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Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Fourth Acceptance

A few weeks ago, I applied to another school in California. This was a school that I was actually really interested in over a year ago. I was actually in my Senior Seminar class at my university, when I made the decision to take my law school aspirations seriously. In my "Where I See Myself in the Coming Years" portfolio, this was actually the school that I had written about.

I just got accepted into Pepperdine Law School! It's located in Malibu, California ... and it was voted the most beautiful college campus in the nation. I mean, just look at it. That is literally the view from campus .. it's unreal. It's actually pretty crazy when I think back and realize that I actually accomplished what I set out to. The only thing is, I was already having problems choosing between New York and Miami for school. Now, I have Malibu to add to the list. I don't know when I made the decision that I wanted to attend school on the East Coast, close to home ... but regardless of what other schools accept me and what they have to offer, home is always in the back of my mind. Home is where the heart is. 

I have another tough choice ahead of me ... deadlines are coming up. I really hope that I do the right thing and make the right decisions for myself and of course for my career. In either case, a year ago .. I said that I would do it .. and I did it. That's something to be proud of.

My Morning View

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Another Winter Wonderland ?

So it snowed again ... Downtown Toronto area actually wasn't that bad ... it was more rain than snow. Where I live however, it was a different story. I'm actually not a huge fan of the snow, but you know what they say .. "when life gives you lemons .."

Headband: Aldo, Scarf: H&M, Winter Jacket: LOGG, Mittens: Jules and James, Leggings: Garage, Boots: Burberry

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beauty and Brains Tag

So I actually saw this tag going around YouTube. Now, I'm not a YouTube guru or anything like that .. so I won't be posting a video. I did however find it really interesting so I still wanted to do it. I'll just post the questions below and my responses. Feel free to leave a reply with your answers as well ! I'd love to read them.

What is your favorite book?
I don't know that I have a single favorite book. I really enjoy reading so I don't think I could choose just one. Just to be typical though, I would go with the Harry Potter series. All of the books were amazing so I think it's a well deserved pick. They provided me with 7 of my favorite books and literally kept me reading from age 10 to 16 or 17 ... J.K. Rowling is truly was one of the most phenomenal authors.

What are your favorite quotes?
"If I am what I have and I lose what I have, who then am I?"

"Time can in fact heal many things, but you've got to give time some time."

"Try to find something to love in everybody, even if it's a small thing. Because there's always something ... there has to be."

"Today let your attitude be, 'I may not look like someone else or have the job that someone else has. That's okay. Nobody will ever be a better me. I'm anointed to be me, I'm equipped to be me."

"Every woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life, to be thankful for a good one."

Math or English?
English ... always always always English!

Science or Art?
Art, hands down. No questions asked. I like to create art, I like to see art. 

Favorite and least favorite subjects at school?
My favorites were probably English, French ... and Law when I got into high school. My least favorite, anything science related. I hated it. I hated chemistry the most .. but biology was a pain as well, so I'll throw that in there.

Favorite celebrity with a brain?
Natalie Portman. Natalie Portman is inspirational I think, mainly because she's always put her education before her career as an actress. She understood the importance of a good structure and she never compromised that. It's rare that you see anyone in Hollywood put so much focus into something that they don't necessarily have to do. She graduated from Harvard with a degree in psychology and that in itself is rather impressive. One of my favorite quotes that I actually didn't mention above is from Natalie Portman. 
"I don't love studying, I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful."

If you could study anything, anywhere what would it be?
Well, I'm going into law school in the fall .. so that's obviously what I'm interested in .. but other than that ... cupcakes? Bakery school? I don't know if that's an actual thing .. but if it were I would love to do it. I really enjoy baking and cupcakes especially. I would love to own my own cupcake shop in a really pretty big city .. like New York or Paris. I would study cupcakes in Paris!

What is your 'nerdy little secret'?
I've read that dictionary, by itself for fun. I always wanted to be really smart and know all sorts of big and impressive words (however impractical they may be in everyday conversation). But yes, I've been known to read the dictionary.

Favorite beauty gurus who you admire for more than their love for beauty/fashion?
I really like xlovedivine. She talks about a lot more than just beauty and fashion. I know that she's a student, so perhaps that's what makes her a lot easier to relate to. It's just always refreshing to see young women striving to do something more with their lives than just look pretty.

Name something that you're obsessed with that other people would find strange or geeky?
I don't know that I'm obsessed with anything. Maybe Netflix? I have a really hard time watching any television show on the actual TV and not online. It's because I get so hooked that I can't stand to wait a week in between episodes. I would rather wait til the entire season has finished airing (or a few seasons) .. and then watch them all back to back on Netflix. I guess that's kind of weird.

Name five people (excluding friends and family) who inspire you?
Demi Lovato, because of how she overcame her very public struggles in recent years. Ralph Waldo Emerson, I love his quotes and he seemed to be very wise and insightful. Coco Chanel, because of her confidence. J.K. Rowling, for having created something so moving and magical. Beyonce, I admire the fact that she puts herself before the public. She's always managed to keep her private life private .. and though others may not like that about her .. I respect it. I don't think anyone has the right to force their way into someone's private life .. and I like that she's always stood up for herself in that regard.

Who is your intellectual soulmate?
I don't know that I have one. Maybe I do somewhere, but I can't think of one at the moment or maybe I haven't met them yet. In either case, I hope to one day.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saturday Nights

I went out to the Shops at Don Mills with my sister and a friend last night. We didn't actually do any shopping at all but we did stop to eat at Joey's. It was literally so crowded in the waiting/lounge area. We ended up having to wait at least 45 minutes to be seated. In the end, I suppose it was worth it. We were still able to have a good time, and their customer service isn't too bad. Even while we were waiting, there was a server going around handing out flatbreads and water. It's definitely worth the visit.

I ordered the California Chicken Club. but admittedly, I wasn't that hungry so I probably shouldn't have ordered something so large. They do have decent portion sizes though, so on any other day, I'm sure I would have appreciated it more. The food was good and it's reasonably priced. I also ordered the Vanilla Apple Mojito ... as unimpressive as it looks in the glass, it was the highlight of my meal. I really feel like they could put more effort into the presentation, but the drink itself was delicious. I really think I'll start venturing into that area of the city more often now ... Might as well.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Winter Essentials

I went to Zellers liquidation sale yesterday with my mom and surprisingly came out with a few really good items. If you're unfamiliar, Zellers is a Canadian department store that was recently bought out by Target (I believe). In either case, I was dragged there against my will ... but I thought that at the very least, I could buy some of their old fixtures and use them for jewellery or what not. By the time we arrived, there were no jewellery fixtures left and I had no use for any of their big sale shelves.

I did however find these lotions and a candle by MOR cosmetics. If you know me at all, then you know I love candles. They look pretty and there is no better way to add a little bit of scent to your living area. Just by reading the scent 'honey nectar' alone, you probably wouldn't think much of it .. but this candle and these lotions smelled amazing! I also picked up some mitts by Jules and James. Overall, I would say it was a successful trip and well worth it. I'm hoping that winter is on it's way out ... but just to be safe, I've got my lotions to help me through the long and dry cold weather. I've got my mitts ... and I've got my lovely scented candle. Looks like I'm going to make it after all.

Hard At Work Or Hardly Working ?

Weekends are a lot more exciting when you don't have to wake up early and spend the day at work. Today has been the most uneventful day. I suppose I shouldn't complain though ... I'm grateful to be employed. I also did get to go to the Zellers liquidation, which I will blog about a little bit later. Hopefully tonight brings some excitement to my life ...

Friday, February 22, 2013

I Hate Decisions

So, I mentioned before that I was officially leaning towards the school in New York for law school in the fall. It's close to home, it's where I want to be and New York was always my first choice as far as geography is concerned. When I got accepted to the school in Manhattan, I was pretty much set on figuring out my finances and how I was going to make that happen.

The other day though, I got a letter from Miami saying that they increased my scholarship offer. Obviously, this was enough to at least capture my attention for a moment. Miami is warm, it is also a pretty good school ... and of course, money talks. Now with all scholarship offers, there are conditions. You usually have to stay within a certain percent of the class to maintain your scholarship. Well, they've now sent me an email saying that they've made my conditions a little bit more flexible "to reinforce their desire to have me join their class" ...

Miami, you are really tugging at my heartstrings right now. Who would have thought that having options would make things more stressful?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lunch at Paulette's

So today on my lunch break, I visited Paulette's Donuts and Chicken in Leslieville. I'd been there before last summer but hadn't returned since I've been back in Toronto. It's a bit of a walk, but I was really craving their Macaroni and Cheese.

Since the weather was warmer the last time I'd eaten there, I'd only ever tried their frozen hot chocolate. As delicious as that was, it was nowhere near as good as their spiced hot chocolate in the winter time. I had a cup of that while I waited for them to prepare my macaroni. It was funny because the last time I ordered it, it was just regular macaroni in a little container. Today, when I ordered, the lady kept saying I would get two balls of macaroni. I thought it was just a strange way of her saying that I would received two scoops. I didn't think much of it, until I received my meal in a tiny bag (no container). Apparently, they've switched up the recipe. The macaroni is now rolled in breadcrumbs into a ball and then deep fried. It was still delicious ... just not quite what I was expecting.

Obviously, what they're more known for is their donuts and chicken. They have a variety of fancy donuts that they sell and that are displayed in the window. I know that they switch out the donut flavors from time to time, but it still gives people a chance to really try out a few of them. They didn't have the Oreo donut the last time I was there, but I'm hoping to go back and give that one a try.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Memories of Japan

To continue with my sister's birthday celebrations, we went out to one of our favorite Toronto restaurants. Memories of Japan is a Teppanyaki restaurant with amazing food and an even better show. It really depends on the chef, but between the fire shows and the juggling of eggs, I am never disappointed. I also kind of like that you're not just sitting at a private table when you go to Teppanyaki places. You're seated beside strangers, and sometimes you can meet some pretty cool people.

Anytime I go, I always order the same thing, "Number 62". It's basically a garden salad, miso soup, cucumber rolls, salmon rolls, beef fried rice, chicken and shrimp. For dessert, they even throw in some ice cream. Of course, most people usually go for the ordinary vanilla or chocolate ... but I quite like the green tea ice cream.

If you are ever in the Toronto area, I really suggest you try them out. The staff is super friendly and it's just an overall happy experience. I absolutely love Memories of Japan. If you want to make me really happy, take me here or buy me skittles ... it will probably do the trick!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Quarter Century Old. Happy Birthday Sister.

One of my sisters celebrated her 25th birthday yesterday. Since it is known as the "silver birthday" .. we did our best to make sure that her night lived up to that name. We celebrated at a great little restaurant and lounge in Toronto, The Local Company. It's located in Greektown, and it's such a cozy yet classy environment. It was everyone's first time there, but I'm sure we will all return. The staff was so accommodating and even allowed us to decorate the table exactly as we wanted it.

We had a great night with great friends. After about 9PM, the DJ showed up to transform the restaurant into a lounge and the music was amazing. I seriously need him to follow me around and DJ the soundtrack to my life! Yes, he was that good! The cupcakes for the night were also ordered from Crumbs and Co, a little cupcake shop located in Richmond Hill. They were so cute and fit the theme perfectly, not to mention how good they tasted!

The one thing that was specifically requested by the Birthday Girl was the big silver balloons. Naturally, we couldn't let her down. So one of her best friends Avery (or as we like to call her, 4th sister) picked some up on the way to the lounge. We didn't realize how massive they were, until our waiter hit a few chandeliers and other guests trying to make it to our table with them. Collateral damage! The most important thing, is that Birthday Girl had an amazing 25th and it was certainly a night to remember. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Why go to Paris, when you can bring Paris to you?

Okay, so if you've actually been dreaming of visiting Paris, this probably won't do too much to diminish your wanderlust ... but it can certainly feed your sweet tooth! I've been wanting to try my hand at  French macarons for a while now, but I've read about how difficult it is and always put it off. Well, since my work schedule is especially flexible now, I figured why not? I have to admit, I didn't get it on the first try. You really can't compromise any of the directions if you want to achieve the perfect result.

So the first time I tried, the mixer was broken .. and I'm awful by hand. This time however, I had my sister's fiancee help and I had an actual mixer. We whisked three egg whites to a meringue consistency along with about 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar. In a separate bowl, we mixed 100 grams of ground almonds with 1 and a half cups of icing sugar. Following that, we combined the dry ingredients with the meringue.

Obviously, I didn't want plain white macarons. After combining the ingredients, I added about 6 drops of red food coloring to the mix. I probably could have added more, to make the color more vibrant .. but I didn't want to risk changing the consistency of the mixture. I was still pretty happy with the color.

After mixing in the food coloring, we piped the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. We basically just used little dollops about 2 inches in width and it flattened on its own onto the baking sheet. We had to let the macarons sit for about an hour before actually placing them in the oven. We preheated the oven to 300 degrees Farenheit and let them bake for about 15 minutes. (If you don't use food coloring the baking time is a little bit faster than that) .. When the macarons could easily be lifted off of the parchment paper, they were ready to be taken out of the oven. They cooled for about 20 minutes.

I chose to fill them with a vanilla butter cream. To make the butter cream, we used to egg whites and about half a cup of granulated sugar. We whisked it together in a double boiler for about 5 minutes. After taking it off the fire, continued to whisk it until it reached a meringue consistency. We then added half a cup of butter chopped up in pieces.

When the butter had been fully mixed in, we added one tablespoon of vanilla extract (we used artificial). Nothing too fancy, we just used a no name store version. And after that, are filling was finished. Only thing left to do was shove it between the macarons. So we did ! This was the finished product ...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Instagram Recap

1. Walk through the neighborhood 2. Favorite nephew 3. Brownie baking 4. Downtown Toronto 5. Starbucks barista love 6. Self shoot 7. Happy feet 8. Toronto (home sweet home)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Kate Spade

So I've really been liking Kate Spade lately. A few months ago, I saw a watch from her collection that I absolutely loved. Lately, I've just been browsing and seeing so many cute things. These are just a few things from her that I love. Some I want, one I have no use for ... but I still think it's all pretty cute. Here are a few of my Kate Spade picks :

1. Gramercy Grand Watch
2. Cobble Hill Ellen Leather Crossbody in Black
3. Nook Cover
4. Cobble Hill Stacy wallet
5. Graceann sunglasses
6. Polka dot IPhone case

Friday, February 8, 2013

Pick and Choose !

As far as schools are concerned, I still have a few applications out there. Pepperdine actually just emailed me today to say that they are reviewing my application now. Of course, I'll wait to see what they say ... but honestly, I really have my mind set on New York. It's going to take a lot to change that at this point. I'm not saying it's for sure ... I'm just saying, I'm picturing myself strutting down Manhattan, law books in hand all 'Sex and the City' sexy ... 

That's all I'm saying.

Blizzard Brownies

So last night/this morning, Toronto experienced the worst blizzard in approximately five years. Now normally, this would deter me from leaving my house .. however I was craving brownies! Unfortunately I didn't have any at home, nor did I have the right ingredients to make brownies. I left my house in this storm, on foot I might add. To date, it was the worst life decision that I have ever made. Let me just stress the fact that I nearly froze to death. I literally had to stop and buy an extra pair of socks on the way home to put on. The winds were ferocious and I couldn't see through the blinding snow that was hurling vehemently towards my face. In the end, I didn't even make it home with all the ingredients. The evaporated milk and my sticks of butter perished during the journey ... so ultimately, I had to improvise.

The brownies weren't that difficult to make, as they weren't entirely made from scratch. I used Swiss chocolate Duncan Hines cake mix and added it to a large mixing bowl with chopped walnuts. Since my evaporated milk didn't make it home, I used whole milk to make my own. Basically what I did was heat a little bit more than 1 cup of whole milk, until it refuced to 2/3 of a cup. I then added that to the mixture, along with 1/2 cup of melted margarine.

I spread half of the mixture on the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 cake pan. I let it bake for about 15 minutes. While I was waiting for it to bake, I unwrapped and melted a bag of Werther's Original caramels, mixed with 1/3 of my evaporated milk. I then chopped about two pieces of these Bakers chocolates into morsels.

When the first layer of brownie came out of the oven, i sprinkled the morsels over the brownie. I also drizzled the caramel mixture on top of that. I then poured the remaining batter over the brownies and baked it again for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. I actually bought some fun cookie cutters while I was on my winter adventure earlier. I thought that I would have the patience to cut out all of my brownies into cute little shapes. I was kidding myself. This is about as far as I got .. and then I opted to eat the brownies out of the tray. The end. Moral of the story? Don't leave your house in a blizzard.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Great Burger Kitchen, Toronto

A little bit over a year ago, my sister introduced me to this spot in Toronto called The Great Burger Kitchen. I have to admit that I was instantly hooked. If you know me, then you already know that I love burgers and poutines and all things unhealthy. I am trying to do better with the kinds of food that I put into my body, or at the very least, the frequency at which I eat them. In either case, today during my lunch break I gave in ...

Normally when I eat there, I get the Montreal poutine. If you don't know what a poutine is, it is a Canadian dish made with french fries, cheese and gravy. It may or may not sound appetizing to you, but I promise it's amazing! So anyways, today I decided to switch it up and actually try a burger (since they are the Great Burger Kitchen afterall). I can honestly tell you, that this was absolutely one of the best burgers I have ever tasted. They pride themselves on using locally grown ingredients, and you can literally taste the difference. If you are ever in the Toronto area and looking for a really great place to eat, I would most definitely recommend this one. One of the greatest life decisions I've made to date.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Getting Organized

 The other day, I randomly decided that it was time to organize my bedroom a little bit more. Although it was a spur of the moment decision, it was actually long overdue. I'm still no where near as organized as I need to be, but these were some steps in the right direction.

I stopped by Winners (if you're not from Canada, it's just a chain of department stores .. kind of like TJ Maxx) to pick up a few things to get started. I bought a little storage drawer for my beauty items, a new hamper, a jewelry tray as well as some new hangers. I was actually in DIRE need of a new hamper. The one I had before was a mesh, college dorm type hamper .. and it's safe to say it perished after a lot of abuse. I only made a few purchases, but a little definitely went a long way!

The most helpful item has been my storage drawer. I used to leave all my products and tools, particulary my flat iron and curling rod, at the foot of my stand up mirror. I liked having it there because that's obviously where I like to get ready in the mornings, but it made the room look so much messier. This was my way of keeping everything right by the mirror where I like it, but in a much neater way. As far as my hangers, I've actually NEVER had a complete set of matching hangers. It sounds crazy, but it's true. The closest I've gotten to matching hangers, were the plastic ones I bought from WalMart when I lived in Louisiana. Even then, they were a variety of colors, so this was a great change. I love them! I also got two of the trouser hangers that I use to hang a lot of my maxi skirts and dresses. It's just a great solution to getting them out of the way.

I'm proud of my progress, but one thing I still need to find a solution for is my shoe arrangement. They won't all fit in my closet, unless I throw them in on top of each other. So for right now, they are lining the perimiter of my room. It's not the worst thing in the world for me, but I still feel like there has to be a more practical way to arrange them. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

*I've also been thinking of painting my room a light grey color, as I've definitely grown out of this berry pink from so many years ago... but that's another project all together*

Friday, February 1, 2013

Decisions Decisions ...

So, I got an email the other day stating that I was accepted to another law school in Manhattan. This isn't the one that I was waitlisted for (which is still my first choice), but it's ranked fairly high none the less. I was actually accepted to this school in December, but at the time they wanted me to start in January and that was just too rushed. Anyways, before that I was really starting to lean towards Miami. Even though it is far from home, the school is still pretty decent and let's face it, the weather is amazing. I love NYC and I love Miami. I'm obviously still looking at overall costs, school reputations etc. when I make my decision as to where I attend law school this fall. I really am torn right now. I don't want to make the wrong choice and ultimately, I just want to attend the school that will help me find employment afterward. This is just a lot harder than I thought it would be.

"The best thing you can do is the right thing, the second best thing you can do is the wrong thing ... the worst thing you can do is nothing."