I’m not dead.

I’m not sure if anyone truly cares or actually “keeps up” with my blog, but for those of you that do (whaddup, mom!) you may have noticed I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus.

The reason is threefold.

  1. My phone does NOT take pictures anymore! Ok, that’s kind of a lie, but it only saves about 5 pics at a time, then says I have no room left on my phone when I know for a fact I have plenty. You see, I am not an app person, I barely have any music on my phone, and I literally have 3 pictures saved to it. Sadly, I think this old fashioned gal needs a new phone. ANYWAY, I’ve been really wanting to up my blogging game, so in lieu of my phone’s demise, I bought a fancy shmancy camera to take food (and life…but mostly food) pictures with wooo!
  2. With this focus on upping my blogging game, I’ve decided to either revamp or completely start my blog from scratch. I’ve recently made some pretty significant life changes and I really want my blog to be something that reflects that. Although my past issues surrounding food and body image have definitely shaped who I am both as a person and a cook, I’m not sure I want it to be a part of my blogging life anymore. PLUS, with a fancy new camera, I GOTTA have a fancy new blog, right? We’ll see…
  3. What is this life change I’m speaking of?? Well, yesterday I put in my two weeks at my oppressive corporate job and landed a position as an Assistant Pastry Chef! Though I am not a baker at heart and prefer cooking stove top, I’ve always wanted to learn the art and now I have the opportunity. Unfortunately, the bakery I will be working at is not vegan, but I am so stoked to vegan-ize the recipes and craft I learn to take my cooking game up a notch.

While writing has always been and always will remain one of my life’s passions, writing for a marketing company 9-5 under florescent lights in a cubicle pretty much sucked all of my creativity and love for my craft dry. The office life has never been for me, and I’ve been wanting to delve into the world of cooking professionally for a while now and finally found the guts to change my life for the better.

Yes, I will be taking a pay cut.

Yes, my hours start at 4 in the morning.

Yes, I will most likely have to work weekends.

But money means shit to me, I am an early bird, and weekends are just days in a week…that’s it.

And although I have to work the next 14 days straight between finishing out my old job and training for my new one, I am elated.

While this year has been one filled with tremendous happiness, I have found myself crying simply from the thought of going to work. I have had countless “is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?!” thoughts and feelings of general oppression just from realizing I have to work for the rest of my life… that we all do.

If I had it my way, I would spend my days exploring the world, helping animals, cooking beautiful meals for the people I love, and living off the land.

Maybe someday this will be a reality, but for now, I just have to try and shape my life into its best self.

This took some evaluating and some risk, but I am confident it will pay off.

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Delicious Recap of a Wonderful Weekend

Well, today ends one of those weekends you just wish could last forever. I’m finally settled into my new apartment, with every room decorated exactly how I envisioned it, and it was one of the first full weekends I truly got to enjoy it while continuing to explore my little city.

The weekend started off on a giddy note, with my boss letting us out early at 3:45. I, of course, used this rare extra time after work to cook up an elaborate feast for Collin and I, which I unfortunately failed to photograph. I spent a good two hours in the kitchen in my sweatpants with music blasting, completely in my element, just the way I like.

I made homemade pita bread and falaffel with tatziki sauce made from my homemade coconut yogurt, and I served roasted sweet potatoes with balsamic-lemon tahini sauce on the side.

Once my dinner digested, I went for a sunset two mile run just to get my blood pumping and some sun on my face, and then made Col and I some banana nice cream sundaes…and fell asleep at 9:30. What can I say, I like to get a good night’s sleep and really enjoy having no plans on Friday nights.

On Saturday, Collin and I had a whole day and night full of Rochester fun.

I signed up for a World Gym membership, so I hit the gym for an intense five miles on the treadmill (I know I’m weird, I actually enjoy the treadmill and the gym atmosphere for gettin’ shit done).

We got lunch at the new vegan French bistro right on East Ave that I’m obsessed with, Vive, and got this cheese plate.

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Left to Right: Garlic grilled house-made baguette, figs and candied pecans with a balsamic reduction, Boursin cheese, Brie, and Blue cheese.

If I could put into words how incredible this cheese plate is, I would, but I do not believe it’s possible to do this justice. Not only are these the best vegan cheeses I’ve ever had, they are all hands down the best cheeses I’ve ever had, period.

My favorite was the blue, but it was only by a slight margin since they were all so delicious. Not to be upstaged, the bread was to die for with a salty crunch, a moist middle, and an unmistakable garlicky bite, and the fig-pecan-balsamic combo was just to die for; it complimented the salty cheese and moist bread perfectly.

As you can tell from my gushing, this shit is LEGIT, go to Vive ASAP if you’re going to be in Rochester any time soon, vegan or not!

Anyway, now that I’m trailing drool all over my keyboard, I shall commence my recap.

After lunch we saw a documentary called “Walking Under Water,” a part of Rochester’s Greentopia Festival, which screens sustainability documentaries. It was about a fishing culture in Borneo whose way of life is slowly vanishing thanks to tourism and Western influence. It was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking.

To end our night, we were going to check out Cheshire, Rochester’s self-proclaimed speakeasy, but we just weren’t feeling it. It was too small, too packed, and filled with bro-y douche bags who looked like guys I went to college with…not what I was looking for. So, instead, we headed to the public market area and tried out Cure. Cure doubles as a second location of Java’s coffee shop during the day, and then transforms into a restaurant/bar on the weekends!

Cure is easily my new favorite bar in the city. We pulled into the parking lot to find we were the only car except for the fleet of food delivery trucks, and the only light around was the subtle glow of the red sign in Cure’s window. When we walked in, we were so so pleasantly surprised. Beautiful wooden tables, candles everywhere, light bulbs surrounded by beautiful metal spheres hanging from the ceiling, and a bar complete with an impressive liquor collection.

At the bar, we learned that Saturdays are “Booze your adventure” night. Basically, you’re given a list of liquors, attitudes, and aspects to choose, and the bartender will make you a unique drink based on your choices! For example, I chose “Strong, Gin, and Spice” and received a rosemary-infused, gin fizz drink that was easily the best cocktail I’ve ever had.

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Here she is, folks.

We spent a few hours at the bar just talking about everything and enjoying the fancy/hip ambiance. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Today, I closed out the weekend by having one of my Sunday prep days. After I hit the gym, I ventured to Trader Joe’s and picked up some goodz. After a few hours crafting/jamming out in the kitchen this afternoon, I made two rice and veg bowls and two pita sandwiches with roasted eggplant and spinach for lunches for this week; portioned out edamame, carrots, and hummus for snacks; juiced one carrot, apple, ginger juice and one celery, apple, parsley, kale juice for the week; and made two jars’ worth of overnight oats for early workout mornings before work. I made all of this goodness while cooking up my very first batch of Vietnamese Pho! Here’s a shot of my stocked and prepped fridge….one of my favorite sights, hehe.

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As you all know, I love to truly take advantage of every moment of my weekends, and this one was filled with my very favorite ways to do that.

From mouthwatering food, to discovering new places, to runs, and lots of time well spent in the kitchen, I sit on my couch surrounded by my candles, plants, and pillows content, relaxed, and ready for the week ahead.

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Doing your thang with Dignity.

If I’ve learned anything in my roller coaster ride of 22 years on earth, it’s that every single one of us makes shitty decisions.

To me, shitty decisions and mistakes are not one in the same. When a person makes a mistake,  it usually means that they made a snap decision, didn’t weight the pros and cons, and most likely changed their mind quickly after making it up.

When a person makes a shitty decision, it usually means they mull it over, have intense anxieties about the outcome of their potential decision, and ultimately commit to it, even if they know it isn’t the right thing.

I am all for mistakes, and I am all for shitty decisions.

As long as they are OWNED with DIGNITY.

Usually, mistakes are “taken back” or apologized for; a quick lapse in judgement that the perpetrator often immediately regrets and quickly tries to make amends for. Typically, mistakes have to be owned in order to be cleared up…One must admit to a mistake if they want to correct it.

Shitty decisions, on the other hand, are often times not owned. Most instances, a person who makes a shitty decision is scared of their decision, hides from it, knowing full well the magnitude of its potential impact on others and on oneself. Shitty decision-makers will call you to tell you that they’ve made their shitty decision, and then fail to call you back when you have questions, when you need your confusion dispelled, when you need to tell them what exactly you think in hopes of inserting a squeaky wheel of protest in their brain.

This kind of shitty decision maker is just plain unattractive; it is how a coward operates.

I am using this post to promote owning your shitty fucking decisions.

If you decide to drop of out college, tell your parents in person no matter how much your fork is shaking when you take them to lunch to drop the bomb on them.

If you decide to quit your job, chop off all of your hair, and move to the Dominican Republic, go to your boss and tell him/her exactly why you’re leaving. Show up at Thanksgiving ready to tell your entire family and stand behind your probably completely shitty decision because it’s yours, not theirs.

Owning your shitty decisions goes hand in hand with owning who you are. When you do your thang with dignity, your shitty decision probably won’t look so shitty.

If one day you decide to be a stripper, you better be getting naked with pride. You better not let some drunk uncle tell you you’re worthless and believe him. You strip your ass off, suck it up, and live with the decisions you make rather than cower at the criticism that may come with it.

Living with dignity is the difference between personal peace, self-acceptance, and being a fucking incredible human being.

I invite all of you to do your thang with dignity, whatever your thang may be.

TGIEveryDay

I, like every other working stiff on the planet am PUMPED about the fact that it’s Friday.

Glorious, carefree, excitement-filled Friday. There are 48 hours ahead of me of hours I am not counting down or punching in, time to experiment with new recipes, work out in the morning instead of at 6 pm after an entire work day (hell yes), read, and let loose a little bit (holla).

BUT, as much as I love the weekends and I look forward to Friday all week, I have had to stop and change the way I think during my work week. I’ve always said that when I got a full-time job I would NEVER be one of those people who complained all week and said things like “only three more days until Friday” like the other days in our lives don’t matter or have any single positive thing about them. To me, treating days like that allows work to dominate you; Friday has become the new Holy Day in our culture when every day should be a “Holy Day.”

Once I landed my first full-time job, it was easy to fall into the typical “TGIF” mindset that everyone else has; There is nothing easier to relate to in a workplace than complaining. As I found myself saying last Tuesday “UGH it’s only Tuesday, I hope the rest of the week flies by so it can be the weekend,” I realized that I had become a part of the fucked up 9-5 culture that I have always detested.

NO MORE! I am swearing off complaining about what day of the week it is and I encourage everyone else to do the same.

Since I began this job, I made sure from the beginning that I leave time every day to do something that I enjoy or to plan a fun activity/outing. I know this sounds simple, but think about it, when we plan things, we typically always plan to do them on the weekends. Concerts, movies, dinner dates, elaborate meals, even grocery shopping. We “save” everything for the weekend. I get it, there is only so much time in a day and work is draining and sometimes all we want to do is come home, eat, watch TV and sleep before we wake up to another day of work. But this mentality promotes that total work domination I mentioned earlier. The most dangerous idea we can place on ourselves is that work is the most important thing in life. It’s just such damaging bullshit. 

Taking time to do something fun for yourself is SO IMPORTANT to do on a daily basis, and not just on the weekends. Of course still plan exciting things on the weekends to look forward to, or wait to do some time-consuming chore/activity on the weekends when you have more time. But don’t forget to make every day feel like a miracle with something to offer, because every day does have something to offer! Babies aren’t just born on weekends, people don’t just die on weekends. Life is meant to be lived and lost every day of the week.

So yeah, I am almost gleeful that it’s Friday and cannot wait for my weekend to begin, but I also will try my best not to dread Monday, because Mondays are days filled with endless possibilities, chances for life-changing events to occur, and simple pleasures just like Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Live every day like it’s Friday.

Thursday BFF Date!

Yesterday evening one of my best friends, Audrey and I went on one of our annoyingly adorable best friend dates and had the greatest time as per usual. We spent basically every waking moment together through all four years of college and never once got sick of one another or stopped laughing, talking, and having fun. Literally, we constantly have fun, no matter what we’re doing or what situation we’re put in. That’s what I love most about being with Audge, I believe she is one of the people in my life who brings out the absolute best in me.

We went to the South Wedge Farmer’s Market where I picked up those INCREDIBLE (seriously, best berries I’ve ever eaten) raspberries and blueberries, along with some organic arugula and spring onions; then we walked next door to Napa Pizza and had such an awesome pizza dinner on the back deck with wine (I got merlot, she got white zinfindel…so gross hahaha).

Napa is really great because they allow you to customize your pizza any way you want, they have no fryers or microwaves, and have doughy yet crunchy whole wheat crust! Even as a vegan I was able to make a delicious custom pizza of my own and wasn’t restricted to just one or two choices. While Audge got a mac and cheese pizza (which did look friggin amazing), I got mine with garlic olive oil, spinach, roasted reds, sun dried tomatoes, and roasted eggplant. I ate around 1/2 the pizza and was pleasantly full and satisfied. Audrey, on the other hand, ate about half of hers as well but felt like she was going to explode. Hence, one of the many reasons I LOVE being a vegan…I can eat quite a lot and not feel weighed down and sick to my stomach, but nourished and full of food that is beneficial and enjoyable! HOLLA.