Fun Friday: The Art of Giving

Hey guys! Happy Friday! One more day until my weekend yay! I hope you’ve all been staying cool in this oppressive heat. I’ve been doing the best I can :) This Fun Friday post is for Shen! I told you I’d write it!

When I was a kid, I loved getting presents. Like most kids, I loved tearing through wrapping paper and getting to the goods. Never in a million years did I ever think I’d see the day where I’d prefer to give gifts rather than receive them. Of course getting fun surprises in the mail is fun, but I don’t make a habit of asking for things. I can’t remember the last time I made a list of things I wanted for my birthday or for the holidays. On the other hand, i get extreme joy out of giving the perfect gift.

I find nothing more satisfying that finding that absolute perfect gift. The one you know the recipient will LOVE when they open it. I’m not saying it happens every time I give a gift… there are people that definitely stump me. However, when I think of the perfect gift I get super excited and I can’t wait to give it!

There are a few different kinds of gifts that I like to give. First, obviously, I love giving food gifts. I know it may not seem like you are making these gifts special for the person receiving it, but there are some ways that you can personalize your food gifts!

First, think of the person who will be receiving the gift. What are their favorite flavors? Do they like baked goods? Do they like infused oils, homemade extracts or pickles? Do they enjoy grilling? A homemade rub or spice blend would be perfect! Just match the gift to their preferences!

This is a gift I made for one of the trainers at my gym last year. He loved the holiday baking I had done and I told him I’d make him some birthday treats. He had no specific ideas of what he wanted so I asked him what his favorite flavor combination was. He said peanut butter and chocolate. How easy is that?!

I made Alicia Silverstone’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups for him and they were a HUGE hit! These are a perfect gift to make for the peanut butter lover in your life.

A huge part of gift giving is presentation in my opinion. I love getting cute boxes and pouches and other vessels to package my gifts. And guess where I got this cute box. The dollar store!! I get most of my boxes from the dollar store and they are always perfect!

Another food gift that I LOVE to make is chocolate bark! It is always delicious, super easy and very customizable! The bark photographed above is peppermint cookies n cream. I made a batch for my friend for the holidays last year. I knew it was her favorite of everything I’ve made so I made the whole batch just for her. She LOVED it and loved the fact that I remembered it was her favorite. It’s small touches that make your gifts extra special and meaningful.

Cupcakes are another gift I love to give for a birthday. You’ll probably remember the ones pictured above from my boss’ birthday celebration. He likes fresh berries so included some fresh berries in the filling and the garnish. They looked really pretty and tasted delicious and fresh. Even something as simple as a cupcake liner can really help personalize these gifts! I have a huge collection of liners :)

The cupcakes I make you look at in my header every day… a gift. And there was actually a lot of thought put into them too. I made them for a friend. She lives with her hubby and two sons so she doesn’t see pink too much and it is her favorite color. So I decided I wanted to make girly girl cupcakes for her birthday and the focus was on the color pink. I made homemade pink funfetti cupcakes with hot pink icing, pink glitter flakes and some beautiful little pearls. She loved them and definitely appreciated the pink :) Just a little bit of creativity can turn a simple batch of cupcakes into a super thoughtful gift!

Now, as much as I love giving food gifts, they aren’t the only gifts I give. Another type of gift that I LOVE to create is a big ol’ gift basket! Sadly I only have a pic of one but I can tell you about a few others I’ve made.

I have a few tips for creating a beautiful, personalized gift baskets. First, pick a theme! It is a lot easier to choose the components of the basket when you have a theme to stick to.

I don’t have a pic of it (which is a huge bummer because it was my favorite one I’ve ever made!) but one year for my friend’s birthday another friend and I made the cutest summer themed gift basket. Her birthday is in April and she LOVES the summer so we thought it would be cute to make a basket of summer essentials to get her excited about the upcoming season. There was a bright beach towel, flip flops, some test tube looking drink shooters and other fun summery things. It was so fun to put together and she loved it!

Another gift basket that I don’t have a picture of was a relaxation themed gift basket I gave to my friend last year. Her birthday is in July and she is a wedding photographer so it is her busy season and if her birthday is on a weekend she will almost always have to work on that day. I wanted her to take some time for herself to relax so I made a fun little relaxation kit to give to her! I included two little packets of face mask powder, tea bags (special bags that brew in cold water and make iced tea! She said they were great and very refreshing!), a plastic to go cold cup (to hold said iced tea), face and body creams, home made trail mix (in a mason jar obviously) and a bottle of wine. It also went over really well :)

My second tip for creating gift baskets: Use a functional “basket!!” I almost never use an actual basket in my gift “basket.” I like to use inexpensive storage containers, ice buckets, popcorn buckets and whatever else my imagination can come up with to pack my goodies. I love the idea of being able to use every single part of that basket.

You may remember this gift basket that I made for my friend’s baby shower. For occasions like baby/bridal showers, I also like to stick to a theme. I pick a certain portion of the registry (usually the kitchen section, ha!) and I buy lots of items from that section and make a gift basket. The one above was from the feeding section and I got lots of bibs and bottles and utensils, a baby food cookbook and lots of other stuff. I packed it in a storage container from Target that she could use for some of the baby’s stuff like diapers or toys or whatever.

If you want to stray from a bridal shower registry and you are close to the bride, a cute gift is a honeymoon themed “gift basket.” Buy a cute beach/tote bag and fill it with lots of honeymoon essentials (customize to location). Towels, flip flops, hats, sunglasses, sunblock, and other essentials for the couple would be a really cute and thoughtful gift!

OK I think I’ve chatted your ear off enough for one post! As you can see, I really love talking about this stuff. I love to really get creative about giving gifts so this was a really fun post to write! Maybe down the road there will be a part two, who knows :) Hope you liked this post Shen!

That’s all I’ve got for you today! I hope you all had a great week and that you enjoy your weekend! And stay cool! From what I understand the heat should break by the end of the week. Yay!

Fun Friday: The Post I Never Thought I’d Do!

Hey everyone! Happy Friday! I hope you’ve all had a great week :) I’m back with my Fun Friday post and I won’t lie, I never in a million years thought I’d be doing a post like this. I know that some of you at some point in time have asked me to post more pics of myself. I was digging through the archives recently and found some pics and thought I guess maybe I’ll have to suck it up and share them.

Like many people I don’t usually feel too confident in my appearance but I thought maybe just sucking it up and sharing the pics will help me get over it? It may or it may not but I guess now is the time to see. I also think the evolution of my hair is too damn funny not to share haha.

So here I go… the most narcissistic post I’ll probably ever do haha. Although in all fairness I probably wouldn’t have done this if I wasn’t asked ;)

I figured I’d start with this disaster of a hairstyle HAHAHA. Oh the bangs. They look ok in this pic kind of but omg when I tried to style them myself what a disaster! Never again. Oh and I had gotten a makeup trial for a friend’s wedding so that’s where all of that came from. I wish I could do my makeup that well!

Speaking of weddings, this is right after I had gotten my hair and makeup done for my brother’s wedding. Still sober, still normal.

Not so much the case in this pic ha! 5 rum punches in and feeling very good. I am not going to lie, I’m totally wasted in this pic. And this is coming from the girl who has only been wasted about 10 times in her life. Not a big drinker but my brother’s wedding was definitely an exception.

Much shorter hair. I liked this hair cut and it was why I was ok with my most recent haircut where I hacked off the nine inches of hair.

HAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHA sadly I was not drunk in this picture. My friend and I were playing around with the Photobooth app on his MacBook and somehow I ended up with his hat and phone. I’m such a tool omg. And I’m an even bigger tool for sharing it here, ha!

This picture is actually at work! Here is my little space haha. And the picture was set up, I wasn’t actually sitting there texting like that. But that is a pretty standard getup for me in the winter. I’m cold ALL THE TIME there. So the only thing missing in the pic are the fingerless gloves I sometimes rock. This pic is from 3ish years ago, hence the coffee cup that would regularly be on my desk :) Oh and that phone is ridiculous. I think that was three phones ago.

RIght after another hair cut when my hair was still insanely long. My last phone the crap ass Droid that I hated. I need to do my nails that color again…

OK I’m tired of looking at myself but there you go! A blast from the past and a little tour of haircuts past. I’m going to stop looking at this post before I delete the whole thing haha.

Let me know if you have any more ideas for Fun Friday posts!! I’d love to hear more of your ideas! Shen, I know you wanted to see a post about gifts and I haven’t forgotten! That one just takes a long time to put together and I’ll get to it at some point, I promise! Probably closer to the holiday season :X

Have a great night and a great weekend my friends!

Fun Friday: A Sneak Peek!

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a great week and a fun 4th of July! I know I haven’t been posting much lately but I’ve just been tired and HOT and just blah. I did want to come back for a Fun Friday post though :) Although I haven’t been posting much, I have been planning some yummy meals that I want to make. I thought I’d share a few as a sneak peek for this week’s Fun Friday!!

Let’s check em out!

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I’ve had some mochi sitting in my fridge for a while and just haven’t gotten around to use it yet. I knew that people have made waffles from them and I was curious so I looked it up and found the trick! You shred the mochi and it melts together in the waffle iron! Brilliant! I have plans for this stuff and I can’t wait to show you! The topping is going to be soooooo yummy.

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I have been wanting to make Majudarrah (rice with lentils and caramelized onions) lately and haven’t made it yet because I’m a total lazy ass but this will change! I’ll probably do a bunch of cooking after my appointment with the allergist on Monday.

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OMG I’ve been thinking about making a drink like this for months now and I saw it on Pinterest and now I can’t get it out of my head! Check out this Strawberry Watermelon Slushie (click the source link for recipe) from Live Renewed! This is going to be such a lovely, refreshing breakfast on a gross, hot day.

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A little known fact about me is that I was really into hockey for much of my youth through my senior year of college. I went to NHL games, followed my college hockey team (Go Ice Knights!!!) who went on to win the division championships my senior year (so exciting!!), and even begged my mom to let me play (the answer was no – the investment in braces a few years before wasn’t going to waste ;) ). What the hell does this have to do with the beautiful soup pictured above? Well, when I was young I was a big fan of the Mighty Ducks Trilogy (yup I’m a nerd) and the creator of the soup was actually an actress in the last two movies (Julie, if you are wondering). After a few more movies she turned her attention to cooking and even competed on The Next Food Network Star. Anyway, now that I’ve rambled on about random stuff, the moral of the story is that this Healing Garlic Soup from Colombe du Jour looks delicious and I can’t wait to make it when the weather gets a little colder! And it was created by a Mighty Duck so that makes it even more exciting ;)

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I’ll just come out and say it now, I’m obsessed with Edible Perspective. Ashley has so many amazing recipes that I can’t wait to try, but I definitely think the first one will be the Chocolate Cherry Chia Pudding. You know I love this flavor combination since I love my Chocolate Cherry Smoothies so I can’t wait to try this! I’ll have to splurge on some fresh cherries to freeze though because the frozen ones haven’t tasted great the last few times I had them. This will be a really yummy, refreshing, light breakfast.

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Doesn’t this dish just scream summer? This is Kelly from Just A Taste’s beautiful Quinoa with Corn and Scallions (click the source link for recipe). The dish looks like a perfect light summer meal or side and is very easily veganizable. Corn and scallions have been added to my shopping list as well ;) Yum!

Finally, I’m submitting my Cranberry Apricot Gems for Healthy Vegan Friday this week! My first submission in months but hopefully I’ll be submitting a little more regularly now :)

That’s all I’ve got for this week! Hopefully you’ll be seeing my version of all of these meals sometime soon (except for the soup which won’t happen until it stops being oppressively hot here!)! Yum!

Hope you all have a great start to your weekend! Stay cool!

Fun Friday: The Home Edition

Hey everyone! Happy Friday! Hope you all had a great week! One more day until my weekend! I decided to do a different Fun Friday today :) I thought it would be fun to peruse Pinterest and find some cool interior design ideas that reflect my personality and how I’d love to decorate my own place :) I also included some beautiful locations that I would love to have as my own home.

So here are some fun designs that I love!! Please note: As always with Pinterest, some of the links don’t go to a website so I’ll do the best I can to credit the photos.

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How gorgeous is this outside patio type area? It’s so warm and cozy. I really love the couch seating, the plants and the lighting. It’s such an inviting space and I feel like I could definitely do some pretty sweet entertaining in a space like this. Lots of margaritas to be consumed on those couches, ha! Oh and there would be a fire pit somewhere in the yard as well. Because I’m obsessed with fire pits.

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Ok, so let’s pretend the random child isn’t there. I’m OBSESSED with this kitchen. It is so gorgeous. I love the brightness that the white gives it. I like this shade of blue but I never imagined I would decorate with blue so instead of the blue accents I’d have bright pink and orange accents. I love that color combination and I think it would be so pretty in the kitchen :) O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D.

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How rich and beautiful are these colors? I really love the silvery couch with the jewel tone accents. It would be really pretty to switch up the accents in the spring/summer with some brighter colors too. How cool is the chandelier?! I find this room to be really rich and elegant but also fun and colorful at the same time. I think it has a perfect balance :)

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Do I really even have to say anything? The gorgeous view, the rich colors, the bright airiness, the comfortable furniture. It’s perfect. Do you see the black pillow on the couch with the pink and white design? Love it. Oh, and did you see the view?! ;)

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Loft + Fire pit = AMAZEBALLS. That’s all.

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Love this area! It would be the perfect location for my ideal picnic! Imagine some fun backyard games set up in the grassy area behind the pit. Love it.

I really love bright spaces like this one. Lots of windows are definitely a huge plus for me. I really love the bright, openness of the room. I’d probably try to figure out a way to add a little more color but I think this room is gorgeous. I could definitely drink a lot of tea by that fireplace.
I could go on forever but I’ll stop here. I think the best words to describe my preferences and aesthetic would be bright, colorful, fun, a little whimsical and a little classic. Oh if I could have that kitchen I’d be a happy happy girl :)
That’s all for this week’s Fun Friday post! I hope you all enjoyed it! Have a great Friday night and I hope that you all enjoy your weekend!
<3

Fun Friday: My Perfect Picnic

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven’t been around for the past few days… believe it or not my allergies have been acting up so much that my throat and tongue have been totally swollen for the past week or so. It got really uncomfortable by Tuesday night when I ran to the Urgent Care place near by. I was told to take an antihistamine and use nasal spray and it’s finally starting to feel better. I also made an appointment with an allergist because I feel like that’s not a normal response to seasonal allergies. The appointment isn’t until mid-July though, wah!

Anyway, I decided to pop in for a Fun Friday post! A few weeks ago Sage suggested a Fun Friday post with my idea of the perfect Vegan Picnic! I thought it was such a cute idea with the summer in full swing (and because I can’t do a real picnic since my allergies are so crazy!) so here it goes!! This would be my idea for a perfect “girls only” picnic. A few close friends, some yummy food, drinks and a beautiful location… Sounds pretty ideal to me!

Food:

Salads usually make an appearance at a picnic and I think that this one is perfect! This is Gabby’s Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad and it is so delicious. It tastes even better the more it marinates in the dressing, and to me it resembled a really lovely cole slaw (without the gross mayo). It would definitely be my top choice for a picnic!

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Since this is my ideal picnic, my ideal picnic location would have a way to heat your food. When I was a kid we used to have picnics all the time at parks that had BBQs and whatnot so just imagine that heating elements are present ;)

Anyway, my ideal picnic meal would be this amazing looking Adult Grilled Cheese: Veganized of course!! Get rid of the dairy cheese and replace with Daiya… that’s an easy swap. Now, I didn’t realize the red was pepperoni, I was under the impression it was tomato. So since that was what I was thinking anyway, I’d replace the pepperoni with yummy tomatoes.

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Whole New Mom’s Dorito Flavored Popcorn would be a great snack.

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And so would these Carmel Candied Cinnamon Crunchy Chickpeas. Mmmm.

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You can’t have a picnic without fruit! I think this is an adorable way to serve fruit. Just bring cones separately and spoon beautiful fresh fruit in! So fun!

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For a chocolate finish, how about some Samoas Girl Scout Cookie Pie? Sounds good to me!

Full yet? Enter the beverages ;) (water is an obvious, we’re just talking the fun stuff here!)

Trader Joe’s Sparkling Pink Lemonade and Sparkling Limeade.

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For those of us that would like something with a little kick, Hippie Juice would definitely be on the menu ;) I’d make a few changes though. I don’t like artificial watermelon flavor so I’d scrap the watermelon vodka and use fresh watermelon juice instead of water :) Mmmm.

The location:

There are two locations that I think would be perfect. First is my backyard. I know it’s technically not a picnic if it’s in my backyard (is it?) but it has room, I’d have access to my kitchen and we’d be able to listen to music and play games and do whatever we wanted to do.

If I were to have an on location picnic it would probably be at one of the parks that I used to go to as a kid. Back then I’d be on my rollerblades all the time or I’d be playing with my Skip-It (the original skip it with the counter… no knock offs for this chick). Nowadays my girls and I would be pumping some fun music, playing a little volleyball, soaking in some Vitamin D, chatting and chowing down.

Finally, some fun details that I’d add:

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As you know, I love my mason jars. I LOVE the above idea of using an inverted cupcake liner as your covering for the jar and just punching the straw in. It keeps your drink covered but with a cute pop of color! Love this.

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Finally, we’d use To-Go Ware utensils. They are made of bamboo, reusable, and would be the perfect little gift for all of my friends attending the picnic.

So there you have it, my ideal picnic! Who’s coming? ;)

I hope you all have a great Friday! One more work day until my weekend :) Have a great night!

Fun Friday: The Hawaii Edition!!

Hey everyone! I’m so excited about this week’s Fun Friday post! I’ve always wanted to travel to Hawaii (the island of Oahu) to experience all of the natural beauty and culture. I recently made the decision that I want to actively save money so I can take a trip there to celebrate my birthday next year. I have 15 months to save, a plan and a whole lot of inspiration. This post is partially inspired by Sage’s recent post about dream vacations :) I had made this decision just a week or two before her post but after reading it I thought it would be fun for a Friday post! Let’s check out the inspiration!

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Do I even need to say why this photo is inspiration? ;) It’s idyllic and so stunning. Probably photoshopped a bit but I don’t care!

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While all of the beaches of Hawaii are spectacular, the one that intrigues me the most is the North Shore of Oahu. As a fan of surfing it has been a dream to visit Banzai Pipeline to see the big wave surfers on one of the heaviest and most dangerous waves in the world. This will certainly be on my agenda.

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Something else that I’ve always dreamed of is hiking all over the island. There is no better way to discover and explore the gorgeous land than to do it on foot. I’ve actually started to really bump up my cardio at the gym. Not only do I have 15 months to save enough money for the trip, but I have 15 months to get in shape for the trip! I don’t want to be held back at all, especially not because of fitness ;)

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I just wanted to include a picture of a hibiscus flower because they are my all time favorite flowers. You can tell by the tattoo on the back of my ankle ;) It was my first tattoo and I still love it. And it will be amazing to see them all over since all of the ones I see around here are all wilted and sad, ha!

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OMG THE PRODUCE!!!! Can you believe how gorgeous all of it is? It is going to be amazing to visit the farmer’s markets and try all different kinds of exotic fruits that are not available to me here. I am definitely planning on trying everything I can get my hands on. When in Hawaii, right?!

I could go on and on but I’ll spare you. It is so far away but I’m so excited about it. I just need to make sure I stay on track with my savings plan. I’m going to make a Hawaii vacation vision board within the next few weeks as a visual reminder of my goals and inspiration. I will definitely share it with you when it’s all finished!

Have any of you ever been to Hawaii? Is it paradise? I get so excited just thinking about it :)

That’s all for today! I hope you all have a great Friday night and a wonderful weekend! Hopefully I’ll be able to pop in at some point. Good night!

Fun Friday: The Music Edition

Hey guys! Hope you are all well and having a good week. After a brief one week hiatus of Fun Friday it’s back and I decided to theme it up today and to focus on music. Specifically music I’ve been into lately.  I go through phases with music so this is what I’ve been soaking up recently.

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A song I’ve been into lately is “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell. It has a fun 70s vibe to it and it makes me want to get on some roller skates and dance. It will definitely be added to my Kitchen Dance Party playlist on iTunes! Click here for the audio of “Get Lucky!!”

The rest of what I’m about to show you reflects my current obsession with the Electric Violin! OMG it sounds so amazing and when you hear someone super talented you’ll be totally hooked too. So here’s where I show you some super talented Electric Violinists ;)

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This is Bryson Andres. He is A.M.A.Z.E.B.A.L.L.S. You can check out his YouTube channel here. He covers a lot of pop songs and performs on the street to raise money to go on tour. I’m going to link you to some of my favorites here!

Bryson Andres – Don’t You Worry Child Violin Cover

Bryson Andres – Secrets Violin Cover Street Performance

Bryson Andres – Somebody That I Used To Know Violin Cover

There are a ton more that I love but those are three of my favs. I highly suggest you check out his YouTube channel. He’s incredible.

This is Lindsey Stirling. She’s also a super talented Electric Violinist. From what I understand she was on America’s Got Talent and made it through a few rounds. I don’t watch the show so I don’t know the logistics but I guess she did pretty well lol. Anyway, she seems to be playful in some of her covers but there’s one video that I want to link you to:

Radioactive – Cover by Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix

You may recall that Radioactive by Imagine Dragons is one of my favorite songs and I STILL haven’t gotten sick of it. Then I found this amazing cover with Lindsey Stirling on electric violin and Pentatonix on vocals. If you aren’t familiar, Pentatonix is an a cappella group that won the third season of The Sing Off (an a cappella group competition on TV). They are really good and this is such a creative cover of one of my favorite songs!

I’ve always LOVED listening to classic violins and it’s no surprise that I love listening to the Electric Violin. I always secretly wanted to learn the violin but never did. Now I want to learn more than ever!

OK I think I’ve kept you busy enough with this Fun Friday post. I hope you like what I’ve shared! Next week I’ll get back to some of your requests. Have a great weekend.

 

Fun Friday!

Who am I kidding, I can’t miss Fun Friday!! ;) I hope you are all doing well and your Friday is going well. I still have a day of work until my weekend but I’m looking forward to a few days of total rest and relaxation after the long days I worked at the beginning of the week. For now, I figured I’d do a fun post of just some random stuff I want to try or think is fun. No theme, just fun :)

Look how cute CakeryPapery‘s Glitter Mason Jar Candles are!! They suggest making them as a holiday decoration but I love it for any time of the year! I think they would be so cute during the summer at night  or even for a fun dinner party with the girls!

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OMG lol I can’t even deal with this picture. This is the best idea for a drinking game EVER. You attach your fake mustache to the TV and every time it lines up with someone’s face you take a drink. So freaking funny.

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And this would be the perfect snack to munch on while playing that game! Check out Whole New Mom‘s “Dorito” Flavored Popcorn! Count me in for this! Although I’ll have mine air popped ;)

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As you may recall I have a bit of a nerd crush on Jesse Eisenberg so you can imagine my delight in hearing he is in a new movie called Now You See Me! I believe it opens next Friday! I’ve heard mixed reviews about the movie but I don’t really care lol. I have a buddy that wants to go too so I’m stoked! The last movie I saw in the theater was Bridesmaids circa 2011. She has Mondays off too so we’ll probably go on a Monday within the next few weeks. Yay!

Blurry pic of the coat of pollen on my car. So gross, it’s like this pretty much every day when I get out of work.

You know I can’t babysit this guy without sharing a pic of his sweet face! He’s been such a cuddlebug which I’ve been loving. Needing the cuddles and sweetness since I’m still feeling yucky and have a cough that sounds like a bark lol.

A different angle of Eddie in his favorite spot on the banister. He was loving the cuddles before too :) I’ve been spoiled by these guys!

That’s all for this Fun Friday! I guess it has an almost Movie theme to it? Sort of? Anyway, I hope that you all have a great weekend! Goodnight!

Fun Friday: The Travel Edition!

Guess who’s sick? Sick again? Sarah’s sick. Tell a friend. Can anyone guess where that came from? Anyway, it’s true my friends… I randomly came down with BRONCHITIS. AGAIN. What the hell?! I felt sick yesterday and it got progressively worse. It started as a headache, progressed into congestion which then progressed into a sore throat/trouble swallowing/deep cough and pain in the chest. All overnight. So I ran to the urgent care place before work and found out that I had bronchitis! Not what I was expecting. Oh and apparently I got it because of that damn bitch Hurricane Sandy. I’ve NEVER had seasonal allergies before and I guess this year a lot of people are experiencing them for the first time because the pollen counts are super high thanks for the hurricane. So I guess I had allergies and didn’t realize it and it turned into an infection. I’m in quite a bit of pain, especially in my throat and chest and I can barely even swallow. Naturally I ran to the store on the way home and picked up some ice cream and strawberry frozen fruit pops that will hopefully be soothing. Been drinking lots of tea too, came home early from work today and am skipping tomorrow. Even my teeth hurt. It’s so weird.

With all that said, I’m still here to do my Fun Friday post! This week’s theme (suggested by Molly) is a travel theme! I’m going to share some destinations that I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time! I’ll share both global and US destinations :) Now, these aren’t the ONLY places I want to visit but I had to narrow them down! There are too many to post!

United States Destinations:

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First up, New Orleans!! I was there once for only one day and I was in love. It is so rich in culture, tradition and mystery. I would love to check out the amazing food, ghost tours, music, architecture and of course I’d like to drink another hurricane. Ah, the infamous hurricane story ;)

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It may seem cliche but Hawaii is another place that I’m dying to visit. The crystal blue water, hiking the volcanoes, watching the big wave surfers, trying new amazing produce, soaking up paradise… it sounds too good to be true! I would love to really be able to spend some time there to really explore and enjoy the beauty. I think that Hawaii is a once in a lifetime trip and I would really love to get there in my lifetime.

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I have always been curious about Arizona (and New Mexico) and I would really love to explore that part of the country more… especially after reading Molly’s amazing recap posts! And honestly, look at that picture. I would be in photography heaven there.

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California! Of course California! I can’t believe I’ve never been. I would like to road trip the state because there are so many parts I want to see. And so many amazing people I’d like to meet!

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Portland!! Vegan Mecca! I was there once on a day trip when I lived in Seattle. It was pre-vegan… read: before I was really able to appreciate the glory of Portland. I know how gorgeous the Pacific Northwest is because I lived there for a year and a half and would love to be able to go there and appreciate it… you can’t appreciate that stuff when you’re in grad school. Anyway, I would love to really be able to dig in to Portland now that I know better and would appreciate it more ;)

Other places I want to visit: Texas (I’ve heard great things!!), Savannah, GA (I’m a big paranormal fan and it’s supposed to be the most haunted city in the country), Chicago, Colorado and many more!

International Destinations:

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Ever since I was in middle school I’ve had a weird fascination with Scandinavia. The photo above depicts an absolutely stunning view of the Norwegian landscape but I’d love to do an epic tour of Scandinavia including Norway, Sweden and Finland. I don’t think it’s the most vegan friendly region but OMG look at that photo. It would be an amazing opportunity to see the Northern Lights too as they appear in the Northern parts of these countries. So freaking beautiful.

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Costa Rica!! Again, I’ve heard so many amazing things about this place and it looks so beautiful I can’t help but want to be there. I actually have a friend living there and she loves it. Look at that water! I’ve noticed that with the exception of New Orleans, there’s water in every single pic I’ve posted here.

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Bangkok, Thailand. So much culture, amazing looking food, beautiful scenery. Thailand has always been near the top of my travel list because it has always looked so beautiful to me and I feel like there is so much to see and experience in Bangkok.

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I am obsessed with visiting Greece. Specifically Santorini (pictured above) and Crete. I HAVE to get there one day. It may even be my number one international destination (even though I didn’t list it first… because I’m an idiot lol).

Other international destinations: Spain, Italy, and Easter Island as well as a return trip to England, Ireland, Scotland and France! And so many more!

So there you have it, some destinations from my very extensive “Must Go” travel list. Too bad my budget doesn’t match my desire ;)

Hope you enjoyed this week’s Fun Friday! I’m off to try and take a nap since I barely slept last night. Hope you all have a great Friday!

Fun Friday! The Summer Edition

Hey everyone! I’m so glad you all seemed to like my vacation wrap up posts! Now I’m settled back in and ready to get back to normal. I was contemplating skipping Fun Friday this week but decided that would be silly and giving in to my apathetic tendencies would be counterproductive right now :) So here I am with a Fun Friday post that was sure to ignite some excitement in me… a post about everything I’m looking forward to doing this summer!

I grabbed most of these photos from Pinterest. If I am not including a source it means the link from Pinterest was broken for some reason. Boo! Anyway, here’s what I’m looking forward to!

First and foremost, I’m looking forward to RELAXING!! Sadly I have no hammock but I do have a bench swing thing in the backyard that is begging to be used.

MORE FARMER’S MARKETS!! I always say I’m going to go to the Farmer’s Market but I only get there two or three times per season. I need to change that. I wish my local farmer’s markets had more produce options though.

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I am really looking forward to getting back into training so I can start sparring! This is a really exciting prospect for me since I’ve wanted to spar for about 5 years now. I need to work really hard to get back to where I was but I know I can do it!

No explanation needed. Hopefully our beaches will have recovered from the storm in time for beach season. Not sure if they will yet. I know the boardwalks aren’t finished yet.

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I’ve been planning on starting a new writing project for a while now. I’m not going to tell you what it is just yet because it’s going to be a lot of work and I’m not sure how long it’ll take but I will definitely keep you posted!

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This goal is the biggest logistical nightmare but I REALLY want to start my podcast. It’s difficult to get everyone together but hopefully it will all come together at some point!

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Definitely looking forward to refreshing summer beverages like this lovely Strawberry Watermelon Cocktail! Lemonades will be delightful as well :) Although I guess if I want to be honest here I’m really just looking forward to cramming as much watermelon as possible in my face. That’s the truth.

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I really want to focus on getting back to beautiful, fresh, colorful, vibrant food. Summer is the perfect time to get back into the high raw habit so that is definitely a huge goal of mine! I feel like it’ll be a huge help in training for my sparring sessions as well!

Finally, I really want to make sure I spend as much time outside as possible. Believe it or not I felt a HUGE difference after I soaked up some natural Vitamin D from sunlight so I really want to be able to get my fill of it while I can. I’m constantly struggling with my Vitamin D levels so summer is a perfect time to replenish and bring my levels back up. Fresh air and beautiful scenery don’t hurt either ;)

 I’m sure you are sensing a theme here. I’m really looking forward to and making it my big goal to put time and effort into my wellness and happiness. Since I won’t really be working weddings I will be able to enjoy the summer weather more and spend more time relaxing, enjoying fresh, healthy foods and pursuing hobbies that I am passionate about. I’m really looking forward to it!

That’s all for my Fun Friday post! Hope you’ve enjoyed it! If you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see in future Fun Friday posts please let me know in a comment! Thanks, hope you have a great weekend!!