Thankfulness Thursday: Birthday Joy

Hi there everyone!

So I was trying to be real cool about missing a blog post today because Rob and I stayed up until an unreasonable hour catching up with Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix (On a brand new HD TV Rob bought me for my birthday! I ❤ love it!) . I mean it was my birthday after all so I tried to justify it to myself, but honestly it’s just giving me anxiety.  Plus, I can’t pass up a Thankfulness Thursday the day after my birthday! Linking up with Ashley from Domestic Fashionista.

I’m thankful for…

…My family celebrating my birthday with me and making it a very special day…

…My Mom’s never ending excitement that it was indeed my birthday…

…Waking up to strings of ribbon hanging from the balloons covering my bedroom ceiling…

…The bouquet of (teal) birthday balloons sitting at my desk when I arrived at work from Rob…

…The endless swarm of birthday wishes on Facebook from friends, family and those I haven’t talked to in ages. I know it’s not cool to admit this but Facebook greetings did bring a smile to my face…

…The kind and warm wishes I received on my blog, twitter, facebook and instagram from my blog friends and readers. Thank you all so much!…

…The thought my close friends put in their birthday greetings. Those greetings speak volumes about our friendship…

…The Michael Kors laptop bag coming my way! Thanks Mom, Dad, Sis and Bro! Lol 1 superficial one had to make it in people…

Most of all, I’m thankful for the opportunity to live everyday in good health with such wonderful people in my life (both in person and over the web!). I’m so blessed.

Haha have I ever told you guys I’m a balloon girl? I LOVE balloons. And cake. Lots of cake.

I can’t let the cake go unnoticed. It’s from the BEST cake shop in Sacramento, Ettore’s. This cake was their Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse cake but I DIE for their Chocolate Mousse cake too. If you come visit me in Sacramento for long enough, I will bring you here, promise.

Thank you all for reading, commenting and being part of this crazy journey I call my life! Here’s to another great year!

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25 before 25

Happy Wednesday everyone!

So I’ve been trying not to make a big deal about my birthday because more often than not, I stress myself to high heavens about planning the perfect party with all my friends there and it never 100% pans out. Now with even more of my friends in grad school in various parts of the US, I decided this year I would plan absolutely nothing. And it’s been so wonderful, I feel like this day snuck up on me and it was a really pleasant surprise. For a long time I had been planning on this list of things I want to accomplish by next year and since “25 before 25” had such a nice ring to it, here goes!

  1. Go on at least one international trip.
  2. Get rid of all the clothes that don’t fit me anymore (no excuses!).
  3. Legitimately run an entire 5K, no walking.
  4. Spend some time thinking about what truly makes me happy, and go after it.
  5. Eat at least 5 (new) meals that make my eyes roll to the back of my head.
  6. Find that “signature dish” that I can bring to potlucks, parties etc.
  7. Create that beautiful desk space I’ve been dreaming of.
  8. Drink at least 1 exorbitantly priced wine.
  9. Reconnect with 1 friend from the past (learn to forgive…).
  10. Plan a dinner party with friends.
  11. Do more things on impulse (minus shopping.. eek).
  12. Quit buying uncomfortable heels/shoes that I don’t really want to wear.
  13. Send more postal mail because it’s so much better than anything you can send virtually.
  14. Put away a legitimate amount of savings a month. Don’t shortchange yourself!
  15. Do at least 2 things that completely scare me.
  16. Pray more and Thank God more often.
  17. Tip an outrageous amont for at least 1 meal where the service was above and beyond.
  18. Learn how to sew.
  19. Put some serious work into my fitness journey.
  20. Donate to a charity or find a cause to fundraise for.
  21. Hug my brother and sister more often.
  22. Keep growing my blog but know that what matters most is the quality of reader.
  23. Do more nice things for Rob because he’s the best.
  24. Cook at least a meal a month for my family.
  25. Most importantly, when the going gets tough, remember how lucky I am to live my life (pity yourself less).

I asked a few of my favorite bloggers to send me some birthday advice or to share what advice they would share with their 24 year old self and I’m so happy with the response I got:

Eat More. Drink More. Travel More. Nuff said. – Rima at Bolu by Rima

Start each day, like it’s your birthday. – Kristine at The Foley Fam

If I were going to tell my 24 year old self something it’d be to figure out what exactly you think you want out of life/work/etc and go for it. It’s much easier when you’re younger. Just do it. And if you change your mind along the way, that’s okay. Have fun with your friends and family. Take chances and do the things you love. Tuck away some money into a savings account because you never know what may happen. Life does go on. A lot of those things I tell myself now too. I don’t think that much changes as you get older. Or maybe in my head I’m just still a lot younger. I don’t know. 🙂 – Melissa at Insert Sarcastic Remark Here

Don’t be afraid of the future.  You can do anything you want at 24 and all the decisions you make now lay the foundation for your future.  Don’t be afraid to make the decisions that will make you happy. – Brighton at Dear Brighton

Be flexible. Be open for change… Change within yourself and change within others. You have to learn to forgive yourself as well as others because mistakes will happen and there will be plenty. Lastly, it’s ok to let go and often times it’s necessary for you to heal and move forward. Learn to let go of pride, sadness, anger and sometimes you have to be willing to let go of people too. Mostly… Enjoy life, live in the moment, love and embrace the people around you and mostly embrace and accept yourself. – Chris  at Chubbette Tales

Don’t you just love them?! Because I do! Thanks ladies!

Feel free to leave me birthday advice or tell me what you would tell your 24-year old self!

Quick shoutout to my parents, my 24th birthday wouldn’t be possible without you two! Love you!

Have a great day lovelies!

The Sacramento Color Run

Happy Monday everyone!

So against my better judgement, I decided to run a 5K this weekend on a diet consisting of french fries with absolutely no preliminary running/training. To say I’m a runner is like saying that lead weights can fly. But lemme tell ya, I love a good 5K and a run that entails colored powder thrown at you while you run? I’m in.

Despite my vehement protests light suggestions that we should walk this 5K instead of run, we got overeager and ran the first (eh let’s be generous), 1/5 of the race. After receiving our first burst of color, we all mutually looked at each other and decided a brisk power walk would suffice. It was a beautifully scenic 5K and overall tons of fun.

But every 15 minutes at the finish line, there was a Color Festival where everyone opens up the color packets they were given and throws it up in the air. The Color Festival was the most INCREDIBLE part. I can’t even explain how beautiful it was, colors flying everywhere and everyone dancing and celebrating. We hung out for 2 rounds of Color Festival and by the end, I resembled a semi-purple incredible hulk, hence the lack of pictures of myself at the end (you’re lucky I even gave you the picture of me as the purple-people-eater above!). Lol much to my dismay, I didn’t get the “cute” color photos I hoped for but it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. If the Color Run is headed your way, don’t hesitate to sign up quick, it’s worth it!

We went to an amazing brunch spot that I’ll be featuring for Good Eats sometime soon too!

Unfortunately that mere 1/5 of 3 miles I ran + lack of stretching, training, general fitness means I was pretty sore following the run. I contemplated lying to you so you could imagine me as a 5K goddess, barely panting and victorious at the end. But I’m as far from that as you can get right now and I’m pretty a little embarrassed that running so little got my body crying out that way. I’m putting this out there because I’m ready to make a change and No-French-Fry August is part of that. I’m ready to hold myself accountable for the way I eat and treat my body. I’m looking to make a plan for that so stay tuned!

Happy Birthday Eva!!

Lastly, I want to wish one of my best friends a HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Long before Simply Evani was born, Eva was one of 3 friends/readers who subscribed to my lowly blog. Not only was she one of the greatest roommates I’ve ever had but she is genuinely one of the most caring individuals I know. I love her with all my heart! Can’t wait to hit up Seattle and visit Chid!

How was your weekend? Do you have a favorite 5K?

Have a great week everyone!

Simply Baking: Avenger Cake Pops

May 10th holds a special place in my heart for two reasons: 1. Rob, the love of my life was born on May 10th and 2. I made my first set of cake pops on May 10th of last year. I like to think my first set of cake pops created what Simply Evani is today because it opened my eyes to an entire world of crafting and baking I didn’t know before!

Rob and I started dating on Nov 12, 2005, our senior year of high school. Last year, my first cake pops were football themed for his birthday and this year, The Avengers came out with perfect timing. I wanted to try something new for me so I decided to go with upside-down cake pops and flag decorations. I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves!

The flavors were all White cake with either Strawberry or Caramel icing. I brought them to Rob’s office and got equal compliments on both flavors but I was personally partial to the Strawberry. I was told the Caramel tasted similar to Butterscotch.

The cake pop colors were created with Wilton candy melts. I made the flags with cardstock and images printed off the internet and attached them with the ever handy E600 glue.

If you would like the Printables, I made them available here for download!

What do you think of them?? I’m always trying to make “masculine” cake pops, did I pull it off?

Happy Birthday to my love! Thank you for being in my life for the past 6 years and I can’t wait for many many more!

 

Put on a Chef’s Hat and Call Me a Baker!

* This blog post was from long ago, before Simply Evani was born. But since it was my first experience with cake pops, it’s definitely a keeper!

Sorry it’s been so long since an update, things have been minor league crazy around my parts! On the bright side, my mind has been buzzing with blog topics that I will hopefully delight my readers with, once I have the time.

So yesterday was Rob’s Birthday and officially the 6th one we’ve celebrated together! Rob is really shy about his birthday, he was the kid who’s birthday wish was not to go to school for the day and for the past few years, he’s changed his facebook profile so that it didn’t accurately portray his birthday. In comparison, I’m CRAZY about birthdays. I love to celebrate them, make a big deal out of them and purposely cause public spectacles that illicit strangers saying Happy Birthday (my favorite way of doing that you ask? 2 years ago on Auva’s birthday I gave her a bouquet of balloons to walk around campus with. Winds were STRONG that day). Anyways, I’ve learned to tone Rob’s birthday down a bit since he genuinely doesn’t like the attention but since it was his first birthday at this office, I knew I had to do something.

In comes my recent obsession, CAKE POPS. Basically Cake on a Stick made famous by Bakearella. Now everyone knows this isn’t a dessert making blog, and I won’t try to pretend all went as planned but I figured my response from these recent cake pops was too good not to share. Anyways, I saw these ADORABLE football shaped cake pops on a blog and I knew this was it. I’ve been planning to try out a recipe for cake pops for weeks now, but have failed to do so.

Then comes May 9 and my first time making cake pops, I’m ambitiously making 56 of them for Rob’s whole office. Of course since baking 56 cake pops seemed too easy with boxed cake mix and store bought icing, I decided to make my own icing. Let me tell you right now, the icing alone took 3 hours. So 6 hours of baking later, I’ve produced something that resembles cake pops. And because I don’t like to half ass anything, I spend an inhumane amount of money in a craft store to make a decorative plate for the cake pops (with the help of my crafty little sister). Here’s the final product:

My final product 🙂 Broncos colors of course 🙂

After Rob sheepishly put the cake pops in the break room while we went to lunch, we come back and his office happily devoured at least half the cake pops while we were gone. His coworkers were raving about the taste (which is news to me since I didn’t even taste one until I dropped it off) and I was happy with the product. It was soft and moist cake on the inside and chocolaty goodness on the outside 🙂 I even got a job offer to work in one of his coworker’s wives’ bakery! (which I will unfortunately have to turn down since I’m still EXHAUSTED from doing these a day later)

I used Devil’s Food Cake and Yellow Cake (for 56 cake pops, I needed 2 cakes). To make the actual cake pops, you cook the cakes as usual, then once they are cool you crumble them into little pieces. You mix in the frosting with the cake crumbles (I did 1 box cake to 2 cups frosting) and you form it into shapes (I handmade footballs). You allow the cake to harden in the fridge, put them on a stick and dip them into chocolate or other toppings. They’re DELICIOUS, I promise.

Here’s the frosting recipe:

BEST EVER CHOCOLATE FROSTING: Makes around 2.5 cups frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup sifted unsweetened baking cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s®
1/4 cup half-n-half

Directions: In a small mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Slowly beat in powdered sugar and cocoa powder, alternating with half-n-half. Add an additional tablespoon of half-n-half if necessary for frosting to obtain consistency to frost cake. Makes approx. 2 cups. Notes: Make sure the butter is at room temperature. For the smoothest frosting, sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder before measuring. This is a wonderful frosting for cakes too. Double the recipe and add enough cream for appropriate consistency for cakes.- via this forum

Rob liked them too, I think. And we only sang Happy Birthday to him once, at his house. 🙂 As he would’ve liked. Happy Birthday boo!

After this experience, I not only have more faith in my baking abilities but I will probably be making cake pops for all my children’s birthdays! Hopefully they’ll be easier on the eyes as I get better! 🙂