Pumpkin Spice Butterscotch Cupcakes



Autumn is finally here and I couldn't be more excited about it! Despite the fact it's 70 degrees outside, I am determined to embrace the softly falling leaves, rich cinnamon aromas, and of course, the best part, BOOTS! So I may be sweating profusely in my sweater and turtleneck combo, but gosh darnit I will drink this boiling hot pumpkin spice latte. 

A few days ago, we had my brother as his lovely girlfriend over for dinner. I wanted to whip up something sweet that wouldn't take too long but was also festive and made me seen like a super cool masterchef. I built off of this pumpkin cupcake recipe. Instead of the typical cream cheese frosting, I made a creamy butterscotch that compliments the spice in the cakes. Honestly, pumpkin and butterscotch isn't a combination I would normally employ but I think they complement each other nicely. So nice, in fact, that my boyfriend actually likes them and he HATES pumpkin.               
Don't forget to Pin Me on Pinterest! 
Ingredients
Pumpkin Cupcakes
§  1 ½ c. flour
§  1 tsp baking powder
§  ¼ tsp baking soda
§  ½ tsp salt
§  1 can pumpkin puree (8 oz)
§  ½ c. canola oil
§  ½ c. brown sugar
§  ¼ c. granulated sugar
§  2 eggs
§  1 tsp vanilla
§  2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
§  3 tbsp cinnamon 
Butterscotch Frosting
§  2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temp)
§  1 bag butterscotch chips
§  pinch of salt
§  ¼ tsp vanilla
§  Cinnamon for decoration



*Makes 24 cakes plus a few more depending how full you fill the cups


Instructions
1.        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add cupcake liners to pan.
2.        Place ¾ of the bag of butterscotch chips and 1 stick of butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in intervals of 10 seconds, stirring frequently until thoroughly melted, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
3.        Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Mix with fork until incorporated.
4.        In a new large bowl, combine pumpkin, oil, both sugars, eggs and vanilla. Now add dry ingredients to wet, careful not to over mix.
5.        Fill cupcake liners with batter, just over ¾ of the way full and bake for approximately 15-17 minutes.
6.         Remove from oven when top is firm, but the inside is still moist. Make sure toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack after a few minutes.
7.        Add melted butterscotch mixture to standing mixer. Mix on low for a few seconds to re-incorporate. Add vanilla and salt. Add the last stick of butter and mix on high until thoroughly incorporated. This may take some time as the butterscotch tends to clump up.*
8.        Transfer to piping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and remaining butterscotch chips.

*A note about the frosting… if your melted butterscotch has had time to thoroughly cool, the frosting should whip up fine. However, if it is still warm, it will result in watery frosting. You can whip up the frosting as is and chill it in the fridge for a few minutes before piping or add some powdered sugar to thicken it. Alternatively, if the frosting is too thick, add a teeny bit of milk.





These are perfect for fall dinner parties, a special treat, or even a way to spoil your co-workers. Needless to say, they got glowing reviews in my house.

Given how great this recipe turned out, I'm excited to try new, unique flavor combinations. Maybe lemon and gingerbread or orange and dark chocolate! Leave me a comment with suggestions!

Lots of Love,
Anne


DIY Vintage Magnets




Hello friends! Recently, I have really been into upcycling, crafting, and scouring the ends of the earth for chic vintage finds. The project this week incorporates all of these things. Look at me go!




You will need:
magnets
hot glue gun
pliers
a variety of accessories


You can use a wide array of vintage finds for your magnets. I had a few brooches and some clip on earrings that belonged to my grandmother, but were no longer wearable. I also used fabric flowers (the kind you find in the scrap booking section.) You can use buttons, gems, necklace pendents, pretty much anything that is small with a relatively flat back. Obviously, try to use things to already have around the house. I spent about $3 on the whole project as I literally only spent money on the magnets.

Try using a funky clothes pin, bottle cap or even a hook!
Step 1
Using the pliers, break off the hardware from the back of the piece to create a flat surface for gluing. This meant bending the “clip on” part of the earring until it snapped off.




Step 2
Glue it. Magnet + earring = TA DA!

Step 3
Revel in the fact that you just made some super chic magnets in literally five seconds. You're freaking awesome.




I hope you enjoyed this cool DIY. I think it's a great excuse to add more sparkle to your life. And who doesn't love that?!

P.S. What kinds of things did you use for your magnets? Let me know in the comments!

Lots of Love,
Anne



Shabby Chic Dining Set Makeover

Well hello!
This past week I have been very busy redo-ing a dining room set for our new apartment! It was nothing too intense, but as it was my first time doing anything remotely this extreme, I certainly learned a lot. 

The first being, make sure to take a "before" photo! I only have a "before" pic of the chair because silly me, thought I'd already taken one of the table. (Well I didn't, oops.) Overall, I think it turned out great and I am ecstatic to bring it into our new home. 


White, light, and airy
Imagine the whole table was this woody oak, because I don't have a picture to show you.

Basically, I started by sanding the table and chairs. I found that a hand sander worked really well for the table top, but the other bits needed more attention with some elbow grease and sand paper sheets.



Next, I cleaned off the sanding dust with a wet rag and let it dry. It was about five hundred degrees outside so this  took about 3 seconds. Then I began spray painting! I went through about five cans on just the table. Spray painting is definitely an art. Spray close enough to evenly coat the object, but not too close so as to create drips. 




Once the paint was even enough to cover the wood grain and completely dry, I went back to the sand paper. I hand scraped the edge of the table and chairs making sure to let the wood peek through just a little bit. I did this in every area that would succumb to normal wear and tear like the table feet and the sides of the chair back. This way, the distressing looks as though this could have been plausible wear simply from regular use. I did some super light sanding to the table top as well just to incorporate the peek-a-boo wood. I finished it all off with a few coats of polyurethane to seal in the color and help protect the wood. 

As for the upholstery, I literally just unscrewed the cushions and gently peeled the icky black and tan pattern fabric off the pad. Then I roughly measured my new fabric and stapled that bright yellow baby onto the cushion. As I am probably the clumsiest person alive and I have a small, very naughty puppy, I decided to cover the cushions with a clear, protective vinyl. It takes away from the clean look of the table, but fits my lifestyle much better. 

This sweet white color was the original fabric! But alas, it was quite stained.

I didn't even use a ruler! I just laid the cushion in the fabric and cut around it.


And the finished look is a distressed, yet bright and simple... almost french country vibe, I daresay?!



I hope you enjoyed my very first DIY! 

Lots of love, 
Anne


Choose Happiness



Recently I have made quite a few changes. Pretty major ones. But let's start at the beginning.

As the new year dawned, I found myself in a very unhappy place. Sure, there were plenty of things to be thankful about. I'd become extremely comfortable with my boyfriend and had faith in our relationship. I was blessed in ways many people are not...somewhere to live, a job, a working car, people who loved me. The uszh. And yet I found myself depressed. I dreaded going to work. I was fighting with my loved ones. I oozed unhappiness everywhere I went. And it had a major effect on everything and everyone around me.

One day I decided that I'd had enough. How cheesy. I didn't jump out of bed, raise my finger to the sky and say, "Today is the day I take charge of my life!" Actually, I was just so fed up that I quit my job, got a puppy, and turned down a very lucrative job, all within a few weeks. I had finally decided that I needed to put myself first. And I did.

I had to stop letting others control me. I was afraid of what they would think. How my actions would hurt people around me. And while it's important to think about other people, that's all I was doing. But I have needs too. I deserve to put myself first!


Instead of focusing on how everyone else was feeling, I started to focus on what I felt. And I am so much happier for it! Sure, bad things happened. I burned a few bridges, lost a friend, and chose happiness over money. But in retrospect, I would do it all again. The people and things that are meant to stay in my life, will stay. And those that need to go, well, I have to let them leave.

Make the choice to follow your happiness. It's your life, darling!

Lots of Love,
Anne

2016




It's a bit hard for me to get behind the idea of steadfast New Year's Resolutions. Often times it's setting yourself up for failure. If you eat that hamburger, you've just broken your rule of eating healthy. You cussed at the driver in front of you and thrown that resolution out the window along with a few choice swear words. On the other hand, there are those who refuse to make any changes whatsoever. But New Year doesn't necessarily mean new you. It just offers an opportunity to be a better you. I'd rather set goals. Things that I want to do, be, see. Perhaps some are easily checked off the list. Others may have more intrinsic rewards. But all of them work to do one thing: create a better me. 



20 16 Goals


  • volunteer at a soup kitchen, at Planned Parenthood
  • go to the zoo, the museum, the aquarium
  • send birthday cards to loved ones
  • find a job I adore
  • be thankful
  • get an apartment with a wicked kitchen
  • go on more walks and enjoy the sunshine
  • bake, cook, eat
  • relax and paint my nails
  • concerts, festivals, parades
  • travel 
  • ride a roller coaster
  • take my boyfriend go-kart racing
  • call my mom
  • rinse the dishes out
  • fix my hair, put on makeup, wear nice clothes
  • be a shoulder to cry on
  • tickle my boyfriend and run away when he returns the favor
  • laugh with my friends 
  • visit my dad
  • drink more pink moscato
  • be positive
  • check the mail
  • love nature
  • vacuum the house
  • stay strong
  • see the mermaids swim
  • accept weaknesses
  • organize myself
  • Love wholly and completely 
  • accept that I deserve the best


Lots of Love,
Anne





New Year's Day (OOTD)

Happy New Year!

I put together a special outfit to celebrate the dawn of 2016. I love clothes that can be mixed up and switched around. There is nothing better than layering colors and textures to create an outfit that fits you in that exact moment.

                                                 

Fashion rules I broke with this outfit:

  1. texture mix up
  • chunky sweater, ribbed top, smooth leggings =texture confusion
     2.  patterned leggings
  • thunder thighs only look good in solid black leggings
     3.  cuffing pants
  • cuffing pants cuts up your figure and makes you look shorter
     4. Peplum
  • don't wear a peplum if you have big hips...oops
Well here's what I have to say to the "experts" that attempt to dictate what I should wear... It's my body, I'll wear what I like, when I'd like, and I'll love it.  

Be the boss of your wardrobe this year. Do what you want and you'll love what you do. 

Lots of Love, 
Sarcasm and Sparkles