Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today's the day!

I have been counting down to this day for over a year.

It's finally happening.


If you don't live in California and/or are not a die-hard country music fan, you may not know what this is. I'm very sorry if either of those things are true, because you are missing out.

Tonight we leave to camp (as previously mentioned, I am not a camper, so my excitement for this weekend is really saying something) at a festival of non-stop country concerts, cowboy hats, and redneck livin'.

Growing up visiting my grandparents' farm in Maryland every summer has slowly developed my deep-seated desire to be a true country girl; given my simultaneous love for California, I will probably never live out my fantasy of living on a farm, wearing boots every day, and marrying a man who drives a tractor. I've come to terms with this (kind of), but, I am going to soak in every magical second of the next three days!

Plus, Luke Bryan will be there. I mean, have you seen this guy? And he sings?!

I'll leave you with this. Hello, handsome.

When I get back on Monday, I'm taking senior portraits with a fabulous photographer in my sorority -- more on that to come! Have a fantastic weekend, friends!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mint & coral

My fixation on the color coral is long-standing. If you set me loose in any store, I can be guaranteed to pick up at least 5 coral, peach, and/or salmon items in my first few minutes of browsing. My closet is color-coded, and the salmons are clearly in the lead (my sad little brown and tan section doesn't even stand a chance). 

However, I've recently landed on a new favorite: mint. Happily, I also love the combination of the two, so my long-loved coral doesn't have to worry about being ousted; I just think it's time to give it a little company. These are some of my favorite recent finds in the two shades, mostly thanks to Pinterest (because of this, I don't know exactly where to find all of these items. I'm not happy about it. But, check out Topshop, Chloe, Dolce Vita, Hunter, and Esther for at least a few of them!). 

What colors do you love? Am I the only one who gets fanatical about one hue at a time? I have to say, royal blue is creeping up the ranks, too...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Rain, rain, go away. Seriously.

Hello, friends.

It's been very rainy in SLO for a very long time. By which I mean Tuesday-Thursday. When it comes to rain, I qualify a long time as anywhere over about 20 minutes (unless it's nighttime when it feels cozy rather than dreary), so this week has felt interminable.

I've heard that some people like rain. Why is that? I think that in theory, I could like it, if I could convince myself to be cheerful without sunshine. But I have to work very, very hard to be in a good mood when the sky is a steady shade of slate.

If anyone else has been barraged by stormy weather or just general blues lately, I suggest this website. Just trust me. Unless you hate baby animals. Then maybe try something else.

Sidenote: did anyone else follow Knut's story? In short, he was a baby polar bear rejected by his mother and raised by a German man for a zoo in Germany. Maybe the cutest, sweetest little guy I've ever seen (the bear, not the man). Anyway, apparently he has a half-sister named Anori (above)! If she's not enough to satisfy your cuddly-baby-bear cravings (everyone has those, right?), there's a whole movie about Knut you can rent. You, know if you're into that. Not that I've seen it (I have. It's really good.).

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Las Vegas

I have a habit of wanting to do as much as possible at all times. Which is maybe not supported by the fact that I spent today alternately watching Friends DVDs and reading The Hunger Games, but hey, I am a highly multifaceted being. Anyway. My Spring Break is evidence of my determination to do everything at once, or at least go everywhere I can in however much time I'm allotted (which fits in nicely with my plan to visit 7-9 cities in one month across Europe this summer. More on that later).

So, when presented with just over a week off from school, my itinerary looked roughly like this: Big Sur, SLO for St. Patrick's Day, LA to visit my best friend of 14 years, home for a night to reunite with my roommates from Italy, Vegas with my parents, then home for my last 2 nights off. My Vegas trip was unlike any sin city venture I've taken on before, but delightfully so.

One of my favorite parts was hiking/driving through Red Rock Canyon. About 20 or 30 minutes outside of town, this national park is filled with huge, breathtaking, well, red rocks. The name is pretty accurate.

Holding up the rocks. You're welcome, Nevada. 

Goofy family portrait.

My parents are both math teachers. Without planning, they both wore silly math shirts their students have gotten for them over the years. Hers says "Get Real" with an equation, while his proclaims "Irrational but Well-Rounded" with pi. Math jokes'll getcha every time. 

Cool two-toned rocks. 

Some views of less-red rocks. I'm not usually a huge fan of desert landscapes, but this was definitely an exception. 

That night, we went to see Cirque du Soleil's "O" at the Bellagio. We wandered through the Conservatory before, which I always love. I especially liked it all decked out for spring with tulips (one of my favorite flowers!).

Check out the swan in the background! 

Loved the huge bees up top. I'm always amazed by what they can put together with just plant life. 

After "O" (which I loved), we watched the Bellagio fountain show; hands down one of the best free shows on the Strip. 

I generally have mixed feelings towards Vegas as a whole, but spending a couple days there lounging by the pool, barbecuing at night, and taking advantage of the lovely weather and a happy mixture of standard Vegas activities with the less typical made for a relaxing few days in the desert.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mug cakes

My addiction to mug cakes has gotten way out of hand. Yes, they are exactly what they sound like: a warm, chocolate-y mug full of cake. Only better, because you can add things like peanut butter and marshmallows and magic (what? Well, it seems like magic) and it's done in about 5 minutes. Or 10. It really depends how complex you want to get.

ALSO. They're personal sized. I am the kind of person who, if I make a pan of cupcakes, I will promptly eat half. It's not good. But, if I only have one mug full of cake, it is pretty likely that is all I will eat. Of course, the fact that I can make them whenever the craving strikes (always), is maybe not so helpful in the argument for their health benefits. But that is really neither here nor there.

What is important here, is this:

And this:

And, of course, this:

Quick rundown (since you'd be crazy to not be running to make one right now): My favorite recipe is the top one (I make it sans egg and sprinkle powdered sugar and milk chocolate pieces on top), but the easiest is the middle (just 3 ingredients!). Interestingly, the crazy decadent looking bottom one was not as great as I biggest tips with these babies is do not overcook them, or the texture will be all wrong.

Now, go crazy!