Texas Soccer in Hawaii: Part 1

ALOHA HAWAII!

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Texas Soccer is officially in the land of Hawaiian floral shirts, pineapples, Puka shell necklaces, coconuts, sandy toes, and plenty of sunshine! Can you say tanning, exploring, shopping, eating,

Let me not get ahead of myself, however… It all started Wednesday in the wee hours of the morning when we all met at our field house at 6 a.m. to depart for the airport. Let’s just say the excitement and realization that we were going to Hawaii had not yet sunk in because we all were still half asleep. We arrived at the airport and lounged for a bit before boarding our plane. Here’s where the real adventure starts: we board the plane around 8:15 for our 8:45 flight to Phoenix with a connecting flight to Honolulu. Well, something went wrong with the plane so we have to take all of our belongings and de-board the plane and wait until the mechanics can fix the problem! We all get a little anxious because, hello, our final destination isn’t Phoenix! We finally departed an hour later than scheduled and make it to Arizona. The flight attendants and pilots held our connecting flight for us because we we’re so late and would have missed it otherwise! We sprint to the correct terminal and gate and arrive on the plane sweating a little only to walk on and see that the Arizona State soccer team is on the plane as well. For those of you who don’t know, our first game in Hawaii is against the Arizona State Sun Devils. We put on our game faces and walk right past them like we own the place. Confidence is key, ladies and gentlemen! We settle into our seats and prepare for the 6-hour flight to Honolulu. Some of us slept, others watched movies, and a couple played some Sudoku. In the end though, we made it to the Aloha state with all our bags and plenty of smiles! We’re hereeeeee, everyone! We ventured to our hotel and then went for a little jog at the beach before heading back to the hotel for some much needed showers. Because of the time difference, all of us were a little sluggish but when the coaches said they were taking us to a Hibachi place for dinner, our stomachs began to growl and we got a second boost of energy. We all chowed down as if it were our last meal ever…the food was so delicious. Once all of us were in sufficient food comas, we mosied back to our beautiful hotel and passed out. A big bed and a comfy pillow has never been such a lovely sight. I don’t think any of us had trouble getting to sleep that night!

We woke up the next morning feeling oh-so refreshed. Since this is a business trip for soccer first and foremost, we headed out for a light practice and technical session. Having a good and focused practice, we were then surprised with a little afternoon excursion: we were going to Pearl Harbor! We got there just in time for our tour at 1:45 and what an amazing afternoon it proved to be. Learning about the history of Pearl Harbor and stepping on the memorial site for the USS Arizona gave us all chills. We all gained more respect and admiration for our armed forces and those who lived through the attack on Pearl Harbor and the events following it. It was a very sobering experience for all. After Pearl Harbor, the fun afternoon continued! Ange said we had 2 hours of free time. Free time meaning we all hopped into our swimsuits and headed to the beach!!! The crystal blue water had been taunting us since our arrival and we finally got to go enjoy it! There was an extra pep in our step on the walk to the shore. Rushing to put sunscreen on, we sprinted into the water and didn’t come out until it was dinnertime! It was an absolute blast. Being on a collegiate soccer team gets very competitive at times and this translates to both on and off the field. Some of my teammates challenged one another to see how far they could go into the ocean…needless to say, out competitive spirits came out and it was a race to see who could make it out the farthest in the ocean. Some of my teammates went so far out that from the shore, we couldn’t see them over the waves. They made is back (eventually) and recounted their stories of exploring the deep dark sea. Ha! We came back to the hotel and our dinner was awaiting us. We all ate by the lovely pool at the hotel where there was a live band playing Hawaiian music. We all enjoyed the sights, the sounds, our dinner, and just relaxed for a bit.  That night we had a quick team meeting and then once Ange said “Goodnight!” we all B-lined it straight to our rooms for a quick shower and bed! Being on the go all day really makes your appreciate a good night’s sleep, let me tell ya.

We awoke on Friday morning and all had a little more excitement than normal because it’s officially game day!! We went downstairs for breakfast (the pineapple here in Hawaii is really better than anywhere else, I promise…) and ate some tasty food before having a quick morning pep talk with the coaches. We play the Arizona State Sun Devils tonight at 7 o’clock! We are super pumped and ready to go!

Stay tuned for another blog post in the coming days so you can stay up to date with all of our Hawaiian adventures. Who knows, they next time I write to y’all it might be decided that we all might never want to leave the islands! I think we’re slowly but surely turning into soccer playing surfer chicks…stay tuned.

Hook ‘em Horns from Hawaii,

Brinks

Shake It Off

I can’t get over Taylor Swift’s latest single, Shake It Off, from her brand new album, 1989, being released later this year. The song is just so groovy and happy! Please, if you haven’t already go listen to it and watch the hilarious music video. It’s so quirky and unique and I promise that if you’re having a bad day it’ll do just the trick to make you smile. Try it and let me know…

I love the message as well. I know it’s cliché to say but somedays just really suck. School sometimes annoys me, a bad soccer practice might piss me off, or something stupid might just anger me…but y’all, honestly, we just have to shake it off! Nothing that a dance party can’t fix…am I right or am I right? My best friend, Kendall, and I were known to have the occasional dance party if we were super stressed. The said parties had tons of loud singing, obnoxious dancing, and just some general running around our apartment like crazy people. Few people were able to witness such dance parties and let’s just say, let’s keep it that way. 

One last thing. Other than the song, I am O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D with her all black outfit with red lip combo T-Swifty has got going on in the middle of the video. Let’s talk about how I’ll be sporting this look allllll day errrrrry day during the coming months in fall and winter. (On a separate note, I love summer but I love love extra love me some fall and winter, more on that later.) And good news, the look is so simple to recreate for anyone who loves it like moi.  Four simple pieces that make such a statement. Ugh, looking at this stuff makes me so excited for semi-colder weather to come! Let me not get ahead of myself, however. I’m currently writing this post from Hawaii enjoying all the sunshine the islands have to offer. I’m here for soccer…can’t wait to fill y’all in on everything! Off to enjoy the beach!

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And hey, remember to just shake it off every once in a while. It seems to be working just fine for me and Taylor Swift!

xoxo, Brinks

P.S. If you are a little interested in my Hawaiian travels before I have a chance to write all about them on the brinks…catch some photos on my Instagram. You can follow me here!

Texas Soccer Preseason

Our first game is tonight, yes tonight! In preparation for season, all of Texas Soccer comes in at the beginning of August for preseason. (Cue dark and scary music duh duh duhhhhh) No, I’m just kidding. Preseason isn’t scary. It’s just a lot of soccer in a very short amount of time, living in the dorms again, running from an early morning practice to ice baths to rehab to lunch to a quick power nap to another practice to ice bath to…shall I go on? Basically preseason in short is: practice, eat, sleep, repeat. To be completely honest, it’s absolutely exhausting but it all pays off because it’s finally game day! The moment when we get to put on our uniforms for real (and not just for picture day and then we immediately take them back off!), is pretty special. Lots of aches and pains and soreness got us here but that all goes away when we run on to the field and the music is blaring and then fans are yelling. All the two-a-day tough practices and ice baths and treatment pays off. Tonight, 7:30 p.m. Go Texas Soccer!

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The night before the start of preseason, our staff takes us out to dinner. Basically, we nom nom nom on carbs and other tasty things because we’ll run it off the next morning!

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Bam. First day of preseason is here. We have three fitness tests we have to pass to “officially” make the team and earn all of our fun Texas Soccer gear…including matching tennis shoes, cleats, jackets, shorts, sports bras, sliders, shirts, and lots of other good stuff. Here we are about to run our first of 3 three tests, The Cooper, which is 7.25 laps in 12 minutes, go go go! #BurntOrangeChristmas

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My amazing junior class on picture day! Smile pretty (?) for the camera! Haha, we like to mean mug, soft smile, and just generally goof off to annoy the photographer. These are one of our four uniform kits…we also have black, gray, and burnt orange. I’m telling ya, we get so much stuff!

If you’re lucky enough to have Longhorn Network, tune in at 7:30 p.m. central time and watch us take on Incarnate Word in our first game of the season! You can’t miss me, I’m #13 and am the only ginger on the team. Hooooooook ‘em, ladies and gents!

Homemade Mini Poptarts

So, a couple of days ago I made the CUTEST (more importantly: most delicious!) little mini Pop-Tarts. I think this ranks up there as one of the best things I’ve ever baked…for some reason, they just really satiated my taste buds! It all started when I had the homemade Pop-Tart from Perla’s here in Austin. Then, a week ago, I went to breakfast with a friend in Dallas at Bread Winners and we split another homemade Pop-Tart! There’s just something about a homemade pastry that just makes my eyes twinkle. And what on earth is better than a simple Pop-Tart? 

So, I set on a journey to make my own. I decided to make a fruit Pop-Tart with a vanilla glaze and a strawberry garnish. I planned on filling the Pop-Tart with a strawberry jam of sorts but then something amazing happened. I realized I still had a jar left of my favorite raspberry-peach jam that I got in Paris last summer. I first tried this jam in Paris while visiting last summer (in case you missed it, recap here and here!) and just fell in love. I spread that stuff on a french baguette and was good to go. Then give me a cup of tea and I was set! I had never had this flavor combo in the states so I decided to buy a couple jars and bring them back with me! I was so happy when my mom found it hidden away in our pantry! Go Mommy, go! (So basically, the gist of that little tangent of a story was that you can use whatever type of jam your heart desires to put into your Pop-Tarts…it is solely up to you! Or you could throw out the jam all together and just fill them with Nutella, holla OMG I want to make chocolate Pop-Tarts right now… #mouthwatering).

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Ingredients:

Pastry

  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 Additional Egg (to brush on pastry)

Filling

  • 1 Cup Jam/Preserve/Jelly
  • 3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

Icing

  • 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Milk
  • Dash of Vanilla 
  • Strawberries (sliced for garnish)

Directions: 

Pastry Directions: For the pastry, cut the cold butter into small pieces. Using a pastry cutter, a KitchenAid, or your fingers, mix the butter with the flour, salt, and sugar until the butter is approximately the size of peas. Once you’ve achieved this, add the milk and one of the eggs and mix until the dough comes together. Mix until you can squeeze the dough in your hands and it is cohesive and stays together. Then, take the dough, split it half, wrap in plastic wrap, and stick in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

Jam Filling: Put the jam and flour in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it’s reached a boil, reduce to a simmer and stir for 2 minutes. Allowing this to cook for 2 minutes will allow the jam to thicken as well as cook out the flour taste. Woo, woo.

Icing: To make the icing, mix the powdered sugar and vanilla with enough milk until you reach a consistency that will allow you to easily coat the top of the delicate pastry. If you add too much milk and the icing becomes to runny, just add a little powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add more milk! 

Assembling the Pop-Tarts: Ok, now for the assembling part of this deal. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes or until softened enough to roll out with a rolling pin. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll out to a thin and even layer, about 1/4 of an inch. Do the same for the other half of the dough, as well. Cut both doughs into the same number of rectangles (this way you’ll have a bottom and a top). I made mine “mini” but you do whatever size suits your fancy. My “mini” Pop-Tarts measured roughly three-by-two inches and made a total of 18 Pop-Tarts. 

Beat the other egg and using your fingers or a pastry brush, brush the eggs over the entire surface of the first dough. By brushing the dough with egg, this allows the top layer to stick to the bottom. Place a heaping teaspoon of the jam on to the bottom layer/rectangle. Place the layer on top and using a fork, crimp the edges. Using a sharp knife or fork, poke the top of the Pop-Tart five times to make holes so as the steam can escape when the pastry is cooking. 

Place on a cookie sheet and bake the little babies at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Once the pastry has cooled, cover the top in that wonderful icing and top with a slice of strawberry just to be a little fancy. And bam, as easy as that you’ve got yousrelf some homemade Pop-Tarts! 

I made these for my Texas Soccer teammates and let me tell ya, they were well received! 

xoxo, Brinkles Sprinkles

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread

Every time I come home to Dallas, I end up making banana nut bread because my parents always throw the brown bananas in the freezers and then they sit there until I return. Hey, I’m not complaining…at first you think, “Eh, how good can it be?” And then I make it and think, “Why didn’t I make this earlier?!” The recipes you find out in the world normally have no chocolate chips in it, but you better believe my family recipe has loads of choco chippies in it. Omit them if you wantttt, but really why would you ever do such a thing? Things to think about.

IMG_3022 IMG_3023Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3/4 Teaspoons Salt
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1/3 Shortening
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Milk
  • 3-4 Whole Mashed Bananas (the more bruised or overripe, the better the banana bread!)
  • 1/2 Cups Chopped Pecans
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

What to Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You know the drill: beat the shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy! Scraping the sides often. Add the eggs and then the milk and mix until smooth. Now it’s time to add all of the dry ingredients. Finally, add the bananas, nuts, and chocolate chips! Almost there, almost time to go in the oven. Okay, now you can either cook this in a large loaf pan or little small disposable ones (these are the ones I use). This recipe makes one large loaf or 4-5 small loaves. Make sure to spray whatever pan you use liberally with non-stick cooking spray! Bad things coming to you in the future if you forget this step. Cook for 40-45 minutes or until you stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean. Once done, take out and eat, eat, eat! They’re so delicious when right out of the oven but honestly wait a day and it just gets better and better. Yum! I wish I had some right now!

xoxo, Brinkles Sprinkles

Avalanche Bars

I’ll preface this recipe with the fact that they are “no bake” bars! That’s right, no oven needed. They can be thrown together in 25 minutes! Super simple and super delicious. Mind you though, these bars are rich, rich, rich. But that’s in now way a bad thing…hehe. 

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Ingredients:

12 oz Bag of White Chocolate Chips

1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

4 Cups Rice Krispy Cereal

2 Cups Mini Marshmallows

1/2 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips + 3 Tablespoons for Garnish

The How-To:

Pour the entire bag of white chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and microwave until the chips are melted. Microwave in 30 second increments and give your chips are check after each interval because the chocolate can scorch easily! Next, mix the peanut butter with the melted chocolate chips. The heat from the chips will melt the peanut butter and you’ll have one delicious goo. Next, in a big bowl, combine the pb and white chocolate goo with the Rice Krispie treats cereal. Let this mixture cool for about 15 minutes. After you’ve cleaned up a bit and the time has passed, add the marshmallows and mini chocolate chips and stir to combine. By allowing the mixture to cool first, the mini marshmallows and chocolate chips will not melt into the mixture. Pour and press the mixture into a greased baking dish and garnish with the remaining chocolate chips. Allow to cool completely (I throw mine in the fridge to speed up the process) and then eat and enjoy! 

I’m just going to throw it out there that chocolate and peanut butter make the perfect pair. These Avalanche Bars are addicting so make sure you have someone to give them too or you’ll find yourself having eaten the whole batch before the night’s end…

My Vineyard Vines “Everyday Should Feel This Good” Moment

Did a little thing for Vineyard Vines the other day that was so fun, y’all! I applied to be a “Whale Rep” on my college campus. For those of you who don’t know, Vineyard Vines is a preppy men’s and women’s clothing brand with a bright pink whale logo. I love the brand and everything is stands for…preppy, fun, exciting, adventurous. Did I mention preppy? Part of the application required a video that showed my “Everyday Should Feel This Good” moment (that’s their slogan!). Taylor, one of Texas Soccer’s former managers and a great friend of mine, put this video together for me using all of his GoPro gadgets…including a drone he just got for it, so cool! The video turned out to be ten times better than I ever thought it would be. It’s AMAZING!

From the video, you’ll be able to tell that my EDSFTG moment is when I’m at Texas Soccer Camps having dance parties with my teammates and coaching and joking around with all my sweet campers. Using film from over 6 weeks of soccer camps, Taylor crafted it into this video that pretty much sums up all the craziness that occurs at camp. Hook ‘em Horns, ladies and gentlemen! Thanks again for all of your help, Taylor!

P.S. I love this video and all of Taylor’s GoPro gadgets so much that I decided to get a GoPro for myself. So, everyone, get ready for some adventures and cool videos coming your way soon (or whenever I figure out how to work everything…Taylor, help!) Yay!

73 Questions

We all have our rituals we do when we wake up in the morning, right? Well, mine goes as such: alarm goes off, grab phone, check Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Email (in that order), then finally get out of bed. It all takes less than 5 minutes. Sound similar to anyone? Social Media, gotta love it.

When checking Twitter this morning, I came upon a link from Vogue that was an interview of Blake Lively. (xoxo, Gossip Girl) It’s part of a series on Vogue.com called 73 Questions. Filmed in a single shot, the interviewer asks random, fun, and silly questions. I like it because it’s a little different from other, typical interviews. So far in the series, they’ve interviewed Sarah Jessica Parker, Olivia Munn, and Blake Lively. I promise you’ll get a laugh when you watch it!

Sarah Jessica Parker

Olivia Munn

Blake Lively

I want to be the interviewer for this! How fun would that be?

Lunch Lately: Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad

Something about me that you probably didn’t know: I love leisurely grocery shopping. Take me to Whole Foods or Central Market and I could walk through the aisles for days looking at all the interesting ingredients thinking about all the wonderful dinners I want to cook. And once I get to the baking aisles, you had better expect me to take my sweet time, that’s where the magic happens, really. My mind just starts to spin with things I want to make, bake, and create. Then by all the fresh produce and fruits, ahhh. I love it. Quirky? That’s fine by me!

Lately, every time I’ve ventured to the grocery store, I’ve been craving salads. (Good and healthy thing to crave right?) Living in Texas, summers are stifling and I never want to put something in my body that will make me feel overwhelmingly full throughout the day. So, this past week I’ve been the queen of a light and quick spicy chicken Caesar salad. Spicy because I add some red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper to the mix!

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Here’s what you’ll need (for one serving): 

  • 2-3 Cups Head of Romaine Lettuce
  • 1-2 Slices of Whole Wheat French Bread
  • 2 Chicken Tenders, thawed
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Caesar Dressing (I use Ken’s Lite Caesar Dressing)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes

How to:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. While the chicken is baking, dress your chopped lettuce with a spoon of grated parmesan and 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Or more if that’s how you like it…I don’t like my salad drowning in dressing so less is always more for me. Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and stir with two big forks to get everything nice and coated. Chop your whole wheat french bread into cubes and throw into the oven for 2-3 minutes or until you’ve achieved your crispiness crouton liking. Shred the chicken once cooled a bit and then throw the chicken and croutons on the salad and do one final mixin’. Bam, boom, done! 

It’s a quick and easy lunch (or dinner) that’s yummy in your tummy! Enjoy.