Monday Mélange: Everyday Vices

Rainy Mondays are just cruel. I woke up this morning to my alarm and could have sworn it was 5 a.m because it was that dark outside. But no – just a downpour. It’s days like this – and weeks like these – that make it really hard to stay focused and driven. With only about a month and a half of school left, I indulge in a few of my daily vices to keep me going:

1) Cupcakes. They’re pretty, always delicious, and make me smile. This past weekend, I was visiting friends from Paris in D.C. We stopped by Baked and Wired for one of D.C.’s most famous cupcakes. The long line moved pretty quickly, and even the memory of this strawberry cupcake is brightening my day.

Strawberry cupcake, Baked and Wired | netflix & nutella

2) Friday Night Lights. I fell in love with this show my senior year of high school, and rewatching it from the beginning is the perfect distraction. Riggins is so damaged but lovable, and I find myself easily falling in love with him again every episode. All the seasons are available on Netflix.

Friday Night Lights | netflix & nutella

3) New York State of Mind. I’m using one of my favorite websites, Serious Eats, to make a list of bakeries, restaurants, and bars I have to try this summer when I’m back in NY. I’m having serious cabin fever, so daydreaming of pizza, great baguette, and Shake Shack will do for now.

Serious Eats, NY | netflix & nutella

4) The Notebook. This soundtrack always puts me at ease and helps me focus on work.

5) Shopping. I can’t help it. After doing some spring cleaning, I’m realizing that having that same blouse from the 9th grade probably means it’s ok for me to do a little upgrading. Instead of splurging on 10 items at Forever 21, I’m trying to me more aware of the fact that being in my 20’s means investing in some essentials. So even though I get less bang for my buck, these classic pieces will last. P.S. Macy’s is having an awesome shoe sale… don’t mind if I do!

Steve Madden sandals | netflix & nutella

*The Food Network. It’s supplementary to the top 5 because – who am I kidding – nothing can compare. Even as background music to doing laundry, the Food Network makes me smile. What better vice is there?

Pioneer Woman | netflix & nutella

Every February, I’ll be your Valentine.

I’ve been playing the Glee version of “Firework” too much this weekend on repeat. Since tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day, I decided to bake. Seeing as I have been extremely sick, had 5 hours of sleep 2 nights ago because I had to wake up for a Habitat for Humanity trip, and then babysat until 12:30 last night, I decided that a lazy day to myself was exactly what I needed. Lazy being the operative word. I went the Duncan Hines route today, but I’m really happy with the results. At school tomorrow, the seniors (me included) are meeting up with 4th graders. We have this kind of buddy system thing. But anyways, I made frosting filled cupcakes. They turned out so well! I watched this video to see how to do it. I didn’t even use a pastry bag for this. I did her cutting method. I’ll explain it step by step. Enjoy, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

1) Make the cupcakes of your choice. Let them cool completely.

2) Dye vanilla frosting color of choice. For this bubble gum pink color, I did 2 drops of dye for a little more than half of the container of frosting. Make sure that your frosting is NOT the whipped kind.

3) With a paring knife, cut a circle around the center of the cupcake at an inward angle.

Example of the cone shaped piece cutout

4) Put a small dollop of icing in the hole you made.

5) Put the lid bag on

6) Gently push down on all of the lids and immediately place in the freezer on a baking sheet (I used the one from my toaster). Leave for a few minutes.

A picture of the inside after a bite. The top got a little messed up because this one wasn't cold enough.

8) Frost the cupcakes. If you microwave the frosting in a measuring cup in 5 second intervals stir at the 5 second mark, it's easier to spread. The consistency should be slightly less than what it was in the container. Frost with a knife/back of a fork.