Sunday, November 30, 2014

Finals Grind

Yes, Captain! I will definitely try!

So I am going to be completely upfront with you...finals are upon us. While this is the time of year to gather Christmas gifts, string up the lights and play Christmas music, it is also the time for coffee refills and late night study sessions. Our official finals week is next week, however, I have two of my finals this Wednesday. That will be followed by lots of essay writing and group project meetings.

That being said, there is potential that I will not be the most active on here for the next week or two (or at least it will be erratic activity.) I do have posts planned but execution does not always happen when there is a lot on my plate. Thanks for the patience and understanding!

<3 Ashley

Any other college students gearing up for finals week? 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday Haul

Okay, so it's not the most impressive Black Friday haul but hey, I have to stay on budget since I'm still in school. I was on the hunt for things I actually needed (some was more want) and came out with most of it. A pair of solid black ballet flats still evade me--maybe I will see what Cyber Monday has in store on that front.

After losing plans to shop starting at midnight--sick friends canceling last minute!--I did manage to step out for shopping this morning with my mother. We hit the mall first and made our way to JCPenney. Honestly, out of all the stores we went in today, JCP definitely had the best deals (especially for what I was looking for.)

My roommate and I are actively trying to bring turtlenecks back--please feel free to hop on the bandwagon--so a few of those were on the top of my list. I managed to find two that I liked from St. John's Bay. The one pictured above is a nice cream color and the other is black and white stripes.

I was also on a crusade to find new jeans that fit. Denim-wise I did not find a single pair that fit me right..that's a rant for another day. We went to TJ Maxx and I dug up a pair of patterned active leggings from Head and a pair of DKNY skinny khaki pants.

My treasures are few this year, but I definitely anticipate getting use out of them!

<3 Ashley

Did you step out for Black Friday? What does your haul look like?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Insta Lately

I am finally home for Thanksgiving and have my appetite ready for the family feast. Instagram lately has honestly been full of food and our adventures from when my family came to visit me at school. We watched the Penguins lose and the Panthers win that weekend; you win some and lose some!

Have a great holiday everybody!

<3 Ashley

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Style: Packing Light

As you read this I am either preparing for my bus ride home or am well on my way. Every year I get more and more anxious to go home and see my family and enjoy the holidays. Pittsburgh is great, but it's nice to get a break from the busy, busy, busy and change to a quieter setting. I will admit that though I am itching to make this trip, I have left the packing until the very last minute...procrastination at its finest. 

At this point I have got packing for the holidays down to a science--I take the bus home and they only allow one suitcase. Since I'm only home for a short period, I try to stick to only packing the basics. I make sure to look ahead at the weather forecast for the days that I am home and go from there. This year it's going to be straight up cold--snow tomorrow, of course! I've got several sweaters stacked in a corner of my bag, jeans and black leggings occupy another corner and one pair of boots and a pair of clogs in another. Then of course I take into account what I am wearing for travel; I've got flats, leggings and a button down handy (and I could honestly wear that again!) Of course, you also have to take into account your Black Friday haul!

<3 Ashley

Are you heading home for the holiday? What's in your suitcase?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Brunch: Crustless Veggie Quiche

Sunday brunch is coming to you late today because, well...brunch came to us a little late today. I actually went out for breakfast this morning with my family who was visiting this weekend, and Michelle had a friend from home here as well. This is was the weekend to have visitors too! It was Light Up Night here in Pittsburgh, the Penguins played some hockey (they did lose in the shoot-out unfortunately!) and our Pitt Panthers finally pulled out a win for our last home game against Syracuse. With the determination to make brunch happen still, we elected to have brunch for dinner. After the sweetness that was the stuffed French toast last weekend we opted for savory this time around with a crustless veggie quiche.

- 3 egg white
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 c skim milk
- salt & pepper
- veggies of your choosing
- spinach
- mozzarella cheese
- parmesan cheese

Step by Step:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cook veggies (we used onion, garlic, mushroom, tomato) on the stove until tender
- In a medium bowl mix eggs, egg white, milk, salt and pepper
- Spray a pie plate and arrange veggie layer. Arrange spinach layer Sprinkle mozzarella cheese then pour egg mixture over top. Sprinkle top with parmesan.
-  Bake for 45 minutes.

As I look back on my blog content thus far, I see a lot of food. Is there anything else you guys would like to see me talk about? Not that food is a bad thing!

<3 Ashley

Are you a quiche fan? Did you have a good weekend?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Get Stuffed: Cranberry Sauce

Image: here

We are exactly one week out from Thanksgiving and if you haven't planned your menu yet--you're a fearless last minute person, I like you--I am here to be of assistance! Granted, my family has opted to eat out this year because everyone agrees that while our dinners are usually kick a** cleaning up after is the absolute worst after you've eaten four plates of everything. However, I will be sharing some of my favorite Thanksgiving food recipes because there are some great ones out there that I have tried and absolutely must share.

Two years ago, when I came home for the first time after starting college, I demanded that the cranberry sauce not come from a can. I know I'm not the only one who thinks you taste more of the can than the sauce. I volunteered to find a recipe and make some homemade cranberry sauce. I did it and everybody loved it!

- 1 bag (12 oz) cranberries
- 1 c cranberry juice
- 1 c pure maple syrup
- 3 tbsp orange juice (or zest!)

Step by Step:
- Wash cranberries and then dump in medium sauce pan
- Pour in the 1 cup of juice and the maple syrup
- Add orange juice. Stir.
- Turn stove on high heat and bring mixture to a boil
- Once it's boiling turn the heat down to medium low. Continue cooking for 10 minutes or until juice is thick. Turn off and store in refrigerator until dinner time!

<3 Ashley

Sounds yummy right? What's your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When The Weather Outside is Frightful

Images from: 1 || 2 || 3 || 4

16. This is the number I saw when I looked at my weather app this morning. That had a snowflake next to it. It was a bitterly cold day; luckily this was one of those day when my boss needed me to run across campus to pick something up and bring back. I think I'm starting to get the feeling back in my legs.

Since I have gotten home, I have grabbed a blanket, turned up the thermostat, made hot chocolate, turned on the Christmas music, and scanned Pinterest for images to warm me up. Here are just a few of the images that have me dreaming of a cozy and warm atmosphere. Socks, blankets and a crackling fireplace are absolutely quintessential. I hope I have helped to warm you up as well!

<3 Ashley

Is it absolutely freezing where you are? What warms you up?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Brunch: Stuffed French Toast

Look at that little piece of heaven

After talking back and forth and canceling on each other last minute for the past two weeks, Sunday brunch finally happened and the ladies reconvened to talk predominately about the disappointment that is our football team and the consistent issue that is the male population. This morning we trekked out into the cold to buy a loaf of sourdough from Panera for our stuffed French toast. I am very happy to say that it was very much a success!

There was no set recipe for this since we all wanted to stuff ours with different things. Michelle and I found happiness in cream cheese and raspberries, while Megan most definitely suggests cream cheese and bananas--never really considered that combo before! I will share the basics of what we did.

- 2 slices of sourdough per serving
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- cinnamon
- cream cheese (or peanut butter or Nutella!)
- fruit

Step by step
- Slice sourdough to the desired thickness
- In a bowl, mix eggs, milk and cinnamon
- Spread cream cheese on one side of both slices of bread, arrange fruit on one slice and make a sandwich
- Soak both sides in the egg mixture--let each side sit for a bit to soak the mixture in
- Heat oil or butter in a skillet and cook French toast approximately 30 seconds on both sides or to your liking
- Enjoy!

<3 Ashley

What do you enjoy in your stuffed French toast? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

What I Made: Pumpkin Chipotle Soup

Oh yes...yes I did!

Look Ma, I can cook! If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that last night as snowflakes were falling from the sky, I was bundled up in flannel pants, a long gray sweater, Christmas lights on, cuddling up to a bowl of soup. I soup was an idea had got from Taylor over at her blog Anticipation (which I read religiously!) One mention of pumpkin chipotle soup had me scouring the world wide web for the perfect recipe.

I found several recipes and ended up just using a bit from each to make my soup--read: I bought what I could at IGA and worked with it. It was so easy to whip up and I have plenty of leftovers to look forward to.

- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic (I used minced and just threw in what I thought I would like)
- 1 tbsp chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (found in the Mexican aisle)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
- 2 (14 oz) cans vegetable broth
- 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
- cilantro
- dollop of sour cream

Step by Step:
- Saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil for about 3-4 minute until translucent.
- Add chopped chipotle pepper and spices. Cook about 2 minutes (stir it up so it doesn't stick to the pot!)
- Pour in broth and pumpkin puree. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Pour mixture into blender and blend until smooth--use an immersion blender if you have one.
- Return soup to the stove, add whipping cream and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Dish out when ready and garnish as you will!


<3 Ashley

Sound good? Do you have any wonderful fall recipes to share?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dear Weather, Can You Not?

^This is where I would like to be^

If you live in or around the Pittsburgh area (or in a similar city with respect to erratic forecasts) you know that the weather is probably one of the most frustrating things ever. As my alarm went off this morning I rolled over and went to my weather app to get some kind of budding idea of what I could wear today. I found myself staring at the number "37" and a snowflake icon reserved for later in the day. Was it not 70 degrees two days ago?!

I scrolled through the rest of the week and it seems we have officially taken the plunge into Pittsburgh winter. Here's how the weather works this time of year. Autumn starts but it's still pretty warm and doesn't really feel as fall-ish as you want. Then it feels like fall for two week and then BAM it's 30 degrees and you hate your life and can't wait to go home for Thanksgiving (I say this as a college student!)

When I chose the University of Pittsburgh it is easy to say I was not choosing it for the weather here! There is the running joke that in Pittsburgh you can experience all four seasons in one day--that's how some days feel to be completely honest. So now that I am officially in the throws of 30 degree weather and am at the mercy of the constant fear of sudden snowfall, I suppose it's time to start the posts about sweaters, hot chocolate, cozy boots (that are NOT UGGS!) and all sorts of warm comfort. Look out for those!

<3 Ashley's the weather?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Chronicles of a Morning Person

I always get comments from my roommates about how I am always the first one up in the morning (unless they have 8 AMs!) and how I am rarely ever dragging my feet. I have never really considered myself a morning person--or rather I hadn't thought about it--but since they have started saying something about it I guess it is safe to say that "My name is Ashley, and I am a morning person."

When I really get down to thinking about it, I have kind of always been this way. My parents always took us to our elementary school before-school program since they worked early so I was usually up at 5:30 or 6 in the morning. This carried over into high school since we lived like 25 minutes from the school and our house was the first on the bus' route. I think it's safe to say that I didn't choose the morning chose me.

Now in college, while I do appreciate those days where I get to sleep in until 11 AM because of a late night out, I still wake up every day at 8 AM whether I really need to or not. I find the mornings are a very useful time where I can relax and get things done at a good pace. I thought today that I would share a bit of my AM schedule with you guys.

8 AM: The alarm on my phone goes off and I have to lay in bed for at least 10 minutes (unless it's a really good day) and encourage myself to start the day.

8:15 AM: Roughly the time I start showering. This is where I really wake up. Ten seconds under some cold water can really make you alert!

8:30 AM: I like to try and get some light physical activity in to start the day. I usually try to find a light yoga or pilates routine to fill about 15-20 minutes.

Somewhere between 8:45 and 9 AM: Make breakfast. Since I now have a kitchen in the equation of my college life I like to make oatmeal or omelettes in the morning. Once in awhile when I have an earlier class or I start work early--towards the end of the week--I just mix up some yogurt and berries.

While I am eating I like to catch up on the news. I'm not the type of person to read an entire page of copy on CNN; I just don't have the patience. Instead I have an email subscription to TheSkimm. I love getting this in my inbox daily; it quickly became part of my morning routine.

9:30 AM: After my breakfast is done and I have been updated on the goings on in the world, I head on back to my desk (or bed!) and do blog work with the help of my friend, Dunkin Dark Roast. I also listen to some chill tunes; if you are a Spotify user--sorry, T-Swift!--check out the playlist Your Favorite Coffeehouse. Hands down my favorite thing to listen to in the morning. Great songs!

From 10:30 on depending on the day it is, I tie up any loose ends on assignments for the day if I still need to. Then I enter the process of trying to get myself ready to go out into the world!

<3 Ashley

What is your morning routine like? Are you a early bird or a night owl?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veteran's Day

I just wanted to take some time today to thank all of those who have served and those currently serving to protect this beautiful country. 

<3 Ashley

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Potato Party

One thing that my roommates and I have established within these past few months living together in this apartment is that we throw some fantastic parties. If any readers here remember from All That Glitters, we had a fun '90s themed slumber party for Allison and Abby's joint birthday party back in September that included face masks from Seventeen magazine, homemade popsicles and popcorn, a playlist with the best of the '90s and early 2000s and 3 large pizzas. Sounds like a good time right? We have also hosted a dinner party and a pretty standard party which turned into a great Mario Party competition. This past weekend we struck again with another wonderful party. I bet you've never been to this kind of party; it was a potato party. Yeah, you read that correctly. This invite only party required that all guests contribute their own homemade potato dish to this very starchy potluck. Our friends did not disappoint. We had white cheddar mashed potatoes (the clear winner!) loaded sweet potato boats (a close runner up) sweet potato fries, tater tots, roasted garlic and parmesan potatoes and the interesting potato chip and Nutella combo that turned out the be pretty much the greatest thing EVER!

Also party of the evening were some very competitive potato themed games. We had half a round of hot potato which did not last very long before the potato exploded all over the carpet. Everyone split up into two teams for a cutthroat potato relay race which attracted the concerned attention of a few of our neighbors. The evening was closed by a round of "pin the face on Mr. PotatoHead" which was probably the funniest thing ever.

Mark that down as another success!

<3 Ashley

What are some other great party ideas? 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Brunch: The Weekend We Had No Brunch

Unfortunately today did not work out for our group Sunday brunch. I will admit that it was my fault...I slept in way too late and at that point no one was too committed to making our stuffed french toast. Perhaps next week we will have more success! There are some fantastic things to talk about though:

Movin' on in: Well...not until August. The girls and I got our first off campus house! It is actually nice and homey too--unlike many of the dumpy places in South Oakland. We are meeting with the landlord tomorrow to sign the lease!

A+: Out of all of the stress and constant work that I have endured through this semester, it finally feels like it is paying off. We got our midterm papers back in History of Mass Media and guess who got a perfect score....THIS GIRL!

Let's hope that all of this is all continues into this week to make it a good one too!

<3 Ashley

What good has happened to you this week?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What I Wore: Halloween

Choosing my costume this year for Halloween was a little tricky for me. Previously I have gone as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn and was looking to do something a little bit different--I need to take a break from being a classic film actress! Originally my friends and I were going to go as a group and be the Spice Girls. That fizzled out quickly when we realized how difficult it was going to be to find leather, leopard printed pants and platform shoes to match. Maybe next year! 

I thought it would be fun to stick with the '90s pop scene and considered being Britney Spears. Yes...yes I want to be Britney. Next question: which Britney should I be? There are so many! For awhile I was on the lookout for anything that could go towards a "Me Against the Music" look. That failed. Maybe "Circus?" Nope. Then as my one friend and I were geeking out over some music videos we came across "...Baby One More Time." Last year my friend went in the school girl outfit which was really cute. But that's what everyone does, right? I loved Britney in this video and this album. So instead of the school girl I went for a different look from the video...

Words cannot describe how comfortable I was all night! I've never been one for the typical tight costumes women usually wear, so I was trying to avoid that. These sweatpants were warm--on a freaking cold night!--and wearing sneakers to a party was probably the greatest thing ever. If you try for this costume next time you need one, be sure to remember your pigtails and body glitter!

<3 Ashley

Who were you for Halloween this year? Share below!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Letter From the Editor: November

I don't know about my fellow students, but I feel like this semester has absolutely flown by! It's already November. I have a tendency to see Halloween as the official kick off to the holiday season (whether it is or not...I don't particularly care) and as of November 1st have dived head first into holiday planning. An example of this? I've got my pumpkin pie recipe ready to go and my roommates and I have discussed at which point it is acceptable to start playing Christmas music--very soon!

This month on the blog look for a lot of fun holiday themed posts! When I first started blogging I had a tendency of posting a lot of holiday recipes and think now is as good a time as any to bring that back. I will be sharing some of my favorite holiday dishes with you and also posting some other fantastic pieces of holiday inspiration. I will also begin rolling out some of the exciting weekly features that I have planned for Sunday Brunch. What do these include? Well when I first started out blogging, fashion was the topic of choice. I kinda would like to get back to those roots and do a post each week highlighting one outfit that I have worn in the past week--come back tomorrow for the first of these posts featuring my Halloween costume this year! Another thing I would like to do is a small Sunday post. Sunday brunches are a fixture in my group of friends and I would like to share our creations with you. This coming Sunday has stuffed french toast on the menu and surely some great conversation!

I hope you are as excited as I am for this month!
<3 Ashley

What do you look forward to in November?