Confessions of a Cheater

Well…it’s been happening for a while now, I don’t know if I’m in love, I’ve tried to stop, but I still plan on doing it.

That’s right, I’ve been cheating on my blog. I’m still very fond of my Living the Life blog and take great pride in all that I post on here, but when I began my Digital Media and Democracy class, it was required that I write another, better, more poignant and expressive blog. And I did.

healthy foodsIt’s name is Smart Eating: How and Why. Somehow this blog really took off which surprised not just me, but also my group mates who exposed me to this sordid lifestyle. No one expected the attraction we would hold for it, or the positive reactions of others, but love is something you can’t control. And I love finding colorful pictures of food to display, I love thinking of new story lines I want to explore, and I love feeling that I’m actively helping others create a sustainably healthy lifestyle for themselves.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ll post something on Smart Eating every day, thinking of witty story lines and relishing the chance to speak to an active audience. I feel ashamed when I ignore Living the Life, but it needs to know that what I have with Smart Eating is real.

I’m still happy to chronicle my life experiences with LTL, but when I want to speak about health and nutrition, there’s only one blog for me.

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Spring Has Sprung!

IMG_1904I grew up listening to my grandmother utter that exact phrase towards the beginning of every April, “Spring has sprung!”. I’d roll my eyes and cough out a chuckle, but after exposing myself to the beauteous weather we’ve been experiencing, I finally appreciate her lame little pun.

IMG_1915The sun has been shining, the birds have been chirping, and the clouds are staying away because they know what’s good for ’em.

IMG_1920IMG_1919Two things have really begun to happen now that the weather’s gotten nice.

1. I actually enjoy walking to class.

2. Once I get to class I don’t want to go inside.

Right now I guess I’m just thrilled to be over with winter. Hopefully spring will be just as long, but if not, be sure to enjoy it while it lasts and take some time to stop and notice how happy nature seems to be at being done with winter too.IMG_1926 IMG_1927

Holi Cow!

This past Sunday the University of Maryland created their own Hindu festival of color, Holi. Pronounced “Holy”, this festival involves throwing multi-colored power at people to celebrate the beginning of spring and the driving force of good over evil. 551462_10151526062127593_100085468_nBut for me, it was mostly a good excuse to make tie dye, hang out with friends, take plenty of pictures, and have an unbelievable experience.

DSCN0450We first gathered around the Administration building on the far end of our mall. After handing out free samosas, but sadly for our poor taste buds, no water bottles, they began throwing packets of colored powder into the air. People went wild. Purples were flying through the air intermingling with a neon green that left its presence known to all those standing below it. Somehow a hose and buckets of water got involved, and though it helped enhance my tie dye, it chilled me far too much for such a warm spring day.

Soon my face was splattered in a comically gory fashion and I marveled at how a mere half hour ago I would have been considered clean. After taking a couple pictures with my friends, one of whom resembled an impish smurf, I headed off to the shower where I would not reemerge for a solid 30 minutes.DSCN0461

I had a blast being a part of this festival, and even though I didn’t know most of the 200 + kids who attended, I still had a great time feeling included in a community and letting myself go. Every once in a while, you need to do something so crazy that even your closest friends give you weird looks when they see the pictures.

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The Princess Bride

How many people remember this epic movie from their childhood?  Or maybe you just  remember the awesome quotes you can still recognize today?

  • “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!”
  • “Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”
  • “Inconceivable!”
  • “Please consider me an alternative to suicide.”

Check out more quotes HERE and relive your childhood!

Well last night, at 11:59 pm, there was an event at UMD that showed the movie while actors played the part on stage. The group that does this calls themselves the Satanic Mechanics and also perform the Rocky Horror shows (which I’ve never been to but need to make the effort to go). And if the Rocky Horror shows are anything as good as this, I’ll be in for a real treat!

IMG_1942The actors found silly ways to mimic what was being portrayed on screen and the audience was encouraged to shout things at them in response to the dialogue and actions from the movie. It was a blast! A movie I loved and great (though clearly untrained) actors who were passionate about The Princess Bride and really took to the roles they were playing. I went to bed at 3 in the morning because I stayed up to see this show, but it was completely worth it and goes to show that if you step out of your comfort zone, you have a good chance of being pleasantly surprised.

5Ks and Freedom

Only a couple hours ago I finished running my first official 5K. It was held by the sororities at the University of Maryland to benefit Yeardly Love and raise awareness of domestic violence. I went with my friend Jackie who is a pro at running and has done multiple 10Ks, she was so supportive and it really helped me focus on the run.

It cost $20 dollars to participate, and it return, I received:

  • A free t-shirt
  • A “one love” bracelet
  • Confidence
  • Aching feet
  • A stronger friendshipIMG_1931
  • The sense of community
  • A cool visor
  • Memories
  • Hope for my future plans
  • The freedom to explore endless possibilities

I can’t believe that I completed something so challenging while only stopping to walk for 3 minutes. I had a final time of 33 minutes, but for my first ever 5K, and in the beginning stages of training for the Baltimore Women’s Classic, I’ll take it!

IMG_1933Also, UMD was so beautiful today! We ran around a lake and I just wanted to stop and take pictures the whole time. Instead, I took this one of the Chapel near where we began our race.

Advice for Beginners

I don’t know if you’ve heard of Zen Pencils before, but it’s basically a blog where this guy draws cartoons to match famous quotes. A lot of them are really great and you should definitely check them out, but my absolute favorite is Ira Glass’s Advice for Beginners.

Right now when I’m trying to take on a lot at once, including becoming healthier and training for my 5K; it’s nice to remember that I have to put in “a huge volume of work” to truly see the results I know I can achieve. And if you all just keep trying for whatever it is your heart truly desires, it will come to you.

Luckily I'm not a beginner at tying shoes, so I'm starting somewhere!

Luckily I’m not a beginner at tying shoes, so I’m starting somewhere!

An Easter Surprise

This Easter weekend I had planned on visiting my boyfriend down at his college. While there, we went bowling with friends, ate a scrumptious breakfast at Cracker Barrel, played tennis until our arms ached, and caught Jim Gaffigan’s comedy show down in Roanoke. I could dedicate a post to every noteworthy element that made up our time together, and yet, there was something missing come Sunday morning. Though it had the all the essentials for a memorable weekend, the fact that I was missing Easter Sunday with my family was rather devastating.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I didn’t have to sit in a stuffy church listening to babies cry for an hour and a half, but I missed having the “Easter Bunny” hide eggs around the house and having an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast. I know I’m not a kid any longer, heck, I’m not even a teenager any more, but those are some quality family memories that I never wanted to lose. And that fact that there weren’t going to be any hidden eggs for my brother to find due to my absence left me riddled with guilt and an urge to change this year’s depressing Easter fate. I had to make it home for Easter.

After waking up that morning, I embarked upon my Easter adventure through the rain and fog. I called my parents to let them know that I wouldn’t be heading back to school until later that night and that I was bummed out about not spending time with them, they ate it up. I took pride in my lie as I drove the 5 hours up north to bring me closer to their long-lost faces and hoards of candy stored in the cupboard.

When I pulled into our driveway I made sure to park the car far back from the house and close the car door as silently as my anxious hand would allow. I ducked under windows while trying to maintain balance with my suitcase and made it to the front door not a moment too soon. Not only was I proud of my undeniable stealth, but I was positively giddy with the excitement of being reunited with my family. I rang the doorbell and hid below the glass window in the middle of the door, not daring to make a sound. Out came my grandfather looking rather confused until he spotted me stooped low to the ground. He began silently laughing and helped me up into the foyer where he called for the whole family to gather. My dad came first, and as he tried to hide his shock, a big smile broke out onto his face. My mom and grandmother could hardly believe I was real, so thoroughly convinced were they that I would be going straight back to school. My brother met my arrival with an air of teenage indifference…

What followed was a sweet and memorable Easter day with my family. We ate a great dinner, talked about our lives, and watched a documentary about the Raven’s championship season. Suddenly, I had a new highlight from my weekend.

P.S.        My cat usually sits in a box on our big table. When we took it away for Easter dinner, she just wouldn’t have it. We’ve never had a cuter centerpiece. IMG_1923

My Passover Experience

I was raised in the teachings of the Catholic church. Ever since I was a young child I was taught that Jesus is good, God is great, and as soon as communion has been served it’s alright to file out of the overly crowded pews. I’m not very devout in my religious beliefs, but I do enjoy discovering new aspects of religion, especially when they come from outside my area of expertise. So when my good friend, Bobby, invited me to celebrate the second night of Passover in the spirit of Judaism with him and his family, I happily agreed.

I drove to his house with my other Catholic companion, Dallis,  where we greeted by the 20 other guests with whom I would be participating in the Seder.

My friends Dallis and Bobby at a basketball game

My friends Dallis and Bobby at a basketball game

They were all so enthusiastic to have us there and immediately began asking us questions and making the effort to get to know us, I was taken aback by everyone’s polite and inquisitive nature, I guess I’d grown accustomed to the indifference more college students portray.  After they learned our entire life stories, they took quite a bit of time revisiting old friendships and sharing new developments in their lives. It was delightful to see such a loving reunion, and I was continually and pleasantly surprised as the actual dinner began.

Everyone went around the table reciting from a script, performing ceremonial songs and conducting rituals with various symbolic foods. There were a lot of words I didn’t comprehend and an entirely different language in which I couldn’t even differentiate the words from the syllables, but I never felt uncomfortable. In fact, it was nice to be a part of something so meaningful. After the traditional customs and my reading of a blessedly easy passage to pronounce, the food was served.

In any good experience in my life, food usually plays a crucial role, and that is more than true for this Passover dinner. At first it began with the traditional Matzah which was fine by itself and had a pleasing crunch. Then the Matzah ball soup came which absolutely delighted my taste buds. At one point there was a weird fish that people tried to convince me to drown in horseradish sauce, but I just couldn’t seem to choke it down. After that slight hiccup in the meal, I gorged myself on salmon, carrot casserole, asparagus, mashed potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and a chocolate fondue assortment that was so plentiful and delicious I didn’t think I could ever stop gorging myself on it. And as it turns out, all the food was kosher! I’m still not exactly sure what this means, but I know it definitely doesn’t affect the quality of the food you eat.

At the end of the night we helped clean up the huge mess we had made and said our goodbyes and words of appreciation. I had a blast hanging out with my friend and his family, but more than that I actually enjoyed the messages they were sharing and the good company that they knew how to appreciate. Never keep yourself from trying new things, even if you can’t imagine yourself doing them. It’s always good to surprise yourself, and the surprisingly good time I experienced will bring me back for next year’s Seder. Plus, his house has a gorgeous view of the Bay.IMG_1903