McCormick Spice Factory Tour

Last Thursday, I was invited to attend a tour of McCormick Spice Factory, so after an hour of guessing true and false statements relating to the time value of money, I met up with the other FitBloggin attendees.

FitBloggin, a conference for anyone who blogs about health, fitness, food or wellness, took place this past weekend in Baltimore. I initially planned to attend the conference, but I ultimately chose to only tour the factory.

Because I drove straight to the McCormick headquarters and didn’t meet the group at the Hyatt, I arrived a few minutes before the tour officially began. I was able to meet several of the employees and learn about their different positions at McCormick.

Once the entire group arrived, we were directed to the dining room and were offered lunch. After all of the high-tech camera lenses came out (I’m more of a point-and-shoot-one-picture-only-and-that’s-good-enough kind of person…), the guests enjoyed a lunch of roasted chicken, squash ribbon salad, couscous with tart cherries and apricots, sesame balsamic asparagus, and tumeric roasted cauliflower.

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While eating, we were introduced to some of the faces behind McCormick, including two of their chefs and Dr. Hamed Faridi, the Chief Science Officer. We split into two groups after a brief presentation; I started the afternoon by learning about the process in which our lunch was made.

Chef Mark Garcia and Dr. Wendy Bazilian explained the best way to cook vegetables to create not only tasty meals, but ones with the most health benefits as well.

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Afterwards, we went to the kitchen where another chef prepared one of McCormick’s entrees. As soon as I saw that there was fish involved, I stood in the far back corner of the room and stayed far away—I couldn’t risk breaking out into hives or passing out. Not that that’s unusual for me, though.

We then moved on to another kitchen to learn about the seasoning that was used in our roasted citrus chicken. Annette, a dietician who was assisting with the demonstration, also happens to be a mother that I babysit for, so it was funny when we realized that we were both at the same event. (I actually was supposed to be babysitting that afternoon, but passed the job along to my sister!)

The best part of the afternoon came when it was time for dessert.

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Seeing as I was at a facility that specializes in taste-testing products, I found it fitting to “taste-test” all three desserts.

The remainder of the day was spent doing sensory exercises and trying different apple sauces with varying degrees of cinnamon. I had fun meeting new people and getting a look inside of the McCormick factory! Thank you to everyone who made it possible!

If you could tour one factory, what factory would you choose? I would love to tour the Natty Boh factory!

Online Documentation of My Dating Life

To be completely candid, there are days—and sometimes even weeks—when the last thing that I want to do is open Windows Live Writer and blog. Conversely, there are also times, like today, when I am itching to form content (even if it is as silly as chronicling my embarrassing moments). I don’t know if it’s because the daunting thought of studying 126 pages is consuming me, and procrastinating is only logical, or if it’s because blogging has become part of my routine.

When I first created Jimmy Choos on the Treadmill, there was no predisposition for it to become “a success.” But then again, I think a success can be defined in more ways than one. Before blogging became a phenomenon, it was negatively viewed as creepy, online journaling. While I didn’t plan to make my WordPress site an online documentation of my dating life, I did see it as a place to share random musings with followers (read: my mom and best friend).

It has since evolved further than I ever expected, and for that, I’m eternally grateful, but also extremely overwhelmed. In the matter of two weeks, several amazing opportunities have been presented and I can’t wait until they come to fruition. I hope to share more details soon—preferably not when my blogging time is limited to the duration of a study break.

Of course, a little J.Crew therapy can always help a stressful situation (especially when it’s all on sale and from the factory!). These are my latest finds from this past weekend…

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Click photos to be redirected to J.Crew’s site.

I Really Should…

I really should be studying finance, but I’m going to the beach this weekend.

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I really should be eating oatmeal (ew), but I’m having tiramisu for breakfast.

I really should be exercising in the morning, but waking up at 4:30am is way too damn early.

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I really should be saving money, but I’m stopping at the J.Crew Factory store to get this.

I really should be leaving for Management 361, but I’m still denying the fact that I have Friday classes.

What should you be doing, and what are you doing instead?

Carrie Bradshaw Sits Front Row

Without a solid plan for the weekend, Natalie and I hopped on a bus to New York at 5:30am on Saturday morning. We arrived in the city fifteen minutes before the first show of the day began and had a desperate need for caffeine. We ran down the street, duffle bags and a change of shoes in tow, grabbed bagels and coffee, and jumped on the subway. Busy applying a fresh coat of lipstick and sleep deprived, I failed to realize that we were going downtown (rather than uptown) until after several stops.

After a subway and flats-to-heels switch, we walked through the Lincoln Center doors fashionably late at 9:12am.

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Geared up with iPhones, headsets, and credentials, we began the jam-packed day with the Lacoste show. Knowing that my Fashion Week was more of a Fashion Weekend, I was happy that Jill Stuart’s show was on Saturday. I had the chance to briefly go backstage to congratulate my former coworkers and to get a sneak peek of the models minutes before they walked.

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In a frazzled state, I accidentally left my camera’s memory card in my laptop, so I was limited to my iPhone. Though I’m biased, Jill Stuart’s collection was one of my favorites.

During a quick lunch break, we went to the Vintage Chanel Trunk Show with friends and drooled over the quilted handbags.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon watching more beautiful models, fabrics, and designs come down the runway.

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Our beloved Empire Hotel was completely booked for the night, so my friend Alicia kindly let us stay at her apartment. We missed the Alexander Wang after-party, but a full night’s sleep was well worth it.

Sunday started with breakfast from Starbucks, eaten while sitting on the steps of the Met à la Blair Waldorf. Along with thousands of other Fashion Week-goers, non-fat, no-whip, sugar-free lattés were followed by the Diane von Furstenberg show.

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It’s no surprise that the DVF show drew quite the crowd—everyone from Valentino to Sarah Jessica Parker to the Hilton sisters were in attendance. There was no Mr. Big in sight, but I still envisioned it being Carrie Bradshaw sitting front row.

Drama was brought to Lela Rose as Lauren Conrad sat alongside Mandy Moore, looking as chic as ever.

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I was sad to leave after only two days, but at least I can live stream the remaining shows while I sit in Marketing 341.

If you could meet one celebrity, who would you chose?

Fashion’s Night Out in Baltimore

A Monday through Friday class schedule kept me in Baltimore this year for Fashion’s Night Out, so I planned to go downtown to spend the evening with my sisters. After experiencing the craziness of trying to push through Beliebers last year, shopping in Harbor East was much more civilized.

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With drinks in hand, we started the night at South Moon Under. We ran into several friends, including one of my ZTA sisters, as we checked out the new fall collections.

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The scene in Baltimore is undoubtedly much more casual than New York, but this shopper caught my attention with her bold-printed pants and bright red heels.

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We then walked next door to Urban Chic, a large boutique with a variety of designer labels. I found an olive green Rebecca Minkoff clutch that I loved, but I ultimately decided not to buy it.

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Jen, Natalie, and I wanted to go to the new Anthropoligie store that opened a few months ago, so we went there afterwards. The space was formerly a car dealership—neeedless to say, it was huge! We stayed until the store closed, eating plenty of cheese and crackers and hummus with pita bread.

Three glasses of champagne later, I ended up back at South Moon Under, making an alcohol-induced purchase. I ended up ordering the Rebecca Minkoff 5-Zip clutch, and to be completely honest, I had forgotten that the credit card swiping occurred until the package arrived in the mail. The marketing technique clearly worked (noted for future references).

Come 10:30pm, reality settled in: I had a damn essay to finish. With a midnight deadline, I rushed back to Jen’s house in Canton and scrambled to write a four-page paper on telecommuting. Apparently my ability to form coherent sentences while intoxicated is better than I thought. A few glasses of Prosecco, a new handbag, and a 90% all on the same night? It’s no meet-and-greet with Kim Kardashian in Soho, but I’ll take it for a night in Baltimore!

Did you go shopping in your city for Fashion’s Night Out?

Front Page

I was beyond thrilled when Meghan, the editor of the arts and life section of Towson University’s newspaper, approached me about writing a feature on my experience in fashion. After discovering that I was starting CollegeFashionista on campus, she went on to learn that I interned for Jill Stuart this past summer and that I write a personal blog.

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While I was a bit embarrassed to be having a photo shoot in the middle of campus as students passed by on their way to class, the outcome was worth the ten minutes of posing (and standing in the scorching heat).

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photo by Matthew Hazlett

I loved sharing my story with the writers of The Towerlight and cannot be more grateful for the opportunity to be on the front page of a campus-wide publication. You can read the full article here.

Brights and Stripes

The one time that I wore yoga pants and a t-shirt to take a final exam, a classmate asked me if I had jogged to class. While I normally prefer to be put together for a day of lectures, I can understand the appeal that sweatpants have on a rainy morning. Even as a college freshman, when 8am science labs were typical and pledging a sorority consumed the majority of my time, I always made an effort to be presentable.

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Loft Tie-neck Blouse, Old Navy Patterned Shorts, J.Crew Necklace, Michael Kors Chronograph Watch, J.Crew Pave Link Bracelet, Loft Gold Bangles, J.Crew Printed Bangle

Truthfully, some days I completely faked it. I often rolled out of bed, brushed my hair, swiped a layer of mascara across my lashes, threw on a ZTA t-shirt and J.Crew pixies, and topped it off with a patterned scarf and a wool peacoat. Of course it only worked during the colder months, but getting dressed on a frigid day was simple.

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As the end of summer approaches, I’ve found myself gravitating more towards brighter hues.

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I don’t wear yellow that frequently, but I picked up this blouse a few weeks ago in hopes that it could be worn as the weather begins to transition.

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I wore the top with this pair of blue-striped shorts that I found at Old Navy for a mere fifteen dollars. For someone who is obsessed with stripes, the shorts were a steal.

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If you’re a student, what do you wear to class?

Sweatpants and a t-shirt, or a dress and cute jewelry?