Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, everyone! At my house, we celebrate on Christmas Eve, so I had to get all spiffy tonight. Or you know, as dressy as you can get when it’s 82℉ – that’s unseasonably warm, even for South Florida. I wasn’t really sure what to wear for Nochebuena, but my mom’s friend gave me a bunch of hand-me-downs, and once I spotted this green, applique blouse, my search was over. To keep things casual but fun, I added this black, ruffled skirt and a pair of wedges.

Blouse, Skirt – hand me downs; Watch – Fossil; Hairpin – unknown; Wedges – Payless; Nail Polish – Red Riot by Brash (Payless).

We had a big dinner – latkes included! – and opened gifts. My most exciting gift I opened a couple days earlier, when I was with my dad – a brand new Canon Rebel. My camera box isn’t near me, and I’m too lazy to get it at the moment, so I don’t  know the exact model. But the important part – I have a DSLR! I was going to ask for one when I graduate next spring, so it was totally unexpected.  I’ve been starting to play around with it a little, and here are some of my favorites so far:

Tomorrow, I’m just watching basketball all day long – go Heat! My family and I also may go to this Hanukkah celebration my town is having – why it’s scheduled on Christmas Day is a little beyond me. All the fun, Christmas-y stuff is over though. I always found Christmas to be a little bit anti-climatic – I guess that’s the Grinch in me!

How are you all spending your holiday weekend?

~ Sarah

Grateful

Credit

Is December 1st too late to write a Thanksgiving recap/why I’m thankful post? I hope not.

♥ finally visiting old friends

♥ the boyfriend

♥ colorful fall leaves (credit)

♥ Chinese takeout and bubble tea

♥ getting pampered (and free swag!) as part of my job description

You know guys, it’s the small things. How did all you Americanos spend your Thanksgiving?

~ Sarah

It’s the Great Pumpkin (Cupcakes)

Occasionally, I do something crazy – like spend a whole afternoon baking for my boyfriend and my friends. With Halloween only ten days away (!!), the obvious choice for a seasonal dessert – for me at least – was pumpkin cupcakes.

You start with the above ingredients, plus oil, eggs and water. I basically followed these two recipes, from Very Best Baking and Real Simple. And yes, these are super, super easy to make.

First, I started by following the directions on the cake mix box – very basic. I bought spice cake mix, but you can also use regular yellow mix and pumpkin spice (or cinnamon, ginger and cloves). But hey, that’s an extra step, so I made life simpler for myself.

Then comes the secret ingredient:

That’s right: canned pumpkin. Shocker, I know. You should probably be careful not to buy pumpkin pie filling – I’m guessing that changes things with the recipe.

Let’s not make judgments on the fact that I’m mixing my cupcakes in a pot. The point is to mix in the canned pumpkin with the cake mix. Then pour into cupcake holders to get this:

And then one chemical reaction later (bake at 350℉ for as long as the box tells you too)…

Plus frosting and candy corn for garnish…

Cream cheese frosting is the traditional choice for pumpkin cupcakes, but a) I had leftover chocolate frosting and b) once I made a pumpkin pie in a chocolate crust and it was great, so I frosted some cupcakes with chocolate too.

And really, candy corn is a must – it’s Halloween! I love candy corn, so I added some pieces on the cupcakes I ate – yum! Do you have any fun Halloween recipes to share?

~ Sarah