Happy New Year!

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As the new year rolls in, the inclination is to set resolutions to abide by. Out with the old and in with the new! Or so they say. Well, I agree that positive intent is crucial to making any sort of change.

This year, I made just one resolution. It is the basis for other changes I intend to make in my life, but the core is as follows. My 2015 new years resolution is: to do whatever the fuck I want.

Yep. That’s it! That old college friend who never talks to me anymore except to send me a Facebook invite to her birthday party? Normally, I would feel obligated to attend because of years of past friendship that after some analysis may not fall under the category of “friendship” at all. Well, this year, guess what? I’m not going! And I’m not going to feel guilty about it either. If I want to eat a cookie, I’m going to stop that negative thinking cycle right in its tracks when it tries to tell me that I will put on a few extra pounds. From one cookie?! Please! And even if I do, it’s what I want in this moment and I refuse to feel bad about it. That guy that I really like that I keep thinking about? Normally, I would listen to all of that advice women are given about waiting for him to call first, but if I want to talk to him, why can’t I reach out?

The way I see it, the only reason we don’t already do all of the things we want to do is out of fear. Fear of people’s reactions, what they will think, if they will judge us, fear of failure, of falling behind, of taking a step back. 2015 is the year I stop letting fear get the best of me, once and for all. So far I’m only 8 days in and already I feel great. I highly suggest to anyone who is looking to make a huge, major, lasting change to stop letting fear drive their lives.

Letting go of the fear of an outcome or what people are going to think of you is difficult but I promise you it is liberating. The key is in the not feeling bad about putting yourself first and going after the things that you truly want. After all, if you’re not happy, how can you expect to make other people happy? The examples I gave are small and fairly insignificant, but fear can slow us down or stop us from reaching for our lifelong and important dreams. I would hate to see that happen to myself or to anyone else. People who have given up on their dreams are sad, lost, confused, broken. We have dreams for a reason! And time is valuable. The time and energy we spend doing things we don’t want to do or worrying about things we have done only take away those resources we could be pouring into our passions and things that will better ourselves and ultimately everyone around us.

You may have heard the saying, “We are all ‘should’-ing on ourselves and we need to stop.” I couldn’t agree more. Thoughts like, “I should go to the gym” “I should go to that” “I shouldn’t eat that” “I should read that” – they don’t help us at all! They only draw attention to things that we don’t want to be doing. So I am only going to do the things I really want to do in 2015. From now on, I either want to do things, or I don’t do them at all. Is that selfish? I don’t believe so. I think that making yourself happy is the most important thing because we are here to make ourselves happy and not to be “people-pleasers”. The irony is that the only way for others to be truly happy and comfortable is for you yourself to be genuinely happy and comfortable with yourself. Another thing I have found is that the happier I make myself, the more social I feel, the more I feel like taking good care of myself, and I actually WANT to do those things I would normally avoid!

If you only make one resolution for 2015, I highly suggest this one: Do whatever the fuck you want*!!

XOXO

This article is relevant: http://markmanson.net/not-giving-a-fuck

*Hopefully this disclaimer is common sense, but I’ll add it anyway. When I say “Do what you want” I mean as long as it’s not harmful to others or to yourself. Hopefully you don’t want to do anything that would hurt another human (or animal) but if you do, you may want to dig deeper and find out why. I think you’ll find that fear is at the core of the issue, and I promise there is a solution that doesn’t involve endangering yourself or another person.

Frances

I have been feeling emotions that I have not been able to get out in words yet. My grandmother passed away a week ago today. All at once I was fine because she was in her mid-90s and it was somewhat expected and not fine because it was still a shock. Although we have not been so close these last few years, many of my childhood memories are times I spent with my grandmother in our younger years. She was the first person whose phone number I memorized at the age of three. I woke up before everyone else on that birthday. We were living in California and I remembered that my grandmother was three hours ahead so I called her. She would always tell me I was her favorite. “Numero Uno!” she would call me enthusiastically. I was her first granddaughter of two, though she had many more ‘adopted’ grandchildren. My sister and I would go to Florida to visit her and my grandfather every summer when we were kids. They took us to Disneyworld once, but mostly we just played around the house and in their yard. And it was fun. I loved going to my grandmother’s house. She had mango trees in her yard and would make us mango bread, mango pie, mango pudding, mango everything. She sent me to the day camp where I rode my first horse. They had a beach house we would visit during the day near the water where I swam in my first ocean.

My sister and I were there the summer that hurricane Andrew ripped through the state – I was six and my sister four. We knew it was coming, we had seen the news. I remember my grandfather diligently hammering up shutters around the windows the week before. And just how calm my grandmother was throughout the whole process. When it hit, the winds blew throughout the night, the attic door whirled and rattled and you could hear loud thuds hitting the outside of the walls of the house. My sister and I held onto each other in the hallway, but we knew we were safe. We were all right. Our grandmother sat with us and we fell asleep there. When we woke up, the storm had passed. We walked outside to assess the damage. The motorhome that had taken us to Disneyworld and back the previous summer was turned over on its top in the backyard. Trees were uprooted and shingles from the neighboring houses’ roofs were everywhere. The scene was barely recognizable. But we were all fine and so everything was all right.

My grandmother had a great way of putting people at ease, but also making them uncomfortable. She would say exactly what was on her mind, whether you wanted to hear it or not. Sometimes completely inappropriate, but you couldn’t say she didn’t have an opinion. She had a great laugh and a good sense of humor. She talked a lot. She encouraged me to travel and date and ride horses and swim in the ocean. Mostly she encouraged me to be me. And I could feel that she loved me. My summers and my childhood and my life would have been different without her and I feel grateful for the love and the experiences that she gave and shared with me.

This loss is bringing up memories I had almost forgotten about and feelings that I did not expect and don’t quite know what to do with. For now, I just want to remember her as the calm in that middle of that storm in the hallway. And we are all right.

Curried Autumn Vegetables!

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What you’ll need:

  • Coconut cream and/or coconut milk. I use this creamed coconut product by Let’s Do Organic.
  • Curry spices. I use Trader Joe’s Curry Powder, a blend of coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, chile pepper, mustard, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon, black pepper, and saffron.
  • 2 cups organic cauliflower florets
  • 1 organic red bell pepper (or orange or green or yellow) cut julienne
  • 1 small organic yam or sweet potato
  • 1/4 organic red onion
  • 1 or 2 organic garlic cloves
  • 1 cup organic baby leaf spinach

What to do with it:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees to bake your yam (or sweet potato!). Rinse it in cold water and dry it off before poking holes throughout with a fork/knife (be careful). Place yam on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for about 20 minutes, before flipping over and baking it for another 10 minutes. (You can cook it more if you like a softer potato, but for the purposes of holding up in the curry, it’s better that it isn’t baked to the point of being mushy).

Melt half of package of creamed coconut into a saucepan on medium heat with 1 part water for every 2 parts coconut, stirring frequently. As mixture reaches boiling, turn down heat slightly and add the spices. Continue to stir occasionally as everything blends and thickens.

Add your garlic, cauliflower and any other “hard” vegetables you may choose to include, like eggplant, carrots, or pumpkin.. all make great additions! Then, add the other veggies – your bell pepper, onion, spinach, and your yam once fully baked to softness and cut up into little cubes.

Stir once or twice as your delicious mixture begins to cook the veggies and thicken. If you like thinner curry (almost like a soup), keep on a higher heat and stir frequently. However, if you’re like me and you like a thicker curry, keep your boiler on a med-low setting and stir infrequently. I usually taste-test the harder veggies like the cauliflower or eggplant to see if they are done all the way through to decide when it’s ready.

Serve over rice, or another mild grain of your choice.

Yum, yum! One of my favorite things to make, and it is so easy. You can pretty much make a curry out of anything. Add meat if you’re into that, or keep it vegan or vegetarian. ENJOY!

Shopping for Vintage in Fremont

This is a freelance piece I was commissioned to do for Matador Network (www.matadornetwork.com). Enjoy!

 

Fremont is Seattle’s quirky neighborhood to the north, about a 15 minute bus ride from downtown. The unique vibe makes it a place to shop unlike no other part of Seattle. Fremont, although gaining in popularity among tourists, is fairly off the beaten path when compared to the routine destinations. For a relatively small neighborhood, there is a wide variety of vintage stores, and these are some of the best.

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Gold Dogs (https://www.etsy.com/shop/GoldDogsCo) (3519 Fremont Pl N)

Nestled underneath a whisky bar, Gold Dogs is your quintessential vintage shop. It doesn’t have a particular theme, but rather a multitude of items. In one corner are leather boots, belts, handbags and luggage. In another spot you have authentic Pendleton jackets and blankets next to trucker hats. Pashminas and funky hats adorn a table opposite a display of denim cutoffs with sewn-in patterned pockets. It is easy to get lost for a while in the wide assortment of brass and stone rings for only $19. A fun and overall reasonably priced shop.

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Boot Girl (459 N 36th St)

This place has, you guessed it, boots. Lots and lots of mostly leather boots that have been reworked with salvaged materials. Boots for men, women, and children line the walls of this smaller shop which sits underneath the Fremont Coffee Company. The items that are not boots are pieces that pair nicely with boots: Jeans, flannels and button-ups, woven scarves, flirty dresses, and metal and turquoise jewelry. There are even adorable toddler size flannels and little boots that make great gifts. Boot Girl keeps the theme fairly simple and the overall feel is that you have briefly teleported to Austin, TX. The boots are reasonably priced per wear and you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 for a well-worn pair to up to $200 for ones like new.

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Fremont Vintage Mall (3419 Fremont Pl N)

The Fremont Vintage Mall is the place to go if you are looking for sports memorabilia, records, and other collectibles. Walking down the stairs beneath Jai Thai restaurant, the hallway is painted with familiar characters like Betty Boop, Wonder Woman, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and R2D2, giving you an idea of what’s in store for you when you reach the bottom.  There are also unique home décor items like bear skins, tribal totem masks, and big brass Buddha heads. This store is the largest and has the biggest variety when it comes to selection and price.

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Atlas (3509 Fremont Place N)

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Atlas used to be a part of and has the same owners as the Fremont Vintage Mall. They were once in the same building until it became too big to contain all the goodies. Atlas has the same retro feel but is more clothes and jewelry focused than its sister store. Each section is rented out by different vendors who update their “closets” on a weekly basis, so each corner is different from the next. Reasonably priced items, again depending on the vendor. Bonus: on Friday and Saturday nights the local comedy and improv group ComedySportz Seattle performs on stage in the theater behind the store / the attached theater houses the local comedy and improve group ComedySportz Seattle (http://seattlecomedygroup.com/).

 

Wish (465 N 36th St. Suite A)

Wish owners Sabrina and Steve are craftspeople and designers of clothes and costume jewelry, and these creations are proudly displayed in their shop. Wish is their smaller boutique (the larger one is in Wallingford), but its spunk more than makes up for its size. The style is hippie bohemian festival wear mixed with utilitarian pieces. The shop worker tells me that Wish is a fairly popular destination for tourists, and she has met people from Norway, Germany, and Taiwan who have come to check out the store.

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Fremont Sunday Market (3401 Evanston Ave N)

You can’t talk about Fremont shopping without mentioning the Sunday Market. Every Sunday, rain or shine (or overcast), the market blocks off N 34th St between Phinney and Evanston with weekly staples and new surprises each time. Sellers come from all over Seattle and other parts of the Pacific Northwest to directly sell their goods. This is the perfect place to find a unique gift for someone. Woodworkers carve wine stoppers before your eyes and glass blowers sell their hand-blown pipes. There is a man I see there every week whose stand is full of handmade jewelry, gems, and other treasures brought back from Thailand. “The Gypsy Tent” houses delicate lace kimonos and woven wool yoga blankets. A woman drives her VW bus up from Portland, the inside of which is lined with succulents and art. You can also find crystals, books, homemade honey and jam, candles, soap, and other farmers’ market staples like fresh fruit and flowers. The price range for the Fremont Sunday Market varies between vendors and what you are purchasing, but most items are pleasantly affordable. Just be sure to bring cash to trade for your treasures.

Date a Yogini

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Yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years. Only relatively recently has it gained popularity in western culture. Still, many people do not know what yoga is really all about. For many Westerners, it is another class to take, akin to pilates or zumba; an alternative to running and good for injuries. It is those things, yes, but yoga is so much more.

Hatha flow – or physical yoga – is only one part of the practice. Yoga is a spirituality and a philosophy in addition to a physiology.

“There is no physical yoga and spiritual yoga.  If it is exclusively physical, it won’t be yoga.  Yoga is dealing with the entirety; it is a union.” – Prashant Iyengar, son of B.K.S Iyengar

Date a yogini.

She moves through difficulty, through discomfort, through uncertainty to find a place of stillness and ease. This hasn’t always been her way. She has a past that has brought her here to this point. She has a story to tell and she is open to telling it, if you are open to hearing it.

She jumps and trusts herself enough to navigate whatever comes her way. She tries new things and knows that falling is a part of the practice of life. She tries again and doesn’t lose faith. The illusion of perfection does not frighten her or cripple her efforts, but instead she sees it as a challenge to move past.

She knows her worth and is continually improving upon herself. Not to achieve unattainable perfection or for financial or material gain or fame. She works toward dissolving her ego, being more open, honest, and loving. More trusting and vulnerable. To be a better listener, to others and herself. Staying true to herself is her greatest desire.

She accepts and goes with the flow of life. She knows what she wants and she also knows that things take time. She practices patience and isn’t in a rush. She is enjoying every minute.

She practices gratitude, and is actually thankful for life’s struggles. She still gets sad and she gets angry. In fact, she feels the full range of her emotions. But she uses these emotions to know that she is alive and as fuel as she moves through the asanas. She lets go through the body to let go through the mind and spirit.

She knows her body and the joy of moving it and stretching every muscle. She knows how to breathe into spaces that are tight or painful. She listens to her body. She chooses to nourish it with good food.

Her intuition is strong. She sees things as they are and that may scare you. She sees in you the good that maybe you didn’t even know was there. She loves love and gives it as freely as she receives it. Don’t lose her trust. She knows what’s important in life and focuses on that, letting all else fall away.

If you are lucky enough to experience her love, you won’t want to let her go. If her destiny is elsewhere, you must, but you will be better for having known her.

You might even take yoga up yourself and come to find this love of life for yourself. And that was her intention all along.

(This article was written in the style of “Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels” by Adi Zarsadias. The feature image is taken from Rachel Brathen’s instagram, which I highly recommend following).