Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Moved In!

I'm all moved into my new apartment!! I moved in last Sunday (a week ago) and spent most of my free time during the week unpacking and moving furniture around, with help from Chris. We put together my clothing racks and set up the big TV his mom gave me. I love that I have more closet space here to hang up a lot of the clothes that were shoved into my bureau drawers. It feels good to have more room in general. I finally upgraded from a twin to a queen-sized bed. I have room in here for my bookcase and a chair. I'm really happy and relieved now that everything is mostly unpacked and put away. I still have some stuff that I have to deal with still, but the majority is done.

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It feels nice to not have to answer to anyone but myself. I think it's an important feeling and experience to have to be able to have your own space and not have to tell anyone where you're going, what you're doing, when to have dinner, etc. It's nice to just live by my own standards and schedule and to be in charge of every aspect of my life. Plus, my cousin's cat likes to hang out with me all the time and sleeps in my room, so now I have a kitty to hang out with all the time!

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I'm really proud of this move and I'm excited for this stage in my life. I am really proud that I made it a goal to be moved out by the time I'm 25, and I did it. It's one of those things that I always felt like I said I would do, but probably wouldn't happen when I wanted it to, but it did and I'm so glad.

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I still have some decorating to do and there are a bunch of crafts I want to do, but that's on the back burner for now. There are more important things needed to spend my time and money on first. That's the one thing that is really new to me and makes me nervous - having all these new and big financial obligations. I know I'll adjust and I will get used to it, but it won't be for a couple of months since this month's rent was already paid when we decided on the place and next month's rent we only have to pay half since we moved in the middle of this month. It probably won't be until September until I know exactly how things will be with the usual rent and payments.

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Top: Forever 21//Shorts: Forever 21//Shoes: Gap
These were taken at my favorite book store. It was just a simple and comfy outfit for a relaxing day out in the heat. I'm so ready for fall. Summer is cool and it has its perks, but I'm kinda over it by now, especially when I'm trying to avoid running the A/C to avoid a costly electric bill. I can't wait for the colorful leaves, apple and pumpkin everything, and Halloween time. It's the best time of the year! It's a shame it never lasts too long.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Reese's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

I've had the idea for this cake for a very long time. A cake made with all kinds of chocolate and peanut butter - a Reese's EXPLOSION. I figured Chris's birthday would be the perfect time to resurrect this idea and actually make it since he loves anything Reese's. I have to say, this cake MIGHT kill you, but it'll be worth it.

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I looked up some Reese's cakes online to get some inspiration for how to decorate the cake. I knew I wanted to use a variety of different things, so I sort of combined a few ideas together into one super cake. Hence the combination of Reese's miniature cups, Reese's Pieces, and both chocolate and peanut butter chips. I had also bought regular sized Reese's cups, but didn't end up using them. At least I was prepared.

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The cake is my go-to chocolate cake. I used it for this Oreo cake that I made for my Grandpa's birthday a couple of years back. Of course, I wanted to make peanut butter frosting to go with the chocolate cake. I used a basic peanut butter buttercream type of frosting. Buttercream is my favorite type of frosting. I made Chris a peanut butter and chocolate cake once before, except the roles were reversed. I had made a peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting. While it looked awesome since I decorated it with painted fondant planets that I made (see here), this cake that I made now is definitely better. It might be one of my favorite cakes I've ever made, and it got raving reviews from everyone who tasted or even saw it. Woo!

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The cake is really easy to make and doesn't take long at all. I'm also fairly certain you only need one bowl for it too, which makes cleaning up easier. The frosting is also easy. The parts that take the longest are just waiting for the cakes to cool (which you can do other things while waiting for) and decorating it! But decorating is also the fun part. :)

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Reese's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Sources: Hershey's, The Girl Who Ate Everything

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the Frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 cups confectioners' sugar

For Decorating:

1 package of Reese's Pieces
1 package of Reese's Miniature Cups
1 package of chocolate chips
1 package of peanut butter chips

Directions:

For the Cake:

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round baking pans.


Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

For the Frosting:

Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy. Note: I had to add a lot more milk than suggested.

For Decorating:

I started with the chips. Create vertical rows of chocolate and peanut butter chips all around the cake, alternating them as you go (kinda like a checkerboard). This is very time consuming, so prepare to be patient and experience bouts of annoyance at the fact that you just want it to be over with.

Once the chips have been placed, now it's time to start with the Reese's miniature cups. Unwrap a bunch of them and cut them in half. Start lining the bottom of the cake with the halved miniature cups with the inside (flat part) of the halves facing the cake. Once you are done with this, cut more halves and line the top of the cake with the flat parts facing the cake. Afterwards, create an inner circle of halved miniature cups and then stick one whole one in the middle of the top of the cake. Fill in the spaces between all of the cups with Reese's Pieces. I stuck the bottom layer of them into the frosting, but then just kept the rest loose.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ren Faires Call For Flower Crowns

Last month I went to a renaissance faire with Chris, Nadia, her boyfriend Jon, and her little brother. Mainly, we love to go to renaissance faires for the food, but the atmosphere is always fun as well. I love how into everything the cast and workers get. It's really great! I have always loved theater, so it's cool to see it still alive in a really cool form.

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It was super hot and I ended up getting a sunburn. I realized that I didn't get any pictures of the back of this dress, but there's a cutout in the lower back of it. That made for a weird sunburn...lol. This is my first high-low dress! It's the first one that I found that isn't too long or has too harsh of an angle.

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This is probably the first time that I didn't get a turkey leg at a renaissance faire. For some reason, I just wasn't feeling it. I opted for the mac and cheese with pulled pork, which was decent. I also got a drink that came in a pineapple because I always wanted to drink out of a pineapple. They were serving smoothies in them and you could either get strawberry or pina colada. I got the pina colada one and Nadia got the strawberry one. She also balanced it on her head. I've never actually had a real pina colada, so that's on my bucket list for this year.

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pineapple drink, drink out of a pineapple

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We saw some shows and walked around, trying to beat the heat any way we could. Chris participated in a sword fight with a knight and he did pretty good! He and Jon also did a bunch of other things that they received special stickers for, and they got "knighted".

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The necklace I'm wearing is actually my mom's. They were charms that she collected when she was young. I really liked the little rose detail on it and the shape of the hook. I was happy to take it when she offered it to me because it's vintage and because I love having a little piece of my mom's past and history. It's one of those sentimental pieces.

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Dress: Forever 21//Shoes: Payless//Necklace: Handed down from my mom//Flower Crown: Made by Chris//Sunglasses: H&M
Since it was a renaissance faire and especially because it had a spring theme, I knew I had to wear one of the flower crowns that Chris made me. I always seem to go for the one he made me with both flowers/colors on it. I think it's because I tend to wear a flower crown with solid, plain pieces so the different colors add more to the outfit. I'll make it a small goal that I should wear the other ones he made me! One is with just all the white flowers and the other is with just all the little sunflowers.

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As for an update on moving, the day is close at hand! I will be moving into the apartment on Sunday! Eep! I need to start packing up my clothes. I've decided it'll just be easiest to pack everything in a suitcase to bring it all over. Other than that, I just have the drawers of my side table and my TV stand to clean out and then all the furniture. As the day approaches, I keep thinking how weird it will be to not be in the same bedroom anymore. It's going to be a weird feeling to stare at a different ceiling from now on, but it's a good change and it's going to feel amazing. It's definitely the right and next step in my life at this point and I'm really excited for it all! :)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Seashells By The Seashore

I had been eyeing this adorable dress for months. I had favorited it on Etsy and holding off on it because I knew I shouldn't spend that much on a dress and that it might be a gamble since it was located in France...but then I got my tax return. As I was going through some things on my Etsy account, I noticed that this dress was still available, and I couldn't believe it. I decided that since I had the extra money, I'd go ahead and splurge a little.

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seashells, heart hands, shells in hand, heart shaped shells

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The dress is vintage and it's from the 60's. It's also from France. The shop I got it from is called Last Tango in Paris. Since I was concerned about the bust, I just e-mailed the shop owner and asked more about the measurements and what she thought about it fitting a larger bust. She was extremely helpful, and after talking with her, I decided I would definitely give the dress a shot and I made my purchase.

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As I guessed, the bust was a bit tight on me, but not so much that I felt I needed to return it. The rest of the dress fits fine! I wish I knew how to perform basic alterations on clothing and just more about sewing in general, but as always, I don't have the time currently. It's something I want to get back into at some point, though. I took a sewing class a few years back, but it never really went anywhere.

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I love taking pictures by the ocean, but if it's not a totally calm day, it makes it really difficult to get good pictures because of the wind. Unfortunately, it's hard to tell until you actually get there because it can seem not too windy inland, but then become really windy at the shore with all the open space.

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This was one of the first times that I went to the beach this season. Actually, it might've been the first time. It was definitely the first time this season that I had my feet in the sand. It's always a good feeling to wiggle your toes in the warm sand, especially after a really long winter.

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Dress: Vintage from Last Tango In Paris//Purse: Thrifted//Shoes: ModCloth//Belt: Thrifted//Sunglasses: Delia's//Lipstick: LORAC Cosmetics
Lately I want nothing more than to just lay in the sun and hang out by the pool. Chris and I planned a pool party for the 4th, but it was rainy, chilly, and cloudy all day. :\ Of course almost everyone we invited was able to come, which rarely happens, and then the weather ruined it. THANKS, MOTHER NATURE. I think it's because of that tropical storm/hurricane in the south that we're getting a bunch of thunderstorms up here. Fortunately, we rescheduled the pool party for today and it seems like everyone will still be able to come! And yesterday we went to a pig roast and the weather was perfect for that as well. Huzzah!