Follow the Sun

Have you ever found one of those songs that from the moment it starts playing you like what you hear, then a few moments later absolutely fall in love with it because the lyrics so perfectly align with your beliefs or with the way you see the world? For me this is one of those songs. It perfectly describes the way I view life, the peace with which I try to live, the appreciation I have for the simplest of things, and especially my incredible love for the sun and for the natural world.

“Follow The Sun”
By Xavier Rudd

Follow, follow the sun
and which way the wind blows
when this day is done.
Breathe, breathe in the air.
Set your intentions.
Dream with care.
Tomorrow is a new day for everyone,
Brand new moon, brand new sun.
So follow, follow the sun,
the direction of the bird,
the direction of love.
Breathe, breathe in the air,
cherish this moment,
cherish this breath.

Tomorrow is a new day for everyone,
brand new moon, brand new sun.
When you feel life coming down on you,
like a heavy weight.
When you feel this crazy society,
adding to the strain.
Take a stroll to the nearest water´s edge
remember your place.
Many moons have risen and fallen long, long before you came.
So which way is the wind blowin’,
and what does your heart say?
So follow, follow the sun,
and which way the wind blows
when this day is done…

In the craziness if this fast paced world I’ve found it’s really important for me to take a little bit of time everyday to just breath, to get outside, to look up at the sky, and to find beauty in the smallest of things. You never know what kind of curveball life is going to throw at you and all you can do is adapt to whatever the wind blows your way. Enjoy and appreciate what you’ve been given and the make the absolute most out of every situation.

Lentil Hummus

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So this week I found myself with A LOT of extra lentils in my fridge, wayyy more than I meant to have. I made a lentil salad last week and just cooked way too many so I decided to get creative with the leftovers and make something different. We had recently run out of hummus, and me being a hummus addict thought, “I wonder if I can make hummus out of lentils?” So I looked online and found this recipe from WholeLiving.com. It is so yummmyyy!! If anyone is either a huge lentil fan, hummus fan, or is just looking for something different then you should definitely try this out. It’s super easy to make. Below is the recipe from WholeLiving for your convenience. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown or green lentils
  • 1/4 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Cholula
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 4 pocketless whole-wheat pitas, toasted or grilled and cut into wedges

Directions

  1. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils, and reduce heat. Cover with a round of parchment, and gently simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain lentils, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. (Lentils can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)

  2. Place cashew butter, lemon juice, garlic, hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor, and process until combined. Add lentils, and process until smooth, about 2 minutes. With motor running, add 2 teaspoons oil, and process until incorporated. Transfer to a bowl, and chill if desired. Drizzle with remaining oil, garnish with parsley, and serve with pitas.

Go Giants!!!

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I would like to mark June 20, 2013 as a day to remember. On this day I officially took my first step toward becoming a die hard San Francisco Giants fan. As many of you know it has been a life goal of mine for the past few years to find a sports team to follow. I’ve always loved playing and watching sports, but I didn’t grow up cheering for one specific team. When I went to college almost everyone around me had an allegiance to one team or another and I decided I wanted to be a part of that. It just looked like so much fun. I’ve had some difficulty choosing which team to cheer for though. Most people at school were fans of the Boston sports teams but I knew nothing about those teams, had never been to a game, and had never even watched one of the Boston teams play on television.  As a result, I had a hard time dedicating myself to any of them since they were all so foreign. So why not just settle on a California team? Well, I wasn’t exactly living in California, didn’t know much about those teams either, and didn’t really know where my “home” was or was going to be in the near future. Maybe I would end up living in Boston or New York where the sports culture centers around Northeastern teams. Now that I have officially moved back to California however, I think I can officially declare myself a Giants fan. Everyone hear seems to be crazy about the them, I can easily read news updates about the team and can even attend games!! 
 
So this week I attended my very first Giants game since officially becoming a fan!! My mom had won box seat tickets so she met me in the city after work so that we could catch the Giants vs. Miami Marlins game. The box seats were SO cool!! I felt like royalty. I also decided that one day I want to be rich enough to actually afford seats like that. Part of the box was covered and part was outside so you could either watch the game from the warm comfort of the indoors or you could step outside to get the more traditional stadium experience. It was probably the coolest experience I could have had as an into into the sports world. Now all I need to do is make it to a few more games and stay up to date on Giants news and I think I will officially be a true fan. ImageImage

Phewww Made It Through Week One

Wooohooo it’s Friday!!! And how am I celebrating? By staying up super late, just because I can. Well, I did spent the evening at this foodie event in SF called Off The Grid (more on that later), but now that I’m back home I weirdly don’t feel like going to bed even though I was exhausted when I walked in the door.  It’s like I feel this weird freedom knowing that I don’t have to wake up at 5am tomorrow and am taking full advantage of it by doing all those little things that I haven’t had time to do during the week. And by that I mean, catching up on all my favorite blogs, skimming through a few magazines that have collected over the week, and just wasting time on the internet.  

My first week working as an intern at Allison and Partners was definitely a roller coaster. I can’t even describe to you how much new info I shoved into my brain over the past 5 days. Each day I arrived home feeling essentially brain dead from my day of intensive training. I also found I was extremely antsy by the time I got home. Having spent 85% of my time outside during the preceding 3 weeks, being inside for almost an entire day was a huge shock to my system. Not to mention that whole sitting at a desk thing. That was new. The first day I got home and had to go for a really long run just so that I could sit down and relax without bouncing in my seat. Despite the transitional difficulties however, the whole thing has been really exciting; scary but exciting.  I really love all the client teams I’m working with and the clients themselves are really interesting. I’ve been assigned to 4 client teams: TuneIn, Inkling, Coravin and CloudOn. (I would highly recommend looking up each of these companies because they are super cool. I’m just feeling wayyy too lazy right now to go into great detail about each of them) One of the coolest things about working at a firm is that I have the opportunity to become familiar with a wide range of different companies and the products/services they sell. And when I say “familiar” that’s a bit of an understatement. I really get to learn the ins and outs of what these companies are about, the products they sell, their dreams for the future, and what they stand for. Another cool thing about my job is that I’m in charge of doing media scans. That means I get to spend a large chunk of my day skimming news articles, aka what I do in all my free time anyway! It’s a pretty sweet deal. I wish I could provide you with a move detailed description of my responsibilities, but I’m still trying to figure them all out. I think this summer will continue to be pretty intensive, but I think I’ll learn a lot! I can’t wait to see what’s ahead and what these next few months are going to turn out to be. 

Carrot and Apple Muffins

Today I went on my first baking spree of the summer. I usually enjoy cooking more than baking, but every now and then I get an itch to use the oven and to create something sweet and delicate. I found this recipe for “Healthified Carrot and Apple Muffins” a few days ago on Kate at the Kitchen Door and the pictures she posted just looked so yummy that I had to try it out. Below are the directions copied and pasted from Kate’s Blog (thanks Kate!), but I would also definitely check out her entire blog for yourself. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 6 oz. greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 c. dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries)
  • 1/2 c. quick cooking oats
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour (I subbed AP with fine results)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For the topping (I adjusted to use what I had in the cupboard):
  • 1 TBS cold butter
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 2 TBS oats
  • 2 TBS sesame seeds
  • 1 TBS ground flaxseed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F, and line standard-sized muffin pan with muffin cups.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, olive oil, yogurt, and vanilla.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients (oats through salt) until thoroughly mixed.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until all ingredients are evenly moistened.  Stir in grated carrots, grated apples, and dried fruit.
  2. In a small bowl, use a pastry cutter or fork to press together butter, sugar, and flour until crumbly.  Add oats, sesame seeds, and flaxseed, and press together until they form a uniform crumbly mixture.
  3. Fill each muffin cup almost to the top with batter.  Sprinkle a spoonful of the topping over each muffin.  Bake for 20-22 minutes, until domed and golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean
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And that’s a look at the final product. They came out wonderfully moist and were perfectly sweet (the fruit did a great job creating a natural sweetness so that its not overwhelmingly sugary). 

Constant Change

The funny thing about being a college kid or a recent grad is that nothing in your life is stable. For the past 4 years I’ve essentially packed up and moved every 4 months. In addition to the consisting moving back and forth between Connecticut and California (between school and home), I’ve spent each summer in a different city, and even spent one semester abroad. This consistent moving around makes it really hard to get into a stable routine. I know in many ways I’m lucky. The last thing I’ve suffered from these past few years is boredom. Constantly moving around and having to adjust to a new place, a new schedule, and a new way of living gets a bit cumbersome after a while though. As odd as it might sound, I’m really looking forward to settling down bit, to getting my own place (preferably relatively close to where I work), and to becoming familiar with the surrounding area. I want to become a regular at a coffee shop, join a running club to join, and hopefully (in a perfect world) volunteer at an organic farm or local garden. While I know these opportunities exist, I have never been in the same place for a long enough time to really get involved in them, or didn’t have access to the transportation I need to get there.

One of the reasons I was so excited to come back to California after grad is because I saw this as my opportunity to finally settle down in the place I loved most and to get into that routine I’ve been missing. Some people live off of adventure and enjoy constant change, I thought I was one of those people for a while, but I’ve discovered I really am more of a routine person. Granted, constantly being in a new place keeps things interesting, but I want to feel like I’m part of a community again, not just a visitor. I’m also really ready to be my own person; to stop relying on my parents for financial support, to have my own car and with it the ability to go where I want when I want, and to live the lifestyle of my choosing. Although I like to think of myself as a fairly independent person already and have definitely learned how to take advantage of the resources I have, in my mind these are just the final steps.

The exciting news is that I was just offered an internship with a PR agency in San Francisco called Allison and Partners. Wooohooo!!! I start Monday, which means that I’ll finally get to take those first steps toward creating a life of my own!!  Granted, it will take a while for me to save up enough to buy my own place in the city or even to rent an apartment for that matter (housing in SF is incredibly pricy), but at least I’ll be moving in the right direction. I also plan to spend as much time as possible exploring the city. I’ll be working pretty long hours, so most of the fun I have will probably take place during the weekend. Who’s complaining though? That’s the way life works and I’m super excited for everything I’ll be learning at my new job.

So for now, I say bring it on!!  Bring on another summer of exploring a new city and of unforeseen opportunities! I expect these next 3 months to be exhausting, but hopefully tons of fun. I’ll pick up yet another temporary routine, but maybe this time it will be one that can stick. Clearly it’s going to take a while for my life to be stable, so until then I’m going to keep looking forward and keep riding this wave until it sets me down, hopefully somewhere I want to be.

A Day of Kindness: 22 Acts of Kindness for My 22nd Birthday

Today I completed my 22 Acts of Kindness project. Here’s a list of all the things I set out to do.

  1. Give flowers to residents of the senior living center down the street from me
  2. Buy coffee for the homeless man, George, who always sits outside of Peete’s Coffee
  3. Write letters to my past teachers, thanking them for inspiring me as a student
  4. Give get-well-soon presents to kids at the Stanford Children’s Hospital (I bought them each a lollipop, smiley face stickers, and a keychain)
  5. Leave a “treasure” (a smiley face pop-up toy) hidden on the play structure in the park for a little kid to find
  6. For one day, pick up all the trash I see on the street
  7. Provide gardeners with apples and water
  8. Leave happy notes on the windshield of parked cars
  9. Help someone at the grocery store
  10. Surprise my dad by making dinner for him
  11. Give kids at the pond bread to feed the ducks
  12. Write inspirational quotes with chalk on the sidewalk of downtown
  13. Give thank you cards to the garbage men
  14. Leave sticky notes with inspirational quotes on the mirrors of a public bathroom
  15. Feed a parking meter that’s about to expire
  16. Give a dog at the local animal shelter some love
  17. Pay for the order of the person behind me in the drive-through at Starbucks
  18. Give a compliment to 22 people on the street
  19. Drop off donuts at the fire station and thank the firemen for what they do
  20. Give everyone in my family a coupon which they can redeem for a favor
  21. Give stickers to kids in the park
  22. Write a letter to an old friend
  23. (And number 23, just for good luck) Clean my mom’s car

As with any project, there were pros and cons to the way I went about completing this.

Pros

  • It took me out of my comfort zone a bit
  • Starting off the day with the intention of doing as many good things as possible put me in an amazing mood, especially once I actually started the project. I found myself wanting to give everyone on the street a hug and to thank everyone I passed for no reason at all.
  • I met a bunch of people I otherwise wouldn’t have met and made a lot of them smile

Cons

  • Creating a list of things that needed to get done within a specific timeframe made doing some of them seem like a chore. After a few hours I started getting tired and wanted to just spend the day outside enjoying the sunshine, rather than running around so that I could check things off my list. I feel like acts of kindness  should really come from the goodness of one’s heart, rather than out of a competitive spirit which was the only thing that kept me going after a while. I felt I had created a mission for myself and I had to complete it. I think a better way to go about doing a project like this would be to write up a list and then post it somewhere you’ll see it every morning. This way, the list will serve as a reminder to be kind and it will be in the back of your head. I think it would be much more productive and much more interesting to let life present you with unique opportunities, rather than on creating a list of things that you think you should do. Opportunities are everywhere and as long as your eyes and your mind are open to them, you will be able to take advantage of them.