Vegan Pumpkin Cookies

A couple weeks ago, I made the most amazing vegan pumpkin cookies in the ENTIRE world. They actually changed my life. Make these for your non-vegan family this holiday and show them how wonderful veganism really is.
INGREDIENTS:
Cookies:
-1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter, softened
-1/2 cup organic cane sugar
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 cup pumpkin puree
-1 1/2 cups + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
-1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 Tbsp almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
Frosting (optional):
-1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter, softened
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar
-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-Splash non-dairy milk
DIRECTIONS:
Cookies:
1. Add softened butter to a large mixing bowl and cream with a mixer for 1 minute.
2. Add sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla and beat for 1 more minute. Add pumpkin puree and mix once more.
3. Set your sifter over a medium mixing bowl and add dry ingredients. Use a spoon to briefly stir, then sift over butter and sugar ingredients to combine.
4. Mix, but do not over mix. Then, add almond milk and mix until a soft dough is formed. Refrigerate dough for 15 minutes, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Scoop out heaping 1 Tbsp amounts of dough and roll into balls. Place on a clean baking sheet far enough apart to allow for spreading.
6. Bake on the center rack for 10-12 minutes.
7. Let rest on pan for a few minutes. Then transfer to a cool rack to cool completely.
Frosting:
1. Beat butter until light and fluffy. Then, add vanilla, spices, and mix again.
2. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and continue mixing until thick. Splash in a little non-dairy milk to thin the mixture. The frosting needs to be pretty thick so it will stay on the cookies.
3. Once cooled, frost the cookies and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
Enjoy!
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Things to do Everyday

Lately, I have been feeling as though I need a fresh start and to rid of all negativity in my life. When I feel this way, which is more often than I wished, I tend to unfollow everyone and have an existential crisis that lasts for about a week. This time, however, I have made a list of things I want to accomplish everyday to work towards a positive lifestyle instead of believing that it can happen overnight. Here is the list I have composed:
1. Rid of all negative people. This includes both in real life AND on your social media feeds. Real life negativity is not really a problem for me as much as comparing myself to the perfect girls on Instagram and losing self-confidence that way. I cannot really give advice for forgetting about people in real life that bring negativity because the way I did it years ago is unhealthy and not recommended. But for the social media aspect, I say only follow people that spread positivity daily, make you happy in general, or inspire you (be careful not to get this confused with WANTING to be this person).
2. Feed your body superfoods, but do not be afraid to indulge. I’m not saying you should ALWAYS say yes to junk food, but every once in a while is fine. If you have trouble with limiting your amount of junk, keep track of what you eat and how you feel after. Personally, I feel absolutely GROSS after I eat anything that is not nutritional or raw, so it is easy to not eat junk. However, I would not have realized this if I did not start keeping track.
3. Spend time alone. GO OUTSIDE IN NATURE AND JUST EXIST. Dance around in your underwear to your favorite song or read that book you have always been wanting to read. During your alone time, do something engaging so you can take this time to learn about yourself. Trust me, learning who you are takes a long time, but it is worth it.
4. LEAVE YOUR HOUSE (WITH A LOVED ONE). I know for introverts like myself, it is hard to get out and explore with people, even if they are close friends. Also, if you struggle with any mental disorders that prohibit you from wanting to experience, acknowledge you are not alone, but you need to get out. I have been struggling with depression since I was 8 (I am 16) and it took me until I was 15 to realize this. I made myself leave my bedroom. once a week with my best friend, then twice, and now I am currently at three times a week. You do not have to do anything extravagant at this time, just go see a movie or walk in the park and enjoy nature.
5. Drink water. A lot of it. Everyday. This one seems obvious, but most people overlook this advice. I’m not saying it is magical, but it does help. I promise you.
6. Stop thinking (so much). I have a huge problem with over-thinking that I am still working on, so I can’t give the greatest advice on this one, but I know we all need to do it.
7. Meditate. Guided meditations are free on YouTube and are helpful to beginners. I tried guided meditations every day this past summer, and it did the opposite of what it was supposed to on me. If you’re like me, I would not recommend giving up completely. I have a weird obsession with music, and I find clearing my head while listening to my favorite songs really releases stressors gets me on that meditation high which I LOVE. (You should try it: just lay on your bed, eyes closed, with your earbuds in and your favorite song blasting. It works!)
8. Yoga. I HAVE BEEN SO INTO YOGA LATELY IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY AND IT HAS GIVEN ME SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO EVERYDAY. Sorry, I just really appreciate it. It took me a few tries over the past three years to get into it, but I finally did and I promise you it is worth it. It is so cool to be flexible, while also gaining muscle and relaxing! Do yoga as often as you can, please.
9. Read. Work your brain. Expand your vocabulary. I love reading and I have been reading since I was two, so I am not sure what advice to give on how to get into it, but look it up and get into it! It is so worth it! I know we all have those boring days where you have NOTHING planned and you have refreshed your Twitter timeline at least 30 times… read a book!
10. Journaling. Releasing the overwhelming thoughts into your head onto paper helps more than you could ever imagine. Write everything. Write all the things you did one day that made you happy. Write everything you did throughout the entire day and every conversation you had that you do not want to forget. Journaling clears your head and it is SO FUN to go back and look at your mental progression and past conversations.
11. Do not judge people. That brings in unnecessary negativity and is so boring! LIKE… just think about it?? You are wasting your precious time caring about other people’s life choices?? STOP! Focus on yourself baby!
12. Be nice, but do not let others take advantage of you. You know your limits. Do not let people cross your boundaries and use you. You are strong and you can stand up for yourself. But be nice to everyone! That is such easy positivity being manifested into your life.
13. Don’t care what others think. Be yourself. Do whatever the fuck you want to do. Very overused sayings, but hold so much truth! Stop living your life to impress other people and start living your life to impress yourself! This is my number one tip and something I am proud to say everyone usually compliments me on.
14. SPEND TIME NAKED. Usually, the average person is only naked when they are getting dressed, undressed, or bathing. Lock your door, close your blinds, and spend time alone naked. Do not be afraid to look at yourself, but don’t judge yourself. Being in your most vulnerable state for long periods of time allows you to be more comfortable with who you are. You are one, with all that is, and you are the most you at this raw state. I LIVE by this piece of advice. Also, do not sexualize this tip. I am talking about self-love and positivity of teenagers and young adults. Get out of here with your sexualization, asshole!
I know these tips can seem overwhelming at first glance, but break them down. Read one a day. ACCOMPLISH one a day until you handle two, then three or four. Before you know it, you will be subconsciously completing each of these goals everyday.

A Hazy Day

After the overdue fight that seemed like it went on forever, we dragged our tired bodies to the edge of the sidewalk where the water flowed down the street like the waterfalls you tell me you are going to take me to one day.

But everything falls through at least once, the love we have wouldn’t be anything if it didn’t crumble at our feet. Your words tear through the foggy air that we stumble in and touch my brain softly like the butterfly that landed on my bruised knees when I was a child.

Though at this moment all I can comprehend is the buzzing neon light above us in the dystopian city that we call our minds. You nudge your way into mine.

You get so tired of living like a god that your ground has shattered into a million sparkling little pieces that now take place of the twinkle in my eye. My eyelids fall heavy and the we wait in the car as the sun sinks in the and the ocean starts to melt together with the ground we walk on.

Unresolved and pending in the nervous air we disregard any problems we once had and turn to our dreams for closure.

By Cara

Mistreatment of Natives in Canada

Something that isn’t globally covered is the mistreatment of Natives by Canadians. With Canadian Thanksgiving having just passed and American Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s important to remember that the land we live on is not ours.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a youth conference in my city. The conference consisted of a keynote speaker, and workshops on gender and sexuality, oppression, discrimination, and power.

The keynote speaker, Jules Koostachin, is a filmmaker and daughter of a residential school survivor. She uses her films to show the long lasting trauma residential schools have left in her community, while also showing the light hearted and loving parts of the Aboriginal community that the media usually does not focus on. Jules shared with us how hard school was for her, how she never felt that she was smart enough, or smart at all. I feel this is something a lot of youth can relate to, and seeing someone who is so successful share stories of how she felt she would never make it was incredibly inspiring.

Jules also spoke of how oppression is not a competition, and we should not be trying to compare hardships, but instead share our stories in an effort to help each other heal.

Jules shared with us a heartwarming film she made about her youngest sons who are twins, and how the relationship between being a twin and being Native intersect. You can watch that film here. You can learn more about Jules and find some of her other films on her website.

Here is a link to learn more about residential schools, and here is a link on reconciliation, what we as settlers must do to help heal the divide.

 

By Nadya

Haunt. A Photo Series

To look at your past and scoff at it would be a tragic act to do. We learn from it, and in time we need to accept it for what it is and what the universe put in front of you to battle off because it knew you could hold up the weight of the world. Don’t let it haunt you to the end of the earth. Don’t let it creep up on you in the middle of the night. Just keep telling yourself that you will be alright.

Haunt.

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By Cara.

Notevember – Week One

Notevember, writing everyday for the sake of exploring all kinds of words.

Wednesday, November 1st
Im failing to forget about everything basically.

About how I could’ve loved you better and fixed this. Instead of sitting here listening to songs that make it extremely hard for me to forget everything. 
Thursday, November 2nd
I rejected you at first, your love and care.

I thought that if I forced myself to forgot the idea of someone loving you existed.

Then I wouldn’t have to face the perishing heartache afterwards, but i did.

I slipped and fell so softly, i almost didn’t notice the falling. But the discomfort leached on to me until i had to acknowledge it eventually.
Friday, November 3rd
I’ll write to you, throughout this journey, i’ll write to you about several feelings and emotions that are so common between us because it’s simply Its what i do best.

I’ll write to you because my words carry a great value and i’ll never put more effort into anything but my words.

 So for you, I’ll write 
Saturday, November 4th
to you, my person.

Someone who i can easily talk to about how my sanity is leaving in little pieces.

She goes through impenetrable battles and she raises her head high.

Most importantly she carries pure wisdom, she sees the bigger picture like its left there at the back of her mind.

She’s a mosaic art piece and every piece of her tells a story deeper than the other.

My person, a rock in a fathomless atmosphere.
Sunday, November 5th
Love poems that screech in your head, so loud you try to block your ears. Love poems they fill your heart with an unknown feeling, perhaps its because you miss so dearly and you remember so clearly. How it once felt to love so deeply. But even if you grew past that, love poems speak so loudly. You don’t understand, you want to yell back ” do you have to be so loud? About your love and all that desires for someone? Do you have to be so loud about how dwelled in someone’s heart?” But you cant, and you stay quiet for the soul purpose which is of your heart. Because you once again remember how it felt at some point of your life.
Saturday, November 6th
a wicked smile, tears from laughter 

she’s the epitome of an outstanding soul 

in a crowd full of a million faces that look the same 

she’s standing right there uniquely effortlessly 

no way you’ll miss her.

Horror Movie Reviews

 Horror movies have always had, and always will have, a special place in my heart. When family movie night would roll around each week when I was a child, we would either watch one of the Harry Potter movies or a complete horror movie. This is one of the few major parts of my childhood I have carried on throughout my years. Here are my reviews on 5 of the best horror movies out there!

 

It (2017): 

The movie takes place in the summer of 1988 (my all-time favorite decade for fashion, music, and movies) and follows a group of 13-year old kids ‘horror’ stories and bravery. They find out something they call ‘It’ has been feeding off the children’s fear in Derry, Maine. The kids (referred to as The Losers Club), of course, explore and work to defeat It. (I am not good at writing non-spoiler summaries so I will just leave them as a few quick sentences.) This movie has to be one of the GREATEST movies I have ever seen in my life. Not only is it in my favorite genre of movie (horror), but it includes so many other themes and ideas; for example, unbreakable friendship is the most prevalent theme in the movie, as well as never giving up, staying strong, and caring about others more than yourself. Writing this is giving me so many feelings of happiness and I just want to watch the movie again (I have seen in 13 times.) The children actors in this movie have to be some of the BEST actors I have ever seen. They play into their roles so specifically and responsibly and I KNOW that is their job but… they are teenage boys. (Okay I’m actually not exaggerating I’m not sure what it is but this movie brings me more joy than H*rry P*tter which is a HUGE deal if you know me…PLEASE watch this movie it is so great.)

 

Coraline (2009): 

 This movie is about a little girl who moves with her neglecting mom and dad into a new apartment (Pink Palace Apartments) where two other parties live. Coraline hates living there because it is so boring and spends most of her time exploring to make time go faster before she starts school. One night, she finds something that seems wonderful at first glance, but she soon discovers it is not what it seems…Coraline is a movie that holds a SPECIAL place in my heart. A lot of my memories with my sisters as babies include forcing them to watch this perfectly creepy movie. The aesthetics… the character development… Coraline HERSELF… the sidekick cat… everything is AMAZING and I really recommend you watch if you have not already.

 

Edward Scissorhands (1990): 

This movie starts off with the ‘Avon Lady’ walking around the neighborhood, trying to sell her products. Since no one was buying them, she decided to try to sell them at the mansion on top of the hill, which was said to be haunted. There, she finds a man with scissors for hands who she takes to her house to take care of him. He faces a lot of struggles in this modern life, but manages to keep busy by beautifying the town in more ways than one. The room he sleeps in belongs to the ‘Avon Lady’s’ daughter, who he falls madly in love with and would do anything for. I strongly believe this movie does not get as much recognition as it should. The AESTHETICS OF THIS MOVIE!!! THE CONTRAST OF EDWARD AND THE TOWNSPEOPLE!!! The colors of the town houses are probably my favorite part. And the whole story in general… it is just genuinely amazing (to watch and to listen to). I’m also a sucker for a good love movie, so love and horror in one movie equals a happy Shelby. This, like Coraline and It, has more of a deep story with a few aspects of horror, but it still gets the job done.

 

Halloween (1978):

Michael Myers, a six-year old child, brutally kills his older sister one night and gets locked up for fifteen years. When he is released at age twenty-one, he goes back to his hometown in Haddonfield, Illinois and attacks multiple other teenagers, but ONLY on Halloween. I love any movie with teenagers as the main characters. I’m not sure why, but I have always found them interesting. (Only adding to the perfect kind of movie in my eyes… it takes place in the 70s). This movie is not really scary, but more interesting to learn about each character and why Michael does this. My sisters, who are 9 and 10, said this movie was funny to watch because the main teenage character did many dumb things throughout. And, to be honest, this was the 70s… the acting was not all that great. This is just a CLASSIC horror film you need to see once in your life.

 

Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): 

Don’t fall asleep… If you do, you will die. After two girls have a nightmare about the same man and one of them dies, the other one discovers what is truly happening. A man in a red and green striped sweater kills with his razor hands, but only when people are sleeping. What I have learned from these movies is kids are a lot smarter than adults. Oh, and, the police are always unhelpful. This movie, like Halloween, is not very scary, but it has a very cool idea. What happens in their nightmares happens in real life, unless they do not let it happen. Overall, if you think you’re afraid of scary movies, pay more attention to the story behind the characters than the actual characters themselves. All of these are just like any other good movie… This movie especially is a good beginner horror film because it is kind of scary, but not scary enough to give you nightmares for weeks.

 

Watch all of these in a dark room by yourself at 3 AM, covered up with a blanket with nothing else to accompany you for a REAL scare and a lot of entertainment. Also, if you want to fangirl about any of these movies, my DMs are open.

By Shelby