Ingrid is my homegirl

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The past few days have been full of lots of lovely meals, glorious summer (daily) naps, talking the night away with two old friends, a spontaneous mom-and-me date night (jitas and ritas, what else?), and a quick trip to Dallas to see the one and only Ingrid Michaelson with my my favorite “long-distance” friend, fellow science nerd/future doc, and concert partner in crime.

It’s ironic because the last time we hung out together was at the exact same venue (House of Blues) about this time last year for the Johnnyswim show (swoon to the max). I can always count on Christina to be up for me crashing at her house and taking the city by storm via girls’ night – usually involving fabulous eats, drinks, and music.

We grubbed on delish Mexican and didn’t stop laughing at the shy, awkward waiter obviously trying to flirt with two girls too old for him. We made it to the venue with plenty of time to impatiently wait for the first of two openers to start. The first was a band called Oh, Honey and their music wasn’t the best I’ve ever heard, but they weren’t terrible. I will say the female vocalist definitely seemed to have had a few hits of something backstage, because let’s just say she was really “feeling the music.” The next band (and half the reason I bought tickets) was Jukebox the Ghost, and if you haven’t heard their stuff, you desperately need to. I’d say they are sort of Indie Pop and consist of a simple (but still very full, fun sound) of keys, electric, and drums. These guys are adorable and pretty darn talented. The lead vocalist who plays keyboard simply blew me away with his voice that’s both intense and powerful and still kills the emotional falsetto riffs.

After a painfully long intermission – literally we were fighting through the regret to both wear high wedges – Ingrid finally graced us with her presence. And did she ever make an entrance. Dang y’all. She is unbelievably awesome live, and I’m convinced she came out of the womb as a performer and entertainer. Her set was THE perfect combination of old and new, full band and solo piano/acoustic, emotional and crazy fun, and she interjects so many little comments and stories in between songs that are hilarious, raw, and at times inappropriate – but in a strangely charming way only she can pull off. She laughs at her self, slays every single note, and makes everyone in the audience feel like we were invited to just have a jam session in her living room.

Another concert, another unforgettable night. This one was definitely in my top 5 favorite shows ever (only behind Jon, Switchfoot, and Nickel Creek of course). It was a straight up party, and definitely a summer night out well spent.

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Meat and other ‘Merica things


10367736_737019966349243_6995694065233738491_nWell I’d say I’ve officially crossed the bridge to being a real live American woman by cooking my first successful big roast of meat. Sure, I cook all the time, but rub down and roast a four pound pork butt for seven hours in my oven, I had not.

I had my friends over for a pre-July 4th celebration last night since all of us actually have to work today (what is that? that is not exactly freedom, my friends). I don’t even know why I automatically jumped to pulled pork sandwiches, but once I did I had the whole menu played out in my mind. I did some researching and landed upon this fabulous recipe for more of a Texas style pulled pork that wasn’t drowning in crockpot liquid (pulled pork is really not a TX thing, but I might like it better than fatty brisket, shhhhh).

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A coffee chipotle rub and dry low and slow heat give you that beautiful charred bark on the outside and fall apart moist and slightly sweet meat on the inside. If that’s not American, then I don’t know what is. I let DJ contribute by having the all too important task of shredding the pork, even though I knew he was bound to (and did) “taste-test” about a half pound of it before bringing to the table. Boys…

I tossed the pork with about a cup of Stubb’s original BBQ sauce (again with the accidental TX theme) and paired it with the slaw from the same site (with the addition of carrots): red cabbage, julienned jals, cilantro, and a great tangy lime dressing (I subbed Greek yogurt for the mayo). Spicy, limey, and crunchy perfection to contrast the smoky sweet pork. I toasted up a combination of honey wheat Hawaiian rolls for sliders and onion rolls for regular sized sandwiches.

For an easy side, I roasted a few ears of corn (in their husks and directly on the oven rack at 350 for about 30 min) and served them with a chili lime honey butter that really complimented the pork sandwiches. I just eyeballed amounts of chili powder, lime juice, and honey and stirred into room temp butter.

Jenna brought over the cutest little watermelon, and dinner was served. Of course some cold, classic Shiner was the perfect beverage for this Texas, I mean American, celebration. After another dinner of hilarious conversations, we played a round of Apples to Apples and concluded that none of us have low self esteem or confidence issues; it gets pretty heated and competitive with our four fiery personalities, the only way games should be in my opinion.

What other way to finish off a Fourth of July dinner party than with Bluebell berry sundaes and watching one of the greatest American works of the 20th century, The Great Gatsby?

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Happy Independence Day to all you lovely Americans. Rep those Stars and Stripes proudly wherever you may be today, and never take our freedom for granted!10151998_737240736327166_9154440737824637170_n

Hot pizza, cool people

Few things make me happier than to have a great group of folks gather in my small college apartment, let them help with the prep work (grating the cheese is in fact a crucial task), sit around the table, and enjoy delicious grub in between fits of laughter, friendly arguments, and story-telling. Last night was the first summer dinner party to be hosted at what the boys lovingly named “The Shack,” and if it was any indication of the nights to come, I’d say it’s going to be a pretty eventful season.

Of course my default for any good dinner party is my artisan pizza from scratch: whole wheat thin crust, specialty cheeses, and creative toppings I’d say are restaurant menu-worthy but so much more fun since my friends and I get to dirty the kitchen (what else is it good for?) and throw around ingredients to each other to taste-test along the way.

For my basic, go-to pizza tips and other topping ideas check out my original pizza post here (https://eatpraylearnblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/becoming-a-pizza-pro/). For this get-together, I decided on prosciutto, arugula, and truffled cheese, BBQ chicken, and pesto margherita pies.

ImageFor the arugula pizza, I only added an extra-aged asiago, truffle English cheddar, and slices of fresh mozz before putting in the scalding hot oven (as hot as it will go). The last minute of cooking I topped with slices of proscuitto, and then when it finished I covered with roughly chopped arugula, shavings of parmigianno reggiano, and a drizzle of EVOO.

For pizza number two I pre-baked two chicken breasts in BBQ sauce, and other toppings included caramelized onions and green bell peppers. I went for a combo of mozz and pepper jack for the cheese on this one. This one is really all about the kind of sauce you use ranging from sweet and tangy to smoky and spicy.

The margherita pie was simply that (thanks to my sis for the fresh Romas from her garden), with the addition of my homemade basil pesto. Thick slices of fresh mozz and a couple handfuls of asiago and parm, and you’re literally in Tuscany.

We headed to my place after summer LifeGroup at Cameron Park learning how to play spikeball, showing the guys my secret tomboy football skills, frisbee, slack-lining, and hammocking (we do claim to be the #sportysection). This newly formed summer hangout group of Jenna, one of my best friends throughout college, Matthew who has been in our Lifegroup but left Waco last year to attend Bethel School (yes, THE Bethel in California), and his Waco BFF, Daniel (who happens to be a sophomore at a little place down the road where they bleed maroon).

One of the things I love about Waco summers is that you can become tight friends with people that you might not have the chance to during the school year. I’ve known Matt for over a year, but obviously since moving to California we haven’t really stayed in touch. I literally just met Daniel last week, and I feel like we’ve known each other forever. Bonding over pizza and frantically trying to shut off smoke alarms will do that sometimes (the best pizza calls for way-too-hot-ovens and that’s just that). Also, the fact that we all are united through living our life in Christ makes a big difference in these kinds of friendships that are based on so much more than surface-level small talk. These folks are seriously passionate, powerful, God-seeking, kingdom-minded, and wise well beyond their years. Every time I’m around them, just the way they simply walk out their life in the pure JOY of the Lord and speak revelation over others reveals more of God’s character to me than they know. Just last week, I asked if the guys could pray over me and Jenna during this time of applications, MCATs, interviews, and just overwhelming decision-making, and after that night I left with such a new sense of excitement and hope in the Lord from what they said and the pictures that God gave them about us. Long story short, this is an awesome group of the most genuine, encouraging, and hilarious people I could be friends with this summer and ultimately for eternity. I can’t wait for weekly shenanigans with these world-changers.

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springtime snapshots

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I know…long time, no blog.

It’s been a dreadfully-too-long 39 days since my last post, and trust me I’ve missed it more than you know. I’m finally on the other side of junior year, and it is officially summer in my book. I promise this summer will be back to the at least two or three meaningful posts a week, because I’ll have plenty to write about and more time to do it. The months of April and beginning of May were filled with endless laughs, struggles, memories, end-of-the-year shindigs, friends, and of course finals.

Since I’m so pressed for space and time on this blog, this will be my quick attempt at highlighting the incredible, challenging, and beyond-rewarding end of this past semester: a mere surface-scratching of the whirlwind that is the end of another college year.

I finally checked off hot yoga from my bucket list, and let me just say I sweat more in that hour than I did in running my half in 95% humidity. Extremely refreshing afterwards – yes. Entirely enjoyable for the whole hour – not so much.IMG_4915

I attended two social dance events for credit in my class, and as much as I was dreading having two weekends of the semester booked for school, those Saturday nights were some of the best I’ve had. These people who started off as strangers have become like family (and future friends long after our days of Fox Trotting), and I wouldn’t have wanted to dance the night away in a ballroom full of people the age of our grandparents with anyone else.IMG_5034

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Baylor ASDA held our end of the year banquet, and we transitioned the officer positions to the new executive board. I’m so excited to pass along my service chair position to a girl I know will do a great job next year, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the team will bring to the table to keep our organization top-notch. I love this group of smart, witty, passionate, and beautiful future dentists so much. Also, we model in all our spare time outside our studies.IMG_5094

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I went home for Easter to spend it with my family (perks of a Christian university is a four day weekend), and it was a beautiful rest before the last stretch of the semester.IMG_5187

The opportunity for so many great concerts the last few weeks were absolutely perfect breaks with friends in my busy schedule. Jillian Edwards and Green River Ordinance put on a fantastic show at Common Grounds, the a cappella group that I am a die-hard fan of, Baylor Virtuoso, brought the house down once again, and I was lucky enough to be a date to the Men’s Choir Banquet and Concert for a second time.IMG_5323

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My last time working as a Supplemental Instructor for freshman biology was definitely a bittersweet night.IMG_5620

F I N A L S. Enough said. Going into it all, I was convinced my med-school level anatomy class would be impossible to pull out with an A in (even though I knew it was still a possibility if I ACED the final lab practical and lecture final), and my world religions professor definitely made it hard to believe that I’d get anything but a B with her unpredictable testing and grading styles.IMG_5525

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Long story short, the streak continues!!! I am so incredibly thankful for God’s faithfulness to provide me with the strength and endurance to press on through the end and trust Him that He always wants the best for me. I know my work in His name is never in vain, and that all the glory is His for allowing me this academic success so far.IMG_5702

Dental school apps opened up for Texas on May 1st, so I’ve been really trying to be diligent with knocking out a few sections each day. Be expecting some updates in the future about getting this thing done and SUBMITTED.IMG_5491

I celebrated another semester down with intense amounts of sleep, a much-needed hour massage, fun nights out with my best guy friends and then the roomies, letter writing to my well-deserving professors, and some trail running in the bipolar Texas weather when we enjoyed a couple days that didn’t get above 70.IMG_5800

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In the words of Ben Rector, “Thank God for the summertime.”