Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Movie Review: Finding Dory

Release date: June 17, 2016

Rating: PG

When they released the news that there would be a sequel to Finding Nemo, I was totally excited (but really skeptical) for it. It seems like the sequels of Disney movies are either super duper awesome or super duper disappointing, so I was worried they would ruin Finding Nemo. When the movie was released and got really good reviews, I wanted to see this film as soon as I could! So, my boyfriend and I decided to see it recently.

First of all, the short before the movie ("Piper") was so so soooooooo cute!!!!!! It was really well done! The animation is astounding, and it looked so realistic.

The movie itself was, unfortunately, kind of a let down.... :/ I thought they did a good job of mixing the storyline of Finding Nemo with the new plot, but too much of the movie seemed like it was just redoing the original. There were some great new characters introduced, and I don't think Finding Dory ruined the first movie, but I wish they would have thought of a more creative plotline.
Bonus points for the cute otters!!! :D
Plus, I feel like the animators were trying to get across subtle points about pollution, mental illnesses, etc. that don't really seemed to fit with the Finding Nemo everyone has grown to love. All in all, I would still recommend seeing this movie, but it wasn't the best movie I've seen the past few weeks.

What did you think about Finding Dory? Comment below and don't forget to follow! :D

Saturday, June 25, 2016

DIY: Inspirational Canvas Paintings

Hey cupcakes! Today I wanted to do a really fun DIY that I have been obsessing over lately. :) This is so easy and quick, but if you put in a lot of time they can turn out amazinggggg! Let's get started!

  • Some sort of canvas - These can be either the flat panels that can be found for really cheap at Walmart, etc. or the more expensive canvases that can be found at any craft store. Both can work for this DIY!
  • Paint - You can choose any type that works best on the canvas (I love using watercolors)
  • Pencil - I enjoy using pencil to trace out my canvases before I paint
  • Sharpie - After tracing in pencil, I also like to outline with Sharpie for nice black lines :)
  • A quote or other inspirational idea - SEARCH PINTEREST!!!! You can find some really amazing canvas ideas, but feel free to create your own!
  • Some type of newspaper 

1. Find your quote/inspiration! :) 

2. Cover the surface you will be painting on

3. Outline your quote and drawings in pencil, then go over it with Sharpie.

4. Erase the pencil marks and start painting!!!!!

5. Let dry and enjoy! :)

What did you paint? Comment below and don't forget to follow! :D 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Experience: Italy!

Hey cupcakes! I recently just got home from an amazing vacation to ITALY! :D It was an absolutely incredible experience, so I thought I should write a post about a summary of my vacation. :) Let's jump right into it!
First over all, Italy's culture is sooo much different from the culture in America. It was quite a culture shock for me! Some things that really took some getting used to:

  1. Everyone walks really really slow! Coming from the fast paced American lifestyle, you really needed to slow down your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  2. Everyone smokes - Smoking is banned pretty much everywhere here, but there were many smokers in Italy.
  3. People eat for hours at night! This was a great cultural difference for me because the food was AMAZING! But, if you plan on sitting down to eat, it will be a long experience and you won't get your bill for quite some time (unless you ask of course!). 
  4. People go to the grocery store almost every night and food is always fresh - Honestly, this was awesome because there wasn't a lot of nasty perservatives like in American grocery stores.
Fresh pasta! :O
Second, the food in Italy is simply amazing. :) Here are my must trys if you ever go to Italy:
  1. Pizza Margherita: This is an authentic Italian pizza that has sauce, cheese, and basil. It is the best pizza I have ever tried! I don't like pizza in America, but I ate a WHOLE pizza when I was overseas ;) (Pizza note: There is no such thing as pepperoni pizza in Italy so DO NOT ask for it!)
  1. Cannoli: Just get one, they are amazing! ;)
  1. Gelato: You can't go to Italy without eating a lot of gelato! For a truly authentic place, don't go to one with huge piles of gelato (that's just a tourist trap); find one with the gelato in small, covered containers. :)
  1. Spaghetti: There is no such thing as spaghetti and meatballs in Italy because they don't put meat on their pasta, but their spaghetti is to die for. Literally. The noodles are fresh, the sauce is amazing, and my mouth is watering all over again! :P

Third, I thought I would briefly write about each city I visited. While I was in Italy, I went to numerous cities, so I'll keep them short and sweet:

  • Milan: This city felt like an American city, but I loved how it sprawled out instead of up due to the fact that there aren't many skyscrapers. It felt so much safer than a city in America, and I loved the happy feel this city has! :) Being a fashion city, there were so many high end stores to shop in (which was really neat!). The Duomo was also very cool, so I would recommend visiting that as well. 
  • Venice: Walking out of the train station and into Venice was an awesome experience! As soon as you leave the station the Grand Canal is right in front of you, and it was like walking into a movie! I only stayed in Venice for one day, but sadly I think that is all you really need. There are tons of canals and little streets to visit, but after you hit the major attractions (such as the Doge Palace, St. Mark Basilica, take a gondala ride, etc.) I suggest leaving. There were just WAY too many tourists here (and it wasn't even peak season yet!), and it unfortunately made the visit a little less magical. :/
  • Florence: I fell in love with this city <3 By far, Florence was my favorite city on the trip! The city was pretty small (you could walk from one end of it to the other in about 20 minutes), but it had everything you could possibly want from a city. :) The Duomo is pretty interesting (it is decorated with green and red!), but there are so many other awesome things to see in Florence! I would really recommend spending a lot of time there if you ever visit! This city also has the BEST gelato ;) The only thing to watch out for is the crazy car driving in this city! :P
Make sure to watch the sunset from the hill!
  • Pisa: I took a day trip on a train (the trains in Europe are a great way to travel) to Pisa, and it honestly was a pretty crappy city. The train station is about a 20-30 minute walk from the Leaning Tower, and you walk through some pretty ghetto-ish areas. Other than the Leaning Tower, there is the Duomo and Baptisery to see but that's pretty much it. If you ever plan on going to Pisa, I wouldn't plan on being there for too long.
Lol it was hilarious to watch everyone posing ;)
  • Rome: Rome is a HUGE city! There are so many amazing sites to see, so I would recommend taking a tour, bus tour, etc. the first day you get there so that you can make a plan (because you won't be able to hit up everything!). Beware the lines at the Colosseum and Forum (or buy your tickets online) and make sure to do some wandering in the city! I really enjoyed this city because you never knew what you'd find next :) When you're in Rome, plan on going to the Vatican for a day too! 

As well as going to those cities, I also took a few bus trips out to some other locations (such as Pompeii, Lake Como, etc.). 

Overall, this was a trip of a lifetime! The traveling days were quite exhausting (a 3 hour flight then an 8 hour flight), but it was really worth it in the end! I would love to visit Italy again in the future :)

Where would you love to go on vacation? Comment below and don't forget to follow! :D

Note: If you are ever planning on going to Italy, I would love to give you more advice, etc. Feel free to contact me! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

One Can of Pumpkin, Two Recipes

Hey cupcakes! I was craving my fav cookies recently (Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies!), so I decided to buy a can of pumpkin puree.... I know, I know, pumpkin is totally a fall flavor, but I absolutely LOVE Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies ;)
With the one can of pumpkin, I could make two amazing treats:
1. 32 Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies
2. Pumpkin Smoothie

Here are the delicious recipes:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Find the original recipe here

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies III

-1 cup of pumpkin puree
-1 cup sugar
-1/2 cup canola oil
-1 egg
-2 cups flour
-2 tsp. baking powder
-2 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. milk
-1 tbsp vanilla extract
-2 cups of chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, and egg.
2. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk and add to the mixture.
3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until fully combined. Add vanilla and chocolate chips.
4. Drop by the spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet (I could make 32 cookies with the batter). Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 10 minutes or until golden brown (mine took about 12-13 minutes).

Pumpkin Smoothie
Adapted from recipe here

Whip up one of these delicious Pumpkin Pie Smoothies for breakfast today! The perfect, healthy way to start your day (or recover after a workout)!

-Rest of the pumpkin puree (about 1/2 cup)
-1 banana
-6 ice cubes
-5.3 oz of vanilla greek yogurt
-1 tsp honey
-1 Tbsp milk
-Pinch of nutmeg

1. In a blender, add all ingredients.
2. Pulse until smooth! :)
3. Pour into a glass and enjoy! The pumpkin is really subtle and leaves a really nice after taste. :) A perfect treat for breakfast!

What are your favorite pumpkin recipes? Comment below and don't forget to follow!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summertime Haul!

Hey cupcakes! I haven't done a haul post in FOREVER, so I thought I would do a quick haul post on what I've been purchasing lately. If any of you want me to do a more in depth review of any of these products, just let me know! :) Let's get started!

1. Roller blades (LINK) - I have recently been loving to exercise by roller blading! I used to skate at roller rinks when I was younger all the time, so I have been loving exercising this way :) I bought these at Walmart, and they work great!
AERIO Q-60 Women's Inline Skates

2. Baseball Tee from Rue21 (LINK) - I recently was shopping in Rue21 at my local mall, and I found this adorable shirt for only $3! There were a lot of different patterns and colors, but I really liked this star one :) It was a great steal for the summertime!

3. The Happy Planner (LINK) - I have been wanting to get into the planner craze for awhile now, so I thought summer would be the perfect time to start experimenting with it! :) I am a crazy organized person (and my planner is always always always with me in college), so I am super pumped to try this out! Note: Since this is a bit pricey, use a coupon!!

4. Mint Tee (LINK) - My two favorite clothing items are cardigans and v-neck tees, so I was so excited when I saw a mint colored tee at Forever 21! The online photo doesn't really do the color justice, and it is such a perfect color! :)
Classic V-Neck Tee

5. Frozen Strawberry-Raspberry Lemonade - Lol this is really random, but I was craving some kind of beverage the other day... Not really being a Starbucks kind of girl (I hate coffee!), I decided to go to Tim Hortons. This Frozen Lemonade was only $1.50 and was super yummy! I would totally recommend! 

6. Stickers! - I kinda went crazy at the Dollar Tree purchasing stickers for my new planner.... :) 
Some of my favs are the speech bubble stickers I found! :)
7. American flag scarf (LINK) - When I was also at Rue21, I found this adorable infinity scarf that will be perfect for the Fourth of July!!! 

8. Prid's Drawing Salve (LINK) - Usually before or after my period I tend to get really large under the skin pimples, so I bought this salve on Amazon because I have heard a lot of good things about it. I haven't had to use it yet (thankfully!) but plan on doing a more in depth review of it whenever I do have to use it.

9. Canvases  - I have been wanting to paint/draw some canvases for my dorm room next year, so I bought a 3 pack of canvases at Walmart for only $3! I totally recommend them if you are just starting out on art :)
Canvases, 3 PK 10IN x 8IN by Horizon Group USA
Well, that's it for this haul! What have you been purchasing this summer? Comment below and don't forget to follow! :D

Monday, June 13, 2016

Gift Guide: What to Give Graduates

Hey cupcakes! Graduations from high school and college are taking place all over the country, so I thought I would make an easy gift giving guide for all those graduation parties. Coming from someone who graduated high school last year, I know exactly what gifts are hits and which are misses. Let's get started! :D

1. MONEY - I personally enjoyed cash over gift cards because I could spend it at whatever store I wanted to. Plus, the amounts don't have to be set in stone like they are with gift cards (get creative and give $20.16!).

2. College essentials - I think it is super fun (and actually pretty cheap) to put together a "college survival basket". You can find a lot of things at Walmart or the Dollar Tree, and it actually is helpful when you have to buy everything else for college!

3. College gear - If the graduate is continuing on to college or grad school, get them some spirit wear! I can guarantee that you can never have enough of your school's colors (and you do NOT want to wear your high school gear)!
4. Electronic photo frame - I was given one of these at my graduation party, and I LOVED it last year. All you need to do is load all of your photos onto the frame, and it will play a slideshow for you. It was so amazing to look at whenever I was homesick, or doing homework. <3
Aluratek 8" Hi-Res Digital Photo Frame
You can find this one for only $41! LINK
5. Something personal! - Some of my favorite gifts were photo collages, painted canvases for my dorm walls, homemade cookies, etc. Things that are made with love are some of the best gifts you can give!

6. A subscription of some sorts - If you plan on giving someone money already, think about getting them a video, music, or food subscription (like Netflix or a food box!). This is really nifty, and it is nice to not have to worry about paying for it yourself :)
Universal Yums, $13+
Getting snacks in the mail is AMAZING!
What gifts do you give for graduations? Comment below and don't forget to follow! :D

Congrats to the Class of 2016!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Awesome Things to Do This Summer!

Hey cupcakes! :) Summer is here! Like many of you, I sometimes get bored over the summer because I actually have free time (unlike during the school year where I barely ever get free time). To prevent the summer blues, I decided to come up with a great bucket list of things to do this summer that are awesome, amazing, and totally boredom-busting! Let's get started! :)

1. Plan a fantastic water battle - Gather your old high school friends (if you just came back from college) and all of your new friends to battle it out with water guns, water balloons, and even the hose! Have guests come in their bathing suits on a hot summer day for a fun day everyone will never forget! Whether you do this battle Hunger Game style or by team, this activity is great for all ages! :)

2.  Go for a week without watching TV - Honestly, I barely ever watched TV while I was at college, and I really loved the other things I got to do on my free time. Try to go for a whole week without watching TV so you can find a new hobby, passion, and activity. :)

3. Do something you used to do when you were younger - This is super vague, but I was recently talking to my friends from middle school about how we used to go to the roller skating rink almost every weekend, and I really want to go back this summer! If you did something a lot when you were younger (and don't do it anymore), start doing it again! I bet you will have a blast!

4. Make a reading list - In college, I had no time to ever read a book for fun... During your free time in the summer, make a mega list of the books you want to read and have a book-a-thon! Sit by the pool, outside, or in your living room and read, read, read! <3

5. Start a daily journal - If you enjoy writing (or want to become a better writer), I suggest keeping/writing in a journal, creative journal, or art journal whenever you are bored this summer! I have been wanting to do this for a long time now, so I plan on using creative journal prompts that I found online to write a lot this summer :)

6. Get in the car with your friends and get LOST - This can be as a type of roadtrip (where you have a destination but make up the way you get there) or just as a day thing, but I guarentee you will find some really awesome things along the way!

7. Sort through your stuff - This might sound terrible to do when you're bored, but if you blast your favorite Spotify playlist, you can sort through a lot of your stuff to get rid of it and donate to charity while actually having some fun! Summer is my favorite time to declutter, and I always find fun stuff as I go :P

8. Have a tie dye party - If the water battle isn't your thing, buy a huge tie dye kit and have all your friends bring white clothes, bags, etc. As the dye is setting, watch your favorite movies and have a great sleepover. The next day, time for a fun photo shoot! :)

9. Learn to cook! - When you're bored, look through all of those pinned recipes and teach yourself those great skills of how to cook! Surprise your parents with dinner, and they are sure to be impressed! :)

10. Go on Google for all the free things to do in your town/nearby - When you've made a list, set out with your friends to do them all in a day/weekend! This is cheap and super fun!!!! :)

11. Exercise! - If you're bored, get some exercise in (cuz you really have no good excuse not to!). Mix it up with your workouts and try tons of new ways to get fit!
12. Try your hand in something you THINK you aren't good at - A lot of times, I have wanted to do something but have been unsuccessful at it. Summer is the perfect time to spend extra time working at something so that you can learn to succeed! I have always been weak in writing, but this summer I have been working on a novel :) It is slow going, but I am proud to have improved!!

13. Donate your time! - If you are bored and have nothing to do, donate your time and body by doing community service. This is rewarding for you and the community and is super duper fun!

14. Have a photo shoot - Find some fun poses on Pinterest, and take your phone (or camera) and friends out for a day of photo taking. :)

What do you do in the summer when you are bored? Comment below and don't forget to follow! :D <3
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