Archive of ‘NicNacs’ category
This past weekend I hosted a sweet swap at my place. I’ve always wanted to take part in a cookie swap, but I couldn’t discriminate against all other forms of sugar (hi, have you met me?), so I decided to turn it into a sweet swap, which just sounds nicer anyway, don’t you think?
I created an invite (address blacked out above) and emailed it to a few of my girlfriends. The rules were simple: bring food and take food home! Prizes were given out for the best tasting and most creative treats.
Before the swap, I bought a tin for each guest to use to take their sweets home in. Since I couldn’t find pink tins, I decided these Valentine’s Day ones were perfectly girly and appropriate.
I simply lined them with tissue paper and stacked them on the counter for guests to help themselves.
I made some simple favors using baking-themed items and a few crafty supplies.
A little “Thank you” written using a white Sharpie paint pen on black paper kept my chalkboard theme going.
Add some sparkly stickers and a little bit of ribbon and you have yourself a favor!
Display cards were created using the same black paper, white Sharpie, and stickers. I wanted these to let everyone know what they were eating and, more importantly, who created the treats they were enjoying!
The dollar store has some great trays to use for displaying your desserts, and the best part is that instead of washing them, you can choose to toss them afterwards and not feel guilty!
What goes best with diabetic-coma-inducing levels of sugar? Why, hot chocolate of course! Serving this in a slow-cooker is an easy way to keep things warm while allowing guests to serve themselves and add their own individual toppings.
Don’t forget the important ones.
Plan to have lots of water for your guests as well – it even got 1 vote as the “best tasting” item of the day!
Check out some of the delicious things my clever friends made:
Those wedding cookies? Adorable! Such a great idea considering recent events. It was also a good idea to have someone bring “real” food so that when things got too sweet (is that really a thing?), we could snack on cheese and crackers instead.
Have you ever been to a sweet/cookie swap? What are some of your favorite recipes? Could you mail them to me for a taste-test?
I just spent a good chunk of time trying to figure out how to share my news all “guess what?” style, but then I remembered it says fiancé (sort of) right up there in the title. Sooo…maybe not necessary?
Dan proposed this past weekend while we were in Boston! I think I spent the first few minutes just asking “is this serious?” before I actually said “YES!” And then for a few more minutes after I said “yes”.
We had some random strangers congratulating us and taking our photo, and I think it was one of the most surprising moments of my life. Somehow it was out of nowhere, but yet nine years in the making, all at the same time.
This is my new favorite photo of us, even with the streaks of snow and all of its grainy, cell phone glory.
I dove straight into wedding planning the next few days, and then promptly climbed straight back out of that pool. These things cost how much?! They take how long to put together?!
If any of you who have already been through it have any tips on how to keep the whole process manageable, affordable, and stress-free, please share them in the comments!
For now, any of you who follow me on Pinterest are safe from an onslaught of wedding boards. We’re taking some time to just enjoy being engaged and not having to rush to plan anything. When the time comes, I’m sure I will DIY the crap out of this thing, so be on the lookout for plenty of crafty favors and centerpiece ideas.
In the meantime, I’m hosting a Sweet Swap at my place this weekend and can’t wait to share it with all of you when it’s over! Have a great weekend!
I’m so excited for this one! I love how the design came out, and I think that makes me even more excited to complete the things on the list. Can you find all 15 items?
I tried to branch out a bit this year and stay away from just holiday-related things. I also tried to do a few more unusual things, instead of just “drink hot chocolate” or “bake cookies” 17 times, not that I wouldn’t enjoy that, but because a bucket list should be things you’ve been wanting to try as opposed to things you’ve already done. That being said, I also threw in a few traditional things as well because it wouldn’t be true to the season if I didn’t add them. I tried to add a new twist to those things, for example, instead of just taking a drive to look at Christmas lights, we’re going to do a Christmas light scavenger hunt! (More on that in a future post!)
What things made your list this year? What would you really like to try this winter, or what’s one tried-and-true thing that you do every year?
I hope everyone has stuffed themselves full of delicious Thanksgiving food and unstuffed their wallets on all kinds of great Black Friday deals! Now that this holiday is behind us, I feel it’s completely appropriate to retire the Fall Bucket List and bring out the Winter version!
Before I reveal my Winter list, I wanted to share how I did with Fall. Here’s what my list looked like:
And here’s how I did!
[[Go apple-picking & bake something with the apples]] – I did this one early on. We had more fun picking the apples than I thought we would, but I mistakenly added mint extract to my apple crisp instead of vanilla. I still ate it though! Thumbs up
[[Horseback riding]] – Loved this one after I got over being terrified! Thumbs up
[[Wear a Halloween costume out somewhere]] – I dressed as Gronkowski with a mask and a jersey for work, then made myself into some sort of spider thing for going out at night. Thumbs up (but thumbs down for the tiny cell phone picture)
[[Decoarate a pumpkin]] – Also a Thumbs up
[[Take new fall foliage pictures]] – Did this one several times and also found a few new places to photograph! Thumbs up
[[Make Butterbeer]] – Made 4 glasses to split with Dan, but somehow drank….4 glasses. Thumbs up
[[Donate to a food drive]] – Have a bag full of canned goods in my car right now waiting to find a food drive. Thumbs half up
[[Find a favorite pumpkin drink at Starbucks]] – Turns out my favorite pumpkin drink is no pumpkin drink at all. I tried a pumpkin latte and a squirt of the flavored syrup in my chai latte, but it’s just too sweet and too…pumpkiny? for me. I consider this a win though because I just discovered caramel brulee lattes, so I can change up my drink order when I want to now. Thumbs up
[[Watch 1 new Fall TV premiere]] – Started watching Scorpion, which was good, but it didn’t hook me. Stalker on the other hand? Obsessed. Also loving How to Get Away with Murder. Thumbs up
[[Get apple cider donuts]] – Obviously done. Thumbs up
[[Make an appetizer for Sunday football]] – Just bought the ingredients to make these for tomorrow’s game. Salivating. Thumbs up
[[Make a fall craft]] – Made some paper pumpkins that my cats promptly destroyed. Also helped make fall-themed decor for a friend’s October wedding. Thumbs up
[[Watch a horror move that I’ve never seen]] – You’re Next. Still terrified. Thumbs up
[[Make a Crockpot meal]] – You guys already know how this one turned out. Thumbs up
[[Cook a dish for Thanksgiving dinner]] – Sort of? I made corn dog muffins (corn bread with hot dog pieces), but I’m not sure if this can be considered a “dish” so we’re going halfway on this one. Thumbs half up
[[Try a new fall makeup trend]] – Tried matte lipstick in a fall-ish wine color. Not a fan of the matte, it felt very 90s, but I did like the color! Thumbs up
[[Try a new brand or flavor of cider]] – Found a pumpkin cider I loved at a brewfest in September. Was slightly drunk on samples, came home and bought a 6 pack, but it just doesn’t taste the same. Thumbs up
[[Go to a haunted house]] – This one was a bit of a fail? I made an attempt, but got uncharacteristically scared about 2 feet in and forced Dan to turn around and walk back out with me. Ugh. Still annoying. Thumbs down
[[Visit a local winery]] – Conveniently, there is a winery about two minutes down the street from us. We’ve already done two tastings in the past month and purchased several bottles. Thumbs way up
[[Bake something with pumpkin]] – Made pumpkin muffins, but promptly got sick of pumpkin this year and haven’t had much since. Thumbs up
So there it is! 18 thumbs up out of 20, and once I find that food drive, it will be 18.5. Not too bad, but let’s see if I can get 100% of my Winter list complete this year!! Stay tuned tomorrow for the big release
What was your favorite thing you accomplished this fall?
Last week, Dan and I went a little LEGO crazy and attended two different LEGO events right here in the Boston area. They each had their own distinct feel to them, but we loved them both and are still in awe of all the creations we saw.
[[The Art of the Brick – Faneuil Hall, Boston]]
This exhibit had a museum quality to it, as each piece was presented as a work of art with a written description. Each piece definitely WAS a work of art, especially since some of them were LEGO replicas of actual sculptures or paintings.
The detail in a lot of these pieces is just incredible. I played with LEGOs a lot as a kid (who didn’t?!) and I can only imagine the time it must take to “paint” a portrait with them.
There were a lot of original works as well, including my favorite one below. At first glance, it looks to be a crowd of people in many different “colors”.
But as you walk further away, the colors turn into a shape of their own – an eye!
Another favorite of mine was partly due to its presentation. The entire area around the swimmer sculpture below was filled with blue waves thanks to some great lighting.
While pieces like these certainly have an artistic feel to them, there were plenty of replicas of everyday objects as well. I wonder which is harder to create?
And can you even imagine taking this on?
The whole exhibit took us about an hour to walk through and photograph. While it might seem like I shared a lot of photos, I promise I didn’t spoil the event for you and there is much more to see! The Art of the Brick will be around until January, and I definitely recommend it for both kids and adults, but I do think grown ups might have the most fun at this one since there is no touching or building involved, and some of the works of art may not be recognizable to little people.
[[Legoland Discovery Center – Assembly Row, Somerville]]
This place opened earlier this year and both Dan and I were pretty bummed to learn that you had to be accompanied by a child to attend. We thought about having one, but having to raise it to the point where it would be old enough to attend, well, I just don’t have the patience. Lucky for us there is a monthly Adult Night!
And I don’t think either of us acted like an adult the entire night.
Can you tell what the theme was?
I actually woke up around 3am one night recently, and when I couldn’t get back to sleep, I went on Facebook. It was there that I saw an article about a Star Wars Adult Night at the Legoland Discovery Center, so I quickly grabbed the joint credit card and bought us some tickets hoping (knowing) Dan wouldn’t be that upset about my middle-of-the-night shopping spree.
When you first walk in, you get to wander around an entire room full of Boston landmarks created from LEGOs.
Its SO well done, and the creativity is apparent in every single scene, including this one with a picnic shared by a woman eating a chicken leg, the town drunk, and the guy from the Planet Fitness commercials.
There are several little surprises along the way, like a window underneath the Beacon Hill area that reveals the bar from Cheers and plays the theme song when a button is pressed.
My favorite areas were the sports stadiums (Fenway & Gillette) where, again, the detail was incredible. They nailed every part right down to the lighthouse in Foxboro and Pesky’s Pole at Fenway. Can you find Spongebob in the stands? He’s a Sox fan. So is the Stormtrooper and the person eating a grapefruit at a baseball game.
As you walk around admiring all the city scenes, the lights start to dim and the whole room goes into night mode. It makes it feel as if it’s a whole new place with lots of new details to find and photograph.
If LEGO Boston isn’t your thing, there’s also an area where you can build your own race car and send it through the test track.
When you’re done with that, you can take a spin on one of their rides, play a game, or even see a 4D movie.
Everything is superbly decorated, right down to the walls.
There were a few things we missed because we just ran out of time trying to take it all in, so you can bet we will be back for the next adult night to check out the factory tour and Kingdom Quest Laser Ride!
Ironically, although this was strictly an adult night, this event felt more “childish” (in a good, fun way!) than the first event. I would recommend this to any adult looking to have a great time being a kid again, and I can certainly see why it’s popular with kids on every other night! We can’t wait to go back!
Have you visited either of these attractions, or are you planning to? What did you think about them, or which event looks like it would be your favorite?
I was tagged by a fellow Nikki at dsdstyle.blogspot.com to do a post with 20 facts about myself. My first ever tag!
About four facts in, I realized this was going to be a lot harder than I thought. I really tried to keep them fairly interesting and stay away from basic things like “my favorite color is blue” (it is), or “my middle name is Agatha-Louise” (it’s not).
Enjoy and if you decide to post your own (because I tag YOU!) leave a link in the comments section below!
- I’m a lefty with green eyes and two remaining baby teeth, even though I’m in my 30s, which basically makes me somewhat of a statistical rarity?
- One Friday the 13th, my dad & myself were bit by the same dog, at different times, and my brother by a crab almost simultaneously with my dog bite. I’m not superstitious, but maybe I should be.
- Years ago, I met Adam Sandler and got his autograph. Unfortunately, I only had it for about 24 hours because it was written in a Crayola marker on my arm. NOTE to self: Always carry paper and a Sharpie.
- I find it really difficult to come up with 20 interesting things about myself.
- Dan vacuums way better than I do and has more shirts, but I know more about football and can take a two-minute shower. We kind of defy gender stereotypes.
- Sometimes I worry that people don’t know when I’m being sarcastic.
- My fridge usually consists of a few yogurts, rotting vegetables that I had good intentions for, condiments, 3 kinds of milk because we’re indecisive, and lots of water and alcohol. I’m working on it.
- I once had a cat named Stupid, but we called her Poo instead….because that’s better.
- I’ve never broken a bone, unless teeth count, which I guess they technically do. In that case, I’ve broken the same one three times.
- I can’t think of a time where the movie has been better than the book. I will say though, Gone Girl is one of the few where each was equally as good.
- I deleted an item from this list because it talked about religion, and even though it was in a funny, anecdotal sort of way, I’m a little bit terrified to bring up the topic to people who may have a more serious view than I do. Let’s talk politics instead.
- If I could only watch 3 television shows on repeat for the rest of my life (the horror!), it would be Breaking Bad, House, and Gilmore Girls. My mother is probably shocked I didn’t choose 90210 since I insisted I was moving to Beverly Hills all through junior high and Brenda was my BFF. Luckily, I choose my BFFs a bit more wisely now.
- I’m eating cauliflower while I write this and wishing it were chocolate peanut butter flavored with sprinkles.
- I actually kind of liked high school.
- Somehow I signed up for a free subscription to one magazine and ended up with free subscriptions to many more. You know that scene in Harry Potter where thousands of letters keep flying in through every part of the house? My life is like that, but with magazines. It’s awesome.
- I still carry around a piece of dog fur from my childhood best buddy, Cooper, who passed away on Christmas when I was 16. It’s one of my saddest memories.
- A few years ago, Dan and I rappelled down a waterfall in Costa Rica, and I like to think it’s one of the most badass things I’ve ever done.
- I’m not always sure how to use commas, and it frustrates me. That one was wrong, right?
- I firmly believe there is nothing in this world that can’t be made better with cheese. Except cheese itself because it’s already the best.
- My life is ruined because my cats insist that we absolutely, no way, can never ever have a Christmas tree.
I’ve been having a serious problem with motivation lately and I think I know why.
While this blog has always been a creative outlet for me and lets me indulge in photography, social media, writing, crafting, and a few other passions of mine, recently it feels like it’s not enough and I worry I might explode from all of the ideas floating around in my head! I wonder what that would look like actually. I would probably be sitting at work one afternoon and just the mere thought of a Pinterest craft would have me DIY-ing all over the floor.
What I’m trying to say is, I find it hard to keep up lately with all of the photography skills I want to learn, design projects I invent for myself, posts I want to create for this blog, and things I want to accomplish that have nothing to do with my 9-5 job. Which is actually an 8:30-5 job, so, yeah, worse.
I have lists upon lists of things to redecorate in my apartment, pins for days with seasonal crafts to recreate, and billions of articles I want to read that focus on things of interest to me. I want to try EVERY CREATIVE THING! The problem? That 8:30-5 job and the tedious responsibilities of being an adult. So when I find myself doing something mundane, I get overwhelmed with all of the thoughts of things I’d rather be doing and literally (but not literally) paralyzed with frustration about not having the time or resources to do them! And there goes my motivation right out the window. It’s like I don’t want to be doing anything if I’m not passionate about it.
In an attempt to indulge my creative side, I’ve been playing around with some quote designs and photo-editing software. I’m basically self-teaching myself (with a little help from Dan) how to create things in a product similar to Photoshop (because I’m still just a little too scared of the ACTUAL Photoshop) and I’ve started using it for inspiration boards, my seasonal bucket lists, and the like. Recently I fell in love with some printable quotes on Etsy, but before I whipped out my wallet, I wanted to try my hand at creating some of my own.
It was pretty easy to decide which quote I should start with. I really need to print this one out and frame it at home, on my desk at work, in my car, and maybe turn it into the wallpaper on my phone.
Since I really do plan on printing some of these, I thought it would be nice to have a few seasonal designs that I can switch out of a cute, inexpensive frame. While I’m not quite ready for winter, and I may never be, this one at least gets me excited for the holiday music that I can’t wait to put on repeat. Lucky for me, Dan enjoys Christmas music much more than he enjoys my recent country obsession.
Finally, I wanted a simple, cute quote that I could hang in our apartment or on our fridge.
When I first showed this one to Dan expecting an “awwww” or something similar, I got a slightly different response: “Did you write that for Kitty?” Is that a sign of a true cat lady?
Also, can we ignore the fact that I just babbled on about wanting to be more creative and yet my cat’s name is Kitty?
I love the idea of Crockpot meals. Throw a few things inside, turn it on, and go about your day while dinner basically prepares itself. While I haven’t quite warmed up to the idea of leaving it on while I’m not at home, I took advantage of a Sunday with no plans and made a slow cooker meal for tonight’s dinner while I sat on the couch in pajamas ALL.DAY.
The recipe I used is a Slow Cooker Broccoli, Brown Rice, and Cheddar Casserole from SkinnyMs.com. You can view the original recipe on her blog, and I only made a few changes to suit our own tastes and make it even healthier.
While the recipe called for mushrooms, I’m not their biggest fan, so I subbed in diced tomatoes instead.
I also used almond milk (unsweetened) instead of dairy milk, and whole wheat flour. I didn’t substitute anything for the broccoli, but I still felt like I needed to include a photo of the bag because Broccoli Wokly.
It’s funnier every time you say it. Broccoli Wokly. See? Moving on. I would recommend using a food processor to chop your broccoli instead of making a mess like I did.
Truth be told, this was a bit more time-consuming to prepare than I expected, but I’m also pretty lazy when it comes to cooking, so take that however you will. Instead of throwing everything into the slow cooker and walking away, you first have to prepare the sauce and chop your vegetables.
Once the sauce is done, THEN you can toss everything together and go back to watching hours of YouTube videos under a blanket with your cat. Or, you know, cleaning or something.
While it sits, the rice will thicken and absorb a lot of the liquid. For the last hour it cooks, you add cheese to the Crockpot, and if you suffer from a cheese addiction like myself, you may add a bit (lot) more once it’s on your plate.
We both enjoyed this meal and could each get about 2 servings a piece from the recipe. Now, is there a slow cooker that will make me a sundae?
So often someone will ask myself or Dan what we have planned for the weekend, and then once we list our potential plans, they will make a comment like “you guys do so many fun things!” We do. So many fun things. Often it stresses me out when it seems like we have all of our weekends planned from April to December, and in the days leading up to them I will complain about never having time to relax at home, but then I go and make MORE plans. And the thing is, I enjoy almost all of them. The solution? A day between Saturday and Sunday to enjoy more relaxing while still having plenty of time for fun things. Genius, right?
This weekend was no different. We kicked it off with the usual Friday night date night and ventured into Salem (in October!) for dinner at a new (to us) place. Food was decent, prices were good, but not a lot of options for a pseudo-vegetarian like myself.
We braved the crowds and the witches to head back to Salem on Saturday for a scavenger hunt. We had done a Watson Adventure before at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and loved it, so we were pretty pumped for this one which promised to be spooky and festive.
While we did feel like we had a bit of an advantage being locals, the crowds were just too much on a nice Saturday during October in Salem, and we found that we couldn’t even get close enough to some of our clues to be able to solve all twenty questions. Other groups were able to complete their entire sheet however, so maybe we were just slow? It also got dark about halfway through, which only frustrated me more, and I ended up giving up about two-thirds of the way through while Dan searched for one last clue alone.
While our last Watson Adventure had a story to it and required you to solve a mystery at the end, this one did not. This allowed us to visit some of the areas in Salem that we often overlook and to learn some of the history of the area, but I think we would rather have done this particular hunt in the Spring at an earlier hour. Overall though, I really recommend doing a Watson Adventure if you haven’t. They are VERY well put together, always a lot of fun, and just a super cool way to explore an area or museum.
The next day was beautiful outside once again and proved to be the perfect day to not fall off a horse.
A few friends and I got together to cross an item off of my Fall Bucket List – horseback riding! We went to Bobby’s Ranch and rode with a small group for about an hour. While I was a little nervous at first, my horse, Finn, knew exactly what he was doing and didn’t require me to know much at all. Definite plus since I had no idea what I was doing.
I would certainly go back and do it all again. If you’ve never been, it’s an amazing place with all kinds of animals roaming free around the parking lot. We spent a little time just petting and gushing over the miniature horse and barn cats before heading out to lunch.
All in all, another great weekend and I even had some time to relax a bit with a book on Sunday night!
How was YOUR weekend? Any fun things planned for the next one?
I’ll admit it.
I’ve been a terrible football fan this year. As someone who used to spend their Sunday parked in front of the computer, watching the Pats game while checking the scores of every fantasy league I belonged to, it became too much for me and I’ve slowly been taking back my Sundays and using them for things like leaf-peeping and apple-picking. I only get two weekend days after all, and any time spent outside is time well spent to me.
But since the Patriots are going to continue to pull themselves together this year and make it to the Super Bowl (a sort of uncertain but hopeful prediction), I’m planning to step up my game as well, even if it means DVR-ing those suckers to watch at night when it’s no longer gorgeous outside.
Whether I watch the game at my own apartment, or out with friends & family, I always throw on one of my jerseys or sweatshirts to get into the spirit. I usually pair them with jeans and throw a white t-shirt underneath. How boring, right? Time to make dressing for the game a little more fun!
To start my look, I chose a jersey from Fanatics’ impressive selection. To this day, I still don’t own a Brady jersey, so it was a tough decision, but I had to go with Gronk. I already own this one in white, and several others in blue, so I chose red to mix it up a bit. It also seemed like it would look the best with those killer leather leggings. If you’re not quite ready for full-on leather, a legging with leather details, or even plain black would work just fine.
As I said above, I always throw a long-sleeved white t-shirt under my jersey, but I’m done with being basic, so I went with a chambray button-down instead. The bonus to this is that when the game is over, you already have a cute outfit ready to go! It’s a sort of two-point conversion, if you will.
No matter which jersey you choose, there will be Vans that match to keep your look sporty and casual. I also grabbed a clutch via etsy, and several sellers make these specifically for sports fans in their team colors, so it’s easy to match your accessories to your outfit!
Speaking of accessories, you can get those right from Fanatics as well. One-stop shopping leaves much more time for cheering and eating nachos. I chose a Patriots bracelet and earrings, and a beanie that looks so toasty warm I would wear it all winter long. If you’re really into showing your spirit, you could grab some temporary tattoos, paint your face (or other body parts?), or stick on these nail decals, also from Fanatics.
You know what I think would go even better with this outfit? A Super Bowl ring. We should have a few of those lying around in New England, right?
[[ I was not compensated for writing this post and all opinions are honest and my own, especially the ones about this season’s Super Bowl winners. ]]