Things That Make me go Meep

I go back and forth on my current feelings about still being in college. With the completely exciting and life-changing events that are looming on the horizon, it's getting tough to appreciate the college life that so many people here at Penn State wish they could continue forever (and some will continue for as long as Mom and Dad keep paying tuition).

I entered senior year knowing that the year would be a good one, but when it was over I would be ready to move on to bigger and better things. I made a vow to see as many people as possible, go on as many lunch dates as I could, and to not turn down any opportunities for things that I might not be able to do anymore once college was over. Late night chats with the roommate, bars that offer no drinks more than 5 dollars, classes at 11:15 and having all my friends just a phone call away from coffee and chatting...it's all good, right?

I don't want to wish my last semester of college away, but time after time after I've had a particularly frustrating week, I tend to let myself translate that frustration to blaming it on college, the people here, my classes--everything except myself and my attitude, the only things that can actually do something about it. But let's be honest--sometimes we all just want to stew, right?

A week of crazy schedules, group meetings, and traveling has kept me and Ian apart all week.  After a two-day warm weather tease last weekend, I'm back in my winter coat and hole-y boots. I'm in an English class that includes field trips, but I'm not so thrilled about waking up early on a Saturday morning to go travel to a farm. 12+ hour days of constant motion and work, and no time or energy left to do fun things for myself like working out, making things, shopping......yes, all work and no shopping makes Bren a grumpy gal! Especially when she hasn't seen the inside of a thrift shop for over a month.

My mom and I have a word for all this: meep. According to Urban Dictionary, Meep : Sums up everything. Incidentally, it's also the noise that my favorite Muppet makes.

But you know what? We will pull through. The best is yet to come. And luckily, there is no shortage of coffee and chocolate.


Peanut Butter and Bananas: Take Two

What's a girl to do on an unexpected snowy day, trekking to class with an unexpected hole in her boot leaving her with unexpected wet feet?
A. Cry.

B. Go back to bed.

C. Poke a hole in the other boot so both feet are equally uncomfortable.

D. Judy Garland Pandora radio + PB and Banana Sandwich. Because I haven't been getting enough of peanut butter and bananas lately....

Yes, I think I'll say D.


A Home-Brewed Fail

Last Christmas, I was thrilled to receive a Mr. Coffee Espresso Machine, a do-it-yourself, money-saving, Sayonara-Starbucks way to make my own caramel lattes.

The novelty of grinding and tamping my own espresso and steaming my own milk quickly wore off, but every now and then I would pull out the machine when friends came over and wanted a homemade cup of Bren. I would experiment with different flavors--Cinnamon! Chocolate syrup! Caramel drizzle!

In these tough economic times, when saving up for wedding things ALWAYS comes before spontaneous shopping trips and chai lattes (hmmm...sounds nice, doesn't it?) I thought I would be economical on this chilly Saturday afternoon and make a latte while I read up on Carbohydrates and Digestion.

The machine has this giant magic reservoir that needs to be full of water in order to make the steaming and espresso making work. It was full, the machine was plugged in, and everything was ready to go. I flipped on the switch, and suddenly lights started blinking.

But then, instead of pulling a nice, neat cup 'o espresso, the whole things started clunking. And then I smelled burning rubber.

And instead of steaming my milk, steam was coming out of the nooks and crevices.

And I started thinking that maybe this was my payback for spending too much money on coffee. Maybe the machine was angry that it had spent the past few months collecting dust in the pantry. Maybe I should be hitting the gym instead of steaming a fattening half-cup of milk.

And then I decided I would just have a cup of tea.

Starbucks: you might have won the battle, but I'll win the war. As I angrily sip tea out of a mug blaring your namesake.


Come On Get Happy....It's Friday!

One of my favorite things to do is waste time on Youtube. Another one of my favorite things to do is listen to old 1940s-50s show tunes while admiring the classiness and glamour of vintage Hollywood.

So it was only appropriate that while I should have been doing schoolwork last night, I found myself Youtubing song after song from some of my favorite classic musicals. Some of these songs have been recently getting recognition from a younger generation thanks to Glee, but sometimes you just can't beat the originals. (Don't be fooled though--I am a self proclaimed Gleek; although I could have done without the most recent tribute to Bieber.)

Sunny days like today make me wish that I could break out into song and dance like Judy...

Happy weekend! Check out my newest addition to the blog--along the top you will find A Funky Junkie Wedding, where all my wedding posts are in one place!



Not Quite Wine Country

On Sunday, as a pre-Valentines Day date, Ian and I ventured out to the Mount Nittany Winery for a Wine and Chocolate Pairing event. Only $3 a person to sample six different kinds of wine that were each matched with a different kind of truffle. Could you think of anything more divine?

I tried mostly white wines, with the exception of a blueberry and a raspberry dessert wine, which were both paired with a white chocolate Nittany lion. Yummmmmmmmmmm.

I'm by a no means a wine connoisseur (Hints of vanilla? Full bodied? Smooth finish?) but all I knew was that I had Ian, yummy wine, and lots of chocolate in one room...that was all I needed.

And then....we found an abandoned church!

With a bathroom...?

It was a fantastic Sunday. I thought we weren't going to be able to spend Valentine's Day together, due to our crappy opposite schedules, but because Ian is the bees knees, he surprised me with an evening of Casablanca and French 75's at the Tavern.

I think I'll keep him. :-)


The Future Housewife Goes Vegan

Last night around 12:30am I realized that today was the day I signed up to bring in food for my Eating Your Ecology/Food Writing class. Every week a different member of the class has to bring in some kind of food, preferably made with organic or local or vegan (read: expensive?) ingredients and share it with the class. No big, I thought, I'll just whip up some applesauce made with local apples, or bake some bread with nuts and grains I gathered from the Penn State squirrels, or bring in a cornicopia of fresh vegetables that I grew on my windowsill.

Obviously, too many good ideas. So in my typical fashion, I decided to go to bed and deal with it the next day.

It wasn't until I woke up today when I couldn't figure out for the life of me when I was going to have time to do this. Since there are no farmers markets to be found in February, and the nearest store with an organic section was way too far to walk in my heels from the career fair, I had to settle with whatever I could find in my pantry and the little grocery store down the street.

Searching for vegan cookie recipes on my ipod while I paced the aisles, I settled on a peanut butter banana bread. I had bananas, I had peanut butter, I just needed baking soda and vanilla. Or did I need vanilla? Everyone has vanilla sitting in their cupboards. I definitely had some in my cabinet at home.

10 minutes later, I'm standing in my kitchen where there is no vanilla to be found. After debating whether or not I really needed it, I thought of the baking disaster from above and decided that I was in no place to go changing recipes.

New plan: Lower-Fat Peanut Butter Banana Cookies. A cookie recipe without eggs or milk. I may not know much about the science of baking, but I was not confident about this one. I creamed the peanut butter and sugar, mushed the bananas, and somehow came out with a cookie-dough looking substance. I jammed the too-big cookie sheets into the too-small oven. Because only good things happen when your oven won't close the whole way.

10 minutes later...the 'cookies' came out looking exactly the same way they did when they went in. Except...hotter?

Surprisingly, they weren't bad. Not great, kind of bland, but not bad. I searched around my kitchen for something to kick 'em up a little bit. Enter a half-full can of cream cheese icing!

...and after icing half of them, I realized that cream cheese icing meant that they were no longer vegan.

But after class, they were all gone and highly complimented! So I would say my first venture into the vegan world was a surprising success. But I think I'll stick with my eggs and milk, thank you very much.

Do you have vegan baking success/horror stories? Or just baking horror stories in general? I set a pan on fire yesterday, so no judging from me....


The Perfect Theme

With anniversary celebrations in the past, going on the 4th year of dating, and reaching the 4-month point until the big day, I find myself going back through my masses of wedding ideas that I've been collecting since we've been engaged (OK, or maybe a little from before than, too). I started out the process with thousands of potential themes, looks, motifs...would it be vintage? Classic? Elegant? Retro?

But what about a fantastic, funky, very us mix of all of that? Taking inspiration from all of those things has been helping our plans shape up into something truly unique.

I've been gathering not only decoration, flower, and accessory ideas, but also photo ideas and poses. Here are some that I love:

I want balloons. Lots and lots of big, colorful balloons.

But right now, in yucky and cold and windy February, I'm still warm and fuzzy from the surprise anniversary flowers at work on Wednesday and the framed engagement photos present.

Also...our DIY invitations were featured on this week's Wedding Bee DIY Friday post! Check it out here!

Stay funky, junkies.


Pre-Valentines and Anniversary Sentiments

"I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think I might have a valentine this year!"

-Me, January 23rd, 2008

I wrote those words in my journal when I was a freshman, the day I met Ian at ACF at Penn State.

And sure enough, February 9th, 2008 rolled around, and I not only had a valentine for Valentine's Day, but I also had myself a boyfriend.

1 year later, I still had myself a boyfriend that I continued to love more every day.

2 years later, after spending a summer in two different towns, I still had myself a boyfriend who I could love from miles away.

And 3 years later, I now have myself a fiance who I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with.


I love you Ian. Happy Anniversary :-)


Craft Time with MOB and MOH

Today was Wedding Invite Day: Round 2! This time, I enlisted the help of my mother and sister--hence, MOB (Mother of Bride) and MOH (Maid of Honor)!

No mimosas this time, but we stuck it out through the second half of invitations that needed to be glued, stamped, and cut.

They did a fantastic job, and we can finally put the invitations to rest...for now.

Who could ask for a greater MOB and MOH? I sure couldn't.

Speaking of my awesome family, I would like to introduce you to my sister, Emily. This is Emily:

Isn't she beautiful? I absolutely love my sister and I am so proud of the talented young woman she is becoming. She is a mini Julia Child in the kitchen (she made some fantastic homemade pizza tonight for us), an incredibly talented photographer, and has a completely unique and fun style. I've trained her well in the ways of Goodwill shopping, but she puts her own spin on her outfits (like those Starbucks earrings...how cute are they? I'm not partial since I bought them or anything...)

So, in conclusion...it was a productive Saturday. Now cozy up and eat some chocolate!



A Winter Funk

Oh hello! Remember me? I used to blog around here sometimes?

January has come and gone--a darn good thing for a gal who wants the 9th of July to be here ASAP-- but great scott, has it been more busy than I would have liked.

I suppose you could say it has also been frustrating. See, here's the thing: I like to be in control of things. I like to know my schedule every day. I like to write and see my ideas come to fruition and to share them with other people. I like that I can make my coffee as weak or strong as I want.

So then there's the big things that I have little to no control over, like where Ian and I will get jobs, where we'll find a place to live, our opposite schedules that only leave so much time for each other during the week. That's not quite so much fun.

Last week I was one of 20 selected out of 70 applicants for an interview with Marriott, only to be rejected by the next two hotel companies that I thought for sure I had a shot at. I'm in a class where, in groups, we are responsible for developing, planning, and opening up our own restaurant for a night at our student run cafe on campus. A ton of work, and a ton of attitude adjustment is needed there, seeing as how I'm not much into restaurants and stressful situations. I'm also in an English class that requires three weekend field trips, something I thought would be awesome at first but now that I see the grind of my week, I really need those Saturdays to relax and catch up. And, on top of that, the weather around here as been as lame as can be! I'm talking snow, rain, ice, sleet...the whole nine yards. So with a sniffly and sneezy Bren, no cancelled classes, one too many lattes and lack of time for blogging and fun things...let's just say this funky junkie has had better days.

So you know what? This morning, I slept through class, made myself some Starbucks coffee, and am sitting by the window with the sun pouring in. And the window open, to counterbalance the overactive radiator.

You might say, " and on top of all THAT, you have a wedding to plan!" Friends, wedding planning is the least of my stress! Seriously. I have amazing friends, amazing family, and an amazing fiance that has made this whole wedding planning thing so much fun. In fact, it's definitely a much-needed escape from the stressful things of college and life.

So on a happier note, we have indeed found time to start bringing the details of our wedding together. Several weeks ago, we spent a Sunday afternoon at our reception site tasting some delicious food to decided on our menu. This past Saturday, we braved the snow to travel over the mountain to the flower shop to decide on flowers. This weekend holds (in addition to the Super Bowl...meh) more invitation making, and possibly table numbers?

Winter blues, begone!

P.S. I did my first guest post on another blog a few weeks ago! My beautiful fellow vintage-loving friends at miskabelle were so nice and let me share some of my favorite thrifted items. You can read the post here. Be sure to check out their blog and etsy store too!
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