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on tight jeans.

12 Sep

You know that feeling when you put on a pair of jeans you haven’t worn in a few months? How the starched-out cotton clings to your thighs & you have to wriggle around to get the zipper to zip, despite not having gained any weight? The way you awkwardly waddle from place to place as they reform to fit your legs?

Yeah, this feels a little bit like that. Awkward, stilted, starched, self-conscious. Like a high school reunion (not that I would know). But hi. I’m back.

I’m 2nd from the left in case you can’t remember what I look like.

I wish I could tell you that my two-month absence was because I was out living it up in the summer sunshine, but I’ve always been a pretty bad liar (no poker face to speak of, unfortunately). And while I have done my fair share of fun, exciting things this summer, the truth is that I haven’t posted because I’ve been in a bit of a “funk”.

I don’t usually get very personal on the blog not because I don’t trust you, but because I like my blog to be a “happy place”. But I figure at least a cursory explanation is in order.

This “funk” has really been a long time coming. For at least a year I’ve felt myself losing grip of my bits of exuberance and vivacity that used to define me as a person. I’m not sure if people can really tell from the outside, but mentally I get in very negative places fairly frequently. During the school year, I’m too busy to dig myself into mental trenches, but summer tends to invite brooding and the subsequent haze of negativity. I did a lot of questioning of my blog’s purpose and most of my evaluations came up negative. Not to mention that my overall motivation was at an all-time low.

And really, it’s easy to watch the time slip away. A day. A week. Two. Six. Two months. You fall into a rhythm of mediocrity and lackluster living that just isn’t worth it. But once you dig yourself fairly deep, it can be hard to get back out.

These help. :)

I really don’t want to bore you to tears with yet another sob story, nor do I particularly want to garner any pity, but the point is that I’m reviving myself, one small step at a time. It might start with just getting out of bed for a workout. Just stepping outside for a ten-minute walk. Just getting enough momentum to do one small thing. But eventually those become easier, and eventually you can move on to the bigger things.  Eventually that stilted, awkward feeling gives way as the cotton bends & stretches & everything becomes second nature again.

These too!

This conveniently is coming just before the start of the school year when I’ll probably be slammed with work, so I can’t promise how often I’ll post. I also am still kind of evaluating the direction of my blog, but that’s a story for another time.

The point of this lengthy, wordy, and probably overly-personal post is twofold. Firstly, to kind of say hello and offer a meager justification for my extended absence. Secondly, to remind anyone and everyone out there who’s having a bad day, week, month, year, that it can and will get better. I don’t really have a lot of answers about how, but I’m always open to discussing my experiences more via e-mail (and possibly on the blog if anybody really wants to know, though it admittedly makes me a little nervous).

So here’s to softening jeans & remembering how to smile & finding those bits and pieces you think you’ve lost along the way. They’re always there. You just have to find them.

How do you get out of funks?

Anything in particular you want to see on my blog? I have a million pictures from the summer that I’ll be releasing in doses, but I’m sort of rethinking my general formula… Sometimes I feel like I just write fluff. Maybe that’s just me being negative though!

Personal stuff on blogs: yay or nay? 

foodie & the chocolate factory

22 Jun

Or: How we took on Fremont.

When my guests were here last week we made a trip to a very special part of Seattle… Fremont. If you’ve never been there, you really should go. It’s a little zany, kinda hippie, and just generally adorable. Here are some snapshots of our day, which most notably included a visit to a real, live, bean-to-bar chocolate factory.

The adventure started right outside our car with weird hieroglyphic-type drawings on the wall… Apparently there was some miscommunication regarding whether we were posing like them or pretending to carve them. Cue me looking ridiculous.

As we walked along we almost instantly stopped into PCC to get lunch. PCC is probably my favorite place ever; it’s the local and possibly slightly cheaper version of Whole Foods. I didn’t snap a pic, but I DID get some pictures with the super-cute puppy outside…

No I’m not making out with the dog

Yes my nails are all different colors, and yes I love Zevia.

We of course had to stop at the Fremont Troll. I got to thinking about it and I’m honestly not sure if I’d ever seen it in person before. Why yes, I have lived in the Seattle area for 20 years…

My friend Tiffany was also interviewed on the news about the graffiti on the poor Troll… so I’m famous by association?

After meandering around a bit and trying to go to a cheese shop that was converted into a skate shop (disappointing, I know) we finally wound back up at Theo chocolate factory for our afternoon tour.

Theo, short for theobroma cacao (aka cocoa plants) and not the name of the owner, specializes in delicious, organic, free-trade chocolates.

The tour itself was super fun. I wish I hadn’t been so brain-dead and had been able to retain some of the information, but it was an experience nonetheless… an experience quite enriched by the stunning headgear.

And oh, the vats of cocoa beans. Eventually to be hulled and ground to nibs. I love cocoa nibs. Plain, 100% chocolate? Yes, please.

Poor worker unknowingly subjected to my photographic whims… There were lots of machines but I forget what they all do, it was hot in there & I was just in awe…

Also, look at how much sugar they have. Can you imagine what I could BAKE with that much sugar?!?

Even so, the “confections” they make by hand on-site are not exactly anything I would turn my nose up at.

I opted for the most adventurous of the three: salted & chili-peppered caramel. It was pretty good though I really do prefer chocolate.

Luckily for me there were ample opportunities to sample, well, every single kind of chocolate you can possibly imagine in the main foyer. My favorite was probably the 70% dark chocolate, or the dark with orange, or with chili. (Sneak preview: There may or may not be Theo chocolates involved in a giveaway I’ll prob announce next week… ;) ).

Overall, it was a really fun experience. It was also really cool to see a company that seems really committed to sustainable and ethical practices putting their dreams into action. And while my friends were a bit chocolate-d out, it was kind of awesome to be able to sample so many different kinds!

Have you ever visited a chocolate factory? What’s your fave kind of chocolate? :)

tourist-ing: pike place market

16 Jun

Or: I am the worst tourguide ever.

I told you earlier in the week that I had some friends staying with me. Of course, this meant getting in some of the Seattle essentials… particularly Pike Place Market.

We literally left their luggage with my mom, hopped on the lightrail, and headed straight downtown from the airport…

Lightrail shenanigans.

And didn’t even get lost on the INCREDIBLY long (sarcasm) way from Westlake to Pike Place!

Here’s the thing, though. I’m kind of a little country bumpkin. Okay, not really, but I live on the Eastside for those of you who know Seattle, in a teensy little suburb about 30 minutes outside of the city. And there just aren’t that many occasions for me to go to the city. So when I actually DO take friends tourist-ing, I typically end up learning as much as they do.

Hard to tell who’s more of a tourist…

Fortunately it’s hard to mess up Pike Place… except when you go the wrong direction to Starbucks.

Yes, visiting the first-ever Starbucks was essential. As a former barista I’m kind of a groupie. Don’t judge.

Me, friend, camera, phone, & Starbucks… perfect :)

Of course, the plethora of delicious foods at Pike Place more than made up for my relative lack of knowledge. I distracted them with samples so they wouldn’t realize I had no idea what to do or where to go.

First stop was “Sotto Voce”, home of ridiculously delicious balsamic vinegars and oils. Oh, and bread. I love bread.

Then, as we waited for my other friends to join us (read: waited for my friends who actually live in Seattle to help me navigate) we took pictures of the beautiful water.

This (and a few pounds/my love of carbs) is why I will never model.

After they got tired of taking obviously flattering pictures of me (ha), we moved towards the market & loitered there while sampling many other goodies.

As my friend pointed out… I WOULD take a picture of the sign that says “produce”

Not sure what in this picture is nuttier…

FINALLY my friends arrived and directed us towards lunch: CREPES.

We weren’t terribly hungry after eating far too many different flavors of hazelnuts and almonds so we all split a salmon crepe and a peaches & creme crepe. Both were absurdly delicious.

And apparently my guests still had room for the infamous mini-donuts…

Personally, I didn’t want any. Unfortunately, I had no say in the matter and had powdered donut shoved in my face.

Again, model status…

We then wandered down to the gum wall. It’s super amusing, and I realized when I was there that I’d actually never seen it in person. Seattle-ite failure? Yes, yes I am.

There were also some fun beer names…

I always liken Seattle to that one homely girl in high school who pulls out all the stops for Prom and somehow looks like a princess. 90% of the year, my little city is covered in clouds and rather homely. But when it’s sunny? There’s nowhere that’s quite as beautiful.

After a little jaunt along the waterfront we arrived at the entrance to the sculpture park and my dear, sweet friends nearly pushed me into a fountain.

Laughs & smiles were had. Probably at my expense… Oh well.

All in all, ’twas a good day… followed by a few more good days (including a visit to a chocolate factory) that will be documented later :)

Ever been to Pike Place? Tell me your stories! :)
Are you a good tourguide? Slash when can I come visit? ;) I’ll bring cookies… Promise!

catch-up seven-up

13 Jun

Oh hi… I think I’m late to the party.

Let’s pretend I’m “fashionably late” instead of “two-weeks-gone-without-notice” and then I can make an awkward segue into a tag I just got for the “stylish blogger”. Along with a promise that I’ll, you know, pop in a bit more frequently (for some details on my prolonged absence, check the list-of-seven below!)

Thank you to the lovely Vivianne (isn’t that just the most beautiful name?!) for tagging me! :)

The rules of the Stylish Blogger award are as follows:
1. Share 7 things about yourself.
2. Tag some fellow bloggers.
3. Contact bloggers and let them know you tagged them.

In lieu of sharing 7 things about myself I’ll tell you 7 things about the last two weeks of my life that seem to have mysteriously disappeared.

1. Finals. I don’t have a picture to accompany this one because I was a little bit crazy trying to cram study in advance for all of them. I think I’ll just include a picture of one of my fuels-of-choice…

Not my fave flavor, but I mean, it’s still Kombucha!

2. Packing. I alluded to this earlier, but remember my desk? Eventually it became this…

And my bed? Became this…

And my name disappeared from the doorway as if I’d never been there.

I also enjoyed a last meal with my floormates in our dining hall… please excuse the quality!

This was a weird, overly sentimental transition for me. I’m not living in the dorms next year, though I will be living in campus housing of a different variety (more on that in number 3!). I definitely won’t miss having to make cookies in the dingy dorm kitchen though… here was my very last batch (made from a mix, because all my flour, etc., was packed away!)

While I’m excited about my living situation next year, I’m not going to have the same access to tons of different people at any time of day… it’s just a different chapter and I’m notoriously awful at letting things go (as much as I do long for variety!)

3. I visited my digs for next year! Here is my kitchen, most important thing, right?!

My school just built these new townhouses as an on-campus housing option. I’m not quite organized enough to figure out leases and houses and all that jazz, so this was perfect. I GET A KITCHEN. And…

a full sized bed! I have never had anything bigger than a twin! So that’ll be fun… lots of room to spread out. Or lots of space for pillows.

4. Finally came home last Wednesday after a whirlwind of a day… my last final, working for a storage company, checking out of my dorm room, and finding a ride to the airport. Then, of course, my flight was delayed 3 hours… which by the way is more than the amount of time I spent asleep the night prior to this excursion, and more than the plane ride actually takes!

It involved a lot of these crackers… they plied us with food, and I’m not capable of saying no to free food even if it’s processed junk. Sorry I’m not sorry ;)

5. The morning after I arrived (after sleeping a solid 11 hours… bliss!) the first thing I did was bake scones for my friends who were coming over later. I’m predictable, I know. I did try to branch out of the cookie-ness though… Does that count?

These were amazing. They were the pumpkin scones from Veganomicon… you can check parts of the book out here and get the recipe, but really you should just buy the entire book.

They were definitely softer than normal scones but they were so tender and pumpkin-y and the cranberries were PERFECT. Out of season? Perhaps. But that’s how I roll.

6. Gathering with my best friends!!! I didn’t take a picture of all of us, but we really mostly just chatted, ate entirely too many pita chips with hummus, and walked a few miles to Jamba Juice.

And made a delicious salad, featuring avocado & goat cheese & raspberries & balsamic vinegar.

7. Having some friends stay with me this weekend which involved the typical tourist-ing with a combination of home-friends and school-friends.

The school friends/guests

Pike Place is always where it’s at. Foodie post about Pike Place will be coming since I realized I took tons of pictures of the samples & crepes ;)

Also some gum-wall action…

Pretty Maya :)

And I got a blurry picture taken by my friend and felt the need to post it just so I don’t feel so bad about always posting pictures of everyone else. I’m clearly apprehensive about this photo-taking situation…

Cute.

Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to! I also made some muffins and, well, cookies, and cake, and yeah. My oven’s getting a workout ;) Oh, and I went on one run but as I’m entertaining guests exercise isn’t my highest priority. We’ll see how that changes!

Sorry for the wordy-pictury-newsy-recipe-less post but I figured I’d do a little catch-up then get back to the usual. ;)

Oh and you are ALL tagged because I’m a little too lazy to tag people after that monstrously long post ;)

I realize I’ve asked this as a question a million times, but how is your life? Tell me what’s new! :

If you’re out of college, how did you transition from dorm to non-dorm life? Did you like living in a dorm? I loved the constant people but am excited to have a single where I can sleep whenever I please, and of course to have a kitchen… I suppose it’s just bittersweet, as are most things. :) 

what i ate (last) wednesday [pumpkin-chia pudding]

10 May

Procrastinating studying by getting a head start on WIAW… yay for being proactive? ;)

Breakfast:

I had some pumpkin in my fridge (side note: organic pumpkin is not as good as Libby’s, I’m sorry, it’s true) so I made some pumpkin-chia pudding. This was not my entire breakfast but it was the prettier part so it’s all I’m sharing. ;)

Pumpkin-Chia Pudding

1/4 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup almond milk (maybe a little less or more, I’ve rather forgotten)
1 scoop protein powder (I use Aria)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
dash cinnamon
sweetener to taste

Mix it all up and let it chill for a couple hours until it gets thick and delicious. Top with blueberries if you want to, or just stuff them all in your mouth.

Lunch

It was a gorgeous sunny day, so I opted for a salad. I’ve taken to eating my salads with chopsticks… not entirely sure why. Also, mushrooms are my new bffs. Though my bell peppers may still be turning me orange…

I also had some chocolate milk mostly because it was free, honestly. It was kind of too sweet though.

And I enjoyed this light lunch in the sun while looking at roses. Sorry to bore you to tears with more rose pictures but I just couldn’t resist…

My school is pretty. Come visit me. I’ll bake you cookies…


Snack

One of my snacks was a Fage yogurt with blueberries.

Okay, firstly… I’ve always had Fage 0%. But oh my gosh, 2% is the bomb. I don’t know how or why I deluded myself into thinking 0% was better just because it had fewer calories, because the 2% definitely satisfies me more. Also, the blueberries are awesome. It’s a little too sweet and I wish it didn’t have so much sugar, but it actually tastes like BERRIES. Still prefer plain old fresh berries, but hey.

Sat in the grass while eating it too! Yay sunshine. :)

My school was also having a book sale and this was $1. Somehow I only walked away with two books… Trust me, that’s impressive. I love books. My goal in life is to have a library like Belle in Beauty and the Beast.

Anyone read this? I dunno, it looked possibly interesting…

Dinner

Not photographed, sowwy. I had soup & a sandwich at the cafeteria with my friends. :)

And what I wore… please excuse my hair. I have a hair-washing problem.

Oh, and a face-making problem, & a focus problem. Oh well. I got this dress for $5 at a rummage sale :) (Cheap college student much?)

Tell me about your day! :) Also, get pumped because I have a fab guest post coming up tomorrow… and now it’s back to the books for me! ;)

perspective.

9 May

Here’s what I spent my weekend with:

Sensory & motor systems… yay neuropsych!

Daunting, right? I may or may not have had a few mini-meltdowns over the sheer amount of material I needed to learn. But after a little impromptu run (! More on that later), I started to think about the real take-home points.

Because regardless of whether or not I ace this test, the following things are still true:

The cone receptors in my retina will still synapse just fine and allow me to see the brilliant colors of roses in the sunshine.

 

My temporal lobe will still process some of my visual pathways and allow me to recognize the faces of those I love.

The many olfactory glomeruli in my nose will still help me smell (and taste!) delicious cookies.

Like crazy-salty-corny cookies!

My motor cortex will still send messages via the dorsal corticospinal tract to activate my leg muscles and power me through my first run in 6 months (spurred by a near anxiety-attack over aforementioned test… at least it started back up my running mojo!).

The sun will still shine, the flowers will still bloom, there will still be stars in the night sky & a million other little things that make me happy, I will still have people to love and ways to show them I care, & in the grand scheme of things, this little test doesn’t matter at all.

That’s my perspective.

How do you keep things in perspective?

bunny-eats.

24 Apr

Or: Resurrecting an old favorite (ha, pun, for Easter, resurrecting, get it?! I’m so clever).

Happy Easter/Sunday/Excuse-to-eat-lots-of-chocolate-day everybody! :) I hope you’re getting to enjoy this lovely day with family, friends, or fuzzy bunnies & massive chocolate eggs.

Yep, I totally broke out the massive egg today.

I didn’t eat it all… the bunny helped, I swear (as did a few of my friends). I traded him for some of his carrots. ;)

The interior was lined with a kind of hardened cashew-nougat-type thing, just like the bon-bons the whole egg is based on (Sonho de Valsa).

They’re a typical Brazilian candy and they’re kind of delicious, you should try them if you should ever stumble upon any! :)


In honor of this lovely Sunday, I’m bringing you retouched photos of an old, bunny-friendly recipe: my Carrot Cake Pancakes.

Funny how learning to mess with really simple stuff in iPhoto vastly improves the quality of the pictures…

And I also greatly prefer having the bigger pictures in the post. Kind of amusing to read reaaaally old blog posts from last summer before I *really* got started blogging.

Click here for my embarrassing early post, and the recipe. :)
What have you been doing with your day? I’ve just been doing homework, sadly… And coveting carrot-cake pancakes. ;) I may go buy some carrots instead… you know how I do. :)
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