Monday Mélange: NY State of Mind

This Monday, it’s all about New York. I  go home on Wednesday. I haven’t been home since mid-August, so I there’s little on my mind besides what awaits me at home. Here’s a mélange of what I look forward to:

1. Sight seeing. When you’re from somewhere like New York, it’s easy to take everyday things for granted. I can’t wait to embrace the Empire State Building, the parade, and the Met Museum while I’m home.

Empire State

2. Chelsea Market is a fun outing for my whole family. It’s an old Nabisco factory, so looking for the brand’s logo while people watching always provides for an entertaining afternoon. And stopping by Lucy’s Whey is a must for fresh goat cheese.Chelsea Market

3. NYC Pizza. My favorite slice is at Patsy’s in East Harlem. The tangy sauce, the thin but doughy crust perfectly blackened. My idea of heaven.

Patsy's Pizza

4. I fly home on my mom’s birthday, so a trip to Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel is a must. It’s a classy piano bar whose walls are covered in art by the famous children’s author for whom the bar is named. It’s also nice to pay hommage to the man who created the “small but inside I’m tall” girl for whom I was named.

Bemelman's Bar

5.  Most importantly, I can’t wait to indulge in my mom’s homemade Thanksgiving dishes. From the stuffing to bacon-topped Brussels sprouts, I can’t wait.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Monday Mélange: Health Kick

One of college’s many perks is the free gym. In NYC, gym memberships are rarely less than $100. I really try to take advantage of it, even on the laziest days when all I’d like to do is sit in bed, watch Parks and Rec, and eat these little addictive bites. But in the words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands.”

On that note, here is my mélange of favorite workouts. I get so bored doing the same thing over and over, so I like to switch up the order of the machines I use or by attending a group  class. Working out is time I get to spend with myself, so I like to fit it in to my weekly schedule.

1. Dancing is an all-over workout. Whether I’m dancing in my room in front of a mirror (come on, we all do it) or attending a Zumba class, I always feel like dancing is working every muscle in my body – no targeted exercising here. The soreness the day after proves I’m right.

Health Kick | Netflix and Nutella

2. Yoga can be calming or invigorating. Taking a normal yoga class after a workout stretches out my muscles and leaves me feeling relaxed. Power Yoga, on the other hand, works all of my muscles and strengthens my core.

Health Kick | Netflix and Nutella

3. Rowing is my cardio. Although I’ll get on an elliptical, rowing is my favorite form of cardio. My mind gets to wander while I pretend I’m helping Noah row in The Notebook. (Just me…?)  Make sure your posture and technique is on par – it’s easy to fall into a slouched rhythm.

Health Kick | Netflix and Nutella

4. Hop in the pool. During the summer, I usually do laps a few times a week. Afterward, I find myself floating around, doing exercises like these to enjoy the cool water just a bit longer.

Health Kick | Netflix and Nutella

5. I’ll never look like Alessandra Ambrosio. And that’s ok with me. But maintaining a healthy routine, embracing my curves, and toning my muscles is why I’m on a health kick.

Health Kick | Netflix and Nutella

What are your favorite exercise tips?

Butternut Squash and Pesto Pizza

It’s pretty safe to say that my sister has an obsession with butternut squash. I hadn’t had it much before I lived with her in Paris, but her constant use of the versatile ingredient made me a convert. It’s health benefits are endless; it’s low in fat and delivers a high dose of dietary fiber, boosts your nervous and immune system, and is a heart-healthy choice.

Butternut Squash and Pesto Pizza | Netflix and Nutella

My initial hope was to make ravioli, but seeing has my middle-of-nowhere grocery store didn’t have wonton wrappers, I went with the next thing I thought of: pizza.

Since I’m a poor college student with low funds and little time, I bought Artisan Pizza Crust from Pillsbury. It’s a nutty, fluffy whole grain pizza crust that is so easy to use and is inexpensive. On top, I spread some pesto, goat cheese, broccoli, and blanched butternut squash slices. I baked it as the crust package instructed – at 400° for about 15 minutes – and topped it off with some crushed red pepper.

Butternut Squash and Pesto Pizza | Netflix and Nutella

I had a bunch of squash leftover, which I roasted in the oven until it was tender. I’ll snack on it or add it to my noodles the next time I make pasta.

To blanch the butternut squash: Slice the squash into thin disks. Bring water to a boil. Add the squash and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. Strain, and add to an ice water bath to shock. Before adding them to pizza, pat dry with a paper towel.

Butternut Squash and Pesto Pizza | Netflix and Nutella

Monday Mélange: Leavin’ On a Jetplane

I’m starting a new series on my blog called Monday Mélange. Mélange means “mix” in French, so it will be a mix of my favorite things, centered around a certain theme.

Many of my friends are finishing their semesters abroad, and while I can’t wait for them to come home, I remember feeling truly shocked that my time in Paris was coming to a close. They’re squeezing in some last-minute travels, and it got me thinking about how much of the world I’d still love to see.

For more about places I’d love to visit, visit my Pinterest board.

1. India


2. Greece


3. Quebec


4. Sicily


5. Scotland


Simple Snacking

College is all about making your own choices. From deciding whether or not to go out to going to the library to get an early start on an assignment, choices are present every day. One I make daily: food at all-access dining halls.

Growing up, there was always a huge salad on the table and 1-2 other veggies to accompany the meal. Rarely would I be able to get a second serving of protein or pasta because of the asparagus or string beans that were just within arm’s reach. Coming to college, there are second and third helpings of everythingWhile I steer clear of grazing, setting out some time within meals to have an apple or a yogurt stops me from overindulging at the all-you-can-eat dining halls. Since I’m not starving but sufficiently hungry by the time dinner comes along, I rack up as many veggies as I can to stop  from grabbing fries or pizza.

Here are my tips for some delicious and cost-effective snacks that I always have on hand to keep me going throughout the day. What are your go-to snacks?Simple Snacks

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta

It’s not easy being green.

During the fall/ winter months that is. It’s kind of rude, actually. We’re spoiled by delicious, local summer fruits and vegetables and then niente. No more fresh basil, crisp zucchini, or crunchy asparagus.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta 1 | Netflix and Nutella

I had a craving for green things last week, and I decided that I  couldn’t have yet another salad. So I threw together a quick (and few ingredient, of course) pasta dish that left me more than satisfied.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta 2 | Netflix and Nutella

This dish was a staple when I was in Paris with my sister. It’s a quick, clean-out-the-fridge kind of dish. All I did make my pasta (always al dente), and add some pesto, goat cheese, and frozen peas. I topped it with some crushed red pepper flakes.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta 3 | Netflix and Nutella

Note to self: back away from crushed red pepper if you feel a cold coming. I used it as a home remedy to clean out my sinuses. Might have been a mistake.

Though this satisfied my green craving and got my cold on its way out, I’ll be green with envy until local veggies come back.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta | Netflix and Nutella