Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Basic Cupcake: Chocolate & Vanilla

I promised my co-workers I would make them cupcakes last weekend, so I quickly whipped up a batch of my favorite chocolate recipe. It's a really easy recipe to follow, and I love that it uses water to add to the moistness of the cake. As for the vanilla buttercream, I usually don't use a recipe unless I'm trying something different. I have made buttercream frosting so many times I know it like the back of my hand! I typically use a pastry bag and metal tip to frost my cupcakes (I don't know the size off-hand) and always like to top them off with sprinkles! Half of the sprinkles intended for the cupcakes usually don't make it that far - I  end up eating them - so I have learned to decorate sparingly :)
Here's the recipe I used to make the cupcakes. It's a mint chocolate cake recipe, but I have never followed through with the "mint" part of it. I've included it in the recipe in case anyone wants to make mint chocolate cupcakes (If you do, please let me know how they turn out!) You can find the original recipe here.

// Mint Chocolate Cupcakes //
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
48 Andes® Mints, divided use

// Directions //
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. 
Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Using a large scoop (about 3 tablespoons), divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Gently press one Andes Mint slightly into the surface of each cupcake. Take care to spread the batter over each mint. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until tops spring back when touched.
Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
**note: I baked mine for 17 minutes and they turned out perfect. Also, I added about 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

// Vanilla Buttercream //
Since I didn't follow a recipe for my buttercream, I have provided links to a couple different recipes that are similar to what I use!
**note: my secret ingredient is about 2 tablespoons of corn syrup. It gives frosting a rich, creamy texture.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Perfect Mix

J.Crew Shirt | Limited Skirt - similar here | Cosmopolitan Wedges - similar here | Necklace purchased here

I work in a casual office but still try to wear a skirt and heels during the week. I like this look because it combines the perfect mix of a couple different elements - my shirt is very casual but my shoes and skirt dress it up. I've been trying to come up with different ways to style my pencil skirts, and I definitely like the casual/dressy mix and unexpected color combination. I refuse to be a white shirt/black skirt, one-dimensional, creativity-lacking employee, so I might as well have fun with my clothes!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weekend DIY

// BEFORE //
// AFTER //



When I decided to redo my bedroom, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration (follow me here!) I like the way small details around a room really bring everything together, so I decided to finally put some of my pins into action. (I'm sure I am not alone in saying that once something is pinned, I completely forget about it!) I bought the little animals at a dollar store for $2. As for paint, you can use whatever color you want, but my room is purple and grey, so I decided to go with chrome (I used Krylon). After my 40% off coupon at Michael's, the paint was around $4. The pears also came from Michael's, and I used a 15% off teacher's discount (thanks, Mom!) and they came to about $6. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome - it was fast, really easy, and only $12!
When I told my boyfriend that today's plans involved spray painting tiny animals and pears, he looked at me with the "I think you're crazy but I still love you" look. Thankfully he tolerates my spontaneous crafting and compliments me when I'm done!

Cold Weather Accessories


Limited Coat - similar here | H&M Scarf | Coach Gloves - similar here | Cosmopolitan Heels | H&M Blouse - similar here | Merona Skirt | Vogue Sunglasses | F21 Necklace - similar here | Bracelet - purchased here



Aside from an excuse to visit Starbucks on a daily basis, there are only a few things I like about winter. In addition to a daily latte, I like accessorizing for cold weather, and I always feel kind of chic when I wear my pink gloves. My sister Sarah (check out her blog here) made all the girls in our family cute knitted headbands for Christmas, and my pink headband goes perfectly with my coat and gloves! I really love it because I can wear it to and from work, on shopping trips, and out to lunch without messing up my hair. I always get tons of compliments on it too, so thanks Sarah! :)


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Snow Day

Apt 9 Blazer | Bandolino Shirt | Kut Denim | Banana Republic Booties - similar here | Vogue Sunglasses | Coach Wallet - similar here

Today marks the first official first snowfall of the season! I had planned on wearing a skirt and heels to work today, but opted for something a bit warmer due to the sudden snowfall. I picked up these Banana Republic booties last weekend and couldn't be happier with them! They are easy to walk in, comfortable, and warm enough to wear on a snowy, cold day. I try not to repeat clothing or shoes during the week (yes, I'm that obsessive!) but couldn't resist wearing my boots twice in the same week!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Floral Blazer

LC Lauren Conrad Blazer | Jella Couture Blouse | MNG by Mango Jeans | Dana Buchman Heels | Coach Purse | Pandora Bracelet

Welcome back, Twenties Girl readers! It's been about half a year, and I have decided to start blogging again. After my last post on the 4th of July, I had an unexpected trip to the ER that landed me in surgery. It set me back for about 2 weeks, and I was so far behind on my blog that I lost track of things. When school started back up in August, I was so busy with making it to class on time and writing papers that I had no time to document my wardrobe. But now that I have graduated and have begun my new career, I thought it was time to start blogging again. I've been trying to add more work-appropriate pieces to my closet while staying fresh and on-trend. I work in a very casual office, but I still like to wear skirts and heels on a daily basis :) There's just something about a great pair of heels and lipstick that make me feel chic, polished, and put together!