pinterest challenge: september '14

I had started my own Pinterest challenge a few months back and have decided to bring it back to life! My Pinterest challenge is an attempt to actually do the pins that I pin on my boards and share the results with you! Each month I'll choose three ideas, recipes or DIYs that I've pinned and brought to life. Check out what I was up to this month!

pinterest challenge | marlee and you
Original Pin (left), My Re-creation (right)

Everyone knows that Pinterest is full of amazing recipes. I decided to try out a dessert-for-one salted caramel mug cake! The recipe looked straight forward enough. The only ingredient I didn't already have was caramels, and I didn't mind buying those... my sweet tooth was calling. I think this recipe turned out great! One minor thing was that the top half of the cake was rather dry and the bottom of the mug cake was almost too moist. It tasted great when I mixed it all up though - no complaints!

pinterest challenge | marlee and you
Original Pin (left), My Attempt (right)

The next pin I tried was a DIY beach wave spray. This was a recipe to make a texturizing spray to spritz over your damp hair to make it get natural beachy waves/texture. My version, however, did not turn out. One of the ingredients for this recipe was coconut oil. Coconut oil comes in a solid form and typically melts upon contact with skin or under low heat. Even though I mixed the ingredients together after it was melted like the recipe said to, the coconut oil solidified in the bottle. I'm a bit disappointed with this one, but not all pins will be winners.

pinterest challenge | marlee and you
Original Pin

Lastly I have a workout pin for arm-day! This one has been a favourite of mine all month! The photo here is just two of the five moves to try. What I like about this pin is that you can choose which weights to use and for how many reps and repeats. I've been using 5lb weights and doing sets of ten for each move. By the end my arms are like noodles. I'd definitely recommend trying this arm workout!

What have you been loving on Pinterest lately?

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my eShakti custom LBD

*Product featured was provided for review

eShakti dress | marlee and you

eShakti dress | marlee and you
There aren't many weeks left of warm weather this year (at least where I am in Canada), so why not make use of the nice weather by wearing cute dresses before it's too cold!!  I was contacted by the lovely workers for an online site called eShakti where I got to look through pages upon pages of gorgeous dresses to find one that I wanted customized to fit me!

What a revolutionary idea! Think about it: all girls are completely different shapes and sizes! For myself, I have a slim mid section, but have a larger cup size and thicker hips and thighs. I have the hardest time finding a dress that fits me right, because the top part never fits how I want... I'm sure I'm not the only one that has these issues.

On this site I chose the dress that I loved, a simple black number that could be worn to any event. Then I did a few quick measurements, filled out a custom fitting chart, and chose my preferences for my dress! I went for a medium length, to keep it modest for church and family events. I also chose to keep the pockets feature, but there was the option to get it made without.

My dress was shipped to my door within two weeks - which is amazing! I'm so pleased with this positive experience. I love how my dress fits! It looks like it was made for me - because it was!

Would you try a custom clothing site like this?

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food files: my fave meals abroad

When you hear the words "German cuisine," what's the first thing to pop into your mind? Beer? Pretzels? More beer? Well, I must say, even after living in Germany for an entire month, the food I ate was much more impressive than just some simple pretzels (although the pretzels were amazing too). Below are just a few of my favourite meals from my study abroad trip to Germany last month.

food files | marlee and you

This first photo isn't of food, but I figured the German beverages were definitely noteworthy enough to chat about. The German beers weren't my favourite, but I'm not one for drinking beer in the first place. Many of the other students I was with loved the German Hefeweizen beer, so if you're over in that part of the world any time soon, the Hefeweizen would be my recommendation.

The southern part of Germany where I stayed was easily a "wine country" area. My favourite wine was the Riesling. All of the wines were so fresh and delicious, and you knew they were made right their in your town (or a little down the road) which is quite incredible.

food files | marlee and you

With all of the festivities of the town and local restaurants cooking up some traditional German food, it didn't take long before I had my favourite dishes that I'd always order. My go-to choice was schnitzel (in the top right corner), which comes in many varieties based on the meat used and the location that it is from. Another classic meal choice was pork knuckles. It's basically just a hunk of pork that most people eat with their hands and it's delicious.

food files | marlee and you

Germany is well known for their wurst (or sausages). On my last night in Konstanz I tried currywurst for the first time - and loved it! It was basically sausage served in a warm curry sauce with some fresh bread. I cannot describe the flavours accurately, but it was the best combination of sweet and savory!

food files | marlee and you

Of course my sweet tooth kicked in multiple times and I had many favourite treats that I enjoyed. The top left photo was a one-time treat when I went to the Black Forest for a day... it's obviously Black Forest Cake! It was very rich, and also a bit boozy. The cotton candy was just as sweet in Germany, if not sweeter. I couldn't resist and had to get some cotton candy when I was celebrating Liechtenstein Day! And lastly, the candy stands! There were always booths at each festival that sold hot beer nuts that not only smelled heavenly, but tasted even better! They were so sugary and fresh! I wish I could've taken the whole lot home with me!

So there you have it! My favourite food picks from my adventure over the big pond!
What's your favourite type of ethnic cuisine?

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inside my stationary box

stationary | marlee and you

I'm the kind of person that loves making my own cards when it's someone's birthday or another special occasion. Even if I don't have time to make a card from scratch, I take a lot of care in writing my own personal notes inside, and, like I've mentioned before, I love sending people letters in the mail!

stationary | marlee and you

After I bought all of my textbooks for this school year, I was wandering through my campus bookstore and happened upon the cutest box of 20 typewriter-themed blank cards! I thought they were incredibly adorable so I picked them up. Each card has a different photo on the front and I think they're the perfect cards to send a short and sweet message to a friend! They came with blue envelopes as well which I thought was a neat match for these quirky cards.

stationary | marlee and you

My brother also got me a huge set of blank and decorated black and white cards for my birthday last year which are also super cute! I love the black and white because it reminds me of chalkboards (and we all know how trendy chalkboard paint/decorations are right now)!

Another essential item in my stationary box is washi tape! My penpal sent me a letter and decorated the back of the envelope with a strip of washi tape and it looked so fancy! You can use washi tape to make cards or envelopes extra pretty and it's super easy to do!

 Are you one for sending cards?

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cupcakes, cookies and pie, oh my!

I'm starting a cookbook collection for when I eventually get my own place and need to cook for myself. Surprisingly I only have dessert recipes books thus far (just kidding, it's no surprise - I love chocolate). Cupcakes are my favourite things to bake and share, and the book Cupcakes, Cookies and Pie, Oh My! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson provides the perfect inspiration for creative treats!

Although the majority of recipes in this book are over-the-top and look a little complicated, it still serves as a great base for ideas. There are so many creative techniques I never would've thought of! I'm excited that the weather has started to cool off and baking season will soon be upon us! I'm sure I have a few major baking fails in my future, but I'll be super proud once I master one of these crazy cupcake designs!

What's the most adventurous treat you've ever made?

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5 healthy goals for the school year

healthy goals | marlee and youToday was my first day of University classes for this school year. I honestly think it's just human nature to be nervous on your first day of school (even if you're 20)! Let's face it - University is hard. The thought of future essays and exams is both exciting and daunting! I'm really looking forward to starting new courses, meeting more students and getting involved in campus life, however, from previous experience, I know it's hard to keep a schedule, maintain goals and keep your cool when things start getting hectic.

With all those pleasantries in mind, I thought I'd share some of my daily personal goals I have for myself that will help ensure a more easy-going school year! I chose these specific goals knowing that they are attainable and will benefit me incredibly through the months to come!

1. Pack a Lunch
One of my biggest weaknesses is all of the yummy (and totally unhealthy) food choices everywhere on campus. Not only are they overpriced, but they're also not good for you. Try and pack a lunch on days when you have lots of classes. It does take a bit of time to prepare before catching the bus in the morning, but that way you'll be able to create a healthy meal to give you fuel to keep going at school for the day!

2. Drink More Water
Everyone knows how important water is, and in a school setting, water is great to keep your brain sharp! Bring a big water bottle with you everyday and fill it up again if you need to. AND if you're feeling really ambitious, try eliminating pop from your diet completely! Let water be your primary thirst quencher!

3. Sleep
This one is usually easier said than done, but we all know how great it feels to wake up after a nice night's sleep. The amount of energy you'll have to keep you going will be worth the extra couple hours spent sleeping instead of cramming for a test. Try and get a minimum of 7 hours each night.

4. Take Time to De-Stress
It doesn't take long before courses start becoming stressful. Make it a daily goal to take at least a half hour to do something relaxing that makes you happy. For example, I love crafty things like painting, or you could do some yoga, or light a candle and soak in a bath - anything goes! Having a designated amount of time to de-stress everyday will give you something to look forward to while you're writing an essay or trying to memorize things.

5. Be Active
Being active is the most beneficial thing for your daily lifestyle. Staying active will keep you energized! You don't always need to be working out in order to be active. Try to bike places instead of driving, or join a recreational sports team!

I think it's important to strive to be a healthier version of yourself.
What are some of your heath goals for the upcoming year?

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