A Start Of A New Chapter

It’s weird knowing in two months that I’m moving out and will be going to college. I’ve found that this is going to be really hard to describe in a way that you might relate or connect to in some way, but in a sense it’s like starting a new chapter.

The philosophy that when one door closes, another one opens has been true in my friendships. I have been friends with a lot of people over the years, but the core three have stayed the same.

I’ve grown up in a small town of about 8,000, and I primarily went to school with the same kids since birth. In Kindergarten, I met the most influential person in my life. She had long light brown curly hair and wore low-rise jeans. (It was the early 2000s, so I’ll give her a pass.) Though we are polar opposites, over the last 12 years she has practically become my sister. We basically do everything together. There isn’t a day when we don’t see or communicate with each other. I’ll admit, our relationship isn’t perfect; we’ve fought, kept secrets, and both have not been there for each other when we’ve needed it. At the end of the day, I’d do anything for her. She puts me in my place when I need it and pushes me to do my best. Most importantly, she doesn’t expect me to be anything but myself.

In third grade, I noticed two girls alone at the monkey bars. They were different from other eight-year-olds. Instead of talking about their favorite Disney Channel original movies, they discussed advanced level books that they read over the weekends. From the outside, the two seemed to have formed a friendship because they were the smartest in their class and shy introverts. They had been friends for just as long as my best friend and I, and they had already made up their own inside jokes with their deep connection. At recess, the dark haired one would do random impressions, ranging from a baby named Gwapes to a retired old man. The blonde one would do gymnastics tricks on the metal bars and laugh at her friend’s jokes. What I didn’t know then was the decision to go over and talk to them would change all four of our lives forever.

Later on, we began to evolve into the people we are now – all learning what we are passionate about and starting to learn where we fit into the world. My three friends all became excellent musicians, and together in high school we had a blast in marching band. (Yup, we were band geeks.) Together we went to early Thursday night movie previews, worked at the same pumpkin patch, and suffered through the same ACT. As much as we did together, personally I think we gained the most through our solo adventures. My curly haired best friend fell in love with theater production and design. She became the stage manager for our theater department during her junior and senior years and worked on seven plays. The dark haired one would go on and become our valedictorian and get a scholarship to go play music for a college next year. Together we work in collaboration on this blog, as I write and she edits. On top of her senior year classes, the blonde one took night classes to get her CNA license and also became a weeaboo on the side. Besides from shipping Naruto and Sasuke, she was part of National Honor Society. Inside of our party of four, we all formed different relationships with each other.

For example, the curly and black haired ones both got into cosplay and going to conventions with each other. Both the blonde one and I were peer leaders on our school’s color guard team and got to build a stronger relationship from that.

In a sense, we were all sisters and created our own little family during the past 10 years. We’ve told each other things we’ll take to the grave, went prom dress shopping, had a few weekend getaways, and created so many happy memories together. Though it’s far away, if we meet someone worthy of marriage, one day we will all be bridesmaids for each other.

I’ve never thought about a life without them until November of last year. I was fortunate enough to be able to go on a trip to Indianapolis for a journalism conference. It was my first time being away from home. I’ve been on vacation and went to camp before without them, but I got the first look at what my future looked like.

Education has always been a big thing for me. I believe the most successful people in life are always continuing to learn. The world around us is pretty interesting. All 7.5 billion people who live on this planet are connected in one way or another. Everyone has their own story to tell that’s expressed by their influences and culture. My decided major is Anthropology, and it looks at human variations in culture in the past and present. Particularly, my focus will be on Sociocultural Anthropology, and that deals with the behaviors and customs of historical culture and social groups. In the fall, I’m going to a state college that has the best Anthropology program in the state only 30 minutes away.

A lot of people in my hometown go to a community college for their associates, continuing on from there or transferring to a larger college afterwards. During high school, I took transferable dual credits and summer classes through my local community college. Taking advantage of this, I’ve already taken my first year and a half of college and only have a few general education courses left. It was smarter for me to go into the state college right out of high school rather than go to a community college. Certain classes I needed can’t be taken at the same time, and I’d waste a year and a half and only be a part-time student. My friends didn’t take as many or any college courses during school, so they are going to our local college. I’ve been used to not having them in my high school classes because we were all on different educational paths. Even if you didn’t have a friend in your class, you always knew someone in the class you could talk to.

People say age is just a number, but turning 18 is a pretty big milestone. I’m the youngest of my family, and basically until the end of time I will be known as the baby of my family. Somehow I never thought the day would come when I was an adult. (According to the parents, I’ll be a child until I start paying my bills.) While walking around alone on campus during freshman orientation on Monday, it kind of hit me. My three friends and I were all adults. While I was making memories at my new home, the curly and dark haired ones were off on their first day at their professional job. Then on the other side of the world my blonde friend and her sister were touring Europe for two weeks without their parents. I looked around and knew no one. Was this what the next three years were going to look like?

No. Part of college is making new friends. In order to live a healthy life, you must have friends. That’s one of the reasons why I’m living in a dorm next year. I’m going to take this once in a lifetime opportunity living away from home to meet new people. Plus, I don’t have to drive there everyday.

This is going be a new chapter in all of our lives, and my friends all making new friends at their college as well. That’s just life. Starting over might be scary, but it might be just what I need. There will never be anyone who can replace them. It’s not like they can’t just come visit me or me coming home to see them at anytime. Even as I write this, we are texting each other thinking up ideas for Halloween on campus and working on a spring break trip. Though my three friends are working this summer and I’m taking a full load of online classes, I’m sure we’ll make plenty more memories.

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

Summer is for grilling and fresh fruit, so why don’t you combine the two?
Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 lbs Chicken Breast
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil 
  • 1/4 cup Onion, minced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger
  • 1 cup Ketchup 
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce, low sodium 
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 1 Pineapple 

Directions 

1.) Before you start cooking, you need to soak the skewers in water for at least 20

minutes. This makes sure that they don’t catch fire on the grill.

2.) Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. 

3.) In a small saucepan, sauté the onion in the olive oil for 7 minutes or until translucent. 

4.) Add in the garlic and ginger, and continue to sauté for a minute. 

5.) To finish up the sauce, in the pan add the ketchup, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Let this simmer on a medium low setting for 10 minutes.

6.) Once this cools down, add half of the sauce into a large ziplock bag with the chicken to marinate for five hours. 

7.) After this time is up, chop up the pineapple into 1-inch pieces. You want them about the same size of the chicken. 

8.) Remove the chicken from the bag, and alternate threading the chicken and pineapple on the skewers. 

9.) On a preheated grill, let the skewers grill for 5 minutes. After this, baste them with the extra sauce every 3 minutes. 

10.) After 18 minutes of this, check if the chicken is done by cutting into it.  

What you should be watching on Netflix now!

Netflix is a modern day multiplex of endless films and TV shows. Hopefully, this list can help you find your next obsession.

Riverdale

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The first season of this teen drama based on Archie Comics is a juicy mystery that links everyone in the small town to the disappearance of a teen.  (Think Twin Peaks meets Dawson Creek)

 

Young Frankenstein

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A classic Mel Brooks comedy that stars Gene Wilder who plays the grandson of Dr. Frankenstein.

 

Zodiac

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One of the most suspenseful dramas ever. It follows Robert Graysmith while he’s trying to unmask the Zodiac killer in the 1970s.

Terrace House

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The reboot of a Japanese reality television show that follows a group of three girls and three guys in their 20s living in a house together. What sets it apart from shows like Big Brother is that episodes are released at the same time as they are filmed. At the beginning and the end of each episode, there is a panel of viewers who provide commentary of what they just watched.

 

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

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Bill Murray plays the title character on his journey to kill a “jaguar shark” that ate his first mate.

 

Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King

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Hasan Minhaj’s stand-up comedy special for Netflix shares his personal stories of growing up in a first generation Indian Muslim family.

 

Being Human US & UK

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Both shows follow the précis of a vampire, werewolf, and a ghost living together in a house. Now that I’ve watched the two shows, I can say that if you want something more fast-paced you should go with the US version. Though they share the same plot, the UK version draws things out more and is darker.

 

The Prestige

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Two rival British stage magicians try to one-up each other in order to attempt to create the best illusion show.

 

The Chase

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A quiz game show that has players work their way up a ladder of questions in order to win money. The twist is that they are also playing against a quiz bowl champion at the same time who can take their earnings away.  

 

Penny Dreadful

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The dark horror drama brings to life the penny dreadful stories of classic horror literature such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

 

Conspiracy

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The 2015 TV show where each episode examines cases related to conspiracy theories.

 

Arrested Development

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The four seasons of this sitcom follows the Bluth family going throughout their dysfunctional lives together. Unlike other sitcoms, at the end of the day they don’t really like each other that well.

Honey Crullers

Continuing down my Canadian cooking adventure is the Tim Hortons’s Honey Cruller. 

Ingredients 
Dough

  • 1 cup Water
  • 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar 
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Whites

Glaze

  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 ½ cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 3 tablespoons Milk

  Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or with a silicone baking mat. 
  2. In a saucepan stir water, butter, sugar, and salt. On a medium-high heat, bring it to a boil. Once you reach the boiling temperature, add in the flour. Continue cooking this for five minutes and keep stirring. 
  3. Add this into your mixer, and mix for two minutes to let it cool down. One at a time add in your eggs until they are completely incorporated. Then add in two egg whites, and mix them in as well.
  4. Now add this to a piping bag with a ½ inch star piping tip. Pipe the donuts two inches apart onto the lined baking sheets.
  5. Bake them at 450 for five minutes. After that, lower the temperature to 325 and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Don’t take them out when they are done. Just turn off the oven and open the oven door to let them sit in there for another 5 minutes.
  6. For the honey glaze, all you need to do is combine the lemon juice, confectioners sugar, honey, and milk in a small bowl. 
  7. Once the crullers are cooled down, dip them into the glaze. Let them rest on a wired rack for three minutes to harden. 

Jurassic Park Birthday Party

I think in another life I could have been a party planner because I’m always trying to find reasons to celebrate and throw events for. Out of all these shindigs, no party is bigger each year than my birthday. My birthday is towards the end of the school year, so it kind of acts like a beginning of summer soirée. Palm leaves have been everywhere this past year, and this inspired me to have a Jurassic Park influenced party.

 

As always, I begin on Pinterest looking for ideas. The two main places on the site where I usually find stuff is on the Holiday & Party explore page. If I’m looking for more specific pins, I go on the search bar.  

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Now that I found some inspiration, I started making a list of guests and getting out invites. If you’re interested in making your own invitations, I’d recommend using the website Canva. What I like to do is make the invites the size of a photo that can be printed off at Walgreens. It’s cheaper than having them professionally done and is easier than printing them off at home.

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From there, I got to work on the decorations. If you have a best friend as crafty as mine, you have to take advantage of her free labor. Off of Pinterest, we made four big display pieces for the party.

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Photo booths have become a staple nowadays for parties. For this backdrop, you will need three bundles of yarn, 1/4-in x 100-ft sisal rope, and a 1-inch dowel rod. Full instructions on this backdrop can be found on Ruffled Blog. http://ruffledblog.com/diy-suspended-tassel-backdrop/

 

Next, we made a huge Jurassic Park sign. There isn’t instructions on this, but I’ll try to tell you how we did it.

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The base of the sign was made out of cardboard. We took a large Target box and cut it into one big sheet. In order to have a cleaner sign, take whatever side the label is printed on and draw out the shape of the sign out in pencil. With a box knife, cut out the sign and plug in a hot glue gun. From another box, cut out four-inch strips of cardboard. Glue on these cardboard braces onto the bendable parts.

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In a well-ventilated area, spread on half a pint of fast drying spackle all over the clean side of the cardboard. This will give it texture and smooth out the cardboard. This might take a couple hours to dry. Afterwards, paint it with gray spray paint. Later on, we added more detail with an airbrush around the edges.

For the letters, we used a roll of craft foam, acrylic paint, and the hot glue gun. Before starting this, we created a template by patterning out the letters onto cardstock. Next, we transferred them onto craft foam and cut them out. Since the font is layered, we made two versions of each letter. One of the versions must be larger than the other, as the smaller one needs to be glued on top.

The acrylic paint will be absorbed into the foam if you don’t prime them. In order to prevent this, paint two layers of glue before painting. Let this dry overnight. Then, paint on three coats of red and yellow paint onto the foam.

Once everything is dried, glue on the letters onto the cardboard. Our sign was light enough that I was able to hang it on the outside gutters. I was able to do that by securing it with command hooks.

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Also, I recreated the “When The Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth” banner from the movie. Just like with the sign, we first made a template for the letters before starting. Because this is so long, we had to use a roll of brown craft paper in order to get the right length. Finally, we traced on the letter and filled the outline in with black paint.

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The final thing I made for the party was a pinata. Basically, I followed the instructions from Studio DIY’s post on a DIY Hairspray Piñata. I changed it up a bit at the top to more resemble the Barbasol can from the show.

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The night was a blast, and I got to spend it with my closest friends. Who knows, maybe before the end of the summer I’ll throw another party.

Maple Bacon Cake

I’ve achieved a lot this past month. I graduated school, had a milestone birthday, and had my one year anniversary of this blog. I think a celebration is in order! When coming up with this recipe, I went all out by combining my favorite flavors into one. The cake recipe is an altered version of a Hummingbird Swirl cupcake that I found in a recipes box.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 3 ¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ¾ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¾ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 1 ½ cups Canola Oil
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ½ cups Sour Cream

Crumb

  • 8 Slices Bacon
  • ½ cup Pecans
  • ¾ Cold Unsalted Butter, Cut into pieces
  • 1 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt

Icing

  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 cup Pure Maple Sugar
  • 4 cups Confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two eight-inch cake pans with spray oil or butter.
  2. First, start by preparing the cake. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Then in a larger bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on a medium speed with an electric mixer for two minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and mix in the oil and vanilla on a low speed. Next, incorporate sour cream into the batter until there are no white streaks, and slowly add in the dry flour mixture to the wet ingredients.  
  3. Evenly divide the cake batter into the two cake pans. Then bake them for 27 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  4. Now for the crumb topping. Prepare the bacon however you want. For me, I baked it on a baking tray lined with tin foil with a wire rack on top. This way the clean-up is a lot easier and doesn’t require to be watched over. To do this, I put them into the oven at 350° F for 15 minutes and flipped the slices over after 8 minutes. Once I cooked the bacon, I used the oven again to roast the pecans for 10 minutes at 350° F. Before you start making the crumbs, you are going to want the bacon and pecans to cool down and to be chopped up finely.
  5. Take the butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt into a medium bowl. With your hands, mix the ingredients together until the crumbs form. Then stir in the bacon and pecans. Put this to the side.
  6. To make the icing, all you have to do is mix the softened butter, maple syrup,  confectioner’s sugar, and heavy whipping cream together on a medium speed in a bowl.
  7. At this stage, remove the cakes from their pans and make sure they get to room temperature. If the cakes are too warm, the icing will melt. Take a cake plate or whatever you are serving it on, and lay down the first cooled cake. Then put on a layer of the maple icing, and on top of that add half of the crumbles. Next, stack on the other cake, and ice the outside of the two cakes. Top it all off with the rest of the crumbles.

May Favorites

IT’S SUMMERTIME BABY! School is finally out, and I got my high school diploma; the world is mine for the taking! At least until I go to college in the fall.

Prom Dress

Though technically it’s an April favorite of mine, my prom didn’t take place until after my April Favorites were posted. Unlike last year, I didn’t shop around looking for a dress because I bought it from the first store I went in to. Once I saw it, I quickly fell in love with this floral A-Line gown from Rachel Allan.


Roots

While in Canada, my best friend and I were on the hunt for Canadian souvenirs. After going into endless junk shops, a store with the front decorated with a giant Canadian flag and beaver intrigued us. Roots is a Canadian chain store that specializes in leather goods and overpriced Canadian apparel. Everything inside was so Canadian, and I just couldn’t handle it.IMG_4073.JPG

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Big Little Lies

I’ve been watching a lot of HBO this month because we got a subscription, and I don’t really have anything better to do. It’s basically about first graders with rich helicopter moms that stars Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, and Zoë Kravitz.

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Fit Me Foundation

Finding the perfect drugstore foundation for your skin isn’t an easy task. I’ve used the same one for two years and it was time to switch it up. After a month of use, I can say this is the most full coverage drugstore liquid foundation I’ve ever used. It’s comparable to Clinique Redness Solution foundation that I used in the past. There is two different formulas of this from the Fit Me line made by Maybelline – the dewier one made for drier skin and matte formulas for oilier skin.

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Dream Big Candle

I don’t burn candles often enough to stock up on them, but I usually buy a new three wick candle each season. Though it’s just a repackaging of Tiki Beach, the Dream Big candle features a fun message that’s perfect for gift giving. The scent of Tiki Beach is more masculine compared to other summer scents, as it is a blend of Vanilla Musk, Orchids, and Toasted Coconut.

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