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

Escape From New York

Philadelphia City Hall

During the holiday weekend, my boyfriend and I headed to his hometown of Philadelphia. It was a fun weekend, full of good people, great food and crushing sports defeats (for him, at least – I was glad to see the Pats win!).

There’s been an ongoing Philly vs. Anywhere Else debate going the length of my relationship, and since I’m a huge history nerd, so it was really cool to finally visit the Birthplace of America. I always love seeing places I grew up reading about.

Independence Hall

And did I mention the weather? When we got our tourist on Sunday afternoon, the skies were clear and the sunny shining. And it was in the mid-80s. Which was wonderful and all, but not what I was prepared for in my jeans and (Miami Hurricanes) t-shirt. So I did what any rational (style) blogger would do – I went to H&M.

Dress – H&M; Bag – my mom’s; Flats – Target; Finally Seeing the Liberty Bell – priceless.

Guys, butterfly print. In purple. For ten dollars, down from 25 bucks. Thanks, Columbus Day sale at H&M – I think I’m obsessed.

Thumbs up for freedom of the press, thumbs down for not facing the camera.

How did you guys spend your (hopefully long) weekend?

~ Sarah

Lightning Strikes Twice

I flew home Saturday morning to watch my brother graduate high school this past Sunday afternoon. I still cannot believe he graduated! We are now both alumni of Cypress Bay High School, one of the largest public schools in the country. (We also have the lamest mascot ever – lightning. I mean, really, just because Florida is the lightning capital of the world? Um, yeah.)

My graduating class had over 1,200 members, and we were the first from my school to graduate at the University of Miami (go ‘Canes!) because of space constrictions. And that’s where my brother graduated on Sunday, though his ceremony was much shorter than mine!

Afterwards, we went to a Thai restaurant in Coral Gables, and we got back in time to watch the Miami Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks in yet another NBA Finals nail-biter. It was a nice day, and it was really strange to reminisce about my own graduation, and about how much has changed in the last two years.

Dress – Target; Earrings – Avon; Rings – my mom’s; Watch – Movado (vintage); nail polish – Milani (My Network); Shoes – Payless.

I could be wrong, but I felt like I had a 70’s bohemian/South Beach vibe going on, though not nearly as tan or toned as most beach-goers. I bought my first-ever LBD and I love the ruffle-y one-shoulder style. I wore gold accessories and parted my crazy hair down the middle for the ceremony.

It was a complete departure from what I wore to my own graduation – but not really. I wore a black-and-gold print dress I bought at Ross for $9.99, Nine West sandals and a watch by Fossil.

What did you wear to your high school graduation?

☀ Sarah