Thursday, January 31, 2013

Orange Swirl Cake

I would have to say this is Mike's all-time favorite.  It is his mom's recipe, and it is sooooo good [and easy]!

Yeah, I didn't get a photo of the whole cake because a lot was eaten in 24 hours...


1 package of Super Moist cake mix [made as directed]
1 package orange Jell-o [4 oz]
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Powdered sugar


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease/flour bundt cake pan
- After the cake mix is combined, remove 1 1/2 cup of batter and set aside
- Pour rest of batter into bundt pan
- Mix the dry Jell-o and orange extract into the 1 1/2 cups of batter
- Drop the orange batter into 6-8 mounds on top of the rest of the batter
- Cut through the batter with a knife in S-shaped curves in one continuous motion for the swirl effect
- Bake 42-47 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
- Cool 10 minutes in pan and turn upside and take out of pan to cool completely
- Mix 3/4 cup powdered sugar and 3-4 tablespoons of milk until desired consistency for icing
- Drizzle over cake
2/13/17 update - I can't believe I made this cake for the first time four years ago.  Mike baked it for dinner with our neighbors last weekend and wanted up update a few photos!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

100 Follower Giveaway!

First of all, I just want to say thank you!  Thank you to all of you who have made blogging so much fun over the last year.  I love keeping this online "journal" of sorts and am so grateful to all of you who read and comment.  

Well, I reached 100 followers!  And to show you how much I appreciate you, I am hosting my first ever solo giveaway.  I write a lot about my life in this blog and things I enjoy, so I figured that I must have something in common with many of you.  For that reason, I am offering you a few of my own favorite things from my favorite places!  Many of you have probably seen/used many of these things before, but I thought it might be fun to introduce you to something new [and who doesn't love free stuff, right?].

Without further adieu, here's what I'm sharing with you:
- A pair of Novica earrings
- A bottle of OPI nail polish
- A Nivea lip balm
Bath and Body Works lotion and soap
Twinings tea
- Tea cups and a candle from IKEA
- And a couple of goodies from Disneyland
I hope something in that list sparked your interest!

The giveaway will run for one week and I will be verifying the winner's entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Weekend Update

A bit late, I know, but I'm kind of stuck in a blogging rut/slump/whatever right now.  However, I do have to tell you that there will be an exciting post tomorrow, so be on the lookout!

So, here's what I did this weekend:

I had a big day on Friday at work.  We held our inaugural "Girls' Night Out."  Basically, 20 of our female participants from 2012 came to our learning center for a free event.  Our goal of these events is to help these young female golfers get to know each other.  We played a few golf games, hit some golf balls on our golf simulator, did arts and crafts, and the girls made their own healthy trail mix.  We know golf is very male-dominated [even many of our programs are, overall we serve only about 29% girls], and we believe that if these girls get to know each other, they might be more likely to stick with our organization and the game.  We are having a second one of these events right before Valentine's Day, so if anyone knows of any great Valentine's crafts, games, or snacks, please link me to them!

We took a group photo at the beginning of the night and the girls made frames for them.  [I'm in the maroon sweater, in the middle row, on the left.]

I love geckos!

Trail mix!

Saturday was spent relaxing, cleaning [for next weekend's big Super Bowl party], with Mike's family for dinner, and watching The Big Lebowski with my roommates.
Framed a new photo for our roommate photo of the year.  I can't believe this is the 4th year of this house!  It's fun to see how the roommates in the house have changed [there have been a total of 8 of us] over the years.

On Sunday, I had a "girls day" with a few of my friends.  We went to Ikea and I [obviously] spent far too much money.  We finished the night with some Papa John's and SVU.  It was a perfect weekend.
Finished our spice racks, added a cookie jar [in front of the pot holder], and added candles in the kitchen.
Bought some fabric to make door snakes and a few extras.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Recipe Review: Cornbread

On Friday, we had a potluck at work.  Not sure how I got away with this [maybe it was because I had to work a super long day that day - more about that later], but I was charged with only making cornbread - score!

Now let's be honest, when Mike and I make cornbread, we exclusively use Jiffy.  It's SO good!  [Have you tried Jiffy's apple cinnamon muffins?? Even better!]  However, I figured that since this was my only task, and my other coworkers were making things like lentil soup, chili, kielbasa and sauerkraut, and desserts, I would put a bit more effort in than adding an egg and milk to a big mix.

I decided to try Brown Eyed Baker's cornbread recipe.  I was so excited when I saw it, because I would get to use my new food processor!

It seemed like your typical cornbread recipe to me.  I only made 2 small changes.  When I was little, my mom always told me that cornbread wasn't necessarily supposed to be sweet, so when she made it, she always added a bit of sugar.  So, for that reason, I upped the brown sugar to 1/3 cup and added 2 teaspoons of regular sugar to the dry mix.

All in all, I would say that the cornbread turned out okay.  The consistency and texture were great.  I really liked the small bits of corn left from the frozen corn, and it was very moist.  As for the taste, on it's own, I thought it tasted more like a shortcake or biscuit than cornbread.  Even with frozen corn and corn meal, it just didn't really have that corn taste.  Next time I make it, I think I might try strained canned corn instead.  It won't be as healthy, but I think it will taste better.  I was so disappointed, since this was my only responsibility, that I also made Jiffy muffins at 10:30 that night to prove I wasn't trying to slack off.  Surprisingly, when I ate the cornbread [with a little butter on top] with the chili, it did taste good because I think the chili really added that extra kick of flavor.  All in all, if you are making it to go with something else, it is a good bread to make, but on it's own, I would try something else.

Now as you can see, it's not like my corn bread was that important.  There was so much food!

On another note: Happy 60th Birthday to my momma!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Loving how much I'm using my Canon Rebel T1i thanks to this linkup!

I love patterns - especially that white lace top in my closet.

It snowed on Friday night, and when I woke up on Saturday, it was just so sparkly!  I wish I could have captured it completely.

Love our wooden front door.

Indoor putting green at work.

Mike makes fabulous curtains out of Ikea fabric.  This one hangs in our kitchen.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Zoya nail polish: Review

Before I get to my review, I just want to say thank you to all of my followers!  I'm so excited to have you all [old and new] and to have reached 100 followers!  Be on the lookout in the next week for a giveaway to show you how much I appreciate each and every one of you!

A few of you have visited from Allie's 500 follower giveaway, if you are one of my followers who have yet to enter, here's the link.  There's only one day left! 

Remember a few weeks ago when I shared this great giveaway from Zoya?  While I was away, it arrived in the mail!  Oh boy was I excited.  I spent the evening painting my nails in each color, removing the polish, and trying different combinations of glitter and color.
I love how much better for you these polishes are.

Someone's curious...

Color! [This is two coats of each color.]

After applying/removing/reapplying, I've decided that these are great polishes.  I actually had six to test because Adria's were also sent to me.  She is living in Germany, and the deal only applied to the contiguous 48, so I offered to ship them to her.  In return, I got to try her pretty colors too.  I bet she will share them very soon.  With six tests, I can honestly say that this polish is durable, true to the color displayed online [a lot are not], and fast-drying.  I've had two coats for five days without a base layer or top coat and there is very little chipping [only on the tips of my nails, which is more than normal for me].

Moral of the story, you should check out Zoya and purchase some polish if you haven't already!

I was in no way paid for this review.  The ideas in this are my own, and I was given the same opportunity for the giveaway as any other person.  I only paid for shipping.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Insta-Friday: one last bit of vacation

Last ones, I promise!

Mickey's face cake pop!

Our first ride of the weekend: Mr. Toad!

My medals!

I LOVE the Matterhorn!

Some of the best sweets in Disney:
Dole whip float /// Root beer and orange floats at the Golden Horseshoe
Natural citrus lemonade on Main Street /// Cupcake and truffle after the race

Linking up with Jeannett!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pawalla Excitement

A while back, Allie had a great Pawalla giveaway.  Unfortunately, I did not win, but it did encourage me to follow Pawalla on Twitter! [See how great giveaways can be?!]

Well, a couple of weeks later, Pawalla did a giveaway asking what followers love most about their cats.    Surprise: this happened!

And when I was gone, Roxy [and Merp]'s package arrived.  [I had to share with Merpy [my roommate's cat]! ...Mostly because he is a fatty; just kidding, we love him, too!]
[more about that second package I received in the mail this weekend]

Oh boy, were they excited!  It included 3 types of treats, 2 types of wet food, a toy, and a stain and odor remover.
What a little snoop

So far, their favorite part is the Wellness Pure Delight jerky.  Stop by the Pawalla shop to find more great items for your pet and to sign up for a monthly box!

"Who wants a treat??" "I do! I do!"

I would LOVE to get one of these boxes each month for my kitties, but with my current finances [even though they are very affordable], I just cannot swing it.  In the future, Roxy will be spoiled rotten with these! I'll start saving now :)

Thanks, Pawalla for making two very happy kitties!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Photos, photos, photos!

A post with a lot of photos.  The only other thing I want to include are some of my favorite signs.  They were so inspiring, and I especially loved the ones that made me laugh:

“You trained longer than a Kardashian marriage!”
“Worst Parade Ever: This choreography is horrible!”
“I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you!” [This lady was also giving out Twizzlers and bananas to runners – so cute.]
“I see a pedicure in your future”
"13.1 - only HALF crazy"

Alright, now here are some of my favorite photos [many of which came off my now fixed phone!!]:
Some of my favorite rides in Disneyland: Peter Pan, Indiana Jones, and Pirates!

still had the Christmas decorations up!

I love Legos

 Disney has the best sweets EVER

coolest new ride ever in Cars Land


my view of Main Street USA while running the half

aaaaand I came home with a few too many souvenirs - can't wait to share some of them with you in upcoming giveaways!

I'm sorry, I know that was a lot! 

I'm not going to lie, I'm not a huge fan of the professional photos this year.  I'm not sure if I will purchase any of them.  I'm especially disappointed that there aren't any photos of my finish in the half.  Even though they are a bit embarrassing, here and here they are.  If the links don't work, I apologize - they're being finicky.  Basically, it's a lot of photos of me with a bright red face from awful angles.
Design Poppiness Designs