Cactus Cupcakes in Terra Cotta Pots

I had so much fun creating these adorable cupcakes! I used a fun new product that I just love! I replaced the milk and vanilla in my vanilla cake recipe with Natural Bliss Honey Vanilla Nestlé® Coffee-mate® Creamer. It's my new favorite "secret" ingredient. Learn more about their new Spring lineup, here.

These cupcakes were so fun to make. 


(Adapted from a recipe found here on Food Network)


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk + 1/2 cup Natural Bliss Honey Pecan Nestlé® Coffee-mate® Creamer
  • 20-24 mini terra cotta pots (or you can make several in pots, then make the rest in traditional cupcake liners).



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare your mini terra cotta pots by rinsing them with water, wiping them dry, then wiping with a paper towel sprayed with non-stick spray or butter. Feel free to add flour to the insides of the pots too. If your pots have holes in the bottoms, feel free to line them with mini muffin liners.

2. Whisk 3 cups flour, the baking powder and salt in a bowl until combined. Beat 2 sticks butter and the sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium; beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. (The mixture may look separated at this point.) Beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the creamer and milk, beginning and ending with flour, until just smooth.

3. Divide the batter between the prepared pots - ONLY FILL HALF WAY WITH BATTER or your project will be ruined! Bake the terra cotta on a baking tray for 14-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely then get ready to decorate.

4. Pipe a swirl of chocolate frosting with a round icing tip, then add crushed up chocolate sandwich cookies on top to resemble "dirt". To make the cactus cupcake toppers, I simply found some 3D cactus stickers at the craft store, and stuck them onto toothpicks. 

These would be so adorable for a garden party, birthday party, baby or wedding shower, and even Cinco de Mayo! You'll love them, and make everyone smile who gets to enjoy them. 

Recipe Notes - If you do not want to bake the cupcakes directly into the pots, feel free to bake the cupcakes in traditional cupcake liners, then place them down into the terra cotta 

Learn more about Natural Bliss Honey Pecan Nestlé® Coffee-mate® Creamer here.

That taste of pecan comes through so well, and I would recommend using this product anywhere milk or flavoring would be used. I had the pleasure of making some DELICIOUS Honey Butter Pecan Swirl Cookies recently and they were a big hit! See the link below.

Free Your Pores With Charcoal From Bioré

Since spring and summer are fast approaching, and there are just more reasons to get out and do fun things, it's a great time to transition that dull winter skin into glowing, clear, clean skin for Spring, Summer, and beyond! 

Throughout this post, I had the chance to get to know a few new charcoal-infused facial products from Bioré. I am always looking for more natural ways to incorporate more spa like treatments to my skincare regimen when I can. 

Keep reading to learn what I thought after using both products - I guarantee these are a great item to incorporate into the getting Summer Selfie Ready!!! Have you ever used either of these products?

The Bioré One Minute Self Heating Mask



Before using, please read cautions and usage instructions. For best results, use on clean face.

1. WET FACE. Leave face wet – the Bioré® Self Heating One Minute Mask is activated by water.

2. APPLY MASK. Dry hands, open single-use packette, dispense contents into hand and apply mask to face. You may add a little water to your fingers to help spread the mask and activate warming.

3. MASSAGE for about 1 minute. As you massage, the mask will heat up. For more heating action or for your preferred consistency, massage in a little water. The mask does not dry/harden.

4. RINSE. After one minute has passed, thoroughly rinse with water to remove the mask.


Heats on contact with water to open pores and draw out pore-clogging dirt and oil, then cools leaving skin tingly smooth and refreshed.

The Bioré One Minute Self Heating Mask
product review

This product seriously heats up right away! Just as I squeezed the mask into my hands, it started warming up in just a few seconds. It was thick, almost like the consistency of moistened baking soda. It was slightly thicker than any other face mask I have ever used, but the neat thing is that it is fun giving yourself a heated facial massage. I made sure to do this before a shower and it rinsed clean within a couple of minutes. I thought it would be sort of hard to rinse this completely off with just the water at the sink. 

My face felt dry in a good way afterwards, making certain stubborn blackheads actually release easier than without the help of the mask. Win! I love this product and I will likely use it every few days, and since it heated up, it was nice because I am ALWAYS cold, so this did help with that too.

Next up... 


Bioré Deep Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strips


1. Wet nose

2. Peel strip off plastic & apply to nose smooth side down

3. Wait 10-15 min

4. Peel off strip starting at edges

5. Check out all the dirt & oil…if you're into that sort of thing

"Remove weeks (yes- weeks!) worth of pore gunk with just one strip. With natural charcoal, pore strips suck out deep-down dirt, oil and blackheads, leaving skin feeling fresh, clean and 3x less oily. These Biore With Natural Charcoal, known for its ability to draw out and trap deep-down impurities". 

product reviews

They are a bit different than the original pore strips that I remember using in high school and really up until this point. The charcoal version is a bit thicker and so I think they do have more blackhead extracting power! I feel the pore strips actually putting some pressure on my skin as they dry, which makes me think they are sticking really well. 

Once I removed the pore strip, The pore strip came off of my nose way easier than the white colored strips, which I liked a lot better. I did have a bit of charcoal residue around my nose, but I just used a bit of water and rubbed in that awesome charcoal onto the skin around my nose. I thought that was actually nice being able to have even a bit of a deep cleansing step after the strip!

Since the strips are black, it is a bit harder to see the blackheads on them. I used a little magnified mirror that I had, and could see tons of little bits of dirt that the strip had removed. I think the strips are overall better at removing smaller dirt that can turn very quickly into something worse, so it's always nice to use these strips at the preventative stage. 

I am excited to give some of these to my friends and see what they think too! 

Once I pulled the pore strips off of my nose, I of course immediately checked for blackheads on the little pore strip. It's so gratifying to see all that dirt that had NO business being stuck on my nose :)

Honey Butter Pecan Swirl Cookies Recipe

#FlavorYourSpring with Nestlé® Coffee-mate® Creamers, and you'll be so happy with your Springtime creations! Imagine the all natural flavors of vanilla and pecan, with a touch of sweetness is added with honey.

These cookies taste like real pecans, and they're so light, crunchy, and delicious. They're in fact, very addictive too! You're going to love them! I loved how easy it was to infuse these cookies with pecan flavor thanks to the Natural Bliss Honey Pecan Creamer, without having to add pecan flour or chopped pecans. 


·       2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 cup/8 ounces)

·        1 cup confectioner's sugar (4 ounces by weight)

·        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·        2 cups all-purpose flour (10 ounces by weight)

·        1/4 teaspoon salt

·        2 tbsp Nestle Coffee Mate Natural Bliss Coffee Creamer in Pecan


·       1 cup confectioners sugar

·       2 tbsp + 2 tsp Nestle Coffee Mate Natural Bliss Coffee Creamer in Pecan

·       sprinkles + large star shaped icing tip


1.     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.     Place the butter, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla in a large bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until it looks combined, light, and fluffy. Add the flour and salt, and mix until it’s crumbly and looks like it can’t be mixed more. Add the creamer, then keep mixing, and the dough should clump together after about 1 minute of mixing.

3.     Place the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a very large star tip, and pipe onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Depending upon the size of your star shaped pastry tip, this will determine whether you can have 12 or 18 cookies per sheet. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.

4.    Let the cookies cool completely, and feel free to make yourself some icing with the confectioners sugar and creamer. I preferred to make my icing more of a glaze, so it's pretty thin, to allow the beauty of the shape of the cookie show through. 

Use Spring or Easter colored sprinkles and candies to decorate your cookies if you like, and enjoy!

Learn more about all the Nestle Spring Lineup of Easter candies, new coffee creamers, and more, here!

Top Travel Snack Ideas for Road Trips with Nonni’s!

A special thanks to Nonni's Artisan Cookies for sponsoring this post.

Spring and Summer are popular times to travel, and if you’re hitting the open road this season, here are a few of our favorite Top Travel Snacks for Road Trips, and how to pack those snacks like a champ. Bringing a variety of deliciously convenient and interesting foods can make a road trip run more smoothly to avoid frequent stops for fast food.

Nonni’s new Chocolate Chip Artisan Thin Cookies are going to be the star of our next road trip, and since the cookies come in individual portion packs of three cookies each, they make amazing road trip snacks. I like the convenience of the packs, and wow, the brand isn’t kidding when they talk about how addictive their new Double Chocolate and Almond Chocolate Artisan Thin Cookies can be. They are superbly crunchy, have a wonderful taste and aroma, and are going to make this year’s travels a whole lot sweeter!

Road Trip

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, or even new to my blog, you will see that we are incredibly inspired by travel. My boyfriend and I have been together nearly 13 years, and we absolutely love to travel to places all over the country together – especially by car!

We road trip for many reasons, first and foremost, so that we can take our dogs, and also because we love the freedom to pack whatever we want in the car with us. Having everything with us always makes traveling easier and we love stopping off at a picnic area or rest area to have a snack or lunch al fresco. The below make great options for that break when you’re on-the-go!


Almond Chocolate (

Double Chocolate (


Nonni’s Chocolate Chip Artisan Thin Cookies

These cookies taste delicious and they satisfy my sweet tooth while I’m on the road. They’re unique because they’re made with real ingredients like 55% cacao, whole almonds (in some varieties), and coconut oil. Each box contains six convenient portion packs of three cookies that average 100 calories each.

The individual cookie packs also ensure freshness, compared to opening a whole box or bag of cookies that might go stale that same day.

Pita Chips and Hummus

This is one healthy snack that I find to be easy to eat in the car, and is way more satisfying than stopping through a drive through!

Veggies and Ranch Dip

Use half pint mason jars to contain ranch dressing or ranch dip in one, then, add vegetables like chopped broccoli, rainbow carrots, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, and more in other jars.

It’s always fun to have a few assorted candies, in their individual jars. This will also severely reduce the need to make a candy run at the gas station. Also, chocolate tends to melt in the car, no matter if it’s winter or summer in our experience. Choose candies that are more fruity like gummies or jelly beans.

Almonds or Mixed Nuts

The satisfying crunch of almonds or mixed nuts can be very perfect for a road trip! I love how the Nonni’s cookies have almonds and chocolate chips in them. Oh my, they’re good!

The great part of using glass jars for snacks is that they hardly ever leak  and keep ingredients fresh. We store them in our cooler and the jars are great to have a picnic on the road, or enjoy once you get to your hotel or destination

If you’re heading anywhere fun this year, please let me know in the comments below! I also love to live vicariously through other people’s travel photos, and I hope you all have something super fun planned this year!

If you loved this post, PIN IT FOR LATER...

Top Road Trip Snacks!

5 Ingredient Super Moist Pistachio 7UP Layer Cake with Pistachio Frosting Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #JustAdd7UP

Looking to create a delicious pistachio themed dessert for St. Patrick’s Day and beyond? I have a fun and unique idea for you that looks super elegant but only took a little bit of time to create. This would also make an excellent cake for a birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, other holiday, or just because! In fact, I will be making another one tomorrow evening for a friend’s birthday and she is SO excited!!

I was honored when 7UP asked me to create something special for a holiday that means everything to me. My late grandmother, Pat, was born on St. Patrick’s Day and was one of my very favorite people in the whole wide world. She taught me lots of her recipes and I use several of them quite regularly, and I think of her all the time. She instilled such amazing values on me, and I love her so very much! So, with her in mind, and the luck of the Irish on my side, I present you with this Super Moist Pistachio 7UP Layer Cake with Pistachio Frosting. It’s quite possibly the MOST delicious creation on Earth!


It’s really quite impressive that the base of this cake contains only 5 ingredients, one of them being a can of 7UP. This versatile ingredient adds a lot of moisture to the cake, and with the homemade frosting on top, the two flavors mesh together just perfectly.


If you like pistachio, then you are going to LOVE this delicious and easy-to-create cake! It turned out very elegantly too, which I was very happy with! I didn’t use any super special decorating tools, which made things even easier.


Luckily, I was able to grab all of my supplies at Walmart (I always love when life is easy!)



Serving Size: 8-10, Prep Time: 25 Minutes, Total Time: 1 hour 25 Minutes

1 can 7UP®

1 box of vanilla cake mix

1 (3.4 oz) box of pistachio pudding mix

3 eggs

1 cup Vegetable Oil

5DA_4927 Katherine.jpg


1 (3.4 oz) box of pistachio pudding mix

8 oz softened cream cheese

½ cup softened butter (1 stick)

5 Tbsp milk

5-5 ½ cups powdered confectioners sugar

1 Tbsp vanilla or almond extract




  1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9” round pans with non-stick spray and add a circle of waxed paper or parchment paper to the bottom of each pan. Spray the paper circle, then add a little bit of flour to your pans. Use your fingers to help move the flour around and coat the pans, and knock out any excess flour.

  2. In a large bowl, combine all cake ingredients and mix on medium to high speed for 4 minutes. Scrape sides of mixing bowl at 2 minutes.

3. Using a measuring cup, add half of the batter to each cake round. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cake springs back when you press onto it.

4. While the cake is baking, make your icing. In a large mixing bowl, first add pudding mix, then butter, cream cheese, and vanilla or almond extract. Beat with a mixer until smooth.

5. Now, to finish your icing, add powdered confectioner one cup at a time, first folding it in with a spoon, then mixing with your mixer so sugar doesn’t fly everywhere. Lastly, add 4-5 Tbsp of milk to begin to thin your icing. Once it’s at your desired consistency, set aside.

6. Once cakes have completely cooled, remove them from the round pans, remove the paper off of the cakes, and add feel free to even out the tops of the layers very carefully with a sharp knife.

7. Add icing to one layer of the cake, smooth into an even layer, then add the second cake round on top. Lastly, cover the top and sides of the cake with a smooth layer of icing with a silicone spatula. Lastly, feel free to use an icing tip or icing in a zip top bag with the corner cut off to draw more designs and textures to the top of the cake. Finish the cake with pistachio pieces around the sides and sprinkled on top! Enjoy!


If you are lucky enough to create this recipe, I would absolutely LOVE to see what you make! Tag me on Instagram as @happysolez, or share the link in the comments below to let me know how it turned out. And, if you have any questions, leave them below too.

5 Ingredient Super Moist Pistachio 7UP Layer Cake with Pistachio Frosting Recipe
5 Ingredient Super Moist Pistachio 7UP Layer Cake with Pistachio Frosting Recipe
5 Ingredient Super Moist Pistachio 7UP Layer Cake with Pistachio Frosting Recipe
5 Ingredient Super Moist Pistachio 7UP Layer Cake with Pistachio Frosting Recipe
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5 Ingredient Super Moist Pistachio Cake

Beer Cheese Potato Soup Recipe

Thank you Potatoes USA for sponsoring this post. Make a delicious and convenient meal for your family tonight with potatoes!

A delicious beer cheese and potato forward soup that is sure to please just about anyone! The taste of the dark, robust stout really shines through while the potatoes add an element of creaminess that makes it hard to not go up for seconds! I always thought that creamy soups had to be cream-based and I was completely wrong! This potato soup only contains a very small volume of cream, and the rest is made creamy with pureed potatoes! 

Find the printable recipe at the very bottom of this post. 

Beer Cheese Potato Soup

Ultimate Potato Cheese Soup Recipe (Serves 8+)

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes // Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Cuisine: American



  • 8 cups chopped russet or baking potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped or grated carrot
  • 1 cup chopped or grated white onion
  • 3 ounces chopped lean ham, cubed
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup beer
  • 3 ouncesgrated cheddar cheese
  • 3 ounces grated gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat milk
Beer Cheese Potato Soup Recipe
Beer Cheese Potato Soup Recipe

Potatoes are a culinary canvas with limitless possibilities!

Beer Cheese Potato Soup Recipe

Note - we chose an Imperial Stout, pictured below, and it was delicious! If you wanted to tone down the taste of the beer, then use a dark beer like a Porter that is under 5% ABV.

Another note - if you want your soup to me way more yellow, then choose a yellow cheese like cheddar and even colby jack. 

Beer Cheese Potato Soup Recipe
Beer Cheese Potato Soup Recipe


  1. In large pot, heat butter over medium until bubbly.
  2. Add carrot, onion and ham. Saute 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add potatoes and chicken stock, stir to combine. Simmer for 20 minutes, covered.
  4. Put about half the soup in a blender and process until smooth. Add back to pot.
  5. Add beer, cheese and milk. Stir to combine.

Additional Info

Blending only half of the soup smooth gives it a great texture. If you’d like to make this soup vegetarian, simply skip the ham and use vegetable stock instead of chicken – it will still be rich and delicious!

Beer Cheese Potato Soup Recipe
Beer Cheese Potato Soup Recipe

I really hope you enjoy this recipe! If you use more of an Irish Stout, then you could utilize the St. Patrick's Day theme even more! 

Check out the Potato Goodness Facebook page here, and the Potatoes USA website here.


Delicious Beer Cheese Potato Soup

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Easy Rustic Fruit Pizza Recipe (Fresh Raspberries and Almond Cream Cheese Icing)

With Spring right around the corner, it's fun to create dishes with fresh fruits! This rustic and simple Fruit Pizza is delicious. The crispy, crunchy sweet crust reminds me of churros, and this homemade almond frosting is divine topped with fresh, tart raspberries!

Easy Rustic Fruit Pizza Recipe


1 - 7.8 oz. package of Wewalka Bistro Pizza Crust (I used rectangular but round would work too)

1-2 Tbsp melted butter + brush or silicone spatula to spread onto crust

1/2 - 1 tsp cinnamon

2-3 Tsp sugar


1/3 C. Cream Cheese (at room temperature)

3-4 Tbsp powdered confectioners 

1/2 tsp almond extract 

1-2 6 oz. containers of fresh raspberries

Rustic Fruit Pizza Recipe


1.) Preheat oven to 400* F and roll out your pizza dough onto a floured surface. This is optional, but it really makes the crust look great. 

2.) Apply melted butter to your unbaked crust with a brush or silicone spatula, then sprinkle on your sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 12-14 minutes until crust is crispy and lightly browned. 

Easy Rustic Fruit Pizza Recipe
Easy Rustic Fruit Pizza Recipe

3.) During the baking process, create your frosting. simply beat the mixture of softened cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, and almond extract until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if you want a thicker frosting. 

Easy Rustic Fruit Pizza Recipe (Delicious Almond Cream Cheese Frosting)
Easy Rustic Fruit Pizza Recipe

4.) Lastly, apply your frosting, then top with 1-2 containers of fresh raspberries. I spaced them out a little bit, and found the most attractive side of each berry to place upward. 

Rustic Fruit Pizza
Rustic Fruit Pizza Recipe
Rustic Fruit Pizza Recipe
Rustic Fruit Pizza Recipe
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Rustic Fruit Pizza Recipe

3-2-1 Frozen Margarita Recipe

We have been making so much vegetarian food lately, and the majority of it has been Mexican food. So since we had a few limes in the fridge, we invited our friend Chris over to create his favorite cocktail for us. He styled it really well and it tasted awesome. I loved the lighter flavor, and this recipe is amazing because it will give you a substitution for traditional margarita mix that is so high in acid and calories that I avoid it all together! 

Here is a delicious and traditional 3-2-1 Margarita, which I hope you enjoy! When you read through the ingredients, you will see that it's 3 parts tequila to 2 parts triple sec, to 1 part lime juice. Because this is a higher gravity margarita than if you were using a store bought mixer, it's best blended with ice to tone it down a bit (but that's totally up to you!).

3-2-1 Margarita Recipe

Ingredients (serves 1, or serves a pitcher if scaled up)

  • 3 parts tequila (6 ounces for example)
  • 2 parts orange liqueur triple sec, Grand Marnier or Cointreau (4 ounces for example)
  • 1 part fresh lime juice (2 ounces for example)
  • Simple syrup or agave nectar to taste (4 Tablespoons)
  • Kosher salt for rims of glasses
  • Fresh lime slices (keep as circular slice) for garnish
  • Optional: zest of lime, and cilantro for final garnish
  • ice: add 3-4 cups, optional


  • In your blender, add ice, tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and agave nectar. Blend thoroughly until all ice pieces are fully blended. 

  • Use spent lime to apply lime juice around rim of glass. Dip into bowl full of salt to apply to rim.

  • Fill glasses with 3-2-1 Margarita. Use a spoon to help serve from blender.

  • Garnish with lime slice and optional cilantro and enjoy! 

3-2-1 Margarita Recipe

Parmesan Garlic Knots Recipe - Easy and Delicious

These deliciously easy and impressive parmesan Garlic Knots are sure to please just about anyone! I used only a few ingredients to create these high end appetizers, perfect for so many occasions!

Delicious and Easy Parmesan Garlic Knots

Prep Time 5 minutes // Cook Time 20 minutes // Total Time 25 minutes // Servings 12


1 11 ounce can breadsticks found in the refrigerated section

5 tablespoons butter melted

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley can also use 1 teaspoon dried parsley

3 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese

cooking spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray.

  2. Open the can and place it onto a floured cutting board. Use a rolling pin to even out the dough, and use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 12 even slices. Tie each breadstick into a knot shape, tucking the ends underneath each roll. This techniques makes the knots look way better!

  3. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic powder, oregano, and parsley. Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter mixture for later use.

  4. Brush the remaining butter mixture over the rolls. Then, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Optionally, brush with reserved butter mixture, then serve. I did not do the second butter part, which did reduce the mess. 

Recipe Notes

1. You can use biscuit dough instead of breadstick dough if you prefer.
2. If you're a big garlic fan, you can increase the amount of garlic powder to 3/4 teaspoon or substitute 1 teaspoon of fresh minced garlic.
3. I like to serve my garlic knots with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

Adapted from this post, from Dinner At The Zoo, found here.

Garlic Parmesan Knots Recipe
Easy and Delicious Parmesan Garlic Knots

What To Do As A Blogger During Down Time

If you're anything like me, you may have noticed a bit of a dip in opportunities and campaigns around the first quarter of the year. Remember, we all have those time when it seems like we will never be accepted to any campaigns ever again. Well, remember all the times last year when you felt the same exact way? It’s just the ebb and flow of being an independent contractor, and having to follow along with brands’ timelines, budgets and marketing schedules.


The good news is that Spring is nearly upon us, and no matter what topic(s) you blog about, most every brand and company does advertise a lot for Spring. It's a time that makes most people happy and it will be here before we know it. Until then, I have a few ideas of what to do to keep your spirits up and your workflow productive during Jan, Feb, and March. As I look back at my archive of projects from 2017, it looks like April was a very busy month for me, then July, September, October, and lastly, December. This means, once the end of March and April are here, you might want to be prepared before hand!


Travel or take “Photography field trips” to gain photos and inspirations for upcoming non sponsored posts.

Keep applying for more projects. While it can definitely feel hopeless to be applying for projects while you’re not actually being accepted to any, it may just take 1-2 months to even hear back about these jobs. So, here’s to planning for the future! 

Take time to organize technology, clear off old pics on phone, delete masses of junk emails, unsubscribe from emails,  

Breathe! Take time to spend more hours with those around you, they’ll love not seeing your face in a phone or computer screen.


Learn a new skill, whether it’s a quick process or something more complex, learn a new skill to improve your brand or yourself! Readers are attracted to talented and u inquest people, so this could help increase traffic in the long run.


Try something different! If you’re always shooting or creating posts in very similar ways for your branded content, then see how many ways you can branch out in aesthetic and work flow on a few non sponsored posts.

Look into new Influencer marketing agencies. They’re piping up nearly every day, so begin to com through other bloggers’ posts to see their disclosure notices and blog sidebars to see who they’re representing.

Reach out to past brand representative with a little thank you note! Especially during slower times, people have more time to actually read a sentiment and process it better, thus hopefully keeping you in mind for future projects down the line.

Shoot stock images for your upcoming posts or social promotions. 


Refresh and organize your blog. Look to make sure that if you had any missing or incorrect links that you update them. 

Create gift guides and roundup posts of your favorite Spring items, early summer ideas, and more. What activities do yo enjoy doing more in the Spring and Summer that you'd love to share with the world? You're an expert on lots of things you do in your daily life, so feel free to hone in on those topics and get creative with how you incorporate them into a blog post.


Make art! Most of us bloggers have some sort of art background, probably due a tiny bit to that fact that if you’re in your late 20s and beyond, blogging wasn’t around when we were in high school and early college years. Well that may not be why, but I’m assuming lots of bloggers are good at lots of different things, so while I’m not suggesting that you have to go and start creating art to sell on ETSY or at markets, because that’s a WHOLE other career path, it’s fun to get out the traditional art mediums and create again, and share those images around your blog and social channels. Tell readers how this past set of artist skills got lead you to where you are today! Things like painting, drawing, wood working, jewelry making, ceramics, print making, etc. I also mention this because I’ve been following g more and more artists/creators on social media and realize they get an overwhelming response (aka likes and comments), and I know it’s because viewers can’t help but appreciate those talents! Cherish and foster growth this way too!


Try to make sure your blog is sending the right message. I recently read an article about what brands should look for in their influencers. One key point was that they should look for influencers who are not just going to promote them once and move on, just to make a quick buck. While I know that most brands don’t hire bloggers more than once, it’s important as bloggers, that we are building lasting relationships with brands and our followers. It’s important to let our readers know that we truly do believe in these products/brands, rather than posting about things we don’t agree with. 

Update your bio and headshot, and update anything else about your brand that may need a bit of a refresher!

That’s all for now! I created this list while I was in florida, and it was one of the first trips that I actually took down time to relax a bit rather than stressing about a bit of a down time in terms of work. Thanks for taking time to read through my ideas, and I wish you all a super successful year!   


The sand at the dog beach in FL was covered in happy dog prints! I just loved this place :) while I’m definitely ready to get back into the swing of things now that Spring is almost here, it was super fun just enjoying a little break some of the time we were traveling.  

Downtime.jpgWhat to do in your down time as a blogger

Valentine's Day Candy Dessert Board

Happy Valentine's Day! Surprise your friends or gal pals with this awesome array of delicious sweets this Valentine's Day!

Whether you're doing something special for Valentine's Day, or just treating it like any other day, it's always fun to partake in the delicious Valentine's Day Candy. 

Valentine's Day Candy Board

I headed to Target to find my candy, and made sure not to grab everything that was heart shaped and stuck with my color scheme. Since everyone has different taste preferences, I like to offer a mixture of chocolate and fruity sweets, and everyone loved the fact that they got to choose their faves. 

Valentine's Day Candy Board

Perhaps this would be fun to do the day after Valentine's Day (so you can get all the candy on super sale), and make it a new holiday all of its own - Candy Sale Day or something, haha!

Valentine's Day Candy Board

I can think of so many holidays and color schemes to use for this fun candy display, what other ideas do you have?

Giant Valentine's Day Rice Krispy Treat - a Great Gift Idea

Impress your friends and loved ones with this Giant Heart Shaped Rice Krispy treat! It's super adorable and is an awesome last minute gift idea. This gift takes less than an hour to make, and just a few ingredients and supplies! You could gift this treat atop an adorable pink plate, too!

Giant Heart Shaped Rice Krispy Treat


6 Cups Rice Krispy Cereal

4 Cups Mini Marshmallows

3 Tbsp Butter (real butter works best)

Heart Shaped Cake Pan (Similar Here from Target

White Writing Icing (I love the Betty Crocker Cookie Icing in White, 7 oz. pouch) - found at grocery stores, not generally found at Walmart or Target

Red Food Coloring

Colorful Sprinkles

Parchment Paper and Scissors

Non Stick Spray

Giant Heart Shaped Rice Krispy Treat


1.) Trace heart shape onto parchment paper, using pan as your guide. Cut out the heart out. Spray the pan with lots of non stick spray, then place heart paper cutout into bottom of pan.

2.) On the stove top in a large sauce pan, melt butter then add marshmallows and melt/stir until smooth. Once completely smooth, add 4-6 drops of red food coloring, until desired color has been reached.

3.) Add in cereal and stir to fully combine. Add optional 1/3 Cup Sprinkles and stir again. 

4.) Using a large spoon or your hands, transfer treats into heart shaped pan. Press as hard as you can, so the cereal treats get packed into the pan. This is to ensure the heart shape is a good shape.

5.) Once cooled, use a butter knife around the sides of the heart pan to loosen the treats. Flip the Heart Shaped Treat over onto a cutting board or similar surface, and tap the pan to help loosen the treat. Peel off the parchment paper and discard.

6.) To decorate, I used the white decorator icing to first outline the heart shape. I applied even pressure to the icing tube as I went around the edges, beginning at the bottom of the heart, working around the edges. Next, I free handed the word "Love" with icing, in cursive, but feel free to write any message you want! I thought of some pretty funny messages but stuck with something more traditional. 

7.) To gift, I found a plate at Target in the kids plates and dishes section for about 80 cents. You could use a cute paper or plastic plate too. I believe it would be adorable to wrap Saran wrap around the treat and secure it in back with tape, so you can see the design. Hope you enjoy!

Giant Heart Shaped Rice Krispy Treat

Cute Red Kitchen Supplies

Red has remained a timeless and so very popular to add vibrant pops of color to any kitchen! If you're someone who gravitates towards red kitchen towels, kitchen appliances and other gadgets, then here are some amazingly cute and wonderful ideas for you to incorporate into your kitchen this year. 

cute red kitchen accessories

Red is an invigorating color that encourages a healthy appetite and enlivens the senses! While I mostly gravitate towards greens and blues, and perhaps because it's almost Valentine's Day, it seems like red is catching my eye more and more!

 Sur La Table SMEG 4-Slice Retro-Style Toaster

Sur La Table SMEG 4-Slice Retro-Style Toaster

 Vintage Red Enamel Mixing Bowl on Etsy

Vintage Red Enamel Mixing Bowl on Etsy

 Sur La Table Silicone Edge Slotted Fish Turner

Sur La Table Silicone Edge Slotted Fish Turner

 Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 13.25 Qt. Round French Oven

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 13.25 Qt. Round French Oven

 Sip Sip Hooray Wine Beverage Napkins

Sip Sip Hooray Wine Beverage Napkins

 Vintage Look Wooden "Crepes" Sign

Vintage Look Wooden "Crepes" Sign

 Here is the same or similar set of red letters from the above image!

Here is the same or similar set of red letters from the above image!

 Illy X7.1 Iper Espresso Machine

Illy X7.1 Iper Espresso Machine

 Red Enamel Butter Warmer

Red Enamel Butter Warmer

 Aeon Paris Mid Century Barstools

Aeon Paris Mid Century Barstools

 Red and White Retro Flour Sifters

Red and White Retro Flour Sifters

Hope you are inspired by these Red Kitchen Items! What is your favorite pop of color to add into your home?

Time To Rethink What Your Pups are Eating

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CheckYourPetFood #CollectiveBias. We are so excited to share our favorite new pet food today!

English Bulldog

Happy dogs, happy life - that's my motto! We are definitely dog lovers through and through. We literally don't spend a day away from them unless we absolutely have to. We cater each and every day, as well as each and every vacation to making sure our pups are happy, healthy, and enjoying the right food. Above, you can see our cousin dog Mickey, the English Bulldog. She also LOVES this food so much and could not wait for her turn to show off her new favorite food.

We care about each and every dog in our families, as well as our friends' pets, and we often get asked what sort of food we feed our dogs. That's probably because everyone knows we are such dog lovers. 


It may be time to do a reality check on your dog food. Does it contain real meat? Is it grain free? If not, it’s time for a change…for something that is a better value both to your pet and to you! Meijer has great products for your dog that are full of quality ingredients and at a great price. I love shopping at Meijer for Purina® Dog Chow and Purina® Beneful® products, and I encourage you to do the same. We brought some on our latest vacay, and the dogs were super happy about it.

We treat them like family, so making sure they are fed the right ingredients makes me know they will be happier for lots of years to come. Our two beautiful girls, Porter and Cabbie are definitely food-motivated. This means that I can even give them a few kernels of dog food as a treat, so I stick to their diets properly, and I do not overfeed them. I'd be lost without these dogs, they're my everything! 

Awe, so cute!

NOW THROUGH MARCH 3, 2018 - GET $1.00 OFF Purina® Dog Chow (32 lb and smaller) and Purina® Beneful® with mPerks coupons at Meijer!

Chocolate Lab
Purina Beneful
Purina Dog Chow at Meijer

Porter is only a year and a half old, so she was a bit harder to motivate to sit still. The whole time we were taking photos, she only wanted to sit near the dog food :) She kept pawing at the Purina Dog Chow making sure we knew which one she wanted! While she wouldn't actually sit there long enough to take a portrait of her, I thought this in-action shot of her giving Cabbie a kiss was pretty cute. She loved the food so much.



Re-think What You’re Feeding Your Dog - take a closer look at your dog food, and compare its quality and value to what can be found in Dog Chow and Beneful.

Feed Them Like Family - Our dogs are 100% part of the family, too. That means feeding them quality nutrition.

Take Them On Walks and Give Them Plenty of Exercise Through Play Time - I try to walk the dogs for at least one hour, five times a day, weather permitting (basically only rain or SUPER freezing temps will keep me from doing this). While this may seem like a lot of time, I think of those hours that I may spend watching TV or playing on my phone. Time flies, so it's fun to refocus your energy and free time on your pets when possible.

Provide A Comfy Dog Bed - Our pets do need a comfortable and supportive bed. Meijer does have a ton of great options, and while some beds may be made from cute fabrics, above all else, I always make sure to look for a bed that has super thick, supportive memory foam and a washable cover.

Include Them In Travel - like I mentioned before, we always try to take our dogs on vacations with us. We make sure to stay in pet friendly hotels, go camping, or rent a rental house that's pet friendly. More and more, establishments are welcoming well behaved dogs with open arms, so do a quick search for dog friendly travel, and you may find something new! Otherwise, feel free to do a staycation with your pets, and treat them like royalty in your own home.

Take Time To Do Special Dog Activities With Them - while we humans have TONS of things to entertain us like our phones, tablets, games, conversations with other people, etc, dogs only have a limited amount of entertainment just within your home. I love taking the dogs on special car rides to the dog park, pet store, or if I will only be in a store for a few minutes, I sometimes take the dogs for a ride then too. They absolutely LOVE that extra stimulation of a new setting, smells, or environment. 

Walking the dogs


Purina Dog Chow Natural Plus Vitamins & Minerals Dog Food 4 lb

Purina Beneful Grain Free With Ream Farm-Raised Chicken Adult Dry Dog Food 12.5 lb

Now is the time to take advantage of the in store savings, and MPerk deals at Meijer! Here are a few more tips that make me choose Purina products! 

Quality Doesn’t Always Mean a Fancy Label - Just take a look at Beneful and Dog Chow. Both brands come loaded with quality nutrition, and they’re backed by Purina—a leader in pet nutrition with 90+ years of experience.

Every Dog Deserves Real Meat - Dogs love real meat. It’s what they seek in nature, and what they deserve. And you deserve to buy it at the prices you find when you shop Dog Chow and Beneful at Meijer.

No More Compromise - Think you can’t get real meat dog food at a price you can afford? Think again. That’s what Reality Check at Meijer is all about—finally, you can get real meat at the right price and don’t have to settle for lower-end dog foods.

Better for Them, and My Budget - Tout the benefits of feeding your dog real meat, quality nutrition like Beneful and Dog Chow, and the positive impact it has on your wallet when you save at Meijer.

What to Look for in a Label - Meat, or meat flavor? Real meat, of course. Showcase the quality ingredients found in Dog Chow’s and Beneful’s label as a part of a ‘label lesson.’

Real Ingredients, Right Prices, Remarkably Easy - Reality Check is all about finding real meat dog food at the right price, and it’s even better when you throw in Curbside shopping—it becomes super easy, too. Order Dog Chow or Beneful for pickup or shipment to your door, and you’re done. You can do it with the rest of your regular grocery shopping for even less hassle.

Connect with Meijer on Social

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Instagram - @Meijer

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Thanks for stopping by!

Amazing Pickled Red Onions and Garlic Recipe

If you're a fan of onions, garlic and pickled anything, chances are, you'll love this recipe! We are eating them on everything we possibly can, and they they only require a few hours (or overnight) in the fridge until they are READY to enjoy! This is such a rewarding and long lasting delicacy that costs only a few dollars to make. You may already have everything you need, so let's get started.

Amazing Pickled Red Onions and Garlic Recipe
Amazing Pickled Red Onions and Garlic Recipe


1 large red onion, sliced into small strips

7-10 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole (or cut into pieces)

1.5 Cups rice vinegar or similar

1 Cup water

1 tsp salt

1/4-1/2 tsp sugar, optional (only if you like a sweeter pickled taste but we did not use it)

1 (32 oz) Quart Ball Mason Jar (I bought this one for about $2.00 at Target)

Amazing Pickled Red Onions and Garlic Recipe


1.) Add onion slices and garlic cloves to Ball Mason Jar. Pack it full, up to the very top. We made sure to sort of layer ingredients in the jar so they would look pretty. You may have a few onions left over that do not fit, but you can save them for something else or toss them.

2.) On the stovetop in a small saucepan, add vinegar, water, and salt (and optional sugar), and heat until salt has dissolved. 

Amazing Pickled Red Onions and Garlic Recipe

3.) Carefully pour the warm vinegar mixture into the jar. At first, it seemed like it wouldn't be enough liquid, but it was perfect! 

Amazing Pickled Red Onions and Garlic Recipe

4.) Securely fasten lid onto jar and flip the jar over a few times in your hand to make sure there are not too many air bubbles. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but we checked them after about 12-15 hours and they were already ready to eat! We had them on our breakfast the next morning, and everyone raved about them!  

Amazing Pickled Red Onions and Garlic Recipe

You can use these pickled onions to top breakfast bagels, scrambled eggs, sandwiches, or just eat them on their own! These are better than any other pickles or pickled anything I have ever eaten, and knowing that we made them ourselves might just make them even more delicious. 

You can even use them as an ingredient in your favorite recipes, like potato salad, guacamole, Cuban sandwiches, and other recipes that require onions. I would not assume that they would be super great when heated or cooked, but there are still so many ideas to play around with. Below, we topped a seeded bagel with homemade guacamole, prosciutto, and our pickled red onions. 

Amazing Pickled Red Onions and Garlic Recipe

It's amazing how the red onions colored themselves such a vibrant purple color. They're just gorgeous and make so many recipes more elegant and colorful. And, as odd as it sounds, these would even make a good gift for someone special. 

Next, we will be making pickled jalapenos! What is your favorite ingredient to pickle?

Well, I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you wind up making some for yourself, I would LOVE to know how they turned out. Feel free to leave a comment below, or tag me on Instagram as @happysolez

A Romantic Outfit Idea

I found the cutest outfit, that would be great for vacation in a warmer place, or even Valentine's Day if you're somewhere a bit warmer. This jumpsuit looked way better in person than I ever could have imagined, and now I am wanting to buy nearly every jumpsuit I come in contact with! It was incredibly comfy and with a bit of a higher waist, it kind of elongated my torso. It was stretchy and would be adorable paired with any sort of jacket, cropped or longer in length.

I worked with Kohl's and Hello Society on our last of five photoshoots, and I think this is my favorite one of all. We visited a beach area near the vacation rental house on Fort Myers Beach, and I loved how the palm trees lined the boardwalk, it made for one of my favorite photoshoot locations ever!

I don't even really dress up that often, but I had a lot of fun primping and prepping for this cute outfit. I added some Dutch braids in my hair, and loved how the jewelry really brought the whole outfit together. 

These HEELS!! Something for a special occasion, like Valentine's Day or a fun date night would be great. Now, I wouldn't recommend wearing them if you're walking super far, but if you're just heading to sit at dinner, or need something absolutely adorable to wear for portraits, family photos, or more, then, these would be amazing. They are show stoppers for sure, and while I paired them with a dark grey outfit, I could see them looking great with a vintage cut dress of some sort, either right above knee length or mid calf perhaps. 

I also researched the best nail polish color to put on your toes when wearing red heels, and most articles recommended either a red that is the exact color of the heels, or nude, to avoid competing shades of red, plus, the nude nail polish elongates the look of your legs, which makes total sense!

Hope you enjoy! Sending you warm wishes from Florida! 

Valentine's Day - Adorable Heart Shaped Rice Krispy Treats

If you're looking for a stunning yet easy way to create theseAdorable Heart Shaped Rice Krispy Treats, you have come to the right place! I've been envisioning making these for a few weeks now, ever since I started seeing the Valentine's Day baking supplies at stores for the season. They only contain around 6 ingredients/materials, and prep work is also pretty minimal! 

Adorable Heart Shaped Rice Krispy Treats


Pink colored Wilton or other candy melts (similar here)

Lollipop Sticks (found here)

6 Cups Rice Krispies Cereal

4 Cups mini marshmallows

Red Food Coloring

Colorful Sprinkles

Silicone Heart Shaped Candy mold from Walmart (similar here)

Adorable Heart Shaped Rice Krispy Treats


1.) Begin making Rice Krispy treats. In a no-stick pot or pan, melt butter and marshmallows until smooth. Add 4-5 drops of red food coloring until the marshmallow mixture is desired color (a darker pink). Now add 1/4 -1/2 C. sprinkles and stir again. Lastly, add Rice Krispies and stir until combined!

2.) During the rice krispy treat making process, melt half the bag of pink candy melts in a microwave safe bowl until smooth. 

3.) Using a large tablespoon, spoon equal amounts of melted candy melts into the heart shaped molds, filling them 1/4 full.

4.) Once candy melts have set for 1-2 minutes but before they are completely hardened, fill the rest of the heart molds with ooey gooey Rice Krispy treats. Press down into mold so they are flat on top.

5.) Once everything has hardened, remove from molds. If the pink candy toppings have separated from the Krispies, simply melt 4-5 more candy melts and attach them back together with a spoon full of melted candy.

6.) Lastly, optionally insert lollipop sticks into the heart krispies (they go in VERY easily). Enjoy!

Adorable Heart Shaped Rice Krispy Treats

Think of how cute these would be to gift in a big "bouquet" for Valentine's Day! You could wrap them in small celophane treat bags and tie them up with festive ribbons too. 

Adorable Heart Shaped Rice Krispy Treats

Fun In Fort Myers Beach

We have been enjoying being near the ocean and the beach! Here are a few of my favorite memories so far... 


Above, my favorite place to see the sunset!  

 A view from Fort Myers Beach Pier. It’s funny to see how many people flock to the beach on a sunny day compared to a day that’s still warm but overcast. I like it less crowded :)  

A view from Fort Myers Beach Pier. It’s funny to see how many people flock to the beach on a sunny day compared to a day that’s still warm but overcast. I like it less crowded :)  

 Bobby joined Sea Trek Charters and caught delicious snapper! 

Bobby joined Sea Trek Charters and caught delicious snapper! 

 The pelicans sit waiting for their “treats”, as the captain of the charter filets your fish for you! 

The pelicans sit waiting for their “treats”, as the captain of the charter filets your fish for you! 

 A sunny Sunday afternoon, spending time watching tons of boats go by as Bobby fishes. Me, repping my Captiva Island shirt in mint and holding the Whitney’s Bait and Tackle coozie with Cigar City Brown Ale. 

A sunny Sunday afternoon, spending time watching tons of boats go by as Bobby fishes. Me, repping my Captiva Island shirt in mint and holding the Whitney’s Bait and Tackle coozie with Cigar City Brown Ale. 


Rooftop Drinks and BBQ Wings at Lani Kia Island Resort. Definitely too many rum drinks this night...oopsies! 

 Sitting at The Salty Crab, drinking a Rum Bucket, with my feet in the sand. How fun! The food looked and smelled amazing too.

Sitting at The Salty Crab, drinking a Rum Bucket, with my feet in the sand. How fun! The food looked and smelled amazing too.


Last but definitely not least, it’s super fun to sit outside at Big Kahuna Pizza and people watch on a sunny afternoon on Estero Blvd.

Thanks for joining me! 

Top Places We Visited in 2017 + Healthy Travel Tips

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Walgreens. The opinions and text are all mine.

I was so thankful to be asked by Carusele to participate in a second #SimplyNice campaign, sponsored by Walgreens. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.

As I reflect on the past year, I can’t help but think of how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to visit so many wonderful places in the US. When Walgreens asked me to write a second inspirational post about their new line of revamped Nice! snacks, I was elated! I love their new packaging and some of their treats even inspired me to start thinking about snacking healthier while we travel.

I love that I can find something that is always delicious at Walgreens, and since they’re located all across the country, it’s easy to shop for healthy Nice! snacks while on the road, making our way towards our next destination. Nice! snacks while on the road, making our way towards our next destination.

Since travel has become SUCH a huge part of our lives, one major goal for 2018 is to incorporate even more travel tips and healthy eating tips into this blog. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year holds! Here’s to a new year!

Nice! at Walgreens - Fun Travel Destinations

Travel can definitely take it out of you as well, so eating healthier while traveling, and drinking lots of water makes a huge difference in how smoothly any trip goes. Our first vacation of 2018 is here in Florida, so I definitely wanted to take the first part of the year to eat healthier and get ready for the beach! Walgreens actually makes it affordable and super convenient to eat healthier! You can even find a huge assortment of vegetarian and vegan baking ingredients like Raw Cashews, Pistachios, and many other nut varieties.

If you’re gluten free, try the AMAZING Organic White Cheddar Puffs – they’re life changing, and perfect for the road since they don’t get your hands (or car for that matter) too messy. Plus, they’re USDA Organic and Non-GMO, which I love.

Nice! products help you live a balanced life to stay on track and indulge without guilt by providing great tastes you can feel good about. Plus, the upfront, labeling and the shopping convenience of Walgreens make Nice! a win.

Below, you can see how we normally pack the car. We always travel with healthy snacks. I tend to get bored with snacks pretty quickly, so I find that if I bring a wider variety of goodies, I am not tempted to run into a gas station to grab something unhealthy.

Healthier Travel Snacks

Below is a list of the top places we visited in 2017, and what I’d recommend in each place. Thanks for following along on our adventures!

The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are filled with all sorts of wonderful opportunities to get outside and enjoy the fresh air while getting a bit of exercise too. If you are staying in Key West, make it a goal to walk a few miles each day. It’s super easy to get in the miles in just a few hours, it’s definitely a walking city. Check out shops and restaurants on Duval Street (try Caroline’s Café for a big salad, The Porch for a refreshment, or The Butterfly House to mingle with butterflies, tropical flowers and plants.

If you’re looking for more action and adventure, the Keys offer lots of kayaking, boating, and excursions.

Kayaking near Sugarloaf Key, FL

Me, kayaking near Sugarloaf Key, FL

The dock off our vacation home on Sugarloaf Key, FL

Bobby and Cabbie sitting on dhe dock off our vacation home on Sugarloaf Key, FL

Key West
Kayaking on Summerland Key, FL

Our kayaks at the Sugarloaf Boat Launch

FL Keys

Cave Creek, AZ (Phoenix/Tucson)

I am so fortunate that my dad lives in such a beautiful location. If you’re visiting this area of Arizona, there are hiking trails, as well as tons of great restaurants, bars, and shopping opportunities! Closer to Tucson, check out Saguaro National Park, Tap and Bottle, or walking around downtown! If you’re closer to Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Cave Creek, try spending the day walking around Old Town Scottsdale (their historic downtown area, with beautifully renovated buildings and a man riding a horse playing guitar). Cave Creek also has a fun downtown area where you can walk to almost every bar and restaurant, and on Saturdays and Sundays, even catch a rodeo! There is also a vibrant motorcycle culture there unlike anywhere else we have ever been.

Saguaro At Sunset

Saguaro At Sunset

Citrus fruit grows abundantly in Spring and into Summer. Adding a splash of lemon to your water will help you want to drink more water and stay healthy and hydrated! Arizona is very, very dry, so dehydration makes your body work harder to perform.

By walking around areas like Cave Creek, Downtown Scottsdale (both the historic districts and the Scottsdale Fashion Square will make for some amazing exercise)!!

There are lots of golf courses in the Phoenix area, which would be an excellent way to spend the day outdoors and get exercise!

And, if you are more for swimming, May-October would be perfect timing to swim! Our dogs are the only ones brave enough to get into the pool in March, though ☺

Chicago, IL

You will DEFINITELY get your miles in for the weekend when you shop in Chicago. The food culture is amazing in Chicago, and there are actually a ton of healthier restaurants that you can check out.

Chicago is also home to tons of breweries and enough public transportation to get to anywhere in the city. If you’re trying to avoid calories from drinking, try a sampler glass of beer at each one, it’s generally only a few ounces of liquid, and you will get a great taste of what flavors the breweries are all about! A few notable places we love to visit in Chicago include: Revolution Brewing, The Bean, Game At Wrigley Field, Navy Pier, Shopping on State Street (possibly better than Michigan Ave! It’s way less crowded than Michigan Avenue, and has some incredibly amazing stores.

Binny's Beverage Depot in Chicago

Binny's Beverage Depot in Chicago

The food and drink options are nearly limitless in Chicago!

Begyle Brewing in Chicago, IL

Beygle Brewing, which was also hosting an art show – another good excuse to walk around and explore a new location. Dovetail Brewing, which features 100% lager beers was also close by and super delicious!

Denver, CO Area

Some of our best friends live in the Denver area, and we love visiting them whenever we are in town! It’s always fun having a local tour guide, and they love showing us fun places to hike in the mountains, as well as where to visit in the actual city of Denver. It’s a gorgeous area of the country, and if you enjoy the outdoors, it’s a fun place to be. There are so many camp grounds and hiking trails, and many of them are either free or very reasonably priced. Taking along healthy snacks and TONS of water really does make a huge difference, since it is so arid and at a very high elevation.


Hiking at Guanellas Pass

We love traveling with the dogs – they do encourage us to get outdoors and get active!

The dogs LOVE the endless fresh water, mountain fed streams all over the state.

Healthier food options are everywhere We love visiting a place called The Source, that houses restaurants, bars, gift shops and fine grocery markets.

Ennis, MT

Last but definitely not least, Ennis, Montana has stolen a big part of our hearts! We love the abundant mountain views, the fresh clean air, and the fact that you can hike, fish, four wheel, and visit a ghost town all in one day! We love the Madison Valley and hope to wind up there some day. It’s such an inspirational location, and there are SO many opportunities to get out, get active, and get healthy! Bring your snacks along on a hike and enjoy your day. You might even see a herd of Elk or even antelope – they’re quite majestic.

Nice! Healthier Snack Options

A great way to make sure you keep healthy and happy on your vacations is so stock up on snacks like the Fruit & Nut Trail Mix from Walgreens.

Ennis, MT

Our dogs love snow days more than anything in the world. 2017 provided the Madison Valley and surrounding areas with way more snow than other years, something we learned from the locals.

Lake Ennis in Winter

Lake Ennis is fun in the summertime, and almost more beautiful in winter. We explored the lake and the surrounding areas in late Fall, and ice washed up on shore in rhythmic patterns. The sound reminded me of being near the ocean.

While the area is remote, the beauty of the surrounding area is really all I’d need :)

The dogs in Ennis, MT
Willie's Distillery in Ennis, MT

Walking around down town Ennis, MT is great. The city has really done a wonderful job of preserving the past and offering updated bars restaurants, and shops for a huge influx of visitors in Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Ready to go again!

Remember, pack healthy snacks like Nice! From Walgreens, and always have plenty of water – you won’t want to reach for unhealthy options anymore!

Choose Nice! From Walgreens to stay on track with a healthy new year.

Happy adventuring!

Big Game Celebrations with French's® @ Kroger (Jalapeño Pretzel Dogs Recipe)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of McCormick & Company. The opinions and text are mine. #RealFlavorsHaveCrunch #Frenchs

Looking to make Game Day even more special? Offer guests these French’s® Jalapeño Pretzel Dogs, and everyone will be asking for the recipe! Your home may just become the new entertaining spot for football games this season.

Jalapeño Pretzel Dogs Recipe

I had a blast creating this recipe, which I found on the French’s website, here. Better yet, there is a recipe video that made this recipe extremely easy to follow. I love when things work out like that, especially when I am prepping to host people for football games or any other occasion.

Below, I served the French’s Ketchup and Classic Yellow Mustard in mini red cups, which I thought was so appropriate for a football party.

Jalapeño Pretzel Dogs Recipe

I was also able to shop at my local Kroger for everything, which made for a one-stop shopping trip – also a win! Starting on January 21, 2018 there will be coupon inserts in your local newspaper for the French’s products.

I love the taste that the French's Crispy Fried Jalapeños, French's Classic Yellow Mustard, and the French's Ketchup added to this recipe. This was my third time using these crispy fried jalapeños, and WOW, they were so perfect for this (and great for so many other meals too).

They added a crunchy, spicy kick because they’re made with real jalapeños! Be sure to let guests know that they are a tad bit on the spicy side, and possibly even use the French’s Crispy Fried Onions if you are not partial to spicy foods.

Jalapeño Pretzel Dogs Recipe

Jalapeño Pretzel Dogs

INGREDIENTS (Makes 12 Servings):


❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉

Prep Time: 15 Minutes  Cook Time: 10 Minutes

1 Can Refrigerated Pizza Dough (11 oz.)

12 Hot Dogs (I used the ones with cheddar inside)

3 Tbsp. baking soda
5 oz. French's Crispy Fried Jalapeños , crushed (I used almost one whole container)


1.) PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

2.) BRING a large pot of water to a boil. Add hot dogs and boil for 3 minutes. Once hot dogs are cooked, allow to cool enough to handle.

3.) WHILE cooking hot dogs, roll out pizza dough and cut into 12 - 1/2 inch strips lengthwise. (There may be dough leftover; twist into bread sticks and bake – I coated these breadsticks with butter when they came out of the oven and they were great). Spread the crushed jalapeños in a pie dish.


Jalapeño Pretzel Dogs Recipe

4.) LADLE one cup of the boiling water from the hot dogs into a bowl big enough to fit hot dogs. Add baking soda and stir until dissolved.

5.) WRAP each hot dog with one strip of dough, twisting it around and back. Leave a 1/2 inch space at each end. When hot dogs are wrapped, carefully dip each into water mixture being sure to cover. I rolled the hot dogs around in the baking soda water and it worked great.

Jalapeño Pretzel Dogs Recipe

6.) GENTLY roll each hot dog in crushed jalapeños and place on baking sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes. Bake until browned on top. Serve with French’s Ketchup and Classic Yellow Mustard.


I loved how these Jalapeño Pretzel Dogs turned out and I hope you do as well! I consider them the more interesting version of pigs in a blanket, and they made for a wonderful solution for a unique and tasty game day recipe. With French’s Ketchup offering qualities like non-GMO, no high-fructose corn syrup, no gluten and no artificial flavors and preservatives, you can actually feel good about your condiments and what you are offering guests.

PLUS leftovers are always delicious! French’s Classic Yellow Mustard is considered America’s best loved mustard, and is made with #1 grade mustard seeds – perfect to pair with these Jalapeño Pretzel Dogs and so many other delicious game day treats.

So many people have asked me for this recipe, and I was more than happy to share it with them.

Enjoy this recipe for game day, after school, other occasions, and more!


Delicious Crunchy Jalapeno Dogs - perfect for gam