Sunday, May 29, 2011

NYC...lotsa photos

Little train ride from DC to Manhattan for a very fun and verrry long day, including walking 10.3 miles according to my pedometer (which actually tends to estimate low!).  Here is the day in photos:

Confession, I hit the cupcakes early and often.  Gave a new shop a try called Baked by Melissa featuring teeny little silver dollar sized cupcakes- moist and flavorful- thumbs up!
 Cookie Dough, Red Velvet, Peanut Butter Cup

Shortly followed by a stop at the ever-tempting Crumbs Bake Shop, my true Achille's heel, for a flavor I had never tried before- Lemon Meringue.  Delish!  Marshmellow-y cream on top with lemon curd filling. (I didn't eat ALL of it, so don't worry too much...but I got close!)

Next was a walk through Central Park en route to Museum Mile.

Funny enough, when I saw this guy (above) selling jokes, my first thought was, "Oh- Colin should do that!" haha


Definitely some beautiful spots in that park.  I don't think I ever appreciated its size until I walked diagonally across nearly the entire length of it!  HUGE!

And then my long-time dream- THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM!!


Franky, you did good. (That's Frank Lloyd Wright for those of you that aren't as good of buddies with him as I)  Couldn't take pictures of the art, but the architecture is art in itself.

Next came a pretzel dog from the gourmet pretzel cart outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Complete with spiced kraut and more ketchup and mustard than anyone could ever want:
 Then I stopped to see the Manhattan LDS Temple- the last time I saw it, it was but a lowly chapel- and now it looks like a legit temple!  Angel Moroni and everything!  I was very glad that I got a chance to see it.

Literally across the street from the Temple is the Juilliard and the Lincoln Center, where a little adventure came.  A woman asked me for the time, it was 1:50pm, and then she rushed off with masses of others into the Lincoln Center.  Then came the scalpers and I discovered the New York Ballet was set to perform in 10 minutes and I decided to give it a go!  The $50 I paid on the street for a $140 ticket in the first row above the orchestra level was something I could NOT pass up!  I was lucky enough to sit next to a real connoisseur of the NY Ballet- she could tell which of the different choreographers had put together a dance by watching!- and the performance was a tribute to Broadway Musicals, including several numbers from West Side Story- my favorite!! :D

Honestly, I didn't even know what the ballet was going to be before I bought the ticket, so I was pleasantly surprised :)  Obviously no photos of the performance, but here's a couple from the inside:


And then I saw Raj!  After 2 years!  Love her!!  We feasted on some delights from the Grand Central Market.
And, of course, a final Crumbs cupcake for the road home- I chose the whimsical "Squiggle" designed after Hostess, think: "where's the cream filing?" :) It was VERY tasty!
Beautiful day and tons of fun!

Yoga For Congo Women

I have been waiting to put up this post until the photos from the event were released, aaaaannnd- they finally were!
So at the end of April, the nonprofit Yoga for Congo Women hosted an event in my very own Carlisle, PA, and it was awesome!  During a relaxing hour of yoga, calming music was played and between/during poses, recent fact and figures about the civil war in the DR Congo as well as personal stories about women who have been helped by the group Women for Women International (the group that receives ALL proceeds from Yoga for Congo Women events) were given.  It was very enlightening and very moving.  I had a marvelous time.

Plus, I realized that I'm pretty much a yoga model ;)

Some ladies from church who attended:

If there are no events coming soon to your area, please consider a donation to this wonderful group promoting awareness to people in the US about the conflict in the Congo, and sending financial and emotional aid to women with lives filled with little more than tragedy after tragedy.
Plus the founder is a BYU grad- yay!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Welcome to Muhruhlind! (local pronunciation)

 It's official.  I live in a southern state (although as far north as possible, but it still counts!).  Yesterday I went to the grocery store- which was in a mall, so that was weird- and I had to keep walking by instead of going in because I was laughing SO HARD to see that even the grocery store was being patrolled by a cop 24/7.  Oh, Maryland!  I composed myself after walking by the African Styles store, next to the henna kiosk, across from the quinceanera dress store, next to the corn rows salon.  I was the only white person in the entire mall- I was looking.  And I finally felt like I understood how my buddy Gilbert must have felt so long ago being the only black kid in our entire elementary school.  Maybe it was just my imagination, but it seemed like people were looking at me kinda weird- not as bad as the Japanese tourists in Australia who had never seen a blonde person before and flocked me with their cameras...but it was similar.  Where I am from in Southern California is extremely diverse, but this is a whole different level.  In short, I LOVE IT! :D  I think I'm gonna have a lot of fun!

Here is my little house:

Here is the living room- the painting of the sailboat cracks me up:

And the back yard, woods included:

So long, Pennsylvania!

Just before I said goodbye to my little PA home (I already miss the Mennonite farmers market!!) I decided to make a visit to the National Civil War Museum.  There is a great museum dedicated to the civil war in Gettysburg (obviously) but it mainly focuses on the actual battle at Gettysburg.  So the National Civil War Museum was created in Harrisburg to showcase things pertaining to the entire war, including some things about slavery, Lincoln's assassination, and so forth.  I didn't realize it until I got there, but it wasn't even opened until 2001!  You'd think that the bloodiest war in our nation's history would get a little official recognition before then, but hey, budget crisis...

It's not too big, but I found it to be well-organized and insightful.  I even cried.  Going to museums by yourself, I have found, lends itself to more moments of AH-HA! and sometimes more tears since you don't have people tugging at you to move along, so I enjoyed that :)
The statue is entitled "Moment of Mercy"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Upcycling!

So, I love to recycle.  I think it is BRILLIANT!  Why make more stuff, when we already have tons of stuff in landfills?? DUH!  In fact maybe I recycle too much...I wash all my pudding cups and yogurt cups and cans from beans and stuff...pretty much 1/3 of what's in my sink ends up getting washed and put in the recycle bin (although 100% does get washed- don't worry!).  And one week when my bin was, as usual, teeming with reusable goodness, my anorexic neighbor said, "Geez, girl!  How much do you eat?!"  Well...we'll leave that story at that.

Anyway, so one day I was eating my delicious Odwalla (a company which, by the way, uses sugar cane to make their plastic bottles!) protein bar and noticed a little insignia on the back for TerraCycle, Inc. and I did a little websearch and learned all about UPCYCLING and now I'm hooked!  So the premise of this company is:
1) Making new stuff takes a lot of energy and resources.
2) Recycling old stuff saves resources, but still uses energy.
3) Upcycling old stuff saves both energy AND resources because you do not have to drastically change the form of the old stuff like you do when you Recycle (think melting glass or plastic).

So have you ever seen those purses made of Capri Sun pouches or coin purses made from M&Ms wrappers?  Those have been Upcycled!  In other words, repurposed without needing to have their form greatly altered.

PLUS, TerraCycle gives money to a charity of your choice (you can even have them donate to your local school!!) for every item of waste that you ship to them that can be Upcycled.  So I just sent in my first batch of collected Upcyclables- I currently collect energy bar wrappers, cheese bags (like the plastic Sargento ones), and cereal bags- all things that most people would probably throw in the garbage, but can actually be repurposed AND make money for charity!  Now that is brilliant!


DO IT!  You have nothing to lose!  They even pay your shipping costs! :D


http://www.terracycle.net/

Monday, May 16, 2011

Indoor Climbing

I have a few days before I relocate to MD to start my internship and so I have been trying to do some post-finals unwinding.  Soooo, my law school buddy Sarah and I decided to go rock climbing!  The high schooler dude helping us get our equipment set up asked if we'd ever been climbing before and I said, really (I swear!) not trying to be a snob, "Well, its been a few years, the last time was in Australia...I've also climbed in Utah and California..."  Wow.  Unbelievable snobbishness without even trying!  I felt bad!  I'm not any good, so he probably thought I was a big fat liar, haha!  It made me realize that I've been extremely lucky to do a ton of adventurous and fun things throughout my life.  Hooray for adventure! :D
Me, smiling for all the little people below :)

Action shot!

Sarah!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Glorious Spring!

I've lived in a lot of places and experienced many different climates during my tumble-weed life.  You cannot beat the mild winters of Southern California, and fall in northern Utah is beautiful with the Wasatch Mountains ablaze in changing leaves, but I have to say, spring in Pennsylvania is GLORIOUS!
Maybe it's just the contrast after experiencing the misery of winter (it's actually true what they all say about a "dry cold" being better than a "wet cold"!), but regardless, I am thoroughly enjoying the blossoming trees.

I have been taking a lot of bike rides and walks recently to clear my head from excessive studying and life stress, and on one walk last week I had the brilliance to bring my camera.  These photos aren't even the best of the best places, just what I saw within a 10-minute walking radius from my apartment, but I think they're lovely.  Cherry blossoms, apple blossoms, and just miles and miles of green.   Plus every bush and tree is teeming with cardinals, robins, bunnies, squirrels, and chipmunks (they are ADORABLE!).  Plus there is some really cool, old architecture out here, verses the consistently dull 1950's/1960's design of nearly every house in my hometown.
People out here think I'm joking when I say "Where I come from, we don't really have trees..."  But seriously!  We've got palm trees back home, the occasional cypress and olive tree, not to mention the cell phone towers disguised to look like trees, but that's about it!  In suburban coastal So Cal, there is really no such thing as Empty Space or fields.  Sad but true; the price we pay for glamor ;)

Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland


 Is it sad that I saw this picture and the first thing that came to mind was, "Oh, I guess my life could be worse!"

It's finals time; enough said.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cakes Galore!

I had a TON of leftover frosting after making these cupcakes for a public interest law auction at school:

The idea came from Paula Dean's "TV Dinner" Cupcakes.  So they are chicken drumsticks, peas & carrots, mashed potatoes, and a brownie dessert.  Cute, right??

Anyway, back to the frosting...so I am moving to Maryland in about 2 weeks, so I have been trying to use up stuff in the kitchen and I noticed that I had tons of frosting and, oddly enough, coconut.  So I did a littly searchy-search on Martha Stewart's website and found a lovely little recipe for coconut-almond cake!

















So I cut it into an egg and went a little crazy...and then ate most of it.

Happy Easter :D