Friday, September 13, 2013

19 going on 15

My eating habits have recently changed due to me having braces for the first time. At age 19, I’m a little late to the party. In fact, I’m so late that the party is already over. Most people I know have had braces in their early high school years while I’m starting my third year of college and had only just gotten my braces yesterday. It's like I'm 19 going on 15! I try to make myself feel better about this by saying, “Hey, better late than never, right?”

Although it’s only been day two of having braces, it has affected my eating habits tremendously. Since I have a fast metabolism, I'm used to eating quite frequently. Unfortunately, I don't think that will be the case anymore. It's been extremely uncomfortable biting down on solid foods now. The pressure from biting down irritates my gums and makes my entire jaw sore. I’ve heard that the level of soreness and/or pain is different for everybody. For me, I get the most soreness after a meal. To make it easier for me to eat, I’ve been having foods that are soft and require minimal chewing. Aside from the obvious choices, such as liquids and soup, I've complied a list of yummy and nutritious foods that will probably be my go-to foods for the next few days. 

String Cheese
Sweet Potatoes  
Mashed Potatoes
Mac n’ Cheese
Baked Salmon
Scrambled Eggs

Monday, September 9, 2013

My College Essentials!

Marking the end of summer, nights are getting shorter and people are starting school. I’ve always had mixed feelings about going back to school. On one side, I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and meeting new people. But on the other, I’m definitely going to miss those long summer nights and fun getaways with the family. And those F.R.I.E.N.D.S. marathons never get old.

On top of it being bittersweet, starting school at a new place or even going back to school can be hectic and nerve-wracking. The feeling doesn’t really set in for me until I’m on the hunt for good deals on back to school supplies or when I’m trying to figure out what my class schedule is going to look like.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that as we go on to higher grades, the transitions get bigger and things get crazier. Transitioning from high school to college was so different from what it was like to move on from middle school to high school. There was a wider selection of classes, mostly electives, to choose from in high school than there was in middle school. There were also bigger social events, such as school dances and fundraisers. Now going from high school to college is a completely different story. Since I go to a huge public university, I am never guaranteed getting into all of the classes that I want. And unlike high school, the person I sat next to on the first day of my Psych 101 class was never seen again. A big campus means a lot of students, some that I only see once or twice or never at all. The list goes on and on.

Before being completely immersed in the college experience, first, I had to pack. Honestly, packing isn’t as bad it sounds. But for my first year, I wasn’t very smart on deciding what and what not to bring. So I basically ended up overpacking. As the school year went on, I realized that I had more things that were rarely touched than things that I actually needed. Over time, I took note of this and made a list of the things that every college student would need at school. I hope this will be useful for  you as much as it did for me. And oh gosh, I've just rambled like crazy. Are you still there?!

The following list is based on my experiences of living in the college dorm.

Snack all day, everydayy
Granola bars
String cheese
Fruit snacks
Juice boxes
Trail Mix

Brrrr, it's cold in here
Electric water kettle (a must!)
Fuzzy socks

Things that always go missing
Blue/black pens
Hair ties

Study nights
Printer & lined paper
Index cards
Paper clips

Bathroom runs
Shower caddy
Non-slip flip flops
Extra toothbrush and toothpaste 

Sunday is laundry day
Air freshener
Laundry bag/hamper
Liquid detergent
Instant liquid stain remover pen or spray

Just in case, ya know?
Pepper spray
Extra batteries
Cough drops
Cold/flu medicine
Facial tissues 
Anti-itch cream (for those annoying bug bites)

Reusable water bottle 
Hand sanitizer
Snack clips
Ziplock bags
Plastic forks and spoons
Storage box (for things that can’t fit anywhere else) 

All the things I mentioned above have really made the dorm my “home” away from home that much better.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

When you’re home alone, with nothing but music on, do you ever just feel like baking a delicious and mouth-watering dessert? I certainly did. A few weeks ago, I was looking all over the Internet to find the perfect blueberry cheesecake recipe. Unfortunately, none of the recipes I saw were to my liking. Instead, I came up with my own recipe by making a few adjustments to the online recipes that I found online.

I’m going to get right to it because the sooner you have the recipe, the sooner you can get started on making this delicious dessert!

Makes 16 small cheesecake squares

Prep time: 40 minutes 
Oven time: 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Chill time: 3 hours

What you’ll need:

8x8 inch baking dish 

2 cups vanilla wafers   
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs, room temperature 
2 packs (16 oz) fat free cream cheese
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 cups blueberries

Crust Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Crush the wafers with a food processor. It's totally fine if you don't have one. You can put them in a sealed ziplock bag and crush them using the bottom of a mug. Transfer crushed wafers to a medium sized bowl. Pour in the melted butter and mix lightly. With a spatula, spread and flatten the mixture onto the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Set aside.

Filling Mix together eggs, cream cheese, sour cream, condensed milk, and vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Pour into the baking dish over the crust. Set aside. 
Topping In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix sugar, cornstarch, and water. Stir lightly and add orange juice and blueberries. Turn the heat to high and continue to stir until it turns bubbly and thick. Using a spoon, spread the mixture evenly into the filling. Swirl topping with a fork (my favorite part).

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. or until the edges are firm and the center jiggles a little. Cool for an hour and let it chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Once it's chilled, cut into bars. 

Baby Lips

First ever blog post, here we go! Like most first timers, I’m not sure how this is going to turn out, but I am going to dive right in and talk about a product that I carry with me everyday: lip balm. I have quite a collection of lip balms after purchasing new ones to replace the ones I’ve lost. Most of the time, the ones that I thought I had lost would turn up somewhere, thus added to my increasing supply of lip balms. With its bright and fun packing, the Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm line is my absolute favorite ever since I set my eye on them. At the time, I was looking for a moisturizing lip balm with a bit of a tint. The Baby Lips line was exactly what I was looking for, as they make my lips super soft while giving them a hint of color.

Before I got Baby Lips in Grape Vine, I was hesitant on two little things: 1.) The flavor; I’ve never had any lip products in grape before so I wasn’t sure if I would like the smell. 2.) The color; the dark violet shade seemed dull and unflattering. Despite my initial hesitation, I decided to give it a try and I instantly fell in love with it! The application was easy and smooth. It gave my lips a tint of red. It's the perfect color for every day use – not too bare, but not too bright either.

Having loved Grape Vine, I purchased another one in Pink Punch, a few months later. It was the fun flavor and the babydoll pink packaging that drew me in. The lip balm smells like candy from the summertime. The reason I say summer is that candy just tastes and smells five times sweeter then, doesn’t it? Okay, maybe it’s just me. This is where things start to not look so good. First off, when I take a big whiff of the balm, I smell a mix of lipstick and clay beneath the sweet smell of “punch”.  I know, it’s weird. And second, when I apply the balm, it leaves an unnatural shade of bright pink on my lips. The color does not blend well, resulting in a chalky texture on my lips. Not fully accepting that the color was not for me, I used it a couple of more times and finally realized that Pink Punch was just not for me. 

After that hit-and-a-miss kind of thing, I found myself again in the makeup aisle looking at the Baby Lips line. This time, I made a safe choice and got Quenched, the clear lip balm with SPF 20. There isn’t much to say about this one because it’s just like any other standard lip balm with SPF. It goes on clear and moisturizes your lips. It’s a handy lip balm, especially for the summer when you are going for something that is barely-there while protecting your lips.

Being that I have an endless lip balm collection, the Maybelline Baby Lips is definitely a stand-out product for me. Although my purchase of Pink Punch was a miss, I am still very pleased with the other two products; Grape Vine and Quenched. I always have Grape Vine with me because I just love the hint of color it gives me. Quenched is also one of my everyday essentials as it does the job of keeping my lips moisturized and protected. I'm looking forward to what my next Baby Lips product will be since they have released so many now!