Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fake Eyelashes

I've never felt that on my birthdays I suddenly have exclusive knowledge privy to only 11-12-13 year olds. I feel taller. Obviously, I haven't actually just sprouted up a couple inches (no matter what my grandmother claims,) but on the day of my birthday, it feels like the theory of gravity has a flaw. However, upon turning fourteen, I sort of thought everything would change. As a kid, when my neighbors and I would play games, I was always fourteen. It seemed like just the right age - not too old to be a dangerous, snappy, eyeliner wearing teenager, but old enough to be able to take care of the myriad of other siblings and animals that my neighbors morphed into. And in a way, my fourteenth year has been a like the games we used to play: a whole lot of keeping my eye on things. From managing school, dance, friends, and family, this year has been a crazy ride. Just like our games, there have been laughter and tears and good days and bad days.
 This year at school, I took two honors classes and one AP course. For most of the year, I've been able to handle it just fine. But there are always those couple of weeks where there's an English essay due, the science fair's coming up, and I've got to memorize all of Asia's countries, their locations, and their capitals. What I've learned from weeks like this is that: taking walks is a fabulous way to clear your head, to-do lists are life savers, and there's no shame in crying when it's 10:30 PM and you've stuck your hypothesis onto your science fair poster board lopsided. And next year, in an attempt to not have to deal with the same sort of trauma I dealt with this year, I'm taking two courses online over the summer so I can have early release and more time to do homework and make DIY succulent containers.
Secondly, I've improved at dance. I performed for the first time on pointe, achieved a lead role in Park City Dance Academy's performance of the Nutcracker, and got even closer with my dance class, who were some of my best friends at the beginning of the year anyways. I've gotten better at pointework thanks to different brands of pointe shoes that are way better for my brick-flat feet than others. I've also gained a new respect for soloists, having competed one myself, and learnt that performing alone in a small-ish gym in the middle of a suburban high school in front of less than fifty people is one of the most terrifying things one can do. And probably most substantial of all, I've learned how to put fake eyelashes on myself without glueing my eyes closed.
Everyone always says that the social aspect of high school is truly awful, and it totally can be. But when your PE team scores a goal and gives each other high fives even though you'd never talk to each other if you saw one another in the hall, it's not so bad. I feel like I've found a spot in the hormonal chaos of high school social lives. I'm not the most popular, but people know who I am, and I know who they are, and it feels like I fit. 
Lastly, I've realized that I have got to find time to create. It restores me to make things, to build and decorate and paint and just writing this gives me a sort of crazed zeal to go make a tremendous creative mess at this very moment. In those weeks where I had no time to do anything aside from schoolwork, I found myself longing to make anything except more pie charts. It's become very clear to me that I am my first priority, and if I am not happy, or in other words, if I don't have time to create, then something needs to be realigned. 
I'd like to thank you for being here and listening to my opinions and ideas and occasional rants. For putting up with me when all I write about is my succulents or virtual fish. Although it's small, you give me a platform to express my ideas and thoughts and dreams. So I'd like to thank you. 
Thank you.
Now I'm off to go make something!

P.S. I think I will continue this blog, at least for a bit, so see you soon:)

This is the first time I tried editing a picture of myself
and I'm very proud of it

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I Have a Disease

*This is sort of my Earth Day post that is only 14 days late but time is relative.

Environmental Guilt is everywhere. You know you've felt it: when you don't recycle every piece of paper from your last semester comp-tech class - or worse, when you throw out a re-sealable plastic bag that could have been washed and re-used. It's that nasty sensation in the bottom of your stomach that occurs when you have to run upstairs to get a clean towel while the hot water's running in the shower. Even using plastic spoons and straws at restaurants makes me feel like I'm ruining the earth even more than I do just by living in a developed country. So to help you all offset your years of murdering our environment thanks to every paper napkin you've ever used, I have some easy peasy tips to help us all become hyper aware of the long term affects of not recycling that yogurt carton AKA how to avoid a severe case of enviroguilt. And maybe all of our combined biodegradable lunch containers will actually make a minuscule difference. Anything helps, right?

So first of all, who doesn't like to listen to music while they're in the shower? So, to conserve water as well as restrain yourself from spending hours in your own personal downpour, create a playlist on your phone/computer with one or two good songs that together will play for about five minutes. Right before you get in the shower, press play, and then you have a automatic timer and your favorite jams, plus you're probably providing your great great grandkids with more clean drinking water.
Secondly, I'd really love to have a recycling bin in my room, so you know if you also have the same aspiration, I say 100% go for it. For one, I feel like it will fit right to the practically-a-John-Lennon-shrine theme.
Secondly, I'll have somewhere to put the links I pull off my days-until-school-is-out paper chain. It's 21 days, if you're wondering. And thirdly, it'd be way easier to just dump all my old papers in a recycling bin that having to carry them haphazardly out to the kitchen every time I reorganize my room, which is a lot. So if you want a personalized recycling bin like me, let me know and maybe I can get it for you for your birthday.
You know what's more annoying than little siblings? When people's sprinklers aren't aimed well and they end up watering the pavement which wastes water and makes a mess. You know what's even more annoying than badly positioned sprinklers?  When people leave the lights on when they're not home/don't need them. Especially while you're out during the day, or if you're home and it's light out, keep those babies switched off. We have windows for a reason.
Next, because Americans can't seem to figure anything out, we don't let people go home for lunch. So we bring them with us and we use endless plastic and paper just for convenience. But, there's a light in the wasteful darkness! It's glamorous: wax paper. It's absolutely great. It's biodegradable and superduper handy for those groggy early mornings. You can wrap your sandwich up in it or buy pre-made bags at the store for snacks and littler things. It's happy crinkly and it gets bonus points cause you get "my lunch is biodegradable" bragging rights.
Lastly, you can share these splendid tips for saving the world with other people so we can all contribute to saving the world in small and somewhat efficient ways that we do mainly to make us feel like not such terrible people.
See you all soon.

Think of how many of these things you can keep out of the landfills!
Photo creds to: Serious Eats

Monday, May 4, 2015

Plants are Friends and also Food

Rhode Island in August: nights that knock on your windows and demand that you open up to let the crickets sing you a lullabies. Light sweater breezes on some days and swimsuit and tee shirt sunshine on others. Damp and cool bedsheets each night. The trees are still green and full and clovers clutter the ground for rabbits to come visiting. Sunsets sink into hazy hills over slow-flowing bays and cattails. Screened porches light up with lamplight and laughter.
And all around me, my family rips the limbs off of rust-colored crustaceans.
I help myself to my fourth cob of corn.
As an 85% vegetarian, lobster does not qualify for the selective 15% that I do eat.
Today, however, I won't bore you with all those gory, ethical questions of why I don't like meat (aside from the texture.) Instead, for those of you who are anywhere on the vegetarian gradient, I've got some for healthy meal ideas, certain dilemmas us veg-heads encounter and what to do about them, and just how to deal in general with being a selectively picky eater.

1) Granola!
I had been inspired by one of those "eating habits for healthy dancers" presentations. I attempted homemade energy bites. After mixing in haphazardly measured ingredients, it looked nothing like it was supposed to (sticky and adherent) but rather, dry and crumbly. Discouraged, I tried a bite to see what went wrong. Instead, I found something had gone quite right. It's nutty, sweet, crunchy, and super healthy.
So, to make your new favorite breakfast, mix flaxseed (tons of omega 3), honey (natural sugar), quick uncooked oats (may reduce cholesterol), peanut butter (protein and yum), vanilla extract (essentially angel tears), raisins, chocolate chips, shredded coconut (or any other mix-in of your choice - gummy bears maybe?) into a bowl and stir it till it looks dry-ish. Because it's extremely onerous to mix up certain kinds of peanut butter, you can use a pastry blender if you just happen to have one floating around. And viola! You have breakfast for the next week. Just put it in a preferably glass, eco-friendly tupperware and refrigerate until you're ready for breakfast. You could add frozen fruit, yogurt, or really anything else you want to make it more your taste. If you want the full recipe for the actual energy balls, it's here on Mia's lovely blog.

2) How to Not Look like a Farm Animal while Eating Salad
I have lately encountered a significant issue with salads: I can't eat them. At least not with table manners that my grandmother would be proud of. It's easier to win a game of bridge at an old person's home than eat a salad with halfway decent etiquette. So, after many a stained outfit, I have a couple of helpful tips for you all so that you don't suffer the same dire consequences I have.
Firstly, not that I've been on any, but don't order a salad if you're on a date. It's just a recipe for disaster. Secondly, take small bites. Like, one or two leaves at a time, and make sure they're all folded up on your fork at that. Because although it might take you an awkwardly long time to finish your meal, it's better than spending hours and multiple stain removers getting the oil and vinegar out of your favorite blouse, or having to put your hand to your mouth each time you take a bite to avoid looking like a cow who literally bit off more than it could chew. Thirdly, and lastly, especially if you're making it yourself, don't soak the salad in dressing. This way, your spinach doesn't taste like it's had an acid wash, the bottom of the bowl is not a soggy-kale graveyard, and the possibility for drips is reduced by approximately 45%.

3) The "No Thank You Bite"
I have to thank my parents and their creative ways to get me, the most picky child on earth, to eat whatever was served for dinner. I present to you: the perfect way to avoid the awkward "I'm 78% vegetarian" talk after you've been served a rack of ribs at a friend or relative's house. Here's how it works: if you're served something that looks suspicious, just take one or two small bites while they're looking. Then they know you've tried it and just don't care for it. Step two (optional): quietly offer the rest to another friend, sibling, parent, passing-by pet, or stray dog, depending on your surroundings.

Well, I hope this may be somewhat useful. Fellow veggie-mates, thanks for commiserating with me. See you all soon.

I want this on a shirt
Photo creds to instagram user @livy.johnsonn

If rainbow chard is not enough to make you convert to vegetarianism and pledge your allegiance to
plants forever, I don't know what will.
Image credit: Naturally Nourished