The Vegan Wannabe

24 Mar

I’ve been MIA recently because I started blogging under a new name. I’ve really enjoyed connecting with you all and writing on this blog, however I’ll be dedicating all my blogging time to this new one. If you want to stay in touch, please sign up to follow me at The Vegan Wannabe. I’ve been blogging about my journey of being vegan for the past two months, as well as new and/or improved recipes (now all vegan – go figure).  So, I’ll be over at that blog now, and hope to see you there!

Cleaning Out the Skeletons in my Closets

9 Jan

Ever since I’ve read The Happiness Project, I have become completely and utterly obsessed with cleaning out my closets. I thought to myself, “I don’t have that much stuff and this should take no time at all!” I looked at it as fun, like the author Gretchen Rubin did. It would be a way to create more space and give away stuff that was no longer needed. Well, I’ve accomplished all of that, but it was much more taxing than I had anticipated.

The store Michaels was my saving grace with providing organizational tools. I got all of the items pictured below for less than $30, when I was about to spend that much on only two of the decorative photo boxes on Amazon. The memorabilia that I’ve been holding onto for decades, now fits into these pretty boxes; whereas, last month all of this stuff was in 3 large storage bins. Granted, I did throw out some stuff and give away some things, but I’m super proud of what I was able to achieve. Gretchen Rubin was right – I felt happy after cleaning out my closets.

My organizational tools!

My organizational tools!

When I was going through my closets, I found amazing stuff that I had long forgotten – memory boxes from old friends, letters from my cousin when I first moved down to Georgia, and short stories I wrote from my pre-college days (even from elementary school!). I used all of my new-found boxes to organize these wonderful mementos. The scary part was that I came across old pictures of ex-boyfriends, ex-friends, and my wildest college moments that I’d rather not remember. All of those items went into the trash. It’s not like I did anything criminal, I just would rather not hold on to that part of the past. As Buddha said, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Breaking my Ego, Mending my Sole

2 Jan

Something I was extremely passionate about was taken away from me recently. Running was my life for the last two years. I had run two half-marathons last year, which unfortunately took a toll on my body. The doctor said “You may like running, but your body doesn’t.” That was hard to hear. After numerous doctor’s visits, MRIs, and x-rays, he told me that I had a severe case of tendinosis in my right foot and that it would be a long road to recovery.

When I found out that I had to stop running last year I knew I’d be able to run again, but I also knew that it would be long enough without running that I started to have a pity-party for myself. I did everything right with training – I didn’t pack on too many miles at once and followed the schedule, I ate healthy, and I cross-trained (not as much as I would have liked, but I did it). I liked running, but my body didn’t. That was so hard to grasp. I went to physical therapy, have worn a brace, and took steroids to alleviate the pain. More than two months later and I still have to rest and not run – doc’s orders.

Thanks to my uplifting friends, family and husband, and their encouraging words, I started to look on the positive side of things after a few weeks of no running. I focused on cycling, Jillian Michael’s DVDs (man, those are hard), and yoga. I spent time with my husband exercising, instead of running with my friends or solo. It’s still hard to believe that I can’t even run every once in awhile, but I’m slowly getting over my ego and trying to be more upbeat about my workout regime.

I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. I believe that not being able to run for a few months is giving me the opportunity to bond with my husband and to work on not only strengthening my body, but also my mind and soul.

I observed some people at the gym today. One had a diet coke on her bike, another was cycling barefoot, an older lady was reading a book while cycling at a slow pace, and several exercisers were glued to The View. As I was cycling at my max level without my heart jumping out of my chest, judging watching them, negative thoughts went through my head wondering why my feet couldn’t be hitting the pavement at this moment instead of being enslaved to the static bike. This is where I had to turn up my music and peddle faster. Even though these other people in the gym didn’t seem to be pushing themselves to the limit, I was going to give it my all. And I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and other people – maybe this was the other gym members’ way of getting off the couch and feeling good about themselves. Who am I to judge? I started off as a walker and I need to remember that. This injury is bringing me back to my roots and keeping me grounded.

Have you ever experienced something like this that was earth-shattering at the time, but then you realized why it happened in the end?

Wordless Wednesday: A Drive Home through the City

5 Dec

Journey Home From Work

Trains that seem to never move

Winter settling on the city

Inspiration in the Kitchen

29 Nov

My inspiration to blog

My blogging journey started when people would constantly ask me what I was eating as a vegetarian. As I tend to do, I would elaborate in great detail about the meals I was cooking and how easy it was to whip up a dish each night. People were fascinated that I could eat burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, burritos, and stir fry, among many other things, while all of it being completely vegetarian. They wanted the recipes and since I don’t measure ingredients and always change an already-prepared recipe, I had no way to share my passion for healthy cooking to the masses. Plus, I wanted to convey a deeper message than just passing on a recipe, which is why I try to always add a little story or more information on the ingredients in my posts. Since then, I have expanded my blogging world and started writing about other topics that come across my mind. But, vegetarian cooking is where it all really began and it is what inspired me to start a blog. Even though I like to post pictures and I write about running, it still always comes back to the kitchen.

This post is in response to WordPress’ Photo Challenge of what inspires bloggers.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

21 Nov

Kermit the Frog once said, “It’s not that easy being green.”

It’s not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow, or gold
Or something much more colorful like that

It’s not easy being green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over
‘Cause you’re not standing out
Like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky

But green’s the color of spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like a mountain
Or important like a river
Or tall like a tree

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why
But why wonder why wonder
I am green, and it’ll do fine
It’s beautiful, and I think it’s what I want to be

Kermit struggles with being comfortable in his own skin, but in the end he decides that it’s OK to be himself. I love this message that he teaches the young – and the old. I mean, shoot, I’m almost 30 and I still have to remind myself that it’s fine to be different than others. He also talks about how many vital things on this Earth are green, which goes hand-in-hand with what I decided to share for this week’s photo challenge. These pictures are from recent vacations that all had the common color of green in them. Kermit’s realization at the end of his song is dead-on: being true to yourself, or being green, is a beautiful thing!

Instant Love for Dalí

15 Nov

“Have you ever just stopped to look at her, and your heart overfills with joy?” I asked my husband the other night.

Her bright, innocent eyes; her playful, yet endearing attitude; her overpowering love and cuddles – it all makes me stop dead in my tracks and adore her.

One may think that I’m talking about a child, and in a way I am. She’s my furry child – the one and only, Dalí.

There have been a million different times in a million different ways that my life has changed in a moment. Dalí has by far been the most positive one in recent years.

On a cold December night, my husband and I walked into the vet’s office where Dalí was being boarded by her foster parents. She came running up to us, her big floppy ears in tow and gave us a big, warm (smelly) kiss. When the volunteer from the adoption agency left the room for us to bond with Dalí and talk about adopting her, I leaned over to my husband and said “I love her.” We signed the papers and were on our way to being new parents. Seeing as neither of us ever owned a dog, we didn’t know what to expect.

Never owned a dog, you say? Ruh roh!

You can say that again. We were estranged to the notion of how to take care of this adorable creature. How often do you take her out to potty? How often do you feed her? Does she sleep with us or stay in the crate? Where is the user manual? Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

It’s OK, Mom! I’ll just sleep while you figure it out!

It’s a good thing we didn’t care about our carpets because there were plenty of accidents to begin with. Oh wait, we did care about our brand-new carpets because we had just bought this house a few months prior? Well, that’s the beauty of love. You stop caring about the materialistic garbage in the world, and you focus on what moves the meter of your heart from empty to full.

Even our 9-year-old cat Scotch instantly fell in love with Dalí. Most people we know forget that we have a cat because she goes into super-stealth mode and never comes out of hiding. I’ll never forget how shocked I was to see Scotch greet Dalí with such curiosity, being like such a normal cat. They have become best pals and sometimes I find them lounging together.

It’s been almost a year that we’ve had Dalí, and since then I’ve grown tremendously – something I never thought would be possible with the help of a pet. As I mentioned earlier, it didn’t start out as all rainbows and sunshine. We were off to a rocky start, so we sent the trainer Mailey at the Atlanta Humane Society a cry-for-help email, pleading her for advice on what to do about the accidents and the pulling on the leash. The pee stains kept appearing and my arm was almost out of socket from the leash-tugging. We were desperate. Mailey was a godsend, and I’m not embellishing here, folks. She not only helped us communicate with Dalí, but she also brought us together as a family. She taught me some life lessons too. With tears in her eyes on the last day of obedience class, she told us to be more like our dogs. Be in the present moment. Love unconditionally. Show kindness toward others. Mailey’s words of wisdom ring in my ears while I try to mirror Dalí’s zen-like behavior.

Within the last year, we’ve had a lot of tribulations in our life, but Dalí has always brought out the best in us. Finding love in an instant moment is a purely magical thing. And, c’mon, who can’t smile when they see ears like these?

The idea for this post came from the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: In An Instagram.
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