National Chocolate Cake Day!

Did you know that today is National Chocolate Cake day?  Whaaat?  I must have some chocolate cake in order to honor such an esteemed and special day!  One of the best chocolate cakes that I remember having was at Max & Erma’s.  It was their Triple Chocolate Cake which I shared a piece with 2 other people and we all had our fill.  It was decadent, delicious, and of course super chocolatey and I have been searching for that recipe ever since.  Why does no one seem to have a copycat for it…. WHYYYYY?!
I could go for that cake right now.
But since the recipe is eluding me I think I’ve found a close replica.  I fell upon these chocolate layer cake recipes while searching the web.  By the way, have I mentioned I’m moving (only a few thousand times)?  So I haven’t actually tried these recipes out myself.  Let me know if these work out and which one you liked the best if you all decide to try it!
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First a submission to allrecipes.com.  I often find myself on this site, and have just finished up the year’s subscription to the magazine.  I love both.  This recipe was submitted by Denise on Allrecipes and has 4673 reviews with an overall 5 star rating.  This “Too Much Chocolate Cake” I think has met its match.  There’s never too much chocolate for me!!!
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The next recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiction, in her own words “a self-taught, mom-taught, grandma-taught baker.”  I absolutely love that description, and those are always the best teachers.  Her cake makes me want to drop everything and make it right now…. but this place is a disaster area, and I packed my measuring cups.  Here’s her Triple Chocolate Layer Cake
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Last, if you’re like me and you have an itch to scratch for chocolate cake… you can resort to this easy one serving option.  A recipe from Sweet Little Bluebird that has no eggs, milk, or butter.  I’m going to run to make this right now…. Crazy Cake in a Mug.
Have your chocolate cake and eat it too!  Happy National Chocolate Cake Day to all!!!!

 

 

5 Things That Made Me Happy!

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For a case of the Mondays the best cure might be to focus on the positive, but I think that’s a pretty good cure for just about anything.  So I am bringing you the 5 things that made me happy.  This month I’m recapping the past two months since I really didn’t discuss it in the month of December:
  1.  The most exciting event that happened to me as a blogger just starting out was I gained some exciting instagram followers.  I truly love looking at every instagram user that comes my way.  Each account is a unique story, and I love the eclectic blend of followers I have gained already.  Last month I discovered the show Home & Family on Hallmark Channel, and I am obsessed!  I found them on instagram, and out of the blue I gained 3 followers from the show!  These are the actual people that are on the show doing segments so I am a tad celebrity enamored about that!
2.  As some of you know I have been working very hard to learn the art of aerial silks.  When the holiday schedule came around, there was a week where I had no silks class.  I didn’t want to skip a week training, so I went to an intro to lyra class instead… and just as quickly as I become hooked on Home & Family… I became hooked on the lyra.  There’s a pun there…. for those of you who don’t know, the lyra is an aerial hoop, and you literally hook your legs and such over it….. ok, ok, so it was a bad pun!   Anyway….I started taking those classes too, and I’m determined to become an aerialist yet!
3.  The Holidays were pretty awesome for me.  I won’t slide back too far in time, but I did so many fun nostalgic activities, and created new traditions that I had such a blast.  I was able to incorporate a little bit of memories and traditions from the most important people who are no longer with me, and felt proud to be able to represent them in my adulthood.
4.  Hubby and I have been through a whirlwind the past few days to months as we have been searching out a new rental home in which to dwell.  A few months after I got here, and everything was in its place… our landlord told us she would like to sell the house.  Then out of the blue she decided she wasn’t.  She did a bit of waffling back and forth, and finally hubby and I just decided to move on.  We are moving into a larger home, with more carpeting for my furbaby, plus a fenced in backyard for her too.  I think it’s going to be a nice change, once I can get past the whole notion that I have to move all my stuff a few miles up the road!  (Argh)  BUT, we are staying in the area, getting more space, and hopefully I can entertain a bit in the new home!
5.  My last happy thought is a silly one, but who says happy thoughts have to be complicated?  Valentine’s Day is coming up and you know what that means?  Everywhere I look there will be pink things!  I like festive store displays, home decor, and food styling, so I kind of get the little kid excitement when I see decorated cupcakes in the grocery!
Now it’s your turn!  Please tell me all about the things that made you happy the past two months!

Nicolyndime December Thrift Haul

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Hey everyone!  I’ll be trying really hard to continue my scheduled posts… but I’m moving again!  I just got here, and now in less than a year I gotta pack all my junk up again and move up the road.  Annoying!!!!  This time though, it is an easier move, less boxes and less packing, but still have to transport everything.  So I’m in the mode of getting ready to donate everything I no longer want to transport.  Amazing how I can still find items I don’t need.  But for today, here’s my thrift haul from December!
Have a great weekend everyone…. now I’ve got to pack!

e.l.f Cosmetics Kiss it Goodbye Lip Color Remover Review

Hello everyone!!!  Does everyone just have one of those days when you’re having a major problem, and no one is doing their job correctly, so no one is actually helping you?  I am.  But according to the folks at e.l.f cosmetics, you don’t need to have a problem removing your highly pigmented and staining lip colors if you use their “Kiss it Goodbye Lip Color Remover.”  I mostly prefer a lip color with that staining power since I know that it will stay on throughout my daily activities, but sometimes even after scrubbing a tad I feel like I still have the remnants of last night’s lip color on my lips the following morning.
Since the skin on the lips is very thin, you want to safely remove your lip colors without harmful scrubbing that can cause irritation and premature wrinkles.
So I decided to give it a shot.  The product is one of their more frugal options at only $3.
The tube is a tad smaller than the normal lip gloss, and holds only .35 fl oz.
Here is my best staining lip color, which I applied, blotted, and applied again.  I allowed that to rest on my lips for a good long while.
The directions say to use your finger to apply the oil based formula to your lips.  Wait 30 seconds and remove with a cotton pad (I used a tissue).
The top lip is with only the tissue removal, and the bottom lip is the starting point. (Ulta no. 236)

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The product itself has no smell and feels very smooth on my lip.  The lip color did come off on my finger and I had high hopes.  Here it is in its glossy glory.

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As you can see, after one application…no change doctor.  (Anyone get my Twilight Zone reference there?)

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So I gave it a second round thinking that this is maybe some powerful lipstick.  After 30 seconds I gave it another swipe and no change again.  It pretty much looks exactly the same as the few swipes from a tissue to the top lip.

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Others have given it pretty good reviews, and perhaps those great reviews are coming from those that use dark lipsticks that are not very staining, but still require a tad more pressure for removal.
End review:  it didn’t work for me.
I hate being so negative… and I guess for $3 it’s worth a shot, but I truly think it has a lot to do with the formulation of the lipstick.  Probably some glycerin, or makeup remover wipes are going to get you the same result, and at least you can use that for more areas of your face.
If you all have any recommendations for products you would like to see me review (frugally friendly of course) let me know in the comments below!

Frugal Living: How to Stack Your Savings Without Cutting a Single Coupon.

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Today I’m going to show you a simple concept that carries a whole lot of frugal living power.  If you are familiar with couponing, or watched a popular show on couponing, you know the biggest money saving power comes from when you can stack your coupons alongside a great sale.
But few people know that you can do this outside of brick and mortar stores.  Today I am going to show you how to do this by giving you an example I personally use several times a year.
I have reviewed one of my favorite sites on Topcashback, but ebates is another similar site.  For the purpose of this tutorial, I am using my Topcashback.
It is worth noting that I am not compensated in anyway for talking about these websites.  This is my real savings plan!
I love going to my weekly aerial silks class, and have recently started also taking lyra or aerial hoop classes.  These classes can add up quickly so in order to save a little more I stack my internet savings!
First start out with the retailer where you will make your purchase.  My fitness center accepts Spafinder Wellness gift cards, but if you were shopping on Target, Old Navy, or any other website you could use gift cards for these retailers too.

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Next, find a discounted card website such as Raise.com and search for a discounted gift card where you can get the code instead of the physical gift card.  This way you can make your purchase immediately, and not have to wait for the physical card to be mailed to you.
The next thing you are going to do is go to Topcashback and type in your gift card discounted website to see if they offer any cashback on your purchase.
Start at Topcashback and be redirected to Raise and make your purchase.  You will get your gift card code mailed to you.
Don’t stop there!
Return to Topcashback and see if your brick and mortar retailer is in the cashback offers.  Be redirected through the site in order to get your cashback.
Finally enter the discounted gift card code into the basket at checkout to make your purchase!  (BONUS:  Look for a coupon code online for discounts off your purchase!)

 

That all seems very confusing… but here are some examples:
Let’s say I want to make a purchase on Target.com.
  1. Head to Topcashback.com and enter Raise.  At the typing of this post you can earn 2% cashback on your Raise purchase.  Follow the links to be redirected to raise.com and purchase your discounted gift card.  The amounts and savings change daily, but you can save up to 5.5%
  2. Next go back to Topcashback.com and enter Target.  At typing Topcashback is offering 1% back on Target purchases.  Follow the links to be redirected again.
  3. Finally on the Target.com website, add your regular priced (Or discounted items for even more savings) into your online cart.  Use your discounted gift card code to pay for your purchase.
  4. If you have a balance, use a cashback credit card for that last extra bit of savings.

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Here is the actual savings plan I use monthly for my fitness classes:
  1. My fitness center’s website offers me the option to purchase a class package for a discounted rate.  It’s normally $75.00 for 5 classes.
  2. Head on over to Topcashback and enter spafinder.  I can earn 6% cashback.  Now I’m redirected to Spafinder.
  3. On Spafinder, I fill out the info to send myself a gift card code to my email.  Before checking out I google to find a coupon code for Spafinder.com.  Typically I can a 10% off code.  So I order a $75 gift card for $67.50.
  4. Next I open my email to find my code and head over to my fitness center’s website to complete my purchase.  I can apply the gift card balance and complete my purchase. (You may wonder why I don’t double back on topcashback like in the example above.  Raise only offers physical gift cards for spafinder, and after phoning customer service, I discovered you must take these in to the cashier to add to your account.  I prefer to do it all online.)
Math isn’t my strong suit… but let me try to crunch the numbers here:
Typical per class payment is $25 x 5 =$125
Class Package $75/5 = $15 per class.  Already a huge savings.
$75 – $7.50 = $67.50 = $13.50
Earn 6% cashback on $67.50 ($4.05)
$63.45/ 5 = $12.69 per class!
PLUS the extra percentage I earn from my credit card, which is currently 5% or $3.38 for every package.
Grand Total of $60.07 for 5 classes = $12.01 per class
It may not seem like much but an extra $2.99 every class sure adds up over time!
I hope that I have shown you that you don’t have to give up things you love in order to save a little extra in the long run!
I’d love it if you shared your favorite frugal ways to save money online in my comments section below.  Are there others that I don’t know about?