Cupcakes and Sunshine: December 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Cupcakes and Sunshine Favorite Moments of 2013


I have so much to be thankful for this past year and so many wonderful memories. They say as you get older, time flies by at a rapid pace. It is so, so true. 2013 was a good one, friends. Here are some of my favorite moments over here at Cupcakes and Sunshine.


I was completely surprised and so excited when my sweet aunt and uncle invited me to travel with them to the Marriott in Marco Island this past summer. Our stay was wonderful and it was also one of my very first blog posts.


For Christmas this year, my cousins and I each received picture books of our trip to the beach and it was one of my favorite gifts I've ever received!


I loved every minute of this trip. Definitely a memorable moment of 2013.
And right before it was time to go back to classes, we took a rafting trip down the Nantahala River. White Water rafting was the first major thing I have been able to cross off of my bucket list.



I moved into my first apartment this year. I would say that was a pretty big milestone!




and created a really delicious breakfast sandwich...




I received my favorite pair of glasses. ever. From Rivet and Sway. And you can still use the code "HALEYRIVETS" at checkout if you want to save $25 when purchasing glasses from their site.




I saw John Mayer in concert in 2013...





and blew out 20 birthday candles.




With CRU at UGA we visited Tiger, Georgia and I was able to meet so many wonderful people as we worshiped and became closer to the Lord. Such a sweet weekend!




Creating some sugarysweet Mini Apple Pie Caramel Apples was one of my favorite treats of the year.




and I got to meet and learn from Bakerella herself when she visited the UGA campus.





What an amazing year filled with so much laughter and so many memories. I'm ready for 2014 and the many surprises it holds.



My favorite Bloggers of 2013


2013 has just flown by! And I have loved every single minute of it. One of my favorite things about 2013 was reading so many creative ideas and outlooks from different bloggers and to be able to see their ideas in motion. These were my favorite bloggers of 2013:


Lauren's Latest: OH WOW. I love Lauren's recipes so much. From her Southwest Egg and Tater Tot Casserole to her Perfect Chocolate Cake.



Her recipes are wonderful and her stories behind the recipes are adorable! Her sweet family makes me smile and I look forward to reading every new post on LaurensLatest.com.


A Beautiful Mess Blog: Elsie and Emma are craft geniuses. I really do not understand how they do it all! I love all of their ideas and their step-by-step instructions make projects so easy! They also throw in some wonderfully unique recipes that are so, so fun.

I love their newest serving tray makeover DIY. How perfect for New Year's!


 Their hair tutorials make everything easy.


and check out their grapefruit donuts. It's my New Year's resolution to make more of these in 2014. yum.



Aspiring Kennedy Blog: I love the Aspiring Kennedy blog, but her Instagram is fabulous. Her travels are inspiring and her sweet babe's happy faces around England and Europe make me smile.


^^their Christmas Card

She lived in Paris...


and she traveled to Iceland:


love her stories!


Michaela Noelle Designs:

Love this blog. Michaela's design ideas have me wanting to decorate my apartment a new way everyday.


Her pictures are beautiful.

and her fashion posts are wonderful.



 Definitely one of my favorite blogs of 2013.

Bloom the Blog: Nicole is one of the sweetest bloggers! Her daily reminders and devotions show her heart for the Lord. I am inspired by her encouraging words and her newlywed stories. She is adorable.



and I loooove their piano. love it.




and there you have it!
My favorite blogs and bloggers of 2013.

I'm looking forward to 2014 and have some great ideas that I have been thinking of for this next coming year here at Cupcakes and Sunshine.

Who were your 2013 blog favorites?


Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Festivities and Such


So you remember those goofy glasses we received on Christmas Eve? And the amount of rum cake that had been devoured? I really couldn't see how Christmas day could get better. But Santa did not disappoint. And there were many more festivities to be had. 


Christmas day started with the stockings. (my favorite)



followed by some Christmas snack-making in the kitchen...



 in our matching pj's (it's tradition!)....



Hugs and giggles with Baby Rylan:


and Santa Paws did not forget the pups!



The girl's got coats and jewelry and kitchen appliances...




and the boys got guns and hatchets and remote airplanes and remote cars (that go 60+mph!)



and of course, Cousin Rylan got lots of fun goodies as well...



It was such a great day with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. And so great to be a kid again. Santa spoiled us for sure. And my stomach is still sore from all of the laughs and good times.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Shenanigans


Who would have thought that Cracker Barrel holographic glasses that turned Christmas lights into reindeer, snowmen, and snowflakes would have been the best gift this Christmas?




What? You mean you're not hysterically laughing at the Christmas lights that magically turn into different Christmas icons when you're wearing the glasses? Then you should probably have another slice of rum cake...




Hashtag TrippyReindeerGames. Hashtag TooMuchRumCake. Hashtag TheNeighborsCameOuttoCheckonUs. Hashtag WeSwearWe'reAdults. 



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Hashtag ChristmasShenanigans.

Pioneer in the kitchen!


The Pioneer Woman is one of my favorite, favorite bloggers and Food Network stars. You know how they say that you gave a good Christmas present when you want to keep it yourself!? This Christmas, I gifted my Grandma Anne two of the Pioneer Woman's cookbooks. And boy, oh boy was it hard not to keep them for myself! ;) But the good news about gifting my Grandma cookbooks means that we can bake together out of the books when I am at her house. I'm usually not a selfish present-gifter. But I had this whole baking-together-out-of-the-cookbooks-thing in mind the whole time. Hehe!


Since I have heard SO so much about the Pioneer Woman's rolls- cinnamon rolls, caramel rolls, dinner rolls, pumpkin rolls- I knew that it would be the first recipe we had to try! We whipped together her Orange Rolls in her "Food From My Frontier" book.



It was my first recipe using yeast. And you know how they say practice makes perfect? Well yes, I'm going to knead (haha. pun intended) a little practice in the recipes-with-yeast area. You see, the rolls were supposed to turn out looking like cinnamon rolls. You know? With that perfect swirl of flavor in between each piece of dough? Yeah. They turned out nothing like that. My dough was a bit soft and a bit too sticky. So I ended up making orange rolls that resembled dinner rolls instead of cinnamon rolls.



BUT HEY. They tasted fantastic. And the beautiful, fragrant orange scent that wafted throughout the house? Yum. I was so proud of these rolls (even though they did not look perfect) that I gave some to my good friends from highschool- the Thrash's- who I visited after baking the rolls. They were so sweet and indescribably wonderful. The Pioneer Woman calls them "a miracle." Yep, that would just about some it up. It was so nice to heat one up and to enjoy it with a cup of ice-cold milk while watching Christmas specials.




And since I am on a Pioneer Woman kick, I also HAD to bake up her Rum Cake bundt on Christmas Eve. My Aunt Susu and I had been talking about making a Rum Cake since before Thanksgiving. And we felt that Santa would have liked a nice break from cookies & would have enjoyed a slice while he was busy doing his gift delivery thing.




So Rum Cake it was! This is seriously one of the easiest cakes I have ever made. And one of the most delicious. Santa was lucky it made it through Christmas Eve. Because I kept going back for more and more. I hope you have had a very Merry Christmas! I can't wait to update you with all of our Christmas fun :) 


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