It’s been a few weeks now since the Healthy Living Summit, and I’ve had some time to process that experience and some unexpected feelings about blogging that came up during that weekend.
The Summit was great, for the most part. Most of the bloggers I met were lovely, friendly, interesting and intelligent. However, I didn’t realize until I was walking into the elevator to get to the floor of the hotel where the Summit was being held that it might cause some anxiety for me. I don’t do so well in large groups or at parties sometimes. I’d rather be with a smaller group of people, and feel much more comfortable and outgoing in such situations. Sometimes it takes me awhile to meet people, and find others I can relate to when I’m in a large group as well. Thank goodness, by the end of the Summit, (and I mean the end, as in Saturday evening after all the workshops were done) I found a few girls who I fit in with.
Feeling out of place at the Summit made me think about my place in this blogging community. My blog has fallen into that category of “here’s what I ate and how I exercised and everything else I did today”. I guess that happened because I was reading blogs like that at first, but now I’m branching out and I don’t feel like I want to write about my everyday life in such detail anymore. I also feel like I’ve been spending more time than I’d like to writing about my day and not enough time actually living each day. Does that make sense?
I need a break.
I’m taking a hiatus from Strong, Healthy, Fit and may never come back.
I still love writing and blogging I do feel strongly about healthy living, but I don’t think I want to write so much about that anymore. I have some ideas for a new blog, but I just need some time to mull over it. And to do other things.
I just moved, I want to decorate.
I need to spend more time with my piano.
I miss being crafty and creative.
I’ve had a lot of fun writing this blog, and thank you for ever stopping by to read it.
Bye, for now.
I’ll tell ya right now, I’m no vegan. I would describe myself as an almost vegetarian and justify that by saying that my husband and I very rarely buy meat to prepare at home, when we do eat meat we make conscious choices about where it’s coming from and try to eat locally, making sure it is “clean” meat (no hormones, etc.), and I hardly ever crave it. I have found that I feel good eating meat once in awhile and eating eggs, fish, and dairy on a semi-regular basis. I’ve cut way down on my dairy intake recently and I also feel good (mentally and physically) about that.
That all said, I love vegan baking. For a few reasons.
Less to worry about. Sometimes I get crazy about touching and using raw eggs. Plus I like to eat cookie batter and when it’s vegan it’s totally ok! … Right?
Usually, I have everything on hand. I don’t always have eggs and milk and butter in the house.
It’s just yummy.
Especially this time.
I remembered that I had some mint extract on hand from the holidays when I just had to make chocolate-mint biscotti. I haven’t used it since then and I really felt that that was an issue.
Also, I finally went and bought myself a portioning scoop for cookie dough. I think it’s actually meant to be used for melon but we just won’t talk about that.
Obviously, I needed to use my new cookie dough scoop a.s.a.p.
Isn’t it cute?
Look how perfect those mounds of cookie dough are.
And they even crinkled! As my Minnesot-an Aunts would say “Oh, for cute!”.
I also busted out my brown rice flour for the first time. I loved the texture it gave to these cookies- a little gritty, super moist and a bit crumbly. I might never go back to using wheat flour for cookies ever again.
I know it’s August and it’s flippin’ hot out there, but trust me on this one. I mean, they’re minty cookies. That means they’re refreshing.
Vegan Minty Choco Cookies
Makes 12 cookies
adapted from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan
Prep time: 15 minutes
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 heaping cup brown rice flour (or substitute flour of your choice)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
1 teaspoon mint extract
Preheat oven to 350.
Line cookie sheet with parchment. Or, grease it. Or, if you’re fancy, use a certain silicone mat, one of which I am dying to acquire.
Combine dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in another, slightly smaller bowl.
Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and combine.
Drop by tablespoon or scoop onto cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Allow to cool or not.
No joke, these are so simple and incredibly scrumptious cookies. They’re like the inside of a thin mint but more of it and it’s softer and chewier.
Next time I’m doubling the recipe.
I’m so glad I decided to extend my HLS weekend and stop in NYC for a few days! I don’t get to see either of my brothers that often (the one I’ve been visiting is a busy musician and the other one lives in the San Fran area) so I take any opportunity I can get to see them.
Yesterday I went for a run in Prospect Park. Hello amazing. One thing I love about a lot of the cities I’ve visited is that there are plenty of parks and designated pedestrian and cyclist paths. I can only dream of something like this back home in the country.
I had a few hours to myself while my bro was doing some mixing- ah, the life of a fabulous musician.
I bummed around Union Square for awhile. It was HOT outside, so I ducked into the nearest shop to escape the heat. It happened to be a Lululemon. What are the chances?
It was my first time in one of their stores. I bought a headband and a wrist cuff and am now $25 poorer. It was a gift to myself. Their clothes are as awesome as they’re made out to be. I’m over it.
There was an impressive farmer’s market happening yesterday!
Yet again, I can only dream.
Pete took me to a great little burrito shop for lunch, and then indulged me in my quest to find a certain cupcake shop.
I made it to Babycakes! It was amazing. I loved everything about it. Especially the girls behind the counter, dressed like they were from the ’40′s. So. freakin. cute.
The shop itself was much smaller and much less flashy than I was expecting, and I was happily surprised. It felt super vintage, and it was nice to see that their fame and fortune had not gone to their heads. They have a tiny kitchen, a tiny display, and this small operation is why their product is so fabulous.
I took a few pictures inside before I noticed their sign about not taking photos or videos in the shop. I’m sorry, Babycakes. I meant no disprespect. Thanks for not yelling at me.
We got three cupcakes to share (a friend of Pete’s was also with us).
Carrot cake w/vanilla frosting
Banana w/maple frosting
Chocolate w/chocolate frosting
Banana Maple was my favorite (no surprise there), Carrot was my second favorite, and surprisingly the chocolate was my least fav. The cake itself had some strange flavor to it (maybe from the spelt flour? It was gluten-free), but the frosting was delectable.
If you’re one of those people who thinks that vegan sweets are going to taste gross, these cupcakes would convert you. They are every bit as decadent, moist, and full of flavor as conventional cupcakes. Probably more so, since they’re made from scratch with real ingredients. My banana cupcakes had chunks of real banana in it. Lots of bakeries (and supermarkets, obviously) are using packaged cake mixes so you really have to seek out the bakeries that are the real deal.
Pete and I had a late dinner at a nearby sushi restaurant. We used a Groupon and our bill was $5.75. What?!
I slept like a boulder last night. I was exhausted after being out in the sun, running 5-ish miles and walking who knows how many more yesterday.
Pete made me breakfast!
Not sure what he sprinkled on top of the avocado, but it was spicy. That’ll wake a girl up.
Now for a few hours of relax-and-do-nothing before I head back to my real life.
I made it to NYC, after yet another crazy Chinatown bus ride. It was downpouring like crazy on the ride here, so much that I was actually starting to worry about flooding. To add to my anxiety, the bus driver was yelling at a passenger up front to stop talking so loud and the defroster wasn’t working well so it looked like the windshield was completely covered in fog. After walking about 10 blocks with all of my bags (when will I learn to NOT overpack??!) I am finally relaxing at my brother’s apartment. Phew!
Did HLS fly by or what?
These are my HLS buddies, Crystal, Jeni and Marisa. It took me a little time to meet people, but I really connected with these amazing ladies! I’m not one of those girls who makes lady-friends very easily sometimes. It’s strange.
This morning a bunch of the attendees headed out for a “run” that was actually a walk. Some people did decide to run back (including me, since I was ready to run today!) so at least we got about a mile in. Hm.
We were quite a sight to see, a huge mob of people walking around the streets of Philly together at 8am! And yes, that’s a certain blogger who happened to be walking in front of me. People are just people. I didn’t notice it was her until I was looking back at my pictures!
We ran up the Rocky Steps! We had to.
The oatmeal bar afterwards was just as fabulous as everyone had hoped.
I topped mine with ground flax, cinnamon, almond butter and pecans. And fruit. I went back for seconds on fruit!
After I said my goodbyes I had some time to kill until the next train back to my cousin’s house, so I walked about 20 blocks while checking out more of the city.
There are some great buildings in Philly, and I found this one that I loved. I’m obsessed with this color yellow and also what I call a “dark grassy green” right now. I want to decorate my whole apartment in these colors only. That’s probably a horrible idea.
My cousin and her husband took me to a cute little cafe for lunch- most of their food was gluten free, but I’m not sure why.
Cute tea display!
Cute baked goods display!
We got some interesting beverages:
Rose lemonade w/ginger
Some kind of crazy ginger beer that kind of tasted like cough medicine/Moxie! Ick. I think he liked it though.
I promise I will do some actual reviewing/reflecting on HLS next week! I have a lot to say about it but I need to process it some more. And I’m exhausted. It’s way past my bed time. Goodnight!
I’m exhausted after a whirlwind day of workshops and discussions! Philadelphia is fabulous and I think everyone is really enjoying the city. I’m too sleepy to really go into my thoughts on the Summit right now, so here are so photo highlights of this crazy event so far!
On my way from the airport to my cousin’s house:
Amazing tofu & kale salad from Weaver’s Way coop!
Pre-cocktail-cocktail. And yes I’m aware that wine is not technically a cocktail.
Actual cocktail- with chia seeds in it! I’m always up for trying something new.
A bit too fruity for me, but I suffered through it. It kind of tasted like candy or a melted popsicle…
After hours at Reading Terminal Market.
Breakfast! I wasn’t too hungry, so this was perfect. Although, I like a lil’ fat in my yogurt, please. All they had was nonfat!
I did like the chia drink on its own. No need to try to be a cocktail, chia seeds.
Ended up here, and any night that ends with creamy, creatively-flavored gelato is a good night in my eyes!
I got Dark and Serious Chocolate (which tasted like cake/brownie batter! So thick and rich) and Cinnamon gelato. So.unbelievable. Thanks to my cousin and her husband for being locals and knowing about this place!
This event is definitely inspiring and motivating and exciting and all that. More to come.
Today I enjoyed a day off, spent some time with Tom, packed for the Summit, and didn’t feel anxious at all about flying tomorrow. Well, almost all of those things are true. I’m trying to “act the part” and tell myself that I love flying, that it’s fun, it’s normal, it’s not crazy and everything will be fine. I know I’ll be in Philly in no time and I’ll be able to have fun once the plane lands!
Yummy shared breakfast of sliced peach and mango:
I also had a banana with some sunflower seed butter!
Lunch was leftover veggies and baked beans, topped with goat cheese and hummus. And some unpictured tortilla chips. Yum!
I also made a stop at the health food store in town for some travel snacks- I always prepare for snacking/meals-in-a-pinch when I’m traveling.
Yes, I needed three larabars for the next five days. I also needed licorice. I gave one to Tom. And I didn’t take all of that trail mix. I probably won’t need all of this food!
I’ll be staying with my cousin and her husband, who live in Philly, this weekend. That means I’m saving money on the hotel but probably missing out on some QT with the other bloggers. Oh well- I wouldn’t have been able to afford it if I had to come up with the money for a hotel room!
On Sunday I’m heading to NYC to visit my brother for a few days, and because I love NYC! I hope the weather is nice- I’m planning to find some fun bakeries to check out.
Today’s workout was a Dave Farmar yoga podcast, and it felt incredible. It was exactly what I needed, to just stretch and breath (and sweat).
See you tomorrow from Philadelphia!
Today was my last day at the bakery.
I am technically unemployed for the next seven days, although I have a waitressing job lined up and start a week from today. It feels refreshing to leave a job, even a less-than-serious one like my barista position, to start something new. I wasn’t super unhappy at the bakery, but I wasn’t thrilled when I was working there either. It was stressful for just a barista position. The upside of it was that I met a lot of cool people, both coworkers and customers, and I think I made some lasting friendships because of it. My last shift was uneventful. I’m not skilled with goodbyes but it went pretty smoothly when I left. I’m just not good at getting people’s attention about certain things, since I don’t like to be the center of attention. It wasn’t too awkward, though.
After work, I came home and relaxed for a bit and then went out for a 4-mile lazy run. I walked when I felt like it, and I definitely didn’t push myself. Today is emotional for me, leaving one job, and going on a mini-vacation/adventure this weekend.
I’m anxious about flying, even though it’s a super short (just under 90 minutes) flight to Philadelphia. I don’t like planes, and I don’t know why I didn’t just buy a train ticket! Sure it takes a lot longer by train, but why put myself through this stress? All I can think about is this flight and how much I don’t want to get on a plane. Silly, I know, and I haven’t always been afraid of flying. I flew across the country (Boston-San Fransisco) a couple of times when I was younger, all by myself, to visit my brother and had no problem. This anxiety just appeared out of nowhere a couple of years ago and it’s so frustrating! Especially because I love traveling. I’m trying not to think about it too much, and I know it will be over before I know it.
Wow, I wasn’t planning on rambling on so much in this post. Tom and I had a lovely summer dinner out on the porch tonight. He sauteed some garden veggies (some from my parents’ garden, some from ours) and we had the end of our summer sausage on the side. I topped the veggies with some tahini (a la HEAB) and it was unbelievable. I’m hooked!
After dinner we walked to our favorite pub in town (there aren’t that many…) and each had a pint. My perfect summer evening