Friday, November 29, 2013


Hello, dear readers! Hope you all are enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

I'm allowed to post about Christmas decorations now, right?! This wreath is actually from last year, but I never posted about it. The photos were taken in the summer, after the wreath had begun to fall apart... woops.

It was darling during Christmastime, but it's not too holiday-ish, so it was allowed to stay through summer :)

Here's what you need:
  • small circle of cardboard (mine was about 4 inches)
  • masking tape
  • pages from a book
Just roll the pages into cones and tape them in place. Then use rolls of tape to attach a circular layer of cones to the cardboard. Add another layer, then add more to fill in. 

Masking tape is probably not the best bet for long-term attachment. I'd recommend a glue gun if you want the wreath to last a long time. Masking tape lasted me about 6 months before some rolls started falling off. 

Happy holiday decorating!

Friday, November 15, 2013


It's falltime, everyone :)

Last week my mom texted me that it's snowing for the first time in my hometown (in Illinois), and I felt pretty sad to be missing it. Sure, months of bitter cold can get unpleasant, but the first snow is just magical.

Meanwhile in Cali I eased my snow-sickness with a falltime stroll through beautifully changing trees. People complain that there aren't seasons here, but it's not true. The leaves on the trees change colors later in the year, and stay colorful longer, so there are practically months of watching red/orange/yellow/purple leaves float to the ground and then crunching through them. Yes, we're lacking the crispness in the air, but I'm mostly over that now :)

Okay onto food. I'm not the biggest pumpkin fan, but I got an urge to eat something really fall-ish (hence these pumpkin-maple-cinnamon cupcakes), which inspired me to share some of my favorite November desserts. All of these are great inspiration for Thanksgiving, of course, whether you're hosting a crowd, staying curled up at home, or have been tasked with bringing dessert to a gathering.

If you're really in a pickle and need a last-minute treat, or if you want to give a homemade gift but don't have a lot of time, I recommend Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread Mix. It's $2.99, and it's yummy.

You should also check out my Caramel Apple Martini, which deserves to be enjoyed all the way through fall!

Last but not least, I'm sharing a fall playlist. I listen to a ton of music but don't usually make playlists for seasons like this. I've really enjoyed this one for getting me into a fall spirit, though. Hope you enjoy it, too!

If you have Spotify, here's a link to open the playlist in Spotify (it's called "falltime").

If you don't have Spotify, you can enjoy it here!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


All right, dear readers. I'm not the biggest fan of pumpkin, but Jessica's pumpkin dream cake on The Novice Chef kind of made my mouth water, particularly the cream cheese frosting with maple syrup and cinnamon.

The cake is moist and dense, and it's really perfect with cream cheese frosting. However, if you're in it for the pumpkin, you should know the pumpkin flavor in these cakes is pretty faint. Just enough, and fantastic with the flavors in the frosting.

I'd planned to fill all of the cakes with the frosting (and not frost on top), but I got half way through the minis and stopped because the cake was a little too dense to fill by inserting a tip. So for the ones you see not frosted on top, I cut a conical chunk out of the top, filled it with frosting, and replaced the cone of cake.

As you can see, it looked pretty messy, so I ended up just frosting the rest.

Happy, fall, dear readers. Enjoy!


taken directly from Jessica's pumpkin dream cake over at The Novice Chef, except for the assembly/baking time

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk

12 oz (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 cups powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl/stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla, pumpkin and vegetable oil. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk.

Bake at 300°F - standard for 18-20 minutes, mini for 12 - 14 minutes.

For the frosting: In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Add confectioners' sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth.