Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Baking Monster

Over the past week and half since I've been home for Christmas break I embarked on my usual baking routine. However, this year was a little tiredsome and I don't have a reason why other than my brain hurts. This semester has been so trying and hard to get through that I almost forgot this time of "relaxation" would ever come. And now I start with baking a ton of cookies?? I mean I normally say "it's relaxing" but this year not so much. So to save myself from more pain I did some of the more easy cookies: poinsettas, snowflake sugar cookies, mexican wedding cookies, martha washington candies, triple chocolate cookies and peppermint swirls. For my own sweet tooth (since most of the batches were for others aka gifts) I made muddy buddies (or puppy chow as some like to call it).

 Triple Chocolate Cookies
 Martha Washington Candies
 Peppermint swirls
 Mexican Wedding Cookies

Snowflake Sugar Cookies
 The work site
 Decore Avenue

While I worked myself to powder sugar I went back to my summer obsessions: Roswell & Lost. Yep I sat on the couch most of the first five-six days and did pretty much nothing but watch episode after episode. I figured since this is the last time I'll have to do this while I have the excuse that I'm in college and this is the life of a college student and get away with it...I'll do it. But eventually I did break out of my homebase to explore the world outside. However, I really don't appreciate Jersey drivers or any of the drivers around here anymore. You all are crazier than I ever remembered!

The other day I spent some time with some of my high school friends, Sammy and Ariella. It was nice to catch up and spend some time rehashing memories of the past. I even got the chance to wash a dog for the first time. I'm used to washing my cat but I knew a dog would be interesting to watch in a tub of water. Ariella is obsessed with her new baby Sir-Mix-Alot (name still in the works according to her nieces and mom).

Today mom and I went down to southern Tom's place in Edison to meet Adam, his son and go cut our Christmas trees at the Simson tree farm in Cranberry. We've been going to the same farm for our tree since I can remember. It was always so special and after Tom exposed us to the cut-your-own lot we've never gone back to the pre-cut lot except to perhaps get a glimpse of Santa (who in the last few years hasn't been around...sad day). Breakfast at the Skylark diner and off we went to the farm while snow flurries began to fall :) KEEP FALLING PLEASE!!!! We decided to get a semi-narrower 7 ft. tree this year while Tom and Adam picked a smaller tree. It was so nice to finally feel a chill in the air. I so miss the big snow storms and coldness of the winter air. Its been so extremely mild and WARM the last few years I can't stand it! What do I have to do, move to Maine or Alaska to get cold and snow??? Gosh. 

 Bangin Mexican BF sandwitch!!
 Tom and Adam
Tom's truck

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Finals Week Craziness

 As tradition would call Elon's Luminary Celebration was held the Thursday, November 29th. It was a great way to divert my brain from all-things Senior Sem. I met up with Dionne and Lindsay to hang out a bit. It was pretty disappointing that Elon has not stayed cold as in years past. This year instead of feeling better with sips of hot cocoa I reeked at the thought. It was so warm! ICK

On Saturday night I went to my first and probably last :( Elon basketball game. If it weren't for Alice I probably would've never pushed myself to go but I'm so happy I did. I mean the EU fans can get  ridiculously annoying (yelling all sorts of ill-mannered stuff directed to the opposing team), however, I did have a good time watching the game. It encouraged me to keep on track with college bball and regular NBA games. *So happy the NY Knicks won against the Brooklyn Nets this past Tuesday evening 100-97 WOOT WOOT!!!

Phoenix Fanatics are pretty intense: exhibit the pic above of the three red suits
(check out the website HERE)

I was so happy when all of my classes were finally over on Tuesday, December 4th especially after what I thought was a horribly boring senior thesis presentation. Knowing this is my last year to do anything and everything I've ever wanted to do at Elon I decided to get all dressed up and go to President Leo Lambert's "house" for his Christmas shindig. However, having never done this before I was shocked (yet not too surprised once I thought about it) at how long the lines were to get on the shuttle buses to the Maynard House. We waited in line at Moseley for close to an hour. The time in between I saw some of my rugger buds come and go. A lot of people decided it wasn't worth waiting so long for food.

I'm glad I waited because it was an interesting experience. I absolutely loved the look of the Maynard House. It would remind you of a traditional New England brick home with a nicely landscaped back and front yards. They even have a gazebo in the back yard!! So quint and elegant inside. I mean you got to have some bucks to have an actual study in your house!

Wednesday was "Reading Day" aka go out the night before and get f@%#ed up. I did not go out but the next morning when my scum captain picked me up I thoroughly enjoyed the ride over to the new apts at College Station for the rugby exec elections. We picked up our back-line captain, Schmidty, at the baseball house and lo and behold she was wearing her outfit from the night before. It was so amusing watching the reactions as we walked into BGraham's apt.

My friends Dionne, Jamile and Lindsay

Afterwards I was prepping the whole afternoon for my dinner with a few friends: Alice, Hannah, Sarah and Rebekah. Crockpot beef stroganoff with egg noodles for dinner and Martha Washington Candies & PB Kiss cookies for dessert. It was so nice to relax a bit with friends I haven't had much time to see or hang out with the entire semester. We also played a few friendly rounds of Apples to Apples (one of my favorite games).

The last very fun thing I did during finals week was celebrate Courtney's 20th birthday at La Cocina in the dodgy side of Burlington. It was an experience to be had especially driving as the leader of the birthday caravan after a failed attempt to go to the La Cocina closest to campus. We ended up turning around and meeting the rest of the caravan at the second location. Can I just say how AWESOME chips and queso sauce is? Oh of course when you spill water in it...hehm Jamie. Oh and thanks Natie for the wonderful speech on Courtney's behalf. Hope it was fun for her!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Gobble Gobble Gobble

Okay I know this is super delayed....but better now than never right. So I spent Thanksgiving with my cousins on my Dad's side (the Valeros) in Charlotte with my mom. It was really nice to have my mom with me considering the last time I spend Thanksgiving in NC it was with Alice's family. I carried on one of her family's traditions: Martha Washington Candies. They were a huge hit this year at Linda's and I ended up sending Linda's daughter Jen (for her sister-in-law Drennan) the recipe for a holiday party. If you have no idea what I'm talking about check out the link

My rookie rugger Sharyn needed someone to house her hamster. When
her boyfriend came over a few days before the break to give 
me the hamster I had to test it's ball contraption. It was thoroughly amusing!!!

Before we went to Linda's for most of the break we connected with my good friend Hillary. We spent the day cruising around Charlotte: visited Discovery Place ( which made me feel like a little kid :) ate a hearty lunch at the Diamond Diner (owners had a place around the corner that Guy Fieri visited on an episode of DDD) and had a relaxing tea-time at Amelie's French Bakery (OMFG baker's heaven) get this its open 24/7!!!! 
SO TASTY Macaroons 

Linda's beautiful home

Webster the dog
Thanksgiving feast...Thanks to Jen's husband Stephen

It was so great to hear all the Valero stories I've never heard before especially the one about Pater's (my great grandfather who died a few years ago at 106!!) great grandfather's affair with some forest mistress. Technically we're all bastards! haha gotta love this stuff...We also shared our traditions and had a blissful bonding experience. I was so happy to finally meet one of Debbie's children (Kim and her husband Johnny). I'm definitely planning a trip to FL very soon!!! Go Gaters! lol

One of the last days we were together we took the light rail into "uptown" (my equivalent of downtown) Charlotte. Since everyone was hungry with the exception of mom and I we decided to venture on our own. We went to the tourist office for a map then walked around on the historical tour. It was so nice to finally see the city other than a drive-by sighting in years past. Eventually we caved and went back towards the tourist office for coffee and a treat at Amelie's second location. It was the perfect day.
Our family

Lady Charlote (yea one t)

Amelie's second location
Ice skating outside the convention center

That night before Debbie, Kim and Johnny left for their trip back down to FL we went out to the xMAX speedway in Concord for the Christmas light show. Linda, Debbie, Mom and I literally drove on the speedway!!! It was the coolest set-up especially with little Bethlehem and fun holiday activities in the center of the track.  It was so magical despite the chillness on my bear toes -- yep I wore flip flops. womp womp. I didn't expect to walk outside...

Gobble Gobble...Appropriate 
Southern twist on Funnel Cake: Red Velvet flavor

Our last night in Charlotte we took Linda to the Christmas Spectacular hosted by the Piedmont Community College. It was such a treat especially the ballet dances from the Nutcracker and Hallelujah chorus. I started to feel nostagic thinking about Frances' H.S. performance last December. I wondered how her experience out in Irvine has been, remembering what it was like to be a freshman in college. (Frances and her mom Ellen are mutual friends of ours; went to the same church in Montclair, NJ) 

Could not have asked for a more relaxing and perfect Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fast Times at Elon University

Before the holiday.... I had a really lovely weekend hanging out with friends. Even during the week was pleasant when I had time to get away from the stress-filled bubble and go out somewhere. Jamile's final orchestra recital was on Tuesday, November 13th and boy was it a great way to end her journey. The program was very eclectic and I don't think I've ever seen the musicians move so much in between songs. Later informed at Chili's (after-party) that the conductor wanted to utilize the talent leaving and recognize those staying. Below are some snap shots of our mini celebration:
 Friday night I spent quietly indoors with my friends Brittany and Reene. We watched Kevin Little stand-up and played video games. It was nice for a change to have fun without getting wiped out (i.e. going clubbing or out "partying" around takes work). I also was adventurous, bored and procrastinating so I figured why not make Sam's bean dip (yummy) and bake PB Kisses cookies :) Saturday night was Smurf's official 21st bday party. The week prior some of the ruggers surprised her with a fun night at the bowling alley on Church St. This was a Smurf themed party = everything blue! Long story short, Smurf is Lauren's nickname in rugby and when she had blue hair we started to call her Smurf. It was nice to hang out at a social for a change. Its one of the few I've gone to so I'm trying my best to get out more.
                                            Left to right: Dionne, Jamile, Lindsay & me

Also on Saturday in the afternoon I saw Beautiful Bodies, a production put up and organized by the senior acting majors. Rebekah, one of my Elon friends, played the quirky and semi-off woman in the play. In short its about six women friends who once roomed together in their younger years coming together for a baby shower where all the secrets and long-over-due stories come out. Its pretty weird knowing that that was the last show for the seniors. Wow how time flies.
 Smurf got Hypnotic for her bday bash
 Classic beer pong
Tipton and I lookin fab in blue

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Song Obsession

So nothing really exciting has happened or is expected to happen this weekend other than a tie dying party at Schmidty's place earlier to today which was pretty sweet :) So I have decided to post lyrics to one of my favorite ilyAIMY songs off their A Gift for Saint Cecilia album entitled "Ask for Me":

If you go down to the bar cause you need a love song
I'll tell you I'm... the one you need to see.
So come into my corner, pop a quarter in my heart
And when you arrive be sure to ask for me.

You've been workin hard all day
And you need something to ease your mind.
Well honey I'm... singin till three.
When they say last call you don't have to go home.
I think I've got a song left in me.

So if you want me don't you dare let me go.
Don't make it harder than it has to be.
Cause I am your for the asking,
I am your for the asking,
I am come on and ask for me.
(Guitar solo)

Cause I've been broken hearted and I've been tired
But you've set me back on fire.
And I bet that you and I can find a melody.
Cause I've lost all that I've loved and if there is a God above
I can't ask for this but you could ask for me.

So if you want me don't you dare let me go.
Don't make it harder than it has to be.
Cause I am your for the asking, 
I am your for the asking,
I am come on and ask for me.

So come on and ask for me
So come on and ask for me
Come on baby

We only get what ask for and not what we deserve
We only get what ask for and not what we deserve
Oh we only get what ask for and not what we deserve,
No no

So you go down to the bar cause you need a love song
I'll tell you I'm... the only one you need.

So if you want me don't you dare let me go.
Don't make it harder than it has to be.
Cause I am your for the asking, 
I am your for the asking,
I am come on and ask for me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rucktoberfest 2012

The first time in the four falls I've spent here in North Carolina that I've had the opportunity to go Boone. I was surprised to see the follage was similar to that at Elon. Many of the trees at the pitch were naked, all the leaves gone. Perhaps the colder weather came early which would explain why the leaves are nearly all gone. The ride to Boone was a snap. Caravaning was a little bit of a issue especially when the van - which I was driving - kept getting left behind in the dust of the other five cars of our party who could drive faster to avoid traffic. I did get in the front for a period of time which helped us stay together.
 Sunset as we entered Boone
 Almost there pic
 Infamous Red Carpet Inn
Drive-by snapshot of the leaves in Appalachian mountains

The Red Carpet Inn was an experience for sure. But then again I was rather amused at the amount of disgust my rugger colleagues had for the atmosphere of the rooms. We were reminded continuously that if you want to pay less you will have to put up with less than desirable conditions. After all it is a motel so we shouldn't have expect much. I remember a few similar arrangements I experienced when I visited Alaska with my frugal Uncle Jack. It comes down to the environment which is worth the crappy hotel/motel rooms than not having the chance to experience it at all. Besides we did have a lot of men and women rugby teams to hang out with so there were some perks.

Courtney serenade's us with her wicked musical skills

Saturday was a true rugby day at App State. We played three games the first at 950am which only meant our butts were up at the crack of dawn to warm up at the pitch. The first game was ok, we didn't win but at least we had a few hours to recuperate before the second game. Unfortunately some of our key players like Kate Hogan got badly injured and we unable to play the rest of the weekend. However, we still rallied together as a team and kept our spirits up.

In between the first and second game we shopped for Rucktoberfest t-shirts at bargain price (2 for $20). So many of our teammates swore the lady with beer steins looked exactly like Tipton - one of the seniors players on the team - but I didn't see it. Especially since the character on the shirt had huge photoshoped-boobs and brown hair neither of which were similar to Tipton's physical attributes at all (no offense). We shared a few laughs and more practicing before the second game. We did try to put our best efforts into the game but after the second game a lot of us were either injured or extremely tired. It goes without saying that at the end of the third game against NC State - big girls - all of us were so sore we could barley move.

 After the games we went into town for food at Macado's
Senior pic

On top of all this I had put my cleats in a gray plastic bag and apparently left them on the pitch. However, by the time I realized what I'd done it was night and dark outside. I rushed around like a chicken with its head cut off hoping that there was some way I could salvage them: calling campus rec, calling the women's App State contact, driving to the pitch with Tipton to search for the bag, asking the guys at the campus rec house if they seen it, etc. After almost an hour of this I decided not to worry about it until the next morning. So I did and I'm glad because I got to enjoy myself at the social. But let me just ask what seems to be an obvious question: why would anyone sponsor a outdoors social at night in Boone in the fall when its almost snow breaching weather? I mean common sense was not in play with that decision but I guess if it relied on the idea that people could drink then maybe thats the only reason why things haven't changed since our sophomore year - some ruggers remember the social from Rucktoberfest 2010.

EWR costume gang

Rookie Sharyn gets a lift

Schmidty gets down on it with UNCW rookie

The next day we were up even earlier which was a sort of miracle for me since I hadn't been able to sleep soundly in two nights. I mean plastic on the beds was so distracting and uncomfortable to lay on. The ride over was rough since none of us were physically ready for another game and it was colder than the day before. Once again I ran around the fields looking for answers or people who could point me in the directions to where my cleats might be. After two tries I decided the "clean-up" crew mistaken the bag was full of trash and threw them away.

This game - like the last two - I was a key scrum player since most of the other players on our team were hurt. And at the conclusion of the game so was I. We went to Panera for a quick bite and then back on the road we went with Tipton at the wheel. The Rookie van did have some mechanical trouble going down the steep hills of the Appalachian mountains. Brakes on that van weren't our friends so we took our time to get back home. Home sweet home we arrived around 3pm. After filling up the tank with gas, dropping off the receipt at Diane's and my wonderful friend Lindsay offered to drive Tipton and I home I was in the shower and in bed within 30 mins.

Tipton's restaurant 

The entire afternoon into the evening was so painful. I felt like I wouldn't be able to move for weeks. Thanks to ibuprofen, water, food, and Laura's heating pad I stayed in bed to nurse myself back to a healthy state. I took off from Monday classes and stayed in bed. Today I feel a little better but to not risk it I decided to stay home again missing Senior Sem - sad day lol.

So the rugby game this weekend....I hope I'm not on the roster to play because I really need time to work on my thesis and all the work I've pushed aside since I came back from Rucktoberfest. Oops... oh Halloween activities too this wknd FUN!