Friday, May 31, 2013

Beat the Heat: DIY Passion Tea Lemonade

I have another confession to make: I have a Starbucks issue, and mostly everybody knows. Every birthday and Christmas, I get roughly 7 Starbucks gift cards, and like clockwork, I burn through them each semester. They really didn't do me any favors by starting to charge for soy milk. It's like, excuse me, Starbucks, do you know who I am? I have a gold card.


I battle the soy milk conundrum by drowning myself in passion tea/green tea lemonades. I'm not too enthused about spending $5 on a glorified Arnold Palmer, however. Hence why I was so excited to find the Starbucks Tazo Iced Tea bags on sale at Target near the tail end of last summer. I promptly forgot about them, then rediscovered them while digging through my basement in a heat exhaustion-induced haze on this 90 degree afternoon. I broke out my juicer and I got to work, and let me tell you: this is so much better than the Starbucks lemonade-out-of-a-carton version. I promise.


15-20 minutes (or however long it takes you to juice 7 lemons...)

6 big-ish glasses

 1 1/2 cups lemon juice (about 5-7 lemons)
8 cups water
1 Tazo passion tea bag
Zest of 2 lemons
Rind of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups sugar*
Strawberries for garnish (optional)

1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add lemon zest and rind, tea bag, and sugar. (The box says to let the tea steep for 5 minutes, but I probably left mine in there for 15)
2. Juice your lemons until you have 1 1/2 cups, then strain out seeds and pulpy gunk
3. Strain out the zest and rind from your tea 3. Combine lemon juice and tea in a large pitcher and add 4 cups of cold water. I added a few sliced strawberries at this point, but that's optional
4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, then serve over ice. Garnish with a strawberry if you'd like.

*I put 1 cup of sugar in mine and it turned out a little too sour for my liking, so I added a few squirts of agave nectar. If you like yours as sweet as Starbucks makes it, I would advise putting at least 1 1/2 cups in there, maybe 2.

This is the perfect summer drink to cool down with, and it tastes even better knowing you didn't pay a whole bunch of money for a cup of ice with a splash of tea and lemonade in it. With the way the forecast is looking this weekend, I may be making another batch...or two.

Friday, May 24, 2013

On Rescue Dogs

About 5 years ago, I met the love of my life. I'm speaking, of course, about my pitbull/lab mix, Roscoe.
This post may be considered an excuse to dump a ton of photos of my dog on you, and that would be a pretty fair assessment. But I was inspired to write this when I found out I won Kerrying On's Dollars for Doggies Giveaway, which I entered by donating a couple bucks to some deserving animal rescue organizations. We brought Roscoe into my family from the PAWS Humane Shelter in Georgia after seeing a photo of him online, and it was love at first sight.
I regularly refer to him as "big fat baby" because his ideal sitting location is your lap, or your chest, or your feet, or your shoulder. I have never met a more affectionate or well-behaved dog in my life. He lives to protect my family and never stops trying to make us happy. When he's not doing his best "human infant" impersonation on my couch, you can find him looking lovingly into my boyfriend's eyes:
Catching frisbees:
Or getting his teeth stuck in his upper lip and looking like a doggy elvis impersonator:
There might not be a lot of adoptable dogs in your area, and you may be wary of picking up a dog off of a bus and bringing him or her into your life without even meeting them first. But I implore you to consider this option before you jump into a sketchy situation with a puppy mill or a pet store. Even if the adoptable dog population is not dense in your area (it certainly wasn't in Massachusetts), there are thousands of pups all around the country that need good homes and would benefit strongly from your love. If you're nervous about your new friend's disposition, call up the shelter or foster mom that is hosting them now! Roscoe's shelter workers had nothing but good things to say about him, and they were so sad to see him go that they called to check up on him a few months later.
I can't explain to you how close I am to this dog. I missed him so terribly when I was abroad, and I'll absolutely die when I move to Boston this September and I can't see his little face waiting outside my door every morning. I have a lot of feelings about my l'il best friend, but my point is, he never would have been in my life if we hadn't adopted him from Georgia.

We've determined that he had a bit of a spotty past, and the fact that he is part pitbull might have scared some people off, but our decision to bring him into our family is something I'm thankful for each and every day. If you have the chance to adopt, I strongly urge you to check out PetFinder and see what kind of furry friends might be waiting for a place in your home.
And I especially urge you to give sweet pitbulls a second look. They have a bad reputation, but a pitbull is only as bad as the treatment he or she receives. Like most dogs, all they want is to love and be loved in return. And they have so much love to give if you give them a chance!
If you don't have room for a new addition in your place, try volunteering at or donating to some reputable local shelters. The Humane Society is also a great national charity that puts the needs of animals first.
Thanks for reading, and thank you again to Kerry and all the generous ladies who hosted the Dollars for Doggies giveaway. Pups can't speak for themselves, so they need humans like you to advocate for them. In return, you'll get all the love and kisses you can handle! And doesn't that sound like a great reward?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Summer Checklist: Flea Markets and Ice Cream!

I got to a rousing start on my summer checklist this weekend - woohoo! Craig and I went to the flea market in Hollis, NH and tried out our first of five new ice cream shacks, the Big 1 in Nashua.

The flea market was tons of fun, and we saw a lot of cool little trinkets! I've actually never been to one (I hit a few in Europe, but not a real, honest-to-goodness, people selling a mountain of novelty buttons and war paraphernalia one like the one we went to today!) Tragically, the market closed at 3 and we didn't get there until 1:30. D'oh! I need to read the fine print once in a while...apparently, flea markets are at their best around 8 AM. I am not an early riser!

I still managed to score some great stuff. These were my personal faves of the day:


A pig-shaped corkscrew I couldn't pass up, and a necklace made of a slate rock with little baby deer! I got that necklace and 2 pairs of earrings for 5 bucks, can you believe it? I was smitten. I guess the advantage of going late in the day was that the deals were great! That being said, it was kind of a bummer seeing half of the tables cleared out! We decided to head back in a couple of weeks a bit earlier in the day...

Never to be defeated, we punched "ice cream shack" into Google Maps and picked out a place called "The Big 1"


And yum, I'm so glad we found it! The ice cream was so creamy and delicious, and they had tons of fun flavors! I was ecstatic to find  Almond Joy, which had whole almonds, chocolate chunks, and flakes of coconut.


So good, I couldn't get over it. Craig's cookies and cream milkshake was also met with rave reviews. We will definitely be back!

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Summer Checklist

Can you believe summer is just about upon us already? It did feel like the longest winter ever, but what happened to spring?!

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to welcome warm, sunny days with open arms! Here's my summer checklist, bordered with some of my sunny day Instagrams from the last couple of weeks.


(From left to right, top to bottom: An anniversary road trip to a vegan bistro(!), my beloved dog, a Ben & Jerry's break, the Milford Drive-In theater, some fresh orange/carrot/ginger juice from my new juicer, and a new pony friend)

I'll be posting about some of my completed goals on the blog as I get 'em done - I'm so excited to start a summer full of adventures! What's on your summer checklist?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Recipe: AB&J Smoothie

I can't believe I haven't shared a recipe with you guys yet! I'm really passionate about food, and I live to cook. It's a bit difficult in a dorm room, though! Now that I'm home for the summer, look forward to a lot of Frankenstein-y vegetarian/vegan recipes. Some of it may look a little funky, but I promise there's a method to my madness.

I love smoothies for breakfast, and I always try to experiment to make something that marries really healthy and really delicious. Enter the AB&J - fruits, veggies, protein, and Omega 3s make a breakfast worth getting out of bed for.


1 large banana, frozen in chunks
~4 strawberries
~3 baby carrots
1 heaping tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp ground flax (whole flax works too, but makes the smoothie a little chewy)
3/4 cup almond milk (or whatever milk you prefer. This makes a realllly thick, milkshake-esque smoothie, so if you like yours thinner, up the quantity accordingly)

Throw everything into a blender, with milk last
Even the baby carrots will blend up...I promise


Blend until smooth


And enjoy! This is seriously the perfect summer breakfast, and the almond butter/strawberry combo makes this smoothie taste like a delicious peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich. Bonus: there's about 8 grams of protein in this sucker, and it's jam packed with healthy fats and sweet, fruity goodness. Other bonus: it tastes like a milkshake.

Let me know if you give this smoothie a try - I swear by it! Happy blending.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Boston Campus Style: End of an Era!

Wow! By the time you're reading this, I'll be done living in the dorms forever! Moving off campus is a strange sensation. I'm overjoyed to never have to eat at the dining hall again, but I'll miss having the Boston Common in my backyard! Luckily, I'm not going to be too far away. But still, going for runs with this in the background never really got old:


C'est la vie! Time to start anew with a great friend in a fun new neighborhood. Before that, it's back to my hometown to collect as much money as I can. This outfit will hopefully be one of the last things I buy for myself for a while...I need to reign in that spending until the fall! In the meantime, expect a little more regularity in my posts and look for a lot more recipes and DIY posts this summer...I get pretty crafty when I have enough space to stretch my creative wings :). And on that note, if any of you have links for great DIY tutorials for apartment decorations/furniture, let me know! I'm trying to create as much as I can to make a living space that screams "me!"

On this outfit: Why is it impossible to find high waisted shorts that aren't destroyed denim? I searched high and low and this was the best pair I could get. I was hesitant, but I kind of dig the 90's grunge of it all. I bought this on Saturday to celebrate the completion of my large and scary research paper. It's pretty simple, pretty summer. It was wonderful to go outside and take pictures to enjoy this great weather! I do not miss my big winter coat at all. It's so tragic that this sunny week had to grace Boston during final exams!





Shirt and shorts: Forever 21
Sneakers: Urban Outfitters
Necklace: Vintage hand-me-down

Aren't you in love with this necklace? I get more compliments on it than any other piece of jewelry I own. My grandma had fantastic style.

Pictures are, as per usual, by the talented Z. She's gotten so fabulous at glamour shots, I don't know what I'm going to do without her!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Things I Love Thursdays

Well, it's been a while since I've done one of these! I'm sitting in my bare bones dorm room waiting to move out as I type this. Very excited for summer to begin! Here are a few things that brightened up my dreary finals week:

This California police officer replaced a young girl's stolen bike (this story is so adorable, it hurts me).

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This husband animated his wife's drunken joke about tortilla chips, and it's hilarious.Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 11.25.40 AM copy

I basically want everything from the Modcloth apartment section for my new place, but specifically, this spelunking tea infuser and this doggy pillowcase set.

While we're at it, throw in this Boston Strong pint glass with the marathon map etched on it! It's incredibly cool, and proceeds go to the One Fund.

This giant inflatable friend has been visiting major coastal cities all over the world courtesy of artist Florentijn Hofman. How funny!

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This website lets you make any map coordinates into a pretty watercolor! This is the castle I studied abroad in in the Netherlands. I'm so excited to decorate the new place with these!

What caught your eye on the internet this week?