places

holidazed & confused

The holiday season is quickly approaching (my bank account is terrified), and Christmas decorations sprung up around the city before Halloween had even passed. In theory, I love the holidays. I love the idea of spending time with your loved ones, relaxing and rejuvenating, and enjoying holiday traditions. In reality, holidays are often stressful, expensive, and uncomfortable, especially if you hate the cold.

We have an artificial Christmas tree every year, instead of an authentic, New England-grown pine. Many of my childhood friends have family traditions of hunting for the perfect tree, chopping it down together, and tying it to the roof of their Volvos. My family has often used the Christmas season as an excuse to go on vacation…we conveniently snuck away to Honolulu several times, and most recently roadtripped to Key West. This year, we’re off to Cancun, though not until after the new year.

I definitely prefer Thanksgiving to Christmas. There’s none of the pressure that comes with exchanging gifts, and instead all you have to do is eat a ton of food and take a nap. As a college student, T’giving is kind of crappy though because we only get a couple of days off from classes, and then are pretty much thrown into finals as soon as we get back. After working at Delish all semester, I’m pretty excited to try out some of the recipes I’ve been writing about/tasting/testing with my mom, and fall is always crazy beautiful in New England. Instagrams to come.

homemade fall eats

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places

belgian beer with a side of nostalgia

Last night, I went to a bar called Vol de Nuit with a friend. I had never heard of this popular West Village hole in the wall, but was thrilled to see they offered every kind of Belgian beer I had tasted during my four months in Europe. They had Palm on tap, which became my go to when I was studying abroad (if I wanted to splurge for something besides Heineken), and they even had beer from the Delirium brewery, which is probably the most famous bar in Brussels. I was NOT a beer drinker before I moved to Amsterdam, but in a country where Heineken costs less than a diet coke, you just gotta assimilate.

The bar itself was very nonchalant…nestled between a 24-hour diner and a vintage clothing store, there was only a sign for the otherwise undecorated storefront. Once you walk in, the whole middle portion of the restaurant is missing its ceiling, so the floor was covered in autumn leaves. This unusually warm November weather made it a perfect place to sit and drink for an evening. It was so crowded, and it was nice to be somewhere with authentic Belgian brews instead of a more trendy Manhattan “biergarten.”

Reminiscing about study abroad is always fun, because it makes me feel worldly and cool, but it’s also incredibly heartbreaking. Living in Amsterdam and jetting off to a new country every weekend was an amazing lifestyle, and I miss it almost daily. I’m continuously grateful to have had the experience, and give thanks that I chose Amsterdam as my home city. I feel like when you miss a place, you tend to romanticize it–something I hope I don’t do with Amsterdam. While of course I remember just how stunning the city itself was, there are small things that I am nostalgic for. Going through checkout at Albert Heijn and being able to answer the cashier in Dutch after weeks of observation; bicycling to class in all kinds of weather; having a stroopwafel with my coffee every morning. I think it’s time to book a trip.

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Uncategorized

FINALly

My semester from hell is finally coming to an end. In less than two weeks, biology labs, late nights in the darkroom, and hours of online homework will cease to exist. The beginning of this semester, I suffered some sort of mental break and decided to change my course of study. When I registered for classes for the fall semester of my junior year, I originally had a schedule packed with journalism and art history classes, but two weeks before summer break ended, I switched my schedule to follow a pre-med track. This misguided decision has caused me to withdraw from one class (a first), found myself in danger of failing another (another first), and faced more stress than I have ever handled.

The silver lining of this semester is the reassurance it has provided that I’m supposed to be a writer. The struggle I have had for the past three months has driven my desire to become a journalist more than ever before. Failure in one field has made me feel like I am actually capable of achieving my dreams.

Better things are ahead, but in the meantime, I will be at my desk until my exams are over, and have stocked my pantry with plenty of coffee and microwavable meals.

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currently:

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#PSL

“You can’t enjoy your pumpkin spice latte if you’re too busy Instagramming it, you know?” My friend Danielle said it best regarding the popular #PSL that yields nearly 300,000 posts on social media app Instagram.

In 2014, one of the most iconic indicators of fall is Starbucks signature beverage, the limited edition pumpkin spice latte that arrives nationwide for one season only. My sister remarked that the trendy PSL is popular because of the novelty and status that comes with it, rather than people’s desire for a traditional fall experience.

I, without shame, admit I am a fan of the pumpkin spice latte. That being said, I have one PSL every fall, enjoy it, occasionally Instagram it, and then return to my usual Starbucks order (grande vanilla blonde roast with soy). The thing is, I love fall. It is my favorite season other than summer, and I feel that the fall season has officially arrived when fashion week debuts in NYC and the token PSL becomes available to all.

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P.S. My #PSL got 62 likes on instagram

Pumpkin really isn’t an appetizing food item. Pumpkins are what we carved as children on Halloween, scooping out the stringy insides and roasting the seeds. We buy cans of pumpkin to bake pies on Thanksgiving. So, I’m wondering who’s idea it was to mix pumpkin and coffee?

I guess the point is that when we order our PSLs, we don’t want pumpkin coffee. We want fall coffee. Something warm and cozy and familiar that smells like my mom’s pie-filled house on Thanksgiving eve. So regardless of where you find yourself this November, you can buy fall in a coffee cup for just $5.

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boyfriend

texting games

I was just disappointed that the last text message I received was from a boy who I used to like, instead of my lab partner with information regarding our test tomorrow.

Silly as it sounds, the disappointment I felt quickly turned into a feeling of fiery independence, opening my eyes to the fact that I truly am more concerned with and interested in succeeding academically and making myself proud than trying to keep a guy’s interest.

Texting is a funny thing. As someone who grew up reading “Anne of Green Gables” and watching old Audrey Hepburn films, I always thought that when a guy liked you, he would call, come to your front door to take you on a date, with no thought or expectation of sex whatsoever.

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Unfortunately, I have been fortunate enough to experience this kind of formality only a handful of times, since in the modern world, everything is much more casual. I have come to know that a “hey” text at 2am translates to “I want to hook up” at least 99% of the time, that “hanging out” or “watching Netflix” when suggested by a male between the ages of 17-27 never actually involves Netflix.

My conclusion is that it is becoming increasingly impossible to be a hopeless romantic in 2014. You know what? I would love to hang out with someone I like and watch a movie on Netflix and eat popcorn, but that’s probably not gonna happen, at least while I’m in college. In the meantime, I have a lot of studying to do .

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