Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pumpkin Bars + Cream Cheese Frosting!

It's been forever since I've posted a recipe on this blog, and since I tried a new Pinterest recipe for pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting last week I thought it would be the perfect seasonally appropriate recipe to share with my readers. You can find the original recipe here. I made a couple slight modifications to the original recipe, which I have starred below. These pumpkin bars are delicious with or without the cream cheese frosting and are super easy to make. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Bars:
-4 eggs
-1 2/3 cups sugar
-1 cup canola oil
-1 can pumpkin
-2 cups flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-3 heaping tsp cinnamon*
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-2 generous tsp pumpkin pie spice*

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9x13 baking dish
2. Mix eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with mixer until light and fluffy
3. Pour flour, powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice into a separate bowl and mix.
4. Pour flour mixture into pumpkin mixture and mix until batter is smooth
5. Pour batter into greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes
6. Wait until bars have completely cooled before frosting

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:
-1 stick butter softened
-1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat and it worked well)
-3/4 cup confectioners sugar
-1-2 tsp vanilla extract (I just used 1 tsp and it was plenty)

1. Combine cream cheese and butter in bowl and mix until smooth
2. Gradually add confectioners sugar until you reach desired consistency
3. Stir in vanilla

A couple notes:
-Instead of frosting the bars all at once before cutting them I kept the frosting in a separate container in the fridge and frosted each individual bar before eating. This is a good idea if you are going to be eating on the bars over a course of several days-I just feel like it helps them keep better. However, if you're going to be taking them to a party you can go ahead and frost the whole pan at once if you desire.
-I also stored the bars in the fridge to help them stay fresh longer.

fresh out of the oven

cut into bars

container of frosting

frosted and ready to enjoy!
Happy baking!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Favorites

Lilly Pulitzer Shorely Blue Leggy
Earlier this week I blogged about the need for an adorable koozie at tailgates, and this Lilly flamingo koozie is my new fave! Plus it matches my planner!

Polka Dots:
A couple weeks ago I found this precious polka dot pencil skirt at the Gap outlet. It is polished and professional looking while still being super cute. It can be appropriate for work, church, or going out.

Re-usable Shopping Bag:
On my recent trip to the Gap outlet I also got this bright pink Gap tote bag as part of a promotion. It is 100% nylon and folds up into a little pouch like their anoraks.  

Metallic Nail Color:
OPI Totally Fort Worth It
I am loving this pretty silver nail color from OPI and painted my nails with it earlier this week.

Coffee Table Book:
This gorgeous book focuses on multiple aspects of the football experience in the SEC: the game itself, game day attire, tailgating tips, and more. While researching Gridiron Belles the author traveled to all twelve SEC stadiums on game day so that she could depict the unique atmosphere at each school. Although it does not include my beloved Tar Heels and even though I'm more of a basketball fan I do admire SEC fans' fierce dedication to their football teams. And your team allegiance doesn't have to be with the SEC in order to appreciate the Southern past-time of tailgating! 

Have a great weekend y'all!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Featured Outfit

Here's one of my favorite early fall outfits I've pulled together recently. I added a grey cardigan and cowgirl boots to a yellow Lilly mini skirt to make it work for the transition into fall.
Cardigan: J.Crew; Cami: Banana Republic outlet; Skirt: Lilly Pulitzer (from Summer 2011 collection); Boots: Ariat Heritage Western R-toe; Earrings: Kate Spade; Pearls: Honora; Ring: Lilly Pulitzer


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wish List Wednesday

Lilly Pulitzer North Carolina print Murfee Scarf 
I love Lilly's North Carolina scarf from their State Prints collection-lots of pink and the light blue in the print will look great against a solid Carolina blue shirt or sweater for game days.

Lilly Pulitzer Hart Top in Hotty Pink Tusk In Sun
I'm still loving this top in the precious elephant print from Lilly's Fall 2012 collection and I'm hoping it makes its way into my closet eventually!

by Kathryn Livingston
The release date for this book is over a month away (November 6) but anticipation is already building, especially since it was originally supposed to come out this past summer. I will definitely want to add this book all about my favorite designer to my personal library.

Kate Spade Love Notes Bow Ring
I want a fun cocktail ring that will go with everything and this adorable bow ring from Kate Spade is perfect!

Swoozie's Casserole Carrier
I have been eyeing this two-compartment casserole carrier from Swoozies for awhile. It can be personalized as well!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tailgate Time!

As a follow-up to yesterday's post on Game Day Style, I thought I would share a few of my favorite tailgating essentials:

Whether it's beer, coke, or a water bottle an adorable koozie like this Lilly Pulitzer Dirty Shirley print is a must!

I love my Lilly bottle opener that comes with the insulated cooler 

These are the comfiest tailgate chairs. I'd love to get this UNC one at some point!

A personalized picnic basket like this one from Swoozie's is great for transporting goodies!

A Tervis Tumbler featuring your school's design is a great way to show your team spirit!

A Chick-fil-A Fruit Tray is one of my all-time favorite tailgate foods. I especially love the caramel sauce for dipping that it comes with!

Pimento Cheese is another great tailgate snack. I really like Palmetto Cheese but also enjoy making it myself using a great recipe

Yummy baked dessert like these congo squares

Spirited snacks like these Limited Edition UNC Pop Tarts

Of course these are just a few of my favorite tailgate essentials and is by no means an exhaustive list! And the most important component of any tailgate is great people! What are your "must-haves" for tailgating?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Game Day Style

This past Saturday I attended my first football game of the season to watch UNC beat East Carolina, which was a much needed win for my Tar Heels! I wore one of my favorite outfits for a game day in Chapel Hill: my Lilly Pulitzer Balletta dress in Skye Blue Exbloomsion (from the Resort 2010 collection.) It is hard to find dresses that are a perfect match for Carolina blue but the colors in this print are close enough. I actually saw someone else at the game wearing this print in a shift dress.
I accessorized with a pearl necklace, my Kate Spade metropolitan pearl studs, vintage Ray-Bans with Lilly croakies, and a UNC face tattoo.
Better view of my face tattoo. This tattoo is actually a sticker-you don't need any water to apply and it peels right off at the end of the day.

Cute and comfortable shoes are a must for game day. I wore my silver Jack Rogers since they are the most broken-in of my Jacks and I prefer them if I know I'm going to be doing a bit of walking. Jacks are definitely my favorite shoes to complete a warm-weather game day ensemble. I would love to one day own a pair of these Carolina blue Jacks from their College Colors Collection:
Cowgirl boots are my other favorite shoe option for game day, but on a September afternoon in the 80s it was just a little too hot for them. 

I have two great purse options for game day-a Longchamp Le Pliage that is super close to Carolina blue and my Vineyard Vines classic UNC tote. This past Saturday I carried my Longchamp.
Longchamp Le Pliage
Vineyard Vines Classic Tote

I also had very spirited nails for game day thanks to Revlon making a polish that is pretty much an exact match to Carolina blue. It is #410 and is called "Dreamer." It doesn't apply as smoothly as my OPI polishes but it is still a great option for game day.

So that completes my outfit for this past game day. I will do another post that features one of my favorite game day outfits for when the weather gets cooler. 
Go Heels!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Elephant Appreciation Day

Today is Elephant Appreciation Day, according to my Lilly planner. In honor of this day, here are a few of my favorite elephant things:
Elephant Appreciation Day page in the Lilly Planner

The Lilly Pulitzer scarf designed to benefit the Amani Children's Foundation in Kenya features a pink elephant in the print! One of my favorite scarves!

Lilly Pulitzer picture frame in the Taboo print also features pink elephants!

A remnant of my Beanie Baby obsession from the '90s. Since I love elephants and Carolina blue I had to hang on to this one!

Happy Elephant Appreciation Day! (and first official day of fall too)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Favorites

I've been slack on Friday Favorites posts lately, but here I am again!

Fall Nail Color
OPI "Gouda Gouda Two-Shoes"
I love this neutral from the OPI Holland Collection released back in the Spring. The toned-down color is perfect for fall and will go with any outfit. It looks even better in person.

Fall Food
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix
I advocate baking from scratch as often as possible. However, this pumpkin muffin mix from Trader Joe's is simply amazing! Last weekend I welcomed Fall by baking these scrumptious muffins. They make the perfect breakfast or dessert. I like to add chocolate chips to the batter! 

"When you are down to nothing, God is up to something."
I saw this great quote on Pinterest, original source

Football season is here, so I have to give a shout-out to the cutest mascot ever: Rameses of UNC! Go Heels!

Polo Shirt:
Vineyard Vines makes the best classic solid polo shirt

iPhone App:
I recently discovered this great iPhone app that lets you keep track of books you've read as well as books you want to read. You can search for books in the database to add to your lists or if you find a book in the bookstore that you want to add to your to-read list the app lets you scan it with your phone so you can easily add it. You can also easily read reviews of books you want to read and rate and review books you've read. It's free in the iTunes store!

Have a great weekend y'all!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Outfit of the Day

Here's another great early fall transitional outfit I wore for dinner and fro yo with a friend who came to visit. Today was absolutely gorgeous and mild-no jacket necessary!
Cardigan: Lilly Pulitzer Caroline Cardigan; Tank top: Banana Republic outlet; Scarf: Lilly Pulitzer Murfee Scarf to benefit Amani Children's Foundation; Skirt: Gap outlet; Shoes: Jack Rogers gold Navajos; Earrings: Kate Spade Metropolitan Pearl Studs; Ring: Lilly Pulitzer Cherry Blossom Critter Ring

Hope y'all had a great Thursday!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Karen Kingsbury Firstborn Series

I have recently read another great series of books by Karen Kingsbury- the Firstborn Series. This series is a spin-off of the Redemption Series that I read earlier. While you can definitely read the Firstborn Series on its own I recommend reading the Redemption Series first.
The Firstborn Series features Dayne Matthews, Hollywood's heart throb of the moment. The first time he lays eyes upon small-town girl Katy Hart, the director of Christian Kids Theater in Bloomington, Indiana, he is drawn to her and enthralled by her innocent beauty. Dayne then invites Katy to fly out to LA and audition for the lead female role in his latest movie. The five books of the Firstborn Series chronicle the feelings Dayne and Katy have for one another, and their struggles to make their relationship work despite the fact they live in two completely different worlds. Another huge obstacle in their relationship is that Dayne does not share Katy's strong faith in Christ. In addition to the Dayne/Katy relationship saga, Katy's trials and triumphs directing the Bloomington Christian Kids Theater are a central part of the Firstborn Series. Katy lives with the Flanigan family, who have two kids involved in the theater group (including Bailey from Karen Kingsbury's later Bailey Flanigan series.) The Flanigans introduce Katy to the well-known Baxter family (from the Redemption Series) and she develops a friendship with them. Throughout the Firstborn Series, Kingsbury gives readers updates on the lives of the Baxters, including the discovery of their connection with Dayne Matthews, which unfolds throughout the series. I can't fully explain the plot lines of the series without revealing spoilers, so you will just have to read them for yourself. Like other Karen Kingsbury books, the Firstborn Series has inspirational messages and references to Scripture that will encourage you and help grow you in your faith. Here are the five Firstborn Series books-definitely read them in order:

Book One:

Book Two:

Book Three:

Book Four:

Book Five:

Have you read the Firstborn Series or any other Karen Kingsbury books? I highly recommend anything by this amazing author!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beauty Buy:The Best Top Coat

Essie Good To Go Fastest Drying Top Coat
I love having painted nails and I actually don't mind painting them, but I absolutely hate waiting for them to dry! I think that they are dry but then do something and mess them up because they weren't actually dry even though I soaked my hands in ice water for several minutes to harden the polish plus waited plenty of time afterwards. The most frustrating is when I paint my nails HOURS before bed then the next morning wake up to find imprints in the polish from the sheets. Well this great fast-drying top coat by Essie that I picked up at Ulta a few weeks ago alleviates that problem! This top coat is supposed to quickly dry multiple layers of polish and I have been very happy with it thus far! Also Essie Good To Go doesn't have the harmful chemicals that are in the popular fast-dry top coat Seche Vite. Plus it has a nice shiny finish. Now that I have discovered Essie Good To Go I will be painting my fingernails much more frequently because it won't be such a hassle. 

Have you ever tried Essie Good To Go Fastest Drying Top Coat? What is your favorite fast-dry top coat?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Early Fall Outfits

Here are a couple of favorite early fall outfits I've worn this week:
Top: Lilly Pulitzer Cassie Top Printed (from Fall 2011); Jeans: Citizens of Humanity Avedon skinny jeans; Shoes: Tory Burch Reva flats

Shirt: Lilly Pulitzer Printed Lexie Top (from Fall 2011); Cardigan: Lilly Pulitzer Caroline cardigan; Necklace: Honora pearls; Shorts: J.Crew 5-inch khaki chinos; Shoes: Ariat Heritage Western R-toe boots; Earrings: Lilly Pulitzer Cherry Blossom Critter Earrings

These outfits have been perfect for days with highs in the upper 70s. I miss summer of course but early fall days where I can throw on outfits like these without a jacket are really nice. Plus I enjoyed wearing my Citizens jeans, Tory Burch flats, and cowgirl boots again-all of which I rarely wear in the summer.