March 12, 2016

Last Day Of Work

My last day of work was yesterday. I'm seriously so sad/in disbelief that it came so quickly. When I started in advertising twenty months ago, I had no clue what I was getting myself into and or how long I would stay for. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, and then I arrived at twenty months and it was already time to leave. While the decision to leave has been my own decision, it came not because I didn't like my job (I actually loved it), but because now feels like the right time to hike the Appalachian Trail and then move to Chicago. I guess I can sum it up as I'm leaving something awesome in search of something a little more awesomer. It still sucks though.

Yesterday was actually the day after my office's work party, so everyone was moving pretty slowly about the office/recalling what actually happened the night before haha, but it was pretty much business as usual, drinks with coworkers, then a bunch of goodbyes.

The lessons I've learned during my first world in the real world are numerous, but I figured while I'm writing this post, I should jot some things I'd like to remember...

01. Life is never to short for pleasantries. 
This is something my boss often repeated and it's so true. Simple pleasantries do go such a long way.

02. Success is more than just being smart and hardworking. 
People skills also matter. Like probably just as much as the other two things. Maybe more. It seems more than obvious, but it was a hard realization for me to come upon after college.

03. There's something to learn from every co-worker. 
I've had a crazy range of co-workers and work is one of those times when you get thrown together with people you wouldn't necessarily associate with outside of work. That being said, sometimes you just become friends anyways, and if not, there are still so many other things to learn.

04. To-do lists are everything. 
Just putting it out there that I would be nothing without one.

05. No one is going to read your mind. Ever. Speak up. 
It took me more than half a year to figure this out, but once I did, things seemed to get a lot better. Still working on this though.

06. One of the best ways to learn is to be thrown into the fire. 
Last summer, two of my co-workers left within a three week period. Work had to get done, but it was just me and an intern. The blind leading the blind, if you will. It was scary being left with everything, but we figured stuff out, made things happen, and I probably learned just as much over last July and August as I had the previous half year of work.

Thank you BBDO for my first twenty months in the real world. 
I hope to be back someday. (Maybe even in Chicago!)

March 3, 2016

Quick Vegetarian Ramen

Ever since Joe and I were introduced to ramen by our friend Lee, we have been on a ramen kick. In the past year we've probably gone out for it five or six times and we're not even together that much. Even though I love going out for ramen (Ippudo in NYC is my favorite), making it on my own has been something I've really wanted to do, so when Joe and I decided to stay in on Valentine's Day, we made ramen!

Besides the part where it took us more than an hour to actually find a grocery store that had ramen noodles in a blizzard (Whole Foods was this winner), it was so easy to make, and was the perfect warm, slurpy meal fit for hiding out on a blizzardy night.

In case you're interested in making your own, the recipe I used is below and was adapted from here + here + here:

1 32 oz Container Trader Joe's Miso Ginger Broth
32 oz Water
1 Large Onion (Chopped into thick slices)
2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Package Fresh Shitake Mushrooms (Sliced with stems removed)
1 Package Ramen Noodles (~800 calories)
1 Package Bokchoy (4-6 bunches, each chopped in half)
2-4 Tbsp Canola Oil
Red Pepper
Green Onion
4 Eggs

1. In a large pot, combine broth with 4 cups of water and heat to a boil.
2. While broth boils, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of sesame oil until soft.
3. Once soft, add onions along with mushrooms to the broth. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
4. Sear bok choy in canola oil, flipping when one side browns slightly. Set aside.
5. Add ramen to the broth and turn back to a boil.
6. While the ramen cooks, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Once fully boiling, drop 4 eggs in. Cook uncovered over medium heat for about 7 minutes, submerge eggs in cold water, peel, and set aside.
7. Once the noodles have fully cooked, serve in bowls with broth. Add 1-2 bok choy halves to each. Then top with halved egg and add, and add chopped scallions, red pepper flakes, additional sesame oil, and soy sauce to taste.

Pro Tip: Trader Joe's mochi covered ice cream goes splendidly for dessert - Joe and I had strawberry. ;)

March 1, 2016

Trail Tuesdays: What I'm Planning To Eat On The Trail

Two weeks until the trail. For those of you who binge-watched Fuller House this weekend, HOLY CHALUPAS.

Since my last pre-trail update, I've ordered a backpack and a waterproof phone case, put in notice at work, arranged my transportation from the airport to the trail, starting weighing my gear, and stocked up on a whole lot of food stuff.

Things I have yet to do? Test out my tent. Figure out how to hang my food bag. Decide which pair of shoes to take. Put together boxes for mail drops. The list goes on...

As for today's post, it's going to be about food because food is the best.

So food... Everyone seems to have opinion on this universal subject. Here are some of the guidelines I followed in deciding what to bring:

1. Bring on the fatty foods
Weight for weight, fats have more than twice the number of calories that carbs and proteins do. This makes fatty foods (nuts, oils, chocolate(!)) the best option to reduce pack weight and keep you full.

2. Have easy/no prep options
From past experiences in hiking, there are times when you just don't feel like cooking. I guess that's kind of life in general, except in hiking there's no bag of chips in the cabinet (so guilty of this one).

3. When in doubt, bring on the vitamins
To avoid stress fractures, anemia, etc.

4. Go for variety where you can
Partly for nutrition, partly for keeping spirits up.

5. What I'll be eating on the trail
Breakfast (aka: easy carbs in the morning)
- Pop Tarts
- Granola
- Lara / Clif / Kind Bars
- Oatmeal with brown sugar

Lunch (aka: quick no-cook meals)
- Cheese and crackers (to be eaten for the first few days after any stockup)
- Tortilla and peanut butter
- (I could probably use more help on super easy lunches here if anyone has ideas!)

Dinner (aka: a little hot sustenance) 
- Couscous with lots of olive oil
- Lentils (also with lots of olive oil)
- Mac & Cheese (maybe with some olive oil)

Snacks (aka: things I can eat while walking)
- Lara / Clif / Kind Bars
- Chocolate Bars (I read somewhere to bring twice the amount of chocolate you think you'll need and from past hiking experiences, that's the thing that always goes first)
- Nuts

Vitamins (aka: things to help prevent bad things like anemia and stress fractures)
- Iron
- B12
- Calcium

February 28, 2016

Feinberg Formal 2016

Over President's Day Weekend, Joe invited me to be his date to his med school formal just like last year. I don't know about you, but I love a good opportunity to get dressed up. Working in advertising doesn't allow me that more than a handful of times a year, so the more dress up occasions I can get in with Joe and friends and family, the better!

I actually found the dress I'm wearing above new with the tag at Buffalo Exchange for less than a fifth of the original price! My shoes are hand-me-down Steve Maddens that I've had for more than ten years because that's how I roll, but seriously, they've held up magically over the years. 

Anyway, the formal was really nice again this year. I didn't finish more than half a bottle of wine before it either, which meant I went into it with tons of energy. There was however some pre-formal wine, which I had to have one glass of because a girl has to have her daily dose of antioxidants. ;)

Speaking of pre-formal, Joe's friends Max and Anna hosted it at their apartment. They are always such great hosts. The cheeses they had were unbelievably good and they even had heart-themed cocktail napkins for Valentine's Day. I don't know why, but themed napkins (or if we're being real, napkins at all) just seem so adult to me.

In addition to themed-napkins they have a cat. Two actually. I realize this may just be the worst transitional sentence in history, but having pets also seems so adult to me. 

Their cat Percy is the best. Basically he doesn't act like a cat and always wants to be around people. Anyway, this was totally me that night. Red wine in hand and all. Also, that Snapchat above may be my finest Snapchat work to date.

After pre-formal, we made it over to formal. 

Joe plus some of our table members! What a classy group.  

Joe + more of our classy table members. 

I didn't drink too much wine before formal, but I probably had three of these fruity drinks. I'm not exactly sure what they had in them, but I think they were a fancy version of a Sea Breeze. 

Me and my dashing date again. For a guy who prides himself on dressing for function rather than form, he really knows how to throw on a suit and be fancy when the occasion calls. 

We danced a ton at the formal. I don't know why, but it seems that every other person in Joe's med school was a professional dancer at one point. People were doing ballroom dances with partners and there were guys doing splits on the floor... even a few professors were getting down. (And there Joe and I were just spinning around the whole time. Haha. It may have not been pretty, but it was tons of fun.)

And here are some of those inevitable end-of-the night pictures from when we were too tired to dance, but not tired enough to leave. :)

Once we got tired enough to leave, we walked home. Mostly. I convinced (like really convinced) Joe we could make the mile walk home. It started out refreshing and beautiful, except about two-thirds of the way home, my feet started killing me in heels so we got an Uber and it was glorious (and Joe didn't say I told you so because he totally deserved to). 

February 18, 2016

Chicago Last Weekend

I spent last weekend in Chicago with Joe and it was super fun. Can't believe I'll be moving that way in just about half a year. 

Here are some moments from my time there...

1. A night out with Joe + our BFFs Maggie and Sam.
We went out to a bar, had a really great time. (Lots of G+T's and R+C's were consumed lol). When it got too late, we all ended up having a sleepover in Joe's studio apartment. That probably sounds weird, but it was seriously so fun. We ate doughnuts and texted our other college friends and laughed for a long, long time. Of all the things I'm looking forward to about moving to Chicago, getting together with those two more regularly is near the very top.

2. An "interview".
Since I'm leaving my job, I figured I'd try to get transferred to my company's Chicago office. While they can't guarantee a job since they don't know their needs in 6 months, it looks like there's a pretty decent chance of it.

3. Brunch with my aunt and my cousin.
Right before I got on the plane to Chicago, I got a text from my aunt letting me know that she and my cousin would be in Chicago. My cousin and Joe had never met before so it was cool that that finally happened.

4. A pop-up Cards Against Humanity exhibit.
Joe and I walked by it one afternoon and it was really interesting. It detailed the history of the game and some of the interesting marketing techniques they have used. Also, apparently it was made by friends who all lived in a Chicago suburb.

5. Med school formal!
It was so so fun! More to come on this one.

6. Valentine's Day.
Joe and I exchanged cards (handmade on recycled paper ftw!), ate candy, and watched SVU and Modern Family all day. For dinner we made ramen from scratch and ate strawberry mochi ice cream for dessert. It was low key and very us.