Friday, August 29, 2014

Words

I came across some really great text posts on tumblr a little while back, and decided to add them to some photos using an app on my phone. I have had this post sitting in draft for quite a long time, not really sure how to go about it. I just thought that these quotes were so simple, but very truthful and empowering, and I really wanted to share them on this blog. 

At first I was going to include some personal experience with both of these, but instead I am just going to leave them as they are for everyone else to ponder. I honestly really feel that both of these quotes can be used as guidelines for others in our lives, and for ourselves. Keep in mind of those you love, be a supportive friend, boyfriend, wife, teacher, loved one, but not at the expense of your own sanity. You have to take care of yourself in order to be there for those you love, and you have to remember that you have no idea what it is like to be someone else. Be kind to those you love, and be kind to yourself. 

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I hope all of you are having a wonderful weekend! 

Summer Reads

I know summer isn't officially over until September 23rd, but I always feel that once the school year starts, we can welcome autumn. So, I figured I would do a little post on the books I read over the summer. I used to do one book review post per book, but I never knew how to do them properly. I was an English major, I am used to really getting into the details of a novel, and therefore would struggle with giving too much away. 

Then, I started to just give the "back-flap" summery, and those posts didn't really feel worthwhile. So instead I thought I would just lump all of the books I read together, give a very short summery, and wither or not I liked it. Keeping it simple seems to be the best way to go about this, so here it goes!

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The Oregon Trail- First up we have a book that I wasn't entirely sure if I would like. The Oregon Trail is the gripping account of the author Francis Parkman's journey west across North America in 1846. The bulk of the story is how he sets out with three companions on a horseback journey that would ultimately take him over 2,000 miles. 

I had a hard time recounting what this book was about, as I actually read it in the late spring. However, it was very simply written, and pretty interesting once I realized that it was basically the personal diary of the author. Granted, I am not entirely sure how much of the story could have been altered if he had the intentions of profiting off of this account, but nothing really stood out as extreme, and the frustration at times came off as believable. 

Little Dorrit- By Charles Dickens, is a work of satire on the shortcomings of the government and society of the period (originally published 1855-1857). The focal point of this novel was on the debtor's prisons, in which people who owed money, were imprisoned-therefore unable to work, until their debts were paid. Dickens's own father was imprisoned in the one featured in this novel, giving the story some personal flavor. There is also a blossoming love story involved, to help aide in the personal lives of those the debtors prison affects. 

Despite the thick spine of this novel, it seemed to move along pretty quickly.The satire was really great, and the characters well-written. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. 

Atonement- By Ian McEwan, is a British family saga novel, about the understanding and responding to the need for atonement. Set in three time periods, 1935 England, World War II set in England and France, and present day England, it covers a young upper-class girl's half-innocent mistake that ruins lives, her adulthood in the shadow of that mistake and a reflection on the nature of writing. 

I am so glad that I completely forgot that I saw this movie when it came out, because this book was very captivating. I think the character development is what is really key in this novel, as it is relatively short, but covers so much. 

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The Nanny Diaries- By Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, both who are former nannies. The book satires upper class Manhattan as seen through the eyes of their children's caregivers.

Okay, this movie I remember seeing, but not the specific details. As in most cases, the book is better by far. The major difference being that in the movie, the main character Nanny is a post-grad who just takes a nanny job because she does not know what to do with herself. In the book, Nanny is still in school and majoring in child development. I think this is important to note because this character has a passion for working with children that the movie character just doesn't portray correctly. The satire in the novel is amazing, and situations that Nanny goes through redefine both 'stressful' and 'awkward'. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone- By J.K. Rowling, is the first novel in the Harry Potter series. The plot follows Harry, a young wizard who discovers his magical heritage, as he makes close friends and a few enemies in his first year at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. With the help of his friends, Harry faces an attempted comeback  by the dark wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents when he was just one year old.

Every once in awhile I feel the need to revisit these books, and I am glad that I did. I really had the chance to remember accurate details that the movies changed, and it was nice to see characters in their true form once again. 

The Cuckoo's Calling- By J.K. Rowling, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, is a crime-fiction novel. A private investigator is hired by the adopted brother of a famous supermodel. The supermodel supposedly died of a suicide, but the brother suspects foul play.

This is not my preferred genre, but I can say that I quickly loved the characters as they were introduced. There were a lot of smaller characters that I had a hard time keeping track of, but the story itself was well-written, and interesting. The novel only takes place over about a month, but there is some great character development, and the story is a fast read. 

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So there you have it, my summer reads. I tried my best to balance some classic literature with some lighter stuff, and I think it went pretty well. Have you guys read any of these books, and what did you think? What were your favorite summer reads? 

Happy Friday guys!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

DIY: Toner


I made this toner months ago, but I wanted to make sure that it worked well before I did a post on it. Then I made more, and more, and finally realized that I never did the blog post. Whoops. Here it is now! So that counts for something, correct?

I didn't really know what purpose toner served until I was in my early twenties, was working at McDonald's, and had the oiliest skin known to man. It was gross. There was a guy that I worked with who would dump straight witch hazel on a washcloth, then rub it all over his head and neck once he clocked out every day. Yep, we took drastic measures. 

Eventually I quit the fast food business, but the oil never really quit my face (how rude). I get a little oily around my hair line, and have gone through several different face washes, toners, you name it to help get rid of the oil. I actually bought a pretty expensive, rosewater scented toner back in February, and it  was so strong, it dried my skin out to the point where it burned. Not good. I didn't want to spend that much money on something else, so I tried my hand at making my own. 

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Get
1 part apple cider vinegar
2 parts water
4-5 drops of tea tree oil

Mix everything in a bottle, and apply with a cotton ball. That is it! This is hands-down the best toner I have ever used. It leaves my face feeling clean, and the acidity from the ACV makes my skin all tingly and I just love it. Of course you can alter the amount of vinegar to your own personal needs, and I am sure that a different essential oil would work fine too. I have a small obsession with melaleuca oil, aka tea tree oil. It helps to reduce the amount of oils the body produces naturally, it helps dry out pimples, and most recently I discovered that if you put a little bit of it on a mosquito bite, it gives instant relief to the itching. There are loads of other uses for it too, and I also really love the scent. 

The best part about this toner? It is all-natural and super, super cheap! It has also helped so much with my skin, that I no longer have the need to use it twice per day, I use it only once and it lasts pretty long. Can't beat that! 

I still have a few products that I would really like to try making myself, but I now have a completely all-natural face cleansing routine that I will have to do a post on soon. Maybe in the next couple of weeks? I have a couple things that I am working on that I have sitting in draft now, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Eats: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Every time I bake bread in this pan, it forms a crack on the top that looks eerily similar to the one on Amelia Pond's wall from Doctor Who. Seriously, what the hell.

Anyway, I have made chocolate chip + nutella banana bread many, many times, but I was out of nutella the other week. I thought about just leaving it out, but after doing a bit of research I figured out that the amount of flour and sugar needed to be changed.I had also used frozen bananas for the very first time, which I had always been a bit leery about. It came out well, so I figured I would go ahead and do a post.

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Get
3 bananas (if frozen, let sit on the counter for 30-45 minutes until thawed)
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tablespoon almond milk
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon + cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350, and grease a 9x5 inch baking pan. Mix all dry goods together (except cinnamon) in a bowl. Stir bananas, chocolate, eggs, almond milk, and cinnamon in another bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a third bowl until light and fluffy. Stir banana mixture into butter mixture, then stir in dry mixture until it is blended. Stir in chips last, then pour into the pan.

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in loaf, 50-70 minutes.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You Go Down Smooth

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Casual going-out outfit! Like how I picked all neutrals that don't match, it is my favorite thing to do. I chose this outfit because we were biking to downtown Ferndale to have a few beers with friends on this day, and biking in a skirt can be a little tricky, but the stretchy fabric worked here. Also, say 'hello' to my curly-ish hair. I have been too lazy to blow-dry it every night, so I have been letting it air-dry, then curling bits of it in the morning with a curling iron. Sometimes it is cute, other times it comes uncurled and it just looks strange. People at work are constantly asking me: "Sara, did you do something to your hair?" and I respond with: "Yeah, I brushed it". 

I can't believe that August is almost over! It is my favorite month of summer, but I am really looking forward to fall. We had a very cool summer here in the Midwest, and I actually enjoyed summer for once! However, summer decided to show up these past few days and it has been in the mid-90's and gross. I swear, I am the only one who would take shoveling my car out of the snow every day instead of sweating my balls off. However, to each their own. I am over here impatiently waiting for pumpkin spice everything to hit stores, for the leaves to change, to harvest my garden, you name it! I am hoping to get a few more things done before the haunting season officially starts, I want to paint our living room, go to IKEA, go to DIY fest in Ferndale, go to my cousin Jeremy's wedding, get a cute, fall haircut, go thrifting for more fall clothes, make jellies, jams, pickles, tomato sauces, and salsas to and jar them up, and the list goes on. I am just so motivated this time of year, I really love September. 

My shirt is from a concert that I went to earlier this summer with Kyle, and my friend Mariah. Lake Street Dive is an amazing blues-y/jazz-y/dive bar band that I have been obsessed with for a little while now. This was the first song that I heard from them, so take a listen, if you feel so inclined. 



Details
Shirt-Lake Street Dive merch stand
Necklace-Etsy
Earrings-c/o Anjolee 
Sweater-American Eagle Outfitters
Purse & Sunglasses-Urban Outfitters
Skirt-Forever 21
Boots-Target

Monday, August 25, 2014

Little Bits: Pork And Beans

I feel like every time I do a weekend recap post, I am always telling you guys how busy we were. Well guess what?! We had a busy weekend! Yay! We really want to start spending more time with our pets, they really need it. We also had LOADS of errands to run, and chores to do, and we didn't even get to all of it. 

Friday, I somehow convinced Kyle to help me clean the house after work before doing anything. He grumbled, but complied, and even cleaned a bit more while I made us dinner. Having another pet means that our house needs to be cleaned even more than before. I don't think my house can ever smell like anything other than dog at this point, so we burn lots of essential oils, and candles. Mmm, lavender and dog hair, my favorite! 

I *may* have promised Kyle ice cream if he helped clean, so after dinner we took the dogs out for a walk to Treat Dreams in Ferndale. We were going to split whatever Kyle got, but he discovered that they had butter beer ice cream, so he got me a small scoop. It was amazeballs! After scarfing our ice cream, we noticed that Kyle's sister Danielle, and our sister in-law Renee were out at Como's in Ferndale, so we thought we would call them to come outside and see Joseph. He of course was a little overwhelmed by all of the people downtown, but it didn't stop him from jumping all over Danielle and Renee. After, we walked back home and started season one of Supernatural, and of course became hooked. 

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Saturday we slept in a little late, then headed down to Eastern Market for our usual produce run. I stopped at Whole Foods for a salad, and bought Kyle a giant water bottle, so now we can look like matching yuppie-dorks. We then headed over to Chris and Michelle's apartment to steal some stuff that they were getting rid of, and to con them into going to a few places with us. We went to the Detroit Antique Mall for the first time, and only managed to spend $18! We bought vintage outlet plates for the house. After bumming around a little more, we said goodbye to Chris and Michelle, and headed out to Meijer. I also somehow managed to convince Kyle to go to Costco, and Target. I had coupons for Target and got some cute clothes for really cheap, and was able to replace some stuff that our old dryer destroyed.

We caved and bought Thai food, and stopped at Bigbby for coffee since they finally put one close to us. We did spend a good five minutes trying to convince the people that work there to install a walk-up window, so that people (like us) can order coffee while they are out with their dogs. I don't think it worked, but they all agreed that it would be an awesome idea.

When we got home, our screen was busted out, and we found out that our kitty Barry had escaped. Luckily he had just hid in the backyard, and Kyle found him. The minute I called "Barry Kittens" and shook the treat bag at him, he came out and I basically mauled the little bastard. I love our pups, but I love our kittens just as much! Even if they are over 7 years old, they are still our kittens. We then put all of our crap away, and watched the Doctor Who premiere (I already really like Peter Capaldi), and then binged on more Supernatural.

Sunday, we walked the dogs to get bagels from New York bagel, and then bought the pups some dogels, which they loved. Then, we attacked our list of chores. Kyle helped me clean, again, then headed out to the yard to mow, weed-whip, and re-install our rain barrels. I did laundry, installed our new outlet plates, touched up the paint in a few rooms, painted the back of the front door (I thought was grey, but is actually a grey-brown, whoops), cleaned, and washed my car, then made a giant batch of tuna salad for the week. We ended the night by cooking some salmon over the fire pit, with some veggies from the garden, and a couple of cold PBRs, it was soooo good.

Not a very exciting weekend, but it was pretty good! I hope that the next weekend that Kyle and I have off, we can spend it doing something fun instead of chores/errands. I also manged to get some more posts prepped for the week, so here is to hoping that I get around to finishing them up and posting them.

Happy Monday!

1) Tiny cupcakes from work on Friday.
2) Tony Spark's new sticker.
3) Pork and Beans box from the antique mall! Reminds me of Weezer.
4) ALL of the apples at the Farmers Market.