Thursday, April 30, 2009


Not to long ago I wrote about the little house that my Aunt and Uncle owned. They both passed away and the house was left to my sister, Maureen and me.

What I did not tell you was the it turned out the house was haunted. That's right! You heard me. Haunted. I have no idea by who though.

In fact when we owned it I didn't even know it was haunted. I found out it was just this past week.

Our niece lived in the house for a few months. She was living near by and going to school. She needed a place to stay as her roommate had moved out and she couldn't afford to stay in her place alone.

So, we told her she could stay in the house for free. We told her she could fix it up and make it her home. She was more then happy with the arrangements.

She moved in and started to fix the place up. She painted, got new floors in the living room and then all of a sudden we were told she didn't want to live there any more. No warning. No real explanation was given other then she found a new place to move to. We thought it was strange but figured maybe the house needed to much work done and it was to hard on her with going to school and working full time.

So she moved and the house sat empty until we sold it.

This last weekend I was visiting with my brother and SIL, her parents. Some how we started to talk about ghosts and haunted places. I then said "I'm surprised that old house up North wasn't haunted." Then my SIL looked at me with a surprised look and she said "Amber never told you?"

I had no idea what she was talking about. She then went on to say that several nights Amber heard walking and different type of noises in the basement of the house. She also felt like she was being watched by someone when she was home. She didn't want to tell us because she didn't want us to think she was crazy.

Turns out Amber was to scared to stay there any longer and moved out.

I have to admit that when I went in the house I often had a strange feeling. Sort of like I was invading someones space. Even though the house was empty, it was as if I was walking through a house where someone lived. It's hard to explain.

The basement gave me a super strange feeling and I NEVER went down there. At the top of the stairs was an old wooden screened door. I opened it and that is far as I got. I couldn't bring myself to go down there.

To this day, I have no idea what it looks like down there.

So when I heard the story about noises coming from the basement I believed her.

However, I'm really disappointed Amber never told us what she had experienced as I would have loved to gone there with a Paranormal group to see if we could have found out what or who was making the noises.

I'm 99% sure it isn't my Aunt or Uncle. But, I do wonder if they felt it was haunted way back when they lived there and that was why they really moved away.

Now I guess I'll never know. I wonder if the new owners will discover anything now that they are living there.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I am so excited. I have not only reserved, but, have paid for my trip this coming August! So it's become a reality rather then just a dream.

I'm going to fly to New York and spend five days in the big city! I can hardly wait.

I'm going to stay at the New York Marriott Marquis. It's right on Broadway. My room will over look Time Square.

I have been wanting to go back to New York for years. I have my whole trip planned out already.

I'm going to go on a few tours, go to see Ground Zero, go to Coney Island, Ellis Island, go to a play and of course enjoy some wonderful New York pizza and cheesecake! Yum.

I was a little scared about going there alone. I didn't want to get lost.

Then I found out, there is a group of volunteers that will meet up with you and spend a few hours showing you around. They show you how to use the subways, take you to places you really want to see, give you tips and hints on little places that are less known to the tourists. They spend around 4 hours with you and best of all it's FREE!

Plus I'm hoping I get to meet up with Pat from Mille Fiori Favoriti while I'm there.

My last day in New York I will board Holland America's Eurodam and cruise to the New England states and into Canada.

My first stop will be in Boston and Donna from An Enchanted Cottage is going to meet me and spend the day.

This will be my first cruise with a balcony. My room will look like this picture.

I can hardly wait. New York, a cruise and meeting up with two fellow bloggers. What a wonderful vacation this will be.

Monday, April 27, 2009


My two sisters went to Vegas and I stayed home. They love going to Vegas and seem to always get great deals. They stay at the Wynn and have a wonderful time.

I would rather stay home alone. It's not that I don't like Vegas. I do. But, I don't LOVE Vegas. I would rather have time home all by myself.

I love the quiet. I love doing what I want, when I want. I almost feel like I'm vacation.

I've been spending a lot of time doing research on my family tree. I have not really found anything new but I keep searching. I did find a few addresses where I can send away to get some info. I hope!

I went to a movie and saw "Is anyone there". It was a great movie.

I bought several magazines to read and enjoy looking at the beautiful pictures. I've played catch up on things I had recorded on my DVR.

I'm even going to order a pizza for dinner tonight. Yum.

It's been wonderful and oh so relaxing!

I did find out that my nephew won't be able to take the cruise we had planned. His boss won't let him take off work on those days. Plus he won't even tell him when he can have his vacation until after June 1st. So, our plans are on hold.

I wasn't going to let that upset me though because I went ahead and booked a different cruise. I'm going alone. I'll have to tell you all about later. Maybe tomorrow.

I've been on a cruise alone before and had a blast! I know many people would never dream of doing such a thing and I used to think that too. Until I went.

I just got tired of waiting for others to be able to go. So I went alone. I loved it and being alone for these past few days made remember how much I adore my alone time.

Do you like to be alone? Have you ever gone on vacation alone? Would you?

Some people don't require much alone time but I do. I get a bit grumpy if I don't have some alone time to regroup every now and then. I've always been that way.

Even if it's just to go off and go shopping or see a movie or go to the beach. I need to get away and be with only myself. Is that normal? Are most people like that? I don't know.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Since I have been going to some pretty fancy bakeries for all the cupcakes, I thought it was a good idea to try a bakery from one of the local grocery stores.

I went to Von's near my house. They have a bakery in the store. Sadly, I forgot my camera when I went, but, it's just your normal in store bakery.

I saw they had a few cupcakes in the case. But, they only had purple icing ones. I asked if I could get a fresh cupcake with regular white icing and was told I couldn't do that. They only had the few in the case to pick from.

So I got a white cupcake with white but dyed purple icing. It came with a little shell happy face pick.

I did like the cupcake holder they had. Good touch and was the best of all the cupcake boxes/holders I've come across.

Plus, the cupcake was only 99 cents. The lowest I've found. So far that's two pluses for this cupcake.

I have to admit, just looking at this cupcake put a smile on my face. I think it may have been the smile on the shell that did that.

I thought this cupcake sort of looked like a little party cupcake. Loved the little confetti on the icing.

It was much smaller then any of the other cupcakes I tried but hey, it's less then 1/3 the cost of any of the others. So I couldn't complain.

Now on to the taste test. The cupcake had a nice vanilla flavor to it. It was very light and airy. It almost taste like an angel food cupcake. I enjoyed it.

The icing was very light and airy too. Though it was clearly not made with butter. More like a store brand Crisco. There really wasn't much flavor to the icing at all.

It was an OK tasting cupcake. I don't know if I would buy these again though. There are so many other better cupcakes out there. Maybe for a kids party. Since kids don't really seem to notice the difference between a good cupcake and an OK one.

I would not buy these for any special occasion though.

I have to admit, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. For 99 cents, I think you get your moneys worth.

I'm pretty surprised at how different each cupcake has been so far. I really thought a cupcake was a cupcake but clearly that is not true.

This is a fun experiment for me and I'm happy you seem to have been enjoying it too.

If you have a place you want me to add to my taste test just let me know and I'll go there.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Do you ever watch the Food Network Cake Challenges?

Well, if you do then you are sure to have seen the owners of LET THEM EAT CAKE doing some of their magic.

The have won two First Place gold medals and one 2nd place silver medal for their cakes.

The guy I take most of my classes for cake decorating from, John, sometimes helps the owners out and works at LET THEM EAT CAKE. He has even taught them how to make some sugar flowers.

Let me tell you the cakes he makes are wonderful and tastes like heaven. So, I'm expecting LET THEM EAT CAKE to be just as good, if not better.

Let's go check them out.

The shop itself is not that big. There is a small area with a few tables where you can enjoy your purchase and lots of books to browse through. All the books are about cake decorating, recipes, chocolate and sugar flowers.

Most of the items you would purchase are special requests and the amount of bakery items are pretty slim for those who just walk in like we are doing.

Here you can see some of the books, the pastry case and one of the two tables you can sit at.

They also have some of the most beautiful cakes they have done on display. It was hard to get the pictures as most were behind glass in cases and the reflection was to strong so it made seeing the cakes to hard.

They don't have cupcakes like most places. Their cupcakes are more like mini cakes. They have unique flavors and they all have fillings.

Today they only had three flavors left to pick from.

They also sell huge cookies! Yum.

Look at these cakes! That witch was on display when WICKED came to town. The Performing Arts had LET THEM EAT CAKE make it.

Look at that stack of vintage suit cases. See the sign next to it. Yes It's Real Cake! WOW!

I loved this Empire State Building cake.

Here is one of the owners, Margie working hard on an order she had to finish up.

The big checks and the medals they won from the Food Network are on display.

Look at this cupcake! It's chocolate with raspberry filling inside. I didn't get to try this one. My great niece Trinity was with me and wanted this one. She took it home to enjoy tonight. The outside is all chocolate.

This is the one I got. It's white cake with one layer of blackberry filling, one layer of lemon curd and one layer of lemon butter cream. It's wrapped in a white chocolate and topped with shaved white chocolate and a fresh berries.

Here is what it looks like inside. I couldn't wait to dig in and try this.

Well, let me tell you, words can not describe how good this was. It was like bursts of flavor and textures that had to come straight from heaven.

It's super rich though and one can not eat the whole thing alone. Or at least not at one time. Plus it's bigger then most cupcakes.

Now I'm not even sure if this is fair to put up against the other bakeries cupcakes as this one is almost in a class by itself.

It's the most costly so far at $7.00 each but it's worth every penny! I have nothing bad to say about this cupcake/mini cake. Except that now, I can't wait to try all the other flavors.

I don't know if it's going to be humanly possible to top this one but I'll keep searching.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Today I'm going to review cupcakes from a small stand I came across while I was at the Pet Expo.

I know! That is the last place I would have dreamed would have cupcakes too!

We were on our way out when I noticed this little stand. At first I didn't think much of it. Until I saw this darling shirt out front!

Cupcake Time! Wait a this a cupcake stand?

Why sure enough it was! I have to admit I wasn't expecting much. After all this is at a Pet Expo. But what the heck, I'm doing a cupcake taste test so why not? Besides, who really needs a reason to eat a cupcake? Not me.

I found out the little stand was CB'S CUPCAKES. I had never heard of them but the girl who waited on me said they are starting to open up in different malls and have been going to several County Fairs.

Again, I wasn't expecting much. They did have several different flavors to pick from. Plus you got to pick your icing and they put it on right there in front of you.

I asked her which flavor was the best. She said her favorite was the Key Lime with cream cheese icing. Topped with a little bit of gram-cracker crumbs to make it like a Key Lime pie.

I had never had a Key Lime cupcake before so I agreed to give it try. She promised I would not regret it and in fact said she was sure I would end up going back when the Orange County Fair comes in July.

So, the cream cheese icing was put on and the top had it's sprinkles. It was given to me in a clear plastic box that was then placed inside a bag with their name on it. So far, so good.

I took it home with me as I was not hungry then and since it was in a box I knew it would hold up and look the same when I got home.

That night I tried it. I was in shock! At first it had a mild taste. Then the Key Lime flavor kicked in and mixed with the flavor of the cream cheese icing.

I could not believe it! This was the best tasting cupcake I had ever had! It was full of flavor, moist and... well, it was just perfect in every way!

I really did not expect this at all. I thought it was going to be hard to top the cupcakes at WONDERLAND BAKERY. But this cupcake actually blew them away.

Just goes to show you that sometimes it's the little unknown, hole in the wall places that produce the best items.

The girl was right. I will be going to the Orange County Fair and hunting down CB'S CUPCAKES. Only this time, I'll be buying more then one cupcake to take home.

So far CB'S CUPCAKES is winning this taste test.

Tomorrow I'll be trying cupcakes from LET THEM EAT CAKE. They are very well known. Many stars have ordered from them. They won several cake challenges on the Food Network. I'm looking forward to trying one of their cupcakes.

Be sure to come back and join me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Well today we are headed to the famous SPRINKLES. I think they may have been the ones that started the whole cupcake frenzy. At least here in CA.

I have to admit, I've heard so much about SPRINKLES and how wonderful they are, I'm expecting this to be great.

Come on, let's go inside.

Walking in you notice it's a small shop. Nothing but cupcakes are sold here. No breads, cakes or cookies. Just rows and rows of cupcakes.

Surprisingly there were no strong smells of just baked cupcakes.

They are grouped together and while they do have some flavors everyday. other flavors are only available on certain days of the week.

They do have lots of great flavors to pick from. I decided to try the banana with cream cheese icing. My girlfriend I went with said that was her favorite so I thought that was as good of a reason as anything and went with it.

Right away a few things didn't set well with me. The girl was putting my cupcake in a bag. I asked her for a box as I was doing taste test for my blog and didn't want the cupcake to look bad.

She told me I would have to pay $1.75 if I wanted a box. WHAT! I've never heard of such a thing. I told her to forget it and she put it in the bag.

I don't think that is good for SPRINKLES.
If I was going to bring a little gift to someone and decided a cupcake would be a nice pick me up I surely wouldn't want to bring it in a bag.

Most likely the cupcake wouldn't survive the drive home looking the same way as it did at the bakery.

The other thing I didn't like was they have wooded forks. I HATE wooden forks and spoons. But, this wasn't that big of a thing as I don't really use a fork to eat a cup cake anyway.

They do have a small wall filled with items you can buy. Nothing fancy like WONDERLAND BAKERY has. Then again, I doubt if any bakery will have what they have.

Here is the famous $1.75 box you can buy. If you want to add ribbon to the box it will cost you another $8.00! To much for my little budget.

You can purchase candles if you want. Hopefully you won't get one of the bent ones.

I decided to enjoy my cupcake there rather then risk driving it home and having it get smooched.

They have a few tables outside where you can sit down, relax and enjoy your cupcake.

To mark what flavor the cupcakes are they use little candy dots. Each color is assigned to a certain cupcake.

My advice...DO NOT eat them. They do not taste good. Yes they are edible but that doesn't mean you should eat them. Skip it and go right to the cupcake.

The cupcake itself was very good. It was moist and full of flavor. The icing was very good too.

However, it did taste more like a banana muffin then a cupcake. I happen to love banana muffins and banana bread but there clearly is a difference in those and cupcakes.

While I did enjoy SPRINKLES cupcake I do not see what all the fuss is about.

Yes I would happily purchase another one, if I was in the neighborhood, but I would not go out of my way to buy one.

The idea of a little shop filled with cupcakes is a fun one. Looking at all them lined up just waiting for you to pick one is also fun.

To be fair I think I may have expected to much from SPINKLES. I expected them to blow me away and they didn't.

I would much rather go to WONDERLAND BAKERY to get me a cupcake any day over SPRINKLES. I think the flavor, texture and ambiance at WONDERLAND BAKERY is much better then SPRINKLES.

Tomorrow we are going to try a cupcake from a small, little known bakery that sells at a few malls and fairs. Be sure to come back.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I just love cupcakes! Well, I love cake so it only stands to reason I would adore the little individual size mini cakes. The perfect size so you don't even have to share with anyone.

Since cupcakes are so popular these days I thought it would be fun to go around to the different bakeries in my area and try their cupcakes. Do a taste test, if you will.

I know, I know, what a brave person I am to do this. I mean really, here I am going to the different places and having to eat all these cupcakes just to let you know which ones are good, which ones you should stay away from and which ones you just must try yourself.

Hey, it's a hard job but really...someone has to do it. I'm such a giver. LOL

A few years ago I was reading the local newspaper and read about this new bakery that was going to open up in Newport Beach. It was owned by a daughter and her mother.


I had been wanting to go there ever since I read about it but I never did. Then I thought what a perfect reason to go! To try their cupcakes. So off I went.

As soon as I saw the outside and looked at the window display I was excited about going inside. It looked like a fun place to be.

Wow! This wasn't your normal every day bakery. This was truly a "Wonderland" of sweets. This was so much more then "just" a bakery.

Everywhere you looked you saw darling items that related to parties, fun and excitment.

There are cake stands, cupcake holders, cookie jars and everything else that goes with sugar yummies.

The smell is something else! As soon as you walk in you can smell the fresh baked goodness that awaits you.

Now these great cupcakes, cakes and cookies are a lot different then what you will find at almost any other bakery.

Each item is a party in itself.

Just look at this sample of some of their cupcakes. Now who wouldn't love to be served one of these.

So cute! Almost to cute to eat. Notice I said "almost" to good to eat. I'm sure if you have one of these in front of you then you will want to dig in because you know the taste is going to be just as good as the sight of these cupcakes.

You won't just run in and run out of this bakery. You will want to spend some time here to take it all in. To fill all your senses with joy and excitment.

Before you even walk out you are already thinking about coming back. You know this will not be a one time experience.

You feel happy here. Like a kid again.

When you order a cookie you won't get "just" a cookie! You get a huge cookie bursting with flavor that makes your taste buds do a happy dance with each bite you take.

The decorated cookies are darling and would make the perfect favor for any gathering.

Not only that but these cookies are by far the best tasting sugar cookies I've ever had. Even the icing is yummy. Not the dry, hard and tasteless icing most cookies are decorated with.

They even have their own water bottles. I know, you are thinking "big deal,many places have their own labels on the water". Well, yes they do, but they don't all have the pink tops! How cute is that.

My cupcake, for my taste test, was a red velvet with cream cheese icing. I picked this one because, not only do I love a good red velvet, but more because, it's hard to find a good red velvet cupcake. Most are dry and tasteless.

Not this one! OMG! It was wonderful. Very moist, full of yummy goodness and it was decorated with mini hearts. I loved it!

I would say this was one of the best red velvet cupcakes I've had.

I adore WONDERLAND BAKERY! I couldn't find any fault with the place.

If I had to say something I guess it would be the prices. They are a bit high. However, it was worth every penny in my eyes.

This is not a bakery I would go to every day. But for those special days, those days where you are looking for a little pick me up or of course having a party...this is a must go to bakery.

Tomorrow I'm going to review the famous SPRINKLES so be sure to come back.