Currently

Two whole months have gone by since my last list, so here we go, dear readers.

be cool go to rita's.

Making: plans for summer.
Cooking: up plans to go back to Homearama this year.  CV(D) and I had so much fun last year, and this year, we’re bringing The (Not So) New Girl.
Drinking: “sangria” water.  Because it’s not enough to put lemon wedges in it, so I add strawberry and pineapple too.
Reading: nothing at the moment.  Suggestions?
Wanting: to dig into Oprah’s What I Know for Sure.  I miss watching Oprah every day just as much as I did years ago when she went off the air.
Looking: at every furniture catalog that comes my way.
Playing: ‘NSync on the way to work every day.
Deciding: how to spend a couple of “use ’em or lose ’em” personal days.  #LillySale
Wishing: we were in our house a smidge sooner so I could start planting peonies and hydrangeas everywhere.  Why would you ever need another kind of flower?
Enjoying: drinks on decks and live music.
Waiting: till I can go back to the beach.
Liking: that it’s peach green tea lemonade season at Starbucks again.
Wondering: what we used to eat for dinner.  Since my mother in law has cooked for us for the past several months, I don’t even remember what meals we kept in our rotation.  What are your go-to, weeknight meals, dear readers?
Loving: listening to thunderstorms.
Pondering: my summer plans.  Nothing big scheduled, but perhaps there are some little opportunities to get away here and there?
Considering: a new pair of Jack Rogers.  These, or stick with my regular Navajos?  Realizing I’m actually down a whole bunch of pairs of shoes.  I wear them out and don’t replace them.  Oops.
Watching:  The Affair.  Whoa.  It’s so intense.  It’s so dark.  It’s like Breaking Bad in that I get depressed and cranky after a couple of episodes.  I have one more to go, but I need a bright, sunshiney day and a block of time to finish it off.
Hoping:  my husband and I can find a lot more time to eat outside.  We went out for pizza last weekend and it was everything.
Marveling: at the amount of clothes I have given away.  I pared down my wardrobe when most of our stuff went into storage, and I still don’t wear everything in my closet.  Two big bags are now on their way to people who need clothes more than I do.
Needing: a daily dose of fresh air.
Smelling: spring!
Wearing: khakis, finally.  In high school, I was all about Gap khakis.  And then they stopped making them.  No problem, because then J.Crew started making great khakis.  And then they stopped making them.  I’ve been khaki-less (what a terrible prep) for about 5 years, until now. I found these at Anthro, bought two pairs, and am thrilled to welcome chinos back into my life.  Also, there are even more colors online than in the store, and if you don’t act fast, I will have bought them all.  And now you know way more about my pants than you ever wanted.
Following: the Phillies’ scores each night, even though we’re no good this year.
Noticing: that my disposition always improves dramatically with the advent of warmer weather.
Knowing: it’s time to clean out my Feedly again and simplify the list of blogs I’m ingesting each day.
Thinking: that Paper Source makes the best cards, and I love picking them out for all my friends.
Feeling: slightly overwhelmed by life at the moment, but knowing this too shall pass.
Admiring: people who don’t apologize for who they are.
Sorting: through old family photos to see what will be framed on our walls.
Buying:  Appliances.  Fingers crossed that GE Cafe fridges and ranges aren’t as horrifying as some of the reviews make them out to be.  I think you could hope that for just about anything that has reviews online.
Getting: excited about summer.
Bookmarking: weekenders.  Have I done my blog round up of the weekender bags I love?  In my head, I’ve done that post 8 times already.  We’re not really going anywhere this summer, but I’m such a sucker for weekenders.
Disliking: how hard it is to stay on top of “it all” at work, and in life.  Who are those people that do it all?  They don’t really do it all do they?
Praying: that this summer is as full of SCL and Queen Cupcake as it has the potential to be.
Opening: every furniture catalog that crosses my threshold.
Giggling: at The Office.  When it was good, it was so good.  I started 30 Rock too, and watch a couple of episodes when I need something lighthearted.
Snacking: On M&Ms.  I got 3 bags at half price after Easter.  I’m so addicted.  I know Queen Cupcake understands this love.
Coveting: all the iced coffee, all the time.
Wishing: the next 36 days would speed by, so we could be in our house.
Helping: out with whatever I can, wherever I can.  I’ve realized a couple of things that are everything to me, and a recent one is that I believe in putting your head down and doing the work.  More on this later.
Hearing: a lot of Alison Krauss, on my iPod, and my Pandora.

On Health {lemon blueberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting}

Dear readers, can I tell you something awful?  Though you wouldn’t know it from the likes of this blog, I think I’m becoming a healthier person.  Not just because my pants are much looser around my waist (#purebarreproblems), but because I can’t eat sugar in the same massive quantities as before.  Here is what I know for sure.

1.  I started going to Pure Barre in September, thanks to Ali.  I went about 2 or 3 times a week.  Now I go 4 or 5 times a week, and I love it.  It’s a challenge, it makes me stronger, and I am crazy more flexible now than every before.

2.  Since my mother in law has assumed responsibility for 2/3 of my daily meals, I eat healthier.  But it’s healthier in the foodie-way in that it still involves plenty of fat and calories.  They’re just sourced from better food than, say, Doritos, and other neon-orange, artificially flavored cheddar foods.

3.  I drink a ton of water every day.  Lemons, please.

So somewhere in the six months between starting to act like this, and now, I became healthy.  Whatever things people say about exercising and eating well and drinking plenty of water must actually be true.  I can now tell when I am starving and need to inhale everything in sight, and when I can’t.  I can say no to baked goods (but not M&Ms).  I don’t even know myself.  I swear, we are going to move into our house and all will go to hell and a hand basket because all of a sudden, I’ll be the one controlling what we eat again.  But for now, I’m enjoying these couple months of living like the other, healthier half lives.

lemon blueberry cupcakes.

This is all a really long-winded way of saying thank goodness for my sister-in-law.  Whilst drowning in a sea of chocolate oreo peanut butter nutella drizzle caramel girly and super sticky sweet and sugary cupcakes, she requested a bright, fruity mix for her birthday.  The funny thing about the birthday cupcakes I make for people is that I could take or leave most of them.  Rarely do I get too worked up over a flavor someone has chosen.  But these were instant faves.  Not too sweet, super bright-tasting, and almost sort of muffin-like and healthy.  Introducing, lemon blueberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

To make 16, you will need:

For the cupcakes:
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
¾ cup cake flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Zest of  1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. lemon juice
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. milk, at room temperature
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 1 large lemon
Additional fresh blueberries, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the ¾ cup all-purpose flour, the cake flour, baking powder and salt; whisk together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice. With the mixer on low speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Blend in the milk. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.

In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Using a spatula gently fold the berries into the cake batter. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾ full. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. (I used a large, unlabeled star tip to frost these cupcakes.) Garnish with fresh blueberries.

#LillyforTarget

I had another post scheduled to run today, but as my phone was down to half battery by 9:30 on Sunday morning, I’m guessing what you really want to know about is Lilly for Target.  I went.  It was fun.  I have no idea how to organize any of my other thoughts, so here are some random ones…

lilly for target

First of all, some people were hella pissed about Lilly for Target.  I get that.  I don’t know what Lilly would think about Lilly for Target.  No one actually does because sadly, Lilly is dead.  But here’s the thing: WASPs are some cheap people.  And it’s not like it was Lilly for Walmart.  That I couldn’t have done.  I guarantee everyone who was complaining about Lilly for Target has bought many an item there before.  Some of my favorite shoes are from Target, and don’t get me started on their fabulous melamine summer dishware.  I just don’t have time to get angry about a Lilly for Target collection.

lilly for target.

That said, I didn’t love anything from the look book too much. I remember reading a post from a blogger who has collaborated with Target, or perhaps one who hasn’t, and she wrote about the constraints of designing for a mass market retailer like the bullseye.  I feel like the kind of issues she wrote about were at play here.  These were not Lilly’s best patterns, nor was everything top quality.  However, Ali scored a tote bag for $15, and at that price, who cares?  I’m getting ahead of myself.

alsi and me.

I met up with Ali at 7:00 to go to the only Target in DC.  We got there and there was NO ONE in line (there were about 15 people).  We went to Starbucks.  When we came back we were the 25th and 26th in line.  We watched a nice group of people snake around until about ten minutes before opening, when a security guard told everyone to just rush the door.  Though people were angry no one was out of control.  So that episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte says, “We’re WASPs; WASPs don’t yell,” must be true.

the mob.

Everyone in line was from the Main Line.  Oh, Lilly.  Some things never change.  I met a girl who went to Agnes Irwin, a guy from Berwyn (who became our BFF, and was also the first person I heard refer to the mayhem as the Preppy Hunger Games), and ran into a sorority sister who is also from the area.  It’s funny that I always lament about the lack of “my people” here in DC.  Turns out they’re here, it just takes a nation-wide Lilly event to bring them together.

mayhem.Here’s a shot of girls edging each other out at the racks (CV(D), note the flamingos).  It was too cutthroat and I wasn’t awake enough to fight them.  So I wandered over to accessories and picked up a couple of items.  But I did overhear someone while I was glancing at a phone cover say, “I just don’t like that it has the Target logo on it.”  Um, hi.  You woke up early and waited in line to be here.  These prints are only available in one place.  If you’re rocking them, we know you are rocking Lilly for Target.  You’re funny.

little shift.

I didn’t agonize over the lookbook before we went, and so I didn’t have any idea of what I “needed.”  Had I made a game plan while waiting outside, I could have made a beeline for it, and picked up at least one of my “must-haves.”  As it was, we ambled around, and picked up a couple of cute things.  Which I think was the way to do it.  When I look closely at everything that’s now marked up on ebay (which I also can’t get worked up over, because it happens after the warehouse sale too), I realize I liked the idea of the lawn chairs, but the print wasn’t perfect.  And the beach towels are cute, but Lilly has made plenty of beach towels before, and I’m sure they’ll make them again.  The best purchase of the day ended up being this shift for my future niece, which I wish desperately they made in my size.  In the meantime, I’m setting my sights back on the warehouse sale, because I didn’t max out my Lilly budget all in one place on Sunday.

Work Hard, Barre Harder

My running game has taken a serious hit in the last year.  I’ve run about 0.5 miles in total, and it was probably while chasing after a cupcake. Or something along those lines. AGOMYR, on the other hand, has run about a zillion miles in preparation for one half marathon, and dear readers, she was crazy enough to sign up for another.

She was kind enough to point out that anyone who runs is a runner, but I’m just not sure that’s a title I can give myself this year.  I haven’t been running.

But I have been going to barre.  A lot.  As such, I introduce to you not only a playlist for the first time in a long time, and the first barre playlist ever, but the best playlist I have ever created.

Work Hard, Barre Harder

1.  Play Hard by David Guetta (feat. Ne-Yo&Akon)

2.  You’ve Got the Love by Florence & the Machine

3.  Masterpiece by Jessie J

4.  Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson (feat Bruno Mars)

5.  Prayer in C (Robin Schulz Radio Edit) by Robin Schulz & Lilly Wood & The Prick)

6.  Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, & Nicky Minaj

7.  Geronimo by Sheppard

8.  Shake it Off by Taylor Swift

9.  Daft Punk by Pentatonix

10.  We Are Here by Alicia Keys

11.  Lips Are Movin by Meghan Trainor

12.  Sugar by Maroon 5

13.  Ghost by Ella Henderson

14.  Incredible by Celine Dion and Ne-Yo

15.  Higher Love by Steve Winwood

16.  Piece of Me by Britney Spears

17.  Lose Control by Missy Elliott (feat Ciara & Fat Man Scoop)

18.  Heroes (we could be) by Alesso (feat. Tove Lo)

19.  I Choose You by Sara Bareilles

20.  How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding

21.  Bye Bye Bye by ‘N Sync

*Though I did try it on a beach run, and it wasn’t the best for that.  On the drive to the beach?  It was perfection.

I Want Chocolate Cake Cake

Our friend had a birthday at the beach the other day, and we all had dinner to celebrate.  No party is complete without chocolate cake, so this gave me the perfect excuse to make Smitten Kitchen’s “I want chocolate cake” cake.  It’s rich, and dark, and served the four of us well at our little shindig.  The cake was incredibly dark and dense, and after I sweetened the frosting up just a touch, I loved that too.  It’s small and simple to whip up–perfect for a quick get together.i want chocolate cake cake.

To make an 8×8 cake, you will need:

For the cake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table or fine sea salt

For the frosting:
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted if lumpy)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 tablespoons cream or whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the cake:

Heat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper, and either butter the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray. In a large bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to beat the butter and sugars until fluffy; scrape down bowl. Add the egg, yolk and vanilla and beat until combined, then the buttermilk and mix again. Scrape the bowl down well and don’t worry if the batter looks uneven. Place your flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a sifter (I find this step necessary because my cocoa is very lumpy) and shake it over the batter bowl. Stir on low until just combined; scrape down bowl a final time. Scoop batter into prepared pan and smooth flat. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes in cake pan on cooling rack, then flip out onto rack or serving plate to completely finish cooling before frosting.

To make the frosting:

Beat butter, powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Pour in chocolate, milk and vanilla, beat until combined, then one more minute to whip it further. Scoop the frosting onto the cooled chocolate cake and swirl it around. Finish with rainbow sprinkles.

decorated cake

(Her name starts with M, so we decorated as such.)

Framed – Wordless Edition

I’m drawn to prints with type all over them, as you saw yesterday, but that just won’t work all over the house.  You shouldn’t be able to read my living room wall like the first chapter of a best-seller.  Thus, I’ve searched high and low for some art without type.  And by high and low I mean I pretty much looked on Etsy and Minted.  And I found like, 5 prints that I like.  That are all basically the same colors.  Here they are:

Colors, Watercolor Giclee Print on Canvas

Colors, by Laura Trevey on Etsy

Distant Island. horiztonal / landscape giclee print

Distant Island, by Clare Elsaesser on Etsy

MorningBlooms1sm.jpg

Morning Blooms No. 1 by Emily Jeffords on her site

Out to Sea, by Carolyn MacLaren on Minted

Confetti, by Blair Culwell Staky on Minted

The Meadow, by Melanie Sevarin on Minted

Any other ideas for me, dear readers?  Especially those outside the blue, white, and pink realm?  What’s on your walls?  What do you love?

Framed – Type Edition

I’ve learned so much as we’ve been trucking through this #AndThenWeBoughtAHouse adventure, like what a shower diverter is, how wide standard appliances are, and just how darn expensive home-related purchases are.  I’m looking at you, faucets.  You know what else is expensive?  Art!  The nice thing about open-concept floor plans is there aren’t as many walls on which to hang it.  I have some from our last place, but I don’t know how many of those pieces I’ll hang up here.  This house is going to have a (slightly) different feel, and I’m searching for a couple of new prints.

I’m a sucker for anything with type all over it, so I’m breaking this post up into two parts.  Today’s edition, which is wordy, and tomorrow’s, which isn’t.  Here are the prints I’m loving right now.

love.

My Life Would Suck Without You, by Letter Happy on Etsy

Let's Hang Out Print

Let’s Hang Out, by Erin Guido on Leif

Creek Swimming  -   vertical print

Creek Swimming and Tangled Hair, by The Wheatfield on Etsy

The Doxology Canvas

The Doxology Canvas, by Lindsay Letters in her shop.

Over The Rainbow (Judy Garland) Wizard of Oz Movie Typography Print, Film Soundtrack Lyrics Poster, Song Illustration, Music Art Print

Over the Rainbow, by Draw Me a Song on Etsy

Anek LA CUCINA Kitchen Art Typography Print  - high quality fine art print

The Kitchen is Small, by Anek on Etsy

HELLO limited edition silkscreen print - Moss & Neon

Hello, I Love You, by Mengsel Design on Etsy

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing hymn

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, by Riley Writes Scout on Etsy (but really, she has a billion of my favorite hymns and I want all of them.)