Running Forward

A Sappy Post

You know how everyone tells little kids to “follow their dreams”, but as soon as they grow up and get closer to the real world everything seems to change? Advice tends to lean in the direction of doing what’s more logical, sensible, and obtainable. Frankly, it scares me because I’m a true dreamer. I realize more and more each day how lucky I am to have parents that not only raised me in an environment that allowed me to explore my passions, but they still encourage me to never settle. As soon as I made up my mind to only apply for jobs in New York people seemed to rush in with doubts. I got so tired of hearing about how competitive it is, how far it is, and how I would never leave the south. Even some of my best friends tried to shoot down my dream- kind of eye opening. Luckily, my parents continued to encourage me no matter what. After just a month of sitting at home idly (partly a lie- I worked the whole time) I got a job with an awesome network up north. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and can’t imagine my life any other way. I’m truly proud that I’m able to support myself and successfully navigate this crazy (but wonderful!) city. To sum it all up, I wish more people kept the dreamer mindset that only elementary school-aged kids seem to have. The trick is to take action towards your goals instead of just fantasizing. With hard work, luck, and the ability to bounce back from adversity I truly believe anything can be accomplished. 

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A New Apartment

My current lease ends at the end of October, so I’ve been searching like a mad person for my future home. After a good number of …interesting email exchanges, failed plans, and massive amounts of anxiety I finally found a new place. The past couple of weeks have been filled with some disappointment (nothing too major, but it just kept piling up), so I’m happy for my luck to take a step in the right direction. At first I was set on finding a place in Manhattan and wouldn’t consider anywhere else. The rent sucks, but I figured if other people can do it I can too. As my search progressed, however, I started leaning back towards my cute little town of Hoboken. I love living here, could find a place closer to the Path station, and save up for a while longer. My new home’s location is extremely desirable and it’s actually a real person apartment. It will be the first true nice apartment I’ve ever lived in. So excited!

On another note I need to go prep some food for the upcoming week- including my first big batch of soup for the season. Last week I cooked up some delicious comfort food for my friends in Fidi (aka The Financial District). I started by making a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough on Friday night using the Jacques Torres recipe with a few modifications. I didn’t need the cookies until Sunday, so I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge. On Saturday I put together the most amazing mac ‘n cheese I’ve ever made. I started by boiling the elbow macaroni, then setting it aside while I prepared the béchamel. By the way, never rinse your pasta! For the sauce I melted a chunk of butter then added a sprinkling of flour to create a roux. A minute later I added some milk and let the temperature rise to the point that cheese would be able to melt easily in the liquid. I added a block of white cheddar, fresh mozzarella, brie, and cream cheese along with a squirt of dijon mustard, garlic powder, pepper, and a little paprika for a subtle kick. It took a few minutes for all the cheese to melt, but as soon as it turned into a smooth, creamy sauce I turned off the heat, added the macaroni, and stirred in a sauteed onion. I poured the entire mixture into a baking dish, then sprinkled it with breadcrumbs. Normally you would bake it right away, but I stuck it in the fridge so that I could bake it on Sunday along with the cookies. Both were big hits and hopefully a taste of home for my friends. I love cooking good food for good people. 

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Hotel Tortuga

Last summer I passed a cute restaurant, Hotel Tortuga, every single day to and from work. I knew I should I have tried it since it was so close to where I stayed, but the summer ended too soon. Fast forward to this past weekend and I finally had my first Hotel Tortuga experience. To start, the decor is cozy yet whimsical. The owners want you to feel like you’re in a hotel in Acapulco.

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While we waited for our third diner to arrive we helped ourselves to the chips and salsa that the restaurants makes in-house and are self-serve. The salsa was so fresh and it was obvious that it never came from a jar. For my entree I ordered the Green Torturga Burrito as a bowl. I also swapped out the rice and had extra lettuce instead. The portion size was quite large and the pozole a fun change from typical Mexican food. The hominy was a filling addition, but the black beans were a bit salty so I only had a few bites. Overall, I would definitely eat here again- the prices are hard to beat!

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Hoboken’s Italian Festival

Last weekend I checked out Hoboken’s Italian Festival with a friend. The weather was sunny and warm, perfect for a day by the river. Overall it was a pretty small event, but it still felt festive and lively. After browsing the vendors and drooling over the Italian cookies we parked ourselves on a bench and listened to the jazz band on the stage. 

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Labor Day

Last Friday I literally ran 17 blocks down 8 Avenue after work to catch the train to Holmdel. I spent the weekend with my cousins for a much-needed visit. I hung out with my Aunt Carol when I arrived, then ran some errands with Aunt Linda before an impromptu family dinner back at Carol’s house. We had a big salad, lentil soup, and pizza. Random, but delicious! And I love just getting together with the family. 

On Saturday morning I went running then got my hair cut in the morning. We were having a big family cookout that afternoon, so I spent the rest of the afternoon helping Linda with all the cooking and prepping. Specifically, peeling potatoes, creating a giant salad, cooking the green beans, and baking banana bread. Everyone finally started arriving around 3:30 and we feasted soon after. I love our family get-togethers!

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After dessert my cousins and some friends all went out for a night on Jersey Shore. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was pretty fun. We danced to the DJ’s music and tried to avoid the creepers that seemed to surround all the girls. So different from UGA where girls have to fight over the guys. 

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I ended up going to bed at 2 am after our night out, so Sunday was a day to recover. Of course, my body’s internal clock woke me up bright and early at 6:30 am, so I basically got 4 hours of sleep. I went running, ate breakfast, went to Target, then came home to find my cousins and some of their friends hanging out by the pool. I brought my magazine down by the pool and read while the guys splashed around. Later, we all piled onto the couch in the living room and watched V for Vendetta. What a cool movie! 

Some of the girls joined us after the movie for a bonfire. I love hanging out with my cousins and their friends. It amazes me how nice everyone is up here. I know it may sound crazy, but it’s easier getting to know people up north. The whole process is less of a game and more genuine than the south. It may sound mean, but it’s just my personal observation. 

On Monday I took an afternoon train back to Hoboken, bought my groceries, then prepped for the week. What a great weekend!

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