Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Break!

Oh you guys!! I'm on Spring Break right now and it feels like I've won the lottery. Today I plan on doing nothing but walk to Barnes and Noble, have a hot chocolate, read until my head spins, and then walk home to make toasted coconut pancakes, bacon, and eggs for dinner. 

Having a schedule of being busy every night makes it tough for me to want to do things during the day. You get used to it, but there's always a sense of not really being relaxed. 

So this week I'll be taking a tour of the Capitol, going to dinner with friends at a reasonable hour (and not at 8:30 after class), going to every happy hour I can including Ruth's Chris where they serve $8 burgers, and taking long evening walks. I'll even watch the sun set. I'll maybe even watch television. I might even clean the apartment. 

Haha just kidding.

But what I would love to do is take a few day trips to Monticello and Colonial Williamsburg. Just my camera, my sense of adventure, and me without any time constraints or worry.

Happiness to you all!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Getting Ready for Easter

My dear friend, Sarah, is pregnant and Cydney and I were honored to throw her a Peter Rabbit gender reveal party. It was perfect timing because the stores were just putting out their Easter Decor, so we had Petter Rabbit napkins, grass cupcake liners, and bunny shaped everything. Even though it was a gender reveal party, I thought it would be fun to show you the bunny things you could do for Easter dinner. 

Sorry for the really poor quality photos. I didn't have my actual camera charged and the lighting is horrible in the apartment. 

Boursin cheese and cucumber sandwiches. Delicious and super easy to make.

Cydney went online and printed out the Peter Rabbit cutouts. How cute are they!

Someone said these biscuits were the best they ever had. 

What are your favorite Easter foods?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Body Type

Ballet Body?

Hot Chocolate Body

I had an epiphany as I was doing a yoga session. I hate the term "yoga body." Or "runner's body." Or any kind of body type name that implies you'll eventually look like everyone else who does the same exercise. It's such a disheartening lie we tell ourselves to motivate us to keep going, push harder, and anxiously await results more. 

The truth is, we all have different body types and, no matter we do, they'll always be that way. Sure, exercise might make us healthier and make our body type look pretty darn good, but it's still the body we've always had. We might as well embrace it. We might as well enhance it. We might as well stop trying to deny the beauty our body already has.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Things My Mother Taught Me

last year's cherry blossoms

It seems that once a person dies, the things they teach you suddenly become more deeply rooted. It's a feeling I can't quite explain except to say it's almost as if when they're gone, you get the complete picture of their lives because they've lived it from beginning to end.

My mother taught me a lot of things, and I'm sure she'll continue to teach me more as I continue to live and be present in my life. But here are things I've been thinking about a lot recently.

Things My Mother Taught Me

1. Wash your knives by hand and dry them.
I know this sounds silly, but knives rust and you don't want to reach for a rusty knife just so you can coat every fiber of your celery in poisonous residue. I came to realize the better the knife, the faster it rusts. 

2. Wash your fruits and vegetables. All of them.
Wash your orange before you peel it. Wash your cantaloupe before you cut into it. If you don't, you're simply pushing bacteria and pesticides into the flesh and increase your chances of salmonella.

3. Always bring a gift if you're going to a friend's house.
Even if you have nothing but a plate of cookies. Even if it's just a small trinket you found at the store. Don't come empty handed. Show respect.

4. Finish.
I remember one year in high school I was with a performing group and I wanted to quit. I wanted to quit so bad. She told me I could as long as I fulfilled my commitment for the year. You know what? Having that noble cause of not letting people down suddenly made the emotional frustrations of the year more bearable. I haven't quit anything since.

5. Avoid BPAs. 
My mom was an avid researcher of all things healthy. She once threw out all my tupperware and bought me BPA-free ones instead. It was nice finally having lids again.

6. Be humble.
My sister and I are very sarcastic and would always make fun of her. I never saw her feelings get hurt. She just laughed it off and would say, "Oh you guys." Maybe we did hurt her feelings (gosh I hope not) but there was a certain grace about how she approached people and it came from not taking herself too seriously. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day! We Made It!

necklace, dress, bracelet, clutch, shoes, tote

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! 

I'm thrilled there's finally a holiday I can where dresses and not freeze to death if I want to go out and celebrate. It feels like Spring is finally here and what better way to celebrate the rebirth of nature than to dress up in florals, greens, and all things growing? I'm in love with this holiday.

Also, Mr. Branflake is Irish, so I think there might be some extra back rubs for the Irishman's wife. 

Shhh.... don't argue with me.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Chicken with Wild Rice and Lemon Soup

I've been hit or miss with soups. Sometimes they're amazing, and other times I get sad I wasted all these ingredients and calories on just really bland soupy food. But this? Oh yes. It's a beautiful soup. I kept eating it and saying, "I can't believe I cooked this!"

Chicken with Wild Rice and Lemon Soup

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded*
1 large onion, diced
4 celery sticks, diced
4 large carrots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs tarragon, minced
1 tbs thyme, minced
the zest of 2 lemons
2 cartons low sodium chicken broth
1 cup wild rice

In a large stock pot, saute onions, celery, garlic, and carrots in a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until veggies are soft. Add in tarragon and thyme and cook for a minute or so longer. Add in the chicken, the two cartons of chicken broth, and lemon zest. Bring the soup to a boil and add the rice. Lower the heat and cover, letting the rice simmer in the broth for an half hour or until soft. 

*I usually just throw the chicken in a crock pot and cover it with water, some bullion, and salt and pepper. But this time I coated them in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper and baked it in the oven for 30 minutes at 325F. It was perfectly shreddable. 

I love the addition of lemon because it lightens up the soup and makes it taste like Spring. Speaking of which, I walked outside and didn't silently cuss in my head. Hooray! Spring is here!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Paris Baby Shower

 My friend, Julie, and I threw a Paris themed baby shower for our beautiful friend, Abbey. I was in charge of the food and Julie was in charge of decorations. It was a fun girl's night of French bites and sweet laughter.

The spread. I didn't get a close up photo, but someone (ahem, Kastell) brought an amazing flat bread with tomatoes and pine nuts. I need that recipe.

Mini quiches, meringues, and a perfect French country picnic basket.

All the French cheeses at Trader Joe's. And the chicken pate. I don't think anyone really likes pate, but it's French and I don't know what I was thinking.

In the middle are brioche toasts, which tastes amazing with everything.

Dessert was all the mini French pastries I could find.

Hooray for Baby Naylor!!