Mari's Notebook

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

May in Pictures

Here are just a few photos I didn't have the chance to share earlier this month...

To sum up May...

  1. I finished up freshman year, finals and all...and took a study break window shopping some fantastic-looking Nike sneakers.
  2. I did some sandals shopping...I don't think I need any more shoes for the next 2039852 years. Give or take.
  3. My brother went to his senior prom (that's him and his date walking to the school!) I was such a photo mom that day. Loved to finally be behind the camera on prom night. 
  4. I took more photos of flowers. Typical. These were taken at Stop and Shop. 
  5. Also spotted at Stop and Shop: Dora the Explorer and Darth Vader the same package. Best. Party. Ever. 
  6. Mom and I planted some herbs in some new Home Depot pots. We've got cilantro, basil and chive. Oregano isn't pictured...I'm sure he's jealous. 
  7. The Kappa in me jumps in joy whenever I spot something remotely owl-themed in a store. These bathroom soap and toothbrush holders are adorable and seemed to be on sale at K-Mart. But I only looked! We were more focused on the hunt for a new patio umbrella and sulfate-free shampoo. 
  8. In May I set a new record to quickest packing job ever--It took me less than ten minutes to put together a bag for our trip to Connecticut for the concert. 
  9. We passed by my parents' old house, back when they were newly-wedded and didn't have any little ones. 
  10. We also spotted a Five Guys back in my old stomping ground of New Haven. 
In all, it's been low-key and relaxing. :)

Happy June, everyone!


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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lemon Squares

Hey guys!

So since I've come home, I'm super super glad to have my own kitchen again, with all my favorite yummy foods and ingredients, and I know where everything is and there are no rotten apples sitting in the fridge! So while I am not one of those constant bakers/cookers, I do love experimenting and trying out new foods and recipes. 

So the other day we were walking through Trader Joe's and I picked up these lemon bars. I don't normally go for the fruity types of desserts, but I thought why not. And honestly, I usually love everything at Trader Joe's but these lemon bars were not doing it for me. While some love the tartness and extreme "lemoniness" of lemon squares, it was too much for me. I much prefer them not overly lemony and a bit more sweet and crusty. 

But my craving for lemon squares were not satisfied, so I found this wonderful wonderful recipe on Rachael Ray's website

I seriously have to pass along this favorite of mine...I've already made my third batch in less than a week! They are too good and just the perfect lemon square for my tastes! They aren't overly sweet too, which is awesome. 

  • 1/4 pound butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup flour, plus 2 1/2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1/2 teaspooon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Butter (or Pam!) an 8-inch square pan. Combine the butter, confectioners' sugar, flour and salt and press into the bottom of the prepared pan, making a crust. Combine the eggs, granulated sugar, the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, lemon juice and lemon zest and beat until light in color. Pour over the crust and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool until cool to the touch, then dust the top with confectioners' sugar. Cut into uniform squares.

My only couple suggests after making these a couple times is that the butter has to pretty much be melted since that is what makes the dough stick together. And one whole lemon should do it--zesting that will give you about a tablespoon and just a little over 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Aren't they yummy? They will definitely be a favorite summer dessert.

xx Marisol

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

Hey everyone!

Did you have a good Memorial Day weekend (or just regular weekend, for those not in the States)? Mine was very very relaxing, lazy and hot. Seriously, summer just decided to make a full-blown arrival. Right now it is so hot and muggy I am sitting in front of the air conditioner!

My family and I decided to take a short trip to Meriden and Hartford Connecticut. We found a short trail that would lead us to a waterfall, so we did that after having a very filling lunch at Jakes Wayback Burgers (their chocolate banana milkshake is amazing).

We saw this beautiful brook/stream when we arrived in the park. It was sooo hot outside but the sound of water got our minds off it. 

The beginning of our trail. 

Finally got to the waterfall. Lots of people swimming, but we just looked. 

The Dave Matthews concert was amazing. Loved "Grace is Gone" and "Tripping Billies." :) Kind of wish he'd sung "Crush" but I can't complain. 

Finally inside Comcast Theater after a million hours of walking from the parking lot. It's crazy to think this was the same theater I saw the Backstreet Boys in back when I was seven...

Lawn seating. It got so crowded it was impossible to sit down, but we still had a perfectly fine view. 

The band performing "Grace is Gone."

Sunday and Monday was spent hanging with family and family friends. 

Happy Tuesday, everyone!


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Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Hint of Costa Rica

Just last summer my family and I went on a wonderful, beautiful trip to Costa Rica. We saw the sights, took hundreds of pictures of birds and sloths and butterflies and frogs, and got a feel for both city and country life.

One small thing that I loved there were the glass coca cola bottles. Where I live in New York, there are only cans. Glass coke bottles are a novelty where we live but in Costa Rica, they are typical and commonplace.

It's the little things but I got so excited over it! I started collecting my glass coke bottles. They seemed so vintage, and I wanted to bring them home with me and put flowers in them. I wanted to put a couple on my desk once I started college, as a reminder of our fantastic trip.

But then they were all taken away while we were going through airport security.

Since then I've always kind of been in love with pretty glass bottles. I even bought one at the container store for my desk. It now holds the flowers I received on Kappa initiation day.

But the other day my mom, brother and I were in Home Depot getting some new herbs for the garden (nowhere else could we find cilantro!), and as we were paying, I saw glass coke bottles!

So I bought three.

And now they sit on our dining room table, each with a tulip. They always remind me of Costa Rica. I'm so happy to have my glass coke bottles.

Check out my Costa Rica posts: part 1, part 2 & part 3.

Happy weekend! Seeing a Dave Matthews concert tonight, so excited!
xx Marisol

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Five Things...

...that I'm loving right now

1. Dave Matthews Band, "Everyday"
2. Espadrille wedges
3. Funny Disney gifs
4. Candles that smell yummy
5. Walking around the city in a rainstorm

Have a lovely weekend, and happy Memorial Day!

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Review: Before I Go To Sleep
Before I Go To Sleep
by S. J. Watson

Published by HarperCollins Publishers, 2011

From the book jacket: "Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love--all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine's life."

Review: Honestly, who wouldn't be instantly drawn to a book with that summary? It was the first book I picked up at the library, and I'm so glad I did.

Christine wakes up to find herself in in a strange house, in bed with a man who is apparently her husband, and over twenty-years older than she expected to be. Her husband Ben calmly explains her situation: when they were only a few years married, she had gotten into a horrible accident that left her with permanent memory loss and damage. When she goes to sleep, she will lose all memory of the past day.

After Ben leaves for work, Christine receives a phone call from a Dr. Nash--a doctor Ben does not know about. The doctor delivers to Christine a journal that she has been writing in for the past few weeks. This journal is Christine's only connection to her past, and as she reads, she discovers some haunting secrets and mysteries.

The great thing about a character with amnesia is that the story, characters and readers are forever and always in a world of perpetual unknowing. What is true? Did he really do that? Did I actually even write this journal in the first place? From the moment the book starts we are forced to question everything and everything, and that is why I loved Before I Go To Sleep so much. Just when I thought all had been revealed and was settled, there'd be a new incredible twist. I love a thrilling story, and Watson's novel did not fail to deliver.

Final Rating: 4/5

S. J. Watson's site
Before I Go To Sleep on goodreads

For a lighter story (less blood, deception and heartbreak) featuring a protagonist with amnesia, I suggest Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin and Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Billboard Music Awards 2012 - Fashion Favorites

So since I've gotten home, I've spent a total of ZERO hours in front of the television. But really, with a Netflix account, twenty-minute walks in the pouring rain (my shoes are ruined, btw), my econ textbook and a blank notebook, I've got enough to keep my mind occupied. I did however break this unintentional television divorce last night with a short peek at what was going down at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards. I loved LMFAO's performance of Party Rock Anthem, was not so impressed with Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell's co-hosting skills and stuck around the tv just long enough to see Justin Bieber get the Social Artist of the Year award and Katy Perry accept the Spotlight Award. Besides that, I got all my information off the internet the next morning...

And now, my most favorite part of award ceremonies...the dresses!

Though I personally would never wear these dresses, I loved Katy Perry's and Carrie Underwood's gowns. Particularly the subtle purple. I guess what I love most about Katy Perry's look is her makeup. The lips are gorgeous.

Carly Rae Jepsen. Simple and lovely.

Taylor Swift is always a favorite (so excited she won Billboard Woman of the Year!). 

Usher -
Jordin Sparks -

This would have to be my all-time favorite of the awards show. It's definitely grown on me--I love it more and more each passing second. 

Some of my not-so-favorites...

Nelly Furtado and Miley Cyrus. I'm not a fan of Furtado's accessories...and Miley Cyrus kind of isn't dressing her age. Her ensemble has sparked some debate--what do you think?

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rainy Days

Rain is my absolute favorite type of weather. Especially during the summertime. I love it when it's cloudy and gray outside and I'm cooped up at home, reading, studying, working on this or that.

Rain during the summer makes everything else seem more vibrant, doesn't it?

Happy Wednesday!

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what's on my summer reading list

So yesterday I took my first trip to the gorgeous library down the street since coming home from college. I have to admit that the one thing I am probably most excited about for the summer is all the free reading time I have. Pleasure-reading books have been completely nonexistent in my college life since I was perpetually behind on all my readings for classes...but now I get to make up for it. :)

My top ten summer reading list:
(all photos from Goodreads)

1. The Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty by G. J. Meyer. I don't know why, but I'm obsessed with Tudor England. It's one of my favorite topics and I love when it comes up in history class (and particularly in my Religion in Politics class!). I am a big fan of Philippa Gregory's historical I hope Meyer's masterpiece will give me a much broader and in depth view of all aspects of the dynasty (not just the love and scandal!)

2. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I've never seen the movie (I know, shocker considering my age) and I've never read any of his books. I'm curious to see what they hype is about. Anyway I'm a sucker for love stories.

3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It's a shame to call myself a fan of dystopian novels without having read this classic. This summer I'll rectify that. 

4. Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson. This is one of the books I picked up at the library...a tale of memory loss and trust issues. Should be intriguing. 

5. I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell by Tucker Max. Written by a self-described "dickhead" this book chronicles the his obnoxious adventures "disregarding social norms." Readers are either very turned off by this book, or very turned on. As for me, I'm hoping I'll like it, because there's nothing worse than wasting your time on a book you just don't like and will forget in a couple months anyway. 

6. A Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. 

7. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. I'm a big fan of hers, and I love books with crime, murder and female protagonists. 

8. The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman. It's about a young couple who are separated by Nazi occupation. 

9. Every You, Every Me by David Levithan. I am much more attracted to books with female leads, so I'm trying to branch out. 

10. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I also picked this up at the library yesterday. Can't wait. It's supposed to be a classic. 

We'll these books should keep me busy for a while...
Have a lovely day! xx Marisol

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Update: I'm Done!

Well, hello there!

This time last week I was finishing up my calculus final exam and running around the suite trying to pack everything I owned as compactly as possible. It was quite a feat, but now I am home. And after three whole days of unpacking, cleaning my bedroom and sorting through my closet, I finally have some time to breathe and focus on some more fun projects (like blogging!).

Yesterday I launched a new banner. Do you like it? We'll see how it goes. After nearly a year of blogging I still haven't quite figured out the perfect layout and theme I prefer. I even switched blog applications halfway through! But it's all fun to play around and experiment.

Now, onwards to summer! I have approximately six weeks before I start my fellowship at a social services agency, and I plan to use every bit of it! So far I've made a dent in a couple really awesome books, am half-way through season two of Vampire Diaries on Netflix and sorted through all my clothes, bags and books to give away to Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

In other news...

1. I am loving this 24/7 Shadow Pencil Stash from Urban Decay. The three neutral colors are perfect for any day, and it's so easy to apply.

2. I finally opened a chocolate frog that I purchased at Honeydukes at Universal Orlando's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The card was Helga Hufflepuff...not bad.

3. Speaking of Harry Potter, I finally got into Pottermore and have been sorted into Slytherin (yes. so happy.) I can't get over how pretty the music is in the Pottermore Sneak Peak of course I looked it up on Youtube. It is a piece called Frog by Helen Jane Long. It's so good I'd love to buy it on iTunes (and I hardly ever buy music) but of course iTunes doesn't have it.

4. I am slowly making my way through next year's macroeconomics textbook. We'll see how that goes.

5. Did I mention my new obsession with Vampire Diaries?

have a lovely evening,

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Moving Out and Bucket List #5

Well, today round 1 of moving out occurred. My mom and brother drove over and we filled the car completely with boxes, suitcases, a guitar and my entire collection of nail polishes. I am still living in my dorm, as I still have two more finals to get through, but it's crazy to think we stuffed the car to the brim and I still have four or so more boxes to go! Next year I'll pack lighter--I'll know what to expect, what I'll need and what exactly I can mooch off of my friends!

So many boxes...
The suite is a mess right now. Everyone is filling boxes for storage, there are shoes all over the place and somehow, someway, bottles and bottles of laundry detergent have taken over our desks...?

I don't even know.

Anyway, all this moving out stuff has made me nostalgic for the moving in days. It seemed like such a short time ago.

With four months of summer vacation looming ahead and my brain completely unable to focus on studying for finals, I've been daydreaming a lot about what I want to do and how I will fill my days in-between freshman and sophomore year.

First off, I'm going to read. Everything and anything I want. I mean it. I will become a reading machine. A reading monster. No one will stop me.

I'm going to sleep. I'm going to cook, bake, write, run, tan, dog-walk, sing, dive in a pool and be with my family. I will sit outside at night and just think.

Which leads me to make an addition to my bucket list:

Bucket List #4: Sleep on a rooftop in the city.

I may not see very many stars, but I love the feeling I get when I sit back and watch the city around me, particularly during the nighttime.

This is from last summer, when we went on a boat tour with friends who were visiting... It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, and sure the tour was absolutely cheesy, but it ended up being one of my most favorite summer memories.

happy almost-weekend!

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