Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Friday!

Happy (almost) Halloween! Being in college means that the whole weekend is basically Halloween, so I'm already in the spirit. I just need to get through one test and finish some research for a paper, and then I will be able to have some fun! Hopefully the rain lets up some though - it has rained the last 4 weekends and the forecast says that this will be the 5th. Major bummer. Rain or no rain though, I hope you have a fun and wild weekend!

Listening to: "Young Forever" Jay Z
Thought of the Day: "Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so." - David Grayson

{image via weheartit}

ps- "Isn't my mom amazing?": Part II
Martha Stewart-worthy brownie cupcakes for my little brother's school Halloween party.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Loving the Little Things

Every month on Smitten, readers are asked what their "Five Simple Pleasures" are this month. Reading the multitude of comments is a great reminder to slow down and enjoy the small things in life that can so easily be taken for granted. Here's my list for October:

1. Cozy scarves.
2. Running outside and catching a whiff of fall that takes me right back to high school cross country.
3. The sun peeking out through all the rain clouds.
4. The satisfying crunch of a perfect carrot.
5. Cute couples.

What's making you smile right now?

Listening to: "Say" John Mayer
Thought of the Day: "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

{Image via weheartit}

Monday, October 26, 2009

Caramelized Onions

Until a few years ago I detested onions. The texture, the taste, all of it, but now, thank goodness, I can't get enough of them. Which is why I would have the strange craving for caramelized onions at 11pm a few nights ago. Or maybe it was my procrastination kicking in. Either way, the onions were delicious.
I couldn't remember which recipe I usually used, but I figured I couldn't go wrong by combining recipes from Heart of Light and Smitten Kitchen.

{finely slice your onion(s)}

{put in a pot (no oil or butter yet!) and let cook over medium, covered for 20ish minutes;
uncover and add a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt and a bit of olive oil and a bit of butter}

{cook over low heat until golden, stirring occasionally; savor and repeat often}

Is it weird that I ate these plain? Probably, but the flavor is so amazing - sweet and savory - that they perfect by themselves.

Listening to: "Wedding Dress" Matt Nathanson
Thought of the Day: "Loved people are loving people." -Katherine Hepburn

A Case of the Mondays...

I want to...

read a good book in a hammock at the beach...
climb a mountain for a breathtaking view...
bake something delicious...
sit outside and smell the crisp fall air...

.... be anywhere but here with my laptop and homework.

Listening to: "I'm Alive" Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews
Thought of the Day: "If you just be safe about the choices you make, you don't grow." -Heath Ledger

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Friday!

Doesn't this tree look like something out of the scene in Disney's Robin Hood where they are celebrating by the waterfall? It was made by tying hundreds of electric tea lights to a string and hanging them on the tree! I just read the whole story (it was for a proposal!) on the Smitten blog and am just that - smitten with the idea. I love reading about all the crazy and romantic ways that guys propose. It's amazing to me the amount of thought that goes into planning that one little question, especially when it is a guy who doesn't seem like he would be so creative!
I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Listening to: "Jamming" - Bob Marley
Thought of the Day: "People love others not for who they are but for how they make them feel." -Irwin Federman

{Image via HearBlack}

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hanging on to Summer

Last fall I tried the shorts-over-tights idea a couple times but to be honest, I felt a little silly even though I really liked the concept. I love fall, but I would much rather wear shorts any day (I'm wearing them right now and it's in the 40s!). I was re-inspired after seeing this Winter Shorts post on Cup of Jo and promptly found a few coveted pairs.

{J. Crew, $98}

{Forever 21, $19.80}

{Shopbop, $370}

Still not feeling it? Check out these outfits for some shorts-over-tights inspiration: Anthropologie, J.Crew's LookBook, and Couture Carrie

Listening to: "Do You Remember" Jay Sean
Thought of the Day: ""Overcome the notion that you must be regular. It robs you of the chance to be extraordinary." -Uta Hagen

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cozy Coffee

I'm a coffee addict. And regrettably I am a Starbucks addict as well. I'm getting a little annoyed with them though. Ever since they started their new campaign to reduce waste by placing the cup sleeves in a basket, making you choose to use one, I've noticed that many baristas are choosing to double cup instead and many are double cupping and sleeving. Really Starbucks? Is this necessary? I don't know much about this, but last time I checked, their cups didn't leak and, while the coffee is hot, it isn't hotter than any other single-cupping coffee shops' coffee. Arg.

But then I ran across these sleeves on Etsy and I think I will soon have ended my need for two cups or sleeves. There are so many cute ones, but I might just have to make my own.

{Starbucks Burlap Look-a-Like}

Wouldn't these be a great Christmas present too? My mom implemented this rule last year that presents should be predominantly homemade so that we focus less on the materialist aspect of Christmas and more on being with family and celebrating our gifts and talents. Then, I saw this post on Heart of Light and it reminded me to be on the lookout for ideas!

ps - here is the first Starbucks ever! We saw it on a family trip to Seattle two summers ago :)

Listening to: "With Arms Wide Open" Creed
Thought of the Day: "In some families, please is described as the magic word. In our house, however, it was sorry." -Margaret Laurence

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Birthday Pumpkin Cupcakes

What better excuse to continue my pumpkin theme than my mom's birthday? To celebrate on Saturday, I made her pumpkin cupcakes with maple-cream cheese frosting, recipe via Smitten Kitchen (p.s.- I made SK's winter panzanella as well and it was delicious - first time ever having brussel sprouts!). I added more cinnamon and more pumpkin puree than was called for and they were deliciously perfect.

{batter, pre, during, and post pumpkin addition}

{the frosting tasted good, but if you want it to look more like the gorgeous
pictures on SK, don't use margarine and fat free cream cheese -oops!}

Listening to: "Sunshine" by Ne-Yo
Thought of the Day: "No matter how discouraged we get, God has not asked us to do the impossible." -George Grace

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend began as I drove home Friday for fall break and was able to take in all the changing leaves and corn fields. It might sound weird, but one of the things I always miss when I go on vacation is being able to drive through the country and see all the corn and soybean fields changing with seasons from barren to lush green to harvest-ready golden. The consistency is somewhat comforting and a good reminder of a slower paced, simpler life and it was a great way to start a relaxing weekend with family and friends.

{corn fields and pretty sky}

{birthday baking for my mom - cupcakes to follow!}

{my little brother Pete's soccer game}

{driving through fall trees}

Listening to: "Beautiful" by Akon
Thought of the Day: "Remember happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think." - Dale Carnegie

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Friday!

It's rather funny that I have never been to New York City, but when I think of fall and brisk days, I think of Central Park because of my infatuation with You've Got Mail. There is just something so perfect about that movie, like the way Meg Ryan smells the bouquet of pencils or the way that she can make you want to wear librarian-esque clothing because it looks so effortlessly sexy. Anyway, I love the scenes from the beginning of the movie with the ushering in of fall as the shop keepers open their stores and the leaves are changing colors. You can practically smell the leaves through the TV. And rewatching the movie is one of the things on my to-do list for fall break this weekend, along with eating a Del's caramel apple (Decatur, IL specialty!), getting a hair cut, and making this winter panzanella.
Have a lovely weekend!

Listening to: "Begin Again" by Colbie Caillat
Thought of the Day: "be with someone who knows what they have when they have you."

{Image via JaimeRose Blog}

Thursday, October 15, 2009

If Karl Lagerfeld Gets to do it...

I want to have a barn party too.

Listening to: Dido "Here With You"
Thought of the Day: (pardon the French, but it's a good one!) "I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass. "-Maya Angelou

{Image via Garance Dore}

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dreaming about You

I just saw this on Smitten, the lovely blog on Glamour by Joanna of A Cup of Jo. The title of the post? "Every Boyfriend Should Have This Mug..." I completely agree.

Listening to: "Tuesday Morning" Michelle Branch
Thought of the Day: "We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves." -Eric Hoffer

Monday, October 12, 2009

I like lists.

I woke up this morning to a lovely 16 e-mails. I last checked it at 1:30am. Ahhh... Monday mornings.

{Essentials for the week: laptop (please note the plethora of sticky notes), coffee, stack of books, and Leaves candle}

It's midterms week too and it's looking very hairy. I have two tests on Wednesday and two tests and two papers on Thursday, but I just keep telling myself that it will go well because I have a plan in place. No matter what, I am going to go to the gym everyday, sleep at least 6 hours, and study constantly. I'm addicted to post-it notes and lists so I have it all mapped out and I just keep telling myself these could be my last midterms... ever. Scary thought, but with graduation in May and student teaching all spring, I may never have to take them again. Even scarier than graduation though is that this means this semester is the last one I have to make a great impression on my future employers and on my GPA. What could be better motivation? Yikes!

{running shoes, ready for stress relief}

Therefore, in order to, not just survive, but thrive this week, I will never be without my laptop, coffee (thanks to the pumpkin spice lattes, I now take my coffee with almond milk, pumpkin pies spice, and a spoonful of pumpkin puree - yum!), fall candles, planner, and post-its. Sounds like a plan to me!

{Breakfast of Champs: steel-cut oats + pumpkin + tons of cinnamon}

Listening to: "Heavy" Holly Brook
Thought of the Day: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy Friday!

It's another rainy day here, but the dreariness is such a gorgoeous contrast against the leaves that are turning vivid reds, oranges, and yellows. This weekend I'll be busy studying for midterms surrounded by candles (I'm a bit obsessed, if you couldn't tell), cups of coffee and stacks of history books. Have a lovely weekend! Try to stay dry!

{Image via flickr}

It's a Rainy Day...

"...It's a rainy day. It's raining outside and I can't go out and play. Don't you know I love the rain anyway?" (I miss Sesame Street!)

This morning I awoke to grey skies and rain which seemed perfect for today. Walking to class in the rain was so peaceful (except for the minor burst of torrential downpour) and was perfected when I was finally able to sit inside with a pumpkin spice candle lit and some reading. While I love being able to sit inside, preferably next to a fire, on days like these, I also like to people watch and check out fun umbrellas and rainboots. These boots from Hunter are my fave, but not for $115 (yikes!). I don't own a pair of boots because I have this weird love hate relationship with them. I can't figure out if I like the whimsical colorful boots (I don't think I do) that so many people wear. I think for now I will just keep craving these and consequently wait out the rain.

Listening to: "Breathe" Michelle Branch
Thought of the Day: "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain." - Dolly Parton

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Crisp Leaves

As I get older, I have begun to appreciate autumn more and more, with its crisp, colorful leaves, new school supplies, warm days and cool nights, and the thought of apples, squash, and pumpkins. Recently, I visited a friend's apartment and the first thing that hit me was the glorious aroma that somehow perfectly captured these elements. She happily informed me that Bath and Body Works (her current employer) has introduced a new candle line and her's was the "Leaves" scent. Love this. Forewarning though: they are selling out fast - I had to go to two different B&B Works to find them!

Listening to: "Mad" Ne-Yo
Thought of the Day: "It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust." -Samuel Johnson

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Goodbye Good Reads

Termed the "Great Magazine Die-Off" by Gawker, this recession has not been kind to journalists. After the fall of Domino Magazine earlier this year, I didn't think it could get much worse, but yesterday, Conde Nast announced the folding of Gourmet, Cookie, Modern Bride, and Elegant Bride.

{a perfect fall meal: Gourmet's Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fried Sage and Shaved Chestnuts}

{even though this is for a 1 year old's birthday, I would love it too: Cookie's Pink Birthday Party}

I'm going to miss the creativity and inspiration from these two magazines. (Thank goodness I am not getting married anytime soon or else I would be even more upset!)

Listening to: "Come Away with Me" Norah Jones

Thought of the Day: "Every day, the happy person does at least one difficult thing." -Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Monday, October 5, 2009

Weekend Snapshots

Recap of the weekend (I accomplished all of Friday's goals!):

Friday night - baked zucchini bread. I made three muffins (turned out delicious) and 2 loaves,(refused to rise no matter how long they remained in the oven, resulting in a dark crust and an overly moist inside. ick.) so I am not sure what is up with the recipe.
*If you are looking for an amazing autumn recipe though, try this pumpkin bread my friend Tom made (sans chocolate chips). Yum.*
Saturday morning - geared up for camping with homemade pumpkin spice lattes. Better (and much more economical) than Starbucks.

{I made a stencil with cardstock and sprinkled cinnamon
over the foam to make hearts for my roomies}

Saturday and Sunday - enjoyed the outdoors and laughed often at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park.

{View of midwestern-style mountains - you could see 12 miles away!}

{gorgeous glow}

Listening to: "Open Your Eyes" Snow Patrol
Thought of the Day: "Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you." -Elbert Hubard

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy Friday!

Ready for an escape? I hope you have a lovely and stress-free weekend! To do list for the weekend:
1. Enjoy the weather by taking a walk.
2. Make zucchini bread (I think this one looks good).
3. Drink a pumpkin spice latte (extra points if you make your own!).
4. Laugh often.

p.s. - Isn't my mom the coolest? She asked me earlier this week where she could find a kitchen torch and this is what she created... for a bake sale! Aren't these s'mores cupcakes the cutest?
Listening to: "Just Breathe" Anna Nalick
Thought of the Day: "In our minds, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but rather gratefulness that makes us happy." -Albert Clark
{Image via Le Love}

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Seeing Hearts

This is what confidence looks like.
{love the sunglasses}
Listening to: "Watcha Say" Jason DeRulo
Thought of the Day: "The heart has its reasons which reason knows not of." -Laise Pascal

{Image via The Sartorialist}