May Faves

Even though this month flew by, I feel as though the first week of May happened a lifetime ago.
It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that I was still in school at the beginning of this month.
Now I (and many others) am more than ready for spring to transition to summer, and my favorite things definitely reflect that!

Prep For A Day

1. Scallops:  I love this detailing on all types of clothing, but lately scalloped swimsuits have been popping up everywhere.  It's a nice way to look put together even when you're relaxing by the water--or shooting a blog post.

2. Pineapples:  What is it about this fruit that drives the fashion industry?  Not that I'm against it;  in fact, I'd paste pineapples on everything from shirts to phone cases...

3. Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt:  Take it from the biggest dessert junkie out there: these are good!  Besides, I feel much better about eating dessert when it happens to be tasty yogurt rather than that whipped cream pie in the fridge.  These things really are tasty;  I highly recommend the caramel-covered selections.

4. Charcoal Face Mask:  I'm not a beauty guru, so I don't venture out into the world of facials very often.  However, my mom and I decided to give these a try, and we're glad we did.  Not only are they effective, but also less messy than the standard clay mud mask.

May's nearly over, and you know what that means:  another month of possibilities is dawning.

Any faves from this month that you'd like to share?

Shop the post:

Being A Prep For A Week: 5/24/15 -- 5/30/15

Not much has been happening on the home front this week, but that's all about to change.  After all, what is a summer without a bit of hectic planning, anyway?

For right now, I've been enjoying the absence of a schedule.  During the school year everything is pretty regimented, but now I can make my own schedule.  This schedule may consist of reading and practicing my music for next year's concerts, but I'm enjoying it nevertheless.
Prep For A Day
Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
The fashion blog that's the apple of my eye:  Yep, It's Prep
The blog that makes excellent reading material:  Evergreen and Ivy
The Sound of Music's least famous list of movie trivia

How was your week?


The Summer Dress

It swings.  It floats about as you walk.  It draws attention from everyone because of its adorable color and detailing.  It's the perfect summer dress.
From maxis to shifts, summer dresses are some of my favorites.  There's something so elegant yet carefree about them.  Plus, the summer months are the perfect time to pull out the crazy prints and bright whites you were afraid to wear during the colder parts of the year.
I've been trying to branch out color-wise, but most of my favorites are still some variation of my go-to color.  I suppose that summer would be the perfect time to trade the blues for the pinks...

Shop my favorite dresses:

What are some of your favorite summer dresses?


Being A Prep For A Week: 5/17/15 -- 5/23/15

Goodbye freshman year.  Hello summer.
My last day was Monday, and it was the perfect time to spend time with friends.  It was also graduation day for the seniors, so the day was definitely bittersweet.
Class President Johnston McCutcheon receives an advanced diploma during Hartselle High School's 2015 commencement ceremony.| Joy Haynes

My schedule for these first days of sun was quite simple:  sleep in (seven in the morning is quite late for me), read, work on ACT prep, read over old notes, watch old movies, attempt some exercising, and figure out what in the world to do with myself.  This schedule may sound tedious, but I'm happiest when I'm getting work done.
Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
An in-depth review of the best ACT Prep books (and when you should use them)
A gallery showcasing why peonies have become the flower of summer

How was your week?


Freshman Lessons

My freshman year of high school wasn't anything like I expected--it wasn't necessarily good or bad. I'm surprised at how quickly it passed by.  I blinked twice on the first day and suddenly it was March.
I cannot believe how much can be crammed into ten months.  I've learned many things, not all of which are pertaining to the ACT.  This year taught me some life lessons, too--and I'm grateful for that.
Prep For A Day

1.  We're all going through adjustment periods.
We all remember the first days of middle school and puberty, which many of us refer to as "the most awkward stages of our lives."  Freshman year is like a repeat of that stage (minus the odd bodily developments);  everyone's back in the same boat, and everyone's just trying to adjust to the new environment.

2.  Be open to change.
This new environment may be a bit different than the old middle school habitat you were accustomed to.  Moving into high school usually means moving in with all of the upperclassmen and teachers that you've never met--and that isn't a bad thing.  Change can be good, if you're willing to take advantage of it.

3.  We're all taking on more responsibility (regardless of whether we want it or not).
I've said it before, and I'll restate myself:  high school means more responsibility.  With all these new teenage activities to explore, you need to remind yourself why you're at school in the first place.

4.  We're all just little fish in a huge pond.
No matter how superior the "populars" may seem, once they get to meet the upperclassmen, they won't be strutting around as much.  Besides, in a few years you'll be heading off to college, and popularity factors will cease to exist.

5.  Be open to meeting new people.
I struggled with this at the beginning of the year.  I'd stuck to the same friend group since fifth grade, and when I didn't have many classes with those people, I was in for a rude awakening.  I had the same fears about who to sit with at lunch that everyone else does, but when I finally plucked up the courage to sit with some new people, I became a lot happier--and I ended up meeting one of my best friends.

6.  Your friends will influence you more than you think.
Peer pressure isn't some work of fiction that adults like to lecture about.  It's very real, and it's very hard to fight.  Try to be around those people who emulate traits that you yourself would want to emulate.  After all, if you swim with sharks you're a shark.

7.  You don't need to have every minute detail of your life planned out.
My school makes us write "four-year plans" almost every semester, and while they can be helpful, they can also be stressful.  Don't be tricked into believing that you should have already figured out your major, minor, top list of colleges, preferred income, and 401(k) plan just because you've ascended into high school.

8.  Do not procrastinate.
To be frank, freshman year wasn't the most challenging academic-wise.  However, it still plays a role in your GPA, so your grades shouldn't be something to forget about until sophomore year rolls around.  Once you start procrastinating, it's difficult to bring your grade up by the end of the semester.

9.  Be your own individual.
Middle school was all about conforming to a set standard.  Everyone wanted to be exactly like everyone else.  When you reach high school, this isn't as imperative.  It's much easier to figure out the little things that make you unique;  for once, you can let those things shine.

10.  Find out who you don't want to be.
Some more mature situations start developing in high school, and those situations usually stem from one person or a certain group of people.  Do you really want to be like those people?  Do you really want to do the things they're doing?  It can be an eye-opener.

Perhaps I'm not wiser, but I know I attained some new knowledge during my freshman year.

Who knows what sophomore year will bring?


April Showers Bring May Cupcakes

Baking is one of my favorite hobbies, especially because it satisfies my sweet tooth.  My mom and I have a growing cupcake delivery system;  sometimes we'll bake as many as three batches a week.
We brought these flower cupcakes to a church fundraiser a while back, and they were absolutely beautiful--so beautiful that everyone was afraid to disturb them!
From garden parties to baby showers to birthdays, these cupcakes will be a knockout (a delicious one, at that)!
Prep For A Day

Cupcakes (written by the geniuses behind Hello, Cupcake!)
1 box of regular cake mix
1 cup of buttermilk (in place of the water called for on the box)
Vegetable oil (amount called for on the box)
4 large eggs (in place of the amount called for on the box)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line cupcake tins with paper liners.
2.  Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Beat them with an electric mixer until moistened (about 30 seconds), and then beat until the mixture is thickened (about 2 more minutes).
3.  Fill the liners about two-thirds full of the batter, and bake until the cakes are golden brown (15 to 20 minutes for regular-sized, 20 to 25 minutes for jumbo, and 8 to 10 minutes for mini cupcakes).
4.  Remove the cupcakes from the tins, and let cool for at least 20 minutes.

Frosting (for 12 cupcakes)
1 1/2 cups of butter, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
1/4 cup of milk
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of green food coloring
Pink and golden food colorings
Golden nonpareil sprinkles
Chocolate jimmies

1.  Beat butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in sugar, then milk, and finally the vanilla extract.  Beat until light and fluffy (about two more minutes).
2.  Transfer 1 3/4 cups of the frosting to a separate bowl, and tint it green.  Spread this over the cupcakes.
3.  For Wild Roses:  Tint 1 cup of the remaining frosting pink.  Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag with a rose tip (Wilton #103), and begin piping around the edge of the cupcake.  For each "rose petal," pipe, with the narrow side of the tip pointing outwards, in a "C" shape.  Repeat this for the inner circle of slightly smaller "petals."  Fill the center with the nonpareil sprinkles.
4.  For Sunflowers:  Tint 1 3/4 cups of the remaining frosting golden.  Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag with a small star tip (Wilton #22).  Score a circle in the center of each cupcake using a 1 1/4" round cutter, and begin piping the ring of "petals" at the edges of the circle.  Pipe the ring of slightly smaller "petals" on top of the first layer, and fill the center with chocolate jimmies.

How's the recipe?


Being A Prep For A Week: 5/10/15 -- 5/16/15

There went the last full week of my freshman year.
It wasn't the most fulfilling week, especially since we did absolutely nothing.  This week was meant to be a time for working on exam reviews, but since yours truly exempted her exams, I ended up switching back and forth between Quizlet, Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and flash cards during class.  Let's just say that I like to be productive at all times--this was no exception.  The cleaning out of school supplies will begin shortly, as I get ready to be a sophomore.  How quickly life can change!
Prep For A Day

Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
Just a few reasons why Wicked should be the next thing you sit down and watch
If musicals aren't your speed, then watch a killer Audrey Hepburn mystery
A breathtaking article that showcases every World Press Photo Winner from 1955 on to 2011

After all, "A picture speaks one thousand words."

How was your week?


Why My Mom Deserves Her Own Day

My mom is pretty amazing at being a mother (although I'm a bit biased).
I have no idea what kind of monster I'd be if she'd never been there to pull me through all of the bad times.  I also have no idea what kind of horrendous baker I'd be if she'd never pulled me aside and showed me how it was done.
The concept of Mother's Day is one of my favorites because we're being able to honor mothers of every generation, for being the best at what they do--and because of those little quirks that each mom has that makes them more unique.  My mom's definitely not your average housewife...
Madsie is a bit young for most of these, maybe next year. (And this little one looks so much like my girl!)

She sings.  She sings a lot.
Even if she has a sore throat, my mom's bound to be singing.  From arias to seventies music to Ariana Grande, she knows it all.  It's nice to have that extra bit of cheer in the household;  plus, it's pretty entertaining to join in!

She cooks and bakes even more than she sings.
My dad and I would most likely be starving out on the streets if not for Mom's wonderful cooking. Who has a different assortment of baked goods for lunch every week?  Yours truly, that's who!

She has an enormous heart.
Besides the singing and baked goods, my mom's just an incredible person.  If you're in dire need, she'll help you, no matter the cost.  She's also very understanding, which I, as an annoying teenager, really appreciate.

Happy Mother's Day!


Being A Prep For A Week: 5/3/15 -- 5/9/15

What word sums up every event that happened this week?  Exciting.
Prep For A Day

Figuring out I get to take my online classes?  Pretty exciting.
Figuring out I get to exempt all of my finals and therefore start summer a week early? Even more exciting.
Figuring out that I made the school choir I auditioned for on Monday?  Most exciting news ever!
Especially considering how tough the auditions were--try learning a dance in fifteen minutes.
Acing all those tests that teachers like to squeeze in at the end of the year?  I'm on a roll.
Realizing I only have a week of freshman year left?  Scary--and exciting.
If reading that didn't make you more excited, I've no idea what will.

I guess I should just listen to Eleanor Roosevelt:  "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

How was your week?


Outfit: Spring, Embroider-ed

I love embroidery, so I'm glad that it's become a trend this spring.  I also love Old Navy, so I'm glad that the shop's started carrying boatloads of embroider-ed apparel.  Match made in Heaven?
Prep For A Day

Prep For A Day
This shirt is so comfortable, and it pairs well with a lot of different things.  I think it'd look pretty amazing with some white jeans.  And the shoes...well, I can't say enough about the shoes.
Prep For A Day
You know I'm always going to take advantage of any opportunity to wear some jewelry from Hawaii (also known as my favorite place in the world).
Prep For A Day
I'm also going to take advantage of any opportunity to represent Italy by wearing my gorgeous purse. This was probably one of the best gifts I've ever received--maybe I'll be wearing it in Italia one day...
Prep For A Day

Shop the post:

What do you think about embroidery?


Being A Prep For A Week: 4/26/15 -- 5/2/15

Am I the only person who feels guilty about not studying enough?
Aside from that hypothetical pondering, this week was interesting, as always.  Thursday was my choir's spring concert, which was bittersweet because it was the seniors' last. However, it was very sweet for me because I found out that my best friend will not be moving away over the summer. Probably the best news ever!
Chorus Concerts -- Prep For A Day

I cannot wait to get Monday over with--a history test, a project due, and Ensemble tryouts after school.  Now I'll go back to reading and thinking about how I should be studying for the ACT, which I won't be taking for another seven months.
Spring Fever -- Prep For A Day
In the spirit of spring fever, "No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow."

How was your week?