Monthly Muses | November

giving

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As yet another month winds down, I am feeling especially inspired for this month’s edition of Monthly Muses. Though I am known as the Christmas fanatic of my family, Thanksgiving is actually my favorite holiday. The crisp autumn silence of late November, having a designated, universal time to express gratefulness, and the warmth of loving family and delicious food make my heart so incredibly happy.

I’m spending Thanksgiving Eve with whole family, and it is the first time we will all be reunited in almost 4 months! We recently built an addition on our house, so we will definitely be enjoying the comfort of our new home. On Thanksgiving, my sister and I are running our first 10K. I’m not sure how fast I will be able to run 6.2 miles, but I’m just happy I’ve trained enough and can finally run for that long! My next goal is to run a half-marathon. My extended family is hosting Thanksgiving on Friday at our house this year in order to ensure all 30+ people can attend the family gathering, and my boyfriend is flying down from Massachusetts to finally meet everyone (we’ve been dating for well over a year, so I figured it was time for him to meet the Italians.)

While I make sure to take time to be thankful everyday, this Thanksgiving I made a list of what I was most grateful for in 2015.

  1. The most supportive parents. They helped me achieve my dream of living in NYC this past summer, and made it possible for me to study abroad in Italy next semester. They are truly amazing people and I am so thankful for their constant support and love.
  2. Legs that can run, a heart that beats, and a body that is healthy. I have expressed on my blog before that I constantly battle with body confidence, but I’m trying to rid of those thoughts and simply be happy that I am healthy person.
  3. The best siblings (and the most adorable puppy.) As I get older, I realize that my three siblings and I are extremely close, and I am forever grateful for this bond.
  4. Chanel Mademoiselle. It is the most heavenly scent and will always be my favorite perfume.
  5. Fresh flowers. They brighten up my day like no other.
  6. Change. This year, I lived in a new city, made new friends, and have even decided to spend the next four months traveling in Europe. I used to think that I wasn’t the type of person who liked change, but I now realize that though new things make me nervous, change brings amazing experiences, lessons, and new relationships.
  7. Possibly the best boyfriend in the world. Evan is simply an amazing guy, and I am seriously so grateful to have him in my life.
  8. Sunrises + Sunsets. Extraordinary.
  9. Syracuse University. Going to a college far from home was difficult to adjust to at first, but I am so glad I chose to attend SU. It has given me amazing friendships, a superb education, and outstanding opportunities to study the subjects I love.
  10. My morning cup of coffee. Always.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

xx, Laina

 

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Thanksgiving Cupcakes

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No matter what new dessert trend takes over the foodie scene each year, cupcakes will always hold a special place in my heart. I scoured Pinterest for the cutest Thanksgiving cupcake ideas and came up with my own flavor pairings to create the best autumn spread of cupcakes the world has ever seen. While baking and decorating these cupcakes was a lengthy process, there are a few things you can do to make everything easier. While homemade cake is great, using the box mixes is so much easier and just as delicious. Personally, I usually opt to use the box mixes, but make my own homemade frostings and buttercreams. If you are going for a flavored frosting but don’t have much time, there are little flavor packets available at grocery stores that you can simply pour in to a store-bought frosting! For frosting application, I use icing bags that are available for purchase at any craft or baking store. However, you can also use Ziploc sandwich bags and simply cut the corner of the bag off!

Here is the list of the five different Thanksgiving cupcakes I made, and the tools I used to make them.

1. Red Velvet Spice Cupcake

Red velvet cake: Homemade, recipe here.

Cream cheese cinnamon frosting: Homemade, recipe here.

Chocolate acorns: Used peanut butter to stick Hershey kisses to circular Nutter Butter cookies. Directions here.

2. S’mores Cupcake

Chocolate cake: store-bought box mix

Marshmallow frosting: made this frosting recipe and then toasted the frosting with a miniature kitchen blowtorch, then sprinkled crushed graham cracker on top.

3. Salted Caramel Cupcake

Chocolate cake: store-bought box mix

Caramel frosting: Bought a caramel icing flavor packet and mixed into Pillsbury Cream Cheese frosting, then sprinkled sea salt on top.

4. Thanksgiving Cupcake

Vanilla cake: store-bought box mix

Milk chocolate frosting: store-bought Pillsbury frosting

Pilgrim Hats: Made out of Resee’s cups and Fudge Stripe cookies! Directions here.

5. Apple Cinnamon Cupcake

Vanilla cake: store-bought mix

Apple Pie filling: Homemade cinnamon apple filling, recipe here. Took out middle of cupcake with a tool you can buy at any craft/baking store and then put filling inside. I topped the cupcakes with the same Cream Cheese Cinnamon frosting I used previously!

Enjoy! Hopefully this inspires you to do some Thanksgiving baking of your own.

xx, Laina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruffles + Baubles

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{Baublebar fringe necklace, Urban Outfitters ruffle sweater, Urban Outfitters lace bralette, J.Crew pants, J.Crew boots KJP bracelet, Forever 21 bracelet}

Thanksgiving break is so close I can almost taste it (I’m hoping it will taste like sweet potatoes and apple pie.) I pulled out an oldie but goodie sweater today out of my closet for finally some cooler weather. I bought this Urban Outfitters ruffle sweater two years ago, yet it’s stylishness has remained intact! Paired with forest green pants, black boots, and a fun tassel necklace, I ended up with a trendy yet girly look.

What are you most looking forward to about Thanksgiving?

xx, Laina

Christmas Wishlist

As much as I am a firm believer in waiting until after Thanksgiving to truly get into the holiday spirit, I could not help but begin making a Christmas wishlist this weekend when I finally had some downtime. Here is my roundup of some of the things I’ve had my eye on for the holiday season.

1. Wool fedora: Love this grey color and the leather trim. This would be the perfect hat to spruce up any ordinary outfit during my upcoming semester abroad!

2. Kendra Scott cuff: A classic bracelet.

3. Wool plaid scarf: How many plaid blanket scarves need a girl own? The limit does not exist.

4. Oversized Turtleneck Sweater: A cream-colored sweater is a necessity for winter. I’m loving the turtleneck trend as well.

5. 2016 Agenda: Hopefully the most difficult decision I will have to make over winter break will be to buy a Kate Spade agenda or Lilly Pulitzer agenda. Fingers crossed.

6. Plaid mug: This festive mug will be perfect for nights curled up by the fireplace with Christmas cookies!

7. Classic Kate Spade bag: I have been on the market for a new purse, and I have been loving these new Kate Spade styles (they mimic the popular Celiné bags.) I need a bag with a cross strap because I will be spending the first four months of 2016 in Europe, and I want to take all steps necessary to avoid being pick-pocketed!

8. Passport holder: Love the classic leather style of this one. Ciao!

9. Fringe bootie: I have been seriously obsessing over this pair of booties all season. I love the classic cream color and subtle fringe.

10. Shearling Vest: I’m sure this will be a big-ticket item for girls everywhere this Christmas season. The fur vest’s cousin, the shearling vest, offers chic comfort and utter coziness! Love this one from Forever 21 as well as this one from Bloomingdales.

What’s on your wishlist this holiday season? I hope my list inspired you! Happy online shopping.

xx, Laina

Buffalo Check

{J.Crew flannel, Forever 21 vest, Free People scarf}

{J.Crew tortoise bracelet, Forever 21 bar cuff, Frye riding boots}

{fall looks good on you, Syracuse}

What would fall be without flannels? I certainly don’t want to find out. Despite the dreary weather, today I’m wearing a navy blue buffalo check flannel (on sale now!) from J.Crew topped off with a green utility vest, my new go-to cozy scarf, and Frye riding boots for a cozy, fun look. I’m hoping the weather gets a little colder so I can wear some of my new wintry outerwear! As for now, I’ll keep wearing fall vests and flannels, and continue burning my Pumpkin Cupcake and Pumpkin Cinnamon candles from Bath&Body Works (seriously obsessed with them!)

Have a good Wednesday.

xx, Laina

Weekly Inspiration

Happy Monday! While its always sad to see the weekend come to an end, I was feeling particularly inspired and motivated this morning to have a great week. I spent my Sunday night cleaning the apartment, doing laundry, and studying for upcoming tests. While this wasn’t exactly glamorous, living and working in a clean space always makes my weeks go smoother.

I began my Monday with my Tabata workout class that meets twice a week (I am now constantly sore), followed by a warm cup of caramel apple coffee as I made my weekly to-do list. The amount of things on the list always increases as the semester goes on, but this is when I try to take joy from the little things around me to keep my spirits up. I’m getting excited for the weekend ahead, which includes the last football tailgate of the season and my sorority’s formal. Here is a roundup of some little things I’m collecting inspiration from this week:

{tis’ the season for darker lip shades}

{baubles + burgundy}

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{enamored with my new pumps for formal}

{house goals: columns + porch + beautiful ivy}

What are some little things you are inspired by this week?

xx, Laina

Indian Summer

{T.J.Maxx t-shirt dress, American Eagle cardigan, Mixology necklace, H&M booties}

{Urban Outfitters lace bralette}

{Francesca’s ring}

It has been surprisingly warm this week, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, causing me to opt for dresses and skirts I had already stored away for the season. This look cost no more than $30. The t-shirt dress was only $10 from T.J.Maxx, the cardigan is a hand-me-down from my sister, and the booties were $15 at H&M last season. However when put together, I thought the pieces gave off the minimal-chic look that I’ve been admiring on Pinterest lately. I actually hope the weather cools back down soon, because crisp fall weather is my favorite (along with these pretty sunflowers I got the other day.)

Have a great weekend!

xx, Laina