Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Zucchini Bread

Something about needing to study for finals makes me want to do anything and everything else, specifically distracting activities and eating delicious things. I've been on a total baking kick lately. Two birds. Today I'm sharing with you one of my favorite recipes - zucchini bread! 


Ingredients


1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
½ cup butter
1 cup and 2 Tbs sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 cup shredded zucchini
Walnuts to top

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Mix together butter and sugar until creamy, add vanilla, then eggs. 
Gently stir in shredded zucchini, then the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon). 
Pour batter into a large loaf pan, sprinkle walnuts on top, and bake for 55 minutes. 
Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite distractions?


Friday, April 25, 2014

The 5 Stages of Finals Week

1) It's the last day of classes, and all you can think about is summer. Psh, finals. Whatever. You're sure they won't be that bad, and decide worry about them after celebrating the end of classes. You're feeling on top of the world because it's basically summer vacation.


2) After curing all of your hangovers, you realize that finals are actually happening. Like, soon. Not soon enough to actually care, but they're on your radar. Also on your radar are Netflix, wine, hockey, and an overwhelming amout of social media, all at the same time. You tell yourself that you're being productive because your textbook is open on the other side of your room.


3) Shit, why did you wait so long to start studying?? Finals are in two days! Cue 5 hour energies and cramming and stress and baseball hats because you have no time to wash your hair. You're more shambly than you can even believe.


4) Final time. You've got this! You studied so hard and there's no way you're going to fai - WHERE DID THESE QUESTIONS COME FROM? This was NOT covered in class!


5) It's over... until the next test.






Thursday, April 24, 2014

My First Credit Card

Something really adult happened to me this week. I was approved for my first credit card. (From Old Navy!) As soon as I saw that I had been approved, I felt overwhelmed with responsibility and adulthood. I don't want to rack up a bunch of debt. I don't want to be sucked in by the whole "shop now, pay later" mindset. Basically I was worried about my ability to be responsible with this card.

I took two "finance" classes in high school. I learned how to write a check and how to balance a checkbook (Am I the only one who doesn't do this? I just watch my online statements for anything that looks fishy.) The classes  warned us about the dangers of credit cards, but I never learned about the importance of building credit. The message was "Don't open any credit cards because you are irresponsible and go into horrible debt that will take over your life." We watched testimonies of parents whose children had committed suicide because their debt was so overwhelming. And while I think it was important to learn what can happen if you are irresponsible, I think it would have been equally important to learn what can happen if you are responsible with your credit card.

The scare tactic worked - I didn't open a credit card until 6 years after I took that class. I don't have credit card debt, but I don't have credit either, making it more difficult to do adult things like buy a car or a house. I think that if the topic had been approached in a more positive way, like "Opening a credit card is a big responsibility. If you handle it well, you can work your way to earning even bigger responsibilities, like a new car or a new home," I wouldn't have avoided it for so long. The lesson could have been a very teachable moment instead of just a fear-inducing lecture. I manage my finances well and consider myself a relatively responsible person in general. I want to work my way towards bigger purchases, and I think having all of the information at a young age would have inspired me to begin that process.

I'm not going to go crazy with this card, but I do need more business casual clothes for my new job. I plan to limit my purchases and only buy what I know I can afford that month. Adulthood, I'm coming for ya.

How do you manage your credit card spending?



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

This is Embarassing

Last weekend was an interesting one for me. I saw some family, watched my first lacrosse game, and prepared for the impending doom that is finals week. I didn't do anything embarrassing in public, which is unusual for me, but today I'm confessing how I spent my alone time:

-I read Farrah Abraham's My Teenage Dream Ended from cover to cover in one day. You guys, I really like Teen Mom. I'm a sucker for the show, the followup specials, and the girls' Instagrams, so I obviously had to read this book. I had read the Amazon reviews and wasn't expecting much, but I needed to read it anyways. This book took me back to high school with all the drama, the breakups, and the general hot mess of it all. The writing is bad, she talks about her hookups more than she doesn't, and yet, I couldn't put this damn book down! I enjoyed reading about what Farrah was like before 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom started. If you're a Teen Mom fan or are just looking for a trashy memoir, read this book. If you are a more respectable person than me, stay away from this book. (I just found out that Teen Mom 2's Kailyn just released a book. I'm so excited. I know how I'll be spending my me-time next weekend.)


- I tried to study out on the back deck this weekend, but every 10 minutes or so, a giant cloud of bees would swarm my space! (Okay, I'm exaggerating. But there were bees and yellow jackets flying around.) I would shriek, flail my arms around and run from the deck. Neighbors saw. I'm officially the crazy of the neighborhood.

- I spent entirely too much time on YouTube watching Chelsea Lately interviews after I finished her most recent book, Uganda Be Kidding Me. My favorite was this clip that begins with Chelsea and Amy Adams doing shots and ends with a discussion about kissing Jennifer Lawrence.


Linking up with Kathy

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ode to Allergy Medicine

Dear sweet knockoff Zyrtec,

How can I begin to express my love for you? You guard my eyes, nose, and throat against the horror that is Springtime allergies. You make nature not only accessible, but enjoyable. Sometimes you do your job too well, allowing me to stay outside long enough for my pale skin to burn.

Thank you for making my eyes stop itching. Thank you for making my nose stop running. Those who interact with me thank you for putting an end to my earth shattering sneezes. You make life more than tolerable. Dare I say, you make life worth living. Allergy medicine, I love you so.

Happy Spring everyone!

Hearts. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Letter to Me: Age 13


Have you heard that Brad Paisley song "Letter to Me?" If not, go listen. I'll wait. While I'm waiting, I'll listen to it again. Not definitely tearing up. 

I left my job at the middle school today, and it may be the last time I ever see these kids. For all of my complaining, they were all good kids. Some of them were great kids. It broke my heart to see them sad that I was leaving. I felt so much pressure to tell them something useful, to make my final words mean something to them. I told them they were going to do great things, good luck in high school, good luck in the rest of middle school. I gave them my email, and I really do hope to hear from them. 

It got me thinking - what would you tell your 13 year-old-self, your 16 year-old-self, your 18 year-old-about-to-enter-college self? All the things, or none of the things? As part of a three-post series, I plan to share with you my answers to these questions. Although these ages are relatively close together, my answers differ so vastly. I'm planning to start with age 13 and work my way up, and I invite you to join me! Write your own answers, or just follow along. Either way, I hope you reflect on your time as a young, almost person. On your struggles, on your joys, on the things that you wish someone would have told you or not told you. Without further adieu…

Dear 13 Year-Old-Self,

Hey girl! Welcome to your teens. I’m just going to lay it out for you. 7th grade is going to be a rough year BUT you’re going to make it through. You’re preoccupied with the fact that you’re going to have spinal surgery in October. Isn’t scoliosis a bitch? (Don’t even start with me – I know you just started cursing.) Get the flu all you want – it’ll happen eventually. It will be painful. The OR nurses and the recovery nurses will lie to you about painful things not hurting, but your parents will never leave your side, and they will hold your hand through it all. Your best friend in the whole world will visit you in the hospital. You’ll miss 4 weeks of school. You’ll wind up with a scar that you never think about, but that surprises other people when they see it. Generally, they think it's pretty rad. You will be okay.

Last year you started having the biggest crush on your best guy friend [HI JASON], and it’s not going away, and he’s as uninterested as ever. Believe me or not, it will pass. You’ll fall out of touch in high school but reconnect in college. He’ll become a friend who you know isn’t going anywhere, no matter the distance, and it wouldn’t have been worth ruining for a lame middle school romance.

I know you’re struggling because you have braces and Mom won’t let you straighten your hair or wear makeup but you feel rebellious because you just watched your first rated-R movie. You feel like you don’t fit in, and you’re not sure why. 6th grade was full of friends, but now why is everyone hanging out without me? It will get better.

Keep reading, keep sewing, keep knitting, and keep baking with Mom. Listen to new, weird music with Dad. These will continue to be the things that make you the happiest, even when it feels like the whole world is against you. You are beautiful. You are smart. You will grow into your teeth. You are snarky, and while Mom and Dad definitely don’t appreciate it, I’m sure at least one of your teachers does. This will be one of the hardest years of your life, but you will make it through. You will come out a stronger, more independent person for it. Good luck with it all. Love you always.

Hugs from the future,
22-year-old-self

P.S.
Start saying things like “Hashtag” and “YOLO.” You’ll be so cool, way ahead of your time. 

P.P.S.
Here's a picture of your favorite CD because Fall Out Boy is your favorite. 



P.P.P.S. (Is that even a thing?)
The sooner you start listening to All Time Low, the better. #angst 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Not So Little Things

I've been seeing a lot of people starting the #100happydays challenge on Instagram, and looking at these posts makes me happy. I like seeing the sunsets, the cups of coffee. I like imagining the person smiling as they write their hashtags and hit "post." I like that people are using social media to do more than complain or seek validation. I like that people are happy.

It got me thinking about that phrase, "Appreciate the little things." Why are the things that make us so happy considered "little things?" According to social media, people's days are dominated by work and chores and general unhappiness, but is this really the case? Yes, I'm struggling my way through grad school and paper writing is frustrating and time consuming and I don't like my job, but I try (and sometimes fail) to focus on the positives. I want to remember this time in my life for the time spent exploring restaurants and bars around town, for the laughs heard, for the shopping sprees had. I want my posts to reflect that.

I'm guilty of using Twitter to complain, of posting a picture just to marvel at the absurdity. I'm guilty of screenshotting someone else's complaining and texting it around for a laugh. But in general, I try to post more happy pictures than bad, more excited tweets than depressed. Social media is an outlet for stress, but also a way to share positive attitudes. I'm a happier person seeing other people happy. (Positive posts give you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't shoot their husbands. They just don't.)

I have no intention to start 100 Happy Days, although of all bandwagons to jump on, this is a great one. I will continue to enjoy other's Happy Days posts for the 96 days they have left, (although, let's be honest, most will trail off somewhere around day 15) and will continue to post unnumbered pictures and posts about things that make me happy. Because, for me, these aren't the little things. They're the big things that make my life special and worth living.

How happy does this face make you? I need a corgi so badly. For the snuggles and the cuteness. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-On Manicure - A Review

Last week I posted about the Uni Vox Box that I received from Influenster, and I mentioned that I hadn't yet tried the imPRESS manicure from Broadway Nails. I had some free time this weekend, and I decided to give them a go.



The Look: I did some looking at other patterns/colors, and I definitely lucked out - I received, in my opinion, the best pattern in my Vox Box. I love the flower pattern for Spring, and the colors (pink, purple, sky blue) are some of my favorites. I think that some of the other nails that Broadway Nails has out look very middle school, but this pack is an exception.

The Size: I have really small hands. These nails come in 12 different sizes, and I didn't have a problem finding ones to fit my nails. The main issue that I had with the size was the length - they were so ridiculously long! Once I realized that I could clip them like normal nails, I adjusted the length and went back to enjoying the pattern.

The Application: Overall, I think that the application of these nails was as much work as a regular polish application. Peel off the adhesive, stick the nails on, clip nails, file nails, enjoy.

The Feel: Fake nails are weeiird. I'm used to how my real nails feel when I touch things. Fake nails are like "Are you really typing? Nope, those aren't the letters that you want! And goood luck texting because I'm just going to get in the way of that." To be fair, they get in the way the same way real, long nails would. It's just not something that I'm used to.

Overall: I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase this product, but I really enjoyed getting to try it courtesy of Influenster. If I'm going to spend money on my nails, besides polish, I'd prefer to get a professional manicure. I rate my sample of Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-On Manicure at a 3 out of 5.

I received this product compliments of Influenster. All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Exciting Upcomings

I am so excited for this coming week. Here's why:

1) Ryan and I planted a bunch of seeds today. I usually buy flats of flowers to plant, but this year, I wanted to try starting my own from seeds. We also planted spinach and green onions in bigger containers. (I had wanted to make a huge garden in the yard this summer, but I think that'll be a project for next summer. Plus I'll have a whole year to pin ideas!) Anywho, I'm hoping that some of the seeds sprout this week!

2) My last day at my job is Friday! Now that there's an end in sight, I've been enjoying my time with the kids much more. I'm (almost) a little sad to leave.

3) This is the last week of classes for this semester! 6 classes, then finals, then Summer!!

4) The temperature is above 70 - hello sundresses and sandals and shorts. (Please, no one look at my ghostly white legs... #gingerproblems)


5) Every week that passes is one week closer to the opening X-Men Days of Future Past. (We just got a magazine in the mail with blue Jennifer Lawrence on the cover and I squealed.) 

6) On the same note, every week that passes is one week closer to when I start my new job! I've been having so much fun shopping for and accessorizing new work clothes. 

All from H&M. My favorite store for affordable work attire. 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Public Speaking (An Anxious Tale)


Tomorrow is presentation day in my Program Planning and Implementation class. My small group has spent the semester designing a program to increase college males' vaccination against HPV. (PSA - tell your male friends <26 to get vaccinated.) 

But they wouldn't if they were vaccinated! 

It's a solid program, I think. I'm just so damn nervous to get up in front of my class and talk about it! 


I am such an awkward person. Introvert at heart, I hate public speaking. My voice gets all high pitched and valley girl when I try to project. I get all flushed. I trip over my words. My mouth gets all dry. My heart races. It's embarrassing. 

This doesn't even happen when I drink. Just when I public speak. 

I noticed during my last presentation just how much people stare back at you with their resting bitch faces. No one is interested. No one smiles warm smiles of encouragement. Their faces say that you and your presentation are boring, and they can't wait for you to finish up already. I think it would be so much easier if the audience just looked nice. Being the center of attention isn't my favorite, but even more so, I don't like being a boring center of attention. I don't mind if people pay attention to me because I'm a great line dancer after a drink or two, but I hate when they pay attention to me just because they have to.  #introvertproblems 

I've heard the old suggestions - imagine everyone in their underwear, imagine everyone naked! Gross, more gross. Record yourself and watch it back to make improvements! Hi, I have anxiety, and this would make it even worse. 

Fingers crossed I don't have any flashes of nudity while I'm in front of my class tomorrow. I don't need to turn an even darker shade of red. 

How do you handle public speaking? What are some things that have worked for you? 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Influenster's Uni VoxBox

I was so excited to receive this email from Influenster telling me that I had been selected for another VoxBox!






I love Influenster. Receiving complimentary products in exchange for social media exposure? It doesn't get any better! I had received my first VoxBox back in February, and I was stoked to receive another. Influenster really outdid themselves this time - the Uni VoxBox had so many amazing items inside that I have loved trying out! 



Broadway Nails imPRESS Manicure: I've never used press-on nails before, but I am so excited to try! I'm saving these nails for a special occasion this summer - they're too pretty to just wear to the office. 

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons: The first thing Ryan said when I opened the Uni VoxBox was, "It smells like bubblegum." You guessed it - it was these bad boys. This product hasn't been tested yet, but I was impressed that Influenster included a full box, not just 1 or 2 samples. 

Rimmel London Stay Matte Foundation in Light Porcelain: I haven't worn foundation since my awkward middle school years. I don't like how heavy it feels on my face or how it looks so obvious. I do like this foundation much better than ones I've previously tried - it feels more like a lotion when it is applied. It's much lighter and easier to blend. 

Pilot Acroball Pen: I've seen other bloggers raving about this product, and I just don't get it. It's a nice pen, but to me, pens are pens. Mine go missing too frequently to play favorites. 

Red Rose Real Tea Premium Water Enhancer: Hot or cold, tea is wonderful. 

NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Forever Fuchsia: I thought I'd bought bold lipstick in the past. I was wrong. This lipstick adds a pop of color like no other. It's much too bright for day to day wear, but fun for a night out on the town.

Thank you to Influenster for these products - it's been another great VoxBox experience! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hot Dogs and Hockey, Eh?

It's another edition of the Weekly Wrap Up with The Rachael Way and Ameliorer la Vie

Call me an old lady, but I usually don't like to do too many things on the weekends. I'm so busy during the week that I like to take my two days off and just CHILL. This weekend, however, was jam packed busy, and I loved every second of it.

On Friday, I came home to my new favorite jewelry ever from Fifth and Mae

How perfect are these pieces for Summer?

After squealing over this box for a good 15 minutes, I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Remember how much I love all things Marvel?  This movie was no exception. It was action-filled and completely turned the universe upside down with its SHIELD reveal. Also - who were those freaky twins at the end? I can't wait for the next Avengers to come out - maybe some of my questions will be answered. 


Saturday was spent taking my middle schoolers to COSI, and it was much more fun than I expected! I had never been before, and it was fun to watch the kids engage with science in an hands-on way. (Much better than the worksheets that they do in school.) 

On Sunday, I spent the morning working on a paper, caught a quick cat nap, and then headed downtown for dinner and a hockey game! One of my favorite restaurants ever, Dirty Franks, serves vegetarian hot dogs with the craziest combinations of toppings. (They serve regular hot dogs too, but I'm in love with their veggie options.) After we filled up on hot dogs and beer, (because what's more 'hockey' than that?) we headed to the game.

Ryan's real hot dogs:
Left: Chili, sauerkraut, onions
Right: mustard, relish, onions, peppers

My veggie hot dogs:
Left: vegetarian chili, onions, cheese, and Frito's.
Right: vegetarian chili, french fries, sour cream, cheese, vegetarian bacon

The hockey game was so much fun! The Bluejackets won 4-0 and there were so many fights. I love live hockey because you get to hear the sounds of the puck, the skates on the ice, and fists hitting fists.


Have a great week! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Teen Mom 2 Thoughts


Maybe I should have included this in yesterday’s Humpday Confessions, but Teen Mom 2 is one of my absolute favorite guilty pleasures. (It used to be Teen Mom, but there aren’t new episodes anymore, and Teen Mom 3 just doesn’t do it for me.) The girls are 22 now, same as me. I don’t fault them for getting pregnant in the first place, because it’s old news and hi, sex ed in our country is terrible. I just question some of the things that they’ve done since then! I’ve been keeping up with the current season, and I just have SO MANY judgments thoughts. (Lookout for spoilers!)



Chelsea – Chelsea has always been my favorite mom of the bunch, and her daughter could not be any cuter. I’ve been impressed with how Chelsea has gotten her act together during this season! She graduated from her program, found a job, and has been doing a great job taking care of Aubree. Adam, on the other hand, has too many tattoos and too many DUIs. Gross.

Kailyn – I don’t have too much to say about Kailyn. I like Javi. It’s a good thing she stopped hitting him so they could get married It’s exciting that they’re having a baby. Isaac has an adorable personality. It sucks they have to drive so far to give him to Jo.

Leah – I feel so bad for Leah. Ali’s medical condition has to be so difficult to deal with on top of having two other kids and a husband who is away from home for weeks at a time. I cannot imagine having to deal with that much at 21. She and Jeremy have had some rocky times because of his work situation, and I can honestly see both sides. I would feel lonely if my husband worked away from home so often, but I would try to be appreciative that he is wiling to make that sacrifice. I can see how Jeremy might feel that she doesn’t value what he is doing for their family. (Apparently he told Leah that he wanted a divorce? The end of Tuesday’s episode wasn’t totally clear about that.)

Janelle – You guys. I CAN’T. In her self-recap, we learn that she met a guy, got married, got arrested, and was filing for divorce. Then she met a new guy and after TWO MONTHS together, they decided that they wanted to have his baby. So she went off her birth control, and now she’s preggers. Honestly, I get wanting to have a baby. I want a baby. I just know that I would want to know the father for more than two months, and ideally not be married to someone else. And why does she introduce all of these guys to Jace? I don’t understand. I was excited to see that she had improved her relationship with her mother, so small miracles, I guess.

Have you been keeping up with Teen Mom 2? What are your thoughts on this season? 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Happy Humpday!

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means! Another round of Humpday Confessions with Kathy!  This week has been a struggle, and I'm confessing it one e-card at a time.

I shouldn't have told anyone that I was sick. This was the general reaction that I received out in the world today:



My professor basically told my class this today when we were discussing which classes to take next fall: 


When I paid my rent today:



I gave my two weeks notice today! (Talk about stressful.) I'm so relieved it's over, and fingers crossed I'll like my new job more than...


I've only gone for about 4 minutes today without sneezing. Hellooo Spring allergies. 


What are you confessing this Humpday?