4th of July Parfaits

The 4th of July is always an interesting holiday. You have the over-the-top patriotic types yelling “‘Merica!” every chance they get, the soccer moms in their token american flag Target t-shirt, the people who just want an excuse to get wasted celebrate, and then, of course, you have everyone else. No matter which category you fall into, everyone’s gotta eat! And what better way to start off the day of commemorating our nations independence than with a…wait for it…bomb breakfast?p4p1

Now, this probably won’t work for all of the partiers out there who need a little more substance to soak up their pursuit of 12 hours of alcohol consumption, but it is definitely one way I’ll be celebrating all year.p5

4th of July Parfaits

Fresh blueberries
Fresh strawberries
Plain greek yogurt (or vanilla of you’re feeling fancy)
Granola, store bought or homemade

This recipe couldn’t be easier, simply grab yourself a mason jar and start layering: strawberries, yogurt, granola, yogurt, blueberries, yogurt, granola. Bam! These little treats would also be great for brunch, mini patriotic parfaits anyone?p2 p4

Makeup for the Fourth of July

imageMaybe you’re debating on how to celebrate the upcoming #FourthOfJuly weekend, or maybe you’ve got plans set in stone… Either way, one thing is for sure we want our makeup to be on point.

After spending far too much makeup at MAC last week (thanks, Le Disco), I decided to dig through my makeup drawers and find the perfect tools to master some festive makeup.

The Lips

Bright Reds 

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NYX Butter Lipstick in Big Cherry: (Top) I love this lipstick because it is so moisturizing and light, it feels like I’m wearing a smooth lip balm! They don’t seem to have this color online, but there is a similar one called Fire Brick (Cherry Red).

NYX Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in 511 Chaos: (Middle) I noticed how vibrant the Creamy Round Lipstick is when swatched next to the Butter Lipstick. This lipstick is easy to apply, but it doesn’t have the same slick and smooth feel on the lips as the Butter Lipstick.

Wet N’ Wild Mega Last Lip Color in 911D Stoplight Red: (Last) I love Wet N’ Wild lipsticks! They have a matte finish, a range of colors and a great price. The only downside of these lipsticks is after a while the cap becomes very loose and can easily fall off. Sad face. This is a BEAUTIFUL color for the fourth of July, it’s a bright, attention-grabbing red.

Milani Color Statement Lip Liner in 02 True Red: (Heart) Milani lipliners have a special place in my heart, because it’s the first lipliner I’ve ever really used. It’s a pencil so you can sharpen it to your favorite point, but the downside is that it can go fast this way. Or maybe I’m just a sharpening addict. This liner doesn’t bleed much and it also works well as an all-over lip color!

Deeper Reds

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Let me start with the NYC Lipstick (Middle): This lipstick isn’t on the NYC website for some reason, but you can find it in drugstores like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Target. When I googled it a Buzzfeed article titled, “Red Lipstick for the Extremely Broke” popped up. Side ways glancing, pissed of emoji.

Regardless if you’re looking to save money or you just genuinely like NYC like me, this lipstick rocks. It’s not a bright red, it has a bit of a deeper color to it, it’s smooth to apply and very moisturizing. I like to use it with the…

Wet N’ Wild Color Icon Lipliner in 711 Chestnut: Looking at the swatches on my hand, I may seem crazy because it is more of a brown-red mahogany. But I like to line my and semi-fill my lips in with this and then put the NYC Sheer Red lipstick on top. This deepens the red and I love it!

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Sleek Makeup Lipstick in 790 Cherry: (Right) I love how compact this lipstick is. It’s so cute! This has a deeper violet tone to it and it’s easy to apply. I recommend this brand, because it is a good bargain and the packaging is so sleek and cute.

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L’Oreal Colour Riche Collection Exclusive in 406 Zoe’s Red: I picked up this lipstick for $10.99 the other day at Walgreen’s, one because I have a shopping problem and two because of the sturdy tube. On the back, the gold part clips the lid on. Wet N’ Wild, are you seeing this?! Take notes.

The color has some purple undertones to it (shown on the left) and I received many compliments on it when I wore it. It is pretty similar to the Sleek Makeup color!

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NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella: The NARS pencil I’m holding isn’t the Cruella color, but I’m wearing it in the photo on the right. I was using my boyfriend as a purse and loading his pockets with my stuff, and he accidentally gave my chubby stick to my friend! Gasp. I have some difficulty applying this lipstick and have to do it very carefully. But it’s long-lasting and has great color.

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L’Oreal Infallible in Crimson: Sadly, this product has been discontinued but if you happen to come across it in store BUY IT! There is a new version of it as a double sided gloss, I’ll purchase it and write a review for you! The benefits of this lipstick is that it lasts all day long. In fact, I have to remove it with coconut oil at night. It can get a bit flakey if you pack it on, so do one reasonable coat, let it dry for 3 minutes and then add the gloss to it!

The Liners

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Rimmel Scandal Eyes in 007 Turquoise: (Bottom)  This product is a brighter turquoise and it looks great as a bottom liner.

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MAC Superslick Eyeliner in Nocturnal: (Second from Bottom) I bought this as part of the Le Disco collection, I was crazy about it when I swatched it on my hand, but it isn’t as bold as I would like it to be. It’s also hard for me to apply because I’m not used to the straight, stick-like brush. The plus is that it’s long-lasting but it peels off strange and it’s hard for me to get it off of my lash extensions.

Aside from the product itself, I love the idea of a double wing with a sparkly silver liner for the holiday!  NYX has a similar product, their studio liquid liner on sale on Ulta.com for $2.69.

Marcelle Eyeliner in Indigo: (Third from Bottom)This deep blue pencil is waterproof and said to be easy to blend. I’ve only used it once on my bottom lashline, but it was a bit too dark for my taste.

LA Girl Glide Gel Liner in Royal Blue: (Fourth from Bottom): I love this bright and sparkly color. It stays on well and I use it on my bottom lashes because I can’t break away from my liquid liner addiction on top.

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NYX White Liquid Liner: (Top) I love the brush on this NYX liner so much because it’s flexible… it’s an actual brush! Two coats of this bad boy and you’re good to go. This is a must-have for the fourth! So bright. Looks great with a double wing, or get creative with it!

Hope you find these products helpful! Share your Fourth of July makeup looks throughout the week and after the celebration in the comments below! I’d love to see what you came up with!

Until Tuesday, XO- Ashley (@ashleysita)

Handmade Crunchy Tacos

There are many reasons why I love living in Seattle. One of the reasons is definitely not the lack of Taco Tuesday’s. Taco Tuesday takes the worst day of the week and turns it into one of the best. It basically give you something to live for, if your life sucks and you love tacos, that is. I mean, how can you beat soft corn tortillas made right in front of your face, endless chips and salsa and $3 margaritas? But, isn’t it Thursday? Whatevs, it’s Taco Tuesday somewhere.taco5

Now, I didn’t make the tortillas from scratch, but I did fry them to make the crunchy shells…that has to count for something, right?taco1 taco2 taco4

Handmade Crunchy Tacos

1 pound lean, grass-fed ground beef
1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s taco seasoning (not the other crappy brands filled with food coloring and cancer)
8 corn tortillas
pico de gallo
shredded mexican cheese
chopped romaine lettuce
oil for frying (canola or olive)

Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium/high heat in a large sauté or frying pan and add the ground beef and taco seasoning. Cook until done, stirring frequently.

In a separate large frying pan, heat 1-2 inches of oil over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the hot oil and fry for 30 seconds then flip and fry for 30 more seconds. Using tongs, bend the tortilla into the shape of a taco shell (hold the tortilla in place with the tongs if necessary) and fry until golden and crispy, flipping sides as needed. Repeat with each tortilla. Place shells on a paper towel to cool and to remove some of the excess oil.

Load the cheese into the tortilla, top with the ground beef, pico de gallo and lettuce, grab a margarita and enjoy! Olé!taco3 taco6

MAC Le Disko Collection: Too Fun Not To Buy

So Sunday marked the first day of summer, (thanks Snapchat, for the summer solstice geotags) and I’m lovinggg it! Bring on the beach days, beach hair, bathing suits, fruity refreshing drinks and sunscreen! Ah, I’m truly a summer girl and although it’s usually sunny here in California, there’s nothing like this time of the year. I just feel like I can really shine in the summer. And apparently, MAC does too as they launched their sparkly and bright summer 2015 “Le Disko” line this past weekend.mac-le-disko-332mac-le-disko-331

MAC describes their line of sparkly and colorful shadows, eyeliner and lipgloss as a “full-on color disco in which YOU’RE the reigning queen.” And let me tell you, after swatching all of the shadows my sparkly arm and hand made me feel like I was the disco ball of the night. Let’s check them out!

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There is a full 12 set description of the shadows here, but these are the 12 swatches.

Each eyeshadow is different in hue, but they’re each incredibly sparkly. I anticipated falling in love with “I Like 2 Watch,” (second picture, second from the right) because I’m a gold fanatic and it’s a lighter brown with gold sparkles, but in person, the eyeshadow had a more green to it. I opted out and chose “She Sparkles,” a frostier, lighter pink with taupey sparkles (second picture, third from the right) and “Get Physical,”(first picture, fourth from the right) a deeper blue shadow with purple sparkles.

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Of course, this line includes lip glosses too! The MAC Makeup Artist told me that these glosses work great on top of lipsticks, adding shine and sparkle, but a medium ranged pigment that isn’t overbearing. I’ve become a fan of nude lips, so I was torn between Rollergirl and Phiff, but inevitably chose Rollergirl because of the deeper tone. The artist also told me that while she feels Phiff is a neutral and beautiful color, it’s one she recognizes from previous MAC lines.

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Last but not least, the eyeliners! Searching for an awesome metallic liquid eyeliner? I’ve found it! These gold and silver liners, Pure Show and Nocturnal, are long lasting, highly pigmented and the gold is pretty sparkly! The MAC artist suggested adding a thick wing of eyeliner with these beautiful babies and then going back to add my usual black eyeliner. Genius! I had been doing it in the opposite order, oops!

Are you drooling over any of these products? Which one?! Let me know in the comments below!
Until Tuesday, XO- Ashley (@ashleysita).

Before I go,

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here’s a sneak preview of some of the brightly colored and outrageously pigmented MAC blushes that will be hitting the shelves shortly after the rest of the “Le Disko” line.

Pain Au Chocolat

The pain au chocolat, or for the non-pretentious (unless you’re actually french) chocolate croissant, is by far, one of my favorite dessert/breakfast foods. It is also one of my favorite pastries to make. I didn’t catch my oven on fire this time, and I’m happy to say that these little bad boys turned out pretty darn delicious. I mean, seriously, what’s better than chocolate wrapped in flakey layers of butter? NOTHING.c10

c11I spent the better part of my day making the pain au chocolat and even though I will never get back those precious five hours I could have spent binge watching Orange is the New Black season 3 contributing to society and helping the poor, it was totally worth it.c1 c2 c3 c5c7

Pain Au Chocolat

3 1/2 ounces water (105-115 degrees f)
1/4 ounce active dry yeast
2 1/2 ounces bread flour
1 1/4 ounces sugar
3/8 ounce salt
6 ounces milk
3/4 ounce water
1 pound bread flour (or all purpose)
10 ounces butter
chocolate chips
1 egg

Start by making a sponge: add the water, yeast, 2 1/2 ounces bread flour and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit about 30 minutes. The mixture should be lumpy and, when ready, have small bubbles on the surface. The bubbles are a sign of the yeast activating, no bubbles = dead yeast.

When sponge is ready, add the salt, milk, water and 1 pound bread flour. Mix on medium speed with a dough hook attachment until combined. Do not over mix. You want the dough to be moist and lumpy. If dough is too dry, add a little bit of water, one teaspoon at a time.

When ready, place the dough on a vegetable-sprayed piece of parchment paper and cover with a vegetable-sprayed piece of plastic wrap. Let sit in a cool place for 1 hour. Alternately, you could refrigerate the dough overnight.

With your butter, cut each stick hotdog-style, then cut again to get 4 even slices. Lay the butter out flat on a large piece of plastic wrap, making a rectangle shape. Cover with another large layer of plastic wrap and beat the butter with your rolling pin until the butter is a smooth, pliable texture.

When dough is ready, place on a floured surface and roll it out to twice the size of the butter. Lay the butter on one half of the dough and fold the other half over it. Pinch the sides of the dough to enrobe the butter. Roll out the dough to a long rectangle shape. Make a 3 fold with the dough by folding one side 2/3 of the way down, then folding the other side over it. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Do this two more times.

After 3×3 folds, roll dough out to 1/4 inch. Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut out small rectangle shapes. The size of the rectangles depends on how big you want the croissants, I made mini croissants. You can roll out the individual rectangles more if they are too small, or too thick. Add a small hand full of chocolate chips to each piece and fold over itself, similar to the 3 fold.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees f.

Place croissants on a sheet pan with parchment paper. Make egg wash by whisking together one egg, a splash of water and a pinch of salt. Brush the top of each croissant with egg wash and place in an enclosed area to proof. I made a small batch and placed my croissants on my toaster oven with a bowl of steaming water under the sheet pan. The main goal is for the croissants to be covered in a humid environment. Croissants are fully proofed when they have roughly doubled in size and when they resemble jello when shaken. Depending on the temperature of the room and size of the croissants, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Place croissants in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat of the oven to 350 degrees f and continue baking until done. Croissants are done when they are a deep golden brown; they will feel very light if you pick one up. Celebrate the wondrous feat you have just overcome by eating all of them!c12 c9

Must-Try Nail Polish

I’ve never been very into brands. I may pick up a $1.99 Sinful Colors nail polish (they have the best dupes!) or I may splurge and buy the $8 bottle of Essie… I had to have Mint Candy Apple and Penny Talk. imageimageDespite price differences, I picked my polish solely off of color, disregarding the brand, while my best friend made observations about her polish choices- how well they lasted and which chipped the fastest.

I followed suit and realized that some polishes and colors hold up far better than others. Have you ever used a sparkly color? Those are a pain in the arse to remove! Ever used a random brand that chipped off instantly? Or discovered a polish that lasts forever?

I have! I want to introduce you to one of my new favorite brands: Daisy.

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I was intrigued by this polish brand when I saw a woman with summery nails that reminded me of melted orange creamsicles, subtle yet bright. I was informed that Daisy, made nail polishes and matching gel polish! I went with the creamsicle nail laquer on my toes, called Havin Cabbler.

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I’ll spare you the picture of my pedicure, because toes are kind of gross, but here is the lovely gel polish on my acrylic nails.

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This color, Orange Aura, made me fall even more in love with the brand. The color is a bright pink, so I think pink aura would be a more suitable name, but I digress. This color lasted me a solid 3 1/2 weeks without chipping and it would have lasted longer, but I removed it because it was growing out.

I highly recommend this nail product, it is a must try! Many salons carry this brand, but you can find them online here. I just about drooled when I saw all of the polishes and took about 7 pictures of them so I can add them to my future nail list.

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This is the summery, ocean water nail combo I’m going for next: Tropical Teal on my toes and Ode to Green on my nails.

Share your summer nails below! And if you have a favorite nail polish brand, I’m always on the look out. Even though I may be stuck on this one for a while. ;)

Until Tuesday, XO- Ashley (@Ashleysita)

Vanilla Bean Bread Pudding

So I almost burned my house down trying to make croissants the other day…let’s back up. Croissants are one of my favorite viennoiserie items to make. They’re kind of a work out, extremely time consuming and particularly satisfying. Blood sweat and tears go into every batch of my croissant dough (not really) and I wouldn’t want it any other way…jk, it would be great to have a sheeter.

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Anyways, here I was on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, having spent hours laminating and rolling out my dough, finally able to jump in the shower and rinse off the two inch layer of flour accumulating over my skin when I smell it. The smoke. No biggie, I only had one sheet pan and too many croissants so I just threw some on the pizza stone, a little bit of butter must have dripped down to the bottom of the oven causing a tiny bit of smoke, right? Wrong. A lot of butter dripped, so much so that, faster than a knife fight in a phone booth, my oven was engulfed in flames. I thought to myself: WWSD (what would Sean do, my fire-fighting older brother) and had no idea so, naturally, I googled it. FYI, if your oven catches on fire just turn it off and leave the door closed.bp4

Basically, I completely ruined my croissants and thus Brianna’s not-so-famous Vanilla Bean Bread Pudding was birthed.bp3 bp2

Vanilla Bean Bread Pudding

2 cups raw cane sugar
5 eggs, beaten
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup golden rasins
4 cups cubed croissants, let stale over night
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup pecans, chopped

Vanilla Bean Sauce:
1 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon madagascar vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 350.

Add the cubed croissants to a large bowl with the cane sugar, eggs, whole milk, raisins and vanilla. Mix together and let sit for 15 minutes.

In a saucepan, melt the butter, remove from heat and mix in the brown sugar and pecans.

Pour the croissant mixture into a medium size casserole dish and then top with the brown sugar and pecan mixture.

Bake 45-60 minutes, or until set. The bread pudding should jiggle slightly when done.

To make the sauce, add the melted butter, sugar and egg to a small sauce pan and heat on medium/high until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste.

When bread pudding is ready, allow to cool slightly, top generously with vanilla bean sauce and enjoy!bp5

*recipe adapted from this one