Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Merry Little Christmas

Hello there, and merry Christmas!

It's been a lovely week, and today is filled with delicious food, presents, and a constant stream of "The Christmas Story." All day long.

YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT, KID!
Oh yes.

Thomas came out to visit me this week and we spent the day in Chicago.


The boy had never been on a train before! So we headed into Union Station, walked around downtown, got stuck in the rain...

We walked around the German Christmas fest and had chocolate-covered EVERYTHING. (Apples, grapes, rice krispies, strawberries, bananas, etc.) Also, I have never seen so much jolly beer drinking at one in the afternoon. It was festive.


For the record, I knitted him that hat. Pretty proud of myself.

Now on to a week of visiting friends and family, who I never see nearly enough.

Merry Christmas everyone, and have a happy new year!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winter breakin': Part 1

It has just begun, but so far, winter break has been lovely. Some things I've done:

-Taken a Briggs-Myers personality test (INTJ, just fyi)
-Knitted things.
-Saw "Sherlock Holmes." (I WANT TO BE SHERLOCK HOLMES. Actually...I was.)

























-Baked. A lot.
-Hit the road to St. Louis with my bro.
-Stopped at my favorite roadside bakery/diner.
Love it. And that would be my brother's head. They have literally the most unbelievable biscuits I have ever had the pleasure of eating. (See below)
Mmmm butter....

-I cuddled with Xena. (Note: She is wearing a tiny Bears' jersey.)



-Got new tires. Thanks, Dad!
-Celebrated Christmas #1. There will be about five of them within the next week.

Grandkids crew. Fun times. I got a head scratcher as part of my gift, and I think it was the hit of the party. Along with my adorable little cousin. (The one in pj's in the middle. I want to take her home with me.)
-Went for a run. Pulled a muscle. Decided running should retire for the holidays.
-Did some writing.

-Missed the boy.

Those dimples get me every time. But that's okay; I pick him up Wednesday, and we hit Chi Town Thursday for some winter fun!

So there it is. A recap of things thus far. Look out for photos of our Chicago adventure this weekend!

-H








Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cake Pops, attempt #1

Hello!

So finals are done, and, as promised, here are the cake pops I tried out yesterday!

Since it was my first time, they weren't the prettiest. But that's okay, because they were delicious. Truly. Since I'm heading to St. Louis on Friday, I made a batch for my boyfriend and his family for Christmas. 
I felt like Martha Stewart.
For someone who can't cook, that was pretty grand.
(I especially like the spiky one with the white chocolate chips. It looks like a prickly pear! But...not really.)

So since school and work are done for the time being, I have plenty of time to do nothing, so I will have no choice but to do a whole lot of crafting. I'm making all my Christmas gifts this year, so I'm okay with the extra time.

Happy Wednesday to everyone!

-H

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

About the world...

I have a final in half an hour. A big one. As you can see.


Anyway. I have this final. But at the same time, I needed a moment to recharge my mind, stop thinking about the five (no...six) mini essays I have to write in a span of two hours. So I played some epic movie soundtracks, changed my desktop wallpaper to some Scottish mountains, and thought about what it'd be like to actually be in that picture.

(This one, btw.)


Yeeeeaaaaaaahhhhh. Take that in for a minute.

So anyway, in light of my being one final away from endless amounts of time (not really) and winter break, I've got a plan to do some adventurous things. Everyone deserves an adventure, even if they can't afford a ticket to the next plane out to Europe. (God knows I can't.)

I'm going to D.C. for two weeks, which will be chronicled HERE! I have no idea what I'm in for. I don't know anyone who's going. But at the very least, it's definitely an adventure.

But as for a mini adventure, I'm going to attempt the following:
-Send out a few of my poems to greeting card companies.
-Learn to cook something new.
-Read 4+ books.
-Make a snowman.
-Help somebody in need.
-Connect with an old friend.
-Explore downtown Chicago with boyfriend.

Nothing extraordinary, but I've got to have something to do in the weeks leading up to D.C., of course.

And the fun is over in three...two...one....back to finals reality!
But later I will be making/posting some photos of my first attempt at cake pops. Wish me luck!

-H

Saturday, December 10, 2011

California, meet Midwest farm country


Hello there!
Happy Saturday.

As promised, I am going to give you a recap of my journey to teeny tiny Aledo, IL. (Population=3,700.)

But first...I recommend playing this song while you look over the pictures. Because I think they go together well, because I LOVE this band, and because I'm kind enough to provide you with quality tunes while you visit.

HO HEY-THE LUMINEERS





Sweet little Lonesome. The saddest-looking dog that ever lived.

 Mini ponies! Enough said.

 My fabulous cousin Tiffany. She and her boyfriend Sam stopped in from Cali. They were welcomed with an overnight snowstorm.

 Morning after the snow at the farm. Isn't it the greatest? I've only seen porches like this in movies. Then again, I've only seen small towns in movies. So there you go.


 When I woke up to snow, I immediately rolled out of bed, pulled on my boots, grabbed my camera and walked around the farm. Places like this are real?!


And this is what happens when you leave for a night and your roommates miss you. They turn you and your boyfriend into recycled robots. Which, by the way, are still all nice and cozy on the couch. I don't have the heart to move them.

Have a wonderful weekend! Go have some winter fun.

-H

Monday, December 5, 2011

The night I wished I could swim really, really fast.

Ever have those moments where you dream about picking up, hopping the pond, and escaping to somewhere totally new?

                              I do.









Oh yeah. I've got a case of wanderlust, and I've got it bad.

That's me, hopping around the UK about a year and a half ago. And make no mistake about it, I WILL be back. Until then, I'm playing Admiral Fallow and drinking coffee at midnight, missing what it felt like to breath totally untainted air on the Irish countryside.

Cheers.

-H

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Surprise "Go green" fiesta!

Last night, we threw my wonderful roommate Katie a surprise 21st birthday party.

Backstory on Katie: She and I have been roommates for three years when we were randomly paired and realized we were perfect for each other. We now have an apartment with two other roomies, and we will live together next year too. That makes four years of pure bliss under one roof.

ANYWAY. Here are some photos from the party we planned for her, which was a go green theme to honor her love of planet earth. Enjoy!



We covered the island in newspapers (which we later recycled, of course...), bought her M&M's that said "Go Green! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!" and got her a cake that I wrote "Drink, Party, Repeat" on, along with the recycling arrows.

Also, please note the "Smashed" hat lying on the island.


This was my roommate Jess's idea, and it was brilliant! Apparently she was very well-hydrated over Thanksgiving break. Instead of throwing away old water bottles, we used them to decorate! These will also be recycled, but right now they kind of double as Christmas AND birthday decorations.









The birthday girl and me! (I'm super photogenic.) I took her out to dinner and she was pretty disappointed that no one else came. Clearly I'm not good enough..love you too, Katie! But she was definitely surprised. It was so much fun.




Annnnd just for fun...that would be me lifting my boyfriend Tom, just to prove I could do it. Moments later, I collapsed onto the couch, dropping him a little less than gently.

So there it is! Also, what I failed to photograph...we don't have an actual recycling bin. We tend to use whatever cardboard box is lying around. So we bought a white bin, painted "We <3 the earth!" on it, and filled it with alcohol, aspirin, gatorade and other fun little things, and used newspaper as tissue paper.  Successful. It was a good time.

And now, since it is finals season, back to what Sundays are REALLY for..."studying" in the library, while Pinterest happens to be open. Happy Sunday!

-H

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Yummy & Swirly

It's our last week at the newspaper for the semester, so I decided to make my staff some cupcakes. And let me tell you, they were heavenly. And they went very quickly. So make lots.

Vanilla Red Velvet-Swirl Cupcakes

Ingredients:
White cake mix, plus box ingredients
Red cake mix, plus box ingredients
Vanilla frosting

1. Make the batter in separate bowls.

2. Pour cups one-third full with red velvet, add one tablespoon white cake batter, swirl with a knife.



















3. Bake.



















4. Frost. Decorate. Eat!




















Despite the poor quality of cell phone camera, you can tell these are pretty amazing. And red velvet is splendidly delicious, and the swirls look festive. So bake and enjoy!

I'm so excited to get a camera for Christmas. I'm going to take pictures of everything, so prepare yourselves.

Also, random note on these cupcakes: It was my roommate (and one of my best friends...we've lived together since freshman year!) Katie's 21st birthday yesterday, and since I had leftover cupcakes, we put candles in one for her. Then the rest of us grabbed one and had a birthday toast. It was precious, I'll put pictures up when I've got them.

Happy Thursday! It's December already. Crazy, right?

-H