Raspberry Hot Chocolate Cupcakes


Over the holidays, I wanted to bring some yummy goodness into the office. While searching online, I found an amazing recipe on Your Cup of Cake for some delicious Raspberry Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

By following the recipe as so beautifully outlined on Miss Lizzie’s blog, I was able to create perhaps the most delicious cupcake EVER! 



Ingredients
Cake:
1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 C. oil
3/4 C. milk or buttermilk
1/2 C. plain yogurt or sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Filling:
1 Can SOLO Raspberry Pastry Filling
Chocolate Raspberry Buttercream:
1 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. raspberry flavored gelatin
1 Tbsp. milk
3-4 C. powdered sugar
Mini Marshmallows to decorate

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. Sift cake mix into a small bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl. combine eggs, oil, milk, sour cream and vanilla extract.
4. Stir in cake mix until smooth.
5. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minute or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
6. Buttercream: Beat butter for 2 minutes. Add cocoa powder, vanilla extract, gelatin and milk and mix until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.
7. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a knife to cut out a deep hole into each cupcake. Fill with a spoon full of SOLO raspberry filling.
8. Pipe buttercream over filling and top with mini marshmallows.



Needless to say everyone at work LOVED the cupcakes! I think most of the girls enjoyed them for breakfast even! 

P.S. For more information and better visuals on how to master these yummy cupcakes or for more awesome ideas check out  Your Cup of Cake blog. 

Enjoy! 

Stability Ball Desk Chair

Call me a hipster or tell my my desk chair looks like playground equipment, I don’t care (by the way, my boss actually said that! I love her)… but it doesn’t keep me from loving my new stability ball desk chair. 
( Check out the Erin Condren Planner cameo appearance. More on this gem later! )
I purchased this style of chair after rave reviews from my little sister (she has one at work too!) , research and feeling totally annoyed by the nagging pain in my lower back.  I like 80% of Americans  suffer from lower back pain. Fortunately, I choose to combat this annoyance with some good ole’ core strengthening instead of the traditional medication therapy alternative (ahem, I work in a medical office. They are good people!). 
During my research, I found loads of information on the benefits of using a balance ball and integrating it into your work day. Here are a few: 
1. Forces Spinal Alignment. Since the ball rolls around quite a bit, it forces you into proper posture as a result encouraging spinal health and decreasing back pain.
2. Causes you to change positions regularly. Every time you move, you adjust your balance. This reduces spinal damage from prolonged sitting. 
3. Stronger Core. Sitting up tall helps you strengthen your mid-section and helps reduce lower back pain. 
Once I realized the health benefits associated with purchasing a stability ball desk chair, I had to decide on the type… You would be surprised by all of the options, I am not EVEN kidding! Anyway, I made a list of criterion and set out to find the most perfect chair for me… My demands included:
– 30 inches above the ground to sit comfortably at my desk.
– extra support for the back to make the transition smoother.
– wheels so I can scoot around my office. 🙂
– under $100.
After several weeks of searching, I found the perfect chair. I mulled over the purchase for several more weeks just to make sure I wasn’t making a decision based on “trendiness” and then ended up snagging it. 
I am so glad I took the leap of faith and purchased the chair. After the first use, my back felt better after a long day of work. I know this alternative may not be for everyone but for me it’s been awesome!  

Holiday VoxBox

I received the coolest lil’ box of goodies from Influenster. 
The first item I pulled out of the box was the Goody QuikStyle Paddle Brush. This brush has super absorbent microfiber brushes that removes up to 30% of water as you style. After using for several days, I have the following opinions:
Pros: As marketed, the brush did help my hair dry quicker. The microfiber bristles did not tangle in my hair as I hand anticipated. 
Cons: The brush is heavier than my current hair brush. Also, the bristles are a bit coarse at first. 
Then I channeled my inner diva with  Kiss Nail Dress.  These nail “stickers” just require you to peel, apply and share for a manicure that lasts up to a week.
Pros: I am no master in the manicure department and was kind of freaked out when I received these little dudes. However, they were so easy to apply! Following, the finger nail application, I polished by toe nails and got a little bit of remover on them and they stayed perfect. SCORE!

Cons: The pattern is a bit bold for me so took some adjusting. 
              The following morning, I had a healthy breakfast with some Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal.  The cups allow you to enjoy breakfast on the go! 
Pros: Easy to prepare and travel. Healthy breakfast choice.
Cons: No negative remarks about this little medley of goodness.
After my breakfast, I needed a pick me up due to all of the holiday buzz and was able to sample EBoost. These packets improve focus, mood and immunity with natural ingredients. 
Pros: The price point is lower than say Zija or another natural energy drink mix. The flavor is also tastier. 
Cons: No Cons. 
After breakfast, I got dolled up and ready for some holiday festivities and by adding some shine to my holiday make-up routine with NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine. I’ve heard a lot about this brand from my cousin as she raves about the quality of product you receive for a low price so I was thrilled to try it out. 
Pros: The nude New York hue gave me a hint of color and a lot of shine. The gloss smells absolutely amazing and does not stick! 
Cons: No cons.
As you can see, I had an awesome time testing all of these amazing products and brands. You should pick your favorite product above and rush to the store for your own sampling. 🙂 


Although I received the box for review, all opinions are my own. 

{Closet Copy Cat} Skirts.

the Grant life
Natalia & Christie from Ma Nouvelle Mode and Kelley from the Grant Life are so creative. Each week Natalia sends a style inspiration directly to your inbox and challenges you to get creative with your closet. I LOVE IT! You should sign up for the challenge and link up with them on Thursdays! 

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This week I jumped back on the Closet Copy Cat bandwagon! The challenge featured a cute sequins outfit from the co-host Sandy a la Mode. But I don’t own an article of sequins (it is pretty though!) so I received my style inspiration from the cute little skirts she featured. 


Isn’t she adorable?!? 

Since I was feeling especially festive, I pulled out some winter skirts from the back of my closet and paired  them with tights and boots. 
Sweater: The Limited, Skirt: LL Bean (Gift), Boots: Tommy Hilfiger.


What do you think? 

{Christmas Gifts} A New Approach.

Over the past several years, I have developed a great love for the Haitian people. I have wanted many times to share this love with the blog world yet each time I sit down to crank out a post, words simply fail me. 
And honestly, I still don’t know what I want to say… I don’t know how to explain my love for these people.
But what I do know is that during this holiday season, I am acutely aware of all that I have and all that the Haitian people do not have… I am aware of every set of eyes I have looked into, every giggle I’ve heard from a Haitian child, every time a child has played with my hair because they have never felt “white people” hair before and every single time my sunglasses have been “stolen” for a picture. These images cannot be undone and that’s why my husband and I have asked Santa to help us continue to love on the Haitian community in lieu of gifts this year

You see, Haitians do not have the luxury of  expressing love through generous gift giving. All they have to offer is a relationship built on love. And because of their love for me, I am a better person.
I guess that’s why I cannot stop thinking about these little faces and considering how I can help them during this holiday season. Since J and I do not have unlimited resources and we cannot promise a village fresh water, we chose to encourage our friends and family to help us love on these people.

I’m sharing this post with you today to remind you not to lose focus on the true meaning of the season  and encourage you to connect with some sort of charitable organization in 2013 by pouring into the lives of others. No matter what that looks like for you, I can assure you, the love that you will receive will far outweigh the love you know how to give.

P.S. If you think you might like to give abroad and help the people of Haiti, let me know in the comments section and I would be more than happy to give you some advice based on my experiences.

Pineapple Cheese Ball

Do you need a quick and easy recipe to help you get through the holiday season? If so, try this!! 
My friend shared her mom’s cheese ball recipe with me last week and I tried it out at a couple of social gatherings this weekend. It was a huge success! Everyone loved it (even dates haters!). 
Ingredients

2 pkgs of cream cheese
1 tablespoon of mayo
1/4 cup of onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup of crushed pineapple
1/4 cup, dates, chopped
Method

Mix all together and roll in chopped pecans.
Enjoy! 
P.S. The blog has it’s own domain now so make sure you tell your friends to visit me at www.highheelsandscuffedsneakers.com… THANKS! 🙂

{Handbag Love} My First Kate Spade.

I’ve been coveting Kate Spade handbags, clothing and shoes since like forever… I mean seriously, what’s not to love?!
Anyway, J  surprised me by setting back some money in our budget for me to enjoy a little Christmas Splurge and I snagged this little dude on-sale and with a coupon! (P.S. you can get a coupon too! Join their mailing list for 15% off your first order!) 
I COULD JUST DIE IT’S SO CUTE! 

The best part is this is my first Kate Spade… And so not to toot my own horn but it’s kind of a big deal! 🙂
The bag is just absolutely amazing and the customer service is far superior than I expected. Not only did I order the bag on Tuesday and receive it on Thursday but Kate Spade pays special attention to detail… Let me show you how:

Upon opening the delivery box, this is what you see. Tissue paper, gold embossed sticker and a thank you from the company.

The quote on the front of the thank you note is simply precious and now has a new home on the front of our fridge! It’s too pretty not to be displayed.
When I actually opened the bag, it was housed in plastic for protection. 

And then they included a black dust bag with this inscription: 
Inside the bag this little note was found:
(Umm… and my last name is Goodwill so I believe it’s fate!)

 I firmly believe when you order from a company, you need to feel special. I think Kate Spade does an excellent job of capturing their audience with charming products and then schmoozing them with all the little details. In my opinion, that’s worth not only a return shopping experience but also a shout from any social media outlet possible.  {THIS IS ME SHOUTING!}
I feel like a little girl, like it’s the first handbag I’ve ever purchased. I love the color, the smell of the leather and the style. I love it!  
Well done, Kate Spade New York! 

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway

 Ahhh ahhhh ahhh! (Pretend that sounds angelic!) This bad boy has been on my wish list forever. 
I think I need one and I think you do too… 
This Christmas, I am partnering with ereplacementparts.com  to help one lucky DIY-er win a KitchenAid Mixer. 

Here’s how you can win:
Write a tutorial post about any DIY project.
Pin a “Vote for Me!” button on your post. 
And finally, submit your post on the ereplacementparts.com “Enter Here” link! 
What are you waiting for?! Crank out your blog post today! 
I can’t wait to see who wins!! 

Green Bean Casserole

Is green bean casserole on your holiday table? 
If not, here’s a jazzed up version of the traditional recipe for ya! 🙂 
(Sometimes my phone stinks at photos!)
Ingredients:
1 Can of  Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom
1 Can of  Campbell’s Cream of Chicken
1 Cup of Milk
1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce
Dash of Ground Pepper
4 Cans of Green Giant Green Beans
1 Container of French’s Fried Onions

Method: 
Mix soups, milk, soy, pepper, green beans and half of fried onions in casserole dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Sprinkle remaining onions on top and bake for 5 more minutes.


Enjoy!