I haven’t done one of these #5things posts since my refresh, but I can’t resist listing some fall faves, not to mention having an excuse to use this fun image in homage to the first line of “Hotel California.” Thanks, Dr. Tanya, for the prompt.
1. While I adore the summer sun and warmth, I am much more productive when there’s less daylight. Why? I dunno. I’ve already started working on another half-finished book that’s been languishing on Google Drive. This makes me happy!
2. Pumpkin everything. Bring it on, haters! Er, not the oatmeal… that was disgusting. But pumpkin spiced coffee, cookies, cupcakes, and pie? Hell yeah!
I zipped down to Sprinkles in Corona Del Mar this weekend.
I’ve been so good, working out and eating healthy, but sometimes you just have to give in to temptation. As one of my favorite philosophers says…
The Lord above made [cupcakes] for temptation–but With a little bit of luck, With a little bit of luck, When temptation comes you’ll give right in! –Alfred Doolittle, My Fair Lady
The bacon-maple was delicious (note the cute little pink piggy on top!), but honestly a tad disappointing. I would have vastly preferred if bacon had not been baked into the cupcake itself. The vanilla cake was delish as usual, and maybe would have been OK with tiny pieces of bacon mixed in, but not these giant hunks. The maple frosting was excellent and its super-sweetness very nicely complemented with salty bacon bits, but overall? I’m glad I tried it, but I wouldn’t want it again.
Moving on to the triple cinnamon… this was possibly the best cupcake I’ve had from Sprinkles. As my fans know, the coconut and strawberry are way up there as faves, but this C3 was incredibly nom. There was nothing about it that strayed from total perfection. Spiced buttermilk cake = 10. Cinnamon cream cheese frosting = 10. And the special touch of cinnamon dust = 10. Simply heavenly.
Something possessed me (you-know-who, obv) to check the Sprinkles site Friday and what did I find but limited edition KEY LIME and HAZELNUT cupcakes soon to be gone forever! Gluttony I mean curiosity won out over sloth and I traipsed on over to the cupcakery.
KEY LIME. I had this one last night. If anyone remembers my famous cupcake chart from my old blog, this would be right up there with Sprinkles coconut, which was at the tippy-top. Yes, it was that good. There’s just something so perfectly wonderful about the tang of citrus when combined with the richness of butterfat. I’m sorry to tell you this so late in the game, on the last possible day for you to get one, too, assuming the shop is even open today at all. But seriously you should try, om nom nom!
VANILLA HAZELNUT. This is code for Nutella, people. Do I have to say more? Luckily these are available until September 11th. Incredibly nom, but I wouldn’t say they’re equal to Sprinkles coconut or key lime. They’re up there though. It’s always a treat to have Sprinkles vanilla cake (never “just” vanilla, but heavenly), and the frosting is exactly as you’d expect, except better.
I was thinking to bring back my cupcake chart to torment y’all with, but I’m just too considerate. Besides when I look at it, I can’t even remember eating some of the things on there (Crumbs?), so perhaps it’s not a great idea anyway.
P.S. I still would not give Sprinkles cupcakes a perfect 10, even though they come closest of any I’ve had. Why? Because of the garnish. It’s too hard and it wrecks the integrity of the last bite of frosting. But even if you don’t eat the center bite last, you’ll have to either crunch on the trademark circle thingie at some point or take it off. I’d make it softer. This should be possible. We put a man on the moon and there’s Scrabble on my phone.
Jim’s Song Lyric Sunday theme this week is phoniness and hypocrisy. The best song to illustrate this is, of course, Bob Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street,” but I have a feeling someone else (whose name rhymes with Bandango) will choose it. So I went with this oldie about a guy who puts on a show of being all healthy and stuff in front of others while secretly nomming up Pringles and Ding Dongs. Yep, it’s Larry Groce and his 1976 one-hit wonder “Junk Food Junkie!” I don’t know about you, but I heard this song many times on one of my favorite radio shows “Dr. Demento,” though it received regular airplay as well and actually hit No. 9 for one week on Billboard’s Hot 100. Larry has been active in the music biz ever since, recording classic children’s songs for Disney and hosting his own radio show on NPR since 1983 (he is 73 years old).
The song is a playful mockery of the health food craze of the 1970s and each line is analyzed here, if you are inclined to do a deep dive into the meaning of the lyrics. Nothing much has changed in 45 years — there are all sorts of new food fads (keto, paleo, fermented foods, probiotics, microgreens, etc.) and yet Twinkies and Fritos still prevail. No one cares too much about sun dried tomatoes or granola these days as we did back when they were trendy, but the Big Mac is available most everywhere. We’ll always need our yummy comfort foods, won’t we? Well, some of us anyway…
Oh yeah, in the daytime I’m Mr. Natural Just as healthy as I can be But at night I’m a junk food junkie Good Lord have pity on me
I was disappointed in Casey’s Cupcakes at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. Such a gorgeous store, with delicious-looking treats, but my strawberry cupcake was tasteless.
However! We were wandering around Fashion Island on Memorial Day as you do and my friend said, hey we should have a cupcake. People seem to have sudden cupcake cravings in my presence; it’s strange but I accept it, in the way we deal with the spontaneous combustion of rock and roll drummers. I was a bit leery, recalling the strawberry bomb, but willing to give Casey’s a second chance ~ I don’t always give them to people, but we’re talking about dessert here.
Now onto me. I wanted the coconut ~ in fact, I ordered the coconut. But I changed my mind at the last second, as I’m wont to do. Why? Because I’m superficial and shallow and could not resist getting this Beach Boy cupcake because omg PRETTY COLORS! I put it at the top to entice peeps to read my post.
Is that not THE most gorgeousest cupcake ever in your life? I was prepared for it to be boring and tasteless though ~ NOPE! It was scrumptious! The cake was moist and super-vanilla. The frosting was incredibly perfect buttercream. And then I was all proud of myself for choosing a vanilla/vanilla because that’s really the best test for a cupcakery, how well they can do vanilla. If they can’t get the basics right, they’re not gonna be able to do anything more elaborate. It’s all just cover-up. Know what I’m saying? Of course you do.
So I don’t know what the deal is with Casey’s ~ possibly the strawberry was just an outlier, because these two were utter perfection. But I definitely recommend Casey’s Cupcakes at Fashion Island. Noms!
I thought I would give Frostings a second try. The first time, I thought they were just slightly above average. I tried them again this week, and this time, I liked them much better. Perhaps they were fresher this time. Perhaps I was in more of a cupcake-eating mood. I think it was a combination of the two.
First, the presentation. Nice little box, just the right size for two cupcakes. Good start.
The cupcakes themselves were also very pleasing to the eyes, with the little candy flower “pastie” decoration on top lending a nice, subliminally sensual touch.
I shared these cupcakes with my daughter. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of them outside of the box. I went to get a knife to cut them in half, but before I returned, she had already taken a bite out of the chocolate one. So, I will include the stock photos from the Frostings web site, which are a decent depiction of what my cupcakes actually looked like. (Mine actually looked a little better than the stock photos.)
Now onto the taste of the cupcakes themselves. I started with the red velvet cupcake. First of all, the frosting was amazing. Probably the best frosting I ever had. It had the distinctive red velvet cream cheese taste, without being a bit sour. It was light, but not too light. It was also sweet, but not too sweet. As for the cake, just the right amount of light and moist. I really enjoyed this cupcake.
The second one was called “Chocolate Ganache”. I had high expectations for this one, since a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and a vanilla cream center is my favorite type of cupcake, having grown up on Hostess chocolate cupcakes. It didn’t disappoint, although I have to admit that I probably devoured it a little too quickly to fully experience the finer points of the vanilla and chocolate flavors. I did notice that the frosting was not as light as the red velvet frosting, which is what I would expect and want in a chocolate frosting. It went down yummy.
Chocolate Ganache Frosting: A+ Cake: A Filling: A Overall: A
The cupcakes were standard size and 3.50 each. I would have preferred a smaller cupcake.
Both the red velvet and the night and day had the same white frosting, which was fresh and delicious and not too sweet. Both cupcakes had slightly dry cake, and it was starting to get a little crusty on the outside. The red velvet was the tastier of the two; the chocolate was not chocolatey enough.
Frosting: A Red velvet cake: B Chocolate cake: C Overall: B
Image is mine, but it does not depict a Frostings cupcake.
Thanks, Melanie, for another episode of Share Your World. Here are my replies below…
Restrictions are being lifted all over the world. Do you feel it’s safe to go out and mingle in crowds in light of the Pandemic?
“Safe” is a relative term. I’ve been fully vaxed, so I feel OK about going to stores and such without feeling paranoid, but I still wear a mask (I briefly stopped, but numbers are going up again, so I resumed). I feel OK about outside activities, such as eating outdoors with friends, going to outdoor concerts, etc. It seems that most breakthrough cases are from being indoors with a contagious person for a prolonged time, and people are contagious before they show symptoms. There’s no guarantee I won’t catch Covid despite precautions ~ one of my friends is fully vaxed, has been careful, and he caught it from his daughter (also fully vaxed). They didn’t get super sick though, so hopefully I won’t either if I end up with the thing. It’s possible we all may catch it eventually, vaxed or not, but the odds are we will get a much lighter illness if we’ve had the shots. I’d rather NOT get it though, so I am still being careful, which isn’t that hard. Sure, I don’t like masks, but whatever. It also seems that if we all pitch in to keep Covid from multiplying unnecessarily, it may quit mutating, but sadly that’s not going to happen due to a giant pile of stubborn idiots. I don’t understand people who care so little for their own health and that of others that they will defy common sense and refuse to get vaxed and also refuse to wear masks. I feel like they are acting like 5 year old children stomping their feet and declaring they won’t brush their teeth because nyah you’re not the boss of me! I have no respect for them whatsoever.
What are some things that are okay to do occasionally, but definitely not okay to do every day?
Eat junk food, such as cupcakes, candy, fries, etc.
Would you relocate for love (romantic or otherwise)?
Not for romantic love. I suppose it is possible I would totally rearrange my life if one of my daughters needed me to be around in person full-time.
Do you believe in any conspiracy theories (no judgment)?
I guess it depends how you define your terms. Do I believe that government officials (of any/all parties) lie to us, always have, and probably always will? Yep. It’s the nature of the beast. Do I believe that the earth is flat, that we didn’t go to the moon, that Hillary steals children from pizza parlors, etc.? Uh no. LOL
Please share something sweet (take that as you want).
Image credits to Melanie (world) and me (cupcake).
This post is actually about cupcakes, one to be exact. I went to Fashion Island Tuesday night, thinking I’d get some shoes. Hah. No luck. But serendipity struck and I found a Casey’s Cupcakes! So exciting ~ the store was all pink and sported awesomely cool accessories, like bath thingies, tee shirts, pens, and… stuff. The cupcakes themselves were extremely prettiful, though on the short and squat side. The flavors were rather standard and not super-tempting (these days I go for something a little bit different), so I chose strawberry.
Soooo disappointing! The cake actually had a great texture, which is the best thing I can say about the entire experience. It was light and springy, never oily or heavy (a frequent problem with gourmet cupcakes). But it had no flavor, zip. I don’t know if it was supposed to be vanilla, or what. It was just… air-flavored. The frosting was awful. It had a sticky thick texture, reminiscent of Crisco, I kid you not, and only the slightest hint of strawberriness. I’ve had strawberry from Sprinkles, which was bursting with flavor, so I know it can be done right. Even grocery store cupcakes are tastier than this. It’s like all the effort was put into the packaging, sad.
Honestly the chocolate candy deco-disk was the most flavorful part of the whole thing. It’s too bad that this gorgeous cupcake was so tasteless, but we move on. That’s all we can do.
This image was my first post on this blog: March 24, 2011. I titled it “RV in Natural Habitat” or something like that. My coworker had bought us some treats from a food truck and I had to snap a pic before nomming. It was so good! Red velvet is one of my favorite flavors, especially when topped with a luscious swirl of cream cheese frosting. I don’t think I’ve had the occasion to repost this image, so I’m doing it now. When I refreshed my blog last April, I deleted hundreds of images (I had a lot of duplicates because WP doesn’t make it easy to search for things in your media library and it’s sometimes easier just to re-upload them), but all the cupcakes were saved. I’m not going to toss out cupcake photos!
Anyway, this is a review post, but I got tired of posting the same image with my reviews. This is why I’ll never be a rich and famous blogger. I keep wanting to shake things up, but success requires discipline, consistency, and reliability. Or something like that. Now everyone will be all confused by this cupcake image on a review post. Sorry. Remember that my reviews may contain spoilers, so read on at your own risk.
1. The Boyfriend by Daniel Hurst. This 2021 mystery novel was OK. I mean, I liked it and read it straight through, but there was nothing great about it. I disliked the protagonist Adele because she was such a drunken ninny. I wasn’t rooting for her fiancé either, since he was a big boring scold. So I didn’t really care what happened to them, but the mystery of who was murdering Adele’s exes was a solidly entertaining plot. One thing I enjoyed was the British writing style and I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s crisper, I guess. There seems to be a ton of novels from British writers available in the Kindle Unlimited program. Or should I say programme? Ooh, my spellcheck does not like that.
2. Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman. This 2009 novel was recommended to me because I read Lippman’s Sunburn and enjoyed it. I didn’t like BB as much as Sunburn. I found the protag Tess smart, funny, and likeable overall, but I just wasn’t that interested in the murder mystery or Tess’s angsting over her career. I’m not necessarily opposed to angst in general, but it simply didn’t grab me here. A review on Amazon called the side characters “cartoons” and that’s pretty accurate, especially regarding Aunt Kitty. But it wasn’t a bad book, and the descriptions of Baltimore were interesting. I would have liked it more if I’d read it first.
3. Footloose, 2011 remake. I know, I know, we all love the 1984 Footloose because of Kevin Bacon. No question that Bacon was incredible as Ren in the original musical. However! There are many things I prefer about the remake. First, the movie begins with the tragedy, which has a greater impact than finding out about it later. We get the immediate visceral punch of those 5 kids being killed in front of our face. This is important because it shows why the town’s parents are motivated to pass a series of draconian laws to try to protect the rest of the kids. Second, the story of Ren’s mom dying of leukemia is a more believable way for Ren to end up in Bomont with his uncle’s family than the original idea of Ren’s mom inexplicably deciding to move there. Third, Julianne Hough was a zillion times better as Ariel than Lori Singer. Fourth, Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell played Ariel’s parents with more depth than John Lithgow and that horribly annoying Dianne Wiest. Fourth, while no one can replace Bacon, Kenny Wormald does a fine job as Ren. Fifth, and most importantly, the remake contains zero Sara Jessica Parker.
OK, that’s it for now. I’ll have more reviews soon because I am constantly reading books and watching movies. I love writing blog posts, but I’m not so much into working on my “real” writing at the moment. I don’t even know why I call it “real” writing since my fiction and poetry right here have a much larger audience than the stuff I put up on Amazon, which is basically ignored by the entire world. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve lost interest in posting poetry on Twitter because that too is ignored even though I’ve put a fair effort into liking and retweeting other poets. Last year, during the lockdown lonelies, I returned to Facebook, but it’s been a huge disappointment. Well, of course! It hasn’t changed (except maybe for the worse), but I have. I can’t bear all the hostility and anger there. People are just looking for fights on the daily even when you freaking AGREE with them. No one is interested in WRITING, not even the so-called writers; they all just want to spout their opinions about current events, as if their words are somehow unique or will make a difference.
I am upset about it. I’ve lost friends, old and new, because I couldn’t bear the way they treated others or “trolled” for fun. Other people I can barely stand and have muted them so as not to see their nasty words. I’m reduced to making posts about songs and cats to avoid hosting ugly arguments and probably will stop interacting completely. FB’s only real usefulness is for coordinating events, if that ~ it appears we’re heading back toward doing nothing in person again, sadly. I was right to delete FB from my life for 2 years and shouldn’t have gone back. My daughters (along with many of you) are smarter and though they have FB accounts, they rarely say a word or interact with anyone. That is clearly the way to go.
Hopefully, my day will get better from here. Thank you all for making this blog community a nice place.