Author Archives: Diane

Orange Almond Blueberry Muffins

Orange Almond Blueberry Muffins


Heading to the Fulton St. Farmers Market before work  for fresh, local produce has been a real treat. I was surprised that I had any blueberries left for muffins after snacking by the handful. I had just enough to throw into these amazing Orange Almond Blueberry Muffins a few Sundays past.

This is another win from one of my favorite dessert cookbooks, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I have yet to encounter a recipe in this book that is less than stellar. (This spring I shared the Lemon Drop Cake recipe). I altered it a little bit using almond milk and homemade orange juice.

The orange zest and homemade orange juice make these little guys so refreshing and the aroma mixed with the scent of toasting almonds didn’t hurt! You can absolutely store these muffins in an airtight container for a few days, but like any homemade muffin, they are best served hot with butter.

I had intentions of a complete brunch spread, but we couldn’t help making a meal out of these. Neil taste tested at least five and I went back for a few myself before they could cool. Is it too early to start working on our winter bodies?



Orange Almond Blueberry Muffins
Fresh out of the oven! My attempt at an almond flower garnish didn’t stay intact…
Orange Almond Blueberry Muffins
I love that these muffins turn out on the smaller side, full of flavor. There was just enough blueberry in every bite.

Orange Almond Blueberry Muffins
These muffins don’t last long!

Orange Almond Blueberry Muffins

Read on for the recipe!
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Puppy Party

Doug the Pug
Too Talls


Puppy fever has been going around for awhile now and, lucky for us, our friends Spencer and Chelsea caught the bug. This winter they brought home Fitzgerald and then Olivia – two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels that have become fast friends with our Doug and Huey. On this day the pups enjoyed the new backyard for a full on puppy party.

There are some dog parks nearby, but I’ve mostly heard sour reviews. Fingers crossed for something clean and pup friendly on the West Side!



Olive
Sweet little Olive.
Buddies
Fitzgerald
Little puff ball Fitz.
Olive
Buddies
Secrets don’t make friends, Doug.
Cinnamon Roll
I’ll have a cinnamon roll tail, please.

HD Brows

Brow Routine


It took me a long time to accept that eyebrows are sisters, not twins. I inherited sparse brows from my mom, and I remember the first time I attempted to fill them in with her black eyeliner (disaster) in middle school.

By university I finally found a natural approach with brow powder, and I’ve been using the same Smashbox Brow Tech (in Dark Brown) and tweezing ever since. I was terrified of having a professional wax for fear of leaving with what I call “sperm eyebrows.” (Otherwise known as tadpole brows…cringe!)

Recently, I heard of a technique called HD Brows offered at a new brow and lash bar called Siren and Proper. After seeing some great results I decided to take the plunge determined to even out my stubborn, scraggly right brow.


Here were my brows au naturale, wearing some stray BB cream. Not too bad, but they got lost if I wore any eye makeup.

IMG_7754
This is what I ended up with after Christina Lynn worked her HD Brow magic (natural and filled in)
HD Brows Before and AFter

What are HD Brows?

This wasn’t just a wax and go! With this technique brows are tinted, waxed, and threaded. Your treatment is totally customized to fit and flatter your face shape. Christina gave me “homework” to grow out certain areas, so away with the tweezers for maintenance I can handle. The entire HD Brow mapping appointment took about an hour and I really appreciated her attention to detail in creating a natural shape.

My Brow Routine

At night, I am applying a drop of Latisse Eyelash Enhancement to my brows to encourage growth in the bald spots. It really works well, but patience is key. For longer, thicker eyelashes I used it for about 8-10 weeks before I noticed a difference. You can purchase it here.

Brows are usually my last step, but on this day I just wore mascara and some sunscreen.
Bare Brows
First, I comb through my naked brows to coax the hairs into place.
Brow Routine
I use an angled brush and the dark brown from the Smashbox Brow Tech along the bottom of my brows. The lighter shade I apply in short strokes along the top and the front of the brow. If you go too dark on top the line can look severe and obvious. Finish with the brow wax on the same brush to set.
Brow Routine
I’ve tried plenty of different powders, pencils, and waxes over the years, but I always come back to this Smashbox powder.
Brow Routine
My skin is combination/oily and quite sensitive, and this formula seems to stand up throughout the day, even in the heat!
Brow Routine


Now you’ve seen gratuitous photos of my eyebrows and routine…If you need a tweak, try HD Brows and lay off the tweezers!

What are some of your favorite brow products?