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Posts Tagged ‘Graduation’

Well, it finally happened. I graduated.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day for graduation. The sky was a brilliant shade of blue, the sun was shining and the temperature was mild. Our main ceremony lasted nearly three hours and I left thinking, “That’s it?”. Four years and it is over in the blink of an eye? My parents and brother joined me in the celebration and presented me with a beautiful bouquet of pink roses after the ceremony (THANK YOU!!). We went to brunch at a local cafe (a few minutes from my new apartment!) and I ordered a breakfast sandwich with two eggs, goat cheese, portabello mushrooms, tomato, basil and ham on sunflower bread. I have more pictures but unfortunately I left my camera uploader at my apartment, so I’ll have to post them on Tuesday.

After brunch, I attended my department ceremony to receive my diploma. It was a small ceremony and only lasted an hour. As soon as it was over I sprinted back to my dorm-apartment and went into a packing frenzy. I didn’t even stop to take my high heels off, I just wanted to GET OUT! I ate my last Jonagold apple and started throwing things here and there until everything was in the car. I have been ready to leave for so long and did not want to spend MORE time than was necessary. My parents joined me in the packing craze and we were out of there in about two hours. I think we were all surprised by the amount of  ‘things’, especially kitchen gadgets, that I have collected over the year. It barely fit into two cars!

The insanity continued as we hulled garbage bags full of random items in to my new apartment. It was such a long day and I was so thankful to have my parent’s help. When we finished, we were extremely exhausted and still had a 1.5 hour drive home. It was nearly 8:30pm when we finally got back and dinner was Chinese food. My dad and I shared some Middle Ages Wailing Wench beer as we settled down and we feasted on wonton soup, mixed seafood and vegetables, rice and fortune cookies with a glass of Dr. Loosen Riesling. (pictures will be  posted later!)

I fell asleep approximately one hour later and woke up this morning feeling refreshed. I’m glad that I was able to come home for a few days to spend time with my parents and organize myself before starting the next phase of my life. I know that if I stayed in my apartment last night  I would have been anxious about getting settled and entered into another sleepless night and unpacking furry. I’m the type of person that likes to be completely organized before I can relax and focus.

I was really hungry when I woke up and after searching the contents of my parent’s cupboards and fridge, decided to create a gigantic yogurt mess with Greek yogurt, sliced almonds, Cheerios, banana, strawberries and cinnamon for breakfast.

I spent much of this morning generating a to do list, doing laundry, and configuring my computer. My generous parents bought me a new computer for graduation (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and I am organizing files on my old one before the transfer. This has NOT been an easy task. Much like my room at school, my computer is packed full of random files and pictures in an extremely unorganized fashion.

After a few hours of stressful computer sorting I made a peanut butter, banana, strawberry and cinnamon sandwich on two slices of whole grain bread with a side of baby carrots. Shortly after, I snacked on vanilla yogurt, dried cranberries, sliced almonds and cinnamon. I’m basically eating whatever I can scrounge up in my parents fridge. I’m hoping dinner has some sort of vegetable because today has been a fruit, nut and dairy filled day (good thing that those are my favorites!).

I’m off to do more computer work. I’m heading  into the real world tomorrow to face my apartment mess and work. I’ll be sure to post but I can already tell that insanity is in store.

Crazy,

Nora

Are you an organized person? What are your tips and tricks?

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Graduation Dinner

Graduation Day is finally here. In a few short hours I will be dressed in a gaudy gown and tasseled cap, taking a final walk down the center of our academic quad to receive my diploma.  It has been a long four years but I feel ready to exit this institution and embrace the future with a brain full of knowledge and a strong sense of self. As I sit in my half-empty dorm room reflecting and writing (my final paper if you will), I can only think of how lucky I am. I have been afforded incredible opportunities by my loving and supportive parents, and do not take any of them for granted. THANK YOU MOM AND DAD, I LOVE YOU!

Yesterday afternoon, my parents and twin brother came to help me move from “dorm life to real life”. We spent much of the afternoon packing up my cluttered college apartment and transporting my belongings to my charming one-bedroom.  (I’ll use ‘charming’  as an operative word for rundown. Pictures soon!). We had a light lunch at a cafe near my little hole-in-the-wall and later went to one of my favorite restaurants to celebrate the end of my college career and the beginning of my professional life. I love this restaurant because their menu incorporates local and seasonal items. Their dishes are all fresh, clean and decadent!

To start, I had one of their signature martini’s made with limoncello, a small piece of house made baguette and a mixed green salad topped with goat cheese (I REALLY love goat cheese and immediately started eating. I was about half way through when this picture was taken!)

My main course was a daily special: pan-seared halibut with spring vegetables, fava beans and a tarragon, mint and Meyer lemon sauce. I enjoyed this with a lovely glass of white Burgundy, which provided a perfect balance to the sweetness in the dish.

PERFECTION!

Before moving to dessert, I want to take a moment to share my brother’s meal: the prime rib.

It was an enormous piece of meat and he thoroughly enjoyed it!

We split three desserts between the four of us: Chocolate Almond Cake with Chocolate Sorbet, Strawberry Genoise with Vanilla Butter Cream and Rhubarb Sorbet, and their signature Creme Brulee served in a chocolate bowl.

I LOVE DESSERT! Everything was delicious, but their creme brulee is out of this world! It is not typically my dessert of choice but it is hard to say no when something served in a chocolate bowl. This restaurant has perfected their craft and the creme brulee remains my favorite. They served it with a side of blueberries and chocolate chip cookies. I wasn’t able to get a full picture of the chocolate almond cake before it was devoured, but you can see the small portion on my plate. It was a rich bite and the almond flavor was pleasantly potent. The genoise was similar to a white wedding cake and extremely dense. My favorite part about that dessert was the  Rhubarb sorbet that came on the side. It was tart, sweet and light which provided a nice contrast to the extravagant cake.

It was such a treat to see my family and share this incredible food with them. I can’t believe my time here has finally come to an end. The next time I write I will officially be a college graduate.

New Beginnings,

Nora

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Did I really just complete my undergraduate college education? Ladies and gentleman, at 4pm this afternoon I emerged from the confines of my minuscule apartment looking half-human and walked to campus to hand in my last college paper ever. It still hasn’t hit me yet. Do I really not have any readings to do? Tests to study for? Papers to write? As I sit in my room and type this I am in disbelief  that the past four years have finally come to an end.  It has been an interesting ride to say the least. The knowledge I have gained at this institution expands far beyond the classroom. I have learned a lot about myself and have grown tremendously. I have to take a moment here to pause and thank my parents.

Mom and Dad- Thank you so much for every opportunity you have provided me with. I am so grateful to have your love and support in my life. The road hasn’t always been easy, but you never stopped having faith in me and I appreciate that more than you will ever know. Thank you for never doubting me and encouraging me to pursue my interests. You are my best friends and every day I truly feel lucky to have you in my life. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

On to my day:

Today was such a scramble. I’m always such a mess during finals week between little sleep, weird eating and stressful studying. I’m glad that this marks the end of it! I started today around 7am and was under lock and key paper writing in my apartment until 3:30pm. I literally moved from my floor (everything was spread out on my floor…I couldn’t sit at my desk anymore!) to the kitchen all day long and finally sat in bed for some final editing and to provide relief to my numb “bottom” that suffered from my harsh floor all day. Yeah, it wasn’t a fun time.

Breakfast was exactly what I was craving: Berry Oats. Last night for dessert I had some luscious local strawberries with MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread.

I knew that I needed to have these again for breakfast, so I made a big bowl of oats for breakfast with strawberries and blackberries.Into my bowl:

Base: 1/4 cup oat bran, 1/8 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 sliced banana, 2 tsp chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla extract.

Toppings: ~1/4 cup Chobani Greek yogurt (last of it!), 3 strawberries, handful of blackberries and almond butter.

This was SO delicious. I really liked the melted Greek yogurt on top. It made my bowl so creamy and I loved the sour contrast with the berries. When I get more yogurt, I’m going to incorporate it into my warm oats more often!

This is the only meal that I was 100% certain of all day. As I got into paper writing the rest of my food was completely random and consisted of “I can’t focus, go make food” dishes. They were all consumed sporadically between the hours of 10am and 3pm. I really hate mindlessly eating, I never feel wonderful when I do and today was no exception. My stomach was…let’s just say a bit bubbly, but it got me through the day. I’ll try to categorize as best I can the randomness of food:

Morning Snack: Jonagold Apple with Almond Butter.

“Lunch”:

Lunch was a compilation of everything in my room/fridge/freezer that I could think to put together. I’m not sure what time this all actually took place, but I think it was a few hours after breakfast when I was getting into the really tedious part of my paper. I spotted a Luna Cookie Dough Protein Bar and decided I needed a little cookie dough to chug through more work. I ate half of it before lunch and the other half later in the day. Shortly after I decided that I needed to refocus and make myself a snack. I went back into my kitchen and prepared a plate of watermelon and pineapple. I wasn’t full and it was almost lunch time so after maybe 30 minutes I went back into the kitchen to make some real food. Remember that Multigrain bread I picked up at the bakery a while ago? Well it also comes in a Multigrain Currant variety(be still my heart, I’m in love with this bread), and I happened to have a few pieces in my freezer from a long, long time ago 🙂 . The pictures above are a before and after shot. I topped my toast with some natural crunchy peanut butter. After I made my toast, I thought to myself, “Nora, you can not live on nut butters, fruit and carbs alone.” And decided to make a plate of sautéed spinach topped with a runny fried egg, extra sharp cheddar cheese and hot sauce. Maybe I should just call this breakfast number two! It was so delicious, and held me nicely through the majority of my paper writing! I really love the combination of egg yolk and extra sharp cheddar cheese, it is so creamy and flavorful!

I finally completed the bulk of my writing around 2pm and determined I needed some editing food.I needed some greens so I made a mini “sludge” monster with 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk, 5 ice cubes, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 scoop Amazing Grass GREEN Superfood, 1 heaping TBS Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa, and a big bunch of spinach. It looks like sludge, and wasn’t as good as my protein packed monsters, but it was still refreshing. After this freezing beverage I needed something warm so I microwaved a Medjool date with almond butter and cinnamon. I microwaved another unpictured date with just cinnamon after this. Still not satisfied, and now wanting chocolate, I used a random (embarrassing purchase… my campus store sells them so I picked up a bag a while ago.) rice cake as a vessel for MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread and Raspberry Jam.

Today was a whirlwind, and I had a bunch more “finger swipes” of almond butter, some raw almonds, another apple and a big carrot somewhere in between. I think it’s safe to say: my paper was a nut butter fueled production.

It was a bit cool out when I finally left my apartment, but the walk was welcome. I was in need of a good leg stretch, and it settled the random bites of my day. I was fortunate to get to the Political Science Department mere MOMENTS before they locked the doors. My professor told us that the paper was due at 5pm, and the department locks  down at 4:30pm! I don’t know what I would have done if I left my apartment 5 minutes later.

I haven’t had time this week to exercise so I did a light 50 minutes on the Pre-core machine before heading home. I was planning to run but was felling a little “blah” when I finally got to the gym. I’ll tell you, paper writing + sitting + eating = exhaustion.

I wasn’t particularly in the mood for anything fancy for dinner, and wanted to continue my fridge cleaning so I used the remainder of my Bush’s Baked Beans for another Baked Beans and Sweet Potato dish. I served it with a fresh green salad and the last of my watermelon. I decided to cook my sweet potato in the microwave for the sake of time, and it wasn’t very photogenic. I ended up mashing it and topping it with cinnamon and Crofter’s North American Superfruit Spread (cranberry/blueberry mix) before adding my baked beans, which was delicious :).

For dessert I had a few squares of Green and Black’s Mint Dark Chocolate and a cup of Decaf Constant Comment Bigelow Tea. I needed something a little cozy to curl up in bed with because The Notebook was on and I had some blogging to catch up on :).

Hopefully, normalcy will resume tomorrow. I still think it is SO strange that I do not have anymore school work to accomplish. I have some personal projects and fun books to read, so I’m sure I’ll find a way to stay occupied. I think the most exciting part about finishing is that I now have time to do the things that I really like. I’m all for academics, but when it is a struggle to love and appreciate the material you are learning the work is tedious and stressful. I’m really looking forward to reading for fun and continuing my food/wine aspirations.

I have MANY more thoughts, but until I gather them I’m going to leave this rather long post be. I have one more week on campus for  “Senior Week”, which is filled with senior class functions (Finger Lakes Wine tour Monday…stay tuned!). I’m officially out of here after our graduation ceremony next Sunday. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Surreal Life,

Nora

Have you ever had a moment or experienced an event that seemed unbelievable?

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