Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Doldrums

I've just been in a kind of funk lately, hence the lack of writing. Wherefore this funk? I know not. I have every reason in the world to be happy uppity up, but I'm just not feeling it. Sometimes, no matter what you just feel kind of deflated. I really prefer the feeling of ELATED, but such is life. Maybe it's the full moon? I do believe that it puts people in a kind of 'mood'.


My brother is going through a hard time right now. A good friend's daughter was diagnosed with and pronounced brain dead from a rare blood cancer all in the same weekend. She is two years old. Sometimes life just makes no sense and it can be so heartbreaking. I really don't even know my brother's friend, but my heart goes out to he and his family. I cannot even begin to imagine the choices they have to make and the heartache they must feel.  The tragedy of all this is affecting me a lot :(

I think I need to use this time in the doldrums to practice the power of positive thinking. I truly believe that life is all about attitude and perspective. I need to focus on how grateful I am to be getting married to the love of my life, rather than all the little headaches and missteps that planning a wedding brings. I need to focus on the beauty of life and not its cruel nature in taking away a 2 year old child. I need to focus on the benefits to my health, the environment, and countless animals that trying to be a vegan brings and less on how nearly impossible it is to eat anywhere but home. I need to focus on the fact that I have a job in this hard economy and not on all the annoyances that this job brings.

A friend of mine always says, "fake it till you make it". I guess that's where I need to be. So, I'm going to put on a smile and go thaw a bunch of cells. Wahoo :P

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Big Russian Vegan

I'm going (mostly) strong with my Lent pledge to be animal free. Admittedly, I had a couple cheats over the weekend. Eating out is nearly impossible...but I did my best.

A few months ago I got a book called "Big Vegan". I am impressed to say that every. single. recipe that I have made out of this book is fantastic. The author has done an amazing job of mixing foods and enhancing their flavors. Best of all, the recipes are relatively simple to make. If I can do it, anyone can do it :)

Tonight I made a recipe that I heard about at a party this summer. The dish is called Borscht and is (apparently) a Russian staple. It's a soup with a beet base that can be served warm or cold. Beets are one of my most favorite foods and as they are the main ingredient of this dish-- I knew I HAD to try it. Couple my love of beets with this unusual cold and windy rain we are having here in SoCal and I was sold on a hearty soup for dinner.

I've never actually cooked beets myself. Aside from the big red mess I made on the counter, cutting up beets was less intimidating than I had anticipated. (What I bought at the grocery store looked NOTHING like my favorite beet salad :P). Throw in some potatoes, onions, celery, carrots and a bunch of water...and you have one surprisingly good soup. I had my doubts as it was cooking, but it turned out really well. To finish, I added dill, red wine vinegar, salt and agave syrup. It was yummy.  I served it with a side of ezekiel bread and vegan butter. Even Pres liked it...and he is not a beet fan.

Vegan success!!

Friday, February 15, 2013


So, I'm not a huge Valentine's Day person. I think it's a pretty silly holiday. It's like NYE. Soooooo much pressure, usually followed by a let down. I try not to get involved in the hype. I did wear a red sweater yesterday and some heart earrings. I bought Preston two cards since I couldn't pick between the two...but that's really as far as I took it. I told Preston not to buy me anything except a card. He thought this was a trap, but truly wasn't.

Preston had sent me a very sweet email about how I am the best girl ever (truth) first thing in the morning. My Vday was going along nicely...but coworker received a dozen CUPCAKES. Cupcakes?! This never occurred to me as a V-day gift. They were gourmet cupcakes...and they came frozen. Throughout the day, various people would come back to the receiving area to see if the cupcakes were defrosted enough to eat. I hovered around them quitttteeee a bit, myself.  Unfortunately...going animal-free means I could not EAT said cupcakes. So unfair!! Two days in and this animal free thing is proving to be difficult!!

Omg. One has bacon. Let it be known: was NOT tempted by that one :P

So, then I head home...and I get to the top of the steps and there are flowers by the door!! I can't lie...the cupcakes made me kind of envious. Maybe Valentine's Day WAS getting to me. Oh no!! I was pleased to see the flowers...but as I approached, I realized they were NOT for me. The flowers were for my neighbor. Sad Face!! I'd fallen prey to the expectation of Valentine's Day. Blast!!

I unlocked the door to my apartment...and what do I see?

So beautiful :)

Sitting right on the table. :) Aw. My cold little heart melted a bit.  Preston did good.

I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day and that all your (not so) low expectations were met.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I love Fat Tuesday!! It's been one of my favorite holidays since senior year of college.  On that fateful Fat Tuesday, my best friend and I decided we didn't have enough excitement in our lives (or something) and decided to make a gluttonous feast, gorge ourselves, wrap ourselves in the tons of beads Robin's sister (mysteriously. uh huh.) had,  and then call everyone we knew and yell HAPPY FAT TUESDAY in a deep baritone voice. Ah, college.

We know how to have fun
Ever since then, I faithfully participate in the festivities of this day (read: I use it as an excuse to eat a lot and still call people and yell HAPPY FAT TUESDAY at them:P).  This Fat Tuesday was no exception. I even got the whole lab in on it. It's really not that hard to convince people to eat a bunch of fatty food.  We had donuts for breakfast (I had TWO!!) and pizza for lunch.

I added the decor

These were all gone by the end of the day :P

Needless to say, we spent the afternoon in a bit of a slump. My body was like, what the what?! Unfortunately...I had a ton of work to do :-/ And on top of that...some plans got changed around and I had to go to yoga after work or miss it today AND tomorrow.

I couldn't justify that (dammit!!)-- so my pizza, donuts and I went to yoga. All I can say is ugh. I was barely dragging myself through the vinyasa flow. I honestly thought I was going to be sick at one point. I was lingering a little too long in downward dog. I was halfheartedly raising my arms above my head.

It was a good lesson.  A good lesson that eating this way is not for the all the time. It was interesting to feel the comparative effects on my body and energy.

So, tomorrow begins Lent. All the gluttony is out the window. It's time to settle into 40 days and 40 nights. (side note: doesn't that movie just really make you want to go to a laundromat? It convinced me that a laundromat was the PERFECT place to meet a guy. Turns out...laundromats realllly aren't all that romantic. Frankly, the majority of people in them are just kind of creepy.)

I'm not Catholic in any capacity (though strangely I ALWAYS wanted to be Catholic as a child. There's just so much pomp and circumstance associated with it all), but I like the challenge of giving up something for forty days and nights. I do it every year. It's even helped me break some pretty bad habits.

This year I'm giving up animal products. Historically, that's pretty much what was done. I've already been leaning towards a more vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.  I did a cleanse a few years ago that forbid any processed foods, meat, dairy or flour for 28 days. That was tough, but I felt great. Since I did the cleanse, I've really changed the way that I eat. I gave up my beloved milk and only eat meat 1-2 times a week. Sometimes I wonder if this whole 'clean eating/plant based' thing is just the new fad, but then I don't really think so.

I've been doing a lot of research lately. So much research that I feel I could start thinking about a degree in nutrition or something. It just makes sense to me. And today was proof of that. You eat feel like crap. So much of our society is sick or fat or whatever and I truly believe that can be traced back to the food we eat. If you haven't seen "Forks Over Knives" I highly recommend it. It's eye opening.

Ten years ago, heck FIVE years ago...I would never have DREAMED of trying to give up meat or cheese or eggs...but these days...I dunno. It speaks to me. So much of it. The intolerable cruelty that animals suffer because of it all...the side effects on health...the damage to the environment. All of it.

I had my last cheeseburger (I LOVE cheeseburgers :-/) tonight as a final cap to my Tuesday of Fat. Wish me luck for tomorrow, but for tonight??


Thursday, February 7, 2013


Preston loooovvvessss the gym. Like, LOVES it. He likes to hang out there. He has old man friends there:P He likes to use the sauna. He likes to ride the bike and lift weights and on Thursdays he makes me go with him.

Ok well not MAKES me, but it's something he truly enjoys and I think it's important to do these things together.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against exercise. I love being active...I just prefer to be active outdoors or in a yoga class;)

For now I'm just riding this bike to no where; in the name of love.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Engagement Pics!!

We finally got our engagement pictures (4 months later...long story)!!  I am pretty pleased with how they turned out. My friend Nina is a terrific photographer. Preston thinks he isn't photogenic and therefore hates them all, but I find him pretty cute ;)

Here's a few that I like:

My mom wanted me to wear a hat like she did in her engagement pics :)

Needs some cropping to delete our mess up heart :P

I am making a weird face

My surfer

And here's some I don't like:

I think we look pale.

Matching bracelets, but ugh.

Not Pres' best angle

Creepy!! Are we naked under there?


What are we looking at?

Anyway, it was a fun experience getting to be models for the day :) I even wore fake lashes!! I'm fancy, huh??

Monday, February 4, 2013

36 States!!

Well, we survived the frigid cold of Chicago!! It's surreal to land back in warm and sunny LA after the gray, snow filled skies of the midwest. We went into the city  on Friday to take Preston's sister out to lunch and everyone I saw walking along the streets was wearing a face mask. A FACE MASK!!

Preston and his sister

Maryland never quite got into face mask territory. California?...maybe, but less due to weather temps and more due to something being on fire. As soon as we got out of the car, I was regretting missing the face mask memo. Whooo it was COLD. I mean, hurts to breathe into your lungs, cold.

As I said, we made it. We even got to see some snow. Somehow, the cold doesn't seem so bad when it's snowing and everything is covered in white. I even drove in the snow (about a mile on flat ground) and I have to say...I'm preeettty proud of myself for not crashing.

The memorial to Preston's grandmother was so touching. She lived a full and long life. She was actually 95, so I stand corrected on that. Preston's parents included me in the obituary with Preston's name and that felt very special.

The funeral was held in I got to add another state to my list!! Woohoo!! I have been to:

1 Alabama 11 Kansas 21 New Mexico 31 Utah
2 Arizona  12 Kentucky 22 New York 32 Virginia
3 California 13 Louisiana 23 North Carolina 33 Washington
4 Colorado 14 Maryland 24 Ohio 34 West Virginia
5 Connecticut 15 Massachusetts 25 Oregon 35 Wisconsin
6 Delaware  16 Mississippi 26 Pennsylvania 36 Wyoming
7 Florida 17 Missouri 27 Rhode Island

8 Georgia 18 Montana 28 South Carolina 
9 Illinois 19 Nevada 29 Tennessee

10 Indiana 20 New Jersey 30 Texas 

Proof of Wisconsin (or anywhere, really)

It was nice to get to spend more time with Preston's family/friends and get to know them better. We saw his adorable nephews that were out of town on Christmas, so that was a nice treat.

Chicago: hang inside with coats and hats

Checking out Uncle Preston's Map :)

The genetics are looking good for my future children :P

All in all, it was a good but short trip and we are exhausted!! Happy Monday :)