Monday, September 30, 2013

Quote of the Week 9/30/2013

"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." 
-Julia Child

I have found things that I am passionate about. Many things. But usually they do not keep my attention for very long. My passion for the last two years of my studies has been the Italian language and culture. It fascinated me; I was always wanting to learn more.
But as of late, my passion for not only the language but the culture, too, has grown weak. I am taking two history classes related to Roman culture and so, Italian culture. And I am also taking a class, taught in Italian, about opera. And I am falling apart a little bit. I feel incredibly behind already, and I am at a loss. I want so dearly to love my major, to regain that passion, but these classes (especially the opera class) are making me detest everything I once loved and wanted to know more about. 
So, I will remind myself that it is only a quarter: ten weeks of my life. Then I can hopefully find some better classes, like Italian art history, or something to do with Italian literature that doesn't bore me to tears. 
Until then, I will attempt to listen to Julia Child. I will try my hardest to keep tremendously interested in my passion. 

What is your passion and what are you doing to keep it interesting?


Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Five


It's a Sunday morning tradition in my home: we love our pancakes. And waffles. And coffee! Can't forget about the coffee. One of the wonderful thing about pancakes is that they're cost-effective (AKA cheap). Just add water and you're set! I love to make extra and take them as a breakfast-for-lunch kind of deal. It's so delicious! 


Seriously. They're super adorable. Especially when monogrammed... You can wear them so many ways! I cannot wait to get my hands on a monogrammed bow for my hair. Obsessed. 


This beauty is from Modcloth
I am so excited that Autumn is here, and I love to look for new items to complete my wardrobe (although it is never really completed, is it?) and I adore the "Full Course Load" Bag from Modcloth. It seems functional yet stylish; perfect for college students or teachers. I have a bag similar to this one and I'm in love!


Autumn is all about back-to-school, at least when you or someone you care for is beginning classes. And what better way to kick off the school year than with a Harry Potter marathon? While I would love to have the time to pick up the books and read them all again, it just isn't possible for me with all of my other readings...
So I will snuggle up in my hand-made Ravenclaw scarf (pictured below), grab a butter beer, plop down on the couch and have a Harry Potter movie marathon instead. 


My Ravenclaw scarf! This picture is a mix-up of #4 and #5! I love this scarf, and I definitely worked hard to make it!
I have been knitting for a very long time - I first learned in elementary school, then re-taught myself as a freshman in college. I've knit quite a few scarves and hats, and right now I have about 4 projects going on and since classes have started, next to no time to do them. Hopefully I can get a few moments in every day; I could really use the calmness that knitting gives me.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Boardwalk Frolic!

Swingin' around
UCSC takes over the Boardwalk!

Last Monday night was UCSC's annual Boardwalk Frolic, where they close down the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and only UCSC students gain entry. It was so much fun and I'm so glad that I was able to go. We rode the Giant Dipper three times; I am pretty sure it got faster after sundown... which makes it even better!

Giant Dipper
The Giant Dipper is actually a National Historic Monument: It was built in 1924 and cost about $50,000 to build the wooden coaster. It has been featured in a few movies, most notably, The Lost Boys, which is set in the fictitious "Santa Carla," but was filmed in many locations throughout Santa Cruz. 

See? Lost Boys! 
It is the 5th oldest roller coaster in the United States, which I thought was a pretty nifty fact. 

We rode a few other rides, like the Haunted Castle, and a personal favorite, the Double Shot. We were given a few coupons for things like bowling and laser tag, which my roommate and I cannot wait to use once we can afford a break from studying!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Weigh-In Wednesday: Walking!

Walking on the beach is wonderful exercise! Just make sure you don't get hit by a wave!
Walking is one of the best activities for your body, and it is actually quite an enjoyable form of exercise. Lately, I've taken to the 10,000 steps "diet," which is not really a diet at all! The premise is for you to attempt to walk 10,000 steps every day and eat about 1/4 less than you usually would. It has been working for me, at least, in my legs! I went to visit my hometown and I received several compliments about my legs looking thinner. My arms and abs still need work, however, so I am looking for short workouts that will work my whole body, particularly my arms! I have been told that it isn't possible to spot reduce, but I want to find some full-body workouts. 

I cannot wait to be an even healthier, more active version of me. 
And I'm already pretty active, so it should be interesting!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Recommendation: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Synopsis: This is the story of sixteen-year-old Hazel Lancaster, whose days are numbered due to her lungs that "suck at being lungs." Although a tumor-shrinking miracle bought her a few more years, Hazel is not deluding herself with the idea that she will live a long and fulfilling life. But then, she meets Augustus Waters at a Cancer Kid Support Group. He is a gorgeous plot twist to what Hazel thought was an already finished story. She finds that her story is about to be completely rewritten. 

My review: Oh my goodness, tears. I bawled through half of the book, but it was such a wonderful read. Green also had a way to make you laugh while reading the book, even through the suffering. Hazel was a wonderful character; she was real. She was just a sixteen-year-old girl who did not know how to handle dealing with cancer and facing her own death. She was not depressing or bitchy about it, but she also was not going to sit and watch what little time she has left go by. At one of her Cancer Kid Support Group meetings, she is introduced to Augustus Waters, who calls her Hazel Grace, and steals her (and our, as the readers) heart with his wit and metaphors. Their love is one that felt authentic and true, and this book had me falling, too. It was stupendously written and really though, grab the tissues before reading.

Favorite Quotes:
"As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once."
"Maybe okay will be our always."

Caryn Elizabeth 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Quote of the week: 9/23/2013

"Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale." 
-Lauren DeStephano, Wither

Ahhh, Fall. It is here at last, seeing as yesterday was the official first day! Oddly enough, it rained all of Saturday, the last day of Summer, and was bright, sunny, and warm for the first day of Autumn. But I am so ready for leggings and big cozy sweaters, scarves and hot cocoa. 
So this quote is for the second day of Autumn, and though I have yet to read the book, Wither, finding this quote will motivate me to finish my current readings and try to get my hands on Lauren DeStephano's book. 

Happy Autumn, everybody!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Five


There is something about Autumn's morning chill and cool breezes that always makes me want to be all wrapped up in a soft, cozy cardigan. This one from Modcloth (pictured above) is so adorable and it is certainly on my wishlist. I just love the houndstooth!


Seriously, Trader Joe's is the best. It has great, (mostly) healthy food at prices that are often lower than Target or Safeway. They have such a nice fruit and vegetable selection, and I really love their gnocchi! It's a wonderful store for me in the sense that I'm trying to save money, be healthy, and balance all of the parts of my life... Trader Joe's helps!


  The O.C.: The Complete Series (Seasons 1-4)
 Every other year or so, I like to re-watch The O.C. Particularly towards the end of the year, so I can watch all of the Christmukkah episodes (that are wonderful)! It's cheesy and silly, but I still feel compelled to sit there and knit whilst watching a show that is 10 years old. 


WEN® Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner 16oz 
What with me moving into a new (saltier) climate and dying my hair recently, it has become necessary for me to have a great moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, as well as other hair products. My mom bought me Wen cleansing conditioner in Sweet Almond Mint as a gift, and it has done wonders for my hair! I'm obsessed. My hair is so soft and silky now. 


Seriously, take a listen. This song, called "What Money Paid For" is seriously so wonderful. I am so glad that I found this band.

What are you loving this week?


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Autumn Bucket List

Fall Bucketlist

Ah, Autumn. My favorite season. I was born in Autumn, and there's so much to love about it: Halloween, crisp air, cozy sweaters, hot coffee, Thanksgiving, and much more. 
This Fall, I have decided to have a smaller bucket list, as I am also working on my 101 in 1,001, and I hope to get about 9 of those done during the upcoming season. 

What are your favorite things about Autumn? What is on your Fall Bucket List?


Summer Bucketlist 2013: End of Summer

I know, I know, the last day of Summer isn't technically until Saturday, so I'm a bit early to posting this. However, this weekend will involve figuring out where all of my classes are, buying last-minute school supplies, decorating for Autumn, and looking for part of my Halloween costume...  so it is unlikely that I will complete anything else on this list before the "technical" end of Summer. It has been a great season full of work, play, and walks on the beach!
So here it is, my bucket list with all that I've completed stricken out: 

  • Get a job


  • move in to my new place

Swim with the dolphins

  • Bonfireeee! 

  • Swim in the ocean

  • Watch the sunrise 

  • And the sunset

  • Make sweet tea

  • Get a nice tan

  • Drive-in movies

  • Watch fireworks

  • Try a new recipe

  • Go camping 

  • Make butterbeer (added to my Autumn list!)

  • Disney Movie Marathon

  • Learn something new

  • Have a picnic 

  • Roadtrip!

  • Get a new tattoo (decided against this one until I have lost at least 30 pounds and have a bit more money!)

  • Go to the mystery spot

  • Water balloon fight

  • Visit Hearst Castle 

  • Girl’s Night Out

  • Go hiking

  • Take a ton of photos

  • Summer Scrapbook!

  • Save up money for Europe  (*not nearly enough, but it's a very small start!)

  • Get a passport

  • Go to a concert

  • PARTY! (:

What did you complete this Summer?

Caryn Elizabeth

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Auburn Autumn

In my 101 in 1,001 Things to Do list, I decided that I wanted to cut & color my hair. It's all done, finished this weekend. I love it! Perfect for Autumn, which is coming up this weekend! 
It certainly doesn't feel like Autumn here yet (80 degrees today!) but I cannot wait!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Book Recommendations: Divergent

Picture from Goodreads, Buy here: Divergent
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior's world consists of a society divided. There are five factions: her own, Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent) and Dauntless (the brave).  Now that Beatrice is sixteen, she and other teens her age must make a choice: to stay with the faction that raised them or to transfer factions. The choice cannot be undone, once it is made, Beatrice will have to spend the rest of her life devoted to one faction. For her, the choice is difficult: she wants to stay with her family, but she needs to be true to herself. Her choice will surprise everyone, including herself. 
After making her choice, Beatrice must go through a competitive initiation to prove she belongs in her faction of choice. After taking on the nickname of Tris, she and the other initiates must undergo very intense and difficult physical and psychological tests. Initiation is transforming them all, and Tris must figure out who she can trust in her new faction, including a romance with an intriguing yet infuriating boy. 
On top of all of this, Tris has a secret: one that could mean her death if anyone were to find out. But her secret may just be the key to saving her family and friends. 
Will it save them? Or destroy her?

My Review: I found this book as a post-Hunger-Games-Hangover-cure, and boy, am I happy that I did. The book started off a little bit slow, but hey, it was a 500-page book, so that is almost expected. It really turned around in the second half and there was a ton of action. Tris was not your average dystopian protagonist, (well, not entirely, she is a small, pretty girl, buuuut) she is also selfish, guarded, protective, and vindictive. Like, really vindictive! At one point in the book, she refuses to forgive someone who asks for forgiveness. That doesn't exactly show that she came from a faction of selfless people, now does it? But she also has her moments of selflessness, despite all of her selfishness. I like that she is multi-dimensional. She contradicts herself constantly. And for a sixteen-year-old in a world where you are forced to leave your family and pick a faction based on a character trait, I think that makes a lot of sense. The love-story is a little bit gag-worthy; I mean, they fall for each other really quickly and are really devoted, which did not seem realistic to me at all. But I do like them together, I think that they balance each other out well. And then in the second half, when the action truly gets started, I really couldn't put the book down. I finished the second half in one sitting. It was great.

My rating: 4/5

I'm currently re-reading Insurgent, the second book in the trilogy, and I cannot wait for Allegiant to come out on October 22nd!


Recipe: Hot, Skinny Spinach Dip

Mmmm... Spinach dip. It has always been a favorite of mine, but I usually only get to have it on the rare occasion that I go to a restaurant in a group. So to not only find a recipe for it, but to find one that is better for you, too?! I had to try it. And I must say, I love it. 
Let's begin:

What I used, this time
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup light sour cream
5 tbsp light mayonnaise (I used regular; that's all I had!)
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup green onion, chopped *
1 clove garlic, crushed **
1 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella
fresh pepper (for taste)

Preheat oven to 375° F.
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Put into an oven-safe dish and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cheese should be melted. 
Serve immediately and enjoy!


Serves about 10. This recipe was adapted from Skinnytaste.

Also, I was so excited to try out this dip that I forgot to take a picture when it was all ready to eat! I will update as soon as I make another batch. It was delicious!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Quote of the Week 9/16/2013

"She did not need much. Wanted very little. A kind word, sincerity, fresh air, clean water, a garden, kisses, books to read, sheltering arms, a cozy bed, and to love and be loved in return."
-Starra Neely Blade

The quote above essentially sums up all that I want in life. I do not mind the thought of a simple life, so long as it is full of love and joy. I would love to travel the world, but even more than that, I want to build a life with someone I am ardently in love with, who feels the same way about me. 
I haven't found that person yet, nor have I been able to travel the world, but I'm hoping that those things will come in time. 
Currently, I'm just enjoying my fresh air, clean water, books, my cozy bed, and my garden.

What are your hopes for life? What are you grateful for having?


Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Five: Autumn


Isn't this auburn color gorgeous?
I am going to get my hair done this weekend (for the first time in months - one bad haircut and it all goes downhill!) and I have really been wanting to switch up my look. So, like the seasons, my hair will be changing, too. I'm switching up the color and cutting off quite a few inches.
I can't wait to see what my hair looks like in auburn!


My banana & chocolate chip muffins
Mmmm... Baked goods. Cookies, muffins, monkey bread! I adore baking and I have already started to get back into the baking swing! It will be difficult to bake during the school year, so I may just have to bake a bunch now and freeze for later. Or just find time to bake whilst studying.


There is something about the sound of rain that calms my soul. I have always loved the rain: dancing and playing in puddles, kissing in the rain, or even curling up with a good book (with the window cracked so the sound can float in). Rain epitomizes Autumn for me, and I cannot wait for rainy days. For now, I'll settle with listening to Rainy Mood.


As you can see, I've already started crafting for the spookiest day of the year!
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. It falls a week before my birthday and it is an excuse to dress up and eat candy, two of my favorite things to do! Last year I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood, and this year... who knows? Normally I know by now but there are so many choices! Wait and see what I will be.


There is something about piling into a car with three or four friends and some really good music, and just driving. No particular destination is needed, just an hour or two spend cruising with friends. It is much more expensive to do this now, what with gas prices being so costly, so I'll probably only do this one time this Fall. But I sure am looking forward to it!

What are you looking forward to most this Autumn?


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Recipe: Banana & Chocolate Chip Muffins

Tasted so good!

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (~2 large)

1 large egg

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup milk

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line 12 muffin cups with foil liners (do not use paper - I did and it was so difficult to take off the liners!). 
2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
3. In another (medium-sized) bowl, mix mashed bananas, egg, melted butter, and milk.

4. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients until they are blended, being careful not to overmix. Then stir in chocolate chips.

5. Fill muffin cups with batter until they are about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees until muffin tops are golden and the chips are melted, about 25-30 minutes. 
6. Cool and enjoy!

Doesn't it look delicious?
This recipe was adapted from Epicurious


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pre-K Wednesday: Welcome Week!

Our preschool has been back in session for a week and a half now, and we are finally able to get some crafts in with the kids! Last week was our welcome week, so we let the children adjust to their new school and surroundings.
With Autumn approaching, we will be doing many apple-themed projects. We did a dot-paint worksheet (pictured below; I found the worksheet here) and the kids did a great job learning the first letter of the alphabet! We also had a fun apple snack: we used a twist apple corer, and the kids were able to "make" their own snack! It was lots of fun for the kids and teachers.

Since the majority of the children are younger (age 2), we wanted to have activities that were fun but not too difficult! We decided upon painted hand prints with a poem below them (pictured at the top of this post, and below). It was a little bit tickly, which made the kids laugh! 

It was a very amusing sensory activity. They all enjoyed seeing their hand prints up on the wall!
We will certainly continue to see how their hands grow throughout the year!


Never Forget

Twelve years ago today, an event that would change the history of the United States of America, and the world, happened. It was a tragic and terrible occurrence that affected the lives of many. 
It was a very frightening day for me; I was still in elementary school, and all that I knew at the time was that a lot of people were dying in a city far away from me. I have family who live in New York City, and I was very worried that something was going to happen to them. 
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost a life in the attack on the World Trade Center. 
Thank you to those who were brave enough to risk your own lives in an attempt to save others.
Thank you. 

Never forget.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pinterest Recipe for Revolutionary Mac & Cheese!

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese

Yummy, yummy!
Mmmmm... Mac & Cheese. It's been a favorite of mine for years. While my favorite still comes in a blue box (it's horrible but true), every so often I like to switch it up and try a new recipe. 
That's where Pinterest comes in! I found this recipe for Mac & Cheese, tweaked it just a tad, and viola! A delicious dinner for me! 

2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups dried pasta (I used shells and it worked well!)
1 cup loosely packed cheese (cheddar preferred*), shredded**
1 tsp. salt

1. In a saucepan, add pasta and milk. Bring to a simmer, being careful not to bring to a boil!
2. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pasta is soft. Stir frequently, and again, make sure the milk does not boil! 
3. Turn off heat and add cheese and salt. Stir to combine. Let cool for a minute or two, then stir again. At this point, you may add a little more milk if not creamy enough. 
4. If you would like to bake your Mac & Cheese, you may do so at this point. Place in a baking dish and top with a generous portion of shredded cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for about ten minutes, until the cheese has melted. 
5. Serve and enjoy!

(Serves 4)

*I say cheddar preferred, because it is the usual cheese used in Mac & Cheese, but next time I plan to try out a combination of cheeses!
**Could be pre-shredded or shredded by hand, whichever you prefer. I did not have a cheese grater on hand (moving out is such a pain!) and so I used store bought, and it worked fine!

Have fun making Mac & Cheese!


Monday, September 9, 2013

Quote of the Week, 9/9/2013

Found here
"Always be a little kinder than necessary." -J.M. Barrie

Kindness is a quality that truly deserves admiration. It is needed to have friendships and relationships, and these days, it is not seen quite as much as it should be. 
So today, and hopefully other days as well, remember to be kind, even if you do not really want to. It may make all the difference in the world to the people who surround you.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Summer is Sailing Away

As made clear through many of my prior posts, I am very much looking forward to Autumn. It is my favorite season: I love the crisp, chilly air, especially when it is foggy. I love the sweaters, pumpkins, Halloween, hot cocoa, and so much more.
But, I will also miss Summer: the heat, daily walks on the beach, swimming, shorts, smoothies. It's all sailing away now. This summer, I was not able to go sailing, although I have had a very strong urge to. I've admired the cute sail boat fence (above), watched sail boat races and went to see the regatta at the harbor:

A grey day, but well worth it!
Since I was not able to go sailing this Summer, I have resolved to go sailing within the next 1,001 days (well, now we're at 997, but you get the picture). It's a part of my 101 in 1,001 to-do-list/challenge, and I am very much looking forward to it!



I'm trying out a new site called Bloglovin in order to find and read new blogs, and hopefully get some new followers here! 

It sparked an interest in me: where do people find blogs? 
Personally, I usually stumble across a new blog via Pinterest or Tumblr, or even through a blog that I am reading. 
Where do you find new blogs to read?


Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Five

ONE | Bastille

Seriously, this song ("Pompeii") has been stuck in my head for two weeks now. It's just so catchy!

TWO | Black Boots

I've been eyeing these boots for a while now; I really want them! The quilting and the gold accents really make this pair special.

THREE | Pinterest

Pinterest is always a fun distraction for me, and I now have a Pinterest under this blog name! Go check it out and procrastinate with me!

FOUR | The Mortal Instruments

Found on pinterest
I started reading City of Bones before seeing the movie, because that is the only way to see a movie based on a book! (I reviewed the book and movie already; read here.) Now I am obsessed with the books; I am currently about halfway through the third, called City of Glass, and it just completely draws me in. Such a great series. 

FIVE | Headbands

Growing out my bangs is taking forever. Seriously. Finding ways to pin back my too-long-for-my-face but too-short-to-be-normal-hair fringe is frustrating. So, when in doubt: headbands! They are the best. Currently I'm using ones I bought in high school and a cheap-but-cute one from Target... but this nautical-chic one from Etsy is adorable! Must have!

Caryn Elizabeth

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Current obsession: Apples


It's back-to-school season, and while not everyone is quite back (my classes don't start until the end of this month!), the school where I work is in full swing. This week and next, our theme will be "A is for Apples" as a way to get started, not only with the alphabet, but working with crafts that are easy for our new students. 
I love apples, and being a teacher makes me love them just a little bit more. So above is a collection of some candy-apple-red or apple-related things that I love! 
I actually own that perfume in a Disneyland-exclusive apple-shape bottle, and I'm in love with it. It smells so nice!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fall Essentials: Accessories

Fall Essentials: Accessories

Oh, Fall! It grows closer with every day. As much as I love Summer, I am ready to dress up in scarves, hats, and all sorts of other accessories that pertain to the season!
Pictured above are many items that I think would be great to wear during the upcoming season, and I particularly like the apple necklace from Modcloth, the Merona cognac tote from Target, and the Maps scarf from Urban Outfitters. They have maps of both New York City and Paris; they are so cute!

What accessories are you looking forward to wearing this Fall?