October 31, 2014

Remember to Vote

This past Monday, I voted early for the first time. For Georgia, today is the last day of early voting and I highly recommend all registered voters to exercise their right and get out and vote! It's easy to forget just how important and special the right to vote is because for our generation it's always been possible. But there are people living today who at some point in their lives could not vote just because of their gender or their race. And in 2014, there are countries across the world where people are protesting, fighting, and dying for the right to vote for their leadership.

We are very blessed to live in a nation that allows everyone the opportunity to vote, so we must not take that for granted. Politicians and lawmakers take care of the people who put them in office and keep them in office, and our generation should be included in that group.

Don't forget to vote early or vote on Election Day!

October 27, 2014

Eating in ATL {Chattahoochee Coffee Co.}

A few weekends ago, my friend Jade and I wanted a change of scenery so we ventured near the Atlanta city limits to Chattahoochee Coffee Company, in the Cobb County area. A friend of mine told me about Chattahoochee Coffee Co. and described it as an amazing little coffee shop, nestled inside of an apartment complex that sits on the Chattahoochee River. After learning about it, I was determined to make a visit while the weather was still great.

Jade had never been to the coffee shop either, so it was an adventure for both of us! Getting inside was an adventure within itself. There was a short line to enter the complex and a few people ahead of us didn't know how to "get in" (see bottom of the post).

But the perfectly brewed coffee...and this view...made it so worth the 15 min. trip.

We sat near the river while we drank our coffee and caught up on life. And then we explored the nature of the property and got better views of the river. This place is beyond gorgeous for studying, working, photos, and small gatherings.

Seriously the most gorgeous view I've had at a coffee shop, and it's a short drive from Midtown Atlanta. Kind of like the coffee shop version of Canoe Atlanta.

When you get to the call box at the apartment complex, dial "101" and when someone answers, just say "COFFEE" :)


October 24, 2014

Obsessed with these {H&M jackets and coats}

Burr, it's officially jacket weather in Atlanta. I have a few jackets and coats from last year that I still love, but I usually get one new coat/jacket each year to add to my wardrobe. Some stores sell coats for hundreds of dollars…but I prefer to splurge on other items. I have purchased my past few coats and jackets from H&M. And while not all of their clothing lasts for a long time, I have been really pleased with the quality of their coats and jackets and how affordable (most under $50!) they are! I was looking at their site last night, trying to find my next purchase and I wanted to share three of my favorites…as well of three of my favorite men's coats for my male readers!

These are three of my favorites!

For Guys

October 20, 2014

High Museum of Art Atlanta {review}

I love the High Museum of Art! A few weeks ago my college hosted an event at the High Museum of Art, also known as "The High," in Midtown and I'm so happy I got to attend. 

The Woodruff Arts Center building
Image via 
The High is a part of the Woodruff Arts Center, which also includes a theatre for dramatic performances, an orchestra, dining, and more! The event invited students to a complimentary reception at the museum as well as complimentary tickets to a show going on at the Alliance Theatre or free tickets to the museum. My boyfriend and I decided to view the museum since we'd both been to the Alliance before.

The inside of the museum is absolutely gorgeous and includes floor after floor of exhibits organized by time periods and artists. We walked around every floor, but there was way too much to see in just one night. One of my favorite exhibits was an audio exhibit that included tons of speakers in a room that were projecting the voices of different singers. Basically a robot choir! It was beyond cool to sit and listen for a little while in between all of the visual art exhibits.

I've been to lots of museums and The High has my favorite setup and arrangement of artifacts. I love how pieces are spaced out, not always hung on the walls, yet still organized.

The larger pieces are in giant, empty rooms and each take up a wall. These were some of my favorite pieces because they were so creative and dramatic. I would love these in my future home!

There are also a few windows with nice views of Midtown!

After touring the museum, I knew I had to get a membership card so that I can return to see new exhibits and visit the other areas in the Woodruff Arts Center. Student cards are much more affordable than the average memberships, and a lot of the exhibits appeal to people my age. If you're an art-lover, history-lover, or if you're just looking for something unique to do in Atlanta…visit the High Museum of Art. It will not disappoint! 

What's your favorite museum in your city?

October 17, 2014

Eggplant pizza + healthy side dish

Since I stopped eating meat, I have started trying new vegetables…including eggplant. I don't think I ever even tasted eggplant before this point in my life, but now I have it at least once a week. Eggplant is such a versatile vegetable that can act as a base of a meal, a meat substitute, or a side. When I went home to visit my parents, I decided to make them a healthy vegetarian meal, inspired by eggplant. I'm calling this meal "healthy eggplant pizza."

Ingredients for this entire meal
1 eggplant
1 can of tomatoes
1 tomato off the vine
Black pepper
1 pack of brussels sprouts
Italian seasoning
Lemon juice
Olive oil

To start, I washed the eggplant then sliced it up. One eggplant goes a long way! I rubbed the slices with olive oil, then sprinkled on black pepper and parsley. I baked these in the oven for about 10-12 min.

Once the eggplant slices baked for a little, I added sliced tomatoes on top and sprinkled parsley and pepper on top. Then I put the tray back in the oven for 5-7 min. to heat up the tomatoes a little.

I cooked "meatless" veggie crumbles in a pot with a can of tomatoes to make the "meat sauce" to go on top of the eggplant slices. This was a delicious healthier, meatless alternative to meat and canned spaghetti sauce.

I cooked fresh brussels sprouts to go on top of the "pizzas" using my favorite recipe.

I dressed some fresh arugula in lemon juice and black pepper.

Then, I added two of the baked eggplant slices with tomato slices to each plate.

I then added on the veggie crumbles in the tomato sauce. I thought the brussels sprouts would be great toppings so I added 2 sprouts to each plate.

The finished product! 2 Eggplant pizzas topped with sliced tomato, veggie crumbles in tomato sauce, and brussels sprouts. All served on a bed of lemony arugula. 

I loved this meal and it tasted unbelievably healthy, but still so delicious and tasty! My parents also appreciate good food and they approved of this meatless, bread-less, and cheese-free meal!

Give it a try next time you want a complete tasty meal!

October 14, 2014

Obsessed with {theSkimm}

I've been a Skimm'r for about five months, and I am obsessed. I think I've shared theSkimm, a daily e-mail newsletter that is perfectly crafted and written, with most of my family, friends, and classmates. But then I realized I still haven't shared it with my blog readers, sorry! So here's a rundown of theSkimm and why I, along with many others love it.

So theSkimm arrives in my inbox every weekday morning (excluding holidays) around 6:30AM. The time may vary for some, but I'm just happy it comes before I wake up. It's the first thing I read before even getting out of bed. TheSkimm always includes a "Quote of the Day" that relates to an interesting news story.

One thing love about theSkimm is that the newsletter includes both national and global news. I typically have trouble following global news and relating to it because it feels so distant. Yet, theSkimm does an excellent job of breaking down some of the most important news stories across the globe so that anyone can understand them and realize why they are important. Another great aspect of theSkimm? The writing. If you speak sarcasm, you will absolutely fall head over heels for the writing style in theSkimm - a little snarky, a little sarcastic, and very smart.

I also appreciate theSkimm covering stories that are important, but don't always get the news coverage they deserve. For example, theSkimm has been keeping readers updated on Ferguson, MO and the ongoing protests. 

TheSkimm also shares a word/term "to know" which really comes in handy. And, they sometimes have a sweepstakes/contest going on for readers to enter.

Last, but not least, the Skimm Birthdays at the end is such a fun addition to the newsletter. It's also great to see that women and men from across the nation and in my city are also Skimm'rs!

Do you Skimm?

October 11, 2014

Eating in ATL {Canoe}

I'm so excited to share one of Atlanta's best hidden gems with you. I went to Canoe Atlanta for the first time during my sophomore year of college for a friend's birthday dinner, and I was so impressed by the food, ridiculously amazing service, and the backyard of the restaurant. 

A few weeks ago, I got to revisit Canoe for my friend Alexandria's birthday dinner, and it was just as spectacular as I remembered. We had a pretty large group, and they accommodated us very well. 

Canoe offers both indoor and outdoor seating and is unlike many restaurants in the Atlanta area because it sits along the Chattahoochee River. I'm obsessed with the seating and gardens near the river. I totally understand why some people get married at this restaurant!

Now to the food. I ordered one of the healthier dishes on the menu (salmon with vegetables), but it tasted sinful. I was so impressed by the flavor of the salmon and the vegetables, yet my meal still felt light. Everyone else in our group agreed that the food was delicious. Check out some of the starters, entrees, and desserts below:

So much yumminess! If you're looking for a very nice restaurant to celebrate a special occasion, I highly recommend Canoe. They've won multiple awards for their quality service and food, and those are well-deserved.

October 09, 2014

Midterm study ritual

So last week I had my midterm exams/papers for my grad school classes, and things actually went pretty well. I definitely always get a little nervous about midterms and final exams because they mean that students have to remember tons of information and have multiple tests and assignments due during the same week. Stressful, right? But over the years I've developed a midterm studying ritual of sorts that has really helped me get through midterm weeks without a ton of stress and with great grade results.

I'm sharing three things I stick to when it comes to midterm studying and midterm exam week:

Divide and plan | Midterms, like finals, require a plan of action to handle calmly. Before I start studying or working on anything, I write down all of the midterms I have and all of the assignments I have due during midterm week. This semester I had the following written down:

Multivariate Statistical Coding Analysis Take-Home Midterm
Research Paper Proposal
Research Paper Draft
Policy Memo Midterm

Having a written list really helps keep me organized and also helps me prioritize my assignments. Trying to take on everything at the same time is very hectic and has proven unsuccessful for me in the past. So now, I stick to getting midterm studying and assignments done using a system.

Get the assignments done first | When I have a ton of studying to do, the last thing I want to think about is doing assignments for another class. That's why I finish my assignments that are due before I start seriously studying. Of course you can do some light studying during the weeks/days leading up to your midterm, but I spend the majority of that time knocking out any assignments I have to do. This helps me really focus on the study material and decreases my stress levels since I have fewer things on my to-do list. After finishing my assignments, my list looked like this:

Multivariate Statistical Coding Analysis Take-Home Midterm
Policy Memo Midterm

Study my most challenging courses first, review the ones I'm more comfortable with | I know different strategies work for different people, but I prefer to spend more time studying my more challenging midterms than I do studying for the classes I'm more comfortable with. Now, this does not mean completely skip studying your easy classes…that's the best way to be unpleasantly surprised by the material on an exam. This semester, I spent 3-4 days studying for my take-home (math) midterm and then used the entire 2 days we were allotted to complete my exam. And since I am more comfortable with policy since that is what I am studying in school, I started on that once I finished my math exam.

Best of luck on your midterms!

October 07, 2014

October fitness challenge {abs and squats}

via 30 Day Fitness Challenges

I know October is already a week in, but it's never too late to start a fitness challenge! For this month, I'm taking on the 30 Day Fitness Challenge of doing a variation of ab workouts + squats throughout the month of October. I already focus on these areas for my normal workouts, so it will be nice to have a plan to stick to during October.

BTW, I've been doing pretty well with my challenge of dropping bread & cheese from my diet and have already lost four pounds this month since doing so. That shows how much I normally eat those items. Yesterday I went to Chipotle and ordered a burrito bowl without meat, a tortilla, or cheese…and it was still delicious.

Let me know if you're going to try this challenge this month too!

October 05, 2014

Brunch in ATL {Sun In My Belly}

Last weekend, I went to brunch for my friend Alexandria's (above) birthday at Sun In My Belly in Downtown Decatur. It was my first time eating there, and it's definitely been on my "must-try" list for a awhile. Please notice the food in front of her, the fried green tomatoes covered in pimento cheese. SO good. Not the traditional fried green tomato setup, but this twist on them was awesome.

The decor of this restaurant is beyond adorable. Check out the hanging lights and painted Mason jars. All of the tables are set up similar to the photo shown above, making this place an awesome spot for parties or dates.

I ordered  a mocha before my meal came, and this was one of the best mochas I've ever had.

When you order biscuits a la carte, they come with butter and an orange preserve, yum!

Here's what I ordered: BBQ shrimp and grits. I was surprised and appreciative of how many shrimp I got with my meal. The BBQ sauce was sweet, yet tangy and the grits were cooked perfectly. Great meal choice for pescatarians who love southern food. Check out what a few other people at the table ordered below:

I absolutely loved having brunch at Sun In My Belly, and I can't wait to make another trip back. They definitely have a busy weekend crowd, so try making a reservation if you're planning to visit with a large group like we did.


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