Biscuit Bake-Off

There will never be a day when I stop loving Red Lobster. In fact, Andrew and I were just there a couple months ago! Naturally, I chowed down on those melt-in-your-mouth mounds of buttery garlic heaven the waiter so graciously bestowed our table with until I was stuffed. Which of course happened before the food we actually ordered got to the table. I assume that's how everyone plays the Red Lobster game, right? At least that's how I've done it since I was a kid!

Last month I was introduced to the prepackaged Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix sold at Sam's Club. It comes with enough powder and herb packets to make a few batches, and it's less than $6. Not bad if you're in a pinch, but you know me—I love making things from scratch.

And there are countless recipes out there, you guys! Like, wow, the people have spoken and clearly we all really love these damn biscuits. A lot. I found tons for sprucing up Bisquick but I opted to pit the prepackaged mix against a fully made-from-scratch recipe from Brown Eyed Baker.

The difference in texture was obvious, but nothing was more recognizable than the smell! The prepackaged mix was completely odorless, while the homemade batch smelled so amazing I wish I could have bottled it.

While the biscuits baked, I prepped the butter toppings for each. The herb packet is where the prepackaged mix really shined. I'm not completely sure what was in it, but BEB's combination of garlic and parsley didn't stand a chance!

Once out of the oven I could see how much the prepackaged mix spread outward whereas the homemade batch rose, as biscuits should (though I'm no drop biscuit expert—these were actually the first ones I've ever made!). So, which was best??

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix

Brown Eyed Baker's Cheddar Bay Biscuits

The Brown Eyed Baker's recipe, hands down! The fantastic biscuits were flaky on the inside and just crispy enough on the outside. And as much as I loved that herb packet, the prepackaged mix was just too doughy to compete. Both were excellent the next day (and the next) after being reheated in the oven. I even made grilled cheese out of them with the leftover cheddar I used in each recipe! We literally have biscuits for days, you guys. It's intense.


Beyoncé, Beyoncé, Beyoncé!

Honestly, I debated just writing "Beyoncé" 2,000 times for this post because, well, Beyoncé. Mrs. Carter graced Chicago with her presence Wednesday night and though I had the worst migraine I've had in months, I was instantly cured when she walked on stage. Say what you will about her (or don't, because she's Beyoncé), I love her and I could not have had more fun in one night! Like I tweeted, it was the second best performance I've ever seen, after Michael in 2001 (which incidentally, Beyoncé performed at with the rest of Destiny's Child).

(Photo by Robin Harper/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)

She is an absolutely amazing performer and totally killed the 22-song show! Though our seats weren't super duper close, we had the perfect vantage point and I sang and danced non-stop for the entirety of the two-hour show. Can we say best Valentine's Day gift ever?? Andrew Santos, you are a saint—literally.

Sadly, there were no cameras allowed so I had to make do with my phone. I snapped a few photos in between scream-singing along and uploaded them to my instagram on our way home because I obviously couldn't be bothered to stop scream-singing along. So, what did I wear to this amazing concert? Let me show you!

Shirt: 10DollarMall.com
Tank: Kohl's
Skirt: American Apparel
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell
Bag: T.J. Maxx
Jewelry: Macha, Mom, Forever 21
Glasses: Barton Perreira

As much as I love those sneaker wedges, I had to be comfortable if I was going to be on my feet in a crowded arena with thousands of other scream-singing fans, and I ended up swapping them for more practical sandals. You can see I'm totally trying to look cute and collected up there but in reality I could not contain my excitement!

Right now I'm two seconds away from clicking the purchase button on Pitchfork's website so I can see Solange on Saturday, even though it's a million degrees outside and outdoor music festivals are my worst enemy...


Jaimielee 'Plant Killer' Velasquez

A few years ago I became obsessed with the idea of gardening. The thing is, every apartment I've lived in in Chicago has not been particularly plant-friendly. Whether it was due to shade for days, little-to-no outdoor space, or ninja-like Princess on the prowl for delicious-yet-toxic plant nomz, each plant I've owned has died a tragic death one way or another. The pinnacle being the tomato plant that I dropped off my window ledge one summer. I can't blame anyone but myself for that mishap, well, maybe the wind? Then of course there were my twee teacup-dwelling cacti...

Drainage? Ha! Who needs drainage!? These poor babies held on as long as they could back in 2009. I'm sure you're thinking why on Earth would I embark on this journey again and I'll tell you why. Because!

Last Saturday night (lol) Andrew and I stopped at Home Depot for PVC pipe and some other random house things. It was 11:00 pm and I wandered into the darkness of the outdoor nursery while Andrew stuck to the list. Then I saw it... The absolute most adorable "Feed me, Seymour" looking creature I had ever seen in my whole life. I immediately snatched it up and held the tiny pot to my bosom like a newborn baby. Before I knew it, another succulent jumped out at me. I'd never seen anything like that one either! Of course, I didn't bother reading either label before I grabbed a bag of cactus soil and I went looking for Andrew.

He spotted me cradling these two tiny pots, and my soil, and I could see the look in his eyes. "This again?" I asked him if it was worth it, "Only $10 for heartbreak!" He said "Do it." And I did.

So here we are, not even a week later and I've already added three more to the mix from Adams and Son. The same nursery where I got my flapjack moss, which was swimming in the mites that claimed my lettuce, basil, and hostas a few years ago. Admittedly, I was wary of ever going back but I made sure to closely inspect the new plants before checking out this time.

When I got home I wasted no time before the googling frenzy began. I found a great blog called Succulents and Sunshine with gorgeous photos and detailed advice for beginners. This set off a fever in me and before I knew what I was doing, I almost bought 125 cuttings for $56. Luckily, I stopped myself and instead chose to strip two plants almost completely of their leaves in hopes of propagating. I even lucked out with a few bonus leaves that had fallen off of nearby plants.

I think it's safe to say I'm obsessed with succulents again. I just hope these little guys survive my not-so-green thumb!


Quilt? What Quilt? You Mean You Craft?

You know, I've written about beauty and food a lot lately, and by that I mean almost exclusively since MARCH! It seems I've fallen back into my old procrasticrafting ways. Doing my makeup, getting dressed (how basic do I sound right now??), cooking/baking, and taking photos of those things has just been easier than most of the craft projects I have on my endless to-do lists. But that's such a terrible excuse!

As predicted, my desire to crochet diminished significantly a couple of months into my quilt project. Before I knew it, it was 80° here in Chicago and I couldn't even think about warm blankets, let alone crochet one! With low's in the 60's all week, I finally picked up my hook again. I consider this a small victory.

Anyone remember my cat face sweater from NOVEMBER? Yikes! I blame this one on my lack of embroidery knowledge, specifically the doing-it-on-stretch-fabric variety. None of the fabric stabilizers I had on-hand worked out, so I gave up in a literal heartbeat. Even after creating and printing my cute kitty patterns and everything!

On Memorial day I embarked on a new sewing journey, and promptly stopped. I did tape the pattern printout together though, so at least there's that! Honestly, it's the serious button situation I'll have to tackle that has held me back on this project.

(Photos courtesy of Natalie)

Looking at Natalie's instagram photos wearing her finished skirt is the perfect slap in the face I need to get crackin' on this one! She looks so cute in it and I also want to look that cute in it.

Ugh. This post is so heartbreaking! Can you feel my shame?? Excuse me while I go and quietly drown myself in a river of my own tears and self-imposed to-do lists...