Tag Archives: Love

Super Easy, Super Quick Craft: My Cheap But Fantastic Valentine’s Gift

11 Feb

Alex and I have decided not to do anything too crazy on Valentine’s Day. We are going away next weekend and we really wanted to save money, so we’re not going overboard on a holiday on the worst day of the week… a Tuesday.

My problem? I love giving gifts. It’s why I love holidays. Oh gosh it’s my favorite thing. So I decided to go out and make a cheap and easy gift for him. My boss told me about this online company called Chocomize, which allows you to build your own chocolate bar with really crazy ingredients like gold flakes and rose pedals and all sorts of crazy spices. Alex loved the site, but he wanted to use his favorite candies, like Nerds, Sour Patch Kids and SweeTarts. The kid loves candy.

So this morning I went out to the craft store and got meltable milk chocolate, then headed over to Five Below to pick out his favorite candies. The chocolate cost about $2 and each box of candy cost around $.89, so it came to about $7 for a gift.

If you’re a candy maker, you might already have a mold to make a chocolate bar, or if you wanted to go out and buy one go ahead, but I decided to save three bucks and use the lid to a small shoe box that I had (from those amazing Target flats I blogged about a week ago). I took the lid and wrapped it in wax paper, then taped the sides down on the underside and voila! A free candy mold!

Next step is melting the chocolate and getting all of your candies ready. Pour the bag of chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for intervals of 30 seconds, stirring every time. This takes a lot faster than you would think. For me it took around 2 minutes to get everything completely microwaved, and in that time I had opened all of the candy and gotten it ready. This is actually more important than you’d think: You don’t want the chocolate to harden before you can get the candy in.

Pour the melted chocolate into your mold. To make sure it was all even in the mold, and to get the bubbles out of the chocolate I tapped it against the counter a couple of times. You’ll see the bubbles rise to the surface and then pop! Then comes the fun part: the candy! Just go nuts. How am I supposed to explain how to decorate, it’s all up to you! This bar of chocolate is pretty huge: it used up one full box of Nerds, a bag of Pop Rocks, Spree, Sour Patch Kids and SweeTarts. AKA Alex’s fantasy candy bar.

Pop the candy bar in the fridge for 10 minutes or so, unmold and you’re done! You can put anything into this so that it matches whoever you want to give it to. They also have a ton of other melting chocolates. I almost went with a dark chocolate mint, since Alex loves anything mint chocolate chip, but I figured it wouldn’t go with all of the candies, so I stuck with milk chocolate, but the world is yours! After refrigerating this project took me about 15 minutes. Seriously. And it only cost me $7! It took longer for me to write this post than it did for me to make this gift, and I’m completely thrilled with it. I can’t wait to give it to him, it’s absolutely perfect.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Advertisements

Macy’s Awesome Ad

10 Feb

Check out this new Macy’s ad for their bridal registry:

Macy’s, you sneaky little sneaks you! I am in love with this ad! Why’s that? Check out the wedding cake, smack dab in the center of it. A two-man wedding topper!? Fabulous!! I love it!! Go Macy’s! Such a subtle hint at love in all forms. Oh gosh I’m like a proud mom right now.

I am all about gay marriage. All about it. I don’t even understand how it can still be right that two adults that love each other can’t get married. How is that not bananas!? Of course some organization One Million Moms that has a problem with it, but they have a problem with everything that doesn’t depict a blonde woman, blonde man and their perfect blonde son going to church. They even have issues with Ellen… ELLEN! How do you not love Ellen!? She’s all that is right and adorable in the world squeezed into one little person.  Those moms just probably never had an awesome gay best friend to shop with and bond with. I guess I would be angry too! If they did “mom jeans” wouldn’t have such a bad connotation.

I’m sorry that so many LGBT people have to deal with such angry and spiteful people as the One Million Moms organization. The people that I have met that are LGBT are the most understanding and relatable people I have ever met, simply because they are met by disgusting hatred every single day of their life, all because they love the people that they love. It’s not fair and I wish there was more I could to help protect others from hate like this.

I’m sorry that other moms in the world suddenly have to be compared to this ugly group. I think what makes this group a joke for me is that I know that the people I chose to have in my life would never support them or their ridiculous rants about hate. I know my friends and future mothers will teach their children that love comes in all sorts of packages, as I plan to one day. And I know that my children will not be around women that are angry and internally ugly and all around mean, because I won’t allow it. I will not raise a bully.

Bottom line, is the world is full of diversity. That is what makes it awesome. It’s great to see the classic staple of American domesticity that is Macy’s embrace the world’s diversity and celebrate it. To celebrate them, I guess I’ll just have to go buy a new pair of shoes or something from Macy’s tonight. What can I say, I’m almost too charitable.

My 100 Favorite Things

1 Feb

So this mark’s Erica Takes Over the World’s 100th blog post! I know what you’re thinking, did I really just waste a year of my life have the honor of reading 100 articles on this blog!? To celebrate, I’ve decided to list my 100 favorite things, which are probably also the 100 greatest things in the world so you’re welcome. Enjoy! (FYI: these are NOT in any particular order, and the bolded ones are the photos on the right!)

1. Sales on Hot Pockets
2. Gravy cheese fries from Khyber Pass in Philadelphia
3. Liz Lemon
4. Crime documentaries with bad actor depictions
5. Crappy shows available on airplanes
6. Naps on football Sundays
7. Micro Pigs
8. Alex Young
9. Adele
10. “30 Rock” (A DERRRRRRRRRRRRR)
11. The Dark Horse Pub in Philadelphia
12. My camera lens coffee cup
13. Bangers and Mash
14. Tina Fey
15. When people ‘like’ my intentionally comical Facebook statuses
16. Diet Coke

Twinz!!

17. Being a twin
18. Puppy paws
19. Writing
20. Leslie Knope
21. Minesweeper
22. Pinterest, and the subsequent crafts that come from it
23. Dogfish Head Brewery‘s Punkin Ale
24. English Bulldogs
25. Rainbow Chip Frosting
26. “Parks and Recreation
27. London
28. The way Home Depot smells
29. Hellogiggles
30. My gray UGGs
31. Really heavy rain in the summer right before the sun sets
32. Christmas Eve
33. Anything with lamb in it.
34. The Philadelphia Phillies
35. Finding money in old bags/clothes in my closet.
36. Big Ben
37. Making up weird conversations for people to overhear when they pass me on the street.
38. My “Life is Good” duffle-bag
39. Alec Baldwin’s face
40. Strongbow cider
41.  Breaking out flip flops for the first time every year
42. Craft beers
43. Crazy Philadelphians
44. Bread… just any bread.
45. When Will Arnett and Amy Poehler act together
46. Baked brie
47. Great White Sharks
48. Traveling
49. McGillin’s Old Ale House in Philadelphia

Simmonds, my favorite Flyer

50. Wayne Simmonds
51. Chelsea Football Club
52. Leggings
53. Crying during “Father of the Bride”
54. “Elf,” or pretty much any Will Ferrell movie.
55. A hot ham and mozzarella baguette from Upper Crust at Waterloo Station in London.
56. Backgammon
57. Indoor pools at hotels
58. Arianna and Craig from “SNL”
59. The Philadelphia Union
60. The first piece of paper in a notebook
61. Street Art

62. My banana bread recipe (soon to be blogged!)
63. My boyfriend’s amazing steak dinner
64. Re-fluffing my pillow perfectly in mid-sleep
65. Baking

One of, like, 2000 available on Facebook.

66. Stealing people’s cameras and clogging them with lots of close-up shots of my face.
67. Mel Brooks movies
68. Tazo Wild Sweet Orange tea
69. Chicken Cheesesteaks
70. “Forgetting” my phone at home
71. Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies #51
72. Shark Week
73. My Mumford and Sons Pandora playlist.
74. Sea Isle City, New Jersey
75. Baby animal yawns
76. Online window shopping
77. Bacon
78. Amy Winehouse
79. Driving with the windows down
80. The Philadelphia Flyers
81. Putting Nutella on anything
82. “50 First Dates”
83. Charlie, the stuffed bulldog my boyfriend got me before he left for study abroad in 2010
84. My Nanny
85. That part in “Valentine’s Day” when Julia Roberts’ character sees her son.
86. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
87. Samurai movies
88. Pizza with an egg on top (seriously, try it)
89. Listening to jazz while cooking
90. Jigsaw Puzzles
91. Love Park in Philadelphia
92. John Mayer
93. M&Ms
94. Black Bears (nature’s cutest carnivore)
95. Lobster Bisque from ShopRite
96. A sharp-dressed man
97. Building an imaginary apartment at Ikea
98. Anything non-fiction on Netflix
99. Remembering awesome dreams
100. Having the creative insanity to write such a pointless and personally entertaining blog, and having amazing people that actually read it!

Happy LonDay!

27 Jan

If it was actually 10 a.m. in London three years ago and not today (I know that’s a stretch but it’s how I see it) my plane would have been landing in Heathrow airport for the beginning of my 5 month stint living in London. Which is why every year I celebrate today, LonDay, by being as English as possible. Last year I made bangers and mash, this year I’m going a cheaper route with a Dairy Milk bar and some English Breakfast tea.

I would define myself as an Anglophile. That means someone who is totally obsessed with English culture and England in general. If I had a guaranteed job and some money there would be nothing stopping me from living back in London again. It’s the best place on earth, and I have so many wonderful memories.

Katie, Me, Lizz and Laura outside of the Colosseum in Rome with our European boyfriends

I owe a lot of who I am to my time studying abroad at Kingston University. First of all I would have never really bonded with my boyfriend Alex if it wasn’t for our long, late night talks after trips home from the bar. I mean about 90 percent of the foundation of our relationship began based around my time in London and the fact that he was always there when I needed someone to talk to at 3 in the morning. He was the first person who reached out to me when I landed in London and the first person to reach out to me when I got off the plane in the United States five months later. And then, when he went to London exactly one year later, as much as it hurt, I made sure to be there every night for his trip back home. And I’m not going anywhere.

The friends that I made while studying abroad are an amazing group of individuals that I feel so lucky to have met. People that I never could have imagined deserving to know, and people that made the entire semester the amazing experience that it was. Honestly, I look at the people I met while in England and think “Jeeze, how do these people actually like talking to me still? They must still be buzzed from study abroad.”

Jump shot in front of the Louvre with Sara

I’m lucky to have such adventurous friends. Let’s face it, college-goers, sitting around your friend’s dorm room drinking Natty and watching guys play XBox all weekend isn’t fun. Getting a group of 8 people to hop a bus with you to Edinburgh, Scotland for the weekend? That’s fun. Studying abroad gave me the chance to meet people like me, people who couldn’t sit still long enough to be bored. I’ve never done so much in such a short time, and I loved it. I could have never imagined getting on a boat in the middle of the Greek Islands to go meet up with your friends in Mykonos. Oh what did you do this weekend? Oh, just met up with my friends who were hanging out at a tropical island in Greece. No big dealio.

Camden Town in Greater London

I’m really thankful for London. When I came there for the first time in 2007 I fell in love. I never knew I could have such an emotional attachment to a place, but I did. The city is so amazingly diverse, the people are so genuinely interesting and unique, it’s a place I was meant to live in. When I returned in 2009 I really had no idea what my life was about. I was in between majors and generally tired of being stuck in New Jersey doing the same thing every day. I’m not the type of person who can just settle into a place and sit still, I have to get up and go. London gave me that opportunity every single day. From Central London and Westminster to Notting Hill and Camden and, of course, Chelsea, there were so many different places, all more wonderful than the last. It helped me figure out who I am. Being alone in a new place without the glare of people that thought they understood who I was helped me realize that I wasn’t what everyone just assumed I was supposed to be. It gets harder to see that now, being back in the same situations, but days like today remind me not to give up on who I really am.

If you are currently a student in college, one about to go to college, or a student considering college I cannot stress this enough: study abroad. I guarantee that it will change your life. I have become a more-grounded, understanding and tolerant person because of my time overseas. The world is full of different and unique people that aren’t going to change to fit your standards, and the best way to learn that is by getting on a plane and seeing all that the world has to offer. You don’t get many opportunities in life to just pack up and go, and when you do you better get up and do it. Step away from the frat parties and “Family Guy” reruns for a semester and go meet new people. Make new friends. See sights that you never thought you would. Experience the world. Experience life.

Cutest Book Ever

24 Jan

I’ve never been much of a girly girl.

Let me rephrase that: I am girly, but when around my female friends I somehow end up being extremely non-girly. That never seemed to be a problem when surrounded by my infinite number of gay friends in high school (oh yeah, I was the epitome of a teenage Grace Adler. I absolutely loved it, and my date and I looked awesome at prom, so there.), but now my conversations have switched from fashion and hunky celebs to finding out if Bryzgalov of Bobrovsky is in goal tonight. So, yeah, I’ve steered more towards the tomboy style in my later years, but I still love a lot of girly stuff. Fashion, shopping, adorable anything and Mindy Kaling’s book.

“Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? And Other Concerns” is a genuinely cute and funny book. Written by The Office’s Mindly Kaling (comedy writer who also plays ultimate girly-girl Kelly Kapoor on the show), it is basically a collection of essays about her life and personal beliefs and memories. Sounds heavy huh? It’s actually not, it’s just adorable. It’s a series of thoughts and stories that are so embarrassingly true to every girl’s own personal life, the things you were always kind of nervous to say out loud but were always thinking.

My favorite part? Definitely her chapter on love and weddings. It was just the moment for me that showed how much sense and how much heart she really had. In it she says:

“In real life, shouldn’t a wedding be an awesome party you throw with your great pal, in the presence of a bunch of your other friends? A great day, for sure, but not the beginning and certainly not the end of your friendship with a person you can’t wait to talk about gardening with for the next forty years.”

You. Go. Girl. Everything I’ve ever felt about love and marriage summed up into one neat mini-paragraph. Yeah, I got choked up when I read that for the first time, so what?

This book ends up putting you into a scene, giving you the general feeling that you’re sitting around on a big comfy (probably pink) couch with Mindy, wearing sweatpants, drinking wine and just dishing about life. Which is great because she seems like an all-around fabulous girl and the exact person I would want to force my girly side out. Homegirl’s got spunk, and she rocks it.

P.S. Mindy, if you happen to read this, it actually took me a little more than 2 months to read your book. Yes, I know there is something wrong with that, but I had a lot of episodes of “Bridezillas” to catch up on in between.

Vide-OH! of the Morning

19 Jan

I love this new Jason Mraz song, and the lyric video is super interesting and cool! Plus, I follow his ex-fiance’s blog and she’s a really awesome artist and person in general so I secretly hope this song is about her (the girl in the video does look like her!) and they fall in love again and have talented little babies… but that’s just the girl in me going crazy. Listen to it on loop like I have all morning.

 

Remembering 9/11/01

11 Sep

When I was very young my family and I would visit my great aunt, we called her Dimples, in Staten Island. She had this really neat apartment in a high rise that we would go to, and every time we visited she would take us up to the roof. From that roof we had the most clear view of the New York City skyline. My best memory was when Dimples would show us the World Trade Centers, the “Twin Towers”. I am a twin, and she would always make it a point to show us the towers so that we could laugh about how they were named after my brother and me.

I was twelve years old on September 11, 2001. I was in seventh grade, which pretty much proves that I was at my peak of terrible-ness (have you ever met a pre-teen that isn’t generally awful in every sense of the word? Me neither).

To be 100 percent honest, I had absolutely no grasp on the severity of September 11th. None whatsoever. My middle school didn’t actually tell us what was going on that day, and even now I wonder how my classmates and I didn’t have any hint of anything. I faintly remember my Social Studies teacher, Mr. Pont, looking like he was crying, but we had just lost one of our English teachers in a car accident the previous week, and I thought nothing of it.

When I got home from school, oddly enough nobody else besides my brother and I were home, and I remember turning on MTV (back when TRL was still around and cool) to find it was shut down on stand-by, as was most of the other channels a 12-year-old would tune to. My twin and I jumped around the house laughing about whatever was going on that would warrant all of our shows to be shut off. We eventually got to a news station to see what was going on, and I still really couldn’t process how horrible this day was. I guess I assumed that if something serious had happened then our school, the culmination of a kid’s day, would have at least have said something, anything to us.

This was the day before cell phones were given to every infant while leaving the womb, and I called my friends from our landline to see how I should be reacting. Some of them were crying and some were panicked while others were just as confused as I was. Mind you, I live relatively close to New York City, and to a lot of people in my area this day was much more significant and heartbreaking. If I remember correctly my dad was away on business in Oklahoma, and when my mom came home she looked pretty broken and empty. I was used to seeing her excited, angry, shocked, pretty much any emotion besides blank.

To be honest I think that a lot of my emotions were a reaction to other’s emotions. I really couldn’t understand how horrible this day was. The televisions played over the crash so often that it wasn’t really shocking anymore, and I learned how to deal with that terror very quickly at a very young age. This was around the time in my life that I began seeing dead bodies in the media for the first time and reacting to them with very little compassion. It couldn’t be helped, really, because it was everywhere.

This desensitized view of life prepared me for the aftermath of 9/11: the wars, the constant fear of attack, the death. The next year I sat in history class and watched Shock and Awe, followed by a war that is still going on today, followed by a crippling recession that seemed to just kick our country when it was down. I grew up hearing about parents going off to the Middle East, and now I watch my own friends leave behind their families to fight.

Now that I am ten years older I have a real understanding of what happened. Ten years later I can’t look at videos or pictures of that day without getting upset. I can understand how the broken families feel and I can see the pain that is still hidden in the hearts of my friends and families from what that day did to our country. It makes me upset and angry, because I now realize how much harder September 11th made it for kids like me to grow up. There was so many more issues that we were taught to deal with, on top of all of the hard things that come with being a teenager and young adult.

It’s not fair that we had to go through this, but I still feel lucky. I feel lucky because through those hard times I was surrounded by a support group of people that taught me the right way to see terror and how to cope with all of what I was feeling.

I wish there was more that I could say than just “thank you” to the heroes of September 11th. The cops, firefighters, civilians and passengers that all helped save so many lives deserve everything they could ever want in life, and there will never be enough thank you’s for them. But now that I look back on my life, I have my own personal heroes that I feel deserve thanks as well. I want to thank the teachers, family members, friends and parents of friends that taught me how to cope with what happened to our country throughout the last ten years. I don’t know if I would be able to make sense of life now if I didn’t have the strength of the people that guided me through this last decade. We are all stronger because of the heroes and because of the memories of those we lost that day.