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A (Very!) Yummy Brownie Recipe

5 Mar

BrowniesIt’s almost the weekend! Hooray! There’s no better way to celebrate than with a bit of chocolate, so I thought it would be the perfect time to post my favorite brownie recipe. Not only does it make oodles of delicious brownies, but it’s super duper easy too, so there’s no reason not to make them.

I N G R E D I E N T S:

  • 4 ounces of melted chocolate OR 12 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 4 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 cup of melted butter
  • 1 and 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 4 eggs

T O    M A K E:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13 by 9 inch baking pan
  • Mix chocolate and butter together (this can be done by hand or in an electric mixer)
  • Stir in the sugar and the eggs
  • Add in the all-purpose and whole wheat flours
  • Pour the batter into a baking pan and smooth it out with a spatula
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes
  • Let cool
  • Add some chocolate frosting and enjoy!

Adapted from Ciao Bella

Have fun baking!

Lulu :)

 

Purple Panda Points: For Real

25 Jan

Hi!

Happy Sunday! How has your weekend been so far? I’ve spent mine curled up with a few good books and looking at the pretty snow outside my window. And since I’m in a bit of a reading mood, it’s a perfect day to post a Purple Panda Points review!

Here’s a quick review of the Purple Panda Points rating system for any of you who aren’t familiar with it…

My book review format is called “Purple Panda Points”, where I talk about three elements of the book (setting, plot, characters) in brief points. Hopefully this will help to keep the reviews informative, interesting, and spoiler-free!

The books are rated using the ice cream rankings…

1 Panda PointOne Purple Panda Point: One point means that the book was just plain bad. I would never read it again. It’s the book equivalent of spinach ice cream.

Two PointsTwo Purple Panda Points: Two points means the book was okay. Fine. Nothing remarkable. The book equivalent of vanilla ice cream with no toppings in a dish.

Three PointsThree Purple Panda Points: Three points means the book was good. I enjoyed it and would read it again. The book equivalent of vanilla and chocolate swirl ice cream in a wafer cone.

Four PointsFour Purple Panda Points: Four points means the book was great. I loved it actually! The book equivalent of cookie dough ice cream with rainbow sprinkles in a sugar cone.

Five PointsFive Purple Panda Points: Five points mean that the book was one of the best ones I’ve ever read. Amazing! Awesome! Cool beans! The ice cream equivalent of chocolate cookies and cream ice cream in a sugar cone with chocolate sprinkles. Yum!

Woo, that made me hungry! And now onto the review…

Purple Panda Points 3Today I’ll be reviewing “For Real” by Alison Cherry. You can read my full thoughts below or a quick overview of them in the image above.

Summary: When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her, her TV-nut sister Claire immediately comes up with a revenge plan: They’ll compete on the same reality TV show as Samir, “Around the World,” and win. But when the sisters arrive at the starting line of the globe-trotting race, a surprise twist is announced…they won’t be racing with the partners they chose. With all the fake drama and TV magic, the race turns out to be something the two never expected.

Plot: The entire idea of competing on a reality TV show for revenge is a pretty funny idea, so naturally, this book was also quite funny. Add in some easy-flowing writing, sister bonding, and ridiculous TV show challenges, and you have one great book! (And it’s realistic fiction! Surprise!)

Characters: I was really looking forward to reading about Claire and Miranda’s relationship in this book, but the surprise twist in the race unfortunately didn’t allow for them to have too many scenes together. Luckily, the chapters they did share together were very good, and probably my favorite part of the book. And of course, the other contestants on the race were also quite…interesting.

Setting: “Around the World,” is basically it’s own setting, don’t you agree? It was pretty ridiculous (and hilarious!) but I enjoyed seeing the parallels between it and the reality TV shows we watch in real life. I also liked how little, by little, we found out more about the inner workings and behind-the-scenes action of the show.

Overall Rating: 4 Purple Panda Points

Four Points

Have you read any good books lately?

Signature

15 Books Coming Out in 2015 I Really Think You Should Read / B.I.R.T.Y.S.R. Volume 20

19 Jan

Hi!

15 Books Coming Out in 2015It’s time for this month’s Books I Really Think You Should Read (B.I.R.T.Y.S.R)! Like it is every January, this month’s theme is books coming out this year, and let me just say that there are a lot of them. I actually had to change this post from being 10 books to 15. They all look too good. :) Not surprisingly, this list is made up entirely of fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, magical realism, and mythology books (I’m so not a realistic fiction person! :) ), but I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that appeals to you, whether it’s a magic-filled fractured fairy tale or haunted historical mansion mystery. Let’s get reading, shall we?

*The release dates listed for these books may change, so it’s probably a good idea to check their Goodreads pages (links below) for the most recent info. 
The Last Ever After1>> The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani  / Release Date: July 21

Teehee. There’s no way the third School for Good and Evil would not be on this list. I mean, really, I’ve actually included this series on the B.I.R.T.Y.S.R. feature 6+ times. (It is chocolate cookies and cream ice cream all the way though. :) ) The summary and cover of the third book haven’t been released yet, but I’m sure they will live up to the standards of the previous books.

Silver in The Blood2>> Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George / Release Date: July 7

Oh. My. Gumdrops. Look at that amazing cover! And not only that, but look at the author! Yes, it is the oh-so amazing Jessica Day George (AKA: the author of the oh-so amazing books, Princess in the Silver Woods and Tuesdays in the Castle.) Her new book, Silver in the Blood, is about two society girls from New York City in 1890 who travel to Romania to learn more about their family’s (magical shape-shifting!) roots. Sounds cool, right? Now, all we have to do is wait until July. Anyone have a time machine?

Princess in Disguise3>> Princess in Disguise by E.D. Baker / Release Date: March 31

E.D. Baker has always been one of my favorite authors, so you can imagine how happy I was to discover that there would be a fourth book coming out in The Wide Awake Princess series, (which I previously thought was going to be a trilogy.) The fourth installment in the series follows the adventures of Annie and Liam, who are planning (SPOILER WARNING! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!) their wedding, but a series of mishaps causes the event to be ruined. To save their special event, the two embark on a dangerous journey filled with magic, fairy godmothers, and all sorts of fairytale fun.

Thor's Serpants4>> Thor’s Serpents by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr / Release Date: March 1

I never actually got to review Loki’s Wolves on here (which I think just means that I should read the first two books again) but let me just say that the first two books are fantastic. They’re very Percy Jackson-esque, but revolve around Norse mythology. I prefer the second book more than the first, despite the fact that it ended on a cliffhanger (Evil cliffhangers. You ruin all my attempts of reading the end of the book first,) hence my excitement for the third story. March couldn’t come sooner!

The Sword of Summer5>> The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan / Release Date: Oct. 6

Yay! More Norse mythology for everyone! I’m a big fan of Rick Riordan’s other series, Percy Jackson and The Kane Chronicles, so I’m very excited for his new book to come out (only three days before my b-day. :) ) The summary sounds quite interesting: Magnus Chase, a teen from the streets of Boston, discovers a dangerous secret from his mysterious uncle: The Norse gods are real, and the doomsday, Ragnarok, is coming. And Magnus is the only one who can stop it. Sounds ominous, right? In other news, Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes  is coming out in August – hopefully it will be able to satisfy me until October.

Of Enemies and Endings6>> Of Enemies and Endings by Shelby Bach / Release Date: June 30

I adore the Ever Afters series by Shelby Bach. A fractured fairy tale taking place in modern times with plenty of magic and cool characters? Yes, please! I am having very mixed feelings about this book though: on one hand, I’m so excited to find out what happens next after that cliffhanger in book three (see my opinion on cliffhangers above), but on the other, I don’t want the series to end! Either way, it does sound like this book is going to be the best one yet! Oh, and let’s also all take a minute to acknowledge this gorgeous cover. It’s definitely my favorite of this entire post. I mean, just look at it! It’s so different than the others in the series, but still fits in the style of the first three books. I need this on my bookshelf! :)

Princess Academy #37>> The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale / Release Date: March 3

Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy has always been one of my favorite books (it first came out 10 years ago – who knew?), so I was oh-so happy to discover that she was coming out with a third installment in the series. The premise sounds quite fun, although I don’t remember much about the story, (I’m sure a rereading is in my future!) Oh well! I can’t wait to read this fabulous author’s next book.

Grounded8>> Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison / Release Date: April 28

While I was browsing Goodreads for books to add to this list, I came upon Grounded by Megan Morrison. The cover instantly interested me, (Hair! Lots of hair!) so I did a bit of investigating. It centers around a spoiled girl named Rapunzel (which I guessed…from all the hair) who has everything she wants, until one day, when a thief named Jack breaks into her tower. The two venture into the world outside her hidden home, and then, of course, magical adventure follows. Sounds like a fun read! And it’s a debut! And it has a fun cover! Hooray!

Story Thieves9>> Story Thieves by James Riley / Release Date: Jan. 20

I loved James Riley’s Half Upon A Time trilogy, so I’ve been looking forward to the release of this book for awhile. (It comes out tomorrow!) Everything sounds very appealing: the story revolves around a young boy named Owen, who dreams of becoming a hero in his own book series. The dream becomes a reality though, when he sees his classmate Bethany climbing out of a library book. Turns out Bethany is half-fictional character, and she’s been traveling throughout different stories to find her father. Together the two embark on a magical journey through the fictional world…but it doesn’t turn out exactly as planned. Now, if only I could travel into my favorite book…

Palace of Lies10>> Palace of Lies by Margaret Peterson Haddix / Release Date: April 7

I’m a bit late to the whole Just Ella series, (the first book was published 1999 – wow!) since I just read the two books a few months ago, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy them! I fell in love with the way the writing flowed together and really enjoyed how Margaret Peterson Haddix weaved the first two stories together. After I finished the books, my sister mentioned that the third one was coming out in April. After a quick Goodreads search, I was able to learn more about the third installment: Palace of Lies, which is told from the point of view of Princess Desmia, who was a secondary character in Palace of Mirrors. I’m very excited to find out what happens next in the story, and will definitely be purchasing it once it’s out.

Graceful11>> Graceful by Wendy Mass / Release Date: April 28

Wendy Mass is a great author! She’s written some amazing books like Pi in the Sky and The Candymakers, but my all time favorite series of hers is the Willow Falls series. The books are the perfect mix of fantasy, whimsy, mystery, and humor so you can imagine my disappointment when I heard that The Last Present was going to be the last book in the series. Luckily, it turns out I was wrong! The fifth book, Graceful, is coming out in April (so many books are coming out in April!) and by the looks of the cover, (Pizza!) it’s going to be a great read.

The Disappearance of Emily H. 12>> The Disappearance of Emily H. by Barrie Summy / Release Date: May 12

A disappearance. Lying. Secrets. Mysteries. Memories. Supernatural powers. What does The Disappearance of Emily H. not have? Barrie Summy is a great mystery author (She wrote the I So Don’t Do…series, which is one of my favorite “main character can see/communicate with ghosts” series) so I’m sure it will have loads of suspense and wonder. Let’s just hope it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger.

The Island of Dr. Libris 13>> The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein / Release Date: March 24

Chris Grabenstein’s Mr. Lemoncello’s Library was a very fun book – a great blend of mystery and puzzles with lots of book trivia thrown in. His next book, The Island of Dr. Libris, seems just as interesting, but with its own personal twist. Even the summary sounds exciting: Billy is spending the summer on Dr. Libris’s island, where he is busy exploring the Dr’s lakeside cabin. There, he discovers a shelf of books that seem to come to life. But that’s impossible, isn’t it? Anything is possible Billy, anything.

Serafina and the Black Coat14>> Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty / Release Date: July 14

Serafina and her father have lived secretly in the basement of the Biltmore Estate for as long she can remember. She’s never disobeyed her father and also never had any reason to leave the safety of the estate’s basement. When the children of the estate begin to disappear however, Serafina must find the courage to venture into the nearby forest in order to save them, piecing together the puzzle one piece at a time. Doesn’t this book sound amazing? It combines all my favorite genres: fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. What could be better? (I mean, it might be, if you added a purple panda…)

Pirate's Code 15>> Pirate’s Code (Hook’s Revenge #2) by Heidi Schulz / Release Date: September 15

Technically I haven’t read the first Hook’s Revenge book yet…but it’s in my bedroom, sitting on top of my pile of books, and I have no idea why I wouldn’t love it. I mean, a Neverland-themed book from the point of view of Captain Hook’s daughter, who is a former society girl turned pirate? Just my cup of tea! (Or, as I prefer to call it, my scoop of ice cream.) The second book sounds quite good too, and I’m sure I’ll be counting down the days until it’s released.

What books are you looking forward to in 2015?

Lulu :)

Mimi Goes to Legoland-A Photo Story

7 Aug

Hi!

Mimi is back, and as fabulous as ever! When my mom, sister, and I went to the newly opened Legoland Discovery Center, Mimi couldn’t help but make an appearance. She had lots of fun taking photos and posing, (especially with the giant giraffe!) so I’ll let her take over for now…

Mimi and the Giant GiraffeHi everyone! It’s your favorite kitten, me, Mimi! I took some pretty awesome pictures at the Legoland Discvoery Center, so let’s get started right away. See, there’s me and the Lego Giraffe!!!! I look so cute and tiny in that plant down there, don’t I? :) I’ll have to ask that giraffe about how she does her lashes though, because those are fantastic.

Normal EntrySo then, after a bit more waiting, we finally headed inside the Lego center and stood in some very loooooong lines. It was so crowded that I told Lulu to put me in her bag and fend for us both through the lines…but not before I got this picture of the indoor entry way into the main rooms…wait! This is not the entry I wanted for this post.

Mimi's EntryAww, this is much better.

Boston Room 1The first of the main rooms we entered was the model Boston made entirely out of Legos, which was my favorite part. I love this display with the little stores and the boat, (which was floating in actual water.) The details were amazing!

Mini Swan BoatsOoh, look! Little swan boats! They’re the size of me! (I could be a Lego world giant…hmmm…) Lulu was also recently at the actual park this one is modeling, and she says that it’s really nice…but there’s no giant “Build and Test” packet in the bottom of the real water…she thinks.

Mini FenwayYay! Mini Fenway Park! I can almost touch all the bases at once with my paws! This was really cute and detailed, and I really liked the mini baseball game you can play, even if I could never actually get the ball to touch my “bat”…on second thought, I don’t like the game as much after all. Hmpf.

NightimeAnd then, BOOM! Everything turns to night without warning, (actually there’s a big bell noise before it happens, but my way sounds much cooler.) The buildings light up and fake fireworks start to explode all around us in a super cool and ultimately awesome moment!!!!

Bridge Close-upHere’s a close-up of the bridge in all it’s shiny, triangular glory. Yeah. That’s all I really have to say about this one. Oh well.

Night #3Before we head off into the next area, here’s one last night-time picture! I love the way everything changes when the lights turn on and the walls go black. (Although it’s very hard to pose for pictures in…partly because you can never see me…)

Ice Cream The next room was a series of Lego-themed stations with lots of crowded people filling it, but let’s focus on what the important things in there are: the giant ice cream sundae. Since it was already melting I was able to grab a few drops, but they tasted a bit plastic-y. Eck!

EndingThat’s all I have for you tonight my loyal Mimi-lovers readers. I’ll be back soon with some more of my adventures! :)

Have an awesome rest of your week,

Lulu and Mimi

Mimi In Hutch!

7 Jun

Hi!

So sorry for not posting lately, but I have lots of fun posts coming up! Today I just wanted to do a quick post starring everyone’s favorite kitten, Mimi! This one has an extra special surprise in it, but I’ll let Mimi explain… (Apologies for the quality of the first few photos–they were taken during the evening when the lighting wasn’t very good!)

Bookstore 1Hi everyone, it’s Mimi! On Wednesday evening, Lulu took me to this bookstore called the Blue Bunny where they were having a publication party for Hutch magazine. When Lulu had me pose with her copy of my magazine, I was so surprised to see her artwork on the cover!

Bookstore 2I got a chance to explore the bookstore and have Lulu take pictures of me! Here I am posing with the adorable bunny! Aren’t we so cute?

Bookstore 3Ooh, this is my favorite one! Here I am riding the coolest tiara wearing, hula dancing lamb ever!

Mimi and HutchYesterday I got a chance to look through the whole thing: “Oh my gosh! There is a monkey. This is awesome!” I squealed as I looked at the cover.

Article 1And then, the very best part came. When I was flipping through pages, I discovered a brand new photo story about me and my eco-spa right there on page 24. “This is so cool!” I flopped down so I could read my latest adventure.

Article 2“I really have to see how this ends!” :)

Have an awesome weekend,

Lulu and Mimi :)

P.S. I’m going to be doing some work on the blog design this weekend, so just be aware in case the appearance keeps changing.

The Lego Movie-A Movie Review

26 Feb

Hi!

Cast-

  • Chris Pratt as Emmet Brickowoski
  • Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle
  • Will Arnett as Batman
  • Alison Brie as Unikitty
  • Charlie Day as Benny
  • Will Ferrell as President Business

Summary: An ordinary LEGO figure named Emmet is mistaken to be the mysterious “Special”, who was predicted years ago to discover the only piece of resistance that can stop the evil Lord Business from gluing the LEGO world into place. To save his world, Emmet must team up with some of the most skilled Master Builders and travel throughout dangerous instruction-filled lands in order to complete his dangerous mission. Can Emmet and the other LEGO master builders stop Lord Business’s plan before it’s too late?

My Thoughts: When I first saw the previews for this film a few months ago, I was sure it was going to be another really silly and bad movie, but after reading some extremely positive reviews, I was interested. After a bit more investigation, I was getting more excited and was hoping to see it over my school’s February vacation. I went to see it on Saturday, and I ended up being very entertained and loved it!

The story is about an ordinary Lego figure named Emmet, who is mistaken for an amazing special hero that was going to rise against the evil Lego President with a plan to end the world in only a matter of days (cue dramatic music!) He ends up traveling through different Lego worlds with some very, um, interesting characters, hoping to succeed on his dangerous mission. Throw in some cool graphics, cheesy moments, weird, but funny jokes, and a cast of hilarious characters, and you have a movie worth seeing! Oh, and of course, I can’t forget the very annoying, but catchy and addictive song that is played throughout the movie. (Everything is Awesome!)

Emmet was a very entertaining protagonist, and he even had all sorts of funny ideas, (the double-decker couch!) He made all sorts of fun jokes, and I also liked how he was awkward, but still a little sweet. Wyldstyle was another great character, (she had such cool style!) and I loved the moment at the end with her and Emmet, (I don’t want to ruin it for you though!) All of the supporting and main characters were hilarious, but the best one out of all of them was Unkitty!!!! I mean, how can you not love this adorable face…

She’s just so cute!!!!!! :)

Anyways, I was very interested to see how the movie would be designed; would it be exactly like LEGOs, but more computerized? It turns out that the graphics were designed to look like LEGO toys, (they even made the water and fire look like the little plastic pieces), but it was amazing to see all the detail. The action scenes were especially cool, but I also liked to see the differences between each themed LEGO world that Emmet and the others traveled too.

Overall, this was an entertaining and funny movie that I would see again and give 4 and a half stars out of five.

Have an awesome week,

Lulu

Mimi’s Super Bowl Adventure, Part 3-A Photo Story

2 Feb

Hi!

As some of you know, every year, I do a Super Bowl themed photo story with Mimi, (you can read the first two here and here,) and Mimi started the tradition of telling them herself last year, so here’s Mimi’s Superbowl Adventure #3 told by Mimi herself…IMG_1352Hello everyone! it’s your favorite cat, me, Mimi! Anyways, last week I was sitting in my favorite chair enjoying a delicious lunch I made for myself, (but that’s a totally different photo story) when the phone started ringing and interrupting my relaxation. (Sigh…)

IMG_1354So I got up from my chair and went to answer the phone, and was surprised to find out that it was one of the Minnie’s, (although I’m not one hundred percent sure which) an announcer at the Supreme Bowl (the stuffed animal equivalent of the Super Bowl.) Our conversation went a little something like this:

“Hello?” “Is this Mimi, the same Mimi that accidentally broke into the Supreme Bowl football field last year?” “Yep!” I nodded my head as I answered. “Alright then, apparently everyone was impressed by you not knowingly winning the Supreme Bowl, and they want you to perform at the half time show.” “Really?!” I exclaimed before accidentally dropping the phone.

IMG_1357“This is awesome!” I said as I jumped up and down, “I wonder if Lavender wants to do it too…” I ran out the door to go find my friend.

IMG_1359After I told Lavender about the half-time show, she couldn’t wait to do it with me, so we went back to my room to brainstorm ideas of what we should perform. “I could accidentally pass by everyone in hide-and-go-seek like before!” I suggested, but Lavender immediately shook her head. “Ooh! Or I could give everyone hair styles like that time when I opened up my own salon!” I still think it was a brilliant idea, but Lavender didn’t. “There’s way too many people, and I don’t think they want a hair style from you…no offense.” I shrugged, and stroked my chin, hoping it would give me a good idea, (it didn’t.) “Oh! I know!” Lavender said suddenly, “Remember when we pretended to be trapeze artists in your backyard? Let’s do that again!”

IMG_1364Since we finally had an idea, Lavender and I were going to go outside to practice, but I had to come back to grab my delicious smoothie! As I was running back, I came up with an idea, “Hey Lavender we should have matching outfits!”

IMG_1371So, at the Supreme Bowl, the game was getting intense…but no one cares about that because it was time for everyone to see how amazing our trapeze act is! “The score is tied, but for now we’ll be taking a break to watch the half time show…starring that cat that lost all of her popcorn on the field last year and her purple dog friend!” French Minnie announced into her microphone. “Take it away Mimi and Lavender!” Princess Minnie added.

IMG_1381We had exactly a minute before we had to start our awesome act. “Okay Lavender, let’s do this!” I encouraged her. “I’m a bit nervous…do you think we used too much pink in our costumes?” “Uh…duh, there is no thing as too much pink! Anyways, we have to get going!”

IMG_1389The half-time show started off with Lavender flying in on her harness. the crowed cheered and looked in awe. She swished through the air, performing tricks and flips with ease.

IMG_1392And then I came in! I was holding onto the string-thingie upside down! How cool is that!? I mean, I may have been screaming my head off at the time, but it was pretty cool!

IMG_1395So after a few more spins, tricks, flips, and a bit-of almost falling, the half-time show came to an end. When we did our final trick, the crowd applauded wildly!

IMG_1400Together, Lavender and I flipped down and gave each other a hug:) The End!

I hope you enjoyed Mimi’s latest adventure!

Lulu and Mimi:)