Last Five

Songs I’ve downloaded on iTunes.

1. Stutter by Marianas Trench. Listen to this now! I caught wind of this band on Pandora, and I love them! They’re a Canadian band that is pop rock, kind of a more lighthearted version of Fall Out Boy/ Maroon 5/ Good Charlotte. You need this song, and you might also need “Haven’t Had Enough” and “Truth or Dare.” You’re welcome.

marianastrench

2. Does He Know by One Direction. It’s 1D. Case closed. We all know, I’m boy bands for life.

3. Acapella by Karmin. I love Karmin and this music video is definitely worth a watch. It’s just a fun, colorful video with some funny dance moves.

4. Break Free by Ariana Grande feat. Zedd. I saw this song on the “Top Songs” section of iTunes, I listened to the sample and clicked “purchase” before the sample was over. It has a lot of energy and it’s a great workout song.

5. Dancing on My Own by Robyn. One of my spin instructors always plays mash-up songs, and this song was in one of the mash-ups. I recognized it, and realized I needed to add it to my library. Robyn songs are often a little sad, but they make for great workout songs, and Robyn’s dance moves are pretty fantastic!

 

What are you listening to lately?

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A Hoot and a Half

I need to preface this post by saying I’m a bad Chi Omega sister, I already know.

I made somewhat of a dramatic confession to a few of my best friends/ sorority sisters a couple months ago.

Brace yourself.

I’m not a fan of owls.

Owls are a big symbol for Chi Omega, and with their recent popularity in fashion/design, anything with an owl on it is a go-to gift for Chi Omega sisters. After I broke this news to Karla and Carrie, it has become somewhat of a contentious issue. I think they’re moving through all the stages of grief.

My feelings aside, Carrie is a good Chi Omega, and when I visited her last week, I collected some evidence. Please note, this is just the tip of the iceberg in her house.

Candle candy dish salt and pepper candle cover teapot bottle opener mugs mugs 2 candlestick nightlight welcome mat

Almond Granola Bars

I spend a lot of idle time scrolling through Pinterest or Food Gawker admiring all manner of food, but we all know it’s the desserts that really catch my eye. These days, though, I’m always curious to see the newest iteration of granola bars (or oatmeal cookies, or energy balls, what have you).

Even though there are a lot of common themes and flavor profiles, there always seems to be a new twist or formation that makes the next recipe healthier or tastier. When I visit my parents’ house, I often try a new variation that I’ve found for my family to snack on all weekend.

I try to find recipes that have some purposeful ingredients or “super foods” but are still tasty. I came across a recipe for these Almond Energy Bars on one of my favorite blogs: Carrots ‘N Cake, so I wanted to give it a try.

snack time

She was posting on behalf of an almond company so she used almond flour, but I used AP flour instead. I didn’t want to buy an ingredient that I wouldn’t use regularly. Plus she used brown rice cereal to make it gluten free, but I went traditional with normal rice cereal, because the flour choice already killed my gluten free dreams.

These bars are a little on the crumbly side (even though I did my best to pack down the batter before baking), and not too sweet. But I like the idea that I’m not snacking on too much sugar, but I’m still getting some nutrients from almonds, cranberries, chia seeds, etc.

The next time you need something to munch on between meals, give these a try!

Almond Granola Bars

Yields about 9-16 small squares, Adapted from Carrots ‘N Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds (I added a little more)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method

batter up

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line an 8×8 baking pan (or a pan with an equivalent area) with parchment paper (it’s just easier that way).
  2. Combine everything in a mixing bowl, and make sure everything is incorporated evenly.
  3. Pack the batter into the parchment lines baking pan. Press down to ensure bars hold together.
  4. Bake 25 minutes until top is lightly golden brown. Allow to cool completely before you slice.

yum

 

That Time of Year Again…

The lack of good television this (almost) summer has driven me to read. Shocking, I know!

I think this seems to happen around this time every year. I’m not sure if it’s the bad television or the need for a beach book, but I did it again. I read a book!

This happened on somewhat of a whim. I was near a Barnes and Noble, so I popped in with the intention of picking up Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And, of course, since BNs seem to have a reduced stock these days, they didn’t have it. Instead, I browsed around and picked up two other titles that were more in the realm of business/personal development (nerd alert!).

The first one I read was How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying by Carol Leifer. It’s basically a combination of a memoir and an advice book about life lessons that will help you climb the ladder, whatever ladder that may be. I had never heard of Carol Leifer before I read the book, but I learned she’s a very well established comedienne (Seinfeld era) and screen writer.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying by

I thought the book was pretty good. I wasn’t expecting ground breaking, and I was right, it wasn’t really ground breaking. I think it might be more valuable for college students or recent graduates who are polishing up their professional skills. It still never hurts to hear a new spin on the important lessons in the working world. And it was especially valuable (and reassuring) to learn that so many professional values are pretty universal whether you’re in a corporate office, or a film director’s living room.

She covers really basic concepts, like there is never an excuse for being late to an interview, and the importance of work ethic. Or no matter what your personal values are, there is still always a certain level of decorum that is required in a professional atmosphere, which includes showering every day. This makes the Emily Post loving, clean freak Virgo inside of me happy. This is going to make me sound like senior citizen, but I think it’s good for kids these days to learn those types of things.

As far as memoirs go, there were some funny anecdotes, but I’m sorry to say I never really laughed out loud like I might with some of Jen Lancaster’s books. It was a quick, worthwhile read, but not my “goldielocks.”

The Best of the Tony Awards

In case you missed it, the Tony Awards were last night. I thought this year was going to be a snooze because Hugh Jackman was the host (as opposed to Neil Patrick Harris), and the field of productions did not seem too impressive. But I definitely called it too early, because there were some awesome moments like:

Great performances from revivals: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Violet. I haven’t seen either production in person, but they look like fun!

Tonys2

Tonys4

T.I. and LL Cool J rapping the opening song of The Music Man. It was pretty epic!

Tonys1

Carole King introducing the musical based on her life, and then singing with the cast. Carole King is EVERYTHING.

2014 Tony Awards - Show

Last Five

Songs I downloaded from iTunes. Something old, and something new edition.

1. You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. This might just be one of the best songs ever written.

2. Fantasy by Mariah Carey feat. ODB. With the recent release of Mariah’s new album, I came to the realization that this song was on none of the five Mariah albums that I already own. I promptly bought in on iTunes, and my life has been infinitely better since.

3. Always on Time by Ja Rule feat. Ashanti. I heard this song randomly on the radio one morning when I was getting up. Sometimes the morning show I listen to gets in a throwback mood in the morning. I don’t know how I was surviving without this song on my iPod. This song also brought to light that I might be lumping Ashanti and Christina Milian together as the same person in my mind.

4. Stay With Me by Sam Smith. Sam Smith is my new favorite discovery. He reminds me of a male version of Adele or Joss Stone or Emeli Sande. I must say, though, I’m not used to this kind of narrative coming from a man. I’m actually curious to hear one of the afore mentioned women cover this just to see what it would sound like.

5. I’m Not the Only One by Sam Smith. Considering his song topics, it sounds like he’s going through a rough divorce right now. And yet, I think he’s going to “win” this break up since this literally hit number 1 on iTunes.

SamSmith

Sam Smith