried fruit.




And oh, the Dessert Table.... Amy Atlas I am nowhere near, but I can aspire.  I was very luckily able to borrow some amazing cake plates from my mom, sister and friends, which really made the whole tablescape.  One of my favorite parts were the too-cute-for-words individual banana puddings in tiny ball jars, complete with a dollop of meringue on top.  Let's just say I hope they tasted good, because they were gone in minutes so I never tried one! :) 
 

And of course you can't forget the crucial play list.... putting together a soundtrack for your soiree can set the tone and mood for all the guests, so don't overlook this detail.  Sunshine songs were so much fun to put together and added a lighthearted mood to the beautifully sunny day.



All in all, it was a delight celebrating our little girl, who truly IS the sunshine of our lives... isn't it obvious?? 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Best Cupcakes EVER.

I am not a baker. But lately (probably due to Genevieve’s upcoming 1st birthday) I am obsessed with all things cupcakes. Perhaps at a later time I will post about some of the cool cupcake accessories (who even knew there was such a thing) I’ve found online but for now I just wanted to share this amazing recipe. As a side note, the good thing about the recipes I share is that you know if I can make it, anyone can--especially in the baking arena. And perhaps your skill level is higher than mine (and so your expectations are as well) but from my perspective this is the best cupcake ever!



From taste of home Cake Mix treats:

Batter:
1 Package (18 ¼ ounces) chocolate cake mix
1 ¼ c water*
1/2 c peanut butter
1/3 c canola oil
3 eggs
24 miniature peanut butter cups

Frosting:
6 ounces of semi sweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 c heavy whipping cream
1/3 c peanut butter
Additional miniature peanut butter cups, chopped

1. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water*, peanut butter, oil and eggs; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes or until smooth.
2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full. Place a peanut butter cup in the center of each cupcake. Cover each with 1 TBs of batter.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
4. Place chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Stir in peanut butter. Cool, stirring occasionally, to room temperature or until ganache reaches a spreading consistency, about 10 minutes. (I had to stick in the freezer for a few minutes because it was still too soft after 10 minutes).
5. Spread over cupcakes; immediately sprinkle with additional peanut butter cups. Let stand until set.






Editor’s note: Reduced-fat or generic brands of peanut butter are not recommended for this recipe (and really why would you try to save a few tiny calories anyway?!).

Taste{full} Fall Must Haves- Crazy about Cords

So the must haves continue. One of the things that get me gaga for fall (lady gaga has absolutely ruined the word "gaga" for me. Much like Obama ruined the words "hope" and "change," but I better move on before the hate mail starts rolling in...) is corduroys! I don't know if it's the 7 year old school girl in me or what but I have always, always loved cords. Fine wale, wide wale, whatever wale you choose! Now I have never owned a pair of skinny cords but that is about to change as soon as the Old Navy package arrives on my doorstep.

The awesome thing about cords is they give your wardrobe a bit of variety. Typically (especially in the colder seasons) I'm wearing dress pants for work, or jeans. Well I can totally get away with wearing Cords to work and it feels like I'm wearing jeans; even better, on the weekend, I can throw on a chunky sweater or vintage tee and cardi and I'm ready to go and feel so....FALL. And as with everything, tuck it into a pair of Uggs and you're golden.



These are the Old Navy skinny cords I ordered. They arrived last night and I ♥ them. The only problem is they run really small. So if you order them, order up a size. Besides that, I love the velvety fine wale texture, the length (they come in petite and tall), and the price--$34.50




Personally, I feel like a boy when I try boyfriend but some people pull them off beautifully. I love the color of this Banana Republic pair almost enough to make me try the cut. They are a little pricier at $79.50 but in the world of fashion and fashion magazines, that's still pretty cheap (though in my world it's not, so if it isn't in your world either, don't despair. I'm right there with you!). However, right now they are having a 20% off sale so it would be a good time to buy!

 
 
If you're not into skinnies or boyfriend cut, here's a great flared option. At $36.90, the price is very reasonable. They come in sizes ranging from 1 to 25 in three different inseams and four different colors! I mentioned in my "lux for less online" post how much I love Alloy due to their amazing size selection.

Happy Shopping!
Tiffany


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Taste{FULL} Launches "Shop Our Closets!"

Welcome to Taste{full} Shop Our Closets!  Shop our Closets is basically a thrift sore online..but unlike regular thrift stores, our items will be mostly name brand, clean, and not have that icky smell. ;)  This is a chance for you to get some cute, name brand (ok, Megan has name brand.  I have Target and Old Navy) stuff for CHEAP. 

This is new for us and may evolve...But the process for now will be for us to post pictures and other details of items we own that are for sale.  We will most likely set a price or list it as "Best Offer."  (as a side note, we will also put links to items we have on eBay which will either be "buy it now" or "auction" style items).  Once you confirm that you are interested in a product on the site, you can e-mail the appropriate person to work out a payment arrangement (i.e. paypal) and shipping details.  PLEASE feel free to email us at tiffandmeg@gmail.com with questions.  And Enjoy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gettin Jegging with It- a Must Have for Fall!

Ok first I have to make fun of myself for titling this post "must have." I always laugh at magazine articles that tell me what I "must have," because A) they are not buying it for me and B) it's super convenient for them to profit off of my insatiable desire to be cutting edge. Lest I lose you, I'll hop off of my soapbox since, let's face it, I am hardly the poster child for anti-consumerism. So, I'm resigned to using the phrase "must have" because, seriously you have to have these items. ;)

Now I have been on a fashion fast of sorts (now my earlier rant is making sense huh?), trying to avoid the mall, stores, and fashion magazines. Why, you ask? Another post for another time. The only reason I even mention it is as a disclaimer that I might miss something over the next few "must have" posts. Ok now on to more fun topics. My first fave for fall is....

jeggings, denim leggings, jean leggings or whatever you'd like to call them. I have tried on a pair of these at Forever 21, have a pair in my old navy cart as I type, and own an awesome INC pair and I love them. I love the look of skinny jeans but the comfort of leggings. I love that they don't leave that nasty gap at my waist that jeans often do if you have a booty. I love that you can tuck them into uggswithout them bunching up around your ankles and making you so uncomfortable that it almost doesn't matter how stinkin cute you look! Here are a few pairs I've fallen in love with. I hope you do too...


These "Rock star super skinny denim leggings" are from Old Navy. That's Right, Old Navy. For a mere $39.50 you can be in style and comfortable. The thing I love best about these is that they apparently flatter curves. I know many women who have curves and are afraid to wear skinny jeans as a result. While my knowledge of this particular pair of jeans isn't first hand, if you take the time to read the reviews, you'll notice an amazing trend. Reviewers are exuberantly stating that curvy girls can wear skinny jeans too, as noted by these review titles: "Curvy girls will love these," and "Yes curvy girls! You CAN wear jeggings!" The reviews are so convincing ("Literally my favorite article of clothing ever!") that I can't wait to get mine and am fighting the urge to get them in 2 colors!


I love true religions. I'm not sure why. I have absolutely no reason to be brand loyal to them...well I guess that's not entirely true. I have one pair that I wear ALL the time and 3 years after that purchase they still look good and make me feel good! What's not to be loyal to?! As a result whatever the trend I always look for it in True Religion. That's not to say I purchase them (as soon as I hit the big time I'll be purchasing TRs as often as my heart desires but until then...), but I certainly lust after them, e-mail pictures of them to other shopaholic friends (Meg and Abby this means you), and hint to my husband to get them FOR me (the sweet man bought me the other pair...let's just repeat that shall we?!). These aren't exactly as budget friendly as Old Navy's. At $190 you may have to go without your daily Starbucks run for a couple of months, but that just might be a trade I'd be willing to make.

                                                     

If you're looking for a happy medium between 39.50 and 190, I think you've found it. I love these Gap Legging Jeans in faded black wash. I love how they aren't cheesy looking and look substantial enough to not make you wish you had the shape of a 12 year old boy. You can celebrate your curves in these. And I LOVE the wash. Not quite black just looks edgy without even trying. I could see wearing these with Chuck Taylors or something closer to the almond toe platforms the model is wearing. One word: SEXY.

Stay tuned for more posts on must haves for fall (Thanks for the idea Lulie!).

Happy Shopping,
Love Tiffany
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