Perks of Parks in Madrid

Hey guys!

I’m writing this post from my couch in Chicago. But I was just in Spain where I was finally reunited with my best friend for a short three weeks over the holidays. While I was there, I completely fell in love with Retiro Park. Retiro is like the Central Park of Madrid. So its HUGE, and has so much going on.

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In the center of the park is a gorgeous man-made pond with rowboats people can rent by the hour. I opted out of taking one for a spin because I was alone. So instead I decided to plant myself next to a statue for some one-on-one time with my book, Sharp Objects (written by the same author as Gone Girl, and so so good).

Shannon came with me on my second trip to the park, and we got to see the Glass Palace, which is basically a huge building made of glass that looks so cool when the sun is shinning. The Glass Palace is owned by one of the huge art museums here in Madrid called the Reina Sophia (free with a student ID if you’re under 25!). When we went, they were featuring an American Horror Story fashioned trailer complete with beyond creepy music, a life size wax women, and way too many dancing puppets. Check out Shannon’s Vine here to get a better idea.

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After the Palacio de Cristal we wondered around some of the park, and were BOTH pooped on by a Spanish bird. Luckily, a super friendly Spanish couple was eager to help us and spent a solid five minutes cleaning it off us, and asking if we were okay (maybe that’s what they were saying, it didn’t take long for me to realize my 5 years studying spanish were pretty much useless).

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If you find yourself in Madrid, a day spent in Retiro is a day well spent (without actually spending any euros)!

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Dining In: Stuffed Squash

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Logan and I love to find new recipes and try them out during the weekends. I eat campus food, and Logan makes quick meals Monday-Friday, so we like to spice things up during the weekend. Tonight we made stuffed squash! We were inspired by this recipe for Stuffed Zuchinni Boats, but since zucchini is out of season they were SUPER small, so we opted for butternut squash instead.

We used a very simple ingredient list:

  • 1 package lean ground turkey
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 3 oz. Reduced fat Colby Jack Cheese
  • Season to taste

All you do is carve out the squash with a fork or whatever utensil your little heart desires, cook the meat in a saucepan (add in some of the squash you carved out), line carved squash with spaghetti sauce, fill the squash boats with meat, and top with cheese*. Cook for 45 min at 350 degrees!

*I would recommend waiting until you take the squash out to add the cheese, because ours got a little tough.

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These pictures are the before and after cooking our butternut squash boats! They were super tasty, and also mega healthy. I ate 1/4 of it and it came in under 300 calories, and I was stuffed!

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What do you like to cook in your spare time?! Please share your wonderful recipes in the comments!

P.S. Yes, Logan and I eat dinner on the floor because he doesn’t have a kitchen table. #collegelife

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Valentine’s Day Getaway: Part 2

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I hope you all enjoyed the first part (which was actually our second day) of our adventure to Galena! We were so lucky to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a long weekend of relaxation, and what’s more relaxing than having dinner by a fire with your favorite people? Nothing.

While going out to a fancy restaurant with you sweetheart is a great way to celebrate Valentine’s, we decided to take it down a notch and cook our own tasty meal at the cottage. We put the boys in charge of the main course (they’re way better cooks than either of us ladies), and divvied the appetizer and dessert between the two of us.

If you’ve met me, you probably know I am dangerously obsessed with avocados. I could definitely star in the Subway commercials where the women start naming their babies after my beloved avocado. So naturally, I made guacamole despite the fact it did not remotely relate to the entree.

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The boys decided to make chicken stuffed with feta and spinach, and then made some ratatouille topped with goat cheese! Andy bought all his ingredients from Eataly, this restaurant/grocery store combo that has the best cheese in the city. If you find yourself in downtown Chicago, it’s a must.

And what’s the point of dinner if there is no dessert?! Shannon made a fourless chocolate cake, which tasted a lot like chocolate cheesecake, but without all the guilt.

Needless to say we had a perfect Valentine’s day with the people we love the most.

We also had the chance to check out some cool shops downtown. Galena is full of fun boutiques with tons of knick knacks. We came across these hilarious animal masks, how could we not try them on!

How did you spend your Valentines weekend?

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Valentine’s Day Getaway: Part 1

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Valentine’s Day was especially fun for Kayla and I and our respective beaus this year! After a couple hours in the car going up and down winding back roads through the very hilly Illinois countryside, Logi and I were reunited with our BFFs Kayla and Andy (I hadn’t seen her in 5 weeks *tear*). The four of us decided to take a weekend trip to a small ski resort town in Galena. Luckily, our family friend owns a cottage there, so we were able to make it our own little home for the weekend.

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I know you would think that going to a ski resort town would mean the four of us would hit up the slopes all day long, but this is far from the truth. There is only one daredevil among us who was willing to risk their life skiing down black diamond slopes (that daredevil would be Andy). While Andy was hitting up the slopes on Saturday; Logan, Kayla, and I read our books, watched DVDs, and went to a coffee shop downtown. We are all coffee addicts, so we try and find new coffee shops to visit regardless of where we are. This place was really cool because you could super customize your order; they had a ton of different roasts, sweeteners, and sugar options. Logan and I opted for a s’more latte *yum*!

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After spending some time at the coffee shop, it was time to pick up Andy because we decided we couldn’t just leave him stranded on top of a mountain (although we did contemplate it).  Since we are all 21 *WOOT* we decided to make the most of this amazing resort town and go wine tasting downtown. This wine shop gave you the option to choose 6 wines for $5, what a bargain, am I right?! All the wines we chose were super delicious, and they were nice enough to serve us chocolate chips with our wine. Can you say heaven?!

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After wine we decided we needed dinner, but also needed some good beer. Logan AKA “Yelp Master” found this brewery that was just a little walk from the wine tasting place. We all ordered our own flights of beer that were made right in the restaurant! We hadn’t planned on going on a brewery tour when we decided to eat there, but when we found out the next tour was only a few minutes after we arrived how could we say no?! Our tour guide was a very friendly South African who owned the brewery. We learned a lot about beer while drinking it, so I’d say it was a good experience.

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Please excuse the blurriness, I was trying to be a little sneaky while taking the brewery tour picks. I must also add the food and atmosphere at Galena Brewery were spectacular. They had sweet potato fries (my all time fav), and live music! Overall, it was a great way to spend a Saturday night out. I promise you our weekend wasn’t one big boozefest, stay tuned to hear more about our weekend adventure!

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Dorm Digs

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Hi Friends, welcome to my home away from home! As a lot of you know, I’m a resident assistant at my school. This means a lot of good things like meeting fun people, hanging out with residents, and getting some good leadership experience. But it also has some downfalls, like eating campus food and living in the dorms my entire college career …

Nonetheless, I try to make my dorm room as cozy as possible. The best way to do this is to fill it up with cute posters, trinkets, and DIYs. P.S. Check out the awesome natural lighting I have going on in here!

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These are a few of my favorite things I have in my room. On the left is a pug beanie paper weight I got from a thrift store. I’m pretty confident in saying that it’s my favorite thrift store steal, don’t you agree?! Since I can’t have a real dog in my dorm room this lil guy is a good substitute. On the right are my giant paper lanterns I have hanging up by the window. They add some nice color and catch the sunlight just right. Logan hates them because he can’t help but hit his head on them literally anytime he’s close to them (he’s 6’3″).

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This necklace holder is my favorite DIY I’ve ever made. Kayla and I found this beautiful stick (yes a stick can be beautiful) on one of our many walks. I decided to take it in as my own, hammer some nails into it, and string it up by some yarn. I have an affinity for necklaces and this is the best way to display them for everyone to see!

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My desk has a ton of trinkets and mementos from some of my favorite days (Jay Z/JT ticket, masquerade mask, Logan and I at homecoming, and many cards). Check out that vintage map of Chicago Logan got me for my birthday last year.

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Thanks for reading! I hope you like my humble abode.

 

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I Don’t Know About You – But Logi is 22

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Last weekend Logan and I went to Madison to celebrate his birthday. He’s pretty much an old man because he’s 22… We like to plan surprise dates for one another, so I had a blast planning this weekend for him. I was super happy that every part of my plan worked out perfectly!

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Our first stop was Capital Tap Haus. I picked it because Logan is borderline obsessed with beer and this place had awesome reviews. It was also super close to our second stop. P.S. this place has amazing zucchini fries.

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The second stop: Comedy on State was the main event! It’s this little comedy club that features three comedians. The setup was interesting because you sit with people you don’t know. We sat with two strangers who clearly did not enjoy the show. Their unhappy reactions to the jokes made the night even funnier. We thought the comedians were really great. I recommend this place to anyone who likes to laugh, so like everyone ever. The tickets were super cheap, and if it’s your birthday you get free entry, a glass, and two tickets for a future show!

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We stayed over night so we could have two days of fun! The first thing we did was stop by Ancora coffee shop to get our caffeine fix (Logan and I are major caffeine addicts). They had some amazing roasts to choose from, but we both settled on the Black and Tan, and it was awesome. After we got some coffee, we went to the Capitol Square Farmer’s Market! My favorite part of a Wisconsin farmer’s market is the abundance of free cheese samples. Logan and I got some spaghetti squash and a giant sweet potato which we made into a delicious dinner later that night.

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After roaming the farmer’s market, we went to Marigold Cafe for brunch and it was super tasty. It was kind of a weird set up. Right when you walked in you ordered your food at a counter and then you had to wait for a table to open up. Regardless, the breakfast was delish.

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After brunch we wandered down State street going in and out of niche stores, my favorite. We looked at lots of little trinkets that everyone wants, but no one needs. We may or may not have settled my fro-yo addiction more than once that weekend. Overall, it was a great trip and a wonderful birthday celebration!

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