Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pumpkin-Vanilla Marble Cupcakes with Maple & Brown Sugar Frosting

My husband asked me if I could make some cupcakes for him to take to work before Thanksgiving, so I happily used that as an excuse to experiment with something a little different than usual. I wanted to make something with fall flavorings, but also something kind of unique. There are plenty of recipes out there for pumpkin and chocolate marble cake, but my husband isn't that fond of chocolate cake, so I decided to improvise to make a vanilla and pumpkin marble cake!

I ended up combining two separate recipes: one for sour cream vanilla and one for pumpkin with rum and maple. My criteria were similar baking times, similar cupcake yield, and the same baking temperature. There weren't a whole lot of options, but I managed to find two that would work.

These ended up being very moist and not too sweet. The swirl effect worked okay, but the difference in batter textures made it kind of difficult. The vanilla was quite thick, and the pumpkin a lot more runny. The end result was more of a layered look, but the combination of flavors was still successful. I had no idea what kind of frosting to go with, so I started with a cream cheese base and ended up adding about 1/3 cup brown sugar, a tablespoon of real maple syrup, and an additional half-teaspoon of maple flavoring. The frosting was a bit overwhelmingly sweet, so if I use it again, I'll definitely put less on each cupcake.

Supposedly they were a big hit at work, and then we took the extras to Thanksgiving dinner with his parents. I didn't get to try one until much later, but I was also satisfied with how they turned out. I would definitely like to try doing some more marbled cupcakes--I think strawberry and vanilla would be cute for Valentine's Day, or peppermint (with green food coloring) and red velvet for Christmas.

With more holidays coming up quickly, I foresee more cupcakes and cookies in the near future...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pacific Media Expo (+ Outfit Catch-Up)

Me and the lovely Tara and Judy on Sunday of PMX!
I haven't been back to Pacific Media Expo for two years, so this year was a fun return to the fashion-forward convention of Southern California. The big fashion Guest of Honor this year was BABY and A/P, so of course I had to attend. There was a boutique (got a new jumperskirt and socks!) and a fashion show, as well as all of the usual anime convention panels, dealer hall, artist alley, and photo opportunities.

Continue on for more PMX commentary and coordinate photos.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dr. Who? A Skirt for a Friend

Even though my own personal style is starting to lean towards Gothic and Classic, I still love making Sweet things. So what am I supposed to do when the itch to make something cute and sweet comes up? Make something for someone else!

A good friend recently had a birthday, and since she's into both Lolita fashion and Dr. Who, I thought Aimee's adorable Dr. Who-themed fabric was perfect. I'm not too familiar with the show myself, so I couldn't tell you what the references actually are in the print, but it was too cute for me not to use.

"A Teaspoon and an Open Mind"
Continue for another picture, and a little bit of a Spoonflower review.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Back In Black--Now With More Piracy! (A Sewing Post)

I did promise a sewing post, didn't I? And I'm so proud of my latest creations that I just have to share them with everyone. I've been making a lot of black items, partly in preparation for the colder months, and partly because I'm transitioning my wardrobe to more Gothic/Classic items. It's a slow change, but I'm loving every minute of it.

In the last two months, I've made three things I'm really excited about (and a fourth item, but it's a secret!). I made a fur capelet to match the fur muff from last winter, a black chiffon blouse (seen in the last post) and my current pièce de résistance, a corset-waist skirt made from teja_jamilla's gorgeous pirate fabric.

Carry on for the rest of the projects.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

August Coordinates and a Busy Lolita Weekend

August came and went, without a lot of big Lolita events--just a few small meetups, and I was pretty bad about getting outfit pictures! When it's just the local group hanging out for an evening, I feel like I'm just dressing up for a normal night out, and not like it's something fancy. I think that is kind of a good thing, because it means I'm comfortable with my outfits. Comfortable enough that I don't take pictures!

I managed to get two pictures from the three small meetups in August. It doesn't help that it has been very warm the last few weeks, so dressing up in petticoats and layers is not a great idea. Hopefully things will start to cool off soon, but it's been difficult!

Photo courtesy MyLolitaStyle
Then the second weekend of September was crazy! Two big Lolita meetups, on after the other. First was a big Paris-themed meetup in Los Angeles, and then My Sweet Memory II put on by the amazing Tijuana Lolita group. I had a lot of fun at both events, though the car trip was not that fun in the heat.

On to the clothes!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Comic-Con 2012

This year at Comic-Con, I was actually a staff member for the Volunteer department, so I didn't have a lot of time to dress up or go to panels. I was also one of the organizers for the big SDCC Lolita Picnic, which meant I had a lot of work to do preceding the convention. On top of that, my sister was visiting from up north! By the time Monday rolled around, I was exhausted but happy--a sign that things went pretty well, I think.

Silly group photo!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Another Picnic?!

It's summer here in Southern California, and for our Lolita community, that means PICNICS. This one was in honor of a friend of a friend, visiting from the east coast of Canada. We all got together to show him how cool we are over here!

All aboard!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Anime Expo 2012

 Anime Expo! Biggest event of the year for an anime fan in California, and well worth going to.

Tea Party photo with Lolita modal Misako Aoki
I only went for two days (work, c'est la vie) but it was still a great weekend. I wore Lolita one day, to go to the tea party, and cosplay the second day. I didn't take too many pictures because I knew there were lots of other professional photographers that would do a better job, but I couldn't help snapping a few of some great cosplays, and of course, me and my friends.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sewing Projects Part Two: Corset Adventures

I've always wanted to try making my own corset. I'm not a huge corset person, but I like them, and enjoy wearing them. I figured, I'm a good seamstress, I should be able to do this.

Well, I can. But it wasn't easy! And while I am very pleased with the results, I probably won't be making another one any time soon.

Terrible picture, but it shows the corset well enough.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sewing Projects Part One: Miscellaneous Projects

I've been sewing a lot lately! I did a couple of commissions, and quite a few personal projects as well. Here is what I've affectionately named the "Constellation Jumperskirt".

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I finally brought cupcakes to work! My job just hired three new people (well, about two weeks ago, -__-;;) so I decided to bring some cupcakes to celebrate. I wanted to try something new, but also something that people would like, so I opted for a chocolate chip mint recipe that I haven't used before, from the book Crazy About Cupcakes.

I topped them with a green-tinted cream cheese frosting flavored with peppermint extract and mini chocolate chips mixed in. They were decorated with Andes mints--suggested by my creative husband.

June Meetup Roundup: Int'l Lolita Day, High Tea, and Ramen

Hello everyone! Life is busy, as always, but here's your update for the month of June. (I'm pretty bad about this if I only post once a month, haha.) There were two Lolita events this month worth mentioning, a trip to Extraordinary Desserts for International Lolita Day, and then a meetup for ramen. It was supposed to be ramen and karaoke, but we ended up going to the county fair instead! Read on for the full run-down...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Another Late Post: Easter Picnic

Back in April, the local Lolita group decided to have a big picnic and Easter egg hunt at the park. I made "bird's nest" cupcakes to go with the spring theme.

Photo courtesy Gigaventure
Read on for coordinate and more cupcake pictures.

ComCom 2012: My First Visit to Mexico!

In March, the Tijuana Lolitas had BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT as a special guest for the Tijuana anime convention, ComCom! I decided this would be my first trip to Mexico--sounds like a pretty good reason, right?

Me and the BABY SF shop staff!

Read on for outfits and a little more about my exciting trip.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Victorian Picnic

Yesterday the local Lolita group had a picnic at a park in the historical district--it was a lovely grassy area surrounded by restored Victorian houses. I made chai-flavored cupcakes for the event, and even managed to drag my husband along for fun.

Outfit and more about the cupcakes after the jump.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Please Don't Kill Me, Banana

So for the last year or so I've been pretty convinced I'm allergic to bananas. Last spring, I started noticing that my throat would seize up and start hurting after eating a raw banana, and my lungs would feel like I was having an asthma attack. For science, I decided to experiment on myself. I would go a few more days, try another banana, and then when it happened again I'd give the rest of the banana to my roommate and go cry in the corner because bananas were one of my favorite fruits.

To be fair, I've never actually gotten professionally tested for a latex or banana allergy (they're related) so it could all be in my head, but ever since then I've avoided raw bananas. Lucky for me, something about the way bananas are on a chemical level means that when they are cooked, the allergen breaks down and doesn't cause an adverse reaction. Thank goodness I can still eat banana bread!

You may be wondering what this exposition on my crazy body has to do with the picture of funny-looking cookies. Obviously what I'm really leading up to are baked goods with banana in them. Since I can only have banana in a fully cooked form without wanting to tear out my lungs and throw them out the window, I find ways to slip bananas into my baking as often as I can. My husband gets scared whenever I eat any form of banana, but so far so good!

The other half of this story is the 3.5 ounces of ground cardamom I ordered off of Amazon. After deciding that the prices at the grocery store for cardamom were ridiculous, my husband looked up other alternatives, and Amazon delivered. I now have a rather large jar full of cardamom in my spice cupboard, and not enough chai-flavored recipes. I'm making chai cupcakes this weekend for a picnic, but today I decided to make these bizarre little treats...

These hilarious-looking cookies are amazingly tasty. They are surprisingly healthy, too! I got them from another blog, a healthy food blog (how unlike mine...) called burpees in the kitchen. You can find the recipe here. Seriously, go try them. They are all full of chai and banana and chocolate and awesome.

(Goodness, and here I thought I would never get around to having a post that warranted a "healthy" tag. What have I done!)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day~

It's the 29th of February, which some people consider a pretty special day. For me, it's just an excuse to pretend it's another holiday. My watch thinks it's March 1st, but I guess it isn't sophisticated enough to know that it's a Leap Year. The whole concept of a Leap Year is pretty silly to me, but they had to make it work somehow. And now we have a special day that only comes every four years. Maybe this can be an excuse for more cupcakes.
leap year is a year containing one additional day in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, a calendar that had the same number of days in each year would, over time, drift with respect to the event it was supposed to track. By occasionally inserting an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected. (Wikipedia.)
I'm going to use today as an excuse to catch up on all of the outfits I wore in January and February. And tomorrow, I'll have some updates on commissions and a bit of exciting (to me, anyway) news!

 Four outfits past the jump...

Peanut Butter Cupcakes & Green Smoothies (Not Together, Don't Worry)

Yesterday I made Peanut Butter cupcakes for my husband's "work anniversary" (celebrating his first year at the company) since peanut butter is one of his favorite flavors.

I made two different frostings--chocolate fudge, and marshmallow--so that there were both "Peanut Butter Cup" and "Fluffer-nutter" cupcakes to choose from. He said that the chocolate ones were more popular, but I personally liked the marshmallow frosting the best. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't make them any prettier, but neither of the frostings were appropriate for a piping bag. 

Unrelated to cupcakes, I've been drinking a lot of green smoothies. My friend made something he called "Monster Juice" (to get his kids to drink it) with pineapple and spinach, which I thought was pretty good. I made my own version, which I know put together a couple of times a week. Recipe under the cut!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop Internet Censorship

In honor and solidarity of the widespread Internet blackout, I'm spreading awareness of the idiotic SOPA and PIPA acts. For more information, check out, or use Wikipedia's only open webpage to contact your representative.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Homemade Orange Syrup

I bought a big bag of those cute little clementines a few weeks ago, and for some reason, never got around to eating them. Last week, I thought, what am I going to do with these stupid oranges? So I decided to make clementine juice.

After squeezing fifteen or so teeny little oranges, I had about a cup of orange juice. Not nearly enough to bother drinking. So what else could I do with it? I decided to make something that would keep for a while, and be useful in desserts--orange syrup!

I got ideas from other recipes, but the final version is all my own. Check it out under the jump!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Long Overdue Wedding Post

I can't believe I haven't actually posted pictures from my wedding yet! For some reason, I thought I already had, but that was only the Lolita outfit from after the wedding, not actual wedding photos. Bad me.

Well, put on your big girl pants, because this is going to be a picture-heavy post. I might get a bit gooey and silly by the end of it, what with all the romantic memories. Oh, and you'll finally get to see what my husband looks like, since I mention him in almost every post...

Here we go!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hey, it's January.

So I survived the holidays! My sister came down from Washington to visit, and we had a lot of fun hanging around Southern California. We went to SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and hiked the trails near my apartment. It was really awesome having her around, but I was so exhausted afterwards that I did pretty much nothing (other than clean) for days afterwards.

We didn't go to many holiday parties, so I didn't have as many chances to bake as I thought I would. I did make some champagne cupcakes with pomegranate liqueur frosting for a New Year's Eve party, but I completely forgot to take pictures! They did turn out pretty good, but the cake was surprisingly dense, which was actually a little off-putting.

Earlier in the month, I went to a big Lolita meetup, and then to a smaller local one, and wore Lolita to the New Year's party, so at least I have a few outfits to show for the holiday season!

More pictures and outfit details after the jump~

New Etsy Shop!

I've never really made things that I wasn't planning on keeping for myself, but this weekend I made a lovely waist cincher in colors that just aren't me. I decided to open an Etsy webshop to sell it, and hopefully sell some more handmade items and commissions.

Le Gateau a la Mode Shop

More pictures here...