Thursday, January 29, 2015

Does A "Typical" College Experience Actually Exist?

Picture any college from any movie, with the beautiful campus, buzz of student life, rows of pristine frat houses. Now add about three feet of snow and you get Syracuse. Everything about my school just screams "COLLEGE," and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Now, despite going to a typical university, I really don't think I'm the typical university student. I've only been to a handful of frat parties and wound up disgusted by the sticky floors and mobs of sweaty boys. I take on way too many extracurriculars and actually enjoy some of my classes. I have a steady boyfriend when many of my peers are wholeheartedly involved in the "hook up" culture.

But, that got me thinking, does a typical college experience actually exist?

No, I don't think it does. College is what you make of it. You can be a super outgoing, bubbly girl who serves as the president of her sorority, or you can be the studious girl who stays in on Saturday nights, and have an amazing college experience either way. Everyone has a different vision of what college will entail for them, and staying true to that vision is key for happiness. The trouble starts when you struggle to fit into the typical college mold and end up failing, like trying to fit a square into a circle.

Take me for example, when I turned down an invitation to go bowling in order to go a frat party. I would've had more fun bowling, but every else goes to frat parties, why shouldn't I? Or, by contrast, someone who doesn't go to frat parties but regrets her decision every weekend.

College is a time to have fun and discover yourself. Just make sure you discovering the true version of yourself.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Trying Pinterest Recipes: Round One

I'm back at Syracuse for the spring semester, and this year I swapped a depressing dorm room for a three-bedroom apartment off campus. Having my own kitchen means that I'm able to cook all of my own meals, which I learned is quite a bit of work but beats eating in the dining hall. In an effort to prevent myself from making canned soup or quesadillas every night,  I've been scouring Pinterest for the best food-spiration. Most of the recipes I've tested are surprisingly tasty. I thought I'd review some of my Pinterest-inspired meals as part of a "Trying Pinterest Recipes" series, in hopes of inspiring other to break out of their boring meal routine.

Recipe 1: Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese
Original Recipe here: Closet Cooking
One word: amazing. My love for grilled cheese has been undying since I was a child. This savory combination of provolone, spinach, and pesto is mouth-watering and more sophisticated than your typical sliced-American-on-white-bread combination. The original recipe calls for graviera cheese and spinach pesto; I used provolone cheese, basil pesto, and baby spinach leaves. I also chose multigrain bread, but of course you can use whichever kind of bread you prefer. This sandwich is so easy and delicious that I've made it for lunch three days in a row now. 

Recipe 2: Italian Hero Crescent Ring
Original Recipe here: Pillsbury 
Alright, this is more like an Italian Hero Crescent Mess. The instructions call for putting lunch meat, cheese, and peppers into a Pillsbury crescent roll, assembling the roll, and baking in the oven. My boyfriend and I used salami and pepperoni, and I added provolone cheese and peppers to mine. As you can see in the picture, my cheese-filled side of the crescent roll fell apart in the oven. Maybe I'm at fault for rolling the crescents wrong. The sandwich on the left looks pretty impressive though, right? The combination of spicy lunch meat and buttery crescent roll is unique, but I quite liked it. I'm sure my boyfriend and I will make this again someday. 

Recipe 3: Creamy Chicken and Corn Chowder
Original Recipe here: Cooking Classy
I'm a fan of thick soups and chowders, and this recipe blew me away. I had no trouble making the chowder, even as a college student with almost no prior cooking experience. I'll admit, my version of the chowder doesn't look nearly as appetizing as the original, but I'm sure it tasted just as good. I left out the bacon and peppers in my version. Also, since I have weird taste buds, I think this chowder is amazing with hot sauce. My favorite is Cholula.

Next on my recipe radar: Greek yogurt mac n'cheese and risotto! 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My "Currently" List

I'll admit, study abroad has taken over my blog's content during the last few months. I was initially planning to post both lifestyle and travel articles while in Germany, but the travel bug bit me so hard that I could barely focus on anything else. I'm back now, and ready to hop on that lifestyle bandwagon once again.

I thought I'd celebrate my return to normalcy with another "currently" list, which I haven't done in a while. I love these types of posts because they let me connect to other bloggers and share my interests at the moment.

Here is what I'm currently...

Watching: "That 70's Show" is the perfect distraction while I try to pack for college. I'm also still hooked on "The Vampire Diaries."

Reading: I just finished "Nowhere But Here" by Renee Carlino – a very cute and entertaining romance novel!

Listening: I'm willing to confess that I really like some of Taylor Swift's new music, especially "Blank Space."

Eating: My mom has been cooking all of my favorite meals before I head back to Syracuse. On the menu this week: taco dip, jam cookies, homemade chex mix, and pumpkin bread.

Drinking: I'm a fanatic for Tim Hortons coffee, which unfortunately is only sold in northern states like New York and Michigan. (I always say that Tim Hortons has the best hot coffee, Dunkin' Donuts has the best iced coffee, and Starbucks has the best frilly drinks.) My boyfriend's parents were nice enough to get me Tim Hortons K-cups for Christmas, which I've been devouring!

Enjoying: Relaxing at home with minimal responsibilities

Wanting: Better weather. I was planning to move into my apartment in Syracuse on Friday, but the New York Thruway, which makes up half of my 6-hour commute to Syracuse, was closed due to extreme winter weather. I'm talking three feet of snow. I was going to drive today (Saturday) instead, but the weather was still too bad, complete with thunder snow (what?!). That means I have to drive 6+ hours to school, unpack my car, set up my apartment, and grocery shop tomorrow before classes start. Great.

Wearing: I've been loving the big knitted maroon scarf that I got for Christmas. I've been wearing it with everything!


Before I end my post,  I'd like to share a (hopefully) funny story.

I visited my boyfriend, Jake, in New York for New Year's. When he drove me back home, my family was still in Florida to enjoy the holiday season without three feet of snow. Now Jake is the type of guy who wears nothing but athletic shorts and hoodies in the frigid Syracuse winters, so I was taken aback when we stepped in my house and he said, "Does it feel a bit chilly to you in here?" After initially laughing at Jake, I realized that the floor felt like an icicle against my feet. I ran to look at the temperature control in my house: 45 degrees fahrenheit.

Jake and I tried unsuccessfully to fix the heater, calling my dad a dozen times for help. We finally had to accept that we were staying overnight in a 45-degree house. My nose was chilled and my hands were frozen, so we gathered as many blankets as we could, set up a space heater, and snuggled in to watch a movie with warm apple cider. Spending a night without heat isn't necessarily ideal, but Jake and I had a fun and cozy night that I will never forgot.

(Picture from Strasbourg, France)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year, New Beginnings

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I've been spending my winter break relaxing with loved ones, catching up after being abroad for four months. My family and I drove from Ohio to Florida for Christmas, as we always do. I took the time to fully recover from jet lag and unwind after a busy semester. My parents, brother, sister and I rode a boat and jet skis, walked on the beach, and stuffed ourselves with seafood.

Instead of staying with my family for New Year's Day, though, I took a flight to central New York to be with my boyfriend, who happens to have a January 1st birthday. Jake and I have been dating for more than two years, and I had yet to spend his birthday (or New Year's Eve) with him. I figured this year would be the perfect time to change that routine, since I might have a job (or will at least be searching for a job) during the holiday season next year- YIKES! Jake and I had a fantastic New Year's Eve and New Year's Day with his family, ringing in 2015 with a New Year's kiss. We spent a few days together after the holidays as well. Jake and I always take advantage of school breaks, where we can just be together without having to worry about homework, classes, internship applications, extracurricular activities, and the other stresses of college.

2014 was truly a great year, which I spent all over the world. I completed sophomore year at Syracuse, interned with a magazine in New York City during the summer, and spent the fall semester abroad in Berlin, Germany. I appreciate every opportunity that has come my way.

Here are 15 of my favorite moments of 2014:

1). Spending nearly four months in Europe, visiting Germany, France, the Czech Republic, England, Denmark, Sweden, and Hungary.

2). Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, surrounded by millions of people

3). Eating escargot and croissants in Strasbourg, France

4). Exploring London with my dad, posing in red telephone booths, and watching the guards at Buckingham Palace

5). Partying in the famous Budapest thermal baths with friends

6). Taking a 20-minute subway ride from Denmark to Sweden– just because

7). Touring New York City with my family, boyfriend, AND best friends (and seeing Broadway shows with each!)

8). People-watching in Times Square until 4 a.m. with my boyfriend 

9). Waking up at 3:30 a.m. with my mom to see Jennifer Lopez perform in Central Park for Good Morning America

10). Interning at a top national magazine among some of the most impressive journalists I've met

11). Being invited to, and attending, a closed panel led by Dr. Oz (and also seeing J. Lo, Daniel Radcliffe, James Franco, and the guy from Humans of New York during my time in NYC)

12). Watching the sunset over the ocean in Florida with dolphins swimming in our boat's wake

13). Exploring the waters of Southwest Florida on jet-skis with Jake

14). Celebrating my two-year anniversary with Jake

15). Starting Meet Me In Midtown

I truly appreciate every opportunity that has come my way this year. I can't wait for what 2015 will bring. I don't like making New Year's resolutions, because I never keep them and find them stressful. However, I will aim to secure another great internship and improve my health through diet and exercise.

Meet Me In Midtown will be updated whenever I have time, hopefully two or three times per week. Most of my content thus far has involved my experiences in New York City and Germany. While I'm at school, I will continue to post life updates, but I will also publish more articles relating to lifestyle and college. My blog doesn't have a concrete theme, but I like posting about a wide range of topics. I want to keep things interesting.

Thanks for reading, and I hope everyone has a great start to 2015!