// pennsylvania travel diary //

hello, friends! yesterday, i got back from a three day adventure in pennsylvania with my mum. this post is sort of a guide to anyone who might want to visit that area of pennsylvania (chadds ford/brandywine river valley), and my thoughts during the trip.

(i took lots of pictures, but since this post is long enough already, i’ll be sharing them later.)

« day one » 

i woke up at seven, and we didn’t leave our house till nine thirty. i did some last minute packing (aka raiding my desk for art supplies), grabbed a muffin for breakfast, and called shotgun.

my grandparents let us borrow their car, since ours is, well, a bit of a disaster (who else can relate to a car? my life is a mess, haha.). it was kind of weird riding in a different car, but i did have a lot more leg space than usual, which was rad.

during the four hour ride, i entertained myself by talking about donuts, watching my mom jam to old songs on the radio, singing blink-182 to myself, reading the hollow boy by jonathan stroud, and taking cliche travel pictures. every time we entered a new state, i would inform my mom that one of my internet friends lived there. i wish i could have met some of you guys, but our schedule didn’t really allow for that.

when we were are about ten minutes from our hotel, my mom took a detour, and we ended up at a place called baldwin book barn. from the outside, it looked like it belonged in the shire. the inside was a five-story maze of used books and dusty shelves. i found battle of the labyrinth by rick riordan, and my mom was kind enough to get it for me. :)

after that, we headed up to the brandywine river hotel. our room was pretty so-so: two full beds, a tiny bathroom, a mini fridge, and an old tv with nothing good to watch. however, there was an elevator (those things are fricken rad), and the hotel served tea at four thirty. there was a rather impressive collection of tea bags to choose from, but i got hot chocolate instead. a plate of cookies was also available.

once we finished our drinks, my mom and i walked around a tiny cluster of shops beside the hotel. they were all closed because it was sunday, but the flowers planted all around were fun to photograph.


for dinner, we went to a place called mod pizza. it’s basically subway, but with pizza instead of sandwiches. you could get as many toppings as you wanted, and you didn’t have to pay extra.

so now it’s after ten and we’re back at the hotel. i’m wearing these really soft lounge shorts i just got, listening to the all-american rejects, and drawing a rose i saw today. i got to text N, and he was freaking out about the new season of sherlock. i’ve only seen the first two episodes of that show . . . oops? i’m pretty sure N is going to disown me as his friend for that.

« day two »

i had to figure out how to use the shower today. it was a very loud, aggressive shower, and i felt like it was screaming at me.

breakfast was served in the same room as tea. there was cereal, oatmeal, fruit, coffee, a waffle maker, a case of assorted bread-y things, etc.

today’s plan was to visit the brandywine river museum of art, which is mostly the paintings of three generations of artists from the wyeth family: n. c., andrew, and jamie wyeth. admission was $15 for adults, and $6 for students and children. i enjoyed the first few exhibits, but by the time we reached the main attraction (andrew wyeth’s paintings), i was getting a little bored. he painted a lot of plants. i probably would have liked it more if i was interested in watercolor.

then my mom dragged me on a tour of the artist’s home/studio. we took a shuttle from the museum to a little white house tucked into the trees. a woman led us around the house for an hour, going into much more detail then was necessary. photography was allowed, but there wasn’t anything that was interesting enough for me to photograph.

after resting at the hotel, we walked around the tiny shopping center again. it’s called chadds ford village and barn shops. there was an art gallery, a cosmetics shop, a salon, a yoga place, and a florist — which was the only store open.

my mom’s best friend from middle school lives nearby, and we met up with her in delaware for dinner. the restaurant we went to is called anthony’s coal fired pizza, and they serve italian food, as well as salad and chicken wings. i got a calzone, which is something i’ve never tried before. it’s like an inside out pizza, kind of. even though i got the small, it was still super huge, and we have lots of leftovers.

now we’re just chilling in our room playing card games. my mom taught me how to play speed, i showed her how to play slap jack, and i thought about when my brother’s friends made me play fifty-two card pickup.

the weather hasn’t been that great while we’ve been here. yesterday was cold and windy, and it rained today. hopefully tomorrow will be nicer, since we’re planning on going to a huge garden. that’s why i came on this trip. i just really love flowers.

« day three »

sleeping in this hotel isn’t easy for me. i woke up at one and three before i got up at seven. the beds are quite comfortable, though. it’s like you’re wrapped in a heavy cloud.

we packed up our stuff and made our way down to breakfast. some of the trays were empty already, the food taken by the other guests. i had a waffle and piece of lemon bread.

after we ate, we took all our bags from our room and stuffed them into the car. then we set out for our destination: longwood gardens. it took longer then it should have to get there, because construction work made the cars slow to a crawl. when we got there, we purchased our tickets to the garden — $23 for my mom, and $12 for me. you could rent wheelchairs, electric scooters, and strollers.

we entered the garden, armed with only a map to help us navigate over one thousand acres. staff were scattered over the grounds, and they gave us directions and suggested places to visit.


we stopped at a cafe on the property called beer garden. i got a german braided pretzel for $6, which came with ranch, spicy mustard, and beer cheese dip.

we were there for over four hours. and we didn’t see everything. it was just so huge, with tons of gardens to walk about in, and i was too tired to see everything. but we did visit the meadow garden (not much blooming this time of year), the italian water garden (huge fountains), two tree houses (large, really pretty tree houses could be found across the property), the flower garden walk, the conservatory, etc.

the conservatory was absolutely breathtaking. it was probably amusing for my mom to watch me get so excited about plants. there were twenty rooms filled with plants from all over the world. there were bonsai trees, orchids, cacti, bananas, jungle plants, and tons of things i had never seen before.

we left the garden after exploring the conservatory and began the drive back home. goodbye, pennsylvania! you have bad roads and weather, but you’re very green and pretty.

we’ve been in the car for about three and a half hours. it’s been rather uneventful so far. (i’m not bored, exactly. it’s hard to be bored on a trip. i like long car rides, because i can feel the bumps in the road and watch the scenery and have lots of time to think.) i tried reading, i tried sleeping, my legs hurt, etc. i got to talk to N for a few minutes while we were at a rest stop. (he likes the band pierce the veil.) so now i’m writing this while we look for a chick-fil-a. i want a milkshake. those things are heavenly.

i get such a weird feeling when i’m traveling, because i realize that every little town i pass through is someone’s home. they know who all their neighbors are and they can walk to the grocery store with their eyes closed. they have memories attached to everything there. but i’ll never know those people or the story about that crooked tree on the hill. i’m just a traveler, and their hometown means nothing to me.

and now, we take a break from deep thoughts with loren and return to the commentary.

guess who has two milkshakes! it’s me. no, i won’t share with you. the woman at chick-fil-a gave us our milkshake, and when i tasted it, it was vanilla instead of chocolate, and it looked a lot bigger than a small. she hurried back to us with another drink and apologized for giving us the wrong order. we got to keep the vanilla one, though, so my mom is drinking that.

since i forgot to give my mom a new straw, she’s using one with my delicious saliva on it. my dumb brain started singing “tastes like you, only sweeter.” (from thnks fr th mmrs by fall out boy.) I’M CRYING, I HATE MY SENSE OF HUMOR. SOMEONE HELP ME, I’M SUCH BAND TRASH.

songs that have been stuck in my head on this trip:

san diego // blink-182

i’m just a kid // simple plan

vanilla twilight // owl city

move along // the all-american rejects

bang bang // green day

i wanna // the all-american rejects

i’ve done three drawings while up here. i guess boring hotels are good for creativity. (i never thought i would call a hotel boring, but that one was.) my drawings were inspired by the first three songs on that list. i’ll post pictures of them once i’ve done a few more.

every time my mom says the word “lane,” i start singing lane boy by twenty one pilots. she probably hates me. we almost missed our exit because of my performance. have i mentioned that i’m band trash?

it’s raining and we’re listening to old rock songs on the radio. this would be even better if i had a friend here. i wish N was with me.

observations:

• pennsylvania has lots of enormous rhododendrons.

• my town looks pretty in the rain.

• our radio stations aren’t that great.

• realizing that you’re getting close to home feels like being put on a leash.

• i’ll be impossible to take on dinner dates.

• people don’t like the idea of someone not wanting kids.

• passing my best friend’s house make me feel laughing-at-two-a.m.-at-a-sleepover happy.

• i spent the whole trip thinking this is fun, but i want it to be over. 

xo

loren

// the super mega ultimate prefix ice cream sandwich™ //

me, at 1:18 in the morning: i want an ice cream sandwich.

sadly, we have no ice cream sandwiches in the house. so i convinced my mom to take me to the store so i could collect the  ingredients needed to construct The Super Mega Ultimate Prefix Ice Cream Sandwich™.

 all you need are two large chocolate chip cookies, vanilla ice cream, and a spoon. it’s not that complex, my dudes.

slap some of that sweet ice cream onto a cookie and squish the other one on top.

you know what this thing needs? even more sugar. yeah, that sounds about right.

mix some chocolate chips, m&ms, peanut butter, etc. into the ice cream before putting it on the cookies. or just sprinkle them on after, as i did.

eating this thing was messy as heck, so i would advise consuming it in the outdoors. take it from me, i am a professional. (despite being “careful,” i still managed to get ice cream all over my arms and face and also somehow my legs???)

the pictures suck a bit, sorry about that. i’m not sure what happened. so you should definitely make your own ice cream sandwich and take better photos and post them online while saying how much better you are then me. :)

xo

loren

{Sugar Cookies}

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You know how Christmas can just sneak up on you? You spend all year wishing it would come faster, and then when December arrives, the days speed up and you don’t have enough time to make it feel like a holiday.

There are things that make the holidays feel real, and for me, it’s putting up lights, decorating cookies, listening to Christmas music and singing it obnoxiously loud, sitting in front of the fireplace, and, of course, snow.

Stay fabulous, loves.

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How to Make the Perfect Cup of Hot Cocoa

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So you think you can make a mean cup of hot cocoa, huh? Well, mortal, I assure you that you do not. However, I possess this ancient skill, and am willing to share my knowledge with you.

I am a professional cook so I definitely know what I’m doing.

Warning: this recipe may blow your mind. Proceed with caution.

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First, go to the cupboard and find the biggest mug you own. Above, you see the incredible cup I like to drink butterbeer from.

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Actually, that may be a bit too big. You’d probably get a relentless stomachache from drinking all that cocoa. Pick the second-largest mug.

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Raid your cabinets (and possibly your neighbors’, too) to gather the supplies: milk, fresh from the cow’s udder; sugar as pure as my heart; cocoa as dark as some actress’s hair; vanilla that smells like the sweet tears of Jesus; and salt (idk why, just roll with it).

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Don’t forget your tools of mass destruction! I mean, um . . . your tools of mass delight-inducing-ness. A whisk and tablespoon.

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Empty the entire milk carton into your mug. If it’s actually your second-largest cup, there should be a pocket dimension inside of it, so you don’t have to worry about it spilling.

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MICROWAVE IT FOR ONE HOUR.

One minute works, too.

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Add two tablespoons of cocoa to the steaming cup of milk. You could use the normal “Natural Unsweetened” kind (if you like being boring), or you could use “SPECIAL DARK COCOA,” aka the best kind. Or, idk, use both.

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Combine all the ingredients in your mug. A dash of salt, a splash of vanilla, and five cups two tablespoons of sugar.

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Take your weapon of mass destruction and whip that thing into a frothy goodness.

Taste, decided to add more sugar, and end up using those five cups I mentioned earlier.

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And now, the most important part.

♥ ♥ ♥ Toppings ♥ ♥ ♥

Dump an entire bag of marshmallows into it because sugar is really, really good for you.

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Put on a butt-load of whipped cream and shower with sprinkles. Then add a bendy straw because you are classy.

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Skip away with your cocoa and leave the mess for someone else.

But you can’t forget the most important step! After slurping down the cocoa in .16 minutes, crawl into your bedroom, lay on your bed, turn on the fan, and be miserable because you now have a horrific stomachache.

And that is how you make the perfect cup of hot cocoa.

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Harry Potter Butterbeer Recipe

Harry Potter Butterbeer RecipeHarry Potter logo via. Beer mug image via.

Hello! Awhile back, I made butterbeer with my Harry Potter-obsessed best friend. I thought it was really good, and I wanted to make it again, but I didn’t have the recipe. I dug around on the internet for a bit and found what I think is the recipe that we used (from Design Dazzle).

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For the drink:

  • 2 liter cream soda
  • 2 tablespoons butter extract
  • 2 teaspoons rum extract

For the cream topping:

  • 1 7oz. container of marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract

Note: when I made it with my best friend, the butterbeer was really, really rummy. It’s possible that we might have used 2 tablespoons of rum extract instead of 2 teaspoons. Please do not make this mistake.

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Pour the extract into the soda bottle, screw on the lid tightly, and gently roll it around on a flat surface to mix up the flavor. Put the bottle into the refrigerator while making the topping.

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Put the marshmallow creme, whipping cream, and rum extract into a bowl and mix it with a whisk. Mix until the topping forms soft peaks.

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Pour the butterbeer into a mug, scoop the topping on, and enjoy! ♥

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I was at a Renaissance Faire on Sunday (sadly, I have no pictures), and there was a stall selling soda in these great big mugs. The soda was stored in barrels! I saw the mugs and decided to get one, because it would be cool to drink butterbeer from it. ☺

Loren

BIBPC: Foooood

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I was panicking today, because I didn’t have a photo to enter in BIBPC. I couldn’t think of anything to photograph. Literally everything has texture, so I was thinking about taking a picture of a random thing. XD But then I thought of food! Food is interesting, right? I picked Ramen noodles, because they’ve got a pretty cool texture.

I’m still panicking, actually, because this is late. I was supposed to have posted this by 5:00 . . . and it’s almost 6:00. :'( I’m really sorry, Megan! I was still doing school. I understand if this doesn’t count.

Loren