Friday, August 31, 2012

Moving the Sisarone! (sis-ə-raʊn)

My sister and I are the same person. Anyone you ask will tell you that. We think the same, act the same, love the same things, look the same. When strangers ask us if we're twins and we say no, they are baffled. They're even more surprised when they find out that we're five years apart and I'm older.

Her in the green, me in the tan.

As I've said before, my family is very close. We are rarely apart from each other, so when we had to move my sister to Chicago for her freshman year of college this week, I got a little nervous. I stayed in town for college, 11.7 miles away from my parents house, and I was a wreck. My roommate at the time, and now close friend The Accidental Optimist, often relives that night with me. I was sad, but when the two of us started talking and realized how much we had in common everything sad went away. I vividly remember waking up the next morning, and the first words that popped into my head were "I survived".

Even though my sister and I are almost the same person, there is one thing that really separates us. I need attention. I admit it wholeheartedly. When I was a kid, I always needed people to play with, but my sister was always content with playing alone in her room. She was much more independent than I was. She still is. This was the small comfort that I had in moving her to Chicago. I knew that if anyone in the family could move so far away, it was her. Lord knows it could never be me. I'd be hitchhiking home within an hour.

We all cried when it was time for my mom, dad, and I to leave. I forgot to mention that I'm the sap in the family. I cry over everything. I'm crying right now writing this. I cried for an hour and a half after we left. I just kept thinking about her waking up in the morning and knowing that we were so far away, and we couldn't help her if she needed it. Deep down though, I knew she'd be fine. I think I was just picturing how scared I would be if it were me. Turns out, she had the same night I did my first year of college. She stayed up late talking with her roommates, and they all love each other. Once I heard that she was okay, that she survived her first night, I was fine. She's been super busy finding her way to all of her classes and making new friends that she barely has time to remember that she misses us :]

Here's some pictures from our trip:

The night before.

The Umbrella Corporation in my tooth paste.

A terrifying mantis that just waddle it's way down our windshield.


This is the box they give you to unpack.

We actually got her life unpacked in two trips.

Oh instagram.

The key works!

Probably the best part of the whole apartment.

It's apartment style living so she gets a kitchen, living room, and two bathrooms.

And a flat screen TV...

No lights in her room.

I got her a bunch of prints of her favorite Miyazaki movies.

New computer.

This is where we left her. Amongst her own kind.

Her dorm!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I love Christmas

There are a lot of things that I love, some of which you know already. Here's a quick list of my strong obsessions to help you out though!

-Friends and Family
-Aaaannnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddd CHRISTMAS!!!!

I love everything about Christmas. When June 25th came around, I almost cried. (That's half-Christmas BTW). I love the music, decorations, movies, cookies, snow, decorating the tree, being with family, opening presents and buying presents. Finding the perfect gift is the greatest, and I usually find two or three perfect gifts for each person I'm buying for. My wallet literally empties from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.

Because I love Christmas so much, you probably think that I am constantly watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music. WRONG! That kind of behavior is NOT allowed until the day after Thanksgiving. Once that day hits, I can go to the malls and see the decoration (no, I don't let myself go when I think decorations will be up unless necessary), I can listen to 94.7 all day because they play Christmas 24/7, AND I can finally watch Christmas movies. Of course this includes the classics like the stop motion Christmas movies and 'Elf', but it also includes movies that just make me think of the Christmas feeling. For me, those are movies like 'The Holiday' and 'Stepmom' (not exactly sure why on that one, but it's on the list). So, I do not allow myself to watch these movies until Thanksgiving passes.

Now, when I say that I don't listen to Christmas music before Black Friday...I have to admit, that I do cheat a little. Something that always makes me think of Christmas but is strictly not Christmas is jazz piano music. Specifically the music of Vince Guaraldi, composer of the 'Peanuts' music. I love that music so much, especially the songs from 'A Charlie Brown Christmas', duh. I am currently listening to a two-disc CD of Mr. Guaraldi...that happens to have two Christmas songs on it...NOW, I have allowed this as my ONLY taste of Christmas. It's hard, but it's worth it.

With this being said, I have taken steps to prevent myself from slipping. I had an idea to wrap my favorite Christmas movies in Christmas paper and then unwrap them like presents when it's okay to watch them!! My roommates think I'm crazy, but I think it's fun.

Our DVD and game collection.

Alphabetized, of course.

Even though we have a substantial amount of movies, there were only three that I needed to wrap.

If you haven't watched 'The Holiday', you really should. It's a fun mix of characters, and it takes place during Christmas. What more could you want? Oh, you want Jude Law? Well you've got him. Jude Law, Jack Black, Kate Winslet, and Cameron Diaz. I'm not a huge fan of that last one, but she doesn't ruin the movie too much. Time for wrapping!

I was scared I'd forget which was which, but I think I kept them in order.

I was really sad that we didn't have any Christmas paper in our apartment, but I thought this would do. I had to work fast, with them off the shelf and so close to me, I almost watched them.

We'll see if I can make it.

It's not that impressive when it's only three movies out of, like, one hundred-some, but I thought it was a fun idea. Maybe I'll get more Christmas themed movies just so I can wrap them up and unwrap them! What Christmas-y movies would you wrap to unwrap??

Sunday, August 19, 2012


After the excitement of my first post, I immediately started thinking of what I wanted to write about next. I have a ton of nail art pictures that I've done throughout the year, probably a million different cake, cake pop, and cookie adventures that I could also share, but what I decided on was the topic of gifts. The picture that I chose for my first post got me thinking about one of the best gifts I've ever been given: Kitchenaide mixer. Then I thought about all of my favorite possessions that have been given to me in the past. Here are just some of my ultimates:

Disney Trips
Let me start off by saying that I am extremely close to my family. I've gone on probably two vacation-like trips without them. We do a lot together, and we're still pretty normal haha. One of the things that we've had the privilege of doing is going to the happiest place on earth: Disney World.

My younger sister and I.

I can't remember how my parents first told us we were going to Disney World, so I don't have a cute video of us tweaking out; believe me, I wish I did. We've gone multiple times, and I have to say that it is my favorite place in the world to be. In high school, our marching band got to travel to Florida to march in the night parade at Magic Kingdom. I've classified that night as one of the happiest nights of my life. I was there with my best friends, and my mom came along to chaperone as well.

When my sister was in high school, she got to go on the same trip and had a blast, of course. Then a year later my mom and I were watching the sappy commercials of parents telling their kids that they get to go to Disney World--the moment I can't remember :[ --when I turned to her and whined "I want to go back." To that my mom said "Okay."...Okay? Seriously? This would be my fifth, her sixth, time going. She told me that it could be my college graduation present. Some college grads get expensive jewelry, some get cash, I get a trip to Disney. And even though all of us were adults, including my sister, although only just, it was the best time I've ever been there. I always find myself truly blessed because of all of the gifts my parents give me, and they're not always tangible. The best ones I've received are usually the ones where we get to spend an amazing time together.

Digital Camera
My senior year of high school, literally the day before a week long trip with my vocal jazz group, my godfather sent me an early graduation present. It was my first, and only so far, digital camera. I am by no means a photographer, but this camera has makes me feel like Annie Leibovitz (even though our styles are nothing alike haha). I have too many pictures that I want to share so here are two of my faves. Both were taken with a little Canon Power Shot:

I feel like everyone gets a digital camera at some point in their lives. Mine as just been another outlet for all of the creative juices to escape.

This gift was technically for my sister. Her godparents sent a check for us to go pick out a dog. We went to a little farm outside of town to pick out a golden lab, shepherd, collie mix. We picked the one that was trying, quite successfully, to untie my shoes. On the way home we named him Pudder. My dad loves how Tigger from Winnie the Pooh spells his name--T-I-double ga-ER--so we thought of Pudder--P-U-double da-ER.

My sister was two when we got him so the two of them pretty much grew up together. This past May we made the decision to put Pudder down. He was 16 years old, had a lot of fatty tumors, and could barely step down two stairs to get outside. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through, but we all knew that it was the best thing for him. I rarely ever called him Pudder; he was my Puppy till the end.

Friends Frame
On a lighter note, something else that I am a bit obsessed with is the TV show Friends. I have seen every episode God knows how many times, and almost every summer my sister and I watch all ten seasons. I can usually tell what episode is on just by hearing the first line. It is my dream to have enough money to someday recreate Monica and Rachel's apartment to live in, and now, because of my absolutely amazing boyfriend, I am one miniscule step closer!

My Christmas gift from my man.
I know it's a silly gift, but this is honestly one of my most treasured possessions. The minute I opened it, I ran around the apartment showing anyone who would listen. Now I just need purple walls, a French poster, and mismatched chairs and I'm there!

Have I mentioned that I love to bake? No? Well I really love to bake. I've made do with simple equipment pretty much my entire life, but I was never one to take on really complex recipes. Once I moved of off campus and into an apartment with other baking fiends, things became a little more difficult:

Stiff peaks by hand...ow.
My roommate and I have a very small at home bakery (more on that later), and during the winter season we made a lot of cookies. Like I said, I've gotten along fine without a fancy mixer, but when my parents asked my what I wanted for Christmas this past year, I couldn't help but ask for a Kitchenaid. I really wanted one, and I let my parents know that, but I also told them to not worry about it. I knew how expensive they were, and I did not need something that pricy when I was doing fine with my hand mixer. However, I always thought in the back of my mind "How cool would it be if they got me one?" I'd immediately bring myself back to reality, but I had these thoughts often. 

Christmas day came, and I tried hard not to look at all the presents laid around the tree for fear that I wouldn't see a giant box for me. I knew that it wouldn't be there, but I had to dream. Then, in the middle of opening presents with my family, I happened to look at the wall behind the tree that had just become exposed. There was a box. A BIG box. I swear I have never tried harder to NOT look at something. I knew that the more I stared at it, the more it would not become a mixer. I opened more presents, smiled for more pictures, and did not look at the big, sparkly box next to the Christmas tree. Then all of a sudden it was like I was five years old again. My mom, playing Santa, went to the tree and did the whole "What's this? Another present?" bit. She took one look at me, and I started crying. I am not joking; I broke into tears the second I knew the present was for me. She brought it over to me, I took one rip at it, and cried harder. The first words out of my mouth were "Is this really what's in here?" because I knew that it could be a trick. They obviously used my mom's Kitchenaid box and just put a sweater in it or something. But no, fate was kind to me that day. I had my very own Kitchenaid mixer.

Pure joy and fear of what this box contains.

Obviously the first thing to do was update my facebook status. What made me really realize how amazing this was was a comment an adult friend made on my status about how she didn't get a Kitchenaid until she was good and married. Now, my mom let me know that the mixer was on sale and she had a rebate, but I really could not believe how lucky I was to have been given such an expensive gift at a young age. 

I have definitely gotten sufficient use out of this gift. Things have become exponentially better for mine and my roommate's bakery. I have still had to beat stiff peaks by hand however; I've decided that that means I need a second mixer :] I walk passed an orange one whenever I'm at Target. He's next.

Gifts, whether tangible or not, have always reminded me of how lucky I am to have such amazing friends and family. I try to remember that every day. As airy-fairy as all of this sounds, I think a few more grateful feelings would do the world some good.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hello There!

Well hello there! I'm Brianna, and this is my blog "Sugar and Spice and Everything Else". Okay, the intro is done, let's see how the rest of this goes. This is my first ever blog post, and I am excited and scared...and everything else...Wow, I didn't think I'd be able to fit that in so soon.

I've wanted to try out a blog for some time, but like a lot of people, I never sat down to actually do it until tonight. I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to talk about, and I think that's why it took me so long to start. What I've come down to was baking, cooking, and, again, everything else. I love to bake. Let me say that again. I LOVE to bake.

I also love me some Disney, hence the Minnie apron and headband.

For me, cooking goes right along with baking. I know that they are two totally separate categories of food, but I've done both my whole life. My mom worked in a bakery most of my childhood, and I went with her to work whenever I could. I also loved watching my dad cook (I still do). One of my favorite sounds is the sizzling of garlic, and that's usually the way all of my dad's dishes start out. I cook the way he does: no specific recipe, adjust to my own tastes (which is quite picky I'm sorry to say), and a lot of improv. As sketchy as that sounds, everything always turns out delicious!

Everything else is just that. I don't just bake and cook all day, even though I'd really love to, so I didn't want to confine my posts to just those two things. I follow the trend of nail art (lots of pictures), I live with crazy roommates, I teach dance and color guard, so I figured the tag-on of would take care of the non-baking, non-cooking items.

I've honestly been sitting here for an hour trying to make my first post perfect. After reading and rereading, I don't think I'm there yet. Instead, I'm a little tired, and sucked into a Law and Order SVU marathon. However, I'm very excited to continue on! Maybe I'll treat you all to another post in the next few days. I hope you come back to visit!