Top Moments in Travel

I have been reading a lot of travel lit lately, partially because I’ve been stock oiling books for years and finally have the time to start reading them now, partially because I’ve had a strong sense of wanderlust lately. It’s only been 4 months since I’ve been overseas, but my mind and heart is still constantly wandering to thoughts of hiking in Switzerland, swimming in the Mediterranean, ogling over the shiniest, most purple eggplants in Bologna, and the smell of deep earthy espresso in Rome. In the spirit of wanderlust, these are my top moments in travel (abridged.)

-sharing churros and chocolate with a stranger in Madrid

Churros and chocolate

-having an entire plane held for me and almost getting stuck in Eindhoven, Netherlands for 3 days

-sneaking into El Prado in Madrid

-becoming “a regular’ at multiple cafes in Rome

-eating McFlurries in 5 different countries

McFlurries Rome

-singing Eminem at a karaoke bar in Rome

-forgoing the regulated boat tours around Capri and instead taking a ride with a crazy wine-offering old man


-celebrating my 21st birthday with a pub crawl in Rome

-renting apartments so I can cook my own  fresh food from European markets

-seeing LMFAO (the band) shoot a music video in the streets of Amsterdam

LMFAO tour bus

-ending up on a bus, alone, in the wee hours of the morning with two transvestite hookers in the outskirts of Rome

-sleeping on a couch overnight in the Nashville airport

-running into a schoolmate at a grocery store in Germany

-picking fresh figs in Greece and eating dozens a day

-scouring the Black Forest for its namesake cake on a roatrip

I could go on and on…and I’m sure I will in another post! There are so many snapshot moments from my travels that have become engrained in me. These are the things that make travel so dynamic and intoxicating; even the disastrous moments, the slightly scary moments, the not-like-the-picture hotels, the flight delays, the ill packed luggage, and finally coming home to your familiar Arrivals gate, the smell of Starbucks and french fries lingering in the air.


The New Fanny/Belt Bag

As a child of the early 90s, fanny bags were still considered stylish. It was an essential accessory for trips to Disney World and for site seeing for my elementary school self. I still have my pink and purple Lillian Vernon belt bag , my name emblazoned on the front in baby blue felt letters.

Now fanny bags are most abundantly found at your local Goodwill store. Lululemon, the Canadian yoga and running wear company, is bringing back the stylish fanny bag days. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected the strange trend to make a come back, but when I saw this bag, possibility suddenly existed. You have to see it to believe it!


5DSD: Day 3

Day 3’s menu:

M1: Slimdown protein pancake
Modifications: no strawberries
M2: half grapefruit
M3: Lean and Green
Spinach, romaine, celery, tomato, turkey w/ Italian dressing
M4: Hummus w/ carrots and snap peas
M5: Lean and Green
Poached shrimp salad w/ lime vinaigrette

Workouts of the day: Zumba class

Cheat: I thought about eating my hand midday, I was so hungry! I had a handful of dried fruit after M3. Skipped M6, which was supposed to be unsweetened tea. M5 was at a restaurant and it was impossible to turn down the delicious fried calamari appetizer that was ordered for the table. Caved and had ice cream later, too. Fail!

Not going to continue to Day 4… Also worth noting that I gained more than I lost in the past 3 days…

It was worth a try, anyway.

5DSD Day 2!

Day 2’s menu:

M1: Slimdown protein pancake
Modifications: topped w/ half banana vs. 3 strawberries
M2: half grapefruit
M3: Lean and Green
Spinach, romaine, celery, snap peas, turkey w/ Italian dressing
M4: Larabar PB&J
M5: Lean and Green
Baked chicken, summer squash and onions
M6: nonfat plain Greek yogurt w/ cinnamon, stevia
Modifications: added dash of maple syrup

Workouts of the day: Zumba class

Cheat: up late and stomach was growling, so I had a tablespoon of almond butter to tame it! Had some dried fruit after lunch to kick my sweet tooth.

Tone It Up! 5 Day Slim Down

The girls from Tone It Up! are so awesome…I first found out about their blog, videos and nutrition plan from SELF magazine, and have been a fan for the past few months. Unfortunately, the nutrition plan and TIU community costs $150, which is steep for an unemployed recent college graduate. Thanks to some Google-ing, I figured out the basic principals of the 5 Day Slim Down, which is a quick shape up plan that is part of the nutrition plan package developed by Karena and Katrina. Today was Day 1 for me. Since I am not using the “official” plan, I suppose there is no guarantee what this will do for me, but reviews from many people report a 3-7 lb. loss over the 5 days. Pretty cool…lots of water weight I’m sure, but Im hoping that 5 days of Lean ‘n’ Clean eating will be a good jump start for my body and mind to get into wellness mode!

This was Day1:

M1: Slimdown Scramble w/ kale and yellow peppers
Modifications: 2 whole eggs vs. egg whites
M2: grapefruit
Modifications: whole vs. half
M3: Lean and Green
Spinach, romaine, tuna w/ Italian dressing
M4: ThinkThin Creamy Peanut bar
M5: Lean and Green
Spinach, romaine, broccoli, snap peas, carrots, Veggie burger, Italian dressing
M6: nonfat plain Greek yogurt w/ cinnamon, stevia
Modifications: added dash of maple syrup

Workouts of the day: Yogalates class, Zumba class, walk dog

New York Fashion Week RTW Fall 2012

OK, so there are only 1 1/2 days left until FW wraps up, so I must say I have been pretty disappointed so far with the shows. Everything seems so overdone or underdone. Either not enough shape to the garments (i.e. The Row,) or too much “stuff” that seemed tacked on and utterly unwearable (is Jeremy Scott running a circus now?)

Who got it right? Michael Kors’ heavy knits, tartan and loads of fur are perfect for the ski lodge and casual holiday parties, while his elegant evening wear still has that hint of rustic-cabin. J.Crew had some fabulous work-week ensembles that stayed with preppy silhouettes, but had a definite punch of fashion forward patterns. Nanette Lepore also pulled off fun and funky patterns in bold colors (chartreuse and pink!) while still making them wearable.

Here are a few of my favorite individual looks from the shows:



Charlotte Ronson


Marc by Marc Jacobs                                       Rodarte



Michael Kors



Fashionably Yours,


My heart beets for a veggie filled V-Day

Today was my first pick-up of the Winter share I purchased from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative. It was a wonderful Valentine’s Day treat..I’ve been anticipating my first order for weeks! Its funny…its sort of like a “grab bag” for grown-ups…each week is a surprise of what will be in your shipment. My roommate and I signed up to receive 5-9 veggies a week, plus a rotation of eggs and tofu, and a fresh organic dairy (or dairy-like) product. It’s really a great deal (yayyy our wallets are happy!) and we are hoping it will allow us to be more creative in the kitchen and expand our palettes, as winter veggies are a unique breed!

This week brought:

1 Bag Red Beets – Certified Organic – Tuscarora Organic Growers

 1 Bag Red Garlic – Certified Organic – Tuscarora Organic Growers

1 Bag Watermelon Radishes – Certified Organic – Tuscarora Organic Growers

1 Bag Mixed Variety Apples – IPM – Kauffman’s Fruit Farm

1 Jar Applesauce – Certified Organic – Bowman Mountain Organics

1 Jar Sauerkraut – Certified Organic – Oakview Acres

Plus Almond Milk and fresh organic brown eggs.

I have never seen a raw beet before, so I decided to dig right in! A quick wash to get the earth off, some strokes of the vegetable peeler, and my hands were dripping with beet juice. I sliced it up and ate it plain and raw…it was absolutely amazing! Such a mild, yet sweet flavor…like a cross between an apple and carrot, two of my fav. healthy snacks! Raw beets may be my new go-t0, plus they are packed with vitamins and fiber!

I’m hoping to try out this recipe eventually, from the LFFC website!

Molten Chocolate Beet “LoveCakes”
3 ounces dark chocolate (at least 70%, plus some chunks for stuffing)
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice organic sugar (can substitute with honey)
1 egg
1 cup cooked beet puree
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon vanilla or orange extract (or ¼ teaspoon of each)
pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and chocolate together in a small pan over low heat. Once completely melted, remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Mix together and pour into cupcake liners. Place a chunk of chocolate into the center of each cup of cupcake batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy while still warm!

More adventures in Community Supported Agriculture to come…



Reunited in Chicago!

I know I haven’t blogged in a while and for some reason I suddenly had the urge to write a post! I’m currently on route from Chicago to South Bend, Indiana. My friend Laura and I arrived in Chicago late last night and our friends Anna and Allison picked us up at O’Hare. In a turn of good luck, I got a call from our hotel that they had made a mistake with our booking and we would be moved to a different hotel close-by, but they would cover all charges. We arrived at our FREE hotel, located right on The Magnificent Mile and reunited and made plans for the next day, then collapsed into our beds!

This morning we woke up early to walk around Navy Pier, then grabbed coffee and did some shopping (yay, cute outfits AND a Halloween costume—Minnie Mouse!) before checking out Millenium Park. Our bellies were getting pretty hungry… OMG my phone just switched from Central time to Eastern Standard cool…. Anyway so we went to ‘noodles & co.’ for lunch and I downed a Veggie Med sandwich…. The place is so cool, it’s like a Panera Bread with Asian, Mediterranean, and classic American comfort food all in one! After lunch we went to the Art Institute and split up to check out our favorite sections. I could have spent all day there, but we didn’t have the time, so I stuck with Impressionism–my favorite anyway, and did a quick run-through of the Contemporary American gallery.

Our last stop of the day was Garret’s popcorn, which Anna had to hit before we left the city! And I can see why. Laura and I each got the “Chicago Blend,” which had cheese and caramel popcorn mixed together and it is divinneeee! Still working on my bag.

Soon we will be in South Bend, staying at St. Mary’s College with all of the girls we studied abroad with! Tomorrow is the Notre Dame vs. USC game, which will be so fun!!! Laura and I will remain neutral and tailgate with whoever has better alcohol to share : ) Just kidding! Maybe…

Go Irish! I mean Trojans! I mean…

: )

It’s hard to believe, but today is my last day at Catholic News Service in Washington!

I’ll be keeping busy though…in 2 weeks I am headed to Madrid to cover World Youth Day for CNS via social media, so I’ll be blogging, tweeting and updating our facebook page.This is a first-time move for CNS, so I hope to live up to their expectations! I’ve been so blessed with the opportunities here at CNS.
Here are some of my latest from CNS… I’ve done quite a handful more that haven’t been published yet, too…they are saving them up for Fall!

World’s religions seen as solving conflicts

Few would argue against the notion that to solve conflict created by religious intolerance, prejudice and discrimination, it is essential to understand how religion motivates believers and shapes their worldviews, that respecting all religions is not enough….Read More

AmeriCorps recognizes Notre Dame volunteers

The Notre Dame Mission Volunteers, an AmeriCorps program, has received a renewal of its grant for the 2011 fiscal year, but the federal funding cuts for volunteer-based programs make the financial future of Notre Dame-AmeriCorps program unclear.….Read More

On the Blog:

Young women religious from across US make their voices heard

A sailor’s life for me (yo ho!)

Temperatures were tipping 115 with the heat index this past weekend in D.C., and when sun is scorching like that there are only two logical choices: head inside or head to the water.

We chose the latter. My friend Laura, who I studied with in Rome last semester (and who also interned at the Vatican), was visiting for the weekend, so we decided to try something neither of us had done before: sailing!

view from the harbor

We drove about 30 minutes south to National Harbor, where we rented a Hoby Cat, strapped on some not-so-stylish life jackets and set sail. Andy is a pro at sailing, having learned at a summer camp in the British Virgin Islands, so he was our instructor and captain!

Captain Andy

The wind wasn’t the best, but when it picked up, Laura and I took turns being the skipper, while Andy directed us and taught us to tack and jibe.


“Starboard, whattt!? You mean left?! Right?!”

While Laura and I still don’t really understand all the lingo, we had a good time, despite the heat.








Dripping with sweat, we drug ourselves to the restrooms to dry off.








Before grabbing a quick lunch at Potbelly, (which I think is a terrible name for a sandwich place…to entice people you would think they would call it Flat Abs or something…) I dropped into South Moon Under and got these Metallic Gladiator Sandals from BC Footwear…slip-on and very comfortable for long walks.

BC Footwear Metallic Gladiators


So, we beat the heat, didn’t drown and had a great day learning to sail! Hopefully next time there will be more wind!