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!