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mangia: a grocery list for a grad school budget!

Ahhhh, I’m so excited to get back to being a vegetarian! Although I am as Italian as the sky is blue; when I’m on a vegetarian diet, I rarely eat pasta or soy products. I really want to eat from scratch as much as I can, especially since when I was on my job assignment, I ate take out all of the time.

P.S. If you ever find yourself in Titusville, Florida, (it’s the home of NASA) you will find yourself in the land of amazing restaurants. Kloiber’s Cobbler for lunch, Sunrise Bread Company for coffee and the most delicious bread you’ll ever find, and El Leoncito for Mexican Food and the best Margaritas in Brevard County. 

I feel that when I became a vegetarian, I truly discovered a love for cooking. When I was an omnivore, my dinners were mindless. Somehow, grilled chicken and bacon always found a way into my recipes. I’m not saying that cooking with meat suppresses your creativity in the kitchen, but cooking without it opens the door to so many possibilities that you may have not considered before. For example, I wondered what I could substitute bacon or ham for in a meat, egg, and cheese sandwich. I’ve found out that roasted mushrooms, peppers, eggplant, or avocado are satisfying substitutes and give me that savory, fatty taste I’m craving.

When cooking on a budget, I like to plan my meals out at least a week in advance. This enables me to keep an eye out for deals and see what’s on sale. This is also helpful for vegetarians because you tend to buy a lot of fresh produce and you’re going to waste your money if you buy all these different types of produce, only to have them rot in your refrigerator. Lastly, I plan because I need to keep track of my nutrients. I can’t stress how important it is to take a multivitamin but it can’t solve all of your problems. Take some time to study the nutritional chart and pay attention to your nutrient intake. To make this fun and eliminate waste, I like to do themed weeks, according to what’s on sale.

This week’s theme: Sweet Potato, Chick Peas, and Kale! 

ironchef

(for some reason, I totally felt like the Iron Chef Chairman when I wrote that)

If it’s winter, it’s sweet potato season. This vegetable and I have such a troubled history. When I was little, I was obsessed with sweet potatoes and I would beg my grandmother to make them. She was always happy to and so proud that I would beg for vegetables. Then, when I was a teenager, I stopped eating them. The thought of them made me gag and I only ate them if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas. Those were the dark days.

Thankfully, sweet potatoes and I are back on good terms. Which is good, because they’re a vegetarian’s best friend. They are rich in iron, which is a nutrient that you may lack once you take meat out of your diet. There are two types of iron, heme which is found in meat, and non-heme which is found in plants. You can absorb up to 30% of heme iron, however, you absorb anywhere between 2% and 10% from non-heme foods. We need iron to carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of your body and if you lack it, you may become lethargic. To better absorb non-heme iron, it’s recommended to have a diet rich in Vitamin C.

Kale is another food that is rich in iron and is my go-to green. Why? Check out what WebMD has to say:

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

::drops mic::

Chick peas, and other beans, are high in protein. 1/2 cup of chickpeas has 7 out of the required 56 grams of protein you need everyday.

Recipes and the Grocery List

For breakfast, I am going to switch between broiled grapefruit and kale, egg, and cheese on toast. Both dishes will be accompanied by either Fage or Chobani greek yogurt because their plain yogurts have 18g of protein per 6oz serving. I’ll drizzle a little honey or serve it with seasonal fruit to make it tastier. Add that to the days in which I eat an egg for breakfast (6g) and I’m in good shape for meeting my daily protein value.

As for lunch, I will eat the leftovers from the night before with seasonal fruit.  Breakfast is going to be very filling.

For dinner, I will make my favorite Sweet Potato, Kale, and Chickpea Soup (serves 6), Braised Coconut Chickpeas and Kale with Lemon  (serves 4), and Sweet Potato Burrito Smothered in Avocado Salsa Verde (serves 4).

  • A gallon of Olive Oil. Buy with coupon
    • It’s not worth the money nor the waste to buy the little bottles of olive oil. You’re better off buying the gallon that will last you forever and a day. 
    • We bought it the other day at Sam’s Club.
  • The big carton of Fage or Chobani plain yogurt, whichever is on sale.
  • Honey
  • 2 Grapefruits
  • Seasonal fruit
  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 small red onion
  • Cage-Free eggs
  • Pepperjack Cheese
  • Bread
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • Frank’s Red Hot
  • Bunch of Kale
  • 2 Red Peppers
  • 1 jalopeno
  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 6 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
  • Cayenne Pepper Powder
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 3 inch knob of ginger
  • Lime juice
  • Lemon juice
  • tortillas
  • 2 avocados
  • Coconut Milk
  • Cilantro
  • Orange Juice
  • Almond Milk
  • Freezer safe bags

It’s going to be a little expensive this time around because I’m beginning to stock up on the essentials. How come it always feels like it takes a year to stock up a kitchen? Thankfully spices, oil, lemon juice, lime juice, freezer bags,  and my beloved Frank’s Red Hot are purchases that will last a while. The freezer bags will be used for collecting vegetable scraps because I will be making my own vegetable broth.

There you have it- 21 meals for a fraction of a cost compared to a meal plan.


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nesting: living in a residence hall in your mid-twenties.

I will preface this post with this piece of advice:

Never, ever, ever watch Investigation Discovery in the wee, small hours of the morning for the chance that the program’s background music may sound eerily just like your door bell and you may receive a tiny burst of adrenaline to prepare for the worst. Not fun. It kind of makes you feel silly afterwards when you realize it’s not the real thing.

Moving on…

My Room

I received my rooming assignment! It’s so funny because after 3 years of either paying for my own apartment or living with host families whenever a job assignment came up, it feels weird knowing that I will be living in a residence hall. The days of RAs, Twin XL beds, swiping your ID to get into the building, and waking up to the fire alarm because someone failed at properly making popcorn at 2 AM are back again. I swear, along with your college application, I am a firm believer that you should prove to the admissions board that you are capable of making popcorn without setting the stage up for a fire drill.

Of course, I’ve received a lot of mixed reviews about my choice to live on campus and I get it. I’m 25 going on 26 (my twenties are disappearing right before my eyes) and I’m still receiving e-mails about whether or not I’d like to purchase a meal plan. I’m very satisfied with my choice. One of the reasons why I love my campus is because it’s laid out within the city of Newark and we have a light rail station on campus. You can’t ask for better than that, especially in the NYC Metro real estate market. I will be paying $850 for my grad single which is comparable to a 1 bedroom in Newark. I don’t need to worry about homeless guys living in the laundry room or dealing with negligent landlords anymore, so I am a happy camper.

Twin XL Sheets…It’s a Bigger Deal Than You Would Think

disclaimer: I realize that out of all the problems to have, this is probably the best one. A couple of months ago, I would have done anything for this as my only worry. We all have creature comforts and this is one of mine.

One tip I would give to anyone attending college or graduate school and is planning to live on campus is to buy your sheets in August. If you attempt to buy them in January, plan on having a frustrating shopping experience. As opposed to August, the selection of Twin XL sheets is very limited in January. When I was in college, I bought my sheets at Home Goods and Target because I’d get comfy sheets for anywhere between $9-$12. Don’t plan on getting those kinds of deals in January. The reason why they’re so cheap in August is because all of the stores are competing for your business. In January, it’s more like “take it or leave it.” To make things harder, most stores don’t have them in stock anymore (aw, Home Goods), so you will have to go online.  While shopping online saves a lot of time and gives you more of a selection, I’ve always felt that purchasing sheets needs to be a tactile experience. There were some great deals on microfiber sheets but I wasn’t sure about how they felt, so I passed them over for jersey sheets. The jersey sheets were more expensive ($22 a pair…gah, this would never happen in August), but I know what kind of product I’m getting and that will mean a lot when I pass out in my bed after taking my midterms.

Food and Life On-Campus 

Other than that, I’ve got to say that it is weird knowing that I don’t need to bring furniture! Everything is already there and all I need to worry about is making sure I only cover 25% of my wall with decorations. I’m also extremely excited about having the gym so close! I can’t wait to get back to how it was when I was an undergrad where I would do cardio and weight training during the weekdays and swim on the weekends…I haven’t done that in sooooo long! I made an attempt to do that in Florida but eventually work got in the way of beach or pool time.

There won’t be a meal plan for me. I realized a long time ago that while it is convenient, it is the biggest waste of money and you’re better off making your own food. I will be going back to  being a pescatarian. It’s cheaper that way and I am so excited to return back to the lifestyle again. If you haven’t cut out meat for at least a week, I recommend that you do. It’s hard at first, especially if you make my mistake and forget to take a multivitamin when you start out, but it’s so worth it. I receive more nutrients in my vegetarian meals than I do with my meat meals and you’ll notice that once your body gets over the transition, it feels great. I only went back to being a carnivore because I had no idea how to maintain a vegetarian diet during my job assignment.

Well, it looks like it’s time to start packing and prepare a grocery list! Next Sunday is going to be here before I know it.


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The Misconception About Philosophy Graduates: We Use Cardboard Boxes for Recycling, Not For Domiciles

It’s articles like these that drive me absolutely batty:

image

Source: Yahoo Education- Don’t Bother Earning These Five Degrees

I like to think of myself as a really nice, happy, and optimistic person, but hell hath no fury if I hear someone say in my presence that philosophy graduates are destined to live in cardboard boxes or something to that effect. I will call you out on it because the assumption that philosophy graduates spent four years on a dead end career path is absolute drivel, ignorant, and quite short sighted. 

My first philosophy class was during my second semester of freshman year at Hartwick College. I dropped out of my biochemistry major and wanted to explore other academic areas before I declared another major. I decided to take Values and Society, which was offered by the Philosophy department because it looked like something I would be interested in, and boy, was I right. I fell in love with Plato’s works, especially Symposium. I treated those texts as if they were gifts from above because the writing was so rich. I thought it to be a privilege to develop valid arguments from these texts about these ancient values and how they fit in with our modern society.

Notice that I said valid arguments and not arguments because there is a difference. The meaning of philosophy is “the love of wisdom,” and the study is centered around teaching its students how to use logical reasoning to identify valid and invalid arguments. Because of that training, we learn how to read critically and not passively. We are not intimidated by big passages of words, such as proposed bills. We will go through it, line by line, and find the mistakes to tell you why parts of the proposal aren’t valid. 

What does that sound like? Oh, it sounds like a lawyer, which isn’t a surprise because, other than economics and mathematics majors, philosophy majors perform better on the LSAT than any other major in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. As you see, I got a little tired from hyperlinking sources, but you get my point.

What about the GRE? Well, we’ve got that one covered too.

image

And if you don’t believe me, here’s some sources here, here, and here.

Not bad for people who are destined for the cardboard box chateau, right? 

What I feel is the pitfall for college graduates, in general, is actually something that has to do more with themselves more than their degree. In the end, it is up to the individual to market themselves to compete for a job. If you don’t know the strengths of your degree and why they will help you attain a job, then the truth is, maybe you shouldn’t get the position because you can’t market yourself. I like to use the example of Pitbull. Love him or hate him, he knows how to talk, dress, and promote himself to get what he wants and approaches each professional situation with class, even when he’s sent to Kodiak, Alaska against his will. He could have acted like a diva about being sent to one of the most remote places in the country, but he didn’t. He had fun with it and gained a lot of respect from the people in Kodiak for taking out the time to come and visit them. Market yourself with the same confidence as Mr. 305 and you’ll be set. 

In a more realistic situation, when potential employers ask me about my philosophy degree and why I chose it to advance my career, I say it’s because it was something that I enjoyed, I’ve developed excellent critical reading skills, and I can effectively deduce arguments. I then bring up how those skills have helped me in my previous positions. Those are all valuable traits to any employer because not do I bring experience and desirable skills to the table, I actually have fun with them. See? It’s all about marketing yourself. 

What I would recommend to any major who is unsure about their future career is, first, reach out to your professors and have a honest chat with them. They know what’s it’s like and will be your best ally.

Secondly, seek out who the best career services advisor is on campus. Don’t just go to the career services center on a whim, find out who is the best one to talk to because in my experience, a lot of people who tend to work in that department do not know what they’re talking about. I was told by a random career services advisor that being involved in the campus radio station would amount to nothing for my career. Wrong. I received an internship with the Federal Communication Commission because of my radio experience. That internship was the springboard for me to attain my jobs in political campaigns and government relations. If I had listened to her and solely focused on the Political Science club, I really doubt I would be where I am today. When I told one of my friends about my dismal experience with Career Services, he told me that I was talking to the wrong person and directed me towards the best career services advisor and I never looked back. 

After you find the best career services advisor on the block, talk to them about your major and your career path (or lack thereof). If you took the time to find the best career advisor on campus, use them to your best advantage. Your tuition dollars pay their salary. Use them to their full potential so that you’re prepared for the real world. Ask them to conduct a series of mock interviews with you because the more practice you have, the better off you’ll be. One is helpful but it’s not going to fully prepare you for what’s out there.

Then, have them put you in resume boot camp. Don’t leave campus without a resume that has a format that is crisp, easy to read, and is one page. Yes. One page. To me, creating a resume is like curating a museum. Of course there’s a lot of interesting historical pieces, but if you put them all in one room, it’s going to look overwhelming to the eye. Think of your resume that way. You have that one room to curate. Make sure you put out your best pieces in it. If you want to put more experience on it, create a professional website or create a LinkedIn profile and slap it on your resume. LinkedIn is excellent because you can have your colleagues vouch for your skills. 

Lastly, it’s all about location, location, location and taking risks. I grew up in one of the most beautiful places in Upstate New York but it wasn’t a good launchpad for my career. I could have made it work if I really wanted to but I knew the easier way to start my career was to move to either Albany, NY or Washington, DC. I decided that Albany would be more affordable for me, so I took on a lease for a studio that cost me $650 and temp jobs that paid me about $11 a hour. There were a lot of times that I got frustrated but I kept saying to myself to wait until campaign season started because that’s when the opportunities would pop up. After my temp job was over, I volunteered with a campaign, and eventually, I was hired. Looking back, it was worth all of those times where I was wondering if I was going to make end’s meet with my bills and I wouldn’t of traded it for anything. Your career isn’t going to move in a progressive direction if you don’t make the moves yourself. 

If you need help, let me know. There’s nothing more that I love than coaching people towards their dream career, for any field. I know I gave out a lot of tough love, but tough times call for tough people. You can do it, just like Dr. Seuss said: 

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”


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one of us: WONY Alumni Weekend 2011

I guess if there’s any word to describe my college radio station, WONY 90.9FM, the first word that comes to mind is “family.” I was in a ton of organizations when I was in Oneonta: I was in a sorority, I was a senator, a tour guide, and I wrote for the newspaper…but nothing felt more like home than being in the radio station. I met my best friends there. I met my roommates there. The reason why I got my internship with the Federal Communications Commission was because I was a DJ…which is still odd to me, given that the FCC and College Radio typically don’t have the best relationship, but hey! It was an awesome internship and it was cool that the FCC was willing to reach out to college radio! How many people can say that a college club changed their lives? I know that I can.

Each year, we all go back to Oneonta to reunite for a weekend. Everyone is always ridiculously happy to see one another. I was really excited because finally, not only was I going to get to live out some great times with my best friends again, but I was also going to get the chance to finally show boy-I-fancy what this club is all about and why it rocks so hard. To tell someone about WONY is one thing, but to see it in action is another. 

Friday was awesome, we got to go out to Happy Hour, ate yummy Chinese food, watched this awesome Canadian TV series called Trailer Park Boys (if you haven’t heard of it, Netflix it, trust me on this one), and then we ventured off to a bar crawl where I got to see friends that I haven’t seen since last WONY Alumni Weekend!

However history has shown us that even the best of things, fall eventually. The Dinosaurs. Rome. And yours truly. I was having an awesome night, but around 1AM, I started to feel sick. I thought it was because I might have had too much to drink. As the night progressed, I found out that this wasn’t because of having too many rum and Frescas. Somewhere along the line, I ate something that didn’t agree with me at all. I knew there was a big problem when I started shivering in boy-I-fancy’s arms and it wasn’t until 6 AM when I could finally fall asleep. I thought that maybe sleep would fix everything. It didn’t. I woke up and my whole body felt like jelly,I still felt nauseous, and I didn’t have an appetite. I was disappointed, it was such a beautiful day on Saturday, my friends are going out to breakfast, and here I am in bed- while boy-I-fancy runs off to get me medicine. I was looking forward to this weekend all year, how could I get sick?

Although the events of the weekend weren’t going as planned, other great things happened. My friends were willing to go the extra mile to make sure that I was comfortable and that I was feeling better. I was in a lot of pain and incredibly nauseous but I still hiked with my friends to watch them play golf off of Table Rock, which was incredibly epic. After that, they drove me to Urgent Care and waited in the parking lot until I was done (turns out I have the stomach bug from hell), put a TV in my room so that if I couldn’t make Saturday’s party, that I would still be entertained, and I received so many well wishes to get better. My old roommate even brought me back fresh-squeezed orange juice, which is my favorite! My anti-nausea medication knocked me out but I still went to the party and I slept on the couch for the most part. My friends were just happy that I made it, even though I wasn’t awake for most of the merriment. Remember when I told you that WONY is family to me? They really are ❤ Most of those friends I mentioned that did all of that nice stuff for me, I haven’t seen or really talked to in months. Yet they still took the time out of their day to take care of me. It just speaks volumes to me on how good their characters are. Without the station, we all would have never met. 

 

Throughout all the craziness, we all still had a wonderful time in Oneonta and I’m already looking forward to the next Alumni Weekend. Also, I’m finally watching Lost! I’m so addicted to it! I always wanted to watch it,  but everyone always told me that if you didn’t watch the first episode…well, you’ll be lost! 


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i wear my sunglasses at night. (nyc, post grad sorority, and wonderful cheesecake and deadly animal surprises)

I’m back from NYC and I’m back in Saratoga! While I was going home to Sullivan County on the train (which always excites me, I love trains) I thought to myself- you know, NYC is not meant to be a city to visit. I feel that to truly appreciate the city, you have to live there. One day, I hope that I will be able to take the city on. There’s so much of it that I haven’t seen yet and so many more good times to be had. If anything, that was the best part of the trip. I went there for the sole reason to see people that I haven’t seen in a long, long time. I was able to see two of my friends that I haven’t seen in two years and I can’t even tell you how amazing it was to roam around Manhattan like we used to. I saw two of my former colleagues which was awesome because I haven’t seen them since November and I’ve missed them since everything wrapped up. I also got to see a couple of my college friends, including my little sister from my sorority.

What is a little? In a sorority or a fraternity, each sister or brother gets to mentor and guide a pledge during the pledging process. I was so happy to finally hang out with my little- we were both extremely active on Oneonta’s campus. In fact- that’s the reason why I wanted her as my little because she’s such a strong woman and we’re alike in the way that we were constantly busy because we wanted to make our campus a better place. Unfortunately, when you get two busy people together, you have to deal with two different and busy schedules. I always felt guilty because I never was able to spend as much time with her as I would have liked to. I had a reputation amongst my friends- that in order to see me, you had to live with me because I was always off doing something.

This weekend we got to do something that we never were able to do within the last two years. We got to hang out. I didn’t have to go and do something. Instead, we got to see things together. I can’t even tell you how nice that was.

It’s really funny, one would think that sorority life ends after college but it’s not true at all. The weird thing is, I feel more attached to my sorority after college than during college. I think it’s because during college- you take it for granted. You’re always with each other, so you don’t realize how much the phrase “loyal sisters all” means until you don’t have them by your side anymore. Still after graduation, they’re the ones I call when I’m having a bad day or when something really awesome is happening. It teaches you that yeah, you really can be close to over one hundred sisters, both past and present, and they’re still going to know everything about you and that you can have a conversation and have it MEAN something. My sorority was one of the biggest reasons why I got through the campaign, and the funny thing was, it wasn’t just the Oneonta chapter. It was also the Potsdam chapter. You’d think that it would be impossible for a girl to become really close friends with other girls that she barely even knows and the only thing that they do have in common is that they’re in the same sorority. It’s not impossible. Even though we’re from different parts of NY, going to different schools- or in my case, my Potsdam sisters were still in school and I was the one with a job- they weren’t just my sisters from another chapter. They are my sisters. And just like my sisters in Oneonta, I will have their backs no matter what. Unless they killed someone. That could be a deal breaker.

Although this trip made me realize something. I never cared about wind advisories before. Now I do. It was almost like NYC traded places with Chicago and wanted to be known as the windy city for a change. I’m not even exaggerating, when my friends and I were walking to the Met, we felt like a mini tornado was hitting us. I wore my sunglasses all day, even at night because I wear contact lenses and after I felt a piece of sand blow into my eye, I decided that enough was enough- even if I looked like a total tool, anything was better than getting a scratched cornea. Thankfully, NYC has streetlights everywhere you go, so it wasn’t as cumbersome as one would think to wear sunglasses at night.

It was my first time visiting the Met. Unfortunately, a wave of tourist fever came over me and I thought that the Met was the same thing as the Museum of Modern Art. I was wrong. Yet we still had an awesome time. My friend L and I discovered something that people would disregard as immature and juvenile: that male nude sculptures in the early ages have really tiny penises. As time goes on, the penises get bigger and bigger. I made a point of this to L, and my natural loud, boisterous made that point to other guests of the Met. I made three teenage girls laugh.

This was my first time in NYC since I left DC almost two years ago. The biggest difference between NYC and DC for me is that I lived in DC and I’ve only visited NYC. I learned something: You can take the girl out of DC but you can’t take the DC out of the girl. Which is weird because I live closer to NYC and I enjoy NYC because people are more laid back there than in DC and there’s so much more to do in NYC than DC. However, I couldn’t swipe the MetroCard to save my life and I was wishing that I was able to put some money on my SmarTrip. What is a SmarTrip? Eh, I’ll let the WMTA explain it:

A SmarTrip® card is a permanent, rechargeable farecard. It’s plastic, like a credit card, and is embedded with a special computer chip that keeps track of the value of the card.

Using a SmarTrip® card is fast and easy. Instead of inserting a farecard through the Metrorail faregate slot, you simply touch the SmarTrip® card to the circular targets on top of or inside station faregates. Likewise, you can tap the SmarTrip® farebox on Metrobus to pay your fare with SmarTrip®

I fucking loved that thing when I was in DC. It made life SO much easier. Yep. I looked like a total tourist. I also wish that NYC would get on the ball with its subway system. In DC, there are electronic signs that let you know when the next train is coming. In NYC, only a few subway stations have that. DC also has cell phone towers placed throughout the Metro system, so you’re able to use your phone while underground. My little didn’t understand why I kept looking at my phone until I told her that was just my habit to do so because in DC, you can use cell phones on the train. Then again, there is a beauty to not being able to use a cell phone on a train. It frees up more time to get to know perfect strangers. I met this one guy on the Bronx train who went to UAlbany. It was awesome to find out that it’s really a small world after all!

For dinner, we went to Jackson Hole Burgers. I can’t believe I’m going to say it, but Five Guys, eat your heart out. This place was awesome! Instead of bread for patrons to nibble on while they’re waiting for their food to come out, the waiter brings out pickles to start! After that, I knew that Jackson Hole won over my heart. Just like Five Guys, Jackson Hole has an open kitchen where you can see your burger being cooked. The big differences between Jackson Hole and Five Guys is that:

  1. You have control over the way your burger is cooked. I like mine medium. E coli, schmee foli. Five Guys cooks their burgers well done.
  2. Jackson Hole’s burgers are a half a pound. Really. The line cook will take a slab of ground beef that is bigger than your hand and will slam it on the grill.

I was in carnivore heaven.

After a lovely dinner, we went to this fantastic bar on the Lower East Side called Pianos. My friends and I danced the night away- even though I can’t dance. Really, I can’t- my sorority nicknamed me Claps because I can’t clap to the rhythm of our sorority songs and I can’t dance to rhythm. We also came across The Little Cupcake Bakeshop where I had a delicious Nutella cappuccino that not only gave me the caffeine to last the whole night but it also kept my hands warm during the cold, blustery walk.

In the morning, my little wanted to take me to IHOP because I’ve never been there, but unfortunately, it was packed. We then ventured into Manhattan and ate at Big Daddy’s Restaurant. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to taste their famous tater tots because I was strapped for cash and tater tots can only fill you up for so long and if I was going to spend money- I wanted it to be for something that would keep me revved up during the day.  I enjoyed an awesome sandwich called the Chicken Lickin Sandy- grilled chicken breast with bacon, avocado, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, melted jalapeño jack cheese and herb mayo on ciabatta bread, served with sweet potato chips. Yummy doesn’t even begin to describe the experience.

During the trip, my friends kept telling me to get a new wallet because mine was literally falling apart. I refused though. I loved it to death, it looked like a boombox. While we were on Canal Street, my little decided to take matters in her own hands and bought me a wallet because she didn’t want to see me walking around with my old one anymore. It’s really cute! It has monsters all over it! I decided to take advantage of the fact that we were on Canal. My newfound friend B and I went to a Chinese bakery and got bubble tea and red bean buns. Needless to say, I was in food heaven in the city…which is another reason why I like NYC a lot better than DC. There’s so many different cuisines and you can actually get a decent slice of pizza there.

It’s back to Albany now. I had a wonderful night with my friends and it was totally unexpected. I hung out with Marc of Cautious and Carefree, Zac of Albany Sucka , and Guilderland Matt. I saw Marc as I was walking back from work and we all had an epic night full of watching documentaries about the most deadliest animals in Austrailia and capped the night off with eating delicious cheesecake at Cheesecake Machismo on Hamilton Street in downtown Albany. For $5 for a drink and a beverage, you cannot go wrong. I had the Black Stout Cheesecake.

Oh yeah- and I’m still keeping up with 30 for 30!

Saturday

That’s Little and I at Pianos! I know you can’t see the whole outfit but to tell you the truth, I didn’t want to ask my friends to take a picture of my entire outfit. This time was to concentrate on them and not myself. As you can see from my face, I was (terribly) dancing up a storm! Who needs rhythm when you’re having an awesome time?

  • White Top- Kohl’s
  • Vest- New York and Company
  • Scarf- Maxwell’s
  • Belt- Forever 21
  • Leggings- Kohl’s
  • Boots- borrowed from a friend because she didn’t want me walking around NYC with my mocs.

Monday

There isn’t a Sunday pic. I sowwy. I was just ridiculously busy with walking around NYC, having an awesome time with my friends, and by the time I got home, I was too exhausted to take a picture. For those of you who are interested- I stayed true to 30 for 30 and wore an Oneonta sweatshirt and leggings because you always have to represent the best college in the SUNY system ;D

  • Jacket- New York and Company
  • Tee Shirt- American Eagle (which has a graphic print of NYC!)
  • Jeans- American Eagle
  • Mocs- Minnetonka
  • Scarf- A friend gave it to me back in college
  • Daisy- Claire’s

My bangs were doing the Rod Blogojevich today.

That’s unfortunate.

  • Black drape cardigan- Kohl’s
  • Scarf- My friend gave it to me in college
  • White Tee- Kohl’s
  • Pants- New York and Company

The last two outfits are my favorite because since I work at an office- I have to mix my work clothes with my regular clothes during this challenge. The beauty about doing 30 for 30 is working with what you have and creating outfits that normally you don’t wear. I would have never wore this outfit to work without 30 for 30 and honestly- I’m glad that I stumbled upon this combo. Not only is it office appropriate, but it’s comfy and stylish…or at least I hope it’s stylish ;D


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the dream apartment. part two of many. (windows)

The downside about renting an apartment or living in a college dorm is, more often than not, you can’t paint your room. Unless you decorate, you are stuck looking at the same white walls all day long. Personally, I can’t do that. I love color and whimsical decorations. As I mentioned before, I really couldn’t do a lot with my Albany apartment because I didn’t have the income to decorate, but next time around I really want to focus on that. My college dorm rooms always had decorations from wall to wall and I always thought that the RAs were going to call me out because in hindsight, it really was one big fire hazard. Then again, I think the kids who couldn’t properly cook popcorn were more of a danger to my residence hall than my tapestry could ever be. 

Although the economy isn’t doing anyone any favors, you can still shop around and draw some inspiration in order to find decorations that you’ll be happy with! 

This curtain is from Urban Outfitters and costs $32-38 (depending on your window size). If you want a pair, you’ll have to throw down $64-76. I absolutely adore these curtains but I also have to be realistic- I probably won’t be able to afford them just yet until I land myself a jay-oh-bee that will let me indulge a little bit. Sooooo…let’s continue on this journey.

These curtains are from Ikea and are $14.99 for the PAIR. The print is still whimsical and although they’re white…if I wanted them to be green, I could just buy some Rit Dye and upcycle them! 

(by the way, the Rit Dye website has an AWESOME color matching tool so you can achieve your perfect color). 

See! Although I love those curtains from Urban Outfitters, you just have to look around and even if it’s going to take a little elbow grease- you can still get what you want! If I got the pair of Urban Outfitters curtains, the bill would be an easy $64 bucks for the pair without tax. But! If I got the Ikea curtains, it’s $14.99 for the pair, $4 for the dye…and it comes to $18.99 without tax. You save $45.01!

You can now use that money on other things! 

Such as these adorable curtain tie backs from Urban Outfitters! They are 2 for $24 which is an AWESOME deal and looks so much better than anything you could have purchased from Ikea, Pottery Barn, or Crate and Barrel. 

So let’s see how we did here…the curtains from Urban Outfitters that I really wanted would have come to a total of $64-76 without tax. I already determined that the my curtain project would cost $18.99 without tax, which would save me $45.01. Now with these curtain tie backs, I still save $21.01! 

To top the whole window off, you can hang a mobile in the center of the curtain rod. Some say it’s a fire hazard, I say it’s charming. You can purchase this darling mobile from Etsy or make your own. I will probably be making my own- it’s just more fun that way =D

This is how we can still have nice things ;D