Lemon Blueberry Scones

I went to a tea party over the weekend and before you think I’m 6, it was a bridal tea, so it was full of class and sophistication…obviously. There was tea and finger sandwiches galore and, of course, scones. Now, I have to admit that, though mine weren’t the prettiest scones around, they were definitely the tastiest! Jk, everything was good.scones6

I’ve seen scones made in so many different ways, which is weird because they’re scones, how many ways can you make ’em? Well, a lot, but I prefer the simple, classic approach: throw it all in a bowl and mix! or something like that.scones7

There are few things in life more satisfying than tea and scones (like cappuccinos and croissants, but that’s another post), so whip up a batch of these bad boys, brew some earl grey and get to snackin’! Oh, and maybe throw on a big hat for good measure.scones1scones2

Lemon Blueberry Scones

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup butter, cold and cut into small chunks
1 egg
4 ounces 1/2&1/2
4 ounces buttermilk
2 cups frozen blueberries

Powdered sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add all of the dry ingredients plus the lemon zest. Add the butter chunks (make sure the butter is super cold, you could even have it sitting in the freezer for an hour or so) and mix on low until the butter chunks are roughly pea-sized.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, 1/2&1/2 and buttermilk and slowly pour into the flour mixture while the mixer is on low speed. When the mixture is about half way combined, add the frozen blueberries and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and form two (or three) logs with the dough. Use a bench knife to cut the logs into triangle-shaped pieces. Spread the scones out evenly on a sheet pan, sprinkle some course sugar on each one and bake until done, about 10 minutes or until they are a very light golden brown.

While the scones are baking, whisk together the juice of the lemon and enough powdered sugar until the mixture is slightly thick and easily pourable.

When scones have cooled, use a pastry bag (or plastic bag with the corner cut off or a squeeze bottle) and drizzle the scones generously, then eat them all.scones4 scones5

Birchbox Bliss!

I’m sure we’ve all wanted to try a sample of a product before we go out and actually buy the real thing. Despite rave reviews and recommendations, it’s hard to know if a product is right for you without trying it first!

Luckily, there’s Birchbox! The company was started in 2010 when two women who loved makeup in their own ways, decided to find a way to make testing beauty products easier! And I’m very thankful for them ;) The way Birchbox works is subscribers either pay $10 a month for a box of 4-5 beauty products or $110 for a year’s worth of boxes each month. Products are based off of a beauty interest survey that subscribers fill out to fit the needs of everyone.

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I received my first box over the weekend and I was so excited! There were five samples that I’m looking forward to share with you. They each came with a small description on what the product was and how to use it, as well as the price for a regular sized product!

Find out what was in my box below.

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The Goods

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1.) COOLA Tinted Moisturizer 

This mineral-based moisturizer is said to soften and even skin tone with a matte finish. Now, I’m always on the hunt for a good moisturizer and I knew this one would be a perfect product for my graduation day because of the matte finish and SPF 30!  The cream was smooth and easy to put on, and the smooth, matte finish lasted throughout my 4-hour graduation festivities. Would definitely recommend this product for those willing to spend $36 on a moisturizer!

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2.) Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel

Now I’ve tried this beauty product before because I stole it from my mother’s makeup collection >:), but now I have a cute travel-size one to take along with me. This clear gel really works to tame and define brows and can be worn alone or over your favorite brow pencil or powder. I personally haven’t mastered the art of perfect brows, no #EyebrowsOnFleek for me, YET! I want to try to tinted Anastasia Beverly Hills tinted brow gel, they have 5 colors, including blonde and auburn! Full size costs $22!

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3.) Staniac from theBalm cosmetics 

Staniac is a two-in-one tinted lip balm and cheek stain said to give a sheer, rosy tint. I tried it on as a balm and was, unfortunately, not too satisfied with the outcome.The balm felt very gel-like and although it felt cool on the lips at first, it was hard to evenly spread the color and my lips stung after a minute. The color didn’t last me very long, mostly because I licked my lips a bunch after applying it. I am looking forward to trying this product as a cheek stain, but I’ve been warned to smear it with a quick hand because it dries quickly. Full-size cost is $17.

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4.) Whish Shave Cream 

I am both pleased and heartbroken with this product at the same time. At $20 for a full-size, this organic, smoothing shaving cream can definitely get a bit pricey but there are SO many pros that I’m tempted to become a devout user. My sample was coconut scented and I got lost in its sweet, island scent. This product is all-organic which helps to soothe and moisturize dry skin, leaving you feeling fresh. It is half the texture of a typical shaving cream mixed with half the texture of lotion, it makes shaving a dream and it smells divine!

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5.) Beauty Protector, Protect and Oil 

Ah, yet another amazing and wallet-breaking product. Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic, at $25.95 per 4 oz on Birchbox, it is a fair deal, but I’m a drugstore kind of girl! I have a problem with frizzy, fly away hairs and I’ve tried using various oils to tame my mane. All of the oils I’ve tried have left my hair feeling greasy and weighed down. Beauty Protector is different, however. I applied a small amount to my wet hair, let it air dry 80% and blew dry the rest. My hair felt incredibly smooth and, here’s the kicker, IT SMELLED INCREDIBLE. This oil smells just like Pink Sugar perfume, a sugary vanilla scent. I give this product an A+ and I’m dying to buy the full-size product, if I can teach myself how to use it on occasions only!

Have you ever tried Birchbox before? What did you think about it?

Sincerely your Birchbox noob,

Ashleysita (@Ashleysita)

XOXO

Pate A Choux Beignets

I am a huge sucker for sweets, always have been, always will be. I am also a huge sucker for easy recipes, because, well I’m lazy. If I was in Harry Potter, all of my incantations would definitely involve food.b3

When I was in pastry school, pate a choux was always one of my favorite things to make because its super easy, super fun and you can make a bunch of stuff with it. So, when I stumbled across a pate a choux beignet recipe during my routine Pinterest perusing, I just knew I had to try it out.b4

Pate A Choux Beignets

1 cup milk (or water, the milk gives the beignets a more cake-like texture)
1 stick of butter, cut up
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup flour
3-4 eggs

Coconut oil for frying

In a medium sauce pan, bring the milk, butter, sugar and salt to a simmer, just before it begins to boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the flour until it forms a dough (don’t add the flour while the milk mixture is on the heat, otherwise it will clump).

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low to cool. When there is barely any steam coming off the dough, add the eggs one at a time. The amount of eggs you use depends on how cool the dough is (I used 3). Do not add the eggs all at one time. When you pinch a tiny bit of the dough between your pointer finger and thumb, you want to pull the dough apart and have it resemble soft peaks.

Heat about 2″ of coconut oil to 350 degrees. Make sure not to go over that, otherwise the beignets will burn.

Plop a tablespoon of dough per beignets into the hot oil and fry for 4-5 minutes on each side until done. Depending on the size of you pan, you’ll probably have to do 3-4 batches. Make sure to fry the beignets long enough so you don’t end up with a doughy center.

Top with powdered sugar and voilà!b1b2b5

Original recipe here.

Ways to Rejuvenate During Crunch Time

Life is crazy and it moves fast, so whether you are feeling stressed from finals, work or a mixture of things, here are a few tips to slow things down and rejuvenate yourself for what’s ahead!

Take a Bath 

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It’s important to schedule breaks in between work time, 20 minutes of “me time” between study or work sessions is a key to success! Set the mood with a few candles and play your favorite music! I like to throw a bit of Epsom Salt in the bath as well to soothe achey muscles.

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The last thing you want to do is feel sleepy when you’ve got work to do, hence the gallons of coffee that college students drink, so I’ve got something to counteract that problem. Tea! No, I don’t want you to guzzle down any more caffeine than you’ve likely consumed, instead toss 4-6 tea bags in the tub while running hot water. The tea bags will release B Vitamins that help uplift your mood and combat signs of fatigue and aging on the body!

What Kinds of Tea?

Chamomile tea is great to relax the mind and body, helping ease stress. I would recommend this one for a good night’s rest because chamomile can often make you sleepy. Still have a heavy workload? Try either peppermint or green tea!

Peppermint tea is an especially great method to fight colds during this crunch time as it has immense health benefits: removing harmful toxins and clearing sinuses and congestion. Peppermint can be rejuvenating for mind and body, sparking positive thoughts and helping to increase focus!

Green tea is high in antioxidants to keep you healthy. It is also rejuvenating and leaves skin feeling soft and smooth.

After this 15 minute indulgence, jump up and take a cool shower.

Don’t Forget to Scrub 

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If you have time, create a quick DIY body scrub to exfoliate old skin and old worries, and leave you with smooth skin and healthy glow! I’m sure you’ve seen these DIY Sugar Scrubs on Pinterest and with just three ingredients, they only take minutes to make.

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(Photo cred. to my beautiful friend, Julie Galarza)

Ingredients

Organic sugar or coconut sugar

(Optional: Sea salt)

Coconut oil

Your favorite scented oil.

Begin with the organic sugar and/or sea salt, this will be the ingredient used in the largest portion. Next stir in some coconut oil and top the mix with 20-30 drops of your favorite scent and stir!

Scent Suggestions

Lavender is a delicious scent, but it is particularly soothing. For an invigorating scent that also releases stress, use orange oil! Or use peppermint oil to match your tea bath and increase your focus!

Good luck with finals or whatever you may have going on in life right now, and I hope this helps relieve some stress!

XO- Ashley (@Ashleysita)

DIY Gifts [Mother’s Day Edition]

Happy Mother’s Day to all my readers; whether you are expecting, have expected and lost, have one, have a few, foster, adopted, or a father who plays both roles. Even though we should be treating you amazingly every day, today is just a day to recognize you even more for the responsibilities that you have taken on. YOU are an amazing person. YOU are an amazing wo(man). You are one of the most important people in our lives. You’re out hero, our role model, our everything. Thank you.

For those looking for a last minute DIY gift, below are my top 5 favorite from Pinterest. Yes, I love Pinterest. Only because it has been a while since I have actually made my mom something. I did not list the details but you can click on the links to find the women who actually took the time to create these gifts.

1. Hand-shaped Ring Dish by mamapapabubba.com

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2. Nail Polish (or makeup) Storage made from a frame

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3. Candle with image by evite

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4. Custom Mug by pounds4pennies

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5. Mother’s Day Photos (even though this says FATHER)

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*there was no tutorial for this. My instructions- take a few photos with of your children with hand written signs, print them at Target and buy a collage frame (very good prices at Target.)

Saturday Styles in LA 5/9 [Mother’s Day Edition]

A little late, sorry.

In honor of Mother’s Day tomorrow, check out these super cute Mommy + Me styles from Pinterest! Be sure to check back tomorrow for my last minute top 5 DIY Mommy gifts. You’re never too old to create something from the heart ♡

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Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

When I’m sick, the first thing I crave is sugar chicken noodle soup, and boy am I sick! I’m talking sinus infection, ear infection, can’t breath out of my nose sick. And since I spent the last weekend indulging in margaritas and tacos-galore in Mexico, I figured it was time I whipped up a batch of my homemade chicken noodle and tried to nurse myself back to health.

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My mom used to make chicken noodle soup on the regular and as a kid, I longed for the canned Campbell’s crap because hers was loaded with veggies. Nowadays, the vegetable soup is just what I need, but alas, I still crave the good ole’ classic chicken noodle when I’m feeling under the weather.soup3 soup4

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

24 ounces chicken breast (fresh or frozen and thawed)
1- 8 ounce package of egg noodles
2 quarts chicken broth or stock
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Start by boiling your chicken in water until done (the center of the chicken will be white) then transfer to a cutting board and chop the chicken into bite sized pieces.

While the chicken is boiling, heat a large, oiled stock pot over medium/high heat and add your mirepoix (fancy term for chopped onion, carrots and celery). Add the basil, oregano, salt and pepper and sauté your mirepoix until the onions are translucent and fragrant.

When the veggies are ready, slowly pour the chicken broth or stock into the pot and increase the heat to high. When the broth begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium/low, bring the soup to a simmer and add the noodles.

Let the soup simmer until the noodles are soft. Add your chopped chicken pieces and bam! You have a big pot of classic chicken noodle soup.soup2 soup7

*If you’re like me and hate chopping veggies, Trader Joe’s has a pre-made mirepoix mix and it’s the perfect amount!