Homesick

If you had told me just a year, or even a few months ago, that I would miss Colorado, I would have laughed in your face. I was SO over the April blizzards, the generally bipolar weather, the seemingly-annual summer wildfires and the lack of certain things (ahem, lots of vegan restaurants, and up til recently, Trader Joe’s).

I spent most of my life in the Centennial State. I was born in Arizona, and while it still has part of my heart, all of my memories were made in Colorado. I started (and finished) school there, I made all of my friends there, some of my favorite vacations were spent there and I had the best years of my life there, in a town just a couple hours north of my ‘hometown’.

One of my favorite spots in the world.

One of my favorite spots in the world.

But when I graduated from college in December, I was excited for what the next chapter of my life would bring. I was ready to move up and out. I think I applied to a grand total of 3 jobs in Colorado, and 2 of those were in a town on the opposite side of the state, with a totally different vibe. I kept daydreaming about what my new life in a new state might be like, and I wanted it sooner rather than later.

Well…I got my wish. I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in early April. I’ve been working for just over a month now, and while that has had its ups and downs, I’m growing acclimated to my new city. I can say I actually do like it. The weather has been mostly fantastic — a lot less humid than I was expecting, and a heck of a lot warmer than back home. There are plenty of things here that remind me of home, like Whole Foods/Sprouts, lots of thunderstorms, a pretty active lifestyle.

Still getting used to seeing the waterfront on a daily basis.

Still getting used to seeing the waterfront on a daily basis.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Colorado. I honestly thought once I moved away, I’d never want to move back, but part of me does. I miss the mountains so much, the dry air, the people I’ve left behind, the places I still remember with a little bit of a twinge in my heart. I’ve stumbled across a few blogs written by women living in Colorado, and it reminds me of what I’ve left behind. As much as I cursed every single snow storm and hated feeling like I’d never leave, now that I have left, it’s a little bittersweet.

Part of it is being hundreds of miles away from all my people. Most of my friends are graduating this week, and part of me feels like I should be there with them, celebrating with a fancy cocktail in Old Town, picking up my cap and gown and packing up my apartment to move back home. But I’ve already done that — that chapter of my life is over.

My sister is also graduating from high school next week, and it kills me to not be able to see her walk across the stage and get her diploma. After all, she’s been there with me for most of my life — attending both of my graduations and always having my back. To not be there for my bestie and little sister is hard. And it’s harder knowing that some of my extended family will be there too, people I see at the most once a year. Being so far away from that hurts.

TBT to last summer with my gorg sissy.

TBT to last summer with my gorg sissy.

Most days, I don’t miss Colorado. Not when they’re getting dumped on with snow in May and I’m running the river trail in 90 degree weather. I like Tulsa. It’s got a great big city vibe without being too big. I could see myself living here for the next year (hopefully moving after that for job-related reasons) and being happy most of the time. And I’m also looking to the future, and planning where I’d love to live in the next few years, and hoping that can happen. I’m not someone who can stay in one place for too long without getting restless.

But then I see friends posting that they got jobs in Denver or Boulder or whatever, and I really miss Colorado. Sometimes I even miss my ‘hometown’ (even though the general vibe is opposite of me for the most part). I definitely miss the mountains and my college town.

Miss you, FoCo, and the lovely Horsetooth Reservoir.

Miss you, FoCo, and the lovely Horsetooth Reservoir.

So here’s to the place that will always have part of my heart, no matter where I roam. Your beauty is unmatched, and even though you’re a little bit crazy sometimes, I’ll always miss you a little bit as long as I’m away. And even if I never move back, I want you to know that I’ll always remember you as home.

Do you ever get ‘homesick’ for a certain place? 

Insta-January

We’re already over a month into 2014–craziness! Just over a month post-graduation, and I’m still trying to figure things out. Ah, such is the life of a (currently) unemployed 20-something.

I wanted to start a new kind of post as a way to look back on the previous month, and with my love for Instagram, what better way to do that than through the filter of my Insta account?

New-to-me Uber bar flavors, scored for $1 at Target.

New-to-me Uber bar flavors, scored for $1 at Target. #funfoodiefinds

Clothes shopping makes me happy...and shopping the sales makes my wallet happy.

Clothes shopping makes me happy…and shopping the sales makes my wallet happy. #shopsmart

Homemade grain free pizza  >>> delivery. Quick, vegan, healthy and tasty makes this a winner.

Homemade grain free pizza >>> delivery. Quick, vegan, healthy and tasty makes this a winner. #nograinsnoproblem

Dawwww it's little blonde baby me! #TBT

Dawwww it’s little blonde baby me! #babypictures

 

Banana softserve all day errry day! Blended with PlantFusion for a protein boost and topped with PB+stevia chocolate chips to make it dessert-worthy. #heaveninabowl

Banana softserve all day errry day! Blended with PlantFusion for a protein boost and topped with PB+stevia chocolate chips to make it dessert-worthy. #heaveninabowl

Iced coffee in January? Why not? #bejealous

Iced coffee in January? Why not? #bejealous

Where do I get my protein? From this delicious bowl, of course. #proteinpacked

Where do I get my protein? From this delicious bowl, of course. #proteinpacked

Snow is the bane of my existence...but it is really pretty. #ohtheweatheroutsideisfrightful

Snow is the bane of my existence…but it is really pretty. #ohtheweatheroutsideisfrightful

What were some of your favorite moments (Instagrammed or not) from January?

(Almost) Wordless Weekend

I feel like I haven’t blogged in forever, but really, it’s only been 5 days. It’s been quite the whirlwind of 5 days though and a LOT has changed, though it doesn’t quite feel like it yet…

Instead of boring you with the details of my (amazing) weekend, I’ll just share some of my favorite pictures from the last 3 ish days. It’s still crazy to me that Christmas is in less than 2 days now, since I just moved out of my apartment this morning and I’m finally home for the holidays. I’m planning on ‘celebrating’ tonight with some Whole Foods salad bar action 😉

Ashley-sized mojito at Luscious Nectar downtown to celebrate being done with finals with some friends.

Ashley-sized mojito at Luscious Nectar downtown to celebrate being done with finals with some friends.

 

Fun (and cheap) Target finds. Navy blue wedges, sparkly gold nail polish, under $10 for both.

Fun (and cheap) Target finds. Navy blue wedges, sparkly gold nail polish, under $10 for both.

Getting ready before graduation on Saturday.

Getting ready before graduation on Saturday.

 

Getting pumped to be a college grad!

Getting pumped to be a college grad!

Leaving for the commencement ceremony.

Leaving for the commencement ceremony. It was so cold, I was glad I wore pants!

 

First selfie as a college graduate.

First selfie as a college graduate.

My mom and me after the ceremony :)

My mom and me after the ceremony 🙂

My family held up signs for me, how cute!

My family held up signs for me, how cute!

 

Caught in the act of taking a selfie!

Caught in the act of taking a selfie!

The amazing vegan reuben on gluten free bread at my favorite vegan restaurant in FoCo.

The amazing vegan reuben on gluten free bread at my favorite vegan restaurant in FoCo.

 

Cute lamb slippers at Bath & Body Works shopping for my mom's Christmas presents.

Cute lamb slippers at Bath & Body Works shopping for my mom’s Christmas presents.

 

 

Soy skinny peppermint mocha and some sister and dad time at Starbucks after shopping.

Soy skinny peppermint mocha and some sister and dad time at Starbucks after shopping. My first Starbucks drink in 3 weeks!

I am so thankful I had the opportunity to attend the school that I did, have an amazing experience there, and was able to graduate in 3 1/2 years without too much stress! This weekend was incredibly fun (and busy) so I’m ready for Christmas and some down time before I start the job search. I still can’t believe I’m living the post-grad life haha.

Enjoy your holidays, and have a happy New Year if I don’t talk to you before then!

What did you do this weekend?

 

Currently: December

…Also known as “It’s almost finals week so I’m stressed and practically brain dead so here’s a fun post that will take my mind off all that I have to do in the next week and a half.” All my fellow (or former) college students will understand what I’m saying here.

Current Book: I’m currently doing my best to avoid all books, even my textbooks. Just kidding, but really the only books I have time to care about are my textbooks. #sorrynotsorry

Current Music: All things Christmas music, especially Vince Guaraldi trio, aka A Charlie Brown Christmas music!

Current Guilty Pleasure: Homemade dark chocolate-covered orange slices. Remember those chocolate oranges that always came out around Christmas? These are like that, but better because I’ve been making them with satsumas (100x better than plain old oranges) and stevia-sweetened dark chocolate. So does that make them a guilty pleasure, or not so much?

Current Nail Color: They’re chipping now, but last weekend I painted my nails with my friend who has a million different nail polishes (seriously, a girl’s dream) and I used OPI The Color of Minnie and Essie Toggle to the Top for some festive-looking nails.

I can never get my nails to not chip a few days in.

I can never get my nails to not chip a few days in.

Current Drink: Celestial Seasonings gingerbread tea or water.

Current Food: Alllllllll the homemade ‘balls’, creamy & spicy butternut squash sauce, leftover grain free stuffing, pomegranates, satsumas, stevia-chocolate chips melted on everything, sauerkraut and these really good spicy sprouted sunflower seeds I got from the bulk section at Whole Foods. I like how I always list multiple things in my ‘Current Food’ section. What can I say, I love food!

Some completely random nachos from sometime last week. I had some sprouted cranberry pumpkin tortilla chips I needed to use them up, so I paired them with beans, sauteed spinach, sauerkraut, olives and homemade cranberry sauce.

Some completely random nachos from sometime last week. I had some sprouted cranberry pumpkin tortilla chips I needed to use them up, so I paired them with beans, sauteed spinach, sauerkraut, olives and homemade cranberry sauce.

Current TV Show: This question and the book question need to go, seriously. I never answer them because I’m never reading/watching anything regularly enough. I will say that my dad has been getting The Newsroom on Netflix and we watched a few episodes of that over Thanksgiving break to get caught up. I am obsessed with that show. Take my love for journalism/news and my love for (recent) history and you’ve got a perfect show for this nerd 😉

Current Wishlist: To make it out of finals week alive (and graduated), to mentally prepare myself for Christmas (not that I’m dreading it, it just doesn’t quite feel like Christmas yet to me), and to magically have my dream job right now #nothappening.

Current Needs: More coffee (haven’t had any Starbucks in almost 2 weeks), my car to start again (poor Alejandro’s battery doesn’t work after a week of near-zero temps) so I can stop taking the bus to campus, the end of school to come sooner.

This was back when Alejandro could deal with some cold and snow.

This was back when Alejandro could deal with some cold and snow.

Current Triumphs: Trying not to stress out so much. Emphasis on the trying there. I’m not 100% anxiety-free, but I’m doing better. I had a lot of stressful situations thrown at me the beginning of the week and I’m still trying to deal with those (such as my car not working, and having to take the bus to campus) on top of stressing about finals, graduation and the post-grad life. I’m doing well not worrying so much about what I’ll be doing with my life after school is over, but I need to also focus less (in a good way) on the more present issues so I don’t run myself down too much.

Current Bane of Existence: How damn cold it was here for the past week, and still kinda is. We got about 6 inches of snow last Tuesday/Wednesday and it’s barely melted due to how cold it’s been. I know a lot of the country’s been dealing with very cold weather, but even living in Colorado most of my life, we never get weather this cold for this long. I blame my Arizona-born blood for not being able to handle the cold 😀

The snow we got a week ago...and it still basically looks like this today.

The snow we got a week ago…and it still basically looks like this today.

Current Indulgence: Mung bean pasta (so good–grain free and 25 grams of protein per serving) with homemade spicy butternut squash sauce, sauerkraut and salted pumpkin seeds. It tastes like a totally decadent pasta dish but is actually healthy.

Current Blessing: Being so close to the end of my school career (for now, anyways). I feel like I’ve been a student forever, and I kinda have if 16 years is forever, so it’s completely crazy that by next Saturday I’ll be done. I’m so thankful that I’ve had the chance to go to college, finish out my degree and make some amazing memories.

Current Outfit: Chillin’ in my pajamas at the mo, but here’s a recent memorable outfit. It was from last Friday, when I had my capstone panel review. One of the most nerve-wracking things ever, but I got some good feedback and it’s all over now!

I'm so classy in my Ann Taylor skirt suit set I got on sale during Labor Day weekend and wore for the first time ever last week.

I’m so classy in my Ann Taylor skirt suit set I got on sale during Labor Day weekend and wore for the first time ever last week.

Current Excitement: CHRISTMAS (duh!), graduation and most of all, being home for the holidays. I. Can’t. Wait.

What are you currently excited about? Is it still cold where you are?

Friday Five: T Minus 2 Weeks

Before I start, I want to thank everyone who commented on and emailed me about my last post. I really appreciate all the feedback you gave me about my “no added sugar” plan, and I’m working towards being more flexible with my eating and not letting food become an obsessive thing in my life. Especially around the holidays, when I’m already stressed as it is, and sometimes a girl just needs a Hail Merry miracle tart (which I’ll be treating myself to at the end of finals week).

1. There are just over 2 weeks left til the big day…graduation!

I feel like I’ve been waiting for this day for forever. Okay, maybe not, but it’s been a source of excitement and fear in my life since at least last year. I think getting the opportunity to graduate a semester early, and start my ‘real’ life will be the best Christmas present I get this year–and it just so happens to be right around Christmas. I’ve just got to get through one more week of classes, 2 real finals, 1 take home test and an online final and then I’m there! I know the next two weeks are going to fly by, but I hope I can enjoy them to the fullest. My time in college has been so much more than I could have ever imagined, so in a way, I’m going to miss it. At the same time, I’m ready to be done with school!

2. I’m obsessed with balls.

Nope, not those ones 😉 I’ve been whipping up some Larabar knock-offs in ball form and eating them for snacks, at breakfast/lunch, you name it. My latest creations are PB&J (my favorites, and literally just raisins+no salt/sugar PB), protein peppermint mocha (recipe below!) and cookie dough (almond meal+dates+stevia chocolate chips+vanilla extract). Let’s just say that my Ninja has been getting a lot of love lately!

Some of my 'balls'.

Some of my ‘balls’.

Protein Peppermint Mocha Balls (vegan, gluten free, grain free, raw, no added sugar)

1 scoop Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder (can sub any coffee-flavored protein powder, or just chocolate and add a little instant coffee)

1 tbsp cacao powder or dark cocoa powder

8-10 pitted dates, soaked 2 hours

3-4 tbsp pumpkin seeds, soaked 2 hours

dash peppermint extract, to taste

In a food processor/high speed blender, process all ingredients until they start to come together. Roll into balls or flatten into bars and enjoy.

3. I am seriously looking into moving to California. Or somewhere else warm.

Not that I wasn’t already, but after this week, I’m considering it even more. Not only did we get 6 inches of snow (not too unusual, and it made it feel more like Christmas, but it made the roads horrible) but we’ve been having Arctic-like temperatures since Tuesday, and they will be continuing until this coming Tuesday. I’m talking daytime highs of 10 degrees at the most, and overnight lows in the negatives. That just doesn’t happen here more than a random day or two, usually in February. The strange thing about Colorado is that we still get plenty of sunshine on these frigid days, so it’s like the weather is taunting us by looking warm but feeling beyond cold. This awful weather has made me just want to stay in and watch Christmas movies #noshame.

This sums it up, basically.

This sums it up, basically.

As does this tweet.

As does this tweet.

4. Some random search terms for your enjoyment.

I haven’t looked at my search terms in awhile, so I knew there was bound to be some, erm, interesting ones. Here are some of the weirdest!

  • drinking olive oil with salt to jump start my period: I would suggest putting that olive oil and salt to better use as a dip for some fancy bread…
  • cappuccino float: I’m not even sure how that would work, but coffee+ice cream is always a winner.
  • how did i spend my thanksgiving holiday for middle school: I haven’t been in middle school for 8 years, so I can’t remember that far back what I was doing for Thanksgiving!
  • selfies gone wrong: If they’re referring to my car selfies, they couldn’t be more wrong!
  • slang saying yaaasss: I personally love slang words, so go for it.

5. My apartment is sufficiently Christmas-ified.

2013-12-05 17.41.082013-12-05 18.23.02

It’s hard being away from home during the holidays. I really struggled with this during my freshman year of college–it was my first time away from home, and I was dealing with all the typical finals-time stress, along with a not-so-great roommate. What’s made my holiday seasons since then a little better (besides living in an apartment on my own!) is having Christmas decorations up and listening to Christmas music as much as possible. My lovely mom was nice enough to decorate my place while I was at class when she dropped me off after break on Monday, and now my apartment is looking pretty festive. Having all that snow helps too (though, lets be honest, I’m sick of it already) and even though I won’t be going home for good (aka until I find a job) until the 23rd because that’s when I’m moving out of my apartment, I can still enjoy this holiday season, while looking forward to the time that I’ll get to be home with my family again. T-minus 17 days until I’m home for Christmas 😀

Do you like to decorate your home/apartment/dorm for the holidays? What’s the weather like where you are–I need some hope that warmer temps will return soon!

Take Me Back

Thank you, so much, for the responses to my last post! I’ve had some honest and heartfelt posts in the past, mainly about my ED, but this post was hard for me to write because it brought up so many memories and feelings about the house I left a year ago, and that may never be the same again. Natural disasters are sadly something that everyone can relate to, but it’s great when communities can come together and rebuild. The best part of this is that the fire is now 55% contained as of Saturday night, and so many homes have been spared, as well as the lives of some animals caught in the fire who were saved by the incredible firefighters.

Today I want to talk about something more fun…namely, the mini-vacation I took last week! I call it a mini-vacation because it was just a trip into the mountains (about a 2 1/2 hour drive) and we were there for only 4 days, but it was a nice escape from real life for a few days and it kinda prepared me for our longer trip to visit the grandparents in August. I’m excited for that vacation, but also nervous. It’s the first time we’ve gone back since I’ve been vegan, and since my grandparents all live in Wisconsin, it’s definitely not the most veg-friendly environment. My mom’s being really accommodating with the trip and is promising a trip to Whole Foods (and possibly my first trip to a Trader Joes!) once we land so I’m hoping I can find plenty of vegan options and not stress out too much about eating and exercise.

Anyways, onto the vacation pics! I’m going to go wordless style on this and take you through the highlights of the trip in order. And…go!

Selfie on the way to Estes Park. Don't worry, I wasn't driving!

Selfie on the way to Estes Park. Don’t worry, I wasn’t driving!

Finally in Estes.

Finally in Estes.

Elk right outside our car! They're pretty normal around those parts.

Elk right outside our car! They’re pretty normal around those parts.

 

View of the mountains from the condo.

View of the mountains from the condo.

 

Excited to go to dinner and a movie (we saw The Internship).

Excited to go to dinner and a movie (we saw The Internship).

Late night Starbies after the movie.

Late night Starbies after the movie.

 

Poooool.

Poooool.

 

I got a little burned...

I got a little burned…

Winery with the parentals. Only a month and 10 days before I can partake ;)

Winery with the parentals. Only a month and 10 days before I can partake 😉

It's not everyday you see llamas on your way to dinner.

It’s not everyday you see llamas on your way to dinner.

Cute swing by Fall River.

Cute swing by Fall River.

View of the condos from below.

View of the condos from below.

Chillin' by Fall River.

Chillin’ by Fall River.

On Fern Lake Trail.

On Fern Lake Trail.

Big rocky cliffs on the Fern Lake trail.

Big rocky cliffs on the Fern Lake trail.

Seestas on the trail.

Seestas on the trail.

 

 

 

Big Thompson river.

Big Thompson river.

Snow on Trail Ridge Road...in June!

Snow on Trail Ridge Road…in June!

Um...wow!

Um…wow!

 

 

Beaver at Trail Ridge Road visitor center...not real!

Beaver at Trail Ridge Road visitor center…not real!

Awkward wolves at a gift shop in town. It's been a running joke in our family for a few years.

Awkward wolves at a gift shop in town. It’s been a running joke in our family for a few years.

Baja blackened tacos at Native FOods in Boulder on our way back home. New favorite vegan restaurant!

Baja blackened tacos at Native Foods in Boulder on our way back home. New favorite vegan restaurant!

Gluten free PB parfait at Native Foods. I was stuffed after eating half of this, and one taco!

Gluten free PB parfait at Native Foods. I was stuffed after eating half of this, and one taco!

 

Besides all that, we packed even more into 4 days, like tennis, bumper boats and mini golf, window shopping in town and making fun of  the local TV station’s funny commercials. My family’s been going to Estes Park every summer since I was 9 or 10 and I love it every time! Even though I might not be living with them next summer, I hope I can still go back…I miss Estes already!

Do you go on vacations to new destinations or old favorites? Any tips for veg-friendly long distance plane and car travel?

WIAW: Almost Summer (Or Not)

It’s finally May! Can you believe it? This year has already flown by, and I’ll be packing up to go home for the summer in just about 2 weeks. I’m not sure if you’re as much of a weather nerd as I am (actually, pretty sure you’re not since I’m pretty obsessed, but hey, it is my job!) but if you’ve been keeping up with the national forecast, good old Colorado is getting yet another snowstorm today. Yep, May 1st. Snow isn’t totally unusual here, but since we’re supposed to get around 6 or more inches (writing this on Tuesday when it’s still raining, not snowing yet and hopefully won’t), that’s way more than normal. Can you believe we were at 80 degrees on Monday? This is just insane, and really not fair.

Anyways, I’ll stop my weather complaints and move on to better things…namely WIAW! This one will be fairly wordless other than captions, but full of recent food photos so enjoy!

Fully loaded kelp noodle stirfry: kelp noodles, peanut flour/curry/coconut aminos sauce, pineapple/mango, spinach, red cabbage, pan fried tofu, coconut flakes and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Fully loaded kelp noodle stirfry: kelp noodles, peanut flour/curry/coconut aminos sauce, pineapple/mango, spinach, red cabbage, pan fried tofu, coconut flakes and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Homemade blueberry infused, watermelon stevia sweetened water.

Homemade blueberry infused, watermelon stevia sweetened water.

Horestooth Reservoir and the mountains. One of the biggest lakes in Colorado is in my backyard. Nothing better than mountains+water!

Horestooth Reservoir and the mountains. One of the biggest lakes in Colorado is in my backyard. Nothing better than mountains+water!

'Guacachoc' PB protein mousse, aka avocado mousse. Recipe to come!

‘Guacachoc’ PB protein mousse, aka avocado mousse. Recipe to come!

More clean nachos! Sprouted sweet potato chips, red cabbage, homemade guac, sweet potato, black beans and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

More clean nachos! Sprouted sweet potato chips, red cabbage, homemade guac, sweet potato, black beans and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Grain free protein pancakes. Mix of chocolate Sunwarrior and garbanzo flour. Topped with PB, homemade pumpkin grainless granola and dark chocolate chips.

Grain free protein pancakes. Mix of chocolate Sunwarrior and garbanzo flour. Topped with PB, homemade pumpkin grainless granola and dark chocolate chips.

Beautiful weekend weather in the 70s.

Beautiful weekend weather in the 70s.

Raw snackplate. Cacao nib Cocoroon, organic strawberries, southwestern ranch kale chips, orange rosemary pecans, Thai lemon curry cashews, currant flacker with homemade blueberry vanilla chia jam.

Raw snackplate. Cacao nib macaroon, organic strawberries, southwestern ranch kale chips, orange rosemary pecans, Thai lemon curry cashews, currant flacker with homemade blueberry vanilla chia jam.

Green-ish grass and sunny skies.

Green-ish grass and sunny skies (and my Alejandro behind the power box).

Socca-style taco filled with raw red cabbage, black beans, sweet potato, homemade guac and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Socca-style taco filled with raw red cabbage, black beans, sweet potato, homemade guac and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Is is almost summer where you are (school wise, or weather wise)? What’s the best thing you ate this weekend?