Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Um, Yum: Mini Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

One thing (out of many) that I love about fall is my desire to bake! Cooking is the mister's area of expertise; but give me a whisk and I shine! So even though fall hasn't quite come around, I jumped at the opportunity to make the dessert for a Sunday event. I wanted to keep it light, so I took a chance on some mini cupcakes. C'mon, who doesn't love mini food! (I'ts got a sneaky way of making you feel skinny!) After spending the time on the perfect cupcake, I knew no canned frosting would do. The recipe I used is the end result of browsing various websites and choosing bits and pieces of the ones I liked most: 

Mini Lemon Cupcakes:
(This gave me about 60 baby cakes)
  • 1 box lemon cake mix, any brand
  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (not just for all things beautyor 3/4 cup vegetable oil (not both!)
  • lemon juice to taste
Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Add wet ingredients.  Slowly mix with electric mixer, adding lemon juice to taste as desired. This mixture will be thick! Bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes*, checking often. The pudding mix and oil combination will leave an amazing texture. 
*This was the time I used for mini cupcakes. Regular sized should be baked according to directions on box.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 8oz cold cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-4 cups powdered sugar
Add top three ingredients in a bowl. Slowly, add 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat together for about 90 seconds or until desired consistency is reached. If your mixture is too thin, add more sugar. I found 3 cups was perfect for me, however if you plan on piping with the frosting you may want to add more. 

I decided it was a smart idea to practice piping on parchment paper before the actual cupcake! These turned out wonderful and I received so many compliments on them. If you give this a shot  I would love to know how they turned out for you!

Do you have a go-to dessert recipe? 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

We're On Pinterest!

Follow The Tiny Luxuries on Pinterest! I'm always looking for new people to follow, too!

Crafts to "DIY" For: Chalkboard Wine Glasses

Here's an easy way to spruce up some boring wine glasses. You can personalize them in way that's a bit more fun than the same wine charms we've all seen before. I happened to make 20 of these little guys for my mister's restaurant. In about an hours' time I managed to make these great little conversation starters:

-Chalkboard paint. I opted for spray paint because, well it's always much cheaper!
-Basic sticky labels. These probably are already laying around your house somewhere, but if not they're pretty inexpensive 
-Chalk! The colored pack seemed a bit more fun than the white.
-String of some sort. I happened to have some hemp leftover from the bridal shower invitations.

Step 1: Spray your labels according to directions. Let dry.
Step 2: Apply labels to glasses
Step 3: Attach chalk

Okay, how easy were these?! I think these would also make for great gifts around the holidays given as a set. If you're not 21, these are still a great idea and the possibilities are endless. Or a great icebreaker for your next party! And the plus side, I have a whole can of chalkboard paint and an almost full pack of labels. I may or may not go on a small "chalkboard everything  I can get my hands on" frenzy! 

Do you have any creative ways to use chalkboard paint? Would you use this method for wine (or any) glasses? 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Surprisingly Stylish: Kmart Boots!

Let me tell you, I am one frugal gal. While I do agree in investing in good quality staples (little black dress, classic pumps, sturdy pea-coat), it seems silly to splurge on a whole new wardrobe every season. So when I find a great deal, I'm happy as a clam (how happy are clams, anyway?). And of course, I want to share them  with all of you! 

Here's the deal: The Kmarts in my town all closed up (or so I thought!) and they seemed to be gone forever, a long lost childhood candy land. A good friend of mine needed some materials for our pub crawl costumes(!) and, oddly, no store in town had what we were looking for. What a surprise when she ended up on my doorstep, supply list completed, and said she got everything at Kmart! Turns out, there is one left in town, it just happens to be in a pretty sketchy part of town.

Here are some ankle boots perfect for fall that I can't wait to go try on!

These little ankle booties are going to look great with some tights and a flirty dress. Plus, they look soooo much like the Steve Madden ones I spotted the other day! $16.99

Bongo Women's Hideaway Sueded Short Cowboy Boot - Taupe at
 Pinch me now! I love the rocker vibe these ankle boots have, but if you look closely, the feminine detail gives a vintage touch. At $19.99, they've got the perfectly worn in look with the brand new glory!

Pink Duchess Women's Mae Flat Ankle Bootie - Black at

To go out with a bang, check out the stunning Sparkle Lace up Botties! Treat these right and they'll reward you with plenty of compliments! With good reason; how perfect would these be with a pair of skinnies and a that perfect top?! $22.49

Qupid Women's Puffin-06 Sparkle Lace Up Bootie - Champagne Glitter at

Aren't you so excited for boot weather? Have you purchased anything fun at Kmart recently? I'm dying to know!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Life Lesson: Arguing With Love

     So, the mister and I had a fight disagreement (never really know the appropriate term. Fight sounds too intense, but disagreement sounds too mild) this morning. It's tough to actually tell our "fighting style" being that  it's uncommon for us to actually fight. Not saying we are the perfect couple (because how boring is that?!) I think it comes down to us both having been in serious relationships before and have grown and matured from them. And, at the end of it all, our argument this morning was, perhaps a little exaggerated on my part. Mister stayed out a little later than he should have (maybe me accidentally taking his car keys made it tough to get home!), I made him feel guilty, he apologized. Yet,  I kept feeling like it was a forced apology and didn't want to hear it. All the sudden, though, it dawned on me: What we're arguing over doesn't  make you any less of a boyfriend or person.

     What if every argument we asked ourselves this: Does this make he/she any less of a person? Not just boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife relationships. I'm talking friends, family, bosses... anyone in your life.
     If  your significant other consistently leaves the toilet seat up, is it worth picking an argument that could potentially jeopardize you relationship? Your best friend that may be a little boy crazy: Does her always dating someone new really put a damper in your friendship? Sometimes, the answer is yes. And there's nothing wrong with that. Maybe just remember the reason you were first drawn to this person and ask yourself if at the end of the day you still want them and their influences in your life. Is this little issue going to matter in a week? Six months? If the answer is no, then your'e probably doing okay.

What's your best advice on dealing with arguments and disagreements? 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beauty Bit: Lush's Solid Shampoo Conditioner Reviews

"These look like hokey pucks" I thought as I sniffed the selection of solid shampoos and conditioners and LUSH. If your'e like me, LUSH makes you fell warm inside and nostalgic of a kid in a candy store. If your'e also like me, your LUSH experience is 3+ hours away and usually ends up via scrolling through the website (which, I suppose helps with impulse buys). For a while I was so intrigued by the hokey puck hair products but never actually tried them. About a year ago, while visiting family in Santa Barbara, I forgot to pack my hair products and ,oh darn, had to test the ones out at LUSH! Well, being a year ago, I've gotten the chance to try out a few of their solid products and finally narrowed it down to my top shampoo and conditioner:

                              Godiva Shampoo:
GodivaThis yellow puck is the best squeaky clean shampoo I've yet to try. You wet your hair and rub this around your head a few times until you feel a small lather. First impression: BOOM! Instant jasmine infused hair, and who doesn't love that? This product makes my hair feel so clean that I've taken to only using it about once a week* so the natural oils have a chance to replenish my hair. The scent stays well enough to get random bursts of jasmine throughout the day, but not too much that it smells like you crashed into the plant itself. Another bonus of this shampoo is the va-va- volume it gives my hair!

Jungle  Jungle Conditioner:

While the green little disk may not look like much, it is a great instant hair softening product. The scent is pleasant and natural; not a floral or fruity smell that may make others step way from you. My first expericance with Jungle was odd: while applying it on wet hair it felt terrible! I thought "Yuck, my hair is going to fell worse than before". I figured the more product I apply, the better. How wrong I was! The directions suggest rubbing the bar about three times on your head, and trust me, three times is enough. It wont' feel like it though, and you will be tempted to put more. It wasn't until my hair dried that  I realized I looked like a big, greasy mess! 

Back in the shower I went, this time following directions (all the while still doubting them). Fast forward to dry hair and I was amazed! A year later this is my go-to hair softner.

Have you tried these or any other solid hair products from LUSH? Leave your recommendations below! 

Back to School Bucketlist: 5 Things to do before summer ends

Ah, August. The bittersweet month of limbo between long, carefree days and anticipating returning to school as a fresh, new person! Back to school was always, in my mind, a fresh start and new chance to "find" myself. Here are some things to get done before leaving for college in a new town (or the same!) and making this summer the most memorable yet!

1. Find yourself: Now, of course there are many years ahead to find yourself, but I'm speaking small here. Try a new hobby (yoga, cooking, photography) or rekindle your passion for an old one. There are sure to be  classes/clubs all over your new town to check out. The best way to meet and bond with new people is over a shared passion.
      Sticking with the same group of friends this school year? A hobby all for yourself will set you apart from everyone else and help broaden your circle. I wish I had my own niche in high school; with all the dances, games, parties, etc, there's no time for alone time! Always make that a priority!

2. Say Sorry: We all know the lovely high school drama. Well, that's exactly it: high school drama. There's nothing worse than starting a new school year (and possibly new town) with the "what if's?". What if.... you had called Amy and invited her to lunch before she moved? or invited Lisa to that party before school?
     Be the bigger person and try to resolve whatever issues had come up before. You'll feel better going into September with good scores all around. Also, it will say a lot about your character to be the one to apologize  first. Remember, six months down the road you may regret not talking to certain friends!

3. Learn How to Drive Stick Shift! Okay, so this is something I think you should do whether your'e going back to school or not. Call a buddy who can teach you and ask for an afternoon lesson. You never know what circumstance your'e going to be in in a new town; if stick shift is your only option, you'll be thankful you learned! Bonus points: everyone digs a girl who can drive a manual!

4. Hang Out With Your Parents:  No matter how old you are, this is one you'll never regret! Come September, your'e going to be one busy bee and one day break down while saying to yourself, "I want my mommy!" (At 24, this still happens to me. I've come to accept it never goes away!) Invite mom shopping or take dad to see that new movie. Those few hours won't cut into your social life, but will mean more to them than you realize.

5. Set Goals: Like I said, fall has always given me "fresh start" vibes, even more than New Years itself! Maybe it's the back-to-school mood everyone seems to fall into, or maybe it's the Betty Homemaker mood I seem to fall into. Either way, I always make a few small goals for myself every school year. They range from being a better student to getting better about saving money. Because nobody's perfect, we all have areas we can improve. Having a few, small goals is a way to constantly help us become better, more well rounded people.

                  Do you have any Back to School Bucketlist goals (that's a mouthful)? What are your biggest worries/excitements about starting school this year?