Friday, February 28, 2014

Rent (2005)

You guys, how have I not seen this movie until now? I know so many songs from this film and I know the gist of the story, but I never actually sat down and watched it. And I was absolutely blown away by it! The singers in this movie were so powerful, and the message the film portrayed about AIDS and love was unforgettable.

Rent is the film version of an award winning musical that depicts the lives of various performers who live in New York City. These unique individuals all deal with troubles including poverty, love, and AIDs, and their stories prove just how significant one life can be to the lives of all of the people surrounding them.

First off, can I just say I had no idea that Idina Menzel was in this movie? I texted my sister amazed when I first saw Idina on screen and my sister was basically like, "Duh." Guess I never really paid attention to this movie until now! I absolutely love Idina Menzel (we already know how incredible her voice is…) and thought her character was fantastic . Well, all of the characters were fantastic. How can one movie have a cast of such amazing characters with such complex personalities? I loved all of them! The way they interacted was so interesting and they all had an important role in each others' lives. 

Not only were the characters great, but so were the songs. My favorites were definitely Tango: Maureen, Out Tonight, and the opening version of Seasons of Love. The scenes were so fun and the way the music is interwoven into the story makes everything so much more interesting and fascinating. There were definitely serious aspects of this movie considering it's about poverty and AIDS, but there were lots of fun moments that gave the movie a lighter edge. And there were so many songs. I'm not used to a musical having songs practically very five minutes of the film. As a fan of musicals, though, I loved the constant singing and performances put on. 

I was so surprised how connected I was to the relationships among the various characters. Whether they were between two women, a man and a woman, or a man and a drag queen, I was invested in every single relationship of this film. By the end, I wanted to bawl my eyes out as each relationship went through their individual trials. They have to deal with cheating, drugs, and disease, and it just hurts seeing them hurting. You come to love these characters, and seeing them fall apart after you had so much hope for them just crushes you. There is so much emotion in this story that it's easy to forget that your watching a movie and these people aren't actually real. As your experience their troubled journeys through life, their stories become as real as your own. 

My first experience watching Rent will definitely not be my last. Not only is it my favorite genre (musical), but it also contains an incredible cast portraying incredible characters on an emotionally unforgettable journey of trying to make it in New York. If you haven't already, you definitely have to watch this movie. Catch it on Netflix right here!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Crazy Little Pup Called Rosie

You guys, I'm in love. Like, head over heels and love….with my puppy! Haha, honestly, I don't know how people can go through life without a pet. I absolutely love this girl to death. While she's over 8 years old and definitely is not classified as a puppy, she sure still acts like one.

Every time I come home for the weekend during the semester, I run straight to Rosie and give her a huge hug and kiss. You can just tell how much she loves it! Haha, but seriously. While she may whine a full hour before dinnertime and eat an entire bag of pumpkin hershey kisses from my room, wrappers and all, I couldn't have asked for a better pup. Who knew so much personality could be in one dog? I'm hoping she decides to stick around for a very long time, because life would be so sad without her...

Just look at that face! She loves hanging out at the top of the steps and peering down at what everyone is doing below. The fur on her forehead scrunches up in the cutest way and I just want to smother her with kisses every time I see her like this. And now that I'm back at school, I'm going through some serious puppy withdrawal. Where's a super soft, crazy puppy when you need her? Another three weeks stands between being reunited with Rosie, and I don't know how I'm going to make it! At least I know that, at school, my chocolate is safe and sound...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kitchen Krazy: Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I went home this past weekend, and going home always means being able to cook with my parents and sister. I had found this recipe for cauliflower pizza a couple of weeks ago and immediately sent my sister the link, telling her we just had to make it the next time we were home. So, after four weeks of being away at school, I was finally able to head home for the weekend. That Friday night, my sister and I whipped up some cauliflower pizzas and treated our parents to dinner!

Cauliflower Crust Pizzas

Cauliflower Crust
Makes 4 individual pizzas
2 eggs
2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 cups riced cauliflower (grate the raw cauliflower on a cheese grater or in a food processor)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh julienned basil

Your choice (I used pizza sauce, colby jack shredded cheese, and sausage)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spray with non-stick spray. 
In a medium bowl, combine riced cauliflower, basil, eggs, and mozzarella. Divide into 4 amounts and press evenly on the parchment paper. 
Bake the crusts at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes (I went 15 minutes). 
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. 
Add marinara sauce to each pizza. 
Then add the toppings. 
Place back in oven until cheese is melted, about another 5-10 minutes. 

Making these was so fun and so easy! We own a ricer and the directions on the recipe said to rice the cauliflower, but that wasn't going to happen. Trying to rice raw cauliflower? We were going to break the ricer before that was ever going to happen! So we ended up using our chopper to chop up the two cups of cauliflower into tiny pieces. We mixed all of the ingredients together and threw it in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, we added the toppings and put it in the oven for another 5 minutes. And voila! You have four absolutely delicious, healthy(er) pizzas!

My mom and sister went with some mushrooms to top of their pizzas (ewwwww) while my dad and I went with some cheese and sausage. The crust was so good. Both my dad and sister were skeptical about the whole raw cauliflower thing, instead of cooking the cauliflower beforehand, but it turned out perfectly. The dough tasted like a pizza dough with the same texture of a thin pizza crust. It was fantastic! We already can't wait to try it out again.

Friday, February 21, 2014

February's Birchbox

I have been dying to try out Birchbox for awhile now. Only $10 for a box full of fun samples? Yes please! My sister and I finally decided to go for it for their February US Weekly edition. Opening the box seemed like a sacred ceremony where we circled around the package and slowly extracted each goodie inside…

Doesn't seem like much, huh? Well, at least that's what I thought. I think that I had my hopes up way too high, because I was a little let down opening up this box. Let's go through what all I got:

Protect & Oil
This is the little bottle on the top left, and it's a hair oil that defends against UV rays, heat, and breakage. I'm pretty low maintenance with my hair, so I wasn't too excited about this product. I let my hair air dry, put some Herbal Essence mousse in, and am good to go. I'm giving this to my sister since she blow dries her hair everyday. We'll see how it works out for her!

Truffle Therapy Serum: Boosting anti-aging serum
This serum is an antioxidant-rich truffle extract that helps smooth wrinkles and restore dull, parched skin. Too bad I'm a 20-year-old who doesn't have any wrinkles that need smoothing…so I wasn't too excited about this one either. I'm pretty sure Birchbox asked for my age in the survey, so why they would send me an anti-aging serum for wrinkles is beyond me. 

OPI Sheer Tints
Now this is what made the whole package for me. This little bottle is a tinted top coat that gives nails a wash of high-shine translucent color. I am a bit obsessive when it comes to nail polish and have been dying to try out OPIs new tint collection. And now I finally have a bottle to try out! I think the purple color is going to turn out gorgeous. I can't wait to try that product out. 

Hello perfume
This is a bottle of Hello perfume that is citrus with a little floral scent thrown in the mix. I love the packaging and I think it smells great. I'm not a big fan of florals, so I think the mixture of citrus tones down the florals and gives it a nice fresh scent. 

Harney & Sons Fine Teas
I love tea as well, so seeing two little bags to try out in my box made me very happy. I got White Vanilla Grapefruit and Paris, which both sound very intriguing. We'll see how they taste!

Overall, I was a bit disappointed in my first experience with Birchbox. While I was super excited about the OPI nail polish and teas, I don't even know if I'll use the other three products. They seem like samples you can get free with a makeup purchase, not specially picked samples for products that I'm bound to love. Based off this box, I don't know if I will continue on with my subscription for March. What about you guys? Have you tried out Birchbox or any other beauty boxes? Have you enjoyed what you received? 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Back to the Classics

As a future English teacher with a minor in English Literature, you could say I love classics. Before coming to college, though, I never realized how many "classics" there actually are! I hadn't even heard of Elizabeth Gaskell or Goerge Eliot in high school (yeah, pretty embarrassing when we talked about George Eliot in class my Sophomore year of college and I thought he was a misogynist who just couldn't deal with the fact that women can write…) 

Anyways, I decided to start the Jane Austen Book Club at my school Spring semester last year in order to have the chance to read classics for fun. Since then, I've read every one of Jane Austen's novels and delved into some other authors that I've fallen in love with. I recently finished North and South and completely adored the novel. Elizabeth Gaskell's writing is so easy to follow and I loved all of the historical components she included revolving around the industrial revolution. 

Right now, I'm reading Wuthering Heights for our meeting tonight. While I read it for AP Lit in high school, reading it for pleasure is such a different experience. This time, I get to focus on the romance instead of all of the politics going on between the families. And boy is it good! I can't stop reading and, even though I know how it's going to end, I'm excited to see exactly how everything plays out. 

I have been absolutely dying to read Jane Eyre and Huckleberry Finn, but never seem to have the opportunity to actually sit down and read them. Do you guys have any favorite classics? Or any classics that you've always wanted to read, but just never did? 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Books and Tea

So, I kind of, sort of, really have an addiction to Instagram. Because with this obsession, I can take pictures of my other obsessions. Like books. And tea. And the occasional hot chocolate. I was going through all of the photos I've taken since I stopped blogging, and, well, they all aren't that different. What I was able to see, though, is that am very good at varying which mug from my endless supply of mugs I use to take pictures with! Haha, and these six don't even begin to cover my extensive mug collection. I'm definitely going to have to dedicate an entire post to my mugs. There's just something about finding the cutest mug that you know will brighten up any long, hard day.

Books and tea are a combination that I hold dear to my heart. There's no better feeling than plopping down on the couch with a steaming mug of tea and my latest read. I get to escape the hectic world of a 20-year-old college student and enjoy someone else's problems for awhile. And apparently every time I do this, I just have to document it with Instagram.

As a 2014 resolution, I was determined to take an Instagram picture a day for the entire year. That lasted about 5 days until the resolution went completely out the window. But there are periods where I have to document every little thing by taking a picture and sharing it with my lovely 46 followers. Sure, those pictures only get 2 or 3 hearts, but I love looking back a year later and seeing all of the little things that were going on in my life during that time. So here's to documenting the big and the small wonders life throws my way :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Kitchen Krazy: Red Velvet Cake Balls

So, I may have a slight addiction to red velvet. And when I say slight addiction, I mean I wish I could eat it for every meal for the rest of my life. Seriously. When Valentine's Day rolls around every year, I absolutely love the red velvet love everyone has to celebrate the holiday. I kept seeing a ton of recipes on pinterest and decided that I just had to make something red velvet to celebrate Valentine's Day. I browsed through some of my favorite blogs and finally settled on the recipe from Bakerella. I may or may not have eaten 5 balls the day I made them…not counting the many bites I stole during the ball forming process...

While not all of them look perfect, they taste absolutely amazing. Who needs a boyfriend on Valentine's Day when you have super moist, chocolate covered cake balls to spend the day with? My mouth is watering just thinking about eating another one. 

Red Velvet Cake Balls
From Bakerella
1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz)
1 1/2 packages of chocolate chips
3 tablespoons canola oil

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)
3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50. Mine made 48.)
4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)
5. Melt chocolate chips and canola oil in the microwave, mixing every 30 seconds until melted. 
6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.)
These are so easy, and oh so rewarding when they're done. And they make A TON! Do you know how long it's going to take me to eat 48 cake balls (I know I could share, but they're just too good)? Well, let's pretend it'll take more than two days to make it through the container. Well, I'm off to grab another handful of these delicious cake balls before dinner

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I'm Back!

That's right, I'm back! I know I haven't posted anything 7 months, but I just got so busy and wasn't all that into blogging in July. I felt like no one was reading my posts, so why bother? When I started looking through my blog recently, though, I realized how much I loved posting. I love it because I was able to write all the time, which is a passion of mine. I loved it because I pushed myself to do so many new things. I loved it because I was able to capture my life and look back at everything I've done. I found posts from my trip to London, from Easter last year, from Christmas last year. And I missed it. I missed just writing about my life, no matter how many people read it or cared. I cared. So I decided to give it another shot. 

Since July, I've been keeping busy. I worked for the rest of the summer in the retail department of the zoo and worked there again during my winter break (which was 6 weeks long…thank goodness it finally ended). In August I turned 20 and am officially not a teenager anymore. I also moved into my very first apartment with three roommates in Oxford, OH. No more dorms! I'm in the second semester of my Junior year of college and loving every single one of my classes. I'm training for my second half-marathon that will be on May 3rd. I've become even more obsessed with running and run at least 3 miles every single day. If I miss a day, I feel antsy and restless. I've been watching more movies, reading more books, eating more chocolate and baking more cookies than ever before. 

Hopefully I'll pick up the pace again and dedicate some time to this blog. I spent some time updating the format, and I love the way it looks now. It's so bright and fun. Just what I need to motivate me to really stick to blogging. I'll be posting updates on running, movies I'm watching, projects I'm working on, and any goodies I've been baking. And, of course, the crazy things life throws my way. I'm am beyond excited for all of the possibilities for Sew In Love. Talk to you soon ;)

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