Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday: Eleven

Hi. Happy Monday. Here's the random scoop:

Must not eat:
This is not okay. Weird. Gross. Waste of a slice of cheese and two freshly baked cookies.

Must eat:
Okay, this looks delicious.

Must go:
Umm this looks perfect and I would like to live here.

See more photos (trust me, you'll want too): Small Houses Swoon

Must buy:
Too bad it's sold out, but also good because I probably wouldn't have paid $250.

Must stuff my face:
Make these tacos (good thing Jerrod now has a crock pot...hehe)

Must listen: I am so loving this duo right now. They're fantastic.

Must create:
My own line of greeting cards to sell on Etsy. I don't have the time now, but I have some ideas forming in the back of my mind ---> someday project. I'll keep you updated.

Must do:
Power through these last 11 days of classes. 11. !!! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

26 Reasons

A new year of my life is starting today - a year of change, excitement, friendship, food, adventure, love, and a whole lot else that I haven't quite figured out yet.

In honor of all this, I thought I would come up with 26 reasons as to why I am excited to be a year older. In no particular order:

1. No more long distance with this guy:
The 2,178 miles between us make it a bit hard to take obnoxious selfies.

2. I can [maybe] try my hand at pour-over (also known as drip) coffee. I currently live in the state that prides itself on its organic, free range, gluten-free, fair trade, fat-free, low-sodium coffee.

Wait. Coffee has gluten and salt? 
It's free-range? Like chickens?
MY COFFEE IS FAT-FREE? I was hoping for some buttercream beans. Dang it.


I live in the state that prides itself on organic and fair trade coffee. I never knew what either of those really meant before I moved here. Can't say I completely understand them even after almost 10 months of living here, but either way, I'm gonna guess that consuming coffee that is either fair trade or organic or both is a start in the right direction. California knows coffee. Whew-ie. Never again will I drink Folgers. Gross.

If you don't know what pour-over is, here's a great visual tutorial: Blue Bottle [Drip] Tutorial 
The "what you'll need" list overwhelms me as does the fact that I need a scale, but ain't that little coffee maker/dripper/white thing with a blue bottle on it... so dang cute? 

3. I will have a master's degree! Do you all remember that that's the reason why I'm even living in the state of California? Grad school? International Education Management? 16 classes in 8 months? Bueller? Bueller?

Quinn Bolander, MA [Is that how it's written? I should probably know this.]


Not really. Still have to wait & do homework for at least 8 more months.

Either way. MASTA.

4. I can finally go on runs with my dog. Excuse me. Jerrod and I's dog. It is definitely not MY dog. I wouldn't know what to do with a dog on my own. Thank goodness Jerrod got the dog training gene. 
 OH MY DAWG isn't this picture so precious because he was so TEENSY. Also, we were running!

5. I can plant my own mini succulent gardens. Central CA is literally covered in succulents. I LOVE THIS. My mom and I are going to do some mini gardening (note that I said mini) together this summer. Hooray. Here are some inspiration mini gardens:

This is a bit too intense for me, but pretty nonetheless. 

& I can't source this because I got it on tumblr where people steal pictures & don't source them. Hmph.

Apparently you can order succulents from West Elm. BABIEEEES. 

6. I can listen to this song OVER and OVER and OVER. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, you have my heart. Sorry, Jerrod (maybe you should learn to sing this song...)

Press play. Do it. NOW. 

And when it's finished, watch the video that goes with the song. 

7. I can take more pictures. Simple as that.

film, digital, iphone. gonna shoot 'em all.

8. I can eat food out of these uber beautiful bowls that my friend Abby threw for me. Threw? Gail, is that even the right word? SHE MADE THEM. And carved Samoan designs into them. So dang thankful for her and our  friendship.

Bring on the ice cream and cereal all summa long. Heck, all life long.
Thank you Abby. I love them so much.

9. I can & will wear the heck out of the Birkenstock sandals that I found at a thrift shop this past weekend. Never worn. Brand spankin' new. HOLY BAGEEZ. I've wanted a pair for YEARS but have never felt like paying $100 for them. Wanna know how much I got these puppies for? $27! TWENTY SEVEN FLIPPIN DOLLARS. 

10. I will get over my disgust of certain things this year. I WILL! BBQ sauce & hot sauce have been conquered. Pickles might take a while. Possibly mustard. Probably not garlic but maybe. Definitely not bleu cheese. Avocados on their own - doubt it 'cause gag. Olives in more dishes - yes. Who am I? Why do I not eat these things? IDKKK. This has been weird.

11. I must spend some weekends camping. I really love it. My family always camped when I was younger. There's just something about setting up a tent, cooking up some good grub over a fire, and crawling into a poofy mummy bag. 

Oh, tent. Where will we set you up next?

Because every campsite & fire for those 21 and over should have icy cold PBR. And also brats and Wavy Lays. 

12. I will buy myself some nice pillows. Right now I'm sleeping on two pillows that were each purchased for $5 (grad school probs) and  this was literally the worst decision I have ever made. Hashtag quinn fail

13. I will watch Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Scandal, and all the other TV shows that people are addicted to that I have never seen. I turn on a TV like once every other month so gosh dang it when it's thunderstorming or hot as fudge this summer and fall, I will give in and sit on the couch with my handthrown (?) Samoan carved bowl from Abby that will be filled with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Oh, that sounds so nice right now.

And if you are wondering why I haven't watched GoT yet, it's because I REALLY want to read the books so...

14. Read the Game of Thrones books [at least the first two before I start watching the first season of the TV show]. I started reading the first one when I was in American Samoa but I didn't have enough time to read normal books because I was too busy teaching kids and taking pictures of all the kinds of MEAT you can find in AmSam grocery stores. It was a hard life.

15. I will give lots of hugs.

16. I will go on a flavored water binge. Why would you want to drink plain water when you can drink water with these additions & combinations: 50 Awesome Flavored Waters - 52 Kitchen Adventures [new goal: make every single one!]

17. I will try to spend as much time as I possibly can outside. I unfortunately have spent so much of my time in CA cooped up inside & behind a computer (grad school probs) that I want to make up for it by getting some much needed fresh air. Also, thanks to now being a dog owner, I will have instant motivation by just seeing his cute face.

18. Can someone teach me how to make & bake bread? (Mom?) I'd also like to make cinnamon rolls. I understand that all of these things involve using yeast. If anyone out there in the blogosphere is really good at making these two things and is willing to help me, I'd appreciate it. (Mom?!)

19. Make my own Oreo hacks. For all you Oreo lovers, you have to start following their tumblr: Oreo They post videos of people making awesome foods with Oreos - foods you would not normally think would go well with Oreos. Also, drool. I really want an Oreo now. Would you like me to say Oreo one more time? Oreo.

20. Probably never watch this video again: 

I don't really know why this was created. Was it meant to be art? 
What I don't understand is why anyone would want to waste a perfectly good brownie sundae and pour it on a bearded man's head.

21. I will move somewhere new. I have no idea where that will be, but it is an absolute guarantee. 

22. I will print more pictures, make more crafts, and send more cards.

23. Getting my groove thing on will be happening soon...Jerrod and I have a few weddings to go to this summer and fall! There's nothing quite as fun as celebrating love!

24. This will be happening:

25. I will go fishing with Connor and Jerrod. Last summer's fishing adventure was enough to make me want to go again. 

26. I will hug my parents. A lot. Words can't express how thankful I am to have them in my life and for all that they have taught me. They brought me into this world 26 years ago, and it's been an amazing 26 years so far. Thanks, Mom and Dad for supporting me, loving me, laughing at and with me, and for guiding me toward the life I want to live. Looking forward to giving you the first of many hugs in 23 days.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday: Ten

Hi. Happy Monday. I, once again, do not have any random scoop for you, but I do have a recap from two weekends ago when I spent a few days in Redwood City with my good friends Libby and Jack!

In picture form ('cause this girl ain't got no time to write an actual post):

The night started at Milagro's, a super delicious, Latin American themed restaurant. Margaritas and tacos and two of my best friends? All I needed on this day. My tacos were INSANE! I had a BBQ TACO which had: roasted carnitas | pulled pork carnitas, chipotle aioli, bbq sauce, salsa fresca + queso fresco = UM HI DELICIOUS. I also had a TROPICAL TACO which had: mahi mahi| flash fried or spiced pan seared fresh mahi mahi, mango salsa + chipotle aioli = swoon. I wanted to put my face in a bucket of the mango salsa.

I know, I know. The colors. AMAZING.

As you can see in the above pictures, Libby made us the most epic Sangria of all time. I'm pretty sure there was more fruit than anything else, but dang. I was all "oh i'm a food photographer let me take pictures." Do they look good? I'm a newbie. Also, the Young's kitchen is gorgeous.

The actual drinking of the Sangria took place on the Stanford University campus. Rebels. Libby gave me a tour - she got her master's degree there and graduated in 2013. I'm proud of her!

And because every single picture we took together was with drinks, here's another one:

It was the best day. The best weekend, actually.

Other festivities included the following things:
Cupcakes from Sprinkles

Finally got my hands on a Blue Bottle Coffee NO Iced Coffee carton! For the cute! Also, refreshing.

Not the best food photography, but that is a burger with bacon and macaroni & cheese on top.
Did I eat that?
Damn straight.
I ate it. And it was jaw-dropping.

Sorry for all the food posts. It was a really great weekend with two of my favorite people - lots of time spent in the sun, in restaurants (clearly), and playing with their new cat, Oskar. I'm thankful for having them so close to me & will miss them when I go wherever I'm going next.

I hope you all had a relaxing Easter with your family and friends. Have a great week and I'll see ya next Monday!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday: Nine

Hi. Happy Monday Tuesday. I understand that I missed my random blog post yesterday:

hashtag grad school probs

seriously. grad school problems = 5 million assignments, job searching, exhaustion, all the chocolate & coffee & cheese, and losing my mind.

hashtag fun
hashtag someone bring me cake

Anywho. Here's what I was up to a few weekends ago (cause I really don't want to bore you with more grad school probs or fake hashtags).

My friend Abby came to visit! Anytime the two of us are together is a great time. Abby loves to hike. Abby loves to eat. Abby loves to laugh. Abby loves to do ALL THE THINGS I LOVE TO DO! Perfect friendship. We had a blast. I ran after her car when she left (hashtag not).

Because hanging out in bathtubs in the wilderness is not something most people have done.

From where we stood

We went hiking in Garrapata State Park & it was gorgeous - it drizzled a bit but was mostly cloudy (which always brings out the colors!)

This would not be a good place to trip on a rock. 

Hiking selfie

This is where we stopped for our picnic - not too shabby

I look at this picture and can't believe I am leaving California soon. It's so dang beautiful.

The trek up to this spot wasn't easy, but it was so worth it.

A reward for hiking was this gigantic slice (this picture does not do it justice - it was huge) of Peanut Butter Cup cake from Rosine's. I'll let you decide if we ate it all in one sitting or not.

We had a mini AmSam reunion with Drew. We of course went to a island themed restaurant and it was delicious in every way. These two really make life fun. So happy we are friends!

We had a picnic on the beach in Carmel, complete with three different cheeses from The Cheese Shop

I'm lucky to spend almost a year of my life here [not the beach, sillies, but you know what I mean...maybe]

Until next time, Gail!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday: Eight

Hi. Happy Monday. Here's the random scoop:

It's always weird for me when I see someone else named Quinn, even as a last name. I hold my name really close to me (saying this put that Sting song "don't stand so...don't stand so close to meeee" in my head//not comparable at all but ya know, it's Monday) because it is so unique and seeing someone else with it is always a little bit of a shock. I recently discovered a singer from the UK named 'Quinn Archer.' How bad ass is that name? Pretty dang bad ass. She has a great voice too. Take a listen:

So I found my dream kitchen. Click here: Avocado Sweets and then choose Stoke Newington Apartment (it's the first box under the word Portfolio). The first two pictures that come up are of the kitchen..the rest of the apartment is a bit too eclectic for me. The colorful lamps, the brick walls, the wooden island and other pieces, I swooooon. Also, the natural light. One thing I've learned about living in California is that natural light is everything to me. I need it, I crave it, I want it.

Samoan Connections
So when I studied in New Zealand, I lived on the international floor in my dorm. I had five or six neighbors who were from Samoa (not American Samoa - there is a difference), and to this day, I still remain friends with all of them. Thank goodness for facebook. There are days I hate it, days I want to delete it, and days that it annoys the heck out of me, but there are also days that I am so grateful to know that I have an instant connection with so many friends around the world. Anywho, one of my friends, Sana, was recently crowned Miss Samoa! Yeah! So proud of her! She's stunningly gorgeous and is now even more famous because she made it into this commercial for BlueSky (a Samoan cell phone service). She is not the girl on the date, but is the one who is talking about BlueSky in Samoan. Watching this will also give you a little preview of the language! BlueSky Samoa


Photo source & recipe found here: The March Salad

Does anyone else think this looks amazingly delicious? Lately, I've been really into salads. I've never been a salad person - romaine lettuce by itself has always been boring to me and spinach by itself has always tasted a bit odd. I've also never liked the time it takes to chop up all the vegetables. [Yeah, I know. Hard life.] A few weeks before spring break, I met a friend for lunch at a cafe in Monterey and I randomly ordered a Mediterranean salad and holy olives was it good (and I don't normally even like olives!). Ever since then, I've been on an intense salad kick. Mixed greens have become my perfect lettuce bed. Also, why did it take me so long to realize how amazing balsamic vinaigrette is? Chopping up veggies is exciting now because I know it will be worth it. This has become a very long paragraph about salads. Who am I? I don't know. Also, mangoes. MANGOES. Addicted. I can't stop and I won't stop. Also, I'm trying really hard to eat things with more flavor. I really hate most condiments and spices of all kinds and like my food plain and boring. My new goal is to get over that silly way of eating. Bring on the flava. I'm done.


"That thing that you do, after your day job, in your free time, too early in the morning, too late at night. That thing you read about, write about, think about, in fact fantasize about. That thing you do when you’re all alone and there’s no one to impress, nothing to prove, no money to be made, simply a passion to pursue. That’s it. That’s your thing. That’s your heart, your guide. That’s the thing you must, must do."

I read this* and immediately thought: food/life blogger who posts everyday. Sigh. Someday. ....this is a perfect transition into...
*After reading this again a few days later, I realized that it may seem a bit odd that I would think about food blogging 24 hours a day. NOT ONE BIT, PEEPS.

An Addiction:
Because apparently all I think about is food blogs, here's a new one for ya: Sally's Baking Addiction. This blog is all things chocolate, dessert, and sometimes healthy. I made these yesterday and holy delicious:

They are: Sally's Skinny Double Chocolate Muffins and even though I love butter, I couldn't help but try them because they have yogurt, applesauce, and honey instead of butter and oil. And whole wheat flour! If you haven't tried whole wheat flour before, it's a bit of a different taste than all-purpose flour. I like it. Either way, these are the perfect snack (I froze all mine so I wouldn't eat them in 2 days).

This really isn't that funny, but it made me laugh when I saw it at 10:25 last Tuesday night. Must have been overly tired.  Beer + Cats

What x2:
So, American Samoa has been hit by a Pink Eye epidemic. I'm talking an island-wide outbreak. Thousands of people have got it and they even shut down all the public schools. Every other thing on facebook is, 'pink eye this,' 'pink eye that.' Oh-my-gross. Samoan's idea of hygiene is a little bit different than mine. They share everything - phones, food, clothes, jewelry, etc., therefore they are touching everything. Student's didn't even have soap in the bathrooms at my high school (um hi. WHY NOT.), which of course meant there was no hand sanitizer either. I don't even want to know how freaked out everyone must be there. Grosssssssss. What I can't get enough of is seeing this image on my facebook dash. I just die. Everydangtime.

Photo: LOL! Fuhreals tho' #repost #pinkeye