Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Swooning Over Smorgasburg

Not only is Boston considered the college playground of the nation, creative hub for businesses, and the most picturesque city during every season, but it's also only a short 4 hour drive down to my favorite city on the planet - New York bloody City.

I'm sure you've seen plenty of sitcoms, movies and TV shows to know that in NY, there really is something for everybody. Street performers for the curious, Central Park for the environmentalists, authentic Italian pizza & Cronuts for the foodies and more. Since I thrive off of local culture and eating food representative of it, I took Lily to one of my favorite weekend events in town - Smorgasburg.

Located in Brooklyn, this weekend food market is the perfect way to experience the city & the diversity it cultivates. Shop owners from across the city get together to sell their goods and enjoy the mix of hungover locals and wide-eyed tourists while we scarf down their food without a second to spare.
 She had no idea what to expect...
 whereas I was too excited to contain myself.
On Sundays, during the early weeks of fall, the market is held outside on one of Brooklyn's piers. We strolled and soaked in the sporadic sunshine and took to some people watching & sight seeing.

 A casual walk later and we hit the market, AKA hub of local grub.
With more mouthwatering vendors than our stomachs could possibly handle, we did a few laps to identify which spots we wanted to hit up and in what order. Long story short we got a little bit of just about everything.

Lobster rolls

Slow cooked BBQ pork buns, bubble tea, hearty chili soup, piping hot Moroccan chai tea, and a few tasters of a modern twist of brownie bars made with spicy Mexican chocolate. After nearly filling ourselves up to the brim, I found the stand tucked away in the corner that I knew no matter how little space I had left, I was filling it with this prized good - THE RAMEN BURGER.
 Absolutely glorious. Look, even the wrapping is cool! AND ECO FRIENDLY! Environmentalists rejoice.
 Now, I'd been waiting for this day for many years so I'd already been a ramen burger aficionado before it had even touched my lips.

Step one: get perfect grasp on burger.
 Step two: mentally prepare to eat the food of the Asian gods.
 Step three: gorge.

To my surprise, it was BLAND! My entire world nearly crumbled around me in disappointment that it lacked the diversity of spices that I thoroughly enjoyed as a kid when eating raw ramen; absolutely smothered in the seasoning. Nonetheless, it was an experience I am glad I did not pass up on. It was a sensation for the senses in the respect that you are eating a burger….but made with ramen instead of the regular ol' bun.

Next time I'm down in the city on Sunday, I'll be sure to get back in the kitchen with the Ramen boys and show them how it's really done ;)

If you're ever in the city, make sure you leave space in your weekend and in your stomach to stop by Smorgasburg! Check out their website for more info http://www.smorgasburg.com/

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Why I'm Done Being Nice & Becoming a B*tch Instead

It goes without much argument that A) the good guys always finish last because B) girls are hypnotized/magnetized/uncontrollably attracted to (saying it like it is) douchebags. They have such horrible human qualities that, in a girlfriend, would be immediately avoided. But the way in which they demonstrate those qualities is what gets us mesmerized.

Complete and utter confidence.
This is their money maker. They can shake this better than any girl can twerk. This is something that needs no practice, they just love themselves and have no shame in showing it. They are the magical unicorns of their environment and mystify anyone who glances upon them (to an extreme anyway...).

The mystery lying between the lines of an open book.
You might think you can figure these cocky guys out just by watching them for 10 minutes, but there's much more to the story than that. Oh, yes. They have a big secret that no one gets to hear, see, or even fathom about because it is so unspeakable. This is their hook to our fish-pout lips. We believe, even if there is no sign of one, that we can journey to the center of their soul and uncover this gem of fragility and humanity. We become obsessed in obtaining it, polishing it, and resurfacing to a crowed of disbelievers. Daddy issues, drug issues, death of someone important - all possible things which made them turn dark. The only black hole in which we are the only one with the flashlight.

Wishy washy.
I applaud them on their ability to be so hot and so cold in short time spans. How does one jump from so high to so low so quickly? They are masters and I stand before them in awe. They're interested in you one minute and completely forget about you the next. Make you feel like the only gal in the room and with the shift of a glance turn you into a wallflower. Bravo. They've got bipolar disorder on lock, the poor, tortured souls.

Indifference to anything anyone has to say because, well, they just don't care.
This one's pretty self explanatory. When you are so secure in who you are and love yourself beyond words can describe, why would you care what other people think? Especially when they're living their life to make them happy and therefore only have ears open to things that parallel their opinions. Complete and utter self-bliss.

So, having establish that I am hopelessly and forever unable to resist my attraction to these kinds of men, I have decided to turn into the female version of them. A b*tch.

I am going to love myself. My quirky freckles. My sexy porcelain white skin. My ability to look good at any angle. My confidence in myself that I am already the best version of the current me. I will do only the things I know will make me an even better version of myself and not give a hoot about others trying to change my ways. Why? Because, just like the douchebag's lenses may be rose tinted, they are the shade of reality in which they love seeing life in. They are in complete bliss with themselves and are voluntarily oblivious to anyone going against their grain. Why? Because at the end of the day, is your life worth living if you're just living it for everyone else? It's not.

My b*tchysse begins now. If you don't like me, not my problem. If you think I take too many selfies, you should learn how to love every bit of yourself too. So goodbye, too-fragile-self-doubting-trend-following girl and hello to self-confident-self-expressive-fabulous-perfectly-imperfect new me: the b*tch.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Taking Freshman Year in University by Storm

  1. Invest in good (portable) speakers so you can play your music too loudly and get the people goin'.
  2. Say hey to people in your dorm. You're going to know them all eventually anyway so you may as well start off on the right foot!
  3. Have a 10 minute pity party to cry about missing your friends from home, but only one. Then, be thankful for having them back home but be grateful for all the opportunities you now have to expand your friend group.
  4. Party on the first night with your new friends in your building. It's called bonding.
  5. Do not, I repeat, do not get white girl wasted on your first night. You want to put your best foot forward first..the rest is unveiled to those who've earned to see it later on!
  6. Not everyone is going to want to be your friend. And you know what, that's perfectly fine. Invest in those who show as much interest in you as you do them and time nor energy will be wasted.
  7. Be a suck up and introduce yourself to your professors on the first day. It doesn't matter if you sit in the back left corner in the dark for the whole semester; it's the fact that you respect and value them at least a little bit that will earn you brownie points you might need to cash in in the future.
  8. Pick out the smartest kid in class, swap numbers and stay in touch. He/she will help you one day...you'll see.
  9. Try your best to be the smartest kid in class but by no means beat yourself up over it - especially if it's in a class you have no interest in/talent for/care about. Grades only matter when you can tack on "Dean's List" on your resume.
  10. That being said, now is the time to have FUN! Don't let grades be your everything....let them be your 65%. the rest should be comprised of sleep, social life, and the gym*
  11. *Work. Out. University is stressful and, believe it or not, a hate-sprint on the treadmill after a hard day is what will lift the weight off your shoulders.**
  12. **Don't shove things under the rug. Address them. Otherwise they'll be back to bite you in the bum.
  13. Eat the dining hall food. It may be the worst thing you'll ever eat or the best but either way it'll teach you how to appreciate a ready-made meal.
  14. Eat with different people. Branch out. Don't stick to the same people 100% of the time. Learn to network and form connections. You never know, one day you just might someone techsavvy to hook up your computer and unruly printer or a photographer to help you with a project.
  15. Did I mention networking? Yeah....do lots of that. It'll help you get to the places you want to go.
  16. Try new things. As long as they're not radically outside your belief system and set of values, there's no harm in pushing yourself to new comfort levels. This is how you learn and discover more about yourself after all!
  17. Only care about how you see yourself. Everyone else is secondary because at the end of the day, you're the only one who wants the best for you*
  18. *Except your parents....they'll be there for you as much as they humanly can. Realize that and thank them for it by dropping a line every now and then! They might even throw you a bone by adding some more dollahs in your bank account (great time and patience sacrifice).
  19. But on the other hand, don't talk to your parents 5 times a day. You've moved away from home to start your independent life for a reason.
  20. Budget. Your. Money. Plan for miscellaneous expenses because there are always spontaneous expenditures you're gonna have to make, like going to an Avicii concert or a train ticket to NYC for a weekend adventure with your friends.
  21. Load up your weekends with exciting new things
  22. Pick up an intramural sport. Broomball is highly recommended.
  23. Take as many pictures as your phone can store. Nothing better than reflecting back on even the smallest occasions!
  24. P.S. take photos when you go out but A) don't look at them till the next morning and B) don't be that person who goes out and only takes pictures. Take them sporadically and sneakily. As awesome as pictures are, life is most enjoyed through seeing it with your own eyes rather than through a screen/camera lens.
  25. Get involved with your school's sports teams, even if you have zero interest it's always a great social scene.
  26. Get involved with anything that sparks your interest. Skeet shooting? Load up and give it your best shot. Ice skating? Glide on out there! Photography club? Snap your heart out. Clubs and events around your city are great ways to make connections with people that you may not normally meet. Plus it gets you out of the dorm and into your college town.
  27. On that note, explore where you live. It's your new home so become a local and shed your tourist skin as soon as possible. Tourists are tacky and unwanted for good reasons.
  28. Be brave. Get out there and get crazy because after all, this is the only year when pretty much anything is acceptable. Real life can be boring (from what I hear) so stay in this fantasy land as long as possible and don't waste a bloody second of it! Because if not now, it's never.
  29. Furthermore, don't wish time to pass by. Enjoy every second, even if it's during a rough patch. I can't pinch myself hard enough to realize that my freshman year is over and I wish I could have slowed time down. It was the most incredible year so far and I wouldn't change anything I did. I went all out and I'm stoked I did. This is the year of memories and the year to start learning and testing yourself. Don't skip a single opportunity handed to you because great things spawn from the most unexpected events. Cliff jump off your edge of fear and land in a current that'll take you to beautiful places you don't even know exist yet!
And with that I wrap up my first year in uni. Not a single regret. I walk away with crazy stories and a bag full of experiences that have made me proud of who I am today. Can't wait to take on sophomore year by storm! But first, summer is calling.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Feeling at Home at the Red Lantern

Thank goodness for broke foodaholics (like the girls and I) who demand two weeks where over 200 posh restaurants offer discounted suppers and lunches. Knowing that our people have done us a favor, we made a reservation at Asian infusion restaurant Red Lantern and hit the town for the night.

We were greeted by Buddhist statues and thrown into a time warp back to ancient China.

As the name suggests, the grand room was decorated with gorgeous red lanterns creating an ornamental glow in the room. We sat down to the song of one another "ooo"-ing and "ahhhh"-ing and immediately grabbed the menus to decide what to order.

 For appetizers, Sarah and Christine settled for the Crab Wontons in a lemongrass broth with watercress.

Sophia went for the Modern California Roll in which the crab, instead of normally rolled up inside, was stacked on top of the rolls and garnished with greens.
 While I, on the other hand, got brown rice House Spicy Salmon Rolls to which nearly knocked me out of my chair*.
 *No exaggeration.
The brown rice was perfectly glutenous and the sauce simply decidant...but the real show stopper was the salmon.
I had some of the world's best sushi in Japan and knew that I would never eat such exquisite sushi anywhere else.
Little did I know that I would find some equally as tender and all the more urban version of my favorite salmon rolls like the ones I had in Tokyo in my hometown of Boston.
Perfectly content with ending the meal right there, we sat and basked in our food delight until our entrees came.
I went for the house special Singapore Street Noodles (a huge portion of angel hair thin noodles with pork, shrimp and scallops).

 While Sarah went for the incredibly rich China Town Style Prime Rib (the best "bang for your buck" option on the dine out menu).
And Soph and Christine went for the Miso Glazed Salmon which was accompanied by roasted Japanese eggplant,  grilled bok choy and sake & soy.

Ending up sharing the dishes family style (except for the salmon dishes which were perfect for one person), we doggie bagged the remainder of my massive noodle dish and moved on to the last course.

We chose both the Coconut Sorbets topped with fresh tropical fruits and spiced macadamia nuts
And the apple rangoons drizzled with butterscotch sauce, cinnamon sugar and set atop a little river of butterscotch pudding.
Our check arrived along with four red velvet fortune cookies and a restaurant review sheet to which we absolutely raved about the food, ambiance, and incredible service!

I highly recommend checking out all that Restaurant Week has to offer and if you're torn as to where to go, Red Lantern comes highly highly recommended! The meal totaled to $33 and was worth every penny. This week is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself, your friends and/or your family to a great dinner for a fraction of the price. Go ahead, you know you want to.