Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Party Empanadas

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  • Kristen, Neme, Josh, and I spent St. Patrick’s Day last weekend with just the four of us, some snacks, and one Guinness each. After experiencing (and in Neme’s case, growing up in) the party culture of Spain and spending last St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, nothing we could do this year seemed incredibly exciting. What we lacked in booze we made up for in food!
  • Those savory pastries in the picture at the top of the post are bacon-date empanadas. Bacon. And date. In an empanada. Sweet and salty paradise.
  • This picture of Neme where he is obviously wiping away tears of joy because my empanadas are so beautifully delicious. Not really . . . but he was close.



  • Okay, so seriously, I completely winged the empanada recipe based on something that Kristen’s host mom Ale (who owned a bakery) had made us in Spain. I was really nervous for Neme to try them because 1) he knew how good the originals were and 2) he is a cook. He had one bite and said the only thing in his limited English that I really wanted to hear . . . “Oh yeah.” Major win!
  • Spanish cheese on baguettes with cranberries and candied nuts. To die for.
  • And they sell them at Aldis. Whaaaaat?
  • A friend offered me a puff on a cigarette one chilly night, and for a split second I was like “Thanks! Wait, what? No!”

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Familia Feliz

Neme, Kristen, and Kaci (Kacita)

Yesterday I photographed the intimate wedding of two very dear friends surrounded by their family in a candlelit living room in the Finger Lakes--a wedding that I’ve known about since last weekend, lol.  I guess it’s a long story.

Kristen studied abroad with Josh and I in Spain and met Nemesio while there. She already had a boyfriend at the time, and he was sure that he would never fall in love. He was wrong. After months of wooing the beautiful girl that had come into his life, Neme and Kristen became a couple–unfortunately just in time for Kristen to return to the United States.

In a move that surprised even those of us who knew him well, Neme made a trip to the US this fall on a tourist visa. While here, the two fell even more in love and decided that they wanted to be together forever. They couldn’t let Neme’s soon-to-expire visa keep them apart. Neme gave up everything that he knew and asked Kristen to marry him–which she did yesterday, the day that his visa expired 🙂

How awesomely awkward can you get?


  • US immigration laws. Not sure where I stand on those after having an experience with them that was so close to my heart.
  • Trying to take artistic photos in the dark with a flash. It’s a losing battle.
  • Josh couldn’t come because he was a) taking the Spanish lit final exam that Kristen missed to get married and b) studying for the GRE he has to take this Saturday.
  • Driving an hour and a half to watch my friends get married instead of studying for my two hardest finals.
  • Said finals. Two essay exams back-to-back. I think I have carpal tunnel.

Equally Awkward and Awesome:

  • Kristen’s wedding was officiated by her high school driver’s ed teacher and interpreted by her high school Spanish teacher! So sweet and funny 🙂


  • Their wedding date is 12-12-12!
  • Such a small and intimate wedding. It was absolutely beautiful.
  • Finally seeing these two start a life together. I’ve been waiting for this for months 🙂
  • Ferrero rochet cheesecake for a wedding cake.
  • Being done with final exams.
  • Getting to see The Hobbit soon!
  • The brand new Garcia family–Neme, Kristen, and little Kaci the yorkie-poo.

For Your Inspiration: Spain and Art in Everything

This year, I have the extreme pleasure of being enrolled in a mid-level art class that is actually required for my Communication major. I’m not just squeezing it in because I can’t stand the thought of completing college without take at least one fascinating art class. It’s legitimately required of me. It gets even better. This required course which I am only all too happy to take is a digital film course. Will wonders never cease? It’s like they know me over in the registrar’s office!

Introduction to Digital Video I has not only given me the technical and editorial knowledge to go with my creative filmmaking brain. It has also conditioned me to see the art just waiting to be realized in every moment of every day. I can hardly walk down the street without planning intricate shots and envisioning impossible choreography atop buildings and trees. My mind is being retrained to be aware of color and light, movement, and line, even good and evil.

Parallel by Richard Serra. Part of a collection of sculptures entitled Equal.

In such a state, I haven’t been able to help myself these days from recollecting the invigorating creative atmosphere of Europe–all of the rich and inspiring history and the equally inspiring movements of modern thought and art. Months ago in a world across the ocean, I took a daytrip to Madrid with two precious friends. We all agreed to make a stop by the world-famous Reina Sofia museum. While less-known compared to the classical Prado museum, the Reina Sofia proved not only equally impressive, but even more inspiring to me than the Prado did.

This museum expanded my mind when it came to what I consider art to be and what I consider to be art. I can’t wait to share these thoughts and impressions with you.

This post is proving difficult for me, as it is an attempt to capture in pictures and words something that I don’t believe can be captured by anything less than what it is. 

I can’t recommend enough that you make an effort to venture to a contemporary art museum and offer yourself over to the sheer wonder as well as the sheer confusion. you will not regret it.

Surprisingly mild sculpture for someone with a mind like Salvador Dali’s

A more typical Dali piece

Negative photos and metallic handwritten text. Love mixed media . . .

The little orange and green nubs are slices of giant hardcover books. The one said “Are You Confused?” as the title.

Amazing. Makes me think of a window display in an Anthropologie store.

Accurately reflecting my not always particularly deep thoughts on abstract art.

Never fool yourself into thinking that art ends once you leave the museum

"They’re Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace"

Okay, so they’re not actually changing the guard in these pictures, but that was the coolest thing about this day in London.

Here Josh and I were all miffed that we wouldn’t be able to tour the inside of Buckingham Palace or even see the outside on a day when they were changing the guard. We dragged ourselves all the way across St. James Park just to say that we had glimpsed the royal residence, and what do you know? We’re shoved out of the street and onto the sidewalk by mounted bobbies to make way for a parade or royal guards that’s about to come through!

From what I’ve been told, the parade was actually much more interesting than the changing of the guard usually is. What a surprise blessing!

In other news, farewell to the London Olympic Games!

I just found out yesterday that one of my college friends has spent the past month in London attending the games. Jealousy may have just caused our relationship to plummet from “friends” to “acquaintances.”

Title is from the poem “Buckingham Palace” by my favorite poet, A. A. Milne.

More pics of the parade after the jump!

The Jacket That Saw the World

All right, I swear on all that is holy that I did not plan this in the least, but it is just about the cutest coincidence in the world!
While looking through all of the 4,000-some photos from our life-changing trip to Europe this spring, I noticed an interesting trend. I may have only sported my turquoise blazer in a handful of outfit photos, but I can be seen sporting my (apparently) favorite jacket in at least one set of photos from each and every “touristy” trip we took to a country outside of Spain!
This coincidence ended up being a fun way to track of all of the traveling we have done in the past five months. There is a constant in all of the photos regardless of which country they were taken in. Who new that an article of clothing could come to contain so many memories? As I type this, my good old blazer is tucked in the drawer next to me in case I get chilly in the library’s AC.
As of May 2012, the turquoise jacket has seen the following countries (including the US of course):
  • Spain
  • France
  • Italy
  • England
  • Ireland
  • Sweden

And now for some visual representations of the adventures of this intrepid piece of outerwear!

I challenge you to look through some old photos to find evidence of that one fallback piece that has always been there for you–and that has seen a lot of interesting places as a result!

World Traveler: Then and Now

Dulles International Airport January 7, 2012

Dulles International Airport May 15, 2012

Note that Joshy is wearing his favorite shirt for both trips 😉

Just a few more hours and we will be home sweet home! It feels so surreal, but so good. I think we’re too tired to be appropriately excited–or appropriately sad about what we’re leaving behind. Both will come in time, I’m sure.