Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hiking, now!

I’m not sure who is more excited for my upcoming camping trip—me or my dad.

“I have an announcement and I don’t care what you say, I’m not changing my mind”.

Spoken like a true negotiator, I know. I recently announced to my family that I’ve been thinking about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail someday, and before anyone could get a word in edgewise, I added: I’m gonna do it, I don’t care what you’re gonna say to try to stop me, I’m willing to assume the risk of getting attacked by a bear, yes I realize that means no showers and dirty underwear and sleeping in the cold and being miserable, and yes I realize that I’m going to have to overcome my irrational fear of spiders and bugs. Breathe.

The reaction.

Surprisingly, my mom didn’t object as much as I thought she would (though part of me thinks this is because she’s dubious of my resolve to begin with and thinks the trail itself will do the talking me out of it for her). My sister just thinks I’m ridiculous and this is another one of my ploys to become more ridiculous—no surprise there. Her fiancé thinks it’s a great idea and offered to lend me some gear if I need it. And my dad immediately went searching through the house to find a book he recently read about an AT thru-hiker—no surprise there (The book is called “Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail” by Paul Stutzman. I’m just gonna warn you, as does the author—it’s very preachy at some points, but an enjoyable read about the trail and this man’s general experience nonetheless).

The plan.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’m making plans in my head for how I am actually going to make this happen/ prepare. I joined the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) to get connected with like-goal-oriented people and found a 1 night local-ish hike of moderately strenuous terrain that is open to beginner backpackers. Baby steps. In my mind thru-hiking is somewhere in the future and I'm not exactly sure when it's feasible but I'll make it happen.

What’s “backpacking”?

Backpacking is carrying everything you need for a hike on your own person. This includes food, cooking supplies, shelter, gear, etc. (I guess it doesn’t technically have to be a backpack, you could go satchelpacking, if you prefer, for all I care).

My new home away from home the "Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2" - 3 pounds 2 ounces from REI


Gear.

To quote my friend when I told her I just want to pack up all of my gear and go: “what gear?”. Good point my friend, good point. My poodle shoes can only take me so far.

Enter my dad and me in REI picking out a tent, boots, and socks. We happen to have a backpack in like-new condition that one of my sister’s friends left behind during her study abroad simply because she didn’t feel like bringing it home with her—if I have the story correct.  So thank you, Kelly’s friend, you saved me a couple hundo.

After our trip to REI my dad was going to see what he could round up from Maine where he thought we had a sleeping bag, mess kit and a head lamp I could use. The other day I just happened to swing by my parents house to grab something I had left there, when I noticed a bag full of other hiking gear that my dad had gathered from Maine plus a couple things that he had gone to EMS to grab. Hence, realizing that my dad is actually very excited that I’m assuming the family dream of battling it out one-on-one with the wilderness.

Conclusion.

Here’s to hoping that I don’t freeze to death out there, startle a mama bear, get lost (the most likely scenario) or pull a Chris McCandless. And, I’ll also hope that there aren’t too many spiders because when in the business of hoping and dreaming—why not? Side rant: “reach for the stars and you might land on the moon” might be the most abstract and misleading inspirational quote for little kids ever. Let’s plaster “reach for your doctorate degree and you might get a master’s degree” all over our elementary school walls, amiright?

For me, hiking is testing your will to survive and finding strength in that. Or, hiking is willingly enduring misery which one elects to bring upon them self for no apparent reason other than for the story, or to say they did it. Not sure which camp (pun!) of thought I'm in yet. Perhaps I straddle a line that has been blurred by the nightly freezing and thawing of the very ground upon which I intend to sleep. I don't expect to find the answer to that from one overnighter, but I think it's what appeals to me most about hiking. 

Any camping stories? Advice by which you think I should heed to? Do you think I'm crazy? Or, what inspirational quote would you put on the walls of your elementary school?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sweet Sweet Saturdays

Not gonna lie, I wore this outfit out and about Saturday during the day, on the dance floor at Landsdowne that evening, and then put it back on on Sunday. Ya know, for good measure.

Sweatshirt: Anthropologie // Jeans: J. Brand (via Marshall's)
Shoes: Franco Sarto (via The Rack) // Nails: OPI - Manicurist of Seville

Is it just me, or has Anthropologie been on fire lately? If I ever fell off of the Anthropologie wagon, I'm back on said wagon now more than ever. I even bought something at full price (gasp!) recently. Which if you follow my blog you know is something I never never do. Except this once. Or at Forever 21/ H&M/ Zara or other places where waiting for a sale means there's less than a 10% chance you're getting that item. Amiright?

What stores can you not stay away from lately? 



Friday, February 28, 2014

Sweet and Tangy Brussel Sprout Coleslaw

Howdy partner!

I recently had a hankering for southern comfort food which turned into a homemade pulled pork and coleslaw. 

I wanted to lighten up the calorie count so I used a nifty substitute for the coleslaw dressing.



Shopping list:
- shredded carrots (which you could DIY but... I did not)
- 5 large brussel sprouts
- 1 small head of purple cabbage 
- 1 very small white onion 
- 1/4 cup mayo or miracle whip for a hint of tang
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (I use Chobani 0% fat)
- 1/8 cup white vinegar 
- 3 tbs sugar
- pepper to taste

*disclaimer: measurements are mental estimates, I believe I have a keen eyeball for measuring things so I generally don't measure things.

Directions:
- shave (thinly slice) cabbage and brussels. Rinse, dry and place in large Tupperware container.
- dice onion.
- add all ingredients to container and shake, shake, shake (your booty, that is).
- marinate in the refrigerator overnight and enjoy (when I woke up I turned the container upside down to spread around the goodness).

Lasts 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

True story: I made this meal while dog sitting and staying at my parents place. I swung by to finish off the yummy left overs I had been dreaming about all morning the other day only to find that my dad had kindly beaten me to it

I'm still silently fuming to myself about it. And venting about it to the internet.

Lesson of the day? Make this in mass amounts.

I substituted Greek yogurt in place of more mayo in this recipe to lighten it up. Do you have any healthy substitute tricks you use? Leave a comment below!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How to Make the Most of Your Daily Commute

I commute to and from work every day in my car. My drive can be anywhere between 40 minutes to over an hour (those days are the WORST). To reduce my risk of a heart attack from the stress of commuting, I try to make the most of my twice daily ride. Here’s how I like to spend my time commuting:

Audiobooks are a girl's best friend.  And they can be yours too. If you’re like me you have a list of classics that you’ve been meaning to read but never got around to them. Sound expensive? It’s not. Remember that fabulous wealth of free knowledge called the library? Here’s a pro tip: register your card for your library’s digital network. This way you can put items on hold for pick-up, browse titles, join waitlists, and get notified when your requests are ready for pick-up (and due!) right from home or on your phone.

This works for digital books too. Most books I read today are on my kindle and from the library. Don’t have a kindle? Me either. Download the kindle app, that’s free too. You’ll need an Amazon account as well which if you don’t have one, sign up now and welcome to the 21st century my friend, you too can have a shrimp ecosystem delivered right to your door (true story!). You can place a hold on books, create lists, renew titles, and more. The best part? No late fees! The books disappear when your loan ends. Which also happens to be their one downside and why I still buy physical copies of books I’m reading for book club. And then I sell them on e-bay.

Recommendations:

There’s nothing worse than listening to an audiobook that's not engaging you, so don’t force it. I could NOT get through “The Great Gatsby” on audiobook but I wanted to re-read it before seeing the movie so I did put eyeballs to paper on that one and it’s one of my favorite books!

My favorites so far have been: “The Help”, “Perks of Being a Wall Flower”, all of the Dragon Tattoo books, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime”, “The Art of Racing in the Rain”, “The Love Plot”, “Unbroken”, anything by David Sedaris is instantly funnier on audio- trust me, “Bossy Pants”, and “Lean In”

Books I did NOT enjoy listening to: “The Great Gatsby”, “The Princes of Ireland” (powered through it), “Middlesex” (powered through it), “Paris Wife”, and “The Time Keeper”

And yes, I count listening to a book as having read it. I read books with my eyeballs too so calm down I know what I’m saying. I've enjoyed some books in both forms and in some cases enjoyed them more in audio form! 

My newest commute buddy: Pod Casts!

This is a recent discovery of mine via a new friend. Your phone might have come with a pod cast app. If not, you can download it. It connects to your iTunes account.

Recommendations:

Nutrition Diva’s Quick and Dirty Tips. This pod cast is easily digestible (pun intended) useful information about eating healthy. I like that each “episode” is short, usually under 10 minutes and addresses everything from more scientific matters that I remember learning about in my nutrition 101 class like HDL vs. LDL, smoke points of different cooking oils and why that matters, foods that can prevent a sunburn (um, thank you!), to how to make a healthy and tasty smoothie and the difference between California or "hass" avocados and Florida avocados. 

Spanish Grammar Review: This is Spanish language review for advanced speakers but there are many language pod casts for all levels! I use this one to keep my mind sharp (I fear I’m losing my Spanish language skills).

Social Media Marketing Podcast: This is a pod cast from Social Media Examiner, a blog that I follow religiously (it relates to my job). There are TONS of specialized pod casts in every industry, find ones that apply to your job and stay up to date with what’s happening.

If you’re like me, you’ll subscribe to a lot of things that you think you should because they'll make you smarter or help you own the stock market, but then you’ll never listen to them or you’ll try them out and decide they’re not for you and lose interest in pod casts altogether. Try to find pod casts on subjects that you’re genuinely interested in. Bonus? You'll have so much to talk about at your next social event.

Pro tip: download new pod casts when you’re connected to Wi-Fi, you’ll use less data.

Music

If you know me, you know that my missed life calling was to be a DJ. I love music. Sometimes I like to put on a great playlist, zone out and just brave the traffic. Singing along to music just feels right. When I have a good mix on that I can sing to (yes I shamelessly sing my car), I actually notice my mood improving. The only downside to this is that I get sick of music quickly and I don’t stay on top of updating my iPod and I don’t pay for Spotify or anything (I’d rather own my music thank you) so I only do this every so often.

Let me know in the comments if you have any audiobook or pod cast recommendations. You can find me on GoodReads and keep up with my posts on Facebook!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bomb Salad

I'm calling this one "Bomb Salad" because it's da bomb, and it's kind of a salad.

This quinoa salad is made with roasted sweet potatoes, beats, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, and green peas.


It was going to be called "Casey Pony Salad" but then I started thinking about other salad possibilities that would better compliment the Casey Pony Sandwich, so I'll revisit that later.

Not gonna lie, I've been eating this same meal for lunch all five days this week and there's still more so get your tupperwares ready. Here goes:

You will need:
-1 can black beans
-1 can kidney beans 
-1 can garbanzo beans
-1 medium/large sweet potato
-4 Brussels sprouts
-3 beats (I bought the pre-cooked kind.. Surprisingly they were cheaper)
-1 head of broccoli
-1 bag frozen peas
-1 package of quinoa

Prep:


  1. Cook the entire package of quinoa per instructions. Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees
  3. Peel sweet potato and cut into pieces (about 1 square inch). Put in plastic Baggie with 1 tbs olive oil and seasonings of choice- I used pepper, garlic powder, and dried rosemary. Mix around until coated evenly. Pour potatoes onto a baking pan (do not cook the plastic baggie!) and place in oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes (ish)
  4. Chop chop the broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Sautée in high heat for about 3-5 minutes (I may or may not have used a little bit of leftover bacon fat)
  5. Slice up them beats
  6. Microwave them peas
  7. Drain and rinse all beans
  8. Divide cooked quinoa among containers (I made 5 go-lunches and still had a good amount of quinoa left over for later). 
  9. Divide the rest of ingredients among your go-containers as well. Store any remaining separately. 

Serve plain or with a little dressing, I tried it with this dressing recipe which I make on the regular and it was pretty dang dang good. Makes a great meal by itself or is a yummy side salad. At work I zap it in the microwave for about 1:25.  

Makes 8-10 servings, maybe more! 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pear Lover Poser

I don't even like pears but I'll gladly wear them on my sweater- does that make me a poser? Ap-pear-entally it does. Ok I'll stop the pear puns.
sweater: J. Crew // pants: Sara Campbell // shoes: Ralph Lauren
glasses: Warby Parker // necklace: initial reaction
watch: DKNY // earrings: Ralph Lauren

This is how I do casual Friday (no jeans allowed).

It's hard to tell but... my pants? They're maroon. And they're my favorite. The kind of favorite where you have to keep track of when you wear them so that you don't accidentally become the maroon pants everyday lady at work. (But I also have them in navy, black, and taupe-nbd.)

What's your favorite color pant to wear to work? 



Friday, January 17, 2014

On Warby Parker Glasses and Getting Them After the Hipsters

I think I might need an intervention. I'm fairly certain that my latest purchase of glasses is a direct result of watching New Girl. They're big. They're bold. They're Jess-like.
Warby Parker - "Crosby"

And I know that I'm a little late to the trend, and that I may have pegged myself as a hipster-wannabe but let's be real- we all secretly want to be hipsters. 

Back to me and my Warbys.

After squinting my way home one evening while driving, I realized that I need to wear my glasses more but I didn't love the one pair that I had. So, I made it my mission to find a pair of frames that fit said description above and found myself at the Warby Parker store on Newbury street on a Friday evening around 6pm. Random, right? 

The store was packed! There were at least 15 other people mulling about trying on frames. Did I mention it was a Friday night? The weekend before Christmas? Can I buy stock in Warby Parker? So I elbowed my way into the hipster convention crowd and after trying on everything in sight, I landed on the "Crosby" frame. 

I had tried their at home try on but choosing good glasses for round faces is hard so it was much nicer to be in the store and able to try on all of the different options because I ended up ordering a pair that I probably wouldn't have chosen online. 

Have you tried Warby Parker glasses? Which do you like? Or if you have a round face, let's be friends on Twitter.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Quick Tip: Favoriting Tweets on Twitter

Did you know that by favoriting tweets on Twitter you're essentially curating a list of tweets?

Consider what message you would like your curated list of tweets to say, and use that as your guide for deciding whether or not to click that star. Your list of favorite tweets can be found from your profile by clicking "favorites" on the left navigation rail and is viewable by anyone who is allowed to see your timeline.

Twitter Tip


If you're managing a Twitter account professionally, you can use the favorite tweet capability for branding. For example you might want to favorite tweets that mention your brand, company, or employees in a positive way.

Tweets worth favoriting for branding purposes:

  • A tweet that depicts your brand in a positive light. Ex: "Company X has great customer service", or "Company X has a blog full of great advice on XY and Z". 
  • When another user quotes you or one of your tweets.
  • If somebody shares a link to your site or content. (Consider giving them a retweet as well.)
  • When somebody gives a thoughtful reply to one of your tweets. (Also potentially worth a retweet too.)
  • A mention of a product or service that you offer.
  • A sentiment that aligns with your brand image such as a quote.
By following these guidelines, you will have a list of tweets that show off your hard work cultivating relationships and building your influence. Best part? It's ready to show off to potential customers or company stakeholders at a moment's notice.

As always on Twitter and other social platforms, be sure to check into the person's profile whose tweet, post, or status you are about to "favorite" or share. Avoid favoriting tweets from spammy accounts or personas that do not align with your brand image (or target audience personas).

What types of tweets do you add to your favorites or would you add to this list? Do you follow similar guidelines?