Tuesday, April 30, 2013

On Repeat

Y'all, I have a problem. There are two albums that I just cannot get enough of.  They have been on repeat for way too long. They both draw me into a trance that I cannot seem to get out of, but in a great way. I could not even begin to explain what it is about the two albums, but I can honestly say that there is not a single song that I ever feel tempted to skip. 

The first:

Unapologetic by Rihanna

Top picks:
Lost in Paradise
Love without Tragedy/Mother Mary
What Now
Right Now

I have learned that this next album is either loved or hated. There doesn't seem to be much in between.

The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake

Top picks:
That Girl
Tunnel Vision
Let the Groove Get In
Blue Ocean Floor

Take the next 8 minutes to join JT's music video for Mirrors. I really enjoy this song, but the music video is what drew me in. It is about his grandparents, and long last marriage. You will not see JT for a little over 5 minutes, in which he catches his grandmothers wedding ring. Gives me tears every time. 

What song do you have on repeat?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

Well y'all, it's official: 
I'll be taking my talents to South Beach. 
Well, not permanently, I am also traveling to Houston, and New York City! 

It is that time of year again, where I will travel for an extended period of time for work. This time not only do I get to spend a few weeks in markets I have only spent a few days in, but I get to plan the events we will attend-the perks of a big girl job!

My first stop will be Houston, TX. 
 Naturally, I'm not too thrilled about returning to this market as I spent about 5 weeks there last year, but I'll make the most of it. After all, my Big Sis lives there now! 
Talk about a throw back...
Followed by: New York City
I have to the city numerous times, but I am thrilled to really explore on a level I have always wanted to. Double bonus: A lot of my friends have relocated to the City, or I have met some who have been living in the area most of their lives!

Our last stop...Bet you can't guess it!
I have some great memories from South Beach. The shopping and beach are great, and the night life is killer, especially on the pocket. But, the thing I am most excited about? The art distract. I hear it is amazing, and I am thrilled that I can finally explore the area!

Unfortunately, work will rule the schedule when I am in each of these markets, but having my first tour under my belt, I will be able to manage my free time a little bit better. 

I am very excited for this tour, and the new adventures it will bring!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Travel Essentials: Tea Infusers

I love coffee. But, with my recent endeavors into eating healthy I wanted to steer clear of cream and sugar, so I made the switch to green tea. I would be lying if I told you I did not flavor my tea with honey, but at least it is raw, organic honey!

Making tea at home is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy with my Keurig, but I cannot take her with me on the road. Most people would say, "No worries, that is what tea bags are for." Welp, this girl is not a fan. I always manage to break tea bags. 

So my solution? 
Tea Infusers. 
They are so dang cute, compact, and there is no way could screw this one up!
Check out a few of my favorites:
Rocket ship.
My number one means of travel. 
Tea Diver.
After all, I am a scuba diver!
Enough said.
Rubber Ducky.
The newest addition to the past year's travel collection?
Evil, yet compelling.
I cannot decide which one is the winner, but I need to decide quickly, I leave in 3 weeks! (more on that later)

Which one is your favorite?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tales from my Kitchen: Tomato Explosion, with Green Beans and Zucchini

So, a few nights ago I was staring into my refrigerator, trying to figure out what I wanted with my chicken. I wasn't really feeling anything I had, but I knew my zucchini had to be cooked. I looked up a few recipes to get some ideas, and decided to recreate one Emeril's dishes, but
I wanted to make it my own.

So, here is what you will need:
  • EVOO-1 tablespoon
  • Zucchini (organic)-2 halved and sliced
  • Green beans (organic)-12oz bag
  • Onion (small)-halve and diced
  • Grape tomatoes (organic)-3/4 pint
  • Garlic-2 cloves
  • Chicken stock (organic/no msg)-1/2 cup
  • Oregano-1 teaspoon
  • Red pepper flakes-1/4-1/2 teaspoon
Heat EVOO in skillet to medium-high heat
Add green beans, garlic, and chicken stock-cover for 3 minutes
Add zucchini, onion, tomatoes, oregano and red pepper flakes-cover for another 5-7 minutes
Check consistency-green beans should be tender, and some tomatoes falling apart

I cannot explain what made me add grape tomatoes to this dish. It was a very last minute addition, and boy am I glad I added them, they were my favorite part. When I bit into the grape tomato it was an explosion of flavor. The combination of tomato, chicken stock, garlic, and seasoning was perfect. I could have eaten a meal out of these tomatoes. Don't get me wrong, the green bean and zucchini portion was tasty, but tomatoes stole the show.

However, next time I try this dish it will be without the tomatoes to get the full flavor and taste of the dish, without being blinded by one aspect of it.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Trees are in full bloom and flowers are standing tall.
That can only mean on thing.

Spring has sprung. 

And it has created a running wonderland. 
While it may only last a few more days, there is one running path that I can get lost in. I literally get lost. I forget that I am running, and stop and take in the beauty of my surroundings. 
This picture does no justice for it's beauty!
But, this view will only last a few weeks, if I am lucky.

My other wonderland is one that transports me to the beach. . 
Is it simple. 
It is ugly. 
But, those two simple words takes me home every time.
I am by no means a surfer, but sitting on my porch, or walking around the island, you are guaranteed to see many surfboards making their ways to the sandy beaches.

Here are a few other images that I could get lost in while I am running:

Is there anything on your run that motivates you to push harder, or completely distracts you from the task at hand?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tales from my Kitchen: Spicy Kale Chips

So, it is about time that I start sharing the tales from my kitchen. This topic may explode a little this week as I am trying to get back on the right track with eating pretty clean. Some of these post will be a flop, some very successful. Whichever way it leans, I will give you my praises or suggested changes on the dish!

Without further ado: 

Spicy Kale Chips

Lately I have been in search of the perfect healthy snack to munch on while sitting at work or watching TV. I was walking through Harris Teeter and Kale just started screaming my name. I knew immediately what must be done. I grabbed a few stems, finished my shopping and made my way home. Except, I then had no desire to prepare and cook the kale chips.

They sat in my fridge for about a week. 

They waited. I waited. What was I waiting for? Them to cook themselves? The perfect recipe to come to mind? Was I afraid they were going to be awful? 

The only question I could answer was the last one. 
A little over a year ago I was visiting my newlywed friends, A&L, and we decided to make kale chips. We really had no clue what we were doing, but they turned out pretty darn good; and we devoured them.

I still cannot answer those other questions. 

So I just decided to suck it up and make my kale chips. Have I mentioned how easy they are to make? I had no reason to postpone this kitchen date for so long. 

So, here is what you will need:

  • Kale-1 bunch (If you grocery store sales by the stem, I would suggest 6)
  • EVOO-2 tablespoon
  • Garlic powder-3/4 teaspoon
  • Cayenne pepper-1/2 teaspoon (If you do not like spicy, cut in half)
  • Salt-1/4 teaspoon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Prepare Kale:
Remove stems, and tear into desired sized pieces
(Note: A&L and I did not remove the stems a year ago. Big mistake!)
In a bowl, lightly coat kale with EVOO, I suggest using your hands to toss around. Then add in garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt
Spread kale evening onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper
Bake for about ten minutes, or until crispy and lightly brown on the edges. 

 I seriously love this dish. There are endless seasoning options, always allowing for new flavors. I favorite thing? It is healthy, and satisfying! 

Have you ever tried kale chips? How did you season them?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Live your life

It has been 10 days since I turned 25. It seems like it was so long ago. But, between you and me, I have been telling everyone I was 25 for upwards of two months...whoopsies. 
So many of my friends are scared of this landmark of a year. 
The big 2-5.
The last fun birthday.
A quarter of a century old.

 Well, I found it thrilling. I feel like I am just beginning to learn who I really am. I am so excited to see what 25-29 has in store for me, because lets be honest, the next "fun" or landmark birthday, is 30. Which, I am not afraid of either. (Hasn't anyone ever told you that 30 was the best years of their lives?)
Well, on the eve of my 25th birthday, I reflected on what a BIG year 24 was for me.
I moved out of my parents house. I began paying my own rent and utilities. I got a big girl job that I get to TRAVEL for! I moved to a big(ish) city. I made so many new friends. I spent 9 and half months traveling the East Coast and Mid-West regions of the United States. I mean a BIG year!

But, I was afraid that 25 would disappoint me. I mean, how could I top this past year? So I began to think: What are the things I miss doing in my life? What do I need to do to keep on track for my life goals? What have I always wanted to do, but haven't?

So I started a list. A few days later I finished said list. 
25 things to do while I am 25:
1. Visit 4 new states. I am 23 states away from my "50 states before I turn 30" goal. 
2. Read 20 new books. I get addicted pretty easily, and with all of my traveling, easy smeasy.
3. Accomplish a NO shopping month. Okay, this is a lot to ask, but a girl can dream!
4. Send out holiday cards. What a great way to keep in touch with those just out of reach!
5. Get more involved in my sorority, Tri Sigma. Such a huge impact in my life, time to give back.
6. Run a marathon. Watching my dad in his half Iron-Man earlier this year really inspired me!
7. Take an ASL course. I have learn bits and pieces, here and there. Time for the next step.
8. Volunteer for a cause. I use to volunteer with AHA every year. Time to get back in it.
9. Attend a staple event. Mardi Gras, NYE Ball Drop, NCAA Final Four, Olympics, etc. 
10. Learn about wines. I LOVE red wine, but I cannot hold an intelligent conversation about it.
11. Send post cards while on tour. I really enjoyed the personal messages that come with post cards.
12. Attend 3 major sporting events. This cannot include teams I've already seen in their home stadiums.
13. Go camping. Time to bring out my inner child, and childhood memories. 
14. NO fast food. Biggest challenge on this list, as I travel for months on end.
15. Host a dinner party or brunch. Pretty cocktails and all!
16. Say yes! But not to a ring...
17. Don't spend money just to spend. I am known for retail therapy. It's gotta go. 
18. Treat my parents to something  special. It is the least I could do after the past 25 years.
19. Plan a trip abroad...and put money on it! Traveling is my biggest passion, time to see the world!
20. Donate/Adopt an animal from WWF. I love animals, and what WWF stands for. 
21. Put half of every paycheck into savings. I use to be great at this. No more useless spending!
22. Purchase something expensive. Something for me to be proud of. A lifelong purchase. 
23. Save all $5 bills.  How often do you see a $5 bill? Not often. But is adds up later.
24. Clean out my closet.  And under my bed. And my storage unit. And my junk drawer.
25. Go to an outdoor concert. I could not tell you the last time I did this. They are so much fun!

"To live is the rarest thing in the world."-Oscar Wilde
What are some of the things you want to do before your next birthday?