Earl Grey & Honey Macarons

I love macarons but I hate paying $2 for one cookie at Whole Foods! So I decided to try making these delicious little french cookies on my own. The first batch I tried using a recipe that required measuring each ingredient by the ounce….that was a big mistake! Then I watched a few YouTube videos that helped me figure out the measurements. So I’ve put together the best tips and tricks to make the perfect french cookie: Earl Grey Macarons with Honey Buttercream Filling.Earl Grey MacaronsSimple Earl Grey Macaron Ingredients

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon earl grey tea leaves
  • 2 1/2 table spoons fine granulated sugar
  • 2 drops food coloring

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and stir until thoroughly blended. Add the teaspoon of earl grey leaves and mix in.

Next is the fun part, making the meringue for the cookies! Start by whipping your egg whites for 3 minutes on speed 4 on your KitchenAid. Next kick the mixer up to speed 7 for another 3 minutes while you slowly add in the granulated sugar. The mixture should have soft peaks. Add two drops of food coloring of your choice and make sure you don’t add more than two or it will alter the mixture’s consistency. I made two separate batches with two different colors.

For the last 3 minutes kick it up to high all the way. The mixture should be like a marshmallow consistency and a little stiff.This next step is very specific, take the bowl of sifted flower-sugar mixture and stir 10 times with a spatula. Take another third and stir 15 more times. Add the last bit of meringue and stir 25 more times until the mixture is fully combined. Don’t over stir or under stir.Macaron ShellsPut the mixture into a pastry bag with a large round tip. Squeeze the mixture on onto a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet in 1 inch circles. Next drop the pan on the counter three times to get the air bubbles out. Let the cookies sit on the counter for 15 minutes until the shells hardens and doesn’t stick to your fingers. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool. The cookies should have little feet and hard to the touch.Finished Macaron ShellsHoney Buttercream Filling

  • 4 tablespoons or 1/2 stick softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Fill the cookies with frosting and refrigerate for 24 hours. Bon Appétit!

The Intrinsic Value of Real Estate in Las Vegas

Today I took some time to reflect on the last few months of my journey into real estate. I am so thankful that God guided me into a profession that I love that offers such intrinsic value.

Most people think that all sales jobs are all about maximizing dollars, but I have found helping people find a place to call home is incredibly rewarding on a personal level. Whether it is helping a first time home buyer find the first condo in Las Vegas or helping a family upgrade for more room, there is nothing more satisfying that helping them make it happen. I love capturing the moment when someone gets their keys for the first time because you can see the joy it brings almost immediately.

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Vegas Realtor

A big thank you to everyone who has helped me on this journey and made my job selling Real Estate in Las Vegas the best job in the world!

Why I Quit My Day Job

Lots of people have been asking me why I quit my successful social media job to go into real estate. For your reading enjoyment, my explanation for the big decision is depicted in giphs.

Anyone that has worked at an agency will tell you it is tuff. I dreaded every Monday and would walk into work unenthusiastic like…

You are always expected to be the first one there, and the last to leave, there is no such thing as turning off your cell phone or computer, and the clients always come first. That’s why I left all of that agency life drama to go into real estate….where the client always comes first, there is no such thing as turning of your cell phone, and you work almost every weekend. Irony at it’s finest, cue the Alanis Morissette …

My 9-5 taught me about time management, team work, and taking criticism which is essential in any work environment. I love social media marketing and still plan to pursue it, just on my own creative time schedule, like 10pm-3am instead of being in my office all day like….

On a side note, its really funny that there are two popular songs about work right now.
My life felt like Rihanna…

But now I’m feeling like 5th Harmony….

Anyway, the decision to go back into real estate was a topic of prayer for a long time and I knew it was what I needed to do. When I envision my life 5 years from now, I see myself in a lifelong career instead of being a slave to my boss, my desk, and my computer.  Working with people and helping others is the best part of real estate and finally my everyday job. So if you are looking for a great real estate agent and wanting to buy/sell a house in Las Vegas, you know who to call!

How to Refinance to a 15 Year Mortgage

Adulthood has taught me many things, like the importance of good friends, good health, and great credit. Since I am always looking for ways to save money, I decided to investigate my options in real estate. My husband and I bought our first house together in November of 2014 when interest rates were slightly higher and we were just starting our new jobs in Las Vegas. Fast forward one year later, we are now in the position to refinance our home to a lower interest rate, get rid of our private mortgage insurance (PMI), and cut our mortgage down from a 30 year to a 15 year mortgage. Saving money is on our house means more vacations to Harry Potter World….and other fabulous places!Destiny Knocking on DoorRefinancing to a 15 year fixed mortgage can save you thousands of dollars in interest. For us, it will save us over 80k in interest and our house will be paid off in 15 years! Although our payment will be higher, more of our money will be going towards the principal of our loan. Here are the steps you should take if you are looking to refinance to a 15 year mortgage.

How to Refinance to a 15 Year Mortgage

1. Don’t Take Out Credit

Before you have a lender pull your credit make sure you have not gotten any new credit cards, car loans, or personal loans in the last three months. This could hurt your credit and hinder you from qualifying for the best 15 year mortgage rates available.

2. Gather Information on Your Current Mortgage

You will need to know how much you owe on your current mortgage, how much your annual taxes are on you house, and how much you pay for home insurance each month.

3. Shop Around for The Best 15 Year Fixed Mortgage

Once your credit has been checked by the first lender, you can have it pulled by others for the next 14 days without it hurting your score. Get at least three different quotes for your 15 year mortgage so you can see all of your options and pick the best option possible. We ended up using Quicken Loans and we were extremely happy with their service and it cost us little to nothing to refinance.

4. Know What Your Paying For

When your looking for a mortgage, there are three things to consider: interest rates, fees, and hidden costs. You want the lowest interest rate available without having to pay any “points” or “discount fees”. A lot of lenders will offer lower rates if you buy them down, but this is typically not the smartest decision. Most lenders charge fees for refinancing and wrap up all of those fees into the new mortgage amount. Make sure to have every cost and third party fee broken down. Also make sure to ask about closing costs, title insurance fees, and other fees that are not always in the original rate quote.

5.Don’t Lock In A Rate Until Your 100%

After you’ve gotten full estimates from three different lenders, you will want to look at all of your options and choose the best one before locking in your 15 year fixed interest rate and moving forward with your refinance.

I am so happy we made the decision to refinance and learned a lot in the process. I know this topic isn’t super exciting but if you have any questions feel free to post in the comments below!

Tips for Traveling to Chicago

Destiny In ChicagoI had the pleasure of visiting the Windy City for the first time this past weekend! The city dazzled me with a lively downtown scene, deep dish pizza, hipster coffee joints, and a chance to catch up with a childhood friend. While I was packing for Chicago, I assumed the weather would be cold and packed heavy, which I was extremely thankful for. The famous Chi-town winds makes a 40 degree spring day seem like the dead of winter to this Vegas-born chick. But besides packing recommendations, I also learned a few tips & tricks I would remember for my next adventure when traveling to Chicago.

Tips for Traveling to Chicago

 

1. Check the Weather Forecast

If the weather forecast says 40 degrees, don’t forget to add the wind factor. I recommend bringing layers, gloves, scarves, a hat, and a variety of jackets to choose from depending on the weather for the day. Of course the weather will be different in the summer, but always pack an umbrella just in case.

The Giant Bean Chicago

2. Plan Your Transportation

When it comes to getting around town, there are so many options available to tourists including Uber, Lyft, Taxis, Trains, bicycles, and walking. Using Uber will always be my first choice, but ride fares can rack up quickly if you have a busy day ahead. The train is convenient if you use Google Maps and make sure you go up or down the stairs on the correct side of the tracks because you can’t switch sides. I highly recommend getting the 3-day CTA pass because it will end up being less expensive than a daily pass and it works for bus rides as well. Lastly, I would recommend using the Divvy bicycles for a day if you have time to cruise lakeside. The bicycles are $10 for 24 hours and offer a memorable experience that can provide transportation and enjoyment all the way from the Zoo to the Planetarium.

Divvy Bike Chicago

3. Book Show Tickets In Advance

Seeing The Second City live or a Broadway performance in Chicago will be a highlight of your trip, but don’t wait to book your tickets because shows sell out fast. I would recommend booking at least 2 weeks out so you can secure good seats at the best time that fits your schedule.

4. Save Time to Eat

Dining at all of the restaurants in Chicago was my favorite part. Make time to eat every meal at a local restaurant you can’t find back at home. From brunch at Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe to dinner at Giordano’s, the wait times are long, the places are packed, and the food is amazing. We waited on average 15-45 minutes before every meal and if you are getting deep dish pizza that adds another 25 minutes before you start the main dish.Chicago PizzaWormhole Coffee Chicago

5. Take Advantage of Free

There are quite a few activities in town that are completely free like The Lincoln Park Zoo. We also enjoyed walking around Millennium Park, Grant Park, and the hipster area surrounding Wicker Park. Take a picture at The Giant Bean, see the lions at the zoo, window shop around Wicker Park and soak up the sun and wind because all of the free activities are almost all outdoors.Destiny & Kyle Chicago

6. Get the City Pass

If you are looking to do all of the tourist things in Chicago, get the City Pass online before you go anywhere. The lines to all of the experiences are extremely long but you will save time and money buying the City Pass. Although it costs $98 you will hit every tourist hot spot in town. The best part is, it also acts as a fast pass to skip the lines which sometimes can wrap around the buildings. We waited an hour to get tickets to the Skydeck at The Willis Tower only to find out it would be another 30 minute wait to get up to the top. After that experience we decided the City Pass was the only way to do experience it all.

7. Be Safe

There were only a few times I felt unsafe in Chicago and both times were at the train stations. I would avoid the trains and buses after 9pm and avoid the south side all together. Ladies, I recommend having a cross body purse you can hide under your jacket. Don’t carry cash, you really don’t need it for anything and it’s never a good idea to give money to anyone asking because it could be a scam to get you to open up your wallet.

Altogether traveling to Chicago was a memorable experience and knowing these tips for next time will make our second vacation even better! If you have tips of your own or favorite places of your own, please share them in the comments.