Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Goals for a New Semester

Happy Tuesday! 

I know I've been gone for a week and I'm planning on posting more, but it seems it might be a bit difficult for me in the near future. I'll be starting my last year of undergrad on Wednesday, along with continuing my on-campus job and new internship. On Monday, I started my new internship at a small publishing press. It may not be a huge role in the company, but if I pay attention and do my best I know that I'll learn how publishing presses work. I also love that it's a small press so it's easier to get to know everyone and learn about their roles within the press. 

That being said, I'll be busy starting on Wednesday, though it already feels like I'm swamped. Perhaps I'm feeling a bit anxious from looking at my tentative schedule? My weekly calendar is full of different colored boxes with only a few minutes break in-between. I even have a night class from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. once a week and kickboxing twice a week. Pretty much, I'll be on campus from 8 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. everyday, with a short break here and there. I'm already feeling the pressure of my last year, but I'm also excited for the new experiences this semester will bring. Today all the clubs tried recruiting freshman students for the new year and I saw so many happy faces that it's put me in a good mood. I feel like this will be a great semester, despite the high likelihood that I will be perpetually tired. 

So today I felt like sharing a small to-do list/list of goals for the new semester, both personal and academic. Maybe by sharing my list I'll be more likely to complete it sooner rather than later? Let's keep our fingers crossed for a productive year! 

  1. Create 3 editorial calendars (blog, work, club)
  2. Have new club website up and running by October 
  3. Design t-shirt for older sister's bakery 
  4. Design photo menu for older sister's bakery 
  5. Write more poetry (My independent study should help with this)
  6. Get in better shape (I'm hoping the kickboxing helps!)
  7. Try to reach out to more people (both old friends and new, along with mentors)
  8. Go to more local poetry events (because not having a car shouldn't stop me!)
  9. Attend NACCS conference in Houston next year (fundraising is a must~)
  10. Create a budget for current spending and for paying back loans (help me.)
  11. Stay on schedule in classes to get all As (got to end my last year with a bang, right?) 
  12. Raise awareness about literary club's presence on campus
  13. Eat healthy (lots of veggies, fruit, and water!)
  14. Get enough sleep (how many hours do 21 year-old ladies actually need?)
  15. Volunteer at local cultural events (I'm free on weekends!)
I know there's much more I'll have to get done, but this is just a small list of the things that have been on my mind lately. I'm positive my bedroom walls will have random post-it notes stuck to them, reminding me of assignments I need to complete and people I need to email. 

For anyone going back to school soon, I wish you luck and hope this is a good year for you! For those of you not going to school, I hope you reach whatever goals you've set for yourself, whether it be gaining more customers for your business or redecorating your home. Let's hope we end the year well. 

Let me know some of your goals for the end of the year/start of a new academic year~ I'd love to hear about them. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Recipe for Cranberry Orange Scones (or is it Orange Cranberry Scones?)

When I made my lemon blueberry scones the other day, I told my older sister about them because she likes baking too. So since I'm visiting my family this week, she decided we should bake some scones together before I leave. No one in my family, let alone my friends, knew what scones were, and I can't say I'm surprised since most bakeries around here don't sell them. You're more likely to find any type of Mexican pan dulce because the area is predominantly Mexican. So it's safe to say that none of us really knew about scones until now. Even I wasn't familiar with scones until I tried one from a bakery in San Antonio last semester. Now, I can't get enough of them. 

These are the scones I made with my sister. Super yummy with a nice balance of sweetness and tartness. 
My friends have been calling them "stones" to poke fun at me, but they seemed to like the ones I made for them yesterday. My friend, J, was eating one while sitting next to me on the couch and when he finished I asked him for feedback on the recipe. "You made them?" he asked looking surprised. "Of course!" I told him waving my hands around. I even put them in a cute little floral baked goods box. He told me he liked them, especially since they weren't too sweet so that was good enough for me. 

My sister and I used the following recipe. For the scones I made yesterday for my friends, I actually substituted one of the oranges and used one and a half lemons instead which is why they were more tart than the ones I made with my sister. Despite being more lemony than orange tasting, they were still good. Next time though, I'll make sure I have enough oranges before deciding to make two batches of this recipe, which yielded around 18 scones, since I made a few small ones.

We added many cranberries, perhaps too many. It all depends on how many you want.

If you like sweet pastries with a bit of tartness, you'll like these. The orange,vanilla, and white chocolate chips in the recipe make the scones sweet, but the tart cranberries give it a bit of a kick that balances out the flavors. Add in a drizzle of orange-flavored glaze and you're set for a tasty dessert or a sweet breakfast treat to go along with your morning coffee.

My sister, who actually runs her own home bakery, had this nifty tool that made cutting the dough really easy.

A nice little scone waiting to be placed in the oven for 17-20 minutes.

Yields 8 scones (or 9-10 if you make them smaller)

For the Scones:

  • 3 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 8 TBS of unsalted butter (=1 stick of butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 2 TBS orange zest (= zest of 2 medium oranges)
  • 3 TBS freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup of cranberries (you can adjust depending on how many you'd like, also we used frozen ones)


Glaze:

(amounts can be adjusted to reach consistency you like)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
  • Juice from 1 medium-sized orange

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Line baking sheets with foil and grease with baking spray or butter & flour or place some parchment paper on 2 cookie sheets, then set aside.
  3. Whisk orange zest and sugar until moistened and fragrant. Add in flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, and vanilla until well combined. Set aside.
  5. Cut cold butter into small cubes and put on top of dry ingredients. Use fingers or pastry blender to work in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  6. Optional: add in white chocolate chips.
  7. Stir in wet ingredients, along with the orange juice. Using wooden spoon, mix until dough forms.
  8. Flatten dough out and fold in cranberries. Avoid squishing them.
  9. Transfer dough onto lightly floured surface or parchment paper and knead the dough three or four times, then form 2 equal sized dough balls. Form balls into 1 inch thick circles then cut each ball into 4 wedges OR form the dough into a rectangle and cut down the middle, then cut each half diagonally to form 8 triangles.
  10. Place on prepared baking sheet about an inch apart, bake until golden brown (17-20 min.)
  11. Allow to cool down while you work on the glaze.
  12. Combine all the glaze ingredients in a bowl and whisk them thoroughly until smooth. Dip scones into glaze or drizzle it on.
  13. Enjoy!

Have you all been baking? If so, what recipes have you ended up loving? Have you also gone on a baking frenzy with one type of recipe? I won't judge. I seem to do it a lot. Last summer it was chocoflan cake, or rather any cake flavor with a flan top half, now I guess it's American-style scones.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend Catch Up & Mini Lipstick Haul

Hope you all had a great weekend! I got to hang out with my family and I spent Saturday baking with my older sister.

You can check out my instagram @ellie_eclectica to see photos of the scones my sister and I baked. I'll be sharing a cranberry orange scone recipe this week. For now, here's a photo of the scones after we drizzled some glaze on them.


Today I just wanted to share the four lip products I picked up at the drugstore yesterday. I'll be adding them to the list of lip products I'll be reviewing.


I got Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate in 10 and 110. I also got a Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Parisian Passion (005), and Revlon Moon Drops in Love That Pink (575).

The colors look so pretty and I've already tried out the Moon Drops lipstick and it is a really pretty bubblegum cream pink. I'll be sure to post swatches and reviews later, but for now here are some photos taken with my smart phone. My regular camera is at my apartment so while I'm visiting my family all I have is my phone so excuse the quality of these photos.



So what did you all do on the weekend?

p.s. the poster behind the lipsticks is a portion of a poem by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. I read it in high school and really liked it so I wrote out a portion of it with water colors.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Poesía Friday // Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey

Today, for Poesía Friday, I thought I'd just shar two poems from Native Guard by Natasha Tretheway. I first read Native Guard in my poetry class last semester. Some of the poems floored me, because I realized what they were talking about immediately despite the diction contrasting with the gravity of a situation. I liked Trethewey's work so much I bought the book. I won't say much more, just let you all read and find out for yourself what you think.

This week I'm visiting my family so I won't have access to wifi, unless I get the chance to go to the library. But I'll be having more baking posts coming up, along with a few beauty posts.

On to the poetry.

Incident

We tell the story every year—
how we peered from the windows, shades drawn—
though nothing really happened,
the charred grass now green again.

We peered from the windows, shades drawn,
at the cross trussed like a Christmas tree,
the charred grass still green. Then
we darkened our rooms, lit the hurricane lamps.

At the cross trussed like a Christmas tree,
a few men gathered, white as angels in their gowns.
We darkened our rooms and lit hurricane lamps,
the wicks trembling in their fonts of oil.

It seemed the angels had gathered, white men in their gowns.
When they were done, they left quietly. No one came.
The wicks trembled all night in their fonts of oil;
by morning the flames had all dimmed.

When they were done, the men left quietly. No one came.
Nothing really happened.
By morning all the flames had dimmed.
We tell the story every year.


Myth

I was asleep while you were dying.
It’s as if you slipped through some rift, a hollow
I make between my slumber and my waking,

the Erebus I keep you in, still trying
not to let go. You’ll be dead again tomorrow,
but in dreams you live. So I try taking

you back into morning. Sleep-heavy, turning,
my eyes open, I find you do not follow.
Again and again, this constant forsaking.

*

Again and again, this constant forsaking:
my eyes open, I find you do not follow.
You back into morning, sleep-heavy, turning.

But in dreams you live. So I try taking,
not to let go. You’ll be dead again tomorrow.
The Erebus I keep you in—still, trying—

I make between my slumber and my waking.
It’s as if you slipped through some rift, a hollow.
I was asleep while you were dying.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lemon Curd Hand Pies


I know I haven't posted in a bit, but today I come bearing sweets! 
I've been wanting to make some type of mini pies for a long time now. The one thing that stopped me before was my lack of access to a good kitchen on campus, but now that I'm in my own apartment, I always have a kitchen available! I was going to make these on Sunday, but then realized I didn't have a rolling pin so I decided to make biscotti instead. My mom, though, suggested I use any large smooth surfaced cup until I got my rolling pin from her house. 

I made lemon curd over the weekend just for these pies and it turned out so well. I'll probably use more lemon juice next time for an extra lemony tart flavor, but nevertheless the lemon curd was tasty. So I decided it would be the filling to these hand pies, or "fried pies" as my coworker called them, despite the fact that I baked them haha.

My coworkers seemed to like these, so I'll be making more when I go visit my family this week. If you don't like lemon curd, just substitute it for whatever pie filling you'd like! I'm going to be trying apple next because apple pie is my favorite type of pie.

Happy baking!

sugar, spice, and everything nice -- that's what pie dough is made of, right?

Friday, August 8, 2014

School Supplies Wishlist

I interrupt today's regularly scheduled poetry post to bring you a school supply wishlist~ I was thinking about my post schedule and I thought I'd change Poesia Friday to every other Friday, rather than every single Friday. That way my posts aren't a poetry overload.

Now, because it's now August and because I'll be going back to school soon, I thought I'd do a school supply wishlist. Obviously I need way more than what I've included. Anyone else going to their local grocery store to pick up $0.10 notebooks? I know I will. Hopefully their not all gone!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lipstick Review: 4 Revlon Super Lustrous Lipsticks

Do you ever start something and then realize it might not have been your best idea? That's how I felt with this post. I was excited to share swatches of a few Revlon lipsticks I have, until I realized my lips look a bit weird for swatches. Oh well, too late now. 

Anyway, for this post I wanted to share my thoughts on four Revlon Super Lustrous Lipsticks. I have other Revlon lip products, but these are the only four lipsticks I currently own. I also thought that by reviewing my current (small) stash of makeup, I'd be able to use more products. I don't know about you, but despite loving lipstick/lip products, I sometimes get comfortable with a select few and then don't use the rest of my products as much. This way, with each review, I can shop my my own collection and rediscover old favorites. 

L-R: Red Lacquer, Cherries In The Snow, Fire & Ice, Kiss Me Coral [indirect sunlight]
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