4 Things I Love

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I am not having a productive week, but I am having a good time with it. There’s what you should care about with me this week!

  1. Spring Break. My bus route to work goes by three high schools, which means the person to skateboard ratio on the bus is usually 1:1. Last week, though, there were no skateboards and thus no people. It’s refreshing to be surrounded by youth and potential every day, but it’s way more refreshing to sit anywhere I want on the bus. My sweatshirt got a seat, my purse got a seat, even my podcast got a seat. Now I’m back to sharing a seat with the manspreaders of tomorrow, but I LOVED it while it lasted.
  2. Library Books. I love the library! A few months ago, I checked out an enormous short story collection on a whim. I read approx. 5 pages out of 2000, and then renewed it several times to avoid returning it. It was due a week ago. I carried the enormous brick of a book all the way to work, but the book drop at the downtown library was locked. Locked! I have no choice but to keep this book. I often miss the days when art was more tangible, so it’s refreshing to be weighed down with this physical reminder of all the fines I’m racking up.
  3. Procrastinating. In college, I never started paper more than twelve hours before it was due. Now that I’m out of school, sometimes I miss it – the feeling of dread and wasted hours sitting in the bottom of my stomach, the heightening panic as a deadline approaches. Yesterday, I had a lot of free time and a long to do list, so I indulged. Without realizing it, I spent over an hour watching clips of Jimmy Kimmel man-on-the-street bits (why?) instead of starting my laundry. I found myself feeling deeply and inexplicably sad later – is time-wasting not the rush it once was? – but on the whole, it was a lovable throwback to a simpler time.
  4. StumbleUpon. This deserves a whole separate category, even though it technically falls under #3. I just remembered about StumbleUpon from college – it’s a website randomizer that helps you find novel ways to waste time. And it existed before clickbait was even invented. As I was getting really nostalgic for my college study habits, I went see if my old friend still existed. IT DOES! Hours were wasted! I read about Syria, read a quote about intimacy, and looked at these fun cardboard dioramas. I’m not sure how old I am anymore, and my laundry isn’t put away, but I’m loving it.

A Quick, Breathless Workout

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’m trying to exercise more. It can be really tough to carve out enough time for a solid workout. If you’re like me, living an active lifestyle needs to be efficient. TV doesn’t binge-watch itself, after all.

Yesterday, I biked to the neighborhood ice cream place with my roommates (I follow my own advice). It was a nice day, and a short ride of about a mile each way. Biking is great exercise, but I abandoned it when I was ten – it seemed too much like a sport and I didn’t like those. I’m just getting back into it, and this was my first ride in traffic. Ever. What a rush! Cars are so much larger and faster than bikes!

I just can’t wait to get back on this bike.

The hills in my neighborhood helped to keep the short ride challenging. And the more cars passed by me as I rode, the more my heart rate accelerated. Wrangling left turns made all my muscles tighten up so that using my legs was nearly impossible. While trying to get across a busy street on a short green light, my vision turned blurry and reality started to feel hazy. Before I knew it, my breath had quickened and I was having a panic attack, right in the middle of my workout! What a happenstance!

The more nervous I got around the cars, the more embarrassed I got at being nervous – which just made my breathing more shallow. Better still, the very last hill by my house was enormous. I thought my legs were going to fall off as I desperately tried to take in enough oxygen to keep pedaling. What an opportunity.

Afterwards, I wobbled inside and hyperventilated into the couch. My lungs felt like they were going to explode – the surest sign that I exercised effectively. I’ve never felt so physically and emotionally spent in such a short period of time. Plus, I now know what it’s like to be so shell-shocked you can’t taste ice cream. That sounds like a diet tip to me!

So if you need an efficient way to get that heart pumping really, really fast, be like me and be very anxious!😬 🚴

 

Bedtime Routine: Sit in Front of as Many Screens as Possible

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This is what it looks like when I sleep.

For most people, the night is reserved for sleeping, and that’s a terrible waste of time. Whether you go to bed late or really late, make the most of that last hour of awakeness so you can rest easy/never.

When it’s time to wind down for the night, get in bed and boot up all your screens at once. No matter how unproductive you were during the day, there’s plenty of time to get things done in the last hour before you grudgingly turn out the lights.

There are lots of ways to do this. I like to play cell phone games while I watch TV on my laptop, but I think you can do better than that. If you have a gaming system and a 47″ plasma screen, now’s the time to fire it up. If not, maybe you have an iPad? A Surface?An Apple Watch? The key here is quantity.

I like to get in bed with my screens, letting the cool blue light hypnotize me until I’m stuck in a state between waking and sleep. It helps if I haven’t brushed my teeth yet, because the dread of getting up to do that will keep me in front of the screens at least 30% longer. You might find that something else works better for you. The key here is general discomfort.

When I finally do turn out the lights, I find myself feeling wired for no reason. Immediately, all the thoughts flood back into my head as soon as I’m not completely numb anymore. You might fall asleep immediately, but studies show that’s unlikely. You do you, though. They key here is regretting it all in the morning.

What screens do you like to use before bed? Tell me in the comments! 🙂

Exercise Better: Find Your True Motivation

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I have a hard time with working out. Gyms make me anxious, yoga class makes me more anxious, and I hate sports. But I don’t like feeling lethargic and imagining my arteries turning into marshmallow fluff, so I’ve been trying to start a regular exercise practice.

Walking is a great workout that doesn’t feel like “exercise” (or burn that many calories). But finding the motivation to go for a walk can be difficult. Sitting is just easier. 

Bribe yourself to go for a walk by going to get a fun snack. I walked to Scoops for ice cream. I walked to Cafe Tropical to get a truly unreasonable piece of apple pie (fact: the tirimisu is better). Walking is good. Dessert is delicious. I win double. And you can too! You don’t have to walk that far to justify consuming three times the calories you burned, and you can ride that high – and sugar crash – for days.

It might look like a cop out, but I guarantee it will feel like a sweet success 🙂

4 Things I Love (Even Though I Don’t Feel Like It)

I’m having a terrible week! But that doesn’t absolve me from loving stuff. Because I am a lifestyle blogger, and thus, I am obligated to influence the masses.

  1. Cold Brew Coffee. I usually like my coffee like I don’t like my weather: hot. But my friend Will started a cold brew coffee company, and I’m pretty into this whole Cold Bruja Coffee thing. I normally think of iced coffee as a thing to drink in the sunshine on a patio, but I drank this one in bed on Saturday morning while trying to physically meld with my comforter. Is getting out of bed even worth it oops I mean necessary anymore? Also there’s a fun blurb about a witch on the bottle!
  2. Working Behind a Big Desk. My job requires so much sitting that most of my coworkers don’t even know I have legs. Usually this is frustrating and I know it dooms me to die an early death. But yesterday, I was eating the remains of a cold breakfast sandwich and I spilled some chipotle mayo on my sweater. The horror! But with a big desk hiding my whole body and personage, nobody could tell.
  3. Using a Machete. There’s a drought in California, which absolves us of all responsibility for taking care of our lawn we’ve decided. Eventually though, the grass gets too tall to walk through, and my roommate thought a machete was the best way to handle that. I took a turn at lawn macheteing this weekend, and it was a great way to exorcise some demons before I got too tired and collapsed into a crying puddle on the couch. Cathartic!
  4. Night French Toast. On Sunday night I felt so dissatisfied with everything around me and within me, that the only thing that could possibly fix it was to make French toast at 10pm. I don’t know why. I don’t make the rules, I just crack eggs for them. But something about watching maple syrup congeal on a spongey piece of bread really calmed me, and as the one piece of toast cooled too fast while the other one was still cooking, making it impossible to eat both pieces in a neat stack, the chaotic nature of life made sense in a new way. Yum 🙂

Diner-Grade, Neurotoxic Potatoes

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If you’re anything like me, seven years ago your mom sent you an article about how the eyes on potatoes can contain dangerous neurotoxins, and you’ve subconsciously avoided dealing with them ever since.

Well, finally it occurred to me that I frequently entrust food prep to complete strangers (a fun, cool way of looking at restaurants), and they definitely aren’t getting neurotic about neurotoxins. And, I’m still alive. The truth has set me free.

Since then, I’ve been experimenting with hash browns and other breakfast potatoes. I came up with one that’s of almost a diner-like quality, and is only kind of extremely unhealthy.

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Olive oil is not butter.

I like using baby yukon gold potatoes, but you can probably sub in any kind. I don’t know if that’s true. I’m not a potato expert. Anyway, the baby yukon golds are easy to slice. They also have a thin skin – relatable! – so you can skip peeling them. Slice the potatoes thinly and arrange on a skillet with some garlic. I sprayed on some aerosol olive oil in an attempt to be healthy, but there wasn’t enough sizzling so I gave up and added some butter. Once they were satisfyingly crispy, I topped with a little cheese, salt, and pepper.

I don’t want to brag and say that I think these could hold up as a forgettable side dish at a 2am diner…but I don’t think that they couldn’t. That might be the neurotoxins talking.

Just Be Better: Positive Reframing

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It’s St. Patrick’s Day and everyone in the office is asking me “Where’s your green?” They have a lot of nerve, considering I got out of bed at 7:07 this morning, successfully put clothes on my body, and brought said body to the bus stop on time. I was feeling grumpy about being questioned for the one thing I hadn’t done, but then I realized my negativity was getting in the way. I was thinking about it all wrong.

I deserve credit for all the things I DID do.

  • I only needed five alarms to get out of bed.
  • I ate a cupcake at 8am, but I also had a bowl of oatmeal.
  • I didn’t forget to zip the side of my shirt for the entire day, letting only the cooperation of a sweater keep me from exposing myself to everyone, unlike last week.

Reframe Your Situation

When I was looking at my day through one lens – not wearing green – I had failed. But when I pulled back and refocused, I saw all the things I was doing right, and it turns out I’m doing pretty gosh darn great.

So consider this: are you thinking negatively about something because you can’t see the whole picture? Once I looked at things differently, I felt a lot better

In fact, I felt good enough to have another breakfast cupcake. 🍀

 

4 Things I Love This Week

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I’ll be very ill if I don’t have this!

It’s important to me that you care what I, a successful lifestyle blogger, am into every week. Well, since you asked…

  1. Afternoon Coffee. I’ve been desperately addicted to my morning cup of coffee for a while now. I love the ritual of racing the clock to get to that sweet caffeine before the headache kicks in. But it’s become routine and stale. Yesterday, though, I made myself an afternoon cup of coffee. It felt as joyful as that morning cup used to feel, and might even be opening a door to a brand new addiction!
  2. Ignoring Sports. In LA, the seasons don’t change, and time exists only as a weird amorphous blob where months pass like weeks and suddenly it is the middle of March. This gives me even less awareness of important sport times that other people are paying attention to, and because I don’t live mere blocks away from a baseball hellscape anymore, it’s not being shoved in my face. It all washes right over me, along with what holidays are coming up, which day rent is due, and how old I am.
  3. Small, Nervous Dogs. I was terrified of dogs as a child, and while I got over the fear, I never really became a dog person. But lately I’ve been hanging out with a couple of tiny dogs with tiny anxiety disorders, and their stress makes sense to me. I, too, sometimes shake for no reason and need to be constantly comforted. Often I have heart palpitations and I don’t know why. And my legs are much shorter than they should be.

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    Panic attack in progress.

  4. Staying Hydrated. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been getting a lot of headaches lately. If I go to the doctor, I’m pretty sure they’ll ask me questions like, “Are you getting enough sleep?” Are you drinking enough water?” “Do you exercise?” Obviously: no, no, no. This one seems easiest to address. For the last week, I’ve been drinking a lot of water. Like, actively drinking water. All day. For some reason, I feel a lot better! Also I can’t stop peeing.

Logic Hacks to Make Guacamole an Acceptable Dinner Choice

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Guacamole is so delicious, it’s too bad I can’t eat it for every meal. But I can’t, because avocados are expensive and there’s no second reason. When I have avocados on hand, though, I try to make the most of it. Here are a couple ways that I shoehorn guacamole (or guacamole-like-substances) into a completely legitimate main course.

Chips for Dinner

No doctor or reasonable person would ever tell you to eat chips and guacamole for dinner. But I’m going to let you in on a secret so you can do it guilt-free. The secret: homemade chips!  That’s right, if you bake the chips yourself, it’s as if you were eating a tortilla. Tortillas are for sandwiches. Ergo, eating chips and guacamole for dinner is equivalent to eating a sandwich for dinner. And no reasonable person would complain about that.

To make chips: Slice a tortilla into wedges, lay on cookie sheet and spray with olive oil (and salt/chili powder/etc). Bake at 375 for 8-12 minutes.

To make guacamole: Oh come on, you know how to make guacamole. I’m not going to insult your intelligence by telling you a guacamole recipe. I put cumin in mine, though, which feels like a worthwhile secret to share.

Avocado Toast

Avocado toast is very hip and expensive right now, but it’s also very a-normal-breakfast. And if something is breakfast, you can definitely repurpose it into a dinner. Avocado toast is basically a deconstructed guacamole, but it requires even fewer ingredients. So you’re at least 50% more likely to be able to make it at any given time.

Here’s how I made the one above: Mash an avocado with a little lime juice. Scoop onto toast. Top with salt, pepper, tomatoes.

There you have it: not one but two dinners made out of condiments. I ate both of these dinners last week, and I feel GREAT and kind of weak and tired.

Get Reggie’s Deli a Netflix Show!

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Apparently, Reggie’s Deli has been living in the shadow of Brite Spot all along and I had no idea until SandwichQuest: Part Three. Very sad, because Reggie’s Deli has been featured on no Netflix shows this year and Brite Spot is in at least two.

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Anyway, I went to this delightful – and admittedly, barely existent – deli with my friend Kurt, who was in town for work. We hadn’t seen each other since college and SandwichQuest facilitated this reunion, which is totally the kind of minute detail you could put into a show about my generation.

My sandwich featured turkey and avocado, which means it’s definitely in the running for the “cosmically perfect sandwich” title. The sourdough bread/swiss cheese/mustard/mayo situation worked really well. I liked it a lot, even if Netflix doesn’t feel that the tiny closet of a storefront is a fitting place for dissatisfied thirtysomethings who are just like me to discuss their angst.

Added bonus! The sandwich came with an (unadvertised) side of totally passable potato salad. This meant I was full, and saved half my sandwich til later. Aimless TV thirtysomethings can afford to go out for whole meals, but aimless real life twentysomethings need to make everything last two meals.

Reggie’s Deli, I’m writing a show for you (and me).

Grade: A-

Spiritual Wholeness Quotient: On par with watching something that was filmed in your neighborhood and is eerily reminiscent of your life to the point where it’s infuriating