Friday, April 18, 2014

Currently...

^^^Can't wait to share with you pics from an awesome park I went to last weekend! Until then, here's a lil sneak peak :)

feeling// a bit more balanced. I usually blog M,W,F but I skipped blogging on Wednesday to handle a few real life priorities and I'm so glad I did... This might happen again next week fyi.
eating// vegetables... lots and lots of vegetables. And I've also been trying to moderate how much bread I eat. My stools are sooo smooth haha.
drinking// water & hot water with lemon juice and honey. I ran out of my favorite tea this past weekend and this concoction is my favorite alternative.
practicing// time management. I have the 1st draft for my arts seminar class final paper done and have all my financial statements together to analyze for my non-profit finance class's final paper and get this... The papers aren't due for another TWO WEEKS! This is such an accomplishment for me because I'm always writing papers the night before it's due lol but not really lol..
mastering// the art of doing nothing and enjoying it. I thrive on being busy but sometimes, not doing anything can be just as satisfying. I feel like I can finally hear the thoughts in my head more clearly.
learning// that my dreams and goals are absolutely attainable but the timelines I give myself to accomplish them are sometimes not. Delayed gratification can be such a biotch but many of the things I want to accomplish are going to take a bit longer than I had anticipated. I just need to deal with the realities of each circumstance as they come. Patience is key. Breathing and staying focused are even more key.
finishing// up the laundry that needs to be done. Correction: NOT finishing up the laundry that needs to be done... I've had a pile of clean clothes sitting on my couch for the past 2 days and it doesn't bother me what so ever. I'm determined not to touch them and hope that Charles will get message that he needs to get to folding ;)
reading// textbooks... lots and lots of required classroom reading each week (like 2 new books to read every week ugh). I haven't read an actual novel in such a long time! I can't wait for classes to be over so I can use the summer to get caught up on some much needed leisurely reading. Send your book recommendations my way please!
listening// to Chuck Inglish's new album and digging the super laid back hip hop vibe. Perfect for cruising around in the car on a hot summer day... What's mind boggling is that he doesn't have his own website that I can link to on the blog. But he does have a Facebook page..
contemplating// cutting my hair... like really, really short. My hair grows fast, it's already down to my back since I last time cut it.
lusting// after this bikini. Yeap, just gotta keep on working out.. #motivation
wearing// shades of grey, black, and white. Time to infuse more color into my wardrobe as the weather warms up.
cooking// nothing. This girl hasn't cooked or baked anything in 6 days O_O. Totally fell off the crockpot wagon this past week. (been eating salads, cereal, avocado and eggs... do cooking eggs count?)
loving// Charles... He's been so supportive and patient with me as I go through crazy mood swings while trying to juggle everything I'm doing. Thank you boo. Spring semester is done in 4 weeks and after that, I'm all yours <3
working// out. I've been getting up every morning at 5:30 to get my daily workout in and I'm finally getting into the rhythm of things. Europe is less than 4 months away! Gotta get this body right! 
wanting// you to join me next Friday, April 25th at 9:00am EST for another monthly round of The #ResidentTourist Link Up! Not sure what the hell I'm talking about? Well you can read my post about the link up here. With that said, make sure to get out this weekend and explore your area if you haven't done so already! I love reading about far away places from the perspective of people who live there and can't wait to read about all about your local adventures :)


Hope You Have A Great Weekend!!!


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Monday, April 14, 2014

B-Day Recap According To My Blurry iPhone Pics


Hey Guys! Hope you don't mind if I go back to my 'blog roots' for today's post. When I started blogging, I only had my iPhone and didn't put as much pressure on myself to post photos that were good quality according to 'blog standards.' Nowadays, I have my DSLR and focus more on developing the content I share here on Quaintrelle but today... Today I thought I'd do a little b-day recap using the pics I took on my phone (and my friends' phones) because I didn't bring my Canon along for the celebration. I was more focused on living in the moment; not making sure my pictures looked nice haha. So without much ado, I present to you: The (Unedited) B-Day Recap..


Friday was like any other Friday in the sense that I went to work and didn't tell anyone it was my birthday. But then Charles had to ruin my 'incognito status' by surprising me at the office with cake and flowers. So then all my co-workers were mad at me (in a joking manner) because I didn't tell them it was my birthday. Thanks Charles. But I think the best part about Charles's surprise was that my name was spelled wrong on the cake! Oh, I wish you could've seen Charles's face when I called him out on it haha. He swore up and down that he wrote my name down a sheet of paper and that he even made the cake lady at Safeway rewrite my name down to make sure it was spelled correctly. But alas, his efforts were for naught because miss cake lady didn't follow through. It's all good though. I've come to terms with the fact that I just have one of those names that will always be miss-spelled or pronounced forever and ever. But it was fun to tease Charles about it... He's so cute when he gets all flustered.


Throughout the day, I received so many wonderful messages via text, email and Facebook from friends & family wishing me a happy birthday! But I think my best friend, Durell, took the cake by sending me his rendition of the happy birthday song! Not only can the man out dance and leap other dancers but this man can sannnnnnng! He sings for the Brooklyn Tabernacle so if you're in NYC, I recommend attending a Sunday service just to hear the choir sing. Love you boo :)



After work, Charles and I headed home, got dressed and made our way out into D.C. We got stuck in traffic along the way but the radio station helped us get through it. An hour and a half later, we finally made it to Stadium Nightclub. I don't have many photos from our time here which is only right since I'm sure you guys aren't really interested in looking at photos of naked skrippas ;)

^^^Drunken Lazy Eye, Hennessy Dragon

After making it rain, we decided to go find a karaoke place and test out our tipsy vocals. Somewhere along the way, Charles and I had a mini photo shoot? (Thanks for sending me these pics Thomas!) We eventually found ourselves at Sobe Seafood in Clarendon and had a ball singing our asses off. I don't know about you but karaoke is always a good time. I can't really sing but with the help of liquid courage, anything is possible haha. Insert my grammy award performance of "Lovefool" by The Cardigans below.

Birthday Outfit Details
Dress (Old Navy-Exact) Sandals (Forever 21-Similar) Purse (Rowallan) Necklace (Gifted-Similar)
^^ I was channeling Selena Gomez, hence on the weird hand gestures.

We spent the rest of the night at Sobe, singing all our favorite songs until the club shut down which is when we promptly headed next door to grab some pizza and where my friend, J.C., decided he was the incredible hulk and began bench pressing Thomas and Charles. This is where things started getting a little fuzzy and I magically found myself at home an hour later being tucked into bed by Charles. 

 ^^^Boys...

I woke up Saturday morning feeling blah but pretty proud of the fact that I had stayed out until 4 in the morning! Woooo I haven't stayed out that late in a long while! It made me feel like I was 21 again (for about 30 seconds). Charles and I headed out to Lmya's picnic at an ah-mazing park in Northern VA (dslr photos to come from our time there soon). After the picnic, we made our way to Charles's brother's place for some quality family time which is when my sister-in-law, Crystal, surprised me with a ladies outing to get our toes did! Hello pedicure!!!

^^^ Foot Fetish People: Eat Your Heart Out..

Sunday was spent with my family at Bayou in D.C. where we ate the most delicious cajun food and I was surprised with the most decadent brownie sundae! Annnnd that pretty much sums up my birthday weekend in a nutshell... I am so happy to have been able to celebrate my 27th birthday with my friends and family and Charles. :)


I'll be keeping a low profile on the blog this month so posts will be bit sporadic (why does this always happen when I sponsor other blogs?). With the Spring semester of grad school coming to a close, I have so many papers to write and presentations to prepare for. But don't worry, The #ResidentTourist Link Up will still be going down on Friday, April 25th so make sure you get out there and explore your locale! Outside of work and school, you can find me at the gym trying to sweat out the bloated beer belly I seem to have developed over this past weekend. And as usual, I'll be watching episodes on The Food Network to get me through 30 min. of interval training on the elliptical :)



Hope You Have A Great Week & Thank You For All Your Birthday Wishes Last Friday!!!


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Friday, April 11, 2014

What's The 411? It's My Birthday :)

^^ It's my birthday, I can cry if I want to... #babysetarra #tinyterror

Oh yes, I am repeating the same title for today's post as I did for my birthday post last year. I think I'm gonna make it a blog tradition haha. Anyways, today my friends... Today I turn 27. Today my mommy ma will call me at exactly 10:17am to say like she does every year, "At this very moment, you were born and you were the cutest little baby ever. I loved you immediately." Every birthday, I look forward to that call. It always makes me emotional in the best way possible. 


On this day last year, I was living in NYC. Charles was technically my boyfriend and we were loving long distance. Today, I'm living in Northern VA working on getting my Masters in Arts Management. Charles is now my fiancé and we're living together. So much has changed in just one year and today we will finally get to celebrate my birthday together for the first time in who knows how long.


Today I will go to Stadium Nightclub after work to celebrate my birthday with my friends because that's just what we do. (make it rain on dat ass!). Today, I will be bombarded with requests to take birthday shots and because it's my birthday, I will take them like the champ I'm not haha. 


Today is Friday and my birthday almost never falls on a Friday. So because of that, I feel like today will be an extra special day. Wanna follow along in the birthday festivities this weekend? Instagram is probably your best bet.. Sorry I'm not sorry if I overload your feed with crazy shenanigans haha!


It is proven that the celebration of birthdays is healthy. 
Statistics show that those people who celebrate the most birthdays live the longest...
^^ My favorite-est birthday quote ever ;)




HAPPY HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!!!


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Friday, April 4, 2014

A List For Life As Of Lately...



1) While at the grocery store this past weekend, I spotted the Washingtonian's "Foodie" edition on the stands and promptly added it to my basket. When I got home, I mentally ate my way through each page while making note of different places in the DMV that I want to check out in the future. Near the top of my list is making a trip to the Bayou Bakery in Arlington to try their "Oreo-like-Dat-O" cookie... You know, because I gotta see for myself if it's really like Dat because it definitely looks like Dat from the photo below! Mmmmmm can't wait!


2) Speaking of food, I have my first day of training tomorrow for my part time food job! I really want to tell you guys what I'll be doing but... I don't want to jinx anything. Soooooo you'll just have to wait until my training is done before I can reveal the news hehehe! (<-- evil witch cackle)


3) Charles and I have done a great job with not eating out these past couple of weeks and much of our success is due to finally making use of our crockpot! We got the crockpot as a gift for Christmas but only started using the damn thing this past March. Each week, we make 2 crockpot meals and because the portions are so huge, we end up having enough food for dinner, lunch the next day and lunch the day after that (we don't eat leftovers for dinner the next day). This means that we haven't been spending money to buy lunch at our jobs like we usually do which means we're saving money. Crockpot portions for the win! I've fallen in love with how convenient it is to dump the ingredients in the pot, go to work and come home to a ready meal. It's ah-mazing! 


4) I'm just now realizing that I never mentioned on the blog that Charles and I booked our flights to France a couple weeks ago! Yep, this trip is reallllly happening! Unfortunately after much discussion, we will not be traveling to Iceland afterwards like we had originally planned. Buuuuuuuuuuuut all is not lost because instead (drumroll please), we will be traveling to Amsterdam and Barcelona after Clem and Jason's wedding in France! And that's that! No going back now! As such, I'll be dreaming away until July about nibbling on macarons while sipping on wine in public at a parc in Paris, trying out the broodje poms while bike riding around Amsterdam and drowning myself in sangria with a little paella on the side while in Barcelona. Watch out Europe! My name is Setarra and I want to eat you! I'm soooo serious too...


5) With our trip to Europe only 4 months away and my obvious desire to gain at least 20 pounds from eating everything while there, I am buckling down on my diet and workout plan because I am determined... Determined to get my body to a place where I will feel comfortable enough to wear a Brazilian bikini while on the beach in Barcelona. You heard me right... Operation Brazilian Butt Cheeks is now in motion! 4 months... I can totally get my body as fit as it can be in 4 months. Dimples be gone!


6) This has absolutely nothing to do with food or Europe but... Before I head off to enjoy the wonderful weather this weekend, I want to say THANK YOU. It's not everyday that I'm given the opportunity to use my blog as a platform to give back by raising awareness for some great causes... And the response I received over these past two weeks for my "giving back" posts filled me to the brim with positive energy. From receiving emails and text messages from friends letting me know they had bought a t-shirt, to the comments I received on each post... It's an awesome feeling to know that I'm helping to make a difference and that you, my readers and many of whom I consider friends, want to make a difference too! Like attracts like, right? And to think, my motivation to give back and volunteer more this year all came from one random act of Christmas kindness. I can only hope that just as I was inspired by someone else's generosity to give back, you'll find inspiration to look within your community or online for ways to give back to causes that resonate with you. Reciprocity  is the name of this game and I hope you'll do your part by passing it forward :) 

On that note, I leave you with a jam that's been on repeat all week. I've been following Yuna's musical journey since 2011 and it makes me happy that she's finally getting some well deserved recognition with her latest album. Now if only she'd come and do a show in D.C... (crossing my fingers) 


Happy Happy Friday!




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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Outfitted For World Autism Awareness Day

^^^ How I Styled My Sevenly + Autism Speaks 'Light It Up Blue' Shirt: Found Here

Hi Guys! Just as I shared with you a cause that was near and dear to my heart last week, I wanted to  highlight a cause this week that is near and dear to one of my IRL (in real life) friend's heart. Today is World Autism Awareness Day and I have my girl, Lmya, on the blog today to speak with you about this week's Sevenly + Autism Speaks campaign! We linked up this past weekend, did a photoshoot in the rain and I had Lmya shine some light on her work with autism :)


Hi Lmya! First off, thank you so much for joining me on this week's Sevenly + Autism Speaks campaign! Secondly, could you share with my readers a little peek into the work you do professionally?

Thanks for having me, Tootie! I currently work in an Autism program at a non-public as an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) instructor. The mission of our program is to provide individuals with autism and their families improved quality of life by helping each student achieve his or her full potential. We do this through individualized student-focused programming using research-based procedures. Additionally, the program maintains a strong commitment to the advancement of research in the education and treatment of individuals with autism and within the field of Applied Behavior Analysis.


How has working with individuals with autism impacted you?
Can I just gush a bit about how I ADORE this population? I have worked with this population for the last 7 years with my experiences ranging from work with toddlers to post-secondary young adults. I cannot even begin to describe the multitude of lessons my students have taught me throughout the years. My students have taught me the simple joys in life. They have taught me how wonderfully healing a genuine hug can be. They make me envious of their abilities to see the beauty in colors and lights like no one else. My students are resilient, perseverative and brilliant. They come up with the ultimate life hacks (ask any parent of a child with autism and they will tell you just how that child perfectly negotiates their environment).  My students are the reason why I go to work every morning. They challenge me day in and day out and make me a better person. As a teacher, nothing compares to the feeling of pure elation and accomplishment than when a child who once use to have hour long tantrums now uses functional communication to request more time on the computer. Or when a teenager who at the beginning of the year use to have an average of 3 word utterances per sentence now has 6 to 7 utterances per sentence. 
My students show me things about our society. Chew on this for a sec: we all experience life very differently, Am I right? The society we grow up in dictates to us how to "appropriately" cope with our life experiences. Throughout our lives, we are conditioned to respond to certain life events in a socially acceptable way. But what if we do not pick up on society's hidden curriculum? What if we don't pick up on the fact that it is not socially appropriate to sneak a whiff of the cashier's coconut pomegranate shampooed locks because it smells so tantalizing? Or that it is not socially appropriate to request squeezes from strangers because they just feel so darn good? Or that it might not be deemed acceptable to laugh hysterically when grandpa comes around because his life lines (i.e. wrinkles) are so wonderfully amusing? How differently would we view autism if autism was not juxtaposed with society’s definition of “appropriateness”?  In no way am I attempting to mitigate the daily plight some individuals with autism struggle to cope with. I work with students who are dangerously self-injurious and aggressive to no fault of their own but think about the senseless battles we pick and expectations we put on individuals with disabilities in an attempt to make them “normal”. Go ahead, I’ll let you think on it….

What is your experience working with Autism Speaks and could you explain a little more in detail about what this organization does?

Autism Speaks is an advocacy organization “dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.”  Autismspeaks.org is a wonderful site that I refer anyone interested in learning about autism. They’ve got some great stuff on there! They have articles on the latest autism research, tool kits dealing with an assortment of issues from toileting to going out to eat, local resource guides for individual states, etc.  I personally attend the Autism Speaks’ annual Walk Now For Autism. Additionally, some of my high school students work at Autism Speaks learning vocational skills for future employment.


And lastly, why is it so important to shine a light on Autism?

As of March 27th, 2014, the CDC released new data on the prevalence of autism. 1 in 68 children in the US are affected by autism. 1 in 48 are boys. To date, we do not know the cause of autism. The numbers are staggering. If for simply being a bit more sympathetic and patient when a kid is having a hard time at your local grocery store, please, I urge all your readers to educate themselves on autism
For every item purchased on Sevenly's site this week, Sevenly will donate $7 to Autism Speaks which will go towards providing locating devices that will help keep children with autism safe. The bonus with this week's campaign is that The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund will match Sevenly for each donation! This equates to $14 donated to Autism Speaks in total for every purchase! So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself an awesome shirt like the one I'm wearing right now and help to shine a light on autism! xx, Lmya

To purchase the "Shine A Light On Autism" shirt Lmya is wearing: Click Here.
You can learn more about this week's Sevenly + Autism Speaks campaign Here.


*** Isn't the Lmya the coolest! I feel so lucky to have such an ah-mazing friend who inspires me to continue pursuing work that I'm passionate about :) And why yes, my friends call me Tootie haha... If you've made to the end of this post, I hope you have an awesome Wednesday and remember, No Act Of Kindness Is Ever Too Soon.


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