Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving: You Just Can't Escape It

This week, Wednesday is the new Friday. It's hard to miss the fact that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I hope you are all looking forward to one of my favorite days of the year, with plans to eat too much food and hopefully balance it out with some healthy activity! I'll be running a local 10K before divebombing into stuffing and pie with abandon and while I won't be sporting a costume myself, I hope to spot other, more festive folk in the crowd!

Some fun links to get you into weekend-mode:


YogaDork's suggestions for post-feast and mid-party season recovery poses, including a lovely meditation tactic: focus on sending love, gratitude and forgiveness for someone close to you.

There are just no words for how cute this poster is, from the lovely Cup of Jo. How can you possibly choose?

This may look like a sweet picture, but just wait until what you hear what these animals are actually saying to each other...IN ALL CAPS. Animals Talking In All Caps: It's Just What It Sounds Like.

This workout taught me how to do "side-by-side burpees," and how to cry.

Am I the last person to discover "drunk kitchen"? And in case you were wondering, yes this is exactly what I look like when I'm baking.

Enjoy your holiday and I'll see you Monday, bloated and fighting a pie hangover.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Living together: romantic, or frugal?

While I was living in NYC, I knew quite a few young couples who lived together. Some of these couples were engaged, some became engaged while I knew them, some were and are far off from engagement, and some are even seeking ways to end these long-term relationships.  Whatever the case may be, there was always a part of me that was jealous of the girls who lived with their boyfriends. Not because I was in any sort of rush to live with a boy - I've spent most of my life living with boys in the form of my brothers or friends in co-ed college dorms and learned a few things which can basically be summarized by saying: boys are smelly. I'm also a bit old fashioned and want to save what I feel is a very important stage in a relationship for marriage.

So why, then, was I jealous? HELLO. I lived in Manhattan and spent two thirds of my itty bitty salary on rent. Girls who live with their boyfriends get to live comfortably in one bedroom apartments for half the price. Cha-ching!

Reflecting on the frugality of such an arrangement definitely led me to wonder if a few of the co-habitating couples I knew made the decision to move in together based on financial over romantic reasons and therefore ran the risk of rushing the sharing-lives-process -- I mean, it would have to be tempting, right?


Turns out, I'm not the only person who has wondered about frugality trumping romance, the U.S. Census agrees, according to this interesting article, which also states that 7.5 million unmarried couples lived together in 2010. That's 15 million moms shaking their heads. Kidding!

The other element to be aware of if co-habitating is the possible legal implications should you choose to end the arrangement - breaking the lease early, divvying up larger joint purchases, handling your partner's possible debt or credit issues...although it's not marriage, moving in with a romantic partner is a lot different than just having a roommate that likes to cuddle more than the sorority sister you've been rooming with since college! Therefore, an appropriate amount of attention and care should be taken in considering when your relationship is ready for such a tremendous step.


What do you think? Is moving in together a wise financial choice? Would you move in with a significant other to cut costs? Would you rather wait until you had to marriage?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mocha Pumpkin Spice Smoothie of LUV {recipe}

I ordered some Click protein powder in the hopes that it would make me as speedy {and skinny, obviously} as this girl and finally made something out of it this afternoon as I was sitting on my couch after a long run, not showering, and enjoying the amazing Rams/Seahawks NFC West "showdown" {announcer's words, not mine}.

Diana Sternberg
on the smelly scale how bad is it that I'm waiting to shower after a 10-mile run until Rams/Seahawks halftime?

Full disclosure...I didn't shower until after the game. Eh, whatever.
However, I still considered my post-run activities a win because I recovered like someone who actually attempts to recover, for once in my life. I stretched voluntarily (!!!) and drank a protein shake. Totally makes up for the lack of showering.
I throw together scary combinations of ingredients in the blender on a fairly regular basis, so I thought I'd share what that might consist of. This time, the mix included:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 serving of Click Mocha protein powder
  • 1/2 medium banana, frozen
  • large spoonful pureed pumpkin
  • large handful of raw kale, stems removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
I attempted to come up with a name for this bad boy, but since it didn't taste totally like pumpkin pie, nor did it totally taste like mocha, I couldn't really decide how to title itappropriately. Let's just say that you could taste both of those wonderful flavors, and none of the kale.
I also considered photographing my smoothie, but it looked like vomit {thanks, kale} so I didn't. You're welcome for that mental image, though.
Fun fact about Click: their tagline is, "The Coffee Lover's Protein Drink." Um...yes.
What's your favorite method of recovery?  Would you rather: watch football, or shower after working out?

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's the Freakin' Weekend again!

We made it to Friday again! If your office to-do list or attention span is waning, I'm with you. Here are some fun mood pick-me-ups from the interwebs to you!

Lululemon gives me one more reason to be love notes to share on their website! They also have an entire shopping section labelled "sweat date" - I feel like they are crawling around in my head, giving me exactly what I want to spend my entire paycheck on!

The New York Times recently featured a thought-provoking article on young college graduates who are moving back home - some have jobs, some don't, but all are seeking to save money and plan for their future. The article claims that these young adults are hurting the economy by not spending (money that they don't have...) - what do you think? {in case you can't tell, I disagree - if you don't have disposable income to spend, don't spend it!}

On a brighter note, someone replaced the famous artists on iconic album covers with kittens and made a tumblr.


For pretty-in-the-face overload, check out the new Mrs. Lauren Lauren...

my wedding will also be featured in Vogue

I blogged about the greatest dining experience of my life at Pure Food & Wine here; enjoy 15% off of to-go snackies from the owner's takeaway operation One Lucky Duck from the savvy divas over at Recessionista here!

raw vegan cookies...get in mah mouf!

Enjoy your weekend loves!

Any exciting plans?
Any more funny pictures of kittens I should be aware of?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Party like it's 1999 - in cargos?

Do you remember the 90s? I was two and a half when they began so much of that decade is a blur {from all of my wild partying, obviously} but the late 90s were, for better or worse, a seminal point in my life.

In 1999, I graduated from elementary school, began junior high, finally got to choose my own hair cut, and bought my first pair of adult-Gap jeans {they still didn't fit, it was more of a principle thing}

I also idolized the clothing and the models in the monthly Delia*s catalogue - I wanted to look just like them, platform sandals, butterfly spaghetti strap tanks, baggy cargo pants (cargo pants, really?!?) and all.

In an awesome moment combining nostalgia and shame over past fashion mistakes, Refinery29 put together a slideshow of the 1999 Delia*s catalogue. If you were there, you will appreciate this.

head to toe 90s perfection

Happy Hump Day!

What were your favorite 90s fashions? Embarrassing junior high fashion moments?
Why were butterflies so popular?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Great Blogger Cookie Swap

After reading Courtney's news that she was joining the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I knew I wanted in immediately, if only to cross my fingers that I am the lucky recipient of one of her decadent desserts!

But truly, it is better to give than receive and that statement is no more true than in the tradition of baking holiday cookies for friends and family to enjoy. I love eating cookies {believe me.} but I love even more knowing that a baked good I've made brings a smile to someone else.

Come Christmas time, I always think I am going to bake 30 batches of different cookies but in reality I bake about 5-6 different types of cookies each year. I used to try to attempt to make gingerbread houses entirely from scratch but my brother would somehow always eat one of the pieces of the house before I could assemble it...Robert I did not make "side of a house shaped cookies"....

This year, though, I am upping my game! 

I will be sharing a mescla of some sugar-free cookies (developed for an old boyfriend's grandpa with diabetes), vegan cookies, gluten free cookies, and cookies so unhealthy you won't know whether to laugh or cry.

Join in on the fun here, let's swap cookies!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lilly!

Lilly Pulitzer is one of my favorite brands for the following reasons:

1. I love her bright, colorful, playful patterns - they suit my style perfectly!

hiding my face, but not my lilly!

2. The company has built its brand around the idea that girls just want to have fun, that everyone can be youthful, that ladylike dress is always chic, and that life is too short to be boring. All of these statements could also be my personal mantra.

life is apparently long enough to pose awkwardly by fountains

3. The company was started by a young lady with a lot of gumption who wanted to create dresses that would hide fruit juice spills. I spill all the time so I can definitely relate.

but for the grace of God that birthday cocktail stayed off my Lilly

Lilly Pulitzer turns 80 years young today and I can think of only one way to celebrate...grab some more Lilly gear, grab a fruity cocktail and dance around with it with abandon...after all, if you spill it, no one will be able to tell!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The anthropological foodie

I may have graduated from college two - okay fine, almost three - years ago, however, as the saying goes, "You can take the girl out of the Anthropology seminar but you can't take the discourses on Foucault, human tendencies of classification and attempting to control the body out of the girl." What, that's not a saying? I'm pretty sure it is.

At any rate, I am always observing our world through the frame of my own knowledge and perspective, as we all do, and in my case this knowledge and perspective has its roots in anthropological theories and practices.

Therefore, when I hear or read of women {and yes, occasionally men} discussing their food choices, dietary preferences and past food struggles, I cannot help but make a small ethnographic study of these opinions and experiences.

My brief interaction with biological anthropology taught me that anthropologists can ascertain an alarming amount of detail about a past culture by observing its population's eating habits: the tools they used for hunting or farming, food preparation and eating, the role of food in religious customs, the specific types of foods native to their land and the role that food played on determining their culture. YES, food, it appears, can play a role in determining culture. Archaic peoples with a plethora of spices and exotic fruits available to them have a different cultural history than those who lived in sparser, colder, less fertile lands.

british food for royal wedding party...this is why they had to conquer so many countries

Consider our current climate. In the United States and in most of western civilization, we have an obsession with food. We love it. We can't stop thinking about it. We've built up entire industries around food - agriculture, factories for processed food production and packaging, shipping of food across countries and the world, distributors, restaurants, grocery stores, farmer's markets, charitable food drives and soup kitchens, food festivals...and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

For women {and again, I recognize that many men also fit in this camp}, food is something we love, yes, but it is so much more. Food is associated with: reward, guilt, celebration, good health, poor health, generosity, self-deprivation, gluttony, joy, fear, doubt, pleasure, pain...again, just the tip of the iceberg.

so many adjectives describe what's happening here...most of them gross

Food has become so much more than just food. Food, in its simplest form, is sustenance. Nourishment. Necessary for life just as water and oxygen. How often do you think to yourself, "have I breathed enough today? Too much? How much should I breathe tomorrow? What about on Thanksgiving?" That would most likely be never, unless you have some form of rare breathing disorder I have never heard of, and if that's the case, I'm sorry because that must be rough.

My point is not to dole out advice, such as, "eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full and don't worry about it," or "just use common sense about your diet," although those are two of the greatest pieces of diet advice on Earth. My point is to give you some food for thought (heh, sorry, couldn't help myself) ~ we take so much of our daily existence and thoughts and culture for granted. Try to take a moment to think, "why do I think about food so much?" and "why do I have absolutely no problem with the fact that I basically have to publicly disrobe to fly to my parents' house for Christmas?" Okay fine, totally unrelated, but totally intrinsic parts of our daily cultural experience that we accept without question.

well, why not?!?

Our cultural conceptions have not existed since the dawn of time, as we may believe, and I find it fascinating to take the time to unpack our tightly held beliefs and practices and consider how and why we've come to where we are. I find that doing so helps me find balance in my life, helps me approach situations with a greater degree of reason, and helps me bore people when I won't stop rambling about it.

Any boring, daily occurrences you think too much about?
How do you think about our eating habits?

If you haven't had enough of re-considering our so-called inherent cultural beliefs, check this interesting post on gender from Colleen, a psychology grad student who also probably thinks about humans too much.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Too soon...or never soon enough?

I firmly believe in the's a federal law, not just a state thing...that you must not listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Celebrating the greatest holiday in the history of holidays from October onwards is a both a sham and a shame.

Preparing oneself for said holiday, however, is not a crime in any size of community. This day of glory brings with it parties, gift giving occasions, decorating opportunities and fashion opportunities galore. And I am not going to allow them to catch me by surprise this I have every single other year since birth.

Here is a break down of my aggressive takedown of Christmas {that sounds terrible}

1. I am baking a batch of cookies each weekend leading up to Christmas and freezing them so that they can be brought out at a moment's notice. Cookie swap? Nailed. Party I feel obligated to bring something to? Got it. Spontaneous gift? Done, and hand made. Made with my very hands!

week one's batch! partying in my freezer right now. recipe here

2. Create outline for Christmas gifts, listing who I need to purchase a gift for, what my gift-giving budget is, and a few ideas that fit within that budget. Hopefully some forethought will prevent me from panicking and spending too much money on a mediocre gift on December 24th. Not that that has ever happened before!

a couple of benjamins for a model ship? weider gifts have happened.

3. Put into writing a few healthy holiday rules. Although I know that a little holiday indulging isn't going to kill me, preventing myself from having a total free-fall into pie-land prepares me to greet food-oriented get togethers and seasonal desserts happily because I know which treats are worth splurging on and which are not. In my opinion, pumpkin pie is practically mandatory whereas pre-dinner cheese and cracker hour is not, I will stuff stuffing in my face but mashed potatoes can be left out of the party, and anything that is either prepackaged or that I have easy access to year-round can be skipped.

let's just say I wouldn't throw this away

4. Reviewing my closet and mentally prepping a few holiday event outfits, again so I'm not left in a panic purchasing something expensive, mediocre, and entirely unnecessary.

I mean with an outfit like this...who needs shopping?

5. On that note, and tying #4 into #2, budgeting how much expendable income I can use on myself during this season. The conclusion....not any a lot. So larger purchases - a new down coat, shopping carts full of new home decor, planning another out-of-town trip, all those new jeans I so desperately need...those will have to wait.

Hope these little ideas inspire you to greet the holidays - whichever you celebrate - prepared rather than scrambling!

How do you get ready for this bonanza season?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

{Recipe} Vegetarian Cincinnati Chili!

My dad is from Cincinnati and will shout its many apparent glories from the mountain tops, making ridiculous claims that this medium-sized midwestern city is the greatest metropolis on earth. Among them: the weather is substantially better than in St. Louis: cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This belief is blatantly untrue, check if you have time on your hands. Since I know you don't, I did it for you...I will do anything to prove a point.

can you even tell which is which?

Proof positive: Cincinnati may be one degree cooler in the summer, but it is five degrees cooler in the winter and set a record low. I'm pretty sure way more people die of cold than of heat and winter brings out more grumpiness and overall seasonal depression, so St. Louis wins this battle.

What St. Louis does not win, however, is the chili battle. Mostly because St. Louis doesn't really have a contender in the battle. If we did, we would definitely win. We're just too busy creating toasted ravioli, BBQ and gooey butter cake to turn our attention to chili. Oh, and winning World Series {how do you make that plural? when you've won 11 that becomes important}.

That being said, Cincinnati chili is pretty amazing. It contains dark chocolate and cinnamon. If you can't get on board with that, leave. I recently whipped up a batch of vegetarian chili (could be vegan if you didn't smother it with cheddar I did....) that was so delicious I just had to share. No choice, really.

Vegetarian Cincinnati Chili {adapted from here}

1 medium sized white onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoon Mexican chili powder
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 bag of veggie crumbles (I used Morningstar brand because they were the most readily available)
2 ounces dark chocolate
12 ounces pureed tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock

Get out the big pot that you intend to cook the whole chili in and sautee the onion and garlic in one tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add in all of your spices. Add in veggie crumbles, vegetable stock, pureed tomatoes and don't forget the chocolate!

Let this simmer with a low boil for about 10 minutes, that put it on low and let it stew for as long as you'd like - 40 minutes to an hour is most desirable - occasionally popping in to stir it up. {as a child I thought that song was about hot chocolate. still not totally sure what its meaning is}

Serve your chili with spaghetti squash and optional cheese if you aren't vegan, and of course, a Cincinnati-brewed Little Kings beer, and it's a chili 3-way dinner!

You can also feel free to top it with kidney beans and uncooked onions to make it a chili 5-way...that was too many 'ways' for me so I kept it simple.

What's a regional favorite of yours?