Archive | July, 2011

Check, Check and Check

31 Jul

Every summer it seems to be the same: I make this wonderful, detailed list of all the things I want to do, only to finish the summer with one or two checked off. Not this time! My goal this weekend was to check off as many activities as I could. Here’s a snapshot of my very busy, very fun, very active weekend in Boston.



Friday afternoon after work my boyfriend and I went to the Sam Adams Brewery in Jamaica Plains. I’m going to start off by saying that I don’t drink much beer–in fact, I don’t really even like beer. But I knew this tour was a “Boston Must Do” and plus the BF loves handcrafted brews–so it was really a two-for-one deal. Brewing was surprisingly a very scientific process, and I had a hard time keeping track of all the chemical ratios. Needless to say, it was a very fun trip, full of Barley, Hops, and Beer Tasting!

The rest of my weekend involved backyard barbecues, hiking the Blue Hills Reservation, cooking Sunday brunch in the apartment, making summer-fresh Sangria, and finally going out to a nice seafood dinner at Skip Jack’s in Back Bay to celebrate our summer in Boston.

I feel far more prepared to start August after this weekend full of activities!

Etsy Find: Heart Strings

28 Jul

The Ork Posters got me thinking of other ways to carry your home or your heart with you when you move away to college. I have been known to spend hours upon hours on Etsy and came across this pillow that tugged at my own heart strings.

They also offer US to Europe pillows–perfect for someone who studied abroad in Europe and left their heart there, or for the young couple in a long distance relationship. They’re a bit on the pricey side, but boy are they cute.

 

 




Top Pick: Ork Posters

25 Jul

It’s hard to stay true to the mission of this blog during the summer vacation. At times I feel so grown up—cooking myself dinner, going to work five days a week—that I forget that come September I will have the privilege of being a college student for one more year! Another year of eggshell-colored walls means another year of endless decorative possibilities. Although my home is in DC, I keep thinking of ways to bring Boston with me wherever I go—because as much as I’ve tried to fight it, I have grown to love Massachusetts.

I have been on the hunt for a (reasonably priced) Boston poster ever since I lived there last summer. I was in the market for a sleek and stylish print that reminded me of my time there, not of Faneuil Hall or the Boston Harbor.  This February I finally got my hands what I was looking for when I visited my brother and his girlfriend in New York City. Just around the corner from his apartment in Murray Hill was this little print shop that had BOSTON posters. Go figure. As it turns out, the woman behind Ork Posters had the same problem I did—she was looking for a simple topographical print of Chicago and when she couldn’t find one that fit her simplistic taste, she made one herself. I could rave about the story behind Ork Posters forever, but I would probably lose your attention. Check it out yourself here if you’re interested!

Ork City Neighborhood prints make a wonderful gift for any college student that has an affiliation to city. They have over 15 city prints including The Twin Cities, The Great Lakes, Seattle, New Orleans, Vancouver and Washington, DC.  I absolutely love my Boston print and know that it will be with me forever as a reminder of my summers in here.

Sangri-aaah!

22 Jul

Sangria is a simple drink that can add a pinch of class to a Friday night pregame, but can also be enjoyed in a more sophisticated manner outside of campus. Originally from Spain, Sangria is a traditional drink of red wine mixed with lemonade, fruit, and spices. It makes for a great summer cocktail and an easy college mixer. If you’re in Boston looking for a great place to enjoy Sangria try the Red Wine Sangria at Sunset Tap and Grill in Allston or the Pink Sangria at Charley’s in Back Bay.

Unlike some of those intricate-tini-wini drinks found at specialty restaurants, sangria can be easily made by a newb. It’s pretty hard to mess up, so just be creative; add what you want, omit what you don’t want, and voila! You’re a Sangria-Master.

I found this “recipe” online that sums up making Sangria really well:

Ingredients:

1. Wine of your choice. I think Two Buck Chuck is MADE for Sangria, so I usually stick with that–or really whatever wine I have.

2. Chopped fruit of your choice: oranges, lemons, apples, grapes, peaches, mango, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries–really any berry. If you’re at school, the key is to take the fruits from your dining hall. My school has a fabulous selection of apples and oranges, so I usually stick to those.

3. Something sweet like sugar, splenda, honey or orange juice

4. A shot of something strong like tripel sec, brandy, flavored vodka, etc…

5. Something carbonated such as Sprite or Club Soda. My favorite carbonated drink to add to Sangria is Fresca. Fresca can double as something carbonated and step 3: “something sweet.” Plus it adds that hint of grapefruity-citrusy goodness that is just delicious.

Mix all the ingredients together in a pitcher, serve on ice, and ENJOY!

Piece of (Cheese) Cake

21 Jul

This past weekend my boyfriend went to visit his grandparents in Florida, leaving me to fend for myself in the little apartment. I wanted to welcome him home with a dazzlingly clean apartment–swept floor, sparkling windows, and no dirty dishes. But most of all, I wanted to bake him something absolutely delightful. I don’t much have the patience for baking from scratch… nor do I have the ingredients or tools in my small one-bedroom summer apartment.

Being a lactard and all, I knew that a giant cheesecake would just not be worth it. Plus it would never be finished. Keebler (the little elf guy) has these great mini cheesecake crusts. There are six in a packet, and priced at $2.99 you really can’t beat it! Their website also provides you with this super easy recipe, that anyone of any baking ability could make with ease. I omitted the second half of the recipe that called for a “sour cream toping” and it still came out great. I added fresh bluberries to half of the mini cheesecakes for some summer variety, and just like that I was a star baker.

This recipe was so easy, and because the crust came premade it’s a recipe that can easily be done in the kitchen of your dorm. I will DEFINITELY be using this recipe and these cute Keebler crusts in the future.

Dorm-Friendly Jewelry Storage

13 Jul

Here are some really fun and creative ways to store your jewelry. All of these products are small enough to fit on a bureau without taking up much room or easy to hang in your closet. My personal favorite is the decorative plate from Pier 1 Imports which is also available in red and yellow. I love using dinnerware to store items like jewelry and other small accessories.

1. Black Jewelry Box from Target

2. Hanging “Little Black Dress” Jewelry Storage from The Container Store

3. Canvas Hanging Jewelry Storage from The Container Store

4. Necklace Stand from Pier 1 Imports

5. Double Basket from Pier 1 Imports

6. Decorative Plate from Pier 1 Imports

7. Mirror Jewelry Box from Crate and Barrel

Plan Accoringly

12 Jul

 Staying organized and on top of your workload is the easiest way to succeed in college.  The individual schedules of each of your classes, clubs, and extracurricular activities are simply too much to remember. For some, staying on top of your work, means writing sticky notes and posting them all over their dorm room while others use their iCal or Outlook to electronically stay connected. For me, organization means one thing: writing it down in a planner.

My high school provided us with the coolest planners ever. They were based on the block scheduling and were called “hoppers” after our fierce mascot, the mighty grasshopper. I spent hours upon hours decorating, organizing, and color coding my planner. My senior year of high school the harsh realization set it: college doesn’t give you a hopper–they don’t help you organize, they expect you to do it on your own. Now, for someone who has a mild case of OCD… or as my younger sister calls my condition, “CDO” which is OCD in alphabetical order, the prospect of changing how I organize, color code and plan was beyond daunting. I set out to find the closest thing to a Hopper and came out with a new-found planning love: this.

Mixed Role Productions has this fabulous August to August planner that is perfect for the obsessive organizer whose “year” renews itself with each school year. Everything is laid out perfectly, providing monthly and weekly pages to fill out with extensive details and color-coded events. Every year, Mixed Role Productions produces these god-sent planners in four new colors, making each year something new. Recently I discovered that Mixed Role Productions is far more organic than I had ever known. I always purchase mine in mid July at The Container Store. However when reading up on them, I discovered that it’s a family business run out of Eugene, Oregon. The planners themselves were made in response to the complaints co-owner, Susan Gilmore heard from University of Oregon students. Additionally, for those of you consumers who are environmentally friendly (and savvy), the planners are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper.

Priced at $16.95, these planners are more pricey than an average run of the mill one, but they are worth every penny. If you really think about it, your planner is something you will use on a daily basis, if not multiple times a day. Seventeen dollars may seem like a lot for one of these bad boys, but give it a try, I promise you’ll be hooked. Next week I think I’ll go buy the 2011-2012 planner in Kiwi! Can’t wait!