Divine Charcuterie

IMG_4343 (1)Food seems to be top of mind these days and what’s better than some gouda ole’ cheese and meat? Also, why are charcuterie platters so photogenic? The pic above is one than my super awesome chef cousin made for me last spring. He’s a pro and can definitely cook….i.e. he doesn’t just arrange nice looking charcuterie boards.

This one below is a board for people who are HUNGRY for a full meal. Hangry eyes may think that this is a small amount of food but its very filling. You may regret eating it all by yourself cause you might get sick so sharing is probably is a good plan.

This is from Cultured at the Mt. Vernon Marketplace. Worth a visit. Also–get a fancy cocktail. They know what they are doing.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 8.54.42 PM.png

Here are some others that are super pretty:

 

Winter-cheese-board-106

Hope you are inspired by the boards. Treat yourself.

101 in 1001: Winter Update

planets

It’s SPRING!!! Yay. I really need some sunshine and we got a beautiful 70+ degree day yesterday. Love it!

This Winter was a really big drag. I really picked up on yoga and working out to get some energy. Spring is my favorite season b/c:

  1. Outdoor seating!
  2. Longer Days
  3. You start see more friends as they come out of winter hibernation
  4. It’s my BDAY in May! 🙂

Soo…here’s my progress for 101 in 1001. Not too shabby considering my level of motivation this Winter. I got some good reading, cooking and documentaries in.  I would highly recommend reading The Martian and the documentary, Abstract Design (on Netflix).

I did have a modified goal (22) this winter– I realized that I will not be in town for Pimlico so instead I will count my trip to the Daytona 500 as a replacement experience. Though I never planned to go it was similar to Pimlico as it was something that I have never experienced before. Both very east coast/southern things that I just never experienced living in the PNW. That’s me at DEWALT Experience in the Fan Zone. Staying #DEWALTTough as always.

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 9.47.02 PM.png

Personal

1. Start and finish 101 in 1001
2. Deactivate Facebook (January 1, 2015)
3. See 2 Broadway plays (Dirty Dancing, Phantom of the Opera)
4. Go to 5 different museums (Walter’s Art Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, American Visionary Art Museum, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, B&O Railroad Museum)
5. Travel to NYC (January 2015)
6. Send 3 people unexpected care packages
7. Go to an NFL game
8. Visit a family member who I have yet to visit
9. Go to a winery
10. Read 25 books (Unbroken, The Tipping Point, Born to Run, Girl on a Train, The Great Gatsby, Never Let Me Go, Beautiful Boy, Modern Romance, Tender is the Night, The Secret History, Big Little Lies, Brave Enough, Torch, Room, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, The Husband’s Secret, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I am Malala, Luckiest Girl Alive, The Martian)
11. Read all the books written by one author – I read all of Cheryl Strayed’s books! She is excellent!
12. Pay off my car
13. Volunteer for an organization (Hackerman Patz House, Sinai Hospital)
14. Get new glasses
15. Plan 3 weekend getaway trips (NYC in February, Outer Banks North Carolina, Lake Ariel, PA)
16. Host a dinner club
17. Create a lean closet (January 25, 2015)
18. Take a cooking class
19. Try vegetarianism for a month
20. Go to 3 concerts (Kiran Ahuwalia, Taking Back Sunday, Global Citizen Concert in D.C.)
21. Go camping – Check out my post about my backpacking trip!
22. Go to Pimlico horse race – MODIFIED
23. Travel to 2 new cities (Kitty Hawk, NC, Oranjestad, Aruba)
24. Go to brunch with bottomless mimosas
25. Make homemade ice cream
26. Go to a TED conference
27. Take a self-defense class
28. Invest in 12 new coffee table books (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up)
29. Learn how to fish tale braid
30. Do a headstand in yoga
31. Stay with 5, 2 more airbnb hosts
32. Visit an amusement park (Zoo in D.C.)
33. Get a massage/spa day
34. Purchase a nice camera
35. Lose 10 lbs
36. Find some plants for my apartment
37. Send 30 handwritten notes/letters (30/30)
38. Clean up iTunes library
39. Join or start a book club
40. Make 2 new friends in Baltimore
41. Order mussels at a restaurant
42. Develop interests in 2 random topics/subjects (Watercoloring, Blogging)
43. Purchase decorative pillows and a nice throw
44. Create a time capsule to be opened at age 30
45. Create a list of all the US States I have visited and states that I have yet to visit  See my post about it here.
46. Watch a Ted talk a day for 2 weeks
47. Sell something on Etsy
48. Purchase something on Etsy
49. Participate/Comment on an article on the NYT
50. Travel to Europe
51. Watch 15 seasons of TV (Orange is the New Black 1-3, Broad City Season 2, House of Cards Season 3, Silicon Valley Season 2, Game of Thrones Season 5, True Detective Season 2, The Wire 1-5, Mad Men 1, United States of Tara 1-3)
52. Purge on beauty products; only keep what is needed and used
53. Learn how to do my own eyebrows
54. Make 10 OpenTable Reservations (Blue Agave, The Food Market, City Cafe, The Helmand, Woodberry Kitchen, Iron Rooster, Mission, Cazbar, Tabard’s Inn, Cafe Deluxe)
55.  Save $10 for every item completed on this list
56. Reread all the Harry Potter books
57. Watch all of The Lord of the Rings movies
58. Watch all movies that won best picture of the last 10 years
59. Watch 10 documentaries (Dark Girls, Citizenfour, Nature, The Minimalists, Abstract Design)
60. Go to a speakeasy
61. Visit a upscale thrift shop – The Zone
62. Go to a poetry or story slam
63. Write 6 product reviews (6/6)
64. Make a friend through blogging

Professional

65. Learn to use Adobe Illustrator
66. Increase twitter followers to 300
67. Get a promotion at work – WOOO!
68. Take the GMAT –Took GRE instead but July 2nd!
69. Invest money (January 28, 2015)
70. Attend a conference
71. Make business cards
72. Become a mentor to someone
73. Take a online class or certification
74. Complete at least 50 posts on my blog (50/50)
75. Transition blog to a self hosted domain
76. Earn a bonus at work
77. Create a style guide for blog

Creative

78. Take a calligraphy class
79. Start a lifestyle blog (January 11, 2015)
80. Oil paint on canvas
81. Make 25 new foods from cookbooks (Cauliflower and Pea Bhaji,Pressed Tofu, Tomato Garlic Tortellini Soup, Chili con Elote, Gazpacho, Aioli Sauce, Brazilian Salsa, Moosewood Lasagne x 2, Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole, Caramelized Garlic Tart, Mushroom Ragout with Poached Eggs, Brussell Sprouts in Cream, Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, Double Chocolate Cookies, Roasted Red Tomato Sauce, Minestrone Soup, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Macaroni and Cheese, Buttermilk Pancakes, Home Fries, Oven Baked BBQ Chicken, Green Bean Shiitake Stir Fry, Paprika & Garlic Mashed Potatoes)
82. Learn to make pasta
83. Take an interior design class
84. Do 5 Pinterest DIY projects (Bird House, Lavendar Goat Milk Soap, Watercolor Desk Frames)
85. Write a travel story
86. Paint with watercolors
87. Create a stamp of my own
88. Attend a glassblowing workshop
89. Re-create resume in a creative format
90. Make a book on blurb
91. Find a doodling book and doodle everyday for a month
92. Conduct 5 photography shoots

Health

93. Join a pool for lap swimming
94. Stop drinking for 1 month
95. Meditate once a day for 1 month
96. Try fasting or a cleanse
97. Do a yoga retreat  This is a modified goal. Instead of doing a yoga retreat, I decided to join Corepower, a yoga studio in Federal Hill. Read about it here!
98. Drink green tea instead of coffee for 2 months
99. Start using natural and sulfate free shampoo 
100. Stop washing my hair everyday
101. Hike a trail in a national park (Arikok National Park, Aruba)

I’m going to keep on keeping on with this list. It’s crunch time!

The Best of Thailand

Thailand.jpg

As you can tell from my Instagram, I spent my holidays in Thailand. I saved up all my vacation days for this end of the year trip so I was pretty excited to get out of the states for a while. It was especially timely considering the state of our country post-election.

I always feel so refreshed traveling. Even though it does make me uncomfortable at times I come back home with a new perspective. This trip really got me thinking about what it would be like to live abroad in a country where you do not understand the language, culture and often the values are totally different than yours. I had a lot of time to think on the beach 🙂

I spent my time in Thailand in 3 different places: Bangkok, K0h Phayam and Sam Roi Yot. All places were unique and delicious in their own way. 🙂 I have broken down all the food in one section and then all the places I visited in another.

THE FOOD–

Thai is absolutely, hands down my favorite cuisine. If I had to pick just 1 dish, I would have Prawn Tom Yum Soup with Noodles forever. So spicy, lemony and the seafood really tops it off. Who knew breakfast could be so spicy ?

IMG_6096.jpg

Wish I could tell you what restaurant this was from but it was SO GOOD. Fried squid, fried rice and Pad Kee Mao all for a grand total of $6. I wish good food were this affordable in the states.

IMG_5775.jpg

Here’s another variation of Pad Kee Mao. Everyone makes it a little differently. Another name for it is Drunken Noodles. This infamous Thai dish was invented by someone with a bad hangover. He added everything he had in his kitchen to a wok and viola, out came Drunken noodles–or so the legend goes.IMG_6047.jpg

We also got whole fishies! They were SO fresh and SO cheap! This whole fish, beer and sticky rice was $12 for 2 people.

IMG_6118.jpg

and now for street food/market food:

IMG_5900.jpg

Squid and Shrimp?

IMG_5905.jpg

Deep Fried Squid Balls

IMG_5899.jpg

❤ Coconut Ice Cream 🙂 

IMG_5924.jpg

Meat on a Stick at Chatuchuk Market- YUM

And of course, there was also drinking… Beer, coffee, Thai tea and more 🙂 IMG_5941.jpg

IMG_6044.jpgIMG_6057.jpg

So food was a highlight of the trip. 🙂

But when we weren’t eating and lazying on the beach here are some of the places we visited.

PLACES TO GO–

Chatuchak Market: 
If you missed the real food memo, you can find some fake food at a stall at Chatuchak market. Not sure why you would need this but if you need ANYTHING, Chatuchak market has it. It may take 2 days to find what you are looking for as you wind through the labyrinth of the market aisles but the huge array of goods is quite amazing. You can find anything from china wear, fast fashion shoe and clothes stalls, restaurants, pet “adoption” stalls, stationary and soap stalls, as well as fresh food/fish vendors.IMG_5922.jpg

The Grand Palace/Temples in BKK:
If you are in BKK you should definitely visit at least one of the temples. If you have to choose try The Grand Palace. It’s so grand and ornate that its difficult to compare to other temples. PSA: if you go to the temples, make sure you wear conservative clothes. Pants and covered shoulders are advised. When we were visiting, it was a few months after the death of Thailand’s beloved King so most visitors wore black to mourn his passing.

IMG_5817.jpg

IMG_5812.jpgIMG_5856.jpgIMG_5845.jpgIMG_5837.jpg

IMG_5827.jpg

Jim Thompson House in BKK:
In BKK you can visit the former home of Jim Thompson who was known to have started the Thai silk industry after WWII. The home is converted into a museum where you can see his vast collection of art. There is a tour if you are interested in walking through.

IMG_5867.jpg

Spinning Silk

 

IMG_5870.jpg

Dyed Silk

Koh Phayam:
Koh Phayam is a small island off the Western coast of mainland Thailand. This island is a very special place. It’s super distinct from one side to the other and offers both a romantic getaway feel as well as younger hippie, backpacker feel depending on your what you are looking for. The island has a few main roads but does not support cars–motorcycles, scooters or walking only.IMG_5999.jpg

It was a bit overcast during our stay but we got lucky and saw a few gorgeous sunsets.IMG_6024.jpg

Beaches perfect for throwing a frisbee around! IMG_6112.jpg

Can’t forget about the 60 min Thai Oil Massage on the Island-the best!IMG_6055.jpg

Sam Roi Yot National Park:
This park is huge but you should definitely visit if you have the chance. Some breathtaking views, beaches and caves.

IMG_6156.jpg

IMG_6190.jpg

Sam Roi Yot – Caves

AND for probably the most stunning and unique part of the part. There is a temple INSIDE the cave! When the sun hits the temple it glows like someone has turned on the lights. Truly AMAZING. Saved the best for last! IMG_6191.jpg

And with that, I will stop raving about my trip to Thailand.

I feel so blessed that I was able to explore the beauty of Thailand. But as always, there are still so many unexplored places that I’d love to revisit someday.

Until then, safe travels to all the adventurers out there!

XO

 

 

101 in 1001: Fall Update

planets

I’m slowly accepting the fact that we are fully into Winter. So, here’s my progress for the Fall. It’s going slowly but surely!

Personal

1. Start and finish 101 in 1001
2. Deactivate Facebook (January 1, 2015)
3. See 2 Broadway plays (Dirty Dancing, Phantom of the Opera)
4. Go to 5 different museums (Walter’s Art Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, American Visionary Art Museum, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, B&O Railroad Museum)
5. Travel to NYC (January 2015)
6. Send 3 people unexpected care packages
7. Go to an NFL game
8. Visit a family member who I have yet to visit
9. Go to a winery
10. Read 25 books (Unbroken, The Tipping Point, Born to Run, Girl on a Train, The Great Gatsby, Never Let Me Go, Beautiful Boy, Modern Romance, Tender is the Night, The Secret History, Big Little Lies, Brave Enough, Torch, Room, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, The Husband’s Secret, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I am Malala)
11. Read all the books written by one author – I read all of Cheryl Strayed’s books! She is excellent!
12. Pay off my car
13. Volunteer for an organization (Hackerman Patz House, Sinai Hospital)
14. Get new glasses
15. Plan 3 weekend getaway trips (NYC in February, Outer Banks North Carolina, Lake Ariel, PA)
16. Host a dinner club
17. Create a lean closet (January 25, 2015)
18. Take a cooking class
19. Try vegetarianism for a month
20. Go to 3 concerts (Kiran Ahuwalia, Taking Back Sunday, Global Citizen Concert in D.C.)
21. Go camping – Check out my post about my backpacking trip!
22. Go to Pimlico horse race
23. Travel to 2 new cities (Kitty Hawk, NC, Oranjestad, Aruba)
24. Go to brunch with bottomless mimosas
25. Make homemade ice cream
26. Go to a TED conference
27. Take a self-defense class
28. Invest in 12 new coffee table books (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up)
29. Learn how to fish tale braid
30. Do a headstand in yoga
31. Stay with 5,more airbnb hosts
32. Visit an amusement park (Zoo in D.C.)
33. Get a massage/spa day
34. Purchase a nice camera
35. Lose 10 lbs
36. Find some plants for my apartment
37. Send 30 handwritten notes/letters (30/30)
38. Clean up iTunes library
39. Join or start a book club
40. Make 2 new friends in Baltimore
41. Order mussels at a restaurant
42. Develop interests in 2 random topics/subjects (Watercoloring, Blogging)
43. Purchase decorative pillows and a nice throw
44. Create a time capsule to be opened at age 30
45. Create a list of all the US States I have visited and states that I have yet to visit  See my post about it here.
46. Watch a Ted talk a day for 2 weeks
47. Sell something on Etsy
48. Purchase something on Etsy
49. Participate/Comment on an article on the NYT
50. Travel to Europe
51. Watch 15 seasons of TV (Orange is the New Black 1-3, Broad City Season 2, House of Cards Season 3, Silicon Valley Season 2, Game of Thrones Season 5, True Detective Season 2, The Wire 1-5, Mad Men 1, United States of Tara 1-3)
52. Purge on beauty products; only keep what is needed and used
53. Learn how to do my own eyebrows
54. Make 10 OpenTable Reservations (Blue Agave, The Food Market, City Cafe, The Helmand, Woodberry Kitchen, Iron Rooster, Mission, Cazbar, Tabard’s Inn, Cafe Deluxe)
55.  Save $10 for every item completed on this list
56. Reread all the Harry Potter books
57. Watch all of The Lord of the Rings movies
58. Watch all movies that won best picture of the last 10 years
59. Watch 10 documentaries (Dark Girls, Citizenfour, Nature)
60. Go to a speakeasy
61. Visit a upscale thrift shop – The Zone
62. Go to a poetry or story slam
63. Write 6 product reviews (6/6)
64. Make a friend through blogging

Professional

65. Learn to use Adobe Illustrator
66. Increase twitter followers to 300
67. Get a promotion at work – WOOO!
68. Take the GMAT –Took GRE instead but July 2nd!
69. Invest money (January 28, 2015)
70. Attend a conference
71. Make business cards
72. Become a mentor to someone
73. Take a online class or certification
74. Complete at least 50 posts on my blog (50/50)
75. Transition blog to a self hosted domain
76. Earn a bonus at work
77. Create a style guide for blog

Creative

78. Take a calligraphy class
79. Start a lifestyle blog (January 11, 2015)
80. Oil paint on canvas
81. Make 25 new foods from cookbooks (Cauliflower and Pea Bhaji,Pressed Tofu, Tomato Garlic Tortellini Soup, Chili con Elote, Gazpacho, Aioli Sauce, Brazilian Salsa, Moosewood Lasagne, Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole, Caramelized Garlic Tart, Mushroom Ragout with Poached Eggs, Brussell Sprouts in Cream, Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, Double Chocolate Cookies, Roasted Red Tomato Sauce, Minestrone Soup, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Macaroni and Cheese, Buttermilk Pancakes, Home Fries)
82. Learn to make pasta
83. Take an interior design class
84. Do 5 Pinterest DIY projects (Bird House, Lavendar Goat Milk Soap, Watercolor Desk Frames)
85. Write a travel story
86. Paint with watercolors
87. Create a stamp of my own
88. Attend a glassblowing workshop
89. Re-create resume in a creative format
90. Make a book on blurb
91. Find a doodling book and doodle everyday for a month
92. Conduct 5 photography shoots

Health

93. Join a pool for lap swimming
94. Stop drinking for 1 month
95. Meditate once a day for 1 month
96. Try fasting or a cleanse
97. Do a yoga retreat  This is a modified goal. Instead of doing a yoga retreat, I decided to join Corepower, a yoga studio in Federal Hill. Read about it here!
98. Drink green tea instead of coffee for 2 months
99. Start using natural and sulfate free shampoo 
100. Stop washing my hair everyday
101. Hike a trail in a national park (Arikok National Park, Aruba)

Holiday DIY: Goat Milk Lavender Soap

img_5162

Trying to come up with an easy gift to send to friends for the holidays? Homemade presents don’t have to be a struggle. Try this recipe and make some beautiful homemade lavender goat milk soap. It’s thoughtful, smells awesome and is a nice little way to appreciate some special people in your life.

Also, this is not going to be a DIY where you will have any room to fail. No pinterest fails here.

Start to finish in 20 min and will yield 12 bars of soap (if you use the same molds).

Ingredients: 

Instructions

Set up all your ingredients.

IMG_5021.jpg

Remove the casing from the goat milk base and cut it into smaller cubes. It does not have to be precise but the pieces should be of relatively similar sizes so that they melt easier.

img_5027

Put them all in a microwave safe measuring cup and melt in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until all pieces are completely melted through. If not all of the pieces fit the first time just repeat the process again for the rest of the soap base.img_5030

Now is the fun part! Add in your proportion of soap dye. I wanted a shade of lavender so I went with  10 drops of red and 10 drops of blue. Try out a few drops at a time and add in as you see fit. Once the color has been stirred in properly, now we can add the oil. It depends on how how strong of a scent you prefer but, I added 20 drops and my soap smells like lavender but is not overbearing.img_5051

Now it’s time to add the dried lavender. There’s not a right amount so just add in as you see fit! Stir it up and then you are ready to pour.img_5052

Pour into the soap mold and let it sit. That’s all, folks! Repeat for your second batch and your  stocking stuffers are ready to go.img_5060

Let them set for at least 5hours. Once they can easily pop out you can wrap em up or tie some sort of ribbon around them. I tried both. The first photo shows the soap with just ribbon and the one below is another idea I had.

img_5174

This recipe is a good base recipe. You can always get creative and change up the essential oil or the lavender to create a whole new variety. Some other ideas could be to use other things such as, dried flowers, oatmeal, etc. if you want to get creative. Enjoy!

 

101 in 1001: Summer Update

planets

Holy smokes! It’s officially FALL and October! Where has this year gone ? I made some progress on my list but the going is slow. It’s time for the hard stuff! Let’s get to it!

Personal

1. Start and finish 101 in 1001
2. Deactivate Facebook (January 1, 2015)
3. See 2 Broadway plays (Dirty Dancing, Phantom of the Opera)
4. Go to 5 different museums (Walter’s Art Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, American Visionary Art Museum, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, B&O Railroad Museum)
5. Travel to NYC (January 2015)
6. Send 3 people unexpected care packages
7. Go to an NFL game
8. Visit a family member who I have yet to visit
9. Go to a winery
10. Read 25 books (Unbroken, The Tipping Point, Born to Run, Girl on a Train, The Great Gatsby, Never Let Me Go, Beautiful Boy, Modern Romance, Tender is the Night, The Secret History, Big Little Lies, Brave Enough, Torch, Room, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, The Husband’s Secret, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up)
11. Read all the books written by one author – I read all of Cheryl Strayed’s books! She is excellent!
12. Pay off my car
13. Volunteer for an organization (Hackerman Patz House, Sinai Hospital)
14. Get new glasses
15. Plan 3 weekend getaway trips (NYC in February, Outer Banks North Carolina, Lake Ariel, PA)
16. Host a dinner club
17. Create a lean closet (January 25, 2015)
18. Take a cooking class
19. Try vegetarianism for a month
20. Go to 3 concerts (Kiran Ahuwalia, Taking Back Sunday, Global Citizen Concert in D.C.)
21. Go camping – Check out my post about my backpacking trip!
22. Go to Pimlico horse race
23. Travel to 2 new cities (Kitty Hawk, NC, Oranjestad, Aruba)
24. Go to brunch with bottomless mimosas
25. Make homemade ice cream
26. Go to a TED conference
27. Take a self-defense class
28. Invest in 12 new coffee table books (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up)
29. Learn how to fish tale braid
30. Do a headstand in yoga
31. Stay with 5,3 more airbnb hosts
32. Visit an amusement park (Zoo in D.C.)
33. Get a massage/spa day
34. Purchase a nice camera
35. Lose 10 lbs
36. Find some plants for my apartment
37. Send 30 handwritten notes/letters (24/30)
38. Clean up iTunes library
39. Join or start a book club
40. Make 2 new friends in Baltimore
41. Order mussels at a restaurant
42. Develop interests in 2 random topics/subjects (Watercoloring, Blogging)
43. Purchase decorative pillows and a nice throw
44. Create a time capsule to be opened at age 30
45. Create a list of all the US States I have visited and states that I have yet to visit  See my post about it here.
46. Watch a Ted talk a day for 2 weeks
47. Sell something on Etsy
48. Purchase something on Etsy
49. Participate/Comment on an article on the NYT
50. Travel to Europe
51. Watch 15 seasons of TV (Orange is the New Black 1-3, Broad City Season 2, House of Cards Season 3, Silicon Valley Season 2, Game of Thrones Season 5, True Detective Season 2, The Wire 1-5, Mad Men 1, United States of Tara 1-3)
52. Purge on beauty products; only keep what is needed and used
53. Learn how to do my own eyebrows
54. Make 10 OpenTable Reservations (Blue Agave, The Food Market, City Cafe, The Helmand, Woodberry Kitchen, Iron Rooster, Mission, Cazbar, Tabard’s Inn, Cafe Deluxe)
55.  Save $10 for every item completed on this list
56. Reread all the Harry Potter books
57. Watch all of The Lord of the Rings movies
58. Watch all movies that won best picture of the last 10 years
59. Watch 10 documentaries (Dark Girls, Citizenfour, Nature)
60. Go to a speakeasy
61. Visit a upscale thrift shop
62. Go to a poetry or story slam
63. Write 6 product reviews (6/6)
64. Make a friend through blogging

Professional

65. Learn to use Adobe Illustrator
66. Increase twitter followers to 300
67. Get a promotion at work
68. Take the GMAT –Took GRE instead but July 2nd!
69. Invest money (January 28, 2015)
70. Attend a conference
71. Make business cards
72. Become a mentor to someone
73. Take a online class or certification
74. Complete at least 50 posts on my blog (50/50)
75. Transition blog to a self hosted domain
76. Earn a bonus at work
77. Create a style guide for blog

Creative

78. Take a calligraphy class
79. Start a lifestyle blog (January 11, 2015)
80. Oil paint on canvas
81. Make 25 new foods from cookbooks (Cauliflower and Pea Bhaji,Pressed Tofu, Tomato Garlic Tortellini Soup, Chili con Elote, Gazpacho, Aioli Sauce, Brazilian Salsa, Moosewood Lasagne, Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole, Caramelized Garlic Tart, Mushroom Ragout with Poached Eggs, Brussell Sprouts in Cream, Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, Double Chocolate Cookies, Roasted Red Tomato Sauce)
82. Learn to make pasta
83. Take an interior design class
84. Do 5 Pinterest DIY projects (Bird House, Lavendar Goat Milk Soap)
85. Write a travel story
86. Paint with watercolors
87. Create a stamp of my own
88. Attend a glassblowing workshop
89. Re-create resume in a creative format
90. Make a book on blurb
91. Find a doodling book and doodle everyday for a month
92. Conduct 5 photography shoots

Health

93. Join a pool for lap swimming
94. Stop drinking for 1 month
95. Meditate once a day for 1 month
96. Try fasting or a cleanse
97. Do a yoga retreat  This is a modified goal. Instead of doing a yoga retreat, I decided to join Corepower, a yoga studio in Federal Hill. Read about it here!
98. Drink green tea instead of coffee for 2 months
99. Start using natural and sulfate free shampoo 
100. Stop washing my hair everyday
101. Hike a trail in a national park (Arikok National Park, Aruba)

Long (Labor) Overdue (Day) Weekend

IMG_4582.jpg

I think we can all agree that 3 day weekends need to be a more regular thing. I not only feel more rejuvenated but I can bet that I am way more productive in the 4 day workweek. Labor day weekend always mark the end of summer vacation and blues of buying school textbooks and your new and improved back to school wardrobe  year sets in.

This year, I finally got over that hump. I am no longer a a student and LDW does not mean anything other than an extra day to recuperate and chill. Thats me up there lazying around on this holiday weekend. I did do a good bit of socializing and eating. Went out to Fells on Friday night with friends and stayed out till 3am!! I never do that. I have become a grandma as of late but I think a little bit of my younger side made a long awaited debut. Probably has something to do with the fact that we had an extra day to get better from the late night and headaches.

Anyways, in my downtime, here a few interesting things I found on the interweb-

LH Calligraphy Workshop in Annapolis

Best Booty Workout – no equipment at home workout

Canning Peaches 101

Custom Wax Seal Stamp

Ona Bag – so lovely, so spendy!

Cold Brew Baby

As you can tell, I am doing nothing stressful this weekend. Just how I like it. Happy Labor Day!

The Wind Up Bird Chronicle – A Book Review

Goodreads Summary–

“Japan’s most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.

In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

Gripping, prophetic, suffused with comedy and menace, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a tour de force equal in scope to the masterpieces of Mishima and Pynchon.”

Follow me on Goodreads here!

SPOILER ALERT – if you plan on reading the book please stop here!

The Good–

The writing style is absolutely dream-like. Murakami builds the story line up slowly and tactfully and there is a reason for everything. The details in his descriptions are also on point and although the story line is slow to develop it still is somehow very captivating. I also don’t like magical realism but this did not feel fantastical or confusing. Anyone remember having to read One Thousand Years of Solitude in Lit? Definitely not my cup of tea. I was also a huge fan of the plot. It was a story about a man who had been abandoned by his wife. He meets many intriguing characters along the way, such as a 16-year old girl, a veteran, his wife’s crazy politically famous brother as well as a prostitute. All these seemingly unrelated story lines come together beautifully through the perspective of Mr. Okada who is trying to figure this all out as we are. It’s nice because it doesn’t feel like as the reader you are clueless. You are clueless but so is the main character so its like figuring out a mystery together.

The Bad–

The book is a bit slow to get a grasp on. There are times where you wonder what the heck is going on, like the first time Mr. Okada went into the well. There are also moments of utter confusion such as when he receives the bizzare mystery phone calls and visitors. Really though, the only bad part I saw was that I wasn’t used to Haruki Murakami’s style. But, once you get used to it and let your questions go, the story takes a natural progression.

Overall, I would rate this book a 9/10. Great read!

A Grano’le Time at Hampden Pasta Bar

IMG_4971

To celebrate L’s science successes this week we visited a quaint little pasta bar in the Hampden neighborhood in Baltimore. I love this area. It has a lot of unique people walking around, lots of art, farmers markets and its a very tight knit community from what I can tell. We’re making more effort to head up there when we decide to go out for dinner.

This time, we headed to Grano and ate carbs to our heart’s desire. The menu is set up so you can customize your pasta–first by picking the sauce (both meat and veggie options) and then picking the type of pasta. They also had fresh bread, meatballs and salad options.

IMG_4975

It was a small galley like space and the chef was cooking up a storm right in front of us. It felt like we were on a cooking show as they transferred our freshly made pasta from the pans into the dishes in front of us. They also had some pretty cool glassware and the ambience was relaxed yet the quality was not compromised.

IMG_4980

The bread dipped in olive oil with roasted garlic was AWESOME. Very fresh and a perfect way to start a meal.IMG_4981

We also ordered meatballs because what is pasta without meatballs? We had no choice than to order a side since neither of us had ordered a pasta with red sauce. The meatballs were great but it’s not the dish that will have me going back to Grano. I’ve had better meatballs and I’ve had worse. If you are in the mood though, go for it! 🙂

IMG_4986

We were both needing some comfort food and this hit the spot. I ordered a Gorgonzola cheese sauce with walnuts sprinkled on top and it was served over fresh linguine. I’ve had fresh pasta a few times recently and it makes such a huge difference. Super delicious.IMG_4984

Of course we shared but, L ordered the Carbonara over fusili pasta. Probably the best carbonara I’ve ever had. Be warned–it is heavy and filling. You may need to take a break.IMG_4983

Once we gobbled all of that up, we went for it and ordered Tiramisu for dessert. I would have taken a photo of it but I like dessert too much and started eating and realized afterwards that I didn’t have a photo. Like most other things at Grano, the Tiramisu was super. Fluffy and moist and the bitter cocoa powder on top topped it off.

Are you hungry yet? 🙂

This is an excellent place for date night or a casual get together with friends.  I would highly recommend it!

Oxfords Oh My

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 1.56.18 PM

These bad boys were my first pair of Oxfords. I found them in a small boutique on NW 23rd Street in Portland, OR. I was stunned since the prices at those specialty stores are usually really high but for some awesome reason they were on sale for $13!

Since then, I’ve started searching for an additional pair with a bit of a heel and a little better quality. _10492892.jpg

I found these dotted ones with gold accents from Louise Et Cie. Aren’t they beautiful? Super elegant pattern and the heel makes your look a little more formal and polished.

I had bought them from Nordstrom last year and then was convinced by my wallet to return them. Still wish I hadn’t gone back and returned them but at the time it was the right thing to do. Soo, I’m still trying to find some replacements for my original pair. They don’t need replacing right away but I like to do my research before investing in a new pair of shoes.

Here are a couple that I’m looking at:

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 2.49.08 PM

_13037042

Decisions, decisions…Maybe the Louise et Cie ones will come back in stock. Crossing my fingers 🙂