Remember Me?

I’m backkkkkkk!

It has been nearly a year and a half since I’ve written, and while I can’t promise regular updates, I can say that I’ve missed writing.

Well I should clarify. Personal writing. I do a lot of writing. Just normally it’s about brand results or strategy. I try to pepper my personality in it when I can, but let’s be real…that’s not what they’re paying me for.

I often think I live a boring life. If you asked me what’s new, I would probably respond “nothing.” But that can’t be said if it’s been a year and a half since we checked in. So I guess I owe you some updates.

Update #1:
I went to Italy in May of 2014 with one of my closest friends, Jill. Italy?! You might ask. What the hell did you eat in Italy? Tomatoes? Cheese? Well…if that was all I had eaten, I would still be one happy gal. But fun fact – Celiac is so prevalent in Italy that all children are tested at age 5. And if one has Celiac, they receive a government stipend since it’s generally understood that gluten free food is more expensive. And because of that, restaurants are incredibly gluten-free friendly. All I had to say was “Yo solo cheliaca” and I had dishes not on the menu brought out to me.

Jill was such a sweetheart and only slightly judged me the first night when I ordered two main dishes and two desserts because I found out I could have gluten free lasagna AND eat my gluten free pizza TOO. If it wasn’t for all the walking we did, I would have gained, easily, 20 pounds. I had gelato every day (and twice if possible). Jill and I one night each ordered a bottle of wine and got majorly judged by the owner. But hey…when you’re young and in Italy and the wine is good….

And now she’s getting married in less than two months! But that’s a whole other story.

Update #2:
I bought a car. This is much less exciting than Italy, but seems relevant. My very much beloved 2000 gold Maxima that I’d had since high school eventually required so much work that it wasn’t worth the money. It also had some brake issues and made me nervous to drive it. So a few days before my birthday, I bought my first car. Yep…that’s about all there is to tell. Oh. It’s a 2010 Acura TSX. And it’s black. Because you were curious.

Update #3:
I turned 26. So now this blog title is 3 years out of date. Clearly I’m on top of things. Really, this only means I can’t be on my parent’s insurance anymore. Birthdays are officially less exciting.

Update #4:
I bought a house. I guess this is worth spending some time on because it seems like a big deal (clearly I’m downplaying this because I officially feel broke). I decided earlier this year that I should consider purchasing one because the end of lease was coming up, I didn’t want to move just to move, and I had some money saved.

To make a VERY long story short, I got a really good deal on a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house and build a renovation loan into the mortgage. I gutted the kitchen, had everything painted, redid part of the bathroom, got new light fixtures, etc. etc. And no, I haven’t showcased the before/after photos. My mom even realized her artistic gift and painted something for my living room.

It’s been a labor of love with so many people helping me throughout the process. Might sound a little cheesy, but I’m grateful, thankful, blessed.

Update #5:
I got a cat! If you follow me on ANY form of social media, you know this. His name is Edison and he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I won’t say too much about him so I don’t get judged too quickly as a cat lady, but he’s pretty awesome. We play tag and fetch and he comes when I call. So basically he’s a dog that uses a litter box.

Update #6:
I’m running a half marathon. Yep. You might want to reread that. I signed up on a whim and then convinced a friend to do it with me. It’s October 11. In Cincinnati. And I should clarify that I’m in the 3:1 group which means I run three minutes and walk a minute. But I think it still counts. My back and hip have held up so far. Oh, and it’s all women which is exciting!

Update #7:
I went to Alaska in February with my friend/coworker, Jordann. That was also sort of a whim decision. It was only 25,000 sky miles and we wanted to see the Northern Lights. We got really fortunate and had the best showing of the season that night. Absolutely breathtaking. They danced! If you have the chance, go see them. It’s worth surviving the -30 degree weather.

I also went to Ireland with my dad. Major bucket list item done – I’ve wanted to go since I was a little girl (I mean…I did Irish Dance after all). I had a work trip to London for just a few days, and decided to extend the trip. And my dad, who I get my Irish roots from, flew over to spend that time with me. We were only there a few days, and I’m dying to go back!

I know I’m missing a bunch of things, but those are the major things I can think of. Also, my creative juices are leeching out and suddenly I’m much less inspired. So wow – aside from Italy, this had almost nothing to do with food. But hey…that’s life. Until next time!

Dubai, Singapore and Thailand. Oh yeah.

I’m horrible at writing trip recaps. I don’t know why, but I just am. But I went on a huge trip, and you’ve requested photos. I’d also like to look back in a few weeks/months/years and remember all the greatness.

First of all…I have a recipe to share with you shortly, but it’s currently in the freezer, so I’m not quite sure how it turned out. But it involves chocolate, peanut butter AND pumpkin. What up?!

So my trip.

I won’t talk about the long flights involving screaming children, a woman stealing my blanket and feet that swelled so badly I had trouble walking to Immigration. Now that’s out of the way, I’ll talk about the fun stuff.

I had a long layover in Dubai, and had been introduced to a woman that lives there through a woman I met at a conference in Cincinnati. Amazingly, she agreed to not only pick me up from the airport and show me around the city.

As a complete side note – all photos of me on this trip will be of me not wearing makeup. I’ll discuss the reasons why later. But yep…not a stitch of makeup the entire trip.

So Robyn and Bug took me around different markets where I got coconut water, scarves and road the water taxi.

The buildings in Dubai truly are amazing. I got to look up at the world’s tallest building. Yep…it’s pretty freakin tall. The girls taught me a lot about the city and the country – apparently Dubai was crushed by the economy and there are buildings around the city that were stopped mid-construction. It’s also illegal for a man to touch a woman unwillingly (in any sense..on the arm, back, etc.), so men will pin themselves against the wall of an elevator if he’s in it alone with a woman.

I did get a lot of strange looks in the airport being the only single white woman around. And I won’t lie…I was slightly nervous waiting for the girls to pick me up. I didn’t know about the law – all I knew was I was tired so not at the most aware and also alone. But you don’t experience new things if you don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone.

I must make a note about the hospitality of strangers. Bug and Robyn were beyond amazing. Aside from picking up a stranger at the airport and showing her around the city – they lent me money and bargained so I bought buy my scarves. Paid for my dinner. Let me shower at their apartment. Made me a cup of Rooibos tea (for those who don’t know, it’s a South African tea that makes me pine for the country. Like home in a cup. The girls also called me a taxi and gave me money for the ride. I am forever in debt.

From Dubai, I flew to Singapore to visit Luke and Row! I managed to catch them at potentially the most crazy time in their lives – hosting me, going to Bangkok, packing to move back to the States, and planning a wedding.

We spent the first night of my trip in Singapore with an exploration of Little India. There are going to be lots of photos of food – most of which I won’t caption. If you wanna know what’s what, feel free to ask in a comment.

Also, a important note about my eating on this trip. There was a lot of food I couldn’t eat. Especially food that I wanted to eat. Sticky buns. Oh sticky buns. And street food. But there was also a lot of food I did eat. Like rice dishes and pad thai. But in full disclosure, I was sick almost every day. I’m beyond fortunate that mainly my stomach issues got extreme at night when I was back in a more comfortable place. I never knew what was making me sick, but I would make the assumption it was often in the sauces. You do the best you can, but at the end of the day, gluten isn’t a popular discussion in Singapore or Thailand, so you take risks as to not starve.

Saturday afternoon, we flew to Bangkok (note..this was my 4th airplane) to spend a few days. Bangkok is Luke and Row’s favorite city, so it was nice to spend their last trip there with them.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was the weekend market in Bangkok. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is HUGE. And I don’t use caps lightly. We were there from 9-2 and only seemed to scratch the surface of it. Everything was so cheap, but I was able to get some great shirts, amazing jewelry, and purses that I keep getting compliments on.

The next day, Luke and I went exploring. I can’t currently think of the names of these lizards Luke is obsessed with, but they’re not Komodo dragons. They are huge. And slightly scary. And they swim very strangely, not moving half of their body. I would not like to run into one in a dark alley is basically what I’m saying.

We then got some lunch and went off to explore some Buddhist templates – Wat Arun and Wat Pho. Wat Arun is made of broken pottery. It’s gorgeous. But the stairs are scary steep to climb and there aren’t handrails. I may have a slight fear of going down stairs, so we didn’t climb all the way to the top.

Wat Pho is the home of the largest reclining Buddha in the world. It’s amazing. I don’t really know how else to describe it.

We then stumbled upon a wholesale food market while looking for the flower market. It was clearly where restaurants bought their food because there were piles upon piles of ginger, buckets of onions and bags of potatoes with sacks of rice. It was fun to get a glimpse of what real life in Thailand is like.

We also need to take a moment and pause to talk about the bathtub in the hotel room I was in in Bangkok. I know I’m obsessed. Sue me. I’ve never seen such a luxurieus tub. The thing was supposed to overflow AND it was a jacuzzi. I took a bath all 4 days we were there.

I loved Thailand for a lot of reasons. Bangkok had the major hustle and bustle of a big city which felt natural to navigate. The water taxis were interesting to navigate – you were either on or off, there was no waiting for you to make up your mind. We saw people get left multiple times because they got off at the wrong stop and realized too late. But probably the real reason I loved Bangkok so much was for their beverages. Thai Ice Tea is to die for. But Bubble Tea will always have my heart. Known as Pearl Milk Tea over there, I often had it and then wasn’t hungry for another meal. But I was okay with that because I had had bubble tea. Freakin amazing.

So then we went back to Singapore (5th flight). And you know what…you’ll have to read about that later. This post is already ridiculously long. The next post will involve chicken rice, fresh pineapple juice and sick photos of Singapore. Oh, and me eating seafood.

Mashed Potatoes, Cauliflower Style. REMIX

I thought if I just put the title as “Mashed Cauliflower” I’d probably only get a few readers. Or maybe that’s just because I didn’t like cauliflower growing up. I would never define myself as a picky eater because I’m … Continue reading