Easy Cinnamon-Sugar Pull Apart Bread

pull apart bread recipe

One of my favorite desserts, breakfasts or snacks ever is pull apart bread.  The smell of fresh baked bread reminds me of summers at my grandparents when I was a little girl.  My Aunt and I would get together, wear our cutesy aprons, and spend the day making homemade bread and cinnamon rolls.  I have a lot of memories sitting around my grandma’s kitchen table kneading bread, rolling out dough…

Nowadays, I don’t have the time or the patience most weekends to make homemade pull apart bread.  So, when I can cheat and have fresh baked from a can – I do!

This past weekend I pulled out an old favorite for breakfast.

The pictures do NOT do this gooey, sugar filled dough any justice.  It was delicious!

Here’s what you need to make your own cinnamon-sugar pull apart bread with icing:

Pull Apart Bread:

1 can biscuisits, each biscuit cut into fourths
1 c. sugar
cinnamon
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ c. butter

Icing:

1 c. powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1-2 T milk

pull apart bread recipe

Preheat oven to 475 or as per the directions on the biscuits and spray a round cake pan with cooking spray.  Mix the sugar, cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl.  Melt butter and let cool for a few seconds (that way you will not burn your hands).  Dip a piece of dough into the butter  and dredge in the sugar mixture.  Shake of excess and place in pan.  Bake per directions on the cannister, mine took about 20 minutes.

Mix the icing ingredients together.  The more milk you add, the thinner the icing will be.  I used mine as a drizzle, so I added the full 2 Tablespoons.  Drizzle the icing over the bread.

pull apart bread recipe

Enjoy!

Our Love Story : How We Met

With only two months until our wedding day, I thought it would be neat to share how J and I met.

J and I do not really have a typically meeting story, or maybe we do.  I don’t know, it’s different than any other guy I dated in the past, which might be why it worked out – again, I do not know.  I’m thinking too much into it.  All I know is that I love telling the the first time we met story.  J likes to tell the how we met story, but the other one is my favorite part.

We first met at a local bar on the South Side of Springfield on a Friday night.  J was new in town and had a few friends visiting from St. Louis.  I was going out with my roommate to meet up with another friend for a birthday party.  J’s friend from out of town asked to buy me and a friend a drink and no offense to him, he was not my type.  I know they always say don’t judge a book by its cover, but it was hard.  The V-neck shirt, glaring white teeth as in Ross from Friends in the episode where he bleaches his teeth so white that they glowed in a black light kind of white.  He was just not for me and I was tired, so I politely turned down the offer.  My friend took him up on it and so then they decided to introduce me to J.  J was feeling pretty good that night, if you know what I mean.  He doesn’t remember meeting me and all I remember is this horrible dancer who looked like he would be in a lot pain the next day

.

Fast forward to the next day when J’s friend and my friend conspired to meet up while downtown.  After a night of dancing with my date the five us decided to head to the local Steak-N-Shake for some grub.  I started talking to J who was in much better shape than the night before.  We talked about food, the bootheel of Missouri, which will always hold a soft place in my heart.  I decided that he was pretty decent and much better than my actual date, so I tried to be cool by asking for his number to go to breakfast one morning at the local hot spot.

Two weeks went by and my friend asked for his number to go out with us that night.  I decided to beat her to the punch and texted him first… I was so slick!  He was busy or had to get up early the next day, I don’t really remember his reasoning, but I called him boring and that started the conversation from there.

He finally asked me to dinner on a Monday night, he picked me up in his shiny, red truck and we headed out for steak.  We talked, laughed, and he wasn’t completely turned off by my mess-of-a-bathroom when he dropped me off, but still texted me again – whew!

That was it, we had a few moments of uncertainty along the way or really I had one moment and the thought of J not being around was enough to end that moment quickly.  Now he were are 2 months until the big day when I become his wife.

I cannot wait for the next few months to get here.  But I do not want to miss out on any of our time right now.  I have been keeping all of the little knick-knacks during our engagement in hopes of creating a journal.

Cheers!

Joining and Learning

Proud Member of the Yakezie Challenge
It should be no surprise that I have been working hard on trying to grow my blog.  I want to learn from others and hopefully help others in the process.  And by help, I mean guidance on how to become successful, happy, and on budget.

I recently joined the Yakezie Challenge to learn, grow, and develop this little blog of mine.  Check it out!  I’ve been on the site for an embarrassing amount of time now and there is no sign of stopping.

Cheers!

Open Letter to the Incoming Freshmen Class

open letter to incoming freshmen

Yes, that’s me …on a mechanical bull.
One of those nights.

I loved college to the max.  It’s where I discovered that I am, in fact, an extrovert, found some of my best friends, became adventurous.  I developed a love for sushi, the hair poof, dancing like a crazy person – even when sober, and where I learned to speak my mind.  I am not the wisest person or the most eloquent, but I do have some advice for freshmen that was willed down to me.

Dear Small Freshman,

You are about to embark on the best years of your life.  You will drink too much, stay up too late, not study nearly enough as you think you should, and make some of the best memories ever.  To be successful and get the most out of your short time, you have to:

Develop a schedule.  Have specific nights that you stay in, do laundry, get caught up on homework and studying then have nights that you don’t do any of the boring stuff.  For me, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were the fun nights, which meant Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday I stayed in and worked on all my class assignments.   It’s about moderation.

Be adventurous.  It took me the whole first semester before I got this part down.  You will have so much fun if you are up for random road trips, staying up late, or heading to that random dive bar that no one has ever heard of.  Only say no the illegal, try everything else.

Avoid the “Freshman 15” by all costs. In my case it was the “Freshman 15” then “Sophomore 20.”  Workout, join the (probably free-to-you) gym on campus, go for a run with your friends.  It took me 2x as long to lose it all after college then it took for me to gain it all.

Make a connection in each of your classes.  Eventually as you work through your degree program the class sizes will get smaller and you will see the same faces in majority of your classes.  It’s best to make alliances early so when you’re sick or miss class for “whatever” reason then you have someone to call to get notes or turn an assignment for you.

Here we go, pay attention to the next part.  It’s probably the most important to your academic career: Talk to your professors.  Go to your professors during their office hours to ask an assignment question, test question, or anything.  You want your professors to know your face, think you are dedicated to your studies, and in turn, they will be willing to help you succeed or bump you from that 89.2 to a 90.

Most of all, do not stress too much.  Everything will be fine.  My Dad told me one thin that stuck with me “You will not remember in 20 years if you made a C, B, or an A on that test, BUT you will remember that random night when you went out with your friends.”

Have fun!

Yours truly,

Older and Wiser Ex-College Student 

Quarter Life Opportunity

Quarter Life Opportunity

Ever read something that just hits you like a ton of bricks?  And you’re left standing (or in my case sitting) there like “wow, that is so me.”  That happened to me the other day when I ran across fellow blogger Cat’s article in the Huffington Post called “Quarter Life Crisis or Quarter Life Opportunity.”

I have been following Catsince she started, but those days I had another blog and was pretty quiet on the blogosphere.  I’ve seen her grow into this great blogger with great posts and this article is no different.

I have been saying for years (well at least the past 2) that I am going through a Quarter Life Crisis.  I do not know which way my life is going to turn, I am panicked that I do not have a “career” yet, and I do not own a home.  My “crisis” hit on my 25th birthday, I went out with my best friend and got rip roaring drunk.  I woke up with not only a headache, but also a knot on my forehead.  I only remember bits and pieces of the night including the start, the middle and a random 40+ year old lady telling me that she’s been clubbing for over 20 years.

Since that night, I have worked to find a purpose in my life.  I did not want to be someone who had been clubbing for 20+ years, and as a girl that hardly went out in my early twenties I highly doubted it, but still – it was scary folks!  I am lucky that I found someone to share my life with, someone that deals with my panic moments of being an adult with no career who thinks that defines my purpose.

I work hard, I do.  I am willing to be the first one in the door and the last one out.  I am willing to take all the responsibility that I can for my workplace.  I take calls from angry clients that do not understand something, I make the hard calls that need to be made, I get more stuff done in an 8-hour period compared to majority of people I know; however, it does not feel like a career.  I am not where I wanted or more importantly, where I thought I would be by my late twenties.

However, I need to stop looking at it as a “crisis.”  The position I am in is good.  I am still young, I do not have small children to feed or shelter, just two furry dogs that I think are my children.  I am educated and love school so the idea of furthering my education always makes me happy.  I have family and a fiance that will support me.  I love all aspects of business and being creative, so the window is wide open for me to pursue a plethora of options.

Why do we, as mid to late twenty-somethings think that we are not living up to our potential when our lives are not what we dreamed when we were 12?  This, my friends, is not a bad thing.  It’s an opportunity to create the life that we want, even if you are like me and are not sure what that life looks like.

There is not one job or one career out there that will satisfy every aspect of what makes me happy.  Maybe that is what the world is evolving into, individuals with multiple jobs and not the typical 8-5, Monday through Friday.  Perhaps our generation will be much more fulfilled than the previous generation.  Our generation will be able to have a healthy balance between family, work, and play because we will design the jobs that we WANT to work around the life that we WANT to live.

I know that when I go to work each day and feel that I have a made a difference, am happy with my overall performance, and have moderate amounts of stress (because I am weird and like some stress) then I know that I will have found my calling.  Until that moment, I will continue working hard at my 9-5, designing prints for my beloved Etsy shop, and creating for this little blog of mine.

Cheers to the opportunity that is in front of us!

Letter to Miley Haters

Miley Cyrus VMAs 2013 Dear Miley Haters,

Yes, her performance at the VMAs was grotesque.  Yes, if I had small children I would strongly consider not letting them look at her as a role model any longer.  But is she to blame for that behavior? No, she is not.

Miley is the outcome of the media, obsessed fans, and (probably) never being told no as a child.  Do you truly believe that an individual who is able to buy $1000s of dollars worth of clothes at a young age and has her face plastered all over TV and novelty merchandise will be a normal, productive person in society?  Then you are just plain blind.

Miley is getting exactly what she wanted.  People talking about her right before her new album drops.  It is not a coincidence that the VMAs air, every single news station from E! to CNN is talking about her crude performance and then her new album cover drops.

So, Miley haters we, the people, have created this media monster who is suggestive and crude.  She has never had a normal day-job and never will, she has never had to live on a “normal” budget or save for anything.  She is not someone that would function in our seemingly day-to-day life.

In other words, get over it.

Sincerely, 

someone who is fascinated by the marketing of it all

Tips To Getting Settled In A New Home

settling into a new homeJ and I have been in our new home for almost 2 weeks now.  We have been slowly unpacking and getting settled in.  I have to admit that only having 2 weeks to pack our old home and get moved has made me a little less motivated when it comes to unpacking.  Is that bad?

Our new place is great and I am starting to get familiar with how to get around.  I started thinking that the previous tenants did not finish out their lease at our place and I kind of think it was by the landlord’s choice, but that’s just the feeling I get because I have no proof.  When we came to view the place he was changing the locks, which is normal, but then he mentioned that he likes a lease to end around May so that he can have the summer to get the place ready.  Next, he complained about damage to the carpets and how he was not prepared to change the flooring throughout the place.  Finally, the nails were still in the walls.  I went through after the first few days and noticed there were nails in the walls, so I decided to go through and spackle.  I probably removed over 30 nails and covered 60 holes in the walls!  No lie!  I guess the previous tenants didn’t measure and center BEFORE hammering the nail into the wall.

Okay, I’m getting off on my investigation tangent.  This post was about 5 great tips to get settled into a new home.  Here we go:

1) unpack your bedroom first.  Having a nice, clean bed to climb into after moving is a GREAT feeling.

2) unpack the kitchen next.  Then you can return to eating normal sooner.  You are able to cook, grab a glass of water, and just sit down without being surrounding by boxes.

3) hang pictures last.  I always wait to all the boxes are unpacked and the rest of the shelves are decorated then I gather all my pictures and paintings in one spot to look through.  That way I can decide how to gather pictures and hang them based on my entire collection.

4) get rid of boxes as soon as they are empty.  It’s a great feeling to see less and less boxes in a room.  Don’t keep empty ones laying around because that will just make you feel overwhelmed.

5) let people help.  I had a problem with this one, let me tell you.  No one knows how I like my kitchen set up, no one knows what beauty products I use on a daily basis and want within arms length.  It’s true, no one knows how you want everything setup other than you.  But it’s a new home, you do not even know the place for everything.  So, let people help you unpack boxes.  You can always rearrange later and the best part is you will not be tripping over boxes while you move things around.

Cheers! 

Tips to Simplify Your Life

merelynne tips to simplify your life

I am always drawn to articles, books, and readings about simplifying my life.  I run around all day like a chicken with its head cut off.  I’ve always hated that saying because I literally imagine a cartoon type chicken running around without a head in the middle of the desert.  Why the desert you might ask?  I have no idea, perhaps too many episodes of Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner as a kid.  Anyway back to what I was saying.  An article that promises to calm my life with just a few simple steps is like a magnet to my A-type personality.

I have learned through college, working, and then family life a few tricks that always work for me.  Now that I’m getting older I have found that these tricks are even listed on most of those fancy-shmancy articles.  I’d like to think I’m that smart, but it’s probably because I’ve read so many of them.

Here we go my top 5 tips to simplify your life and enjoy your life more:

1) Prioritize – sounds simple right?  You need to pick 1-3 tasks per day to complete each day.  Spend a few minutes each morning or when you arrive at your desk to think about your whole day and what all needs be accomplished.  Highlight 1-3 tasks depending on the time you have and the time you assume each one will take.

I keep a running to-do list of items at work, for my Etsy shop, for the home, and for this little blog.  I then pick 1-3 things that I need to do.  Usually the days I work I pick 1-3 to do the 8 hours I’m there and then maybe only 1 to do from home, Etsy or blog for when my work day ends.  I’m not saying pick a hobby task over your actual job – you gotta make that money, honey.

2) Pick What Makes You Happy – it is super easy to get swallowed whole by work; try not to let that happen.  Select 1-2 things each day that make you happy and fulfilled.

A few months ago I switched up my job to work at a local retailer.  Most days I would not get home until 9:30 and I realized that I missed having dinner with J.  Now I make it a point to have dinner with J every night.  Also, I chose Crossfit.  I’m new at it, it will always be challenging, but I am absolutely enthralled by it.

3) Block Out Distractions – get your environment ready to crank out your top priorities.  For me, it’s  not only turning my phone on silent but turning it over and popping in my earbuds to listen to some Pandora.

4) Just Say No – remember that drug prevention club in middle school?  Just Say No to Drugs… Okay, well maybe your school wasn’t as cool as mine, but anway you get the point.  Say no to things that are not a priority.  Keep yourself single-minded when it comes to tackling.  Don’t take on too much.

5) Breathe – I have a habit of running around like a crazy woman when I get stressed so I am still working on this one.  Every once in awhile remind yourself to breathe.  The world will still be here tomorrow even if you do not get everything done on your list.  It’s okay, be forgiving to yourself.

Now, I think this post might be more for me then it is for anyone else.  It’s a simple reminder to simplify your my life so that you I can enjoy more and stress less.

Cheers!

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop chair / nails / walls

Chevron is everywhere.

 Walls, bulletin boards, wallets, watchers, shirts, and even nails… Since I do love a good trend, it should come as no surprise that I am using a hint of chevron in my wedding decorations.

We are having a few paper goods printed and I decided early on to design most of these myself (i.e. programs, thank you notes, menus, etc.).  I am having several designs for our printed goods – Stripes, chevron, polka dots… oh my!

You know I had no problem making a strip design or polka dot design in Photoshop – go figure!  I can draw a straight lines and circles on the computer! I was so proud and maybe a little too big headed because my chevron attempt was not successful.   I actually had to think and work at this one!  I didn’t want anything to be actual work, where’s the fun in that?!

I have since perfected it based on a few other tutorials online that I combined.  I thought I
would share my revelation with you to save someone else frustrations.

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop

Create a new file… I made mine the size of a notecard 4”x5.5” and put on the grid option.

Select your color and the rectangle tool.  Using the grid measure out equal boxes (for me I needed 6).

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop

Then rotate every other box either 45 degree or -45 degree, then line up the corners to be overlapping.

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop

Once your first chevron print is done for the entire length then select the layers and link together.

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop

Finally, duplicate the layers and space them out evenly.

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop

There you have it, a nice chevron print that was easy to make and no hair pulling was necessary.

Since I wanted to add words to my design, I created a nice white box on top of the print.

Cheers!

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The Smell of Freshly Sharpened Pencils

I’m no longer a student.  It’s the first time  in 21 years (minus that one year break between undergrad and grad school to find myself or some gibberish) that I am not heading back to school.  It’s a surreal feeling, let me tell ya.

I will always love back to school season.  It holds a special place in my heart.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been a student for the majority of my life or maybe it’s because I worked at an office supply store for over 4 years because the idea of getting a discount on my planners was enough to make me giddy.  Either way, I love school supplies, calendars and anything organizational related.

Here are my top picks for those heading back to school or for those, like me, who just like this time of year.

Tools Back To School
1/2/3/4/5/6

undated calendar undated planner

Plus a great undated calendar with a space for reminders is a must.  It’s in the shop!

Cheers!