Sunday, November 30, 2014

Four Years

I seriously cannot believe that four years later, I would still be dedicated to writing and publishing my work on this blog. It has taken tremendous effort, lots of love, dedication, and plenty of late nights catching up on researching and communicating with readers who have written in to ask me questions. Never did I think I would keep this up but here I am plugging away and loving every minute of it. With a busy schedule of a nine to six job and being a student, I have thought many times that the end was drawing near. After working a full day, being a student and then putting in five to six  more hours to the blog each day, it would be easy to say I'm tired of it and want to call it quits. But then someone from the other side of the country or even outside the states contacts me and compliments my work, they like my posts, my writing style and ask how I do it. How do I manage my time between working a day job, committing to a blog and having a life.  It's amazing how in four years, I've met people I would have never come across if it wasn't for this blog. So for now, I will continue to write if you continue to read and send positive feedback. Here's to another four years :)

(image via decor8) 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Mornings

Good morning everyone!!! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday yesterday and hopefully you are all off and get to sleep in a bit (or maybe just be lazy and not get out of bed right away) like I'm doing at this very moment. I don't have much planned for the day other than doing a massive cleaning of the apartment, hauling out Christmas decorations and getting in some reading this afternoon. What are your plans for the weekend? See you Monday :)

(image via the design chaser)  

this week's favorites...





Have you read the book or listened to Allie's interview with Marc Maron on WTF? I recently just stumbled across her blog and love everything about it. Read it, you will love this comical site!!! 

(images via hyperbole and a half)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie

Growing up I was not a fan of most of the dishes served at Thanksgiving. Cranberry Sauce, no thanks. Sweet potatoes, gross. Ham, get it away from me...I only stuck to a few things, turkey, rolls and pumpkin pie. Nothing could touch my Grandma Dorothy's pumpkin pie, I always served myself a few plates of her pumpkin pie. Enjoy a homemade recipe of delicious pumpkin pie today :) 

Ingredients: 

Homemade Pie Crust (full recipe makes 2 crusts: 1 for bottom, 1 for leaf decor)
2 cups (15oz can; 450g) pumpkin puree*
3 large eggs
1 and 1/4 cups (250g) dark brown sugar*
1 Tablespoon (15g) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger*
1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg*
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves*
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
1/4 cup (60ml) milk (I use 1% - any is fine)
1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon milk

SUGARED CRANBERRIES
1 cup (120g) fresh cranberries*
2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
1 cup (240ml) water


Directions:

If decorating your pie with sugared cranberries, start them the night before. You'll also begin the pie crust the night before as well (the dough needs at least 2 hours to chill; overnight is best). The filling can be made the night before as well. In fact, I prefer it that way. It gives the spices, pumpkin, and brown sugar flavors a chance to infuse and blend. It's awesome. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
For the cranberries: Place cranberries in a large bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of sugar and the water to a boil and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Pour sugar syrup over the cranberries and stir. Let the cranberries sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight (ideal). You'll notice the sugar syrup is quite thick after this amount of time. Drain the cranberries from the syrup and pour 1 cup of sugar on top. Toss the cranberries, coating them all the way around. Pour the sugared cranberries on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet and let them dry for at least 2 hours.
Make the pie crust through step 7 according to my directions, explanations, and visuals.
For the filling: Whisk the pumpkin, eggs, and brown sugar together until combined. Add the cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cream, and milk. Vigorously whisk until everything is combined. Filling will be a little thick.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Make the pie crust leaves: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the balls of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Roll out into any shape you really want (doesn't matter) and 1/8 inch thickness. Using leaf cookie cutters, cut into shapes. Brush each lightly with the beaten egg + milk mixture. Cut leaf veins into leaves using a sharp knife, if desired. Place onto a parchment paper or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool.
Turn oven up to 375F degrees.
Roll out the chilled pie crust: Remove second pie dough from the refrigerator. On the same floured work surface, turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch deep dish pie (one that is 1.5 - 2 inches deep). Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. With a small and sharp knife, trim the extra overhang of crust and discard. Crimp the edges with your fingers, if desired. Brush edges lightly with beaten egg/milk mixture. Pre-bake crust for 10 minutes.
Pour pumpkin pie filling into the pre-baked crust. If you did not use a deep dish pie pan, you will have too much filling. Only fill the crust about 3/4 of the way up. Use extra to make mini pies with leftover pie dough scraps if you'd like. Bake the pie until the center is almost set, about 55-60 minutes give or take. A small part of the center will be wobbly - that's ok. After 25 minutes of baking, be sure to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil or use a piecrust shield to prevent the edges from getting too brown. Check for doneness at minute 50, and then 55, and then 60, etc.
Once done, transfer the pie to a wire rack and allow to cool completely for at least 3 hours. Decorate with sugared cranberries and pie crust leaves. You'll definitely have leftover cranberries - they're tasty for snacking. Serve pie with whipped cream if desired. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Pumpkin pie freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

* Light brown sugar is OK but my taste testers and I prefer dark brown sugar.
*I prefer canned pumpkin in this pumpkin pie recipe. 
*3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice may be used instead of these spices.
*Fresh cranberries, not frozen. The sugar syrup doesn't coat evenly on the frozen berries, leaving you with rather ugly and some very plain shriveled cranberries.

(image and text via sally's baking addiction)

On Being Thankful

This year has been long and full of big changes. I am both grateful and appreciative to all who have been a part of those changes and being supportive when needed. Go ahead, share what you are thankful for this year!

1. I am thankful for having a job. It has been a year of job searching, disappointment, exhaustion, applications, interviews, soul searching and finally landing a position I really wanted. 
2. I am thankful for having a great team to work with on a daily basis. There is nothing worse than working somewhere where you don't get along with colleagues.
3. I am thankful for being independent and financially supporting myself!!!
4. I am thankful for having two semesters left of graduate school and getting that degree.
5. I am thankful for having an intimate group of girlfriends who are loyal, supportive and the coolest girls around. My boyfriend of two and half years for being there through all the stress of school, the best and worst moments and being my best friend. And lastly my family, I am thankful for everything you've done for me!

(image via levo league)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's That Time of Year



With holidays and birthdays coming up in the next few months, I am already hauling out the wrapping station. I came across this Etsy shop the other day and wanted to order everything. My favorite, the map wrapping paper :) 

(images via Norman's Printery)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up

weekend wear. 
early evening walks and loving the view.
90s girl to the max.
birthdays at the ritz, mood music please. 
fresh pink and purple flowers from my mom.
complete lazy bum sunday evening.

(images via instagram)

Quote of the Day

"Little girls with dreams become women with vision." 

(image via completely catherine)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Happy

I have been waiting for Brooke Fraser to release her latest album for over a year. It finally came out and I've been listening to it all week along. Then my guy completely surprised me with tickets to see her in San Diego in late January, I cannot wait!!! Pre-order it and tell me what you think? What's making you happy this week?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Mornings

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week and then December is just around the corner? I can't! I'm getting into bed as we speak just thinking about all that needs to be done before this year ends. This week has certainly been a busy one, I couldn't have asked for a better birthday this year but I am definitely ready for the weekend. I'll be sharing the evening with my coworkers tonight (because we can't get enough of the each other at the library) to see Mockingjay, I am ecstatic to say the least! What are your plans for the weekend?

(image via anthropologie)

this week's favorites...

 Kings and Queens - Brook Fraser
 Chandelier - Sia
 Til Dawn - The Weeknd
 Crazy Lov - Irene Diaz
Rich Girl - Lake Street Dive

What's on your November playlist? I've been listening to Lake Street Dive, Irene Diaz and the new Brooke Fraser album on repeat for the last week :) 

(images via amazon)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Librarian Suggests

What are you reading this month? I'm reading a whole mess of things these days, everything from books and articles to focus in on my thesis for my senior portfolio and lots of poetry (which is making me really excited and anxious that grad school is wrapping up). I recently came across an adorable children's book that was illustrated by Barbara Cooney about Emily Dickinson (and the Stickman Odyssey graphic novel series, hilarious!!!) . So I've been settling in early these past few weeks to read a little of Emily Dickinson, Anne Sexton and Sylvia Path. I'm also reading The World is Round by Gertrude Stein, we just got it in the children's room at the library, so I made sure to grab it before anyone else did. Realizing it was Thursday while packing up the car this morning, I quickly tuned in for the latest episode of Serial. By the end of the episode I was screaming at the radio, I'm pretty sure the guy waiting at the light right next to me assumed I was crazy. And if you haven't seen the film, Snowpiercer, then you need to see it :) 

(image via)

Let's Eat Cake

Apologies for slipping by without posting yesterday but I had a perfect and lovely day all to myself with little screen time; it was needed and very much enjoyed. I spent the day reflecting and relaxing with good company, all of course with a side of excellent food. While I have been anticipating my birthday for the last month, I wasn't sure how I felt about turning 27. After sharing my age all day, people were quick to round up to thirty. They kept telling me your thirties are way better than your twenties and how their late twenties (and early thirties) were their best years. So instead of being nervous about what thirty means to me, I am embracing 27. I'm embracing the youth and curiosity of still being a twentysomething and accepting the responsibility of being independent and on my own. What does your age mean to you? 

(image via urban outfitters)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Browned Butter Butternut Squash Pasta

This time of year, I crave comfort food. All I want is a second serving of turkey and muffins for breakfast, my aunt's cranberry sauce, my mom's excellent mashed potatoes and my personal favorite my grandmother's pumpkin pie. This year, I'm open to trying a few new recipes I've come across lately, this Butternut Squash Pasta looks fantastic!! 


Ingredients:

1 stick of butter

Fresh sage leaves

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 large butternut squash, cubed

1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan 

Pepper

1 lb pasta 

Instructions:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add squash. Cook 15 minutes, remove and put in a food processor. Add noodles to boiling water.

2. Meanwhile, brown butter over medium heat until amber in color and it has a nutty scent. Add sage leaves, garlic and walnuts. Remove from heat in 30 seconds.

3. Remove sage leaves and place on paper towels to dry.

4. In food processor, puree squash. Add to butter mixture and stir well. Add fresh cracked pepper.

5. Toss with pasta, top with fresh parmesan and sage leaves :)

(image and text via coordinately yours)

In November





"In November, the earth is growing quiet. It is making its bed, a winter bed...
The bed is white and silent, and much of life can hide beneath its blankets.
In November, the air is chilly and everyone and everything will start to shiver.
Cats and dogs pile up and cuddle near the fire. 
In November, the smell of food is different. 
It is an orange smell. A squash and a pumpkin smell.
 It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, 
can pull everyone from bed in a fog.
Food is better in November than any other time of year...
In November, at winter's gate, the stars are brittle. The sun is a sometime friend. 
And the world has tucked her children in, with a kiss on their heads, til spring."

-Cynthia Rylant

November is my favorite time of year, wrapped in blankets and several layers of clothes, sipping hot drinks and reading a little poetry is just what the doctor ordered for this chilly November evening. 

(1,2,3,4,5)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up

 autumn basics :)
 day trips and pinkberry pomegranate 
blueberry goodness.
 pretty and colorful :)
 my kitchen basics...
desert sunrise :)

(images via instagram)

Quote of the Day

"Make it simple, but significant."
-Don Draper

(image via emma)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday Happy

I will make this short and sweet because I know you've heard everything you possibly need to know on the newest podcast in town, Serial. While most listeners think the world of (the This American Life spinoff) Serial and the team that makes up the show, I have actually read articles completely dissing and criticizing the journalist, Sarah Koenig and her story. I admit, I'm hooked and a reddit addict trying to figure out if Adnan (I want to know more about Jay, he is so very suspicious to me) is really guilty, I can't help to think of all of this resurfacing in Woodlawn, Maryland. To all the families of Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed, this has to be so frustrating having to relive the past all for entertainment. Sarah Koenig is captivating and a born storyteller, there is no doubt that I'm obsessed with knowing the truth but I try to remember this is very real and it is affecting all the people who were involved in the case fifteen years ago. What is making you happy this week? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Showing

All those old made for tv movies on the Disney Channel while growing up that I secretly loved. These are just a few of my favorites growing up...

Motocrossed
Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century
A Ring of Endless Light
The Paper Brigade
Wish Upon A Star
My Date with the President's Daughter
Luck of the Irish
Model Behavior 
Suzy Q


Friday Morning

I don't know about you but this week went by incredibly slow, so I'm happy the weekend is finally here even though I'll be working. My weekend is full laundry, sleeping soundly (I haven't slept well all week) and fighting a cold, listening to and catching up with the podcast Serial and getting pumped for my last semester of grad school, which means start preparing (and panicking) for the senior portfolio now!!! Have a fantastic weekend and stay warm :)

(image via hemingway and hepburn)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Buddy Editions





Katie Armour is back with a new little treat for us called, Buddy Editions. It's an affordable art gallery that features artists from around the globe who sell their work at reasonable prices. Fresh out of college, I simply cannot afford the artwork I want to collect, inevitably I resort to searching the web but even then I find very little of what I actually want and like. The co-founder of Matchbook Magazine, Katie has curated a space that features exclusive photographs and paintings as well as new and upcoming artists. In short, I am more than excited to announce the launching of Buddy Editions :)



(images via buddy editions)

Influential Bloggers





Nearing the four year mark of writing this little blog (FOUR YEARS, WHAT!!!) I want to give all the bloggers the credit they deserve in constantly inspiring, influencing and motivating me to keep doing this. I have been following these five women from the start, the content they keep producing still has me excited to wake up every morning. Being able to see into their day to day lives and all the projects they are working on, it keeps me inspired to be creative and not give up on small side projects of my own. I started following Emily while I was in college, her blog was an immediate mood lifter in the midst of senior finals. I eventually found many other blogs but these particular women are a constant source of motivation to keep writing. 

(1,2,3,4,5)

this week's favorites...

The top of the 21, 778 foot high Kailash mountain in Western Transhimalaja has never been reached. However, every year thousands of...