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Visiting New Haven’s Hidden Gems: The Food Trucks

New Haven may be home for the pizza, but it is also home to one other thing: the food truck. Visit New Haven coins it as “around the world in 5.4 miles,” and I could not agree more. You can get anything from a hot dog to a taco to pad Thai.

The Elm City has four sites where trucks have staked their claim: Ingalls Rink, Downtown, Long Wharf, and the Cedar District (Yale School of Medicine/Yale New Haven Hospital). And, did you know that food truck food is considered to be a New Haven Staple? Visit New Haven states that the spots near the Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital have been around since the 1980s. To view a complete list of the food trucks, check out Street Food New Haven’s website, which is your guide with complete lists of the trucks that are parked. Even though I have lived in the area for my entire life, I have yet to experience the foods from all of these carts.

That said, I have experienced a small bite for years. One of my go-tos when I was working in Science Park was the Pad Thai from the Thai Food Cart at Ingalls Rink. For $6, I got a huge serving of Pad Thai with chicken and vegetables. Not bad.

Recently, my boyfriend and I decided to indulge in going to the Long Wharf ones after a doctor’s appointment in the New Haven area. We got pollo tacos and asade tacos from Birria, Milanese’s De Pollo from La Patrona, and Pinchos de Pollo (chicken kabobs) from Winn Pincho. The price was less than $20 for all of that, and each and every bite was delicious.

Pinchos de Pollo (chicken kabobs) from Winn Pincho
Pollo tacos and asade tacos
Milanese’s De Pollo

What I love about the food trucks are the options, because you can go with a group of friends and everyone can get what they want without much conflict because they have everything that you could ever crave. Furthermore, I love how inexpensive they are. While I am long past my college budget, I still love that I can get great food with large portions for a low price. Furthermore, service is quick — perfect for someone on the go and needs to get back to the office.

Now that summer is here, I hope to experience more of what the New Haven food trucks have to offer (and maybe grab some of the Pad Thai that I have been craving). If you’re interested in learning more about the New Haven food trucks, be sure to check out their website.

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May Reading Wrap Up

June is about two weeks in, but I still want to take a moment to reflect on my previous month of reading. This past month I was able to read 10 books, which is exciting because I entered the month in a massive reading slump. One of these books was an audiobook, but I credit my reading successes to reading a little bit before bed. I hope to score some reading time by the beach or by the pool as summer is quickly approaching.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, 3 out of 5 Stars: The third and final Shadow and Bone novel. I honestly didn’t get the hype of this series, but still plan to watch the show.

The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher, 4 out of 5 stars: June is a squatter who has been staying at the Crouch residence. On the outside, their house appears to be perfect, but on the inside things are not what they seem. Winnie and Nigel Crouch have a failing marriage. And, June has a secret of her own. I enjoyed this book, but it had a really slow start. I did enjoy the ending, but it took a while to get there.

Layla by Colleen Hoover, 4 out of 5 Stars: Leeds and Layla meet when Leeds is performing at her sister’s wedding. However, when an attack happens, Layla is not the same. To go back to where they were before, Leeds brings Layla to the place where they first met. I really loved this book, but it was a little creepy at first. Once I reached the second half of the book, I could not put it down. This book is definitely one of my favorites that I read this month.

Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover, 5 out of 5 stars: This Colleen Hoover novel is one of her latest releases, but I loved it nonetheless. It tells the story of a young girl who finds her mother dead after a drug overdose. She uses it as an excuse to leave her small town behind forever and falls in love with a boy who is hiding a dark secret. I loved this book, and in true Colleen Hoover fashion, it tugged at my emotions for days.

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, 4 out of 5 stars: Sydney finds out that her roommate Tori is sleeping with her boyfriend. She then moves in with boy band member Ryder and the two have a duet that makes my heart sing with joy. I loved this book, but sometimes Sydney was frustrating.

Maybe Now by Colleen Hoover, 3 out of 5 stars: The sequel to Maybe Someday. It was frustrating, but I still enjoyed reading it.

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover, 4 out of 5 stars: Merit is the black sheep of the family. Her mother suffers from mental illness, her father bought a church for the family to live in, and there is so much going on. So, she collects trophies. One day, she meets a guy and soon learns that he’s her sister’s boyfriend. Or, so she thought. This book was crazy and emotional. At first, it was extremely slow. However, it got intense, and I could not put this book down. Definitely recommend checking it out if you like a slow burn.

Love Your Life Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze, 5 out of 5 stars: You all know that I have been working on the whole budget and saving thing this year. This was what I used my Audible credit for this month, and I loved it. This book really gave me a chance to think about how I approached my life and what works for me. There are some things that I do not agree with, but I do highly recommend this book if you want to win with money or to change your money mindset.

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon, 5 out of 5 Stars: This was definitely one of the cutest books that I’ve read in a while. It is an enemies to lovers’ romance with all of the right amounts of banter and cuteness. We have our main characters Shea and Dominic who despite being enemies and get on each other’s nerves. The two are asked to host a podcast, called the Ex Talk, which takes them to new horizons that neither of them could imagine. Okay, I really loved this book, and I now understand the hype. I started this on the audiobook, but ended up downloading the e-book. I highly recommend this book for all of your summer pool reads.

You Have a Match by Emma Lord, 5 out of 5 Stars: Abby takes a DNA test and instead of winning a bet with her best friend, she finds out that she has a sister. Not a half-sister, but a full blooded sister. The two meet up, and soon have the goal to figure out what went wrong with their parents. I really loved this book. It was a lighter read, but I loved the process of Abby and Savvy’s relationship, as well as Abby’s own self-discovery.

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Friday Faves: June 11, 2021

TGIF everyone! This week’s favorites are all style ones with the exception of my current read, which I am loving. Now that summer is here, I am loving being able to switch up my style a little bit. That said, here are this week’s favorites:

Kendra Scott Lee Earrings: I have a love hate relationship with Kendra Scott. Many of her earrings are way too heavy for me. The Lee, which is a smaller version of her famous Danielle’s have been my go to earrings this week. I have a pair in abalone and a pair in a mint color that I have been pairing with my sundresses and loving. And, for those who have super sensitive ears like me, these are really comfortable and don’t tug on your ears whatsoever. They come in a wide range of colors and you can even get them customized at the Color Bar.

Kendra Scott Sophia Drop Earrings: Another pair of earrings that I have been reaching for a lot lately are the Sophia earrings. I have been wearing my hair in a bun lately because it’s just too hot to do otherwise and these really complete the look. I have a few events this summer that I can see myself wearing these too, but can even see myself wearing them to the office. I can definitely see myself wearing these a lot this summer.

Sundresses: It has been really hot in Connecticut lately. What I’ve been doing to help keep cool is by wearing a sundress. I love sundresses because they are so easy. All you do is pick one and you’re done. Therefore, they are my summer go-tos. I have been loving this black layered one from Ticked Pink, and these comfy ones from LC Lauren Conrad.

Better Together by Christine Riccio: I love Christine Riccio’s videos and her first book, Again, But Better. Needless to say, when her second book came available for pre-order, I was so excited. The book is a mix of two classic Lindsay Lohan movies — Freaky Friday and The Parent Trap. And, I am loving it. If you’re looking for a great summer beach reach, this is it.

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What Happens After Happily Ever After

Every movie shows the happily ever after — you know when a couple comes together proclaiming their love. This follows a grand gesture sometimes. But they never tell you what happens after. You know, when the credits roll, and the love theme is playing.

I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately — romantic comedies mainly. And, I am realizing that it is true. No one tells you what’s next.

I am approaching being with my boyfriend for four years, and we have been living together for one. We are nowhere near married, but we are past our early days of dating. We are in stage of comfortable and easy. Well, almost.

I think that one of the things that I never realized about relationships is in order to make them work, you have to work. Working to make things work, keep the magic that initially drew us together, and working to communicate even when you want to push the other away. The truth is, relationships and partnerships can be challenging. And, what makes them beautiful is that both parties are willing to put in the effort. This isn’t glamorous or even something that Hallmark puts in a card. It’s life.

One of the hardest things I have had to continually overcome is the challenge of opening up and the what’s next. I essentially grew with my boyfriend. I learned that it’s okay to open up and not always be closed off. We continually try to work together, and somehow he never gives up on me when I push him away. Those are things that you don’t see in a movie or read in a romance novel. However, the fact that I have someone who chooses me continually is as pretty good as happily ever after is. And, at the end of the day, that is what truly matters in a relationship.

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Friday Faves: June 4, 2021

TGIF everyone! I don’t know about you all, but I am ready for the weekend to start. I don’t have as many favorites as usual, but nonetheless, I am still excited to share them with you. So, without further adue, here are this week’s Friday Faves:

SoulCycle Radio: I’ve had SiriusXM for four years now and I rarely explore the new stations. Or knew that you can have it play on your Amazon Echo. So, while using the app, I discovered the SoulCycle station. And I love it. It has a lot of fun remixes and I’ve discovered so many fun artists that I never heard of prior. I definitely recommend checking this station out for those who need something upbeat to get in a better mood.

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren: I have been loving this book, which is no surprise because I am a huge fan of Christina Lauren. This is their latest novel, and it’s so good. It is about single mom Jess who is encouraged by her best friend to apply onto a unique dating site. She ends up matching with the company’s founder, River Pena. This novel is such a fast read, and I really am enjoying it.

What I Like About You: Yes, this is the 2000s show with Amanda Bynes. I recently began rewatching it, and it is so good. There is something that is so amazing about early 2000s sitcoms that I just miss about TV.

What are your favorites? Please let me know in the comments below.

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Eating My Way Around CT: Fresko’s in Hamden

I have always wanted to try Fresko’s in Hamden since it opened a few years ago, but for whatever reason, I have not been able to make the trip. That changed recently when I ended up trying it for lunch.

Fresko’s is located on 2323 Whitney Avenue, right next door to Mickey’s restaurant. In addition to dine-in, you have the option to order takeout right online or on UberEats. However, I know that as the weather gets nicer in the summer months, chances are you’d want to enjoy their outdoor dining. I know that I will be.

Their slogan is “it’s all Greek to us,” and their menu filled with authentic Greek specialties reflects that. Their menu has so many different Greek options such as: chicken/pork/tofu/shrimp soulvaki, gryo, Greek Lemon potatoes, and so much more. In addition, they also offer a Greek burger, pita pizza, salads and so much more.

All of Fresko’s menu items are also pretty affordable as well, as many of their menu options are no more than $10. They also offer family meals (where you could get four sandwiches, fries, and baklava), and many authentic Greek desserts.

When I went there, I had their Chicken soulvaki, pita and hummus. They served the pita bread and the hummus, and boy was I impressed about how fresh it was. The pita was served warm, and the hummus serving was so large I was able to enjoy some with my lunch and then take the rest home.

Then, came the soulvaki. If you don’t know what chicken soulvaki is, it is grilled chicken strips, onion, and tomato served on a pita with tzatziki. Some places serve it as a sandwich, while others serve it with a knife and fork. Their chicken soulvaki tasted delicious with their fresh ingredients and flavorings. I have had a lot of chicken soulvaki, but this one was easily one of my favorites. The meal was really filling, and I knew that I was going to be back there soon enough.

Now doesn’t this look delicious?

What I can leave you with is this: this is definitely going to be one of my go-to lunch places. As I mentioned earlier, the food is affordable. However, the food is also prepared pretty quickly. I was served within minutes of ordering, which is good during my lunch hour. 

Overall, I recommend that if you are in the Hamden area (or even the New Haven/Cheshire area), that you check them out. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Be sure to check out Fresko’s on Facebook, and on Instagram.

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Eating My Way Around CT: Micalizzi of Milford Opens

Now that summertime is around the corner, ice cream is definitely on my brain. Therefore, it’s a good thing that the Micalizzi location in downtown Milford had opened this past weekend. Micalizzi is an ice cream and Italian ice place. This is the second location of Micalizzi, as the first is located in Bridgeport.

There are a lot of options on the Micalizzi menu in both locations. You can get several flavors of Italian ice, hard and soft ice cream, cookies, and more. You can also get their famous “American Beauty,” which is a combination of their soft serve ice cream and Italian ice. You can also get ice cream sandwiches built with cookies and ice cream.

Yum. All of these options sound so refreshing on a hot day.

I had the opportunity to try their Italian ice at their grand opening, and wow, I was impressed. Having grown up near Libby’s Italian ice in Downtown New Haven, it’s difficult to impress me with great Italian ice. However, this one is a close second. I had their rainbow flavored one and it was so fresh and delicious.

One thing that I really loved about this place was the amount of the dairy free options. Being lactose intolerant, it’s difficult to find ice cream places that have dairy-free choices. This is great, because sometimes there are less dairy free options at ice cream places.

While I never had the opportunity to check out their Bridgeport location, I am already loving Micalizzi’s in their Milford one. I can already tell that it would be my new favorite place this summer.

Be sure to check out Micalizzi’s social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. To view their complete menu, please go here.

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Friday Faves: May 28

TGIF everyone! This Friday is especially exciting because it is Memorial Day weekend, and that means it’s a three day weekend. For me, this is especially exciting because I took an extra day off to make it a four day weekend. I am looking forward to getting a lot of reading done, and knocking a few books off of my TBR pile.

That said, I am so excited to share this week’s favorites. They are random, and I am perfectly okay with that.

Sydney Cummings Workouts: I discovered a new workout everyone – no offense to the Peloton app. Sydney Cummings has a variety of HIIT workouts, which I love. I love her workouts because they are challenging, but they are also fun. I’ve mentioned in previous posts about my distain for Jillian Micheals’ workouts, which has turned me off of HIIT completely. That said, I love her positive attitude, as it focuses on gaining strength versus losing weight. Her workouts are challenging, don’t get me wrong, but I love that I feel more empowered when I do them, versus ashamed that I am unable to do anything or feel like I am losing enough weight. I still am challenged, but I really love it.

Too Hot to Handle: I found another Netflix show that I am obsessed with, which is Too Hot to Handle. I binge watched this show this past week. It is about young singles that are looking for a meaningful connection. They are challenged to form these connections by simply not touching whatsoever. If they do, then they lose the $100,000 prize. It was a mindless show, but I really enjoyed it.

Dagne Dover Landon Crossbody XS Small: I recently used some Nordstrom Notes to grab the black (onyx) version and I have been loving it. I have been getting a lot of use of this simply by using it as a work purse. It is also lightweight, and easy to clean.

Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze podcasts: As many of you know, I have been trying to learn how to change my habits to become less of a spender and more of a saver. Listening to their podcasts have been really motivating for me to focus on my future versus the present. Therefore, I am enjoying listening to them because it’s inspired me to do better than I did when it comes to money.

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Emergency Fund 101: Why You Need It

About three months ago, I hit a tree during a snow storm. Thankfully, I was able to walk away without getting hurt or injured. However, my car was deemed undrivable with damage to my fender and suspension. This was not planned whatsoever. However, I took a breath of relief as I knew that I had the funds in a savings account to cover the cost of my rental, deductible and other expenses

Thankfully, I have begun saving since I started my full time job for an emergency fund. Now, you may be asking, what exactly is an emergency fund? Well, an emergency fund is something that urgent that comes up that is unplanned.

So what is an emergency? Here are a few examples of when you would need cash fast:

1. You lost your job, and you need to pay bills.

2. Your car breaks down.

3. You are having any kind of home repair that came up unexpected.

4. There is a death in the family and you need to travel/deal with it fast.

Dave Ramsey teaches those who follow him to save at least three to six months of expenses saved. And, I agree to that to some extent. It’s really assuring to have that money set aside for things when your car isn’t starting and it’s on its way to the mechanic again so you don’t have to worry about having to come up with more money or use a credit card. He recommends keeping this money out of your checking but is easily accessible (i.e. savings/money market account).

This was one of the most expensive money lessons that I had to learn the hard way. About three years ago, I had a flat tire from running over a curb. The price? $375. At that time, I did not have that saved, and I had to ask my mom for help fixing it. Since then, I learned that I need to start putting aside cash for those moments, because believe me, they do happen.

That said, here are some ways that you can build an emergency fund:

  • Sell items on Poshmark
  • Put aside a percentage of your check everytime.
  • Get a side hustle.
  • Cut expenses as much as possible.

I have been actively saving for emergencies, even though I am way over that $1,000 threshold. That said, even though I had that amount saved and I paid cash for all of the repairs done on my car with the accident, it still stung having to get that amount taken out. I felt discouraged, almost as if I did something wrong instead of thanking myself for thinking that far ahead.

It took me a moment to realize that sometimes, life happens and we have expenses that are not planned. That is why it’s important to save for them. I am currently working to get my savings account to where it used to be, and that is going to take time. In the mean time, I can do my best to continue to grow my emergency fund as much as possible.

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Friday Faves: May 21, 2021

TGIF everyone! It has been a long week (which is why this is my first post of the week), and I just can’t wait for the weekend! I was debating on not posting for the week, but I still wanted to include a list of this week’s favorites for everyone. They are a bit random, but still worth sharing nonetheless. So without further adue, here are this week’s favorites;

Love Your Life Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze: Rachel Cruze is Dave Ramsey’s daughter, and she is staying in the family business of helping people manage their finances. I read her other book recently and decided to give this one a listen because your girl is struggling with budgeting. By listening to more educational things, it has helped me learned more about how to save. Definitely important. That said, I have been listening to this a lot and this is a lot easier to digest than you would think. I definitely recommend.

Dooney and Bourke Pebble Leather Crossbody: This was actually a replacement purchase as I had two versions of this Dooney and Bourke bag. I am so happy I sold those and got this. It is a crossbody but it holds everything I need, including my wallet, keys, Kindle and more. What I really love about it this is that it’s slowly helping me avoid taking my tote to work, which I really like. I have been taking this to work, but I also can see myself using this for traveling, errands and so much more.

Beautiful Girl You Can Do Hard Things Mantraband: I have had this in my closet for a while and I love this. It has been giving me motivation to challenge myself and reminds me that I am a strong woman. I wear this with other Mantrabands, beaded bracelets, and other bangles. I highly recommend Mantraband bracelets, as I’ve had some for over four years and they look like the day I got them.

Pop Sonic Spade Cleansing and Exfoliating Device: I purchased this to help me cleanse my skin better. And I love it. I scored it on sale at QVC and have been using it every day since. It’s great to remove all of the makeup I use and it also helps keep my skin clean. I use Trader Joe’s TeaTree Facial soap and I’ve been really happy with the results.