Polka Dots and Leather

Thursday, July 27, 2017

2017, OOTD, summer, J.Crew,

Hello all! Happy Friday Eve! I hope your week has been good! Mine has been very exciting...this morning, I signed my first real lease on my own! It was so exciting and I can not wait to move in! I'm hoping to start moving stuff in this weekend and I will definitely be posting things on Instagram and eventual will have a tour of the apartment here on the blog! 

2017, OOTD, summer, J.Crew,

Along with my move, I am also starting my new job on Tuesday and I have some very exciting news to announce to y'all here in the next couple of days. Moral of the story, August is going to be a huge month for me and for Lefty Living Life so make sure to stay tuned! 

2017, OOTD, summer, J.Crew,

Although summer does make it much harder for me to layer, it does make it easier for me to wear skirts without freezing. This skirt is one of my favorite pieces because you can so easily transition it from season to season and event to event. With a blouse and a fun necklace, it's perfect for work or dinner with friends. With tights, boots, and a sweater it is perfect for winter. 

2017, OOTD, summer, J.Crew,

That's all for now, but have a fabulous Thursday! Until next time, XO

Necklace: Old Anthropologie, similar here; Top: Old Anthropologie, similar here; Skirt: J.Crew; Purse: J.Crew; Ring: David Yurman; Watch: Omega; Shoes: J.Crew; Glasses: The View on Elm

Behind the Scenes of an Outfit Post

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hello all! Today's post is going to be a little different then usual as we are going to talk about the behind the scenes for my photo shoots. Obviously the main part of this blog is the outfits and the styles, but without the photos, the blog would be very boring. So, here is everything that goes into a blog photo shoot with me! 

2017, OOTD, personal, J.Crew, summer, stripes, statement earrings,

First thing to know, because I get this question a lot, I don't post an outfit unless I have worn it all day and still like it when I get home. I want the outfit to be functional, but also make me feel fabulous all day. With that said, a lot of times, my photos are taken when I get home, at dinner, at lunch, or saved for a day when I have more time. You have probably noticed that a lot of my pictures have a similar background. That is because they are around my house. I try to vary it up when I go places, but sometimes that just isn't feasible. One thing I am looking forward to with my new apartment is having access to new locations. For me, I like to vary the background when I can, but I don't want too much going on because that distracts from the outfit. Sidewalks, sides of buildings, and landscaping typically make really great backdrops so that is always what I am on the search for.

2017, OOTD, personal, J.Crew, summer, stripes, statement earrings,

Other than location, I am also looking for lighting. Because I am so pale and my hair is so dark, sunlight is not my friend. I need a little shade so I am not washed out. This limits me in the summer because the middle of the day isn't going to produce good photos. Honestly, overcast days are the best. There isn't too much sun, but there is enough natural light that I don't have to use flash. Flash is not my friend. It makes me look like a ghost, ha. But, typically finding a little shade isn't too hard and it helps me mix up my locations. 

2017, OOTD, personal, J.Crew, summer, stripes, statement earrings,

Right now, my favorite time to take pictures is around 7:30 pm. Then, I miss the direct sunlight but there is still tons of natural light. The hardest time is during the winter. It gets dark so fast that I have to take pictures any time I possibly can. For me, the key to getting good photos is just experimenting and taking as many pictures as possible. For each post, I try and have four or five pictures, but I probably took about 30. You are never going to get the perfect shot the first time so give yourself a chance to mess up and find the right picture. It also never hurts to have good camera equipment. Light is a great resource and I would seriously consider checking them out for more mobile camera options.

2017, OOTD, personal, J.Crew, summer, stripes, statement earrings,

I'm not going to lie, by far the hardest thing for me is posing. I feel so awkward normally and never know what to do with my hands. My only advice is just to practice. See what feels awkward and what feels natural. Moving always helps for me and have your photographer talk to you. You can always tell genuine happiness. I will try and post more behind the scenes post in the future and as always, I'd love your comments! Until next time, XO. 

Earrings: J.Crew; Top: J.Crew; Glasses: The View on Elm; Watch: Omega; Jeans: JBrand; Shoes: J.Crew; Purse: Kate Spade.

Summer Brights and Sparkles

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

2017, summer, sparkly, bright, pink, personal, OOTD,

Hello all! I hope your week is going well so far! This week has definitely been hard for me what with it being my last week at my job and I've been struggling a little with my health. As some of you know, I've been having stomach and digestion issue for almost two years now since my gallbladder stopped working. It is mostly under control, but then there are days like today, where it really bothers me and that definitely affects my mood and my day to day life.

2017, summer, sparkly, bright, pink, personal, OOTD,

Typically, I am a pretty happy person. The person you see on here and who you know from reading my posts is actually what I am like most of the time. But, that doesn't mean that I don't have down days just like every one else. Whenever I am having a down day, I try and wear something that makes me feel happy and beautiful to off-set it. Today's outfit was all about my favorite things.

2017, summer, sparkly, bright, pink, personal, OOTD,

First there is this fabulous purse. Pink is just one of the things that always makes me happy, especially hot pink. In addition to pink, of course, I had to have some sparkles. I just got these shoes at J.Crew and I am already obsessed. They are comfy and oh so sparkly and I love it. Finally, this dress is new and when I put it on this morning, I felt awesome. That didn't exactly translate to my photo shoot this evening, but sometimes you just don't feel good about your pictures and that's ok.

2017, summer, sparkly, bright, pink, personal, OOTD,

What are your tricks for perking yourself up on a down day? If you need a little pick-me-up, check out my Instagram story. I live streamed my baking evening for the first time ever and had a blast! I'd love your feedback. Until next time...XO

Earrings: Old J.Crew, similar here; Glasses: The View on Elm; Dress: J.Crew; Purse: J.Crew; Watch: Omega; Sparkly clutch: Old Anthropologie, similar here; Shoes: J.Crew

The Taming of the Queen Book Review

Hello all! Already a new week and the end of July...I can't believe it! This week is definitely bitter sweet as it's my last week at my current job. It's going to be very hard to leave, but I am so excited about my new job and the new chapter I am starting!

So, Kate and I have been doing a good job keeping up with bookclub and we just finished our most recent book, The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory. You probably recognize her name as she has written a bunch of Henry 8 related historical fiction like The Other Boleyn Girl. Typically, her books are scandalous and completely enthralling and while this book was good, it was a little different from her typical novel.  

The Taming of the Queen looks at Kathryn Parr, Henry 8's sixth and last wife. While this novel did not have the scandalous intrigue I first expected, it was still very interesting. Parr was a very intelligent woman who was ahead of her time and was one of the first women in England to publish scholarly writing under her own name. 

While I could barely put this book down the last 150 pages, the middle was a little dense as it dealt with the religious turmoil that plagued England at the end of Henry's reign. Normally I like this kind of historical level of detail, but I think because I was expecting a scandalous love affair to begin on every page, the historical aspect got a little heavy for me in the middle. 

I would very highly recommend this book as Gregory is a wonderful and engaging author. Just go into it with more realistic expectations than I did! Until next time, XO

Cookie Dough Brownies Take 2

Sunday, July 23, 2017

2017, recipe, food, chocolate,

As promised last week, I remade these cookie dough bars with homemade brownies these week. I'm still not 100% happy with them because I think the brownie recipe could use some improvement, but they are definitely better than last week's box brownies! It you end up making these, I would love your feedback and if you have a good classic brownie recipe, send it my way so I can try it! 

3 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter
 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tbs vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. The recipe called for greasing the pan and then lining the pan with parchment paper. I would just use the parchment paper.
For this next step, the recipe called for melting your butter and half the semisweet chocolate and bittersweet chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. You can do that or your can do it in the microwave. I did it in the microwave and it was fine, just make sure you stir it every 30 seconds until it's melted.
Once the semisweet, bittersweet chocolate, and butter are combined, set aside the mixture to cool until it's warm. If it's to hot when you add the next step, you'll curdle the eggs.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until they are just. Make sure not to over mix. Fold in the warm chocolate mixture.
In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk together. Fold the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture until just combined. Add the remaining chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 32 to 36 minutes. It will look slightly under done, but don't over bake it because it'll finish baking in the pan as it cools. 
Once it is completely cool, add the cookie dough. See the recipe here. Make sure it is completely cool, but not cold so that the cookie dough adheres to the brownie.

This brownie recipe is from The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread. I'm definitely going to try this again and might even make a live stream video so y'all can see how I do it! Until next time, XO

A Statement Piece for my Statement Piece

Saturday, July 22, 2017

2017, summer, white jeans, statement piece, feathers, pink,

Hello all! Happy weekend! As usual, my schedule is jam-packed, but I was able to make some time to go to the farmer's market this morning. I have to say, this might be one of my new favorite activities. Today I was busy absorbing so I didn't take any photos other than my snapchat and Instagram stories, but I think this is going to be come a regular thing for me. I'll make sure to take pictures next weekend! 
2017, summer, white jeans, statement piece, feathers, pink,

Anyways, I think we can all agree that style-wise, I'm not exactly quiet. I tend to wear a lot of big pieces and lots of bright colors. But that is one of the fun things about getting ready! I love experimenting with different pieces and seeing how out there I can be without going over the top. 

2017, summer, white jeans, statement piece, feathers, pink,

Speaking of tops, I adore this top. The feathers against the brocade are so unexpected, but the dark navy tones it down a little bit. I had really only worn it with dark jeans before, but I love how it looks against these white jeans. You can really see the feathers now and I love the dark against the light.

2017, summer, white jeans, statement piece, feathers, pink,

With a top like this where the texture is the statement, it is easy to add in more statement pieces with neutral colored jewelry and a pop of color. Because the brocade is hard to see until you are close up, this top definitely needs a necklace or earrings to brighten up the top half of your outfit. I like the neutral colored necklace and then the loud pop of this bag. This Cambridge Satchel is one of my favorite pieces because it is so easy to add to any outfit and it always packs a punch. Until next time, XO 

Glasses: The View on Elm; Hair Clip: Chloe and Isabel; Top: Old Anthropologie, similar here and here; Necklace: Old Anthropologie, similar here; Jeans: J.Crew; Purse: Cambridge Satchel; Watch: Omega; Shoes: Jack Rogers

Stripes and Summer Turtlenecks

Thursday, July 20, 2017

2017, summer, work wear, OOTD, stripes, turtleneck, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Kate Spade,

Hello all! I hope your Thursday has gone well. This has been the weirdest week for me at work and I am so ready for the weekend. But before we get to relaxing this weekend, let's talk about summer work wear first. 
2017, summer, work wear, OOTD, stripes, turtleneck, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Kate Spade,

As you probably already know, I am always a skirt or dress girl when I have the option. Sure, I love a good pair of jeans, but I gravitate towards dresses and skirts- especially when shopping. This skirt, is the newest addition to my wardrobe. You almost can't tell in the photos, but it is a very skinny pin stripe, which I love. It gives it that professional, corporate air without being too over the top. 
2017, summer, work wear, OOTD, stripes, turtleneck, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Kate Spade,

What initially drew me to this skirt was the cinched waist and bow. I always feel more comfortable with a defined waist tailored into my clothing. This can be difficult to find sometimes, especially with summer silhouettes. But, I knew right away that no matter how it fit, the bow would give me the definition that I was looking for. 
2017, summer, work wear, OOTD, stripes, turtleneck, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Kate Spade,

The best part about this skirt for me is definitely the pockets. Any skirt or dress with pockets is a winner in my book because then I don't have to worry about carrying around my phone. It can just stay in my pocket and I don't have to worry about it. Until tomorrow! And if you've been watching my Instagram story, the recipe will be up on Sunday! XO 

Glasses: The View on Elm; Necklace: J.Crew; Top: Anthropologie, similar here and here; Skirt: J.Crew; Purse: Anthropologie, similar here; Shoes: Aerin, similar here; Watch: Omega

Pink and a BackPack for August New Beginnings

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

  • 2017, personal, OOTD, pink, J.Crew, Kate Spade,

Hello all! I spent the entire evening baking, and man do I have an awesome recipe to share with y'all on Sunday! One of the things I'm most looking forward to when I move and start my new job is having some more time to experiment with my baking. I have been pinning up a storm with new ideas and I could always use suggestions, so email me if you have any! 

2017, personal, OOTD, pink, J.Crew, Kate Spade,

August is going to be such an exciting time for me because I am moving into my first apartment on my own and starting a completely new job. It is a totally blank slate for me and I couldn't be more thrilled about it. As I am starting off on this new journey, I've been thinking about other journeys that I've taken...going to college, studying abroad, the journey that has been the last year. All of them started in August, so it seems only fitting that I start again this August. 
2017, personal, OOTD, pink, J.Crew, Kate Spade,

Anything new in August always makes me think of going back to school and while I won't be starting school this August, it didn't seem right that I should miss out on back to school fashion! Every year for my first day of the year, I would always meticulously plan my outfit so it was as fabulous as possible. This outfit is made up of some of my favorite pieces right now and I just felt great when I put it on... exactly how you should feel on the first day of school. 

2017, personal, OOTD, pink, J.Crew, Kate Spade,

This adorable backpack from Kate Spade was the perfect finishing touch. It let me channel my new journey vibes and I got so many compliments on it when I went to a local bakery before work! Stay tuned for the awesome recipe this weekend and some fun outfit posts tomorrow and Saturday! Until then, XO. 

Earrings: J.Crew; Glasses: The View on Elm; Jacket: Old, similar here; Top: J.Crew; Skirt: Old J.Crew, similar here; Backpack: Kate Spade, similar here and here; Shoes: Vaneli, similar here

Off-The-Shoulder Preppy

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

2017, OOTD, summer, personal, off-the-shoulder, girly, J.Crew, Anthropologie,

Hello all! What a week it has already been! There is so much going on as I wrap up my current job and get ready to start my new job. Plus, I have some very exciting projects in the works that will be launching hopefully soon. The most exciting thing that is going on is I found an apartment! I am so excited about moving and I can't wait to decorate. Not to worry, there will be tons of photos and updates as usual :) 
2017, OOTD, summer, personal, off-the-shoulder, girly, J.Crew, Anthropologie,

More personal life updates to come soon, but for now, let's talk about off the shoulder looks. As you know from this post, the off-the-shoulder trend has been one of my favorite looks of the summer. Although it has been way out of my comfort zone, it has been fun to experiment and finds new ways to wear this look. 
2017, OOTD, summer, personal, off-the-shoulder, girly, J.Crew, Anthropologie,

I got this top ages ago, but I have been struggling to find ways to wear it as it is a little more skin tight than my typical look and slightly cropped. Mid-drift bearing, although very popular, is just not my style and not something I'm comfortable with so finding a pair of bottoms to wear has been a challenge. 
2017, OOTD, summer, personal, off-the-shoulder, girly, J.Crew, Anthropologie,

These shorts, though, turned out to be exactly what I needed. They are girly enough to make me feel more comfortable with the off-the-shoulder look and they are extremely high-waisted so I could tuck in my top. Adding a big necklace and my jean jacket made this outfit perfect for First Friday out in Greensboro. Until next time, XO. 

Necklace: J.Crew; Top: Anthropologie, similar here and here; Shorts: J.Crew; Jean Jacket: Old, similar here; Glasses: The View on Elm.

Cookie Dough Brownies Take 1

Sunday, July 16, 2017

As promised, here is today's second post...a cookie dough brownie recipe. Now you are probably wondering why it is "take 1"...well, let me explain. I am kind of a brownie snob to say the least. I absolutely adore brownies and I grew up on exclusively home-made brownies. Boxed brownie mixes were a new phenomenon for me when I got to college. I have now learned to understand the ease that comes with a box brownie and have stopped expecting every brownie I have to be homemade.

When I came across this recipe from Tasty, I was hesitant because it called for a boxed brownie mix, but there was so much else going on, I thought I'd stick to the recipe and give it a try. I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate mix because I am a dark chocolate junkie and it had chocolate chunks in the mix, which I like. Anyways, I made the brownies and everything turned out fine. I'm sure when I give them to my co-workers tomorrow they will gobble them up, but when I was eating them, all I could taste was the boxed brownie mix. So, I am going to remake these with my own brownie recipe and see how they compare...this will be take 2 for next Sunday! 


1 brownie mix box
All box mixes call for different amounts, but this one called for water, a little vegetable oil, and 1 egg
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup softened butter
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla 
1 cup chocolate chips- I used semi sweet chips and then sprinkled the rest of the bag on top of the assembled brownies for some extra chocolate :) 


Make the brownie mix according to the directions on the box. Make sure to line your pan with parchment paper (this is super important later). 
Once it is out of the oven, let is cool completely in the pan before assembling.
Put flour on a baking sheet and cook for 5 minutes on 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Put warmed flour in a large bowl and add brown sugar, butter, milk, salt, and vanilla.
Stir to combine- I mixed it a little with a spoon and then just used my hands. For something like this, I think using your hands is way easier because you can make sure there are no butter lumps.
Add the cup of chocolate chips and combine thoroughly.
Spoon onto brownies in the pan. Spread evenly and then chill. 
These are harder to cut when they are cold but it will help keep them together if you do so. Just pull the assembled brownies, uncut, out of the pan using the parchment paper. Then you can let them warm up a little and then cut them. 

Since this is going to be a two part recipe series, I would love y'all's feedback on which one you like better! Until next time, XO

How to...Dress Up a Sundress

2017, summer, how to wear, sundress, jewelry, clutch, OOTD, dress it up

Hello all, happy Sunday. This is going to be the first of two posts today as I had meant to post this yesterday and completely forgot! Anyways, I hope your weekend has been fabulous so far and you are enjoying a nice, relaxing Sunday morning. 
2017, summer, how to wear, sundress, jewelry, clutch, OOTD, dress it up

As someone who has gone through a pretty dramatic dress size change in the last couple of years, as well as just starting out in the real world, my budget is a little tight. I don't have the luxury to have a very extensive wardrobe, which means I need to make all of the pieces in my closet work double duty and be appropriate for multiple occasions.
2017, summer, how to wear, sundress, jewelry, clutch, OOTD, dress it up

This sundress, for example, I bought because it is very cool and perfect for a hot summer day. With sandals, it doesn't need any accessories and is casual and fun. I repurposed it with knee high boots and a sweater for fall, which worked perfectly for work. Now, I wanted to make it even nicer so it worked for a party or Friday night drinks. 
2017, summer, how to wear, sundress, jewelry, clutch, OOTD, dress it up

This is one of those outfits that works perfectly transitioning from work to drinks. You can wear the black heels with a cardigan or jacket for work. Then, for drinks, add in your bling and a structured clutch and you're ready! The key to transitioning any outfit is always in your accessories. Make something business professional with a tailored jacket and heels. Make it more fun for your evening with big jewelry and a fun clutch. Until next time, XO

Necklace: Old J.Crew, similar here and here; Dress: Anthropologie, similar herehere, and here; Clutch: Banana Republic, similar here and here; Shoes: Pour la Victoire; Bracelets: Similar here, here, and here; Watch: Omega; Glasses: The View on Elm

Denim Isn't Only For Casual Friday

Friday, July 14, 2017

2017, summer, OOTD, work wear, skirts, pink, chambray, pearls, J.Crew,

Happy Friday! I hope your week was good and you have some fabulous weekend plans for tomorrow and Sunday! One of my favorite materials is denim. I love a good pair of jeans, a jean jacket, but I especially love a chambray shirt. It is such a nice alternative to a white button-down and you can easily mix and match it no matter what the occasion is. 
2017, summer, OOTD, work wear, skirts, pink, chambray, pearls, J.Crew,

On first glance, a chambray shirt can be too casual for work, but, like anything else, it is all in how you style it. What you need to keep in mind though is that the chambray will make anything you put with it slightly more casual. This means you can go a little more overboard with the rest of your outfit. 
2017, summer, OOTD, work wear, skirts, pink, chambray, pearls, J.Crew,

When talking about work-wear, my first go-to's are always a pencil skirt and a bun. A pencil skirt is hard to go wrong with and having my hair up always makes me feel more professional. Add black heels and a structured back and it really doesn't matter what else you are wearing. The rest of the outfit is so professional that it will make your other pieces professional too.
2017, summer, OOTD, work wear, skirts, pink, chambray, pearls, J.Crew,

With my hair up and a simple shirt, this outfit was begging for some jewelry. So once again, I stuck with my go-to's for work wear...pearls and gold studs. I love wearing a big necklace inside of the collar of a shirt. Then, you get glimpses of it every so often, but it is not so in your face. Enjoy your weekend...Until next time, XO.

Earrings: Vintage, similar here; Necklace: J.Crew; Shirt: J.Crew; Skirt: J.Crew; Watch: Omega; Bracelet: J.Crew; Purse: Kate Spade, similar here; Shoes: Pour la Victoire; Glasses: The View on Elm.

Sequins and Polka Dots

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

2017, summer, OOTD, sequins, polka dots, J.Crew,

Hello all! Happy Wednesday! This week has already been crazy busy for me, but I might has some exciting news coming soon, so cross your fingers for me! Hope y'all are having a wonderful week so far.
2017, summer, OOTD, sequins, polka dots, J.Crew,

So I love this skirt. But it was kind of an impulse buy and quite a bit out of my comfort zone. With that said, I still want to wear it all the time in a way that still fits my style as well as my day to day life. The first time I wore it, with my chambray shirt, was easy. The whole outfit came together so seamlessly and just flowed perfectly.
2017, summer, OOTD, sequins, polka dots, J.Crew,

This second go round was a little harder. A big thing for me is that I wanted to tone down the skirt enough that it wouldn't be outlandish to wear it out and about during the day. That meant a t-shirt and keeping my jewelry minimal. This t-shirt was the perfect match because it is casual and looked perfect partially tucked in. 
2017, summer, OOTD, sequins, polka dots, J.Crew,

Jewelry-wise, I couldn't quite resist, but I made sure my earrings weren't sparkly. The thing that really pulled together this outfit for me was the bag. I didn't want anything to structured or fancy so this big, slouchy tote was perfect. Plus, it was big enough for me to tote my camera around in! 
2017, summer, OOTD, sequins, polka dots, J.Crew,

Until next time, XO 

Earrings: J.Crew; T-Shirt: J.Crew, similar here and here; Skirt: J.Crew Factory; Watch: Omega; Purse: Madewell; Shoes: Jack Rogers; Glasses: The View on Elm.

Blueberry Stuffed Cupcakes

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hello all! Happy Monday, well almost Tuesday now! I am so excited to share this post with y'all. As you know, I love to bake and I've been starting to share some of my favorite recipes with y'all (many more of these to come, not to worry and I'd love any suggestions you have!) Baking has always been a passion of mine and I've tweaked recipes before, but never really gone out on a limb. For this recipe, however, I got the idea from a strawberry filled muffin recipe, which helped me form the basis of my recipe. But I tweaked it some and added my own take on the frosting. Plus, I found an awesome way to use some of the extra components. So, this is one of my first real recipes that is mine and I am so thrilled with how well these cupcakes turned out. If you try them, please let me know! I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

1 cup of butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup blueberry jam- I used some that had some whole blueberries in it as well for texture
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
16 oz frozen blueberries, pureed- I like using frozen blueberries because they pureed so nicely into a smoothie texture. I did let them thaw a little before though.
1/2 cup buttermilk

32 oz. frozen blueberries, pureed. Again, I used frozen ones that my mom had picked and then frozen. It just helped with the texture I thought.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about one regular size lemon)
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, cut into 1 inch pieces

Frosting- I made a traditional cream cheese icing: 
12 oz. room temp cream cheese
8 tablespoons room temp butter
1 lb. powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 30 muffin tins with paper liners.
Puree 16 oz of frozen blueberries in a food processor. 
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in blueberry jam. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. You batter will be dark blue, don't worry, it is supposed to be. 
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating with blueberry puree, beginning and ending with flour. Beat until well combined. Add buttermilk, beating to combine. Spoon into muffin tins, filling 3/4's full. I used an ice cream scoop for this and it worked perfectly. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire wrack- I do mean completely. Having a warm muffin will make the next steps difficult. 

While the cupcakes are baking, you can start the filling. Puree 32 oz of frozen blueberries. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, blueberry puree, lemon juice, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until very thick, about 7-8 minutes. It will be purple again and should be the consistency of a thick jam or runny jello.
Remove from heat and whisk in butter until melted. Let cool slightly, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

After you binge watch 2 plus episodes on Netflix...

Frosting: With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter. Add the vanilla and then gradually add the powdered sugar. The more powdered sugar you have, the easier to spread the frosting will be. I didn't quite use all of the powdered sugar. 

Using a cupcake corer or melon baller, scoop out about 1 tablespoon of cake from the center of each cupcake. Put aside the scoop for later. Fill the cupcake crater with chilled blueberry filling. Top with frosting...lots and lots of frosting. 

Now, with all your extra cupcake centers, jam filling, and frosting...
Take each center on a toothpick and cover the top with jam. Freeze for 15 minutes and then add a layer of cream cheese frosting. Ta DA! Cake Pops! 

Until next time, XO

How to...Off the Shoulder

Sunday, July 9, 2017

2017, summer, OOTD, how to wear, off-the-shoulder, J.Crew,
Earrings: J.Crew; Body suit: J.Crew sold out, similar here; Jeans: J.Crew; Shoes: similar here; Purse: similar here, Glasses: The View on Elm.
Hello all! I wanted a relaxing Saturday and while I was busy today, it was also productive and fairly relaxing as well. I hope y'all's Saturdays were wonderful. For this week's How to post, I wanted to talk about one of summer's biggest trend...off-the-shoulder tops. This look seems to have been everywhere lately! I love the look, but it can definitely be difficult to rock and incorporate into your wardrobe.
2017, summer, OOTD, how to wear, off-the-shoulder, J.Crew,
Hair clip: similar here; Earrings: similar here; Body suit: similar here; Skirt: similar here; Necklaces: similar here and here; Brooch: similar here; Purse: Cambridge Satchel; Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell, similar here, Glasses: The View on Elm.
I think we can all say that my style is typically pretty conservative and definitely girly- neither of which would be the first words you would use normally to describe an off-the-shoulder look. For me, whenever I try a new trend, I want to be able to experiment and branch out, but also stay true to my style. So, when looking for off-the-shoulder tops, I gravitated towards girly colors, ruffle details, and I made sure to style them in a more conservative way so I was still comfortable. 
2017, summer, OOTD, how to wear, off-the-shoulder, J.Crew,
Purse: Old Anthropologie, similar here; Earrings: Old J.Crew, similar here; Watch: Omega; Bracelets: Similar here, here, here, here,  and here; Shorts: J.Crew; Shoes: Old, similar here; Body suit: similar here; Rings: here and here; Belt: similar here; Glasses: The View on Elm.   
The biggest style advice I could ever give is to stay true to yourself. No matter what you are wearing, if it is something you love and sticks to your style, you will find a way to own it and feel comfortable doing so. When I first tried on this striped body suit, I thought no way will I wear this. It was clinging and showed quite a bit more skin then I normally show. But, at the same time, it was so cute and I had already kind of fallen in love with it. So, I took the plunge and bought it, but I had to work my way up to wearing it with shorts and a skirt and start with simpler and more conservative jeans. 
2017, summer, OOTD, how to wear, off-the-shoulder, J.Crew,
Shirt: J.Crew; Jeans: J.Crew; Shoes: Similar here and here; Purse: Save My Bag; Watch: Omega; Glasses: The View on Elm.  
For the off-the-shoulder look, make sure the top fits well- you don't want gaping and you don't want to be pulling up your top all day. If you aren't ready for both shoulders to be exposed, try a one-shouldered top and ease your way into this trend. For me, ruffles make this look. They add more detail then just a simple tube top and dress up the look enough that you have some more flexibility. That is all for now, but happy weekend! Until next time, XO. 
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