Wednesday, December 17, 2014


My parents, and particularly my dad, love Christmas. Growing up, one or both of them would dutifully eat the cookies my brother and I laid out and often times left a handwritten note from S.C. (not Scott Calvin) himself. They played the part quite tastefully, really.

I was 7 years old in 1992 and the only thing on my list was a Barbie Dream House with working elevator. Ever the planner, I did not want to leave my fate to chance. I not-so-subtly hinted while rifling through my grandma’s Sears catalog, created an expertly crafted letter to Santa, and even visited him during his month long stint at Southridge Mall. I must have made a lasting impression because Santa (later identified as my grandpa) called to speak with me. I mean, I knew I had been nice that year in an attempt to butter him up, but I had no idea my sweetness warranted a personal phone call. The words barely made it out my mouth as I nervously paced down hallway. After handing the phone over to my little brother, I remember wondering how to disguise knowing Santa was bringing me a Barbie Dream House with working elevator because I didn’t want to ruin the surprise for my parents. I was that confident.

Come Christmas morning, I woke up before everyone to stalk the gifts under the tree. It took all of .183429 seconds to identify the largest package, my Barbie Dream House with working elevator. When my brother and parents awoke nearly years later (a period of time which I also credit for the premature graying of my hair), I speedily divvied up the presents. I organized my own pile by size, saving the you-know-what with working elevator for last. My brother was young enough to sometimes require adult assistance when opening his packages, which tested my patience by gift number four. 

Hours, and possibly even days, later there was one present remaining. I collected myself and attempted to hide my knowing smile as I carefully tore back the wrapping paper. What I uncovered was a nondescript cardboard box. Huh. Now, I had seen the Barbie Dream House with working elevator in stores enough times to know what the box should look like, but I gave St. Nick the benefit of the doubt. He probably just assembled the house so it’s ready for me to play with, I reasoned to myself and pressed onward. Once I pulled open the corners of the box, it took a few seconds to process what was inside.

Wait… what… this isn’t… but…


A coat.

I struggled to collect my thoughts and fight back tears. I scoured my brain to access what little knowledge I had of acting and turned my mouth up in a pathetic U shape. Words escaped me as I lifted the winter coat from its bed and slipped it on my heartbroken body.  My parents Ooh-ed and Aah-ed with satisfied expressions drawn on their faces.

I spent the next few hours in disbelief almost assuming that, at some point during the day, my parents would sneak away and return with my coveted Barbie Dream House with working elevator. They’d revel in a brief moment of GOTCHA! while I re-created the scene from A Christmas Story when Ralphie finally receives his Red Ryder BB gun (minus any loss of eyes).

The event really shook my faith in Santa Claus, though I continued believing in him until fourth grade (thanks a lot, Amy and Amanda). 

As an adult, I think back to that Christmas with nothing but fondness. I've often asked my parents how they missed the multitude of clues I dropped or why they decided to let me open a coat at the grand finale gift. They don't know.

Perhaps most amusing in my decision to share this story now, I asked for a new winter coat this Christmas. 

Are you reading this, mom? 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Have you been waiting with baited breath to find out whether or not you won the J. LoVan dripping bow headband? 


You're about to find out... (insert dramatic Ryan Seacrest pause)

Dramatic pauses are really hard to execute via text. 

Anyway, congratulations Molly! You're going to look ultra cute wearing it, I'm just positive. 

Thanks to all the pretty ladies who entered!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I was initially drawn to this location due to its isolated-ness. However, the moment Zach and I started snapping photos, every single mosquito in the Des Moines metro came swarming. Zach was all like, "Oh, they're getting me!" and he came away with what he thought was a bug bite (unconfirmed). I was all like, "Oh, they're getting me!" and came away with four confirmed bug bites.

Guess that means I'm sweeter or something...

These photos are from my second style challenge for J. LoVan. I'm sporting the dripping bow headband which you (yes, YOU) can win by following the two easiest steps ever. First, follow J. LoVan on Facebook or Instagram (still superspecialdoublebonusentry if you do both). Second, shoot me a quick lil comment below so I know you've complied with the first direction. This contest ends at 11:59 PM on October 5. 

As of now, you're odds of winning are pretty good, but who knows things change and maybe you'll miss out because you never tried and then your life will spiral out of control and you'll wish you could go back in time and take 30 seconds out of your busy schedule to enter this contest but you can't because you don't have a Tardis. 

Sweet Doctor Who reference, AMIRIGHT?

And just to prove that an outdoorsman I am not...

sweater | jcp last year // denim jacket | mng by mango (similar) // skirt | express (similar) // mostly un-pictured boots | tj maxx (similar)

Monday, September 22, 2014


Call this my 'season premiere'. 

Summer kept me occupied with pretty much everything except writing. And that's ok, because, like I said way back in April (when Summer (that saucy minx) was just starting to tease us with her lingering sun and above freezing temperatures): MY BLOG. MY RULES.

A few weeks ago, I was approached by Julia LoVan, designer/creator/mastermind of J. LoVan. She happened upon my blog and asked if I would be willing to style a few headbands from her current collection. Now, I have never done anything like this before, so I was both petrified and excited (a feelings combo I am well versed in). 

Julia and I met up for coffee and spent over two hours talking all things style, celebrities, and her many creative endeavors. Rarely one to just sit on ideas, Julia has dabbled in just about everything including working in the demanding L.A. fashion scene. She now specializes in accessories for men and women, home goods, and homemade body butter (which I didn't even know was possible, because the only thing my KitchenAid whips up is frosting). 

As the title of this post suggests, Julia is offering one lucky guy (no gender discrimination here) or gal a dripping bow turban headband, which I will be styling later this week. Entering to win this prize is easy-peasy, just follow J. Lovan on Facebook or Instagram (bonus entry if you do both!) and let me know in the comments section. This contest will be open for entry until 11:59 PM on October 5. Go out there and win something pretty!
button-up | ny&co. // sweater | i don't know // pants | ny&co. // boots | dsw forever ago // headband | c/o j. lovan designs

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


My work week breakfast habits are woefully repetitive. Greek yogurt, berries, honey, granola. Every. Single. Day.

But that's how I like it. 

However, this morning was a bit different. 

As I opened a new quart of yogurt, both my eyes and stomach churned with disappointment. What was inside the container resembled something akin to melted ice cream versus that thick, sour cream-like consistency I know and love. Vowing to give it a chance, I constructed my breakfast. 

It was at that same time that I saw a day old, half eaten maple long john out the corner of my right eye. He (yes, he) sat alone in the pastry box which once contained twelve of his homies. Had it not been for my hovering boss, I would have taken that stale donut on the ride of his life. But I'm a professional, so instead I simply nodded at my future lover, promising to return, and walked away. 

Now I don't know if it was the texture of the yogurt or the promise of maple glaze in my mouth, but the breakfast I had assembled was even more vomitous than originally anticipated. But that's ok, because donut.

I heard footsteps in the kitchen and knew it just had to be my boss heading to his office. My time was about to come, you guys. Finally, after waiting literally four minutes, I could casually, yet swiftly, make my way back to my fried friend. Gospel choirs would clap and shout, the sky would fill with heart-shaped fireworks, we would both receive the final rose...

The face I saw approaching was not that of my boss, it was, for the sake of this story, a smug sun of a gun called Kent*. And in his grubby hand was something I loved. It was my donut. Kent's pace slowed (probably) as he passed my desk and took a clumsy bite out of my future. 

In a matter of seconds, my day old dream had disappeared.

*Real name

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Putting the harness on her was less difficult than I anticipated. If we're being perfectly honest, I probably struggled with it more than Pennie did. However, once the leash was hooked to the harness, she began to exhibit bizarre, yet hilarious, yet sad behavior. This included attempts to jump away from herself (which ended in a wall collision), the refusal to fully stand up (opting to flop from side to side as if the harness were far too heavy for her to even consider walking), and the bone-chilling eyes of a cat calculating revenge.

Eventually Pennie's desire to explore outweighed her inclination to murder me right then and there. The next thirty minutes was both woefully uneventful and the happiest moment of my life. Zach described it as "an incredible demonstration of human absurdity and torture." In our first attempt, Pennie managed to flounder herself about twenty feet from the back door, making sure to chew on every patch of grass along the way (which resulted in a few grass-laced hairballs later on). Day two culminated in Pennie clothes-lining herself after realizing she had wandered all the way to the front of the building and could no longer see the back door.

Based on her initial reaction, I was certain she would fight the harness every time. Luckily I have the most intelligent and beautiful cat in the entire world (don't try to convince me otherwise) and she has taken to the process quite well the past week. To limit trauma, I typically just sit with the harness in hand until she comes to me. It hasn't taken more than a minute or so each time, though she still has a mini panic attack once everything snaps in place.

You can look forward to a reasonable amount of updates as this exploration in cat walking (AKA my new favorite hobby) develops.

And for any haters, Pennie has this to say:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


In the months leading up to my 10 year high school reunion I have...

Panicked about what outfit to wear (still haven't decided)
Logged extra hours at the gym and felt guilty about bad food choices
Worried that no one will remember me, or worse yet, have bad memories of me
Had an existential crisis about my accomplishments in life (or potential lack of)
Flip-flopped about whether or not to attend no less than five times
Confirmed that at least three of my best friends will be there so I'm not sitting alone in a corner eating french fries

One may argue that I'm a bit high-strung (I am) or that the anxiety I have experienced is unwarranted (I know). 

The idea of being old enough to attend a 10 year reunion seemed nearly impossible when I graduated, but sure enough, time continues to forge ahead. Over the years, my imagination led me to believe this would be a time for everyone to come together and finally get along, to toss aside their former teen labels and begin new friendships. In my mind it looked a lot like the final scene in The Breakfast Club sprinkled with the cast of Saved by the Bell and the unforgettable dance number from Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.

However, as the event draws nearer, I am becoming acutely aware that the scenario I assembled in my mind might not be real life. Not due to a different roster of characters, but because of my own insecurities. While I would never claim to have had an abnormally difficult high school career, I endured my fair share of (subjective) hardships. False rumors were spread, boyfriends broke my heart, girls poked fun at my shape, and I was in band (but I loved band). And much to the horror of my present self, I fought hard on a daily basis to earn the approval of all my peers.

To quote Angus, my favorite movie of all time:

"As for what anybody else thinks, always remember these words and live by them: screw 'em!"  

Unfortunately, I'm not always great at taking the best, and often simplest advice. I have been fixated on the opinions of others for far too long which has directly affected my ability to  experience the joy of the present, of now. Knowing this about myself, I have spent the better part of my twenties learning to be content with myself and to rely less on how everyone views me.

Once again seeing the people who knew me at my most awkward has me resorting to past fears and left me with an embarrassing desire to impress. All of a sudden I'm back in braces and wearing too much Bonne Bell bronzer (pro tip: bronzer should never be used as a replacement for foundation unless you want to look like a tan Edward Cullen in the sunlight). I have obsessed about who will attend and whether the other kids will like me. 

Growing up, my mom preached the importance of treating everyone with kindness and respect. She shared a story about being nominated a homecoming queen candidate in college (beating out the "very cute girl with huge boobs"). And while I was never the homecoming queen, the concept of being nice because you never know who is paying attention has stuck.

An equally profound piece of advice was shared by our high school principal. "Don't let high school be the best years of your life," he spoke. "Don't refer to these years as your glory days and don't let high school define your future." It was some of the most hopeful and sincere insight I had ever heard. 

While my celebrity-filled, after school special reunion fantasies may be far-fetched, I am attempting to ditch the prior judgments, grudges, and preconceived notions of others. No one is granted a lifetime or popularity or relegated to permanent nerd status. 

At 28, I don't have it all together. But I'm learning to be ok with that. With the reunion just a few weeks away, I can only hope others accept the imperfect version of myself that I have come to appreciate through the years. 

And if not, well, "screw 'em."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


It's no secret that I have a fondness for all things related to bathroom behavior. Farts and poops are funny, you guys! If we aren't on the same page about that, you should probably just go.

Shit's about to get a little gross.

The women in my office building have deplorable lavatory etiquette. Like, explosive, keep the plumber on speed dial kind of crap (literally + figuratively). I'm not convinced that most of them don't gnaw on jalapenos all day and quench their thirst with pre-colonoscopy juice. Every day I have the esteemed pleasure of witnessing the aftermath of a Harry Dunne-like catastrophe. 

For months my annoyance has been building and now I'm making it my personal mission to shame every single one of them. Let's poo it:

The lady who mistakes her own ass for an elephant's and consequently uses an entire roll to wipe and consequently clogs the toilet and then I subsequently walk in and see a bowl full of poop and TP. It astounds me how many people are unfamiliar with the rule of courtesy flushing and/or never learned an appropriate square count to wipe with. I swear some of these ladies gather toilet paper like a magician pulling a never-ending handkerchief chain out of his sleeve. And if we're being 100% honest here, I usually monitor the toilet to ensure everything disappears safely before exiting. God forbid someone sees me depart a stall then enters only to be greeted by my leftovers.

The chick who needs to poop, but doesn't want anyone to hear her poop so she sits in the stall in perfect silence, but doesn't realize I can see her shoes. And unfortunately for her, I have a photographic shoe memory. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a jerk when it comes to this one. When I can tell someone else in the bathroom is waiting me out to drop a deuce, I will purposely take my time. And sometimes, when I feel a little extra cruel, I'll linger outside the bathroom just long enough to give the "I know what you did in there" look. Conversely, I tip my hat to the woman who isn't afraid to let loose, because not much will get me to scoot out of the bathroom faster than the impending stench of BM. 

The woman who is terrible at pretending to wash her hands. I mean, really. She turns the sink on for about three seconds and I definitely did not hear her pump any soap into her palms. Does she think she is fooling me? And who hurries in and out of the bathroom at work, anyway? Personally, I escape to the bathroom for a few guaranteed moments of silence and catch up on whatever phone game I happen to be obsessed with at the time. Ok fine. I don't mentally recite the ABCs while washing my hands and if I did, I'd probably only get to G, but whatever. I still make a point to go through the shortened routine. 

The nincompoop (I had to) who lines the seat with toilet paper, does her business, then leaves said toilet paper in her wake. Specifically, the one who leaves two perfect balls of TP on the front edges of the seat and at least three strips of streamers scattered about the floor. See example below.

Yes, I did go into the bathroom at work to recreate the scene. And, yes, there are a few faint skid marks if you look closely. They are not mine.


After she became a fifth time offender (and I mistakenly walked into her war zone on a rotten day), I decided to leave a note:
Dear TP Wads, 

I understand you are concerned with ass germs and therefore line the toilet seat with an absurd amount of toilet paper, but perhaps you might consider not being such a jerk by figuring out a way to dispose of said toilet paper. One thought I had was to kick it into the bowl, since clearly you won't want to sully your perfectly germ free hands. 

People around the office caught wind (yep) of my note and applauded me for saying what everyone had been thinking. I felt like a real hero sitting atop the hypothetical shoulders of my supporters. And you know what? It got better for a few good months. I loved those months. I could once again use my second favorite stall in the bathroom. Life was sweet. 

Just recently, though, it was brought to my attention that TP Wads is back at her old tricks and that's why I was provoked to write this post. 

She ruined it for everyone. 

And maybe it's just me, but I'm usually on my best sanitary behavior in public and am a little more lax at home. Feel free to back me up on this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


"You have a gray hair," she stated. Right in the middle of class. For everyone to hear. As a pimply, braces-wearing seventh grader, the last thing I wanted was to be different. Was it not punishment enough that I sported sweatpants as a fashion statement on the daily, was on the C-team in basketball, never made the cheerleading squad, and had an uncontrollable chapstick addiction?

Sure enough, as someone held a Cover Girl powder compact up to my face, I saw a single Cindy Lou Who-esque strand of gray was standing at attention atop my head. Without thinking, I yanked it out.

She couldn't have known, but at that moment an obsession began. 

Friends (and my unfortunate younger brother) would regularly comb through my hair with a pair of tweezers in search of salty colored streaks to pluck. Finding a gray hair was the highest victory; unfortunately as time passed, locating the wiry strands became much less difficult a task.

I dyed my hair for the first time on a whim one day during the Summer before junior year when I caught a group of my friends cruising around town without me. In a lame effort to show them (or myself) how much fun I could have alone, I haphazardly covered my noggin with goop. A shade best described as 'exit sign orange' is what I ended up with. My mom was horrified and immediately sent me to Walgreens for a repair kit. I sobbed as the dye stung my head, positive all my hair would fall out, and not certain I didn't want it to.

Throughout the next ten years, I dyed my hair most every shade of chocolate brown imaginable and during my hardcore phase, I opted for true black. But every 4 - 6 weeks, as the color grew out, I could see just how much gray hair I was masking under the boxes upon boxes of L'Oreal Preference. 

To be 100% truthful, it made me incredibly self-conscious. I had this idea imbedded in my mind that I was not a beautiful person because of my gray hair. Coloring my hair was an expensive and time consuming security blanket I couldn't live without. 

I stumbled a upon this article one day, which planted the seed to quit dyeing. I read it over and over, attempting to talk myself into letting the gray grow out. With the continued encouragement of friends and family, I took the plunge. It was a very anti-climactic plunge as my hair grows at a painfully slow rate. Lucky for me the growth pattern is actually quite lovely, much of the white is concentrated around my temples and takes on a blonde shade at the tips. Most people actually mistake it for a professional color.

To date, I have not colored my hair since Winter 2012 which means every single strand of hair on my head is its natural color. Perhaps a silly achievement in the grand scheme of life, but it is a major fete in the ongoing battle to feel confident in my own skin.

And you know what's funny? I have never loved my hair more.

shirt | loft // jacket | bcbgeneration // jeans | urban outfitters // boots | dsw // necklace | j crew

Friday, May 16, 2014


Recently, I have been fiddling around with a few cupcake recipes and though they have been deemed unworthy of posting or sharing with friends, I find myself eating one every single night after dinner. Just because. And, I mean, how will I know what to change if I don't eat enough to figure it out? It's quite the existential crisis. 

But on the other hand, if I don't want to share them with other people, why am I constantly eating a reminder of my disappointment? Well, we won't address my emotional eating habits today.

Onward to failure!

First was margarita cupcakes (in honor of Cinco de Cuatro). The batter was neither lime-y or sweet enough and I got a little tequila-happy with the cream cheese frosting. On the plus side, I was rocking a pretty fun buzz most nights of the week. 

Next I decided to bake strawberry cupcakes on a whim because something fruity sounded nice and obviously I couldn't just, you know, eat fruit. The actual cupcake lacked a strong strawberry punch, though it was incredibly moist (moist). For whatever bizarre reason, I decided to add chopped up strawberry chunks to the buttercream frosting which was fine the first night, but cut to a few nights later and it wasn't nearly as appealing to my eyes or taste buds. Ended up throwing over half the batch away.

Most recently I made two batches of red velvet cupcakes for my dad's birthday and Mother's Day. The cupcakes were a home run. I really knocked it out of the park, you guys--a most perfect shade of deep red, the tops bouncy to the touch, it was truly a thing of beauty.

But wait. These are cupcake disasters. 

The cream cheese frosting was runny. Like, diarrhea runny. So there I was with 21 (because I ate too much batter to make 24) perfect cupcakes and delicious, but poopy, frosting. Thanks to Zach's ingenuity, we served the cupcakes in bowls and spooned frosting on top. 

So clearly I am no expert baker. The plus side to all of this is that the recipes I do publish on my blog have gone through extensive taste-testing to ensure quality. It's all for you. 

And now unrelated to everything I have been discussing, here is an outfit I wore recently. More specifically, here are my most prized boots which took me no less than a month to settle on. 

I was in a very sour mood on the day these photos were taken.

shirt | gap (similar fit) // jacket | jcpenney (stolen from zach) // jeans | urban outfitters // boots | hunter // necklace | thrifted

Friday, May 2, 2014


Zach is not a dessert kind of guy. It's one of his few flaws, which straddles red flag territory and often creates a rift in our marriage. I'm all like, "I MUST HAVE SOMETHING SWEET OR ELSE I'LL DIE," and he's all like, "meh." Or, even more insulting, he'll pull the, "I'll just have a couple bites of yours," stunt. Um. No. You won't.

But every once in a while he has a craving for delicious baked goods, and what kind of wife would I be not to honor these requests? And so, Do You Want S'more Chata Cupcakes were born into the world. 

For Zach. 

Definitely not for my own greedy purposes. Nope. 

Ingredients for Do You Want S'more Chata Cupcakes:

1 stick unsalted butter
2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 tbs RumChata
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Ingredients for OMG RumChata marshmallow frosting:

1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
7 oz (one container) marshmallow creme
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbs RumChata
1 tsp cinnamon

Let's do this:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees // Grab a medium bowl and whisk the dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, baking powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt) // Melt butter and semi-sweet baking chocolate together (let it hang out and cool off a bit) // Grab a large bowl and whisk wet ingredients and sugar together (eggs, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla) // Stir in the butter and chocolate mixture // Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating between the two (bit of the dry, bit of the b-milk, bit of the dry, bit of the b-milk) // Once the ingredients are just combined, fold in the chocolate chips // Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full of the beautiful batter // Stick the pan in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes, cupcakes are done when a toothpick can be inserted and pulled out cleanly // Let the cupcakes chill out in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack // FROSTING TIME! Beat the softened butter for 2 -3 minutes // Slowly add marshmallow creme, powdered sugar, RumChata and cinnamon while mixer is still running // Continue mixing the frosting for another 3 - 5 minutes until it is fluffy and delightful // Once cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe or hand frost each cupcake // Garnish with chocolate chips and graham crackers, or nothing // Try not to eat all of them, or do and let me watch

Tips + things I learned:

Don't want to wait until your eggs are room temp? No prob. Set those puppies in a bowl of warm water for 5 - 10 minutes and you're good to go. 
I couldn't really taste the RumChata in the cupcake batter, so maybe you'll just want to sip on that portion instead of adding it to the mix. Or you could add it for funsies and also drink a glass of the stuff. 
The graham cracker garnish will soften by the next day, which didn't bother me, but I just thought you should know.

Full disclosure: the chocolate cupcake recipe was adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Most mornings I'm lucky to wake after the third alarm shocks me out of a near-dead sleep. I am constantly reminding myself to pack gym clothes the night before in order to save a few precious moments come daylight. Without fail, only half my hair will curl the way I want it to, the skirt I tossed in the infamous hoard pile is purposely hiding and my cat is so cute that I have to snuggle her for a minimum of five minutes.

Needless to say, accessorizing is an afterthought.

While standing among a herd of a dozen other budget-conscious women in the dressing room line at Forever 21, pre-sweating* and overhearing bountiful tales of teenage drama (and thus wondering how many years I can shop at F21 before a friend or loved one takes me on the Maury Show to say "you think you're all that, but you can't wear that") (also, yes, the Maury Show is still relevant), I spotted a bright, cheery piece of neck-wear. Not thinking any longer than it took to check for noticeable rust, I bought the damn thing. Today I am pleased to report it has been worn three times, twice of which was during the work week.

My relationship with accessories is on the upswing!

Please notice the three day old band-aid I forgot on my foot.

*Pre-sweating (v): the act of knowing one will sweat due to nervousness, self-consciousness, awkwardness, agitation, distress or standing in the dressing room line at the local Forever 21, but has not yet begun sweating

button-up | no clue (cute!) // t-shirt | target (close enough) // jeans | urban outfitters // shoes | gap // necklace | f21

Friday, April 18, 2014


Bourbon and I have a somewhat sordid past. 

Only a few close friends know the intimate details of the evening that is now referred to as that one time I attempted to drink as much whiskey as Zach (& failed). But suffice it to say, the toilet and I were cozied up like two lovers in the corner booth of a dark bar. It should also be noted that this was the night I discovered Zach has a blessedly strong stomach. 

Anyway, who wants dessert? 

Ingredients for bourbon snickerdoodle cupcakes:

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar (1 cup for batter, 1/2 cup for sprinkling)
1 stick melted unsalted butter
1 egg
1/3 cup greek yogurt
3/4 cup milk
3 tbs mid-shelf bourbon

Ingredients for bourbon buttercream frosting:

1 1/2 sticks room temperature, unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbs cinnamon 
1 pinch salt
2 - 3 tbs mid-shelf bourbon (depending on how frisky you're feeling)

Let's do this:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees // Grab a medium bowl and toss in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) // Grab a large bowl and whisk the melted butter and cup of sugar // Stir the egg, yogurt, milk, vanilla and bourbon // Slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and mix until combined and lumps have disappeared // Grab a small bowl and mix together the cinnamon and remaining sugar // Plop approximately one dollop of the batter into each cupcake liner // Sprinkle a generous portion of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top // Plop an additional dollop of the batter into each cupcake liner (should be about 2/3 full) // Sprinkle more cinnamon-sugar on top of each cupcake (don't be shy!) // Stick those babes in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes, cupcakes are done when a toothpick can be inserted and pulled out cleanly // Let the cupcakes chill out in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack // While that's happening, beat the softened butter for 2 - 3 minutes // Slowly add powdered sugar, heavy cream, cinnamon, salt and bourbon while mixer is sill running // Continue mixing the frosting for 3 - 5 minutes // Once cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe or hand frost each cupcake and finish by sprinkling more cinnamon-sugar on top (there will likely be leftover frosting, which makes a great breakfast or post-work out snack)

Tips + Things I learned:

I accidentally added the wet ingredients to the dry--don't do that. Remember, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients. 
Be generous with the cinnamon-sugar sprinkled between the layers of batter.
To create a homemade piping bag: spoon frosting into a large freezer bag, diagonally cut off a small corner of the bag, ta-da! The art of frosting cupcakes can be frustrating, so be patient.
The original frosting recipe called for two sticks of butter, but after making and eating a lot of the frosting (via squirting it from the bag into my mouth) I decided it could have used a bit less. The above recipe has been amended with this suggestion.

Full disclosure: this recipe was adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction