Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I'm BACK! Heath Bar Triffle


With a empty bottle of white wine by my side and Eminem on full blast, I’ve made my way back into the kitchen for the first time in over 6 months. Where have I been? On the  runaway, emotional rollercoaster of life. Heartbreak and a busy concert season had consumed me this summer and admittedly, left me a bit of a mess. Early fall brought new hopes and new challenges as my career blossomed and new friendships were formed. But with new responsibilities, I once again found myself losing sight of the things I once loved to do in my spare time and questioning the person I was becoming. After some deep self-reflection and valuable guidance from reliable friends, I’ve decided to finally get back to me and the things I once loved. I realized, the best thing about me, is that I’m me and not anyone else. I need to stay to true to my passions in order to become the best possible version of myself If I truly want to shine in life. 

That being said, I’m crafting, painting and baking again! What better way to kick it off than with a little Thanksgiving day treat. 


Heath Bar Triffle

Ingredients
1 pkg Devil's Food Cake mix
1 pkg Instant Chocolate Pudding mix
12 oz Cool Whip, thawed
6 Heath Bars, crushed

Directions
Bake cake according to directions on the back of the box. Let it cool
Prepare pudding mixture according to package directions and set aside to let it stand
Crumble cooled cake and place in the bottom of a 4-5 in. truffle dish
Spread a thin layer of pudding mixture on top
Follow with a layer of Cool Whip
Next include a layer of crushed heath bar
Repeat all three layers, finishing with some heath bar crumble for garnish
Refrigerate until serving!






Thursday, August 8, 2013

Style Post #4

The nights are getting cooler and rain is moving in, but I'm not ready to let summer end! Even though fall is right around the corner and Halloween decor is out in every store, I've been trying to hold on to every ounce of warmer weather that I can. And that means adding plenty of pastel jewels into my wardrobe! Mixing light color jewelry with brighter, bolder apparel is just my style and the perfect way to transition my clothes into fall without breaking the bank. I'm obsessed with my summery bauble necklace from Charming Charlie combined with the chic, grey earth tones of this "Faith" bracelet. I wear it as the constant reminder that Hope and Faith will take me wear I need to go in this life.

Bauble Necklace: Charming Charlie, Bracelets: Charming Charlie, Earrings: Charming Charlie




Thursday, July 25, 2013

Style Post #3

From left: Necklace: Charming Charlie, Necklace: Francesca's, Necklace: a gift,  Necklace: Charming Charlie, Ring: Francesca's

I've always believe that accessories are what make the outfit. A shiny new necklace and some sparkling bling can make any old and dull clothing perk right up and look fresh! This summer, I've been counting my pennies in anticipation of a move this fall. Instead of splurging on brand new outfits, I've been finding ways to snag clearance jewelry to brighten up my old looks. Here are some of my favorite pieces, all affordable too!



Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July Sugar Cookie Flag Cake




Happy 4th of July!! Independence Day has always ranked among my top 5 favorite holidays. There is something about the cookouts, fireworks, family time and sweet memories that brings a sense of calm over me. Truly the only relaxing holiday in my book! This year, I chose to spend the day relaxing by the pool with a drink in my hand and a smile on my face. Enjoying delicious food and this amazing sugar cookie flag cake! So simple and easy to make, it's perfect for any summer time picnic.








Saturday, June 29, 2013

Watermelon Cupcakes

It's officially summer! Warm weather, longer days and sunny skies are what I live for.

 
The last few weeks have been especially difficult, as I've seem to fallen into a rut of depression lately. As I approach the eve of my late-20-something-ish birthday, I find myself questioning what I'm doing with my life as I haven't seem to have made much progress since my last birthday...still broke, still do not have a place of my own, still stuck in the Lehigh Valley. It's definitely been wearing on me. But, at this moment, I'm choosing to not let my summer go to waste by being miserable. I'm choosing happiness, after all, "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I've ended up where I needed to be."-Douglas Adams.

To celebrate the start of a new beginning and a new way of thinking, I decided to do something that I haven't for quite some time...bake! And with the summer sun blazing with temps reaching the upper 80's today, I wanted something summer appropriate. And what's more appropriate than watermelon?!

These watermelon cupcakes are so cute and perfect for any get together or picnic. It's a semi-homemade recipe, so super quick and simple too!

 
 
 
 

Watermelon Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 box strawberry Duncan Hines cake mix
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
red gel food coloring

For the Frosting:
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tblsp milk
Green gel food coloring

Directions

1. Prepare the cake mix as directed on the back of the box, adding about 4 tsp red gel food coloring
2. After beating with the electric mixer thoroughly, stir in chocolate chips
3. Spoon into baking cups and bake as directed
4. Beat the butter and shortening together until smooth
5. Add in the vanilla extract
6. Slowly add in the confectioner's sugar, squeeze in about 4 tsp of green gel food coloring
7. Add milk
8. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and decorate with extra chocolate chips





Sunday, June 23, 2013

Style Post #2


dress: Charming Charlie, bag: Charming Charlie, flip flops: American Eagle
bracelet: Tory Burch, bracelet: BCBG from Macy's, earrings: vintage

I used to have a phobia of long maxi dresses. Barely measuring 5ft on the height chart, I had it drilled into my brain that short girls should never wear floor length clothing because it makes you look even smaller. This summer, with the overwhelming stock of cute maxi dresses to choose from in just about every store, I decided to break all my rules and go with the trends. To my surprise, maxi dresses have become a staple in my summer wardrobe! They're comfortable, casual, feminine, and perfect for just about every occasion. So what if I trip and fall down the stairs every now and then! #BeautyisPain

I recently grabbed this sleek number from my favorite store, Charming Charlie's. It was the perfect choice for a relaxing summer dinner at an outdoor brewpub. Paired with rhinestone flip flops, trendy bronze jewelry, and my gold scroll bag, it was the perfect balance of casual and sophistication.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Style Post #1


blazer: Target, shorts: Target, shoes: Nine West outlet, necklace: Charming Charlie, bracelet: BCBG from Macy's
When I transfered positions almost nine months ago, one of the biggest adjustments for me was learning to modify my work style. Previously, I had been working in a formal, structured corporate setting with dress code guidelines that were closely monitored. My wardrobe consisted of stiff pencil skirts, A-line dresses, and patent peep toe pumps. My new work environment is everything but formal! Jeans and t-shirts are the dress code of choice when it comes to the music business. Even on the professional management team, we try to keep our style cool and casual. It's been a welcomed changed and has greatly improved my mood at work since I'm free to be myself.

With no restrictions, I've been having a blast coming up with outfit ideas. I like to keep it semi-professional most of the time, wearing flowy dresses and wedges for summer, but this past week I was feeling a bit more relaxed. I came up with this blazer and shorts combo that I absolutely adore! Pairing denim shorts with the neutral colors of the blazer and tank, then adding a burst of color with my yellow necklace. There's nothing I love more than a bright pop of color!



Saturday, June 8, 2013

Smirnoff Sorbet Light Cupcakes with Mango Sorbet


It's officially summer! With temps in the mid 90's the past few days, it's finally time to break out the short short, flip flops and summer sun dresses. I can't deny that I couldn't be happier about the change in weather. I've always been a warm weather girl at heart.

This past weekend I had two full days to myself with nothing important on my agenda, a luxury that doesn't happen very often anymore. I had recently picked up a bottle of Smirnoff Sorbet Light Mango Passion Fruit. We've been doing a couple promos with the Smirnoff Sorbet Light line in our nightclub recently and I've been dying to try it mixed into a batch of fruity flavored cupcakes. YUM! The combination is light and airy for a perfect summery treat. To cool off a bit under the hot summer sun, I topped my cupcakes with fresh mango sorbet instead of frosting. A delicious choice that is not too filling.

 












Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mother's Day Cupcakes




I've been out of my baking element for a while. Call it life, call it just plain lazy, but I've had no desire nor time to be in the kitchen working on new cupcakes. Hopefully that's all changing. I've been in a bit of a rough patch lately, with a demanding work schedule leaving little time for personal pursuits, It's really led me to start questioning what I'm doing with my life and decisions I need to start making. It seems as though the job of my dreams and the life I thought I always wanted, is not much the fantasy that I imagined it to be. With the hours I put in and the pay I receive, I might as well move to China and work in sweat shop. Funny thing is, my efforts are still not enough in the eyes of my superiors.

It's let me to question my priorities at the moment, and throughout the process I've been slowly finding my way back to me. Back to the things that bring me joy and make me who I am. And that means cupcakes!

I was offered the chance to bake for a birthday/Mother's Day celebration so it was the perfect time to test the status of my baking skills. Since I was taking these to a party, I knew I needed to go with a fail safe recipe that always brings me rave reviews. Simple, semi-homemade cake recipes with pretty sugar flower decorations make these the perfect sweet treat.


For the Tropical Luau cupcakes:

2 cans (8oz) crushed pineapple in juice

1 package yellow cake mix without pudding in the mix

1 package banana instant cream pudding mix

4 eggs

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/3 up vegetable oil


-Preheat oven to 350*
-Drain pineapple, reserving juice, set aside
-Beat cake mix, pudding mix, reserved pineapple juice, eggs, oil, and nutmeg in the bowl of an electric mixer for 1 minute    on low speed
-Beat 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed until smooth. Fold in pineapple chunks
-Fill paper liners 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown
-Pipe yellow buttercream frosting onto cooled cupcakes and adorn with toasted coconut and decor



For the French Roast Chocolate cupcakes:

1 package dark chocolate cake mix 

1 cup coffee (I used 2 k-kups of French Roast)










Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Never Giving Up



Sometimes I draw inspiring words of wisdom from the most unlikely places. Like for tonight example, my 13 hour long work day has come to a close and I have finally have a few minutes to wind down and purge my mind of the days' events and drama. As I lay in my bed, laptop open, the pup snuggled up at my feet, I can hear MTV blaring in the background with Ke$ha's new realty show, My Crazy Beautiful Life in full swing. It was one of her opening monologues that caught my attention and sucked me in like those cheesy MTV shows often do. In her dialogue, Ke$ha was talking about how no matter what you do in life, some people are always going to try their hardest to destroy you. The only solution... stay focused on your dreams and make yourself the only one responsible for making sure they never end.

Work has been a constant battle for me lately. In the thick of summer concert season, pressure is on to push ticket sales and of course, that means marketing efforts are being scrutinized under a high powered  microscope. Working feverishly through lunches, firing off emails until ten o' clock at night and pounding the pavement to spread the word on the street is just a tiny glimpse into the life I've found myself living these past few weeks. Now a days, a 12 hour work day is welcomed compared to the usual 16 hours I've been pulling to make sure our shows are as highly visible as possible. As crazy as the hustle and bustle has become, I'm proud of myself for all I've managed to accomplished at the drop of a hat.

But lately, it's felt like the world is against me, pointing out all my flaws and errors, forgetting about all the progress I have managed to accomplish. Although I know I do have some allies, it seems like a certain group of people have been treating me like I'm a nut, or like I don't know what I'm doing. No recognition for the positives or how much I've been busting my ass, only criticism and comments about what I'm not doing well enough.

In my opinion, criticism is always welcomed in the work place. It helps you build a better you. But there is a way to say it so that it's helpful instead of hurtful. The truth is, I know what I'm doing and I'm doing it well. I have faith in myself and know others are just looking for a place to push blame so it doesn't reflect negatively on themselves. On my weakest days, I try to remember to be careful of the weary souls that are going to doubt me along the way. Because no matter what I do in my life, whether I'm doing well or struggling, there will always be someone out there trying to take it all away.

"...I won't run when bullets chase me, I will love when people hate me, I won't hush, no you can't make me. Send the dark but it won't break me, You can try but you can't change me..." - The Band Perry





Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mickey Mouse Cupcakes






I've come to realize that I have many things to be grateful for in this life. For one thing, I'm sitting here writing this as a healthy young lady, with family and friends that love me and support me in all that I do. I also can't forget how thankful I am to have a job that affords me the opportunity to explore my passions, have fun, and of course pay for my lifestyle. But perhaps the single most thing I am grateful for in this world is that I've been blessed with ability and desire to travel!

I've been lucky enough to have visited some of the most beautiful places in this world...I've gotten a massage at sunset beneath the Red Rocks of Sedona, danced the night away on the beaches of Mykonos, sailed the seas in Santorini and indulged in real Italian gelato on the streets of Rome. I've been the star of the dancefloor in Nashville, sang karaoke in Palm Beach, climbed a volcano in Hawaii, kayaked in Maui, and seen the stars in California. The list goes on, full of wonderful and exciting opportunities that I've been lucky enough to experience so far, much more than any normal 26 year old can attest to. But if I had to pick a favorite destination to visit, one place sticks out in my mind that feels like home to me. That would be Walt Disney World! It may seem odd that a mid-twenty year old is in love with a land designed for a child's imagination and innocent dreams, but maybe that's part of the reason I'm so captivated by the place; maybe it's a way for me to hold on to my dreams.

In fact, as I get older, I enjoy my trips to Disney more than when I was a child. I've uncovered more treasures in each park that I would have been oblivious to as a kid. For one, the restaurants, especially in Epcot, are to die for!  And all the secret hidden Mickey's have become a game to find them all. I'll let you all in on a little secret...I've even fantasized about my own prince charming proposing to me underneath the shower of fireworks at the Magic Kingdom! Crazy, I know, but it truely is a magical land where dreams can come true.

Anyway, on to the cupcakes. With the approach of my godson's 3rd birthday, I was ecstatic to hear it was Mickey Mouse themed being the Disney fanatic I am. I was even more excited when I was asked to make the cupcakes! I came across this idea on Pinterest quite some time ago and have been waiting to try it. Surprisingly, the little Mickey faces were so easy to make out of Oreo cookies! A little bit of melted chocolate works great as glue for the ears. One thought to take in to consideration next time, is to make sure the frosting is extra stiff, as the Mickey faces can be quite top heavy and fall over. Other than that, these are an awesome touch for any Mickey Mouse fan!

"My life isn't perfectBut I'm grateful for what I do have."-KUSHANDWIZDOM



Monday, March 18, 2013

Drunken Irish Man Cupcakes



Another St. patrick's Day has come and gone. Just like in previous years, there were plenty of Irish themed desserts to indulge in during the typical Irish drinking festivities. This year, I couldn't decide which alcoholic beverage to lace my baked goods with, so in true Irish fashion, I chose to incorporate ALL of them! Guinness, Bailey's, Jameson and a little creme de menthe for a touch of green...these Drunken Irish Man cupcakes are a lucky score for every sweet tooth.

For the Guinness & Bailey's chocolate cupcakes:
1/2 cup stout (Guinness)
1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Creme
1 shot Jameson Irish Whiskey
2 sticks unsalted butter (room temp)
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the creme de menthe buttercream frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter (room temp)
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
6-8 tbsp. Creme de Menthe

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350*
-In a large saucepan on medium heat, combine butter, stout and Bailey's. Cook until slightly bubbling. 
-Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. remove from heat and allow to cool slightly
-In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt
-In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream
-Add the stout/butter mixture and beat just to combine
-Add in a shot of Irish whiskey
-Add in the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined
-Divide batter among cupcake liners
-Bake for 13-15 minutes 
-Remove from oven and allow to cool about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

To make the frosting:
-Beat butter on low speed until smooth
-Add in the confectioner's sugar slowly
-Add creme de menthe and beat until combined

Decor:
-Place frosting in a piping bag and pipe on to cooled cupcakes
-Adorn with sprinkles





Friday, March 8, 2013

Blessed



As a moody cancerian water sign, I have a tendency to get things done by the power of my emotional commitment to a cause. Being overly sensitive can often make it hard to find an emotional balance when dealing with conflict. 

Recently, I’ve taken on a new position and it’s thrown me into the middle of complete disarray. A daily whirlwind of disagreements and organizational insanity leaves my blood boiling as I fight to convince others of my beliefs. 
“In the middle of my little mess, I forgot how much I’m blessed.”

This quote is a perfect reminder to always see the good hidden amongst the bad. Although on the outside my life may seem like a mess, in my heart I know I couldn’t be more blessed at the moment. I’m exactly where I need and want to be at this stage of the game. 


Monday, March 4, 2013

Staying Strong



It’s tough being a young woman in the professional world. As you pursue your dreams, you always have to be careful of who you’re doing business with. Some people will try to make you, while others will try their best to break you. Most often, it’s difficult to tell the difference between the two. 

In my new position, I’m finding it difficult to be taken seriously and have been receiving a lot of push back from people I work with. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a lot working against me; I’m the new girl, I’m young, and inexperienced. But there are a few things about me that people seem to be underestimating; I’m smart, confident,  determined, I don’t take any bullshit and I get things done. That to me is a powerful combination and can often be construed as threatening. 

I’ve learned from experience that power struggles in the workplace often stem from one root; the desire to feel needed. Everyone wants to feel like their actions are the essential key to running a successful operation. It’s threatening when a new person comes into the mix and starts changing how you do business. It’s natural to want to suit up for battle and start defending your territory. 

The best way to cope with these situations is to not take it personal. Be so busy believing in yourself and following your intuition that you don’t have time to worry about others and their negative thoughts. “I can’t tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.” Ed Sheeran  There is always going to be someone that will try to break you down and make you feel inferior to them. Forget about it. The only person you need to compete with in life is yourself. “I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be.” Ken Venturi.  




Thursday, January 3, 2013

Butter Pecan Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting



What I love most about these cupcakes are the memories they bring to mind. As a little girl, I remember going to my grandmother’s house in Minersville, Pa. Her house, located on Main Street, and was just a short walk down the block to the Minersville Bakery. Filled with delicious baked goods, a trip to the bakery was a must each time we visited. The bread was to die for, but what really stole my heart were the donoughts! They were the kind with white frosting and coated in solid color sprinkles. Rows of blue, purple, yellow, orange, and pink lined the glass cases housing the donoughts on display. Not just delicious, but visually appealing too. To this day, when I see baked goods adorned with a solid color sprinkle, it warms my heart and takes me back to my childhood.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

NYE Snapshot



What a perfect start to 2013. Thank you to my friend David at Just Ordinary Photography for capturing this AmAzInG photo from our NYE bash. I hope this image sets the tone for how I’ll be living the rest of the year!



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happiness





“I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love



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