30 September 2010

TiLT #8

Having Someone to do things For You. ♥ Like a Good Boyfriend, mine likes to do things For Me; I've been known to tell him that I can do it myself because.. well, I can be a brat sometimes.  On Tuesday I really needed someone to do things For Me.  I accidentally took my antibiotics on an empty stomach, giving myself a terrible horrible no good very bad stomach ache. :( I put myself straight to bed, but I really could have used a Handsome Boyfriend to rub my back and kiss my hair and pull the covers up when I got cold.

The tellyvision. ♥ So good!!  I finally got around to watching this week's episodes of GG & Glee and all I have to say is - it's Brittany.. bitch.  I've always loved Brittany because she's dumb hilarious but oh. my. god.  Girl can DANCE.  And I will be very disappointed if she doesn't present the promised Ke$ha song next week.  Ms. Spears' cameos were nice but her acting was so bad.. so, so bad... And speaking of bad, could the teaser for next week's episode of GG have made it any more obvious that Eva is a porn star?  (My apologies to those that hadn't figured it out.  Go watch again and tell me if you agree!)  I just can't figure out what Juliet's deal is.. and it's driving me crazy!

Music that makes me feel like fall. ♥ Sigur Rós.  The Pride & Prejudice OST.  Yiruma.  Detektivbyrån.  Yann Tiersen.  matt pond PA.  Band of Horses.  The Album Leaf.  This Will Destroy You.  Explosions in the Sky.  Contemplative and quiet.  Good homework music too!  Always open to musical suggestions.

Petits Favoris. ♥ Half coffee, half hot chocolate (must. stop. drinking.) ♥ Buying perfect gifts for P (time will tell if they're really "perfect"!!). ♥ Reading Gala Darling's weekly favorites - she is, after all, the original Thursday Lover! ♥ Getting an amazing hairs cut from a fellow Curly Girl. ♥ Finally finishing two weeks of antibiotics. ♥ Productive rainy days. ♥ Still missing London. ♥ Painting my nails! ♥ Taking a "day off" and not feeling guilty about it. ♥ Outlawing negative attitudes and comments on my blog (As my wise and lovely sister says, "I will not expend my limited energy on hostile interactions with close-minded people.") ♥ My intense crush on Gossip Girl - I mean, Kristen Bell - and excitement for her new movie. ♥ Okay, actually all the fresh movies coming out this fall. (And some that have already come out, too!)

28 September 2010

From Spending to Saving

If you're anything like me, you're a Spender.  Yes, with a capital S.  That's because I can do damage to my bank account without trying too hard.  As a perpetual student I've become dangerously comfortable with a low balance, but as someone who is, by most definitions, an adult, I really should be more sensible about my money.  And so I present to you: Fiscally Responsible October. (Umm.. I'll think of something catchier.  Soon. :wink:)

During the month of October, I will be observing the following money-saving methods and techniques (most of which were recommended by the brilliant Joanna):
  • To limit my eating out, I have purchased gift cards.  I find myself at Dunkin Donuts since it's nearby and has a drive-thru, so I put $20 on the gift card to allow myself one coffee drink a week.  Study groups generally happen at Panera for free Internet and delicious food, so I put $15 on that gift card to allow myself two meals.

  • In order to check my online shopping, I will be adding items to my amazon.com wishlist instead of buying them.  I briefly considered handing my debit card and credit card over to my mother for safekeeping, but since I have both numbers memorized (down to the security codes), it wouldn't have done me much good.  This is part of the "responsible" bit!

  • Similarly, I will be using an app on my phone (ColorNotes, for Droid users) to keep a generic wishlist for items that I see while out shopping and/or am continuously looking for, i.e., white tank tops, a black wool cloche hat, etc.

  • I will be using mint.com to track any spending that I do.  Mint includes useful breakdowns of how you spend your money in pie chart form, as well as customizable monthly budgets.  I've set up budgets before, but nothing is to stop me from exceeding my monthly coffee budget (except a scolding from Mint), so it doesn't work very well for me.  Instead, I'll just use Mint to keep track of my money.  If your bank has an online banking feature, that would work equally well.

  • Cutting back - I downgraded my gym membership from the $20/month option to the $10/month option and am missing none of the perks of the gym.  The only real differences are that I no longer have unlimited guest privileges (sorry, mooching friends!) and can't use the tanning booths for free (unhealthy anyway).  I've also stopped buying books; I've been a member of PaperBackSwap.com for years and by using it, I can get books in excellent to new condition for free - just use your Requestor Conditions!  Sometimes it takes a bit longer to get the book you want, but it's worth it.
These are the promises I've made to myself for the month of October. Hopefully they are changes that will begin in October and stick with me for awhile, helping to change the way I think about money.
What about you? Are you a saver or a spender? If you're a saver, what are your tips & tricks? If you're a spender, have you always been?

26 September 2010

Quote of the Week

If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.
- Thomas Edison
This quote reminds me of another, from one of my favorite movies from high school, Empire Records (so many classic quotes from this movie!).  When asked how she has time to do everything, Liv Tyler's character replies that there are 24 usable hours in every day.  How many hours do we throw away every day when we could be doing something astonishing?  How much more could we be doing if we eliminated just ten minutes of idle time here and there? Just something to think about as you get ready to start your week! ♥

23 September 2010

TiLT #7

Trees. Yesterday was the Official First Day of Autumn! And there was much rejoicing! The trees have begun to change color and it's giving me a newfound appreciation for them. Not that I ever look at a tree and think, "What an eyesore. Cut it down. OFF WITH IT'S HEAD!" My drive to and from school has lots of beautiful rolling hills that give amazing views of the changing leaves. Since autumn colors are fleeting, I try to appreciate them while they're here - and especially since I'll be in the flat Midwest next year with no beautiful rolling hills to display the trees for me.

Spending time in "the real world." I love the Internet!  Seriously, I do.  I can waste hours scrolling through pictures on Tumblr, reading gossip on Oh No They Didn't, adding things I'll never buy to my shopping cart on Amazon, commenting on pretty blogs, and video chatting with Boyfriend on Skype (that is, if he's not busy playing his nerd games).  But it's refreshing to take a step back from time to time, and focus on our physical relationships - to spend the afternoon catching up with a friend over coffee, wake up early for a solitary sunrise walk, indulge in hours of delicious family time.

Bows.  Obsession.  If you didn't know, now you know.  If I could alter my wardrobe to guarantee that every outfit I put on had a bow in it somewhere (and yet somehow avoid looking like Alice in Wonderland or an 8 year old), I would probably squeal with delight and joy.  I just bought these beauties at Target.

The friend who was with me when I found them mockingly suggested that I buy two pairs so that I'll have a back-up when the first pair inevitably tarnishes or falls apart.  (Actually a very good idea).

Time Management.  The skills!  I have them!  The problem is, I'm lazy.  I realize this is not an attractive quality to be announcing on my blog, but it's true.  This semester I don't have a strenuous workload and I've been getting away with doing my homework the morning before my class.  But this week I'm doing my homework ahead of time (and even starting on next week's homework..?  Over achiever!) so that I'll have time to do things that I want to do like read, go to the gym, blog, hang out with my IRL friends, Skype, etc.  Managing your time is fun! :D

Honorable Mention.  The North Face's sweet customer service; my new Twitter username; today's sellout.woot!; peanut butter chocolate chip Larabars; HBO's new show, Boardwalk Empire; being so obsessive about my new time management that I have a weekly schedule; Halloween on the horizon; an awesome gym routine; Slim Paley's GORGEOUS kitchen; helpful classmates; finding a glow-in-the-dark bones t-shirt for only $5; new running sneakers; finally taking the air conditioner out of my window!

21 September 2010


Inexplicably missing my glamourous European lifestyle..

Pain au chocolat and coffee for late morning breakfast
Reading among the fall leaves at Hyde Park
Watching the seasons change and enjoying beautiful London traditions
The only thing I'll never miss about London - no one ever says "bless you" to sneezes.  I got looked at like I was crazy (or rude!) the first few times I said it. Do we have any British folks who can explain it..?

19 September 2010

Quote of the Week

Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror, no feeling is final.- Rainer Maria Rilke

18 September 2010


Today I bought a book for myself.  This one -

It's rare for me to buy a book to read for pleasure during the semester because I won't make time to read it, but I want to change that.  My workload isn't horrendous this semester, I just haven't been managing it.  I bought this book to encourage myself to get my homework done and to read before I go to sleep.  It seems so luxurious to read in bed, doesn't it?  Pillows fluffed up, cozy pajamas and blankets, everything done and settled for the day, nothing left to do but lose yourself in your book..

This may not work at all.  I might begin the book and hate it.  I might never even open the book.  I might read the book instead of doing homework.  But I've always been a terrible time-manager and this is my first small step towards gaining some control over my time.  It's an experiment! :D

17 September 2010

Oh Dear

I definitely chose the right week to take off from blogging - it's been just dreadful!  I still haven't found my ideal weekly routine or fallen into that "groove" and homework is really kicking my butt because of it.  My allergies have been awful since February :shock: and I finally went to the doctor, but all my new meds are just making me foggier!  My fingers are crossed that this is one of those you-feel-worse-before-you-feel-better things.

We understand each other.
swear to God PROMISE I will be back next Thursday, 23 September for TILT.. 'cause I've got A LOT things to love on! I hope everyone has a restful and fabulous weekend. ♥

12 September 2010

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

On account of EMO!!

Sorry, guys - I'm feeling a little down. Boyfriend was in town over the weekend for a golf tournament but I had to say goodbye to him this evening and we won't see each other again until Thanksgiving - we'll even be apart for our anniversary!  Wah!  Being emo is kind of distracting and I've been a really bad student this week, so I'm going to take a few days off from the blog to focus on school and routines and pictures of baby animals (works every time).  Crossing my fingers that I'll be back in action for Things I Love Thursday..!  Hope that you all had lovely weekends. ♥

09 September 2010

TiLT #6

OMFGG.  13 September.  From 9pm until 10pm Eastern Standard, I will be unavailable so don't even try.

Target.  Specifically, Target's Chaia mocassins, which I refuse to accept as slippers.  I wear them to work and to run errands and EVERYWHERE and say that they're shoes, not slippers, because they have a hard sole.  Then Boyfriend catches me wearing them inside and I have to claim that they're slippers - it's my only defense!  I just don't want to take them off, okay?  They're wicked cozy (and hello?  Cheap!).  GET YOU SOME.  (Okay you know what FINE.  I love all of Target.  It's my therapy.)

AUTUMN.  I can't say for sure whether it's here to stay but the temperature has dropped, the wind has picked up, the bravest of leaves are starting to change, and pumpkin coffee is now available at both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.  Oh hot damn, this is my jam!  (Kristen, I think this should be your new slogan, y/y?)

Lost treasures.  One of the joys of cleaning your room!  I had given up my iPod Shuffle as lost for good and mourned it properly, but I found it during a cleaning frenzy.  AND THERE WAS MUCH REJOICING!  The itty bitty size is so much easier for: running, studying, losing in your messy room, etc. and so forth.  Makes me wonder what other things that I've forgotten are still lurking about...

Honorable Mention.  Falling asleep to rain; Droid; getting all of my homework done super fast (more time to plaaay!); financial aid refund checks; getting carpal tunnel from playing with my Droid; this sweet ring that makes me happy every time I look at my hand; planning a Harry Potter marathon in anticipation of 19 November; only missing BBM a tiny bit; fantasizing about how great my life will be once I have health insurance again (the allergist!  Contacts that correct for astigmatism!  PERFECT LIFE!  LIVE FOREVER!); obsessively putting appointments and Things To Do in my planner; my HTC Incredible (f'real incredible y'all).

07 September 2010

Wardrobe Essentials

I've made a few fashion posts and it's gotten me thinking - what are wardrobe essentials? What are the most necessary and basic items? And I don't mean "essentials" like underwear and bras and socks.  If you only had room in your closet or your budget for 10 items of clothing, what would they be?

A dark skinny jean?
Classic heels?
An easy, chic blazer?
Multitasking cardigans?
Everyday Oxfords?
Simple, casual tshirts?
Effortless ballet flats?
These would be my basics.  (I would of course need my accessories: scarves in a rainbow of colors, stud earrings, oversized sunglasses, and a handbag - preferably in beautiful worn in leather and big enough to hold all of my things).  What would you add?  What are your basics?

06 September 2010

Nail Polish Progression

My last few nail polish colors, including No Nail Polish August.  I complain a lot about things like this, so here is your civilized alternative.

OPI's Purple With A Purpose
essie's Turquoise & Caicos
No Nail Polish August!
essie's Rock Candy
essie's California Coral
Ulta's Smoke Screen
OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark
OPI's Princesses Rule!
essie's Mink Muffs
I clearly have a nail polish problem, so you can expect this list to be updated as I change my colors. :wink:

05 September 2010

Thought for the Week

Instead of a Quote of the Week, this week seemed to need a thought for the week.

Many of us are working to get into our fall routines and schedules, and the transition from the lazy summer days to the ordered autumn days can be a bit bumpy and halting.  When doing something new, I frequently tell myself that it's only hard until you get used to it. This applies to nearly everything - waking up early, a different workout, long distance relationships :'(, a new workload.

In the beginning, changes - even small ones - can feel overwhelming and we wish for what is familiar.  Sometimes we feel like we're all alone, fighting to be better, to be different, to change some part of ourselves or our world.  But if we keep our goals in mind and recall what we're working for, we soon find that what was new has become what is familiar.
"A ship in the harbor is safe -- but that's not what ships are built for."
~ John A. Shedd

02 September 2010

TiLT #5

Finally getting a tan.  I know it's unhealthy!  But it makes my teeth look whiter.  And I'm storing up vitamin D for the winter, when I'll really need it. :grin:

Nutritionista. Tumblr is basically a microcosm of the Internet.  It has naked girls, fashion, cupcakes, emo teenagers, celebrities, and baby animals.  And Nutritionista.  She recently posted two articles that I've found extremely helpful; the first was titled Your Hunger Is Not An Emergency which was kind of a "duh" moment for me.  The main point that Nutritionista makes is that hunger is not the same as a desire to eat and we often confuse the two.  The second helpful article she recently posted was about Honest Cravings and when (and how!) to listen to what your body tells you about what it wants.  Both of the articles might be a bit obvious, but they're reminders that we all sometimes need.

Nail polish!  Remember when I said that it only takes 21 days to break a habit?  That must mean that I am addicted to nail polish because I could not wait to paint my nails after my No Nail Polish August.  Unfortunately, I decided to paint in a poorly lit room and told myself that because I chose a light color - well, I could go a bit outside the lines.

Sometimes I really have to wonder who put me in charge of myself.  (That's Essie's Rock Candy, just for the record).

Order tracking.  I haven't figured out yet why some companies don't give you tracking information for your order.  I know I'm not the only person who obsessively follows their stuff.  I've even been known to track my order before answering the doorbell just to make sure it was the FedEx man.  (You're right.  That might be pushing it.  I won't do it again.)

Honorable Mention. A full tank of gas; waking up naturally before your alarm goes off; pretzel Goldfish; seeing old friends (the first week of classes is so much fun for this reason!); Cee-Lo's new song "F*** You!" - it's been stuck in my head all week; long weekends; trading in my glitchy BBerry Tour for the HTC Incredible; Arizona's instant pomegranate green tea (I know these are full of artificial sweetener but I can't help it); the naming system for hurricanes and tropical storms; having a smart nerd for a Boyfriend; external hard drives; learning curves, Gmail's new Priority Inbox.

01 September 2010

Hello September

First, some "newsy bits," as Rosaline at {this is glamorous} would call them.  I've been a very bad blogger this week and I can't promise that it will get better.  I can promise that Sunday night quotes and Things I Love Thursday will continue posting as usual.  Luckily this blog is still a baby and I can try out new things without too much confusion and / or uproar.

Now - pretty things that I love!  Even though tomorrow is TiLT, I just can't help it - I have too much love this week!  Even though the temperature says it's still summer, September officially begins autumn for me.  One of my favorite things about the Northeast is the beautiful fall foliage.  Such a wonderful reminder of how much change we experience every year, sometimes without even noticing. Plus, stepping on crunchy leaves is just so satisfying! ;)

My second favorite thing is, of course, seasonal flavors - pumpkin & apple!  Pumpkin us generally a later autumn flavor, but I have more recipes involving it because I love pumpkin.  Boyfriend has a weird aversion to most gourds (which means more pumpkin for me!) and was skeptical of this pumpkin bread recipe, but obviously, he loved it.  It makes multiple loaves of bread (the recipe says three, I only make two) so don't say I didn't warn you!

"Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread"
makes three 7x3" loaves

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* if you don't have all the spices, you can substitute pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat over to 350º F.  Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.  Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended.  Pour into the prepared pans.
3. Bake for about 50 minutes in preheated oven.  Loaves are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Original recipe found at allrecipes.com

That sounds perfectly lovely, but when I've made this bread, I've done it a bit differently.  I usually substitute at least 1 cup of white sugar for brown sugar because it's less processed (and at least once I've subbed ALL of the white sugar for brown; it was delicious).  There are a lot of different ways to substitute out the oil if you're uncomfortable using a whole cup of it - check out the comments on the original recipe for some ideas.
Now, you can use a whole cup of oil and all three cups of white sugar but here is something you must do: sprinkle the tops of your loaves with brown sugar before putting them in oven.  The brown sugar will melt and caramelize and do all kinds of wonderful things in the oven.  You could even get a little crazy and put chopped walnuts on top!  Whoa.

All right - DISCLAIMER.  That beautiful picture of pumpkin bread up there?  Not from this recipe.  Every time I've made this bread it's been eaten up too quickly for me to take delicious pictures of it, so I had to ask Google to find something pretty and tasty.  Okay.  Now I feel better.  But I want to tell you two more things about this recipe and then I have to go kill a ladybug (is that bad luck?).  1) It freezes really nicely, and 2) it makes delicious toast.. but just a little bit of butter.  Don't get too crazy.

See you tomorrow for a not-as-long-winded Things I Love Thursday!