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Marvelous Monday: style, inspiration, and cupcakes!

Source (cupcake): Fanpop

Hello, sunshines - and happy Presidents' Day! I sit here with a belly full of homemade pizza, so I'm happy as a clam as I write this limited edition Marvelous Monday post - I hope your days are all just as wonderful as mine :)

Today's post is extra-special, as it's the first and only Marvelous Monday (because Saturday was Valentine's Day, I forwent my usual Sassy Saturday post) in Chick Lit Kitchen history. In honor of this special day, I challenge you to make today, Monday, just as marvelously sassy as any Saturday! Instead of groaning "Ugh, it's Monday," I dare you to jump out of bed exclaiming "Yay! It's Monday!" (okay, maybe not), put on your favorite lipstick (inspired by my last Sassy Saturday post, perhaps?), and tackle the work day as chipper as if it were a weekend and you'd woken up three hours later. That's a dare, and because none of my bad@$$ readers would ever back down from a dare, you have to do it! Make your Mondays magical, everybody - no excuses (though I'm not exactly sure why you'd want your Mondays to be miserable).

Meanwhile, as you're swiping on that lipstick and starting your day off right - my pumpkin pancakes, anyone? - check out a few of my latest obsessions below! And yes, you did read the title right: this post includes....CUPCAKES!!! So what are you waiting for? The faster you read, the closer you are to devouring some delicious Death by Chocolate Cupcakes!

Ready...set...GO!

My Spring 2015 Style Concept
I call it New York Audrey: polished meets edgy. Classic meets modern. 1955 meets 2015. The New York Audrey is the lovechild of Blair Waldorf and Madonna. She eats kale and cupcakes. She lifts her pinky when she drinks her mainstream coffee shop mocha. She writes thank you notes on hot pink stationary, spritzes everything with perfume, and never leaves the house without her lipstick to match. And, if that New York Audrey is me, she is embodied in the entire Kate Spade New York collection - I am especially obsessed with the Selma dress and the Cedar Street Large Monday bag. For those of us who can't afford Kate (me! me! me!), Forever 21 and H&M both carry similar styles for slashed prices. I, for one, love the faux leather skirt and fit & flare dress from Forever 21, and the pink dress you see in my Polyvore set is only $12.95 from H&M.

DIY Vision Board

One of my favorite quotes right now (see if you can find it in my vision board!) is "Create a vision that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning." If you didn't see my Instagram post last night, I got a little crafty yesterday afternoon and whipped up a little DIY inspiration board for my bedroom to spark my creative brain and brighten my day. I love that it looks uber-complicated, but was actually really simple, and it fits right in with the eclectic, girly decor in my room.

Bonjour, ya'll! I thought it was so clever (and very NY Audrey of me) to put that next to my photo of Ms. Hepburn, the epitome of the Southern Belle. My favorite quote this side of the board: "Interrupt anxiety with gratitude."

Joy to the world. Look closely and see if you can spot the one and only Queen B (hint: I don't mean Beyonce!), reminding me never to settle for anyone less than a Chuck Bass (or a Christian Louboutin, for that matter!). 


La Vie Est Belle. At the far right of the board, we have some delicious treats, more pictures of Paris in the springtime, and at least a few odes to my second true love, coffee (decaf, of course!). Can you tell that bubblegum pink is my color of the moment?

To create your own vision board, you'll need:  
Cardboard or corkboard
Scrapbook paper or fabric
Tape and/or glue
Inspirational photos
(I gathered mine from Pinterest, but you could also use magazines; Polaroids; whatever you want, really!)
Optional: scrapbooking embellishments, Washi tape (I think a Washi tape border would look so cute), glitter glue, rick-rack, etc. - basically, whatever you want to use to decorate is fair game. Make it your own! 

How To:
  1. Cover your cardboard/corkboard with your choice of scrapbook paper or fabric. I chose a few pieces of scrapbook paper and cut them into strips, taped them to my cardboard backing to create a striped pattern, and trimmed them to fit.
  2. Cut out your photos and begin to arrange them with whatever other embellishments you want on your vision board for optimal inspiration! Make sure your photos are all: A) positive B) motivational and C) beautiful to look at! Avoid triggering photos (i.e. "thinspo") and harsh quotes (i.e."no excuses") - remember to always treat yourself as gently as you would a child. My inspiration ranged from pictures of cupcakes, to Taylor Swift's most enviable outfits, to Meghan Trainor quotes, but yours might be totally different (and that's okay! Normal, even). Whatever you put on your vision board, make it the vision you want to see in the world.
  3. When your vision board looks the way you want it to, begin to glue or tape all your embellishments to your board (I recommend taking a picture first, so you remember your vision once you have to start moving things around!). Add the final touches with Washi tape, glitter, or whatever other embellishments you want - I happened to have a cute little "Joy" cutout laying around, which I love. Then, hang or prop up your vision board in a prominent place where you'll see it and be reminded of the powerful intentions you just set for yourself!
Inspiring examples...







And, finally, last but not least....
DEATH BY CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES!
(with decadent cream cheese frosting) 


Mmm...even just looking at them is making me want more. This right here is what I did with my snowed-in Valentine's Day - when my dinner date got cancelled, cupcakes for dinner just seemed like the only way to go. Let's just say I had three cupcakes, and probably would have eaten all five if my stomach would have let me. Oh, it was so worth it! These cupcakes are a rich, melt-in-your-mouth treat sweet enough to cure even the worst case of the blues. Combine them with sinfully delicious cream cheese frosting (my favorite!) and top them with chocolate chip hearts and you get a swoon-worthy dessert fit for the Devil himself. 

I know, I know: total food porn moment. Well, I won't keep you from your cupcakes any longer.

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes with Decadent Cream Cheese Frosting
Bakes 5 cupcakes.

For the cupcakes:
1 oz baker's chocolate
(I used milk)
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/8 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk 
(Note: fill to just under the top of the measuring cup)
Optional, but highly recommended: 1/4 to 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

(Note:I haven't tried this, but I think using Hershey's Special Dark cocoa & chocolate chips would be even more delicious and chocolatey!) 

For the frosting:
8 oz (1 block) cream cheese 
(Philadelphia is and always has been my favorite!)
1 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar
2 oz white baker's chocolate, melted
Semisweet or dark chocolate chips, for decoration

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill a 6-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. 
  2. In the microwave, melt butter and chocolate together in 30 second increments, stirring between increments until completely melted. (The butter and the chocolate will melt at different rates, so be careful!) Allow the chocolate to cool while you move onto the next step.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a second, smaller bowl, whisk together egg, white and brown sugar, vanilla, and milk. When combined, add chocolate and butter mixture to wet ingredients and whisk until the mixture is smooth, but thick. 
  4. Create a well in the large bowl, add the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined. The batter will have the consistency of a thick pudding. Stir in chocolate chips, if using (again - I cannot recommend it more!). 
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake liners until about 3/4 full (mine made 5 cupcakes, but you may be able to get more out of yours). Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean; the chocolate chips may leave some residue on the toothpick, but you'll definitely be able to tell the difference between raw batter and melted chocolate.
  6. While the cupcakes are baking, add softened cream cheese and powdered sugar to a medium bowl and beat using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Melt white chocolate in microwave in 30 second increments (white chocolate will melt faster than the milk chocolate from earlier), stirring between each round. Then, add melted chocolate to frosting mixture and continue to beat until completely combined. Keep covered while cupcakes are cooling.
  7. Allow cupcakes to cool completely, at least 20-30 minutes, before frosting generously. It's extremely important to let your cupcakes cool so that the frosting won't melt and so they won't fall apart as you are frosting them. I decorated mine by arranging chocolate chips on top in the shape of a heart. Take a moment to snap a picture and Instagram it with the hashtag #marvelousmondaycupcakes so I can see all your hard work! Then, devour your cupcakes like the chocolate addict you are...mmm >:)



Well, that was a delicious post, if I do say so myself. I hope you enjoyed this special Marvelous Monday edition of the Chick Lit Kitchen. I have some exciting posts planned for the next few weeks on the blog, including the next installment of Holden & I, a post about my newest obsession (can you guess what it might be?), and what's in my February Birchbox!

Until then, mis amis, au revoir and have a magical, marvelous rest of your Mondays. Just remember: the weekend is only four and a half days away!

XOXO, Haley.

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