Saturday, January 30, 2010

Planning your meals and not wasting food

Design*sponge grocery planner

Bon Appetite 7 habits of highly effective grocery shoppers

I'm getting ready to head to Brooklyn, I have a bit of food that I brought from Ithaca but really I want to start over. I want all new spices except for the newest spices I have. I have some flour and basics, but really I just want to treat it like I'm living in Italy again. Buy food, cook it. Buy food, cook it. make left overs, have some pasta. Buy food, cook it.

I will be much more active in this job than my past jobs, so I need to account for that when bringing lunch. I also will be working in areas that will most likely not have salad bars and delis with tasty sandwiches... so I really need to make sure I bring hearty foods that keep me going. I'm a little concerned about getting bored (food wise). I may end up getting a microwave for th job site if there isn't one there, so I can eat warm food. I'll try the food thermos again but it doesn't stay HOT it ends up being just warm. Cheap foods are beans and rice... together they create a complete protein... cheaper than meat! Salads will be good too. I will be packing lunch everyday, dinner 2 days a week and a snack everyday. I'd like to go to some yoga classes, trying out different studios. With my classes 2 days a week it doesn't make sense to get an unlimited pass for any yoga studio because there are at least 2 days a week I won't be able to go. For now I'm going to try to stick to a few classes a week.

My new job starts Monday, and I have class that night. We are being fed lunch on Monday which means I don't have to figure out lunch until Tuesday. It's hard to plan a meal when I don't know when I'm moving in (Sunday night, tomorrow, hopefully). And I have nothing in the fridge :P

Cheers to a new job, moving forward and personal growth. May this be the best year yet.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I can still keep the nickname... even if the person who gave it to me isn't around anymore

I'm gonna own it.
(all images from

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Getting ready

I'm getting geared up to start my new job (Monday morning!). Half of my stuff is loaded in my car, tomorrow I put the other half of things in my car. Hopefully I can move in Sunday, but there is not guarantee. What's up with the first of the month being on a Monday? I feel like renting should be from the first to last weekend of the month, it would be so much more convenient for moving. I've been looking up lots of articles and storing them on my computer because I won't have internet in my new place. Tonight the focus of my research is on food, especially food without an oven. My new place has a fridge, microwave, and double electric hotplate.

How to Eat Your Trash

How to Eat Less Meat

Pastas and their appropriate sauce applications Nice photos of pastas :)

Recipes that don't require an oven
Icebox Cake, I won't be able to make cookies (though I will be able to make cookie dough!)

Um, I'll find more later

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You know what's free but painful?

Letting go.

Suffering is like street meat. After enough of it you realize it sucks and you should just let it go, even though it smells good... The analogy worked better in my head.

Pain is inevitable, bad things happen, tough times happen, but holding onto a certain view of something doesn't make it go away. It makes suffering happen. It is painful. Like holding onto a rope that is sliding up, the only way to not feel the pain of rope burn is to let go of the rope. I have been suffering these 2 months because I cannot let go of this view/understanding I had of the world. Trust me, I have been working on it. But today, to receive a casual forwarded link from him, it felt like salt on the wound. How can your first contact with someone who's heart you broke be so casual and nonchalant? I have to fight harder to let go. Fight harder to remember that everything is happening perfectly, that the universe wouldn't give me anything I couldn't handle, that I will get through this... that I am getting through this... that I have so much to be grateful for and so much ahead of me. I cannot let this hurdle continuously trip me from my future... whatever that may be.

I am filling my calendar up with classes and work starting next Monday (life of a pauper by choice... food stamps, not enough to live on in NYC, but a great learning experience and opportunity). I can only hope (nay, wonder) what windows this door will lead to. 3 months ago I wouldn't have seen this all happening, yet here I am. And making the best of it. I've been told I'm brave... I have been reading the Pema Chondron Collection my mom lent me and it has been very helpful. I haven't had a steady enough mind to mediate today, but reading and thinking about it helped immensely. She said that her husband early in her marriage told her she was the bravest person he knew because she was the biggest coward but went ahead and did what she was afraid of anyway. That's where I feel I am. I don't know what the future will bring. I had my first graphic design class today and I loved it. I was riveted. I don't know where my career is headed. I feel like I'm interested in too many things to pick one. How can I combine all aspects of design? I don't think of myself as brave because I'm scared and nervous. But I am still changing my life, even without him. Perhaps because of him. I don't know what the future will bring. I used to always have a plan and now... I know where I'll be working til Dec, I know where I'll be living and taking classes til April. Next January I have no idea what my career plans will be, where I will be going or what I will be doing. It would be liberating if it wasn't so frightening. Hopefully in these next 1 months I'll learn to face that fear. To be at peace with it and be aware of what's going on around me so I can hop through any open windows or doors of opportunity that my choices may offer me in the next 11 months.

On a slightly different note. If you live in NYC and are looking for a way to spend your day for little money and maximum relaxation... Spa Castle, on a weekday, $35 for 3 levels of pools, hot tubs, jets and saunas is pretty freaking amazing. I also got a chair massage of my back for $15/10 min (the most affordable massage option). They have other services like manis and pedis, hot stone massage and waxing... less of a fun filled cheap day though to include those. I went there with a group of girls on Friday and it was totally awesome. We were there from 1pm til about 8pm. On the weekends it's busier and $10 more, so less enticing. 6 days til I start working my below-minimum wage job. These next 11 months are going to be interesting...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New job!

I have accepted an Americorps position with Habitat for Humanity! I'll really have to be thrifty... it pays about $840 a month (that's after taxes), with a unlimited metrocard and a $200 rent voucher a month. In New York City... this is gonna be a bitch! I'll be able to get food stamps, which will help. I should have plenty to blog about, from the internet cafe near my place because I won't have internet. I won't be able to save any money, but at least I'll be able to bring in some money, rather than living 100% off loans. My student loans will be on deferment and I will get a stipend at the end of my 1700 hours of service toward tuition or loans. I made sure I'll be able to take a few days off to go to my brother's wedding, yay! There will be a couple trips, one to Iowa in June and another somewhere in the Fall. My best friend is doing the same job (she's been there several months already)- but I don't think we'll be working at the same site, at least not often.

The position will be a construction site leader. Teaching volunteers how to do the work, delegating, quality control... all things I was doing at Yestermorrow without being asked. This time it's actually my responsibility :) I'll be taking Introduction to Construction Project Management as well as Introduction to Graphic Design in the evenings, and hopefully going to some insight meditation group sittings. This set period of having a job/responsibility will be nice to structure my life a bit while I try to figure out what to do next!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Time + Skill - money = sewing projects!

Something I've been wanting to do for a long time is renew my wardrobe, to be more professional (dress for the job you want, not the job you have). If I stuck to my current wardrobe I'd look, well, unemployed. I am taking 2 classes this semester in NYC, Introduction to Graphic Design and Introduction to Construction Project Management. These classes are at two different schools, evening classes so I'll have my days to prep for the great job hunt, nay, the great career hunt of 2010. I already own a lot of fabrics and I will have a lot of time while looking for a job/ prepping for the job hunt/ taking classes to see if I want to shift gears in my career. So with all this time, and the know how of sewing (and hopefully I'll be learning more, especially about fit and making my own patterns, hello library), I am going to make my own wardrobe. For someone who is fully employed, it is way cheaper to buy clothes at the store, when they go on sale ($30 cashmere at the factory outlet store this weekend, cha-ching!)

I have already gone through most of my clothes, I have a big pile of clothes to sell for cash/ donate to charity. I still have to go through my dressy clothes. Some of these pants just aren't meant for me. I also have a box of shoes to go through. Owning cute shoes doesn't make sense if you don't wear them. Time to purge the closet/boxes!

I've been shopping looking for certain things and another problem I have is that I never seem to like anything. Clothing these days is either cut too low (pants), or not long enough (shirts), has lots of crazy crap on it (ruffles? big ass flowers? No thank you.). I like clean lines, elegant silhouettes. Do you see much of this in my wardrobe? No, because the only clothes I am aware of that have those, are designer duds, which I cannot afford, and even if I could, would rather spend my money on quality food or travel or that home down payment I'm going to start saving for... as soon as I'm employed. I promise.

Images to follow when I get moved into my new place and get started on the... great re-wardrobing of 2010!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lessons in Beautiful

The media is evil. It preys on our insecurities, telling us we are too fat, we eat all the wrong things, our skin looks terrible, and our clothes are sooo last season. I realize it's a new year and slightly cliche to be working on creating a new me, but so many things have changed in my life in the last month that the best way I can deal with it, is to reevaluate myself and start over. Keeping what I like from before and improving what I can.

May I accept the things I cannot change, have the courage to change the things I can and have the wisdom to know the difference.

I have the power to change my mind and my body. I can meditate to work on clearing my mind, being more aware of myself and living in the present as well as figuring out what I want. I can reduce clutter both mental and physical. Meditation will help clear my mind, I need to practice daily (like learning the piano). All my stuff is currently in my mom's garage (or in my car). Moving is such a harsh reminder of how much stuff I own. It is also a reminder of how much stuff I own that I never use, or is worn out. To respect yourself is to take care of your appearance. It doesn't have to come from the media, it doesn't have to be expensive and it shouldn't be for anyone but yourself. It's funny how it is possible to get so focused on something in the future that you forget the present. Reading about meditation, trying to practice it, and reading articles in yoga journals, have been helping me a lot to realize that life is now. Life is how we will be in 2 years, life is not going to happen when you get through something. I spend a lot of time thinking 'After I get through this things will be better.' It's a toxic way to think. Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional - it stems from attachment. Attachment to thinking I can control anything other than myself. I cannot change the weather, I cannot change other people, I cannot change what happens to me or to other people. I can only change or control my response to what happens to and around me.

Tonight I will be hitting up my first yoga class (in a long time and with new inspiration for doing it). I will chronicle my yoga/meditation/beautification/wardrobe updating experience here as well. It may seem that I share too much at times, but I have never really understood keeping things to yourself because we are all human and go through experience and how do people learn? By sharing experiences. In tough times especially is when the heart can heal with the help of words of others' experiences (I love you mom!)

May I accept the things I cannot change, have the courage to change the things I can and have the wisdom to know the difference.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." Mark Twain

It is time to update my wardrobe. All of my jeans have patches, so I bought a couple new pairs of jeans from Express, now I own 2 pairs of jeans without holes. I recently bought 2 new black sweaters, one cozy with a big neck and the second with a deep V-neck, very sexy. Both look great with the black jeans. I need more pants, especially warm ones. I'm thinking wool, with pockets with flaps on the back. I also could use some new shirts... shirts is where I get stuck. As a busty lady I am very particular about tops and they need to have few details on top, nothing to attract attention to the chest. I also need new flats... my black ballet flat shoes are totally busted. I only realized when I went to wear them to a wedding in October. My winter coat is also busted, but I'm not ready to replace that one yet... holes in the sleeves is not enough to get me to buy a new $300 coat... I did get many years of use out of it, but it still has more life in it! I just need to mix it up. I will follow up later with more wardrobe updates on a budget. Not like an article I saw on spending and saving in NYC where a girl thought it okay to drop $225 on 2 Hermes scarves... that is not $avy. I also tend to lean more towards classic dress, as opposed to trendy items. I look forward to shopping, with a budget, to create a new professional wardrobe for my upcoming period of career exploration. I also got a hair cut when I was in Oregon, I now have... Bangs! I have hair that requests I wear it down and put product in it...

I'm very excited about my new wardrobe. It will take some time to build up, but I will attempt to document it as best I can. Specifically with a classic leaning... I don't do 'trendy', I do classic, mostly black, dark denim... still working on good tops though.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010, you are most welcome

It's a new year, a clean slate. I'm taking a sabatical for the next few months. Moving back to NYC, taking classes, looking for work, making a personal website, staying with friends, seeing old friends, meeting new people, experimenting with food, and trying to live on a smaller budget.

My stuff is packed, I'm leaving my apartment tomorrow (though I may have to come back to take out the trash and recycling :P ). I'm headed into the unknown. Tomorrow I have a pile of books to sell. When I get to my mom's house I want to go through all my stuff (this was the only time she had to help me move, so I didn't have time to sort it before moving it.) I want to reduce my clutter. Reduce my possessions that make it hard to move around. I don't know where I will be going next, I might be applying for school in Sweden, or working architecture in Colorado (or other random state), or living in Brooklyn. As far as 2010 this is what I know
- my brother is getting married, and I will be there
- I want to meditate, do yoga and run
- I want to explore the field of architecture and get more experience and figure out what part I want in it (via classes, informational interviews, apply for school, do certificates, get an internship- do what it takes to figure out what I want my career to be)

I was inspired by the film 'Coco Before Chanel' to take a pattern making class so I get more out of my love of sewing, hopefully there is a spot left. I'm also interested in furniture design, graphic design as well as green architecture. Much to explore. I also plan to get this blog back on track... food!

Tonight we went to North Star on Fall Street in Ithaca, NY. It was fantastic! Large portions, tasty local food, good conversation. The service was a little slow, which makes my only warning: don't go here if you are with someone you can't make conversation with!

Time to chill a bit and lay down, my back is sore from a day spent packing and lifting and descending stairs. I am excited/scared/nervous about why lies ahead, which made it difficult to pack.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Travel bug, links to some lists, and the future... silver lining

I had the itch of the travel bug. I still do. Reality, however, has settled in. I cannot travel. I have debts. A cell phone contract, an apartment lease to still get out of. I've had lots of time to think about all the different options that lay head and it would seem. All signs point to New York. I have been back in Portland and feel like I could live here, I love all the neighborhoods. I could afford a house. But I'm not ready to buy a house. I'm not ready to buy a house though. So moving somewhere because I could eventually afford a house there... isn't really the best reason to move somewhere. Maybe someday, meanwhile I can remember that I want to buy property eventually and actual deal with money like that is what I'm planning... someday, down the line, somewhere.
So, along with trying to live in the present I have made some goals for myself and some plans for when I get back to New York. I am going to trust that everything happens for a reason and I am going to trust that everything is happening perfectly. I'm going back to New York and things will work out however they are meant to.

10 tips for fearless living

10 ways to fill up on happiness

9 ways to find peace of mind

Another thing that helps me feel better is to watch How I Met Your Mother. A show where people fall in love and then break up and things get better, and they have careers they are passionate about, and life happens and it's hilarious! And who doesn't love Neil Patrick Harris!

I'm looking forward to blogging about moving (back) to New York City. Seeking out ways to save money, meet new people, explore things I'm interested in, see old friends, make new friends, learning Spanish, reading more books, surfing the internet less, learning to cook more things, learning about beer, explore my career and experiment in living in the now (running, meditation, creativity).