Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year from Life of Lovely

Happy New Year Banner



As 2011 comes to a close, we'd like to hope that you've had a lovely year and to wish our readers a Happy New Year for 2012.

We'd also like to share some of our plans for the upcoming year in 2012 and some of our favorite posts from 2011.

If you aren't already following Life of Lovely on Twitter, you'll want to start following by January 1st.  Every day we'll be tweeting our favorite inspiration, thought-provoking, silly, or serious quotes.

Now, to some of the highlights of 2011 here at Life of Lovely.



The most popular post by far was Jennifer's tutorial on how to do hair inspired by Rihanna.  While our end product isn't quite as bold as Rihanna, it's still equally fun and probably a bit more wearable for the average person.



My favorite recipe that we've shared here this year is definitely the Blueberry White Chocolate Cupcakes.  Although these cupcakes take a little bit of time, the taste is more than worth the effort.  The season for fresh blueberries has passed, but if you happen to have any frozen blueberries, I would advise making these.  Then, you can share...or not.



Finally, I'd like to share my favorite of the book reviews.  While I've enjoyed every book I've reviewed for Life of Lovely in the past year, my favorite was Little Green Dresses.  I really liked to concept of re-using fabrics and making them into fun, fashionable things.  Although as I said in the review, I wouldn't make about half of the things in the book because they weren't my style, I'd still like to try the other 25!


Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Christmas Tree

Wishing you a Merry Christmas from Life of Lovely!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Craft: Cinnamon Gingerbread Ornaments

While looking on pinterest, I found a great pin for making gingerbread ornaments from The Culinary Enthusiast.  Since we decided to change up our Christmas tree some this year, Jennifer and I made lots of these to decorate the tree.

The steps are very simple.  All that you need is 3/4 cups cinnamon, 3/4 cups unsweetened apple sauce, and 2 tablespoons glue.  Stop by The Culinary Enthusiast for more detailed directions.  

Here's what we did:

Mix


Roll out and cut out


Poke hole and let dry (several days)


Insert string and hang from tree
Cinnamon Gingerbread Ornaments


Since you have to wait several days, it may be a bit late to make these since Christmas is in seven days.  However, these would make nice Christmas presents as well, and if you made them soon, they would still have plenty of time to dry before Christmas.  Plus, the ornaments will make your house smell wonderful while they are drying.

Hope that you enjoyed this!  

Also, if you'd like to follow me (Elizabeth) on pinterest, you can here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baked Zucchini

During the holiday season, it can be difficult to find a balance between delicious and unhealthy when it comes to food.  One recipe that is both very flavorful, but still healthy, is one for baked zucchini which I found in Vegetarian and Vegetable Cooking.  I didn't know that I liked zucchini before I tried this recipe, but since pretty much everything is good when there is cheese involved, I decided to try it.  It's a bit early, but if one of your New Year's resolutions is to eat more vegetables, this would be a good start.  Also, I think it would be a good appetizer for a Christmas dinner especially if you cut each zucchini in half.

Baked Zucchini with Goat Cheese


Enjoy!

Ingredients:
4 zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz goat cheese
black pepper
salt  


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Cut 4 rectangles out of foil, one for each zucchini, and brush olive oil on each rectangle.
3. Make a thin slit along the middle of each zucchini, and place zucchini on the rectangle of foil.  You'll want to make sure that the slits are wide enough to accommodate the amount of cheese you plan to place in them.  
4. Place bits of goat cheese into the slits. (I used a lot in each!)  Sprinkle with olive oil, black pepper, and salt.
5. Wrap each piece of foil around a zucchini.  Put on a baking sheet, and bake for about 25 minutes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

DIY Eiffel Tower

I've been decorating my apartment which means that I've been using pinterest a lot to look for ideas.  One of the things I found on there that I love is this cut-out Eiffel Tower.  All you need is cardstock, tape, scissors, and a printer.  Mine is currently sitting on the mantle over the fireplace.



Template page one & Template page two
These templates are both from pilllpat's photostream on flickr.

Found via pinterest

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sugar Free Cake

Our answer to any kind of celebration is to bake cakes, cupcakes, cookies, or some similar sugary treat, but not everyone that we know is able to have sugar.  Sometimes it can be difficult to know what to bake for these people.  It just doesn't seem like a real birthday without cake, so our solution was to make a sugar free cake.  I'm sure that you can find recipes for sugar free cakes, but we decided to keep it simple and buy packaged cake mix from Pillsbury.

Sugar Free Chocolate Cake


To make the cake even more fun, we added cookies around the cake's edges.  Hershey's makes sugar free chocolate chips, so we used the recipe on the back of the bag to make our cookies.  Although the cookies don't taste quite like normal chocolate chip cookies, they do make a close substitute.

I think in the future we'll try to make sugar free desserts from scratch instead of from cake mix, but it's nice to know that the mix does make good cakes if we are in a hurry.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Review - The Help

The Help


The summer is almost over, and I’ve only managed to read one of the books that I put on my list at the beginning of the summer.  If you're looking for suggestions for reading, you can still look at my summer reading list.  Of course, I read plenty of books that weren’t on the list, but the only one that I read from the list was The Help by Kathryn Stockett.    

I’d heard good things about the book for about a year before I read it.  Since it’s set in Jackson, Mississippi, and Kathryn Stockett is originally from there as well, I knew that I would have to read it eventually. 

I wasn’t certain what to expect when I first started reading the novel.  It’s a story told through the voices of three different women.  Two of them are black women who are working as help in homes of wealthier people, and the other is a white woman who is a part of this upper society. 

I think that the best parts of the book are the characters and the different voices that tell the story.  I can see why the book has become a bestseller, and I would definitely recommend reading it. 

There’s also a movie based on the book coming out on August 10th which I will be interested in watching.  I’m hoping this will be a case where the movie is as good as the book.  I do know that they filmed the movie in Mississippi, so I will be looking forward to seeing that part.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Easy Chicken Skillet Recipe with Onions

Chicken Skillet Recipe with Onions
I got this recipe from the All New Diabetic Cooking Cookbook from the one dish wonders sections. This is a great cook book if you’re cooking for someone who is diabetic or want to cook healthier and avoid calories from sugar. Every recipe has a count of calories and nutrients per servings. I tried this recipe one night because I was looking for an easy to fix meal, but I didn’t have all the ingredients so the recipe became chicken skillet with onions instead of chicken skillet with pearl onions. I’ll include the ingredients they recommended and the ingredients I substituted. I thought my improvised version turned out well. I hope you enjoy!

Makes four servings
Ingredients:
2 cups of water
1 pound small new potatoes (or 1 pound small potatoes*)
8 ounces fresh pearl onions, blanched and peeled, or frozen pearl onions thawed (or 1 small regular onion sliced*)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder*)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon basil*)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Put water, potatoes and onion(s) and water into a large nonstick skillet and bring to a boil. The burner should be on medium to high heat. Once it comes to a boil cover and boil for about 12 minutes. You may need to reduce the heat a bit to make sure it doesn’t boil over. After 12 minutes stick one of the largest potatoes with a fork. If the potatoes is soft and easily pierced then it’s ready. Drain the potatoes and onion(s) and set to the side.
2. Mix salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper or chili powder, and basil or oregano together. Sprinkle the mixture over both sides of the chicken.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet you just used for the potatoes and onions over medium-high heat. Once the olive oil is heated, add the chicken. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes then turn. Add the potatoes and onions back into the skillet with the chicken and drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the mixture. At this point I added a bit of extra water to make sure the chicken would stay moist. Cover the skillet and cook for five minutes or until you are satisfied that the chicken is not pink in the middle anymore. Let everything stand for 3 minutes and then serve

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Review - Swiss Watching: Inside Europe's Landlocked Island

Swiss Watching by Diccon Bewes

I found a new book to review from Netgalley that I thought all of you might be interested in.


Swiss Watching: Inside Europe's Landlocked Island by Diccon Bewes offers a look into Switzerland that goes past the clich├ęd ideas that we have of the country.  Bewes looks at things like the history of Switzerland and how it has played a part in the way that the country is today.  The British writer has lived in Switzerland for several years so his perspective of that of a person who is familiar with the country and the people, yet can recognize the things that those outside the country would find remarkable.  

One of my favorite parts of the book was the inclusion of cultural points and customs after each chapter.  I didn’t know too much about Switzerland before I read this, but now I know more beyond the mountains, cheese, and cuckoo clocks.  There are still many things about the country that weren’t covered in this book, I’m sure, but it gave me enough to enjoy the book without being overwhelmed.  I was interested in reading this book because I am fascinated by Switzerland as I think lots of other people are.  If you are one of those people and you haven’t read too many other books about the country, I would recommend this book to you.

Now, I want to start planning my next trip to Switzerland!  


Monday, July 18, 2011

Hair Inspired by Rihanna

During the hot summer months, especially in Mississippi, it’s nice to have your hair off your neck and out of the way. (Plus updos do a great job of highlighting your pretty face.) Rihanna’s cute updo inspired us to try the updo with the scarf look.
Rihanna
Photo from becomegorgeous.com

We found that this style is ideal if you have longer wavy hair with layers around the face. Here are our steps for the look:

1. Make a side part.



2. Section off shorter layers around the face. If you’re like Elizabeth and do not have shorter layers then leave out some hair like in the above picture.

3. Pull the rest of the hair into a high ponytail and secure with an elastic. You want to make sure the hair under the ponytail is tight and there is little slack.





Tip: At first we had trouble deciding how high to make the pony. We figured out that if you place the pony where it creates a line from the ear to the chin it seems to sculpt the chin and accent the face. We tried to show the yellow line the picture above.

4. If you had to create faux bangs, now is the time to pin them and incorporate them into the bun you’re about to make. Loosely twirl hair around the ponytail base to create a bun. Secure the hair with bobby pins or u-shaped pins. The bun should be slightly messy.

5. Now come the fun part! After you’ve made your bun you get to add the cute head scarf or head band.




Here is our finished look!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Book Review

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


This summer at my freshman orientation I got the assignment to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks . I thought who is this Henrietta Lacks and why is she so special that we have to read a book about her. It turns out that Henrietta Lacks is a HUGE deal. I would conservatively say that she has affected everyone living in America and the possibly the world. How is it then that no one knows her story?

Rebecca Skloot, the author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks wondered the same thing around the same time in her life that I and my fellow college freshman are at now. Her curiousity led her to research the life of Mrs. Lacks and her family. This book not only tells their story but brings to light questions about ethics in the medical research field that few people are aware of but should as everyone who goes to the doctor could potentially become the next Henrietta Lacks.

Skloot does a wonderful job of presenting the information without throwing blame, thus lending credibility to her writing. She allows the readers to develop their own opinion on the topics she presents. Skloot also masterfully wrote the true story in a way that reads like a fiction book instead of a bland biography-style. I could not put this book down and was stunned by what I found out. I definately was impressed and would recommend this book to everyone.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Favorite Blue Things

Happy Fourth of July!  Or if you aren't in the US, then happy Monday to you!  Today, we're finishing up our Red, White, and Blue series.  It's the last one, and we're sharing some of our favorite blue things with you.


wehearit
We love blueberries in the summer.  Since we have blueberry bushes in our backyard, we have fresh ones all summer long.


weheartit
Blue jeans. 


weheartit
One of most women's favorite shades of blue.  Almost everyone gets excited for a Tiffany's box.


pinterest
I think these sparkly blue Toms are so cute.  They're from the wedding collection so you could wear them as your something blue.  I just want them to wear every day though.


Enjoy the celebrations and have a lovely day!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Favorite White Things

Continuing our Fourth of July celebration on Life of Lovely, today we're doing our favorite white things.


weheartit
We love all ice cream, but my favorite is still vanilla.


weheartit
Dandelions.  Make a wish!


weheartit
Just like in The Sound of Music - girls in white dresses are one of our favorite things, too.

pinterest via Megan Lange
If I had a loft like this, I think I would never leave it.


Thanks for joining us today!  We hope that you are having a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Favorite Red Things

With the Fourth of July being on Monday, we've decided to celebrate here by featuring some of our favorite things that are Red, White, and Blue. 

We're going to start today with RED!




weheartit
Sometimes, a cold coke is the only thing that you want on a hot summer evening. 

weheartit
No one really needs these glasses.  After all, a plain pair of sunglasses works just as well, but red heart-shaped sunglasses are just so much more fun. 

weheartit
On dreary, rainy days red umbrellas stand out in the crowd of black umbrellas.

pinterest via scunning1
Instead of black or white, why not try a red lace dress?  This is the one that I want.  I would wear a red slip under it, of course.


That's all for red.  I hope that you're having a wonderful Saturday!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to Hem Jeans

 Weheartit
 Hello everyone!  I hope that you're having a wonderful week.  Today, I have a question to ask you.

I always have a problem buying jeans.  If I can actually find some that manage to fit, they always seem to be too long.  I know that I can buy jeans in the petite section, but it is always so annoying when the only thing wrong with a pair of jeans is a few extra inches on the bottom. 

I found a tutorial on how to hem jeans at Sew Much Ado, but I'm a bit afraid to try changing a pair of jeans on my own.  Have you ever tried to hem jeans?  Is it worth is or should I just spend more time searching for shorter jeans that fit just as well?  I could just roll them up? 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blueberry White Chocolate Cupcakes

During the summer it seems that everyone starts baking things with berries.  One of our favorite desserts to bake are these blueberry white chocolate cupcakes.  Of course, we bake lots of other things with blueberries as well, but these are the most impressive to bake for other people.  Not that we can usually bring ourselves to share them. 

I first found this recipe last summer at another blog called Purple Cookie.  You can check out the original post there.  We've made a few modifications to the recipe.  One thing we found out is that there seems to be too much frosting in the original recipe.  The frosting is very sweet, and the cupcakes don't need too much of it to taste good.  We've halved the amounts used in the frosting.  If you want more frosting either double the measurements we've given, or just look at the original recipe at Purple Cookie.



Enjoy.  


Blueberry White Chocolate Cupcakes

- makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups plain flour
½ tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line your muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.
2.  Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
3.  Put the sugar and butter in another large bowl.  With an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until it is light and fluffy.  Then, beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Followed by the vanilla.
4.  Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 addition alternated with the buttermilk in two additions.
5.  Fold in the blueberries.
6.  Put the mixture in the muffin pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.
7.  Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes.  Then, remove them from the pan.   Let cool completely before frosting.  If you are pressed for time, put the cupcakes in the refrigerator to cool.

For the white chocolate buttercream frosting

Ingredients:
2.5 ounces white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 cup sour cream

1. Melt the white chocolate either in the microwave or over a pot of simmering water.  Make sure to stir the chocolate as is melts.  Remove when melted and let cool slightly.
2.  While the chocolate is cooling, beat the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
3.  Mixing on low, gradually add the powdered sugar to the butter until well combined.
4.  Add salt, vanilla extract, and sour cream.  Mix until smooth.
5.  Add the white chocolate and mix with a spoon until the mixture is combined.  Don’t over mix.

Frost the cupcakes and eat!  I like to store the cupcakes in the refrigerator since it tends to be hot in the kitchen  during the summer and the icing stays more solid in the fridge. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Glow

Tips for a summer glow

It's summer time and that means it's time to break out the shorts and bikinis. While fair skin is beautiful, it doesn't hurt one's confidence to have a nice summer glow. However, if you're like me, many self tanners have left you streaky and splotchy. I have had the most luck with gradual tanners. My favorite is Jergens natural glow lotion which you might remember from when I posted it as one of my essentials. This lotion is great because you won't wake up with streaks the next morning. The color is very natural, and the it even has a tiny bit of subtle shimmer that adds to skin's radiance. Before you apply self tanner there are a couple things you should do.

1. Moisturize
A couple days in advance you should use a moisturizer. Pay special attention to dry areas like the knees, elbows, and ankles. Moisturizing will help prevent those areas from darkening more than the rest of the body.

2. Shave
Shaving is also good for exfoliation because it removes the top layer of skin. Plus you don't want to lose your glow prematurely so shaving is a must for areas you plan to use the lotion on.

3. Exfoliate
I don't find that heavy duty exfoliation is needed with the Jergens lotion. I would recommend using a wash cloth with your normal cleanser and adding sugar to the cleanser if you feel like you need more exfoliation.

4. Application
With a gradual lotion, application is pretty easy. Make sure your skin is dry and apply the lotion everywhere like you would a regular lotion. You don't have to apply so much that the lotion is sitting on the skin and not absorbing. However, you want to use enough that the lotion covers all the skin without missing spots. A trick I read in Seventeen magazine really helps with the hard to reach back area. To get the mid back, bend over and reach arms behind you so your fingernails are facing towards the sky. I'm not sure if that makes the distance any shorter, but it helped for me.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Reading Suggestions

Girl Reading on a Park Bench
Hello everyone!

Last week, I did a post about my summer reading list and what I plan to read this summer.  I make my list out each year with whatever happens to catch my eye as far as books go.  If you're looking for some books to add to your summer reading list, here's a few that I would suggest.  These suggestions are rather eclectic because that's the way that I read. 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins -  I'm sure that you've heard about this trilogy by now.  You've probably heard that once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down until you've finished.  This is completely true.  I would suggest these novels for anyone, but if you're especially into dystopias, you should read this.  Also, the movie based on the series comes out in March 2012.  It's best to go ahead and read the books now.  If you wait too late and read the books too close to the release of the movies, you'll be annoyed by all of the changes made in the movie.  Happens every time.

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley - This book is one of my favorites.  It won a Newbery Honor so obviously other people agree with me about how good it is.  If you enjoy fantasy novels, you will enjoy this one.  The plot features a not annoying young female protagonist which is a nice change.  However, the best part of the novel is the detail that McKinley goes into while creating another world.  This book will draw you in and delight you.

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley - This one is kind of a prequel to The Blue Sword even though both books can be read on their own.  Some people might complain that the pace of the novel moves slowly, but if you take the time to slow down and lost yourself in the narrative, you will find this book amazing.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - I do realize that this book is extremely long at 900+ pages.  You don't have to read it all at once though.  I haven't seen the movie, but even at 4 hours, I'm certain that it can't capture the richness of the story on the pages.  I would suggest that you read this once because there is a reason why it is a classic. 

Dracula by Bram Stroker - Vampire fiction has been very in vogue lately.  As you are probably aware some of it is very, very not good.  So why would you want to read one of the best know vampire novels?  Because this one is actually quite good.  Forget what you've seen in every horrible Dracula movie and read this classic. 

Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews - If you are looking for a biography to pick up this summer and you haven't already read this one, then you should.  In this memoir, Andrews recounts the early years of her life, how she got her start at a young age, and her success on the musical stage long before she became a film star.  I am completely amazed by Julie Andrews and her talent.

These are just a few of my suggestions.  If you'd like some more, feel free to ask.  What do you suggest as reading for this summer?

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Reading List

girl with books
Image credit weheartit

It's that time of year again.  Summer.  As much as I love curling up with a good book in the winter, I have more free time for reading during the summer holidays.  Each year before I get out for summer, I enjoy making out a list of the books that I'd like to read during the summer.  Just in case I ever find myself wondering what to read next.

I have absolutely no method for choosing which books go on this list.  The list includes books that I actually own and haven't managed to read yet, books that I've been told are good, books that I think seem interesting, really just any books at all.  Although I might not actually read each book on my list, I will make it though most of them, and I will read many, many more that aren't on the list at all.  If you're making out your summer list too, I hope that my list and my reasoning behind the books that I've chosen can help you pick out a book or two to add to your list.

  1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - The Help is going to be my serious novel of the summer.  From what I understand, it's about the civil rights movement, but it's told from a difference angle than what you would usually expect.  I'm heard lots of good things about the novel, and it's set in Mississippi as well so I have to read it.  I think I'm going to have to take it in slowly though.
  2. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe - I have no idea why this book is on my list.  Possibly I added it after rereading Swiss Family Robinson.  That would make sense, right?  Sometimes, I do strange things.  I think I'll read it though.
  3. The Princess de Cleves by by Madame de Lafayette - The Princess de Cleves has been on my bookshelf for over a year.  I just haven't picked it up yet.  It was written in the 17th century I believe so it's a bit difficult to read.  I'm interested in the plot though.  Love triangle, French court, 16th century. 
  4. Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan - I want to read this one because of Little Women and the scenes in which the March sisters play Pilgrim's Progress.  Wanting to read one book because of another book always seems like a good idea to me.
  5. If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't) by Betty White - After Betty White's re-surge in popularity, I'm interested in reading this book about some of the things that she's learned in over 70 years of her career.  According to some reviews, her memoir, Here We Go Again, is better.  I'll read which ever I can get my hands on first.  Possibly both.  Or neither.  It's the summer.  I can change my mind.
  6. My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke - This memoir makes my list because I adore the Dick Van Dyke Show and Mary Poppins too, of course.  Who doesn't?
  7. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah E. Harkness - The title of this novel caught my interest on Amazon's bestseller list.  It's about witches and vampires, two very popular subjects in the book world lately.  I hope it's good.  I've read some very bad witch/vampire fiction as well as some very good witch/vampire fiction.  Bestseller usually indicates good, but you never know. 
  8. Chalice by Robin McKinley - This is on my list because Robin McKinley is one of my favorite fiction writers.  It came out several years ago, but I somehow missed it.  According to the reviews that I've read this is more like some of her first novels than her most recent novels.  That is perfectly fine with me because her first three novels happen to be my favorites.
  9. Pegasus by Robin McKinley - Another book by Robin McKinley.  This one came out in November though, so I'm not quite so far behind.  This one involves a princess and a pegasus, so it should be interesting.  McKinley is wonderful at creating new worlds, and her style of writing is so unique and rich that I enjoy reading her work usually regardless of the subject.  I am slightly wary though because I've come to expect such good things from her that I judge her books more severely than I would another writers' which doesn't seem fair.
  10. The Sherlockian by Graham Moore - I read the first chapter of this book at the Penguin Group website.  During this first chapter, Arthur Conan Doyle is trying to figure out how he can kill off his celebrated character.  If the rest of the book is as good as this first chapter, it's going to be a good book.  Add to this that I recently read Conan Doyle's book in which Sherlock Holmes actually dies.  I'm looking forward to this one a lot
These 10 books aren't everything that I'll be reading this summer.  There will be many more books since I'm  taking Women in Literature and Major Authors of American Lit at my university this summer. 

If you're still looking for suggestions, I'll be putting up a list of my suggestions for summer reads later this week.  I'd like to know what you think of the books I have on my list so far.  Have you read or heard of any of them?  What do you think about them, and what will you be reading this summer?

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cake and cupcake inspirations

Hello everyone!  I hope that your week is off to a good start.

My week is certainly starting off well since today happens to be my birthday!  This year, I won't be having a cake for my birthday since I'm without an oven as are all of my friends.  However, since I love making cakes for my friends' birthdays when I'm at home in the US, I have a huge collection of cake and cupcake ideas ready for next year.  Maybe I'll make myself a late birthday cake when I get home if I can't wait until the next closest birthday.  Maybe.  Even if you don't plan on baking soon, please enjoy the beautiful cakes.


Minnie Mouse Cupcakes
Photo via weheartit
I'm loving the Minnie Mouse cupcakes.  After all no one is ever too old for Disney. 



Moon and Stars Cupcakes
photo via weheartit
These remind me a bit of Mickey's hat in the Sorcerer's Apprentice. 




Layered Birthday Cake
photo via weheartit
White icing? Check. Colored dots? Check. Layers of pink and white? Check.  I think that's everything that a cake needs to be perfect.



Dolley Madison Layer Cake
photo from marthastewart.com
This is called the Dolley Madison Layer Cake.  I just really want to try making a caramel cake.  It is understated and not over the top, but still impressive.  Sometimes when I bake, I forget that taste is just as important as looks.




Rose Cake
Photo credit naturallyella
I've seen several cakes with the rose pattern technique.  I think that learning to do the roses would be a good way to make a basic cake look even more elegant when the occasion calls for something more than normal.





Donut Cake
Photo credit - Love. Luck. Kisses & Cake Found via pinterest


This seems like the perfect solution for when you need a cake quickly or if you don't like baking.  Who wouldn't want a cake made of doughnuts?  Extra points if they are Krispy Kreme.


Do you have a go to cake for certain occasions or any cakes that you're looking forward to trying in the future?  We'd love to hear about them.

Have a lovely day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gifts for Girl Grads Going to College

Gifts for Girl Grads

Hello everyone! I hope that you are having a wonderful day!

With graduation season beginning soon, I thought that today would be a good time to offer some suggestions on gifts to get for high school grads. 

- One of the first gift ideas for a girl who will be living in a dorm room at college next year is a laundry bag.  As you might guess, this gift comes in extremely handy when a girl has to take her laundry to whatever inconvenient place the washers and dryer happen to be located...and it's good for taking home laundry on the weekend too.  I've seen several ruffle laundry bags like the one above from Urban Outfitters which would make doing laundry more fun. 

- The second suggestion is the ever popular collegeatic items.  You can find cups, bulletin boards, t-shirts, sweatshirts, decals, mugs, bags, towels, teddy bears...basically anything that you can think of, you can find covered in the logo of the college or university that your grad plans to attend.  After all, who doesn't love school spirit?

- My third suggestion actually combines several ideas into one.  Vera Bradley printed items are all over college campuses.  I can't think of any girl I know from my university who doesn't have at least one thing in a Vera Bradley pattern.  One of the most useful items is the Vera Bradley Zip ID Case.  Everyone needs an ID case because it will hold her college ID, her driver's license, her keys, and her phone.  Basically all of the necessities.

Also, many girls that I know also have a Vera Bradley Duffel . A duffel bag is an indispensable item for any college girl.  She'll need it for packing her things for a weekend at home or a trip with friends.  Despite the fact that I've suggested Vera Bradley, any ID case or duffel bag would be a good gift.  My duffel bag is, in fact, not Vera Bradley.  If you choose Vera Bradley, check to see if your girl has a preferred pattern.  (I also realize that I've included a laptop case in the picture above. Only get this if you know what size laptop she has.  I included it to give you an idea of the style of patterns. Oh, and because I want it.)

- Final suggestion, Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss.  I'm sure that you've probably noticed this book in any display suggesting gifts for grads.  There is a reason why this is such a popular gift at graduation.  This book is written for those getting ready to begin a new adventure in their lives.  Some of the most basic truths of life are presented inside this book.

I hope that my suggestions for gifts are helpful to anyone who is looking for a gift to help their grad celebrate this important event.  If you know of anyone who might be looking for suggestions please feel free to share this post with them (there are buttons at the bottom to share through email, blogger, tweets, and facebook.)   I know that there are many more things that could be included on this list for graduation gifts.  If anyone has any suggestions that they wish to share, please leave a comment and if anyone still has trouble finding the perfect gift, just ask.  We'll do our best to help you think of something.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

10 Scone Recipes to Try


As I mentioned earlier I spent my spring break traveling through the UK.  One of my favorite parts of the trip (I had lots of favorite parts of the trip) was stopping by a cafe one afternoon to try tea and scones.  I already knew that I would like scones since my mom likes to make this recipe for Cranberry Drop Scones on Sunday mornings.  She always says that those scones aren't as good as the ones she ate in England though.  This has always confused me since I think the drop scones taste good.  I have to say that now I understand, and I've begun a search for a recipe to recreate the scones that I tasted.

The following 10 scone recipes are some of the most interesting options that I have found so far in my search.  I think that real scones don't need anything other than cream and jam to taste amazing, but I can't help wanting to make scones with other things added in as well.  If you are trying to avoid to much sugar, go ahead and scroll down to numbers 9 and 10 because the rest in this list tend to contain chocolate.

1. Maple Bacon Brown Sugar Scones
2. Blueberry Scones
3. Samoas Scones
4. Chocolate Chip Cream Scones
5. Cookies n' Cream Scones
6. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones
7. Chocolate Cranberry Scones
8. Raspberry White Chocolate Scones
9. Girdle Scones
10. Classic Scones

I think that number 10 is probably the kind of scone that I'm searching for.  Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thanks for Our First Award!

Thanks to Alexandra at Ropcorn for giving us our first blogging award.  We were so very excited to receive this unexpected award!  While we're thanking people, thanks also to everyone who has been reading our blog.  We're still learning about blogging, so thanks for supporting us.



The rules for this award are the following:
1. Thank and link back to the blogger that awarded you the badge.
2. Share 7 things about you.
3. Award 5 or 15 other bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers to let them know about the award.


7 things 6 things about us (because 7 doesn't divide evenly)

1. Jennifer - I love the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
2. Jennifer - My dream summer job would be to work at a Disney park as one of the Disney princesses.
3. Jennifer - I really like sonnets especially Spencer and things written by John Donne.
4. Elizabeth - My favorite movie is The Princess Bride with Secondhand Lions being a close second.
5. Elizabeth - I cannot wait for summer when I can eat watermelons again.
6. Elizabeth - My newest favorite city is London.


We pass on the The Versatile Blogger Award to
Pudding Pie Lane
The Book Garden 
Slow Southern Style 
The Simply Luxurious Life
The World According to Marilynn


If any of the above would like to pass on the award please do, but don't feel obligated to do so if you don't want to.


I hope that everyone has a lovely day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Shoes That Every Girl Needs (part 2)

A few weeks ago, I did a post called The 5 Shoes that Every Girl Needs.  However, I do realize that every girl doesn't need exactly the same kind of shoes depending on where you live and what your own personal tastes are.  So with a few suggestions, I've made another list.  The shoes on this list are more fun and not quite so basic as the ones on the previous list.  If you have all of the basics, this a a good list to help you build your shoe collection.  If you can only buy a few shoes, then it helps to have an idea of what kind of shoes you really want.

The Shoes that Every Girl Need (part 2)



1.  The first type of shoe that I would suggest is a ballet flat that is flexible and can be put in your bag for occasions when you need to switch from heels to flats when you need to walk for a long distance.  I own a pair from Gap which are so comfortable that I tend to wear them all the time, not just for switching for walking.  Because they are flexible, they seem more comfortable than normal flats already are.

2.  While rain boots aren't necessary, I would suggest them if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain and you have to walk places often.  Rain boots work for college students like me, but if you feel like you want something more grown-up, you can always go for actual boots if you make sure that you get boots that are waterproof.  I still love wearing my pink and brown rain boots with my matching umbrella.  It seems to make rainy days more enjoyable. 

3.  Since summer is about to start, wedge heels are a great choice for cute summer shoes.  Wedge heels go perfectly with sundresses which are a summer staple in most girls' closets.  They are also easier to walk in than normal heels as well.  We all know that sprained ankles are not a good way to start off the summer.

4.  I'm sure that by now everyone knows what TOMS are.  For every TOMS shoe that you purchase, the company will donate one pair to a child in need (find out more at toms.com.)  You can't miss these shoes because it seems like almost everyone has a pair now.  TOMS are perfect for casual outfits.  At the moment, I really like the sparkly TOMS.  I recently saw the pink pair for the first time, and now I don't know which one of the colors to choose.  For those who don't like so much shine, there are plenty of other choices.

5.  Another good choice for summer is a fun pair of sandals.  I don't think this one needs any explaining.  Summer = sandals.

6.  The last suggestion for today is peep toes.  I have to say that I don't wear peep toes because I don't like the way that my toes look in them.  However, they can be wonderful for times when you need something less formal than your normal high heels, but you still want something fun.  Also, if you keep your toes pedicured, you should show them off in peep toes as often as possible!

I realize that all of the options that I've shown are fairly common since I tend to stick with classics when it comes to shoes.  Does anyone enjoy following trends in footwear?  What is the craziest pair of shoes that you own?  For me, it's a pair of polka-dotted flats.  Like I said, I'm not very adventurous with shoes.

Thanks for stopping by today!

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