I May Be Uncultured

I’m going to say something that is going to make me sound ridiculously uncultured and possibly a little pathetic.

On Friday night I went to a fabulous dinner with friends. The trendy restaurant was exactly what you’d expect in a slightly hipster city like Philadelphia. White subway tiles lined the walls, dim lighting, lots of industrial looking stainless steel. The bar was serving up meticulously made cocktails, the kind where things are muddled and your something-with-lemon has a beautiful curl of actual lemon in it. It had a cool vibe. Part of me already didn’t feel cool enough, the second we walked in the door.

fancy dinner

One overpriced glass of wine later and we were seated with menu’s in front of us. I glanced down, eyes scanning for vegetarian or seafood options, but soon realized that I could not pronounce half the menu and had no idea what so much of it even was. Saffron Trenette? Romesco? Confit? Saba Vinaigrette?

When N and I wind up at restaurants like this on our own, we shamelessly Google all the stuff we don’t know. It makes me secretly happy when we are both on the same, un-fancy page. In a group of friends, I quietly asked a couple of questions and went with a safe option – scallop risotto.

It’s just that sometimes in places like that, I feel uncomfortable. Not classy enough. Sure, I can use my forks in the right order. I’ve always got a napkin in my lap. But I have no desire to have a swig of wine poured for me to smell and then taste before saying yes to it. I ordered it. The answer is yes. I don’t like wondering whether my food has meat in it, simply because I don’t know what half the ingredients are. Food doesn’t have to be fancy and unpronounceable to be good.

If I was abroad and I didn’t know what the foods were on a menu, that would make sense. But sitting in a restaurant several blocks from my house and not knowing? It makes me feel uncultured and out-of-place. Or I wonder if it’s really that the restaurant is pretentious and everyone else is just as confused as I am.

As I sat there eating my slightly crunchy risotto (Is risotto supposed to be crunchy? See, these are the kinds of things I don’t know), I couldn’t help but mentally list all of the foods that I think are just as good (and not $26). I would have been just as happy with cheap Thai takeout, a cheese plate, pizza (obviously), or even a refill of the (free) bread basket.

But you know what? Even though I felt a little awkward and a little pretentious, I couldn’t really believe that this was my life. There I was, surrounded by friends and my love, laughing and chatting at a hip downtown restaurant. It was then that I realized that all the things I wanted to happen when I moved to the city had happened exactly as I wanted them to. In fact, my life recently has worked out exactly as I wanted it to. It’s weird and wonderful and a little terrifying.

So N, thank you for dinner. And thanks for being my partner on this fabulous adventure. Thai takeout tonight?

Filed Under: Personal

My Biggest Beauty Issue

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Vaseline for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

My biggest beauty issue by far, is my dry skin. For as long as I can remember, my skin has been dry and itchy. I’ve had many dermatologists check out my skin and the basic conclusion has been that nope, it isn’t eczema or anything super specific. My skin is just really dry. It makes simple things like wearing skirts or applying foundation kind of challenging. I’ve tried almost everything and while Argan Oil works pretty well on my face, I’ve never found anything that is effective and economical for my body. Nothing that I’ve stuck with, at least.

When I was asked to take the Vaseline 5-Day Challenge, I jumped at the opportunity. I knew I was the perfect person to take it, because if it works on me, it really works. They even sent test trips to measure the moisture in my skin, so I’d know it was working.

While I do like coconut oil as moisturizer, I get lazy about applying it because it’s so greasy. The first thing I loved about Vaseline Intensive Care is that it rubs in quickly and isn’t greasy. So you know, you don’t have to wait 15 minutes to put your leggings on after applying (the important things in life).

Vaseline Intensive Care Lotions deeply moisturize to heal dry skin because they contain healing micro-droplets of Vaseline Jelly. It is clinically proven to heal dry skin in 5 days. and keep dry skin healed for 3 weeks. Plus, it’s available at almost all drugstores for less than $10. That’s my kind of deal.

I am stunned by how much my skin changed in 5 days. Because it’s not dry, it’s now not itchy either. I’m so much more comfortable! I think a big part of the change was that I made an effort to put it on daily, something I’ve been consistently bad at. Now I’m feeling prepared for winter, knowing that I’ve got a barrier between my sensitive skin and this bitter weather (31 degrees tomorrow? yikes!).

Visit Sponsor's Site


Filed Under: Sponsored Post

My Favorite Line of Television Ever

Best Girls Quote

I have never quoted a line of television as much as I quote this one. I use it on almost a daily basis, usually in reference to whatever the dog is doing – “He is busy, trying to become who he is.” I find it so hilariously truthful as a statement about the early twenties and every time I so much as think it, I chuckle a little. Girls has a ton of great lines, but this one is by far my favorite.

I’d love to know, what’s your favorite line of television?

Filed Under: entertainment

The Wedding Tradition I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Love

This fall I was at a wedding (flying solo, I might add, as two flights for our household twice in 4 weeks was too much) and the time came for the bride to toss the bouquet. I’ve always thought I was a pretty traditional girl and I like a lot of wedding traditions. I love a playful cake smash. I’m the most enthusiastic dancer to SHOUT. I enjoy those silly, expected things.

bridal bouquet

So when the DJ announced that all the single girls should head to the foot of the staircase for the bouquet toss, I hesitated. The girl who catches the bouquet is the one who’s supposed to get married next, right? Well hey, I’m not going to pass up a chance for that to be me. But then again, I would never group myself into the “single gals” category. That’s just not where I am in my life. It felt a little disrespectful to N. There is a great possibility that I was over thinking all of this, as over thinking things is definitely my m.o.

I followed the lead of another girl at my table who was at the wedding with her long-term boyfriend. She went and I followed. But as I stood there with maybe 10 other ladies, I felt pretty pathetic. A little desperate. Add in my complete lack of athleticism and I knew I had a zero percent chance of catching that bouquet, nor did I want to. I felt like jumping for it elaborately or making a wild effort would just emphasize that feeling. So I smiled and stood completely still, as the bride tossed the bouquet into the hands of someone else. Relief washed over me.

I decided almost instantly that I wouldn’t continue this tradition if we go the wedding route. I don’t know that I’ll participate in the future either. It just didn’t make me feel good. Again, this totally could have everything to do with me over thinking things. I’ve been guilty of that many times. I also completely understand why brides do it. It’s tradition! It’s supposed to be fun! I guess I’m wondering how other women really feel about the bouquet toss? Do you participate? How does it make you feel? Did you do one at your wedding?

Aside from that, it’s a damn expensive little bit of your wedding to just toss away. In other news, I now know that bouquet is not a word I’m capable of spelling correctly the first time. Happy Thursday.

Filed Under: Life

5 Pinterest Recipes I’ve Tried and Loved

I rarely try to make anything from Pinterest. This is especially true of anything crafty. The amount of time/effort/craft supplies needed usually is way more than I’m willing to commit to for something I don’t find fun. Truth time: I’d rather just buy something already made.

I’m also not a gourmet chef. I cook a lot of the same meals over and over again. So I’m thankful every day that N’s idea of a good meal is one that just shows up in front of him (I cook, he cleans up. House Rule.). He also doesn’t complain that we never eat meat at home. Win.

But every once and a while, the stars align and I find a pinterest recipe that is just perfection. All of these recipes are vegetarian. I’ve made each of these recipes multiple times, some on a weekly basis.

5 Pinterest Recipes I've Tried And Loved #recipe #food #vegetarian

Click the link or photo to be taken to the recipe by the food blogger who created it. Thank you food bloggers!

1. Black Bean Floutas


I wouldn’t rank this recipe as super healthy but damn, it’s good. I also really love this site in general for vegetarians because they have tons of recipes and don’t use fake meat products (which I’m not a huge fan of).

2. Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

quinoa enchilada cassarole

I make this recipe once a week! It’s that good. In fact, I’m eating it while I put the finishing touches on this blog post. Aside from a bit of cheese, there is nothing bad for you in this recipe. It’s also great for vegetarians because quinoa + black beans = lots of iron (something we struggle to get enough of).

As a side story, N swears that he does not like quinoa. I made this and we ate it, without telling him it was quinoa. He loved it. Then I told him it was quinoa. I know, sneaky.

We also always pronouce it “queen-o” like that hilarious commercial for God knows what. You know the one I’m talking about.

3. Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Salad Sandwich


This is a recipe that I can’t believe I found until 3 years in to my vegetarianism. For a long time I struggled to know what to take for lunch now that traditional sandwiches with lunch meats are of out of the picture. Now I take this for lunch all the time!

It’s great on a sandwich but I also eat it alone or with crackers. Honestly, this has changed lunches for me. It has made packing my lunch as a vegetarian so much easier.

4. Black Bean Burgers

A photo posted by Nadine (@eastandblog) on

For two years of being a vegetarian, I just bought frozen black bean burgers in the frozen section at the grocery store. I had no idea how easy (and cheap!) it was to make them myself!

I googled “black bean burger” recipe and made the very first recipe that popped up in the results. Okay, so this isn’t via pinterest but it’s worthy of its spot on the list. Plus, I pinned it after I found it.

I’ve tried others since then but this one is by far the best one. It’s so good that N has been known to choose one of these over a real burger. I’m slowly converting him. Or maybe these are just that good.

I make them in the oven and then melt a slice of cheese on top, add sliced avocado, top with sziracha sauce, and serve with a side salad.

5. Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes


Cauliflower mashed potatoes sounded like something that only people on a paleo diet eat and swear they “omg taste just like the real thing” so I put off trying them for a long time. Then I tried them and loved them. The parmesan in this recipe does a good job of covering up any flavor that’s too cauliflowery. I also sometimes sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top and bake for a few minutes. More cheese is never a bad idea.

I’d like to thank all of the bloggers who shared these fabulous recipes. My dinners would be boring and pathetic without you.

If you liked this article, you might like 5 Things I Eat When I Really Miss Meat or The Best (And Easiest!) Salmon Recipe Ever

Filed Under: Food