Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Road Trip Must Haves

I have been looking forward to vacation pretty much since January. Now, it's finally almost here and I can't wait to leave on Friday! I know that today is only Wednesday, but I already have almost everything laid out and ready to pack up for my week at the beach. One thing I made sure to have absolutely perfectly packed right away, though, was my car bag. The ride to South Carolina is roughly 12 hours, so I definitely need to make sure I'm entertained for every minute. 

First and foremost, I needed a good book. I've had If I Stay by Gayle Forman on my shelf for forever and since the movie comes out next month and I absolutely have to see it, I decided vacation was the perfect time to crack into the book. So, book? Check. But one book is definitely not enough, so I had to find some other sources of entertainment. It's no secret that I'm a runner, so my next choice of reading was Runner's World magazine. I've actually never read the magazine before, but have always wanted to check it out. What better time to get to know the magazine than by spending 12 hours with it? Not to mention it's the half-marathon special, which I'm super excited about. With those two reads, I will definitely not get bored anytime soon. 

Some other random knickknacks include an abundance of colored pens, a notebook for random ideas and lists, some lotion, my new Forever 21 sunglasses, and hair essentials like headbands and ponytails. All of this goes in my beautiful The Fault In Our Stars bag that I won in a giveaway. Gosh, just writing about it all makes me beyond excited to hit the road. I've always been a fan of long car rides because I can get so much done. Why can't it be Friday already so I can have my 12 hours of reading and relaxation? 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Forever 21 July Haul

I am pretty much obsessed with Forever 21. And I mean obsessed. Any time my sister and I are near the mall, we have to go in and spend at least and hour exploring. Our store is two stories and absolutely glorious. They were having 30% off their sale merchandise, so of course we went and got some goodies. The best sale, though, was online! They were having 30% off sale and free shipping on $30+, so my sister and I could not resist loading up our shopping cart. Pictured above are what I got and, I must say, what a deal! Everything I got was collectively worth over $50 and I spent a whopping $17. It's the little things that make my day :)

How adorable is that satchel? I have had my eye on it for awhile, so when I saw it was on sale for $10, I about had a heart attack. With the 30% off, the purse dropped to $7. Of course I had to buy it! I made my sister pick out stuff she wanted ASAP so that we could put in our order before anything I wanted went on sale. The purse is so much bigger than I expected and I love it! Everything else turned out so much better than I had been expecting. The fleece sweater is so soft and I love the light pink color. The sunglasses are adorable and the lace headbands are exactly what I wanted. Lastly, the sleep shorts are super cute and fit perfectly! I never know what size to get from Forever 21 because it varies so much in stores, but the medium shorts fit like a glove. Finding this package on the front porch yesterday definitely made my day and I couldn't be more excited with my purchases! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sweet On Sunday #16

1. I am obsessed with the Vintage Classics Jane Austen Novels. The watercolor covers are just too gorgeous. 

2. I came this close to buying this There's Something about Merriment Dress. The bow belt completely stole my heart. 

3. You can never have too many makeup bags, and this Crazy Hearts Midsize Cosmetics Bag has my name written all over it. 

4. I've always gone with a functional backpack for school, but I would love to have a backpack like this Warehouse Satchel Detail Backpack

5. I already own a red pair, but I am so tempted to buy another pair in purple. Or perhaps peach? Or both? I'm addicted! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

What I Wore: Black and White Stripes

Dress- Delia's | Shoes- Modcloth | Purse- Ebay | Belt- JcPenny's

Happy weekend, everyone! I have been working non-stop ever since Sunday, but I finally get a day off tomorrow. I only had to work two hours this morning, though, so I went on a little adventure with my sister and visited The Book Loft. As a bookworm, The Book Loft was absolute heaven. We had fun going through all of the rooms and hallways lined with books. Then, we ate some macaroons from a bakery around the corner and grabbed smoothies at Starbucks for lunch. It was a fun afternoon to relax after such a busy week. 

For the rest of the day, I plan on parking myself in front of the TV and gorging on Gossip Girl. I'm finally on season four of five, which means I'm that much closer to finally being done with the series. And now that they're all in college, things have only gotten crazier. I still think Blaire and Chuck are meant to be! 

My plans for tomorrow are still up in the air, but I know that I'm definitely spending the day with my mom, dad, and sister. I work every night Monday-Thursday, so I've been missing a lot of family dinners this summer. I can't wait for some much needed family time, no matter what we end up doing. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Books and Fishing Trips

How is July already almost half way over? Seriously? It feels like just yesterday I was celebrating the Fourth of July and now it's already the 17th? Wow. I've been spending my days working, working, and, oh, working some more. Haha, at least I'm making some money! When I'm not working, I'm running every morning and reading outside with my sister and puppy. I've received and read some pretty awesome books lately. Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorite authors, so I was beyond excited for the chance to review her latest release. Summer is the best time for reading, so I've been sure to get through as many books as I can!

A couple of weeks ago, my family surprised my mom with a fishing trip and it was one of the best mornings of summer so far. We spent around 4 hours fishing where we used to go all the time when we were little. By the end of the trip, I had caught the most fish out of everyone in my family, which I was definitely proud of! The trip brought back so many good memories and now I can't wait until the next time we can go out and enjoy some quiet time fishing as a family. 

My sister also received her second Ipsy bag and it was fun! I loved the pink bag with scalloped edges, as well as the lip crayon and eye shadow. However, we definitely didn't need the bronzer and tanning oil. I laughed when we saw the bronzer because my sister has such fair skin and she made sure to mention that on her Ipsy survey, yet they keep on sending products for more dark skinned people. Oh, well! It's still fun to get a surprise every month. A little brightness in the nice, relaxed month of July. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Kitchen Krazy: Cool Veggie Pizza

I love pizza, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood for something greasy and loaded with hundreds of calories. Back in high school, my mom had made my sister and I this delicious veggie pizza, but we hadn't had it in years. Last week, my sister and I decided we wanted to try and make it again. With a little bit of googling, I finally found the recipe for Cool Veggie Pizza and my sister and I couldn't wait to make it!

Cool Veggie Pizza

1 package (8 ounces) refrigerated low fat crescent rolls
1 package (8 ounces) fat free cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon fat free mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
2 cups assorted fresh vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, carrot, or green onion

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Unroll crescent dough; separate into eight triangles. On Large Round Stone with Handles, arrange triangles in a circle with points in the center and wide ends toward the outside. Using lightly floured Baker's Roller™, roll dough to a 12-inch circle, pressing seams together to seal. Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven; cool completely.
2. In Classic Batter Bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic pressed with Garlic Press and dill weed. Season with salt and black pepper; mix well with Small Mix 'N Scraper®. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over crust.
3. To prepare vegetables, coarsely chop broccoli or cauliflower with Food Chopper. Dice or slice cucumber, bell pepper, green onions or tomato using Utility Knife. Slice mushrooms using Egg Slicer Plus®. Grate carrot using Deluxe Cheese Grater. Crinkle cut yellow squash or zucchini using Crinkle Cutter.
4. Sprinkle vegetables over pizza. Cut into squares with Pizza Cutter; serve using Mini-Serving Spatula.

This pizza is so good. And using all fat free ingedrients means that it's healthy and not too bad with the calories. My sister and I split the roll of crescent rolls into two flat pizzas and that made enough for us each to have a very filling lunch. We used broccoli and tomatoes because my sister is pretty picky when it comes to her vegetables. It was still delicious! Next time I'm in the mood for something cool, healthy, and refreshing, I'm definitely going to whip up some of this pizza!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sweet On Sunday #15

1. I am so in love with this Let's Decadence Dress. The dark blue color is just too pretty. And the lace trim? I'd love to own this one!

2. I have so many superhero shirts, but I don't have anything Hulk yet. This Incredible Hulk Sweatshirt would be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. 

3. I am obsessed with Keds and have quite the obsession with owls too. I had no idea there were owl Keds in existence. And in pink? Someone pinch me now! 

4. School seems to be creeping up on me (only 1 1/2 months left!) and this Floral Backpack would be so much fun to use for my senior year. 

5. This Polka Dot Hinge Wallet is so bright and so big! I love big, bright wallets, so this would be perfect to use for the summer!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Kitchen Krazy: Soft-Bake Funfetti Sugar Cookies

There's something about sprinkles that just brighten up my day. When you think about it, sprinkles don't really taste like anything. But just having them on a dessert makes it that much more enticing. So when I saw these Soft-Baked Funfetti Cookies from Sally's website, I couldn't wait to make them. How could I resist such a fun, bright cookie? 

Soft-Baked Funfetti Sugar Cookies
Makes 12 Cookies


1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*

3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature*

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar (cannot be omitted)

1/2 cup (80g) sprinkles, plus more for sprinkle on top before baking


1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Get it nice and smooth, then add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.
2. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tartar. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts. The dough is quite thick and you may have to stir the rest by hand. Once combined, fold in 1/2 cup sprinkles.
Scoop a large sections of dough (about 2 Tablespoons of dough each) and roll into balls. Make sure the balls are taller, rather than wide. Add a few more sprinkles on top of each ball dough.
3. Chill the balls of dough on the cookie sheet for at least 2 hours and up to 48 hours in the refrigerator.* This step will prevent spreading in the oven.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
4. Bake chilled cookie dough for 8 minutes, no more. The cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheets for 3 minutes and move to wire rack to cool completely.
5. Cookies stay soft & fresh for up to 1 week at room temperature. Cookies freeze well. Cookies may be rolled into balls and frozen up to 3 months to bake at a later date. Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
*If you're in a pinch and need to soften your butter quickly, cut 1 stick of butter into 5 different sections. Microwave for 10 seconds.
*Room temperature egg is required. To bring the egg to room temperature quickly, place in a warm glass of water for about 10 minutes as you get the other ingredients ready.
*Chilling dough is mandatory.
I know that chilling dough can be a pain. When I make cookies, I want them now, not in 3-4 hours. But let me tell you, these cookies are so worth the wait. They are incredibly fluffy and soft. I love them! With every cookie I've made so far that requires chilling, the cookies have come out looking perfect, with just the right amount of thickness to the dough. I'm happy to say that these cookies turned out that way too. Just look at how delicious they look! 
The directions say that you must take the cookies out after 8 minutes, even if they don't look done. Mine definitely didn't look done, but you never question Sally, so I took them right out. And you know what? Once they were cooled, they were perfect. So soft! These are absolutely delicious sugar cookies to enjoy with some fun sprinkles on top to brighten your day. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Must Haves: Ready for the Beach

With my vacation to Surfside Beach quickly approaching (only two more weeks!), I have been thinking nonstop about what I'm going to bring with me. Whenever my family goes to the beach for the week, which we've been doing for the past four years, we always spend almost all day, everyday just lying on the beach. While we do rent a condo on the beach, I hate having to constantly go in and out because I forgot stuff. That being said, I have to make sure I pack all of my essentials before heading out for a long, gorgeous day on the sand. 

A towel and sunglasses are definitely a must, but I've learned that little things like a headband and a cosmetic bag to hold the little things like lip balm, lotion, and hair ties is a must. The beach is hot, which means that I'm bound to start sweating about 20 minutes in to laying out in the sun. A headband helps keeping my sweaty, sticky hair out of my fave while I try to work on my tan. I also love finding fun tanks to wear over my bathing suit. They're comfortable enough to wear if I'm in the shade and always brighten up my outfit. Lastly, you'll always find a book in my beach bag. I read at least a book a day over vacation, so a book or my Nook is always in my hand while I'm on the beach. This year, I'm definitely digging into Colleen Hoover's newest book. Mmmmm I can smell the salt and sunscreen already! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sweet On Sunday #14

1. Modcloth is having a huge sale and I was so tempted to get this Daisy Sunday Morning Dress!

2. This Model Face Canvas Tote is so cute! It reminds me so much of Audrey Hepburn and I just love it. 

3. I love the little elephant on this Skinny Waist Belt. Little fun details like that on an outfit always catch my eye. 

4. As a fanatic for cat-eye sunglasses, these Sorbet Seeker Sunglasses are just begging to be added to my collection. 

5. I love, love, love baking and buying as many baking books as I can't get my hands on. You can't get any more adorable than this Vintage Sweets Book

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Day at the Zoo

For the past two summers, I've worked in the retail department of the zoo. Working 40 hours a week means that I'd prefer not to spend any more time than necessary there. However, since leaving my job for work more in the field of education, I've kind of missed the place. I loved seeing the animals and since I left, they built a brand new Africa exhibit where there are zebras, camels, giraffes, and so many more cool animals. My family decided to go last week and it was a blast!

When we first arrived, we headed straight to the Polar Bears and one of them were actually playing in the water! He had this huge inflatable ball that he kept on trying to jump on, only to splash back into the water. We went underneath and saw him swimming around. He was so cute! After the Polar Bears, we headed over to Africa and it was huge. There was so much land and the giraffes and zebras were just roaming around. They were so beautiful! It was definitely the most packed part of the zoo for being 9 am, right when the zoo opened, but it was well worth the crowds. 

While we were there, I also got to ride on the carousel! I haven't ridden one of those in so long, so I was like a giddy little girl again as I walked around trying to find the perfect horse to ride. It was so much fun! Oh, and I finally got to go on the Dinosaur Island Boat Ride that opened last summer. Since I worked in the gift shop right outside of the ride at least three times a week last summer, it's about time I saw what all of the fuss was about! After spending all morning at the zoo, I realized that I actually missed the place. The animals are adorable and breathtaking! I can't wait until I can go back and visit all of my little, and gigantic, friends again!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day (1996)

Every July 4th, my family and I have one tradition we never ever break: Watch Independence Day. I have seen this movie so many times that I've lost count. What better way to celebrate America's day of Independence than with some Will Smith and alien invasions? 

Thought to at first be meteors, an alien invasion has begun on Earth. With the aliens all but obliterating major cities around the world, the human survivors are determined to find a way to save their planet. After the aliens'  initial attacks, the humans set off towards Area 51, a place the government has been testing on the aliens they've managed to capture. July 4th becomes the day where people from all walks of life come together and fight the aliens for their independence. 

This movie is just too cool. It takes the cliche alien invasion storyline and creates an iconic movie that has stayed in my heart for almost as long as I've been alive. I love how there are so many characters that are well developed throughout this movie so that you really end up caring for all of them. You have David, the ex-scientist, with his wife who he's been having relationship problems with (who also just so happens to be Eleanor Waldorf from Gossip Girl). Then, you have Steven (Will Smith), who is in the marines and isn't sure if he wants to marry his girlfriend who's a stripper and has the most adorable son and dog ever. Oh, and then there's the president, who's just awesome. If Bill Pullman ever ran for President, he'd definitely have my vote! All of the characters had interesting, complex story lines that helped create such a heart-pumping movie. 

While this is definitely a serious movie where people die and others give some gut-wrenching speeches, I love the funny moments thrown in to lighten things up. Will Smith is hilarious and I love the kick-butt attitude he brings to every role he plays in his movies. Sure, there are aliens that are threatening to kill off the characters we've grow to love throughout the movie, but you have such faith in the characters and expect that everything will eventually be all right. You don't know how, but you know that the American heroes in this movie are going to do everything they can for our beloved Independence. You just can't go wrong with a Fourth of July classic like Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Kitchen Krazy: Baked Nutella Donuts with Nutella Glaze

Nutella is officially my best friend. Seriously. Not only is it absolutely delicious to eat by the spoonful directly from the jar, but it's also the best baking secret ever. After making the Nutella White Chocolate Chip Cookies, I have been dying to bake something with Nutella again and knew I had found the perfect recipe when my sister found these donuts from Cooking Classy. So. Good. 

Baked Nutella Donuts with Nutella Glaze
Makes 9-10 donuts

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Nutella
  • 4 - 6 tsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Chopped, toasted hazelnuts or sprinkles, for topping (optional)

  • 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt for 30 seconds, set aside. 
  • 2. In a separate mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on medium-low speed, whip together granulated sugar, light-brown sugar, Nutella and butter until well blended, about 20 seconds. Stir in egg and vanilla. 
  • 3. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and working in three separate batches, add 1/3 of the flour mixture alternating with half of the milk, mixing and folding just until combined after each addition and beginning and ending with flour mixture. 
  • 4. Divide batter among greased doughnut pans filling each about 3/4 full (I got 9). Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into doughnut comes out clean, about 7 - 9 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes, then run a butter knife around edges to loosen and invert onto wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  • 5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, 2 1/2 Tbsp Nutella, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth, then spread Nutella glaze over tops of doughnuts. Top with sprinkles or chopped hazelnuts and allow glaze to set at room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Seriously. These donuts? Absolutely delicious. I may or may not have eaten half the batter and half the glaze before we actually made the donuts. Mmmm, so good. We forgot about adding sprinkles until we had finished glazing all of the donuts, so only about three of them had soft enough glaze for the sprinkles to actually stick. Oh well! Sprinkles or no sprinkles, I am obsessed with how delicious these are. The cake is moist and the glaze is perfectly chocolatey. It's so hard not to stuff every single donut in my mouth in one sitting, so I've made my sister hide them from me unless I ask for one, and only one, donut. Haha, what can I say? When it comes to Nutella in anything, I lose any and all self control!

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