1.31.2013

Rainy Day Tunes

Yesterday was the warmest day (50s) we’ve had in a long time, but it was also dreary, foggy, gray, and rainy. Maybe it sounds crazy, but I really enjoy days like that. Perfect for cuddling, watching movies, reading books, and drinking tea. I don’t always get to do those things all day, but I can still listen to the perfect stormy soundtrack, filled with mellow and dramatic music.

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Grizzly Bear – Shields
Florence + the Machine – Ceremonials
Lana Del Rey – Paradise
Local Natives – Hummingbird
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
Warpaint – The Fool

Just some of my recommendations. Some of it is new, some of it is a bit older. Still does the trick.

1.30.2013

Fenway Park Photos

While in Boston last weekend, Brad’s brother and sister-in-law took us to walk around Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. I’m not a sports fan by any means, but I still enjoy being around city culture, and it’d be crazy not to say that the Red Sox are a gigantic part of Boston culture. The tour was a bit pricey, so we settled for wandering around the perimeter and enjoying some beers at the Bleacher Bar, where we got great seats at a table right around home plate, which was visible through the window.

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A spinning sign.
Entrance.
The Curse of the Bambino.
A statue I didn’t get any details on…
Home of the Red Sox.
Get your souvenirs here!
The Bleacher Bar entrance.
A view from the window.

I may not be a baseball/sports fan, but I can still appreciate the vibe at Fenway Park. I absolutely love the old-school signage surrounding the stadium. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip, seeing this huge piece of history and excitement. I enjoyed a Sam Adams in Fenway Park.
Touristy, but true.

I love seeing new things.

1.29.2013

Recent Reads: The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance (Book #5 of 2013)

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I really enjoyed this book. At 280 pages, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker is the perfect, easy-breezy, fun read that won’t take you very long to finish. You won’t want to finish, though, because it’s so enjoyable to read.

Okay, perhaps I shouldn’t call it easy-breezy. The memoir, comprised of many stories of Elna’s  life as a Mormon in NYC, had me laughing out loud (awkward when reading in public, but so worth it) and cringing like any good memoir about a 20-something virgin living in the Big Apple should. But it was also very thoughtful. Mormonism is a religion I’ve heard plenty about, but I can honestly say I didn’t know much about at all. I don’t want to be judgmental (not that you should be anyway) without knowing the score. I actually found myself on the LDS website looking into Mormonism beliefs and values while reading this book. 
So I educated myself on a religion and I laughed along the way with the book. Two birds, one stone.

I loved Elna’s writing. She’s not just talking about being a Mormon, or pushing and pressing her faith on anyone. She’s talking about being a single 20-something trying to survive dating and working and living in New York City, with the addition of her faith, something she is constantly struggling to believe in…or not. Any 20 year old can relate to trying to find their place in the world…especially when it has been planned for you most of your life and you start to believe it might not really be all it’s cracked up to be.

I highly recommend this book. I hadn’t heard of it until I read this post on a friend’s blog. I’m glad she recommended it. I’m doing the same.

1.28.2013

Life and the Weekend

I find that this time of year is an especially hard time to stay motivated and inspired. I can blame the wintery weather, the cold, snowy, icy, gray days. I can blame the colds and flus that are sweeping the nation and bringing everyone down in sight. I can blame the fact that the holidays are over. And part of me even wants to blame the fact that we put so much pressure onto the arrival of a New Year and a new beginning that never really comes…well, unless you MAKE it come.

Today, I read this amazing post on one of my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
I really enjoyed it, and I hope you do too!

Anyway, the weekend. Last weekend was spent in Boston and that went by all too quickly. Then, this weekend, I worked Saturday and Sunday, Brad and I headed to my house to go to the Philadelphia Auto Show with my dad, sister, and her boyfriend. We do this pretty much every year. But this time, we took a change of pace and started at Troegs Brewing Company in Hershey. My family, my boyfriend, and myself all love beer. It’s fun to go to the place where it all begins, see how the magic happens, and, of course, try some tasty beers.

Here are some photos from Troegs!

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Hope you had a great weekend!

1.24.2013

Portraits of a Wednesday

Wednesdays have become one of my favorite days. There’s something I like about everyday, I suppose, which is good to think about when I feel like complaining or willing the weekend to come and wishing my days away. The reason I like Wednesday is because, unlike the other days, there isn’t any obligation in the evening. In fact, the only thing that seems to stick is movie night with my sister/mom/dad/all of them/some of them/one of them. I get nice and cozy in some sweats, treat myself to some wine or beer, snack, and watch a movie.
How can there be anything wrong with an evening like that?
And, of course, it’s almost the weekend. But whatever.

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My favorite snack of apples and cheese! This is a Pink Lady apple and some Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar.
My Hello Kitty slipper socks in addition to super warm knee socks and my sweats.
A couple of bottles left over from my MYO 6 Pack Endeavors and our movie for the evening.
Chocolate Peanut Butter brownies. From the box. Whatever, still delicious.

Yesterday was frigid. We were below zero. Fun fact, the heat in my Buick isn’t working…so that was super fun!
I was thawing out for a while. It was so nice to hide under a blanket and enjoy a nice snack and some quality time with my mom.

I am desperate to move out of the house, but I adore my family.
It’s going to be sad to miss out on nights like these one day, so I will cherish them for as long as I can.

1.23.2013

Recent Reads: Matched (Book #4 of 2013)

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Recent Reads is back, after what feels like a long time (the other books I read didn’t seem to take this long)!

Book #4 of 2013 is Matched by Ally Condie.

This book. I got it from my sister for Christmas. I had asked for it (and consequently freaked out when I got it, I wasn’t expecting her to remember and any book present makes me jump with glee) and I can’t remember the who/what/where/why I decided I wanted to read this. It is the first book of a trilogy.

I started it on Jan. 14, so it took me nearly 10 days to finish. I honestly blame a lot of it on the flu bug thingee I had last week. Two perfectly good days where I laid in bed sick to read, but I couldn’t even focus on words, so I spent a lot of time watching mind-numbing TV.
Another reason why, if I’m being honest, is that I never fully committed to the book. I think I had high hopes, and they were sort of dashed.

Matched is the story of Cassia Reyes, a 17 year old girl who lives in a society in which every single thing you can possibly think of in your life is decided for you. You are sorted into jobs, you are told who you will marry and when and by which time you can no longer have children and, of course, when you will die. History has pretty much been demolished, aside for the saving of only 100 songs/poems/painting…etc.
While this way of life has helped rid the world of illness and crime, you can see where there are issues here.
No one has a choice.

For Cassia, everything changes when she attends her Match Banquet (where she will find out her mate for life). She is presented with Xander, who is one of her best friends, so she is pleased with this. But when she goes to insert the microcard containing information about him and their courtship rules, the screen goes blank and she is faced with a boy named Ky. That one moment of him appearing shakes her world.
On top of that, her grandfather has reached the optimal age of death, 80, and so she is forced to say goodbye to dear family at his Banquet.
A lot happens from then on…her feelings with Ky, her beginning to notice how strangely the Society behaves…

I love the idea of this story. But when I was reading it, the writing was…well, it’s a YA novel so it felt a bit childish. And everything was happening so fast, as if we have to fill in the gaps. This happens…there are three books…
OF COURSE THERE WILL BE SOME SORT OF CHANGE.
I knew (and I don’t think I’m ruining anything here) that there would be rebellion, but I felt like it was to be expected and it was hard to see where the motivation was coming from. This could also be because I skipped reading more than a chapter for days.
It was hard. But towards the end, it really had me intrigued. I wasn’t sure if I would read the other two books, but I have decided I am going to check them out and see how this story unfolds. Sometimes, the first book is the hardest one. We will see how it goes.

I’ll keep you posted on the rest…

1.22.2013

A Long Weekend in Boston

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Hello! We are back from Boston and back to the grind. It was a three-day weekend, a mini vacation, where the days seemed never-ending but also went by way too fast. As I sit here typing this, I can’t believe we are back already, that the weekend and the trip are both over.

I really enjoy Boston! This time, I saw some different sights. Harvard campus, Fenway Park, and a lot of Somerville (which is where Brad’s brother and sister-in-law live). Carrying my big camera seemed like such a burden with all the walking we did, so a lot of my pictures are from my iPhone. I didn’t really have time to edit them, as I forgot my phone charger and we were all fighting over them (thank God we all have iPhones!) and our phones kept dying. But their great anyway. I did get some photos (mostly of Fenway) with the Rebel. I’ll post them soon.
For now, here are some of my favorites from the iPhone.

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One of my favorite parts of traveling is trying great restaurants. We went to The Friendly Toast, which is this super cute and kitschy breakfast/lunch/brunch place. They specialize in…hello..TOAST. I had a massive turkey club that hit the spot. We also went to
Highland Kitchen, another cute place with good food and good drinks. Finally, our last meal was at Neighborhood Restaurant. The menu may not look like the menu of a special place, it’s teensy, and it’s nothing fancy, but there’s actually a wait to get in. Because it’s that delicious.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

1.17.2013

Here We Come…

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On Saturday, I will be heading with Brad and his parents to Boston for my second trip there! I’m really excited.
I’m hoping all my sick-y feelings go away so I can fully enjoy the trip. Been doing lots of rest to prepare.

It’s been almost a year since the last time, and we had to keep it a secret since we were attending Brad’s brother’s surprise party. This time, I can shout it from the rooftops. I haven’t, but I guess publishing it here on the blog is kind of a milder version of that. I can’t wait to take and share more photos of our trip, and just enjoy myself. I really need it. The escape, the long weekend…I think getting out of town and getting far away from work will be a great remedy for all the funky feelings I have been having lately.

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1.16.2013

Recent Reads: Just One Day (Book #3 of 2013)

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Book #3 of my 52/52 challenge was Just One Day by Gayle Forman.
I knew I was going to read this book the moment I heard about it months back because Gayle Forman wrote a really beautiful book I gushed about right here. I preordered it on Amazon, and ended up getting it the day I finished Bernadette. I finished it this past Sunday.

Our narrator is Allyson. She is freshly graduated from high school, approaching college in Boston, and is enjoying the tail end of a European tour with her friend Melanie when we first meet her. Her tour group is waiting in line to see Hamlet on stage when a bunch of young, wild actors hit up the line with fliers about their renegade performance of Twelfth Night as a group called “Guerilla Will” at a park nearby.
Allyson and Melanie have pretty much stuck to the agenda the entire trip, but upon meeting a handsome blonde man in the troupe, Allyson decides she’s ready to break some rules and check out the play. Of course, she can’t keep her eyes off the man, but once the play is over, so is the fantasy and Melanie and Allyson head back to their hotel to prepare for the end of their trip. The next morning, they head on a train to London, and Allyson makes her way to grab some breakfast from the dining cart when she spots the handsome man from the night before. He is a 20 year old Dutch man named Willem. One thing leads to another and they end up heading to Paris, just the two of them. For just one day.

What happens next is for the readers to find out. I enjoyed this book. It was romantic, yes, but it’s also about self-discovery, making friends, deciding what you want in life, following your gut...
It was a sweet book. And later this year, there will be a novel coming out called Just One Year. I’m excited to read that when it comes out.

So far, Where’d Ya Go, Bernadette? has been my favorite book. But that’s out of three. So…I have some more to go.

This has been a fun challenge so far! I’m already on book 4. Can’t wait to share it with you!

1.15.2013

Get Well Soon

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If you’re like most of the people in the US right now, you’re currently suffering from a cold (me) or, even worse, the flu.
It’s that time of year, but unfortunately it is really sweeping the nation.
I think most of us have this tendency to pretend that we aren’t sick and in turn make ourselves worse.
It is the absolute pits to have a stuffy nose, sore throat, a fever, or…ugh…stomach issues.
But pretending they aren’t there won’t make it better, as we can see from the fact that everyone keeps getting the germies.

I am a huge proponent of taking care of yourself  physically and mentally. Okay, I might not exercise…ever…or eat the healthiest diet in the world, but my well-being is still important in general. We live in a world where it’s gogogogogogogogogo. And it’s totally unhealthy for every part of our bodies. Once in a while, you have to slow down…especially when you get sick (but not just when you’re sick).

Okay, I’m not a doctor, and you probably think I’m silly, but I’ve decided to write down a list of ways to take care of yourself when you’re down with the sickness. Well, my ways. I think they work, personally…but to each their own.

And by the way, these are totally acceptable ways to deal with the “funks” like anxiety and depression and general sad/bad moods.

Comfort Food

When you’re sick, often the last thing you think about is eating. Whether it’s loss of appetite or an inability to keep it down, food isn’t always a top priority. You have to make it one, though. My go to is soup. I eat soup pretty much everyday for lunch anyways, but it is soooo perfect for sick days. The heat is soothing to the senses, it’s filling without being heavy or requiring a lot of effort. Can’t go wrong. There’s also nothing wrong with a little toast and jelly. It’s something. It’s little, but it’ll help. If you can handle bigger meals, eat your favorites. Treat yourself to some Chinese take-out. That’s also really comforting for me. And don’t forget to drink! I always do. Water, OJ, and green tea with a generous amount of honey are my go-to sick beverages.

Bedtime!

Getting sick is your excuse to finally relax, to catch up on all the sleep you’ve been missing. Rest is one of the main ingredients needed to get better. The longer you push yourself, the longer your cold will stick around. You never give your body the time to replenish and renew. It may seem “lazy" but we all know we need a certain amount of sleep and that increases when you’re sick. Even if you aren’t exactly ready to get some shut-eye, sit in bed and read a book or catch up on your shows.

Fresh Air

It’s so easy to get stir-crazy when you stay in the house/feel sick/feel sad. Don’t let that happen! Fresh air, even if it’s cold, is so refreshing. You need it to cleanse the palate. And when you’re feeling sad, when it’s easy to just stay in bed or on the couch all day, a walk (or a jog if you can manage) can do wonders.

Surround Yourself with Positivity

Stream or play your favorite TV shows and movies. Listen to your favorite music. Read a book or magazine. Browse for inspiration on Pinterest or Tumblr. Window shop online. Create wish lists. Make sure to laugh and smile!

Shower

This probably seems like an obvious suggestion, but showering can seem like the last thing you wanna do when you’re sick or sad. Don’t let it get ya down. I don’t know about y’all, but my brain stops worrying once I’m in the shower. The steam and hot water is refreshing, and once you’re clean and you put on a set of fresh PJs, it’s like you’ve been reborn.

(This is my last and biggest piece of advice…)

STAY HOME

My biggest pet peeve is when people come to work/school/whatever sick. For starters, I know how I feel when I’m sick, and being around people or attempting to use my brain or socializing is the last thing I want to do. But, no one actually wants to get sick. You’re spreading germs to everyone around you. You’re sick, they get sick, their family gets sick. It’s a cruel thing to do, when you think about it. So, seriously, stay home. You’ll prevent the germs from spreading and you’ll ultimately feel better for taking some time to heal.

 

And those are my recommendations! What makes you feel better when you’re sick?

 

Photo Credit

1.14.2013

Lunch Break

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Canteen 900 can do no wrong in my eyes. It’s truly a gem in NEPA (I’ve mentioned it a few times, most notably after my first time), and I wish I could make it a more regular stop in my life than it is. This past weekend, I spent most of my time nursing a cold. The one outing I did was head to Canteen 900 with my sister, her boyfriend, Brad, and our friends (and adorable couple) Nicole and Ed. It was their first time at Canteen 900, and I’m so glad I was there for it. We all indulged in cafĂ© mochas, lattes, and teas, delicious salads and sandwiches, and great conversation. It was a lovely afternoon, and I hope to have more like that in the future.

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Hope everyone had a great weekend!
And get well soon, to all the sickies out there!

1.11.2013

Dinner Last Night: Baked Ziti

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I feel like it’s been forever since I cooked.
In actuality, it’s been about two weeks or so. But still.
I found this recipe for baked ziti on Pinterest. When the budget is tight, as it always is lately, I think pasta is the best way to go.
So filling, always satisfying.

I was also craving a nice, fresh salad. And I think it’s a great compliment to the heavy, hearty ziti meal.

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It makes me happy to make a good meal that my whole family enjoys.
Cooking is fun.

Happy Friday, everyone!
Here’s to a good weekend!

1.10.2013

Recent Reads: Where’d Ya Go, Bernadette? (Book #2 of 2013)

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I tore through Where’d Ya Go, Bernadette, book number 2 of my 52 books in 52 weeks challenge, in about 4 days.
Again, this is usually a good thing, as sometimes a book can take a couple of weeks for me to read depending on what’s going on in my life and how interesting the story actually is. This book was just…SO GOOD.

Where’d Ya Go, Bernadette is a story told through letters, e-mail correspondence, conversation transcripts, and the narration of one Balakrishna (better known as “Bee”) Branch, a 15 year old using everything she can get her hands on to solve the strange disappearance of her mother, Bernadette Fox. Calling Bernadette quirky would be putting it lightly. She is utterly antisocial (she refuses to deal with the “gnats” who send their children to the same school as Bee, rarely leaves the house and relies on a virtual assistant through an Indian outsourcing website to do pretty much everything for her), an insomniac who goes days upon days without showering, and loathing every inch and aspect of Seattle, Washington, where her family lives (her husband, Bee’s father, works for Microsoft, one of the reasons they moved up there). Through the emails and letters, we get a glimpse into the downward spiral her life has suddenly taken, all thanks to a looming cruise to Antarctica that Bee has requested after receiving perfect grades.

I don’t want to share much else about the book, but it just covers a whole mess of lovely topics. It’s a truly funny book, and I love the way it was written, with the toss-ups between correspondence and narration of how Bee saw things. Bernadette clearly suffers from some mental issues, and I like the way Semple handled it. Then, of course, the book contains the main mystery of wondering what happened to Bernadette.

I am so happy I read this book, my friend got it for me for Christmas so props to him, and I would recommend it to any and everyone!

Top that, 50 other books I’m going to read this year! (I hope so…)

“Proof God Loves Us”

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Yesterday was all kinds of crappy. I won’t sit here and complain, but I kept thinking all day how much I wanted to enjoy a beer (or two), some snacks, and a movie with my mom and sister. I will straight up admit that I adore beer. I also adore wine and I adore trying different cocktails (my poison of choice is gin). So I’m not really picky, I guess. But beer is one of those things…there are SO MANY DIFFERENT KINDS. Same thing with wine, too. Same thing with everything? It’s easy, as a young drinker like I am (who only has 4 years of legal drinking under her belt, and spent a lot of my college days with Mickey’s 40 oz because they were painfully cheap and easy to obtain) to forget that there’s more to wine than “red” or “white” and more to beer than “lite” or…well, not. It’s fun to learn about beer, to try different kinds, to expand my horizons.
I’ve had lots of tasty beers and lots of not-so-tasty beers.
But it’s fun!

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Instead of going to any ol’ beer distributor for a case or a 6-pack, I like to make my own 6-pack whenever possible. 6 different beers of my choosing, from stouts to IPAs to ciders, to expand my flavor choices. I headed to Weis Markets right after work and pondered over the selection for a little while (this photo only shows about half of it).

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I might not like every beer that I try when I do this, but I don’t have to settle for a whole slew of crappy beers.
Aside from going to a bar, it’s a fun way to sample.

1.09.2013

At the Moment… (a few of my favorite things)

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Onesie and Coat-Set Pajamas. I’m living in comfy cozy clothes, and pajamas are where it’s at.
Shock Top’s Honeycrisp Apple Wheat beer. So easy to drink, delicious, wonderful!

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Coffee in cute mugs, especially when it’s drunk in bed.
Re-kindling my Kindle Fire love. Whether I’m reading or using it as a tablet, I’m so thankful for that piece of technology.

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Movie nights with my mom and sister. (Last few movies: Jeff, Who Lives at Home, Liberal Arts, It’s A Wonderful Life)
Getting packages in the mail. I got my copy of Just One Day by Gayle Forman yesterday. I pre-ordered it on Amazon a couple of weeks ago.

 

And those are some things I love at the moment.