My Nutritional Balance

Being vegan you’d think I’d monitor my balance of nutrients pretty carefully.  You know, making sure I’m getting enough protein and iron, that kinda thing.

But actually, not even a little bit.  I’ve been vegan for over two years now, and have never had any serious issues, so I just assume I’m doing a pretty good job.  Except every once in a while I’ll start craving burgers.  The last time this happened my good friend Jay told me that used to happen to him when he wasn’t getting enough protein.  So now when I crave burgers, I make a point of loading up on protein.

However, this week it hasn’t been burgers I’ve been craving.  How about one of these?

Or THESE??!?

I have officially become obsessed with Pinterest, and I’m pretty sure it’s exclusively to live vicariously through all the non-vegans out there.  I would kill for one of these right about now.


Overall I’m still alright, but I need to find what’s missing!!!

So seriously, what is causing my desperate cravings for anything warm and sweet???  (With sprinkles, obviously)


Beautiful Salads and Commitment to Relaxation


It’s hard to complain at all when someone else is cooking dinner.  Especially when it’s an incredible salad, considering how bad I am at keeping a large amount of produce fresh all at the same time so I can actually make one of my own.

And then when it’s presented to me looking like this?  Seriously.  One spoiled girl.


I love tulips.  I find them to have a lot more personality than other flowers.  And when they open up to say hello?  Even better.

Only downside is that when they start blooming they also start drooping.  Which means they’re not going to last a whole lot longer 😦


Could I have been laughing any harder when I saw this on the way home from the Tobacco Trail the other day?  On the way to start our bike ride we passed him standing up and commented that he looked about 12 years old.  On the way home, he had clearly had enough of walking around holding the Great Clips sign.  So he decided to just lay down on the sidewalk and prop it up.

Hesitate to give him above a 5, because I’m pretty sure his boss would not be pleased with this, but I hesitate to give him below a 5 since cars can still see the sign.  So normally this would be a 5, but the laugh it gave me and my parents is worth at least 2.



Who doesn’t love a cuddle buddy when knocking out a little work?  This girl definitely does.  Especially if it’s a juggle whose name rhymes with Smurph.

That said, the actual ‘help’ he provided was minimal.  For such a smart dog, he doesn’t often put it to work outside of sneaking into cabinets and trash cans to overdose on food…

Plus the more deeply he fell asleep, the more weight he put onto my arm making it trickier to edit.  I also had to stop every 5 minutes to gush at how cute he was as he snored…

So in terms of productivity, it was no good.  In terms of a smiling heart, it was great 🙂

Coming up next is a full review of Full Steam, an awesome brewery in downtown Durham I’ve recently fallen in love with 🙂  Until then, just living for the tens!

Genius Bars & Cinqo de Meato

Look who I discovered wandering around my apartment complex this weekend…


ADORABLE.  Find me someone who doesn’t love a baby version of anything and I’ll call them crazy.

This little guy made my morning drive infinitely better on Friday.

-1 for my new nervousness that he’ll stumble into the road and get hit by one of the crazy drivers around here.


Saturday was a day put aside for mad editing.  So of course, my hard drive decides to fail.  Before you get too upset for me, I should tell you they were able to recover all data, so all that was lost was about 3 hours of my day at the Mac store and a whole lot of editing time.  BUT, I purged my old hard drive of now unwanted things, and got a faster computer out of the deal 🙂

Had two pretty good experiences at the Genius Bar today, with some smart dudes who were able to save all my stuff, and get it covered under AppleCare (despite me admitting to 1) spilling beer on my computer a couple months ago and 2) pointing out the dents from the time I dropped it on my foot in February).  So the cost was ZERO dollars.


Highlight of my Apple store visit?  One of the guys working there walked out of the back and every Apple employee in the entire store started clapping and cheering.  All the customers looked confused out of their minds, but the employees across the store (all 63 of them) were celebrating.

I looked at the guy helping me with a confused face, and he explained that it was this guy’s last day of work.

Seriously???  What an amazing company culture that this is what happens on someone’s last day.  As of recently I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to build a strong team culture, and think things like this are such great examples in the business world.  But, it leaves me wondering all the small things they do to build the culture where this kind of thing happens.

I’ll sleep on that one, but in the meantime this moment made my heart smile.

CINQO de MEATO 2012: 8

It’s hard to believe a vegan would rate a Meatfest as high as this, but give me a second and I can explain why.

+1 for Curtis (the host), who was kind enough to make a DELICIOUS vegan chili.  Luckily all the carnivores in the house left it pretty much alone, so I could devour 4 bowls.  Okay, I exaggerate.  Wait… not really.  It was THAT GOOD.  I’m almost tempted to take a point off for how much I ate, but I actually think I was just doing my part to save more animals.  That makes sense, right?

+1 for a house FULL of good people.  Seriously, there were like 80.  While I can’t vouch for every last one of them being good people all the ones I talked to were 🙂  Entertaining, smart, and downright attractive (see below if you don’t believe me).

+1 for good beer.  I can take partial credit for this one since I brought Big Boss Hell’s Belle (a new favorite) and exclusively drank that.  But after the day I had, I deserved it.  DE.LISH.

-1 for the amount of animals killed in ‘celebration’, and -1 for the rain 😦  There were so many people stuck inside, when any BBQ (or meatfest) is made better with a little corn hole and outdoor activity.  It only motivated me to host a get-together at my place SOON!

All in all, a pretty great weekend 🙂  Until next time, just living for the tens!

Franklin Street & Never Ending Climbs

Let’s be honest.  It’s hard not to let our personal lives affect our professional lives.  These past couple weeks have been a great reminder of that, and have done a lot for my sympathy in understanding what both colleagues and students bring in to school with them every day.  Even harder is not being able to acknowledge the reality of a personal life while at work.

So you can imagine my surprise and appreciation when a colleague left a nice note on my desk this morning and a container of vegan ice cream in the staff room freezer waiting for me.


Seriously.  I always see it at Food Lion and Trader Joes, but always resist the urge to buy it.  Today, the choice wasn’t mine.  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!  I made the smart move of leaving it at school, having enough self awareness to know what would happen to it if I brought it home.  A couple spoonfuls here and there might be the best solution ever to a long week 🙂


I always forget how much the Smurph dog hates the NC summers until the warm weather really starts to hit.  While in the Spring, Winter or Fall he’s dying for a longer walk, as soon as the heat kicks in he’s begging to head back home.  Literally.  He puts on the brakes and refuses to go any further.  After I explain to him rationally that he’ll be just fine, and that he needs the extra exercise to burn off the trash he devoured that day, I can often coerce him.  But it is never easy.  Tonight was no exception.

After a walk with Murph, I headed to the CHCC for a Tuesday evening climb.  Arrived a bit late, but still got some nice climbs in with Paul.  Until we hit this route, however.


I suppose you have the right to take your time.  But I’m also pretty sure there’s a sign on the wall encouraging urgency for the sake of cutting down on lines.  After waiting for over 10 minutes, we decided this was definitely ratable.  While not a rating of John, or his climbing (as he is still very much loved by us), it is a rating of the seemingly endless wait to finally get on the wall.  But if I’m being honest with myself here, maybe the real rating should be:


I suppose at the end of the day it wasn’t really John’s fault, but instead ours for choosing to wait in line behind the SLOWEST CLIMBING PAIR EVER.  Okay, I exaggerate.  But when the lines are long, your partner is hungry and trying to peace out early, every second counts.

Following another climb or two we headed out to Tyler’s for dinner and then the Orange County Social Club for some celebratory beers, as a friend’s new album was just released.


Seriously.  Heart smiling and loving life, there’s something about Joe Purdy that goes BEAUTIFULLY with a nice drive down Franklin Street.  Especially when it’s 80 degrees out and smells like summer.

Making it even more exciting?  Realizing that in a matter of two weeks all the undergrads will be gone and it will officially be CAROLINA SUMMER TIME!  I can’t wait 🙂

Overall, a great evening.  Stay tuned for the rating of Tripp’s newest album!

Until then, just living for the tens!

Afternoon Runs…

Slept straight through my 5:45am alarm this morning, which was supposed to lead to a nice morning jog.  After making the decision last night to sign up for the Jingle Bell 10K in December (and immediately label the next three months of my calendar with my training plan… obsessive planner?  Perhaps.)

This of course leads me to then think about where I’m going to fit my workout into my otherwise super busy day (and by super busy, I mean finding as many ways to avoid work as possible… turns out I’m just not the ‘sit at a computer all day and do work’ kinda girl).  Luckily I got an email from my MIA roommate asking if I was up for a 3pm run.

YES!  An excuse to get in my workout AND see another human.  Perfect.


Since the plan was unexpected, my 2pm ‘stay awake so I can actually get some work done’ coffee was unfortunately timed.  Had to go to the bathroom 5 minutes into our run.  Luckily the American Tobacco Trail is relatively uncrowded during the day, and I had a running partner, aka lookout.  Behind a tree I went.


Unfortunately, my running partner was not a very good lookout.  I walk out of the woods to see him way off in the distance, running the other direction.  Not only did he leave me behind, but had he seen someone coming (and there were 2 on their way towards me), there was no way to notify me.  When I rated him a 3 he began arguing the rating, so I bumped it down .5.

In his defense, maybe he didn’t know what it meant to be a lookout?


Glad I did it now.  Wanted to die then.

Will be waiting until sunset in the future.  Or fall.  It’s almost here, right?


Noah was going to attempt to make it, but, like most meals at our apartment, he realized within 3 minutes it would probably be better if he just let me do it.  So I did.

And he was right.


Noah says ‘I would give it a 9.  A swirly straw would have been nice… something a little festive, you know?’  Fair enough.


One of the many ways I attempted to avoid work today was getting a little bit better with my Nikon D40.  Thought I was doing just great until 3 hours later I decided to check my understanding with the smoothie pictures.  Clearly I couldn’t remember most of what I had learned… will need to remediate immediately.

Until next time, just living for the tens 🙂

Hawaii’s Over the Hill…

It feels like it’s been a while since the framily got together (not counting the trip to Maine Paul, Ben & I just got back from- more on that later), so I was left with no option but to host a little get together this weekend.

Clearly it was only appropriate the theme was a Hawaiian Luau, considering that Sunday was the 52nd anniversary of their statehood.  Chuquin and I headed out that afternoon and did our best to find some things to spice up the apartment.  I’d say we did pretty well…


Only things missing were grass skirts and coconut bras…


Finding great leis was a bit harder than anticipated, however.  I knew immediately where to head, as I’ve hit up Party City for leis in the past (surprisingly effective classroom incentive for my 11th graders).   But I did not anticipate quite how expensive they’d be… $2 a pop for the average ones, and $3-$4 for the super colorful, thick and flowery ones.  I fell in love immediately with a bright yellow one, but forced myself to put it back when I realized I couldn’t afford one for everyone.  Bad taste for the hostess to sport a high-end lei while handing out the skimpy ones.

Ultimately we went with lei headbands, as they were two for $1, so I could purchase enough for everyone.  I added in a couple colorful smaller neck leis as well, and I’d say the combo did the trick.  That said, if money were no option we would have scored some awesome fluorescent ones.



I haven’t been this ecstatic about a new food option since Friday.  We picked up a bunch of stuff at Trader Joe’s in the morning, and after playing some beach volleyball out back decided to throw it all together.  We did pretty well, ending up with guacamole (it’s so good any country/state would be lucky to have it as part of their cuisine), fruit salsa, homemade tortilla chips, and lastly this delicious pizza.

I can’t claim any credit, as it was entirely Chuquin, but please allow me to gush for a minute.  It started with the $1.09 whole wheat dough from Trader Joes, covered with an olive oil/rosemary/Italian season blend, then topped with cut up pineapple (okay, I’ll take credit for this), and some mozerella soy cheese.  Yup, that’s right.  SOY CHEESE.  Those non-believers have never tried this brand, on this pizza.  LIFE CHANGING.  And I’d say that almost everyone who tried it would agree.

Couldn’t resist, and made a quesidilla tonight with the leftovers.  Almost as good, but not quite.


While pineapple is certainly vegan, virtually every recipe we found online was not.  Hence why guacamole became Hawaiian due to my ability to make/change the house rules.


While I hate to be a pain to those who haven’t chosen a vegan lifestyle, I’m constantly debating with myself whether or not I can ask others to do their best to bring vegan foods while I’m hosting.  While the cheeses and eggs don’t bother me much, I must admit I really am not a fan of tons of meat parading in whenever I host dinners.  Last night had to have been the most vegan friendly dinner we’ve had, with the only exception being a little tuna.  And what’s more Hawaiian than tuna???  Exceptions can sometimes be happily made 🙂

Check out my plate full of delicious veganness…


There was no hulaing, but they certainly looked good… the headband leis fit their necks perfectly J  In fact, they’re still wearing them today…



All in all another successful framily dinner.  The framily is constantly growing and changing, and it was great to have a whole bunch of new folks join.  Thanks Jill, Steve, Dan, Amanda, Jordan, Emily, Chris, Mauro & Chuquin!


Until next time, just living for the tens 🙂

Summer of Fun

I’m not gonna lie, life has been pretty wonderful since moving back to the Triangle.  I love my new place, my summer job, my new roommate,the location, and all the great people I’ve missed seeing on a regular basis over the past year.  A couple ratings of the past month…


All I had to say to the burrito maker was ‘I’m vegan’, and he took it upon himself to get creative with the menu.  While many places will leave things out, he took it up on himself to find good stuff to replace it with so I wasn’t left with half the meal.  This is what he came up with:

Tasted every bit as good as it looked.  Went back two days later and got it again.  As if that weren’t enough, they also had this sign hanging up at their register:

Talk about amazing community.  There certainly is something special about this place, where local businesses look out for each other.


Perfectly trashy, wonderfully beachy, and incredible company made for a great roommate bonding experience.

-1: A sad, sad loss in a large, important tournament.  I can’t believe I’m only taking off a point for this.

-1: Beaches just aren’t my thing.  I get bored (and sweaty) after just laying around, and my fear of sharks prevents any serious water activity.  While this isn’t a huge deal for a weekend, I could never do a week at the beach like some do.  2 1/2 days was perfect 🙂


Oh how nice it is to be 3 hours away from the mountains again.  Clearly my first weekend back I headed out there.  Along with Jay, Noah, Bill, Rachel, Lisa, Richard and many other great people, we hiked, climbed, photographed and camped.

-1: Still didn’t make it to the top of ‘Edge of a Dream’ to get the photo I’ve been dying for for about 3 years now.  Next time…


Who knew something like this existed???  Not this girl.  But thanks to my new roommate, a Colorado native, I was introduced to this circus mixed with bike race mixed with Rose Parade.  Put on by the New Belgium Brewing Company (from Colorado, and best known for their Fat Tire beer), it’s a celebration of a bicycle lifestyle.  This year it came to Durham for the first time ever.  And the first stop of their summer tour. Folks come dressed in costume, with decorated bikes, and we all started by taking a 3 mile bike tour of the town.  With no real winner, it’s more about putting on a good show, and enjoying the atmosphere.

When you arrive back where you started, it’s time to party.  Next comes the circus portion, with plenty of beer, comedy performances, live music, and lots of beer.  Did I mention that already?  They even have an area filled with crazy bikes that you can take for a spin.

I’m pretty sure riding a two-seater with Noah was the most frightening part of that day.  And that includes when a dude on top of a tall unicycle hit balls at my face as part of his show.

Despite that, some could call this the best day ever.  Or at least a crucial part of the best weekend ever.

Until next time, just living for the tens 🙂