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The pinch

Getting Crafty for Graduation

      

     In preparation for graduation in just 15 days I decided it would be a fun idea to decorate my graduation cap. I’m constantly on Pinterest and Instagram seeing all of the creative cap ideas and I figured I could try it out for myself. While I haven’t done much arts and crafts in years, I thought it would be a good bonding experience for me and a few of my friends to try together.
     After searching for hours on what I was gonna put on the cap, I finally decided on a quote I always loved, “She believed she could, so she did.” I picked the quote because I thought it would be representative of the goals I set for myself within college. I also knew that I wanted my cap to be representative of my culture. And of course….it had to be bejeweled. (who am I kidding)
     With glittery paper, a hot glue gun, and letter stickers I dedicated my entire day to making something I was proud of. With the amount of time I put into it I’m happy to say it turned out well.

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Seoul Food in CoMo

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     Growing up near a big city where a plethora of ethnic food is available at will, it’s kind of hard to not feel like my palate is missing out when I’m at school. I know, I know, CoMo offers different styles of ethnic cooking, but I’d be lying if I said that the options compare to the ones back at home. Well, that was until I tried Seoul Taco.
     The restaurant, which opened it’s doors in early March of this year, is already a staple in Columbia. After hearing so many rave reviews, and having friends constantly inviting me to go out and try it, I finally decided this weekend to test it out for myself.
     After a long week swamped with assignments, it seemed like the perfect time to treat myself to something special. I made the short walk from campus and headed to Seoul, grabbed a bulgogi and chicken taco, and headed back home to eat them in the comfort of my own bed.
      I don’t know if my love for Korean BBQ as well as my constant craving for tacos was what drew me into trying this place out, but It’s safe to say that my stomach was pretty happy about this executive decision. With an especially cheap menu, it’s amazing to see how much their food options cater to hungry college students with exotic taste buds, on a budget.

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Lack of Groceries Breeds Great Meals

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      Yes, I know I’ve been back from spring break for about a week now, and yes I know that my mom probably wouldn’t approve of me eating out for the entire week, but this is what my life has been since I returned from Las Vegas. Grocery shopping is usually a fun experience for people, but I do not happen to be one and I try to avoid the store at all costs.
     Thankfully, I was smart enough to leave a few items in my fridge while I was home, and with a bit of an imagination, as well as some influences from Chopped, I decided to put a bunch of ingredients together to make a meal. The FoodFathers must’ve been on my side because my dish actually turned out to be delicious:
     And while it may look complex it was honestly a mash up of the last chicken breast in my freezer, 1/2 a bag of brown rice, two portabello mushrooms, 6 spinach leaves, and balsamic vinaigrette. Sure if it wasn’t for my lack of time and energy to go to the grocery store this meal would’ve never been made, but looking at the positives I now have a new dish I can make when the groceries are low.

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When in Vegas….

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     This past spring break was truly one of my best. I had the opportunity to reunite with one of my best friends whom I haven’t seen in years, spend time with truly enjoyable people, eat amazing food, and experience an overall carefree vacation. Thankfully, my best friend lives on the West Coast, in a location that is often frequented by spring breakers so there was much to do in the fabulous Las Vegas.
     While this wasn’t my first time in Vegas, it’s safe to say that this was a far better experience from my first trip when I was 16. The first time I was there I spent most of my time in the confines of Treasure Island, frequenting the buffet, and swimming in the pool. This time I feel like I was finally able to see what the city truly had to offer.
     The planner in me had been researching this trip for months, compiling a list of all of the places I wanted to go while on my trip, along with suggestions from my friend as well. With a list of about 10-15 things to do on my five day long trip I made it a point to get to all of these places. Thankfully with great planning, majority of the hot spots on my list were hit.
     Now that I’m back from Vegas, all that I can think of is when I can plan my next visit down there again. Yes, it was that fun.

The pinch

Free Time=Cooking Time


     In the midst of a busy semester, filled with trying to get everything in order before graduation, studying for exams, applying for jobs, as well as trying to balance a social life left very little for me. Last year, I started on the journey of learning how to cook, and spent 6 months trying out new dishes, making mistakes, working on them, and finding out the things that I enjoy making the most.
     While cooking has become something I really love doing, I found myself having very little time to sit down, relax and create a noteworthy meal. Thankfully the time finally presented itself this week and I was able to make some of my favorite meals.
     In the spirit of spring break, I’ve tried to do a healthier take on the dishes that I originally mastered last year. Fortunately, I found a way to cut down the calories and keep the flavor, which resulted in meals that were not only delicious but ones I enjoyed making.

The pinch

Online Shopping Woes

     While living in CoMo one of the biggest things I had to get used to is the limited amount of places to shop. Being that I’ve lived here for the past three years I’ve had to learn to make do of the small amount of retail stores offered, making sure to do much of my shopping while at home, or if worse comes to worse, online.
     While online shopping seems to be a very useful tool for many of my friends and female counterparts, me on the other hand has had many issues with the entire process. There is not one time I can think of that something did not go wrong with my online shopping experiences. I can’t quite tell if I’m either ordering from the wrong places or haven’t mastered the art of online shopping, but more often than never I usually end up disappointed with my purchases. This recent annoyance with the entire online shopping process is due to the fact that after two weeks of ordering I am still waiting for clothing for my birthday. This annoyance in both the postal service and the companies shipping my retail items is the reasoning behind this list (or rant) of the things I absolutely dislike about online shopping.

1. No instant gratification—I feel like the whole purpose of shopping is the joy you feel after being able to go home with the items you paid for. Online shopping feels more like putting your money on hold and not having access to the things you want.

2.Shipments NEVER arrive when they say they will—and when they do, they get delivered at a time when you’re of course not available.

3. When you get the item it’s almost never as you imagined it--—Whether it be a pair of shoes that don’t fit, a fitted jumpsuit that swallows your entire legs, or a dress that comes two sizes too small, I’ve rarely had good luck with online shopping. It’s like you wait so long for the mail to come and when it does, it rarely ever lives up to my expectations.
     As you can see I’m crossing my fingers for the day where you can buy something online and it show up at your door immediately….oh minus the shipping fees as well. Let’s hope for my sake it’s soon approaching.

The pinch

BuzzFeed Saves the Day, again

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      With a high in the 30’s for the entire weekend it’s safe to say that most of my time will be spent under my covers. Yes, I know I’m from the Midwest so I should be used to this cold, but the fact of the matter is I’m not at all. While I would much rather spend my weekend doing something outside the perimeters of my bedroom, it’s too cold, and Buzzfeed has given me a plethora of options to choose from this weekend so what’s the point? So far this is what I have planned:

1. Learn how to make risotto in the microwave

2. Drink wine to stay warm

3. Buy a Portable USB Electric Power Heated Neck Scarf

The pinch

One Year Older, One year….

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     Yesterday I turned 22, and while all birthdays after 21 are not as fun I’m determined to make this year I’m proud of. With so many changes coming in the next few months (graduation, finding a job, entering the real world) this is the year I’ve dedicated to getting settled, trying new things, and more importantly: evolving. So of course, me being me, I set a list of goals I’d like to accomplish before the Taylor Swift song no longer applies to me.

1. Write More— More free-time is soon approaching which is perfect for the development of my writing. I plan on setting scheduled timed to write at least three times a week.

2. Learn from experience—22 means finding better solutions and letting my past help to mold a better future.

3. Get out there more—This is a goal that directly corresponds to my job hunt and venturing into the real world. This is the time when many new and exciting endeavors will be coming my way and I want to make sure I don’t stand in my own way.

iPhone Withdrawls…updated

The pinch
     So a few months ago I wrote a post on how much my life was affected by the loss of my iPhone. While it’s considered rational to freak out about losing a very expensive item, it’s still something that could easily be replaced and not something to cause much of an issue. As I wrote that post a while back all I could only think about how ridiculous I sounded because my life seemed to orbit around a piece of technology. I questioned whether or not it was okay for me to feel anxiety because my phone wasn’t in my hand and wondered if I was the only one who felt that way.Fortunately a recent study has brought it to my attention that the anxiety I felt is something shared by many.
     According to a study conducted at the University of Missouri, “taking away study participants’ iPhone’s caused a measurable stress reaction and led to them perform poorly on simple cognitive tasks.”(CBS NEWS)Through the test they placed the participants phone’s in another room and asked them to answer questions. The participants had many distractions through their testing as they had to sit down and listening to their phones ringing in the other room and not be able to answer it. The study showed that as a result of this many felt anxiety and had increased heart rates. So, in fact the anxiety I felt in those 10 hours might actually be a normal reaction, but I’m not sure how comfortable I feel with that.
      I will be the first to admit that I use my phone a lot, however it’s really sad when I realize how much of an effect it has on me. This little device has the capability to alter my mood, increase my heart rate, and overall cause me anxiety just with it’s absence. Within the article many of the descriptions of stress technology can be linked to attachment issues similar to those a child has to it’s mother, which just highlights how much how generation relies on technology. Nonetheless, I think it’s safe to say I’d much rather be attached to a human being rather than a little device that can’t express emotions with me as well.
     Understanding and noticing how attached I am makes me truly think twice about how much I will use my phone, and how much I will let it affect me in the future.

Source:: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/iphone-separation-anxiety-heart-beats-faster-mind-works-slower/

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Yard Food in Mid Mo

      Why is it so hard to find Jamaican food in Columbia? or any kind of Caribbean cuisine for that matter? That is probably my biggest dilemma while being at school. While I know the food will almost never compare to my mother or grandma’s dishes, it would be great to find something to tide me over till I’m able to travel back home again. So with that being said, whenever I can’t find the Jamaican Jerk food truck, my next plan of action is to get in the kitchen and make the food myself. This week I set out to create one of my grandma’s best dishes: oxtail stewed with butter beans and rice and peas.
      For those of you thinking, “What in the world is oxtail?!” it’s much less scary than it sounds. Oxtail is simply just the fancy culinary term for the tail of cattle. While many cultures have their different ways of cooking the meat, Jamaicans are known for browning the meat and stewing it for hours so that it has a very soft, succulent, fall-off-the-bone texture. Unfortunately this is a very time consuming dish as their are many steps, and it takes hours for the meat to get to the perfect consistency (unless you have a pressure cooker). Nonetheless, it was the weekend, and I had nothing else to do, so it seemed like the perfect time to make this meal.
      Thanks to FaceTime I was able to talk to my grandma throughout the entire process. She spoke to me from the moment I poured a little bit of oil in the pan to sear the oxtails, all the way down to the moment I started plating the meal. Through her guidance I was able to recreate a dish that tasted just like hers would. A dish so good that my stomach would not even allow me to stop for a moment and take a picture of how great it turned out.

Link to Video: https://flic.kr/p/qXgQYq