Monday, February 27, 2012

Chocolate chunk pretzel cookies

Lately I've been craving the sweet and salty combination in desserts and I've been pouring sea salt on everything I make! There's nothing like the crunch of salt to bring out the sweetness of chocolate. It's to DIE FOR. I've been looking for the perfect chocolate/pretzel dessert but every recipe I come across has something I either don't have or don't like. I decided to do my own take on the chocolate chip/pretzel cookie and created my own recipe! This is one of my most successful cookies to date! It's the perfect combination of soft and chewy and salty and crunchy. I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe as a base and then made a few changes as needed. They turned out beyond delicious so I knew I had to share the recipe!

You will need:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) at room temperature 
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk at room temperature 
  • 1 cup broken pretzel pieces (I put pretzels in a ziplock bag and just crushed them with my hands until I got the right size pieces)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate roughly chopped (I chopped up a giant Hershey kiss that Mando gave me for Valentines Day, but you can use a few Hershey bars instead or any good milk chocolate bar or even milk chocolate chips)
First, pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Then mix the flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk and set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Then beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.

Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate and pretzel pieces by hand using a wooden spoon. The dough will be very chunky and delicious!

Scoop out cookie dough and loosely roll into 1 inch balls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Don't worry if the balls of dough are falling apart a little bit, they don't have to be perfect! The cookies will spread a bit while baking so make sure to allow enough room.

Bake for 12-15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. (DO NOT skip this step! It's what keeps them soft and chewy!)

Make sure to try the cookies while they are still warm! The melted chocolate with the crunchy pretzels will send your taste buds over the edge! Delicious! If anyone tries these make sure to let me know how you like them! Enjoy! XOXO

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wedding Planning Wednesday - DIY mason jar centerpieces

 This last weekend Mando and I met up with our wedding coordinator at the LA flower market to pick out flowers for our centerpieces. I knew I wanted baby's breath and peonies but I was still looking for a 3rd option. I kind of have a love affair with florals after working in a flower shop so I was happy to browse around all morning. Peonies sadly were not in season yet, but I found some gorgeous spider mums to play around with in the meantime! I also found the perfect 3rd type of flower which are those white pom pom flowers you see in the ivory centerpiece. I'm all about texture so my main goal was to try and get the perfect balance and I really lucked out finding those at the last minute! I'm super excited to do my own flowers for the wedding. It's been a long time since I've worked with flowers at all, but it isn't something you really forget! I spent the rest of the weekend experimenting with different boutineer styles and bouquet wraps which was really fun! The floral arrangements aren't the only DIY project I have going on either.... I'm also making my own centerpieces. I knew I wanted to incorporate my love of mason jars (which goes perfectly with the rustic theme) so I came up with 3 different designs for each table.

1. Burlap & lace mason jars: Burlap and lace has been a continuing theme throughout the wedding so I knew I had to use them for the centerpieces! This is just a quart size mason jar with a wide strip of burlap around it and hot glued in the back. I then wrapped it with a piece of wide ivory lace ribbon and hot glued that as well. Super easy once you have all the strips cut out! The good news is that the strips don't have to be perfectly straight or even because the frayed edges just add to the rustic charm!

Ivory painted centerpieces: I wanted one centerpiece that was different than the others so I chose to do these ivory painted cans to mix it up. This is beyond simple and super inexpensive to make! I just started collecting large cans after we used them at home and then peeled the labels off. You may have to scrub them afterwards to get any glue redisdue off as well. Then, once they were completely dry, I spray painted them in this ivory color. They aren't super fancy, but that's okay... the more rustic looking the better!

Twine wrapped mason jars: Last but not least are these pint sized mason jars! I bought some thick twine at a craft store and wrapped them around the middle adding a dab of hot glue here and there to hold it together. Again, easy and inexpensive to make!

I really love how all of these turned out. They are exactly the look I was going for and I think they'll look amazing on the tables! You can't beat pretty centerpieces on a budget! Now I just have to finish the rest of them, haha!

Next week I'll (hopefully) talk about our invitations and even share a sneek peak! Almost time to mail them out, can you believe it?! Ahh! XOXO

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Favorites: Color palette love!

In between planning the wedding and keeping my toddler entertained, most of my time is spent daydreaming about my future home. What style it will be, what furniture I'll choose, and of course the design and colors. I've been obsessively hoarding my favorite color palettes on Pinterest so I thought it'd be fun to share some of them with you this week for Friday Favorites!

I originaly planned to link each picture to its original source, however I just discovered that about 70% of the original links don't work anymore. So I'll link you guys to my Home Inspiration board on Pinterest instead! You can find each of these on there.

I love this cranberry and teal color combination, don't you? I think it's very relaxing and unexpected. I would probably use these colors for a master bathroom.

The yarn palette is more color than I would normally do, but I like how they are still subtle tones. I think this palette would be perfect for a girl's bedroom or nursery!

The bread palette is my absolute favorite. I can't even pick one particular room, because there are so many I would use it for! Bedroom, bathroom, living room, dining room... I love the espresso paired with the cream and that teal and tiffany blue add the perfect pops of color! It feels really rustic and earthy which I love!

I adore bright and sunny kitchens so this yellow and aqua palette would be absolutely perfect! How pretty would it be paired with natural wood and all white dishes? SWOON! I'm also loving that vintage colander in the picture.

Another bright palette! I love this coral and turquoise combination for the master bedroom. I would have never thought to put these colors together on my own, but I've recently seen some gorgeous bedrooms in these shades and they compliment each other really well.

This espresso and robins egg blue palette is another favorite. I just find these colors very calming and peaceful which, again, I think is perfect for the master bathroom!

This palette is another idea for the master bedroom or a guest bedroom. I love that mint color especially paired with the creamy browns. The purple is an unexpected pop of color that totally works. These tones also give off a vintage vibe which I really love.

I can't wear mustard yellow (pale girl, holla!) but that doesn't mean I can't have it in my house, right?! This palette is the perfect combination of rustic and modern with the earthy tones and pop of bright color. I think this palette would work really well for a family room or dining area.

Another rustic inspired palette, hooray! These colors remind me of a cozy cabin in the winter time and it would be perfect for a family room! I love the cranberry color and although I don't normally like green, it really works here and makes me think of pine trees and the woods. So pretty!

What color combinations are you loving right now? Don't you just love all of these beautiful palettes popping up everywhere? I like how easy is it to just choose a photo that inspires you and design an entire room around it! I can't wait to put some of these design ideas in action! Hopefully someday soon! Have a great weekend everybody! XOXO

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Favors, check!

I told you guys a looooong time ago that I was planning on doing vintage skeleton keys as wedding favors and since then I've been on the prowl! It has not easy finding 100+ vintage keys all around the same size! I've been to different vintage flea markets probably 5 or 6 times in the past fews months trying to find the perfect keys. I knew I could slowly collect some here and there until it added up to the amount I needed, but I also knew that it would be a lot cheaper if I was able to buy them in a large lot. Some of these people wanted $8 per key! I finally found this rad guy at the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market who promised he could get over 100 keys for me and he actually came through! So, this last weekend Mando and I drove out there and I got to hand pick 100 of his best keys for just over $2 a piece! I was beyond stoked, people! These keys are just beautiful, in great condition, and exactly what I was looking for. I will be sad to give them away! He also gave us this awesome vintage Corona cigar box to put them in which was like FATE because Corona is my future last name! I'm so happy I got to check 'favors' off of our to-do list! Also, I had WAY too much photographing these keys! So pretty!

We also purchased all of the alcohol for the wedding over the weekend! I literally bought every single bottle of Barefoot wine and champagne at Bevmo... even their extra stock in the back. I currently have over 50 bottles of my favorite wine chilling in the house. Do you know how hard it will be to not touch it for the next 3 months?! OMG. This weekend we are off to the LA flower market to price out some flowers... another thing to check off the list! It's gotten to the point that we are buying stuff or meeting someone every single day. The list never ends! I just can't wait to see everything come together and to marry my best friend! So close! XOXO

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Favorites: Hey girl.

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I wanted to do a post about candy... eye candy that is! And what better eye candy than Ryan Gosling? I don't know if it's his role in The Notebook or what, but it seems like he has every girl open mouthed and drooling these days. A few months ago I started seeing these 'Hey girl' handmade Ryan Gosling pictures popping up on Pinterest and not only do they feature yummy pictures of Mr. Gosling, but they are also effing HILARIOUS! I die laughing every single time I see one and they are quickly gaining more and more popularity in the handmade community. You probably won't understand them if you don't have an Etsy shop or if you aren't involved in the crafty/DIY community (aka every male on the planet), but it's like porn for crafters, yo! This week for Friday Favorites I wanted to share my favorite Hey Girl's, and be prepared because there are A LOT of them! 

All of these come from the handmade Ryan Gosling tumblr site, so if you want to spend the next 4 hours cracking up make sure to check it out! New ones are constantly being added, too!

Oh, and if you're looking for REAL Valentine's Day dessert ideas you can check out my posts from last year which include 3 days of unique Valentine Dessert ideas! You can see them here, here, and here. Happy Friday everyone! XOXO

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Dessert Menu

I know I have posted about our wedding cake design in the past, but it has changed since then. You will find this happening a lot in wedding planning, especially when it comes to me! New ideas come up all the time and I'm switching things up! When we found out that our wedding planner has a friend who is trying to start his own baking business (He was featured on the Food Network show Cupcake Wars! How fun is that?) we knew we wanted to meet with him to see what flavor combinations and ideas he had. As soon as we met him and his business partner (our wedding planner's brother) we instantly loved them and I knew they would have a fresh perspective for my non-traditional ideas. His presentation was beautiful and we loved all 3 cupcakes he brought for us to taste!

Mando and I weren't sure if an entire dessert table would be in our budget but after talking to Isaac we determined that we could make it work! Instead of doing a gigantic wedding cake, we will be doing a smaller cake for Mando and I to cut into and then individual cupcakes of the same flavor for the guests. This was an easy way to bring the cost down and make more room for the dessert table budget.

I knew I wanted to do a theme for the dessert table, because honey, I'm all about the themes! I almost NEED one when it comes to planning! We thought about our absolute favorite desserts and I came up with the idea of rustic, country fair themed desserts. So, here's what's on the menu... most are being made by Isaac but some things we will be bringing ourselves!
  • S'mores cake and cupcakes - these cupcakes are freaking amazing! I totally copied my wedding planner on the flavor, because she had it for her wedding and I fell in love with the idea. It's very different and I think the guests are going to love it.
  • Mini cherry and apple pies - I knew if I was going to do a dessert table there would be pie. Because, obviously. Pie is amazing and everything is better in mini form, am I right?!
  • Donut holes - A big ol' platter of them. Yum. Enough said.
  • Gourmet mini caramel apples - Caramel apples always remind me of my mom because it's one of her favorite desserts. These are kind of dedicated to her and a silly thank you for all the help she's given us while planning the wedding. I think they are going to be so pretty once decorated, I can't wait to see what he comes up with!
  • Cotton candy - you can't have a country fair dessert table without cotton candy! I think this will be something all of the kids at the wedding will specially enjoy. And trust me, there will be A LOT of kids there!
  • Kettle corn - Mando and I are obsessed with kettle corn and we always get a huge bag when we go to the fair so this was a must on our table! We have a local popcorn shop that we love so we'll be picking it up from there and packaging it into individual bags for the guests!
I'm ridiculously excited about this menu. Like, I can't stop thinking about it. Wedding dress be damned, I will be stuffing my face with a little bit of everything! As for the design, I rented a covered wagon from a local prop house and we'll be using that (without the cover) as the dessert table. Fun stuff! Right now is crunch time, so we are busy working out all the tiny details that go along with planning a wedding. Less than 3 months to go! XOXO

Monday, February 6, 2012

He's getting so big.

It's been a long time since I've posted any photos of Cayden... I stopped doing Wordless Wednesday when I started Wedding Planning Wednesday and I didn't realize that was usually when I would post new photos of him! So, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite pictures of him from the last few months. He's 19 months now, and getting so big. His vocabulary has just exploded lately and he's even saying 2 and 3 word sentences! It's so crazy that I can actually have a conversation with my baby boy. They aint lyin' when they say they grow up way too fast! He's going through this silly face phase and some of my favorite photos of him are these weirdly cute faces he makes, so bare with me here!

 At the park. The boy loves his slides! It's so rare to get smiley pictures of him lately which is why I super extra love these photos.

 Does my child have the most beautiful eyes and lashes or what? His huge brown eyes remind me of an owl so much sometimes, and this silly closed-eyes-lashes picture reminds me of a giraffe. And I don't know why I keep comparing my toddler to animals, but I still love these pictures!

 Hipster baby! This child is too freaking adorable in his little flannel shirt and vans. Also, he has the perfect hair here. I wish it would stay like this all the time. I swear, he's a direct descendant of Harry Potter... the boy's hair is always sticking up in a hundred places!

These pictures were just taken last week and I love the silly faces. He loves Clifford AKA 'Ruff Ruff' so when we saw this shirt of course he HAD to have it!

Can you guys believe how big my sweet boy is? It feels like yesterday I was posting his birthday story! I just can't believe how big his personality is and how independent he's becoming! Wahh! Time for a new baby, am I right?!? XOXO

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Favorites: Party themes & ideas!

I love me a good party. I'm always thinking of unique ways to celebrate any and every occasion. One of my favorite things to do is read party planning blogs and search for inspiration on Pinterest for all of my imaginary future parties. I have a board dedicated to all of my favorite themes, and I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites with you for Friday Favorites! I broke this down into three catagories: adult, special occasion, and children's parties. Of course any of them could be adapted to fit whatever occasion you need though!


Outdoor movie night: I remember the day I saw this party online and my mouth literally dropped. Not only is this party styled to PERFECTION, but the outdoor, picnic style is so up my alley! I love the idea of renting a projector, throwing some quilts on the ground, and having a gourmet popcorn bar for you and some close friends. We were actually going to do something like this for our rehearsal dinner, but went with something else last minute.

Gourmet pizza party: I love parties that have anything to do with cooking or baking or you know, eating. This adult DIY pizza party is such a fun way to get all of your friends together and do something different! Just put butcher paper over your table, make piles of gourmet toppings, and write descriptions right on the paper next to each pile. This is perfect for people who have picky guests too, because everyone gets so make their own mini pizza with the sauce/toppings of their choosing!

Special Occasion

Gender reveal party: In my family, someone is ALWAYS having a baby or getting married. I capital L-O-V-E the idea of a gender reveal party instead of a baby shower. One of my Twitter friends showed me this amazing mustache or bows party theme and I AM doing it for my next baby! Each guest chooses a mustache pin if they think it's a boy, or a bow pin if they think it's a girl and they wear it around the party until the big reveal! Adorbs! You know I'm a sucker for anything with a mustache!

Breakfast party: I have been obsessing over the idea a breakfast party for months and months now. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and an entire party dedicated to it? Hello, perfection! This coffee and donut tasting party would be perfect for a bridal shower theme, don't you think? After all, who doesn't like donuts??


Farm party: This theme has been done so many times and in so many different ways, but for some reason it never gets old. I love that it's wholesome and kind of old school! Pony rides, bobbing for apples, tractors, petting zoos... I also love that it works for a boy or a girl easily. How gorgeous is that table, by the way? I die for that cake and the haystacks being used to hold the cake pops? Genius!

Camping party: I'm DYING to do a camping themed party for Cayden but I want to wait until he's older so he can enjoy it more. This particular party uses a ton of vintage which of course I love. There are so many activities that go with this theme too... scavenger hunts, s'mores, 'camping out' in the backyard. It seems like so much fun for little ones! After all, who doesn't love to go camping?!

What party themes are you loving these days? You can see the rest of my favorite ideas on my Pinterest party board here. Immediately after this wedding I have to get started on Cayden's 2nd birthday party and although it won't be huge this year, I'm still really excited! Happy Friday everyone! XOXO

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Help me choose!

Right now, I'm working on all of the decor details for the ceremony site and it's proving to be challenging. With all of the beautiful (and huge!) trees surrounding the place you are limited to how you can decorate. You definitely don't want to over-do it and take the away from all of the natural beauty but you don't want it looking too plain either! So I'm just trying to find that perfect balance between decorated and overdone!

One of the things I just can't decide about is the backdrop. The bottom right picture below is our actual ceremony location and as you can see there is a wooden structure, almost like an arch. This is the focal point of the stage and I really want to draw the eye to that area. The problem is, there are so many possible ways to decorate I just cannot choose which one I like the best! This is where you come in... I would love, love, LOVE if you all gave YOUR opinions and helped me choose which one you like the best!

(1, 2, 3, 4)

1. Pom pom string garland. This would be similar to the one in the picture, but the pom poms would be in all ivory and they would hang in vertical strips from the structure (like the raw cotton balls hanging down in #4). I like that this would look really delicate and whimsical, but I'm not sure if it is ENOUGH, know what I mean?

2. Strands of ribbon. I love this picture, and it reminds me SO much of our location. I think the ribbons look really effortless and beautiful. The only thing I'm worried about is the cost of so much ribbon and finding some that are long enough! I would love to mix it up with different kinds of lace, though! 

3. Fabric pom poms. My sister made tissue paper pom poms for Cayden's birthday last year and I loved them, but the fabric just takes it to a whole new level. I love the texture they provide and you can mix it up with all different kinds of fabric. I would hang these vertically as well, at all different levels. I would probably do various kinds of burlap, cotton, and lace fabrics.  

4. Fabric swag. This is what most people do who get married here. They just drape one long piece of fabric over the structure. I like how this looks, but I'm worried it's too simple and I have no idea how much it would cost for that long of a piece of fabric.

Clearly, I need help! Which option is your favorite? Any new ideas or suggestions I haven't thought of? I'm honestly stuck here and need your help deciding! Any and all responses are appreciated! XOXO