Monday, March 31, 2014

What's In My Bag

For some reason, these are some of my favorite posts to read on other lovely blogs, so after finding myself out and about on Saturday, I decided to empty the contents of my purse onto the floor and take a peak into what I carry around with me on a regular basis (barring too many receipts and the occasional tissue, you're welcome).

1: Wallet + all affiliated items such as cash, debit card, ID, business cards, and metro cards.
2: Assorted pens.
3: Chapstick/Burt's Bees. Because chapped lips are terrible.
4: Digital camera, for documenting any necessary moments.
5: Rosary.
6: Sunglasses.
7: Hair ties.
8: Pepper spray, because I am too well aware of where I live.
9: Foam ear plugs, just in case. I value my hearing.
10: Kindle, for situations of boredom or waiting.
11: Tea bags (no explanation required).
12: Headphones.
13: Granola bar, for instances of unavoidable hunger when I know I won't get another form of food soon.
14: Hand sanitizer.
15: Hand lotion.

What do you always try to carry with you?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Perfect Egg Salad // The Pioneer Woman Cooks

This month had me scrambling to figure out what recipe to make for my challenge to make a recipe every month from my Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays cookbook.  Except...not scrambling because these eggs were hard boiled...

Semantics, right?

Seriously though, I don't understand how the end of the month creeped up so quickly.  Between Spring Break and time flying to quickly in general, I found myself with only a few days to prepare a recipe, and since I have a test at the beginning of next week, I also found myself with no desire to go to the grocery store to buy any necessary ingredients.  I considered just skipping this month since technically I made two recipes per month in January and February.  But I persevered, flipping through the cookbook and judging recipes based solely on the length of their ingredient lists, and found a recipe that required only ingredients that could be found in my kitchen already.  The fact that it's probably the easiest recipe ever probably didn't hurt any either.

The hardest part was probably hard boiling the eggs since hard boiling is a very peculiar science, but once that was done, all I had to do was peel and "chop" the eggs, add the appropriate condiments, and devour.

Now, I'm no stranger to egg salad.  In fact, I really like it, but I also learned while making this recipe that I am very particular about my egg salad.  This recipe called for two ingredients that I don't usually put in my egg salad: Worcestershire and white vinegar.  I liked the Worcestershire--it added a new level of savoriness.  The vinegar, however, was a little too much for me.  I think I've lost my taste for vinegar somewhat over the recent months.  It didn't make the egg salad inedible, but I think I would add less or completely omit it in the future.  Although honestly, I'm probably just going to stick to my usual three-ingredient egg salad from now on.  What can I say? I like consistency and tradition.

For reference, since I failed at taking any pictures whatsoever while making this delicacy, I ate the egg salad in two different settings, once eating it sandwich style, the second eating it on a salad.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday Tea: Spring Break Recap

This past week was exhausting and amazing all at the same time.  On Pi Day, I flew up to Chicago to spend the first half of my Spring Break with David!  It had been a month since we had seen each other, and we were so happy to be reunited.  Luckily the weather wasn't too cold (perhaps Chicago is finally seeing the first signs of Spring?), but it was still cool enough to enjoy some hot tea without sweating to death.  We tried lots of new teas while I was there, and we even purchased some new black tea that we enjoyed brewing for breakfast.

Since it's Lent, we made sure to abstain from meat on Fridays, and on the first Friday of Spring Break we made a really yummy tilapia with a mango salsa.  We also prepared a Mediterranean couscous that wasn't quite to my liking, but I guess every cooking adventure can't be a complete success.

On Saturday, David and I woke up early to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with some of his Chicago friends.  Our first stop was a friend's apartment who was hosting a Green Eggs and Ham party (aka lots of breakfast food and lots of people in green shirts).  I met lots of people I had never met before (including an actual Irishman in a kilt), but I also got to catch up with some old acquaintances.  By the middle of the afternoon, David and I were pretty hungry again, and we knew we needed some more food before we met up with some other friends at a bar called Streeters.  We ate at a Vietnamese sub and noodle house called BB Bun Mi, and it was so yummy.  I got the lemongrass chicken sub and devoured every bite.  They also had free samples of the BBQ pork sandwich which was also delicious.  After our late lunch, we met up with friends at Streeters, and after a few hours of merriment and fun, we made our way over to the Burger Bar for dinner.  Neither David nor I was particularly hungry yet, so we split one of their corned beef burgers which was amazing.  It was definitely a St. Paddy's Day inspired meal, and David and I then made corned beef the next night.

All decked out in St. Patrick's Day paraphernalia.

After a crazy day on Saturday, David and I spent most of Sunday relaxing.  We watched The Avengers, which I had never seen before, went grocery shopping, and made some delicious corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots that night for dinner--a St. Paddy's Day tradition in David's family.

On Monday, David left early for work, and I spent most of the day reading and doing some knitting.  When he came home that evening, we went on a fancy date night for dinner.  David had previously purchased a Groupon for a three-course meal at Aquitaine (a French-inspired restaurant just up the street from the apartment), and so we got dressed up and headed out into the cold for dinner.  I ate until I thought I was going to burst, but it was worth every bite.  The food was so wonderful, and it was so nice to go on a date with David.

Tuesday morning and afternoon were much like Monday in the sense that I got a lot of reading done.  That night for dinner, David and I just ate leftovers (since we had lots of them!), and afterwards, we took the bus to Macy's on Michigan Avenue so that David could buy a new suit for my sister's wedding.  We found a great suit that fit David really well, and by that point, we were pretty much ready for a weekend of wedding festivities!  I flew back to Atlanta Wednesday morning to help in the pre-wedding preparations, and David followed late Thursday night/Friday morning.  Friday, my sister's, my mom, and I had our nails done, and later that evening, we had the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.  The dinner was at the 57th Fighter Group restaurant, and the food was great (despite being a Friday during Lent).

Saturday morning dawned bright and early.  We all went over to my sister Erin's house to get our hair and makeup done, and then we went over to my parents' house to help Colleen put on her dress and take some pictures.  We went over to the church shortly after that for more pictures, and the wait before the ceremony was agonizing!  If it felt long for me, I can't imagine how it felt for Colleen.  She was truly the most beautiful bride I have ever seen though, and despite some hiccups throughout the day, it was such a lovely wedding and an amazing reception!  The reception was held at Naylor Hall in Roswell, and it was such a great evening.  The food was great, the photobooth was way too much fun, and I ended up catching the bouquet--it all amounted to a crazy day!

I didn't end up taking hardly any pictures throughout the day since I knew the photographer was taking way better pictures than I could have even tried to take, but I did snap the cuteness of my niece and nephew on the front porch together.  They were the perfect flower girl and ring bearer :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

I'm almost ready to call this scarf done, and I'm quite excited! I have a lot of future projects lined up, and I recently received some new yarn as a gift from David, and my knitting queue is only getting progressively longer the more that I peruse Ravelry and KnitPicks.

I recently finished reading Persuasion which, at the time, was the only Austen novel that I hadn't read. It also now turns out that it's my favorite Austen novel. It was so good. Can we please talk about what a hunk Frederick Wentworth is?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Tea: With David

This week is my Spring Break, so I'm spending a few days in Chicago before flying home tomorrow morning in anticipation of my sister's wedding on Saturday!

David and I tried a lot of good tea this weekend. We went to one of our favorite tea spots just around the corner from the apartment, David's Tea (can you see why we like it?), and we tried a new black tea called Cool Cucumber. It was refreshing and a little sweet, and it was really great how different it was. We liked it so much that we bought 2 oz. of it before we left.

Another Chicago tea place that we love is Argo Tea (really we love any café-esque place that promotes tea over coffee. Read: we like to support non-Starbucks entities). After doing some shopping in Michigan Ave., we stopped in for a couple cups of their apple hibiscus tea. It was late evening, so we had opted for herbal tea over something caffeinated, and it was perhaps a little too sweet for our tastes, but it was still good.

I always seem to have such great tea success and adventures in Chicago. I hope your Tuesday was just as tea-riffic :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Showing My Roots

The saying goes that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, and the festivities just become significantly more awesome if you share in that Irish heritage. David and I did most of our celebrating on Saturday with friends in Chicago, but we continued the St. Paddy's Day merriment into last night as we made corned beef and cabbage for dinner. Well, David made it, and I helped devour it, but it was so yummy. There are a lot of corned beef recipes floating around, but we chose a more traditional route of simmering it and then adding potatoes, carrots, and the cabbage in for the last hour of cooking. I've never made corned beef in the past, but this seemed like an easy way to do things.

It also turned out to be a delicious way to do things :)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

I decided to take advantage of some lovely, soft alpaca yarn that my sister gave me for Christmas to make this beautiful braided cable necklace. I love how it's reversible, and I am enamored with how well it turned out! It was a breeze to knit (so it definitely has future gift potential written all over it), and it took very little yarn. I'm excited to wear it as the days get warmer. I'm always looking for knitted pieces to be able to wear in the warmer months, and I think this might fit the bill perfectly :)

You can find the pattern here, and my Ravelry notes here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday Tea: In Addition To

Last Tuesday, I talked about what I am giving up this year for Lent (one week strong so far!), but what I didn't mention is what I plan on doing in addition to not watching Netflix and television.

A few weeks ago, I read an article about Mr. Rogers that mentioned the book Deep and Simple by Bo Lozoff. Intrigued, I looked it up in Amazon, read a few reviews, and decided it would be a great book to read during the Lenten season. I ordered a used* copy online, and it arrived in time for Ash Wednesday, so I've been starting to read it over the past week. It's an easy read, but it is well-written, and I'm eager to continue reading it over the next several weeks.

*When I say "used," I really mean it. This book is crinkled from getting wet several times, most of the pages are highlighted and partially annotated, and the spine and inside cover are stamped numerous times with the words "jail inspected." I think this book probably used to be in a jail library...

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Knitting Queue

This past weekend was quite busy.  Saturday night was my sister Colleen's bachelorette party, and then Sunday for lunch, we all enjoyed a bridal luncheon at Cafe Intermezzo.  Colleen was treating her bridal party as a means of thanking us for all the work we've done in wedding planning, and she also had gifts for each one of us.  Of course, I received some really lovely yarn that really got me thinking about future projects that I want to do.  I already have two knitting projects in the works right now, but Ravelry gave me some really great ideas.  I have quite a growing stash of yarn accumulating in my room right now, but an even longer knitting queue.  Now I guess I just need to find the time to get all this knitting done!

How lovely are these projects?

Lotus Hat:
Photo here

Daphne Scarf:
Photo here

Saqqara Necklace:
Photo here

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

Can we talk for a minute about how much I love tweed?  Should we also talk for a minute about the fact that it's dismal how little knitting I have done recently?  I'm still working on this scarf, and before too much longer, it won't be cold enough to need it.  Hopefully I can get it done in time for at least one wearing before it gets packed away for next winter.  And hopefully the recipient of this scarf won't be too peeved to get this scarf once it's practically spring :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday Tea: Lent

Today is Mardi Gras and tomorrow is Ash Wednesday which means that Lent is upon us again, and it's inevitably the time of year when I wrestle with the decision to give up tea or not.  But I can never bring myself to do it.  I just love it too much, and I justify this decision by the fact that tea is good for you.  While I would mentally benefit from giving up tea (because it would be such a struggle for me to overcome!), I know that physically my body would thank me more if I gave up something like wine or chocolate.

An even bigger vice that I think I have though is watching television and Netflix when I could be using my time more productively.  The most successful Lent I ever had was in the 4th grade when I gave up watching Arthur on TV.  Sounds silly, I know, but I was seriously obsessed with the show, and I watched it everyday.  After giving it up for all of Lent though, I never watched it again, not even once Easter rolled around.  So this year, I've decided to give up watching television except in social situations (aka I'm not going to refuse to hangout with someone just because they want to watch a movie--sitting with someone for two hours can be really good bonding time).  This pretty much boils down to not letting myself sit in my room alone when I could be using my time in a different way, be that reading, studying, being social, or exercising my right to craft.  I think this will be hardest while I am knitting (or something similar) because it's so easy to get lost in an episode of House of Cards while going row by row on a knitting project.  Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.

In all of this free time that I should ideally be creating for myself, I'm hoping to get some awesome grades to finish off my last semester at Tech strongly, and hopefully make the time to work my faith more strongly into my everyday life.

Monday, March 3, 2014

On My Bookshelf: March

Oh my goodness, I can't believe it's already March.  I graduate two months from today.  Please excuse me while I pick my jaw up off of the floor.  February was a really good reading month for me.  I read The Happiness Project and Love in the Time of Cholera, both of which I really, really enjoyed, especially the latter.  It was just so incredibly well written, and I'm always a fan of a classic love story that isn't overly clichĂ© or cheesy.  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.

This month, I'm hoping to finish three books (Spring Break should afford me some extra reading time even though things will be hectic with my sister's wedding), and I'm excited for my picks.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
This should be a quick and hilarious read, and I'm really excited to dive into this one.  I'm a really big fan of the blog and Allie's hysterical stories, and I can't wait to have her best stories put into one place for me to devour.

Persuasion by Jane Austen
This will be the book to fulfill my requirement this month of my goal to read more classic novels. This is the only Austen novel that I haven't read, and I'm really excited to read it finally because I have heard that it is her most underrated book.

The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
After my rant last week, I figured it was high time to read Rowling's first adult novel. This one has been sitting on my to-read pile for quite some time, and it's borrowed from my sister, so I'm sure she probably wants it back by now. That's the good thing about having so many sisters; their houses are pretty much my own libraries except I can keep the books for longer than three weeks.