I have a different way of making meals than most. Since I live by myself, it’s easy to make an entree or two that will stretch through the entire week. ...
Over the weekend I visited the Artist & Craftsman Supply store on Hobart Street in Squirrel Hill. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to this shop, and it’s been completely transformed. There is now a large wall filled with decorative and printed papers–so much for a booky type to view. I initially went in to find a simple gold sheet of paper but came out with this lovely gem:
It’s even more beautiful in person: spirals of gold mixed with a light green. Perfect for a summer wedding (it would have been a hit at the wedding I attended Saturday). But now, what to do with it? I’ve finished two of the three wedding guest books I’m working on for the calendar year, so I’m thinking I need to do something different.
I’ve been wanting to experiment more with screw-post binding, so maybe I can create a book with using this paper. However, my books always need homes; I do my best work when creating for others. But this paper hasn’t yet been assigned. I suppose I’ll wait until it speaks to me. After all, books are born from unexpected conversations, meetings, and encounters.
Any ideas how I can use this paper?
It’s a funny feeling sometimes – when you are on top of things, life is stable and in control, and yet you don’t feel satisfied. I find this to be both my curse and my blessing.
I’ve been feeling off this week. Blame it on hormones, the weather, a not-so-interesting week at work… I’m not sure. But things feel undone at the moment. Even though these great and wonderful things are happening, I don’t feel quite fulfilled. And I’ve been seeking out a change of some kind.
I’ve noticed this trend throughout the course of my life. Most everything is not yet done. I always feel there is progress to be made, whether it’s on a particular project, my self, my job, my life. Sometimes I wonder if I can ever just be satisfied. Just content in a given moment.
Those times have happened. There are instances when I realize how fulfilling the life is that I’ve built. Or when I get good news about a freelance project, or a new opportunity – those times feel good. It’s just those days in between. The Wednesday nights when I am home and exhausted after a softball game, with nothing left to do but watch “Chopped” on the Food Network. The Friday nights where I have nothing on the agenda. The day that I have great news, and no one to share it with in person.
I tell myself that these days are few. Eventually, down the road, they will be filled with a laundry list of tasks I can’t even fathom. I imagine looking back on this time in my 20s and thinking, “Those were the days. Free of responsibility.” Because while I am an adult, – and while I pay my own bills, work my ass off, and all of that – the days, right now, are not too big of a challenge. I am not caring for another human being. I’m not responsible for anyone’s well-being. It’s just me here. There is no one around to care if I succeed or if I fail. It’s just me and this world, for better or worse.
I wish there was a book written about this time of life. That space in between being an entry-level worker and a higher-up. The space between single and married. The space between 25 and 30. Cause honestly, it’s a very strange place to be. But I’m glad I’m working through it.
That fortitude. It comes back around every time.
Week one is in the bag of the clean eating challenge. And I have to say that I was impressed with my body’s ability to function on all whole foods. After a few days, I stopped craving ice cream, crackers, and cheese. I started relishing those green smoothies (even the ones with kale), for the staying-power they provided. It was like a shock to the system but the good kind.
I am monitoring how I feel in my clothing and checking in with the scale only once a week. This is hard for me. As a once obsessive exerciser, I used to weigh myself daily. That can be agonizing. The weekly rule, which WW most certainly follows, is a good one. And after one week of eating clean, I lost 2 pounds.
The hardest part of the challenge for me, by far, has been the alcohol. I’m not a booze hound by any means, but I do like a glass or two of wine on the weekends. I typically have one with a meal on Friday and Saturday nights. Since we only get one “cheat meal” per week, I have to strategize when that will be. Last weekend and this weekend, I have Saturday evening weddings, so I am using my cheat meal during those times. Needless to say, that glass of wine was divine.
The only other struggle I’m having is with sweets. I’m an avid fan of ice cream. I regularly have dessert, and I’ve had to put that to a stop. Instead, when I’m craving something sweet, I go for watermelon or a homemade banana cookie. It doesn’t taste quite the same, but it does the trick.
What I’ve loved most about this challenge is the whole foods I’m consuming. I’m making much healthier choices every day and really thinking about what I put into my body. This gives me hope that this could be not only a monthly challenge but an entire overhaul on the way I eat, exercise, and think about my health.
Here’s to Week 2, which is – so far – going off without a hitch!
Quite quickly, I’ve easily slipped into summer. With summer comes the regular schedule: a mix of throwing BBQs and helping people move. While I am doing neither of those things, I’ve tapped into some summer goals for this year. Most of them tie into my word of the year: fortitude, as it’s going to take quite a bit of strength to get over these hurdles.
I decided to participate in an Clean Eats Challenge with my in-real-life Beach Body Coach. I’ve been attending Kam Jamz classes for two years and buy my Shakeology through Kam. This month, she’s hosting a Clean Eats Challenge with those who participate in her classes. The rules are what you’d imagine: no processed foods or sugars but instead 5-6 mini meals that include fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. We work out 6 days a week and drink green tea with lemon each morning.
Surprisingly, the challenge hasn’t been challenging just yet. More than anything, it just requires a lot of planning. For example, last night I had a hip hop class until 8 p.m. but had to pick someone up at 9 p.m. Instead of grabbing a burrito bowl at Chipotle, I made my own version using farro, beans, peas, and edamame.
Keeping the refrigerator stocked with the good stuff is also key. My dad spent the night on Sunday, and I was embarassed by the lack of options for him in the fridge. I remedied that quickly with a trip to Trader Joe’s the following day. All fruits and veg, all of the time (and now the boyfriend won’t go hungry either).
In addition to the prep, it’s all about getting into a routine and rhythm. Eating 5 or 6 meals a day is a new concept to me. I don’t think I’ve ever quite done it successfully in the past. So, I started by putting reminders in my phone to eat. It’s more of a schedule than anything because, believe me, I don’t forget meal times. In particular, snacks – like a handful of almonds – have been seeing me through.
This challenge seems to work well for my lifestyle because 1. I love to eat and 2. I love to feel energized through food. Who wouldn’t? While it’s only been three days on track, I can already feel its effects. I am more alert throughout the day and longer. I get through my workouts a little easier (it helps not being hungry). I feel as though my metabolism is running from the time I drink my morning shake until I lie down at night.
While I am not doing this challenge to lose weight specifically, that would be a nice benefit. Even more so would be a transformation of my relationship with food. It’d be great to know what to eat, when to eat it, and how it will affect me. It will feel good to be lean, toned, and strong. I look forward to sharing this journey with you all via blog. We’ll see what comes of this new change!
My seeds have been in the ground for just over a month, and sprouts are popping up every where! This year looks to be a successful one, which is nice, since last year didn’t yield as much as we would have liked.
The only vegetables not doing so hot in the garden right now are the beets, which have completely bit the dust. I was only about to transfer two vegetables from my indoor containers: beets and tomatoes. The rest didn’t make it, and the beets still aren’t cutting it. I wonder where I went wrong?
Nevertheless, here is the status of the garden: one month in. The carrots are sticking their necks out already:
I am more than excited about this bed dedicated to romaine lettuce. Many salads will be made with these! My neighbors are regular salad eaters, so I know they’ll be excited to partake in these, too. I can’t wait to see this entire bed in bloom.
The green beans are kicking it in their normal spot. These beans are always so reliable. Though I wish I’d planted some purple beans this year, simply for the fun coloring.
Only one row of zucchini this year. We’ve learned our lesson from years past. This vegetable grows better than any other in the garden, which is wonderful, but you can only make so many loaves of zucchini bread. I think this amount of gourds will be just right.
And, one of my personal favorites: cucumbers. You can never go wrong with cukes. They are delicious in summer salads and perfect for pickling. This year I intend on pickling many of these, not letting one go to waste. There is nothing better than a homemade pickle!
On the side, in the herb planters, is swiss chard, another garden favorite around here. These are perfect in pasta dishes mixed with the green beans.
I can’t wait to see this garden around two months in. With any luck, I’ll be eating lots of salads and enjoying the “free” grub from the land.
[Not featured: tomatoes. They are doing fine but I forgot to snag a photo!]