A Day in Review

IMG_20140422_210050_423Hey Team. It’s been raining today, aaall day, but it’s really not that bad. I heard my first roll of thunder today while I was in the middle of an at-home, bake-off marathon.

When I woke up this morning I left the house in a t-shirt. When I left work five hours later I had to sprint to my car through the rain drops. But I wanted to talk about my day and mostly about my baking marathon. I made a cookie that I’d never tried at home before, adapted from a cookie we make at work in the bakery. It’s called the Crackle. And it is spectacular. Basically, it’s a brownie in cookie form.

So we’ll start with the ingredients.

You’ll need:
2 sticks of butter
2 C sugar
2 large eggs
1 T vanilla
3/4 C cocoa powder
2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
Extra sugar and powdered sugar

So you get all your ingredients out, that’s step 1 obviously. And you’re going to use the creaming method which means you blend your butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla IMG_20140422_185908_031separately from the cocoa, flour, baking soda, and salt. So blend that first group. Then gradually add the dry ingredient mix. From here, I took some tips from work: use an ice cream scoop to scoop cookie-size balls of batter. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and shove them in the freezer for an hour or two.

At this point, I went for a run in the rain with Copper. I ran with him off-leash for the first time and he loved it. He’s such a good dog. Heart of the Valley picked him up as a stray, but I have no doubt he’s lived in a house before and been taken care of.

So we got home and Copper got mud and rain water on everything and then I pulled the cookies out. IMG_20140422_201838_010

So you want to make sure they’re frozen or the sugar won’t stick very well. Take the balls of dough and cover them in regular granulated sugar, then powdered sugar. If you don’t do the granulated sugar first, the powdered will soak into the dough and not show up very well after baking. I got two small bowls out and put each sugar in a bowl.

Then you bake these wonderful contraptions for about ten minutes at 355 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s important that you let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for about five-ten minutes (depending on your will power) or they will fall apart in a brownie-like goo. Then, I moved the cookies (with a spatula) to plates to cool and solidify more. Then, FINALLY, you get to eat them. All at once. Because you wont’ be able to help yourself. Seriously.

Just eat them all.


Your truly,

You’ll Never Guess

Okay guys. So I didn’t post last week and I’m sorry (FYI it’s sunny with a small, bitter breeze and it snowed earlier today for a few minutes). I have a legitimate excuse for not posting.

I adopted a dog. His name is Copper and he’s perfect. Here is a picture:


Copper, the perfect animal

Basically here’s what happened:
So I met Copper (previously named Dabbert) at Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter about three weeks ago. I only met him as a fun thing to do in between classes and homework. My roommate had been considering adopting a dog and I went along with her to the shelter. But I met Copper and I fell in love with him. I checked the shelter website every day (multiple times a day) to see if he was still there. He was, day after day. Then I actually sat down and considered my financial stability. I have a new job as well as money coming from jobs at MSU and I just moved into my new house which allows a dog. I have enough time for a dog and I’m staying over the summer so he would have a stable and safe home. But I wouldn’t be able to afford to bring him home for another week.

I checked day after day, minute after minute and I brought it up to everyone I encountered. Then, my best friend looked at me one day right after I had told him and without missing a beat, he said, “Well I could spot you the adoption fee.”

WHAT? Literally, I didn’t believe him; I thought he was joking. As we drove to the shelter just to meet with Copper again he told me to consider it and have a decision by the time we got to the shelter.

Well I decided. And as Copper ran around and caught our Frisbees in the shelter’s meet-and-greet area, I decided he was coming home with me. I called my landlord and I signed the adoption papers. All I had to do was wait for my landlord to call the shelter, approve the adoption, and I could take him home. But I couldn’t talk to her until after my classes AT FOUR O’CLOCK. I was dying all day. (Figuratively).

Then I finally got on the phone with her. Check. She promised she would call the shelter right away. As I walked to my car, I had my phone in front of my face, practically running the whole way. Then my phone rang and I paused. Halted, really. It was a 406 area code (Montana, fyi). I answered the call and on the other end a voice said, “Are you ready to bring home your puppy?”


Yes. Yes I was ready. He asked if I could make it to the shelter in an hour before they closed. I promised I would be there.

And that day I brought my boy home.


Stay spectacular,

Bring Your Own Springtime

First of all, it’s gorgeous outside. It started out windy and cloudy and sad; now it’s breezy, sunny, and sixty degrees (almost).
Last Thursday I was outside all afternoon throwing the football, playing botchi ball, kicking the soccer ball around. I even got a miniscule sunburn.

Second of all, I have work in the morning, dark and early (that means 3:30 a.m.). Because guess what I haven’t told you yet. I GOT A JOB AS A BAKER.

a baker.

I love cooking; you know that much. When I was offered this job I just had to take it. HAD TO. I’ve been at it for a week now and I love the work. Mornings are hard, but the baking and the mixing and the cooking with the music blaring: I’m all about that.

Third of all, this.

Work at the Exponent is going great. I just got home from our weekly meeting about a half hour ago and I was thinking on the drive home, “I really do love this.” (This is referring to writing professionally). I’m all the more grateful for this job because it has really solidified the fact that I want to be a writing major. I wasn’t doubting it or anything, but I’m always glad for the reassurance.

As the end of the semester approaches, I can’t help but be excited for summer. My new job means I’ll be in Bozeman for the season. My home family isn’t thrilled, but I think the experience will be good for me and I love my family. I hope they know that.
I already got time off for the England and Ireland trip with the Honors College (OH MY GOD I AM GETTING EXCITED). And I got time off to go home for a week at the end of July.
Last year in my first ever writing class, I wrote and bound a creative book about my childhood in the magic place of Marble, CO. Since then, it’s sort of become a bible in my family and it has even done exactly what it set out to do. We’re going back to Marble after 6 or 7 summers of not making the trip. I can’t explain how unbelievably excited I am for this. I don’t think I could accurately describe the real feeling in the short time I have to write this blog. At some point, I’m going to sit down and write an actual response. How I feel now, how Marble is or how it has changed, how the trip was, how the family was. But that’s for a later date. I don’t want to get too mushy online in front of everyone.
And let me tell you something else. Bozeman, MT in the summertime is the place to be (ask the hundreds of tourists that march through). It’s gorgeous, it’s sunny, it’s warm, it’s hiking and biking and swimming and camping. It’s music on main, walking downtown, working at 3:30am. Shhh. It’s sunsets on Peet’s Hill and frisbee at Bogart Park as the farmer’s market gets set up.

BUT. As the end of the semester approaches, I can’t help but feel the unbelievable pressure that is the end of another semester of college. I counted to thirty and got too scared to keep going. That’s how many total pages I have to write before the end of the next two and a half weeks. I’m on the verge of panic, but I’m usually pretty good at keeping that under the radar. I got a bag of yogurt covered pretzels so I’ll be fine.

Lastly, I want to talk a little about the article I was just assigned for next week.
In Bozeman, MT there is an art gallery called The Cottonwood Club. On Saturday April 19 this gallery is having a Bring Your Own Art Show. That means that on a first come, first serve basis, artists come to the location with art they want to sell and have their own gallery showing with the Cottonwood Club. The gallery takes no commission so all the money goes to the artist. Besides the fact that I cannot wait to learn more about this gallery and its founder, I am absolutely taking some work to this event. ABSOLUTELY. I’m a writer so I should be able to explain how amazing I feel about this event and this gallery but I am struggling. As an artist, it’s absolutely wondrous. An event that is entirely founded and run for the artists. That’s unheard of. That’s charity. And generosity.
I’ll write another post after I write the preview for the article and actually attend the event. I can’t wait. Literally, I’m jumping in my chair.

Lastly lastly, here’s a picture of the dinner I just made myself.

Always awesome,

Let’s summarize March


State of Reverie, taken by Ellen Kuntz

Okay guys. It’s been snowing for more than 24 hours. It’s weird snow too – mixed with rain randomly so it’s not really sticking to the ground. After the gorgeous fifty degree days last week, this is kind of a downer.

But anyway, it’s the last day of the month. The last day of March, actually and that means one more month of classes as a Sophomore. (Also, one more month before EVERYTHING is due, but let’s not talk about that). So much happened this March so let me fill you in.


Swing dancing at AGR

For starters, I started my job at the ASMSU Exponent as a culture writer and it has been so incredible. So far I’ve been to breakfast, a ukulele jam, and a photo show. The photo show was State of Reverie by Ellen Kuntz and it was really fun. There was a photo installation where Ellen took pictures of guests (see the daydreamy picture to the left). I’ve gotten to interview so many interesting people: and I never would have thought about a job in journalism if it weren’t for my News & PR class. The online articles can be found here.

I also started training at Sola Café as a baker! Which is just unbelievably exciting for me. You all know how much I love baking and cooking. I have to get up at about 3AM, but the work is fun. This summer I should be able to get used to the hours and get a rhythm going once I have a regular schedule uninhibited by silly things like classes.

Awesome thing number three: Chi Alpha Kappa had our first mixer with Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) this month and then two more afterward because they are so awesome! We had a swing dancing party, then a taco Thursday, and another get together (with a lot of swing dancing). I fed 30 people on Taco Thursday and I think that’s pretty impressive.


Chi Alpha Kappa girls at AGR

I also found a house for next year. (I’m moving, if I hadn’t mentioned that before). I’m living with my friends Dinah and Kathleen (so basically next year will be the best year of my life). We found an adorable condo; it’s farther from campus than I am now, but I don’t mind the short drive. Compared to Lakewood, Colorado everything in Bozeman is close. Even though it seems far, it’s about the same distance I drove from my house to high school every day. In any case, I’m excited for the change.

Then last night, we had a spontaneous taco night. We ran to the nearest Town & Country grocery store, stocked up on corn tortillas, meat, and cheese then jammed out in the kitchen as the snow fell and the shells fried. It was so fun. And a perfect end to this eventful March.

What’s coming up in April, you ask?!

Well let me tell you.

My birthday, for one. (But that’s the very last day so I guess I’m jumping the gun).

Also, the last day of classes, moving day, my parents are visiting, Easter, surprise vacations, and SPRING WEATHER.

I hope you’re all enjoying yourselves wherever you are!

Love and stuff,

Paddy Murphy and the springtime

I have decided that, from now on, every post until the end of the year will mention the current weather in Bozeman. Just to emphasize the awesome weather mood swings.

So it’s sunny and gorgeous right now. Long sleeves recommended, but definitely go outside!

Last week was insanely busy and insanely fun. Sigma Alpha Epsilon – Montana Alpha (aka SAE at Montana State) invited Chi Alpha Kappa to participate in their Paddy Murphy 2014. Now, I understand that a lot of that sentence may not make any sense, so I’ll explain. Paddy Murphy is SAE’s exciting philanthropy event. Each sorority on campus is invited to nominate one of their sisters and she competes to become SAE’s sweetheart. Chi Alpha Kappa is just a club at Montana State so it was really nice and welcoming for SAE to invite us.

AND it was awesome of my sisters to nominate me as their sweetheart.

The first night was a dodgeball tournament held in the fitness center on campus.

The XAK dodge ball team

The XAK dodge ball team

We were awarded points for the number of girls from our group, our introduction of ourselves, and, obviously, for winning. The CAKs (my group, also the underdogs) got second place in the tournament and because of our awesome intro, we ended the night in first place overall.

The next night was SAE trivia, reciting of The True Gentleman, and Impersonation of a Brother Skit. That night was so fun – and also extremely nerve-racking. I don’t usually get nervous speaking in front of other people. I mean, I’m an AdvoCat; I have to do that at least one a week. But when I was getting ready to go up to recite The True Gentleman, I just kept getting more and more nervous. But I got up there and did pretty average. I missed the last two sentences, but we were still on track. Trivia went well; my SAE coach saved the day on that one. And the impersonation went well; at least, the brother I was impersonating liked it.

Then came the best day. The brothers held a date auction (that’s how they get the money for their philanthropy); then there was the talent show and a baking competition. I am a great baker. No humility there; I can bake a cake. So I wasn’t worried. But the talent show presented a problem because I don’t really have a great, entertaining stage talent. But we had a plan.
So the three groups that went before me all did a dance. Then it was my turn: we set up my table, pretend oven, cooler, etc. I get up there in front of everyone and said, “Talent shows are hard for me. I can’t sing and I can’t dance, but what I can do is cook.” And I held my own little ‘Martha Stewart meets stand up comedy’ cooking show: I made a sandwich. Then I gave the judges the real masterpiece – buffalo chicken dip, which they devoured in all of five minutes.

In the end, we got third place – just two points behind the winner. But I didn’t even mind losing because the entire week was so much fun. I met so many great people and made awesome connections. Also, we bought two guys at auction so there’s that to look forward to.

Tonight, the CAKs are getting together with AGR (another fraternity on campus) for a bonfire and swing dancing. I’m so excited. Our group is really growing on campus and it’s all looking good from here. (Especially with the sun shining).

For more info on Chi Alpha Kappa, visit our Facebook page here.


Ukulele pizza jam

It’s snowing. It’s supposed to be Spring!

But that’s okay; I’m from Colorado so I’m used to seeing snow through April. It was funny last year; we had a small snow storm after a series of warm, beautiful days. One of my friends from Indiana was just appalled. I hadn’t realized that these surprise snows didn’t happen everywhere. Apparently it’s a Colorado-Montana thing. But in any case, there should be warm days mixed in with these silly snow days and I’m looking forward to them. Yesterday I went for a long run outside (first outside run in Montana for months!) and it was perfect weather for it: overcast, but warm.

I also went to a Ukulele Pizza Jam last night, which is what I really want to talk about. There’s this group called the Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret and they had a Ukulele Pizza Jam at Colombo’s Pizza and Pasta. Basically, anyone with a ukulele is welcome to come play and jam with these 1173589_10201373126840844_1259639436_nawesome people. They write chords and finger positions on a white board; they even had sheet music for some of the songs. There were obviously people there who have been playing for years, but there was one man I talked to who had just bought his ukulele on his way to the restaurant.

It was so much fun. I didn’t have a ukulele (because I have no idea how to play one) but I sang along with everyone and ate plenty of pizza. They’re having another jam session on April 13th and an open lesson on the 6th at the Bozeman Public Library. I was thinking I would ask for a ukulele for my birthday, but I might just have to buy one before that. They make it so easy to follow along and learn. Not to mention, it looks insanely fun to play.

Maybe if I had a ukulele I could sing my way through these winter blues. (I might be exaggerating my spring-readiness, but I just really want a ukulele). Also, I am a terrible singer, but I could strum my way through these blues in any case.

Also! I submitted my articles for the Exponent this week; this is the first time I’ll see my name in print and I could not be more excited. The paper is on stands every Thursday, so if you’re on campus be sure to grab one and flip to the Culture section. Our next edition is the annual April Fools edition – The Excrement. It’s all satire; I don’t know what I’ll be writing yet, but that should be fun.

Getting back to classes after the (too short) spring break was fun today (read: not fun). But it was nice to get back on campus and it’s always great to be back in Bozeman. Just seven more weeks! I can’t believe it. I’m already registering this Friday for next semester’s classes. This year is just flying by.

One last thing: a horde of birds (probably just returning from winter in the south) returned to my front yard yesterday morning. They just swarmed my crab apple tree and tossed a couple apples at my window. Before, they flew off to a new tree, I snapped a few pictures of them. Check it out!


Wherever you are, I hope you’re staying awesome.
Yours truly,

Breaking with the best

So remember last week when I posted that I wanted Spring to arrive in Bozeman?

Well it has arrived here in Idaho! On the eight hour drive over here, we crossed the Idaho border and I saw this guy fertilizing his lawn. I hadn’t even noticed there wasn’t any snow to be seen. So I start laughing at this man, “Why are you fertilizing your lawn? It’s just going to get snowed on again.” And then my Idaho-bred travelling companions start laughing at me, because apparently spring has sprung in the north-west. All I needed in order to see green grass was a hop across the border. When I finally arrived at Annie’s house her mom (my pretend adopted mother) was gardening. GARDENING. Montana doesn’t even remember what gardening is until April.

But in any case, I love it here. (Not Idaho, exactly, but at my best friend’s house). So far, I’ve gotten myself covered in puppy bites, shopped til I dropped, relaxed to the max, and Zumba’ed like crazy. The first night I was here we had (my favorite) homemade chicken pot pie. They treat me so well.

Next week I’m planning a picture compilation of our spring-time adventures. So get excited.

On a side note, I submitted my first article to my editor at the Exponent and I’ll have a second one written by Monday. So look for my name twice in the next edition! It’ll be on stands Thursday after break.

But now, the beast Maya the labradoodle has been awoken and I have to entertain her (because she’s trying to eat my laptop).


Maya and the Skunk


Reunited and it feeeels so good! (At dinner with Annie)

Happy spring/winter wherever you are!

Spring Break straight ahead

It is so fabulously warm today.

Okay, so it’s only 40 degrees, but this is a huge step! I even took my coat off on the walk to class. I got a snapchat from a friend in Utah who’s experiencing the same heat wave. Is it just me, or is it time for spring? Let’s pretend these aren’t puddles of melting snow that I’m jumping over in the parking lot.

Spring in Bozeman is a confusing time for everyone. It’s the puberty of seasons, really. Montana doesn’t know what to do with it; he laughs, he cries, he snows some more, then decides it should be warm again. I just looked it up and apparently the first day of spring is March 20th. That is coming up faster and faster. There is one Spring Break between me and the time where I get to say, “Hey, Bozeman. Stop this nonsense.”

I’m all about the snow (you kind of have to be when you live in a state like this), but I’m also all about the sun and the grass, and hiking, and warm weather camping, and smores, and lemonade, and shorts, and going outside without a coat on.

All of this rambling just to say… I AM SUDDENLY SO EXCITED FOR SPRING

And on the subject of Spring, let’s talk about Spring Break. The ever-coveted and only real break of the Spring semester. And it starts on Monday (officially), but really this Friday night. My French professor even cancelled class on Friday because she’s as excited as I am (tres bien).


Annie and Maya #labradorable

I will be going on a journey to the always exotic and exciting Nampa, Idaho (right there next to Boise) to visit my best friend. We’ve been friends since before we could walk and she went and moved to Idaho junior year of high school. But lucky for us I decided to come to Montana State so now we’re only eight hours away… instead of ten. Wooo!

Besides the fact that I’ll get to see her for the first time in two years, she has a brand new puppy: a black Labradoodle named Maya (#labradorable). She’s in the middle of training and is also busy being wonderful. I get constant snapchats and videos of her antics and I cannot wait to finally meet her.

I’ll be driving to Boise with a friend; it’s always easy to find travel partners at MSU. I didn’t have to use it this time, but there’s a board in the Strand Union for people driving, looking for fellow travelers, or looking for rides. You can just post contact information; it’s so convenient. Then there’s always Facebook and friends, of course.

My best friend is the baking aficionado who sent me her best cupcake recipes (because she is a gem). I have a feeling we will be doing a whole lot of cooking, reading, painting, and sunning. I will have so many photos to share! (Side note: it better be sunny).


Annie and I in elementary school

In short: it’s warm, Spring Break is too close for logical concentration, and I can’t wait for Spring/Summer.

Stay awesome, my friends.

Fall in Love Cookies

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Life update: I’m now a writer at the MSU Exponent. I’m so excited to write my first article; I’ll be writing in the culture section so keep an eye out. I’m also submitting a story in a writing contest through the English department, so, once again, wish me luck!

Okay, so on to the meat of this post. I wrote a creative writing piece for my Advanced Composition class. I really like the class because we’re writing a little bit of a variety of different writing forms. We already wrote a rhetorical analysis, then this creative writing piece, and now we’re moving on to a literature review – which is more research based. The writing I’ll share with you in a minute was inspired by food and – as you’ll see – by my grandmother. You’ll also get another recipe – one of my best. I invite you to try it out!

Fall in Love Cookies

I love food.
I cook often.
The best time to cook is about five o’clock in the evening or ten in the morning. There’s this window in my kitchen and if I open the blinds all the way—shove them all the way up—the beautiful mid-morning and evening light filters in so gently. The morning light is better than the evening; it’s softer. The rays themselves actually walk through the window instead of just the lit up sky handing the light in like a middleman. When the light is in there with me the sizzle of the skillet has more character. The chop of the paring knife is happier. And the food is better.
The image is akin to some sort of old world painting: something created at the beginning of the realism era, when everything was still imbued with spirit. The rays catch bits of dust as they filter through the air. Steam and smoke dancing in the light. One lone chef standing at the stove, hands in the dough, a basket of fruit on the table, one batch of fresh cookies on the counter, all done in dusky oils to emphasize the supernatural, the angelic light from that window.

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The Polar Plunge

Hello everyone, happy Tuesday!

This past Monday I did the Polar Plunge. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically an event where a bunch of generous crazy people (like myself) jump into freezing waters to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Okay, I’ll be more specific. The Polar Plunge is a charity event. The idea is that the plungers raise money from sponsors and on plunge day, the ice is cleared away from a frozen lake and they plunge. The money goes to the Special Olympics chapter in your area. I plunged in Bozeman, Montana, so the money I raised goes to Montana Special Olympics.

Well lucky for myself and my friends, plunge day started beautifully. It was mid-40s, the sun was out, and the air was beautiful. (It’s still winter in Montana, so it was by no means shorts and t-shirt weather). As we were checking in the team, there was this casual (freezing) breeze and I joked that in thirty minutes, when we were all going to be plunging, it would pick up and turn into gusts. DSCN3866_edited-1

I really should not have said that.

Thirty minutes later, as we were taking off our jackets and I stepped out of my boots, the wind was absolutely gusting. But it was our turn and we had to go: we were up, no backing down. The lake we were jumping into was entirely ice – strong ice. There were people walking on it a few yards away. Where the ice had been cleared away for plunging, the old slabs were sitting at least seven inches thick. The idea was that you run down the red carpet, step ankle deep in the water, and then jump in. In the water, there were two men in wetsuits waiting to make sure you don’t drown; at the water’s edge, there are two men to help you get out. Once out, you run back up the hill to the hot tub where you learn to breathe again until the next team needs room.

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