These are nuts

4.21.2014

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Every year of college, I will have had a different roof over my head. The moving in and out certainly hasn't been ideal (and my mom would certainly second that), but it's made each year uniquely its own.

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{top: Hardin House dorm // bottom left: workspace at the Block // bottom right: bed at Kappa}
The all-girl dorm at Hardin House was only fitting for the chaos that characterizes freshman year. From then, we baby stepped into more independence as sophomores with our own apartments.

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This year, the sorority house has afforded us certain luxuries like vacuumed floors, custom omelets in the morning, and a particular perk for Kappas--a less than three minute walk to class.

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{senior year roommates, Nicole & Olivia}
For my fourth and final year, I'll live in a house in West Campus with just two other girls--Nicole and Olivia. Although nobody will change out my trash, I look forward to the freedoms it will offer as I begin a slow transition to a more independent lifestyle.

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{cousins at the Easter family reunion in Galveston}
One thing I'm especially excited for is a kitchen. I find so many aspects of preparing a meal--even the grocery shopping process--to be therapeutic. Not having this luxury at Kappa inspired me to utilize my kitchen at home this past weekend to bake a dessert for our Easter family reunion at the beach.

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I had seen these pistachio chocolate chip cookies on Pinterest and spent Friday afternoon baking the sweet treats with a nutty twist.  The recipe from two peas & their pod is as follows:

ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pistachios, shells removed
1 cup chopped dark chocolate
Sea salt, for sprinkling on cookies

directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
3. Using a mixer, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.
4. Stir in the pistachios and chocolate chunks. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, form tablespoons size balls of cookie dough. Place balls on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle cookie dough balls with sea salt. Bake cookies for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Let cookies sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to 4 days.

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For all those who sacrificed sweets for forty days, these will certainly bring your sweet tooth back to life! Happy Easter!

BON VOYAGE!

4.17.2014

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I have mixed feelings about time apart from my quote-on-quote "own diary." While I have the same irritated feeling you do when I see the same photo over and over again below the header, I find comfort in knowing that I'm spending more time in real life than a virtual one. After all, it is that time that inspires my time here.

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{Plaza de Espana Seville}
I have peace of mind about this now, but BOD's hibernation is almost over. I intend to be much more diligent about my blogging habits this summer, and I can say this with confidence since there will be no shortage of BOD-worthy content along the

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streets of Paris

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and Spanish coastline.

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Amidst my usual foodie explorations, date events, an excursion to Mexico, and a big family wedding, I've been creating my itinerary for the summer of a lifetime! The map above highlights several of my destinations.

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I'll be studying and sight-seeing--making friends from strangers in the city of lights and then meeting up with my two best friends in the entire world, Mary Elizabeth and Caroline, in Seville.

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Eating pastries in June then paella in July.

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Sipping champagne then sangria.

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A mother daughter trip navigating the charm and coast of southern France will perfectly punctuate the adventure.

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These are more than cities; they are stunning sources of inspiration. It will be so many things: it will be magical, it will be liberating, it will be whimsical, it will be unusual, it will be splendid, it will be refreshing, it will be formidable.

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And I'll blog aaall about it. Bridget's Own Diary will serve as the perfect travel log as I explore roughly half a dozen countries in nine weeks.

Until then, I'll build the excitement on BOD and hopefully re-visit some of the big events I've deprived you of in the last few months.

au revoir & adios,


:]

4.07.2014

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For those who know me well, they know that beneath the fashionista and the foodie lies a nerd within. That nerd loves completing a to-do list, the feeling of thumbing through an unopened book at a book store, and abandoning her contact lenses for her mildly over-sized tortoise glasses on special scholarly occasions. That nerd also loves her a good Ted talk.


Some are better than others, and this one on smiling is--in my opinion--one of the best. I find the most attractive thing on another person to be their smile. Ron Gutman tells us we should do it more often.

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"We're born smiling, even in the womb. Blind babies smile to the sound of the human voice.

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It's the most universal form of expression for all humans.

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Children smile as much as 400 times per day!

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{photo c/o Mary Elizabeth Taylor}
The act of smiling itself makes us feel better.

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{photo c/o Agape House Studio}
1 smile can generate the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate.

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{photo c/o Michelle Nash}
The same study found that smiling is as stimulating as receiving up to 16,000 pounds sterling in cash.

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That's like 25 grand a smile. Not bad! 25,000 times 400--that means lots of kids feel like Mark Zuckerburg every day!"

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So say sayonara to Monday blues by turning that frown upside down.