The fabric of my life

I zealously (seems to be the only way I do anything) hopped aboard the synthetic activewear bandwagon because they were ubiquitous (still are). I was leggins to the grocery store, leggins for travel, leggins with tunics on casual Fridays, leggins to the gym of course. It was leggins for mah life! And eight pairs of leggings and three years later, I have come to the conclusion that even though leggings are nice, I prefer my clothes non-synthetic. Nothing is more breathable than cotton. Yes sweat, but I change out of my sweaty exercise clothes regardless of fabric.  And skin being the largest organ in our body, constantly breathing, taking things in, I am not sure if covering it with plastics is the best way to go.  Note: I have done zero science research fueling this concern.  It’s just how I feel. Still, I’ll wear what I have, still take them to the gym, still handy for light-packing travel as they can wash and dry overnight anywhere. Going forward though, they’ll be replaced by cotton.  But aside from the gym and on travel, I won’t live in them anymore.  I don’t treat them as loungewear or weekend errand-run clothes.  That’s where old school cotton sweatpants come in, or jeans if you want to be fancy!     

Apple Picking

I went apple picking during Labor Day weekend. They had Jonagold, Red and Golden Delicious, Gala, and Mutsu. I like Golden, Jonagold, and Mutsu. I am okay with Reds and I dislike Galas. Galas are cloyingly sweet, and soft and mealy. Jonagolds have a good hard crunch and some tartness. Goldens also have a slight pleasing tartness. I do eat the cores now, which incidentally makes them much easier to slice. I take the seeds out though because I don’t like chewing on them.

Water Aerobics

When I first saw yoga, I thought, THAT’s not a workout! They’re barely doing anything. Then when I tried it for the first time, I could barely hold a downdog. That’s how it was with my first experience doing water aerobics. All this time I thought, it’s great for elderly folk, but how can this be a workout? Well, I’ve gone to two classes now and I’ve had so much fun each session. It doesn’t even feel like the typical (for me) onerous workout sessions, just fun splashing in the pool. Then I get home and eat the entire contents of my fridge. So yeah, it’s a great exercise and I’m reminded how much fun I have going to the pool.

Lover

I took the day off from work on Friday to spend a very personal day with Taylor. She generously released the album on YouTube for free. And I’ve been listening to this album on repeat all weekend and will probably have it on repeat for a while because I am obsessed. I’ve also been revisiting her older albums to try and figure out my new TS albums rankings. It’s such a futile effort since I change my mind at every listen. I’m fully aware it could be recency bias with this new release, but I think Lover is my favorite of her albums. Lover just highlights exactly where she shines – her lyricism. She has the gift of language to poetically describe relatable universal human emotions. And of course she sets it all to music that I can’t turn off, literally. It’s been going all weekend.

For the moment:

  • The eponymous track Lover, is my favorite song in this album.
  • I have these at the top of my list too in no particular order: Cornelia Street, Daylight, The Man, Afterglow, Paper Rings, Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince, You Need To Calm Down, Cruel Summer, I Think He Knows, London Boy, The Archer
  • Soon You’ll Get Better is why I had to make a Lover playlist rather than just play the whole album. It’s a beautifully heartwrenching song and I cry every dang time it comes on. Every stinkin’ time. Weeping. I just can’t be doing that all day. Thank you, T, for including it though.
  • I don’t have any skip songs in this album (besides the one that makes me cry and it’s not because I don’t like it. I do still play it periodically). I don’t have any skip tracks in the reputation album either.
  • This is the first album where I’m not really trying to decipher which man this song is associated with, because it doesn’t matter. I don’t know if this speaks to growth in myself or her.

Understanding that buying physical albums is not the best option environmentally-speaking, and cd-players are going the way of dinos, I decided to just get version 4 as opposed to all four versions of her deluxe album at Target yesterday. I went with that one because it’s pink. Of course. And it has the All Too Well lyrics. It looks like it was written so quickly, I can only imagine it must’ve been pouring out of her brain so fast her hands could barely keep up. There’s also a poignant entry about her antiquing with her mom. Ugh. Weep more at the Soon You’ll Get Better song.

She was only 19:

7-12-2009 Today was a wonderful day. And not because of some massive career accomplishment or award show. It wasn’t about world domination or another number 1 song. Today was just… wonderful. Today was simple and perfect. Because today was just me and my mom, driving around, looking at antiques in little antique shops, talking about what chandelier should go in the foyer and if this cabinet would look right in the guest room. We stopped for ice cream cones. It started raining hard while we were shopping, so we had to run back to the car, getting soaked and screaming.

We met up with Dad and Austin for dinner at Kabuto. But the best part of the day was just driving around with my mom. Correction: riding around with my mom with a bunch of antiques clanking together in the trunk. I just kept thinking, when I’m 90 years old, re-living the good old days, I doubt if I’ll look back on the number one parties as fondly and as frequently as I’ll look back on today.

Wearing red lipstick for no reason, mom in her black t-shirt and wet hair, driving around talking about which chandelier should go in the foyer.

T. Swizzle

It reads like a song. I swear this woman’s life must filter through her head like a Broadway production. What it must be like.

Konmari Folding

Taylor Swift, you’re free this year. I have a new object of my affection – Marie Kondo.

Having not read either of her books and only seeing one episode of her Netflix show, Marie Kondo has affected me – that’s how influential she is. Heck, I’m devoting 2019 to my cobbled-together interpretation of her philosophy.

The first time I saw her folding clothes on episode one of her show, I scoffed. That’s the last of her ideas I will adopt. Pfft. I DO NOT fold clothes. They fit in the drawers (or not) and if I can’t shut the drawer I leave them open. I have better things to do with my time. Like watching other people organize their clothes.

Fast forward a few weeks and last night, as I was watching Jane the Virgin (great empty-head show), I got it in my head to try folding my clusterfuck of a jeans drawer. I should have taken a before photo but the urge to Kondo struck fast and hard so just picture in your mind unfolded jeans jammed tightly into a drawer and the drawer shuts – snugly. But look at the results!

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Not only do I have an organized drawer of jeans, there was extra room in there to shove my winter knit stockings. (Kondo would have rolled them, but I’m not there yet.)

Three things I gathered from this exercise.

  1. Folded indeed makes for more efficient use of space.
  2. I have a ton of jeans I don’t wear.
  3. That’s where my <fill in item of clothing> went!

I don’t know if I’ll keep this up. And I certainly have no intentions of replicating this for socks or underwear. That’s just absurd.

Terrace House – Opening New Doors

This is my favorite reality TV show. I normally browse or play games while watching TV, but for TH, I put the iPad down to read the subtitles. This show is the Sims IRL!! If you put six Sims together like this the results would be not too different. Except my Sims would definitely squeeze out a couple of kids before too long. The characters in the show are attractive, talented, entrepreneurial, and opportunistic. So this show is a publicity generating platform for them as they develop their brands while we viewers watch them socially interact. I almost think of it as panda porn for Japanese youth. Kids, this is how you engage each other socially. Pandas, this is how babies are made. Beautiful.

The food in New Orleans, LA

The one thing I’d heard over and over from multiple sources about New Orleans was the food there is AMAZING. I put it on my list of places to visit for the creole, etouffee, gumbo, fried anything, beans and rice, and on and on. Then after I started eating plant-based, I wrote it off. So when I visited last week, I really had managed expectations despite what I’d heard about it being some kind of food mecca.  I thought I’d for sure have to duck into some greasy junky Chinese restaurant to find a plant-based meal.  I seriously entertained the idea of looking for a Panda Express. But holy moly was I utterly wrong about that.  NOLA has the best (plant-based) food I’ve had in all my travels since I started eating plant-based. They have plenty of restaurants (way more options than I can find in DC) and they’re all knocked-it-out-of-the-park excellent and the ones I had were all within a 5 mile walkable or transit-able distance.

Even if you don’t eat totally plant-based, you’re going to love this food. It’s just good food period. Here’s what they served.

  • A well-thought menu, with well-crafted dishes.  Not a burger patty made with rice or quinoa slapped between a hamburger bun. Not a salad minus the cheese.  Not some afterthought of side dishes slapped together.  It has cooked beans or lentils.  It incorporates fresh vegetables and whole grains.  It’s not overly fried or salted or made with unrecognizable composites and called “chick’n”.  It’s real food made with real ingredients.
  • Hearty and filling food.  The portions are generous enough for me to say “I’m full and satisfied” at the end of the meal.  And let’s just say I’ve had enough people gawk at me as I take seconds or thirds to recognize that I have a very healthy appetite.
  • Tasty and fresh ingredients made with plenty of flavorful spices enough to inspire me or give me new ingredients to experiment with when I cook again.  And it’s also flavors I don’t make at home.  It’s new and interesting to me.

These places I went to in NOLA all fit the bill.  I wanted to take them all home with me and I miss them now even as I reminisce.

These first two on my list I declared as “my favorite” “number 1” “this is the place to go if you only get one meal in NOLA” each time I ate at each place.  So it’s a toss up.  I ate at both places, one after the other, on my last day before catching the flight home.

Sweet Soulfood
Sweet Soulfood

Walking in here, you’re hit with a steam sauna of flavor. They cook everything fresh and it steams up the little diner. Everything is plant-based and it’s all so hearty and delicious, I wanted everything. Their portions are generous enough to fill me up. The dishes are made with fresh ingredients and they have rotating daily specials. This meal’s daily special was the barbecue cauliflower. I love their jambalaya and cornbread. They do use some vegan sausages for some dishes, like the jambalaya, but it’s not heavy-handed and you will find bay leaves in the food because they actually cook with real seasonings. So good! I’m going to be saying that a lot here.

Good Karma
Good Karma
This place is such a hippie-dippie-coffee-tea-organic-plant-based-gluten-free-namaste-yoga-hang-out-and-relax kind of cafe. Seriously, it’s connected to a yoga studio. Their food is phenomenal and I said that every time I dug into their daily soup and veggie special. It’s inspired me to cook with lemongrass, galangal, and lime juice more, though I doubt I could create any of these dishes. I need this restaurant in my life. The food is incredibly warm and delicious. I think we ate here for four meals.

Seed
Seed
This place is a lot more fancypants then the first two places. They have table service. They also serve cocktails. The nice thing about NOLA is I can order a bourbon drink before noon and it’s perfectly whatever. Also, it was so good I noted the mix: Buffalo Trace, lemon juice, and hot sauce. I will definitely make that at home. This is also an all plant-based restaurant, but the options lean a tad more vegan-junk-food. Fried seitan nuggets for example. However, you can get hearty non-junky things too like gumbo and etouffee. Wonderfully warm and flavorful.

Green Goddess
This place is not entirely plant-based but they have multiple vegan entrees and they’re all well done and satisfying. It’s conveniently located in the French Quarter and if it were located here in DC, it would easily be one of my favorite places to eat. In NOLA though, with all those other places competing, this one is just okay. I have to give them credit for well-designed dishes though, beans, rice, vegetables all freshly prepared.

Satsumas
Satsumas
Ok, not a restaurant, but easily our favorite food in New Orleans. They’re a local in-season fruit and they are so juicy, sweet, easy to peel, and thirst quenching. We walked or took the trolley 3 miles each way to get these at a local grocery store three times for a total of maybe seven dozen satsumas. At first glance they don’t look all that great. Green tangerines. I expected them to be sour. But nope, they were awesome little fruits. I think my favorite thing to do whenever I travel is visit grocery stores and local markets.

So in short, New Orleans is a food mecca. It’s dirty, it’s gritty, it rained every dang day we were there. But the food. Man! The food! It can only come from a city with so much love you can taste it.

Cava

Not to be mistaken with their sit down table service restaurant, Cava is like the Chipotle of Mediterranean cuisine. It’s a fast casual place that dishes up bowls of food with mix and match combinations of rice, lentils, salad greens, hummus, vegetables and on and on. It’s about $10 for a bowl and while I still prefer Mom’s Naked Lunch, this came in a close second. I really enjoyed the crunchy salad mix they had (Splendid/Supergreens) and the lentils and hummus made it filling. Would I come back? Do I recommend? Sure and sure!

Grain of salt: I have been having difficulty finding proper meals dining out and I’m probably not the best judge of restaurants anymore. But I really thought it was good and I have a coworker who says she and her boyfriend eat here at least once a week! That must count for something right?

Also I forgot to get a picture before I dug in. It looked like a bowl of greens and vegetables.

Leggins!

I hopped aboard the synthetic activewear bandwagon when my last gym pants gave out. Leggins were (and still are) ubiquitous when I needed new workout pants and my old school cotton capris were not so easy to find anymore. At first, I really liked my new leggings. They were so stylish and pretty. I felt like I was channeling Taylor Swift every time I headed to the gym in my trendy new leggings. But eight pairs of leggings and a year later, I have come to the conclusion that even though leggings are nice, I prefer my cotton workout clothes. I prefer exercising in pants that aren’t skintight. And nothing is more breathable than cotton. Yes sweat, but I would change out of my sweaty exercise clothes regardless of fabric type anyway. The only exercise I would prefer synthetics is probably hot yoga, which I don’t like and rarely do anyway, and spin, which I do maybe once a month, if that. I’m still of course going to keep wearing my leggings, but I won’t be adding more to the workout wardrobe. It was fun to go whole hog on leggins but alas, the fire is gone.

Fountain penning

The recent review about my fleeting artistic endeavors reminds me of my other “hobby” that I picked up several years ago. Fountain penning. How’s that going you might wonder? Well, it’s sort of stalled. That’s the thing about stuff hobbies. It’s just buying another and another. I don’t plan on getting anymore except eventually a TWSBI.
In the height of my penning, I was using the Pilot Kakuno, Petit1, and Metropolitan at work and regularly journaling with the Pelikan. Now, only the Pelikan and Petit 1 are currently inked and used. The Metropolitan was recently cleaned and the Kakuno is a lost cause. The lid cracked, the nib dries out, it spurts ink sometimes. I don’t know what to do with it. Marie Kondo would probably say, throw it away. I can save the nib and feed which also fits the Metropolitan. It does have a nice extra fine nib. Guess it was a get-what-you-pay-for situation.

So the thing about fountain pens, and pens in general is hand writing things just doesn’t happen much these days anymore. My handwriting is crap because of it. I used to try hard with my notebooks at work to jot notes neatly. You’d see at least some parts of my notes with schoolteacher writing and some notes that are rushed. Now almost all my notes look rushed.