Favorite Dessert Ever: Molten Lava Cakes

lavacakes2For me, chocolate is the ultimate indulgence. Especially on a cold winter’s night, nothing is better then a warm, gooey chocolate cake straight out of the oven.

I was first introduced to molten lava cakes on my honeymoon. My husband and I went on a week long cruise, and I am not embarrassed to admit that the fancy three-course dinners were my favorite part of the whole trip. On the first night, I ordered the molten lava cakes and from that moment on, I was hooked.

Almost immediately after arriving home from vacation, I began the process of recreating that magical cake. I say process because, after trying several different recipes, I couldn’t find anything that matched the perfection of the cruise ship lava cake. In the end, I played around with the ingredients and came up with a version that is almost perfect. This decadent dessert is to-die-for good plus incredibly easy and quick to put together.

lavacakes3Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 oz chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 eggs, 2 yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Recipe

Molten Lava Cakes

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Place the chocolate chips and butter in the microwave for 60 seconds and then in 15 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Note: Be very careful not to over heat.

3. Add flour and sugar to warm chocolate.

4. Stir in eggs and then vanilla.

5. Pour into greased ramekins or muffin cups and bake for 7.5 minutes.

Raspberry Sauce

Blend together a handful of raspberries, 1 tablespoon for sugar and a splash of water. Spoon sauce around warm cake.

*Optional – garnish with whole raspberries and powdered sugar.

Last Minute Christmas Deals

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

christmas dealsSometimes it pays to procrastinate! If you are like me and still have several people left on your shopping list, check out some of these amazing Christmas deals happening now through the weekend. With heavy discounts and even free expedited shipping, you are sure to find the perfect gift at the perfect price.

Stella and Dot

Stella & Dot is offering a FREE upgrade to Expedited Shipping! Shop now through Sunday 12/21 and your gifts will be delivered by 12/24. Just select standard shipping at checkout (no code required) and Stella & Dot will upgrade your shipping. Plus, their signature colorful packaging is also FREE with every jewelry purchase. Don’t miss your chance to shop Stella & Dot gifts for the holidays!

DownEast Basics

Now through December 21st, save 30% off everything at DownEast Basics when you use the code: MERRY30

Here are your Christmas delivery deadlines:

  • $10 Second Day Air – must order by 2pm MST, Monday, December 22nd
  • $20 Next Day Air – must order by 2pm MST, Tuesday, December 23rd

Juil Shoes

Now through December 22nd, use promo code to save 30% OFF + Free 2nd Day Air Shipping at Juil. Use promo code: EQUINOX30

Karina Dresses

Special Offer 1: From 12/19 to 12/21 all brightly colored dresses at Karina Dresses will be marked down from $158 to $99 + enjoy free shipping on all US orders

Special Offer 2: From 12/23 to 12/29, take 40% off of the Clearance section with the code SANTA at checkout.

Diamond Veneer

50% OFF everything at Diamond Veneer. Use coupon code Group at checkout.

 LuLus

Special Offer 1: 25% Off Everything On Sale.

Special Offer 2: $10 off + Free Shipping on orders over $100 – Use code Freeship10 at checkout.

New in 72: A Twist on the New Year’s Resolution

All of us look to the New Year as a time to make changes in many aspects of our lives. Unfortunately many of those changes don’t last long, so we’ve come up with a New Year’s resolution that you can actually keep! New in 72 is an easy to follow twist on the traditional year long resolution and includes tips to help you transform your skin, wardrobe, hair and wellness in just 72 hours.  It’s a beautiful and exciting way to kick off your 2015!

Skin Resolutions

Skin
Skin care expert and Founder, President/CEO of Vertere Skin Care, Bethany Hilt, offers the following tips to see a visible difference in your skin within 72 hours:

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  • Drink coconut water daily – Coconut water is not just a great hydrator due to its electrolyte content, but it also contains cytokines and lauric acid which are used in the process of cell growth and their regulation. Coconut water has significant anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic and anti-thrombotic properties which helps to minimize skin aging, balance PH levels and keep connective tissue hydrated.
  • Add a facial loofah to your cleansing routine – Regardless of the cleansing modality you’re currently using, whether it’s your hands or a Clarisonic, use a facial loofah gently once a day.  This boost of manual exfoliation can quickly eliminate dead skin cells and polish your skin to perfection.
  • Vertere’s Dramatic Transformation Cream SPF 15 – To build on the tips above and see a visible difference in your skin within 72 hours, use Vertere Skin Care’s Dramatic Transformation Cream SPF 15 daily.  A consumer test panel, beauty editors, bloggers and testimonials like this consistently report seeing a visible difference in their skin within 72 hours.

Wardrobe Resolutions

Wardrobe
Celebrity wardrobe stylist, Newheart Ohanian, who recently styled singer Estelle as well as spreads for Interview Germany, Vogue Taiwan and Elle Mexico, offers these pro principles for refreshing your wardrobe within 72 hours:

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BB Dakota cocktail dress / Charter Club crew neck sweater / LOFT button up shirt / Eastex cable knit sweater, $61 / Gap / People Tree pencil skirt, $67 / 7 For All Mankind blue jeans

  • Create ‘uniforms’ in your closet
  • Organize your closet according to the staples of your ‘uniforms’
  • Make these items the staples of your ‘uniforms’ to create go-to looks
  • A little black dress
  • A crisp white shirt
  • Black blazer(s)
  • Cashmere sweaters
  • Tux trousers
  • Jeans
  • Turtlenecks
  • Pencil skirts
  • Refresh your wardrobe with new key items and accessories such as a cashmere camel coat, ankle booties, a good military boot and stackable bracelets.

Hair Resolutions

Hair
Celebrity hairstylist, Kozmo Fahringer, who has perfected the tresses of hundreds of models as well as celebrities such as Brooke Shields and Isabella Rossellini, relies on one go-to product to create a blowout that lasts 72 hours –  Phytovolume Actif.  Just spray it into damp hair, blow dry and style.  Your style will last for 72 hours without being crunchy.  Use dry shampoo on day three if necessary.

Wellness
 Resolutions

Marcia Camino, yoga expert and founder of Pink Lotus Yoga Studio, recommends three types of meditation that are lesser-known to create improved emotional and spiritual health within 72 hours.  These practices have shown to have a positive affect even after just one session, so practice one, two, or all three for three days straight and note the profound shift in your psyche:

  • Yoga Nidra (Yoga Sleep) – Yoga Nidra helps your mind and body relax deeply because your subconscious comes to the forefront and your analytical, judgmental mind falls away.
  • Yin Yoga – Here, we investigate postures held for several minutes each that not only open the body  for greater flexibility but also clears the mind by training the brain to ‘stay put’; necessary in our stressful world.
  • Freeform movement  –  At Pink Lotus Yoga Studio, we sometimes get out of our yoga minds and just shake it!  We turn on danceable music for several minutes and ask students to explore creating movement from the heart rather than the head and to enjoy themselves while moving. Moving/Dancing is one of the best meditations in motion around; it can bring on “ananda” (happiness).

 

Here’s to you making visible improvements to these aspects of your life in just 72 hours to kick off 2015 in a powerful way! To help get you started, enter to win one of four deluxe sample size sets of Vertere Skin Care. Just fill out the form below for your chance to WIN!

Give the Gift of Fragrance

This post is sponsored by Lunchbox. All opinions are my own.

Perfume is one of those things that I love the idea of but never actually wear. I am cheap by nature so spending money to smell good has always seemed unnecessary. Yet when someone walks by with a particularly delicious scent or when I come across an appealing sample in a magazine, I admit I am tempted.

My thriftiness is the key reason I have never been much of a perfume-wearer, so when Coty Fragrances began offering a $4 coupon off of any their perfumes ($14.88 or above), I decided to try out a new scent.

Since Coty fragrances are exclusive to Walmart, I headed there yesterday with my coupon in hand. As soon as I walked in, I saw the Holiday Fragrance Gift Center with a large collection of perfumes and gift sets including celebrity fragrances from Beyonce, Faith Hill, Katy Perry and many others.

coty1

coty fragranceI wanted something flowery and feminine, so I chose the love2love Fresh Rose + Peach gift set which came with both an 8 fluid ounce Fragrance mist and a 3.4 fluid ounce Eau de toilette – that’s a lot of perfume! After the coupon, I ended up paying only $10.88.

Perfect for Christmas

If you are like me and leave your Christmas shopping to the last minute, check out the Holiday Fragrance Gift Center at your local Walmart. They have a ton of perfumes to choose from for both men and women. You are sure to find something for everyone on your list.

Get Your $4 Coupon

To get the coupon, click the banner below and take a short quiz to help you find your holiday shopping style.  When you’re done, make sure you enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post – you could win one of five $50 Walmart gift cards!

What Holiday Shopper Are You?

 Walmart Giftcard Giveaway

Holiday Fragrance Gift Center Giveaway

The Betsey Johnson Corset Coat

Living in warm climates for the past five years has ruined me. Even though it’s only the beginning of December, we have already had two big snow falls here in Oregon. Boy, do I miss Florida now! Up until last week, I didn’t even have a coat. So, as an early birthday present, my mom took me shopping and I picked up this gorgeous wool jacket.

coats2Far from your basic black coat, it was the shape that drew me in initially. The flared, dress-like style is so pretty and feminine. Other special details, like the corset inspired waistband accented with gold-toned buttons and the removable faux-fur collar make this coat even more luxurious. To top it off, the lining is a fun mix of animal print and roses.