Friday, July 31, 2009

August Goals.

Organize my room, closet and life in general.
Map out a financial plan for the next year, three years and five years.
Get all of my books and school supplies for the coming semester.
Get Jesse's family to like me while I am in Maine in a few weeks.
Finish at least four of the many books I have been reading.
Hang out at the pool while it is still open.  I need a tan.
Get back into a regular workout and yoga schedule.
Artist's dates, artist's dates, artist's dates.
Spend as little money as possible.

{Photo credit: MorBCN}

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pearls of Wisdom

City Girl over at City Girl Lifestyle wants your help:  Submit your pearls of wisdom!  What would you say to a former self?  I love this idea! 

Check out her post on the request for submissions here.  

You can also read my own pearl of wisdom here.

{Photo credit:}

Meme Blog Award!

Melita from Gussying Up the Tuttle passed the Meme Blog Award on to me the other day, so here we go!

the rules are as follows:
1. share seven tidbits about myself.
2. share the award with seven blog friends.

Seven Tidbits:

1. I love all things black and white. Zebras and zebra print, black and white cookies, President Obama, cows, damask, James Blake, black and white photos, and, most especially, Boston Terriers. I WANT ONE!

2. I would love to become a gourmet vegetarian chef. Not to work in a restaurant, though. Just so I can have fancy pants dinner parties.

3. Both of my grandmothers were excellent at crocheting. One of the items on my "Life List" is to make a beautiful blanket with even edges. Still working on it! I own several how-to books and tons of yarn and still can't figure it out. I think it's time to enlist the help of a real live teacher.

4. My favorite yoga pose changes just about every week, but pigeon is always an all-the-time favorite.

5. I own several thousand books. When you read about 80 a year, they tend to accumulate. I'm on book 44 so far this year.
6. One of my favorite things about my body is my eyelashes.....and I was so premature that I didn't even have any when I was born.

7. I hate horror movies but will watch them on occasion since Jesse likes them. The things we do for love!

And I pass this on to anyone that would like to do it!

{Photo credit: plummzilla}

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Revelry Review: More to Love

Did anyone else catch the premiere of Fox's new reality show, "More to Love"? It's like "The Bachelor", only with curvier contestants.

The guy, Luke, is a 26 year-old successful real estate agent looking "to settle down". And, in case you were wondering, Fox wants to remind you a million times that he is 6'3 and 300 lbs. Twenty average-size women are competing for his affection.

Yes, America: a size 14 is average. Deal with it.

My first gripe: WHY must you list the contestants' heights and weights as they are being introduced? I have never seen "The Bachelor" but I am guessing they don't do that.

Second: I am also guessing that no one on "The Bachelor" talks about how her weight makes her feel unlovable and unable to get a date.

Third: I am also betting that the Bachelor himself does not tell all of the contestants that they have nice eyes.

I have always been super self-conscious about my weight. I still am. I know that it has affected my dating life. As recently as two weekends ago I overheard someone ask why Jesse was with someone like me. And sure, it hurts. But my size--ANYONE'S size--does not mean I am not worthy of love. It doesn't make me less deserving of happiness. And, like one of the contestant's remarked, it doesn't mean I don't take care of myself. Some people were never meant to be a size 2. And I thought that this show, at least the first episode, reduced each of these women to the number on the scale and not who they really are. The worst part? I bet it got high ratings.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Meditation practice.

One thing I've had on my to-do list for quite some time that I haven't ever gotten around to doing is establishing a meditation practice. It feels good to move my body early in the morning and late at night with a short yoga practice, but it is a lot harder to get my mind to calm down. I've read that if you establish an early morning practice you will feel the effects all day.

Meditation is one of those things that I feel better after doing and that I know I could benefit from. I sometimes feel like I am making myself crazy from thinking and overanalyzing all the time. However, it is very hard to tame my "puppy mind" and just sit. I make mental lists, run over the day's events, think of the million things that seem much more productive that I could be doing, fidget, etc.

Do any of you have a regular meditation practice? How long do you sit? What time of day do you sit? Do you listen to CDs or do it in silence? Any advice for starting a practice?

"Cultivate the habit of taking time every day to sit so you can be in conscious contact with the inner garden of your soul."~Lucy MacDonald

{Photo credit: pareerica}

Monday, July 27, 2009

Today's pretties.

Iverness Trench Coat from Anthropologie


Two long workouts with lots of strength training and two at-home yoga practices.
Laid out in the grass and read a book.
Vietnamese food at Present and "500 Days of Summer".
Allergic reaction to hidden shellfish in my dinner.
Lots of Benadryl-induced sleep.
Whole Foods for fresh veggies and fruit.
Weird weather.

{Photo credit: boopsie.daisy}

Friday, July 24, 2009

Delicious dishes.

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars


1/2 c firmly packed light brown sugar
1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 c quick-cooking oats
1/2 c non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter, softened
3/4 c raspberry (or any other fruit) preserves

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil one 8 or 9-inch square pan on all sides.

2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats.  Add the butter and, using your hands, create a crumbly mixture.  Press two-thirds of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  

3. Spread the jam to within 1/4 inch of the edge.  Sprinkle the remaining one-third of the crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the jam.

4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

{Photo credit: tofutti break, who used the same recipe}

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Revelry Rant: Labels

Here is the truth:  I hate labeling myself in terms of what I do or do not eat.

I eat about an 85% vegan diet, with some dairy and the occasional seafood meal.  The seafood is doctor ordered; I have dangerously low levels of B12 from some medical problems and my body simply doesn't absorb it from vitamins.  But I do eat organic and I try to buy things that are local and in season whenever possible.

The problem is that, while I do care a lot about animals, I don't eat a lot of them mostly because I think meat is disgusting.   I always have. The very first time my Mom tried to feed me a hamburger, I told her they were gross and looked like worms.  The smell of pork makes me feel ill.  I developed a shellfish allergy later in life.  Reading and research made me give up chicken more recently.  I refuse to cook any meat, fish included, in my house. However, I wear leather, like cheese and I sometimes put honey in my tea. 

The thing is, I hate meat the same way I hate eggs, mustard, watermelon and mayonnaise.  They are all just gross to me.

And that's why I love people like Bryant Terry.  He calls himself a food activist and goes to great pains to distance himself from any label.  "When I reflect on my journey with food, I realize that most of the times when I was naming my diet, it was for other people.  I want to empower people to embrace a more ethical, sustainable and helpful diet without feeling like they have to box themselves into a model," he recently said in an article about his new cookbook, Vegan Soul Kitchen.

Admittedly, it's easier to tell someone I am a vegetarian or a vegan if I am going to their house for dinner.  But neither of those is totally true.  The yogini in me wishes I could be 100% vegan as part of practicing ahimsa, but until those B12 levels stabilize and Sweet Green's froyo stops tasting so delicious, it won't happen.  But I struggle with it within myself and I struggle with explaining to others.  And movies like Food, Inc make me wrestle with that guilt even more.

A label, I guess, is a cognitive shortcut, even if it is an inaccurate one.  And one I dislike.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chasing the wagon.

I've fallen off the wagon.  In fact, the wagon has taken off and left me standing alone on the corner. 

I need to get back into a routine of healthy eating and a regular workout routine.  Class and work, a killer final and some travel really put a dent in some of the progress I was making.  A few weeks of not being totally vigilant makes me feel like I am slipping back into my pre-weight loss habits forever.  It is the sense of a loss of self-control that is most scary, even though I know I have come so far and I know that I can do this.

In order to get back on track, I have done the following:

-Grocery shopped and stocked my kitchen with fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains.

-Tested out a few new healthy recipes.

-Set up a workout schedule.

- Made a commitment to pack up my gym stuff the night before.  None of the lame excuse of "but I don't have time to pack up my stuff in the morning!"

-Purchased a few new workout DVDs for the days when I don't want to go to the gym.

-Wrote a few journal entries on my eating habits as of late,  how I plan to get back to basics and listed a few realistic goals so I can measure my success.

-Planned to get to bed early.

{Photo credit: epidemic photography}

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Delicious Dishes.

This is the first recipe I have tried from Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen.  There are many, many more I want to make.  This one was yummy and very healthy (even if it did take a lot of pots and pans to cook the greens!).  It made about two medium size tupperware fulls of greens.  At the end of the recipe he says it also makes a great filling for no queso quesadillas, which I might try next.

Citrus Collards with Raisin Redux

Coarse sea salt
2 large bunches of collard greens, ribs removed, cut into a chiffonade
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 c raisins
1/3 c freshly squeezed orange juice

1. In a large pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt.  Add the collards and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened.  Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water to cool the collards.

2. Remove the collards from the heat, drain and plunge them into the bowl of cold water to stop the cooking and set the color of the greens.  Drain by gently pressing the greens against a colander.

3. In a medium-size saute pan, combine the olive oil and garlic and raise the heat to medium.  Saute for 1 minute.  Add the collards, raisins, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Saute for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Add orange juice and cook for an additional 15 seconds.  Do not overcook (collards should be bright green).  Season with additional salt to taste if needed and serve immediately.  (This also makes a tasty filling for quesadillas).

Serves 4.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Traveling to Pennsylvania on the train (a favorite of mine!)
A carpet picnic in Jesse's room with lots of veggie Chinese food
Buying two new sugar scrubs from Lush, a bright pink yoga mat bag from lululemon, and a lemon/raspberry muffin and Shiva Rea's Lunar Flow DVD at Whole Foods
Wandering around the Philadelphia Art Museum, where I visited with my favorite painting, Marc Chagall's "Half Past Three (The Poet)"
A big pot of lentil stew, some red wine and Scattergories with Jesse's new classmates

Friday, July 17, 2009

In Search of the Writing Life

I am indeed in search of the writing life.

Lately I have felt a strong pull towards writing more often, more regularly and more thoroughly. In order to get closer to this, I took a few action steps:

-I started blogging at the Summer Writing Inspiration Movement . The idea behind it is to create weekly goals and be supported (and held accountable, I hope!) by others in the group.

-I signed up for the SARK Juicy Journaling program, as well as this Get Paid to Write: Become a Freelance Writer e-course, which begins on August 10th.

-I purchased a few books on freelance writing: My So-Called Freelance Life, Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer: How to Win Top Writing Assignments, and The Street Smart Writer.

One of my other goals is to write longer and more focused entries here in this blog. So tell me, dear readers, what would you like to see appear on Everyday Revelry? What do you want to know more about or talk about with other like-minded souls? I have a few ideas brewing and there are things I love to write and talk about (ie yoga, nutrition, exercise, Latin America, cooking, books, writing, creativity, travel, etc.), but I also would love to know more about what you all are interested in too!

And I *love* this vintage typewriter (or visible writing machine, apparently) poster!

{Image credit: moni cam}

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Words to Grow By.

"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.  I don't believe in circumstances.  The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and, if they can't find them, make them."

~George Bernard Shaw

{Photo credit: mark.os}

6 Things That Make Me Happy

CityGirl over at My City Girl Life tagged me for this one. I need to list 6 things that are making me happy right now. Without further ado:

1. The fact that Sweet Green has a mobile yogurt truck complete with fresh fruit and other toppings that parks less than half a block from my office on Tuesdays and Thursdays! I had one with strawberries, mangoes and mini-chocolate chips today.

2. Getting a manicure after work!

3. I leave tomorrow afternoon to spend the weekend in Pennsylvania with Jesse. I am excited to see his new place and meet his friends at school.

4. When I return on Sunday, I am going to dinner with a friend, followed by seeing "Spring Awakening" at the Kennedy Center.

5. Tonight I will begin writing lots of journal entries based on the creative fodder I have received from SARK's Juicy Journaling e-course.

6. The prospect of maybe finally getting a good night's sleep tonight. I have been sleeping a lot less than usual and it is showing. I can't wait to crawl into my bed!

I have no idea of who to tag, so if you see this and want to post your list or add it to the comments, please do! I bet it makes you smile.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Juicy Journaling with SARK!

Join me as I do the Juicy Journaling with SARK program!

A big thank you to Carolyn of Hang on Little Tomato for tweeting about the program.

You can get all of the official details in the link above, but here is the run down:

Once a day for 30 days, you will receive an email from SARK containing Today's Journal Juice (artwork on that day's theme that can be printed out), Today's Juicy Droplets (writing prompts galore!), Today's Vitamin See (a downloadable SARK quote) and Today's Refreshing Recording (an mp3 of SARK talking about the writing experience). If you register before July 29th, you also get: a discounted rate, an mp3 of SARK talking about publishing, and an invitation to a phone-in open mic night to share your writing on July 29th at 9 pm EST (you will also be sent the recording in case you can't make it). At the end of the program, you will also receive a pdf of all of the emails with the artwork in an e-book form.
I am so excited to have daily inspiration for journal writing!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Revelry Rant: The Amazon Kindle vs Books

Can someone please explain the allure of the Amazon Kindle to me?


As a former English major and book-a-holic, I cannot image my life without reading. And I read fast--really fast. In fact, even though I am in graduate school and work full-time, I still read between 70 and 85 books a year. When I travel, I have to take several books with me and I often end up buying books in airports or bookstores while on trips. And I have an unnatural dislike of library books, so I buy most of what I read (yes, it's a very expensive habit). Additionally, I read several newspapers every day (admittedly most of these are online) and I have subscriptions to about 8 magazines.

But I still cannot understand why anyone would want a Kindle.

First let's start with the obvious: One more thing to plug in and charge. One more thing to worry about breaking and needing repair. One more thing to have to maintain. And one more screen to read, as if we don't spend enough time in front of computers already.

But what concerns me most about the Kindle is this: It is destroying the relationship between the reader and the book AND it is taking the bookstore or library experience out of the equation. Sure, you are still technically reading it....but on a screen, not curling up the pages ever so slightly in your hands, or setting a bookmark inside to keep your place, or turning the pages with reckless abandon to find out what happens next. The magic that happens between book and reader is not so easily recreated electronically. I worry that soon people will deprive themselves of that experience in favor of reading it all on a screen.

Sure, it allows you to take a lot of books with you at once. Sure, it saves trees since it doesn't involve printing on paper.

But I am still not convinced that either of those things are worth more than what the traditional reading experience has added to my life over the years.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Delicious Dishes.

I have a new cookbook that I am obsessed with: The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I want to make every. single. recipe. It is rare that I purchase a cookbook that I know I will use all the time, but this is one of them. Besides containing great recipes, it also has party hosting tips AND contains all of the nutritional info for each recipe, which I love.

She won the VegNews cookbook of the year award with her earlier (and also excellent) work, The Joy of Vegan Baking.

Here is what I made over the weekend. It was SO yummy! And it was even better as leftovers!

Red Lentil and Artichoke Stew

2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1.5 c water, plus 1 tablespoon water
2 or 3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 bay leaf
1 c dried red lentils
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can artichokes in water, drained and quartered
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

1. Heat 1 tablespoon water in a soup pot. Cook onion until soft, about 7 minutes.

2. Add in cumin, coriander and garlic, cook another 2 or 3 minutes.

3. Add 1.5 c water, lemon juice, bay leaf, tomatoes and juice, artichokes, lentils and red pepper flakes.

4. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add more water if stew becomes too thick. Remove bay leaf before serving. Serve with pasta or rice. (I made it with brown rice)

Serves 6.


I now know what people do with free time when they are not working full-time and in graduate school.  It goes a little something like what I did this weekend:

-Saw "Bruno" and "The Hangover".
-Finished a novel.
-Set up my new iPod.
-Made three new recipes from two new cookbooks.
-Slept in.
-Wandered around Georgetown.
-Ate tangy yogurt topped with raspberries, mango and blueberries.
-Cleaned up and organized my bookshelves.
-Wrote in my journal.
-Caught up with old friends over the phone.
-Walked through the Dupont Farmers Market with a Teaism Japanese Sweet Green Tea and purchased one single perfect peach.
-Perused the bookstore.
-Watched really bad reality TV.
-Grocery shopped.
-Took a long nap.

Mmmm.  I think I can learn to like free time.

{Photo credit: thejbird}

Friday, July 10, 2009

Attitude of Gratitude.

Today I was struck by a feeling of total contentment and extreme gratitude for everything and everyone in my life.  I wanted to take a minute to share with you the things--both big and small--that I am thankful for today:

1. Summer hours at work!  I work one extra hour a day from Monday- Thursday and then I only have to work 9-1 on Fridays from now through Labor Day weekend.

2. A postcard from Uganda with monkeys on it from my friend who is spending the summer living there!

3. The wonderful guy at the Apple store genius bar who got all my music off of my old iPod and back onto both my laptop and my new iPod.  I am very grateful that I don't have to put 3,100 songs back in both those places.

4. A great yoga practice last night!  It was very much alignment focused and the teacher pushed me a lot, which I needed.

5. Honeydrop juice in blood orange and honey.  So yummy!

6. My boyfriend, who I am always thankful for, and who also spent last night explaining to me the scientific reasons behind why diamonds are sparkly.  He does a pre-med program so that I can learn about jewelry. Ha.  We're geeky together and I love it.

7. Absolutely perfect weather.  Not too hot, not rainy....just wonderful.

8. A clean apartment.

9.  Free time.  I am still not totally sure what to do with it but I do know that having time to think and breathe and be is doing wonders for me.

10. All of the possibilities that lay before me.  And there are a ton.  :-)

{Photo credit: ericvondy-away}

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Om at home.

One thing I have wanted to incorporate into my life for  awhile now is a commitment to a regular home yoga practice.  When I did level 1 of the teacher training, I was practicing just before it began and just after it ended at home nearly every day for a few months.  Then grad school plus work left me with barely any time to breathe, let alone anything else.  But during that time, I realized exactly how much my body--and mind, actually--was craving a regular practice.  I would find myself doing yogic breathing during class or sitting in child's pose for awhile at night before bed.  

And now, as I consider the second level of teacher training--the 200 hour Yoga Alliance certification--I realize I need to deepen my practice before making that decision and build a home practice.  (I also want to try a few other styles of yoga before doing the teacher training.)

Do any of you have a home yoga practice?  What does it look like?  Do you just do it or do you use a DVD or CD or a book that has sequences?  Do you practice in the morning or at night?  Do you always practice in the same place?  Do you practice outside?  How long is your practice and how many times do you practice each week?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Today's pretties.

Grey and Gold Misha Bag by Deyitta

Delicious dishes

Lauren's note: This cake is not exactly healthy, but so worth all the extra calories! Great for a special occasion. It's super moist and smells like a chocolately cocktail--what more could you want?

Black Russian Cake

1 package yellow cake mix
1 5.9 ounce package of instant chocolate pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 c vegetable oil
1/2 c vodka
1/2 c water
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c Kahlua, divided
1/2 c powdered sugar


1. Beat first 7 ingredients and 1/4 cup of Kahlua at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan.

2. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

3. Combine remaining 1/4 c Kahlua with the 1/2 c powdered sugar, stirring until smooth.
4. Let cake cool slightly and remove from pan. Puncture cake surface to make small holes with a toothpick or a fork. Brush with glaze and let harden. (The glaze will almost disappear into the cake and will not look like the picture above).
{Photo credit: Stephanoot}

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Revelry Review: What I Read on Vacation

Beyond Bogota: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia by Garry Leech

Not exactly vacation reading, but it was a good read nonetheless.  Leech uses his story of being briefly detained by the FARC in Colombia to weave together the broader narrative of Colombian history.  I work on Latin America-related stuff, so this was helpful for that.

Driving with Dead People by Monica Holloway

This book was heartbreakingly real.  It's the fictionalized story of Holloway's dysfunctional family and examines the role of each family member in making it that way.  There isn't all that much in the way of plot twists and turns, but the emotions are so raw that I found myself feeling like a voyeur into this family's trials and tribulations.

Cute, easy read.  I'm scared that the movie version will be awful.  I just can't picture it in my head after reading the book.  Oh...and I never want to cook French food EVER.  Animal bones, marrow, eggs.  Ew.

You. must. read. this. book.  Travel writing mixed with positive psychology mixed with humor.  Weiner, an NPR correspondent, travels to the world's happiest--and least happy--places to see why or how they got that way.  Really great read--made me equally want to hop on the next plane out of the country and curl up in my house with my friends and family around me.

{Photo credit: rachel sian}

Monday, July 6, 2009

Vacation Recap: Missouri and New Jersey.

My vacation in pictures:

Jesse and I at his friend's wedding in Springfield, Missouri.  Our first trip to the midwest!

Jesse opening his birthday gifts from my Mom and her boyfriend.  Such a girly bag!

Mini-golf on the Ocean City boardwalk.

Dinner and a show in Atlantic City.

Hanging out with my cousin's newest little one, Ryan, on the 4th of July.  Sooooo adorable!

A beautiful sunset over the bay in New Jersey.

Not captured on film: lots of reading, sleeping, eating, hanging out at the pool and watching of Wimbledon.  This is the first vacation I can remember where I ended it feeling well rested and relaxed.  It was so needed.

Delicious dishes

Peach Bread

3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups diced peaches
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two8 x 4 inch loaf pans.

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Blend in the sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; mix just to combine. Stir in the peaches. Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake for about 1 hour (mine only took about 45 minutes.), or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
(Lauren's note: I can't remember where I got this recipe. If it was from you, please let me know so I can give you credit for this really delicious dish!!!)
{Photo credit: I Nancy}