5 Great Pieces of my Week

HAPPY FRIDAY BETCHES!

This week was hella busy, whether it was from the hustle and bustle at work to unexpectedly awesome social scenarios or from, of course, cooking and running my ass off.

For the first time since I can’t even remember, the sun was shining every. single. day. of the week!! Take it from me, in Rochester, that is something that doesn’t happen very often.

The sunshine on my face, the daffodils and tulips lining the sidewalks, and the walks to work with a light jacket, and back home with my jacket shoved in my bag, made for a truly uplifting week filled with all the good springtime feels 🙂

If I had to narrow it down, the five best pieces of my week were (so far)…

  1. The Red Wings Game! Collin and I ended up going to see the Red Wings (Rochester’s minor league baseball team) play on Monday night spontaneously. His friend Zach and Zach’s girlfriend Mary had extra tickets that they got for free and the four of us ended up watching some ball. Of course it was on the only day that the cold was still lingering and rain was coming down, but the apocalyptic lack of attendees gave us the freedom to sit cozily under one of the stadium’s roofs and enjoy the game out of the rain. Despite the cold, it was so nice to get our chat and crack up on with some awesome people.download (2)
  2. SMORGASBORD MEALS! My lack of creativity in the kitchen and money in the bank left me a little down in the dumps earlier in the week when I wanted to whip up something fancy and elaborate for dinner one night, but didn’t have the ideas or the funds to satisfy my onboxiously high standards when it comes to cooking dinner. Instead of being a little bitch about it, which I tend to do often when I can’t decide what to make, I did a total inventory check of my kitchen and just stuck to simple. Ironically, cooking with the simplest ingredients I had on hand reinvigorated my creativity, and I was able to turn out a tasty spread that totally shut my grumbly, temperamental tummy UP. I made some rice seasoned with fresh dill, dried oregano, and sea salt mixed with sauteed spinach and garlic in lemon juice. To go with that, I roasted some zucchini and eggplant in balsamic and made salt and vinegar crispy potatoes! IMG_5553 (1)
  3. LUNCH BREAKS @ HOME! I’ve felt a little bit antisocial at work for the past few weeks and instead of sitting with my “group” of friends, I’ve been gravitating more towards solo lunches spent watching netflix while eating and then taking walks outside and reading. Since the weather has been so nice and I just cannot stand how much I have to sit at work, I’ve been trekking back home to have lunch outside on my balcony with my plants. Although the walk is about 15 minutes each way, cutting my actual hour lunch in half, it’s worth it to A. get in a significant walk, and B. break up my day with some quality comfort and laid back alone time. To me, when I separate myself from work as much as possible during the one hour per day I am allowed free time to do as I please, I am more productive, energized, and at peace for the remaining four hours of the day.

    Me, Myself, and I...and my food, on my balcony. I really was happy, I swear...

    Me, Myself, and I…and my food, on my balcony. I really was happy, I swear…

  4. POST-WORK RUNS! Since I am in the midst of training for my next half-marathon coming up on June 21st, my runs have been increasing in length as the weeks go on. Instead of rolling out of bed to pound out a half hour on the treadmill at the gym at 5 AM before work, I now must gear up and hit the pavement post-work to clock my miles. While I am a morning person, 5 AM is still difficult for me when it comes to runs before breakfast, but it is really nice to know I got my workout on before most people are even awake and before I spend the day at work. Despite feeling a bit worn down after work, I’ve been able to fuel up with a clif bar and have some impressive post-work runs! The sunshine certainly helps, but I’m also finding myself more meditative than I previously had been on evening runs. Rather than dreading running after a full day of activity, I now look forward to finally moving my body after a long day of sitting and reflecting/leaving the day behind me. My times have been killer, and post-run dinners are the best kind of dinners.female-runner
  5. THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA! I’ve been dying to read this book for months now and finally got my hands on a copy (thanks Col). Michael Pollan is a wise, intelligent, and genius journalist who documented his experience tracing the pathway of the modern meal. The whole first section goes into detail about how we are essentially ruled by corn. He visits a modern day mono-crop farm where the owner plants solely corn that gets shipped to cows on CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations…AKA factory farms AKA concentration camps). He then follows the food chain of this nature further, ending the chain at McDonalds where he consumes a burger from the cows from the farm who ate the GMO corn. He follows this process from a highly sustainable farm where he consumes the chickens he helped slaughter, and then finally hunts a wild boar and gathers mushrooms to make a meal he hunted/gathered himself. Although I don’t necessarily agree with everything he has to say when it comes to eating animals, he truly dissects the modern way in which we receive, think about, and eat our food and really emphasizes the heart of the matter: that CAFOs and mono-crops of corn are NOT SUSTAINABLE for our future as mankind and the future of our planet. The book is truly a modern masterpiece and I urge everyone to give it a read!OmnivoresDilemma_full

I hope everyone has had a stellar week of sunshine, good food, good runs (or whatever you like to do to move your body), good reads, and good people.

CHEERZ TO DA FREAKIN’ WEEKEND~

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Monday Happy List

Ahh, Mondays….how I love thee, yet how I LOATHE thee.

I loathe the pesky before-work butterflies traveling a mile a minute every monday while I eat my breakfast and think about how many emails will be in my inbox, how many scripts I’ll have to write, how many clients will make me want to crawl under my desk and eat my hair…ya know, the usual.

BUT, there is something about mondays I just love: that feelings of a fresh slate, of starting the week off on a good foot. Whether your plans for the week include accomplishing something huge at work, or going on a date now that rent is paid and maybe you can even afford a drink with dinner, or if it’s crushing your workouts every day and planning out your recipes for the week.

Mondays actually rule. I know I stress embracing each day, even the drudgery of the week days spent at work, but I think it’s one of the keys to happiness and to reducing stress.

Here are some random happy things to be grateful for on my Monday morning.

  1. My beautiful Halloween weekend spent with the beautiful people in my life

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Like these two…my very best friend and my man who bring copious amounts of love, joy, fun, and trust into every damn day.

2. Sunday grocery shopping trip. Collin and I made the trek to Trader Joe’s (okay, so 10 minutes probably doesn’t count as a trek per say, but when I’m in walking distance to two other grocery stores in the city, then yes, 10 minutes counts as a trek. Plus I was feeling the Halloween boozing, so it felt much longer) to stock up for the upcoming week; one of my favorite rituals. I know moms across America will probably want to slit my throat/hire me as their personal shopper, but I truly love grocery shopping. As a cook and healthy food lover who also loves to explore new foods and recipes, getting stocked up on healthy foods, vegan treats, and supplies just makes me feel put together and ready for whatever the upcoming week brings, because I have what I need to keep my body fueled properly and in check.

3. Alice Walker’s “Living by the Word: Selected Writings, 1973-1987.” Enough said. Alice Walker is not only an intelligent, spiritually and environmentally aware beautiful woman, she is badass as hell and writes beautifully. This book is full of journal entries, poetry, essays, and random thoughts…the kind of book I love reading most. I truly love memoirs, but love them even more when there are journal clips included. They truly create a portal into the author’s innermost thoughts which I am fascinated by….and they make me feel like I’m a little less insane for the crap that runs through my head and into my pen.

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4. Runs by the River. As an avid runner for the past four years now, running is something I can always count on, always come back to. It cleanses my body and soul, rids of headaches, gets me interacting with nature on a daily basis, and just eases my mind all while keeping me in shape. WIN WIN WIN. Yesterday I went for a jog by the Genesse even though I felt like death from my Halloween indulgences that consisted of rum, wine, and beer…great combo, you should try it (but, I mean, don’t). Once I laced up, got my feet pounding some pavement, and finally felt the sun on my skin after days of dreary rain, I was elated I decided to get my ass in gear and reconnect with my run. For me, solid runs always begin with a solid location. Now, your solid location could change from day to day, from run to run, based on how you feel, the distance you want to accomplish, and what you’re training for. My runs by the river are my go-to’s for just about all of these. As a wannabe mermaid, the river soothes me, treats my eyes to a better view than gas stations, and goes on forever. It was a perfect choice for my Sunday run that was short, but meant to invigorate and heal me.

5. My new (thrifted) Tea Kettle. I know it may not seem all that list-worthy, but I drink a lot of tea now that I only treat myself to good coffee on the weekends. I used to microwave my tea, but I’ve always been skeptical of microwaves in general, and try to utilize mine as little as possible. Plus, the whole ritual of “putting on the kettle” makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, and really feels like a treat for me. There’s nothing like hearing my pastel white kettle shout at me from the kitchen that it’s time to either start my day off right, or end my night with my mug, my book, and much-too-large socks.

Do you guys have a love/hate relationship with Mondays like me?

Either way, hike up your britches and make today beautiful in any way you can.

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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!

Five Great Pieces of My Week

On this Friday that I have been (patiently) waiting for, I am at work reflecting on the past week. It’s been one of discovery, hard work, and reflection. My mind is a buzzin’ with everything I’ve learned, discovered, worked on, and felt this week, so I’ve decided to compile a list of the five best pieces of my week. I’m going to start doing this every Friday just to motivate myself to keep exploring, thinking, and feeling new things, ideas, and emotions! Cool? Cool.

 

  1. I started/finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the first book in the Millennium Series, and subsequently fell in love with it/its protagonist, Lisbeth Salander. She is a badass, sly, incredibly troubled investigative/technological genius/young woman who I happen to identify with on many levels. She does not become a product of her harsh and dark upbringing, she rises from it, kicking ass and taking names along the way. I have actually decided to name my car, who I have been struggling to come up with a name for for about three years, Lisbeth because I love her so much. I encourage everybody to read this book, not just because of the strength of Lisbeth (though that is my top reason), but because it is well-written, well-paced, and well-characterized. The story draws you in like a story should and FINALLY satisfied my craving for a book I just cannot put down, which I have been missing in my life for the past few months. I am on the edge of my seat, constantly checking the mail for the next book in the series, The Girl Who Played With Fire, to arrive in the mail! READ IT.
  2. Speaking of books, my boyfriend showed me THIS. It’s a site called Paperback Swap and it’s a gem of the internet! You can make an account and post any books you no longer want for people to request. When someone requests one of your books, you get a credit to get a book from someone else on the site for free! You just have to pay to mail your book to whoever requested it. BASICALLY IT’S FREE BOOKS AND RECYCLING IN ONE. C’MON. ITS GREAT.
  3. I discovered Slate’s Cultural Gabfest which is such an awesome podcast! My friend just opened my world when he told me how much he loves podcasts and how they make his day fly and keep him updated on his favorite things. Cultural Gabfest is all about dissecting current culture in a roundtable discussion. They talk about music, movies, books, and current events, which are all some of my favorite things. The hosts are super intelligent, pretty funny, and seem down to earth even though they talk in pretty philosophical fashion. I recommend giving this podcast a listen, it’s fucking great.
  4. I realized the power of parks. I am a complete nature girl, and grew up in the Hudson Valley where nature is abundant and just kinda there. When I moved to Rochester, I automatically missed my backyard, the Catskills, the easy access to hiking trails, the creek…basically everything. But, as I began to explore Roch, I discovered how many awesome parks they managed to fit into such a teeny city! I spend a lot of time running in Genesse Valley Park, which has such great and surprisingly long trails along the river and canal, and have ran in Cobb’s Hill Park, which has such an awesome view of the city and a really pretty reservoir. My favorite park by far though, is Highland Park. I’ve attempted running there a few times and don’t quite enjoy it for that purpose. But it is such a  beautiful park with a huge valley smack dab in the middle of it that feels like a wonderland. That valley never fails to make me feel small and human, and helps me stop and appreciate the beauty and vastness of the world around me. Go for a walk in a park, it’ll change your day for the better no matter what.
  5. I made THIS for dinner last night. I was craving something creamy and decadent for dinner, had pinned this recipe a while ago, and was too tired/rushed to create a recipe of my own to satisfy my craving, so I made it quickly for Col and I before we saw The Giver (DON’T SEE IT IF YOU LOVE THE BOOK/MOVIES IN GENERAL). It was really delicious, rich, and healthy! I recommend this for a cozy night in when you want some comfort food, vegan or not!

Roasted Tomatoes & Garlic Sauce!

The Power of Books & My Generation

So I just joined the book club at my job that my friend is the head of, and today was my first meeting. Now, this ain’t your mama’s book club. We are all under 25 and curse profusely, but we still share snacks, sit in a circle, and discuss our thoughts and feelings about the week’s book.

I’ve always been a book worm, and was so excited when I got invited to be a part of the club. I’m still getting used to not constantly having my crew of bffs from back home to hang with at all times, and it’s been a little tough for me to make new friends in my new environment. While I’m slowly but surely making friends at work, being in the book club is making the task a bit easier.

Anyway, today I was reminded once again just how powerful books are; just how powerful words in general are. Once we all stopped chattering and eating our lunches, we got into such a great discussion about The Giver. I know most of us have read this book when we were in middle school and consider it a children’s book, which it is, but it is such an important piece of literature for everyone to read, not just kids.

Just from our discussion of The Giver, my book club and I ended up contemplating the meaning of life in a total genuine, non-ironic, super objective way that made me proud to be a part of my generation. We are not all just a bunch of hard-partying technology addicts. The people I have always associated with are incredibly intelligent, down to earth, and have the most profound thoughts. We grew up in the midst of the technology boom and have seen our culture change drastically and have had to find our place in a society that puts an immense and almost impossible amount of pressure on us to succeed, but offers no guidance, no warmth, understanding, or patience. We turn to one another because we are truly the only group of people who understand this sort of upbringing.

Today I realized more strongly than ever how powerful my generation is. We are a generation of open-minded, sentimental, thoughtful people who accept and embrace differences, ponder the meaning of life during this time when meanings are often lost, where we are aware how fleeting our time on earth is. We openly talk about sexuality, drugs, depression, loss because we don’t hide what’s happening, what is real. 

Yes, we read. Yes, we also go on the internet. You can be a well-rounded and aware person even if you are a product of the 21st century.

I thought about all of this after a discussion about a book. THAT, my friends, is power.