First Watch: The Daytime Cafe

When Ian and I travel, we are all about seeking out the local spots. The folks at the school where Ian was interviewing recommended that we check out the First Watch Cafe, which was conveniently right across the street from the school.

The back of the menu states that: "We begin each morning at the crack of dawn, slicing fresh fruits and vegetables, baking muffins and whipping up our French toast batter from scratch. Freshness is never compromised—as we use only the finest ingredients available for the freshest taste possible."

And in the eyes of me and Ian, any restaurant that greets you by placing a large jug 'o coffee on your table (for free!) is a winner.

It turns out that First Watch is actually a franchise that started in California in 1983 and now operates 86 locations in 12 states--including two in PA! (If you are near Cranberry or Settler's Ridge--yeah, you gotta go.) Everything on the menu is made from scratch and they offer a wide variety of low-fat and gluten-free options.

This place was great. I got a DELICIOUS strawberry salad with pecans, onions, and poppyseed dressing. It was a perfect lunch for the blinding Fairfax heat.

Check out their website for the full list of locations! I am the Funky Junkie and I approve this restaurant.

Happy Memorial Day everyone! 


Hello, Summer.

Here in Central PA, we have two seasons: summer and winter-- when it's not unbearably cold it is unbearably hot, with a few comfortable days thrown in between. 

With little warning, summer has arrived at full force. Dressing up at these temperatures seems a bit redundant considering I'm just going to sweat off all the makeup and feel uncomfortable, but I've been trying to find ways to keep my summer looks simple yet stylish. Not to mention I get a wonderful sense of accomplishment when I wear an outfit that was (almost!) completely thrifted and super cheap.

I mentioned this blue tank from the Allentown Goodwill in this post, where I also told the story of the beloved flower bag, which has become a staple of my wardrobe (seriously! It goes with EVERYTHING!). The shorts are from Gabriel Bros. in Altoona, (which if you have never checked out, you need to--think TJ Maxx meets Ollie's. I promise, it's great.) which are Express brand that I got for eight dollars. Why were they so cheap? Because they're missing the button. When I wear them, I just fasten them short with a fun brooch--this one is from Clothes Mentor, a new consignment shop that just opened in State College. The seed necklace was a garage sale find from many, many years ago that I'm pretty sure sat in my dress-up trunk all throughout my childhood. 

Since my curly hair does not react well to the summer heat, I've found my go-to summer hairstyle that I have been doing almost every day since the temperature has skyrocketed--it's just a quick and easy messy updo where I just twist go crazy with bobby pins. I also (was just talked into buying at the salon) bought some awesome Redken Radiant Sea Salt spray that adds great texture. Come on--it smells FANTASTIC, and the girl told me it would be perfect for Jamaica. Plus, I had a 20% off coupon. 

What are your staple summer looks?


A Small Town Adventure

On our way home from VA, Ian had some research assistantship duties to tend to in middle-of- nowhere, PA, leaving me a couple hours to do what I do best: putz, seek out thrift shops, and take photos.

The McDonald's wi-fi (and enjoying some fries and a McFlurry....shh, don't tell my wedding dress) only kept me entertained for so long, so I hopped into Ian's car to go on an adventure. Never mind that the above photo was an accurate representation of the scenery for miles and miles. Surely there had to be some sort of gift shop...or a farmer's market....or a greenhouse...

I turned on the 'ole GPS and to my excitement, saw that there was an antique mall just five miles down the road! Five miles! That's like, five minutes, right?

20 minutes later, and several towns over, I'm still driving and all I see are farms, while the GPS is  telling me I have reached my destination. Pretty sure I hadn't reached my destination. I pulled over to reevaluate, taking in the scent of cows and hay and cursing the incessant nagging of the GPS woman (re-CALC-ulating...!). The next "attraction" on the list was Morrison's Cove Memorial Park in Martinsburg, PA, which I was pretty sure was one of the street/towns I passed through on my way to the non-existent antique store. Knowing it was going to be a long three hours if the the GPS kept telling me to go to fake small-town PA attractions, I decided to give the park a shot.

On my way there, my eye caught a thrift shop that was attached to a general store on the side of the road! Being the responsible driver I am, I swerved to make it into the parking lot, only to find it was closed...damn you small towns for closing everything after 5pm!

If I blinked I would have missed the scrawled-on-a-plank sign attached right below the library sign pointing in the direction of Morrison's Cove. My expectations was a run-down, rusty, kidnapper-infested forest. Kind of like this:

But that must have been the old section of Morrison's Cove. Because the other side, my friends, was THE coolest playground I have ever seen in my life. Seriously. 

Can we make an exception for college-grad-bloggers who are still kids at heart? Please?

 What a fun place....even the fence was happy:

As I wandered around, I saw a mom with a little boy who was (almost) as thrilled as I was with the wooden wonderland. I walked up the hill and saw a little bit of a little league baseball game, and could see in the distance the community pool being filled up for the summer season. Summer has officially arrived.

Then, I climbed back into the car and screamed like a five-year-old when I saw this little guy on the seat:

Alas, I might be too old for Acorn Cove, but my tolerance for bugs and creepy-crawly things will always remain at the preschool level. Oh well.

It was a fun little adventure. :-)


A Cultural Awakening

Greetings from Roaring Spring, PA. (Or as they might say here....Roarin' Sprang?)

Quite the far cry from the scenes of this weekend as I sit breathing the fragrance of french fries and obesity, catching a glimpse of life in this rural small town off the highway.

A visit to a prospective job for Ian took us to Fairfax, VA, a place that we would very much like to make our future home. We were lucky to stay with Ian's good friend and former roommate, Angad, and his parents, two of the nicest and most hospitable people I have ever met. Because it is always a new and exciting experience when Ian and I travel together, we found that this weekend we got some awesome new experiences with the Indian culture. First things first, Angad informed us that he wanted to take us to the Sikh Temple on Sunday morning, which we knew would most likely be quite the change from our typical Sunday morning Power-Point church services with coffee and donuts.
We headed to the temple around 11:30 am, after posing for some photos first...Mrs. Kalra let me wear (and keep!) one of her beautiful dresses!

Ian snapped this candid photo of me zoning out. I kind of like it.

The men sit on one side of the temple and the women sit on the other on the floor. It was a very peaceful service that mostly consisted of music and prayer--Angad's parents also asked them to pray for me and Ian's upcoming marriage (and the only way we knew when it was happening was because we were just able to make out our names in the midst of the unfamiliar language). Very different from anything I've ever seen, but it was a neat experience! Afterwards, everyone gathered in the room downstairs to eat a holy meal that was prepared during the service. Again, everyone sat on the floor and unlike most post-church functions I am used to attending, didn't really speak to each other. It seemed that it was meant to be a peaceful and reflective time. And, oh my, was the food delicious.

After church, Angad's family always goes grocery shopping. So we tagged along to the Super H Mart, which looks like a regular grocery store on the outside...but on the inside, miles and miles of ALL  Asian cuisine. The place was a madhouse, too...it was like Black Friday meets Giant meets the Super Buffet, as there was no shortage of free samples.

We enjoyed some more Indian cooking that evening from Mrs. Kalra (SO GOOD!) and fed our food comas with some leftover Easter candy and Tron on Angad's 3D TV. It truly was a weekend of new experiences.

Well, McDonalds is quickly filling up for the dinner rush of back country, PA...as well as some kind of McTeacher appreciation event. I see balloons, raffle tickets, and ladies wearing aprons. I think this is my cue to leave.

But first....I think a McFlurry is in order.



A Crumb-y Day

You know those days that make you go Meep? Yesterday was one of those days. And judging by phone calls from some friends and various Facebook statuses, it seems that yesterday was a meep day for many! I think it was the rain. Or maybe it was because it was Wednesday. 
Here are some snapshots from yesterday:

I decided that obviously a rainy day called for a Sister Act marathon. So far, so good. Especially since the movies come in one convenient package! I wrote graduation notes and continued some wedding crafts while I watched Miss Whoopi sing, dance, and do nun things. Hilarity ensues, of course.

Then I decided to bake.

I found an easy peasy recipe for cinnamon bread, which I thought sounded like a fabulous aroma to fill up my kitchen with for when my man came over later for coffee. I decided to even throw in chocolate chips because, heck, chocolate makes everything better. Not to mention that it's always good news when I start changing recipes.

So into the oven it went, when Ian arrived, which always makes life better. Have I ever told you about this magical ability we have to bring each other out of our deepest funks? It's like we should marry each other or something. 

Here's where things get a little fuzzy. For some reason or another, after giving Ian his mug 'o coffee, I was bent over my desk shuffling things around (Looking for something? Organizing my pens and pencils) Either way,I stood up too fast (too much caffeine!), and hit my face on the wall. Yes, hit my face. On the wall. How does that even happen?

So I may or may not have curled up on the couch in the arms of my man and cried like a four year old for a few minutes. 

But ah, the cinnamon bread was done! Surely some delicious cinnamon bread could wipe those tears off my throbbing face. But when I pulled it out of the oven, it looked a little....flat. After cutting a piece, the loaf brought back images of high school cooking class where the teacher showed us how quick bread is not supposed to look.

Flat 'n crumby. Mmmmmm.

And here's the kicker: it tasted even worse than it looked! 
And I forgot to put the chocolate chips in.

(Chocolate is what would have saved it, I'm sure.)

So what does a girl with a bruised face, fail bread, and an appetite the size of China do?

Yes, it was just one of those days. 


And We're Done!

Well friends, as of two days ago, this funky junkie is officially a Penn State alum!

And, as of yesterday, my man is officially a master of education. That's right, I'm marrying a master. You can be jealous.
**Editor's note: it took the author several tries to spell 'education' right and she resorted to automatic spell check.

And just like that, our college days are over. I tried to be sentimental, but I think that after a three long weeks of 'lasts' (Last week of class! Last finals week! Last week before graduation!) I was ready to just move on.

Now that's not to say that I haven't had a fantastic four years. Because when I came to Penn State, all the way up the street from my parents house, I had second thoughts of whether I had made the right decision to stay in town. But in these four years, I have met incredible people in my major, in my a cappella group, and I was able to maintain the balance with my best childhood girlfriends who both stayed here and went away for college. 

Not to mention I met this guy when I was just a slouchy little 18 year old...

But yes, after several graduation ceremonies and boring speakers, I officially decided that I am more than ready for the next adventure. But first, we needed some food, and we were lucky enough to snag a table at The Tavern, Ian's old stomping grounds and the place for many-a-first dates.

Overall, it was a weekend that reminded me of the many ways I have been blessed in life.

Next order of business? 

Bring these photo inspirations to life. In the next 2 months.

Let's do this.


All Grown Up

This Saturday is a big 'ole check off the to-do list: graduation!

We thought we would throw on our overpriced, biodegradable gowns and get some practice in for wedding photos. 



I ran into an old roommate, friend, and fellow soon-to-be-grad at the gym yesterday, who when I asked her how the first week of summer was going, responded that she was 'enjoying retirement' for a little while.

Ah, retirement! Sleeping in every day, catching up with friends over beverages downtown in the middle of the day, and sauntering down the street in a dress. It was fun for the first few days. Now I'm just bored. 

Doesn't that ring a bell with summer days of the past? Before internships, interviews, and real life started making its way into summer plans. Before bar tours and day longs were the only way to celebrate being done with school. It's hard to believe that a short four years ago, it was high school graduation that was upon us. After school, we would cram as many people as possible into each other's junky cars to go to the park, or to chase down the ice cream truck, or to stuff ourselves at Red's Steamed Cheeseburgers. Parties meant chips and salsa in someone's basement while we watched a rented movie. Summertime meant finding abandoned shopping carts in the neighborhood park and riding bikes to the grocery store to eat cheap donuts. 

Even though all signs are pointing to summer-- the sun is shining, school's out, and, oh, I don't have a job, there is so much more looming on the horizon. Free time means more time for wedding plans, job searching, and figuring out what life will hold after July 9th. I would be lying if I told you I wasn't a little bit stressed. 

So I think for now, I'll just enjoy retirement a little bit.


Let Them Eat Pie

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” ~ Tenneva Jordan

(Thanks for the quote, Angel!)

My beautiful mother is just like that. Luckily, there was no shortage of pie yesterday as we celebrated a warm and sunny Mother's Day.

Berry Good Pie

Chocolate Mousse Surprise

Here's to my best friend, counselor, wedding planner, life mentor, mother.

I hope you all had an incredibly blessed Mother's Day!


School's Out Forever!

Friends, the day has come. The semester from hell has come to a close. I got a fabulous grade in a class in which my attendance I can count on one hand. I'm done with college.

And what better way to celebrate than with a nice head cold?

I'll admit, I might be a bit of a wimp when it comes to sicknesses. I may or may not have had a bit of a meltdown with Ian when I sauntered my lightheaded, sniffly, coughing bum out of the gym. (I also may or may not have googled whether or not coughing is a good ab workout.) It's the end of college, for pete's sake! I should be out sipping drinks and shopping and hanging with all my friends before graduation! But with a disgusting-sounding cough and a raw nose that's slathered in vaseline, laying on the couch is heaps more appealing. Yeehaw.

Yes, it's frustrating. And yes, I would prefer to be out enjoying the beautiful weather. BUT there are bigger things to be happy about! For instance...

My little sister went to Junior Prom yesterday. She's too young to be doing this stuff. But oh my, was she a babe!

I want to get dressed up in a pretty dress! Oh wait....only 62 days to go! And you'll get to see my gorgeous maid of honor in another stunning frock. 

I must say, we sure have come a long way from Easter dresses and scrunchies....



I do apologize that it's been quiet around here for a couple days. Unfortunately, productivity calls, so until my massive paper and last final (final final, if you will!) are over, I won't be doing much updating this week.

But don't fret! Because after this week, I am DONE. WITH. COLLEGE. The wedding is less than 70 days away, and there will now be time for even more blogging and madness that you've come to love from The Funky Junkie.

So stay tuned. See you in a week. :-)

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