October 7, 2010

Sorry I've been away for so long

I have been incredibly busy with work and the internet hasn't been quite itself at the apartment. Today, I'm sitting at St. Louis Bread Co. writing this update before I head back out to pick up things for my next project, Pomegranate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting!!! I am really excited about these. I even bought adorable little Halloween boxes for these "blood spotted" cupcakes. I've worked on a lot of craft projects lately that I need to get pictures of to post and give some directions. I also ordered some official business cards today! I hope to start writing a legit business plan for a cupcake and craft shop soon. My BFF Kelly shared some tips on how to ship cupcakes, so if you'd like to make an order (for say, a finals week treat?), I will be more than happy to take them! As always, packing and decorating will be super cute! Well, I need to get going to finish getting some things together (I got a new job today!!!) and to go by the store to grab the things for these cupcakes. Oh, and clean up the apartment a bit. I'm sorry its so short and I hope to be getting pictures up for new projects and the recipe for these *hopefully* amazing cupcakes! Have a great day!

September 13, 2010

A Wedding Year Resolution

Last Friday marked one year until our wedding! It was then that I decided that I really need to start taking better care of myself. As luck would have it, the owner at the office I work at is currently doing a partnership with a local gym, and the gym was offering all employees free full unlimited memberships. Free, as in completely free as long as we work there. Free to use the gym, take the classes, and use the childcare center (for those who need it) completely free at no cost. This came as the perfect time and opportunity for me, as we're trying to watch every penny we're spending. A bunch of girls went and got our free memberships and have started working out after work. Last Friday was our first night going, and man was I sore afterwards. However, today (Monday) wasn't quite as bad. The eliptical was a little harder to push, but, Mandie and I ventured through a full half hour, and then some weight lifting and core building to top it off. Tomorrow we're going to start a Yoga-Lates class, which I am super excited about! If anyone is looking for a gym in the Joliet area, I definately reccomend Hometown Fitness in Plainfield on Route 59 and Renwick. The gym is small, yes, but its hardly ever too busy that you can't find something to do. And, its really affordable, even without a free membership.

We also started a Biggest Loser Competition at work. We are going to weigh in every Monday for the next ten weeks, and everyone is going to put $1 into a kitty each week. Then, at the end of the ten weeks, whoever loses the highest percentage of body weight, wins the kitty! That will end up being about $100! So, if that isn't motivation to use the free membership, I don't know what else is!

So, I'm going to challenge you, and I also encourage you to post your weights here each week, and I will do the same. We'll all be in this together! Try finding a buddy to go with. This is always what works best for me. Also, find a routine, such as going in between two different classes or after work. You don't even have to join a gym if you can't join one for free, which most college campuses offer. You can find cheap workout videos at second hand stores or simply start walking. The trick to losing weight is doing more activity than you normally do each day and making better food choices. Instead of eating that big brownie, maybe eat some strawberries and a snack size chocolate bar if you must. (That's my secret weapon, since I'm a huge chocolate bar fan.)

Well, my weigh in this morning was 157 pounds. What was yours!?

August 26, 2010

Fabric and Ribbon Flowers

The other day, I was searching for an interesting alternative to real or silk flowers for our wedding, which is next September. Some ladies on http://www.theknot.com/ suggested looking at Martha Stewarts wedding site, http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/. So, I checked it out and found these adorable fabric and ribbon flowers. My plan is to use these in all of the places that flowers would normally be used. (Our centerpieces don't include any flowers, so that takes a lot of flowers out!) They are so easy to make!

To make the flower from fabric, tear (yes, tear. Don't cut.) a 1" by 8" piece of fabric. Using a piece of matching thread, make a few stitches down the long side of the fabric. When you get to the end, push all of the fabric together and form a tight circle. You may need to back-stitch to get it nice and tight. Then, sew the two ends together to make a fluid circle. For the centers, I used a cute little button and some artificial stamens that I found at Hobby Lobby. Simply put the stamens through the button holes, poke through the center of the flower, twist, and wrap in floral ribbon. If you like, look a piece of floral wire through the folded stamens' ends.

The total cost for about 150 of these flowers will only be around $15.00. Luckily, I did hit a sale and only spent $1.00 on the "dirty" fabric (that wasn't really dirty), and $3.50 for two different kinds of rick rack ribbon. The tube of buttons I found was $2.50 and the stamens were $1.29. I also had to buy some floral tape, which was $1.29 for two rolls. Some floral wire stems still need to be attached, but I forgot them while I was there last.

While these may take me the next year to make, it will totally be worth it to have a unique and ever-lasting bouquet for not only me, but also my bridesmaids. And not to mention, they're simply adorable!

August 22, 2010

Lemon Blackberry Cupcakes

Baking has always been a passion of mine, and picking wild blackberries along the dam of my grandparents' lake is a very fond childhood memory. I had been contemplating on how to make a blackberry lemon cupcake for quite some time. The moist-ness of lemon cake just seemed like it would perfectly complement the slight bitter tangy-ness of blackberries. After some thinking and trying to taste things in my mind, so to speak, I decided on this recipe. They turned out simply amazing (even though the icing was very thin). We decided to put the icing inside the cupcakes rather than on top. The only thing that may have made this better is by having some sort of real whipped cream on top. Not an icing, but just straight up Starbucks style cream.

And now the recipe :

Cake  Mix one box of Duncan Hines lemon cake mix with 4 eggs, 1 cup of buttermilk, and the amount of oil called for on the box. (This is my go-to recipe for any cake when I don't have time to make it from scratch.)

Icing  I started with one jar of Duncan Hines cream cheese icing. I then beat in two pints of blackberries. This seemed a little thin for me, so I added about 1/4 block of cream cheese and some powdered sugar.

Stuffing  After the cupcakes had completely cooled, I carefully cut a whole in the center of the cupcakes and spooned in as much icing as would fit.

While these were delicious as-is, like I said, it would have been even better with some real whipped cream on top. This would also hide the mess on top. Enjoy!