Manic Mondays

I find that the weekends are never long enough. It’s as though Mondays come out of no where, catching us by surprise and placing us back into our weekly routine, which to some of us (me at least) seems like we’re switched onto autopilot performing our daily tasks almost religiously.

Mondays

On Monday mornings, nothing is more tempting than pressing the snooze button to catch another 10 minutes os Zzz’s. I always think of the popular song, “Manic Monday” by the Bangles whenever the start of a new week rolls around and I’m running around the kitchen grabbing coffee and getting everything ready for the work day. I have to remind myself twice, to just take a deep breath and relax so I don’t look like such a frazzled, out of my mind mess.

To make my transition back into the work week a bit easier, I like to find simple recipes on Pinterest for weekday dinners that I can stock up on the ingredients for over the weekend. Usually, I make just enough for dinner and one serving of leftovers to take into work the next day for lunch. It’s a double doozie! This week I was craving Chinese food and found a super easy Sweet & Sour chicken recipe courtesy of the food blog, Damn Delicious (such a great name, because that’s exactly what this recipe turned out to be).

Disclaimer: I halved the recipe to make just enough for one dinner plus one serving of leftovers.

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Cook the chicken on medium-high until it’s golden brown.

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Usually it takes about 3-4 minutes to cook all the way through.

There’s two simple parts to this recipe: cooking the chicken in an egg and corn starch batter and preparing and pouring the sweet & sour sauce over the chicken before baking it in the oven.

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Make sure to evenly disperse the sauce throughout the pan.

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After about 55 minutes the chicken should be baked to perfection.

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Serve over rice or veggies and you’ve got yourself a delicious home-cooked meal!

Finally Friday!

Who doesn’t love Fridays?! This weekend I plan on exploring the city some more and enjoying some much needed time outdoors. One of these days, I’ll have to make it to the Cape so I can get my feet back in the sand and ocean.

Some of my favorite things to do on the weekends are going on a long run outside (while simultaneously working on my tan), taking time to cook a fresh, homemade meal, catching up on my favorite Netflix shows (Mad Men, anyone?!), and making memories with friends both new and old. I also love venturing over to this awesome local grocery store, Wilson’s Farm to get local ingredients for meals and fresh cut flowers for my coffee table.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetFresh bouquet of peonies, my new favorite flower.

To close out the first week of summer I wanted to share some of my favorite links:

1.) Glee stars lip-synch to Haim’s “The Wire” – my fav girl band of ALL time.

2.) 39 Reasons Studying Abroad in Italy Ruins You for Life – I just had to include this, so true.

3.) The new food everyone is going crazy about –> the churro ice cream sandwich (I’d fly out to LA for this alone).

4.) An interview with Garden & Gun’s Senior Editor – because it’s one of my favorite magazines & my dream job.

5.) I’ve got to try this Instant Ramen Noodle recipe ASAP.

6.) Inspiring article on a young entrepreneur following her dreams to open a boutique (thanks for sharing with me, Lindsey!).

7.) A great blog I stumbled upon for all of you Entry Level millennials out there!

8.) Such a great read on maintaing traditional conversation in our day-to-day lives.

 

What are some of your weekend plans?

 

Summer At Last

This past weekend, June 21st to be exact, marked the OFFICIAL start to summer, which up here in Boston means the temperature is finally warm enough to break out your denim cutoffs and spaghetti straps. I finally feel at home in my new place and the weather has helped make the patio my go-to resting spot after a long day at work. I even have my eno hammock hung up for spontaneous outdoor napping sprees.

On Saturday morning I was lucky enough to make the trek back down South for one of my high school friend’s wedding in Spartanburg, SC. It felt so good to be back in the land of the South where everyone says “Hello”, “Good morning/afternoon/evening”, as they pass you by whether they know you or not. It was a much needed relief after walking the crowded city streets fearing an elbow to the face up here (no offense, Boston – but it HURTS!).

The best thing about the South: the good ‘ole comfort food. Luckily, Spartanburg isn’t too far from Downtown Greenville (which I guess is now my old stomping ground). My friend Alisha and I ventured into DT G-Vegas for a much needed southern-cooked brunch on Sunday morning to fuel up before the wedding at my favorite biscuit spot: Tupelo Honey Cafe.

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Rather than bread and butter before a meal, you get warm biscuits and homemade jam!

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 My b-fast of choice is clearly eggs benedict these days – but this one is special – served over a biscuit instead of the traditional english muffin.

As 6 PM rolled around, Alisha and I got all dolled up and ready to watch the first of our friends walk down the aisle. Katelin was such a beautiful bride and the venue was spectacular! The ceremony was outside in the bright setting sun and the reception occurred inside an old brick building with vintage features throughout. Dinner was served, toasts were made, and memories were created on the dance floor. It was a great night spent with even greater friends celebrating the lovely new couple, Zac & Katelin!

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 All of the “Barron Girls” with the GORGEOUS bride.

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 The newlywed’s first dance.

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 The funnest photo booth – spent way too much time in it!

 Cheers to a lovely couple with a life full of many joyful years together!

Cookie Monster

Anytime I’m craving sweets, my go to treat is a chewy chocolate chip cookie. In the evening, by the time I’m home from work I’m ravenous and rather than wanting a meal I find my self scouring my pantry for some chocolate or baked goods to tide me over until dinner (I’m the kind of girl who has dessert before dinner). Last week I had one of those “cookie monster” episodes, but I didn’t have any cookies…so I decided why not make a fresh batch!

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I tried a new recipe courtesy of Williams & Sonoma, and the cookies turned out wonderfully. Rather than the thick and chewy texture I usually like, these were smaller and more crisp, a nice twist to the traditional Nestle recipe I grew up using.

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All the necessities you need for 2 1/2 dozen fresh cookies.

I find it much easier to set out all the ingredients I will need before I start baking so as to avoid running around my kitchen like a chicken with my head cut off. It also reduces the risk of running into an open drawer and getting the wind knocked out of you (been there, done that!).

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Be sure to really sift the flour mixture well to make it airier, giving more lift to the cookie batter.

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Now is the time you can take a quick taste of the batter – treat yourself!

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You can always let the dough sit in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to make it firmer and easier to shape with your hands if you don’t have a cookie dough scooper, like myself.

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And…bon apetit!

For any peanut butter lovers out there, I suggest adding in 1/3 cup of peanut butter chips into the batter for a tasty treat reminiscent of a Reese’s cup!

What’s your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Hump Day Humor

Happy Hump Day! The weekend is so close – just two more early mornings and I’m off to a wedding in South Carolina! Back to my roots in the good ‘ole South.

I wanted to dedicate this post to a man who has gotten me through quite a few long, exhausting days with a smile on my face and a heart full of laughter: the one and only Jimmy Fallon. Yes, I am dedicating this post to a man who I’ve never met and who doesn’t even know I exist, but only because he very well deserves it.

c3b6999d1d3b4ddf078fe7dbdf0c2e44Any one who knows me knows I don’t go a day without referencing something Jimmy Fallon has done on his show, in one of his skits, or something he’s said in an interview. As a matter of fact, I’m fairly certain I referenced him in a job interview. I think he is a comedic genius and he’s the only person in this world who I believe would never fail to get my quirky sense of humor.

To help you through your mid-week slump, I made a top 10 list of my favorite Jimmy Fallon skits from his career – you’ll laugh so hard it’ll hurt (maybe you’ll even get a 6-pack out of it):

1.) “Family Feud” SNL Highlight – Jimmy trying so hard not to break character!

2.) “Real People, Fake Arms” with Miley Cyrus

3.) “Real People, Fake Arms” Jim Carrey & Jeff Daniels – I can’t get enough of this recurring skit!

4.) “The Chickeneers’

5.) “Young Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake Sing at Summer Camp

6.) “Tonight Show Funny Face Off

7.) “Jimmy Fallon Bieber – It’s not my baby

8.) “Hashtags: #OopsMyBad

9.) “Russell Brand Reads ‘Us Weekly‘”

10.) “Obama Expressions

Monday Musings

This past weekend was everything I needed – from a rainy night in spent catching up on this year’s hottest movies, to exploring Harvard Square with new friends, and still managing to try a new recipe in between it all. My body and mind still aren’t used to these 40 hour work weeks, therefore by the time Friday afternoon rolls around, I’m feeling like a walking zombie in need of a serious espresso shot.

After a good night’s rest, on Saturday morning I ventured back into the city, or more particularily into Cambridge, to meet up with some new friends for a late morning full of the infamous, “brunching”. Last summer in NYC, I didn’t really get a chance to fully experience the whole “brunch scene” all the New Yorkers would rave about. But if it’s anything like the mouth-watering meal I experienced at Grafton Street in Harvard Square, I sure have been missing out all this time.

photo-5I am salivating just thinking about how good this meal was!

There’s no way to do brunch without a mimosa/bloody mary in hand, so when I saw they had a “Summer Mimosa” on the menu, that was my go-to (it really did taste like summer!). The cocktail itself was enough to keep me coming back, but the food, oh man the food, SO GOOD. I ordered the Avocado Benedict, which was your traditional eggs benedict dish, but instead of bacon (I know, I know, who in their right mind would pass up bacon?) they serve it with slices of fresh avocado. If you’re ever in the area, I urge you to brunch it here.

Before saying goodbye and parting from my friends, on our way to our T stop we just so happened to pass right by a J.P Lick’s, which is Boston’s famous ice cream parlor. So of course we decided to pop in and celebrate the sunshine coming back out to play with none other than ice cream. I opted for a scoop of the peanut butter cookies ‘n cream and a scoop of the chocolate chocolate chip (when I said I really liked chocolate, I wasn’t lying). It was worth every last lick!

imageThis hit the spot.

If only the weekend could last just a little bit longer. I’m sure we’re all experiencing a case of the oh-so-dreadful Monday’s, so to keep you going I wanted to share some of my favorite links with you:

1.) For all you Florida Crackers out there, this map is spot on!

2.) Every thing about this lip synch battle is great, from Emma’s mad skills to her posh outfit.

3.) The most delicious lemonade recipe for an afternoon porch session.

4.) This makes me miss my summer days spent roaming NYC.

5.) These photos will make you think twice about humanity – love this!

6.) I watched this video a couple of weeks ago and have been trying to live by it ever since.

7.) This is a great interview for all of my fellow recent grads out there kickstarting their careers.

8.) Loving this new Kate Spade bag.

Have a great week!

Motivation Station

We all know it’s important to stay active and exercise at least 2-3 times a week, but if you’re anything like me you need some good tunes to get you into the groove. I find that I’ll set out on a run thinking, “Yeah! I can do this – I’m going to go even longer today than I did last time!” and then fifteen minutes into the run, I hit a plateau because I’ve been listening to the same Top 40’s playlist on repeat all month. 

This happens to me WAY too often. I try to remember to refresh my workout playlist every two weeks or so, but life happens and I get too busy and completely forget to do so. Therefore, in order to motivate myself to stay inspired during my workouts I thought I’d compile a fun, energetic, upbeat, workout playlist to share with you all and maybe even help you get out of your own “fitness rut”. 

Fitspiration:

1.) Alive by Empire of the Sun

2.) Thunder Clatter by Wild Club

3.) Boom Clap by Charli XCX

4.) Love Never Felt So Good by Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake

5.) Empire by Shakira

6.) Starry Eyed by Ellie Goulding

7.) Diane Young by Vampire Weekend

8.) Lay Me Down by Avicii

9.) One Day/Reckoning Song by Asaf Avidan

10.) Summer by Calvin Harris

Cheers to a happy & healthy workout!

Adventures at SoWa Sundays

Whenever I arrive in a new town or city, I find the best way to explore and discover a new place is by foot. I’ve been in the Boston area for a little over a week now and lucky for me, the weather has been beautiful so far (minus one rainy day or two, but I was at work all day, so no biggie). I took it upon myself to “master” the T this weekend from the nearest station to my home into Downtown. Minus the crazy highways up here (I find myself cringing every time I merge onto one), all ran smoothly as I made my way from the suburbs into Boston Common.

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A scenic view of the Massachusetts State House from the center of Boston Common.

I’m a HUGE food truck fan (or connoisseur as I like to say) and first discovered them while going to school in Greenville, SC. In fact, I loved them so much I even devoted a semester-long project to them for my Digital Communications class (find my sub-par Youtube video on them here). There were only a few food truck options in Greenville, but I loved reading articles in the paper about the “food truck revolution” taking place across the nation. Needless to say, whenever I relocate to a new city the first thing I research is the food and restaurant scene.

Hence, here in Boston I discovered SoWa Sundays (SoWa = the cultural district south of Washington Street), which has a Food Truck Court where 25+ food trucks convene every Sunday (May – October) rain or shine to serve delicious plates to Bostonians and visitors alike. On my walk there, I happened upon a farmer’s market, a craft goods market, and a vintage/antique market. It was like a dream come true – handmade earrings, homemade candles, vintage magazine covers and clothing galore. Plus, how could I forget the fresh, local produce (I’m a huge proponent of the local food movement).

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Entrance into the Vintage Market.

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Hunting for treasure.

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They even had a vintage telephone booth from London!

It took a lot of willpower not to buy everything I saw…but of course I couldn’t leave empty-handed. I managed to find a baking book from a San Francisco pastry shop – I’ll be sure to attempt the recipes and share them with you all. I also had to manage not to eat any of the freshly baked goods on display at the Farmer’s Market as I had to save my appetite for the abundance of food truck options awaiting me. Which leads me to the best part of my adventure: the Food Truck Court.

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This was too good to be true! (I’m quite the cookie monster myself).

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Batch, redefining the “ice cream truck”.

I came hungry and left happy. My favorites were the Rosemary Lemonade (I’ve got to find an at-home recipe for this – very refreshing for hot summer days) and the Korean Pork Bulgogi Slider from the Dining Car. The food truck owners had their whole family onboard helping them prepare the food for the 20+ people waiting in line, wide-eyed and hungry. Definitely worth the wait!

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The Korean Pork Bulgogi Slider -yum! (Notice I couldn’t wait to take a bite before snapping a photo).

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Just a few of the many satisfied customers.

Of course I couldn’t leave without some dessert, which is where The Cookie Monstah came to the rescue. Anyone who knows me well enough, knows cookies are my weakness. I bought a freshly baked M&M cookie, but they’re famous for their cookie ice cream sandwiches (I’ll be back for one, don’t you worry!). After the long, hot walk back to Boston Common, it was the perfect treat while taking in the afternoon in the park.

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As the Cookie Monster would say, “Me want cookie!”

All in all, it was a Sunday well spent!

Out into the “Real World”…yikes!

Everyone always says the closing of one chapter in life brings about the beginning of a new one. So it only seems appropriate that I begin my first blog post freshly graduated from college and beginning my uncertain journey into the “real world”. I graduated a little under a month ago and it’s only recently hit me as I was making my way to live in a new city for the summer. 

ImageMy brothers supporting me at graduation (pun intended!)

Freshmen year of college everyone kept telling me, “Enjoy it! It’s going to go by in the blink of an eye!”, or the more frightening, “Stay in school as long as you can, the real world is no fun!”. A month after graduating, I finally get it – they were pretty spot on. The past four years DID fly by – but I accomplished so much in those four years that I’m beyond thankful for. I met some of my best friends who I know even after months and years go by will still be there for me through thick and thin (and when I just need someone to go get a DQ Blizzard with). I studied abroad not once, but twice, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and embracing new cultures while indulging in way too much gelato and pasta (grazie, Italia).

If I could stay in college the rest of my life and get paid for it, I totally would – it’s a bittersweet moment walking across that stage and getting your diploma. Of course, it’s a milestone in your life you’ll never forget, but it holds an immense amount of uncertainty about the future (at least for me – those of you who’ve got it figured out, I envy you!). I’m a strong believer in everything happening for a reason and I realize that I’m the only person in charge of my life. In honor of this new journey I’m embarking on I hope to share some of the little things in life that make me giddy through my blog posts (you’ll notice quickly a lot of baked goods tend to easily do so).

Cheer’s to a new chapter in the book of life!

ImageJ101 Roomies – thanks for great friendships and even greater memories 🙂