End of 2016

8:00:00 AM

New Year Post

2016. Just as quickly as it began, it ends. A year for gratitude for myself personally. January was the end of a job I held for two years, and I spent the rest of the months until May, searching for a new one. Roommate struggles were had, and soon it was a relief to have them end. I spent most of June in the south, exploring North and South Carolina and briefly Georgia. 

Exciting things happened in 2016. 

I tried out new recipes, like this Cauliflower pizza recipe, and a Cashew Chicken recipe as well. 
Eating healthy was something I really focused on for the most part, 
I went on a family vacation and really realized how much I love family road trips.
Climbing to the top of Chimney Rock in North Carolina to see the Blue Ridge Mountains might have been my favorite part, and eating at Jestine's in Charleston in South Carolina was a special treat after we had been there in 2011, forgot the name and by chance found it again. 
 North Carolina

Oh. I also checked off a major bucket-list item, I went skydiving. And it is still, by far the coolest thing I have ever done. I started my third-to last semester at uni, and then I was also accepted into my study abroad program. 

2016, really left me feeling really really blessed. I just feel like it was a great year. I had a great roommate this past Fall, and that made life at university so much better than it has ever been before. 
Realizing Stuff

As for 2017, I'm going to have 3 and a half days at home until I take a leap across the ocean and start my study abroad program in England. I'll be studying about an hour and a half north of London, and have trips to Ireland, Bath & Stonehenge, Prague and Barcelona planned. I'm excited, and thrilled, and I cannot wait to bring this blog with me! 

Because i'll be abroad until April, I won't be posting every Wednesday and Saturday until maybe May or June, instead, it will be once a week Tuesday's. So make sure to check in on where I'm going! 

As for goals for 2017?
-Have 500 twitter followers
-See as much of Europe as possible
-Live in the moment

If you have any suggestions for weekend trips around Europe please let me know! I cannot wait to share my journey with you! What are some things that made you proud in 2016? Let me know in the comments! 
I hope you all have a great new year! :) 

Along with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, you will be able to see my European adventures via Snapchat too! Just add kenziedear! And if you haven't noticed, there is a YouTube button in the top right corner where I will be putting videos of my trip! 


Dark Hot Chocolate Cookies

8:30:00 AM

December is a cold month here in Wisconsin, there is a ton of snow and all you really want to do is curl up in front of the fire with a cup of tea or cocoa, or lounge around in the bath. Christmas is also about baking, and while there has been a ton of cookies that have already been whipped up already, I decided to try out a new recipe. 

Because you really cannot have enough cookies. Right? 

Homemade Christmas Cookies

There is an entire can of dark hot chocolate mix in my cupboard and I decided to use some of it up in my favorite form of dessert. Cookies. The first batch I made was awful, and the second was just alright but better and tastier! (They just didn't rise and that's because I didn't chill the dough)

Here's What You'll Need: 
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup hot chocolate mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar 
large bowl
medium shallow bowl

Here's What You do: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat butter until smooth
Add sugars and then beat again until light
Add in egg and vanilla

In separate bowl:
Stir flour, hot chocolate mix, baking soda and salt together
Then combine wet and dry ingredients

*Chill up to 3 hours 
(which I didn't and then I redid the recipe and it worked better) 
If you don't then your cookies will be flatter and that's okay! 

Put powdered sugar in shallow bowl
Scoop cookie dough into ball shape and roll in sugar
Place on baking sheets

Bake about 8 minutes
Hot Chocolate Cookies

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you had a great holiday and I'll see you soon with more posts! What did you bake for the holiday?  Let me know in the comments! 


Christmas Eve Outfit

8:30:00 AM

Hello everyone! I hope you're getting really excited for Christmas now, I have finished up my exams for the semester and decided to share one thing that I cannot wait for and that's to put on my new Christmas jumper for Christmas Eve. Every year my family goes to Church and then to Christmas dinner at my step-grandma's house. This year, I got my top from target and love it. 

It makes me feel so festive and warm! 

Reindeer Sweater

I cannot believe that Christmas is just a few days away and I will finally be able to wear it to the dinner. 

Pullover Christmas

There won't be a new post up on Saturday as it is Christmas Eve, but I will be back with an exciting one a week from today so make sure you stay tuned! I hope you enjoyed this type of post, let me know what you're doing for Christmas in the comments! Merry Christmas!! 
This post is not sponsored, all thoughts are my own

Christmas Market

Christmas Market

8:30:00 AM

Christmas Banner

The weather was cold at the beginning of the month. My usual weekend mornings begin with a nice warm cup of tea and catching up on everyone else's blogmas posts. I have always lusted and drooled over the European Christmas markets that we don't seem to have anywhere near where I live.
Except the other weekend, when a Facebook event popped up on my page and there was one happening only a few minutes drive from my university!

The market was small, though filled with people. There were cute little stands of cheeses and meats and homemade decorations.
Christmas MarketMarket

Handmade signsChristkindlmarket
Handmade signsUSA

I love wandering around Farmers markets in the summer and fall, and I was excited to go to this one! The cute decorations hanging from each stall made me feel so festive. Even though I have been done with all of my Christmas shopping for everyone this year, there were a few things that I would buy if I had the chance to go back again (which hopefully I will!). 

I hope you enjoyed this post, even though it's quite a quick one! Do you have Christmas markets near you? Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? I am nearly done with this semester (Monday I have one exam to take!) 
Let me know in the comments! 


Top 10 Christmas Movies

8:30:00 AM

Top Ten

Christmas eve is only ten days away, and for ten days you can watch each one of these Christmas films on my list! So just wrap up with your warmest blanket, and fuzziest socks and warm up that cup of cocoa because here is another holiday-themed list post! I hope you don't mind! Let's get to it then!

1.The Santa Clause
2. Polar Express
3. The Holiday
4. Prancer
5. Christmas Under Wraps
6. It's a Wonderful Life
8.Miracle on 34th Street
9. The Bridge
10. Northpole

These are just a few of the many Christmas movies that are out there, but definitely my ten favorites! I love throwing on my fuzzy pajamas and fuzzy socks, and watching a hallmark movie at night during the holiday season. There is just something about cheesy-christmas-love stories that get me so much more excited for the actual day!

Do we have some of the same movies on our lists? Which one is your favorite? 
I hope you're enjoying these posts! This one is quite quick, but exam week is upon us so cross your fingers and wish me luck! 
x see you next time! 


Christmas Cranberry Side

8:00:00 AM

Happy Saturday everyone, though I'm not participating in Blogmas this year, I hope you enjoying all of the Christmas themed posts that everyone is writing. Christmas is a special time of the year, and this year I jumped ahead a little too soon, I think. By the end of November I had but three things checked off of my list for gifts!

If that doesn't make it obvious that my favorite holiday is Christmas, then I don't know what would. 
Like many holidays, this one is centered around baking. Another one of my favorite things! This recipe is one of the staple side-dishes at my Christmas table.

Cranberry Side Dish Recipe

What you'll need: 
            1 pot
            1 box of 3-ounce cherry jello
            1 box of 3-ounce lemon jello
            1 cup boiling water
            1/2 cup grated rind of orange
            1/2 cup juice of orange
           1 large can crushed pineapple
           1 can whole cranberry sauce
          1 cup chopped pecans

What to do: 
Bring water to boil in pot
Dissolve jello in boiling water
Take off stove, and when jello starts to jell add in other ingredients
Let jello sit in fridge

      This recipe is super simple and quick to make, it takes about five to ten minutes, depending on how much you make! The crunch of the walnuts and the citrus from the fruit are so lovely together. 

While getting ready for the holidays, I started thinking about what I really love about Christmas that makes it so special and exciting for me! Here's a little list of things that I thought of:

  1. Giving Gifts: There is nothing I love more than giving gifts to people I care about. I love shopping for other people, and seeing their reactions to opening the gifts! 
  2. Family Time: At Christmas time I get to see family members that don't have schedules that mesh with my own, and it is always nice to catch up
  3. Food. There are delicious snacks and entrees at Christmas dinner. but..
  4. Breakfast. Christmas breakfast is always my favorite (stay tuned for a new recipe!) 
  5. Decorating. I can't be the only one who finds Christmas decorations seriously adorable?! 

I hope you enjoyed this Christmas themed post! I love this recipe and I hope you did too! Let me know what your favorite Christmas dishes are in the comments below! 


Christmas Playlist

8:00:00 AM


These Christmas-Themed posts are getting me into the spirit one post at a time! Every year I fall in love with Christmas music all over again, there is just something that feels good about listening to it in the car, as the snow on the roads starts to pile up. Here are some of my top ten favorite Christmas songs! 
1. White Christmas-Bing Crosby & Michael Buble
2. Silent Night
3.I'll be home for Christmas-Lady Antebellum
4.It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas-Michael Buble
5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas-Sam Smith
6.My Favorite Things-Julie Andrews
7.The most wonderful time of the year-Pentatonix
8.Happy Xmas (war is over)-John Lennon
9. A Holly Jolly Christmas-Burl Ives
10.Baby It's Cold Outside-Idina Menzel & Michael Buble

*Bonus: Do they Know it's Christmas? -Various Artists

Overall, most of my favorites are from Michael Buble (he's great). Whenever I am home for the holidays, the holiday music is always on in the background. Whether we're baking cookies and other treats or just hanging out. 

What songs are you always listening to during the holidays? Do you have a favorite song or artist that sings holiday music? Only a few more weeks until Christmas! 


Christmas Wishlist 2016

8:30:00 AM

Hello everyone. It's finally December! Can you believe it? A lot of bloggers do "Blogmas" posting everyday this month, but with final exams looming in my near future (they start December 14th), I'm sticking to my Wednesday/Saturday postings. This Christmas wishlist has been one difficult list to come up with, since I'll be abroad for four months, I really didn't need anything other than money. 
But here are a few things that made the list anyway!


1. Love Your Melon Beanie: 
Currently, the ones that I want are SOLD OUT! but hopefully they will go back in stock soon! I would love the speckled gray or blue or coral colored ones.  They're all so lovely! They also always get new colors in, so my preferences change every time!  And the company donates to pediatric cancer, which is an amazing cause! 

2.Car Scent portables. Practical I know. But it is so nice getting into your car and smelling nice smells. 

Car Scents
(These are from bath&body)

3. Lush. Bathbombs are always on my list, and I love them! Lush has new Christmas ones and I would love to try them out! 

4. Ornament. I saw this ornament while scrolling through World Market (one of my fave stores) and thought it was so cute! 

5. Elephant Pants. I have wanted pants with elephants on them for so long. Maybe one day I'll get myself a pair. 
Pants with Elephants

Aside from wanting shortbread cookies and tea, that's pretty much all of my Christmas Wishlist for this year. I'm going abroad, and I honestly generally do not need anything. I'm really lucky. 
I hope you enjoyed this post! Only a few more days until Christmas and I can hardly wait! I haven't done much shopping yet, but have a day set aside where I can go and get it all done! 
What is on your wishlist this year? Anything exciting? 
Have a great December! 

You can read last years Wishlist right here! 


Study Abroad Series; Pre-Travel Checklist

8:30:00 AM

I'm the kind of person who has to triple check things before I even walk out of my room. There are only 40 days until I depart for England, and there is a long checklist to get through before I actually leave my house and board the plane. I also worry a lot about whether or not I have locked the door, or left anything behind! It's stressful. 
SimpliSafe home security has a ton of great tips for keeping the home safe while traveling. Their wireless security system was designed with the traveler in mind and is perfect for busy, individuals. After seeing their pre-travel checklist around the house, I wanted to share it with you, along with some of my own tips for leaving before traveling!

Tip: Put sticky notes where you'll see them. I make a list of bathroom products that I need to bring with me onto a little sticky note and tape it to the mirror so I can double check that I have everything I need. 
     What's on that sticky note list? 
Though you can buy a lot of things when you get to wherever you are going, it is still better to cut panic and make sure you have everything in the first place!
Packing for a trip is another story (I haven't even gotten my head around the fact that I have to pack for four months.) 
Tip: Research where you're going. The weather can be the biggest "if" factor in packing stresses. If you're going somewhere where the weather is warm, then pack in those summer dresses and shorts. But also bring a light jean jacket, because the nights can be typically cool. 

Making sure everything is in my backpack that I need while travelling on my own, is definitely going to be my biggest worry while I'm over in England. 
Tip: Pack the backpack the night before. In the morning, you can always check again, but if you pack in a rush, chances that you missed something are pretty high. 

While I make sure i have everything I need (and probably more than I'll need), before we leave the house, there is still a checklist to get through before locking up. SimpliSafe Security sent me their list of things to do to reduce travel stresses and eliminate worrying about my home while away. 
A lot of things can go wrong, but by going through the checklist below, it can all be reduced and you can fully relax on that hiking trip or soaking in the sun on the beach. 

Tip: If you're gone more than a week, have a neighbor or friend mow your lawn for you! 
Tip: There is a smartphone app that lets you watch your house while you're away, and will email you if there is movement! You have to have an ipod, or other device with a camera in order for that to work

While getting your home ready for your absence inside and out, it is also important to use the community around you. 
SimpliSafe has this list of things to do before you leave as well. Luckily, I live near some pretty great neighbors and they watch our house for riffraff while we're gone away. 

Tip: If you don't live near great neighbors, or you're new to town, ask a relative that lives nearby to come and check on your house!

I hope you found these lists and tips helpful! I have really enjoyed writing this series, and hope you enjoyed reading it. 
What kind of lists do you make before you leave for holidays? What is the longest you have been away from home? 


Mushy Thankful post

8:23:00 AM

Thursday November 24th was Thanksgiving here in the United States, and while I got ready to greet all of the guests that would descend upon my home, I thought about what I was thankful for. As a lot of people do every year. I know I have been writing more list-posts than usual, but I hope you don't mind that this one is another!

        Adventures. I am so thankful that I have been able to go on so many adventures this year. Skydiving was probably my favorite thing this year! And I cannot wait to go on more! 


         Family. Duh, that's a given. They're lovely, they really are. 

        My roommate. That's a big difference from last years posts isn't it? Last year, my roommate was awful. But we all have one at some point in our lives. This year, she's just great. One of the nicest people i have ever met. We won't be roommates next year and that makes me extremely sad. But she'll be in France while I'll be in England, and maybe we'll wave across the English Channel or something. 

       England. Because they're letting me study abroad in the country, and I have been wanting to do this since I was in the sixth grade. I am too excited. 

United Kingdom

       Readers. Of course, I'm thankful that people actually come onto this blog, and some even subscribe and keep up on other social medias like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. That is just amazing, also can we appreciate the fact that there are people from all over the world?! That really blows my mind! 

Phil Dunfy

I know not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving, but I thought I would just share my thankful list with you all this year! Christmas is coming up, and while I don't like cold weather I am so excited! It's my favorite holiday! 

Thanks for reading as always! 


Study Abroad Series: The Big Question

8:25:00 AM


There's always that one big question that comes up in the beginning, before applying to study abroad. And that's why? Why should you study abroad,it's going to cost a lot of money. You're going to be away from, home for more than one week. So why should you, or anyone else look into it? Here's why. 

1. Living in a foreign country is different than a holiday. You're living, chatting, and going to shops just like the locals do. Instead of sitting around being 100% touristy. 

2.Make lifelong friends. Being away from home is scary, but you'll also be with 100 other students who are all in the same boat as you. And they'll become you're best friends for four months. 

3.Gain Independence. You will be able to proudly walk through the airports of the future without being overly anxious about whether or not you're in the right terminal. 
I got this

4.Learn more about yourself. Everyone that has studied abroad has told me that they have learned so much about themselves while being in another country than being at home, in their comfy duvets. 

5.An unforgettable experience. One that you can tell your family and friends over and over (and become so annoying they'll probably want you to go back). 
Eye roll Gif

6. Exploring more. You're not limited to staying in just one country, for me, I'm able to fly to different countries like Ireland, Spain and Italy on weekend trips while I'm over in England! 

7. Future employment. You lived for an extended amount of time in another country by yourself, and that will look really impressive to those who may want to hire you in the future!
Tim Gif

8. Experience another culture. I'm going to England, and while the US and Britain both speak English, the way we live is completely different and I cannot wait to see how things are done over there!

9. Bucket List. You can cross so many things off of your bucket list. 

10. You'll learn to appreciate the little things. Like peanut butter. Apparently that's not a thing in England. 
Dog gif

If you have any questions about studying abroad, or ideas for posts let me know in the comments or send me an email! I look forward to hearing from you! I hope you're all having a great November, it's nearly Christmas :) 


Funfetti Cookies

8:30:00 AM

It's holiday season, which means it's time to give in to all those sweets. I hardly baked anything this past summer, and being away at school means I have no access to a proper kitchen Recently, I went home and had the perfect excuse to try out a new cookie recipe! I only hope you'll love it as much as I did!

Cookies for vegans

You may remember that a few months ago, I made this batch of cookies. And similarly I had found a box of funfetti cake mix and wanted to whip it up into a batch of cookies. So, here's what you'll need! 

1. Baking Sheet
2.Funfetti Cake Mix
3.Veggie Oil
4.Vegan frosting (I used dollop) 
5. White Vinegar
6. Baking Soda

First, you can totally un-veganise this recipe by using 2 eggs instead of White Vinegar and Baking soda. The steps are simple to follow and they go like this: 

1. Heat oven to 375 F. 
2. In large bowl combine  cake mix, oil, 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 2 teaspoons baking soda, stir with spoon until thoroughly moistened. If it's a bit crumbly, just add a little bit of water (about 1 tablespoon). 

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased pan or parchment paper
4. Flatten cookies with bottom of cup about 1/4 inch thick
5.Bake about 6-8 minutes (or until golden brown edges) 
Homemade cookies

For the frosting, I used this madagascar vanilla flavor from the Dollop company (which has many more flavors and you should check them out). Being a white cookie, I wanted to spruce up the frosting a bit and added red food coloring! 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe, and have fun making it! It's nearly Thanksgiving here in the states, which means I am almost done with this semester of school then I will be heading off across the sea for four months! That's crazy! 
Fresh cookies

Have you tried any new recipes lately? Tell me about yours in the comments! :) x


Study Abroad Series: Money

8:30:00 AM

Let's talk money. 
If you're thinking about going abroad to study, make sure you look at all of your options. 
And then you have to look at your bank account.

Money Down Under

Because, let's face it, studying abroad is expensive.
My program runs at about thirteen-thousand USD, and that's without the extra traveling that I've paid for and am still going to be paying for.


So here are a few tips on saving up that extra cash!

1. Work. A L O T. If you don't "feel" like getting out of bed and clocking in, then just know that the money you're giving up would probably pay for that trip to a magical destination in a far off land.
Werk Gif

2. Half & Half. Put half of your paycheck into a savings account, and keep half of it for spending it on life pre-study abroad.


3. Raise money. Sell cookies to your neighbors, start mowing peoples lawns. They'll all love you for it, and you'll thank them while sipping on a latte outside of a cafe somewhere in Paris.
Cookie Monster
Now I'm craving cookies!! 

4. Apply for Aid. Most schools have scholarships that you can apply for that will give you a nice little chunk of money in your pocket when you need it!

5. Cut down on spending. Know how much you spend each week, while you're at home or at uni and pay attention to what you're spending on. Share rides with friends, you don't need to buy that clothing item because there will probably be one even better overseas (and you can say where it's from once you're back!)


This list is pretty short, I worked a lot this past summer, and will until I leave. It also helps that I do not like spending money. It actually hurt to spend money on a trip to Ireland, but it will be all worth it in the end!
How do you raise money? Any tips and tricks that I missed?
Which countries should I visit while I'm over there?