Blogging Diaries: Growing Pains

Although I am a very indecisive person, when it comes to something I really want to do, I tend to jump in quickly and just go, even if it’s at the cost of efficiency. I just kind of figure that I’ll work it out as I go. That wasn’t true of blogging for me though. I spent probably a couple years dreaming of starting a blog, and most of last summer vacation planning and archiving projects and creating what I thought would be my blog brand. Now, I've surpassed post 100, and despite all that prep I thought I did, my blog has still changed a lot. Heck, my life has changed a lot. I guess that’s what starting something entirely new does to you (i.e. college, ya know).

I found this blog quickly taking the back seat as my college life was quickly changing this semester, and as I spent more time with real live human beings in real life organizations, I spent less time on crafts and other projects for wonderland. And now, I’m writing a rambling post literally just about life which is something I never saw myself blogging unless it was super positive or something. But honestly, one of the best ways for me to think is to write, and for me, writing like this is about as honest as I get, and doesn’t have all the umms and inconclusive sentences of just talking. (And I get to use words like inconclusive, which just makes me feel pretty damn cool and intelligent.)

Basically, the past few months have been wonderful and difficult. And that’s what I want to reflect on today.

Difficult because I realized that my only dream coming into college wasn’t really my dream after all, and now I have to find another. But wonderful, because I can in fact find another. Like, I don’t think it hit me until after I began this second semester of school that I can do literally anything. And not just that I could forgo showering for a week if I felt like it. It’s more the sudden knowledge that my plans are no longer regulated by the confines of AP classes and high school band and fickle social circles. I am blessed enough to go to a college with what seems to be thousands of majors, millions of organizations, and a billion different classes. (Yeah, yeah, hyperbole I know.) And that’s both really scary and really really inspiring to me. I came into college with one logical, seemingly perfect plan, and maybe I’ll go back to it someday, but right now, I can do and be anything.

It’s also difficult because it’s just not high school anymore, and totally freakin’ perfect in that it’s not high school anymore. I love my old friends, and it’s great to see them when I can, but I now find myself actually busy with new humans pretty often, and it’s crazy to rediscover myself in the midst of new company. I can practically feel myself growing up and into a better, infinitely more kick-ass version of my old passive self. I mean don’t get me wrong, changing like this will probably be a slow process throughout the entirety of college (and honestly all life, but let’s not think about that).

I mean, change is really scary. Honestly, college kicked my confidence a little bit this semester, and it was tough. But I can also feel something different and amazing and so lovely I can’t wait speeding in my direction. And I have found that those new dreams just around the corner have an air of hopefulness to them when I dry my eyes from the panic of the unknown and just look around me.

I sat down and had a good cry about all of this recently. About of everything I miss so much, and everything I fear in the future. But then this came out of it. This messy, rambly, written-when-I-should-be-sleeping account of me as I change. I also know this is different for my blog, but I think I need some more honesty in my life, and more courage. I am terrified to post something more personal but lately, I have had so many lovely experiences from just putting myself out there in the past few weeks. I spent so much of my semester fearful, but now I am ready to jump into life with two feet and grow, for the summer and for the rest of college, and, okay, for the rest of my gosh-dern life. And yeah, my blog definitely be coming along for the ride, and growing and changing with me.

Basically, when I take a breath from the worry and fear of change, I’m awfully excited about everything that is changing. I hope you'll stick around for it too.

Stay lovely,

White Spinach + Cilantro Queso (Lazy College Student Edition)

I had totally planned to get you guys this queso recipe in time for Super Bowl Sunday, but the big game came and went while I obsessed over Valentine’s Day crafts! I did end up making this last minute for a small get together that weekend though, which is when I snapped these few pictures. And rather than wait a whole year to share the best queso I have ever made at next year’s bowl, I figured that life is always a party and a little melted cheese can be just one more way to celebrate. (Plus, in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas, last week was Fiesta!!)

What’s special here is the white cheese, cilantro and spinach that makes this recipe simultaneously fresh and rich, as such cheesy goodness should be. Think of this as classic queso’s classy cousin—like the high society version of that Velveeta, Rotel and ground beef! And yes, I did just talk about cheese that much. (I mean, I’m from Texas. Queso’s practically a staple food here!) This is also really reminiscent of the queso blanco from Chili’s if you’ve ever tried it! Just to give you a heads up of what you are getting into.

The recipe was snagged from The Recipe Critic, but we made a few adaptations for the lazy/college student cook, and threw in a few of our own preparation tips. I hope you will adore this cheesy goodness as much as I do!

White Spinach + Cilantro Queso

1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 c chopped white onion, or 1/4 c chopped red onion
16 oz Velveeta Queso Blanco (1/2 block)
5 oz shredded pepper jack cheese
2/3 c milk
10 oz medium Rotel, drained (1 can)
2 cups fresh or frozen chopped spinach (frozen is lazier—already chopped and wilted!)
1/4 c cilantro paste (found in the produce section)

Heat oil over medium heat, and sauté onions until tender. (They should slice easily from the pressure of a spatula.) Add cheeses and milk and stir until melted. Now add the spinach, and stir until wilted and/or defrosted. Drain and add the Rotel, and stir in the cilantro paste. Mix well. Serve while melty and delicious!

It’s easiest to keep the queso ooey and gooey by storing it in a small crockpot on low heat, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t burn onto the sides! Our favorite chips to eat with this are Tostitos scoops, Fritos, and, surprisingly, rosemary naan chips. Some more fun things we’ve dipped in queso are toasted slices of baguette, shrimp, and even veggie fries like these green bean fries! (We made those for Thanksgiving and they were en pointe/on point. Depends on if I’m feeling French or not.)

What are some of your favorite party snacks to make?

Stay lovely,

Free Wallpapers for That End-of-Semester Boredom

In case my Procrastibaking Print didn’t have you guessing this, you should know that sometimes the urge to procrastinate hits me pretty hard. Like, hours worth of Netflix hard. Well, this weekend, whilst undergoing the usual cycle of procrastination and work, I made some nifty computer wallpapers that represent the general sentiment toward all the pre-finals prep goin’ on around here. (You know, how all your teachers squeeze in one last regular test a week or two before the official “final?” That’s where I am right now tbh.)

Anyway, now every time you open your laptop to study-udy-udy, you can mentally prepare yourself for the impending boredom with a zillion iterations of “I’m so bored” in every pastel color I could think of. (If I missed anything, or you would like this in a different color combo, leave me a comment! I’d be happy to procrastinate some more, just for you!)

Happy pre-finals, if it’s that time for you, and keep up the good work in whatever life is giving you!

Stay lovely,

PS: Fo’ real though, stay in school kids and study for your tests. Your dreams are on the line here! And, I happen to believe in you a whole lot. *kisses*

Nut-Free, Dairy Free Protein Oatmeal with Anjou Pears

Ever since coming to college, I have been trying to be more conscious about my eating choices, and one of those choices has been adopting a primarily vegetarian diet! Now if you’ve ever considered a vegetarian diet before, then you know that one of the key aspects of this diet choice is making sure that you are still getting plenty of protein from non-animal sources. And as such, I’ve come up with a trick or two about how to add some sneaky protein to my meals! First on the menu? Amping up breakfast.

Although I’ll call this a recipe for convenience sake, it’s really kind of a “life-hack” I guess! (Fun, pointless fact about me: I really don’t like the word “hack” very much…) It’s also incredibly easy which is great, because college student. Now, even if you are 100% an omnivore (thanks middle school science), I still find that protein in my breakfast keeps me full longer! So let’s get on with it, shall we?

Protein Oatmeal using Instant Oats

½ cup whole grain instant oats
¼ cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup water
1 tbs raw sugar
A generous dash of cinnamon
¼ cup milk (optional, or you can use whatever non-dairy variety you enjoy)
½ Anjou pear + a few small slices for garnish

Measure out your pumpkin seeds, and grind into a powder in a food processor (or blender). Mix with the oats, add water, then microwave for the time suggested on the oats (1:30 for me). Stir in the raw sugar and cinnamon, so that it can dissolve with the heat, then add the milk. Finely chop your pear in the food processor (or blender), and stir together with the cooked oatmeal for a fresh twist!


You can also prepare this recipe as overnight oats, by adding the pumpkin seeds to a recipe like this one!  Or, if you can have nuts, add a spoonful of peanut or almond butter to increase your protein even more. As for other variations, know that there about a billion delicious and creative oatmeal mix-in’s out there just waiting to be tried! I personally have enjoyed adding peanut butter and jelly or chocolate chips to my oatmeal in the past!

As for the flavor of the oatmeal, I don’t find it to be altered at all by the addition of pumpkin seeds, since they are a very mild taste to start with. The texture may change slightly if you do not get your seeds quite as finely ground, but I didn’t find the change to be bothersome at all!

So do you ever eat vegetarian? What sneaky protein tricks do you have?!

Stay lovely,

Chocolate Covered Cherry Green Smoothie

There are two things almost every college girl loves: sleep and chocolate. This recipe gets you both! I mean, it doesn’t directly involve sleep as an ingredient, but it’s so dang easy and takes so little time, that maybe you’ll get to sleep more! Or perhaps actually study for those tests that you have next week. (Guess who’s avoiding that one!)

Oh, and did I mention it’s secretly healthy! Now, not like low-carb or anything (sorry, chocolate lover here), but it does have fruits AND veggies AND protein snuck inside, which might be just about as good as it gets in this hectic life of mine… (We'll just use the hectic-ness of life as an excuse for being blogging-M.I.A. too, okay?)

Regardless, this is the most desert-like smoothie I’ve ever had the pleasure of blending, and I am so SO happy I was craving chocolate the other day and made it happen! Are you ready for your produce and protein-packed chocolate fix?!

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Green Smoothie (serves 1)

3 cubes frozen spinach (blend fresh spinach with just enough water, and freeze in an ice cube tray! It’s perfect when your healthy eating plans take a week off, but your ripening greens don’t!)
4-5 whole frozen strawberries
A couple frozen black cherries*
½ cup V8 Fusion Black Cherry Apple juice (not sponsored, just delicious)
1 6oz carton vanilla Greek yogurt
Chocolate syrup to taste (honestly, I just give it one real good squeeze!)

*I prefer this strawberry-cherry ratio, but I think it will differ depending on your tastes! For example, if you use a different juice, you will probably want to go with more cherries!

I love smoothie recipes because the instructions almost always go like this: put it all in the blender and press go!

Now with this particular recipe, I would recommend you add less syrup than you think you need, blend, take a sip, and go from there. You can also definitely use fresh spinach and strawberries, and then just add 6-8 ice cubes to get that smoothie-licious consistency.  Oh, and you should probably serve it in an opaque glass, because the color is not the most appealing thing about the smoothie… The flavor seriously makes up for it though, I promise you!

Do you turn to smoothies as a lazy and deceptively healthy meal? Link your favorite recipe in the comments, and let me know just how strong your chocolate addiction is!

Stay lovely,

DIY Faux Beaded Clutch

I think we can all pretty much agree that a girl can never have too many simple clutches, right? They are perfect for anything from a laid-back brunch to a fancy dinner if you buy the right one, and can add so much interest to an outfit with considerably minimal effort. But how do we go about finding that perfect clutch you say? Well, why not make it our own!

Around Christmastime, I found this super fun product call Beads in a Bottle that is absolutely perfect for adding a little pizazz to your basic clutch! (Not sponsored, just awesome.) It is about as easy to use as paint, and, as you can see, can be used super elaborately or just as a simple, classy accent! It essentially creates round “beads” on the surface you apply it to by self-rounding, meaning you can stud/bedazzle the heck out of something without actually going through the work of studs. And unlike puffy fabric paint, the “beads” actually do round themselves out on top instead of creating a peak.

Now apart from the billion projects I still want to make with this stuff, I dressed up a couple clutches from Charming Charlie to show you how it works. The simple, white and gold one was for me (I like to keep my studding subtle), while the black, art-deco style one was created for my older sister as a Christmas present (she loves 20s style)!

I am all for an easy and unique accessory update, and this particular method is just about as easy as it gets!

For the white and gold clutch:
You will need a basic quilted clutch, and your choice of metallic shade of Beads in a Bottle (I bought this pack).

Simply add a dot of paint at each intersection of the quilting. Bigger dots will round a little better, and try not to get to close to the edges, or gravity will interfere with your hard work!

For the art-deco clutch:
You will need a flat-faced, preferably solid color clutch, 2 metallic shades of Beads in a Bottle, white sewing chalk, and a cotton swab or two.

Sketch your design on the surface of a clutch using a ruler and chalk, then “bead” onto the clutch as before! When the paint is fully dry (probably overnight), you can add a little water to the cotton swab to wash away the chalk residue.

Use different amounts of pressure to get beads of different sizes. It may help to practice a little before you go to work on the clutch itself. If you do make a mistake though, wait until the paint dries a bit, peel it off as best as possible, and clean up the area with a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol. And please remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect—it will still looks awesome and unique regardless! (If you are a perfectionist, like myself, I do suggest using a relatively inexpensive clutch to start with, and know that lighter colors will show errors less than darker colors!)

Because this embellishment is really just paint, it’s in the clutch’s best interest to not be sandwich in between your toiletries and t-shirts when you pack for Spring Break... I learned that the hard way! Never fear though. You can actually go over the “beads” again with the paint, just make sure that they are completely centered over the previous application and ever-so-slightly larger than the original. To avoid having to do this though, I would suggest at least 12 hours dry-time before you even flip the clutch over to paint the other side.

I’m looking forward to trying this product on a new wallet (mine is fraying after 5 years, go figure),  or the adorable pink cross-body that I recently thrifted for $4 (SCORE)! Anything you are interesting in fancying up with faux studs/beads?

Stay lovely,