Order Up: Lu's Limeade

The Ultimate Summer Thirst-Quencher

I would write a whole cutesy spiel on how this garden-fresh concoction is the best thing since sliced bread, but I think the photographs speak for themselves. Credits to L'ren (Lauren Marshall) for the entire post excluding this blurb. L'ren, you rock.

Makes 2-3 drinks.


  • 1 box of strawberries
  • 2 small cucumbers
  • 3 limes
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 cup of ice
  • Cane sugar


  • Squeeze the juice from each lime into a large bowl.
  • Add water to bowl (1.5 cups).
  • Peel and slice both cucumbers and add to bowl.
  • Mash strawberries and add to bowl.
  • Add ice (1 cup).
  • Mix it all togetha
  • Finally, add some cane sugar (to your liking). You can either make it sweet or sour but it's refreshing and delish nonetheless. (Also, if the taste is too strong just add water).
  • Pour into a tall glass and let your taste buds do their thang.

Cucumbers fresh from L'ren's own garden. 

Cloudy with a Chance of Cinnamon Buns

As I pedaled my rickety beach cruiser down to the docks at 5:30 this morning, I had several thoughts. First, I wondered what sort of supernatural force inspired me to make homemade hot chocolate at the ripe hour of 4:45 am, instead of using the Swiss Miss packets my mother buys in bulk. I then proceeded to think about how I inevitably would be longing for said Swiss Miss packets in place of my amateur concoction of Hershey's cocoa powder and milk when I sat on the damp dock in a matter of moments. Of course, I also wondered why I even was bothering to ride my bike down to the docks, considering the suffocating blanket of fog, eliminating the possibility of any sort of sunrise, which was the sole reason for me waking up so early anyway. On top of all that, I was doubting that my friends would even show up to join me in my sunrise-less picnic. An importune vision of me sitting alone on the dewy dock with nothing but a vile cup of hot chocolate to placate my disappointment in the absence of a sunrise was eating at my mind.

But then, I got to the dock. One of my friends, Mac, was sitting on the bench with a box of Fruit Loops and an absurd amount of energy for someone who woke up so early. "Oh my gosh I have been up for like two hours already and do you know which way the sun rises? And have Kellyn or Emmy or Rae texted you? I think they are still making cinnamon rolls. This fog looks so cool I love it but the bench is kinda wet do you have a towel or something? Oooo is that hot chocolate?" And just like that my worrisome bike ride and the silly image of me sitting alone on the dock seemed a million miles away. 

For the following hour and a half I sat on a damp bench with four of my best friends, washing down gooey cinnamon buns and pop tarts with bad hot chocolate. It was fabulous. We never saw the sunrise and we never cared. You see, we never cared because we didn't wake up at 4:30 to watch the sun come out; if we wanted to do that we would've checked the weather. No, we got up at 4:30 because we wanted a good story, and a good story is what we got. 


Chapter 1

Reading for fun during the summer. It's so misunderstood. I mean, we are finally gifted the opportunity to read a book without having to annotate every line, create an original poem in its honor, write three response papers, and be tested on the favorite mid-morning snack of a minor character. We should be rejoicing!!!! But I get it, I get it. Years of being locked in eerily dungeon-like English classrooms whilst listening to lectures on the symbolic meaning behind sentences like: "When she got to the store, she realized she left her grocery list at home" can definitely kick reading off your list of fun, summertime activities. But the thing is, not all books are as painstakingly dry as the ones we read at school.

There is a world of books out there with ridiculous plots and hilarious characters and stories that will actually motivate you to turn the page instead of turning on the TV. In fact, there are so many great books out there that it can sometimes be a little daunting to where to start. For this reason, I have compiled a list of some of my all-time favorite summer reads in addition to a list of the books I plan to read this summer. If you have read any of the books listed below, I'd love to know what you thought of them. Please comment so that together we can have a book nerdfest!!

Vintage bracelet, Chez Elle rings, Parka Perfect Essie nail polish, Pudge (the pup) posing in his own plush white coat

My All Time Favorites

Eleanor and Park (by Rainbow Rowell)

An Abundance of Katherines (by John Green)

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children 
(by Ransom Riggs)

Everyday (by David Levithan)

The Catcher in the Rye (by J.D. Salinger)

The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Parti-Time Indian
(by Sherman Alexie)

What I Plan to Read this Summer

Where'd You Go, Bernadette (by Maria Semple)

Dorothy Must Die (by Danielle Paige)

The Goldfinch (by Donna Tartt)

The Program (by Suzanne Young)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (by Betty Smith)

The Selection (by Kiera Cass)

The Night Circus (by Erin Morgenstern)


Order Up: The Baddest BBB Around

Black Bean Burgers: the delicacy regarded with the same odium among children as that which teenage Charlotteans regarded Miley with after she canceled. The notoriety of this dish is so pervasive that the innocuous option of having the vegetarian alternative for dinner prompted my eleven-year-old brother to offer to make himself a sandwich, an extraordinary event in itself. But today, right now, I am putting an end to the infamy of the black bean burger once and for all. I am convinced this recipe will join together the strictest vegetarians and most passionate meat-lovers alike in praise of its foodgasmic glory. Even Cal, my younger brother who is on a strict hot-dog-mac-n-cheese diet, had trouble finding anything wrong with it… so much so that he went back for thirds. Now, for the recipe…

Mexican Fiesta Black Bean Burgers

Total Cook Time: 45 min

Ingredients for 4 burgers
  • 1 (15 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbs. minced white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup smoked chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 tbs. jarred chipotle spread, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 4 slices of pepper jack cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted
  • sliced avocado 
  • sea salt, to taste
  • Preheat oven to 425
  • In a large bowl, mash black beans with a fork.
  •  Add onions, garlic, almonds, corn, cilantro, 2 Tbs.   chipotle spread, egg and small pinch of coarse salt. Mix together.
  • Create four equal patties of the mixture using your hands. Place patties on oiled baking sheet.
  •  Bake burgers for ten minutes, flip, add cheese, and then bake for 8 – 10 more minutes.
  • Apply chipotle spread on the bottom of each toasted bun. Serve avocado slice and lime wedges.
  • Sit back, relax, and savor this summertime supper. #orderup

If your mother buys you slider buns instead of regular hamburger buns as mine did, do not fret. The patty to bun ratio is okay in the end.

Recipe modified from bevcooks.com


Mandal Madness

You buy these killer mandals, right? You’re feeling good. Yeah, you’re that girl with the cool ugly shoes. That TRENDY girl with the cool ugly shoes. The lady at the store who rung you up? She’s thinking you’re the hippest specimen to roam her store all day. The girl standing behind you at the salad bar? The envious vibes she’s radiating toward you, or rather, your feet, are palpable. Your mother? She thinks they’re weird and totally un-chic, but that’s just fueling your mojo-fire. Your best friend? You text her a pic of the glorious man-sandals so that together you can saunter in their sheer coolness. But wait… her reply is not what you expected:

EW. That BIZNATCH. How could she possibly rob you of the source of all your potential coolness? And you thought she was your friend. Next thing you know she’ll want to Instagram a picture of the two of you wearing the shoes with caption #TwinningTuesday. Vile.

But then, after you’ve calmed down a little, made yourself a tall glass of milk, you ponder the situation. Can your friend really be blamed for sharing in your love for ugly footwear? You did order the shoes from Zara, and though Zara is, undoubtedly, the ultimate supplier of all things cool, Zara also, undoubtedly, mass-produces those size 8 mandals like nobody’s business. So what is the big deal if some other girl has the same mandals as you? By next week half of New York will be strutting their stuff in them. And it shouldn’t even matter.

It shouldn’t matter because the mandal in itself is just, well, a mandal. It’s a shoe, a trend. What should matter is the way the shoe contributes to your overall style. This year Anna Wintour articulated in her presentation of the Style Icon Award that a true style icon uses clothing as a tool to communicate her story. The mandal? It’s just a tool. But the way you wear it? That’s the story. That’s your style. So all this angst you’re having over some matching mandals? Forget it. Your shoes may not be one of a kind, but your story is, thus your style will be also.

MC wearing Rag and Bone glasses, Lucy Paris top, Clover Canyon skirt,  Zara mandals