Saturday, 26 February 2011

Cake Balls~ Attempt #2

            After Christmas, I used a gift card for Books A Million to order a few things on my wish list.  The book Cake Balls by the baking blogger Bakerella was top of that list.  These cute little balls are candy like in there sweetness.  I made an attempt at them a few weeks ago and failed miserably.  It appears that I am a failure at melting chocolate.  (A similar disaster happened when I tried to do skull chocolate molds for our Halloween party this past October.)  Tonight I tried Almond Bark instead of the melting chocolate sold at baking and craft stores.  Fortunately, the Almond Bark turned out to be more resilient.  

Here is my second attempt step by step:


*Some of the basics in making cake balls*

*I prepared the cake as the box directed.*

*Crumbled the cake, and added three thirds a cup of frosting to it.*

*Shaped the balls, and put them in the freezer for fifteen minutes*

*After the balls firmed up, I melted the Almond Bark and dipped the balls*  

    Next time I do cake balls I will get a squeeze bottle to dispense the decorative chocolate (the pink stuff up above).  Maybe if I practice more, I can get a little more consistency from each treat to another.  I will keep you posted!  

Friday, 25 February 2011

The A-Z Reading Challenge

This challenge was too cool of an idea for me to pass up! It is hosted by the bookie blog The Thoughts of a Book Junkie. The challenge consists of reading twenty-six books that each represent a letter in the alphabet. I have been able to comprise a list where I won twenty-one out of the twenty-six. This also supports my goal of reading a large number of books that I already own this year.

Here are my twenty-six:

A The Archivist by Martha Cooley

B Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

C Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehram

D The Dewey Decimal System of Love by Josephine Carr

E Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi by Nanci Kincaid

F For Matrimonial Purposes by Kavita Daswani

G Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

H How Not to Make A Wish by Mindy Klasky

I Isolde: Queen of the Western Isle by Rosalind Miles

J Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

K Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff

L Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

M Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

N Night Fall (The Vampire Diaries) by L.J. Smith

O Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

P Peace Like a River by Lief Enger

Q The Quest by Wilbur Smith

R Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks

S Sleeping Over by Stacey Ballis

T Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Goldman Gelman

U Uncommon Grounds by Sandra Balzo

V The Various Flavors of Coffee by Anthony Capella

W The White Castle by Orhan Pamuk

X The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson

Y A Year in the World by Frances Keyes

Z The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

If you would like to join me just visit The Thoughts of a Book Junkie at this link which takes you directly to the challenge.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Book Review

The book The DIY Wedding; Celebrate Your Day Your Way by Kelly Bare has been an informative read in my wedding planning process. Since my engagement, I have read dozens of wedding planning books. They sound the same very quickly, and this book turned out to be a little different. My only negative comment with the book is she tried to cover too many topics very quickly resulting in skimmed chapters. Her chapter on favors was slim for the wide variety of options out their as a "do it yourself" opportunity. She made up for this in her precision in only putting very good and relevant information in her book.

She really had me with this quite in her "Attire" chapter....

"Wedding shoes can be downright heinous-clunky, poorly made-and the pretty ones are insanely overpriced. And because most people don't wear white shoes in everyday life, there aren't a lot of options outside of the wedding shoe-ghetto. Or are there?"

I loved it! She really spoke to me in those few lines. My plan is to find the sexiest blue pumps and sport them with my T-length dress. I also plan on having no time lapse between the ceremony and reception which she also suggests in her book. There are no picture diagrams, and on a few "do it yourself" projects. However, this is certainly high on my list about useful wedding books. If only she could break up each chapter into a book within itself. I am sure brides would buy the whole box set.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Problem... what to read next!

**My 'to read' Bookshelf**

On my "Books to Read I Own" list in Good Reads is at 125 books. I have a whole bookshelf of books that I have not read! Between my habit of buying online, used books from The Book Bag or the library, and Swap. Not to mention my newest gizmo my Nook! Currently, I am finishing a wedding planning book. However, when I begin to ponder what should be next I stare blankly at my full bookshelf.

I have limited it down to three possibilities...
  • The Bachelor by Carly Phillips is the first of a romantic Trilogy about three brothers finding love. Probably, a little silly but it could be fun.
  • Haunted New Orleans by Troy Taylor a ghost story book about the spirits of one of my favorite places. Really curious about his take on the Crescent City and his writing style.
  • The Vampire Diaries: The Return by L.J. Smith a continuation published over ten years after the original four. I read L.J. Smith in high school so her writing is very nostalgic for me. I may be ready for a "return" to that feeling as well.
In other news, this week is the Mississippi Coast Historical and Genealogical Societies annual History Week. It is downtown at the Frank Gruich Community Center on Howard Avenue from 9 AM-2 PM Monday through Wednesday of this week! Come enjoy all the cultural and historical groups that will be out to display what they are about. You can also pick up an application for the historical society while you are there! Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Cake~ The Best of the Wedding Experience

This is some cake inspiration I discovered on The Knot. I am to a point where I am about to schedule cake tastings. I know there will be no fondant involved! I am hoping to find a bakery on the coast that can do a cake that is a crowd pleaser, but a little different. Italian Cream with buttercream has been on my mind. The wedding experience for me, when I am a guest, is centered around the taste of the wedding cake. All too often it is dry! So that will be my goal in a baker, someone with a nice product that tastes great. Speaking of bakers, once I get through Girl Scout cookies I hope to get back to baking. My Kitchen Aid Mixer is getting lonely!

* I have to love the words!*

*Cupcakes are so clever*


*Blue is the thing*

*Petit Fours in the shape of mini cakes!*

*This is so classy*

*Hydrangeas and a classy ribbon look great to me*

Monday, 14 February 2011

Do you want some Girl Scout Cookies?

* Ed loading up the cookies*

* Troop #6588 Kicked Butt on Cookie Sells!*

For the second year in a row I have been cookie chair for a Ambassador Girl Scout troop. As everyone knows, January through March is cookie season! The single largest fundraiser of the year for Girl Scouts. What troops make from cookie sales supports not only their troop, but the entire infrastructure of the organization. It was my responsibility to submit the orders as well as pick up and sort. This evening Edward and I picked up and sorted 168 cases! At twelve boxes a case, you can do the math. The next few weekends we will be out in front of stores selling selling selling.

I am so excited to have my favorite cookies back in the pantry! My favorites are Thin Mints, Lemon Chalets, and Trefoils.

What is your favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

Sunday, 13 February 2011

I am Number Four

*Finished within a day of download!*

A very well respected colleague suggested that I read I Am Number Four about three months ago. I put it on my "to-read" list on immediately, but soon forgot as all the holiday excitement arrived. The up and coming YA book remained as just a number on a growing list until last week when I saw the trailer for the movie coming out! The movie opens February 18, and has one of the characters from Glee (Dianna Agron aka Quinn) as a main character. Seeing the movie before I read the book can also be a real downfall for me as well. Therefore, I moved I Am Number Four to the top of the list and downloaded onto my Nook in order to forgo the wait for it at the library.

I don't regret it one bit! Edward and I are big fans of the now cancelled show Heroes, and this has that same feel with a more Young Adult Novel twist. The difference between this YA novel and others is that the character already know who and what he is from the get go. The author also does not go too far out in left field explaining the origins of the powers (known in the book as Legacies). It also clever that the book is advertised as being penned by a surviving planet elder known as Pittacus Lore. With the eve of the movie releasing approaching quickly, I will not reveal much more.

However, expect some good action, a love story, and the beginning of an epic battle where the fate of the Earth will remain to be seen. Now if only The Hunger Games movie will get here!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Moviegoer

I suggested the novel The Moviegoer by Walker Percy for a book club I am involved with that encompasses my friends from graduate school at the University of Edinburgh. The novel is set during Mardi Gras week in New Orleans leading up to the main characters thirtieth birthday on Ash Wednesday. I chose it because when the girls come to visit me in about three weeks (YAY!) we can discuss the book in New Orleans itself.

While taking a class in the modern American novel, I semi-read a book titled Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. It was set about ten years earlier than The Moviegoer, and is based on the same premise. A working class red blooded American man on his quest for meaning in his life. However, The Moviegoer had more clout than Babbitt. Maybe it is due to the fact that the southern characters come to life for me. I have seen bits and pieces of these characters throughout my entire life. The main character named Binx Bolling is a New Orleans stock broker from a well to do family that lives in the Garden District. Although he is an avid ladies main successfully seducing every secretary that works under him, the one woman he truly cares about is his step-cousin Kate who suffers from server depression. It is one of those novels that you have to read all the way through to get the 360 view of the characters life, and the main action happens in the last ten chapters or so. Before that the reader is treated with a real taste of what is left of southern culture.

I am going to save the rest of my thoughts for my book talk in March, but i must say it is a true Southern American classic.

* Me in New Orleans Spring of 2010*

Thursday, 10 February 2011

I would love to win!

I really admire the blog. It also has fun and upbeat posts about healthy living and also wedding planning.

This giveaway is pretty sweet as well!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Beyond the Guest Book

Going through the details of a wedding is mind boggling. I have lately been planning on going with something other than the traditional guestbook. Here are some very unique ideas I found on Etsy.

Wish you well stones by ThePaperyNook

*Card File by Itsmyday*

*Will you sign my log? By Inspired by Marie*

*Typing a happy message to the married couple on a typewriter is a fantastic idea! I recently purchased a vintage typewriter*

*This one is in two parts...

*The guests sign the back! By BellaPuzzleToo*

I have one more trick up my sleeve, but you will have to come to my wedding to find out!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Paul's King Cake and the Good Life

* Our yummy Paul's King Cakes*

Yesterday, Edward and I made a morning trip to Picayune, Mississippi. Though it was not the main intent of our mission, stopping by Paul's Bakery was a big motivation. Paul's advertises themselves as the authentic king cake bakery. They are really good, and my favorite thing is the unique fillings and flavors. We picked up a strawberry with cream cheese, and pecan praline yesterday. The Mississippi Mud is also a favorite of mine. The store was super crowded when Edward and I walked in yesterday around eleven. They had four big displays in the middle of the store with king cakes stacked every direction. Then a cart with four shelves about six feet tall filled with king cakes was rolled out. The check out line was just as crowded. Tonight while watching the Superbowl, Edward and I were reminded how they still bake the baby in the cake. Edawrd found the baby in his slice as fate would have it. Guess he owes me the next king cake. I won't make him go to Picayune however, Rouses or Sweet Stuff would do just fine.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Cheesiest Romance Novel EVER

*It's Named after me!*

*My Nook with the awesome case I got half price*

*Cover Art for The Dragon of Croatia*

Over the weekend I completed the first book I downloaded onto my new Nook! (Thanks Ed and Family for the awesome Christmas present!) I consistently have a long queue of books that I want to read. The Dragon of Croatia by Valerie Everhart was only three dollars and high on my list. The Dalmatian Coast of Croatia is one of my favorite places. It also fascinates me with its beauty and history that we don’t learn about in elementary school. The description of the book alluded to an adventure with an ancient dragon man and smugglers. It sort of reminded me of a Da Vinci Code type of thriller with a hot guy.

, when I began to read, I discovered a raunchy romance novel with little to no plot. Seriously, there has never been so many three letter sentences written in one book. The main character must have been undressed in about every chapter, and of course the dragon-man was a stud. I like a romance novel as much as the next girl, but I was extremely disappointed that a story set in Croatia could be so shanty. My advice is this book can be skipped, and not worth the three dollars I paid for it.

*In other news Monday I looked out the third floor window at work and spotted this beauty!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Show

** Bridal Pin given to me by my MOH Leah!**

Sunday I went with my Maid of Honor, Leah and bridesmaids Ashlei and Linda to the Biloxi Bridal Premier Show at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum. It was a jungle in there! I am pretty sure there were less people last year when Leah and I went to it. After a very congested registration process (involving two lines) we entered wedding wonderland. Almost every aspect of wedding was covered except for invitations and limos for some reason. It was not as overwhelming today because I already have my venue. Also a good idea of what DIY touches that I will be attempting for my wedding, and what things I will be hiring sometime to do. My two biggies to take care of are the wedding cake, and the caterer.

However, I will never get over how outrageous prices are for anything with the title “wedding” or “bridal” attached to it. Even though it is an event very personal to every couple, it is a business. (A multi-million dollar industry actually.) Many of the same tablescapes and favor tables were similar to last year. I think I saw a half a dozen candy tables. Some of my favorite booths included the lovely ladies managing The Redding House, the great food at Broome’s Catering, and the creativity of Tilley Photography.

All in all it was nice to see my fellow friends that are brides as well, and get some contacts. But I think I will stick to The Knot, blogs, magazines, and a little imagination to create my wedding day vision.

**Bridal Show Goodies**