Game of Thrones Premiere & Cheese Board Debut

Who watched the GOT season 8 premiere Sunday night?! I was so excited for it, and the episode didn’t disappoint. I watched the season 7 finale right before, and I forgot just how action packed it was. Watching that made me so pumped for season 8. I can’t wait to find out who ends up on the iron throne, but I’m sad that some of my favorite characters could face death! ):

Anyway, I had a few friends over for the premiere, so naturally as an entertainer and someone who just purchased a new cheese board, I had to make up a cheese plate for the watch party.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I picked up this marble cheese board with a golden pineapple detail about a week ago. The board came in the mail and I immediately felt the need to buy a bunch of cheese and invite people over, then I realized that the GOT premiere was the perfect time to break out both!

I picked up most of the items from good ole Trader Joe’s (there is one right around the corner from my office, and it’s never too packed, truly a blessing). I got some Cotswolds cheese, double cream gouda, herbed goat cheese, and Dubliner cheddar. For fun other cheese plate items, I used truffle marcona almonds, bread and butter pickles, pita crisps, cornbread crackers (all from Trader Joe’s), shelled pistachios, and some cucumber and orange pepper cut up.

It was all very delicious and extremely filling! I would definitely recommend getting and making a cheese plate for entertaining, as it was the highlight of the night (other than the episode, obviously).

Happy eating! xx

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Taking my Bar Cart to the Next Level!

Bar carts are so fun and versatile. They are a great place to store things in a small apartment, and they also can be dressed up for fun!

This One Kings Lane bar cart was a recommendation from Amy of amybelievesinpink, which my mom bought last year on sale. She decided it was not what she wanted for our house in Martha’s Vineyard, so she decided to give it to me for my new apartment! While this bar cart is certainly different, and more of a statement piece, I actually love it in our apartment. It really adds something to our very neutral look, and is the perfect size to hold all of our alcohol and fun cups!

I have been wanted to upgrade my bar cart in some way, adding something fun to it that would go with the summery feeling this cart already gives from the turquoise color and the bamboo material.

I finally found the perfect items to do so! The first item is this marble cheese board with a gold pineapple detail. This marble cheese board can serve as just a tray that we keep on the bar cart, or exactly what it’s meant for when we have guests over. The second item that will really spruce up the bar cart are these gold pineapple marble coasters! These will really help preserve our table and bar cart from rings and liquid stains, while also feeling cute and summery.

I have had my eye on these items for a while, and the coasters are 20% off right now. The cheese board is also on sale, however today you can get one Williams-Sonoma item 20% off with free shipping on your order by using the code “SPRING” at checkout! I already placed my order and I am so excited to use these.

Quick Super Bowl appetizer: The best buffalo chicken dip recipe

I was born on Super Bowl Sunday 24 years ago! As a Super Bowl baby, I am always amped up for the day (especially when the Patriots are playing).

As a self-proclaimed foodie, I love all the fun recipes that come with the day, as many of them are foods you would never eat otherwise. Many of them are ridiculous, over-the-top foods that also require a lot of prep and cook time. This buffalo chicken dip is a quick, simple recipe that is equal parts easy and delicious!

Truth be told, I usually slightly follow Frank’s Red Hot Recipe for temperature and measurements, but I tend to add my own flair too it.

The Recipe:

2 cups of shredded, cooked chicken. I use the meat of 1 rotisserie chicken, I usually cut the breasts with a knife and measure it out to 2 cups.

8 oz of cream cheese. I usually use low fat cream cheese, and I let it soften up a bit first.

1/2 cup of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce. This is KEY. The regular hot sauce also works, however I love to use the buffalo wing sauce from Frank’s, it’s the best.

1/2 cup ranch dressing. I repeat, ranch, not bleu cheese.

1/2 cup of your preferred shredded cheese. Frank’s calls for bleu cheese crumbles, but I personally prefer shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. I mix 1/2 cup in with the cream cheese, buffalo sauce, ranch, chicken mixture, as well as some for melting on top.

Scallions (for garnish).

Pre-heat oven to 350° F, place mixture in a shallow baking dish of choice. Bake for 20 mins. Serve with pretzel/pita/tortilla, bread, veggies, or really whatever you prefer!

Frank’s recipe recommends to mix up the dip after it is warmed, however I think it is best with the meaty cheese top and fresh scallion garnish!

Happy Super Bowl and GO PATS!!

Tips for the first semester of college

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If you’re reading this, chances are you have yet to head off to college. Whether it be in 2 weeks or 2 years, it’s good to know that going to college is awesome, but tough. It’s tough to leave behind your home, family, friends and everything that is familiar to you. While adjusting is easier for some people than others, social media has definitely played a role in the adjustment to college life. Many people feel like they should be having the time of their life from the minute they get on campus, and often try to portray that on social media, even if that’s not exactly the truth.

The truth is that EVERYONE has a hard time at first, no matter how much fun it looks like their having, or how many friends it seems like they have made. I had such a hard time adjusting, and I’m the first to admit it. I thought I hated school at first, but then I realized that I was making friends and having a good time. Suddenly, I didn’t hate it anymore, and I regret every second I was miserable because that’s time I could’ve been enjoying myself at my favorite place in the world.

Getting used to college life is difficult at first, so here are some tips to make it easier!

Be open to any and all friends

College is an excellent opportunity to make some new and awesome friends. There are so many new people to meet, so go out and meet them! Everyone is in the same boat when they get to school, and usually everyone is open to making friends with whoever they meet. Even if you don’t become best friends with the first people you meet, it’s great to have people to say hi too around a campus.

Walk around/off-campus

Walking around is a great way to get to know the place you’re living and studying at for the next 4 years. Explore all the buildings and facilities, so you’ll have some knowledge when a class is in an obscure building or that they actually have racquets for the raquetball courts. Checking out your local surroundings is helpful too. The coffee shop downtown could be a great place to study during finals when the library is packed.

Take every opportunity

If someone invites you to eat lunch with them in the dining hall, do it. If someone asks you to play on an intramural team even though you aren’t athletic, show up. If someone invites you to go to a speaker on campus, go. Something as simple as a walk around campus can help you learn something new.

Keep yourself busy

The first couple of months are the hardest, and sitting around in your room is not going to make you feel any better. Someone told me to keep myself busy in the beginning and I totally wrote it off. To this day, this is my main piece of advice. If you are busy, you totally forget about being sad or missing home! Hang with friends, make plans, study at the library, grab a coffee, go to the dining hall, hit the gym. These are all things you can do to keep yourself busy that will take your mind off of things.

Surround yourself with other people

A bit different than being open to new friends, although still encouraging social interaction. You can’t be sad when you are talking to new people and learning new things about them, as well as sharing information about yourself! This could be your next door neighbor, your RA, a professor at office hours, or even people in the lounge in your dorm.

Be yourself

There’s no need to change who you are to please other people. You’ll meet the people who like you for who you are. It might take a bit of time, but those people are out there. If you are always unapologetically yourself, you’ll find your people.

Have a great time, don’t forget about school work

Going out with your friends on a Thursday night is perfectly fine. Just make sure you don’t have a test on Friday morning or homework you haven’t done for an 8am class. Believe it or not SOME (not all) jobs do ask for your GPA after college and grad schools want to see your transcripts. I’m all for going out, partying and having a fun time, although getting recognized for your academic achievements also feels great!

While a lot of these tips have common themes, such as being social and keeping yourself busy, they all will make a huge difference. You can make it through the hardest part of college with ease, as long as you put yourself out there even a little bit. Good luck and go kill it!

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Products I’m Loving Right Now

While waiting to meet some friends for dinner recently, I stopped in to blue mercury to kill some time. I’m always looking for masks or creams to help clear my skin of blemishes and impurities. Here I picked up a few products that I really like, so I wanted to share a few other products I have been impressed with! From skin care to home fragrances, these products are on my list of necessities.

Mario Badescu, Cucumber Tonic Mask, $18

This mask is amazing, and I would be honest if I thought otherwise. I have used many different skin care products over the years, and I see visible results from this mask. I noticed that my skin appeared to be tighter and my pores cleared of impurities. 10/10 would recommend to those with blackheads and/or acne. I have fairly sensitive skin and this hasn’t irritated it at all.

Renee RouleauPost-Breakout Fading Gel, $38.50

This stuff is pricey, but worth it in my opinion. I ordered this product to meet the shipping minimum and this product has really impressed me. I see visible results after daily application, which is some what of a unicorn in the skincare world.

Renee RouleauAnti-Cyst Treatment, $45.50

PSA– this is a lifesaver. Last week, I felt a cystic blemish appearing on my face. I don’t get them super often, but when I do they are usually large, red and painful. For years I would get this cystic acne and be in the dermatologist’s office getting cortisone shots to make them go down. This stuff works like a charm, I put it on the cystic pimple I saw felt on my face last week and its gone after 2-3 applications. I’m considering switching all my facial skin care products over to Renee Rouleau products.

Bath & Body Works, Bondi Beach Single Wick Candle, $14.50

I stumbled into Bath & Body Works a few weekends ago. I’m a sucker for these deals and for scented candles. This candle smells like summer, in a banana-flavored sunscreen kind of way. The smell is so great and it makes me feel relaxed when I’m trying to wind down at night.

Fresh,  Hesperides Grapefruit Eau de Parfum, $25

My second blue mercury pick up; this scent is light and smells exactly like grapefruit, not one bit artificial. Rollerballs have become a favorite of mine just for the convenience of them. I carry this around in my purse just in case I need to freshen up.

Glossier,  Lidstar, $30 for 2

Personally, I’ve never really been “into” makeup. I like mascara and a BB cream to cover my face, but I never really ventured much into eyeshadows other than a neutral palette from the drug store. These cream eye shadows are all parts glittery and easy to apply. Simple, but effective.

All of these are relatively affordable as well as available online, so feel free to try some and let me know what you think!

 

Tips for Finding an Apartment in NYC

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Every summer, recent college grads flock to New York City, often for a new job at a flashy big company or promising start-up. After graduating from Fairfield last spring, I also applied to many a job in New York. I even started looking at apartments before I was employed, as one of my roommates started working a month earlier than I did. While I didn’t have a job, I was determined to get one in New York, and looking for that apartment early made all the difference.

We didn’t have a very good plan when we started to look at first and that was crucial. I was still living at home and I had to come to NYC on multiple occasions to look at certain apartments we randomly looked up on StreetEasy. Thankfully, we decided to wait another month for the move-in date. More research and more walking around New York, looking at apartments was very helpful.

Here are my tips for successfully finding an apartment:

Make a budget

Luckily, my roommates and I were mostly on the same page budget wise. We had said things like “we’d be willing to pay $100 more a month for a super and a washing machine in unit.” Also, beware of the “net prices” of apartments. It sounds like a good deal and the one month rent-free was nice, but I still have to cough up the extra money every month.

Make a list of necessities

In addition to your budget, this list can have things like laundry in the building, doorman, live-in super, close to restaurants or grocery stores, gyms, etc. My friends had a list that also said things like “Can you hear the traffic from outside?” “Is it on the ground floor?” “Does the building have a history of rats/roaches?” (Unless it’s brand new, they all do).

Do research/ take a walk/look around different neighborhoods

When we first looked we stayed at a friends apartment in Lenox Hill, so we looked around that area. My roommate’s sister lived in the East Village, so we also looked around there. I didn’t really know what neighborhood I wanted to be in, but after a whole day of looking around two specific areas, I realized there were many more places to look. We found a decent place with many of our list items checked off in Murray Hill.

Look on StreetEasy or contact a broker

While the photos and information may not always be accurate, this site is a helpful tool. I literally found the apartment we currently live in on StreetEasy and while it’s small and has its moments, its a pretty decent spot with no fees. We also had gotten in touch with a broker from a friend, and she gave us some helpful information. We didn’t end up meeting with or seeing apartments with the broker, which is definitely a good way to save money.

Give yourself time, but don’t be afraid to jump on an opportunity

Time is essential for finding the perfect apartment. While these apartments come and go, its necessary to look around and find areas that you like, in your price range, with your list of wants and needs. We did look for awhile, but I’m glad we did wait to look at more apartments in different areas with an organized plan. (Spreadsheets are helpful as well!) However, don’t be afraid to jump on an opportunity if it feels right. An apartment in our friend’s building with HUGE rooms and closets, a big living space, all the bells and whistles really went literally within hours. We looked, we loved it, we decided to look at others, and by the time we called to put down a deposit, the apartment was already taken. If you love it, don’t hesitate, especially if it checks all the boxes.

Thanks for reading and good luck with the apartment search! Please leave feedback and/or questions in the comments below.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! My family celebrated at home today for the first time in years. It was nice to have a delicious homemade meal, company, and another beautiful day.

My mom made 2 different quiches and cinnamon buns to start the day! I had them as more of a breakfast portion to our “brunch.” The first was spinach, asparagus & goat cheese and the second was a cheddar, mushroom & red pepper quiche.

I ran to Seven Stars Bakery to grab iced tea for my sister and I, in addition to a hot cross bun for my grandmother! Yesterday, my mom and I made some Easter-themed Rice Krispy treats, and today we decided to give them jelly bean eyes. We used the special “Spring” version of the Rice Krispies cereal and added some neon pink food coloring to give them even more of a fun spring feeling.

The cooking and cleaning continued, as well as getting ready for our guests to arrive.

After many outfit deliberations, I decided to wear a new pair of Lilly Palazzo Pants I got from the After Party Sale this past summer, along with my favorite sweater from Wooden Ships and J.Crew Espadrille Wedges.

Overall, a successful day with the family. One more day at home before I head back to NYC. Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow, hopefully that’s an April Fools joke. Hope everyone had an amazing Easter weekend!