Peppermint Brownies

I used to hate peppermint. And not just the little kid hate where you don’t like the idea of it, but if it is in something you will still eat it. I refused to eat anything mint flavor. Well, a couple of years, I finally gave it another try and discovered that I absolutely adore peppermint, especially peppermint and chocolate. So of course, I have been experimenting. My mom found this peppermint brownie recipe a few years ago and we have been using it ever since. I added a little more peppermint to the recipe so it had a little extra kick :). The recipe is actually pretty similar to any other brownie recipe, you just add peppermint extract instead of some of the vanilla. You do the same thing in the icing so the brownies themselves as well as the icing are both peppermint flavor. Although peppermint is typically considered kind of festive, these are great all year round and will give your brownies a unique touch!

Plus, if you want some of these, you can buy some through Lefty Baking Life!

Ingredients: 

14 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 tsp peppermint extract

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 cup crushed candy canes (six regular size canes)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9 x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper and make sure it comes up relatively high so the sides of the brownies don’t stick.

Melt the butter and bittersweet chocolate chips together in the microwave on 50% power for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until combined.

Beat together the eggs, sugar, peppermint extract, and vanilla until smooth. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and continue mixing until well blended.

Add flour and salt to the batter mixing gently until well combined and no trace of the dry ingredients remain. Don’t over mix it. Stir in the white chocolate chips by hand.

Spred the brownie batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only crumbs. If your oven is slow like mine, it might take closer to 30 minutes so just watch them closely. Let the brownies cool in the pan. I put mine in the fridge so they were really cold when I iced them.

Icing:

Put the candy canes in a plastic bag and pound with a hammer or rolling pin until they are crushed into tiny pieces. This is kinda finicky work because you don’t want it to be a powder, but you don’t want the pieces to be so big you can’t take a bit. Just experiment a little but don’t go over board.

Combine powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and peppermint extract in a a bowl and mix until combined. Add in cream and beat until it is a spreadable consistency. Spread over the top of the cooled brownies and then cover with crushed candy canes.

Refrigerate to let the icing set and then remove from the pan and cut.

This makes about 16 depending on the size you cut them!

Until next time…

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Holiday Tartan

2017, winter, red lips, Nars, J.Crew, statement earrings, statement lip, tartan, OOTD,

2017, winter, red lips, Nars, J.Crew, statement earrings, statement lip, tartan, OOTD,

2017, winter, red lips, Nars, J.Crew, statement earrings, statement lip, tartan, OOTD,

Hello all! I hope you had a wonderful holiday and you are enjoying your time off if you had some. I am, of course, back at the grind stone, but I have a good feeling about this week and 2018. As the New Year approaches, I have definitely been reflecting on the last year and looking forward to what is to come. This week, there are going to be a couple of posts looking back and looking forward so stay tuned!

I know I just recently wore this dress, but it is my favorite thing in my closet right now. It is incredibly comfortable and flattering. Plus, it has pockets! The tartan print also makes it feel holiday-esque this time of year. Paired with some sparkly accessories and red lips, it is perfect for any occasion you have over the next week.

Until next time,

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A few of my favorite things

Hello all! Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend so far. This outfit is one of my favorite things I have worn lately because the component parts are some of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe. First of all this flannel is my favorite shirt. It is a real flannel material so super warm. It is great for a casual day, but also fun to dress up for work. Then there is this coat. I mean, do I need to say more? It is just so perfect, I couldn’t ask for a better coat. Sometimes I feel a little aggressive when I wear it, but normally I just ignore that and keep on rocking it. I am so glad I made the decision to buy this. Finally there is my scarf. Sure it’s just a plain black blanket scarf, but I bought it when I lived in England so it has lots of fond memories attached to it. Plus it is by far the best scarf to travel with. You can wrap it up in a bunch of different ways because it is long and not too thick. Then, on an airplane or outside, it is big enough that you can basically wrap the whole thing around you body. If you don’t already have one of these in your wardrobe, I would highly recommend it! I hope y’all have a wonderful rest of you evening and until next time!

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Cozy Holiday Party

One of my biggest struggles in the winter is dressing up. I get so cold that sometimes I just want to be cozy even when I need to be dressed up a little. The key for me is bold, dressy accessories. These shoes are one of my favorite pairs, but they are hard to wear with outfits. If I wear them with a dress or skirt, I am so overly dressy, but even with jeans they are sometimes dressier than I want to be. But, going to a company or a friends holiday gathering, they are perfect with jeans and this incredibly cozy oversized sweater. My dad brought this sweater to my mom after a trip to Ireland. It is so warm that my mom can’t even wear it so it is perfect for me. I love wearing it with a black turtleneck and heels. It feels so different from my typical winter look and I love it. The final touch for a look like this is a statement clutch. I love this one because you can wear it in any season and it immediately spices up any outfit. I love using it to take an outfit from work to evening wear or with an outfit like this to give it that extra punch. Happy holidays! Until next time…

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Looking Back and Thinking About What’s Next

Hello all! It is that time of year where you start to think about the past year and what’s to come in the next one. For me, 2017 has probably been the craziest year I’ve ever had filled with incredible highs and really crappy lows. I went from deciding to move to London for my master’s to completely scrambling with no idea what to do. But as usual, the universe worked its magic and I was able to find a great position as a gallery curator here in Greensboro. My new job has been challenging in ways I never expected, but has been an incredible experience. I still miss my old job and my co-workers every day, but life happens and sometimes you have to move on.

With my new job, I’ve been finding new artists, installing exhibitions, promoting exhibitions, and selling art. It has definitely been challenging, but you can read all about my my exhibitions here. In addition to my regular 9-5 job, I have also been busy writing an art blog on my ownselling baked goods, and selling clothes. And as if that wasn’t enough, I am now also apply to graduate school.

If 2018 is anything like 2017, it will be crazy and hectic, but also amazing and full of new experiences and opportunities. Until next time…

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Preppy Tartan

Button-down shirts have always been something I have loved. I love the structure and how easy they are to layer, mix and match and add jewelry to. Recently, I have been obsessed with tartan of any kind and this tartan button-down was a must when I saw it. With a pattern like this, the rest of my outfit didn’t really need much extra. Plus, it gave a great pop of color when I inevitably got cold and had to put on my sweater.

If you aren’t already a fan of the button-down, I would highly suggest reconsidering your stance. It is classic look and if you can find some that fit you well, you will end up wearing them all of the time! More tartan and button-downs to come I’m sure! Until next time,

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Making Summery Pink Work for Winter

Hello all! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and if you had any snow, like us, you were able to enjoy it. With my current jobs, I have to be working professional everyday, although I can be pretty creative with colors and accessories. With that said though, I don’t have the space or the money to have a completely separate wardrobe for each season. So I have to make pieces work for multiple seasons. I really don’t mind this though because I get to wear my favorite pieces year round and it encourages me to be very creative with my wardrobe.

This skirt for example, is one of my favorite summer skirts. It is my favorite color and the cut is so cute! I definitely didn’t want to give it up for winter and thankfully I haven’t had to. Throw on a button-down and tights and it looks just as cute as it does with a blouse in the summer. Everyone always asks me with outfits like this how I came up with it. And the honest answer is a lot of it is chance. With this outfit, I had the skirt, shoes, and top all set. But I was still freezing so I just started trying on different sweaters and this one turned out to be perfect. Sometimes you really don’t know how things will look together until you try it! Until next time,

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How to…Statement Coats

As someone who is always cold, it is vital for me to have warm winter coats to wear. However, I also always want to look cute and if I don’t like my jacket, I won’t wear it. This winter, statement coats have become my go-to. Here are my three favorite winter coats and some tips on how I like to wear them.


My favorite coat of the season thus far is definitely my cheetah print coat. I was a little hesitant to buy it, but I loved it so much that I just went for it. This much print and faux fur is a little bold, even for me, but it has been surprisingly easy to integrate this fabulous piece into my wardrobe. I especially like wearing it with dark neutrals and a bold lip. I love anything furry because it makes a bold statement while also keeping you warm. If you aren’t quite up to this level of fur, try a fur vest or a piece that has a little bit of fur on it. Then you can slowly start adding it into your wardrobe.

If fur isn’t your cup of tea, not to worry. There are lots of other ways to make a statement with your coat. A classic style in a bold color is one of those ways. It is easy to throw over any outfit and will add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral outfit. Of course I went with pink (is anyone really surprised?) but you could just as easily do blue, red, or green. Really anything to give your wardrobe a break from black. Even a white coat is fabulous because it will immediately elevate your outfit and help you rock that winter white trend!

If color and texture aren’t your thing, then go for a black puffer jacket. It will keep you incredibly warm and you can find ones with nice details. I love the gold hardware on this one and the belt. I’m always afraid I look like the Michelin man when I wear a puffer but this one is cut pretty slim and it is longer so it’s not just my torso that is puffy. Plus, the belt adds a cute girly detail and helps me cinch the coat in at the waist so I look more like a person than a donut. Somehow, even though it’s black, this puffer coat still makes a statement and is the perfect coat for winter. Until next time, stay warm!

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The Perfect Tartan Piece

Do you ever have that feeling when you are in a store? When you just see something and know it will look wonderful on you and you basically fall in love immediately? That is typically how I am when I shop. I know what will look good on me and I am immediately drawn to certain things when I walk in a store. I live firmly under the philosophy that if I don’t absolutely love it in the store, I will not grow to love it over time.

This dress was no exception. I saw it and fell in love. Fell in love in the type of way that I wanted it right then. Outfit ideas were already formulating in my mind and I was already obsessed. Thankfully, they had my size and the tartan colors worked perfectly with my coloring.

Finding that perfect outfit piece can be very difficult, but the key is stick to your gut. Walk into a store and see what speaks to you. I know that is cliche but most of the time, your natural instincts will know where to direct you. Until next time,

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German Chocolate Cupcakes

Hello all! With Thanksgiving and applying to grad schools, I haven’t had a lot of time to bake for myself recently or experiment with recipes. But, if you’ve been keeping up with my Instagram stories, then you know I had quite the baking adventure on Friday night. One of my co-workers recently requested German chocolate cupcakes, which I love. But I wanted to do something a little bit different so I made a German chocolate cupcake and then experimented with the toppings. For half of the batch, I made a coconut, pecan, brown sugar topping. For the other half, I filled them with a coconut, pecan filling and then topped them with a chocolate ganache. I thought there would be one clear winner, but I really can’t decide which one I like better! As this is my own recipe and my own creation, if you make it, I would love to hear your feedback. Plus, if you think one sounds better than the other, let me know!

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

1/2 cup water

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 cups and 3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Coconut, Pecan Filling and Topping:

4 egg yolks

1 12 oz. can evaporated milk

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1/2 tsp salt

Chocolate Ganache:

1 cup heavy cream

12 oz. semi sweet or dark chocolate

Directions:

So the first thing I made was the cupcakes because I wanted them to be cold before I started frosting or filling.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your muffin tins with cupcake liners. These are a dense cupcake and you need the liners to make sure they stay together. For me, the recipe made 24 big cupcakes and 48 mini cupcakes. It would probably make 36 big cupcakes.

Bring 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and add the 6 oz. of chocolate. I used semi-sweet because the topping is so sweet I didn’t want milk chocolate. I would really recommend semi-sweet or even dark chocolate for this recipe. Whisk until smooth and then cool.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder in a bowl. In a separate, larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until completely incorporated before adding another egg. Beat in the melted chocolate and vanilla. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips with a spoon at the end.

Pour the batter into the cupcake liners until they are 2/3 the way full. Don’t over fill these! Bake for about 15 minutes depending on your oven. Just wait until a toothpick comes out clean. They really do need to cool so maybe make these ahead of time or the day before.

I filled the cupcakes with the same pecan, coconut mixture that I frosted the half with. For it, whisk the egg yolks, evaporated milk, and brown sugar together in a large saucepan. Add the butter and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely and the butter is fully incorporated. Stir this constantly so nothing sticks or burns. Continue cooking this until it is thick. If it doesn’t thicken up, add some more brown sugar. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla, salt, coconut, and pecans.

For the chocolate ganache, all you have to do is bring the heavy cream to a boil. Then pour it over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 4 minutes without mixing it. Then whisk until it is completely combined. Allow it to cool a little.

Construction:

So for half of these I simply used the coconut, pecan filling as a frosting. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop them on the top and then refrigerate so that they stay together.

For the other half, I first scooped out the middle and filled them with the coconut, pecan filling. I then froze them for about 20 minutes so it wasn’t too liquid-y. Then I put a spoonful on the top of each one and spread it around.

Until next time,

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