Never forget

2 posts in one day is a rarity, but this is something that holds a lot of importance in my life and I wanted to acknowledge it.  I just came home from the 9/11 Memorial on College Green, which provided a much different experience than I expected.

Never forget.  It’s a phrase plastered on bumper stickers and flags.  We’ve all seen it a countless amount of times.  But does it really ring true?  One of the boys at the service spoke of his frustrations today when he watched Penn students continue their daily lives, oblivious to the date and its significance.  His point was that, yes, we are supposed to move on and heal…but what can be said about the mere 15 others in attendance at tonight’s memorial?

I’ll never forget the first vigil I attended on the night of September 11, 2001 in Van Neste Square in my hometown of Ridgewood, NJ.  I was only 11 years old, and I just could not wrap my head around the events of the day or the changes that had taken place in our nation overnight.  As I stood there crying with my mom, an older woman approached us.

I’ll never forget her, a complete and utter stranger, looking me directly in the eyes and telling me that everything was going to be okay.  When we averted our gaze for just a moment, we couldn’t find her again.  We never saw her leave, and I never saw her face again.  I can’t even remember much of what she looked like.

But I do, and always will remember my mom’s suggestion, that she could have been an angel.  This thought gave me comfort during such a terrifying period.

The point of my recollections is not to dwell on the past, nor is it to recover and reopen all of the wounds incurred on 9.11.01.  I just wanted a few minutes to think about it, and to remember that day for all it was.  Perhaps the point of that boy’s speech was to ask everyone else to do just the same.

The chaplain who spoke really hit home when he prayerfully mentioned to keep in mind those who are pouring over photographs today.  I am most assuredly one of the lucky ones.  I know many people whose dads never came home and have seen their grief and anguish as they cope.  Although most of us do not need to remember today with as much pain as those who lost love ones, we still need to remember it.  It just felt right to allow myself some time, 9 years later, to think through everything that happened and say a prayer.

God bless America, and God bless those families and friends who lost someone important on this day nine years ago.

Nouveau Riche

n., pl., nou·veaux riches (nū’vō rēsh’).
One who has recently become rich, especially one who flaunts newly acquired wealth.

I begin my post with this fitting description because that is exactly how I am feeling after running some errands this morning…only I am rich with new items and food; not money.  DEFINITELY not money.

A trip to the bookstore inspired me to get a new cookbook, as I am looking to cook a lot more this year and feature healthy recipes that I enjoy through this blog.  I chose this one, put out by Cooking Light.  The “5-ingredient, 15 minute recipes” tag on the front really sold me

While perusing the bookstore, a past time that never fails to entertain me, I picked up some good looking trail mix and Kind Bars for some snackage.  The coolest part about that trail mix? It has no salt or added sugar!  Just a simple blend of sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, and dried fruit..I love that companies like this one are taking the non-processed route with their foods.

I also picked up a package that I’ve been waiting forrrr…my new boat shoes!

I chose Sperry’s most classic women’s style.  I’m not a huge shoe person, and I usually have one go-to pair per season (summer-Rainbows; winter-mocassins)  I used to LIVE in my Minnetonka mocassins , right until I wore out the sole and the rubber detached from the bottom! I’m hoping that these will replace my mocassins in a sturdier fashion

Then I ventured to the grocery store, which is also one of my favorite places, and got some of dis stuff:

  • Sprouted Sourdough Ezekial bread (a staple)
  • Asian Gourmet sesame sauce–thinking of putting this with some tofu/chicken/veggies and noodles!
  • Falafel; tried them for the first time last week and kind of on a kick lately
  • Wholly Guacamole
  • Diced tomatoes with lime and cilantro; maybe Mexican’s in the plans for the week?
  • Dole Fruit Crisp: I am PSYCHED about this last one-I saw these around this summer and always wanted to try them, couldn’t resist buying them today.  It’s a little cup of Apple-Cinnamon fruit with a granola “crisp” topping that you heat up in the microwave.  Seriously can’t wait to give these a shot!

I also picked up some frozen veggies, which are always perfect to make a quick meal in the frying pan.  When I got home, I arranged my new goods in the refrig and was proud of how organized it all looked:

DC: essential, Falafel: yum, Milk: cereal., Cpt. Morgan: vom

Look how cute my apples fit in there!

My door contains all of my sauces (organic ketchup, Frank’s Red Hot, Sesame sauce) and some cheese **-important disclaimer** I do NOT promote Fat Free Cheese by any means, in fact I hate it and would never sacrifice the calories/fat for the exquisite taste of cheese, but on this diet I have been avoiding cheese because I am supposed to avoid dairy fat.

I’m a huge cheese fan, I could live off of cheese and crackers, and I’ve missed it so much lately that I had to buy some.  I am contradicting myself a little with this Kraft processed food item, so if I do this again, I will make the trip to the downtown Whole Foods to get some organic, reduced fat cheese

Another new item in my room is this super cool, but really goofy looking set of utensils from Ikea

I love bright colors, which drew me to this set that has a fork, knife, and spoon in hot pink, orange, yellow, lime green, turquoise, and dark blue.  Probably more utensils that I’ll EVER need, but they’re fun.  I love little kid-looking stuff, hence my Anthro Kid’s comforter:

Bright colors just make me so happy 🙂 I also got a lot of new plates and bowls to keep in my room, and I set all of the kitchen stuff up pretty nicely

Ignore the hairdryer in the background, it hangs on a hook there, but I am very proud of my color coordinating kitchen-ware!

Productive day I’d say.

Quick question…I am in the market for a coffee maker of some kind.  Preferably, I want one of those easy single cup Keurig’s because I don’t want to mess with filters or grounds.  Any suggestions??

New beginnings

First off, I want to apologize for disappearing for so long.  I know I am going to feel so much better after writing this post, just because I’ve had so many thoughts looming that I want to write about!

This has been the most stressful starts to school ever.  Stupid FBI took forever processing my fingerprints for nursing school, and its been a NIGHTMARE.  But putting that nonsense aside, I am happy in every other aspect because I finally feel comfortable here

Although its a blurry pic…thats me and some nursing pals on the first night of NSO, and I’d like to say I chose a thumbs up appropriately because I am subconsciously SO HAPPY at school for, like, the first time, ever.  (Dad- you’re going to hate that sentence, but it just sounded so good!)

For those of you who know me well, you’ve known my ups and downs here at Penn, and I won’t bore the rest of you with a sob story..but I really let a lot of things get to my head.  For instance, the fact that I dropped out of sorority recruitment after how horrified I was with the whole system, really stuck with me for a lot of my sophomore year.

On the last night before I left for school, I was hanging out with my brother Patrick, who can be the best listener.  I started to tell him how I need to find something to get involved with at school, and when he asked me about what happened with sororities…I felt sick to my stomach.  I literally started pouring tears, recounting the rejection I felt and the hurt that I let dig so deep underneath my skin.  So deep I almost let it become a permanent tattoo, displaying the image of a huuuuge chip on my shoulder

It was at that moment that I decided this year would be different, that I would join things…get involved…and overall, be. happy. And so far, I’ve had a smile on my face the entire time…

Well, maybe not the ENTIRE time, cuz that’d be a little creepy, but you get the point 🙂

I already have a few groups on my radar to join, including Big Brothers-Big Sisters which is a community outreach program where Penn students “adopt” a West Philly elementary school kid as a buddy!  Sounds like it could be really fun and really rewarding

I think it was really hard for me to leave high school on the “top of the heap” …captain of the lacrosse team, secretary of the school, succeeding academically without much effort, and being a member of not one, but two close-knit groups of friends.  I sort of laughed at everyone who was worried about college, because as pompous as it may sound, I just “knew” I’d be fine

And when I wasn’t? My whole world was practically overturned.  There were so many nights that I considered transferring, so many nights that I really thought I should check myself into a mental hospital, and so many days where I questioned who I was and if my past successes were ever really valid after all the disappointments I’d encountered

But in hindsight, I had a lot of growing up to do…being the baby in a big family probably sheltered me more than I ever realized.  It took me a long time to establish a back bone for myself…but once I learned to do what makes me happy, the rest all fell into place

On another note, I do have a super great recipe to share to incorporate some “healthy eats” back into this blog!  For my last night before heading back to school, I chose a Shrimp Pad-Thai recipe from Spark Recipes. I LOVE pad thai, but I’ve also heard that it can be pretty calorie/fat-laden from a restaurant.  This healthy alternative was phenomenal, and I highly recommend it!

Delicious and definitely worth recreating! I apologize for the verbose post with minimal pictures, but that will change soon!  Hope everyone else is having a great week 🙂