Thursday, June 30, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookies


I really enjoy baking and cooking (especially baking) so I wanted to start sharing recipes on here too!  I find baking to be really relaxing and it's just fun to experiment and try new things. 

For my first recipe on here I figured I would share my favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are an American staple and if you're American you have most likely made this same recipe before. 

But my absolute favorite chocolate chip cookies recipe is the one on the back of Toll House Chocolate Chips. I have tried tons of different chocolate chip cookie recipes all claiming to be the best but none of them beat the Toll House recipe. This recipe is consistently good, the cookies always have the best consistency and a nice buttery flavor it's just too good.


You can find the whole recipe here. I do make one small alteration. Instead of adding one cup of butter, I add half a cup of butter and half a cup of shortening. I really like doing half and half because you can get both the fluffier texture from the shortening and while keeping in some of the buttery flavor. I also usually leave out the pecans, much to my mom's chagrin, because I'm not much of nut person.


Another pro tip I have is to refrigerate the dough before baking the cookies, for either a couple hours or overnight. I know there is some scientific reason why this helps the cookies bake better, but the only thing I know is that the cookies actually do come out better if the dough is chilled first.


I have one last tip! DO NOT wait until the whole cookie looks golden brown to pull them out of the oven! I usually bake mine 8 minutes max, sometimes even 7. I usually pull them out just when the edges start getting brown, the rest of the cookie won't look done but do not let that deceive you! I then take them out and let them sit on the pan for about 5 minutes, which they'll bake a little bit more just sitting on the pan, and then I put them on a cooling rack. That, my friends, is how you get a chewy cookie.


Perfection!

Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top 5 Favorite Books

I really love to read, like really love reading. Growing up I was constantly reading, I would read three books at a time and be finishing them like every other day, like I literally always had my nose in a book. Sadly I no long have the time for that intense of a reading schedule, but my love for reading has not died.

Summer is great because I actually have more time to read. So, in honor of summer and summer reading I wanted to share my top 5 favorite books that I have ever read. This was definitely difficult to narrow down, but I think I have a pretty solid list of some favorites and a bit of a variety.

5. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Definitely the lightest book on this list and definitely a great summer read. I sincerely love all of Morgan Matson's books and this one is obviously no exception. I loved this book because I feel like I related to the main character, Emily, a lot. It really hits on the themes of self-discovery and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. It also has great friendship aspects and a little romance.

4. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

This is a book a read my senior year of high school and I still constantly think about it. It's a book about a missionary family that moves to the Congo in 1959. This book really challenges your beliefs and hits on a lot of really important topics from Westernization, to feminism. The story is heartbreaking and beautifully written and I highly recommend it to anyone who may want to read something a bit deeper.

3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

So this book I think would be a tough one to read on your own for fun. This is another book I read my senior year of high school, and unless you are really good at analyzing books on your own, you could easily read this and 100% miss everything going on in this book. It's an anti-war novel that takes place during World War II. What I really enjoyed about this book is that it is so unconventional, for example the book isn't written in chronological order and the story is just really weird, but that's kind of why I like it.

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I put off reading this book for the longest time because I thought it was going to be too depressing and just a book about death. But after picking this book up I quickly discovered this was a book about life. This book will make you laugh and cry all at the same time. John Green's writing is just phenomenal, it's just so quotable. I think this book just gives you a different perspective of life too. I've heard a lot of criticism that Gus and Hazel are too mature for their age, but if you're facing death at 17/18 you are kind of forced to grow up a little. I think this book gets a bad rap, it's more than just a sad, cheesy, love story. But it's a story of life, friendship, and adventures and living through the good and bad.

1. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Absolute. 100% my favorite book. This book is a historical fiction novel that takes place in World War II Germany. One of my favorite things about this book is actually the fact that unlike a lot of WWII fiction it is not focused around the holocaust. It shows the lives of the people who weren't Jewish and who weren't Nazis, which I think is a perspective you don't get to see or hear about very often. The character development is just really special too. Each character really shines and you learn to love them for who they are. Markus Zusak's writing is just really prolific and beautiful too. I just cannot say enough good things about this book. If you haven't read it, you must.

Obviously this list is not concrete, it is always open to change. But if anyone were to ask me at this very moment what my top five favorite books were, these were what I would tell you!

What's your favorite book?

Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer Wishlist

With the first official day of summer behind us, I thought now would be the perfect time to share a summer wishlist! Now that summer is finally here, I thought I would share some of the summery things I have been lusting over!! 

I am totally all over a lot of the things that have been trending, so I thought I would share some of my favorites recently! I feel like it's a good mix of trendy items with classic pieces.


// one // I love shirt dresses and this is certainly no exception! The cut of this dress is perfect and popsicles on this just add such a fun touch to an otherwise classic piece.

// two // I've been feeling more adventurous with my clothing recently and I am totally ready to try out a pantsuit and I love this one from Topshop. Again, I love the cut of this jumpsuit and the palm print is a fun touch that isn't too over the top.

// three // I first saw this dress on Gal Meets Glam and feel in love, for a gal that loves feminine pieces Julia's style is perfect. Yet again, I love the classic cut of this piece. The lavender color is a bit different, but makes the dress really fresh and pretty and the pom-poms on the trim are such a fun addition!

// four // Off-the-shoulder tops are literally everywhere this season and if I could just choose one it would totally be this one. This with a pair of navy shorts and brown sandals, yes please!

// five // Pompom sandals are another thing that are starting to pop up everywhere this summer and I am a big fan! I think they're the cutest things ever and a great way to add a pop of color to any outfit!

// six // Let me tell you, trying to find high-waisted denim shorts that aren't super short is the struggle. But, thankfully Madewell has us all covered (no pun intended lol). They seriously have the most perfect selection of shorts.

// seven // Hi! Literally the most perfect hat I have ever seen, the bow on this hat is perfect. This hat is also packable so it's the perfect hat to bring along on all your summer adventures!

// eight // I have been eyeing these Jack Rogers for the past few months and I may just have to splurge, we'll see!

// nine // This wouldn't be a summer wishlist without at least one stripe tee! #stripesaddict There is a whole in my closet that a red and navy striped tee would fill perfectly. If my wardrobe only consisted of Saint James stripes, I would be a happy girl.

This is definitely more of an inspiration list of things, as my bank account is sad. But hey! A girl can dream, right?

What pieces have you been eyeing for this summer season?

Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda

Audrey Hepburn Inspired Style

It's no secret that I love vintage things and Audrey Hepburn.

1950's fashion is my absolute favorite. The classic cuts and defined waists *insert heart-eye emoji*. Audrey Hepburn is definitely one of my fashion icons, her style was just so timeless and perfect! I thought it would be fun to recreate a couple of her outfits, with similar items that you can find in stores now!

This post was so much fun, so I hope you enjoy!

outfit one


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outfit three


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outfit four


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Skirts like this also make me think of Roman Holiday.


// one // two // three //

This post was actually a lot of fun to make! So don't be surprised if you see another one in the future!!

Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda

Monday, June 20, 2016

National Wear Your Lilly Day!!


Happy first day of summer!!

In honor of the first day of summer, today is National Wear Your Lilly Day!! I originally had a different post planned for today, but then I realized that I wouldn't be a basic white girl if I didn't make a post about National Wear Your Lilly Day, so here I am.

While I am not as Lilly obsessed as some girls, I do love a little Lilly Pulitzer every now and then. Lilly Pulitzer is just the perfect brand for summer. I think all of the prints and colors are so cute and so much fun, I am especially digging a lot of this years prints too. I am most likely wearing the shorts above in the picture above today, and am in love with, which I decided to splurge a bit on earlier this year. But in honor of National Wear Your Lilly Day I thought I would share a few of my current favorite Lilly pieces that are available.

// one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine // ten //

What Lilly pieces are you loving this year?

Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Lewes, DE

As I have mentioned in a previous post, here, my family has a beach house in Bethany Beach, DE. I went over with my parents for the weekend a few weeks ago and we skipped out on the beach one day, and decided to go up to Lewes, DE. Which, I've apparently been to before, but I have zero recollection of and my mom thought I would like it and boy was she right.

Lewes is a little historic town on the coast of Delaware, that dates back to the 1600s. We were only there for about two hours, but as a lover of nautical and old things it was only a matter of time until I fell in love.


Edie Bees, the cutest candy shop I have ever stepped foot in.


King's Homemade Ice Cream. I just got a scoop of plain chocolate and it was delicious. The inside of this shop was super cute too, and totally 50's inspired. For some reason I am enamored by 1950's ice cream places, like my dream date would include going to a soda fountain.
Not the best picture, but this house was too cute not to share!

Another cute place we went was this little antique store that wasn't overly expensive, and they had a nice curated selection of things. I can always appreciate a good antique store.

Also, down by the river are a bunch of charming Victorian style houses. You can also catch a ferry in Lewes that goes across the Delaware Bay to Cape May, NJ. Cape May is similar to Lewes just a lot bigger and tons more Victorian houses.

So, if you are ever near Lewes, DE I highly recommend going!

Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda

Friday, June 17, 2016

// Links //

//via//
Hey! I'm back with another links post!! As far as my personal life not much has gone on this week, which considering all the craziness that is going on in the world that is something to be thankful for. Anyways, I have found a few interesting links and things I have been enjoying that I wanted to share!


One of my favorite travel bloggers, World of Wanderlust, recently made this post on where to find old Paris today and it has me dreaming of Paris!

I just started reading this book, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and I am digging it so far! I mean it's a historical fiction set in World War II Europe so it basically has my name written all over it!

I've been really into this song by Rihanna. I must admit I haven't listened to much Rihanna since her Umbrella days, but I really like the vibe of Needed Me. It's more complex sounding than your typical pop song and her sass just gets my inner feminist fired up.

Can we also talk about how Julia's style is perfection. I'm literally dying over her outfits here and here.

It wouldn't feel right to post this without mentioning the recent shootings in Orlando. I am horrified by the recent events and my heart and prayers go out to everyone who has been affected by this. To keep this concise, I am going to leave this blogpost, which is really good, and this video by Hannah Hart which will hopefully give you some food for thought.

Hope y'all have a Happy Father's Day this weekend!
Are there any interesting links you've found this week?

Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Things I've Been Loving // May 2016

When I first made this post back in January, my intention was to do these every month of the year. But, alas sometimes life gets in the way. I feel like my life this year has just been an up and down roller coaster, and the irony of this is that I am making a post about things I have been loving in May but as a matter of fact I have not been loving the month of May 2016.

This month has been a really hard month. Starting off with not really looking forward to coming home from school for the summer, to having to unexpectedly put my dog down, to a cancer scare with my mom, to the horrendous weather, it's been a real fun month. 


Another irony is I made this post back in April one night when I could not sleep because I was so excited for summer and summer gets here and it has been crap so far. I wish I could some this up by saying something positive and optimistic like oh this is all part of God's plan and everything will fall into place, which is true by the way, but to be completely real and 100% right now, I am totally not in that frame of mind right now.

But, I do have some things that I have been loving this month that have helped make this month a little smoother and helped to cheer me up some, and I wanted to share some of them with you guys.

I finished this month off with a fun trip to the beach with some of my best buds! It was definitely much needed and by far the most fun I have had so far this summer!!

watching // During the whole ordeal with my dog, my family started watching "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and I loved it. It's so funny and lighthearted and ridiculous all the characters are so lovable. I also finally finished "Gilmore Girls", I only had like 4 more episodes left but I finally finished and the ending was kind of blah, but I am super excited for the revival now!!

My sweet little pup.
wanting // This angel pug Skinny Dip phone case for my pug angel. 

reading // I love contemporary YA and I read The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson and I loved it. Not quite as much as Since You've Been Gone, but I would still recommend. I am super excited to read The Rose and the Dagger and The Winner's Kiss, which both came out this month too, I have them on hold at the library and I cannot wait until they come in!

missing // My sweet baby pug. :'(

feeling // Exhausted and unmotivated, this month has been really tough and it has just left me feeling really down.

wearing // Jeans far too often, up until last week it has been cold and rainy all freakin month.


eating // I have been baking way too many chocolate chip cookies but they are my comfort food and make everything (maybe not quite) better.

drinking // I make some bomb homemade iced lattes, and I drink too many.

listening // A lot of Kings Kaleidoscope, trying to get a better frame of mind. Also, I really like listening to country music in the summer.

Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda