Category: Cupcake Rehab news!

2016.

Brown eggs. Eggs symbolize new life. New life, new year.

Well, it’s a new year! Happy 2016. I hope you’re all enjoying the new year so far. And if not, don’t worry- there’s more than 11 1/2 months left to make it better.

I don’t do resolutions. But being that I sit here, sick with a deep chest infection (hence the absence of posts recently), I have to say seriously that one of the things I have to start doing in ’16 is take my health seriously. After the mess of last year, I’ve conscientiously went and had my physicals and blood work done almost every 6 weeks for my thyroid, but I tend to ignore “small” symptoms of cold/flu and let it go too long. I have to stop doing that.

But otherwise, I don’t do that new year, new me kind of thing. However, I do have a few things blog-related/food related that I hope to continue and keep up with.

  • Posting at least once a week. Sometimes life gets hectic. Especially around the holidays, or if I get sick. But I promise I won’t ever leave like I did last year without at least explaining why- before, not after. I love this as much as anyone, it’s my baby. I want to keep doing it! However, I have to be realistic. Life will probably only get busier. Once a week minimum sounds perfectly doable, and I’ll probably do far more than that.
  • Try new things. I used to be involved in the Daring Baker’s Challenge and it introduced me to so many new things. I got too busy to keep doing it, but I think I should keep trying to create new recipes. Or “new to me” recipes. Cupcakes are great and I love them, and they aren’t going anywhere. Neither are cookies or pickles or jams. But I remember making lavash crackers and an opera cake… I need to get back there again.
  • Keep sharing recipes that mean something. On the other hand, I have a bunch of recipes I want to share that are either family recipes or ones that mean something to us. That won’t- or shouldn’t- stop.

Is there anything you want me to do in 2016? A certain kind of recipe, certain foods, maybe another Q&A? Let me know.

I’ll see you very soon with a new(ish) recipe.

Happy birthday, Cupcake Rehab.

Happy birthday, Cupcake Rehab!

Happy 8th birthday, Cupcake Rehab!

Wow. I cannot believe it’s been EIGHT YEARS. Insane! Yes, I know, it’s unbelievable but this past Saturday, September 12th, was Cupcake Rehab‘s 8th birthday. Eight. 8. Ocho. I’m kinda in shock. It really does seem just like yesterday that I started this blog over at WordPress.com, way back in 2007. Since then, so many things have changed.

Jay and I adopted Indy. Jay got me a KitchenAid mixer which I named Lola (the Cook For the Cure pink one, of course) and a much better camera (Canon EOS Rebel t4i). We bought a house. We got married. We lost our Arwyn just a few weeks ago. And my mom- one of the main impetus for me even starting to bake & cook at all, and back then when I started this blog was still undergoing treatment- is now a NINE YEAR SURVIVOR of breast cancer, and a volunteer with the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Program.

I’d like to think my photography has gotten a lot better. And I think my recipe development has too. I’ve grown in both my cooking and my baking, and I’ve started canning and preserving as well. I’ve matured, and so has the blog. It’s shaped me, just as I’ve shaped it.

It's Cupcake Rehab's 8th birthday! Make these adorable vanilla cupcakes for two.

And the people I’ve met? Oh wow. From fellow bloggers to the people who “like” Cupcake Rehab on Facebook, to my Instagram and Twitter followers. They are all AMAZING. I’ve made some fantastic friends through having this blog. I’ve been exposed to things I never thought possible. I’ve made contacts and networked and enjoyed every single minute of it.

Every single day has been fun & exciting.

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“A little party never killed nobody…” (whoa- I’m married!)

Marilla + Jason | Pixel Perfect Photography | New York City Hall wedding #bridesinblack #offbeatbrides

Union by Robert Fulghum

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Holy crap. Yes, we’re married. I’m a Mrs.

First kiss as a married couple! | A New York City Hall wedding (Photo by Janai McNeil of Pixel Perfect Photography) #bridesinblack #offbeatbrides #nycbrides

We finally did it. After almost 12 years together, knowing each other for almost 15 and with  almost 2 of those years being engaged, we tied the knot/jumped the broom/took the plunge/bought the cow/hooked up the ball & chain/got hitched on Friday, April 3, 2015. And what a beautiful day it was.

Not so much weather wise. It was definitely still a mixture of “March” & early April (April showers & all that) in New York City weather time. And so it was rainy, but not heavy, just an annoying off-and-on drizzle that made NYC look even moodier than usual. It was gray, but it wasn’t even that cold (around 60° F), despite getting snow less than 2 weeks before. I didn’t so much mind the weather, to tell the truth. No one did. I actually quite liked it.

Dancing in the streets | A New York City Hall wedding (Photo by Janai McNeil of Pixel Perfect Photography) #bridesinblack #offbeatbrides #nycbrides

We planned this wedding in roughly 2 1/2 months. A little less. That’s it. Granted; I had already bought my dress a year before and we basically knew exactly what we wanted. But after I was so sick in December & hospitalized for two days, I realized we were stupid to wait any more. I mean, why? Add to that the deaths of the two NYPD police officers on December 20th, combined with the fact that the doctor told us about a patient with what I was close to- a thyroid storm- going into cardiac arrest and being resuscitated, I thought, WE ARE STUPID FOR WAITING. Why the hell didn’t we just do it right after we got engaged? No clue.

But we did it.

And we did it our way. Click on through to read EVERYTHING! And I do mean everything, so be prepared- there are a LOT of pictures here… A LOT. So here goes: my big fat wedding post!

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Wow, its been a while.

I knew it was a long time since I last posted, but seeing the date on that last post… wow. It really has been a long time!

I wanted to write up a quick post (or not so quick) to explain my absence in a bit more length. I think it’s important to do so because, well, maybe one of you feels the way I felt and maybe I can help you. No, this will never turn into a “health” blog, ever. I just wanted to give a little background on what happened to me.

I had been feeling really lousy in September 2014. I went through a two-week period of nausea/vomiting and lethargy. Being that I am stubborn I did not seek medical attention and assumed it was some kind of flu/stomach bug/virus/etc. October was better, I was applying for some side jobs and second jobs (graphic design being my first). I was still very tired, though, and couldn’t even get up the energy to make everything anything I wanted to make or post more on the blog. Halloween was great, albeit quiet since Jay worked and I was still feeling meh.

By November, I was feeling tired ALL the time. That feeling progressed into feeling exhausted all the time. I was also getting hot flashes, or rather, I couldn’t tolerate the heat in the house or in stores. I was constantly lowering the heat and Jay would come home and freeze (it’s NY, in late November). I had just started a new job and tried to write everything off as holiday or new job stress. Around the middle of November, my legs started to feel weak. I couldn’t go up and down the stairs as fast as usual, they ached and my calf muscles felt tight. Almost as if I couldn’t stretch out fully. This, too, got worse. Add to that everyone telling me I was losing weight- which I didn’t see. My dad (ex-NYC EMS) told me I was a classic case of hyperthyroidism. This didn’t seem urgent to me, so again I just dealt with it.

When December rolled around, I was pretty much acting as if I was a 90-year old woman. Jay insisted I go to the doctor, but I had just switched and my new doctor couldn’t see me until February. So off to urgent care I went. And at urgent care, they gave me an EKG and wouldn’t touch me. They told me to go immediately to the hospital. My heart rate was 160.

IV line in my arm at the hospital.

And so to the hospital I went, unfortunately.

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Happy 6th birthday, Cupcake Rehab.

Happy 6th birthday, Cupcake Rehab!

Wow. I’m a terrible, terrible blogger. It almost completely slipped my mind that my blogiversary was coming up, & I almost let it go by without a word. Isn’t that awful? It’s pretty awful. It’s like a mom forgetting her kid’s birthday. Or a wife forgetting her wedding anniversary. And if you don’t understand those comparisons- you’re definitely NOT a blogger. All the work that goes into this. Six years of doing this blog… the least I can do is mention it’s birthday!

So I made a giant cupcake & lit some candles. Isn’t that what everyone does for their blog’s birthday?

Well… I do.

Every year, I make it a point to thank all the people who have helped me with Cupcake Rehab since the beginning. It may sound cheesy to you, but I appreciate a thank you for being there for someone, so I always a make a point to do the same for others: thank you Jay & thanks to my parents who made baking requests that challenge me & who have eaten more than their fair share of treats (I know, what torture!). Thanks to my friends who have promoted my blog as if it was their own. Thanks to those who sponsor me & provide items for reviews & giveaways throughout the previous; like Yoyo, Sourpuss Clothing, the Washington State Stone Fruit Commission, Milton’s Craft Bakers, Duchy Originals, etc. And of course… my readers! You’re the reason I’m still going after 6 years! Despite Google changing things in favor of big business & despite blog hits going down across the board because of it, you’ve been there from the jump & I love you for it. And those of you who haven’t & who are new? I love you too. Anyone who reads my posts, repins my stuff on Pinterest, comments on the Facebook page, or answers me on Twitter- you’re all amazing. I love you. I appreciate each & every one of you, whether you read the blog regularly or just popped in once for a recipe. I swear I do.

Things around here have changed so much since that first post! My photography has gotten much better, thanks in (major) part to Canon’s EOS Rebel t4i. My writing has definitely improved, as has my recipe-writing. Also? I’ve expanded my repertoire so much; it used to be cupcakes 24/7, now it’s canning, cooking, candy-making, etc. I’ve enjoyed it all so very much, I can’t even tell you. I’ve grown so much, & in some ways a lot of you have grown with me. I love that I can look back at those old posts. I can cringe, or laugh, or maybe even get misty-eyed. It’s like having a big ol’ journal slash recipe book out there for the whole world to read.

SIX YEARS of recipes, laughs, questions, failures, successes, giveaways, reviews, and deliciousness. And some sadness. But mostly happiness. Filling our bellies & making lemonade out of lemons. Birthdays, deaths, engagements, celebrations, holidays. Six years of life at it’s most lived. Because really, isn’t the kitchen the heart of any home?

Let’s keep it going, eh?

I’m not ready to leave yet!

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Happy December.

©Ralph Hulett

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The annual Cupcake Rehab blog snowstorm is here!

Alright, alright, so it’s been going on since the weekend after Thanksgiving. But you know what that means? That means it’s officially Christmas-time. And of course, there are loads of things on the blog that can give you some holiday inspiration. The Christmas category is a great place to start, and if you’ve got more time or want to look at recipe names, the Recipe Index is also great. But if you’re lazy, or you just like me to cut to the chase, then check out my holiday compilation post from last year; it’s not inclusive, it’s mainly cupcakes (with a few other things listed at the bottom). But it’ll give you a kick in the pants if you need a holiday boost. And who doesn’t, really?

But around here, we’re gonna ease into Christmas this year. A few things are coming up this week, but it’s a slow week recipe-wise. Next week… we’ll kick it into second gear.

I’m going to sit & go through all these foodie magazine Christmas issues while I catch up/refresh my memory watching Downton Abbey season 2. So for now, you enjoy the snow. I’ll work on the other stuff.

White chocolate peppermint cookies from the December Food Network magazine

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Five years of sugar, flour, butter & shenanigans.

WOW. I honestly can’t believe I’ve had this blog for 5 years.

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FIVE YEARS. Of blogging, 3-5 times a week. Roughly 636 posts.

3,000 comments.

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More recipes than I can count.

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That equals a lot of words. A lot of recipes, yes. But a LOT of words.

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But I often have a lot to say. And not always just about baking. To quote Bobby Brown, (who, admittedly, frequents a very different kind of rehab than my site) that’s my prerogative. Which, speaking of, brings me to something I’ve thought about a few times since becoming a blogger (again) back in 2007.

I consider myself to be a pretty good blogger. I’m not one of the most popular bloggers EVER, I don’t get rich off of this by any means. But that isn’t why I’m here. I’m here because it’s fun & I enjoy it. I try to post often, I make sure the recipes are workable to the best of my ability, I bust my ass to come up with creative stuff & good content, I don’t do a lot of needless “paid posts”,  I’m not uber controversial (well not usually), etc. However I do rule with an iron fist around here.

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If you’ll indulge me a quick tangent, most bloggers at some point or another, incur the wrath of a crazy internet troll and end up with a mean rant or two, or at the very worst- an entire horrendous thread of vile comments ( to those not in the blogosphere: a “thread” is also known as not just one, but a continuous slew of comments). It’s occurred to me a few times that I’ve never incurred such wrath; save for one time when a psycho bitch went racist on me because the United States of America elected a half-black president in 2008. Because apparently, that was all my fault (?). I love a good debate, and I love people to give their opinions and ideas here. Just as long as it’s respectful. If you want to act crazy and let the world wide web read it- go ahead. Start your own blog, they’re free. I bet there’s tons of trolls that would love to read it. Just don’t bring it here and we’re cool. And recently a blog I’m a big fan of, Hot Pink Apron, had a similar situation featuring a mindless idiot & an offensive comment. Why do people feel the need to do that? I don’t know. I just know I’m lucky I haven’t had to deal with a lot of it.

So yes, I’m incredibly lucky: I have not only excellent spam filters, but more importantly, excellent readers. So on today, the FIFTH birthday of Cupcake Rehab, as I eat these beautiful vanilla blogiversary cupcakes (this recipe)… topped off with a delicious dark chocolate/sour cream frosting made with Supreme Dark Lindt chocolate (this recipe)… and pink sprinkles, of course…

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But anyway, I’m getting distracted. Where I was going with this was that as I eat these I want to say…

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Thanks to you all.

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You’ve been awesome, you’ve been great, you’ve been the best readers anyone could ask for. Back in 2007, when I started a little blog on WordPress.com, I never thought it be anything more than a fun little diversion that my friends would read. I had no idea it would become what it has. I’m both grateful and awed. You’ve all grown with me, from my silly first posts and my awful pictures, to what the blog is now, which is (I hope) a far better version of that. And I hope it continues to grow and evolve as I do. I also hope you’ll all still be following me, reading my posts, and traveling the strange journey of life with me. I love that people have embraced the fact that I gave my mixers little monikers; Lola & He Who Must Not Be Named. I love that other people started naming theirs, too! I love seeing my photos pinned & re-pinned on Pinterest. I love seeing people pin my blog logo & say “My favorite blog!” I love that so much, you have no idea. I love that people e-mail me and ask me questions about cookies.I love that I get Facebook comments like, “Hi, I’m obsessed with your blog!” I love that you guys buy t-shirts & mugs that say Cupcake Rehab!

It makes me so incredibly happy. Happy to know you’re enjoying all the work I put in.

I know, this is starting to sound like a cheesy speech at the Oscars, but really, I mean it.

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People think blogging is easy. They think it’s a way to make a quick fortune, that they’ll get tons of hits & comments right away, that everyone will LOVE what they write because their friends tell them they’re funny, etc. It’s not like that at all. It’s a lot of work to make a blog not only beautiful but worth reading. It takes time, patience, knowledge of HTML/CSS, the ability to take good photos (and edit them). It takes a sense of humor and most of all the ability to draw people in. But it is anything but easy. Is it worth it? Sure. But I didn’t get into this for money or internet fame or anything. My stars aligned in such a way that I somehow became pretty popular & had a few awesome opportunities given to me because of that. But can I retire at 31 with all the dough I’ve made? No. And that isn’t the point. Anyone who’s in it for that is a fool. I’d do this no matter what the result, because I enjoy it. I genuinely enjoy every single aspect; from the creation, to the photos, to the readers, the PHP and CSS coding, even the battles with database connection errors & MySQL. I enjoy it all.

Especially the food.

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And that won’t stop. As long as I’m able to, I’ll still be here blogging. So I really hope you’ll still be here reading. From me & from Lola… thanks for hangin’ in there with us for five years, or five minutes, whatever! However long it is you’ve been a reader- thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Here’s to another 5 years!

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