Vintage Inspired Lamb Cake with a Modern Twist

Growing up I remember Mother making a lamb cake in a Nordic Ware cake mold. To Daddy’s delight, she covered it with seven-minute whipped frosting and a lovely coating of fluffy white coconut.  She served it on top of her beautiful milk glass cake pedestal covered with more coconut. Then she’d tuck in little jelly beans to look like eggs (remember this was the era of the late 60s early 70s, pre Cadbury mini eggs). We couldn’t wait to slice the cake after Easter lunch.

Her lamb cake pan is long gone (at least to me unless Sister is reading this and has it), so I found this one on Amazon.  I decided to make my friend Tricia’s recipe for Chocolate Kahlua Cake and it turned out perfectly. Here’s the recipe.

Tricia’s Black Russian Bundt Cake
1 box yellow or cake mix (without pudding) *I used chocolate this time and it was very rich.
1/2 cup sugar
1 small box of instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup of vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup Vodka (I have used vanilla vodka)
1/4 cup Kahlua
Combine everything in a mixer and beat well.  Pour into a very well-greased and floured and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 60-70 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and glaze.
Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup Kahlua
Combine and pour over warm cake.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
For the lamb cake, I skipped the glaze and gave her a light dusting of powdered sugar which showed the contours of her shape from the mold of the pan. I spread some decorating icing on the center of Mother’s milk glass cake pedestal to act as an adhesive and trimmed off the bottom of the lamb so she would sit firmly on the plate. Then I went to work making her crown of pink azaleas from the garden on her head, tied a ribbon around her neck, and filled in the space around her with coconut to make it look like she was resting in the flowers. I think she looks beautiful.
At our home on Meadowbrook Drive, Mother loved bringing in clippings of spirea, also called Bridal Wreath, and arranged them in a crystal vase. The blooms smelled heavenly. I loved carrying a bouquet around the house pretending I was a bride. When we moved into the house we live in now I discovered we have a Spirea bush, too. It’s blooming right now and I cut a few sprigs to fill in the lamb’s crown and tucked the rest around her.
The cake slices beautifully. You can serve with fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s also a terrific cake to take to a friend.
What are some Easter memories from your childhood?  Happy Easter!

A Festive Easter Sip – The Pink Peep Twist with Noble Wolf Vodka

My friend, Pam, recently introduced me to the most delicious libation – Noble Wolf Vodka. Pam and I have been safely meeting on our patio for sips and snacks the last few months. The last time we met she arrived with a bottle of Noble Wolf’s Pink Lemonade Vodka and a Sonic Route 44 Cherry Limeade. We made “Momma’s Pink Panties” a recipe from the proprietor of the vodka, Bryce Cottrell!

Here’s the founder’s story:

I gave up the NFL for Vodka. Yes, you read that right.

As a defensive end at Texas I had a love for football that ran deep. BUT, my love for family and friends ran even deeper. You see, when I was a kid I looked up to my grandfather more than almost anyone. A wise man, I remember he always would order a glass of vodka before he would impart his wisdom into my life. In the same fashion, vodka seemed to be the drink of choice for my extended family – many of my football friends. So, one day on the plane back from a game I had an idea:

As an athlete I wanted a vodka that tasted great, but I was tired of the empty calories and heavy feeling I had afterwards. I had heard that people were making vodka from unique sources. So, I wondered what would happen if we made vodka from fruit? Little did I know that I would soon discover the power Grapefruit had in producing vodka. It actually made a vodka that was low-calorie, low in sugars, paleo, and gluten-free. The bigger surprise? It didn’t taste fruity – instead, it had a really smooth/classic finish. Once I discovered this, I knew I had a decision to make. I could pursue my career in the NFL or dedicate my life towards making this vodka into a real company.

I took some time and as I reflected, I realized that many of the best moments of my life (and the lives of so many others) happened around vodka. Whether it was my grandfather teaching me something new, celebrating with my teammates, or going on a date with someone special, all of those memories actually had vodka involved in some way. I knew I wanted to impact people, creating moments around friends and family – leaving a legacy like my grandfather had. It was that day that I decided to launch Noble Wolf and since, the results have been incredible.

Okay, here’s my easy recipe taking Simply Pink Lemonade and Noble Wolf’s Pink Lemonade Vodka.  I rubbed a cut lime along the rim of a champagne flute and dipped the edge of the glass in sugar crystals (like the kind you decorate cookies). In a cocktail shaker, I mixed the lemonade, an ounce of vodka and ice (you can add more if you want a stronger drink).  Shake the cocktail for 30 seconds to get it good and cold, then strain your drink into your glass. If you like bubbles, add a little bit of Topo Chico. And, for a mocktail version just use the lemonade with a dash of Topo.

I stuck a PEEP on the end of some cute PEEP straws I found at Jabo’s Ace Hardware.  How festive is that!  Happy Easter.

Spring Favorites from J.Crew

“Easy Does It” is J.Crew’s motto for spring, and I totally relate.  How about you?

Let’s start with shirts.  Their shirts come in three fits…slim, classic, and relaxed.  One of my faves is their classic fit shirt with a ruffled collar and cuffs.  It goes great with jeans and cargos and comes in four colors.  This spring, I’m wearing the white one with a pair of their wide-leg jeans.  And if you like to half-tuck your shirt or tie it at the waist, you’ll love one of their relaxed-fit poplin shirts.  

Click the pic to shop Holley’s style.
Click the pic to shop Holley’s style

J.Crew’s selection of blazers is ideal for our spring climate.  We’re loving a plaid boyfriend blazer worn over a chambray shirt combined with jeans or cargos and sneakers….the ultimate in preppy style.  We are also enamored with their open-front Sophie sweater blazer…available in 10 colors.  My spring preppy-pick is their denim jacket coupled with white straight-leg jeans and a classic chambray shirt.  

How many ways can you wear cashmere?  From crewneck sweaters, scarves, joggers, to socks, J.Crew’s choices seem to be endless.  What better way to transition to spring than with a colorful crewneck sweater?  From their soft pastels to their vibrant hues…spring never looked so classic.  And to add a little style flair, think about tucking in a buttoned-down cashmere cardigan.  

Click the pic to shop Holley’s weekend looks

For the latest in comfort, you can’t miss with a pair of J.Crew joggers.  So what sounds more luxurious than cashmere joggers?  The only thing I can think of is a cashmere pullover/jogger combo.  Their fleece joggers and matching sweat sets are just as comfy….a great look for running errands or just hanging out at the house. 

“Pajama party of one”….your jammies are ready.  Lucky for you…no more stealing his pajamas.  With J.Crew’s take on “borrowed-from-the-boys” classic design in crisp men’s shirting…your night shift just got a little more comfy.  Wondering what the chicest way is to get eight hours of Z’s?  That would be a J.Crew eye mask….the perfect complement to your pajama party.  

Click the pic to shop Holley’s style.

Does style get any easier than that?  I don’t think so!

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, and wardrobe consultation.  Be sure to check her Holley Williams Style on Pinterest.  Contact Holley at [email protected].  

Mrs. Twist Reads This Book Club – The Lost Apothecary

I am super excited about our April book club selection The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. I picked this book back in January before its release earlier this month. Something about the storyline and the buzz made me think this could be a winner. And the winner it is!  The book is already a NYT bestseller, and is named Most Anticipated of 2021 by NewsweekGood HousekeepingHello! magazine, Oprah.com, Bustle, Popsugar, Betches, Sweet July, and GoodReads! Join us virtually Thursday, April 22 at 7 p.m. CST as we welcome Sarah who will join us for conversation and cocktails! When you register on my book club page at BookMovement, you will find a delicious cocktail recipe waiting for you to download, and make the night of our gathering.

A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile, in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters, and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance, and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

Not a member of our book club?  Even if you aren’t local to my area, you can join our book club, membership is free, through Bookmovement.  By signing up you will receive notifications on our upcoming meetings and the books we will be reading.  Plus, you can create your personal queue of books you want to read outside of our group and find out new releases and trends in all genres of books.  Friends are always welcome.  Once you register you will have access to the Zoom code in the description of this month’s selection.

New to Zoom and not quite sure how to use it?  Here is a helpful printable walking you through the steps to create and use Zoom like a pro. Be sure to remember to practice Zoom “netiquette” during our meeting.

No matter where you live, we’d love to have you join us!  Happy reading!

Work From Home: How to Convert a Closet into an Office

Do you have a home office or space to claim as your own?  What Would Holley Do?  Repurpose a closet, spare bedroom, or cozy nook into a “cloffice”….an office/closet combo.   How refreshing!

When I’m writing articles, I work from my home office which also doubles as my wardrobe styling closet.  Recently, I did a little organizing and gave it a fresh minimalistic makeover.   When I’m putting outfits together, I bring in a roller rack and use the desk space for organizing accessories….instant closet!  BTW….it makes my neat-freak husband so happy to walk into a pristine office!

This is where Holley writes all her great fashion posts!

If you have space, a “cloffice” is a great way to make the most of a large walk-in closet or spare room.  When designing a “cloffice”, think about your own personal style.  For example, if you love color…style a space accented with bright colors.  Having a window in a closet is a huge bonus.  With all the natural light, you can paint the walls a fun color or cover them with vibrant wallpaper.  

Photo source: Taylormade on Instagram

“Cloffices” are not only for style influencers…even home builders have caught on to this fabulous combo.  They typically call their spaces…pocket offices.  That way, the homeowner can use the space to fit their lifestyle.  Any hobby from wardrobe styling, gift wrapping, to crafting is ideal for a pocket office.  

Photo source: Janet’s DIY Nest Instagram

And here’s the good news…you don’t have to have a huge closet, spare room, or new construction to create a “cloffice”.  We’re sharing ideas from HGTV and Domino on our Pinterest board that demonstrate how to turn a small closet or cozy nook into a cloffice/pocket office.  Some have doors and can be closed off, and others are open and tucked away in a corner.  All you need is a little imagination!  

Click the pic to shop and see more of Holley’s suggestions.

Click the pic to shop Holley’s desk accessory essentials.

So here’s the deal….if you are working from home these days, having your own personal space is a necessity…and so refreshing!  

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, and wardrobe consultation.  Be sure to check her Holley Williams Style on Pinterest.  Contact Holley at [email protected].