Monday, 25 October 2010

I'm a Z O U now

What a weekend.

My first return to Columbia as an alumna was nothing short of epic. I hung out on the quad for College Gameday and saw the Tigers take down the number one ranked team in the country with the best company that anyone could have asked for.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Pink Glove Dance

It brought tears to my eyes to think that this many people were willing to put themselves out there and dance, foolishly or otherwise, all for breast cancer awareness. Thank you to each and every one of you.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Alternative Thanksgiving Preperation 1

Brown rice stuffed squash with sauteed kale and pine nuts (yes, we are obsessed with kale).

After the stuffed acorn squash disaster of 2010, my always-supportive mother found this MEATLESS stuffed squash option (the ladies in the video are hilarious). It was so amazing that it has automatically been added to my Alternative Thanksgiving menu. I might substitute the rice based stuffing for traditional bread stuffing on the actual day though.

I love to eat even though, to most people, my options are seriously limited. The truth is, the possibilities for lactose-intolerant vegetarians are endless these days, especially with a little creativity. AND, Thanksgiving doesn't have to be about binge eating dairy and fat and carbs. It can be about eating healthy, delicious food to a proper full feeling :) This will be my third year with an alternative Thanksgiving, and I think I have finally found some recipes that are keepers, including this stuffed squash. But don't worry, I'm not giving up my "Thanksgiving pants."

Last night's dinner: polenta triangles with tomato sauce (from the William Sonoma Vegetarian cookbook) - not for Thanksgiving but still awesome.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

It's All Relative

I watched the most fascinating Oprah today.

Oprah's guest today was Kim Nobel, a woman who lives with 20 different personalities. Technically, Kim is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID) as a result of, what her doctors believe, was childhood abuse. Kim's daughter and most dominant personality (or alter) will tell you, however, that Kim doesn't exist.

Kim's daughter was asked what it's like to be raised by a mother with multiple personalities and responded that it's normal to her, "I haven't seen any different," she said. Just another one of those things in life where it's all what you know; it's all relative.

The woman's story was fascinating, but what peaked my interest is the way that her therapist suggested the personalities express themselves- through painting. After working with an art therapist for a short time, Kim and 13 of her personalities took up painting. Each personality focuses on their own colors and themes, and their work is entirely unique to their story.

Artwork by Kim Nobel's alters

I have always been interested in art therapy. Dancing used to be a huge stress reliever for me, and now, I write to relieve stress. Art allows people to indirectly express themselves, which is therapeutic and also beautiful. I think it is an excellent form of therapy and pain management, and I hope to see the field develop further in the future- maybe even as a result of people seeing this show.

For those who don't know, it's Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 3-9, 2010). Here's hoping that the stigmas attached to mental illness will soon become a thing of the past!

AND I've added a new blog to my blogroll. Drum roll please....

My friends Anna and Becca are behind Supporting our Siblings: Advocating and Educating, a blog devoted to mental health issues. Both girls have a sibling who has been diagnosed with a mental illness and are taking to the blogosphere to facilitate conversation and slash the stigmas developed by not talking about mental illness. As I've said before, you're only as sick as your secrets, so way to put yourselves out there and talk about real issues!

An Important Message

Something must be done.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Rent a Green Box

This is so cool.

Rent a Green Box is a company that supplies you with repurposed plastic containers for moving, etc. and then comes to pick them up after you are done with them!

If only I could get Banana Republic to use them for shipments, we'd have a lot less waste and clean up on shipment days...

Thanks, Emily for passing on the info!

Group Sleep-overs

Last night, I celebrated my cousin Leslie's 21st birthday. It was a really fun night, but I think the best part was the group sleep-over at my cousins' apartment. Laurel and Mike just moved to Chicago and graciously hosted all five of us.

The Birthday Girl and I at Laurel's wedding

Nick, Shannon, Leslie, John and I were spread across their living room floor on various air mattresses and couches. It reminded me of the sleep-overs my sisters and I had with Nick, Laurel and Leslie at Aunt Pat's when we were kids. The six of us used to line up across her living room floor as well, only there were no air mattresses back then- only sleeping bags.

My favorite memories from my childhood are all family related, many of them including my aunt. It's hard to believe that this October will be five years since we lost her.

My cousins and I at Aunt Pat's circa 1993

But October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which allows my family to both remember my aunt and support the cause through numerous outlets. I am happy to say that the past five years have made me incredibly optimistic about the advancements in prevention and treatment of the disease. There are so many options now- and so many ways for people to join the fight.

So, save your yogurt lids (I'm lucky Activia jumped on board this year), buy products that donate to breast cancer organizations or simply know your body so that you can detect any changes that may come your way. The future of breast cancer treatment is in your hands- literally.

Saturday, 2 October 2010


Oh, and we've got Benny again this weekend. Obviously, Wilke is thrilled to have him back...

You know it's fall when...

... a pumpkin shows up in your backyard... get tricked into buying beautiful stuffed acorn squash only to find out with the first bite that there is Italian sausage in the stuffing (sometimes I get so focused on looking for dairy in ingredient lists that I completely forget to check for meat)...

... you are happy to see your Starbucks-obsessed dad with a steaming soy chai latte to warm you up on a chilly Saturday morning- maybe living at home through the winter won't be so bad :)