Check out my Elite Daily article out today!

I just recently became a contributing writer for Elite Daily, and my first article for them has been published TODAY! It’s about my thoughts, feelings, and general philosophy behind true friendship, and why I have always believed that less is more.

I would love it if you beautiful bloggers would take a look and let me know what you think!

My Article!

Have a most beautiful day!

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Monday Happy List

Today was…foggy, in a word.

My eyes fell out of focus more than usual while trying to do work, my head felt not only heavy, but full of white noise and static.

I just didn’t feel like myself. Maybe I was so unfocused on today because I was too tuned into the weekend now behind me. I won’t get into just how deeply I disagree with America’s 40-hour, 5-day work week, but I yearn for more days off, more time to not only relax, but enjoy my life.

I just can never get over how unfair it is that we must work more than we don’t work, that many of us work so much that we can’t even enjoy the life we work so hard for in the first place.

So, true to my word, I tried all day long to get over my Monday fog and be grateful for the beautiful days now past, along with the start of a new week full of possibilities.

  1. After a jam-packed Sunday which brought a family visit to a close, and a crispy, beautifully chilly 4 mile park run, I was craving a giant salad bowl and made this Quinoa-based spinach salad topped with Peanut Miso Dressing:

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp. light Miso paste
  • 1/2 tbsp. crunchy (or creamy) organic Peanut Butter
  • 2 tbsp. fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 tbsp. Sesame Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • 1 small clove minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp. Sriracha
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

In a small bowl, stick peanut butter in microwave for a few seconds to soften it. Add miso paste, water, garlic, sriracha, sesame oil, and orange juice. Whisk until smooth, and then add salt and pepper, adjusting the taste as needed.

I know it doesn’t look too pretty, but it’s so delicious, so savory, and pairs beautifully with the cold crunch of a salad, and atop rice, quinioa, or cous cous.

2. I’ve always loved tea, but recently my tea drinking has been more and more frequent, and my interest in different teas and methods of steeping, boiling, etc. has been sparked.

While my dad, grandma, and I were having Sunday brunch at 2vine, we were served tea in a tea press, which I instantly fell in love with. My Gigi (what I call my g-ma), being the classic grandmother she is, bought me one about five minutes later when we were browsing around my neighborhood.

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This beauty is just the inspiration I need to start experimenting with loose leaf teas more. I’ve already dug into my virtually untouched stash and can’t wait to enjoy my fresh pressed Yerba Mate every morning before work as a new addition to my annoyingly precise ritual (Hey, anything that makes the dreaded lull before work more enjoyable, I’m all for).

3. Since I sucked it up and got a membership to the yoga studio nearby, I’ve been going 2-3 days a week and fall more and more in love with it during every single class. As a pretty scrawny person, especially in my upper body, I’ve always wanted to be able to do arm balances, handstands, and all that jazz but was never able to stick with my practice long enough. Well, this past week brought a yoga breakthrough!

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I can now not only do Crow Pose, but this Firefly Pose variation! I’ve never been more proud of myself during a yoga class and can’t believe how fast I’m progressing…I guess this goes to show that if you actually practice what you think you’ll always be shitty at, you’ll actually prove yourself wrong. The human body is so badass.

5. An absolutely stellar weekend with some of the people nearest and dearest to my heart.

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My BFF Victoria, My cute little Gigi, My Dad, My Collin, and I getting our drank on at Havana Cabana.

This weekend just cemented how lucky I am to have a family I was born into that I can be my authentic self with, but also that I have people I’ve chosen as my family. My best friend is not only a friend, she is my sister through and through. My boyfriend isn’t just a guy I’m dating, he’s my homie, my lover, my friend, and a part of my family as well.

Just writing this post has made my Monday a bit brighter.

I hope that maybe it made yours shine a little more, too.

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Back on the Saddle A.K.A. my Running Grind

Five years ago, I started my running journey.

I was at a loss for how to go about my recovery, and not only wanted a heart-thumping exercise of choice to go hand-in-hand with eating real foods (and keeping them down), and keeping my body healthy on the outside.

Not only did running help me shape the body I’ve always wanted; one that was capable of pushing past its comfort zones, one that was toned, fit, and lean, and one that I was proud to call my own, and comfortable to just BE in, running provided the escape I had been reaching for my entire life.

As the years went by, I got better and better, increasing my mileage and decreasing my mile time, suiting up even in the harshest winter chills and the most brutal summer heat waves.

I’ve completed four half-marathons, and have ran up to 19 miles multiple times.

My dad and I at our 4 half's

My dad and I at our 4 half’s

After finally reaching a place in my recovery where I feel safe in my own mind, at peace with my own body, and comfortable with who I am, I’ve spent the last year decreasing my mileage and experimenting with different forms of exercise. I still run about 3-4 times per week, but they’re usually just 2-4 miles and I don’t keep track of mile times.

As much as I love pushing myself and training, I tend to be extremely hard on myself and never give my body a break when it’s screaming for one, so this past year of tapering has been freeing.

BUT, last night while I was on a run I thought would just be a regular old half hour around my neighborhood after work and before dinner, I felt it….my running high was back!

After my half hour was up, I didn’t want to stop for the first time in a while, so I kept going until I had gone about 5 miles. Now, I know it may not seem like a huge deal, but I haven’t WANTED to run five miles in over a year, and I let my body take the reigns for once and what do ya know, it feels like she’s ready to get back on the saddle and catch that running fever again.

I’ve been thinking about last night’s run all day today and I think it’s time to kick it up a notch once again.

Maybe only die hard runners will understand my giddy excitement thinking about making a training schedule or beating my best mile time, but I’m ready to RUN again.

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Sunday Dinner: Happy Birthday Mom Edition!

I love my mom.

I know that’s a bold statement coming from a 22-year old millennial, but my mom and I have a pseudo-Gilmore Girls-esque relationship except, in my humble opinion, even better, because while I grew up amid a weird amount of divorces and marriages with both of my parents, I’ve grown to love my family dynamic more and more as the years go by.

With my mom, I can be a complete brat and tell the truth in any way, shape, or form, and I know my mom will always be there both as a BFF and with the wisdom every daughter craves from a mother/maternal figure, but is usually too proud to ask for.

This weekend, her and my stepdad came to Rochester for her birthday weekend spent with Collin and I. We went to our favorite Ethiopian restaurant, Natural Oasis on Monroe Ave (omg go, I swear you’ll thank me later), got some fancy wine at Apogee on Park Ave, then my mom and I went to yoga together on Sunday morning while Collin and Keith experienced the Zero Gravity Float Center they’ve been dying to try.

We met up for lunch at the Red Fern (duh), did some Halloween thrifting, and then col and I took a swim in their hotel pool before they came back to our place for my vegan birthday masterpiece!

We started off with my Spicy Roasted Tomato Soup:

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Then continued to the main course, Creamy Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto:

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Then we ended the feast on a sweet note with Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes, courtesy of Minimalist Baker:

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We ended the night giving gifts and playing catchphrase, me and my mom’s favorite game (we’re both quick-witted, word wizards & basically adore all word/fast-paced guessing games).

I woke up this morning with that all too familiar aching in my heart that comes with the end of a weekend with the people I love most, but cannot wait for the upcoming holiday season, where the bond my mom and I share always comes out full force when we bask in the glow of our favorite, and most wonderful time of the year!

Happy birthday Mom, I just love ya.

P.S. recipes for my soup and risotto will be up tomorrow & Wednesday!

Quick Veggie Stir Fry over Creamy Coconut Quiona + Book Recommendation

This past Monday was one of those classic “Manic Mondays” for me. I got up extra early, but still managed to have to run out the door because of a just plain tragic hair day, had a million emails to answer at work since our system was down the previous week, took my lunch time run and shoveled in some food before I had to be back on the clock, and had an equally stressful afternoon, which, I hate to admit, involved just how shitty my hair continued to look all day long.

When I got home, I only had about an hour before my yoga class was supposed to start, and I really wanted something that was light, but nourishing enough to keep my full for my hour and a half class.

Since I love anything coconut, anything asian-inspired, and anything veggie, I whipped up a really great meal that I’m going to keep on my “Manic Monday” repertoire: Veggie Stir Fry over Creamy Coconut Quiona.

It’s fast, decadent, healthy, and filling even if you have just a small bowl as a snack.

I apologize for the lack of photo evidence that I made this, but I ate it .098776353 seconds after it was done.

INGREDIENTS (SERVES 2):

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 an onion, sliced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 zucchini, cut into medallions
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 2 large cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 2 tbsp. white or rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste

Cook quinoa with the 1 cup of water according to the directions on box. While the quinoa cooks, chop all veggies and heat a pan over high heat and add sesame oil. Once oil starts to smoke slightly, add in veggies and stir constantly until they’re tender. Turn heat to medium-high and add soy sauce, ginger, garlic, vinegar, and salt & pepper. Add coconut milk, curry powder, crushed red pepper flakes and more salt & pepper to cooked quinoa and stir to combine. Once soy sauce and vinegar are 3/4 evaporated, serve veggies over coconut quinoa and enjoy!

This week I also finished an incredibly important and beautifully written book: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood:

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Margaret Atwood is one of the most badass literary figures of our time, and is as witty and snarky as she is brilliant. This book is important for not only all women to read, but every person who has questions about the direction our world is headed in regards to gender discrimination, environmental depletion, and political collapse. It is also so beautifully written that it extends beyond the issues surrounding it, and takes you so deep inside the protagonist’s head you truly feel a part of her tragic world.

It knocked my socks off, and it anyone is looking for a great read, I recommend you check this baby out!

This Week’s Project: Soften My Rigid Expectations.

There is nothing I dislike more than making mistakes.

I’ve always been hard on myself for as long as I can remember. I thrive off of setting high expectations for myself, and the high I get from achieving the lofty goals I set out to conquer.

But, along with the highs that come from living up to my impossibly high standards for myself, there are also inevitable “failures.” These “failures” usually leave me guilt-ridden, anxious, and inwardly hateful towards myself. Although I truly love my tendency to dream big and think of my ridiculously strong willpower as a huge asset, I know that it is a negative attribute to be so unkind to myself when I don’t accomplish a certain goal.

Whether that goal is to exercise in the morning and the evening, or get everything done on my to-do list while knitting a scarf, or graduating with a 4.0 every semester and immediately become a well-respected poet, I find it hard sometimes to “go with the flow” and accept the fact that sometimes, creating a vision of who I’d like to be isn’t always the same as being kind to myself.

If I miss a workout when I promised myself I would do it when I got home, I feel guilty and push myself extra hard the next day, or I won’t stop bitching about how I should probably just suck it up and get it done (even though I know perfectly well I’m just too damn tired).

When I graduated a semester early and didn’t immediately find a full-time writing job, I felt like a failure for a good two weeks even though I saved enough money to move in with my boyfriend and supported myself by working on a boat, one of my lifelong dreams.

Last night in yoga, my instructor talked to us about the phrase “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” and how we need to rephrase this in our practice, and in our lives. Instead of just “powering through” and “gettin’ er done,” we need to soften, to breathe not through the pain or the challenges, but with the pain or the challenges. When we soften instead of harden, we feel everything going on within our bodies and without. We may not get to that final stage of a pose, or that final goal on our to-do list, but we actually feel the work we put into moving into that post, into reaching that goal, and we start appreciating ourselves for our efforts and attention, not just for the outcome.

This week, I am making a conscious effort to be more gentle to myself. If I truly don’t feel like exercising, I’ll give myself a break and keep reassuring myself that this is what my body needs, this is what I crave at this moment, so it is the healthy choice.

If I don’t write incredibly stellar scripts at work, or I am a few script approvals short of my weekly quota, I will not leave the office kicking myself for not being a “good” writer. I know I try my best, so that is all that matters. I put in the work, and not every week is going to be my best week.

This week, I am making an effort to soften, to accept and appreciate the efforts I put into my every day, and allow myself to relax a bit more.

I am not my work, I am not my body, I am not some future version of myself I’ve created in my head. I am me, and I am now…I will not be me and I will not be now forever, so it’s time I stop and smell the roses of my life. And even if I get pricked by their thorns, I will just let the wounds heal.

I invite all of you to be a little bit kinder to yourselves, leave your personal judgments behind, and appreciate the efforts you put into living, working, and being every single day.

Perfect Weekend & Green Machine Juice Recipe

If you guys haven’t noticed, I am ALL ABOUT ideal weekends. Whether I’m in the mood for a glittered face, expensive drinks with all kinds of unwashed citrus hanging off the glass rims, and getting my dancing queen on, or intellectual conversations over equally expensive beers with the aftertaste of fennel gone bad, or days spent galavanting around the city, evenings spent concocting in the kitchen, and nights spent cross-stitching in bed, you can guarantee I pick a theme for my two days off and run with it.

This weekend was a little bit of all of these themes wrapped into three deliciously varied days.

On friday after work I went on a dinner date with my friend from work who’s fast-becoming my actual, true blue real friend! We’ve hung out before, but always with other people so Friday was out first outside-of-work hang out and it was so so nice! We have such similar personalities and have so much in common that out conversations were light and fun and also deeper and intellectual.

We ate at the Red Fern (duh, my favorite) and had delicious vegan meals with glasses of organic red white in ridiculously heavy, over-embellished goblets. We then went to her place to hang out, listen to music, drink more wine and talk while we got ready to meet up with Collin and his friend out at a few bars. I’m trying to limit my alcohol intake, so I stuck to just a glass of wine at my friend’s house and then a fireball shot (hey, it was free!) but Collin was hilariously drunk and we ended the night with him, myself, and my friend splitting a basket of fries at the Old Toad.

On Saturday, while col emptied the contents of Friday night into the toilet (i.e. puked) and slept it off, I woke up early, did some yoga, and went to the public market where I loaded up on cucumbers, celery, $1 organic bananas, onions, $1 giant spaghetti squash, and $1 organic red potatoes.

ahhh, bliss.

We went to a scarecrow fest and had lunch with his mom, then spent the evening curled up with the Office reruns and the sounds of the mouse (rat?) in our walls.

…ahh bliss?

Sunday, the most gorgeous day of the weekend by far, was also my favorite day of the weekend by far. I slept in (until 8…that’s “in” for me), read in the morning light pouring through our dilapidated curtains, made an out of this world oatmeal concoction with bananas, coconut oil, a melted date, raspberries, and almond butter, and cuddled with my man.

Since the yoga studio in the next neighborhood over had a free community class, I convinced Col to come with me because I’m thinking of becoming a member. Though it wasn’t the best session ever (we had an trainee as an instructor), I left with those feelings only yoga can bring: strength, clarity, flexibility, and a calm mind.

Starving, we had lunch at our favorite asian restaurant, Flavors of Asia, in the South Wedge where I got this baby:

Vermicelli Bowl with steamed tofu, Vietnamese pickles, lettuce, carrots, peanuts in a spicy & smoky lemongrass sauce.

Vermicelli Bowl with steamed tofu, Vietnamese pickles, lettuce, carrots, peanuts in a spicy & smoky lemongrass sauce.

Because the serving was GIANT, I have leftovers for today and tomorrow’s lunches. Plus, it was out of this world delicious and a dish I had never tried before which is always a favorite for me!

Last but not least, I used my farmer’s market cukes, celery, and apples to make green juices for the week:

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4, 16 OZ. JUICES):

  • 3 Cucumbers
  • 8 Stalks of celery
  • 3 small apples (I used macouns)
  • 2 inches ginger

Cut everything into juicer-accessible pieces and juice cucumbers, celery, apples, and ginger. Give it a mix, and pour into jars.

This juice isn’t the sweetest, but it’s got a lot of flavor, nutrients, and really energizes!

Sorry for the length of this post, but I had a fab weekend filled with fab adventures. Enjoy!

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