Summer road trip slideshow

I finally made a slide show from my really long road trip this summer.

I had been putting it off because I knew the process would be a bit time intensive. I took a lot of photos over the four days I was on the road with my uncle, all with my iPhone. I didn't want this slideshow to be forever long, so I had to narrow it down.

If you want to read a little bit about the trip, read about Day 1 or see my short recap (by the numbers).

And sorry if you're not a country fan, but I couldn't imagine any other music for the slideshow.

P.S. Sorry about the three posts in one day. The other two were supposed to go up earlier this week, but obviously didn't. 



My Thanksgiving was really lovely. It was just my immediate family and my grandfather, which after a few years of craziness was a welcome change. I love big get togethers, but it was nice to have some quality time with my parents and siblings.

My grandfather, Grampie, has Alzheimer's so it was bittersweet to have him with us. I'm so thankful he's nearby, but it's also a really hard disease to watch someone deteriorate from.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with whomever you celebrated!

I decided to take a moment and jump on the bandwagon of thankful posts. Because I have a lot to be thankful for.

(Really, you can just think of this as my awkward and awesome post without the awkward. And who doesn't love all awesome?!)

I'm thankful for:

  • A roof over my head
  • Family I like to spend time with
  • A community of supportive friends
  • More food than I need (and that I like!)
  • Amazing opportunities this past year in grad school
  • Puppy and kitty snuggles
  • Sunny days outside and cozy rainy days in
  • College basketball
  • Egg nog lattes
  • The holiday season...

What are you especially thankful for?


Fall Beauty VoxBox

I was lucky enough to be picked by Influenced to receive a Beauty VoxBox this fall. I've been meaning to share about the goodies for a while, and like so many blog posts, hadn't gotten around to it.

First of all, here's a picture of the goods:

Let me give you the run down on the products and what I thought. I was super excited to see that nothing was really expensive, since that's definitely never going to happen in my drug store world.

NYC New York Color IndividualEyes Custom Compact ($4.99)
First of all, I love these colors. I have a lot of browns and warm tones in my collection, so to have some black/grey options is great. And the compact comes with a primer and highlighter as well. For the price it's a great deal.

Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin ($7.29)
These are probably my favorite item in the box. My hair is getting long and I love wearing buns, but hate how a rubber band shows. The spin pins are the perfect alternative, plus they don't make my scalp feel tight but hold the bun in place. Seriously love!

Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit ($5.99)
I'm a fake lash newbie, so I'm still getting the hang of these, but I love the fullness and look of these lashes. Maybe once I really figure them out, I'll share a pic. Even though I haven't perfect my technique, these lashes are pretty straightforward to apply. And they are reusable, which makes the price really reasonable (to me at least).

Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream ($6.00)
I've wanted to try this brand, so I was excited to see it in the box. I liked the hold and definition this product gave my curls, but I did not like the smell. The grapeseed was a little too reminiscent of Dime-a-tap.

Bath & Body Works Mini Candles in Mahogany Teakwood ($3.50)
This scent was a little overpowering when I first smelled it, but once burning it wasn't too bad. I liked the combination of earth and floral notes. For the size, it seems a little pricey (the mini is pretty small), but it's actually on sale on their site for $2 right now, which is a lot better.

Vitabath Fragrance Mist in Pomegranate and Blood Orange
This is not a scent I would normally pick (I don't usually go for fruity), but I was surprised to find I liked it. I definitely plan on busting this out again in the summer.

EBOOST drink powder ($28 for 20)
I'm not a big powder person, so I haven't actually tried these yet. I'll let you know what I think...eventually. :)

Have you tried any of these out? Any similar products you'd recommend?


Sweet Potato Muffins

I wanted to drop in and share a quick recipe. A few weeks ago I realized that I was eating the same things over and over. I decided to actually attempt to meal plan a bit and just generally change things up.

A few years ago I went on a cookbook buying spree. This weekend I was paging through one of my purchases, Good to the Grain (gorgeous! by the way), and I stumbled across these Sweet Potato Muffins. Since I love sweet potatoes and I am always looking for something I can grab as I head out the door, they seemed perfect! And I after cooking and eating them, I can confirm they are.

As is usual when I'm cooking, I didn't follow the recipe exactly. My buttermilk was made from regular milk and vinegar (a quick cheat because the grocery store didn't have buttermilk).

I also wasn't going to hunt down medjool dates. The dates are often used in natural baking as a source of sweetness. Instead, I just sprinkled a little carbinado sugar on top the muffins for a little crunch.

I'm already thinking up ways to make these savory (bacon anyone?), but as they aren't overwhelming sweet (only 1/2 cup of sugar total) and have a nice bit of spice, I'd make these muffins again. I highly recommend heating them up or eating them fresh out of the oven. Let me know if you try them out!

One last tip, my batter was pretty thick and I ended up with air bubbles that caused my muffins to deflate after cooling. Just tap your pan against your counter a couple times before you put it in the oven to avoid this yourself.

Sweet Potato Muffins
adapted from Good to the Grain

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon all spice
2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted cold butter
2 small or 1 medium sweet potatoes, about 3/4 lb.
1/4 cup sugar (or raw sugar)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup plain yogurt or kefir
6 large medjool dates, pitted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roast sweet potatoes on a baking sheet covered with parchment or foil. Roast for 1-1.5 hours, depending on their size. The bottoms should be dark, almost burnt looking, and the juices should caramelize. After they have cooled, peel them and leave them whole.

Lower the oven to 350 and grease your muffin pan. Use muffin liners if you wish, though they stick sometimes to the paper cups.

Sift the dry ingredients together. In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk and yogurt.

Add the butters and the sugars to a medium sized bowl and mix either with a standing mixer or by hand. Mix until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and just half of the sweet potatoes (yes! just half!) and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, add the dry ingredients until they are just partly combined. Follow this up by adding in the buttermilk mixture and mix until combined.

Add the dates and separate them over the surface so they don't all clump together. You want them spread throughout the batter. Next, add the remaining sweet potatoes and mix until only barely combined- you want pockets of sweet potato in the batter. Scoop the batter into 10 muffin tins, skipping every other muffin cup if you want to keep the tops from touching as they bake.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the bottoms are dark and tops are springy to the touch. The author of the cookbook suggests placing the muffins on their sides to cool, as pictured above. They can be stored for 3 days or frozen for future enjoyment.



Quick note: if you're not following me on Instagram, I'm @eewiley. That's the best place to stay current on my life anyway!

I was kind of all over the place this weekend. Socializing, going to class, attempting to get some work done, I did a little of all of it. I actually only have about eight hours of class time left for my degree. That is ridiculously awesome and scary all at the same time.

Since my attention span is only good for about five minutes at a time, I thought it was the perfect time to put a currently post together. Just a little glimpse of my life at the moment. Here's what I'm....

Watching: I have actually gone to the movies twice in the past few weeks. I saw Argo and Skyfall, both of which I would highly recommend. Seriously. Though I will be the first to admit, that I'm not so much a movie critic as I am an enthusiast. That's not to say I'll watch anything. I draw the line at Twilight (sorry all you fans out there, but only partially).

Listening to: The Heist by Macklemore. He's a local hip hop artist who I've loved for a while. And he's exploded this fall. I love how real and honest his music is. Plus he has remained independent throughout his career, which I think deserves mad props. Oh, if you are a thrifter, here's your new anthem (NSFW, there are some swears!):

Planning: All the things I want to bake. (This should read, job hunting, but that would be a lie at this point.) I have plans for sweet potato muffins (I've been looking for easy breakfast options to grab as I run out the door) and chipotle cheddar biscuits with bacon. I spent a small fortune at the store in preparation. Something about fall makes me want to have things in the oven making the apartment smell good.

Thinking about: Job hunting. I really need to dig in and get started, but the prospect is exhausting. I can't really put it off any longer. So tomorrow?

Also, travel. I can't actually travel right now (financially), but oh the places I'd go. It's fun to dream about for someday. What's at the top of your list?

Looking forward to: The holidays. I really enjoy catching up with people, finding just the right gift, making cards, and cooking (as you may have noticed).

Reading: I've actually done quite a bit of reading recently. I think it's the whole avoiding job hunting (can you sense a theme here?). I read Matched and Crossed by Allie Condie, the Promises to Keep series by Shayne Parkinson (set in New Zealand...fun!), and The Perfect Hope, the third in the most recent Nora Roberts series. Now that I've finished all of those, I'm open to suggestions. What good books have you read lately?

Making me happy: Life. Besides the whole job thing, I feel really blessed right now with friends, family, my internship, school, and so much more. Also, I'm blessed by the fact that sweatpants exist. Truth.

On that deep and thoughtful note, I'm calling it a night. It's bedtime.

(At 8 p.m. I'm an old lady. Maybe I'll just go straight for retirement.)


Life in Pictures

I'm in recovery last night. Let me tell you, working in a newsroom on election night is no joke. But at least there was free pizza and soda. I took full advantage of that.

I wanted to stop in with some recent Instagram pictures from my life (and by recent, I mean since the end of September).

A beautiful view of Mt. Rainier.

Getting ready to shoot some zombies.

Sweet, old school limo. A sign on the back said, "not for hire." 

Leaving the island after a fun weekend with my uncle and sis.

A rainy ferry ride.

Loving the fall colors on campus.

Getting work done.

Gorgeous skies.

Love this city.

The perfect, no-so-perfect pumpkin.

Out with a reporter and cameraman. This was early!

My finished pumpkin.
Guess who I was for Halloween?

A sunny day was perfect for a walk downtown.

You're paying attention to the wrong thing here.

Egg nog lattes are the best ever.

My favorite spot on campus, in the library, that students call the Harry Potter room.

Love this face (and the one next to it). Kincade, my parents' 80 pound almost 8 month old puppy.

What have you been up to lately?


Awkward and Awesome: Rambling Along

Can I just share one blogging pet peeve with you all? I have to, I've been holding it in too long. When people have posts dedicated to photos and then put all the captions at the bottom. It's impossible to see the picture and the corresponding info.


Sorry I just had to get that off my chest.

Also, feel free to let me know if there's something I do (besides really infrequent posting...) that drives you nuts. Really, friends tell friends that stuff.

This week has been cray-zee. So I'm a little (a lot) loopy and already counting down the minutes until I go to bed.

(I'm thinking 40 min...just kidding....kind of.)

Tomorrow I work, then I'm chaperoning a bunch of high schoolers with my dad then I'm headed to my parents' for the weekend. Expect gratuitous puppy pictures when I return. For now, enjoy my awkward and awesome moments.

- Trying to leave a blog comment but not getting the comment verification (a.k.a. sanskrit) right three times in a row. I gave up. My mental health was at stake.
- My busy-ness this week has led to very little sleep. It doesn't help that I somehow decided it was time to start reading for pleasure again. I really don't have time for that stuff. All this to say, I haven't gotten near enough sleep (and haven't even taken one nap).
- Speaking at an event today, being asked a question, answering a question and completely blanking on the second half.
- I've consumed an entire gallon of egg nog already this year. I don't even know what to add to that.
- Me in a grocery store alone. Or maybe it's because I just cook for myself. I can't go for just a couple items. I come home with random stuff. I wander around forever and mutter to myself. I'm not even being dramatic right now.
- There not being any cheap Halloween candy at the grocery store today. I think I was in a healthy neighborhood or something. Needless to say, I was bummed not to find any good 50% bags.

- Being asked to speak at an event about my experiences covering the election for school.
- I've only gone to Starbucks once in the past two weeks. I've actually been using the egg nog as motivation to make my coffee at home. I substitute the nog for creamer. Yum!
- New shoes! There not here yet, but I can't wait!!
- I got to attend a cool event about technology trends and creativity. I learned a lot. And got to meet some new people.
- Waze. It's a crowd-sourced map app. I've been hating the new iOS upgrade (for many reasons) and was looking for good directions. This one gives you the shortest route based on traffic as reported by other drivers using it. And it seriously works.
- A night at Teatro Zinzanni for Halloween. Even though it contributed to my lack of sleep, the evening was amazing. There was singing, acrobatics, acting, a really delicious 5-course meal, and the Food Network was filming. Fun!
- Meeting up with a Twitter friend last Friday for dinner. Thanks for hanging out Ashley! She was in town from CO for a few days. And she didn't even mind when I was ready to head home to bed at 9 p.m.

Who knew there was that much going on this past week. Thanks for making it to the bottom of the list.

What's awkward and awesome in your world??