Rachel’s Guide to Taking Good Snapshots!


Does this ever happen to you?: you suddenly find the perfect subject for a quick photo so you whip out your camera and snap the picture, but then you get home and the photo looks terrible. This has happened to me numerous times, believe me! However, I have developed a method to make sure that all of my little snapshots turn out great. While I am definitely no photography expert, I do have a couple tricks up my sleeve. Here they are:

1. Check your background!

Too many times I have gone to take a picture (usually in the kitchen) only to forget to clear the dirty dishes out of the background; and trust me, no matter how delicious your food looks, all anyone will be looking at is the mess in the background. So simply just move all distractions out from the background of your photo!

THIS:
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VS

THAT:

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2. Try an interesting angle!

Too many of my pictures have fallen victim to boringanglesyndrome. So many people have the misconception that all photos must be taken completely centered. Newsflash: they are wrong! Try something a little different next time and position your camera differently! You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to a picture!

THIS:

rachels iphone 157

VS

THAT:

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3. Be aware of your camera’s setting

Many people tend to turn on their camera and snap pictures, unaware of what setting their camera is on. Settings and filters on cameras can make a huge difference in the coloring of a picture. It can turn a gloomy and uninteresting picture into a vivid and colorful masterpiece.


THIS:

rachels iphone 320

VS

THAT:

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Next time you’re feeling like your picture is uninspired and boring, try tweaking it using one of these tips! Do you have any favorite tips? Share them in the comments!

Dance Forever,

Rachel

Homework Habits


Homework: the very sound of that word will make most people cringe. Seemingly endless hours of useless algebra problems and dumb grammar rules are enough to depress any teenager; however, the key to defeating the task of homework quickly and efficiently is all in how you approach it. Over the years, I have fine-tuned my daily homework routine to an exact science. I am able to finish the majority of it in an hour or two. Interested? Well then, here are a couple basic rules that I use to speed up the dreadful task of homework.

1. Find a quiet and neat area to do your homework.

For me, this means my desk; it is (relatively) neat and quiet, and serves as a great place to do my homework. Up until about April, I usually did my homework on my bed. Let me just tell you this now: THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA! Although the prospect of lounging on your comfy, warm bed while doing your spelling may seem great, it often leads to messy school-work, missing papers, and disorganization! Your best option would be to sit in a sturdy chair with a flat surface to write on.

2. Keep your work area well stocked. 

The number one cause of me taking long on homework assignments becoming distracted. And having to get out of my chair to go find a pencil contributes to me becoming sidetracked, resulting in not finishing my homework as quickly. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep basic school things at your work area such as:

– pencils

– pens

– scissors

– a calculator

– a ruler

– glue

– colored pencils\markers

3. Bring a snack

By the time the bell rings at school, (if you happen to be like me) all you want is something to eat! And how are you supposed to do your homework while dying of starvation? ;-) That is why I believe it is a good idea to bring a snack (such as an apple or some almonds) to eat while working. However, I would advise against bringing an entire meal to your workplace; chances are, you will get crumbs all over your papers. Save the burgers until afterwards.

4. Take breaks!

My history teacher once told me that your brain maxes out after about 25 minutes of work; although I am not one hundred percent sure that this fact is fully true, it proves a point. Doing homework for hours on end until your brain turns to mush is never a good idea. Make sure to take 5-10 minute breaks about every half hours to give yourself a break. Don’t take too long of a break though; set limits!

5. Listen to music

As long as you are sure it won’t distract you, feel free to play a bit of background music to make your homework a bit more enjoyable. No metal rock though, please! Keep it upbeat, yet calming.

And there you have it: five tips that will save you from spending all of your time doing homework! Do you have any tips? Tell me in the comments!

Fall Wishlist!


(A quick note: I apologize for the lack of posts lately! I have been a bit tied up lately with computer problems! Hopefully (if my dad’s handy work on my computer solved the problem), I will be back on my regular schedule of posts! Thanks for your consideration!)

With the days becoming colder and the leaving changing from bright green to darker reds and yellows, it’s time to face the facts: Summer is ending. And if you’re a teenager who must go back to school in three days like I am, that news can be very depressing. And although Autumn will never be as fun and carefree as Summer is, I have found a method to ease my Fall sadness: retail therapy. ;-)

So, with no further ado, here’s my Autumn wishlist:

fall wishlist

 

1. Stop, Drop, and Photo Op Tee (Modcloth): I love this tee so much! It’s the perfect cross between cutesy and practical, and has so much personality! The print is so quirky yet cool, and the tighter fit means that it would be perfect with simply jeans.

2. Take Your Turntable in Green (Modcloth): I have been in love with this turntable for a while now, and my fondness for this item has only grown; it would be so convenient to have in my room to play music while doing homework, plus, it’s just so cute!

3. Ecote Canvas Military Jacket (Urban Outfitters): Lately, I’ve seen this piece being worn quite often, and I love it! It would be a perfect addition to any outfit, as it could be worn with jeans or with a skirt\dress. And, the color is just perfect; not too brown, and not too green.

4. AE Varsity Jacket (American Eagle Outfitters): I love this jacket because I feel as if it would be something I could wear everyday. It looks very comfy, but it is also practical and would match with a ton of items in my closet. I just love the hint of preppiness it adds to anything.

And there you have it; my Fall wishlist. What is on your shopping list this Autumn? Share in the comments!

Dance Forever,

Rachel

 

2013 Summer Bucket List


my summer bucketlist Wow!!! It’s finally the season that I have been looking forward to since last fall: SUMMER!!! No more school, no more homework, and no more disgusting cafeteria lunches!!! Just two whole months to do whatever I want. My goal this summer is to do something of value everyday. It doesn’t have to be significant; it can be as little as making a special dessert. But this summer, I want to spend as little days as possible spent laying around, doing nothing. To help me accomplish this, I have constructed a list of activities that I want to do before September first comes around. Without further ado, (in no particular order) here’s my summer bucket-list:

1. Go to a local farmers market and make a meal using the ingredients I buy

2. Go to Disney Land with a friend

3. Try new foods

4. Go to a berry picking farm

5. Go olive oil tasting

6. Go thrift shopping a couple times

7. Throw a party

8. Take a picture with sparklers

9. Go to a concert

10. Have a sleepover on a trampoline

11. Go camping

12. Write a book

13. Cook an egg on the sidewalk on a really hot day

14. Experiment with making different flavors of ice cream

15. Paint something with chalkboard paint

16. Figure out a way to somehow display my cameras

17. Get Polaroid film and take a bunch of pictures

18. Make a mentos and coke rocket

19. (Successfully) bake a pie

20. Have a bonfire

21. Cook a meal in a solar oven

22. Post on the blog more often!!!

23. Go to a food festival

24. Go to a fair

25. Make cheese

Well, there you have it; 25 things I want to do this summer!!! What do you want to do this summer? Tell me about your bucket list items in the comments!!!

Dance Forever,

Rachel

 

How To: Perfect French Nails


Don’t you just love french nails? The perfect white strip at the edge of a perfectly shaped nail is elegant and pretty but not as “in your face” as other designs are. I absolutely adore them.

I used to think that you could only get french nails done at a fancy salon where you had to pay 30 bucks for a manicure that chipped in a couple days, but Katrina showed me a foolproof way to get flawless french nails… AT HOME!! You may be skeptical about this; you’re probably thinking, “excuse me, but I don’t have millions of dollars to spend on fancy nail products or the talent of a professional when it comes to painting nails… NO THANK YOU!!!” But what if I told you that this manicure uses items that you most likely already have in your medicine cabinet at home, and that even I — of all people– can do this (keep in mind that I am the girl who tries to paint her nails and ends up painting her hand instead). And if I can do this, then you can do this upside down on a unicycle riding backwards through a ring on fire. Here’s what you need: -Scotch tape (or painters tape) -Nail file -Strengthening top coat -Strengthening bottom coat, such as Sally Hansen Hard as Nails (this bottom coat is not necessary… if you wanted you could either leave it out, or use the strengthening top coat for this job as well) – UV top coat (once again, this coat is not necessary to the final result, though it does make the design last longer and your nails shinier) – Maximum growth nail color (you could substitute this specific color for a nude or use a really light coat of soft pink) – French Nail color (or just use white polish if you don’t own that specific color)

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Here’s how you do it: First, use the nail file to shape your nails into either a rounded oval shape or a more square shape, depending on your preference. Be sure to file in the direction on the natural grain of your nail and stay in that direction (in other words, don’t do the “sawing” motion where you run the file back and forth on your nail… stay in one direction) Next, coat the nail with a thin layer of the strengthening bottom coat and allow to THOROUGHLY dry– by the time it is dry, you should be able to tap your nail with another nail without it leaving an indent (Remember, this step is not necessary to the final result, you may skip it if you like, or use the strengthening top coat in place of the strengthening bottom coat). IMG_1285[1]   Then, paint the nail with a thin layer of the maximum growth nail color (or nude or soft pink) and allow, once again, to dry. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ALLOW THE NAIL TO DRY, ESPECIALLY ON THIS STEP. If you do not let the nail dry all the way, the tape (used in the next step) will stick to the nail and take off the paint. IMG_1286[1] Now, cut the scotch tape into little strips that can fit across the diameter of the nail. Place them below the tip of the nail, leaving a small strip of nail unexposed above it (think of it as your border between the soon to be “white” part of your nail and the rest of your nail). IMG_1288[1] Here’s a closer look:   IMG_1289[1]

Paint the tip of the nail with the French Nail color (or white polish) and allow to thoroughly dry before peeling the scotch tape off the nail.

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Once the nail is dry, paint it with a thin coat of the strengthening top coat and allow to thoroughly dry, once again (remember, the drying step is really important!!!) IMG_1294[1] Finally, paint the nail with the UV top coat if you want a little extra shine on your manicure. Allow nails to dry for at least an hour before doing any activities involving your hands. TA DA!!!!!! See, I told you it wasn’t going to be that hard!!!! Now you can quit wasting your hard earned money at nail salons and start getting quality french nails at home FOR FREE!!!! I think that deserves a round of applause!!!! What do you think? Have you ever done your own French nails? Did you use this method? Tell me in the comments!!!!!

Dance Forever,

Rachel (with photography by Katrina)

P.S., If you read this article on 5\22\13 before 6:50ish (Pacific Time) then you might have noticed that the spacing was kinda messed up. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Mini Doughnuts!!!


Who doesn’t love doughnuts? Now add the word mini at the beginning of that word: mini doughnuts. Now you have a treat that absolutely NO ONE can resist!!! A while back before Easter, I received a text message from Katrina showing me a picture of this:

IMG_1277[1]A MINI DOUGHNUT MAKER!!!!! I knew that we needed to use that thing right away. And we did; the results were nothing short of perfect!!! We just used the recipe on the package, although I’m sure that you can use any other pourable doughnut batter. After that, to ensure easy pouring into the molds, we put the batter in a Zip-Lock bag and snipped the end of the bag off so it would serve as a pastry bag.

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For the frosting, we just made a simple glaze consisting of powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and food coloring. We topped them with sprinkles and voila…

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Mini doughnuts!!!! They had all of the crispiness of fried doughnuts, but without the gross oil. Since then, I was given my own doughnut maker for my birthday and have used it to make numerous varieties of doughnuts, including chocolate:

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Do you have a doughnut maker? What types of doughnuts have you made? What is your favorite flavor? Tell me in the comments!!!!!!!!!!

Dance Forever,

Rachel

 

Powder Puffs!!!


The one quality that I admire (even just as much as the taste) in desserts is cuteness. And these desserts just might top the list; they are absolutely ADORABLE!!!! They are powderpuffs: tiny madeline-like cakes with fresh vanilla whipped cream and other toppings sandwiched between them. I used this recipe, and they turned out PERFECT. For the fillings, I used (my favorite) lemon curd, blackberry jam, and some leftover cupcake filling (raspberry jam and cream cheese) from these cupcakes. My favorite variation had to be with the lemon curd; I LOVE lemon curd!!! It was the perfect amount of tangy and sweet, and accompanied the spongy cakes fantastically. However, I loved all three of the sandwiches.

IMG_1180[1]Thick marshmellowy meringue!!

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Adding the egg yolks to the meringue…

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Mixed and ready to scoop…

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Ready to go in the oven…

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Ready to eat!!!

What do you think of these delicious desserts? Have you made them yet? No?!?! Then get baking!!!

Dance Forever,

Rachel

 

Raspberry Filled Cupcakes


Wow. Looks like we’re on an unintentional raspberry kick  here at eatpraydance…

Anyways, last Wednesday, my friend Margaret and I presented a demo speech in our drama class. What about, you ask? On how to make RASPBERRY FILLED CUPCAKES!!!! Margaret and I knew we wished to make cupcakes for our demo, but when I saw this awesome recipe from one of my favorite blogs (besides my own) abeautifulmess.com.  On Sunday, I actually made the cupcakes for the first time. On Wednesday, I made the cupcakes again for the demo. And by Thursday, they were all gone! Ya. They were THAT good!! This recipe is definitely my favorite, and I will be making these much more often.

 

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What do you think about this recipe? Have you tried them? How did they turn out? Tell me in the comments!!!!

Dance Forever,

Rachel

 

Raspberry Cream Pops……. YUMMY!


INGREDIENTS:

  1.  LOVE
  2. 1 pint raspberries            
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1- 1/4 cups sugar
  5. 1/2 cup light or heavy cream
  6. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  7. 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  8. 8 waxy paper cups
  9. 8 popsicle sticks

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Puree raspberries, sugar and water in blender; Strain seeds
  • Move 2/3 cup of the purée into a separate container and whisk in the cream
  • Add the lemon juice into the rest of the raspberry purée
  • Chill both of the raspberry purée mixtures
  • In a separate bowl stir in the yogurt to the remaining raspberries
  • Fill the cups about half-way full with the raspberries and yogurt
  • Cover the cups with foil and stick popsicle sticks in each; freeze for 2 hours
  • Uncover and pour a layer of the raspberry purée and lemon juice mixture on all 8
  • Let freeze for 2 hours
  • Pour raspberry purée and cream mixture on top of all 8
  • Freeze for 2 hours

I know what you guys are thinking…………. This will take forever……and it will…. BUT IT’S WORTH IT!!!!!!

These are a perfect spring time desert and are good on a hot day!!!! I urge you to take some time and make these!!!!

-Katrina Image

Lemon Chicken


Lately, being inspired by the coming of Spring and by some unseasonably hot weather we’ve been having, I have been trying to incorporate fresh fruit into the food I’ve been preparing; it seems like such a fresh change to my diet after having been sick for a couple of weeks. While this task may seem simple, it gets a little tricky when it comes to savory items such as chicken. That is when one of my favorite fruits of all time comes in: the lemon! I adore lemons; their tartness brightens up any dish, sweet or savory, and they are absolutely marvelous with chicken!!!

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I used this recipe with the addition of a bit of lemon zest, dried parsley and thyme, and ,one of my favorite spice blends, Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute. Also, I cooked the chicken inside of a skillet instead of a grill, and only marinated it for about a half hour. Despite all the alterations I made to the recipe, it was AMAZING!!!!!!! I cannot even imagine how good this recipe would taste if it were marinated overnight as the recipe says to do!!!! The chicken was moist, tart, tangy and flavorful. Also, it had a bit of a kick from the pepper which was  a pleasant surprise and cut through the tartness quite nicely. This chicken is definitely a new favorite recipe that I will be making often!

What do you think of this recipe? Have you ever made lemon chicken before? What’s your favorite warm weather recipe? Tell me in the comments!!!!

Dance Forever,

Rachel