I am basically in a relationship with chocolate. It’s pretty serious. Like, long term serious.
I consider myself a decent baker, but never would have attempted to bake a chocolate lava cake on my own. While, yea it’s on just about every restaurant menu, it was always one of those recipes that I’d figured I’d leave to the pros. Baking a lava cake from scratch just seemed so complicated. How to you get the outside cooked and what exactly is in the magic middle? There must be a million obscure ingredients and special gadgets needed to recreate. At the very least I assumed that the measuring had to be exact or it would end up an epic fail. No thanks. Not for me…
Last year, I partnered up with Red Velvet NYC and reviewed their Nutella cupcake kit (read that here). Long story short, the company sends pre-measured gourmet ingredients and no-fail instructions (with photos and tips!) all in a pretty box that gets delivered to your front door. I wish I thought of the idea myself. It’s been a year since discovering the brand and I am still in love with the whole concept. The pricing is super affordable too (and who doesn’t love that?!). I actually purchased a few kits myself and had rave reviews.
Red Velvet sent me a lava cake baking kit to test out. The folks at Red Velvet labeled this recipe as “intermediate” but since everything was measured out for me and the directions were so clear, I’d deem it “easy”.
I mixed up my ingredients (and sampled the super dark chocolate) then popped the ramekins in the oven.
Thankfully, I buttered and floured the heck out of these things. The little cakes slid right out of the ramekin and onto the plate. If they got stuck in the dish, I may have cried. I obnoxiously added a ton of powdered sugar on top because #YOLO.
I posted the tada moment video on SnapChat (Follow me @FSLsnap). Slow motion obviously.
This was better than any lava cake I’ve eaten at a restaurant. It was not as sweet as those. The intense chocolate flavor makes this a must make if you’re a chocoholic. For $20, Red Velvet ships you gourmet ingredients (all pre-measured) and you end up with four of the most delish decadent desserts (that you baked yourself). I’d recommend getting one of these kits for that dinner party you’ve been dying to throw or Valentine’s Day dessert. They also make the cutest gift sets that not only come with the ingredients and directions, but they even ship you the tools!
You might not know who Jamie Lewis is (yet) but her brand is about to explode! She is the girl boss behind the band new indie line JLEW Bags, also known as #bagswithasilverlining 😉 . Jamie is not your typical bag designer, she has an MBA from Columbia, went to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and can be found in a boxing gym breaking a sweat. In other words, she is a bad-ass woman that just oozes girl power. It’s no wonder why the brand’s other hashtag is #GirlsWithGuts.
This brand is her passion project and you can tell in every single detail of each bag. The materials are sourced almost entirely in the USA and are made right in New York City. Jamie has her hands in every detail of the company from design to fabrication to public relations -she is the heart and soul of it all. Lewis came up with the concept for her design from lugging around multiple bags going from business meetings to the boxing gym. There simply wasn’t anything big enough or fashionable enough to do double duty. So she created her own. Her D-I-Y attitude combined with infectious enthusiasm and attention to detail makes me think of Jamie Lewis (JLEW) as a kindred spirit . This girl is definitely not afraid to get her hands dirty.
The company is a sponsor of the US Women’s Olympian boxer Mikaela Mayer which is pretty cool. JLEW even designed a special edition roll top bag inspired by Mayer. Um, even cooler. I love when women build each other up and support one another. There’s something very empowering about it.
While the company launched just nine months ago, industry insiders have taken note already. Glamour Magazine, Women’s Wear Daily and TMZ just to name a few. This post was really supposed to be just a product review but I had to share the back story about this brand. It’s just too good.
The bags are said to be contemporary lifestyle bags that deliver form and function throughout the busy woman’s day. My favorite style is the triangle top tote which looks like this on their website and comes in a variety of colors.
Of course, a snapshot of my day does look anywhere near as glam as the lady in the photo (we are #TeamNoSleep thanks our teething toddler who shall remain nameless). That doesn’t mean I should be juggling various bags that serve various purposes (purse, diaper bag etc). I can’t tell you how many things I’ve forgotten or lost while transferring all of my things from one bag to the next throughout the day. One bag that does it all is a big promise, so I put the triangle top tote to the test to report back to you guys.
For one full week, I only used this bag.
Here are the highlights and the deets on what was inside my bag.
Early morning sweat sesh:
Large water bottle, bag of protein powder and shaker, post workout snack, hand towel, headphones, change of clothes, change of shoes, notebook, pen, phone, wallet, hair ties, keys, makeup bag. I still had lots of room. Tons of compartments made it easy to stay organized. I could have easily fit more if I needed to.
Preschool drop off (with toddler in tow):
Max’s lunchbox, changing pad, a couple of diapers, wipes, a bag of goldfish crackers, phone, sunblock, water bottle, small toy, keys, wallet, makeup bag. I can’t tell you how many mothers and teachers stopped me to ask about this bag. It really is a great teacher bag. I can’t wait to use it for this upcoming school year.
Girls’ day by the pool:
Towel, sunblock, water bottle, flip flops, sunglasses, a bottle of savignon blanc (oops!), corkscrew, bathing suit, sarong, wallet, phone, keys, makeup bag, phone charger, small blue tooth speaker. This bag definitely was a topic of conversation between the ladies.
Overnight anniversary getaway:
LBD, black heels, nude heels, jeans, top, pjs, bathing suit, sarong, clothes for the next day, straightening iron, curling iron, brush, hairspray, self tanner, toiletry bag, toothbrush, phone charger, jewelry, wallet, makeup bag, keys, phone. This actually blew my mind. I over-packed because I can never commit to an outfit (a little black dress with black heels or olive crop top, jeans and nude heels?) or a hairstyle (straight or curly?). This bag allowed me bring a few options. Let me live lol!
Grocery list, pen, coupons, small packages to mail out, 18 small party favors, diaper, wipes, changing pad, phone, wallet, Dante’s juice cup, a dozen blush roses, makeup bag, wallet, keys, phone. I was running around the day of a get together I was throwing at my house. From getting a blowout to picking up the kids, buying favors, food shopping, stopping at a flower shop and post office this tote let me do it all without having to change bags.
Business Lunch In The City:
Laptop, charger, flats, blister block, wallet, phone charger, makeup bag, water bottle, sweater, notebook, pen, 2 cupcakes from Magnolias 😉 . I carried all of these things around NYC and was so impressed at how comfortable it was considering the heavier items I shoved into it. It is definitely a big bag but never felt cumbersome. The large pockets inside kept my phone and wallet in their place so I wasn’t rummaging through it while trying to pay cab fare.
So obviously, this tote delivered. I crammed my day into it and nobody would ever know. Throughout my day to day activities, it always fit my essentials, no matter how ridiculous those “essentials” were (wine or two head to toe outfits). I looked sleek and stylish the whole time. The triangle top tote is really two bags in one. A girl needs options ya know?
The design is sleek and simple but the attention to detail is anything but minimal. Upon opening the box that the purse came in, I found a handwritten note from the designer herself.
The leather is super soft, and the handles are reinforced. There are two huge elasticized pockets and smaller pockets for phone, keys, wallet, etc. I discovered this chapstick inside the inside zipper pocket.
There is an exterior zipper compartment as well (read about their zipper philosophy here, yes really). My favorite feature is the clasp closure. Totes usually remain open but when this baby is folded up, you can clasp it shut so your things are more secured.
Did I mention this tassel and boxing clove charm detail? SO cute. You can even clip it on your keys if fashion key chains are your thing.
And let’s not forget about that silver lining 🙂
I was sent this bag to review, but not otherwise paid to write this. All opinions are my own. For more about this rad new brand or to be the first chick in your circle to own a JLEW check out their website here.
We are fully in the thick of summer 2016. Today, I want to share my summer beauty essentials with you guys. Summer beauty is all about looking sheer, bright and sun-kissed.
While these products don’t promise to turn you into a Victoria’s Secret model, they’ll make you feel like you’re ready to pour yourself an umbrella drink and toss on that cute little romper that is sitting in the back of your closet.
Let’s start with self tanner because let’s be honest, everyone looks better with a tan. Slather on your sunscreen and flaunt your gorgeous glow while preserving your skin. Face it, nobody wants to look like a wrinkled up raisin in a few years just because they wanted a tan. The problem with most self tanners is that tell orange color and the smell…yuck. I’ve done quite a bit of research on this very topic. Lately I am loving the Rodan + Fields self tanning mousse. No smell, easy to apply mousse, streak-free, natural (REALLY!) looking tan. Total beauty gave it at 10/10 based on reviews, so it’s not just me.Click here to get yours.
2. A coral bright blush adds life to dull skin. When applied with a light hand to the apples of your cheeks, this color gives the most natural flush, as if you were warm. Most people are put off by bright blush colors because they think they’ll end up looking like a clown. The trick is to put it on in very sheer layers. I can’t stop gushing over Copacabana by Rodial. It is the perfect shade and the packaging is to die for! Here’s a peek at my SnapChat story earlier today (follow along: FSLsnap).
3. Shiny bright lips are SO summery! Slick on some some sheer punchy gloss like this one from Essence. It’s super-inexpensive ($2.49 at Ulta!) I’m wearing XXXL Shine Lip Gloss in Popping Pink. Again, just because the color looks crazy bright in the tube, it doesn’t mean you’re going to look like a 5 year old that snuck into mommy’s cosmetic bag.
4. It Works! Defining gel has been helping me out this sumiThe results are temporary (I’d say a few hours) but I felt a difference as I was applying it. It is supposed to diminish cellulite and firm the skin. The gel was a little sticky as it dried but I felt my skin tightening up as I was rubbing it in. It is supposed to work even better with wraps to firm problem areas but I’m a weirdo and get claustrophobic just thinking about it. I’m rambling, but I recommend this for a definite quick fix for jiggle when rocking those daisy dukes. Get it here.
5. A 2″ curling wand. It takes me 7-10 minutes to curl my whole head with a wand. Beachy waves are EVERYTHING when creating a summer look. Plus humidity actually makes this style messier aka better. Curl hair from the jawline and below to keep it looking laid back rather than French poodle. Hit the curls with a little texturizing spray and shake those babies out for a messy, undone “I woke up like this” look. This one is from Nume but don’t ever pay full price on that site! Google Nume promo codes and you can usually score a huge discount. I got the one below (listing price $149) for $29. Yup.
**Some (not all) of these products were sent to me to review. I was not paid for this post. All opinions are my own.
Follow my Pinterest boards for hair and beauty for more tips, tricks and inspiration.