Weekender: A Very Mary Birthday!


Happy birthday to my amazing mother – the most beautiful, stylish, and special person I know.


May your weekend be filled with endless reasons to celebrate!

xx Cocoa & Lace


Onward to 2013!

Hard to believe 2012 is coming to a close, isn’t it? For me personally, this past year feels both like a blink and an eternity all at once. I can’t believe that just a year ago, I was about to embark on my last semester of college. My classmates and I headed back to campus in January with an infinite amount of excitement en tow – it was almost electric. We were ready to enjoy a series of lasts without fully realizing the finality of graduation. With #YOLO leading the way, we charged through spring managing to balance academics with plenty (and I do mean plenty) of fun. From cruising off to the Bahamas for Spring Break to singing the alma matter with a degree in hand, this has been one heck of a year. And did I mention that life in the “Real World” also commenced? It’s certainly a change from college life, but parallels do exist. It’s about squeezing in just enough fun to make the tough days bearable, and remembering that no matter what, it’s the people that make every chapter of life worth living.

Here’s to a fabulous, prosperous, and healthy new year – live the life you’ve always dreamed of!

xx Cocoa & Lace

CL 12 29 12 New Year

  • The Toast: The Flirtini (marie claire)
  • The Dress: Morris Sequined Dress (BCBG)
  • The Party: Anywhere, USA (snapshot via Cocoa & Lace)

Sunday Musings: A Blessed Birthday

This past weekend was such a treat – I was lucky enough to spend my birthday in New York City with my boyfriend and best friends. Miraculously, I beat Sandy to her mischief, too, returning home today to spend what’s left of my birthday weekend with my family.

As I paused to “make a wish” amid the glow of my (gasp) 23 birthday candles, I was overwhelmed with one clear notion: I am blessed. To my family and friends both near and far, thank you for sending such love my way. I am indeed a lucky girl.

Below you’ll find just a few images capturing a whirlwind of a weekend – enjoy!

xx Cocoa & Lace

Sweet Things: Lemon Chiffon Cake

I absolutely love birthdays – others’ more than my own. This past weekend, I put my own twist on traditional birthday cake. It all started by turning layer cake into a decorative Bundt, then adding a burst of lemon and opting for icing instead of frosting. Different? Yes – and it made for an extra special birthday celebration for my dear step dad.

Of course, you don’t need to have a birthday on the calendar for an excuse to make this light and delectable dessert. Hope you enjoy!

xx cocoa & lace


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened natural applesauce
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • the juice of 1 Meyer lemon
  • Icing: 1/2 cup 2% milk and 2-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus lemon juice to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) in an extra large mixing bowl. Make well in center. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter in microwave (use microwave safe bowl!).
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, applesauce, eggs (one at a time), extract, lemon juice, and milk.
  5. Gradually pour liquid ingredients into the well in the dry mixing bowl.
  6. Pour into a 12-cup Bundt pan.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
  8. Mixing icing ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over bottom of cake, then over top of cake one let out of pan.

Sweet Things: Vanilla Cupcakes

This classic recipe is dedicated to the one and only “Grandpa John”, my late grandfather who would be celebrating his 80th birthday today. Although I never got the chance to meet him, I’ve heard he embraced his sweet tooth on special occasions. He loved simple treats like these Simply Vanilla Cupcakes, amongst other favorites like Tapioca Pudding and Angel Food Cake. So here’s to you, Grandpa John. Celebrate big today!

Hope you all find something to celebrate!

xx C&L


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (t) baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c 1% milk


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 c confectioners sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (T) 2% milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt butter in microwave. Pour into medium mixing bowl. Add sugar, eggs one at a time, and vanilla.

Mix all dry ingredients together in large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour wet ingredients into well, whisking together gently until just combined.

Pour in milk gradually stirring until all mixed. Batter should be smooth.

Pour into lined muffin cups.

Baked 12-15 minutes until light golden brown and knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Yields 12 cupcakes.


Melt butter in medium sauce pan. Whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Let cool. Pour into clear ziploc, cut the corner (very small cut) and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. May decorate with colored sprinkles or colored sugar if desired.