I only recently discovered my love of nutella. I had seen people rave about it online for years but never given it a second thought. Jeff made me try some on an apple and since then I've been wondering how I got this far in life and didn't know how amazing it was. What else have I been missing out on!?! So, obviously, I've been making up for lost time. I'm trying nutella on everything and thinking of every possible way to include it in things. Then it hit me, I need to bake with this goodness! I'm not a huge muffin fan, cupcakes are meh, but I love me some banana bread! Not only does banana bread taste amazing (especially this banana bread!) but it's quick, and easy to make.
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large ripe bananas mashed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
very generous 1/2 cup Nutella
half bag of chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch loaf pan and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in the banana and then beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture until just combined. Divide 1/2 of the batter into a separate bowl and stir in the Nutella.

Alternate layers of regular batter and Nutella batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips generously on the top.  Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into bread comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool 10 minutes in the pan before moving to a wire rack. Let cool completely before slicing.
Jeff and I killed this loaf in no time at all. It's incredible delicious. I think this is only the second thing I've baked in my new apartment, really makes me want to get back at it. I always forget how relaxing baking is, especially in the fall.

Recipe found on What Megan's Making.

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This year has been absolutely amazing for me. Obviously moving to Cleveland, getting my own apartment, taking up cycling, making new friends, and challenging myself out of my comfort zone were/are huge HUGE huge things in my life. Most recently though, I feel like I'm finally getting my creative spark back!!!

I'm not sure how many people have been reading long enough to know that a few years back sewing was my main business, blogging was just something I did on the side for fun. I made super cute zipper pouches from adorable fabrics, some of which I even screen printed myself. I sold thousands of them. My work was available in boutiques all over the world. Eventually I just got burned out. I put too much pressure on myself, and killed my drive to do any sewing at all.

Even in the months leading up to that I had gotten into this really awful mindset that if it wasn't something I could sell, it wasn't worth my time to do. Taking up new hobbies or learning new skills would involve a great period of time where the results wouldn't be perfect. I didn't have time for that. My work was in demand, I wanted to stay ahead so making something for myself just felt wrong. I couldn't even make things for myself in my off time because there was no off time. I was always working on wholesale orders, new designs, my product photos, etc.

On top of that I wasn't really in a great place in my life, I guess. I basically just stopped making things completely which I'm just now realizing was incredibly out of character for me. Even as a child I liked to make things. My favorite aisle in the store? The craft aisle. I was always begging my mom to buy me a new craft kit.  My favorite class? Art class. I've just always loved doing things with my hands.

These last few months the urge to create has been gnawing at all like crazy.  Finally, last month, I took up embroidery and have been having a blast just poking around at fabric. I'm not great at it. It'll take time before my work is awesome. It doesn't matter though, I'm having fun. I'm enjoying myself. It's incredibly relaxing.

I've finally accepted that it's okay to make things for no reason. It's okay to make things no one else will ever see. It's okay to make things for YOU and you alone. It's okay to make things that aren't perfect. It's okay to try new things for the fun of it. It's okay to make art that no one else understands. If it makes you happy, inspired, excited, or anything other positive emotion that is all that matters.
I've been having lots of fun at the beach lately. It's where I've been feeling the most creative. I've always liked picking up the things I find for photos but I've been thinking of them on a larger scale these last few weeks. I want to make more permanent things with the items I find.
On another note but still related to beach trash, remember when at the beginning of summer when I said I was going to collect all the lighters I found on the beach to see how many I'd have at the end of the year? Yeah, still going strong on that one. Below is how many I found in less than an hour. It blows my mind how many there are. I'm getting pretty pumped to count them all up

Get creating!  xoxo

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1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

I think it's finally cooling off for good in Ohio. It was hot up until the week before last then all of a sudden the temperatures dropped. I quickly realized I'm not really prepared for the weather to change. In previous years I don't think I really spent much time outside other than to and from my car or to and from where ever I was going. This year I'm spending a lot more time outside be it taking Klaus on walks, biking, exploring, etc. I need to find some nice warm clothes for my adventures, so today I'm teaming up with Joules to share some of my favorite things from their winter range. How sweet is that fancy fox sweater?! I can never resist an animal sweater.
The biggest thing I'm on the hunt for is a jacket. In the past I was more into the way things looked than their practicality. For this fall/winter I'm looking something to keep me warm, and dry while still looking cute. I think this adorable waterproof parka fits the bill!

*This is a sponsored post but you best believe I am alllll about Joules! I've been a fan for years.  Thanks for supporting the companies who support The Dainty Squid.

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276 : 365 Biked the abandoned PA turnpike.
 277 : 365 Played around with some recently pressed plants.
 278 : 365  Spent some time exploring around Cleveland... just like every other day!
279 : 365 Shot outfit photos...in the rain, and then broke my super awesome remote. D'oh! Clearly not everything went as planned but Adventure Time Season 4 came out on DVD that day and we got Angelo's Pizza so clearly the night was alllllllright!
  280 : 365 I biked to Jeff's house for the very first time. It's not really that far, six miles, but for some reasons I had never done it before. It was the perfect excuse to take a picture of my bike in front of this mural that I had been scoping out for months.
281 : 365 The leaves on one of the trees outside my apartment building are changing colors in the most beautiful way. I've never seen anything like it. So, every time I take Klaus out I grab a few more to press. (You can find my plant pressing tips here!)
282 : 365 Kitty yawns are just the cutest!

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