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Magna Carta Holy Grail

Yes, I am the same girl who usually posts about cookies and make-up…but today I’m posting about something a littttttle different 🙂

This post may not appeal to many of our readers – but Jay-Z’s new album just came out and I’m bursting with so much excitement that I can’t help but to post about it up here for the world (or at least our followers) to see! I have officially been listening to ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ for 48  hours straight and I finally feel prepared to review it. For those of you who know me even just a little, you know I am absolutely OBSESSED with Jay-Z…and pretty much all rap music in general (contrary to what you may think by the looks of me!). I know all the words to 99 problems and will frequently bust out in song when the time is right (and sometimes when it’s not…). I don’t know what it is about rap music, but I just love it! I was so excited for this album to come out and let me tell you – it does not disappoint.

I won’t go so far as to say it is as good or better than Watch the Throne, because let’s be real, Jay and ‘Ye together is just  a unique magic that you can’t ever replicate. HOWEVER, this album does have some great collaborations, including the song “Holy Grail’ with Justin Timberlake that I’ve listened to about a hundred times already. Some of my other favorites include: BBC, Heaven, and Picasso Baby.

Happy listening!

-S

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Shopping for Summer

Soooo…I’m guilty…I went shopping AGAIN this weekend. There’s just something about strolling through downtown DC shops (or Pentagon City Mall) on a Sunday afternoon that is just so relaxing. I’m still in that summer denial phase, where I have almost NO clothes for the season….so I’m slowly but surely trying to fix that situation as summer inches closer and closer. Here are my latest finds to help me prepare for the sweltering DC heat (and some makeup that just makes me feel better in general :))

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1. Subtle Snakeskin Sandals- Ann Taylor Loft

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My general MO in the summer is to buy a couple sets of sandals and just wear them out until the end of the season and rinse and repeat for the next year. Because they get worn out so easily I’m always trying to find a pair that are relatively cheap, but will also be cute and match a large majority of my clothes. These snakeskin sandals from Ann Taylor Loft are my first sandal purchase this season and I am SO excited about them! They’re super cute, go with everything, and did I mention they are SNAKE SKIN ahhh! Trekking the hot streets of DC won’t be so bad with these by my side….or…um..on my feet!

2. Yellow Tanktop – Banana Republic

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I’ve had my heart set on this tanktop since I first laid eyes on it about a month ago. I waited and waited for a sale or coupon, and finally it came. With a 50% off Banana Republic coupon in hand, I headed to the store to finally pick up this gorgeous summer top. It’s the prefect color for my skintone and is really light and airy so I won’t get super sweaty and gross in it. Also, it can be dressed up or down, depending on how you style it. I can’t wait to wear it around to brunches, bars, and wherever else the wind takes me this summer!

3. Sephora Collection Colorful Blush in Coral Crush – Sephora

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My cousin informed me that the makeup you’re placing directly on your face (i.e. foundation, blush, etc.) is the most important as far as quality goes…which makes sense when you think about it. So I returned once again to my new favorite place – Sephora and went directly for the “Sephora Collection” brand – which isn’t too expensive, but is still great quality (only $14 a pop!). I decided to try out the coral color for something a little different and natural for summer and I am LOVING it so far! Of course I’ll keep a classic pink blush around for most occasions, but this coral is great for switching things up every once in a while, and goes great with my tan!

With these great pick-ups I am A LITTLE more excited for summer, though I’m still dreading that humidity! What great deals have you come across this season?

-S

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Our first GUEST BLOG!

We’re super excited to announce that we just finished our VERY FIRST GUEST BLOG! This means we’re legit bloggers now, right?

The ladies over at latte issues asked us to participate in their ongoing guest blog series and we love following them, so of course we had to say yes!

We rewrote one of our favorite all time recipes, HURRICANE BROWNIES, for them…so head over there and check it out! Also, look for our first guest blog by these lovely ladies – comin’ at ya in a few days!

Xx E&S

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Hill’s Kitchen

This past weekend I had one of my best friends since the 2nd grade come and visit D.C.! Because as per usual most people have seen the monuments and museums plus the fact that it was a wee bit chilly outside we did my traditional DC guest adventure instead — Eastern Market & U Street.

Along the way we stopped at one of my favorite Capitol Hill stores — Hill’s Kitchen. The clever name, great location and amount of generally cool things inside make it a perfect place to stroll around on a lazy weekend morning and if there is any ever cooking utensil you need, or a cookie cutter in the shape of a state, this is your place!

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I need to only ever wisk things with this little guy

I need to only ever wisk things with this little guy

mmm tea

mmm tea

cady!

cady modeling of fondue set

every shape state!!

every shape state!!

all types of cookbooks & Cady

all types of cookbooks & Cady

DaVinci in plate form!

DaVinci in plate form!

representing Bari with Wisconsin pasta --- pretty much every other big school was avaliable but suprisingly no Rochester ;)

representing Bari with Wisconsin pasta — pretty much every other big school was available but surprisingly no Rochester 😉

Hills Kitchen also has cooking classes which I may have to try.. you can read more about them at their site here.

We also stopped along the boutiques on U street, and the giant furniture store Room&Board. Its my inspiration for a future apartment…

the inside of Room& Board on 14th

the inside of Room& Board on 14th

 

Along our weekend adventures we also found in Dean& Deluca:

 

Elyse wine from Naggiar Vineyard?? too close for comfort..

xE

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Up and Down the East Coast

In the past week I’ve gone from 86 degrees to 13 degrees. I started my week in Atlanta and then moved to Naples, FL before heading back to DC for 12 hours and taking off again for Philadelphia and Rochester, NY!

After a delayed flight, we arrived in Atlanta and stopped off at a Zaxby’s for some real southern fried chicken…and it did NOT disappoint. Atlanta was our best and most exciting event in my opinion – and I got to reunite with my roommate from the U of R who is living there now! We didn’t have much time, but we did get to catch up a little and it was so refreshing to see a familiar and encouraging face!

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Our award-winning costume from D’Lion year – Cowboys and Indians (hah – get it?)

In Florida we stayed at a resort in Coconut Point, where we were offered complimentary mimosas or champagne upon check-in…um, that’s my kind of establishment! Luckily the hotel grounds were gorgeous, because we didn’t have all too much time to explore the surrounding area….but we didn’t need it with this surrounding us:

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the treeeeees!

Then it was back to DC for the last Presidents’ Tour event. Though I was stressed and tired from working all week, mostly I was sad to see it end! The tour was so fun and I got so close to all my coworkers that it was disappointing to see it all end.

But I didn’t have too much time to dwell on the sadness. After our celebratory lunch, I headed up to PA. Back in Philly, I got to search for a bridesmaid dress for my friend Jenn’s wedding in September. I’ve never even been to a wedding, so this was totally new and exciting territory for me! We went to Alfred Angelo’s and after trying on a couple of different options, Jenn decided on this one:

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And finally I arrived in Rochester Saturday night, where I spent the rest of the weekend catching up with my family and friends from school. One of the highlights was getting to go out to my favorite Rochester bar, Mex, with a bunch of friends.

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Reunited with AKPsi!

And Sunday night I had a reunion with my former summer housemates. Though we hadn’t all been together in over a year, we spent the entire night reminiscing about old times and catching up on all our exciting current lives.

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So much love!

I also got to have a movie marathon with the rents and even painted my dad’s keys so he could tell them apart using the method I posted about here earlier! But this time I left out the glitter…

Anyway, it’s off to bed for now (finally)! Hopefully I can spend this week catching up on everything I missed while I was gone!

-xO S

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Happy (belated) Valentines Day!

Hopefully you did something nice with someone you love– whether it be a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend or four-legged friend!

Last year I received one of those edible arrangement bouquets which are great to send if you can’t be there in person, however I found that after a day all the lovely chocolate covered fruit had become quite gross. After Shiannes post about chocolate filled strawberries, I decided it can’t be that hart to make my own chocolate covered ones!

and…. viola!

hungry yet??

Alright so the secret to these guys is that while they seem fancy, they’re actually the easiest thing you could ever possibly make. Next time I may even try tuxedo style just to make it a little more complicated.

You will need:

-1 5oz bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
-Strawberries
-wax paper

yes thats it!

Directions:

1. Melt your chocolate — you can do this either in the microwave by going in 15 second increments and mixing each time or over the stove on low. I went the microwave route but next time I think stove to make sure the chocolate stays melted.
2. Dip your strawberry and place on wax paper
3. place in the fridge to harden
4. Eat!

You’ll impress all, be happily satisfied with your dessert and even feel a little romantic.

Enjoy!

xxE

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Super Bowl Chip Dip

Disclaimer: This dip recipe I’m about to share with you tastes much better but is just as artery-clogging as it looks and sounds. 

This is a dip recipe I have been making for YEARS. Yes, YEARS. I try to only make it for special occasions, and since I haven’t made it in a while, I thought the Superbowl would be the perfect excuse to bust it out again. It, like most things I make, is quick and easy!

What you’ll need:

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Only 3 ingredients! Can’t get much easier than that!

– 1 package of cream cheese
– 1 can of chili (beans or no beans)
– 1 bag of mozzarella cheese

Directions:

1. Spread cream cheese into bottom of large bowl
2. Pour chili on top

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3. Pour Mozzarella cheese on top

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This is what I meant by tastes better than it sounds….

4. Place in microwave for 1 minute
5. Take out and stir 

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6. Optional: Place in the microwave again for 30 seconds to serve at slightly warmer temperature

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Let us know if you have any other delicious recipes for the Super Bowl! I think Elyse will be posting her recipes after tomorrow!

GO TEAM!

-S

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Hot Chocolate from Scratch!

When I say from scratch, I mean it.

Another favorite thing of mine is hot chocolate while hanging out and its cold outside. Add in a fire and You’ve Got Mail starting on TV? Sold.

Sadly, this time when I went to look in the kitchen for our usual box of Swiss Miss it was nowhere to be found. What to do!
My mom came to the rescue this time, recalling a recipe on the side of a Hersey’s Cocoa box. Now let me tell you, I was a little skeptical but…

must be unsweetened! (and its gross plain..trust me.)

IT WAS AMAZING. Seriously. It kicked swiss miss, Starbucks, and any other hot chocolates butt easily and it’s also very simple to make. I may never go back to the water and packaged version again!!

Shianne came over last night so we tried it out together–>

What you’ll need:

2 tablespoons sugar or 2 tablespoons Splenda sugar substitute
2 -3 teaspoons hershey”s cocoa
1 dash salt
1 cup milk ( I suggest whole for a thicker cocoa, my mom actually used condensed milk)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1    Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in large mug.

mixing the dry ingredients

2    Heat milk in microwave at HIGH(100%) for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until hot in a separate mug
3    Gradually add hot milk to cocoa mixture in mug, stirring until well blended.


4    Stir in vanilla.

Yes, that is literally all you have to do to wow guests, and create your perfect couch cozy beverage. Thank me (or my Mama in this case) later!

Tada!!

xxE

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Mansion on O Street

 Last week we had our Development Team annual dinner at the eclectic Mansion on O Street. It was formerly a bunch of townhouses that have now been put together to create an awesome and unique museum/hotel/event space!

[Disclaimer: my pictures are not the best quality…but you can still tell the place is pretty cool, and literally FILLED from floor to ceiling with memorabilia/collectibles]

The first part of the night was a scavenger hunt, where we split into groups and participated in one of the Mansion’s pre-made tours and searched through secret passages and four floors of an antique show explosion. There’s everything from signed guitars to creepy cat figurines, and almost everything is up for sale.

My favorite part of the tour was the awesome Wine Cellar in the basement!

heaven on earth!!

Oh, and did I mention that the Mansion has one of the TOP TEN pastry chefs in America? Um, yeah, just take a look at this Capitol-shaped cake:

so beautiful you want to eat it..almost

I wish I could have gotten more/better pictures, but I was too busy soaking it all in….guess I’ll have to go back. It’s definitely not something I’d normally do, but I’m glad I did, and I think it’d be even more fun with a couple friends and some drinks! They have a TON of different tour options…including a current Living Social deal for a $15 self-guided tour with Champagne! Check out the other options here:http://www.omuseum.org/museum/visitor_information/tours/

xO – S

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Chocolate Chip Cake Batter Cookies

New Year, new recipes!

I’m always looking for new ‘go-to’ recipes that I can whip up at a moment’s notice for any office party, birthday, or other social gathering. However, I’m not very patient when it comes to baking…or anything, really. I figure, life is too short not to cut corners every once in a while when you can. So my general M.O. is to find a recipe I like and alter it a little to fit my style.

If you are patient, here is the original recipe from my newest baking website addiction from a true baking genius: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/12/09/recipe-round-2-cake-batter-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Annnnnd here is the ‘spark-noted’ version I made last night:

Ingredients:
– 1 Âź cup flour
– 1 Âź cup yellow or white cake mix
– ½ tsp baking soda
– ž cup unsalted butter, softened
– ½ cup sugar
– ½ cup light brown sugar
– 1.5 tbsp. vanilla extract
– 1 egg
– ½ cup chocolate chips
– ½ cup vanilla chips
– ½ cup sprinkles

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Lots of ingredients…but it’s easier than ya think!

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease or spray baking pan
2. In a small bowl, combine flour, cake mix, and baking soda; set aside.
3. Soften butter, mix with both sugars, eggs, and vanilla.

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4. Combine the two bowls and mix until combined

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Batter so good it’s a miracle I didn’t just eat it all at this step

5. Add chocolate chips and sprinkles
6. Spread mixture into pan

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yummmm

7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until light golden in color

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Do I haaaave to wait for them to cool or can I just stuff my face now?

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Sooooo gooddddd…

Super simple, super delicious – just my style. Try them out and let me know what ya think!

xO – S

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