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A Weekend Getaway

caroline culwell, katherine culwell, monday night brewery, atlanta brewery, life eclectic, blogger, blog

caroline culwell, katherine culwell, monday night brewery, atlanta brewery, life eclectic, blogger, blog

caroline culwell, katherine culwell, monday night brewery, atlanta brewery, life eclectic, blogger, blog

caroline culwell, katherine culwell, monday night brewery, atlanta brewery, life eclectic, blogger, blog

caroline culwell, katherine culwell, monday night brewery, atlanta brewery, life eclectic, blogger, blog

caroline culwell, katherine culwell, monday night brewery, atlanta brewery, life eclectic, blogger, blog

caroline culwell, katherine culwell, monday night brewery, atlanta brewery, life eclectic, blogger, blog

caroline culwell, katherine culwell, monday night brewery, atlanta brewery, life eclectic, blogger, blog

caroline culwell, katherine culwell, monday night brewery, atlanta brewery, life eclectic, blogger, blog

Last week was spring break and I spent the first weekend on a fun getaway to visit my sister Katherine in Atlanta! We had not seen each other in a long time so this visit was way over due. I did not realize how much I had missed her until she picked me up from the MARTA. Once at her adorable apartment we enjoyed some champagne and a yummy charcuterie board! I loved chatting and catching up with Katherine- hearing about her success with work, local Atlanta activities, and new additions in her apartment was so exciting. She had planned an awesome weekend full of brunches, breweries, shopping, and delicious eats! Within the past few years my sisters have settled down in different cool cities so getting the opportunity to go see the new lives they have made for themselves is always inspiring! Family is so important to me, so I try to make a point to go visit them here and there. Nothing recharges me like good quality time with them!

Charcuterie & Cheese Board

My favorite get-togethers are those in which one can eat, drink, and be merry! For me that means no crappy college drinks or last minutes shots. Personally I am a sucker for some good prosecco, some good quality snacks, and stimulating conversation. I have found that parties with charcuterie and cheese boards achieve a more mature and tame type of gathering. So… if that is what you’re aiming for, this little guide should help you effortlessly pull together the perfect charcuterie and cheese board for an exciting little party!

charcuterie 101, charcuterie, charcuterie board, cheese board, party snacks, meat and cheese board, charcuterie and cheese board, appetizer, caroline culwell, life eclectic

Step 1) Make it pretty: As I have stated before, we eat with our eyes. Aesthetics are key… make your charcuterie and cheese board pretty. Basically pick yourself out a nice wooden serving board that is large enough to display your treats, and display them in a way that is appealing to the eye. You will need a cheese knife as well.

charcuterie 101, charcuterie, charcuterie board, cheese board, party snacks, meat and cheese board, charcuterie and cheese board, appetizer, caroline culwell, life eclectic

charcuterie 101, charcuterie, charcuterie board, cheese board, party snacks, meat and cheese board, charcuterie and cheese board, appetizer, caroline culwell, life eclectic

Step 2) Charcuterie: Time to pick the meats that you will be placing on the board. I prefer a simple proscuitto and a peppered salami. I also love a hot soppresatta or any other salami. Typically I like a thinly sliced cured meat that can be easily layered on crackers or breads, and one other thicker meat that carries heavier flavor. You can buy them at most grocery stores, they taste amazing, and are decently priced. When I cut my salami I slice them into cylinder pieces, then I half them to make them more bite-sized. Then I arrange them at one end of the board right next to each other.

charcuterie 101, charcuterie, charcuterie board, cheese board, party snacks, meat and cheese board, charcuterie and cheese board, appetizer, caroline culwell, life eclectic

Step 3) Cheese: I am actually not a cheese fan… honestly, I hate cheese. Crazy I know, so my suggestions are based off of what my cheese-loving family typically puts on their cheese boards. From my observations, I think a nice brie (1 soft cheese), a gouda (1 semi-soft cheese), a blue cheese (maybe a veined cheese), or a parmesan (1 hard cheese). If you’re wanting to keep it simple, I’d go with one soft cheese (brie) and one hard (parmesan).

charcuterie 101, charcuterie, charcuterie board, cheese board, party snacks, meat and cheese board, charcuterie and cheese board, appetizer, caroline culwell, life eclectic

Step 4) Bread or Crackers: When it comes to charcuterie and cheeses you will need something that helps you get your treats from the tray to your mouth in a socially acceptable manner! Since the meats and cheeses already carry a dominant flavor, it is important to use a bland bread or cracker to not compromise the integrity of the charcuterie and cheese flavors. I really enjoy sliced french bread that is lightly coated with olive oil and grilled for crunchiness. Pam olive oil spray makes works very well for this. Otherwise Carr’s water crackers are perfect.

charcuterie 101, charcuterie, charcuterie board, cheese board, party snacks, meat and cheese board, charcuterie and cheese board, appetizer, caroline culwell, life eclectic

Step 5) Extras: It’s always nice to have some extra treats to garnish your charcuterie and cheese board. They not only add some color, but they add a variety of flavor that compliments the salty and strong tastes of your charcuterie and cheeses. Arugula is not something you would normally see on a charcuterie board, but I love the crunchiness and peppery flavor paired with the meat! To add a little sweetness I recommend dried apricots and oven-roasted/salted almonds (or other nuts of your choice), and if your feeling fancy then you can add a jam. To finish it all off, tiny pickles and olives are a must for your board and a nice stone ground mustard to dip your meats in is always apprecitated.

charcuterie 101, charcuterie, charcuterie board, cheese board, party snacks, meat and cheese board, charcuterie and cheese board, appetizer, caroline culwell, life eclectic

charcuterie 101, charcuterie, charcuterie board, cheese board, party snacks, meat and cheese board, charcuterie and cheese board, appetizer, caroline culwell, life eclectic

Step 6) Beverages: Ahh, prosecco, my go to drink! Prosecco is the prefect beverage to serve with your charcuterie and cheese board- it’s light, bubbly, and delicious! Also any other light whines, especially white wines like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, will go great… It all depends on your personal preference! Just like any other choice you make for your charcuterie and cheese board, whether it’s your favorite cured meat, some /conversation-starting’ cheese, or even candied almonds, anything you throw together will be very much appreciated by your guests- go ahead, get creative!

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Holiday Gift Guide

In case you are running behind on your holiday shopping, here is a gift guide that has awesome presents! These are a few things everyone will love, and the great prices make them even better!

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Wherever You Are, Be All There

study tips, study snack, toasted chickpeas, toasted chickpea recipe, caroline culwell, the life eclectic

So, I know what this looks like… recipe planning of some sort?! Well, kinda. This is typically how I balance blogging and my studies. Trying to cram so much stuff into one day can be quite the challenge but I have been able to manage thus far. People question whether or not one can truly multi-task, I guess it depends on the tasks at hand! I am a firm believer that dividing your attention between studying and other activities is just inefficient. It’s hard to study the notes on your page while managing other responsibilities. Us college kids, or should I say young adults, perform this juggling act on a daily basis. Go ahead, give yourself a pat on the back because you are doing awesome! Growing up is scary and no one can really prepare you for all of life’s obstacles. Your parents, professors, and older siblings can definitely warn you, but actually encountering these new, adult-like responsibilities is enough to throw anyone off balance. It is comforting to know that you are not alone!

study tips, study snack, toasted chickpeas, toasted chickpea recipe, caroline culwell, the life eclectic

Whenever I feel like I have too much on my plate- like during a busy week- I find myself multi-tasking with studying, grad school applications, and blogging. Like I said before, this isn’t very effective. If you spread yourself thin you’re unable to put forth your full attention and effort into the immediate activity. This is when performance struggles. But one important lesson I have learned over the years was a simple piece of advice my older sister Katherine shared with me. She said, “wherever you are, be all there”…

study tips, study snack, toasted chickpeas, toasted chickpea recipe, caroline culwell, the life eclectic

This advice is the key to success. Rather than trying to do everything at once I decided I would set aside time blocks for each of my activities. There is a time for school/studying, cooking, taking care of yourself, and leisure time. If you can give yourself a blocked out time slot for each of the things you want every day, and stick to that schedule, you will find that you are way less stressed. Having experienced this first hand, I came up with some simple study rules for myself:

1) Space Things Out: distribute your practice over the course of a few days. Set a number of hours each day that you can devote to studying, or to the task at hand, and stick to that responsibility. Do this in reasonable time amounts over the course of a few days. This will leave you feeling accomplished but not overwhelmed.

2) Make The Material Meaningful: Don’t just skim over passages and mindlessly read over notes. Make the material you are attending to meaningful- make it make sense to you. If you elaborate on what you are doing you will be able to better recall the information later because it truly makes sense.

3) Take Care of Your Brain: Your brain is a machine and requires a lot of energy daily simply resting. Imagine what it consumes when you are putting your noggin to work! Give yourself a healthy study snack to provide your brain energy while at work.

study tips, study snack, toasted chickpeas, toasted chickpea recipe, caroline culwell, the life eclectic

With that being said, I have provided a healthy study snack recipe to try out! It is a spiced up version of those toasted chickpeas I recently made. So whip yourself up a batch and try out these tips and I am sure you will see some success!

study tips, study snack, toasted chickpeas, toasted chickpea recipe, caroline culwell, the life eclectic

Ingredients
-1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1/2 tsp ground cumin
-1/2 tsp chipotle chili pepper
-1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse your chickpeas well and spread over a dish towel to dry (you can use another dish towel to dry them faster). Allow these to dry for 15 minutes or more (the dryer they are the crunchier they get!). In a small bowl combine ground cumin, chipotle chili pepper, and salt and stir until fully mixed. After chickpeas have dried, lay them on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 16 minutes. After this, move them to a mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil and mix well. While stirring, pour some of the spice mixture over the chickpeas. Do this until all the seasonings are used and the chickpeas are evenly coated. Spread them evenly across the cookie sheet, sprinkle a little more seasonings on them, and place in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, toss chickpeas, then cook for another 5 minutes. Once chickpeas are done, remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve right away or store at room temperature.

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Young Adults, Bottomless Mimosas & The Capital

Last week TCU let all students out for Fall Break. Every year I either go home or go to visit my sister Blair up in Chicago, but I decided to be a little more independent this time around and plan a trip with best friends! Haley and Olivia, two of my best friends, are spending their last college semester in DC for internships, so Jess, Sarah, and I decided to take a trip to see them and have some fun!

sarah pistilli, olivia wise, jess fay, haley ast, caroline culwell, the life eclectic

I have learned over the past few years that I am most definitely a big city kind of girl. After visiting Chicago multiple times I fell in love, but that winter might be a little too harsh for me, but hopefully DC winters are a little less intense!

Upon arriving Friday night I was greeted by lots of big hugs and screeching girls, yeah we do that sometimes! It was clear that we were all beyond excited that we made this trip happen. It was even cooler being in the city and working the Metro and getting to go out late at night. These are a few things I enjoy about being a young adult!

sarah pistilli, olivia wise, jess fay, haley ast, caroline culwell, the life eclectic

After a long night out on Friday, Jess, Sarah, and I slowly got out of bed and readied ourselves for the day. We would be attending a lovely brunch with bottomless mimosas, then a beer garden to watch the Horned Frogs play football.

haley ast, caroline culwell, the life eclectic, fall break, DC

haley ast, caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break

haley ast, caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break

Haley and I hung back at brunch to finish up our mimosas, then we were off to find our way to the sports bar where the rest of our gang was! I was lucky to have someone that was familiar with the area by my side or I would have never found this bar!

haley ast, caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break, Sauf Haus, Bier Hall

After struggling with google maps and dealing with unhelpful Valet people we finally stumbled upon the Sauf Haus Bier Hall. Our friends had snagged some awesome seats and were halfway through their first steins. They game was playing and the Horned Frogs were playing the Baylor Bears so we were pretty determined to win!

caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break

caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break

Haley and I quickly order some steins to catch up with everyone else! The Sauf Haus had great beer and a fun atmosphere. It was a rooftop bier hall enclosed by brick and windowed walls with a clear-shedded roof. It was full of students who were all gathered to support their teams and spend time with friends. Seeing all the action around definitely makes me happy to be in my twenties, thus far it has been the most eventful part of my life!

caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break

Here’s David, a new friend we made on the trip who was also a fellow TCU student! He was so full of energy and fun to be around. It’s exciting to see how TCU students branch out after college, and finding these people in far away cities is a special treat because there is an instant connection!

caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break, sarah pistilli

caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break, olivia wise, jess fay

Everyone was having a great time, as you can see my buddies were all very focused on the game… they know more about football than I do! Whenever the crowd reacts to a play and I have no clue what is going on, I just look at my friends and mirror their reactions exactly as to make myself appear more knowledgeable about the status of the game, haha!

caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break, sarah pistilli

When I need to know what’s going on, I just ask Sarah because she knows exactly how the game works!

caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break, kayla jean

caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break, kayla jean, kevin hassenflu

The entire day we were accompanied by Kayla and Kevin, two fellow TCU students! Kayla is doing the same DC internship as Haley and Olivia. Her boyfriend Kevin came down to visit during the break as well- having more fellow faces just added to the excitement of our weekend activities!

haley ast, caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break

jess fay, TCU football, caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break

My natural reaction when TCU gets a touchdown is obnoxious hugging, so it’s a good thing that my friends like to do that too! It was great to see our school spirit so alive with just a handful of us in a completely different city!

olivia wise, caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break

On a different note, I was pleased with this bier hall for its awesome lighting because it gave me an excuse to play around with my camera… I am lucky I have such cute friends to take pictures of!

haley ast, caroline culwell, the life eclectic, DC, fall break

For some odd reason, just when the game was getting good, the bar changed the channel… but it was a good thing that we were just finishing up with our steins! After that we headed to a different bar that was playing the TCU game to finish up watching and to get a little food in our bellies.

haley ast, caroline culwell, the life eclectic, sarah pistilli, olivia wise, jess fay

On our last night in DC Haley and Olivia took us to an awesome restaurant called Lincoln. They had amazing drinks and a wonderful small-plate selection! A nice evening with these girls was the perfect end to a very memorable trip! I hope to be back there soon to visit and explore the city even more!

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