Medieval Times Review (and a day on the water)

Saturdays are always good aren’t they? Ok, maybe not. Luckily for me, my Saturday was pretty darn good. I went to a little beach near my hometown and laid on the sand for a few hours listening to music and eating fruit. The sun was strong and the breeze was stronger. The water was a great temperature and judging by the crabs awkwardly walking along the shore they enjoyed the sun and water too. It was such a lovely day.

A big surprise and unplanned event occurred when an older man pulled up on his jet ski and parked it along the shore. He offered me a ride on the river to which I happily said yes. I put on a life jacket and then got on the back of the jet ski. He warned me that it could go pretty fast and to hold on. He wasn’t kidding when he said it went fast. We were at a cruising speed of about 50 mph and going through the wakes of other people’s boats we hit 75 mph. What a thrill ride that was! Sadly, I have no pictures only a great memory of fulfilling my need for speed.

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Man in the right hand corner on his horse is our knight!

Later that afternoon a handsome boy I recently got to know took me to Medieval Times- a place I had heard about my entire life but never managed to get to. It was very theatrical! I was impressed. Some people really have a flair for being in the spotlight.

The performance began with the King of the court presenting each of his knights and the section of the arena they represented (our knight was blue). Each knight was then given several challenges that tested his skills and abilities. These guys were pretty good! Their horses were even better! Most of the knights had dapple gray horses as their trusted steeds. The horses also demonstrated their abilities in terms of obeying commands and dancing. They were gorgeous to watch.

After this, the knights were given more difficult tasks to accomplish including jousting. It was so entertaining to watch someone get knocked off of their horse.medieval_times_horses The effort they put into making it look elegant was incredible. I would have fallen off with a thud and then freaked out. I was never very good at riding though. The first time I got on a horse I got on backwards. Oops. That was awkward. Ok, moving on…

Finally, at the end of the tournament the king selected the knight he thought did jousting_competition the best. Our blue knight won! It was such a Disney “dreams do come true” moment because the knight then chose a girl out of our section to make his princess for the day. He chose a little girl named Lilly and gave her a crown, sash, and rose. It was the most adorable thing to watch! That kid’s face lit up the room. Such a sweetheart!

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Chris and I!

I feel like I’m forgetting an important element here. Oh yeah, food. How could I forget? It was quite tasty even though you had to eat with only your hands- no utensils! They didn’t have silverware in the 11th century so we used the next best thing. Our starter course was garlic bread and dragon’s blood (tomato bisque soup). After this course the servers brought out “baby dragon” for the main course. It was roasted chicken breast marinated in rosemary, lemon, and pepper. Additionally, they gave us the option of having a baked potato with dinner. The dessert was a favorite of mine- apple turnover! Warm, gooey, cinnamon apple chunks falling out of a puff pastry is just such a great way to end a dinner.

This place was really charming and lots of fun and laughs. People of all ages were there so it isn’t just for children. There were some frat boys sitting near us who seemed to be having far too much fun! It was definitely an evening worth remembering.

Tell me about any experiences you’ve had similar to this. I’d love to hear from you!

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Lifestyle Update and Virginia Beach Getaway

I know I’ve been missing in action lately. With school starting and the other endless things I have to do I’ve been neglecting my blogging duties. I’m sorry! Here’s an update on what I’ve been up to the last few days!

laying_on_the_beachI spent a lovely afternoon at the beach enjoying the last bits of summer. The water is finally warm enough to swim in! Our summer has been so mild compared to the years before this. I went in the water waist deep and ignored the urge to run back to shore in case of sharks or other large fish. After watching shark week I haven’t felt the same about the water. Either way, I went in and soaked up the sun and surf… which repeatedly knocked me to the ground. I have sand in places that I will never get out. *Shudders*

Anyway, I took the obligatory beach “selfie” before I rubbed greasybeach_selfie sun screen all over my face. That stuff smells divine but gosh it clogs your pores! I guess the exfoliant of the sand and salt in the water does a decent job at ridding my skin of impurities. At least, it’s a cheap body scrub.

Later that night, I went exploring on the beach front. There’s a statue of King Neptune on the boardwalk that everyone takes pictures in front of. Even though I’ve lived in Virginia Beach for part of my undergrad, I still king_neptune_statuehad to take a dumb picture of it. It’s pretty neat actually. I’ve always enjoyed living in a tourist town. There’s always someone new around and plenty of people to talk to. VA Beach is also a big military hub. If you’re into single guys, then this is the place for you. Quite a few single sailors roam the beach on a Friday night!

A favorite place of mine on the boardwalk is a place called Catch 31 at the Hilton hotel. Easily one of the most relaxed and romantic settings for a restaurant I’ve ever seen. Outdoor and indoor seating is available but I recommend outdoor because there are several large fire pits to eat around next to palm trees with little lights catch_31_virginia_beachwrapped around them. A funny story I have about this place is going to their rooftop bar when I was only 19. I was with a group of about 35 people who were all over 21. I got there and they said the only way I could be in there is if I stayed in the “VIP” section. I happily agreed until I realized that area was sectioned off by ropes and I couldn’t leave… and there was no one in the “VIP” section. Needless to say I left after about 15 minutes.

virginia_beach_boardwalkThursday morning I woke up to a beautiful beach outside my hotel room. I sat outside on my balcony for awhile flipping through my Instagram feed and then checking the weather. I’ve never seen so many people actively running on the beach. I guess if you live near a beach you should probably use it for something other than tanning. The view is always great too. Many ships- naval and civilian- come in and out of Norfolk. I could see a huge aircraft carrier on the horizon coming back to port and several fishing boats cruising along as well.

After getting dressed for the day I wandered downstairs to the outdoor patio to have breakfast and a drink. I ordered French toast with lots of butter and syrup and a Mimosa to start the day off right. There’s something so wonderful about brunch. Themimosas_at_noon variety of food that’s appropriate to eat is just so much more exciting than any other time of the day. That Mimosa though, I’m still happy thinking about it. Not too much champagne and just enough orange juice to make me think I was the healthiest person on the patio- actually I was the only person. The off-season is so quiet.

After brunch I made my way over to my university to check in with some friends and revisit some old memories. Every time I get on campus it feels like I’m walking on hollowed ground. Many things happened there that even on my death bed will give me a laugh.

I sat and talked with two of my very good friends, Bethany and Liz, about all regent_university that’s going on in life. We had so many good laughs. Girl time is so necessary! These ladies have some funny stories. I needed to laugh. One of the girls shared the funniest story about one of the worst dates she’s ever been on. Apparently, she had worn heels on the date and the guy asked her if she always walked with a limp or is it just because of the shoes she was wearing. I smacked my head against the table laughing so hard. Who honestly asks those questions on a first date? I haven’t met anyone so far! If you have funny first date stories please share them in the comments section. They just crack me up!

I ended the day with a little shopping in Williamsburg and ended up scoring a Banana Republic dress for my mom and a shirt from Lucky Brand for my sister. I went into a few of my favorite stores (J. Crew, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren etc.) and shopped around a bit but didn’t find anything worth the price on the price tag.

I drove home and said good bye to my school assuming the next time I’ll see it is at graduation in the spring. For those of you who don’t know, I’m an online student. It’s cheaper and I get to travel and work in really cool places. I love this lifestyle!

Share your thoughts below!

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Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (with a twist)

Sugar and Spice

I hate to cook but I love to bake! Recently, I made some lovely chocolate chip cookies with some added surprises mixed in to give it more flavor (and calories). I call them “Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies.” baking_suppliesThey were a big hit with my family and I was so proud of myself because nothing burned! Here’s the recipe!

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter; let it sit out for easier mixing
  • 1/4 cup and 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup and 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup stick pretzels, broken into smaller pieces
  • 1/2 cup caramel bits (I’ll explain later why this didn’t work as well as I had hoped)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

First, in a mixing bowl combine all wet ingredients with the sugars. Mix until well combined.

Second, add dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking soda) to the wet ingredients. Mix well. how_to_make_cookies

Third, fold pretzels, chocolate chips, and the optional caramel bits into the mixture. I found that the caramel was too thick to fold in and ended up spilling out of the cookie and burning as it was baking. My suggestions is to use butterscotch chips instead!

kitchen_mixerFourth, place  the cookies on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper so they won’t stick. Put the cookies in the oven at 350 degrees for 11 minutes or until golden brown.

Pro tip: Flatten cookies with a spatula so they won’t bake into clumpy messes.

Normally, I would give you all a photo of the finished product but they were all eaten before I snapped a picture!

Tell me what you guys think of this cookie recipe or any other cookies recipes you’ve tried lately!

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Sunday Funday: Beach and Bikini

best_friendsI so enjoy my Sundays maybe even more than my Saturdays. This weekend was no different. My good friend and I decided that we were getting a bit too pale and that we needed some time in the sun. We live about four hours from a real beach (as the bird flies its only an hour or so but water and lack of bridges ruins it). As many people do in our town, we found our own “beach” on the shores of the Patuxent River. Believe it or not, it was quite relaxing and enjoyable. Their was a light breeze, boats going by, kids in the water, and good music playing. The only thing missing was a Pina Colada!

I’m also sporting a new swimsuit! This one I found for $30 at a TJ Maxx! Its really flattering because in the front on the bottoms it looks like its a wrap style! Also the top has wiring on the sides for support and prettiness! It’s an Australian company named Seafolly that created the suit (normally upwards of $150!)

What was your weekend like? Comment below if you did anything fun!

~Liz

P.S. Got frozen yogurt from a little place called Sweet Frog! Strawberry cheesecake and pineapple coconut flavor with some granola and walnuts on top! So good!

 

 

Exploring Culture: Going Persian!

More Than Expensive Rugs and Cats!

1185977_10201989214797850_1318163599_nSince I started dating my boyfriend last year I’ve had my little world opened to a whole new world and culture. The only thing I knew about Persians before meeting him was that they made incredible rugs and bread the cutest kitties. Needless to say learning about where he’s from was an eye opening experience for me.

Before launching into the little things I’ve learned about Iran, there are a few things I have to clarify. First Iranians are not Arabs, they are Persians. I confused that in the beginning and many other people in western cultures tend to do the same thing. Second, my boyfriend does live in the United States but was born and raised in his home country. We are in a long distance relationship but not cross-continental long distance! Finally, he’s bilingual and I’m not. But I’m trying to pick up some of the Persian/Farsi language.

One of the most fun experiences I had when I started dating Amir is trying new food! In the picture is chicken kabob and 1469858_10202710740075531_654018668_nsaffron rice with grilled tomatoes. I absolutely love this dish because the chicken is marinated in a yogurt sauce with tons of seasoning so its bursting with flavor. So yummy! We usually order/make with this tahdig, which is basically the browned part of the rice on the bottom of the pot. Its really crispy and tasty to eat!

Another fun cultural thing I got to experience is the yearly Nowruz celebration. It symbolizes the beginning of the New Year for Persians. It is celebrated at the beginning of spring because it is the beginning of new life after winter.

1966185_10203687907064095_1744256137_oI went to a gala for this event in Daytona Beach with my boyfriend and our two other friends, Shayan and Christina. Christina and I were two of the few Americans there to partake in this annual celebration and learned a lot throughout the evening. Granted most things were said in Farsi, she and I could get the general idea.

Finally, I’ve really enjoyed trying to pick up the language. There have been quite a few laughs that have resulted in me trying to pronounce certain words and phrases. So far I’ve learned a few things. ‘Salam‘ means ‘hello’ and ‘che toori‘ means ‘how are you.’ Another cute little thing I’ve picked up is the word ‘azizam’ meaning ‘sweetheart’ or ‘dear friend.’ Depending on the person you are speaking to will determine the meaning of the word. I’ve learned other words and phrases but none of which I can accurately spell for you!

What cultures have you immersed yourself in? Comment and share! 

~Liz