Tuesday, November 29, 2011

i'm working again

wet eyes of security lost
she runs the comb through eyelashes clumped with mascara
lights camera splashes
copper tint on her eyes, copper paint on her nails
those bitten with anxiety
those scratches on his back
how funny what ordinary things become weapons

the books and to do lists and dishes pile up
and she steps over laundry to step into the cool water
but no matter how many times
she scrubs
it just won't wash away

not like the photos
not like the notes
and not like the hopes and promises

this is not mine
this is just, not mine

this is not my walk
through my beautiful park



Monday, November 28, 2011

Harvest Feast

Thanksgiving is always a very weird time for me.  Being a School Teacher for years I have gotten increasingly more despondent over the American teaching of Columbus, the Native Americans and what Thanksgiving is all about.  Some schools have been worse than others throughout the years.  Some schools completely omit the story, which I feel sometimes is more truthful than what we did growing up.  
I remember growing up making "Indian" and "Pilgrim" costumes out of paper bags and wearing them to school for a big Thanksgiving feast.  Later, when I was enlightened by the more honest story of our Nation's beginnings, I was so distraught that my Teachers participated and had us participate in such nonsense.  In fact, I was downright hurt that these Teachers who I trusted so much would just flat out LIE to us. 
That being said, Thanksgiving is a hard time for me and I have gone back and forth as to whether I would celebrate it at all in fact...but it is hard not to take some time to eat good food and spend time with family, friends and loved ones.  
I like to see Thanksgiving as more of a celebration of the Harvest.  So my sister, her husband and our friends Marek and Kristyna did just that!  We used local, in season vegetables, and cheated with a Tofurky and made a yummy feast to enjoy with one another.   
My sister and her husband found out that their gas was out at their complex, and so we had to get a little bit inventive with the preparation of the feast!  
Honza roasting beets and celery root
highly sophisticated methods of checking food
Malomar happy to be off leash and running around.
Marek wearing his "traditional Czech winter hat" and me in the woods. 
We went on a walk before we finished making dinner and spend some time wandering through an Old Cemetery.  As depressing as this is, in Rye there was a separate African Cemetery away from the dead white folk, in a way off unkept area.  It was sort of humbling to see this and reminded me of how much a Nation can change.  (Not to say that we don't still have a lot of work to do in regards to equality).   
We also took a nice walk in the woods as the sun set.  
check out those dates!  
It is so nice to make an entire meal from scratch (okay okay, except for that processed Tofurky that we have all grown to love).  Here are some photos of our Vegan Harvest Feast! (PS...not to brag, but of course I will...my Brother-in-Law even brewed his own Pumpkin Ale for the occasion! He rules)
curried pumpkin soup with pumpkin seeds
sweet potato mash
roasted beets
tofurky with cherries made by yours truly
My beautiful harvest plate,  I love filling my plate with a variety of colors!

Fused Glass that my sister is currently working on.  She is so talented! 
vegan pumpkin ice cream
whole wheat apple pie and pumpkin ice cream. yum!
Hope you had a wonderful time with friends and family as well!

Don't Buy It, DIY It!

Want a super easy...and when i say super easy I mean SUPER easy way to make Autumn inspired place cards?! These took only a few minutes each, and are so simple and fun!

First: Gather your materials:
Multi Colored Felt
Sewing Machine or Sewing Needles

Next: Cut out your leaf shapes
I cut simple leaf shapes and layered 3 shapes for each place card

Then: pin shapes together

Last: Sew shapes together with an initial for each guest!

Happy Sewing!


Monday, November 21, 2011

I Am Hooked!

If you haven't yet read the young adult series, The Hunger Games, I highly suggest you pick it up.  Lee and I picked up a copy each this weekend, to read tandem style long distance...and I just could not put it down!  I finished the book this morning on the train and am going to immediately pick up the next book in the series.  

I am hooked!
May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor
This weekend was so lovely, spent perusing book stores, and reading and relaxing.  The animals were even super cozy and happy to have people around the apartment.  As much as I love traveling on the weekends, I feel guilty sometimes leaving the little ones all alone.  I suppose it would be less of a big deal if I didn't work such long hours during the week! 
Ganoushie: cute sleep style
Malomar and Ganoushie

Okay, I am heading straight from work to the bookstore to pick up the next in the series!
Hope you have a wonderful Monday night too! I know I will!


Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm Thankful For...

Yesterday, true to a Thursday's form...it was so bananas that I totally did not have time to post my Thankful Thursday post.  The reason that I started to list things I was happy for on Thursdays was because, for some reason in the teaching profession...Thursdays are my hardest days.  

This week was no exception, but I had some things that got me through... 
Big warm fuzzy sweaters.  This one was given to me by my friend Rebecca and quickly became my new favorite comfy piece. 
Cooking fresh Kale and Mushrooms from the Farmer's Market.
The laughs I get when my cat tries to sneak up and take my food away from me.  You can take the cat out of the alley...
After work treats with my beautiful friend.  Left: Vegan Carrot Cake, Right: Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake.
My cake tasted more like mousse apparently.  I don't know, I've never had cheesecake before!  Isn't Jenn lovely?

Jenn made me laugh so hard at dinner that my mascara ran down my eyes from laughter.  Isn't that the best?!  Hope you have a fabulous weekend!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Live, Listen and Learn V.5 (Martha Martha Martha)

Today I was stressing the importance of re-reading books to my 1st grade Reading group.  

We talked about how sometimes when you read, you do not get all of the information the first time around.  I used a book I had just re-read and finished this morning on my commute as an example.  I have definitely read my share of my favorite books time and time again.  Go ahead and ask me how many times I have read Animal Vegetable Miracle.  I cannot get sick of Kingsolver's writing or the story; and the inspiration that I draw from that book each time I pick it back up is infectious!  

While I had read The Martha Rules once before, and maybe even twice before, I knew that there is valuable information in that book that I should certainly be reminded of.

I remember when Martha Stewart had gotten into all of those lengthly legal battles involving her personal portfolio and perhaps some unwise or misguided decisions.  I felt as if she was being made an example of, and quite frankly I felt she was targeted even more because she is a woman in a place of high power.  She is also a very visible woman, who inspires many others and this situation had the potential to absolutely crush her career, and the empire she had built up by elevating the Art of homemaking into something to be revered and respected.

Even though I was aware this type of situation could potentially halt all of the successes she had made, I had a feeling Martha would come through shining brighter than ever.

Martha has the unique gift of creating beauty where others see work.  She has the ability to bring together and manage a design team of incredibly talented people and she has the charisma to inspire and empower others around her.  She is ultimately a very gifted teacher.  

As the R train neared Times Square, and I was finishing up the book, I re-read a paragraph that I would like to share with you. 

Martha writes: 
"There are certain things that just can't be taken away from you: not by a change in government regulations, not by a fire in the warehouse, not be a betrayal of a trustee, not even by a federal trial and incarceration.  The precious things that remain are you ideas, your determination, your work ethic, your loyal colleagues, your mentors and all of the other friends who care about you and encourage you." 

What an absolutely inspirational message in a world where we often get discouraged and feel a little bit lost.  Thank you Martha. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Don't Buy It, DIY It!

Cooler weather has come...and that brings with it warm toasty mittens...thick wool socks and curling up with a book and a cup of hot chocolate to warm you up!

What better to warm you up than homemade spicy hot chocolate, passed down through the ages from the Mayans!

Sure, you could go to Whole Foods and pick up a pre-made mixture of Spicy Hot Cocoa...but is that really all that fun?  The time it takes to make your own hot chocolate pays for itself in tenfold as soon as you take your first delicious sip. 

So Don't Buy it, DIY It!

Spicy Hot Cocoa 2 Ways:

Spicy Hot Chocolate with Bittersweet Cocoa and Allspice:
1/2 cup finely ground or grated bittersweet chocolate  
1 cup soy milk (or you can use regular milk if you aren't vegan, but shhhh)
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch ground allspice
Pinch cardamom
Cinnamon stick, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate and milk, add the cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if you wanna get all fancy like.  
Spicy Hot Chocolate with Bittersweet Cocoa and Allspice:
2 red chiles, crushed  
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
4 cups soy milk (again, shhhh)

In a medium saucepan, heat the soy milk over low heat.  Add the chiles and steep for 10 minutes.  Strain the milk and discard the chiles.  Place flavored milk back into saucepan over low.  Add the vanilla extract and then slowly pour in the chocolate chips and stir until melted. 

Pour into mugs and enjoy!

Happy Lounging!

What To Do With 20 More Minutes

~I never used to be a morning person at all~ 

When I was doing my student teaching in Rhode Island, I used to have to literally wake up at 4:25 to get to work.  The High School that I was teaching at started school at 6:45 AM (don't even get me started on that), and it was a bit of a commute from where I lived in Providence.

Now that I am teaching in NYC, my commute is just as daunting, and my alarm goes off almost as early.  I usually try to sneak in some extra minutes and have been known to wake up as late as 5:20 or so (which, trust me...is a late start).  My mornings are already packed with a quick yoga routine, some lifting for my arms, tea drinking on the bench by the lake, and a walk with Malomar.  Whenever I have to bring Malomar back inside and head off to work, I wish I had just a few more minutes to enjoy my morning.  

So when I decided to wake up an extra 20 minutes early each day this week, I was totally distraught to realize that set me up for a wakeup time of 4:40 AM.  Maybe other people wake up this early on the regular, but sometimes I really feel like I am an anomaly.  

Each morning I am committed to seeing what I can accomplish in that extra 20 minutes. 

Yesterday morning it was making 2 sandwiches.  One for breakfast and one for lunch. Okay, so I cheated a little bit because I did marinate the tempeh overnight...but without those extra minutes I really would not have been able to assemble the sandwiches.

tempeh "bacon"
1 package of tempeh 
1/3 cup tamari
2 tbsp agave
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp paprika
a few dashes of freshly ground pepper
You can also add 1 tbsp liquid smoke to this recipe, but I didn't have any on hand so I skipped that step). 

Mix the marinade together and soak tempeh strips in marinade in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight.  You can either serve these raw, or heat them up on the skillet (no oil required). 

simple tempeh sandwiches:
sliced bread with pumpkin seeds and oats (made myself)
tempeh bacon
romaine lettuce

This morning I made another breakfast sandwich.  Yes, I guess I am on a kick.  Sandwiches are such a quick and easy fix to make and I find they fill me up and give me much more energy than granola or other breakfast staples.  I also have been battling some stomach issues, so whatever my digestive system likes, I am committed to giving it more of. 

simple avocado sandwich:
sliced bread with pumpkin seeds and oats (made myself)
1 ripe avocado, smashed, seasoned with fresh ground pepper
romaine lettuce

What can you do with 20 extra morning minutes?


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Getaway Suitcase

When winter comes, I almost always get the getaway bug.  Last year I took an impromptu trip over to Paris, completely on a whim!  It was great to get out of my city, into a much warmer city and explore.  France is one of my favorite places to visit, but I think for my next trip I am going to head somewhere new...and somewhere warm!  (Sidenote: deciding last minute to take a trip to France from NYC means you can get a ticket for dirt dirt cheap...just a little FYI). 

As the days get colder and the nighttime takes over before I am even out of work, I am dreaming of a warm getaway filled with yoga and picnics and lots of sketching and reading.  

Getaway Suitcase
1. Pairing a classic striped shirt with a bold bright short is such a simple cute look. 
2. a-pic-a-nicbasket. Need some advice on yummy treats to pack for a picnic ?
3. I always keep a small journal in my bag. You can find some great handmade journals here
4. Oh to wear sandals in the winter: heaven!
5. Bright towels add extra cheer to morning showers in the winter, getaway or not!
6. Okay, so I am cheating here.  Just get something handmade on etsy, Barney's rings are insane, but I couldn't pass up the feather motif and layering of stones on this ring.
7. New glasses. If you use a FSA, check your balance and don't lose that money yo!

Happy Travels!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Favorites!

Happy 11.11.11!

Another beautiful week has passed by in NYC which means I get to gear up for a weekend trip to Rhode Island!  

The end of my week always go by even better when I get to spend Thursday night with my sister and her husband in Westchester.  Last night my sister shared a fabulous Eggplant Mole dish with me.  I can't wait to get the recipe from her and then share it with you!  I love having like-minded healthy eaters to share recipes with.  

Here are some great things from this week that I wanted to share with you!

At a small cafe in Lake Placid, the owner put out spaghetti stirrers for coffee which are compostable.  I love this idea!  I usually forgo stirring my coffee ingredients together because using those little red plastic sticks for about 2 seconds and then sending them to the landfill just seems utterly insane to me. 
The owner left the red sticks as an option, who knows why!  I guess people are really afraid of change. 

Make it your own: Why not break the pasta in half and display it in a nice glass jar.  I wholeheartedly believe that people are much more likely to use something if it is presented in a beautiful way. 

Students in Bogato Columbia painted their necks for a protest about Education Reform.  Their signs read "We have the right to be outraged" and "Excellent education for all!"

The students are protesting their government's plan that proposes private funding for public institutions.  As a Teacher at a Charter School, I am not so sure I agree with them, but I always applaud those willing to stand up and speak for what they believe in. 

I also just can't get over how visually striking this is. 
Photo: AP, Fernando Vergara

This amazing photo!  Mushroom foraging is so fun, even more fun that most of the completely inedible mushrooms are so so beautiful!

via: Kaylah at the dainty squid

One of my new favorite etsy shops:  Ginny and Harriet, run by two beautiful ladies originally from Providence.  The dresses they find are simply divine!   


I cannot get enough of Uhh Yeah Dude.  I have a long commute to and from work, and after getting hooked on new podcasts, I started at episode one.  Yeah, I am on 2007 right now, and the podcast still holds up and is still hilarious.  My sister is going to laugh when she reads this post because she described my love of Uhh Yeah Dude as "a serious problem, she is obsessed!"  

Get into it guys, it's the best!


This Thankful Thursday post by Katie of Katie's Pencil Box.  So lovely!
~This amazing video posted by Kim on Fill Your Well.  So beautiful and freeing.
Have an awesome weekend!