But at least I’m singing about it?
The most important thing to learn, that make-it-or-break-it skill when you come to college, is TIME MANAGEMENT.
You took Study Skills. And maybe a freshman seminar or something. But have you gotten a grasp on what a healthy lifestyle looks like?
The last two-three weeks of a semester are the most challenging. Professors love to pile on tests and papers RIGHT before the dreaded Final Exams. This is your test of Time Management. How long can you keep your head above water?
You must do well on Exams. They are a huge chunk of your grade.
I’ve made an equation to predict your final exam grade.
(How Much Time Spent Studying + Sleep Gotten The Previous Week + How Healthily You’ve Eaten* - Hours of Music You’ve Listened to While Studying)/(The Number of Friends You Spent Quality Time With During Study Time**) = Your Final Exam Grade.
*Note: Rank your healthy eating habits of the week on a 1-15 scale.
*Notice, the greater the number of friends you spend time with during the week of studying, the worse your grade. But if you spend time with none, your mind will collapse, leaving this equation undefined. So give yourself at least one friend.
Basically, forget “hang-out time” if you want adequate sleep and time studying. And don’t let your diet consist of coffee and gummi snacks, or you will not do well.
If you can successfully avoid the siren song of the year almost being over and the friends you’ll be missing once summer forces you to split ways, you MAY do well.
Just remember the equation. I’d suggest testing it out before doing something taboo. Guaranteed to help you build time management skills. You’re welcome.
Gluten-Free, right? Well…I’ve decided it’s not entire realistic. I allow myself the occasional biscuit or piece of bread, but my pastas are not made from rice, and I’ve given up on sandwiches.
And my body feels pretty good!
Except for this nasty cold I have. But other than that.
Tomorrow is my bible study’s final meeting, so we’re having a potluck. My co-leader, Elizabeth, is the wife of Justin Clement, our RUF’s campus minister. She’s a baller cook and mom, so she’s taking the brunt: the ham.
So, I’m making dressing. Mama’s recipe, of course (see my earlier post). And not dressing like that stuff you put on salad. Oh no, this is authentic southern stuffing.
Her dressing requires you make both cornbread and buttermilk biscuits from scratch and then crumble them for the mixture. So, I made both batches today after getting home from my four too-long classes (and running on little sleep. that’s what i get for studying and grocery shopping late at night with the boyfriend).
I felt incredibly domestic today. I stole Alton Brown’s recipe for buttermilk biscuits. Oh.my.gosh.so.good. And the cornbread from a bag didn’t turn out like I wanted it to, but it’s getting crumbled anyway.
You gotta try this buttermilk biscuit recipe. I found a tip somewhere to use an old soup can to be your biscuit cutter, and it worked perfectly! They were round, golden, and scrumptious. )Yet again, I forget I’m about how I’m cutting down on that gluten stuff.)
Tomorrow will be the compilation of southern goodness and enjoying each person’s contribution. Yeah, we can take it to the metaphorical level. My dear friend Anna’s bringing sweet potato souffle (my favorite!). She’s edgy and honest and laughs and loves good music. And Elizabeth, like I said, is bringing the ham. She’s got the meat. She’s so wise and knows the bible; I feel so blessed to be learning how to lead a group with her. She has a million metaphors that really put an image to the Christian life and who God is. She’s helped bring a lot of concreteness to my faith by sharing her life story. And Kasey’s got the rice krispie treats. She’s getting married, soon, and she’s a grad student from California. She brings so much crunch to the group. She’s easy to be around, a ball of fun, and we bounce off each other so much.
I’m just really grateful for my girls. I can’t wait to see what everybody brings (foodwise and conversationally wise). There are about 15 of us, so it should be quite a spread.
My labor of love on this dressing is well worth it. It’s a joy to put together and a piece of my family history I get to share with the girls that I’ve grown to know intimately and love deeply. I’m just sad it’s ending for the year.
But, I hope to be put in another group next year. I look forward to see what that potluck will look like.
I have found a new obsession.
Music is a part of my every day. I listen to it when getting ready in the mornings. This morning, I realized I only had eight minutes to get ready and catch the bus at my usual time, but I was craving some Jenny Lewis.
…boom. Her voice hit me and then wafted over me.
Oh Land is a girl accompanied by one or two synth-percussionists. The clip I first saw was from a concert where her entire face was covered in glitter; she looked futuristic and her microphone was synthed, splitting her voice into several harmonies. It sounded as if they were traveling through a tunnel of light. That’s my best at attempt at describing it. Feel free to listen to it on your own.
Each song I’ve listened to has a mystical feel.
I think one reason why I am so drawn to this music is because Oh Land, whose real name is Nanna Fabricius, sings with her sweet Danish accent, dances, and plays a bit of percussion, and that’s honestly all I could do. And that’s all I’d want to do. She always wears these really flowy tops and dances so freely in them.
She was a dancer until an injury, which is when she discovered her love for music. She’s absolutely gorgeous. Okay, you’ve figured out by now that I want to be her.
So now I’ve been listening to her ALL afternoon.
Check it out yourself.
Secret: One of the reasons why I studied abroad was to avoid Athens. Avoid Athens?! What?! Why would anyone want to avoid the best college-town in the US?! you might think. You may think I’m ungrateful for where I am in life. Well, I’m not. I love Athens and couldn’t think of a better college experience. But I wanted to leave it because my best friends were leaving.
My sister, Emily, graduated and is now at Physician’s Assistant School at MCG. Yeah, she’s a smart one. We hung out a good bit; same campus ministry, same small group, same sorority. So, of course our friends overlap.
And those friends mainly were ALSO in my sorority (Liz and Samantha are particularly dear to my heart). They graduated as well and both have begun their careers in Atlanta. Not too far away, but just far enough.
Another best friend, Kristen, came out of the womb ready for the working world. She’s fantastic with people and aced all of her classes. Now, she’s working corporate at AT&T in Atlanta. Although she’s my age, her AP credits and work ethic allowed her to graduate in December…right when I came back to the US.
And, of course…there’s Micah. Micah, my soulmate. My better half. I didn’t know what I was missing in a friend until this lovely lady came into my life. Intelligent, thoughtful, creative, witty, loving, gentle, helpful, music-loving and sharing…she’s my girl-crush AND my best friend (No, you’re wrong. It’s not weird at all). Our friendship started when we stole peanut butter and bananas on a mission trip to Belize and ate them on the roof overlooking the darkened city.
I know she’ll always be in my life, but when I found out she was transferring, my heart nearly broke. I knew that God had a bigger plan for her and for me than I could see, but I didn’t want to see her go. Instead, I decided to distract myself. With a big trip across the pond to a foreign place where I knew no one. It was as if I were in a dream world, but I was happy the reality of a friend-barren Athens was out of my mind.
I prayed for my time I would spend abroad, but it felt like talking about a movie.
God was so good to me. He gave me hilarious roommates, uplifting friends, breath-taking travels, a new church body, and new insights about life and people. While I was running away, He was running towards me. I came back to Athens as a transformed person (although, I’ll admit that so much time learning about myself caused me to become more self-absorbed).
Now that I’m here, I want to take advantage of the people the Lord has put around me. There are so many fantastic ones that I don’t know, and I know that He took away my security blankets so that He could use me to be his tool in others’ lives, and so that He could use others to open my eyes to REALITY. It ain’t all about me. But, He’s given me experiences and hurts and loves so that I can share in the pains and excitements of the friends around me.
Isaiah 61, one of my favorites, tells me this.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
I argue that the same can be said of you. God has created you uniquely. If His Spirit is on you, he has called you to be his minister. He has put you where you are right now to reach those who need Him.
A diet of only bread and water has never really seemed like torture to me. The fluffy touch, the warm smell, the buttery taste have always called to me. When I decided to go to Italy to study abroad, obviously the flour-heavy cuisine was something I was looking forward to.
What do you think of when you hear “Italian cooking”? Maybe the elderly “Nonna” stirring a pot of ragu in the kitchen. But there’s always pasta, pizza, or bread. A celiac-suffer’s nightmare.
Living in Italy was the first time I had to buy groceries for myself. So, being a breadaholic, I went to the panetteria every week and tried out a new loaf. There are so many different textures and tastes! My treat after a hard class would often be a twisted salty bread from a baker that I befriended on my walk home from school.
Along with the bread, I tried a new cheese (I went from Parmigiano-Reggiano, to pecorino, to asiago, to buffalo mozzarella, to gorgonzola, to montasio, to ricotta, to romano, and more. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest.) and sometimes a specialty meat. Panini were my regular lunches and pasta my regular dinners. I had a rampant love affair with gluten.
Coming back home, I assumed that I’d continue to eat the same way because it’s a fairly cheap way to cook for oneself. I did for a while, but then realized that my body was taking a hit. The town is so much more spread out than Florence; I would walk home from the grocery store with marks from where my grocery-filled plastic bags dug into my forearms. But here, I use my car everywhere. My exercise is more purposeful, but when schoolwork piles up, it is unfortunately more scarce.
So, to treat my body well, I am trying out the “gluten-free” lifestyle. Yes, I’ve heard the phrase used frequently as of late but never understood why anyone would opt to not share the joy of a freshly baked baguette or a filling plate of pasta (excluding those that suffer from gluten intolerance and celiac disease).
Almost as a challenge to myself, the “Italian” one of my friends, I decided to rid my diet of flour. Oh my! It’s disturbing how pervasive it is. My lunches consist of either fruit and peanut butter or beans and rice. Breakfast is oatmeal…or fruit and peanut butter. Occasionally I’ll have a stir-fry of vegetables, but even then I can’t use soy sauce because it contains gluten. It’s no wonder that our bodies have a hard time processing this hard grain; it’s in our food in mass quantities!
I’ll admit that I’ve broken down a few times. I stayed with my best friend (a vegetarian) in Birmingham yesterday, and so not to be a burdensome guest, she and our friend Carson and I ate pasta for dinner. As an added treat, we had cookies and ice cream (what?—it was vacation time). So, I had to restart the altered diet today. I have yet to notice any real changes, but I’ve been doing it for less than a week including my “time-out” in Birmingham.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this diet. Fortunately, Gluten-Free is becoming better received and more products are being offered as awareness of it’s hard to process presence is explored. In your local health food section, you can find rice noodles and loaves of bread made with alternatives to wheat.
Why don’t you take the challenge with me? Stay off of gluten for two weeks and see how your body responds.
So, there’s this guy…his name is Tim, and we’ve been seeing a good bit of each other.
But that’s not what this post is about.
While I was abroad learning Italian cooking from Chef Cecilia, Tim was in Athens studying O-Chem and kneading bread. Over letters, we’d chat about what we were learning to make.
Now that we’re in the same city, we’ve found that we like spending time together, and this includes one of my favorite activities: throwing dinner parties. So far, there have been two.
For the first, we looked for a simple, elegant, but delicious main course and built our menu around it. After researching several Food Network recipes, we decided on Tyler Florence’s ULTIMATE Roast Chicken (the fact that it said “ultimate” helped the decision).
The dinner was a hit; we made the chicken, homemade gravy, rosemary bread, eggplant parmesan (Chef Cecilia’s recipe), and mashed potatoes.
So, of course we had to have another.
Last Friday, Tim and I went back to work. With a theme. Mexican.
His roommates, brother, and a few friends came over on Saturday for an authentic Mexican meal; one of them was from Mexico, so we made sure to get his input.
Even if not explicit, we had goals for the dinner. Authenticity. Delicious food. Camaraderie.
What a joy it was to be in the kitchen with friends, working to learn about another culture’s cuisine and gaining lifelong skills.
We sat down, prayed, and dug in. From scratch, we’d prepared corn tortillas, pico de gallo, guacamole, supo azteca (tortilla soup), fish tacos, and a perfectly moist Tres Leches cake.
Covered in amps and guitars in preparation for this weekend’s “Oaksplosion,” the dining room was off limits. So, some sat in couches, others on the floor of the living room. The tv was off. Fratmusic was on in the background, but we were talking to loud to really hear it.
It wasn’t organized; hands grabbed serving spoons, crossing over another arm stuck in a bag of chips. I loved watching everyone go back for seconds, having a conversation with another they didn’t know so well while folding tacos.
The setup and cleanup required effort, but it was so worth it.
I’m sold. Dinner parties are a new hobby of mine, even if they’re not typical sit-downs. At least I won’t have to learn Martha Stewart’s various table settings.
Ever since I took a cooking class in Italy, everything from kitchen utensils to nutrition to cooking methods fascinates me. I can’t stop looking at cooking blogs. One day I just researched the different storing methods of fruits and vegetables.
I’m one of those addicted to what has recently been deemed “food porn.” and thanks to StumbleUpon, I’ve found http://foodgawker.com/. Oh and I do, I do gawk…if only I could cook that. or plate that dish that way. or just have a small bite of that chocolate cake… the photos make the ethereal food tangible.
In one of my English classes, we’re currently studying criticisms of photography. Increasingly our generation is becoming a visual culture; flickr, facebook albums, digital cameras, advertising, t.v…obviously, pictures are inescapable.
Unfortunately, along with these pleasing cooking pictures comes a sort of “lust.” Gluttony, to add another of the deadly sins. We eat because something seems attractive, not because our bodies need it.
So, I’m trying to view these websites in a more “healthy” way. Enjoy the beauty of the photograph, the medium that allows you to be so close to something so far away, but consider this picture the product of something that can be made by your own hands, something to take pleasure in because of the effort you’ve put into it, a reward. Redeem the food porn culture.
In the same genre, here are some other websites that may be of interest to you:
http://www.tastespotting.com/ * personal favorite. shows what’s popular on the foodie sites.
www.tastebook.com *tons of recipes from respected sites. you can make your own recipe book.