Treat Yo Self

September is here, and that means it’s my birthday month! I couldn’t come up with much for my birthday list because I’ve been getting in the habit of getting myself small treats here and there.

Mast Bros Chocolate

First up, I have to sing the praises of Mast Brothers chocolate. This chocolate is so dark and potent that a small piece, smaller than a square inch, satisfies my chocolate craving (okay, maybe two pieces). I keep a bar of this in my drawer at work and it helps me get through the afternoon stretch! After becoming so accustomed to Mast Brothers, eating Hershey’s milk chocolate seems like a waste. As a result, I eat less sweets of a better quality. A win-win in my book! You’ve got to get a bar and you’ll see what I mean.

Julep Maven

Second, after I got my new job back in March, I signed up for Julep Maven, a monthly nail polish (and other beauty items) subscription box. I thought getting nail polish month after month would get boring, but each month has new and exciting colors, and I can also swap items out for other things like lotion, lipstick, or restock on base coat (their base coat is seriously amazing) or topcoat. I’ve been pleased with the durability of the polish too, since I was disappointed with the other trendy brand, Essie.

Julep Maven

My first box, last April

My July box got lost in the mail, so customer service credited my account. To make up for the lost box I added on three colors of nail polish. Since I selected three add-ons, they gifted me with two more! So, I got eight colors this month–definitely an early “me-gift” for my birthday! Usually subscribers receive two colors plus another beauty item, or three colors. I look forward to selecting my box each month and have been having so much fun doing my nails before work each week. Something I never dreamed would become part of my routine but I really enjoy it!

If you want to subscribe, click my referral link & use code FREEBOX for your first month free.

Dollar Shave Club

Lastly, I didn’t want Doug to feel left out, and we are constantly out of razors around here (therefore either not shaving or using seriously unhygienic borderline rusty old blades, don’t tell anyone). So I signed him us up for Dollar Shave Club. Each month for $6 they will send us four fresh 4-blade razors. Win! We can select more or less as needed.

I forgot to add on an extra handle so this month Doug gets to be the first to try out the system, but next month I’ll get another handle. Ever since Julep Maven I have been getting on the subscription box train. So convenient and DSC is super affordable, too. Much cheaper than the Schick Quattro’s Doug had been picking up–super expensive even at Costco! If you want to give it a try (you can cancel anytime), use my referral link, and thank me later ;)

Note: The Julep and Dollar Shave Club links earn me a credit to apply to my own subscription. However, I’m only sharing because I’m a true convert, not because I was asked or paid to. 

Nigella’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

I’ve decided to do something earth-shattering. Get up early. It’s hard to get up early either way, but since my current job doesn’t require me to come in until 9, 10, or 11 depending on the day, it’s hard to get up at 6:15 when my “other half” does. But, due to an office party last night and a cake that didn’t get made on Sunday like I wanted to, I got Doug to drag me out of bed at 6:30 to have breakfast and make my cake. He helped, actually, by measuring out all the dry ingredients. Measuring is the worst part of baking. I like to cook, not bake.

I made Nigella’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake but I used this recipe because I’m a bit rusty on my metric system.

Anyway, my most important realization of the morning was that we weren’t interrupted by the cute little pup at all. See, I let him out around 6 to “use the facilities” and then we both go back to bed. Then, thankfully, he does this until around 8:30:

Too cute, right? Well I’ve decided if I want to get stuff done, the window between 6:30 and 8:30 is going to have to be when I do it. Because all the other times I have to make sure he’s not destroying book corners or getting tissues out of the bathroom trash, etc, etc, etc.

I was worried about my cake when I put it into my round pans because the batter wasn’t pouring and I had to spread it in with a rubber spatula. Also, once in the pans it was less than an inch thick each. Panic! But, all in all the looked like they were okay. Then came panic part two: they wouldn’t turn out of the pans easily! But again, my trusty spatula helped me pry them loose and they didn’t even crack :)

Instead of making the chocolate icing Nigella calls for, I used cream cheese frosting (store-bought) because, yum. And it’s my cake so I can frost it how I like.

Voila. The finished product. A two-layer chocolate cake, made from scratch! Turning cakes out of their pans and decorating them like this really makes it seem like more of an “event,” doesn’t it? I think I’ll have a piece for breakfast with my coffee ;) Don’t look at me like that. Cakes and muffins are largely the same thing… so why not have cake in the morning? A sugar rush to start my day!

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DIY Mexican Hot Chocolate

I finally got my butt in gear and made the Christmas presents I had been planning on doing all season… one week before Christmas, wooo!

DIY Hot Chocolate
In progress!!

This is the first time I’ve DIY-ed presents for my loved ones and, thing is, I’m really proud of them! I made home-made Mexican hot chocolate mix out of powdered milk, cocoa, and copious amounts of sugar! I also added a little bit of cinnamon and an even litter bit of chili power, and I must say (I sampled some) it’s quite tasty! Picture time!

DIY Hot Chocolates
Now to add some attractive ribbon and hand them out! Also, gotta love the irony of hot chocolate in a Tostito's jar!

Before this, I made myself dinner, using a recipe that was mostly vague guidelines that my friend gave me yesterday… and I think they turned out delicious! I now give you…. rosemary potatoes…

Rosemary Potatoes
potatoes, olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, paprika...

Hot chocolate recipe below… Click to continue!

Continue reading DIY Mexican Hot Chocolate