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Peanut Butter, Banana, and Bacon Pupcake Dog Treat

Let me introduce you to our furry family members.  Gidget pictured below is a Black Shepard mix and a “daddy’s girl.”

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Blanca pictures below is our mystery prize since Juice saved her about a decade ago after being abandoned.  She is most definitely a “Momma’s girl!”

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A little over a week ago our two escape artists Shawshanked their way out of our backyard while we were away from home. Which lead me to briefly question why they would ever want to leave our little piece of paradise? Seriously, they live with two full-time “crumb monsters” a.k.a. my hubby and toddler, who leave a trail of delicious crumbs wherever they go. They have a big yard to try to destroy on the daily, dog beds at every turn. But I digress.  Luckily our neighbor saw them running the streets, lured them back into our backyard and secured our gate.
So I added “do something nice for your neighbor” to my to-do list.

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(On a side note, If a scowl could kill!…Oliver inherited this exact scowl from me. In his defense it was a really bright day.)

Then our friend Janell helped us out with our dogs on our last day of vacation and I again pondered what to do to say thank you.

I thought about baking human treats for both, but since I’m not familiar with my neighbors food preferences, the last thing I wanted to do was show up at her door with a dozen cookies only to find out she is diabetic or has a gluten allergy.  That is when it became obvious that I need to make doggie treats!  It was a perfect solution since they both have dogs, and while my own dogs haven’t exactly written up terms for surrender like better food, I figured a few yummy pupcakes might just keep them from trying to escape.  In the words of Michael Scott, it’s a WIN, WIN, WIN scenario.

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I found this great recipe on The Happy Foodie by Martha Stewart for Peanut Butter and Banana dog cupcakes but I decided to improve it immensely with one simple addition;  bacon. Your pups will thank you.  If you would prefer to weigh out your flour and oats into  grams you can use the recipe above but I doubled the batch and converted the recipe to the U.S. Cups.

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Bacon Pup Cake Dog Treats

  • Servings: 48
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A super easy dog treat recipe that your pups will love

 This recipe makes quite a few pupcakes so freeze what you cant use in the next 2 weeks or they make a great gift for your fellow dog lovers.

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup bacon crumbles
2/3 cup water

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mash ripe bananas, add honey and eggs, stir until combined.
  2. Add peanut butter and stir until smooth.
  3. Add rolled oats, flour and baking powder, stir until combined.
  4. Mix in bacon.
  5. Add water and stir gently till combined.
  6. Fill mini cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely.
  7. Store in air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 14 days.

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I hope your fur babies love this treat as much as mine did.
xoxosarah

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Dirty Shirley Recipe

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I have been in love with Shirley Temples since the first time my dad ordered me one when I was a little girl. Maybe my 35th birthday had me subconsciously reaching for something that made me feel young. Yet every time I thought of a Shirley Temple , I found myself wanting to “adult” it up a bit with vodka.  Maybe I’m finally ok with getting older, emphasis on maybe.
When planning my birthday party I found several great recipes for a dirty shirley but most of them required way too much effort for this working momma. I wanted to try out my own recipe but all I had at home was a can of lemon Sanpellegrino and didn’t want to run to the store for 7-up. Man I am glad I stayed home. The bite of tart lemon really compliments the sweet grenadine and fruity vodka. This drink is crazy refreshing.
I hope you love this recipe like I do.
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Dirty Shirley

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: extra easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 11.15 OZ. can lemon (Limonata) Sanpellegrino
1 OZ. cherry vodka
1 OZ. pomegranate vodka
a splash or two, grenadine syrup
1 quarter lemon
1 quarter lime
maraschino cherry

Directions

Fill 16 oz cup half way with ice, squeeze the juice from 1 quarter lemon and lime over ice, add vodka, add lemon soda, add a splash or two of grenadine syrup, garnish with maraschino cherry.

Cheers,

xoxosarah

Lets Flamingle

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In honor of my birthday week I though I’d share my 35th birthday party inspiration; a Tropical Flamingo party.

I have been obsessed with flamingos for almost a decade, it all started on a shooting party in an Arizona dessert. My stepmom Sheri had packed up a box of potential targets including a glorious pink lawn flamingo.  But as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to save it.  I smuggled him out of harms way and stashed “Felipe” in my suitcase.  Felipe the flamingo become my beloved mascot, I even named my apartment “the Flamingo.”
In 2008, Felipe was kidnapped and held for ransom. I unfortunately never saw him again.  But his memory lives on in my heart.

Here is what you need to throw a fabulous tropical Flamingo party.

Decor

Start with a whole flock of flamingos.  But not just any flamingos, go with the original Don Featherstone flamingos, they have the best details.
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I finally decided to try my hand at a balloon arch after drooling over several amazing arches on The House That Lars Built.  You can check out the one pictured above on Wedding Chick or there is a great tutorial on A Beautiful Mess.

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I am in love with this tropical flower backdrop on Blitsy.  Perfect for a D.I.Y photo booth.
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Top the decor off with a pineapple flower centerpiece.

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Menu

I have loved Shirley Temples since I was a little girl but since this is my 35th birthday, not my 5th, I decided to “adult” it up for my party by serving a Dirty Shirley.  Here is a great recipe from The Solstice Table. 

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For an appetizer try this tropical bruschetta.
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For the main course I will be serving Kahlua pork, coconut rice, and Hawaiian mac salad.
For Dessert try coconut cream pie shooters or a gorgeous coconut cake like this one.
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Invitations

Check out these adorable invitations from Carlson and Co on Etsy.

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Happy Flamingling!

xoxosarah

Easiest Tres Leches Cake

I had dreams of grandeur while preparing to make Tres Leches for my work “Cinco De Mayo” pot luck. I did the research. I had mentally prepared to separate egg whites from their yolks. I was ready to beat egg whites into stiff peaks. I was going to make the best damn Tres Leches anyone had ever tasted.

But then I got stuck in really bad rush hour traffic, got home late, realized I need to go to the grocery store before I could make dinner. I had a toddler saying “mom, mom, MOM” in increasing volume while begging for snacks that I knew would inevitably ruin his appetite for dinner.

And so in about the length of time it took Oliver Jack to get through his 3rd chorus of “mom, mom MOOOOOOOM” I let go of my dreams of grandeur and got real. It was not going to happen. But I couldn’t show up to work empty handed. While throwing a handful of Pirate Booty in my little crooners direction,  I googled “tres leches + pound cake”  just to make sure it was a viable substitution. All while contemplating whether Pirate Booty counted as a vegetable?!

With very little encouragement I was running out the door to the store.

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Easiest Tres Leches Cake

  • Servings: 9-12
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: extra easy
  • Print

Ingredients
2 Loafs pound cake
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
12 ounce can evaporated milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
10 ounce container of Truwhip or whipped topping
12 maraschino cherries

Directions

Cut each pound cake loaf in half lengthwise. Place bottom of each loaf in transportable container or lipped serving dish. Using fork, poke holes throughout layer of cake. Combine sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in an easy to pour container. Then pour half of milk mixture over prepared pound cake. Place top layer of pound cake loafs on top and poke holes throughout layer with a fork. Pour the remaining milk mixture over top being sure to get the corners and edges. If there seems to be a lot of the milk mixture pooling in the bottom you don’t have to use all of the milk mixture.
Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. Top with whipped topping and maraschino cherries.

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I was surprised with how well this turned out and I have since made this recipe 5 times. The correlation between how easy it is and it’s deliciousness is totally bonkers. Nothing this easy should taste this good. I hope you enjoy!
xoxosarah

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Honeymoon in Curacao

paradiseThere are two type of peoples on vacation; the “do-ers” and the “chill-ers.” I almost always fall into the first category.  I am a planner! I do my research and pack in as much as humanly possible in the time I have. This method is great in that I get to see a ton in a short period of time, but this method also ensures exhaustion and I ultimately need a vacation from my vacation.

When planning our Honeymoon my new husband we wanted a “chill” vacation to recover from the stresses of wedding planning. I swear we looked into all 196 countries in the world, or at least it felt that way.  We finally settled on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao.  Just off the coast of Venezuela.  With gorgeous white sandy beaches and turquoise water, we found our own little piece of paradise.

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The view from our room.


Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino


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Our beach at Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino


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Private path to the beach

 

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Our first night in Curacao.

After about 3 days of relaxing by the pool, reading, drinking pina coladas, trying to make a baby, swimming, snorkeling, and napping, I started to feel restless.  Like I said, I am a do-er.  So we took a very expensive cab ride to the capital city of Willemstad and spent the day just wondering around , checking out their markets, amazed at the largess of coming and going cruise ships, & taking in a little graffiti art.


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Market in Willemstad

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We then spent another day lounging on the beach, snorkeling, reading, drinking pina-colada, and trying to make a baby.

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Pina Colada with a little Blue Curacao

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At some point each day I’d find my way to the resorts little cafe and get a chocolate croissant.  For weeks afterward I had the thought, today would be so much better with a chocolate croissant and a pina colada!

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I really wanted to see more of the Island so we got brave and rented a car.  Freak out moment when I realized It was my first time driving in a foreign country. Its a good thing cars work just about the same everywhere. With map in hand my hubby took his position in the co-pilot seat and were headed out.

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I didn’t follow his directions exactly, took the wrong turn, and we ended up on a very lonely dirt road.   It was frightening and exciting at the same time.  After a few hushed, muffled curses from Juice, some intense scrutiny of the map, and what seemed like an eternity we made it back on the correct road to Westpunt.  I like to look back on this adventure as a relationship building exercise.

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Cliffs of Westpunt

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High on the cliffs of Wespunt we had lunch with a goat. I cant say for sure how many meals this goat has shared with other humans, but it was definitely a first for us.

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We even came across a flamingo sanctuary on our way back to our hotel.

Being the doer that I am, we were lucky to have our own local tour guide for a day. My friend Matt’s mom actually lived in Curacao for many years and knew all the cool local places to take us. Mary was a total riot, she took us to a local grocery store for goodies and beer, we went snorkeling at a couple beaches and we got to check out this crazy cool fort.

Fort Beekenburg, built in 1703…is a surprisingly stout structure.

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Curacao was the first place I have ever snorkeled.

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Curacao was a great compromise for both the”do-er” and “chiller” in our relationship.  My hubby got days of white sandy beaches and reading, I got chocolate croissants, pina coladas, and just enough adventures to keep from going stir crazy.  Oh and we both got the cutest baby exactly 40 weeks later.  Curacao will always be such a special place in my heart, it was our own little tropical dream come true.

xoxosarah

Obsessed with Drip Drizzle Cakes

Some call it a drip cake, others a drizzle cake, I like to call it a “drip drizzle cake, I must be conjuring up my inner Snoop Dog. Whatever its name, I am completely obsessed. Im loving all the crazy toppings;  donuts, Japanese pocky, bon bons, macaroons, flowers, lollipops, fruit, marshmallow, meringue, cookies, truffles, candy, or mini bottles of Jack, the possibilities are endless.
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1.  Mudgeemade
2.  Sugar by J Cakes
3.  Fork to Belly
4.  Sugaretal
5.  LifeofPieAmsterdam
6.  Cakes by Cliff
7.  Dessert Stomach
8.  Lapechefraiche
I’m definitely going to have a drip drizzle cake for my upcoming 35th birthday.  Now how to pick a design?!  I hope I didn’t make you too hungry with this post.

xoxosarah

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Daring Greatly

My internal battle between wanting to play it safe and wanting to live a creative life is a long one. In Junior High, I wanted to be a writer and joined the journalist staff, but very quickly realized that I did not like my writing critiqued and so I changed course. In college, I wanted to be an interior designer. I was completely in love and enthralled by my History of Furniture course. Yet when it came to my personal designs being critiqued, I hated it and ultimately fled. My defense was always “how can something with no right answer, be wrong?”

The strange thing is that while I clearly did not want my creative work to be criticized, in all other areas of life I handled criticism pretty well. Professionally I used the only time I ever got fired, the worst criticism imaginable, to grow and become a better version of myself. On a personal level if a friend or lover criticized me, I often mulled it over in my head, dissecting how much truth there was in it. Discarding the useless bits but holding on to the true parts, using them to try to do better.

But creatively I just couldn’t take it. So I settled for the least creative degree imaginable in Information System Security. A degree that 8 years later, I have never used because I can’t actually bring myself to get a job in the field.

Over the years, as my passion for baking, crafting, scrap-booking, party planning, decorating, writing, & photography developed, I noticed that they all have a common thread of making things beautiful. I also noticed just how happy I am when creating.  So after years of the same internal question “what do I want to be when I grow up?” I found a home in Living Darling, an outlet for all of my creative passions.

I was immediately flooded with excitement and joy as I worked on learning new things like Photoshop and how to design my website, taking pictures, creating posts and sharing my passion with friends and family. But I was also overwhelmed by the countless things I didnt know how to do and constantly confronted by my fear of being criticized.

My imagination went wild, taking on the form of various hero lifestyle bloggers and designers that I admire, each of them questioning things like my authenticity, uniqueness, and style.

With each blog post I swept these fears aside and kept moving forward but unfortunately they persisted. Slowly chipping away at my motivation and excitement. Until last week when I stumbled upon a forum devoted to bashing one of my favorite bloggers.

I was honestly surprised that such a place existed.  But like most figurative train wrecks, it was hard to look away.  I spent a couple of hours reading through 6 years of post, searching them for a truth that I had maybe missed after all these years of admiration. Trying to reconcile my version of her blog with this one.  Was I wrong to love her work? Was she really such a monster?  I went back to her blog and her Instagram and then back to these horrible comments. And what I found, buried deep within most of those critical posts was jealousy. Jealousy of her success, of the picturesque life she has curated, of her hustle.

I spent days thinking about this forum, shocked that one of my favorite blogs could inspire so many vitrolic comments.  And then I read this quote by Theodore Roosevelt

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Then all at once I felt a huge flood of relief at the inevitability of criticism.   We live in a world full of critics and a vastness of diverse opinions. There is no escaping someone who thinks they could do it better.  If these horrible things are being said about this highly successful, talented blogger, they will always be said about anyone who puts themselves out there in the arena.

In hind sight, I wish I had developed a thick skin early on and accepted that criticism has its place.  That while being vulnerable to criticism sucks, there are much worse places to be like the “cold and timid” sidelines.  But enough with the regrets, I can only hope that someday I will have put myself out there enough that there will be pages of people taking the time to critique my work.   And whether I know victory or defeat, here is to daring greatly.

xoxosarah