Sunday, September 30, 2012

Church Street and Thrifting

So, I had a long week... apparently, we are one third of the way through the semester! When did that happen?! Anyways, I had two papers and two exams this week. I tried really hard to manage my time and I think I did well on all of them, but by the time Friday rolled around, I was ready for a little fun!

After classes were over for us, my friend Colleen and I decided to head into Burlington to do a little thrift shopping and grab lunch on Church Street, a street that has a bunch of little shops and restaurants on it. We headed to the bus stop on campus and caught the 11:43 bus. It's free to take the bus, our student IDs work as bus passes. It only takes about twenty minutes to get there, and it's the last stop on the bus route so it's hard to miss.

Downtown Threads was having a "bag sale"
There was a thrift store on Church Street that was having a "bag sale", which means they hand you a plastic bag and you can fit as much as you can into it. It costs $10. It took a little work because all the clothes were in bins we had to sort through but it was so worth it. There were all sorts of things, like purses, hats, belts, shoes, and a few bins of clothing to dig through
Behind Colleen, you can see the piles of clothes we looked through.

Thrifting is a lot of fun and a great way to get new clothes without spending a lot. For $10, I got three dresses, a scarf, a hat, and a pocketbook. I am not sure exactly what Colleen got, but I know she got a few vests and a romper. We definitely got our moneys worth!

After we were done thrifting, we went to Panera, which was only a few shops over. There are so many great options to eat at on Church Street, my two other favorites are The Skinny Pancake food cart and The Red Onion Cafe.  But Colleen had never been to Panera before, so that was where we had to go for lunch!
Lunch at Panera!

It was nice to get off campus for a few hours after a long, busy week! We got back to campus around 2:30, which left me plenty of time to go get ready for the Mass for the Feast of Saint Michael, which the Liturgical Choir was signing.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Alliot "Hacks"

So now that I have been here for a month (yes! a whole MONTH! How crazy is that?) I have a pretty good handle on my routine. I do my laundry on Monday, clean my room on Fridays, and of course, eat at Alliot three times a day.

The food at Alliot is pretty good. I can always find something to eat. They have a lot of stations: usually a salad, sandwich bar, a wrap of the day, entree, the grill where they make cheeseburgers and grilled cheese, pizza, and the stir-fry station. There are always lots of specials as well as things that are offered all the time. If you're interested to see what's being served for lunch this week, the menu is here.

As good as the food is, sometimes you just have to get creative to get what you want. It's totally cool to get food from different stations. Over the past few weeks I have eaten and observed people making the following Alliot "Hacks":

Root Beer Float: Take a clear drinking glass and head to the soft serve (Vermonters call it a 'Creemee') machine. Fill the glass halfway with vanilla ice cream, then head to the soda machine and add root beer. It can be made in many variations, Coke floats seem pretty popular.

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich: Take two cookies from the dessert station. This works really well with chocolate chip or the m&m cookies. Add chocolate or vanilla soft serve to one cookie, then place the second cookie on top. Ta-da!

Chicken Parm: They actually have Chicken Parm sometimes, but if you're in the mood for it and it's not being served that day, you can work around it. Grab a bowl of pasta from the pasta station and get marinara sauce on top. At dinners, they often have some type of chicken, either in the entree or the salad. You can ask the server to put some chicken on top of your pasta and they will. Add some Parmesan cheese from the pasta station, and you have Chicken Parm!

Turkey Club: On the weekends at brunch, the make-your-own sandwich station is set up at the end of the salad bar. Pick your bread, condiments and turkey there, but leave the sandwich open. You can head over to the breakfast bar, where there is usually bacon. For an extra touch, you can toast your bread in the toaster before you add the toppings!

Breakfast Wrap: There are always wraps available in the make-your-own sandwich station. At brunch on the weekends, they always have scrambled eggs. From there, you can add anything you would like to your wrap! They always have a breakfast meat, like sausage or bacon, and some potatoes. Salsa would be a good addition too!

Chicken Patty Salad: Chicken patties are pretty famous here at Saint Mike's. When they have them in the cafeteria, there is always a line for them. If you want to eat your chicken patty in a slightly healthier fashion, you can ask for the patty without a bun. Then you can head to the salad bar and get whatever toppings you want! I like mine with lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers. Honey Mustard dressing goes really well with the salad, but if you're looking to be really healthy, the Low Calorie Italian is your best option.

Anyways, I hope my post was helpful in increasing your options when eating in Alliot :) If you have any "hacks" of your own, let me know!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tour My Room!

After almost four weeks, I feel like my room is finally done. I have rearranged and decorated and I am really pleased with how it has come out. So I thought I would put up some pictures!

I live in Joyce Hall. Joyce is on the quad, along with Ryan, Lyons, and Alumni. All of the First Year students are housed in Joyce, Ryan, and Lyons. My floor, third floor, is all GREAT Housing. GREAT stands for the Growing Recognition of the Effects of Alcohol on Thinking. Both wings of the third floor are GREAT, and we have a really awesome community up here. I love it!

My room sort of has it's own little hallway. If you are standing where I took this picture, you can look to the left and that is the main hallway of Joyce 3 North, my wing. To the right, there is another single room. But I get my own little hallway, which is really neat. I have plans to decorate it for all the holidays! As you can see, my door is open. We have an 'open door' policy in my wing, meaning that if we are home and not doing something important (homework) then we leave the door open. I like walking down the hallway and being able to stop and say hello to all my floor mates :)

My door. When everyone got to school in August, our RA had made us name tags. On my floor, everyone has a Minion from the movie Despicable Me. They are really cute. I also have my white board, so I can update people on my location. It is helpful for when people are going to dinner and trying to get a group together to go down to the dining hall, or when people have homework questions. I even have a note on their from my aunt who came to visit this weekend.
 Behind my door, I have my closet. To the left of the closet, there are a few hooks which are perfect for hanging scarves and bags on. I repurposed the doorstop on my closet door to hang my towel off of to dry. My closet is huge. The cabinets up top are only like a quarter of the way full. I have a lot of storage.

This is the inside of my closet. In addition to clothes, I keep my luggage, rain boots, and laundry basket in there (the black bin on the right) and there's still plenty of room for my clothing.

Here is my desk area. Because I am in a single, my desk is built in. However, the standard double rooms have desks that can be rearranged. Theirs come have draws too. But mine is the perfect size for me to get my work done on. I decorated the back of the desk with postcards of art from the art museums in Boston. They remind me of some of my favorite places back home :)

 Here is a close up on my storage shelf. I keep my school books on the right and my kitchen stuff on the left. In the pink basket, I have my plates, bowls, cups, and silverware. Then in the center is all of my water bottles and mugs. Up top, I keep even more stuff. My medicine/first aid box, some snacks, and my hair dryer.

This is at the corner of my desk. I have all of the stuff I use to get ready in the morning, like my hair brush, elastics, perfume, etc. The ledges that I have in my room are really convenient for storing stuff.

Here's my window! It is a good size, and lets a lot of natural light in. I usually don't have to turn on any other lights until dinner time. I love to open my window and let the fresh air in. As you can see, I have a little fan in my window. Up until this week, it's been nice to have a fan on low during the afternoon. However, I think Fall has almost definitely arrived, and it's time for the fan to get stored away!

Here's another piece of the ledge that goes around my room. Awesome for displaying pictures! On the left is a picture from London, one of my favorite places and on the right is a picture of my cat. The thing in the middle is a reed diffuser, which is a dorm room must have! We are not allowed to have candles or incense in our rooms, but the reed diffuser works really well. My aunt brought it to me this weekend, and it has made my room smell like HEAVEN (okay, Eucalyptus and Lemongrass, but close!).

Here is my dresser and fridge. The dresser also works as my bedside table. On the back on my dresser, leaning against the wall, you can see my dry erase calendar. It's a super helpful tool for mapping out all of the things I am going to that week. I don't have to worry about missing anything when I can just glance over and see what I want to do that day. On top of the fridge, I have my shower caddy, my coffee mugs, and my electric kettle. When I was moving in, I decided not to buy a microwave. I didn't think I would use it enough to justify the purchase, and if I found I needed one, I could get it later. I just brought an electric kettle for heating up soup and hot water for hot chocolate/tea. So far, I haven't needed to use it. Also, on the right side, I have two bins. These come in your room, one is for trash (black) and the other for recycling (blue). There is a trash/recycling room on each floor.

This is my favorite wall :) The poster says "the greatest of these is LOVE", and I've decorated it with a bunch of pictures of the people I love. Also, on the right side you can see my lights. They go up to the ceiling, and they're shaped like butterflies. When I need a soft light, they are perfect and really cute.

And finally, my bed. My bed fits perfectly along that wall, which opens my room up a lot. I have a lot of pillows and stuffed animals that make my bed really homey. At the end of my bed is this fantastic white blanket from IKEA. I use it every night, it's so soft and cozy. I have a memory foam mattress topper, which has made my bed really comfy. It took a little getting used to, but I have come to love my bed.

Anyways, there's my room! Let me know if you have any questions :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

SMC Film Series

Tonight, since all of my homework was done really early (6pm! Wooo!), I decided to take advantage of one of the great events happening on campus: The SMC Film Series.

The SMC Film Series shows a different movie every Thursday night at 8pm in Cheray 101, (the largest classroom on campus). They have picked a lot of great movies for this fall. The three themes are the American Dream, Violence and moral quandaries, and Epic Struggles. They will be showing movies like Good Will Hunting, Vertigo, and Pan's Labyrinth. The cool part about these movies is that there is a short introduction from a professor in a related department.

Tonight's film was Rushmore, an indie film about a really eccentric teenager. I am not sure how to really describe it without spoiling everything, so here is the trailer:

Tim Mackin, a professor from the English department and the head of the Writing Center, gave the introduction. He talked about the qualities of the movie he enjoyed, and that gave me a lot to think about during the movie. I really enjoyed it; it was funny and poignant. I really recommend it if you're looking for something that is humorous and intelligent that will make you feel nostalgic.

They had free popcorn and soda, and it was a really great way to take a quick break as the week is winding to a close. Two girls from my floor and I went and we all had a great time! I can't wait to go back next week.

If you would like to learn more about the SMC Film Series, they have a facebook page here!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Very Busy Weekend

Hello all! I am at the tail end of a very busy, but very fun weekend.

My weekend officially started at 10:50 on Friday! After my General Psychology class ended, I went back to my room, dropped off my stuff and headed for the bus stop. The bus stop is located just outside the first entrance to school, between McCarthy Arts Center and Ross/Tarrant, the gym. There was an 11:13 bus that got me into the intersection of Cherry St. and Church St. around 11:35. I needed to pick up a few things at Rite Aid, and wanted to explore Churst St. a little. There are so many little shops and cafes, so I spent about an hour just wandering around. I ended up getting lunch at The Skinny Pancake (they have a food cart on Church St.). I got 'The Lumber Jack' which is a crepe filled with local ham and Cabot cheddar. It was so good, I forgot to take a picture before I finished it. Sorry!

After I took the bus back to school, I went to the beach with VITA. VITA is the student to student Ministry group at school, and they planned out an awesome social for us. We all piled into cars and they drove us to Oakledge Park, about fifteen minutes from school. It was a great and relaxing time... the perfect thing for a Friday afternoon after a busy week! We had subs on the beach and it was a great time to meet new people.

It looks a little cloudy, but it was actually a great beach day :)
I got back to school around 7:30 and discovered I had left my keys inside of my room. Luckily it was after 7pm, so there was an RA on duty who was very nice and let me into my room (our RAs ROCK!). I knew that I would lock my keys in my room eventually, so I'm glad it was at a time when I wasn't in a rush. I watched a movie I had taken out of the library last week (they have THE best DVD collection ever, and I can take movies out whenever I want! It's so great.) while I waited for the 10pm social to begin.

Every Friday and Saturday night, the residence halls put on socials for us to hang out, get to know people, and have some snacks. The social on Friday night was called 'What Would You Do For A Klondike Bar?' and basically we had to do silly things to earn a Klondike Bar. One guy had to paint his nails, someone took a shot of hot sauce, and someone had to lead a congo line and come back with at least five more people than they left with. Personally, I had a 'who can blow up more rubber gloves in a minute?' challenge with Jan-Luis (who is also trying out to be an SMC Blogger!).  We both tied by blowing up four. It was silly, but a lot of fun.

Saturday morning, I did not wake up in time for breakfast. I woke up around 10am and got brunch (which is turning out to be my favorite meal at school) when it opened around 11am. Brunch is awesome because there are so many options... a breakfast bar, a waffle bar, pizza, a lunch entree. After that, I did some homework. I am trying to get all of my homework for Monday and Tuesday done over the weekend, so I had a good amount to do. Saturday afternoon was the Welcome Back Bash, and I knew I would be busy on Sunday, so I decided to get a lot of work done. It was a good idea, and I left the library in time for the Welcome Back Bash!

The band Vasudo performed at the Welcome Back Bash
Because of weather (a tornado warning) the Welcome Back Bash was held inside Alliot instead of on the 300s field. There was a band and a huge dinner. We all had the option to upgrade to Steak or Lobster for $3, so I decided to get a steak. They also had things like hamburgers, BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, pasta salad, and strawberry shortcake. It was sooo good. There was a live band and raffles and lots of fun stuff going on.

My steak and someone else's lobster
The next event on my agenda for the night was 'Salsa & Salsa', a social which was going on in Alumni, another building on the quad. We ate chips and salsa and learned how to salsa dance. I went with a few other girls from my floor and we had a BLAST! It was seriously the most fun I've had in a long time, even if I am not the best salsa dancer.
Salsa & Salsa!

After Salsa & Salsa was over, I went and watched the new episode of Doctor Who in the Joyce lounge with Colleen (also trying out to be an SMC Blogger!!). The episode was interrupted by the 'Doorstops & Donuts' event that my own RA was leading. We got to paint bricks that would serve as awesome doorstops. After that was over, I had to go to sleep because I had work in the morning.

My new doorstop!

I work in Alliot on Sunday mornings for brunch, so I was up early. After work was over, it was time to finish up homework and get ready for choir rehearsal. I joined Liturgical Choir, and we practice at 5:30 for the 7pm mass. I love Lit. Choir... I have only been a part of it for two weeks, and I already feel so at home there :) Sunday and Wednesday nights (our other rehearsal time) are some of my favorite parts of the week. We sang some really fun songs this week, and had birthday cake because it was our Director's birthday.

Now, the events are over and I am in my room doing some last minute studying before two quizzes tomorrow. It was a great weekend... busy and fun, but great. It's safe to say that Saint Mike's is starting to feel a lot more like home.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Flowers

Beautiful flowers on my windowsill :)
Every Wednesday, Saint Mike's has an Organic Farm Stand on the lawn in front of the chapel. They have a ton of fruits and veggies (today I saw cantaloupe, cucumbers, zucchinis, and squashes, just to name a few) but today I treated myself to some Zinnias. They were so bright and cheery that I could not resist them. They totally brighten up this rainy, Vermont day!

The Organic Farm Stand runs their own blog, which you can read about here!

Monday, September 3, 2012

First Year Apple Picking!!

Time is flying! I cannot believe I have already started my second week of school. This weekend was a blast... there were so many events going on. On Friday night, I tie-dyed, ate s'mores, and went to an improv comedy show on campus.  Then Saturday, it was time for First Year Apple Picking! 

All of the upper classmen that I have talked to have encourage me to go, so when MOVE (Mobilizaiton of Volunteer Efforts) put up the sign up sheet in Alliot, I signed up! It was a beautiful, Fall day out.

Some 3rd floor Joyce girls :)
 A ton of First Years went apple picking... we filled up three whole busses! We went to an apple orchard in South Hero, which is about half an hour away from school. The ride gave us an opportunity to talk to new people. I had a great conversation with a girl from my floor who I had never really gotten to talk to before.

Beautiful, ripe apples

We were picking the apples for charity, but while we were in the orchard, we got to eat a few for ourselves. They were VERY good! Everyone paired up and each pair got a bag to fill. They can get pretty heavy! I had a great time walking through the apple field, spending time with some floormates, meeting the MOVE leaders, and picking apples.

Making progress in filling the bags!

Being silly

Just SOME of the apples we donated
We picked a lot of apples, which was great since they were going to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in Burlington.After we were done picking apples and loading them on the bus, we drove to the Food Shelf to drop off the apples and take a tour.  Last year, they donated about 2200 pounds of apples to the Food Shelf, over a literal TON. It seems like so many apples, but when we toured the food shelf, they said it would only last about two days. We learned a lot about the hunger in Vermont. The people at the Food Shelf showed us where they store all the food and their kitchen where they cook meals.

We donated the apples to the Chittenden Emergency Food shelf
I had a great time on Saturday. It really is great that the school sets us up with so many events to get to know each other and do fun things in the process. I will update again soon!!