March 2, 2014

Reasons I Love March

March is a glorious month. It brings about the end of winter and longer days, not to mention some other special days. Here is a short list of reasons as to why I love March so much.

+ More sunshine, and less rainy days.
+ Don’t forget to set your clocks on March 9th, as it’s time to “spring forward” for Daylight Savings Time!
+ March 13th brings Popcorn Lover’s Day – time for all sorts of yummy popcorn deliciousness.
+ The Veronica Mars movie releases on March 14th and I for one am ridiculously excited for this movie!
+ St. Patrick’s Day arrives on March 17th, and for the first time ever, I’m planning on going out with some friends to indulge in green beer and snappy Irish tunes.
+ The Vernal Equinox (also known as Spring or Ostara for anyone of the Pagan persuasion) arrives on March 20th, bringing longer daylight hours with it!
+ Also on March 20th is Macaron Day! My plan is to head out to Seattle on this beautiful first day of Spring, and pick up some delicate, delicious macarons.
+ Fragrance Day falls on March 21st – time to break out those new perfumes you’ve never worn!
+ And finally, the perfect way to bring March to close is with “Take a Walk in the Park” Day on March 30th!

March 1, 2014

Bookshelf Porn #1

Ever since reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, I have been looking for some similar books. I’m deeply in love with psychological thrillers, the darker the better, and I stumbled across these books the other day when I popped into Barnes & Noble for one book. (Of course. Isn’t that how it always goes?) The John Green book isn’t new to me. I’ve read it several times but needed a copy of my own. While it doesn’t fall under the category of psychological thrillers, it’s still a truly wonderful novel, one that I recommend to everyone.

Reconstructing Amelia, Kimberly McCreight – Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate’s faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead. A despondent Amelia has jumped from the school’s roof in an act of “spontaneous” suicide. At least that’s the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text: She didn’t jump. Sifting through Amelia’s emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall’s roof that day-and why she died.

Dare Me, Megan Abbott – Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy’s best friend and trusted lieutenant. Now they’re seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls — until the young new coach arrives. Cool and commanding, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach’s golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as “top girl” — both with the team and with Addy herself. Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death — and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.

The Next Time You See Me, Holly Goddard Jones – The disappearance of one woman, the hard-drinking and unpredictable Ronnie Eastman, reveals the ambitions, prejudices, and anxieties of a small southern town and its residents. There’s Ronnie’s sister, Susanna, a dutiful but dissatisfied schoolteacher, mother, and wife; Tony, a failed baseball star turned detective; Emily, a socially awkward thirteen-year-old with a dark secret; and Wyatt, a factory worker tormented by a past he can’t change and by a love he doesn’t think he deserves. Connected in ways they cannot begin to imagine, their stories converge in a violent climax that reveals not just the mystery of what happened to Ronnie but all of their secret selves.

Looking for Alaska, John Green – Before: Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. After: Nothing is ever the same.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought! But, no spoilers please!

February 18, 2014

Foodgasms: Homemade Peanut Butter Marshmallows

Marshmallows. Is there a delicious treat that is fluffier, sweeter or tastier than a marshmallow? I didn’t think so. Aside from being absolutely delicious, marshmallows are also fun. They jiggle and sway and you can use them in many different recipes. And as someone who loves to bake and enjoys expanding her horizons, I had to see how difficult it was to make marshmallows from scratch.

Surprisingly enough, it turns out that marshmallows are actually pretty easy to make. The hardest part actually, is waiting for them to cure. Which can take up to 8 hours. Why is that so hard? Because you’ll want to eat them right away. This was actually the second time that I had made marshmallows from scratch. I learned a lot from the first time and these definitely came out better.

While I had the idea to make Peanut Butter Marshmallows, I cannot (and won’t) claim ownership of the recipe. This delicious recipe came from Amy Christie of This Heart of Mine Blog. If you have never been to her blog, I urge you to go and visit asap. You might want to eat something first … I followed her recipe completely and these are easily the tastiest marshmallows ever, and the peanut butter is not over-powering in the slightest. I did decide to melt some chocolate and dip a few of the marshmallows in the gooey deliciousness and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

Anyone for s’mores with homemade marshmallows?! Party at my house! Have you made marshmallows before? What was the hardest part of the process for you? Leave a comment below and let me know!