On that note, here are some words that made an impact on me and inspire me:
"Words can change the world" - The Book Thief and I'm sure plenty of other sources.
On that note, here are some words that made an impact on me and inspire me:
It's that time of year that flannel is everywhere. But what if you really like your flannel and you want to be able to wear it all year round? Or you live in Florida where it barely gets chilly in the winter? While flannel is traditionally a warm weather fabric, it can easily be worn all year round so go for it!
What I'm Wearing:
Flannel top from Target. They have many more patterns and also a button down version. The colors look even better in person than on their website!
White Ann Taylor Skirt. They are out but LOFT has a similar one in grey or black. Or here is a different white pencil skirt.
Faux Fur trimmed vest (from LOFT years ago). Similar here.
Crystal Flower Statement necklace from eBay. Surprisingly, eBay is a great place to buy cool statement necklaces!
Nine West Wedges from Marshalls (Marshalls is a gold mine for affordable - but good quality - shoes!). Similar here.
Darkest Cranberry Corduroy pants from LOFT. They have many colors and also different fits.
Clarks Artisan booties that I got at a better price at Marshalls.
Kate Spade Watch. Similar here.
Cool Silver Geometric Earrings. Similar here.
MAC Matte Candy Yum Yum Lipstick.
So I don't know what makes 'Dutch Apple Pie' Dutch here in America but this is how my family makes apple pies. My grandma has done it this way, my mom has done it this way and so do I. It's a very simple recipe but has the right balance of sweet and tart and the crust is the BEST.
Preheat oven at 330 degrees Fahrenheit. I do this after I've prepared the crust because it takes me a while to
cut the apples, role out the dough and get the pie all set up for the oven.
Okay, so prepare your pie form by greasing the bottom and sides with butter and then covering it with flour.
During prep, put the raisins in water or rum.
I like to cut the apples before I do anything else because it's a pain in the ass and I like to have the hardest thing over with first.
After cutting the apples, drain the water/rum from the raisins and add them along with the sugar and cinnamon to the apples and toss it around.
Now whisk the egg with a fork.
Add the flour, baking powder, sugar (only the 3/4 cup for the crust, not the extra 1/4 cup for the filling) and pinch of salt together in a bowl. Separately, whip the butter (that's at room temp) a little bit and mix in 2/3 of the egg. Then combine the two mixtures and knead until it is an even dough. Add a splash of water (don't go crazy - just add enough so the dough isn't crumbly). This is when I preheat the oven.
Now, separate 2/3 of the dough, put down flour on the counter and roll it out to use for covering the bottom and sides of your form. Make sure to keep flour handy to put on the counter and rolling pin/other rolling device so the dough doesn't get sticky. Don't use more than needed though because it'll affect the taste of the dough).
The dough might break up a little bit (or a lot in my case) when trying to put it in the form but you can just patch it up, it's fine.
Add the apples with the sugar, cinnamon and raisins to the form. Then use the 1/3 of the dough you kept aside to cover the top however you like (I like to do strips).
Use the last 1/3 of the egg and brush it along the top of the pie crust so it gets a nice glossy brown look when it cooks. You may have some egg left over - don't feel like you need to use all of it, it's fine.
Put the pie in the oven for 60-75 minutes until golden brown (I usually leave it in the full 75 minutes but it depends on your oven). Allow it to cool about an hour before removing it from the form.
Just look at how delicious that looks, you did a great job.
Ever since I was little, I wanted to be able to solve the entire Rubik's Cube. My dad had one for as long as I could remember and I was able to get up to 2 squares but that was it. While I was in high school, I asked for a Rubik's Cube for my birthday so I would be more motivated to actually learn how to solve it. A few months later, I went on youtube to learn how to do it. Turns out, all you need to know are 7 algorithms. This sounds way more complicated than it is: it's just 7 different sequences of moves. I wrote down the 7 different series of movements and just did them over and over until muscle memory took over. It is just like learning a dance. You just put a series of moves together until you get the desired result. The Rubik's Cube is essentially solved in 3 layers. If you know the algorithms, you can solve the Rubik's Cube from any point.
Heres' the key for the algorithms:
U = Up (Top)
F = Front
L = Left
R = Right
D = Down (Bottom)
' = Counterclockwise
When color doesn't line up on top when making the first cross:
F' U L' U'
To get the second layer:
U R U' R' U' F' U F (to move piece to the left)
U' L' U L U F U' F' (to move piece to the right)
To make the top cross. If there is an 'L', face it to the top left corner. Then do this until you get cross:
F R U R' U' F'
When/if 2 colors, then keep those to your right and do this to line up the other two colors:
When the cross at top doesn't line up with the correct colors:
R U R' U R U U R' U
If there is a corner piece that has all three correct colors, keep it to your right and do this until all four corners are in the correct place. Colors are probably not all in the correct sides yet.
When the corners are not in the correct color position but they ARE in the correct location:
U R U' L' U R' U' L
(top, away, top reverse, away, top, towards, top reverse, towards)
To turn corner pieces so all colors coordinate
R' D' R D
Or instead of solving the cubes, you could just put us all to shame and make art instead:
Or let it inspire you to decorate:
Reading is always something I enjoyed but i did not always have the time, especially in college. Now that I have a 9-5 job and time to read on my commute, my reading picked back up. I realized that there are so many books I'd like to read, I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to reading at least one book per week for a year. These are the stories:
Week 1 (Sept 29th-Oct 5th):
Oct 1st-Oct 3rd:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Synopsis - This book explores the relationship between Nick Dunne and his Wife Amy, the subject of her parents' famous children's book series, Amazing Amy. After Nick's mother gets sick, Nick and Amy move from New York City to Nick's hometown of North Carthage, Missouri. Nick opens a bar with his twin sister, Margo and Nick and Amy's marriage gets increasingly troubled. When Amy suddenly goes missing, Nick becomes more and more implicated. From then on the book is a page turner because you want to find out what happened/happens.
Opinion - While I personally did not care for all the crude language and the general psychotic story, the mystery aspect of the book kept me engaged. Generally, I did not like it. Absolutely psychotic. Disturbing but you do want to know what happens. Couldn't help but admire the cleverness of the story but I got more and more frustrated at what happens. I also hated the ending and after reading the whole book I just said to myself 'Well, what was the freaking point of this whole book?!?'. However, I liked the ending of Mockingjay while others did not and there are plenty of people who did enjoy the book. I just don't get why and I am shocked that it is critically acclaimed and is even on some 'top 100 books to read' lists.
Side note: I watched the movie after reading the book and they did a good job staying true to the story. Some things had to be condensed due to time, off course, but all in all, the movie was just as disturbing and frustrating as the book was for me.
Recommend? NO. 2 out of 5 hearts
Week 2 (Oct 6th-12th):
Oct 6th-Oct 7th:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This coming-of-age story takes you in the mind of the shy and intelligent 15 year old Charlie during his freshman year of high school and his struggle to find a place to belong in the world. He is socially awkward and always tells the truth. After befriending two upper classmen, Sam and her stepbrother Patrick, Charlie tries to 'participate' more in life as recommended by one of his teachers instead of only being a wallflower. The story is told through letters Charlie is writing to an unknown person and explores Charlie's relationships with the people around him, his past and his hopes for the future.
Great except for a disturbing scene towards the beginning of the book. Well written and you really get in main character's (Charlie) head. Quirky and funny with a little sad. It is very intriguing to discover the lessons and concepts Charlie learns as he writes about them. I really liked it and it was a super quick read.
Side note: I watched the movie after reading the book and they did a great job staying true to the story and they even took out the scene that disturbed me. Definitely worth watching.
Recommend? YES. 4.5 out of 5 hearts
Oct 7th-Oct 8th:
Four by Veronica Roth
This book just goes into depth about the character Tobias Eaton fron the Divergent series. It takes you from right before Tobias' Choosing Ceremony through the moment he decides to fight against the war he feels is coming against Erudite lead by Jeanine Matthews.
Very quick read. Interesting insight into Tobias' character. Nothing special but a fun read because it was part of the story you know from Tobias' perspective and cool to hear characters mentioned.
Recommend? If you read the Divergent series, yes. Otherwise this book will make no sense and it will seem dull. 3 out of 5 hearts
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
This narrative takes you to the Swat Valley in Pakistan before and after Taliban influence. After mentioning the life-altering day where she was shot by the Taliban, Malala takes us back to the Swat Valley when her parents were growing up and takes us chronologically through history up to her recovery from being shot and her displacement to England. Malala's father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, was an advocate for education from the time he was young and had built the school Malala attended. He taught Malala that girls have the right to be educated and that education is the most powerful weapon a person can have. He and Malala did speeches and talk shows to spread the message of education for all. After learning about the Paradise that is Swat Valley, Malala tells us about the events when the Taliban started to take over and started to force their idea of Shari'ah Law on everyone. Through propaganda spread on the radio, the Taliban was able to use the fact that many people were ignorant due to not receiving an education to their advantage and we learn about the consequences. Malala shown us how peaceful Islam is supposed to be and the positive teachings of the Quran and the fact that education for everyone is the first step to fighting ignorance and therefore fighting terrorism. After Malala refuses to leave school and continues to speak up for education with her father, the book takes us through the day she was shot by the Taliban on the school bus and her resulting recovery.
Really profound and insightful. Taught me a lot about life in the Swat Valley in Pakistan before and after Taliban invasion. Also taught me a lot about Islam and how the Taliban is using the Quran against its own people and turning Islam into something it is not. Malala advocated for education because fighting ignorance is he best weapon against brainwashing the Taliban uses. It is both an eye-opening and inspiring book. Remarkable story.
Recommend? HELL YES. 5 out of 5 hearts
Week 3 (Oct 13th - Oct 19th)
Oct 13th-Oct 18th:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The story of several characters in 1880s High Society of Russia. Anna Karenina, the titel character, is stuck in a loveless marriage when she falls in love with another man. These are not modern times and since a divorce and remarriage are extremely complicated, drama ensues. The book also follows the life of Anna's brother, Stiva, his wife, Dolly and Dolly's younger sister, Kitty. As well as an admirer of Kitty, Levin, and several other smaller characters. That is really all I have to say.
Holy crap what a long ass book (1448 pages on iPad). Don't get why it is so famous because it was incredibly dull. It was way too descriptive at a lot of parts and it was very hard to get through. I get that the character development is really good and that you can learn from the behavior of each of the characters but it was very underwhelming. I am not interested in 1880s Russian High Society. I then watched 2of the movies movies (1996 and 2013). First movie changed more of the storyline than the second movie but the second movie tried to be too artsy by filming most of it on a stage as if it was being performed in a theatre. The second movie captured the feelings better than the first.
Recommend? NO. 1 Star
Week 4 (Oct 20th - Oct 26th):
Oct 19th-Oct 21st:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
This book is narrated by a 15-year-old boy with special needs named Christopher. A self-proclaimed 'mathematician with some behavioral difficulties', Christopher fins out a neighbor's dog has been murdered and decides to do some detecting and find out who did it. His investigations has some obstacles and in the process Christopher ends up finding out more than he was expecting.
Great book. Very interesting because you really feel like you are in the mind of Christopher and come to learn about his unique reasoning skills, aptitude for mathematics and his aversion to social situations. It was an interesting and unique quick read.
Recommend? YES. 4.5 Stars
Oct 22nd-Oct 24th:
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The story of a young girl, Victoria, who was abandoned at birth and is trying to find her place in the world. After spending time in various families and group homes, Victoria learns about the language of flowers from a woman who has taken her in and finds comfort in communicating through the meaning of flowers. Being abandoned and never having a stable home or feeling loved, Victoria is unable to receive love and makes mistakes she feels are unforgivable. At 18, Victoria ends up homeless. She gets a job helping a florist and through her skills with flowers, tries to make a better life for herself. Afraid she will somehow ruin all that is good in her life since happiness has always been a temporary state, Victoria struggles with getting attached to people and trusting herself.
Excellent book. Unlike anything I've read. Really interesting to see where Victoria takes her life and at the edge of my seat towards the end when she makes some big decisions. Heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It also made me interested in the meaning of flowers and gave me some perspective on the foster care system and the psychological effects on a child.
Recommend? YES. 4.75 stars
Oct 27 - Nov 2:
Dracula by Bram Stoker
We all know the gists of this story. It is told through the dairy entries of the main characters and follows them as Dracula enters and upsets their lives.
Extremely great. Way better than I thought it would be. I don't know why this book is not more widely read because it is awesome. It is suspenseful the whole way through and is superbly written. There are also additional 'facts' about vampires that I had never heard about (and I was a huge Buffy fan growing up - huge). Fantastic read.
(because the writing style and language was impeccable).
About the Author
Born and raised in the Netherlands, I now work as a designer in NYC. I love trying new things, candy and the color orange. In this blog, I will post about things I've learned and things I love. Veel plezier!