Alone Time

I’ve spent the last three weeks 80% alone and though it’s been great at work when I’m occupied 9-6, when i get home and finish my chores, I’m BORED. So thus, I’ve been filling my time a little less productively than I thought I’d be. I imagined a world of five-mile runs, buying groceries in a half-empty Whole Foods and sleeping a full 10 hours every night.

Obviously that didn’t happen. I binged on Olympics & am in the home stretch of Grey’s Anatomy, Season 12. I let too many flies and mosquitos come in and I’ve been on a bug-hunting rampage throughout my apartment. I discovered Ample Hills ‘Ooey Gooey Butter Cake’ Custard and it’s been delicious ruining my LIFE/WORK OUTS. On weekends, I ate too much Chinese food and went and visited my furry baby in New Jersey. Angus has been taking a nice long vacation with his grandparents and frolicking on all of the green space. Other random highlights include:

Bought a cute jumpsuit from Topshop that I'm kind of into as much as Instagram Stories

Bought a cute jumpsuit from Topshop that I’m kind of into as much as Instagram Stories

Took Angus on his first train ride EVER and he did amazingly. Just zzz'ed away.

Took Angus on his first train ride EVER and he did amazingly. Just zzz’ed away.

Insert too many snuggles & smushing his face all over the weekends.

Insert too many snuggles & smushing his face all over the weekends.

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Learned/made dumplings from scratch with my momma and they're slowly getting better lookin'.

Learned/made dumplings from scratch with my momma and they’re slowly getting better lookin’.

What I realized at the end of my 21-day cycle was that it’s all back to basics. I am a creature of habit. I like to go from work to home to workouts sometimes and then a homemade dinner. Ordering out more than two days in a row makes my stomach ache. Eating too much ice cream and bread makes my face swell up into a huge pimple (Monday pimple was the DEVIL).

On the bright side, I'm loving this Essie color. Wish I remembered the name of this!

On the bright side, I’m loving this Essie color. Wish I remembered the name of this!

Double yes for alfresco dining.

Double yes for alfresco dining.

A bright side of this whole month was seeing all my girl friends and having me time BUT most importantly, my boring adult tasks. I budged my life and started bullet journaling, which in a sense, is kind of a mini blog. So though I’m not here that often, as long as I”m documenting something I’m happy. Still trying to get into the habit of taking more photos and making a photo journal but a little effort is more than enough.

xoxo

Angel

 

Weekend Updates: Mother’s Day Edition

I’m apologizing in advance for the massive amounts of photos I took this week – it was quite an eventful few days in many different ways and I have been trying hard to take little snaps of my daily life. I find it so interesting to go back in my iPhone Photo Album every once in a while and remember not just the large events, but also the little things I have been up to.

Work-wise, I’m flourishing and feeling like a natural. I love the people I work with, I love the hours and I got to meet many great people. It’s gotten me super comfortable, talking to strangers and I can keep a mean poker face and make anyone feel good about themselves, which in return, makes me ecstatic!

How cute is this little boutique, Dear Rivington +? I work in the same neighborhood as this little shop and though I can’t afford it now, I dream of the day I can go in and drop $1200 on a Comme de Garçons jacket.

Health and fitness wise, I feel balanced. Though I’m working out less intensely and only about three to four times a week, I feel much healthier and happier. I eat 80/20, I juice at least every other day (carrot-orange-ginger is literally the best thing ever) and I also inhale carbs.  

Fresh baguette from Depanneur.

Carrot / orange / ginger / cinnamon / tumeric elixir

Roasted beets / goat cheese / walnuts / arugula. Not pictured were my two slices of homemade GF espresso chocolate cake.

Friday night Mexican celebrations with A for both our work accomplishments thus far.

Epic Chinese meal that I was able to put together last week. Next challenge is definitely going to be something pork belly related. Nom nom nom.

As we all know, socially I tend to be a homebody. I’d rather have friends over a homecooked meal and make drinks ourselves than go out every night till the break of dawn. However, this weekend was one of my best friend, Lucia’s birthday (pictured, middle). I’ve known this girl since we were paired as dorm mates in freshmen year and though we’re not suitable as roommates, we’re great as best friends. We’ve traveled Europe together and met each other’s families so we’re pretty much almost dating…I kid, I kid. Anyways, it was so great just to see my best friends and plan weekend trips and future happy hours together!

My mother is flying out to China today (Mother’s Day) so we decided to spend Saturday night together. It was a low-key night of Legally Blonde, grilled salmon, Chinese food and lots of love for Angus of course.

Beautiful tulips from McCarren Market, last weekend they’re available apparently!

Mom and Angus bonding.

My sister Stephanie, Angus and I

God this face…

Video games with A.

Watching Feast with Angus. This is literally his short film.

Angus sitting patiently for A to get his haircut. 

I worked this Sunday so I just decided to see G for dinner to get some girl time in. We went to Fette Sau, ironically a very masculine BBQ joint for two quite girly girls.Obviously we ordered pretty much the entire menu and stuffed our faces, washing it down with light ale, cider for moi since I’m a prissy little bitch who can’t handle her beer.

Cheers to welcoming another week of good fortune and sunshine. PS. Check out our new layout, it’s pretty sweet 😉

xo Angel

The Challenge of Reading Physical Books

Finishing physical books is a challenge. The length of a novel is intimidating. The idea of throwing a brand new book that still smells like the bookstore in your work bag for your early commute seems like a good idea at first, until you realize how quickly your book will turn to shreds being thrown around between your wallet and your lunch. I still find carrying a tattered novel quite romantic. I love pulling out a physical book because there are no distractions. I don’t have any iMessages popping up like I would on my iPad Kindle App. It also feels more like an achievement when I reach the end of a novel and reach the back cover.

Right now, I’m in the middle of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace. I briefly read a few of his short essays while finishing up my English & British Lit Minor at NYU and I remember loving his prose and the way he would hide symbolism so well in his story. Whether it’s because I’m still distracted by my new puppy mommy duties or just life picking up, this has been taking me weeks to finish. I’ve also been reading more magazines and news articles rather than just sitting down and engrossing myself in a fictional book.

However, I’d love to finish this book within the next two weeks and get cracking on my summer list, which also includes:

1. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain: A and I have been watching a ton of food shows and our favorites include Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and most recently, Chef’s Table, the new Netflix documentary series about the top chefs and their restaurants in this world. I love food, cooking and that entire industry and how chefs come up with their dishes is something that fascinates me. What I haven’t learned much about is what goes on behind closed doors and though I’m late on this book train, I’d still like to read it.

2. The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins: I truly do not really know the plot of this but I’ve been hearing it’s comparable to Gone Girl, which I adored so hopefully this is good too! Basically everyone and their mother has been reading this book on the subway lately so it can’t be half bad, no?

3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: I bought this literally a month ago and it’s been sitting on my shelf. This cover art has haunted me every time I have gone into a bookstore and I’ve always heard good things about Ishiguro so if I ever finish this DFW book, this one is next on my list!

Wish me luck! Today is my day off and I’m filling it with slabs of espresso chocolate cake, iced black tea + reading. Ok and most likely also a ton of Buzzfeed and snuggling with the pup.

xo Angel

The First Juice of the Season

I fucking love juice. I really do. I love green elixirs, bright orange concoctions and the weirdest potion you can think of. Juicing is an expensive habit, but a much more expensive expense if you don’t make it at home. I was gifted a Breville juicer last year for my 21st (the irony) and I always put it to good use during the warmer months.

Today was my first juice of the season and instead of my typical greens, lemon, ginger + apple juice, I wanted to do something different. My skin has been acting funky lately and I wanted to make a skin potion and drink it for the next couple of days and see how it does me good!

I found this recipe excerpt on Well + Good and it looked too delicious not to try. I subbed in a whole raw beet, added some ginger and 2 apples because they were small and the juice worked out fine. However, it’s a little sweet for me and I’d definitely double the ginger and take out an apple next time.

Life Line (via The Suja Juice Solution) 

2 carrots

1 apple

1/2 medium raw unpeeled beet

1 medium cucumber (with skin)

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Juice all the ingredients.

The Real Cost of NYC: Groceries

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As a twenty-one year old living in New York, I always get asked how I manage to pack my lunch and cook dinners most nights out of the week. After all, most of my friends and co-workers are so busy they barely have time to hit the grocery store. For me, groceries and knowing what’s in my food is a necessity. I don’t like the idea of eating out every day or abusing Seamless as it’s the easiest way to watch all my money disappear. Additionally, I’m never quite satisfied as well and I feel a little post-food coma guilt, knowing that it was just my ravenous nature and the need to funnel food into my belly asap that caused me to reach for my Seamless app. But no more! I’m trying to cook 80% of all meals in addition to juicing at home.

My tenacity that is borderline OCD came from my mother. I grew up in New Jersey and my mom stayed at home to raise her three kids. She cooked us meals every night and we sat around the dinner table. Going out to dinner was a treat – we’d go out to eat maybe 2-3 times a month, if not at all. When I was little, I hated the fact that I would bring cold dumplings or noodles for lunch (just like Eddie Huang from Fresh Off The Boat). I hated that my mother seemed cheap to me because she lectured me about budgeting every time I would ask for money to buy a bagel-egg-cheese from our local deli.

Now that I’m grown up and financially on my own (eep!!!), those very things she lectured me on that annoyed me at a young age have stuck by me. I hate ordering $12 cocktails at nice dinners and when I do enjoy dinner out with A, I tend to overanalyze whatever I order and try to recreate it in my head much to his humor and sometimes, dismay.

I still enjoy that Indian or Chinese take-out every once in a while and there’s nothing I love more than a romantic dinner at Gemma with A. However, I love to cook and pack lunch to be smart money wise and heath wise.

I live in Williamsburg and though I love a good Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s trip, the L train has been fucked and that has rendered us useless on weekends. We’ve experimented with shopping at local grocery stores but it just was so expensive that we’d rather Fresh Direct, know exactly what we’re getting and have it conveniently delivered to our apartment. At least for the time being until the L train decides to not be a fuckboy again.

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Because I’m a severe control freak as stated previously, I love to plan out our meals. I tend to plan out 3-4 recipes to cook and pick the recipes that serve at least 4-6 so we always have leftovers for lunch the next day. Here is a preview of next week’s grocery haul:

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This haul will last both of us breakfast, lunch + dinner at least 5 days, so if you do the math, it’ll probably be around $11-12 bucks a person a day, which is literally a loaded Chipotle bowl. When we’re running low on ingredients, we’ll pick up a few things from our local grocery store but it never will go over $30-50 bucks extra a week. This week’s haul is also cheaper because I bought a monstrous amount of chicken last week so we have a week’s worth of meat already in the freezer. It also helps our finances immensely that I’m not a huge drinker (and if I do, one drink is more than enough to make me happy) and A will have a beer or a glass of wine or two a few nights a week at most.

MENU NEXT WEEK (all pictures courtesy of their respective websites):

Cantonese Poached Chicken with Ginger Scallion Oil (via The Wok of Life)

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Sprouted Kitchen’s Grilled Chicken with Tzatziki and Tomato Mint Salad (via Not Without Salt)

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Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches (via Big Girls Small Kitchen)

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Dessert (though I’m not a huge baker at heart, I have had a craving for chocolate so this looked like an amazing option to replicate)

Espresso Chocolate Coffee Cake (via Pastry Affair)

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Happy Friday!

xo Angel

Hello May

May-03

I’m jumping the gun and saying hello to May a few hours early.

At the end of every month, I always think that that this particular month went by faster than the previous. However, April REALLY went fast, as I hit many changes in my life within the last 30 days. I got my job – though it wasn’t my “dream” job on paper, it slowly has morphed into a dream. I work with different clients all day, I am allowed to be creative and there is the entrepreneurship aspect that pushes me out of my comfort zone that is cushioned by the fact that I work for an established brand, something I’ve also wanted for a while. Personal life wise, my family of two also turned into a trio when we adopted our frenchie Angus a week ago – which was the best decision even if it didn’t seem financially right at the time (post to come later).

I predict that May will welcome more financial stability and social happiness and I’m super excited to see how I will grow and take on this month!

April Goals Revisited:

  1. GET THAT JOB. So self explanatory and yet, so needed. I have a good feeling that this month will treat me well. Positive vibes all around.

Yaaaaaas got the job and I’m soooo happy!

2.Take time to relax on the weekend away from my computer screen. Go out on adventures.

My new job allows me to enjoy conversing with clients, being creative and requires about an hour of computer time a day! I love not being glued to a digital screen – my migraines have gone down, which I have always suspected were linked to my large use  of electronics and I feel more fit just being on my feet all day.

3. Read five books.

Massive fail, but I do have an excuse! My leisure time has gone down due to work and when I have time off, I’d rather spend it reading short articles, magazines or hanging out with my family. I have been trying to read more on my commute to work rather than staring blankly at other travelers on the subway.

4.Blog every day (ok or every other day if we’re being honest, but hey, at least I’m being honest!)

Better! I suspect we’re blogging about 2-4 times a week, which is a lot more consistent than before. Still a goal!

5.Start planning summer trip + weekend rendezvous for April! Perhaps a weekend in upstate to go hiking and prance around a small cute town pretending I have a farm, a cow named Hattie and a British butler named Andrew who helps me pick daises all day.

Soooo…..this is where getting Angus comes into play. Since Angus is a pure-bred dog that we bought from a pet store, he was an investment. Definitely the best investment we made since our love for him is massive, but this means we financially consider all of our other purchases. If I am able to pay off the majority of my credit card bills and my split of Angus by June/July, I’ll consider planning a birthday weekend trip away (Miami anyone?!). If that’s not possible, I’d still love to plan a few staycations and upstate adventures this summer!

May Goals:

  1. Green Thumb – Every year, I imagine my windowsill filled with flourishing herbs and different assortments of cacti and fresh flowers. Most of the time, my basil plants will shrivel up within a week and die. I am very determined to keep my herbs alive for the summer and I’d like to have an assortment of at least 3 herbs and maybe fresh flowers once every week or so to keep our apartment fresh.
  2. Home Decor – A and I moved to Williamsburg last July so we’re nearing the one year mark on our apartment. Due to convenience and my hatred of packing up my things to move, we’ll stay here for one more year before the rent increases become astronomical. To keep myself from feeling fidgeting and too complacent in one place, I’d like to continue decorating and refining our apartment. I’d love to buy a few more pieces of art to frame, pots and vases for plants and if finances are good, perhaps a bar cart, bed frame or even a rustic bookshelf.
  3. Debt Management – My goals at graduation last year were to be financially stable by a year’s time. It’ll be a year’s time in May and I can say that I’ve been cut off for about a month now. It’s been terrifying, but also so liberating to be in charge of my own finances. My goals are to pay of all of my credit card debt from living on it between jobs as well as beginning to save some money. I’d like to be able to save up to 3 months worth of living expenses by fall.
  4. Juice More – Self-explanatory. All my co-workers are huge health-nuts which is awesome because it pushes me to take better care of myself. I’d like to dust off my juicer and start making fresh juices 2-3 times a week because it helps me glow and energizes me. I believe in the power of juice to supplement a healthy diet.
  5. Family – Because I work weekends, it’s quite difficult for me to schedule time to see my family in NJ. I’d like to see them at least once or twice this month, especially before my mama goes to China for two weeks.

xo Angel

First “Spring” Weekend

Though it’s been spring “technically” for a few weeks now, it hasn’t felt like it. The temperatures still have been low, the wind speed high and most residents haven’t put away their winter coats entirely, for fear that the one 60 degree day during the week was just a sham.

This weekend, the weather has been gloriously springy, allergy sneezes and all. Since A and I moved in together last July, we just haven’t had the chance or energy to throw a housewarming. I hate cleaning up big messes and A can’t be bothered with taking care of a big crowd. However, when we saw that this was my first weekend off for a little while, we jumped at the chance to throw an extremely belated potluck/BBQ to welcome our closest friends into our home to meet Angus and to enjoy a sunny day with us.

In the past, when I’ve been to potlucks, it’s been really hard to get attendees to bring an actual contribution. Not that there’s anything against that, but we are at that age in our early 20s where a meal sometimes still consists of a bag of Hot Cheetos and a 6-pack. This time, we successfully got all our friends to bring a little something and whipped up a lovely and quite impressive spread. Nothing makes me happier than cooking, hanging out with my favorites and sunshine.

Highlights of Saturday below:

The weather carried on into Sunday and A and I spent the day cleaning (very therapeutic to me), enjoying morning walks with Angus, the best soy lattes + morning moroccan mint teas and leftover BBQ lunches (nothing better than second day BBQ than maybe cold pizza). I’m looking forward to ending the day with homemade bolognese after a sweaty vinyasa yoga session for me, and football (cause he’s British) for A respectively. There’s nothing like an invigorating weekend to welcome a new week. xo