March 28, 2015

How to: Succulent Terrarium Tutorial

I finally did it. I finally jumped on the succulent bandwagon.

Much credit to Sarah at MakeGrowDo because I've been mercilessly eyeballing hers every time she posts about them on Facebook or Instagram and I just couldn't help myself.

So while walking around Home Depot with Matt for wall-bed supplies (I can't wait to show you guys what he's made!) I took a little detour into the garden center to pick up a few succulents of my own.

Castle DIY
Aren't they cute?

March 23, 2015

Belated Galentine's Day

Finally! A trip to the Biltmore. You'll remember from a few weeks ago when my friend Alexandra was here I had planned to take her to the Biltmore Estate and that plan tragically fell through.

Castle DIY

March 19, 2015

Listening To

"Jesus" - Brand New from the album, The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me

In honor of "throw back Thursday" and due to the generosity of my bffls (who probably isn't reading this) I've got a copy of this album on repeat in my car. Yes, I still use CDs because no, I do not have an aux cable hook up in my 2003 Escape. Deal with it.

Anyway, this particular song was the top single off the album, which released in 2006, even though I didn't know that until about two minutes ago. In fact, I didn't even know this album existed! I am a big fan of the first two albums - Your Favorite Weapon and Deja Entendu but the Daisy album dropped the ball for me so I fell out of love with Brand New for a bit. I am thankful to say our relationship has been rekindled. But I digress.

I can certainly understand why this song is so popular. The music is beautiful, but the lyrics resonate in a way that I imagine many can relate to. Even though the very specific words may not apply to all, certainly the feeling that we are both good and not is something we can all relate to. 

So happy #TBT everyone. Go pull out some music from high school and jam your little heart out.


March 16, 2015

Weekend Round Up

Spring is just around the corner here in South Carolina and my springy-senses are tingling. When it's warm like it has been the last few days, I feel myself becoming more motivated and the desire to accomplish things - to not waste any minutes of the best time of the year - is overwhelming. 

So to kick off the start of the new season, I decided to wrap up a few on-going projects that I had lying around the house over the last few weekends. I was in need of a new wreath to replace the Valentine's Day one I posted a few weeks ago, so I took a trip to the dollar store for some springy new supplies. I had acquired a few large frames from Matt's mother a few weekends back, so I took them out to the garage to spray them with a fresh coat of paint. I played around with some water colors and acrylics to come up with some new art to decorate the house and I filled some dollar-store-frames with scrapbook paper. Although they certainly weren't big projects, I still had the feeling of accomplishing a thing or two and that always makes for a successful weekend. 

March 12, 2015

A Rant About Customer Service

If you don't know what my voice sounds like, I'm just going to go ahead and warn you that you might find this next post boring or ridiculous. If you do know me and my voice, and can imagine me talking with my hands, dancing about the room with play-by-play animations using myself as the prop, well... you may appreciate this rant a bit more.

March 11, 2015

Currently Reading Vol. 4

The Storyteller - Jodi Picoult

Just started this one and it's brand spankin' new to me. It was a Christmas gift from Matt's parents and I have been saving it for last on my list. I am a huge Jodi fan and have read many of her books. I appreciate the twists and turns that she surprises her readers with and enjoy the emotional investment that her novels require. She's an exquisite example of just what an author should be. 

The synopsis:
"Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t. 
Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shame­ful secret and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths to which we will go in order to keep the past from dictating the future."

March 9, 2015

Recipe & Review: Raw Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

I have an unhealthy relationship with food. Some people eat to live. Some people live to eat. I am of the latter group of individuals. I love chocolate, sugar, pasta, all things dairy, bread, bread and bread. While in moderation, all of these things are okay, I have very little sense of what moderation actually is. So in preparation for my Biggest Loser Challenge that starts on the 16th of this month, I have been trying to get my head straight about how to control my food intake without feeling like I'm depriving myself of something totally delicious.

Of course all these means is that I'm craving cake, Starbucks, milkshakes and cookie dough.

On Friday, I decided to just go ahead and fulfill one of these desires but in a sort-of-healthy-ish way. I jumped on Pinterest to have a look at imitation cookie dough recipes and stumbled on one by Erin (this link takes your right to her step-by-step) at Texanerin Baking (go check out all her amazing recipes). And wow, are these good. 

[She also has a whole-grain inspired cookbook coming out very soon and you can pre-order it on Amazon here.]

Anyway, on to the cookie dough balls. 

March 4, 2015

No Use Crying Over Burnt Milk: A Pot Cleaning Tutorial

In an attempt to be a good host (and because my grandmother had mentioned it on the phone a number of times over the past month) I decided to make baked mac and cheese for dinner one night during Alex's visit. My gram makes the BEST mac and cheese and its the kind with the white sauce made with milk and white cheddar, real bread crumbs and butter on top. It is awesome and delicious and I'm a HUGE fan. Thinking about it now makes my mouth water.

I picked up the ingredients, and following a recipe I had found online, threw together some mac and cheese. In the middle of making the sauce, my uncle called me. The thing I need point out about this phone call is that he never calls, and my dad had been in and out of the hospital a few times the previous week. Naturally a call like this is bound to stir some nerves, so despite being in the middle of cooking, I picked up the phone. Of course it turned out to be fine, he was just inquiring about my dad, but in the two minutes we were on the phone I burnt the milk and cheese and scorched my pan. The sauce looked fine so I went ahead and used it on my mac and cheese, only to end up causing the entire batch to taste smokey (even though it wasn't). How disappointing. Add this to the list of #kitchenfails for Castle DIY.

March 2, 2015

Biggest Loser

At my old job, my coworkers and I used to participate in an office wide competition of Biggest Loser (yes, just like the show). The activity team would put together goals and rules and at the very end would present prizes to the winning individual and team. With nearly 300 employees, we had serious competition and smack talk and even though I never really expected to win, I put on a good show. I would harass and psyche-out my peers as they sauntered innocently up to my teller station to cash their paychecks:

"What'd YOU have for lunch today? Me, I had water and a hearty helping of air."
"I saw you running this morning. You looked like a moose on acid."
"I know I you can't tell, but I've already lost 15 pounds. Yes, I know it's only the second day."
"You want some ice cream? I'll go get it for you."


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