Tuesday, July 20, 2010


See? I really did get married.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A travel-size life

The hubby just got home from a business trip and he came back with roses, chocolates, and other romantic gifts! Actually, the only truthful part of that statement is that he just got home from a business trip. I have to give him some credit, he DID come back with:

(i) a two-serving bag o' coffee
(ii) two tea bags
(iii) three little plastic cups
(iv) a travel-size shampoo
(v) a travel-size conditioner
(vi) a travel-size lotion
(vii) a mini soap
(viii) a mini razor kit
(ix) and the kitchen sink

Whenever we stay anywhere that offers toiletries, coffee, etc in the room, we end up bringing back almost everything that isn't nailed down. I have always grabbed items from hotel rooms and other locations because we do, in fact, pay for them when we rent a room, but I learned a whole new level of - let's call it getting our money's worth - from my husband.

Do y'all do this? At what point do you say, we have enough travel-size items? I guess the main question is: do we really need them? Though if we didn't have them, I would miss pretending to be a giant as I pour shampoo on my head.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My niece can drive better than your niece

A photo from about a year ago, but my goodness does this make me smile.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thrifty Finds: Butterfly Flower Eau de Toilette

I'm not actually a huge shopper. This might seem odd since I write about my favorite shopping finds on my blog pretty often. In fact, I typically dislike shopping unless I am looking for home decor, but I had a wonderful time visiting the North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawsonville with my mom the other day. We stopped by the Bath & Body Works there and my goodness, I was glad we did.

I haven't needed to buy lotion or perfume in forever (this is due to a Bath & Body Works shopping spree a few years back and some kind gifts from family and friends), but mom and I popped into the store just to look. We came out with a few steals!

One of these steals is a delicious-smelling perfume: their Butterfly Flower Eau de Toilette.

This has to be my new favorite summer scent. Regularly $29.50, this wonderful 2.5 FL OZ perfume was on sale for $6.62! An unbelievable deal for such an incredible scent. I knew it was a keeper and that I need to go back for more when the hubby gave me a hug and told me I smelled so good today.

What is your favorite Bath & Body Works scent?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

#12 on my 30 Before 30: Bake a cake from scratch

Number 12 on my 30 Before 30 list is to bake a cake from scratch. Well, I shocked even myself by not only baking a cake from scratch, but by creating the recipe myself! Also, it was delicious!

I know. I just passed out, too.

This Lemon Cream Cake is super easy and is the result of many hours of research learning what ingredients are necessary to make a cake, well, a cake.

If you make this, please let me know what you think.


For Lemon Cream Cake
  • 6 oz cream cheese (funny story: that's all I had left of an 8 oz block, so 6 ounces it was!)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, a.k.a. 1 1/2 sticks (you don't want to know how much I had to research to find out that unsalted butter is what is typically used in recipes. I am a baking idiot.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla (though I may have "accidentally" tipped a little more in)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (this means you sift the flour into your measuring cups - I know, I didn't know there was a difference between "sifted flour" and "flour, sifted" either)
  • Zest from two large lemons
  • pinch of salt
  • Butter flavored cooking spray + a little all-purpose flour

  • Optional blueberry topping (delicious, but unnecessary)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sugar (yep, it's a lot!)
  • splash of vanilla
  • lemon zest to taste (I did about 1/2 a lemon)
  • 2 T water

  • Instructions
    Preheat oven to 375º F. Start the blueberry topping (if you want to use the topping). In a small bowl, coat the blueberries with the vanilla, lemon zest, cornstarch, and sugar. Put this aside so the berries can soak up the flavors.

    Sample one or two while you are making the cake mix. For quality control purposes, of course.

    Create the cake mix: in a large mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar using a hand mixer, unless you are super strong and want to do it by hand (the mixture should be very smooth). Then beat in the eggs, vanilla and lemon zest until smooth - make sure there are no random ingredients hanging onto the inside of the bowl by continually scraping down the sides of the bowl.

    Then using a spatula, gently mix in the sifted flour, baking powder and salt until it is just combined, but not too lumpy. (I wish I had a photo!) Spray a 9" round metallic cake pan lightly with butter flavored cooking spray. Throw some flour on top of the cooking spray, but flip the pan over (do this over a trash can or sink!) and tap the bottom firmly to remove the excess flour. This spray+flour combo will stop the cake from sticking (I'm sure you already knew this).

    Apparently cake mix is delicate, and it needs to be placed in the oven as soon as you finish mixing it. So, place the cake pan on the middle rack (important for even baking) of your oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Mine took exactly 33 minutes.

    While the cake is baking, place the blueberry mixture + 2 Tablespoons of water in a small saucepan on super low heat to make the mixture syrupy without breaking down the blueberries too much. Just keep an eye on it.

    Once the cake is done, place the cake pan on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes and turn off the blueberry syrup mixture. Then carefully remove the cake from the pan and continue to cool it on the wire rack.

    Cut yourself a generous piece and spoon the blueberry topping on the cake (or not!) and enjoy.

    I LOVED this cake. It was like a mix between a crumble cake and a cream cake with a super buttery exterior. Not sure what that really makes it, but I will be baking this again!


    (This post can also be found on my cooking blog: A Cooking Bird.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010


    I put myself out of commission the last few days. By kicking my desk at work last Thursday.


    I reinjured my foot - the one that had a stress fracture from running my first half marathon in October of 2008. I knew the bones on the top of the foot are fragile, but I didn't realize they were that fragile. I have been sat up at our house during my weeklong vacation. But today I got my old Orthopedic boot from Kole's house and my little sis called to let me know she has crutches.

    So, look out world. Here I come! If ever so slowly.

    Saturday, July 3, 2010

    Thrifty Finds: bird salt & pepper shakers from Pier 1

    I love birds. Not so much chickens and roosters or swans and other long-legged birds, but cute, fat little birds - like birds in the Paridae family.

    Because of this, ahem, mild obsession, bird decor can be found in small batches throughout our home. Cam looooooves it. Let me tell you. Um, not really. He battles back with deer heads, rifles, and portraits of dead presidents and generals on our walls. And the giant, bleached, stuffed beaver in our dining room.

    I kid you not.

    Anyways, I always get excited when I find fabulous bird accessories, especially if they are thrifty finds.

    Slowly walking through Pier 1 yesterday without any intention of purchasing anything - I find the store very overpriced - I saw these beauties cuddled up on a shelf. They chirped, "Buy us."

    True story.

    Knowing that I can't spend money on every cute little item I find - adorable birds or not - I flipped the darlings over to find the price. $3. Let me repeat. $3. For both.

    So, this is how they look on our formal dining room table. Actually, they were sitting on a beautiful bird tablecloth - a wedding present from my dear friend Kole - but I needed more of a contrast for the photo.

    What do you think? Do you have a theme to your decor?

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    Living on a budget: Part 1

    The following conversation occurred after Cam finished setting up our new home infrastructure plan, combining our Internet and TV with my cell phone in a bundle package in order to save some money.

    *Phone rings*

    Cam: Hello?

    Nicole: Hi, babe. I just got an email confirmation from AT&T saying you finished putting our new package together. I forwarded it to you.

    Cam: Great.

    Nicole: How much will the new bill be?

    Cam: It will be (undisclosed amount). They are setting up everything on July 10.

    Nicole: Will the (undisclosed amount) show up on my bill?

    Cam: Yes... (pause) Is that OK?

    Nicole: Of course it is! How much were we paying before for just cable and Internet?

    Cam: About (undisclosed amount). [our previous cable and Internet bill is the same amount we will be paying for cable, Internet AND my cell phone].

    Nicole: Great, honey! You are saving us about $600 a year!

    (another pause)

    Nicole: And no, you can't spend the extra money.

    Cam: But socks! I need socks!

    I think we might need to loosen the budget strings a little.