Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Let's Try This Again: Week 1 of Yet Another Exercise Experiment

Every January and beginning of summer is marked by the media onslaught of nineteen million ways to drop those pounds. The gym in the beginning of the year is packed with people proclaiming resolutions to get fit. Come warmer weather, swarms of people are signing up for cleanses and swimsuit challenges as the impending doom of shore weather draws near.

Here I am, deep into summer, writing a piece about getting in shape. The pumpkin beers are already out for goodness sakes (though an abomination)!

No time like the present? Sure. Or whatever.

I have certainly never been athletically-inclined. In fifth grade, I signed up for JV basketball, and when the coach saw me and found out that I was only in fifth grade, he was practically glowing with joy. I am around five foot eight and have been since about that time. While I am no giant now, I certainly was then in comparison to my classmates. He quickly learned, unfortunately, that my height had been gained in a very short period of time, and all-limbs-me had the coordination of a drunk giraffe. I continued with soccer through middle school, which worked out better than basketball, but I was still no natural. I always swam anytime I had access to a pool, and that was probably my strongest physical activity. I had the advantage of a very high metabolism and never really had to workout to keep trim.

How Rosalita feels about exercising.

However, as my mom always cautioned ("You know, I had a metabolism like you once upon a time..."), my body stopped burning through food at an obscene pace. I have a very close and personal relationship with food, and dieting is just out of the question. I. Love. Food. Once you learn to make a BĂ©arnaise  sauce, you can't just never make a BĂ©arnaise sauce again. Not that I eat unhealthy all the time—I make plenty of good food choices and being a vegetarian for many years previously taught me a lot about nutrition and whatnot, but I wasn't ever going to measure my food (except for a recipe!), count calories everyday, or give up butter or pasta ever (ha!).

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Return

This is Alice, my parents' golden retriever puppy.
She's all grown up now, but I didn't want you to miss out.

Okay, now that I have your attention with this adorable bounding bundle of precious fuzz, it's time to get serious.  If you shlep through this ponderous, self-centered stream of thought, I will reward you with another puppy pic (or you could just cheat and skip ahead).

It's easy to get hung up on the details.  Before you know it, the details have all collected into one big ol' shitstorm of excuses and avoidance.

That might be a tad melodramatic, but my mother didn't call me "Molly Streep" for nothing.  It's been over a year since I last posted anything here (the word "blog" still makes me grimace and squirm though), and a lot of details, both small and large, contributed to that lapse.  I don't have the time.  I'm moving.  Work is crazy.  I want to redo my logo and design.  I want to have a proper writing space.  I need to learn Illustrator.  I have to read everything ever written about SEO.

I could go on and on.

However, that would not make for a good read so while I am chipping away at those details, rather than using them as an excuse, I am going to take you along for the ride, and maybe we can even learn from each other (oh the feel good feels!).


I had originally started this blog (shutter) to assist with my Etsy site.  Hey guys, guess what?  I have not (yet) launched an Etsy shop.  There's time, but I am no longer getting hung up on it.  [Insert "Let's try baby steps"-esque cliche here].  I don't have to do it all and what I do, doesn't have to be perfect, doesn't have to be top-of-the-Chrysler-Building shiny.  I like to write.  I like to take photos.  I like to cook.  I like to get up to my eyeballs in various projects.  Sounds like a good foundation for a blog (sigh), right?  Then let's start there for now.

That's all I have to worry about at present: starting.  I wore grape-purple lipgloss and scrunchies once upon a time so I am able to accept that I'm not always gonna feel great about things in the past.  If Matthew McConaughey never made How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or Sahara, we honestly probably wouldn't be quite as blown away by Dallas Buyers Club or True Detective (though I'm pretty convinced that was 100% intentional.  I'm on to you, McConaughey).  I'm not expecting to reach that level of greatness, but I can't make any sort of improvement if I don't start, and I can't start unless I let go of perfection.  Ah!  Eureka!  Realization!

So thanks for listening and allowing me to lay on the virtual therapist's couch.  I think I got that out of my system.  Now it's time to get to the meat and potatoes (plus some alternatives for my vegetarians and vegans out there), even if in the beginning, those meat and potatoes looks a little less filet mignon and a little more struggle plate.  Details be damned!

Your reward for sticking with me: Alice loving the water from day one.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Green Curlicues: Shaved Asparagus Salad

Confession: I haven't always liked asparagus. I don't know if it was something about the flavor or it's tendency to be cooked to a rather mushy, sloppy state or some other reason. In recent years, I have seen asparagus appearing in more and more places. Then my parents started growing it fresh in their garden, and I have to admit, the freshness factor did make it much more appealing, as did grilling it.

The final push to my asparagus salvation, however, was cheese. (Shocker!) One night at Memphis Tap Room, I ordered their Asparagus Mac and Cheese. I love, love, love mac and cheese and could go on and on about it for years, but instead I will cram that all into a separate blog post. So, back to asparagus. And cheese. I was admittedly a little apprehensive ordering it but figured a) Memphis Tap has never created anything that was not phenomenal, b) I need to try all the macaronis and cheeses. ALL, c) cheese makes everything better, and d) so does truffling things. Not surprisingly, my "gamble" paid off. Raw asparagus--that is how you do it! The mac and cheese was life-endingly delicious and somehow creamy and delicate and robust all at once. The asparagus then took it to an even smarter, more thought out level. It was crisp and added depth. As cheesy (oops, pun) as it may sound, it gave the dish that "je ne sais quoi."

So asparagus had won. With some help from Ms. Cheese and the good folks at Memphis Tap. Fast forward to me joining Greensgrow Farms' CSA. (You can catch up on my adventures with that here.) Week one, very first pick-up: fresh asparagus. Squeal.

In keeping with my exploration of this newly desired vegetable, I decided to yet again try something new with asparagus. I had been seeing some recipes involving shaved vegetables lately, and I was intrigued. I do love noodles of all kinds so this may have had something to do with it. I also like to see novel spins on things. Chopped or sliced vegetables? Boring. Grab the vegetable peeler, and let's go for vegetable shavings.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CSA: The First (Very Exciting) Pickup

After much excitement and anticipation, it was finally time for my very first CSA pickup at Greensgrow Farms.

In case you missed it, catch up on what the heck a "CSA" is, why I'm doing it, all the gory details, and the like here.

I pick up on Thursdays so Wednesday evening, I received a CSA e-newsletter detailing what's in the share, descriptions of the farms, and recipes. I was very excited to see strawberries and asparagus included on the list. Both are things that are so wonderful to have, especially when they are just-delivered fresh! I spent my lunch break the next day looking for new recipes and inspiration. Is this adulthood? Counting down the remaining minutes until I can pick up local produce? Maybe. More likely, I'm just weird.

Monday, June 10, 2013

CSA: An Introduction

I love vegetables.

I said it. Deal with it. Hate me for it. Loathe my predilection to be healthy (don't worry my love of all things cheesy and carb-loaded counteracts my healthy vegetable gains). Be puzzled on the "How?" Or maybe some of you are there with me? Or trying to be?

Maybe it was because my parents always had a vegetable garden when I was growing up. Kids love to get muddy and messy and move dirt from one spot to another (intentionally or otherwise) so gardening with children seems almost more natural than with adults. As a kid, there may have also been that additional simplistic wonderment of I-can-play-around-in-the-muck-and-make-things-grow-that-are-okay-to-put-in-my-mouth. I also really love food (this will become very apparent), have worked in restaurants, and find cooking to be an enjoyable creative outlet so vegetable adoration may come along with that. Whatever the reason, I love everything from my grains, to my fruits, to my vegetables, to my greasy fats, to my proteins, to my dairy (very much so), and everything in between. Once I did not like meat, cared very much about the treatment of animals in the meat industry, and thus lived the vegetarian life for a long time. Then I randomly started having meat cravings and broke down during a trip to New Orleans. A story for another day.

Not to say I am one of those "woman laughing alone with salad" people though. Stock photos...sigh. Image source

I look at it like this. Visual artists, or at least any I know (and I include myself loosely and casually in that) need supplies such as brushes, clay, paints, etc. given whatever their chosen medium is. They may oogle over a richly pigmented oil paint or gasp at the responsiveness of a brush. That is me but with my own chosen medium of food. A fresh spear of asparagus or a rich brie are my enviable supplies.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Thank You for Your Patience: A Brief Life Update (Plus a Cute Cat)

I wish I could now proudly say my Etsy store is launched and my wares are now available for purchase.  Alas, this is not the case.  I am still balancing my day job and some other very exciting side projects I can't wait to share with you.  Finally (and hopefully my last excuse), I am without a permanent studio and right now am trying to work in a small portion of my bedroom.  Needless to say this is far from ideal.  In good news, however, I will be combining households with my boyfriend and will have this whole lovely three bedroom house to just the two of us (plus, of course, the cat).  This means I get my own, dedicated workspace.  I am beyond excited.  I will have space, organization, and a custom-designed set-up that doesn't have to be torn down every day.  Eeek.

Aside from the excuses, I come bearing some good news as well.  While creating physical objects may be encumbered by my present situation these three remaining weeks (and counting!), writing and photography is not.  This is why I am here, prior to my Etsy debut.  I already have some posts planned, everything from recipes to some gnarly "before" shots as I get down to business with the house re-do.  I hope you enjoy.

To make this post at least slightly worth your time, here is a picture of Rosalita.

At first she was afraid of the new rug.  Now it is one of her main lounge lairs.