May 2011

Banana cupcakes with caramel buttercream

by Lauren on May 25, 2011

I have found my new favorite cupcake recipe! I combined two of my favorite recipes to make a banana cupcake with caramel buttercream frosting. I brought them to a graduation and birthday party this weekend and I was told that they are my best yet!

I combined a cupcake recipe from Call Me Cupcake with a caramel buttercream frosting recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

Banana cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 28

Ingredients
•3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
•1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
•3/4 teaspoon baking powder
•3/4 teaspoon salt
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
•1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
•3 large eggs
•4 very ripe large bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)
•3/4 cup buttermilk
•1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 grader C). Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix banana, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.

Frosting Ingredients:

1/4 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. water

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

To Make Frosting:

Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla (just start with a tablespoon or two), stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. (Be careful, as the mixture will definitely bubble up and possibly splatter a bit as you add in the cream.)  Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.

Beat the butter ]in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.  Turn off the mixer, and then add caramel. Beat frosting on low to combine, and then increase to medium-high and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate if not using immediately (or to harden the frosting a bit).

Enjoy!

P.S. Bare with me as I start my first full time job at a huge corporation. I am adjusting to a busy schedule and working on finding time to blog.

Love, lo

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Latest obsession: Charming Charlie

by Lauren on May 20, 2011

Okay no I am not obsessed with a boy named Charlie but rather an incredible accessory haven. The boutique -like store has every type of jewelry, shoe, sunglasses, you name it they have it. I recently stopped by Charming Charlie to pick up a house warming gift for a couple of my friends and needless to say I got sidetracked with all the fabulous accessories.

I decided on a soy bean candle for my friends which lets off less gas emissions than a normal candle.

Source: westelm.com via Tonya on Pinterest

 

Take a look at some other accessories I found there.

Although the store itself is rather huge and overwhelming, it organizes its accessories by color and style so you can find exactly what you want. And what makes Charming Charlie even better is the designer quality of all the accessories is at a more than affordable price, so you don’t have to feel too guilty when you buy half the store because trust me, you will want to.

Love, lo

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Creative wedding gift

by Lauren on May 17, 2011

My boyfriends mom had the cutest idea for a wedding gift that she let me be a part of. Her niece is getting married in a few weeks so she bought an adorable cookbook from Hallmark and is having each family member contribute six of their favorite recipes.

These are the cards that I made for the book.

I wanted to include an array of recipes beyond just desserts. Here are a few of the scrumptious recipes.

Snickers Cheesecake.

Recipe here

Strawberry mango margarita.


Recipe here

Chicken tortellini soup.


Recipe here

I also included a pasta and cupcake recipe to the mix. The cheesecake looks so good, I’m going to bake it for my dads birthday next weekend.

I just thought this was such a cute thoughtful gift for someone on their wedding day. What do you think, would you give a recipe book as a wedding gift?

Love, lo

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Latest obsession: GAP outlet

by Lauren on May 15, 2011

I am a new fan of the outlet stores at the Legends shopping center. A few of my favorite outlets include GAP, Loft and Banana Republic. But the store I had the best luck with was the GAP outlet. I seriously dont think I have scored so many great fashion pieces in one store before. Plus I never bought anything at full price. SCORE!

Here are some pieces I found at GAP.

Most of these items were on my summer must-have list, I just didnt know I would find them so soon.

Here a few looks I put together from the outfits.

I wore this to a couple grad parties and a double date night.

And this look I wore to church and lunch.

I got almost all my style inspiration from the May issue of InStyle magazine.

Also watch a video, here of the spring must haves for the season. Its sure to be inspiring.

Love, lo

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Sweet things of summer

by Lauren on May 12, 2011

Today is the first day of summer for me! My classes have officially ended and I am on to bigger and better things. I feel like time is going so fast I can barely keep up, I seriously feel like this school year just started yesterday. Since time is flying by, I really want to make the most of these next three months to grow, learn, be inspired and of course, be happy!

I wanted to share my goals and dreams for summer and what I hope to accomplish. I got the idea for this blog post from dear friends blog.

To thrive in the corporate world during my internship.

I am beyond excited to start my internship with Hallmark this summer at their headquarters at Crown Center. I will be incorporating my marketing and public relations experience into my projects. I am sure their will be plenty more blog posts this summer about my internship with it a week and a half away.

Give Julia Childs a run for her money.

Okay so maybe not literally but I do want to go on a baking frenzy. I hope to expand my cookbook and learn how to cook all of summer’s essential dishes. Here is a preview of what I hope to cook.

Lots of yummy pretty desserts.

A delicious grilled peach salad.

Organize my room and college things.

Moving back from college seriously makes you wonder if you need all of the stuff you have. This summer or more like this week, I am going to deep clean my room, bathroom and closet and organize everything I have brought home. I always like to think an organized room makes me a more calm put together person.

 

So a girl can dream that her closet will look like this one day.
What about you, what are you hoping to accomplish this summer?
Love, lo

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Frilly feminine cakes

by Lauren on May 9, 2011

I have a new favorite baking site called call me cupcake. Although, most of the site is in french (which makes it even more glamorous) the recipes are translated in English at the bottom of each  post. The site specializes in fabulous cakes, cupcakes and macaroons. Wait until I show you some of the pictures of the sweet treats and then you’ll know why I am swooning.

My new favorite cake decorating trend is frills. It seriously makes it not even look like a cake but rather a piece of delicate fabric.

Its hard to believe thats a cake. Its just so perfect.

How cool is this idea to make each layer of the cake a different shade in the same color palette. Perhaps I will try to make this cake for a summer soirée.

And, we must not forget about my favorite part, the cupcakes!

These cupcakes are beyond cute and they are blueberry lemon flavored. Yum!

These macaroons are fitting for a princess. Dont they look extravagant?

I am hoping to continue my baking endeavors this summer after I finish school and have a little bit more time. Which one will I make first?

 

Love, lo

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Favorite five: iPhone apps

by Lauren on May 7, 2011

Due to hectic few past weeks, my blog posts have been dwindling. I am coming up on finals this week to wrap up the semester but after, I promise I will be back in the blogging world in full force.

Although my blog is about fashion, I decided to throw in something else I am passionate about, iPhone apps! Here is a list of my top five apps that I can’t live without. But first, here is a picture of my case that I simply adore.

The only difference is mine is pink, of course!

Now for my top five apps for the iPhone….

Stitcher.

This app has free podcasts and XM radio stations. Its perfect for walking to class. One of my favorite podcasts is Marketing Edge.

Groupon.

It uses your location to find the best shopping deals around your area. Its like having a personal shopper.

Foursquare.

This online hot spot allows you to check-in to places your visiting while earning badges or even becoming the mayor of some place, depending on the number of visits. Also, dont forget to find your friends on there and see where they have been.

Lynda.

Want to learn a new software? This is the app for you. With tutorials on how to basically do anything on a computer, this is one of the best apps for a small price.

WordPress.

This app makes blogging on the go a piece of cake. Also, its super easy to upload pictures from your phone to your blog.

I really dont think I could make the transition back to not having an iPhone. It really is just much more than a phone, its a connection to the world. Please do let me know your favorite apps, I would love to hear.

Love, lo

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My inexpensive style finds

by Lauren on May 3, 2011

Lately, I have been trying to find the latest Spring trends on a college girl’s budget. And to everyone’s surprise I have had great luck with New York & Company and get this, Target! I have found most or all of my Spring shoes at Target and several fashion staples at New York & Company. Here is what I found.

New York & Company

I had seriously been dying for a pair of coral shorts and scored a deal with these beauties only being $20.

There is something so alluring about a maxi dress in the spring time. I plan to dress up the simple black dress with lots of bright jewelry, perhaps turquoise or coral. I got this half off for $15.

Target.

Rocking the gladiator sandals or as my boyfriend calls them, the aphrodite sandal. These surprisingly comfy shoes were about $24, not bad for how much I wear them walking around campus.

You know those sandals you buy a new pair of each season because your old ones are so worn out but they are just too comfy to branch out to another pair? Yeah these are mine. I have bought them to years in a row. I actually got the lighter beige/brown version of these for $12.99.

Another thing on my Spring wish list were nude heels and surprise I found them at Target for $22.

Tell me where your shopping for your Spring essentials.

Love, lo

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Create your personal brand

by Lauren on May 1, 2011

One thing I keep hearing over and over again from business professionals is the importance of creating a brand specifically for YOU! Creating something that distinguishes you from the rest. I decided to get creative with mine and let my personality shine through.

I recommend adding a pop of color to your logo. It can make your resume or business card stand out from the rest of the black and white pile. Keep it simple and classy but use a little creativity also.

Here are a few personal logos from the web.

I really like how all these are very unique. I think if I were an employer, any of these would catch my eye. Don’t be afraid to express yourself through your personal brand and make it your own.

The best of luck to those of you who are job hunting.

Love, lo

 

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