Thursday Things + University of Maryland Pt. 2

Hey everyone! I really enjoyed doing this kind of random thoughts post last week, so I’m thinking of making it a regular weekly post. I’m considering calling it “Loggin’ the Noggin,” but I have a feeling I’m going to regret starting that name a year or two from now. It’s definitely a little Dr. Seuss-y, so I it would probably just do me a disservice in the long run (In college: “I have a new post called Loggin’ the Noggin!”…..What?). Speaking of college, I’m also going to talk a little bit about what I thought of the University of Maryland (spoiler: LOVED it. That’s why I’m taking the time to review it, I guess). At any rate though, here’s what’s going on in the noggin this week:

1. Wacky Wednesday was a success for the whole school! I’ve seen wackier days in years past, but some of the outfits were certainly head-turners. I don’t own any super bright neon clothing, and I’m too lazy to go out of my way to make the clothes I do have more wacky, so I usually just settle for mixing and non-matching. 🙂

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2. Ever since eating those amazing crispy brussels sprouts from Zaytinya, I have been obsessed with the vegetable I thought I hated. I always knew I enjoyed brussels sprouts roasted, but one incident in which I ate them raw sort of ruined my relationship with them. Zaytinya reconciled all harsh feelings. When we got home, my mom bought some sprouts and sauteed them with avocado oil, a little garlic seasoning, and pepper. I have been poppin’ those like candy.

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3. I am slightly  really obsessed with Tori Kelly right now. I found her through someone’s tweet of her “Suit and Tie” cover a while ago. I don’t know how I came across her again, but I have been replaying all her songs on Youtube about 100 times a day. She has the most AMAZING voice, awesome music style, and sweet personality. And her hair– she rocks that ‘do! Some of my favorites of hers include “Dear No One” (I can actually relate to it, unlike so many other songs on the radio), “Fill a Heart,” and “All In My Head.”

4. This morning, we high school seniors are having a “breakfast tailgate” at 7 AM in the school’s senior parking lot. I am all over the fact that we are going to be hanging out while eating my favorite meal of the day, but ugh–getting to school that early? (I’m typing this Wednesday night, which is why I’m regarding to this even as the future.) I guess it should be okay though, because I usually start eating breakfast around 7 anyway. It’s just that I need at least 20 minutes to eat it, causing me to leave at around 7:30.  But I’ll just be using that time to drive to school and eat there. Alright, so it’s not so bad anymore 😀

Let’s move onto Maryland! The drive to our hotel was about 5 hours with traffic, which isn’t too bad in terms of distance from home. I already talked a bit about our hotel and the fantastic fitness center there, so now I’m going to focus on the real reason we went–to visit the University of Maryland in College Park! UMD has slowly turned into my number one choice ever since I first visited the campus earlier this year. They had an Open House on Monday (which I had off for Columbus Day), so my mom and I excitedly took the opportunity to go again and see if I still really like it.

The event started with “Information Express,” which was basically a setup of booths for all the different schools and programs available at the university. Since it started at 8 AM, they provided lots of mini muffins, juice, and coffee. Nice touch!

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I stopped by the College of Public Health, Campus Recreation, and Dining Services tables. I guess that’s predictable, huh?–fitness and food. I also caught a picture with the Maryland Terp (short for terrapin {turtle})!

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After touring the booths and picking up some brochures, we followed a large group to the Freshmen Admissions session where we were briefed on application specifics. Then we proceeded to a specialized session for the School of Public Health since I’m interested in studying kinesiology. The director of the school and student panel were super informative, and now I’m even more pumped about kinesiology! To be honest, I’ve been telling people that I don’t really know what exactly I want to study (and of course, nothing is set in stone still–it may not be set for a while), but at least my interest in physical therapy has been reinforced!

I was actually really tired that day since I had a little insomnia the night before, so we skipped the campus tour. We also went on a tour the last time we visited. Even so, my mom and I walked over 11,000 steps all over campus (thanks to her pedometer)! It is such a huge, spread out campus that it requires a good walking workout whenever commuting from one class/building to the next. We also got lost a few times, so that added to our step count significantly. Luckily, the weather was perfect and the campus is gorgeous, so walking around certainly was not a chore.

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We visited the Recreation Center first to check out the fitness facilities, and we were so impressed. There are several weight rooms, group class rooms, cardio rooms, swimming pools, a track, and even a room specifically for functional training! My kind of area!

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Those are all the photos I took before one of the staff members told us we couldn’t take pictures of the rooms if people were exercising inside for privacy reasons.

By this point, we were on the verge of being “hangry.” My mom was thinking that we should go off campus for lunch, but the aroma of food spilling from the dining halls was tantalizing. I also wanted to try the campus food while we were there, so we settled for UMD’s “Diner.” I didn’t get anything fancy because I was really just in the mood for a big ol’ wrap. I asked for lettuce, tomato, brown mustard, grilled chicken, and more honey dijon dressing in a whole wheat wrap. The lady went a little honey-mustard-dressing-happy, but it still hit the spot. 

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My mom’s lunch looked and tasted delicious! She went to the pasta station and ordered whole wheat pasta with mushrooms, artichokes (!!), broccoli, chicken, and tomato sauce. They give you the option of having the veggies stir fried or steamed, so my mom went with steamed. Thumbs up for healthy options! And the sauce was quite flavorful.

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Also, the portions were HEFTY. I mean, I finished all of my wrap except a few pieces of tortilla (hungry hungry), but they give you a lot of food for a pretty good price (about $7 for each our meals) compared to other colleges we’ve visited. My mom got a lunch and dinner out of her meal as she ate her leftovers that night. That container was FULL!

Once our tummies were satisfied, we went to the last stop of our trip, the Catholic Student Center. My faith is of utmost importance to me, so I wanted to check out the place where I would probably spend a good chuck of my time.

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The center was a little off campus, but it was well-kept and pretty big for a relatively small group on campus. At first there was no one there, so I just walked around and took pictures, but then a couple guys came in and introduced themselves. One of them was actually a kinesiology major, and both of them thought the name of my uncle (a priest) sounded familiar when I talked about him. Small world! Other members of the Catholic group stopped by, and I was happy to meet such kind, passionate people. Another reason I’m loving UMD!

So that’s about it, I believe. I apologize for this being such a long post, and I hope you weren’t bored to tears. Actually you wouldn’t be reading these last remarks if you got that bored. But if you’re still hangin’ tight, I hope you enjoyed my Thursday Things and MD recap!

So tell me: Do you like brussels sprouts? Have any favorite Youtube musicians? Tell me something that you love about your alma mater/favorite college!

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WIAW: A Dinner of Small Plates

It’s Wacky Wednesday in the world of high school (or at least my high school)! It’s homecoming week right now, so all the days are themed, all the students are a little more wild, and some teachers are a little more annoyed. All in good fun! Yesterday was “Retro Tuesday,” but apparently everyone wanted to change it to pajama day this past weekend, so most people donned their adult onesies and subsequently burned all day inside their warm felt suits. I and a few others kept the Retro Day theme. I actually just threw together the outfit Monday night, because pajama day just seemed bland on my end since I don’t own a onesie.

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Don’t ask me which decade I’m from, because I’m not sure myself.

But I’m sure you all know what else is going on today….the most amazing food party on the web! Thanks, Jenn for hosting another fabulous What I Ate Wednesday! I’m going to be showing some random good eats in no particular fashion (not all from one day, as some of my friends thought) until I decide to move onto the most amazing dinner that my mom and I had in Washington DC. (Also, I totally owe you a Maryland recap. Coming tomorrow hopefully!) So here we gooooo:

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A quick breakfast before teaching Sunday School: Honeycrisp apple with yogurt+pepita sunseed butter dip

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Random but delicious dinner: Grilled cheese and tomato, salad with homemade honey mustard dressing, grapes

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Three part lunch before hitting the road to MD: Leftover veggie and egg quinoa/brown rice, Greek yogurt with pineapple, veggies with hummus. I’m not efficient with dish and utensil use. 

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Pumpkin oats with sunflower seed butter. This time I didn’t add banana, and it tasted more pumpkin-y! 

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Spinach, egg, salsa, sauteed onions, and sweet potato (yam?)

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Classic: Avocado toast, two sunny eggs (that became hard because I let them cook too long 😦 ), sauteed onions and spinach underneath

And now onto the absolutely fabulous dinner at Zaytinya in DC! It’s a pretty upscale Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese small plates restaurant (called mezze instead of tapas, which are Spanish small plates) by chef Jose Andres, who owns several other popular restaurants in DC. This place is so incredibly popular, guys. We called in to make reservations at around 7 pm and the earliest opening for two people was 8:30. Once we got there, the place was packed and we still had to wait a few minutes to be seated. The clean, modern, open ambiance made the wait much more bearable despite our growling stomachs.

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Zaytinya has been gracious in helping out the furloughed workers in DC by giving away free sandwiches from 3-5 every day! How awesome!

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We were seated in the upper level of the restaurant, giving us quite a nice view of the restaurant and the urban streets.

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The friendly servers gave us hot-out-of-the-oven pita bread that was SO puffy and delicious! Served with olive oil + balsamic and hummus.

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Then it was time to order. If you’re not familiar with tapas or mezze, each person is supposed to order a few dishes, or small plates, instead of one appetizer/entree. My mom and I were starving, but we had to make sure our eyes weren’t bigger than our stomachs, so we settled for six mezze. Boy am I glad we didn’t order more, because we were stuffed by the end! But so happily stuffed. 🙂

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Red lentil patties with yogurt sauce. Tasted like falafel, but not fried!

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Crispy brussel sprouts with coriander and tangy yogurt sauce. ONE OF THE BEST DISHES OF THE NIGHT. Surprising, right?! We knew we had to try them after raving reviews for them on Yelp. Glad we did!

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Spanikopita. Fresh and delicious. And shaped like an egg roll. How could you go wrong?

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Mushroom pearl couscous. Creamy and tasty. One of mom’s favorites.

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Baby crab cakes! Yummy, but nothing super wow-ing.

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Potato-crusted snails. Another hit!! The potato crust was spiced perfectly, and these little bites were just so unique and delicious.

It may not look like a lot since the plates were so small, but we were so full after we finished these. However, our dessert compartments were still calling the sweet selections 😉 The desserts luckily came in mezze-style (mini) and full portions, so we each ordered a mezze-style.

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For me: “Turkish Delight” Walnut ice cream, yogurt mousse, honey gelee, phyllo pastry, and pine nuts. Oh so divine.

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For mom: “Chocolate Rose” Rose ice cream, chocolate mousse, spiced berry compote. The rose ice cream was amazing!! She wished she had just ordered that by itself since they actually had that flavor available. Next time, next time. She still enjoyed the chocolate though.

And that concludes our culinary adventure. The dinner was pricey, but if you want some fabulous and unique Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese food whenever you’re in DC, definitely check out Zaytinya! You won’t regret it.

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A note for the staff 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

So tell me: What yummy things have you been eating? Have you ever tried tapas/mezze before?