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December 31, 2013

goodbye twenty thirteen.

Twenty thirteen has treated me very well. A semi rocky start has led to some really awesome opportunities, new friends, new experiences, and new hope for the years to come. These are the things I am grateful for and loved about this year:

// I had a great concert year: One Direction, Taylor Swift, Ben Howard, + Ed Sheeran (twice!).
// I landed an amazing job and welcomed the sweetest little boy into my life as a result.
// I spent a lot of time with my family and friends due to living at home all year.
// I finally saw Paris & Atlantic City, and went on a few other great trips.
// I started to get fit after years of the "tomorrow" diet, and kind of indirectly became a lover of running.
// This blog really started taking shape for me, and though I have very few readers at the end of this year, I am hoping that 2014 will really be my year for this blog.
// I celebrated five years with R this year, which will hopefully be our last full year as a long distance couple.

Whatever twenty fourteen has to offer, I'm excited about it. I'm starting project life, which will be an awesome and necessary creative outlet, I'm participating in one little word to remind myself that the little things are just as important as the big, and I'm decorating an apartment in my head (with the help of Pinterest), which will hopefully be reality by the last quarter of the year. Let's do this, 2014.

December 16, 2013

december/england bucket list.

Though December is half over, my holiday bucket list contains mostly things that I would like to do when I'm in England with R for Christmas. We have been fortunate enough to spend the holidays with each other every year we've been together even though we sometimes miss other holidays in between, so our traditions have been pretty consistent since our first one back in 2008. This year I'll be with R at his house, and since he lives alone I think this Christmas will finally feel a little bit more like how our future Christmases will feel, which is pretty aweeeeesome. So here's what has made the must-do cut for this two week Christmas holiday:

1// snuggle in front of the fireplace with hot cocoa (extra marshmallows, please).
2// watch love actually + home alone.
3// go out for drinks all dressed up.
4// kiss R under the mistletoe (he's essential for that one).
5// watch the gavin & stacey christmas special.
6// cook and bake for R.
7// wrap presents together and listen to christmas music.
8// go to the christmas market in town.
9// wake up on christmas morning and drink coffee in front of our pressies.
10// watch the queen's speech on Christmas day. Just kidding, can't stand watching that (sorry royal family lovers).

I can't wait until my flight in less than a week, to be in the full-blown christmas spirit, and to be able to cuddle with R and live "our normal" for sixteen days. Yay for December!

December 6, 2013

project life 2014 // title page.

The time has almost arrived for my first ever week of project life. I seriously cannot wait for the end of this year, not only for Christmas and New Year's, but to start this album that I have been waiting to start for the last eight months or so. When I first heard about project life I found a bunch of bloggers that make project life albums and post their spreads weekly, and I just fell in love with the whole concept. I wanted to start right then and there, but because I'm a little bit anal, I decided I'd push it off until a new year started. I'm glad that I waited because I feel like I really have a grasp on how I want to do things and techniques that I like and don't like, but now that I've waited this long I just want to start already! So this weekend I decided to do my title page and get that finished before my first week starts up.I'm using a midnight cameras album, which is exclusive to Michael's, and so far the only kit I own is the midnight core kit. I asked for the seafoam core kit for Christmas, and because my mom can't keep her mouth shut, I know it's on the way from amazon! With those two kits I think that I'll have more than enough variety in terms of my color and design style, plus I have a ton of other scrapbooking supplies I'm excited to use, I have been making a few of my own journaling cards in photoshop to cater to my specific desires, and I have my new stamps. I have the midnight edition dividers, which I think I will use for the twelve months, and I've decided I'm going to use design A pages consistently, unless I want to add another insert for a particular week.For my title page I decided to fill up the slots mostly with the midnight core kit cards, because even though I am excited for the seafoam kit, I liked all of the cards I chose just fine (the only one I might change is the black and white striped card, because it doesn't bring much to the party, but I do like it there anyway).
I cut a 4x6 card out of the December fireworks page from my Kate Spade 2013 planner. I think it looks good with the color scheme, and it's kind of perfect since fireworks always mark the new year as soon as the clock strikes midnight. I made the "N is for" card on photoshop after seeing something similar on pinterest, and I chose a picture of myself for a 3x4, which I have used as my profile image on the blog and most of my social media for almost half of this year.Another card I created in photoshop is this '14 circle card. I knew that I would want something to journal on, and originally the striped card was my winner, but the stripes are going the wrong way for text, so the writing would look kind of awkward. I am really excited for this upcoming year and have a lot of plans for it, so I decided to start off strong by putting my expectations in writing. For both of my home printed photos and cards I used an EK tools corner rounder, though I'm actually not sure if it's the right size or if I even like how it works, but for now it's fine.The second picture I used of myself was taken this past weekend in some really comfy clothes. I felt like it was an appropriate wintery picture to use, and I just changed a lot of my social media profile images to this one, so it kind of comes full circle with the other photo. I used a sticko brand gold glitter "A" sticker right on the plastic sheet over the polka dot card, and called it a day. I am happy with the page, the only thing I might add is a stamp or some writing on the "hello" card, and again, that striped card may get switched out. Other than that, I'm super pumped to get this project started. I'll be in England for the first week of the new year, so hopefully I'll get some good shots of me and R and his family and our friends to kick off the album. Yay new project!

December 5, 2013

link love.

In these cozy months, I spend a lot more of my downtime snuggled up to my ipad because it's too cold to be outside. In the past few weeks of hibernation I have found a few things on the internet that I'm a little bit obsessed with.
1// this website full of "texts" between Mittens the cat and her owner.
2// this etsy shop, zana products.
3// sugar scape, a UK based gossip website that focuses on One Direction and somehow went under my radar. I am ashamed.
4// this website, for when you hear a song and you know it's in a movie but you just can't figure out which one (or vice versa. You'd be surprised how often this happens to me).
5// and this website dedicated solely to One Direction GIFS. Magic, pure magic.

Any good links you've been loving lately?

December 4, 2013

mini pumpkin cheesecakes.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I really need to cut down on sweets and over-eating until Christmas week, because I'll totally fall off my semi healthy wagon and start the new year as a sad chubby chub. That being said, don't even think for a second that I didn't enjoy Thanksgiving and all the food it had to bring! I did a little bit of baking myself, and to be honest, I'm a bit of a genius (just pat myself on the back there a little bit).Though I followed this recipe, I did alter a million and one things because as per usual, I didn't really read the recipe before I stepped into the kitchen, so I needed to do some tweaking. I made my cheesecakes in sprayed cupcake tins without liners, rather than the mini spring pan, because I don't have one (I've never made cheesecake before so I don't have all of the fancy bakeware for it). The way I did it worked out just fine though, so if you're like me and cupcake tins are all you have, go for it with those.Filling:
// 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
// 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
// 3/4 cup granulated sugar
// 3 eggs
// 1/8 cup heavy cream
// 1 tsp. vanilla extract
// 1 tsp. cinnamon
// 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
// 3/4 tsp. nutmeg

// 8-10 cinnamon graham crackers
// 1/4 cup melted butter
// pinch of salt

// 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
// 2 tbsp. granulated sugar1// Smash graham crackers in a plastic bag into crumbs and combine with the melted butter. Scoop into the sprayed tins and pack crumbs into the bottom with a spoon.
2// Bake crusts on 325*F for about 5 minutes, or until the crumbs begin to turn a bit dark brown.
3// While those bake, mix together the cream cheese at room temperature and the pumpkin until smooth. Add sugar, vanilla, eggs, spices, and heavy cream until well blended.
4// Spoon the filling on top of the baked crusts and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the cheesecake feels firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out basically clean.
5// Let cool for a bit in the tins, then use a spoon to loosen the edges and remove each cheesecake from the pan to continue cooling for another 20 minutes.
6// Whip heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks form and top each cheesecake with a dollop. Let cheesecakes sit in the fridge until ready to serve, at least a couple of hours.
*makes 24 mini cheesecakes.I really enjoyed making these, they were a lot easier than I thought they would be once I got the hang of it. I don't really have all of the necessary mixing equipment, and usually do everything by hand with no problem, but for all of the cream cheese I could have really used a stand mixer. But I did it, and I lived, so it's not too necessary, it would just make life a looooooot easier. If you're like me and you think baking cheesecake seems intimidating, just try these out, they will change the way you feel about the matter. My family devoured these, so I'm sure yours will too!

December 3, 2013

tunes tuesday // midnight memories.

OHHHH MAN. It's here, it's very here. Midnight Memories was released last Monday, and after a week of delirious glee, I have decided to share my thoughts about the album with you. Well. I'm just so overwhelmed, I don't know where to start really. I did a little post about Best Song Ever and the video for that already, as well as one for Story of My Life before the album actually came out. Those are the first two songs on the album, and Story of My Life is still one of my favorites now that I've heard the rest because the song and video are just so grown up and amazing, but I do have other favorites. I always tend to go for the more ballady songs, and for this album that's You & I, Half a Heart, and Don't Forget Where You Belong. Along with those and SOML, my last top five spot I think is taken by Strong. Such a great song, so relatable, and it has a nice little beat that goes with the lyrics. Another notable mention is the namesake of the album, and I kind of hope that it's one of the next radio singles because it's a really cool, rock-pop-ish song. Though it is very hard to pick a favorite, as of right now the song that I go to first nine times out of ten is Strong, so I am sharing that one with you all. Even if you weren't a One Direction fan before, this album is definitely worth a listen to give them a second chance. Their musical abilities, taste, and style are totally evolving as they get a little older, and I'm lovin' it.

One Direction

December 2, 2013

do it yourself (kind of) stamps.

In 2014 (so soon) I'm starting project life, a simplified scrapbook that allows you to simply slip photos, journaling cards, and other bits and bobs into plastic sheets, rather than gluing and cutting and sticking onto a giant sheet of paper. Though I love traditional scrapbooking and have made many a scrapbook from scratch in my day, I think I'm really going to love this project because it means that I can fit scrapbooking into my weekly schedule and get my creative juices flowing more often. I also love the idea of a weekly spread to really document the little things in life.

I have seen a lot of different project life spreads on blogs since my first discovery of it about eight months ago (see my faves: nicole + elise), so I think I've gotten a really good grasp on techniques I want to use, especially in terms of stamps. I love stamps, I think they're so fun, but they're also kind of expensive. I have bought quite a few stamps over the last year or so that would work well with project life, but I was looking for a few that I had up in my head but couldn't find online or in a shop, so I turned to and used photoshop to create exactly what I wanted.The first one that I really wanted was a geotag. I made a mini book over the summer and used a geotag wood chip from freckled fawn that I was obsessed with. I knew I would need a geotag then for project life so that I could use it on map snippets and pictures for weeks when I'm on a trip. I created one with a heart opening instead of a circular one because I'm usually traveling with people I love and I normally love wherever I travel to, so I thought it was fitting.
I was excited about this love stamp, because I found the font I wanted to use and just knew that with the tail in the front of the word and at the end, I would need to put it in a circle. This one will be perfect for photos but also on journaling cards.
Since I do a "currently" post on here about once a month, I figured it would make sense to do that for PL, so I made this little baby stamp to fit in spaces on journaling cards. I probably could have made this one a bit bigger because the font is so delicate, but oh well.
This last one (with a quote from superbad) is kind of just a bit of silliness for those weeks when you just have a bad day (or even a whole week). If I need to vent about something, this is the perfect stamp for a journaling card, or even a picture of something crazy. You never know!

I really enjoyed spending the time making these stamps, and I have figured out what I liked and what to do better for the next time I order them. I think that I loved making these so much that I might even reopen my etsy shop to sell some of them.