Well, if all goes according to plan, I have some pretty exciting news to share with all of you in the coming weeks (!!! so stay tuned). Until then, I’m throwing back to some of the best travel hacks that I learned during my time abroad–if you’re planning a sojourn anytime soon, you’ll want to keep a few of these in your back pocket so you can travel on-the-go like a total pro!
10. Pre-print any documents you might need: directions, contact info, spreadsheets.
When you’re on the go, it’s always a good idea to print everything you need in advance. My friend recently sent me her crazy detailed Europe spreadsheet containing hostels, dates, rates, train times, and planned sites, which are all useful to keep on hand, but it’s also a good idea to print a few maps if you plan on traveling internationally without a data plan. That being said…
9. Contact your mobile provider in advance for international data and texting plans.
Before I left for Europe, I contacted my mobile provider and asked them about affordable international data plan options. I ended up purchasing a plan for unlimited international texting and something like 200 MB data for emergencies–thankfully, too, because I ended up using all of it (and then some!). While the price tag was pretty hefty, it felt good to know that I had a fallback in case I needed it.
8. Invest in a sizable external battery pack for your phone.
My friend lent me an external battery pack before my trip to Europe and it pretty much saved my life.… Read more
If you secretly make trips to Red Lobster just so you can stuff your with their famous, melt-in-your-mouth buttery Cheddar Bay Biscuits, here’s some good news for the new year: now you can make (and enjoy) them in your own home! (Recipe here.)
9. Slutty Cheesecake Bars
A thick layer of chocolate chip blondie, rich cheesecake on top, and whole Oreos crammed all throughout give these infamous bars their name. One of the very first recipes that I posted on Wallflour Girl (note the tacky rainbow wrapping paper backdrop) and still one of the most popular after five years! (Recipe here.)
8. Extra-Fudgy Kahlua Brownies with Kahlua Icing
I’m not a booze kind of girl…usually. But put a plate of these extremely fudgy Kahlua brownies (and maybe a White Russian!) in front of me and they’ll be gone before you can say “boozy.” (Recipe here.)
7. The Very BEST Tiramisu (from America’s Test Kitchen)
My shortlist for best recipe sources is, well, short–but I would trust America’s Test Kitchen with my first-born baby. This simple but authentic tiramisu recipe is the best that I’ve ever made and constantly requested at family functions! (Recipe here.)
6. Idiot-Proof Healthy Chocolate Chip Bars
Here’s an idiot-proof recipe that you can hand off to even the most baking-illiterate of your friends! These one-bowl, dump-and-stir chocolate chip oat bars are healthy, too, making them perfect for kicking off a brand new year. (Recipe here.)
5. Hawaiian Chantilly Layer Cheesecake Cake
This recipe holds a special place in my heart: inspired by one late-night, post-movie dinner conversation at Lenny’s Deli, my ex shared his fond memories of a dessert known as Chantilly cake.… Read more
For anyone who is currently sitting in an office, classroom, library, or other public setting, you may want to bookmark this page and come back to it later…unless you don’t mind running the risk of accidentally salivating onto your keyboard in front of your boss. If that’s the case, then by all means: scroll on!
I was editing the photos for these treats this weekend when the boy poked his nose hopefully over my shoulder and stared at my computer monitor. “What are those?” he asked with an air of studied nonchalance that wasn’t fooling anyone. When I told him that they were caramel shortbread cocoa krispies bars, he asked whether I had made them earlier that day and was disappointed to find that I had not.
“Yesterday, then?” he prompted expectantly.
” I made these last month.”
“Oh.” Pause. “Sooo….I suppose that means there aren’t any left?”
Sadly, if you’re asking the same question as you sit there drooling at your screen in your office right now, I regret to inform you that these bars are long (I mean long) gone.I brought them to a class film screening back in April and they were gone lickety-split. With a buttery layer of shortbread, rich oozing caramel, and fluffy rice cereal infused with marshmallows and chocolate, these bars are pretty much one of the most amazing things you’ll ever try.
And hey, never fear–the recipe is here! (Er, below.) Happy Tuesday to you!
What about you: do you know someone who always wants to know where the sweet treats are at?
These bars are insane--and insanely delicious! Start with a buttery shortbread crust, topped with gooey rich caramel, and topped off with a surprisingly fluffy layer of rice cereal and marshmallows infused with the deep tones of chocolate.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MakeItAMovieNight #CollectiveBias
Animated films are my jam, my cup of tea, my sweet love, my obsession and my vampiric life blood. If you don’t like animation, you may as well leave now because I’m pretty sure we can’t ever be friends again.
And no, you can’t have any of these bars on your way out. Hmph!
Animated movie nights are one of my favorite bonding activities ever. If you want to find the want to my heart–because lezzbereal here, everyone does–you might suggest having a snack-filled animation marathon night and I might love you forever.
Every time I go home, my family and I make it a point to watch at least one animated film together, which is so delightful because sometimes I spend more time watching them than watching the film itself. This winter break, we decided to watch Hotel Transylvania 2, which is an adorable film about Dracula’s attempts to turn his half-human grandson into a true vampire. The plot was cute overload, but you know you’re watching a real gem when Blobby the Blob needs to use the bathroom in the middle of a dramatic race sequence and suddenly your dad is cracking up so bad that he is alternately coughing and laughing and quite literally falling off his chair for three minutes straight.
Ahh, families. Gotta love ‘em!
The only thing that could have made the night better was having about a bajillion snacks on hand. My family and I are a bunch of huge snackers, so we decided to stock up on Orville Redenbacher 6 pack Movie Theater Popcorn Bowls (a very good idea), Milk Chocolate M&M’S®, and Coca-Cola.
Why these particular snacks? I’m so glad you asked!… Read more
Before I begin, I just want to say that I’m not at all sorry for sharing this dessert with you. Yes, it’s a crazy dessert–yes, it’s so insanely good that I nearly picked through half of the pan before I managed to pry my paws off of these layered bars long enough to package them and ship them off. But will I say sorry?
The thing is, I’m a chronic sorry-sayer. If you’re not one yourself, you know one: that friend who, even when she is doing you a favor, will say “sorry” out of instinct more than anything else. And then of course, there’s the neverending loop of sorries, which usually happens when somebody points out that you’re saying sorry way too much, so your first response is to apologize for saying sorry so often–and thus begins the Great Chain of Apologies.
But as I said, I won’t be apologizing for these bars. Not even a tiny morsel, because they are unforgivingly knock-your-socks-off good.
I won’t apologize for the way your jeans fit after you eat them.
I won’t apologize for the incessant daydreams and steady stream of drool that these bars may incur during your regular work/schoolday routine, most probably (knowing your luck) right as your boss/teacher is asking you an important question.
In all seriousness, though: saying sorry really is an infliction, since the act of saying sorry when one has little to nothing for which to be sorry is really an indicator of something deeper happening. Several times in the past six months or so, I’ve called up some of my closest friends in the hopes of talking through some difficult issues–moral compasses, ethical dilemmas, others’ emotions, my own repeated near-meltdowns (or actual meltdowns, as earlier this week proved). The first words out of my mouth on every call were: “Sorry, do you have time to talk?” One text I sent said: “Sorry, can I be honest?”
And the first words my friends–all of them–said were not “of course” or “sure!” but: “Dude, don’t apologize.”
Followed by: “This is what friends are for.… Read more
There are three things I am loving right now. The first is surprises! Because who doesn’t love a good surprise? I know I do.
The second thing is babies. I mean, if you don’t like babies, does that mean you hate puppies and rainbows and unicorns and cupcakes and all things happy and cute, too? Nobody wants to be THAT person. In my mind, it’s safest to just love the cuddly creatures and get on with it <3
The third thing I love is…showers. Don’t get me wrong: the idea of a hot, luxurious bath at the end of a long day sounds as wonderful to me as it does to Julia Roberts’ character in Pretty Woman. But since the idea of stewing in my own juices has always sort of weirded me out – showers it is.
And speaking of showers… Congratulations, you have stumbled across this surprise baby shower for our wonderful blogger friend, Courtney!
A group of 12 bloggers, including myself, have put our heads together on this lovely day to celebrate the amazing Courtney from Neighbor Food. I met this fantastic lady almost 2 years ago now, back when I was just a wee blogger with bright wide eyes looking for a friend or just a warm smile to welcome me into the big wide world of food blogging. Courtney was so gracious and was one of the rare few who would light up every single blog post of mine with a thoughtful comment, even when the photos were blurry or the writing was crap or my mind was plain jarbled up and my thoughts made zero sense.
In short, Courtney quickly grew to become a wonderful friend.
Now, with a wee one on the way in just a few short weeks, I’m so excited to be sharing a recipe with all of you today that epitomizes the best of all worlds when it comes to dessert time.… Read more
You’d think that with summer vacation finally here and in full swing, I’d find more time to do summery things like frolic through lush fields of berries or buy fresh produce every week from the farmer’s market down the street from us. Instead, in the 4 weeks that have elapsed since my last academic conference, I have done goodness-knows-what with my time: running all of the annoying errands I never bothered to do during the school year, catching up here on the blog, and trying to earn a few extra bucks here and there when I can.
I never understood what all of my aunts meant when they said that they are “ten times busier now that they have retired,” but now I’m starting to get the point. Vacationing is rough, there’s no denying it.
The struggle is real.
No, I’m kidding–of course, I know I’ve got it good. What is summer vacation anyway? Just a kid’s recess session on the playground of life. In the adult world, there is no recess. In the adult world, there is no nap time (unless you’re in Spain). There is no playground, and there definitely is no such thing as a “summer vacation.”
That being said……….
“Adulting” (verb: the act of acting like a real, honest-to-goodness, bona fide adult) is actually kind of all kinds of awesome in its own way. Sure, you don’t get official nap time at work–but when you’re working a real job, nobody will stop you from vegging out on your couch watching Netflix for so long that you actually end up falling asleep with your face in the bowl of buttered popcorn (none of this “no butter” nonsense). And okay, maybe our metabolisms work precisely 9.5 times slower than they did five years ago – let’s be honest, it feels good to know that if you’ve had a rough day at work, nothing stands between you and that half-gallon of cookies ‘n cream special edition toffee crunch ice cream sitting in your freezer.… Read more
If it’s felt quiet around here lately, you’re completely right. But guys. Guys.
Guess who’s penning this post as a newly baptized English PhD candidate? (eeks!) Excuse me while I bust-a-move around the room a la old-school 90s arcade game.
So for those of you who are just like, Ala you big nut what are you even talking about we have no idea please speak English okay, I have basically spent the past few months working furiously toward writing a dissertation proposal (called a “prospectus”) that I finally discussed with my entire exam committee on Monday. For a little shy of two hours, we sat in a room and questioned and brainstormed and pontificated about my ideas on the construction of children’s fantasy literature (and yes, that’s my dissertation topic–booyeah!).
Then they sent me out of the room and were all like GO STEW IN YOUR SWEATY INSECURITY and closed the door and deliberated.
Okay, actually they sent me out at a really nice and comfortable point in our conversation, and basically everyone was grinning as I walked out and everyone was still grinning when I walked back in. I was honestly a little bit scared because I have never seen my advisor beaming so broadly before at me, and I expected a terrifying green imp to burst out of his skin at any second and shout, “NYAH NYAH, you failed!”
But thankfully, my advisor’s skin stayed intact and he actually shook me heartily by the hand as he said: “I am so happy to congratulate you on successfully passing your exam!”
I imagine there being a palpable exclamation mark at the end of that sentence. Like, never ever have I heard him use an exclamation mark and the word “you” in the same sentence before, so you know–pretty big deal!… Read more
Almost a year ago now, I wrote this post on Defining Your Self-Worth, which received tons of amazing, thought-provoking, vulnerable, and deeply genuine comments from all of you readers out there. Today, in the midst of one of the craziest and most turbulent but also “happiest” periods of my life, I want to continue the discussion by bringing up another related topic: the Difficulty of Loving Yourself.
This is going to be a long post, so if you’re here for the S’mores Bars recipe (which is phenomenal BTW), go ahead and skip to the bottom of this post. I promise I won’t be offended!
“We accept the love we think we deserve.” This is the catchphrase of that wonderful coming-of-age book-turned-film that I’m watching alone tonight, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Having always identified as a Wallflour/Wallflower myself, that line always resonated with me. We accept the love we think we deserve. Fine. But what if there was no love to accept? What if, at the heart of it all, the problem wasn’t that I wasn’t accepting love, but that I didn’t deserve to be loved in the first place?
At my lowest moments, these are the thoughts that hang over my mind like an invisible but palpable cloud that blocks out all sunlight. Despite considering myself to be a fairly cheerful and positive person, the difficulty of loving myself has been something with which I have always struggled, but exponentially more so in the past six or seven years since all this crappiness happened. What makes the whole experience even more trying is–or at least was, as I’ll explain in a moment–what I perceived as a lack of stable support systems on which I could rely to actually talk about my problems. My blog has provided a surrogate version of that outlet for the past three years, but at some point the irreplaceability of face-to-face human warmth and contact just hits you, and suddenly the whole illusion of knowing what you’re doing and being the person the world thinks you are crumbles, leaving you to reconstruct some semblance of order from out of the rubble.… Read more
I am fairly good about self-control (said nobody, ever), but every once in a while somebody throws something in my path that sets all my cravings on fire like a match to a bucket of propane.
Something that looks very much edible. Usually shaped like an apple fritter.
Apple fritter was THE donut of choice in our house growing up. In fact, I did not know there was such a thing as “options” at a donut shop until our eighth grade field trip to Florida, where I downed my first–and second, and third, and maybe a fourth–Krispy Kreme. Up until that moment, I always just assumed you walked to the counter of a place with the DONUTS FOR SALE sign, ordered “one of those,” and walked out with freshly-fried apple frittery goodness in a white bakery bag.
It wasn’t until college, when I started buying my own donuts (we had a place next to campus that fried piping hot donuts until 3 AM), that I even learned what an apple fritter was technically called. Which is probably a good thing, since my household has led to some very embarrassing misnomers…
…like calling it Napoleon ice cream for nineteen years instead of Neopolitan.
Also, my mom convinced me I was allergic to chocolate until I was almost in middle school, so I tried to keep “learning” in my house to a minimum. (Just kidding, Mom, I love you.)
Still, my mom must have gone right somewhere along the way, because if I had to choose one food to crave for the rest of my life, it might just be apple fritters. Right up at the top there battling tooth and nail with ice cream–and even then, we could all just invent apple fritter ice cream, brush our hands, and call it a day.… Read more