Category Archives: Personal Life

A Long Weekend

My two best girls Rebecca and Lindsay both graduated college this semester and we decided we want to take a long(ish) weekend away to just relax, drink, eat, and just take the time to breath. I know, I graduated last year, but I recently had my one year mark at TracyLocke and I figured we could all celebrate something important in our lives.

We headed to Brigantine, New Jersey for the weekend. Brigantine is a small island right outside of Atlantic City with an amazing beach and a Wawa! Why have I never been to a Wawa before? I now get the hype behind it all. The majority of the weekend wasn’t that great weather wise but we did take one trip to the beach. Other then that though, it was just what we all expected it to be. A lot of drinking games, a lot of movies, and a lot of bad (BUT SO GOOD) food. I can’t wait to go back when it’s warm and we can just sit on the beach all freakin day long!


Thanks Lindsay for the polaroid!

After a 6 hour ride home (that should have been 4, thank you GWB for sucking so bad, I hate you.) I came home and crawled in to bed with my cat and wanted nothing to do with food since we ate so much this weekend. But, my stomach knows me, and by 8 I was starving. I didn’t go grocery shopping this weekend so, I had to scrap something together. I had a craving for nachos, but no cheese, and no chips. So, I got crafty and decided to make my own chips. Easy and quick, and I’m already full and back in bed.

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips
Prep time: Psh, none
Cook time: 5-10 minutes

6-10 Corn tortillas
Oil spray
Salt

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut your corn tortillas in to 6ths (or 4ths if you want them larger). Spray your non stick pan with Oil and place your corn tortillas on the pan. Spray with more oil and then cover with as much salt as you like. I have high blood pressure and I’m not even 24 yet, so we all know I like a lot of salt. Whatvea, I don’t hate it. Throw in the oven for 5-10 minutes. It really depends on your oven, mine took about 7. Just make sure that they’re a little brown around the edges. And poof! Done! I ate mine with my favorite Trader Joes salsa.

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Filed under Food, Gluten free, Personal Life, Recipes

Atlanta

The day had to come when I got back on the plane to go home. Atlanta was an amazing, but way too short, of a trip. It was great to see my best friend, talk and laugh about almost nothing all the time, eat good food, be around good people, nap during the day, hang in the park with Sid, and just getting out and having a great time. Writing about my trip is seeming to be a bit difficult because it was such a lovely 5 days that I can’t even put them in to words. I will go day by day because that is the easiest way for me to separate the days and the food and the adventures.

Wednesday
Wednesday I got to Atlanta around 2pm and tracked down Angel at the baggage claim. It was SO good to see her. I haven’t seen her since last December, and going that long without seeing you best friend can do crazy things to a girl, I’ll tell ya. Angel drove me around a lot of Atlanta to get a good feel of it, she showed me where she worked, and then we went back to her place to get ready for our luxurious adult meal.

We arrived at the Woodfire Grill at 8pm and as we were being seated I instantly spotted Kevin Gillespie behind the grill. I am such a fan girl! When Angel made the reservation she had mentioned both of our dietary restrictions. I am gluten free and she, after being a vegetarian for almost 6 years now, has started to eat poultry. So no gluten for me and no red meat for her. They were so accommodative, it was such a pleasurable experience. We went forth with the 5 course meal, and I could not have made a better decision. The lighting in the the Woodfire Grill was quite dark, and I got way ahead of myself and my stomach and didn’t manage to take all of the pictures I wanted to, but this is as good as it is going to get.

Amuse.
(No picture because it was way too blurry)
Compressed celery root. Lemon marinated raisins. Pecan aioli. Micro celery.

First course.
(No picture because it was way too blurry)
Olive oil poached Florida Rock Shrimp. First of the season snap beans. Roasted golden beets. Lemon emulsion. Spring onions. Sweet pea tendrils.

Second course.

Pan roasted diver Scallop. Crispy red potatoes. Local arugula. Spicy tomate frito.

Taste.
(No picture because it was way too blurry)
Chilled potato soup. Crispy country ham. Chives.

Third course.

First of the season English pea and carnaroli risotto.

Fourth course.

Wood grilled grass-fed Colorado bison. Roasted red potatoes. Turnips. Sunchokes. Maple sweet potato puree. Smoky greens. Sage butter.

Dessert.
(No picture because I got too excited and ate it before I could take a picture)
Vanilla bavarian. Strawberry water. Strawberry rose sorbet. Pistachio brittle.

I can not tell you how good this meal was. I’ve been dreaming of it since the night we had it. My favorite part of the meal was the Main course, the Bison. I have never had Bison before and it was just so soft and the sweet potato puree accompanied it so well. After our meal, I had to ask to get a picture with Kevin. He was such a sweet heart about taking a picture with us and even chatted with us a bit before finishing up his night.

Thursday
Thursday was gorgeous outside. It was sunny and around the high 70’s. We decided to go eat at The Flying Biscuit before heading to the park with Sid, Angels dog. I got the Eggstra-Ordinary Breakfast which was two eggs my way (scrambled, please!), with creamy grits, “moon-dusted” potatoes, and a biscuit. This was my very first biscuit and I was not that satisfied with it. It was just too dry for my likings. Angel got the Turkey Hash that came with potatoes and two eggs topped with cheddar cheese. Sadly, this did not sit well with my luv and she got some mild food poisoning from it. Dang you Flying Biscuit!

Despite her tummy we headed over to Piedmont Park with Sid. We took some cards, some hard cider, and a bag of candy with us. The park was gorgeous and it was nice to be able to enjoy the sun since there hasn’t been any of it in Connecticut yet!

After a quick nap to rest up our stomaches, we headed to 97 Astoria for Fried Pickles and couple of Yuenglings. After that we headed out to a bar to meet up with some of her friends, which I forget the name of, but the night life there was great! It was super young and the bars all stayed open until 3am which is a huge change from them closing at 1am here.

Friday
Friday morning neither of us were too hungry considering the day and night that we had. We decided to head to The Dekalb Farmers Market to grab some Gin-Gins to soothe the stomach, Almonds, Bananas, and Apples for our hike up Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain was a nice 30 minute hike up to the top up, literally, stone! It was gorgeous at the peak of the mountain where you could see all of Atlanta.


After our hike we headed to Alon’s Bakery to grab some food, and desserts, to go. I got the Tuna Nicoise Salad and Angel got a Chicken Ceasar Salad.

My Tuna Nicoise Salad was a bed of mixed field greens with haricots verts, poached farmhouse eggs, house-made saffron poached potatoes, caperberries, tuna and nicoise olives dressed in an aged Sherry vinaigrette. I have not had such an amazing salad in a long time. I’m used to plain salads with no substance and this filled me right up after our hike. We also got some sweet treats, of course! Angel got a fruit tart and a key lime pie, and I got pistachio macaroons and a raspberry chocolate mousse cake.

After our lunch we relaxed a bit before heading to Yeah! Burger to pick up some take out. Not only do I love their identity design but all of the people who were working there were great and the food was amazing. The had gluten free buns and fries too! Two burgers and two shakes to go and we were on our way to the Starlight Six Drive-In. We saw Rango, and I was actually really surprised at how good the movie was! I love animation for it’s art, and Rango delivered on that plus the wit, the charm, and the humor. It was also nice to be able to sit in a car, eat food, laugh, and just enjoy some relaxing with your best friend with the windows down in some good weather.

Saturday
Saturday morning we headed to brunch for some mimosas, grits, biscuits, and a cute atmosphere. We found that at Treehouse . Half of the building, if the weather had been good, was outside. Since it was sprinkling that day it was covered, but the restaurant was built around trees which was awesome for the decor. I got Salmon Benedict, which is one of my favorite brunch orders. Angel got a plethora of different small bites including the best biscuits I had while I was in Atlanta. They were soft and warm and with some honey on top they were exactly what I wanted, and everything that I knew a biscuit could be.

After brunch we headed to the Georgia Aquarium. I love aquariums no matter how big or small, but the Georgia Aquarium was something else. What I was most amazed by was their 6.3 million gallon tank! I could have sat there and watched that tank for days.

Other exhibits that I always enjoy at aquariums are the seahorses, and the jelly fish. Their colors are both gorgeous.

When we were leaving the aquarium it started to downpour. Apparently the storms in Atlanta have been at their worst in a long time lately. We decided to head out to a vegetarian restaurant called Green Sprout for my first taste of bubble tea! While we were there we realized we were pretty hungry and also grabbed an order of the Fish Fillets.

I got a mango bubble tea and Angel got the coconut. While I was so turned off by the texture of the tapioca balls at first, I have to say that I really enjoyed the bubble tea! Now I get what this craze is all about. Hopefully, I can find a great place in Connecticut that serves it as well. Since it was started pouring even more when we left Green Sprout, and I had stepped in a puddle so big at Publix with my flats that they were completely soaked, we decided to stay in for the night. We grabbed some drinks, some treats, and worked on a puzzle and watched Fantastic Mr.Fox for the rest of the night.

Sunday
My last day in Atlanta was a sad, sad day. We started out by heading to West Egg. West Egg was another restaurant with an amazing identity. The way they stored their coffee and tea supplies in a library book case, the greys and burnt orange painted walls, the glass jugs of water on the tables, the menu design, it all just fit and worked so well together. West Egg was by far my favorite restaurant to be in because it just felt comfortable and homey. I got the Peachtree Plate. This had two poached eggs, pimento cheese grits, brown sugar bacon, fried green tomatoes, and a biscuit. The fried green tomatoes were coated in corn meal and were perfection. I only got two slices but I could have eaten a full plate. Angel got the Ham and Brie sandwich that had a tomato jam and was served on a french bread.

After brunch we headed to Liberty Tattoo to get our matching tattoos that we had been planning on getting for a while now. Angel and I have been friends since high school and meeting her has sincerely changed my life. She is my rock, she is always there for me, and I am always here for her. We decided, after a few different ideas, to get a little bow knot on each our wrists.

I could not be any happier with the way these turned out! They’re so simple yet signify so much to both of us and I am so glad that we decided to get them done while I was visiting. After getting our tattoos, we decided that we needed to look at some vintage shops. The one that I really loved was Kudzu. It was set up so nicely, divided by sellers, and each little set was designed by them. It was mostly housewares and little trinkets. I wish I could have bought some things! The big yellow lamps, which I have been looking for the perfect one for my new place, were taunting me! There were so many, and yet I could not have them.

After Kudzu, both Angel and I had a kick for something sweet. We tried to go to Chic-Fil-A to get a Banana Pudding milkshake but quickly realized that they were closed on Sundays! BOO! Next time I will have my shake. Instead of shakes, we headed to Yofuria, which is a self serve frozen yogurt bar. My favorite!

I like a lot of fresh fruit, shredded coconut, and gummy bears on my frozen yogurt. Yoforia definitely hit the spot for my sweet tooth! After Yoforia we relaxed a bit and decided that our last dinner had to be spent at The Vortex in Little 5 points.

Yet another restuarant that I fully enjoyed the feel of. From the witty menu write ups to the decor, The Vortex was the perfect last meal for Angel and I. I finally got to try Atlanta’s brew, Sweetwater, and stuff my face with more burgers and fries. I got the Black and Spicy burger with sweet potato fries and Angel got a classic Cheeseburger. After a long day of eating and tattoos and vintage shopping, we turned in early so that we could wake up early so that I could catch my flight in the morning.

 

All in all my trip was amazing and I am so glad that I finally took the chance and traveled alone. I had such a great time with Angel, and such a fun time enjoying a city that I have never been to. Not only was the weather great, and the people great, but the food was great as well. We all know that the food is a huge part to me. While most of the food that I ate was not gluten free, it was well worth it. I can not wait to go back and visit Atlanta again and be able to see my best friend more often.

What is the best city that you have been to? And what was their “famous dish” that you just had to have?

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Filed under Food, Gluten free, Personal Life, Photos, Uncategorized

Atlanta Bound!

Hi all, I will be taking a brief hiatus from the blog land. I will be traveling to Atlanta tomorrow to next Monday to visit my best friend, Angel. I have been wanting to take this trip for a long time since she has been down there for so long now, but it was never in my budget. So I am finally embarking on my journey. This will be my first time traveling alone! I’m a bit nervous, but again, excited to be taking a breather, seeing my best friend, and having a great time.

I’m also looking forward to eating. I’ll be in the south, so who wouldn’t be?! The only issue will be the fact that I am Gluten Free and Angel is a Vegetarian. I have a feeling I will have a upset stomach from time to time, but eating a fresh biscuit just might be worth it. Our fist stop on my first night there will be to the Woodfire Grill. I’m a huge Top Chef fan and an even bigger Kevin Gillespie lover.

The best part about this is when Angel called to make reservations she mentioned our dietary restrictions and they called her back a day later and asked if there were any other special instructions besides a gluten free plate and a no red meat plate. How great is that?! I have so many restaurant suggestions, but if you have any more for me, please let me know!

I will have so much to update with when I return next week!

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Hand Made Trades

I have recently gotten in to doing trades for crafts! I really love this idea. It keeps me crafty outside of work, and I love getting hand made goods as well. There is nothing better then sitting at my desk at work and getting a package and knowing that something that someone put time and care in to is in there. And the same goes for the crafts that I send out.

I recently received this hat from Gilly at Time For Peppermint Tea. It is so perfect! I love the color, the softness of the yarn, and it actually stays on my head because she took the time to ask me for my head measurement. Check out her hats, socks, and other knitted goods on her blog!

In return I traded her a few handmade cards that you can see here

I really love making cards for people. There is nothing better then putting some love in to a card and having someone save it.

Thank you again Gilly for the trade! I have another trade set up that I’m working on right now that you will have to come back and see!

If anyone would like to make a trades for any crafts I am more then up to it if you are! You can contact me here or email.

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Accomplishments

During my 4 years at Central Connecticut State University I was privileged to take part in Central Design. Central Design was a portfolio based program that allowed CCSU students who were in the Department of Design to take part in an in house Design studio. This program was run by the head of the design department, and participants were chosen by portfolio review. When I was selected my first semester of my Senior year as the Art Director I was completely overhelmed and excited. It was an amazing semester where I learned a lot about working with clients and other designers. It was also a semester where I built very good ties between some of these clients.

One of those clients being the CSUS system. The Connecticut State University System is built up of Eastern, Western, Southern, and Central State University to bring a tie together through the state school systems. In this tie I worked with Bernard Kavaler and my fellow designers to develop a 100 page booklet celebrating the 25 year anniversary of the CSU System. The book was put together and printed in a month. It was an amazing feat that we all took on together and I thank every person who was involved in this project. Bernard, Susan, Steve, Jenna, and others. The book was unveiled at the exact 25 year anniversary and every person who saw the booklet was proud of what and where the CSU came from.

Recently, I was contact by a columnist at CSUS about my position at TracyLocke. I attended a State school and am still working in the current state of Connecticut. The CSU System and the State capitol wanted to celebrate the Alumni who attended a state school and are still currently working in the state. The article has been written and is displayed on their website and I am grateful for being involved in it. My picture is also being displayed at the state capitol until March 15th highlighting this accomplishment.

What is your greatest accomplishment to date? What are you proud of and would like to share to the blogosphere?

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Back on the Horse

Falling in to a slump comes easy sometimes. You don’t even realize it until you feel like something is missing. What’s been missing for me is my love of cooking. It relieves my stress, it makes me happy, and it fills me up! There were some things that happened over the past few weeks where I was not comfortable with my living situations. With being uncomfortable I was not at my place very often, therefore I wasn’t cooking. The slump came abruptly and I’d like to say that I am now back!

I have since moved out of the place that I was living in to my own place. My first place on my own! It’s quite exciting. I really enjoy living by myself. It may not be your cup of tea, but I fully enjoy it. I moved yesterday with the help of my parents and Elliot. It was a nice easy move, believe it or not! I have a kitchen, a living room, a nice large bedroom with a walk-in closet, and a bathroom. I couldn’t be any happier. I am currently sitting on the floor and watching the Oscar’s in my pjs with this little one.

I have much decorating to do! (Notice the couch cover that was left here). I also still have plenty of boxes left to unpack. But more importantly, many new memories to be made here. With memories come my first meal made in my new place. This was not exciting and it had to be quick since I wanted most of my Sunday to be spent unpacking. You know, doing those “important” things that, I guess, need to be done. So this meal was not as exciting and tasty as I wanted it to be, but it was quick, gluten free, garlicy, and it went perfectly with brown rice.

Balsamic Peppers, Onions Chicken in the Crock
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low

1 pound of chicken
1 bag of frozen pepper and onion stir fry
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tbsp of salt

Put your chicken in the crock pot first, then the frozen vegetables. Mince your garlic and stir it together with the balsamic, and salt. Pour mixture over your chicken and vegetables and set on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours.

Has anything drastic in your life changed recently?

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Hearts, Sweets, and Steaks

I hope everyone had a great Valentines Day! There are people out there who truly believe that this is a made up holiday, but am not one of them! I love Valentines Day. I love the candy, all the red and pink everywhere, the time spent together, the little things are the things that really matter. It’s not about buying gifts and spending money. It’s merely about taking a day to fully celebrate the person you love. That can be your mom, your significant other, your best friend, the love is endless.

This Valentines Day was very low-key and spent at home, just the way I like it. I made some sweets, I made some steaks, and I made some art. That is all, that is just the way Elliot and I like our holidays. Elliot had already given me my Valentines day present of the Sam Adams Tour (I thought!) but yesterday I received these lovely flowers at work.

Ah! They are so gorgeous and really make my workspace smell amazing. What a guy huh? He also gave me a bag of Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids, my favorite. Last night, as my presents, I made him some homemade whoopie pies and a big steak dinner!

The whoopie pies I made out of a box of cake mix. The trick of making them in to cookies I learned from The Crepes of Wrath. Like I have said many times, I am no baker, and these were easy and they tasted delicious! I put vanilla frosting in between the two cookies and smooshed them together and rolled the edges in red sugar.

Now the steak dinner, oh the steak. I bought two large rib eyes, potatoes, and some red peppers. I made a dry rub for the steaks with seasoning salt and lemon pepper and threw those puppies in a pan with some melted butter. I cooked them on medium low for 5 minutes on each side. This depends on how you like your steak. I like mine medium and Elliot likes his medium rare. The potato recipe is one I have used many times from The Pioneer Woman. These Crash Hot Potatoes are a favorite among everyone I serve them to. The peppers I just roasted on the same pan with the potatoes at the same time. I splashed from EVOO on them and bam!

One last thing I did was a little painting. While I love painting, and I’ve shown some of it on here, it’s not my strongest suit. Elliot is really in to traditional tattoos and tattoos in general so I thought that I would paint him a traditional Sailor Jerry inspired painting, again, just inspired. I could never recreate those! So I put this on here with this being a no judgement zone.

I hope every one had a great Valentines day as well. What did you do on that special day? And who is that special someone in your life?

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Filed under Art, DIY, Food, Gluten free, Personal Life, Personal Work