Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lunch Breaks Rock

So, as much as I love music, the reading for this paper can be a little...dry. I decided this wasn't going to happened with out a little coffee.
It was just the caffeine boost I needed! I shook up the milk to give it a frothy top and it even came out two tone. woohoo!

I finished the reading just in time to swing by the BBQ and made it just as they were getting ready to make the first cuts!
I came home and even though I was pretty hungry nothing sounded appealing. I made myself make a big ol' pita sandwich and I got into it once I started making it. That's my awesome camelbak water bottle cause I need to be drinking more water than I am.
That thing was humongous! Whole wheat pita, hummus, the last of the wild rice and pinto beans, spinach, cherry tomatoes, bean sprouts, and roasted turkey faux meat.

Now I'm watching an intense episode of Intervention on A&E! I swear I'll get back to work as soon as it's over!

Hello Sunday!

Good morning everyone! I won't lie... I missed you. It was definitely a tough break ;) I hope your weekend has been going well. Mine has been pretty darn good. Recap:
Shabbos dinner was super tasty and a blast as usual. One of the things the Rabbi and I talked about while we were setting up place settings was that "suffering is a lack of knowledge". That's such a different way of thinking about suffering and his insights were awesome. I was telling him that I just didn't understand what I could possibly learn from having these horrible allergies until I finally got some relief from my new meds. Now, not-sneezing and not having itchy watery eyes is something I appreciate soo much! There is a reason behind every struggle: to learn!
The performance on Saturday went really well. I felt like I was able to be more musical with the text this time and the audience was bigger too! My voice teacher was there and he called me later that day to talk about it which I was really happy about.
The paper... well...I've read almost all my sources and I have a pretty good idea of what's going on now as far as the format I'm going to shoot for. It's just that I haven't actually started the writing process yet. A little more reading and I'll be cranking it out. (or at least that's what I'm going to tell myself). I tend to get overwhelmed with papers, fr
eak out a bit, and then finally churn out something I'm proud of. I wish it wasn't so, but I work well under pressure...more like I finally get down to business when I'm under pressure haha.

On to this morning! I woke up feeling like my allergies are trying to creep into my chest. I decided to go one a light jog and without music so I could enjoy nature!
It's so beautiful in the morning, I just can't get over it.
Look at that wave crash!
This is the path I usually take. It's right on top of the cliff that boarders the ocean.
When I got back I set up my home workout station woohoo! I decided to do a pilates podcast called "Pilates on Fifth Video Podcast, Pilates Mat- 30 Minute Workout". I actually ended up moving around a whole lot, putting the laptop on the ground, moving the mat, moving it back. I was kind of all over the place. It was a really good episode, definitely worked those abs. Those girls are flexible, sheesh!

For Breakfast this morning a made a batch of Cinnamon Apple Oats. In the mix:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Fuji apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. milled flax seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
I decided to try this new technique of adding the raisins to the hot water to plump them.
Oats, green tea, and even my little Gummy Vites made it in the shot!

So my schedule for today as laid out on my iPhone last night
Hopefully the day will pan out something like this but who knows, surprises always seem to come up. Kelsey and I talked last night about doing a ten day Raw Diet "cleanse" together which would be awesome! We may do a little preparation for that later depending on what goes down. In any case, we made plans to go out to one of our all time favorite restaurants in Santa Barbara: Sojourner Cafe! If you're in Santa Barbara you've gotta check this place out. They have something for everyone and their desserts...omg don't even get me started. You know I'll be checking their daily specials online before we leave. I get so excited about their food!

Off for a shower and then it's paper time :( Wish me luck!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Good Shabbos!

Oh my gosh I'm so sorry! I can't believe how long it's taken me to finally get a chance to finish this post! Despite what the time stamp may say I'm actually only just now at 4:05 getting a chance to sit down and blog.

Uh oh, guess who went to Student Health this morning?? Yeah, I woke up feeling pretty icky so I just decided that I may as well go before it gets really bad. I got set up with some new allergy meds and got a referral to a local allergist. Hopefully I can get retested and start allergy shots soon! The nurse who saw me warned me that the meds may make me a little wired. I didn't really believe it and I figured anything is better than the Benadryl knock out but man, I'm all cracked out! I was such a busy bee at work and I'm still sort of buzzin!
Because I was on the go this morning I decided to make a breakfast smoothie. Sorry to my roomies who were sleeping while I used the blender! :/
In the blend:
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk Kefir
  • 3/4-1 cup soy milk
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp. light agave syrup
This was the first bottle of Kefir I ever tried and I can only describe it as something in between yogurt and milk. By itself it isn't the most delicious but it's awesome when mixed with fruit and stuff. Kefir is actually a grain that is mixed with fermented milk and constantly stirred. The product is a yogurt-like liquid chalked full of probiotics. An awesome addition to a dairy free diet since us vegans don't consume probiotic dairy yogurt.
I've never done this before but I thought I would give PB&J Pita a try. I toasted half a pita bread on low and smothered the inside with peanut butter and apple butter. It was sooo tasty! Definitely a new staple of mine and by the way, toasting it made it that much better.
Lunch today is a spinach salad with the last of the roasted brussel sprouts, bean sprouts, cherry tomatoes, yellow onion, and some of that super tasty Annie's Naturals Lite Italian Dressing. Sliced mangos and a Peanut Butter Pretzel Mojo bar to round things out.
The breakfast smoothie in all it's glory, so yummy! The almond butter is the secret ingredient.
The Dynamic Breakfast Duo.
After my doctor's visit I still had a good 30 minutes before class so I decided to treat myself to some Fair Trade Hazelnut brew with a splash of soy.
I think this is the way to go from now on with coffee. Not only is it cheaper to just get brewed coffee, I can control exactly how much soy goes in my drink and I know it's soy! Sometimes I get super paranoid that the baristas used regular milk. Of course every now and then I'll have to switch back to my classic cappuccino with soy cause I love me some foam. But this really hit the spot this morning.
Another beautiful day at UCSB.
There's me putting on my happy face and being a good sport even though I feel lousy.
But I'm still a gangsta!

I can't believe what a good flow I've been having since I made the trip to Student Health. And to think, I was considering not coming to classes today when I woke up super drowsy and feeling like a sicky. The main reason I knew I had to come was because I had studio and work today.
Studio is a class that is connected to voice lessons and is an opportunity for all the students of one teacher to meet and sing for each other. It's a time where we get some performance setting practice with an accompanist, give and receive constructive criticism, and hear each other's progress. I really enjoy studio because performance setting practice would be hard to come by without it. I'm so glad I decided to stick it though today because I had an awesome studio. I got to run through the songs I'm performing tomorrow and my teacher was getting really nit picky. I feel really solid with the songs and today we got even more into the mood behind the words and the relationship to the music. It was just awesome and I'm really confident for tomorrow. The performance is at 11:30AM and I'm ready to get up there and do my thang!

So last night I mentioned that I had an important announcement and I do! I haven't talked much about it yet but I've recently been getting more into my Jewish heritage. This winter break I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of a two and a half week trip to Israel through a group called Jewish Awareness Movement, JAM. I was so lucky to be able to go with my brother Eric whose very presence made the trip that much more of an awesome experience. We learned so much about Judaism and Israel and came back with a definite sense of pride in our heritage. (My profile picture is of the two of us it Tzfat!) One important lesson I learned about embracing this new part of life is that you must take it in baby steps. Doing too much all at once can have a backfire effect. One of the things I've decided to try and take on is Shabbat. Shabbat is a traditional meal (or meals) that commemorate the day of rest during creation and begin at sundown on Friday night and end at sundown on Saturday night. During that time the concept of rest is taken to the extent that no electricity is turned on or off, no writing is done, no cooking, no driving, no television, etc... I'm far from an expert on all this but like I said: baby steps. I just want to give everyone a heads up that I will not be posting on Friday nights or Saturday during the day. I have to break Shabbos this weekend unfortunately because I have a performance but at least tonight I can do whatever I can to stay in the spirit of Shabbos.
The ideas behind Shabbos are really beautiful and I look forward to dinner at the Shushan's all week! I also think this will be a good way for me to take a break from blogging so that I don't come to resent having to blog. I really enjoy keeping this little online journal and it's something that I get to do!

Anyways, the plan now is to make some more progress on the ominous motet paper so that I can enjoy my weekend. There Shusan's are hosting a BBQ this sunday for their son's first haircut (which may sound like a silly reason to celebrate but in orthodox Judaism, little boys are not supposed to cut their hair until age three). I really want to go chill with them without stressing about the paper.

I wish you all a relaxing (or productive depending on your goals) weekend and you will be hearing from me again soon!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Sneezy Thursday Night

These allergies are just getting ridiculous. It's so hard to focus on anything when you're always on the verge of a sneeze!
I tried calming my senses with a mug of green tea while did a little reading.
Soon all the roomies arrived and it was dinner time! I decided I wanted my brussel sprouts should be a little softer if they were going to make the cut for my salad so I added a little water to this container and microwaved them for a minute and drained them.
Brussel sprouts, wild rice and beans, vegan creamed spinach, roasted butternut squash, yellow onion, cherry tomato, bean sprouts, fresh basil. Basically everything but the kitchen sink.
This dressing is fantastic! I also feel pretty nifty that I came up with the bright idea to make my salad in this tupperware so that I could shake it all up to coat everything with dressing.
Salad and soup, perfect for someone feeling as miserable as I am! I got sucked into watching "The First 48" on A&E. I'm telling you, I'm addicted to crime shows!
This salad was humongous. I think I will need to downsize next time. It was boarder line too much but it was also super tasty. Plus my lunch was mostly just little snacks so I guess I feel ok about it. I think today I ended up over eating a little but that didn't stop me from sealing the deal with a mug of cereal!
This cereal is sooo good! Blueberries, pecans, granola crunch...what more could a girl ask for?
I showed my room mates a recipe I saw on another blog I follow called Fatfree Vegan Kitchen for Microwave Baked Apples Two Ways. I thought it would be of particular interest because you need ingredients that we usually have on hand anyways, and you only need 3-5 minutes in the microwave for an instant dessert! My roomie Kelsey gave it a shot and did a particularly good job if I may say. Doesn't that just look melt in your mouth good?

Well it's time for me to knock myself out with a good dose of Benadryl. I have an important announcement to make but it can wait till tomorrow morning. Sleep well everyone, and hopefully no one else is suffering from sneeze face!

Time to Get Motivated

Wow these allergies are still getting to me. I'm starting to worry that this is the beginning of a cold or something so from now on consider Claire on total sickness prevention lockdown. Early bedtime, healthy eating, Neti Pot, Vitamin C, constant hand washing, and as little stress as possible. I don't want to do anything that could help the sickness!

While I was digging around in the kitchen for something this morning I found this heart shaped tray and decided to make red Valentine's ice cubes. I know it's still a ways off but whatever! I sort of had this idea that if I really stick with it and do well in the "Lose the Dough" challenge that I'll reward myself with little things. This weekend I reallly want to buy and electric citrus juicer! I have a bunch of coupons for Bed Bath and Beyond so hopefully I will make it happen!
The finished product of this will soon make an appearance!
Here are all the snacks I packed. Does this make me a bag lady?
I took this picture while I was on my bike! Skills. I love those flowery trees... but on the other had maybe they are the reason I'm suffering from such bad allergies...hmm.

Here is my small cappuccino with soy from my morning coffee date.
The foam is my favorite part! I think the caffeine really helped my afternoon slump. Or I may have just felt more motivated to pay extra close attention because the midterm is next week... who can really say!
This is the lagoon and the view from the back patio of the coffee shop on campus. It was such a beautiful day!
I haven't properly introduced these tasty cookies. These are actually the last two of a batch of Molasses Cookies I made last week. They are so good, maybe even a little too good. I should reserve making these unless I know I have people to share them with because I could eat them all. The recipe was on the back of the bottle of molasses and they tasted like rich gingerbread with a molassesy base and were super soft and melty, just the way I like 'em. Like I said, so good!
I brought this Mojo Mountain Mix bar with me to school but didn't get to it until I got home. I snacked on it as I blogged and I think it should hold me over till dinner time.

Well it's time to hit the books and get cracking on that paper. Bleh. Motivation, come to me!!

Voice Lesson Day, Beating the Afternoon Slump

Guten Morgen alles! Ich habe gut geschlaft aber habe ich noch Allergie!

Just kidding! I'll try to avoid posting in German for now haha. What I said was: Good morning everyone! I slept well but I still have allergies! I decided to add Flonase to the picture so hopefully I'll start feeling better soon. Also, I know that I can trick myself into feeling good (despite allergies and ominous music history paper) if I dress cute and comfy.
This is my outfit today. Those shadows make me look sort of funny (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) but I wanted to show what a beautiful morning it is. I must have looked like such a weirdo balancing my camera on the end of a jeep and posing for 10 seconds waiting for the auto timer. I'm sure this little college town has seen weirder.
This shot is a tribute to my friend Denielle whose fashion blog Sassy Little Frassy had a post about vintage accessories. Though this ring is not vintage at all, when I decided to wear it today it made me think of her. She moved to L.A. last quarter and I miss her so much!

On to breakfast! Today I decided to make Apple Cinnamon Blueberry Oats. In the mix is:
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 large Fuji apple
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • ~ 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/16 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. milled flax seed
  • 1 tsp light agave
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
This is a step I thought I should make a special reminder of because it was Tina of Carrots 'N' Cake who reminded me! When making apple oats, it's important to let the apples cook in the liquid for a few minutes (I usually do 2-3) so that they get nice and soft.
Blueberries!! Obsessed.
Remember that guy I met while taking pictures of the music building? He told me that natural light is the best for food pictures so I brought my breakfast outside! I'm no photography buff and I know those shadows aren't so great but natural light really does the trick.
I measured out my peanut better this time to just one tablespoon because I think I was being a little too generous :/
The best vitamins ever!

Today is a voice lesson day which means I have an hour to work with my amazing voice teacher. On V.L. days I allow myself to only be concerned with that one thing until it's over (otherwise I know I would just get overwhelmed). Voice lessons only happen once a week and they are really important so I try to make them the focus of my day. As a third year I am required to have a junior recital at the end of spring quarter which is a formal performance consisting of 30 minutes of me!! Ahh! Right now I'm working on getting all of my music "off the page", or from memory, so we can start really getting into the musicality. I also have a little performance on Saturday so we'll probably run through the pieces again as a refresher.

After my voice lesson I really need to start getting serious about this paper. That's why I wore my Uggs today. Ugg is how I feel about my paper so I may as well be warm and toasty while I do it! All of the sources are given, it's only 4-5 pages, I have until Tuesday... totally do-able.

Lately I've been getting a bit of an afternoon slump which is really annoying. I'm such a morning person and before 12 I'm go go go. As soon as I slow down and sit in class it's like I can't focus and I can feel my energy sagging. Question of the day: Does afternoon energy sag happen to you? How to you get over the midday slump?

I'm going to pack some good snacks for myself that will hopefully help and I'm scheduled for a little coffee date on campus with my girls Savannah and Amanda! Perfect time for a caffeine boost.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bipolar Weather = Allergies?

I keep forgetting to mention these new gummy snacks I mean Vitamins I'm taking. They are so good! Sweet fun gummy candy + vitamins = perfect for me!

You only get to take two everyday :( I would eat at least ten if it were up to me.
Sorry I couldn't get a very clear shot but I thought it may be of interest what exactly is in these suckers. I got them at Costco also.
Vegan Report! So these deli slices by smart deli are actually pretty good as far as faux meat goes. I packed strips from two slices for my pita today and I could really taste the roasted flavor. Quite nice indeed.
Here's to better planning! The idea here is to be slightly over packed in order to avoid another starvation incident like yesterday. On the menu from left to right we have a cup or two of left over creamy hearty veggie soup, a Fuji, all the fixings for a delicious pita sandwich: cherry tomatoes, slices of fake meat, sprouts, hummus avocado, roasted butternut squash, and mustard. Half a pita bread, a Naked Superfood juice, slices of mango, and for dessert a Clif Mojo Bar Dipped Chocolate Peanut flavor.
This little tangerine had been rolling around in my bag for some time now so I decided a little snack in Anthropology would be good. It was all dried out and not very tasty though so I only ate about three slices of it before deciding to toss it. Sad.
Instead I ate this raspberry fruit strip which was also living in my purse waiting for a moment just like this one.
Yesterday was such a rainy, gray day and today was totally gorgeous! The weather here is seriously bipolar. This is a shot of the music building a.k.a. my home away from home away from home. I was on my way towards work after anthro when I took this shot and met a man who was also taking photos. He had a much better camera than me and clearly knew more about photography. He showed me the shots he'd just been taking of a puddle next to the bike path and in the reflection you could see bikers riding by! It was pretty cool and he suggested that when I update I go with Sony. My little camera has just about given all it's got. It just about has a seizure when it focuses and all the buttons are kind of messed up.
I took a lunch break around 2 while at work and I sat and had lunch in Storke Plaza. You can see the sign in the upper left of the art museum on campus and that ledge in the foreground is actually a big pond with coy fish in it.

I think I mentioned this morning that I was having some allergies when I woke up. Well, they didn't get better even though I took a Zyrtek and I have been sneezing and sniffling all day. Finally around 1:30 I took Benadryl which I was avoiding because it makes me drousy. I needed it though I couldn't concentrate on anything.
This is a little bit of Storke Tower on the right. What a sky!
I have to admit, I built a pretty tasty looking pita!
Love this juice. It's such a treat now that I'm not much of a juice drinker anymore. I try to only drink juice I make myself.
I had just a few tastes of the soup and saved the rest for later, before choir. Turns out this soup is good cold too.
Mango mango.
Alright, dessert time. Actually I was really full but I was so curious as to what this thing looked like I thought I would just take a taste.

It was really good. Less chocolaty than I expected but still, works as dessert for me. I took about three bites and saved the rest. I'm thinking I'll finish it off after dinner as a little treat!

After lunch I went back into work and the Benadryl hit me like a ton of bricks. I was struggling just to keep my eyes open and I was cold... but at least I wasn't sneezing as much. I don't know what's going on with me right now but I can only hope it's just allergies. Two of my roomies are sick with flu-like-colds or something and I really hope this isn't the beginning of it for me. It sure feels like allergies (miserable) but who knows. I think that's one aspect of college life that just sucks. You're in such close contact with people on a daily basis who are, for the most part, less than considerate of spreading germs. I'm a germaphobe for good reason! After work I went back to the same bench area and actually fell asleep in the sun. That's something I never do! I have this weird thing about sleeping in public when I'm alone. I guess I was too tired to care this time.

After choir and making a bazillion copies at the library for a paper I'm consciously avoiding thinking about, I finally made it home and began creating the salad I had been imagining all during choir!
I've never tried this brand of salsa before. Drew's is generally pretty good but this was mostly a college budget inspired purchase.
Spinach, wild rice and pinto beans, roasted butternut squash, sprouts, creamed spinach, roasted brussel sprouts, hummus, salsa, salt and pepper. The salsa was pretty good! I'm into roasted salsas and this one could have stood to be a little roastier tasting but it was still chunky and tasty. I was totally feeling the butternut squash today in my pita so it needed to make a reappearance.

I really don't know what to do about these allergies. It's really miserable to have to go through the day always with the feeling like you're just about to sneeze. Even when I sneeze a bunch of times in a row it only feels better for a few seconds! Argh!! I think I'm going to use the Neti Pot tonight just to be sure I can't help clear out whatever is making my face explode. What's a Neti Pot you ask? Well it's descriptive name would be nasal douching but don't let that name put you off. My fellow soprano roomie bestie bootch soulmate Savannah is the one who introduced me to this magic lamp looking device. You mix a warm saline solution of non-iodized salt and water in the little pot, position the spout in one nostril and tilt your head slightly over a sink and like magic the water goes into your sinuses, clears out congestion, and comes out the other nostril. I'm sure that sounds really uncomfortable and bizarre but it's actually not. Check it out on youtube if you don't believe me! Savannah and I swear by it as the way to prevent from getting sick, or doing it whenever something just feels off. Apparently it's a really big thing with singers.

I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my Mojo Dipped Chocolate Peanut bar and attempt to do a little reading. Maybe going to bed early will help my allergies or at least prevent me from having to suffer through them any longer. Plus I'm going to try try try to get up early and get some work done on that paper I'm avoiding.

Gute Nacht!