WOW. Friday was INSANE. A great reminder of how much I LOVE college. Love love love. There is honestly nothing like a bunch of people all dressed in green, flooding the streets in mobs, drinking all day (many started at 8am!).

I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that nothing compares to the college experience. Even more so, nothing can match our school’s Unofficial holiday. Apparently, it was started by one of the bar owners here on campus as a way to bring in extra revenue and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (since the actual St. Patties Day always falls on our Spring Break).

The holiday took off immediately and quickly established itself as a yearly occasion. The students look forward to it all year, and the professors and local police dread it all year.

Of course, being a senior, I was determined to make my final Unofficial absolutely amazing. Anya’s last-minute unplanned visit definitely helped make it perfect!

We started our day at 8am with some green eggs and toast. Part of the tradition is what is called “Kegs n’ Eggs” where people gather bright and early to drink green beer and eat green eggs and pancakes.

We wanted to be healthy so we used spinach to color the eggs.

It might not look too appetizing but trust me, the breakfast was fantastic! We added mushrooms and avocado chunks for an extra flavor boost.

Afterwards, it was already 11am and we wasted no more time and immediately met up with friends to get the party started.

See…we’re being good girls and drinking orange juice *wink wink*

It really is exhausting to stay out all day, so naturally, nap time soon followed around 3pm.

5pm- We woke up and out we went again! This time we paid a little visit to my fellow engineers’ apartment and continued our all-day outing with full force.

My fingers look freakishly long! Kinda ew…

Unofficial is a casual-dress holiday- people usually make their own t-shirts and wear them around all day. My friend designed the shirt that I was wearing. It was adorable! On the front it said “Do the pretty girl shot shot shot” and on the back it said “Unofficial 2011 We are who we are.”

Yes, as you can see I completely decked myself out in green!

The remainder of the night consisted of us going to a local bar and literally dancing for ohhh ummmm 4 HOURS STRAIGHT! Anya and I looovee to dance so we made the most of it.

Oh boy was I sore the next day (still am)…my entire body got quite the workout from all of that dancing.

Overall, I would call the day a success! Anya had a blast and loved experiencing what most people know as “the college experience.”

To me, college is not about the parties and the drinking (I barely do either since school keeps me incredibly busy), although those are still a blast! It’s about spending time with old and new friends, making memories, and always remembering how blessed you are to have the opportunity to live carefree for the greatest 4 years of your life.

I am so lucky to have had the greatest and most valuable 4 years yet.

But as they say…the best is yet to come.

“Don’t sleep counting sheep. Count blessings, then sleep.”

♥ Irina

Sadly, my exam did not go as planned (shocker). This is the definition of who I am. I study my ass off and honest-to-god know all of the information, but come exam time BAM I royally screw up. Ugh I can’t even think about this anymore…so disappointing.

On a more positive note…Anya is coming to visit!!! Tomorrow is my school’s Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day and oh boy do us students get wiiiiiild. FINALLY, after 3 years, Anya is going to experience this fantastic (non)holiday! Only a few more hours till she arrives!

I’ll definitely have a post on tomorrow’s festivities…just not tomorrow since the day will most likely be a blurry haze of green.

My day began so well today (too bad that didn’t last)! My 8am class was cancelled so I woke up at 7am instead of 6am. Wow its shocking what one extra hour of sleep can do to my energy level. For breakfast I made myself a scrumptious breakfast of steel cut oats topped with a cherry-blueberry jam.

At 11am I had a class to go to for an hour, and then upon returning home I continued to study study study until 3:30! Exam time soon followed, lasted 2.5 hours and now I am here…sitting, exhausted and upset, on my couch.

Blah.

I need to make some dinner for Anya (whole wheat spaghetti and homemade marinera sauce).

I should go do that.

Now.

Ok after I post the breakfast recipe.

I promise.

VERY CHERRY STEEL CUT OATS

Ingredients:

-1/4 cup steel cut oats

-1 cup soy milk (reserve 1/4 cup)

-1/4 cup pitted frozen cherries

-1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

-1 Tbs. honey

-1 Tbs. Flax Seed

-1 tsp. cinnamon

-1/8 tsp. salt

-nutmeg to taste

Directions:

1.) Toast oats for 1-2 minutes until slightly golden

2.) Add 3/4 cup soy milk, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 30 minutes

3.) After 30 minutes, stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of soy milk, cinnamon, salt, and flax seed, cover and allow to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Make sure the oatmeal does not dry out! Add more liquid to reach your desired consistency

4.) Meanwhile, to make the jam, combine the cherries, blueberries, and honey in a small dish and microwave for ~1 minute or until very soft and hot. Stir well

5.) Pour berry jam on the oatmeal, sprinkle with some nutmeg and enjoy!

Wanna see?

Here are the steel cut oats I used:

I LOVE steel cut oats- they are so chewy and filling! If it wasn’t for their long prep time I would probably eat them every day!

Look at those beauties!

Here are the spices that I used- more on those some other time.

The final product- isn’t it just beautiful?

In order to avoid a disgustingly sweet mouthful, I suggest mixing everything together before eating. Trust me, you won’t be sorry!

I gotta go make some din-din for my Anyuta now!

Once again, a few wise words from Yogi:
“True wealth is the ability to let go of your possessions.”

♥ Irina

The first one of the semester in fact! The exam is for my Structural Systems class, and I am hoping (and praying) that it will be easy like I expect it to be.

Hmm…one would think that I have learned something from my 3.5 years in college…

Sadly, studying will officially take over my night in T minus 1 hour.

On a more positive (and stress-free) note, today has been wonderful. I had a great start to my morning with a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal.

Curious? Check it out…

BLUEBERRY/BANANA OATMEAL

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup organic old-fashioned oats

-handful of organic blueberries

-1/2 Tbs. chia seeds

-half of a large ripe banana (the riper the better)

-1/4 cup soy milk (can be substituted or omitted)

-1/2 cup – 3/4 cup water* (depends on how thick you want it)

*NOTE: you can use all soy milk…I’m just trying to cut down on my soy intake)

-1 Tbs. pure maple syrup or honey

-1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

1.) Mix everything together and bring to a boil.

2.) Reduce heat to simmer and cook for ~10 minutes or until oats are soft.

3.) Use a spoon to break apart the banana into small pieces and quickly mix together until the banana essentially dissolves. Whip that banana!

Enjoy!

I sprinkled nutmeg as well as some more blueberries over my bowl for an extra nutritious kick.

So quick and simple yet so healthy and delicious!

I eat oatmeal almost every single day. Yes.

I’m Irina and I’m an oatmealaholic.

There I admitted it.

Class was boring as usual. I had a lecture and then a discussion section to attend for my Asian American Studies course. We have an exam next week for it and I HAVE READ NOTHING! <insert panic here>

But that’s to conquer on another day…

After class I came home and made myself my go-to veggie sandwich. Here’s another shocker for you: I eat this sandwich almost every.single.day as well.

I adore this sandwich by the way. I call it The Healthwich. It makes me feel ridiculously healthy and happy after I eat it. I literally feel like I’m Popeye eating his spinach!

My sandwich-making philosophy is simple: stuff it as much as possible.

I use 2 slices of Ezekiel bread and fill the sandwich with tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados (an absolute must!), spinach or other greens, sautéed onions and mushrooms, hummus, Dijon mustard, and occasionally even fresh basil leaves!

Pure. Heaven.

Well time is quickly ticking and my exam books are angrily calling my name.

Ugh. The joys of being a college student.

I’ll leave you once again with a quote from Yogi tea:

“The trust that others place in you is your grace.”

♥ Irina

It’s time I jump on the bandwagon and start a blog. Yes, I’m aware that I’m a few years behind! This was bound to happen however…I’m not surprised with myself at all. In fact, I am proud of finally taking the next step (besides admitting the extreme and urgent desire for a blog) and officially starting!

There is so much to say! Think of all those days, months, YEARS that I haven’t written about! Just kidding (I think)…I shouldn’t let excitement overtake me! I have the rest of my life to write 🙂

So instead of introducing myself and blah blah blah, I have decided to make my very first post about my recent trip home. You know…ease into this whole blogging business.

I attend a university that is 3 hours (well 2.5 hrs.) away from my home sweet home. In my opinion, those 180 miles are the perfect distance- close enough that I can visit on the weekends if I want and far enough to prevent unexpected visits at bad times (like the morning after a long night of <fill in the blank>). This past weekend I was a little homesick and decided to hitch a ride back home with a friend.

Fabulous. Decision.

Mommy and Daddy were super excited to see me and they treated me like their little princess again. Hmm well I guess that’s usually the case with my visits home. I caught up with the parentals and then Em came over around 10pm. He had spent the entire day flying to and from Philadelphia for an interview. Needless to say, he was starving and exhausted. Sleep soon followed.

The next morning my mom, sister, and I met in Evanston and went shopping at my favorite stores ever- WHOLE FOODS and TRADER JOE’S. I had a looong list of groceries to purchase and couldn’t wait to shop shop shop. Uncovering new products is a hobby of mine and there were many food items I set my eye on (pics later).

We had a delicious lunch with homemade soups and sandwiches at a small café and then decided to wander over to the Borders that is going out of business. WOW…it was packed! I bought a cookbook that I have been dying to get: Babycakes. The recipes look fantastic, I cannot wait to try them out! In order to finally utilize the slow-cooker that I bought her for New Year’s, my mom bought a slow-cooker cookbook. The best part about all of these purchases? Each book was 20% off! Hellz yeah

My mom and I couldn’t resist going into World Market (a favorite of my mom’s), so of course I purchased some useful items there:

mini whisk

mini grater

mini oven dish

mini heart-shaped baking pans

tea infuser (heart-shaped!)

egg holder

smoked paprika (not shown)

Yes, I clearly LOVE miniature things. Guilty!

Trader Joe’s was our final stop and, of course, I went wild. There is no Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s at school so I always stock up when I do get the chance to go.

That night (Saturday) I drove down to Em’s dad’s apartment in the city and Em and I spent an amazing night strolling around the city and the watching The Last Exorcism. Ok that part was not so great. In fact, it was terrifying. I couldn’t even finish watching the movie :/

View of Chicago from an intersection on Michigan Avenue. I love this city!

~Absolutely beautiful~

Come Sunday it was time to head back to school. Parting is always a sad ordeal 🙁

But still…FANTASTIC WEEKEND! Can’t wait for the next one!

Below are some noteworthy items that I purchased at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

WHOLE FOODS:

Fish Oil, Panda Soft Herb Licorice, Organic Oats, Millet Puffs Cereal, Organic Dates, Organic Raisins, Organic Shredded Coconut, Raw Manuka Honey, Organic Raw Cacao Nibs, Organic Goji Berries, Organic Raw Coconut Butter, Organic Raw Unprocessed Honey, Organic Rye Bread, Puffed Kamut Cereal

TRADER JOE’S:

Valrhona 85% Dark Chocolate, Pistachios, Raw Hazelnuts, Raw Almonds, Multigrain Oats, Kalamata Olives, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Strawberry Jam, Rye Mini Toasts, Dried Figs

 I’ll leave you with a quote that I saw on my Yogi teabag tag:
“Your life is based on the capacity of energy in you, not outside of you.”

Some wise wise words there, my friends.

Thanks for tuning in and I sincerely hope that you start paying me regular visits 🙂

Till next time!

♥ Irina