31 August 2010

Grande Soy PSL no whip

We made it through yesterday and we are being rewarded - do you know what today is, friends?


Although Pumpkin Spice has been available for about a week at some Starbucks locations, today is the day that this glorious seasonal flavor is Officially Released to those of us with Official Baristas who take their jobs (guarding the Pumpkin Spice) Very Seriously!  I wish I could say that it feels more like autumn already but we're supposed to have record-breaking heat tomorrow so.. better make that Pumpkin Spice iced.

29 August 2010

Last Night of Summer

Autumn is hands down my favorite season, but there's something undeniably magical about summer, especially late summer.

Appropriately, someone fell asleep in the sun this afternoon and will be spending her last night of summer not out on the town, but on the couch, applying aloe vera and drinking lots of water. :oops: Hope your school bags are packed & organized and your alarms are set!  Get plenty of beauty sleep tonight, lovelies. ♥

Quote of the Week

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is one of my favorite quotes EVER.  I want a big beautiful print of it to hang in my bedroom so that I can wake up in the morning and be reminded. I began reading Thich Nhat Hahn's Peace Is Every Step at bedtime; one of the suggestions is to put something in your room, near your bed that will make you smile right when you wake up. How lovely.

28 August 2010

Late August Saturday

A quiet but productive morning spent working...

An afternoon in the sun...

And an evening in with Don Draper and the boys of SCDP...

A restful but constructive weekend in preparation for school beginning on Monday.  How is your weekend going?  Hope you all are having lovely, relaxing weekends, full of sunshine, coffee, and lots of love.

Back to School Fashion Inspiration

I know Glee is kind of a polarizing tv show - you either love it or hate it - but please, bear with me, if only for fashion's sake.  I was pretty excited about Glee because a) I love High School Musical and it's pretty much the same thing, only weekly, and b) Emma Pillsbury.  So What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear? was the answer to my prayers.  They've been around pretty much since the beginning of Glee and have been documenting Emma's impeccable style since day one.  I blogged about WWEPW back in the old days of my first blog, but Teresa and Danielle (omg RHONJ!!!!!) have been doing some awesome things while Glee is on hiatus, like these fashion challenges, proving that not only does Emma have fabulous style but so does the Internet.  Yayyy!

While I count down the days till Glee returns, I am saving up my money for everything in this Polyvore (from a recent "Emma in Denim" challenge on WWEPW).
Jeans All Week Long

27 August 2010


Having spent all day in front of my computer completing required trainings for my New York State teaching certification, I'm shutting down for the evening. I think the backyard, a glass of wine, and my book should do quite nicely.. have a lovely Friday, darlings.

26 August 2010

TiLT #4

70º F. I've decided that this is my optimal temperature. I could go a few degrees cooler, but right around 70º is ideal.  If I could find a place that was 70º year round, I would be the most pleasant person on Earth.  (Boyfriend knows how cranky I get if I sweat when I'm not exercising.  It's not pretty.)

Running buddies. Lots of Thursday love for Kristen at the Seredipity Diary for being a kick in my butt and my West Coast running buddy!  Sometimes you just NEED that spark to get you started again.  I love it!

Finding out that your favorite band is playing your city.  In terms of Best Feelings and Most Excitement, I think this is probably topped by "I'm Pregnant" and "We're Getting Married."  I might also be biased, but that's another story ;) I'm so excited to see one of my favorite bands, matt pond PA, later this autumn that I'm even willing to go to the show alone if I can't find anyone willing to pay the $13!  Now if only Wilco and James Taylor would make stops soon...

Reading.  For some reason, I've been spending way more time reading now that I'm back in New York.  I flew through an assigned book in 24 hours and am now s l o w l y making my way through Mockingjay.  I'm kind of worried I won't finish the book because I don't want the series to be over!

Honorable Mention. Two hour lunches; lazy late summer days; finding sweet deals at Marshall's; Skype dates; PaperBackSwap.com; to-do lists and crossing everything off (2nd honorable mention appearance); Katy Perry's new album "Teenage Dream" (can you believe she used to be a Christian artist?!); autumn to-dos: apple picking! pumpkin patches! haunted houses!; the Great New York State Fair; obsessively cleaning and organizing; my glorious new French Press coffee maker; the organic fair trade shade grown coffee I bought for my first cup of French Press!; York peppermint patties (do they put drugs in those?  I could eat them all day).

25 August 2010


Check out what showed up today!!

I wish you guys could see the outtakes from my PhotoBooth session.  I could make faces at my computer for hours.  Sometimes I do.

Well okay, fine.  You talked me into it.  Here are two more gems.
See? I'm ready to eat that sh!t UP!
C'mon. Who's the prettiest blogger you know?
Gotta go.  Katniss is waiting!! :mrgreen: Will be back tomorrow with TiLT!

24 August 2010


Even though I SAID I was going to be spending my last week of summer in a state of relaxed appreciation, that has not happened.  It's been a hectic week over here but I'm kind of loving it.  After a month and a half of absolutely nothing, it's nice to have Important Things To Do.

With classes beginning in less than a week and school beginning two weeks after, I've been scrambling to get things in order so I'll have all my routines down by the time everything gets crazy.  Booking appointments, organizing shelves and desks and binders, running out for last minute supplies, getting myself on a decent sleep schedule, re-connecting with friends, classmates, and colleagues... It's overwhelming!  Shannon at The Simply Luxurious Life wrote a great post about it today; good to know I'm not the only one in this pre-school year madness. :)

As I prepare for the increase in work and therefore pressure, I wonder.. how do you deal with stress?  I'm usually pretty good at it (I've had enough practice), but I have a tell - my house or my room goes to shambles!  If I'm worried about a million other things, the neatness of my living space is the one thing I'll let go. What about you? Does everything carry on while your brain goes wild? Or do you have a secret tell too?

One last thing I have to share - I found this thank you card while out shopping and I had to buy it.  Too cute!

23 August 2010


I have curls.  Lots and lots of curls.  When I was younger, my curly hair was the bane of my existence and appearance.  I was constantly fawned over by adults for it and compared to former child stars that I didn't know (Shirley Temple?  Oh, cool.  Thanks...).  As an adult I've come to accept my curls, but there's still one thing I wish my hair could do: braids.

So pretty and feminine and versatile. You straight haired ladies don't even know how good you have it.

22 August 2010

Quote of the Week

Pick the day. Enjoy it - to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come… The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present - and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.- Audrey Hepburn
Only one week of summer left!  (Can you believe it's gone so quickly?!)  Classes begin next Monday and I intend to spend the next week relaxing and appreciating the present as Ms. Hepburn suggests.  How will your final week of summer be spent?  Poolside?  In a mad rush to get ready for school?  Somewhere in between?

20 August 2010

A Short Break

Things are likely to be quiet here over the weekend, as I'm packing up and driving back to New York.  I'll be back on Monday at full strength!  ;)

19 August 2010

TiLT #3

Going the the movies alone. I really don't know why I love going to the movies alone so much. I don't think I had the ovaries to do it until I was 22 or 23, but it feels so luxurious.  It's just such a treat!  I even bought myself Junior Mints. >:)

The merciful end of summer heat.  No explanation necessary.  The Midwest heat has been unbearable. I don't even have a tan!

Blog love! SO many thanks to Shannon at The Simply Luxurious Life for featuring me in her weekly Cups of Tea this past Sunday. It means a lot to me, especially since my blog is still just a baby! If you guys don't already have The Simply Luxurious Life in your Google Reader, add it now!  She updates a TON - especially for a teacher! - and has beautiful, inspiring posts.  Love!  (And Shannon, if you ever want to talk H.S. English teaching strategies, I'm your girl ;))

My handy, handsome Boyfriend. The other night Boyfriend said, "If I'm allowed... you're a pretty lucky girl." And he's right.

Summer houses. The only bright spot in leaving Boyfriend this weekend.  We have a summer house in Northern New York that I haven't been to much in the last few years and I'm looking forward to spending a few weekends there, relaxing on the porch with a good book (and maybe some local wine?) and catching up on my afternoon naps.

Honorable Mention. Cupcakes.. always, always cupcakes; liquid band-aid; clean sheets; Suave Naturals conditioner; busy days; lazy days ;); agave nectar; Javier Bardem (obvi); Lonny magazine; coffee (I miss you); finding the perfect gift for someone; setting up my Amazon affiliate store :mrgreen:; to-do lists and crossing everything off; Lorraine Massey, DevaCurl, and the Curly Girl Method (fellow curly girls - please give this a look!); late summer flowers; the Missouri Botanical Garden; Sabrina Soto.. what a cutie pie; ivy covered buildings; Target at Gilt; all of St. Louis' quirks.

18 August 2010

Eat Pray Love

A film review in two words:

Javier Bardem.

Housewifery Wednesday: They Draw & Cook

Yesterday's Tasty Tuesday on apartment #34 reminded me of a wonderful website brought to my attention by the lovely and talented Leigh Standley of Curly Girl Design.  They Draw and Cook combines, well, yes, drawing and cooking.  Some of the recipes are more detailed and easy to follow than others, which focus more on the artwork than the cooking.  But how can you not love the combination of beautiful pictures and food?

The website recently launched a sister site, Kids Draw and Cook.  I died.

This is a recipe for the perfect Saturday night cocktail (non-alcoholic).

Man, I can't wait to try the Chill..

17 August 2010

Circa 2003

Of the two of us, Boyfriend is definitely pickier.  He is very particular about just about everything, which is mostly okay with me - "Sure, sure, local pasture raised grass fed organic is FINE.. you're paying, right?"  I do tend to be a bit of a music snob, but it hasn't always been that way (nor is it still.. the Jonas Brothers' discography holds a special place in my iTunes library).  Our musical preferences a frequent topic of conversation and I volunteered to make him a mix of my.. interesting music favorites from high school.  It turned out as strangely as you'd expect (and I had so much fun making it!), so I decided to share it with you all too!

Click the image or download here

I think my high school self would approve of this shoddily made hot pink graphic.  Even though I thought I was really punk rock and wore embarrassing things like plaid pants, I could still appreciate irony.  I tried to be true to the time period (yes, I graduated from high school in 2003 :oops:); some of these albums came out in summer '03 but I still associate them strongly with high school and / or I listened to the band heavily in high school so I included it anyway.

What did YOU listen to in high school?  Is it drastically different from what you listen to now?  Mine is!  I would love to see what you guys come up with!  (I mean, high school is weird and kind of awful for everyone, right?  But it's fun to remember! ;))

16 August 2010

Autumn Loves, part 2

I just can't help myself.  Here are some more beautiful treasures that I've found for y'all.

I love ruffles and I refuse to apologize.
Oh, the lace..!
Do you even KNOW how hard it is to find long sleeve machine washable cardigans WITHOUT pockets?!!
Here. This one is hand wash.
I love love LOVE! But my size is sold out.
Well, I did my homework, lovelies.  I watched Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami and I can confirm that the Serena & Lily bedding is in fact the same as Kourtney's.  That's about all I can say though, since Charter is the worst cable company ever since the beginning of time period end of story.  Hope you're having a wonderful, productive Monday!! :mrgreen:

15 August 2010

Quote of the Week

I am too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, and too determined to be defeated.- Kandee Johnson
Hope you had an amazing weekend and feel refreshed and ready for the week!  I've got a huge to-do list for the week and plans to treat myself to a $5 showing of Eat Pray Love, but it's my last week in St. Louis so it's all bittersweet.  What are you looking forward to this week?

12 August 2010

TiLT #2

School supplies. I've always been a sucker for fresh notebooks, newly sharpened pencils, and fancy pens, but having a reason to buy them makes it that much better. Doesn't it just make you feel more productive?

Exploring StL with Boyfriend. The countdown is (unfortunately) on and Boyfriend & I have been trying to make the most of our last nine days together.  We've been to two awesome restaurants within walking distance of the apartment this week and it's great for a few reasons: 1) I'm not paying :mrgreen:, 2) we've had lightning fast service since we've gone on weeknights - we're usually one of the only tables!, 3) it's nice to be able to walk to a good meal.

Autumn. Okay, okay! I know summer isn't over YET but can you tell I'm in an autumn state of mind? I'm already planning outfits full of cashmere cardigans and cozy scarves, and I can't wait for delicious autumn foods.. apple and pumpkin e v e r y t h i n g!  Plus - baseball gets better, all the bugs go away, and the beautiful autumn colors come out.

True Blood. I know this was in my Honorable Mentions last week, but I have to give it more love. After being an entire season behind, Boyfriend & I finally caught up (the miracle of the Internet!) and now get the enjoy watching True Blood on the big screen at the Moolah.  Holy guacamole, that show is addictive! We're excited to watch at the Moolah but you get kind of spoiled when you're used to being able to watch unlimited True Blood whenever you want. By the way, has anyone else noticed a dramatic increase in gore in season 3..?

Honorable Mention. Staying up too late to finish a good book; Mexican food; rediscovering albums (this week - "Under the Blacklight"..  I don't care what anyone says, it was awesome!); White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Luna bars; weekly cleaning; Tumblr; a good sweaty hike; finding the perfect gray suede ballet flats; my Netflix queue; obsessing over my page views - they jumped on Monday (maybe riding boots and built ins are really popular..?); Daily Mile; finally getting my loan check, a month after it was issued to me; finding new lovely blogs to read; waking up early; Taylor Swift's "Mine" stuck in my head 24/7; Friday the 13th; BBM.

11 August 2010

Housewifery Wednesday: My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mother has a repuation.
No, not that kind.  When she was in high school, she won the Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow award and although she swears she only won because it was a multiple choice test (and that she took it as a joke), you would never know it if you met her now.  She makes perfect cookies, keeps her house spotless, raised four children, has her dream job (both of them, actually), and a 30+ year marriage.  It could make you sick.

But the point is that I have a lot to live up to.  My mom's chocolate chip cookies are kind of legendary (even though she swears she uses the recipe on the back of the chocolate chips... yeah, right) but last year, I finally found my own legendary chocolate chip recipe.  I made a batch right before I drove home for spring semester so that my family could ooh and ahh at my baking skillz.  But I ate them all during the 13 hour drive from Missouri to New York.  Oops! :mrgreen: Their secret ingredient - instant pudding - keeps them soft and delicious and wonderful (a.k.a. bad news for any diet that might have been happening). Of course, I still love Mommy's cookies best.. but who doesn't?  Without any further ado, here's my new favorite recipe:

The Most Delicious & Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes ~5 dozen cookies

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (3.4 oz) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips / chunks / whatever your heart desires

1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla.
3. Slowly blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
4. Cover dough completely with plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours (or as long as you can wait!).
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
6. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Original recipe found at allrecipes.com

EDIT: Since posting, I've baked these cookies again and good GOD - 2 cups of butter is a lot!  I'm pretty sure the first time I made these cookies I used 2 STICKS.  Will report back.

10 August 2010

Kourtney & Khloe meet Serena & Lily

There's something you need to know about me, friends..  I'm not ashamed to admit that I love the Kardashian sisters. This season on Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami (completely bananas) Kourtney had awesome bedding, frequently showcased with all of the Baby Mason love and 4am phone calls to Scott (eww). I tried to find some screen shots so that you all could could love on the bedding too, but I am sorry to say that Google has failed me.

Luckily, while I was trying to find more ways to spend my money, I happened upon this lovely Madeira bedding at Serena & Lily.. which is almost identical to Kourtney's.

The duvet cover and matching sheets (Lapis French Ring) are on sale right now, but they're still pretty expensive for my budget.  As I said, I'm not sure if these are an exact match to Kourtney's so for you, my loyal audience, I am willing to make this sacrifice: I will watch the season finale of Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami just to make sure and I will report back. ;)

If the title of this post had you hoping for a Kardashian / GG mashup, you're not alone.  I wish I could have delivered.  Maybe next time, mes chéris.

09 August 2010

Fall Must-Haves

This morning I woke up to an email from one of my professors: a list of the texts we'll need for fall semester. Nothing snaps you out of summer vacation like a booklist. And although I don't want summer vacation to be over (I have to leave Boyfriend! :cry:), I love autumn the most of all seasons so I'm willing to loosen my grip on summer a bit. Especially if it means back-to-school shopping.. and I've got my eye on a couple things for the fall.
Riding boots. How perfect with skinny jeans and a white v-neck? SO perfect.

A classic cotton blazer. Equally appropriate with jeans or work trousers.
These would be my "splurge" items for the season.  I buy less expensive jeans, t-shirts, and camisoles since those kinds of things are replaced regularly.  T-shirts are the cheapest item in my closet - I usually buy men's v-necks in the big Hane's or Fruit of the Loom six-packs at Target!  They're so much cheaper than women's v-necks, so why not!?  What are you eyeing for the autumn?

Built Ins

Someday I will have so many of these.

08 August 2010

Very Quotatious

Since I love Mondays so much, I figured Sunday nights would be a good time to share some of my favorite quotes.  I used to get really bummed out on Sunday nights, dreading Mondays and the upcoming week.  I'm not sure when exactly I started loving Mondays, but if you're not a Monday person maybe these quotes will help you through the week!

For bonus points, does anyone know where the title of this post comes from? ;)

If you want to be happy, be.
- Tolstoy

06 August 2010

King of Anything

I'm probably late on this, but I can't stop listening to this song.

05 August 2010

TiLT #1

If anyone reads Gala Darling then you know that Things I Love Thursday is a Gala tradition.  This is my first week participating, hooray!

♥ Fluffy bunnies.  The Daily Bunny is like crack for me.  I most especially love these two mischievous buns. I have loved bunnies since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, but my mother insists that they are rodents (false) and would never let me have one.  Wah.  >:(

The overturning of H8 & the upholding of Love.  Yesterday Federal Judge Vaughn Walker overturned California's voter approved (and highly controversial) Proposition 8, which banned same sex marriages, ruling that it violated the U.S. Constitution. Love is love, y'all.  More love for everyone ♥!

Pretty Little Liars.  Okay so this is a two part love - I love the show and I love the books.  And I can love them both equally because the show isn't really following the books' story line.  Five friends are torn apart when one of them goes missing and turns up dead. It is 100% mindless trashy summer fun.  Plus, all of the actors are good looking (And who knew Aria could sing!  That name's not for nothin!).

Taking care of myself. I get a weekly e-newsletter from my favorite running shop that inspired my 21 days post and since then, I've been really into making changes.  It's only been a few days (okay, two!) but reminding myself that it only takes 21 days to form a habit is great motivation.  I've been eating better (an apple a day!) and going to the gym every morning, and I even took my nail polish off and have been flossing too! :mrgreen:  Good for me.

♥ Reconnecting with Old Friends. Letting go just feels so much better. We could all use a few more friends, couldn't we?

Honorable Mention. Green Goodness (helping vegetable-haters like myself get servings of vegetables!); making my bed every morning; vitamin E lotion, even though it smells like old ladies; the new Arcade Fire album, "The Suburbs"; having routines (does that make me a little neurotic..?); Sub Zero water bottles; complaining about how long it takes for BlackBerrys to start up but never ever having iPhone envy; mid-afternoon naps with Neko cat; fresh laundry smell; quitting Facebook; chocolate milk; True Blood; allergy medication that works (is there such a thing?); Shark Week.

04 August 2010

Housewifery Wednesday: Baking Bread

Since early July, I've been on summer vacation.  By this I mean that I have been doing absolutely nothing and that it has been amazing.  But believe it or not, reading and playing the Sims all day gets to be a little monotonus so I took it upon myself to learn how to bake bread with the help of this book:

I debated whether to buy the book at all since the ~Master Recipe~ is available on the authors' website (along with lots of other information about their method) and Googling the title of the book will get you plenty of other bread-baking resources as well.  But I went for it.  In the end I'm glad I did because I tend to be a nervous baker / cook.

Before you even get started with the Hertzberg / François recipe, there's a significant investment.  I bought two large plastic food storage containers on Amazon (I bought those specific containers because they were the ones most frequently purchased with the book and the reviews were mostly positive) to store my bread dough and a baking stone to bake the bread on.  I'd read that you could just use a cookie sheet to bake on, but the baking stone absorbs moisture from the dough so the bottom of the bread doesn't get soggy.  I really like bread, especially bread that's nice and crunchy on the outside, so I found a decently priced baking stone from Crate & Barrel (PLEASE be careful buying a stone - C&B has another baking stone on sale with awful reviews; I'm not sure why they're even selling it!).
The authors also recommend an oven thermometer but I decided to wing it.  If you don't already have one, you'll also need a cooling rack - I've got a cheap one from Marshall's, but in the past I've pulled the metal rack out of my toaster and used that.  It's a little hoodrat, but it works!

The recipe is extremely simple (No kneading!  No worrying about how much the dough rises!) but that doesn't mean you can't mess it up.  My first batch of dough was a complete disaster.  Boyfriend does the whole "organic / whole wheat / one million grains" thing so I used a whole wheat flour which is what I blame my failure on.  My dough was incredibly dry and didn't rise.  The bread it produced was tough and bland.  Ugh!  I had other problems with this flour - I made cookies with it that turned out equally tasteless.  Who would've thought!?

For my second batch I told Boyfriend I needed unbleached all purpose WHITE flour.  He's a sucker for my winning smile :mrgreen: and he let me get some.  Because my bread was not only dry but also bland, I was worried that just changing out my flour wouldn't be enough.  Luckily, the switch from whole wheat to white did the trick and I am now turning out batches of beautiful dough and bread!  I've got this lovely dough sitting in my refrigerator right now:

This dough is about 24 hours old.
And made this beautiful loaf yesterday (don't worry - Boyfriend and I ate it ALL!!):

As you can see, my bread does NOT look like the perfect loaves on the cover of the book (or the ones that come up in the Google image searches) and I pretty much never expect them to.  The bread tastes wonderful and is so easy to make!  The book has tons of ideas for ways to tweak the recipe to make basically any kind of bread you want (ciabatta, herb bread, whole wheat sandwich bread, etc.) but I'm pretty content with the basic recipe.  If you have ANY questions about making bread, please feel free to ask ;)  It is so easy and you will love it!