Monday, March 31, 2014

My Empty Stomach & I Go to Austin, TX

The lack of posting lately is due to the fact that a lot of hotels in Texas don't offer free in-room wifi. Hello! McDonalds even offers free wifi now…. like what year in the 2000s are you stuck in that you have yet to install this necessity? Anyway, my mother and I went to Austin for a few days to visit family in the area and see what the city is all about.

The food of course was the best part of the trip. Seeing that eating is one of my favorite activities why would I not enjoy exploring Austin's palate? Austin is well-know for pretty established food truck businesses, but my mom was not into the whole idea of that so unfortunately I didn't get to experience any of them. The restaurants that we did go to my empty stomach & I were very satisfied.

Nancy's Sky Garden located in a very cute, small town called Georgetown, TX was absolutely my favorite place we ate. The town itself is rich of character and small, local shops and is totally worth driving out of the city to walk around in for an afternoon. The food at Nancy's is to die for. It is all asian inspired dishes that will make your mouth explode with flavors. It is also super fresh and all the dishes are very healthy options. It doesn't help that they decorated the restaurant to look adorable.

Hummus Roll 

Spicy Tofu with Avocado 

Back in Austin, our concierge recommended the local, higher-end, "tex-mex" staple: La Condessa. We went for lunch and the restaurant was relatively empty and the service was quick and friendly. The decorating was very fresh, modern, and well done. The food was very delicious here as well but I didn't get the small, local, mom & pop vibe like I did at Nancy's. Still definitely recommend it for a yummy meal at an interesting and modern eatery. 

Chips, Guacamole & Seasonal Salsas

Aguacate Tostada 
(sliced avocado, black bean puree, poblano rajas, chipotle mayo, arugula, tomatoes)

For dinner, I got my mom to try sushi for the first time and she actually enjoyed it! Piranha Killer Sushi is where we went, again on a weeknight, and it was very empty - therefore, good service. We ordered saki and I tried that for the first time, all by myself, because my mom doesn't drink. Lets just say I was a little buzzed by the end of our meal. Oops. The sushi was good, especially because the seaweed itself was crunchy instead of adding the crunch to the fish itself - something I have never experienced before. 

Crunchy Tuna Roll, Edamame, & Tozai Snow Maiden Saki

On our final day, we traveled to the Counter Cafe. Featured on Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives, the food is fresh, local, and delicious. The restaurant itself is basically the size of a small cardboard box, but the vibe is inviting and friendly. You walk in and immediately feel like you've been coming here every Sunday morning with your parents since you can remember. My meal was delicious and the prices are very reasonable.

Breakfast Tacos (bacon on the side), In-House Made Salsa & Mimosa

I enjoyed my time there and enjoyed spending time with my mom, but would I go back to Austin? I don't think so. The city has a really weird vibe, yes, that is their saying, "keep Austin weird", but that's not the vibe I'm talking about. The new side of the river just constantly felt like I was walking in a newly built outlet mall. It was very barren and the buildings and shops felt too "big-box store"-ish, uninviting, and overall were lacking character. 6th street, filled with bars and live music was the only interesting part on that side of the river worth going to.

On the older side of the river, South Congress is the place to explore. It has a lot of shops and restaurants that are unique and fun to roam in and out of. My favorite part was going to the "Cathedral of Junk". Basically, its a guy who decided to make "sculptures" in his backyard. It was a great photo opportunity for me and my photography and totally fun to explore and see everything. It might have freaked out my mom a bit but it was awesome. I'll post later in the week some of the images I took on my actual camera instead of just my iPhone. Hope you all have been well!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lipstick & Travels

Happy Friday to all & hope that everyone is planning on having a lovely weekend! Luckily for me, I'll be getting out of Philadelphia for awhile and traveling to Austin, TX. Yes, I am aware that I just missed SXSW and that obviously makes me a grumpy cat… but lets just try to ignore that.

Recently, I received a lovely package that made me feel a little better about missing SXSW and the best part? It had lipstick in it! I wear lipstick often, when I am actually caring about what I look like, and we all know how much I love the word free. Rimmel recently released their new lipstick line of moisture renew lipstick and it is very true to it's name. Moisturizing was the first word to come to mind when I applied it. I've tried a bunch of different lipsticks on from many different brands but this goes on so smooth and soft that you can tell it begins moisturizing right away. The color, "As You Want Victoria" is not usually a color I would wear. I usually only wear deep, darker colors like reds and wines. This color is more like a red-pink… leaning more on the pink side. The color is very fun so it is perfect if I ever feel bold, loud, and fun. Unfortunately, I have yet to wear it for a full night out or anything so I am unsure about how long it stays on. I am definitely interested to see the other colors in the line because of how moisturizing the lipstick really does feel when I apply it.

If you're ever looking to add something new and fun to your beauty routine this lipstick line is perfect - the added bonus being that it is very moisturizing!

Here's what I'm listening to:

I received this product complimentary for testing purposes from influenster, but all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Simplicity & Happiness

Remembering to stay happy in times of stress & negativity is very hard. I always just try to remember the simple things. Below are some of the simple things in my life that remind me that it isn't so bad. What are some of your simple pleasures that put a smile on your face?

  • Sleeping next to my dog every night
  • Candles that smell like a memory
  • Piping hot black coffee and green tea
  • Floppy hats
  • Photography
  • Developing my own negatives
  • Hiding in a darkroom all day 
  • The smell on rainy days
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring and autumn days
  • Summer nights
  • Chilled white wine
  • Sipping whisk(e)y with good friends
  • Socks with whacky patterns 
  • Music that knows exactly how to express what I can never say
  • Driving in a convertible with the top down at night
  • Stargazing
  • Getting lost in Manhattan
  • The fact that France is only a plane ride away
  • Poems and well written literature 
  • Admiring art
  • Someone that can make me laugh
  • When someone pets my dog and you can tell she makes them so happy
  • Taking a long, hot shower 
  • Binge-watching a Netflix TV show
  • Anything Disney related 
  • Listening to vinyl on my record player

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Franklin Fountain

Living right in the heart of Old City is often heartwarming. To be able to wander in to little nooks and crannies, such as the Franklin Fountain, as I please is a blessing.

source: top || middle || bottom

The Franklin Fountain, started in 2003 by the Berley Boys, is one of my absolute favorite spots in the city. It is modeled after many old fashioned soda shops and its location in Old City could not be more perfect. The menu changes seasonally in order to reflect the changing temperatures and flavors, but also has a year-round menu as well. I personally chose an item off of the winter menu, some sort of delicious wine-based sorbet and topped it off with a berry compote. All of the ice-cream is handmade and from friends' reviews it is delicious. My lactose-intolerance forbids me from tasting unfortunately. The menu options are some things you have never heard of but your Grandfather could teach you a lesson in: from phosphates to thirst-aides to egg creams. The nostalgic experience is enough to make me want to permanently campout and have them bring me phosphates all day. In the winter it is dead, which is the biggest plus, but in the summer the lines wrap around the block.  It is cash only so make sure you have enough! If you can, try to come at a time when it is less busy so you can enjoy the stress-free environment of having an ice cream, or any of their concoctions, and sitting inside a place similar to what our grandparents enjoyed.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Things I've Learned In A Relationship

Calling all ladies.
Single. Married. Divorced. In a relationship. Engaged.
I don't give a fuck this applies to every individual avec vagina.

I have been in a menagerie of relationships in my life and am currently in the middle of one that has really opened my eyes to the importance of myself and what it means to be involved in a healthy relationship. So I have created a list of some important factors for all to keep in mind when you find yourself involved with another.

Talk to Each other… and Listen
Keeping open communications between the two of you is extremely important. Neither of you should ever feel inferior to the other. It can be difficult but make sure you are really trying to listen to the other individual…. even if you really aren't interested - you might be able to learn something.

Disagreeing is Okay. 
Spending a significant amount of time with another individual, you are bound to argue about sometime. It is impossible to completely agree with someone 100% of the time and thats okay. Just make sure that you both recognize each other's points in a mature fashion and move on.

Take a breath.
Again, arguments and disagreements will occur. Just make sure that before you say the most hurtful thing, you take a breath and really think about it. Maybe it just means you have to walk away. Taking a walk to really give yourselves some time to digest the situation will make a difference. In ten minutes you will not be as mad as you were right when the argument began.

Social Media
Don't make yourself crazy with social media and the other individual, because you can... and will. Stalking their instagrams, twitters, Facebooks, whatever else, is unhealthy. If you have trust in the individual, trust that they are making smart decisions online too. If you're too worried they aren't making the right decisions maybe sitting down and talking about it is necessary.

Take time for yourself
The most important aspect of this list. Make sure you are taking time for yourself. Whether its getting together with your friends once a week, going to the gym, reading a book, make sure you're not getting completely engulfed in the relationship. It is easy to enjoy spending time with one another and thats completely normal, just make sure it isn't verging on the unhealthy side. Spending too much time with each other can have negative effects on the both of you so just make sure you're each getting you're own alone time.

I really could continue but I'll save it for another time and another post.
What bits of advice do you give to other ladies in regards to relationships?

Here's what I'm listening to:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring Cleaning

Although spring isn't officially until four days (March 20) I am officially ready for it. Due to my extreme willfulness for the warm weather to arrive permanently I have created a playlist for when it does. I find the tracks on the mix are perfect for finally being able to open your windows and letting the warm air rush in.

  1. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) - Arcade Fire
  2. Little Bit - Lykke Li
  3. Big Jet Plane - Angus & Julia Stone
  4. Intro - The XX
  5. The Start of Something - Voxtrot
  6. North - Phoenix
  7. Suffocation - Crystal Castles
  8. Heartbeats - The Knife
  9. Auburn and Ivory - Beach House
  10. Clair De Lune - Michael Dulin
  11. My Only Swerving - El Ten Eleven
  12. Young Bride - Midlake
  13. Sex Tourist - French Kicks

Listen to the full mixtape on my 8tracks

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Vincent van Gogh used to eat yellow paint because he thought it would get the happiness inside him. Many people thought he was mad and stupid for doing so because the paint was toxic, never mind that it was obvious that eating paint couldn't possibly have any direct correlation to one's happiness, but I never saw that. If you were so unhappy that even the maddest ideas could possibly work, like painting the walls of your internal organs yellow, than you are going to do it. It's really no different than falling in love or taking drugs. There is a greater risk of getting your heart broken or overdosing, but people still do it everyday because there was always that chance that it could make things better. Everyone has their yellow paint."
- Unknown

Monday, March 3, 2014

Loving/Hating Philadelphia

Christ Church 

After moving full-time to the city of brotherly love over eight months ago, I have had many ups and downs with the city. Moving from a city like New York City, where every place is extremely accessible via public transportation, and then moving to Philadelphia.. makes me frustrated to say the least. Trust me, if you have ever had to deal with SEPTA you know what I am talking about.

My pup at the National Constitution Center

Philly sunsets

There are also a lot of reasons to be in love with a city like this. Huffington Post has determined Philadelphia to be the most underrated city in America… and has given us 31 reasons why. If the over 200 BYOB restaurants don't make you fall in love, then going to a Phillies game or grubbing out at the Reading Terminal will. I have found myself in love with the city just walking my dog in my little neighborhood. I mean whats not to love living next to a book store and a record store? Or living directly across the street from a park or even living walking distance from the Constitution Center? I walk my dog past Betsy Ross's house every night for christ sake.

If that isn't convincing, Philly is also significantly cheaper than living in Manhattan and being a college student, cheap is my favorite word. I also came across this article for doing Philly on a budget. Basically, I will be definitely doing a lot of what is in that article when it gets warmer out and so should you!

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Good evening all! As usual, I am procrastinating the shit out of studying for a biology test tomorrow morning. I've been putting it off because of a raging hangover I've been sappily nursing all day… and apparently night considering its now 7 pm.

This weekend was particularly special because it was my birthday! Birthdays are never my favorite holidays to celebrate but this year I had an absolutely wonderful time. Even though all day Thursday I sat in ER at the hospital because of horrible heartburn and acid reflux, that I was convinced was a stomach ulcer… still yet to be determined.. I had a lovely weekend. I was nursed back to health that  Thursday evening thanks to my perfect boyfriend who had a bath running when I got home and helping around the house. I can't reiterate how grateful I am for all of that.

Friday, my actual birthday, was spent in classes (unfortunately) and then at a delicious dinner. He gave me presents before dinner, hello the best part of a birthday.. The best gift was a handmade bracelet with pearls his friends mom made. I am all about local and handmade so it was perfect. He also re-upped my record collection with Haim, The Arctic Monkeys, and Anthony Green vinyls. If all of that wasn't enough, he also gave me the cutest Rilakkuma mug for my tea! Basically, perfect presents!
I got completely overdressed for dinner, neither of us had any idea that the restaurant was a hole in the wall, but the food was so delicious. Even if I was the only person who has ever worn heels into the restaurant, I looked cute and my boyfriend definitely took notice. Dasiwa by the Art Museum has the most delicious sushi, and "not-chos. What is a not-cho? Well, other than a gift from the Asian heavens, it is a fried wonton shell, topped with tuna, tobiko, scallions, crunch, and eel sauce. Still confused? Its basically an Asian nacho. YUM. As if it couldn't get any better, the restaurant is BYOB so you know that the two of us killed a bottle of Barefoot wine while we were there… only to come home and drink another half a bottle.

Happily Ever After 

Saturday we slept in and relaxed, exactly what I needed. The two of us went to this adorable coffee and desert cafe down the street from my house, aptly named, Happily Ever After. The atmosphere is all movie related and extremely clean and modern. They even had a wall-e! I know where I will be spending most of my time, and money, from now on. We meandered around my neighborhood and I took him into some art galleries. Looking at art is definitely a favorite thing of mine to do and being able to experience it with someone else is lovely. I left the galleries feeling inspired and wanting to take a million pictures again, which I never have time for. We also stopped into an antique store and the record store down the street from me and picked up some gems. An old Beatles album, Frank Sinatra, and I got the new Modern Baseball album! My boyfriend hates them, but they're a local Philadelphia band and all of their music reminds me of what I listened to in middle school, hello nostalgia.

Saturday night we celebrated my birthday with some friends at my apartment. In other words, me and a few friends got completely trashed on a menagerie of alcohols and passed out at 4 am. Explaining the hangover all of us have been dealing with all day. Some of us have puked, others have felt their heads exploding, but it was all worth it.

I am so grateful for having such an amazing person like him in my life right now and I am even able to call him my boyfriend. We do have a lot of issues but when everything is going good for us, like this weekend, we get along so well. I really am lucky to have someone who I love and care for and feel it reciprocated back. I hope that everyone is lucky enough to feel like this in their life.

Here's what I'm listening to: