Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cinnamon Twists

Last week, after I finished up exams, I knew I needed to reward myself. So I roped my roommate into helping me make these bad boys: 

Beautiful, no? They're also probably the easiest dessert you can make. Cinnamon twists are the very first thing I learned to make in my middle school home-ec class, and I still stand by them when I want a fast, easy, dessert. 

First, get a roll or two of Pillsbury (or any brand) crescent rolls, and separate the rolls individually. 

Next, roll them out into a "snake" and twist them into a pretzel knot. Basically, tie a knot in them. Not hard, I promise. 

After that, melt 2 or 3 tablespoons butter and mix together some cinnamon sugar. I think the standard amount is 1 tbsp cinnamon for every cup of sugar. We just eyeballed it and it turned out fine. 

Roll the dough knots in the butter and then in the cinnamon sugar. Be sure to get it coated all the way! 

Then place them on a pan with room to exapnd, and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. The crescent roll package says 375, but I found that 350 makes the softer and the bottoms don't get crispy. 

After 10 minutes, voila! A perfect, flaky snack. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our Fuzzy Stress Reliever

As I was lounging around in my Sock Monkey footie pajamas this morning, one of my roommates, Ali, busts in with a surprise! This, my friends, was one adorable surprise. 

Micah the Schnauzer
Micah is Ali's friend's dog, but we got to borrow her for the day! We all miss our own dogs so so much, and she was perfect : )

Best Friends

 She is so quiet and such a good dog. She looooves all the attention that four college girls can give.
Guarding the apartment

Seriously, I could not think of a better way to end exam week. 

Micah is not impressed. Photo shoots are exhausting...

But we had fun playing! Anybody else want us to take a puppy off your hands for a while? We'd be happy to oblige.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fixing a problem I shouldn't have in the first place.

Hi. My name is Amanda and I'm addicted to shopping. ("Hi Amandaaaa"). So much so that my clothes don't fit in my closet at school. Or in my closet at home. Or any closet, really.

One day last week I had nothing to do (crazy) and decided to finally organize my closet. It was a huge undertaking, but I managed to do it in just an hour or two.

Here's the before shot. It may not look that disorganized to you, but it was killing me. Nothing was in order! There was no rhyme or reason to it! There were shirts in there I didn't know I had! 

To fix this, I had to pull everything out of the closet and lay it across my bed. Here's everything, just from the closet. 

When I put it back in, I did it in the order that I thought would make the most sense: Jackets, button-down shirts, sweaters, cardigans, long sleeve t-shirts, dresses, pants, and short sleeve shirts. My only problem is that things are still very crammed, just crammed in a more organized way. Look how beautiful! 

It's worked out surprisingly well! Trust me, you won't regret organizing something that you use everyday. I know where everything is and it's super easy! Next step: color coordination. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Time is Upon Us.

That's right, it's here. The moment we've all been waiting for. No, not Christmas.

Exam week.

We've worked all semester to prepare for this week (well, some of us). I'm one of the lucky few who get my exams over with early in the week, but some of my friends aren't so fortunate. I've also had the fortune of having two online exams, one of them consisting entirely of Monty Python questions. Gotta love management classes. My big exam in Russian is on Tuesday. I'm not worried...yet.

In honor of exam week, check out my exam week nails:

This is what happens when I study too much. I pulled the fuzzy bit off a Q-tip and used the end to make the dots. Something about yellow just makes me happy!

I need to quit procrastinating. Я люблю учиться по-русский!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hiking Yellow Branch Falls

On Saturday, Brenden and I went hiking at Yellow Branch Falls in Sumter National Forest.  Our original plan was to go hike somewhere nearby, but we never found the trail we were looking for because the website's only address was that of the ranger station. But eventually we stumbled on the Yellow Branch trail.
To me, this was the perfect trail. Not too long, not too short, and a beautiful waterfall at the end. All of these pictures were taken with my Canon TX, 400 speed film.
Brenden at the start of the hike

The waterfall!

We walked across this at the bottom of the falls...
...To get to this cool bench! It gave us a perfect view of the falls.
Brenden on the bench
Over Thanksgiving break, I went to REI and finally bought the hiking boots I've been drooling over! Let me tell you, they are worth every penny. The waterproof version is perfect for me- to even to get to the waterfall we had to jump across rocks in the water at the bottom of the falls. I didn't even realize until I was about to buy them, but they are just the tiny girl version of Brenden's hiking boots! Twins!
Matching boots!

 Me in comparison to the falls
Brenden in front of the falls         

One of my favorite parts of the whole day was on the way home. We were driving through the booming metropolis of Walhalla, SC when we spotted two grown men driving through downtown on their four-wheelers, decorated with Christmas lights and ....deer. Keepin' it classy.

Note: The deer picture was taken through the window of a moving car with a film camera. Heck yeah.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Nicest Things

I love it when people are nice.

Especially when I've done everything I can to no avail, and finally someone helps me out.

For example:
I have an internship in the university's Human Resources department this semester and it's really great for on-the-job experience. They've asked me to come back next semester to work, and I've heard about people getting class credit for internships so I thought I'd look into it. This was not as easy as I was expecting.

I emailed:
-The psychology internship advisor
-The head of the Management department
-My internship advisor
-The head of the internship program
-The head of the Psychology department
-Another psychology internship advisor.

Seriously. This process took weeks. No one knew what to do! The internship program offers a 0-credit hour course that I can sign up for, but it costs $150. Who in their right mind would pay $150 for a ZERO CREDIT HOUR CLASS?? I made sure to tell the head of the internship program that it was absolutely ridiculous and I could not pay a fee and have nothing to show for it.

Finally, the last guy I emailed had some answers. He's a professor in the psych department and also the advisor for the Applied Psychology Practicum, basically an internship class. He said that if my internship fit into Industrial/Organizational Psychology curriculum (it does) then I could sign up for the class and get 3 hours of credit for my work! Here's the kicker: There is NO section of Applied psychology practicum next semester, but this guy is nice enough to create a section of the class just for me! What! I'm literally the only person in this class, and there's no actual meeting time. But as long as I turn in my assignments on time I can get credit for my internship.

Moral of the story: If you want something and know there's a way to get it, don't give up! Just be persistent and eventually someone will listen to you! I'm so glad my hard work payed off.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Homemade Spring Rolls

A few weeks ago, I made some home made spring rolls! I found a recipe on the back of some spring roll wrappers from the Asian Market in Greenville. I only used the recipe as a guideline. I estimated amounts of the veggies and seasonings to go inside, and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. 

First, I cut up some cabbage: 

Next, I grated some carrots: 

After that, I used my handy dandy wok to stir fry the cabbage and carrots. I added in some beansprouts and bamboo shoots too: 

I stir-fried the veggies and added salt and the smallest drop of sesame oil. The recipe called for 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, and the first time I tried it, it was waaaaay too much! All you really need is a taste, and you get PLENTY of taste with one drop. 

After everything was mixed up, I laid out the spring roll wrapper and put some of the veggie mixture in the middle. 

Rolling was easier than expected, after I figured out what to do ! 

Fold the middle, then the sides, and roll it up until it looks like a spring roll! 

After I got them all rolled, I laid them out on a baking sheet until I could fry them. 

The recipe said to deep fry them, but I just can't bring myself to deep fry something. Instead I put some oil in the bottom of a frying pan and rolled them around in that until the outside was crispy. It may not have actually been that much healthier, but it made me feel better about myself! 

Finally, they were finished! I was very proud with the result. Next time I might find a better way to cook them, because I'm still not crazy about the frying. But they sure were good! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Unleashing Our Creativity

In case you haven't noticed, my roommates and I loooooove art projects. So it made perfect sense when we decided to splatter paint (yeah, it's our thing) some canvases. We laid out four 8x10 (ish?) canvases on some newspaper in the kitchen...it was freezing outside and my creativity cannot be unleashed below 70 degrees. 
Rachel and Melissa model the "Before" canvases.
We poured every color of paint we had on some paper plates and added a few drops of water to each color. This made the paint a little runnier and easier to fling with the brushes. 

After that, we just kind of went at it willy nilly. You should really try it sometime- it's the perfect stress reliever! 
Starting to get some color....

Rachel's really excited about painting

After a while, there starting to be more color and we had to be careful about making it even and filling in any white spots. It's pretty difficult to aim a brush when you're throwing paint at the floor... But eventually we got this: 

Aaaaaand then I stepped in paint:

But we did have the bright idea of pouring loose glitter all over the we paint. You can see where this is going, can't you? It was going beautifully for a while, and I was sprinkling the glitter like fairy dust...
See? Fairy dust. 
...Until the lid came off and the whole tub poured on the painting. Luckily Rachel had the camera ready and captured our faces for that moment: 
Too much fairy dust

But eventually we got everything evened out and covered in the proper amount of glitter. As Melissa said, "It looks like Lisa Frank threw up!" 
Final Product

And it's perfect. Just perfect. : )

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Asheville Trip

For our two year anniversary, Brenden and I took a day trip to Asheville, NC. I feel kind of strange calling it an "anniversary" when we're only dating, but you get the idea. Asheville, and western North Carolina in general, is a really great place to visit. There's a ton of local shops and fun naturey-type things to do. We definitely could have spent more than a day exploring, but alas, we had to come back to Clemson for class.

First, we spent about, oh, FOREVER in the Asheville REI store. Brenden's kind of a diva when it comes to shopping for outdoorsy things, but it was really fun to wander around and lust after ridiculously expensive hiking gear.

After we finally made it to downtown Asheville we found a little restaurant called The Gourmet Chip Company. You could pick from a load of fancy chips and get a panini too if you wanted an actual meal. We got delicious sammiches, but even cooler were the chips (duh). Brenden got Blue Cheese and Lavendar chips and I got  Chocolate and Bacon. CHOCOLATE AND BACON! They were soooo good!
Fancy chips!
Chocolate and bacon!
The Gourmet Chip Company
 We also went to a hipster coffee shop called The Green Sage. Brenden got a fancy espresso and I had my favorite- Peppermint Tea. It was perfect. And completely organic!

After that, we headed out for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We went maybe 20 or so miles, but saw some great views (and huge houses perched on the side of a mountain) along the way. 

The nice man we met at one of the overlooks offered to take our picture. Thanks, Arpit!  
Amazing view from the Blue Ridge Parkway
We were on our way back down the mountain and I saw something black moving in the woods. Of course Brenden didn't believe me at first, but I was right- it was a BEAR! We saw a bear!!! It was so cute and fluffy and I just wanted to pet it... But we just stayed in the car and took blurry panicked pictures. The black dot in the middle the picture is the bear. 

Once we got back into town, we walked around a trendy used bookstore, went to dinner at the best Japanese restaurant in Asheville (just sayin') and then to French Broach Chocolates.- a chocolate lounge! How swanky is that!? It was super hip and trendy.  We got a piece of $6 chocolate cake (no joke!) and Brenden got some Counter Culture coffee. Just sitting in there made me feel cool

It was such a long day, but so fun! I love Asheville and all there is to do there.