Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Well we have made it, it is the end of the year 2014. So much has happened this year. I finished my senior year of marching band, I started this blog, I celebrated my 3rd anniversary with the boyfriend, and I made some fantastic new friends and strengthened relationships with old friends. I feel like it was just the end of 2013 and I was looking forward to 2014, and now, in less than 18 hours it will be done.

But like everyone, I want to make some goals for the year 2015. Instead of doing goals or resolutions for the whole year, I'm just doing it one month at a time. So throughout the year, I will update my goals for the month. (I have never been very good at sticking to goals for the whole year, a month will be a sort of stretch too, but more reasonable). The plan is to have a goal or two for each category of my life, things like Health/Fitness, School, Social and Blog. So here goes nothing, my goals for the month of January.

Health and Fitness
  • Drink more water. I am participating in the #wellwithwater that Sarah is hosting on Sarah Celebrates. The point is to encourage simply drinking more water throughout the month of January. This is the kind of goal I can accomplish. On average I drink maybe one bottle of water on a good day,if that, so my goal for January is to drink two bottles of water everyday. 
  • Drink less soda. Over Christmas break, I have gotten use to having as much soda as I want at the house because my parents love me and keep all of my favorites in stock. This is great and all, but I drank wayyyyy too much. So while I am drinking more water, I am also drinking less soda.
  •  Don't get behind. This may seem like something that everyone says at the beginning of a semester, but with this being my last real semester of school (not ready to talk about that yet) I can't afford to slack off. I want to graduate with top honors. 204 days till I graduate!!!
  • Spend time with friends, and do stuff other than watch TV. Living in a small town, it can get difficult to find things to do. (The mall in Troy is Wal-Mart) But several of my friends have birthdays this month so it is expected for us to actually go do stuff. 
  • Post at least 2 times a week. I want to post more than that, but I know January is a very busy month for me. But a busy month equals a lot of things to post about! 
Happy New Year everyone, I hope 2015 is a great and prosperous year for each and everyone of you. Thank you for helping my blog grow over the past few months.
 What are your goals for January or 2015?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas! (Plus a Cake Recipe)

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope that each and every one of you had a fabulous Christmas day. I know I did. I got to spend time with my family, eat lots of yummy food, and open great presents (like a new camera!!!!! Yay for better pictures on the blog now).  But as I promised on A Taste of the College Life's Facebook Page two days ago, I have a cake recipe for you that makes a great addition to any holiday gathering. I call it a Christmas cake, but you could make it for any holiday you could possibly want.

I will warn you now, this is not a complicated recipe so much as a tedious/time consuming recipe. But if you like chocolate cake, it is so worth it. Budget yourself at least 2 days to work on this, since at one point you have to freeze the cake overnight.

This recipe is in three parts; cake, cream filling, and glaze.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flou
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs, sperated
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
Cream Filling
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. For cake, grease a 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 inch jellyroll pan (or a cookie sheet with raised edges). Line bottom of pan with waxed paper and grease wax paper.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In another small bowl, combine cocoa, water, and vanilla, whisk until smooth.

In a large bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Beat in egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Alternately beat flour mixture and buttermilk into creamed mixture. Beat in cocoa mixture until well blended.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff. Fold egg white mixture into chocolate mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until cake is slightly puffed and just begins to pull away from sides of pan. Get a towel, lay it out, and sift confectioners sugar onto the towel. Loosen the sides of the cake and invert it onto the towel. Beginning with 1 long edge, roll cake IN the towel. Cool 45 miuntes or until room temperature.

For filling, beat whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla. Unroll cake and remove towel. Spread filling over cake to within 1 inch of edges. Depending on how thick you want to make your cake you have a choice here, you can either roll it up starting with a long side or a short side. I recommend rolling it with a long side because then you can cut it in half later and make 2 cakes at one time! But that is completely up to you.

Once you roll it up, wrap it up tightly in aluminum foil and freeze overnight.

Next day, remove cake from freezer, unwrap from foil, cut in half if necessary, and place it on a serving plate of some sort or on a wire rack to ice.

For glaze, melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a microwave safe bowl. Let cool slightly beat in butter (I melt mine to make this easier) and add the whipping cream until slightly thickened and smooth. Spread glaze evenly over top and sides of cake. (If you put it on a wire rack to ice, now put it on a plate) Gently pull a fork through the glaze to create the "bark" lines. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Right before serving, sift confectioners sugar over cake to create a snowy look.

Fun fact, this recipe came from an old cook book and has been passed down through generations on my dads side of the family. The little holy that is on top of my cake, is actually a small part of the big piece from great-grandmother.

Do you have any family recipes that you make for a certain time of year?


Monday, December 22, 2014

Frozen is Still Awesome

One thing that people learn about me fairly quickly, I am a HUGE Disney freak. Like it might even be to an unhealthy, obsessive level at some points. When Frozen came out last year, I think I saw it about 4 times in theaters...yeah, pathetic, I know...but I let it go! ;) Anyway, while my favorite Disney movies are Tangled and the Princess and the Frog, I love Frozen, a lot. Here are my Top 5 Reasons Frozen is Awesome.

 Top 5 Reasons Frozen is Awesome
5. The music. The music in this movie is the bomb-diggity. I'm sorry for that reference from my past but it is the best way to describe it. As a band kid my whole life music has been super important to me and the soundtrack to this movie is fantastic. Not only is the score amazing but who doesn't want to build a snowman?

4. "Who marries a guy she just met?" This movie is the first Disney movie that shows that a girl shouldn't marry the first guy who shows an interest in her. It teaches girls to be strong and independent. That being with a man can be nice and everyone should want to find love, but that shouldn't be all you are after in life. 

3.  Anna and Elsa. So these two are obviously very important to the movie, I mean they are the main characters. But I think that the way that the characters were developed and the relationship they go through during the movie shows a pretty accurate description of sibling relationships. You will want to spend all your time with them on some days and then others you don't want to see them at all. Some days you see eye to eye on everything and others you are polar opposites. But all of those things are what make you the way you are. 

  • Oh and this fun little tid bit! Tangled is my other favorite Disney movie so this just makes both of these so much better. 

2. Kristoff. So as the prince in this movie who wasn't really a prince to begin with, he is the perfect gentleman. While he does have a bit of a sarcastic side, he also super sweet. I mean he gave up on Anna because he thought it would save her. He also has an adorable pet reindeer, who doesn't love a guy with a pet reindeer? 
And Kristoff asked to kiss Anna and did not trust her because she wanted to marry a guy she just met. More pluses for him.

1. Olaf! Who can't love this adorable little guy! He is the best thing Disney has come up with yet in my opinion. My Pintereset has exploded with Olaf. Here are a few of them.

This is Alex's favorite song in the whole movie. He laughed for a good five minutes in the theater after this part.

And the number one reason that Olaf is the number one reason Frozen is awesome is because of this...

He realizes that people who love someone, who really love someone, will do anything for them. 

What is your favorite part of the movie?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Bucket List: Hoda

Well for those of you who have seen my Graduation Bucket List one of the things on there is to read 5 books that are just for fun.  And I finished my first one yesterday. I read the book that Hoda Kotb wrote.

This book was so much fun to read. As a journalism major, this really opened my eyes to what it takes to get where she is in her career. And it makes it even better that she is one of my favorite people in television. I first started watching the Today show about a year ago during the winter Olympics on NBC because I had time in the mornings before class to watch and Hoda and Kathy Lee are the fourth hour from 10-11. I fell in love with this show so quickly. They really are a hoot. One of the first memories of Hoda and Kathie Lee is during the Olympics, they had a checkered board with shot glasses on it to represent all of the medals the USA had won so far, the only ones that actually had vodka in them were random ones representing the Gold medals. I laughed so hard because I never expected to see people with shots of vodka on national morning television. Ever since then, I watch the show as much as possible (having a class start at 10 is not conducive to watching a show that starts at 10).

Hoda and Kathie Lee during the Olympics. (Photo Today)

Anyway, about the book, Hoda wrote it in such a great way that it feels like I'm just listening to her talk, and she is so personable. She talks about growing up Egyptian and traveling around the world as a small girl, the hardship of loosing her dad, and her battle with cancer, a bad marriage, and Kathie Lee. I read the book in two days. Now, by no stretch of the imagination is this book a difficult read or something that should take a really long time to read, but it is really fun to read. And that is the point of my bucket list item.

Fun fact, I have added on my life long bucket list, to go to New York, be on the Plaza during the Today show, and meet some of the anchors, especially Hoda!

I highly encourage anyone who is majoring in journalism, thinking about journalism, or likes live television news to read this book. She is so honest about the things that happen as a journalist; like what happens when the network sends you to the middle of a war zone to get a story, or when you cover Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Television really isn't just the glitz and glam you see on your TV in the morning. It takes a lot to get there. But Hoda really has given a first hand account of what it takes and what you must be willing to sacrifice.

Well I have marked one of the five books to read off the list, but I still have a few more books to read to finish my bucket list item, what are some books you suggest? Who is your favorite television news personality? 

Also, go like A Taste of the College Life on Facebook by clicking HERE! Help get to 100 likes on the page before the end of the year!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Guys Gift Guide | DIY

Well Christmas is less than 2 weeks away, and I don't know about you but that is kind of a crazy idea. Wasn't it just Christmas of 2013? But the biggest thing is that, I don't have all my Christmas presents ready yet, especially the presents for the guys in my life. Maybe it is just my guys, but I find it so hard to find gifts for them that are different but useful, especially gifts that I can make myself.

So today, I am going to show you some of the best DIY projects from Pinterest and projects that I have made before that make great presents for any guy in your life, but you can also adjust some of these and make them work for anyone on your gift list.

Picture with Scrabble Tiles
This is something I made for my boyfriend a couple years ago. It is really simple, the key to it is getting the frame to have a big enough mat that the tiles fit on the side. You can also use words like "Daddy/ Daughter" or "Love/Life" if your names don't work like ours did.

The tiles in this picture are just printed off, you can get the picture to print with the tiles here.

Fun Ornaments
A big thing this year has been ornaments. And there are lots of easy ones out there to make. These are two that I have made in the past. I have some friends that love bacon and this little guy was super easy. Cut two rectangles in red felt, sew on some white to make the bacon fat, and then sew on his little face.

The iron man was fun, glitter ornaments are really fun to make and very simple, anyone can do it. There are lots of good tutorials for glitter ornaments, but this is one that I really like.

                                                                                    52 Reasons I Love You
This is a very heartfelt gift because you have to come up with 52 different reasons why you love someone. You can be serious or more fun with it, or a little of both, it is all up to you.

All you need is a deck of cards, some paper, a hole punch, and a key ring.

What are some other fun gifts that you have made for a guy in your life? 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I'll Be Home For Christmas

Well my semester is officially done. I now only have one semester left of real classes of school (+ an internship) and then I graduate!!

But I am really just excited because it is Christmas time and Christmas is my favorite. I love everything about Christmas, well except the traffic that comes with all the shopping, but it really is my favorite. I am basically like Buddy the Elf.

This semester has been so hectic and I haven't been able to go home at all. My parents have come visit a few times, but I am glad to be able to go back to Georgia for most of the break, and the best part, The Boyfriend is getting to come with me. We have been together for 3 years and this is the first year that we get to spend the holidays together. Being from the south, my family definitely has some crazy holiday traditions, but what family doesn't? 

Strange Holiday Traditions in My Family

1. We left Santa Coke instead of milk.
When I was little, we didn't leave Santa milk to eat with his cookies. Nope! We left him some good ol' Coca-Cola. My parents said it was because Santa needed some caffine for the trip since he had to be up so long and travel so far. As I grew up, I learned that it really was because my parents just prefer Coke instead of milk. But I just always thought we were just different. 

2. We read a Dean Koontz book on Christmas Eve.
One day driving back from a family vacation we stopped at a book store and my dad bought this book. He hid it away until Christmas Eve. I mean what says "Merry Christmas" better than a book with this cover. 
Its a precious little story about two little girls who have to save Christmas from Santa's misunderstood twin brother, Bob. The book is also sorta long so when my brother and I were really little, my dad would skip a page here and there to make it not take as long. That stopped working when we were old enough to read along with him.

3. Christmas Eve is also spent wrapping presents.
Before and after we read that precious children's book, we spend most of the night wrapping presents. Not just the presents that we might have left over, but about 99% of them. Yeah, we're that kind of family. Go in our own rooms and wrap everyone's presents. 

I tried to get my parents to let us use this as the Christmas card one year...they didn't go for it.

4. Christmas Day is a lot of traveling, food and family. 
Okay, this one might not be a "strange" tradition, but it can be for some people. On Christmas morning, we get up and open our presents, then we pack up with all the food we've made (which is normally a lot) and head to family. My dad's family is lunch, then my mom's family is dinner. So while it is a lot of fun to see everyone, it is a lot of traveling in one day.

Does your family have any "strange" traditions for the holiday season?  

Only 15 days till Christmas!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Graduation Picture Ideas

This week is graduation week for one of my best friends and sisters, Katie. She came up and visited for the weekend and I got to take her senior pictures. It was a lot of fun and I wanted to share a few of the pictures that we took. Since it is almost graduation for the winter and then the Spring graduation will be here before we know it, here are a few graduation picture ideas that we took.

Classic cap throwing picture

"I'm Done!!"

With our buddy Hector, the Trojan on the fountain

Standard cap and gown picture

The floor of the new Long Hall

In front of the Sound of the South mural in the band room

"Upon the mighty walls of Troy..."

These are just a few of my favorites that we took around campus. I am so excited for Katie as she graduates this week and moves on to bigger and better things, but don't forget about us still in Troy!!

Do you have any fun graduation picture ideas?

Happy Finals

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

25 Hour Days??

I am a firm believer that we need more hours in the day, and more days in the week. There are so many things that I want to get done but being in school, I have to prioritize, which much to my dismay, Pinterest and blogging isn't always at the top of that list.

Obviously this whole blogging everyday during the end of the semester with finals, the end of marching band, holidays and seeing friends, doesn't work. I should have known that this was a bad time to try and blog everyday, but oh well. You live and learn. But I am going to try and do better. As I move into the next year, I am setting goals for my blog and what I plan to do for it. So be on the look out for some new things on here. But until then, I will be blogging and getting through the rest of the semester.

So I apologize for setting my goals too high for right now. I apparently over estimate the amount of hours in the day to get everything done, but please don't go away.

I am excited to finish off this semester and get home for Christmas, but first I have to get though finals, symphony band auditions, and a concert. So wish me luck and I'll be back soon, I promise. (Like 2 days, if I can get through Friday afternoon, I'll have a little more time)

Oh and I can't wait to share with you all the Christmas goodies that I have made for friends!

Good luck to everyone else on your finals and may the odds be ever in your favor!