Kitchen diaries | New home

We’re about one month into making memories into our new living quarters and if there’s one thing I learned it’s that this shit takes time. Moving out and into a new place for the first time, I’ve received an over-abundance of life hacks, tips, and tricks regarding decorating, budgeting, and just plain existing. If there’s one piece of information that I’ve seen to be true it’s that it won’t all be done in the blink of an eye.

When I tell you the only room completely done in our home is our kitchen, I am not lying – it’s the only room done in our home. I get that there’s not a lot that necessarily has to go into a kitchen, so it makes sense that it’s done first. It’s no secret, though, that our kitchen is my favorite room in our house. Everybody knows it, and if you didn’t, well, now you do!

The vision I had for our kitchen began the instant we did the first walk through of our place, and to see it come to life has been overwhelmingly exciting to say the least. The fact that I am sitting at our kitchen table writing this post is still borderline surreal to me and sometimes I have to blink a few times to make sure that I am actually awake, this is real, and it’s actually completely done.

I bought most of our kitchen décor before we even moved in, which many thought were crazy, but when you know, you know, am I right? We lucked out with having appliances included, so our stove, dishwasher, and fridge were nestled into our home even before we were, helping spark images in my head of what would match stainless steel, white cabinets, and a gray granite countertop. I did 99% of my shopping at TJ Maxx, Hobby Lobby, Marshalls, and [of course] Target over the span of about two days, which now seems like a complete whirlwind when I think about it. What I didn’t find in those two days was purchased when we went to IKEA about two weeks ago.

As far as inspiration goes, most of it comes from the queen that is Joanna Gaines. The whole modern farmhouse vibe is definitely present throughout our home – mostly neutrals with some pops of color – this holding true in our kitchen as well. Everything is white, gray, and black but you’ll see some pops of color with our kitchen mat, towels, plants, accessories, and my trusty KitchenAid mixer, to name a few.

Do I know what the heck I am doing in terms of decorating? No. But the fact we didn’t break the bank while making this vision come to life is remarkable enough for me to be proud of! xoxo.

Quick + easy summer dessert

No surprise here that Pinterest is my guilty pleasure, especially when it comes to dessert recipes. There are so many recipes out there that I love trying out and that I could potentially see myself making in the future, this one included! With a party coming up at work, I decided to look for something that could sit out for a little bit, could be easily eaten, and could be enjoyed by everyone. I landed upon a recipe for cookie dough dip, and honestly, I knew I had to give it a shot because who wouldn’t want to eat this every second of every day?!

There is no raw egg in this recipe so it’s totally safe to eat, plus it’s vegetarian and gluten free!

If you’re interested in trying out this recipe for yourself, the remainder of this post is for you!

Cookie Dough Dip

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: N/A

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 2 cups

ingredients:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup mini chocolate chips

1 cup toffee bits

Directions:

  1. Whip together cream cheese and butter with a handheld electric mixer. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until well-combined.
  2. Eat right away or allow to chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
  3. Serve with graham crackers or apple wedges.

Additional Information:

  • I doubled the recipe and it made plenty more than 4 cups!
  • Refrigeration for an hour helps the flavors blend and lose a bit of the cream cheese taste.
  • It’s also great served with pretzels or eaten with just a spoon!

Will we ever reach acceptance?

Mental health. It’s something I’ve talked about on this blog on multiple occasions. It’s also a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.

In the last week we lost two icons – Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain – to suicide. Should it take celebrity deaths to get a conversation started about mental health? No. But am I thankful it does? Absolutely. The most infuriating part, though, is that with each passing day, the thought gets pushed further and further into the back of the heads of many people. Other things become more important. And mental health? Suddenly it’s on the back burner again.

The understanding and acceptance of mental health issues is important beyond measure. Why do we hear when those around us have cancer, lupus, or transplants? Why do we hear of heart disease, neurological disorders, or disabilities? But mental health – suddenly the conversation stops. Society has taught us that it isn’t acceptable to talk about the chemicals and the hormones our minds produce and how they’re controlled. Would we judge someone with the above diseases or disorders? No. But we judge those with mental illness, sometimes without even knowing it. Those times you told someone with depression to “just try to be happy” or those times you told someone with anxiety to “get over it” – you’re not helping. Often times, you’re creating a bigger problem.

Mental health issues do not discriminate. You can have it all – money, fame, success – none of it matters when you’re sick or suffering. Those living the “perfect life” could actually be living a life much different than that. Having everything isn’t everything. Having everything is obsolete when you’re sick. Nobody deserves to suffer. Everybody deserves help.

You do not know another’s pain or the burden they carry. This is the honest to God truth. Should celebrity deaths make us advocate for mental health and suicide prevention? Absolutely. But what about those in the world around you – those close to you – that may need help? Have you checked on your friends? Your family? Your coworkers? It can be as simple as a hello, or even asking someone how they are doing. Reaching out a helping hand. Including them in your daily life. In the deepest depths of darkness, those who need help don’t often realize it until those close to them speak up. You have the power to be the change.

Until the stigma is removed from mental illness and our society begins to accept it, those suffering with mental health issues will continue to hide. Until you respond with kindness, love, and compassion, people with mental health issues will continue to bottle everything up. Start the conversation. Spread kindness. Radiate love.

It won’t happen overnight, but it’s a start.

To anyone reading this – you are noticed. The world would not be the same without you in it.

xoxo.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Life after grad school | The real deal

It’s been about a month since I graduated from Niagara University with Master of Science degree in Education. While life has been mostly the same because, you know, it’s only been a short time, there are some things that have already definitely begun to change.

For one, I am still trying to figure out a new routine. After being in school for the last 18 years, I am finding it hard to establish a new routine that does not include homework, classes, projects or papers. I have more free time than I really know what to do with, some of which I am hoping to fill with creating new content for this blog. But for all those other hours, I am still struggling finding new things to do. It seems as if everything has ended at once, and in eight days I will be on summer break from work, essentially adding more free time to my already insanely-free schedule.

Another major change that I am not ready to face is the repayment of all my college debt. Is this something I always knew was there? Yes. But now it’s even more of a reality knowing this decently-large number is now one that will be a prominent figure in my life for, honestly, many years to come. It’s crazy to think that I am essentially one of the “lucky” ones in terms of my debt, as I don’t have an excessive six-figure amount under my belt, but it’s still there. I’m beginning to envy all the students in countries where higher education is extremely affordable or even paid for.

Did life immediately change? No. I was thankful to find my job before I graduated, so I didn’t have any stress or anxiety over what is to come. The days, however, do seem much longer when work and home are the only things consuming my life. What did change, though, is my overall self-awareness. It has seemed as if I have begun to pursue my life in a new light. I no longer have a fear of the unknown road ahead, as I now know that I belong on it. I feel as if I have become more passionate to live my most satisfying life, as well as have a desire to be intentional about every step forward that I will take from here on out. I’ve begun to realize and demand more out of the world around me – my friends, family, job, free time – I want to spend my time with the things that complete me the most, and remove those that don’t matter.

Will my overall view be different beyond this post? I am absolutely sure of it. But based on the last month, I am excited for the road to come and to see what lies ahead. xoxo.

IKEA haul!

With the acquisition of a new home comes the acquisition of things to fill it. For about two years now, IKEA has become our go-to for furniture, home goods, and even snacks, if we’re being honest. So, it was a no-brainer that when we made the move to North Buffalo, a trip to Canada to the Burlington IKEA would be made. This, I would say, was our most successful trip yet, as we went in prepared with a list in hand, and didn’t make too many irrational purchases [although naturally, some had to be made, right?]. If you’re interested in seeing what we got on our most recent trip, the remainder of this post is for you!

DISCLAIMER:  While most of our purchases are already assembled and placed, we are still in the process of perfecting our home. What this means is that once we finally get everything situated, more detailed posts are to come describing and showing our new home. Until then, you’ll see our purchases via the IKEA website!

INGATORP Drop-Leaf Table | Black-Brown | $159.00 CAD

Buying a kitchen table was one of the main reasons we wanted to make this trip to IKEA, as the one we had previously no longer was able to be used in our new place. The table we ended up with ended up being completely different than the one we thought we’d like – online shopping/browsing isn’t always what it seems! We landed upon this table that fits perfectly as a two-seater in our kitchen, but also has two drop-leaves, making it able to seat four for when we have company over. You can find this item here.

STEFAN Dining Chair | Black-Brown | $25.00 CAD

To go along with our kitchen table, we picked up four dining chairs! You can find this item here.

MALM 6-Drawer Chest | White | $149.00 CAD

Another main reason for this voyage was to get a dresser for all of my clothes. I didn’t bring any of my furniture with me on this move, and decided to start completely fresh. We picked up the 4-drawer version of this exact dresser a year ago when my boyfriend was looking for a new one. It comes in a multitude of colors, styles, sizes, etc. and is extremely easy to assemble! You can find this item here.

POÄNG Armchair with Lysed Gray Cover | Black-Brown | $129.00 CAD

Another item on our list was to look for another seat for our living area, as our KIVIK sofa can really only fit three people. My boyfriend adored this chair and had been talking about it for years, and when we realized it would fit perfectly in the corner we had in mind for another chair, it was almost a no-brainer that we had to get it. This chair comes in a variety of frame colors, as well as cushion covers, making it versatile to fit any home. Another added bonus? It is beyond comfortable! It’s definitely deceiving to the eye. You can find this item here.

PINNING Bench with Shoe Storage | Black | $59.99 CAD

In the entry of our home, we created a mini faux mud room to store some shoes and coats. To make this dream a reality, we picked up this bench that perfectly matches the rest of our home, provides another place to sit, and stores shoes. Honestly, what more could you ask for? You can find this item here.

PINNING Rack with 3 Hooks | Black | $24.99 CAD

Another addition to the faux mud room is a coat hook/rack. You can find this item here.

EKBY HEMNES + EKBY VALTER Wall Shelf | Black | $18.99 CAD

And to finish off our faux mud room, we purchased a shelf to go above the coat rack for some extra storage and to add a little more of a homey feel. Whether it’s to store hats, or another place for home décor, we don’t quite know yet, but I am sure we will figure it out. You can find this item here.

MOSSLANDA Picture Ledge | White | $9.99 CAD

We picked this up to decorate our bedroom! You can find this item here.

KUGGIS Box with Lid | White | $5.99 CAD

Who doesn’t need some extra storage? You can find this item here.

SOCKERBIT Box | White | $1.99 CAD

These fit perfectly inside our linen closet to organize toiletries and other items that would essentially clutter up a shelf. They are perfect! You can find this item here.

FEJKA Artificial Potted Plant | Thyme | $6.99 CAD

Was this necessary? No, definitely not. But it was just too cute! You can find this item here.

BUMERANG Pant Hanger | Natural | $0.99 CAD

Perfect for dress pants, you can’t go wrong with these hangers! You can find this item here.

FNISS Trash Can | Black | $1.75 CAD

An office essential! You can find this item here.

We also picked up some succulents and other plans that you obviously cannot find or purchase on their website. The selection is the best!

What do you think? Did we pick up some good stuff? I’d love to hear your opinion! xoxo.

Playlist | May 2018

Most recently, a friend and I have been doing this thing where we recommend some new music to each other to broaden our music-listening horizons. Thanks to the heaven-sent app that is Spotify, we have been able to compile and add to these lists almost daily, which has added a whole new light to the music constantly playing in the background of my life. The playlist that I’ve created over the last month is one that, honestly, I have not been able to stop listening to for quite some time now. Honestly, it’s played every morning on my drive to work, every afternoon driving home, and even more so in-between those times. The songs that I deemed as my top go-to’s are songs that I’ve included on this blog probably more times than one, if we’re being honest. So, instead of boring you with sharing those same songs again, I will give you the opportunity to experience the listening pleasure that has come from this new music.

Listen, enjoy, rock out, but most importantly, let me know what you think! xoxo.

Did you miss me?!

It’s been well over a month, since April 30th to be exact, that I’ve done anything blog-related. Some of this was in part due to a mental-block, resulting in the worse case of writer’s block and lack of inspiration probably ever. Mostly, though, this was thanks to an overly-chaotic month of May. My month was nonstop from the get-go. Should that have been an excuse to put my website on the backburner, no, probably not. But so many things occurred in such a short amount of time, both miniscule and monumental, that I feel like anyone in their right mind would need to take a step back to take a breath for a bit.

Week one of May [well, technically Sunday, April 29th] started with my family and I taking a trip to Cleveland to celebrate my brother’s birthday. That Sunday was Game 7 of the NBA Finals for the Cleveland Cavilers and we were lucky enough to snag some tickets to the game. It was my brother’s first birthday away from home, so we decided to bring his 19th birthday to him. The week was capped off by Cinco de Mayo, which, who doesn’t love that holiday?! I didn’t spend my time bar-hopping with just about every other 25 year old on the planet because it was this day that we got the keys to our new place, making it officially ours! This started the slow-trickle of moving things in mixed with visits from both sides of our families before the entire moving process got too over the top.

The second week of May brought my brother coming home from his first year of college, a crazy bout of the flu going around my family, and my graduation from graduate school. Finally getting my Master’s Degree on the 10th of May is something that still seems so surreal to me. I have a hard enough time justifying the fact that I am 25 years old and not 18 anymore, let alone the recipient of a Master’s Degree. This still stands true as being one of the greatest things I have accomplished in my lifetime. This week ended, again, with more moving shenanigans, having all of my boyfriend’s things moved out of his old apartment into our current home.

The third week of May began with a celebration of Mother’s Day. It’s always good to spend time with family, this time being no different. The remainder of this week was spent trying to escape from the aforementioned flu that had hit my family. I spent most of my time away from home, refusing to get sick knowing all that I had coming ahead of me. This week ended with the wedding celebration of my cousin and her now-husband in Lewiston, New York. It was a day that I had been looking forward to for a while, as I couldn’t wait to have all of my family from out of town together in one room for a prolonged period of time. The wedding on Saturday night was ended with Sunday brunch the following day – the perfect send-off for the bride and groom!

The following week was filled with three days of dance rehearsal and a dance recital, this being something that many don’t know about me. After the week had concluded, I was exhausted beyond the point of return and couldn’t wait to sleep the entire three-day weekend way. I was so thankful to have Monday off for Memorial Day, as I had many opportunities to spend time with my family in my hometown before I moved the following weekend. I also had a ton of packing that needed to be done for my move because, of course, I waited for the last minute, as I do for everything else in life.

The final days of May were spent packing and getting everything organized. June was kick-started with the day off from work on Friday to officially move into my new home, which I was beyond thankful for, as it made the moving process an absolute breeze. I wasn’t rushed or stressed out and everything went smoothly. The entirety of Saturday was spent in Canada at IKEA to purchase the remainder of the furniture needed for our new place, and yesterday was spent perfecting everything and some last minute trips to the store.

And all the stuff in-between? It’s been the same. Really the only thing that’s drastically changed in that aspect is that I got bangs, which I’m still getting used to by the way.

As I sit here and write this post, looking back at all that I’ve been through this past month, I am humbled and thankful beyond measure for everything that I have been given in this life. While times lately have been overwhelming and certainly stressful, I am blessed to have all of these things happen to me, even if they’re all happening all at once. Do I have a definite plan for this blog in terms of posting content? Not really. I’d love to be a M-F blogger, but I am thinking of stepping back to three days a week until things slow down for a little. But, I am excited to get back into the swing of things.

I want to thank those of you who have reached out this past month saying that they’ve missed my posts over my hiatus. It’s nice to know that I gave all of you some source of entertainment, most importantly, something to miss. I also want to thank you for being patient with me when I needed to take the time to get my life in order because I am back, and I feel like it will be better than ever!

With that being said, here’s to the new road ahead. xoxo.

 

Things I’m currently obsessed with | April edition

It has been, what feels like forever, since the last time I’ve done a favorites post! I believe my last one was all the way back in January of this year, so it’s no doubt that we are totally overdue for a post of this nature! With that being said, my favorites are from a super-extended amount of time, but for the sake of the blog, we will call them my April obsessions, specifically.

Dose of Colors Liquid Matte Lipstick | Supernatural 

In preparation for wedding season just around the corner, I was on the hunt for a new nude lipstick that I could wear for any occasion, or even any day during the week! I sorted through many articles and products online and narrowed it down to this lippie from Dose of Colors. I had never bought a product of theirs before, so I guess you could say I was taking a leap in turning to a new brand for an item I wanted to be a staple in my beauty routine. I will tell you, this product did not disappoint! The matte formula is extremely comfortable and applies extremely rich and opaque. Another bonus? Not only is it long-lasting, but this product is vegan, cruelty free, gluten free, and paraben free! You can find this lippie here.

Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines

Who the hell doesn’t want to be Joanna Gaines? I mean, Fixer Upper is the holy grail of home shows, is it not? This being said, I naturally had to get my hands on her cookbook the second it came out. So, that is exactly what I did! I figured this whole “moving out on my own” thing was a great excuse to justify this purchase. Although it is packed away with most of my belongings for the big move coming up, I have rifled through some of the pages and I am overly pleased with what I’ve seen thus far! I am actually excited to start cooking [aka learn how to cook] – shocking, I know! You can get it here.

GLDN by Layered and Long

While this technically is not an item, this has become my new favorite place to shop for jewelry! Their pieces are all hand crafted and you can tell they are made with love. They have the greatest customer support team, and when you receive your orders, they custom write you messages and share their love as if you are best friends with the jeweler that hand-crafted your piece! I have two pieces from them currently in my collection, as well as a few gifts on the way. I will not stop giving this company the highest of praise and am demanding you all check them out at your soonest convenience! No, really. Check out their website.

Tasty: Latest & Greatest – Everything You Want to Cook Right Now

I know what you’re thinking – for someone who doesn’t cook, why the heck is another cookbook making its’ way onto my April favorites list? Well, because this cookbook is heaven sent, that’s why! I spend a good chunk of my time at night watching videos of food on Facebook, with drool practically hanging from my mouth. So, when I saw that Tasty, the greatest source of food videos, had a cookbook out, it was a no-brainer that I needed to add this to my now-growing cookbook collection. The recipes are simple, it comes with a bunch of pictures, it’s cut and dry, and it’s all the recipes for the videos that I can’t help but watch late at night. What more could I want out of life? You can get it here.

Cheers

My mom has most recently started watching Cheers on Netflix, and I have found myself jumping in to her binge sessions. I had seen some episodes here and there, and even went to visit the bar multiple times on trips to Boston, but never really got into this show, as it concluded four months after I was born in May of 1993. My parents had recently been talking about how it was a show that they loved back in the day, so they decided to see if it was available to stream. It was, and they have been watching ever since! I feel like this show is somewhat iconic enough that I don’t have to go into full detail regarding its’ premise, but it’s a good one! While, admittedly, some of the show is so extremely corny that it is borderline unwatchable, I will say that the majority of it is absolutely hilarious and it is easy to get sucked in to one episode after another. it has become one of my new go-to’s to watch when I can’t seem to find anything decently worth my time while scrolling through cable.

NHL Playoffs 

For hockey fans, this time of the year could resemble the weeks or days leading up to Christmas morning. I think that playoffs for the NHL are the greatest in all of professional sports and is something that I look forward to year after year. Hockey all season is great, but once playoffs come around, the game seems completely different. I am sure all you avid fans can understand the point that I am trying to get across here. No, my team has not made it to the playoffs for yet another year, but that does not stop me from watching! Rightly so, Buffalo always pulls out in the top 3 for TV ratings of the NHL playoffs, so I know I am not alone when I say this!

 

 

 

Thursday thoughts | Volume V

Holy hell, I have sucked at this whole blogging thing lately.

There has been so much sheer chaos going on in my life this past month, that I have found my mental health and my sanity to be more important than writing five times a week. Is this a bad thing? No. But I do wish I could stretch myself into a million directions at once. Between moving, graduation, recovering from a car accident, work, and finding time to breathe, eat and sleep, considering myself to be overwhelmed is an understatement. I know smoother days are ahead, as a matter of fact they are coming very soon, and I am ready.

Taking a break is okay. It’s something we all need to do every once in a while. But, there are great things coming. You just have to stick with me until all this calms down. xoxo.