Photo a Day Challenge: June 24 – Happiness in a Cup (and Also the ‘Who I am’ Project)

challenge happiness

It’s another convergence of challenges.

Today’s words are Happiness in a Cup. Now that I’ve effectively quit Coke Zero (did I mention that?), the easy out on this no longer exists. I can’t even quit soda at the right time. Neither Pippa Middleton nor pizza fit in a cup, you see.

A heart-felt, homemade jewelry item from a kid you’re bonkers about? Put that in a cup as it waits for her to repair it, and, well, if that’s not happiness in a cup, I don’t know what is.

This isn’t easy to decipher. No, it’s not three chunks of beef caught in chicken coop wire. It’s three gems. It’s a homemade wire bracelet, with gemstones attached. Grace made it for me. She implored me to pick out gems from her stash.

“I’ll make you something, daddy,” she said.

I chose a subtle stone. I’m no geologist, but it reminded me of root beer. No, she said. I’m going to use these three! Off she ambled, a mess of gems and wires and glue in hand. Back she came, a one-of-a-kind bracelet for her dad and a sweet smile.

I love that kid.

‘That’s dope’

I wore it for a couple of weeks. “Are you wearing a bracelet?” a woman at work asked. I showed it to her. “That’s dope,” she said. It wasn’t the only compliment. It also was one of the only fashion compliments I’ve ever gotten at work.

(The other? Kind words about my orange lanyard for my word badge. I know.)

The bracelet’s in a cup because the clasp broke. Grace said she’ll fix it up.

I’ve long meant to take Dana’s Who I Am Project. It’s a monthly exercise to help writers piece together their stories. Absolute brilliance. This month’s team: Betcha didn’t know. I’ll share stories about happiness in a cup I betcha didn’t know about me.

(Mainly because none have appeared on this blog).

My happiness in a cup, revisited

ONCE I SNUCK rum into a drink at a family gathering. Mainly to cope with the noise and ridicule. I swiped it right out of the liquor cabinet. I overdid it, though. There was so much rum in my Solo cup I had to guzzle it just to pour more Diet Coke in it to make it right.

ONCE I SERVED Marie a cup of happiness she didn’t expect. On my first night back from Mexico, I poured rum into a Coke Zero bottle. In a stroke of genius, I decided to make myself a rum and Coke Zero float. Marie also wanted a Coke Zero float.

So I split the Coke Zero and made two. I realized too late that I’d served her from the “special” Coke Zero. (Because I felt tipsy). She finished hers before I could start! And she was doing just fine. Holy Bacardi pirate!

(They’re not all about rum, my stories.)

MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE happy in a cup? It comes from a limited edition titled My Cookbook, by … Marie. Before the rum thing. It’s called chocolate mug cake.



  • 1 large mug
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • vanilla


  1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large mug
  2. Then add beaten egg, and mix
  3. Then add milk, oil, and a little vanilla, and mix
  4. Put mug in microwave for about 3 minutes. Cake should be solid. Turn mug upside down onto a plate and cool

[Check out the photo challenge we’re taking, here.]


cup of happiness quote




  1. Lyn says:

    LOL after a third read, the chunks of beef in chicken wire finally made sense. There’s nothing nicer than a homemade gift from your kids or grandkids.
    I’m going to give that chocolate cake in a mug a go–it sounds delicious. Maybe add a dollop of cream or a scoop of ice cream 😀 Oh, and if you happen to be on a diet, and wanted to make it lower in calories, swap the oil for apple puree. It will be every bit as delicious.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I had to go back and tighten it up a bit, Lyn. I can’t wait for her to fix it so I can wear it again.

      Report back on the mug cake. Ice cream never hurt a cake. Apple sauce has that affect on pancakes, too.

      But, diet? No way.

      1. Lyn says:

        Oooh, I’ve never tried it with pancakes, thanks for the idea. I’ll let you know how the cake goes 😀

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Make it two. I’ll be by in time for tea.

  2. stomperdad says:

    And your cup runeth over with all that happiness. Cake in a cup is both happiness and delicious. Quitting Coke is easy. I’ve done it hundreds of times!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Like a kid blowing bubbles through his milk straw, Eric. Happiness and deliciousness come from the same buffet table, mate.

      Quitting Coke sounds like such an 80s Hollywood problem, doesn’t it? I’ve been there, though – the liquid, carbonated type, anyway.

  3. Kisma says:

    This post is my happiness as I wait in line at the DMV to renew car tags!

    The bracelet is pretty awesome. I adore handmade treasures from our children.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      A polar bear with diptheria would feel like happiness compared to DMV lines. I love my bracelet, because, yes, it’s dope, but it’s also from a girl I love.

  4. ksbeth says:

    i love cups full of things and your examples were wonderful – love the compliment on your jewelry –

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Legit, right beth?

  5. Dana says:

    At first glance I thought the bracelet was an old-school retainer! But at second glance, I see it for the happiness in a cup that it is. The cake in a mug is my favorite – I see that in my immediate future.

    I’m so glad you participated this month, Eli! It’s hard to find things you “betcha didn’t know” when you’re a blogger who shares so much already, isn’t it? Love the positive spin on this post – makes me smile.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s the same color! It was tough to get a good shot of it, and honestly, I put it in the cup for the shot.

      the girls inform me that chocolate syrup and powdered sugar are essential for the mug cake.

      I look forward to reading other “betcha didn’t knows.” yeah, all the stuff I don’t share usually is stuff that would cause legal repercussions (not like serving my teenager a rum float isn’t the same.)

  6. Happiness in a cup? Double Espresso, done 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Spoken like a true barista, Tamara.

  7. mocadeaux says:

    I’m thrilled to see that you joined in on the Who I Am project. And, I’m amused that, rather than dumping out the too much rum in your Solo cup, your solution was to guzzle it. Waste not, want not.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m honored to participate, Mo. I’d have also guzzled orange juice, I’d like to think. I’m pretty green.

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