Product Review: 9th & Elm Hand-Stamped Initial Leaf Necklace + #Giveaway

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to enter the giveaway for this lovely hand-stamped initial leaf necklace from 9th & Elm!

Happy August! It's hard to believe we're halfway into summer and in some parts of the country, it's almost back-to-school time. When I was younger, I used to get excited when August rolled around because it meant my birthday was coming up; but I also got a bit sad because it meant summer would soon be ending. But no need to be sad today, I've got a fun little giveaway for you in celebration of summer and my upcoming birthday!

It's no secret that I love all things handmade and am a big fan of independent designers. In fact, many of the products I've featured in the past through my Lil' Sweet Bites series are from handmade businesses. I'm always on the lookout for unique gifts for family and friends. So when 9th & Elm reached out and introduced themselves, I eagerly explored their site featuring fabulous gifts curated from handmade and independent designers. They have something for everyone - from jewelry, clothing, and accessories to personalized items perfect for wedding and bridal shower gifts!

9th & Elm provided me with a generous $70 credit to shop their site and after searching for a while, I decided on this whimsical hand-stamped initial leaf necklace by designer, Bella Joo. Hand-stamped jewelry seem to be quite trendy these days and I've been eyeing initial necklaces for a while. The pretty mint-colored drop also caught my eye along with the gold leaf - the three elements just complement each other so well. I love the delicately stamped "L" - it's subtle, just the way I like my jewelry. Simple, elegant, yet so gorgeous! I've been wearing it with a simple t-shirt and jeans, as well with a summer dress and cardigan.

I am no fashionista - not in the least, but 9th & Elm makes it easy by hand-picking the best of handmade fashion so you really can't go wrong! [Don't forget to check out the giveaway below]

I decided to share the wealth and gift this fabulous necklace ($34 value, details here) to one lucky reader - to enter, please follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below (US residents only, please): a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided with shop credit for this product review and I chose to use a portion of the credit to fund this giveaway. All opinions are my own. See my full disclosure policy here.

Recipe: Matcha Ice Cream

Has it really been three years since I first made green tea ice cream (eek, excuse the poor photos!)? That recipe was quite simple and pretty satisfying but recently, I was introduced to Jeni's Ice Creams here in NYC and well, you can say I became a bit obsessed.

Jeni's ice cream does not use eggs and I've made ice creams without but they always turned out a bit melty/watery and not as creamy. Jeni's ice cream base uses cornstarch and cream cheese to hold everything together and creates a dreamy creamy ice cream that is not overly rich as yolk-based ice creams. And, Jeni's is not too sweet - I didn't even have to add extra sugar to balance out the bitter flavor of this matcha ice cream. All this to say, I could indulge in endless scoops of this ice cream compared to others that leave that unpleasant film-y mouth feel.

So, if you've never had Jeni's I suggest you make a beeline to one of their scoop shops, seek out one of their delightful pints, or make some to enjoy at home!

Matcha Ice Cream 
adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home 

I like my green tea strong, but if you like yours less bitter, use 2 tablespoons of matcha powder. Remember, the flavor will dull a bit once it is cold. Omit the matcha if you'd prefer to experiment with Jeni's basic ice cream base. Please take note of the extra steps below if using non-homogenized milk and cream. 

2 cups whole milk*
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) cream cheese, softened
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (30 ml)
2 1/2 tablespoons matcha (green tea) powder

In a small bowl, make a slurry by mixing 2 tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch.

In a medium heat-safe bowl, whisk together cream cheese and salt until smooth.

Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water. Prepare a 1-gallon plastic freezer bag.

In a medium 4-quart saucepan, combine the rest of the milk, heavy cream, sugar and corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue boiling over medium heat for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in matcha powder (if possible, sift the powder into milk mixture), then the cornstarch slurry.

Return the mixture to medium-heat and continue cooking until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and carefully pour into the heat-safe bowl containing the cream cheese. Whisk until smooth.

*At this point, if using non-homogenized milk & cream, carefully pour the mixture to a food processor or blender and process for 2 minutes. This process must be repeated after the mixture is chilled, before pouring into the ice cream machine in order to fully homogenize the milk.

Pour mixture into freezer bag, over prepared ice bath. Seal and submerge bag to chill until cold - about 30 minutes, adding more ice if necessary.

Transfer chilled ice cream mixture into ice cream machine/bowl attachment and churn according to manufacturer's instructions, about 20-25 minutes. Store churned ice cream in an airtight container and freeze until firm, about 3-4 hours.

Affiliate Love: The Teshome Bracelet by fashionABLE

Back when the weather was much cooler, I first shared about fashionABLE and their mission of creating sustainable businesses and opportunities for at-risk women in Africa. I loved their mission so much that I became an affiliate. As an affiliate, I sometimes get a preview of new products and was excited to find out about their new line of Teshome leather wrap bracelets (named after one of the amazing women they work with in Ethiopia).

The bracelets are handcrafted in Ethiopia and are made with 100% Ethiopian leather. They come in 5 colors, each with a contrasting thread detail and a metal closure. I received the chocolate brown bracelet with a bright teal and orange thread (as seen above).

Today is the official launch of the Teshome bracelet and to celebrate, fashionABLE is offering an awesome promotion as well as FREE shipping just for Sweets by Sillianah readers. Help support Teshome and the women who craft these bracelets by picking up a few to gift or to keep them all for yourself and have an arm party!

Learn more about these bracelets by clicking the banner below, and use promo code ARMPARTY to receive FREE SHIPPING (valid til 7/1/14):

Disclosure: I received a Teshome bracelet as a free gift for being a part of the fashionABLE affililate program. Opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure policy here.

A Sweet Day in Brooklyn for No Kid Hungry

We couldn't have asked for better weather at the Brooklyn Flea on Saturday for the NYC Bake Sale - thank YOU all for making a beautiful day even more so by sharing your love in baked goods and sweets. We couldn't have done it without each of our bakers, volunteers, sponsors and supporters!

Because of your support, we were able to raise  $1,865 $2,015 for No Kid Hungry!

UPDATED 6/16/14: NYC Bake Sale beat out all of the blogger bake sales this year to earn the $10,000 match in our name from Domino Sugar!!

Thank you to our sponsors for providing awesome raffle prizes to encourage donations:

Le CreusetKing Arthur FlourSweet & SimpleHoughton Mifflin HarcourtZugar HausChloe DoughySlopeGirl Knits

And a special thanks to the Brooklyn Flea for providing us with such a great space to host the bake sale. Until next year!

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