Monthly Archives: October 2013

Halloween Cake Bites

This is the first Halloween I’ve lived in a neighborhood where kids trick-or-treat, and I’m SO EXCITED to spend the night ignoring the doorbell while watching scary movies and binging on fun-size candy bars.

Just kidding, mostly. I have dipped into the candy, as evidenced by this recent conversation with my friend Sarah:

Halloween Candy

Eating candy saves lives. QED.

The neighbor kids will have to forage through the small selection of mini candy bars that managed to escape my clutches, but I wanted to have something extra cool for Dave’s cousins’ kids who will be coming by. Enter:

Halloween Cake Bites

These were intended to be Halloween cake pops, until I spent 20 minutes looking for lollipop sticks in Walmart and had to choose between modifying the recipe and suffering a psychotic break right there in the crafting aisle. So these are cake BITES. Not cake pops.

Halloween Cake Bites

Ingredients:
– One boxed cake mix in any flavor (plus whatever you need to make it according to the  directions – usually oil and a couple of eggs)

– One tub of store-bought frosting

– Almond bark or candy melts (for the coating)

– Sprinkles

Prepare the boxed cake mix according to directions (I almost always use no-sugar-added applesauce instead of oil)

Let the cake cool, then crumble it into a large bowl.

Using your hands, mash the frosting in with the cake crumbles until it’s completely mixed together. Form the “dough” into quarter-sized balls, and place on a cookie sheet covered in wax or parchment paper.

Place the balls in the freezer for about 30 minutes (this is so they don’t fall apart when you dip them in coating). You could also place them in the fridge for a few hours/overnight if you want to dip/decorate them later.

About five minutes before the balls are done chilling, heat your bark or candy melts according to the package directions (I’m lazy and did mine in the microwave).

Lay the balls on the tines of a fork and dip into the candy coating until completely covered. Let it drip for a few seconds, and then transfer back to the cookie sheet. Cover with the desired amount of sprinkles while the coating is still wet (I did them row by row as I dipped them).

Halloween Cake Bites

I also plan to make spiked caramel apple cider (I will not be handing this out to kids. Not because it’s wrong, but because I don’t want to run out.) If the recipe is any good, I’ll post it here tomorrow.

What are your Halloween plans? Are you dressing up?

This Post Inspired Me To Open the Halloween Candy Three Days Early

Pinterest has brought many wonderful things into my life. Most of those things involve chocolate and cream cheese icing and multiple sticks of butter, and they are so delicious that I’m willing to forgive Pinterest for also introducing me to the concept of “Fitspiration.” As a former-fatty-turned-runner, I am obviously all for living a healthy lifestyle and kicking your ass in gear if you’re not happy with your fitness level. I am also all for practicing moderation and respecting yourself no matter what the scale says, which is why “Fitspiration” pictures like these make me want to throw things:

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Because there’s nothing worse than being called fat. Except maybe, “that girl who worked really hard just to impress assholes who called her fat.”

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Or, you know … buy pants that fit.

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False. Enjoy your kidney failure, though.

I know that most people post pictures like these with good intentions, but they usually make me feel like shit for eating food with cheese and carbs, or taking more than one rest day per week. I’m a member of several fitness groups on various social media platforms, and one of them is so overrun with fitspo pics and humblebrags about running 20 miles and “refueling” with cottage cheese and edamame that I rarely venture in anymore. I almost left the group last week, but decided that it would be more fun to just start posting my own “inspirational” photos to make everyone uncomfortable. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Pic 1

10.25.13 Big Macs

Cheeseburger

And for anyone who was looking for an informed discussion about the merits of Fitspiration and somehow made it to this ridiculous blog, head over here.

DIY Painted Thrift Store Mirror

Real talk: I was pretty unproductive this weekend. Like, I didn’t even get out of my pajamas on Sunday. I did, however, manage to paint and hang a thrift store mirror in my living room. It’s been two months since we moved in, and we now have TWO things hanging on our walls. At this rate, the house might be fully furnished by the time we have to move into a nursing home.

I’ve been looking for a large mirror to hang above the couch in the living room for a while, so when I saw one in good shape for cheap at a local thrift store on Friday, I picked it up. Here’s what it looked like when I brought it home:

Thrift Store Mirror

And here’s what it looks like now:

Mirror After

I was pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially since I decided not to sand or prime it before painting.  I just dragged it out to the garage, where Dave had the excellent idea to prop it up on a couple of paint cans so I could easily paint under the edges:

10.28.13 Mirror on Cans

Next, I taped off the edges. I am the world’s worst paint taper, and of course there were a few spots where the paint leaked through.  Luckily, I was able to easily scrape it off with my fingernail once it dried.

10.28.13 Mirror Taped

Then I got started painting. I used two coats of Clark + Kensington Paint + Primer in a flat black shade that we had leftover from a previous project.

Paint

And here is the final product, which cost a grand total of $25:

Mirror 1

Attaching the wreath was super easy – I just looped a length of gold ribbon around it, and then duct taped the ends to the back of the mirror. Classy, I know.

Whiskers

Whiskers approves.

Best Of: Skymall

On my way to Phoenix last week I got the idea to blog about the dumbest items I found in SkyMall, and first of all YOU’RE WELCOME for narrowing this list down to a few items because I could devote an entire blog to the dumb stuff in that magazine.

First on the list is the SkyRest Travel Pillow, a wedge-shaped inflatable cushion designed to make the guy in front of you contemplate jumping out the emergency exit because you’re basically going to be spooning the back of his seat for the duration of the flight. Also worth noting: Unless you have the lung capacity of Michael Phelps you may have trouble inflating the 17-inch behemoth without an air pump, but you will no doubt be inflating the egos of all the other passengers on board who realize, “I may have issues, but at least I didn’t spend $29.95 to look like a tool in public.”

Travel Pillow

Exhausted after a solid 90 minutes of blowing up his sleeping podium, Gary passed out for several seconds before having to raise his seatback table for landing.

Keeping with the “creates more problems than it solves” theme, AquaBells Travel Weights are just what they sound like — plastic weights that you fill up with water from the sink in your hotel room (funnel included).

Travel Weights

Chad didn’t know what was more embarrassing: Telling the front desk staff that his hand weights flooded the room, or realizing that it’s 2013 and even Best Westerns have a free fitness center these days.

In “I cannot believe I am actually typing these words” news, we have the Designer Catbox Enclosure. Because the thing holding me back from putting my cat’s current litterbox in the living room is its lack of wainscoting, not the fact that cat turds are last on the list of fragrances I want my house guests to experience.

Designer Litter Box

“Dude, did the cat just poop in your end table?”

Speaking of felines, check out the Thundershirt for Cats:

Thundershirt for CatsAccording to SkyMall, “Thundershirt’s gentle, constant pressure has a profound calming effect for most pets when anxious, fearful, or over-excited.” Maybe it works, but I have suspicions that stuffing a terrified cat into a sweater vest will result in bloodshed. It’s probably wise to wear a pair of Isotoner Therapeutic Gloves for this task.

I’ll wrap this up with just one more. SkyMall has an alarming number of magic wand-related products, but I think the worst is this Magic Wand Remote Control:

Magic Wand Remote Control

30% effective at changing channels. 100% effective at preventing owner from getting laid.

I was laughing until I read that the owner has to custom-program it by making a unique gesture with the wand and pushing the button on the actual remote at the same time and then memorize all the commands, and it made me really sad to picture somebody actually devoting time to that task.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen in SkyMall? And better yet, have you ever ordered anything from the magazine? (Don’t be ashamed. I really want these.)

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

10.23.13 Fall 1

I always feel a little homesick when I’m traveling for work, but I didn’t realize how bad it was this time until we started our descent into Southern Oregon on Sunday — the sun was just about to set behind the Cascade mountains, and the entire Rogue Valley was glowing red, orange, and gold. Living up here has its issues (my county is currently trying to secede from the state and form its own Redneck Republic, for instance), but then I spend time in a city where I sit in traffic for hours and can’t drink the tap water and the air quality gives me headaches and teenagers’ handbags are worth more than my car and I’LL TAKE THE HILLBILLIES, THANKS.

10.23.13 Fall 2

I took these pictures on a walk around my neighborhood late Monday afternoon, and here is yet another way small towns differ from the city: When my neighbor caught me crouching under the trees in her front lawn with my camera, she offered me a brownie instead of calling the cops.

10.23.13 Fall 3

10.23.13 Fall 4

I’m trying really hard to enjoy the colors, because we have about a month before the leaves will drop and I’ll have to check the snow forecast before driving places and Dave will bitch incessantly about the fact that the Snuggie has turned his girlfriend into an amorphous blue blob. Oh, seasons.

P.S. – Bonus points if you know where the cheesy post title is from.

I’m Back! (This is a Lazy Trip Photo Post)

Turns out, posting during my trip to Phoenix was more nonexistent than sporadic, but in my defense it was a crazy five days of booth time, conference sessions, and business dinners. Of course, I did manage to find a little time to relax by the pool (and even go on a few early morning runs):

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We stayed at the Arizona Biltmore, a beautiful resort whose design was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. Apparently it was really popular with old celebrities, and there were pictures in the lobby of Clark Gable, JFK and Jackie, and several Rockefellers vacationing on the grounds.

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The resort’s history is cool and all, but I was most impressed with the free jalapeno cheddar bread at the hotel’s restaurant. What can I say, the road to my heart is paved with carbs.

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This picture is to show you my favorite dress ever from Modcloth. I get so many compliments on it every time I wear it, although it definitely requires shapewear if you have curves. I swear by this slip from Kohl’s – it’s comfortable and magically sucks in the hip/thigh area, where all my fat cells like to congregate. (Shoes are from Target last year; these are super similar.)

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And finally, the beautiful California coast from the air. I loved being in the desert for a bit, but I was so glad to come home to mountains, pine trees, ocean, and seasons.

Hello From the Desert!

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I’m in Phoenix for work this week, so my posting will be a bit sporadic. (I can’t use that word without picturing Tai.) Pictured above is the awesome pool outside my room that I will not have time to swim in. Unless I fake being sick and get out of booth duty. Don’t think that thought hasn’t crossed my mind.

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The resort we’re at is beautiful, and so far my favorite thing to do during breaks is sip iced coffee while taking in the views.

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And as a bonus, here is what I wore to dinner with my boss last night:

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The attire was listed as “business casual,” so I took it literally and threw on a plain white tee with my pencil skirt. Travel wrecks my brain.

Have you ever been to Phoenix? Are there any great restaurants I need to try? Let me know in the comments!