“Wings are all right but there is so much more to us than that.” my cousins said, rolling her eyes at the chicken wing shapes box her city gets stuffed into. “Come visit me and I’ll show you.”

It was winter break when we finally got a chance to make good on our promise to visit. The three of us met up and drove the 2 hours to Buffalo, NY.

We started our day with a leisurely breakfast made by Stephanie then headed to the Burchfield Penney Art Center (it’s free on the second Friday of every month, hello college students!). After staring at modern art for an hour we headed to Hertel Ave. to window shop (and let’s be honest, spend a little money) at all the cute shops and boutiques. My favorite where: Lloyd Taco Factory (I suggest the chicken and waffle taco, not kidding), MODERN NOSTALGIA, and Revolver Records.

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We needed a caffine fix so we went to public espresso. If you’re ever in the area check it out. It’s 3rd wave coffee + legit pastries in the lobby of a grand Victorian era hotel.

We finished the day with an hour or so of outdoor skating at Canalside Buffalo. If you go make sure you visit this area near dusk so you can see the lovely light display on the grain elevators across the canal.

I always enjoy days spent exploring with these girls. It’s an adventure whether we’re exploring the city or the country. We found out Buffalo is a lovely city and we didn’t eat a single chicken wing.

Photo credits to Heidi and Stephanie.

21 Before 22

On my 20th birthday I wrote out a list of 20 things I wanted to complete before my next birthday. The idea behind it was to write a yearly goal list which seems pretty doable compared to a bucket list. It was very stretching and felt like such a huge accomplishment once I crossed almost every item off the list.

When my 21st birthday came this past May I wrote out my 21 Before 22 list but never posted it. I wasn’t going to post it at first but I’m find that publishing it on my blog and occasional blogging about the goals I’ve accomplished makes it all seem more concrete. I probably won’t blog about it as much as I did last year but you can expect a few posts here and there.

21 Before 22

1. Go to an opera
Or an orchestra. Or a play.

2. Read 12 books
Fiction or non-fiction. Of any genre.

3. Start a bullet journal
Inspired by my sister, Sarah.

4. Tour Washington, DC // DONE
Top goal: visit the Holocaust Museum.

5. Read a book of poetry
Currently reading The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink

6. Blog 52 times
So far this one isn’t going so well!

7. Go to a jazz lounge

8. Make creme brûlée // DONE
I followed this recipe which was delicious.

9. Re memorize the book of James
I memorized the book of James 4 years ago and want to refresh my memory of it.

10. Go hiking or camping // DONE

11. Sleep under the stars // DONE

12. Learn a song on the piano
To see if I can remember anything of my lessons in middle school.

13. Fast from personal Internet use for one week
It’s time for a digital detox.

14. Sponsor a child

15. Visit a new country
This goal will be on my birthday bucket lists for the rest of my life!

16. Go fishing // DONE

17. Learn to do a split
This one is a bit of a stretch. 😉

18. Become first aid or CPR certified




*These goals are personal so I decided not post them online.

Foodie Friends: Ethiopian

9 months have passed since the last meeting of the foodie friends club and it was high time for another dinner. My sister, two of my friends and I have started a little tradition where we each take turns picking a foreign countries cuisine, planning a menu, and then all cooking the meal together. This time around it was my turn. So far we had done a French meal and a Greek meal (this wasn’t documented, boo!) so I wanted to venture out of Europe. I thought about choosing Indian food since it’s so good but I already make that fairly often and foodie friends is all about trying new foods. Sarah kept raving about an Ethiopian restaurant she went to and suggested we try that sometime. I had never tried Ethiopian food before but I was all in. Technically that means Sarah chose the meal but I’ll take the credit.

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Normally we all bring ingredients and cook it together but this meal had so many different dishes that trying to cook it all on one stove in one kitchen would be madness so we decided to all bring a couple of dishes to pass. I scrounged around at our local grocery store with a very limited exotic food section, picked up a few ingredients at the slightly more exotic Wegman’s, and Amazon Primed* everything else.

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Around 6 p.m. people started arriving bringing bowls of steaming wots, wats, and stews with them. (“wot did you want?” and “wats that?” jokes flowed freely.) Soon everyone was buzzing around the little kitchen trying to wrap up the last minute items. When all was ready the foodie friends (and a few extra guests because we like to share our food) sat around the table, said grace, and devoured the food. That evening the house smelled of tangy sourdough injera, dozens of spices, and an overactive wood stove (read: chimney fire!). We cooked, laughed, eat, and dreamed of countries far away from the little home and big farmhouse table we gathered around. Food + friends is one of the greatest blessings you can have.

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“Food matters because it’s one of the things that forces us to live in this world — this tactile, physical, messy, and beautiful world — no matter how hard we try to escape into our minds and our ideals. Food is a reminder of our humanity, our fragility, our createdness.” Shauna Niequist in Bread and Wine

Injera (sourdough flat bread)
Ayib (fresh cheese)
Berbere Seasoning (traditional spice mix)
Niter Kibbeh (spiced butter)
Timatim (tomato salad)
Beef Tibs
Gomen Wat (collard greens)
Doro Wat (spicy chicken stew)
Misr Wot (lentil stew)
Fried Plantains

*it’s a verb, just like googled.