Thursday, August 28, 2014

Backpack Essentials for Girls

Backpack Essentials for Girls

Part of the fun of going back to school is organizing your backpack and getting new supplies. By the end of the semester, my backpack ends up with old snack wrappers and index cards shoved at the bottom of the pockets. So, it's nice to give my backpack a fresh start with the new semester. Almost as importantly as having your textbooks and folders in your bag is to have other little essentials that will make your day go smoothly. Here is a list of the backpack essentials that you may want to add to your bag this semester:

makeup: Even if you don't wear a lot of makeup, it's nice to have some concealer to brighten up your eyes or lipstick to quickly refresh your look during the day. This is especially helpful when it's still warm out and your makeup comes off easier with the heat.

oil blotting sheets: If you have an oily face like me, these are wonderful! These are little sheets like tissue paper that you blot on your face and it absorbs the oil. It's feels fresher than using powder because it you're taking the oil off rather than covering it up. The brand e.l.f. sells these for just a dollar at Target.

compact mirror: Great for quick hair check-ups and making sure your lunch isn't left over in your teeth.

gum or mints: It's always a plus to have gum.

mini notebook: This is a helpful tool if you want to write a to-do list or shopping list and you don't have room in your agenda.

headphones: Have an impromptu jam session while studying at the library.

snacks: Granola bars are perfect for a quick snack that will last a little while in your backpack. Just don't leave them in there too long or you'll forget how old it is.

book: The philosophy of Rory Gilmore is that you should never be without a good book because you don't know when you'll have an opportunity to read it. I like carrying a book around with me and reading while I'm waiting for class to start or if I'm early for meeting up with a friend.

sticky notes: These work really well for extra notes to add to your agenda.

pads: no explanation needed.

sunglasses: It's always nice to have an extra pair to keep in your backpack in case you leave your other pair at home or in the car.

umbrella: same idea as the sunglasses.

hand sanitizer: Germs are gross. Hand sanitizer gives you peace of mind.

ibuprofen/peptobismol: Just in case you don't feel well.

USB stick: It's a good idea to have one that you always keep in your backpack for last minute work.

brush/bobby pins/hair elastics: for unruly hair.

band-aids: for your new shoes that rub or those darned paper cuts.

roll-on perfume: for a quick scent touch-up.

lotion: lotion is just awesome.

index cards: write your study cards while you're in class and save time.

What do you make sure to keep in your bag?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Crimson Tide Fashion

Crimson Tide Fashion

I'm an Alabama football fan, and one of the perks of being a fan is wearing fun clothes to support your team. While it's always nice to have a shirt that has the team logo on it, it's also nice to wear clothes that are a little more subtle (and spend a little less money). I've made a few outfits that are Crimson Tide themed and perfect for game day as well as an ordinary day.

Houndstooth Skirt and Crimson Sweater

Crea Concept boat neck sweater, $240 / Golf skirt, $30 / Piece, $17 / ALDO lace up booties / Alexander McQueen leather shoulder bag / Mango elephant pendant, $8.28

The first outfit is a cute mix of grungy and girly. A must for Crimson Tide style is, of course, crimson, which is incorporated here in the sweater. The houndstooth skirt also points to Alabama, since it's Alabama's pattern. To top it off, there's an elephant necklace, which is Alabama's mascot.

Red Peacoat and Houndstooth Pants

P A R O S H red cardigan / Prada coat / Balmain leather pants / Splendid ballet flat / Marc B crossbody purse, $65 / 2 Pack Black and Houndstooth Scrunchies, $4.96

This outfit is a little retro and very polished. The houndstooth and crimson are complemented by classy accessories. Those scrunchies are adorable!

Elephant Print Dress

Strap dress / Dolce Gabbana red long sleeve top, $830 / Gap round toe flat / Anna Field crossbody shoulder bag, $35 / Polish jewelry / Long scarve

How fun is this dress?! It's crimson and has an elephant print, which is perfect for supporting Alabama. To make this dress work for fall, add a cardigan, scarf, and wool flats. Polish it off with a cute little elephant ring.

Houndstooth Sweater and Crimson Circle Skirt

STELLA McCARTNEY long sleeve tee, $695 / River Island red skirt, $27 / Piece, $17 / Wet Seal army boots / Gucci black wallet / Pin1876 black shawl, $290 / Maison Boinet leather belt

This last look has an edgy school girl feel to it. The crimson circle skirt is a girly touch, and it's paired with a funky houndstooth shirt. The boots give the look some toughness, and the scarf and tights make it perfect for fall. The crossbody bag gives the look some class.

For more Crimson Tide, see my post "Inexpensive Ways to Show Your Crimson Tide Pride", coming soon!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

My Fall Bucket List

Fall is my favorite season. I just found a wonderful quote about fall by Emily Bronte from one of her poems. It says, "Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree." Since there are so many fun things I love to do in the fall, I made a bucket list for my husband and I. Here is a picture of the list:

What activities do you like to do in the fall?


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Puppy Chow Popcorn Recipe

Puppy chow is a wonderful, simple recipe that reminds me of childhood. My family would make it when we spent time with our cousins, especially on trips. It's a great snack for kids, but adults love it just as much! I decided to take the recipe and change it a little since I recently learned how to make popcorn on the stove. So, I made the recipe as usual, but put the chocolate mixture over popcorn instead of rice cereal. This is the recipe:

-9 cups of popcorn
-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (though I usually wing it with this measurement)
-1 cup chocolate chips
-1/2 cup peanut butter

1. Make the popcorn. Put the popcorn in a large bowl that has enough room for the popcorn to move as you mix it with the chocolate later.
2. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or on the stove.
3. Add the peanut butter and let it melt and blend with the chocolate.
4. Pour the peanut butter chocolate mixture over the popcorn and mix. I usually add a little at a time and stop to mix it in, rather than pouring it all in at once.
5. Shake powdered sugar over the popcorn and mix well.

This is a delicious dessert or snack to have on hand! It's hard to make this recipe last for very long- it's so good!


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Monday, August 18, 2014

Fashion Inspired by Mindy Lahiri of "The Mindy Project"

Fashion Inspired by Mindy Lahiri of "The Mindy Project"

"The Mindy Project" is one of my favorite shows. The characters are hilarious and endearing, and Mindy Lahiri is so relatable. I love her confidence and quirkiness. She also has really cool, unique style. She blends professionalism and fun perfectly. Her style is great to use for inspiration for work place style as well as for fun and casual outfits. Here are some outfits I put together inspired by Mindy Lahiri:

Button Down and Shift Dress

Vince shift dress / Chiffon shirt / Evening shoes / Oasis red handbag/ Coral necklace / Dorothy Perkins buckle belt

Mindy wears a lot of shift dresses, usually over a pretty buttoned down shirt. This is an outfit combination she wears a lot. She also wears a lot of cross body bags and pumps. The skinny belt really pulls the outfit together.

Long Cardigan and Full Skirt

Dex sleeveless button down top / ONLY long cardigan/ Boohoo circle skirt / Michael Antonio platform stiletto pumps / ASOS quilted purse/ Kendra Scott stone necklace

Mindy loves wearing patterns. She's really skilled at mixing patterns, which looks so chic. She likes to pair long cardigans with full skirts, and she also likes wearing bright colors. By mixing a small pattern with a larger one in the same color scheme, you can wear a fun outfit while still looking polished.

Fit 'n Flare Dress and Moto Jacket

Floral dress / Floral lace tight / Charlotte Russe mary jane pumps / Full Tilt flower necklace / Old Navy Girls Fleece Moto Jackets - Black jack

Mindy wears a lot of cute jackets, including moto jackets like the one above. You'll also see her wear pea coats in fun designs. Moto jackets are a chic way to add some edge to a girly dress and tights. Fit 'n flare dresses are wonderful since they are universally flattering. This dress would be easy to take from day to night as well.

Patterned Pullover and Wedge Sneakers

J Crew cotton pullover / ONLY sport sweatpant/ Puma leather shoes / Pink Varsity duffel bag/ Ponytail hair tie

Mindy even looks chic when she works out. Though her wedge sneakers aren't the most practical, they definitely add a level of style to her outfit. She wears a lot of cute pullovers, which are comfy and great for lounging as well. Finish the look off with a pretty duffel bag and some trendy hair elastics.

Mindy offers up a lot of laughs on her show, and a lot of style inspiration as well!


Who is your favorite character on "The Mindy Project"?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Amazing Pinterest Desserts

I love desserts. I have, on occasion, considered a piece of cheesecake my dinner for the night. Dessert trumps every other type of food. So, naturally, I pin dessert recipes more than any other type of recipe. I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite dessert recipes that I have found on Pinterest and their original link.

Oreo Truffles
Oreo truffles were the first Pinterest recipe I tried and have now become the one I've made the most often. They taste like someone wrapped up all of you're favorite things and added them to chocolate. They're that good. Even better, the recipe is so simple and easy. The hardest part is covering them with chocolate, but as my husband says, presentation doesn't matter as long as it tastes good. All you need is cream cheese, oreos, and chocolate chips. You can find a recipe for these with a quick Pinterest search (there are hundreds of them, but it's all the same recipe).

Sally's Baking Addiction Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies
These chocolate chip cookies are so soft and decadent. They're are exactly what I'm looking for in a chocolate chip cookie. I love that she tells you what about the recipe makes these cookies extra chewy. 

Fudge Crinkles
These cookies are great because they have few ingredients and are quick and easy. They are definitely fudgy, like a little brownie. These are always a hit when I share them with friends.

Funfetti Cookies
These cookies are similar to fudge crinkles since both recipes are simple and use cake mix. I made these for Mother's Day, and everyone loved them. They are rich, soft, and super yummy.

Brownie Pudding
Oh my gosh, brownie pudding. YUM. This recipe is amazing because it's fudgy, chocolate-y, and will totally satisfy your sweets craving. It's great warm or chilled. It's not very difficult to make, and it's definitely worth making. I totally recommend it.


What are your favorite Pinterest dessert recipes?
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Fear Not - A Post on Isaiah 41:13

Fear Not - A Post on Isaiah 41:13
Fear Not

A number of years ago, when our family was going through a particularly rough time, Olivia would encourage and comfort me with verses. She would email verses to me. She would write verses on cards. She would paint canvases with beautiful, comforting scripture. One treasure she gave me was a square of baked salt dough and on it she painted “For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’ Isaiah 41:13”

That gift has lifted my spirits many times over the years. The beautiful, warped and cracked salt dough. The precious, uneven edges. Isn’t that like us, followers of Christ? His word, his unfathomable spirit, in our broken vessels. A thing – no, a person, of inestimable worth in this jar of clay. When I look at this square made from material that probably only cost 10 cents, I see a treasure of immeasurable worth. The word of God. That is what our heavenly father sees when he looks at us. We may be broken vessels, but he sees the magnificent glory of his son. Praise God!

One of my 17 year-old sons was on my mind all day yesterday. He had gone on a short road trip with a friend, and I couldn’t shake my concern. I prayed throughout the entire day. I had to discipline myself to turn my chanting prayers of, “Lord, please protect him. Lord, please protect him,” into “Lord, thank you for protecting him.” Then last night, as Olivia and I walked down the dark driveway to leave Bible study, her cell phone rang. My phone was off, so when she said, “It’s dad,” my heart dropped to the cold, hard concrete. I could hear the serious tone in his voice when he said to her, “Let me talk to your mom.” Fearing the worst, I started shaking even before I said “hello.” My son had gotten into a car accident.
Praise God, my son was not hurt. Praise God. It could have been so much worse. I am weak with gratitude to my Lord. Thank you, Lord. Thank you. He heard my prayers. He watched over my son.
When I decided to have children twenty years ago, I didn’t realize I would be giving birth to my own heart; that for the rest of my life, my heart would be walking around in these three precious lives in a scary, unpredictable world. I am continually teetering between my faith and trust in the Lord with my desire to protect my children from harm and the uncertainty of life.

This morning, with reawakened gratitude to the Lord for his love and protection, I once again walked by that salt dough plaque and read, “ For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’”
My thankful heart overflows.

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Fashion Inspired by Sue Heck of "The Middle"

Fashion Inspired by Sue Heck

                               Blue top / Strenesse Blue green jeans, $92 / Keds sneaker

Sue Heck is adorable. Her positive attitude and perseverance is so inspiring. However, that's not all that is inspiring about her. Though she's not someone you'd think of as particularly fashionable, her style provides some great inspiration for playful, feminine pieces.

Fashion Inspired by Sue Heck - Fruit Print

         Boohoo jumpsuits romper / Wedge sandals / ALDO red purse / Jeweliq cuff bracelet

Sue loves to wear unique, youthful clothes. She wears a lot of patterned, bright pieces. In one episode, she wears a sweater with a big strawberry on the front. Fruit prints are trending right now, and summer is the perfect time to wear them! Pair a pretty sundress with a fruit print with some retro or bohemian accessories, and you're done. Check stores like Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe, which have a lot of options and are always on trend. Etsy also carries a lot of fruit printed clothes and accessories.

Fashion Inspired by Sue Heck - Animal Sweater & Colored Jeans

          AX Paris owl top, $33 / Paige Denim green jeans, $230 / Charlotte Russe shoes / The Cambridge Satchel Company leather purse / Ted Baker black jewelry

Sue wears a lot of sweaters, and they're almost always patterned or have an image on the front. A fun way to wear an interesting sweater is by wearing one with an animal print. Sue is probably most known for her colored jeans, which is one of her staples. Delia's has a lot of great options for colored jeans, as well as Old Navy.

Fashion Inspired by Sue Heck - Polka Dot Pullover and Colored Jeans

                  Mango polka dot top / Mango red cotton pants / Keds sneaker / Travel purse

This outfit incorporates Sue's colored jeans and love for patterns and sweaters. Sue wears a lot of casual clothing, so Keds are the perfect match for her style. As it turns out, Sue is pretty on trend!


Would you wear any of these pieces?
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

DIY Notebooks

DIY Notebooks

This year, I decided that I had enough lined paper at home to skip buying notebooks for classes. I didn't have binders, though, and I don't really like using binders anyway. So, I decided to just make my own notebooks with my lined paper and scrapbook paper. If you're interested in doing this as well, here are the steps for making your own notebooks:

1. First, I gathered the amount of paper I wanted for a notebook and lined the papers up together neatly. 

2. I placed a piece of patterned card stock on top of the stack of lined paper and lined it up with the bottom and left side of the stack of lined paper. 

3. I flipped the stack of paper so that the patterned card stock was now facing down. I used a pencil to draw a dot on the inside of the patterned card stock where the holes were in the lined paper. Then, I cut holes in the card stock. In order to add a back cover, repeat this process with another sheet of patterned paper that you will add to the bottom of the stack of lined paper. 

4. I then threaded twine through the holes and tied it twice. 

5. Once I had put twine through each hole, I trimmed the patterned paper to make all of the paper one size. 

It may be easier to turn the pages of the notebook if you use more flexible string or ribbon rather than twine. The sturdier the scrapbook paper you use for your cover, the sturdier your notebook will be. You can do this with plain paper as well and add a design, as I did with one of my notebooks.

DIY Notebooks

DIY Notebooks
Do you personalize your school supplies?
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Verses about Angels, God's Protection, and Strength

Vicki and Livi: Verses about Angels, God's Protection, and Strength

Knowing that God is my protector and refuge gives me so much comfort. What's cool is that one of the ways He provides that protection is through His angels. Here are a couple of really awesome verses about the way angels help believers:

"God's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray." Psalm 34:7, The Message

"Yes, because God's your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can't get close to you, harm can't get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they'll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling." Psalm 91: 9-12​, The Message

​Isn't that so cool that their job is to help us? I also like how the second verse says that God is our home. I'm doing Beth Moore's Children of the Day Bible study right now, and she writes that we are just living here on earth temporarily, and that believers are really citizens of heaven. To me, that explains why God is the only thing that can truly satisfy us. I wasn't made for this broken world! And neither were you. That reminds me of this verse:

"Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever...But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works." Psalm 73: 23-26, 28​ (emphasis added by me) 

I also like how, in this last verse, the speaker says that he has found refuge in God and will tell people about what God has done for him. It's easy for me to be timid about telling people about God's work in my life and His Gospel, but God will guide me and be my strength. When I'm focusing on Him, I don't care so much about the excuses that keep me from boldly telling others about Him.

"For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7


What verses have spoken to you lately?
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Monday, August 11, 2014

Beach Date Night at Home

Beach Date Night at Home

Summer is associated with the beach. Unfortunately, when you and your husband aren't working full-time yet, long beach trips are out of the question. So, I had to bring the beach to us.

I planned a beach themed at-home date night. First, I picked our movie. I rented "Jaws" from the library. If your man doesn't mind watching a romantic movie with you, you could also watch a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, such as "Safe Haven", "Dear John", or "Nights in Rodanthe". His books and their movies are usually set at the beach.

Food ideas include goldfish crackers, Swedish fish candy, lemonade, fish, fries, and fruit. For decor, I made a drawing of the waves and another drawing of a little beach. We have a sand castle bucket that I got for a day trip to the beach, so I set that out as well. I also set out a vase I made for some sea shells from our honeymoon. Next, I made a cootie catcher with phrases like "You and your cat will learn to surf and will win many competitions". If you have a beach ball, you could hit that around and play "don't let the ball touch the floor".

Lastly, I played music by the Beach Boys on the computer for K to hear when he walked in.
This date night is a fun way to celebrate summer and "get away" for a couple hours.

How do you celebrate summer?
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How to be Optimistic about Starting a New School Year

How to be Optimistic about Starting a New School Year

It's hard to say goodbye to the fleeting freedom of summer, but there are awesome things about the school year as well. Here are some ways to stay positive about the new semester:

1. Plan something fun for the first day
Treat yourself to coffee (and why not some coffee cake while you're at the coffee shop?) on the first day of classes, or meet up with a friend who you haven't seen in a while. Having something fun to look forward to will make the first day a little less of a chore.

2. Don't Give Up on Summer Once School Starts
Just because classes have started again doesn't mean that you can't finish your summer bucket list. August and September still offer warm weather for camping and getting ice cream. On the plus side, September will be cooler than the earlier summer months, and going to the zoo would be a lot more enjoyable in the end of summer warmth than the intensity of July heat.

3. Buy or Make Cute School Supplies
Shop for pretty notebooks and fancy pens, or have fun personalizing notebooks you have at home. Last semester, I covered my notebooks in craft paper and wrote inspiring quotes on the front. Sitting in class and seeing the quotes on my notebooks gave me motivation, and I had a lot of fun decorating my notebooks.

4. Make a List of the Pros of a New Semester
Maybe you will cut down on your hours at your job now that you'll be doing schoolwork, or you're looking forward to a really interesting class. There's also an exciting energy that comes at the beginning of a semester.

5. Use the New Semester to Set Goals for Yourself
A new semester is a great time to decide that you'll commit to studying more often or pushing yourself out of your comfort zone more. A new semester gives you a fresh start.

6. Remember that Universities Offer Unique Opportunities
University offers such a variety of fun events, clubs, and connections that won't be as readily available to you once you've graduated. As tempting as it is to just chill out after class, it's worth it to check out a club and meet new people. There are often a lot of fun events at the beginning of the semester. My university has a carnival at the beginning of the year that I'm looking forward to going to soon!

7. Look Forward to Meeting New People
New classes mean new people.  You never know when you'll meet your next great friend, and they could end up sitting next to you in class this semester.

8. Be Grateful for Learning
After being in school your whole life, it's so easy to take advantage of learning. It becomes a boring chore rather than an exciting way to improve yourself. Even if a class is just a general education requirement, take the opportunity to become a well-rounded person and try to see the interesting components of the subject. Just ask someone who is going back to school after being out of school for years. They have a fresh perspective and have missed learning. I know this is a lot easier said than done, but it's a good perspective to have in mind!

9. Change Your Motivation
The easiest way to motivate yourself to go to class and commit to your studies is to actually enjoy it. Instead of shaming yourself into studying or doing schoolwork just to pass a class, remember that you're taking these classes with a purpose. Think about how excited you are to start your career and your passion for your major. Keeping this perspective will help keep you going in your less interesting classes.

10. Remember that it's Only a Few Short Weeks
Usually, at the end of a semester, it feels like it actually didn't take that long. Even when it feels like the semester is dragging by, remember that it will be done quicker than it seems (and then you'll have a break!).


What do you do to celebrate the new semester? 

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