Monday, December 29, 2014

DIY Orange Julius

Iknow I know this drink is full of calories, and we are all supposed to be starting our new year resolutions/diets. I made this drink because my parents bought Paul a new drink mixer it is so awesome you can check it out here. We were excited to try it out so we made the easiest milkshake we could find. I am really interested to see what type of health smoothies we can come up with using this machine. I am starting work next week, and I thought it would be awesome to make healthy smoothies for breakfast. Anyway, Happy New Year in advance! Maybe try to fit in an Orange Julius or two before your resolutions begin. All you need is:

1 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup of old fashion vanilla ice cream
Just blend them together

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

No Bake Cookies

It's almost Christmas Time! and I am so excited because I already received my ultimate Christmas Present! A FULLTIME JOB WITH BENEFITS! YAY!... This is when I realized that I am officially a grown up. That being said I do not have a lot of time for baking while I tie up the loose ends of my life and prepare to be a teacher! I bet if you are here a few days before Christmas looking at cookies you do not have to bake, that your limited on time as well. You are in luck not only are these cookies easy to make they taste AH - mazing! The only trick is making sure that they boil for exactly 1 Minute no more or less time. To make these cookies you need to follow this recipe and ingredients exactly. You want them to turn out crumbly... so if they are chewy (sorry you messed up lol) Have fun with this! Here is the recipe:

Add the following to a pot on the stove low heat to melt butter...
1.5 cup of butter
2 cups of sugar
1.5 cup of milk
4 tablespoons of cocoa powder
pinch of salt

*Boil these ingredients hard for only 1 minute*

Add the following to the mixture (it can be helpful to have someone pour while you mix) 
1.5 cup of peanut butter (Jiff is the best for this)
3 cups of quick oats
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (I mix this in last) 

NOTE: This recipe you won't find online, if you follow this exactly the cookies turn out really brittle and you have to scoop them with an ice-cream scooper to get them to stick together. The online recipes make the cookies very chewy. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mini Pumpkin Pies

n order to make these super easy mini pumpkin pies, all you need is a can of Libby's pumpkin puree and the ingredients listed on the back of the can for pumpkin pie filling. You will also need 2 pie crusts. I just used the pre-made kind you can buy at the store. These pies are really easy to make the only trick is watching them so that the pie crust does not burn as it bakes faster than the pie filling. All you need to do is mix up your pie filling and pour it into the pie crusts which you situate inside a cupcake pan... and there you go it's that easy! These are so fun to make and they look so pretty, they are also easier to serve I think than a traditional pumpkin pie.

My photos are a little dark as the sun went down fast today, yesterday was the shortest day of the year! One of my blogger goals next year is to become a little better at food photography... (using more natural light) and I'm hoping that I will be producing Williams-Sonoma worthy photographs by the end of next year. So stay tuned or subscribe to "charcoal & ash" to stay in touch. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide Part 2


The more masculine list, from top to bottom, left to right. Number one is a mens product from Philosophy. I love philosophy it is my absolute favorite perfume and one that smells really fresh without being overpowering. That being said I have not been able to find amen in stores or on the Philosophy website. I have only been able to find it on the QVC site. So if you are going to purchase it you are taking a risk, but it's not too great since most of philosophy's products smell fantastic.

Vans, Paul loves these shoes and he buys the same ones every time. They hold up pretty well and go with just about any outfit.

"Bowers Wilkins is a leading designer of high end high-fi speakers, and have fantastic clarity and stereo imaging"... this is a quote from my husband. I will tell you that they hold up well (have gone through the wash a few times) and I like that they really cut out background noises.

Last one! American Eagle Heritage Flannel Shirts... I love these shirts on Paul they feel so soft, and look really nice for casual or semi formal events. They aren't too expensive and you can usually buy one get one during American Eagle sales. 

That's it for now! I will see you Monday and Tuesday for the last two "Twelve days of Christmas" posts and then it is Christmas Time YAY! Have a wonderful weekend.

Holiday Gift Guide


This is coming a little late, but I thought I would share some products that I have owned and loved for those of you who are still shopping. From left to right, the first is a flower crown from Emily Elisabeths this is a maker from England so be aware of that if you plan to order this for a gift. You may need to purchase a crown from someone local. I really love this flower crown it is silk so it will never wither away. I think it is really pretty especially for someone with blonde or brightly colored hair. I wore mine for our 3rd Wedding Anniversary Shoot.

Party proof! This stuff is amazing I love it so much... it stays on really well and comes off fairly easy. I have the lighter shades but plan on purchasing the brighter colors soon from Birchbox.

Alright Molton Brown is a wonderful smelling, great conditioning hair product! I love it, and that's why it is on here. I accidentally found this on a trip to Seabrook when we stayed at one of the coastal homes and it really made a difference in my hair. I have damaged hair that I am working on repairing and growing out from being bleached blonde and this product works wonders. Oh and the shower and bath products smell amazing too!

Annie Sloan Paint... If you want to buy the artist or antique enthusiast in your family something, this is it! This is such a great paint you seriously do not have to prep anything and only need one coat. The finish is smooth a brilliant they will love it. Hint, Hint you can only purchase this paint from small businesses who carry it (yay support small businesses) you can find vendors on the Annie Sloan website.

The last is a crystal necklace I purchased from Bumhemian. This artist has a wide variety of inexpensive mineral jewlery and ships her products promptly.

Ok thats it for today I hope you see something you or a friend would like! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pumpkin you can be proud of...

We've all seen it... the diagram that breaks down how terrible and bad bad bad Pumpkin Spice Lattés are because of whats in them chemicals, dyes, this, that, and the other thing. Well, I am not claiming that this latté is much better since I personally don't know the exact source of every ingredient, but in this recipe you have control over what you add to your coffee. It claims to be a "skinner" version of this not so skinny drink. So if you would like to attempt your own pumpkin spice latté with your home brewed coffee check out this recipe adapted from The Bold Abode

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Wintergreen Wardrobe

Modcloth Style Gallery - Click to Shop!
coat | Oldnavy
dress | Free People
shoes | Target
leggings | Oldnavy
mittens | Marshalls
C                                                                                                                                                    hristmas is upon us, and for this reason I wanted to throw a Christmas-y outfit together, so I went with mittens, a warm green coat and red lipstick. My lace dress is white and for some reason that really feels festive to me, "snow" white maybe... I have always loved fashion and using my fine arts skills to create themes in my wardrobe, the theme for these photos is "Wintergreen". These photos were taken at a park near our apartment... I was actually surprised to find a little stretch of beach off the little forest trail. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Ship Festival, Tacoma - Gig Harbor

Paul and I got to go on the Christmas Ship Festival Parade boat last night! It was so much fun. We ended up departing from the Glass Museum in Tacoma, which I am embarrassed to say I have still not been inside. It was really fun spending time together and taking in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest sights. The weather was cold and clear perfect for looking at the Christmas lights that people decorated their boats with. The parade started at the Tacoma Marina and went all the way to Gig Harbor and back. The main boat had a youth choir aboard who sang Christmas Carols that were loudly played so even people on shore could hear them. It was so festive and pretty and I would totally recommend Argosy Cruises! This is the second one we have been on and both times have been really fun and well put together. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Salt Dough Gift Tags

T his week has been pretty great! Without jinxing it, things are starting to look up... for real this time. I think 2015 is going to be a really great year. That being said here is day 5 of my "Twelves Days of Christmas Posts." I decided to make salt dough gift tags. These are really easy to do all you need is: 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, and 1.5 cups of warm water. I don't have a lot of Christmas stamps so I pulled a fir branch from my Christmas Tree and used it to dip in black ink and then press into the dough. I also used stamps of postage stamps from around the world for a fun touch. I think these turned out pretty great and they can also be used for Christmas ornaments. Ok this is the last post for this week, taking the weekend off to come up with some more great Christmas posts. See you on Monday. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ombré Star Sugar Cookies

I have never been super talented at baking sugar cookies I'm just not a very patient person. I always end up rushing things along and either burning them or melting the frosting. So this time I took some basic tips to heart and I think the results are much better. Here are some steps you shouldn't skip when baking your Christmas cookies this year. Oh and side note I finally splurged and had my blogger title professionally designed by the Sunday Studio, and I think she did an amazing job! Scroll up and take a peek.
Sugar Cookie Recipe adapted from
  • Use a basic cookie cutter with no small edges or thin pieces
  • Refridgerate your cookie dough overnight
  • Don't leave cookies in the oven too long (no brainer but seriously take them out early)
  • Use a mixer instead of hand stirring 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

DIY drift wood ornaments

Paul and I spent Thanksgiving on the Washington Coast at Seabrook. It was so much fun, and I am so grateful to my parents who rented a huge house with an ocean view. Everyone (my two brothers, their girlfriend and fiancee and my nephew) basically got their own wing of the home so it was a really relaxing getaway. While we were there I decided to try to make drift wood ornaments for our Christmas tree, this year I really wanted to do a beach inspired tree. My Mom and Paul helped me collect small pieces of drift wood from the beach and lucky for us there was a really big storm that blew all sorts of debris onto the beach, there was no shortage of branches, sticks, and driftwood. Then I washed and dried them by the fire, my original idea was to hot glue these together which sort of worked but then Paul being Mr. amazing started to twine them together with string which worked even better. And there you have it pretty drift wood star ornaments. We even used one for our tree topper.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Our First Noble Fir

After a lot debate Paul and I decided that this year we will have a real Christmas Tree. We were concerned about the lack of space in our ever shrinking apartment, and that Kevin (meow) might take a bite of it but we decided to get one anyway. I was so excited because this is my first real tree! Paul found an amazing tree farm in Snoqualami, Washington at the base of Mt. Si called Mountain Creek Christmas Tree Farm I definitely would recommend. It was such a fun experience, when we drove in there was a really nice man checking cars in he gave us the rundown of how the whole U-Cut experience works and got us moving in the right direction towards the Turkish Pines and Noble Firs. I didn't realize how many different types of Christmas Trees there are! Paul and I wanted a short chubby tree that could fit in our car and our apartment but would be full enough for ornaments. We ended up taking a tree from one of the lots that was being cleared out. It's funny because the tree looked so small outside but as soon as we got it indoors it was clear it was a little big lol. We trimmed it down and now it fits perfectly. I am not sure how Eco-friendly cutting down your own christmas tree is, but I really liked supporting this local family farm, vs. buying a new plastic tree for a big corporation. Having this experience is something I will never forget, spending time with Paul, and picking out our little tree. Its these moments that last a lifetime. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

(Christmas) Cabin Fever

I have this really unoriginal idea, I am challenging myself to do "12 Blog Posts of Christmas" starting today. To kick it off I wanted a Christmas cabin themed photo shoot. I have seen some incredibly gorgeous rustic Christmas inspired photos on Pinterest and decided to design my own for our Christmas cards this year. We are really lucky to live in Bellevue where the public parks system is amazing! There is a pretty cabin just minutes from our home on a public blueberry farm. The cabin made the perfect setting for our Christmas shoot. I hope you enjoy our photos, and be sure to read on to check out a great deal from Tiny Prints which is where I ordered our holiday cards from.

I purchased my holiday cards from Tiny Prints, they had an amazing black friday deal of 40% off plus an extra 10% so I was able to pre-order my cards for half off, do my cabin photo shoot, enter my edited photo, and order. Thats all there is to it! Tiny Prints is still offering many deals so I would hop on over to their website to start shopping just click here: