Sunday, September 30, 2012

cheers to the freakin' weekend.

{surprise gifts from the boyfriend: RHCP cd - appropriately named "i'm with you :)," and some oat barz cuz we nutrition fuh-reaks. smiles for miles.}

{friendly faces + puppy dog eyes making my day friday during my NMM shift}

{live on the green: the alabama shakes + apache relay}

{DIY canvas tote. "a" for awesome (or amy).}

just kidding! no cheers from this girl this weekend.  i literally did nothing except work, save for the ASB site leader retreat (WOOT!) and cleaning the nashville mobile market - for 4 hours.  i'm currently in a bleach-induced delirium.  just a little recap of the past few days before i lock myself up with the work that's been piling up in the humble abode i call my dorm.  

au revoir until fall break!

"worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today of its strength."
- corrie ten boom 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

things i love lately.

{new lights worthy of my favorite biergarten in nyc}

{nashville sunsets... nashville nights... nashville anything}

 {daniela's crafty creations}

{statement necklaces // new DIY camera strap from an old anthropologie belt} 

{painted mini pumpkins}

{breaking out the apple cinnamon candles. mmmmmmm mmmm goooood.}

it's beginning to feel a lot like fall.  that first chill in the morning when you're walking to class, that extra sweater you pop into your bag just in case, that afternoon light that begins to fade much earlier than you're used to.  these fall posts will most likely keep coming through the season, but who can blame me; there is something magical about the crispness in the air and forgetting that something resembling sweat exists (although i am from florida - so i may be biased).  i'll take it.

"life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." 
- f. scott fitzgerald

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

sounds good to me.

a dear friend showed me this poem when i was in a bad place, and reading it now reminds me of how much i've learned in the past few years.  turn up the music (^ preferably this song. this song is my insta-happy.), fill up yo cup (of tea) and remind yourself how wonderful you really are. 

"after a while"

after a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't always mean security.

and you begin to learn 
that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of a woman
not the grief of a child

and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way 
of falling down in mid flight

after a while you learn
that even the sunshine burns if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting
for someone to bring you flowers

and you learn
that you really can endure
that you are really strong
and you really do have worth
and you learn and you learn
with every good bye you learn.

- veronica a. shoffstall 

Monday, September 24, 2012

warrior, i am not.

{the family wash & their famous vegetarian shepard's pie}

i really hate ice-breaker prompts. when someone says "tell me a little bit about yourself," my mind instantly goes blank.  would you like me to tell you what i was musing about over my morning cereal? because that would probably take an hour.  would you like me to tell you all of my accomplishments, from the time i was conceived to where i'm standing right now? because that would probably take a little longer.

the second worst one is "tell me an interesting fact!" not only are you supposed to open your undying soul to a room of strangers, but you are supposed to choose ONE single, solitary fact that you deem interesting.  and unless you're the first black president or led the nationalist movement in india, it's hard to justify what is "interesting" or not. obama and ghandi are pretty hard to live up to.

one of the worst prompts EVER, right after the ones i just described, is "describe your most embarrassing moment." if you're like me, or the rest of the human population, you may hem and haw for a few moments, staring intently at your feet as if you have just grown a sixth toe.  you may awkwardly giggle and mumble to yourself "haha, embarrassing moment!", thinking that that very moment might as well be it.  right up there with falling on your face as you walk across the graduation stage, or realizing that you're not wearing pants in times square (if any or both of those things have occurred to you, a) i applaud you and b) just humor me here).

i'm pretty positive one of the most embarrassing moments of my life occurred on saturday.  two of my roommates and i decided to run the warrior dash, a 3.1 mile run full of obstacles worthy of gerard butler in the movie "300" (okay, so that's what i felt like, not exactly what i looked like. also, we walked about 2.5 miles. but this is my blog so i'm strong and now have a 6-pack).  the last obstacle consisted of crawling through a deep pool of thick, orange mud.  appealing to my dumb, competitive nature, i decided that it would be a good idea to turn around and attempt to throw mud at my roommates.  two seconds later, my ponytail gets caught in the barbed wire above my head, and i'm sitting there thrashing in the mud as an audience of fellow warrior-dashers looks on.

needless to say, i now have an embarrassing story.

p.s. something i thought was super cool: an organization at the warrior dash collected everyone's ridiculously muddy shoes to donate after the run.  a (literal) bright spot among the mud, sweat, and beer.

"it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default." 
- j.k. rowling

Sunday, September 23, 2012

what i know for sure.

{view from south street seaport, NYC. summer, 2011} 

i'm a strong believer in showing emotions.  no, not religion, not politics, not santa claus or the easter bunny.  it's a weird thing to believe in, i know.  i grew up in a half-asian family, and therefore, half-asian values were implicitly adhered to in my household.  my mom wasn't the stern, austere, tiger-mom of today's generation; i've attended one too many sleepovers, and have received a grade below an "A" one too many times for that to be the case.  i was pushed to play the piano, and the TV was always off-limits on the weekdays, but i can't argue that any of those are particularly outlandish requests.

but i do feel like it was strongly suggested that i always maintain my composure in the face of struggle; that a career path in medicine or law was the right way to go; and that there were certain values i was to steadfastly uphold.  as i grow up and attempt to carve my own path, i have come to realize that my own values don't always mesh perfectly with the more seemingly reserved ones of my family.

i was reminded of this ted talk the other day from brenĂ© brown, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect.  i'm pretty sure we're, like, soul sisters or something.  she wishes she could compartmentalize the pieces of her life into a bento box because a) life is inherently messy and b) she has an intense need for order.  i instantly knew she would be relatable - she had the same dry, ribald humor that i like to think i possess, and also referenced one of my favorite asian meal-time presentations in the first 5 minutes of her talk.  five points for gryffindor.

it's probably because i'm going through this phase of "finding myself/growing up/YOLO-ing" blah blah blah that her message hit me so hard, but i'm loving the message she attempts to impart:

 we have to allow ourselves to really be seen
we need to have the courage to be imperfect
we need to believe we're worthy of love and belonging 
we need to make a practice of gratitude and joy

.....and at the root of it all is authenticity and vulnerability.  in order to connect with others and really be happy, we need to put down our guard, be willing to let go of who we think we should be in order to be who we really are, and store our pride away for safekeeping - keeping the intentions and thoughts of others in mind before we become defensive and think about ourselves.  

so at risk of sounding like dr. phil / a broken record, i'm peacing out.  but if i remember one thing this week, it'll be: i gotta shake what my mama gave me and wave my own flag of pride.

"to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." 
- ralph waldo emerson 

Friday, September 21, 2012

sounds good to me.

{seniorfest/the i'm really really old party/i have a really big head; september 2012}

"the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved. desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn, or say a commonplace thing... but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles, exploding like spiders across the stars..."
- jack kerouac

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

lovin' from my oven.

i know, I KNOW! not really a recipe.  but they're still delicious, healthy snacks nonetheless. you can sprinkle the roasted chickpeas on a salad and the salad is, like, 60 times better than it previously was. and what screams fall more than cinnamon and apples (and... chickpeas...)...?

i finally bought a mandoline food slicer this weekend. this is what it looks like, if you were wondering (because apparently people don't know what a mandoline on). i was really excited to use it - hence the baked apple chips.  when i was freaking out about all of the vegetables and fruits i was going to slice and bake with my new kitchen toy (apples! sweet potatoes! WATERMELONS!?) one of my roommates thought i was talking about a "mandolin." aka the small musical instrument that closely resembles a guitar.

i've never attempted to slice a sweet potato with a small musical instrument.  but if you have, please let me know.

baked apple chips, found here

  • apple
  • cinnamon
  • parchment paper
  1. you can remove the apple core if you want - i didn't because i'm a) lazy and b) have no problem eating that part.  to each his own!
  2. use your mandoline to cut the apple into thin slices.  the amount of time the slices need in the oven depends on the thickness of your slices. 
  3. line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and place slices on it. 
  4. rub cinnamon into the slices.
  5. bake at 275 for 2 hours, checking at the hour mark and every hour after that.  they are done when crispy!

baked spicy chickpeas, found here

  • 2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt
  1. rinse, drain, and then dry chickpeas with a paper towel.
  2. add chickpeas to oil/spice mixture and toss to coat evenly.
  3. transfer to parchment lined baking sheet and spread out in a single layer.
  4. bake at 400 for 20 minutes, mix them around, and then bake for another 10 to 15.

"cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all." 
- julia child

Monday, September 17, 2012

weekend, you're the loveliest.

{savarino's cucina}

 {the pharmacy}

{tennessee state fair}

a random conglomeration of thoughts at 1 am:

i crossed so many things off my bucket list this weekend that it's blowing my mind.  almost as much as the fact that i'm going to turn in my first REAL LIFE job application on tuesday.  hide yo kids, hide yo wife.  real person status up in here.

i wish i could bake my employers pumpkin chocolate chip cookies instead of sending them a cover letter outlining my strong desire to work in the field of public health.  but that would most likely be counterintuitive.

go to the pharmacy in nashville. order a hamburger with sweet potato fries. make sure the waiters don't sit you by the child play pen in the corner.  a little girl and boy chased each other around our table the entirety of our dinner.  said girl wore a camo shirt that read "i'm hiding from my brother." said boy wore a mullet.  i swore off ever having children for 30 minutes.

i think i'm going to add to my bucket list "meet person who designs stuffed animals for the tennessee state fair." at each fair game that we passed, at least six large stuffed bananas with dreadlocks hung above our heads. A BANANA WITH DREADS.  


"a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything."
- irish proverb

Saturday, September 15, 2012

waaaait, i'm in nashville?

in case you have forgotten (which i sometimes do), i'm going to school in nashville, tennessee. NASHVILLE. country music capital of da world.  i was reminded of this the other night, when i went to puckett's grocery for restaurant week with a few old friends.  when we walked into the restaurant, we were bombarded by the sound of live country music emanating from the stage.  the waitress sat us down directly in front of the singers, and we immediately did one of those "LADY, we don't know sign language and we'd love to have an audible conversation" looks to the waitress.  she moved us to the back.

if you are enrolled in any college in the united states, it is very probable that you have heard the term "insert-college-name-here bubble."  when i went to bowdoin, it was the bowdoin bubble.  now that i'm at vanderbilt, it's the vanderbubble (see what they did there? two words into one? brangelina would be proud).  it's interesting how the bubble-ness of each college is manifested in tremendously different ways.

bowdoin is in a small-ass town - excuse my french, but it's necessary for the extremity of the small-ness - on the coast of southeast maine.  the bubble is more or less the town. brunswick exists of one downtown street deemed "Maine St" (haha!), and if you don't have a car, it's pretty challenging to move beyond that.  residents of brunswick embrace bowdoin students, and although the neighborhoods around bowdoin have probably been gentrified since the existence of the school, i didn't find the contrast to be too extreme.

in contrast, vanderbilt is in a huge city (okay, it's huge compared to brunswick, not, like, new york city), in which it's pretty simple to go anywhere with a bus, a taxi, or a car.  the bubble is the school itself.  the neighborhoods around vanderbilt change drastically in look, and because of my exposure to the neighborhoods, i know that they change drastically in economic terms as well.  in my experience, community members are not as quick to embrace vanderbilt students, and they sometimes see us as infringing on their neighborhoods, as "rich white kids" who have nothing better to do than volunteer their time.

just a little observation.  and i'm obviously over-generalizing this concept, and probably don't know enough about it, but it's cool to remind yourself once in a while that there is something beyond that bubble. like fried chicken and tim mcgraw (JK!).

"it's opener, out there, in the wide, open air."
- dr. seuss

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