Sunday, October 28, 2012

Still Alive and Kicking in Russia

All updates are here:

October is just about over and there is snow on the ground.

On Halloween, we are going to see Krymov's Opus No. 7.

I am working on a scene from Uncle Vanya for the rest of the semester, under the advisement of Igor, our other master and a famous actor in Russia.

Guys, life is unbelievable.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Update From Halfway Around the Globe

Hello, World.

Since I've been in Moscow, I feel like a new person. I am evolving every single minute, and I have never felt more alive.

Never have I been so purely happy, so wholly appreciative of all that I am receiving. I am living and breathing the only thing I want to live and breathe. I look forward to every new day with an anticipation that has been lost from my existence for much too long.

I have a direction. I finally have a direction. I have taken my future into my own hands and I am creating something out of my life.

I don't miss home because I am fully existing here. I am entirely present and it's unbeatable. Realizing that you are doing something that you needed with every fiber of your being is bliss. It's heaven.

I have no doubt. I never, ever second-guess my decision to be here. Just three weeks ago, I was petrified. There was actually a part of me that didn't want to go. But now, I can't imagine my life without these people, and without Russia.

It seems like too much, for only being here a week and a half. But it's a little like love... when you know, you know. And there's no age or time limit. It just is what it is. If we truly allow ourselves to be honest and open, we will recognize with a full heart when we are in the right place.

That's what it is... I'm full. I'm not a shell of happiness, relying on knowing I have a great life rather than truly feeling it. I've found my purpose, and I'm working towards it. This is it! This is my life.

I have arrived.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

So Close

So I finally got my Russia blog up and running, and the inaugural post is up, as well! Click on this link to go check it out.

I will probably repost everything here that I post over there. I don't think I'll have the time to write THAT much, but I don't want to leave this baby in the dust.

This time next week I will be sleeping in Russia. Actually, I'll probably be waking up. YIKES to the 10am classes with a 30 minute walk to campus. At least I think that's the schedule? Oh, how much I don't know yet.

I can't even believe it's that time. When I was accepted in April I just thought "Great! Whew! I don't have to think about that for a while."

Well. Here we are. Literally standing at the front door of this opportunity.

And that's what it is! OPPORTUNITY. I've been excited from the start, but I've also been kinda sorta pleasedon'ttellanyone... dreading it. Which is so ridiculous and unreal. I get to go to study abroad at the most famous theatrical institution in Russia—one of the most famous in the world, with fantastic professors AND with financial aid, and I'm dreading it?! How does that make sense?

It does, though. Because I like the comfortable. It's not built into my personality to enjoy taking risks. That's not me. But if I don't push myself, if I DON'T risk... then I'm ultimately unfulfilled and unhappy. I know that. And so I do things that scare me. Not enough, in my opinion, which is why this program will be so great and absolutely terrifying. Risk after risk after risk after risk.

But damn this will be so good for me. I know it, I do. And the people seem great, from what I can tell on our Facebook group. It's going to be a fantastic adventure. I feel it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Utah, part 2

PROBLEMATIC. Things, as they say, have been cray. (I recently learned the origin of this word from my brother. However, I'd still like to use it as short-form for crazy).

Let's just finish up this week, eh?
Thursday, August 16: 
The first official day of our International Convention. We all piled into the Energy Solutions Arena -- all 10,000 of us, or so. The general sessions are my favorite, because you can feel the excitement and the passion; it is so palpable. We had our own little parade of nations, a group representing each of the 18 countries in which the company is currently open:

This is also when the announcements start coming. And man, did we get some announcements on Thursday. Check out this video of the opening session to see it all happen.

The first major announcement was a total overhaul of the company logo and design for all the products. Brought us right into the 21st century. SO awesome.

A little look at the before and after... 

AND THEN. Drumroll, please....

this is my disbelief face.

IT'S TRUE, IT'S TRUE, IT'S TRUE. We all were GIFTED iPads from USANA. Every distributorship, which totaled probably somewhere around 8,500 iPads. And, come to find out, Apple doesn't give discounts. They went all. out. 
However lovely, these weren't just random gifts. The company also launched a patent-pending iPad app to help us grow our businesses. USANA is getting hip to the young people's needs and expertise!

Friday, August 17:


I opted for the flats, having worn my 5" wedges the previous two days. Good. Decision. 
Also? This F21 skirt is already on its last leg. Bought it in March. Oh, F21. Our days are numbered.

In the general session, we met some of the 600+ USANA athletes. Like we all know, athletes, especially Olympians, must be extremely careful about what they put in their body, so the fact that they stand by USANA is a testament to the trust we can have in these products. So cool to know that USANA is helping to power the success of athletes like Conor Dwyer, José Rivera, Derek Parra, and the entirety of the WTA.

And we were all VERY excited about the launch of a brand new nutrition bar. Vegan, dairy-free AND gluten-free. 

After subsisting mostly on our shakes and bars throughout the convention because of the crazy schedule, our team needed a celebratory dinner. Friday night brought us to Z'Tejas, a mexican fusion restaurant in Salt Lake. We actually dined there last year, the night my dad and I flew to NY to move me back in at Vassar. It's surprisingly delicious. But the best thing was this strawberry rhubarb peach delectable smashed pie skillet deal. Ah yes, I'm quite the describer.

à la mode, duh.

Saturday, August 18:

This day started WAY early, with a 5K set to start at 7am. We arrived by 6:30 to warm up with the growing crowd.

Before the start:

Dad, brother, me, READY to go:

And after the race:

 We did it!! 

Though it was only 3.1 miles, it was the farthest I had ever run consecutively. I never once stopped running (except to tie my shoe), and my time was around 34 minutes... though I was so happy to be done that I totally forgot to look at the time clock. My brother's time was 24. I got some work to do for next year, eh?

After the race, we went back to our hotel to shower and change for the final day of convention. I saw my favorite, Dr. Libby Weaver, on a training stage. She was fabulous, as usual. Check her out. She is from New Zealand and is the most relatable doctor I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. Her accent is perfect, she calls the crowd "gorgeous" or "precious" people, and her health tips are so on point. Her book, Accidentally Overweight, revealed so many mysteries about weight gain/loss and it's a must-read, in my opinion. 

oops phone camera+darkness does not equal pretty.

OOH, there was a flash mob on Saturday! Check out the video, which also includes footage of the early morning race and the final moments of convention.

This was Saturday's post-race outfit:

It was time for the closing session. A few great things happened. Namely, Dr. Oz came up through the stage playing a guitar, and then proceeded to give a fantastic 1 hr talk to the crowd. We are all SO excited to be partnered with him, and it was amazing to see him speak live!

And then, just like that, the confetti spewed and it was all over.

One last look at the USANA store:

We stopped once more at the corporate offices to pick up some Rev3 and secure the car (and watch the sun set):

And as night fell, we drove away, looking back at the NEW logo on the side of the corporate office. 

We spent a final night in Utah, and then hit the road early the next morning.

It was a fantastic week. I have never felt more grateful to be part of a company that truly cares about US. I felt inspired, grown-up, educated, and ready to help people. Thank you, USANA, for 20 years of greatness, and continued evolution. 

And also for the iPads ;)

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Week in Utah

i spent a week in Utah for a business convention. doesn't that sound boring?

the opposite of boring, folks. the complete opposite. my family, and this company? boring is not an option.

how about a little rundown?

Monday, the 13th:

We left bright and early, as we were driving to the beehive state (seriously, utah? the BEEHIVE state?)
There was a quick stop at the oral surgeon's office, to get my new syringe toy to clean out the holes in my gums from the wisdom teeth operation. delicious, you say? i know.
we love roadtrips in our family. in 2009, we went on a road trip for a month. that's right, 30 states in 30 days. we've been meaning to write some sort of blog/book about it. yes, we know it has been three years. but i'll let you know if it ever comes to fruition.
so anyways, this 12 hour jaunt was really nothing too crazy for us. it was just my parents and me, as my brother would fly from san francisco to meet us in utah.
i've taken this specific drive twice before, but was still so incredibly fascinated by the world outside my window. maybe a little too fascinated. i had to delete many a nature photo. but i saved a few for you:

like... can you handle it? maybe you can. i couldn't. if you'd like to see a little more nature, click here.

also, on the trip up, we passed by one of the top earners in the company, in his RV and toy truck. as in, the trailer he keeps his fun four wheeler type things, not a tonka.

OH and I had CHIPOTLE.

we arrived in utah by 9:30, and slept in our family friend's father's house. ooh, say that five times fast.

Tuesday, August 14:

the morning looked a lot like this:

i was still in a little bit of pain, and also struggling a teeeensy bit with the altitude change. 

this is the house we slept in:

i know, right? perfect.

we made the short trip to the corporate offices:

they have the best little cafe(teria) in there: amazing salads, especially, plus REVS
 (oops, my 2nd that day)

we then checked in to our hotel smack in the middle of salt lake city, right across fromt the convention center. this was our view!

and this was my outfit:

we explored for a bit, and stumbled upon this adorable pastry shop.

did that 3 picture thing work?? great. it was freaking cute and also delicious.

what next?? whole foods, of course. i decided you didn't need pictures of that. this is already getting lengthy.

i did get some new running shoes that night at REI. fancypants:

Wednesday, August 15:

On this day, we registered for the convention and went to a few awesome breakout sessions/trainings:.

my brother and me, sort of color coordinating:

in the middle of the store! more fancypants. also! see that white-haired man in the pink/blue shirt? that's our founder. usually, he's in a lab coat. casual wednesday?

pretend you can see my face!

that night, we went to USANAfest, which was at the USANA amphitheater (are you sure it's -er, spellcheck?) outside the city. Belinda Carlisle, Eddie Money, Tommy Shaw, and Kenny Loggins! It was such a great time. 

the family! mom was looking at another camera...

OK I'm gonna stop here for a bit because we are halfway through and this is SO LONG already. i will pick up where i left off.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Loving More

This week, I've been doing a little personal experiment.

On the twelve hour car ride to Utah, I had a bit of an epiphany. There's something about the open road that inspires me. I know I'm not the only one. Just those long, straight stretches. It really feels like the road of life. Life is a Highway, eh?


I was thinking about things I don't like. Pet peeves. Personality traits. Physical traits. Situations, feelings. The list, though relatively short, goes on. There are certain things that illicit a very visceral reaction from me.

So I saw something, on the drive, that I had historically disliked. But that feeling, that negative feeling... it doesn't make me feel good. And so I thought:

why not love that?

Why not replace the "I hate that" with "I love that," even if it might not be true?
People say it's all about the mindset, and I like to think I live my life that way most of the time. If you think it, it will be. The Secret, the Law of Attraction, the Universe, call it what you will. If I just make the conscious decision to bring a positive thought into my brain, what are the possibilities?

I felt my mood instantly lift. And so I've been practicing. Every time I see something and go to think "Ugh, I don't like that," I instead think "just love that. embrace it."

Sometimes it makes no sense, because sometimes things just aren't good and deserve to be disliked. But. Some things are just a matter of my personal taste, and I am not everyone else. Everyone else is not me. And so I put myself in the shoes of another for just a millisecond and I love that. People deserve to make their own choices and it doesn't serve me to think negatively about things I can't change.

It's not even just about me. It's about opening my mind, thinking about others. Learning about humans. Understanding them and ACCEPTING them, above all. Because that's all I want out of anyone: to be accepted and respected.

So I'm doing this little experiment.
And I'm a lot happier for it so far.

**perhaps an adendum post on what the word love means to me. it has been evolving**

Monday, August 13, 2012

En Route to Utah

There are a few things that make me endlessly happy.
One of them is driving on highways meant only for long distance travelers, with only billboards for rest stops, mcdonalds, and casinos guiding the way.
Another is, of course, the air conditioning in our car as the sun raises temperatures to 105 degrees.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

recovery day 3

All is painful on my mouth's front. I mean... back.

Ok, it isn't THAT bad.

(...but it kind of is.)

The pain is in a lovely ebb and flow stage, so I've been rotating through stages, including "get the frozen peas," "is it time for another Vicodin yet?" and "I'm starving where's the food?!"

It has been quite a ride. The vicodin definitely messes with me a bit, pushing me into a sort of half-consciousness, complete with dizzy spells and all that jazz. It does a pretty good job dulling the pain, but it takes its sweet ass time.

I'm looking pretty interesting. I think I'm the most swollen today, though if you didn't know me you'd think my face was just a little bottom-heavy. My sister made a joke about me storing food in my cheeks for later. Original.

I am absolutely relishing the care I've been getting the past few days. My fam has been so wonderfully accommodating and truly sweet. So I'm kind of on the fence about whether I'd like this to all be over, because when my parents ask me if I need anything, I feel like a little babe again and it's oh so good.

I do kind of miss working out though (Eee!), and I would just love to eat a little solid food.
So, maybe this jig should be up.

(Also I totally realize this title is over-dramatic. I'm aware this was minor surgery, but hey, I'm not in ORs very often. Gotta milk it while I can, amiright?)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

four fewer teeth and much better for it

we are nearing the end of day one of recovery.

I have been on the couch since about 11am.

Here's how the morning went down:

woke up at 7:30, took antibiotic.
left around 8:30, arrived at office at 9.
filled out paperwork and anxiously waited.
taken back to the operating room around 9:30.
I am given a blanket as they ask about allergies and possible pregnancy (lol no).
my blood pressure is taken (and then again and again every 5 minutes)
arms and legs are strapped down.
the laughing gas is administered.
I start to play with my heart rate by breathing the gas in super quickly and exhaling very slowly.
I think this is hilarious.
I realize why they call it laughing gas.
suddenly the doctor comes in and gets right down to business.
he tightened a rubber band around my wrist (holy crap that hurt) and put in the IV.
some inappropriate places started burning/tingling (i was warned about this by megan).
I felt rushes of THINGS, like the iv fluid was coursing through my veins, and then nothing else.

I don't remember falling asleep, I don't remember any part of the surgery, didn't hear any sounds, and woke up feeling like it had only been five minutes.

this was really trippy for me. as I mentioned, last time I was 'under' was a solid 18 years ago. It's the weirdest not being able to remember anything that happened in my mouth to remove all four of those pesky wisdom teeth.

The last thing I remember is thinking about the laughing gas: COMMIT THIS TO MEMORY. THIS IS THE BEST FEELING EVER. uhm, does that sound problematic to you?

I was nice and loopy when I woke up, and thankfully couldn't feel anything. I was in such a good place in the recovery room, just on the cusp on consciousness and kind of feeling like I was floating. (again, problem?)

My dad drove me home and I went right to the couch, where I've been ever since.
The pain has been manageable for the most part, but when the IV wore off.... ROUGH.
Vicodin is my new bff, and yes I realize I now sound like a major drug addict. It's. Fine.

I've been catching up on all the blogs I follow and, of course, the Olympics since Saturday.
My diet has consisted of frozen yogurt, green juice, cold soup, watermelon, a protein shake, and now some eggs are being whipped up for me. Constantly hungry but can't really chew. So.

My sister also brought me flowers, which was extremely sweet and brightened up the whole day. They smell delightful as well.

I'm nervous for tomorrow because I hear the second day is more uncomfortable than the first, but I have the couch and my trusty pill bottle, so I think I'll get through it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

losing my wisdom

I'm getting my wisdom teeth out tomorrow.

I'm a little nervous because I haven't actually been under any sort of anesthetic or had any sort of real procedure since I had a hernia... in 1994. So. there's that.

But mostly I'm excited, because let's be real— I love getting taken care of.
I also like soft foods.
Frozen yogurt.
Mac n cheese.
Green juice!

I can't drink water (or eat/drink anything else) starting at midnight until after my surgery (which is at 9AM). This really isn't that big of a deal but now that water is forbidden I AM SO THIRSTY. I'm also used to drinking 2-3 liters of water a day so that pretty much equates to me always having water wherever I am.

I should be reading/watching the Olympics/possibly blogging a bit more in the next few days.
That's all I have planned.


this whole post could have been that sentence.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

the eighth month

oh hey, august.

i'm happy you are here. you are the motivation i need to get myself in gear to really prepare for moscow. you hold the final 31 days of summer. the final 31 days of being away from my favorite place on earth, and some of my favorite people.

you are a poetic month. an action-packed month.

i thought about resisting your arrival, panicking about the dwindling days of this glorious season. but there's no resisting you; time passes. and why should i? there are so many great things ahead. i am ready to really start up life again, turbo charged. summer is a standstill, and you can't stay frozen for too long.

i love this place but i love adventure more. there is adventure of every kind coming up once my plane touches down in new york. adventures with myself, with others, with foreign places. all-encompassing adventures.

august, you bring me one month closer to these beautiful things.
how could i complain?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Twenty Four Years

Today my parents celebrated 24 years of marriage. When we were younger, they used to always take us with them for their anniversary dinners, and the tradition was picked up again this year. We enjoyed a perfect dinner at Island Prime, with the best view of the SD skyline.
My siblings and I presented them with a card thanking them for teaching us how to lead, how to love, and how to live.
We are the luckiest.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

the change

whoops, no, not menopause.

the blog name. the whole blog has felt a little tired to me lately, and if anyone has been regularly checking in, they would have noticed I've been switching the layout/template every few days. Nothing has felt right. I finally decided on this one for its simplicity (it is, after all, the 'simple' template). In white, because I want the words, the pictures—my life—to be the focal point. Enough of the flowery crap, the distracting colors and prints. I want to get rid of anything and everything superfluous. (Except language. I love me some superfluous language). But the distractions no longer suit me. Not only on the blog, but in day to day living. I am in the process of recommitting myself to.... well, to myself, if I'm being honest.

I have been too afraid to start projects, work toward goals, because I'm afraid of how behind I am. Isn't that the silliest thing you've ever heard? It is actually nonsensical. But fear was holding me back, and I was losing myself in things that didn't really matter. My growth had been stunted, my inner person taken over by metaphorical weeds; my soul had become dusty and unexplored. I felt ugly on the inside. Not living up to my full potential.

I needed to reteach myself my loveliness. How to be lovely, in all the ways. The phrase comes from this poem, which is kind of wonderful and kind of weird. But from it I gained wisdom that is redirecting my life.

I started working out two and a half weeks ago. I'm following a workout calendar, which has me target a different muscle group 5 days a week, cardio on Saturdays, and rest on Sundays. I haven't missed a day. Even though I was too busy to work out on Saturday, I made that my rest day and did cardio on Sunday. I made it work. I am determined. Finally, I am determined. And I am already seeing a difference. But mostly, I'm feeling the difference. I wake up with more energy, and my muscles aren't stiff (just sore from the previous day's workout!). I am stronger. I see the definition and in my workouts I am consistently gaining endurance. It's the best I can remember my body feeling, at least since I was dancing. It's honestly amazing. And I am so proud of myself. To have a legitimate reason to be proud of myself is the best feeling. It's so gratifying. I worked for it, earned it.

That has been the biggest change, but I'm also really lighting a fire under my ass as far as the Moscow reading goes. I'm getting it done! Little by little.

And I'm cooking a lot. Creating meals and really eating clean as often as I can.

I know I owe it to myself to be the best that I can be.
And I already feel lovelier.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Raw Vegan Cheesecake

FOR ONCE, this is not a Joy the Baker inspired cooking post. 
It is, however, Blogilates inspired. 
I made this today and I'm already putting it on the blog. Woofreakinghoo.

Since it is vegan, there's no cheese in this cheesecake. And since it is raw there is no cooking or heat (except melting the coconut oil). I took copious pictures. Let's get into it. 

I started with the crust:

1/2 cup dates

2 cups walnuts

Throw 'em in a food processor 

Pour the resulting crumbliness (technical term) into your pan!

Press it all down reeeeal good like:
Voilà! Crust.

OK, Cheesy time!

Soak 3 cups of RAW cashews overnight:

Drain them, and throw them in a food processor with:

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup organic agave syrup

3/4 cup coconut oil

PAUSE. It has to be melted. 
Grab yourself a pan, fill it halfway with water, put it on medium heat.
Put 3/4 cup coconut oil in a glass bowl, then stick the bowl in the pan.


After! (steamy)

Pour that oil in the food processor, and also add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

You're ready to process! (make it nice and smooth)
Here's what you get:
(unsure why this picture is vertical. don't know how to rotate).

Pour that delectable mixture into your pan, and spread it evenly:

Stick that baby in the freezer, for a minimum of 3 hours.

When you're just about ready to take it out, whip up some sauce!
I did a (frozen) berry combo.

Totally eyeballed the amount. Probably around a cup.

1/4 cup agave

(There are also 4 dates in there!!)

Then blend it all together!

I put my berry sauce in a ziploc so I could drizzle it on the cheesecake with precision.


Drizzle on the sauce, and EAT!

What's the verdict?
SO good. It's so good. It really is similar to cheesecake, but you feel a lot less disgusting after you eat this. It's just a CLEAN taste. Again, it's RAW. We only used natural foods (minus the vanilla extract and agave, which are basically natural but had to be processed in some way) so you don't get any weird processed/chemical or refined sugar aftertaste. 
The thing you should know, though, is that it's still highly caloric. Both the crust and the filling are nut based, and we all know that nuts = calories and fat. But it's the good kind of fat, and they also have a lot of protein. So while you probably shouldn't be eating more than a piece of this at a time, don't worry too much about the calories. They aren't the be-all and end-all of nutrition.
(also there have been studies showing that a handful of cashews have a similar effect as a dose of Prozac, so this is a HAPPY cheesecake!)

Bottom line... MAKE THIS. And serve it to all your friends who think eating raw vegan makes yumminess impossible. They are wrong.