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birthday celebrations

It was my birthday last week, which is slightly bittersweet because it means that I now officially have to pay for my own health insurance (nooooo!!!). Parting is such sweet sorrow. :[! However, I have pretty much the coolest friends ever, so…three birthday celebrations later, I am finally actually writing about it. :O

On the actual day of, we had plans to go to the Chinese buffet in town because it was right after Easter and my friend was craving General Tso’s chicken (she gave up meat for Lent). Monika and Hira were about two steps from getting me a gift card to Kroger for my birthday (yes, such is my love for food and grocery-shopping), but decided instead to get me a curling iron for my “future cosmetic endeavors.” (They reasoned that I was much more likely to buy myself food vs. a curling iron, and they are indeed correct.) Mayhaps I can finally start learning how to do all of these hairstyles! <3 It’d be a great improvement from my current state (…I rarely comb my hair).

Andrea made me a strawberry mango cake!

On Friday, the gang (our band) and I were going to head to Stardust Cafe, a farm to table restaurant that’s probably one of my favorite eateries here…but we neglected to remember that it was Friday and that reservations might have been a good idea. (Oops.) We tried Food & Friends, but the wait was equally as long and we were all hungry, so I suggested we go to When Pigs Fly, which was not downtown and thus, less likely to not have a wait. It’s another one of my favorite restaurants in town because the owners are super friendly and welcoming, and they have awesome portions. And pulled chicken. PULLED CHICKEN. <3 (Every other place on earth seems to serve just pulled pork, which I cannot consume, hence my enthusiasm.) When they heard that we were out to celebrate my birthday, they asked if I wanted them to sing for me, while including as an aside that I probably would not want to hear it because they couldn’t sing very well.

: How ’bout this? Why don’t we give you free ice cream instead? That’ll be better for your ears anyway.
F: Deal! :O!

(They have homemade ice cream that I’ve been meaning to try.) It was hard to decide on a flavor. I sampled the black raspberry, blueberry pomegranate, orange cream and strawberry cheesecake and they were all equally amazing. *-* After dinner, we went back to our respective study hovels and I eventually returned to what I refer to as my crazy kids (aka the 80-ish cats at the shelter). I completely embrace the term, “crazy cat lady.” I’m fast headed in that direction and very much love it here. :]

Sarge’s progression from the bed to my butt. (“Well, your butt does have its own orbit…”)

This is how I lure the army of cats in at night so I can close the doors and prevent them from run-ins with the heartlessly cruel neighbor/getting eaten by coyotes.

The next morning, I got in some studying before running off to church. (I’m the pianist about 50% of the time.)

An obligatory picture of my church meal! They are amazing cooks. :x

I disappeared back into the catacombs to stuff in 5 lectures so that I could actually enjoy myself later on. My pastor invited a bunch of people over to his place to have a birthday party for me. :O!

Two types of fried rice (and not questionably reheated, so there were no traces of B. cereus!) + a vegetarian sushi roll! I probably had 6 plates because I have issues with moderation.

Jennifer made me an amazingly delicious chocolate cake with shredded coconut and pecans. We ate it with sliced bananas. <3

We improvised with the candle because the guys neglected to check their text messages when they went to Wally World and I insisted that they stay and not go back out to get one.

I was even serenaded by a quartet! This required three takes. Ronald got my name right on the third try, hahaha.

Someone’s prom is this coming weekend and my friend is helping her with the hair, so I was the guinea pig model for a waterfall braid. :D I need to learn to do this. And possibly also change my part every now and then.

I hadn’t played Settlers since grad school. We used to gather every weekend at someone’s house and play until we hated each other (for serious, this game gets pretty personal and breaks up friendships like no other–except Munchkin, which may well be the ultimate game of backstabbery). In spring semester, it got to the point where we actually brought the game to school to play during our study breaks.

I managed to win, but just barely! If Jennifer had not traded a card with me, she would’ve won right after my turn.

I’m the blue! :D They called my road the “Great Wall of China.” hah.

I’m really going to miss all the friends I made here. Here’s to hoping I pass my boards + get my schedule soon so I can plan out when I can come back to visit. >_>

Follies 2014

I am officially done with all performance-related events for the year and can retire to my study hibernation! :O We managed to raise $3k for the club and for the Family Refuge Center! :] The Follies Bake Sale went really well too (the red velvet s’mores bars I made got cleaned out! :O )

The Vagal Tones! :D (I’m the space in between, hence the lack of letter [just in case you were wondering.])

Dress rehearsal was goin’ well.

My attempt at being artsy during dress rehearsal. :O

The Vagal Tones has opened for U2 (yes, you two sitting up there in the front) and graciously decided to halt their world tour in order to come perform in the coolest small town in the United States. Don’t feel too bad though, because their next intended destination, North Korea, banned them from appearing anyway for being too cool. The Vagal Tones are living out their rock star fantasies with this med school band. When they’re not saving babies and curing cancer, they like to wind down with a little music.

Bollywood Fusion!

When Farrah isn’t studying in a basement cell, being roped into every club activity or event known to mankind, cooking and/or eating every edible substance on sight, or volunteering at animal shelters, she likes to remind herself that once upon a time, she was somehow a music performance major. She will be playing (aka attempting not to butcher) Franz Liszt’s third concert etude, “Un Sospiro.”

An ‘aparima literally means “the kiss of hands,” and is a type of dance from the Tahitian and Cook islands that tells a story set to music and mimed by hand gestures. Ti Ti Raina will be performed tonight by the “Hulagans.”

Last year’s Follies!

International Festival 2014

We managed to raise even more than last year’s international festival! $5000 from the auctions alone! Auctioning off one of our male professors for board review sessions sparked an all-out war between two groups of girls (he has many female admirers). He went for $800. Twas an awesome idea and I’m super happy for the club. :D

We also auctioned off a dinner with one of our really attractive female professors, but since guys are hella cheap, that went for $150. $5k pays for 1/2 the amount of medications and supplies that we’d like to bring with us on the trip, so if anyone has anything they can spare…

Please donate here!

(Every bit helps!)

For the occasion, I made three different dishes to represent 3 different countries (from right to  left).

They were all rather well-received and I ran out of food pretty quickly, although not quickly enough to be able to sample all the food from everyone else (sigh!).

Our Hula/Tahitian performance was right after the dinner/auction, so I just changed in advance.

As the Mr. WVSOM coaches, we grabbed an auction number so we could rack up the price on the carwash/BBQ package they were being auctioned off for. They went for $150.

Our fashion show cast. :o

Our Hula/Tahitian group! :]

(The tutorial for the belts can be found here!)

Bollywood Fusion group!

I’m waiting on the pictures taken by the photographer so I can add to my stash of “pictures where I’m not eating.” (That’s mainly all she has of me.)

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

The last of the series for what we made over the weekend! Fear not, because we have a couple more meals planned. I set up a Google doc and everything. :O So far, we have plans to make gluten-free fig & goat cheese pizza, a spinach cranberry salad, gluten-free cornbread (my friend is on an elimination diet), some kind of unique chili, and pear cranberry ginger snap crumble. :D!

Recipe adapted from here!

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:
-1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled + cut into chunks
-3 tbsp butter
-3/4 cup soy milk
-1 1/2 tsp wasabi paste (or more to taste)
-sea salt
-freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
1) Place potatoes in a large pot + cover with cold water. Add a little salt + bring them to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium + simmer until potatoes are tender (15-20 min).
2) Drain, then return to pan for 1-2 minutes to dry any retained moisture.
3) While potatoes cook, heat the butter + milk in a microwave until butter melts. Whisk in wasabi paste.
4) Add butter mixture to potatoes and mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Add salt, pepper, wasabi paste to taste.

Monika did a fishtail braid on me! I need to learn how to do something other than a low ponytail, so I may start with this.

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

Continued from our hangout the other night! We didn’t broil this because we’ve uh, never broiled anything before. (I’ve broiled grapefruit before, but I was really paranoid about messing up the fish, so we decided to bake it.) Recipe was adapted from here! Next time, we’ll try actually broiling it.

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

Ingredients:
-1 1/2 lbs raw salmon
-1/4 cup EVOO
-2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
-2 tbsp rice vinegar
-2 tbsp brown sugar
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
-1/4 cup honey
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1-2 tbsp white sesame seeds

Instructions:
1) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2) Combine EVOO, sesame oil, rice vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce and ginger in a small bowl. Whisk well. Add garlic and pour liquid in a ziploc bag. Add salmon, making sure that it’s covered in marinade + refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3) Heat oven to 425 and bake until salmon is almost at its desired done-ness (flaky and cooked through!). Add sesame seeds and bake for another 5 minutes.

Here’s a picture of the meal I had at church over the weekend, just for kicks!