Monthly Archives: September 2014

Back On Campus

Last weekend I journeyed back to SMC for Alumni Weekend. Surprisingly, this wasn’t my first time on campus as a graduate, but it was the first time I was on campus as a grad with school in session.

Some people were beyond excited to see me around; others gave me funny looks, as if I shouldn’t have been there. Regardless, I was so happy to reunite with old friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen since before they spent a semester abroad.

I had a handful of new experiences that weekend, most notably, staying in a townhouse. In my “senior” year, I lived in a suite. I had friends who lived in townhouses, and although I visited their homes often, I had no reason to spend the night there.

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I stayed in #TH214 with my friends Cait, Merrill, Alex and Lauren, who, yes, even started a hashtag for their house. As usual, I washed all of the dirty dishes after our family-style dinners as we talked and talked about our lives. It was so nice to lodge with some of my favorite people on campus, and I truly felt at home in their house.

My time on campus and in the townhouse were great. I never thought I’d get to catch up with so many different people all at once, nor did I think we could execute another Roommate Recap — but we did and we went to Moe’s!

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Alumni weekend was honestly one of the best weekends I’ve had all year. Stay tuned to see what other new experiences the weekend brought me!


Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese

My brother has been on the lookout for the new Lay’s potato chip flavors since he first heard they were introducing the Bacon Mac & Cheese flavor as part of their “Do Us A Flavor” contest.

When my mom finally found them — and bought three of the trial-sized bags — his eyes lit up with delight.

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They didn’t quite appeal to me, but I couldn’t knock ‘em till I tried ‘em myself.

For the first time, I had one of the Lay’s special flavors. In addition to the Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, they currently are trying out Cappuccino, Mango Salsa and Wasabi Ginger.

I have to say this one wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I don’t think it tasted much like either bacon or mac & cheese; it kind of had a smoky flavor to it, with a peppery aftertaste.

My brother loved them, though. In fact, he’s already looking to buy a larger bag of the goodies and stock up while he still can. I, on the other hand, can give or take them, but I would say I prefer my bacon and my mac & cheese served separately.

America’s Drive-In

There we were, in the middle of Newburgh, our stomachs rumbling.

My mom and I decided to take the 30-minute drive to the Newburgh Mall in search of a Saturday of cheap deals and a break from the weekend monotony.

After only an hour of walking up and down the vacant aisles of the mall and going in and out of even emptier shops, we found ourselves driving down the road in search of someplace to eat.

Usually when I go out, I’ll bring my own lunch. But that day I don’t think I found anything in the house that I wanted.

In the past year, I haven’t eaten out at fast food places too much. Usually, after my parents drove me back to college, our lunch would consist of something quick so they could get back on the road and arrive home at a decent time.

However, I will easily admit I’m a sucker for Wendy’s, since we don’t have one in my town.

As we drove down the highway, scanning the eateries on either side of the road, our tummies groaned louder and louder. For one thing, my mom and I aren’t good quick decision makers. My mom could ask me what I want for dinner and I could spend hours weighing my options and never completely decide on one thing.

Out of desperation, we immediately decided to try Sonic’s. Once, a few summers ago, my mom and I pulled into the new Sonic’s a town over from us, read the menu, and, ironically, knew immediately we didn’t want to eat here. Today we had a change of heart.

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We pulled up to the drive through and ordered a chicken strip, tater tot and toast combination lunch. The chicken was just like KFC’s, the tater tots reminded me of elementary school brunch lunch, and I was left wondering how a piece of soggy white bread could be deemed “toast.”

It wasn’t a great meal, but it held us off until we got home and enjoyed a family dinner.

We ended up leaving Newburgh with only one shopping bag, half-full stomachs and a new experience under our belts.

The Duddles Sandwich

Sandwiches have always been my go-to choice for lunch. My mom always made one for me in elementary and middle school, and by high school, I was preparing my own. Cheese, ham, bologna, ham and cheese — those were always my favorites.

The tradition even continued in college. If there was nothing in Alliot that I wanted, I would make a peanut butter sandwich (and occasionally add jelly).

When the opportunity arose to try a Panini while out to dinner with friends, I jumped at the chance. We dined at Main Course, a cute little serve-yourself restaurant I had never been to before.

What was the occasion? What I like to refer to as the “Duddles Dinner,” an annual event I’ve coordinated for the past four years. Mrs. Dudley-Lemek, who I call “Duddles,” is a former high school teacher of mine. Every summer her and I get together with three other former students (and my close friends) to catch up, share experiences and reminisce on how much we’ve grown over the years.

Duddles Dinner IV


Mrs. Dudley-Lemek, me, Prahelika, and Bethany at the Duddles Dinner last month! 

It’s rather impressive that we’ve been able to keep the tradition for so long, especially considering all of our busy schedules. Unfortunately, our friend Jaimie was unable to make the dinner this year.

As the four of us talked about our summer travels (we all had exciting trips this year, both domestic and international), I devoured the grilled chicken Panini, which came with fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers and basil aioli.

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It was freakin’ delicious — better than any sandwich high school me could have created.

Sometimes I can be picky about what kind of bread I eat or how cooked I like my vegetables, but this sandwich was pure perfection. The chicken was moist, the mozzarella was thick and smooth, and the bread was toasted just how I like it. 

I’d say it was a good night, and, as per usual, ended with a blurry picture in my car with ice cream cones.

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I can’t wait to see where each of us is next year and to share all of life’s new experiences with old friends.