I did it!!

I navigated the internet enough to create my own domain name so now you can find me over at….. http://www.beingleanna.com  I am so excited and proud of myself. It’s not as perfect as I want it to be at the moment but it’s getting there.

Please go take a look at my little corner of the interwebs! I think i’ve fixed my Bloglovin’ page so that I’m the owner of BeingLeanna.com so hopefully ya’ll won’t have any trouble changing over your follows. Please comment here if you’re having any trouble!

SO EXCITEDDDDDDD

♥ Leanna

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Monster Energy Cupcakes

Monster cupcakes

Hello Readers!

Let me just start by explaining how this idea came to me. At work whenever someone’s birthday rolls around I make cupcakes for them. Baking is such a fun outlet for me so I always try to do something a bit different and fun. We have two new people at work so I was letting them know that come April (when they both have birthdays) they can pick, within reason, what they want their cupcakes to be. I was showing off my previous work and mentioned that I made monster cupcakes for another girl at work. Both of their ears perked up and went MONSTER???? I showed them the picture of actual little monster cupcakes and they were pretty disappointed. But, the idea of Monster Energy Drink cupcakes stuck and one of them even mentioned pop rocks as a topping to mimic the fizzing of an energy drink.

Needless to say I couldn’t get the idea out of my head so here they are!

baking

I will admit that I cheated and used a box mix. I wanted to make sure that these wouldn’t be awful before making a real batch and thought it would be way less time consuming. I used a Duncan Hines mix (THEY SELL THESE AT THE DOLLAR STORE!) and I only used ¼ of it so I only had to make a few samples. By the way that’s the best tip I have if you ever want to experiment with flavors, buy a box mix and split it up and make each one a different flavor till you come up with something you like, then you can recreate your favorites from scratch. At the bottom I’m including my favorite cupcake recipe altered to be for Monster.

Anyways, I used ¼ of the box and instead of adding water I substituted that for about a ¼ c of Monster in the green can (the best flavor) and used ½ tbsp of vegetable oil and 1 egg white. I added some green gel food coloring that I had to really make them Monsterish and put them in these square silicone baking cups that I had. I baked them for about 25 minutes and made sure they were cooked all the way though. They did not puff up very much but I attribute that to being from a box mix instead of scratch. I then popped them out of the baking cups and let them cool completely.

Next, I cheated yet again, for the sake of being speedy and just trying out a new recipe and I used plain ole vanilla frosting. I used a simple star tip and very quickly frosted the cupcakes. In a real setting I would have tried to do something a bit fancier and I would have made a buttercream or maybe even a marshmallow frosting.

Frosting

The last step was adding the topping. I’ll admit I was super nervous putting pop rocks on these cupcakes. I hadn’t had pop rocks in years and I was never a huge fan of them. But, they did the trick! They were fizzy enough but not too distracting. The cupcakes really tasted like Monster and it was not bad. I was pleasantly surprised. I’d definitely make them again as a request but not just for fun. I’m pretty sure Monster is bad enough for you without adding them to an equally unhealthy cupcake haha.

So, for those of you who want to try real Monster Energy cupcakes as opposed to using a box mix, here’s my favorite cupcake recipe altered to be Monster flavored:

MONSTER ENERGY CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

1 ½ c flour

1 ¼ tsp baking powder

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

½ c sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp vegetable oil

4 tsp Monster

1/3 c water

1 teeny tiny bit of green food coloring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350, whisk together dry ingredients. Beat butter until creamy and add in sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and add Monster and vegetable oil. Alternate adding dry ingredients with water until fully combined. Mix in food coloring until you get your desired shade. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full and bake 20 minutes checking to make sure they’re cooked all the way through.

Let cool and top with your favorite frosting recipe. I’m still looking for a frosting recipe I really love but Jessica Merchant of the How Sweet Eats blog has a great one in her book Seriously Delish and that is where I adopted my cupcake recipe from. (Originally her confetti cupcakes) So go check out her blog!

Once the frosting is added all you have to do is throw on some pop rocks. This can be any flavor you want but green really makes them seem more Monsterish.

Do you think these are disgusting or genius? Let me know in the comments if you’re brave enough to try these!!

♥ Leanna

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January Birchbox!

Jancover

Hello Readers!

I’m here today with my January Birchbox!! I’ve really been loving the boxes so far and I’ve got a list of full size products I want to buy, a few from last month, some from the sample box I received and one item from this month’s box, so let’s get into the reviews!

Dr.Jart

First up is the Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm with SPF 45. I own this full size; I’ve used it and repurchased it for years now. This was the first BB cream I ever tried and it is still my favorite BB cream out there. The amount of coverage is perfect, and it never looks cakey. I apply this with a sponge and it goes on flawlessly making my skin look completely evened out. I was so thrilled to receive this as a sample size because that means I can travel with a mini instead of the full size! If you haven’t gotten on the BB cream bandwagon than I suggest you start with this product. Don’t know what a BB cream is? Well, it’s like foundation, moisturizer, sunscreen and skincare all in one. Supposedly it has anti-aging benefits but I switch up my foundation too much to really notice any difference. Did I mention it has SPF 45? This stuff is perfect.

Essentialelements

This is the Essentiel Elements Wake Up Rosemary Body Lotion and I am not liking this one bit. Actually, I like it, a lot, but I cannot stand the smell. I love rosemary seasoning on my food but I can’t do the scent of this. It’s also got mint in it which I love as well, but for some reason rosemary and mint together smells like menthol aka that stuff you rub on your chest when you have a cold. Yuck. However, the lotion is excellent at moisturizing super dry skin and it’s lightweight and not at all greasy. To use this up I’ve been slathering it on my feet with some fuzzy socks for a nice moisturizing treatment. This had been working great and the socks keep me from smelling the lotion. Win-Win. I won’t be buying this full size but if minty rosemary is your thing or you want a substitute for Vicks then then I highly recommend it.

notaperfume

The perfume sample this month was Not A Perfume by Juliette Has A Gun and I am over here weeping at the full size price. It’s $90 for 50ml which isn’t horrible when it comes to perfume but I just can’t justify it until I use up some more of the perfume I have. This perfume is made out of cetalox and only cetalox. Apparently Cetalox is usually a base note in perfumes but it gets to shine all on its own in the Not A Perfume bottle. It’s a sort of warm, spicy, ambery smell and I  am so in love with this scent and I have gotten so many compliments that I’ve already forgotten about the sample from last month’s box that I also thought I loved.

Jourd'automne

Sample number four is the Number 4 Hair Care Non-Aerosol Hairspray. I’ve been using this every day and I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I like using the non-aerosol bottle. I thought I’d have a hard time getting used to it and would end up using way too much (which I totally did the first few days) and ruining my hair but, now I’ve got it down. I spray my hand twice and then smooth down any fly aways and pat it into my scalp by my part to keep everything in place. This hairspray even smells good. Well, at least as good as a hairspray can smell. But it works well too! It has a strong hold without being crunchy and my hair can still move around. It really keeps my hair from getting out of control at work where it’s super dry and everything is always shocking me. A+ in my book.

Sumita

And last and certainly least was the Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner. I know I’m not giving this a fair review at all but I can’t be objective. (There was something in this eyeliner that really irritated my eye. My eyes were red the whole day and I had nice bright red lines on my lids where I had used the liner. I’ve never had this happen before with a product and I’m definitely steering clear of this brand until I can figure out what the ingredient was that caused the issues.) I received the color New Delhi Chai and it was a really pretty gold color that I was excited to try out, unfortunately I can’t say anything about the products ability to stay put or hold up because I removed it shortly after I applied it. It irritates my hand less than my eyes so I can at least get a decent swatch to say that the color is very nice and it has the perfect amount of shimmer without being glittery and the reviews on Birchbox’s website all seemed overwhelmingly positive so don’t listen to my review, go read someone else’s!

January

That’s it for January’s Birchbox, out of the 5 products there were 3 I really loved and one I already owned so I definitely think Birchbox is on their game and giving me samples of things I can get great use out of. I’m really disappointed that the Sumita eye liner didn’t work out but that was definitely a random unforeseeable reason as to why I don’t like it.

Do you use Birchbox? What did you get this month and have you tried any of the products I got this month?

Thanks so much for reading!

♥ Leanna

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Being A Bookworm!

Beingabookworm1-1

My kitty Mischka helping with the photos

Hello Readers!

Today I wanted to introduce you to a series i’ll be doing all about books! I’m going to call it Being A Bookworm for now but i’m open to more creative names. I love reading, it’s probably one of my favorite pastimes so I wanted to document what I read and give little reviews of the books I love.

I wanted to kick this off with a little book haul from Barnes and Noble. I had a gift certificate from Christmas that was burning a hole in my pocket so I went to their website one night and got a lot of great bargains. Here’s what I got!

Beingabookworm1-2

Clockwise from left: I Quit Sugar, Bossypants, Night Road, The Next Best Thing, One Summer, and Promises to Keep

I Quit Sugar By: Sarah Wilson– Now, I’m not planning on quitting sugar, but I have seen one too many documentaries about how horrible sugar is for you. I was really curious to see what kind of recipes are in here more than I was interested in the detox program. I wasn’t super impressed with the recipes. It seemed as though every recipe had 800 ingredients and half of them were homemade so that they didn’t have sugar and that made me just feel overwhelmed. I like almond milk, I don’t have the patience to make homemade almond milk, ya know what I’m saying? Anyways, I’m going to be returning this. If I want some sugar free recipes, I can turn to Pinterest.

Bossy Pants By: Tina Fey – I have heard so many good things about this book and I personally think Tina is hilarious so I’m really excited to read this. Who doesn’t want to read about this comical genius’s life? I mean 4.5 stars and 2,400 reviews of it on Barnes & Noble’s website can’t be wrong.

Night Road By: Kristin Hannah- I love Kristin Hannah’s other books and I’ve been trying to get around to reading all of her work. I was looking through the bargain section of B&N’s website hoping to find Fly Away which is a sequel that I didn’t know Firefly Lane had. I came across this and settled but after reading the overview I am so excited to crack into it. (Ahhh, the feeling you get when you crack the spine on a new book is great isn’t it?) I love reading about mother and child relationships.

The Next Best Thing By: Jennifer Weiner- Jennifer Weiner is another author I really enjoy reading because she always writes such strong characters. I can really feel like I know this fictional person when she writes. I’m excited to read about Ruth and follow along in her life as she tries to make it in Hollywood. I have read many of Jennifer’s books and I’m glad I’m adding this to my collection.

One Summer By: Elin Hilderbrand- This is actually two books in one. The Blue Bistro and The Love Season. I have only read Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand which I reviewed here and I was very excited to find something else to read by her. A friend of mine suggested The Blue Bistro so I was on a mission to find it. I came across this combo of two books for only $13 and I couldn’t pass it up. I might have to wait until the weather is a tad warmer (it was above freezing today!!) outside before I get into books that sound so summery.

Promises To Keep By: Jane Green- I bought this because it was cheap and I had heard of the author.  I really like reading books about families I can relate to (as I mentioned in my Winter Street review) and the synopsis mentions siblings with divorced parents I kind of jumped on it. Plus, I’ve heard so many good things about Jane Green and haven’t read anything by her. I needed a new author to get into and i had read a bunch of reviews of all of her books and I think i’m going to love her writing style.

 

So that’s my Barnes & Noble haul. I’m currently working my way through the books I got for Christmas so I probably won’t start these right away but I’m really interested to see if you all have read any of these and what you thought of them. I’m reading Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult at the moment and I can’t put it down. I’ll be putting up a review soon!

Hope everyone is having a great day, thanks for reading!

♥ Leanna

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Ree-sees or Reese-es?

Hello Readers!

Today I wanted to do a silly post about the most important debates so here goes!

Ree-sees or Reese-es? It’s very important how you pronounce the best candy out there. I actually say both depending on what i’m talking about. I say Ree-sees when talking about the traditional Reese candy but when talking abut the delicious peanut butter bites I say Reese-es Pieces. I can remember many a college night debating how to properly pronounce this (All my roommates were from Long Island so we had some very different ways of saying things).

reeses-peanut-cup

Keeping up with the same theme: Car-ml or Carra-mel? I say Carra-mel and so does everyone I know. This is definitely a regional difference and I was really surprised to hear that carra-mel seems to be the least popular way to say this. What do you say and where are you from?

caramel

 

Pepsi or Coke? I very infrequently drink soda but when I do, it’s Coca-cola alllllll the way. This is very important to a lot of people. When you go to a restaurant it seems that they never have what you want. When you ask for Coca-cola they say, Pepsi ok? (and vice-versa) NO, it is not okay. How dare you even ask. I have a strong preference, do you? Do you even drink soda?

coke-versus-pepsi

And now, the most important of all debates! Over or under? How do you keep your toilet paper? Is it important to you which way it faces? I have a very strong opinion on this and I recently realized that I am not the only one. My grandmother and I had a lengthy debate as to which way was correct and it made me wonder what your opinions are. Do you keep your TP the right way? Or the wrong way? By the way, grandma prefers the wrong way and it drives me crazy. I think about changing it over every day.

tp

What are some silly debates you have with your friends and family?

Thanks for reading!

♥ Leanna

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Weekly Lunch- Mediterranean Wrap

Hello Readers!

I thought I’d just stop by quick and write up a post about what I’m making for lunch this week! I’m trying out a new wrap so I wanted to share with you all how I made it. I was watching Nikki Phillippi’s 3 Healthy & Easy Lunch Ideas video and I was due to go to the grocery store so I thought I’d try them out. I got the ingredients to make the Mediterranean wrap and the pasta dish but I’m going to make the pasta for dinner instead of lunch.

wrap

I slightly modified the ingredients that Nikki used but it’s basically the same. All of the ingredients I got were from Target. I started off with a Mission spinach tortilla wrap and built from there. I used Archer Farms roasted red pepper hummus, Nature’s Place organic spinach, Applegate Naturals smoked turkey breast, Reese artichoke hearts, an organic tomato, Atheno’s feta cheese and topped it all off with Modenaceti balsamic. I had no idea how this was going to taste but it was excellent. I really wish I had some roasted red peppers to put on there but my Target didn’t have any. This wrap was so easy to make and prepare ahead of time for work. Now I can just grab-and-go in the morning.

step1 step2 step3 step4 step5 step6

In addition to the wrap I got some snacks to eat on my lunch as well. I really like these Sensible Portions garden veggie sticks for something to munch on and I always have these Simply Balanced granola bars to have as either a snack or breakfast with a banana. I buy a lot of the Simply Balanced brand from Target. snacks1

I also keep some of these yogurt covered raisins from Trader Joes on hand at work for whenever I need a quick snack and I always have either an apple or carrots with my lunch. This week is apple week. Can we just take a moment to appreciate how tiny and cute this apple is? Ok, good. Moving on…

snacks2

I don’t have this at home right now but at work I always keep some Stonyfield Organic banilla (banana/vanilla) flavored yogurt to eat with my lunch every day. Right now I have blueberries to mix in with the yogurt but I generally switch up the fruit every week too. Most often it’s blueberries though. Yum.

And that’s it for my weekly lunch! I try to have a fruit and a vegetable in my lunch or breakfast every day and planning out my meals for the week really helps me stick to that. I also make my sandwiches or salads or whatever I’ll be having for the week on Sundays so I don’t have to prep the morning of. Let me know what you normally do for school or work lunches and if you try out this wrap!

Thanks for reading!

♥ Leanna

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How I Stay Organized

How I Stay Organized

Hello Readers!

Today I wanted to show you how I keep my life organized throughout the year. The start of a new year is always a great time to start getting organized or change up your organizational methods to try out something new. This year I’ve got 4 notebooks that I’m going to use to keep myself on track. Yes, I know 4 sounds excessive but, I am one of those people with a compulsion to write EVERYTHING down. I’ve been known to add things to my to-do list that I’ve already done so that I can get the satisfaction of crossing them off. I’m really enjoying this method so far and it’s been keeping me from stressing about anything major so far this year. Maybe I’m going overboard with the amount of notebooks but I swear, they each have a purpose!

Randomnotebook

This first notebook I use is just my everyday write down the random thoughts in my head notebook. It has to-do lists, random shopping lists, and ideas for things I want to work on, places to go, things I have to research. All of that fun stuff. I’m not sure what I’d do without this notebook. It’s literally all of the thoughts in my head spewed out on paper. It keeps my brain clear enough that I can sleep at night.

journal

This next notebook is my journal. This is new for me this year. I normally keep a journal typed up on Word where I only write when significant things happen, but this year I wanted to have an actual physical notebook. I wrote my 2014 Recap and had such a hard time thinking about what happened in what month that I decided to write a little paragraph or even just a sentence of what I did each day so that I can go back and reflect. So far, so good!

 Blog planner

This is my first planner out of 2. Yup, I wanted two planners this year. This first one my mom got me for Christmas and I thought it would be perfect for blog ideas and planning. It is really important for me to pre-plan my posts so that I can get things ready for the post. This has been super helpful because I make it out a week in advance so I can always see what I should be doing that day so that I can be ready for posts. This planner has a notes section in the back that I’m trying to come up with a ton of post ideas so that I don’t get in a rut just type up what I did every day. As much as I want this to be a lifestyle blog where I talk about my days, I also don’t want to bore everyone to death with all the tiny details of my week.

Planner

Last but certainly not the least is my favorite planner of all time. I’ve been buying this planner from Lilly Pulitzer since 2007 and I haven’t found anything else I like as much. The designs are right up my alley and there is the perfect amount of space for everything. There is a full month page where I write out events or birthdays and a weekly section where I can write everything down for each day. I use this planner more for my daily activities like doctor’s appointments, dinner plans, grocery shopping days, etc. instead of for blog things.

That’s it for how I keep my life organized, if you liked this kind of post let me know and I can do more posts like how I organize my clothes or makeup.

Hope you all are having a great weekend!

♥ Leanna

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