Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tuesday Tea: Looking Back at 2013

New Years Eve is always a day for reflection on the past year, and I'll especially have a lot of reflection time today since I'm leaving for Chicago to spend the last few days of Christmas Break with David--nothing like 2 hours of alone time on a plane to evaluate your life.

2013 was a year full of ups and downs.  I got amazing grades in some classes; I got failing grades in others.  My family experienced both a birth and a death.  I checked items off of my list of goals for 2013; I failed at completing some of said goals.

The list really goes on.

Sometimes it's really hard for me to accept the bad things that happen. Oftentimes the things that happen are completely out of my control, but when they're my fault (like a bad grade or a relationship mistake), it can feel even worse.

It's not a new revelation that I'm my own harshest critic. But I made a goal the past few years that I would try to find something positive in every situation, and despite how hard it can be sometimes, I really do think that this has improved my outlook somewhat on the things I can't control.  If you look hard enough, you really can find a small glimmer of a silver lining, even if it's just a lesson (personally, I've gotten a lot of lessons in patience and humility this year).

2014 is going to be a big year of firsts for me between graduating college and entering "the real world," and so I especially know that I have to keep a positive mindset as I enter this new year.  There's going to be times when I know I will feel completely overwhelmed, but I know that there's also going to be some really amazing times as well.  We'll just have to wait and see what God has in store for me!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)


Words don't really describe how much I love this yarn that I used to complete this scarf. It's the KnitPicks Capra yarn, and it's a dreamy blend of merino wool and cashmere. Even pictures don't do it justice. It knitted beautifully and made, what I hope will be, a warm scarf.

Can you believe that next Wednesday means Christmas and the last Yarn Along of the year? Where does the time go? Hopefully I will have another finished project to show you by then :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday Tea: Tea-Infused Hot Chocolate

I've stated here before my new found love of peppermint tea: it's warm and yummy and reminds me of the holidays. You know what else reminds me of the holidays? Hot chocolate.

I'm also a big fan of Starbucks' peppermint hot chocolate, so while brewing some tea and making some hot chocolate on two separate occasions, I wondered if I could make my own version of peppermint hot chocolate.

I started by brewing the peppermint tea, and then using that tea to pour over the hot chocolate packet instead of using just hot water.

It was so delicious!  This might be a new classic Christmas hot beverage for me!




Best served with whipped cream :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Kerry's Favorite Things of 2013 (á la Oprah)

If Oprah can have a list of favorite things every year, then I think I can too. The only difference of course being that people will actually go out and buy the items she endorses. But these are ten tried and true products that I discovered this year that have my stamp of approval.

1: DavidsTea -- David and I are especially fans of The Earl's Garden, possibly the yummiest variation of traditional Earl Grey tea that I have ever had.
2: Cole Haan shoes -- A pair of shoes like these are the kind of shoe that you only buy extremely on sale, but they are some of the best investments I've made. I recently read an article about how women's shoes, both high heels and flats, have essentially zero support, no matter how comfortable they may feel. The solution (besides walking around in sneakers all day)? Cole Haan teamed up with Nike to build their shoes with Nike Air technology, and my arches have thanked me ever since.
3: Organix hair products -- I have thick, weirdly textured hair that loves to simultaneously have serious breakage and too much build-up. (Is that enough TMI yet?) Organix has the only products that I've encountered that can somehow tame my hair to a more manageable level. Plus they all smell amazing.
4: Individual serving tea strainers -- Perfect for making just one cup of tea when you don't want to use tea bags. 
5: True & Co.* -- Okay, so I'm not the kind of girl to talk about underthings on her blog, but I would be doing a disservice to the other women of the world if I didn't at least mention this company. How many times have you felt awkward and rushed trying on bras in a store, the sales lady constantly asking how things are fitting? True & Co. send you your bras to try on at home for free with absolutely zero obligation to purchase. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus for the option to try on bras in the comfort of our own homes.  Plus, their customer service is amazing, and I've loved the bras I bought from them.
6: KnitPicks Cotlin Yarn -- This is probably my favorite yarn that I've used this year. I used it to knit my Hashtag Camisole, and I am currently using it again to knit a table runner. It's a great blend of cotton and linen, and I think it's great for a variety of patterns that require more structure but is still soft.
7: Interweave Knits Magazine -- Because David is frequently buying me craft related things, he made the great decision in buying me a subscription to a knitting magazine for Valentine's Day.  I love the patterns in it, and the articles are great to read too.  In fact, this is the magazine where I got the pattern for, you guessed it, my Hashtag Camisole.
8: Sharpie Pens -- I love a good inky pen, but the way I write, I usually just end up smudging the ink right across the paper.  Therefore, I love Sharpie pens because they have terrific saturation, but they dry immediately.
9: Field Treasure Designs -- I first learned about this company when I entered into their Thanksgiving giveaway in 2012 and consequently won a reclaimed pallet clock (relive the glory in this post).  Ever since, I have told so many people about the founder's incredible handmade work, and I absolutely love his mission statement.  I love small businesses, and I've been looking for the opportunity to buy something from him again soon.
10: Peppermint tea -- I generally have a really sensitive stomach, and aside from sleeping it off, I've never really found a good solution to an upset stomach.  A few months ago, I went to the Dekalb Farmer's Market and found myself in tea heaven.  They had a whole aisle of loose leaf tea at minuscule prices.  On a whim, I bought an entire Tupperware container of peppermint tea for just $2, and it has done so much to help my stomach.  As a bonus, it tastes amazing :) 

*By the way, if True & Co. seems like something that might be right up your alley, use this referral code.  It'll give you $25 off your purchase, and it'll give me store credit :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)




Isn't it always fun to knit without using a pattern? I had an idea of what I wanted this scarf to look like, but I wanted to make it up as I went along. It's proved to make for some really low-stress knitting, and it's the perfect way of making sure I have just enough yarn since I'm notorious for buying too much or too little.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday Tea

It's finals week, so you better believe I've been drinking copious amounts of tea.  I had two finals yesterday, have another one today, and my last final on Friday will wrap the semester up for me.  Needless to say, I can't wait.

In the meantime, I'm too busy to write much, so I'll just leave you with a letter I read over the weekend.  It moved me, and I think it has the ability to inspire and apply to a person in any profession, not just writing.

http://therumpus.net/2010/08/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-48-write-like-a-motherfucker/

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)



The yarn that I bought during the KnitPicks sale last week arrived on Monday, and I'm so happy with my choices. For the most part, I bought all new types of yarn, and I'm excited to work with them and see how they knit up. I cast on a Christmas present that night, and I'm hoping to get some good knitting time on my flight to Miami this afternoon.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tuesday Tea: In Celebration of Two Years of Love

I'm just going to warn you now about how badly I'm going to be cheese ballin' in this post. Today marks the two year anniversary of when David and I started dating. Unconventionally enough, it happened in the wee hours of the morning, and I can still remember what David said to me. It was magical then, and our relationship is still magical now. I've learned so much about myself over these past two years, and I can't believe how quickly time flies.

I know the coming years will be just as magical.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Five Movies I Always Watch Before Christmas

It's officially December, and we've had the cold weather to show for it.  The beginning to December is usually a downer because although I'm itching to get into the Christmas mood, I'm stuck instead with finishing up the end of the semester and taking exams.  But once that last day of exams rolls around, pretty much nothing stops me from participating in all things holiday related, and there are always five movies that I make sure to watch around Christmas time.

1: Love Actually. This is the ultimate modern day Christmas story. It showcases all my favorite British actors, and I've been known to watch this movie regularly throughout the year, regardless of the season.
2: White Christmas.  My family watches this movie without fail every Christmas, and my sisters and I frequently can be caught singing the "Sisters" song. Also, I have a crush on Bing Crosby--his voice makes me melt.
3: Home Alone.  This movie is guaranteed to be on TV at least once or twice during December, and I'll definitely make sure to catch it. Especially since the only copy of this movie that my family owns is on VHS.
4: The Santa Clause.  This is one of those movies that is really funny when you are younger, but it's not until you are older that you realize just how much adult humor is in this movie.
5: While You Were Sleeping.  This movie is the epitome of a cheesy 90's "rom-com," but it's amazing. It also just so happens to be one of my sisters' favorite movies, so I've seen it dozens of times. I can quote large chunks of this movie. It also takes place in Chicago, so it's always fun to watch and see what buildings and landmarks I recognize.

And because I couldn't narrow it down to just five:

6: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  Three words: Happy Christmas, Harry.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful 26-30

I am thankful for...

26: ...all the love I saw at the airport today. Not just the love exchanged between David and me when we were reunited, but the love that was omnipresent at arrivals. There were a lot of people waiting for loved ones' planes to land, and it made me appreciate this season of Thanksgiving and love.
27: ...the memories I have of my grandpa. He was truly an amazing man, and his absence on this earth will be felt by a lot of people.
28: ...a heartfelt Thanksgiving with my amazing family. We laughed, we cried, and we remembered and honored a very influential man.
29: ...good friends and the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with my Canadian "family."
30: ...officially watching and listening to Christmas movies and music. Also, being able to find love in all situations.

Thanks to everyone who read these posts. I am thankful for you too.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)


Did anyone else go crazy over the sale that KnitPicks is having right now?  I bought so much yarn, but it was essentially guilt free because it was just a fraction of the cost of what it would have been otherwise.  Besides, I have plans already for most of the skeins that I bought, so at least I had some self-control in that respect!

Some of the yarn I bought was more of the Cotlin yarn that I'm using to knit this table runner.  So far, all that I've used is the excess yarn that I had from my Hashtag Camisole, so I needed to buy more in order to complete the project.  So far it's coming along great though!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday Tea: Sweater Weather

There's been a Fall survey/questionnaire thing-y floating around a lot of people's blogs recently called sweater weather which is pretty much a fun little way to get to know more about people's favorite things about Fall. Most people answer the questions in the form of a video, but I'm just going to type them out. Maybe one day I'll work up the courage to do a vlog.

1. Favorite candle scent? I don't really burn too many candles myself, but during the Christmas season, my parents usually have a candle burning in the kitchen or the dining room.  My two favorites come from a store which sadly no longer exists (Illuminations, anyone?), but when they went out of business, my family raided their store and stocked up on our favorites.  I'm a stickler for the Christmas tree and the Cranberry Orange scents.

2. Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? This one is pretty obvious for anyone that knows me at least moderately well.  Tea.  Hands down.  (I'm drinking Lady Grey right now.)  I'm not really one to discriminate against hot drinks though.  I'd probably drink coffee if it didn't make my stomach upset, and I love hot chocolate and hot apple cider.  There's a time and a place for all drinks, I guess.  I love to make sugar free hot chocolate when I have a really bad sweet tooth because it tastes sweet but isn't loaded up with sugar.

3. What's the best fall memory you have? There isn't really one specific memory that stands out to me, but I really love Thanksgiving in general.  I love spending that time with family, doing what I do best.  Which is eating.

4. Which makeup trend do you prefer: winged eye liner or dark lips? Is it acceptable to say neither?  I love eye liner, but the one time I've tried the "winged" look, I looked a little ridiculous.  Maybe if someone who knew what they were doing applied the makeup for me, then I might like it.  It's just not a technique I've really played around with that much so I haven't mastered it.  As for dark lips, I think they're too much hassle to maintain.  They look great when you first put it on, but as soon as you eat or drink anything, you're doomed.  I have a favorite lipstick (Clinique's Tender Heart), and it's my go-to.

5. Best fragrance for fall? I don't really have a seasonal fragrance, and I also don't own any perfumes.  I do have a couple body mists from Bath and Body Works that I like.

6. Favorite Thanksgiving food? ALL OF THEM.  I used to not like anything that my family served at Thanksgiving, but now I can't get enough.  If I had to choose one, I would probably go with the corn casserole (which I am in charge of cooking this year, so here goes nothing).

7. What is autumn weather like where you live? Today, Atlanta has been miserably cold and rainy all day.  Usually we don't get too much rain, but the temperature does like to fluctuate.  This will probably be our first cold Thanksgiving that we've had in a couple years.

8. Most worn sweater? My navy blue cardigan with the embroidery on the left breast.

9. Must-have nail polish this fall? I'm not that big on religiously painting my nails.  Whatever nail polish is on my toes usually stays there for a month, and having nail polish on my finger nails is usually too much of a commitment.  I did recently pick up NYC's "Fashion Safari" at Target though, and I really like it.

10. Football games or jumping in leaf piles? I enjoy going to Tech's football game's but other than that I don't really support any teams.  So I guess jumping in leaf piles.

11. Skinny jeans or leggings? Skinny jeans.  I used to hate jeans when I was a kid (probably because my family used to use a clothes line instead of the dryer, and air-dried jeans become as stiff as cardboard), but my love of them has grown.  I do appreciate leggings, but I hate the way they've exploded into being acceptable to wear in public.  Please cover your butts people.  That's my PSA for the day.

12. Combat boots or Uggs? How about just boots in general?  I practically live in my boots during the colder months.

13. Is pumpkin spice worth the hype? Considering that I don't drink coffee, I really can't speak to the ever famous pumpkin spice latte, but I don't like pumpkin flavored things in general.  David and I went to a wine party over Fall Break though where our hostess had made pumpkin cupcakes, and those were amazing.  I would kill for the recipe.  Especially the homemade frosting.

14. Favorite fall TV show? American Horror Story.  I'm really behind on the current season though because David and I prefer to watch it together.

15. What song really gets you into the fall spirit?  Ummm... Something mellow and acoustic.  Maybe Cat Stevens' "The Wind."  That song gets me every time.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thankful 21-25

I am thankful for...

21: ...my very thoughtful mom who sent me a Christmas amaryllis in the mail! I can't wait for it to bloom in a few weeks :)


22: ...the fact that today is Friday!  I'm going to have a busy weekend filled with a lot of studying and schoolwork, but I'm excited to still take a little time for me!
23: ...sleeping in and catching up on sleep.
24: ...my amazing parents. I know I take them for granted sometimes, but we're so blessed to have a relationship built on love and understanding.
25: ...knowing that David is going to arrive tomorrow night because it's giving me motivation to power through all the work I need to get done!


You can find my previous "thankful" posts here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thankful 16-20

I am thankful for...

16: ...all the amazing blogs that I read.  I gain some much inspiration from these incredible bloggers, and reading their blogs every day provides me time of creativity, encouragement, and joy.
17: ...my crazy imagination for giving me some pretty awesome dreams, last night being no exception.
18: ...the invention of the cell phone to provide me with the means to share good morning and goodnight texts with David every day.
19: ...the opportunity to snuggle with my sweet baby nephew.  He's great at cuddling.
20: ...a warm bed to sleep in on cool nights like this.


You can find my previous "thankful" posts here.

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)


This table runner is rather a slow knit, but I'm really happy with how it's looking so far. I'm starting to feel the pressure of getting my knitted Christmas presents done on time (especially considering that I haven't even purchased the yarn for one project yet), but I'm not too stressed yet. With the end of the semester coming up, I don't really have time to be stressed about anything except my looming finals.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday Tea

Surprisingly, this hot cup of peppermint tea is the first cup of tea that I'm having today. It was a busy day of celebrating birthdays over lunch with friends, going to class, working on group projects, and helping my sister with my niece and nephew for the afternoon. Now I'm so ready to get into comfy pants, wrap up in a blanket, and do some yarn work. I made the mistake of starting to watch Breaking Bad, and I'm already enthralled--it's just so well-written--so I'll probably watch an episode of that too.

Side note: look at this preciousness just snoozing away on my chest. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thankful 11-15

I am thankful for...

11: ...feeling productive today! I got a lot of work done for many of my classes, and I still managed to sit down and take time for myself at the end of the day.
12: ...my guitar and the music it has brought me all these years.
13: ...the food on my plate. Sometimes I take something so essential for granted.
14: ...the chance to lie in bed reading the whole morning.  I finally finished A Feast for Crows!
15: ...my knitting magazine which arrived in the mail today!  I get so much knitting inspiration from these, and it was from the most recent Spring issue that I found the pattern to make my Hashtag Camisole!


You can find my previous "thankful" posts here.

Royals


"We aren't caught up in your love affair."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)


One of my sisters welcomed a new sweet baby into the world this past Friday.  She's going to have newborn pictures taken of my little nephew in a few days, so she asked me if I could make a little bow tie for him.  He's going to look so precious!  But maybe I'm a little biased ;)  I can't wait to see how it looks on him!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Tea: Long Books and a Cup of Tea

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
    - C.S. Lewis

I'm currently drinking a mug of Earl Grey, and reading two hunks of books right now.

The first is An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon which I have been plowing through for quite some time.  My motivation to finish it quickly though has diminished somewhat though since the author of the series just announced that the release date of the eighth book is being pushed back.  So for now, I've been taking breaks between sections of the book to read other things as well.

The second hunk of book that I'm reading right now is A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin.  I definitely agree with the other people that think that this is the worst book of the series.  But by worst book, I think we all know that I don't mean that the book is bad, just slow and maybe a little dry compared to the fast-paced, heart-pumping previous three books.  I have only about a fifth of the book left though, and it has only gotten progressively more exciting.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thankful 6-10

I am thankful for...

6: ...the beauty of nature during fall.
7: ...simultaneously getting Starbucks pick-me-ups with Molly who looked beautiful.
8: ...a quick and healthy delivery of my new baby nephew. Ten fingers, ten toes. He's perfect :)
9: ...my inclination towards all things crafty.  I would probably go crazy if I didn't have knitting and crochet as a means to unwind at the end of the day.
10: ...hot tea to warm and soothe my soul.


You can find my previous "thankful" post here.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Luke Timothy

My beautiful nephew was born at 7:44 this evening. Both mom and baby are healthy and happy. I could not be a happier aunt :)



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)


I have multiple projects on the needles right now, and this is just one of them.  So far I have finished the first pattern repeat of what will be a table runner.  I have a lot of repeats to go!

You can find my Ravelry notes here.

Thankful 1-5

Every November, people like to share what they are thankful for each day of the month in preparation for Thanksgiving. My goal is to list the things I am personally thankful for over the course of November here on this blog. I think months like these are wonderful to remind ourselves just as blessed we are. Without further ado...

I am thankful for...

1: ...having a great relationship with David's family.
2: ...getting to say goodbye to the mountain house my family owned for two decades. Some of my favorite childhood memories took place there. It was truly my family's Retreat.
3: ...my wonderful boyfriend with whom I have spent the past 23 months of my life in a wonderful and loving relationship.  I can't wait for our two year anniversary next month :)
4: ...the opportunity to visit Georgia Tech's observatory and to view Venus, Uranus, and the Ring Nebula up close.
5: ...my amazing dad who is celebrating his birthday today.  I am so blessed by the love and patience he continually shows me, and without him, I'm not sure I would be studying math.  He has always had such an influence on my life.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tuesday Tea: Fall Break

As per promised (too long ago), I wanted to tell you all about my Chicago adventures during Fall Break. The break came at the end of a long week of midterms, the last of which didn't end until Friday at 3 PM, so I unfortunately had to wait on a late flight. I passed the time at the airport by doing some reading and drinking a cup of tea. There is one perk of late flights though, the cities below all look like a spider web of twinkle lights from above in the plane.

That night, after David picked me up from the airport, we watched the first episode of the new season of American Horror Story.  This show is amazingly terrifying, and I can't watch it without having a hand to squeeze.

The next morning, David and I went to brunch at Nookies Too.  We had been here before, and we couldn't resist returning.  I got the croissant French toast with mascarpone and strawberries, and David got the corned beef hash with eggs.



Later that afternoon, we saw the Midnight Circus perform.  They travel around to different park in Chicago every weekend, and David and I were lucky enough to have them performing nearby.  Some parts of the circus were definitely more geared towards children, but we still had an amazing time!  I was so impressed by the things these people could do!

That night, we made garlic and rosemary pork chops for dinner before dressing up and going to a wine party that a friend of David's was hosting at her apartment.  The wine, of course, was amazing, but even better were the pumpkin cupcakes.  I'm not usually a fan of pumpkin, but these were so yummy.  They were mini cupcakes, but I still ate at least eight of them.  No shame.

On Sunday, David and I had a mostly domestic day, only going outside to walk to church, as we made two different types of stew and my very first pie!  We made both a Mexican beef stew and a beef and vegetables stew in crockpots (it provided us with dinner both Sunday and Monday night, plus a couple leftover meals for David!).  After the stews had started cooking, David and I set about making our very first apple pie.  We cheated and used a store bought crust, but everything else was completely homemade, and the apples even came apple trees that David's roommate got from his parents house in Michigan.  I washed and peeled the apples, and while David thinly sliced them, I set about preparing the dry ingredients that we would be tossing the apples in.  Let me tell you, I could have eaten that stuff by itself.  Before we knew it, the pie was in the oven cooking, and in the meantime, we started watching the new Great Gatsby movie.  A feast of stew and apple pie a la mode was to be enjoyed by all.





Monday was one of my favorite days of the break.  David and I drove about 40 miles west of Chicago to Goebbert's Pumpkin Patch.  This wasn't just any ol' pumpkin patch though; it also had a mini haunted house, delicious homemade apple donuts, a corn maze, a pumpkin eating dinosaur, a pumpkin cannon, various wildlife, and, wait for it...a giraffe.  Not just any giraffe though.  It was a giraffe that you could pet and feed.  I COULD BARELY CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT.





 You know you're jealous.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Literary Inspired Halloween

For a few week's, David and I tossed around various ideas for Halloween costumes.  We wanted to do a "couple costume" but didn't necessarily want it to be too cutesy.  We thought about being minions, we considered being Daenerys and Ser Jorah Mormont, and we even thought about something Dexter themed.  When I mentioned to David that I had a Frodo Baggins costume from years ago, we struck upon gold with the idea of David being the Tower of Barad-dur complete with the eye of Sauron at the top.




We took so many action shots over the course of the night, and everyone agreed that the costumes were a great success, especially David's ability to transform a yoga ball into the eye of Sauron.  We were even told that we had the best couples' costume ever.  Woohoo!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

Before:


After:

This past weekend, I had the exciting fun of combining knitting and crochet together.  I used the same pattern that I used on this scarf that I presented for the Yarn Along a few weeks ago, but I feared that I would run out of yarn before I could complete it, so I excluded one of the pattern repeats.  To compensate for the width though, I considered crocheting a border around the edges.  I think the scalloped edge really sets the scarf apart, and I'm so excited with how it turned out!  I could not be more thrilled.

Monday, October 28, 2013

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love."

 - Washington Irving

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Holidays are Coming! The Holidays are Coming!

This title of course to be said in the style of Paul Revere.

As of yesterday, it's only two months until Christmas.  I'm the kind of person that gets upset that Thanksgiving is pretty much looked over because of the imminent Christmas season, but being a crafter and a lover of all things homemade, I really need to start thinking about Christmas early.

I've started my gift planning by making a list of all the homemade things that I want to make this year to give to family, and the next step in the process will be to go through my yarn stash, see what I can use up and see what yarn I will need to buy.  The hard part of course will be to not buy more yarn than I need, thus adding to the aforementioned stash.  What can I say, I have a small obsession with yarn-y things.

The next step is to obviously set about knitting frantically all the things I want to make in time for Christmas.  I have a pretty high goal this year, and although two months sounds like a decent amount of time to get things done, as fast as this month went, Christmas will be here before we know it.  Plus there's the added effort of having to get through the rest of the semester.  I may be a senior, but I'm trying my hardest to not put school on the back burner. Chant with me: I will not get senioritis.  I will not get senioritis.  I will not get senioritis.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Role of Ritual in Religion


I talked a few months ago about the "Theology on Tap" group that I joined back in January. We get together the second Thursday of every month to discuss an aspect of theology and our faith. Sometimes we have a guest speaker who will guide the discussion, but sometimes we just have a certain topic that we just have an open forum discussion about, as was the case for this month's meeting.

This month, we discussed the role of ritual in religion, and I loved it. We all opened up about whether or not we thought ritual was a good thing, and I think the general consensus was that ritual is a healthy part of religion. Ritual is a symbolic repeated action that often transcends the use of words.

As repetitive action is the root of ritual, it is truly the essence of human learning. It is true that not all ritual is religious, but the ideas are the same. Take for instance the ritual between a mother and her child--this interaction shows that when practiced between people, ritual gives rise to love. And who's to say that one of those two people involved in a ritualistic act can't be God? I think the love that God has for us, and our love for Him, gives rise to all the other love in our lives. And that is pretty darn special.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)




It's been a while since I had a knitting project on the needles.  Too long in fact.  But I started this new project last night while watching the most recent episode of New Girl.  I love this basket rib pattern by Traci Heiner--it's so dynamic and textured.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday Tea: The Dharma Bums

"The first sip of tea is joy, the second is gladness, the third is serenity, the fourth is madness, the fifth is ecstasy."

- Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums


If you read this blog even semi-regularly, you know that I have a profound love for Jack Kerouac, especially his novel The Dharma Bums.  I first read this book during a time when Kerouac's autobiographical words really hit home for me, especially his speculations about God, spirituality, and life.  This book introduced me to a spiritual mode of thinking that I think I've carried with  me ever since, and the overarching themes of compassion, simplicity, and spontaneity are things that I try to put into practice.

When I took a prayer and meditation class as a senior in high school, one of the most important things I was taught was to not lose my childish innocence, and The Dharma Bums emphasizes this all over again for me.

"To the children and the innocent, it's all the same."

One cup of tea with a side of simplicity, please.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A to Z Book Survey

I've seen this list on a few different blogs, and I wanted to give filling it in myself a go.  Some of these questions were hard!


Author you’ve read the most books from.
Jack Kerouac. I've read over seven of his novels including one of his books of poetry.

Best sequel ever.

Rebels Angels by Libba Bray, the sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty. Between the fantasy and the budding semi-romance between Gemma and Kartik, I devoured this book whole.

Currently reading.
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon.


Drink of choice while reading.
No surprise: Tea! It's starting to get colder, so my tea addiction is probably going to start increasing exponentially.

E-reader or physical book? 

This is a tough one. I love everything about a physical book--the smell, the feel, bookmarks--except for the inconvenience of lugging it around. Especially on vacation, e-readers are the way to go since you can save so much luggage space by having all your books stored in one convenient place.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school. 

Well, I never dated in high school, but if I had my pick of the litter, I would have dated complex pretty boy Jon Snow. Or Severus Snape, even though he would have been slightly out of my age range by about 20 years. Or Cadvan from the Pellinor series.  Apparently, high school Kerry had a soft spot for brooding characters.

Glad you gave this book a chance. 

Ender's Game by Orsen Scott Card. I don't usually go for science fiction novels, but this book blew my mind. I can't wait for the movie to release next month.

Hidden gem book.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.  Okay, so maybe this isn't a hidden gem for most people given its wide popularity, but at the time when I read it, it was a hidden gem for me given that I had never heard anyone mention it before.

Important moment in your reading life. 

Before I could even read, I used to pick a big word in a book, ask what it was, and then learn how to spell it.  The first word I ever did this with was butterfly.

Just finished.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.  I didn't completely agree with everything in this book, but he did make some interesting points.

Kinds of books you won’t read. 

Honestly, I read pretty much everything.  I read some things more than others, but in general, there isn't a genre that I completely avoid.  If someone recommends a book to me, I'll usually read it whether it be science fiction, historical romance, or even nonfiction.

Longest book you’ve ever read. 

Goodreads tells me that would be George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords coming in at 1,177 pages of literary awesomeness.

Major book hangover because of

One Day by David Nicholls.  This book continues to haunt me with its beauty.

Number of bookcases you own. 

Not enough.  Most of my books have just accumulated on my dresser, in my closet, and even a crate on the floor.

One book you have read multiple times.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

Preferred place to read.

In a comfy armchair with a warm blanket and a cup of tea.

Quote from a book you’ve read that inspires you.
"the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars." - Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Reading regret. 

There are several books that I read during high school for certain English classes that I feel I did not fully appreciate.  I would like to give some of them a chance again, but my impression of them is too soiled by being forced to read them.

Series you started and need to finish.

A Song of Ice and Fire.  But then again, George R. R. Martin hasn't even finished the series, so I've got some time.  My goal is just to be caught up before the new seasons air on HBO.  I'm about halfway through A Feast for Crows, so I'm good for now in that regard.

Three of your all-time favourite books. 
The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Woof, that was hard to narrow down...

Unapologetic fangirl for… 
Severus Snape.  You guys, I wrote fan-fiction that centered around him.  Enough said.

Very excited for this release more than all the others.

Written in My Own Heart's Blood, the eighth book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  I'm finishing up the seventh book now, and I'm already itching for the next in the series.

Worst bookish habit.

I hate dog-earring books, but I'm also bad about using bookmarks.  The end result: I usually just close the book without marking my spot and suffer for it later as I backtrack and find where I left off.

X marks the spot: the 27th book on my shelf. 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Your latest book purchase. 

Knit Two by Kate Jacobs.

Zzz-snatcher book (latest book that kept you up way late).
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I knew the end of this book was going to be sad, but I stayed up late to finish it anyways because I couldn't stop.  I ended up bawling my eyes out at 2 in the morning.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday Tea: From Chicago

This Tuesday Tea coming to you from Chicago's Midway Airport! I am currently sitting at my gate, waiting for my flight to board, and drinking a delicious cup of English Breakfast tea. Although I would rather not be leaving, this Fall Break was really wonderful. It's been a while since I did a post detailing my Chicago adventures, and after such an amazing long weekend, I think it deserves its own post. Sneak peek: I got to pet a giraffe.

But now, we're boarding the plane, so until later...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday Tea: Midterms Schmidterms

It's not particularly groundbreaking news to hear that midterms are no fun, especially when you have three of them over the course of a mere four days.  But when I think about what lies ahead after I finish these midterms, Fall Break, I get a little bit of belief that I can pretty much overcome anything.  Like last year, I am going up to Chicago to see David over the long weekend, and I can't wait.  I can't believe last year's Fall Break was the first time I had ever been to Chicago.  It's so nice to know that I have someone as awesome as David waiting for me at the end of this week of tests.

In the meantime though, I am one midterm down with two to go, so I will bid you adieu for now and go in search of another cup of tea to help me get through the rest of tonight's studying.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)




Okay, you caught me, this isn't exactly a yarn project, but my knitting needles are on a slight hiatus at the moment as I'm frantically trying to finish this giant cross-stitch (the picture isn't even showing a fourth of it).  I've got a hard-set deadline on this, so I've been trying to devote time to it everyday, but considering midterms are coming up, it's getting harder and harder to find time to craft as the semester progresses.

So forgive my lack of a yarn project.  Can we extend the yarn along to a more general craft along this week? :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday Tea: October 1st

If you can believe it, October is already here, and although the next two weeks are going to be insanely hectic in my classes, there are definitely some things that I'm looking forward to this month:

1. Cooler weather = more tea
2. Moccasins
3. Wearing scarves
4. Knitting cold weather items
5. Fall Break
6. Halloween
7. Boots!
8. Next month, my nephew, Luke, will be born!

School may be getting crazy, but I have so much to be thankful for :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pigs on the Wing, Part 1


"We would zigzag our way through the boredom and pain, occasionally glancing up through the rain."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Tea: DAVIDsTEA

One of the most fortuitous Chicago finds that David and I have had over the past year was the discovery of The Kerryman, a bar and restaurant that serves some seriously yummy Irish inspired foods. Plus I couldn't have picked a better name for it myself.

David changed apartments this past month, so we've had the pleasure of exploring a different part of Chicago, and this past weekend, we came across a great find. While driving back to his apartment one evening, we looked up and saw a tea shop called David's Tea. Seriously fate, y'all. We made plans to make sure to stop in, and once we did, we were so glad for our discovery. The entire wall behind the counter was filled with tins holding a hundred different types of tea, and we could either have a cup brewed for us right then and there or we could take some home with us. We ended up getting canisters of The Earl's Garden and the Organic Super Ginger. We made a the ginger tea that night, and it was so yummy and spicy.

Two great places that we like to think were named after us. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hobbit Day

Today, September 22, marks Hobbit Day, a day to celebrate both Frodo and Bilbo Baggins' birthdays and a day to celebrate the wonders of Tolkien's imagination. I hope you celebrate by having second breakfasts, elevenses, and, of course, some afternoon tea, and may your imagination run wild and be limitless because, after all,

"A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities."

 - J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, September 20, 2013

Oatmeal

I recently discovered the joys of cooking oatmeal* on the stove.  In the past, I just took the lazy route and cooked it in the microwave, but that usually led to under or over-cooked oatmeal that made me understand why some people call it gruel.  It just doesn't sound appetizing.  And kind of makes me want to watch Pocahontas...  Don't judge.

But then, on a whim this weekend, I decided to give cooking oatmeal on the stove a whirl.  The results: it only took a few minutes more, and it was so much tastier.  So long as I have a pot and stove at my convenience, I will henceforth be cooking my oatmeal this way.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of oatmeal (I use old fashioned oats)
1/2 cup water
1/2 milk (or half & half if you want it really creamy)
2 tsp brown sugar (or to taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

1. Combine water and milk in pot and heat to a low boil, stirring regularly to prevent the milk from burning.
2. Once the water and milk begin to bubble, stir in the oatmeal and simmer.
3. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and mix in.
4. The oatmeal is done when it is creamy but no longer runny (about five minutes after adding oatmeal in).
5. Serve the oatmeal and top with any fruits of choice.

*By oatmeal, I don't mean the individual serving size packets that have overly sweet flavors like maple syrup and brown sugar.  Having grown up with a diabetic sister, I was never really exposed to large quantities of sugar, so, as a result, I can't even handle things like sweetened applesauce.  Unsweetened for me please!  So, when I buy oatmeal, I buy the extra large canisters of just plain oats on the bottom row of the shelf.  They need some love too.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Progress

The ever lovely Molly wrote a blog post recently that really stuck with me.  With the career fair last week and the stress of wondering where the future is going to take me, I've been freaking out about finding a job, getting interviews, and wondering what the heck I'm going to do after college, much less the problem of worrying about my current classes, my personal life, and still maintaining my mental sanity.  There's just a lot of bumps in the road in this thing called life, so Molly's words could not have come at a more perfect time, and she was wonderful enough to let me share them here:

It's weeks like this one, with hefty loads of homework, responsibility, and laundry put into faulty dryers, that sometimes put me into an ungrateful frame of mind. Because college is hard and tedious and we're all just counting down the days until we "get out". But then I look down at the homemade cat sweatshirt I'm wearing and the jar of peanut butter I'm significantly lightening and I think, when else could this possibly be O.K.? When else will it be completely acceptable to wear weird clothes or hang out at concerts or eat the majority of your meals in bed or shirk assignments in favor of blogging or stay up way too late simply having fun?

I'm an engineer. I like things with progression. First one thing, then another, stepping through a process to achieve a goal, and, if you're a good engineer, every step just as important as the one before it, the entire system tailored for efficiency. I think God is an engineer. A good one. And I'm convinced that each step in this process of growing old is a necessary, relevant step, designed to perfection. Skipping steps is illogical.

So let's enjoy where we are, because we'll move on to that next step exactly when the design calls for it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)





I feel like a look pretty awkward whenever I take "selfies" of myself modeling knitted items.  Nonetheless, I am happy to present this finished scarf just in time for cooler weather.  We've been having a tease of cool temperatures in the mornings, but by the afternoon, it's just as hot as ever, so I probably won't get any use out of my scarf until next month.  Can you believe it's already halfway through September?  Me neither.

My Ravelry notes for this project can be found here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Tea: Childhood Crushes

Let's be real.  We all had that one (or, one per week) guy who made our adolescent hearts flutter.  And I'm not talking about Devon Sawa.  I'm talking about boys that you actually knew.  For me, it was usually the boy I sat across from in the lunch room, and this young hunk was also next to me alphabetically, so we were pretty much placed next to each other all the time.

Why am I bringing him up on this particular Tuesday? I realized this morning as I was writing the date on the top of my class notes that today is in fact his birthday. Why do I remember his birthday? Once upon a time, I told said boy that I could guess the day he was born. He accepted my challenge, I "guessed" a day, and I got it right. From then on, my third grade class thought I was psychic.  The truth: I was a creeper. And my teacher had a list of everybody's birthdays on the bulletin board. But I accepted my cool psychic label.

So happy 22nd birthday, 3rd grade crush. I will never forget your birthday.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)




As promised, here's the progress on my latest scarf/cowl. I'm pretty much in love with the color of the yarn. I babysat until midnight last night (lots of time for knitting once babies are asleep!), so I'm just a few rows from completion. I should have a finished product for next Wednesday's Yarn Along :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Career Fairs

It's that time of year again: the time of year when I realize that I don't actually own any business professional clothing, that I make the mistake of wearing heels, and that I routinely have existential crises about the direction my life is headed.

Do I want to go into finance?
Do I want to go into consulting?
Insurance?
Teaching?

As Molly accurately described, who I ran into at the career fair, possibly the highlight of the whole ordeal, career fairs are slightly dehumanizing.

For once I'd like a recruiter to ask me what I do in my spare time and expect me to mention some creative part of my life, like knitting, and not that I taught myself a coding language in my free time (which I didn't fyi, I'm just throwing out an example, even though it just so happens to be the example that the guy in front of me in line gave).

Round two commences tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and happy yarn along day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)




I've successfully managed to check another thing off of my 2013 bucket list as I finally finished crocheting my chevron blanket!  Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have of the finished product as the blanket now has a new owner, but I think it's safe to say that it is going to be well loved :)  I love the colors, and I love the way it turned out.  I'm already dreaming of my next large scale project.  For now though, I just put a lace scarf on the knitting needles that I'm excited to share with you all next Wednesday!

I'm currently reading An Echo in the Bone, the seventh book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  It's long and slightly dense in parts, but it's so incredibly well-written.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday Tea: Coming Full Circle

Over Labor Day weekend, I flew up to Chicago to go see David because I wanted to take advantage of the long weekend, especially before classes got too crazy.  While I was there, we did so many amazing things, and I even had a little bit of deja vu.  David moved apartments two weekends ago, so the first night I was there, we ventured out of the apartment in search of a restaurant we had never been to before.  We chose a Mediterranean place on West Fullerton Ave, and as we were walking to it, I looked up and realized that right next door was a tea place, The Bourgeois Pig Cafe, that David and I had visited the very first time I went to Chicago last Fall.  It was such a coincidence, so after eating, David and I stopped in to share a pot of tea.  It was pretty late, so we had some decaffeinated lemon rooibos tea that was so yummy.

It was such a great discovery to find that David now lives so close to this little tea shop.  I can't wait to visit it again.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday Tea: Chronicles of the Start of a New Semester

Last Monday, I welcomed my tenth semester at Georgia Tech.  This tenth semester is also hereby known as my second to last semester because I'm hoping to perform the rare feat of graduating on time, aided of course by lots of tea.  I made the discovery last week that it seems that nobody really knows about the Highland Bakery, so I've abandoned Starbucks' ridiculous lines for Highland Bakery's nonexistent ones.  It's especially great when I wake up too late for class to conceivably have time to stand in said ridiculous lines and still make it to class.  Plus their tea is cheaper.

Despite being on track for graduating this Spring though, I am having to take fifteen hours this semester and that has already meant that I have a to-do list a mile long!  I think having so much to do has actually been a good thing though.  It means that I have had to get early starts on all my assignments, and it really encourages me to stay on top of all my work as opposed to having days off where I have time to get lazy.  I've still had some time to myself though, so not all hope is lost. I'm not quite doomed to a semester spent purely at the library. I've devoted time every night to finishing crocheting my first blanket (almost done!!), and I had an amazing time celebrating my birthday last week. I've truly got some awesome people in my life.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Favorite Book Superlatives

If you're an avid book lover like me, then you understand what I mean when I say that having someone ask me what my favorite book is usually turns into an internal battle as I struggle to narrow down the long list of books that I love. Do I choose a book that gave me warm, fuzzy feelings? A book that's critically acclaimed? A classic? A book that reduced me to a puddle of tears and gave me lifelong lessons to cherish?

You get the point.

So Kristin at My Life As A Teacup, sharing the same problem, devised a solution, a means of giving our favorite books their due credit by creating a superlative system, not unlike high school senior superlatives. 

So without further ado:

Comfort Book (For when you're in a bad mood, good mood, or somewhere in between.  Pair this book with your favorite feel good meal, get comfy, and read): Desolation Angels by Jack Kerouac

   5113

Favorite classic: Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

Favorite series: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

   

Most beautifully and hauntingly written: A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

Favorite story: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

   

Favorite book that's kind of depressing, yet beautiful, and frankly, I still don't really know what to do with it: One Day by David Nicholls

Most nostalgic: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.  I read this book during a very interesting time of my life.

   


The perfect book (Captivating story, subtle yet powerful message, beautiful prose, characters you both love and love to hate, not too lengthy, timeless...): The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

What are your favorite books?  Are you like me and can't nail it down to one?