This is the story of how I created the easiest tres leches cake recipe of all time. With only 5 ingredients, this recipe is perfect for pot lucks, BBQ’s, and last minute desserts.
While preparing to make Tres Leches for my work “Cinco De Mayo” pot luck I had dreams of grandeur. I did the research and was mentally prepared to separate egg whites from their yolks. I was ready to beat egg whites into stiff peaks. It was going to be the damn Tres Leches anyone had ever tasted.
But then I got stuck in really bad rush hour traffic, got home late, realized I need to go to the grocery store before I could make dinner. I had a toddler saying “mom, mom, MOM” in increasing volume while begging for snacks that I knew would inevitably ruin his appetite for dinner.
And so in about the length of time it took Oliver Jack to get through his 3rd chorus of “mom, mom MOOOOOOOM” I let go of my dreams of grandeur and got real.
But I couldn’t show up to work empty handed. While throwing a handful of Pirate Booty in my little crooners direction, I googled “tres leches + pound cake” just to make sure it was a viable substitution. All while contemplating whether Pirate Booty counted as a vegetable?! But Oliver’s Vegetable consumption was a problem for another day.
With very little encouragement I was running out the door to the store.
Place bottom of each loaf in transportable container or lipped serving dish.
Using fork, poke holes throughout layer of cake.
Combine sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in an easy to pour container. Then pour half of milk mixture over prepared pound cake. Place top layer of pound cake loafs on top and poke holes throughout layer with a fork. Pour the remaining milk mixture over top being sure to get the corners and edges. If there seems to be a lot of the milk mixture pooling in the bottom you don't have to use all of the milk mixture.
All things considered, I was totally surprised with how well this turned out and I have since made this recipe 5 times. The correlation between how easy it is and it’s deliciousness is totally bonkers. Nothing this easy should taste this good. I hope you enjoy!
There are two type of peoples on vacation; the “do-ers” and the “chill-ers.” I almost always fall into the first category. I am a planner! Therefore I do extensive research and pack in as much as humanly possible in the time I have. This method is great in that I get to see a ton in a short period of time, but this method also ensures exhaustion and I ultimately need a vacation from my vacation.
When planning our Honeymoon my new husband we wanted a “chill” vacation to recover from the stresses of wedding planning. I swear we looked into all 196 countries in the world, or at least it felt that way. We finally settled on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao. Just off the coast of Venezuela. With gorgeous white sandy beaches and turquoise water, we found our own little piece of paradise.
The view from our room.
Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino
Our beach at Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino
Private path to the beach
Our first night in Curacao.
After about 3 days of relaxing by the pool, reading, drinking pina coladas, trying to make a baby, swimming, snorkeling, and napping, I started to feel restless. Like I said, I am a do-er. So we took a very expensive cab ride to the capital city of Willemstad and spent the day just wondering around , checking out their markets, amazed at the largess of coming and going cruise ships, & taking in a little graffiti art.
Market in Willemstad
We then spent another day lounging on the beach, snorkeling, reading, drinking pina-colada, and trying to make a baby.
Pina Colada with a little Blue Curacao
At some point each day I’d find my way to the resorts little cafe and get a chocolate croissant. For weeks afterward I had the thought, today would be so much better with a chocolate croissant and a pina colada!
daily chocolate croissant
Wanting to see more of the Island, we got brave and rented a car. I was especially freaked out when I realized It was my first time driving in a foreign country. Its a good thing cars work just about the same everywhere. With map in hand my hubby took his position in the co-pilot seat and we headed out.
I t wasn’t long before I got caught up trying to take it all in, didn’t follow Juice’s directions exactly, took the wrong turn, and consequently ended up on a very lonely dirt road in the middle of nowhere. The experience was both frightening and exciting at the same time. After a few hushed, muffled curses from Juice, some intense scrutiny of the map, and what seemed like an eternity we made it back on to a PAVED road to Westpunt. I like to look back on this adventure as a relationship building exercise.
Cliffs of Westpunt
High on the cliffs of Wespunt we had lunch with a goat we shared our first meal with a goat.
Being the doer that I am, we were lucky to have our own local tour guide for a day. My friend Matt’s mom actually lived in Curacao for many years and knew all the cool local places to take us. Mary was a total riot, she took us to a local grocery store for goodies and beer, we went snorkeling at a couple beaches and we got to check out this crazy cool fort.
Curacao was the first place I have ever snorkeled.
I will never forget the Dutch Carribean island of Curacao. It was the perfect compromise for both the “do-er” and “chiller” our every relationship. My hubby had days of white sandy beaches and reading, I had that and heavenly chocolate croissants, pina- coladas, and enough adventures to keep from going stir crazy. 40 weeks later we were both blessed with the cutest little honeymoon baby. Given all of this, Curacao will always hold a special place in my heart, it was our own little tropical dream come true.
Some call it a drip cake, others a drizzle cake. I like to call it a drip drizzle cake, I must be conjuring up my inner Snoop Dog. Whatever its name, I am completely obsessed with this hot new cake trend.
I mean, whats not to love, you take an already amazing cake and then drip drizzle your way to beyond amazing. The best part of these gorgeous drip drizzle cakes is all the crazy toppings; donuts, Japanese pocky, bon bons, macarons, flowers, lollipops, fruit, marshmallow, meringue, cookies, truffles, candy, or mini bottles of Jack, the possibilities are endless.
My internal battle between wanting to play it safe and wanting to live a creative life is a long one.
My first recollection came in Junior High. I wanted to be a writer and so I joined the journalist staff. But very quickly I realized that I did not want my writing critiqued and so I changed my mind.
In college, I wanted to be an interior designer. A History of Furniture is still one of my favorite college courses of all time. As enthralling as lecture time was, when it came to my personal designs being critiqued, I hated it and ultimately fled. My defense was always “how can something with no right answer, be wrong?”
In most areas of life I handled criticism pretty well. Professionally I used the only time I ever got fired, the worst criticism imaginable, to grow and become a better version of myself. On a personal level if a friend or lover criticized me, I often mulled it over in my head, dissecting how much truth there was in it. Discarding the useless bits but holding on to the true parts, using them to try to do better.
But creatively I just couldn’t take it. So I settled for the least creative degree imaginable in Information System Security. A degree that 8 years later, I have never used.
Over the years, as my passion for baking, crafting, scrap-booking, party planning, decorating, writing, & photography developed, I noticed that they all have a common thread of making things beautiful. I also noticed just how happy I am when creating. So after years of the same internal question “what do I want to be when I grow up?” I found a home in Living Darling, an outlet for all of my creative passions.
Working on Living Darling has been exciting and joyful . But it has also been overwhelming. The learning curve is immense and I have so little free time between work and family life.
Unsurprisingly, my imagination went wild, taking on the form of various hero lifestyle bloggers and designers that I admire, each of them questioning things like my authenticity, uniqueness, and style.
With each blog post I swept these fears aside and kept moving forward but unfortunately they persisted. Slowly chipping away at my motivation and excitement. Until last week when I stumbled upon a forum devoted to bashing one of my favorite bloggers.
It was shocking and confusing. But like most figurative train wrecks, it was hard to look away. I spent a couple of hours reading through 6 years of post, searching for a truth that I had maybe missed after all these years of admiration. I kept trying to reconcile my version of her blog with this one. Was I wrong to love her work? Was she really such a monster? I went back to her blog and her Instagram and then back to these horrible comments. I finally realized that it came down to jealousy. Jealousy of her success, of the picturesque life she has curated, of her hustle.
I spent days thinking about this forum, shocked that one of my favorite blogs could inspire so many vitrolic comments. Then I remembered this quote by Theodore Roosevelt
All at once I felt a huge flood of relief at the inevitability of criticism. We live in a world full of critics and a vastness of diverse opinions. There is no escaping someone who thinks they could do it better.
The horrible things I found on that forum were being said about a highly creative, successful, talented blogger and will most likely be said about anyone who puts themselves out there in the arena.
In hind sight, I wish I had developed a thick skin early on and accepted that criticism has its place. That while being vulnerable to criticism sucks, there are much worse places to be like those “cold and timid” sidelines.
From now on I plan on throwing myself out into the arena and I can only hope that one day I will have done that enough that people will take the time to critique my work. Whether I know victory or defeat, here is to daring greatly.
In honor of my 3rd wedding anniversary, I’m celebrating with a whole week of wedding posts. Im kicking it off with a photo tour of my vintage carnival theme and giving my advice on how to enjoy your wedding day.
The benefit of being a bridesmaid a few times before actually getting married myself was that I saw first hand just how stressful a wedding can be and how often the bride doesn’t get to enjoy her day. I really wanted to enjoy my wedding so I came up with a game plan to combat what seemed inevitable.
First, I made a list of the most important priorities that I wanted from my wedding day, for me it was
1. To marry Juice…the whole point of the day right?!
2. I wanted to have fun
3. I wanted my guest to have fun
I kept this list in mind the entire wedding planning process and referred back to it when making budget decisions or dealing with a problem.
The other problem I saw with other brides was that they had too many things to do to really just relax. Since I love to plan parties and usually keep control of the reins the entire time, my solution to this one was really tough. But I hired a “Day of Coordinator” anyway.
For me this was by far the best money ever spent! I got to do all the fun details building up to the wedding and then Leslie Price and Ashley Wilson took care of vendor coordination so I wasn’t bombarded with calls from the florist, baker, chairs, tables, and tent deliveries, the Photo Booth set up, the caterer, and overseeing the setup/decorating of our wedding site. They nailed it and took care of a few details I didn’t have time for; they made adorable little activity kits for the children at our wedding, picked up the wedding cake knife that I had totally spaced, and popped popcorn for our send off. I was especially happy they boxed up a few pieces of cake for Juice and I to enjoy later.
My wedding day was amazing even though it was far from perfect. It rained and poured all morning, with the weather reports showing a 90% chance of rain during the ceremony for most of the day and the generator powering our music cut out just as the flash mob portion of our wedding dance started. But I just held on to my list and knew that rain or shine, music or not, I was going to marry my love, dance, and have fun.
Here are some of my favorite details from my vintage carnival themed wedding:
Liberty Park with Ferris Wheel
Invitations with carnival tickets included
Hand crocheted doilies everywhere, lovingly made by my extra mom Sheri
Pinwheels adorned with ribbons, pom-pom fringe, and ric-rac for flower girls
Life is messy when you add up two dogs, a toddler, and a husband with a penchant for crumbs. Each night as a part of our bed time routine, Juice and I get on my hands and knees and “help” our O.J. pick up a chaotic slurry of Legos, blocks, toys, books, and stuffed animals.
I honestly think that my child’s favorite game is making a mess. After all “mess” was his 3rd word. His 2nd word was hummus. For his 1st attempt at sentence structure he strung both together and said many times with delight “hummus mess” as he painted the kitchen table and himself.
It’s hard to justify making things look beautiful with his constant assault on tidiness . And yet I keep at, if only for a handful of brief moments here and there where every Lego, book, and shoe is tucked neatly away, where the dishes are done, and there is no heaping pile of laundry there to taunt me. I prop my feet up, look around my beautiful little home and savor the bright, cheerful bits that delight me.
I love a good styled coffee table. They usually start with some gorgeous, architecturally interesting table, add in a mirrored tray or a base. Strategically arrange books, flowers or a plant and undoubtedly some sharp, heavy knick-knack to tie it all together. All of which sound like a trip to the Emergency room just waiting to happen, that or an expensive book in a pile of shreds.
So here is my solution; a coffee table styling free of sharp edges, easy to clean, a great place to put your feet up in those rare moments of peace and one that makes your living room look put together all while including your child.
I am all about using what I have around the house. Which is why our bedroom ottoman became the new living room coffee table. Originally I thought about covering it with some trendy upholstery fabric, but consequently changed my mind after countless sippy cup spills. I realized our microfiber ottoman was a better fit. Which translates into EASY TO CLEAN!
Start by adding a couple children’s books that also fit into your color scheme. (just don’t look too closely at my very loved books.) Add a fake plant or flower. Then add my secret weapon, a wooden puzzle. Which comes in very handy when I want to redirect my toddler away from said plant or flower. Luckily for the most part he now ignores the plant.
I put together a quick inspiration board of kid friendly coffee table styling ideas.
Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas that will make your living room decor a little less of a battle and still makes your home feel beautiful.
#1 To Start Id place two of these floral ottomans side by side.
#3 I love the idea of covering some old books in cute paper.
#6&7 I am seriously in love this felt flower shop on Etsy. Where is my debit card?
#8 Make your own pussy willow branches with felt balls. I’m totally going to do something like this in my bedroom.
If you are currently looking for inspiration for an upcoming shower or birthday party, you have come to the right place because I have put together the perfect tea party shopping list.
Last spring I had the honor of helping my dear friend and boss Starla with her daughter Kylie’s bridal shower. Since I adore them both I was really excited to help.
I wanted the event to be whimsical, bright, fun, and a little eclectic.
The food for this shower was a sight to behold; fresh salads, an assortment of delicious tea sandwiches, veggie shooters, hummus shooters, chocolate and pistachio mini bunt cakes, mini lemon cheesecakes, chocolate covered strawberries, and beautiful candy dishes filled with hand crafted caramels and marshmallows.
To continued the eclectic, whimsical vibe I added edible butterflies and canapé flags to many of the dishes.
Edible butterflies from SugarRobot on Etsy
Truly Scrumptious canape flags
Lavender and Vanilla Caramels from Calabasas Candy Co, cucumber sandwiches, and chocolate covered strawberries.
(Since working on this post I have had an intense desire all day to make cucumber sandwiches for dinner. I’m not sure how My hubby Juice or little O.J. would take it but these were so delicious, I might just be willing to risk their disappointment.)
Truly Scrumptious plates
For the decorations we gathered up miss-matched tea sets from friends, family, and a few stops at the thrift shop. We then pulled an old collection of books from her bookshelves, covered them with craft paper, and added a little lace and ribbon as part of each table centerpiece. About a week before the event Star planted pretty little flowers in a handful of the extra tea cups and had them ready to go the day of the event. To finish off the centerpieces we added large goblets, hot water, and tea flowers.
I also used one of my favorite tricks; micro flower arrangements. We used 2 dozen roses and a “garden bunch” to create 12 mini flower arrangements in gorgeous champagne glitter votive holders. There were flowers everywhere but we didn’t spend a fortune.
All the tables were covered in white linens and then layered with different crocheted tablecloths and mismatched doilies.
Star’s big back yard was the perfect space to add in giant lavender and mint balloons strung with lace.
We strung a large glitter “All You Need Is Love” banner across the front of her Pergola along with an eclectic butterfly garland.
and added delightful little paper butterfly cake toppers to all of the flower arrangements.
my balloon guy, John with Balloon Architects
tea party bridal shower baby shower
Butterfly Caketoppers from Kiwitinicreations on Etsy
Champagne Glitter Votive Holder as a mini vase from SweetHeartsStudios on Etsy
Free to Fly Butterfly Garland from Julamade on Etsy and All You Need is Love Banner from ThreeLeafPaperie on Etsy
The ice tea bar was the perfect solution to having a tea party on a HOT spring day. Darling paper straws and delicately hued lavender and mint sugar cubes were the sweetest addition to a fabulous, ice cold, glass of tea.
Iced Tea Bar
Colored Sugar Cubes from TrioArtisanDesigns on Etsy
The Perfect Tea Party Paper Straw Combo from Twigsandtwirlsllc on Etsy
For the favors we filled pretty little paper bags with cookies for later and finished them off with hand stamped “thank you” doilies.
Cookie for Later Favor with these Hand Stamped Doilies from OhJoyGypsy on Etsy and these Favor Bags from theStationeryRoom on Etsy
As promised here is the perfect tea party shopping list:
I have been experimenting with chia seeds for a couple of weeks and I am crazy excited about this chia pudding recipe. My perpetual sweet tooth doesn’t necessarily play nice with my current caloric goals so finding a dessert that won’t break the calorie bank is a total score.
This recipe is inspired by my favorite sign of Spring, the cherry blossom. A lightly sweet, delicately pink, strawberry chia seed pudding, topped with ripe strawberries and matcha (green tea) whipped cream.
And here is the best part, each serving is 105 calories. Sweet tooth satisfied..check…my fitness pal tracking still in the black…check.
11ozcarton of Truwhip or whipped cream ( reserve 2/3 for topping.)
Remainder of Truwhip or whipped cream
10strawberries, washed, hulled, and diced
16cookies or Asian bread-sticks (optional)
It is best to make chia pudding at least 8 hours ahead, making it the night before works really well.
Wash and hull strawberries, place in blender along with honey and coconut milk. Blend until smooth. Since strawberries can vary in size, keep in mind the proper ratio for a thick chia pudding is 4 parts liquid to 1 part chia seeds so for this recipe aim for 2 cups of liquid. You can always add more strawberries or coconut milk to equal 2 cups.
Place chia seeds in bowl and then add the strawberry milk mixture, stir until mixed well, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Before serving add 1/3 of the Truwhip container or about a cup of whipped cream, fold until combined.
Small dice strawberries, sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon sugar, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Fold 1 teaspoon of matcha powder in 2/3 a container of Truwhip until combined.
Spoon or pipe pudding into a 2 oz shot glass, add diced strawberries, add optional garnishment; sugar wafers or little bread-sticks work great. I found these strawberry and green tea dipped bread-sticks on the International isle at the grocery store. If you are going for gluten free on this recipe, just pick up gluten free sugar wafers.
Top with a dollop of matcha Truewhip and either a little sprinkle of straight matcha powder or you can combine a teaspoon of matcha and a tablespoon of sugar, then sprinkle that on top to garnish.
It has been 24 years since the last girl was born into the Dawson family. Needless to say, us girls are seriously outnumbered. So it’s no surprise that all of us ladies were more than a little giddy when we found out our Niece Jessica is expecting a girl. And especially thrilled to throw her a baby shower.
What better theme to celebrate a little girl than a Kate Spade inspired baby shower complete with: polka dots, stripes, gorgeous flowers, black and white, gold, hot pink, all punctuated with a little sparkle and sass.
This Hello sign is from HelloHeidiWallArt, Which I usually have hanging in my kitchen but loved the idea of Hello Baby so I used it for this fun shower along with a d.i.y. floral BABY sign. I just cut out the front of these paper mache/ cardboard letters , painted them black, and then filled in each letter with an assortment of pink silk flowers and a little hot glue.
Have I mentioned how much I love a fruit pizza bar?!!!
Hello Baby Kate Spade Inspired Baby Shower It has been 24 years since the last girl was born into the Dawson family. Needless to say, us girls are seriously outnumbered. So it’s no surprise that all of us ladies were more than a little giddy when we found out our Niece Jessica is expecting a girl. And especially thrilled […]
If the last time you had sherbet punch was 1992 like me, you need to make some and be quick about it. It was even better than I remembered.
I decided to do pink nail polish as the favor, but about choked when I saw how expensive most nail polish is. Luckily I shopped around and found just what I was looking for at Walgreens. How cute are all these different shades of pink?! I just added a cute tag and a little bow.
Here are a few more pictures of the invites and address labels. I did bleep out my actual address, if you want to leave me love note, you can always leave me a comment.
“She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes.”
I thought it was the perfect quote for all little girls, and big ones for that matter, to remember to sparkle.
One of my favorite things during the shower was the realization that almost every single gift was wrapped in coordination with the theme; pink, polka dots, & stripes. It was definitely a sight to behold. It made me smile knowing the invitations totally conveyed the theme enough that all of these ladies go it and just ran with it.
I am also dying over these amazing pictures my awesome nephew Alec took at the shower. It was a huge stress relief to have his help. I am totally blown away by his talent and really excited to see what he does with it.