Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Across the Street



     It's like crossing into a war zone. But the line is definite. On one side, you have normalcy, power, and everyday life. Maybe the sidewalk is a little wet or there are a few pieces of trash. But less than 20 feet away, nothing is recognizable. The stores are dark. Many are boarded up to ward off looters but a few are open, offering a bit of food and water to passing cops and marines. Just a few steps across the street and you're in a different place in the same city in New York. It's the normalcy everyone is headed towards.


     You can see the people leaving in hoards. They travel with their suitcases, bags of water and food, flagging down cabs, waiting for buses, or giving up on it all and walking. Common courtesy is out the window. Old women and little boys fight to get onto the few buses that are coming by. Parents come in fleets to collect their children from the powerless dorms. No one knows what's happening. There's no internet, no television, newspaper stands are knocked down and vandalized: all they know is they need to get out. They're leaving the darkness, the no running water, the cold and the dead air.


     The streetlights are broken. Some traffic guards direct the busiest sites, but most are left to their own devices. People run across the street in spaces between the mass exodus uptown. Some streets are lined with military trucks and cars. Cop cars race every which way and ambulances tear through the dangerous intersections. Sidewalks are littered with garbage bags and generators. The smell of rotting trash and dirty people permeates the walls and seems to stick with you wherever you go. Walking down the street with a cup of coffee is like holding the key to Atlantis because there's little supplies left. The water and food everyone has stocked up on is wearing down. They can walk uptown and fight their way through hundreds of people with the same thoughts to get whatever sustenance is left, but they'll have to come back eventually.


     Students here have been asked to pack what they can and leave. They arrive at the student center and are handed a yoga mat, sandwich, and water bottle and told to have fun. Young men and women who were friends are fighting for an available outlet. But where else are they going to go?
     It's two different worlds. All you have to do is cross the street.







Friday, October 26, 2012

My Favorite Season


     Yes, it’s that time of year. No not fall, election season. The presidential debates are over, but the war is far from complete. Voters are bombarded with ads, calls, promos, and everything in between, motivating them to get out and vote. With the change of the leaves comes a change in attitude. Here’s why I love election season:


-I get more phone calls in one day by pollers than I did all of last semester combined.

-Those Geico commercials are getting old. Candidates trashing each other on television is way more exciting. It’s like WWE, Washington Edition.

-Getting an email from Mitt Romney. It's really him, I know it is!

-Seeing how many variations of red and blue ties Romney and Obama can wear. Creativity is key.

-People who usually blow up my newsfeed with whiney statuses about their life switch to whiney statuses about candidates. At least it’s a refreshing change.

-Every time I can say something intelligent about politics, it makes me feel just a little bit awesome.

-I have to read so much less of the newspaper to stay informed: every one of their stories about Obama and Romney are the same.

-Who doesn’t love getting the free “I Voted” sticker?

     Oh election season, you keep my fall interesting. I can’t wait to see you again in 4 years. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Chronic Over-Committer


     If there’s anyone out there who follows this blog religiously, you’ll know it’s been a while since my last post. Why, you may ask, have I taken such a hiatus from writing about the trivial entities of my life? Because I’ve been stressin’. Pun intended.
     College students and full-time employees alike know a thing or two about biting off more than they can chew. Between classes, jobs, extracurricular, and a social life, it’s hard to juggle everything. But sometimes, when you take too big of a bite, you may choke.
      That’s why it’s crucial to take time to prioritize. For me, I love having a hand in an array of different activities, but how many of them am I actually enjoying? Sit down at your desk, write down everything you do, and write down what you like and what you don’t about each thing. Think of pro’s and con’s. Ask yourself honestly, what are you getting from this? Above all else, prioritize yourself first. If you need to quit something, quit something. You’ll have plenty of jobs in your lifetime, but only one you. Take time to take care of yourself. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Making a Habit




      My parents run every day. Rain or shine, 100 degrees or negative twelve, they are out there every morning. By the time I’m rolling out of bed, they’ve already finished their workout for the day. I’m a fan of running too, but doing it every day? Kind of a struggle… But for them, it's just a habit.
     I decided that it's time for me to make some better habits. That’s why this week I’m going to try running every day. 7 days in a row? I think I can handle that.  I may not be rising with the sun to get in my run before speeding off to classes, but I’ll do it, one way or another. I like a challenge. Maybe by challenging myself to run more often, I’ll actually get out there and do it. 
     So starting tomorrow morning, I'll be up with the sun (meaning I'll be up at some point when the sun's out) and I'll be running. Maybe by forcing myself to do it every day for seven days will motivate me to be like my parents. At least, for a little while.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday Treats

     I don't know about you, but I am a huge fan of sugar. I don't mean to consume as many sweets as I do, but sometimes, I have those days when I have to dig myself out of the pile of chocolate wrappers that has accumulated on my desk. This week's Tuesday Treat is made for someone just like me who needs to take a break from the refined sugar, but still satisfy a sweet tooth.


Banana Ice Cream

Ingredients:
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup soy milk

Method
Firstly, make sure you freeze the banana far enough in advance and put it in the freezer without the peel! You'll never be able to peel it once it's frozen...
Throw all of the ingredients into a food processor or, my favorite, a Vitamixer. Blend the ingredients until they are smooth in consistency and there are no more chunks. Then, scoop out and enjoy! It's as simple as that.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday Treats


            This week, I’ve decided to start something new: Tuesday Treats. Every Tuesday, I will be bringing to you a healthy (well, more or less healthy), delicious dessert option to help push you through to the end of the week. Whether you end up cooking it or just salivating at your desk is up to you. But either way, who doesn’t like a little sweetness in their day.

Cookie Dough Truffles (via friskylemon.com)


Ingredients
·      2 ½ cups flour
·      3 Tbsp coconut flour
·      8 Tbsp butter, softened
·      1/3 cup maple syrup
·      1 Tbsp vanilla
·      ¼ tsp sea salt
·      1 cup mini chocolate chips



Instructions
1.     In a medium-sized bowl, combine butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Cream these ingredients together.
2.     Stir in the flour one cup at a time.
3.     Add salt and chocolate chips
4.     Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form dough into balls about a spoonful big. Let chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
5.     Dip in chocolate and return to fridge.
6.     ENJOY!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Stock Up



     If you're like me, at the end of a long day, the last thing you want to do is slave away in front of a stove cooking a healthy meal. While delivery and microwavable meals are certainly enticing options, your waistline will not be thanking you later.
     So here's the dilemma: to stay healthy and energized, you need good food. But because you actually have a life, you don't have time to make it. That's why your freezer is about to become your new best friend.
     On Sunday afternoon, cook as many meals as you can. Make lasagna, soup, or a casserole. Be creative! Then, divide it into single-serving portions, put it in a plastic container, and stick it in the freezer. That's it. Most meals will keep for almost a month in the freezer. They're super easy to pull out and heat up in the microwave. When it's time for dinner, make a quick side salad or cut up fresh fruit while the food is heating.
    I will say, though, I cannot take the credit for such a genius idea. That would have to go to my mom. Thanks for making me so many awesome meals, Mom!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Challenge Yourself




     It's easier to go to the gym and hang out on the elliptical while reading the latest fashion magazine than really make yourself sweat. I'm often the kind of person to screw around for 30 minutes or so doing exercises that are technically "working out" then head on home. Hey, it burns calories, right?
    But if you're looking to get in shape or reach some fitness goal, that's not always the best method. In the past week, I think my workouts have challenged me more than the last month's workouts combined.  My week of work started with a half marathon in the moutains. Before I started, I promised myself that I wouldn't walk. By mile 11, my legs were throbbing. Running up the hills felt like the fitness equivalent of running into a cement wall. But I couldn't walk. I had promised myself. Before you start an endeavor, set a goal. Hold yourself accountable.
     However, making promises to yourself can give you a little bit of leeway. After all, if you made a promise to yourself, you just might find it in your heart to let yourself out of that promise. Try making yourself accountable to others instead. I had to do just that when I ran the last 5 miles of my dad's 100 mile race. Yes, 100 miles.
     Assuming that he'd be exhausted, I hadn't trained much. Big mistake. Getting it into his mind that he would beat his time from last year, he took off ahead of me. Running race pace at 10,000 feet was not something I had bargained for. On my own, I would have stopped, laughed it off and walked home. But my dad, exhausted from running for 28 hours, wanted to race, and I sure as hell wasn't going to hold him back. Instead, I put my head down, held onto his water and his food, and ran. Was it horrible? Yes. Did I throw up as I crossed the finish line? Yes. But my dad was counting on me and somehow, I finished that 5 miles. When someone else is counting on you to get there, you'll have an easier time finding the strength to go on.
     Whether you make a deal with yourself or with someone else, set goals. Be accountable. Don't go into a workout or a race without a plan for the end result. When you've got a finish line to cross, you'll find the power to make it there.







Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Best Olympic Moment: Appreciation

     Like any sane American, I am obsessed with the 2012 Olympics. I keep tabs on my favorite athletes online, watch the NBC nightly re-caps, and cheer along with the fans louder than most people actually in the stadium. And while I love watching Missy Franklin get a gold or Gabby Douglas finish a breath-taking bar routine, the part of the games that gets me every time is when these athletes give their shining moment to someone else.
     When you see a gold-medalist run for the stadium to find their mom or when teammates fall into each other's arms rather than raise their arms in individual victory, those are the moments worth celebrating. And yes, the moments where I cry like a baby. But in that moment, these athletes aren't saying, "I did it," or "I beat you." They are saying, "Thank you," or "I did this because of you." Those are the moments worth celebrating. Here are just a few of my favorite Olympic moments. And yes, each and every one of them is a hug.





     The Olympics aren't all about the athletes. They are about a team; a team of mothers, fathers, friends, and countries that are behind the few out there to compete. That's something worth celebrating.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Clear It Out


     

     For those who have ever single-handedly organized and executed a garage sale, you understand me when I say it’s a monumental feat. First, you have to sort through all of your junk, decide what you don’t want to keep, organize it, price it, carry it where it needs to be, and then sell it. I was more tired after that week of garage sale preparation than I was the week of finals.
     Why would one voluntarily put themselves through such agony? To clear out and make space. When you let your life get cluttered, it can overwhelm you. And yes, there are some metaphorical undertones in what I’m saying here. Don’t let things, material or mental, pile up. Take care of them. Figure out what you want to hold on to and if you don’t need it, let it go. Creating space for new shoes, new thoughts, or new friends will put you in an excellent mood. After you take a good, solid nap and count your money, that is.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chillax



     When you're running from job to job, workout to lunch with the girls, sometimes we forget to grab a little me time. But unfortunately, when we're stocked up on IOU's of me time, it can catch up to you. It caught up to me in the form of what I was sure was the plague (though more believably, strep throat). On top of that, because we were getting our floors re-done, I wasn't allowed in the house. Instead, I was holed up in a hotel with nothing but water, dry bread, and enough medication to cure an entire country of the common cold.
     What I learned between episodes of Desperate Housewives and restless sleeps was not to wait until you literally can't get out of bed to spend some time there. Allow yourself a day to sleep in. Tell your friends you can't go out because you want to curl up with your favorite book for a few hours. It's okay to be alone for a little while. I also highly recommend doing it when it's not in a drug-enduced stupor.