Top Knots and Curly Locks

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year in Review: 2015

Wow!  What a year 2015 has been!  This year flew by.  2015 saw some big changes, some moves, some trips and lots of laughs and fun.  Here's a look at some of the highlights from 2015.

This was the motto to the start of my new year.  In January I did one of the scariest things I've ever done and resigned from my job as a producer without having another job lined up.  I didn't have a plan, but knew I needed a change.  What I was doing wasn't fulfilling to me and I needed something different.  This was my first big-girl job but it was time to move on.

I got to spend time with two of my favorite little guys.  These boys bring be so much happiness and I love getting to watch them grow up.  They knew I worked in the TV industry but didn't understand that I wasn't actually on TV so they would get up early and watch the news looking for me to be on-air.  How sweet is that?

We also got our first snow in January -- and it definitely wasn't the last.  It may have taken us a while to see snow, but when it finally came, it came with a vengeance.  Schools were closed for weeks at a time.

In February, I packed up my bags and escaped the snow to head to LA for a week.  I'd never spent that much time out west and loved it.  Plus, it didn't hurt that I went to the Grammys while I was there.

Remember when this happened and I became BFFs with LL Cool J?

I got home from LA just in time to plan a last-minute trip to Disney with my best friend!

Remember all the snow I mentioned earlier?  Well it shut down the airport at home and we HAD to spend 3 more days at the happiest place on earth.  These were our faces when we found out we got to stay longer.

In May, I helped host a bridal shower for one of my dear friends.

I was in charge of making the cupcakes and came up with these!

June started off with a bang and a last minute trip to Cleveland to see Taylor Swift in concert.  This was my 4th time seeing her on tour and she doesn't disappoint. 

 Bonus: I got to see my big and my best friend.  I hadn't seen either one in more than a year so it was so good to see both of them.

Also in June, Paige got married!  The three of us have been together since before we were born and it's so hard to believe we're growing up and getting married.

I got to check "Ride a horse on the beach" off my bucket list in August.  My horse's name was Fire and definitely lived up to the name.  I had so much fun and hope to do it again.

September was a crazy month.  I got to work New York Fashion Week for the first time and it was such a surreal experience -- I still have to pinch myself to make sure it really happened.

If I thought September was crazy, multiply that by about 1,000 for October.  The month started off with a family friend's wedding.  Heather and Brian are the children of Anthony's godparents and are like big siblings to us.  I can't even tell you the last time the four of us were together so that made Brian's wedding even more special.

A week and a half after the wedding, I packed up my car and headed to New Jersey where I landed an internship with several teen magazines at Bauer Publishing.  Oh, did I mention my parents were in Paris while I moved?  Just add that to the craziness of everything.  Luckily my mom came up to Jersey almost as soon as she landed to help me find an apartment and get settled.

I was sent into the city to cover my first-ever event by myself and had so much fun interviewing Cameron Dallas and Nash Grier.

My name also appeared in the masthead for the first time and I was more than a little excited...not just to see my name, but because it's spelled correctly.  My name is never spelled correctly -- it's always "Angelo."

My cousin got married!  I was so excited to get to stand up with her on her big day.

Also in December, my best little friend made me the sweetest Christmas present.  She drew me a picture and also wrote me a note -- they're both hanging on my fridge  She did the wrapping herself and was so proud. 

Out of all the times I've been to NYC, I've never seen the tree lit up.  Luckily, Anthony and some of our friends drove me back to Jersey after Christmas and we went into the city and saw it.  I was so glad to get to share the experience with my little brother and get to spend some time with him.

I hope you all had a great 2015 and I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for all of us!  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December Book Review

Does anyone else agree with me?  I will now pretend to be Elsa and sing this song every time I enter a bookstore.  I know, I know.  Just when you think you've escaped Frozen, I throw a reference to it on my blog.  Let it go, people! ;) #sorryimnotsorry  And just for kicks, here I am with Elsa herself earlier this year!

If you've never taken a 4-year-old to Disney before, I highly recommend it; it's so magical to see Disney through their eyes.

Anyway, on to this month's book review.  As soon as Thanksgiving hits, I'm all about the Christmas books.

The Christmas Bouquet by Sherryl Woods
I was so excited to read this book after reading the back cover, but was quickly disappointed.  There is no Christmas theme in it except for the fact that Caitlyn, the main character, caught the bouquet at a holiday wedding.  The book was very slow moving and I could not get into it at all.  Caitlyn is extremely whiny and very annoying.  Even through her whining, her boyfriend still worships the ground she walks on.  It's so annoying.  An unplanned pregnancy derails the plans she has for her life and instead of being happy about the baby, she is selfish and whines the whole novel about how she doesn't get to live the life she wanted.  I didn't feel any passion in their romance.  It seemed like Noah was head over heels for Cait, but she didn't care about him at all.  Overall, this was a huge letdown as a Christmas book.

Angels at the Table by Debbie Macomber
My mom has recently gotten into Debbie Macomber books and loaded up on her Christmas ones.  This was a cute read about well-meaning angels Surely, Goodness, Mercy and Will.  They do their best to help two New Yorkers find their chance at love, but some of their best intentions turn disastrous.  It was a sweet read that definitely put me in the Christmas spirit.  And a huge bonus -- the book was set in NYC!

Buffalo Valley by Debbie Macomber
Another sweet Christmas read by Debbie Macomber.  This one is set in a small town and focuses on a man who comes to check out Buffalo Valley as a location for a major corporation.  He ends up falling for the town and the people in a David and Goliath-type story.  This one mentioned a lot of characters and it was hard to keep them straight, but overall, it was a cute book.

What books have you read this month?  I'm always up for suggestions!  Be sure to follow me on Goodreads to keep up with all my reads!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sausage Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls

Happy day-before-the-night-before-Christmas!  If you're still looking for a breakfast to serve Christmas morning?  Don't worry, I've got you covered and it's super easy to make!

Sausage Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls

2 packages crescent rolls
1 pound sausage (or meat of your choice)
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Brown and drain sausage
Mix sausage and cream cheese
Unroll crescent roll triangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Spoon about a tablespoon of sausage cream cheese mixture onto each triangle
Starting with the larger end, roll up crescent roll
Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden

Monday, December 21, 2015

12 Cookies of Christmas: Day 12

It's hard to believe we're up to day 12 already.  This cookie might be my favorite solely because it's acceptable to eat it for breakfast.  I rationalize the fact that chocolate chip cookies are okay for breakfast because they're like chocolate chip pancakes, am I right?  No.  Ok.  Well these are totally okay for breakfast.  In fact, they're even called "breakfast cookies."  When I told my mom I was making cookies for breakfast, she said "Interesting."  I wasn't expecting complete fanfare, but at least an "Angela, you're a genius!  You're my favorite child!  Why did it take you so long to come up with this?"  Once she found out what a hit they were, she was texting me asking me to bring her some all the way from Jersey to Miami, Florida.  I had some on the plane for her, but I ate them all.  Whoops!  And the best part about this recipe is you can add whatever you want (or don't want) into it.  I've had people add in a cup each of raisins and chocolate chips, but it's totally up to you.

Breakfast Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups oats
1 cup craisins
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped nuts of your choice (I used walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream butter and both sugars
Add in eggs and blend well
Add in vanilla and almond extracts and blend well
Slowly add in baking soda, cinnamon and flour
Add in oats
Add in the remaining ingredients
Drop dough by the heaping tablespoon onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Bake for 12-14 minutes
Move to wire rack to cool

Missed out on the other 12 Cookies of Christmas? Check them out here!
Day 4: Appledoodle

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  This time next week it will be CHRISTMAS!!!!!  I can't wait.  I just have one plane ride, one wedding and one 17 hour car ride to get through first.  I'm linking up with NarciAndrea and Erika to share this week's Friday Favorites! 

This little free library is right down the street from me and I love it!  I've already been there a couple times to leave a book and also to take a book (or 2!).  It's so cute and so much fun to see what books are there.

This week, my sweet little dog turned 13!  I love this picture.  I picked up this bone for her at Woof Gang Bakery and Grooming and as you can tell, she was so excited to have it that she refused to stand still for a picture.  She's even licking her lips in this picture!  Since Freedom is so little and the bone was so big (for her at least), Mom broke off pieces of it and gave it to her.  Mom then sent me a text later in the day saying Freedom kept following her around.  My dog may not be the brightest, but she knows when Momma's holding out on the good stuff!

 A friend of mine sent me this picture showing me that she made my Grinch cookies.  This made me so happy!  I've never had someone send me in a picture of something they've made from my blog -- it was exciting!

My adopted family in New Jersey invited me over for a gingerbread house making competition.  Every year, I'm the only person in my house to make one so it was fun to be with a bunch of people making them at the same time.  We all took the competition seriously.  Here's mine.  See the pretzels in the left corner?  I was so proud of myself.  I made a sled and had a gummy bear riding it.  Then someone told me they thought it was a gummy bear roasting in a fire.  Sigh.  Maybe it was just too creative for them! ;)

We separated the guys and the girls for the competition.  The girls got remade houses and the guys had to put theirs together.  This was mainly because they didn't have 10 kinds of one house.  The guys were sent to the garage to work and one of the girls said she walked by there and heard the drill going.  Lo and behold, she did.

The guys put all of their houses together to build this church.  Pretty impressive except that they used non-edible materials and were disqualified.  They had wood inside holding the church up, and we're pretty sure they used actual caulking, too, but they won't say either way.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

12 Cookies of Christmas: Day 11

Alright, my family is weird.  My dad doesn't like peanut butter and my mom hadn't had peanut butter crackers until a few years ago.  Sometimes I don't know how I came from these two people.  Peanut butter is a food group its own for me.  The good thing about my family being weird is I don't have to share these cookies with anyone...well, except maybe my brother.  These cookies are so easy to make and it doesn't really have proportions, just whatever you feel like.

Peanut Butter Cracker Cookies

Peanut butter
Crackers (I used Ritz)
Melting/dipping chocolate

Lay out wax paper
Place as much peanut butter as you want on a cracker
Top with another cracker to make a sandwich
Melt chocolate according to directions
Drop a sandwich into the melted chocolate making sure it gets coated entirely
Place on wax paper and top with sprinkles
If you're in a hurry and need the cookies to set up quickly, pop in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes

Missed out on the other 12 Cookies of Christmas? Check them out here!
Day 4: Appledoodle
Day 6: Grinch Cookie

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

12 Cookies of Christmas: Day 10

I love peanut butter.  I mean like really love peanut butter.  Sometimes when I'm really hungry, I just eat it by the spoonful.  I also love chocolate so there's nothing better than putting the two together.  Expect for maybe Nutella, but we'll get to that another day.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cream together shortening, peanut butter and sugar
Add in the egg and milk
Slowly add in flour, baking soda and salt and mix until combined
Fold in chocolate chips
Drop by the tablespoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Bake for 10-12 minutes

Missed out on the other 12 Cookies of Christmas? Check them out here!
Day 4: Appledoodle
Day 6: Grinch Cookie

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12 Cookies of Christmas: Day 9

My mom has been asking me for weeks to make gingerbread men and I don't know what's taken me so long.  They're such staples of Christmas so it's about time I made them.  I used Paula Deen's recipe but tweaked it just a little.

Gingerbread Men

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1/3 cup molasses
3 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar
Add in eggs and molasses
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt
Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour, or until firm
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Unwrap dough and break into smaller sections, about 1/2 cup, to roll out
Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness
Cut out cookies with cookie cutter
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Bake for 10 minutes
Transfer to wire rack to cool

Missed out on the other 12 Cookies of Christmas? Check them out here!
Day 4: Appledoodle
Day 6: Grinch Cookie

Monday, December 14, 2015

12 Cookies of Christmas: Day 8

These cookies were a hit at family dinner and a week later, people were still talking about them!  I love almond flavoring and these cookies are perfect for curling up with a mug of hot tea and a Christmas movie.

Almond Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp almond extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream together: butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy
Add in almond extract
Slowly add in flour and oats
Drop by the tablespoon on to baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Gently flatten the the back of a spoon
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until light brown
Move to wire rack to cool

Missed out on the other 12 Cookies of Christmas? Check them out here!
Day 4: Appledoodle
Day 6: Grinch Cookie

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Favorites

TGIF!  Today means just 2 short weeks until Christmas!  I really need to get to work on my Christmas shopping!  I'm linking up with NarciAndrea and Erika to share this week's Friday Favorites! 

I have a page a day calendar that has quotes for everyday.  These have been some of the pages recently and I love them!  They relate to me perfectly.

Have you seen these cookies yet?  Aren't they the cutest?  I call them Grinch Cookies and you can find the recipe right here.

You guys know how obsessed I am with One Direction so I can't believe it took me this long to see their latest interview on the Late Late Show with James Corden.  I laughed the whole time: from Louis acting like a cat on James' lap to playing tattoo roulette, it's definitely worth the watch.  While you're at it, watch the boys play Never Have I Ever on Ellen, it's HILARIOUS!  If it was socially acceptable for someone my age, they would be every item on this Friday Favorite.

And while we're talking boy bands, can we take a moment to remember these Christmas CDs?  To this day, these CDs remain among my favorite Christmas ones.  I still swoon a little every time I listen to "This Gift" by 98 Degrees.  And who can resist dancing to "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" by NSYNC?  They just don't make boy bands like they used to.  Sigh.  I'm still holding out hope for an NSYNC reunion!

I love my little town of Westfield!  How cute are these carolers that were out and about bringing Christmas cheer?  I snapped this picture and sent it to my mom telling her how obsessed I am with my new town.  I feel like I live in Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls, I love it!

Have a great weekend and be sure to check back Monday for more 12 Cookies of Christmas!