August 19, 2017

The BEST No-Bake Icebox Cake.

     Doing something a little different for this Saturday blog post! I absolutely love cooking and baking, they're two of my favorite hobbies, and something I do regularly. However, it's not something I blog about too often. With the busy work schedule that I have now, I tend to stick to making a lot of the same recipes again and again. This is unrelated to my own cooking habits- but I also find food photography to be quite difficult. I am kind of a perfectionist about photography on my blog (hence why I work with photographers for most of my posts), and you would be amazed at the amount of recipe posts I actually have tried to shoot, but I've let the bad lighting in my kitchen or difficulty getting good shots of the finished product prevent me from ever blogging about it- ha! Well, that's changing today. This recipe is too good to keep to myself, so I have to share it with all of you. (And I think the photos came out okay-ish. 😉)







     This is actually a family recipe, coming from my mom! My mom a very talented cook, and I am so thankful that she taught me how to cook and bake when I was quite young. They are two extremely useful skills that have helped me so much in early adulthood. Anyways- we need to get back on track and discuss this incredible icebox cake. My mom made this one summer several years ago, and after tasting a bit I was in heaven. I asked her what type of cake it was and how she had made it, and I was shocked to learn it had just four ingredients, and that it was a no-bake icebox cake!! It was seriously one of the best homemade desserts I had ever eaten. I actually requested this as my 17th birthday cake for my little family party that year! I remember my mom's family was surprised too that it was a no-bake cake and tasted so good.


      The hot, end-of-August weather is a great time to enjoy cool and easy icebox treat, so I wanted to share this recipe with y'all today! The hardest part about it is simply waiting for it to chill in the fridge! It is a dessert that you do have to be patient on, and can't really eat until it's set overnight.




No-Bake Chocolate Graham Icebox Cake


Ingredients:

  • One box of original honey graham crackers (I used a store brand variety)
  • Cocoa powder
  • Powdered sugar
  • Heavy cream
     ....yes, that's it! 



   
     1. Make the homemade chocolate whipped topping. No Cool-Whip or pre-made frosting will substitute. 😉 My mom makes her own chocolate whipped cream by kind of "eye balling it" with ingredients. She also told me later on that she uses Hershey's syrup, instead of cocoa powder like I did. I'm more of a strict recipe follower than my mom is, so I found this recipe for homemade chocolate whipped cream on Pinterest, and used it. It called only for cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and heavy cream. Find it here and follow the instructions! (Note, I found the finished product to be a bit more chocolatey than I like, so I did end up adding extra powdered sugar than what the recipe calls for.)







     2. Open the package of graham crackers, and lay down a cracker in the bottom of a baking dish.







     3. Use a spatula to spread the whipped cream over the graham cracker in baking dish. After the first graham cracker is coated, stack another one on top of it, and repeat, until the first package is completely stacked and coated in the whipped cream.







     4. When the first package of graham crackers is coated and in the backing dish, begin repeating the process with other packages in the box. Make sure all stacks of graham crackers are pressed up next to each other in the baking dish, and use the whipped cream to bind them together, creating the "cake" shape!





     5. When all stacks of graham crackers have been coated, give them one last "push" together with the spatula, and use extra whipped cream to coat the outside of the cake. The more whipped cream on them, the softer the grahams will later become!!


    6. Refrigerate cake overnight preferably- this is the hardest part! It will look so good that you'll want to dig right in, but it really does need to chill for at least 8 hours so that the graham crackers can properly soften. Once it has softened, take it out and enjoy!






     And that friends, is really it! Such an easy, yet delicious summer treat. Please let me know if you make the recipe and enjoy it! 😊



     Wishing you all a wonderful weekend- work is staying absolutely crazy for me until mid-September. I know I didn't do a very good job keeping up with blogging this week and kind of let work get the best of me, but hopefully the next few weeks I will be able to do better balancing both. Also looking forward to sharing more soon too about everything happening with work- some exciting radio things!



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on-air!)

August 16, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.





{Testing out some cute new makeup items from the Mark by Avon line! Follow me on all my social media @miss_alk!}


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Ramblings:
  • Being a tourist at home: This past weekend was my first weekend off since starting my job! Since I wasn't able to go to Charlotte as I had hoped, I went home to Maine instead and tried to make the best of things. Overall it was a quiet, but nice visit! I have two friends from there who are both starting grad school soon, so it was good to spend time with them before that begins. I also spent a lot of time with my family, and time at the ocean, which I miss so much living far away from it now! Something that I've noticed since moving to Vermont is that I really have stopped taking growing up in Maine for granted, and I have a new appreciation for my hometown that I didn't have when I lived in Charlotte. I still very much want to be back in the South, but I hope when I do eventually move out-of-state again, I'll take my newfound love for Maine with me.
  • Planning fall fashion content + foliage: Fall in New England comes much earlier than the South- and Fall in Vermont comes even EARLIER! I am already starting to think about creative natural locations for shooting fall fashion content for the blog. Vermont has several scenic byway routes, which are very popular (especially in the fall) with tourists and locals alike. I've already been looking at which byways I would like to explore this fall. If you're planning a trip to New England or Vermont this fall- check out the byway list here
  • Giveaway fun! These is a fun little giveaway up on my Instagram currently, and it runs all week long, so there is still time to enter! I'm teaming up with Jewel Toned, a wonderful shape-wear and undergarments company, to give one lucky winner a Summer Style Pack, featuring five Jewel Toned pieces. Speaking of giveaways... I'm getting so very excited for my week of 5th Blogiversary giveaways, which will be happening at the end of August/beginning of September. I shot most of the images for the giveaways last week and I know y'all will be excited as well! 


Purchases:
  • A trip home to Maine now means SHOPPING! It's so funny-when I lived in Charlotte I didn't do much shopping in Maine, minus a couple local spots that I always hit up. But now that I live in Vermont, aka what feels like the home of the least chain stores (or chain anything) in the nation, I have to get my shopping fill when I'm home, or when driving back to Vermont through New Hampshire! My grandma and I went out to lunch and for a bit of shopping this weekend, and of course we had to stop at Nordstrom Rack! I've found some of my best Rack finds on past trips there with my grandma. She bought me this darling necklace as one of my birthday gifts- the crown reminded me of the Charlotte city logo, which is so dear to my heart! Fun fact: if I ever were to get a tattoo, it would probably be a tiny version of the Charlotte City crown, on the side of my ribs. 
  • We also went to one of my favorite shoe retailers (yet another place not in Vermont), and my grandma bought me these adorable booties as another birthday gift!! Can't wait to style these all this fall.
  • During my rest stop at the Mall of New Hampshire, I stocked up on a few packs of these! They're one of my hair essentials, and were on sale for 2 packs for $10 (a great deal)!
  • I love shopping at Lilly Pulitzer Signature stores... possibly even more then actually Lilly stores! I think Signature stores have a lot of local charm to them, and they definitely mark down  older Lilly more than regular stores do sometimes. I paid a visit to Maine's only Lilly Signature store, The Pink Tangerine, during my weekend home with my friend Katie. I found this adorable tank! Even though it's still on Lilly's website, it was amazingly 40% off at The Pink Tangerine!  Such a good buy and I couldn't resist! 


Wishlist:
  • Still have all the heart eyes for this tote- this is probably the fourth time I've posted it on my wishlist, ahhh! #workbaggoals
  • I saw this dress at The Pink Tangerine while I was home. I sadly have NO REASON to wear this in Vermont... but isn't this THE CUTEST dress?!
  • This is a different take on a basic t-shirt. Would be cute for fall transition outfits for work! 
  • This top screams "early spring" to me more than "early fall," but I still love the bold pattern on it!! 
  • An adorable ruffle sleeve dress for fall that is under $50 and comes in a few colors! 



On the blog this week:

     
       And a quick note about something not blog/wishlist/fashion related... I just wanted to say a couple words about the horrific acts in Charlottesville that happened earlier this week. Hearing about things like this happening in America in 2017 absolutely devastates me. What makes me even more sad is that many of the individuals associated with these terrible hate groups claimed to act in the name of God/Christianity.... absolutely sickening! These people represent everything that Christianity is not (as most Americans of course DO know). I'm not sure what church they belong to... but I have certainly never stepped foot in a church that has preached anything about hate or white supremacy. 


     I really do not discuss my political views on my blog or social media- partly because I work in the media and don't believe I should disclose much about that with the type of job that I have, and partly because this last election season got quite heated, to say the least. I witnessed a lot of friendships ended over politics last year, and I don't think that should ever be a reason to remove someone from your life. (Just to clarify.... belonging to/supporting a hate group = YES- definitely a reason to end relationship/friendship. However simply having a difference in political opinions = No.) 


     Anyways, with that little preface there- I do generally speaking hold conservative political views, and it really saddens my heart especially to see some people grouping hate groups and the alt-right together with all conservatives. These terrible people couldn't be more different from a lot of the ideals of most conservatives and the GOP. I have been encouraged to see some conservative politicians and commentators speak out against what happened. A favorite tweet of mine was from conservative commentator Allie Stuckey of The Conservative Millennial. She tweeted "Conservatives should denounce the alt-right even more than liberals do. It's everything we are trying to show people we aren't." Amen amen amen! 



      Anyways- sorry for that little sidetrack there, just wanted to share a few things that have been on my mind for a few days. 😊



     God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on air!)

August 15, 2017

Radio 101: What Does a Radio Personality Wear To Work?

     Bringing back my Radio 101 post series today... and combining it with one of my favorite things, fashion! A lot of the outfits that I've been wearing on my blog this summer are not things that I would wear to work, so I thought it would be fun to share an outfit post specifically styled to the types of looks that I have been wearing to work this summer!











Photography by Melissa Lynn Studios


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     Different career paths in broadcasting have different dress codes. TV news personalities wear chic business casual looks normally, with female reporters wearing classy dress ensembles, and male reporters sporting suits. Radio on the other hand is a bit different! My company doesn't have a dress code for on-air personalities, and I would say most radio companies fall along those lines. If you're looking for an example of this- when I had my morning radio internship in Charlotte last winter, I frequently saw on-air personalities in that building walking around in sweatpants, no joke!


      I don't bum down quite that much for work, but at the same time it doesn't make sense for me to dress up either. The majority of my days are spent alone in a windowless studio. During my first couple weeks at my job, I tried to wear some business casual looks with heels, but I quickly realized that just wasn't practical for my job (or Vermont-ha!). The outfit in today's post is a great example of the types of outfits that I've been wearing to work this something! Something very casual, but still put together. I am allowed to wear shorts to work, and have done so on a few very warm days. Generally speaking though this summer, I've been wearing jeans or casual dresses with flat sandals to work on weekdays. Back in Charlotte I used to wear cardigans and blazers to school and my retail job frequently, but now jean jackets and the kimono that I'm wearing in these pictures are my best friends! Saturdays are actually my longest workday of the week- I'm usually at work for 8-9 hours. I reward myself for having such long Saturdays on-air by wearing no makeup and athleisure clothes (and sometimes doing the same on Fridays also 😊).


     One difference between how I dress actually for work and how I got ready for these photos is that while I almost always have curled hair for the blog, I actually rarely curl my hair for work. My whole day is spent sliding headphones up and down my head, and if my hair is curled I find it tangles so much more easily. I normally wear my hair in a braid for work, and sometimes a bun or down and straightened.


     The only time I don't have freedom in what to wear to work is for radio events. We have a company policy that we have to wear t-shirts or polos (depending on the event), that have the station logos on them. That way people attending the events can easily identify us as on-air staff, and it looks professional when attending an event as well.



      Sometimes I do wish I had a job where I had to dress up more for work, but overall I really do like putting together cute and casual outfits for working in radio! I think that what I really wish for is having more excuses to dress up outside of work... but I'm working on that! 😉



      How do you dress for your career? Does your industry have a more formal, business-like dress code? Or do you also work in a casual work environment?



      I hope that y'all enjoyed today's Radio 101 post! I'm thinking for next month's to share a "Day in the Life" type schedule post for what my average workday looks like, and to talk more about some of the smaller tasks in my daily routine at work!







     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on-air!)