Sunday, November 29, 2009

Frost Yourself

I am loving Heidi Klum's ads for Ann Taylor. It seems so funny that a brand I considered "old" and "mom-ish" about 3 years ago is now being represented by Heidi and I actually would love to wear their clothing. Isn't the pearl and diamond combination lovely? Some of my faves...

Inspiration for some Christmas break DIYs? hmm....

Listening to: "Never Knew I Needed" Ne-Yo
Thought of the Day: "Don't pray for an easier life; but instead pray to be a stronger person." - Bishop Lafino

{Images via Instyle and Ann Taylor}

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! I hope you have a fabulous looong weekend and soak up the family/friends time!

Listening to: "Take a Bow" Rihanna
Thought of the Day: The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

{Image via weheartit}

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope it is full of friends, family, laughter, and love.

{Image via weheartit}

Taking a Break

I drove home yesterday to begin my Thanksgiving break and I think I brought a new meaning to the idea of a relaxing break. Before dinner, I went downstairs to watch a little TV (it's been a while since I watched any mindless reality TV) and I immediately fell asleep (at 5pm!) and didn't wake up until 9am this morning! I guess that is what I get for pulling my first - and hopefully last! - all-nighter ever. This semester has not been my friend and I can't wait to start next semester, even though I probably should be terrified since I will be student teaching. I guess I will just cross that bridge when I come to it?
I realized this week that I have problems with living in the moment, cherishing what is actually happening instead of worrying about what is in the future. I keep finding myself stressing way too much about school work, applications for future endeavors, and whether or not I will be able to compete with other applicants while I am hanging out with friends, at the gym, or even reading the newspaper. So I have decided that I need to make a conscious effort to think about what is happening right now and savor the moments as I live them. I want to live more meaningfully. Any suggestions on doing this would be greatly appreciated! And what better time to start with the Thanksgiving season!

Recipe: Little Balsamic-Glazed Onions via Sunset Magazine
{sounds delish, but holy cow, 2 hours of prep!?}

Thankful Thoughts:
1. People like Jim Keady who really believe that one person can change the world - please watch his video, Behind the Swoosh!
2. Diet Pepsi
3. finished with one major paper!
4. invigorating conversations about social justice
5. warm sweaters and Target moccasins

Random Tidbit:

Appropriate since I am writing a lesson plan right now about the natives' perspective of Central American colonization... How teachers should really teach the real story of Thanksgiving. I learned it from a completely Euro-centric viewpoint, did you?

Listening to: "Doesn't Mean Anything" Alicia Keys
Thought of the Day: "If you are still talking about what you did yesterday, you haven't done much today." - Anonymous

Monday, November 23, 2009

3 Days!

{Image via Martha Stewart}

Cranberry, Apple and Walnut Conserve via Gourmet, Nov. 2006

Thankful Thoughts:
1. Friendsgiving! - our amazing potluck this past weekend
2. Beautiful weather (I'm still wearing shorts!)
3. My little brother said that he was really excited for me to come home on Tuesday (it's always nice to hear)
4. I am almost done with one of my research papers!
5. Bittersweet endings and the promise of new beginnings

Random Tidbit:
President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed in 1863 that Thanksgiving should be celebrated in the U.S. He stated, “The year that is drawing to its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come… I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those…who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and praise our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens…I do recommend…they do also…implore the interposition of the Almighty hand…to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it…to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

Listening to: "Baby by Me" 50 Cent ft. Ne-Yo
Thought of the Day: "I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail." -Woodrow Wilson

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Friday!

{Image via ffffound!}

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thankful Thoughts:
1. Sunny fall afternoons
2. Talking to my mom on the phone (in person is so much better though)
3. Having family close enough to be able to see them on a semi-regular basis (one of the kids I talked with today was so excited because he gets to see his grandparents over Thanksgiving break - this means a flight to Vietnam.)
4. Only 3 more days of class until break!
5. I go to a school I love and am happy with my major.

Random Tidbit: Since Columbus though the Americas were part of India, he believed that the wild turkeys were a specises of peacock, which are native to India. Therefore, he named them "tuka" which is "peacock" in Tamil (an Indian language).

Recipe: Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts via 101 cookbooks
(I had never had a Brussels sprout before about a month ago because of their negative image, but now I can't wait to make them for Thanksgiving.)

Listening to: "Hide and Seek" Imogen Heap
Thought of the Day: "We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." -Thornton Wilder

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thinking about Thanks

What I am excited about today? Well... first, I have begun to love Thursdays, more specifically Thursdays from 3:30 -7:30, because I volunteer at an amazing after school program for students from immigrant and refugee families and it has become one of the main highlights of my week. Second, I get to go emergency dress shopping with my friend, Bridget tonight to try to find something to wear to our semi-formal on Friday night. And finally [drum roll please!] ...
Thanksgiving is exactly ONE WEEK from today! I am so excited! I can't believe that it is already Thanksgiving time. I have been trying to get into the spirit by thinking about more than the food and days off school. I am currently taking a Modern Latin America history course which has provided some interesting insights into the colonization of the Americas. We so often take our success as a nation for granted, but putting our history into a global context through this class has helped me to think more about the countless blessings that I have been given. Similarly, through my interactions with the children I tutor I am constantly reminded of how grateful I am/should be for what I have that I usually take for granted.
The last time I was home, my little brother Pete and I made a fall colored paper chain to decorate for Thanksgiving. On each loop, we wrote something for which we are thankful, ranging from chocolate chip cookies to grandparents to Lord of the Rings (Pete's). So to get in the Thanksgiving spirit and inspire you to also think about all the blessings you've been given, I have decided to use these days leading up to Thanksgiving to document some of my reasons to be thankful, check out some delicious recipes and (since I am a dorky history major) explore some interesting facts about the first Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy!

Recipe: Autumn Farmer's Market Salad (arugula tossed with butternut squash, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, and a light dressing combining orange juice, nut oil, lemon juice and pomegranate syrup)from Bon Appetit, Oct. 2008

Thankful Thoughts:
1. Unexpected hugs from friends
2. The "I love myself!" feeling I get after I work out
3.The smell of hazelnut flavored coffee
4. The O.C. Chrismukkah cd (listen here)
5. New possibilities for the future (ideas for things to do post-grad)

Random Tidbit:
The foods on the pilgrims' and Native Americans' menu probably included cod, eel, clams, lobster, corn, swan, turkey, acorns, plums, and pumpkins. It relied heavily on meats and didn't included many vegetables or anything sweet due to a lack of sugar sources.

Listening to: "Maybe This Christmas" Ron Sexsmith
Thought of the Day: "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." - Meister Eckhart

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

for hope. for strength. for life

So I swore I wasn't going to be one of those girls. I wasn't going to going to broadcast to the blog world that I'm a "sorority girl!". And I am not a stereotypical sorority girl (from my experience that is just what people want to think sorority girls are so that they can write them off). My sorority is such a huge part of who I am and I am so proud to be able to say I am a Delta Gamma. It is so easy to think these women (and guys in frats) are just ditzy, party girls or whatever you want, but being in a sorority is so much more than that. It is lifelong bonds of friendship. It, like biological sisterhood, has ups and downs. I don't always get along with my sisters and frankly, I can't stand them some days. But because we are connected by something so much deeper than just friendship, we can come back to this safe place that we call "home".

We had elections in my chapter tonight and one of the member's speeches really made an impact on me and then I started procrastinating and found these quotes:

"delta gamma is my life. it is what i wake up to and fall asleep to. it inspires me to excel to my fullest potential."

"twenty years from now you will be more disappointed in the things you didn't do than the things you did do... so cast off your bowlines, catch trade winds as you sail, sail away from your safe harbor, and get ANCHORED in something new. explore. dream. discover. delta gamma"

This is what it means to me to be a Delta Gamma.

Thanks for listening; I'll get off my soap box now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dreaming of Summer Nights

Doesn't this dress just beg to be worn for first date cocktails followed by a stroll along a riverwalk?

{Queen Street Draped Jersey Dress, $190}

It is so effortless looking yet glam at the same time. Made by Carol Hannah of Project Runway fame, it, along with the rest of her fall collection, can be found on her Etsy shop here.

Listening to: "Wedding Dress" -Matt Nathanson
Thought of the Day: "Never lie, steal, cheat, or drink. But if you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love. If you must steal, steal away from bad company. If you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away." -Hitch

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cake Balls

When my friend Amy told me about cake balls, I thought she was crazy and just talking about another quirky St. Louis creation (toasted rav? gooey butter cake?). What would you think if someone told you about baking a cake, crumbling it, adding frosting, and rolling it into balls to then dip in chocolate? I hope I am not alone in thinking this sounds weird. But then after seeing so many of Bakerella's amazing treats around the blog world, I finally checked out her site and discovered that Amy idea wasn't so kooky after all (sorry for the skepticism, Amy!).

Sadly, I'm too late to make these werewolves...

...but these would be so much fun to make with my little brother to take to my grandparents' house for Thanksgiving!

Listening to: "The Luckiest" Ben Folds Five
Thought of the Day: "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on." -John F. Kennedy

ps- check out this Dallas bakery's website. They make delicious flavors like cinnamon roll and chocolate toffee. Plus... if you are stumped about what kind of cake to have at your wedding, never fear, they do weddings too! so funny...

{Images via Bakerella}

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Friday!

I apologize if I seem to have fallen off the edge of the earth this week; life and school are catching up with me and time seems to be slipping through my fingers. I'm so happy it's finally Friday. Is it weird that I look forward to weekends because I know that I will be able to have large chunks of time to do homework and papers? Probably, but I'm oddly ok with this.

I hope you have a great weekend doing whatever makes you the happiest!

Listening to: "It's Going to Be Alright" Sarah Groves
Thought of the day: "Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow; for the future day will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its evil." Matthew 6:34

{Image via frangipane}

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cowboy Dreams

So I have this weird desire to live on a ranch in Texas. You know, find a cowboy (boots included, of course), ride horses into the sunset, have longhorns, go to rodeos, the whole shebang. And here is what my kids will look like:

{Who knew chaps were made this small?}

{I hope I can look half as cool as this boy in a cowboy hat}

Listening to: "I'm Alive" Dave Matthews and Kenny Chesney
Thought of the Day: "The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." -Hans Hoffman

{Images via
Garance Doré}

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reading Wall

Despite my crafty decorations (here and here) in my bedroom, I still think the walls are too blank. With the white walls, blonde wood furniture (not my choice), and my lovely white comforter, there is a lot of light in the room. After discovering these awesome shelves, I think I have found an answer. Considering they are from Europe and that I don't buy things I have the slightest inkling that I could make myself, I think this will be a Christmas break project. Plus, it will be the perfect time to scour some thrift shops for cheap books with fun covers to fill my shelves. (That makes it sound like I don't read, but I do, I just don't buy books. I grew up in a family that went - and still does go! - to the library every Saturday.)

{I love how these shelves look like they are built into the wall,
but they actually are cubes with a frame mounted on the wall!}

Listening to: "Replay" - Sean Kingston
Thought of the Day: "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." - James Dean

ps - I went to Target today and got really excited about Christmas. They have 40 glass ball ornaments for $15. I think I might be buying some silver and blue ones to hang with some silky ribbon. I can't wait :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Friday!

Any fabulous weekend plans? I wish I had some. I'm hoping to make some big strides on one of my research papers and take in a little bit more of this beautiful weather before fall-winter really kicks in. Have a lovely Friday!

Listening to: "Russian Roulette" Rihanna
Thought of the Day: "Do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world!" -Paramahansa Yogananda

{Image via Satellite True}

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Leave it to Llamas

Ever have days when you just need a giggle? Leave it to llamas to never fail to fulfill this need.

Listening to: "Beautiful Day" Edwin McCain
Thought of the Day: "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." - Ayn Rand

{Image via flickr}

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Journey to Awareness

This semester, I am taking a course titled "History of African Americans in the Mass Media". It has proven to be one of the most interesting and enlightening classes that I have taken so far. While it is an insane amount of work, I have learned so much from becoming more aware of the black media and the history of racism and empowerment in America. Last night I watched the movie Boyz in the Hood a movie from 1991 which follows the lives of boys growing up in South Central L.A. It highlights a multitude of issues such as gangs, drugs, love, AIDs, and divorce in order to paint the realities of life in inner cities.
It has been inducted into the National Film Registry and was named as a "culturally significant" movie by the U.S. Library of Congress for its portrayal of life. While it was full of profanity and violence, I think it is a must-see. The emotions evoked - laughter, fear, and tears - are a testament to the relevance and importance it holds to everyone. At the very least, it is an effective reminder to be conscious of other's backgrounds since we can never know what it is like to have lived their life.

Listening to: "Ooh Child" The Stairsteps
Thought of the Day: "The is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know." - Harry Truman

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins

Just one more pumpkin recipe, I promise. Well, maybe...

It's been so rainy lately that all I want to do is curl up with my fleece blanket with a cup of coffee and do some baking. Especially baking that involves cinnamon, pumpkin, and nutmeg so our apartment smells deliciously sweet and warm. A bake sale last week gave me the perfect excuse to try out a new recipe and buy a mini muffin tin.

There is definitely a reason that this recipe would constitute over half of the most popular search results for pumpkin muffins.

Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from the American Club, in Kohler, Wisconsin via Gourmet, November 2006

1½ cups all-purpose flour (white whole wheat!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 15 oz can solid-pack pumpkin (it actually calls for only 1 cup, but this worked great)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used apple sauce)
2 large eggs (I used one whole egg and one egg white)
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1¼ cups (plus 1 tablespoon) sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional, I made half w/ and half w/out)

Preheat oven to 350° Put liners in muffin cups.

Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin-pie spice, 1¼ cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour and baking powder until just combined. Add choc. chips if using.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.

Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes (minis take a lot less time). Be sure to enjoy the smell!

Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.


Listening to: "Next to You" Jordin Sparks
Thought of the Day: "Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude." - William James