Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Perfect Cup of Coffee

Good morning!
It's early, and coffee is in hand. A normal occurrence in my day to day life. I live off coffee. I thrive off coffee. And quite honestly, I'm not sure if I could function without coffee.

While most mornings I throw a reusable k-cup into my Keurig and am on my way, I do like to indulge in the local shop coffees more than I'd like to admit. There's something just so succulent about that thick, foamy white layer of goodness nestled perfectly over your cup of joe. Mmmmm... hold that thought - I'm off to grab me a cup.

I have a sudden facination with coffee in all it's forms. In fact, I found myself watching Latte Art Youtube videos for about an hour the other night. #addicted. Along the road to coffee discovery, I've been toying with different ways to make my morning pick-me-up. Alas, I have finally nailed down my perfect, go-to, savory caffeinated deliciousness. If you, too, are a coffee connoisseur, you're in the right place... keep on reading.

I wanted to start by giving my coffee a little bit of a flavor boost, but without the added chemicals of your normal grocery-bought creamers. I decided to try my hand in making my own cinnamon simple syrup! First step was to gather my supplies.

For my syrup, I used 1 c. water, 1 c. brown sugar, 2 tbsp cinnamon, and 2 tsp vanilla. I added all my dry ingredients to a small pot first, followed by the water and extract, and whisked until full combined. (Note: This is a very cinnamon-y flavor. Half the amount if you don't like as much cinnamon, or emit all together for a different flavor. Add a different extract, use an essential oil, trade up the brown sugar for organic white... the possibilities are endless! Go nuts!)

I turned the stove on to medium heat, and brought my concoction to a simmer. I let the syrup simmer for 20 minutes, after which it turned into a thick, yummy mixture ready to be transferred to a container.

When the syrup got close to being done, I added milk to 1/3 of my mug and heated it in the microwave for 60-90 seconds. This warmed my milk, but also warmed the mug I would be using to enjoy my coffee, keeping my tasty treat hot longer. I transfered the milk into my french press and was ready to create my wonderful foam. To froth the milk I begin plunging the milk in the press rapidly for approximately 15 seconds, or until the milk have doubled in size. This can also be achieved with an electric milk frother, but I honestly prefer this method as it gives it a creamy, smoothe foam.

My syrup was now done simmering. I transfered it into a glass jar with an attached spoon and admired my creation.

Now it was time to put it all together! I added a spoonful of syrup to the bottom of the glass and brewed my favorite morning cofee right over the top. I gave it a quick stir to make sure the cinnamon was combined, and then poured in my milk and foam. I started by pouring the milk from high/far away which allowed it to mix more with the coffee, and then poured closer to the cup to add the foam. Lastly, I added a layer of caramel drizzle over the top, to give it that little something extra!

The last step of this process is I nestle on the couch in my comfy slippers and sip on my morning treat while I catch up on episodes of Shark Tank. 4:15am may come way to early every day, but at least now I get to enjoy it with a cup of my best friend, Joe.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Crazy About Clutches

I'm going to let you all in on a little secret today...
I love clutches! Totes, pouches, clutches, mesh bag or satchel. Whatever you want to call them, I love them all the same.

When I packed my hospital delivery bag in February of 2015, I invested in a set of travel cubes and pouches and was in hog-heaven designating a bag for each of my needs. One for clothes, one for the baby, one for toiletries, and so on. My love for clutches is like a Chinese nesting doll; I love one inside of another. inside of another. inside of another.

So as overdue as this post may be, I'll walk you through my favorite ways to use my zipper pouches in my everyday life, whether on the go or at home.


The Desk Bag

I love to keep a little clutch on my desk at work for my go-to workday needs. I keep a few staple items in my bag that I find myself reaching for at my desk often: my work-suitable essential oils, hand sanitizer, chapstick, a toothbrush floss and paste for that after lunch dragon breath, and my favorite perfume roller. It's all of my favorite little pick-me-up items bundled together.


Daycare Bag

Every week I send Alex with a little pouch bag to daycare with a change of clothes and couple extra diapers. My kid is dirty. It's sad but true. Too many times have I picked her up covered in soot and whatever the heck she had for lunch ("is that carrots? Maybe peaches? Might also be melon"). Instead of constantly stealing a change of clothes from daycare, which I secretly have done **shhhh** I opt to just send her with a little premade "in case of the inevitable emergencies" bag.


Auto - Cables and Cords

For a while I found myself swimming in a pool of car cables. A charger for my iPhone which always seems to be dead, an Android charger in case I have a friend riding along that hasn't hopped on the Apple train, an auxiliary cord for when I get tired of listening to the same 10 songs on the radio, and other random needed junk. Instead of fiddling around with which compartment has what cord and having them a tangle mess, I love to just wind them up, stick them in a pouch, and keep it nestled on the little shelf in my glove box. Perfection.


Lady Care - Daily Essentials

I love my Lady Care clutch. It holds those perfect feminine products that we all find ourselves needing at the most unopportune moments. A pair of cuticle clippers to keep my biting at bay, bobby pins and hair ties in my repainted tic-tac bottle, Josie Maran whipped Argan Oil lotion, my mini Wet Brush, the unmentionables, sanitizing spray,  hand sanitizer, and extra pens (because I never seem to have any when I need them). Having all my essentials in a medium sized pouch like the one above makes throwing it in my purse/tote on the go so simple and so easy! Plus the design on the pouch is just to die for, is it not?! CVS for the win!


Baby Not-a-Diaper-Bag

Since I stopped pumping for the munchkin about a month ago, I have been overly excited to not have to carry a pump bag around with me anymore. I also feel the same way about diaper bags; they're bulky, over the top, and most of the time quite unflattering. Instead, I prefer to use one of my mesh pouches and fill it with our on-the-go baby needs. It holds our cute refillable wipe dispenser, a handful of our favorite diapers, a change of clothes, and her spare jar of Baby Vicks - because I found myself without it once while she was congested and vowed never again. I can then throw the cube into whatever bag I'm using for the day to keep Alex's things organized, but still have the freedom of using the purse or tote as my own.


The Work Tote

HOW cute is this tote?!  I can't get over these little bags. You may remember them from Friday's Favorites, so they definitely made the list today. I was strolling through CVS when I saw the end cap of this cute little sucker and basically ripped it off the shelf. It's perfect to tug back and forth from work with me. The coin purse is great for the emergency change needs, and I love that the tote is just big enough for me to throw any and every combination of clutches in it from above. I may not take all these little babies with me every day, but having a good size tote leaves me with the option to pick and choose whichever fits my daily outings. It's normal contants feature a clutch or two, my coin purse, my new journal to scribble down my thoughts on the go, and my work lanyard that holds my ID and debit card safe and sound.


The Nightstand Essentials

Recently you may have seen a little photo sneak of our nightstand revamp that was much overdue. Previously my stand was filled with nothing but essential oils and glass spray bottles. While nice to have them close, this area was lacking in other needs I found myself often yearning for after being tucked into the bedcovers. I decided to add a little nightstand clutch with only the little things I need in the evenings: my headache roller to fight off those middle of the night pangs, Lavender to aid sleep, a spray bottle with a little bedtime mixture to spritz on the pillows, and chapstick - which can be found in almost every bag as you can tell since I am always finding myself reaching for it.


There you have it! An obsession that actually comes in useful and handy in the organization world. I may have already been brainstorming about other little bags I can put together - Sunday family day bag, amusement park bag, trunk emergency bag, first aid bag... so many possibilities!

Do you have any little obsessions that may be starting to get out of hand?? I can't be the only one, right?! Righttttt?