Birthday Cake!

This post is really late, but I've been extremely busy with Christmas and engagement sessions.  Anyway, my little sister's birthday was on the 12th and I wanted to make her a cake because we weren't really doing anything else for her birthday.  She is really into the hunger games, so I wanted to do something along those lines.  So I made her a cake and I frosted it and then decorated it with the hunger games symbol.  I think it turned out pretty well and she was really surprised when she saw it.  So, I thought I would let y'all know how I made the Hunger Games symbol.  It was so easy and you could really use any picture.  So first of all, I printed out the symbol.  I then covered it with parchment paper and taped it down onto a cookie sheet.  Next, I put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes so that the sheet was chilled.  

While that was in the freezer, I took a bag of dark chocolate chips and melted them.  Make sure that you stir it often so that you don't burn the chocolate! 

 Next, I spooned the chocolate into a pipping bag.  You can but cheap disposable ones at the grocery store, which is probably a good idea, because it was a mess to clean up. 

After that, I pulled the sheet out of the freezer and started pipping over the picture.  You want to make sure that the chocolate is melted, but not overly runny. You don't want it to spread out everywhere when you start pipping it.  

After you've pipped it onto the picture, put it back into the freezer until you are ready to serve the cake. I kept it in there for a few hours just because I made it in the early afternoon and we didn't eat it until that night.  

When you are ready to place the design on top of the cake, just pull the sheet out of the freezer and use a spatula to remove it from the sheet and place onto the cake.  Because it was on parchment paper, it will come up really easily.  

And Viola!  The candles made it melt a little bit, but that was good because then it was formed a little bit more to the cake.  But its so easy and makes a plain cake really fun!  You could also use white chocolate and put food coloring in it! 


Christmas Packages

I finally bought and wrapped all of my Christmas presents.  When I say that it sounds like a ton, but it was really only four.  And since it was only four, I decided to get a little creative.  I used plain brown wrapping paper and then tore pages out of books and cut them up to use for the name labels.  Super easy, just a little time consuming(I'm not the fastest cutter).  I put the book pages through the printer and printed the letters on them, so that I would have a nice black line around the letters.  And there you have it!


Being Open

I was looking back at my beginning posts and somewhere I lost sight of what this blog was created for. Yes, I love cooking and doing crafts and reviewing restaurants and books, but that's not what this is about.  This is about me being me. So, I wanted to share some things that I have figured out lately.

1. Not all people are made for college.
Now before you freak out and tell me I'm wrong, hear me out.   I think some people are made for high school, some people are made for college, and some people are made for adulthood.  There are kids that thrive in high school.  They're athletic, they're pretty, and they're invited to all of the parties.  Then there are those kids in college that are basically the same.  Those people thrive off of drama.  They love to be constantly doing things.  And they are obsessed with the here and now.  Then there are people that are made for adulthood.  They have never understood why people like drama. They love working, because it makes them feel like they're accomplishing great things.  And they are ready to settle down.  Now, I'm not saying this is exactly true.  I'm not a psychologist or anywhere close to being one.  But this is just how I feel like life is.

2. Sometimes, just sometimes, you need to listen to Taylor Swift to get through your day.

3. You need to be content and you need to move on.
This is a lesson that I have been learning all of my life, and I'm not sure if I'll ever completely get it.  But there are so many times when I see the people that I used to be friends with and get jealous.  I want to be part of their "group."  I want to laugh at their inside jokes.  I want to feel comfortable around them.  I want to watch movies with them.  I want to eat dinner with them.  But, people change.  And when that happens, so does heartbreak.  So, you need to be content with the friends you have.  I learned that this weekend.  I was sick with the flu and so many people checked in on me and brought me soup and gatorade.  Those are my friends now.  Those are the relationships that I need to focus on, not the ones in the past.  Sometimes we have to move on.

4. Introverted doesn't mean less.
I have struggled with this a lot recently.  I am an introvert.  It's who I am.  I can't change it.  So, if we're hanging out, and I want to go to my room and read or sleep or whatever, sorry, but it's who I am.  There isn't anything wrong with me and I'm not missing out on anything.  I'm simply, reenergizing and processing everything that happened throughout the day.  Introverts thrive off of alone time.  We need to be alone at times to be happy.  Now that doens't mean that I want to stay in my room 24/7 and I never want to do anything, it just means that I need SOME time alone.

5. Eat Ice Cream.

6. If you've tried and it's not working, and you've tried something else and that didn't work, then maybe you should stop trying.
Now, I'm not saying this is true for every situation, I'm just saying that sometimes, instead of putting yourself out there over and over again and getting trampled on and leaving in tears, you just need to leave it alone.  You can't fix every problem, mistake, break.  Everything happens for a reason, and if that means you screwed up and it can't be fixed, stop trying to fix it.

So there it is.  The 6 things that I've learned this semester.  Let me tell you, it has been a rough semester. There have been many mountains climbed, literally and figuratively.  And a lot of things realized.  It has definitely been a roller coaster and I'm striving to thank God for the lows as much as the highs.  Love y'all!


That One Kid Whose Name I Forgot.

Here is another original poem by yours truly.  So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy!

The ink they drew on our arms faded with each day.
They told us it would last forever, but they knew nothing.
We had said forever, but we, too knew nothing.
We thought we could do it,
We knew it would be hard, but we were committed, willing to fight.
Until the fights lasted for days,
Until we grew tired and hungry,
Until, instead of battling together, we battled against one another.
And then with each passing second,
With each look of desperation,
With each sigh,
We grew apart.
We were slowly dividing.
The miles that separated us were nothing compared to the silences.
We blamed everything on that,
We said that the distance that separated us was merely physical, but it was emotional too.
So 2 years ago we gave up and called it quits,
But you called me the other day
To be honest, I hadn’t thought of you for a while
And when your face light up the screen on my phone
It darkened my day
I had forgotten about you
Not accidentally, but through lots and lots of sleepless nights
But you called,
And I remembered
It all flooded back and I hadn’t been prepared
So I sank back into our past
Our history
Whatever it was that we were
And this poem isn't really gonna make much sense,
But neither did what we had
We would talk, hang out, hold hands
Then we wouldn’t speak
You would call, we would drink coffee, longboard, and as if we were truly flying,
They days swept passed us uncounted.
Then you wouldn’t look at me during school
And you wouldn’t ever actually date me
And you wouldn’t make it facebook official
And everyone knows that if you’re not FBO, then it’s not real
Or at least that's how it was in high school.
So I left, I moved away, I forgot
Then you would call again and we would talk and laugh and even cry.
Remember that time you told me you loved me?
I forgot about that too, until you called the other day
You said you loved me and my world fell shattered
You dropped a bomb on my complacent life
And the buildings and routines crumbled
And like that Glen Hansard song,
We were falling slowly
And in a hopeful voice, we had said that we still had time,
But I was a thousand miles away
And you had a girlfriend
And time had run out
What we had in high school, whatever the hell it was,
Wasn’t going to work this time.
So we stopped talking
And those letters that I wrote to you freshman year are scattered along some back road highway in Kentucky
And yeah I know you’re not supposed to litter, but I had to get rid of you somehow
I had to wash your smell off my skin
To erase the words we had spoken
So fine me!
Because this has already cost me everything
Remember those nights when we would lay on deck and look at the stars
It sounds so cliche now,
But those were the nights when nothing else mattered
When the world was just you and me
Remember when we said we would move to Colorado
We would buy a cabin in the woods
I would write books and you would read every last word of them
You’d teach me how to snowboard
And I’d fall, but you’d pick me up like you always did.
And we’d go home and eat chicken noodle soup
And you would hold me until we were no longer frozen
But that's all just a memory of something that should have happened
A frozen dream that will never thaw out
Why in the world did you call me?
The scars had finally healed, but you had to go and reopen them
You took a scalpel to my heart
And I don’t know when I’ll ever stop bleeding.
I read once that we will never forget our first love
And I don’t even know if you can call what we had love
I don’t know if you can technically love someone that you never even dated
But I’m throwing all technicalities out the window.
You were the first
and the only boy that I have ever wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
I wanted to travel the world with you
To be so lost in each other that the maps would never be able to tell us the way home
Because just like that other song,
you would be my home
Because Home is wherever I’m with you
But now your just a memory
A healing wound that sometimes breaks open
One I look at now and believe will never heal.
But eventually, over time, if you ever stop calling me, it will.
And sometimes I’ll look at the scar and remember you, but I’ll feel nothing more.
So as hard as this is for me to say,
And as much as I wanted it to work out
Please, please don’t ever call me again.


A Little More Pink.

This is something of a guest post.  My mom made this and wanted me to share it, so I'm calling it a guest post:

My cousin, Erica, found out she was pregnant with twin girls in January and is due October 7th.  We couldn't be more excited for her!  My other cousin, Megan, and my mom are throwing a shower for her this Saturday and for decoration my mom made this beautiful sign.  If you haven't heard or read those words before, then you are missing out on life.  It is from a book called Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, and it is fantastic. 

 She got an old cabinet door on freecycle and painted it peach with a chalkboard center and a white edge.  She then bought some doorknobs and screwed them on.  She also stapled a ribon on the back, so that Erica would be able to hang it in her nursery.  Cute and cheap, just the way we like things here.



   Alright, so here is book number two in The Uglies trilogy written by Scott Westerfeld.  Going along with the theme this one is tittled, Pretties.
       This book continues to follow Tally Youngblood.  She has finally been turned into a "pretty" and is now loving love, or at least it appears so.  Until someone from her past shows up and shakes her world.  You will embark on another journey with Tally as she tries to figure out how to "cure" her brain.
     This book, like the last one is fantastic!  Westerfeld has thrown yet another curve ball with this book.  From the crazy "pretty language" to the adventure you go on, it is a great read.  It continues to touch on the way society views people and the world around us.  Definitely a must read.



We hit 5000 pageviews!  I know, to you that probably doesn't seen like a lot, but to little old me, that seems like a ton!  I'm so blessed to have such lovely people reading this blog!  Thank you so much for all of the tops that you have stopped by!  I never would have been able to do it without you!

A Summer Night.

Today has been a pretty so so day.  I cleaned my fish bowl, organized my bathroom, oh and I got a massage.  It was the first massage I've ever gotten and it was amazing.  I think I would get one everyday if I could.  Tonight I've been watching the olympics opening ceremony, because who wouldn't be?  It is the olympics after all!  I've also been working on rewriting my mom's recipe cards (aren't I a great daughter...did I mention she's paying me?) And I made some more zucchini.  That's about it.

I wasn't kidding when I said my mom's friend gave us a HUGE zucchini.  I absolutely love cooking vegetables, because it's so easy and you can put whatever you want in it.  For this particular pot, I put in:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Basil
1 Tablespoon Garlic
Lemon Pepper and Salt to taste.

I just put it all in a big pan and let it cook until it was warm, but still somewhat firm.  This is fun though because you can experiment with different flavors.  And as always, enjoy!



Ever since the movie Ratatouille came out, I have been dying to try to cook that colorful and delicious looking dish.  Two weeks ago, a friend of ours gave us a HUGE zucchini and I thought what better to do than make some ratatouille.  I gave it a try tonight, and it was fantastic.  So, here it is:

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
10oz tomato puree
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in two tablespoons of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.

Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. Carefully, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.  Cut the eggplant, zucchini, squash, and red pepper into thin slices.

Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a little bit of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. It's okay if you have leftover vegetables.

Drizzle the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs.  Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.  Squeeze lemon half over vegetables.

Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper. Cut to fit inside.

Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.

Serve on cous cous.  and of course, enjoy!

The Day After Vacation.

I have decided that the day after vacation is the worst day ever.  I hate unpacking and putting clothes away, so I decided to leave that for tomorrow.  :)

 Instead, Mom and I went to Costco and bought food for college.

Tomorrow is clean-up day.  But, to make the day a little bit more fun, I am going to be making Ratatouille, which I am so excited about!
I also received my books in the mail!  It's going to be one busy and rough semester, but I'm really excited about the classes I get to take!



Alright, so I found another restaurant for you to try if you're ever in the San Francisco area.  When we were on the plane, the girl sitting behind us was raving all about this seafood place called Scoma's.  So, we figured we would give it a try.  The girl on the plane new what she was talking about.  It was so delicious!  It's in an older building that floats in the bay.  This is another restaurant that you are going to need to make a reservation for, and it is totally worth it.  Here is the link for it if you want to take a closer look.  This is a must try when in San Francisco.  We went to the one in Sausalito, but there is also one on pier 49 in San Francisco.  I ate the Pasta Pescatore and it was to die for!  I wanted to finish it all, but it was so big that I couldn't.  I can't remember what everybody else ate, but everything was delicious!  We also ate their creme brule, chocolate torte, and berry cobbler for desert.  They were all fantastic!  It is definitely a good choice when hanging out in San Francisco/Sausalito area.  



Alrighty, for those of you that live, love, work, or travel to the San Francisco area, this is for you.  As we have been traveling around San Francisco, we have definitely stumbled upon some delicious food places.  The first one we came across was in the heart of Sausalito.  Copita, a delicious little Mexican Catina with a fantastic wait staff.  Here is the website, so that you can look at it a little closer.  Trust me, if you are in San Francisco, it is definitely worth the 10 minute drive across the bridge.  I do suggest you make a reservation though, because it can be a bit of a wait if you don't.

 Most of us got the 24-hour Carnitas, and they were fantastic.  Maddy got the Wild Mushroom Tacos and couldn't stop talking about how good they were.  The two Seasonal Salsas were extremely fresh and delicious.  However, the two things that you MUST get when you go are the Sopes and the Chili Jicama and Cucumbers.  The Sopes were absolutely delicious and the cactus on them was something fun and new to try.  The Jicama and Cucumbers were covered in chili, lime, and salt and were incredible!  I will definitely be figuring out a recipe for those and posting it.

So there you have it.  I am not a fan of Mexican food at all, but this was delicious!  It was all so fresh and I didn't feel gross or weighed down when we left.  So it is a must try when going to San Francisco!


Hello from San Francisco

Sorry if there aren't any posts for a little while.  I am kicking it back in San Francisco!  


The Uglies

I love to read.  I love the people I meet, the places I travel to, the new things that I learn, and the way that a book can stretch my imagination further than I ever thought possible.  That being said, it should come as no surprise to you that I am going to start including book reviews on Mindless Muses.  I even created a new tab for it!  So, here it is, the first book review.  

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
This book is the first one in the Uglies trilogy.  Scott Westerfeld takes Tally Youngblood and the reader on an incredible adventure from "Uglyville" to the infamous and unknown "Smoke."  In this futuristic society, when a child turns 16, they undergo a surgery to change them from "ugly" to "pretty."  Tally has anxiously awaited her 16th birthday so she can turn pretty.  However, when unexpected events force her to travel to the Smoke, she is unable to undergo the surgery.  She must travel alone to the Smoke to rescue her friend from the "smokies," a group of ugly people living in the wilderness.  Once she does this, she will then be able to turn pretty.  However, upon arriving at the Smoke, Tally is unsure if having the surgery is all it has cracked up to be.  

I absolutely love this book!  It is a fantastic book that touches on societies skewed view of beauty.  It also looks into how we treat the natural world around us, and even makes you wonder is we are quickly destroying our world.  It is a fairly quick read and it is great for all ages.  Westerfeld includes a love story, but I feel like the main plot has to do with saving the natural human race.  I would go as far as to say that it is as good, if not better, than The Hunger Games.  You'll just have to read it for yourself! 


Wrinkle Free.

If there is one thing I will have mastered this summer, it is ironing.  I think I have ironed at least twice a week, every week.  Between work pants and shirts, linen shorts, and t shirt dresses that have flipping hems, there has been a lot of ironing.  I love it though, along with laundry and cleaning.  It's all just art of being a mom, and I think that's what excites me the most.  One day I will get to do this for my husband and little kiddos, but until then I will continue to master the art of it.  Anyway, I thought I would snap a few pictures of it for you.  Don't you just love how exciting my life is?   

On a side note, my mom's friend just gave us a huge zucchini out of her garden, so I think there might be a recipe for ratatouille coming soon.  Keep your eyes peeled.  
Also, I have decided to start putting up book reviews every time I finish a book, since I love reading so much.  So keep an eye out for that as well.