Monday, April 21, 2014

Weekend Snippets

I'm back in Grand Rapids now, but I wanted to share a few photos from my weekend with my family back in my hometown. These photos make me happy and I could use that extra boost right now! It's only Monday and it's already been a very stressful week because of exams and regretting my terrible procrastination. I've been functioning on a nap-based sleep system while I finish up projects, and it's actually working better than I'd expected! I stayed up all night and I might have to do it again tonight, but I've taken at least 4 hour-long naps and I'm actually feeling like I can do this. I'm so ready to graduate! 

I hope you have a wonderful week! Happy Monday! :)

This is my dear sweet puppy, Sophie. My family got her from the Humane Society the year before I left for college, and I spend at least half of my life missing her and wishing I lived closer. I think she misses me a lot, too, because she spends a lot of time curled up on my bed sleeping in the sunlight in my old room. I miss my cuddle buddy!
I must admit, our Easter eggs this year turned out to be delightfully nerdtastic. I'm pretty proud! My parents did a few of them, but it was mostly my sister and I having too much fun covering various fandoms (Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli, Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Bob's Burgers, Adventure Time, Harry Potter, Sherlock, Doctor Who, and Star Trek).
My Dad built these bookshelves a few years ago and lined the walls of the living room in a lovely library. I love that I've inherited his book collecting obsession, and someday I hope I have enough bookshelves to line my own walls! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

An Oh-So-Refreshing Horchata Recipe

As I mentioned earlier, my sister and I decided to try our hand at making homemade horchata over the weekend. The results were delicious! I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy it is to make this refreshing traditional rice beverage, and I'm already planning on making it again this week. If you're looking for a new summer drink (to spike, or not to spike), try it out yourself!
You will need:
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice 
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk 
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla 
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 sweetened condensed milk 

It's just so easy to whip up!:
  1. Pour the water into a blender and then add the uncooked rice. 
  2. Blend for about one minute, and then let the rice and water sit in the blender for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. When that time has passed, use a cheesecloth to strain the rice water into a pitcher or other desirable container. 
  4. Make sure there is no rice in your liquid and then throw the leftover rice away. 
  5. Add milk, condensed milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. 
  6. Whisk or mix it well and then serve over ice.

Sip it in the sunshine for a little extra joy! ;) Hopefully the grass will be green soon and I'll be able to bring it on a picnic in the near future. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Visit Home//Easter Weekend

I went way up north to spend time with my family for Easter weekend. We don't do anything special for Easter, but we're dying eggs tonight and I can't wait to see how they turn out! I went thrifting earlier with my sister today and put together this outfit. I'm pretty sure it's going to be my summer uniform! I found two other floral printed skirts that fit like this one, and I'm really excited to wear them all!

I'm drinking homemade horchata in some of these pictures. We're going to see Vampire Weekend in June and my sister and I figured we'd better learn how to make it so we can bring it to the concert (they have a song called "Horchata"). I think I'll do a recipe post in the near future- it turned out amazing!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Music of the Day: Chairlift

"Bruises" is one of my favorites tracks from Chairlift's 2008 album "Does You Inspire You".

Back in the day, I listened to it all the time- usually on repeat. I decided to play it again today, and I instantly remembered how wonderful it is. It makes me so happy and I feel like it's my duty to share it, just in case you've never heard it before. It's definitely one of my favorite summer songs, particularly the parts that talk about frozen strawberries and grass stains.

As long as Chairlift is playing, I can pretend that my heart is not breaking from the snow on the ground outside right now!

Monday, April 14, 2014

April Showers Wish List

(click to enlarge)

I love dressing for rainy weather almost as much as I love the rain itself! These are just a few rainy day staples that I've been wishing I could add to my closet:
  • This Stand-Out Raincoat from Modekungen makes me so happy. What better way to brighten a rainy day than with a sunny yellow raincoat? It's such a classic and works with everything!
  • I have a huge orange crush on these JuJu Rain Boots from Urban Outfitters. Not only are they practical, but they glow-in-the-dark. Perfect for late night frolicking in style- cool, no?
  • This Darling Daisy Travel Umbrella from Forever 21 is so springy and adorable! I've really been loving the daisy print that seems to be everywhere this spring.

♥ Happy puddle jumping! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hiking at Rosy Mound

I haven't posted in a few days because I've been so busy with school. It's the end of the semester and I'm going crazy finishing up last minute writing assignments and group projects that are all due this week. It's my own fault, of course, because I'm one of the world's worst procrastinators and I do everything the night before. I take comfort in remembering that it's almost summer, and then I'll only have one semester left of college. It's crazy how the time has flown by!

Anyway, nobody wants to hear about how busy I've been. Everybody is busy!

So in honor of the weekend and the warmer weather, I took a trip to my favorite hiking spot near Grand Haven. It's called the Rosy Mound Natural Area and it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. The Lake Michigan dune ecosystem's thick forests, sprawling grasslands, and almost surfable waves are so unique and lovely. I have to pry myself away from the sand when it's time to go- I never want to leave!

It was so warm outside- I couldn't believe that there was still snow on the trails and ice on the lake! I was not wearing the right shoes for climbing snow-covered steps, but luckily there were railings that I could cling to as I trudged up and down the icy slopes. When we finally made it to the beach, we spread out a blanket and sat in the peaceful silence of the almost frozen waters for awhile. It was wonderful!

One of my absolute favorite things about nature trails is the consistent friendliness of people you meet in the forest or along the beach. Something about the shared love of nature creates this sense of kinship between you and and anyone else you pass along the way. Whether it's a simple sincere smile or an enthusiastic "hello" with small conversation, I always leave feeling happier and more connected than before.

I hope spring keeps these lovely days coming!

Now, it's back to the grindstone. See you on the other side!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hello, Sunshine!


The sun is finally out and it's warm enough to open windows! I've been trapped on the couch with a terrible cold all weekend, so I'm especially glad to welcome this lovely weather. I'm feeling better already- thanks, Spring!

The house plants are loving the sunshine food and my old rainbow water-filled Jones bottles are shining colorful patterns all across the bedroom. It's amazing how much bigger a tiny apartment seems when the windows are cracked open. 

I think I see some intense spring cleaning in my future! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Music of the Day: Yumi Zouma

This has been my play-on-repeat Sunday song ever since it premiered from the label Cascine back in January. I just can't stop listening to it! The other songs on Yumi Zouma's self-titled EP (which was released on February 11th) are great, too, but this one is by far my most played.

One of my favorite music blogs, Gorilla Vs. Bear, describes the song as "wistful" and "shimmering". I couldn't have said it better myself, and it's thanks to them that I found this lovely song. The New Zealand group has a variety of sounds, from this soft, romantic dream-pop to a light funk that's present in their other tracks, like "A Long Walk Home for Parted Lovers".

If you dig this song as much as I do, I suggest checking out the rest of the album! Just prepare yourself for a little less dream and a little more funk and you'll be a Yumi Zouma fan in no time.

Raspberry Layer Cupcakes

These raspberry layer cupcakes might look hard to make, but I promise they're pretty easy and well worth your time! They have an elegant look and texture, which makes me think they'd be perfect to bring to something like a spring tea party. If only I had a spring tea party to attend! Anyway, they are seriously delicious and they have berries on top. So that means it's like a serving of fruit, and you don't even have to feel guilty, right?

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless raspberry jam
  • powdered sugar 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. (Make sure you spray them really well; I even spread some Crisco shortening on as an extra safety precaution!)
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; mix well. Whisk milk and vanilla in small bowl. Beat granulated sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture with milk mixture, beating until well blended. Spoon evenly into prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to let cool completely.
  4. Working with one at a time, cut cupcakes crosswise to create two or three layers (two is easiest, but feel free to try three if you're confident!) Spread about 2 teaspoons jam over the bottom layer and replace the top layer. Repeat with remaining cupcakes and jam. 
  5. To garnish: sprinkle with powdered sugar, then use jam to hold raspberries in place. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Products I'm Lovin'

These products have been a part of my solid morning routine for awhile now, and I love them so much that I've just gotta share:
  • I'm a Burt's Bees fan, but recently I decided to be brave and try something new, so I bought this organic Strawberry Lip Balm from Kiss My Face. My bravery was rewarded with smooth lips! 
  • I don't usually buy the same shampoo and conditioner twice in a row, but I already know that when this Rosemary & Mint Shampoo and Conditioner from Suave is gone, I'm restocking my supply. The scent is so refreshing and earthy- it's absolutely heavenly! And it's Suave, so, you know, it's affordable. My wallet appreciates that. 
  • I don't even need to tell you how much I like the scent of Burberry The Beat perfume, because it's Burberry and of course it's great. I'd wanted a Burberry perfume for so long, but I never felt like splurging on myself. I was so stoked when I got it for Valentine's Day! It's a perfect wear-anywhere scent and I wish the bottle would never run dry.
  • This Voluminous Butterfly Mascara from L'Oreal Paris is wonderful in so many ways. The brush is shaped to help your lashes extend like wings, and it really does work. It makes my lashes look long and thick, and yet somehow it never clumps or makes a mess. It also smells kinda good, which is weird, but awesome!
  • And finally, this lipstick shade Heavenly 260 from COVERGIRL. I've been looking for the perfect color of lipstick for as long as I can remember- it's especially hard with skin as pale as mine. It feels so good to have finally found it. Or rather, my sister found it for me (it was a lovely birthday gift). If you're an almost translucent ghost like me, I can't recommend this shade enough. It's bold, but not too bold. It's classy and compliments any outfit. You really can't go wrong!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

These refreshing cupcakes turned out to be one of the most delicious things I've ever had the pleasure and privilege of putting in my mouth. They'd make a perfect dessert to pack in a summer picnic, and I can't wait to make them again when the grass is finally green! If you are a fellow lover of both cupcakes and pink lemonade, you seriously need to go make these immediately.


  • 1 package (about 18 ounces) white cake mix- without pudding in the mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • a few drops of red food coloring (to make a deeper pink, if you wish)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • optional garnishes: lemon candies and pearl sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with standard paper baking cups. I used pink and yellow as accent colors, but anything works!
  2. Beat cake mix, water, egg whites, 1/3 cup lemon concentrate (you can add more if you want a stronger flavor- I did!), oil, and red food coloring in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes or until well blended. Spoon evenly into muffin cups.
  3. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely.
  4. Beat powdered sugar, butter, and remaining 1/4 cup lemonade concentrate in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Beat in food coloring until desired shade is reached.
  5. Frost cupcakes, garnish with candy or anything else you want to use- be creative!
  6. (Optional, but recommended) Eat multiple cupcakes in one sitting. Daydream of sunny summer days to come.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Music of the Day: Habibi

This was my "don't worry, it's almost the weekend" jam this morning. While rushing to make it out the door in time for a meeting, I danced around in a swirl of clothes, makeup, and rain boots. Needless to say, I left in a better mood than usual.

"Habibi" means "my heart" in Arabic- a fitting name for this all-girl band from Brooklyn that has certainly captured my heart. The band was founded by Rahill Jamalifard and is influenced by her Persian ancestry and 60's Motown sounds. (For more information, read this interview with V Magazine.)

I love this album and sincerely recommend checking out more if you're interested!