Monday, December 31, 2012

It's 2013 and I've got no goals

It's almost a new year! I was going to write some long post about how we shouldn't make resolutions, and it's ridiculous to set metrics by which to judge our lives. But you know what? Yeah, you probably should set resolutions and make them specific and with measurable outcomes and all that jazz. I'm sure it's good to do.

Personally though, I won't be resolving to do anything. I made no resolutions last year and somehow, probably primarily through momentum and stubbornness, got pretty much everything I needed to get done in 2012 finished. Minus this lit review chapter that is making me ornery at the moment, I had 2012 under control. And somehow, not a single resolution was made. Why? Because at some point I stopped caring about the specifics of what happens in my life. That might sound like bad news, but I promise it's not. As long as I'm doing my best and things are moving in a general forward direction, then quite frankly my dear, I don't give a fuck.

No goals, no masters

Honestly, I think I can credit a lot of the things I have accomplished to the fact that I have no resolutions, no bucket list, no 30 before 30. To do lists yes, but not overarching goals. And you know, don't get me wrong, I'm probably the least spontaneous person you will ever meet. The point is though that if you meet every task that comes across your door/desk/email as something important that requires your best, then you will do brilliantly. Further, there's no regret when you don't get a specific goal accomplished. It makes you flexible and resilient. 

The things you get done? Excellent! The things you don't? What things, I never heard of any things...?

Case in point. Applying to doctoral programs was never a specific goal of mine. I applied when I did because my GRE scores were going to expire and I didn't feel like taking them again. I also didn't really have a school I favored over any others. Somehow that worked out. No regrets. I came into this not really knowing what I wanted to do study, but I figured it out. I just worked hard, at everything, and I'm on track to being done in four years. And sure, getting it shape would be awesome and I have things that I specifically think would be helpful, but I don't have a set date that is has to happen by. I don't have a target weight. I don't even own a scale. 

If you just try, you'll get things done. The things that need doing. I don't need to make a resolution to tell me to find a job by spring. I don't need a resolution to learn how to drive, it'll happen. And if I need to drive for a job, it will happen sooner rather than later. Besides, if you really want to do something, you will, resolution or no. Don't we have enough externally arising obligations in our lives without inventing new ones for ourselves?

Life is not a program

Somehow program evaluation principles made into the self help literature and now we're all supposed to set goals that are, wait for it... SMART.  Specific/Measurable/Achievable/Realistic/Time-phased. These principles were designed for programs thoughHere's a link to a CDC handout on setting SMART objectives for your program. So if you have a program to encourage smoking cessation among teenagers you need to decide what the goals are (who will stop smoking, how many will stop smoking, what counts as cessation, by when will they do it). This makes sense right? If you want to know if the program is working you need to have a metric to measure it by. And here's an old post mentioning SMART by the indomitable Gala Darling if you don't believe me.

Screw that though. I want my life to be intangible, aspirational, and unscheduled. I mean, what do you do if you fail to meet your SMART goal? Fire yourself? Cut your funding? It just doesn't, and I would argue shouldn't, apply to lives. It's such an inorganic constraint on things. 

This isn't an excuse to be a slacker though. If anything it's the opposite. You're relying on yourself to maintain some kind of general standard to ensure that you, as Bill and Ted would say, have an excellent year. So yeah, get off your butt, start something, work harder, do more, but leave it open ended. 

via tumblr

Just go with it

So I'll take whatever 2013 throws at me. Follow through on what I started and see where it takes me. Do my best at all endeavors that I feel like doing. And set absolutely no specific predetermined goals for what I will or will not do in 2013. And look, I wrote a long ornery post about not setting resolutions after all!

In conclusion, may you all have an excellent new year's eve and 2013.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2013 - The year I get moving (or else)

I bought myself a Polar ft40 heart rate monitor with a gift certificate I got for Christmas. I debated one of the cheaper ones, but I was finally sold on this one because of the built in fitness test function and the overall design. This one was just under $100 on Amazon. It just came in the mail today and I was pretty excited to test it out!

First off, the elliptical in my building is *way* off. When I work out it generally tells me I burn about 200 calories in 17 minutes or so. I had to work out for about 30 minutes to burn 200 calories based on the HR monitor. Good to know!

Other thoughts, it's helpful to have a sense of my heart rate. The fitness test told me I was "good," which was a bit of a shocker, but when I'm actually working out it goes to the "fitness" zone rather than "fat burn" really quickly because my heart rate rises so quickly. Definitely need to improve my fitness, and this gives me a good baseline for how I'm doing. Also, I was worried the chest band was going to be irritating, but I really didn't notice it much at all once I get it set up.

Now that I actually have some way of keeping track of how I'm doing I signed up for My Fitness Pal and downloaded the app. The bar code scanning is amazing! It even knew the calorie content of the vegan Dandies marshmallows I was snacking on earlier today. Plus, this will keep track of my protein, iron, and calcium intake for the day. I can definitely fall into lazy vegan territory at times, so this is really helpful too. So I'm going to try to stick with this for a while to see how it goes. I should point out though that I don't own a scale, so this is really not about weight loss. I've been blessed with a slim frame no matter what I do, but my fitness level is really lacking and sitting on my butt writing my dissertation all day hasn't exactly done me any favors either.

via Pinterest


So for 2013 it would be nice to:
-Increase my stamina
-Fit back into my 28 inch waist pants (currently pushing 30 inches, which is partially exacerbated by my IBS).
-Be able to jog a mile without doubling over from a side-stitch (for some reason I cannot run or jog at all even though I'm fine on the elliptical)
-Get ready for turning 30 with the level of fitness I'd like to maintain in my 30s.

-Hopefully working out will help keep my school/work stress in check

What's the issue?

I feel like I should explain why exercise is such a challenge for me. I have never in my life been fit. Skinny, yes. Fit, no. I was always always picked last for every sporting event at school. I remember being forced to go running in middle school and falling behind everyone else and being so breathless I threw up (plus I was panicking from being behind everyone else in the middle of nowhere). Exercise has not been something I've thought of fondly. Partially I think it was just a function of awful gym teachers and an insistence that working out means: team sports, swimming, or running. I can't do any of these!

Thankfully my high school allowed me to take tap dancing for my gym credits so I could graduate. That was kind of embarrassing  but not terrible. Then in college I started going to a yoga studio and found that pretty acceptable (although my body doesn't take kindly too much neck stretching). I've also given Ballet Beautiful a go, and will still do it occasionally, but it makes my kees hurt. And let's not even get into running. It makes me feel like all of my internal organs are being jostled (and this has been my impression of running since elementary school! People tell me it's just from being out of shape, but I think there's more to it than that). If I try to run outside I also get a terrible burning sensation in my throat. Biking isn't really feasible in the city. I don't know how to swim.

So many issues, right? But I actually realized that I enjoy the elliptical machine! I also managed to modify some of the 30 Day Shred exercises to work for me (the actual video makes my ankles hurt if I do it regularly) to get in some weights and crunches. Maybe some of my exercise issues will resolve themselves as I get in better shape. It seems kind of ridiculous to rule out so many things on account of being frail at the ripe old age of 28. But what can I say, a lot of things my body seems to hate! So I'll stick to what works for now, and if that lets me expand my repertoire then that's a bonus.

Side note:
I'm somewhat undecided on if I want to take this blog more in the direction of longer essay type posts or if I want to focus more explicitly on vegan fashion. Clearly, I can do both and I guess that's one of the perks of "lifestyle" blogging. It means whatever you want it to mean. But if you have any thoughts on this, do share!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gifts for Vegans 2012

Vegan wishlist

1. Vegan nooch jar (if you don't know what this, don't worry, your vegan friends will know), Vegan Dish $42
2. Choc & Nut spread (i.e. not Nutella), Pangea $8.29
3. Vegan Eats World cookbook, Amazon $22
4. Vegan Cuts monthly box of awesomeness, Vegan Cuts $19/month
5. Cornelia Guest hobo, Bloomingdales $295
6. Tarte matte Lipsurgence, Tarte $24
7. Velvet school boy blazer, J Crew $179
8. Sugarland bow clutch, Deuxlux $95
9. Custom cat ornament, Panda With Cookie $40
10. Vegan Lipbalm, Hurraw! $3.79 each

These are some of my favorite picks for 2012. Maybe something for that for the vegan friend on your holiday list? I can personally attest to the excellence of the Tarte lip pencil and the Hurraw! lip balm. I also got one of the custom cat ornaments from Panda with Cookie last year and it's a great likeness of my cat and it's super cute. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

working working working

Via Pinterest by Yuki Kitazumi

Still writing, editing, researching. It's a reassuring feeling that these papers get better for every round of edits, but still, it's daunting to deal with so many revisions. I'd really like to get my third manuscript out to committee members sometime tomorrow, and then send back revisions on the second manuscript early next week. I also need to schedule my final defense. We finally decided that my advisor should send the email in order to get as much buy in as possible from my other committee members.

Between all of that I'm also working on job applications. Need to get one out by the end of the week. Then I have a Skype interview scheduled for another position this week as well. I've never done a video interview before, so we'll see how this goes! I just try to remind myself that I'm really open to a lot of different job options, so if this professor thing doesn't pan out it's not the end of the world. Basically, whatever it takes to prevent hopes from getting too inflated I guess. Also, the internet told me I should lock my cat up in the other room to prevent her from walking across the desk during the interview (not a bad idea considering!). 

In other news, I'm accident prone and I hurt my foot (and hopefully don't need x-rays) and I've been listening to Brett Anderson's Black Rainbows all the time. I somehow missed that he put out a new album last year and it's amazing. I've been a fan of his ever since (the London) Suede's Dog Man Star back in the 90s. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

5 Things


I've been working on rewriting my second manuscript since my last post (with breaks for sleeping, eating, a holiday party, and journal club). I think I've finished up the draft. I need to reply to some more comments tomorrow and proof it one more time before sending it off my advisor. Will she have time to read it (on top of manuscript 3) before Monday? Who knows. We hadn't planned on my needing to make so many edits! Anyway, it's looking a lot better and I'm going to bit my tongue with regard to my feelings about the whole thing.

Instead, I give you a list of five things/people that probably irritate me more than they should (and this pretty picture above! See, it's not all bad news).

1. People in the U.S. who sign their emails "cheers." Just don't do it. It makes me think you're a jerk.

2. Anne Hathaway and Scarlett Johansen. They ruin movies for me. I think I need a policy where I just don't watch any movies they are in because I end up hating the whole movie.

3.  Messily drunk people. It's not cute once you're over 21.

4. People who cut in line for the bus (so upsetting!). Follow the rules!

5. Cars that try to turn into the crosswalk once I've started walking. I will yell at your car if you do this. If you're lucky you might even catch me waving a fist at you like a true crazy cat lady pedestrian.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Busy Busy

I got feedback from my first set of committee members (I usually send things out to half of them at a time) on my second manuscript earlier today. Nothing terrible and nothing I can't handle, but still enough needing to be rewritten that I feel vaguely like hyperventilating every time I look at the track changes. I put in a good eight hours of edits today already and totally rewrote the introduction/background. I need to make some decisions about the theoretical framework I want to use, which is unfortunate because if there is anything I don't much care for it's theory. Anyway, it will be OK even if I feel a little bit like crying at the moment.

I think I'm about to take a break for the evening, but I'll be busy busy until Monday when I meet with my advisor about how she thinks I should proceed. Dissertation writing = sadness.

So because all my mental bandwidth is being used for staving off angst and thinking about how to reframe things, I give you: ye olde random pictures from my phone! huzzah! Real posting to return sometime next week.

New shoes from Asos. Like a fool I wore these without socks the first time and now the back of my heels are so torn up that I can't wear half of my shoes. Sigh! Hopefully it will heal up soon. 

Zines at the local coffee shop/book store. 

Went to get acupuncture because I wrenched my neck reading again. It did help!

This is my acupuncture homework. More silliness, joy, and wild abandon. The sad part is I am legitimately unable to do this. 

I did, however, break out a mini bottle of port wine I've had on my shelf forever when I ran out of chocolate the other day. When short on chocolate, break out the booze. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Saying no to things you want

I feel like there's such a big push in the vegan community to portray veganism as not involving any personal sacrifice. Maybe that's true for a lot of people, and personally I don't miss dairy or meat in the slightest at this point. I do, however, routinely have to consciously say no to *things* that I want. To be fair, it's not really much of a sacrifice to not be able to buy every pair of shoes I have my eye on, but it does mean actively passing on things I would otherwise really want. So I just wanted to address my purchasing ethics on the blog.
I want these!
But they are leather, so I'm passing on them. 

I won't buy anything that's leather, fur, wool, down, or silk. If you're curious about why each of those specific items are unfortunate from an animal welfare perspective, check out the links. Silk I think mainly bothers me due to the sheer number of silkworms killed for each unit of silk. Anyway, it never crosses my mind to buy anything made of fur, but the use of leather for shoes is so widespread that there's inevitably going to be some shoe I see in a magazine or a blog that I just love but that isn't available in a non-leather version. Same goes for wool-blend coats and sweaters.

So yes, being vegan does mean I make sartorial sacrifices. Thankfully, the options have gotten a lot better. The Vaute Couture coats are nice and the shoe and bag options are getting pretty good. So again, not a significant sacrifice by any means, but I've chosen not to buy probably hundreds of items at this point because they were made of animal products. Cosmetics too. I make a point to avoid lanolin for example.

Is it worth it? I think it definitely is. Sure, I'll miss out on some material things I want, but I would feel really bad about my choices if I knew I contributed to animal suffering just to indulge my sense of style. I think it ultimately boils down to this: if you had to choose between passing on a pair of shoes or killing a cow, which would you choose? Also, consider the price of the shoes relative to the life that was taken. If anything, I would pay someone $100 not to a kill an animal!

Sonny at Farm Sanctuary 
Still, it's not a black and white issue. Do you buy from companies that also sell leather items? Companies that sell fur? Companies that are owned by larger companies that test on animals? What about if they don't disclose all of the ingredients in their lipstick? What about vintage items?

Cute, and also non-leather!
You have to draw the line somewhere, and while there's a lot of finger wagging online as to what's appropriate and what isn't, I think it's ultimately a personal decision where you draw that line. It's impossible to live an entirely cruelty free life and still live in society at this point (which doesn't mean you give up on the idea! It just means you have to decide what items you personally feel comfortable with!). Plus, I think once you move beyond narrow definitions of labels I think there are a lot of diverging views about the use of bugs in cosmetics and food (fyi carmine comes from beetles).

Anyway, this is why I don't buy clothes or shoes that are made of animal products. I'm not quite as strict when it comes to cosmetics (although animal testing is clearly out). I also admit that I don't put a lot of thought into sweatshop related issues (although if anyone can recommend mainstream stores that have good labor practices then I'm all ears!)

I really encourage people to think about what they value and to decide if their purchasing habits are in line with those values. If not, what can you change to make a difference? It probably does involve giving up something small, but my personal experience (five years as a vegan and counting) has been that what you gain far offsets passing on the occasional pair of shoes.

Friday, November 30, 2012

November Wrap-up

I am really ready to say goodbye to November. I've had so many projects up in the air all month for school. December somehow feels better even though it also means that I have even less time to waste. I need to stay focused and get things done! The goal is to have my entire dissertation draft to my advisor by the middle of January and I have a lot left to do before that. Still, having the end in sight makes it feel somewhat better. Although I'd feel even better if I actually had some kind of concrete plans post-graduation...

Advent Candleholder.
Hoping for one along these lines.
I'm also pretty excited about Christmas. I love Christmas, and St. Lucia day, and pretty much all December festivities that don't involve gorging on dead animals. I need to get some decorations. We got a tiny little tree from Trader Joe's and I asked my dad to pick me up an advent candleholder while he's in Sweden. I already have two electric ones for the windows (as a Swede, this is required), but actually lighting candles each week is a totally different experience.

I also keep wanting to buy extravagant holiday decorations on One King's Lane, but now is seriously not the time for spending money on things I'll use once a year (especially when you live a tiny apartment with pretty much no storage space).

Anyway, on to the monthly wrap-up. Clearly not as exciting as some people, but I was productive and quite frankly that's the main thing right now.

Things accomplished in November:

-Sent out manuscript 2 to committee for edits
-Finished draft of manuscript 3 (last night just after midnight. Can't tell if I love it or if it's a bloated piece of crap. Hopefully my advisor will like it)
-Got a journal article I'm a coauthor on accepted with minor revisions. Need to review said revisions today. 
-Applied for more faculty jobs
-Ordered new glasses
-Finished one fiction book (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
-Worked out three times a week most weeks
-Started this blog (!!)
-Survived thanksgiving, went to the animal sanctuary thanksgiving event

Heck yes, December.
Source: Library of Congress

December goals:

-Revise manuscript 2, send out to last two committee members
-Revise manuscript 3, send out to first set of committee members
-Finish lit review/intro chapter and methods section
-Finish draft of discussion section section in light of manuscript revisions
-Keep looking for jobs
-Practice driving more
-Blog at least every other day
-Go to department holiday party
-Finish Christmas shopping
-Read more fiction
-Work out five times a week

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why I turned off facebook (and you can too!)

It's been almost two months since I deactivated my facebook account. I've turned it off before but always found myself cheating and reactivating it once a week. This time around I legitimately just don't care what the people on my facebook page are doing anymore. In fact, I'm relieved to not know.

I really take issue with facebook for two key reasons. I know some people are upset about the advertising and the crummy privacy settings, and I agree those are all valid issues. But my primary issue with it is what it does to human interactions and the quality of my friendships.

  • There's something uncomfortable about knowing so much about people you never talk to. TMI. When you do run into them finally there's a real awkwardness when you have to pretend to have no idea that the other person was dumped/fired/engaged/knocked up. Worse than that, I found that I refused to post anything on my own facebook because I resented the fact that people would just look at that and never actually get in touch with me personally. If you want to know what's going on in my life how about you send me an email? Or text me? The more I interacted on facebook the fewer actual interactions I had. It aggravated me. I turned off my birthday notification the week before my birthday this summer to see who actually knew when my birthday way, and it was a good way to sort out who my real friends on there were! Since turning off FB one of my old friends actually emailed me to ask how I was doing. Less facebook stalking = more communication. 
  • My other issue is fact that majority of people on my FB are people I don't actually have any interest in. Still, somehow their big faces and babies of questionable cuteness show up on my feed. I realize I could just take them off the feed, but then why did I add them in the first place? Plus unfriending them seems like some sort of unconscionable social faux pas. Last time I turned off my FB one of my older quasi-friends who I never talk to assumed that I had unfriended her and was offended. The whole thing is ridiculous. It provides me with information about people who have no role in my life, yet I somehow feel compelled to read about them. I don't need to know that my ex-coworker's son likes to wear sunglasses and watch sports. I don't need to know that my old high school friend got food poisoning. I just don't. And it encourages my judgmental side to no end. 

So, to recap: 1) too much information without requiring actual interaction, and 2) way too many of the wrong people. Don't get me wrong though, it's (clearly) not that I disapprove of online communication. I love online communication. I've been on and off livejournal since 2000 or so. I really enjoy instagram (although I have unfriended people whose photos are unusually ostentatious. If all you're posting are pictures of yourself lighting $60 candles, drinking cocktails, and wearing $600 designer cat shoes, there's a problem. That's a post for another day though...). The difference is that there's not the same expectation to add every person you've ever worked with and that the communication is more genuine (minus aforementioned instagramers). I've made longterm friends on LJ who have come to visit me from across the country. Not so much on FB. Blogging is clearly less intimate, but so many bloggers do put themselves out there in a way that fosters actual dialogue. 

So if you're irritated that you are spending time facebook stalking people you haven't talked to in years, or if you are tired of people knowing what you are doing and in turn never actually talking to you, then I suggest turning the darn thing off for a week. Then at the end of that week turn it back on and scroll through the missed posts and ask yourself:
  • Did I actually miss out on anything? Is any of this news important?
  • If something important did happen why didn't they let me know? Are these people actually interested in maintaining a friendship with me personally?
  • Did I focus more on my immediate friends and family?
  • Did I spend time on reaching out to individual long distance friends instead?
  • Do I feel better without reading all of this information every day (several times a day)?
For me at least I've realized that it's really not information I need, and if anything it makes me feel kind of disconnected and burnt out from information overload. It also encourages me to either think negatively of others because I am judging them or because I feel like I'm in competition with them. Am I tempted to turn it back on when I graduate just to gloat? Yes, that thought has crossed my mind! But I think that's the whole point. That's kind of a ridiculous and unpleasant thing to do and just further plays into the fact that people generally only post for congratulations or sympathy. I'm choosing to squash that part of my psyche, and someone please hold me to that! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Spending today working and at some point heading to the grocery store to get things for Thanksgiving. I can't say that this is my favorite holiday, or even one I ever really look forward to. This year it's more of a distraction than anything else. Hours lost when I could be writing! Still, I intend to make the best of it. The current plan is to make:

Festive Sweet Potato Salad from Vegnews

Dreena Burton's savory chickpea tart

and the PPK frangipane tart (but with only berries this time around). 

Usually my fiance's family is pretty accommodating and there will be at least a few sides that aren't slathered in butter. It's nice to get to share at least a few dishes. I could definitely do without having to pretend that I have the foggiest idea about how American football works.* 

Alright, I suppose I get productive today so I can spend all of tomorrow cooking!

*Note for non US readers. Every year on Thanksgiving there's a be a big American football game on tv that everyone then has to watch if they're not actively cooking or eating at the time. There's even a wikipedia page about it. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Today I need to catch up on all the work I neglected to do this weekend. Trying, trying, trying to have the first draft of my third manuscript out to my advisor by the Monday after Thanksgiving. At the moment I'm going through all my data codes and organizing them into broader categories so I can write memos on them, which will then make the framework for my findings section. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Holiday Card Roundup

You can deny it if you want, but it's that time! The time to order your holiday cards! I always try order cards from small presses because the quality of the paper is just so much better than what you'd get at the store. I'd like to think that people notice when they open their cards (especially since they cost so much more than mass produced drugstore cards!), but who knows. I'm sure people just open them and stick them in a pile somewhere (heathens!). I for one appreciate every card and then careful tape them up on my window frame.

Either way, writing holiday cards is very much a part of the holiday experience for me, so it's worth a few more dollars to feel like I'm sending people something nice. Plus, it's good to support small businesses during the holidays!

 These are some of my favorite cards this season.
letterpress holiday

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Middle of November

First off, I made a playlist of songs that I feel are appropriate for the middle of November (if you're looking at this in a reader, you may need to click over to see it). 

Second, only listen to this playlist when you're out walking around on a cold November afternoon if you have time for indulging your inner sadsack. 

Thanksgiving with the Turkeys

Saturday was Thanksgiving with the Turkeys at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary. I can't even say how much I enjoy this event every year. Great vegan food for a great cause and you get to hang out with all the animals! Also, the weather was pretty much perfect. 

This year I decided to bring a dessert and opted to give the PPK frangipane tart recipe a try. I'm not actually that crazy about pears (something about the texture), so I went ahead and poached (sugar, vanilla, cloves, cardamom pods, and a cinnamon stick) the pears to help sweeten and soften them up. 

I also added some blackberries. I had to bake it for probably 15 minutes more than the recipe calls for in order for it to begin to firm up in the center, but thankfully the comments had already made it clear that that might be needed. I was able to snag a piece of it from the desert table and it came out really well! Will definitely consider making it again for Thanksgiving. 

And then we were off to the Animal Sanctuary!

This guy (Dexter) arrived at the sanctuary with a broken back. He was apparently still in a bit of pain so people were told not to get too close, although some lady did stand there with her baby and it got nibbled on. 

I didn't catch the name of this goose, but he was amazing. He ran around the whole sanctuary yelling at people. At one point he stood in the door to the little gift shop cottage and yelled at the people inside for several minutes. 

The pygmy goats were the best thing ever. At one point the black one was playing with the bigger brown one and they were rearing at each other head butting. That alone made the trip worthwhile. Anyone who says that animals don't have a conscious thought process has clearly never spent any time around animals in a setting where they're free to enjoy themselves.   

And of course we ate. There were a couple hundred people there which was nice to see. The event gets more popular every year!

And then back home and off to an engagement party for a school friend. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Here are some of my favorite things this week so far:

  • I ordered a bottle of Honore des Pres Vamp A NY a week or so ago. I wasn't 100% convinced at first, but now I'm absolutely in love with it. It's vegan and all natural apparently. I was a little worried because the packaging listed it as containing benzyl salicylate and I'm allergic to salicylates in medicine, but it seems to be such a small amount that it doesn't bother me even with generous applications (you need to use a fair amount since it's not shock full of chemicals). I get plenty of vanilla tempered by balms. It's not that boozy, which makes it nice for daytime as well. I got my bottle on ebay but you can pick it up at Saffron Rouge and Spirit Beauty Lounge for about $98.

A rapturous blend of tuberose and rum, a pinch of vanilla bourbon all tied together with three magnificent balms: Benzoin, Peru and Tolu Balm.

  • I am absolutely in love with Next Organics Dark Chocolate Almonds. My local grocery store started carrying them, but you can get them on Amazon and some other online stores as well. For people concerned about glazes, I have not confirmed that the glaze is vegan. So if that's a concern for you, you may want to look into it first. 

Dark Chocolate Almonds

  • Winter time approaching means that seasonal teas are out! Celestial Seasonings has a few different holiday teas, but this one is always my favorite. It's delicious! Apparently you can also use it to flavor your oatmeal. I'll definitely need to give that a try at some point. 

Sugar Cookie Tea

  • I've been listening to a lot of lady jazz singers lately and Blossom Dearie is one of my favorites. I feel like she doesn't get much recognition, but she's wonderful! Plus, Blossom Dearie was her real name, which makes me smile. Give it a listen and let me know if you like her as much as I do!

  • I'm clearly the last person in the world to read these books. I resisted them forever, but I finally decided I would give them a try when they went onto the Kindle lending library. So I read one of the books a month and I'm almost done with the Goblet of Fire. I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that I really love them. Not because of the books, but because I spent so long refusing to read them!  I always liked the movies, so I'm not sure what my issue was. 

  • Finally, the new Bj√∂rk video for Mutual Core. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall in the City

 I wanted to share some pictures I've taken around the city lately. It's been so beautiful and all the trees are yellow. If I wasn't chained my laptop all day I'd be spending my hours wandering around instead.
I love all the ironwork around here. 

So many gorgeous trees. 

Polkadots forever!

Magenta tights I picked up at H&M forever ago. I need to get new ones at some point!

The grocery store is full of apples. I tried a new kind and unfortunately it was a total letdown. Too sweet and too soft!

And rainbow chard was on sale! Growing up a vegetable hater I only found out about rainbow chard in the past few years and now it's one of my favorites. 

Favorite Vegan Bags - November

Vegan Handbags

1.  deux lux: Gramercy Messenger, $155
2. Cornelia Guest: Mixed Weave Remi, $239
3. ASOS Metal Tip Satchel, $49
4. deux lux: Anais turn lock satchel, $130  
5. Modcloth: Test Prep Satchel, $65

I love that seeing that there are more vegan handbags out there that don't look cheap or incredibly granola. Especially companies that are all vegan, like deux lux and Cornelia Guest. I have yet to own a Cornelia Guest just due to the hefty price tag, but I'd love to buy one someday to see how how the quality compares to some of the other bags on the market.

Also, I actually ordered the Gramercy Messenger when it was on sale on Gilt the other day, so I'll definitely post about it when I get it. I had pinned it to my Pinterest account weeks before, so I was thrilled when I saw it on sale! Like everyone else on the internet, I'm definitely a sucker for a good satchel bag!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Productive day (to offset all the days I do squat)

I worked all day. From 10am until 8pm. I think I got up maybe about four times. Next thing I knew the sun was setting and I hadn't been outside once. I did get dressed though, that's always a plus! 

I only had three things on my to do list today. 1) meditate (nope), 2) exercise (nope), 3) get my second manuscript out the door to my committee members (done!). It's somewhat tragic that getting things done for school also means that I abandon all of the other things in my life that make me healthy and happy. On the bright side, my cat really likes it when I'm at the table all day. She actually feel into such a deep sleep laying on my arm that she was twitching and having cat dreams! 

But I'm happy enough about getting that darn paper out the door. Or at least I will be until I get feedback, which I inevitably need to take a day just to process and remind myself not to take these things personally. Tomorrow I either take a mental health break or get started on cleaning up my coding for manuscript 3. So many moving pieces at once... 

Now to eat some Trader Joe's dosas and rewatch Battlestar Galactica. Is it just me or are Tuesdays the worst TV day? I refuse to watch New Girl!