Are you a big fan of red velvet cupcakes? I am! This summer I decided to do some baking for my birthday. We went camping with the family and I wanted to create something extra special. Believe-it-or-not, I’d never made red velvet cupcakes from scratch before.
They turned out fabulous! The cake was moist and the cream cheese frosting had the perfect tangy-ness to it. My only regret was that it was very hot in my kitchen and the pretty frosting melted. As soon as I noticed it falling, (after meticulously frosting them with a decorating gun) I placed them in the refrigerator to cool and set up.
They were a big hit! A few people were fighting over them and Dustin, my husband wanted lots more. I found the cute matching red sprinkles at a local shop called Pumpkin Seed Bulk Food. The Pumpkin Seed has lots of different spices and baking supplies at really good prices.
I found the recipe from Allrecipes.com. I looked at a few different ones, but this one seemed the easiest and had the best reviews. Once I was done, I felt very proud of myself because they looked as great as they tasted. (Sometimes it doesn’t turn out that way.) Here are the ingredients:
Red Velvet Cupcakes
-2 1/2 cups flour
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 cup butter, softened
-2 cups sugar
-1 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup milk
-1 (1 ounce) red food color
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
-1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
-1/4 cup butter, softened
-2 tablespoons sour cream
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1 (16 ounce) box of confectioners sugar
Head on over to All Recipes for all the instructions to make them!
Some Tips From A Gal Who Made Them
-Make sure you ice them in a cool place or else the icing will melt and look ugly!
-Use lots of red food coloring for the red color to show up.
-Don’t over-mix the cake or else it won’t rise.
-Buy some pretty nonpareils (round sprinkles).
Let me know if you try them! Have you made red velvet cupcakes before?
Love & Laughter,
P.S. The fun white tree trunk display was purchased from T.J. MAXX. We used it and others for my little sister’s Alice In Wonderland bridal shower!
While staying at The Yellow House, we took all day Saturday, May 30th to explore Asheville, North Carolina. Unfortunately I had a lot of writing to do, so after we finished breakfast on the porch of the inn, we drove to a coffee shop in downtown Asheville.
Waking Life Espresso was exactly what we needed to get our work done while in the mountains. This little coffee shop is located in a remodeled house and is light filled and airy. In the front there are bar seats and in a smaller room in the back there are couches and a table. The coffee was no-frills and especially delicious. To see how serious they are about their coffee, watch this video.
I worked on my articles and Dustin just hung out. (Perhaps working? I’m not sure.) At about 2:00pm, we drove the ten minutes to The Biltmore, the main attraction for the day.
When I was a little girl, I remember visiting The Biltmore. This mansion is known as the largest privately owned house in the United States. It’s interesting because Dustin had also been there with his parents when he was eighteen. We remembered bits and parts (like the indoor swimming pool) but wanted to go together. The Yellow House was about thirty minutes from Asheville, where The Biltmore is located.
The price tag was enough to shy us away, but we decided since we were close we should go. My love for interiors and art history really helped to sway the decision to drop the $120 ($60 per ticket) and spend the day there. I also used my vacation money to buy the tickets.
Words and pictures really don’t do this place justice. It took hours to tour and there was a room dedicated to arranging flowers. The Vanderbilt’s, who owned the home, were fascinating people who loved art and each other. An example of architecture from The Gilded Age, the mansion has 252 rooms.
Pictures and videos are prohibited of the inside. George Vanderbilt shared a love for technology and entertaining guests. It was really interesting to see the parallels between the couple, George and Edith, and us. He loved technology and had electricity throughout the home and Edith loved books and taking care of guests. You should see her library! It reminded me of the library in Beauty and the Beast! This couple was madly in love and took the best care of those they employed. Even the servants quarters were nice!
Dustin and I found ourselves staring on multiple occasions at the craziness of it all. The massive dining room had three fireplaces and there were separate rooms dedicated to guns, smoking, and games. I personally loved seeing the restored furniture and paintings by famous artists.
You can easily spend more than a day at The Biltmore. Along with the mansion, there is shopping, dining, a winery, hiking trails, gardens, and entertainment. There are hotels on site and even tours for taking horseback rides. We didn’t have enough time to see everything, but after going through the mansion we enjoyed the gardens for a bit. We drove over to Antler Hill Village where there were shops and a winery. While there, there was also live music in the center gazebo.
We brought our own snacks and got an appetizer at Cedric’s Tavern located at the Antler Hill Village. We had hoped to eat dinner at Cedric’s, but after seeing the menu, nothing seemed that good. The place was over-priced. Since we were hungry and still had more to see, we ordered an appetizer. It was way too salty and not very good. After wasting $20 on an appetizer and water, we asked for our bill.
The winery wasn’t anything too special. We tried a few wines but didn’t like waiting in line. (Wine tasting is free with your ticket.) After buying a book about the mansion, we left to eat somewhere outside of the park.
Overall, it was a really neat experience. A $60 ticket only included admission to the mansion and property. The audio tour was an additional amount and there were other behind-the-scenes tours we didn’t take. I felt that the $60 ticket was fine for us. We saw plenty and I purchased a book to learn even more.
Dustin and I said we loved it, but wouldn’t go back anytime soon. It was one of those places that you go once and don’t need to keep going back. I would like to see it decorated for Christmas though. The property was very romantic.
In the future, we’d go back if we had kids. It’s one of those places that’s so out of this world, but very expensive. If you plan on going, eat ahead of time or bring snacks. We left and ate at an amazing place called The White Duck Taco.
While walking about, we acted like we owned the place. We laughed and told stories about our day to day lives as millionaires. It was fun to dream.
Above, Dustin always carrying my purse while I take pictures. Haha.
You could go and spend a day just going through the gardens. It felt like I was transported into the book The Secret Garden. It was hot and we were hungry so we only walked a short ways and drove the rest. I don’t usually suggest buying more than a one day ticket, but for The Biltmore, it would be worth it.
This stop on May, 30th was one of our favorite places on our Southern Road Trip. To see an overview of all we did on this vacation, click here!
Have you been to Asheville? Have you seen the massive Christmas tree at The Biltmore?
I am so so super excited you’re taking the time out of your day to check out my new blog, Poeticlaughter. As a THANK YOU I’ve decided to launch with a $50 gift card giveaway from my favorite store, Sephora. Along with the gift card, you’ll also receive a 45-minute custom makeover. All you have to do is check out the Rafflecopter giveaway below and do the suggested actions to get entered. After a month, I’ll be announcing the winner here and on my Facebook page. The gift card also comes with an adorable little makeup mirror. Best of luck to you! Feel free to click around and learn about makeup, beauty, and life, all through the lens of love. If you’re new, click here to learn more about what you’re in for.
One of my all-time favorite things to do is send others snail mail. There’s just something about a handwritten letter that makes life seem worth living. I began sending cards when I was in college and now I use every excuse to send cards, letters, and small packages. When I began thinking of beginning this blog, I wanted it to be a space where women could be encouraged and inspired to bring a little sunshine into the world.
My great grandma is in her 90s and lives in Florida. I try to visit as much as I can but haven’t seen her since last May. Unfortunately, she has really bad hearing and a phone call is difficult. About a year ago, I began writing her little cards and notes to update her on our life. Little did I know that it became such a special thing for her. When she’s at home, she can get bored and lonely. A little fun card in the mail or a small package really makes her day seem magical.
It’s also helped me think outside of myself. Sometimes we can become so self-centered. This little habit of writing a card to my grandma helps me remember to be thankful for what I have and where I’m at in life.
For this month, I was inspired by “a box of sunshine” that I saw on Pinterest. A few years ago a friend was dealing with some really scary stuff and had to have brain surgery. While she was recovering I grabbed anything yellow that I thought she’d enjoy at the store and packaged it up. It meant a lot to her and I’m sure it made her smile. As the sun began peeking out of the clouds this month, I decided to send other boxes of sunshine to my great grandma, grandma, and little sister-in-law.
Here are the items I included in my happy mail packages:
-Juicy Fruit Gum
-Yellow Washi Tape
-Wooly Willy Toys (Remember these?)
Most the items were less than $1 and the bright yellow bag was only 25 cents at Walmart. I used the bags to gather the materials inside an envelope to mail out. They look like little goodie bags. You can also purchase yellow shredded paper to add some fun to the package. A little does go a long way though! (We had it everywhere in the house and had to keep the kitties from eating it) Yellow shredded paper filler is available at the dollar tree. I had at least 1/2 the bag left after putting together these happy mail packages.
When I was putting together the happy mail packages, I tried to think of each person. Would they enjoy a notebook? How would they use the printable? My grandma reads her Bible every morning and likes to use bookmarks. This fun little printable can help hold her place or she can put it up on the fridge. I also know my great grandma loves chocolate. She would be someone that would love the Reese’s Egg.
I picked out the two printable’s I found on Pinterest. I simply typed “free spring printable” and these came up! When looking for a printable, make sure they really are free and always give credit to whom you use them from.
Can you think of someone in need of a little spring cheer? This type of happy mail project is simple and doesn’t need to cost a lot. I choose to print the printables at the UPS store on cardstock but you can do it right at home. Also, it’s fun to have a sense of humor about the gift too! The Wooly Willy boards are fun and quirky. I picked them up at Walmart in their Easter section.
Other ideas of items to include:
You can include as much (or as little) as you’d like in your happy mail gift. As you can see by the pictures, you can mix and match items and find the perfect fit for the recipient. I placed the goodies in my yellow bags and then tucked them into bubble mailers. I think shipping for a few light items will be between $3-4. I also wrote cards and included a fun few photographs. Whenever Walgreens has a picture printing deal (less than 10 cents each) I buy a lot of photos of our house, us, the cats, etc. My great grandma loves to get pictures of us since she doesn’t use Facebook or other social media.
If you’d like to give more happy mail, keep a list of items you’d like to send/receive on your iPhone or in your wallet. As you shop at the Dollar Tree or Target, keep an eye out for sale and clearance items that you can add to your happy mail stash. The more items you have acquired, the cheaper and easier the process of sending mail will be. I always keep an eye out for sale bubble mailers with pretty designs and buy tissue paper in bulk! If you can’t think of anyone you know personally that needs Happy Mail, call your local nursing home or church and ask for referrals. Chances are, there are widows or others in need that you can give happy mail to!