Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Pink champagne cupcakes are my favorite cupcakes both to make and to eat.  Not a big surprise given my love for champagne.  These are so pretty in pale pink, although they can be made in any color, and perfect for a baby shower, bridal shower or really any reason.

pink champagne cupcakes

I’m a big fan of “doctoring” cake mixes and happily admit to it.  This recipe is from the Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes, which is full of cupcake inspiration.

A few tips:

1. Use a champagne you like to drink!  It doesn’t have to be an expensive bottle, but do not go super cheap and use something like Cook’s.  I use Domain Chandon Brut.

2. Instead of using liquid red food coloring (per the recipe), use “no taste red” icing color made by Wilton.  The liquid red food coloring has a bitter taste.

3. Add any decorations on top right after icing the cupcakes because the decorations will not stick once the icing has crusted.

4. If you want to use a different frosting, go ahead and use your favorite recipe and just replace the liquid in the recipe with champagne.


Happy Friday

Happy Friday on chalkboard with vintage filter

Happy Friday!  Even my cat is excited it is Friday today and has been running around like a kitten all day.  Later today C and I are walking down the street to an Italian restaurant for happy hour.  Saturday we are going to a BBQ festival and Sunday we are making a trek to the valley to shop for a fountain for our courtyard.

Here are some of my favorite things from this week:

1. Who could resist this raccoon using a rock to ask (demand?) for cat food for her babies?

2. My love for suede shoes will never die.  Here is a pair I’m drooling over.

3. I wish the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail existed when I lived there.

4. Have you ever dreamed of escaping the rat race and running away from it all?  If so, check out my new favorite blog to read – This American Girl

I hope my east coast friends stay dry and don’t get cabin fever while it rains all weekend…have a great weekend!

How Did I Let This Happen???

I have a confession to make.  I’ve gained weight.  It’s a good thing I work at home so I can wear stretchy clothes.  I get surprised when I walk by a mirror because I don’t even recognize myself.  I know why it happened…I eat my emotions.  Things haven’t been going to plan lately in life and I eat for many reasons other than being hungry.  I knew it was happening and I didn’t care.  Well now I care and I’m ready to do something about it!

Scale with socks uh oh

On my past blog sites I focused a lot on my constant struggle with my weight, but I was trying to not focus on it so much on this blog.  You know what happened when I stopped focusing on it?  I gained weight.  I know one of the key things to losing weight is accountability so I’m going to use my few faithful readers here to be accountable to.

I have lost weight many times before and even helped others by running a Biggest Loser contest at work.  I loved helping people and being an inspiration.  I hope by writing about my journey to lose weight once again will help me reach my goal and also inspire others.

El Nino to the Rescue?

After living in Virginia for ten years where it seemed to rain and rain for days on end, I never thought I would be so happy to see rain here in southern California.  I usually love mild to warm sunny weather, but even I am hoping for rain to help drought stricken California.

Rain drops on a red umbrella

I get silently angry at neighbors who waste water and have an ongoing battle with the gardener who keeps changing our sprinkler system to water more.  Yes, the lawn is dying and that is just the way it has to be.  When we moved into our current neighborhood two months ago, we learned that we are only allowed to water once per week for ten minutes.  Grass cannot live with that little water.  The idea of green lawns is a thing of the past and people need to get over it.  I admit though that I’m hoping our small lawn will hold on until the El Nino rains arrive…but will it rain?  Experts admit that an El Nino exists, but these same experts do not want to get hopes up that the El Nino will bring rain, and if it does rain, it will likely be too much rain causing flooding and mud slides.

As I write this, songs about rain keep going through my head.  Please do a little rain dance for California…here are some songs to get you moving.

1. Umbrella by Rihanna

2. Purple Rain by Prince

3. Here Comes the Rain Again by The Eurythmics

4. The Thunder Rolls by Garth Brooks

5. I Love a Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbitt

What are your favorite songs about rain?

5 Tips for Happier Air Travel

child to prepare for the trip

I have been flying across the country for business once or twice a month for the last six months and since I cannot afford to fly on private planes, or even in first class, here are some things I found to make the experience less bad.

1. Sign up for TSA Pre-Check
Once approved, you can go through the TSA Pre-Check line which means you do not have to take off your shoes or lightweight jacket and can leave your laptop and quart sized bag of liquids in your carry-on. Also, you get to go through the old school metal detector instead of the spinny thing where they look at you naked.

2. Stay Warm
Even in the summer I tend to freeze on airplanes. Bring socks, a sweater and a thin warm blanket that will fit in your carry-on to put on while on the plane.

3. Eat
Bring food on board or eat before boarding so you do not get stuck with just the limited on board choices from the cart. Fellow passengers often laugh at me and my bag of food, but are soon jealous when I have a sandwich, chips and a cookie and they are eating a box of stale snacks.

4. Entertainment
Small devices can now be used during the entire flight so bring your iPad or favorite electronic device and don’t forget your power cord!  Most planes now have wifi and in-seat power.

5. Roll Clothes
I know people have probably heard this before, but rolling your clothes really does save a lot of space in a suitcase and can make a huge difference in how much luggage needs to be hauled. I can now pack for two weeks in one suitcase and a carry-on (which is a huge improvement for me!).

With planes getting more and more cramped, flying is rarely fun, but these few things help me get to my destination a little bit happier than I would have otherwise.

What are your tips for better air travel?

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