Monthly Archives: March 2014

Wedding Baking! Oh my!

Awhile back I volunteered to help my best friend make cookies for her wedding favors and today was the day. I must say, it was an awesome idea at the time. After a while the both of us couldn’t wait to get it over with. She baked two different kinds of cookies and made white chocolate covered oreos with blue and red mickeys and drizzles on top. The mickey mouse shaped cookies are snickerdoodles and the powdered ones are Italian wedding cookies.
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Look at all those cookies!
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Here the cookies are frosted and lined with glitter gel and white pearls. The picture doesn’t do them any justice. They look amazing in person!
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Italian wedding cookie without the powdered sugar
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Iced cookies with glitter gel
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The mickey table 🙂
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A decorated cookie tin (this is the wedding favor)
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One of my favorites!
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Glorious mickey cookies!
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All the cookies inside a tin. There’s a dozen total, 4 oreos, 4 Italian wedding cookies, and 4 mickeys.
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White chocolate covered Oreos with red mickeys drawn on top (I know it looks pink)
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Another design on one of the tins. My tin is black with white and dark blue gems. Very gorgeous!
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Mickeys waiting to dry so we could put them in the tins.

We decorated like crazy. She had all the Oreos covered by the time I got there. Half of the Oreos already had designs so we drew the red mickeys. She also had the snickerdoodle mickeys baked and cooled. We just had to decorate. I swear it was over 100 cookies. We made Italian wedding cookies and they were delicious. We made over 176 cookies and covered and decorated 88 Oreos. I was at her house for about 5 hours and we got most of the work done. Who knew wedding baking would be so intense?! My legs hurt from standing so much. It was all worth it though. They will make excellent wedding favors on my bffs special day and I learned how to decorate cookies today. Her wedding is tomorrow! I’m so excited 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

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The Designated Driver (Harley Davidson Cafe)

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Because Esther and I got to talking about Las Vegas yesterday, I began reminiscing of my Vegas trips over the years. I remember I went to Vegas for the first time when I was 16. Since I was still a baby back then, I ordered all the non-alcoholic drinks that appealed to me. The Harley Davidson Cafe on the strip has a drink called The Designated Driver. It’s a blend of ice, strawberries, and Sprite. It was so darn delicious, it’s the only drink I remember from Vegas. I didn’t have Sprite so I used 7Up but definitely use Sprite because the taste is a little different. As you can tell from the picture, I didn’t blend it with ice. It was late at night so I smashed up some strawberries and made a semi-puree. It was pretty good regardless but it definitely taste better with the ice. It’s an excellent spring and summer drink. The cafe also has a killer southwest chicken salad. Best I’ve ever had!

The Designated Driver (Harley Davidson Cafe)
1/4 part ice
1/4 part strawberry puree
1/2 part Sprite

– blend together until it resembles a smoothie
– pour into a glass and enjoy

Another thing I remember about my first trip to Vegas was all the weirdos handing out cards with hookers on them. The strip looked like an alley because people who took the cards out of politeness ended up throwing them on the street. Real nice guys! That was sarcasm in case you couldn’t tell. Also, I remember sitting in the car and being stuck in traffic. I think we were trying to get to Circus Circus. The car in front of us were full of guys and one of them decided to get out of the car and dirty dance next to the passenger side of the car in front of them. I’m pretty sure she was some rich lady cause she smacked him with her door. Totally unexpected but it was so hilarious. That teaches you not to do stupid things. I had delicious gelato from the Bellagio hotel and watched the water fountain show several times. I think my favorite one is still Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On. The M&M and Coca Cola factories were awesome too.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Bloggers Giving Back: Well Boxed

Today was the March event for Bloggers Giving Back. The event was held at Great Over Good in Santa Ana. Naadine is awesome for hosting us again! 🙂 Today’s event was all about putting together care packages and sending them to service members overseas using AnySoldier.com. We also had pizza and wine. As usual, the decor was super cute. I met some new bloggers and actually decorated a box before sending it. The decorating was pretty easy but I’m not artistic at all so I always think it’s going to end up looking horrible. Thank you Melyssa, Naadine, Jess, and Megan for planning and hosting this awesome event!

My box consisted of 3 packages of chicken flavored ramen noodles, 2 boxes of Thin Mints, 2 mason jars filled with peeps and jelly beans, 6 Easter eggs filled with crunchy chocolate eggs, 2 journals, 3 dvds, a ziploc bag filled with packets of instant coffee, a handful of candy, and a three page letter (I once wrote a Gunny about how I got pulled over for avoiding a pothole and he loved it – I think he’s still laughing about it). Since the big bro was a marine, naturally I chose a marine. I took forever scanning the names and decided on a Sgt Major. I mean how many people can say I sent a care package to a Sgt Major?! Well maybe quite a few but I still thought it was pretty neat. He’s actually in the same battalion the big bro was in so that was a plus. Because his name sounded somewhat familiar, I googled it. Does that make me a stalker? Don’t answer that. He looks like a total badass and what people would see when they think “marine.” And as usual, I took a bazillion pictures. Here we go! 🙂

**EDIT: You might see some slight variations of the pictures in this post. Kara left me a comment about opsec so I proudly told this to my friend who happens to be in the army. He trolled my blog and told me I missed a few pictures. Thanks Tony 🙂 Always glad I can count on you for that lol

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The white cloud like thingy is just photoshop. I wrote the persons name and rank on the letter so obviously for opsec reasons I’m not going to post it.
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All the decorations for the care packages
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Inside my box! I couldn’t decide to do a Easter theme or a snack theme so I did both.
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Piled with even more stuff
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The table I sat with
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Melyssa of The Nectar Collective and her adorable dog Monja. Sweetest darn dog ever 🙂
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The other table 🙂 Esther..I’m not sure what you’re doing! haha
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Naadine standing on a chair to take pics of the care packages
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My decorated box. I had a hard time deciding whether to decorate the flaps or not. All the other ladies were decorating like crazy so I decided to do it in the end. I picked a simple print because the box is going to a high ranking marine who happens to be male. I figured I’d keep it simple. Yes I know, simple really meant floral. This is why I don’t decorate! lol
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A close up of the box. Again the white is the name on the letter.
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Melyssa’s dog Monja. I swear everyone was snapping pictures left and right. I know Naadine has at least 5!
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Me with the lovely Naadine. Our monthly photo! haha 🙂
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The decorations on the wall
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The candy corner 😀
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Sweet Monja again! 🙂
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All the beautiful decorated care packages ready for service members overseas.
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Wine! 🙂
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Kettlecorn made by Naadine. It was delicious!
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Fudge brownies made by Victoria of Poverty Luxe. They were delicious as well.
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Delicious pizza. We had olives and mushrooms, pepperoni, and cheese.

Here are the links to the bloggers that attended today’s event. If I forgot you, please let me know. I didn’t do it on purpose, swear! 🙂

Melyssa of The Nectar Collective
Naadine of Great Over Good
Jess of Jess Loves This Life
Raewyn of Be a Warrior Queen (So awesome to see you again! I can’t remember how many times I asked you for scissors!)
Victoria of Poverty Luxe (The brownies you made were freakin fabulous!)
Esther of Esther & Jacob (Esther and I bonded over donuts! So nice to meet you Esther!)
Megan of The Artistic Brunette
Jasam of The Opulent Owl
Jes of Bleu Dress Jes
Kara of Ramblings of a Marine Wife (Kara is a Project Give sponsor!)
Nicole of Adventures of a Semper Fi Family (Nicole, it was nice to meet you! You’re so sweet!)
Katie of Going Coastal With The Plumes (It was nice to meet you Katie! Katie is also a Project Give sponsor)
Emily of Just The Stew Of Us
Victoria of Anchored by Faith

Well that’s all folks. I think this post might be longer than the OC Blogger Brunch one. Have a great weekend! Don’t do crazy over the earthquakes.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Glen Ivy Hot Springs (Corona, CA)

Woot woot! One of my best friends from college is getting married in a little over a week. I’m super excited for her and yesterday a group of us spent the day at Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Corona to celebrate her bachelorette party. I gotta say it was pretty awesome. I haven’t felt that relaxed in such a long time. It was really nice to enjoy a day not worrying about anything and just spending time with friends. We rented the citrus cabana which was super nice. It was great to have a private space to ourselves. We got all of our food comped so for the cabana, my friends admission, and my own admission it was less than 100 which is pretty rad. Usually spas are crazy expensive. Good thing I saved up for the trip! I actually deposited all the coins in my piggy bank but that’s a story for another time. I took plenty of pictures! 🙂
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This is the view of the lounge pool (there were more than 10 pools)
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Inside the cabana we had a dining table for us to eat lunch and chit chat
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The view from upstairs in the cabana area
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Inside view of the cabana
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Lahaina aka the bride to be 🙂
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Her super cute wedding invitations
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Gift bags for the girls who attended. Full of goodies like key chains, cosmetic pouch, nail polish, nail filers, eye mask, sunglasses, and etc.
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Another view of the lounge pool
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Complimentary fruit basket
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A group shot of all the ladies who attended
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Another group shot. Lahaina had us put on lipstick or gloss and kiss her picture frame. Then we wrote messages and signed it by our kisses.
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We took a picture with Aaron. He was our picture boy and escort. He was pretty funny 🙂
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Krystal and I making decorating pins for the bachelorette game. We each got to decorate two pins and we weren’t allowed to talk about anything related to the wedding. If we said anything about the wedding than whoever caught us would take one of our pins. Meredith won.
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Lahaina had a message so the rest of us ladies enjoyed the pools. This is a hilarious picture of Tiffany trying to teach Genelyn how to float. The picture doesn’t do it justice but it was so funny. I was shaking trying to get a good picture.
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BBQ chicken salad for lunch. It was eh. The dressing and the chips were good. The lettuce looked like the kind I buy in the bags at the grocery store and the chicken was dry. Bleh!
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Lahaina with her frame! Mine is the one on the bottom right hand corner. Also known as fish lips 😛
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Lounge area 🙂
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Pineapple smoothie! It was so good!!! It wasn’t super sweet and pretty much taste like a non-alcoholic mai tai
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Reasons why I love California and can’t live anywhere else. Lahaina’s moving to Nebraska…good luck bestie! 🙂
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Cucumber water that was oh so refreshing. They had water stations everywhere throughout the spa grounds.
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Trying to get the gems to stick to the pins! It was no easy task
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Christina’s lunch of chicken nachos. I was told it wasn’t all that either. I heard the pizzas were good though!

It was an awesome experience. I didn’t get to take my camera with me but we did explore a lot of the pools. We did the saline pool first. It’s basically a pool containing sulfur and smells like rotten eggs. Once you get use to the smell it does wonders. It made my skin baby soft. After that we went to the plunge pools. It was so insane! The plunge pools consist of a hot pool and a cold pool. You stay in the hot pool for a minute and than go to the cold pool for 30 seconds. I did it 10 times before Krystal, Mere, and I tapped out and went to sunbathe instead. Everyone else did it 15 times. We actually recruited other people to do it with us which was hilarious. The cold pool was so cold. I think the water was 50 degrees which is like Monterey Bay, NorCal cold. After the plunge pools we went into the Roman bath for awhile. After that we grabbed lunch and played another game. Each of us except Lahaina wrote two memories we have of her and two wishes we have of the future on sticky notes. Each of us would read four of them and Lahaina had to guess which one of us wrote it. It was so funny because she couldn’t guess who some of them were so she went around the table. Basically it was how well you knew your friends. After we ate we went to Club Mud and exfoliated our skin with mud. After that we baked in this heated room, brushed off the dried mud, and rinsed. The rinsing part was the hardest. It got everywhere! When we were done we headed back the cabana where Lahaina went to get a massage and the rest of us soaked in the pools. We went to three different pools and lounged before hitting the showers. Not everyone got to go but we made a trip to Farrell’s in Rancho Cucamonga and I finally got to try the Gibson Girl. That thing is huge by the way. I got the club sandwich which is a turkey club with bacon. It was three layers and super huge. I was super tired and sleepy by that time and Farrell’s gets pretty loud with all the drumming and singing. It’s entertaining but holy cow, it gave me a headache. If it was earlier in the day I probably would have loved it. Next time!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Volunteering VA Hospital #5

I got over 50 hours! VA hospital rules state that if volunteers volunteer for 50 hours, they get a permanent badge. It’s a legit badge. How awesome is that?! Just don’t lose it or else you will be in deep trouble. And I get a volunteer polo shirt with a free parking pass. So you’re wondering what’s the big deal? Well the VA hospital is considered a federal building. Therefore permanent badges are pretty legit. I mean it’s not like I’m a federal employee but with the permanent badge, I would get similar benefits. Without being paid of course. I’ve seen some of the permanent badges that the older volunteers/vets have. Somehow they remind me of the show NCIS. No, it’s not super fancy but it’s still pretty cool. So far I’ve volunteered 52 hours which means I get my badge next week. It’ll have my name, picture, and all that good stuff. I’ve always wanted a permanent badge. Somehow it just makes it more official and I won’t be wearing my tacky stick on one anymore.

Volunteering is going pretty well. I do escorts and dispatching depending on who else is volunteering. I like the escorting better because I get more patient interaction and the majority of the patients are familiar faces by now. I learned where valet parking, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine, x-ray, radiology, tricare/military call was. I also got to push an IV line, which typically doesn’t happen because volunteers aren’t allowed to escort patients with IVs in. I just pushed the machine but it was still pretty neat. I was walking back to the CLC (community living center) and a visitor asked me where he could go to change his address. I wasn’t sure so I took him to another volunteer. It turns out that the hospital is like a city. They have everything! There’s a post office in the basement. I never would have guessed that and I walk down there all the time when I take the short cuts. They have a canteen, several outdoor patio dining areas, a retail store (known as the Patriot store), several gardens, a theater, a post office, several kitchens, a community living center, a business office, a park, and some other stuff I haven’t seen yet. I think I’m still amazed that the Pat store sells 40in. plasma tvs. The vets told me it’s pretty much like a PX but smaller. I’ve never been to a PX so I guess I’ll take their word for it! 😛 It’s pretty cool. I discovered Purple Heart Park as I was walking around one day trying to sunbathe.

It’s been pretty hot these days. Hopefully the weather will be the same tomorrow. One of my best friends from college is getting married and we’re all headed down to Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Corona for a bachelorette party spa style! 🙂 I’m so excited!! Plenty of pictures to come.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Project Give: Baking For Veterans (Rice Krispy Treats)

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Is it cheating if I didn’t bake? 🙂 I love making my own rice krispy treats because the store bought ones are too sweet for my liking. I also like to add different types of nuts in the rice cereal and sometimes chocolate chips or peanut butter chips. I brought these in to the vets today and they were inhaled. Some of the vets had seconds and thirds. It’s super easy, portable, and makes a filling snack. The kind I made had chopped almonds and extra marshmallows. I just used the recipe on the cereal box.

Rice Krispy Treats
6 cups rice krispy cereal
4 1/2 cups mini marshmallows divided
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chopped almonds

– melt butter in a saucepan
– once butter is melted, add 4 cups of marshmallows reserving 1/2 cup
– melt marshmallows on medium low heat (do not cook on high or else the marshmallow might burn)
– once marshmallows are completely melted, pour the cereal into large bowl
– add the chopped almonds and stir into the cereal
– make a small well in the cereal mixture and add the melted marshmallow mixture
– stir until combined (about 2-3 minutes)
– when the mixture is slightly warm to touch, add the leftover 1/2 cup of marshmallows and stir (the marshmallows shouldn’t melt)
– pour mixture into a 13x9in pan and let set before cutting (about 30 minutes)
– cut into squares and enjoy!

You can use different types of cereals. I’ve used cocoa puffs, frosted cheerios, and fruit loops. I’ve also made different kinds like s’mores with chopped hershey chocolate and crushed graham crackers and pistachio with chopped white chocolate and chopped pistachios. I really like the almonds because it provides a crunch without adding sweetness to the treats. This version is probably my favorite. Be creative! You can add Oreos or Thin Mints. The Thin Mints work well if you freeze the treats. They’re delicious that way! 🙂 Try it out. It doesn’t about 10 minutes to make it and 30 to let it set. It’s super easy!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Not prepared

Have you ever asked someone a question and the answer they gave you was completely out in left field? Not prepared seems to be an understatement at this point. I went to the hospital to volunteer today and someone of us volunteers got to talking. One of them asked me why I volunteered and I said because I want to and that was the end of that. I asked them why they volunteered..sometimes I wish I wasn’t curious. WELL…apparently they’re court ordered. For a dui and for doing drugs and getting kicked out of their branch of service (said they thought they wouldn’t get caught). Really?! -_- I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me but I definitely was not prepared to hear those answers. I knew people were court ordered but getting dishonorably discharged and doing time for drugs? Wow, that’s a new one. The big bro says it happens all the time but I guess I have too high expectations of people. I’m one of those people that can’t help it when they hear stupid stuff like this. I honestly try my best not to judge people but when you act the way you act, now I know why. I still think you’re an IDIOT (for the sake of my young readers, I will not call you what really comes to mind) but you’ll probably never read this blog so I don’t care 🙂

I’ve been trying to come up with some different ideas for the rest of my giveaways for Project Give. The vets are helping me which is pretty cool. One of them suggested I do a Patriot store box. The pat store is basically the retail store in the hospital. It has all sorts of stuff from tooth paste to televisions to oven mitts. Usually when I’m thinking about ideas I like to ask milspouses. They’re super helpful when it comes to things that they would like/need. I always figured, the worst that could happen would be the milspouse not responding. Well, I guess I was in for a surprise when the hate mail showed up in my inbox. Yes random crazy milspouse, you’re getting called out. I don’t expect everyone to like or care about what I’m doing. It’s my personal project after all. This milspouse responded by telling me that what I’m doing is a “stupid and horrible” idea and that I shouldn’t be “bothering” people like her because they have “better things to do.” Um, okay? Oh, and apparently I’m trying to be like her. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?! That’s all I have to say. She wrote me quite a lengthy email for someone who has better things to do but whatever. It would make sense if I was angry but I’m still laughing and thinking what is wrong with people..what is wrong with people…yeah, still thinking it.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina