Thursday, February 24, 2011


Congrats to our lucky winner, Stephany!

Update: Giveaway is closed as of 3/3 at 10:30am. Thanks for playing! Winner will be announced by the end of the day today.

Update: As of Tuesday at 7:30pm, giveaway is still open! It will stay open until I receive the winners' code from CSN, so keep entering! I'll post another update when it closes.

As I promised in my last post, to keep the Valentine's Day-lovin' going a little while longer, I have a giveaway for you guys! CSN Stores contacted me about doing either a giveaway or a review and honestly, with graduation and a big move into our new apartment coming up, I was tempted to score some bedroom furniture, Le Cruset cookware, office desks, or accessories for our new home.

But then I thought, shame on you, Michelle! You love your readers--let them know it!

So, readers who I love, this giveaway is for you. Your choice of anything from CSN Stores with a $15 gift certificate. If it were me who had the chance to win (it's not, get over it Michelle!), here's what I would put those 15 clams toward!

A girl can dream.

So, what you're really waiting for--the juicy details!

Entries will be accepted until Monday, February 28, 11:59pm EST. Here are the ways you can earn entries. Separate comments for each, please!

1. Leave me a comment letting me know what you would buy! (1 entry)

2. Become a follower, or leave me a comment letting me know you're already a follower. (1 entry)

Good luck! I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! I'm hoping to check in before then, but with L.'s birthday party Friday night, our big senior party Saturday night, and L.'s actual birthday dinner/Oscar party Sunday night, I might be a little swamped this weekend!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

L.'s Valentine's Day Present (and a giveaway for you!)

Partly to combat the people who claim that Valentine's Day is just a "Hallmark holiday," I never buy anything for anyone when I give gifts.* Plus, there are very few avenues in my life in which I get to put my creativity to use, so I get really excited about the opportunity to make something cute and fun for L!

L. ended up pulling out all the stops, taking me out to a romantic (and delicious!) steak dinner at Mezze, one of the nicer restaurants in Williamstown. He also got us a bottle of champagne and a nice hotel room--sometimes, just having the time to spend by ourselves, off-campus, out of the common room with all our suitemates hovering around participating in our relationship, with no reading packets allowed is the most romantic thing we could do!

L.'s favorite cupcakes are Red Velvet, and so I ran with the idea and decided to modify the recipe and make Red Velvet cookies! I decided to make two kinds--a light, crisp butter cookie dipped in white chocolate, and a thick, rich, chewy cake-cookie sandwich with buttercream frosting. (He doesn't like cream cheese!!! So sad, it's one of my favorites.)

Here's how they turned out:


I'm trying so hard to eat well this week, but it's going to be VERY hard. Friday we're having L.'s birthday party, Saturday is 100 Days, a senior party (celebrating the fact that we have only--!!!--100 days until graduation!) with an open bar and tons of treats, and Sunday is L.'s actual birthday, for which we're having a mexican fiesta and then the Oscars are right after!

SPEAKING of presents, I have one for you guys because I <3 you! Check back either tomorrow or early Thursday for a giveaway post!! xoxo [*One "store-bought" thing I don't really object to is flowers. I don't expect anyone to be cultivating their own roses for Valentine's Day! Also, if you love to buy chocolates and greeting cards for V-day, that's your thing! I'm just talking about my preferences.]

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Santa Barbara, LA, and some exciting news, finally!

At the end of January, L. and I couldn't handle the blizzards, the sub-zero temperatures, and the fact that our ceilings were leaking and about to collapse over here in good old Williamstown, Massachusetts. So we escaped to Santa Barbara for a week!

How much more beautiful can it get?

We had lunches on State St., took walks, L. played golf with his dad, we had some amazing dinners including The Palace Grill which is one of my new all-time favorite restaurants (their jambalaya was to.die.for!), and basically just had a wonderful relaxing time.

One night, we had dinner at the Boathouse.

This was our view.

Can I go back? Please?

One day while L. and his dad played golf, L.'s mom and I took their Standard Poodle, Obi, on a long walk along the coast. We stopped to be nosy/creepy and took some pictures of this (amazing) famous house. Can you guess whose it is?

If you guessed that it is the approx. $22 million 14,000 sq. foot Montecito, Calif. home owned by Beanie Babies creator Ty Warner then yes, you are correct! I wish I had come up with the idea to understuff stuffed animals and make a fortune off unwitting children. Sigh.

But perhaps the best part of our trip was the Wednesday that L. and I took the car and drove down into LA so that L. could interview for a job. I won't say where, but let's just say that it's for a research position at a prestigious university at which he hopes to attend medical school in two years.

Oh, and...HE GOT THE OFFER! Which means, ladies and possible gentleman who may read this blog, we are officially moving to Los Angeles in June!! YAY! You have no idea how relieved I am about this, because for the last three months I've been having anxiety that L. would end up in San Francisco and I would end up in LA, and there's no way I could do that long distance relationship for two years. And then if we couldn't make med school/grad school plans match, we would have waited those two years for nothing. So I am so, so, so happy to be able to say that we're going no matter what. Of course, I don't actually have a job yet, but I've decided that I'm going no matter what. I'm not following a boy across the country, although having a built-in roommate who I really, really love definitely helps; it's just nice to have at least one huge factor of life after college (location) nailed down, and a lot of companies won't take candidates seriously until they live in-state, anyway.

SO, this all means I am even MORE excited to share photos of our wonderful day trip to LA with you!

I had so much fun navigating our future home. Of course, when we went we didn't really know it was going to be our future home, but I was determined to make it happen one way or another. I just get this great feeling from LA. I know it's not a lot of people's (anyone's? so many nay-sayers!) thing, but to me it's amazing--sunny, expansive, relatively easy to navigate, and it doesn't have that run-down look of these old New England towns that have been around since the Revolution in which I've been living the last twelve years of my life.

We had my trusty GPS, a british fellow named Daniel, who was more than helpful. It was especially funny to listen to the strange way he pronounced the streets (Wheel-Shire Boo-lay-vaard).

I had our day all planned out. Thanks to the lovely Mara's help, we decided on Joan's on Third for lunch.

I had absolutely the most delicious sandwich I've ever eaten in my life; fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato and olive oil on a crusty rustic roll. I'm drooling just thinking about it. I need to go back. I'm already fantasizing about doing some of our grocery shopping at Joan's' (weird, making a possessive a possessive) marketplace and making amazing paninis for lunch on the weekends at home...mmmm....

I strategically planned lunch so that right afterward, we could walk across the street and enjoy a scrumptious dessert at Magnolia Bakery. I have to say, I had really high hopes and had heard amazing things about their cupcakes.

The verdict? They were okay. The frosting was really fluffy and just tasted a little strange to me. They were certainly pretty, but in terms of sheer deliciousness, I have to say the cupcakes we had at WhoDidily on State St. were the absolute best. We split the Lolligager, a chocolate cupcake with lime-colored buttercream frosting and a hunk of cookie dough baked into the center. YUM.

One of my favorite parts of the day was when I dropped L. off at his interview and drove over to The Grove for some shopping. I resisted the urge to buy anything, but it was difficult, especially since it was a gorgeous 80-degree day and I was wearing a long black cardigan! Blech!

Before we went home the following Monday, we took a trip down over the weekend to Newport Beach to visit with L.'s grandparents. It is so beautiful down there (plus, there's like three Ikeas on the way!). Being sandwiched between Newport on the one hand and Santa Barbara on the other isn't such a bad place to be...

I am so looking forward to doing some more cupcake-tasting when we get back to LA, as well as trying out all the restaurants I had wanted to hit on our last trip: Ketchup, Don Antonio's, La Brea Bakery, Toast, Diddy Riese, The Foundry and soo many more! I'm also really enjoying beginning our (tentative) apartment search. If you guys know of any great affordable complexes or anyone who is subletting in West LA, let me know!! And now I'm crossing my fingers that one of the job interviews I have lined up in March when I fly back out works out...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Haters gonna hate

Writing this post is giving me a lot of anxiety because I haven't posted about my California trip yet here I am posting about things in the present and the order is all messed up (does anyone else besides me and Date Girl have that?!), but I couldn't resist putting up a little note on Valentines Day to 1. wish all of my lovely readers a very happy day! and 2. express a small point of irritation.

I'm just going to put it out there and say that the people who are SO militantly against Valentine's Day are oftentimes MORE obnoxious than the happy-go-lucky celebrators who still break out the doilies and glitter glue and send cards to everyone and their mom (literally). And please take note that I did not say "the single people" and "the couples," because it doesn't have to be like that! I'll be the first to say that the holier-than-thou couples who find uncoupled people to be of a lesser humanity are definitely just as annoying as the self-righteous "I don't believe in Valentine's Day because it's only beneficial to the Hallmark company," but guess what?

Don't buy a card from Hallmark then!

I have never once bought a card for anyone to whom I've given something on Valentine's Day; I spent about three hours yesterday making L.'s present (can't share it yet because he'll peek!) and zero percent of it is store-bought. And of course, I show my love for him (and my mum, and my best friends, and my family...etc) every other day of the year, but why not do it today, too? Sure, Valentine's Day may not have the mooshy moony origins that we all were taught it does as kids, about St. Valentine marrying secret couples, or maybe it does, after all. My point is, WHO CARES? That's how we celebrate it today, and we don't need to discount our current holidays based on a history lesson. If we do, might as well toss out the wrapping paper, Christmas trees, and Easter eggs and call it a day. Basically, your resistance doesn't make you "oh-so-cool" and "anti-mainstream." It sort of just makes you annoying and a grinch.

Anyways, by dwelling on the negativity I am giving power to those who for whatever reason like to wage war on the day, and that is not what I want--it's the opposite. So, happy Valentine's Day to all of you, who I love and appreciate every day, and also today.

(I also realize someone could say that writing this from the pov of someone in a loving relationship who is looking forward to celebrating with her significant other later tonight could be a major caveat, but I can assure you I would feel the same way if I were single.)

Have a wonderful day, everyone! Updates with what I made for L., including a hilarious Photoshop card (if I do say so myself) soon!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

22nd Birthday Dinner

The birthday dinner post is just a tad (okay, 2 weeks) late, I know. But for some reason, posting things out of order really stresses me out, so I needed to write this post before I could tell you all about my lovely trip to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. And Super Bowl excitement and starting classes again got in the way of everything, as well.So, without further ado. My birthday dinner celebration was wonderful, and greatly in part to L., who always goes out of his way to throw the best parties for me. I had my own little birthday throne at the head of our 20 (!) person table, with decorations L. had set up before I got there:

The mastermind party-planner, himself (he wore his glasses just for me, even though he hates to!):

But the best part of the night, which you can sort of see in the picture above, was the surprise Green Bay Packers birthday cake that L. had made for me! It made my entire night, and the pieces our server cut, as you can see, were HUGE. I didn't get to take a picture of the whole thing before they took it away to cut it, but here was my slice (I enlisted the help of four of my friends to finish it):

Best birthday cake ever.

For dinner, I ordered a huge burger with cheddar cheese, sprouts, tomato, lettuce, bacon, avocado, and garlic aioli. It's what I get every time we go to the Purple Pub in Williamstown (when I'm letting myself indulge, at least!) It's DELICIOUS.

Thank you, L. and all my friends, for such a wonderful birthday! A laid-back dinner and a huge piece of green and yellow cake was just what I needed.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Today's menu:

Baked mac and cheese with gorgonzola, parmesan, and Wisconsin white cheddar

Spinach and artichoke dip with alfredo, cream cheese, parmesan, and mozzarella

...notice a theme?*

Also, green and yellow cupcakes.

Let's goPackers!

*(It's cheese!)


Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'm Back!

L. and I (begrudgingly) left sunny Santa Barbara on Monday and had a nightmare of a travel experience home, including a panic attack (mine) on the flight out (I was so nervous and trying so hard to hold in my tears that I started hyperventilating, and I whispered to L. "I can't breathe," and then then yelled "you can't BREATHE?!" which scared me right out of my panic attack), and flying straight into a blizzard when we reached Albany, NY (the closest airport to Williamstown). Actually, when we got in to Albany around midnight Monday, the snow hadn't started yet, but the drive to Williamstown is over a really scary, high, and treacherous mountain where the guardrails won't help you if you slide, so in case there was black ice we opted to stay in a hotel in Albany Monday night. Of course, when I woke up just after 7 the next morning (4am in my body...yuck), I peeked out the window only to discover that around three inches of snow had already fallen. Fail. So we packed up as quickly as we could and embarked on a terrifying drive home (the normally hour-long drive took almost three), but I was just glad L. got us home safely. (And, props to the Subaru. That thing is better in the snow than my SUV).

We started classes yesterday (though most of them got canceled) and things have just been generally busy, busy, busy over here. I'm running around getting textbooks, trying to squeeze in some hours at my internship, and tackling the 500+ pages of reading I already have due early next week. Too bad Sunday is the most IMPORTANT DAY OF THE YEAR, nay, my life, so if it means starting the semester off massively behind on my work, well then, so be it. I mean, it is senior spring, after all.

I'll post a birthday recap before the end of the week and a Santa Barbara/LA recap (probs two posts) next week, but if the Packers lose on Sunday and you don't hear from me for awhile, assume that I am a. curled up in the fetal position somewhere, crying, and/or b. clutching a bottle of wine and refusing to leave the couch.

Speaking of Superbowl, what are you guys having for snacks?! I have to admit that I am less inclined to cook all day this time, as I normally do for Green Bay games, because I don't want to miss a second of pre-game footage, but we're thinking of ordering out buffalo wings to save me the trouble of dipping a million pieces of chicken in panko crumbs and basting them in Frank's Red Hot. I'm also thinking of making my famous spinach and artichoke dip, and beefy, cheesy nachos. Maybe baked macaroni and cheese balls. And to think, I started doing South Beach again yesterday. Sigh. The things I do for the Packers...