Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

I hope you have a great day spent with friends and family, but even more, I hope you understand the miracle we are celebrating today.

I'm SO thankful we have a God that sent his Son to die for us and then conquered death so we could live with him in heaven.

Our church sings this song every year, and it's one of my favorites. If you've never heard it before, listen to it - I think it perfectly describes Easter.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but shall have eternal life. ~ John 3:16

Friday, March 29, 2013

Snow Day & Easter Break

I feel like the title of this post is all wrong, but unfortunately, I had a snow day at the beginning of the week, and now I'm on Easter break. Seems like I ought to be on Christmas break instead :)

Our snow day was more of a sympathy snow day though - I don't even think any of the snow stuck to the roads, and we only had about an inch. It was nice nonetheless though!

I finished up my Aztec Chile-Chocolate Cupcakes, and they turned out SO good. I loved the slight hint of the chile and cayenne pepper - it added a nice undertone to the cupcakes.

I even made a few minis for my family!

With the snow day, I only had 1 day of school. Our Easter break started on Wednesday.

Yesterday was a fun second day of break. My mom and I met my cousins and aunt for lunch at Subway.

Then we stopped next door and played with the puppies at the pet store.

I had to babysit, but then my family went to dinner and decorated our Easter eggs!

I'm having a pretty good week - I hope you are too!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

DIY {Scavenger Hunt}

At the beginning of Lent I decided not to give up anything. I never seem to get anything out of doing that, and I definitely don't find that my relationship with God grows any stronger (for me personally) by giving something up, and that's the whole point, right? So this year I decided to do something different. I made a whole list of things I wanted to do instead. In the past I have also tried things like "I'm going to pray more" or "I'm going to pay better attention in church." Obviously, those are good goals, but they weren't specific enough to be effective for me.

That is why this year I came up with a list of specific goals/things I wanted to accomplish this Lent. They were all things aimed at improving my relationships with friends/family, doing a random act of kindness, or deepening my relationship with God. So happy to say that this worked well for me, and I think I'll do it again next year!

One of my little Lenten "goals" was to plan a fun afternoon for the kids I babysit. So often my time with them is the same routine. I pick them up from school at 3:30. We get home, put backpacks away, and get a snack. They relax and watch some TV while I work on a little homework until 4:30. Then I help them with some of their homework, and when that's finished we go back to TV/iPad/homework.

So I thought it might be fun to do something different and something they would hopefully enjoy. I came up with a pretty brilliant idea if I do say so myself.......I planned a scavenger hunt for them!

love scavenger hunts. I've been to 2 birthday party scavenger hunts and 1 bachelorette party scavenger hunt where you had to go around town and take pictures and videos of different things. I just think that is SO fun.

Let me stop right now and say that if you babysit, have kids, or even interact with kids at all, you NEED to do this for them. They really enjoyed it, but I got so much enjoyment out of watching them have so much fun. I already want to do it for all the kids I know :)

Here's exactly how I did it to give you some ideas. Obviously, you can customize it 100% to wherever you're doing it and to the kids specifically. But seriously, this is such a fun idea that I'm pretty proud of myself for........

First off, you need some kind of reward or treat that the kids are working to find. It needs to be a surprise, and also something a little out of the ordinary. I got them cupcakes from one of the local bakeries in town that I knew they liked, but I had never gotten them cupcakes from there before.

Then you need to assemble and hide all of the clues. I took pictures of all of mine so you kind of have an idea of what I did.

When they got home from school, this first clue was waiting for them on the kitchen counter.

Each clue led them to the next clue, which eventually led to a treasure map that led to the surprise.

Clue #1 led them to their crayfish's tank.

Clue #2 led them to the freezer. Can you spot the clue? I tried not to hide them too hard since the kids are pretty young. I think it was a good middle ground - not too difficult for them to find, but not super obvious either.

Clue #3 led them upstairs to one of their closets.

Clue #4 led them back downstairs where I had a few Easter coloring pages that they had to complete before I would give them the next clue. I wasn't sure how this would go over, but the kids actually really liked it. I also thought it was good to add in something that they had to do.

Clue #5 led them to the garage and their bikes!

I thought my hiding place for this one was pretty good!

The next clue led them to the pantry, where I hid the clue in a lifesavers box - ha!

I hid the treasure map on the front porch.....

"X" marks the spot....

I hid the final treat in their bathtub - ha!

Overall, the kids and I both seemed to really enjoy it (although for different reasons). I loved seeing how excited they got with each new clue.

It's definitely something I would do again, and heck - something I would love to do in another 15 years with my own kids :)

The scavenger hunt was so easy to do, and I can't think of any kids that wouldn't love to do something like this. So take my advice, and plan a cute little scavenger hunt for your cousin, kid, friend, sibling, whoever! I'm pretty sure they will love you for it!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I am a perfectionist about certain things. I strive to always get A's in school. When I make cake pops, every detail has to be in place.

I admit - I like to appear that my life is in control.

And most of the time, I feel like I am pretty good at balancing life. I usually get enough sleep. I always try to make time for both homework and doing things I enjoy. I don't usually feel like life is spinning out of my control.

But life still isn't perfect, and neither am I. And sometimes things don't go my way.

I feel like with a blog it's so easy to write about the good things in life - the happy moments, the funny things, the joyful feelings. But it's a whole lot harder to show your failures and weaknesses.

I don't want to be one of those people though that isn't "real" on here. I want to project the same person that I am in real life onto this blog.

So although I initially wanted to sweep this under the rug to so as to appear "totally put-together", here's a recent (and simple) example of something that hasn't gone my way recently.......

You probably know I like to bake. I do it often, and I usually share the treats I make with friends and family. I've been known to make a batch of cake pops and bring them into school just for the fun of it.

Last week I decided to make and decorate cupcakes to bring into school. I had it all planned out in my head: I would make vanilla bean cupcakes, filled with homemade chocolate sauce, frosted with salted caramel frosting, and topped with a buttercream rose. Sounds pretty good, right?

Well, it didn't turn out the way I pictured it in my head.

The vanilla bean cupcakes? Super dense and hard as a rock with no flavor.

The homemade chocolate sauce? Total liquid that wouldn't stiffen into the usual thick consistency of chocolate sauce.

The salted caramel frosting? Overdone caramel that ended up tasting like butterscotch with a burnt aftertaste.

The buttercream roses did actually turn out pretty good though :)

When all assembled, the cupcakes looked good. The decorations turned out the way I had hoped.

But as soon as you tasted them, they weren't good. And I was upset at first. I refused to take them into school because they didn't meet the expectations I had set for them. I didn't want to give my friends crummy cupcakes when I usually make pretty good treats.

Basically, I didn't want to admit that I had made several mistakes in regards to the cupcakes. I didn't want to tell anyone, and at first I didn't even want to post about it on my blog.

But I figured to just forget about the mistake would do nothing to help me. For one, I learned a few things as to how I fix some of my problems in the future. And also, I think it's good that we fail sometimes as reluctant as I am to admit that. I think if we never failed though it would be harder for us to learn new things, and it would trick us into thinking that we are perfect.

So I guess the point of this post was just to be real and honest with you. I would never want you to think I'm someone different on my blog than I am in real life.

I need to remember that our imperfections are what make us unique.

"There's no need to be perfect to inspire others. Let others get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Makeup Monday {Spring Products}

I haven't done a makeup post in forever because I wanted to wait until I had a few products to talk about. I have found some really fun new products that I have been loving lately, and most of them are pretty inexpensive because they come from the drugstore!

Here's some of my new favorites that I think I'll be using a LOT this spring when it finally gets here! We have another snow day today, so spring still feels kind of far away....

It seems like BB creams are everywhere lately. Almost every makeup brand has their own version. Basically it's a product that does multiple different things, like moisturizing and concealing.

I decided to try the Clinique one simply because I've been happy with Clinique products in the past. It was also a little cheaper than some of the other brands, and you got a lot more product.

I've been using it for maybe about a month now, and I really like it. First off, I like that the Clinique counter will find the right shade for you. The BB Cream only comes in 3 shades, so since I am pretty fair skinned, I assumed I would need Shade 1. The lady at the Clinique counter tested them for me, and told me I was more Shade 2. Glad they did that before I bought the wrong one!

I find that it does moisturize your skin, while also having SPF 30. It provides enough coverage that you can use it alone or under your foundation. If I'm running late, I'll just wear it on its own, otherwise I'll put a little layer of foundation over top. The tube you get of it is also pretty big, and you use such a small amount that I can see this lasting a long time! I would definitely recommend this one if you're looking to try out the BB Cream trend :)

I have never been a huge eyeliner person because I've been that good at apply it. I recently fell in love with the gel liners from the Defining Eyes Palette though. Ever since then I've been wanting to try a liquid eyeliner with a felt tip in black. I tried this one, and I have really been liking it. It's pretty easy to apply and looks great even if you're like me and not usually very good at applying eyeliner!

I LOVE this blush! I wasn't real sure what it was going to be like when I first bought it, but I am obsessed. The product is unlike anything I've ever seen before because when you do touch it, the blush does have a little bounce to it. It is weird but really neat at the same time. It's more of a cream blush than a powder, and the color really transfers well. I think the Candy Coral shade gives you the perfect spring glow. I've been wearing this every day since I bought it last week!

Maybelline Vivids Lipstick in Pink Pop
I had heard good things about this lipstick, so I went ahead and bought it this weekend. And then I opened it and got really scared. It is a CRAZY pink. The color is a little off on this picture - it's even more of a bright pink in real life. When Maybelline says vivid, they mean vivid! When I first opened it, I thought it was going to look stupid on. I thought I would look like I have cotton candy colored lips - ha! But I actually really like it. True, it is bright and you don't need a lot of it, but it is SO different from any other lip color I have. It does make your lips a bright pink, but it isn't a tacky, unwearable bright pink. Brighter lips are big this season, and I think this is a perfect spring color to hop on board with that trend.

And those are a few of my favorite new spring products. I hope you'll try out a few of these - I think they are all such fun products!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rita's Weekend!

Hey! I hope you had a fabulous weekend. They always seem to go by too quick, don't they?

My weekend started off by cheering on my UC bearcats. They unfortunately lost, but there's always next year, right?

Friday night my mom and I went to Target and picked up Les Mis. I had never seen the play and didn't even know the story line. We started watching it that night, but didn't get to finish it. I'm curious to see how it ends.

On Saturday day morning I had a meeting with my Senior Project mentor, and then I mainly relaxed in the afternoon, worked on a little homework, and took some silly pictures with Coco.

My parents have been telling me for about a week that I could pick any place to go for dinner to celebrate the scholarships I got. I didn't have a specific restaurant I wanted to go to, but my only request was Rita's!

So on the way up to Rita's, we stopped and had dinner at Uno's. I love any excuse for Chicago deep dish pizza.

Then it was time for Rita's: my favorite treat in the whole world! I was a little disappointed at first that they didn't have strawberry ice (my favorite flavor), but it forced me to try raspberry, and I really liked it.

Then since we were so close, we went and walked around The Greene for a little bit. I love shopping around there, and I can't wait to be able to do it in the summer when it isn't as cold.

Today has been a normal Sunday - church, homework, and finishing off some preparations for the upcoming week. I started baking these Aztec-Chile Chocolate Cupcakes for a Mexican presentation I have on Tuesday. I'll finish making the icing tomorrow, but I'm happy with the way the cupcakes themselves turned out. I love how they just have a hint of the cayenne and chile pepper the recipe called for.

I also enjoyed this cute little cookie I bought at Cheryl's last night at The Greene. I have a serious sweet tooth problem - ha!

They're calling for a big snow storm tonight into tomorrow morning that could make the morning commute a mess. As much as I'm over this winter weather, I am hoping for a snow day so I don't have to go to school :)

Have a great start to your week!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Summer Lovin'

It seems as though winter will never end. I had break out my Uggs yesterday again because it was only in the 30s.

And I looked at the forecast for the next 10 days, and we'll be lucky if the temperature is in the 40s {sigh}.

I thought it would be a perfect day to pretend it's summer and that our toes are in the sand right now. So close your eyes, imagine you aren't cold right now, and let's head to the beach!

These are pictures of where I will actually be traveling this summer. Yippeeeeee!

I'm also excited to go here....

......and here!

Are you getting in the summer mood yet?

I can't wait for summer!