Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall Fashion

So, I had today off and it has been a DELIGHTFUL day! I slept in, went to the grocery store for the ingredients for my cake! Today was the day I made the cake for my manager who is actually changing jobs. I am so glad I practiced the other day! It helped give me more of an idea of how I wanted it to look and changes I need to make! Here is the final product! It looks so much better than the first and I am so proud of it!

My 25th birthday is coming up this weekend. Originally I was supposed to work all weekend. So, Matt planned my birthday party for Thursday night! He has had this whole thing planned! I am so proud of him and so ecstatic for what he has planned! I had no idea! He told me about it today and gave me my gift early (he couldn't wait any more!) because it goes along with the theme of the party. He got me:  

a Record Player!! I have been wanting a record player for quite some time and I was super pumped when he set it all up and all of a sudden I heard You Make Me feel So Young playing! He got me Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Glenn Miller Band records! 

The theme of my party tomorrow night?! -- You will have to check back later and see! I am SUPER excited about it though! 
By the way-- that is my fall fashion submission photo for today as well! I am always bad at keeping up with this whole thing. I even said I was going to take pictures in advance this year to submit. It never happened. I mean I typically live in scrubs anyways, so let's face it that's not exciting... 
Here's today:

Navy style suit jacket-- Goodwill
Long tunic shirt-- Forever 21
Scarf-- H&M
Jeans-- Forever 21 

I also wore my same boots with this. I wore this out tonight to run to Best Buy with Matt to look for speakers to go with the record player. While there, this guy whose name tag said "THOR" came to help us. I am sorry but I CANNOT keep my emotions to myself. I say everything I think with my facial expressions. I am trying to learn to control this better as sometimes I think it embarrasses Matt because it's sometimes offensive. Well, THOR just came up to us in the speakers section of Best Buy and I am 100% certain he knew exactly how I felt about him. He was THE MOST annoying salesperson I have ever met in my whole life. At one point I literally told him "STOP IT! We just want speakers! The cheapest you have! We don't want a home entertainment system!" I was so fed up with this THOR guy that I literally had to walk away and look at appliances and joke with Matt about him before I lost it. HAHA! We ended up coming home and trying to figure out how to rig it up to the TV for now. Ended up we had just what we needed. Matt's computer blew up this week and we ended up using his computer speakers which work really well with it! 

It was a perfect fall day for me and now it's ending even better. Snuggled up on the couch with pumpkin spice candles glowing, in our pajamas, listening to Glenn Miller on vinyl and sipping juice and ginger ale out of mason jars. ;-) perfect ending to a perfect day! 
Tomorrow morning I have to deliver my cakes! Yes, CAKES! i used the scraps to make this:

can you tell what it is?!?! 

A nurses cap! I tried at least! haha! 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My First Decorated Cake

I've done it!

So I've signed up for my cake decorating class in October. I've bought all my utensils and supplies and I could not wait to put them to use! 
I was asked/I volunteered to make a cake for work this week for one of our employees. I decided it'd be PERFECT to make a scrub top cake after doing some research online. It didn't seem that complicated to me and so I thought I'd take on the task! 

I sketched my plan.

 Yes that is the camera cord in the picture cut me some slack. I'll get better. 

The person I am making this for loves carrot cake which I found out through the grapevine. So I used Betty Crocker's recipe. She hasn't failed me yet that Betty!

After I baked it I let it cool completely. Then I started sculpting. This was the part I was pretty nervous about. However, it ended up not going so bad! 

 I cute my scrub top cake then it was on to making the icing! 

I used a typical cream cheese icing recipe. 

2 blocks cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar 
(add a little more powdered sugar if needed to thicken) 

I then dyed part of the icing seal blue (the color of scrubs we have to wear at work) and left part cream colored. 

I frosted the scrub top parts.

 and had a little taste! (i washed my hands after this!) 

Then I piped the outer design in cream colored icing. 

I then piped the neckline and pockets. Then melted chocolate chips for the stethoscope and used cream colored icing for the ear pieces and stethoscope bell with a chocolate chip in the middle.

This is my practice run! I need to improve on my writing skills that's for sure! But to be 100% honest with you it turned out better than I thought it would! I am making a much bigger version of this later this week but I am so glad it turned out the way it did! This was my first ever decorated cake and I have some improving to do, but at least I know I'm not terrible at it! 

Fall Fashion Week Day 1 &2

This week is: 


I have been so excited for this week since she posted about it! I always love seeing everyone's fall fashions. Unfortunately, yesterday I literally did not leave our apartment except to go to the laundry room outside our door. So, needless to say I didn't get all dolled up. Here is my day 1: pathetic. 

This is typically my day off type outfit if I have nowhere to go though. Honestly. I baked a cake yesterday (all day) and this was in the middle of the process with a little icing taste test! (I washed my hands after don't worry!)

T-shirt: Target $3.00 
Cardigan (my favorite): Forever 21 (like 3 years ago). 
Jeans: Hollister (i think) from high school 6 years ago I believe. 

I did much better today. We had church this morning so here is my Fall Fashion week Day 2!

The "shirt" used to be a dress. Somehow it shrunk in the washer/dryer. Probably because it says wash cold and my husband probably did not do such thing. 

"shirt"/Dress- Forever 21 
Jeggings- H&M 
Boots-- Forever 21 
Cardigan--- Christmas gift from in-laws I believe. No idea where it's from. 

There ya go--- fall fashion! 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Series for the Lovely Purl

New series here on The Lovely Purl!

I plan on sharing more recipes here on the blog! So I thought it's time for my first official "series"! 

 I have a love and passion for cooking and even more for baking! I love both, but I seem to be better at baking. I thought I'd start with the recipe I made yesterday. I've been branching out and becoming more brave and not following recipes perfectly but sort of adding and changing things here and there. 

Since it is the first day of fall and all, I thought it appropriate to share my recipe for: 

Apple Cinnamon Crumble Cupcakes 

The Goods: (for 2 dozen cupcakes)
For the Cake Goods:

2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 shake (sorry that's literally what i put) Pumpkin Pie Spice
7 egg whites (room temperature)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 cup chopped apples (any kind will do)
 For the Frosting Goods:
2 blocks cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract

For the cake parts: 
In a separate bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt. (Might as well sit out your cream cheese and butter for your icing now too so it gets soft. I usually forget to do this!)

in an electric mixer cream together butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy (about 2 minutes). Add eggs in 2 separate additions making sure to mix in between really well. Scrape the sides of your bowl and the bottom to make sure you get all the goods at the bottom mixed real well.
Add the vanilla and almond extract and beat for 2 minutes more.
(the batter will look smooth but foamy) 

Add half of the flour mixture until blended slightly, then add 1/2 of the milk. Repeat this until you've added all the flour and milk. Blend for a couple more minutes until batter is smooth. (no one likes chunky cake! hehe)

Add your apples at the end and blend for just a minute to get them mixed in. You can also add them and then mix with a spatula if you don't want your apples to break apart. 

For the Icing Parts:
  Now that your butter and cream cheese have sat out for awhile to get soft, 

In an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. 
Add the almond extract and blend. 
Slowly add part of the powdered sugar little bit at a time and mix well in between making sure to scrape the side of your bowl and the bottom to incorporate. 

Once all of your ingredients are added, mix on medium to high speed for several minutes until it starts to form waves and your icing is thick enough to ice your cupcakes without falling over or melting. 

If you need to (which I did) add a small amount more of the powdered sugar to thicken it a little.

Let your cupcakes cool completely and then add your icing. 

For the Crumbly Parts:   

Soften 4 tbsp of unsalted butter. 
(do you get that their is a lot of butter in this recipe! HEHE)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

mix together until crumbly. 

Sprinkle on top of wet icing on your cupcakes! 

I added a little garnish of cinnamon sticks as well to add a hint of fall. :-) 

(I used a baseline recipe from the cupcake kit book by Elinor Klivans (one of my faves) and the crumble topping recipe from Emeril Lagasse). 


Let me know if you try the recipe! Leave a comment with your link!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Discussing the Future

Matt and I had a perfect date this morning. I woke up and he said "will you go on a date with me to get breakfast this morning?" 
 Naturally, I agreed with a big ole smile on my morning drool, pillow lined face. ;-) 
Because of my crazy work schedule and Matt being back in classes and way over committed to things this semester, we have been excessively busy and on opposite schedules. When I'm home, he's not and vice versa. It's been a rough few weeks to be honest. We've barely had a home cooked meal together, we see each other about an hour here and there. 
This morning was much needed. 

We went to this little breakfast cafe not far from our apartment. (funny side story: I ordered hazelnut coffee. The waitress left, came back and said "unfortunately we don't have hazelnut today, it's pumpkin flavored coffee". My jaw dropped and I looked at Matt and said "I always knew God loved me!" hehe! If you know me at all, Pumpkin flavored ANYTHING is my absolute favorite. I'm a wee bit obsessed with pumpkins and believe me I GET IT HONEST! right mom?!) 
Back to the date story. 

So, Matt is in his last (FOURTH!) year of his Masters degree. Masters of Divinity. He wants to be a professor of theology. He took the GRE 2 weekends ago and got good preliminary scores. For the past 6 months or more we've been seriously discussing where we will be next year at this time. It is now becoming a realization that we have to move on from this point. We've always known our home here is temporary, but now my fear of change and uncertainty of the future is kicking in full swing. 

On our date this morning we had a very long (enough time for me to have about 4 cups of pumpkin flavored coffee) discussion about finalizing PhD programs Matt will be applying to in the next few months. He has 6 on his list. I'm not going to list them now as I don't feel like it's necessary to share with the world, but we narrowed them down and finalized this morning. 
In this discussion, it led to discussing back up plans and what ifs, financial plans and where we want to be in ten years. As nerve wracking as this all is and undecided and 100% out of our hands (for the most part), it's fun knowing that we're in this together and that no matter what, we will be okay. 

I'm living this life with my very best friend and that's all that matters! ;-) 
  As embarrassing as this is to share, this is literally the first picture Matt and I have together. I was 18 and he was 19 (i think....). Someday I will share our story of how we started dating.
The night of our rehearsal dinner. 

I can't believe we've been married more than a year already. It's so great living life with your best friend as your husband! Can't wait to see where we end up and what God, and life bring our way! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sangria, Dip and relaxation....

I just got done with a 6 day stretch of work. I had yesterday and today off. Thank goodness is all I have to say about that.

Yesterday, I ran around shopping and spending some "me time" with myself. I went to Anthropologie and drooled, then to the container store and Trader Joe's. Then I went to Super Target to check out this whole Missoni thing... it's sold out. I don't know what I missed but apparently it was a big deal! whew! 
I came home from the store and started making things. 

I had about 1/2 a bottle of Cupcake Red Velvet brand red wine. I bought an apple, orange, lemons and raspberries, and some juice and club soda to add to that 1/2 bottle of wine...

I made a delicious Sangria! 

Matt and I went to a bible study last night and when we came home we had some sangria in mason jars and watched Dazed and Confused. It was some much needed time spent together. We haven't seen each other much lately it seems like. We've been on opposite schedules for a couple weeks and it sucks!

I rarely ever share my actual recipes and I have been tossing over this idea in my head of doing more recipes and food blogging as that is my true hobby and passion right now. So, here is today's recipe-- 

Everyone's Favorite Cheese/Onion Dip 

 This is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser. It's actually  a recipe from my great friend Robin Williams (not the actor). She was my mom away from home in college. I went to their house every week. Her family was my family. Not to mention we traveled across the world together to Africa in May 2009. 

Anyways-- Recipe time.... 

1 pint Helman's mayo (has to be Helman's. for real)
8 oz Sour Cream
1 1/2 cups shredded mozarella
2 Tbsp parsley flakes
2 tsp chopped chives
2 tsp dried onions
1/2 tsp Accent 
Mix and put in the fridge to chill for several hours. 
Add to your favorite bowl to serve. Top with some fresh chopped scallions. 

I usually serve it with Reduced Fat Wheat Thins. 

We took this to our Bible Study last night and everyone raved over it. 

Hope you guys enjoy!

I am off now to work on that wreath from Craftberry Bush. Will post a picture when I'm done. 

Then I have a date with my husband tonight. We're going to get some new clothes since we need some fall duds and due to the pen in the washer/drier disaster Matt had earlier this week. It ruined some of our favorites and several of my scrubs. That's what happens when you share a laundry room with everyone else (we're blaming someone else even though the pen that caused said damage was probably one of our own.) FAIL! 

What are you doing today?!?!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Music of the Seasons

for some reason, I have always had this intense connection with music and it's associations with events, seasons, and chapters of my life. 

For a brief history: 

My childhood revolved around the oldies. My first CD ever was The Best of the 60s. I wore that CD out. I have fond memories of dancing to songs in my living room with my dad like The Temptations. 

My tween years were devoted to my love of Hanson and *NSYNC. I have no shame here. Yes, I did cry at their concerts. (no judging allowed). 

My teen years were devoted to my love of pumk. I loved Relient K, Less then Jake, New Found Glory, and many others I will not list here as I am more ashamed of them than Hanson. yes. 

My adult years so far have been devoted to all things folk and chill. This is the music I love. I love the sound of a guitar and a raspy smooth voice. I love the sound of a banjo or violin or a lap steel. 

In the fall, this music really reminds me of the season. So I thought I would share what Matt and I have been listening to lately.

Here is my playlist for this fall: 

Enjoy! Share what you've been listening to as well! We love discovering new music! Make sure to share a link when you comment! 

So today I worked my 4th out of 6th night of working 3pm-11pm (with the exception of last night only working 7pm-11pm). I am tired. Yet, here I am at 12:45 am still awake... 

I don't know if you all know this about me or not, but my husband and I live on a Divinity School campus. Matt is in his 4th and final year of his masters of divinity degree here. Living on campus has been a true blessing for us. Our neighbors are our family. We are all very close and it's great having such great friends surrounding us. 
Another bonus is that I am involved in a bible study on campus with some of my fellow wives of students. haha. We meet on Monday nights and have a bible study together. Last year my neighbor best friend and I were in a group with 7-8 other women that was truly amazing. It was such a blessing. This year we switched groups due to our bible study from last year being heavily filled with "leadership team" so we split off into another group. It has been so wonderful so far. It's great sharing your life with these women that are going through mostly the same things together. It's great and so wonderful for me. Although, I couldn't make it tonight, I had already signed up to bring the snack. 
Obviously, I made some cupcakes!

(sorry for the bad quality... I took it with my phone. I need to get better at picture taking) 

I made mandarin orange cupcakes with lemon and pineapple buttercream icing. They were DELICIOUS! ;-)

2 more nights of work then off for 2 days! yippeee!!! 

On another note: I am thinking of doing some sort of recipe swap here on the blog. I'm not sure what it would look like yet, I am thinking of going with your favorite dessert recipe for the first time.  

Would anyone be interested?! Leave a comment if so!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today is for:

Today is for:

All the windows being open with the cool breeze.

A morning of coffee and some tv on the couch.

Whippin' up some homemade pumpkin bread and dreaming of fall.

Inspiration like this wreath to make fall decorations for our apartment.
From craftberry bush.

Thinking of family and friends back home.

Being proud of my husband for all of his hard work.
He took the GRE yesterday and then sat through 8 hours of class. What a brain! ;-)
(not to mention the preliminary report for the GRE pretty much said "YOU OWNED THIS TEST")

Now the dreaming ends and....I'm headed to work (with a stop at the coffee shop for a pick me up).

Enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, September 9, 2011


Today I can't help but think of this:
My first day of nursing school clinicals back in 2007. I had so many dreams and so many hopes and plans. I was so excited and nervous to learn about being a nurse. I remember Bria (pictured, my very good friend in nursing school) and I's first patient.... oh the memories.

and this:

my nursing school graduation photo. I was so inspired and so nervous here as well. So ready to get out there and start my career and beyond nervous of failure. I was scared out of my mind about passing my boards.

Within the past year and a half I have had so many huge life changes.
I graduated nursing school May 2010.
I took my boards in June 2010 while working full time as a nurses aid.
I got married in July 2010.
Moved to Chicago in August 2010.
Started my first nursing job in October 2010.
Started my second nursing job in March 2011.

There hasn't been much of a break in there from life changing events. I believe I am still in the post shock mode of it all.

Today I think back to that first day of clinical as I head to work for 12 hours and think about how excited I was and all the dreams I had running around in my head and ponder on this.

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the things he planned for us long ago"
Ephesians 2:10.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


When we found out Matt's friend Skye got the Fulbright scholarship and would be living in Germany for the next year we knew we had to go visit them!


We recently bought our plane tickets to Germany for March! We are so excited! We can't wait to visit Skye and Janna! Neither Matt nor I have ever been to Europe and we are super excited to visit them. They will be in Trier Germany when we are there.
We will be there for 10 days. We're hoping to make a day trip to London or Paris while we're there.


Have I mentioned we're excited?!?!

Monday, September 5, 2011


I have been getting more and more requests for cupcakes for events lately, however sometimes I do offer.

This weekend I may have over booked myself a little. I've spent a lot of time with this pretty lady:

Sunday we went to Matt's professors house for a cookout. I decided last minute I needed to take something. (I have this old fashioned idea that you need to take people something when going to their house the first time especially). So, I baked up my favorite Triple Berry Pie you've heard so much about here lately.

Guess it's time to share the recipe.
(from Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book)

I use Pillsbury Pie dough or Betty Crocker Pie dough mix. Enough for 2 9-inch pies. This is about one of the only things I will use a mix for. I haven't conquered pie dough from scratch yet.

Then I get 1 large tin of strawberries.
1 large blackberries or blueberries.
1 large raspberry.
(Enough fresh fruit for 5 cups of fruit)

Roll out your pie crust and place one in the bottom of your pie pan.
Then mix together your fruit. I cut my strawberri
es into pretty small pieces. Mix into fruit:
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour

Pour mixture into pie crust.

This next part is optional, you can just throw th
e other pie crust on top. I like lattice top pies. So, roll out your 2nd pie crust and cut into strips. Use lattice top technique to top of pie.

EAT and ENJOY with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some warm milk. ;-)

Today, we had 2 picnics to go to. I committed myself to dessert for both picnics. So, I made 2 types of cupcakes!

Both picnics are going to have children, so I decided to make some fun mini cupcakes. White cake with raspberry and some strawberry filling dyed fun colors (purple, pink and apricot colors) and then decorated with colorful buttercream icing, MIKE AND IKES, and sprinkles!
Fun color cake batter is the best! ;-)

Finished product!

For the adults (and some kids)--


I found this recipe on Martha Stewart's website and had to try it! My swirls aren't quite as tall as the picture on her site, and I unfortunately (although this is probably a safer idea for our apartment friends) I do not have a kitchen torch (BIRTHDAY PRESENT?!) so the marshmallow tops are not TOASTED. Matt said these are the best cupcakes I have made yet and I might agree with him! They are so good! It's a perfect end of summer treat!

I've also been making biscotti lately as well! It's one of my favorites. This is Orange Almond Biscotti. It's so good. Here's the recipe--

1 Cup Sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups gold medal all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted and chopped

Heat oven to 350degrees

Stir together sugar, butter, orange peel and eggs vigorously in large bowl until creamy and and well blended. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and almonds. Shape half of the bowl at a time into a rectangle. 10x3 inches, on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on cookie sheet about 15 minutes. Cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Turn slices cut side down on cookie sheet.

Bake about 15 minutes or until crisp and light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Matt and I eat this stuff up when we have it, so we can't have it often! All these baked goods are not going well for my figure. Gotta work on that I guess...

I'm off to the couch for a bit! New episodes of Desperate Housewives on Netflix!

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Go Antiquing-- CHECK

Matt and I started our FALL 2011 TO DO LIST this past week. We conquered our Summer To Do List and now we're movin' on to fall.

Today, we checked something off the list that carrie
d over from summer to fall. Go Antiquing.

There is an ENORMOUS antique mall (5 antique malls to be exact) about 30 minutes from our apartment. So today, we decided to spend the day there.

I love anything vintage. I honestly was just overwhelmed with how much they had that I just wanted to buy. Matt and I decided when we move, before we buy any furniture we will go to the an
tique store closest by to get our furniture/decor. Therefore, he would not let me buy any furniture today due to our impending (possible,likely)move next summer.

I have a fondness for pyrex. I absolutely love it. I love their vintage cookware and casserole dishes. I have started collecting them to go into my hutch.

(the hutch I adore in our lovely dining room)

Today there were just pyrex dishes everywhere. Honestly Matt said i touched every one of them. I found the WINNER though. My favorite!

It's orange with the wheat pattern. Love it.
I found those adorable placemats as well. Perfect for fall right?!

I also found this Pyrex 1950s magazine ad as well. I am going to get a frame for it for our kitchen. ;-)

It was a very fun day.

Tonight, I made a new recipe from Gina's Skinny Recipe's blog.

I made her Chicken Sofrito Stew. It was AMAZING! We loved it. So flavorful!

The rest of the weekend is filled with picnics and friends.
So for now time to cuddle up on the couch with the husband and watch Red Dragon (SCARY!!!).

I love 3 day weekends!