it’s always tea time.

why hello there friends! how do you do? does it happen to be your un-birthday? or perhaps, do you fancy a spot of tea? if you do, i have the perfect blog post for you!

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last week, it was my absolute privilege to have my bestest friend & gal pal come visit me from wales. not only did we have to celebrate her return, but we also had to celebrate her 20th birthday, & what better way to celebrate than a tea party?! we had such a glorious day, dancing around in our floral dresses to fancy music whilst baking cupcakes & making tea sandwiches. & at the end of the day we invited our loved ones to come & join us, & hosted the most delightful tea party.

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& just for the fun of it, i shall let you in on our secrets to a perfectly imperfect tea party::

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in order to host a grand tea party, you must firstly make sure you have a good selection of teas. of course, it is custom to ensure that you have PG tips, or some sort of english breakfast, afternoon, or earl grey tea. & then you can get fancy, with a selection of fruit teas, herbal teas, & flavored black teas. to go along with your tea, i suggest brown sugar & sweet cream. sugar cubes are quaint, & regular milk will do the trick if that’s your fancy. of course, some do drink it black… savages. hah, i kid. kind of.

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i also must quickly mention that my dearest susanna brought the sweetest gifts to me from wales. these little tins of tea are my absolute favorite things i’ve ever been gifted. it is rare that one is able to find alice & wonderland themed items. & i love alice & wonderland with all of my heart. not the rubbish remake, but the classic stories & the ever so precious disney animation. plus, these loose leaf teas are apparently from the best tea shop, so. looks like i’m in for a treat! thank you a million times over, my dearest friend.

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okay, so if you’re gonna have a tea party, you gotta have some treats. it’s just plain cruel if you don’t offer sugary sweets. we went for some delightful macarons (my personal favorite flavors are salted caramel & coconut), some sandwich cookies (red velvet, chocolate, & carrot cake), & some proper british treats we found. i finally got to try cadbury fingers! it’s always fun to explore the sections of the grocery store that carry international foods & treats.

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alright, recipe time! i just thought i’d share with you the recipe that we followed for our chocolate chip cookie dough stuffed cupcakes. it’s a recipe from the girl who ate everything, but we definitely altered it a tad. the recipe, including our adjustments, is as follows:


chocolate chip cookie dough stuffed cupcakes::

ingredients:

cupcakes:
    • 1 betty crocker supermoist butter recipe yellow cake mix (and ingredients package calls for)
    • 1 container betty crocker chocolate frosting
for the filling:
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2-4 tablespoons milk
    • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
garnish:
  • optional mini-cookie garnish

instructions

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. make cupcake batter according to directions. (i just realized we added chocolate chips to the cupcake batter… we thought that was part of the recipe but apparently not! it turned out great though.) bake cupcakes according to package directions. let cool.
  2. to make the cookie dough filling, with a mixer (we only had spoons & whisks) cream together the butter and sugar at medium speed. add the vanilla and beat well. add the flour and salt and mix until combined. add the milk gradually until desired consistency is reached and beat until fluffy. gently fold in chocolate chips. (we also added salt! it was a little too sweet for us). chill in the refrigerator until firm. (little tip, you’ll need it to be firm, but not too firm! let it warm back up a tad bit after it comes out of the fridge.)
  3. to fill the cupcakes, cut a cylinder shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake. an apple corer works great for this. (then eat all the centers, yumm.) fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture. (you’ll have extra cookie dough, EAT IT ALL.)
  4. frost cupcakes with chocolate frosting.
  5. garnish mini chocolate chip cookies (we just used mini chips ahoy cookies.)

now, these cupcakes are quite the task. susanna & i may have attempted to create a cooking show video… but forgot to finish it, & the audio messed up in a lot of the clips as well. however, drum roll please, i didn’t want our efforts to be in vain. so, i present, susanna & meredith’s “cooking show” fiasco::

hope it makes you laugh as much as it makes me laugh.

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now your tea party is almost ready. you’ve got the tea, you’ve got the sweets, you’ve even got the cupcakes. now you need the decor! fancy plates & mismatched tea cups are always a good idea. for this particular decoration, i purchased some fake flowers & put them into glass vases filled with tap water.

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& if you’d like to achieve this stacked tray, all you need are 3 tin trays & 2 glass candle sticks! stack em up & viola, you have yourself quite the centerpiece.

after all that hard work, you must sit back, relax, & enjoy some tea in great company.

i will treasure these memories forever.

12 dates of christmas.

welcome to the second to last holiday post!

i hope you’ve all been enjoying them so far, & i hope you’ve been having a lovely holiday season. because lets be honest. sometimes, there is a little bit of a hype for the holidays. & then if our holiday season doesn’t go quite as magically as we plan for it to, it feels like a total waste & such a downer. we’ve all had that one december that just plain old sucked. haven’t you had one of those? mine was last year. i spent my december & my christmas alone, & heart broken. & it definitely wasn’t one i want to relive. but for me personally, this season really made up for it. because for the past year, i’ve been holding hands & sharing kisses with the most amazing man on the planet in my eyes. & so this december, we got to share our first holiday season together. we planned many christmasy dates & made many memories for future years, so i thought i’d share some with you! here are 12 dates that i’d definitely recommend, whether it be sharing these with the love of your life, someone you fancy, or even your family & friends. let’s get started!

 

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1st: bake christmas cookies.

on the first day of christmas my true love aaand me… baked christmas cookies!

now, whether or not you’re good in the kitchen, baking (or even just eating) christmas cookies together is a must! they only come around once a year & there are so many different varieties you can go for. you can make sugar cookies, use cookie cutters to create christmas trees & reindeer, & decorate them. or, you can do what we did, & freak out over a store bought sugar cookie pack that had R2D2 on the cookies!!! we couldn’t resist. i mean this is star wars season as well, after all. this is a relatively inexpensive date that i guarantee will include lots of laughs, a mess, & good memories.

 

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2nd: go to a christmas festival.

on the second day of christmas my true love aaand me… went to a christmas festival!

there is nothing more magical than going to a christmas festival. held downtown, this christmas festival was full of fake snow, giant blow up santas, christmas carols, & live music! i will say, do remember to dress much warmer than we did. but even with numb fingers & toes, we had an amazing time. it was so romantic just walking through the shops, stopping to listen to carolers or live performers or a band playing carol of the bells. at one point, there was even an ice fairy lady on stilts that scared the fool out of me. make sure to prepare for this one in advance, since christmas festivals are usually held at the beginning of december. this is truly one of the most romantic dates & it costs nothing just to walk around together!

 

3rd: shop for presents.

on the third day of christmas my true love aaand me… shopped for other people’s christmas gifts together!

now, i loooooove giving gifts. it’s one of my favorite things in the world. i just love the happiness it brings. & i love picking out presents! so when the love bug asked me to come along christmas shopping with him, i was thrilled. it’s actually a lot of fun to pick out presents together, whether you give gifts as a couple or separately. some people may not like shopping for presents as much as i do, & it may be a total drag to you, so why not make it a date! that way, at least you have someone to suffer with, a second opinion for choosing gifts, & someone to make it an adventure.

 

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4th: christmas film marathon.

on the fourth day of christmas my true love aaand me… had a christmas film marathon!

step 1: build a warm & fuzzy comfy cozy pillow fort or pile of fluff. step 2: get a christmasy popcorn bucket. step 3: dress in the appropriate christmas pajama attire. step 4: make the hot chocolate. step 5: start the christmas film marathon. // i mean, its not like we have to wait all year to watch some of our favorite movies on repeat for an entire month. & it’s not like christmas movies don’t give you the warm & fuzzies on the inside, especially when watched with loved ones… oh wait. THAT IS TOTALLY THE CASE. dude, you can’t not have a christmas movie marathon. buddy the elf is waiting for you. oh, & just in case you don’t know which films to watch, i post about my top 5 favorite christmas movies here. there are many more to chose from as well, of course. & all are perfect for hours of cuddles & endlessly munching on peppermint bark.

 

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5th: go to a christmas tree lighting.

on the fifth day of christmas my true love aaand me… went to see a christmas tree lighting!

there is something quite romantic & lovely about a giant tree covered in lights. kids are giggling & running around it, older couples in their christmas sweaters are taking hilarious selfies with it, families are sharing hot cocoa… it’s magical. there’s bound to be a large christmas tree lighting downtown, somewhere near you. & once you find one, just sit & gaze… at both the tree, & that cutie pie you brought with you.

 

6th: visit a toy store.

on the sixth day of christmas my true love aaand me… visited a toy store!

whether or not you buy anything, there’s just something fun about looking at toys & reminiscing on those days you used to get such joy from lego sets or remote control cars. when i was little, i actually wanted to be a toy store owner when i grew up. mainly because mr. magorium’s wonder emporium was & is one of my most favorite movies. i’m still a child & still love stuffed animals & action figures, as does my love bug, so toy stores are total fun. i’d even recommend watching mr. magorium’s wonder emporium together if you haven’t already. now that’s a toy store i’d like to go.

 

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7th: read christmas stories.

on the seventh day of christmas my true love aaand me… read each other our favorite christmas stories!

the love bug had never read some of my favorite children’s books, & i’d never read some of his favorite, so next thing we know we were plopped into a big chair at Barnes & Noble with a huge stack of books to read. i wrote about it over here & let you know our favorites. it was really fun to relive those days of reading countless pictures books. we found all the classics, from charlie brown to the polar express. i know some day we’ll definitely own a couple on our bookshelves, to read every year. take someone you love to a bookstore & sit down with your favorite tales!

 

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8th: grab some christmas donuts.

on the eighth day of christmas my true love aaand me… grabbed us some christmas donuts!

am i the only one that thinks those snow men donuts are the creepiest yet cutest things in existence? & let’s not mention how delectably sinful. of course there’s also the santa bellies & the red velvet donuts! nothing screams i’m getting so pleasantly plump this holiday season like krispy kreme’s christmas donuts. grab a few, stuff your face, share with friends (or don’t…), & enjoy the heck out of them. it’s christmas! you might as well have 5.

 

9th: go to a tree farm.

on the ninth day of christmas my true love aaand me… visited a tree farm!

for maybe like 5 minutes. so, here’s a hint, if you are planning a tree farm date on a cold december night… bring coats! maybe gloves! maybe scarves! maybe don’t go on the coldest windiest night! just some tips. you might last longer if you’re not frozen solid. however, whether or not you’re planning on buying one, browsing around a tree farm is always great fun. try naming some trees, get a good sniff of that gorgeous pine, & dream about the future christmas trees you’ll be decorating.

 

10th: christmas lights drive.

on the tenth day of christmas my true love aaand me… saw the christmas lights!

i just love christmas lights. on many an occasion, the love bug & i have hopped in the car & drove around countless neighborhoods in search for the best christmas lights. we’ve even gone to see a couple light shows! ya know, the people that cover every square inch of their ginormous front yard in lights & synchronize them to music & such. they are just so magical. & while you’re driving around town, i recommend having a quality christmas playlist on repeat. make sure you include nat king cole’s the happiest christmas tree. why everyone doesn’t know this absolutely fantastic song is beyond me.

 

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11th: build a gingerbread house (or candy house).

on the eleventh day of christmas my true love aaand me… built a candy house!

whether you build a ginger bread house from a kit, or re-create our legendary candy house following this recipe, you’re gonna have tons of fun getting a sugar rush & then crashing. put on your favorite christmas film, gather around the table, & get sloppy with whatever confectionary delights you choose! the best part is obviously eating the extra candy, but the outcome is great too. you’ll have a little house to show how well (or not well) you work together to create awesomeness. i’m super proud of our little candy house, & we had tons of fun putting it together.

 

12th: volunteer / donate!

on the eleventh day of christmas my true love aaand me… it’s time to give back.

on a serious note, if we call this the season of giving, why don’t we spend the time to give what we don’t use to those who could use them? i think as a society we are a little guilty of taking a lot that we have for granted. we perhaps unknowingly take advantage of the fact that we have the funds to buy christmas presents for others, & receive christmas presents. it breaks my heart to think that every year, there are some parents who can’t afford to give their children the gifts their hearts desire. it saddens me that some of us feel like our christmas is ruined when it doesn’t go as planned… when there are some who spend christmas on the streets. over seas defending our country. in a hospital. without food. so, perhaps this holiday season, participate in a date that isn’t just about the two of you. there is bound to be clothes you no longer use, toys you don’t need, even food in your fridge that you could give to those less fortunate than you. we are all humans on this planet & not one of us is more deserving than another. everyone deserves a home, a family, food, clothing, & love. if you are in a position in which you are able to give, i encourage you to do so. whether that be volunteering at a homeless shelter on christmas eve, visiting a children’s hospital to deliver toys, or even just dropping off bags of clothing at donation stations, you have the ability to make a difference & make someone else’s holiday season a little brighter.

 

& that concludes the 12 dates of christmas! i hope you enjoyed this post & perhaps found some date ideas you’ll want to try out in the future. & i hope that each & every one of you has a holiday season surrounded with family & friends & people who love you, a season of giving & smiling & loving & cherishing what we are fortunate to have. i hope you know that you are loved & you are important, & that no matter how your season goes, your worth is immeasurable. happy holidays, & a very warm hug from me to you.

it’s time to fall into autumn.

oh, hey readers (if anyone does in fact read this blog). let’s talk about seasons. & the fact that we haven’t officially acknowledged autumn on crafted fragments yet?!? say what? it’s practically a sin. i mean, this is my absolute favorite time of year we’re talking about. all the leaves, the yummy food, the holidays coming up, the snuggly fuzzy clothes wearing time… & not to mention, it’s october, my all time favorite month! this girl is a happy camper i tell ya.

i know for some of you this might not actually be a happy time… i have friends who dislike autumn, who are suffering severe separation anxiety from summer, and who just get plain ol’ depressed from fall. while i don’t completely understand these particular feelings, i truly feel for you. because, similar to your feelings, i dislike every season that isn’t autumn, suffer from severe separation anxiety from leaves, and get plain ol’ depressed whenever it’s not thanksgiving.

maybe let’s level the playing field by me telling you allllll the reasons you should adore autumn like i do. then, your transition to this wonderful season will be as smooth, yet exhilarating, as jumping into a pile of leaves! shall we?

reasons you’re gonna love autumn:

  1. cause it’s awesome.
  2. leaves.
  3. pumpkins.
  4. spoopy.
  5. crisp air.
  6. the smell of all things sugar & spice.
  7. scarf wearing season.
  8. cozy sweater wearing season.
  9. fuzzy socks wearing season.
  10. THANKSGIVING.

i’m pretty sure i covered the basics.

but really, how to ensure you get the most out of autumn:

  1. go to a pumpkin patch.
  2. watch an autumn sunset.
  3. take a “fall foliage” drive.
  4. knit a scarf.
  5. have an autumn picnic, complete with checkered blanket & thermos full of apple cider.
  6. go apple picking.
  7. build a blanket fort & watch old movies.
  8. have a bonfire with s’mores & campfire songs.
  9. wear lots of sweaters.
  10. put together a fall playlist.
  11. take a “turkey walk” on thanksgiving.
  12. go to a corn maze.
  13. buy an autumnal scented candle.
  14. visit the mountains.
  15. bake lots of pumpkin flavored goods.
  16. rake leaves into a pile & jump!
  17. go on a hay ride.
  18. drink hot chocolate, hot tea, hot apple cider, hot coffee… anything hot! make sure you have a snazzy mug to go along with it.
  19. carve a pumpkin.
  20. decorate your living space for autumn.
  21. have lots of cuddles.
  22. collect & press leaves.
  23. visit a country fair or festival.
  24. maybe even visit an alpaca farm (my personal favorite).
  25. hike a nature trail.
  26. eat a lot of turkey.
  27. just be really really thankful.
  28. breathe that good air.
  29. rest your eyes on those beautiful sights.
  30. & take this season as a season of refreshing. a new beginning. a time to love & be loved. a time to be thankful & count your blessings. a time to be engaged with & excited about life. take this season as a time to be truly alive.

happy autumn, everyone. i’m so happy autumn’s finally here.

& these are a few of my favorite things.

1. coffee houses. especially this one in particular. eclectic & quaint & perfect for all occasions. perfect for date nights, study sessions, catching up with old friends, people watching, diving into good books, or just drinking some coffee. they’re known for their epic flavored lattes, & awesome atmosphere. live irish bands on sundays, jazz nights on thursdays, & always a choice playlist playing in the background in between. i happened to just get back from jazz night & this girl swoons at the sound of a saxophone, so you bet i was in heaven.

3. grey flowy things. ask any of my friends, my wardrobe consists of mainly grey flowy things. my love language is probably grey flowy things. i get this weird sort of satisfaction & joy when i see other people also wearing grey flowy things. my mom is always saying, “do you really need another grey flowy thing?!?” & you bet i’m always answering, “uh, YES, YES I DO.” i found this dress & just couldn’t resist. it’s the perfect color grey & the perfect amount of flowy. makes ya wanna frolic your heart out!

3. ice cream parlors. especially little ones that have been around for ages & still use glass coke bottles! the love bug & i love to take walks down to the ice cream parlor to share a cup of cookies & cream & soak up the sun.

4. i love lucy.

my darling roomie & i had this conversation about how much we adored i love lucy & next thing i know my mom bought us the first season on DVD. so you bet i spent a lazy friday morning in bed watching episode after episode of i love lucy & laughing my sides off. did anyone else grow up with this show?? it’s so hilarious & silly & i love it.

5. rings.

it’s a jewelry weakness of mine. my bestest gal pal has this fear of rings which cracks me up because i’m the total opposite. i recently got these two rings from the cutest jewelry & knick knack store we have next to campus & i love them. one is silver & has this really cool texture to it, & the other is a mood ring!!! 90’s kids, what’s good. i used to love mood rings (but the ones with the color all around the ring), so when i saw this adorable oval one i was like um, yes please. apparently i’m always very happy, & then nervous. how accurate!

6. marble everything.

okay, so marble takes the cake as the prettiest. taking art history in our campus’ art museum is my favorite because of the marble columns (that i secretly desire to just hug they are so beautiful). i didn’t know marble print was a thing until i saw an instagram post of this journal & i was like UM YES? HELLUR 911 MARBLE EMERGENCY. i take obsessions way too far probably, but the marble lovin’ has hit me strong. i was never so excited to receive something in the mail as i was this gorgeous journal. not even gonna pretend i don’t stroke that beautiful cover sometimes. this is a trend i can give my blessing to. marble everything please.

7. you guys.

no really, i love you all. you’re my favorite.

//

& those are just a few of my favorite things! *cue maria von trapp singing the hills are aliiiive*

what are a few of your favorite things? let me know in the comments! 

all my love,

meredith.

farmers market love.

happy labor day everyone! hope y’all are having a fun (& safe) weekend full of laughter & love. here’s a little throwback post for ya, enjoy!

remember how i adore farmers markets? yeah. the love bug & i went on a date to the largest farmers market in north carolina a while back, & we had the most amazing time. check it out::

succulents & tea cups // two of my favorite things.

succulent love !!! ahh !!!

remember them from blues clues???

& then the love bug bought me the most beautiful sunflower like the darling he is.

& then the love bug bought me the most beautiful sunflower like the darling he is.

one of the favorite animals:: pigs.

one of the favorite animals:: pigs.

(remember when i had long hair??)

favorite flower !!!

favorite flower !!!

& we ended the date with the most adorable picnic & the freshest of sunflowers.

& we ended the date with the most adorable picnic & the freshest of sunflowers.

farmers markets are the best.

much love,

meredith.

photo post of our weekend adventures in charlotte.

hello lovelies! this weekend, the love bug & i took a road trip to charlotte nc to visit my best gal pal susanna. we probably had the greatest time ever. here, i can prove it::

first stop? smelly cat coffee house.

it’s always time for coffee.

old door covered in international currency.

the arrangement of this coffee house was probably one of my most favorites. it was perfect for introverted hermits like me who want to drink my coffee in a nook of peacefulness. the red brick, industrial looking ceiling, & use of old doors around the walls gave it the coziest & most eclectic feel that i couldn’t get enough of. well done, smelly cat! also, let’s just say the drinks are divine. go try some for yourself.

next we just wondered around NoDa, the cutest art district of charlotte.

we stopped in to a few quaint shops while exploring. this is local art displayed in ruby’s gift.

my kind of art!

my kind of art!

we made a lunch stop at the solstice tavern. first of all, how cute is that curb appeal? instant smiles just looking at it! i’m really glad we decided to eat there, because the service was great & the food was fantastic! we all got sandwiches, but what was 10 million times better was the mac & cheese on the side. i really want to go back for the sole purpose of asking them 1) for an entire bucket of their mac & cheese and 2) for that recipe. seriously. mac & cheese brilliance!

& we all loved the “hole-in-the-wall” feel 😉

my favorite childhood tale oh so magically painted on a door!

my favorite childhood tale oh so magically painted on a door!

what are my hands doing? i don’t even know. what i do know is that this is my best gal pal & i love her a lot. & we drink a lot of coffee, so therefore we are the coolest.

we then headed over to our absolute favorite bakery, amelie’s french bakery!

i absolutely adore this bakery. some of my most favorite memories abide in those walls, including the love bug & my best gal pal interacting for the first time (oh my heart). the salted caramel brownies are the most delectable, & the love bug recommends the honey buns!

gotta love the art work.

also, funny story:: you know the love lock bridge in paris? well there’s a mini one outside amelie’s. the first time i took the love bug here, we wanted to put up a lock but realized we didn’t have any locks in our back pocket. all we had was… a paper clip… so we put that paper clip on the bridge! it was really a joke but we thought it cute. but knowing we would be stopping by here on this trip, we purchased ourselves a real fancy lock! see that gold lock above the sign that says k + m? that’s us right there! i love our love.

lastly, we walked across the street to the salvaged beauty, a “NODA music, art and vintage collective.”

yeah, i wanted to cry. i love the beatles. i hope someday i have a record player in my home & i can tidy up to the sounds of here comes the sun.

trippy tapestry.

& thus ends a marvelous day with my favoritest humans ever.

much love,

meredith.

miss you, Cali.

dearest california,

i miss those clear skies & amazing views.

but i also miss those cloudy days, driving through the hills.

i miss all my lovely friends & family, & the yummy chocolate… thanks ruby! 😉

& i’ll miss all those picture perfect moments.

maybe i won’t miss the plane rides that made me an anxious ball of terror… pretty though, right?

but getting some good reads in did help. california was worth the anxious plane rides!

looking at these on my bulletin board as i type… oh how i miss you, california!

//

& that’s all folks! hope you enjoyed reading all my posts about my trip to southern california. it was an absolute blast, & i can’t wait to go back.

just a heads up:: due to some life events, I’m going to be taking a week off from blogging. but when I return, we’ll go back to regular scheduling 🙂 so you’ll be getting posts every monday & friday! thanks for sticking around & for all the support. i have the greatest readers ever.

hugs & love!

meredith.