Friday, October 30, 2015

7 Last Minute Halloween Costumes

Oh my goodness gracious HALLOWEEN IS TOMORROW! What are you going to be? After practically destroying my house, I came up with 7 not so common last minute Halloween costumes. Here they are:

Number 1: A Cook
This costume is by far the easiest. All you have to do is put on an apron and carry a mixing bowl and spoon!  I got this chefs hat when I was young, but you can find them at Walmart and Part City for cheap.

Number 2: A Explorer
I was a little hesitant about this costume, but it came together so well! All you need is green or khaki pants, a white button up shirt, cargo boots, and a rimmed hat. The bag and flash light definitely added to the fun.

Number 3: A Hula Girl
This costume came together in two seconds. Throw on your grass skirt and grab a ukulele, done! 

Number 4: A Construction Worker
I found a tool belt and hard hat in my dad's shop, so I thought, why not?! I put on some jeans and boots, an old high school tee shirt and this awesome orange vest, and voilĂ ! A construction worker. The lovely backhoe in our backyard definitely completed the picture.

Number 5: A Climber
My family is big into climbing, so this was any easy costume to throw together! The rope and ice ax definitely added to the "I'm a climber" effect! 

Number 6: A Hobo
A hobo is probably one of the easiest costumes.  Just find some rugged clothes and carry around a cardboard sign and grocery bags.  

Number 7: A Granny
Last, but definitely not least, a good old granny.  Dressing up like an old person is probably my favorite thing. Also, CONFESSION TIME: My mom wears this duster around the house all the time, and these are totally my dad's glasses, hah! Also, the archy eyebrows and hair rollers are a must. 

Can you believe that everything used in these costumes was in my house? Yeah, neither can I! Good luck on your dress up journey. I hope this gives you some good ideas!


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

National Dessert Day

Happy National Dessert Day!

Today while I was in sewing class, my older sister, Ellie, texted me.  I could just hear her saying, in a frantic tone, "Sibling! Are you going to your last class?  You could drop me off at work and we could get desserts at kneaders before because it's NATIONAL DESSERT DAY!"

The Chocolate Dome, a family favorite

So naturally I dropped everything planned for the day, and we ran to the car.  After a quick call to my little sister Savanna, we all ended up at Kneaders, ordering half of the desserts in their store and bringing pumpkin bread home for mom.

Ellie couldn't help but shove that chocolate dipped pecan tart in her mouth. I don't blame her, definitely a favorite from these girls. 

After many runs to kneaders after school or during school (don't tell mom), we have their desserts down. Kneaders is one of our favorite places to eat.

So go call your sisters and find your favorite desserts to eat, cause it's National Dessert Day! What better excuse can you find to enjoy sweets with your siblings?
Have a lovely Wednesday!

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Best Banana Bread

Oh yum. This banana bread is the BEST. I wish you could have seen me making this.  I was jammin' out to Justin Beiber and dancing around the kitchen in my apron.  If you are having a hard day, just turn up the tunes and make this awesome comfort food. Banana bread with chocolate chips, what could be better?

I love everything about bananas except for one thing, the texture.  Let's be honest, I gag every time I eat them, hah! But that's the beauty of banana bread, you still get a hint of that yummy flavor without the mushy, sticky texture. 

The Best Banana Bread
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 medium bananas (ripe, mashed)
2 cups flour (don't pack)
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 c nuts, chopped (optional)
1 cups chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and bananas and mix until smooth.  Sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.  Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Pour into one large loaf pan, greased and lined with parchment (optional-makes it super easy to get out of the pan). Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until toothpick come out clean.  

After pulling my hot bread out of the oven, I dashed off to grandma's.  I got home to find that a couple banana bread thieves broke into the house and stole a couple pieces.  It was easy to guess who did it (both of my sisters are middle girls, good thing i'm an edge girl). 

This banana bread is the best! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Monday, October 5, 2015

10 London "Must-do's" from the Study Abroad Student

School is in full swing, and although I have great classes, I can't help thinking back to my last semester in Europe. Right now I am dreaming of London. I was able to live in London for a month, and let me just tell ya, not one minute was wasted. After boring my family to death about how wonderful it is, I decided to make a list of things I would take them to see and do if we ever went on a family vacation to London (we can all wish, right?).  So here is my list of activities you must do while you are in London:

1. Portobello Road
I LOVE Portobello Road (cue in Bedknobs and Broomsticks music). Visit on a Friday or Saturday afternoon and you will see the shops in full swing.  I bought most of my London souvenirs from here (including bags, rings, shirts, and a teapot.  I'm still not sure how I got all of that back hah!). Every stand is something new and amazing to gawk at, so give yourself plenty of time.  Portobello Road is the first place I would run to off the plane, just trust me, it's amazing. I pretty much bawled the whole way back to our flat the last time we visited.

2. Head to the Theater
Sadly, in my entire month of living in London, I only went to one play, WICKED.  It was so so good.  I highly recommend going to at least one play while you are in London. We were lucky and bought cheap seats and were able to move up because there were a lot of extra seats in the theater, so if the play looks like it will be a empty, keep that in mind.

3. The Fish and Chips Experience
Yummmmmm. This picture is making me so hungry.  To be honest, I love the food in England.  Everyone thinks it is so boring, but I really liked it a lot, especially the fish and chips.  You have not been to England if you do not have fish and chips at least once.  Many of the places to get fish and chips will be pretty expensive, we went to a pub on Portobello Road and had a good sized meal for £8, and it was worth it.  Try to find fish and chips for around £7 or £8 (this way it is worth the money, but not too over priced).

4. Abbey Road
"Here comes the sun, do doo do doo." Okay, okay, yes it is just a road.  But Abbey Road is so fun to visit and take a picture just like the Beatles. This is probably on the bottom of my to do list, but it sure makes for a good picture!
Also, remember that this road is still used, so don't get hit by a car hah.

5. Tea
Pull out your party dresses and huge hats girls, cause it's tea time.  Don't miss out on a lovely experience of sipping tea and eating biscuits with clotted cream.  Just like the fish and chips, it is difficult to balance money and experience here.  We went to Tea and Tattle, a cute little bookshop and tea room. My friend, Becca and I shared a Traditional Tea - two teas, two sandwiches, two scones, & two cakes for £29.50, which was the perfect amount of food, and at a good price.  Be sure to do your research and find somewhere that has good reviews and that is in your price range.  Also, another quick tip from Gretta here, don't forget to go to the bathroom before you leave, hah I literally almost peed my pants on the Tube (bad bladder + lots of liquid = a close one).

6. "The Walk"
Everyone who goes to London must take "the walk".  Start by strolling through Hyde Park, visit Buckingham Palace, then walk through the streets of London until you run into Westminster Abbey and see the famous Big Ben clock.  Finish by walking out on the bridge that crosses the Thames River. There is a tube stop close by to get you back to your room.

7. Thames River Cruise
I love river cruises.  I did one in London and one in Paris. They were so relaxing after a full day of walking, and I ended up learning a lot from the guides. We grabbed some hot chocolate from a Starbucks nearby and hopped onto one of these boats.  It was fun to see the city at a different point of view.  

8. The London Eye
Just like the river cruise, the London Eye sure gives you a different perspective.  This Ferris wheel-like ride is one of the highest view points in London.  On a clear day, you can see 25 miles from the top of the London Eye.  This ride will take about 30 minutes total.  I was skeptical to spend money on the London Eye, but it gave me a very good layout of the city in my mind, so try and go on this at the beginning of your visit to London so that you can get your bearings to navigate around this amazing city.

9. Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is a little bit out of the way (about an hour train ride from London), so I wouldn't recommend visiting if you have limited days in the city.  Kew Gardens is an amazing place to visit, consisting of 300 acres of exotic gardens. I truly enjoyed strolling around the gardens and greenhouses, it was nothing like I had ever seen before.  Definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

10. Hyde Park
Oh Hyde Park, how I miss you.  I was in Hyde Park almost every day of my trip to London.  There is something amazing about that place.  I ran or biked in Hyde Park all the time (I highly recommend renting a bike, sooooo much fun).  Hyde Park is very safe, and I was grateful I could have alone time in such a beautiful place.  Hyde Park is my favorite place in London.  I will personally hunt you down if you do not go to Hyde Park when you visit London. You get the point? Okay good. Go to Hyde Park.

London is such an amazing city!  Don't miss out on these 10 life changing experiences on your visit. And if you are going to London soon, I am extremely jealous.  Be sure to eat some fish and chips and stroll around Hyde Park for me.