3 Last Minute Thanksgiving Side Dishes

 

Last MinuteWe always spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s side of the family. For them, Thanksgiving is the time when all of the relatives travel from across the country to stay together for three non-stop and CRAZY days. The first time I attended it was almost like an initiation into the family ritual of pure and delightful chaos.

Nothing is planned and everything is a go-with-the-flow sort of feel. Its definitely not how I normally do things (I plan things down to the hour, heck to the minute), but Thanksgiving with our family is the time to put the planner away and just let things happen. Of course, the laissez-faire attitude can lead to some last minute recipes and adjustments to the Thanksgiving feasts. If your family is like ours, it is always nice to have a few good back up recipes if you need them.

What do you mean there’s not a green bean dish? Oh, I don’t really like mashed potatoes… Is there a vegan option?

We’ve got you covered.

Here are my husband and I’s tried and true recipes (mostly from other blogs!) for when things just need a little stability. I hope you enjoy!

Green Bean Casserole Just Like Mom Used to Make 

No lie, one year I made this casserole for my husband instead of a birthday cake because he loves it so much. This is a fool-proof recipe that only requires basic pantry items. If there’s no green bean casserole on the menu, why not give this one a go? The mushroom soup can be easily substituted by Cream of Chicken.

Vegan Smashed Potatoes (You HAVE to try these)

Angela’s blog is one of my favourites because most of her recipes are very accessible. The smashed potatoes have the best texture, and her avocado aioli is also delicious. You could easily substitute the aioli with Sriracha too for a little extra kick and a little saved time. (PS, you will want to snack on these even after dinner is over!)

Warm Mexican Corn Salad (Great for WW)

Bailey’s instagram is inspirational and I love learning healthy tips from her. The recipe on her blog was exciting to make because I knew I would love it. The ingredient list is basically all of my favourite foods. Don’t skimp on the feta for this recipe!

 

 

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Fall Must Haves and Must Do’s

Is there anyone who can resist the warm and cozy calling of the Autumnal season? The world becomes a sea of burnt orange and crimson hues, over run with pumpkin spice, and covered in flannel.

I love fall because it always makes me feel extra productive. I start school, I do a lot of cleaning, I go on fall themed excursions, and I always have a great “changing of the wardrobe” (when I switch my closet over to a more winter based system).

This post is acting like a fall shopping list, bucket list, and also fall favorites that I personally never shut up about between September and November. Let’s go.

1. Mules

 

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These are the fall version of your favorite summer slides. There are so many styles to choose from and also a variety of price range for these trendy shoes – however, since they are a trend I like to find the best bang for my buck. I found a few different styles of mules for under $30 at Urban Planet. I can’t wait to style the black leather pair with some denim and a classy top. Find them here.

2. Davids Tea

David’s has one of the best tea selections for seasonal blends. Their fall selection is slowly being released and I was so excited to see an old favorite: Blueberry Muffin. Don’t knock it til you try it, and keep your eyes peeled for their pumpkin teas because they are equally delicious. My tea trick: mix and match blends!

3. Dad hats

While I love a good wide brimmed hat for fall and winter, I love the dad hats of summer. Why can’t they be a fall item too? Some of my favourite hat shops are on Etsy, and they have some many quirky and fun designs that I just can’t say no to. I currently have my eye on this little number from 999spyglass:

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I also love the patch trend that’s happening right now and I found some patched hats that are super cute from WildFlower and Co on Etsy. Look at how many options there are!

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4. Pumpkin Pancakes

One of the best parts of fall is trying new recipes. I’ve been scouring pinterest for yummy breakfast ideas and I came across this masterpiece: APPLE PIE PANCAKES WITH VANILLA SYRUP 

Averie Cooks is the genius behind these, and I have a feeling I’ll be thanking her for blessing me with this glorious combination of flavours.

I can’t wait for the first crisp morning of fall and to treat myself with these delicious looking pancakes.

5. Fall Wreath

Is there anything more welcoming than a wreath with a pumpkin on it? I think not. I’ve never made a wreath before, but I’m looking forward to trying it out and personalizing it to my own taste. Here are my inspiration pieces so far.

 

6. Vegan Stew (the perfect fall recipe)

Last year I discovered the “Oh She Glows” blog and cookbook. While I am not vegan nor vegetarian, I love trying new recipes and adding more vegetables into my diet. My husband and I fell HARD for this Stew the first time we tried it. First off, it incorporates sweet potatoes and squash (the perfect fall ingredients); then it is combined with a  cozy blend of spices; and finally it is topped off with red lentils to make you feel nice and full. We eat this recipe without the rice and we add a little bit of lime to it for a punch of citrus.

All of Angela’s (the woman behind the blog) recipes are easy to work with, even if you are not vegan. I often sub the vegan oils for ones that I already have and tweak wherever is necessary so I can use what I already have on hand. In any case, I have never tried a recipe from Oh She Glows with the result of disappointment. So far they have all been tasty and delicious!

7. Dark Lips

They day is coming when the dark lip can be an every day lip. I’m mainly looking forward to wearing a plummy lipstick because of Veronica Lodge from Riverdale. If you haven’t watched Riverdale, you are missing out. It’s a cool blend of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars with a little dash of Cole Sprouse.

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Anyways, Veronica’s bold lip is simply inspirational. Since the show is sponsored by Covergirl, it was very easy for viewers to guess Veronica’s go-to colour: Marroon Meow by Katy Perry for Covergirl. Once I found the shade, I bought it within 24 hours. Now, I can’t wait to channel my inner River Vixen.

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8. Apple picking

Something that I have NEVER done in the fall is go to a legit orchard. While I like apples, it has always been more of a tradition for me to go to a pumpkin patch. Then I saw Carly’s post from last fall and I have made a solemn vow to forget the pumpkins and finally make my way to the orchard for a fun fall day.

Easter Dresses 2017

Easter dresses

 

Having an Easter dress is a tradition that I grew up with as a kid. Even when we hit hard times, we would still go to K-Mart and pick out something special for Easter to wear to church. I’ve been looking around for the perfect Easter dress for this year.I’m the type of girl who doesn’t get sad about window shopping. Instead, I get inspired and genuinely happy just looking at clothes and it makes me even happier to think about sharing them with someone who will buy an item I’ve picked out and love it. So here are my Easter picks for this year!

  1. If I were to invest in a dress this year, the Old Navy dress would be perfect for my budget. I love the bright yellow paired with the delicate lace details. I think the fit and flair cut is one that would be flattering on several figures. Plus, it is a dress that you can wear with a cardigan and I’m all about that cardi life. Buy it here.
  2. Francesca’s is my go to store for adult-ish type clothes (any one age 18-35?). All of their dresses make me want to hide my student loans under a rug and look fabulous forever. I found this hot-pink dress and realized it comes in about 12 different colours and is only $20.00! Its a steal! Get it while you can! Here.
  3. The short sleeve blue dress screamed “classy” whenever I saw it. How cute would it look with brown wedges and pearls? Eep! Just take my money! I like to peruse through boutique websites and Red Dress Boutique is one of my favorites. They can be a little pricey, but all of their clothes are super trendy and good quality too. It is a decent price, coming to $34.00. But it here.
  4. Finally I have my splurge item and of course its from J Crew (factory). You have been living under a rock if you have not seen this perfectly polka-dotted dress. I feel like nothing could go wrong to anyone wearing this dress. Again, I would pair it with some brown wedges, a slim belt, and some pearls for Easter. To justify the price ($93.00), this dress  would be one that I would wear for several different occasions. I can see myself wearing it with a denim jacket and converse; with sandals and a straw hat; with adidas and my favorite baseball cap; with birkenstocks with a ribbon in my hair. Basically we all need this dress like Opera needs to give us a new car. Buy it here.

And that’s it! I hope you all have a great Easter and remember the reason why we dress up in the first place (Jesus!). I always felt torn buying a new dress for Easter, but I know now that the happiness of the celebration is shown culturally through fashion. People want to wear their best and I’ve come to terms with that. It doesn’t change the season if you don’t get a new dress, and you can have fun re-styling what you already have!

Whether you go to church every Sunday, only on Easter and Christmas, or not at all, I truly wish you a great season of happiness, joy, and hope.

White Rabbit Prints: My New Store!

So… I’ve started a new project — White Rabbit CA. This is my new Etsy shop with all things Disney.I wanted to go with pretty, feminine, delicate designs withe powerful words from influential Disney female characters

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I’ve branched out to include some of my favorite quotes that bring me joy, but I still try to keeip following the same floral and “pretty” aesthetic. Here’s my absolute favorite:

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But…this blog is not entirely about the shop, but why I started it.

I’ve been juggling a lot of things lately. Every thing that came my way I tried to handle the best I could, but often times it was without a smile. I like to think that I am generally a positive “zip-a-dee-doo-da” person and I felt myself slipping into a bad place — where I felt like I did not deserve to be happy. Without going into too much detail, I came to the point where I knew that it was time to find something new to do with  my mind, my hands, and my heart that would give me an outlet to remind myself what I am capable of.

The same thing happened the first winter in Canada. I got Oliver (the cutest orphan puppy ever who is now an 80 pound fuzz ball of love).

The second winter I started my Youtube channel. It went okay, and I liked making videos… but I no longer have the technology or the time to commit to my perfectionistic ways. It was taking me hours to import and export videos. That is not counting the time it took to film and edit. It makes me sad that I can’t keep up the schedule to maintain the channel of my dreams, but I had to accept that this outlet was less feasible as time went on.

This winter… I started my Etsy shop: White Rabbit CA. When I was younger, I was always on the look out for white rabbits — they are the guides to Wonderland! Even when I didn’t see any white rabbits, I was hopeful and would look for little rabbit prints  to hopefully guide me to where they were hiding. As a kid I knew that you had to try hard to find what you believed in, even if you couldn’t see it. The white rabbit is my symbol for belief, hope, and wonder.

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I create designs based on some of my favorite Disney quotes and characters, upload them to Etsy, and then if anyone orders them I send them to the printers and the printers sends them to the customer. It actually took a lot of research to find the avenues to open a shop with very little financial risk, but I did it. So now I’m selling my little pieces of happiness hoping to bring a little bit of happiness too.

This list of things that I start during the winter months may seem like I find something for the moment and quit. Perhaps that’s the case. But I feel like a hobby is the one area where you are allowed to move on whenever it is not serving you any more. That is what I struggled with as I started my new store. Was I giving up and quitting something that others had supported me on? Would they be disappointed? What would I say when people asked me about YT? What about my YT community who I subscribed to and who subscribed to me? These are questions I’ll have to continue to answer, but for right now, I’m happy doing something new and that’s okay.

If you are interested in learning more about starting a small shop, feel free to DM me on Instagram! White Rabbit Prints OR Forrest_Dear

Happy International Women’s Day!

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The picture above contains a few items that remind me of the inspiring women in my life. Since it is international women’s day, I wanted to make a post about these women and give them the recognition that I think they deserve. Do I know all of these women in person? No. One is even fictional. But nonetheless, as I have grown up I have learned how to be a better woman and person from these figures.

Audrey Hepburn

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Audrey’s life is so inspirational. When I think of who I want to be as a woman, I think of Audrey’s characteristics. She had style, grace, a sense of humour, and she was also a hardworking, humble, lady. I love watching her films, and I continually eye her cookbook at my local bookshop. I’m also obsessed with Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Holly Golightly’s character (more so in the film) is one that I relate so much to. I think everyone feels a little lost and like you need somewhere that makes sense… like Tiffany’s. I also think everyone needs to give themselves a chance at love. Even if it scares you.

 

 

 

maxresdefault.jpgJaclyn Hill:

Jaclyn’s youtube channel is my holy grail. She continues to teach me new makeup tricks, but even more importantly, she teaches women and girls everywhere to believe in themselves. Even if you struggle with depression or anxiety, Jaclyn shows women that it is okay to show emotions, to stick up for yourself, or even take a day off.  Her Champagne Pop palette is my ride or die. I bought it for myself as a present for getting my first teaching job and it never disappoints!

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I designed the t-shirt above on a whim. I used a t-shirt transfer and an online graphic design template from canva (my new favorite website). When I first watched Zootopia I was in the middle of my first year as a PhD student in Toronto. I related so much to Judy’s desire to succeed, her ambition, and her fear concerning failure or lack of acceptance because she was different. Zootopia is a great movie for ANYONE who has felt any of these things and  Judy is possibly the Disney character I feel like I have the most in common with (I wish it were a princess, but I’m not mad its a bunny). I have an Etsy shop that I literally JUST opened and it has a few inspiring quotes from Disney favorites.

The Women in my family: The pearls and perfume are gifts from my grandmother (Darst) and sister, respectively. I love all the women in my family so much, and they have all taught me something about what it means to be patient and to listen. I think the lesson that I have most enjoyed learning from my younger sister is that you can never have too much fun. As she has grown up, she has worked hard to save for all sorts of different travel experiences and I am supremely jealous and proud of the way she truly lives her life.

Grad School: The GRE

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The GRE was the first horrifying obstacle that I faced when applying to grad school.
I felt so lost when studying for test and read up on every single tip I could find online as well as asking my closest friends (who had taken the test) what I should do. I never knew if I was doing the right thing or the wrong thing; but looking back, I can see that it is a journey worth sharing because I definitely did a little right and a little wrong.

I think the first mistake I made was being too attached to perfection. Two of my friends had taken the GRE and scored in the 98th and 99th percentiles in the dreaded verbal section. It was so intimidating to know that such high scores were possible by students who had taken nearly the exact same classes as I did. What if I didn’t do as well? Was I not cut out for grad school if I did not achieve the highest score possible? I had the same feelings about the ACT (which I took 7 times only to secure a 27… which isn’t bad, but I wanted a 34-36… again, with the perfection). Anyone taking the GRE, I would advise to not focus on your potential score at the beginning. Focus on mastering testing techniques and actually learning skills and vocabulary.

The second mistake that I made was not saving for the test. I was taken aback when I went to sign up for the first test and it was over 100 dollars. It took most of my paycheck and made the pressure even more enormous because now the test cut into both my time and my budget. As a very involved student body member, a good student, a double employee, and a future bride planning a wedding, this was a pressure that could have been avoided if I had put back a little of each paycheck and budgeted properly so that I could pay for the test easily. And unfortunatly, I did not do my best on the first test so I had to take it AGAIN. It was about 300 dollars (with travel included) that I spent in total. For some, this may not be a lot. And that’s good. Maybe you are a better saver than I am or accept more parental donations… but for me, this was grocery money, gas money, ect. Budgeting for not one but TWO possible tests is what I would advise. And if you do as great as my friends did on their first test then you have a little wiggle room. Maybe for some celebratory amenities?

I did buy a great study tool: Kaplan’s Guide to the GRE. So one point for me. It belonged to one of those said friends who had done great on her first GRE. It was a beneficial tool that was super mobile. Some people just take the practice tests that the GRE allows for each tester to acquire when they sign up for the test, but I needed more prep. The Kaplan books are what I used and they actually taught testing tricks and gave great tips. The kit came with flashcards with vocab words that were ACTUALLY ON THE TEST. I did feel more prepared for that section of the test because of those nifty flash cards. I sold my kit later, but sometimes I miss going through those cards because I actually had fun learning with them. #nerdstatus (By the way, I called my university the other day and obviously I had to go through one of those automated systems to talk to someone, and one of the commands was the push the HASHTAG KEY. What has the academic world come to?).book_gre

DONT’TAKE YOUR STUDY MATERIAL WITH YOU TO THE TEST. I know, I know, you feel so attached to them after lugging them around for months on end. But don’t do it. I did not, but it would have been a catastrophe if I had done it. Another girl was in the testing center with me and she got in major trouble because she brought a study book with her while we were waiting to be admitted to the computer room. Its majorly against the rules and she almost had to leave and not take the test (a major nightmare). I didn’t even take my cell phone inside. Or my purse. Just my wallet, testing confirmation sheet, and my snack. They gave me a locker for my stuff and I didn’t need anything else.

What do you think about Coffee? I love it. Me and Coffee are tight. Coffee comes with me where ever I go. Coffee is my constant companion. BUT I would advise anyone to not have coffee before the test. I may just be weird and superstitious and offending my constant companion (coffee), but my first test (that went abysmally) I felt jittery from nerves and the normal amount of caffeine that I usually have at 10am. I felt a bit betrayed, stupid, and a whole lot of upset. I decided if I did take the test again, I would forego the coffee for apple juice. The next test I bulked up on not one but TWO whole grain blueberry muffins, some guilty pleasure found in the form of bacon, and a healthy amount of apple juice. Some real Brain Food. I also brought a snack for my break, which I forgot to do the first time. After the test (on which I did so much better) I celebrated with a sweet reunion with my long lost study buddy. That’s right, I went to Starbucks and payed over 4 dollars for a dreamy Hazelnut Machiatto.

I also scored another point for myself in this battle by remembering the important quote from Mr. Oscar Wilde “You can never be over dressed or over educated”. A nifty trick that I have learned throughout my undergraduate career is that I feel better and more confident whenever I am if I am dressed up. No T-shirts, No jeans, and No messy buns. I love dressing up, even though I often don a pair of yoga pants and some random sweatshirt. I dressed up for both occasions, but I was still comfortable. I made sure I fixed my hair, I had make up, and I wore a cute tunic with leggings. Although it probably did not reflect in my scores, I felt like I was ready for a test that could determine my future academic endeavors. This is a personal habit, and even though it probably doesn’t help for getting a high score, I know it helped me feel better about myself. Is easy to give yourself a pep talk when you look super cute. OR if you are this girl. (one of my fave videos, ever. please watch to have your life changed).
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Lastly, don’t freak out. The GRE will not make or break your application to whatever school to which you are applying. It’s good to do well, but its better to remain sane.

I can do anything GOOD! (You won’t get this closing statement if you did not watch the video… Your bad).

Graduation

After four years of finding my way, I finally made it to the center stage to receive my diploma. 

I never felt like I was ahead of the game or close to the light at the end of the tunnel until I was literally walking across the stage. In fact, it still seems a little unreal. I have a small paranoia of forgetting to translate latin or write a final paper, even though everything ( absolutely everything) is all finished. 

I think the best part about graduation was that Jared and I got to do it together. Not only is he my husband, but he is my very best friend. We have been through everything together while at school, and when we found out that we got to graduate one after another we were so pleased. And on top of that our graduation’s guest speaker was unbelievable. She gave a speech that I will never forget and that I will probably use as motivation in the coming years. 

In the coming year we are moving to CANADA and we are both going to start masters programs in Toronto. I think it will be a unique journey that not a lot of people make, but I am certain we will have a blast. But in between moving and starting fresh, I want to take the summer to reflect and to enjoy the time we have at home. 

My sister is also graduating high school this week! 2014 is definitely marked by these ceremonies and transitions for my sister and me. Its such an exciting time! Here’s to the graduates! (Below are my past roomies and best friends!)Image