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.


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.