Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Birthday Celebration: Cupcakes, Romance & New Blog Direction

Today is my birthday. Life is good. :)

My Happy Heart.
I usually get up on Thursday mornings at 5:30 am for spin class at my gym with my favorite instructor, and this morning I thought I'd sleeping in to 7:15 am because it's my birthday. But I reconsidered and decided it would be a much better gift to myself to be exercising--better for my body and better for my mind. So I went to spin class and used my new heart rate monitor (one of my birthday gifts from my husband), making sure I stayed in my optimum heart rate range. Which meant I knew when I started to slack off, so I knew when to push a little harder. What a great tool!

I'm now thinking that maybe I can go indulge in a cupcake today without as much guilt. I'm talking a cupcake from that cupcake shop downtown that has those cupcakes that are almost too beautiful, too sinful to eat. Look at these. If you click on the photo, you can see up close.

I took this picture a few months ago when the shop first opened, but I inhaled too many calories just walking into the place so I didn't even try one. It smelled so decadent. A birthday, though, sounds like the right day to make an exception and indulge. I'm going to pick up a few of these for tonight. Yum!

A Birthday Present for one of YOU.
A birthday isn't complete without gifts, so I'm giving away a copy of Can't Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards! It's Louisa Edward's debut novel featuring a chef from a NYC restaurant and a sassy food critic and the first novel in her Recipe for Love series.

You can visit Louisa Edwards at her website at

I haven't read Can't Stand the Heat yet, but I did buy a copy for myself as well. I recently read a review for it at Jessica's blog, Racy Romance Reviews and not only knew right away that I wanted to read it, but I also knew it was the perfect book for me to giveaway on my blog because it would be a great way to introduce a new mission or theme I'm going to implement on my blog any day now. I'm still going to be blogging about books-- especially romance, but I'm also going to start blogging about food and cooking!

A New Blogging Direction.
I've been toying with the idea of starting a cooking blog for quite a while now, but couldn't decide if I should start a separate blog or just mix up cooking with books here. I also knew I wanted to post more about photography and gardening-- I'm really looking forward to revamping my vegetable and flower beds now that construction is (almost) finally finished. So after much deliberation and consulting with a few online friends, I've decided to just lump all of my blogging interests in one place here at the happily ever after. So I'm just letting you all know that the happily ever after may start to look more like a general personal blog than a book blog. I'm very excited about it and hope you end up liking it, too. For those of you who read my blog solely for bookish things, I hope you still stick around and enjoy reading about my other interests as well.

Book Giveaway Rules:
  • To be entered in the drawing for Can't Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards, leave a comment telling me what your favorite dish is. Food dish, that is! ;)
  • For my followers from outside the US, this giveaway is open to you as well.
  • Contest ends on Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 12:00 AM EST.
  • Winner will be drawn and announced sometime on Monday, October 5, 2009.
  • You must leave your email address in your comment if you do not have one shown on your blogger profile page.

Good luck!

Special thanks to romance author Elisabeth Naughton for inadvertently funding my recent book, magazine, coffee, and cupcake purchases. I won a very generous $100 Visa Gift Card from Elisabeth in her Stolen Heat contest this summer--the Grand Prize! If you haven't yet read her Stolen novels, you should. Fantastic romantic suspense. Plus she has a paranormal romance series titled Marked coming out in March 2010 that sounds great as well.


  1. I love the idea of you combining all your interests here! Like an extra little perk for everyone. :)

    And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!

    Can I PWEESE have a cupcake? *puppy eyes* I can understand the sensation of inhaling those calories lol.

    Favorite food? That's ridiculously easy! Cheesecake. Pretty much any kind.

    Hope you and those cupcakes have a wonderful time tonight/. :D


    Hmmm cupcakes!!

    Cannot wait for these new idea posts :D

  3. First of I want to wish you a VERY VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Second, I want to know what is you favorite cupcake, and third I think the blog idea is awesome. I've been on and off with my blog due to schoolwork but other than that I feel like I want to spice it up. I can't keep up with the daily updates anymore, but I don't want to give up. So I say launch your idea!

    P.S.- Please count me in.
    +1 I am a follower.

    -I Heart Book Gossip

  4. Happy birthday Christine!! I hope you have a wonderful day!!

    OMG, those cupcakes look delicious!! I wish there was a cupcake store nearby!!

    and I'd love to read recipes and cooking tips from you!! :D Might give me ideas :D

  5. Cool idea to combine all your interests into one blog.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope you have a great one and get everything you want!

    One of my favorite foods is Steak.

    I'm also a follower!

  6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Christine! I hope you have a absolutely wonderful day!

    I wouldn't know where to start with all those cupcakes! They look divine :)

    And I love your ideas for exapnding your blog. I'll be honest, I'm a gardener (green fingers and all :) and so love talking about gardens :) I'm a useless cook though, so any hints there will always be welcome!

  7. Happy birthday!!!!!!! Hope you have the best day ever!

    (No need to enter me - I've already read the book!)

    I think it's a wonderful idea to start putting up more varied posts. I love learning more about my online friends. Obviously, I've started doing it myself :) Bring it on, sistah!

    And I'm gonna need some gardening help :)

  8. Oh my dear, Happy Happy Birthday to you!!

    I love the idea of adding some cooking and gardening to your blog :). It all makes for a happily ever after, you know :)!

    Talk soon, and huge hugs to you!

  9. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Christine!! I'm really looking forward to the new cooking portion of your blog. I'm always looking for new things to make. Chicken cutlets get a bit boring after a while.

  10. Happy Birthday Christine! I am not going to look at a close-up of the cupcakes though, or I'd have an insanely jealous fit, and we don't want that! But you enjoy. Everyone should have (cup)cake on their birthday!

    I won Can't Stand the Heat from Jessica and it came in yesterday's mail. I'm already about 75 pages in and liking it very much. So don't enter me in your contest, but I will tell you that I do love brownies. Yum.

    Finally, I'm glad you'll be combining your interests on one blog. Hey! That's what I do, LOL. I won't have to add new subscriptions to my blog reader. This was our first year for having a vegetable garden. We met with mixed results, but enough success to try again next year. I'll look forward to some tips.

  11. I hope your day was fantastic! Happy happy day!

    And I love the idea of you combining interests, selfishly, because I love gardening and cooking too!

  12. Thanks for the birthday wishes and for all of your enthusiastic and supportive comments about my change in blog direction. You're all so awesome.

    I picked up a six pack of cupcakes tonight. I bought one each of Red Velvet, Vanilla Coconut, Devil's Food, Cookie Dough, Cappuccino and a Vanilla Confetti one. I don't know if that's the real name... I forgot its real name. Basically vanilla cupcake with sprinkles baked in the batter and tons of sprinkles in the frosting, drizzled with white chocolate. Oh my goodness. These were delicious and sinful! I ate half of the Red Velvet cupcake (my favorite so far), two bites of the Devil's Food, and one bite of the Cappuccino. Let me tell you... I don't think this morning's spin class was enough to make up for the guilt!

    ... but I'm going back tomorrow morning anyway. LOL I'm not kidding, actually. I called a girl friend to go with me today to pick up the cupcakes and grab a cup of coffee, but she couldn't make it. Now she's dying to go there and wants to treat me tomorrow. How could I say no? I already know what I'm going to get... they had a Pumpkin Spice cupcake!

  13. ((Happy Birthday Christine!!))

    I'm always salivating over all your baking delights that you talk about here and I think your new direction is an awesome idea!!

    My favorite baked goodie is apple pie.. (I'm a sour cream and onion potato chip freak but that isn't baked.. lol)

    Your new blog looks awesome and congratulations on the win at Elisabeth's. She is indeed generous and I actually won when she had her Stolen Fury celebration.

    Many happy returns Christine! I hope you enjoyed a wonderful day!!


  14. Happy Birthday!

    I'm much more a salty person than a sweets person. I love a great steak with blue cheese. Also, fried things. :) Good thing I have some restraint.

    My blog is turning into a general purpose blog. I do think that maybe I have fewer readers this way, but I wouldn't change it. Personally I really enjoy it all being in one place, it's the life part of Books Lists Life.

  15. Happy Birthday, Christine!! Those cupcakes look absolutely amazing. I hope you enjoyed the pieces out of them and had a wonderful day.

    The new blog concept is awesome. Can't wait!

  16. A Very Happy Birthday, Christine! I'm looking forward to reading about your cooking and gardening. :)

  17. Happy birthday!

    I found a cupcake shop today. Very exciting! Of course, I had to buy a couple and I enjoyed them very much when I ate them!

    Favourite food ever? Cheesecake for me too! Must say that I make a really good white chocolate cheesecake that everyone loves!

  18. Awww, sorry I wasn't around yesterday!
    Happy belated Birthday Christine! Hope you had a gorgeous day! The cupcakes look just yummy.

    Love your idea of including all your interests together. :)

    Tough to choose a favorite food, lol! I'll choose PASTA! Love different pasta dishes.

  19. One day late but still: happy birthday, Christine. My best wishes for you. :)

    I hope your cupcakes tastes as good as they looked. Although I'm not sure I could be satisfied with just one. *g*

    And I'm very excited about your plans for your blog. They sound very interesting and I'm looking forward to the posts! Maybe I can even pick up a thing or two about cooking. My boyfriend sure would welcome that. *cough*

  20. Happy Birthday! I feel very honored to be featured next to those amazing looking cupcakes. I hope you like the book! LOL

  21. KMont~ My teen and I love Cheesecake, too. I make this awesome Pumpkin Cheesecake around the holidays and we sit there going "Mmmmm" and "O.M.G." with every bite!

    KB ~ You will go to this cupcake shop with me the next time you come visit. We'll drink Charles Shah wine with cupcakes. ;)

    I Heart Book Gossip ~ I know exactly what you mean about having trouble keeping up with book posts. I'm hoping this change will help me post more in general.

    nath ~ Oh yes! You're a budding cook! I'd be happy if I helped you with some cooking ideas!

    Razlover ~ Steak! I love steak, too! Whenever I smell someone in the neighborhood grilling steak I instantly want some.

    orannia ~ I don't have a green thumb per se, but I do REALLY love to garden.

    Lori~ You're one of the people I thought of who successfully maintains a separate personal and book blog --and actually until recently contributed to a *third* blog! I hope my one blog approach works for me. I guess I can always split it later if I need to.

    And I'm gonna need some gardening help :) Says the woman with an orange, lemon, and avocado tree in her backyard. That's all otherworldly for this here Northeaster gardener! LOL

    AmyC ~ Hi! :) Yes! I was thinking good food is definitely part of living happily ever after! Especially dessert! Mmmm!

    Barbara ~ The dreaded boring chicken cutlet. I hear you! My family has demanded--no requested-- that chicken only appear on the table once a week these days. I compromised with two days a week, but still. It requires a lot more creativity to cook other cuts of meat more healthily. We do eat fish/seafood a few times a week, though, so that helps.

    Phyl ~ I'm so glad you're enjoying CAN'T STAND THE HEAT so far! I'm looking forward to it!

    My vegetable gardens were always met with mixed results every stinkin' year, but I always come back for more the next spring. The whole process is rewarding despite the mixes results, don't you think? I haven't had a vegetable garden in at least two summers now since the construction, so I'm dying to get my hands in the dirt again.

    Jessica ~ Great! I'm really so happy you and everyone else likes the idea of just combining all my interests in one spot.

  22. Lea ~ Happy Blogiversary to you! I'm heading over to your celebration after this! :)

    I love apple pie, too! The smell and taste! So comforting, isn't it?

    Lisa ~ My husband would probably say fried foods is his favorite, too. Especially fried shrimp. Definitely the way to his heart. LOL

    I love the way you combine all your interests on your blog in one spot. In fact, did you notice I tend to comment more on the non-book stuff at your blog, even though it's books that brought us to each other's blogs?

    Angie ~ I tasted the Pumpkin Spice and the Tiramisu cupcake today with my friend. Wow. Very dangerous. I should have never stepped into the place. Ever.

    Jace ~ Thanks, Jace! I'm hoping to post some craft things, too. I tend to craft a bit more in the winter months, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is the year to get my craft groove back.

    Marg ~ We'll have to compare cupcake flavors! Your White Chocolate Cheesecake sounds really good. Like a cheesecake could sound bad?

    Hilcia ~ Thanks!
    Who doesn't LOVE pasta? It's so easy, affordable and versatile! Not to mention yummy!

    Taja ~ How can you say you're late? I guess I forgot to mention to you yesterday that you were the first person to greet me for my birthday this year! It's usually my husband, but I snuck out of bed for the gym so early and I saw your email on my phone before I got home! :P

    Louisa ~ I'm glad you stopped by and thanks for the Re-Tweet of my giveaway. I'm really looking forward to reading your book. I feel as though reading about it on Jessica's blog was quite serendipitous. :)

  23. Oh! I'm sorry I somewhat upstaged your husband. I sure didn't mean to, it's the time difference.

    I meant that I was late here on the blog. Forgot to comment yesterday evening. :)

  24. Happy Birthday!

    I really like the blog idea too. You know I'm trying to do two separate ones and find I'm posting less because I'm not sure which blog to post it in. So I think you're on the right track and I look forward to it.

    Also those cupcakes look amazing. We don't have anything like that around here. I'm so jealous. Enjoy!

  25. Happy belated birthday! :)

  26. And my favorite food is.. mom's chocolate cake!


  27. Happy (belated) birthday, Christine!

    (Please don't enter me in the giveaway, I just wanted to throw some confetti at you...

    *throws confetti*


  28. Taja ~ LOL No worries about upstaging the husband. I'm sure he's understand your time-zone advantage. ;)

    Christina ~ I empathize with your two blog woes. Worrying about what to post where is one of the things that has kept me from even starting a separate one. Which is why I decided to do it this way. Which looks like no big decision since I still haven't posted something off track yet. LOL!!

    Janicu ~ Thanks for the birthday wishes! Chocolate cake would be hard to beat. Especially Mom's, I bet! :)

    Aztec Lady ~ Thank you! I love confetti. Not as much as I love cupcakes, but still. :o)

  29. I'll be drawing and posting the lucky winner on my blog in just a few minutes. Good luck!

  30. OMG this is what I get for not blog hopping for a while!

    Happy Belated Birthday! I'm so sorry I missed it. I hope you had a great day.

    I would love to see some cooking stuff mixed in with the books. I suck at cooking so any tips I can get are great. :)

  31. Thanks for the birthday wishes, Tracy! =)

    Please don't apologize about being late. I've got literally 100s of unread posts in my feeds, so I know exactly where you're coming from. I'm perpetually challenged by keeping up with blog hopping. It's like an extension to being challenged by my TBR pile! LOL!


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