What I Did in NYC

New York is one of my favorite places on earth. It also helps that one of my favorite people is now living there. That’s sort of what happens when everyone graduates college and figures out adulthood. Friends move, things change, and I plan weekend road trips to visit. My ideal adulthood would consist of me earning a living by visiting friends, but I guess law school will have to do for now.

Anyways! I was in NYC! And boy did I do a lot. Especially considering that I went during the heat wave. It was in the 90’s for most of my trip, which for me living in Georgia I found quite normal, but I think New Yorkers felt like they were living in the Devil’s armpit…the subways were a sweaty b.o. disaster most days.

As I usually do, I visited an art museum. This time it wasn’t just any art museum, it was the art museum. My friend Mira, her girlfriend C, and I wound up at the Met my first day in town. Thankfully they let me do my nerd girl thing and listened as I chatterboxed my way through a bajillion exhibits on Greek, Roman, and Egyptian art. It also helped that C fenced growing up so she knew everything about the swords and armor!

The Camp exhibit was ah-mazing, too. And the Apollo 11 inspired art was my favorite but I was so enamored that I forgot to take pictures! Lol!

I spent around four hours in the Met, wandered around Central Park in search of Halal food (my favorite NYC eat is a food truck falafel wrap with hot sauce and white sauce), and then headed back into Manhattan to meet up with the girls. The cherry on top? We spent the rest of the day at The Strand and eating good food.

It was my first time eating pirogies! And of course I forgot to snap a pic 😦 But here’s a cute set of me eating Big Gay Ice Cream!

Mira and I went out to Stonewall and a few other places before getting 99 cent pizza and wandering through Time’s Square, because no trip to NYC is complete without one dazzling moment under all those lights!

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving Side Dish

Thanksgiving is always complicated when there’s one vegetarian in the mix. Questions like “does chicken broth count as vegetarian?” and “wait…do they eat eggs?” get throw around so often that it seems that more people have spinning heads than side dishes. Have no fear! Thanksgiving side dishes are easier than you think. 

A few notes before we get started:

  • vegetarians eat eggs – vegans do not
  • this dish contains eggs, so it is not vegan
  • chicken broth (not that we’re using it here) is not vegetarian
  • yes, we do eat animal crackers 😉

Brussels sprouts are a great winter staple. They’re easy to cook and can be pared with most meats, like turkey and ham. Not only that, they’re versatile for different types of recipes too. You can pulse them in a food processor to add to a salad. You can toss them into a stew. Add them to a roast. Roast them in the oven with chicken for an easy dinner. So many options, so few days until the day of American feasting!

This recipe uses brussels sprouts, chopped nuts, olive oil, eggs, garlic, and spring onions. You can get fancy and add in some spices if you want, but I tend to keep things simple and sauté my aromatics before roasting them with the sprouts to get the most flavor out of my produce before adding anything else into the mix.  

Garlicky Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Nuts

You’ll need:

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or two table spoons pre-minced garlic)
  • lemon zest (I used about half a lemon’s worth but feel free to add more or less)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
  • 1/8 cup spring onions (optional)

First, put half of your oil in a saucepan and set the pan on medium heat. Once hot, add half of your minced garlic. Saute it for a minute or two before adding in the chopped nuts. Stir occasionally, making sure the nuts are toasted but not burned. 

While the nuts toast (which should take less than five minutes) prep your brussels. Preheat the oven to 400 F. The woody stem should be cut away and the brussels sprouts should be laid out evenly on a well oiled baking sheet. Drizzle the rest of your olive oil over the sprouts, sprinkle the remaining garlic on there, and pop them into the oven. Set a timer for 30 minutes. 

Once the nuts are toasted, set aside. Toss the spring onion, salt, and pepper with the nuts. Once the timer on the oven has reached fifteen minutes, take out the brussels sprouts. Toss them with the toasted nuts, spread them out evenly on the baking sheet again, and pop them back into the oven to finish baking. 

Once out of the oven, let cool before adding the lemon zest. Add jammy eggs to the top. I would recommend cutting the eggs after placing them with the brussels because the yolks can get messy fast. 

This recipe would make a perfect side dish for all of the vegetarians in your life. If you need a vegan side, just take out the eggs and add more nuts. Allergic to nuts? Use toasted sesame seeds. This dish is full of protein and (almost) as savory as the turkey.

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving sides?

Recipe adapted from Naturally Ella’s Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Jammy Eggs

Coffee in Italy

If you haven’t guessed, I love coffee! As something I drink every day, I would say I know what I like and how I like it done. Transitioning from American coffee to Italian coffee was a little weird because I’m so used to a big mug of black coffee in the mornings and in Italy most people drink a shot of espresso instead.

Starting on hour one in the airport, I decided to drink as an Italian would drink – I ordered a cappuccino. Turns out, I actually like them here! In the States I find them too sweet, but here the foam and bitter coffee make the perfect harmonious marriage of flavors.

Truth be told it wasn’t the prettiest coffee I’ve ever had, but it was from an airport so I didn’t have the bar set too high.

Bar Signorelli in Cortona is the UGA kids’ usual haunt. Go there for their cafe lattes, cappuccinos, or iced coffee. Honestly, we all went there for their wifi haha

Gilli’s in Florence is my friend Sherry’s favorite coffee place. While I don’t think it’s the best there is, the coffee was definitely the prettiest I’ve ever had!

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The bar there was also super cute! The whole place had a very British vibe.

I loved the mirror in the background (as you can probably tell by the awkward mirror selfies).

I’m honestly not even sure where I bought this coffee…

Or this one…whoops!

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My favorite coffee shop in Italy has to be Arnold’s. It’s essentially a knock off Starbucks, but with better coffee. Get the American coffee with vanilla! That’s what saved me during my sleep deprived day long tour in Florence, and then again when in Rome. Their cookies are also a hit!

When in Rome…

Hello from Italy! I’m studying biochemistry and Italian art abroad in Cortona, Florence, Siena, and Rome this May. So far so good – but I think I’ve managed to become pasta-ed out. If you know me, you’ll know I’m usually up for eating pasta for every meal so you can only imagine just how much delicious carbs I’ve been enjoying on my travels!

Here are a few sneak peaks of my time so far:

Coffee Date at 1000 Faces

Rachel and I went out for coffee during finals. 1000 Faces had opened up Downtown and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I got my usual dark roast coffee with cream and Rachel got a Christmas latte. I’m going to be honest here – I have never been more jealous of a coffee order! Their Christmas latte tastes like hot chocolate with orange. Needless to say I was very impressed.

1000 Faces Coffee

How picturesque is that!?

The little coffee shop has a wall of windows that face out into Downtown. I imagine that if I were a cat, I would want to live in the sun rays that pour through those windows. It felt perfect that chilly morning!

1000 Faces Coffee

There’s also a little food truck that parks outside on certain Sundays of every month that cooks made to order biscuits with eggs, cheese, and meats. A percentage of the proceeds from each breakfast sandwich goes to a non-profit in Athens (the non-profit changes each week, too).

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Now that I understand the hype, I’m looking forward to all sorts of coffee dates and study breaks here in the coming semester!

Re-Think Your Pumpkin Carving Scraps

I love a good pumpkin patch! And luckily my housemates do too!

Milledge Baptist Church Pumpkin Patch

We all went to the Milledge Avenue Baptist Church Saturday and found gourds galore. I found the perfect, small one right off the bat.

Pumpkin Patch in Athens GA

Burgundy Mock Turtleneck Dress

While I love carving pumpkins, I always feel bad that the insides go to waste. I also hate that the smaller pumpkins I put up as decoration simply get thrown out. So I did a little brainstorming and like magic came up with a few simple solutions:

Happy haunting!

Fun Things

It honestly feels like life is moving at fifteen mph above the speed limit.  It’s been one of those “please, for the love of everything sacred, slow down!” weeks. And it’s only Monday. But the good news is that the Internet is always helping me find cool ways to distract myself from how overwhelmed I actually am.

North Carolina Forest

Mama’s Boy

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Mama’s Boy: the staple for Athens weekends. The wait is always out the door and sometimes wrapped around the block, but going in the early morning or an hour before they close is your best bet for less than a half hour of wait time. If you go during peak brunch hours just stick it out – Mama’s Boy biscuits are definitely worth the wait!

I went recently with friends. Almost all of us got biscuit sandwiches. I’ve had the fried green tomatoes before and they were great, but nothing compares to my beloved egg and cheese biscuit.

If you’re ever in Athens, Mama’s Boy is a must!

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Disney’s The Lion King

Disney's The Lion King

As I mentioned in this post, my mom and I went to see Disney’s The Lion King in Greenville a few weekends ago. I absolutely loved it! I’ve only ever been to Greenville, SC once before, and that was to help pick up my friend’s uncle from the airport. So, I’d never actually been to Downtown Greenville.

My mom and I explored (and got lost) for a little bit before we ate dinner. I loved the weather – sunny, high seventies, and breezy – and really enjoyed being able to eat outside. My mom and I hadn’t made reservations for anywhere, so we ended up at Larkin’s on the River on the patio.

 

The Watchtower Incident Greenville, SC

An outdoor concert with the band The Watchtower Incident was scheduled to start at the same time as our play, so my mom and I watching band rehearse and set up. My dad is in a band called The Procrastinators, and whenever I’m home I usually watch them practice. Band rehearsal and set up is definitely not a foreign territory for me!

I grew up performing. I love to sing, dance, and act. I had parts in small musicals from age three to age fourteen, and after that I joined a choral group at my high school and began performing slam poetry at age sixteen. Even though I don’t perform anymore, I still love to watch. It brings back so many memories!

Disney's The Lion King

 

If I’m being honest, I loved the play The Lion King better than the movie. The stage makeup and costume design were phenomenal. And the comedic relief, Zazu, never failed to make the audience shake with laughter (especially when he began to sing Let it Go from Frozen!).

Here are some examples of the costume design and puppets that make the show that much more realistic:

The lions wore large African style wooden masks and most other animal either held or wore a large puppet. Rafiki, on the other hand, only had a tail to classify her as a monkey. Something my mom pointed out is that Rafiki is more of a spirit or priestess than a monkey, which is why she doesn’t have any of the defining features of an animal on stage, like a mask or a puppet. I thought this was a great distinction to make.

Disney's The Lion King