Summer Soundtrack


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Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke
"You're an animal, baby it's in your nature. Just let me liberate you."

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Obvious Bicycle - Vampire Weekend
"So keep that list of who to thank in mind. And don't forget the rich ones who were kind."

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Popular Song - MIKA feat. Ariana Grande
"How come you look so cool? 'Cause that's the only thing I've learned at school."

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"I threw my hands in the air, said, 'show me something.'"

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Gold - Neon Hitch feat. Tyga
"It's good to meet you, beautiful creature."

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Tip Toes - Jayme Dee
"Silly love songs made me so sick--couldn't stand them. Now they all click."

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Daylight - Maroon 5
"This is my last glance that will soon be memory."

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Radio - Hot Chelle Rae
"Hasta La Vista--one, two, three, four!"

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(that's me on the left! ^)
Stay Close - Delorean
"Each secret you keep keeps me a bit far, but I want you to know--burn down the mysteries."

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Children - V.V. Brown feat. Chiddy Bang
"Forget the issues and worries. This is something about supporting optimistic dreams when it's crumbling down."

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Eighteen Cool - Hoodie Allen
"Baby I know how to make it in America--doing what we love and we passionate."

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Next to Me - Emeli
"You won't find him tryin' to chase the devil for money, for fame, for power, out of greed."

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Alive - Krewella
"I just wanna sink into your crazy laughter."

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If I Lose Myself - OneRepublic
"I stared up at the sun, thought of all the people, places and things I've loved."

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Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast - Capital Cities 
"The world you see is on our side."

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Let Her Go - Passenger
"Dreams come slow and they go so fast."

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Royals - Lorde 
"Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash. We don't care, we aren't caught up in your love affair. We crave a different kind of buzz."

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Red Hands - Walk Off the Earth
"That gun is loaded, but it's not in my hand."

*tracks not listed are hyperlinked to their youtube links 

In a world taken over by dubstep, one can only wonder if the written lyric will soon be passé. I'd like to think not, being one who cherishes lyrics as one of the only thriving forms of poetry still in existence. When paid attention to, lyrics can surprise you with unsuspected humor, wit, or depth as well as--forgive me for being corny in this moment--resonating with your own life. Here I've compiled the soundtrack to my summer--or at least the start of it. There's something in here for just about everyone, so enjoy!

Kiss the Cook


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By mid-second semester, it dawned on me that my weekly trips to the grocery store were doing more harm than help. I constantly felt compelled to eat all the food I had before it expired and my loyalty for Central Market (over the local H-E-B notorious for cart traffic jams) left my food allowance tight by the end of the month.

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On the weekends, I mostly ate out and Kappa provided all my lunches as well as dinner on Sunday and Mondays. Needless to say, I didn't refine the cooking skills I anticipated to before the my apartment life began.

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To make up for lost time, I put myself to work in the kitchen this past weekend. Mollie invited Mary Caroline and I to her ranch for Memorial Day, so I offered to bring a baked goodie. Mollie suggested that a savory dish may be a better contribution as chocolate chip cookies and Texas sheet cake were already on the menu. I turned to my Pinterest board and decided to make a lemon quinoa cilantro chickpea salad from the Diva Dish.

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We have quinoa two to three times a week at Kappa and I was curious to see just how this nutrient-packed grain that's all the rage these days is made. This recipe provided a host of other yummy ingredients alongside the quinoa, and it made for the perfect accompaniment with the assortment of meats, fruit, beans and potato salad that made up our Memorial Day meal. The recipe is as follows:

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1/2 cup dry quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can garbanzo beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 diced avocados
2 cups spinach
1 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup onion
2 cloves garlic

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juice of 2 lemons
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
dash of salt + pepper

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Make the quinoa by soaking the grains in a pot with the vegetable broth for about 15 minutes. After that, let the quinoa come to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the quinoa cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring it every so often. Most of the liquid should be soaked into the grains when it's finished. At this point, remove it from the heat and cover it with a lid.

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Mince the spinach and cilantro in a food processor. Add these to a bowl and place the onions and garlic in a food processor next.

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Once these are processed, add them to the mixture of greens.

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Drain the can of chickpeas and add this to the bowl; once the quinoa is cooled, add it next.

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Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and toss it into the salad. Finally, add the tomatoes and the avocados when you are ready to serve the dish.

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And bon appétit!

Sense Appeal XIX


for the eyes:
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Hit the halfway mark! Two years down, two to go. Congrats to any and all grads! 

for the mind:
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With the start of summer dawning on us post Memorial Day, 'tis the season of travel for many. While I have no international travels on the itinerary, I have several friends spending time all over the globe--Jenny has been visiting World War II sites as part of the Normandy Scholars Program at UT; Sara, Ceci, Kat and Molly are in Barcelona; and Caro and Merl will spend a week of July in Africa.

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But, the ultimate globe trotter award goes to Nicole Halliday who spent 106 days traversing land and sea for the spring semester. She kept a blog to document her adventure, and she doesn't shy away from exposing the good, bad and the ugly of the journey.

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She says she saw the "best and worst humanity has to offer." She was "ripped off, stereotyped, misguided and cursed at," but she also saw "how far an act of kindness from a complete stranger can carry with us."

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She makes a point that I think is important to realize about travel: it's often over-glamorized. With travel comes a lot of unexpected curve balls, anxiety, tension, decision-making, and unfamiliarity.

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In the same vein, travel provides a wealth of growth, discovery, memories,

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humbling, and enjoyment.

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In her final post, she writes a letter of gratitude to her parents for providing her with the incredible experience that Semester at Sea had to offer. In it, she reminds us that "the bumps along the road are all part of the journey." So, to all you travelers this summer I leave you with that and the link to her blog, to which you all should pay a visit to! 

for the ears:
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Not unlike most music lovers, I like to know who the up and coming artists are; but, sometimes I find myself irritated by the unspoken competition amongst people to "discover" new bands, which has only been further fueled by the recent music festival fad. In those moments, I find old tride and true classics especially appealing. I got a taste of my parent's generation of music at the Paul McCartney concert with my dad in Austin last week;  but, instead of the Beatles, Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, and Counting Crows made the soundtrack to my childhood mostly due to my older siblings' influence.

All of these bands have managed to stay relevant, as evidence by the nearly sold out concert for DMB I went to in Dallas. It's hard to narrow down my favorites, but I'll always love "Grey Street", "Where Are You Going", and the song I always turn to if I can't fall asleep--"Crash Into Me." 

fashion for feel:
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The typical construction of a handbag is fairly simple: an open compartment attached with a strap as it makes your shoulder a temporary shelter. However, as of late, I've been attracted envelope clutches. I like how it forces me to keep my belongings to a minimum, as most will only accomodate for a lip gloss, iPhone, credit card, and some spare cash 'til you hit max capacity.

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The varieties in shape, material, color, texture, and even price are plentiful these days. It's the perfect opportunity to purchase a bag in a non-neutral for summer if you haven't already done so, like the turquoise python bag pictured above. 

for taste: 
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"What it do, Htown?!?" claims the friendly greeting on the main page of Eatsie Boys website--a food truck turned brick and mortar restaurant in Houston's Montrose area. I'm lucky to be number seven of seven for a whole buncha reasons, but lately I've been especially spoiled with lunch and dinner dates with all of my siblings. My return home this summer is brief as I make my way back to Austin in early June, so I'm fitting all the visits in one by one.

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My brother Jimmy, the ultimate foodie in the family (though we'd all like to claim ourselves to be foodies on some level) took me to Eatsie Boys and we devoured our sandwiches as we caught up. After scanning the menu up and down, he decided on the sabotage which was an original from their popular "Intergalactic Food Truck."

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In it was slow-roasted pork au jus, braised greens and provolone on a baguette. I went with a girlier wich, the sure shot, which had oven roasted turkey, arugula, brie, pear, strawberry jam, and house dijonnaise all also on a baguette.

On a not-so-fun note, I've been dealing with some technical difficulties with my URL domain for the past week or so, which has only prolonged my already extensive absence. I plan on tackling the issue head on tomorrow, but for now, please go to I hope BOD will return to its home at soon!

Happy, happy Memorial Day. Enjoy the shortened week!

Cookie Monster


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If I was forced to choose between something sweet and something savory, I'd more often than not opt for the savory option; but, when it comes to satisfying my sweet tooth, nothing does the trick quite like a warm chocolate chip cookie. It's classic, comforting, not too rich, equally delightful year-round and maintains a delicate balance of salty and sweet.

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My mom used to always bake the recipe on the back of the Toll House chocolate chip bag, but as she became more of a CCC connoisseur, she started to experiment with other recipes.

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She struck gold with Jacques Torres's famous recipe. I crave the aroma that fills our house when she bakes them almost as much as the taste that melts in your mouth from a fresh batch.

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This recipe is no break 'n bake--it's a labor of love, requiring overnight refrigeration of the dough, combining two different kinds of flour, and what I think is the most critical step of all: adding sea salt to the top just before placing them in the oven. Here's a jump to the recipe.

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So, while a hierarchy has developed within the cookie jar, I try to refrain from being too picky. Yesterday, National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day celebrated everything from Chips Ahoy to Tiff's Treats to a tub of Pillsbury dough. In case you missed this holiday memo, I see no harm in celebrating a day late with a tall glass of milk accompanied with whatever variety you like. So by all means, dig in!