Birth-Weekend

Thursday was my Birthday and the start of my Birth-weekend! I flew home that night for cake after a long day of classes and homework. The quick, 50 minute flight was so worth the cake at the end of it. I’ve been spending the rest of my Birth-weekend sleeping in and spending time with my family and friends.

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Saturday night, I had my best friend since sixth grade and cousin come over to roast marshmallows in the fireplace and eat cake. After we got the fire lit, we realized the only marshmallows we had in the cupboard were old and melted, so we had to make a quick trip to the market. The drive there and back were interesting to say the least as it seemed to be darker than usual, rainy and foggy.

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Finally, we got home, beat my cousin with sticks, ate our marshmallows and had our cake. Even Delila got a bite!

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19th Birthday Bucket List Follow Up

Last year on my birthday, I put together a bucket list for my 19th year: 19 things to do before my teenage years kicked the bucket. The list was as follows:

  1. Ride on the beach ✓DSC06417
  2. Climb more mountains ✓IMG_7678.jpg
  3. Leave the country at some point: Oops
  4. Do some serious showing ✓ DSC04581
  5. Continue to narrow down what I might want to do with my life ✓
  6. Jump off a cliff ✓ (probably did it, but not this one)IMG_8579.JPG
  7. Go to Santa’s Village: Oops
  8. See a free show at the Kennedy Center ✓IMG_7680
  9. Visit at least 3 different covered bridges ✓ (made it to 4 new ones)IMG_0858IMG_6728IMG_6714IMG_6762
  10. Paddle board: On my list for Summer ’18
  11. Perfect some pieces on the violin ✓
  12. Get a card to the Library of Congress ✓ (I have the temporary card but because I somehow managed to forget my ID that day, it expired months ago)
  13. Explore a new state in the US ✓ (got more acquainted with VA, CT, MA, and NH, none of which were new but had parts that were new)IMG_1217
  14. Road-trip to New Hampshire’s Flume Gorge: on my list for Spring ’18
  15. Get a job ✓
  16. Go to Nantucket: On my list for Summer ’18
  17. Try a different type of food ✓ (there was yummy algae in my smoothie bowl)img_7679.jpg
  18. Attend a great concert ✓ (Michael Ray at the fair)FullSizeRender.jpg
  19. Make new friends ✓IMG_3829

Given that there were a few things I didn’t manage to do, everything I did accomplish this year were actually meaningful things I wanted to get out of the way before entering my twenties. While it’s just another day and just another year, I really didn’t want to be an unemployed, twenty-year-old ‘junior’ in college with no major or idea of what her future career would be. Last year, I had no clue what I would major in or what I wanted to do with my life. Since then, I have decided to be a psychology major planning to attend law school after graduation. While plans always change, I feel confident that this is one that I will follow through with, and even if I don’t, having a plan of some sort gives me peace of mind. The other items on my bucket list mainly served as excuses for getting myself into the routine of venturing out into the world and actually having fun; mission accomplished.

This past year was probably one of the best and hardest I’ve ever experienced. Coming out of it, I have managed to become more confident and happy with who I am now than I ever have been before.  In my final year as a teenager, I met the best people who I’ve become incredibly close with; I can’t imagine ever having to live without them. I feel like my transition into being an ‘imposter adult’ is semi-complete and I am more capable to handle difficult people and circumstances.  That being said, this year, I’m not making another bucket list for myself. Instead, I’m going to focus on doing things that make me happy, healthy and energized such as getting consistent amounts of sleep, continuing to ride, run, bike and go to yoga every chance I get in addition to putting 110% into everything I do. Instead of focusing on building new relationships, I want to spend time focusing on the amazing people already in my life who I know have my back no matter what. Tomorrow, I will be able to say that I survived my teenage years without doing anything stupid and head into my twenties as a bigger grandma than ever before.

 

Dark Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

These past few weeks I’ve been going through a bit of a chocolate crisis. As a self proclaimed chocolate addict with a quite unfortunate allergy to most types of chocolate, I was absolutely distraught when I learned the one brand of chocolate chips I can actually eat were on backorder in DC. I tried to compensate by making chocolate chip cookies with a chopped up semi-sweet baking bar to fill my cookie dough void, but it was just too much work and too much of a mess. Finally, I had my mom search RI stores high and low for my chips and she thankfully found some! While I waited for them to ship, I realized I couldn’t wait any longer and that I couldn’t go a week surviving off of just cupcakes; I needed cookies (and cookie dough)! The answer came in the form of white chocolate chips, which were still fortunately plentiful at my local Whole Foods. After a few quick online searches, I found some recipe inspiration and was ready to get baking.

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For a cookie to be good, it has to taste good raw and cooked, warm and cool. I LOVE cookie dough, and when I made these, the dough was so amazing, I ate half the bowl. The secret to perfectly smooth textured cookie dough is whipping the ingredients full force and partially melted butter. I let most of the stick remain softened, but use the microwave to allow about a quarter of the stick melt to liquid. The result is fantastic. I don’t know if I’m ashamed or proud to admit that I finished the whole batch of cookies in 24 hours (2 days). They were THAT GOOD!

To make these cookies you will need:

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/2 cup dark chocolate cocoa power

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

5/6 cups white chocolate chips

When I bake, I modify the original recipes to have more vanilla, cocoa or other ingredients to ensure the best taste so if you decide to recreate these cookies, keep in mind that you should not add a heaping cup of anything and stick to the measures outlined here.

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar before adding the eggs and vanilla. Take time to beat these ingredients together until they rise and are fluffy and smooth. Next, add all the remaining powder ingredients and beat thoroughly before finally adding the chocolate chips. The dough itself is so good but the cookies are just as yummy.

Drop chunks of batter onto a baking sheet or parchment paper and bake for 8-12 minutes. After the appropriate time, the cookies will still look soft and not done in the oven but if you lead them in longer, they will burn. They should be spongey in texture when they come out because as they cool, they also set and finish cooking. Keep in mind that they do taste better cool so if you typically save the dough in the fridge and make cookies one as a time as needed like I typically do, I highly recommend baking them all at once; they won’t last that long anyway!

Winter Break Recap

After Christmas, the remainder of my vacation felt like a total blur. Between the bomb cyclone and the weeks of single digit temperatures, I spent most of my break inside, curled up with my cats and dog.  I did make it out a few times, though, and had so much fun overall. Here are the highlights.

I realized the snow was a little deeper than expected…

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Went shooting…

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Went on a road trip up North…

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Caught up with my friends…

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Rode my bike a lot…

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And ran on the frozen ocean.

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Beach Boy

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I finally went riding on the beach! After almost a year of planning, my friends and I finally got around to bringing Jupiter to the beach! In the state of Rhode Island, you’re legally allowed to bring horses to state and local beaches anytime between September 15 and May 15. While we had originally planned to go to Blue Shutters, we opted to go to Narraganset beach instead because of the large parking lot. Despite the fact that it was late November, we caught a nice, warm, 55° sunny day which meant that the beach was a bit crowded. So many people were taking photos and videos of us and a particular group of old people decided it would be a fantastic idea to unleash their fu-fu dogs and let them chase us! Some people have no common sense, no matter how old they get. I’m so happy I finally got to ride on the beach; it was so much fun and I can’t wait to do it again. Maybe next time Jupiter will be less afraid of the waves, LOL!

November Favorites

Happy almost Thanksgiving! I finally finished up for the week and am finally back home. When I return to school, I have two days of classes before finals. I have so many papers to get done and while I don’t usually like to do any work while at home, this trip, I don’t seem to have much of a choice. Here are my November favorites!

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Georgetown Cupcake’s November Flavors: November and December are the best months for seasonal cupcakes. This month, the highlights include Maple Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Caramel Swirl and German Chocolate Fudge. I always bring home a half-dozen cupcakes for my parents but all three of these flavors are so perfect, this time I brought home 9 that remained perfectly intact through the metro, bus, plane and car ride! YUM!

The Perfect Holiday Nail Polish: Super shiny, hunter green nails are perfect for Christmas! I picked this color up the other day and am obsessed with it! It’s dark but not too dark so it’s still pretty and feminine.

Reputation: THIS ENTIRE ALBUM IS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! If you haven’t heard it already, I highly recommend you purchase it! I’m definitely going to see her in concert this summer. My favorite songs off the album (that weren’t released early) are New Years Day, Get Away Car and King of My Heart but let’s be honest, every song is my favorite.

Tim McGraw’s CMA Jacket: How cute is this? He took the velvet trend and made it so classy. As an equestrian, I eagerly await the day we can show in fabrics and colors like this! It reminds me of the dress Olivia Culpo won Miss Universe in. I love this shade of velvet.

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School Spirit? Just kidding! I went to a basketball game for all of 5 minutes before we found our friend dressed as the mascot, took a photo and left. The George is so creepy, I couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t know which is creepier, its lifeless eyes, bushy white eyebrows, irregularly large nose, or strangely discolored and large pout.

Taylor Swift performs New Year’s Day: This video is probably one of my favorite things ever. You have to watch/listen to it if you haven’t already!

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer: I usually use a different tarte concealer for my under eye area that works very well so I wasn’t completely sold on this concealer for a while but I think it’s growing on me. It’s much lighter which helps to highlight and is definitely matte. My only reservation is that the formula isn’t as thick as I’m used to.

Lilly for Less: Last spring, I was mind blown and thrilled when I realized that TJ Maxx carried discounted Lilly and recently, I learned that Nordstrom Rack does as well, but for even less! Shifts that originally cost around $200 at Lilly retail for $60 at TJ Maxx but even lower ($30) at Nordstrom Rack! Definitely something to look out for.

Plaid Bow Heels: How adorable are these tartan heels from Talbots? I can’t get over the bows!!! All of the store is completely on point right now with their plaid selection. This time of the year especially, I can’t get enough.

Christmas Tree: My dorm is about to be so decorated for Christmas! I ordered this $12 silver tinsel tree (also comes in rose gold) and can’t wait to put it up when I get back. I’m also going to be making some of these 3D snowflakes to hang from my ceiling!

Drumstick and Wishbone the Turkeys: Our wonderful president pardoned two of the cutest turkeys, Wishbone and Drumstick yesterday. The entire Trump family looked so put together in their red coats. It’s so nice to see some class in the first family!

The Great Falls

Although it wasnt that long ago, my trip to Great Falls Park in Virginia feels like it happened eons ago. I can’t believe it’s just about time to head home for Thanksgiving!  While I uploaded a post about the fun weekend I had directly following it (read it here) I’ll talk more about our trip to the falls. Surprisingly, parking here was a pain in the butt but the little walk from the parking lot to the Potomac and then to the falls was pleasant and eventful. I ended up going with three friends: Hannah, Zac and Jack. Hannah and I are both comfortable in the outdoors but our two counterparts were very much not. It was so funny to watch two city slickers attempt to do the simple tasks such as step from stone to stone and deal with absolute horrors such as mud.  It’s always fun to retreat from the city with friends and I’m definitely going to start doing it more often. In under a half hour, I can be driving down a suburban country road, feeling like I’m hundreds of miles away from the city. Going here made me really want to drive over to western Virginia and get some hiking in!

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Sweatshirt (on sale!) // Jeans // Boots