Thursday, November 29, 2012

Teach Me Something Thursday, Volume Thirteen.

The thirteenth installment of TMST is a veg-friendly spin on one of my favorite foods - tacos! Allie, from the awesome blog, Beauty + the Feast, shows us how to make these meatless treats with nuts. Yes, you read that right. These tacos can be made vegan or vegetarian, its up to you. Print out the recipe card to see what you'll need for the "meat" + head to the store to snag all of the usual suspects [tortillas, favorite cheese blend, veggies, etc.]. Enjoy!

Hi, short girl, long island. readers! I'm Allie and I blog over at Beauty and the Feast (you should come on by and say hello)! Today I am here to teach you all how to make "nutty tacos," a great and healthy vegetarian taco alternative. Full of protein, these tacos will surprise the biggest meat eater... I promise!

Don't forget to head over to Beauty + the Feast for more fantastic recipes + other treats!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Giveaway a Day December!

Over the weekend, I had mentioned that I had a pretty major surprise in store. Seeing as I turned thirty this month, I wanted to do something epic for my awesome readers ['tis better to give than to receive]. I figured a holiday giveaway would be something fun, right? Well, I took it a little bit further than one giveaway...

With the help from my awesome friends in the blogosphere + the business world, we are bringing merry to a whole new level + giving away something for each day in December. I don't want to spill the beans on the items that will be given away, because the element of surprise is what makes this fun. There are only a few days til the madness begins, so keep your eyes peeled!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Double Tall Salted Carmel Mocha in my Rodarte x Starbucks mug, yum!

Making me happy: Simple, little things. Deliciously sinful drinks, made to perfection by my barista boyfriend. Spending time with my family + friends. Writing thank you notes [which I keep forgetting to mail].

Loving: Hello Apparel + Hi for Kids, created by Sam + Anita Means. I ordered the Hello sweatshirt in red - when Erich' calls me, a picture of him with his feet up in a jacuzzi bathtub pops up + Lionel Richie's Hello blares from my phone. I laugh every single time. Also: Baudelaire 2 in 1 Oil Absorbing Primer + Mask = my new BFF. All natural + also helps dry up unwanted blemishes in record time [in a matter of hours, its crazy].

Listening: Now, Now - Threads. I discovered them while perusing the Hello Merch store last week. Not only does their music rule, but I LOVE the Meow, Meow sweatshirt.

Reading: Daily Decadence. Filled with stories, recipes + wine pairings, Sherri Dobay gives readers an intimate look into her journal + her kitchen. I can't wait to test out some of the recipes I've read [especially the one that urges readers to pour a glass of champagne before cooking, ha].

Watching: R. Kelly's Trapped In The Closet. Believe it or not, I've never watched these in their entirety, or in consecutive order, for that matter. IFC has them all posted [digitally remastered], so I have been watching a few at a time.

Thinking about: The holidays, graduating + applying for more teaching positions. I can't believe its almost December.

Looking forward to: Making a ginormous announcement on the blog on Monday. I can't tell you much, but I can tell you that its gonna be awesome.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shop + Support Small Business!

I know that with all of the sales swirling around this weekend, many of us will be doling out some dough for holiday treats. If you are a fan of shopping on the 'net, here are a few places you should swing by to catch some great deals. All of these shops are ran by rad people who work hard, so if you can, please support their businesses!

Kouture: Kiley has the best sales over at Kouture. You can get up to 50% off your order, which is insane! Coupon codes are listed on the photo below. I'm in love with the Wildfox sweaters. Sale ends Monday evening.

Hello Apparel + Hi for Kids: Hello + Hi are having a sale on all items in the store this weekend, plus offering free shipping. No codes needed - the work is done for you! The Hello Red Champ Pullover is my fave. Sale runs through the weekend. UPDATE: On Monday, save 20% with code hellomonday.

Outfit Additions: Save up to 40% with the Spend More, Save More sale. The silver spike bangle bracelet is killer + won't break the bank. Sale ends Monday.

Tumbleweeds Handcraft: Beca + Doug, who create all of the frames by hand, are offering 20% off, with the code HOLIDAYCHEER. If I didn't have to wear prescription shades, I would definitely snag these Heart Lolita Sunglasses. Sale ends Monday.

If there are any awesome deals you come across, leave a comment + let me know! I haven't started my holiday shopping yet, but I want to avoid purchasing anything from any major corporations/chain retailers this year. I think its important to support small businesses, online + at the brick + mortar shops!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sensory Stimulation: The Parts of the Pumpkin.

For the last two years, I have been working on my MA in Special Education. For one of my courses this semester [my final semester], I had to create a video, teaching a lesson of sorts. I decided to use a lesson that I taught in my student teaching placement. My students had severe disabilities, but that didn't stop us from having a great time while learning. I decided to create a sensory stimulation lesson, using a pumpkin. Its something that can be used throughout autumn, which means it can be utilized at any given point of the season. It can also be used for multiple grade + ability levels. I had originally planned to use it for a Halloween lesson, but the school was closed for over a week due to Sandy. A few simple changes made my lesson Thanksgiving friendly.

I couldn't figure out how to get the quality better than 480p [this was the first time I used iMovie], so I apologize for the quality. In the video, I mention themed playlists for the project. After you watch the video, feel free to browse the playlists I have up - there is one for circle time + one for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Teach Me Something Thursday, Volume Twelve.

The twelfth installment in the TMST series comes from someone who has become dear to my heart over the last year. She is Kiley Miltsch, the founder of Kouture. While they were shooting for the online store, Kiley was often coloring her pal Paulina's hair - she's the adorable gal with the violet hued 'do that you see throughout the site [she has also gone rainbow + most recently, green]. Kiley + Paulina reveal their secret of how they got Paulina's hair the perfect shade of lavender.


Manic Panic in Virgin Snow & Ultra Violet
(Thicker hair may require 2 cans of Virgin Snow)

Step 1: Combine one can of Virgin Snow with 2 generous spoonfuls of Ultra Violet.

Step 2: Mix together.

Step 3: Completely cover hair with mixture and then comb through until the hair dye is frothy.

Step 4: Tightly wrap head with saran wrap and let it sit for at least 30 minutes - we usually wait an hour.

 Step 5: Wash out the color with cold water and then condition hair and rinse. Don't use shampoo!

And Voila! The perfect shade of ultra violet lavender. 

Be sure to head over to Kiley's store, blog + Facebook. Don't forget to sign up for the Klique list - you will receive special offers + perks available only to the Kouture Klique!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

BassBuds: Review + $30 Holiday Discount.

I love listening to music. When I'm on the go, I usually just blast the radio in my car, but when I'm on foot, I prefer to use my iPhone. I love my iPhone, but the Apple ear buds are the worst. They hurt my ears + never stay put. I got a free pair or ear buds from Birchbox a couple months back, but those weren't much better. They stayed in my ears, but the sound quality was seriously lacking. I've eyed higher quality brands before [Bose, Monster, Shure, etc.], but with the way I lose things, I refused to drop a pretty penny for them.

My musical issue was solved by a simple email + a special delivery from the UK.

I was contacted by the folks over at BassBuds to try their ear buds. I was thrilled, because I needed something better than what I was using. The other day, as I walked in the door from student teaching, I saw these beasts sitting on the kitchen table. 

I am one of those suckers who buys something if the box looks pretty, so before I even open the box, I was oohing and aahing to Erich, who wasn't particularly interested [he was writing a paper]. I opened the box + saw a certificate of authenticity. Fancy stuff, folks.

 I was really impressed by the presentation of the BassBuds. They sent me a pair of Classic Black, which are perfect for me. The Swarovski Elements aren't too flashy, which I was glad about. I tried them in my ears while I looked at the rest of the goodies in the box. Nice + comfy, with just the right amount of cushioning. Plus, a ton of extra cushions for the ear buds, in various sizes.

 Now, there is a bunch of technical specifications for these BassBuds, but I'm just going to provide links. I honestly don't know much about this stuff, I just know what sounds good. You can read up on the features, tech specs + Advanced Crystaltronics Sound Technology by clicking the provided links. Its all easy to understand, but I figured it would be best to send you straight to the source.

The real test would be listening to some tunes. Here are a few songs that I listened to, to get an idea of how the BassBuds performed with an assortment of songs.

Nicki Minaj - Superbass = Sorry, I couldn't help myself with this one. Bass doesn't overpower vocals. Crisp sound. Noticed other elements to this song that I haven't noticed before, with or without headphones.
Skrillex - Scary Monsters + Nice Sprites = This song sounded amazing, holy cow! Erich also haaaaaaaates Skrillex with a fiery passion + didn't say a word about me blasting it next to him, because he couldn't hear it. Nice!
Fun. - Some Nights = Wanted to listen to a song with more rock/pop elements. Sound was a bit muted, but I cranked up the volume + fixed that problem.
Sam Means - Will You Hang Around? = These headphones seemed to bring out the melody in this song to me. I know that might sound odd, but its the best way I can describe it.
Mumford + Sons - Babel = Ehhhh, I felt like the bass was muffled during the chorus. Everything else sounded fine.
Taylor Swift - We are Never Getting Back Together = Don't judge. I was curious to see how it sounded - no complaints here. If anything, it brought out the guitar melody better. 
Michael Jackson - Rockin' Robin = Brought out the walking bass line, which I never noticed as much before. Also brought out other instrumentation I never paid attention to as closely before. It sounded so good that I jammed out to this twice in a row. 

The verdict? For the price, these are definitely worth picking up. They are $85, but if you purchase them from the BassBuds site with the $30 coupon [use the code BB59818 at checkout], they're $55. Add on $3.95 shipping + they come to $58.95. Not bad, seeing as these are shipped from across the pond. Mine only took a week to arrive, which was pretty quick!

If you end up snagging a pair, let me know which ones you picked - there are a ton of colors + styles on the site. Happy shopping!

I was not monetarily compensated for this post, but I was given a free pair of BassBuds to write the review. As per all of my reviews, I give an honest review of the product, no matter what!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


As of Sunday, I officially became a thirtysomething.

Typing that is so strange. I don't look thirty, nor do I act my age. But, according to my parental units, I came into this world with a wild head of hair at 9:13a on the eleventh of November. I wanted to do something fantastic, seeing as this was the big 3-0 [one of the few birth milestones is worth celebrating, until Medicare kicks in, ha]. Unfortunately, with gas rationing going on, not to mention playing catch-up from the storm, a lot of my friends were unable to attend. So, I decided on something lighthearted + fun: bowling!

Now, I am probably the worst bowler to walk the planet [I took a bowling class in college + barely improved], but who said you had to be an expert to enjoy yourself? A dozen of my friends joined me to help "bowl my way into my thirties." I actually waiting for the ball to return when it turned midnight + they announced the birthdays on the loudspeaker, so I really did bowl out of my twenties into my thirties, which was fun. We headed out a little after midnight - my friend Irene + I had taken two state teaching exams that day + were exhausted, along with the rest of our party. When I walked in the door once we got home, Erich had surprised me with birthday flowers.

The next evening, we headed over to my Aunt Debbie's house to celebrate not only my birthday, but my Aunt Kathi's birthday, as hers is two days before mine. This is the first time since I was a small child that I got to spend my birthday with [most of] my mom's side of the family + it was awesome. It was honestly the best present I received. Spending time with loved ones I don't often see, eating delicious food, + getting cake in my face [courtesy of my cousin Marie, who I attacked with icing as soon as I could see] was a blast. On the ride home, I kept telling Erich that this was one of the best birthdays I could remember. 

I couldn't wait to say goodbye to twenty-nine. It was a really rough time for me. I lost my job, my cousin, my aunt + pieces of my home in the storm. I welcomed thirty with open arms. I closed the chapter that was my twenties + turned the page to begin writing my thirties. An old friend texted me, with something that made me smile - "Welcome to the best decade of your life."

I'm just beginning to get my feet wet with thirty, but I'm ready to start splashing around.

Teach Me Something Thursday, Volume Eleven.

This week's TMST is a sweet treat from one of my childhood friends, who blogs under the moniker The One With the Red Stethoscope. Her blog is filled with stories about the woes of being a med student + her relationship with her super sweet beau, whom she refers to as The Lawyer. The following recipe is for brownies with some autumnal flair!

I love baking special, beautiful things at holidays! It’s like an excuse to let your creative energies run wild and make festive works of art that are as delicious to eat, as they are pretty to look at.  Unfortunately, I always run into two problems: timing and transport.
I’ve been both a host of Thanksgiving dinner and also an invited guest at someone else’s feast. As a host, I usually feel frenetic and distracted as I run back and forth between multiple dishes.  As a guest, I’m usually traveling long distances (often by air), so finding a recipe that can be made ahead and transported is nearly impossible.

Enter Pumpkin Swirl Brownies!

These brownies are surprisingly easy to make, transport very easily in a Tupperware container, and actually taste better the next day (so if you’re the host, you can make these ahead)!  They also lend a nod to the traditional pumpkin flavors of Thanksgiving, while being a little different and new. Best of all, they look really great, with very minimal effort, 
so you don’t have to be an expert baker to make them!

What You’ll Need:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 cup chocolate chips
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Full recipe found here on Babble.
First, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl.  If you have a sifter, sift ingredients together. If you don’t, gently agitate the dry ingredients with a dry whisk.  This will aerate the flour and break up any clumps.  Set this bowl aside.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, and sugar. 

Using a mixer, beat the wet ingredients on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture is a soft, foamy yellow. 

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg/sugar mixture by folding large spoonfuls of the flour mixture in.  Once all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated, mix on high for approximately 30 seconds or until all ingredients are combined. 

Separate approximately 1/3 of this batter into another bowl.  You can use a scale to measure, or just eyeball it.  This recipe is very forgiving, so you can just guesstimate this.  Set the two bowls of batter aside. In a small bowl, combine butter and semi-sweet chocolate.  The original recipe calls for melting on the stove, but I just use the microwave.

Microwave on high for about 20 seconds, or until the mixture looks like this:

Be careful with this step, as chocolate tends to retain its shape even after its melted and can get deceptively hot and burn quickly.  When you stir the melted chocolate mixture together, it should be this consistency:

To the larger 2/3 of batter, add the melted chocolate/butter and stir together.  To the smaller 1/3 of batter, add the pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix together with a wooden spoon.

In a 9x9 greased pan, add slightly more than half of the chocolate batter.  It will be very firm, so use your spoon to spread to the edges of the pan.

On top of this, add your pumpkin mixture and spread with a spoon.

Finally, add the remainder of the chocolate batter to the top of the pan in large spoonfuls.  Use a butter knife to spread this top layer out, but don’t try to keep the layers separate.

Instead, insert the knife deep into the center of the pan and gently fold the layers together, creating a swirled effect.  The final product will look really messy and you may worry that you’ve messed the whole thing up, but that’s exactly how it should look!  The different densities of the layers will keep them separate, so don’t worry.

Place the pan in a 350 degree oven and bake for 40 minutes.  A toothpick inserted in the center will be slightly wet when finished.
Set pan aside to cool, and cut brownies into 16 even squares.

The effect of the “swirl” will make a stunning presentation.

If you’re feeling even fancier, you can use the same recipe to make mini pumpkins, like this (tutorial available from Family Circle magazine here):

Bake mini pumpkins at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick in center comes out clean. If you’re going to go the fancy route, I suggest frosting the pumpkins on the same plate and in the same location that you intend to serve them, as they don’t transport well!

How stinkin’ cute are they? So, go forth, make delicious things, and impress your family this Thanksgiving.

Make sure to head over to The One With the Red Stethoscope to read the entertaining adventures of this relationship advice columnist turned medical student!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Teach Me Something Thursday, Volume Ten.

This week's TMST comes from Shanna, the blogger behind Because Shanna Says So. She shows you how to take an inexpensive necklace + nail polish to transform the piece into something your own!

Statement necklaces. We all own them. We all love them. We all are on the hunt for them. 

Am I right? Or am I right?

I thought, why don't I make my own? Well, not actually "make" a necklace, but take a clear and simple rhinestone one and make it my very own. I posted the original necklace on Instagram and the feedback I recieved was, paint it PINK. So, my friends, that's what I did. It just so happens that I don't own a neon pink necklace, so thanks for reading my mind!

I am far from being a DIY kind of girl.  I can't even tell you the last time I attempted this sort of craftiness. So, this was BIG for me even though it only entailed three easy steps.

Are your ready?

What you will need: 
1. A clear rhinestone necklace (got mine here)
2. Nail Polish
3. Essie 3-Way Glaze (more info here)

The Steps
1. Paint one coat of polish on the rhinestones. Brush downward. Let dry.
2. Paint a second coat of polish. Let dry.
3. Apply Essie 3-Way Glaze to the stones. This will help give shine and even out the color. 

Total Cost
$13.85 (I already had both polishes, so I just spent money on the necklace.)

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. Right? 

I must admit that I LOVE it. I want to make more and plan on hitting up Forever 21 to see if they have any left in the store. I knew I should have bought two or three. Kicking myself.

Here is one way that I styled it. I can't wait to wear it again and again and again.

Top:Francesca's | Jeans:Old Navy | Shoes:H&M | Belt: Forever 21

Who would have thought that I could get DIY supplies at Forever 21 and Ulta? 
This is my kind of crafting. 

So, what do you think? 
Are you ready to try it for yourself? 
What color statement necklace are you missing?


If you would like to participate in Teach Me Something Thursday, feel free to contact me to schedule a date for your feature! I am currently booking for 2013.