Seasonal Jobs and Resolutions

It’s been a very very very very long time since I’ve lost written anything worthwhile. You and I can blame K, my seasonal job, for that. That job zapped all energy, any discernible Christmas cheer, hope for sleep, or feeling in my toes. The pros of a seasonal job: 1) people get it. They get that you’re working when you’d rather not be, and they appreciate your pasted on smile and fake laugh. They feel your pain. I did not have ANY mean customers; 2) extra money. I paid for my Christmas presents with my employee discount and coupons and “won” when my nephews chose my gifts as their favorites. Not that it’s a competition, but I WON; 3) what else was I doing? Not jogging? Mainlining popcorn and (vegan) chocolate? Being bitter? I can do that when I’m dead (right after I sleep).

Now that the season is over, the seasonal job is morphing into a part-time job, with may be 1-3 shifts a week. Any money I make from it will be directly funneled into the “get SarT out of debt” fund. Which brings be to Resolutions. I used to never make them, for fear of letting myself down and feeling bad about it. In 2014 I realized something amazing and superbly simple yet powerful: there is always hope and anything is possible. You want to learn to walk only on your hands? That is completely wack-a-doo but I applaud your originality. You want to eat better, do better, be better? Get on that shit. The world waits for no (wo)man.

When I sat down to think about my Resolutions for this year, I looked back at the ones I made on January 2, 2014 @ 9:14 pm:

be active

be healthy

jog my first 5k

jog the Peachtree

-have a plant based whole foods diet

-continue yoga

-walk/jog every other day

-Spain

pay on credit cards

be a good person

donate to Ruffus Rescue

donate to Farm Sanctuary

Seemingly, I rocked the shit out of last year’s Resolutions! I’m still working on getting my diet right, I didn’t make it to Spain, I did not jog/walk every other day, and I stopped going to yoga in the winter when life got super cray. But I tried my hardest and 2014 was an amazing year filled with great times, new friends, TONS of food, and new hair styles. Seriously, though…I went from auburn to blonde. #YOLO, homies!

This year is special. If last year was when I still had training wheels on, then this year is when I learn to ride on my own. So far, these are the Resolutions for me:

-be active

-be healthy

-jog my first half marathon in June

-jog my second half marathon in December

-donate to Full Circle Farm Sanctuary

-sponsor an animal from Full Circle Farm Sanctuary

-pay off credit cards

-quit my job

-begin teaching

-have a plant based whole foods diet

-run one race each month

-remain grateful, centered, and regain my power.

You may note that this year will bring with it some heavy balls and major changes. Quitting my job? Starting a new career? Paying OFF credit cards? Ahhhhh yes friends…it’s time to cut the bullshit and harness this beast known as potential. Why wait for the world to just toss great things in your lap? I’m bringing good things to me every day. I’m shaking off the cobwebs and the Christmas crank, the extra lb’s and the crappy food wants, and I’m doing a proverbial round house kick to my life’s face. There is no time like the present. Anything is possible. There is always hope.

Anyone else make some awesome Resolutions?

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To Run or Not to Run…I Forgot the Question.

You may remember that a while back I was super into running. Very into running. I loved that shiz. I mean, I was never really good, and I always mix running with walking. But I ran a few times a week and did many a race. And then LIFE happened. Don’t you just wanted to yell at Life, “Quit happening, ok? Either stay or go, but you can’t just keep popping up into my life all willy nilly and expect me to stay composed or at the very least not eat all of the Whole Foods vegan chocolate chip cookies.” The movie promotion took up time, and then I’m driving too Atlanta a few times a week, and then I’m tired, and I’m mainlining popcorn, and I’m eating vegan chocolate and tacos, and I’ve gained 10 pounds and my pants are tight and I want to do anything other than run. I miss it, though, but I didn’t realize how much until I ran on Sunday.

Here’s what happened: I signed myself up for a few Fall races a while back and then proceeded to promptly forget about them. Happens to us all, right? Then I started getting the emails about how to pick up your race number, and where to park, and then I remembered. Holy shitballs, Batman…I’m running a race on Sunday! Zoink!

On Friday I took my happy (read: unhappy) arse to Brookhaven to pick up my race swag (my 16-year-old niece taught me the importance of the word swag, but in this case, I actually picked up my race swag) which included my race number and shirt. Now it’s for real.

#swag.

#swag.

Let me clear: I did absolutely nothing to prepare for this race. I have not jogged in a while (I actually can’t remember the last time) and figured that I could just walk parts if I needed to. On Saturday I slept in to the late hour of 8:00 am (that’s a victory in my book) and headed to town for some Fall family fun with Beevy and her kids. By 8:00 pm, I was exhausted, not so much from doing anything taxing, but more so from having a really really horrible week and my body requesting that I sleep off any leftover horrible feelings. So I was asleep by 10:45 on a Saturday night (don’t hate) and awake by 5:30 am for the big race.

Of course, living in Gwinnett has its disadvantages at times, and it seems that a HUGE one is that 100% of the races I’ve done or want to do are in Atlanta at ungodly early times. But I wasn’t deterred…I left the house at 6:00 am and got stuck in the worst stand still traffic at around 6:40 at Atlantic Station. We are talking dead stopped. We are also talking about people not letting me into their lane, when, during dead stopped traffic, I KNOW YOU SEE ME AND NOW IT’S AWKWARD BECAUSE I CAN WATCH AS YOU DRIVE BY ME. Sigh. The bad news: the race started at 7:30, and I pulled into the parking deck at 7:30. The good news: they stalled the race from starting for a good 20-30 minutes because of the traffic fiasco.

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Dead stopped.

For me, I LOVE races. I would rather do 4 races a week than jog 4 times by myself. There’s something about the camaraderie, the complete strangers cheering you on, the loud music playing to pump you up, the volunteers that took time out of their days to help out, and the finish line that really get me going. In truth, people on the sidelines cheering you on make me go that extra mile (that’s a figure of speech, I still only go the required distance of the race) and always always always make me smile. Yesterday, the roller girls were out in full force, playing loud music, holding signs (one of my favorites is “Worst Parade Ever”), clapping and cheering. I instantly smiled and picked up the pace. Then there’s the finish line. Ahhhh the beloved finish line. Yesterday, there were people who were waiting on loved ones, people who ran the race, and supporters all lined up on either side of you as you crossed the finish line. They were clapping, cheering, yelling things like “Great job!” and “You did it!” and I wanted to fly into a cloud of rainbows because I was so happy. This is why I love a race…people you have never met join forces to be happy for other people. It’s a wonderful thing.

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So, how did I do? Let’s just say that I could have done better, and I could have done worse. I realized that I wanted to walk more than run (no surprise there) and that I actually was sort of sad about it. I understand now that I miss running on the reg, and that my schedule and life have only gotten crazy because I’ve allowed it. Time to put on my big girl panties and kick the shit out of this lazy ass that I’ve gotten so used to. I feel better when I run, I look better, and my pants are not longer tight. That’s a win win, right?

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Pro tip: ask for no mayo and then spread some Sriracha on it.

Pro tip: ask for no mayo and then spread some Sriracha on it.

To treat myself for doing a quasi good job on the race, I headed to Lee’s Bakery and gorged on vegan Pho and vegan Banh Mi. I regret nothing. Now, it’s time to put the foot to the cement and slap this life in the face, because #yolo, bitches.

 

Running on Empty, and Why I Started a Christmas List in August.

To let you in on a little secret (we’re friends, aren’t we?), I want to tell you the joy that it is to have my brain. If my brain had a spirit animal, I think it would be the shithouse rat. That crazy bastard has many a task: search for food, scratch an itch, ooohhhh what is that? It’s shiny! Run from danger…now I’m hungry again. Time to sleep!

You see my dilemma. My brain is constantly going in a million directions, getting interested in a billions things at once and wanting to know EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING. Google has become my dream and nightmare. I have to know, right now. I have hundreds of projects at any given time. I have a notebook as my constant companion so I can scribble down ideas. I get frantic when the pantry becomes unorganized and I have to stop what I’m doing to spend an hour organizing it and checking expiration dates.

I don’t think it’s an OCD thing. I’m just not one of those people that says, “Oh yeah, I keep forgetting to call that company” or “Ugh…I don’t know how to find out about that.” I must fit the puzzle pieces together, I must figure it out, there is no try (there is only do). May the universe help all involved if I ever decide to get married, have children, or buy a house. Those to-do lists will be of EPIC proportion and no book will remain unread and no phone call will go uncalled. I get shit done, is what I’m trying to tell you all.

I want to do everything all the time. I want to run all the races I’ve ever heard of in far away places and walk around new cities and try all of the new recipes I’ve earmarked and also learn more about sloths, because they just intrigue me. I mean, have you seen them? Wrap this around your brain:

sloth

Friends, when I tell you to google “______ photobomb” (insert animal first) your day will be MADE. Feast your eyes upon these animals as they act in a way that made tears stream down my face on a Tuesday.

bird

 

horse

 

squirrel

 

cat

 

 

seal

 

 

cat3

 

My all-time favorite.

My all-time favorite.

Whew! I think we can all agree that cats are the best photobombers of the animal kingdom. Hours of entertainment on the interwebs.

So why am I making a Christmas list in August? Because I CAN’T HELP IT. I’m surprised I didn’t start it in June. When the holidays start coming, life gets super hectic and I can get overwhelmed if I’m not careful. Last year, I went out on Thanksgiving afternoon to do some “crazy people” shopping, and while it was without incident, I really do not want that to happen this year. This holiday season, the interwebs will be my best friend and so will gift cards. That way I can avoid the malls and just talking to people in general.

Oh! In the midst of holiday and trip planning, Vegan MoFo research, and just generally trying to keep my shit together, I all together forgot that I signed myself up for a 10k on August 30th. Shitballs. How sweet of me, right? Sigh. Now that I’m in the full swing of my half marathon training, the 10k should be fine. Is now a good time to mention that I jogged on Sunday for the first time since the Peachtree on July 4th? Right. I may be fucked.

The Conscious Cleanse Day 4: Attack of the Killer French Fries

I had a few slips before yesterday…mostly just forgetting that I shouldn’t be eating strawberries (it’s a possible allergen) or that I had a teensy bit of peanut butter (also a possible allergen). Other than that, I’ve been a good little girl. Tons of raw veggies, lemon and olive oil for dressing on my salads, brown rice and veggies for dinner. I’ve been having delicious bright green smoothies for breakfast and tons of water all day long. I’ve even been pooing a bit more than normal due to all of the glorious fiber I’ve been ingesting (trust me, this is a good thing). We’re friends, right? I can talk about poo with you.

I had all of the fixings for an amazing salad for lunch yesterday. Mixed greens, arugula, zucchini, broccoli, sunflower seeds, dressing. But I was hit by the infamous “UGH. Not another fucking salad today.” Does anyone else ever feel like this? Like eating another salad will just be the worst thing that has ever happened. I needed some salt, I needed some fat, some crunch. Something bad, maybe a little naughty. I mean, I deserved it, right? (no). I had been super good on the cleanse, right? (no). It’s been, like, WEEKS since I had some fatty foods, right? (no).  And then the craving for french fries hit me like a ton of bricks. Their salty goodness…their fried fantasticness…their potatoey starch (potatoes are also a no-no on the cleanse…a possible allergen). I was helpless against their powers. The power of the french fry is like few other powers I’ve been in contact with. I can smell them for miles, I can spot their grease coming through a paper bag, I can taste them before they’re mine.

And so I gave in. I had french fries for lunch yesterday, while my sad salad sat on the table, hoping to be eaten. Alas, poor salad, twas not your day. The french fry had me by the gonads (if I had them) and was not letting go. They were delicious, amazing, earth-shattering. Everything I’ve ever wanted out of life, and more. I regretted nothing. Until I started to regret.

So the cool thing about this cleanse is that there is no wagon to fall off of. This is not a one-size-fits-all cleanse. If I eat strawberries, am I going to die? No. But cleansing yourself from possible allergens is what I’m trying to do, so I’m avoiding strawberries from here on out. This is a learn-as-you-go and do-what-feels-right kind of cleanse, which is actually right up my alley. So, I ate some fries yesterday. I felt slightly bad about it, but not terrible. I chose my choice. I made the decision. Did I mention that they were delicious? Yum.

I realize now that I get my snacking habits from my dad. Poppa Veg-Head is a big “I’m not sure if I’m actually hungry right now, but these salty nuts look delicious” kind of eater. Sadly, I battle against that all the time. Seeing bags of popcorn (which are currently in the pantry right now), makes me want to rip the bags open, pour popcorn into my mouth, then laugh hysterically and manically, popcorn in my hair and on the floor, the bags clenched in my salted hands. But, I am happy to report that I have not eaten any popcorn since beginning the cleanse. AND THE POPCORN IS JUST SITTING IN THE PANTRY. That’s the thing about having slightly disordered eating habits…the food only has power when you give it to them. But, if you reach for the carrot sticks instead of the popcorn, you win every time.

So maybe this cleanse has not gotten off to the best start possible. Maybe I’ve had some slips. Maybe I ate ALL THE FRIES for lunch yesterday. Today, I made my smoothie for breakfast, snacked on carrot sticks, and am about to eat my salad for lunch. Later I will have an apple with almond butter, go for a quick jog, then make some delicious dinner. Wagon or no, I’ve got my head on straight now. This shit will not stand! Time to break these bad habits.

Run!

Run!

In other news, my crazy ass has decided to run a race each month (if not more than one) in 2015. To me, this is such a healthy goal to have, and it will keep me on my toes (literally and figuratively) in 2015. I guess I should start saving my pennies for all of these races! And yes, I want to run races in Asheville, San Diego, and Portland. What better reason to fly to the west coast than to race (and eat all of the vegan foods possible)? I’m brilliant, I tell you.

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!

On turning another year older and inviting children to your birthday party…

It’s official. I am 32 years old. When did that happen? I feel like I blinked and suddenly I’m sliding right into my mid-30s. It all starts becoming so real…10 years ago, I graduated from college. My oldest nephew is 7 years old. And I invited 8 children to my birthday party. I even made goody bags for the kids. To be honest, I made goody bags for my friends also, because I’m just that kind of bad ass.

I wanted to do a dinner party for my birthday, to sort of showcase the fact that us veg-heads do not skimp on the flavor or love when we eat or cook. We eat delicious foods that are amazing and beautiful. I also didn’t want to frighten my friends by having tofu or miso glazed tempeh rolls, so I opted for a simple menu that they could replicate for their families. I hope this is the first of many dinner parties I hold.

I started this birthday slightly different than birthdays past. I didn’t get a tattoo, though I did think of getting one. I’m infamous for getting tattoos on or around my bday, because why not? I have no regrets. This year, the thought of plopping down $100 for a tattoo was overshadowed by the fact that I’m going to Spain in October. That $100 could be buying me red wine and delicious paella and Spanish trinkets. I decided to be  lame responsible and opt out of the birthday tattoo. Grown up!

I went to Dough Bakery (http://www.doughbakery.com/) and picked up my birthday cake: red velvet with cream cheese frosting. BOOM! Deliciousness in your mouth. While there, I enjoyed their cuban sandwich. So money, it doesn’t even know how money it is. When I ate meat I never really liked sandwich meat, mostly because it’s greasy and disgusting. But at Dough, they offer vegan lunch meat which is outstanding. I don’t even really understand it. Except to say “more please!”

El Cuban

El Cuban

MONEY.

MONEY.

I then went to Whole Foods (shocking!) but quickly left when I realized that they were selling avocados at 2 for $5. You read that right. This is avocado robbery! I needed 8 avocados, and I’m sorry, but I’m not going broke for the sake of the guac. I headed to Kroger instead and regret nothing.

Flavor country.

Flavor country.

I treated myself to a movie Friday night and some delicious hummus at the Movie Tavern. It was beyond good. I saw “A Million Ways to Die in the West” and if you love Family Guy, you will love this movie. Lots of poop humor and sexual innuendos, which is right up my alley.

Movie Tavern Hummus.

Movie Tavern Hummus.

Saturday morning, on the anniversary of my birth, I ran a 5k with a good friend. It was humid as all hell, but I got to see an amazing rainbow in the morning, so all was well. I didn’t have the best time, but I’m determined to not give a shitake about my race times until 2015. So what I got is what I got. I finished, and that’s all that matters!

Errr...taking pictures is ok, right?

Errr…taking pictures is ok, right?

Finished!

Finished!

After that, I got to chopping. On the birthday dinner party menu: homemade hummus, homemade cheese dip, tons of fresh veggies, chips n salsa, pita bread, homemade guac (spicy and not spicy), homemade pico de gallo, and all of the fixings for a make-your-own-burrito/taco kind of night. Who doesn’t like burritos and tacos? Exactly! I had frozen pizzas for my friends’ kids along with plenty of legos to keep them entertained.

Veggie central.

Veggie central!

 

Taste the rainbow.

Taste the rainbow.

The cheese dip was AMAZING. If you haven’t read Fork and Beans, please start now (http://www.forkandbeans.com/2014/04/24/vegan-queso-dip/) because Cara is awesome and an amazing blogger and cook. I want to be like her when I grow up. Please note that there is not picture of said cheese dip because we ate it all.

I believe I over chopped my way into a dangerous category of “over prepared”. But I figured that more food is better than running out, so I have fresh veggies for days at the house now. My friends were troopers for heading outside the city and for eating an all vegan meal. They even loved Dough’s cake, but then again, everyone loves Dough. I ate leftover cake for breakfast the next morning.

Breakfast of champions.

Breakfast of champions.

We all went to the Gwinnett Braves game on Saturday night which made my heart burst: a beautiful sunset, lots of tall beers, and walking around barefoot. Total Heaven. Nothing could have been better.

GBraves

GBraves

Sunday morning, I met Miss J$ and we saw “The Fault in our Stars.” J$ was correct to bring an entire box of kleenex with her. There was no judging as we took turns grabbing kleenex to wipe our tears…that movie is sad, but oh so good. Okay? Okay. And for the second time in a weekend, I had that damn hummus at the movie tavern. It made the sadness slightly better.

I followed the movie up with an epic nap. You know those kinds of naps that cause you to not know what day or time it is when you awake? It was that kind of nap. A birthday nap. For us olds.

I also got my Peachtree Road Race number in the mail this weekend, and I’m Jessie Spano type of excited. I made it a goal last year to be in the PRR in 2014, and it’s becoming a reality. Again, I don’t care about my time at all. I could walk the whole thing if I wanted (it will be HOT, so walking is a possibility). But at least I’m doing it.

!!!

!!!

And that, friends, was my birthday weekend. Oh, and did I mention that my dad backed into my car for my birthday? It happened.