Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm back and feeling a lot better! I went to a potluck dinner with people from the farm and vegetable stand on Friday which was great. There were the farmers from the farm there, a couple people from the board, workers that go to the farmer's market, people like me who man the stand on the farm, etc. Great people! I made a pasta salad and everyone liked it. Oh, and the vegan lemon poppyseed muffins were a bit hit :)
Vegan lemon poppyseed muffins

The weather has been incredible lately. My dad and I have been working in the garden and look at what we pulled up!
Backyard Bounty cherry tomatoes
We roasted the potatoes, and had a large salad with all the lettuce with dinner. Next up, boiled beets or beet soup! Who can decide? And soon, we will have cherry tomatoes I hope. We planted this little baby in the raised bed so she can spread out and have lots and lots of little babies for us to eat. Doesn't that sound cruel? lol

Last weekend I volunteered at this beautiful open space, called Los Carneros, planting native plants and helping restore the landscape from animals, erosion and people. I thought I'd share a couple pictures because it was just such a perfect day and this is also where I usually go running. Aren't the flowers sweet?
Los Carneros
Los Carneros

I was house sitting this weekend for my parents and another family with a dog so I was pretty much constantly going back and forth between houses (neither pup had ever spent a night alone!). I made sure they each got lots of walks and lots of love :) I made fresh orange juice after a hike with both dogs on Sunday. I noticed how pretty the sun was coming through the leaves of the orange tree while I was picking the fruit so I decided to share that too.
Orange Tree
Fresh Orange Juice

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I'm feeling down. I tried to create something today at my new craft table and I just wasn't feeling it. After starting a million things, I finally finished one piece of art (so I could count myself in for continuing with my challenge), but I don't even like it! FART!

So tomorrow I have my hopes set high. I will either finish my camera bag or sew some more underwear or make a piece of art I DO like. Wish me luck!

Completed Craft Table

Yay, here's the new table!
Craft Table Top
My organized and oh so colorful buttons.
Colorful buttons
And lastly, my crafty shelves. My rubber stamps, oil pastels, thread, paints, and vintage and herb books are stored here.

Has anyone made started a challenge of their own? I'd love to hear about it!

The Challenge

With Kara's lovely suggestion, I'm taking on a challenge! I've been changing a lot of things about myself and lifestyle lately, trying to pick myself out of the ditch by pushing and attempting a 'no excuses' mantra when motivation deserts me. I still have my ups and downs--like just this last week I went completely crazy. PMS took me over and I was practically warped into another dimension where I couldn't simply exist without shouting, or weeping out of frustration, losing my train of thought or finding something to dwell on and brood about. Just horrific. It sends chills up my spine thinking of how apoplectic I was over something so silly as being taken out to a movie while there was still sun shining. Don't worry, I apologized profusely once my period started and I was back to normal thinking. haha

But anyway! Back to the cool challenge! I'm going to complete something every day. It can be anything: a knitting project, a 30 minute run (that's pushin it, too! I never make myself go for that long *wimp*), a book, playing a long piano piece, a painting, cooking an entire meal, etc. I have a habit of starting things and just leaving them be until they are so dusty and dull I can't bare to look at them, so I just toss them. I can't tell you how many knitting projects I've started and dropped. Or books. It makes me feel very incomplete, unbalanced. Unravelled I guess.

Today I used the new goal to stimulate me into rearranging my room. Now I have a little craft table!! It's nothing like the ones I've had in the past--3ftx7.5ft table top, piled high with tools and supplies), but I am already in love with it. It's tiny, with limited surface space, made from two organizing shelves rotated to act as legs, and a plank of wood. And because it is not at a normal height, I sit on a chair with my meditation cushion to help me get in the right position. hahaha It took me much more than 3/4ths of the day (shame, shame on me), because I just couldn't decide on where to put things for the life of me! I have a huge bed and a rather large hutch in this room I'm staying in (there's no way in hell I could move either one) which led to some interested puzzles in my head for how to make it all work. I think it does. It's not streamlined or as gorgeous as many of those studios on flickr or in Somerset's WWW, but fuck. I can't live without working on some more crafty biz!

So lovelies (or lovely as it may be hehe), I hope YOU challenge yourself with something! Tomorrow I will post a picture of my new crafty table, but tonight the light is all gone (despite the spring forward on Saturday morning). Looooove to you!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Freshly Made Marmalade

The Marmalade is complete! For the past 3-4 days, my mother and I have been cooking down oranges and making marmalade. It is finally ready to eat! Here's a couple snapshots of the process, if you'd like to see more, follow the image link to my flickr account. I uploaded a few more there :)
Marmalade in the making
Here are the oranges and one lemon that we then zested and chopped up.
Marmalade in the making
I had the thrill of slicing the rind ever so thinly. I'm surprised I didn't slice my finger! Five citrus fruits lead to a lot of rinds, let me tell you.
Marmalade in the making
After adding copious amounts of sugar, we boiled them all down to practically nothing.
Marmalade is Complete!
Then we canned them and were done! We just waited to hear the tin tops go 'ping!" letting us know they had sealed themselves shut. Easy!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy Saturday

What a beautiful day it is today! I woke up, after sleeping in a little, made a big pot of coffee and breakfast for my parents. Out of of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's book, "Vegan Brunch," I made the most delicious gingerbread waffles!
Saturday Breakfast
I topped them with berries and fresh banana and then sprinkled powdered sugar. And because it is Saturday, I got to treat myself with sugar in my coffee! Yummm sugar rush :)

Volunteering at the kitty shelter has been going very well. I trained a couple girls on Thursday which was fun and then got to play with the kitties for over an hour after all the chores were done. I sat in one of the runs (we have 4 outdoor enclosures for the cats to play in so they aren't always in their cages), basking in the sunshine with a new buddy on my lap.
Sun bathing
Here's a fun "tree" for the kitties.
Cat Run

ASAP cat

I mentioned earlier in the week I ran with Guinness up in the hills (when that bully dog stole her ball), and I finally got that picture uploaded. the view is spectacular from up there. I hope you enjoy this snapshot.
And here's the view facing the hills.

One last happy note: I got my lab results back! I'm within healthy levels in everything they tested me on! Isn't that wonderful? Protein is great, Calcium, liver function, everything! Yay for sticking with veganism and changing my bad habits. I haven't had a cigarette in over 3 weeks :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hump Day

Good morning!
I don't usually eat much in the morning, just some coffee to get me up and going, but today was different--I got my blood drawn today for the first time in my life! You have to fast for 10 hours (not even coffee allowed), and I guess just knowing I couldn't eat made me hungry haha So I came home and made a bowl of granola and fruit. Don't you love the pink milk?

I feel so proud for doing the blood work even though it's really not that big of a deal. I was also surprised at how little it hurt--I thought the needle would be thick because I imagine blood is thick and hard to suck up. Not true! I also had to remind myself that I have a large tattoo on my back and was pricked for about 3 hours, so really? I was going to be nervous about 10 seconds? haha I'll get my results by next week, so hopefully I'll have good news to share then. I worry about my iron and calcium levels being a vegan and all. And what damage I've done to my liver with my awful bad habit.

But today is my three week milestone of being back in Southern California! I'm doing really well, I think. I ran with the dog up in the hills and had a great time in the tall grasses and flowers. All was perfect until some bully dog took the ball from Guinness and ran off with it :( It was so sad to watch her search for it the entire rest of our walk/run--about 30 minutes! Poor pup. I also started making marmalade, and went to a super funky (but radicool) asian market. We got about 8 heads of baby bok choy for less that $1.50! I'm excited for dinner tonight :)

I hope everyone is doing well on this week's "hump day."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Polyvore and Sprouts!

I have found out something new about myself: I actually like fashion! For a little background, my sister has been threatening me with putting me on the show "What Not To Wear" for years because I can't seem to put together anything pretty in my wardrobe to wear. I usually end up wearing some baggy jeans, a loose hoodie over a colorful top (which obviously no one can see), and all-stars. Always mismatched kneehigh socks (but my oh so fun and colorful little secret), maybe some dangly earrings, no makeup and more-often-than-not frizzy hair. This, to my sister the fashionista and highly spoken of stylist at Nordstrom, is a complete and utter horror! How could two sisters who get a long SO WELL be on completely different wavelengths??

Well, I just jumped onto hers...for a little while at least. She pointed me over to POLYVORE and holy shit. Blown away! I sat on my computer for over 2 hours, became completely overwhelmed with all the prints, cuts and choices, I couldn't decide on anything past 3 dresses and a pair of shoes! Lol The detail in this site is amazing. My sister is a member, and she posted several outfits using me for inspiration on her blog, hummingbirdgirls- so take a look, if you're interested in what she put together. Personally, I thought they were perfect for me! Really just wonderful. And here are my sets...they took me FAR too long to create for what the end result was, but it was just so much fun doing it!
Another thing I'm excited to share today is my sprout project! I first started with alfalfa seeds, and when they were ready for eating, I started with some broccoli seeds. Alfalfa seeds are super cheap (less than $1.50 an ounce) and alfalfa sprouts have some serious bang for their buck in terms of nutrition and volume. But oh man--broccoli is expensive! It was something like $18.99 an OUNCE. Not by the pound, but almost 19 dollaroos by the OUNCE. I think that is just crazy, but thankfully for my project, I only needed about 3 dollars worth so all was well.
Do you see the little sweet things growing? I loved waking up each morning (it took about 4-5 days to be complete) and seeing how large they became. It was seriously so fast, which was good, because they all got eaten in just as much time as it took them to grow!
Here I put them on an open face sandwich with mushrooms and baked tofu or something. I can't quite remember (I eat a lot of tofu haha). The mellon was so wonderful and fresh, too. OH yeah, and I just bought my first bottle of vegan kefir (or any kind of kefir for that matter). It was the coconut milk kind and oh man, it was lovely. It reminded me a lot of cows' milk, but my memory could be failing me because it has been so long since I've had a glass of it.
I also put the kefir and sprouts in my smoothies. The sprouts whip up to nothing, leaving their wonderful earthy flavor behind. Kind of vegetably. I also put flax seed in this smoothie, with hemp milk, frozen berries (raspberries, boysenberries, blueberries and strawberries) and a fresh banana. Look at the loverly color it all blended up to be, so preeetty.

I hope everyone is having a great week. I was feeling kind of bummy this evening (mostly PMS, mixed with some worry about what I am doing with my life in this moment), but then I came on to my blog and started to feel better. Jen left me a most uplifting comment on my last post which helped me take a step back. I saw all the cool and healthy things I have been doing, noticed the slight but positive changes in me, and realized it isn't a waste of time. This is 'me' time. I'm going to love it and and I'm going to love me. I will love you too!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Rainy Afternoon

It's raining outside while I'm bundled up in my bed with my laptop--my Internet problem is fixed! My dad went to the store and got a extra, EXTRA long ethernet cord for my lappy so I can now update in peace and cozy goodness. I love the sound of rain.

This morning I went for a refresher orientation at an old haunt: Animal Shelter Assistance Program, where I volunteered for over 3 years (overlapping at least a year with my sister). I remember fostering two litters of kittens for the shelter and I even got my current kitty from them, so I have a lot of love for ASAP. I'm excited to start volunteering two days a week and in a couple weeks helping with the organizational and records side of the organization. I love my kitty to death, but there's nothing quite like helping abused and stray kitties find love and comfort in people again. I can't wait!

One of the litters in my knitting box :)

And here's my sweet Todi.

Onto some Cooking...
I made a vegan open apple pie which turned out really well. Dad loved it so much he had seconds.

The recipe for the crust was from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (I highly recommend this book for vegans and non-vegans!). The crust perfectly flaky, and suuuper buttery--almost too buttery, but not quite. Isa didn't call for much of a sweetner, so the apples really played the major role here with their flavor. We had some left over apples, so I coated them in the apple pie/sugary/spicy mix and popped them in the freezer for my next apple project. Any suggestions? Originally, I was thinking maybe an ginger apple sorbet from here. But now that it's cold and rainy, another warm apple pie doesn't sound so bad!

Last of all, I made this piece of artwork and I wanted to find someway to make it into a banner for my etsy site and blog here. I was thinking of cropping it to either be a square and only keep the top left corner, where is says glowing wildflower. Or discarding the title all together, and only keeping a rectangle of the top right, or square on the bottom (where the large orb is). I need help!

Next post? Polyvore!! and sprouts!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ahh, this internet is the bane of my existence! For some reason, my mac won't connect wirelessly to my dad's router so I am literally tied to his internet through the ethernet cord (all of about 3ft of leeway). On my laptop! I had a wonderfully lengthy and image heavy entry a couple days ago that was deleted because of this stinkin' network, to boot. This will be a quick update, because I can't stand to be in this dark room for another minute while the sun is shining and birds are chirping right outside on this lovely Thursday morning!

I blended up a fruity smoothie of berries, banana, flax seeds, soy milk and yogurt. Yumm

Berry and Flax Smoothie

Berry and Flax Smoothie

The job search is going well, I've had a couple callbacks and an interview. Things just aren't fitting well enough for me, and my high standards. I must work at something that I will feel good about and help me grow as a person and professional. Yesterday I applied to several "greenjobs" so wish me luck :)

Now, off to work on some more sewing and painting in the sunshine. What a beautiful day.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm here. It's okay. I love you and I won't ever leave you.

Merry March!
I'm excited about this Spring and all the changes it will bring! The goals I have set for myself are challenging and have an allure I can't let myself ignore for another year. One in particular has a mysterious sparkle to it: I want to Peel Back To Me. I want to delve deep into myself and find out what makes me tick and what makes me feel vibrant with life, color and hope! This process is pretty frightening because I haven't been myself in over two years, and I'm just not sure who I will find or what new changes and goals I will want to work on once I do.

Some things I've been keeping busy with since I moved back to Santa Barbara about 12 days ago (Oh wow--I've been here for almost 2 weeks already??) are:
  • cooking vegan dinners for my omnivorous parents (that they actually enjoy and ask for again!)
  • painting with my lovely new brushes and liquid watercolors
  • running with the dog at least 5 days a week
  • reintroducing myself to my beloved piano (oh Chopin and Debussy, please come back to me!)
  • searching for temporary jobs in the area
  • reading Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love" and various meditation literature
  • helping scrub, dust and keep the house tidy
  • annoying my father to hell by singing La Boheme at the top of my lungs (I get so wrapped up in the story and melody, I sometimes forget I don't live alone anymore haha whoops!)
  • weeding the flower beds and front patio/garden area--it rained a few days before I got my hands dirty in the earth, so it was really quite divine sittin' on my ass in the sun, just gently plucking up baby grass and munching on fresh cherry tomatoes as I found them. Whoda thought weeding could be so delightful?

And just yesterday, I pulled out my mother's fabulous sewing machine and made myself a pair of red undies from an old t-shirt of mine! I am way too proud for this to be normal, but I just can't believe I actually stopped being such a wuss and DID IT. My best friend can vouch for how long I've been wanting a partner in crime to sew some simple underwear with. Now...onto some sexy, lacy things!

Here's a picture of my latest dinner creation: Vegan Broccoli Quiche! Yummm

Broccoli quiche and salad