New Years House Party

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2016 is over!!!  Can we all just breathe a sigh of relief, already?  From what I’ve seen & heard, it seems as if 2016 was a difficult year for a lot of us, soooo…solidarity and all that jazz.  While 2016 was pretty rough, I’m so excited for everything that will happen this year!  Some things to look forward to:

  • Spring Break trip!!!
  • Graduation!!!
  • Europe!!!
  • New career (???)
  • Probably tons of things I don’t even realize are going to happen yet!

Seriously, 2017 should be pretty amazing!  Although I realize not all of my problems will be thrown out with my 2016 calendar, it does at least feel like an opportunity to take control and make this year much better than the last.  I’m especially looking forward to improving my mental health and taking some risks in my life!  I definitely don’t always choose the riskier option, but I’m hoping to step out of my comfort zone and see where it takes me.

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I’m also beyond grateful for all of the positive people and events that helped make my year brighter: my new job, friends & family, therapy, continuously learning, and some self-love helped me through my difficult moments and made me stronger!  Mental health illness can be a bitch, but I feel so very lucky to have a strong support system!

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I will be spending this New Years with some close friends eating good food (of course), and venturing the downtown crowds for the 2017 count down!  Since New Years is always for celebrating, I put on one of my favorite 1920s-inspired party dresses, shook last-night’s curls out of my hair, and threw on some red lipstick.  Every time I wear this dress, my situation goes something along these lines:

Stranger: “I love your costume!”

Me *on the outside*: “Thank you so much!”

Me *on the inside*: “Actually I just dress like this all the time!”

It’s always a good laugh between me and my friends, but I love when people notice my unique outfits!  Talking about vintage, thrifted fashion is one of my favorite things to do (;

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Dress/Shoes/Purse: Thrifted  Tights: Target  Necklace: Family Heirloom

I hope your night is filled with messy hair, cheap champagne, and some wonderful people!  Have a beautiful 2017 filled with love and adventure!

And as for you, 2016, tonight I’m dancing on your grave.

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: What Are You Doing New Years Eve? by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

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Spice Cupcakes with Penuche Frosting

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Merry merry merry merry merry merry Christmas!  Yesterday, I spent the entire day making Christmas treats with my mom.  This year we made my grandma’s butter cookies with walnuts, snickerdoodles, nut caramels, sugar cookies, and I also made a new recipe I’ll be posting about soon!  After all the baking commenced, we went to look at a huge Christmas light display held in Reno every year, and then we grabbed beers and burgers  for good measure.  It was the perfect way to celebrate my day off after my last final exam!

Although I will not be active over the next couple of days due to Christmas, I wanted to post one last recipe if you’re looking for yet another thing to bake for neighbors and friends (:  Around the holidays, I get a little cookied out (okay, sugared out in general), but every once in a while, I want to grab a piece of bread or pudding or something instead of another cookie.  This year, I decided to make spice cake with my grandma’s penuche frosting.  If you’ve never had penuche frosting before, 1. Um, why?, and 2. It’s this amazing, brown-sugar, caramely flavored frosting you make in 5 minutes on your stovetop.  It’s a frosting I never remember to make enough, and when I do, I’m transported back into family dinners as a little kid, eating this frosting but not knowing quite what it was.  And now I present it to you as I share some of my family nostalgia!

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As I’ve shared in the past, Reno is higher-altitude, so I made my high-altitude cake recipe, but I also have adjustments to make it at sea-level.  I like to use a different combination of spices each time in my cake, depending on what I have in my pantry at the time, but cinnamon always makes an appearance, because, well cinnamon.  Feel free to add spices if you like reeeally spicy cake, or cut back if spices aren’t your thing.  I love adding ginger, but you could always add a few grinds of black pepper and some cardamom for a chai-spiced cake, or you could add a little cayenne if you’re really feeling really crazy*.  Do what feels right.

*Clearly, my idea of getting crazy is disappointing, but if you add a little whiskey or wine to your holiday-baking spree, I’d be supes proud.

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P.S. This recipe is not exclusive to Christmas – it’s good year-round, especially in the fall!  I just posted it at Christmas, because I’m missing my grandparents (:  One of my favorite memories is making lefse with my grandma around the holidays for our traditional Norwegian dinner on Christmas Eve!  This year, I didn’t get around to making any, so if you’re a fellow Norwegian (Norski?  Norwegianite?) and have some laying around, send it my way!

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Must Be Santa by She & Him

Goodbye Autumn

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I feel like time is going so.damn.fast.  Like, when did it become winter, exactly?  Also, it’s December 22, so hasn’t it already been winter for a long time?  Honestly, when it comes to fall semester, I have no idea what’s going on outside of my classes, and I usually regret not taking advantage of the beautiful Reno fall weather!  Fall in Reno is perfect, temperate, gorgeous leaves and colors, plenty of time for leaf-crunching with a cappuccino in my gloved hands.  Luckily, the weather hasn’t been too cold around Reno quite yet, so I think I may get to enjoy some of those same perks, but instead it’ll be slightly drizzly and foggy instead.  And, I’m on winter break so I actually have free time (?!?!?!?!?!)

Plus, let’s not forget that I did get to enjoy some of the beautiful weather when I went to Apple Hill and proceeded to make homemade apple cider.  Still.  Can time slow down just a liiiiittle please?

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A couple weeks ago, my brother agreed to take some senior photos for me, and of course, I wanted to take advantage of the last fall leaves, so we headed over to the arboretum at a local park and got to work.  A lot of the leaves were gone, but those golden oranges and reds were still hanging around and I was in utter leaf bliss.  I decided to keep my look simple with a classic black long sleeve, my new high-waisted Lucky’s, and my trusty smoking slippers.  Also, I wore this beautiful lipstick my brother’s girlfriend bought me as a gift.  It’s called Bumble from ColourPop, and lemme tell you all, I’m having major heart eyes over this brand – the lipstick doesn’t come off when I eat or drink!  I’m in looooove.

Also, do any other tiny girls have a problem where jeans always have to be cuffed no matter what?  I’m an avid Lucky Brand buyer – their jeans just look the best on me, I love the quality, the styles, and all that jazz.  But they’re always too long!  To be fair, all jeans are, and I know I just need to take them to a tailor or pull out my sewing machine and do it myself, but my sewing skill aren’t thaaaaat great, so…..  Anyways, forever rocking that cuffed jean life, ya know?  Do you think I’ll be lol-ing at these senior pictures in 10 or 20 years?  Probably.  But right now, I think they came out gorgeously!  That lighting is perfection.

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One last final thought – is it too late to make pumpkin bread?  I never got a pumpkin bread fix, but I don’t want to be that rando that posts a pumpkin bread recipe in December (or more likely January).  I don’t necessarily know why I’m turning this into a debacle in the first place considering I almost always post holiday recipes the day of if not a few days late anyways.  HOWEVER!  I do plan on having a holiday goodie to you ASAP!  Probably Friday (;

But if you need a few ideas for the time being:

Just to name a few…I didn’t realize how many holiday recipes I had on the blog until I started typing them in!  Not to worry.  If you want more ideas, I have a ton on my Desserts page.

Also!  Here’s a link to my Old Fashioned recipe.  It’s not necessarily a holiday recipe, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need it.

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: That Moon Song by Gregory Alan Isakov (also, a great album for relaxing while baking, unless you’re baking for Christmas, and then classic Christmas tunes are absolutely necessary).

Single Lady Mac & Cheese

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This past weekend was kind of rough for a multitude of different reasons.  Even though I had some relaxing moments spending time with friends and family, most of my weekend was spent in a state of “blah” that I couldn’t quite shake.  When I’m feeling like this, I know the best thing to do is to engage in self-care with a little bit of comfort food and TV.  My craving was mac and cheese, but I didn’t want to make a huge pan of leftovers that could go to waste.  After a few minutes of thought, I realized I could easily make a tiny mac and cheese that would feed just myself.  Even in my difficult times, my brain comes up with great things!

This recipe is perfect for a feel-sorry-for-yourself-night, because it only requires one pot and it’s super versatile.  You can use whatever cheese and pasta you have around the house, although smaller pastas with plenty of nooks and crannies are always the best!  I’m also partial to a cheddar-parmesan mixture if you have that around the house.

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As far as fanciness, this mac and cheese is pretty fancy-free.  I just blend it all together, top it with a little parm, and broil it until browned.  I add a little ceyenne pepper, mustard powder, worcestershire, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Feel free to add whatever spices you want or none at all.  Broil or don’t broil.  Eat it out of the pan and leave the dishes for later, or wash the pot while the pasta broils (my method, because dirty dishes give me anxiety).  Once your mac and cheese craving has be fulfilled, you can crawl back in bed or take a walk or go grab a coffee.  This mac and cheese is about you and your needs after all.

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Take time for self love this week my friends ♥  We all deserve it.

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Dandelion Wine by Gregory Alan Isakov