Saturday, June 10, 2017

you can always change your mind

Alex Wolfe

I used to cling to this idea of being a writer, that it was my calling.

But someone told me recently that although I can write well, I have room to improve.

Of course, I thought. I'm not perfect. I spent a few minutes considering how I was going to set abuot becoming a great writer when I realized- I don't really care to.

I like the way I write.
Maybe I don't want to be a great writer.
Maybe I just want to write.

I love what it does for my mind, my soul, my energy.

But... it's not something I want to spend hours developing into my everything. It's not that kind of passion.

Yes, I'd like to publish something. But I don't want to become a novelist, something I spent most of my life expecting to become. I don't want to write fiction, which, growing up, I saw as the pinnacle of literary success.

I want to be able to share things.

I want to write what feels natural and authentic.

I shouldn't say I don't want to improve my writing. I do. But I don't want to study it like a bug under a microscope, labeling all its pieces and nuances. I'll read great writing and note the things that make it beautiful, try to bring those into my own writing. I'll think about what I wish I was reading and write that, but I don't want to try to be the best writer. That's not my goal. My goal is to share beautiful things, and the things often take precedence over the writing.

But I'm getting distracted. The point is this- I always, ALWAYS thought I would be a writer. A novelist, an author, a very specific breed of person,

Turns out, that's not at all what I want.

But that's fine. Because guess what?

You can always change your mind.

Alex Ronsdorf

No matter where you are in life, what you have or haven't done, there is always another opportunity, another chance, another form of whatever you love that you can turn to.

I've realized I love blogging. I love learning how to edit code and personalize my designs. I love sharing my experiences and hearing from people who want to be part of a conversation. I've realized I love photography and visuals, and how critical it feels to me to have designs and themes that match my words.

I also love running, and cooking super healthy meals, and exploring every little nook and cranny I can find.

I'm trying to build a career where I can do those things every day... because I don't want to spend all day, every day, just writing.

Who knew?

This is all a big reminder that, no matter what, you can always start over. You can always try something new.

Too often we trap ourselves in numbers- how much money we have, how many cars, the amount of ideas we come up with, or the amount of things we wish we'd done or haven't done, We think that if we want to change we have to go all out, it has to be big and immediate. We worry what people will think of us.

We waste so much time trying to figure it all out that we end up with less time to actually do the things that will change and improve our lives.

Let's stop all that, right now.

There is always another chance. Another opportunity to try something new, return to something long-forgotten.

We do, of course, have a limited amount of time and energy while we're here on earth. But you cannot embrace the present or build your future while obsessing about the past. Every step of your life has brought you HERE, to this point. Let any mistakes or troubles become the foundation on which you build the empire of your life.

you are always free
to change your mind.

George Bohunicky

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Freakin' Awesome" Gluten-Free Granola

Hi friends!

I'm excited to be sharing with you today this incredibly simple, easy and delicious granola recipe. I can't believe I haven't been making this more often!

Last week I was at my favorite coffee shop, as usual. I was really hungry, and due to the lack of gf/dairy free options at most cafes I don't normally bother with their food displays. But this time I noticed they had granola, took a moment to check if it was gluten free, and ended up gobbling a bowl of it with almond milk.

It was DELICIOUS and all I could think was "I could make this!"

Many store-bought granolas aren't gluten free, have additives like corn syrup or other processed sugars, and aren't that good for you. I mean, even the healthiest granola is still a fairly sugary affair, natural or no. Still, if you are health conscious and love granola...

Well, "freakin' awesome" is what my boyfriend called this one.

"Freakin' Awesome" Gluten-Free Granola*

*all ingredient amounts are subject to personal preference

2 cups gluten free oats
1 cup cashews (halved)
3/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tablespoons melted coconut oil (enough to coat the granola)
4 tablespoons maple syrup (again, enough to coat everything in a thin layer)
1 cup coconut flakes
3/4 cup goji berries

optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with unbleached, compostable parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, stir together oats, cashews, pumpkin seeds, salt and cinnamon.
3. Stir in coconut oil and maple syrup until all ingredients are coated.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. It might take more or less time depending on your oven and any amount adjustments you've made.
5. 2-3 minutes before you think it will be done  (done = golden and toasted but not burnt), pull the tray out and stir in the coconut flakes.
6. Let cook for a few more minutes, watching to make sure the coconut flakes don't burn.
7. Remove from oven and stir in goji berries. Let cool.
8 AFTER 100% cool, you can add chocolate chips if you like.

This is delicious with cold almond milk. Usually I make my own by blending raw, unsalted creamy almond butter with water, but if you're in a hurry New Barn makes an affordable (4.99 for 28oz at Whole Foods) unsweeteened almond milk. It does have acacia gum in it, but it's the cleanest packaged almond milk I can find at that price point. Three Trees does make a delicious almond milk with only almonds and water, but it retails at 8.99 for 34 oz. Only about 10 cents more per ounce, I guess, but it adds up.

Top with raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, a scoop of almond butter, popped amaranth or quinoa, flax or chia seeds... The options are endless.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

I Have a Love/Hate Relationship with Spring

Ah, spring. The season of new things, tantalizing rays of not-quite-warm sunshine, and if you're in the Pacific Northwest, tons of rain.

We've had a pretty dark, cold winter up here and I'm grateful for the fact that the weather is starting to change... But can it please just be summer already?

Hence the "hate" part of my relationship with spring- I've never been the best at waiting.

Luckily, it's now warm enough to head outdoors and adventure while we dream of summertime heat and sunshine. No more bundling up in fleece and wool every time you head outside. The occasional bright, over 60 degree day that has everyone in shorts and tank tops, exposing every inch of their body to the sun. Soak up that vitamin D, guys.

If you avoid the rain, spring around here does draw the most beautiful lighting for photography. Charge a camera, grab a friend and pose around town.

Spring is a time for music that veers away from melancholy and closer to happiness. What makes you feel hopeful and happy? Listen to what makes you feel good about the future. Here are some of my favorite 8tracks playlists for this time of year...

Lolita Ye-ye
Chef's Choice
the earth is my body, my head is in the stars

photo by Emre Gencer

The upside of rainy spring days is the opportunity they provide for reading by windows.

Some recommendations:

Anything by Simon van Booy- his writing is AMAZING. I saw it described as similar to Hemingway, and I agree, but more vivid. He also writes beautiful stories.

Americanah opened my eyes to a lot of things about society from a perspective I'd never experienced.

Becky Wade basically lived my dream life- she traveled the world for a year exploring different running cultures, which she records in Run the World

Delicious Foods is haunting, terrifying, lovely  and utterly unique. A must-read.

Are you introverted? Do you have introverted friends? Do yourself ad everyone else a favor and read Quiet.

Dietland sounds like a lighthearted love-your-body read. Do not believe that's what it is. Read it. Laugh, Cry. Clench your teeth. Give someone a hug.

Grit - inspiring, motivating, and filled with fascinating research about perseverance.

The thing about spring is that every time the sun really comes out it feels like a blessing and a miracle. Relief.

We are ready for the changing times.