Monday, February 28, 2011

think happy thoughts

And one last thing I forgot to mention: An audience member asked Elizabeth Gilbert about fear. She had a very eloquent response, as per usual, with one spectacularly memorable quote from her guru, "Fear. Who cares?" How's that for perspective, huh? Brings a whole new meaning to "Don't worry, be happy." :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

it runs in the family

I had an exceptionally low-key weekend. My little sister came home from Spain today and as such, I made family the focus. Saturday though, it was all about the Grandmama...
I picked up my health-nut grandma around lunchtime. Our fun afternoon of quality time began at our favorite local and organic restaurant, The Flying Pig. I was a little chilly (a side effect of cleansing, perhaps? Anyone know?) and ordered a mint tea immediately upon sitting. 
Afterwards, we split just about everything. First, a puréed celery root and parsley soup that I absolutely loved.  I really wish I could have celery root more often; if only I knew what it looked like at the farmer's market. Ha, what an excuse.
Next, a classic chopped salad sans Maytag blue cheese. What remained: celery, carrot, chiffonade romaine lettuce, french green lentils and red wine vinaigrette. Perfection.
Then, spaghetti squash pomodoro. Please excuse my messy plate (my grandma and I shared, remember?) and "yum" out loud with me. It was delicious with garlic, brown butter, farm basil, and of course, a fresh pomodoro sauce.
Going out for a multi-course lunch is such a treat, especially when it's at a restaurant like the Flying Pig. As their website describes, they've "been a showcase and advocate for local, natural, and artisinal foods, sustainable farming, and small farmers throughout the area" since their founding by Cabbage Hill Farm owner, Nancy Kohlberg. I am more than pleased to support such a mission.
Following our meal, we headed to Mrs. Green's so that I could stock up on Crazy, Sexy supplies for the upcoming week. We were greeted at the store front with glorious samples that I could not eat. No sugar for 21 days for me! My grandma, on the other hand, is avoiding no such thing, even if she is otherwise healthy. 
She was a big fan of Angell's Organic Candy Bars and I look forward to trying them myself next month. Thirty minutes later, I got my own sweet deal though: spaghetti squash, avocados, spinach, romaine, parsnips, broccoli, lentils, brown rice, flax seed, tomato sauce, walnuts, and Sunshine burgers. And last but certainly not least, we went for manicures and pedicures. 
Please meet my delightful grandmother. Throughout our afternoon together, as we practiced our shared wellness beliefs, we discussed our similar passions. She told me how as a child in Colombia, French language classes were her favorite. She spoke of her first visit to Los Angeles and how it inspired a lifetime of trips. She even mentioned how for as much as she loved both, the need to work and raise a family didn't allow much time to pursue either. Her sister, my great aunt Debbie, was able to travel a bit more and become completely multilingual (English, Spanish, German and Japanese). Her daughter, my aunt Maryann, was able to travel even more and live abroad for quite a few years. And myself, she said, it's amazing how much I've accomplished in twenty-two years of life. If only she realized what marvelous inspiration I have to work both from and towards.

Friday, February 25, 2011

sexy gone crazy

I have a little secret: I've been "dieting." Crazy, Sexy Diet-ing that is. Shayne (my coworker) and I have dedicated ourselves to a 21-day cleanse created by the fabulous Kris Carr that eliminates coffee, alcohol, gluten, animal products, and sugar for optimum health. Sounds daunting, doesn't it? I know it does and I totally agree. But, I read her book, and those that have know that she brings inspiration to a whole new level. Her story alone might as well be miraculous! Not to mention that although I lost weight abroad (thanks to active days, 3-square meals, and a plethora of fresh fruit and vegetables), the traveling lifestyle I adore so much didn't leave me in tip-top shape. So, here I am: living at home, working in the city, and trying my absolute best to detox my body, mind, and spirit.
This evening, for instance, I skipped out on Friday happy hour to go home and prepare a "healthy, spiritually wealthy" meal. I chopped broccoli and steamed it alongside shredded bok choy, cabbage, and radicchio. I baked a small sweet potato. I cooked quinoa, red and pearled, in vegetable broth and then added some soaked almonds and spices to the mix. And after thoroughly enjoying it all (promise), I warmed some almond milk with cinnamon and enjoyed my hot treat alongside a few squares of organic dark chocolate. 
Earlier today I also practiced yoga, survived meditation (barely), and repeated my favorite affirmation (so far) to myself, "I am so frickin' cool and delicious and pretty and witty and sharp! I love every inch of me! Who wouldn't?" Ha. It hasn't exactly been easy, but with each day I honestly have been feeling better. And I haven't been stressing or obsessing. By the chance that I do "bottom out" or "revolt," I'll just "giggle and recommit." "[My] overall goal is to have a peaceful feeling in [my] heart and in [my] body. It's that simple." Now, if you'd like, you can follow my day-by-day journey here... and "like" The Well Daily too :).

Wishing you a very, very happy weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

unconscious permission

As I've said before, I have an inexplicable fear of getting in trouble. It's not so bad—it makes me more aware of my surroundings, more in tune with others, and innately more considerate. (I would never want to step on any one else's toes, after all.) But in the hustle and bustle of a New York rush hour, it can make getting where I need to go a little, well, awkward. Thankfully, there are strangers.
If you've ever been to a foreign place, and stayed long enough to become familiar with the local language, you may have noticed that certain phrases are repeated. In Ecuador, it is sigue no más, translated directly as "continue on, nothing more." Kind of like "go ahead" here. Sure, sometimes it's said in haste and annoyance, but no matter how hard they may try, I don't think it's possible to say without a bit of warmth. Groggily commuting this morning as I did, I heard it about a dozen times. People I'd never met (and will probably never see again) allowed me to continue on. And not only that, they encouraged me to do so. The point is: when I find myself walking on eggshells through life, as I too often do, these fleeting moments are welcome reminders to trust myself and to keep on going. Aw, strangers... gotta love 'em.

P.S. I do realize the photo above is totally and utterly unrelated to the content of this post. But, as my work day begins to include more and more outings (fun ones, I can assure you) I've also begun to take pictures of pretty little things that catch my eye. Like an old mail chute, for example :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

real, strong Syracuse

They took our letters off of the house this morning. (Moment of silence). 
Don't worry, I will explain. There are a lot of happenings on that beloved orange hill of mine that I've failed to mention. 
One being that my homecoming weekend in Syracuse was tainted by an unexpected and awkward run in with an ex. The other being that the governing national body of Alpha Chi Omega has recently taken away my sorority's charter. 
Let's ignore that first revelation and focus on the second. 
The Lambda chapter will no longer exist on Syracuse University's campus. Why? Well, lots of reasons, most for which the sisters that I know and love cannot be blamed. It's devastating, really. 
An overwhelming amount of alumni have reached out to Nationals to plead for a reconsideration. There is a certain loyalty at the core of sisterhood is there not? To support and take care of each other, even if those darkest moments. I most definitely believe so. But, instead, they just gave up. 
In a very public response letter (on Facebook no less, real sensitive) Marcia King Grady wrote, "And I'm angry and frustrated that a second chance was offered but wasn't taken--or taken seriously enough to encourage positive change." 
What she failed to mention, however, was the accusing way in which they entered our Lambda home, the hostility our honesty was met by, and the little guidance or care that they actually provided.
Now, fellow alumni and I are left with sore hearts and bitter tastes, whereas our sisters still on campus must now move forward with strength, dignity and letters. I doubt that many of the younger women realize the experience that was ruthlessly taken from them, yet somehow, their love for Lambda has kept them, us, together. 
I didn't want to "go greek," I've never been the quintessential "sorority girl," but the wonderfulness that was my collegiate experience can be due, in a large part, to a very special Lambda chapter. And it is for all of the above that I went to Syracuse this past weekend. I had so much fun with my best friends and made up for a tainted previous experience, and it's those memories that are timeless.

Monday, February 21, 2011

winter walks into spring

It was about fifty degrees when I left work on Friday evening. Yes, fifty. The sun had been shining all day and people were bustling about (some sans jackets) enjoying the still temperate air. Shayne and I decided to skip the subway for a walk uptown, and thus, the photos above. Since then, the temperatures have again dropped; especially in Syracuse where I spent my lovely snow-laden weekend. I'll tell you more about that tomorrow though. For now, let's think about springtime in New York. It truly is a beautiful thought.

Friday, February 18, 2011

purely surely

I don't think I was ever lost (not in the sense that The Lost Girls describe it anyhow) but in the past few months, I've certainly been "wandering." I had oh so many questions about the future. Too many. Appreciating the present, living in the moment, doing so completely? It was a seemingly impossible at the time.
I've found that it's really only in the United States that people ask, "What do you do?" immediately upon meeting. Elsewhere around the world the question just doesn't seem to be given as much priority, whereas here, we define each other by our professions. I knew I didn't want to graduate, join the societal crowd, and jump into a miserable, mediocre job just to have one and make money. But, I do think that I longed for a professional purpose. Surely I had worked so hard academically and internship-wise for something, right? 
Yes, I'm still on a happy high about finally being employed. Sorry to be annoying. I wanted to work for an online start-up, grow with a company, do something I'm passionate about... and I am :). I feel like my life has more direction than ever before. I don't know which way I'm headed of course, but then again, I've realized that nobody does. Even if they pretend to. Woohoo, exciting!
There is a lot that I can figure out now though. Like, the ideal time to wake up in the morning so that I can shower, eat breakfast, and make my lunch without almost missing the train I'm supposed to get. Or, packing the right amount of food for the office so that I have enough to sustain me while also leaving just a bit of an appetite for dark chocolate covered goji berries, plantain chips, and edamame crackers. And then there's choosing a gym/fitness center/yoga studio. I went to the most amazing vinyasa class at the spa that is Pure Yoga East last night, but I doubt I'll be able to afford their monthly membership. So far I've only gotten as far as scheduling travel; this weekend I'm headed up to Syracuse, next weekend I'll be exploring newness in the city I call home, and the one after that (ready for this?) Denver, Colorado. It's decided: I am liking the now, I am liking the now a lot.

P.S. My sweet, dear camera has been officially repaired. Let the products of photography recommence!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

step one

My sister leaves for Spain this Friday. She's going with her Spanish class to tour her way though Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Granada, and Costa del Sol. She's beyond excited, and I'm excited for her. I took this same trip with my Spanish teacher when I was a junior in high school. It was my first trip "alone," it was my first visit to Europe, it was my first taste of wanderlust. And in all that nostalgia,  I've collected a medley of photos from my first camera:
I like to think I've improved my sense of style, table manners, photography skills and food preferences since then. Ha. 

In other news, I've realized that balancing a full-time job with the rest of my life is going to take some work (pun intended.) I intend to figure that out soon...