Black + White + Stripes All Over

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I have an obsession with stripes, especially of the black and white variety (as you can see from this post!). This cardigan from Caralase has completely won over my heart and will get a lot of love this fall. It’s comfortable, totally cute, and can either be dressed up or dressed down. What isn’t to love?

Caralase Cardigan/American Eagle Jeans/Booties (similar)/Bag (similar)/DailyLook Necklace

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Butternut Squash Soup

I just returned to school after spending a glorious week in the South Hills of Pittsburgh with my parents. One of my favorite things about going home is cooking with my mom. On the first night of my week at home, my mom and I put our own spin on a Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe that I found on Lemons & Anchovies. This recipe, like most Butternut Squash Soup recipes, calls for a blender, but we went sans-blender this time, and the soup turned out to be delicious! We paired the soup was a delicious autumn harvest bread, and it was a full-on fall food paradise in the Murray home that night!

 Vegan Butternut Squash Soup (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

2 butternut squash

2 small or 1 medium onion, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

1/3 cup pistachios

4 cups vegetable broth

2 teaspoons Curry Powder

1 teaspoon Sage Powder

Salt and pepper

Olive Oil

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds
  3. Lay squash (inside facing down) on a baking tray covered in aluminum foil and drizzled with olive oil
  4. Roast for 30-40 or until tender
  5. When squash is tender, allow it to cool, then scrap squash from the skin, and mash
  6. Lightly toast pistachios in olive oil, then grind in chopper or food processor
  7. Lightly caramelize onion in olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-heat (about 10 minutes)
  8. Add celery and sauté for about another 5 minutes
  9. Add curry powder and sage
  10. Stir in roasted squash and vegetable broth, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes
  11. Stir in ground pistachios and add salt and pepper, to taste
  12. Simmer for 1-2 minutes
  13. Serve and enjoy!

Fall Break Style

It’s Fall Break, which means midterms are over (finally!!), and I have some much needed time to relax and enjoy one of my favorite times of year with my family. On our first night together, my mom and I whipped up a fall favorite for dinner…butternut squash soup (look out for the recipe coming to The Pace soon!!). My mom is also an avid reader of The Pace (so supportive 🙂 ), so while we were grocery shopping, she reminded me to pick up a pumpkin to cross off Number 3 from my Fall To-Do List: carving a pumpkin!

One of my favorite things about fall is layering. This sleeveless top (similar here) transitions perfectly from summer to fall with the help of this over-sized cardigan (similar). The secret behind this look? It’s borrowed from the boys! My boyfriend, Eric, was about to toss this cardigan from Zara into the donation box when I convinced him to donate it to my closet instead ;). Now, I wear this cardigan with everything—dresses, sleeveless tops, tee shirts…you name it! It’s the perfect layering piece.

 

What’s your go-to layering piece? Let me know in the comment section!

Zara Cardigan (similar)/Top (similar)/American Eagle Jeans/Booties (similar)

Forever 21

I celebrated my 21st birthday yesterday. I have been excited for October 13, 2014 for a long time (I started a countdown on my phone once I hit the 6 month mark). I love that I no longer have limitations about where I can go and what I can do; I feel so free! My 21st fell over my fall break from school, so I celebrated in the Pittsburgh area with my family. It was a day of great food, awesome drinks, and wonderful time spent with some of my favorite people.

 

LUNCH: ATRIA’S (Peters Township)

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My lovely and super fun Aunt Terri took me out for lunch and drinks at Atria’s. Atria’s is really cute and our waitress was super sweet. My aunt convinced me to try a Lemon Drop as my first drink and as always, her good taste proved to be true! We shared an order of the Rhode Island Calamari and for lunch, I had Baja Fish Tacos. We had a great time catching up about all that has been going on lately in our lives over martinis, great food, and a delicious brownie sundae.

 

HAPPY HOUR PART 1: TONIC

IMG_5679 IMG_5687IMG_5686The celebration continues! That evening, my parents and I drove into Pittsburgh’s Cultural District to go to a couple of bars together. Our first stop was Tonic Bar & Grill on Liberty Ave. My mom and I both ordered Tonic Tonic’s and totally fell in love with them. Tonic has a really great, inviting atmosphere and some awesome deals for Happy Hour! I definitely recommend Tonic, and I plan to make another appearance there soon!

 

HAPPY HOUR PART 2: TEN PENNY

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Next, we walked around the corner to Ten Penny on Penn Ave. Here, I ordered the Peach Moscato Sangria, my dad went with a Penn Brewery Pilsner, and my mom decided to be adventurous and ordered a “Dirty Pickle.” Ten Penny was much bigger and had a darker atmosphere than Tonic, but we had fun experiences at both bars! The bartenders were great, the food was delicious, and of course, the drinks were amazing.

 

I had a wonderful 21st birthday, and I’m so thankful for all the love I received from my family and friends. I have had a very blessed and happy 21 years, and I am looking forward to all this year will bring!

On a Happy Note…

For those of you who don’t know me too well, allow me to let you in on a big aspect of my life: my passion for music. I have been singing since I could speak, was a total theater kid, and now, I am a singer/songwriter and am in an a cappella group at my school! This past weekend was huge in the music department of my life, so I thought it would be fun to share the weekend’s events on The Pace.

On Friday, I released a new version of a song from my EP, Take Me or Leave Me. The song is called “Deserve” and you can buy it on iTunes here! Life hits us hard sometimes with things that make us feel worthless and inferior, and we can’t always rely on other people to be the ones to bring us out of this low state. The main message of “Deserve” is that we need to be a constant source of support and encouragement in our own lives; we need to be the ones that recognize and fight for what we deserve. I think this is a message that everyone can relate to. I would love to hear your thoughts on the song!

Deserve Cover

I also performed at The New Leaf Club in Bryn Mawr, PA on Friday night. I was so thankful for all of my friends and family who came to watch me perform. Let’s just say, I could have #blessed that Insta a million times over.

Saturday was another exciting day! I am a proud member of the Villanova Supernovas, a co-ed a cappella group at my university. On Saturday, we accepted an invitation to audition for NBC’s The Sing Off in New York City. We had so much fun traipsing around the city (in the rain) and singing in front of judges like Deke Sharon (aka the a cappella superstar who does vocal arrangements for Pitch Perfect!!).

On Saturday night, we traveled back to the Nova Nation to perform at A Cappella Spolozza, a concert that raises money for Villanova’s Special Olympic Fall Festival. The Supernovas performed our version of the girl-power hit, “Bang Bang.” If you want to witness a lot of sass, incredible riffing, and hear me rap…check out this video.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend that truly reminded me of all I have to be thankful for in my life. Music really has a way of doing that. 🙂