Yes, I am still alive and cast-bound and YES, I am officially a b.a.d. blogger!!! This makes me SO mad, because not only have I been neglecting my own blog, but the blogs of all of the supportive friends I've made across the blogsphere and that is just not okay. I apologize, sincerely. This post is going to be quick, as I have so much I have to get done today, but in a nutshell here's what's been taking over: My 20th birthday was May 19!! I had tons of friends over and it kicked butt! Oh yeah, and my family and I went to this really cool restaurant! But more on that later... (next post, sorry!!!). My cousin Wendy was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer only three weeks ago, and she has yet to come out of her surgery that was four days ago. It's been a very heavy month and the last thing that I thought anyone needed was to focus on my 20th birthday, until my parents reminded me of something: Just because someone else's life is ending does not mean that you can suddenly abandon yours. And it's so true. They told me that I should celebrate my birthday as if Wendy were there with me and that I should celebrate my life. My friends totally helped me to celebrate (possibly a little too hard, lol) and made my birthday amazing. And of course, my family was there by my side (err- inside... we were all outside -- the "kids," I mean). So that's where my life has taken me... All of my friend's are home although my bestest girl friends are leaving me soon! Jenny's off to Camp Cedar (she's a counselor at an all boys overnight camp... Haha, she ADORES it!), Jaclyn's living in Manhattan and taking classes (n I will be crashing her apartment during the weekend... Totally her idea, not mine ) and Kristina is doing a Fellowship in Germany. I feel like such a waste of life compared to them, some times. Haha, no I'm joking, I lived in Hawaii last summer, I know how fortunate I am, no worries. All my best guys are still going to be around though, and my girlfriends who I'm still really close with, just not as close. I graduated from a small private school with about 86 in my graduating class. (I think!!!) So at my birthday were about 25-30 of my closest friends from that class (and then some outside of school too, of course!), so it was like this humongous hug! I loved that feeling! As previously mentioned, my friends are MY LIFE (aside from my family) and having them around me makes everything seem okay.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Okay, well, with all of that being said, I have so much to do today, but I'm sorry, once again, that I've been so annoying about this blog and just in general. I apologize for not keeping you guys updated on my M.I.A. status, as that would have been a much more responsible approach (rather than just NOT blogging). I've still been reading yours though! (Even if my comments have been M.I.A. too.)
Here's what I've loved (aside from just "hearing" your voices across the blogsphere):
Linds (Love Of Oats): All of your experimenting is making ME so excited for the summer weather! With new weather comes SO many possibilities (or so it seems like it), as everything is growing, learning, and the world seems so much more alive :) And your decision to try out eating based on your intuitive hunger cues is a huge step and quite courageous! Love it!
Karen (DoBetter): HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!! I believe we shared the same one! Sweet! Oh, and I basically was near to LICKING my computer screen when I saw that Man's Mud Pie. Umm, SUPER YUM!!
Liz (Veggiegirl): Those Lemon Gem Cupcakes are so delicate!! I can only imagine the fragrance that surrounded you as soon as you scooped out the top! Yummmm! And I loved the Mother's Day pictures! So sweet :)
Melis (Melissa's Journey): Way to go on your 5k!! That's HUGE girl! Aaaand those pictures of you at the race are beautiful! If only I looked like that after I run! (haha) Oh yeah, and that Carrot Cake? Beyond Words
Jennifer (veg*n Cooking and other random musings): Your garden looks AWESOME!! You've inspired me to try growing tomatoes this summer!!! Thank you!
Kristie (Lighter Portions): I've loved reading about your adventures with both your meals and especially your swimming! I've swam my entire life. My mom swam in the pool at our gym the day she gave birth to me! In fact, everyone thought she'd give birth to me in that pool! Haha I can swim for a while, but I definitely notice that the biggest part of swimming is your breathing. My lungs are pretty big from swimming, but the sport is similar to yoga in the sense that you have to focus your strength in your breaths, core, and lengthening your body with each stroke. And just as important is your form. (Just like with running, yoga, etc.). Keep it up though!!
Twin (Chocolate Covered Vegan): Those little ducklings!! So precious! Oh and don't let me forget to tell you about my love affair with a white bird that was so sweet! Just like a puppy!
Chandra (One Body, One Life, One Chance / Chandra's Shenanigans): Your 20k is so close! How exciting!! And your vacation is even closer! (Can we say only a few hours!!) Your roll-up pizza inspired me to make one and all of your veggie burger-esque meals got my butt to Whole Foods to purchase some of my own! (They're having a $6.00 sale for any two products from Boca Burger!) -PS- I have a couple of Sauced Dance Videos to show you... Haha they are ridiculous.
-PPS- Now that I'm editing this post, your 20k is SO soon!!! That's so awesome!! Can you believe how far you have come?! I honestly am awe struck by your "mind over body" attitude, as you always carry through your day with such positivity! I adore that about you! Move to Philadelphia!!! ;)
Ash (Healthy Ashley): Your selflessness is a quality that makes you such the marvel that you are. Your open-minded approach to Kelsey's comment about the youtube video was truly honorary, and I thought it was so respectful of you. Also, I thought for you to publicly discuss the error of your way, was fabulous. I find that too often, bloggers (especially recently!) are becoming SO defensive of themselves. I almost find it rude. One cannot expect that he/she will not receive comments and questions about his/her decisions if they are on the internet, you know? Anyway, enough of my digressing, I just think you kick ass. But that you know already OHHH, and before I forget: WAY TO GO ATHLETE! That's hot man!
Linds (Chocolate Coffee Kitchen): Your excitement over that Jocolat bar was too cute! I loved that little moment. You're such a foodie, really!! Aaaand your little Grilled Fiesta totally got me on the bandwagon with Tomatoes! Especially during this time of year (and August being the best!!) I go CRAZY over tomatoes! I live so close to New Jersey, aka home of the best tomatoes ever, and the grapes right now are borderline extinction because of me! And because of you, my grill is now being cleaned NIGHTLY from all of the tomatoes! y.u.m.
Lisa (Lisa Speaks): Love the new blog wallpaper! So pretty
Emma (Gliding Calm): Welcome back! Your family time sounded so nice and relaxing for you, and though I cannot imagine what it's like to have to say goodbye to them for so long, just know that you have all of our unending support, as well, with your skating, classes, blogging, etc. Plus, we're all selfish, especially me, and I am glad you're back so I can see more skating pictures, and hear about more of your endeavors!
Seasun (Seasun's youtube clips and Choreography): I miss you guys!!! I'm still in my cast, but am doing just fine, thank you! It's been a little awkward not being so active though. The Broad Street Run didn't happen, obviously, but I've been enjoying being lazy. How is everyone in class? I should come visit haha. I feel like I've been gone FOREVER! And how are your twinkle toes doing??? Still in pain? I hope not! I can't imagine what it's going to be like coming back to step! I'll feel like I'm starting all over again, haha, but I suppose that'll be the fun part of it, right! Give everyone my love!
Urban Vegan: Yay! Another Philly blogger! I love reading your blog and especially loved those pictures of your precious cats!!
Monica (Runeatrepeat): Ewwww, Food Poisoning from Whole Foods?!?! That's so horrible! And even moreso that the manager didn't react like he should have. I would have gone into my Whole Foods, personally, as I shop there all of the time. How Awful! I hope it's completely left your system though! Oh and how good is the watermelon right now? Last summer I remember finding Yellow Watermelon at the Whole Foods in Center City Philadelphia (well, on South Street). It's fantastic, by the way, so if you're ever in the area, GO! Anyways, they always have the most exotic produce and they had Yellow (I mean, YELLOW!) Watermelons! They claimed that they were the sweetest and best watermelons around. I bought a quarter of one. It sucked. Total Bummer. But regular Watermelons are still my heart's content hehehe
Romina (Vegan for One): THOSE COOKIE PICTURES!!! Amazing! I love getting close up shots of cookies and other baked goods, because I find that they always photograph SO well with their uniformity! I made INSANELY GOOD vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies and they turned out INSANELY good! I'll post the link soon! You'll flip for these I just know it!
Happy Herbivore: CONGRATS ON PASSING YOUR BAR EXAMS!!!!!!! What an ENORMOUS accomplishment! Daaaaaamn Giirl (PS) I can't wait for your cookbook to come out! And thanks for pointing out the recipe search bar! I checked out that pad thai recipe and may be making it tonight! (If I am feeling up to it... am fighting a little sick bug right now). And I am still interested in recipe testing so I will get on top of that email, I promise!
Irbas (The Only Source of Knowledge is Experience): How's your foot??? I hope quickly recovering! Ohhh and I love the new blog! About you and pb's wedding plans!! Weeeee!
Heather (Heather Bakes): That little sister of yours is TOO cute! If only you lived closer by, my little brother could play with your little sister!
Bonnie (Eating with the Rabbits): Umm can you send me some icecream? And EVERYTHING else you make?! Even your baking catastrophes! I'll test 'em all!
Cara (I Don't Believe in Diets): Can you post your Pseudo-Pad Thai recipe??? I've been searching for a healthier version to make at home! I'd LOVE to hear what you do to yours if you wouldn't mind sharing?
Kate (You Can Win Friends With Salad!): Umm, try everything that you make inspires me!!! Seriously, you should be my instructor on how to eat balanced and healthily! You do it with such ease and the positive outlook that you always demonstrate is so marvelous!! Your blog always makes me feel brighter! (nerdy mcnerd over here.)
Katie (Good Things Catered): You are out of this world!! Your passion is so contagious and your creations always end up bookmarked in my recipe collection! (Don't worry, I totally give you all the credit though!) Christie's birthday cake was one of the most beautiful/delicate cakes I've ever seen. She must have been so touched. And that Brandied Cherry Tart took me right into the French Countryside. Goodness, I could go on and on!
Tofufreak (In the Kitchen with a TofuFreak): You are so fabulous! Every time I leave your blog, I am so impressed with your love for the culinary arts, and even more impressed by your tender age! You remind me of myself at 13, except I was not a vegan, lol, but I looooved creating, especially in my kitchen. Keep on going! Maybe one day you can personally sign your cookbook for me (wink, wink.) And congrats on your Superior Award from your science fair! That's fantastic!
Roni [the Great] (Greenlitebites): I must admit that when I read that comment about your son, I immediately turned on my defenses for you. I felt like writing a comment back to her, and even typed one out, but then stepped back for a second. I realized that by leaving a comment in the heat of my upset, I was not at all helping you or the commenter. In fact, that comment wouldn't even do anything for anyone, except add unneeded stress. I found that it was wonderful how you approached that comment and I also felt that it was very honorary of her to openly return a comment in response to her first one. We all do things that we wish we could take back, and the fact that you saw that, despite having the urge to defend both your blog and your adorable son, was mad impressive to me. Your recent recipes have been SO perfect for the oncoming summer weather, especially that Watermelon Ice! I can't wait to make it!
Danielle (Around the World in 340 Days): As I said in my last comment (though it was quite some time ago... So Sorry!), your honesty in your blog is something that each and every one of your readers admire, endlessly. It is so important to be okay with oneself, in all of his/her achievements and steps forward, but even more importantly, through the setbacks and stepbacks. Personally, I felt that your "wednesday night event(s)" was/were not a set back for you, but rather a giant leap forward, because you were able to step outside of yourself and release all that you had been feeling. That was huge. Oh and how could I forget... HAPPY 20TH BIRTHDAY!!! I wish you nothing but the very best! (By the way, we're SO close in age, as my 20th birthday was on May 19! Don't you just love having a birthday in May? I adore it)
Kate (Winning Friends with Salad) and Cassie (Fast Fresh Fit): Thanks for the Tagging!!! yayy!
Kate (Winning Friends with Salad): I think I missed something here... Surgery??? Are you okay?? This isn't surgery on your vocal chords right? For some reason the way you described it echoed that for me... If so, we must discuss! I am still in therapy for mine!!!!!!!! (If not, please disregard, lol.)
Heather (Trust My Intuition): I support you 100% in your decision to move away from the calorie counting. I think it is incredibly courageous and that your meals always look incredibly healthful and nutritious. Honestly, if I were just reading your blog for the first time (thank goodness I'm not! I would have missed out on so much!) I would think you were a nutritionist already!
Ashley (Healthy Ashley): You are the cutest. Ever. (See below for more M.I.A. explanations). And by the way, YOU totally rock my socks with your openness and honesty too! And just know that life is not an end-all, be-all deal as far as your health is concerned. Remember that your body is incredibly strong and when you take in things that it does not like, it will work extra hard to rid itself of the undesired substances! You are SO young still, and it should relax you to think about how you have your whole life to experiment with what works for you. Gosh, I wish you lived close by! I feel like we could chatterbox FOREVER, I don't know why, I have always felt that way though. Like brothers from another mother...
I've Been Tagged!!! My first time Ever! Saweeeeeeeeet
(Insert themesong: "Ohhhh Happy Days...")
So, both the beautiful Kate and the lovely Cassie tagged me for the 5 fun facts game! I was so excited, as I have never been tagged before! (PS) I've loved reading all of your facts too! They are all so interesting and it's so wonderful to get to know more about all of you! (And thanks for the tags girls!)
RULES: (1) Link your tagger(s) and post these rules
(2) Share 5 unknown Facts about yourself
(3) Pay it forward! Link 5 more bloggers and include their names in your post
(4) Leave them a comment on their blog and let them know that they've been tagged!
FACTS: (This is so fun!)
(1) My new breakfast OBSESSION/fave: Fage with Chilled Mango. (And I eat the skins! They are so delicious, you must try them! Plus they have fiber and nutrients, yummy!) Fage used to be too intense for me, but now I prefer it to my cottage cheese! I had lots of chilled honeydew and cantaloup and watermelon this morning with it too, which was fabulous, but nothing holds a candle to the chilled mango and fage combo! (Champagne Mangos, also called Yellow Mangos= the only skin I've tried... They are perfect for a personal mango size-wise and taste like Hawaii). Ohh and Rasberries and Fage = Amazing too. But I accidentally bought conventional ones at Whole Foods (why go there and not get the good stuff, right?! Well they were all out of Organic and I had a friend coming for the weekend who I knew adores them, so I bought some!) and they were yucky! I even smelled them to make sure they'd be good and they did, indeed, smell like perfectly ripe rasberries. Well, they weren't. Ick. (That was my face after being slammed with sour, bitter, mcnasty.) But don't worry Rasberries, I won't abandon you! (I could never).
(2) I have always adored Fresh Produce and always thought that fruits and vegetables were SO beautiful. I always craved fruit when I was little and Steamed Broccoli was always on my toddler tray! I couldn't get enough! Recently, however, my passion has gotten ahead of me and I have forgotten about my health... I have severe Acid Reflux to the point of losing my voice for weeks at a time. This most likely stemmed from the fact below, which I will leave in suspense (yes, I am perfectly aware that one could merely scroll down, or even glance down and read it, but it's more fun this way!), but because of my reflux, I had to stop eating Ketchup which since I was a wee little one, has been my favorite condiment E.V.E.R. It was definitely hard for me to ween myself off of the stuff, but I have successfully done so! Woot woot! Anyways, recently, I have resorted to topping my chicken and veggies with tomato sauce (or jarred meat-sauce and I find that jarred sauce tastes 1,000,000X better with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (Yes, the REAL REAL REAL stuff from my Whole Foods's Cheese Department... It totally would blow your sh** out of the water, let me tell ya! So not only have I been eating this tomato-based sauce that is no better for my throat then Ketchup, but I have also been eating tons of the A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Grape Tomatoes that are SO sweet and SO refreshing right now! B.A.D. I have also been battling a massive cold/sinus infection/virus like WOHH and my mom has it now too! I have been sleeping a TON or at least attempting to/resting a lot because I am not sleeping too well at night. I need to watch my acidity right now B.I.G. T.I.M.E.
3) When I was little, my favorite food was Cheese. That's such an understatement, too. I used to always want string-cheese or chedder cheese or swiss cheese when I was in kindergarten even! I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE Whole Wheat Bread Sandwiches with one-slice of really intense Swiss Cheese. And that's it! Haha, SO GOOD. In fact, I'm kind of wanting one right now, how funny is that?! It's probably been at least 5 years since I've had one!
(4) I have always been a perfectionist, even when I was little. Like an extreme-o perfectionist. Example: I used to practice my scales for hours and hours when I was little (vocal) and would even practice my handwriting for hours, as well. I played tennis (rather seriously, did tournaments for 6-7 years) or rather, practiced at a 9 week-long tennis camp every summer for 7 years, for six hours each day doing drills, matches, clinics, strength training, swimming (endurance), sprinting (endurance), etc. I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT and remember always being sad when the day was over. I still play... Well, not currently, due to my stupid foot, which is not doing too well, I'm afraid... Anyway, my summers are often spent playing tennis during the day and night (sometimes even around 10, 11 o'clock), and I have been missing it, terribly. SIDENOTE: Due to playing so intensely when I was younger and being the perfectionist that I am and was, I stopped playing due to the stress that the sport began to give me, emotionally. I became obsessive-compulsive about winning and the love I had for the sport faded away. My High School coach was also an abusive coach and I quickly associated the sport with her. She sucked. Anyways, I can (THANK GOODNESS) play now and keep my stress and anxiety at bay, but I only hit. I do not play matches and I refuse to. (I know I should try and get over this, but it is a very sensitive area for me and one that I do not want to return to... I got really angry not just on the court, but in my life outside of tennis too, and that was NOT me! So needless to say, if you want to play sometime, I'd love to! Just not a match haha
(5) I have been studying music since I was a toddler, literally. I did musicals in Philadelphia when I was really really young, and thought it was TOTALLY normal to be in front of tons of people singing and not being nervous. Funny thing though: Singing in front of 5 People or even MORESO 1 person scared the crap out of me (luckily that didn't happen too often... ). Anyways, I started taking private music theory and voice lessons at the age of 8 and was singing at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia shortly after. I loved it. It was the joy of my life and the sunshine of my day. Even at school I practiced roughly three hours a day, with a voice coach in both singing and music theory. I always assumed I'd go to college and pursue it. As I got older, Jazz became my passion and my range became even wider, especially with all of my practicing. During my Junior Year of High School, however, my voice began to change and the high notes that used to be my forte, suddenly became unreachable. It was honestly like an all-of-a-sudden thing and the more I trained, the more pain I felt in my throat. My range became none existent, as did the strength to even speak. I would wake up in the mornings with the most horrible pain, unable to utter a single word. I would lose my voice for two weeks at a time. I became very depressed and my confidence plummeted to nothing. After seeing Dr. Robert T. Sataloff (the same Doctor who operated on Julie Andrews after a doctor ruined her vocal chords leaving her speechless), and working with his speech therapists, psychiatrists, and vocal/music therapists, they found that I have vocal nodules, which are cysts that develop on the vocal folds/chords due to overuse and overstrain. Mine had developed from overuse and fragmented growth and formation due to overuse at such a young age. I knew what nodules were and I immediately broke down when he told me. They slowly paralyze the range of movement for the vocal chords and I knew about Julie Andrews' nodules. She had hers operated on and the operation left her unable to use her voice at all. I knew that any surgery had a 50/50 recovery chance, but I also knew that I was seeing the best doctor in the world (or so it's been said) and that I could not have been in any better hands than Dr. Sataloff's. Long-Story-Short = I did not get the surgery and have not sang since. The Musical Theatre Director at Penn State was amazing and came to Philadelphia to hear me sing in twelfth grade, for the last time, at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and it was so touching. I sang a jazz song that left me and my whole family very emotional, and she took a long time to talk with me after my performance about what I was going through. It was one of the most tragic performances for me and experiences, because I knew that I would be saying goodbye to something that had been the light in my life, everyday, for my entire life. She told me that I could call her at any time and talk to her about it, as did the rest of the professors there, but up to this point, I have kept this struggle very private (between my family, friends, and therapists/coaches/teachers only). This summer I hope to get up the courage to pursue the surgery getter-done, as they say! Currently, however, as stated above, I am not in the best shape (health-wise, I'm sick, and my health needs to be 200% for this surgery's outcome to be at its best!!!) and have been sick! I'm hoping to get better sooon! Send HEALTHY VIBES my way guys!!!
(This is fun, I'm continuing!)
(6) Lactaid Extra-Strength Chewables are my LIFE-SAVER! Although I am not a huge cheese eater anymore, there are certain cheeses that I A.D.O.R.E. My Whole Foods has an incredible Cheese Department. I'm not talking a little table. No, like a department, a legit d.e.p.a.r.t.m.e.n.t. with five Cheese Connaisseurs (four or five) at any given time. It is so beautiful and makes me wish that there was a wine cellar next door! My current favorites include Chevre which is a fresh Goat's Cheese (tangy and divinely refreshing and decadent at the same time!), Goat's Cheese (Traditional Crumbly one, perfect for Spinach Salads with Rasberry Vinagrette!), Parmigiano Reggiano (When they cut open the HUGE wheels and you smell the nutty, warm, and full bouquet'd body of this cheese, it is OUT OF THIS WORLD! And if you have only eaten this cheese in cooked dishes you are MISSING OUT! With a sweet, aged, reduced balsamic vinager, mache (a very tender, sweet, and nutty green leaf that looks like a baby-baby spinach... If your store does not carry mache, use baby spinach), pears (not too ripe) and toasted walnuts? Oh my goodness Me!! Such a healthy and PERFECT salad!! And it's always impressive for entertaining. Note: The pears should still have some (slight) chew to them and it should still be easy to get clean cuts out of them! No mushy pears here! (Unless, of course, you prefer them that way... Ewwww). The Parmigiano Reggiano is also best in thin slices here. Just a little bit of the cheese as nothing should overpower here. One should be able to taste each of the fabulous ingredients!! I promise you'll love it. (You can also substitute the Goat's Cheese here too!)
(7) I never went to Pre-K. I'm not sure why, I just didn't. In fact, when people would mention "Pre-K" I'd be confused as my Pre-School didn't have anything called "Pre-K"... I suppose then, that they included the year of education, but not the name? Hmm... I'll have to ask my parents about this one!
WHEW! I am exhausted after this post! I have some pictures from my birthday and of some food! (Really? No Way!) And some recipes that I have to post for you guys to try! Some are my own and some are not, but I'll be sure to give the sources for the recipes that are not mine, no worries!! And OH, I almost forgot! If anyone knows how to create a sidebar for recipes or a tab for inserts like recipes, frequently asked questions, etc., for blogger then please let me know!!! HOPE EVERYONE'S ENJOYING THEIR THURSDAYS! SATC COMES OUT TOMORROW!!!!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
And thanks for reading my blog, despite me being a bad blogger! I love you guys!
Posted by Simple and Divine at 9:59 AM