Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts
Irresistibly Fun and Easy Gingerbread Cupcakes

Irresistibly Fun and Easy Gingerbread Cupcakes

It's been a while since I shared a new cupcake recipe with you! I've been working on this gingerbread cupcake recipe for a few weeks, and have been doing lots of taste testing haha! This is the perfect holiday party recipe, because the cupcakes are such a traditional Christmas dessert flavor, but in a new form. I also love that when I serve them as mini cupcakes they're so easy for people to eat in a party setting.

What I found interesting in making these cupcakes is that I needed to tone down the traditional spices quite a bit compared to what you would find in a gingerbread cookie recipe. Now they're still definitely present, prominent and flavorful, but not overwhelming.

My other "secret" ingredient is coffee. I tested this recipe with milk, buttermilk, water, eggnog (not even kidding haha!), and coffee. They all turned out well, but using coffee added a delicious level of richness and depth to the gingerbread flavor that I loved.

Aren't the sprinkles on these so fun? I can't not mention them, because I think they're so cute! They're such a perfect finishing touch and really elevate the final product. When I served these cupcakes this past weekend, so many people commented on how cute the sprinkles are. 

Makes approximately 12 regular cupcakes or 36 mini cupcakes

Gingerbread Cupcake Ingredients: 

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup coffee
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients: 

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
8 oz full-fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar


Preheat the oven to 350, and line two mini cupcake tins with liners.

Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through cloves, and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, molasses and coffee, mixing until combined. Your batter will look kind of piecy at this stage, and that's ok! It will all come together in the next step.

Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing on low speed until just combined and making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl often.

Fill mini cupcake liners about 2/3 full each of the batter, and bake for 7-9 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting: beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing on low. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

At this point you can add a little more powdered sugar if the frosting needs to be thicker, or a little bit of milk if it's too thick. Beat on high for a few minutes to fluff up the frosting, and then fill a piping bag and frost your completely cooled cupcakes.

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Kirsten Bell
25 Festive Dresses You Will Love For The Holidays

25 Festive Dresses You Will Love For The Holidays

You all probably know by now how much I love dresses. They're so pretty and feminine, and my big secret? Super easy to throw on and look semi-put together because it's just one piece haha!

I especially love a new dress or two for the holidays when we have so many parties, dinners and get togethers! So today I'm sharing 25 perfectly festive holiday dresses with you. I organized them by price, so you can find the dress of your Christmas dreams!

Ok so actually there are 26 dresses in here, if you count the one I'm wearing. Consider it a freebie ;) My navy dress falls into the $100 and under category, FYI!

You might remember this dress from our trip to Paris this past summer, and one of the things I love about all the dresses listed is that they are totally not specific to the holidays. You can easily wear them for date nights, weddings, drinks with friends, a few of these would even work for the office!

Want to save this list for later? You can easily pin it for later using the graphic at the bottom of the post!

 $100 And Under

 $150 And Under

$200 And Under

$250 And Under

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Kirsten Bell
More Magic For Less Money: Beautiful Bargain Holiday Decor

More Magic For Less Money: Beautiful Bargain Holiday Decor

I love decorating for the holidays! As a kid the Christmas season seemed to start on the day we got our Christmas tree. My dad would turn on the Christmas music for the first time in 11 months, my mom would put out some homemade cookies and snacks, and we would all help to hang ornaments on the tree. It was so much fun, and now I see decorating the house for Christmas as a way to kick off the season.

That being said, holiday decor can also get pretty pricey, pretty fast! So today I'm sharing with you some fun and festive Christmas decor that won't break the bank. I also included, at the end, some of my favorite investment pieces. These are items with a bit of a higher price point, but things that I've owned for years and I know stand the test of time.

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Kirsten Bell
Chewy and Spicy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Chewy and Spicy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Who's ready for some holiday cookie-ing?? I know I am! There is just something about soft molasses cookies, isn't there? These cookies are chewy, soft and spicy - and are a seriously easy molasses cookie recipe! I love a cookie that can be ready in under 25 minutes, don't you?

If you want to pin this recipe, I've included an easy to pin image at the bottom of the post! That way you can easily save it for later!

Molasses cookies are one of my dad's favorites, and he would sometimes pick some up for an afternoon snack for us kids growing up. We would come home and he'd have cookies and tea waiting for us, and it was so much fun! We never knew when it would happen, which added to the fun! So molasses cookies have a very special place in my heart now too! Maybe it's genetic because Charlotte was also pretty obsessed haha!


2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon sugar for rolling
1/3 cup molasses
1 large egg


Preheat the oven to 375. Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt, and set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg, mixing until combined. Add the flour mixture in two batches, mixing until just combined. Form tablespoon size balls, and roll each ball in sugar before placing on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Cookies will be done when they're cracked on top - mine were perfect at 9 minutes.

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Kirsten Bell
It's Here! The Ultimate 2018 Gift Guide

It's Here! The Ultimate 2018 Gift Guide

We may still be a few days away from December, but I'm officially declaring it the most wonderful time of the year! It's time for shimmering snow flurries, hot toddies and Josh Groban's holiday album on full blast! (just me?)

While I love all the festivities (and cookies), this can also be a pretty stressful time of year for people. There can be so much pressure to find perfect gift ideas for everyone, while also balancing the usually overloaded social calendar.

But never fear! I've rounded up my favorite Christmas presents for everyone on your list, from gift ideas for men to your bestie! And maybe even a little something for yourself - go on, treat yo'self! Most of the items on the list are below $100 - no sticker shock here! So grab your corn for popping, cozy up under your favorite blanket, and get shopping!

For The Luxe Lover

1.Voluspa Macaron Candle Set // 2. Bow Ponytail Holder // 3. Bow Threader Earrings // 4. Madewell Cashmere Sweater // 5. Halo Pendant Necklace // 6. Diptique Carousel & Candle Set // 7. Kate Spade Shoulder Bag  // 8.  Slip Sleep Mask  // 9. Cubic Zirconia Earrings 10. Fresh Vitamin C Glow Mask 

For The Wine Drinker

1. Corkcicle Stemless Wine Glass // 2. Pottery Barn Wine Decanter // 3. Pottery Barn Wine Bottle Coaster  // 4. White Marble Wine Cooler // 5. Monogram Wood Cheese Board // 6. Rosé Candy // 7. Copper Cheese Knives // 8. Rabbit Velvet Champagne Set // 9. Wine Infused Sea Salts // 10. Wine Aroma Tasting Set

For The Home Body

1. Monogram Mug // 2. Ugg Socks // 3. Faux Fur Throw // 4. Aromatherapy Diffuser // 5. Ugg Slippers // 6. Voluspa Candle Set // 7. Bath Bomb Set // 8. Chocolate Gift Set  // 9. Kate Spade Pajama Set // 10. Hot Chocolate Sampler

For The Beauty Queen

1. Herbivore Self Love Kit // 2. Beautybio Bright Eyes Set // 3. Mario Badescu Facial Spray Set // 4. Fresh Facial On The Fly // 5. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Palette  // 6. Slip For Beauty Sleep Pillowcase // 7. Lancome Mini Mask Trio // 8. Amika Not So Basics Hair Set // 9. Philosophy Shower Gel // 10. First Aid Beauty Skincare Set

For The Boss Babe

1. Boss Lady Mug // 2. Lady Boss Candle // 3. Decision Paperweight // 4. Press For Champagne Watercolor // 5. Business Card Holder // 6. Brilliant Ideas Workbook / 7. Paris Stationary Cards // 8. Rose Gold Office Supplies Set // 9. Meeting Notebook // 10. Desk Charging Station

For The Baking Enthusiast

1. Mixing Bowl With Pour Lip // 2. Floral Embossed Rolling Pin // 3. Gold Measuring Cups & Spoons // 4. Silicone Madeleine Pan // 5. Ruffled Pie Dish // 6. Cuisinart Hand Mixer // 7. World Vanilla Extract Set // 8. Dessert Of The Day Cookbook // 9. Dessert & Baking Salts // 10. Bakers Gonna Bake Mug

For The Men In Your Life

1. IPA Beer Shampoo & Conditioner // 2.  Bose Bluetooth Speaker // 3. Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit // 4. Whisky Rocks // 5. Bubble Wrap Calendar // 6. Yeti Insulated Travel Mug // 7. Mini BBQ Rub Set // 8. Sonos Playbar Soundbar // 9. Campfire Games // 10. Math Mug //

Extra Bonus: Stocking Stuffers They'll Love!

1. Diptique Mini Candle Set // 2. Jo Malone Gift Set // 3. L'Occitane Shea Butter Set // 4. Fresh Sugar Lip Set // 5. Lucia Soap Set // 6. Slipsilk Hair Ties // 7. Philosophy Hand & Cuticle Cream // 8. Kiehls Lip Balm Trio // 9. Gemstone Beaded Bracelet // 10. Luna Facial Cleansing Brush // 11. Butter Crew Socks

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Kirsten Bell
10 Ways To Spread Kindness This Holiday Season

10 Ways To Spread Kindness This Holiday Season

We're about to move into the holiday season, are you ready? When I realize Christmas is six weeks away, I'll be honest, my heart goes into a bit of a panic! But this year, I'm switching gears a little bit and really focusing on gift giving in a different light. When I think about what the holiday season is about, regardless of which specific holiday everyone celebrates, it's really about spreading love and joy. So today I'm sharing 10 ways that we can all spread the gift of kindness and happiness.

1. Pay It Forward In The Drive Through Line

You never know who around you might be having a hard time, and sometimes the smallest of gestures can make a huge difference! Maybe the mom behind you in the coffee line is desperately tired, but feels guilty spending money on that tall latte. You just really never know!

2. Write A Thank You Letter

This week I wrote a note to Butte County Fire, thanking them for their work battling the fires down in California. I wish I could write one to every single firefighter, but that's obviously not realistic. You could also write a thank you letter to your local postal worker, a teacher, pastor - really anyone who you appreciate and want to lift up a little bit!

If you're interested in writing a letter to Butte County Fire, their address is below:

176 Nelson Avenue
Oroville CA, 95965

3. Genuinely Compliment A Stranger

The key to this one is to be genuine. Don't compliment someone if you actually don't actually mean it! The other day I told my cashier at the grocery store that I really liked her nails, because I really did. You guys, her face lit up so fast! It's the little things. 

4. Bring Flowers To A Nursing Home or Hospital

I realize this one is a bit higher cost, but it could just be a $10 bouquet from Trader Joes or Safeway! When you deliver the flowers, you can ask the staff to give them to someone who hasn't received any flowers, or to be enjoyed in a common area. 

5. Deliver Homemade Baked Goodies To A Neighbor (Or Neighbors!)

This one is top of my list! I've been meaning to introduce myself to some new neighbors across the street for...two years. Oh my gosh. But this holiday season I'm going to do it! My mom used to bake goodies for new neighbors when I was growing up, and I think it's a really nice way to say that you're there if they ever need a cup of sugar (proverbial or literal haha!).

6. Tell Someone's Boss They're Doing A Good Job

So same as #3, make sure this is genuine. But how often do you have a really good experience with someone, be it the woman at the post office or a co-worker, and then move on with your day. Taking an extra two minutes to tell their boss that you really appreciate their work on whatever project will not only make them feel great, but it will probably also encourage them to keep up the good work!

7. Be The One To Shift A Negative Conversation

Sometimes this one can be really challenging and awkward. If you don't feel comfortable being the one to move a negative conversation, maybe just take it as a challenge to not participate. There's enough negativity floating around this world, no need to create more!

8. Volunteer At A Food Bank

There are so many people who need a little help, and I know that food banks and/or soup kitchens are always short-handed around the holidays. If you're really strapped for time, what about picking up a few extra nonperishable items on your next trip to the store, and dropping them off? I can't imagine how thankful I would be if I was having a hard time making ends meet.

9. Call Or Text A Friend To Let Them Know You're Thinking Of Them

One of my friends from college randomly texted me last week, and it was such a fun surprise! It literally put a smile on my face for the rest of the evening, because I hadn't talked with her in a really long time. It just felt nice to know that I was on her mind! How crazy simple is that? In fact, why don't you do it right now?

10. Give A Friend A Random Gift

So this is pretty similar in concept to #9, because the whole point is letting someone know that you're thinking about them, and that you care. When I get an unexpected gift, it tells me that they were thinking of me even if they didn't feel like they had to, and it honestly means that much more!

I hope this list has inspired you! Writing it sure has inspired me! You can forward this article to friends by using the share buttons below - how amazing would it be if everyone participated? Have a great last few weeks of 2018 everyone!

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Kirsten Bell
Delicious & Bright Cranberry Orange Muffins

Delicious & Bright Cranberry Orange Muffins

I feel like cranberries are the unsung hero of the fall baking world. Every time fall rolls around, I make my way down a pumpkin everything rabbit hole, and don't emerge until Christmas haha!

So this year I wanted to give this fun little berry some attention! These are the best cranberry orange muffins, and secretly way healthier than your average muffin. The tartness and natural sweetness of the cranberries allows for way less sugar, especially combined with the bright flavor of orange zest! You can find fresh cranberries in the store between October and December, but if you want to make these muffins in the off-season, frozen cranberries will do the trick.

The super secret weapon of this healthy muffin recipe? Spices! Cinnamon and cardamom are both sweet tasting spices, with no impact on the nutritional content.

Want to pin this recipe for later? Scroll to the bottom of the post to pin this recipe in seconds! 

In an effort to make a healthy muffin recipe, I also replaced half of the butter with coconut oil, to reap the benefits of this super healthy fat. The coconut taste doesn't actually come through at all, so if you don't love coconut, fear not! On the other hand, if you prefer to use all butter (or all coconut!), go for it!

Makes About 16 Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom 
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup pecans, chopped


Preheat the oven to 400, and grease a muffin tin. Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt and set aside. Combine the wet ingredients, zest through orange juice. Add the dry ingredients, stirring until the batter just comes together. The batter will be thick. Gently fold in the cranberries and pecans, and distribute the batter into the muffin tin. This recipe makes about 16 muffins. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the muffin tops spring back when touched.

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Kirsten Bell
A Warm Burgundy & Gold Thanksgiving Tablescape

A Warm Burgundy & Gold Thanksgiving Tablescape

This weekend we hosted our first Friendsgiving at our house, and I had so much fun setting the table for the event! Growing up my mom and aunt would always set beautiful tables for Thanksgiving (we alternated between households), and I love how it makes the dinner feel that much more special. Even though it took a little extra time to take out the china, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy a nice table is to create!

Funny story - you might notice that the flatware is reversed. Forks are supposed to go on the left, and knife on the right. I didn't realize that I had made an oops until our guests had already left and we were cleaning up! In a past life I would have been horrified, but you know what? We had a wonderful and fun dinner, and that's all that really matters at the end of the day! 

Decor Details: 
 Burgundy napkins, Our tablecloth was a gift, but similar here

I absolutely love these gold votives, which add so much warmth to the table! I also use them for our advent candles in Christmas, or really any time I want the table to feel a little special! Since my color scheme was gold and burgundy, I also pulled out our gold flatware, and gold chargers to help the lace china really pop (My china is currently on sale!). For this event I used these gold chargers, but oh my gosh I'm majorly obsessing over these gold lace chargers too! 

Call me old school, but I love everything about crystal. I love the look of it of course, but I also love the weight of it! For our dinner I used our Waterford wine glasses and vase. We definitely don't use our china and crystal every day, but it really elevates the table, and transforms a dinner into an event.

I hope everyone has fun planning fun and festive Thanksgivings over the next week!
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Kirsten Bell