Entries from August 31st, 2011

August 31, 2011

macaron taste test | the twisted baker | chicago

It’s been a while since I’ve tasted macarons from The Twisted Baker in Chicago. My first experience there, however, was a little hectic.

The teacher man and I visited the Windy City for a long weekend a while back and made sure to hit up the sweet spots on my list. Because we stayed in the Old Town area of the city, a visit to The Twisted Baker just made sense. It was right around the corner from his brother’s digs, and good smells from the bakery were filling the street.

When we got in, it was just one of those mornings. Busy crowd. Not enough help. Crazy cash register malfunctions.

Despite all of the ruckus, I was able to pick out a few treats to sample: cupcakes and macarons! For today’s post, we’ll focus on the macarons.

the twisted baker macarons

{I made sure to share my macarons with the teacher man.}

I chose simple French vanilla macarons to share with the teacher man when we got back to the apartment. At first glance, they seemed OK — smaller footing than I’m used to seeing and a little bit bubbly on top, but nothing too extreme to my naked eye.

Biting into the macaron, it seemed just a little too chewy for my tastes. The Twisted Baker’s macarons lacked that nice airy, crispy shell indicative of a great French cookie. The filling, however, was smooth and luscious — great vanilla flavor without being overpowering.

I’m hoping The Twisted Baker was just having one of those days. I’ve never baked macarons myself, but it seems like everything, including the sun, moon and stars, has to be in perfect alignment for these little guys to come out perfect. Maybe next time things like the rush, crowd and cash register will be aligned so that the bakers and owners don’t have to worry about anything more than producing the perfect macaron.

Have you been to The Twisted Baker? What did you get? Tell me about it in the comments section.

August 29, 2011

cupcake taste test | bottega louie | los angeles

For dessert enthusiasts who love both macarons and cupcakes, a little restaurant/sweets shop in Downtown Los Angeles has you covered. Bottega Louie boasts the most adorable cupcakes, dressed in gold wrappers and topped with mini macarons for a little extra crunch. I’ll call these “cupmacs” just because.

bottega louie lemon chiffon cupcake with mini macaron

{Bottega Louie's Lemon Chiffon Cupcake is houses a sweet mini macaron on top.}

Bottega Louie’s cupcakes are petite (as is everything in LA) and cost $2.50. The cake is light and fluffy yet moist — wonderful combination for those of us who like to trick ourselves into thinking a small cupcake’s calories don’t count. These cupcakes are easy on the frosting, but it works. There’s just enough sweet sugar sprinkles on top to help me get my fix. Plus, that whole macaron on top thing makes up for the modest amount of frosting.

bottega louie chocolate salted caramel with macaron on top

{The Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcake from Bottega Louie was my favorite.}

Overall, Bottega Louie’s cupcakes hit the mark for sweet presentation (I love the extra gold cupcake wrapper — feels glamorous!), sweet taste (even without tons of frosting, and I’m a frosting freak!) and a sweet treat on top. The flavors are simple yet have a bit of a twist (Mandarin Passion was divine as well) and the serving size is just right.

What other sweets shops have integrated macarons into their cupcakes? I’ve been seeing mini macarons in other desserts — will the “cupmac” become a new trend?

August 28, 2011

this makes me happy | sunshine award 2011

Sometimes people look at me funny when I tell them I blog for fun. As a professional writer and editor, my career keeps me busy with creating, managing and editing content all day long. How is it that in the very little free time I have I want to…write some more?

Blogging is different from my day to day. With blogging, I’m the boss. I’m the client. I’m writing because it makes me happy — and because it seems to make some other people happy, too! I love the blogging community. It’s a passionate, positive place for people who want to share small glimpses into their everyday lives and become acquainted with others who share common interests and ideas.

Over the weekend, my lovely blog friend Kristina from beancakes tagged me in a post for a Sunshine Award. This is a great example of the camaraderie that exists online — and the friendships that can develop over the Web. Take a look at the fun Q&A and some of the blogs that bring a little sunshine to me every day.

sunshine award 2011

Quick Q&A

Favorite color: Red or turquoise
Favorite animal: Otter
Favorite number: 27
Favorite drink {alcohol free}: Lemonade
Twitter or Facebook: Both! Find me on Facebook and Twitter
My passion: Finding out what makes people tick — that’s why I studied journalism
Giving or receiving presents: Both…but I think I’m an exceptional gift-giver
Favorite pattern: Damask
Favorite day: Saturday
Favorite flower: Red tulips

Share the love

Gina @ Simply Gina
Brenna @ Ingredients of a 20-Something
Caro @ No Finder’s Fee
Sarah @ Westervin
Kirsten @ everyday threads

How to share the love

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Write a post about it and include the award photo.
3. Answer the questions.
4. Pass on the award to bloggers who you think really deserve it and send them a message to let them know! Have fun!

August 26, 2011

this makes me happy | tangerine apricot vanilla bluewick candle

I have a small selection of scented candles that I like to light during morning work sessions, afternoon readings and nighttime movies. One of my favorite home fragrances is Tangerine Apricot Vanilla from Bluewick Candle.

tangerine apricot vanilla bluewick candle

{I love the delicate drawings on the packaging of Bluewick Candle's Tangerine Apricot Vanilla scented candle.}

I like to describe this fragrance concoction as a dreamsicle. The creamy vanilla mixed with citrus makes for the perfect mouthwatering scent that is both uplifting and soothing. What I love even more about this candle is that it’s made of 100 percent soy wax with a cotton wick, giving the candle a cleaner burn.

At $24.50 and a 90-hour burn time, Bluewick Candle is comparable in price and burn time to a medium-sized Yankee Candle, but in a slightly larger jar. If you don’t want to order it online, you can easily find authorized retailers (so many in the Kansas City area!).

What home fragrances do you like to use? Do you prefer soy over conventional paraffin candles? Or does it just come down to scent? Leave me a comment in the comments section!

August 25, 2011

poll | what content do you want to read on kimberlyloc.com?

I’ve been keeping up with kimberlyloc.com since January 2010, and it’s continued to evolve as I’ve refocused my content, mined my analytics and continued to write about the things that make me smile.

After I wrote my 100th post, I had a good idea of what kind of content people who came across my blog were searching for; but, I want to keep taking this blog to the next level month by month, and that means I need to really figure out what posts make you smile.

Cupcake reviews? Macaron reviews? Glimpses into my home decor?

You tell me. I’ll write the posts.

August 24, 2011

cupcake taste test | gigi’s cupcakes | overland park, kansas

While I usually turn my nose up at chains, one chain that I can’t seem to get enough of is Gigi’s Cupcakes.

gigi's cupcake sign

{Gigi's Cupcakes opened another franchise in Overland Park this spring.}

Gigi’s Cupcakes opened up shop in south Overland Park (within walking distance of yours truly’s place) this spring, and I’ve frequented the shop several times to pick up treats for girls’ day, the teacher man and just me. I’ve sampled several different flavors (see my Facebook page to check out more cupcakes), but haven’t forgotten my first cupcake from Gigi’s: Kentucky Bourbon Pie.

gigi's cupcakes kentucky bourbon pie cupcake display

{The Southern in me couldn't resist a taste of Kentucky Bourbon Pie from Gigi's Cupcakes in Overland Park.}

Gigi’ Kentucky Bourbon Pie cupcake is a super-sweet bourbon cake loaded with pecans and chocolate chips (Southern dessert staples!). A modest dollop of cream cheese frosting (compared to Gigi’s other cupcakes that boast frosting mountains) covers the cupcakes, and a few more chunks of chocolate and pecans decorate the top. Swirls of caramel and chocolate ganache bind everything together for a sweet sugar rush that is as Southern as…well…Kentucky Bourbon Pie.

gigi's cupcakes kentucky bourbon pie

{Gigi's Kentucky Bourbon Pie cupcake has a more modest amount of frosting atop it compared to the other cupcakes available.}

If you can handle super-rich, sweet cake, try the Kentucky Bourbon Pie cupcake from Gigi’s. If you’re not a frosting person (I am!), Gigi’a may not be for you — the cake to frosting ratio is 1:2, and the frosting definitely outshines the cake. What keeps me going back to Gigi’s are the interesting flavor combinations, sky-high frosting and seemingly endless supply of cupcakes, even at the end of the day.

Do you have a Gigi’s Cupcakes in your area? What do you think of it? Tell me about your experiences in the comments section.

August 23, 2011

poll | which dessert is better?

Happy Tuesday! So, just out of curiosity, how many of you prefer cupcakes to macarons, or vice versa? I’ve only met one person who has said she doesn’t like “those little things” (in reference to macarons!).

Where do you stand? Pie lovers need not comment.

August 22, 2011

beauty scoop | jurlique fruit enzyme exfoliator

To get myself off to a fresh start each week, I try to take time on Sundays to give myself a soothing facial. Lately, I’ve been exfoliating with Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator.

jurlique fruit enzyme exfoliator

{Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator gives my skin a refreshing tingle. Photo Courtesy Jurlique}

Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator is a fruit-based exfoliating mask made with natural enzymes and extracts from Australia. The biodynamic blend of fruit acids, alpha hydroxy acids and organic ingredients slough away dead skin cells to reveal renewed, fresh skin that is soft and lush.

Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator contains amazing Australian super fruits, grown on a biodynamic Jurlique farm, that abound with vitamins and minerals that revitalize and repair tired skin. Some of the more interesting super fruits to note in Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator include quandong, a desert peach which is high in vitamin C and fatty acids; desert lime, another fruit high in vitamin C; and acacia (wattle), which acts as a gentle yet effective exfoliant.

Other pure ingredients in Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator include sugar cane, lemon, orange and apple to brighten and tone skin; prickly pear stem and green tea leaf hydrate and firm skin. Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator is loaded with the good stuff!

My skin always feels refreshed and renewed after using Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator. Though the bottle says it can be used two to three times a week, I save this for my Sunday “skin day” because Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator contains natural alpha hydroxyl acids that can increase sun sensitivity (even though I do wear sunscreen every day, even in winter and early spring!). I also enjoy keeping it to just once a week because you can really see the difference using it after a week of exposing your skin to the elements. Plus, it’s nice to look forward to a Sunday at-home facial to start the week off right!

Do you have any Sunday (or any day!) beauty rituals? What are your favorite natural facial masks and exfoliants? Tell me about them in the comments section.

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