One Year of Blogging

Exactly one year ago today, I got out of my bed, went to my desk, and put together my first blog post. I had been intending to create a blog for a while and just decided to finally go for it. As soon as I hit ‘publish,’ I knew I was hooked. In the past year, I have watched my blog grow and improve.  I have learned so much and it is definitely reflected in my content. Creating and sharing ideas for outfits and destinations is something I thoroughly enjoy and can’t imagine myself not doing. So many great memories have been made just because I decided to blog. Blogging has forced me out to adventure and explore. I’m so blessed to have a great group of friends and family who are willing and eager to help me to capture what I am envisioning for each and every post. I can’t wait to see where I am a year from now! In honor of my first Blog-a-versary, I’m sharing a few of my favorite posts from the past year.

The Halloween Poodle: My first ever blog post!

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Saw the Christmas Tree: This post really got me into the Christmas Spirit!

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Wintry Wishes: This post was a turning point for me. Following this one, I really started to step up my game.

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Checks on the Deck: I had the worst stomach flu when these photos were taken. Nevertheless, I powered through to get the post done and go to a Lilly sale before I returned to school for the spring semester.

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Castle Hill Light: I remember this being such a fun day spent trekking through the Newport mud with my little sister, Alex.

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Daffo-Dilly Dally: I still dream about this beautiful place, definitely going back next spring!

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Checks, Pumps and Pillars: This post is the epitome of golden hour in D.C. and I’m still obsessed with my blazer. That night was so much fun. We rented the car, went to Jefferson, watched the sunset, saw baby geese, drove back really fast, went to see the dorm I’m living in now, sang Hannah Montana and “All The Way Up” on the vex and then jumped the fence to a playground in the dark.

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Rhododendron Rendezvous: Sometimes you stumble across beautiful, flowering bushes.

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Strawberry Fields: We ate strawberry shortcake for a week after and even took a late night drive to one Wal-Mart and three Stop and Shops just to get angel food cake.

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Endless Lupine: Lupine far as the eye could see, growing all the way up the mountain. We thought they’d all passed until we drove up to this. It was simply magical.

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Comin’ ‘Round The Cornfield: After this post, I committed to finally getting rid of my white boarders on Instagram, editing in Lightroom and really putting 110% into everything that was shared. Another turning point!

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Fields of Sunshine: Spring and Summer were made for hunting down fields of flowers, or in this case, fields of sunshine. This little excursion was how my dog Delila spent her birthday!

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Gingham Gaze: The first post I took back in D.C. this year.

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The Apple of My Eye: This was such a fun day with my family and the apples were so good. I even got to twin with my dog!!

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My two latest posts also make this list for sure. This month, I took time to plan out upcoming posts and make sure that I was getting the most fun, beautiful and high quality content I could. From my Bridge of Flowers post to Autumn Mountain Majesty, you haven’t seen anything yet.  I am so excited to share the content I have coming and to make the ideas I have a reality. My second year of blogging is going to be the best one yet!

 

 

Autumn Mountain Majesty

The panoramic 360º view from Poet’s Seat Tower located in the Rocky Mountain Park of Greenfield, Massachusetts is absolutely stunning, especially when the leaves have been painted yellow, red and orange by autumn herself. The tower is extremely tall.  You start by climbing up various flights of stairs, each of which brings you to a new look out platform. If you look straight down, you will realize that the tower is perched on the edge of a literal cliff, and it’s a long way down. The final flight that takes you to the very top is a spiral staircase the winds you around, almost preparing you to look all around and take in the view. Straight ahead, off the cliff, is the town of Greenfield and in every other direction, you see nothing but foliage covered mountains, pierced only by the occasional steeple. A big, beautiful American flag blows in the wind on top of the tower. The Poet’s Seat Tower is a great lookout point that you can drive right up to, no hiking necessary. Even the parking lot is scenic!IMG_0779IMG_0786IMG_0780IMG_0782IMG_0778IMG_0642IMG_0781IMG_0777IMG_0801

For my outfit, I paired bean boots with a long sleeve lace top and a button front corduroy skirt. Because it was a warmer fall day, I could get away with wearing the skirt on its own but was still happy to be wearing long sleeves. I love how the brown color of the corduroy looked against the deep blue and how the two textures contrasted against one another. All the pieces I’m wearing with the exception of my boots are from past seasons but I linked some similar options below.

Top (similar), (bell sleeve version) // Skirt (similar), (cheap) // Boots

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Bridge of Flowers

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While road tripping around Northern Massachusetts over fall break, my parents and I ran into a local at a covered bridge who recommended that we drive a few minutes down the road to see The Bridge of Flowers. We didn’t really know what to expect, and due to our lack of cell reception couldn’t look it up, but once we arrived, we were blown away. This place is so beautiful it’s hard to believe it’s real! Whoever had the idea to turn a bridge into a beautiful garden must have been a wonderfully creative person. The fall dahlias were in full bloom and bees were happily buzzing around. As golden hour descended, the foliage covering the mountains ahead was illuminated by the setting sun as an American flag patriotically fluttered in the wind. The bridge of flowers is definitely on my list of places to go back to. If you ever find yourself near the Deerfield River in Shelburne Falls, make sure you head to 22 Water Street and check out this bridge!

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What A Weekend

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Sometimes I forget that one of the main reasons I came to school in D.C. was to tourist! While I haven’t been completely off my game, realizing that there are several things I still want to do in the serves as a definite reminder that I need to get out and explore my area. So, this weekend, I enjoyed three consecutive days of (semi)hardcore touristing!

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My weekend started on Friday where I mainly sat around all day before realizing that Melania Trump had just donated her Inaugural ball gown to the National Museum of American History that morning so naturally, I had to go. With Nancy Reagan’s dress coming in a close second, Melania’s was my favorite; simple yet elegant. I thought she was very short until I googled her height and realized that she only looked short because her mannequin didn’t have a head. I even snapped a family photo with Donald and Melania, such a good-looking couple!

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My Saturday morning started at the barn and that afternoon, I decided to rent a car and go to Great Falls Park in Virginia with some friends. While I reserved a normal car, something must have happened because I was forcibly reassigned to a minivan. I felt like a soccer mom driving around in her big, ugly, black minivan with her children in the backseat.  Bad things always come in threes, which makes sense because the first inconvenience of the minivan was followed up by two other minor disasters. First, I accidentally put the town of Great Falls, Virginia instead of the park into my google maps and didn’t realize it until we pulled up to a busy intersection just as Siri announced “you have arrived.” The second minor disaster happened moments after as the gas light dinged and we realized that whoever had rented the car before us hadn’t filled it up as they were supposed to, so we pulled into a gas station. I made one of my friends pump the gas because, fun fact: I’ve never pumped gas before in my almost four years of driving and hopefully never will. Because it was a rental, there was a gas card in the glove box along with directions. As I pulled out the direction card and handed it to my friend saying “here are the directions,” an older man pulled up to the pump next to us and got out of his car. He must’ve thought we were idiots, four young kids in an ugly black minivan, needing directions to pump gas. His initial impression of us was followed by another fantastic one. My personal gas pumper asked me to check the odometer for whatever reason and I don’t know about you, but I did not know what an odometer was so I asked. Two of the three people with me answered and I started to check, just as the cranky old coot looked at me and screamed, I kid you not, “IT’S THE THING THAT COUNTS YOUR MILES!” Um, 1. I didn’t ask you and 2. Manners much? He was so angry! Gotta love cranky old men!!

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We finally gassed up and made it to the park where we climbed on logs and rocks and got some amazing photos. While I’m sharing some here now, keep your eyes peeled for a post with even more of them coming soon!

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After, we had fully intended to go to Costco but wouldn’t have made it in time because it closed relatively early so instead went to get dinner at Noodles and Company. It was so good, fast and cheap! I’m definitely going back sometime in the near future.

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Sunday came and I was sure my weekend of touristing had ended. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Zac woke up bright and early and high tailed it to the Whitehouse to get himself a ticket for the garden tour while I stayed home and got ready for an RHA event. As I was walking over, he called me and said he got me a ticket for later that afternoon so I could go! With some sweet-talking and a fun little sob story, he even got himself a second ticket so we could go together. It was so fun to get that close to the Whitehouse and see the area surrounding it. I had no idea the garden was that big!

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We went through so slow, taking our time taking in every detail and taking as many photos as we possibly could to the point that the secret service followed us out as we left since we were nearly the last ones there!

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Again, another post with the highlights of our thousands of photos is coming extremely soon! I had such a fun weekend enjoying D.C. and the company of my friends. It was nice to have a few days off from studying and midterms, especially since next weekend is forecasted to be absolute madness!IMG_1295-1

 

Double Dark Chocolate Toffee Almond Brownies

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Oh. My. Goodness. These brownies are amazing!!! When I originally found this recipe here, I knew I had to recreate them. I adapted and slightly modified the recipe and believe me when I say these are amazing… so amazing that I ate the entire batch by myself in four days… oops!

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The brownies are cakey and dense in texture. The batter is insanely good too, if you don’t mind ingesting raw eggs. The brownies are filled with bits of chocolate and toffee and are topped with more toffee and crunchy chopped almonds. While I usually prefer my brownies without nuts, the almonds add something to the flavor while also adding protein, SO HEALTHY!!!

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To make the brownies you will need:

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

1 1/8 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cups dark cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¾ tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

¾ cups flour

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Around 1 cup toffee bits (divided)

1/3 cup unsalted almonds (chopped)

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Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Either grease your brownie pan or line it with wax paper.

Chop the almonds into coarse bits and set aside.

In a medium-sized pan over low heat, melt down the butter before adding in the sugar. Stir until a smooth, glossy liquid mixture forms but don’t let it boil.

Remove the pan from heat and mix in the cocoa, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Next, beat in the eggs, making sure you don’t get any shells, until the batter is smooth. Then, add the flour, a heaping measure of chocolate chips and a heaping half cup of the toffee bits. Mix until the batter is combined.

Scoop the batter into the pan. It should be very thick, almost tar like in texture.

Artfully sprinkle a heaping quarter cup of toffee bits on top of the batter along with the almonds you chopped earlier and pop the brownies into the oven!

Lick the pan as the brownies bake for 30 minutes. Let them cool off a bit and enjoy! They taste great warm when fresh but better served at room temperature in the days following. The also keep in the freezer extremely well!

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The Apple of My Eye

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Apple picking is one of my favorite Fall activities. After all, there’s nothing quite like a freshly picked Macoun. This year, my parents and I decided to bring the dog, Delila, along with us on our apple picking adventure and had so much fun! Delila thoroughly enjoyed herself as she sniffed her way through the orchard and took time to lay in a bed of apples. Before heading to the farm, I DIY-ed her a bandana in the same flannel print that I was wearing so we could twin and it turned out adorable! She was a huge fan.

Flannel // Jeans // Bean Boots

October Favorites

The old Weekly Roundup can’t come to the phone right now… Why? Oh! Because it’s dead! I’ve realized that the idea of a weekly roundup is unrealistic for me so it is hereby being replaced with a monthly favorites post. I finally finished midterms, went home for Fall Break and am now back at school. Fall Break was amazing! I got six full days home after only getting four last year and definitely was able to take time to relax. A couple of highlights included jumping Henessy and road tripping with my parents up to northern Massachusetts! Now that I’m back at school, I’m counting down the days until Thanksgiving (39) and the days after that until Christmas vacation (12). Here’s what I’ve been loving.

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Doberman Delila: My dog is the cutest little model. Whenever she sees a camera, she turns into a total diva and with every click, she strikes a new pose. Fittingly, she’s on Instagram! Check out her account here. She has a ton of fun autumn content coming!

Lorac Unzipped: While in Ulta over fall break, I was instantly attracted to this palette and couldn’t help but swatch it all over my hand. The shadows were smooth, velvety and extremely pigmented. I instantly went home and ordered it! If you have blue eyes like me, these colors will look amazing on!

How dogs see color: While discussing the biology of vision in my bio-psych class, the professor put an image on the board displaying the visible light spectrum accompanied by two pictures of red sunsets, one from a human’s perspective and one from that of a dog. I was surprised to see that the red sky appeared green for them! Especially now that it’s fall, I’ve found myself trying to see color from my dog’s perspective. Does she see the red leaves as still green, or do they look fluorescent?  Is a red car green or blue to her? It’s just so strange, especially considering that there are probably way more colors out there that we humans just can’t see!

Leopard Print Sweatshirt: I recently purchased this with low expectations and was absolutely ecstatic when I tried it on and realized that it was actually fitted and flattering! It’s a comfortable piece that allows you to wear what’s essentially a sweatshirt while still looking put together. I know I’ll be getting lots of use out of it through the upcoming cooler months!

Macoon Apples: Last fall, I realized that macoons must be a New England thing because nobody had ever heard of them and they were nowhere to be found in D.C. This year, I made sure to go apple picking and get my fill of them! They’re literally the best, crunchiest, most flavorful apples ever. I flew a bunch back in my suitcase and have been snacking on them ever since!

The PERFECT Fall Lip Liner: Not only is the formula smooth and the pigment striking, but this lip liner is metallic!! The shade is called ‘Jewel.’ It’s the perfect dark yet neutral shade  AND it’s under $5! It looks great with a natural look or even darker eye makeup.

Cute Canoes: Isn’t this canoe adorable?! The other day, I saw a couple of people paddling around the pond in this canoe and was extremely jealous. You better bet I’m on the hunt for a cheap, used canoe because this one is ridiculously expensive!