Liebster.

Happy Friday! I honestly feel obligated to start out a post like that, but let’s be real — I now hate it when people get all hyped up about Friday. Because Friday isn’t my Friday. It’s generally my Wednesday, so nothing to get too excited about! But I realize most people have a normal work/school schedule, so happy Friday to all of you 🙂

liebster

What is happy about today is that I was nominated by the lovely Kaila from Healthy Helper to fill out the Liebster survey. You know I love surveys, so I’m alllllll over this. Thanks Kaila!

The Rules

1) You must link back to the person who nominated you

2) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you

3) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)

4) You must create 10 questions for your nominees

5) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

Kaila’s Questions

1. What was your favorite show as a middle schooler?

Is it totally embarrassing that I still watched Arthur at that age? It was a really good show though…and in my defense, my little sister was still 7 or 8 at the time, so completely acceptable 😉

2. What season were you born in?

Summer! I’m absolutely obsessed with my birthday. I’ve never had to go to school (or work now) on my birthday and I’ve spent many birthdays at a waterpark or on vacation. Summer has always been my favorite season, and it’s partly because it’s my birthday season. Just a month and two weeks until the big day!

I just love summer!

I just love summer!

3. What Disney princess did you want to be when you were little?

I always identified with Belle, because I used to love reading (I was always in advanced reading classes as a kid and got to read all the exciting books) and I have long brown hair.

4. If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in another language, which would you choose?

Spanish. I know that sounds boring, but I took Spanish classes from second grade through my senior year of high school, and still didn’t pick up much of the language. I also want to live somewhere in the southwestern U.S., where Spanish really comes in handy!

5. If you could wear only one color or pattern for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Can you tell I love pink?

Can you tell I love pink?

Color: pink! Pattern: floral.

6. What’s your least favorite fictional couple? 

This is hard — I can’t even really think of any off hand! I guess I’ll say Chandler and Janice from Friends (still love that show!). Even though they didn’t end up together, they were totally not meant to be.

7. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

This is going to sound weird, but I’ve had a few people tell me I have a really good voice. Not singing-wise, but for talking. It makes me feel good, since I’m still chasing after my goal of becoming a TV anchor someday and having a good speaking voice is key!

8. What is the most unusual food you’ve ever eaten?

A raw enchilada at my favorite vegan spot. I don’t even know how to describe it — it was different than a regular enchi, but sooooooo much better. And the side of ‘rawfried’ beans was spot on like refried beans, but made with nuts and zucchini!

Not my picture, but they looked a lot like these!

Not my picture, but they looked a lot like these!

9. If you had to choose to lose one of the five senses, which would you choose and why?

would choose smell, but since smell and taste are connected (and I don’t wanna lose my sense of taste), I’m going to go with touch. Yeah, it’d be a little weird not to feel things, and I’d have to be careful not to get burned, but it would probably be the easiest to go without.

10. Name 3 blogs you read on a daily basis.

Hungry Hungry Hippie (even though she’s not vegan anymore, her food always looks so good and her little guy is so cute), Happy.Healthy.Life. (the most drool-worthy vegan food ever), Extra Petite (not necessarily on a daily basis, but I love getting fashion inspiration from a fellow petite lady).

Since I don’t know 10 people to tag who haven’t done this yet, I’m going to cheat and tag anyone who wants to do this…and you can just answer the same 10 questions I did!

Answer any of the above!

Forever 21

Finally 21. I usually don’t feel different on my birthday, but this year I did. I feel more mature, more independent. Not just because I can legally drink but also because I’m just a few months away from graduating college. It almost feels like yesterday that I started college as a scared little freshman, and now I’m about to embark on my adult life. Weird.

21 was a birthday I’ve only really looked forward to in the past year or so. Before that, I vowed I would never drink–because the few sips I sampled of my parents’ drinks tasted gross to me. That’s not to say that now I’m 21 I’m going to become a crazy partier. I have no desire to get drunk or drink cheap alcohol. I would much rather sip a glass of white wine while watching a movie at home, or enjoy a fun cocktail at a fancy restaurant.

I did drink on my 21st, but my birthday was more than just about the alcohol. This birthday marked the last time (most likely) I’ll be living at home to celebrate. It’s bittersweet looking back on the past 21 birthdays (obviously the first few I don’t remember)–going to waterparks on my birthday, spending it by the pool in the mountains, watching the Summer Olympics, always going out to eat with my family/friends. I’m going to miss this part of my life.

As I said, my 21st was a lot more than being able to drink in a restaurant–which I definitely did, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I started the day as usual–waking up, checking my phone, enjoying some sweet potato-Sunwarrior-banana softserve with homemade magic shell (hey, had to make it special for my birthday!) and getting ready. I did wake up still sick, with a still-sore throat and irritated eyes, but I’m sick of letting little things ruin my day, so I’m really glad I didn’t let lingering sick feelings make my birthday less than special. And what made it that much more special was the decorations I found once I got downstairs. My parents have always been great about making our birthdays feel fun, no matter what we end up doing, and I’m really grateful for that!

bday decos

Starbucks and shopping were on the agenda…with none other than my sister! Even though we’re really different, we have a lot of things in common–namely our love for the ‘bucks, shopping for clothes (especially at Forever 21), Whole Foods salad bar and alt rock music. All of which we enjoyed together on my birthday 😀 I’m seriously gonna miss that girl when I graduate and I still can’t believe she’s just a year away from college herself! Anyways, we had the best time drinking iced coffees, yelling at stupid drivers, finding the perfect things to buym laughing at the dumbest things and marveling at the giant Whole Foods we ate lunch at.

Breakfast at home. Lunch at Whole Foods. Birthday dessert made by me.

Breakfast at home. Lunch at Whole Foods. Birthday dessert made by me.

The rest of the afternoon was spent making my own birthday dessert. I’d never done that before, but I really wanted to make something that my family and I could all enjoy together. I went with this raw coffee cheesecake and it.was.delicious. My dad even said it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever made, and he’s a total dessert freak! It’s definitely a great dessert to make for raw vegans and non-raw vegans alike, especially if you love coffee. Aaaaaaaand…I got to enjoy a piece for two nights afterwards, so a total winner!

Dinner was what I was looking forward to all day though (other than shopping obviously!) I’d been wanting to go to a tapas place in town since I’d heard they had lot of vegan options, and the fact that they’re 100% gluten free was icing on the cake. I wasn’t sure if my family’d like it, especially my sister who’s pretty picky and likes typical teen food, but they loved it just as much as I did!

Tapas are basically small dishes generally in a Mediterranean or Spanish style that are meant to be shared with others. I’d never had tapas before but since I love eating little bits of a lot of different things (and Mediterranean food!) I knew I’d like it. My family got some dishes with meat or cheese, but I was still able to try a lot of the things we got, like warm olives (love olives!), fresh garlic bread (the best garlic bread I’ve ever had, and GF too!), patatas bravas, artichoke and onion salad and a gazpacho ‘shooter’. Everything was so fresh and tasty–definitely my kinda place. And their sangria was amazing as well. We got two carafes–one was the sangria del dia, which was pineapple orange with white wine and my personal favorite, and the other was a traditional blood orange sangria with white wine. I got carded (of course) but I loved the experience of being able to enjoy a quality drink in a nice atmosphere. And sangria is now my favorite drink!

Gazpacho and sangria del dia.

Gazpacho and sangria del dia.

But the best surprise of the night was when our waiter found out it was my birthday and he let me pick out a dessert for free. I had already made a dessert for us at home, but the chocolate tasting plate sounded too good to pass up, so I ended up sharing that with everyone. It was basically 8 small squares of dark chocolate ranging from 65-85% cacao and it was paired with some blueberries and Marcona almonds. It was some good chocolate, and it went really well with the berries and almonds. So glad I went for the dessert instead of opting out just because I had dessert already planned!

My two loves are evident in my presents: clothes and food.

My two loves are evident in my presents: clothes and food.

Back at home, I opened presents and then we had my birthday cake cheesecake. A few of my presents were total surprises, like the denim shirtdress and Zoku pop maker, but everything I got was something I’ve been wanting for awhile. You know you’re a foodie when you get excited for a popsicle maker and vegetable peelers 😉 And the raw ‘cookbook’ has some really delicious looking recipes so hopefully I can share some with you guys soon! The purse and clothes will also get a lot  of use–this girl can never have too many purses or outfits!

My birthday was one of the best birthdays I’ve had, and it wasn’t just because I got presents I loved or because I could finally order a drink in a restaurant. It was more about the memories I made with my family and the happiness I got from being able to enjoy one last birthday with them.

What made your last birthday special? What’s your ultimate birthday dessert? 

A New Decade (Birthday Weekend Recap)

Hi everyone! Did you all have fab weekends? Mine was the best I’ve had probably all summer, and as promised, I’ve got a recap of my birthday weekend for ya! (Warning: Plenty of photos ahead!)

Who doesn’t want their own birthday banner?

I woke up on Friday to this–my mom taped it up there while I was asleep, how sweet is that?! My morning continued with an unpictured homemade chocolate chip oat flour waffle topped with fresh raspberries and chocolate protein frosting.

I love having a summer birthday because I can always wear a cute dress on my big day!

Most of the morning and afternoon were low-key. My mom and I stopped at the store to pick up a few things she needed and then we headed downtown for a special Olympics event they were holding. We got there around 4, which was when it was supposed to start, but not much was going on when we first got there. There were some cool things set up, like a giant trampoline, BMX ramps, a mini tennis court and a synthetic ice rink but no one was really doing anything. We did end up getting on TV though–one of the guys I know from my TV internship saw us and he interviewed my mom! And I also got some free Starbucks (unsweetened iced coffee) so it was worth it.

Whole Foods cold bar dinner: jicama apple quinoa salad, sweet potato/pepper/currant salad, marinated artichokes, zucchini pickles, chipotle orange tofu, curried potatoes and Korean slaw.

For my birthday dinner, I chose the Whole Foods salad bars! I am obsessed with the one near me, they always have the best stuff and they change it a lot so I can always get something new. My mom got some of the Mexican things they had, I got a random mish-mash of cold salads and my dad got a seafood sandwich (my sister was at her rehearsal for the theatre camp she’s at, so she missed out on the WF fun). Oh, and we of course watched the Olympic opening ceremonies! The best part is watching all the countries come in and making fun of their outfits.

My first birthday cake in a couple years! Totally vegan, and totally yummy!

I’m usually not a huge fan of cake. I’ll eat it if it’s a really interesting flavor, but I definitely prefer giant warm cookies or vegan ice cream for desserts. In fact, the last couple of years for my birthday, I’ve requested gelato instead of cake. But this year, I was super excited to try one of Whole Foods’ vegan cakes. I was planning on getting a slice of raw cheesecake but (full disclosure) the fat and calorie content kinda freaked me out. I loved how simple the ingredients were (cashews, coconut oil, raw chocolate) but I ended up with a slice of their vegan chocolate raspberry cake. And I was not disappointed at all! I split this giant square with my dad, who also loved it. With most cakes, I scrape the frosting off immediately because I’ve never been a fan. But this vegan frosting was so rich and delicious that I couldn’t skip it.

My special birthday nails (that match my laptop!)

Saturday wasn’t too exciting. I had work in the afternoon, but after dinner, my dad and I watched The Descendants. George Clooney and Shailene Woodley were perfect in it and it was a really great movie. Funny in some parts, and super sad in others. Plus it made me realize that I need to move to Hawaii!

Ready for a day of shopping!

Sunday was the day I was really looking forward to. I decided to forgo birthday presents in favor of a parent-funded shopping spree in Denver. I live for shopping, seriously! I just love looking through all the stores I love, laughing at some of the weirder items and finding the perfect outfits. We started out at the Pavilions at the 16th Street Mall and hit up H&M and Forever 21. Both of those stores are HUGE at that location so it can be kinda hard to find something you want to buy, but it’s still super fun. And I bought my first-ever item at H&M!

From top to bottom: navy lace tee (Hollister), pink printed tank dress (Forever 21), colorblock skirt (F21), navy bow leather flip-flops (HCo.)

I love long necklaces: pink heart pendant (Forever 21), jeweled parrot pendant (ALDO Accessories).

We also went to my favorite mall on the south side of Denver. My sister and I ventured off on our own and ended up going to a bunch of stores: Hollister, American Eagle, ALDO Accessories, Bath & Body Works and Abercrombie & Fitch. It sucked though because it was a Sunday, and we got to the mall around 4:30…and all the stores started closing at 6. We got to Abercrombie as soon as they were closing, so we had to rush around trying to find something to buy and I left the store empty-handed. We’ve never gone up there on a Sunday, so it was weird being kicked out of the stores so early, but we’ll know better next time.

I feel so French in this dress: light pink/black striped T-shirt dress (H&M).

Cute in stripes: orange/navy striped cropped tee (Hollister).

Apparently I love orange: strapless orange dress (Hollister).

Garbanzo is one of my fave places to go! I ordered a plate with falafel, tabbouleh, cilantro sauce, grilled eggplant, lettuce, red cabbage and hummus.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go to the vegetarian restaurant because it was a little pricey but I’m planning a visit to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in my college town sometime soon. We did go to Garbanzo, though, which I could eat at every week. They have a lot of vegan options too which I love and everything there is so fresh and pretty cheap. Their tabbouleh and hummus are my favorite of any Mediterranean place I’ve been to!

So that’s pretty much my entire birthday weekend. I had such a fun time, treated myself a few times and did some major shopping. I couldn’t have asked for a better 20th birthday!

What did you do for your last birthday? What do you like for your birthday dessert?

WIAW: The Big 1-9

Hey guys! Sorry my WIAW is a little late this week. I was pretty busy on Wednesday, so I didn’t have much time to post. But I still wanted to get in on the party, so here it is!

Well, it’s finally here–my 19th birthday!I feel like I’ve been waiting a whole year for my birthday…oh wait, I have 😉

The most exciting part of this year’s birthday (besides a special store opening event–more on that in a bit) is that it just so happens that it’s also Wednesday. As in, What I Ate Wednesday! I love this weekly party (hosted by the lovely Jenn) and this week, it feels like even more of a party, since it’s my b-day. Self-centered much? 😀

Peas and Crayons

I started my birthday out reaaaaaaaally early (well, early for me!) at the ripe hour of 6 o’ clock. Who in their right mind wakes up that early on their birthday if they don’t have to go to work (or they just happen to be an early bird, which I am most definitely not)? This girl right here, and for a good reason–my mom and I were going up to Denver for the grand opening of Colorado’s first-ever IKEA store! I’ve never been to an IKEA store so I was curious about what they’d have there, but mostly because they were giving away gift certificates worth $52.80 (the elevation of the store is 5280 feet, I guess that’s how they got that amount) only to people whose birthday was on July 27th (the grand opening day, obvs). I’ve never thought my birthday was on a special day (though, one of my lucky numbers is 7, so it’s kinda special) but I guess it was in this case! I had to prove my birthday was really July 27th, though (this is when having a driver’s license comes in handy…oh, I guess also if you want to drive 😉 )and I got a neato Happy Birthday stamp on my wrist. I think some people thought it was a tat lol JK.

Cake batter oats for breakfast. I just had to, I mean, it was my birthday after all!

...along with a spicy veggie sausage, mixed berries and PB Puffins.The sun was shining right behind it, so you can't really read the sign

Welcome to IKEA!

The coolest stamp ever!

 My mom scored a $10 gift certificate at the door, so we had over $60 to spend. My dad told us that we couldn’t go crazy and spend way over the amount we got (knowing us, we probs could have easily) and we didn’t! We even had $5 left over. We ended up getting a floor lamp with a pink and orange shade, a pink plastic shower caddy and a cool orange lamp thing (notice a trend here?) All the stuff gonna be for my dormie room and I can’t wait! I’ll show pics when everything’s actually assembled. As for the verdict on IKEA? Love. It. I’m a big fan of modern, sleek, cool furniture and I can totally see myself shopping here when I have a place of my own. The best part is that it’s all pretty cheap but well-made. Double score!

After the adventure that was IKEA (I totally got my exercise in for the day at that store. No joke. We were running to try to find the birthday certificate hand-out area, wrestled people to the ground manuevered around people to check out the lighting fixtures and almost got lost in that maze of a store.) we went to Panera for lunch. I got the strawberry poppyseed salad for the second time, and it was perfect for a hot summer day. It was huge though, so I wasn’t able to eat much of it.

Mi ensalada: greens, grilled chicken, pecans, strawbs, mandarin oranges, bloobs and pineapple

Then we drove to Gelazzi (the best gelato place, hands-down!) to pick up my b-day dessert. I was planning on getting a gelato cake or pie, but after being shellshocked by the prices (30 bucks for a cake? No thanks!) I settled on 2 pints of gelato, one mint chocolate chip and the other Hilo pineapple. Mmmmm (not together, though!)…

Back at home, I was starving so I munched on a handful of PB Puffins (those things are like crack, I swear) and some raisins. IDK why, but I’ve been loving on the raisins lately, even more so than my beloved dates. Don’t worry dates, you’ll always be my true love 😛

Birthday girl outfit: light green floral Hollister dress, coral VS Pink bandeau bra, AE pink crystal necklace

After some cardio interval time and yoga (as if I didn’t exercise enough already at IKEA…) I had a snackie that’s quickly becoming a favorite of mine: Late July mild green mojo multigrain chips alongside an almond butter-stuffed date and pineapple chunks. I convinced my sis to try the chips and she fell in love. My sister, the organic-hater, loved these organic healthy chips because they “taste like Doritos” (her words, not mine). I’m glad I can convert her to healthy eating 🙂

Amazing snack!Another birthday "present" I got was my first edible strawberry from my little plant. The first one got eaten by birds...yikes!

My daddy got home and then we were off to Pei Wei for my birthday din din. If you’ve never heard of/been to Pei Wei it’s basically a cheaper version of PF Changs. Okay, maybe that didn’t help either, but it’s a place that has a bunch of different Asian cuisines and dishes. I got my personal fave, the Vietnamese Chicken Salad rolls. I also had some iced chai black tea (s0 delish with a fresh orange slice!), edamame and a little bit of my dad’s brown rice mixed with peanuts from his Kung Pao. Such a delish dinner and I can’t wait to have the leftover roll for lunch! My only complaint is that I was freezing my butt off the entire time! What is it with restaurants and their extreme air conditioning?

Sorry about the horrible quality of these photos, they were taken in weird lighting and I had to be sneaky about it!

Edamame for the win!Vietnamese summer rolls are my favorite!

 

 Presents time back at home (aka my favorite part of my b-day)! I got really sweet cards from my parents and sis and some pretty rockin’ presents as well.

Coach Poppy backpack, cropped denim jacket, Gilly Hicks pink tee and blue floral pj shorts, hair waver, fashion book

I'm a little obsessed with wrapping paper...

After a little AGT (America’s Got Talent) watching, I was starving again (!) so we decided to have the birthday gelato then. Remember above when I said that I would never have pineapple and mint chocolate chip gelato at the same time? Well…I did. It honestly wasn’t bad, but that’s probs because I ate each flavor separately (and now I can look forward to many more nights of gelato leftovers!) I was surprised the house didn’t burn down, with 19 candles on a tiny gelato container!

That's a whole heck of a lot of candles!

Mint chocolate chip and pineapple--a match made in (weird) foodie heaven!

My new pjs in action!

Thanks for sticking with me through that monster of a post! I had an amazing day and couldn’t ask for anything more!

What is one of your birthday ‘traditions’? Ever been to an IKEA?