And I Love It

Hi I love you

Tonight I learned that I can drive at least 60 miles with my gas light on. Volvo, y’all. Get you one.

I feel the knowledge of this fact will perhaps come in handy one day when I’m, I don’t know, really incredibly broke. Wait wait wait. That’s handy right now. Perfect. When will cars run on water? Tell me this. I mean, we can teach our cats to poop in the toilet and still we’re spending money to drive our cars. Something is wrong here.

Privacy, please.

It’s not so bad having no money. At least now I know what it’s like to live below the poverty line. Except not really since I’d have to be working as much as I do, making as little as I do and supporting a family of four to really know what it’s like. Perspective.

My dad suggested I apply for food stamps (truth). I think it’s his way of telling me I’m not getting any more money out of him. It’s ok because I’m busy holding on to this little ray of hope that Ralph and Weaz will hit it big on the internetz and we can all live happily ever after on their ad revenue. Weaz is working on her business plan as we speak.

The American dream... you're doing it right.

What is even happening here? Is this blog about food?

This is a pizza.

That is the best pizza I think I’ve ever eaten… ever. It’s the Garden Fresh from Intermezzo and I wish I were eating it right this second. Right here in my bed. No pants.

I should really go to bed.

Anyway, yesterday I rode my bike around for a good hour and half humming that terribleMy City” song and looking like an idiot. I’m all YES CHARLOTTE IS THE BEST right now so just deal with it. Then I went to yoga, which was perfect, and we got that pizza, which was perfect, and I stayed up really late, which was also pretty perfect.

I’ve got it maaaaaade here and if I have.my.way I’m gonna staaaaay here. And I love it.

Sorry about that terrible song. It’s terrible, right? So terrible. Here’s the best damn song of your life to make up for it:

You Should Know…

Homemade Nutella ice cream and brownies

I still haven’t taken my trash out (I’ve taken it out of my house but the big can outside is covered in spiders) and have no plans to do so. I finally changed my air filter and it only took me three months. I will take four right turns before trying to turn left without a stoplight and I see nothing wrong with this. I “mop” my kitchen floor with paper towels tied to my shoes and know my mom will probably call in about 15 minutes to tell me to buy a Swiffer. I have an ipod that hasn’t had music added to it since 2004, which is when I got it, and I don’t even care. I’ve been “borrowing” Internet from my neighbor for three months and have no plans to get my own.

It’s just that, now that we’re rounding out a solid 2+ years of blogger/reader relationship, y’all need to know the dirt so we can decide if this will carry on long term, ya heard?

Anyway, remember that time I wanted to go to Nicaragua but I didn’t have enough money and you guys totally rallied and threw together, oh you know, A THOUSAND DOLLARS in a day? And that the fundraiser brought in exactly $4 more than I needed? Which was exactly enough to buy a cheap bottle of champagne to celebrate? No big deal. (Read all about Nicaragua here.)

BIG GIANT DEAL

That was one of the single most amazing moments of my life, adding up the totals on Stew’s iphone, and I have not forgotten it. Thank you for that. I don’t know why I’ve been dwelling on it lately (other than the fact that it is an incredible act of human kindness), but I think it has something to do with the fact that I’ve been really taken by all of the good in my life. And I don’t mean the good house or the good car or the good clothes or the good (read: not empty) bank account because you guys know I don’t have any of those things. I mean the good people in my life.

I feel like for the last few months I have had daily moments of: “Thank god for you” in which “you” is not the same person each time. Nope. I somehow have a surplus of “yous” for whom I am so unbelievably grateful. It’s like I’m drowning in good people. My life runneth over with good people. Good people at work. Good people at school. Good people in yoga, online and just out and about. I love it.

I think part of it is that there are lots of good people everywhere all the time. But I also know that a lot of it is because (what I thought was) my entire world collapsed over the summer. I was alone and exposed and vulnerable for the first time in a long time and I think it broke down a lot of walls that I kept up to keep myself safe. And so now it’s like I’m walking into this whole new world (cue Aladdin music) with my heart open like it’s never been and I’m just so… happy.

In yoga (you knew that’s where this would go, right?), they’re always telling us to push into our mats, to push off the ground rather than collapse into it. And (as is so often the case) I think it’s the same in life. You can use rock bottom as a crash pad and collapse into the hard times or you can put on your big girl pants and use it as a launching pad to push yourself out of the hole.

So today was a good day. I went to bed at a decent hour last night. I practiced yoga at 6am to the soundtrack of an early-morning thunderstorm rolling in. I ate the most amazing homemade Nutella ice cream with brownies to celebrate a coworker’s birthday and then also got to celebrate Jessie’s birthday (who, yes, is one of those good people I was ranting on about) with macaroons and gossip.

Jessiiiiiiiie

It was a good, good day. Thank you for you.

Pumpkin Smoothie

OHMYGOD PUMPKIN

People who tell you they like pumpkin do not like pumpkin. They like sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg and sometimes the color orange. They like pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread and pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin donuts and, dear sweet baby Jesus, PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES–which, as I’m sure you know, contain no pumpkin at all. (Please read Rachel’s post on pumpkin spice lattes for my stance on those damn things.)

AH!

Make no mistake, I like all those pumpkin things, too. I’m just fully aware of the fact that it’s not because I’m a raging fan of the gourd. I just like those warm fall spices and anything that signals the coming of my favorite season. When it comes to pumpkins themselves, I’m a seed girl myself. Carving pumpkins is perhaps my most favorite holiday activity and I always hoard the seeds for roasting.

ANYWAY, I put some pumpkin puree in my green smoothie this morning. HOLY BALLS PUMPKIN.

ORANGE CANDLE

I also added cinnamon AND nutmeg (whoa, Katie, calm down) and took a picture of it next to an orange candle. My standard smoothie includes:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 – 1.5 c unsweetened rice milk
  • 1/2 c frozen spinach
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • And today… 1/3 c PUMPKIN + NUTMEG = FALL

I can’t even imagine what my neighbors must think when I walk out onto my porch in a nightie with a towel on my head to take a picture of a bowl of green glop next to an orange candle. Of course I walk around in a nightie. I wear pants as infrequently as is socially acceptable (and sometimes when it’s not).

Truth.

The moral of this story is that we all need to calm down about pumpkins. And stop wearing pants.

Desk Dining

Fancy shmancy

I eat at my desk. A lot. I’m not proud of it. It’s not something I enjoy or recommend or celebrate. There’s a lot to be said for stepping away from your work, sitting down at a table and enjoying a real meal the old fashioned way. But since Americans (all of us, myself included) refuse to do this, it’s at least nice to know we can throw together a meal free of freaky additives and unfamiliar ingredients in less time than it’ll take to heat it up in the microwave.

For me, the secret to eating decent food at my desk is: frozen vegetables. That and Tupperware.

So much Tupperware.

I’ll usually make a big batch of grains (rice, quinoa, millet, etc.) on Sunday to use throughout the week. I then fill my trusty Tupperwares with the grain plus frozen veggies (green beans, peas, peppers, spinach, etc.), a protein (like cubed tempeh or canned beans) and some kind of sauce (usually liquid aminos + nooch, mmmm sauce or tomato sauce).

BAM. A meal.

Since I kind of consider myself to be the master of throwing a couple things in a plastic tub and calling it a meal, I was happy to accept a product review for desk-friendly dining.

Stonehouse 27 features a line of “exotic Indian sauces without the effort” and Lundberg is a family-owned rice business. (I’ve worked with Lundberg before because I love them and their products… see here.) They asked me to combine one sauce, one heat and eat organic rice bowl and no more than three additional ingredients to create a quick, healthy meal to eat at my desk.

I went with the cilantro coconut sauce (despite the fact that I hate cilantro) and the brown rice bowl.

Stonehouse 27 cilantro coconut sauce

Lundberg organic brown rice bowl

To this I added:

  • Fresh kale
  • Frozen peas
  • Cubed tempeh

I microwaved the kale/pea/tempeh/Stonehouse sauce mix for 1 min 30 sec and then the rice bowl for 60 sec on its own before combining the two. Tah dah! A meal.

What I appreciate about these products is that they’re no-nonsense with their ingredients:

Nothing weird.

I could make that sauce, but… who has time these days? Not me, that’s for sure. I used to poo-poo shortcuts like ready-made sauce and especially precooked rice. “It doesn’t take that long to make your own,” I used to say. Yeah well… that was back when I wasn’t working seven days a week. I’ll take this shortcut and run with it, thank you.

Want to try Stonehouse sauces and Lundberg rice bowls?

Check out the sauces here and the organic rice bowls here and let me know which flavors you want to try. I’ll randomly select five winners at the end of the week.

Want more?

Stonehouse 27 on Facebook

Lundberg on Facebook

Where to buy it:

Here in Charlotte you can find Stonehouse 27 at Earth Fare, Fresh Market and Food Lion and Lundberg products are available at Earth Fare and Healthy Home Market. Not in my neck of the woods? Find a retailer near you…

Stonehouse 27 store locator

Lundberg store locator

Salutation Nation

lululemon southpark

Once upon a time several weeks ago I went to Salutation Nation and never blogged about it. September is kind of a blur.

This day though, 9/10/11, was slow and steady. Memorable even. I woke up hungover and reeking of smoke (not mine) for the last time, for that morning was the official kick off of my Sober September. We all know that lasted all of about three days, but it was fun while it lasted and I felt particularly motivated and invincible on this day.

SUN

I got up late. Chugged water. Held mentally unstable conversations with my cats. Stuffed my yoga mat into the basket of my ridiculous orange bike and rode to the event. I practiced with my friends out in the (hotass) sun. And I stole some watermelon of a tray of food that wasn’t mine. It was a beautiful day and the beginning of the end of summer.

CLT bloggers everywhere you turn.

 

(Above with Jen, Brittney and Jessie)

Salutation Nation 2010 was an event I attended when I first moved here last year, and it’s kind of funny to look at my life now versus then. Last year I was in transition and uncomfortable and feeling very out of place.

I feel so at home now. I love that.

Someone asked me today how my breakup was going and it really threw me off. I had to kind of pause and think for a minute before I finally responded: “It’s just not something I think about every day anymore.” And it’s not. Part of it’s that I’m really outrageously busy and part of it is that it’s been almost three months, a full season. I already let the breakup define my summer and (if I’m honest with myself) in many ways let the breakup define me, as well. I lived with a lot of regrets about the past and concerns about the future. But recently (and perhaps for the first time in my life) I’ve been living in 24-hour increments and I swear to you it’s changing my life.

Tonight at a team meeting we had to identify how we felt right then at that moment.

happy.humbled.fearful.hopeful.

That was mine. I think it’s accurate. And, dare I say it, I think I like it.