Chickpea & Sausage Minestrone

I took a break from some work to finally look through this Cooking Light magazine we just got in the mail- so of course I had to look through to find something for dinner!


I ended up picking the chickpea and sausage minestrone because:

1. Soup is perfect for the cold and snowy weather!

2. I’ve been trying to experiment with chickpeas in small doses (o_O)


The recipe suggests using ciabatta parmesan toasts to go with it, but I just sliced up some baguette, spread a little pesto over top, and toasted them in the oven… Super delicious!


The soup was very, very spicy, but the chickpeas took on the same flavor- so overall I thought it was pretty good.  It didn’t take long to make, either- plus, there are lots of leftovers!

Much recommended wintery recipe for cold nights!


the compulsive journaler


Manuscript COMPLETE!

I am beyond excited to say that the first draft of my novel is COMPLETE!!!  And wow, it feels really fantastic to be able to say that.

For the past year (I know, I write at a rather leisurely pace) I’ve been in the middle of a fight between kingdoms- and now it’s over!  Well- not quite.  Now it’s time for a rather long editing process- yippee?


But in a weird way, I’m actually kind of excited for the editing because the story is written- it’s just fixing a few plot holes and polishing- and I think that’s kind of fun!  So I’m really excited to start that process.

Today I’m going to go to Staples to get the manuscript printed (I like editing on paper) and I can’t wait to hold the physical manifestation of year of writing in my arms.  I’m one of those people who needs to see every so often some sort of ‘result’ or ‘product’ of what I’ve been working on- and this is pretty fantastic!

I’ve already dreamed up the sequel too- but I might start writing a new story idea that I have… I don’t know- first I better focus on editing, though!

This is a great Christmas gift to myself now that I think about it.  Sigh- unfortunately my teachers have LOADED my weekend with projects and tests to study for before Christmas break, so I better get started…

Anyway, some sort of celebration is in order I think, but I’ll figure that out later!


the compulsive journaler

Photo Printing Gift Ideas

I’ve succumbed to the photo app trend- what are you going to do with all of those photos that just pile and pile up in your computer?  Having collected a few of my favorites, I thought I’d share them with you- especially since photos are wonderful for gift giving for special people- the first time one of my friends gave me a framed picture of our particular group of friends I thought I was going to cry- it was right before our 8th grade graduation, and I think I’ll always remember it.  It’s one of those things that I guess you’d have to know the person to fully understand how sweet it was.  So- hope you enjoy!

Artifact Uprising

Great options for printing your photos such as their fantastic hardback books, soft backs, wood boxes, wood block prints, and calendars.  Definitely recommend their book format.



I looove this because you can order your instagram photos already framed, contact cards, greeting cards, calendars, stickers, books, and prints.  Printstagram has a lot of options, but for the book format, I prefer Artifact Uprising.


A Beautiful Mess

Such a great photo editing app for iPhones and androids- the filters are great and there are some really cute clean sticker options, I love that you can adjust the opacity too!

I’m having dreams of a line of photo albums like these filling an entire shelf- I love pulling out old photo albums and flipping through to see and try to remember what was on our minds when the pictures were taken.

What were we thinking while we were running like crazy people up and down the beach at 5 o’clock in the morning?  What did I feel when I was looking out at the snowy landscape?


the compulsive journaler

Trend Report: Evergreen and Burgundy

Evergreen top, burgundy bottoms- lately I’ve been noticing a lot of this adorable outfit choice, which with the red and green of the holiday is absolutely perfect.  My favorite way of styling this is with a chunky cable-knit sweater and a pleated burgundy skirt.  However, I also love the velvet option on the model in the second pic…

1e62881ac791504c3e8ecacb7f150f2aVelvet is another trend that has been more and more finding a place in my winter wardrobe.  I love it (in moderation) because it has sort of a gothic-y feel to it that I sometimes like to incorporate in little bits.

Taking inspiration from the season is a great way to prolong the feeling of ‘comfort and joy’ that comes with it- so have fun with this!  Great for Christmas shopping adventures or a walk through the snow… terribly exciting!


the compulsive journaler

Getting Closer

“Oh it’s your light- oh it’s your way- pull me out of the dark- just to show me the way- cryin’ out now- from so far away- you pull me closer to love.”

Closer to Love- Mat Kearney


This is just a great reminder that no matter where we are, or how far we feel, we just keep coming closer and closer to what we’re looking for- we’re where we need to be- whether we always feel that or not, and it’s something that has the power to light your life!

Look up.  See the sky.  Or the ceiling.  Look down.  See the dirt.  Or the concrete.  Or the floor boards.  Do you feel anything?

Now look up.  Feel the sky.  Is there a breeze?  Is it quiet?  Noisy?  Look down.  Feel the ground.  Feel for a pulse.  Do you feel anything?

Now put this together.  Do you feel connected?  Is there anything?  Did you find something?

Take a minute and see what it feels like.

Have a great night.


the compulsive journaler

Playlist No. 4 Morning

I’ve been really enjoying mornings lately.  They’re so hopeful, because the entire day is still in front of you- it’s a great time to get work done or just enjoy yourself at a leisurely pace, so I like to wake up early and get some work out of the way so that I don’t have quite as much of a lengthy study schedule after school.

Sometimes when I’m getting ready I need some good pump up music- so this is my short line up!


1. Sugar We’re Goin Down- Fall Out Boy

Great for a solo morning dance party- feel free to go a little crazy with it!

2. Ain’t No Reason- Brett Dennen

Okay- now it’s time to get ready- so pull out your brush and get going…

3. Kiss Me Slowly- Parachute

Such a sweet song.

4. Everybody Loves Me- OneRepublic

At first the name kind of turned me off, but I always love OneRepublic, so this is an essential to my morning playlist.

5. Seven Nation Army- Ben L’Oncle Soul

If you haven’t heard this version of the song, then you must!  It’s a totally different sound from The White Stripes version and lends a majorly fantastic vibe for a final jam session.


the compulsive journaler

Gift Ideas for the Traveler

This is just the short list of my gift ideas for travelers- it could really go on for miles, but I made some fun choices, and I hope you like them!  All day I’ve been dreaming about Switzerland, so I decided to let myself pretend that I was going there for just a little while.

Anyway, this is the brainchild of my wander lust…Enjoy!

1. 36 Hours:  You may or may not be familiar with these books, but they’re filled with ’36 hour’ weekend trips- sort of like a guide with fantastic pictures.  I was in a bookstore the other day just flipping through the pages- major source of creative inspiration.  Highly suggested for the epic traveler/planner/dreamer.  Below is the Europe version, but there are other editions for U.S. traveling.


2. Canvas Weekend Bag:  Ready to get packing?  Need a light carry on?  Or are you just going on a weekend trip?  Whatever the circumstance, this seriously adorable bag will get you and your array of books, journals, sketchpads, pencils, and other necessities to your destination.  Plus the colors are neutral, so it’ll go with anything!


3.  Moleskin Journal:  Okay, you knew there would be one here.  I’ve been particularly liking moleskin journals lately because they’re so classic looking and they lie completely flat when you open them- which i really love!  This is perfect for toting around as you have your backpack adventure.


4. Sundial Ring:  I saw this on pinterest, and I think it’s so interesting!  I mean really- who would think to make a ring a sundial, right?  I’m not sure where to find this- but if you’re motivated, I’m sure you could.  This is the perfect accessory for travels- just a little piece to add interest(:


Have fun with these- and happy travels!


the compulsive journaler