Let’s Talk: Mindfulness

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11-12-13 mindfulness

Yesterday, I was on a track to have a very, very bad day. It was a Monday, which was already hard enough, but it was my first Monday at work while my boss is out of the country (meaning many of his responsibilities fall on me while he’s gone). I don’t mind the extra responsibility, but I have to say…it seems that every time my boss is in a halfway-around-the-world time zone, something (or many things) go wrong. Well, that was my Monday.

I had a situation on my hands that didn’t seem to have a solution. We needed 13,000 envelopes to mail a customer letter by the end of this week and, at most, we had 5,000 of our most-expensive-to-print envelopes on hand. It is not my responsibility to monitor how many envelopes we have or to order them when we run out, and here I was needing a lot of envelopes that we didn’t have. I was realized that this situation, which was wholly not my fault, was quickly becoming my problem and I was likely to be given the blame if the letter wasn’t out on deadline. If I really had to, I could contact my boss and explain the situation, but there wasn’t really anything he could do. It’s not like he was hoarding 13,000 envelopes over in Europe or something.

Then, something miraculous happened. I listened to some “hold” music while on the phone with one of our vendors.

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TC Scene: Old Mission Lighthouse

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11-5-13 old mission introUp north, we have an abundance of fall color on the trees and (seemingly) few truly beautiful days to enjoy it. With the time change, it’s already dark when I get home from work so that means more morning runs to get some daylight and enjoying the outdoors on the weekends as much as possible. This past weekend was, as far as I can tell, the peak of color season on the Old Mission Peninsula where Sam and I live. The entire 18 miles out to the end of the peninsula were brimming with gorgeous colors and the weather was a crisp 40-50 degrees outside, making it absolutely ideal for some hiking adventures at the historic Old Mission Lighthouse. Plus, our friends Mark and Rachelle (and their little Yorkie, Tanner) were visiting, so we had every excuse to take them out into the wilderness.

11-5-13 off road11-5-13 into the woodsWhile there are lots of trails to hike on out at the lighthouse, few people know about the two-track dirt roads you can take straight out to the edge of East Bay. I was told these are called the “Fire Roads,” since back in the day they provided easy access to East Bay in case there was a fire in the area. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but it makes a good story. Plus, I am a sucker for off-road driving so I really look for any excuse to ride on them.

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Weekend: Halloween Party

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11-3-13 halloween party

Hey, everyone! Sorry for being so quiet on here the last few days. I have been busy trying to build up some content, as well as hosting some friends at our house this weekend. It was a flurry of party prepping and cleaning, but it was incredibly productive in terms of unloading almost all our moving boxes and getting things put away into different places at the house. Hurrah!

Last Friday night we hosted our first party: a Halloween celebration complete with lots of food (read: sugary treats) and some fantastic costumes. I was all geeked about my caramel apple bar, but apparently not too many people wanted to eat as much sugar as I did and we have a boatload of caramel sauce sitting in our fridge now. There may be some ice cream sundaes in our future, but for now we are on a total sugar detox from such a thrilling and filling festivity. At least it looked great!

11-3-13 apple bar 2

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Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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10-27-13 roasted brussels sprouts

The number one question I get asked when people find out I’m a vegetarian is, “What do you eat?” Honestly, to me it seems pretty simple: I eat what everyone else eats, just without the meat. In recipes, I find a way to substitute a protein in for whatever meat is being used or just omit the meat part of it. It’s really not that difficult, but it is definitely something I’ve had to train myself to do and I’ve had to learn what things work well and what things don’t work as substitutes at all. It’s a little trial-and-error, but really I think all cooking is trial-and-error. You can’t know what you like to make until you start making stuff!

One of my absolutely favorite dishes is roasted vegetables. Seriously, it is the quintessential thing that makes me think of autumn and one of my favorite things about this season. Not only does it yield delicious food, it also helps heat the house! There are all kinds of good roast-able vegetables out there this time of year, and I’m determined to roast them all. And, yes, this includes vegetables that I’ve never really eaten before in my life (another perk about being vegetarian: I quickly grew exhausted of my go-to-veggie meals and really had to branch out and try a bunch of new foods. It’s great!). Point and case: brussels sprouts.

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Let’s Talk – Identity

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lets talk identityvia (no time to take photos this week!)

I’m learning that most fads and styles are just counter-styles of some other style, as though you are either an example of a particular style or some antithesis of that that style. Classic vs. Modern. Modern vs. Post-Modern. Grunge vs. Metal. Prep vs. Goth. Realism led to Impressionism led to Post-Impressionism. Sometimes life seems less about finding your own identity and more about deciding which societal identity you decide you want to imitate.

This all started when I really started delving deep into the identity of Lorde, one of my favorite artists right now. I mean, putting aside her age (which I think we are all obviously blown away by), the girl is straight-up talented. She gets it. She cuts through the BS injected into our bloodstreams by big brands, celebrities, Hollywood glamour…and it works. It reaches people, and we are suddenly thinking, “Yeah, girl! That’s it! We don’t need that materialistic stuff and pop music, because we’re rocking to our own jam.” Continue reading

Mo’ Thoughts – Morning Routines

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10-13-13 morning routines

Lately, I’ve been straight-up imagining the morning routines of people that I totally can’t even come close to imagining, and try to visualize what they’re doing or seeing without even having an inkling of where they are. Some mornings it’s George Clooney, other mornings Kate Middleton, or just some random person who slips into my mind. Maybe it’s the extravagance and mystery of their lives that makes it so much fun to pretend that I am them, seeing the world the way they see it, trying to figure out if they are the people in private that we see in public. What kind of coffee mug do they use? Do they make toast? Juice? Are they in pajamas? What’s the pace of their morning? In my mind, I walk through their morning the way they see it.

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The person I spend the most amount of time imagining I am, for whatever reason, is Justin Timberlake. I think it’s because he’s spent so much of his life in the limelight and he always seems so comfortable with himself and confident in everything he does that I believe the person I see is who he really is. He just seems like a very genuine, sensitive, intuitive person; I have always been fascinated with him (although what girl who grew up in the late 90s isn’t?), and I just feel like I know who he is. I know, it is total bull, but it is a lot of fun and a creative test. Continue reading

Weekend Discoveries – Sunrise Chasing

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10-14-13 sunrise chasing

This past weekend, Sam was gone at a golf tournament from Friday afternoon until late on Sunday. It was my first weekend staying in our new home alone without my husband, which meant I had full reign to do whatever I wanted to do. Yes, it was lonelier around here, but it was also invigorating to really think about what I wanted to do, since the whole weekend was free and I was the one to decide what I did with my time.

So…what did I want to do with a whole weekend to myself? Apparently I wanted to get up way early and chase the sunrise. (Also: I know that “sunrise chasing” doesn’t sound as cool as “storm chasing,” but just roll with it.)

10-14-13 hazerot 3Sometimes I think about how often I take the sun rising for granted. What if it just didn’t come up the next day? What if the world stopped turning overnight and we never saw the sunlight again? I think I heard that some ancient civilization lived their entire lives not knowing if the sun would return again and if they would need to spend the rest of their years in darkness. Each morning they celebrated its return so their crops could grow, they could hunt for food easier, and go about their day without darkness.

Hearing stories like that makes me want to live with greater respect and appreciation for every single day and the things it brings with every sunrise. I will cherish the good days and learn from the bad, and recognize that each day is its own entity that I cannot dictate or control: I can only choose how I spend the hours I’m given, no matter what those hours may be. Continue reading