Christmas 2013

Hey, hey!  I know, it's been a while...  I've been busy and haven't had many updates or photos to share.  As you should know (if you've read my few past posts) there is something "exciting" going to happen soon.  Well, I might as well share it with you.  I am starting a new blog that is in the design process right now.  It will hopefully be done and ready to share by the end of January or first of February.  It's going to be called Joanna Christine and geared towards quality content, photography, recipes, tutorials, and tidbits of my life and style.  I can't wait to get started with it!  

Let's get to the topic of this post, Christmas 2013.  This Christmas seemed very different and "strange" from the previous ones... probably because we were missing 5 people.  My sister Mary and her family are in Germany for this Christmas and my other sister, Rebekah, went over to spend it with them.  This Christmas was so... quiet!  For the holidays I'm used to everyone coming home and for the house to be loud and full, so it was strange for Christmas not to be like that. 

Although this Christmas was a little on the "strange" side, it was still good.  Christmas day was very slow and relaxing.  In the morning we had my brother, his wife, and baby over for an amazing brunch made by mom (braids and cinnamon rolls?  hello yummy food!)  After we stuffed ourselves to the max, we headed to the living room to open the presents that were under the tree.  After we had a trash bag full of wrapping paper and a floor that was covered with gifts we decided to be lazy and watch movies the rest of the day.  Have you ever watched Full House?  Yeah, that old 90's tv show with crazy big hair and oversized rainbow sweaters?  Well...  I received the entire series...  no shame.  I'm already into the second season out of eight, again, no shame.   

I hope you enjoyed this little "update"!  I promise you will be hearing from me with my new blog url soon. *smile*

Oh, and if you haven't seen Despicable Me 2... you should.  I love those little minions, but who wouldn't love little yellow pill shaped creatures that just talk gibberish, right?  

How was your Christmas?

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catching up

Hey!  I know, I know, it's been a long time since I've written over here again.  It has continued to be busy lately.  I have been doing a lot of shoots this month before the weather turns too cold, and have been traveling a little bit.  Right now I am in Michigan visiting my brother at college for the weekend.  Today we went to the college's football game and then afterwords just laid around and hung out.  It was freezing at the game with a few many raindrops.  Yeah, not the most comfortable weather to be sitting in for 3 hours, but I guess it was worth it.  I hadn't gone to a football game once this year, which seemed weird considering that I had gone to a fair share of my brother's high school games in the previous years...

My new little project is coming along nicely!  It will hopefully be ready to use and share with you by winter!  Fingers crossed!

I  know this post isn't very exciting, but I promise that you will see many more posts from me come winter. :)  Be patient with me, ok?
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so... if you haven't noticed, I haven't blogged in a while.  There are two reasons for this. I have been really busy with school, a lot photography shoots, (this is where the second reason comes into play) and working on a new little big project that will be released this Winter or Spring.  Until that time, this blog will be very quiet, I'm afraid.  Trust me though, the wait is going to be worth it....  Now, let's do a little catching up, shall we?

September has been such a s'wonderful (just some Funny Face love) month.  Nothing huge or really exciting has happened, it has been just a very nice slow/relaxing month.  We haven't had one of those in a while...  It is the end of September and I'm finally familiar with school again, and am settling nicely into those boring, unexciting school days.  I'm not one of those types of people that have to be always going places and seeing people anyway.  I'm one of those introverts.  Yes, one of those people that enjoys staying home and watching old black and white movies.  No shame.

Oh, wait!  There was one exciting thing that happened this month, Fall arrived!  Yes, that was a big deal to me.  I'm so happy that the season for chunky sweaters and hot cocoa is finally here.  I just noticed this week the subtle hue of fall in the trees.  I've missed those colors. :)

Now I shall leave you with a few photos, because a blog post wouldn't be complete without photos, right?

P.S.  you can keep up with my photography here!

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Mexican Chocolate Latte recipe

Chocolate and coffee.  Coffee and chocolate.  These two things would be on my "favorite list"... if I had one.  I think most of you will agree with me (if you don't, I need to have a serious talk with you) that, chocolate is good, and coffee is good.  Why not combine the two?  This is what I had been thinking about for a while.  I had been quite "iffy" as to if chocolate and coffee could mix well together, but I took a leap of faith (it's a big leap of faith, huh?) and tried it...  and even surprised myself.  It turned out really well! and with the other flavors that I added, they gave an added boost to the coffee.  Have you ever had abuelita chocolate?  Well, it is an amazing mexican chocolate that is supper tasty  and that can be used in hot chocolate.  This coffee resembles some of the flavor that abuelita chocolate has, I think... hence the name.  

After making this coffee, to be honest, I was still a little nervous that it just looked a lot better than it was going to taste...  After taking a few sips I began to do my usual "oh-my-gosh-it-worked/this-is-the-most-amazing-coffee-ever" dancing and a few happy squeals...  I told my mom that she just had to try it, so she did, and I got the usual sour look that I get from her after she tastes my coffee.  Don't worry, it's not that she was against the particular coffee, she just doesn't like coffee in general....  On another note: these are some of my favorite food photographs that I've taken yet.  I pretty much love everything about them; doesn't the whole shoot just remind you of fall?   P.S.  Just because the whipped cream has english toffee flavoring, don't get the idea that it tastes like english toffee, because it doesn't...  The flavor is very light and just compliments the rest of the ingredients.  Oh, and thank you Mary, for letting me borrow your beautiful mug.... ;) Ok, I think I've talked long enough... let's make a good ol' cup of mexican chocolate latte, shall we?

Mexican Chocolate Latte

for the coffee:
ground coffee for one
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp nutmeg

for the whipped cream:
1/4 cup cream
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp real maple syrup
3 drops of english toffee flavoring

Add the ground coffee, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a coffee filter and brew coffee as usual.  In a glass bowl, whisk together the cream, cocoa powder, nutmeg, sugar, maple syrup, english toffee flavoring until it is light and frothy, about 2 minutes.  Pour your coffee into a mug then add the whipped cream on top; drizzle some of THIS chocolate sauce on top to finish it off.  Enjoy this little treat by a camp fire or inside on a cool fall night.

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One foggy morning

dress- Thrifted,     belt- Forever21,     sandals- Thrifted,     earrings- Gifted

Last week, I think it was Thursday, I woke up, looked out my window and saw fog.  I immediately knew what I needed to do.  I quickly got dressed, put my hair up, grabbed my camera and tripod, and ran outside.  I was pretty excited to say the least.  It was so pretty that morning and the fog was like the icing on the cake.  I think I've decided that I need to take more photos in the morning; the lighting is just right and a nice change from the usual golden hour...

On another note: this dress!  Okay, so about a month ago my mom, sister, and I went to a thrift that was having a 50% off sale.  Clothes from thrift stores are already cheap, but then add 50% off on top of that- SCORE! When I came across this dress, I knew it was a keeper.  The color, the material, the buttons... pretty much everything about it I fell in love with...  I had been looking and wanting a more casual dress, so I was pretty thrilled when I found it, and I think I got this dress for about $4, double score!  Okay, I will stop now... about the dress at least...

On another note: I started back to school this week, *sarcastic voice* exciting right?  It actually hasn't been that bad, but I'm still adjusting back to school life.  Oh, and I'm defiantly not liking this whole "getting up early" thing.  

Happy weekend!  Yes, I'm happy about it. *smile*   

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Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe

This flourless chocolate cake has been a staple for us this summer.  It is so incredibly easy and is great for those who are gluten free (ahem, sisters).  This cake is so light fluffy and isn't overly sweet and heavy like some others; it is the perfect go-to recipe when your sweet tooth is bothering you. It can never disappoint.  Try it, you won't regret it. 

Flourless Chocolate Cake      recipe from here

6 Tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for pan
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
6 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar
THIS chocolate sauce

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees with the rack in the center.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform. Set aside.  Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until completely melted.  Or if you rather not use a microwave, you can cook it on medium low heat stirring frequently just until melted, because other cooking can harden the chocolate.  Let cool slightly, then whisk in egg yolks.  In large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually add granulated sugar, and continue beating until glossy stiff peeks form.  Whisk 1/4  of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture; then gently fold in remaining egg whites.  Pour batter, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and is set in the center, 45 to 50 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack; remove sides of pan.  Serve at room temperature with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.  

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Chocolate Syrup recipe

Have you ever read the ingredients of the chocolate syrup that you buy at the grocery store?  Let's just say I can't pronounce half of them, whereas you know what exactly is going into this chocolate sauce.  It's so simple (ever for beginners) to make and takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish.  It may not make it into the "healthy" category, but, it is a step up from what is in the grocery store chocolate sauce.  So... this chocolate sauce, it is amazing, and slightly too good.  I just like to periodically open the fridge door with one hand and a spoon in the other and dip the spoon in the chocolate sauce.  Healthy?  Not so much, put it's a nice little treat every once in a while.  There are other uses for this sauce though, it's amazing on top of a big scoop of ice cream or it is also really good on top of flourless chocolate cake (coming Wednesday...).  Yum, yum!  I hope you try this recipe, because it is defiantly a keeper for us. 

Happy Labor Day!  How are you planning on spending it?  For me I'm going to spend it doing some odd jobs that need to be done before I start school tomorrow and maybe make a peach pie...  (I've really  been wanting a peach pie lately)   

Chocolate Sauce        recipe for The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
2 Tablespoons butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Put the butter and chocolate in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, salt, and water.  Beat until smooth, return to moderate heat, and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.  Remove and cool a little, then add the vanilla.

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What I've been listening to...

I have come to the conclusion that I love music.  I feel like a few years ago I could have gone without it,  hah!  Now it's a different story...  I have been listening to a lot of music lately, especially since I'm in the middle of cleaning/dejunking my room (it is no small task, I can tell you that!)... One thing that I love about music is all of the beautiful, different, and "catchy" melodies that people are creating... although I have honestly no idea how they are doing it.  How many melodies can there be to create?...  For me, Spotify is the way to listen to music. Have you ever heard of Spotify?  What do you think of it?  I personally love it; it is the perfect way to listen to all of my favorite music for free!  Spotify + Pinterest = bliss.  If you haven't been using Spotify, you should really look into what you've been missing out on...  

Okay, now... what have I been listening to?
One Day- Matisyahu
Pinesong- A Fine Frenzy
Vienna- Billy Joel (one of my all-time favorites)
I Will Wait- Mumford & Sons
Oh Happy Day- The Edwin Hawkin Singers
Don't Stop Believin'- Dallas String Quartet
Dancing in the Moonlight- Toploader
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter- Billy Williams
When Will My Life Begin- Mandy Moore   (Tangled?  Yes, yes!)

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The new normal + links

cami- Kohl's,    plaid shirt- H&M,    shorts- Kohl's,    shoes- garage sale,    hairband- gifted,    sunglasses- Banana Republic

Yesterday-my brother left for college.  Today-my sister and her family leave for Germany.  I'm in a sudden state of transition.  I'm trying to find a new normal.  Before, my normal was playing with Sebastian and Bruno (my sister's kids), watching movies till 12pm with Mary, listening to music with Isaac, and teasing him about his, um, eclectic style.... haha. I'm starting school next week, but in my "spare time" I'm going to start concentrating on sharing my creativity side on this blog.  I have decided that I want this special place to be an outlet, an outlet where I can display my interests and passions.  More recipes, photos, and style related posts. Oh, and there might just be a whole week dedicated to all things Fall coming up...  

Now a few links for you today....

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Moving the baby chicks

Earlier in the week, we moved our (now big) baby chicks.  We moved some to cages out in the yard and others to the chicken house.  Here are just a few shoots from the moving process...  I know, the white ones are getting a little ugly, but the black and white ones are still kind of cute, right?  Happy Thursday!  I hope it's wonderful and filled with sweet things.... preferably chocolate...

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Summer is ending

I hate to break it to you, but summer is ending, whether you like it or not.  For me, I like it.  Even though this summer has been incredibly awesome, it has also been crazy busy (crazy being an understatement).  It will be nice for fall to come and for things to start calming down again.  I'm ready for fall.  I'm not ready for school, but I am ready for the cooler temperatures, oversized sweaters, and days filled with just coffee, a good book, and a nice warm fire.  Just writing all about fall is making me giddy.  How do you feel about summer ending?  Happy?  Sad?

P.S. Check out these senior photos I took last week. I'm pretty proud about them. *smile* 

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