Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

After making these, I was reminded just how much I love baking. So, on a perfectly cold and rainy day off, I decided to get back in the kitchen.  With Halloween just days away, I've been loading up on pumpkin everything to celebrate, but it doesn't seem like Fall until I've made pumpkin cupcakes! The recipe is originally from 125 Best Cupcake recipes by Julie Hasson, which has become my go-to resource for just about every cupcake imaginable. The only thing I've done to modify the recipe is, I've left out the cream sherry. (not necessary in my opinion)

For the Brown Sugar frosting, I used this recipe:

  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  •  1/2 cup  half & half
  • 2 2/3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar 
In a heavy saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, and half & half. Cook and stir over medium heat to a full boil; Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Whisk in confectioner's sugar until smooth. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes to dip cupcakes (my preferred frosting method for a smooth texture- unfortunately I didn't get pictures of this), or 20 to 30 minutes for spreading consistency. Whisk occasionally to keep the frosting from hardening.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Song of the Day: Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy

Glee just keeps getting better and better this season! One of my favorite episodes so far has to be "Duets," in which had Finn and Rachel decide to throw the competition, so that new guy Sam wins (so that he'll stay in glee). The ending was so sweet,  when Rachel chose to sing an additional duet with Kurt, not because she had to, but because she wanted to. Get ready for a singing master class people...this one is flawless!

The second I saw the two of them sitting in the stools... Kurt wearing a suit that shimmers, and Rachel in her sailor shirt, it reminded me of something I'd seen before. Maybe you've never seen the original, and in that case totally missed the reference to the amazing Judy Garland, and living legend herself, Barbra Streisand. Here is their classic performance of the same song, from the Judy Garland Show circa 1963. Notice the similarities?

As much as Barbra Streisand's music has been featured on Glee lately, don't you think it would be amazing for her to guest star?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Louboutin List

 Christian Louboutin Hyper Prive in Satin

I'm not really a fan of getting older, but since my birthday is just three weeks away,  I guess there's not much I can do about it. To help soften the blow, I was thinking that an extravagant shoe purchase might be in order! 

I've wanted a pair of Louboutin's for a really long time, but I'm pretty practical when it comes to my shoes.  I don't have a problem spending good money on the ones that I'll live in, however, when it comes to heels it's hard justifying the price when they'll spend more time in my closet than on my feet. Needless to say, I'm lacking in the pretty and completely impractical department.  So, I've decided that my birthday present to myself is going to be a total splurge!  The only question now, is which pair? 

Christian Louboutin Hyper Prive heels have always been at the top of my wish list, and now may be impossible to track down. I can't find them anywhere online! Has this style has been discontinued? The Very Prive is so similar (smaller platform), and I'm sure they would satisfy my urge for some Loubie's. ;) 

Here are all of the gorgeous shoes that are being considered...
Christian Louboutin Very Prive in Satin, Leather, or Patent $795

Christian Louboutin Greissimo in Suede $895

Christian Louboutin Lady Bow Slingback in Crepe de Chine $735

I'm also pretty obsessed with all things Miu Miu at the moment, so I thought I'd throw a few into the mix.

Miu Miu Patent Leather Peep Toe Pumps $670

Miu Miu Sequin Platform Pumps $750

These almost fall into the practical category, but the heel height (for me) is anything but everyday.

Miu Miu Platform Leather Ankle Boots $675

I can't possibly make this choice myself, so I'm hoping you'll all weigh in. :)

Which pair should I get???

Monday, October 18, 2010

Now I'm Really Twirling

I mentioned here, that I've been completely taken with Twirl. So, as quickly as my sample ran out, I marched myself into the nearest Kate Spade store to purchase a real bottle. Along with my new favorite scent, a couple of other things made it into my bag! :D
First of all, I'm dying for the pink and red packaging! I know I've said before, that pink and red is my favorite color combo, but add gold to the mix and I'm extra happy! I couldn't wait to give myself a little spritz, and upon opening the box, I saw this.
So fun!
I bought the smaller size because I normally don't wear a lot of fragrance, but now wish I would've gone big! I love it that much!
Something happened to me this year, as I've become increasingly addicted to cocktail rings. Once I laid eyes on this little pretty, there was no way that I was leaving it behind! 
I couldn't escape the store without trying on "the perfect red" lipstick, and to see if it truly was perfect. And, guess was!
The retro gold case makes putting on lipstick so much more glamorous! I can't wait to pull this out of my vintage black clutch!
Kate Spade got it right, with the exact blue/orange ratio that meets in the middle. This "perfect red" is universally flattering on every skin tone!
If you're at all apprehensive about wearing red lipstick, this is the one to try!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

I get so envious of you blogger's that have the time to bake. It kills me, because baking is one of my favorite things to do, yet I never have time to do it! So, last week when I had an afternoon off,  it was time to dust off the Kitchen-Aid.  Only one problem...since I've been so busy with work, I haven't stayed on top of stocking my pantry. It really was in a sad state. So, rather than running to the store, I went with this recipe.
Now before you judge, I'm actually a very proficient baker. In fact, when I first got my Kitchen Aid mixer, I was baking up all sorts of confections, at least once a week! But I'm a little out of practice, and rather than getting all complicated, I thought I'd make something simple. Mostly, I wanted the house to smell like Fall!
Instead of baking a loaf, I decided to use my muffin pan. The one thing I've learned from baking lots of cupcakes is, that you must use an ice cream scoop to measure your batter. This will ensure uniform cupcakes/muffins.
 I decided at the last minute to add a streusel topping.
Not bad for a mix, and the streusel was a super yummy addition! Aside from indulging in my home baked muffins, I loved that the apple cinnamon scent lingered in the house for days.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Riviera Palm Springs

A couple of weeks ago, it was feeling like Summer in LA. Then it turned to Fall for about a week, including the first rain of the season (unheard of in early Oct.), and now we're back to Summer! This multiple personality thing, LA has going on, is making my head spin! And,  making me want to head back to Palm Springs where the temperature is fairly! I was lucky enough to spend a relaxing weekend in the desert, during our first Summer stint, and the weather was perfect! 104 degrees for Palm Springs is ideal for hanging in the pool all day with a cocktail in hand, and that's exactly what I did!

Rather than staying at one of the hots spots in PS, I chose to stay at the Riviera Resort & Spa where I didn't need to leave the property. I had stayed at the Riviera years ago, but  this was before they underwent a massive renovation. I was so impressed with what they've done with the place! The new decor reflects that Old Hollywood glamour, that made the "Riv" popular, back when "old blue eyes' vacationed here.

There were the most amazing chandeliers throughout this hotel! 
They have a great restaurant at the resort, where I had the most amazing breakfast, with the BEST pancake EVER! I'm not sure if it was the actual pancake or the maple syrup, but I literally dream about it now!
The pancake!
I loved that it wasn't enormous, and wasn't a stack. Just one, normal sized, PHENOMENAL pancake!  So Yummy!

The pool area was gorgeous, and loungy, complete with poolside bar, cabanas, and fire pits for after dark.

Here's the pool in full swing! It's funny how when you first get to the pool you don't know anyone, and by the end of the day (and several cocktails later), you've made friends!
Gone are the days of meeting guys in Palm Springs. Instead, 3 girls having a mini break in the desert, met 3 other girls doing the same! We met up for late night cocktails by the pool, and have now become Facebook friends, and even bloggy friends! 

Saturday was the big poolside day, but Sunday was all spa-ahhh!

This is where I got my very expensive mani-pedi. Seriously, my nails should have been painted in 24k gold! My manicurist was sweet though, a good painter, and spoke English! ;)

The spa was gorgeous, and had this incredible lounge area to relax in while waiting for your next treatment. I couldn't really get the lighting right in my pics.
I found a better one online, and this really is what it looked like!
The facial and massage I had, were fantastic, but I could've been just as happy spending the entire day in this room! Next time I'll make sure that I allow for more R & R here. 

And, hopefully next time will come soon!