Taking Back My Twenties

Twenties

Birthday Weekend

Posted on Oct 21, 2014 | 0 comments

I had a fabulous birthday weekend – feels like each year gets better! Since the real day fell on a Saturday, Matt planned the day. I told him I wanted to relax and eat cake!

First, I took Matt to my favorite gym class at Equinox, and then we showered and headed out on foot for cupcakes. We stopped at two different bakeries and acquired 5 cupcakes for the evening. We also ducked into a fun salad place for lunch and did a little shopping at boutiques.

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After lunch, we got a couples massage! The experience was fantastic because we got a cold stone facial, foot scrub, and hot stone massage too! It was heavenly, and one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received. Then we headed down to Bishop Arts for dinner at the very famous Lucia. We got in off the waiting list only hours before dinner. It was fate!

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We grabbed cocktails at Stock and Barrel before dinner – this was a lovely twist on a bourbon sour made with passion fruit.

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We kicked off dinner with a bottle of Argentinian wine – Lucia is Italian, but I couldn’t resist this recommendation by our waitress (and I believe it was a collaboration between two winemakers). Side note: the service was phenomenal! And, oh my goodness, the olives!!

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We ordered two of the foie gras stuffed prunes – who can resist a $1 menu item? I thought I had gotten adventure-some enough for foie gras, but no! I hated it and washed the bite down with wine:)

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Our first plate was pork belly with pear and gorgonzola – this was divine, and a generous portion!

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Next up, some sort of Italian pork with sautéed mushrooms – also delish.

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We ordered two small pastas: the squash risotto with rabbit meatballs and brussels (above) and an interestingly shaped pasta with squab ragu (below). Both were perfect and rivaled the meals we had in Italy!

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The real star of the night was the braised lamb with red pepper, cilantro, and an olive tapenade. The meat melted together with the sauces and it was seriously a top ten entree.

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Despite the cupcakes waiting at home, we had to try the Italian donuts with squash and caramel!

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Clearly, the meal was superb! And the restaurant is so romantic:) I’m already dying to go back!

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We ended the weekend festivities with Sunday brunch with some friends at Vagabond. We had [more] donuts – these were basically apple-stuffed fried dough!

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I had a grilled cheese benedict, but I also shared Matt’s burger and it was great! I hear Vagabond is quickly becoming famous for it.

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Thanks to Matt and my lovely friends and family for a wonderful birthday!

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Thoughts from a Thursday

Posted on Oct 16, 2014 | 2 comments

Current obsession edition:

1. I go through a chip and hummus combo every few weeks – right now it’s these pumpkin crisps with jalapeño and cilantro Hope Hummus.

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2. I got a new iPod after my nano from college stopped keeping a charge. It was a tiny one that couldn’t hold all of my songs at once. I put a bunch of old country music on the new one and I’m enjoying driving around with the windows, down pretending I’m in high school.

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3. Kath introduced me to this foundation a few months again and I just love it. It took a while for me to get used to it because I think my skin was addicted to Clinique, but now I’m really happy with the color and moisture.

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4. This weather. I know some people like to get right to boots and coats, but 70’s are just fine with me. Plus, when temps have been in the 100’s forever and ever, 70 feels pretty darn cold.

5. The stuffed squash at Origin Kitchen – this may been the best vegetarian dish I’ve ever had. Matt and I were both in love with it when we had it last Saturday night. Acorn squash, crispy kale, wheatberries, pomegranate, and a walnut syrup….

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6. Entering my 30th year. My 29th is this weekend, and I’m in a good place at this age. There have been so many transitions in my 20’s – grad school, moving for Matt to go to grad school, getting married, moving for Matt’s career opportunity, and a long, frustrating job search. But for the first time in a while, I’m just living my life, going to work every day, and not gearing up for any major change (knock on wood:))

Happy weekend!

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Thoughts from a Thursday

Posted on Sep 18, 2014 | 19 comments

-My car broke down at 5:55am on Monday morning. What a start to the week!

-I went to the grand opening of the J Crew in my neighborhood – the food was excellent, but everything was $89 or $98. When did sweaters and shirts become so expensive?

-Matt and I tried a new restaurant: Scotch & Sausage. Most of the dogs are $6 – $8 and the fries are amazing – giant and crunchy on the outside. Loved it!

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-We also tried a Spanish tapas place, and for the first time in my life, I didn’t like pork belly! It was fried and drizzled with chocolate, but too rich. Sounds enticing, right?

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-I led a parent presentation on student success tonight. I was super nervous beforehand, but was surprised at how at-ease I felt once I got started.

-Since I’ve started working in a nut-free environment, I actually think my cravings for peanut butter have decreased. I just ordered Nikiki’s Cake Batter Coconut Butter and can’t wait to try it!

-I think something is biting me at night. Could I have brought home bed bugs from Turkey?

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Life in Order

Posted on Sep 9, 2014 | 2 comments

I’m about 4 weeks into work and I’m finally starting to breathe. It’s been both wonderful and challenging to create my role – I have so much flexibility yet there are so many questions and things to figure out along the way. I’m really trying to get some organizational systems in place to make my job easier down the road. Simple things like trying to figure out how I want to organize my spreadsheets of students and if I want to take meeting notes and student updates on my iPad versus pen and paper have been challenging because I keep going back and forth and need to just decide! I used to rely on a planner, but I’m trying to use an electronic calendar now. Despite the little things, I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished in just a few weeks and I’m so happy to be using the knowledge I gained in grad school. It’s slowly coming back to me and now I’m in the swing of things. I’m still feeling so lucky to be working in such a supportive and creative environment. After so much uncertainty over the last year, I can’t tell you how good it feels to know I’m in the right place.

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I’ve had lots of fun weekends this summer, so last weekend was dedicated to getting organized. After being out of town and putting everything on the back burner since starting work, I really needed to get my life in order. I’ve never been so excited to sleep until 7:30, eat nut butter, and go to bootcamp on a Saturday morning! Oh how life has changed in the past couple of years. I also cleaned, did laundry, roasted vegetables, filed receipts, organized my tangle of jewelry, and paid the bills. Saturday night, we grabbed dinner at the bar across the street with friends and spent hours talking. Matt and I split a few things, including a huge, juicy pimento and bacon burger. I feel rejuvenated!

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See ya.

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Heading Home + Dirty Products

Posted on Jun 10, 2014 | 11 comments

It’s a short week for me because I’m heading to Baltimore to visit my grandma tomorrow! After that, I’m traveling home to NC for a wedding. It will be the first time I’ve gone home since I moved to Texas, so I’m pretty excited. I can’t believe it’s been a year. I’m pumped to see family and do some celebrating with friends.

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I wanted to post about cleaning up my beauty routine because I think it’s an interesting topic. Since reading this post on my sister’s blog and this blog, I’ve been trying to clean up my products. And boy is it hard! Partly because it’s difficult to find affordable products and partly because switching products means breakouts and bad hair days in the process. I also didn’t want to switch everything at once, because that would simply be too expensive, so I’ve been slowly trying samples of things. I made the mistake of trying a bunch of stuff at once, and my skin got really irritated and dry, and then I didn’t know which thing was causing the problem! Same with greasy hair (my hair is just blah in general these days – might be time for a big cut).

Anyway, this is what I’m using as of now:

Paula’s Choice Resist Ultra Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum – I’m liking this so far, although it stings my face at times, so I’ve started using it every other day.

Paula’s Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser – Love this!

Paula’s Choice Hydralight Lotion – I’m still having some dry skin, but I think I like this. My skin craves my old Aveeno some days and I give in and put a little on the dry spots.

Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer Blush (Leigh) – I like this a lot so far, although it might be a bit rosy for me – there are lots of colors though.

Acure Moisture Repair Shampoo and Triple Moisture Repairing Conditioner – I love the price point for these ($8.99) and love that I can get it at Whole Foods. I really like the conditioner, although it only feels like it’s working when I comb though my hair in the shower. I’m not crazy about the shampoo, simply because I think my hair looks dull when I use it. And I’m not a fan of the smell!

Finding a better shampoo and a foundation with sunscreen are next on my list.

I’d would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations!!!

PS: here’s a Paula’s Choice referral link if you want to get $10 off – I used my sister’s link to buy my first samples and that’s how I got hooked!

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Finally

Posted on May 4, 2014 | 8 comments

Thanks for your sweet comments!

I was sick all week long and spent a lot of time on the couch watching Dawson’s Creek, eating pancakes, and sleeping. But the whole time I was smiling! After 61 cover letters and interviews for 13 different positions, I am finally done. I have accepted the role of Learning Specialist at an independent school! The position is brand new, so I will be spearheading the development of policies and procedures surrounding the academic support program, coordinating support services for students with learning differences, and acting as a resource for parents and teachers. My role will be similar to what I was doing last year as a school psychologist, except that I won’t be testing students to determine special education eligibility (because I.D.E.A. doesn’t apply in private settings), and I’ll be working in ONE SCHOOL! I am pumped for this challenge, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be working with an amazing group of professionals. I substituted on Friday and only got more excited to be back in a school setting with the kiddos. I don’t start until the new school year, so I will continue working at Equinox in the meantime.

Needless to say, Matt and I celebrated this weekend.

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We popped open a bottle of Prosecco that’s been in my fridge since December.

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We drank it in the park by our apartment while the sun was setting and then ordered Thai takeout. It was a wonderful evening.

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Saturday morning, I was finally feeling up for some exercise afer 4 days off – I took Matt with me to a spinning class and then tried out the steam room for some relaxation afterwards. Felt so good to sweat!

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Matt let me pick our Saturday evening dinner destination, and I went with Komali because of the incredible Mexican-inspired menu – seriously my dream menu. We walked to dinner in the glorious 80 degree temps.

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Cheers! I ordered a tamarind margarita with a spiced rim and it was amazing.

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For appetizers, we ordered the goat cheese with morita chile and piloncillo,

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as well as the PEI mussels with pasilla chile flakes, cilantro, and tequila – whatever crema was on the toasted baguette was out of this world.

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For entrees, we ordered the pan seared scallops with cauliflower poblano rajas, apple compote, and ancho chile glaze,

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and the poblano pepper stuffed with beef tenderloin and dried fruits & nuts with toasted walnut sauce and cilantro.

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And lastly, the pumpkin tres leches with candied pepitas and cinnamon whipped cream.

Everything we ordered was amazing – I’m kind of in love with Komali now. We definitely went all out, and the dinner made for one hell of a celebration!

Hope y’all had a lovely weekend.

PS: thank you for the continuous support this year and for bearing with me during these past couple of crazy months!

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