Weekend Recap: It was finally sunny!!!!

As you might have noticed from the title, it was sunny for part of this weekend!  I was having a really hard weekend with my anxiety and I could barely do anything BUT sometimes I try different things to make myself feel better.  This weekend started out really rough.  Friday I was supposed to get off at 1:00 and see my friend Abby who was packing up her house because she moved up to Northern VA.  It was the last time she would be in town for awhile and I really wanted to see her and spend time with her.  Unfortunately, work needed someone to cover the 3-5 shift and no one wanted to respond to my texts so I got guilted (is that a word?) into it.  I was so angry, anxious, frustrated, and sad.  This isn’t the first time that work had made me cancel my plans with Abby (who only was in town for 1 and a half days the last few weeks).  I told myself it was extra hours, which equaled extra money for my move (I haven’t done a post on that yet…I’m still in denial).  So Friday I was really upset and couldn’t calm down no matter what I did.  I was snapchatting Savannah (she was out of town) and she made my day because she said we could do pool time on Saturday!  So Saturday I went to work, got off and ran to the grocery store because I was craving a really good salad and I had nothing to make a salad with, and ran home to get ready to lay by the pool and relax.

CloudsSummer SelfieSavannah ZoPool

Laying out was wonderful!  The sun burning my skin is one of my favorite feelings (I am aware this sounds absolutely insane but as long as I remember I have loved that feeling).  We had a couple drinks and laid out catching up; I had a great time.  We made a new “friend” some random pool guy and I ran into a girl from school so we decided to all hang out together, the more the merrier!  I was hoping to go to a bonfire at my friend Valerie’s dad’s house because she was in from New Jersey but they changed it to Sunday so after the pool I came home and made a HUGE salad and watched my newest obsession, Jane the Virgin.  The salad was so big I was stuffed when I finished it! It had kale,croutons, sunflower seeds, avocado, quinoa, tofu, mushrooms, chia seeds, zucchini, and this super yummy vidalia tomato dressing on it.  I’m not usually a salad person but when I crave them watch out!  TV salad

Sunday I woke up to an overcast, sad looking day. I had a headache (migraine was more like it and was dealing with some serious anxiety) I’m not sure why my anxiety has been so bad this last week besides the fact that I haven’t been taking my medicine (whoops!)  Usually I can deal a week without it but something is setting me off and I wish I knew what it was.  I called in my prescription and had planned to go pick it up later that night.  However, I ended up taking migraine medicine and falling asleep for awhile.  I hoped that when I woke up I’d feel better but I still just wasn’t feeling myself.  Valerie texted me telling me to come over but I was so blah I couldn’t do it.  😦  I get so frustrated when my anxiety gets the best of me.  I know I can only do so much and it’s something I have to live with but sometimes (okay all the time) I wish I didn’t have to deal with it.

While, Sunday was a rough day, Saturday made my whole weekend!  Being able to catch up with Savannah, lay in the sun, and put my toes in the pool (only my toes because it was so dang cold!) made for a positive weekend.  I am hoping to get my medicine tomorrow and go to the library to get some new books because I finished mine.  If it is sunny I plan on trying to get some more sun!

How was everyone’s weekend?

Do you ever have one day make the whole weekend feel like it was great?

Table Thursday: “Chicken” and Avocado Tacos

So I have decided to try out a weekly goal of two posts per week (we’ll see if I can manage that!) and making Thursday’s focus on food. Thursdays should be pretty easy to keep up with since it’s my day off and I usually tend to make better food on that day because I don’t have to rush to work. Today I made some yummy scrambled tofu with mushrooms, vegan breakfast patties (Kroger brand) and heated up some refried beans. That is NOT the recipe that I am sharing today though.

The other day I wasn’t feeling well but had to go to work and was hungry. Normally I am all about the spicy foods. I add cayenne pepper to everything and salsa is usually a must too, however, when my stomach hurts I want nothing to do with anything spicy! This day I wanted something super plain to eat, no veggies (they hurt my stomach sometimes if I have a stomachache already), no spicy foods, and something that was comforting but filling. I started searching through my food supplies and decided I wanted my vegan chicken strips (Kroger brand) and an avocado, plus add in some tortillas because hell I’m Mexican! This recipe was the easiest thing to throw together; I don’t even know if it can be called a recipe but I thought you all might like to have a quick dinner idea one day 🙂

AvocadoVegan Chicken

Ingredients:

Kroger brand (or Gardin) vegan crispy chicken strips

Avocado

Corn tortillas

Some kind of spray oil to keep the “chicken” from sticking to the foil while baking

 Steps:

Cook “chicken” according to the package

Cut avocado into strips

Heat tortillas on skillet right before the “chicken” is finished

Fill tortillas with sliced “chicken” and sliced avocado and EAT!

Super simple, takes about 20 minutes (mainly cooking time), and isn’t spicy for those who like more plain foods.

Oh, and the most impressive part it’s super cheap! I find that people don’t eat healthy because it’s “too expensive” but its not! Avocado was on sale, you can get a huge pack of corn tortillas for under about $2 and the Kroger brand “chicken” is a about $3ish. I am thinking about doing a series of posts about eating healthy on a budget because I hate the excuse “it’s too expensive” because I am a poor college student who can eat healthy without going broke! Anyways I hope you all enjoy the “recipe.” Sorry for the lack of pictures this time (oh and no after picture b/c I ate it too fast!)

Summer Reading: I’m Still a Little Nerd Girl At Heart

Books

For as long as I can remember I have loved reading, books of my choice of course ;).  Growing up I would count the number of books I could read during the summer, I don’t remember what the highest was but I remember one summer I wanted to read 100+ books! Again, I don’t remember if I did but I know I at least probably got close… The summer I read Gone With the Wind was my favorite summer; it was the summer I found my all time favorite book!  Scarlett O’hara was the most amazing, strong, crazy lady I had ever read about and she became one of my heroine (I am aware that most people think that she is a very evil person but she overcame so much in her life that I can’t help but think of her when I struggle sometimes).  Anyways, I still love to read during the summer, it’s the only time I have that isn’t consumed with education books, articles, lesson plans, etc.  I have very limited money so I wasn’t sure what I would do this summer because normally I buy my books.  I realized that there is no need to buy books that I most likely won’t ever read again so I used my library card and went to see what I could find.

I love David Baldacci books, especially the Camel Club series.  I found one of those Stone Cold at the library so I snatched that up!  I was just going up and down the isles looking and reading about books to see what else I wanted to grab.  I am a really fast reader so I knew I needed at least 2 books to keep from coming back right away.  I found a Judy Blume book Summer Sisters so I decided that sounded like a good “summer” read.  I was already in the middle of a book And the Good News is… by Dana Perino so I had to finish that book before I started another one, it’s a rule of mine.  That night I finished Perino’s book and started Baldacci’s book; I just couldn’t wait to read about what the Camel Club was going to get into this time!

Dana Perino’s book was really good!  At times it was almost like it was written just for me.  There were times, mainly when she talked about political people, that I got really bored.  It wasn’t her fault, it’s just that I didn’t know who she was talking about because I get really angry when it comes to politics so I try to not pay attention.  I actually had no idea who Dana Perino was until I read her book.  I absolutely am a fan of hers now and I am interested to see what she thinks of this next election we are having because I think it is a huge mess!

David Baldacci’s book was amazing as always but you had to make it through the first 50 pages or so to really get into the story.  I have never had to force myself to read his books so it was very odd to me that this book had a slow intro.  Don’t stop reading because it takes some time to get into it though!!!! This was a book that keeps you wondering and turning the pages like it’s a race.  It has two stories in one, both with some serious bad guys lol  I read this book quite quickly, the only thing that slowed me down was the fact that I had to work so much last week (stupid work getting in the way of my reading!)

Judy Blume’s book is okay so far.  Believe it or not I have never been a huge fan of hers.  I think I may have actually read this book before years ago but I can’t remember for sure.  Since I can’t remember there is no need to not read it again so I am about half way through.  It’s a good book it just isn’t really my type of book.  I like suspense and surprise and this is more of a coming of age story during the summers for two girls.

I can’t wait to finish Blume’s book so I can go back and get some more books to read from the library.  I realized I hardly ever, almost never go to the library any more.  I think that people need to start going and using the library for all it offers.  There is no reason to not go to the library and it’s a great place to find out new information, meet new people, find out about good books, etc.

The weather has been hot then cold then cold, cold cold but I have been able to get outside some and read on the porch.  The dogs love when we do that because then they get to bark at EVERYTHING that walks by.  Today I want to sit on my front lawn (I don’t have a back yard) but I don’t think I will let the dogs come because it isn’t relaxing when they freak out barking and pulling.  If anyone has any tips for controlling dogs barking at mainly other dogs I would be so grateful for the ideas!  I know I have some dog people following me so I hope that I get some kind of help.  I have tried coins in a can, ignoring, smacking on the butt, and putting in the crate (my least favorite because the crate is not a training tool).  I will not use any electric collars!  Those things scare me and I don’t think my dogs need to be electrocuted to learn, so any other tips than that would be awesome.  I hope that you all get to read some books this summer and while you’re at it check out your local library!!!

Here’s some reading pictures:

Harvey

Harvey was over me reading… Look how shaggy he is!

Sampson

Sampson Needed Attention

Porch Reading

This was a perfect day for reading outside

Bed Reading

Reading in bed while it rained

 

“Words of Wisdom” for Mental Health Awareness Month

sadness

 

Apparently May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health is something that I try not to talk about a lot, not that there is anything wrong with talking about it but the more I talk about it the more I am aware of my struggles. I just wanted to throw out some “words of wisdom” from just a “normal”, everyday person who struggles with her own mental health. These “words of wisdom” are for people who struggle, people who know people who struggle, and basically anyone else.

“Words of Wisdom” (there are “” because, well, who knows how wise I really am lol)

* There is nothing wrong with you!

* You deserve happiness just as much as the next person

* It’s okay to have to depend on medicine (this does NOT mean you are weak!)

* Yes, you have to work harder than “normal” people at “normal” things and feelings but that’s okay.

* Everyone isn’t talking about you

* Don’t be ashamed!

* Your family and friends will try to help you the best they can, remember they are not therapists they can only handle so much. (try to not throw everything on only one person)

* It’s okay to need a “mental health day” just don’t let those days take over your everyday life

* Do things that scare you; the more you work to push yourself out of your comfort zone the more you take control of your life

* Find something that helps you refocus (Mine is praying)

* You are not broken!

* It is not your fault; you did nothing to deserve this!

 

My mom always tells me “happiness is a choice.” Sometimes I get mad and tell her I don’t have the choice to be happy but that’s not true. Work on changing your self-talk from negative to positive and remember some people have to make the choice to be happy every mili-second of their life (I’m one of those people), it’s okay.

Rainy Weeks Make for Sad Days

girl alone.jpeg

Normally I don’t blog when I feel down or frustrated, that is a large reason (besides for school) why I can’t blog consistently.  I decided today to blog about about a difficult topic for me: depression.  I struggle with depression and anxiety and I am 100% okay with admitting that.  I know many people don’t believe in putting their mental health conditions out there for all to read about because society still seems to be confused and think that we (people dealing with these conditions) can fix them and they are not the same as a physical condition; that is a lie.  People who have physical and mental health conditions can not fix them by themselves, that’s why there are doctors.  I am sure some parts of society look at me differently but I don’t care about that.  I care about being fully aware of my emotions and trying to handle them the best I can.  Unfortunately, sometimes they take control of me internally, meaning on the outside I will seem totally fine or just a little off but I am actually exhausted and fighting my own mind inside.  I want to make sure everyone understands there’s different levels of depression and anxiety.  I am lucky to not have depression or anxiety that makes it impossible for me to live my life.  I learned through counseling how to cope with my conditions and I have found the right medicine that doesn’t make me a zombie.  I HATE relying on medicine.  In fact I have tried to wean myself off the medicine (NOT Dr. approved!) but I have found that I do need my medicine in order to not be an emotional wreck.

Now, the point for this blog is that my depression gets much worse with weather conditions.  Winter in Virginia is a very rough time for me.  I often am angry or sad because I need more sun and there is a serious lack of it.  I have thought about moving home (to Southern California) so many times but God keeps making it obvious that I need to stay where I am right now.  Normally, once Spring comes I start to feel better and life becomes easier for me, however, I feel that this Spring has been rougher than usual and I can’t seem to get out of my “funk.”  We had a couple weeks last month that were wonderful and sunny and warm; they started to “thaw” my depression.  However, this last week or so has been so rainy and gross that I am ready to just go crazy (yes, I used the word “crazy” in a mental health post).  I want to go outside and run, walk, and bike but the weather is so bad lately I can’t!  I took the dogs for a walk a couple days ago because I am so tired of being stuck inside and we got caught in a horrible rain storm.  Luckily, it was a very warm day and the walk was fun (for me, the dogs hate the rain) but my phone did get a little water damage. 😦  The thing is, that even though that walk was fun, it was cut short because it was raining so hard.  I only was able to go about 1.4 miles and when we had left the house I had hoped to walk at least 3 or until I started to feel better.  Exercising is a great way to help with anxiety and depression!!!

I was hoping to have some fun things to blog about this weekend but I don’t and that makes me sad.  I wanted to ride my beach cruiser to the farmers market but I couldn’t, I wanted lots of walks and maybe some runs to talk about but I don’t.  The dogs and I are ready to get out and explore but we have to wait for the weather to change.  I’m hoping it does soon so I can have some great posts for you all to read!  I hope that this post helps some readers realize that it is okay to discuss your emotional health and that if anyone is struggling they are not alone.  I had to write this post to get these feelings of frustration about the weather and my emotions off my chest.  Thanks for listening! 🙂

P.S. I hope where you all are you are enjoying some wonderful weather!!!!

Helping People Go Vegan One Post at a Time

food-healthy-vegetables-potatoes.jpg

 

I can’t wait to start interacting with you guys my “blog friends” more now that the semester is over!!!!  I already have started a list of topics that I want to write about and I’m so excited to share them with you.  For this first “summer” post I am going to focus on being vegan.  I know a couple people who have mentioned they are interested in a vegan post with tips and helpful how-tos to get them started on experimenting with eating a vegan diet.  This all came about when a Dr. mentioned to my mom about eating a plant-based diet to help with some health issues (say what?!? a Dr. mentioned changing to a healthy diet instead of prescribing pills!?)  🙂  I was ecstatic when my mom called and told me about this because I loved being vegan and I try to do my best now but I struggle sometimes.
Where I live it is quite hard to be vegan. The grocery stores have very little options and don’t even think about going out to eat!  However, it is easier when I’m not in school because I can pre-make all my food; when I’m in school finding time to prep is extremely hard.  In San Diego being vegan was so simple, it took no extra thought at all (I miss that place!)  I was vegan for about 2 and a half years or so while out there.  Once I moved to the East Coast/the South it became much more difficult and I have been vegan off and on since.  I wanted to let you all know my background with being vegan so you didn’t think I was just making these tips and how-tos up.  I always like to know how much experience someone has with what they are writing about, it gives them credibility.  I am by no means a perfect, know it all vegan and if I write anything that isn’t correct PLEASE leave a comment and let me know!  If you want more information leave a comment and let me know that as well 🙂  Or if you just want to leave any kind of comment go for it!  Okay, now to the point of this post –> Helpful tips and how-tos on going/experimenting with going vegan:

*Some Main Necessities:
Tofu
Dried Beans (canned if you don’t have time to make them)
Veggies (frozen and fresh)
Milk (almond, hemp, coconut, etc)
Dried seasonings (any kind you like)
Garlic!!!!!

*Read food labels!!
I am not going to go through the long list of things that are animal based but I do recommend that you look it up.  When you first start the easiest way is to watch out for: milk, egg, whey, butter, animal anything, cream, the obvious things.  But as you continue to get more serious more research is needed because these companies like to disguise animal byproducts with crazy names.  Also, just because you think something isn’t made with milk or eggs doesn’t mean it’s not in the ingredients!!! I couldn’t believe how many things had milk that didn’t make sense.

*Benefits:
There are so many benefits to going vegan that again, I’m not going to list them all.  I also don’t believe in listing benefits I haven’t seen myself.  The biggest benefit I noticed (well ok I didn’t notice this but my Dr. brought it to my attention) is the fact that my cholesterol is the lowest he has ever seen.  My Dr. said that he never sees cholesterol as low as mine without medicine.  That made me really happy because cholesterol isn’t something I pay attention to but I know it’s important.  Also, when I first became vegan I lost a lot of weight, which was great because I was overweight and it made me feel so much better.  Now I don’t notice that it helps me with my weight loss but I know that is a benefit as well.  Being vegan also makes me feel better overall. I can’t completely explain it but when I am not vegan I feel weighed down and sluggish but when I eat (healthy) vegan I feel much lighter and more energized.  I think that the benefits all depend on your body and how you approach being vegan but I personally think it’s worth a try.

*Simple “Recipes” I Love:
Recipes is in quotations because they are not really step by step recipes but things I threw together and began to love and used as staples in my diet.

First, is Baked Veggies.  I always bring this as a side to any holiday feast so I know that there will be at least one thing I can eat and everyone always loves it.  What it is any veggies you like (I use zucchini, squash, peppers, kale or whatever I have that I need to use up!) , potatoes, olive oil, garlic, dried seasonings (oregano, basil, parsley), cayenne pepper, garlic salt.  While you are chopping and prepping the veggies heat the oven to about 400*F Toss it all in a casserole dish. Throw in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes.  Stir and cook for another 20 minutes are so.  The time will depend on how you want your potatoes cooked.  If you are using kale you can add it in the beginning or at the end just depends on how you want your kale cooked as well.  I pair this with Boca Burger veggie patties or sauteed tofu or just black beans.  I also have been known to eat it by itself when it’s still hot, I don’t recommend that LOL

Next, is Kale & Chickpeas.  This is something I can eat almost every night and it’s super easy to make as well.  Buy a bundle of fresh kale and I usually use a can of chickpeas because this is usually a last minute meal so I don’t have beans prepared.  I warm a pan over medium heat with olive oil and add in garlic and sometimes onion.  Wait until the garlic is almost done cooking and throw in the chickpeas (drained) and the kale (washed and cut). Mix together and add cayenne pepper and garlic salt (my main two seasonings). Toss in pan until kale is wilted to your preference and chickpeas are warmed through.  Bam! Easy dinner and if you aren’t too tired or have left over cooked tofu you can throw that with it too.

A breakfast staple of mine is Scrambled Tofu.  I love eggs and when I’m not vegan I eat eggs almost every morning but I always feel awful for doing so (part of the reason I try to eat vegan most the time is because I get so sad eating animals).  Scrambled tofu takes the place of my eggs when I am vegan and tastes yummy and almost the same!  So for the “new to tofu people” when you use tofu you have to drain it and get all the water out of the block.  I try to use towels so I don’t waste paper and put something heavy (cans or coffee maker) on top of the block to push out the moisture, one day I hope to have a tofu press! When you make scrambled tofu I recommend only using 1/4th to 1/2 the block depending on how many people you are feeding (don’t forget to get a tupperware and put the rest of the tofu in water and back in the fridge!).  I press my tofu for less time because it doesn’t matter as much when making scrambled tofu.  You break up the block into crumbles and toss it into a heated pan (again over medium heat) and start to sautee.  I usually have already warmed up olive oil and garlic (surprise, surprise!).  You can add veggies if you like before you add the tofu or you can do it plain and add stuff afterwards.  Sometimes I throw the finished scrambled tofu into a gluten free tortilla with some refried beans (which are usually always canned).  The tofu is done before it starts to turn brown.

I hope that helps some of you guys out there! I know it is a very general post but I wanted it to be a starting point.  Like I said post comments if you like.  If you are interested in being vegan and want a post about something specific post a comment and I will do my best 🙂

For more recipes or ideas check out these other posts:
“Chicken” & Avocado TacosTacos
Fajitas