So I'm getting almost as bad about actually using my kitchen as I am about updating this blog. And that's saying a lot. Whoops :) At least it's been less than a month... for the blog anyway.
I truly do enjoy cooking, but between having an absurdly small dysfunctional kitchen, having little to no free time to cook let alone find a recipe I'm interested in making, and trying to have a social life I just eat out way too much. I always wish I'd just make the time for more meals at home, but every week nothing changes.
My lovely friend/coworker Lauren and I have made a pact. We're not allowed to eat out for the next month. Coincidentally, a month from today happens to be both Lauren's birthday and the night I'm flying to GA for a much needed reunion with my beloved Athens. Both clearly cause for celebration. So you can bet on September 17th we'll both be eating fantastic meals in some of our favorite restaurants! But until then... we're both in this together.
I'm not sure what the hardest part will be - finding the time to prepare good meals or passing up social events with our friends (they can't believe we're not even going to break the pact for brunch). It's very much a part of my job, social life and the culture we live in to go out to eat. You're probably wondering why we're voluntarily giving that up for a month?? It's a combination of trying to save a few dollars and challenging ourselves to do something that really kind of scares us.
Luckily we do have two exceptions: Sarasota (we're going home for Labor Day weekend and will absolutely be taking advantage of yummy Florida seafood and some of our old favorites), and dates. Well really any meal that someone else pays for.. so dates, work functions or if friends pity us and want to buy us dinner (but that's kind of cheating). So here goes... time for some quality time in the kitchen.
So this past weekend I was lucky enough to venture to the Jersey Shore after a whirlwind work trip to LA. My friend and colleague Lauren grew up with a house at the shore, and still goes back from time to time to relax and get away from the city. Considering the summer has flown by and I have barely even had time for day trips to Long Island, I jumped at the opportunity to escape the miserable heat of the city for a couple days at the beach.
I'll admit, I had some preconceived notions about "the Shore," even though Lauren insisted we weren't going anywhere near Seaside Heights. Although there were a few questionable characters out in the local beach bars on Saturday night, I'm pleased to report (okay maybe secretly a little disappointed) that Snookie and The Situation were nowhere to be found. Unlike what MTV will have you believe, there are nice parts of the Jersey Shore - and Longport is definitely one of them. We stayed at Lauren's friend's beautiful beach house, ate amazing seafood, and got to sleep in later than I can ever remember sleeping in. Oh, and we soaked up as much sun as possible during the short trip.
Thanks Lauren and Ashley for a fab weekend away, and for dispelling bad rumors about the Jersey Shore :)
Yep, it's almost that time again, my favorite time of the year. College football season is (finally) right around the corner! UGA's football season starts at home on September 4 against Louisiana-Lafayette (is that even a real school? where do they find these openers?). Okay... I know I graduated well over a year ago, but I still (and will always) get so excited about football season starting back up - and it helps me deal with the fact that summer is coming to a close (didn't summer JUST start??).
Oh, and I just booked a flight to ATL for the UGA/Arkansas game with two of my favorite NYC friends who also happen to be UGA alums. It's hard to believe this will be my second season as an alum, but fortunately I'll be at atleast one game (maybe two - fingers crossed GA/FL will work out). I got the chance to go back for one game last year, LSU (which we lost in the last 41 seconds.. brutal) and now that I've made arrangements for a game this year I'm literally counting the minutes until my flight lands in Atlanta on September 16th (good thing my boss understands how important football is and what a valid reason that is to take off work on a Friday).
It'll be interesting to see how different it is to go back now vs. just a few months after I'd graduated. Being the party/football school that it is (sorry Michael Adams, but it's the truth), many people go for the 4 and a half or 5 year plans, so quite a few of my friends were still in school when I went back last year - or at least right around the corner in Atlanta so they came back for it. Many of them are still in Atlanta, and I'm sure those that have graduated will still come back for the home games but it's weird to be more and more removed from my college experience... I can't even imagine how much has changed since I was there last. Georgia Theater is in the rebuilding process after the fire last summer, many of my favorite bars and restaurants have closed and there are strangers renting out my house that was the scene of so many memories from my sophomore to senior years. But while it'll be sad not to see so many familiar sites and faces, I know parts of Athens will never change and that sweet little town will always have a special place in my heart. I have a feeling the minute we merge onto the loop from 316 I'll forget I ever left...
There's nothing I love more than birthdays. Not just mine, I love all birthdays because they're a reason to be excited about life and to celebrate. Okay fine I'll have to admit, I do love being treated like a princess for a day on my birthday, and it didn't hurt this year that it was preceded by a week of vacation and followed by a short week at work because my office was closed on the big day.
Being that my birthday is July 5th, it somehow gets wrapped up with celebrations for the 4th and turns into a full weekend of celebrating - but this year it just seemed to never end...
celebration night #1: big group dinner...
... followed by out for rooftop fun - complete with incredible views
celebration night #2: 4th of July...
...watching fireworks with my favorites
celebration day #3: birthday lunch with my faves...
... birthday cupcakes, round 1.
celebration day #4: office birthday = flowers and more cupcakes, followed by another bday dinner
celebration night #5: I know, this is getting ridiculous. work bday dinner, cava and yummy desserts
So I guess it has to end at some point... although I did still get to do some birthday shopping over the weekend, and still have a birthday massage to schedule so I suppose it's still going! Thank you to my amaaaazing friends, family and colleagues for treating me like a princess for the best extended birthday ever :) xo
Hello friends in the US! Of course I couldn't stay away from a computer and Internet as much as I'd hoped to disconnect during this trip... It definitely makes it easier having free wifi in the apartment we're staying in, and since my family is still tired from traveling (hence why I got here two days earlier) I'm sneaking onto Mom's computer to catch up on life.
So Buenos Aires has been amazing so far, spent the first two days exploring on my own/hanging with my brother and his study abroad group. Although his program is really different than mine (his was 14 kids and they all lived with host families, mine was 60 of us and we all lived in the same apartment building) it makes me really miss my study abroad "family" from Verona.
The area we're staying in is called Palermo, which is definitely walkable and for the most part safe to roam around and explore. The first day I just checked out the markets and shops around my hostel and then met little bro and friends for drinks after. The exchange rate definitely works in our favor, and I'm glad I left lots of room in my suitcase to bring back the clothes and jewelry I have bought/still plan on buying :)
Sunday we went to San Telmo, another part of town that has a super cool market/antique shopping area that I'd heard all about from friends and guidebooks alike. First order of business was to snag seats for the Argentina vs. Mexico soccer game (just like tailgating in the US - need to get there a good 4 hours before the game to get seats!) but once we had staked out our territory in the bar, we wandered around the market a bit and did some shopping (pics to come when I'm back in NYC and have access to my camera cord). Considering the game was literally the first soccer game I've watched during the World Cup from start to finish, it was a blast. I'm not a huge soccer fan to begin with, but as I discovered recently after watching about 30 minutes and having a few drinks I will become a fan of any sport (basketball included, which I really didn't think was possible). So for those of you who don't care about the World Cup now that the US is out of it, Argentina won 3-1 and of course insanity ensued in the city. They were lighting off fireworks, everyone was honking horns and hanging out of car windows waving flags. And I thought Athens was crazy after UGA wins a football game...
Mom and Dad got here yesterday so we're all in an apartment on the other side of Palermo. I'd been saving the super-touristy activities for once they arrived, so the next few days will be jam-packed with sightseeing. The highlight on the itinerary so far is the Tango show we're going to tonight, cannot wait! Aaand everyone's starting to wake up, guess I should get off the computer and get started with the day :) xo