A Cozy Autumn Treat

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More than ever, I’ve been looking for more ambitious recipes to try.

When I first looked this up, I thought, “Wow this looks delicious.” When I read how to make it, I put my phone right down. Yeah right! There were so many steps and I was not about to take a day making a cake. About an hour later, I looked at it again.

If you have a good solid amount of time and want to tackle a fun Autumn dessert, I firmly urge you to create this, because it was hands down the best thing I’ve ever baked, ever. I got the original recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. 

Ingredients:

Cheesecake Portion:

-16 ounces cream cheese, softened
-3/4 cup sugar
-1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 Tablespoon flour (The small amount lets the cheesecake rise)
-3 large eggs

Pumpkin Cake Portion:

-3/4 cup vegetable oil
-1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
-2 large eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract (You can add a bit more for a more intense flavor in the pumpkin part of the cake)
-1 and 1/3 cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
-1 cup flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (Again, add more if you want it more flavorful)
-1/4 teaspoon salt

Frosting:

-4 ounces cream cheese, softened
-2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
-2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Add more for more flavor)
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1-2 Tablespoons normal milk
-chopped pecans, optional

Directions:

1. Adjust oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray your Cheesecake Springform pan with a non-stick spray. Wrap aluminum foil on the bottom and tightly around the outside walls of the springform pan. Set it aside to be ready for the Cheesecake and Pumpkin Cake batters.

2. Make the cheesecake first: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium speed in a large bowl – about 3 full minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the sour cream, vanilla, and flour and beat it on a low level working up to a medium speed. On low speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just blended. Do not overmix the filling after you have added the eggs. Set aside.

3. Make the pumpkin cake:Before adding your ingredients, take your pumpkin and measure it out not a paper towel, and then blot it dry with another paper towel. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and blotted-dry pumpkin together until mixed and there are no bumps in the texture. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix it until it’s smooth. Avoid overmixing the pumpkin cake batter.

4. Spread 1 and 1/2 cups of the pumpkin cake batter over bottom of prepared pan. On top of the pumpkin batter, drop large spoonfuls of the cheesecake batter. (I did this until it almost covered the pumpkin layer.) Add the rest of your remaining Pumpkin Cake batter. Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter. Mine actually covered the pumpkin batter almost completely, as seen in the picture. Do not swirl with a knife. See photo above of what my cake looked like before going into the oven.

5.Find a roasting pan and put your springform pan inside. You’re basically going to have a cheesecake bath and the foil around the springform pan prevents the water from leaking from the bottom. Fill with about 1 inch of hot water. This allows the cake consistency to remain spongy and moist instead of baking like a normal cake.

6. Bake for 65-75 minutes or until the center is almost set. If you find the edges are browning, loosely place aluminum foil on top of the cake as it bakes. Do not open the oven while it bakes, or the cheesecake will crack! When the timer goes off, lift the oven door a crack. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 1 hour. After, take it out and let it sit until it’s cooled completely. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight (preferred). Loosen the cheesecake from the rim of the pan and remove the rim.

7. Make the cream cheese frosting (this can be made up to 2 day sin advance – cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.) Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature before starting, it makes a difference. Use a handheld mixer to mix the cream cheese and butter together on a low speed, working your way up to a medium one until the texture is creamy. Add the confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on a lower speed for about 30 seconds, then turn up to high speed and beat until it’s a creamy texture. Beat in 1-2 Tablespoons of milk, depending how thick or thin you want the frosting. Spread onto chilled cheesecake. Top with pecans, if desired.

8. Cut into slices and serve cheesecake chilled. This made a lot of very dense, rich cake, so you most likely will have leftovers unless it’s for a party. You can cut the cake into slices and refrigerate them for up to 4 days.

I know this was more complicated than a pumpkin latte, but it was so rewarding and it’s a perfect Thanksgiving dessert idea! Side note- I actually made this on the day of the lunar eclipse, and my mom and I drank some cleansed moon water with our cheesecake the next day!

If you try out the recipe, let me know what you think of it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

-Heather

September Ipsy Bag 2015

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Nyx 3 Color Shadow Palette

I used this palette yesterday when I went to a huge fall festival and it was perfect! The colors were Autumnal and it was super easy to do a smokey eye.

Bayberry Naturals Rosehip & Hibiscus Moisturizer

I haven’t used this yet, but I love the look and feel of it at first look!

Evelyn Ona Cream Blush in “Ash”

I used this yesterday with the palette and I really loved the color. The only issue with this is that it’s quite small and I can never get enough on my finger without getting it under my nail. If it was slightly bigger, it also might be easier to blend. I was putting some on my hand and then warming that up before putting it on my face. This color is rusty and perfect for fall. After a few minute of blending on my cheeks, it was the perfect warm pink.

Not Soap Radio Revitalization Hand/Body Lotion in the scent “Persimmon + Plum”

I used this lotion immediately since my hands have been so dry and I was so impressed. Not only did it work to moisturize my skin, the scent was addicting, and I think I might try to track down a full-sized version!

TrèStique Mini Matte Lip Crayon in “Nantucket Nude”

I haven’t used this yet, but I am very curious about it since the other crayons I’ve got from this company were amazing. This color is a nude type of shade that I haven’t worn before, but I’m still experimenting how it will work with my skin tone.

What did you get in your monthly boxes in September? I also apologize for camera quality, I left my good one at school! This does the job though.

-Heather

My Typical School Day

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Happy weekend everyone! I thought while we are having a beautiful relaxing weekend, I could take you through my typical school day.

I actually took pictures during my busiest day, where I have three classes, one meeting, and 0 time to eat. My first and favorite thing to do on a busy day is pick out an outfit that makes me feel happy but will get me through a long day. I picked this dress that I got from a boutique and I love the collar and fall colors of it! I also paired it with a scarf from Urban Outfitters that was light but warmed me up.

Underneath my scarf, I was wearing a few necklaces. This is one of my absolute favorite necklaces that my boyfriend got for me (he actually made the other one, which you can’t see here). This tree branch necklace is from Anthropologie, and it made me feel like I was in the forest.

In between my busy classes during the day, I tried to get as much painting done as possible. If you didn’t know, I’m currently working on material for a little art magazine, and if you’re interested you can check out my post about it here! I’ve been creating things all week for it, so I got some new paints and was trying something new. I can’t wait to share with you what I’ve made for this, and you can make things for it too!

I also had a counselor meeting today, and I had to take a picture to show you the gorgeous building that it’s in because I can’t believe how lucky I am to have such a beautiful campus.

Anyway, I hope your weekends are going great. Let me know what you’re up to!

-Heather

Abstract & Autumnal Nail Art

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Long autumn days, not a lot of sleep, and a busy college schedule means my nails are generally pretty boring.

However, I found a way to do fun nail art without breaking out the crazy nail tools. While I love some dotting tools, tape, and all the other tricks to give amazing works of art on our fingertips, I just don’t always have the patience! I wanted to do something simple that included multiple fall colors. I’m watching a few (not a lot!) of the trees changing and I was inspired by the deep reds and beautiful golds. This can also be done with any base color that you’d like! I like this gray-ish purple, because it’s a beautiful color but also feels neutral enough to not clash.

  1. Pick a base coat that will be different enough from your colors to let them stand out. This was a nail polish I got in an Ipsy bag and I’m obsessed with the pale-purple color. This is fun for fall, and I only needed one coat (but use two if you need to).
  2. Find three colors that you think will work together well. Mine were a wine-colored marsala, a stark white, and a beautiful shimmery gold.
  3. Once the base has dried, use one color at a time. Paint each nail with only one swipe! I swiped up with the maroon first. Once the maroon dried, I went with the white and swiped sideways, painting every finger and waiting for that to dry. Lastly, I swiped the gold through the middle of the two first colors and painted every nail until they dried. The best part about this is, it doesn’t have to be neat!
  4. Wait a long time until the top coat to make sure all the colors you used have dried. Seriously, swiping on a topcoat too soon can smudge them all and ruin your hard work! Once the top coat is on, still be careful of the nails because all that polish piled on top of each other is a recipe for disaster. When you’re finished, you should have a pretty cool design that wasn’t that hard to achieve!

If you guys try this out, let me know how it goes! You can also tweet me a picture or DM me on Instagram. I thought this would be a fun nail idea, and I haven’t shared one for a little while now.

-Heather

Submissions Open for Fall/Winter Magazine 2015!

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Tomorrow is the first official day of Autumn and I’m celebrating with some exciting news! I have decided to start a very small mixed content magazine about the fall season. This will be online and all free, it’s just to display my artwork and personal writings.

However, I think it would be so fun to have some people contribute to it as well so there are more stories and work to be seen. None of this will be paid or advertised, it’s simply to enjoy yourself and celebrate Autumn and Winter. As of right now, the theme I’m going for is Fall and Winter seasons (emphasis on fall). If anyone would like to submit any work, please send it to me and I can look through it and find a good place in the magazine. The drawing I’ve included will be the main theme/idea of the magazine, so hopefully it can inspire you. All drawings will be scanned and put into JPEGs for the mag.

Some cool ideas for submissions might be: 

  • Poetry/Writings
  • Photography
  • Drawings/Paintings
  • Any other inspired works

If you’re interested, please send me an email at: heathmmurray@gmail.com

There isn’t a deadline as of now, but when i decide it’s getting close to when I’m publishing, I’ll let you know. I hope this is an exciting adventure that we can share together!

-Heather

The Gathering Magazine| Fall Issue 2015

This past week has had it’s ups and downs, simply because moving and changing your life around can be hard.

I have to say though, this is one of the most exciting things to happen yet! Our fall edition of the Gathering Magazine (a lifestyle and event mag) has finally arrived and it is jam packed with exciting Autumn features.

Inside, there are amazing fall recipes for Thanksgiving, or if you’re just in the mood to create something wonderful. Inside, there are articles I wrote featuring the amazing Apotheker’s Kitchen and a small article on the amazing foundation, The Pink Agenda. I honestly had so much fun talking to these guys and really getting into their work. There is some inspiring stuff in this issue!

If you’re curious, take a look at the magazine here and see if you’d like to buy a copy of this issue or possibly subscribe for future issues. And as always, let me know what you think!

-Heather

Korean & Drugstore Makeup Haul

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Do you ever have those times when you know you need to try something new with your beauty products? I was inspired by Jenn Im (from ClothesEncounters on Youtube) to try some awesome Korean products. I also bought a few new things at the drugstore and thought I’d throw them into this haul as well. Collectively, this is what I’ll be wearing most of the time this season. All the products I got will carry me through Autumn, which is what I’d hoped!

I ordered the Korean products through eBay and Amazon because the actual websites didn’t ship to the US. I also did have to wait a few weeks for them to get to me, but it was worth it. All the brands I’ll discuss individually, but I thought they were so exciting! Just look at the packaging!

  1. Dinoplatz Lost Identity Lip Color- Ok, this thing is insanely cool. The color of this is a mint green, but on your skin it will adjust to your body temperature. You can see in the picture that it was a rosy pink, but I’ve worn it a few times and it is slightly lighter or darker depending on the day.
  2. Banila Co. Lumiere Quad Eyeshadow Palette- I swatched these colors so you can see better how absolutely stunning they are. The palette seems to be a winter theme (hence the snowflake packaging) but the colors are all browns, golds, and rosy undertones that are my go-to’s for fall.
  3. Skinfood Premium Tomato Cool & Dry Sun Spray (SPF 50+)- I know that summer is over, but sunscreen is always important, especially for extremely pale people like yours truly. When I get up in the morning to run, I generally wear short sleeves and the sun is beaming down on me. This spray is incredible because it’s dry, so there’s no grease or moisture that’s unnecessary.
  4. Rimmel 2-1 Concealer & Highlighter- This is actually not my first time using this product, but I rediscovered it and I’m so happy I did! If you ever want a concealer that works to hide discoloration under the eyes but also gives a highlight to your cheekbones, check this one out.
  5. Sally Hanson Miracle Gel in “Crème de la Crème”- I’m just gonna say it, I think this is my new favorite nail polish. While this isn’t very Autumnal, this color is the perfect neutral that goes with everything, and I’m thinking of stocking up on it while I can.

Tell me what you thought of the haul! Have you used any of these products before? I’m curious about the Korean beauty.

-Heather

Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

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Without noticing, the shift in weather has made me crave the tasty fall drinks that mark the beginning of a new season.

I found this recipe at thekitchn and had to try it out. There were a few changes on the website for people that had tried it and wanted to tweak it, so I gave those directions a go and it turned out beautifully. Everyone who had some was extremely impressed at the pumpkin spice taste.

Ingredients: 

2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more to garnish
Black Pepper (Just a pinch!)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk (You can add a cream substitute if you want, just nothing too heavy)
1 to 2 shots espresso, about 1/4 cup
1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped until firm peaks form

Directions:

  1. Heat the pumpkin and spices: In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the pumpkin with the pumpkin pie spice and a generous helping of black pepper for 2 minutes or until it’s hot and smells cooked. Stir constantly.
  2. Stir in the sugar: Add the sugar and stir until the mixture looks like a bubbly thick syrup.
  3. Warm the milk: Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract. Warm gently over medium heat, watching carefully to make sure it doesn’t boil over.Blend the milk: Carefully process the milk mixture with a hand blender or in a traditional blender (hold the lid down tightly with a thick wad of towels!) until frothy and blended.
  4. Add the Pumpkin mixture to your coffee or espresso. We used normal, freshly-made coffee and divided the mixture into three cups. Our whipped cream wasn’t home made, but you can do whatever you want for the toppings. Instead of using spices on top, we sprinkled tiny fall leaf sprinkles to make it more festive. (Side note- I never drink caffeine and used decaf coffee. If you generally don’t do well with caffeine, you can still make this recipe!)

If you try out the recipe, let me know what you think! I couldn’t resist doing a fall recipe since it’s getting to be chilly and crisp outside.

-Heather

September Vibes

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This week has been pretty damn exciting with so many new things happening. On top of moving into my dorm (which you can see parts of in this post) and starting classes, the magazine I edit (called “the Gathering,” you can subscribe or buy an issue here!) came out with its fall edition! Between the sweating hot temperatures at the beginning of the week and the leaves changing color at the end, the past few days have brought many changes. And since Autumn is the time of year for change, I thought I’d share with you some pictures I took these weekend of fall-ish things.

Here were some things that were part of my weekend, including a nice relaxing Lush bath to go with the colder weather. I also have been really loving frilly socks with ankle boots!

Are you exciting that it’s finally Fall?

-Heather

A Peek Inside My Workspace

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There are about 10 places I can get work done very effectively, and admittedly, most of them are at Starbucks. For a long time, I didn’t have a workspace that was peaceful or “me” enough to get my creative juices flowing, and I always settled for a library or a cafe of some sort.

I’m so excited that I have a dorm to myself this year. As a senior, I wanted some design freedom with what I did with my room and how I decorated. I spent the last two days tweaking things and making everything feel as cozy as possible. I’ve learned something about myself, simplicity works best for me in a  workspace. Clutter stresses me out, and this new dorm gave me a fresh start to be as minimal as I pleased.

Here is a small peek into my new dorm, which is something I’m sure I’ll be expanding on.

Workspaces are important because they need to stimulate you, they need to push you to come up with ideas and work harder. You can see my desk space is a place of work, but of quirky little treasures that remind me to put my personality into everything that I do. I also included a drawer of my markers, pens, pencils, and journals for writing (and this colorful little drawer has me creating new things multiple times a day now!).

If you enjoyed this kind of interior workspace post, maybe you’ll find some inspiration with WeWork’s awesome Office Space page. You can search for the general area you are interested in and find motivation in some very successful people’s workspace. My favorite places to look through were Berkley, Boston, and New York City, just because they were closest to me. I am quite a nose person, and if you’re anything like me, this feature on their site will leave you satisfied and motivated to get up and create something!

-Heather