Because I Need It

May 8th, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

Yup, this post is about the break-up.

Because I need it.

For reflection.  Later.  And now.

 

Change is inevitable.  It’s the one constant in life.

Funny how that works.

Things didn’t turn out the way I planned/imagined.

Oh well.

I trust the Universe.

It’s unfolding perfectly.

 

Breathe.

 

Personal growth is a good thing.

And now I have ample time to focus on myself.

 

Things I learned from all this:

  • I am more supportive than I thought.
  • I am more patient than I thought.
  • I am definitely a care-taker.
  • Maybe I should own a pet.  Probs not, though.  Pets are too hairy.  I’ll stick to plants.
  • I will be a fantastic wife if/when I get married.
  • I will be a great mother if I ever decide to have children.
  • I am more intuitive than I thought.
  • I am weird/quirky and make little noises all the time that I wasn’t really aware of before.
  • I am more jealous than I thought.  I’m kind of working on it.  Not really though.  More so just accepting it as fact.
  • I am completely surrounded by loving friends and family and I am so grateful for each and every one of them for being so fucking awesome.
  • I am definitely a hopeless romantic.  Ok, maybe I knew this one already.
  • I now know what absolute true and overwhelming love feels like.
  • You shouldn’t put someone else before yourself, because if they leave, then you are left with an un-fulfilled you.  (That is kind of shitty to say following the last point, but whatever.)
  • I am emotionally stronger than I thought.
  • I am pretty good at letting go/I am working on it.
  • I can do whatever the fuck I want and you can’t stop me.
  • I deserve whatever I want because I am an amazing individual.  Bam.  I said it.
  • And much, much more .. that I’m sure I will think of right after I post this.

 

Finally, I do want to note that we (Ethan and I) shared about 8 months of pure bliss in this relationship and I am so very grateful for the time we had together.

And that’s all I want to say about it.

<3

 

Cruisin For A Bruisin

April 16th, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | 1 Comment »

Adventures of Betty & Kelly, aka Bets & Kets, aka Belly & Ketty, aka Barbara & Keisha, aka Barbie & Kesha!  :P  So many aliases!

Get ready to see too many pictures of Kelly and I acting ridiculous on our fabulous cruise!

It was 6 days/5 nights of nothing but wonderful on the Carnival Triumph & our ports were in Progreso, Mexico and Cozumel, Mexico!

**I may have left out some events; I had drunk-brain most of the trip.  Shit happens.  :P

Day 1

We were so freaking excited, we got hammered with three drinks each before the ship even set sail, haha!  It was quite a start to a very alcohol-soaked trip (our tab at the end was $800)!

At dinner we met our new BFF, Preston, who we hung out with pretty much every evening for the duration of the cruise.

– first drinks! the green iguana -

– our room! so happy to be on board -

– first little towel critter -

Day 2

We hit the pool decks with our books for a few hours, then went to lunch where the ENTIRE staff on the cruise broke out into the YMCA and dazzled us all!

We hit up an art auction with some free champagne and Kelly almost bought a $150 piece of art, but decided against it at the last minute.

We hit the casino to buy some playing cards for Kelly’s collection and paid a whopping $1 for the deck!  Then we crashed for a quick nap before dinner (we did this every day) and when Preston tried to remember our names, he deemed us “Barbara and Keisha” for the rest of the trip.  :P

We went to make fun of the drunk singers at Karakoe with Preston, the best of which was a woman singing Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” with a raunchy fist pump, ahahha!

We laughed our asses off at the comedy show!  The comedian was hilarious and we made sure to see him again on our last night.

– drinks on the pool deck -

– nothing but ocean -

– a few drinks in -

– YMCA lunch special -

– Kelly doing some hallway drinking – 

– looking pretty for dinner -

more drinking after dinner -

– second little towel critter – 

Day 3

Progreso, Mexico!  Kelly and I walked the beach and settled in the perfect spot to tan and read for while before grabbing lunch and strawberry margaritas at a little beach-front cantina.

We did a little tourist shopping and then hopped back on the boat for a few more drinks & a nap.

We attended a talent show with only 3 acts, but they were good!

We went to the “deck party” with Preston where there were not nearly enough people dancing and an annoying camera man was all over everybody.  Needless to say, we didn’t stay long.

– Progreso, Mexico beach -

– one of many birdie friends -

strawberry margaritas on the beach -

100_9190[1]

– one of the longest piers in the world -

– back to the boat -

– drinking our calories -

– the ship’s smaller pool & hot tubs -

third little towel critter -

Day 4

We went zip-lining and snorkeling!!  We each only paid $90 and spent a few solid hours at a resort in Cozumel where we played on a zip-line obstacle course, climbing 60 foot towers and crossing rope bridges!  Then we went snorkeling and saw some little & big fishies doing their fish thing.

We were going to do a Tequila tasting, but we decided against it and headed back to the boat for lunch, some more shopping/drinking, and then took another much need nap.

We went to the Magic Show where we saw so many beautiful dancers in elaborate costumes and a few pretty good magic tricks!

We went to a show with Preston after dinner called “A Kiss Goodnight” which was a burlesque-ish show… they said you had to be 18+, but there was not one tit shown!

– snacks for later :b -

– resort in Cozumel, Mexico -

zip line obstacle course -

snorkel snorkel -

– Kelly being adorable -

Carnival Triumph -

– fourth little towel critter -

– we’re cute -

Day 5

We spent most of our day on the pool decks with our books, took a nap, and went to dinner.  This was by far the laziest day.  <3

We went to a double comedy show with Preston and got shit-faced with 2 bottles of champagne plus a few glasses.

We drunkenly stumbled to the piano bar for a few drinks and a sing-along sesh.

We took black-out pictures before passing out…  Oh joy.  :P

– last day view on the pool deck -

– our hilarious, handsome, and “humble” friend, Preston -

- black out pictures… not bad (; -

fifth & last little towel “critter” -

Day 6

We ported in Galveston around 8:30 in the morning.  Kelly and I were more hung over this morning than any other on the trip, haha.

We endured a nauseating breakfast, packed up our last belongings, stood in the customs line for a relatively quick period, and then drove back to Austin!

Once home, I unraveled with the love of my life.  (;  So good to be back in my own bed and in his arms.  <3

 

I am so very grateful for Kelly Joy Mullen and our 6-year friendship that continues to be fantastic fun!  Cheers to a great vacation & hopefully many more to come!

Recent Meals

March 11th, 2014 Posted in Food I've Made | No Comments »

Well, my blog may be turning into a quasi-food blog for vegans… dun dun dun :b

 

To start, one of my old coworkers/bosses at TCE would bring her lunch to work and it always had assorted noms in it.  Renee, aka Noodle, this dish was inspired by you!  First, mixed grain quinoa with cumin seed, pecans, and baby kale.  Second, sauteed (in coconut oil) brussel sprouts with serrano peppers, shredded carrot, and garlic.  Third, steamed cauliflower.  Fourth, vegan cheese sauce made with nutritional yeast and coconut milk.  Fifth, a handful of fresh cilantro.  Definitely not a boring lunch!  Goodbye lame meat and cheese sandwich, hello healthy vegan plethora of awesomeness.  :D

 

This is the first vegan meal I cooked for Ethan (and he loved it, of course)!  (:  We go out to eat, a lot.  More often than I thought, considering we have been together 6 months and this is the first vegan meal I have cooked for him..  Anyway, we went out for Italian the other night and his dish looked so rich and creamy that I started to crave something similar – so I made this!  It’s gnocchi (a potato-dumpling pasta) with shiitake mushrooms, onion, and garlic, smothered in a daiya mozzarella & coconut milk based pesto sauce!  Creamy, goopy, rich, filling, deliciousness.. Mmmmm.  However, it’s not the most photogenic dish.  Haha.

 

This is made with the same week’s batch of groceries – vegan food does have diversity!  It’s not all celery & lettuce, haha.  First, steamed cauliflower with evoo, creole seasoning, and flax seeds.  Second, lightly stir-fried (in coconut oil) shiitake mushrooms, shredded carrot, garlic, onion, and serrano peppers.  Third, batsmati rice cooked with turmeric, cumin seed, and bay leaf – then mixed with baby kale.  Fourth, the best herb on the planet, fresh cilantro.

 

Breakfast of champs!  Who needs oats and yogurt?  Nobody.  That shit is gross.  Haha, this gem is organic blackberries, strawberries, & almonds in coconut/almond milk with cinnamon & agave nectar.  It’s decadent – super tart berries with crunchy almonds, surrounded in sweet horchata-esque goodness (but way lower in calories).  Now try and tell me with a straight face you don’t want some of that!  (;

 

I made spring rolls & they are surprisingly very easy to make!  (:  But what I really like about them is that you can put pretty much anything in them and they will taste great!  Haha.  These have spaghetti squash (in substitution for the traditional vermicelli noodles), cilantro, shredded carrots, tofu, spinach, and flax seeds, all wrapped up in rice paper and dipped in peanut sauce & Sriracha.  (Tip: I found that the best way to transport them to work is to wrap each one individually in wax paper.)

 

Here’s yet another Renee-inspired dish to finish this post.  (:  First, “curried” (curry powder/ turmeric powder/ cumin seed) mixed-grain quinoa with pecans.  Second, wilted spinach with shredded carrots, garlic, crimini mushrooms, and flax seeds (cooked with coconut oil).  Third, sauteed (in coconut oil) red bell peppers, onion, and asparagus.  Fourth, the almighty Sriracha.  Noms!

 

My Birthday Month

March 4th, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

February should be a longer month.  It’s the shortest month of the year, yet it really has some great stuff.  I mean, come on – It’s the month of love!  Don’t get me wrong, I think Valentine’s Day is totally for boosting Hallmark and Hershey sales, but love is a great & powerful thing and it should definitely be celebrated!  And duh, it’s also my m-f-ing birthday month & I’m awesome!  Hahah.  :P

Alright, so this is what I experienced in this glorious & short month:

Feb 1 I went to Carnaval Brasileiro with Ethan, Sean, Laura, Kara, Billy, Forest, Jeremy, Malinda, Meredith, and Jordan. (All thanks to Kara because she had a bunch of free tickets to give away!) In sum, we had a drunken blast!  Haha. Ethan and I weren’t wearing a costume (because we decided about 2 hours before it started that we were actually going to go), so we were some of the weirdest ones there, but at one point Ethan lifted me up and put me around his neck and said that I was his costume.  :P  He’s so silly.

Feb 2 I spent half of the Super Bowl with my family & friends up in Cedar Park and half of it with Ethan & his friends. I found this year’s Super Bowl to be uneventful in that the game was a total domination of one team over the other and I like to watch in suspense as one team and the other fight their hardest to the end with just a few points separating the winner and loser. However, the commercials were pretty great in that they were laced with human rights/ equality!  :D

Feb 3 I went to see Buddy Wakefield’s World Tour with my friend, Meggan & her sister. I had never seen Buddy before, but I am a huge fan of slam poetry and he had some great stuff to share with us. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

Feb 4 I finally got my license renewed! I have had the same license since I was 18 and it expired on my 24th birthday, so it was time. And wow, the DMV is just a lovely place, really buzzing with good vibes and provides an absolutely enthralling experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else. I can’t wait to go there again. (Where is the sarcasm font?)

Feb 5 My friend, Molly and I had dinner at El Alma! I think I mention her in every monthly update because we have monthly meet-ups, haha. But there was a lot to catch up on this time and it was great, as always, to see her. (:

Feb 8 I had lunch with my friend Tristan, aka T-Cup at one of my favorite places to eat, Bouldin Creek Cafe. I should really eat there more. They are soooo good and their menu is pretty much all vegetarian/ vegan! (:

Feb 9 I got in some sweet nephew snuggle time (like I do every weekend) and then met up with some old TCE friends that I haven’t seen in wayy too long and they all seem to be doing well, which is fantastic to hear!

Feb 10 Kelly Joy (who I’m going on a cruise with in April!) and I had dinner at Mama Fu’s and then I met up Jessica & Kelly for some late night fun to bring in my 24th birthday right!

Feb 11 My 24th birthday! I got off work early because my bosses are awesome. :D Then, Ethan surprised me with a bouquet of my favorite flowers (lilies), a plate of vegan dark chocolate covered strawberries & jalapenos (that he hand-dipped himself), a box of bon-bons, and a bottle of red wine!  Then he took me out to eat at New India (because Indian food is my favorite cuisine), and after that we went to the Austin Poetry Slam (because like I mentioned earlier, slam poetry is just wonderful and has a huge part of my heart)!  Oh, and while we were there we ran into my friends, Meggan and her bf, Freddy!  It was a great way to celebrate by 24th – I couldn’t have asked for anything better!  :D

 

Feb 12 Ethan and I went to the Austin Network Mixer which had a panel of different acting agents talking about their process and answering questions for the audience.  I surprisingly really enjoy going to acting events like this with him.

Feb 14 Valentines Day! <3  I had Jessica and Kelly over to my place for the first time since I moved in (which is insane because I have been there for almost 8 months). After that, I went to Ethan’s – I only got to spend the last 30 min of this day with him because he got off work so late, but we made the most of it! (;

Feb 15 DonNell & Vladimir took Ethan & I out to lunch at Haiky for a late b-day lunch! They also gave me some amazing vegan chocolates (one with lemon, one with honey, and one with walnuts & mushrooms) and a cute picture frame with a picture of me & my sweet little nephew in it!

Feb 20 I had dinner with my long time friend Amanda at Hunan Lion! She is preggers and is having a baby shower next month! I am so happy for her! I can’t believe that I have known her for over half my life.. crazyness.

Feb 23 Marked the begging of the last week of the month, which is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week! This is an issue that is very important it me and it should have more light shed upon it because eating disorders are a fucking bitch to deal with alone. Believe me, I know from experience.

Feb 24 I voted!  Hooray early voting for the primaries!  Can’t wait to see some positive changes in TX government!

Feb 26 Perfectly following that last sentence, it was announced that US District Judge of San Antonio granted a motion for preliminary injunction preventing TX from further banning same-sex couples from marrying in the state! It’s not official yet – but it’s a huge step in the right direction for TX! Hooray equality!

Feb 27 Ethan & I laughed our faces off at the Long Center! Did you ever watch the show “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” – well Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood did a night of audience-involved improv and it was fantastic! Ethan & I even got to participate and make sound effects for starting a boat engine!  Gah, my cheeks are still sore from all the giggles!  Haha, too much fun!  :D

Recent Meals

February 17th, 2014 Posted in Food I've Made | 2 Comments »

vegan fridge

This is a an example of what a vegan fridge looks like.  Fruits, veggies, and varying condiments.  Noms galore.

 

sriracha

Also, as a vegan, it’s impossible to live without the most amazing condiment ever made.  And if you didn’t already know, there was a recent scare that the Sriracha factory was going to close down in California because the caustic fumes were bothering the local residents.  Thank goodness they didn’t actually close down the factory (maybe that was just a smart marketing ploy?) – because it’s spicy and tangy and belongs on EVERYTHING.  This is why my parents are bad-asses and bought me an entire case for Christmas.

 

meal

This dish is mostly composed of “Miracle Noodles” – the garlic and herb kind.  Seriously, it’s a real thing.  Google it.  They are gluten free and soy free and have close to zero calories.  And yeah, that is a f-ing miracle when it comes to noodles in my book.  Also, they’re pretty good.  A little different in texture, but with the right sauces  and accompaniments, they’re tasty.  I used a garlic-teriyaki sauce and added shredded carrots, snow-shoe peas, red bell pepper, broccoli, onion, and cilantro.  To top it all off – as seen in the top left corner – Sriracha.

 

meal

Because salad doesn’t have to be iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing.  *GAGS*  This delicious green plate is baby kale, baby spinach, cilantro, yellow grape tomatoes, Annie’s Naturals Green Garlic Dressing (which is extremely flavorful if you’re into that kind of thing), and Sriracha.  Duh.

 

meal

In all honesty, I don’t remember much about this dish.  Haha.  I’ve had this picture saved in my phone since December.  I do remember this was one of my first attempts at a vegan cheese sauce and it was pheNOMinal.  No joke, that stuff was like crack and I made it for the next 3-5? days.  The sauce is super simple: coconut milk (not the lite kind) and nutritional yeast – with whatever spices you want to add.  Just heat the coconut milk and add nut-yeast slowly while stirring until you get the consistency desired.  Then pour it over everything you want cheesy.  With cilantro.  And Sriracha.  (Side note – if you go through a ridiculous amount of hummus during the spring/summer like I do, save the tubs to use as tupperware the rest of the year.  It’s free-ish and durable and the perfect size.)

 

meal

Ok, I didn’t make these, but I did really enjoy eating them!  My Sweets, aka Ethan, made me this amazing plate for my b-day.  (It was really cute the way he presented it too.. he told me he made me a cake and I squealed thinking he actually baked me a vegan cake, and then he said “well, my version of a cake” and unveiled this beauty.  Hahaha.  He is the best.)  It’s fresh strawberries and fresh jalapenos dipped 3 times (or so he says :b) in vegan dark chocolate.  With 24 candles, because it was my 24th.  My baby sure does loves me.  <3

 

meal

My co-worker called this one “rabbit food.”  Haha.  Perhaps that is what it looks like, but in reality it’s red quinoa, shredded carrots, anaheim peppers, garlic, collard greens, and pecans.  Can you guess what I ate it with?  Sriracha?  Nope, dumb-dumb, a fork!  Hahaha.  Really though, I did cover that dish in Sriracha and it was sooooo good.

Cheers to yummy and healthy eats that are environmentally sustainable and harm-free to animals!

January Letter To You

January 31st, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

Hello my loves,

I hope everything is going well in your life.  I miss you terribly.  Seriously, though.  I haven’t seen most you in too long.  I wish there were more hours in the day so that I could spend just a few moments catching up with each and every one of you.  I love you all so very much and I am so grateful that you are a part of my life.  <3

This new year has been more than wonderful thus far and I wish the same for you.  To give you some updates, my job at the Law Office in West Lake is still keeping me busy and happy.  I really couldn’t ask for a more fitting job at this point in my life.  I love my bosses and the work that I do for them.  It’s a relatively stress-free environment and I am more financially affluent than any moment in my past, which is so freeing.  (:

My boyfriend, Ethan consumes most of my out-of-work hours and I still wish we spent more time together.  He is one of the sweetest, most attentive, appreciative, sincere, and loving people I have ever met.  I could not have created a better boyfriend for myself.  His acting career has started to really blossom this month.  He has had quite a few auditions, meetings with different agents, acting/improv classes, and networking mixers.  He is making a solid start for himself.  I have so much pride in him and his dedication.  Also, I am more than happy to currently be his manager.  Yup, it’s my second job and I love it.  I am constantly finding a submitting him to casting calls and finding classes and events in Austin that correlate to his acting career.  We make a great team and I am so very excited to see where our future goes together.  <3

On the weekends, I have been going to see my new baby nephew, Arthur for a few hours.  He is a little over a month old and just snoozes/snores little baby snores in my arms.  He is sooo cute and brings so much pure innocent joy.  I am so grateful to be a part of his life.  <3

During this last month, I have celebrated some personal triumphs/changes, and though it may seem like TMI, I think that they are worth sharing.  First, I got the Mirena, a cervical implant birth control that is progesterone-based.  I haven’t been on birth control in over five years, so my body initially freaked out, but now things are settling back to normal and I am so grateful that I have taken the preventative measures to not get pregnant for up to five years in the future.  Can I just comment on how fortunate I am to have this option available to me and that I am 100% covered by my health insurance?  Yeah, that’s pretty fucking awesome.  Second, and also fucking awesome, I passed a 6-month mark of ending a previous destructive habit of mine and I am so proud of myself for this.  Yes, that is vague in wording, but it literally brings tears to my eyes to know that I am passed all that and that I won.  :D

In relation to that last statement, I want to comment on how much I miss my previous job and bosses/co-workers.. they were some of the best friends I have ever made (ones that I shared my last victory’s struggle with) and I wish I was able to spend time with them on a daily basis like I used to.  Not to mention, the empowering job of fighting for environmental justice, which I still do in my own way, but there is nothing like knocking on doors to gather support in passing legislation and holding corporations accountable/ changing their horrid policies.  *Mental note, I need to make time to see them, ASAP.*

Well, I suppose that about sums up what all has developed over the month of January.  It’s crazy to realize the first month in this new year of 2014 is already behind us.  Can’t wait to talk to you next month; it’s my b-day month!

Yours very truly,

Betty Leigh Verbeke

XoXo

December Days & Ending 2013

January 2nd, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | 2 Comments »

I would like to start by saying that I am one lucky girl and that I am so so so very grateful for my life.  <3

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  This one is going to be the best one yet, I know it!

The month of December seemed to go by extremely quickly … time flies when you’re having fun, right?  Well, this is how I spent those precious moments that zoomed by:

Dec 1 – I met up with my old friend, Chontelle that I haven’t seen since I was attending UT in 2009.  Needless to say, it had been a while.  Over the last few years we have been in contact via FB, but this was our first time to sit down face to face.  We met up at Spider House Cafe and chatted over a few drinks about life and Jennifer Lawrence (who I apparently remind her and everyone else of, haha).

Dec 2 – Marked 3 months of my boyfriend, my love, my Ethan, being in my life. <3

Dec 4 – I went to Curra’s Grill on Oltorf with my friend Molly!  It is our ritual to nom on Mexican food and margaritas about once a month to catch up and girl-chat like you wouldn’t believe.

Dec 7 – Ethan tried Indian food for the first time at G’Raj Mahal on Rainey Street, one of my all-time favorite places to eat in Austin.  It was freezing outside by this awesome little food trailer, but they had heat lamps, we had beer, and when the table next to us left, they gave us their blankets as well as some of their left over beers.  Of course, when we left, we passed on the blankets and those beers to the new table.  Tis the season for giving!  After we were happily stuffed, we went to see Ethan’s friend, Steve play a show with his band at Beer Land in downtown Austin.  They were one of the opening bands, but I thought they were the most fun and best on stage of the night!  (:

Dec 8 – I went to Ethan’s acting workshop in New Braunfels and got to meet his acting coach, Gino, who I liked very much, as well as a few of the other potential talents.  Once back in Austin, we stuffed our faces with yummy Vietnamese food at Hai Ky on Oltorf.  Mmmm.

Dec 12 to Dec 15 – Ethan and I were in Dallas for Ethan’s acting showcase!  I don’t think I could possibly express how proud I am of him and how well he did!  (:  I learned here, among many things, that there is a lot of confidentiality when it comes to acting, so expect lots of vague yet giddy posts in the future, haha.  Dec 15th was also the 2-year anniversary of my sister, DonNell and her husband, Vladimir (and I am honored to be the one who united them in ceremony)!

Dec 16 – This may be too taboo for you to read, but I think it is important: I found a new lady-doctor and I really like her (Dr. Jukes on Bee Cave Road)!

Dec 21 – DonNell, Vladimir, and I went to the Blue Genie Art Bazaar to buy Christmas gifts!  Every year my sister and I shop for each other while we are together, which makes picking out gifts a stress-free event.

Dec 23 – I spent some time with my friends, Jessica and Kelly!  They still had all of their art up from the art show they held earlier in the month while Ethan and I were in Dallas, so I got to see what it was all about and purchase some of their art!  Also, they treated me to an impromptu dinner because they are awesome friends.  (:

Dec 24 – My friend, Amanda and I spent a quick minute catching up with each other at my apartment before I got ready for the evening.  That night, Ethan and I had a lovely Christmas Eve at Ethan’s parent’s house with his family.  They are so sweet and accommodating!

Dec 25 – Ethan and I had Christmas dinner with my family (Mom, Dad, Sister, and Brother-in-law) and then went to the Moviehouse & Eatery to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  The dinner was delicious, and the movie was definitely an inspiring one!  I can’t wait to travel more!

Dec 26 – Ethan was super sweet and came to my work to replace the brake lights on my car (we got pulled over on Christmas because of this… luckily we only got a warning) and he met all of my co-workers.  Of course, they gave him great reviews once he left, as I knew they would.

Dec 28 – My sister had her baby!  My little nephew, Arthur is now in the world and is oh so cute!  I went to the hospital and got to hold him for a few hours.  <3  He is just a little bundle of love.  I cannot wait to be a part of his life while he grows up!

Dec 29 – I snuggled with my nephew for a few more hours!

Dec 31 – Ethan and I brought in the New Year on Rainey Street!  First, we went to Icenhauer’s, where we gulped down a beer while listening to not the greatest music in the world, haha.  We then quickly closed our tab and crossed the street to The Blackheart.  This venue had a much more chill vibe and way better music.  Here, we counted down the seconds to the New Year and kissed at midnight.  <3  We stayed till 2:30-ish, talking about various adorable couple-y things and left when they finally took away our drinks and were kicking people out.  Afterward, we tried to go to an after-party that I was told was going on, but when we got there, the house was dark and everyone was passed out, haha!  So, Ethan and I went back to my apartment and stayed up till about 9 in the morning chatting and such.  (;  I could not have asked for a better way to spend this NYE and I hope that 2014’s NYE is spent with this wonderful man of mine as well.  <3

XoXo – kisses and hugs to all of you!  I wish you all peace, love, and happiness in every moment of every day!  Cheers!

Vegan Noms!

December 5th, 2013 Posted in Food I've Made | No Comments »

Yikes, I haven’t posted in this category for over a year….

Literally, it’s been a year and a few days.

You and I both know damn-well that I have made plenty of vegan dishes between then and now.

Especially since I cook 6-ish out of 7 days a week.

And all of my tasty creations are worth sharing, I’d have to say.  (;

 

Anyway, this dish is a new one that I made up and I am so in love with it, I had to blog about it, haha:

 

 

The base is spaghetti squash, which is easily the best vegetable on the mother-f-ing planet.  :b

But seriously.  It’s a vegetable in the shape of pasta.

It’s filling and good for you and it’s a vegetable in the shape of pasta.

It’s a little sweet (which pares well with savory), and is “al dente” in texture.

AND IT’S A VEGETABLE IN THE SHAPE OF PASTA.  HOW COOL IS THIS?!

So basically you buy this squash, poke a bunch of holes in it, and then bake it until it’s tender to the touch.

After you let it cool for a quick minute, you cut it open and scrape out the insides with a fork.

Ta-da!  Simple.

 

On top you see a stir-fry of portobello mushrooms, red bell pepper, jalapeno, red onion, and garlic, cooked in lite olive oil, with salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning blend.

Also, I steamed some little broccoli heads for a few minutes ’till they were tender, then mixed them with the stir-fry.

 

That saucy deliciousness that is coating the entire thing is what I am most proud of.

It’s a vegan cheese sauce.  Yes, a VEGAN CHEESE SAUCE.

It’s made with heavy coconut milk, water, salt, black pepper, and a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast.

All I had to do was bring it to a boil, then let it simmer on medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly till it was the consistency I wanted.

 

And if you know me at all, you know that no dish of mine is finished without Sriracha.  Haha.

 

Noms!  <3

 

PS, I’d like to make a shout-out to a food blog that I currently follow.  Not only it is vegan, it’s hilarious!  So check it out:  http://thugkitchen.com/

See Ya Next Year, November! XoXo

December 3rd, 2013 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

Well, as you can probably guess from all of my tweets and facebook updates, this month was full of time spent with Ethan.  <3  I couldn’t ask for anything more.  There are not enough adjectives to describe the depth of how I feel for him.  <3  Plus, he did me the great pleasure of not shaving the entire month for No-Shave-November!  Haha.  Beards are awesome.

Anyway, on to the highlights of what happened this November:

Friday, the 8th, I met up with my friend, Kelly Joy for a fish-free sushi meal at Haiku.  We had a lovely time catching up with each other, giggling and girl-chatting our corner of the restaurant.  During our dinner, Kelly spotted one of her coworkers sitting at the sushi bar and sent her a hello-text and smile from across the room.  Her coworker replied with a bottle of sake sent to our table!  So nice.  (:

Saturday, the 9th, Ethan and I met up with my friend Meggan and her boyfriend, Freddy for a fun-tastic night in Austin.  We started at Luster Pearl, getting warmed up with drinks and snacking on some tasty noms from the little food truck parked in the back patio area of the bar.  Then we found our way to The Hideout Theatre for a hilarious competition-based improv show where we all heckled the actors and laughed heartily and downed more than enough beers to last us the rest of the night.. but of course we didn’t stop there!  After the show, we went back to Rainey Street to give our livers a little more to filter at Bangers (our go-to while in the down-town part of Austin).  Once Meggan was officially cut off from the bar (which she was more than ready, so no big) we decided to bounce out.  Ethan and I then grabbed our second round of food at Magnolia Cafe (yes, we ate there twice in one day) and safely found our way back home to sleep through the night and most of the following Sunday.

Sunday, the 10th, I had a late hung-over lunch with my friend, Jon at Polvos.  This was Jon’s first time eating there, and I’m proud to have given him that experience, suffering from the night before or not.  Haha.  Polvos is probably my favorite Mexican restaurant in Austin, strictly because of their outstanding and unlimited salsa bar.  Plus, their micheladas are kick-ass!  Anyway, I was glad to hear that Jon was back in Austin and canvassing strong with TCE.  Man, do I miss that group of people.  <3

Wednesday, the 13th, I had dinner at the Clay Pit with my friend, Ronnie.  If you like Indian food, then you like the Clay Pit.  Haha.  They are delicious and not over-priced, which sometimes can be the case when it comes to Indian food.  Also, they have perfect serving sizes.  I was pleasantly full at the end of the meal, but not miserable by over-consumption of sinfully-rich foods.

Thursday, the 14th, I hung out with my friend Kara for some much needed girl-chat!  I love this girl so much and she is the queen of holiday decorations!  Seriously, her little apartment is decked out with more holiday decor than some houses.

Friday, the 15th, Ethan and I hung out with my friends Laura and Sean.  They invited us over for dinner (thank you, the tacos were delicious!) and we brought over some yummy beer to share.  It was a chill evening.

Sunday, the 17th, I went out to lunch and went shopping with my Mom.  These days are always appreciated.  <3

Thursday, the 21st, was my sister, DonNell’s birthday!  To celebrate, Mom, Dad, DonNell, Vladimir, Ethan, and I went to see the second movie in the Hunger Games series, Catching Fire at the Moviehouse & Eatery off of 620.  They have a full menu and leather recliners as every seat.  It’s pretty swank and definitely worth the few extra bucks.  Catching Fire is an action-packed film, for sure, is a quick 3 hours long, and leaves you at a cliff-hanger for the third to come out.. and according to my family, friends, and tons of strangers, Jennifer Lawrence is my doppelganger.  So if you liked the first movie, go see the second and see me in action!  Haha.  By the way, not only was this day my sister’s b-day, it was also Ethan’s first day to meet the family.  <3  And of course, I got the “stamp of approval” from them all.  (:

Saturday, the 23rd, Ethan and I went to go see a house my Dad is finishing for a client.  It has a posh retro decor, which fit the style of the house, being that it was located right off of 35th St. and Mopac.  The counter-tops in the kitchen alone cost more than what I make in a year.  I can see myself in a house like this in the future.  :D  It’ll happen!

Sunday, the 24th, I went to a SoLDier meet up hosted by the lovely Emily!  We ordered Conan’s vegan pizza and took shots of vodka while filling out some good-vibes worksheets provided by the infamous Kelly Cree and Jessica Mullen.  The evening was divine!

Tuesday, the 26th, I popped Ethan’ Poetry Slam cherry!  Haha.  We went to the Spider House Ballroom to see a wonderful and inspiring group of poets.  I absolutely love this venue and the poets that slam here.  I think they are some of the most talented and creative people.  I used to go to this particular slam all the time with my friend Dan (go team Red Fish, Blue Fish! haha), way back before I worked for TCE.  I am so grateful I have the schedule available to start going to again!

Thursday, the 28th, was Thanksgiving (duh, like you didn’t know) and I spent the day with Ethan’s family.  <3  It was my first time to meet them all.. and unlike my small family, I met a ton of his extended relatives, probably close to 30 people in all.  It was a stimulating day, full of love and good food.  Ethan’s step-dad’s mom was so sweet and made me a delicious vegan stir-fry and Ethan’s mom bought me Sriracha to go with it!  I couldn’t have asked for a better Thanksgiving meal (I also sampled some vegetarian side-dishes and deserts… mmm, thank you holiday food)!  It was so nice to get to see where Ethan comes from.  His family is not unlike mine, in that they are very kind and can do a fair-share of shit-talking, haha!  We wrapped up the night with a bonfire in the back yard and I relished the smoke smell being soaked into my jeans for the next few days.  Funny story to go along with this: I was cooking some apple-caramel-pecan-pastries to bring to this Thanksgiving dinner at 2 in the morning, the day of (yes, I know, so smart) and I ended up falling asleep while baking them and woke up around 4 am with burned pastries and an apartment full of smoke.  Haha, oops.  Turns out my fire alarm doesn’t work.  Anyway, I ended up just scraping my little muffin pan into my sink while deliriously laughing my ass off and airing out my apartment before going back to sleep for a few more hours.  I was a nervous wreck the day of, but it all turned out fine.  I just hope I got that same “stamp of approval” from his family.. we shall see.  (;

Friday, the 29th, was my friend Cuuhhhrriiisss’ birthday!  :b  Ethan and I joined Chris, Kaitlin, DonNell, Vladimir, Keith, and Greg, for dinner at Uchiko!  Holy mother of all that is fabulous, that dinner was so good!  We let our waiter take the reins on what to brings us to eat.  Yes, the bill was a bit scary at the end of the meal, but we had about 10 courses of decadent Japanese tapas-style dishes.  The way I would describe everything is with the oxymoron lightly-rich.  After the meal of a life time, Ethan and I went to my friends, Jessica and Kelly’s apartment for a quick visit.  We chatted, took shots of vodka, and drew art with our non-dominant hands (it’s silly fun, you should try it sometime).  After our chill visit, we wrapped up the night at Bangers and talked and talked and talked till the early morning.

Saturday, the 30th, Ethan and I woke up more hung-over than I have been in a long time and decided to sober up a bit a Kerbey Lane Cafe, our new go-to place for weekend brunch, even though we have to wait like an hour every time we go, it’s so worth it.  Kerbey was the only place we went to on Saturday.  We spent the rest of the day cuddling and saying sweet things to each other in his apartment.  (Ya, I know, get a room and shut up about it already, but I can’t help it, I’m in love. <3)

Haha, well, that about sums up the month.  I can’t wait to see what December brings!  So grateful for this life!!!

Naked Diver

November 13th, 2013 Posted in My Writing | No Comments »

Naked Diver by Betty Leigh Verbeke

 

standing on a cliff’s edge

the tide beckons below

wanting you to dive in

wearing nothing but skin

 

the waters crave to rush over you

and find each crevice

to leave specks of salt

in all pores

to compress your lungs

till they are completely absent of air

 

traces of sensation

from your last plummet

moons ago

remain in the shadow of your mind

 

you know you can swim

and will surface again

but there is no predetermined measure

on how deep you’ll get this time

 

you may touch bottom

and want to stay

 

terrifying and thrilling

you want it badly

trusting how it can hurt yet soothe

 

contemplating the leap

may take seconds or days

ultimately

you start to undress

 

taking off your shoes

one lace at a time

then socks and pants

off goes the jacket

discarded in the wind

and the blouse you wear follows

 

the waves lap against the rocks

singing your name

willing you to dance

 

a few more steps

and sways of the hip

panties fall to the dirt

feeling vulnerable

hands rub up your body

and to your back

bra unclasps

and slides off your shoulders

 

completely raw now to the eye of the ocean

it roars angry with lust

 

dive, please, dive

it pleads you

 

breathe deep

before you submerge

it reminds you

 

no matter how far down you go this time

it’ll be ok

it lulls you

 

inhale

 

run

 

exhale

 

jump

 

inhale

 

crash

 

it’s alright

naked diver

you will surface again

if you want to

the sea reassures you

 

icy warmth pricks every inch of flesh

the immediate panic of calm sets in

swimming till you feel nothing

but your inner radiant light

filling the darkness

 

you enjoy the rush

the comfort

the love

the unknown

of the ocean

 

<3