Nearly to Newly Domestic: Easy Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

Wow, almost two months since I’ve last posted.  I guess you could say there’s quite a bit that’s happened these past couple of months that I’ll be sharing in some upcoming posts, most notably a new job that I’m hoping will allow me to spend more time on my little corner of the internet.

I had my last day at my previous employer two weaks ago and was able to enjoy a few extra days off, which was so incredibly nice.  It allowed me time to get some things crossed off my to-do list that have been lingering for far too long as well as do some activities that I haven’t really had the motivation to do these past 6 months or so… which is why I’m here today posting about an easy peasy snickerdoodle recipe because baking is always something I like to do when I have some time to kill.

I guess you could say I’m a pretty novice baker and tend to stick to simpler recipes for fear that I’ll completely screw something up.  That’s not to say that I don’t mind trying new recipes, I actually look for easy, delicious recipes to try on Pinterest all.the.time (go ahead and check out my ‘dessert ideas’ board now – you’ll probably feel your thighs growing by just looking at all the mouth-watering photos).

So, on to snickerdoodles.  This recipe only calls for 5 ingredients and minimal prep and bake time, and is pretty fool proof if you ask me.

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Ingredients you need

- 1 box of Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon

Prepping and Baking

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a smaller prep bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Mix cake mix, eggs and vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl, stir until well-blended (no powder mix remains).  Roll dough into 1-inch balls and then roll in sugar and cinnamon mixture.  Set onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each ball.  Using the bottom of a glass, flatten balls into round cookies (optional: sprinkle sugar and cinnamon mixture on top of flattened cookies for richer taste).  Bake for 8 to 9 minutes until outer edges are light golden brown.  Allow cookies to sit on pan for 1 minute before moving to cooling rack. Enjoy.

 

See, that was super easy right?  If you forget to pin this recipe, you can also find it on the side of the Duncan Hines yellow cake box! :)  These are perfect if you’re looking for a quick treat or need to whip up a dessert last minute.  The perfect fall cookie (ok, or anytime cookie).

A Fit Life: Getting Cardio Crazy

Happy Hump Day!  Does anyone else think it’s crazy that we’re already halfway through July?  Seriously, where is this summer going?  Every year it makes me sad how fast it goes and this year is no different.  I think I need to plan some fun weekend activities so that I can look back on this summer and remember it being a good one.  Who’s with me?

I realize it’s been quite some time since I’ve posted about fitness and my fitness goals.  My last fitness post was talking about my fitness goal of doing some type of physical activity once a day for 100 days [the 100 days until summer fitness challenge].  Well, I’m going to be very honest with you – I sucked at that challenge… and sucked hard.  I’m going to refrain myself from making excuses because if I wanted it hard enough I would have fought for it.  But I didn’t.  So, I’m challenging myself to a new fitness goal: running a half marathon this fall.

Here’s myself and the group of girls that participated in last weekend’s Color Run.  That’s me on the far right channeling my inner-Smurf

Let me back up before you start asking why I’m doing something so crazy when I hate cardio so much.  During my trip to New York to visit my cousin I signed up for the color run 5K that took place this past Sunday at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds [see photo above].  After we signed up, she mentioned that she wanted to run a half marathon this fall so she had a goal to work toward once she graduated from school.  Let me tell you, I totally thought she was crazy and wanted no part of a half marathon but as we talked about goals and striving to start and finish something, she talked me into.  When I got home I ran the idea by the hubs, who responded with a “ha, OK Cammi… I’ll believe it when I see it”.  That just fueled the fire even more – I need to prove that I can force myself to train for this milestone run.  For those of you wondering, he’s taking me more seriously now that I’ve focused on a running plan and even suggested he might run a half with me, too.

So, what’s a girl to do with no cardio training under her belt?  Like seriously, no cardio because I hate it.  Well, find a great training plan that gets you from couch to 5K followed up by a plan that’s couch to half marathon, of course.  I found a great training plan for an interval running for my couch to 5K run that helped me build up some endurance but not much speed, which I still need to improve on as I continue my training.

Are you interested in seeing my plan?  Here it is from WomensRunning.com – a 14 week plan that incorporates walking, run/walk combos, easy and tempo runs, cross training and strength training – all crucial in keeping a body healthy during training. I plan to work with the hubs to develop my strength training plan to ensure I keep my legs healthy during the next 14 weeks.

I’ll provide updates along the way since today was my first day starting the plan.  I am happy to report that I was able to shave 2 minutes off my 2 mile run today and I’m even battling a summer cold!  Tomorrow will be nice bike ride for my cross training activity – any chance I get to put last year’s birthday present to good use is OK by me!

What kind of fitness goals have you set for yourself?

Xo,

Cammi

Real Life: A Battle of Early and Late Twenties

Check, check… is this thing on?  Yikes.  It’s been more than two months since my last post.  Life has been crazy busy the past couple of months and to be quite honest, I’ve felt a lack of motivation and inspiration lately.  I recently bought the “Blog Life” e-course from the ladies of A Beautiful Mess so that I can find that inspiration again, as well as create a cohesive brand and style for my little corner of the internet.  I have a million ideals [ok, that's a little exaggerated] floating around my head for blog post ideas that need to be fully developed.  I hope as my vision progresses you enjoy it!

So, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get on with today’s post – getting older.  Last weekend I celebrated my 28th birthday.  Twenty-eight… like officially late-twenties.  Ugh.  I’ve realized that as I get older I find myself getting less and less excited about the dreaded birthday rolling around.  Plain and simple, I’m not ready to get older.  I think it’s because I don’t feel old enough to be considered an adult even though I’m doing all the things adults are supposed to do.  I’m married, I’m successful in my full-time job, I care of my dogter [as is dog daughter], I have a 401K.  That’s all real adult stuff, yet for some reason I feel like I’m not old enough to consider myself an adult.  Does anyone else feel that way?!

Well, since growing older is ultimately inevitable and I need to accept it, I’ve been trying to be positive and think of all the reasons getting older is actually cooler than I give it credit.  Here are a few reasons that I think my late-twenties are gonna kick my early-twenties ass.

Experience
Obviously with age comes experience.  I continue to discover things I like and don’t like; who I care about and who to cut loose [I don't have time for people who bring me down]; and what really matters.  I’ve grown a lot.

Staying in on the weekends is OK
In my early twenties if I stayed in on the weekend it was likely because I was ill [and note, weekends in my early twenties usually consisted of Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights].  These days I’d take a night on the couch watching Friends reruns over a crowded bar anytime.

I can afford nicer things
With age usually comes disposable income, which means nicer things.  My cupboard is now filled with matching dinnerware, glasses and silverware, my furniture all matches and I can afford to change up my decor as I see fit.  Gone are the days of hand-me-down sofas, cups from bar promos, and bedroom furniture of different wood shades.  I’m also making payments toward a mortgage instead of some landlords pocketbook.

Developing real hobbies
In my early twenties I didn’t really have any hobbies beyond hanging out with friends on the weekends and sleeping.  Now I’ve discovered real hobbies to occupy my personal time.  I’ve switched up hangovers for reading, blogging [err, sometimes], learning to cook and bake, and fitness, amongst other things.

Marriage
Obviously I had to include this one.  While me and the hubs began dating when I was 20 we took our relationship to a whole new level less than a year together and have enjoyed married life thus far.  It’s an awesome feeling to know you have a life partner in crime… and I mean that in the best way.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I guess when you look at it that way, getting older is not all that bad.  But, let me remind you of a few things I don’t love:  recovering after a night of drinking; metabolism; wrinkles; and a lack of work-life balance.

Anyone else out there that has a hard time with getting older?  How do you deal with it?

Xo,

Cammi

The Travel Itch: From the “Minni” Apple to the Big Apple

Hello, friends and happy Thursday!  Right now I’m hunkered down at the Minneapolis airport, waiting to board my flight to New York!  I can’t express how absolutely excited I am to head out east for a few days.  My cousin [aka bestie] has lived in Brooklyn for the past two years going to school for sonography and I’ve been saying since the day she left that I would go visit… well now is my time!

I went to New York around 8 years ago with one of my girlfriends from college.  We went during the summer and stayed at her grandparents house in the Upper East Side.  It was super hot summer so we spent a lot of our time inside or at Jones Beach [and I wasn't 21 yet] so I’m thinking this time will be a completely different experience.  For the past couple of weeks I’ve spent my time cruising the internet trying to figure out fun places to see.  I’ve packed my DSLR camera and plan on taking tons and tons of pics [that'll make for a fun blog post later].  So, if you’re interested – here are some of the places I plan on checking out.  Also, if you follow me in Instagram you can see what I’m up to in real time.

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Places to Photograph

Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Pomander Walk
Little Red Lighthouse at George Washington Bridge
Central Park
Battery Park

Places to Eat

Eatly
Dylan’s Candy Bar
Magnolia Bakery
Sprinkles
Macaron Parlour
Lombardi’s Pizza

Places to Shop

Zara
Century 21 [I have to check it out!]
Gabay’s Outlets
O.N.A.

Touristy Places

Smorgasbord
Williamsburg
Chelsea
Soho

As you can see, I have quite a few places I want to see, eat and shop while I’m in the Big Apple.  I’m only there for a few days so it’s a lot to cram in, so a Minni Apple to Big Apple Part II might be in my future.

What places would you recommend I visit in NY or the surrounding boroughs?  What are you favorite places to eat? To photograph?  To shop?  I’d love best kept secrets!

Xo,

Cammi

Nearly to Newlywed: Choosing your Vendors – Part 4

Happy Hump Day, friends!  Do you ever have those weeks where it feels like the week is flying by but dragging on at the same time?  That’s kind of how I’m feeling.  I feel like I have way too many things to get done and not enough time to do them (hence the week flying by) but then I also don’t have the energy to get to them all so I’m just waiting for the weekend to arrive (why the week feels like its dragging on).  Friday night cannot get here soon enough!

Wedding Vendors

Anyway, on to the important stuff, like Wedding Wednesday.  Today’s Choosing Your Vendor post is about picking your florist.  This service is a little more unique to each wedding since not everyone chooses to spend a lot of money on flowers, if any.  I’m going to be quite honest with you right now:  flowers are expensive… and they die.  So with that out of the way, here’s a couple of questions to ask yourself before you start reaching out to florists for meetings:

  • What’s my budget?
  • Where do I want to use flowers throughout my wedding?
    • Bouquets and boutonnieres, centerpieces [all tables or just some], alter flowers, etc.

Once you determine the answers to these two questions, it’s time to start your research.  First, I would highly recommend you hold off on booking your florist until you have booked your ceremony and reception venues.  There’s two reasons for this:  you can search for florists who are closer to your venue site(s) and you can have a better vision of how many flowers you want/need to decorate your space.  We used a florist who was within 10 miles of our venue and they had worked at that space plenty of time so they were very familiar with all of our contacts and had an understanding of where they could set up without being noticed.

As you determine florists you want to contact, begin putting their information into a spreadsheet [document, document, document!].  Because pricing can fluctuate based on product [flowers], a lot of florists don’t including a pricing model on their sites so you will likely need to reach out to quite a few.  Also, it’s best to have an idea of how many corsages, boutonnieres, centerpieces, alter flowers, etc. when reaching out to get a better estimate.  Below are some standard questions you can ask in your initial inquiry:

  • Do you have my date open?
  • Can you please provide me with some general pricing for bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, centerpieces
    • If you have an idea of how many of each you’ll need, include the number here
  • Do you have a delivery charge?
  • How many other events will be scheduled the same day as mine?
  • Do you provide the vases in the cost of the centerpieces will they need to be rented?
    • When do they need to be returned?  Is there an additional cost for them to be picked up from the venue location?
  • How many weddings have you done?
  • Are you familiar with my venue?

Hopefully this will give you an idea of a few florists that interest you for your wedding day.  Your next step is to set up a meeting to discuss the details.  It’s a good idea to print of some photos of bouquet and centerpiece ideas prior to your meeting.  This will give your potential florist a good idea of what your vision is.  Also, if you have a photo of you dress, bridesmaid dresses, tuxes/suits, etc., it will give your florists an idea of your wedding style.  Below is a list of questions to bring when meeting with these potential florists:

  • What flowers are in season during the time of my wedding?
  • What kind of flowers can I get that fit within my budget while also matching my wedding vision?
  • When will the flowers be delivered?
  • Will you be doing my arrangements or will it be another floral designer?
  • When does my order need to be finalized?
  • When does a contract need to be signed?
  • What’s the down-payment?
  • What is your refund policy if I need to cancel my order?

Hopefully you find some amazing florists who just knock your socks off.  Martha Stewart Weddings posted a great article about what flowers are in season by region.  This is a good place to start, as well as spending some time on Pinterest, as you plan this piece of your big day.

Xo,

Cammi

Glam Squad: Ipsy’s March Glam Bag

Happy last day of March, friends!  It’s hard to believe how fast this month flew by… can you believe we’re already 1/3 of the way through 2014?  Life needs to slow down a little bit so I can enjoy while I’m still young.  Does anyone else feel that way?

With how crazy life has been, I haven’t had a chance to share [or test] this month’s Ipsy Glam bag.  It came in a super cute bag this month; super spring-y!  The only complaint I have for this month was that I only received 4 products instead of 5, which is what I’ve received the past three months I’ve subscribed.  Nonetheless, it was still an exciting mail day and I look forward to testing these products out and hopefully finding something to add to my regular make-up routine.  So let’s jump in, shall we?

 

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NYX – Love in Rio Eye Shadow Trio
[offer:  25% off NYX Butter Lip Balm]

Pixi Beauty – Flawless Beauty Primer
[offer: 25% off any purchase]

Chella – Indigo Blue Eyeliner
[offer: 25% off any purchase]

bareMinerals – Marvelous Moxie Lipstick
[offer: free lash domination 10-in-1 volumizing mascara sample plus free shipping on any purchase]

 

I’m not sure when I’ll be able to use the blue eyeliner because it’s a little bold for my taste.  Maybe I’ll have to plan a night out just so I can try it.  I am excited to try the primer and eye shadow trio though.  If you’re interested in signing up for your own Ipsy bag – head to their site to check out all the details.  It will be one time during the month that you’ll LOVE checking the mail!

Xo,

Cammi

 

Book of the Month Review: Gone Girl

Happy Sunday, friends!  I hope the weather is just as enjoyable wherever you are as it is here in Minneapolis.  It’s crazy how many people come out of the woodwork here in Minneapolis when the thermometer hits above 50 degrees.  And even though I’m holed up in a little coffee shop a few blocks for our house, I can honestly say that it feels ah-may-zing to walk outside the house without a coat, hat and mittens.  This is what true Minnesotans live for.

Anyway, today’s post is different from the typical Sunday post [ok, typical Sunday post from a few weeks ago since the radio silence on this little blog has continued the past few weeks.  Eeep.... sorry about that].  Because of the radio silence I have some other posts I wanted to catch up on instead of sharing my favorite blog posts from the week.  So instead of blogs we’re talking books today – hopefully that’s not too disappointing.

You may remember that one of my goals for the year was to read a book a month.  Well, in late January some work colleagues and I decided we wanted to start a book club that meets once a month.  We’re on our third month, so starting book three.  The first book was The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty; I thought it was tough to get in to.  I was only able to get about 3/4 of the way through before our group meeting and found that most of my colleagues felt the same way.  Needless to say, I didn’t end up finishing the book – which is totally unlike me.  And with that in mind, I’m not reviewing it because I don’t think it’d be fair.  Month two was Gone Girl.  This book had been read by many of my colleagues already, but those of us who hadn’t read it, it was all on our lists to read.  [It was actually on my to read list for 2014].  Because I actually finished this one, I decided it should be reviewed… and why not let you all know that I thought! :)

Gone Girl

Synopsis [taken from Amazon]:  On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary.  Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River.  Husband-of-the-year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worth daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on the edge.  Under mounting pressure from the police and the media, as well as Amy’s doting parents, the town golden boy parades and endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior.  Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter, but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love.  With his twin sister, Margo,  Nick stands by his innocence.  Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife?  And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Targeted audience:  Anyone who loves a good mystery [I'd say this is likely a read for women but guys might enjoy it, too].  Not ideal for anyone who may cringe from some bad words or how don’t like to be messed with psychologically.

Review:  This book is a little hard to review without giving away too much of the plot line, so it might be a little general without too many details [if you decide to read it, you'll understand why after you've finished].  Overall, I thought the book was pretty good.  I thought the beginning started off a little slow and I thought parts of it were a little predictable… but then there definitely were parts that I didn’t see coming.  There were parts of the book that messed with ones mind psychologically, getting a little dark, but I was told that would likely happen.  I think I’m in the majority when I saw the ending wasn’t great; I’m not sure how I would have liked it to end, but I did not like the way Gillian chose to end it.  I am definitely excited to see how they make it into a movie later this year – I’ve heard that they’re changing the ending so I think I’m intrigued to see what happens.

Overall grade:  B+  |  There’s been a ton of hype about this book since its release in 2012 and has been on my book list for the past two years.  With the beginning not being super engaging, it was a little tough to get started, but after reading about 1/3 of it the storyline became more interesting.  As I mentioned above, I wasn’t a big fan of the ending but it wasn’t like it spoiled the whole book for me.  I definitely think it’s a book to read if you’re interested in suspense thrillers… but beware: it might play with your psyche a little bit!

Next month I’ll review Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight; it’s another suspense book so be sure to check out the review at the end of April if you’re interested in hearing about it.

If you have any great books that you’ve read lately, be sure to leave a comment!  It will be my turn soon to make the book club selections and I would love to share some book selections from you all!

Xo,

Cammi

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