Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sponsors for March

Along with my new layout, I have started to accept sponsors for Swing The Day Away. You may have noticed the new 'Sponsor' link up top in my navigation bar. You may have also noticed the lovely sponsors I currently have in my right sidebar. Currently, Swing The Day Away receives an average of 2,800 pageviews a month. If you're interested in sponsoring Swing The Day Away, you can head on over to the Sponsor page and choose between a large spot or a smaller swap spot!  If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at!

[Here's to Spring! :)]

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


For some reason, I felt like wearing a brown (faux) leather jacket, a scarf, and sunglasses and feeling like some sort of Amelia Earhart-type gal. I wanted to be warm and comfy, so I opted for pants, long-sleeves and a jacket under my winter coat. It's actually been a little warmer here, lately. It's been in the low 40's and it's supposed to stay that way all the way until next week! But next week I'll be in Florida, so I won't have to worry about the weather here! I cannot wait for 70-degree weather and no snow in sight.


Jacket: Red BBQ//Jeans: BDG//Shirt: Derek Heart//Boots: Payless//Sunglasses: H&M//Scarf: Was a gift
Speaking of Florida, I've finally started picking out outfits and choosing what I'm going to pack. I feel like I'm packing less than I did last time, which is kind of a goal of mine, but we'll see how things turn out in the end when I weigh my bag...haha. I like to have options and it's hard for me to choose what comes with me and what doesn't.




In preparation for the trip, I purchased a case for my camera so that I can safely tote it around in a purse instead of carrying a purse and a big camera bag. I have also been on the hunt for a new purse in general, as I've been using the same one for probably around 4-5 years now? I had two of the same purse because my mom wanted one when I first bought it. She never ended up using it and mine ended up breaking, so I was able to have a spare, identical bag. I really love it and how it has so many pockets, but it's getting worn and I think it's time for a little change. But of course, I want something that's similar to it: brown, leather, big (but maybe not as big), and with lots of pockets.



Hopefully when I get back, the weather will continue to be in the 40s and steadily start rising instead of dropping back down. I just want the snow to melt and the warmth to come so I can see grass and flowers again! :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bookish & Botanical

Books and floral prints...these are two things I am very fond of. It was pretty windy out the other day, so I decided it'd be a good idea to try an indoor photoshoot for a change. I was planning on taking pictures on the front stairs of this library, but instead we just took them inside! It took a bit of time to find a place that wasn't awkward and in front of people that were trying to read. We found this little secluded corner and decided it was good enough.


Dress and belt: Tea n Rose c/o of Kintage//Sweater: Delia's//Tights: Simply Vera by Vera Wang//Shoes: Gap
I've always been a reader and lover of literature. When I was little, my dad would take me to Barnes and Noble every weekend and buy me a new book. At the time, I was into the Babysitter's Club series. I still have some of those books somewhere, and I kind of want to re-read them since it's been so long. It'd probably be fun to read and get all nostalgic over.



When I was really little, I loved Beauty and the Beast. I had a Belle costume and would wear it around the house while carrying a basket full of books and singing the song that Belle sings when she's walking through the village. I realize now that if I were a Disney princess, I'd be her. Book-loving, adventure-craving, countryside-dwelling. Sounds like my kind of life!



This dress was my other Valentine's Day present from Chris. I had been eyeing this dress for a while and when I sent Chris a few links for present ideas, he ended up picking this one. I'm glad because it was definitely one of my top picks from my wishlist. I love the colors in it, how easily and nicely it blends with earth tones, and the fact that it's floral in general. It came from Kintage, which is a cute little online shop I recently discovered. The owner of the shop, Aileen, even included a pretty little bracelet as a Valentine's Day gift with the dress, along with a thank you note! I love when shops add a personal touch to their packaging. It gives a more intimate and genuine feel to the whole experience.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Featured on Dear Creatures' Facebook Page!

Last night I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my outfits featured on Dear Creatures' Facebook page! They found an outfit of mine from last month where I styled their Mia Dress. birthday dress, as I refer to it. I was super excited to see myself on their page. It's weird seeing yourself in places you don't expect, but it's also really neat. Thanks for the love, Dear Creatures! :)



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oreo Chocolate Cake

For my Grandpa's birthday, I planned to make a cannoli cake. I've never made a cannoli cake before and being Italian, we sure are fans of the delicious pastry. I found a recipe that seemed easy and simple enough. In fact, I was a bit skeptical as to how easy it seemed. The cake only called for eggs, butter, sugar, and flour. No baking soda or baking powder, no salt. Nothing else except those four things. "Oh joy!", I thought. "This should be a piece of cake!" (pun intended). I should've known it was too good to be true. What I ended up with was what can only be described as a total cake fail. It came out of the oven as a one inch thick, tough, golden brown atrocity. And the recipe wanted me to cut it into four layers...


As I stared down at this pathetic frisbee of a cake, I seriously considered just baking more layers and building it up like a stack of pancakes. I didn't have enough eggs and the perfectionist in me just couldn't let that cake see the light of day. Normally I would be super disappointed and distraught, but I think in the back of my head, I knew it wasn't going to work all along. Determined not to be defeated by the deflated disc cake, I got on my laptop and looked through my bookmarks for cake recipes. I decided that I'd make a chocolate cake since I rarely do. But how would I add in some extra flavor? Peanut butter is an obvious choice and I considered it, but then I saw recipes for Oreo cakes and remembered those leftover Oreos from the cookies I made for Valentine's Day. And then this Oreo Chocolate Cake was born!


[Note: My Grandpa is actually 76. My Grandma just bought a 7 candle instead of a 6 by accident... lol]
The chocolate cake is a basic recipe I got from Hershey's. I mean...they must know their chocolate, right? The frosting is whipping cream-based. I usually use buttercream and I love it, but the whipping cream adds a different touch to a cake. It's much lighter, airy, and easier to work with. The recipe called for 6 tbsp. of Oreo crumbs, but I felt like that wasn't enough at all. I ended up using 1 1/4 cups of finely chopped Oreos. And when I say finely chopped, I mean that I cut up an Oreo as best I can with a knife on a paper towel, then fold the paper towel over on top of the Oreos and start pounding them with my fist. That's how the pros do it, right?

[It was quickly devoured.]

Oreo Chocolate Cake
Sources: Hershey's, Annie's Eats


For the Cake:

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the Oreo Crumb Whipped Cream Frosting:

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp whipping cream
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
6-7 Oreo cookies, halved (for decoration)


For the Cake:

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

For the Frosting:

In a medium bowl, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks. Gently fold in the cookie crumbs with a spatula.

Frost your cake and gently press the Oreo halves around the edge of the top layer. Enjoy! :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Floral Accents

One of the presents that Chris got me for Valentine's Day was this vintage scarf he found on Etsy! I was super excited because A. I need more scarves and didn't even think to ask for one and B. He picked it out himself based on what I wear and own.'s vintage!!!



I always liked how floral print and stripes looked when paired together, so I decided on this striped dress to wear with the scarf. This is one of those things that I bought over a year ago and just never got around to wearing. That used to happen a lot more than it should've. I have cut back on how much clothing I buy in the past year or so. I'm not sure if it was a conscious decision to stop buying so many clothes. I don't really limit myself. I just decided that I should only buy something if I'm very certain that I will wear it, and wear it more than once, especially if it costs a lot. I remember reading about how you should judge how much you spend on something by how much you'll wear it. So if you buy a really nice jacket for $100 and wear it ten times, then it costs $10 per wear, which is a pretty good value. It's all about getting your money's worth, I suppose.



Dress: Forever 21//Sweater: Delia's//Tights: Simply Vera by Vera Wang//Hat: Forever 21//Boots: Forever 21//Belt: Forever 21//Scarf: Vintage, c/o of Totally Scarves and gifted from Chris :)
There is so much snow everywhere that it's hard to get pictures where I'm not squinting. All of the light just reflects back from the snow and directly into my eyeballs and makes it hard to keep them open. If there are a lot of shots of me looking down or away, then that is probably the reason least until the snow melts. I'm hoping that'll happen soon. It's not that pretty anymore now that it's all dirty from cars and foot traffic and whatnot. Plus it's annoying when a lot of two lane roads are still reduced to one lane.




Although the winter seems to be taking forever to end, I really can't believe that we're almost into the third month of the new year already. Time just flies, and it's crazy!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Oreo White Chocolate Pudding Cookies

Allow me to tell you a story about white chocolate...

When I was little, I attended some sort of wedding reception or shower or something of the like where favors are given. The favors were little bags of white candies. I tried the candy and loved it, only to never ever have them again. As an adult, I occasionally thought about that candy and what it could possibly be. What was that wondrous and mysterious candy of magical goodness?!


It had been too long now to ask my mom what they were, especially since I can't even remember what event it happened at. It was so unlike anything I had ever had throughout my life! Then one day last year, I came across chocolate shamrock lollipops that had been for St. Patrick's Day. Some of them were white. I decided to try it and lo and behold, I had finally found out what the mystery candy was after all these years: white chocolate! I don't know why I never made the connection. White chocolate just so rarely came into my life and I never really thought about it. But I'm going to make sure that changes now! I want to make all kinds of white chocolate things! By the way...those Lindt white chocolate truffles? Well...let's just not even get into that.



These are the cookies I decided to make Chris for Valentine's Day. He loves Oreo treats! I made cookies and cream cookies before, but I feel that these cookies pack more of a punch. They have chunks of Oreo in them, as well as the white chocolate chips. The recipe called for white chocolate pudding mix, but my local grocery store didn't have any, so I used Jello's Oreo Cookies 'n Creme pudding mix instead. All turned out well. The recipe also didn't call for M&Ms. I just added those in to make some of the cookies look a little more festive for Valentine's Day. Lucky for me there was a bag of M&Ms with a different color blend than the original, and red and pink were both included.



Oreo White Chocolate Pudding Cookies
Source: Twos Peas and Their Pod


1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 (3.4 oz) package white chocolate instant pudding mix (Note: I used cookies 'n creme pudding mix)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped Oreos
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 package M&Ms (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add in pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the Oreos and white chocolate chips.

3. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges and set. Remove cookies from oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

I know that many people aren't a fan of Valentine's Day or are indifferent, but I enjoy it. I pretty much love all holidays and I love seeing all the cute things that people bake for their loved ones. I usually bake for every occasion, but every year I make sure I bake something for Chris for Valentine's Day. I'll be posting what I made soon! :)





I am not much of a pink kind of girl. I like certain shades of pink, but red is definitely my go-to color for festive clothing for Valentine's Day. I love to wear red. It's bold, bright, and pretty. By the way...I've had this vintage dress for about 3-4 years now, and it's still one of my favorites. It's perfect in every way and I love the little collar accent and dots! It's so well made, too. I wear it a lot in the summer because it's so easy to just throw on.



Dress: Robbie Bee, vintage//Cardigan: H&M//Shoes: Mudd//Belt: Forever 21//Tights: Unknown//Headband: Handed down from my mom!//Sunglasses: Delia's
Our plans for Valentine's Day include exchanging presents and going to hibachi for dinner. I love watching the chefs cook in front of you and all the neat tricks they do. Plus they give you sooo much food. I've been looking forward to this for about a month or so, now! Chris spent a lot of time picking out my present, so I can't wait to see what he got me. :) He ordered a little late, so I'm going to have to wait for it to come in the mail.





I confess...I forget to accessorize most of the time. I've never been a big jewelry person. I used to wear more costumey/Hot Topic jewelry in high school, but I slowly grew out of it. Everyday I wear my watch and the opal ring that Chris got me for Christmas and that's it. I have this weird fear that earrings will get ripped out of my ear. Bracelets bother me if they're too loose. Headbands usually give me a headache, so it's a rarity for me to wear one. If I switch bags all the time, I'll feel like I'm forgetting something or not everything will fit and I'd have to decide what to keep and what to leave, and that's just too hard of a decision to make daily for me. The only accessory I really love are sunglasses. I have so many pairs in all kinds of colors and shapes. They're just so easy to grab and switch out!




Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! I hope you have a great day, whether you celebrate or not. And just think...tomorrow means half-price boxes of chocolates. Score! :D

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Surviving Nemo

Because of Winter Storm Nemo, I did not leave my property for almost 92 hours. That is almost 4 days, people. I worked from home and I didn't really wear real clothes from Friday afternoon until this morning. My whole town and pretty much the whole state was shut down.It was pretty crazy. And on top of it, I went to start my car this morning and there was just nothing. Completely dead. I could definitely have been worse. At least we didn't lose power, but it still wasn't fun to be stuck in the house for days on end. So how did I stay sane, you may ask? By building snow forts and a snowman, playing with my dog, and coming across an online version of Settlers of Catan. I know. That's pretty nerdy right there...but I love it!

Allow me to take you on a snow-filled journey through the magical land of my backyard...

[Our top deck]


[Tiara trying to make her way through the snow, and somewhat failing]

[First smaller snow fort]


[Bigger snow fort that Chris and I made!]






[The outside world]

Needless to say, I haven't taken any outfit pictures. I'm hoping to be able to take some tomorrow, just in time for Valentine's Day! Speaking of, I still need to get to the store and buy some supplies!