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Retail Therapy

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So yes, I have gone back to college. And already, I’m missing the slower-paced days of summer. Tell me if this happens to you: By the end of the summer, you’re totally ready for school to start again… but then, two days into the school year, you want summer back!

Lucky me, I’m only 5 minutes away from a major mall and a bazillion shops. Talk about the perfect antidote to draining class work and studying. Whenever I need a break from the monotony of college textbooks, I hop in my car (or bike, if the weather’s nice and I don’t have a ton of items to buy) and engage in some retail therapy—Urban Outfitters, Barnes and Noble, Sports Authority, the mall, Whole Foods… I’m not picky when it comes to shopping. Often, I don’t even buy anything; just the act of getting out of the house refreshes me enough to come home and put the nose back to the grind. Or, like a few days ago, come home and make some dinner: This dinner literally took me 10 minutes to prepare. Normally, I’m not big on “meaty”-type vegan foods.

But every once in a blue moon, I find myself craving Italian-style tofu from White Wave.  The taste is robust, the texture is chewy, and you cannot beat the convenience. Just slice and go.


And lately I’ve been eating coleslaw with sesame dressing like it’s nobody’s business. Looks pretty darn gorgeous for being thrown together in about 10 minutes flat (the zucchini fries are leftovers from the day before). Such gorgeousness deserves a close-up shot, no?


(As much as I really don’t care if my food looks ugly, it’s always nice when something that tastes good also happens to look good!)

Rounding out the meal with a chilled glass of Cashew Cream Milk


To the 2nd anonymous commenter on yesterday’s post: You should totally try this recipe. It’s a delicious way to get in some healthy fats. 😉

Question of the day:

I coasted through elementary, middle, and high school. My friends hated that I could ace tests without ever opening a textbook. In college, however, I met my comeuppance. Studying? What’s that? How are you supposed to do it? Very quickly, I was forced to teach this old dog a new trick. Luckily, I’m slowly getting the hang of it.

Have you always been good at the art of studying, or did you pick up the habit later in life? I’d love to hear your study tips and tricks. What do you do when your mind finally rebels against any more working/studying? You know: when you’re so tired or bored that even after reading the same page three times, you still have no idea what it says! I’ve always heard that people who take breaks (as opposed to studying non-stop for hours) actually end up being more productive. So go out and engage in some retail therapy, sans guilt!

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Marina says:

    Shopping is a wonderful therapy 🙂
    I’ve always studied my ass off, but the way of studying has really changed when I started uni.

  2. Caitlin says:

    SAME! In college it helped to attend every class and take thorough notes (English major), but I never came up with any groundbreaking studying methods. I think being a diligent student from day one is the most effective learning method.

  3. abby says:

    i have friends like that too! i was always jealous of them because i would study my butt off, especially in classes like spanish, and they’d STILL get a better grade! glad to know they probably met their match. sounds mean, but it makes me feel a little better ;).

  4. Valerie says:

    I’ve tried that tofu too. I HATE HATE the Thai one. You’d think something Thai would taste like coconut or peanut, but this one tastes like rubber. Have you tried the Thai one? I trust your tastes, because they’ve never steered me wrong before, so I’m willing to give the Italian one a shot.

    1. I haven’t tried the Thai one. But I DEFINITELY recommend giving the Italian a shot, because the Roma one was just like you said: rubbery and awful. But the Italian Herb is quite different.

      1. Lisa says:

        I’ve tried the Thai one, and I agree with Katie: The Italian one is worth a shot even if you hated the other one. It’s my favorite of them all.

  5. Namaste Gurl says:

    Your day looks a lot like mine– all my favorite shops, fav eats (I DID have coleslaw yesterday!) and thoughts….

    Again, we’d be GOOD friends 🙂

  6. Leslie says:

    That bowl does indeed look pretty :). Nice when pretty foods also taste good. I’ll go even further and say sometimes if it looks nice, it tastes good even if it really doesn’t. Does that make any sense?!

  7. Saraishealthy says:

    The cashew milk sounds delicious! As does the tofu. I love convenience items like that. I’ll have to look for it!

  8. keegan says:

    I was pretty similar to you. Coasted through, with some pre-test studying, all the way through college. Then I hit med school and my world flipped upside down. It was a hard adjustment that had to be made fast. Luckily, I’ve survived, and only 7 months away from the end 🙂 You’ll get through it too!

    1. Ooh wow, congrats (a few months early)! 🙂
      I would never be able to get through med school! Basically, science was the reason I had to learn to study!

  9. Kelly says:

    I was too paranoid *not* to study in my pre-college days even though the material was generally quite easy for me. Still, I definitely didn’t *need* to study as much as my friends… one friend in particular often seemed a little miffed that she and I tied for valedictorian when I allegedly “didn’t study” for anything. Hmph.

    College definitely required more studying, but I’m pretty disciplined and had no problem with that. I do recommend taking breaks – I would often force myself to do 45 minutes to an hour of work and then “reward” myself with something like baking or surfing the web for 15 minutes. Group studying is also helpful (as long as everyone in the group is fairly focused) since talking through concepts can help you think about them from another perspective. As far as reading 100+ pages of a dry text in one night… well, I’m not sure there’s any good approach for that! Even the reward system fails when your brain refuses to take in what you’re reading. I guess jotting down quick notes as you read can reinforce the major concepts if you can identify them as you go…

    1. Yeah, I have a different way to get through 100+ pages of dry text… but I don’t recommend my strategy: completely ignore doing the reading, then make up a bunch of stuff for your essays and be SURE to speak up in class when you DO have something to say so the prof will never call on you when you don’t hehehe :). Oh gosh, I hope none of my profs read that!

  10. Maria says:

    I didn’t have to study until high school, when I was introduced to Chemistry. Suddenly it was like hello school books, goodbye social life!

  11. Inspired says:

    Mmm I’m craving coleslaw. Thanks for giving me a dinner idea!

  12. I never had to study a lot, even in college, because I just paid really close attention in class and took lots of good notes. Then right before a big test, I reviewed my notes. But I feel like the entire act of writing them down burned the info into my memory anyhow, so I barely needed the review. Good note-taking is the best college study skill, in my opinion.

  13. Dianne says:

    I was always a TERRIBLE studier. No attention or time for it! Fortunately for me, there was only one or two classes in college for which I really, really had to study…like up all night, calling a friend for help studying. The good news is, now it’s over!

  14. Another Annonymous says:

    Oh wow, thank you for the shout out! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    If I get the courage, I’ll surely try out your cashew milk :).

  15. Erika says:

    Sometimes the ugliest meals are the yummiest ones! 🙂

  16. I would kill to go back to college…I still miss it!

    Like you I did very well in elementary, middle and high school but university was a different story. All I wanted to do was have fun which made studying and doing well quite difficult. I pulled myself together during my last year though, but I still would have loved to do better.

    Yes, taking study breaks helps. I learned in my psych class that you take a break every hour! Even just a quick one. It helps you to regroup and come back feeling refreshed.
    I also like to reward myself for studying. Like, if you finish _____ assignment today, you can buy yourself a new shirt! Or if you get over_____ grade you can book yourself a massage! I don’t know, I always found that motivating 😀

  17. glad to see i’m not the only “coaster”! i barely did any work throughout my school years, high school was the worst. i went to a private/homeschool academy. it wasn’t even accredited as a real school (of course, they didn’t tell us that)! class was 9 to 12 monday to thursday and you can bet your sweet chocolate covered booty that i didn’t have to lift a finger to pass. college is a bit tougher, but i’m still relatively coast-ish. i did study my arse off for biology, psychology, and math though! i don’t enjoy gen ed requirements 🙁

  18. Katelyn says:

    I have to try zuke fries!! Those look delish.

    When it comes to studying, I believe strongly in taking breaks – but often, I end up getting distracted and completely avoid the studying part 🙂 So often, when I have a big project or assignment, I just dive right in and do the whole thing at once. I get super into it and then end up with something amazing and think to myself, “Did I really just write that?!”. It’s the best feeling! 🙂

  19. I am only good at shopping for food and kitchen stuff. I hate shopping for clothes. I was ok in school growing up. College was the only time that I didn’t have to study much, but it was culinary school and I loved what I was learning. Your eats look delicious. I love the coleslaw mix!

  20. fruitsveggieslife says:

    I was definitely not a studier through high school, and college has definitely proven to be difficult at times because of that. However, I’ve learned how to learn (ha!), and now I’m a study whiz. 🙂

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