Best of BlonderSide 2014

Happy Almost 2015 Friends!

As Taylor pointed out yesterday, you’re not a real blogger unless you do a year in review and resolutions. I’ve got a few resolution topic posts comin your way in the days to come, so for today BlonderSide’s Year in Review

Best of Blonder Side 2014

2014 was a great year of blogging. I actually started in 2013, but this year was my first full one. BlonderSide has grown immensly and I’m so proud to see how far it’s come. It may still be small but I’ve got some great Blog Friends and the very best support system a blogger could ask for 🙂

I wrote 133 posts and had readers from 124 different countries! What!?!? I got 44 readers from Saudi Arabia… Saudi Arabia people! A few other notable countries that visited this little space my American education made me forget existed include Burma, the Congo, and Cote d’Ivoire…Don’t ask me to point them out on a map though, please and thank you.

I know I’m not that cool to be international. My guess is most of that foreign traffic came from the following posts…..

Top posts

1. Why I’ll Never Eat Another Quest Bar I wrote this on a whim and it’s since jumped to the top of the ranks even showin up in the top Google results!! Don’t believe me? Just Google Quest bars and healthy and see my smiling face. Well a link to my smiling face but you get the idea. With it comes lots of hate but I clearly stated several times in there it was My Opinion and I’m not Telling Anyone Else what to do…sale vi.

2. Switching From WordPress.com to WordPress.org in 5 East Steps I guess other people like reading about blogging as much as I do. This post if pretty detailed but I feel like a great guide to get you self-hosted as painlessly as possible.

3. Confessions I’m Cooler Online Granted this also was accompanied by a giveaway so I can probably credit these views to that. But I like to think it’s because people can relate to sometimes being socially awkward and not quite feeling comfortable in large social situations. Just me? Darn 😉

4. Cakemix Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cookies This one is a no brainer. The pumpkin obsession is very real and is the gift that keeps on giving. Giving to your hips if you’re not careful but these little babies are the perfect balance.

5. How to Beat The target Trap. My full-proof way to not spend your life savings at Target. Not to mention an arm, leg, or your unborn child….

6. Don’t forget I became a regular installment on RunHaven.com Click on over and you can read things such as how to properly run and brunch, my own Hunger Games themed race, or some running resolutions.

Top Comments

Traffic wise this posts didn’t make the top 5 but comment wise it was rated #1. Reasons I Haven’t Hit Big Blogger Status. I’ve got a second installment in the works so here’s to hoping y’all can relate to that as well 😀

Top Commenters? Duh some of my bestie bloggers Kristin, Ursula, Rebecca, and Deborah. Love you ladies 🙂 Now everyone else who hasn’t already, go check them out, you can thank me later.

Future Predictions

And b/c Juliette predicted her future 2015 I decided to throw my hat in the ring as well. I’m not much of a fore-seer but I’ve got a few hopes and dreams for the future. So here goes, if they don’t happen we can pretend I never wrote this deal?

>> BlonderSide will reach National Attention and I become the next  famous blogger socialite. (That’s a thing right?)

>> The Prince of Monaco reads my now nationally famous blog and falls madly in love with me and I become royalty (too Gossip Girl?)

>> With my newfound fame and money I start a charity or something. Maybe save a baby panda or an actual baby. That’s what rich people do to gain good graces, or so the tabloids tell me.

>> Ok for real-sies I’ll graduate in May, land a killer job and finally buy a new laptop so I can get to work on the whole famous blog thing….

Here’s to a brand new year and a happy one at that!

What are some of your hopes (not resolutions, we’ll get there) for 2015?

Sig

Let’s Connect!

facebook twitter instagram pinterest bloglovin

Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies

Merry Christmas Friends!

Am I allowed to still say Merry Christmas? I saw some guy in my parent’s neighborhood taking down his lights on Friday and it made me unreasonably sad 😦 why not keep the cheer and happiness for a few more nights I ask?

Anyway, I come to you today from Boston with a new cookie recipe. (there’s been a lot lately I know, don’t hate me waistlines of blog-ville) However, my Mother and I have been obsessed with Chai Tea lattes ever since I introduced them to her to them in October so I wanted to make her a special Christmas treat.

chai spiced sugar cookies

They taste a lot like Snickerdoodles, but with different spices obviously. I actually had my Dad run to the store to get me some cardamom b/c we didn’t have any, or had ever needed it before. Don’t fear future husband of mine, he volunteered, I didn’t make him go, I’m not a grinch.

chai spiced sugar cookies

chai spiced sugar cookies

I would also add more flour to the recipe so they don’t flatten out so much. The ones towards the end of the batch had more flour and stayed more pillow-y. That’s a technical term by the way. When I make these again I would probably add more ginger and decrease the cinnamon as well to kick up the flavor and reduce the snickerdoodle similarity just a tad. But if anyone knows food science then tell me if my guess on more flour was right, i know baking powder plays a roll as well…Maybe I left it out on accident? Always a possibility with me…

These were a big hit at my house. My Dad who doesn’t even eat dessert snuck a few of these so you know they must be good. 😀

chai spiced sugar cookies

Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies

  • 2 3/4 cups flour (consider adding a bit more)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cups unsalted butter, softented
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I’m never exact with vanilla)

Make sure to pre-heat your oven. i always seem to forget this step until I’m ready to bake. Probably b/c unless I’m at my Parent’s place I always use a toaster oven to bake and it requires no warming up. It really is the perfect single-gal cooking gadget.

So pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Next combine sugar, and spices (cinnamom, ginger, allspice, cardamom, and pepper) in a bowl then remove 1/2 cup of it for rolling purposes. Next beat butter and sugar mixture together until fluffy, whatever the heck that means. Next beat int he egg and vanilla. I’m never accurate with vanilla b/c I like it so much but I used about two cap-fulls….about.

Slowly then all at once (John Green reference there) mix in the dry ingredients until combines. It should be a bit crumbly. Finally roll into balls and cover in the remaining sugar mixture. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let them sit for a bit before trying to take them off the pan.

There ya have it! Now who wants to drink a chai tea latte while eating these cookies with me?

Sig

Let’s Connect!

facebook twitter instagram pinterest bloglovin

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Friends!

I just wanted to stop in and wish all of my blog friends (yes that means you too) a very Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas from 6 yr old me anyway 😉

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

As you can see I’ve always had an infinity for teddy bears. I even took them to school with me. I think it’s safe for you to assume I was one of the coolest kids in school, had my own panda bear and all 😉

Due to a family emergency my Dad flew out to Oregon (where he’s from) early this morning so we did our “Christmas” last night together. Putting things in perspective all the wonderful gifts I received pale in comparison to the gift of health, happiness, and family. I’d give em all back.

So here’s to hoping you and yours have a Happy, Healthy, and Family-filled Christmas. And for those of you traveling today be safe!

Merry Christmas 😀

Sig

Let’s Connect!

facebook twitter instagram pinterest bloglovin

Twas the Night Before Christmas (fitness edition)

Hey there Christmas-people 😀

I wrote a letter to Santa about kickin up his fitness (link) already, though I’m not too sure how positively my suggestions went over….

Anyway, I actually posted this poem last year and love it so much I’m sharing it with y’all again! Lucky you!!

NightBeforeChristmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, we were all into fitness – including the mouse!
Some sweat socks were hung by the chin-up bar there, in hopes that they’d mellow from getting some air.

The children were dressed up in exercise clothes, while bending and stretching and touching their toes.
And my wife in her sweat suit and I in my shorts, had just started doing some push-ups – of sorts!

When from out on the lawn I could hear such a howl, that I jumped to my feet, quickly grabbing a towel.
Away to the window I ran like a sprinter, tore open the shutter and got stuck by a splinter!

Then what did I see in that white winter scene, but tiny eight reindeer in a warm-up routine.
And a red-suited leader so well-built and trim, it took me a moment to recognize him!

As quick as a wink the deer jumped to their feet, while he whistled and shouted and called out a beat:
“Do leg-lifts!  Do knee-bends!  Now stretch left and right!  For we have half the world left to cover tonight.”

Then up to the roof flew St. Nick with the sleigh, hitched to eight robust reindeer that jogged all the way.
While they all ran in place, I could hear on the roof, the clumping and thumping of each sneakered hoof.

As I pulled in my head after seeing all that, down the staircase St. Nick dashed in two seconds flat!
He was wearing his warm-ups.  His healthy physique, made me suddenly feel I was puny and weak.

His arms how they rippled!  His muscles how taut!  It was easy to tell that he worked out a lot!
He was solid and strong (which is odd for an elf), and he clearly knew how to take care of himself.

A flex of his arm and the bulge of his shoulder, soon gave me to know he could bench-press a boulder!
He spoke not a word but went straight to his work, as he lifted his sack with a weight-lifter’s jerk.

After filling the socks, he put hands to the floor, then taking off fast, up the staircase he tore!
He sprang to his sleigh like a red lightning flash, and the reindeer took off on their million-mile dash.

But I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight – “Merry Christmas to all – hope yours shapes up just right!”

Merry Christmas Friends 🙂

Sig

Let’s Connect!

facebook twitter instagram pinterest bloglovin

Linkin Up with Blogmas

Candy Cane Frosted Brownies

Hey Party People

I have a confession to make….it being my Holiday Break I completely lost track of the time and thought it was Sunday all day yesterday and forgot to post! I know all of y’all were just dying to hear from me and I shan’t let you down!

In the spirit of the Holiday season I have a yummy brownie recipe for ya. As a little treat for my co-workers on our last day of work before the Holiday break I decided to whip u p a fun little gift b/c, well, I’m cute like that, duh.

candy cane frosted brownies

Honestly the icing didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. I thought it was gonna be a soft icing but it turned into fudge. Not really a bad thing, a layer of fudge on top of a brownie. Just not what I had in mind so i was slightly disappointed,

And since my brother is bugging me as I type this and his new wife is teasing me about what I’m typing I of course have to live type this conversation…….

Kidding, I wouldn’t do that to y’all. I will tell y’all though that we celebrated Christmas #1 yesterday while they’re visiting and then I get Christmas #2 on the actual day, with Christmas #3 following over the New Years in Boston. I truly am #blessed 🙂

On to the brownies……

candy cane frosted brownies

candy cane frosted brownies

candy cane frosted brownies

Now this is a very sophisticated recipe only to be attempted by the most professional and experienced of cooks so be prepared to have your mind blown with baking genius!!

Candy Cane Frosted Brownies

  • 1 box brownies (and ingredients needed)
  • 1 package crushed candy cane pieces
  • half bag chocolate chips
  • 1 small can sweetened condensed milk

See I wasn’t kidding!…Ok fine kidding. I like to keep things simple around these parts as y’all well know.

Step one: Make the brownies according to the box. I’d type them all out for you but you’ve got two eyes and directions nicely printed on a box. I then added some candy cane pieces to the mix before baking it.

Once they’ve baked and cooled start the icing on the stove. Melt about half the bag of chocolate chips with the can of condensed milk. Make sure you use quality chocolate chips not the cheap kind. Just trust my that it’ll make a difference. Once it’s all melted, pour over the top of the brownies and sprinkle with candy cane pieces.

Done.

Eat.

Merry Christmas 🙂

Do y’all have any traditional Christmas desserts you like to give away?

Sig

Let’s Connect!

facebook twitter instagram pinterest bloglovin

Influenster #FrostyVoxBox Review

Something amazing happened this week…..

No, I didn’t get married (or engaged), despite the confused comments I got from my rehearsal dinner and wedding recap posts. I suppose I should have made the title a little less misleading. Oh well, it’s nice to think y’all find me wifey material so I take it as a compliment 🙂

No the amazing thing was that I finished my last final of grad school (only exit exams in my way next spring, Whoo!!) BUT I also received my very First ever Influenster VoxBox. #FrostyVoxBox if we’re being official about it.

P.S. If you’d like to sign up for Influenster, use my referral link here. I don’t get paid any money for it, just become eligible to win some fun prizes. So do, or don’t, we can still be friends 🙂 

InfluensterReview1

I haveta be honest b/c what’s the point of a review if you lie about things. I had just gotten home from my last final when this was waiting at my door for me. I opened it and the firstt thing I did was tear the bag of Fruit Vines Bites open and munched on them as I looked through the rest of the box. Then I realized I’m a terrible blogger and pretended I didn’t so that so I could take some pictures lol

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

1. Red Vines Fruit Vines Bites 2.EcoTools Style Brush 3Rimmel Eye Makeup Remover 4. Boots No.7 Protect and Perfect Serum 5. Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Tea 6. Rimmel Scadaleyes Waterproof Mascara 7. NYC New York Color Expert Last Lip Color 8. McCormick Gourmet Thyme

Favorites:

-Lipstick. I’ve been trying to branch out more into lipstick here lately so this was my favorite of the Favorites. Sugar Plum is also the perfect color for the Holidays and I swiped it on right away and wore it the following two days as well. It lasted quite a while (I’m no lipstick expert so don’t quote me on that) and it really moisturized my lips as well. 4 stars

-Brush. Another bonus was this brush. I lost mine after the wedding weekend and now I don’t have to replace it 😀 I don’t know how to rate a brush so  5 stars?

-Eye Makeup Remover. It’s like Influenster really knows me b/c I also just ran out of my makeup remover and I’ve never tried this brand before. Double plus! After I used my makeup remover wipes, I was still swiping eye liner and mascara off so 5 stars for this baby. Plus I saw it in the store and it’s only like 8 bucks!

-Celestial Mint Tea. I’m also a huge fan of teas and this past year I’ve expanded my tea flavors and I already knew this one was one of my faves. Celestial itself is such a great brand (and affordable for us poor folk which is always a plus) 5 stars!

Not As Much Favorites:

Fruit Vines. I wish i could put this in the fave category but it just wasn’t quite there. It’s no secret I have a sweet tooth (just look at my recipe page) And it’s also no secret that I come from a red vines family. Not gonna lie, these have something left to be desired from the original red vines, but if you like the rope licorice that doesn’t seem to be around anymore this is a good substitute. I will admit it had more of a Twizzler taste about it though. Get your ish together Red Vines. 2 stars.

-Thyme. I don’t exactly know what to even use this for, but that’s what Pinterest is for so I’m not too worried. I’m sure it’ll taste good though, 3 stars?

-Eye Pencil. I’ve only ever used a self-sharpening one so it’s gonna take me awhile to get used to using this one. Does this mean I need an eyeliner sharpener? Is that even a thing? I’m super out of the loop on this one. It went on beautifully though so 4 stars only b/c I’m a novice.

Ever tried any of these products? Or want to? Let me know your thoughts!

Sig

Let’s Connect!

facebook twitter instagram pinterest bloglovin

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

(Not My) Wedding Day

Hello Friends 😀

I know I’m late to the post wagon today but it’s b/c I went out with some friends for dinner last night to celebrate the end of the semester and I didn’t have time to put the finishing touches on it. (read that as I was too lazy and an episode of Gossip Girl sounded more fun then proof-reading)

So I’ve already shared the rehearsal dinner photos from my brother’s wedding weekend but today I wanted to share the beautiful photos from the actual day. (with the happy couple’s permission of course)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Oh but first things first I suppose I should announce the winner of the scarf giveaway. I’ve already emailed her (congrats jennifer!)and as soon as I hear back it’ll be on it’s way to her ;D A huge thank-you to everyone who entered and said such nice things about my work. I really do enjoy it and am hoping to branch out into some more fun designs and patterns.

Ok, back to the wedding. If you don’t like pictures or weddings I suggest you turn back now……

We started the day with all  the girls getting ready together. Professional makeup and not so professional hair (for my sister and I anyway, I did it myself….feel free to judge) Everyone looked so beautiful with their makeup. I seriously could have just stared at myself all day, I’ve never felt so pretty. But, there was another special lady that I was there to celebrate and she really did take the cake on being the most beautiful. (hint: I’m talking about the bride)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Selfie with the bride herself 😀

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

My sister is gorgeous and makes it hard to keep up.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Mother and sister 😀

And b/c it’s been well established that I’m pretty into myself, I took a duck-faced selfie in the car on our way to the ceremony. #SomeThingsNeverChange Can I look like this every day? K, thanks.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

#vain

Of course the professionals took the ceremony photos and I can’t wait for the bride to get those in. I think I’m just as excited as she is! She’s had a sneak peek though, and I’ve been told they’re amazing duh (Jeri Ann Photography, check her out)  🙂 SO here are some phone snaps of the pictures post-ceremony.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Sheron kids 😀

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

All my siblings (minus a little brother not in attendance)

Inside, I got a few of the grooms table. My brother is weird and is really into Coca-Cola so his table was appropriately decorated. P.S. the wedding cake was delicious! I’m a bad blogger though and didn’t get a photo of the actual wedding cake before we cut into it. I feel it also noteworthy to tell you there was no cake-face-smashing much to the dismay of all the little children in attendance. Future groom take note, I will not have cake shoved into my face either….

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Next was on to the dancing. Though since I was dancing I only got a few selfies. #sorrynotsorry (also I’m not sure why I feel the need for so many hashtags in this post…#sorrynotsorry?)

I got to dance with my Dad and brother of course. The rest of the night involved two little girls and some serious dance moves. There’s just something about weddings that make ya wanna dance.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

My padre flew in from Germany for the Wedding

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Those smiles make my heart melt 🙂

We finally sent the happy couple off with bubbles. Since I was busy blowing the bubbles I didn’t get shots of them goin through the tunnel of love (well bubbles) but if my sister does it justice you can imagine what it might have looked like.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The picture in front of the car is my attempt at being a wedding photographer. They stayed until the very end of the shin-dig which was so nice to get extra time with them. I’ll be seeing them for a few days this weekend again before they leave on their honeymoon to Disney.

Oh, And b/c public embarrassment is the name of the sibling game, here’s a photo of my brother gazing lovingly at his bride’s bouquet. He was also chasing bubbles at one point so it’s really not that hard to do…….

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

I sure do love ya bro! You and your beautiful bride I can now call my sister 😉 I still so honored and blessed that they chose me to stand beside them on their big day. I can’t wait for us all to be together again…nerds!

Hopefully my own wedding day will be as perfect. I’m so happy to have a new sister 🙂

**Insert question to elicit comments here**

Sig

Let’s Connect!

facebook twitter instagram pinterest bloglovin

Linkin up with Little Friday