Mascarpone Cheesecake with Orange & Amaretto

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I am unashamed to admit that I am currently involved in a love affair with a cheesecake.  I have to say, this is fairly out of character for me, considering I’m not a huge cheesecake fan – cheese = yay!  cake = yay!  cheesecake = meh.  Many of my friends and family are cheesecake lovers, but I tend to fall more towards the creme brulee side of the custard spectrum – I can’t resist a burny-caramely top, and I hold firmly to that belief.  I find many cheesecakes to be a little too creamy, or even worse, crumbly, and oftentimes they aren’t sweetened enough, leaving the filling reminiscent of a bagel that’s been sitting on the counter getting cold.  Not a pretty visual there?  Well, that’s how the cookie  cheesecake crumbles, and I think there absolutely needs to be a seminar on how to properly bake a damn cheesecake.  Sorry, not sorry – I’m putting an end to this.

Okay, maybe I have a holier-than-thou attitude towards cheesecake, but seriously, have you ever read reviews on any NY cheesecake recipe?  Good lord, those east-coast peeps have a cheesecake power complex of epic proportions.  (Okay, I really do get it though – you’re a tried and true New Yorker, and you’re desperately trying to recreate the cheesecake your grandmother used to throw together sans recipe.  I promise, my family has been trying to do this with my grandmother’s enchiladas for years, and we can’t get it right – this is what happens when you let a Norwegian woman make Mexican food).

Anyhow, let me tell you, those recipe-reviewing-cheesecake-aficionados know their craft – crumbly cheesecake?  Waterbath.  Chunky chunks of cheese?  Room temp the cheese and eggs!  Genius.  Props to you guys (and your grandma’s tips!).  I appreciate you and your power complex (;

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And on another note, here I am about to crush your OG-cheesecake loving souls.  Because I added mascarpone to my cheesecake.  And I added orange zest.  And I added amaretto.  And the crust is made with almond cookies.  And it’s the most delicious, light, wonderful cheesecake I ever did eat.  If it makes anyone feel better, I’ve heard a lot of Italian cheesecakes use mascarpone and amaretto!  Does that help?  Bueller, Bueller?

Anyways, I decided to use mascarpone, because as I said earlier, I don’t love the super-thick, creamy cheesecake in most restaurants (I’m especially looking at you Cheesecake Factory).  However, the mascarpone rids of that overly-rich cream cheese taste and adds a fluffy, light texture that I adore.  Orange zest was added to get away from the lemon that typically adorns cheesecakes.  As for the amaretto, it was almost not added – I stared at that bottle  in the grocery store for approximately 15 minutes, walked away from it, and thought, “Sara, that is so not the spirit”, turned back to the liquor aisle, and added it to my cart.  It was a dilemma of vast proportions, but it made the cut, and I’m so relieved it did.  Alcohol helps desserts always.

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Btw I brought this cheesecake to my parents’ house for a family dinner and, I almost freaking DROPPED it while slipping on ice.  But not to fear, my clumsy footing still appreciates the sanctity of $12 worth of cheese.  I held onto that cheesecake like Harry held onto the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Yes, I did just make a HP reference, and I stand by that decision.

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Stay This Way by Peter Bjorn and John

 

Singing in the Rain

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Yesterday morning, I got up at 5:30 for work as I usually do.  As a barista, I’m often up between 4:30 and 5:30, stumbling to my bathroom in the pitch blackness to clumsily apply my winged eyeliner and blow dry my bangs before rushing out of the house to beat the morning traffic.  All of this happens pre-coffee, which is the real accomplishment if you ask me.

However, yesterday morning was *extra* special due to the howling, gusting wind banging my rose bushes against my window and causing my house to creak, which of course led to “holyshitholyshitholyshit there’s someone trying to get into my house” anxiety attacks all night long.  While laying in bed wide awake for a majority of my night, I was very aware that my power was going to be off when I got up in the morning.  Once I had confirmed this hypothesis, I proceeded to have a romantic, iPhone-flashlight lit face wash and teeth-brushing session before finally accepting that 1. There was no way I was going to put on makeup by iPhone light and 2. My bangs sticking straight up in the air were not going to cooperate without the use of a blow dryer.

So off to work I went, makeup and hair utensils packed up so I could squeeze in some bang-loving (tee-hee) in the bathroom before starting my morning tasks.  Walking out to my car, I was thoroughly sketched out considering if was foggy as all hell and the street lights were completely out.  Again, using the light of my iPhone (why don’t I have any damn flashlights in this place?), I walked up to my car.  From the meek light of my phone, I notice a big, shiny, white head in the window of my car.  And I freak out, because obviously some creep-o broke into my car, right?  And I consider running, but I don’t know where.  And I have a full on moment of fight or flight.  And then I realize it’s just my huge, white, shiny forehead that I’m not used to seeing, because again, bangs.

It’s at this point that I realize that I really have no place in this world being an adult since I can’t even handle creaky sounds in my house, and I’m afraid of the dark.  But honestly ya’ll, I try.

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“Umbrella-about-to-fly-away” face.

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After a particularly strange morning and hectic day at work, I was so ready to come home and relax with some tea and a movie.  Rainy weather is my absolute favorite ever (even though I can live without any wind), so I take all rainy day opportunities to bake, read magazines, listen to my “rainy day” music, play piano, and cuddle with big blankets and tea.  I also love any opportunity to wear my cutest fall clothing and use my umbrella!

P.S. I should really post my “rainy day” playlist on here.  Really, really I need to step it up with the music sharing around here.  Another thing to add to the blogging list!

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Really digging how my camera focused on the raindrops instead of me.

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Outfit details: Dress: old (thrifted) • Shoes: Lucky brand • Jacket: old (thrifted) • Beanie: Target • Necklace: gifted • Socks: Primark • Tights: Target (old) • Umbrella: Target

Have a beautiful, rainy day my lovely readers ♥

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Master of None by Beach House

Stripes in Downtown Las Vegas

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Hello hello.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but in many parts of the country, it’s very pretty and springy with warm, breezy weather that makes you crave popsicles and want to wear nothing but flowy, pastel colored dresses.  Unless you’re in Reno.  No, if you’re in Reno, it’s sweater weather with rain and gusts of wind.

While I really appreciate the sweater weather with rain, I do not appreciate the wind whatsoever.  Although the wind makes me very, very sad, the Sierra Nevadas are getting some much needed snow/rain which is really exciting.  Also, it makes it much easier to be inside taking a three week labor economics course.  (However, I really can’t complain because my professor is this cute retired old man that is definitely a feminist, wears oxfords every day, and claims he “gets off on economics”).

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While I was in Vegas over the weekend, the weather was sunny and averaged in the 70s, so my brother and I decided to go downtown in Las Vegas and snap a few pics.  By downtown Las Vegas, I mean old downtown, not The Strip!

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This was our first time being down there.  It’s kind of funny how you can live somewhere your whole life, and never see some of its best parts until you move away.

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This is my little brother in front of a coffee shop sign I fell in love with at The Container Park.  Hi Garrett.

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Pants: RSQ   T-shirt: H&M   Bag: Vintage   Necklace: Old   Belt: Old   Shoes: Audrey Brooke

*Thanks to my brother for taking many of these pictures <3*

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Song of the Day: Peach–Your Friend

Sweaters and Insecurities

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Hello friends.

Today (tonight) (at midnight) I will be talking to you about bodies!

Mostly your body (or my body in my case) and insecurities and confidence.

But first, about these pictures……

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I decided that I wanted some updated piano pictures of me.  The only ones I have are old, and since playing piano (and music in general) is a huge passion of mine, I wanted some for general uses.

As for my outfit: I decided to stage the pictures to look how I would in every day life.  Generally, if I’m at home, I’m wearing comfortable clothing.  I especially love sweaters, socks, leggings, flannels, etc.  Hence the sweater and socks.  I also decided to keep my piano how it looks like if you walk into my house.  I decorated it a little differently than I normally do, but this is what my life looks like on an average day.

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(I also tried pictures with nothing on my piano, which turned out pretty boring.)

Now on to bodies!  While taking these pictures, I was kind of nervous.  1. My hair was a mess and kind of wavy from having it in a ponytail all night.  2. My makeup was not as perfect as I would normally like for pictures, and 3. I wasn’t sure if the outfit would end up looking like I was trying too hard to be “sexy” (you know, in that way you see girls looking on the Urban Outfitters website like they’re so nonchalantly sitting in a meadow or something wearing a t-shirt and their underwear).  I was worried that having thigh high socks on with really short shorts would seem slutty, or if I would be judged by others based on my looks.  I’m not a model, after all.

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In addition to be worried about my hair/makeup/outfit, I was worried about my body.  Under no circumstances have I ever felt that I am overweight, or thought that I had anything truly wrong with my body.

But like most people, I have wanted to change some things about my body.  I have wanted my legs to be longer and my midsection to be curvier.  My body in general to be curvier.  I have wanted to be taller, bigger boobs, prettier skin, skinnier thighs.  Even though I am small, I have still had insecurities.

Every time I have expressed these, I always get things like, “But you’re so skinny!” “You’re so little!” “You’re like, what, 100 pounds?”

And while all of those things are true (because I am naturally that way), I still have had insecurities about my body.  There seems to be this misunderstanding that being small/skinny/little means we do not have insecurities.  But being small/skinny/little oftentimes means having no boobs/butt/curves.  It oftentimes means that we have bodies similar to that of 13 year old girls.

And listening to somebody complain about their flaws they have for themselves while undermining the flaws I have for myself is a little bit annoying.

And while taking these pictures, all I could think was, “Will these look okay?”  Because I knew that I would not look like those models on the internet, whose legs go on forever.  Who have meticulously applied eyeliner and mascara to look like they aren’t wearing any at all.  Whose hair is perfectly tousled because they “woke up like this”.

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But when I actually took a look at the pictures, I didn’t care at all.

Because I loved how I looked in the photos.  I loved my wavy hair.  I loved that my body looked like mine.  I loved how my legs didn’t go on forever, and my sweater was baggy, and my makeup wasn’t perfect.  Because I’m not a model.

I love how if any of you were to see me in real person, you would still recognize me from these pictures.

For the last year or so, I have become so incredibly confident about my body.  I find myself judging my “flaws” less and less.  Because they are not flaws.  They’re made up problems that I have in my own head.  They’re not real.  They’re only real to me because I let them be that way.

I’m not sure where it came from exactly, but I have some ideas.  For starters, at the beginning of last year, I broke off a couple bad relationships (one in particular that made me feel especially bad about myself).  I formed some new great ones.  I had people in my life who made me feel beautiful and empowered.  They reminded me that I was beautiful and liked me for things I didn’t even like about myself.  They encouraged me.  Out with the negative, in with the positive.  Some of those people aren’t really in my life anymore, even just a year later, but they still had a huge impact on my confidence, and I am so grateful to them for that.

I also just decided that I was fed up with the discouragement I was giving myself.  I was tired of the bullshit that I kept telling myself over and over.  I decided to learn to love myself for who I am.

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So while I’m sure it’s nice to be tall with perfect curves and long legs, I don’t care because I am who I am.  I love being the cute small girl with bangs and oxfords.  I like that I am different.

And I like that these photos came out kind of sexy.

Not lingerie-in-your-face-obvious kind of sexy, but subtly sexy.  Like how girls actually look when we’re hanging around our house (because unlike girls in movies/ads/perfume commercials, we don’t just hang out in lacy underwear all day with a perfect chignon and red lipstick).

Ever since I have started loving my body, I have been so much happier.  Every time I think about something I would like to change, I can so easily ignore the negative thoughts.  Of course, I still have my bad days.  But I always know that I’m still pretty in my own unique way.

I’m fit, I’m healthy, and I like who I am as a person.

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Sweater: Forever 21 Shorts: Old Socks: American Apparel

And I love these pictures, dammit.

The whole point of this is that we cannot change the way we were made.  It’s easier to learn to love your body than to obsess over how much it bothers you.

I ♥♥♥ my body.

I hope you love, or can learn to love yours too.

Because as cliche as this seems, everyone is beautiful.

XO Sara

Song of the Day: “Body”–Karen O (more about relationships than anything, but empowering nonetheless).

Floral Layers

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Good things so far about the new year:

1. I ate ice cream twice today.

2. I learned what ‘fleek’ means.

3. FRIENDS IS ON NETFLIX (goodbye social life. goodbye productivity)

4. I learned the lyrics to “Breezeblocks” by Alt-J.

Things that could use some improving:

1. My grammar is progressively getting worse post by post.  (I promise I know how to use commas and periods and spelling correctly.  I’m just lazy and like to pretend I’m blogging on twitter apparently).

2. I’m housesitting for a friend and while I was getting her mail today I dropped the mail key into the bushes in front of the mail box and the key disappeared into the snow and I still have yet to find it.  Do you know how not fun it is to dig around in the snow on your hands and knees for 15 minutes in the dark before accepting defeat.  DO YOU?!

Anyways, hopefully a good magnet taped to a wooden spoon will help in the morning.

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Anyways, yesterday night my brother and I went to my cousin’s house for dinner.  We arrived about 15 minutes early, so we decided to take some pictures outside before we went in.  (Mostly I just really liked my outfit).

The pictures are way too bright since it was a weird time of day, but I think they do the job.

This dress is one of my favorites, and a perfect example of how to make a summer dress into a winter outfit.  I always wear it with leggings (because it’s really short!) but add a sweater, boots, and a jacket and it becomes a winter outfit!

And it makes me very very happy!

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Dress: Forever 21 Leggings: Forever 21 Sweater: Old Jacket: Burton Shoes: Minnetonka Sunglasses: Ray Ban

Anyways, my brother left this morning so I’ve been a little sad today.  Living alone (or with two roommates in college) gets a little lonely so I always have a little time of mourning after somebody goes home.  But I practiced piano, watched The Help, and had a nice solo dinner so it wasn’t the worst day.  Plus, my brother will be back soon!  Another thing to add to my list of good this year!

What are some good things about your new year so far?

XO Sara

Song of the Day: Breezeblocks–Alt-J