Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Things To Do At The Beginning Of The Month

Hello Friends!

I can't believe that November is ending and we are coming into the last month of the year! As we go into the last month of the year its hard not to thinking about resolutions and other things of the sort. You all know me and how much emphasis I put on organization. So there are a couple of things that I find useful to do at the beginning of the month to really set the stage for the rest of the month.

Things to do at the beginning of every month to prepare for the month ahead!

one// Lay out some plans & notes
Whip out your planner/calendar/notebook/whatever and take a look a the month to mark any important birthdays, appointments, plans, etc. This will help keep you organized for the month. 

two// Setup/evaluate your budget
Take a look at your finances and figure out if you need to tweak anything, then set your monthly budget. The key to successful finances is budgeting. It never hurts to quickly review your monthly finances.

three// Set yourself some realistic goals
To achieve all your dreams you need to set steps to get to your goals. It is important to set yourself doable milestone goals in order to get your final destination. You don't need to write down every single goal for the month just set yourself a few (or one!), big one(s). Also reflect on the previous month.

four//Deep-clean & declutter your home
I think it is a good idea to really deep-clean your home at least once a month. Clean everything that needs cleaned- stove, rugs, windows, random nooks. This has been especially important for us. We have such a hard time tidying up and decluttering so slowly working and keeping it up each month really helps.

five//Pick out a book (or something).
I love reading! So I try to pick out a book to read every month. If you're not a reader, then make time for something else to improve yourself and/or your knowledge- like sign up for a class or free online course, or make time to knit.

six//Clean out your purse.
If you're anything like me, your purse turns into an abyss of random items and junk. SO MANY RECEIPTS. I feel like once a month is good because that's when it really needs the cleaning. Plus I like to switch which purse I'm using sometimes. Go through it and throw away receipts, put my loose change away, and generally clean it out and re-organize it.

What would you add?
XOXO

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving {Menu}

Hello All!

I LOVE THANKSGIVING. It is my favorite holiday. My sister came home for the Holiday and we cooked a lot. We pretty much have the same menu every year. We borrowed a lot from Martha Stewart and William Sonoma. Between the three different potlucks and friendsgivings I did this year I am so ready to cook for this year!


My family and I take Thanksgiving very seriously. We plan our menu meticulously, shop, and cook days in advance just to be prepared for the big day. Now we know that cooking is not the reason for the season, But it is a great way for us to get together and spend quality time as a family. The years are hard and we don't always get along, but this is the best way for us to put everything aside, and really enjoy each other's company.

Every year we make:
Turkey & Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Yams
Corn
Cranberry Sauce
Stuffing
Bruschetta with Focaccia
Popovers
Pecan Pie

Our menu is pretty much the same for every Thanksgiving. We occasionally add new things. Everyone in my family has a different thing that we cook. For example, I make the bread. My mom cooks nothing. My dad and one of my sisters make pretty much everything else.


What's on your Thanksgiving menu?
XOXO

Monday, November 21, 2016

Friendsgiving

Hello Loves,

Last week and I my friends had a fun Friendsgiving get together. We did it potluck style so we all brought different foods. I decided to make bread. I like baking bread and after searching on Pinterest; I found a couple of fun recipes. They came in perfect for Friendsgiving and our office potluck. I got a lot of kitchen time this week!

These are fantastic little dinner rolls. They have just enough pumpkin flavor to be salty or sweet. Depending on the butter you pair it with they can be dinner or dessert rolls. In terms of size you can always make the rolls a little smaller and get more out of the dough. We had a full potluck meal. With turkey, mac n' cheese, pies, and all sorts of vegetables. The rolls added to the fun aspect and made the meal more enjoyable.


Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rising Time: nearly 3 hours

Servings: 15 rolls

Ingredients

Pumpkin Dough
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water (120-130 degrees F)
3/4 cup warm milk (120-130 degrees F)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 1/2 -5 cups flour, plus more for dusting

Savory Butter Option
3 tablespoons butter, melted divided
sesame seeds

Whipped Brown Sugar Butter Option
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pumpkin Roll Stems
15 pecan slices

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of your standard mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit 5-10 minutes or until slightly foamy. (If it doesn't foam, start again)
  2. Add all remaining Dough ingredients except flour and whisk gently to combine. Add 3 cups flour and stir until combined.
  3. Fix mixer with dough hook and generously spray hook with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. With the mixer running on low, gradually mix in 1 1/2 cups more flour. Once dough has pulled away from the bowl, knead on medium-low speed for approximately 5 minutes (or by hand for 10) until dough is smooth and elastic. If dough seems too sticky (it should still be somewhat sticky for light rolls), gradually add up to 1 cup additional flour, one tablespoon of flour at a time.* (I used a total of 5 cups flour)
  5. Remove dough and spray mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Knead dough a few times on a lightly floured surface, then knead dough into a ball and place back into your greased mixing bowl. Cover tightly with greased plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
  6. Remove dough and punch down. Divide dough into 15 equal pieces, then roll each into a ball and place equally spaced on a greased baking sheet (or use a nonstick slip mat). NOTE: If you do not want your rolls to touch, then use two baking sheets instead.
  7. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand. Using scissors or a knife (I find scissors much faster), make 8 equally spaced cuts about ½ inch deep around the outside of each ball, leaving the center uncut.
  8. Cover rolls with a towel or greased plastic wrap and allow to rise until almost double in size.
  9. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke a deep hole into the top center of each roll (this will be the hole for your stem).
  10. Brush rolls with either 1 ½ tablespoon melted butter OR 1 ½ tablespoons melted Brown Sugar Butter (recipe follows). If using butter only, then also, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  11. Bake rolls at 350 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown and sound slightly hollow when tapped.
  12. Remove from oven and brush with 1 ½ tablespoons additional melted butter or melted Brown Sugar Butter.
  13. Insert pecan pieces into pumpkin rolls for stems.
  14. Serve with butter or remaining Brown Sugar Butter. Also delicious with honey.
  15. BROWN SUGAR BUTTER: Beat butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Remove 3 tablespoons to a small bowl to melt.



Happy Thanksgiving
XOXO

Friday, November 18, 2016

Girl's Night Ideas

Hello Friends,

Part of my time off has been enjoying friends and having a good time. Now a whole other issue that arises is that girl's nights can be expensive but the good thing about it is that it doesn't have to be expensive! There are many fun ways to have an inexpensive girls night and I've got a bunch of ideas.



At Home Spa:
- DIY Deep Hair Conditioning
- DIY Face Masks
- Manicures and pedicures
- Do a Makeup Makeover
- Hairdos
- DIY Scrubs

Food:
- Pinterest Girl's Night In: Everyone brings ingredients and you attempt a Pinterest recipe
- Cocktail Party
- Fondue Party
- Potluck dinner
- Cook-off Challenge: everyone brings their own version of a dish, everyone does a blind taste test
- Make your own pizzas
- Decorate cookies: provide candies, sugar, frosting, and all other fun stuff

Just Hanging Out
- Gift-wrapping party: especially great before Christmas
- Girl's Night Book Club
- Watch a chick flick
- Yoga

Crafts:
- Make clips or hair bands
- Make jewelry
- Seasonal/Holiday craft party
- Make candles
- Scrapbook
- Make soaps
What are you doing for girls night?
XOXO

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Little Ways to Feel Happier

Hello Loves,

We get it! Some days are really difficult, some weeks make it hard to smile. Especially Mondays. We all struggle through Mondays. As we hit the middle of the week, we all need a little more to smile about, not just the fact that Friday is right around the corner.


one// Smile
It sounds basic because it is! As we buzz around our week and days we forget to smile. Even forcing a smile can cause stress to start melting away!

two// Technology Detox
I actually went ahead and did this over the weekend and it was amazing! Just putting your phone, laptop, and other devices away and off for as little as 60 minutes can change your phone day. It is good for the mind, body, and soul.

three// Sniff Lemons
Now this is a weird one! But according to science just 10 minutes of sniffing the lemons will help decrease your bad mood.

four// Dark Chocolate
Eat a piece of dark chocolate. The antioxidants can trigger the your blood vessels to relax, which lowers blood pressure!


five// Get Outdoors
Even if its just a walk around the block for lunch, exposure to greenery can boost your mental health.

six// Exercise
Go for a run, do some yoga, swim. Whatever you do, do something! Even if its just for 30 minutes.

seven// Meditate
Research says that you will see a noticeable improvement after just one week of regular practice.

eight// Go To Bed an Hour Earlier
According to research not getting enough sleep can make you less optimistic. So time to power down that Netflix!

nine// Sing
Yep! Just letting loose and singing even a few bars can lower stress and boost endorphins

ten// Learn Something New
Whether you listen to a podcast or you attempt a new recipe, it'll help you feel accomplished.


eleven// Buy Yourself Flowers
Its pretty easy to see how just a $7 bouquet can really boost your mood. So treat yourself.

twelve// Wash Your Face
Its all about the "me" time. Pampering yourself can really elevate how you feel.

thirteen// Hang Out With Friends
There is nothing quite as helpful as spending time with friends. Whether its face-to-face or via facetime it can help with everything.

What do you do to feel happier?
XOXO

Monday, November 14, 2016

Taking The Week Off

Hello Loves,

This past week I decided to take some time off. I took time off from work in order to get some other things done and just to relax. I really like my work and what I do on a daily basis, but I feel like I am already in a rut. I just started my adult life, I'm barely considered an adult yet I was already in a rut.

I usually have a pretty difficult time with coming out of my comfort zone and trying new things. So it has been particularly difficult these past couple of weeks. People always say "stay in tune with what you need" and it is so true. I needed to listen to myself, to my body to know that I needed a break.


For my week off (going on two weeks now). I ran errands. I caught up with friends. I cleaned my closet. You know that to-do list that just sort of sits there and you'll get around to it when you have time? Well that's what I worked on. The fun part about it was that I could take my time. I could stroll over and get a haircut then grab lunch and finally come back home to work on my closet/room.

I am not done with my super long list and it seems that I just keep adding things to it. But this break from my everyday life has come at a much needed time. I never realized what they meant by how easily you can fall in a rut, but here I am working to get out of it. I learned that I am not the only one that feels this way..... and we all just really need a major change.

Once I find out what that major change is I'll let you all know. In the meantime do you have any ideas of what I should do on my time off?

Have any ideas for me?
XOXO

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Haircuts!

Hello All!

Happy Wednesday! Lately I have been doing advice type posts on Wednesdays, but today I decided to do something a little more light-hearted. Also I got a haircut and I wanted to share! I'll be sharing some tips on how to get a haircut you won't regret and how to get over a haircut you hate! Because let's be serious it has happened to all of us.

I usually decide on a whim that my hair is too long and I can't deal with it anymore! I don't really experiment with hairstyles and popular dos, I just like it straight and cut. I have in the past had my hair in layers, bobs, really short, and really really long. So I know how difficult it can be decided what you want and how it will look.


one// Decide That You Want a Haircut
This sounds silly but remember it is always your decision. No matter what other people say about getting a haircut or not, it is always up to you. I know when I go to the salon the lady always gives me the hardest time about chopping my hair, but it is my decision always!

two// Be Confident
Remember it is just hair! No matter what happens it will grow out and it will look good on you. You will rock it!! Don't let anyone discourage you from doing what you want in your hair. Like I said previously, the salon ladies always come play with my hair and try to discourage me. They always tell me to "just trim it" but that's not what I want.

three// Do Your Research
Know what you want before you walk in the door. Know how short/long you want it, know the style, the color, know everything! I like to play with my hair before I get it cut to see how short I want it. I'll stand in the mirror and fold my hair until I can picture what it will look like.

four// Speak Up
Remember you are paying for this! This is YOUR hair. Speak up. It is not offensive or rude to say that you don't like something or to keep moving the comb up and down until the perfect length is achieved. Go with your vision in mind and be flexible, but at the end of the day it is your hair and you do what you want.


five// Have Fun With It
Getting your hair done should not be a miserable experience. You should be able to enjoy yourself and feel good about yourself. Run your fingers through your hair. Smile, bounce around. Enjoy the feeling of the new you!

Do you have any tips?
XOXO

Monday, November 7, 2016

Make Up Brushes Cleaning {DIY}

Hello Friends!

I feel like I haven't done a beauty post in quite some time. My posts have been a little all over the place, but with having to clean my brushes today I decided to share with you all what I was doing. Clearly, I am a pretty big DIY-er, but a simple DIY-er since my skills are not very large or good. This one actually came from my sister!



I typically use a mixture of water and baby shampoo to clean my brushes. I like that mixture best because it is the softest and smoothest mixture, it also leaves my brushes incredibly soft. I like using that mixture because it is fairly easy to make. Now the one thing that I do not like is scrubbing my brushes until they are completely free of make up. It takes FOREVER!!!! So I started using a makeup brush cleaning pad. However, I just could not justify spending money to buy them. So I made my own.



To make your own you need a hot glue gun, hot glue, and we used the top of a pringles can. But you can just use any type of circular plastic. Once you've decided what to use you make the different patterns and textures on the pringles top with the hot glue. I made zig zags, straight lines, and dots. You can make a lot of different patterns too. Whichever patterns you think would be the most useful for cleaning your brushes. Once the glue has dried, go forth and clean those brushes!

How do you clean your brushes?
XOXO

Friday, November 4, 2016

Round Up

Hello Friends!

With the craziness going on for the elections I feel like the news cycle, facebook posts, and world is just very negative lately. Its exhausting me to see all the negativity and everyone fighting over seemingly petty things. Luckily I was able to stumble upon some fun thing that are occuring in the world!


Novels Scratch Off Chart
As you all know I have a very long list of books I want to read. This is a cool way of keeping track of different novels that you've read. Basically you just scratch off the novels that you read as you go through your list.

World Race
My sister wants to do the World Race. It is basically 9 months to a year off after school where you travel and work in different countries. It is a year of service around the world. It seems like an amazing and intense opportunity.

Harry Potter Yoga
This week I saw this a bunch on my facebook and over the internet. It looks like an amazing class. I really want to take this class! If only I lived close enough to actually go to the class! It looks absolutely magical!

What's on your radar?
XOXO

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Carry-On Packing Tips

Hello Friends!

I love, love, love to travel but I refuse to waste a single moment and cent on checking luggage. I don't want to waste time at the baggage claim no matter my destination. No matter where I'm going or how long, I see it as a challenge to pack everything I need in a single carry-on suitcase and a bag that fits under the seat in front of me. Of course that does not always happen, but I try by best.



My biggest piece of advice would be to plan out your outfits in advance. Even if it makes you feel like you're prepping for first day of high school, it's such a helpful way to get organized. I find that having outfits planned out you can pick outfits that mix and match. I try to create as many complete outfits out of just a couple of tops and bottoms. I typically pack twice as many tops as bottoms.



My second piece of advice is to pack your pajamas first so they're at the bottom of your suitcase. This might sound strange since it'll be the first thing you use, but it forces you to unpack completely. I can hang what needs to be hung, and put away the other items on a surface in the room. Unless I'm staying long enough to actually put everything in drawers. Its also a good way to avoid excessive wrinkling and remember what you packed in the first place! Also try to minimize the number of bags and shoes I bring as these take up the most space in a suitcase.

I think it is a good idea to travel in a pair of shoes you'll want to wear on your trip and then pack any additional pairs in your suitcase. This is hard to do if you're traveling from a warm to cold destination or vice versa but it definitely saves space if you're trying to make cuts. The best way to have extra space is not to use it up with clunky shoes.

How do you pack?
XOXO