Good-Luck Charms.

Today, I had a very important thing to attend that I was really nervous about. As I got dressed this morning, I changed my top about seven times to see what looked best with my outfit (yes, I am absolutely a typical girl). I applied a little more makeup, a little more carefully than usual. I put about 110% more effort into taming and shaping my insane curly hair into something presentable. I spent like TEN MINUTES shaving my legs just to avoid that awkward "Shit, I missed a tiny spot" feeling. 

And then I hurried out the door because all this primping had made me late.  

And I forgot my Notre Dame class ring on the bathroom counter.  

 My ring, pre-monogram flip, on graduation day. 

My ring, pre-monogram flip, on graduation day. 

This is an extremely big deal. Yes, clearly it is an inane detail that wouldn't make or break an appearance with ^that^ much effort put into it; for me, however, not having that damn ring was an absolute blow.  

 See, that ring has become my talisman over the past five years (dear God, how has it been five years since junior fall of college?!). That ring is so significant to me, for so many reasons. And not having that ring on made me feel bare and empty all over, not just on the third finger of my right hand but from the tips of my hair to the tips of my toes. 

 My friend Zach's ring is so big that mine fits inside it. 

My friend Zach's ring is so big that mine fits inside it. 

I still remember the day I picked that ring out with my parents, spring semester of sophomore year.  I had been ogling the specific ring I wanted since pretty much week one of freshman year, and I was so excited to go pick it out and officially place my order--class rings are a status symbol for upperclassmen at ND. I was, however, apprehensive about the cost…upwards of $600, minimum. 

 

My parents were amazing about it…gifted me the ring, adored the classic "traditional" design and color combo I picked out, and even upgraded me to 14k gold instead of 10k. I was thrilled. Since then, I've worn that ring nearly every day and on three continents. I get a tan line from it in the summer, and if I don't have it on, I wear at the skin underneath where it usually sits because I'm so used to playing with it. 

 When Conk and I get together we tend to pinky promise things, Notre Dame girl-style. 

When Conk and I get together we tend to pinky promise things, Notre Dame girl-style. 

At any rate…I forgot my ring today, on a day when I was pretty sure I could use some pretty serious good-luck charm action. I spent my entire 20-minute drive fidgeting with the naked skin where my palm met my finger, feeling completely uncomfortable and weirdly stressed.  Thank heaven for pump-up jams and best friends (Conk, loooove you) who know exactly what to say to calm a stressy bitch down. 

 

Bottom line, at the end of the day, I didn't need my good-luck charm. I did just fine without it, and after the initial shock wore off, I barely noticed it was missing.  

 

Needless to say, though…better bet I'm sleeping with that thing on my finger from now on. Every Irish girl could use a little good-luck charm in her life, right? 

 

Guilty Little Pleasures

I'm home alone today--Jon has gone home for a quick overnight visit, and left really early this morning. My day was busy with brunch (see previous post), but this late afternoon and evening have been soooo indulgent with all my old single-girl guilty pleasures. So that naturally got me thinking about these cheap, cheesy little things I so enjoy...

-Television: Right now, "Scandal" is the currently-airing show I adore, but I am a HUGE sucker for the "Bachelor/ette" franchise. Disgusting, right? Addicted. I'm also finding myself way more motivated to work out if I know I can watch "Gossip Girl" like a crazy person on my iPad...and of course I'll never channel-flip if "Say Yes to the Dress" is on! 

-Movies: No judgment...MaryKate and Ashley movies. You cannot...CANNOT...go wrong. "Holiday in the Sun" and "Winning London" for LIFE, people. Although any Meg Ryan movie ("When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," "You've Got Mail") will forever have my heart.  

-Music: Mid-90's cheese a la "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "The Middle," "You Get What You Give." Or top 20. Somewhat out of character because I actually think I have pretty solid taste in music... 

-Internet reading material: Um, anyone else addicted to Mormon mommy blogs? I blame my sister for introducing me to Rockstar Diaries in 2012. Now I have a rotation of about 10 I check out every day. I'm also way unhealthily hooked on wedding blogs. Weddingbee, Style Me Pretty, etc. Major eye candy, superficial and completely not my life right now. Great escapist reading! 

-Foods: Savory is Kraft boxed mac and cheese. Sweet is Graeter's Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip ice cream. Kill me. Then go buy yourself a pint. You'll bring me back just to thank me later.  

-Habits: reading in bed. Writing in bed. Doing pretty much everything in bed. Wearing pajamas way past the time it is socially acceptable to still be in pajamas. Leaving my laundry everywhere  and not even caring. Turning the heat up way too high because I am allllwayyys cold. 

-Miscellaneous: Candy Crush. Omg. Level 109, go die.   Cosmopolitan magazine, you are so trashy I'm embarrassed to love you, but I still spend $$ on the latest copy every time I fly. Essie nail polish, if you stopped looking so cute on the shelves at Target, maybe I wouldn't be compelled to buy at least one new color a month. Online shopping is officially now the reason I am broke and I blame J.Crew 100%. 

 

What are your guilty pleasures/secret habits? 

 

Sunday Brunch: Loring Kitchen

One of my favorite things about Minneapolis is its numerous amazing restaurants. And one of my favorite things to eat at restaurants is...brunch. I've developed a deep-seated affinity for the leisurely, indulgent deliciousness of a late Sunday brunch that is matched by very few things. 

When I was little, I was not a fan of brunch, with the exception of Easter Brunch at my grandparents' country club...which was basically an excuse to eat 3-5 bites of omelet before hitting up the insaaaane dessert bar with my siblings. Highlight of that holiday for me, right there. In college, I definitely started to appreciate brunch for the amazing hangover cure it was; some of my favorite memories are Sunday crepe bar after Basilica Mass or piling my plate with hashbrowns covered in cheddar and ketchup before rehashing our boozy Saturday night with my senior-year roommate soulmate. 

These days, there's little I don't love about brunch. How luxurious to linger for hours over delicious mimosas, savory egg dishes, fluffy pancakes and a great cup of coffee? Fortunately, my BFW (best friend from work), Hannah, shares my appreciation of brunch, and we've decided to start a Twin Cities Brunch Tour this fall. To track our exploits, I'm going to blog and rate our restaurants on the following three criteria:  

1.  Location/Ambiance: Where is/how accessible is the restaurant? Is the location/setting/environment of the restaurant an advantage to the dining experience?

2. Beverages: Specifically, mimosas. Hannah and I are both major devotees, so evaluating the OJ-to-champagne ratio, presentation, etc, will be critical. Bonus points for bottomless. Further bonus points for great coffee.  

3. Food: What are the brunch offerings? Anything particularly unique or delicious? How were our selections?  

With that said, here's my thoughts on Loring Kitchen! 

1. Location/Ambiance: Loring Kitchen is located right off Loring Park, and has great al fresco dining options in the summer. The restaurant itself is very sleek with clean lines, lots of bright lighting, and a solid noise level (bustling, but not too loud to hold a conversation).  

It was actually kind of funny--Hannah initially texted me this morning from Dinkytown saying we could meet up whenever! There were some crossed wires--she was thinking Loring Pasta Bar, not Loring Kitchen. We got it sorted out quickly though! I was able to take advantage of the gorgeous fall day to walk from my apartment to Loring Kitchen...about 35 minutes. So nice!

Score: 8/10 

  Please note the absence of the bottom. Truly bottomless. Yum.

Please note the absence of the bottom. Truly bottomless. Yum.

2. Beverages: Loring Kitchen hit it out of the park with their $10 bottomless mimosas! They are truly bottomless--as in, I never once saw the bottom of my wine glass, and literally had to request that the waitress STOP refilling my glass after round 4 or 5. The champagne to OJ ratio was great...just enough fizz and crispness, but still sweet.  

 Score: 10/10 

 

  My parfait and sausage. Plus the gratuitous mimosa shot. Still no bottom in sight... 

My parfait and sausage. Plus the gratuitous mimosa shot. Still no bottom in sight... 

3. Food: I kept it pretty simple today after a huge Italian feast with my dad's side last night...ordered the yogurt parfait, with a side of sausage. The parfait was huuuuge and delicious...giant, so-sweet blackberries and strawberries layered with creamy vanilla yogurt and almond granola. The sausage was chicken-apple, hot, sweet, and savory. Really good.  

Hannah went for a build-your-own omelet that looked to die for...spinach, goat cheese, and mushrooms, with a side of cubed potatoes and whole-grain toast. Their omelet offerings looked great and were really gourmet. Also on my "to-try" list is the cream-cheese and bacon-stuffed French toast...um, heart attack on a plate, please! 

 

Score: 8/10 

 

Overall, definitely a dining experience I think Hannah and I really enjoyed! To check it out for yourself, visit http://www.loringkitchen.com, or get inspired by the full Brunch Challenge!

Ear Candy: Thursday a.m. Edition

  •  "Pompeii," Bastille
  • "Half Mast," Empire of the Sun
  • "I Belong in Your Arms," Chairlift
  • "New York Groove," Ace Frehley
  • "Buy Me Something," Caroline Smith
  • "No Church in the Wild," Jay-Z/Kanye West
  • "Holy Grail," Jay-Z/Justin Timberlake  
  • "Summertime Sadness (Remix)," Lana Del Rey
  • "I Can't Stop," Flux Pavilion
  • "Bring Your Love To Me," Avett Brothers
  • "Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. 
  • "Royals," Lorde

Yikes. 5pm come quickly please.  

Things that are making my life these days.

Just a quick little list of the things that are making me joyful:  

1001200_10153385538540094_66902308_n.jpg

1. The prospect of a bright, shiny, happy professional future that I am so excited about.  

2. A delightful boyfriend who greeted me with prosecco and a hilarious card upon my return home tonight.  

3. Two friends who are engaged...and for whom we are throwing a hilariously ironic informal engagement party tomorrow! 

4. Kate Middleton. Specifically, Kate Middleton being her typical perfect flawless self at Prince George's christening today. Geez woman.  

5. Cuddling sweet brand-new baby Kate, my cousin's fourth child, yesterday. Nothing better than a precious snuggly little one to brighten a day.  

6. Great food for the past few days: Cossetta's manicotti for lunch yesterday, Rojo quesadillas and margs last night, and homemade chicken korma and naan for dinner tonight. Yumyumyum.  

7. Wonderful jokes and bonding with my two co-seniors, who I am really enjoying having around these days.  

8. Getting off the hook for laundry this week--Jon did it for me today :) 

9. A wonderful experience at a new book club this Monday--my BFW (best friend from work) Hannah invited me. Review of "Orange is the New Black" forthcoming. Great experience and hilarious, fun and different new girls to befriend.  

10. Heart-to-hearts with my parents. Really, could anyone be more fortunate than me to have such unbelievably supportive and caring people in their life? 

 

Feeling all glowy and happy today. :)