Wednesday, September 4, 2013

When Will Pumpkin Creamer be Back in Stores? And New PSL 10 Tumbler!

Happy Wednesday! We are halfway through the week already, thanks to getting that pesky Monday out of the way on Labor Day :-)

As you know, PSL and fall favorites are back at Starbucks, but of course I am anxious to have my pumpkin creamer from Coffee-Mate and International Delight at home.

I know, I should just be patient, but I'm having a hard time doing so when all I really want is to be smacked full-force in the face with fall! I remember CM and ID releasing their pumpkin creamers (Pumpkin Spice and Pumpkin Pie Spice, respectively) at different intervals over different years, so I really had no idea what to expect for this year. I've been looking at my local stores, but so far, no luck. So, I reached out to the companies and they both said they should be back this month! International Delight said they should be out by THIS WEEK! I thought that was pretty exciting news, since I'm pretty sure last year they did not come to my stores until late Sept-early October. If any of you see PS or PPS creamer in your store, puh-lease LET ME KNOW! And send me a bottle if you feel like it, haha!

Speaking of coffee at home, I picked up this cute little thing at Starbucks today and I cannot wait to fill it up with my Pumpkin Pie Spice home-brewed coffee!


You can purchase this from the Starbucks.com website
This tumbler is a grande (16 fl. oz.) size mug and features an orange-gold foil PSL10 label with other Starbucks and PSL logos, pumpkins, leaves, varying fonts, etc. and is all printed on real wood. The wood is unique to each cup so the grain will vary, making the one you choose your very own :-) I absolutely love it! So now you see why I am so anxious for those creamers to come back to stores?? Lol.

Also, Starbucks has a special offer on the tumblers right now- if you buy a package of Pumpkin Spice VIA ($6.95), you can get this tumbler for 1/2 price! Not a bad deal. You end up spending the same amount of money but get a packet of instant coffee with it for free.


Look at that cute little guy back there! It's just waiting for you to pick it up!

OK, I think that's all for now! I have some info on Christmas candles at both Yankee Candle and BBW that I will be posting about soon, and also some New Year's candles at BBW to tell you about! So stay tuned, friends! Remember to be on the lookout for creamer returning to stores this week. Hope you can get your fix. Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Happy PSL Day!

Hello! I hope you had a great Labor Day Weekend! I know I sure did- I decorated my house for fall! Woohoo! And what a great way to cap off my fall decorating with the official return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks this morning! If you follow me on Facebook, you already know it was released last week in secret with the access code PSL10. I hope you got to take advantage of it! It's an exciting year for the Pumpkin Spice Latte as it is celebrating its 10 year anniversary! That's right, the Pumpkin Spice Latte turns 10 years old this year! And Starbucks is going all out to celebrate.


There are some cute collectible things like traveler mugs, gift cards, etc that are available in stores, and then there's this baby:



A Swarovski crystal encrusted coffee tumbler for the small price of $150. But don't worry, it comes with a pre-loaded $20 gift card, so that makes it all worth it :-) I am kidding about this being affordable, but if it's something you like then more power to you! I really like the ombre-style orange coloring to represent the pumpkin at the bottom, but I also think this is something I could make at home after a trip to the local craft store. But either way, it's exciting that the PSL is back and turning 10 and being celebrated so much!


And the fall drinks returning to stores means fall gift cards are back, too! The past 2 years they have had a beautiful brown card with leaves and brail on top. This year they have two different cards. A yellow card with a few leaves on it, which looks very Thanksgiving-y to me, and a PSL mini card (with a hole punched on top to fit on your key ring).


In case you were wondering, the PSL sauce is very good again this year. Sweet, spicy, pumpkiny, flavorful... like fall in a cup. There were a few years (circa 2008-2010/2011) where the sauce was very bland, not spicy, not at all pumpkiny, bitter and lacking in flavor. It just plain did not taste good at all. I always had to pair it with Cinnamon Dolce syrup to bring out some spice and flavor. However, last year and this year they nailed it- it tastes just like it's supposed to! If you find it is too sweet for you, just ask for 1/2 the pumps and that will not only tone down the flavor, but also the calories.


This is such an exciting time of year! It is the unofficial end of summer being after Labor Day, and we made it to the BER months! YAY! I saw Disneyland Halloween Time commercials on the TV just now as I was writing this and got so excited! As I predicted a few posts ago, the date for Halloween Time is Friday, September 13th! Only 10 days away!!! Sooo exciting! The first day of autumn is less than 20 days from now, BBW is in full-force with all of their fall candles, home fragrance, body care and soaps, and Yankee Candle released their Halloween stuff today! So much fun stuff going on and even more wonderful things to look forward to! I hope you all join in on the festivities! Feel free to share any fall fun you have going on in your lives right now, I always like hearing about how everyone celebrates.

Cheers to the PSL 10 years and to the beginning of fall!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Return Date- Confirmed!


Oh happy day! This morning at my local Starbucks, I was able to confirm my previously estimated PSL return date I had told you about- it WILL be back the day after Labor Day on Tuesday, September 3rd! YAAAY! Just 2 weeks away! Why is the PSL return date so special, you ask? Well for me, the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte marks the unofficial beginning of fall.

Labor Day, the last summer holiday, has passed, kids around the country (not just here in AZ) are all back in school, cooler temperatures and sweater weather is on its way in, and sweaty weather on its way out! It brings to mind the anticipation of apple cider, warm scarves, crisp air, crunchy leaves and time spent with family. Isn't it so comforting that the best time of year is just around the corner?

I had quite the pep in my step the rest of the day having heard the wonderful news. After confirming the suspected date with my barista, I whispered, "Is the syrup here? Is it back there? I know we can't have it yet, but is it there?". This question was one that I already knew the answer to, but just had to ask anyway to put my holiday-filled mind at ease. I exhaled a sigh of relief when she smiled and shook her head 'yes'. Alright, it's really happening! Just hearing the confirmation that yes, indeed it IS there, sitting in that lonely back room anxiously awaiting its arrival in stores, was all I needed to feel comforted :-) Simply knowing that the shipment successfully made it to my Starbucks is almost more exciting to me than the day that it comes out... almost!

So there you have it. Tuesday, September 3, 2013 is the big day! Some stores will have a "soft-opening" during Labor Day Weekend. So if on Saturday, August 31st you happen to go to Starbucks, ask if you can have a PSL. The worst they can say is no, and the best they can say is yes, you can have the spicy orange drink a few days early :-) Also, the past 2 years they've had a competition on Facebook to give the city with the most "Pumpkin Spice Spirit" the drink a week early, so I'll be keeping my eye on that for you and updating as necessary! Last year Chicago won, and I think they won the year before, too. I would love if Arizona could give them a run for their money, but I don't think we have the population to compete, lol. Oh well. I guess I can wait 15 days ;-)

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Music Choice: Sounds of the Seasons


This time of year, I always start getting anxious to hear festive music. One of my favorite ways to incorporate seasonal songs in my home is by listening to Music Choice: Sounds of the Seasons on my TV! They play a wide variety of songs, ad-free, 24/7 during seasonal timeframes. And they start early and keep it going for a little after the holiday passes, which pleases me very much as I like to celebrate the full season, not just the day :-)

Music Choice is available to many different cable TV users, so tune-in if you have Cox Cable, Time Warner, Comcast, Charter, Cablevision, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-Verse, Grande, Service Electric Cable TV, CenturyLink, or Bright House Networks. I have Cox Cable, so for me,it is on channel 1933. Not quite sure what channel for other users, but I am sure you could easily look it up.

Here is the upcoming music schedule for 2013. Oktoberfest is coming up next, about a month away :-)

Sounds of the Seasons- Special music that plays to celebrate various holidays and seasons. The 2013 schedule includes:
  • Mardi Gras (first week of February)
  • Valentine's Day (second week of February)
  • St. Patrick's Day (third week of March)
  • Cinco De Mayo (first week of May)
  • Patriotic music (first week of July)
  • Christmas in July (third week of July)
  • Oktoberfest (late September through October 7)
  • Halloween (October 8 to November 1)
  • Christmas (runs from November 2 through January 6)
  • The Pulse (periods without a specific widely-celebrated holiday such as April, June and August, etc.) <-- For the record, The Pulse is NOT my favorite, LOL
Hope you join me in September to make your home sound festive and seasonal. Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Back-to-School!

 
Oh, how this time of year makes me reminisce about the smell of new school supplies… that papery, waxy first waft when you open a new box of crayons, the smell of flexible plastic pencil pouches, the bright, clean fabric of a new backpack, the freshly ground wood grain and lead from bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils… you get the idea :-) Yesterday in Arizona, school started again! Summer vacation seemed to go by really fast. I hope these kids are going back feeling like they had a long enough break. I remember always having major butterflies in my stomach when the first day of school was approaching. However, back-to-school supply shopping helped out with that because I always thought it was so fun. Don’t you just love walking into places like Target during this time of year and seeing school supply galore all around you? As much as I am sad for kids having to start school again, the prep for it makes me really happy.
 
The school year starting this week and this overcast, rainy weather has me wanting to curl up in bed and watch You’ve Got Mail and put up my fall decorations :D I can hardly wait for autumn to be here! And Arizona starting the school year early does not help with that, lol! I know once school is back in session fall just around the corner, so I am trying my hardest to be patient.
 
http://adiamondinthestuff.com/2012/01/year-of-mantels.html
 
As I am sure you can tell, I love decorating for all seasons. I thought this mantel from A Diamond in the Stuff was so perfect for today! I mean, how often do you see d├ęcor done for back-to-school? Pretty much never. It would not be a bad idea to do start doing things like this once I have my own children to make this transition happier, more exciting one. Do any of you do any decorating or have traditions of your own for starting the school year? I'd love to hear about it if you do!
 
Here’s to hoping the first day back at school went well for teachers and students and for a great year ahead! Have a great day!
 
 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

Remember those orange creamsicle popsicles from when you were a kid? I do, and I absolutely LOVED them! The citrusy orange flavor of the popsicle paired with the creamy, dreamy filling on the inside was such a delicious combination and so refreshing for the summer! I was thinking about how good those were on one of our sweltering hot Arizona summer days last week and thought, what if I made those in a cupcake? So this weekend, that's exactly what I did!


It's an orangesicle flavored cake mix, spruced up with my own ingredients to make it extra dense and moist, then piped with a cream filling on the inside and a little dollop on top then lightly iced with orangesicle flavored frosting :) Yum!

It's pretty easy to make and you can have a lot of fun with it. Kids can help with the filling and frosting and experiment around with decorating. You really do have a lot of options, so play around with this to make it your own, or just try it as-is and see how you like it!

Here is my recipe for Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes, I hope you enjoy!


Three special ingredients I wanted to share with you: I started with this box mix from Pillsbury, which I found at Target in their seasonal section in the back of the store- it is currently filled with summertime things like Adirondack chairs, pool noodles, picnic items, etc. If you can't find it, I am sure you can make-do with a yellow cake mix and add orange juice and/or orange flavored extract. My other secret ingredient to bring out the citrus flavor and also moisten them up is lemon pudding mix! I actually ended up using 1/2 box of lemon and 1/2 of vanilla, which I thought was a nice complement to the creamy filling flavor. And last but not least, a jar or two of marshmallow fluff :)

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

Ingredients for cupcakes:
  • 1 box orangesicle flavored cake mix
  • 1 small pkg (3.4 oz) lemon instant pudding and pie filling mix (optional: you can use an addt'l box of vanilla and do 1/2 box of each)
  • 1 (small container (8 oz.) sour cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake/muffin tins with preferred paper liners (about 24 needed).

Combine all ingredients in a large mixer bowl and beat on low speed until just blended; then kick it up a notch or two to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes. Fill each cup about 2/3 full. I like to use an ice cream scoop like the one pictured to fill mine evenly, and also less messy.

Bake 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. This batter is dense, so you want to make sure there is nothing ooey-gooey on your toothpick when you test it, otherwise your cupcakes will collapse when you take them out because of the weight of the batter. A few dry crumbs on the toothpick is ok : )

Cool in pans for 10 mins then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

While these puppies are baking and cooling, you can clean out your bowl and start preparing your cream filling and frosting!

Ingredients for cream filling:
  • 1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2-1 tsp vanilla extract (depending on flavor intensity and filling color desired)
  • opt: about 1 (7 oz.) jar of marshmallow fluff*
*I used the marshmallow fluff for a few reasons: I found it really cut the obvious cream cheese/powdered sugar/vanilla extract flavor, and I also really liked the lighter, fluffier texture it gave to the filling. This is totally optional, and the recipe will definitely work without it, but I personally really liked it!

Directions:

Mix cream cheese and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended (about a minute or less should do). Add your powdered sugar, then add the preferred amount of vanilla extract to taste. Taste testing from the bowl along the way is recommended, lol! Now comes the fun part, if you are including this, adding the marshmallow fluff! I went ahead and took my spatula and scraped all of it out of the jar and into the filling mixture. You can gradually add a little here and there and see what you like, or just take my word for it and put it all in there. Mix away, store in the fridge if you want it a little firmer and cooler.

Ingredients and directions for the orange frosting:

I used a can of orangesicle flavored frosting that was right next to the orangesicle cake mix at Target, and then also added a 7 oz. jar of marshmallow fluff to make the flavor a little less heavy and fluff and puff it up a little. This is also optional.

Now, get ready to cream-fill and frost!


Add your cream filling to a professional icing decorator like this one, or to a plastic piping bag fitted with a tip. The tip size I used was Wilton 230. If you don't have either of these, you can remove a small portion of the middle of the cupcake, add about 1 tsp. to 1Tbsp. filling with a spoon, then replace cupcake center.

Insert the piping tip about halfway through the center of the cupcake and fill with about a teaspoon-Tablespoon of filling, or until the cream filling starts puffing out of the top of the cake. Pipe enough to leave a nice little dollop on top, like this:

Seriously?!
One you have your lovely little dollop centered on top like so, go ahead and take a mini spatula (or whatever you like to use) and lightly frost in a circle around the cream, leaving the cream center exposed to give your eaters a little hint about what's on the inside : )

Almost there...

Perfect!
There you have it! My fun summertime treat : ) You can stick these in the fridge for a few minutes and serve them slightly chilled for an extra pop of refreshment on a warm summer day. Hope you have fun making and eating these! Let me know what you think in the comments below : ) I'm happy to answer questions if you have any!


Have a great week!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Christmas in July on QVC Starts TOMORROW!!!

Sooo excited for CIJ tomorrow! Starts an hour earlier this year, at 8pm for me! That's 11pm eastern time. Hope you tune in to enjoy the festivities!


 
This will mark only 5 months till Christmas, and only 2 months till fall! Hooray! The best time of the year is here!

Have a great Christmas in July weekend!