Category Archives: diy

prepare to be e-mazed

emaze1

The other day I was sitting in one of my economics courses watching some of my classmates give a presentation. It.Looked.Fantastic. What were they using? It looked like a power point, but it certainly wasn’t power point. It was emaze, a new online presentation platform. The free site allows you to choose from a dozen different presentation templates and has countless example presentations by real users for inspiration. Once you’ve selected your template theme, creating a magnificent presentation is really too easy. For each new slide emaze gives you about a dozen different slide layouts to choose from and each is completely customizable. The systems for changing font, adding graphics (they have the cutest!) and adjusting just about anything is so easy. That’s probably what the “e” in emaze stands for — easy! I honestly love this platform and will definitely be using it for my final few presentations of college (eek!)!

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mother’s day weekend

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that’s yours truly on the flute!

Where do I even begin with this weekend? On Friday afternoon I presented my Senior Thesis at my school’s annual Steinmetz Symposium. It went really well and both my father and The Boy were able to attend. It was so great sharing my work with my old professors, family, and friends. Then I had my last orchestra concert ever on Friday night. We played Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 — a real favorite.

The Boy and I after my Prize Day ceremonies

me and The Boy after my Prize Day ceremonies

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yummy homemade chocolate covered strawberries for my momma!

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the whole family (minus cali twin) at the Tulip Fest

On Saturday I was inducted into Union’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. It was a really special honor as my mother and both of my grandmothers are also members. Afterwards the school celebrated with a beautiful brunch. Then that afternoon was Prize Day. Every year Union holds Prize Day in order to recognize special seniors (and some juniors and sophomores!) for their excellence and contributions to the school and community. The ceremony holds a lot of suspense as none of the recipients are announced until they have to walk up to the stage to receive their award! This year I was honored to receive three awards: the Andrew W. Archibald award “To the senior earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with the highest scholastic standing,” the John Iwanik Prize “to an outstanding Russian language student” (and two of my other Russian language friends won with me!), and the Horatio G. Warner award “to a student of high personal character who has the highest scholastic standing in the Bachelor of Arts program.” It was a beautiful and exciting ceremony.

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Finally, Sunday was Mother’s Day! I spent the day with my mom (and my family) at the Albany Tulip Festival. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. The weather was beautiful, the tulips were incredible, and with good food and good family there were lots of laughs 🙂 At night The Boy and I celebrated our one year anniversary by satisfying our Chinese food cravings at P. F. Chang’s.  I hadn’t been there in a really long time, so it was a nice treat.

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such a cutie!!

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YUM.

I can’t believe my weekend is over already! I had such an incredible time and although the weather is gorgeous today, it’s tough getting back to the grindstone. Anyone else missing their weekend?

the addiction

2048_1

Have you heard of the iPhone game 2048? I was first introduced to the app during my spring break when I watched my twin sister stay up until the wee hours of the night playing it, but I didn’t understand the addiction. NOW I DO.

The game essentially has you slide numbers around a 4×4 matrix, combining like numbers until you reach the ultimate goal of 2048. Once you hit that, you can continue on to try to get even greater numbers! The cool thing about the app is that if you don’t reach 2048 (which oftentimes you don’t because every time you swipe across the board a new number (2 or 4) drops into the matrix, so eventually it fills up) the game still tracks your “score” (don’t ask me how they find that…) so that you know if you’re doing your best yet or better than your friends — hehehe!

The game is SOOOO addicting. I forgot to eat dinner the other night because I was so sucked into it… yeah, that happened. If you don’t have the app yet, proceed with caution. If you do, have you hit 2048 yet??

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grandma muffins

muffins

The other day I made the most delicious banana bran muffins as a study snack. I know, I sound like an absolute grandma, but they were so tasty and I couldn’t resist trying to make comfort food a little bit healthier (ok, truth is I had some wheat bran sitting around that I literally hadn’t touched since I made a variation on my quinoa granola and I had a few ancient bananas that were minutes away from rotting, so I thought I might as well whip something up while I was thinking about it). The recipe I followed was super easy and the muffins came out so moist and fluffy. Did I tell myself I’d only have one and share the rest then end up eating five in the same day? Yes, but seeing how fast my housemates finished the rest, I will definitely be doubling (or tripling) the recipe during the next go around!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients: (makes 12)

– 1/2 cup butter, softened

– 1/2 cup sugar

– 3 ripe bananas, mashed

– 1/4 cup milk

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 2 eggs

– 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1/2 cup wheat bran

– 1 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1/4 tsp salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffin pan. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar together until fluffy. Then add bananas, vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Finally, stir in flour, bran, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour batter into muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes then test with a toothpick to see if centers are baked through yet. If toothpick does not come out clean, bake for another 5 minutes. Remove muffins from oven and let cool in pan. Then transfer from pan to wire cooling rack to cool completely. Lastly, dig in!!

live well

livewell

As a part of my last college “hoorah” before entering the real world I am trying to really do what’s best for me and my health (because I know I might not have time for those kinds of luxuries come graduation…). One part of this campaign is to try to drink more water. I already drink a ton of water (a good habit I picked up during my freshman year of college. Also, fun fact: I didn’t like fruit until my freshman year of college either — guess it wasn’t all bad!), but I wanted to pay extra attention to the amount I was drinking and make sure that I was drinking enough water each and every day. My solution was to buy a very lovely Union College Nalgene water bottle. My goal is to drink at least two 32oz bottles of water each day. Any more is bonus. I’ve read that you are supposed to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day, so this is about right for me. Of course, if you are exercising you should expect to drink more. I’ve also found that I drink a lot more if I have seltzer water on hand. And increased hydration is supposed to have so many wonderful health benefits: your immune system is stronger, your skin is clearer, and you are less sluggish, just to name a few. So, who else wants to take the water challenge with me?

twin apt

love this inspirational wall next to the computer desk -- a great DIY idea and very lululemon, no?

love this inspirational wall next to the computer desk — a great DIY idea and very lululemon, no?

Last week my sister decided to agree to do Teach for America for two years after she graduates this June. Her ultimate life goal is to obtain a PhD in theoretical physics and pursue a career in academia, but when faced with the option of either diving into graduate school right away or taking a few years to give back and learn in a real-world setting, she chose the latter. I am so, so proud of her! Not only will she be nobly (and I think quite successfully) helping disadvantaged students, but she will be doing so in the best city in the world WITH ME! I can’t even express how excited I am to have Julia down in New York with me for two years. When I signed my job contract in the fall I did so knowing full well that my twin city plans might ultimately fall through and, to be honest, for quite a while it looked like they were going to do just that! But now the fates have favored us yet again and its seems that maddening and majestic Manhattan will continue to be our twin thing. I, of course, can’t help but already brainstorm ideas for our apartment… I know searching for something within our just-out-of-school budgets will be a pain, but a girl can dream!

these windows are just fantastic -- definitely a charming little feature that we could find in older apartments

these windows are just fantastic — definitely a charming little feature that we could find in older apartments

realistically, rooms will not be so much "rooms" as they are "spaces." this artful closet-made-wall-art next to a super comfy bed is a practical idea for a studio space

realistically, rooms will not be so much “rooms” as they are “spaces.” this artful closet-made-wall-art next to a super comfy bed is a practical idea for a studio space

quinoa stir-fry

quinoa stir fry

Guys, I can’t wait to share about my lunch from yesterday with you all! After completing my very last final of winter term I was absolutely starving. I was tempted to just inhale a bagel from the dining hall, but I decided to restrain myself and instead let my creative culinary juices flow (ok, I did have some potato salad while I was at the dining hall, so sue me!). I picked up some fresh veggies from the salad bar and headed back to my house. I grabbed the leftover uncooked quinoa from when I made this and got to work. The result? An easy, healthy, and totally I’ll-never-eat-dining-hall-food-again delicious lunch that I am still dreaming about.

Ingredients:

– 1 cup quinoa

– 2 cups broccoli, red and green bell peppers, and mushrooms

– 2 tbsp olive oil

– 1/2 cup Kikkoman Stir-Fry sauce

Directions:

Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, set at a simmer and cover. While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in skillet. Add vegetables and stir-fry for about 3 minutes or until slightly browned in some places. Continue to check on quinoa, stirring occasionally. Return to vegetables. Add stir-fry sauce and mix well for about another minute. Remove skillet from heat. Quinoa should be just about ready now. Stir and make sure that there is no more water on the bottom of the pot — it should all be absorbed by the grains. Once the quinoa is ready, remove from  pot and scoop into large mixing bowl. Add vegetables to bowl and combine with quinoa. Serve and enjoy!!

 

This was such a delicious lunch and I had such a great time making it (you should have smelled the house!). I could imagine adding grilled chicken or even some scrambled eggs to the mixture for an extra punch of added protein, but this simple meal was satisfying just the way it was! Please let me know if you try this recipe yourself, or if you come up with any creative twists on a scrumptious classic! And, as always, enjoy!!