Tag Archives: travel

Dream Big But Never Sleep

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Adventure (n). It’s safe to say I spend half my time thinking of ridiculous things. And the other half actually doing them. An impromptu, whirlwind tour of the East Coast for the week(end) constitutes both the former and latter.

Solo? You betcha. Fear is not a friend of mine. Plus, I have an uncanny habit of making and finding friends along the way.

Going to a Jesuit university has its perks, namely five sweet days of break that feel just too good to be true. High fives to the Easter bunny. Unceremoniously wedged between Spring Break and finals, it’s a catch-breath before finals pulls a berserk attack. I’m starting to dream of those hot summer nights on the horizon.

But hot dang, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. April stands for adventure (n.) – so we’re doing just that. Genius is as ingenious does. Run with it? I thought you’d never ask. We’re going places!

New York City strikes me as grit disguised in big dream glory. Even with its brisk, fuggedaboutit tone, New York has always been a bit of a dream. You see, it paints bright-eyed girl with dreams too big for baggage (guess who?). It’s the endless and constant supply of doing that tempts a hopeless doer. And it’s the challenge to make it big where and when the changes seem so small. I’ve warned you that I’m a hopeless dreamer, with an eye for the unlikely.

I’m hanging around NYU, right at the intersection of Banker St. and Hipster Ave. I’ll likely be found at Moth Slam with M or walking through the Village with no particular destination.

Yale seems downright collegiate. While their bulldog mascot is sadly nowhere near the caliber of Georgetown’s (ha! ;)), I’m excited to see the place that high school best friend SC has shown me only in ridiculous stories.

Columbia | Barnard: Rumor has it that all students must be able to swim across a pool before graduating. I dig that sort of crazy creativity, meaning I’m already a fan. I’m seeing friends S and N. Waffles are a given.

Happy Wednesday, friends. It’s time to meet the city that dreams big but never sleeps. Funny, that city sounds a lot like someone I know? Oh right, that’s me. -L

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What Nobody Told Me About Study Abroad

(Note: Reposted from the article in Georgetown’s newspaper The Hoya, which can be found here with stylistic variations.)

Immersed in the crisp autumn air of a Parisian night, I realize that this is kind of a funny story. 

I look up at the million shards of light that dance before me and breathe deeply, taking in the speechless grandeur of the Eiffel Tower. Pausing, I think to myself: “This is it! This is what I will tell people about study abroad – the revelatory feeling of discovering what only existed in dreams…”

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And then abruptly, I stop. It’s true that this is dream-worthy, but it doesn’t tell the whole story about studying abroad. As I enter my fourth month in France, I reflect on this question often:

What will I tell people when they ask about study abroad?

I think about this because I remember asking the very same questions about study abroad myself.  As a Hoya, a student, and a dreamer, I have valued my time abroad at its fullest. However, I know that much of the remaining value exists in being able to translate this experience to life on the Hilltop—to both my life and that of others.

It is with this realization that I want to share something immensely important. Something I am quite frankly scared to share. I want to tell you what I wish I had known, but perhaps what you may not want to hear.
I want to tell you what nobody told me about study abroad.

Strap on your seat belts, and grab a chair. Let’s do real talk.

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Like many people, I had dreamed of study abroad since coming to Georgetown. I decided early-on that languages are bonkers cool; traveling is all sorts of amazing; and exploring a new culture is downright jazzy. So as junior year approached, I carefully filled out the applications and tackled the painstakingly atrocious VISA process. I chose to study in Nantes, France (the country’s 6th largest city). And six months later, I stepped off the plane. Wide-eyed, awestruck, and wondering if I was in the famed Genovia.

Fast forward to one month later, and my life as seen by most people is nothing short of a French fairytale.

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I’ve met my host family and learned that my dad is a semi-famous French chef.  I’ve made some awesome friends, many of which are among the 40 other American students with whom I’m spending the semester. Dublin, Paris, Munich, Bologna, Rome, Florence, and the French Champagne region dot my travel itinerary. I’ve immersed myself in the French language and started rapidly climbing the learning curve. The world’s best pain au chocolat is a daily staple. And I’ve discretely stepped into life as a femme française, forming a newfound identity as the Princess of Better-Than-Genovia.

This story illustrates the highlights of my time abroad, which has been undoubtedly magnifique. It reads like a flawless fairytale, a dream and a half, a casual frivolity. It depicts a tale without bad days or trips on the Struggle Bus. And it evokes an easy-breezy-beautiful-Covergirl sort of mentality.

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But what nobody told me about study abroad is that it is not just about the highlights. It is not always “easy.”

I don’t mean just physically, emotionally, socially, financially, mentally, or personally. I mean, every single bit of it. When I first remarked on these tiny ebbs of subtraction, people were quick to respond, “BUT YOU’RE IN EUROPE. YOU CRAY?” like they were shouting the final answer to Jeopardy. As if being abroad automatically means you can’t feel anything but flower-crown-adorned happiness 24/7.

But bad days and personal struggles exist abroad just like anywhere else. Perhaps even more strikingly, being that one stands beyond the sureness of a comfort zone.

There may be days when you struggle with always feeling like the outsider. When your country, your culture, your language, YOU are now the minority rather than the majority. When you feel like classes are either an unbelievable “joke” or a believable impossibility. When the loss of a community of intellectual engagement leaves you without any raison d’être as a student.

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It feels like the moment when the ground was yanked like a rug beneath you, and you promptly ended up landing on your tailbone. HARD. But even with a bruised ego, it’s as if it’s sunny and raining simultaneously: the rain smacks ya grandly with all it’s got, but the bright moments put the starry-look back in your eyes.

Maybe or maybe not you’ll feel that nobody “gets you” in the inexact precision of your personality. You may be confronted with the loss of all things familiar, including familiarity itself. In venturing to the likes of Facebook/ Instagram/ Twitter/the Interwebz, you might be greeted with FOMO (fear of missing out). For some, maybe the lessons in solitude will manifest as lessons in loneliness. For others, there is the trying emotional investment of having a loved one elsewhere—of figuring out how to live feeling like the other half of you is elsewhere. For you, perhaps being understood in full is the simplest wish and the most unattainable desire.

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In talking with others abroad this semester, every person remarked that they thought study abroad was “supposed to be easy.” Though most described the overall experience as positive, nobody described the semester as easy. And in fact, not a single person ever recalled hearing about these trying lowlights of study abroad beforehand.

Yes, I will tell you that study abroad is magnifique and for some, life-changing. That you can pursue the extraordinary and find life unlike the one you’ve lived. Yes, I will tell you that I believe it is 100% worth it and that you’ll never forget it.

But yes, I will also tell you that study abroad is not just plain easy.

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For most, it’s not an endless parade of glamour and ease—a 4-month-long vacation of stars, rainbows, ponies, and absolutely perfection. I tell you this not to complain about a “hard knock life,” to lament an epic 1st world problem, to be negative, to be discouraging, to scare you. I tell you this because it’s what nobody told me. Rather, this is what I wish I had known so as to avoid feeling caught off guard or as if these sentiments were unique to me.

For me, study abroad has been nothing like I expected but far beyond anything I ever could have dreamed. Plans rarely go directly according to plan. Sass frequently goes through the roof; hair gets tangled; and life gets messy on the daily. It’s not cute.

But you learn to make it your own. Through it all, life abroad paints the world in colors you’ve scarcely imagined. And the complete picture is one of highlights, lowlights, and everything in between.  It’s rarely perfect but always as it should be. It’s a whole lot of organized chaos, a whole lot of faith in yourself, and the reminder that, well—

It’s kind of a funny story.

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By: Lexi Cotcamp, MSB ‘15: Reposted from The Hoya‘s (Georgetown’s newspaper) article found here, with stylistic variations.

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A Glimpse at Paris

We’re totally going to talk Paris. About how all alone in the city of love & lights, I was rarely alone.

It’s a conversation and a half, and it’s headed your way in a jiff. “Why not now?”
8 AM classes, homeskillets. Like whose gameplan was that? Don’t remind me.

Let’s do pics…it’s a total mellow Tuesday move.

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{ best friend A & I casually strolling near Le Tour Eiffel}

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{The Lumineers concert in Paris!}

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{Macarons from the master himself, Pierre Hermé}

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{Locks of Love & Cathedrale Notre Dame}

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{place de la république à paris}

Now who wants to go to an 8 AM class?

…That’s what I thought.

-lexi

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Florence, You Sexy Beast

I wish I could tell you I’ve been off honeymooning in Fiji for 10 days with Italian pop star Paolo. Or Italian sandwich star Pino.

There would be coconuts! Turquoise water tip-toeing! Exclamation points! And palm fronds gently fanning.

Reality check: no palm fronds. Unless you count the tree branches that decided to assault my face during the last 7 days of unrelenting rain in Nantes.

Not funny, Mother Nature.

Italy? Let’s talk about these dang adventures already.

Along with friends K & E, I spent 5ish days in Italy for our Fall break. The break was the longest of the semester, and we booked our tickets for Italy pronto within the first week of arriving in September. Italy was a done deal for us. We had roughly no idea we wanted to do in Italy, except just about everything. Yes, gelato was a big part of “everything.”

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So what happened? 5 days of abso-freaking-lutely, smokin’ hot mess.

Totally not kidding. With a little veritable truckload of help from our friends (new and old), we managed to make organized chaos look nothing short of awesome. After a night’s layover in Bologna, it was off to Florence!

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It would probably be an A+ idea to tell ya’ll that our fantastic time in Florence is deserving of a special shoutout. Longtime pal and Stanford grad M, who previously studied abroad in Florence, sent me the most ridiculously thorough declassified guide to Florence. Monuments, gelato, spectacular sights, tourist traps, declarations of love (and hate), gelato, local gems, and warnings (of fake gelato) were all scrupulously detailed on a Google map. And because he’s a gold-medal doofus, there was also a warning command that read, “If you go here, I’ll kill you. Go somewhere that is less like a Nightclub version of Applebees.” 

Clearly, he’s a keeper.

After around 8.56 bajillion miles of walking, we managed to see just about all of Firenze as guided. Including…

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Piazza Michelangelo, home of the best view in all of Florence. Beautiful view, meet my best friend ‘bottle of wine’ and good company too.

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Not one, but two melt-your-face-off amazing trips to Salumeria Verdi — or more fondly, “Pino’s”. This man makes the best frick frackin’ sandwich that will ever meet your lips. For 3,50 euro, you receive a mindblowing lunch AND a new best friend; Pino is the bomb.com and a Firenze legend.

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Classy sights like the museum housing the famous David sculpture and a surprise meeting with friend AC.

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Followed by a trip to Fiesole, with a sweeping view of all of Tuscany.

Excuse me while I make my way down from Cloud Nine. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to have gelato.

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Jokes on jokes. Zero gelato? Meatballs are more likely to rain from the sky (that would be cool?).

This was a trip to Vivoli Gelato, which we decided was the best gelato in central Florence. Tiramisu for this kid. Like the gods of Italy decided to throw a double dessert whammy all up in this shabang.

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Badiani Gelato. Which must be pronounced with sweeping hand gestures and a boisterous Italian accent that is rolling in the deep. You were right (again), M.

(You’re still a goober though.)

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Kickin’ it with the Medicis in Fiesole.

We’re super casual bros.

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Hey ho, ya spiffy Duomo. (center of Florence)

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Piazza Santa Croce. With colors that look like they splashed off the ground and onto the buildings + sky.

Florence was heavenly. The perfect blend of culture, Pino, history, accidental penthouse apartments, adventure, janky buses, toils of getting pooped on by a bird, beautiful views, carbscarbscarbs, students of all sorts, Tuscan sun, and gelato as a first language.

Like palm fronds and Fiji.

Only much, much better.

-lexi

p.s. Rome to come!

 

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This Couldn’t Be Me

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I look out the window, and my breath catches.

The freccia train that spryly runs from Florence to Rome beats onwards, whisking through the Tuscan countryside.

Italy.

I want to telephone the higher powers (?) and tell them they have the wrong girl. That this luck should be shared with someone else. That this couldn’t possibly be me sitting here.

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Softly, I raise the goblet of champagne that has appeared beside me to my curious, smiling lips. I watch the little, wide-eyed Italian toddler as he dawdles through the aisle, staring at the world. I think, this couldn’t possibly be me.

I absentmindedly nibble on the Italian  fennel-laced biscuit in front on me. The chorus of Californiacation fills my ears, and my smile grows a little wider with the stroke of happy memories. I hear English, see Italian words, and write un petit essai in French.

I want to tell you that I feel so very lucky and that I haven’t forgotten the importance of that. I think of you and me and this endless world we’ve set out to see.

And then I think again, this can’t be me; you must have the wrong girl.

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From Paris to Oktoberfest

Today, we’re going to do things a little bit backwards. We’re going to talk about Dublin tomorrow. Because we can. Power to the people!

On tap today: adventures in Paris and at Oktoberfest. Holy toledo, you might need to stand up for this one.

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I met A–among the best of friends from Google–outside of the train station  in Paris late on Thursday evening. Epics hugs were exchanged, and tears of joy may or may not have been present. A quick stop at A‘s host family’s palace apartment and then serious business!

Also known as takeout sushi. Which included getting drenched in a Parisian downpour and not caring one dang bit. There was talk of going out on the town, but you know what? Wine, cheese, chocolate, and 6 hours of life talk are pretty tall, dark and handsome. That’s real life.

We also ended up vid-chatting with four other bomb.com friends from Google. These people are what may only be described as “the freaking tits,” and I didn’t even realize myself how much I’ve missed talking to them. We’re an indescribable bunch all doing crazy different things, but it just works. No explanation necessary because well, tits man who has time for that? Sometime around 3:30 a.m.,  A and I smushed into her twin bed and returned to talk between two. I fell asleep smiling. Happy, so so happy.

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Friday, 7 a.m.: Alarms go off in unison. This kid is headed to Munich for Oktoberfest to meet H, my roommate and best friend at Georgetown. is London-bound to meet friends. We hug it out like its an Olympic sport. Technique is major (and impeccable).

Around noontime, I wind my way through the Munich airport before spotting a bright, blue sweater and tortoise shell glasses that could only belong to H. Hug-a-thon resumes. Olympic gold medals are a veritable DUH at this point.

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and I head straight to city center talking a bajillion miles per minutes while in search of food. We find Thai curry, or rather, curry finds us. And it’s game over. Curry……what? It’s cool; go with it. Exploring continues. Munich in Oktober has got it going on. It’s vibrant. It’s special. It’s the kind of place where beer trumps all else, and who’s going to argue with logic like that?

I should also mention it’s bonkers beautiful.

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We hopped on an off the spectacularly efficient D-Bahn (German train), going with spontaneity as our tour guide. We found nature! Or, I mean, something like that. Decided that life is a garden. And we dig it.

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Statuesque buildings and blue sky peek-a-boos. Buildings here are no wimpy business. Neither are the Germans, apparently.

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Churches richly hued with gold and so #casual you had to make sure it wasn’t just painted there. And casually accompanied by a mobile library because reading is all sorts of jazzy on a crisp outside afternoon.

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Somewhere along the way, we stumbled through a giant square with bean bags and hammocks plopped everywhere. Because nap time is a real life thing. America, get with the program. Please & thank you. 

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And finally, we found humanity at its finest. A spectacle of tomfoolery that looks like an adult version of Disneyland. Where OUT OF ORDER is the only order and logical reason is no good reason at all.

Welcome to Oktoberfest. Stay a little while, why don’t you?

{to be continued}

~lexi

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Deuces, Dublin

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“So did you have a ‘beery’ nice weekend?”

These are the kinds of texts that you receive from Momma J after a weekend in Dublin. Punnyness is apparently all sorts of contagious. Whoa nelly, we’re talking science!

This past weekend traveling to Dublin was like life’s version of a giant thumbs up. 12 kooky students; Guinness; Trinity college; fish and chips; coats & a lack there of; GREEN; irish soda bread; hostel shenanigans; and an endless quest for water beer.

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Is it story time? Surely it is.

But since Monday is officially shaking its fist at my face, we’re going to save deets for tomorrow. Like how friend, K, almost found herself with a marriage proposal and 64 cows.

Moooooooooooo-re on that tomorrow.

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(20)12 Things I Learned That I Love in NYC This Weekend

Oh deary, our bus arrived in D.C. super late last night after a crazy (and wet) 45 minute delay in NYC, so H and I didn’t go to bed until quite late last night. Nonetheless, I’m back and at ‘em! Off to work and chipper about it, thanks to a great weekend. I don’t think 24 hours have ever been so adventurously filled with activity. I’m planning on doing a full recap, but in the meantime, I’ll have to give you this little gem of contemplation and a raincheck for tomorrow. So here’s just a few nuggets for thought–some of it is New York specific, but much of it is just reflection inspired by said trip and city.

(20)12 Things I Learned I Love in NYC This Weekend

1) Open air markets. Of the flea and farmers’ varieties.

2) Making plans and then foregoing of them for spontaneity. Because this is your life, and you can do that.

3) Good bagels + iced coffee are among the most wonderful combinations ever.

4) There is something inherently romantic about a city where you don’t know anybody. And because nobody knows nobody, everybody knows everybody.

5) Apple. Ginger. Beer Soda. Brooklyn, get at me.

6) Hot guys in cheese shops. Wearing aprons.

7) When H suggests it would be wonderful if said hot guy were just wearing an apron.

8) See #6 and 7.

9) Walking. Everywhere. It’s a thing.

10) When the sheer breath and soul of a city infuses itself into your own energy, life, and happiness.

11) Umbrellas are overrated. It’s perfectly acceptable to laugh, sing, and dance when your bus back to DC is late, and Mother Nature decides you need a fully-clothed shower. (Her water pressure is remarkable.)

12) The sweetness of friendship. When friends will jump in front of oncoming traffic to save you. When they will laugh at the stupidest of jokes and talk about the most pensive of things. When they will not just read–but write–your thoughts because they know you better than you know yourself. When dessert is not even a question. When they teach you about who you are as a person, the hard way. When I is always we, yours is always mine. When they will share every last bite, and drink up happiness with you. When they put in an extra dollar for the tip or subway. When they will watch you try on a million watches, full well knowing that you still won’t be on time. When they acknowledge that the effort you put in is the most valuable result. When they know that you don’t seek praise, just understanding. When you want to cry because your love for them feels almost overwhelming. When terribly empty food, comfort, patience, and energy, they will remain full of love for something greater: your friendship.

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Charmed by The Charm City

I haven’t legit blogged for a few days, and it feels crazy weird. In the past year (!!!), I’ve become so used to writing on here–telling you about the good, the bad, the ugly, and the awesome.

This time though, I promise I didn’t disappear out of stress or overloaded schedules. No siree, this weekend was full of fun and adventure, simple things and random stories.

Because we all know I’m type A until the doggies come home, how about a list?

Oh yes, lists, colons, commas, indents. They’re game changers.

Thursday:

B and I went to the Whole Foods again in Foggy Bottom for a little bit of…..trivia! If you remember, we went to WF a few weeks ago and miraculously won the trivia night. Naturally, we had to go back, when we heard they were holding a second night of fun. And guess what? It was reaffirmed that we are the ultimate food nerds. We won! Whole Foods trivia champs back-to-back, indeed. I know way too much about fruits and vegetables. And B knows way too much about all things Italy…especially wine ;)

Naturally, we celebrated with veggie burgers.

Have I told you I’m on the quest to find the world’s best (homemade) veggie burger? Yep, it’s totally a thing.

But more on that later. The Whole Foods veggie burger was absolutely delish. And contrary to the Whole Foods stereotype, it was CHEAP!

Don’t believe me? (I probably wouldn’t..) I present to you the $5.00 Veggie Burger. With every topping a girl could ever ask for.

(except avocado..harumph)

SO GOOD.

After trivia, I chatted with B for awhile, talked to H on the phone, and then hung out with some friends until way-too-late. ‘Twas a good night Smile

After a sparse few hours of sleep, I woke up and jogged down to the coffee shop to open for the day. Something about 7 a.m. and the smell of freshly ground coffee is downright peaceful. I was supposed to work until 7 a.m., but after a few people didn’t show up on time or at all, I ended up working till around noon. I didn’t really mind! Proof that I would probably work even if I didn’t get paid at all..

Post-work, I went home and showered, ate a super-fast lunch and then met H at Union Station to catch a train for Baltimore.

Oh snap, look at this West Coast-ee becoming quite the traveled East Coaster Winking smile  We went to Baltimore for a birthday party for J, who is H’s best friend from growing up. I had talked to J a bunch but had never met her in person; even so though, I must say—she was all sorts of awesome! Despite a sincere lack of sleep and a bout of motion sickness in the morning, the food was wonderful (homemade vegetarian!) and the company was even better.

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(counter-clockwise)

a) Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), cucumbers with artichoke dip, hummus, and pita chips

b) Frozen honey greek yogurt with roasted fruit

c) Pasta salad, fruit with mint/basil, more grape leaves, olives, and caprese salad

We didn’t get much sleep on Friday night (did you really expect 4 girls to not spend the entire night talking?), so we slept in a bit late on Saturday and then trekked to The Red Canoe for brunch. After so much delicious food the night before, I was still full! I decided to just go with a mug of coffee, which started off as a wonderful choice.

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Locally-roasted Zeke’s snickerdoodle coffee with a splash of soymilk and a dab of stevia. Sipped in a red mug, of course!

What started out as a great idea though quickly became a wee bit of a problem. When it comes to motion sickness, I’m a prime candidate—especially on an empty stomach. Though the coffee helped initially, it wasn’t long before a bout of headaches and nausea set in.

Ugh. Not my finest moment.

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Luckily, we eventually made it back to D.C. around the early evening, and I promptly devoured some blue corn tortilla chips, in hopes that it would make me feel a bit better. H and I declared that we both had a “sleepover hangover” (totes true), so we spent Saturday night hunkered down with a few slices of pizza and a good rom com with father H.

Perfecto. I wasn’t feeling 100% by the end of the night but certainly better than I had that morning.

Sunday, however, held the cure….

Which I’ll tell you about next time Smile

I’ll give you a hint: the cure starts with a P!

P.S. Check out H’s recap of the Coldplay concert HERE!

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WIAW: The Best of New York

[[Oops, I totally thought I published this but forgot! Excuse the out-of-order craziness!]]

Hi friends! Smile

Has it really been a week? Wowza, I miss my little bloggie.

It’s been a big last few weeks. East Coast, West Coast, Los Angeles, New York, and so much more.

Care for the summary? Here’s what happened:

Home, Sweet California: I finished my freshman year at Georgetown University and came home to California! It was a busy last two weeks at Georgetown, and I really needed to go home for a little while to sort it out.

Reconnected with Home: I hung out with family, saw best friends, went to the beach, and lived the California life.

College Cooking, Minus the Dorm: I told you about chillin’ and grillin’, as well as cornbread (in a bowl!!!!)

Say Hello to Los Angeles: I went to LA…not once, but twice!

Counted My Blessings: Reader appreciation all around! (Courtesy of Haley Smile)

Sunsets I Won’t Forget: I celebrated one final weekend in California.

Thanks for the Memories: I visited someone very special to me and gave you a recipe to match!

All Things Golden State: I spent a final day in California and threw a WIAW party in its honor

Musings on Home: I thought. A lot. About this summer and home…and everything in between. I gave you the run down for this summer–

  1. 3 weeks home in California
  2. 1 week in New York on family vacation
  3. Rest of the summer in Washington D.C., working/interning/living a summer with my best friends!

Whew, I told you a lot happened! So what’s been happening lately?

NEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YORK!!!

But New York didn’t just happen. I sufficiently ate my way through it too!

I have so so so so so many pictures of New York eats, but I don’t want to be responsible for death by pixels. Let’s go with a random mishmash of what I ate, did, saw, etc., shall we? And because you know how much I love lists, let’s throw some numbers in the mix too.

Feast your eyes, my friends, because this WIAW post is about to get cray.

NEW YORK, June 2012: IN PICTURES

[[From top left, clockwise]]

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WIAW for…My Belated Birthday in New York

  1. Double Rainbow..whoa! : The moment we arrived in LaGuardia Airport, it was raining and had been for awhile. We managed to make it to the Hertz rental lot semi-dry, and soon enough, the rain stopped. While Mum and Dad took care of getting the car inside, Blake and I sat on a bench outside and talked. Then, we saw a pretty fantastic rainbow. And not just any rainbow…a double rainbow!
  2. Birthday Dinner: My birthday is April 30—a perfect time in Spring that I absolutely love. Except for the fact that it signifies the beginning of AP tests in high school and finals in college. POOP. My family has kindly offered to celebrate my birthday in a belated fashion instead for the past few years. And this year, we decided to celebrate while in New York City! The dinner pick: Josie’s East Side. I would have probably tried Candle Café were I alone, but I don’t think Blake and Dad would have been too excited about all vegetarian options.
  3. The Birthday Order: Forever on the hunt for the world’s best veggie burger, I ordered the multigrain veggie burger (quinoa, barley, and one other?) with soy cheddar cheese. The burger patty itself was decent, but I wasn’t a big fan of the soy cheese. Typically, I love soy cheese, but this variety had a super strange after taste. Still, the patty was good! I got a side of pumpkin soup as well.
  4. OMG OMG OMG DESSERT: Seriously, even if you skim over the rest of the post, read this. Post-dinner, we set out for dessert. A friend raved about Magnolia Bakery, but I had my eye on Lula’s Apothecary earlier. Because I have a hugh jass sweet tooth but am also terribly indecisive, I somehow persuaded my parents to go on a crusade for both desserts. We picked up a gigantic slice of coconut cake from Magnolia Bakery, before making our way to Greenwich Village for a vegan confection from Lula’s. At Lula’s, Blake and I split a two-scoop cup of cookies ‘n cream ice cream and a cup of cake batter soft serve. The frozen desserts from Lula’s were AMAZING!!!!! Absolutely delicious—vegan or otherwise. The Magnolia cake was mediocre, especially in comparison to the Lula’s desserts. If you are in NYC, please go try Lula’s ASAP.

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What I Decided…New York, I Love You

  1. These Lights Will Inspire You: Walking out of Grand Central Station, I couldn’t stop smiling. I love New York City. As a person who never stops moving, NYC suits me in ways I can’t explain. It makes me feel so incredibly alive, as if the bustle and life of the city infuses into my own soul. I don’t know that I could live there my entire life, but I know for sure that I could live there for a bit of time.
  2. Late and Looking Good: Because I try to pack so much into one day, I’m often late going and coming places. My family and friends always tease me about it, so when I saw this sign, I was practically dancing with glee. (Maybe that was the sugar high?). Okay okay, so maybe I “interpreted” this sign a little bit, but hey, let’s just call that creative license.

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What I Saw…Mohonk Mountain House

  1. White Cedars: After dinner in NYC, we drove an hour north and then spent the night in a hotel on the way to our final destination. The next morning, we arrived at one of my favorite places on Earth—Mohonk Mountain House. This place is special beyond words, and being that it’s our third visit, our White Cedars cottage feels like home.
  2. A Thousand Sparkling Diamonds:Mohonk sits on a lake that is absolutely breathtaking. Nestled in the mountains, it is the most perfect retreat from the worries of life. There’s gazeboes all around the lake that allow for optimal sitting and soaking in of the beauty. In the sunlight, the lake’s sparkling is more than can be illustrated in photograph.
  3. Plants and Paths: Surrounded by tons of hiking trails, Mohonk has more than enough to keep me busy between the week. I’ve taken to hiking up the mountain most mornings to start off my day. It’s the time I take to simply contemplate and think to myself.

Questions of the Day:

Have you ever been to New York?
City slicker or country kid?

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