Cat Yoga

Christmas is the season which turns all cats into furry ornament assassins. My cats have been especially devious, lately.

Yesterday, I accidentally left the medicine cabinet open, and Boba climbed in. I realized it when I saw him crouching in my bedroom, hovering protectively over a furry object. Upon closer inspection, I saw he had my makeup brush clutched in his mouth, and was hissing when I got anywhere near it.
I had to pick him up, while trying to not get jabbed by his flailing, armed claws, until he dropped it out of his mouth, and we both made a mad scramble for it. I won, or so I thought, until I saw the carnage he had already created by walking his fluffy butt inside the cabinet.
The kitties have been amused by my indoor workouts, lately. They especially love when I do yoga and they can sniff my face while I'm in some kind of crouching panda warrior pose.

I started the 30 day yoga challenge with Erin Motz, which I am about halfway through. They are awesome and each one has been interesting so far. None of them are incredibly hard - some are easier than others.

The hardest one for me was crow pose - has anyone mastered it? Any tips? I have small arms and have only been able to stay up for a second or two.
My other favorite is the Blogilates channel. The videos are short, and there's a calendar on her site that you can use as a workout plan.

I've been mixing and matching them, and the yoga is a relaxing end.

I'd also like to expand my food palate and learn a little more about lentils, grains, & veggies. I usually stick with broccoli and sweet potatoes for veggies, since they are easy to cook. I'd like to eat more green things, but I just don't know what to do with them. I haven't hopped on board with kale, because I don't know how you make it taste good. I've eaten the Trader Joe's vegan nacho kale chips a couple times, and those aren't bad.

What kind of veggies do you make?
Any favorite Youtube fitness channels?

My Favorite Books Recently

I have had books on the mind and not nearly enough time to read, lately. It got me thinking about my favorite books I've read recently, and whether my boss would accept that the doctor said I had to read all day.

1. Outlander
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - If you've heard me talk about books at all on my blog, you probably are thinking, "Enough already with the Outlander," but I am still reading the series, so I am deeply buried in it now. If you like historical fiction, you should definitely pick it up. And there's a love story, and time travel, so who doesn't enjoy those things.

And by love story, I mean a whole lot of love story.
I can't wait to finish the other show I'm watching now, because the tv series looks amazing and I've only seen one episode so far. It feels like something I want to watch a whole lot of at once. So, just read it already. But just to warn you, it's a massive book! Kind of tome-like. So, maybe not for everyone, but if big books don't scare you (I'm looking at you, George R. R. Martin), I recommend it.
2. Hyperbole and a Half
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. So funny - I was trying to describe to Greg some of the stories while I was reading this book, but you really have to see the pictures with it. It is hilarious and weirdly touching sometimes! The goose story is my favorite.

3. Before I Go To Sleep
Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson. Definitely very Gone Girl-esque. The set-up really got me - it's in a journal style, written by a woman who loses most of her memory every time she wakes up, so you have to try to figure out what is going on at the same time she does.

It recently came out as a movie, and I wouldn't mind seeing it, since it has Colin Firth in it. I just watched him in Love, Actually, again - he's amazing.

What books have you read recently?

Rage-y Confessions

I probably shouldn't rant around Christmas time, but let's be honest and say I've had kind of a rough week so far. I'm hoping to turn it around by sharing some confessions.

Here are some of the things that are driving me crazy this week.

1. Construction on the interstate at midnight. 
Usually when I drive home from work around 11:30 PM, the roads are free and I can roam wild like an antelope in a grassy plain, BUT this week there has been construction on the road I take and traffic has been at a complete standstill, making me get home late.

I have no idea what they are doing up there! I would not be surprised to see Godzilla come thundering out of the fog. But it is probably something simple.
2. When people swerve into the left lane and fly around everyone else, despite seeing multiple signs reading "Left 3 lanes closing ahead."
I kind of want to kill them and their Kia Sorento (no offense to Kia Sorento, it's an innocent victim here).
3. Slow walkers in the mall.
Get in, do your business, get out. I only went once this week and I hopefully won't have to go back. There is a mission to accomplish, we don't have time for your languorous strolling.
4. Stupid people at work.
To be fair, my coworkers are awesome, and I think I work on the best shift. None of them are stupid, but sometimes they do make me lose my mind.

We recently hired this new guy who only works 3 nights a week and this is his second job. Guy cannot remember how anything works, and keeps making mistakes. If he needs a second job, I can't help but think he should get one that requires less skill.
5. Too much talking.
It's not obvious when I'm at work, since I enjoy the people at my job and am mostly a very friendly person, but I'm an introvert and sometimes we need quiet time.

Otherwise my brain will stress out, possibly leading to crying and/or a future melt down. So I may want to read a book or something to distract me for a while. It is not an inviting time for people to ask, "What are you reading?" I appreciate the interest, but maybe we could talk later.
What has been driving you crazy this week?

The Weekend I Ate All the Foods

Is it really halfway through December? And Christmas is already a week closer?
I love Christmas - it's just happening so fast. It makes me want to drink some frozen hot chocolate (maybe this recipe?). Greg and I will be hanging out here this Christmas, since we went down to see my family at Thanksgiving. We usually spend Christmas here, and relaxing and staying in is sounding awesome.

We have a tree up, but I have a few more things to do. What are we gonna eat? I still need to get stocking stuffers! And send presents. I'm just gonna be singing to myself, eating cookies, in the corner.
The cats have been loving the tree They haven't learned how to climb it, yet, but all the ornaments from the lower 1/4 of the tree have been murdered. So, the top half of our tree looks glorious with its extra stock of ornaments.

Greg and I went for a run this weekend. There's a state park by our house that's free during the winter, so when it's not too cold, it's fantastic.
The best part was that we saw wildlife. So much wildlife! There were equestrians out riding in the horse field, and we saw deer in the field that didn't even move when we stopped to watch them.
And then there was the food this weekend. SO MUCH DELICIOUS FOOD.

First of all, we had to navigate through a sea of Santas, because apparently it was the weekend of the Running of the Santas in Philadelphia.

I was hungry, dehydrated, and I am already navigationally challenged, so I was not completely opposed to running over some Santas.
It turned out to be totally worth it, though, because we went to Dos Segundos and I had a vegan philly cheesesteak burrito. All of those words are the best combination.
Inhaled that shit. It had seitan and fried plantains, yummm. Highly recommend this place if you go to Philly!

The next day, we made simple vegan pizza for dinner with some broccoli. It's my favorite vegan pizza recipe, and it actually is really easy to make.
Finished the night off with some sugar cookies.
The recipe uses pumpkin instead of egg, but doesn't taste like pumpkin. Magic! And really good with a cup of milk.

Linking up with Biana. What are your favorite Christmas recipes?

A Few Things

Kristen posted this, and I thought I would join in, because if everyone else is doing it, I should jump on that bandwagon, right?

Four names people call me other than my real name:
1. Jessi
2. Jet
3. Jennifer (not close??)
4. Oh sh*t (people at my work used to say this when I walked up, because it was usually to tell them something they did wrong ;) )
Four jobs I've had:
1. Bookseller
2. Server at a pizza place
3. Intern in the public affairs office in a public library
4. Workflow coordinator - my job now, not as crazy complicated as it sounds

Four movies I've watched more than once:
1. Shaun of the Dead - my favorite movie ever, I will watch it over and over. Also my first zombie movie.
2. Brave
3. The Avengers
4. The Heat
Four books I'd recommend:
1. Outlander
2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane (anything by Neil Gaiman!!)
3. Wool
4. Hyperbole and a Half

Four places I've lived:
1. South Carolina
2. Georgia
3. Gulfport, Mississippi
4. Newark, Delaware

Four places I have visited:
1. Canada
2. Niagara Falls, NY
3. Jamaica
4. Orlando, FL
Four places I'd rather be right now:
1. England
2. Scotland (I am reading the third book in Outlander; it makes me want to see Scotland badly)
3. New Zealand
4. Iceland

Four things I don't eat:
1. Meat - duh, since I'm vegan
2. Eggplants - I'm not saying I won't eat them, but they are a weird vegetable
3. Cheese/dairy
4. Beets - the wet kind, chips are okay

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Chipotle
2. Chocolate chip cookies + glass of milk
3. Avocado
4. Garlic bread
Four TV shows I watch:
1. Gilmore Girls
2. Outlander
3. Saturday Night Live
4. Doctor Who

Four things I'm looking forward to this year (going into next year):
1. Buying a couch for Christmas
2. Travel - buying tickets for as far away as our budget will take us
3. My mom getting her own place instead of the apartment she has now
4. Our 1 year wedding anniversary - coming up so fast, how did it happen?

Four things I'm always saying:
1. "Where's (insert cat name here)???" Said cat is usually hiding under the bed.
2. "Cuddles." Just in case the person you are cuddling is not aware they are being cuddled.
3. "Can we get a puppy?"
4. "I need a puppy."

I hope others join in, I like to read what we have in common :).

Not A Creature Was Stirring - Friday Favorites

Despite yesterday starting out totally poopy at work, I'm happy it's Friday! Some people at work drive me crazy by making everything a big deal, when it's just a small thing. I try not to let them bother me. Too bad I have to work this weekend (at my once a month job), but I'm still hoping to get in some good food and relaxing.

Favorite Makeup:
I heard about Too Faced Melted on MakeupAddiction on Reddit, and tried them. I can say, wow.. if you want bright, these are definitely them.

They have great staying power, even when some comes off when I drink/eat. The color is usually still bright afterward. Not saying it won't come off on food and everything else when you eat - that shit will get on all your napkins! But it will still be on your lips when you're done.

I've also never had anything with such amazing color, before, with no weird texture.
I bought the set of four minis at Sephora, which seems to be sold out, now. You can still buy individual lipsticks in the full size, with lots of color options. I like all the ones that came in the set, especially the nude and fuschia.

Most days, I just use my favorite lip balm I tried out, because I am too lazy to put on lipstick before leaving the house. This one feels awesome on my lips and has lots of color, too.
Favorite Food:
I made vegan zucchini brownies all for myself this week, because Greg doesn't eat any baked good with a vegetable in it. I thought about tricking him, but that would just be cruel... Not saying I wouldn't do it. But at least I get to have more later. I stuck a ton in the freezer to eat next week.

I took out a good chunk of the sugar and replaced it with a banana, because the recipe is pretty sugar-heavy. They turned out nice and soft, though, and you can always taste the batter to see if it needs more sugar.

Favorite Purchase:
I just ordered these boots today. Last year's winter made me realize I need a pair of snow boots. We had temperatures of -10 F, and my feet were always freezing, especially when we went to an outdoor concert. This year, I want to keep my feet warm and dry.

I really hope these work - they are the Kamik Seattle boot. I liked that they can fold down into the shorter boot, or you can wear them as a tall boot for more coverage. It is hard to find vegan snow boots!

Favorite Outfit:
I'd like one of everything from Spool 72. Everything is cute and cozy and I could wear their oversize knit sweaters everyday.

That's it! Enjoy your December weekend, and may the merrymaking begin. This cracks me up so much, I can't even explain why.
Linking up with Amanda at Meet @ the Barre today for Friday Favorites.

Nerd Glasses

When Firmoo offered me to try a pair of glasses, I was instantly excited. I've noticed a few others posting about the company, so I was happy to try a pair for myself. Note: All opinions are my own. As much as I keep asking, nobody pays me to write this stuff. Seriously.
I hesitated for a moment because I don't wear glasses, so that clearly seemed like a problem to me. Luckily, I was able to order a pair without prescription lenses, for ~*~fashion~*~.

I was surprised at the sturdy case they arrived in, complete with a cleaning cloth and a cute little repair tool, which is not in the picture.
Luna was very curious. I think a pair of cat glasses would be adorable.
I was really excited when they arrived to try on my nerd glasses!! I felt instantly more nerdy as I put them on, which I am happy about.

The glasses themselves are well made and bend nicely. They are comfortable and fit my face perfectly.
I can't tell you whether I would order these for prescription glasses, since I don't have prescription lenses, but if you are looking for an extra pair, you could always try them. I was able to pick from a ton of different styles.

Overall, I was surprised at the quality and would probably try a pair for some fashionable every day glasses if I were a regular glasses wearer.

You can even stick a picture of yourself in their viewer on their site to see if you like them on yourself.
I wore them when we went to see my mom to freak her out, but she was excited about them. I am definitely going to hang on to them to wear out when I want to feel like a girl with a secret identity as a super nerd.

If you want to try a pair, you can actually get a pair for free, just pay for the the shipping and lenses.

Weekend Adventures + Cable Got Broke

Did December really just start? Is it just me or does the end of the year fly by?

Greg and I got back from visiting family in SC. The drive was so much better than we were anticipating. I also fell asleep for a while on both trips, oops. I'm not fully awake until 10 AM.
- Met my grandma's new dog. You can't tell from the picture, but she is the highest energy dog I've ever met. Like a toddler high on Pixy Stix and Nerds.

- Ate at HuHot Mongolian Grill 2x. It's a restaurant where you create your own bowl at a buffet style bar, and then they cook it on a huge round grill in front of you. They have a ton of different sauce combinations, and you can add whatever veggies and noodles you want.

- Went for a run across the dam. It was so windy, and I started off freezing, but it was a beautiful day. I missed blue skies - it's been grey here, lately.

- Had some pizza at Mellow Mushroom. Lots of veggies + tofu, just needed a little more sauce.

- Got my fix of cuddling dogs. My mom's dog is a dachshund with the tiniest little legs and fattest belly ever. He also snores like a person. He slept next to us every night, and I was too overwhelmed by his cuteness to mind the snores.

- Came back to my cuddly kitties. I think they missed us. We've tried taking them with us before, but they'd rather stay home. They freak out when we put them in the car, so it's easier for them and us to fill up the automatic feeder and let them run around the house.

Today, I had an encounter with the cable company that made me want to quit cable all together. If only I could, I would, but I need internet, and our internet by itself costs more than the cable + internet together. Makes sooo much sense!
We got a new upstairs neighbor, and he was trying to get his cable installed. Well, he should have known better than to go with Comcast. They are seriously the worst.

I don't even have Comcast anymore, and they still somehow managed to break my internet.
While they were trying to install his, they disconnected my Verizon cables in order to hook up his, instead of taking the time to set up a new connection.

So my poor internet wires were just hanging there, dangling in the wind.

I didn't know what was going on, so my landlord comes over and calls Comcast back and they tell him, no, they can't send back the guy who was JUST here. They tell us to call Verizon, and they will have to fix it.
So, your guy breaks it and you won't send someone out to fix it? Verizon says they can't even come out for two days and would have to charge us for the visit. NOOOPE..

Greg called Comcast back and spoke to a supervisor in our area, and they ended up sending someone else out to put everything back to how it was before. Our new neighbor still has no cable/internet because apparently they didn't bring all the equipment they needed and he is so pissed that he's going to call Verizon tomorrow to have them set it up.

Have you had any cable woes?

Gorgeous Day

Happy Monday! We are having one day of gorgeous weather here before winter returns.
Welcome to the week of crazy and Tofurky! Tofurky everywhere! By that I mean there is one Tofurky, and I will be the only one eating it at our table.

Greg and I are getting ready to travel to my mom's house. We are leaving in just a couple days, so I'm in crazy mode right now. It's about a 9-10 hour drive in regular traffic.

We spent the weekend watching movies and getting everything ready.

We went to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1, and it was as good as I thought it would be. I'm not great at remembering details (even though I read all the books twice), but I think it follows the book closely. I won't say too much for anyone who hasn't seen it, but I felt very much the same as I did after reading the book after seeing it. I'm so nervous about watching the next movie after seeing this one.

My only complaint would be needs more Haymitch.
We made vegan roasted red pepper mac and cheese for dinner with some broccoli and garlic bread. It's going up there as one of my favorite vegan mac and cheese recipes - so delicious. Recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen.
Then, I made some chocolate chip cookie bars.. can you believe these have no flour??
They are made with chickpeas instead of flour. Greg refused to eat them, because obviously chickpea cookies are inedible to males. I couldn't taste the chickpeas at all; they taste like peanut buttery cookie bars to me. Recipe from Tone It Up.

Finally, we watched Undefeated on Netflix. I wanted to see it because I know Greg's into sports movies and I had seen it recommended on Helene's blog.

I'm not really a sports movie kind of girl, but I was moved by this documentary. It's about the relationship between a coach and a high school football team of inner city kids, what he teaches them, and the kinds of opportunities that they have to work for. This showed me growing up in a different way and how a team can be everything in someone's life, making the difference between whether they succeed or not. I'd recommend it; it shows sports differently and the positive impact they have.
Have you seen Mockingjay? How did you feel about it?
Any good documentaries on Netflix you've seen?
Where are you going for Thanksgiving?

Favorite Vegan Meals

It is no secret that I am a vegan superhero. I am lying about one part of that. Unless veganism is a superpower.

I have only been so since March (I decided to go 100% vegan almost at the same time we got married), so I am not quite learned in the ways of the long-time veggie folk yet. Maybe I can go into why I became vegan one day, but I don't want to be that ranty person. I don't mind when people ask me about it. I try to answer as honestly as possible at family gatherings and when friends are very confused about what's the matter with me. The answer: plenty of things, but my food choices are doing okay.

Luckily, my husband is willing to try lots of kitchen experiments. I don't know what I would do if he wasn't accepting, since he is still an omnivore. A few of our experiments have gone terribly awry, but we have had lots of tasty, tasty success.

I thought I would share a few of my favorites. You do not have to be vegan to enjoy any of them - I think they are quite delicious, whether you eat just veggies or otherwise. Vegetarianism is my preferred route, of course, but the choice is always up to you. Do what you want.

1. General Tso's Tofu
This is probably my favorite tofu recipe, and definitely in my top favorite vegan recipes. If you are not familiar with the taste of tofu, it's a good starting place. It was the first recipe I made with tofu, and the texture felt weird at first, but the more I ate it, the more I craved it.

The General Tso sauce in this recipe is so good, sometimes I just make it and douse fried rice and veggies with it. Recipe found here.

2. Simple Vegan Pizza
If you are not vegan, you could always top this with regular parmesan cheese if you're not ready for the vegan cheese experience. This homemade cheese tastes a lot better to me than the store-bought vegan cheeses. I loved it just how it was, and it's super easy to make. Recipe found here.

3. 10-Spice Vegetable Soup
It's basically been cold everywhere, lately, so unless you are living in a nice tropical country (I know some of you are!!), you may be covered in blankets and drinking and eating lots of warm things. I was craving something to warm my stomach, so I made this 10-spice soup.

The flavor was spot on. I made mine with sweet potatoes, and I think next time I would try regular potatoes to make it a little more hearty. It pairs really nice with a chunk of bread and butter / oregano. It also made a TON of soup, so I have lots of leftovers that I froze and have been taking to work. Recipe found here.

4. Crispy Breaded Tofu and Fluffy White Dinner Rolls
When in doubt, make chicken nuggets. At least, these taste like a yummy version of chicken nuggets to me. I also don't make dinner rolls often, because I have a problem with freshly made bread. I want to eat them all. I love the smell, I love the soft doughy center, I love everything. Bread recipe here and breaded tofu recipe here.

5. Veggie Burrito with Guacamole
My ultimate lazy girl's recipe. I pop a frozen Trader Joe's bag of rice in the microwave, open a can of black beans, salsa, and mash an avocado with some lemon juice and sea salt - annnd burrito! I could probably eat just a bowlful of smashed avocado, but I don't know if that's nutritionally sound, so I add a few things.

6. Chocolate Chip Cookies
And finally, the most important part of your vegan meal, the chocolate chip cookies. This one is awesome, because it uses coconut oil and makes chewy, fluffy, deliiicioous cookies! I use half coconut oil and half vegetable oil, which leaves no coconut taste for me, but if you don't mind a slight coconut to your cookie, use full coconut oil like it calls for. Recipe found here.

There are a lot more recipes I want to try, and I am always looking for new recipe books. My favorite so far is the Oh She Glows Cookbook - I can cook lots of stuff out of there and repeat recipes.

Are there any veggie recipes you've tried? Any favorites I should try or recipes I should stay away from?