Monday, April 29, 2013

Cupcake decorating: my slow ascend to pro status

What better way to start off the week than with cupcakes?! (I mean really, who doesn't love a good cupcake?)

I recently invested in a Wilton's decorating set (courtesy of my coworkers' birthday gift to me - thanks guys!)  and decided that the best way to try it out would be, of course, to make cupcakes. I made red velvet cupcakes (which I have to say, were quite good) and butter cream frosting. I know traditionally, you should pair red velvet cupcakes with cream-cheese frosting, but I was just looking for a quick frosting to practice with. I know my cupcakes don't look like anything too fancy (or like these) but I am amazed at what pipping tips can do for decor! They were a bit harder to get used to than I expected (and I haven't posted pictures of all the cupcakes that went wrong), but I think pipping can be quickly mastered with more practice. I added colored, ball sprinkles, chunks of chocolate, and red, edible "confetti" (see below for how that's made) as garnishes.

Let me know if you want the recipes I used - they were pretty full proof and trustworthy!

Hope these little cakes make your Monday a bit happier. :)


Butter cream frosting, pre-color. (I really try to be a clean baker!)

With just 1/2 a teaspoon or so of red food coloring. 

Cupcakes before I attempted to take them out of silicon cups...

And some of the cupcakes after I tried to get them out of the silicone cups. (Side note: those  cups were such a disappointment! Maybe next time I need to pray non-stick in the cup too?)

Cupcakes that made it out of the silicon cups and received successful pipping!

I learned this technique here. All you do is dry out a bit of crumbs from the actual cupcake - that's it!  (And  from the picture above, I clearly had lots of cupcake crumbs to work with.)

I loved attempting to mix the different tips to create various patterns. I'm still  learning!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Snapshot

I had to put two...these guys are just too irresistible. Love them so much.

Hope you are having a great weekend! I know I've been a bit absent, so I'm looking forward to getting back into things this week.

Happy Sunday!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Can I share a secret with you?

Ok, well maybe it's not a secret...I don't know, I've been out of the US for a while now.

But I recently discovered the most wonderful stationery, decor, etc store here in SA! It's actually Australian but they're branching out to Asia and the US.

Omg, I literally have to practice incredible restraint when I go in, and no matter how much restraint I have, I always come out with something else I didn't plan to buy. And their prices are great! 

Makes this your next stop for journals, home decor, stationary, or just whatever cool thing you find on their website. Really, you'll be hooked. 

Here are just a few of things I would buy if I had some extra money right now. What would you pick?

This journal. 
This chalk paint.

These pillows.

These tote bags.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Extra bits of happiness

What a day! As the day has gone on, I've felt more and more that we probably all need happy things to distract us and make a smile....and these pictures did just that for me. Enjoy! :)


Friday's Finest

Hi all!

What a week it has been. I think everyone probably needs a bit of a rest this weekend. We don't have much planned; although, I plan to do some deep cleaning in my closet which is actually a big project.

So, to lighten the mood for everyone, here are some of my favorite links from around the web this week.

Have a restful weekend with ones you love.


I'm sure many of you saw this post from Joanna Goddard and I think it is just brilliant. It's becoming fall over here, which I think is another perfect season for picnics. I'd love to pack some Woolies soup, fresh bread, and hot chocolate!

I'm not sure when or how it happen, but I am in love with lanterns in the house. This post features some stunning in house lanterns. We have the ones pictured below hanging in our house (I need to take a better picture), which were actually used as centerpieces at our reception.

PS - That top lantern makes me think of classic, African safaris and the luxury tented camps I found this week online. I am DYING to go!

And something to watch...

A co-worker showed me this Dove ad recently...have you seen it? I think it's so great! Combined with this post by friend Alexandra, I've been thinking a lot about perception versus reality. No matter how much we may love Facebook, Pinterest, etc, I do think we need to appreciate our lives (and ourselves) exactly the way they are! Sometimes these platforms can help us to do that, and other times they just bog you down with everything you think your life isn't but should be. I hope this reminds you to step away from the lies and deception "out there" and love what you have in front of you...

Especially the people. In light of events this week, I also wanted to share this article. Boston is near and dear to my heart, and recent events have reminded me to cherish and love my family and friends so much more.

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."
- 1 Peter 4:8

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our wedding - The Dress

I am so excited about this post because I absolutely LOVE(D?) my wedding dress! And lucky me: I get to wear it AGAIN in just three months (for our US reception)! :)

G and I got engaged in May and in June I flew home for three weeks. My mom, a best friend, and I went wedding dress shopping while I was there, but more to have the experience together. I had the attitude of, "If  I find one great; if not, great - I'll get one back in SA". But I did find one! And I fell so in love with it. It was completely different that what I thought I wanted. When I tried on a few styles similar to what I originally pictured, I just felt like I was going to prom - not like a bride. But this Pronovias gown truly made me feel stunning and like a bride - I felt like I was floating!

Here are pictures and other details about the whole look, if you'd like to see. :)  (And PS - it was so hard for me to choose which pictures to use here! Hope you don't get bored. ;)



I loved the sweetheart cut - thought it was the most flattering! The top of my dress, just along the edge had feathers; subtle enough not to be crazy, but enough to be an intricate detail you'd only notice if you looked closer.  

My something borrowed were my earrings: borrowed from my South African mom! :)

I wore the ring on the right on my right hand - it was my grandmother's and my parents gave it to me when I was baptized. Gordon's and my rings are on the left.

My mom made my garter; I choose a Scottish tartan since G's paternal  family is Scottish. The  clutch held my make up and mints - my brother gave it to me for Christmas one year. 

The back. (It took forever to get on and get off!)

I choose to wear flats because although I love heels, I was terrified that that would be the day that I tripped and fell.  Plus I just fell in love with these Vera Wang White ballet flats and still where them today!

And I had my toes painted a fun red. :)

I wore my mom's veil. It was so special! When she asked if I would consider wearing it, I said sure, but didn't think much about it. We took it with us to try on dresses and when I found this dress, and put the veil on, it was just perfect! Maybe  my daughter (hopefully one day), will wear it too!

The veil had lace, flower appliques at the end, which I decided to leave. I loved that everything about the veil was what my mom wore (well actually, she wore a small cap with hers and I had that removed). 

I wore the veil over my face for my entrance down the staircase, and then when I came to  where my dad was standing, he lifted it, gave me a kiss, and I left it back from that point on. 

During the ceremony.

Yay, we're married!

For the reception, I added these two pieces by Vera Wang White - a sash and hair clip. I love that they looked a bit vintage and gave my dress a different look, without looking like an entirely new dress. 

Hair clip (and dancing with my dad-at top :)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ode to Boston

I’m not a Northern girl by birth, but I am at heart. The city of Boston is one of the few places that everyone else knew about, but somehow had escaped me until I was deciding what university to go to. 

I had pretty much always known that I wanted to study international relations, so in my search for a program for that field, I got my heart set on a specific liberal arts school in the suburbs of Boston. My always supportive mother flew with me up to Boston during the fall semester of my senior year in high school to check out a few places. I never ended up going to that liberal arts school, but instead, to the great Boston University. I had thought I may want to move to New York City for university (I would still love to live there at some point), but after living in Boston for five years, I think Boston was the perfect college town and is one of the Northeast’s treasures.

I had actually started writing this "Ode to Boston" quite a ways back and had planned to write it as a "Day in____" feature. I'm sure I will still do that at some point, but in light of recent events, I just felt compelled to share some pictures of the city that I came to love so dearly. My heart breaks as I look at pictures from yesterday's marathon and as I think about my friends who ran it (but are ok, praise the Lord), and the fact that I can't be there. I know me being there would do absolutely nothing, but I'm sure I could do more than I feel I can do from all the way here in South Africa. 

I don’t seem to get back there much these days, but I would in a heartbeat given the opportunity. The city of Boston and the friends...really, family...I built there over my time in college, irrevocably changed my life for the better. Please keep them all in your prayers. And I hope these pictures help you to see the joy that exists throughout the city of Boston.