Absolutely amazing dish! She was genius to try this!


 You remember this dish… from every church pot luck, community cookbook, and Gramma’s table.  Yes, THAT broccoli-rice casserole.  Bubbly, cheesy, rich, and so very good.  Old-fashioned comfort food, personified.

Since I love using quinoa in everything calling for rice (less starchy, more protein) I thought I’d give it a try in this one.  And it worked just as well.  As you can see in the second photo, it’s the same creamy-dreamy texture and flavor we loved before – only this time it’s not full of rice-carbs that can wreck havoc with blood surgar.  AND the quinoa gives added protein.  How ’bout that?!

I can’t believe how great this turned out!  It’s the perfect side dish for all your meats or a vegetarian option on it’s own.  The old version was a favorite in our house – and now this will DEFINITELY be!





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Chocolate Filled Strawberries!

Everyone loves the classic chocolate covered strawberry. They happen to be my absolute favorite! However, I have two gripes every time I eat them. Number one, the chocolate shell always falls off when you take that first bite. And number two, there is never enough chocolate!


Not So Classic Chocolate Filled Strawberries



15-20 strawberries (the larger the better) and 1 bag of Milk Chocolate chips (I use the 11.5 oz Guittard milk chocolate chips)


1. Cut the stems off your clean strawberries and carefully scoop out the top of the berry. The deeper you scoop the more chocolate it will hold. I used large strawberries so I scooped about an inch down.
2. Pour the entire bag of chocolate chips in a glass bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 second intervals. Make sure to take your bowl out every 30 seconds to stir the chips. Continue until all chips are melted.
3. Place your strawberries in an egg carton so they sit straight up. You could also use little Dixie cups. Now you can either spoon your melted chocolate into the berries or use a funnel or piping bag. I used a little baby spoon and it worked fine. Your choice.
4. Place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes until they harden a bit. Enjoy! 🙂

Note: As someone noted there is a small chance that salmonella could be found in an empty egg carton so if this concerns you it is safer to use an ice cube tray or mini muffin tin to hold the berries while the chocolate hardens.


Powerful Presentations and Speakers


(Top then left to right)

Between Carol Guzy, Kevin MCCarthy, Malika Bilal, BJ Koubaroulis, Greg Wyshynski, and Steve Klein, there is no way I could choose a favorite speaker. I met all of them today and before I knew it, there were 6 or 7 different views of journalism and the media flying around in my brain! It’s incredible how quickly a person can influence you, let alone an entire group.

I think there’s something to be said for their committment to their industries. Carol Guzy is a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner for her stunning photographs. Kevin McCarthy has been done entertainment reporting for years, even though he is only 28. BJ Koubaroulis and Greg Wyshynski cover sports; Malika Bilal covers social media and global trends. And Steve Klein just reports on anything and teaches at George Mason University. All of these different perspectives made for a very interesting day at the Journalism Conference. I have to say my favorite speaker was probably either Kevin or Carol. Solely based on their work, definitely Carol. She is inspiring and has the best eye for subjects in her photos. But Kevin connected with the younger generation easily and elicited reactions from the crowd with simply giving personal advice and a comical story behind it.

That’s what I’m taking away from this conference. All of their advice about the world and how to be a great journalist, while still maintaining humanity and emotions. With them, I am a more educated citizen and a better individual overall. I love hearing from people in this business and famous people in general! They truly have an impact.

Where’s your role model/inspiration? What made you decide your career path? I’m just getting started!

xoxo -Danielle

Review of the Newseum

I have been on a Washington Journalism and Media Conference for the past two days and will be stationed in Fairfax, VA until Friday. Today, we traveled to Washington DC in order to view the Newseum, a collection of news, journalism, and top stories and photo galleries. I loved every moment of it. I’ll show you my favorite exhibits, but also the most well known ones.

First and foremost: the 9/11 Exhibit. This entire gallery captured the essence of that day perfect. Being only in first grade at the time, I have always gone off of stories that my parents elders told. Because of this, when I saw the 9/11 front pages of almost every newspaper imaginable, I was disorientedand almost jarred to the point of dizziness. It is incredibly amazing to see all of the newspaper headlines, part of the plane’s engine that crashed into the second tower, and quotes from people around the world. Around the corner, there was a very powerful video that made almost every person in the audience cry, including myself. The sheer terror that enveloped America that day was devastating and definitely deserved its own quiet, secluded, reverent gallery. The Newseum definitely scored major points with this one.

Second, the Pulitzer Prize Gallery. The award winning collection of photos truly makes an impact on you as soon as you round the corner. The entire room is covered with photos, descriptions, interviews, and artifacts. There is really only one way to really understand the true meaning behind all of the photos – be the one to capture them. And even then, there are still no words to describe situations and heart-breaking scenes. Still, among those are the famous Olympic finish pictures and savior pictures of firemen and rescue teams. The gallery opens an innocent citizen’s eyes to an entire new outlook on life: that we are all witnessing life in its greatest and most horrific form every day, even if disguised as something totally different.

Lastly, there is a lighter, more energetic gallery of photos taken by Neil Leifer. His photos include primarily sport and athletic subject matter, but there are also city, landscapes, and celebrity pictures. The trio from the Olympic Basketball Team of 1992, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan, are captured perfectly. Amongst the others include Secretariat’s famous finish at the Kentucky Derby, Muhammad Ali’s knock-out shots, and Mike Tyson’s drilling stare and boxing gloves. The gallery is captivating and breathtaking; it can always make someone smile, no matter their subject interest. His photos are of those of pure genius.

Galleries I have not mentioned include an FBI exhibit, the interactive webcasting center, the Berlin Wall artifacts, and many many more! Hopefully this makes you want to travel to DC in order to visit this museum. Trust me, it would be well worth the trip! And anyways, there is much more in store the harder you look around!

xoxo -Danielle

Heading Out!

Later this week I will be heading out to George Mason University for a Journalism and Media Conference!

And naturally, when I travel I take pictures, as do many others. Travel and photography just go hand in hand and while capturing the beauty and unique qualities about the places we visit can be exciting, it can also be a little bit daunting. I always want to come home with tangible memories of my amazing experiences and to capture the true beauty of the things I see.

Today I want to share a quick list of photography tips to help you capture your next traveling adventure. Whether it’s somewhere exotic or you’re exploring some place closer to home, here are a few simple tips to keep in mind:

  • Pack lightly. Lugging around a long list of photography equipment can be exhausting and impractical where airline weight and baggage restrictions are concerned. Do you have a favorite go to lens? Bring it and maybe one other with you and make them work for you. You’ll be more apt to bring your camera along wherever you go the easier it is to carry.
  • Capture details about the place you’re visiting that make it unique. Create a collection of photos that contrast the differences between the place you’re visiting and where you call home. Differences in plant life, local crops, foods, climate, architecture, etc. Turn your camera away from the easy to spot characteristics of a place and look for more obscure details to photograph. Road signs in different languages, the local people and what they like to do, stores in the area, what a typical street looks like.
  • Capture a variety of different kinds of photos from close ups to landscapes. Pay close attention to the background of your photos and include information that gives your photos context. Where you were, what the surroundings were like, how the weather was. Closeups are great, but including some of the background scenery tells a story.
  • Hand the camera over to someone else and have them get in a shot or two. Maybe even give them the job of playing photographer for the day. Capturing the trip from a travel companion’s perspective can be fun and provides a totally different vantage point.
  • When traveling, space is always a concern. No room to bring home much in the way of souvenirs or memorabilia? Why not snap a quick picture of those items you wish you could bring home instead.
  • Think of yourself as the storyteller of your trip. Capture the details of your journey from start to finish. From packing, arriving at your destination, the fun you had while there and your return home!

While capturing a plethora of beautiful photos from your trip is great, don’t forget to put the camera away sometimes and soak it all in. Enjoy the details with all of your senses and create memories to attach to your photographs. Taking photos is great but knowing when to put the camera away is great too!

Have fun and love your vacations!

xoxo -Danielle


Fast Friendship Bracelets


Lately I’ve been occupying my time with these friendship bracelets. They’re really easy to make but the best feature is that you can remove them when needed. My sisters and I have made them to match pretty much anything! They’re great to attach to birthday gifts or just make with friends.


  • 1. You will only need to choose three colors of embroidery/friendship thread. Cut two pieces of each color at around 3 feet each. You should have 6 pieces of string total. Keep the like colors together.
  • 2. Loop all of the string together around your ring finger and tie two knots.
  • 3. Tape (or clip) the loop to a sturdy surface. Separate the colors. On the left side you should have one group of each color and you should have one group of each color on the right as well. If you separate them like this in the beginning, it will be easier in the next steps.
  • 4. Take the outside color from the right side (in this case- blue) and cross it over to the left side (on the inside.)
  • 5. Take the outside group/same color from the left and cross it over to the right side (on the inside.)
  • 6. Grab the left group in one hand and the right group in the other and pull outward to tighten the design a little. You will only have to do this step in the beginning, eventually it won’t need tightening. Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 over and over again until you get the bracelet as long as it needs to be to go around your wrist. It should go pretty fast.
  • 7. When the bracelet is long enough, tie two or three knots at the end.
  • 8. String a bead onto the end and then tie another knot to keep the bead in place. (I actually tied two knots a the end.) Then cut the extra string off and you are done!

Hope you enjoy these as much as my sisters and I did! xoxo -Danielle


For the Love of Reading!

Due to the overdose of finals, extra projects, math formulas, and scientific rules at the end of the school year, my brain has been craving its favorite pastime – reading. I can’t get my hands on enough books now! Here are some of the books I’ve finished in the past 2 weeks:

Image This novel is an amazing mystery thriller! I’ve come to love the entire Alex Cross series because James Patterson does a fantastic job developing charcters. There’s so much depth to the plot that it is almost impossible to predict the next action sequence and some situations rip at your emotions. He does a perfect job of showcasing the true horror that homicide detectives go through.

 Image One of the most important pieces of literature in history, Atonement is now one of my favorite novels. I was skeptical about how much praise it was actually worthy of, but it’s a fantastic read. The descriptions of war and lifestyle in the 1930’s capture your attention, but the thrilling tale of a writing-inspired young girl, who makes a terrible mistake, holds you until the end of the book. Consequently, the mistake has life-changing effects for many people and the girl lives desiring atonement: which leads her into an exploration of the nature of writing for this end. I recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys old-style literature.

Image While this is not a fiction novel, the brutally honest description of will make you less sure of yourself-and that’s a good thing. In The Invisible Gorilla, there is a wide assortment of stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to reveal an important truth: Our minds don’t work the way we think they do. We think/see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we’re actually missing a whole lot. It’s a great eye-opening read and creates a lot of impact for people who already want to learn about life, the human race, and how the mind works.

Image This is the latest novel I’ve finished and I loved every minute of it. It describes the life and journey of an autistic child, and gives a twist the the meaning of “think clearly”. Christopher, the protagonist, is so incredibly logical that it makes you cry, smile, laugh, and sometime cringe. There is nothing in the novel that made me want to depart from following Christopher’s journey.

If somehow any of these books don’t work for you, try something else! This website is really helpful when trying to find something you might want to read. It bases it’s recommendations off of other books you have already read. –> www.whatshouldireadnext.com 

So wait for a lazy day, go grab a book, and lose yourself!

xoxo Danielle


Secret Messages

Secret Messages

I’m all for wit and cleverness, especially if it can make someone smile. This definitely would have made my day and I know it would have made most of my friends happy too!

When it comes to messages, though, I like to make it incredibly obvious that it was meant for them to find. If you are looking for something fun to do, or just want to send someone a message, try this:

1) Find yourself a pack of colorful sticky notes
2) Write your messgae on as many as you would like
3) Stick them wherever your person is meant to find them!

I once did this with a couple of friends to my best friend’s car on her 18th birthday. Her facial expression was priceless and it was something easy and quick to do!

Make someone smile this summer! : )
xoxo -Danielle

Complexities of Me, Myself, and I

“People hold onto life more than anything else; it’s really funny when you think of all the beautiful things there are in the world.” -Romain Gary, La Vie devant soi, 1975

I fully believe that everything can be inspiration. As an observant bystander to life, I notice the small things in life tend to become my major focus. Primarily though, I remember the quotations and scenes from my life. Giving advice, the act of writing, and thought itself need the power of word. It is the main relation between ideas and actuality. Photos, on the other hand, make beauty and truth the interest. Together, they make the greatest view of life. Perspective can change at any time and that’s the wonder of it all. I’m truly captivated by the expression of people in life. Everything in my life tends to have some small shred of happiness in it and I’m setting myself out to capture it all!

With this blog, I hope to take a step back from life. Collect my thoughts, ideas, and memoirs and turn them into something worthwhile to read, to explore, and to embody. I find everything written, spoken, and photographed to hold some form of power in my life. I believe that if you learn one thing from any piece of literature, art, advice, or form of writing then your time was never wasted. My life is a wondrous thing to be a part of. I love every bit of it! This is completely me – all the things that capture my attention and inspire me.

Enjoy the little things in life; they can disappear in the blink of an eye.