the proof is in the cupcake

Monday, May 30, 2011

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over the weekend, i worked a few shifts at swank. it was fun being behind the bar pulling shots, steaming milk, making iced mochas. there was a moment when i got very flustered, knocked over a customer's drink, and then started sweating profusely. what is wrong with me? *covers face with hands.*

as if she knew i would need a pick-me-up, petra, co-owner of swank, had walked in earlier with a box. a pink box. a pink box stamped with the word "cupcakery." i'm pretty good at new words. cupcake + bakery = cupcakery. i knew what was in that box.

in your group of friends, i am that one who is not above mooching. the who reaches across her plate to get to yours to sample whatever you have going on over there. in this scenario, i didn't have to. petra handed the box over and told me to take two (2!) one for me and one for my "family." yeah, right.

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i carefully and thoughtfully selected salted caramel with chocolate frosting and cinnamon cream cheese frosted banana cake. then i carefully and thoughtfully inhaled them. the salted caramel was my favorite. the top was decorated with a scalloped ring of chocolate frosting around a sticky caramel center. sea salt was sprinkled over the top and when i bit into it, i realized the caramel sauce went through the entire center of the cake. like a freaking caramel sauce roller coaster. that didn't even make sense, but it's how it made me feel.

the cupcakes had come from a brand new cupcake bakery about a block from swank called c cups cupcakery. on saturday, after barista duties were over, my mom and i walked across the street to make a personal appearance at c cups. when we walked through the front door, the scent of butter cream, cake batter, and rainbows hit me square in the face. there was a woman behind the counter surrounded by trays and trays of unfrosted cupcakes. she introduced herself as the janell, the owner, and we started talking. turns out, she has only been open two weeks and manages the entire operation by herself. you go, girl.

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i became distracted from the conversation once i spotted THEM. the cuppycakes. along her countertop were about 10 different varieties of glorious baby cakes. each flavor was grouped together on a different cake stand-mocha with chocolate covered coffee beans, peanut butter cream, red velvet, chocolate with ganache. salted caramel was nowhere to be found which is probably a good thing because i probably would have picked it again.

i debated between 10 of the 10 options but finally settled on strawberry shortcake. the cake was a delicious, dense yellow cake filled with strawberry jam and then topped with rich butter cream frosting and more strawberry jam. did anyone else just notice i am terrible at describing food? in one short sentence, i used the word "cake" twice and the word "jam" twice. whatever. words cannot describe. well, except these two: totes delish.

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c cups cupcakery was a sweet experience (see what i did there?) i am so happy they are making a home in downtown southern pines. go show some local love and support janell by buying one or two or a dozen of her amazing cupcakes. if you don't want to go by yourself, i'd be happy to accompany you. i'm actually considering a move back home so i can go there all the time. i'm sure my parents will be over the moon.

p.s. the name behind c cups is a very good one. read about it here.
p.p.s. not about cupcakes, but this song is just as sweet. and maybe a little cheesy.

hope floats

Saturday, May 28, 2011

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i always think incipent miracles surround us, waiting only to see if our faith is strong enough. we won't have to understand it; it will just work, like a beating heart, like love. really, no matter how frightened and discouraged i may become about the future, i look forward to it...i don't think i'm the only one. why else would the phrase "everything's all right" ease a deep and troubled place in so many of us? we just don't know, we never know so much, yet we have such faith. we hold our hands over our hurts and lean forward, full of yearning and forgiveness. it is how we keep on, this kind of hope.
- from talk before sleep by elizabeth berg

you and your heart

Thursday, May 26, 2011

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"the heart is the deep center of our is your most precious possession. without your heart you cannot have God. without your heart you cannot have love. without your heart you cannot have faith. without your heart you cannot find the work you were meant to do. in other words, without your heart you cannot have life." -john eldredge

let it be known that i am not a fan of christian authors who use phrases like, "have faith, and everything will work out." really? someone paid you money to put that in a book? ok, while that is ultimately true, what do i do in the meantime? how does that really help me? can we dive a little deeper? can you give me some real advice? actually, you don't even have to give me a solution, but can you just talk to me as a person who struggles with the same issues that i do?

i just finished reading waking the dead by john eldredge. not once during the book did he say, "let go, and let God." i like him.

the main theme of his writings is how your heart is your most prized and precious possession. out of your heart comes your deepest thoughts, your greatest longings, your irrational but immense fears, your most joyous passions, your pure and your dishonest motives. it is with your heart that you fall in love. it is because you have a heart that you feel ripped open when you are heartbroken. your mind can calculate and explain logically, but even when the answers are tallied up and the facts are presented, your heart still holds your greatest convictions.


as beautiful as your heart can be, it is also the home of self-doubt, low self-esteem, dishonest motives. God knows that your heart is the window to your soul, but so does the enemy. he knows it is the first place he can attack in order to make you doubt yourself. this happens to me all the dang blasted time. i'll be humming right along, staying busy, being productive, and then, all of a sudden, feelings of guilt will creep in. ammo against my heart. the feelings come in so quickly but are hard to get rid of. i'm learning to recognize that these feelings are not from God. He thinks i am the jam.  He is the one who holds my heart. He is the one who collects my tears and preserves them in a bottle because they are so precious to Him.

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book."-Psalm 56:8 
(favorite verse of all time.)

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thanks to eldredge and his excellent book-which i highly recommend-i've been thinking a lot about my heart lately. it is my most treasured belonging, gotta take care of it.

bottom line-the heart is life. it's central to who you are. 
just look at all of these neato songs written about it.

you and your heart : jack "the man" johnson
stole my heart : little and ashley
when a heart breaks : ben rector
hold my heart : sara bareilles
shape of my heart : noah and the whale
the heart of life : john "im a jerk, but i'm talented" mayer
when our hearts sing : rush of fools
heartless : kanye west
satellite heart : anya marina
and if my heart should somehow stop : james vincent mcmorrow
all about your heart : mindy gledhill

p.s. i don't have anything against the brain. it's awesome. 1 + 1 = 2.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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"woman was born to create. in creating she becomes herself, accomplishes her destiny. to create is not merely to produce a work, it is to give out ones own individuality." -jeanne de vietinghoff

yeah, de vietinghoff, preach it. when an artist makes something, the main purpose is not necessarily to make another thing. the process of making and creating and crafting is sometimes the most important, the most therapeutic. it's during this time that i discover my personal crafting style or look. when i make a greeting card, sometimes it takes me an hour just to figure out what color combinations i want to use. it's all a part of the process.

i have more recently been teaching myself how to make earrings, and it's FUN. i get to play with wire cutters and tiny pliers and even tinier beads that i like to knock out of their containers and spill all over our carpet.

there is a great little shop in downtown raleigh that i frequent, well, frequently.

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ornamenta is a craft lovers paradise. they have a huge assortment of beads, scrap booking supplies, craft tools, yards and yards of pretty ribbons and lace, cards, and books. i have no idea how they fit all of their great stuff into such a small space, but they make it work. my favorite item they "carry" is a glass canister full of (free) chocolate kisses. um, OK.

i went in last week to "look around" and ended up coming home with a paper bag full of gorgeous beads. take a look!

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i haven't started crafting with them, yet. i'm still in the honeymoon stage. i have them sitting in a pretty dish, and i just look at them and swoon.

and the winner is...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

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yay! thank you to those who commented on friday's blog post. i love all of your comments, so you are all winners. ALL WINNERS!

kami and carrie,
next small group. be there. i will have cookies for you.

june 5th-8th (ish). my apartment. be there. i will have cookies for you.

dominique and "george" aka alex,
send me your mailing addies, and i will bake ya'll up some reeeeeal nice cookies.

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what have you been up to this weekend? have you been insanely busy or did you have a chance to just sit and relax? mine was filled with totes the best hun cal fro yo, yard saling with my college roommate (crazy awesome stuff), baseball, ben and jerry's, laying out at the pool (i will not be the color of copy paper this summer), church, hanging out with friends, and being lazy. winners all around! 

one more thing. check out this playlist by brooke fraser and cary brothers. i went to their concert a few weeks ago, and it was stellar. brooke is gorgeous, has an accent, and can sing like an angel. i love her, and i hate her.  

if you feed them, they will come

Friday, May 20, 2011

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baking is fun. when i bake, i get to use my favorite ingredients-white sugar, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar. when i bake, i don't have to ask if i can lick the spoon. i just do it.

the problem is that when i bake a batch of 24 cookies, unless i have somewhere to donate them, i end up eating them. sometimes, my darling roommate, amy, comes to my aide and eats one or two, but her eating two cookies still leaves me with 22.

fortunately, i have an excuse to bake for other people at least once a week. i recently started leading my small group which means that every wednesday evening, our apartment is filled with 10-15 giggling, chatting, cookie devouring girls. these girls love jesus and they looove baked goods.

during this past holiday season, a magazine in the checkout line caught my eye. 100 best cookies-love on a sheetpan. love? on a sheetpan? tell me more. the magazine is awesome, and i've been (slowly) working my way through it. my goal is to try each recipe, and, so far, i've tried seven. se-ven. only 93 to go.

the reason i'm moving so slowly through the magazine, is because there are three recipes that i keep going back to again and again and again. they are so easy and so, so yummy. i'll share one of them with you today. my sweet friend kelly and i made these cookies for my small group this past wednesday.

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snickerdoodle sandwiches

3  tablespoons granulated sugar
1-1/2  teaspoons ground cinnamon
1  16-1/2-ounce package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
(any recipe that calls for pre-made dough is always a good sign.)
1  8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
3  tablespoons honey
3  tablespoons snipped golden raisins or raisins (optional)

1. preheat oven to 375 degrees. in a small bowl, combine sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon. shape cookie dough into 3/4 to 1 inch balls. roll balls in cinnamon sugar to coat. place balls 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. 
2. bake for 7 to 9 minutes or just until edges are firm. transfer cookies to a wire rack. let cool.
3. meanwhile, for filling: in a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, honey, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. beat with a wire whisk until smooth. if desired, stir in raisins. (desire it. it's better.)
4. spread filling generously on the bottoms of half of the cookies. top with remaining cookies, flat sides down, pressing lightly together. makes about 24 sandwich cookies.

ohmyGOSH. you have to try this recipe. make them for your husband/wife or your boyfriend/girlfriend. if you don't have either, make them for someone you're crushing on because, no doubt, you will be dating them before they finish their first bite. 

has that worked for me personally? that's not important. moving on. 

baking goodies for other people is one of my favorite ways to show someone i love them and care about them. first of all, it's just plain fun to be in the kitchen banging pots and pans around, rummaging through drawers, measuring sugar (or was that salt?) then, once my masterpiece is finished, i get to deliver the goods. who can actually resist a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies or brownies? no one. their eyes just light up. plus, if my baked goods are actually yummy, i get compliments. double win. 

so, because i just told you that i love to give baked goods away to my friends and loved ones, i've come up with a giveaway. i'm throwing it out there that whoever responds with a comment to this post that i deem worthy because it's funny, sweet, witty, honest, thought provoking, longer than two words, i will bake you your own batch of snickerdoodle sandwiches*. no joke. it may be a small batch because i'm unemployed and do not have an endless supply of cash to buy sugar, but you'll get enough to share (if you choose to do so.) how's that for some friday love? you have until midnight tonight to post a comment, so make sure you get them up!
*disclaimer: i will not be held responsible if you get sick/have some sort of crazy allergic reaction to these cookies. not that i'm anticipating that, but i just wanted to cover my legal bases. ok, that's done. 

about me

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

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i. love. lists. i love making them. i love reading lists that other people have made. and if it's a to-do list, that feeling you get when you cross something off of your list? nothing beats it. (you list people know what i'm talking about.) most of you who are reading my blog probably already know me pretty well. (hi, mom.) but for those of you who don’t, i'm really interesting. i even made a list about myself. check out all of these cool things about me...

1. pink is my ultimate favorite color.

2. i have a freckle on my right earlobe. so even when i'm not wearing an earring in that ear, it looks like i am. i also have a line of freckles on my arm that kind of looks like the little dipper constellation.

(are you fascinated yet?)

3. my friend lori pointed out that i didn't have a number three when i initially published this post. so, i guess my number three is that i have an attention to details friend named lori. (she's also cool and funny. and we like to have coffee/waffle dates.)

4. i love to craft. my favorite medium is paper craft, but i also make jewelry and other random crafty things like cake/cupcake stands made out of candlestick holders and pretty dishes. check it.

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5. i drink approximately 13 gallons of coffee a day.

6. i really enjoy running/working out/being active. i've done several 5Ks and 10Ks, a sprint triathlon, and, most recently, a half marathon. sometimes, the training is. not. fun. but race day is the BEST. it makes all of my training days worth it. i hope to become employed very soon so i can afford to do this in august. 

7. i sell my cards, jewelry, and crafts at swank coffee shop in downtown southern pines, nc. co-owners petra and jessica are best friends. they opened up the place in 2008, and they outgrew their first store in about a year. it is the best place to go if you're looking for a handmade gift or if you want to get a great dirty chai. find them on facebook, and tell them you know me. they will squeal with delight. 

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8. i'm kindofsortof of a music snob because, while i like artists like fleet foxes and ray lamontagne, i also like justin bieber. a lot. 

9. i have the greatest small group ever. these girls have been one of my biggest blessings since moving to raleigh. look how much fun they are. fun and cute. and mostly single.

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10. i have a huge sweet tooth. if it's made with sugar, butter, and/or chocolate, get out of my way. 

what about you? what would be some of the things you would include on a list of 10 things about yourself?

hum along with me

Monday, May 16, 2011

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well, hey.

look who joined blogworld. (meee!) not that i was resisting. more like procrastinating. i had intentions. good ones, too. but it was easier to think about it than to actually do it. fortunately, this thing called unemployment happened to me (have you heard of it?) and has given me a lot of free time to craft, browse etsy and to read blog after blog after blog. many of my friends and artists whom i admire have their own blogs where they chronicle their lives, their crafts, their hobbies. i have a life and crafts and hobbies. maybe i can have a blog that will speak to someone's heart? i hope so!

why humming right along? i think the term best describes my life. here i am, a 26 year old semi-adult, who is not living an extravagant life but just living, just humming right along, and loving it. i'm living on my own in the "big city" of raleigh, i have a wonderful church, a very supportive group of friends and a love for the creative and the crafty. pretty simple, but it works for me.

i'm very excited to share my crafts, music discoveries and inspirations with you. i have no idea what my "blogging style" is or exactly how many times a week i will be posting. i don't have plans (yet) to have "music mondays" or "thought for the day thursdays." i want to see where this blog takes me on its own, and i think my postings will evolve (for the better, hopefully) as i go. i can guarantee lots of self-depricating humor. lucky you.

start slow and taper off, right?
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