It was merely a month ago that a baking fanatic coworker of mine brought in some cupcakes she had made the night before. “You have to try them, they have a surprise,” she cooed. Usually, I like to avoid any sort of ‘surprises’ in my food. I’m even not crazy about the baby in King Cake (and I have what would be classified as an unhealthy addiction to said cake). Nothing she had ever baked previously had turned out anything less than phenomenal, so I gave it a try ….and now I can’t think about cupcakes the same way.
The surprise was a very simple Oreo cookie placed at the bottom of the cupcake. This wasn’t a fancy ‘injecting truffles into the center’ sort of cupcake situation, but a very simple addition. I honestly didn’t think much about the cupcakes until a few weeks later, when I was at the store caving to a chocolate craving and buying cupcake supplies. All of a sudden my option wasn’t just chocolate or vanilla. It was more like chocolate or vanilla…AND what sort of delicious candy bar? I choose a Reese’s Cup to hide in the middle of the petite gateau, but some sort of Twix incorporation was a close runner up.
Maybe I’m just really behind the baking times, but this was a pretty fabulous (not to mention, delicious) revelation. In honor of filled (stuffed?) cupcakes, I’ve sifted through the web for some recipes to pass on to you. Enjoy!
Oreo Cupcakes. This recipe actually recommends you serve them upside down. They also recommend cool-whip, which I would probably bypass.
Reese’s Cupcakes. This blogger stuffed small Reese’s into the center of the cupcake. I have also found that a full size Reese’s actually fits perfectly right in the middle if you lay it horizontally.
Twix cupcakes. Twix happens to be my favorite, so these are definitely next on my list.
Mini candy bars and rolos are also a happy surprise. Recipe here.
York Peppermint Patty Cupcakes. I’m not the biggest fan of mint with my chocolate, but these sound so delicious.
Want more recipes? Pinterest is just teeming with them (surprise, surprise)…just search for ‘candy bar cupcakes’.
…That one day children of all ethnicities will grow up and work side by side in the fashion industry. Little white girls will design and sew dresses for little black girls and little black girls will walk the runway hand in hand with their white counterparts…”
For the record, the above quote is where Martin Luther King Jr. was going with his original “I have a dream” speech. I’m pretty sure he was envisioning a future CFDA meeting complete with Ron Anderson and David Rees of Ten Thousand Things sitting next to each other gathering ideas for the next new thing in fashion.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I want to give a shout out (in no particular order) to three of the coolest ladies in the fashion industry. And, yes, in case you are wondering- I have chosen all ladies. There are plenty of kickin’ chicken men out there too, but I couldn’t have a blog post turned epic novel.
Ms. Reese has been kicking serious booty since debuting her line 1996 and it’s obvious why. She knows that women want easy pieces to wear that are both unique and sexy without looking outlandish or unlady like. She’s also a member of the board of directors of the CFDA. (Can we say: powerhouse?)
Iman (Mohamed Abdulmajid)
This supermodel, philanthropist, actress, and business woman is so famous she totally gets by with having a one word name (think: cher). If you’ve never heard of Iman, or what she’s done as far as crushing the stereotypes of the ditzy supermodel, go read her wikipedia page…now: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iman_(model). If she’s not a role model, I don’t know who is!
Okay, she’s not really in the fashion industry per se, but she has made quite the influence on it. Politics aside, Mrs. Obama is not only smart, but she’s the best dressing first lady we’ve had in years. Where do I even start with the impact she has made? I’ll hit on my three favorite points about her: 1) Your appearance matters and you don’t have to buy designer clothes to make a statement. 2) The perfect size is a healthy weight. Being underweight is no more healthy than being fifteen pounds overweight. Everyone has a natural size they hit when they live an active, healthy lifestyle. 3) She has made people who don’t care about fashion actually think about fashion. And that’s not an easy thing to do.
There are so many more influential people I could gush about, but I’ll leave it with those three. Hopefully, no matter what the color combination of your skin is, you will be inspired to live your life to the fullest like these ladies!
Happy MLK day!
As sad as it is to say, I just finished reading my January Better Homes and Gardens. If you are a magazine subscriber you will understand why this is sad- seeing as I received the issue a month ago and finished only in enough time to receive the February one. I digress. The point here is that the new January issue was all about organizing.
I personally like to refer to it as ‘Winter Cleaning’ (who wants to stay inside and clean in the spring??) This is the activity where I start going through all my stuff and decide what I want to give away, keep, etc (I also do some cleaning).
As I was reading the tips from professional organizers in the magazine (side note: How does one become a professional at something like organizing? Is there some alliance you have to be a part of or test you have to pass?) I ended up analyzing my own organizing ways (because, yes, I am a nerd). So just think of this as one colossal Ask Bucky post on how to solve two huge organizational issues.
Problem: You don’t know where to start.
Solution: First try picking a room or ‘troubled spot’. If you can tackle one room (or closet) at a time, you will feel your chances of success skyrocket. Trouble spots are almost easier to fix the more chaotic they are. You need to first survey the disaster zone and identify the problems. I will use my own bathroom as an example (issue/reason): Clothes all over the floor/too lazy to take them to a hamper. Toiletries strewn across the sink /no counter space on pedestal sink. Towels…everywhere /I don’t even know).
And this is a couple of simple ways I plan on fixing it:
a) Put a hamper in the bathroom. We are obviously too lazy to walk out to the hall hamper to release our discarded clothes pre-showering.
b) Reorganize the shelves and the medicine cabinet to hold everything that was taking over the sink. I used the million makeup bags that I’ve collected over the years to keep everything together and easy to find.
c) At any given time we have about 6 towels in our bathroom (that’s not even counting hand towels or wash cloths), which is a little excessive for two people. The solution was to add two hooks to the back of the door. Now two towels can hang on a rod and two can hang on a hook (because, yes, four is a reasonable number).
At any rate, you can see how honing in on one messy spot can help you identify what you need to help you start organizing (hooks, bench, containers, etc).
Problem: I don’t have enough time to go through and organize my home all at once.
Solution: Does anyone? If you’re like me, a type A person married to a packrat, it is pretty much physically impossible to clean and organize an entire home all at once.
Here’s what I do to stay on top:
a) Keep a box or paper bag (the ones from the grocery store are great for this) in your closet. Throughout the year, if you put on anything that doesn’t fit or you don’t wear anymore, just throw it in the bag. When the bag is full, take it to your local clothing shelter. You could also do this in a kids room as they outgrow toys and clothing.
b) Start a purgatory box. Essentially, this is a medium sized box that holds clutter (think all that mail, receipts, loose change, pens, etc on your kitchen countertop). You first start by ‘cleaning off’ the countertop (or room or area…) into the purgatory box. At a designated time, like while idly watching tv, go through the box and throw out what you don’t need and re-home what you do. Depending on your amount of clutter and the size of your box, you might only need to go through the box once a week.
c) Compromise. What do you really hate doing around the house (laundry)? What do you really love doing (watching tv)? Ask these questions to anyone in your household (the answers I gave here would be my husbands) and then strike a compromise. Getting my husband to clean out his closet was nearly impossible, so I struck a deal with him. He can watch tv while I wash and dry the clothes, but when I’m folding and putting them away, he has to be working on his closet. You can do something similar if you live alone, just say: ‘for every hour of tv I watch, I have to spend an hour organizing something in my house’.
See, that doesn’t sound so bad! These aren’t crazy expensive ideas or ones that take a full fledged anal retentive person to carry out. If your goal in 2014 is to get more organized, then props to you!
Feel free to share your favorite organizational tip in the comments below.
Do you ever ‘discover’ a brand for the first time and, at risk of looking like a cave dwelling homeless person, you freak out because it’s that awesome. That literally happened to me the other day when I ran across a picture of a swimsuit.
Side Note: I literally get a little swimsuit crazy this time of year. I know that it doesn’t make any sense. Not only is my body in eat everything in sight to fatten up for the winter, but I also happen to live in New York State with no defined plans to escape the Great White North (and you know, don a maillot without contracting frostbite). Maybe it’s just the wishful lusting after things I cannot use, but every year I spend most of January coveting swim suits.
So, of course, I was drawn to this picture of an adorable bathing suit. The magazine script said that it was made by Zimmermann: a company I have never heard of (cue internet research time). Most of the time when I look up a brand, I see one or two exciting pieces (usually the one advertised) and everything else is not my style. This was not the case with Zimmermann. I literally looked at every single thing the website had to offer (consequently ensuring that dinner was started a full 45 minutes after originally intended…oops) and drooled the whole time.
The lines are so clean and, even though I’m not a frilly girly girl, the ruffles and flower prints sucked me right in. You may be sitting with your tablet of choice on your living room sofa sighing and thinking, ‘poor girl, she must live in a remote village. I’ve known about Zimmermann for yearsss’. If that describes you, feel free to keep your pitying to yourself and let me enjoy my moment of new brand revelation. And, in the meantime, you can enjoy these pictures of my favorite Zimmermann pieces.
I don’t think a one piece has ever looked so sexy.
Finally- a new twist to the typical bikini!
Left: dress (YES!!!), Right: bib (aka: crop top halter….*faint*)
There’s even accessories!!! Triangle clutches and puffy pumps!!
Seriously, I can’t contain myself….PLAYSUITS. In other words—> onesies with shorts. Please kill me now (or let me borrow your credit card)
Light: lemonade on the porch Scarlett O’Hara ready. Right: cocktail party conqueror
Okay, I need to stop before I decide to sell off all my worldly possessions (in retrospect…very Jesus like) to buy more worldly possessions (not very Jesus like). To have a conniption fit of your own, and find an easy way to separate with some money, head over to: www.http://us.zimmermannwear.com/
Okay, okay. Sorry about the bad pun in the title (although, let’s be real- I’m not actually sorry). Seeing as it is unusually cold in most parts of the country today (thanks polar vortex!), I felt like it was the perfect time to discuss the hot trend right now: fur.
In my honest, and very humble opinion, fur is always on trend…if worn correctly of course. Just think about it. How many times have you seen a well coiffed and jeweled woman in an elegant fur coat and high heels leaving a restaurant and thought, ‘wow, she looks so last year’. My guess would be never. If anything, the thought would probably be more like, ‘that is one classy lady. I want to look like that’.
However, the minute you stray from classy 50’s bombshell, things get a bit trendy. This isn’t a bad thing…in fact…it’s our present day situation. Just look at these duds from the Fall 2013 designer line up:
Dries Van Noten Tommy Hilfiger
It’s not all about coats, vests, and jackets though. Open any Pottery Barn magazine and you will see pillows, puffs, throws, and even fur covered iphone sized bean bags (literally, a bean bag to hold your iphone. check out Pottery Barn Teen). As a fashion designer (who has been swept off their feet by fur) I wanted to incorporate it into a winter additions piece…but didn’t want to take it to the coat arena. The result? These amazing fur clutches:
I really think there is nothing better than prancing around town clutching (I’m sorry, I’m doing it again with the bad puns) a fantastically furry accessory. I’ve meant to take pictures of my latest outfits with this charmers, but my forgetfulness as interceded every time. Maybe this will be the week!
ps. The best thing anyone has ever said to me while sporting above clutch is: ‘Is that alive??’
The minute I saw this great DIY on Glitter N’ Glue I had my Thanksgiving tablescape all planned out. Gold wine glasses, red damask tablecloth, lots of food… Click on the Glitter N’ Glue link above to see the full DIY instructions.
I bought some cheap 98 cent wineglasses from Walmart (no tears here if I brutally murder this DIY- was my thought process) and a little can of gold spray paint from the craft department. I had a good friend over (can you think of a better idea for a girl’s night?) and we proceeded to craft 6 wine glasses, while imbibing in the drink that would fill these beauties in the future.
I used basic masking tape to tape off the top of the wineglass. I painted the rest with gold spray paint and dried it upside down. Any extra spray paint that strayed from where you want it you can remove with a q-tip and nail polish remover.
I think it looks best when the gold paint in uneven.
There actually was four wine glasses on the table at some point.
I’ve only hand washed these so far and they have retained their gold well. I would be weary of putting them in the dishwasher, though.
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and Happy DIY-ing!
Remember way back when I talked about making Thanksgiving food pre Thanksgiving? So, that did actually happen. Last weekend I made the Double Corn Cornbread Dressing from the November issue of Better Homes and Gardens.
Click here for the full recipe. Follow along with my cooking with these pictures:
Cornbread time. I use a revised Southern Living version of cornbread. Usually I add a whole can of creamed corn, but opted out to keep things a little more dry.
This is what we are going for (the picture in the magazine, of course). I knew it wasn’t going to be exactly like this, though, because I was adding carrots, celery, sourdough bread, and some other veggies. In case you’re wondering- I do a really bad job sticking to the recipe.
Sautéing the onions and corn. I tried to keep the onions in quarters because they look particularly beautiful in the end result.
The end result! It actually looked a lot like the picture (plus more green- I got carried away with the spinach) but the flash tends to brighten things up a bit.
With all the veggies I added, I didn’t feel too bad about making this a meal in itself. In fact, I was talking to my mom while I was making it and the conversation went a little bit like this:
Mom: So, what are you up to tonight?
Me: Oh, I’m just making some stuffing.
Mom: That sounds good! What else are you having?
*adequately long pause*
Me: Yeah, just stuffing. It’s got lots of vegetables in it and spinach.
In my defense you will also notice the bowl of clementines on the table. At any rate, the stuffing was absolutely delicious.
A few days later I had a girls’ night and decided we needed some pumpkin ice cream. One can of coconut milk, one can of pumpkin, three tablespoons of maple syrup, and several shots of Bailey’s Vanilla Cinnamon liquor later (in the ice cream of course) we had awesome ice cream. I’m not a huge pumpkin fan (that’s one pie that goes to the far end of my list) so it was a nice, light way to enjoy pumpkin flavor without committing to a whole dish. Needless to say, I am very excited to see Thanksgiving dinner come together this year.
Happy Monday and happy cooking!,