Catch-All Catch-Up Post

Life has suddenly just exploded with sunshine lately! And sunshine = busyness in this case. Aside from WORKING ON MY BOOK (we are working on cover details now, guys! Crazy-exciting), I’ve been…
Enjoying endless sunshine this winter…SO good for the soul! 

Signed up for a membership at the local rock-climbing gym because I am LOVING IT LATELY. Can’t get enough. I used to go rock climbing at the indoor gym quite often, and this summer got outdoors for a bit of climbing. Of course my climbing shoes are pink and called “RockStar” (ha get it?!?!). I have fallen in love once again and I dream of routes and problems (a problem is what you call a bouldering route…metaphor for life, amiright?).
I’m not vegan, but my friend owns an amazing vegan restaurant and I’ve been addicted to this Superhero Hot Chocolate filled with all sorts of good things for you. In particular it has Shilajit, which is a mineral from the Himalayas. I don’t know much more than that, but I DO know it’s crazy-good and I can’t get enough.
While I haven’t been doing many outfit photos lately, you can find them from the studio on my Instagram. This is H&M black skinny jeans, Sorel boots, ON cardigan, Gap London tee and a random star scarf from who-knows-where.
It’s almost February! We are SO making progress on this winter-thing. 
“The cold never bothered me anywaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy!”

Maple Latte

bestmaplelatteyet2GGS

Ya’ll I live in New England, mmmkay? So I’m a pretty legit expert on all things maple syrup (fact: it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup #boom). So this maple latte thing is on lock over here. The basic proportions are the same, but fiddle with your version of “strong” coffee and your version of “sweet” until it’s your kind of awesomely-delicious. Here’s what I love:

Maple Latte
1/3 mug hot VANILLA flavored coffee
2/3 mug HOT milk, foamed/frothed
1 1/2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Really, all you have to do is stir these together. But here’s my more in-depth method: I actually use a two-mug method to do this…heating the milk in one mug while letting my coffee brew through my Melita pour-through coffee maker into another mug. I’ve found it’s best to add the coffee to the milk rather than the other way around, so I put the milk in the mug I want to drink from to microwave it. Then foam it directly in the mug using a tiny whisk, fork, or my favorite gadget: an Aerolatte. Then carefully pour in your hot coffee, add the maple syrup right on top of the foam, sneak a spoon in under the foam and stir. The last secret is to make sure this is served VERY hot. I am by no means a barista, so this is just what I make to enjoy at home: quick & easy!

And a verse to cheer your morning:

psalm9017GGS
xo
Natalie

Do You Kombucha?

Have you dared try kombucha? I admit, I was a scaredy-cat. Kombucha is a fermented tea of sorts, with yeasts and good bacteria. I don’t claim to know all about the purported health benefits (and sometimes risks), but for something new to try, I kinda like it! It may be an acquired taste, but here is my rundown of my favorites I’ve tried so far, in case you need a little inspiration to try this drink yourself:  
High Country Kombucha Tangerine Dream
Good flavor, LOVE the bottle and design. Unfortunately, this was the most mead-y tasting one, and it never tasted ice COLD to me. I suppose I could have tried it over ice. It was also missing the nice sparkling essence I liked in the others. 
This one is delicious! I love guava flavoring, but it’s not something you see too often (yet). This was light, refreshing, lightly bubbly, and made me feel happy (due in part, I’m sure, to its light pink color!). 
Kevita Sparkling Probiotic Drinks: Mango-Coconut, Strawberry-Acai Coconut, and Pomegranate
I don’t think these are technically kombucha, though they are certainly based on the same principles, and are delicious. The mango-coconut and strawberry-acai coconut are pretty good, but the Pomegranate is out of this world. The flavor was deep, the color dark, the sparkling quite fizzy, and all-around delicious. I’ve purchased the pomegranate several times. However, I do caution that it contains apple cider vinegar, so I always like to brush my teeth after I drink it so the acid doesn’t kill my enamel.
****
Granted, these drinks are all very expensive and I will say my experiment is probably short-lived because shelling out almost $4 for one bottled drink makes me die a little bit inside. However, I wanted to try it, and should I ever be aching for a fruity, sparkling, slightly vinegar-y drink, I’ll reach for the KeVita Sparkling Probiotic  Pomegranate (sometimes on sale for a slightly-less-outrageous $2.29)
You?

Swedish Snow Chocolate {with King Arthur Flour}

Oh my goodness. I’ve discovered something totally new to me: WHITE hot chocolate, and it’s amazing. 

AND it’s Friday, which means a vlog. So let me break it down for you!
As my mom said, “It’s like liquid frosting.”
Can you think of anything better?
It’s thick, rich, and inspired by Sweden with almond, nutmeg, and pearl sugar. 
Don’t get all late-winter-cynical on me, pining for beaches and the lake. Since it’s snowing beautifully out my window, and hopefully yours, I highly suggest you make this hot cocoa and settle in for the weekend. Spring will be here soon, and then you’ll wish you could find a snow drift to cool down in! 
Next week there is still another baked goodie or two to share, and a few other fun things, so have a great weekend and I’ll see you next week, friends!
Swedish Snow Drift Hot Chocolate
by Good Girl Style
Makes 1 mug

1 1/2 cups milk
3 oz. white chocolate, chips or chopped finely
Splash vanilla
Whole or ground nutmeg
Whipped Cream
Whisk milk, chocolate chips, vanilla, almond extract, and a dash of nutmeg in a saucepan constantly until thoroughly combined and very hot. Serve very hot with whipped cream, another sprinkle of nutmeg, and Swedish Pearl Sugar on top.

Triple Hot Chocolate

I might have gone a little bit too far. Three chocolates in one cup of cocoa?
Yeah, no, that’s not too far, what was I thinking?

Besides it’s Valentine’s Day.
The day that begs you to eat fancy chocolates and drink fancy hot chocolate and get dressed up fancy and celebrate love. I don’t want to hear from the haters because I think that sounds AWESOME and I’m totally all about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about the tacky Mylar balloons and guys buying gas-station roses & candy-bars last minute. I’m not about a “perfect boyfriend who has to show me he loves me.”
Nope. In fact, totally single.

But a day to celebrate love? It’s like they asked me what sort of holiday I’d like to create, and I said: one that revolves around getting dressed up (or staying home in pajamas), going out for a nice dinner (or eating takeout on the couch with a sappy romantic movie, or grabbing some pink champagne with some of my girls), a good snuggle (be it with hubby, boyfriend, dog, cat, or stuffie), chocolate, roses, and perhaps a little something sparkly-blingy (or totally practical–my grandma gave me a six-pack of socks this year. legit.). Can you think of anything to add to my perfect day(s)? Me neither.

And don’t forget to spread the love–friends, moms, grandmas, co-workers, the kiddos–they all deserve some Valentine’s day treats. And they totally deserve some of this hot chocolate.

Triple Chocolate Hot Cocoa
{by Good Girl Style}
Makes 1 large mug

1 1/2 cups chocolate milk
2 heaping TBSPs. cocoa powder
Dash salt
Splash of vanilla 
1-2 tsps. powdered sugar (or to taste)
Chocolate Whipped Cream (from a can OR here OR make regular whipped cream and add sifted cocoa powder and powdered sugar to taste)–yes there is chocolate whipped cream on mine, it just melted in perfectly 🙂

Heat on the stove, whisking constantly, until thoroughly mixed and hot. Pour into mugs and top with the whipped cream.

Lavender Hot Chocolate

This is a fancy, intoxicating, luxurious brew. The kind that makes you instinctively curl your knees up on the couch and let out a sigh that encompasses all of the bad things of the day. Then you breathe in the aroma of lavender and dark chocolate and the world seems new again. Winter seems wonderfully inviting. The gloomy world outside doesn’t have anything on this lovely drink’s effect on your happiness. I can’t imagine anything much better than a hot bath, followed by a cozy blanket and this hot chocolate. Go ahead, pamper yourself.
Lavender Hot Chocolate
(basic recipe from Simply Recipes; scaled for 1 mug)
1 cup milk
2 oz. dark chocolate (60% cacao), chopped or chips for easy melting
1 1/2 Tsp. powdered sugar
Splash of vanilla
Pinch of salt
Bring milk and lavender to a simmer in small pot. Remove from heat and let steep 10 minutes. Strain the lavender out and return the milk to the pan. Add the dark chocolate, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until chocolate melts and incorporates. Pour into mug, top with whipped cream, and enjoy.

Earl Gray Lemon Latte

This drink. Oooooo, this drink. It inspires me. But the bills I was racking up at Caribou Coffee, where they created this delicious tea latte, were not inspiring. They were downright depressing. How in the world is $3.80 for a small okay? 
What do they think Caribou Coffee is, an airport?! 
(I crack myself up)
Don’t worry, Caribou, I still love you, and I will still be visiting you. In fact, I just ordered another tea latte yesterday. But for me, this is the Winter of Drink Recipes, or so it seems. Being able to make lattes at home is fun and easy, too. So I pulled out my darling little vintage yellow pitcher and set to work recreating the “earl gray tea extract” and “lemon creme sauce” per Caribou Coffee’s website. 
Go ahead and thank me now. Or come over for an Earl Gray Lemon Latte.
I hope I spelled Gray with an “a” this whole way through, because sometimes I get a little excited and throw an “e” in there.
  Fair warning: Earl Gray tea is caffeinated. 
Earl Gray Lemon Tea Latte
 {Caribou Coffee Copycat created by Good Girl Style}
Makes approx. 2 regular-size or one giant-sized or one regular-size & one refill…you get the idea.
Earl Grey Tea Extract
Use twice as much tea as you normally would in half the water. I used 2 teabags in 2/3 of a mug of water, as I usually use a very large mug for my tea. Steep 5 minutes, no longer or else the extract will become bitter. Remove tea bags and keep extract warm.
Lemon Milk
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. lemon extract
2 TBSP. powdered sugar
2 tsp. honey
Heat gently, while foaming with a wire whisk. (Edited to add: You can use a frother if you have one!)

To Create Drink:

Fill the mug 2/3 full of tea extract, slowly pour in the lemon milk to fill the mug. Enjoy! 

Monday Treat: Pumpkin Spice Mocha

I was really on a kick making those pumpkin lattes in September when the PSL craze always hits. 
Then October came around and I got tired of them. 
But last week my grandma ordered the Pumpkin Spice Mocha and was raving about it, I thought to myself:
Adding chocolate to Pumpkin Spice?
Brilliant. Inspired. Invigorating.
So this lazy Sunday afternoon, my mom and grandma came over and we made these Pumpkin Spice Mochas and chatted about poetry. I’m not sure I can think of a better way to spend a Sunday. 
And now I’m back on the PSM kick. That’s a Pumpkin Spice Mocha kick, in case you didn’t catch that.
Goodness, it’s delicious. 
Grandma said it was every bit as good as the real coffee shop version, and my very picky coffee-savvy mom agreed that it was exceptionally delicious. Me? Well I was too busy drinking mine in a moment of bliss that I didn’t say anything. 

You must make sure you serve these hot.
Enjoy on a snowy November morning or afternoon…like today!

Friday Goodies {Giveaway!}

Oh I love a good late-summer, early-Autumn weekend.
The weather! The clothes! The golden sunlight!
I have discovered my new favorite Indian summer drink, friends. 
 MAPLE ITALIAN CREAM SODA
 Amazingly delicious. Just use a shot glass full of maple syrup (~1 1/2 oz.) and half a shot glass of half-and-half (~3/4 oz.), lots of ice, and fill with sparkling water. Stir really well, and enjoy! 
{add whipped cream if you’re feeling indulgent}

I found it amusing to see this “Tousled Topknot” in Seventeen’s September issue.
And since it’s the weekend, it’s totally time for a pretty treat…
Flowers + GF treat + Gorgeous Gifted Cakestand. Feelin’ so loved! <3
I GET TO GIVE A PACK TO ONE OF YOU! 
I’m so excited, because I know you will be excited to win these cards.
Just leave me a comment and I will enter you into the random drawing!
{U.S. only, sorry. entry closes Monday at midnight. If you comment using a Mobile device, it won’t show up here but I’ll still see it! Technical difficulties…}
Thanks, Dayspring!
Have a great weekend, friends!