Shout Out Sunday

Greetings, people of earth!  In personal news, I’m still adjusting to having a real job. It’s weird…people with “real jobs” work soooo much lesssss than people with service industry jobs. I actually feel guilty! Well, I’d feel guilty if I were making more money. I’m making starter wages for a 21-year-old, hardly (read: not) enough to be financially solvent.

I actually started this post two whole weeks ago, but somehow, time got away from me. I’ve just been working, cooking, spending as much time with my husband as possible, and getting ready for my week-long trip to Florida! We’re doing an overnight in St. Pete and seeing Neko Case in concert! Oh, and the night before I leave, I’m seeing Dawes at the Wang Center! Feeling very blessed these days.

Alright, without further ado, I present my favorites from the past couple of weeks).

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please enjoy this incredible picture of my cat
  1. New season of Schitt’s Creek started!!
  2. I started using DuoLingo and I can’t stop! I’m brushing up on my French, primarily, but I also started courses in Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish, Welsh, Portuguese, and Russian. I tested into a decent level of Spanish, which is surprising since I’ve never taken a class in it. I can’t believe how much Italian I’ve forgotten—I studied it for over a year in high school. Swedish, however, is by far my favorite. It’s such a cool and logical language. I highly recommend this service to anyone who has an interest in flexing their foreign language skills.
  3. Kevin T. Porter comin’ thru with the updated Marvelous Mrs. Maisel soundtrack playlist!
  4. I know I was sleeping on this, but Lizzo’s new single “Juice” is everything. Also, check out “Scuse Me” which is just a perfect song.
  5. I started meal prepping for the week and it’s honestly changed my life. My digestion has been better, and I have wholesome, healthy breakfasts and lunches prepared every day for work. I was really inspired by McKel at Nutrition Stripped. She recently launched a free e-course on meal planning and it was such a great jumping off point. Gimme all the jar salads and nourish bowls! I have to tell you, jar salads have been a game-changer for office lunch! It’s so much easier to say no to take out when you have a big serving of all your favorite legumes, grains, and veggies waiting for you in the office fridge.
  6. Rob Sheffield wrote an article about Britney Spears’s first album and it is personally so vindicating for me. Fun fact: he’s my 10th grade chemistry teacher’s brother!
  7. I just found out about Unroll.me and I am obsessed! Subscription e-mails are the bane of my existence and this service is my new favorite thing on earth.
  8. Madewell sale is 40% off right now. I got glitter statement earrings because of course I did.
  9. I just bought a tiny humidifier for my cubicle because I am 100 years old.
  10. Can’t get enough of La Neige‘s Water Sleeping Mask and Lip Mask.
  11. I really want to try Purple Carrot but it’s not really in my budget at the moment. I think it would be such a help in getting us to eat exclusively vegan meals.
  12. I’m catching up on back episodes of podcasts and this conversation between Roxane Gay and Cameron Esposito is powerful AF.
  13. I’ve been eating almost exclusively plant-based lately and I’m loving it! I still have the occasional egg and some of my meals include a little bit of cheese, but that’s been it. It’s made my cooking so much more creative. I think I’m going to start posting recipes again, since that was the whole point of this blog in the first place.
  14. Jaboukie Young-White is guesting on Pete Holmes’s Crashing and he’s amazing. I’ve been following him on Twitter forever!
  15. Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, which I’m listening to on audiobook, is so deeply moving that I cry almost every time I listen. It’s somehow even better than I thought it would be. 10/10 recommend.
  16. The Shutdown is (temporarily) over! My heart goes out to the government workers who have been furloughed (without pay) or forced to work without pay. This shutdown was about 15 days longer than any other in history, and the administration should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting workers and neglecting basic services and essential government functions, but they won’t be because they are all chaotic evil. Each and every one of the 800,000 people immediately affected are such heroes.
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High High Hopes

Happy New Year! I’d say, “I can’t believe it’s 2019!” but we say that every year. I can believe it’s 2019. I can’t believe I have to deal with another presidential race when it seems like the last one isn’t even over, but I can believe that another year passed and I’m thankful that I made it through relatively unscathed. In 2018 I voted, stood up for my beliefs no matter what, finally went to Europe (no big deal) and fought through mental illness to finish a grad program and finally find a job. This is the first year of my life where January 1 has actually felt like a fresh start.

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I find resolutions challenging, because making them, you seem to set yourself up for failure. When you fail your diet, your exercise regimen, or your shopping halt, it’s not a great feeling. So instead of strict rules this year, I’m writing a list of things I will encourage myself to do and be mindful about not doing. That’s it! I’m just going to think before I act. Pretty simple—something we tell little children to do, but something that gets lost in the shuffle of adulthood sometimes. So here are my 2019 guidelines—saving money, spending time more intentionally, taking care of myself, and being grateful.

Goals for 2019

The DOs

  1. Do work out. The most basic New Year’s Resolution. But I have a gym membership to a really nice gym and I really love it there. I no longer have the excuse of having a really physical/active job, so I can’t wait to commit to yoga and running again! I want to do yoga twice a week (Thursday nights and Saturday mornings) and I want to be able to run 5 miles by the end of the year (not holding my breath on this one).
  2. Do be kind to myself. This is the first season of my life where my accomplishments feel tangible. School is over. Service industry work is over (for now and hopefully forever). I’ve got a diagnosis and proper medication for the first time. I feel inspired to push myself beyond my limits, but I need to remember that it took so much work to get where I am, and I deserve to enjoy this.
  3. Do keep writing. I’ve written more (creatively) in the past week than I have in the past like ten years. I feel like I’ve found myself again. I’m already getting good feedback from friends. It feels like what I’m meant to do.
  4. Do finish what I start and use what I have. I posted my 2019 reading list yesterday, so first and foremost, I’m finishing that. Also, I want to watch everything in my Netflix queue. At least every movie (sometimes series are too much of a commitment. There’s so much great content out there! But books and movies are just one aspect—2019 is going to be a year of appreciating and enjoying what I already have instead of seeking new things.
  5. Do protect the earth. I’m not bad when it comes to the environment. I drive a small, fuel-efficient car, we recycle everything, and we do our best to not use plastic. But ordering online, even if all of the packaging is recyclable, is still bringing more waste into my home. I don’t think twice about grabbing a paper towel or single-use disinfectant cloth. I bought these microfiber cloths to use instead of paper towels, I used up all of my non-natural cleaning products, and I’m going into 2019 with a mission to use less. I can buy a head of broccoli instead of pre-cut florets in a plastic bag. The earth is more important than a few minutes of my time.

The DON’Ts

  1. Don’t buy clothes. I’m serious! I just got soooooo much new stuff from all of my favorite shops, and I want to live in them for a while. After the holidays, and the much rejoicing after having found a new job, I absolutely cannot afford a single additional garment. Not to mention I have zero room to store it! I’m sending out a few enormous boxes to thredUP, donating bras and extra sanitary items to I Support the Girls, and then being grateful for what I already have.
  2. Don’t buy handbags. This should be obvious, from the last category, but I have a handbag problem. I have so many I can’t give them away fast enough. Being friends with me is a trial, I’m sure, but the benefit is that you will likely get a brand new designer handbag at least once a year. Handbags are status symbols—having a nice one has always made me feel like I was presenting the aspirational version of myself to the world. But bitch, I am the aspirational version of myself. This year, I invested in some high-quality leather bags and (mostly) said goodbye to the labels.
  3. Don’t eat meat and dairy. I didn’t put this under the DOs, because “Do go vegan” is a larger commitment than just a diet. It’s a lifestyle, one I admire immensely, but not one I can undertake at this time. Not eating meat will be pretty easy—I’m already doing that—but cutting out cheese will be hard. A. Because I have an entire container of herb chèvre and caramelized onion cheddar in my fridge from my NYE apps, and B. Because I have a husband to feed. He’s enthusiastic about cleaner eating (he’s stricter about meat than I am!), but he leads a healthy life already and he deserves a treat! The meat and dairy industries are horrible for the environment and just devastatingly cruel to animals. I have to put my money where my mouth is.
  4. Don’t boredom-shop at Target. This is a killer for me. I can’t remember the last time I went to Target for an actual reason. There’s something about living in suburbia, or the post-college friend diaspora, which makes me feel really alone sometimes. “Running an errand,” in more depressed times, gave me an excuse to get up, shower, get dressed, and leave the house. But I can do better! I can go for a walk in the warmer months. I can make an effort to spend more time with my friends. I can find ways to motivate myself without spending money or inviting more waste into my life.
  5. Don’t look back. I mean, I’m writing a collection of personal essays, so I kind of have to look back for material. But I don’t have to dwell on the sins of the past. Considering myself a failure because I’m at a place in my career I feel I should have been in five years ago is not productive. I can work hard and kick ass to make up for lost time, but wallowing over how unfair the world has been to me is pointless. In 2019 I’m not holding grudges (against anyone except every member of the Republican party), and I’m keeping my eye on the prize—happiness.

I’m ready to crush 2019.

Kool Things

I wanted to call this post The I’ds of March, but a. that is so stupid, and b. then I couldn’t turn it into a series. Unless it was an annual series? Anyway, I called it Kool Things because that title is at once descriptive and a reference to my favorite Sonic Youth song. Win/win.

Kool Things is a (hopefully) weekly series highlighting dope shit that made my week brighter. We’re kind of in the darkest timeline right now, at least in the U.S., so it’s become super important to find joy where you can.

Anyway, here are the things that made my first-week-of-March:

Cristela Alonzo, Lower Classy

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Cristela, who you might know from her short-lived ABC sitcom of the same name, is a comedy angel, and her new special freaking delivered. The jokes were all brilliantly written and expertly delivered, plus, I actually cried at the end. I was moved to tears by the story she tells about her mother. Get you a stand-up special that can do both!

Cristela nails the first-generation American experience, eviscerates Latinx stereotypes, and roasts Whole Foods for their bonkers prices with aplomb. Her voice is a shining light in the white dude-dominated comedy scene, and I’m so glad that she has the amazing platform of Netflix to tell her story.

Watch Cristela’s newest special, Lower Classy, on Netflix now! 5/5

One Part Plant: The Cookbook!

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I first heard of Jessica Murnane, plant-based guru and cooking genius, on Karsyn DuPree’s Wilder Podcast. I am a self-professed “cooking dork”, so of course I pre-ordered Jessica’s amazing plant-based cookbook. One Part Plant functions as an educational tool as much as it offers recipes: Murnane, who suffers (suffered?) from endometriosis, found an unlikely cure in plant-based eating, and she talks about the disease at length in the book’s intro. And Lena Dunham, who also famously suffers from endo, penned a letter to open the book. Beyond the discussion of endo, the cookbook gives a realistic overview of everything your kitchen needs, from whisks & sieves to tahini & tamari.

Something notable about this cookbook is that is has a full dessert and snack section. I’m not a huge dessert person, but I love that this book is so well-rounded!

Recipe highlights: Creamy Grits with Avocado & Hot Sauce, Roasted Potato, Corn, & Leek Chowder, Grilled Cinnamon & Banana Sandwich (I mean, WHAT?!)

HARP. designs

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What’s better than modern, chic gold & brass jewelry? Women. Entrepreneurs. The rad lady of HARP. designs also happens to by my cousin, Shelly, an amazingly talented Bay Area jewelry designer and maker. She’s a talent angel with an incredible aesthetic. Madewell wishes their accessories were made this well. Since today we’re participating in A Day Without A Woman (right? RIGHT?), ditch your shitty ASOS bling and come thru for HARP.

I recently treated myself to these amazing slogan pins, because when they go low

Eisley, I’m Only Dreaming Tour

My soul-loves, Eisley, just released a new record on February 17th! It’s called I’m Only Dreaming, and it’s the first album released with the band’s new line-up (sans Chauntelle, Weston, & Stacy). I saw them on tour last week at Brighton Music Hall and it was absolutely sensational! It was the first time I’d ever been to a show alone, and I’ve gotta tell you: highly recommend! No one to judge you for scream-singing along to every word!

Get I’m Only Dreaming on Amazon or MerchNow!

Set List (Eisley @ Brighton Music Hall, 2.28.17):

  1. Louder Than A Lion (I’m Only Dreaming)
  2. Smarter (The Valley)
  3. Sad (The Valley)
  4. Millstone (Currents)*
  5. Memories (Room Noises)*
  6. Drink The Water (Currents)*
  7. I Could Be There For You (Combinations)*
  8. Shelter (Currents)*
  9. Song for the Birds (I’m Only Dreaming)
  10. Many Funerals (Combinations)
  11. You Are Mine (I’m Only Dreaming)
  12. Lost At Sea (Room Noises)
  13. Defeatist (I’m Only Dreaming)
  14. I Wasn’t Prepared (Room Noises)
  15. The Night Comes (Currents)
  16. Invasion (Combinations)
  17. I Was Wondering (Combinations)
  18. Ambulance (The Valley)*

*songs with Stacy or Chauntelle originally on lead vox!

American Apparel (RIP)

Is this basic? I’m not sure I care. American Apparel has been at the center of tons of legal & ethical drama over the years, but at its core—American-made, unisex-leaning clothes? Fine by me. They’re bankrupt or going out of business or something, and everything on their site is 40% off. EVERYTHING. AA’s price points were always a deterrent to me, so this added discount piqued my interest.

Pro-tips for shoppers: their size charts are accurate. Measure thyself. Don’t rely on what size you *think* you are, because your acid-wash shorts will function like a whale-bone corset.

The lesson here? Always pester stylish girls you see about where they got their high-waisted jeans. You will be rewarded.

And last but certainly not least…

A Day Without A Woman

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Today’s the day! Organized by the same group that executed the massively successful post-inauguration Women’s March on Washington, A Day Without A Woman is a campaign seeks to illustrate the impact that women (51% of the population, yo) have on daily life and the economy. Today we wear red, avoid paid or unpaid labor, and withhold our money from businesses not owned and operated by women. Most women can’t just peace out of work on a Wednesday (I’m lucky enough to have today off), but there are so many little ways we can all participate in the Resistance! To cop a slogan from Portlandia, Women and Women First!

I hope to see you all out in the streets rocking red!

—DellaBites

*all images via google or the linked sites

A Smoothie Life Hack for the Ages

I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, so one of the biggest challenges to the whole wellness/smoothie life thing I’ve committed to is, how do I get a smoothie and a cup of coffee into me during my 20-minute drive to work? I need the coffee to do the smiling and the talking (very important in the business we call retail), but I need the smoothie and the protein to not starve to death within my first hour of work. I’ve never been a chugger of liquids—my La Croixs always go flat before I finish them, and I’m used to dealing with watery iced coffee and cocktails. I needed a solution—one that didn’t involve me actually waking up earlier, duh.

So, many moons ago, while make the baby steps towards the wellness journey on which I now find myself, I discovered a little website called Nutrition Stripped. The lifestyle site is run out of Nashville by dietician/nutritionist McKel Hill. It’s basically a smoothie-recipe Mecca. As the completist I am, I pre-ordered McKel’s cookbook and everything. It’s been a big hit here at the Fig household.

So, when I discovered the Mood Boosting Cocoa Smoothie, it was my Eureka moment.

It puts the coffee IN the smoothie!

I’ve made this smoothie, like, a hundred times, with minor variations here and there based on ingredients I have on hand. I’ve been adding spirulina to get those greens! But when you have something every day, you’re bound to get a little restless and want to try new things. Therefore, I give you, The Strawberry Morning Milkshake! It’s just a variation on McKel Hill’s theme, credit where credit is due, but my oh my is it a delight.

Strawberry Morning Milkshake

makes just under 4 cups, serves 2

  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen*
  • 1/2 c. chopped strawberries (about 4 large strawberries), fresh or frozen*
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 scoop Vega vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 c. to 1 c. of cold brew
  • 1 c. unsweetened organic almond milk

In a high-powered blender, add all ingredients and blend until smooth! Serve immediately, and refrigerate leftovers for up to two days.

If you have a normal blender, like me, add all ingredients except almond milk, and process at a slower speed until smooth. Then add in your almond milk and go to town on that high setting!

I prefer a thinner smoothie, so I add all of the coffee I possibly can to this. But if you want a classic milkshake feel, I’d keep the 1/2 c. cold brew : 1 c. almond milk ratio.

*I recommend frozen fruit for this recipe, both for the temperature of the smoothie, and the milkshake-esque texture.

Optional Add-ins for Optimal Nutrition

  • 1 tsp spirulina*
  • 1 pitted date (for sweetness)
  • 1 c. baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp. flax seeds or flax meal
  • 2 Brazil nuts

*The spirulina will slightly alter the color and taste of the smoothie, so I recommend trying it once without to get a frame of reference.

So, there you have it. A full cup of coffee and enough protein and nutrients to keep you full until your lunch break. No compromises necessary! You’ll be able to finish this on your morning commute in between embarrassing performances of every song from Hamilton. And if you think strawberries and coffee are an odd combination, have faith, don’t forget your vanilla protein powder, and enjoy!

—DellaBites