Operation 40 Books.

I’m a little late on this New Year’s Goals boat but I decided that one of my goals for this year is to read at least forty books. This would be super easy if I didn’t have eight million other things to manage like working, studying, and the occasional sleeping. I really hope that I can accomplish this goal because I absolutely love reading and think it is a great way to spend extra time that doesn’t involve sitting around watching tv. Anywho, I am going to keep a running list in the back of my planner so I can make sure I am on track for my goal. Here are a few of the books that I have read so far this year.

The O’Malley Trilogy- I really love this book and it’s actually written by my mom’s cousins which makes it even more special. I’ve read certain excerpts before but never the whole book front to back. I definitely recommend it!

Lock and Key- This is a really cute read by Sarah Dessen without being too mushy. I really liked it.

Bound South- A book about what it means to live in the South as well as to live outside of it. This was a really good book about a family from all different points of view. Loved it!

Maine-  I am actually in the middle of reading this now. It is the second book my J. Courtney Sullivan who also wrote Commencement. Since I loved Commencement so much I thought that I would try it. I love it so far!

Are any of y’all trying to incorporate more reading into your life? Any goals for the year?




My best friend from home mMa and I decided to make bows and let me tell you they turned out PRECIOUS! We used a few youtube videos to help us out and since this was our first time, we only used two colors.

The only tricky part of the process is the ribbon looping but once you do it the first time, it is easy to get the hang of it. This is a perfect craft for college girls because if you’re anything like mMa and I, you LOVE your bows. Making them is also much more inexpensive and easier than going out and trying to find the perfect one. This way, you can use any color or patterned ribbon that you like. All that you need is one set of wide ribbon, one set of skinny ribbon, alligator clips, and hot glue. It only took us about an hour from start to finish and we had never done it before. Good luck and let me know how your bow crafting works out!


(This is the main video that we used http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUtqQgbPs3M&feature=g-hist&context=G244b17bAHTwzytQABAA )


Amazing Recipe!

The other day, I had my friends over for a dinner party for New Year’s Eve. We all love cooking and hanging out and what better way is there to ring in the New Year than with your best friends? We all made a ton of stuff but here is my FAVORITE pasta recipe! It sounds a little shady when you look at the ingredients but trust me, so yummy! I can also tell you that the leftovers are amazing as well.

Pumpkin Rosemary Shells and Cheese-I originally got the recipes from this amazing blogger (http://elefantitasalegres.blogspot.com) but here is the recipe reprinted.

– 16 oz. whole wheat orecchiette (I just used medium shells)
– 3 T. butter
– 4 T. flour
– 3 c. + 1/3 c. milk
– 12 oz. cheese, grated {I used a mix of sharp cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan}
– 8 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed {this is 1/4 of the large brick}
– 1 c. pumpkin puree 
– 1 T. fresh rosemary, minced
– 1 t. salt
– 1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
– 1/2 t. cayenne pepper 
– 1/2 c. panko or breadcrumbs {I used breadcrumbs I had in the freezer made from whole wheat pita} 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Cook pasta in heavily salted water, removing from heat and draining 3 minutes prior to the specified cook time on the package.  
Melt butter in a large skillet over Medium-High heat. Add flour, whisking for about 30 seconds. Add 2 cups of milk and the rosemary, whisking continuously until smooth.  Add the third cup of milk and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.  
Turn down heat to Medium {if you’re using an electric stove top and a pan that is not non-stick, you might want to go to Medium-Low}.  Reserving a handful for topping, add cheese blend and whisk until combined.  Add Velveeta and stir until fully melted and combined.  Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and pumpkin, followed by the additional 1/3 c. of milk.  Stir / whisk until smooth. 
Toss cheese sauce with cooked pasta and pour into a greased casserole dish {9×13}.  Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs  Cook for 30 minutes. 

New Year’s Resolutions.

Yep, here it is…cue the groans. It’s time to bring out the good old New Year’s Resolutions. I, like 95% 0f the world’s population, would like to get healthy in the New Year. This of course includes diet and exercise but also I would just like to stop putting gross junk into my body (i.e. endless fountain of diet coke). Considering I live on a college campus where all food comes from the not so delicious dining hall, I have been cooking up a preservative free storm while I’ve been home. I’m not one of those starve yourself in order to lose 50 pounds in a month. I’ve been there and done that and it does not maintain so don’t be surprised by some of the recipes that I may post. Here’s my tip, when you sit down to eat, pretend you’re not eating for the end of the world which is what most people do. Chances are, this will not be your last meal so don’t treat it as such. Eat the correct portion of meat, vegetables, and pasta and drink lots of water.

Of course, along with portion control, exercise is super important. I am trying to work out around four or five times a week doing either spin class at school or a two or three mile run. But of course, this is a little bit of a struggle when juggling work, school, and social commitments.

I just downloaded the My Fitness Pal App to help me out along the way. It is a really good calorie tracker and also tracks water intake and exercise as well. If any of you want to be my friend, my username is whalesandwayfarers! Are any of y’all trying to get fit this year? What are you doing to stay fit?