recap + giving tuesday

So I want to start out by saying how proud I am of myself…I cooked for Thanksgiving and people liked it! This is such an accomplishment for me. My family was so impressed with my quinoa-stuffed sweet potatoes (via Leslia Durso) and they all asked me for the recipe! Here is the photo from Leslie’s blog so you can all be impressed with me, too:

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I recommend the recipe to anyone- this meal was delicious and so nutritious!

So, now on to another topic, Giving Tuesday.

No, I would never want to undermine the inhumane Black Friday stampedes or the world-altering deals of Cyber Monday, but since last year someone is reminding us that there is more to Christmas and the holidays than just the presents.

Tomorrow is the second annual Giving Tuesday, a day when charities nationwide encourage us to think about someone else, someone in need, someone who can’t even afford the massive markdowns of Black Friday.

The day, according to the LA Times, is “designed to help charities raise money online,” but it is so much more than this.

People trample each other over the last pair of 50% off jeans on Black Friday. Billions of dollars are spent every year on the weekend after Thanksgiving so that people can provide the best and most gifts for their families during this commercialized holiday season.

Giving Tuesday reminds us that this is not the spirit of the season, this is not what the holidays are about.

My favorite part of this time of the year is the general warmth I feel of people and the happiness that overcomes me when shop windows are decorated and people feel more inclined to help others and be generous.  Giving Tuesday, to me, is an embodiment of all of that, and I hope that everyone will take a moment to even stop and say something nice to someone. Huge donations aren’t even necessary, as long as something is given.

Joy, love, care, help- all of these things are just as important as money tomorrow, and every day.  Remind yourself to give and not to dwell. 

xo

random acts of kindness

Today, I deactivated my Facebook account temporarily.  I realized posts on my Newsfeed becoming more and more negative and my time on the site increasing and thought I needed a major cleanse from all the chaos.  It was becoming unhealthy for my mentality and just such an unnecessary presence in my life.  I needed to take myself away from the negativity that people spread on a daily basis and remind myself that there is positive in every situation.

With that in mind, I browsed for inspiration, for reminders that people are good and that negativity is not in the majority.

I found this through the Huffington Post:

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Reddit user Braffination posted this photo of a man letting someone sleep on his shoulder on the Q train in New York City one day.  Though the Jewish man was asked by another passenger if he wanted to wake the man up, he insisted they let him sleep, as he probably had a long day.

THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

Amongst all of the people who complain about the little things that happen on a daily basis, all the people who bring others down and point fingers, there are people like this man who had genuine concern for the stranger sitting next to him.

People sometimes rule.

Do something nice for someone this week; make a stranger’s day. xx

thanks.

So, I promised a bit of thanks this week, and I will deliver!

For this month, I think it is important to reflect on the things I am thankful for, because I so often dwell on negativity.  Not today!

Free People posted on their blog yesterday this image with a quote from my favorite author, Jack Kerouac:

There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.

Their post focused on looking forward, always remembering that there are places to go, new things to try, adventures to be had.

This inspired me to write on my own favorite Kerouac quote:

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Yes, I am thankful for the ability to see the world, for adventure, for love, for spontaneity, for nature.

But most of all, I am thankful for creativity.  For inspiration.  For writing.

Any creative outlet is something to be thankful for.  The ability to express oneself is one of the best things for spiritual health.

Reading, writing, dancing, drawing – they all allow us to be in touch with a spiritual side and to reflect on things that go over our heads during nonstop work days or dull classes.  It is just as important to overall health as running or fueling your body with healthy food or stretching.

Creativity is vital for the heart of my soul.

Have an exciting week xx

hobo chic

No, my title is not misspelled.

I do enjoy boho fashion, but even more appealing to me is hobo fashion.

Stretchy pants, hoodies and hospital socks are my favorite clothing items in my closet.

That being said, it is not surprising that my favorite fall trend is THE SLOUCHY SWEATER.

This item not only makes hobo look fashionable, it is so comfortable and so warm on these now cooling California days.  I can also wear my slouchy sweaters to work and look super fashion-forward!  My favorite are the Free People ones this season, even though they are SO out of my budget…I still like to look for inspiration and daydreaming!

Even better than this, though, is a trend that has emerged over the past few seasons and really taken stride this fall: the kimono!  Kimonos have taken hobo back to boho with the same amount of comfort and minimum effort.  

I think what I like most about kimonos is they make me feel like I’m back in the 70’s, like Patti Smith’s best friend or something.  I love it.  I recently purchased this one from Nasty Gal and love the kimono and the way they have styled it.  

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Optimum style AND comfort so that I can continue to function in public.  Let me know what your favorite fall trends are! Stay tuned for some November thankfulness coming at you next week. xx

take me to church

An important part of my boho soul is social activism.  I like to be part of current events, to take a side and know why.

What feeds this side of me the most is social commentary in the arts.  There’s nothing that moves me more than a song with a powerful message or insight into something going on in society.

Cue: Hozier.

This Irish artist is new to the music scene, but is already topping the charts in his home country.  I discovered this song on my favorite music blog, Pigeons and Planes, and instantly fell in deep, deep love.  He has a “voice that’s smooth as it is powerfully emotive,” according to P&P’s write-up of this single.  He has those deep soul vocals that really get your gut, and I cannot describe the shivers that go up my spine every time I hear this song.

Not only does he have a powerful voice, but his songwriting is rich and intriguing, something many artists these days skimp on for fancy synth effects.  ‘Take Me to Church’ calls out the hypocrisy that infiltrates society, the judgment that people place on one another.  The video is even more haunting because it depicts a very extreme case, the lynching of a homosexual man because of his sexual preference.

Though art like this can be tough to handle, I think it is so important that artists and musicians continue to spread social activism and awareness and take a step back from the money making to send a message.

Have a splendid week. xx

lucky 13

I’m sure you had a pretty similar Facebook News Feed to mine this weekend, with over 30,000 women from around the world sharing their experiences from the 10th Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco.

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I have always said that a half marathon is out of reach for me, that people who run that much have to be crazy; but, something sparked in me this weekend as I looked through pictures of my peers crossing the finish line after 13.1 inspirational miles…

aaaaaaand….

I have officially started my training for a half marathon!

I searched the date for the Hollywood Half Marathon, downloaded the Map My Run Training app on my phone, laced up my bright pink running shoes and raced off…

for 15 minutes.

Yes, it was a very anticlimactic start, but I have not been this motivated about something in a very long time.  I do run regularly, about 3 miles 3 times a week, but I have always been okay with that being my limit.  I am ready to push past that and be able to say that I can run 13 miles without stopping.  It is good for my health and overall fitness, and the mental resurgence it has given me in just a few days has been amazing!

Let’s just hope it lasts.

What are you doing for your health right now? Any new fitness goals or just goals in general?? If not, I highly recommend forcing some motivation into your life.  A positive attitude does the soul wonders!

Until next week. xx

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my favorite season

I. Love. Fall.

Slouchy sweaters, warm soup, piping hot coffee and tea with every meal and, most importantly,

PUMPKIN EVERYTHING.

I am absolutely obsessed with pumpkin.  Soy pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks™, pumpkin beer, pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin granola, pumpkin lotion, pumpkin candles…

I could go on forever.

And my roommates can go on about how you can smell the pumpkin from down the hall.

But, I can’t help it.  In Miley’s words, “I can’t be tamed!”

Living in Southern California, I kind of miss out on the beautiful changing season, so I make up for it with my pumpkin obsession.

Here is my list of my favorite things pumpkin; and the best part is…it’s all totally organic, totally vegan!

1.  KBC Pumpkin Ale: it’s more pumpkiny than most pumpkin beers I’ve tried, and the extra cinnamon is the perfect fall touch!

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2. Vegan Pumpkin Bread: found this recipe on the blog Hell Yeah it’s Vegan and fell in absolute love…it’s like pumpkin heaven in my mouth.

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3. Pumpkin Soup! Nothing compares to my Teta’s (grandma in Lebanese) pumpkin soup on a chilly fall evening.  All I need for the rest of my life is a breeze, a blanket and pumpkin soup.

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4. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Body Butter: so I can smell autumn wherever I go.  Caution: keeps you constantly hungry!

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5. Last, but not least, Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream! Made with coconut milk.  This is the ultimate fall treat, especially on those 88-degree fall days that we have here in California.  Courtesy of Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats!

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Enjoy these recommendations, and let me know of any pumpkin delights that make you swoon for the season! xx

my weakness

So here I am writing every week about my bohemian lifestyle, doing yoga, meditation, and eating organic and vegan.

Well, I think it’s time to come clean.

I am a vegan…for the most part.  I have a weakness (as do most people who swear off of anything that is not grown from the Earth) and that weakness is sushi.

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I know, I know. It’s a big one, but honestly I couldn’t give it up…I’m only human!

I believe that everyone should live the way they want to, not how a social label tells them they should.  I believe in the organic lifestyle and only putting in my body what is meant to be there and what the Earth has given to me.

I also believe that if my one cheat is raw fish, I’m not doing too bad for myself.

Anyways, on that note, I went to the most gorgeous sushi restaurant called Asaka in Palos Verdes on Sunday night.  It was my birthday last Monday, so on Sunday I went to dinner with my family.  The restaurant was an average sushi restaurant; good quality, typical rolls, etc.

But the view…

The restaurant is overlooking the cliffs of PV; the view is absolutely breathtaking.

It is things like this that make me appreciate the world around us and remind me that it is my responsibility to take care of it. I cannot impose my views on others, but to think about the harm we inflict on our beautiful planet daily is so sad.

We need to appreciate the Earth and give back the plenty that it gives to us.

Go green, people! Or else who knows how long we have to appreciate this beauty:

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xx

miracle juice

Yesterday was my 21st birthday, which can only mean one thing.

Today greeted me with a vicious hangover.

Most people recommend pain killers, sugary electrolyte drinks, and fast food.

I say try Kombucha!

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Kombucha is a fermented black tea drink, made with only organic materials, completely vegan and the best hangover recovery drink ever.

Yes, it is made by fermenting bacteria and yeast which sounds gross, BUT it is so healing for your body and so helpful when your liver is screaming at you for last night’s decisions.

Food Republic published a piece about Kombucha, claiming that it has detoxifying elements AND apparently if you drink it while getting rowdy it can even prevent a hangover!

I am now a believer and recommend that everyone ditch the unnatural remedies that just put more toxins in your body and try a more healthy, body-friendly option.

There really is nothing that makes your body happier than something that comes from the earth and is meant to benefit it.

That’s not to day don’t have fun…I would never recommend giving up a bit of wine! Just remember to treat your body well so that you can get the best out of every day. xx

yogi life

Today was Monday, and today was a struggle.

All Mondays are struggles, and with every struggle or obstacle should come a method of combatting the stress that comes with it.

Enter, yoga.

I have been learning yoga for over a year now, and let me tell you, it is harder than it looks!  It takes a lot of patience, balance, breathing, and clearing of your mind, all things I struggled with before starting classes.

Now, I do not know what I would do without my twice weekly dosage of my zen.

Getting home on the 405 three times a week is not a good time, not to mention papers and assignments and exams that await me at home, but when Allan turns on his hippie meditation music, everything goes away.  And when Allan makes me stay in chair pose for more breaths than I can hold, all of the stress just goes to my thighs!

Allan is my yoga instructor.

There is nothing more organic than challenging the limits of your body with itself, sans weights and machines.  It really is a break from all of the “stuff” that surrounds us every day and a chance to just be centered.

Sometimes a little inspiration is all we need.

I recently bough tea from Trader Joe’s that just happens to be called ‘Yogi Tea’, and each of the bag labels has a little quote on it.  Yesterday’s was fitting for the stresses that are weighing me down and really helped to remind me that I’m strong!

Moral: find something that relaxes you and make sure you do it as often as you need to.  There is always time for you. xx

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