Friday, December 21, 2012

homemade peppermint marshmallows

For the past few years, around Christmas time, I've been making homemade treats for my coworkers. This year I decided to make homemade peppermint marshmallows so I can cross it off my 30 before 30 list.

I have been wanting to make homemade marshmallows for so long. I think I've always been intimidated by the fact that you have to use a candy thermometer and work with hot sugar. I have a fear of burning things, especially myself!

I decided to use Alton Brown's homemade marshmallow recipe. It got really good reviews and other bloggers seem to like that recipe too. I can totally see why. The marshmallows tasted like little peppermint pillows of air from Heaven! No joke! Making marshmallows from scratch was so easy too! The hardest part of the whole process what waiting for the marshmallows to firm up, which took about 4 hours. I was able to wrap up all my Christmas gifts while waiting.

Now that I am no longer afraid to make marshmallows, I'm completely excited about all of the possible flavors of marshmallows to try! If you too have been intimated by making homemade marshmallows like me, don't be! You can do it! It was super easy! Just make sure you read over the recipe a couple times and make sure you have all of your ingredients measured and ready to go. That will help a a lot. Oh and get a candy thermometer! I got mine from Hobby Lobby for only $3.99 (that price is without a coupon)!

Peppermint marshmallows with hot chocolate...perfect combo!

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows
adapted from this recipe from Alton Brown


  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray

    Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

  • In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

    Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the peppermint extract during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.
Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Drop red food coloring onto the marshmallows and use a toothpick to swirl the food coloring on the marshmallows. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

2 weddings in one night

Last weekend, Calat and I attended 2 beautiful weddings in one night! Good thing they were both at different times. It worked out perfectly for us to go to both. Congrats to both wonderful couples!

I didn't take as many pictures as I wanted to but I at least got one with my love.

Doesn't Calat look handsome? I really think he should dress up more! :)

I was really excited for my outfit and accessories. Apparently blue is a really hot color right now.

How fun is this necklace!?! I found all of these accessories at Charming Charlie. I even got the bracelet and earrings on clearance. I just love shopping there because everything is color-coded and pretty reasonably priced.

I painted my nails blue too.

How cute is this Hello Kitty bottle!? I got it through my mom's nail polish stash. Well, I actually got her this as one as her birthday presents earlier this year. My Mom is obsessed with Hello Kitty.

The nail polish is called Blueberry and is the perfect periwinkle blue. You can find it at Sephora and is $10.

Great formula. Just 2 coats for full opacity.

I'm really loving blue right now. What about you?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

euro photo grid

Earlier this year, I went on a trip of a lifetime with three of my girlfriends to Europe visiting London, Paris and Barcelona. We took a lot of pictures and I just now finally put something together with the picture we took.

For months, I couldn't decide on how I wanted to display my travel memories. Good 'ol Pinterest came to the rescue. I kept seeing awesome photo grids and decided on going with that to display my favorite shots from my Euro trip.

When I moved into my apartment 2 years ago, I had big ideas of creating a piece of artwork to hang on my wall. That never happened. I'm glad I did a photo grid instead. Sorry for the horrible pics. The lighting in my apartment is horrible!

Among the 4 of us, there were a lot pictures to go through, hundreds of photos! I wanted to pick my top 3 shots from each place. It took me a week to narrow it down to just 9 shots!

I chose to make a photo grid using 8" x 10" black and white photos in matching 11" x 14" frames. I got the frames from Michael's. They came in a pack of 3 and I got them on sale for $9.99 a pack (regularly $19.99) plus I got to use a coupon to get an extra 25% off my entire frame purchase. Score!

I knew I wasn't going to have help putting this grid together so I order some helpers from this picture hanging tool and a laser level. I also ordered this pack of photo mats.

I love the helpers I got! You can't really see the laser too well in picture but it really helped me when aligning the frames. Some look a little off but I'm blaming it on the frames! haha. Some of the hangers on the frames were kind of crooked so I had to adjust when needed. Even the picture hanging tool has a level on it too. You hang the frame on the tool and it helps you level the frame and mark exactly where you need to the nail into the wall.

I really love the way it turned out! Do you display your travel memories?

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

opi - houston we have a purple

I've been really good and haven't bought any nail polish in a while. I want to at least wear all of my untried nail polishes first. I have a lot of them.

I was at ULTA the other day redeeming my Beauty Club Reward and decided to check out the nail polish clearance section and there were actually some colors that I had wanted to get.

I settled on purchasing OPI's Houston We Have a Purple from their 2011 Texas Collection. This was not one of the ones I wanted to get. It was an impulse buy. I really like purple! And I didn't have this kind of purple!

I usually look up swatches on my phone before I buy a new nail polish but for some reason I didn't for this one. I had no idea it was a jelly! I don't even like jellies!

When I put it on, my first thought was, Oh man! It's a jelly! Then layer after layer, I started to kind of like it.  It reminds me of raspberry jelly!

It took me 3 coats for opacity but you can kind of still see my nail line. The finish was very glossy but I topped with a coat of Seche Vite anyways.

Now I can't wait to try this as a jelly sandwich!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

my not-so-christmasy christmas wreath

I finally got a chance to put my Christmas wreath together. I used to make wreaths for every type of occasion or season but the time flies by so fast I can barely keep up. It also doesn't help that I only had one wreath to use to change up every time! I figured that Christmas time is not a time to skip making a wreath.

This was my Christmas wreath last year.

Pretty simple. I like peacocks. They're so beautiful. Especially love their peacocky colors.

For my wreath this year, I used the same grapevine wreath, peacock, white poinsettia, and Christmas picks plus added a white feathered boa and a few new picks.

I didn't really know how I wanted the wreath to look like, so I just put the boa on and randomly stuck everything on.

There was glitter and feathers everywhere! But that's ok because I love the way the wreath turned out!

It looks like a whimsical wintry wonderland.....that will never happen in Texas! Today's high temperature was almost 80 degrees!

Do you put up a wreath for Christmas? or make ones for certain occasions? 

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Monday, November 26, 2012

cakes, a baby shower, and nails

My friend, Aissa, is going to have a baby boy in less than a month! I can't wait to meet him...I'm sure he's going to be one super cute baby!

Last weekend was her baby shower and I made her this cake.

It was a blue velvet cake with cream cheese icing and marshmallow fondant. Since the shower theme was kind of swampy, Aissa's sister, Karina, found these perfect cute little toys for the cake, which was awesome since I'm not very good at sculpting figures out of gumpaste or fondant.

I had come to the realization that I have made cakes for all of Aissa's big life events.

Surprise 25th Birthday

Wedding cake & Groom's cake

Surprise going away cake for her sister
I'm so happy to have been included in those moments and so lucky to have such a great friendship with her.

Back to the baby shower, which was very cute and put together nicely by my friend Karina (Aissa's sister), Good job, KFlo! I had to have blue mani for this event.

This is Orly Sapphire Silk with American Apparel Meteor Shower as an accent.

I just found this alligator at my work. He would have fit in perfectly at the baby shower!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

happy thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are surrounded by loved ones and lots of food!

I really wasn't planning on doing a mani for Thanksgiving but my Mom had the perfect colors for an autumn dotticure and I could no longer resist.

I used these:

I used Spoiled Pumping Gas as my base and OPI Chopsticking to My Story, Zoya Pippa, and Spoiled I Don't Drink Cheap Wine for the dots.

I also made some pumpkin muffins with chopped walnuts and white chocolate chunks. Super yummy! I must have ate 3 back-to-back...oops! haha

in the shade
As per usual, my Mom wanted me to do her nails too, exactly like mine...Twinsies!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

comparison blues

Last week I wore Sephora by OPI's Cartwheels on the the Catwalk. I was pretty sure I had some other bottles that were similar but turns out I only had one. I guess that's kinda good, right?

Here I compared $OPI [<-- because the Sephora by OPI is more expensive than the original OPI] with Essie's Who is the Boss, from their 2012 Wedding Collection.

The $OPI has a sea greenish hue while Essie is more of a grayish baby blue.

Both 3 coats with Seche Vite.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I don't know Jacques anymore

I used to wear OPI's You Don't Know Jacques all the time. It was my go-to nail polish. I would wear it week after week after week! It's the perfect taupe. I reccommended this color to everyone I knew. I made people want this color! I was completely in love with Jacques!

But that was last year...I really haven't worn YDKJ in about a year and I finally put it on my nails.

As my much as I hate to admit, the color didn't feel the same. I wasn't as excited to see it on my nails like I had been before. I still like the color but I guess I'm no lnger in love with it...what happened?! Did I just break up with Jacques?!

Do you have a nail color that you used to love?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

sephora by opi - cartwheels on the catwalk

I'm currently wearing this on my nails, Cartwheels on the Catwalk from Sephora by OPI.

artificial light shots

I've had this for a while and I don't know why the heck I've waited this long to try it because I love this color! I do have some similar colors already, so maybe that's why. I need to do a comparison among them.

natural light shots

This was from the Betsey Johnson 2012 Spring Collection and I got it from Sephora for only $5 (regular $9.50)! It does look like a springy color but I think it could also pass for a winter color too.

It's a sea green cream that has nice coverage in 2 coats, but I did 3 coats here. This was also my first time to try a Sephora by OPI and so far I'm impressed. The brush is not as wide as a traditional OPI, which is good because sometimes that brush is just do darn wide and a little hard to control.

The name is fun too. If you are not familiar with Betsey Johnson, she's a bold and quirky fashion designer who just turned 70 that does cartwheels down the runway after all her fashions shows. I hope I can move like that at her age!

outside in the cold shot

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I went camping...sort of

This past weekend, Calat and I went camping with his friends at Beavers Bend in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, which is a 3 hour drive from Dallas, TX. We had been planning it for the past couple of months.

Camping is on my 30-before-30 list, but I'm not sure if I can cross it off. My vision of camping is being out in the wilderness with a tent with limited modern amenities. This camping trip was far from that. We stayed at the Leaping Lizard Lodge that comfortably accommodated our 20+ group. Yes, the cabin was huge! It had 4 bedrooms, giant kitchen, a game room, which was a total man cave, a hot tub, a couple of hammocks and a pavilion. The cabin was so nice. I wish I took more pictures! Since the lodge was called Leaping Lizard, there were cute lizard things everywhere, even in the brick outside!

Check out that fall foliage

Calat and I arrived later than everyone else on Friday night. Once we got there, we just jumped right in to party mode to celebrate our friends' birthdays. Happy Birthday, Kavin and Phuong! There was lots of food, drinks and laughs. 

All they got for their birthday was a big booty cake!

Saturday morning, a few of us headed over to Broken Bow Lake to check it out. It was beautiful. I probably could have stayed there the whole day.

Panoramic view of Broken Bow Lake from Calat

After the lake, we headed back to the cabin to get our grub on. We had all sorts of grilled and smoked meats: brisket, ribs, fajitas, burgers, etc. I think I overdosed on meat. 

My highlight of the weekend was when it was time to make 'smores...This was my first time to have a real 'smores experience! Calat and I brought all of the 'smores essentials, including different kinds of chocolates, cinnamon and regular graham crackers, and giant marshmallows!

I made my 'smores with a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and Hershey's Cookies 'n Cream! I ate 3! I probably could have eaten more, if the marshmallows weren't so big, it made it kind of hard to eat. 

Reeses 'smores

Cookies 'n Cream 'smores

Calat and I had to leave earlier than everyone else too. We were already trying to plan our next camping camping trip before we left!

Next time, I hope to stay a little longer and explore the area more, whether it be going on a hike, fishing or just checking out the local shops and restaurants.


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