Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who's Excited?!?!

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I am. I am extremely excited. I wasn't around for the last huge royal wedding (Charles & Diana), although I've seen replays a few times, so I'm pumped to see the royal wedding in real time tomorrow. And by real time, I mean 5 am 2 am(!). That's right, I will be dragging my tired butt out of bed super early and making myself a latte in order to watch the wedding of the decade. You see, we don't have DVR anymore (I'm totally rethinking that decision right now...) so I'm left to watch it live. Yes, I'm sure they will replay the wedding a million times, but I'm a) too lazy to try and figure out how that will fit into my schedule and b) I need to see it to be able to talk about it right when it happens! So there you go. I'm going to be extremely tired at work on Friday, but that's ok. You only live once, right? Anyways, here's some images I rounded up from around the web on the royal wedding...

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Love these! (source)

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I'm totally walking this route when we go to London in July! (source)

Wish I could throw a viewing party! (source)

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So what are your plans? Getting up early to watch it like me? Don't care at all? Or are you a lucky one that has DVR and are throwing a fabulous viewing party? I'd love to hear! Happy Wedding!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Heart Bisbee

I heard about this little town called Bisbee and didn't really know what to expect. It's really close to the Mexican border, and after we hit up Tombstone it was only a mere 25 minute drive. The husband wasn't too thrilled at first, but once we got there, we were both blown away by how charming and different the town was.

Bisbee is an old mining town that at one point was the biggest city between St. Louis and San Francisco. It's nestled into the mountains and has a lot of cool Victorian architecture, hidden alley stairways, cute antique shops, and quirky buildings.

We ended up having dinner at this Mexican restaurant called Santiago's. It seems like we always eat Mexican food down here (when in Arizona...). It was delicious! The margaritas (I had the Pink Cadillac, husband had the Horni Toad) were amazing, chips and salsa were yummy, and our dinners were great.

Next time we come, we want to stay at the Copper Queen!

Or this cute little Inn... it's very Louisiana Bayou!


We found this awesome gate in my favorite color with my initials (my maiden name)!



We found this interesting building with all these random pieces painted red and hung on the outside. It was definitely quirky, but fun to look at! Love it.




A little art deco on the doors to the court house.


And an interesting railing on some one's stairs.


The husband found the weird animal structure, and of course, BBoy had to try to lick/chew it.




I fell in love with the little town and we both vowed we would one day come back for a long weekend and stay at one of the many bed and breakfasts. I heart Bisbee!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I'm Your Huckleberry...

The husband and I have wanted to go visit Tombstone since we moved down to Arizona. We love the movie - it brings me back to the first time we watched it together at summer camp. It's such a classic western movie (and they were even playing it non-stop in the gift shop).

When we got there, they were having a small wedding in the city park. There were carriage rides and lots of different shops along Allen Street (the main drag).



We peeked inside Big Nose Kate's, a popular "saloon," but it was packed so we didn't get to stay and get a drink. It had some amazing stained glass inside though! Fun Fact: Big Nose Kate was Doc Holliday's girlfriend.



But don't worry, I got my Sarsparilla!


Then we stopped by the historic Bird Cage Theatre. It's now a museum but they charge at least $10 a piece to go in, so we stayed true to our spending diet and didn't go in. I did manage to sneak a picture of some of the inside...



And for the grand finale... we did splurge on tickets to the OK Corral gunfight re-enactment, hoping it would blow our minds. Let's just say it was 30 seconds of gunfight action and 40 minutes of bad acting. Here's the awesome figures in place where the actual gunfight took place almost 130 years ago... very life-like.


Doc Holliday recited some nice poems, there was a lot of talking about killing, and then the gunfight!



Victory for the Earps! I have to say, I liked the Val Kilmer Doc Holliday much better. :)

It was really fun to get out and see the history of Tombstone. Crazy to think that people were so mad back then and always wanting to shoot each other up... but that was the Wild West!

Psst... check back tomorrow for pics from our time in Bisbee - my new favorite place in Arizona!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chocolate Birthday Cake


As you may know, it was the hubby's birthday on Friday. I wanted to do something special for him since for the past couple of months he's put up with my busy season attitude, sluggishness, and all around absent-ness. So what did I do? I lied to him.

Let me preface this by saying, it's a little game we (mostly he) like to play. His favorite thing is to call his parents when we are about 5 minutes from their house and say we are stuck in traffic and it will be 2 more hours until we get there. Then, SURPRISE! we pop in a couple minutes later. 60% of the time, it works every time.

So Friday, I decided to pull a "Zachary" and surprise him. I took the day off work - pretended I was headed to the office, but instead went to Starbucks. I left the house when he came home for lunch and in our daily emails told him how bad traffic was and that I would be in meetings all day so I couldn't talk... oh yeah, I was good.

All the while, I was wrapping his gift, making him an awesome birthday card (more on that later this week), and baking him his favorite chocolate cake. Boom. That's how I roll.

So, here's my go at Chocolate Birthday Cake 
(adapted from this recipe my cousin sent my way):

Did I mention I love using my iPad while I bake?


// 350 degrees // 35-40 minutes // makes 10-12 servings //

Ingredients

Cake
2 cups boiling water
1 cup baking cocoa
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
(I didn't do the strawberries)


Frosting
2/3 cups shortening
1 32 ounce package confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup water
baking cocoa


Combine water and cocoa in a separate bowl with whisk until blended.



Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

The recipe says to add eggs one at a time, which I usually don't do, but since this was my first time making a cake from scratch I did what they said.


Beat in vanilla. Add flour baking powder and baking soda.


Add cocoa mixture. The recipe said to alternate between adding the flour mixture and the cocoa mixture, but I just did the flour mixture all at once and then the cocoa.


I got a little adventurous and decided to add some chocolate chips to the batter (every thing's better with chocolate chips, right?). I probably added about a hand full.

I opted for a 9x13 glass pan instead of the heart shaped pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. I ended up only baking for 30 minutes because the toothpick was clean when I checked, but I think I should have left it in at least 5 more minutes... the middle was a little doughy.

Meanwhile... while the cake was baking I embarked on my frosting making adventure. Cream the shortening, confectioners' sugar and water.

The recipe didn't say how to make chocolate frosting, so I basically just kept adding cocoa one teaspoon at a time with enough water to keep it smooth until it got to the right chocolate-y level. I lost count... but I think I added like almost 10 teaspoons! Whatever that is translated in to cups, I have no idea...


Next time, I might try a different frosting recipe. I had to add a ton of cocoa to get it not to taste like pure confectioners' sugar. It was pretty darn sweet at first and it was still a little grainy when I was done. But it did get the job done!

Cake is done. Now time for the decorating!



I spread on the frosting, then used green and blue Easter M&Ms to create the 25.



The cake was a hit! It was delicious and the hubby loved it. And the best part was, he was totally surprised! 10 points me. 

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