Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tortellini Turkey Sausage Soup

Raise your hand if you were freezing your butt off today?! Me!!! Today was so cold in Boston. I felt like I was on the top of a ski mountain never mind walking on Comm Ave to class. With all of this chilly weather we're having I figured it'd be good to share this recipe that will warm you right up! I found this Tortellini Turkey Sausage Soup recipe on The Fox & She and had to try it. I don't always like soup and am really picky about what is in it. I like chunky noodles and meat in my soup rather than mostly broth and thin noodles. This soup certainly satisfies my requirements. It's also simple to make even though it's from scratch and is (kind of ?) healthy depending on the ingredients you use.
Here's what you need:
1 tsp Olive oil
3 Links of Turkey Sausage
(My dad got the wrong thing and bought small Breakfast turkey sausages--haha! It was still good, but I suggest Italian Turkey Sausage or a different flavor)
1 Medium onion chopped
1/8 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp Fennel seeds
1 tsp Dried basil
1 tsp Dried oregano
2 Tbsp Tomato paste
1 Tbsp minced garlic
28 oz. can Crushed tomatoes
6 cups Chicken broth
(Use low-sodium broth as a healthier option)
1 box Tortellini
(Eyeball this--I used way too much tortellini because I dumped the whole box in. It was still good, but when reheated it tasted like pasta and sauce)
2 cups Raw kale chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Top off the soup with some shredded parmesan cheese, curl up by the fire and you're ready for a warm night in on this chilly evening. I'm starting to wish I had some of this soup right now! Cooking instructions are on The Fox & She page.
Enjoy and stay warm!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Instagrammy Sunday

 Happy birthday to me!
 Strawberry champagne cake pops from my lovely mum.
The best wrapping paper design by Drew McLoon.
A glimpse of my new view.

I'm finally back in Boston starting classes and getting back to normal college life in America, not in Europe. Lucky for me I was placed in an apartment style room with this amazing view! The photo is a bit blurry, but I can assure you it is pretty great. I can see the Citgo sign, the Prudential and the Hancock building, plus all of the morning commuters. This past friday was also my 21st birthday, and probably the last birthday I'll feel excited about being a year older--ha! My family took Drew and I to dinner at Strega in the North End. The food was delicious, but I was so full by the end that there was no room for the delicious strawberry champagne cake pops my mum made for me. Not to worry, though. I tried one and they're deeeeelish! I had a wonderful birthday, and I'm so thankful for everyone that made it special. So far this semester has been off to a great start.

Happy long weekend!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Golden Globes 2014: The Kids Edition

Hellooooo award show season! With all of the talk about the Golden Globes' Best and Worst Dressed lists and the recent release of Oscar nominations, I figured it would be fitting to share the wonderful world of not Hollywood but Toddlewood. I could ramble on about which Golden Globes looks I loved, i.e. Zooey Deschanel, Amy Poehler, Emma Watson, Lesley Mann and Amy Adams, and ones I didn't like, i.e. Sandra BullockJennifer Lawrence and Paula Patton, but I'd rather not critique and focus on these cute little kiddos instead.

I wrote a blog post about last year's Toddlewood Golden Globe photos for an internship, but this year's photos could be even better. The Toddlewood series photographs celebrity look-alike children dressed up as Golden Globes' stars on the Red Carpet, including Sofia Vergara, Paula Patton, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior

Giuliana Rancic in Lorena Sarbu

Sofia Vergara in Zac Posen

Aren't they adorable?! The whole concept reminds me of American Girl Dolls where you and your doll can wear the same outfit--ha! Toddlewood has other collections of children dressed up like celebrities in various scenarios such as mocking movie posters and TV shows. They're funny to look at yet slightly weird.
I hope it gave you a laugh!

Monday, January 6, 2014

19 Things to Know for the Best Semester Abroad

With so many of my friends going abroad this semester, I figured I'd write up a little list of things to know before seeing the world. Before I left my mum and I researched so much on the best ways to pack and things to bring for my semester in London, but it was still stressful. Hopefully this will help as you prepare for the best semester yet!

Packing Tips:

  1. Roll your clothes! You'll fit so much more in one suitcase. 
  2. Don't overpack on toiletries. I only brought a travel size shampoo and conditioner at first along with a travel size pack of make-up wipes and razor to start. I bought more toiletries when I got to London.
  3. Limit yourself to 5 pairs of shoes. I know this is really difficult, especially if you are interning  because you have more occasions for different style shoes BUT they take up space. Plus, I'm sure you'll find a cool new pair while you're abroad!
  4. Make friends with vacuum seal bags--for your bulkier items!
  5. Bring some foreign money with you. That way you won't have to worry about not having enough for your first week.
  6. FYI I brought one large, overweight suitcase, one carry-one suitcase and a backpack when I departed for London. I did the same when I returned, but luckily my parents took a small duffle bag of some of my stuff home so I had a little extra space. You can always ship things to and from your destination as well!

When You Arrive:

  1. Take an Advil; you will feel pretty awful I'm sorry to say.
  2. Avoid napping! My friends and I had bad jet lag, mostly because we barely slept on our flight. Try to stay awake so the next day you'll feel more comfortable with the time change.
  3. Grocery shop--make a list beforehand! This is one thing we did not do and it was not a pretty picture. Know what you're going to buy (if you have to cook for yourself) because unfamiliar grocery stores, especially in a foreign country, are overwhelming.
  4. Walk around your new 'home away from home' and explore the site around you! This will also help you stay awake and get acquainted.

Other necessities:

  1. Cell phones - I bought a cheap pay-as-you-go phone from my study abroad program to call my friends and work colleagues in London and occasionally to call home. Otherwise, I used my iPhone to FaceTime and iMessage family and friends at home.
  2. Credit cards/Money - If it's not already too late, get a Traveler Rewards Credit Card. There are no fees and you can get a chip on the card that allows you to swipe it in European settings. Most shops and restaurants can swipe American cards, too. The vendor may just look confused at first.

Traveling Tips:

  1. Make a list of all the places you want to go and discuss with friends and peers to see if anyone else wants to do the same trip. This way you'll have other people to plan with.
  2. Budget your money. Try to book as far in advance as possible; otherwise, flight rates will just keep rising. Traveling is easy, especially in Europe, but only if you plan ahead.
  3. Skip the suitcase. On all of my trips I lived out of a backpack--even my 5 day trip. At first I never thought I could fit everything I needed in just a backpack, but by packing as little as possible [while still remaining sanitary, of course] I was able to do it. It was actually a really good feeling. I felt more adventurous, and it was much easier to carry than a suitcase.
  4. Early bird catches the worm - take the early flight! My friends and I had class or our internship Monday through Friday, so we didn't have a lot of travel time. For our weekend trips we would get an early 7 AM flight on a Saturday, so we'd have two full days to explore. There's no need to arrive on a Friday night because you'll arrive late with little time to do anything, plus you'll spend extra money on another night in a hostel that you could be spending on better food or another purchase.
  5. Get a map. As soon as you arrive at your destination, get a map of the city either at the airport or your hostel. It will list all of the must-see tourist attractions.
  6. Ask questions. The hotel or hostel front desk is there to help you. If you don't have any recommendations on restaurants or bars from other friends, ask the hostel front desk. They almost always have a helpful opinion.
  7. Take lots of pictures. Looking back, they'll make you smile and remind you of everything you did--even the little things!
I hope these tips help! Most of all though, have the time of your life and be grateful every minute you're abroad. My time in London made me feel like the luckiest girl alive. Have lots of fun!
Bon Voyage!

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