Eat Here: Bragg’s Factory Diner

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This weekend, Domenico and I treated ourselves to a little brunch at Bragg’s before his weekend work shift. It’s a vegetarian/vegan diner that was a family-owned pie factory in its first life. It’s quaint and cozy inside, full of homages to Phoenix and good-old Arizona. Between the two of us we shared pancakes, eggplant bacon, biscuits and veggie gravy, and a coconut-curry waffle. Maybe it’s because it’s a pie factory at heart, but the pancakes and waffles were top notch. Bonus points: They had a weekend special in honor of Leslie Knope and her waffle love.

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The weather was perfect, so after breakfast, we briefly explored Grand Avenue, which is full of mosaic-tiled planters, colorful galleries, and trees strung with pompoms and tinsel. I’m serious. It’s a technicolor dream of kitsch. I even found a yarn-bombed palm tree scattered with crocheted granny squares.

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As a side note, on my way to a little hike this morning, I had a super tasty smoothie from 24 Carrots that featured avocado, coconut and lime juice. Plus, I got to visit with my sweet friend Rachel, who works there, briefly. I love how many wonderful and exciting vegetarian/vegan restaurants there are in the Valley. I think my next stop will have to be Nami for some soy ice cream.

My Year in Review

2014 was an especially busy year, full of new endeavors and old friends. During the past 12 months, I started two new jobs; watched the complete Gilmore Girls series; became the editor-in-chief of a literary magazine; taught myself how to crochet; traveled to Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, and Virginia; read possibly my favorite book ever, Carmelo; and began the process of selling my knitting. Here are some of my favorite moments from 2014.

1. When I made this vegetarian sweet potato chili.

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2. When I knitted two hearts for Valentine’s Day. (One is anatomical and one symbolic; both are soft and fiber-y.)

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3. When Domenico went to Payson and found the lake snow dusted. We ate chili there too!

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4. When Domenico, Emily, Tommy, and I spent the day in Phoenix at the Book Swap and Phoenix Flea Market.

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5. When I made bacon jam and grits crackers shaped like the state of Virginia for my visiting relatives.

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6.  When Domenico and I drove up the California coast, visiting flower fields, touring old castles and prisons, eating amazing food, and trying to figure out the San Francisco bus system.

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7. When I got to celebrate my wonderful dad on Father’s Day.

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8. When I got to show Kaylie and Ted all my favorite things in downtown Phoenix, like The Phoenix Public Market, Short Leash, the Melrose District, Lux, and Welcome Diner.

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9. When I spent a week with my BFFs Kaylie and Rylee in Portland. We made crafts on Kaylie’s floor, ate ridiculous ice cream, saw so much beautiful green, and made plans for our future together.

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10. When I traveled back to Virginia for a cousin’s wedding and spent the weekend exploring an old plantation and introducing Domenico to my sweet family.

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11. When I turned 22 and made a list of little and lofty goals.

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12. When Domenico and I got festive at a pumpkin patch.

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13. When we celebrated our eighth anniversary by dressing up, eating a fancy dinner, and visiting Zoo Lights.

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14. When I decorated the house for Christmas and documented all the silly/adorable decorations we’ve collected.

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Here’s to an even more memorable 2015!

Goodbye for Now

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Today was my final day as a creative services intern at Make-A-Wish. My summer as an intern has been a truly worthwhile experience. I was pleasantly shocked by the amount of work I was able to produce, the level of trust and independence I was given and the connections I made. There were no obligatory coffee runs (although I was treated to coffee more than a few times) or meaningless filing in this internship. For 10 weeks, I drafted wish stories, wrote for the organization’s blog, edited promotional/commercial material and designed other collateral. Amazingly, I was using my education and passions every day at a non profit organization that I deeply believe in.  Not only does Make-A-Wish perform important work in the world, but the environment I found at the national office was really something. I loved being a part of it. And (dramatic pause) I’m so happy to be returning in the fall as a marketing intern.

This week has been all meetings and parties and gifts and food. We took this ridiculous photo to give to our intern coordinator and got some sweet paper plate awards. Mine were most creative thinker, most unique and best dressed – basically all I’ve ever wanted to be.

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On Tuesday, we celebrated with an intern dinner at Pizzeria Bianco. This Biltmore/Arcadia location is too lovely – I just want to move my bed in and live there. And the pizza. I ordered the rosa, an insane combination of parmesan, pistachios, red onion and rosemary. Pizza + kind people + chandeliers + beautiful, earth-tone paintings.

I’m sad to see this internship session come to an end, and I’ll surely miss some of the faces I got to know this summer, but I’m excited to be returning. (I’m also excited to have a little break from work. My trip to Portland will be a perfect little palate cleanser before I dive into the unknown world of marketing.)