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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shower of Love

Yesterday was my bridal shower! I really wanted to keep the number of showers limited to one, but this meant that the one shower ended up being quite huge. The them was international/travel, centered on India and southeast Asia. My friend Alex, whose family hosted the shower, cooked up an amazing mix of Indian music and whipped up a batch of sangria, and the food was provided by Zen Asia, my parents' favorite restaurant near their house. Everything was amazing - I couldn't be more thankful for such an amazing day.

I'm really uncomfortable being the center of attention (again, not quite sure how that vocal performance major happened), so having an all-out, catered shindig complete with presents and a sparkly throne (lovingly created by one of my best friends, whose parents hosted the shower) was quite overwhelming. It made me realize how quickly our wedding day is going to go by - it was hard to have a conversation with everyone there, and it all felt like huge blur. But, the show of love and support from our friends and family was truly tremendous. I feel so blessed that Ben and I have such amazing people in our lives, and I guess this is what the wedding is really about - love, kinship and community, and a tightly bonded family of friends that will always be there for each other.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ginger Apricot Shrimp

Finally back to my favorite topic - food! This is my FAVORITE recipe of all time - I come back to it over and over again, because it is delicious and works in all seasons. It's spicy and warming in the winter, but still light enough for summer, and everyone I have made it for has given it rave reviews. Fair warning: depending on the curry powder you use, it can get quite spicy. I usually use the Lunds and Byerlys brand curry powder, but recently I bought one from Bill's Imported foods that is a little spicier, so if you're sensitive to spice and you are using a more fiery blend you might want to cut back on the cayanne a little bit.

This is also a nice, quick recipe - once you have everything chopped up, the whole thing comes together in about 10 minutes. This dish is best eaten outside, under the stars with a glass of white wine. Enjoy!

Modified from Bon Appetit

12 dried Apricot halves
Rasins - enough so that the volume is similar to the apricots

For the sauce:
2/3 cup chicken broth
2 T soy sauce
1 T mango chutney
2 t Pad Thai sauce
1 t sugar

For the spice mix:
1-1/4 t ground cumin
1-1/4 t curry powder
1-1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t cayanne pepper

3 T vegetable oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup carrots, cut into matchstick-sized slices
16 uncooked, peeled and deveined shrimp
green onion for garnish

Place apricots and raisins in a smallish bowl, cover with boiling water. Let stand 15 minutes and then drain in a strainer and cut apricots into quarters.

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl, mix spice ingredients together in a separate small bowl.

Heat vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent (around 2 minutes). Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 30 seconds, then add the apricots, raisins and carrots. Sautee for another minute or so, until the onions begin to brown. Add the shrimp and spice blend, stirring so that the spices coat all ingredients, cook until the shrimp are pink on both sides but not cooked in the middle. Add the broth mixture and cook until the shrimp are just opaque in the center. Serve over brown rice and sprinkle with green onions.

** notes: I made a couple of substitutions due to availability and personal preference. The original recipe calls for dried plums (prunes) instead of raisins, but I like the flavor and size contrast better with raisins. Also, the original recipe calls for tamarind concentrate, but I just use pad thai sauce because a) tamarind is hard to find and b) pad thai sauce has tamarind in it... so it's kind of similar... but you could certainly use tamarind if you want.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


No pictures in this post - I forgot to bring my camera with me, and yes I'm at Bull Run Coffee once again... I am quite sure they think I'm either homeless or crazy at this point. Luckily my friend Amanda discovered them as well and tipped me off to the chocolate macaroons (which I'm pretty sure are actually from Patisserie 46)... chocolate, earl grey and citrus all wrapped up in a perfect little bundle of macaroon love. Yum.

This weekend is the first weekend of Anusara Immersion 3, and we're spending most of the weekend (or at least most of yesterday) on the Bhagavad Gita... more to come on that later, my reaction to it was not what I expected and I'm glad we had such a long time to discuss it yesterday. I felt like I was in the Great Con again :)

I do have some great things to share with you - like more Grad celebrations and my favorite recipe ever - but they will have to wait until I have the pics with me. In the meantime, I'll be yoga-ing and picking up my new TV stand - hooray!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Good morning, sunshine!

FINALLY nice weather! Sorry again for my absence - the last few days have been a little crazy. Over the weekend I got a call from the leasing office at my old apartment building, letting me know that if I could have everything out by the 18th (yesterday) they would move the new tenants in early and pro-rate my rent for the last part of May. Awesome - except that I had really planned on the whole getting my stuff/mad cleaning rampage but since I was out of town over the weekend, and commencement was on Monday, this left me one day to finish everything. So basically, Ben and I were at the Emerson apartment ALL DAY on Tuesday, packing the remenants, cleaning, the fridge, scrubbing the shower, pulling nails out of the wall etc. It was a loooonnng day.. but we got it all done and I even found some little gems in the moving process:

... such as this Circle me Bert poster I made four years ago when I was living in the Bay Area. NO idea how this thing survived 2 moves, but it's nostalgic enough that I had to take a picture of it before purging it for good.

After we finished the moving ordeal, we had barely enough time to run home, change, and meet my sister and a couple friends at Chatterbox Pub. I haven't performed in literally years, but recently two of my friends from school talked me into coming to playing open mic night. I am really pretty terrible at guitar - I can play just well enough to accompany myself, and I feel like a total dork next to my friends, who play really well, but it's still a ton of fun.

Me with my sis, enjoying some post-finals/post-graduation celebratory drinks.

Sis with her new BFF Wayne, who plays a mean banjo!

Friends jamming.

Pulling the final nail... goodbye little apartment! We had some awesome times, and I will miss you tons but it's time to move on to the next chapter.

Monday, May 16, 2011


We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;

~ T.S. Eliot

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The end is where we start from

If you had told me last year at this time that I would be sad when grad school ended, I probably would have just laughed. I pretty distinctly remember saying to one of my friends/teammates "If I got a full time offer from my employer to start right away after the summer, I'd probably take it and not come back."

The reasons I was so stressed out and unhappy last year were numerous, and the reasons this year is so much better are equally numerous - I won't get into all of them right now, but something about my life this year felt like a new beginning. I'm not sure if school changed, or if I did - yes, having a less stressful schedule made a huge difference, and having a job already lined up took a ton of stress off, but I definitely came back after the summer with a different attitude.

In the Anusara immersion and in my yoga classes, we talk a lot about looking for beauty in every situation and maintaining a beginner's mind. If you keep your mind open, there is always something to learn and to appreciate... which is hard to remember when you are getting yelled at by a less-than-awesome member of your administration (see I can be PC on the blog... 'less-than-awesome'...), realizing that one of your classmates created a website saying nasty things about your school, or feeling the after-effects of Wild Turkey shots at the Country Bar (questionable choice). Even though at times it was really difficult - wondering whether I'd made the right choice, if I belonged there, wishing I didn't have to spend two years apart from Ben - I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had and the friend's I've made for anything.

Now that we're basically done I realize there are so many things I'll miss about CSOM. Why is it that in school, we feel like we have carte-blanche to act totally ridiculous and then as soon as we start work we have to pretend we're grown-ups? I think the official term for something like this is liminal place- a time or location where normal rules of conduct do not apply, like Mardi Gras, Halloween and Las Vegas...and, I think, college and B-School.

The title of this post is from one of my absolute favorite poems - Little Gidding by T.S. Eliot (the fourth of the Four Quartets). It reminds me that the end of one thing is really the beginning of something else. Accomplishing one thing doesn't mean you're finished - it means you are ready to begin the next chapter.

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Half Life

My apartment is in that strange awkward stage of being half-unpacked and half-livable. All the furniture is there, but many necessities are still in boxes. For the most part, I would rather think of new and creative ways to use already unpacked objects than unpack the things I actually need. This leads to strange behavior such as using a hat as a pot-holder or re-washing and using the same spatula over and over again. But, it's starting to come together! Seeing my old table in the new space is still a little weird - like two parallel universes crashed into one another.

Then there's the bathroom project - my bathroom has these pale greenish walls and i was originally planning on doing something really neutral with grey and white towels/shower curtain...but then I was unpacking and saw this little gem:

The red/turquoise/taupe color scheme went surprisingly well well the pale grayish green paint, so I decided to try it out as a color scheme. It still needs a LOT of work but I think I like where this is going.

I definitely need a couple more pieces that have more color and bring the whole thing together... but red and turquoise is a surprisingly difficult color combo to find. If I had the $$ I would hire an interior designer...but I do not, so we're relying on my mediocre decorating skills. Hooray!

Both of the bedrooms are basically storage spaces at this point, so we'll get around to them later...but I'm pretty excited about how they're turning out, especially the second bedroom/yoga room.

On another is my LAST CLASS of grad school! And yoga with Ali tonight... so it should be a good day :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hard to avoid

Well, here I am, back! I really try to avoid getting political on facebook or blogs, or just online in general but I wouldn't feel right about posting today without at least mentioning Osama bin Laden's death.

First of all, I have to say I am amazed by US intelligence's ability to track down and hone in on bin Laden over the last several years, and carry out the attack without anyone knowing how close they were to finding him - pretty amazing.

That being said, Obama's assertion that this world "is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden" makes me uneasy. I do think there are times when the use of force is necessary and I'm certainly not one of those who believes war is completely avoidable - as long as we have the freedom to make choices, there are people that will make horrible and devastating choices, and to stop them may require violence. To quote Thomas Paine (again!) "The best way for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." However, to say the world is a better place because he has been killed is, I feel, to ignore some of the moral complexities involved. As the ancient proverb says, "before embarking on the path of revenge, dig two graves."

Openly celebrating a death, no matter whose death, just doesn't sit right with me. However, the person we're talking about is someone who would happily murder every American citizen - who would measure his own success by the destruction of others. Certainly the world would be a better place if people like Osama bin Laden never existed - but it would be foolish to think that enacting violence against another human being is ever without consequence.

I'm not going to take a stand, because I don't have one - but in this case, it's probably OK to feel a little torn.
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