October Sephora Play Unboxing

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I’m so excited to share this month’s Sephora box with you.

This month the theme is Complexion Companions, and all the products( except the perfume) are base products that are meant to give you that effortlessly flawless completion.

For my UK friends I’m afraid this subscription is not available, but hopefully Sephora will get it’s act together before too long and start shipping to you guys.

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As always the box can with the paper that tells all about the products in the box and how to use them, as well as the Play card that gives you 50 extra Beauty Insider points when you make an in-store purchase. Usually, I don’t get to use this because the nearest Sephora is over an hour away, but for my birthday next week, the girls and I are going shopping and Sephora is at the top of the list to shop at.

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This month’s bag is the usual white drawstring linen bag and sticking with Sephora’s love of puns the word Public Display Of Complexion is written on the front, the word complexion is written using various different skin tone colored letters.

Now for the important part! What’s in the bag.

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COVER FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Moonlight

I have been wanting to try Cover FX for awhile so I was really happy to see one of their product in this months box. I was slightly disappointed to see that it was liquid highlighter as I’m not a big fan of them, but I will still be trying it out.

This sample comes in a cute little glass dropper bottle. It is a really pretty champagne pink, but when blended out is a super shimmery slightly glittery silvery pink.

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BECCA First Light Filter Face Primer

Becca is another brand I have been wanting to try, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about this primer so I can’t wait to start trying it out. The primer I’m using right now is giving me fits so it will be nice to have one that’s easier to use.

This is a light violet colored cream-liquid primer that is meant to “moisturize while delivering a subtle glow with ultra-fine light-reflecting pearl”.  I’m going to be trying this out tomorrow, so hopefully, it lives up to its reputation.

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MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation in R230

I have heard SO MANY good things about this foundation, it seems to be in so many holy grail foundation posts nowadays, so of course, I have high expectations for it.

This comes in such a cute little mini foundation bottle with a pump which will make it really easy to use. The shade seems like a pretty good match for my skin color, it is a little warmer than I usually go for, but I think I can make it work.

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MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Skin Booster 

This is a really interesting sounding product, I haven’t used it yet but it says that it’s “a skin-perfecting serum that plumps, smooths, and hydrates your skin for a flawless makeup application”.

This comes in the cutes little black glass dropper bottle and the serum itself is a milky gel that soaks into the skin and makes it feel soft and smooth. I’m excited to start trying this out over the weekend and seeing if what it does for my skin and makeup.

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LAURA MERCIER Translucent Powder 

I was actually in need of a new setting powder so I was very happy that this was in this month’s box. The paper says that “This silky, sheer setting powder creates a soft-focus finish and can be used over makeup to help your look last all day”.

Hopefully, this will make my makeup last all day, because I have been having some issues with that lately.

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CHANEL Gabrielle Chanel 

I think I mentioned in last month’s unboxing that most of the perfume samples smelled very much the same, and unfortunately, this one sticks with the pattern. It is a beautiful scent I’m sure I will be using it, but when all of my perfume samples smell the same it’s hard to have a favorite.

This one is a slight citrusy floral with notes of jasmine, ylang-ylang, and orange.

 

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Right-Left- Foundation in R230/ Becca Primer/ Moonlight

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Overall, I’m super happy with this month’s box, and I’m really looking forward to using all the products and seeing how they perform. I will be posting little updates on how I’m liking each product over on my Instagram, so if you want to see how I’m getting on with these products you should head over and give me a follow on @sparkleofgrace.

Have you Tried any of these products? If so, what did you think of them?

Feel free to check out my unboxings from the last couple of months linked below.

Anna.

September    August    July   June 

 

 

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Redesigning My Room

I have been slowly redesigning my bedroom and right now it’s still in the planning stages, which means I have been spending a lot of time on Pinterest.

Today I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite designs that I came across and talk a little about what I’m thinking about doing for mine. Currently, my room has a light bluish grey color on the walls, and the furniture is a mix of white and dark grey, and I have lots of aqua decorations.

My plan is to stick with the grey color scheme but go lighter with a true grey for the walls, and for the furniture, I’m going to do a light blush pink. I want to keep the aqua to give the room more color, but I want to have an all over more grownup and modern look to the room.f2969bc9abc6cead7ea3bbe6ddf1ad20--for-the-home-home-decor

I love the shades in this room, the color of the pink is just about what I’m planning on using.

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I’m sorry if this picture is a bit blurry but I just love this room! I love how bright and sort of minimal it is, I also like the fur accessories and I’ve already picked up a couple of faux fur pieces.

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The color on the walls is perfect, and I’m hoping to get something very similar. I also love the pillows, it just looks so cozy.

Hopefully, I will be able to get most, if not all the painting done by the end of October, and I’m shopping for a new comforter for my bed. Something white with ruffles is what I would like to find, along with some more throw pillows.

I thinking of doing some posts following along with this my project, so I hope you all like a good home decorating post.

If I were to do a few posts following along with this project what would you like to see?

Anna.

 

My Pamper Routine 2017

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Who doesn’t love a good pamper evening? I know I do.

So for today’s post, I thought it would be fun to share my pamper routine with you.

I try to do a little something every evening, whether it’s painting my nails, doing a face mask, or even just lighting a candle and having a cup of tea. I find it really relaxing and fun to take that extra time to make myself feel pretty and well groomed.

Without farther ado, here is my pamper routine.

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The First thing I do is run a bath, and while the tub is filling up I remove my makeup and wash my face. I love to use the Dirty Works Pore-Fect Face Scrub, it’s gentle, refreshing, and the cooling effect makes it perfect for waking up tired, dull skin.

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Face masks are a must for any pamper routine, and this time I picked my Anjou Dead Sea Mud Mask. This mask is gentle and soothing but at the same time detoxifying and gives my skin a deeply cleaned feeling.

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Next is music! Lately, I have been loving Emmet Cahill’s Irland, this is Emmet Cahill’s first solo album and if I were to describe it in one word it would have to be relaxing, and that’s what makes it perfect for evenings like this. This album is made up of both sweet and sentimental songs that are performed beautifully.

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Candles are the ultimate calming ingredient to a pamper session, I honestly can’t imagine a bath without them. I have been using two of the cute little candles from DW Home in the scents Vanilla Bean and White Rose. Both of these have a lovely light scent.

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I have always been a big fan of bubble baths but lately, I have been loving bath bombs. This one is  Asquith & Somerset’s Uplifting Jasmine & Rose. This smells so lovely and it leaves little rose petals floating in the bath which gives a very elegant feel.

Once I’m in the bath I usually stay there for anywhere between twenty minutes to on hour depending on how relaxed and lazy I feel.

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Once I’m out of the bath and dried off, I put on my fluffy bathrobe and finish my skincare routine, and moisturize with the Jergens Original Scent my all time favorite body lotion, it smells of almonds and cherries and makes my skin feel amazing.

Then I proceed to paint my nails, on this particular occasion I chose the Essie polish in the color Peak Show, it is a sweet cool toned pinky white color that’s perfect for a cheery manicure.

While my nails are drying I usually watch a movie or catch up on some writing/photo editing whilst sipping a cup of camomile tea.

Then I brush my teeth, and it’s off to bed!

What does your ideal pamper evening look like?

Anna.

 

 

 

 

Milani Cosmetics First Impressions

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Milani was always a brand that I was interested in but never really tried, this was mostly because there wasn’t a place near me that sold it, but a few weeks ago I wandered into the makeup aisle of my local Walmart and there it was. So, as any good beauty blogger would, I picked up a few products.

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Prime Perfection Hydrating + Pore Minimizing Face Primer 

The first thing I picked up is the Prime Perfection face primer, this sounded really nice and I actually did need a primer.  I have very mixed feelings about this product, while it does make my makeup go on smoothly and it is lightweight and hydrating, I haven’t found that is helps my makeup stay on longer. Also, it feels weird when applying, instead of the smooth silky feeling I’m used to in a primer it feels gritty and a little scratchy.

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Conceal+Perfect Foundation in Porcelain 

I have heard good things about this foundation, and I am always on the lookout for a great new one so I really couldn’t pass this one up.  I have now been using it pretty much exclusively for the past couple of weeks and I love it. The color is perfect for me and the formula is comfortable and stays on really well. This is a medium to high coverage foundation so a little goes a long way, I have been only using one pump for a full face, but you could use more if you wanted more coverage.

I don’t think this is quite a replacement for concealer, but I have found that I have been using less, and sometimes skipping undereye concealer altogether.

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Contour & Highlight Cream & Liquid Duo in Fair/Light

This is my very first contour stick, and so far I’m loving it. The shade of the contour cream is a light grayish, cool toned tan that suits my skin color very well. It’s smooth, creamy and blends beautifully.

As far as the highlighter goes, I’m not the biggest fan of cream and liquid highlighters so I wasn’t really expecting to like it very much. however, I have been using it and finding it to be quite nice. The color is a nice creamy pear, and it’s very glowy with a hint of shimmer.

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Color Statment Lipstick in Naturally Chic & Matte Darling 

I have had these lipsticks for a while and I’m completely in love with them. The formula is creamy and comfortable, and the colors are beautifully pigmented.

Naturally Chic is a satin finished dark dusty rose, I love this one as a nude for this time of year because it’s warm and deep, but still natural.

Matte Darling is a soft matte rosy pink. I love this one so much but haven’t been wearing it very much since the weather has gotten cooler.

 

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Right-Left-Primer/Porcelain/Contour/ Highlighter/ Matte Darling/ Naturally Chic

Overall I’m very happy with my first taste of Milani’s products, they are affordable and great quality, I can tell I will be buying a lot more from them in the future.

What are your thoughts on Miliani? Have you used their products before?

Anna.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Sunshine blogger award

I was tagged for this award by both Hannah from Floraful and Katie from Katie from Beauty From Katie.I love both of their blogs and read them on the regular, so don’t forget the check them out after you’ve finished reading this. Thank you ladies so much for tagging me!

The rules are simple, recognize the blogger or bloggers that nominated you and answer their question to you. Next, nominate eleven other bloggers and ask them eleven questions.

Let’s jump right into the questions!

1. What’s the last book you read? What did you think of it?

I haven’t been reading much lately, but the last book I read was Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespear. I watched the movie with Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh and then bought the play a couple of weeks later the movie was word for word. I absolutely love the story, it’s so light-hearted and comical.
2. What’s your opinion on Halloween?

I find it to be a bit dark and I think the world is dark and creepy enough place as it is, and that I don’t want to dwell on let alone calibrate it.
3. Who inspired you to start blogging?

I don’t really know, it must have been either Zoella or Flur De Force because I had just started watching their videos around that time, but truthfully I don’t really remember’
4. Do you have a makeup brand that you are loyal to?

I’m not very loyal to anyone in particular but you could never go wrong with Too Faced or Tarte in my opinion.
5. Are there any brands that you would never buy from?

I know all my fellow beauty bloggers will be shocked when I say it but it’s got to be M.A.C. I don’t really know why but I just don’t like them. I might just be the little girl inside me that likes things to be all hearts and rainbows and when I walk past them in the mall it’s all rather dreary and uninviting.
6. Do you remember any of your resolutions from last year? Did you stick to them?

I don’t really believe in setting new years resolutions, and I tend to think of it more as a bucket list. Some of this years were learning how to braid my hair,  doing more creative baking projects, and getting better at nail art. So far I have done all three to some extent and I’m very pleased with myself.
7. What are you most looking forward to about the fall months?

EVERYTHING!!

Pumpkins, candles, pumpkin spiced lattes, the smell of autumn in the air, and the cool crisp mornings. You name it I probably love it.
8. Last movie you saw in theaters?

My brother and sister and I went to see Despicable Me 3 a few months ago and it was so much fun, we don’t get to go out just the three of use as much anymore so when we do it’s always a blast. I really wanted to go see Dunkirk when it first can out but we never got around to it.
9. What is your favorite thing about where you live?

Maine is such a beautiful state, I feel so blessed to have been born here and it’s really hard to pick my favorite thing. I guess I would have to say the coast, especially around Mount Desert Island, the rocky shoreline never stops taking my breath away.
10. Do you like Christmas/holiday music?

I know it gets on some peoples nerves but I love it, there is even something oddly charming about the most annoying Christmas songs.
11. What are your favorite types of blog posts to write?

I love doing recipe posts, they take so much time and effort that I don’t do them as much as I would like, plus having tones of baked goods around the house isn’t always a good thing I also really like doing lifestyle posts, but I have a hard time getting up the courage to write them.

I’m nominating,

Jamies Corner 

Quite Mad 

Pale Girl Rambling

Poppy Seeder

Fall For Maine

The Velvet Fox 

That Autumn Girl

Tints Of Autumn

Here are your questions if you choose to except.

  1. What would be your dream vacation?
  2. How do you take your coffee?
  3. Has there been a song that has changed the way you look at life?
  4. What do you love most about your blog?
  5. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
  6. If you could have any animal as a pet what would it be and why?
  7. What is your favorite thing about your blog?
  8. If you could only use one makeup brand for the rest of your life which would you choose?
  9. You’ve just won a million dollars, what is the first thing you do with your money?
  10. What do you want to view to be when you look out the window of your dream home?
  11. Describe yourself in one word?

 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Anna.

 

 

September Favorites

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It’s almost October!

I do so love October it’s is the very best of months.

This month I have been keeping fairly simple, and haven’t added many new products to my collection, so some of these are old favorites but there are a couple of new faces in the mix.

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Milani Conceal+Perfect Foundation in 00A Porcelain

This foundation has such a nice light formula and it has high coverage. The idea is that it will cover redness, under eye circles and, and imperfections, and it does give a good coverage it doesn’t take the place of my concealers. I have found that I have been using less concealer than I usually do and that it lasts really well. I put this on in the morning with primer and by evening there is a little bit of creasing under my eyes and on my forehead and chin, but other than that it holds up very well.

Milani Contour Highlight Duo in Light/Fair

I don’t usually do much in the way of contour, but since I got this product I have found contouring to be easier and that it looks more natural. The shade of the contour stick is perfect for me, it is a light cool toned grayish tan. As I’m not the biggest fan of cream highlighters, I haven’t been using that part of it very much, but as far as cream highlighters it seems very nice. It’s a very pretty creamy pearl shade that is super glowy but not shimmery.

L’Oreal Infallible 24hr Eyeshadow in Amber Rush 

This shadow is absolutely perfect for fall, it is a beautiful coppery almost rose gold color, and it wonderfully shimmery I might almost call it metallic.

L’Oreal True Match Blush in Rosy Outlook 

I love the color of this blush, it works very well for my skin color and it is a lovely rosy, slightly glowy pink. It looks so nice and natural on me that sometimes I will just use this for those no makeup days when I just need a touch of color to make me look more alive.

NYX Butter Lipstick in Ripe Berry

I talked about this lovely little lipstick in my Autumn Lipstick post(here) so it’s no real surprise that it made it to my September Favorites.

Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Naturally Chic

This lipstick is a gorgeous rosy nude. I have been wearing this pretty much every day.  I have a couple o Milani lipsticks and I love them all, the formula is super comfortable and easy to wear.

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Ultra Aroma Glow Vitamin C & Collagen Face Serum

I have been using instead of a moisturizer in the evenings, and so times in the morning if I’m not in a hurry to put on my makeup as it takes awhile to soak in.

Burts Bees Coconut & Pear Moisturizing Lipbalm 

This lip balm was recommended to me by the lovely Katie of Beauty From Katie, and It’s now one of my very favorites. I never would have thought to mix coconut with pear but they go together so well.

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Banana Republic WildBloom Rouge Perfume

This is a beautiful warm musky floral scent. I love warmer scents for the cooler months, and this one is one it just so subtle and elegant.

 

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Contour/ Highlighter/ 00A Porceln/  Rosey Outlook/ Amber Rush/ Ripe Berry/ Naturally Chic

Thats it for my September favorites!

What h

September Sephora Play First Impression

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This month’s Sephora Play is finally here!

The theme of this month’s box is Fall Into Beauty, but to be honest I don’t really see it following into the products themselves.

This month the bag is still the classic drawstring but instead of the usual white linen, it is a very pink silk-like fabric with the word A Change Of Face in bold black letters.

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STILA Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Black 

I haven’t been using black eyeliner, but I’m really interested to see how this one works. At first glance, it seems to go on smoothly and evenly, but I’m a little worried about how it will stay on as it washed off my hand really easily.

 

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DEVACURL Melt Into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask

My hair has been really dry lately so I was really happy to see a moisturizing mask in this months box, and I can’t wait to use it. It says this has matcha green tea butter, almond oil, and beetroot extract, so it smells amazing. I have never heard of DEVACURL before so I’m curious to test this out.

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LAURA MERCIER Velour Lovers Lip Colour in Happy

I used this lipstick this afternoon and it seems really nice, the formula is a little weird, it takes quite a few passes to get an even color all over the lips, but once it’s on it’s lovely.  This lipstick is really cool because it feels like a matte but looks shimmery, and supposedly it is moisturizing as well. I love the shade as well, it’s a beautiful shimmery vibrant pink.

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BENEFIT COSMETICS Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Medium  

I’ve had a sample of this product before and I really liked, but it recently disappeared so I’m happy to have another.  This is great for those days when you what a very natural but still defined brow, it’s basically a mascara for your eyebrows.

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BELIF The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

I have gotten a few samples of BELIF products in the past and they have all been really nice, so I have high hopes for this one. This is supposed to give intense hydration and visibly smooth the skin, so it sounds like just what my skin needs right now.

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GIORGIO ARMANI Acqua di Gioia 

While I do love this perfume and I will definitely be using it, I feel like Sephora hasn’t been giving much of a variety of scents in these boxes. So far they have all pretty much been light citrusy florals, don’t get me wrong I love them but I’m starting quite a collection of perfumes that smell about the same.

This perfume has notes of lemon, peonies, jasmine and brown sugar.

 

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Happy/ Stila liner in Black/ Benefit brow gel/

 

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I’m very happy with this months box. I know I will use all of the products, but I’m most excited about the lipstick and the eyeliner.

What do you think about this months box?

Anna.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

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Hello, My name is Anna and I am in love with pumpkins, well fall in general but mostly pumpkins. So of course, the first recipe of autumn is going to scream PUMPKIN.

So, allow me to present to you the Pumpkin Spice Cupcake.

Cupcakes are by far my favorite thing to make, they have endless possibilities as far as decorating goes. and they are way cuter than cake itself. These darlings are one of my proudest bakes, plus they’re pumpkin! What’s better than that?

 

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Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • 2 Cups Pumpkin Puree 
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil 
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla 
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Ginger  
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cloves 
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg 

Preheat over to 350F

Line your muffin tin.

In a large mixing bowl beat together the pumpkin puree, eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, and sugar.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and the spices.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix on a low setting until well combined, scraping down the sides as you go along.

Fill your muffin cups 2/3 full of batter, bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and place the cupcakes on a cooling rake. Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16oz Cream Cheese 
  • 1 Cup Butter 
  • 4 Cups Powdered Sugar 
  • 1/2 Cup Milk 
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla 
  • Pumpkin Spice for garnishing

 

Make sure the butter and the cream cheese are both room temperature, trust me, this will make a world of difference.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar mixing in between additions. Next, add the milk and vanilla, and beat until well combined.

You may need to add more powdered sugar to get the consistency you want in your frosting, and used a piping bag so I needed mine to be thick enough to hold shape.

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To frost my cupcakes I used an icing bag with large round tip and made a spiral design. I then sprinkled a little pumpkin spice and topped each cupcake with the fondant pumpkins I made the day before.

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I am so pleased with how these came out, they looked and tasted amazing. I’m sure I will be making these again before autumn is over.

If you would like to see how I made the fondant pumpkins I topped these cupcakes with you can find that post right (here).

Anna.

Making Fondant Pumpkins

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I love baking, especially this time of year,  but I do tend to be a little cautious when it comes to trying new recipes and techniques. However, every once and awhile I will have the urge to try something new, and this time it is pumpkins.

Yes, pumpkins.

I have to start off by saying this, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I didn’t have a recipe or tutorial to follow, I just know I wanted little fondant pumpkins. Looking back these were very easy to make, but I won’t lie and say they were not time-consuming, in fact, it took me about five hours start to finish. This may have been because I didn’t really know what I was doing, or maybe they just take ages, either way, I didn’t feel like I wasted my time at all, in fact, I felt extremely proud of myself.

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To Start off, I use (this recipe) for my fondant, it’s super easy to make marshmallow fondant the hardest part is getting the food coloring evenly throughout the fondant so it doesn’t look streaky.

Once I made my fondant, I divided it into to two, one part is about a quarter the size of the other, that will be colored dark green for the pumpkin stem, and the other a bright orange for the pumpkins themselves.

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To color the orange fondant I used orange gel food color from Wilton, and for the green used green gel and got the fondant to a bright green, and then used a little black to give it that deep earthy green.

Once I had gotten my fondant colored, I rolled the orange into a rope that was about an inch around. Then I cut the rope into sections that were about one inch long.

Next, I rolled those sections into balls, I wasn’t worried about making them look perfect because pumpkins aren’t perfect. Then I placed them into the refrigerator to chill.

I then rolled sections of my green fondant into thin ropes, I’m not sure what to liken the size to, but you want them to be a fitting size to be the stems for your soon to be pumpkins. I then placed the green fondant sections onto the wax paper and put them in the fridge to chill.

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I let everything chill for about ten and then I cut my green ropes into stems for my pumpkins. I did this by eye and didn’t worry too much about getting them all the same. Next, I started to shape my pumpkins. I used a fondant knife to make the indents on the sides of my pumpkins, this had to be done quickly because the fondant begins to get soft and harder to work with. I found that pressing the knife into the fondant instead of cutting worked better for the shape I wanted.  Once I had the grooves done on the sides of my pumpkins I used my finger and gently pressed down on the top of each of them to give them that slightly indented look that pumpkins have.

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Next up I used the remaining green fondant and broke off little pieces and rolled them into pea-sized balls, and then using a fondant tool I carefully added it to the indent on the top of each of my pumpkins to make it look like the stem was growing out of it.

Now for the stems!

I used a fondant the same tool I used in the last step to gently blend one end of the stem into the top of my little pumpkins, and then shaped the stem around the tool to give it a more realistic look.

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Now that the pumpkins are assembled I used a clean eyeshadow brush( beauty blogging and baking intertwine) and lightly brushed on some cocoa powder. I started with the bottom and did a heavier coat and then lightly dusted the rest of the pumpkins. This step gave them a fresh picked look.

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I put all of my pumpkins back in the fridge and let them sit overnight, to be added to cupcakes the next day.

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These came out so well and were better than I could have hoped for them to be. While these were time-consuming and a little tricky, I would one hundred percent make them again.

If you want to see the cupcake recipe that I made these to go with it will be up tomorrow, and I will link it (here).

Anna.

 

An Interview With Lemon & Tulips

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There is a new bright spot in Fryeburg, From its cheery front garden to its welcoming yellow door. Since it opened on January 19th, 2017 Lemon & Tulips have brought a little ray of the sunshine charming agricultural town.

Lemon & Tulips have some pre-arranged flowers, and some adorable merchandise in the shop but specializes in their stunning and unique custom arrangments, just head over to their Instagram @lemonandtulips to see for yourself.

The owner of lemon & Tulips the lovely Alexzandria Regan was kind enough to do an interview for A Sparkle Of Grace, so keep reading!

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Have you always wanted to work with flowers?

I grew up with my mother drying wreaths and flowers, taking care of household plants and always, always outside in her garden. Whether it was her reading a book, maintaining it or just relaxing; I grew up knowing a garden was a peaceful place for the mind. So, I have always enjoyed flowers for their both aesthetic and nostalgic feel.  When figuring out what I was going to do from High School to College to ‘real life’, floral design popped up once in awhile but it really did not fall into place until after an accident, where I cracked my skull and had traumatic brain injury.  After this happened, I knew I could not go back to a job (managerial) as it was too much to handle and comprehend. I did do some research that things that would help me ease into a different career path and with a twist of fate, a floral position was open and I got hired. I needed something to retrain-my-brain and floral had it all; the fragrance that alleviates stress, colors that build visual memory and most importantly, creativity on free-designs (thank goodness for the right-side of the brain).   

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When did you decide to open your own shop?  

It was a very random call from my mother saying that the floral shop in Fryeburg could be up for sale. I did not really fathom it or even thought it was possible until it became very real. If the shop did not happen, I was going to come back to Fryeburg anyway to try to save money and work as a freelancer in floral.

Why did you decide to stay in Fryeburg?

I was actually planning on moving back to Fryeburg way before the idea of buying the floral shop. Although I feel as though Portland is my home, the home and lifestyle were too expensive and it did not make much sense to be an entrepreneur and to save there.  Over the years, I started thinking, ‘Fryeburg is a gem of a town’. It has so much potential with its prime location, the many camps, the Saco River, the Fair, the beautiful nature, the farms, the historic Academy, the Valley and its heavy 302 traffic. A lot of eyes go through Fryeburg!

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Where did the name Lemon & Tulips come from?  

Short Story: ‘Lemon’ is a nickname & ‘Tulips’ is my favorite flower

Long Story: I have always been slightly obsessed with lemons. They hold my favorite color, yellow, my favorite scent, they produce glorious health benefits and they serve with astounding uses! They are my ‘power fruit’ or rather, a positive entity for me. With this being said, all of my friends started buying me lemon things. In time it became a nickname of mine. Tulips are my favorite flower. Living in Germany when I was younger, my family and I visited the surrounding countries and tulips were always there; they are nostalgic for me, especially with Scandinavian folk art. When learning floral, I found out that they have such a personality! When cut, the tulip stills continues to grow.

What was the scariest part of starting your own business?

All of the responsibility! Everything lies on me and is truly scary! It does push me to become more of a caring and successful business owner by getting over my fears.

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In your opinion, what makes Lemon & Tulips special?

I think Lemon & Tulips is special because it’s a floral shop that is personalized. What I mean by saying this, is that I am not affiliated with major services that have you pick out an image on a computer (Teleflora for example) and to copy it. For me, it takes away both mine and the customer’s creative freedom and personalization of the arrangement. I have gotten some feedback from not being involved, but floral shops are changing and stemming away from these services and I am happy to be apart of it. Although I could potentially make more money by being involved, oddly,  I would rather make less and be more unique and customized for both the sender and the recipient. I believe my shop can make that happen. Sometimes you have to just set yourself aside and do your own thing!DSC_0051 (2)DSC_0053

Have there been any surprises, good or bad, that you discovered when starting out?

That thing called ‘trail and error’ and I have already had my fair share of it. I did not just purchase a floral shop and just continued like it was before. I purchased a floral shop and completely flipped it. From the aesthetics, the methods, the policies, the floral, the design, the orders, the shop both inside and out, I flipped almost everything. The bad thing about this is that I did lose some customers that were accustomed to what they had in the past, which is always tough to see. However, the good thing about this is that I gained customers that loved the change and excited to see me grow.

What is your favorite type of arrangement to create?

My favorite arrangement is when a customer asks me to use a unique vessel and to have fun with it. This is amazing because the customer is putting trust and faith in me to produce something different with my personal design.DSC_0071DSC_0078

How about your favorite flower?

So many! But, of course, tulips. They have such a personality to them because they continue to grow after cutting them. I remember the first time I witnessed it as we (past floral job) made several tulip centerpieces at a clean height, and the next day to see that they grew taller and started bending in every direction. I could not stop laughing and thought it was absolutely adorable.  

Do you have any advice for someone who is trying to start a business?

Remember to sleep.  Have a planner glued to you (your to-do’s, meetings and random notes will be overwhelming).  Take feedback in a positive way.   Keep your overhead low but also know that you have to spend money to make money. Research your demographics before you start. FREE MARKETING! It’s called word-of-mouth, and the most efficient one too! You cannot make everyone happy and it’s okay. Guidelines and ‘rules’ are meant to be broken; do not limit yourself.

 

Thanks so much to Alexzandria for taking the time to work with me on this post.

Have a wonderful day!

Anna.