On needing a new blender. And possibly a life.

I have wanted a Vitamix for a while now, especially since I have been a cooking and baking machine. Is there anything a Vitamix can’t do? I’m pretty sure that it also changes the oil in your car and lets you know minutes before your smoke detector starts chirping to tell you to change the batteries. That Vitamix is an all around swell guy, telling those amazing stories at parties where EVERYONE laughs and then it casually pauses to thank the host for this amazing spread. On to the next party, Vitamix.

I was shamed in my own home by my lack of blender prowess yesterday. Imagine my horror when I had to pull out the hand-mixing Tupperware food processor to finish my blender’s job. Given, my blender has served me well for some years after being purchased from Walmart for the quality price of $20. A steal! And quite frankly, I’m overly shocked that it’s lasted as long as it has. In frustration over my Oreo mixture’s lack of cooperation, I screamed out to my mom, “For every birthday and Christmas from now on, please just get me gift certificates to Amazon or someplace I can buy kitchen equipment! This is EMBARRASSING.” And that was the exact moment I realized that my childhood was gone, as my lust for the beautiful and powerful Vitamix has taken over my brain. I imagine now that people walk around with crooked smiles and a bounce in their step, because they realize what they have waiting for them at home: the most powerful blender known to man. Ice cubes crumble in fear, soups are made in a flash, and they NEVER have to soak a damn cashew. Do you know how many times I’ve gotten home, after daydreaming all day of pouring a cheese sauce on my grub, only to realize that I forgot to soak my nuts? Total rookie mistake. Vitamix, why have you forsaken me?

Me too.

Me too.

I was a lucky girl this weekend, lack of Vitamix aside. I got to see “Wish I Was Here” with Miss J$ on Friday after eating my favorite Thai in the world at Little Bangkok. (Little Bangkok:Thai Food::Vitamix:Blenders) After some sad news, I have decided that I cannot go to Spain with Miss J$ this October. Spain will always be there, and hopefully a trip will be had in the future.  I have paella to eat, people!

Art!

Art!

Me, not at all upset that my painting pales in comparison to the freakshow artist behind me.

Me, not at all upset that my painting pales in comparison to the freakshow artist behind me.

My finished product!

My finished product!

On Saturday, I had a blast with my crew of girls as we ate our faces off at Mellow Mushroom and then proceeded to get our art on at Dip n Dab. This is a place where you can bring food and alcohol, and your limited artistic talents, and paint a picture with the class. Ours was a pretty flower picture. Sounds easy enough, right? Wellllllllll I learned that you must have a modicum of some talent to make it happen, and my artistic future has been put on hold as I continue to wonder who thought that class was a good idea.

That dressing...oh boy.

That dressing…oh boy.

Get in my belly!

Get in my belly!

Gyro with kalebone.

Gyro with kalebone.

After the class, I found myself at Soul Vegetarian. I have not been to this restaurant since I was in college, and I have been dreaming of it fortnightly since going veg-head. Let me tell you all, that you may want to stop what you’re doing and go get some of their mac n cheese. It was unbelievable how delicious it was. I tried with all of my might to attempt a chef’s tongue and pull out the ingredients so that I could replicate this at home. Clearly, I’m not quite there yet. One of my goals this year (probably during September’s Vegan MoFo) is to learn how to make a delicious vegan mac n cheese. That comfort food is severely missed in my life. At Soul Veg, I also had a delicious salad with a tahini-based dressing that I all but drank. I then had their gyro with their signature kalebone meat. To be honest, the kalebone was not my favorite fake meat in the world. But I will eat their mac n cheese all week long and twice on Sundays. Go there: http://www.soulvegetarian2.com/

I hit up the Whole Foods next (shocking) to gather my ingredients for Minimalist Baker’s newest treasure: No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes (find them here: http://minimalistbaker.com/no-bake-peanut-butter-cup-cheesecakes/). WHAT. Vegans don’t skimp on the flavor, homies. We amp that flavor up to a whole new level and slap it in the face and yell “Who’s yo momma??” Try as it might, flavor cannot run and hide from a vegan.

I began making my cheesecakes on Sunday morning and was super excited to bring them to a friend’s house for a BBQ. All friends there are carnivores, which is totally cool, because I don’t discrimi-hate. I embrace them and their crazy ways. And I show them that vegans rock the casbah. This was when my blender love took a turn for the worse and it crapped out on blending oreos. Oreos! They crumble in your hands, peeps. I had to whip out my trusty Tupperware hand-mixing food processor and could instantly feel my blender’s embarrassment rise to its cheeks. Sad, really. A blender bested by something with no motor. Shit. Horrible times.

Oreo crust.

Oreo crust.

Tupperware to the rescue!

Tupperware to the rescue!

Voila!

Voila!

Mini cheesecake heaven.

Mini cheesecake heaven.

 

Other than that, this recipe was a breeze. I brought them proudly to the BBQ and warned everybody that this was my first go with this recipe, so be gentle. After scarfing down homemade guacamole, kale chips, watermelon, grilled tofu for yours truly, baked beans, grilled chicken, and corn casserole, we all were ready for something sweet. Of course, the tequila/fruit slushies helped our sweet teeth along. Friends, this is what was thrown into the Vitamix: ice, tequila, a whole orange (peeled), a whole lime (peeled), and honey. Normally I steer clear of honey, but when at a friend’s house and they hand me a tequila slushie, I drink it. I’m not totally insane.

Guac and kale chips.

Guac and kale chips.

Drinks!

Drinks!

BBQ...vegan style.

BBQ…vegan style.

 

Let me be the one to break the news to you all: your lives will forever be enriched by throwing this Minimalist Baker recipe into your arsenal. Ridiculous flavors, peanutty goodness, oreo coconutty crust…to die for. I was so proud of myself for being able to create this amazing dish (even if I wasn’t creative enough to think it up). And even better: it shows that vegans can still party. Hell, we bring the party. In the form of cheesecake.

Woo hoo!

Woo hoo!

Oh, and I won my first online contest! Adrienne of cracktheplates.com rocks something fierce, and I am now the proud owner of Joshua Ploeg’s cookbook “In Search of the Lost Taste.” Check out her adorable drawings on my envelope. So awesome! I’m so excited to try his recipes.

Cherry delicious!

Cherry delicious!

Until next time, you can find me at modcloth.com, where I may lose my mind after buying this cherry dress. Of course, I’ll have to save my pennies for that damn Vitamix. You will be mine, Vitamix. Oh yes. You will be mine.

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Diva Cup: A Review

Well, friends. I’ve done it. I’ve successfully Diva Cupped my way through a period. Was I scared? Absolutely. Frightened? You betcha. Seriously wondering where I went wrong in my life and wondering how to fix myself? NEVER. Because I am and will always remain a dirty hippie. With the Diva Cup, I have managed to go where few others have gone before: to a dirty hippie heaven that involves little to no waste and no annoying little tampon bastards. I DID IT!

Let’s get to the nitty gritty, homies. This is an A & B conversation, so all the kiddies and men folk need to C their way out. Because we’re about to get closer (virtually, of course) and get to know our cycles a little better. To be honest, I feel closer to my undercarriage area than I ever have before. That tends to happen when you Diva Cup it.

So first, what does it look like? It looks like this:

(courtesy of http://divacup.com/)

(courtesy of http://divacup.com/)

There are two sizes. Model 1 is for women 30 years of age and under and who have never delivered children vaginally or by C-section. Model 2 is for women 30 years of age or older and/or those that have delivered children vaginally or by C-section. So if you’re 29 years old and have no children, Model 1 is for you. If you’re 29 years old and have children, Model 2 is your best bet. I went for the Model 2 because I am the ripe age of 32. Which made me wonder, what has happened to my vagina in 2 years? Has it grown? Is it slowly leaving my body and leading others in a mass exodus? Should I send it on its way with a packed lunch and yell “Do you have cab money? Don’t forget to write!”? So many questions.

When it was finally time to insert this baby (which was the morning I was running late for work and was sweating in my bathroom; clearly the best choice), I carefully read the instructions. How in the name of all that is holy do you get this thing inside you? Lucky for us, there’s a handy picture:

Pretend this is an Ikea bookshelf: ALWAYS read the instructions.

Pretend this is an Ikea bookshelf: ALWAYS read the instructions.

Let me tell you, I returned to this instruction booklet quite often in my Diva Cup trial. Here’s an important lesson that I will tell you: if you are leaking (and PLEASE wear a pad as a back up until you get the hang of it; you don’t want a freakish nightmare to happen at work) that means the cup is not open all the way inside you. Pull that guy out, rinse, and try again. I went with the first fold type, which is the first picture in the instruction booklet. If you want to know if it’s opened up all the way inside you, simply grab it by the base and make sure you can turn it around 360 degrees. Voila! Open and ready for business. And here’s the best news you’ll hear: you can leave that sucker in for 12 HOURS. You heard that right, friends. If you leave for work at 7 am, you don’t have to worry about sneaking tampons to the bathroom at the office. You can take your cute little butt home, cook dinner, sneak in a workout, and change the Diva Cup at 7 pm. BOOM. Life changing.

After a few snafus on Friday (twas not open all the way at one point), I took it out/cleaned it/reinserted it a whopping 6 times during my entire period. That’s it. When I woke up on Saturday morning, I thought it had come out because I could not feel it. Then I just let that bad boy ride until it had been 12 hours.

A common misconception is that the Diva Cup will overflow from the crazy amount of menstruation our bodies produce. I have learned that the average woman menstruates, on average, a total of 2 ounces in their whole period. The Diva Cup holds 2 ounces. No one (hopefully) should overflow this baby. Unless you have a heavy flow and wide-set vagina a la Mean Girls.

Pouch!

Pouch!

Pin. You may not want to wear this.

Pin. You may not want to wear this.

The Diva Cup is so rad that it includes its own pouch for storage or travel. Feeling sassy? Wear the included Diva Cup pin proudly. I mean, I’ll make fun of you if you do, but YOLO, homies! If you’re curious, the Diva Cup is so not the only game in town. Many other companies have gotten on the menstruation cup wagon and are letting their freak flags fly:

Other cups.

Other cups for your viewing pleasure. (courtesy of https://menstrualcups.wordpress.com/category/comparisons/)

The Mooncup, the Lunette, the Lady Cup…the list goes on and on! Get out there and give it a whirl. It feels AMAZING to produce no waste during my period, to not have to worry about it for 12 hours at a time, and to feel confident and comfortable. And I get to tell those stupid tampons to grab the closest bag of rocks, pour them on the ground, and proceed to kick them all.

The purge, the gardens, and a plan.

Twas an excellent weekend, friends. EXCELLENT. I’m slowly learning that I really love a weekend with few, but totally awesome plans. I get overwhelmed when my cup runneth over and then the anxiety kicks in and then I’m restless and tired and cranky and a mean ol’ dirty hippie. No one wants that! Hippies are supposed to be a gentle folk. Imagine the troll-like people from “Frozen” when you think of hippies. Rad homemade jewelry, covered in earthly moss, and singing awesome songs. Being able to roll yourself up into a ball and jump on people’s shoulders would be a definitely plus, but not a necessity. Don’t get crazy.

I suddenly feel happy with where I am in life. What a great feeling, right? Work is going well and I’ve applied for an internal promotion. Yay! The diet has been struggling lately, but I’m all signed up and ready to launch into the Conscious Cleanse that begins on July 30. Woo hoo! Jogging has been slacking, but I just created a 21-week training plan for the Jeff Galloway Half Marathon in December; training begins next week like a bat out of hell. Rock! The family has gone through some recent struggles, but with our powers combined, we can get through anything. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that when life throws you lemons, you juice the shit out of those lemons and keep it moving. But you also want to add some other green veggies to that juice, or else just drinking juiced lemons would be totally weird. Or you can add sugar to the juiced lemons, then you have yourself some motherfucking lemonade. The point is to just keep swimming, keep moving forward, and keep on rocking in the free world. Happy days!

This weekend was nothing short of awesome. But let me be clear of what an awesome weekend entails for little ol’ 32-year-old veg-head extraordinaire me: get plenty of sleep, have tons of lounging time (preferably watching movies on a couch, reading on a couch, or napping on a couch), spend little to no money, eat DELICIOUS food, hang with amazing people, and basically recharge the batteries. I don’t ask for much, friends. I just want it to rock, but obviously not too hard. Seeing as how getting plenty of sleep is at the top of my weekend list, I think you get the picture.

Purge!

Purge!

I went to an impromptu viewing of “The Purge Anarchy” on Friday night with my sister-in-law. In order to save money, I made a hodge-podge kind of meal beforehand. It turned out to be one of the best meals I may have ever made. I cooked whole wheat couscous and added a twinge of coconut oil, because coconuts. Separately, I sauteed some onions in olive oil, then I added tempeh, corn, broccoli, tamari, and peanut sauce. I topped it off with avocados. TASTE EXPLOSION in my mouth. My mouth is actually watering at the thought of this dish. It was beyond anything one can comprehend. I will not spoil the movie for you guys, but I will say that it was twice as awesome as the first. A must see!

A culinary triumph.

A culinary triumph.

On Saturday morning, I was awoken by a purring and meowing cat known as the LunaBearLove. Sometimes she forgets that on Saturdays and Sundays, her human mom likes to sleep in (which means 8:30 at the latest). At 7:00 am, I got up and fed the beast. After having some toast with sunbutter, I took a sort of silly nap from 10:00-1:00 pm. I say it was silly because who naps at 10:00 am? Most people are still asleep. But you and I are not wise enough to argue with the universe on topics such as these, and so I take the naps when I can. Never look a gift-nap in the mouth.

The Small Bear. Yes, there's another cat in the picture.

The Small Bear. Yes, there’s another cat in the picture.

Not by the hair...

Not by the hair…

I went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens with my BFF Beavy to volunteer and help direct the flow of human traffic. The Indigo Girls were playing at ABG and it was a fun night to people watch. I had to walk around the gardens in awe at the larger-than-life botanical creatures that were present. If you’ve never been, make it a point to go there. They have great activities for the munchkins and awesome holiday festivities. After the concert, it was sushi time. But when is it not?

RuSans's.

RuSans’s.

I know RuSan’s gets a bad rap…but I am a sucker for their veggie sushi, miso soup, and tempura vegetables. Saturday night’s feast was eggplant maki, zucchini maki, and a salad maki. I had never had the salad maki before, but it was delightful. But for reals, how does one eat those giant rolls? I usually eat half and then the other half falls apart. Life goes on, amiright?

Sunday was filled with a whole lot of nothing, and I was pleased with the outcome. I’m really trying to finish reading “Under the Dome” (side note: Really, Stephen King? Why are ALL of your books SO EFFING LONG? Zip it, homie. It isn’t that deep.) so that I can begin my Conscious Cleanse book. I ended up taking a baby nap on Sunday (Hi, my name is Veg-Head, and I heart naps) and then decided to try my hand at a new recipe. FROM MY BRAIN. I cut tofu into triangles and seared it in sesame oil, then placed it on top of mixed greens and drizzled sesame ginger dressing over it. Added a side of tomatoes from my garden, along with homemade mashed potatoes. Total time cooking: 20 minutes. Who says you can’t have a delicious and healthy meal in 20 minutes? I’ll kick them in the chest (it’s a person’s center of gravity, you see).

Tofu Triangles!

Tofu Triangles!

Steamy.

Steamy.

Voila!

Voila!

Planning a 21-week training session takes a calendar.

Planning a 21-week training session takes a calendar.

All in all, a great weekend was had. I’m feeling inspired in the kitchen and creatively like I haven’t in a while. Here is my calendar that I made for my half marathon training program. Cause that’s how I’m rolling these days, people. On all cylinders.

This Stinks: My Search for a Natural Deodorant

In my quest to become healthy, wealthy, and wise (I’m officially still working on all three), I realized that a movement towards a natural deodorant had begun. And I wanted to be a part of that movement instantly. I wanted to let my hippie freak  vegan tree hugging flag fly and proudly proclaim, “I don’t need your crazy chemicals any longer! And smell my armpits! I shaved them a week ago!” Of course, I want to keep my friends and family, so I can’t be all stinkin’. Because a stinky friend is not a friend indeed, but rather a friend in need. Or some shit. Long story short, I found myself with a very important dilemma: how to go natural and not stink. Let’s start at the beginning.

cr-product-shot

About 3 or 4 months ago, when I took the veg-head plunge, I tried to go back to my college hippie roots with the Crystal. Are you guys familiar with the Crystal? I had gotten this method down pat back in college: you wet the crystal under water then apply to your underarms. Back then, I would apply some essential oils afterwards to ward off any additional stink. It worked like a charm back in the day! So why wasn’t it working now? I tried it for a about 3 weeks, and at times it seemed to work. I developed a wicked rash that itched like crazy, but according to the interwebs, the rash could just be your body detoxing from the crap of past deodorants. Then I dropped the crystal and it cracked, which lead me to discover the mighty crystal’s one weakness: a crack. That shiz broke not long after, and I was stuck with the question: do I buy the Crystal again or do I try something else? I next went to:

NGB-lavender-deodorant_300x330

I got this from Whole Foods. I thought, this will work like a charm! I currently use Nature’s Gate toothpaste and it’s awesome. Let me tell you people that, in no uncertain terms, this deodorant NEVER worked for me. I stank like a sailor at sea almost immediately after applying it. I felt so lied to! But I have to remember that what works for one may not work for all, so my search continued. Next I went to the trusty:

DEO_Long Lasting_UNS

Of course. Tom’s. The old standby. Me love Tom’s long time. I’ve been using Tom’s toothpaste since forever. So it gave me pause when this Tom’s only worked sometimes. I distinctly remember going to visit a friend on a Saturday after not showering that morning (read: hippie) and was truly STANKIN’ even after liberally reapplying the Tom’s. It let me down! I felt so betrayed. So I did some interweb research, and I found:

schmidts

Schmidt’s. Ordered online. It came with its own mini spatula! It smelled delightful. And this is truly natural deodorant: you apply this with your very own fingers. How hippie! How natural! You know I was going to just love this. After a while, though, the Schmidt’s began to give me problems. The scent began to smell, well…nasty. Maybe it mixed oddly with my own scents? Also, I started to develop this weird redness that later turned brown. What was happening to my body? I wondered if my funk would ever be conquered. Was my stink just too powerful to die? Have I broken the deodorant’s code and perhaps my body was the key science has been looking for? Probably not. But I decided I would not stop until I found something that worked, dammit.

Courtesy of Wellness Mama

Courtesy of Wellness Mama

I went to Wellness Mama, as I often do with questions about natural products and how to make them. Maybe if I can’t find a deodorant that works, I could make my own! Nothing more natural or hippie than that, homies. I found her recipe and actually have all of the ingredients. But I couldn’t help but notice that she claims that one can simply use baking soda as deodorant. That’s it. Just baking soda? No sooner had I read that than a coworker told me her grandmother ONLY uses baking soda as a deodorant. I instantly went to the interwebs to see if this was legit, and believe it or not, baking soda is in fact too legit to quit (see what I did there?). I tried it this morning, and I think that because I didn’t know what I was doing, I may have done something wrong. I’m wearing a shirt that I notoriously sweat in and have yet to sweat, but there is just the slightest of funks present.

baking soda

I think that I will make Wellness Mama’s natural deodorant recipe after I give the baking soda a proper go (you can find the recipe here: http://wellnessmama.com/1523/natural-deodorant/). I do really like the idea of using just baking soda as a deodorant, but then I wonder: is it ok to travel with a baby Tupperware filled with white powder? Am I getting kicked out of Spain for this?

powder

Speaking of Spain, I have begun my “I can no longer do anything that costs any money because I am being ninja thrifty in order to save money so that I can drink all the wine in Spain” phase. I will be going with a friend from October 8-18 and, seriously, I cannot believe it’s coming up. The ticket will be bought soon and then it will be FO REAL happening. I even made a spreadsheet of my finances to make sure I’m saving money like the crazy person that I am. After Spain happens, then I will begin my “I can no longer do anything that costs any money because I am being ninja thrifty in order to pay off debt and not live with my parents forever” phase. It’s super fun being me. I’ll report back on the stinkiness!

10 Things I Love: Friday Edition

Happy Friday, friends! We made it. While this wasn’t a terribly long week for me, it was trying in some aspects. Do you ever realize that a change is coming, and it’s a great change, and you can see it off in the distance? That’s how I’ve been feeling. I’m going to partake in the Conscious Cleanse in a couple of weeks because I realize lately that I’ve started to slip into some old and not-so-healthy food habits. I’d like to nip those in the bud before my belly protrudes more than it already does. More on the cleanse later. Let’s get to the list!

 

1. Barberito’s. If you have one of these around you, and you haven’t tried it because you love Chipotle and Moe’s, do yourself a favor and take your fancy pants on a new-food date. This joint is the shiz. They have vegan options clearly listed on the menu which are delicious. They offer a healthy menu which boasts lower calories, and they even get their food from local farms. They value recycling, too.  Just go there and give it a whirl, will ya? Find your nearest one here: http://www.barberitos.com/

2. Forever 21. No, I’m not a 16-year-old girl, but I do love this place. It will forever hold this place in my heart due to their plus sized clothes. When I was heavier, I really loved shopping there because they offer cute and hip clothes for the larger girl. Just because you’re bigger or curvier does not mean you have to sacrifice style. Plus, they offer TONS of super cute and cheaply priced goods that I go goo-goo over. Sometimes I go in there just to look at their accessories. And buy jewelry for as low as $2 a necklace. Cheap? Maybe. But it fits this girl’s budget.

Jalapeno gifts!

Jalapeno gifts!

My very first red, non-rotting tomato.

My very first red, non-rotting tomato.

3. Gardening. My green thumb has EXPLODED this year thanks to 4 plants I bought from a sale at work. I had never grown tomatoes before, or any other food. I was still morning my dead bamboo plant from a year ago. Side note: you cannot over water a bamboo.  They will die. As it was, I had no clue what I was doing with these veggies. But I’ll be damned if they didn’t need too much help. Those bastards have taken over my deck with dozens upon dozens of gorgeous, fresh, organic, home grown tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. And full disclosure here: I honestly didn’t know that jalapenos grew from a plant. I KNOW. I guess I never really thought about it before, but I felt like a moron. They grow from flowers, just like tomatoes, and hang there until you pluck them. I feel stupid even admitting that. Anyway. So far, I have been able to gift jalapenos to coworkers and friends to rave results. How cool is that? Here’s a freaking jalapeno that I grew. Now I’m wondering what veggies I can grow next…

R.I.P. Jessica Tandy

R.I.P. Jessica Tandy

Before.

Before.

After.

After.

4. Fried Green Tomatoes. No, not the movie. Well, yes. And the movie. I can quote that movie, I’ve seen it so many times. It was my favorite when I was in the 3rd grade-ish. I was gifted three delicious green tomatoes and I knew I just had to fry those bad boys. Of course, I can’t just be eating fried green tomatoes all day every day, because that would be a cry for help. But last night, I had my way with them. It was so simple too: dipped them into unsweetened soy milk, then dredged them in a 1/2 corn meal, 1/2 flour mix (with some salt and pepper added), then plopped those babies in some oil. SO EASY. They came out delicious. No sauce needed, homies. I ate them the way the universe intended: simple and fast, like I was angry at them.

The best thing ever!

The best thing ever!

5. Summer Eats – Cookouts. I LOVE SUMMER COOKOUTS. If it weren’t for those damn mosquitoes and the possibility of getting sunburned, I would just stay outside all day and await a cookout. Cause you know one is going to happen eventually. You have to love fresh, wonderful summer foods: corn on the cob, watermelon, veggie kabobs, veggie burgers and dogs, and fresh tomatoes. I get seriously excited when it’s summer tomato and corn time, as if they were long lost friends and I say to them, ” Maybe you shouldn’t stay away so long next time, hmmm?” with a sly smile. Because I love them so.

Don't ask. Just do it.

Don’t ask. Just do it.

6. Cold Beer on a Hot Day. Do I even need to explain this? Is it hot? Get a cold beer and sit on a patio. Repeat as needed.

7. Etsy. To be honest, I haven’t bought that much from Etsy. What I have bought I have seriously loved. I found out that the Hippy Homemaker, an awesome blog I follow, actually makes goods and sells them on her Etsy site. How cool is that? So instead of following her directions for beachy hair spray, I can simply order some from her and support this cute woman all at the same time. Win! Check her out here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheHippyHomemaker?ref=l2-shopheader-name

8. Landmark Midtown Arts Cinema. I’ve loved this place for years. You can check out new indy films and have a beer while you’re watching. Hop over to Trader Joe’s afterwards or even to the Highlander for food (or more beers). They offer such cool and new films that you won’t find anywhere else. Some films get wider release after Landmark, but if not, then you have to go there to see it.

9. The Peachtree Road Race. I came, I saw, I conquered. I took that Peachtree Road Race and I bent it over my knee and I yelled, “What did I tell you about talking back?” This race was much more fun than even I expected it to be. I am so very happy I did it, and I am excited to do it next year with the knowledge I learned this year. Next year, I’ll drink the entire beer I’m offered instead of taking a sip.

10. Schmidt’s Deodorant. I’ve been on the hunt for natural deodorants that don’t suck for a while. I was rocking the crystal deodorant, but then the crystal cracked. Then I tried Nature’s Gate deodorant and it did NOT work for me. Then I tried Tom’s and it was alright. I ordered Schmidt’s and have been pleasantly surprised. If you can wrap your brain around the fact that you will be rubbing deodorant onto your body with your own hands, then you can master this. I didn’t shower the morning of the Peachtree Road Race (I am NOT the only one, btw) and applied Schmidt’s to my yesterday’s underarms. Then I ran 6.2 miles. Then I went out that night. And I’ll be damned if I did not smell one scent of b.o. the entire time. Powerful stuff, friends.

 

I ran the Peachtree Road Race, and all I got was a t-shirt, a medal, bragging rights, and a year-long goal accomplished.

On July 4, 2013, my mom and I watched the coverage of the Peachtree Road Race on t.v. We were taping it because my sister-in-law was running it for the first time. I watched how approximately 60,000 people got their race on in the early morning of a very patriotic day, as thousands in Atlanta cheered them on to cross the finish line. At that time, I had never run a race nor could I if I wanted to. I was severely overweight and out of shape and didn’t know what to do. But what I did do was something cray cray bananas: I swore that I would run the Peachtree next year. My mom gasped. I quickly tried to take it back, but it was already out there. The universe took hold and never looked back.

In August of 2013, I started my now infamous wack-a-doo diet. By January of 2014, I was 80 pounds lighter and beginning to jog. I became an Atlanta Track Club member so that I was guaranteed entry to the Peachtree. Still, it was 6 months away at that point. I had plenty of time to talk myself out of it. But here’s the even crazier part: I didn’t want to stop. Jogging took hold of me like few things have (I’ll throw yoga into that mix) and I started to really really love it. It became something I looked forward to (this was clearly before it became oven-hot in Georgia) and I felt weird when I didn’t jog. So did I make it to the Peachtree this year? You’re damn skippy I did!

The sweaty and happy monster.

The sweaty and happy monster.

On Thursday night, I couldn’t really sleep because I was dreaming about running. I felt like a kid before a big test; nervous and excited to see what it was like. I got out of bed at 5 am on Friday and got ready for the big show. I had no trouble taking MARTA to Lenox and finding my place. As it got closer to race time, the crowd started filling in, and it was so overwhelming to see this many people for a race. I had NO idea what it would look like in person! What was most shocking was the amount of spectators on the side of the road, cheering people on with signs, beer, and treats. Seriously, nothing makes me go faster and farther than people cheering on strangers. It gives me a slight lump in the throat.

I was in the “P” division. As we’re getting closer to the start line, my adrenaline started flowing and I almost get choked up: I realize this dream was a year in the making. I did wish I was running the race with a friend, because it was a really cool time. But, I made this goal by myself, so it was kinda fitting that I did the race by myself. When we started, I jogged for about 3-4 minutes before I could move over to the right. Side note: to all the people who do races, you must MOVE TO THE RIGHT if you are walking. That’s just being courteous. You know how on a highway the faster traffic is on the left? It’s the same in a race. Even though I had my pace timer and was jogging and walking, I stayed to the right the entire time. People will hate you less, I promise.

Early morning Atlanta.

Early morning Atlanta.

The start line.

The start line.

Hilarity on the streets of Atlanta.

Hilarity on the streets of Atlanta.

There were hilarious costumes, t shirts, and signs on the race. People were so amazing and handing out such great things. I was lucky enough to snag a piece of watermelon from this adorable girl at one point, and it was like rain during a drought. It seriously kept me going. I knew I shouldn’t, but I did grab an icy cold beer from someone. It was DELICIOUS. I only took a few sips, but it was amazing.

Costumes for days!

Costumes for days!

I knew that when I turned onto 10th street there was only half a mile left, but it was like entering a HUGE party. People were everywhere and they were all cheering for us, which made me so excited. I felt like I could go forever! I mean, not really. I was hot and sweaty and tired. But that last leg really made my tail wag. I fly through the finish line at pretty much the exact time I thought I would finish. This race wasn’t about finishing quickly, it was just about the goal of finishing at all! After all was said and done, I now have two friends that will do it with me next year. Yay!

Finished!

Finished!

Well deserved pizza and beer!

Well deserved pizza and beer!

After the race, I had to EAT and DRINK. Like, for reals. I hit up the Mellow Mushroom for vegan pizza and beerz (I also ate a salad there, but that’s clearly less exciting). For the 4th of July festivities, Decatur seemed like the place to be. Victory Sandwiches not only has Jack-and-coke slushies, but they also have chorizo tofu tacos (I got them without cheese) that I nearly cried over. Decatur’s fireworks were amazing and the night was super fun.

Chorizo tofu tacos.

Chorizo tofu tacos.

The best thing ever!

The best thing ever!

The second best thing ever.

The second best thing ever.

My garden!

My garden!

The weekend ended with a glorious impromptu summer cookout with some of the most delicious food we’ve have. I made veggie kabobs, and there was spinach salad, burgers, salmon, grilled corn, grilled pineapple, and angel food cake with berries for dessert. It was a smorgasbord of summer goodness! And let me just say, if you haven’t sliced pineapple up and thrown it on the grill, you need to hop on that. IT WAS SO STUPID. It didn’t make any sense. I was also able to harvest a ton of jalapenos and a (hopefully) delicious tomato from my garden. What a great weekend!