Today I Am Present 4/18/17

Today I was one with the ground I walked on.

I walked to class through the trees of sehome hill. At the end of the day, I was tired of wearing shoes after a long day of class. (It was lab day, so sandals weren’t an option.) So at the end of the day I walked out of the building, pulled my shoes off, and let my bare feet carry me home through the forest.  Walking through the mud, over decaying needles, and squishy pine cones was honestly the best part of my day. And when I came to the road I didn’t bother putting my shoes back on and instead felt the ground I walked on. Gingerly walking over the rocky gravel and coarse sidewalks, slowing down and experiencing my surroundings. When I finally got home, the rug felt so soft under my feet and it made me realize how much we miss out on by wearing shoes everywhere. We don’t appreciate the mud, the grass, and all the soft things nature gives us. And we pound down the side walks without realizing the impact that the concrete jungle that surrounds us might be having on our environment. So I encourage you to take off your shoes and go for a stroll and discover what lies around you.

Update 3/29/17

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The view of Bellingham Bay from the University.

So I’ve been a little absent lately, but nevertheless I have been busy. Since I’ve last posted, I have finished my last quarter at Walla Walla University and have transferred to my new university. (And done a whole of other things in between…) That whole process involved moving from Walla Walla to home to Bellingham. It has been a stressful couple of weeks, but ultimately I know that I am doing the right thing. Transferring to Western is one of the best choices that I have made for myself in awhile, despite the fact that I am starting over completely.

It is scary to go where not many people go. I came from a conservative private school and not many people attended public universities. I am one of the very few from my class that branched out and even so, it took me two quarters at the wrong university to figure out that I wanted something different. I’ve not even been here a week and I am already loving it. It is scary as hell, I know like 3 people and they are all upperclassmen. Then there is me… a lowly freshman who tends to get lost every 3 seconds. But despite being friendless, lost, and very confused, I know that this is the right place for me.

I am slowly transitioning (…or maybe not so slowly) into the person I’ve always wanted to be, but never felt that I could be.

At my previous university I was required to have a mentor who was overly religious and quite judgmental of my choices. Our last meeting ended in an explosion of her passive aggressively disproving of my life and not understanding my choice. Fast forward to my first day here and I was getting my ears pierced and my brother and I came up with a great idea of writing a blog called A Letter to My Mentor. And although I won’t make a whole new blog, I am thinking of posting about my life here in bellingham in a series called A Letter to My Mentor. And if I keep it up, it will be a really nice way to look back on this big, exciting, and important part of my life.

So right now that is me. I can’t promise consistent posts, as I am still getting settled, but I hope that soon I can get back to regular posts.

Travelogue: Palm Springs

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Spring Break is finally here and I thought this week I would take a moment to look back at the trip I took to Palm Springs last year over spring break.

On our first full day in Palm Springs, we decided to visit Moorten Botanical Gardens. If don’t already know, I have a small obsession with cacti. I’ve lusted over Pinterest boards filled with cacti and wanted to buy every cactus I saw, especially the ones at Ravenna Gardens. So when I looked up the best things to do in Palm Springs, I was excited to see there was a botanical garden filled with cacti. Continue reading

Weekend Links 2/17/17

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Obligatory post transfer orientation vegan donut run.

This long weekend started out with a dose of sleep deprivation and a day full of new things in Bellingham. After a long drive home after night lab I caught a few hours of sleep before getting up early to head to Bellingham for my new student transfer orientation. But of course when in Bellingham, you must do fun things and eat good food. So we ate at Soy House again, because that place is amazing, and also picked up some vegans donuts. After all that fun I was pretty exhausted, so the rest of the weekend will probably be fairly relaxed. I think working on projects, snuggling my pup, shopping at my favorite health food store, and eating lots of good food is what’s on the agenda. Here are a few links from around the internet for you weekend…

A beautiful little camper.

Something delicious I want to make this weekend.

Some cool collage ideas, especially for a college dorm or apartment.

A desk and chair combo, I am in love with right now.

Also absolutely obsessed with these live edge mirrors right now.

Always loved paper crane art, seriously want to do something similar in my apartment.

Super cute necklace.

I know Valentine’s day is already over, but this is too cute not to share.

Cute weekend sewing project.

How I feel whenever I am surrounded by non college student food.

I hope you have a terrific weekend!

Vegan Creamy Cashew Pasta

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This is honestly one of my favorite meals. When I lived at home, this recipe found itself on our list of staple meals every week. It was quick, healthy, filling, and oh so delicious. And best of all it was one meal that everyone could enjoy despite being gluten free and vegan.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset This recipe stemmed from a recipe that my grandmother used to make for us on special occasions. It was my absolute favorite. Unfortunately there came a day when it disappeared from my life. The recipe was filled with dairy and when I developed my food allergy, I had to kiss it goodbye for my own wellbeing. Continue reading

Learning to Love What I Own

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A couple days after I cleaned out my closet at home.
I spend years with a closet full of clothes and a desire to keep buying more, yet simultaneously feeling like I had nothing to wear to everyday. Last year I bought a book by Mari Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. After reading it, I got rid of some clothes and other possessions, but I still couldn’t get rid of somethings even if they didn’t bring me any joy. I spend another fall buying more clothes for my first quarter in college. I always felt like I had a lot of clothes, but I was in for a surprise when I met my roommate. There is no judgement here, but she had considerably more clothes than I did. This made me feel somewhat better, but I was still struggling to get ready in the morning, and I wasn’t loving what I came up with either.

Fast forward to christmas break, I was surfing through Netflix looking for something to watch while I was knitting. I remembered bookmarking a documentary called The True Cost awhile ago and so I decided to finally watch it. Upon finishing it, I felt completely different. All of the sudden I had no desire to go out and purchase more clothes or shop at stores that support fast fashion. The documentary had gotten me on a roll and I started watching Youtube videos about sustainable fashion. After a couple of days, I decided that I didn’t want to buy anything new that would support fast fashion. But I didn’t stop there, it was another day and I was searching for an another documentary. This time I stumbled upon one about minimalism. After finishing it, I felt ready to make some big changes. I started with my old room at home and started getting rid of things that no longer brought me joy or no longer served a purpose for me. By the time I was done I felt like a big weight had been lifted off of me. Instead of my clothes lying in a heap, I laid them out on the floor and every morning it was easy to pick what I wanted to wear because all the items that laid before me, were pieces that I loved.

When I got back to my dorm room I spend several hours, packing away anything that didn’t bring me joy and unpacking and organizing that things that did. And since then, everyday it has taken me seconds to pick out my clothes and I don’t feel uncomfortable or mismatched like I use to. I even found ways to pair pieces that I loved, but never wear…like the skirt pictured above. I wear that outfit every week now, alternating between a black or a grey sweater.

Eventually I would like to try out the concept of a capsule wardrobe, I counted the pieces that I have currently in my closet and it totals up to around 50 pieces including shoes and not including workout clothes and I still have some summer clothes stored away at home. I think it would be cool to try project 333, but I haven’t decided yet.

The other really cool thing that I’ve noticed since paring down my possessions is how its affect my anxiety. I feel less anxious everyday. I’m not worried about how I look anymore, because I love all the pieces in my closet, and I’m not faced with extra decisions everyday that can lead to ramping up my anxiety. I discovered that something as simple as getting ready each day was actually starting my day with a dose of anxiety. I had too many choices and it was always overwhelming. But now my day starts out easy and stress free.

Let me know your thoughts on minimalism.

Vegan What I Ate Wednesday #1

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7:30am: I usually like to start out my day with a big smoothie. Today it contained 2 oranges, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 frozen banana, and water.

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11:00am: I got hungry in my wellness for living class, so I snacked on some tamari almond while learning about fats. It was almost like I had planned it.

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12:30pm: I was feeling like eating lots of green food for lunch. I started out with a big salad that had 1 cup spinach, 1 cup romaine mix, 1/2 avocado, 1/3 cup cucumber slices, 1/2 lemon juiced, and 1/4 cup raw sauerkraut. Then I ate a cup of brown rice with braggs amino acid along with 1 cup of steamed broccoli.

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1:00pm For my dessert after lunch I had a bartlett pear. It wasn’t the ripest, despite being yellow, but nevertheless it was still delicious.

3:00pm: Got my workout in with a 1.5mile run.

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4:00pm: Post run oatmeal, if you know me, it wouldn’t be a day without a bowl of oats.

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5:30pm: Pasta with broccoli and mushrooms from the cafeteria. Granted I did just eat oatmeal, but carbs are life and I felt like pasta.

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8:15pm: 2 dates with coconut flakes for dessert

9:00pm: vitamin D & vitamin b12

This is a realistic what I eat in a day, I am not perfect, but I try my best to meet the RDA requirements with whole plant based foods while still eating on a college diet. It is possible to eat healthy and vegan in college, you just have to be committed to it. Above I have posted what my day of eating looks like when I plug into Cron-o-meter. I didn’t quite meet all my targets, but I was close at 99%

Tip Tuesday 2/7/17

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If you have every tried to make your own face mask, you may have discovered that you often have some leftover. I came across this problem last weekend when I had made a mask with 1 mashed banana, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp turmeric. I loved it and it worked great, but I didn’t want to waste the leftovers.

To prevent wasting it, take an ice cube tray and fill it with the leftovers, store it in the freezer. Once mine were frozen I just popped them out into a reusable bag. A couple days later I felt like doing the face mask again and I just pulled it out of the freezer and mashed it up in the bowl. You could warm it up, but I found the leaving it cold and frozen was really nice.

 

Banana Bread

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Banana bread, the sweet delicious bread that effectively uses up overripe bananas that nobody wants to eat. I can’t remember a time in my life when banana bread didn’t exist. Even after I found out I had a food allergy, I still found a way to enjoy it.

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The recipe that I’ve modified is an old family favorite. My mom has been using this recipe since I can remember and when my dad and I developed food allergies we just modified it to fit our needs. This cookbook is so old and honestly this is the only recipe we use out of it but it makes the best banana bread. I laugh because it falls open to this page every time and you can tell its been well used by all the stains…I think those came from when I was learning to bake. Continue reading