Hadrian's Wall Trail

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

If you like history as much as I do, you may have heard of the Roman Emporer Hadrian. He had this wall built in 122 AD, to separate the Roman Empire and the wilderness beyond. It stretches almost all the way across the country of Britain, from the River Tyne to Bowness-on-Solway, about 80 miles. The wall still exists today and is a World Heritage Site, so it's well maintained and taken care of for future generations.
So why did I just give you a mini history lesson on a wall of stone? Because you can hike the trail, the whole 80 miles, and I've wanted to do it for years.

My tentative plan is to make this trip next year. It still gets me kind of giddy just typing that. I'm looking at how much money I would need to save and different agencies that work with the Trail specifically. You can basically do as many miles as you want a day, but planning ahead or going with an agency means you can have reservations at B&B's or hostels or some hotels for every night of the trek. It is also possible to camp on the trail, but I don't plan to do that. I've never been much of a camper, even if I kind of wish I was.

I'm looking at doing an 8 day self guided trek, with 9 nights in a form of hotel or B&B. At the moment I'm planning on doing this trip alone unless something were to change in the next year and I would have someone I would like to go with. But I see this trek as a sort of personal growth thing for me, so I kind of want to do it alone.

One agency I'm looking at that has great reviews and a good accommodation package is Mickeldore. Included in the price are nightly accommodations, luggage transfer each day, 24-hour aid, and a few other things. I hadn't even considered not having to carry all of my things in a hiking bag until I started looking at agencies. It kind of feels like a cop-out to me, but why the heck would I carry everything if I could just carry what I needed for that day? And having an on-call staff is a nice security blanket if I do end up doing the trail all alone. 

This is a total dream trip to me, but one that is actually within grasp. As long as I can save up money for the plane ticket...

Love deeply xo

This Mindfulness Thing

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

This mindfulness thing? It isn't easy, don't let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise. It takes work and time. Lots and lots of time. Not that anything worth doing is ever easy nor do I think it should be.

I've been feeling stuck lately. Stuck in my journey and feeling like I've just hit this wall and I don't know how to knock it down. Between work and getting ready for my next classes to start, I haven't had as much time to devote to reading or learning more about meditation, Buddhism, mindfulness and everything else that goes along with it. And I know my time will become even tighter and precious in a couple weeks, and that makes me feel like I have to learn everything I possibly can NOW.

But that's not how this works. This journey isn't a quick one, it was never meant to be. The teachings of the Buddha and learning to be more mindful in everything isn't something that just happens. As humans in 2017, we have become conditioned to focus all of our time on making our lives better by buying more things, being a hit on social media, and planning these extravagant futures that we're so afraid won't happen.

These are things I've been struggling with too, although I'm trying to give more and more stuff away instead of buying more things. This wall I hit wasn't budging, and I wasn't sure how to make it move. Or at least create a door. Until I logged onto my Bloglovin' and read this post over on Everyday-Mindfulness.org. Suddenly, that wall didn't seem so impenetrable anymore.

This part of the article really stuck out to me:
"But then, about halfway through the class, the teacher said something, which drew me in; '"All that exists is now. Yesterday doesn't exist, tomorrow doesn't exist; only now and this moment exist. The future is just a bad guess, which will only cause disappointment when it doesn't go the way you're imagining. Because that's all the future is, your imagination."" -Abby McPhee

Is the wall going to just turn to rubble now? Not likely. But that's okay. I'm working on it, and I'm certain that a door will materialize at the right moment. I'm trying to focus more on the now and I think that's the most important thing.

Love deeply xo

Go-to Vegan Meals

Saturday, April 8, 2017

I have a vision of posting super yummy vegan meals on this blog, but I'll be honest- it probably won't happen much. Between working 30-40 hours a week and going to school online full time, I don't spend nearly as much time trying new recipes as I used to. Hell, I tend to eat the same dinner for days until it's all used up and then I have to make something else.

But because I wanted to share my vegan lifestyle with people who may not know how it's a possible thing, I thought I'd make this quick post with my go-to meals that I take to work with me on most days.

First up is my usual go-to lunch before I head to work: a huge salad, extra veggies (usually whatever is in the fridge), some grains or rice, maybe some avocado if I have some, and some red wine vinegar and lemon juice.

Cauliflower has become a favorite staple in my kitchen. I used to hate it before I went vegan, but it's now one of my favorite things. I usually put buffalo sauce on it, but other times I just eat it with garlic powder and pepper. Baked kale and vegetarian refried beans are also easy add-ons.

These next two meals are basically what I take to work with me all the time. Some form of grain, be that rice or quinoa, lots of veggies, maybe a baked potato or sweet potato on top. I change this up by using different sauces, whatever I'm in the mood for that day. Sweet and Sour sauce is one of my favorites!

And there we have it, some of the easiest vegan meals that anyone can whip up quickly before work. And you're getting all of the nutrients that you need in a meal. Do you guys have go-to vegan meals that you love?

Love deeply xo

Eating Vegan in Portland

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Eating vegan in Portland, Oregon is what one could call stupid easy. Or, you know, just seen as normal.

First night in Portland my friends and I walked a few blocks to one of their favorite bars, and I was absolutely shocked to see at least 6 totally vegan options on the menu. At a bar! I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a plate of hot nachos, especially since I wasn't super hungry. They were amazing. 

If you aren't vegan, or have any other dietary restrictions, you can probably walk into any shop or restaurant and find something yummy to eat. I can't really do that without some research or work on my part, but man was it different in Portland. We stopped at a random pizza place across the street from Powell's bookshop and they had 3 different vegan pizzas on that day! I was so giddy with happiness. I almost bought one slice of each.

What would be a trip to Portland, Oregon without a stop at Voodoo Donut? Yes, I did buy 3 donuts. I just couldn't decide, there were so many choices! I had anticipated only a couple vegan options, but they had just as many vegan donuts as regular donuts! Seriously, it would be dangerous if I lived there.

Food trucks. What an amazing invention, I swear. Why aren't they more common in the middle of the country!? This burrito was gigantic if you can't tell. It was chorizo, beans, rice and I got to add guacamole for free because I wanted it vegan. Seriously amazing. And if I'm remembering correctly, I think it was only $7.

On the last night, my friends took me to one of their favorite authentic Mediterranean places. It was the one place that didn't really have a vegan option, but it was easy to replace one or two things to make it vegan. Not pictured was a huge homemade tortilla in the center of the table that everyone just ripped pieces off of. And the hummus here may have been the best I've ever had.

Eating vegan in Portland was almost stupid easy, like not eating animals wasn't weird or something. Go figure. I swear if it didn't rain so much there I would move in a heartbeat. But this girl needs sun and heat.

Love deeply xo

Sandalwood Mala Beads

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I've been looking for a string of mala beads for a while now, but all of the ones I really liked on Etsy were too expensive for me right now. I didn't want to buy a cheap one, but I just couldn't afford $30 or something close to it on a string of beads right now. Even if I wanted them as a meditation aid and a symbol of my journey to mindfulness.

Then one day while I was at work, one of my favorite YouTubers who has a shop where he sells crystals had decided to have a special sale on a mala bead string. If I remember correctly it was around $10, which was something I could afford on my student budget.

It's sandalwood and absolutely gorgeous.

Thank you, Koi for deciding to sell an affordable string of mala beads that is also beautiful! I love it.

Love deeply xo

Daily Thought

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I posted this photo and caption on instagram this morning and then thought I would share it here as well. I might do these every once in a while, although the title may change.

I hope your Tuesday will be a day filled with happiness and love.

"The mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground." 🌲 Do you have a solid foundation to stand on? Do you know who you are at the most basic level? What you will and will not stand for? I've done a lot of soul-searching in the last two years, and my ground is finally starting to feel solid. It may not be easy, but stand your ground when people try to move you. You'll look back in the future and realize how much you've grown 🌱🌲❤

Love deeply xo

No More Processed Food

Monday, April 3, 2017

If you're anything like me, you've watched every food genre documentary on Netflix or Hulu. You know the bad things about gmo's, overly processed food, meat and dairy, and the amount of sugar in everything. If you know all of that like I do, you've probably contemplated how possible it would be to live without all of that junk. To eat a diet of unprocessed food, at least as much as possible. Well, that is exactly the challenge I have decided to take.
*Image from google. Ignore the honey comb.

As a full-time student, I have decided to make certain exceptions because I know that if I had a black and white line I couldn't cross, I probably wouldn't stick to this challenge. So when I say exceptions, I mean things like hummus, bread, black bean burgers (I get these at Aldi) and pasta. I eat a lot of quick and easy meals, things that I can make in 5 minutes and get back to my homework or getting ready for work. But I am also going to try and make my own hummus, once I get my hands on some tahini. I've also found recipes to make my own ketchup and tortillas. I want to do this challenge to the best of my ability, but I don't want to make it so unattainable that I just give up.

The plan, of course, is to share this challenge with all of you here on the interwebs. How often I'll get around to that once my next classes start at the end of the month is hard to say (BioChem may be the death of me), but I'm going to try to stay current. Wish me luck!

Love deeply xo