cooking, crafts, food, giveaways, home, recipe

Hedgehog Cake with Sweetworks Candy

October 1, 2015
This is a Fashionista Event and a promotional item was provided to me by Sweetworks. Hosts for this event are Still Blonde after all these Years and yours truly.


Two weeks ago my littlest brother and I were talking about Christmas and what we planned to ask Santa for. Without a single previous conversation about it, we both admitted to wanting a pet hedgehog! Strange, but true. Needless to say, we’ve been heavily dropping hints to Santa since that moment.





So when Sweetworks sent a box of seasonal candies my way, the hedgehog was front and center on my mind and my mothers. A little creativity and a non-existent reason to celebrate (who needs an official reason anyway) meant to creation of this beauty! Pretty awesome, right? Honestly, it’s easier to create than you might think. Make it for Halloween, a fall birthday, or just because it’s a day ending in Y and life is good.


How to make a hedgehog cake:

  • Use a chocolate box cake pouring 2/3 of mix into a ~9″ heart shaped ‘Wilton’ cake pan.
  • Pour the remaining 1/3 into a ~6″ heart shaped Wilton cake pan.
  • Bake as directed, remove smaller pan 5-7 minutes before larger pan.
  • Cool on rack.
  • Cut larger heart in half (from dip in heart top to bottom point)
  • Frost one flat bottom and stack halves together.
  • Stand up halves with cut edge down, rounded edge up (to form curved back)
  • Use smaller heart as head, trimming as necessary to create pointed nose
  • Lightly frost to create a crumb coat.
  • Freeze overnight
  • Remove from freezer, frost head.
  • Work fondant till soft and pliable, use food coloring to get it the color you desire.
  • Roll out fondant, cut into heart shape-cover head.
  • Make ears and feet from fondant.
  • Add candy eyes (can be purchased at most craft stores)
  • Add a Sweetworks brown gum ball for the nose
  • Generously Frost body making frosting semi spiky.
  • Add orange chocolate ovation (from Sweetworks) for spikes.
  • Garnish with Sweetworks’ Celebration Autumn mix.
  • Use as centerpiece and the delicious dessert.


Want to try your hand at creating this or some other Autumn-themed beauty? Enter the Sweetworks giveaway below for a chance to win a $50 candy prize pack!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Need more Autumn food craft inspiration? Click around on the images below to see what other bloggers are creating this time of the year.

food, health, recipe

Meatless Monday Night Taco Salad Recipe

October 1, 2015


If you know me at all, you know I tend to prefer meatless meal options. It’s not that I have some firm conviction against meat, it’s just that I don’t like it as much as I like other things. So, the Silk Meatless Monday Night movement is something I can get behind! It’s really not that difficult to Sideline Meat.


Since it’s the fall season that means Monday is also football time! So when thinking of meatless options to eat while catching a game, any meal needs to have a couple main components. It needs to be filling, obviously. It needs to be something that can easily be prepared ahead of time and then throw together before kick-off. It needs to all be in one container so there is less hassle and clean-up when the game ends. Combine all those essentials and what do you get? Something like this hearty taco salad and homemade salsa ranch dressing.

The salad is easy to prepare. Just chop, chop, chop. Store things in individual bowls and then combine when ready. It’s easy to chop some of this the night before or the morning of, lessening the amount of time you need to work on it Monday night.


Taco Salad ingredients:

  • lettuce (any kind you prefer; I tend to combine iceberg with some leafy type.)
  • tomatoes
  • red peppers
  • orange peppers
  • black beans (strained and rinsed)
  • corn (cut off the cob, although you could also thaw frozen corn or strain a can)
  • shredded cheese


Salsa Ranch Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup Silk Original Unsweetened Soymilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives or 2 tsp dried chives
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder

Combine Silk soymilk and lemon juice in a bowl, let it sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in all the other ingredients until smooth. Mix in salsa. Refrigerate until ready to eat. If you like your dressing a little thinner you can add more Silk until the dressing is the consistency you prefer.  The recipe for the ranch dressing comes from the Silk website, which is filled with plenty of other options for using the dairy-free products.


Want even more ideas on how to Sideline Meat? Silk has plenty stories on how simple it is to skip meat for your next Monday night. More recipes too!

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

accessory, sunglasses

Latest Sunglasses Trends for Men and Women

September 30, 2015

Let’s be honest, sunglasses do more than protect your eyes from the sun. They have become an indispensable fashion accessory year round. And as a result, every season designers present new collections for us to ohh and ahh over. Since branded sunglasses are always a more preferable alternative, you can buy designer glasses frames at To determine the proper sunglasses for you here are some of the latest sunglasses trends for men and women:

Entirely black sunglasses (where the lens and the frame are in black color) are in style this season. Many popular celebrities choose exactly black sunglasses. Stylish men and women select black cat eyes or oversized sunglasses, the latter best suitable in the mornings.

Over-sized sunglasses continue being some of the most popular type of sunglasses. Besides, this trendy size has moved on items of clothes and other accessories such as sweaters and bags. For example, Porsche Design frames are available in square shape, black or brown color. It may seem that over-sized sunglasses are a hot choice merely for winter but it is not so as they are able to give an incredible expression in the fall season as well.

Colored lenses made a huge showing in the last couple months. After all, summertime is known to be full of bright colors so why not your sunglasses too? This is hands down my favorite sunglasses trend of late.

Natural materials have made a recent resurgence, with famous designers utilizing wood and other natural materials to make trendy shades. Sunglasses in wooden frames are light and stylish. The trendiest color for wooden frames 2015 is dark brown.

So what type of glasses are you wearing this season? What trend do you wish you could wear if you were bold enough to try?

This is a guest post.

home, how-to, life, tips

Easy Ways to Make Your Small Apartment Feel Like Home

September 29, 2015


Working to make your small apartment feel like home can be daunting. Expensive décor, renter limitations, and a small budget can make it seem like you’ll never feel at home in your new place, but there are inexpensive ways to add that extra oomph to your small apartment with little effort.

How To Make A Small Apartment Feel Like Home:

Create Dedicated Spaces

Take what you love to do and work it into the functionality of your apartment. Are you a work-out fiend? Tailor a space for you to do your at-home fitness routine. Are you a food lover who likes to try out new recipes on the daily? Dedicate some money and time to your kitchen to ensure you can create your culinary masterpieces with ease. Make your apartment work for you, and it will soon become a place where you can pursue your passions.

Add Some Life To Your Space

Adorn your apartment with beautiful flowers to easily brighten up your space and make it feel more like yours. A vase filled with classic flowers, like lilies, will give your apartment the touch of elegance it needs and serve as the perfect complement to your décor — not to mention the gorgeous fragrance that will greet you as you walk in the door. To make life even easier, order some online through a company like ProFlowers. For those of us that deal with the frustrating traffic of a big city, the convenience of flowers delivered straight to your door is invaluable.


Lighting can affect the look of your entire apartment. Look for bulbs that cast warm lighting—none of that unflattering changing-room light in your home. Multiple light sources make it easier to provide the exact range of light needed for a given time—bright for family visits, low for a night in on the couch. Overhead lighting can often be harsh, so invest in some lamps that can provide both style and practicality.

Adding Your Spin Without Paint

If you’re renting, redecorating can be even harder because of painting restrictions. There are easy ways to add color to an otherwise drab room and inject some of your personality into your new space without reaching for the paintbrush. Add pops of color through canvas art, decorative throw pillows, and statement curtains without worrying about dipping into your apartment deposit.

Live In Luxury

No, this doesn’t mean you should break the bank. Making your place feel like your own means being completely comfortable. Simple but effective techniques of making yourself more at home could be as simple as a new showerhead or a small splurge on a plush mattress topper. Feeling comfy in your own home means creating a place that’s exactly what it should be—a refuge. Indulge a bit, love a lot.

Revamp Old Furniture   

Tight budgets and small spaces often result in a hodge-podge of furniture. The addition of a sleek couch cover on the hideously patterned sofa you inherited from your great aunt can change the entire look of a room, and make you feel less like you’re living in an old folk’s home. A paint job on your oddly-colored coffee table can help it easily mesh with your walls. It’s the little details that make all the difference. Search the free section on Craigslist. Sometimes you can score cool, even vintage, furniture pieces—but be prepared to give them a good cleaning and some TLC.

Put Some Work Into It

Looking around at your own handiwork instills a sense of pride and a sensation that the space is truly yours. Install those new shelves you bought on your own, and put together that bookshelf even if you feel like the directions are written in another language. Grab a tool kit from your local hardware store and get your hands dirty to make your apartment feel like home. The end result of an apartment you love is worth the work.

Pieces From The Past

Decorate your home with pieces that hold sentimental meaning. Hang up a map of your home city, use a blanket from your childhood days as your couch throw, or frame the key from your former apartment. These pieces of home can make you feel at ease while mixing in easily with your new pad.

Throw A Fancy Shindig

Feeling at home in your own space means making it into a space where you and your friends love to hang out. What better way to break in your apartment than to throw a little party? Make some delicious cocktails, turn up the stereo, and laugh the night away while making new memories.

If your apartment doesn’t quite yet feel like home, spruce it up with these suggestions. Given a little time and effort, you’ll forget what it was like to live anywhere else.

hair, product review, review

Maple Holistics Review

September 26, 2015


In my quest to live the curly girl method to give myself the best curls possible, I’m always on the look-out for new natural products. Maple Holistics sent me the Silk 18 Natural Hair Conditioner to try and it’s one of my favorite finds to date! What do I love about it? Well, my test for a good conditioner is two-fold. One: how does my hair feel after it has dried? Two: how does it feel when I go to cleanse it again? The answer to both – amazing?!


The conditioner goes on smoothly and easily detangles my hair in the shower. It rinses out well, but also serves as a great leave-in conditioner for the ends of my hair. I always like to make sure my conditioner works well both in the shower as a wash-out and can do double-duty as a leave-in conditioner as well.

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 1.22.51 PMWhat makes this conditioner so great? Well it might have something to do with the ingredients it contains. This conditioner is filled with 18 naturally-derived silk amino acids (hence the name), as well as Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, Green Tea, Pomegranate, Hibiscus, Sea Buckthorn, Argan, Jojoba, Botanical Keratin and Vanilla.

Maple Holistics also makes a pretty amazing Natural Ancient Clay Facial Mask. It certainly feels like putting wet mud on your face, but it left my skin feeling clean, clear and smooth afterwards. I use it every week or two before going to bed. The product is a combination of French Green Clay, Bentonite Clay and Fuller’s Earth. These ingredients make a pretty stellar combination to reduce black heads, redness and scars; exfoliate; and rehydrate the skin.

I also tried the Hydrate shampoo but since I very rarely use shampoo on my hair, I didn’t like the way this product felt in my hair and on my scalp. I think I’ve gotten used to no shampoo.

how-to, tips

How To Pick the Perfect Rain Jacket

September 25, 2015


With the weather heading quickly towards rainy days it is the time to start thinking about getting yourself a new rain jacket. You can pick up one for a decent price nowadays at big retailers like O&C, but with brands offering so many different choices it can be difficult to know which one to pick. These tips will help to make sure that you choose the best rain jacket to suit your needs this autumn.

How To Pick a Rain Jacket:

Think about the size

Obviously you want your rain jacket to look good, but making sure you get the right size, and a good fit will mean you can look stylish and feel comfortable. If the rain will be accompanied by the cold, then you need to make sure the shell will fit over the layers you want to wear to keep warm, so choosing a larger fit will be a more important factor. If your autumn/winter is more mild, then you can get away with a much more fitted jacket as you won’t be layering up underneath it.

How waterproof does it need to be?

Rain coats will usually be categorized according to how much rainfall they can withstand. Water resistant or waterproof will be fine for light or even average rainfall. If you live somewhere where the rain will be heavier, you would do better to invest in a more heavy duty coat. Synthetic materials like nylon are more water resistant than materials like cotton, and these are usually treated with either a waterproof coating, or layered with a waterproof membrane.

What you should look for in a coat

You will probably find that many jackets you look at will offer things such as being ‘breathable’ or having ‘taped seams’. These are good to look for, but they come with their own pros and cons. If you go for a non-breathable jacket it means no rain can get through but it won’t allow sweat out and so you may find you get uncomfortably hot. Taped seams are an additional feature that help keep the water out and you perfectly dry underneath.

Think about traveling

Do you want a light rain shell that is easy to carry when you don’t need to wear it? If so, there are plenty that will pack away into a pocket so that you can fit it easily into your bag or leave in your car for those days when it starts to pour.

Choose one that suits your style

To have the maximum in comfort and protection from the rain you don’t need to compromise on style. The range of rain jackets available means that every taste is catered for and you don’t need to give up the durability that you need in order to feel good in what you are wearing.


If you are looking for a rain jacket take these tips into consideration and when you go to buy one make sure you look for the best bargains. Hanging on until there is a Joules sale is always a great way to find a high quality coat at a great price, and still look good when that inclement weather threatens!

birthday, gifts, life

6 Birthday Gifts for Your Best Friend

September 24, 2015

Gift giving is a fun challenge for me. How will I outdo my gift from last year? Buying a birthday gift for your best friend has to be a big deal. After all, isn’t that what friends are for? To celebrate you in a major way on your special day?

Being friends with someone for years and years means that you don’t just celebrate birthdays, but also holidays, special occasions and anything that is worthy of a pop of champagne. You might feel like you’re running out of ideas. I’ve had fun selecting presents over the years and I have a few ideas to share if you’re trying to come up with something new for your friend, too.

6 Birthday Gifts for Your Best Friend:

  • Plan a Spa Day – Who doesn’t love to be pampered? Choose a mani/pedi combo or an afternoon of massages. Many spas offer service combinations or full-day beauty treatments, complete with lunch and time in the jacuzzi or pool. Research spas in your area that have all the special extras that your friend enjoys and make a reservation on or around the big day.
  • Throw a Party – It can be a grown up affair complete with cocktails and fancy h’ordeuvres or you can be nostalgic and host a simple, but special affair complete with cake, ice cream and your bestie’s nearest and dearest.
  • Send Flowers – A gal loves to get flowers and may not get them as often as she’d like. You don’t have to go the romantic roses route, but order her a cheerful bouquet of lilies, daisies or any of her other favorite florals. Better yet, swing by your local farmer’s market and put together a handmade bouquet yourself.
  • Make a Gift Bag – Buy a pretty bag (that can be used as a purse or beach bag) and fill it with things your best friend loves. Ideas can include her favorite romantic comedy DVD, favorite junk food, beauty products, fashion magazines and anything else that will make her smile. Don’t feel as though you have to break the bank. Just buy things that will mean something to her.
  • Buy a Special Bottle of Vino – Or, two or three. And, then go the extra step and have them personalized with an inside joke or a special birthday cheers special for her happy birthday wine. The bottle itself is something she will save and cherish for years to come.
  • Create a Photo Album – Put together an album of prints of favorite pictures of the two of you from over the years and places you’ve been or trips you’ve taken. With everything being digitalized, sometimes it’s nice to have actual photos to look at and remember by dates written on the back.
  • Tea Time – Afternoon tea is a fun treat that is perfect for a birthday celebration. Dress up in ladylike fashion and enjoy a feast of finger sandwiches, pastries and an assortment of teas. Find out which restaurants or resorts in your area offer afternoon tea, and relax while feeling classy.

No matter what you plan, know that your friend will enjoy it. Just as you appreciate anything she gets for you. It can be as easy as taking her to lunch and a matinee or drinks at her favorite happy hour. The point is to make her feel special and in a celebratory mood for her birthday.

Eventually, you may come across a time where you repeat a gift. You can handle this “dilemma” creatively too. Does your friend like to cook? Maybe over the years gift her different kitchen gadgets. Or, if she’s a book lover, make it a tradition to buy her a new novel each year. A new piece of jewelry, fabulous handbag or pretty scarf are always welcome gifts, just remember to make it something that matches her style and personality.

If all else fails, just ask. That’s the good thing about being best friends with someone, you can just be yourself. Maybe your friend has been wanting to plan a trip somewhere and needs a travel buddy or a favorite music artist is coming through town on tour. Even if the birthday gift isn’t given on the actual date, if it celebrates the time, then it still counts.

No matter what gift you decide on for your BFF’s birthday this year, the point is to make the gift unique to your friendship. It can be silly or sentimental or both. And when in doubt, just go back to the celebratory champagne and bring along two cups.

beauty, makeup, product review, review

Simply Beauty Minerals – Review

September 22, 2015
This is a review post. I was provided with sample products to try and then write about. All thoughts and opinions are obviously my own.


While I am all about natural products for my hair and non-processed items for my food, I’ve yet to fully jump on the natural bandwagon for makeup and other facial products. But then at the end of the summer I received three sample products from Simple Beauty Minerals – the Peach Mineral Eye Shadow, the Shiny Penny Mineral Lipgloss, and the Blackberry Ultimate Healthy Mascara. The company, which is run by a 30-year cosmetic industry veteran, focuses on creating amazing products for women and their skin.


For me, the true test of simple beauty products is whether they can be worn without the aid of other items. So for my relaxing weekends I’ve been giving these products a try. With only the addition of a little eyeliner (because I look dead without it) I’ve used only these three items to make-up my face for the weekend. Not bad, huh?


The Shiny Penny lipgloss is a great color. I worried it would be too brassy – as a penny is – but nope it is great even on my yellow-tinted skin. And it is subtle enough to wear as a daily gloss, without feeling like you slathered on some bold color. It retails for $15.

The Peach eye shadow has just enough shimmer to make it standout on the eye-lid but it isn’t full of holiday-only glitter. This great base coat sells for $9.

The Blackberry mascara – I’m particular about my eye shadow because I like to make sure my long eyelashes pop without needing to glop the product on. This does the job. It goes on smoothly without any fear of clumps, which is a super bonus! And the smell of this product is amazing! The first time I put it on, it took me a moment to realize that delicious smell was coming from my mascara! This retails for $22.


daily outfit, floral, jacket

Rompers are NOT for Teachers

September 21, 2015


Romper: Ralph Lauren
Jacket: Kohls
Necklace/Earrings: Mimi Boutique
Shoes: ModCloth
Bracelet: ???


I’ve officially had my first wardrobe fail of the school year! This entire year I have been on the lookout for a perfect black romper. For anyone that has ever tried one of these pretties on, you know how difficult it is to find one that is flattering and fits all your various parts the way individual items should. Some are too tight in the bottom, others are too loose up top. Some are too short or too high-waisted. The struggle is real.


But then I stumbled upon this Ralph Lauren romper. It was perfect. It fit like a glove. It was long enough for my tall frame. The wide leg pant style was flattering and comfortable. Overall a win.


I’ve worn it a couple time before the school year began – mostly for short stints, such as to give a fashion presentation.
Without much forethought the other day I wore this beauty to school. I figured the comfortable material and the ease of wear made it a no brainer for all-day teaching. Man, was I wrong!


Most days I teach three 45-minute classes in a row. That means over 2.2 hours of teaching with NO bathroom breaks. Usually this isn’t an issue, and if I need to I can run during the 3-minute passing periods. But with a romper, bathroom breaks are a whole other thing! Without going into all the details, let’s just say this is not a simple outfit to race to the bathroom in and make it back to class on time to teach.


So, from now on, this will be a weekend and short-event only wardrobe item.

beauty, health, makeup

Simple Tips for Improving Your Skin

September 20, 2015

Trust me, staring into the mirror can feel like a Herculean task when you’ve had a rough morning. Baggy eyes, dry skin, a ghost-like pallor – it’s hardly the finest way to start the day.

Improving your appearance doesn’t have to take hours out of your day. What you need are a few simple tips for improving your skin. With the right beauty and fitness techniques your appearance doesn’t have to look ragged. In fact, with a sustained healthy diet, you’ll be ready to face the day in no time!

Here are three things you can implement ASAP for clear, beautiful skin:

A majestic mask
Your skin is at its most tired when you first wake – unless you can put a stop to that irritating dryness. What you need is a deep clean. Like a car being serviced every six months, your skin requires a tune-up with the right products.

The Proactiv refining mask is one such product. A deep-cleaning wash designed specifically to remove acne and pimples, the mask is the perfect addition to your skincare regimen.

Initially, you’ll want to use it as regularly as possible, to cleanse your pores of all dirt and bacteria. This will provide your skin with a clean and clear base, a ground zero on which you can rebuild good health.

The sweatier the better
You might think you’ve got to avoid any and all chemical mixtures with your pores if you want to maintain healthy skin. But your skin texture will actually benefit from a touch of exercise, even if that does mean working up a sweat.

A decent workout will increase your blood flow, giving you rosier cheeks and a thick layer of sweat to wash off. Many of the toxins in your body are rejected through the sweat glands, so working them out will make them more efficient.

Struggling to find your get up and go? Then make your initial workouts as brief as possible. Begin with a simple 15-minute workout to build up a sweat. Add five minutes to your routine in increments until you’ve got a full fitness plan that you won’t want to avoid. Your skin will look all the better for it.

The H2O effect
Are you guzzling Diet Coke as though every other liquid has been stolen from the planet? Then the symptom of your poor skin is clear. Literally!

With an average of eight glasses of water a day, your blood flow will speed up, giving you cleaner skin.

Really, often the problems of poor skin are symptomatic of a poor diet. Replacing soda with water is a good place to start. With simple improvements you’ll finally be able to enjoy a glance in the mirror.

Written by Kevin Fullerton.