Saturday, February 28, 2015

22 Years!

Today I'm celebrating my 22nd day of existence! It's weird to think about how much has gone on in the past 2 decades plus 2 years of my life. More importantly, though, I've learned so much about myself and the world around me. Here are a few things I've learned in my 22 years.

1. Forget about physical possession, family and friends are the number one thing you will ever have in your life. Cherish every moment you have with them. I mean every moment.

2. Don't be too cautious.

3. Be yourself and be happy with that. I'm still working on this one. I get upset with myself when I know I'm being especially quiet. Sometimes it's just so hard to accept who you are and accept that others will love you for it.

4. Do what you love. Specifically do what you love even if those around you are pushing you toward something else. Fun fact, I love studying insects. I want to become an entomologist because that field is so interesting to me. Many people think bugs are creepy and people have asked me why I want to study insects. It's because I think they're incredibly cool and interesting. I don't know why I love learning about them more than other things. It just is. So do what you love even if other people doubt you or think it's strange.

5. Allow yourself to take in even the most mundane moments. After all life goes by too fast.

6. Enjoy the outdoors more. It's there and we should be out there too. Get outside and stretch your legs.

7. Be kind to everyone. You don't know what they've been through. I'm not saying you have to be everyone's best friend but you do have to be nice. Plus being a jerk is so much extra work. If you're nice you never have to worry about how others see you.

8. Eat chocolate...lot's of chocolate.

9. Gather as many hobbies as you can because they are fun, they round you out as a person, and that knot tying class you took will definitely come in handy during the apocalypse.

10. Choose to be happy. It's difficult sometimes. You might not feel good or your day seems to be terrible but choosing to look on the bright side can lift your spirits. Also your happiness will rub off on others which is awesome for the world.

That's a little bit of what I've learned during my 22 years of life. I'm sure there are so many other important things but I thought sticking to 10 would be best.  Now I'm going to have an amazing birthday dinner and I hope all you lovelies have a wonderful day!

oxo Caitlin

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Swing Dresses for Spring!

1. Madewell, 2. Urban Outfitters, 3. American Eagle

I don't usually post many fashion oriented posts. I in no way consider myself on top of the latest trends. However, I do enjoy shopping for new clothes and buying new shoes. I also cannot wait for spring to arrive so that I can finally dig out my dresses.

I'm a pretty casual dresser. While I'm not a sweatpants to class kind of college student I do live in jeans for most the of year. Right now I've been loving the t-shirt dress look. They seem so comfortable to wear and are easy to dress up or down.  Above are a few of my favorites from three different places in a range of price points. Oh and I don't know why I've was suddenly drawn in by the olive green. I just loved the color.

What have are you looking forward to wearing this spring?

oxo Caitlin

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Little Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I love cooking new things to the point where yesterday I found myself procrastinating on homework because I remembered that I had all the ingredients to try and make sweet potato gnocchi. Dinner time is by far my favorite time of the day. I get to stop everything I'm doing for a while and stand by a warm stove of food. 

While cooking I have noticed that I've made things for myself that I've either loved or don't ever feel the need to make again. I thought I'd post the recipes I've loved as a reminder to myself.  It is so much easier to cook things when you have a running book of recipes that you love. So onward to the gnocchi!

First of all if you haven't heard of gnocchi you need to get yourself into your kitchen and whip up a batch sooner rather than later. They are like perfect little pillows of dough that you boil in water and serve with whatever sauce you want. Most of the time they are made with potato but I thought I'd give mine a little boost with a sweet potato. Plus I don't normally buy potatoes. I know they are probably a top contender for the greatest comfort food on Earth but I have never liked them except in their fried state. I know I'm weird.  Anyway, enough about my hatred for potatoes lets get on with the recipe!

These were surprisingly easy to make.  I don't know why but in my head making pasta is such a daunting task. Gnocchi is a great place to start because it is so simple, as in four ingredients simple.


1 medium to large sweet potato (probably about a cup and a half of flesh)
1 egg
Teaspoon of salt and pepper
3/4 cup of flour plus more for dusting


1. Bake your sweet potato either in the oven or in a microwave until soft all the way through. I tested mine with a fork. Then wait for it to cool enough to touch. 

2. Scoop flesh from the sweet potato and mash until smooth. A potato masher would work great here. If you want it super smooth you could even run it through a food processor but it's up to you. 

3. Combine beaten egg, salt, and pepper into the sweet potato. 

4. Add in flour in 1/4 cup increments. I found that in the early stages it was easier to use a fork to combine the flour until the dough became less sticky.  Then I began kneading with my hands. Make sure you don't over knead. At the end the dough was slightly tacky. 

5. On a floured surface roll the dough into long cylinders about the diameter of your thumb.

6. With a knife, cut these into half inch slices. You can really make them as big or small as you like. I found that half inch worked best for me. 

7. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie tray. If you're eating them all right away cook them in salted boiling water until they float to the surface. If you want to save some for later keep the on the cookie tray and place them into the freezer until frozen through. You can then remove them from the cookie tray and place them into a freezer safe bag or container. By allowing them to freeze first on the cookie tray you ensure they don't stick together. 

As far as sauces, I suggest sautéing the gnocchi with some butter garlic and greens of your choice. I also threw in some peas as you can see from the top photo. A creamy mushroom sauce would also be wonderful. Also don't forget to top with a good portion of parmesan cheese. 

I hope you enjoy!

oxo Caitlin

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Happenings

This weekend I regret to say that I don't have many photos (and the first photo wasn't taken by me but snagged from a friend). I had a wonderful weekend filled with friends and kitties.  Friday night I went to a play on campus after having some wonderful food with one of my best friends. We made Indian food at her house and downed it with tea. It was a great way to keep warm. Then on Saturday I got to hang out with the big guy below.

On campus, I'm a member of a volunteer club and we spent Saturday morning at the animal shelter cleaning up after some super sweet kitties.  Here is one of my personal favorites.  This big guy was quite possibly the most cuddly cat on earth. Now that's saying a lot. I'm really not much of a cat person at all. I've never owned a cat, my dad is allergic, so I've never been super comfortable around them. This guy was the best, though, and I hope he finds a home soon.

I also managed to make some pancakes this weekend. Usually I'm not a huge pancake fan but I was totally feeling like banana pancakes.

I wasn't totally following a recipe with these.  I basically just threw a bunch of ingredients into a bowl until I got a consistency that I liked. They included 1 mashed banana, a teaspoon of baking powder, 2 eggs, and enough flour to bend it all together. Oh, and a little pinch of salt. 

They were warm and perfect for a Sunday morning. I let a little butter melt on the top and drizzled them with some of this awesome buckwheat honey that I bought a couple weeks ago. It's super rich and has a flavor similar to molasses. 

Overall, this weekend was a lot of fun despite the continued below freezing temperatures and the endless snow. I really felt like I helped out this weekend and made the world a better place. 

What did you do this weekend?

oxo Caitlin

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New Imagine Dragons Album

Today marks the release of a new Imagine Dragons album, Smoke and Mirrors, and if you haven't guessed I'm super excited!  I first found Imagine Dragons about four years ago when they just had EP's and Night Visions wasn't even a thing. They are originally from Las Vagas, fun fact The Killers my favorite band is also from Las Vagas. Radioactive continues to be one of my favorite songs. 

I Bet My Life is probably one of the most well known songs on the album but there are so many other awesome songs. The songs, Shots and Polaroid, are some of my immediate favorites on the album. Of course I will probably find other favorites as I listen to the album more. 

Overall, this album is heavier and less folksy feeling than, Night Visions. It has a very similar sound to Radioactive or Bleeding Out. One thing I also noticed about the sound is the use of different musical instruments that often make it feel a little more exotic than the first album.  These give the songs a different emotion. 

I have to say that right now I really enjoyed listening to the album and I would strongly encourage you to check out the album if you were a fan of the first album. I think there is a little bit of everything on the album, making it diverse. 

Definitely check it out!

oxo Caitlin

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weekend Happenings

This weekend was crazy busy but so much fun. My sister came down from her bitterly cold school near the Canadian border to visit me at my equally cold school by a windy lake.  Other than the crazy smattering of snow and cold cheeks we had a blast.

It was Friday the 13th this past weeks so of course me and my friends went on a little bit of an adventure. We spent the afternoon driving around the area and stumbled upon this graveyard. It was not so much spooky as it was freezing cold.  In fact the sunset was actually kind of beautiful.

My sister was a trooper and enjoyed our silly antics even if she was shivering as we got back into the car to drive back to campus. 

Saturday we went to Simply Crepes in Canandaigua, New York. If you are in the area I strongly recommend taking a detour here for some much deserved yummy food. They have a huge variety of sweet and savory crepes to choose from along with many equally yummy soups and appetizers.  The prices are pretty good for the proportions as well so it won't break your bank. 

I got a crazy good apple cinnamon Gullèe.  Basically is it a carefully folded then fried crepe stuffed with apples and cinnamon and topped with powdered sugar, maple syrup, and some seriously sinful buttery spread. In other words, pure heaven.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing homework, per usual. No pain no gain I suppose. Then I drove my sister to the bus station so she could catch her bus home.  Overall, it was such a fun weekend! Seeing my family always reminds me of how lucky I am that I have such a great relationship with them. Seeing them makes me the happiest girl on Earth!

oxo Caitlin

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Hobbies

I think everyone enjoys getting new things. The very fact that we live in a consumer society makes this abundantly clear. It's even better when that item can be used for a long period of time and bring you happiness every time you pick it up.

Recently I've been wanting to find a new hobby. Hobbies are incredibly fun and they also give you something to work toward. They're also a good conversation starter. I've been wanting to learn to play the ukulele for a while now but haven't sprung to buy it until just this week. I used to play the piano pretty regularly, but I don't have a keyboard in my room and the music hall is a bit of a walk from my house this year.  I wanted something quick and small that I could pick up and play whenever.

I decided to buy a soprano ukulele, they're the smallest ones that most people think of when they see a ukulele.  I got a mahogany Makala for just over $50 on Amazon. Everything that I have read has said that $50 should get you a pretty good starter ukulele. Anything less than that and the sound might be funny or it may not hold it's tune.  Of course if you're ready to take the plunge and get something more expensive there are many beautiful brands to choose from. I just wasn't ready to put that much stake in a new instrument. 

I'm so happy I finally sprung and bought this little instrument. It has been so rewarding to learn to play and sing along, although I must confess I'm not the greatest singer. So, if you're thinking about picking up a new hobby I totally recommend you get started. You feel such a sense of accomplishment when you finally learn how to do the littlest things!

oxo Caitlin

Monday, February 9, 2015

Weekend Happenings: Uno, movies, and food what more could you want?

This weekend was quite a bit of fun. I was out with friends on Friday night when I enjoyed a intense game of Uno and celebrated at the 100 days until graduation party. (A party punctuated with music from the past including Hilary Duff and some other oldies that bring me right back to those awkward seventh grade dances).

I've been practicing playing my new ukulele like crazy this weekend. Yes, I just bought a ukulele and I will probably talk about it in more detail later on in the week but here is the picture of my sweet little soprano in the mean time.

One of my housemates just finished her honors exam and I made her a lovely batch of snickerdoodles yesterday.  They were completely awesome morsels of cinnamon goodness.  If you want the recipe it's over here! 

I also spent Saturday watching Jupiter Ascending. I know there have been quite a few bad reviews and I have to say some of what they are saying is true. The dialogue was pretty painful during certain points of the film which was disappointing. On the other hand, the world building was amazing, the alien costumes and makeup were awesome, and the concept of the plot was cool. You could tell that the writers and directors were super excited to showcase their world but I think sometimes that was at the expense of the story.  Still if you're looking for something action packed and some super pretty, exotic landscapes I would go see the movie. It was still fun to watch even if some parts were a little cheesy.  

Also on the menu this Sunday was lovely little concoction of tea and an egg sandwich. You know what is the best mixture? Eggs and pesto. Really you have to give it a try. And because this post has become completely about food I will also say that I'm making chili tonight. Chili is probably my number 1 comfort food. It's warm, spicy and perfect for a snowy day.

oxo Caitlin

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What I've been listening to lately

It's hard to get through a long night of homework without some good tunes in the background.  For Christmas I got some new headphones that make listening to music so much more fun. It's weird how with a good pair of headphones you are able to hear sounds that you never experienced using cheap headphones. It makes listening to your old music seem like new again.

Anyway here are some songs that I've been listening to recently. I noticed the other day that I've been listening to many more female artists than usual.

If you're looking for a happy song to give yourself a little pick me up in life this song is great! 

On the flip side Daughter is probably one of the most depressing artists. The tone throughout most of her songs is melancholy and perfect for a rainy day. This version of Amsterdam is one of my favorites because of the building instrumentals.

Finally, the Empires came out with a new album, Orphan. If you like heavier music than this band is a good choice. The lead singer also has a similar sounding voice to the lead singer of the Nationals.  Glow is one my favorite songs off the new album.

What have you been listening to lately? I'm always on the hunt for new interesting music.

oxo Caitlin 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Weekend Happenings: The Superbowl

This post originally began as an overview of my weekend with a slight mention of the Superbowl but it turned out that the Superbowl was the highlight of my weekend.  Before I get too far I have to let you know that I don't know much about football. I guess I'm a Patriots fan. (If I remember correctly liking anything other than the Patriots or the Red Sox in middle school would lead to public ridicule, so I've been conditioned to pick these teams by default when asked.  Don't hate me New Yorkers).
Other than that all I know about football is that it involves impossibly huge male human beings running into each other while two members of their team try to get the ball to the far end of the field.

But the Superbowl this year was actually kind of fun. I still haven't grasped all the rules of Football but I did find some highlights throughout the night. With the first being that I spent it with good friends stuffing my face with amazingly unhealthy food.

The second highlight was the halftime show which was interesting at first. I have to say I was a little weirded out by the fact that Katy Perry was riding a tiger/lion? To me it looked more like the robotic toy dog my sister had growing up.

Remember this guy?
I have to give it to the puppeteers, though.  They were pretty good.  Also, I thought Missy Elliot was amazing as always and Lenny Kravitz sounded great.  Katy Perry also did a great job especially as she was flying over the stage as a firework. The weird part about this Superbowl were all the sad commercials. There were so many sad dads this year and then there was the Nationwide commercial. It seemed as though the popular theme this year was rip your heart out sad.

Of course the dancing sharks made up for that a little bit.

oxo Caitlin