#DIY Bridal Shower Gift

Hello everyone! What goals do you have in mind for this new year?

This year I am working on my creativity and taking it to the next level so for the first post of the year I will be sharing this #DIY Bridal Shower Gift I thought of.
Of course you do not have to use this as a bridal shower gift but since a sweet friend of mine recently got married, I thought this would be the perfect gift for her as a new wife.

During the Summer I went to Target and found this Recipe box marked down for Clearance and I have been saving it for this special project.

Included in this Recipe box were four colored tabs and twelve recipe cards that I divided up.

IMG_1836

IMG_1834

If you have been a loyal follower of my blog or Instagram, you may have noticed that I cook and bake quite often. Most recipes consist of family recipes and others are simple Pinterest experiments.

For this project, I only used family recipes that could simplify things for a new wife.

IMG_1839

I categorized the four tabs into:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Desserts

On the front of the card I wrote the title, notes, prep time, total time, and the ingredients and on the back I wrote out the directions. (I used a few of my mothers favorite recipes and made sure I gave her credit.)

I decided to not fill in every blank recipe card so that my friend could write down her own recipes and keep them all together. I did fill in at least one card for each category to get her started.

IMG_1837

I hope she likes her gift and that her marriage is blessed with years of happiness and unconditional love.

Did you like this quick and simple gift? Comment below and let me know!

With love,

-R. Vargas

Organic Body Butter & Body Scrub + GIVEAWAY

IMG_0557

I’ve been researching different body care products for the last few weeks and I am trying to stay away from products that contain chemicals I can’t pronounce, that have been tested on animals and that will cause my skin to have an allergic reaction.

I was gifted a sample of Organic Bedstuy Body Butter and Willie-B Sugar Scrub from Brooklyn Kat and when I read some of the reviews for these different products, I found testimonials of eczema clearing up, inflammation and red skin reducing and diminishing dark under-eye bags so I decided to try them.

I cannot believe how moisturized and hydrated these have left my skin!
Not to mention how incredible it smells!
I used the Willie- B Sugar Scrub while I showered and once I dried myself off, my skin was still smooth and soft.
I hesitated to use the Bedstuy Body Butter because my skin was already moisturized so I didn’t really see a need to use it but I did anyway and my skin has never felt smoother.

I watched a documentary years ago that asked the question,“If you would not put it in your mouth and consume it, why would you put it on your skin?”
That question has always stumped me.

I am seriously so OBSESSED with these products and I feel the need to share and encourage others to look into them. Especially if you have sensitive skin or you are looking into a more natural lifestyle. 
That being said, I am giving away a gift set of the Bedstuy Body Butter and Willie-B Sugar Scrub to one of my followers!
Remember the products are 100% natural and handmade. 

All you have to do is comment below and tell me what your current obsession is when it comes to body care.
I will announce the winner Monday so best wishes!

Xoxo,

– R. Vargas

Snickerdoodles

Such a simple and quick recipe to follow, Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite recipes to bake.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
  • 2 large eggs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine 1/4 cup of the sugar and cinnamon together in a small dish for rolling.

9.30.15 155

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together.

9.30.15 156

In a large bowl, beat the butter, shortening, and remaining 11/2 cups of sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.

9.30.15 158 9.30.15 159

Beat in the eggs, one at a time until incorporated.

9.30.15 160

Slowly add the flour mixture.

9.30.15 161

Mix well until combined.
Working with two tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls with wet hands, then roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat.

9.30.15 163

9.30.15 164 9.30.15 165

Lay the dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about two inches apart.

9.30.15 166

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and just beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating each baking sheet halfway through baking.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and enjoy!

9.30.15 167

Xoxo,

-R. Vargas

Cocoa Brownies

I once made all of my brownies out of the box until I realized how easy it was to make them from scratch.
Never again will I make out of the box brownies thanks to Food Network’s; Alton Brown’s, simple recipe!

Here’s the link to the recipe I followed step by step.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/cocoa-brownies-recipe.html

Ingredients:

  • Soft butter, for greasing the pan
  • Flour, for dusting the buttered pan
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, sifted
  • 8 ounces melted butter
  • 11/4 cups cocoa, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup of pecans/walnuts (if desired)

byeeeee 070

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow.

byeeeee 071

Add both sugars.

byeeeee 072

Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.

byeeeee 073

byeeeee 074

Once the batter is combined, fold in your pecans or walnuts if desired. (I used pecans.)

byeeeee 075

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes.

byeeeee 076

byeeeee 077After the 45 minutes are up and you’re not sure if your brownies fully baked, insert a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean, they are ready!

When they are finally done, remove to a rack to cool.
Try and resist the temptation to cut into it until it’s mostly cool due to the fact the they may fall apart if they are still cooling down.

Once they are cooled and cut, serve and enjoy!

byeeeee 080
Xoxo,

-R. Vargas

Vanilla-Frosted Cupcakes

The most delicious and basic cupcake recipe you will ever make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sprinkles (if desired)

___________________________________

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
    (I had to make 24 cupcakes so I doubled up on the ingredients since the ingredients listed only called for 12 cupcakes.)

    February 576

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Put 12 cupcake liners in a muffin pan or 12 double-layer cupcake liners on a baking sheet.

February 580

Beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.

February 577

Gradually beat in the eggs, sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in with the milk.

February 578

February 579

Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

February 581

February 582

To make the frosting, put the butter and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until pale and soft. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating well after each addition.

February 583

Spoon the frosting into a large pastry bag or squeeze bottle with a design tip if you have any, or simply frost the cupcakes the old fashioned way.
(I added in a few drops of food coloring to change the frosting into a rose pink color, and used a squeeze bottle to decorate the cupcakes.)

Here was my final product:

February 586

February 585

Let me know how your cupcakes turn out!

Enjoy!

Xoxo,

-R. Vargas

Summer Vacation 2014

This summer I went on a family vacation to my fathers hometown which is in Durango, Mexico.

After a week or so on his ranch, the family and I traveled to our actual vacation destination which was Tonalá, Jalisco.

I took tons of pictures so prepare yourselves!

“Maria Isabel” Restaurant that my family normally eats at as soon as we cross into Mexico.

The restaurant is also a hotel as well.

The restaurant is also a hotel as well.

Our first meal.

Our first meal.

My silly niece with some small flowers we picked alongside of the restaurant.

My silly niece with some small flowers we picked alongside of the restaurant.

A statue in Coahuila.

A statue in Coahuila.

Quinta Sta. Cecilia Hotel (The hotel we stayed in our first night while in Quatro Cienegas.)

Quinta Sta. Cecilia Hotel
(The hotel we stayed in our first night while in Cuatro Cienegas.)

I loved the style of this hotel.

I loved the style of this hotel.

The view from the hotel in the morning.

The view from the hotel in the morning.

Mexico 2014 052

Mexico 2014 051

Mexico 2014 058

Mexico 2014 054

Mexico 2014 053

Mexico 2014 066

Mexico 2014 061

Mexico 2014 060

Mexico 2014 059

If you’re ever in Cuatro Cienegas, I definitely recommend this hotel.

Back on the road.

Back on the road.

Mexico 2014 077

Mexico 2014 078

Home sweet home. We finally reached my fathers ranch in Durango.

Home sweet home.
We finally reached my fathers ranch in Durango.

My fathers horse.

My fathers horse.

Mexico 2014 083

My father showing my nephew his horse.

Mexico 2014 094

My brother and my niece riding.

On our way to another city in Durango for a festival.

On our way to another city in Durango for a festival.

Carne Asada!

Carne Asada!

Festival in Cuencame

Festival in Cuencame

Vendor selling watermelon in a cup.

Vendor selling watermelon in a cup.

My favorite part of the festival. The bar!

My favorite part of the festival. The bar!

I had a Piña Colada.

I had a Piña Colada.

Mexico 2014 121

Plants!

Local Natives who sell detailed hand beaded jewelry.

Local Natives who sell detailed hand beaded jewelry.

I think she figured out I was taking pictures.

I think she figured out I was taking pictures.

Dulce (Candy)

Dulce (Candy)

Pots & pans. (I brought a set home!)

Pots & pans. (I brought a set home!)

Hiking in the mountains behind my fathers house with my brother.

Hiking in the mountains behind my fathers house with my brother.

Mexico 2014 141

My brother picking fresh oregano that grows wild in the mountains.

My brother picking fresh oregano that grows wild in the mountains.

Mexico 2014 143

A few of my dads cows. (He has about 18 in total.)

A few of my dads cows. (He has about 18 in total.)

Kids 2014 034

Looks like some JW's have been leaving some literature in the yard.

Looks like some JW’s have been leaving some literature in the yard.

Rustic cooking. I look like a mess but who am I trying to impress on the ranch?

Rustic cooking.
I look like a mess but who am I trying to impress on the ranch?

20144 262

My niece and nephew at the plaza.

One of the perks of living high up by mountains is that the view is amazing.

One of the perks of living high up by mountains is that the view is amazing.

Heading into Zacatecas.

Heading into Zacatecas.

Finally in Zacatecas. (One of my favorite places in the world!)

Finally in Zacatecas. (One of my favorite places in the world!)

Made it to Aguascalientes to spend the night at,

Made it to Aguascalientes to spend the night at, “Hotel Las Trojes.”

Enjoying the greenery in Aguascalientes while I can because my fathers hometown isn't blessed with too much grass.

Enjoying the greenery in Aguascalientes while I can because my fathers hometown isn’t blessed with too much grass.

Kids 2014 038 Kids 2014 039 Kids 2014 040

I spotted a library in downtown Aguascalientes. (While taking this picture, someone called me Harry Potter. I think it was because of my round frames and my pixie cut hair.)

I spotted a library in downtown Aguascalientes. (While taking this picture, someone called me Harry Potter. I think it was because of my round frames and my pixie cut hair.)

I also found this beautiful little studio apartment while roaming around downtown. I really love the simplicity, the bricks and plants really make me fall in love.

I also found this beautiful little studio apartment while roaming around downtown. I really love the simplicity, the bricks and plants really make me fall in love.

Breakfast in Aguascalientes.  Swoon*

Breakfast in Aguascalientes.
Swoon*

While on the road, my father got really tired and asked me if I wanted to drive, (keep in mind my dad drives a huge Dodge Ram) and I'll admit I was nervous because I've never driven in Mexico and there's tons of curves, dips, narrow one way roads, no guard rails, etc. I prayed as I got behind the wheel and through three hours of valleys, peaks, and cliffs, I drove us safely to our final destination, Tonalá, Jalisco!

While on the road, my father got really tired and asked me if I wanted to drive, (keep in mind my dad drives a huge Dodge Ram) and I’ll admit I was nervous because I’ve never driven in Mexico and there’s tons of curves, dips, narrow one way roads, no guard rails, etc. I prayed as I got behind the wheel and through three hours of valleys, peaks, and cliffs, I drove us safely to our final destination, Tonalá, Jalisco!

Our hotel,

Our hotel, “Casa de las Palomas.”

The view from the rooftop of the hotel.

The view from the rooftop of the hotel.

A closer glimpse.

A closer glimpse.

Hotel scencery.

Hotel scenery.

If you don’t know too much about Mexico or about myself personally, you may have thought about why my family and I chose this specific city for our vacation spot. Let me give you some background information as to why; Tonalá (is a city and municipality within the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area in the state of Jalisco in Mexico. It is best known as a major handcrafts center for Jalisco, especially pottery, as well as its very large Thursday and Sunday street market, dedicated to handcrafts.

I’m all about the arts, handmade pottery, handmade crafts, handmade jewelry, anything handmade basically. If the description wasn’t enough for you to imagine, here are some pictures:

Kids 2014 043 20144 278 20144 279 20144 281 20144 282 20144 283 20144 284 20144 285

20144 286 20144 287 20144 289

20144 295 20144 296 20144 297 20144 298 20144 299

These pictures do not do enough justice to the real thing. I seriously did not want to come home. I even made friends while in Tonalá!

The city is known for its Artisan District, and I was honored to catch an artist in action.

20144 301 20144 302 20144 303 20144 304

While coming back home from the market I spotted this little treasure.

While coming back home from the market I spotted this little treasure.

Loved this mural!

Loved this mural!

Hanging with the locals.

Hanging with the locals.

Pan Dulce (Sweet Bread)

Pan Dulce (Sweet Bread)

Some trinkets & souvenirs I purchased.

Some trinkets & souvenirs I purchased.

My father showing my nephew a tractor while in his fields.

My father showing my nephew a tractor while in his fields.

My fathers land.

My fathers land.

I hope you all enjoyed the pictures from my vacation!

Xoxo,

-R. Vargas

Homemade Meatballs

Simple and easy meatballs to serve as an appetizer or to serve with Spaghetti!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1/2 cup  Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1 egg

You can add in or substitute different ingredients, or seasonings for a different type of flavor. I myself added in a pinch of Italian Seasoning.

IMG_7847

Directions:

Heat oven to 400°F. Line 13×9-inch pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.

In large bowl, mix all ingredients. (The Italian Bread Crumbs gives the mixture a wonderful smell!)

IMG_7850

Shape mixture into 20 to 24 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Place 1 inch apart in pan.

Bake uncovered 18 to 22 minutes or until no longer pink in center and enjoy!

IMG_7852

Enjoy!
Xoxo
– R. Vargas