Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fashion Friday (Thursday): Black Friday Deals & Steals

Pastel Vision




50% off everything at EXPRESS
$10 dollar event at Charming Charlie
Black Friday discounts at H&M
20% off all regular priced dress & skirts all week at FOREVER 21
900+ items on sale at Anthropologie
Target Black Friday
Start of season sale Urban Outfitters
Many markdowns at Overstock.com
Coupon giveaway JCPenney
Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals via ModCloth

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Death By Black Friday Cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes with chocolate espresso cream filling and chocolate whip frosting)

It is time. That time every retail/food service worker has feared, ladies and gents Black Friday is upon us. Only in the great country of America can we justify waking up at the crack of dawn and trampling the young and weak to buy stuff the day after being thankful for what they already have.

Nah, I'm not bitter...


...but you know what IS bitter? And sweet, and rich, and sinfully delicious? These cupcakes (see what I did there?)

In order to boost moral and ease our suffering I decided to make cupcakes, but not just any cupcakes!
when designing such a cake, I knew it had to have three components:
Coffee - for energy and sustainability
Chocolate - for the soul
and a bit of booze - for obvious reasons

These cupcakes were super delicious. The cake itself is moist and rich which is offset by the hint of the cherry kirsch (aka my favorite alcohol to use in desserts, you might remember THESE). Also, I added coffee to the batter (to enhance that chocolate flavor) as well as the frosting and the filling, because you can never have too much coffee!!


For the cupcakes...

makes 12 regular sized cupcakes, recipe adapted from Pretty.Simple.Sweet

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup hot, bold coffee

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
2.In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3.In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. On medium speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Beat in the milk until combined. Add the other half of the dry ingredients and beat slowly until combined. Add hot water and beat just until combined. Do not over mix – the less you mix, the lighter the cake will be. The batter should be liquid-y.
4.Divide batter evenly between cups, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes (or 8-10 minutes if making mini cupcakes), until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Allow cupcakes to sit for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the filling...

1/4 cup kirsch (optional)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 cups icing sugar
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup espresso

Directions:

In a bowl beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the icing sugar, salt and espresso and mix well. If the icing is too thick add Kirsch or cherry juice.

For the frosting...

1 cup confectionery sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 pint (2 cups) whipping cream
1-2 TBS coffee, cooled
Pinch of salt
chocolate covered espresso beans for garnish

Directions:

1.Place whipping cream in mixing bowl. Shift remaining ingredients together and add to cream.
2.Mix in gently, then beat on high until a thick, frosting-like consistency forms.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fashion Friday: 60s Love


I think my recent Mad Men Netflix binges have been influencing my style lately. When I saw this dress I immediately fell in love with the deep cranberry color and the delicate houndstooth square pattern. At first I thought that the cut would appear too big on me but it's loose without looking sloppy or baggy and it is super comfortable! The fabric is so lightweight, you could easily wear this for fall or winter. I decided to pair it with my favorite trench from Anthro and this bold pearl statement necklace from H&M to bring out the white in the pattern.

Outfit Details:
Ruffled Trench - Anthropologie (old)
Dress - c/o Apricot Lane Boutique
Statement pearl necklace - H&M (old) SIMILAR
Boots - JCPenneys

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Afternoon at Apricot Lane

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Apricot Lane Boutique in the Avenues Mall (you might remember the giveaway I hosted for breast cancer awareness last month). I was amazed at how this store managed to create a local boutique feel in a mall setting, the rustic brick walls are lined with cozy chunky knit sweaters, stylish booties, and darling dresses.

Upon entering the store I must admit I was was a bit overwhelmed with options, there was so many unique pieces that you couldn't find anywhere else (like these guitar pick necklaces for instance). I started grabbing pretty much everything in sight, lucky for me the store associate, Mari, was super nice and extremely knowledgeable in helping me select pieces and choosing the ones that were best suited for me, I couldn't have asked for a more personable, pleasant experience.

I was also a big fan of the chalk board dressing room signs!
Pictured below is the store owner/operator Toni (right) and store employee Mari (left)

If you want to check out their online store, click HERE also, feel free to like them on facebook HERE

I ended up choosing these two dress and one pair of earrings. I absolutely loved the black lace detailing on the heather grey tunic and this 60s inspired cranberry patterned dress perfectly suited for the holidays.
Look for these three pieces in upcoming Fashion Friday posts!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Film Flashback: FDR State Park

If you're familiar with this blog, you know I love to frequent GA State Parks, FDR is located in Pine Mountain GA and is filled with beautiful trails and water views. While it doesn't surpass Cloudland Canyon in my opinion, it is definitely in my top five, especially if you are seeking out some fall colors.

For more information about FDR click HERE

If you want to see previous Film Flashbacks, click here or here

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