Live Long & Prosper

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Hey Beauties!

No, I am not a huge Star Trek nerd, so please don’t misconstrue the title of this post (though I did really enjoy the movie that came out recently, but I am being discursive). Rather, I am partially borrowing the title from this article that I wanted to share a bit with you. It focuses on ways to keep living a positive lifestyle while searching for jobs. Now, I’m not going to re-post the article verbatim because you are all very capable of reading it yourselves if you have any interest. Rather, I will just give you the gist of what the author talks about. I think it is hugely beneficial though; I actually did the majority of these things on my own when I was job hunting recently, so I can vouch for them.

Here are 7 ways to “live long and prosper” while job hunting:

1. Think of your job search as a process – not an event.
2. Create a daily routine.
3. Get out of your house at least once or twice a week.
4. Exercise.
5. Volunteer.
6. Beware of revealing the wrong things to the wrong people.
7. Consider career counseling.

Not so bad, right? RIGHT. Being unemployed can be a pain in the rear, but don’t let it get you down and depressed if you can help it. You are awesome and someone out there will be lucky to have you on their team. Don’t forget that! Or maybe you should think about being the boss lady/man yourself and starting up your own business ;) There are opportunities that exist, you just need the drive and ambition to get there. Most often, that’s the hardest part.

As much as I would love to stay and continue writing, I must get some shut eye. I have a 7h00 flight tomorrow morning to Atlanta, woooo!! One of my best friends is amazing and got her short film accepted into the Atlanta Film Festival (it’s called Knightsville if you want to check it out) so obviously, I am going. I’ll let you know about my adventures when I return on Sunday!

Live Long & Prosper, Friends. xo

Too Much Tea

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Bonsoir!

I think I just made the mistake of drinking caffeinated tea at 21h00 (that’s 9:00pm for all you non-military and non-french peeps), so I’m hoping I can burn some of that energy off by blogging a bit. For the record, I thought the tea was decaf, but judging by the way I’m currently feeling, I thought wrong.

As you guys may know, I’m a big reader and love to learn/expand my mental horizons; because in my opinion, if you aren’t trudging forward, you’re either moving backwards or staying stagnant, neither of which are beneficial to you or the rest of humanity. In an effort to combine my interests, I take “notes” while I read. However, there isn’t really a legitimate purpose for said notes… until now… where I share them with you. Aren’t you guys and gals lucky?

Well, here it goes [I promise I will only do little bits at a time].

Did You Know?
– That “e.g.” (you will sometimes see this in writing in lieu of “ex” meaning example) stands for exempli gratia, which means “for the sake of an example” in Latin.
– Following the same train of thought, “n.b.” which is sometimes used instead of p.s. stands for nota bene which means “note well” in Latin and Italian. That I actually learned in high school and have never forgotten it.

Okay, now here’s a cool quote from The Name of the Wind:

Beer dulls a memory, brandy sets is burning, but wine is best for a sore hearts yearning… out of all the spirits, wine is suited to reminiscence. A good wine allows clarity and focus, while still allowing a bit of comforting coloration of the memory.

Not So Fun Facts:
– Though by any reasonable definition Iowa is a rural state, it is more thoroughly developed than many cities: a mere 2% of the state’s land remains what it used to be (tall-grass prairie), every square foot of the rest having been completely remade by man.
– One in three American children eat fast food every single day and 19% of American meals are eaten in the car.
– A 1lb box of prewashed organic lettuce contains 80 calories of food energy. Growing, chilling, washing, packaging and transporting said lettuce to the east coast takes more than 4,600 calories of fossil fuel energy – or 57 calories of fossil fuel energy per every calorie of food. And that’s organic! Conventionally grown lettuce would be 4% higher.

^^ All of the above facts make me really pissed off and extremely sad at the same time. Hmpf.

Before I go, I wanted to leave you with five new vocabulary words. In case you forgot, the ones I left you with a few weeks back were ephemeral, florid, fervent, discursive and sovereignty. Bonus points if you can remember their definitions without looking them up!

  • Aphorism – n. a pithy saying that embodies a general truth or an astute observation
  • Irascible – adj. irritable; easily angered
  • Discerning – adj. having insight; mentally quick and observant
  • Alacrity – n. cheerful promptness; eagerness
  • Disparage – v. to belittle

Goodnight, mes amis.

Recap: NYC (Manhattan, 3/20-22/15)

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Ahoy, Mateys

I just got back from my mini-vacation, NYC style, and I thought while everything is fresh in my mind I would recap the last few days for y’all. It wasn’t a long trip, so don’t expect anything too crazy. The reason for going was because Max had a G.A.M.E conference for Finance and he wanted me to be there for the tail end of the conference. I happen to have a few friends who live in the city, so I decided to keep Max company while seeing some lovely people. Two birds, one stone.

Instead of blowing $200+ on train tickets from PVD to NYC, I decided to drive to the Westport, CT train station and take the Metro-North train in to Grand Central. Although the almost 2-hour solo drive wasn’t the most fun, it was tolerable and I only paid $24 for a round trip ticket. I also didn’t have to pay for parking which was sweeeet. Worth it? At this point in my life, yes, I would say so.

I got into Grand Central at noon, and from there I went directly to the Sheraton where Max was staying, and we grabbed some very tasty sandwiches at a deli nearby. I was able to use some of my rusty Spanish speaking skills, which is always fun. Not soon after, Max had to get back to the conference, so we parted ways and I headed to Matteo’s (in Manhattan) to drop off my stuff. I caught up with him, then headed to SoHo to meet up with my close friend, Aly for dinner.

The dinner was AMAZING. Aly’s friend is executive chef at a restaurant called Murray’s Cheese Bar, which just by the name of it, I fell in love. I love me some cheese. We wound up stuffing our faces (the chef was there and hooked us up – she didn’t charge us for $30+ worth of food) and getting buzzed on some local IPA’s. For food we had a “Cheesemonger’s Choice” which consisted of fresh bread, crackers, goat cheese, kimchi, pickled raisins, prosciutto, some hard cheese I forget the name of, a blue goat cheese, chorizo and a dressing that tasted sweet and almost like a type of icing. Then the chef brought us out some crisped Brussels sprouts with fresh shaved Parmesan. At this point I was getting pretty full, but for my main meal I ordered pulled pork mac & cheese, and I ate it in it’s entirety. Did I mention this place was awesome? I left with a very happy belly. I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures… mer.

The Manhattan Rock Gym

The Manhattan Rock Gym

Post dinner I had to make my way back to Matteo’s to meet up with Max and get ready for the evening. We hung around Matteo’s and drank some more beer and Jameson & Gingers until the appropriate “going out time” in the city that never sleeps. To be honest, I don’t remember the name of the bar that we went to, but once again we got hooked up. Matteo’s friend and co-worker is a fabulous mixologist and she made us tequila cocktails that tasted divine. Our tab should have been about $300 between all of us, but she charged us $30. I love people.

Max and I got back to Matteo’s around 2am, slept for a little bit, then took a cab back to Max’s hotel. I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity for a comfy bed, so I went and slept while Max finished up the last events of the conference. Once that was finished we made our way back to Matteo’s and enjoyed a home-cooked breakfast equipped with eggs, turkey bacon and chocolate chip pancakes. Yes.

When breakfast was sufficiently digested, Max, Matteo, two of his friends (Matt and Connor) and myself made our way to Steep Rock Boulders, which is a bouldering rock gym walking distance from Matteo’s apartment. Besides Max and I, the others had never seriously climbed before, so it was a fun experience teaching them. I actually completed a handful of V3’s, which are normally outside my reach at my home gym, so that was pretty cool. We spent a long time there and grabbed a delicious dinner El Paso Taqueria where I gorged on a chicken burrito and sipped a tasty margarita.

El Paso Taqueria

After dinner we pretty much did the same thing as Friday night: hang out, pre-game, hit the town. The names of the two bars we went to are on the tip of my tongue, but alas, they escape me. I took it easier this time around, nursing beers until it was time for bed. All in all, a great day. Sunday wasn’t very exciting; all of us slept, hydrated and cooked another tasty breakfast until Max and I decided it was time to head back home.

Well, that’s a wrap! I enjoyed myself, and I have just enough time now to recuperate until I am off to Atlanta for the Atlanta Film Festival for Aly’s short feature, “Knightsville”. I have work at 7am tomorrow, so it is time for me to hit the hay. Goodnight, everyone!

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Hey Babes!

I’m trying to find a cool use for my old perfume bottle, and while searching for inspiration I stumbled upon this post. It is by far one of the most crafty pieces I have come across in terms of re-purposing regular household goods. I highly recommend you check it out. Stay tuned because I have every intention of utilizing essentially all of the 51 ideas. Soooo crafty!

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your week! I’m off to the gym and then onward to NYC tomorrow for a few days. I’m sure I’ll come back with some fun stories/things to share.

Hugs and kisses,
Azure

Re-Purposing At It’s Finest

The Supers

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“Super” is a word that has been permeating our lives recently, wouldn’t you agree? “Superfood”, “superfruits”, “superseeds” to name three. What exactly is it that makes these things so super? The definition of the noun superfood is as follows:

A nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.

Herm. Not particularly specific, eh? I can, however, shine some light on a few seeds and fruits that are mighty super for us; they are natural and minimally processed as well. This is not the first time you will be seeing some of the below mentioned contestants on this blog, which means that you should be incorporating them into your day to day eating routine! Please :)

1. Chia Seeds: Best and most often used in yogurt, homemade trail mixes, baked goods, commercial nutrition bars, beverages and snacks. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

2. Flaxseeds: A good source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens in the form of lignans and omega-3 fatty acids. A study has also linked eating ground whole flaxseed to lowering blood cholesterol.

3. Sunflower Seeds: Often considered a traditional ballpark snack, they provide monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, protein, fiber, vitamin E, and phytochemicals like choline, lignan, phenolic acids and betaine.

4. Pumpkin Seeds: Packed with protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. They are also known to be a libido booster (especially for men).

5. Blueberries: Daily consumption may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness; they are also high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, fructose, and antioxidants. Antioxidants in these berries are linked to the prevention/delaying of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and the aging process.

6. Acai Berries: They are a rich source of anthocyanin and have a fatty acid ratio similar to olive oil. They have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

7. Tart Cherries: High in anthocyanin and have high antioxidant activity. Reported benefits include enhanced sleep, anti-inflammation in arthritis and gout, and sports recovery.

8. Avocados: Beneficial effects on cardio-metabolic risk factors beyond the heart-healthy fatty acids.

9. Cranberries: Associated with benefiting urinary tract health but have also shown to benefit heart health, cancer prevention, oral health, and glycemic response.

Well, there you have it! These are extremely condensed factoids… I have pages written on all of these ingredients, so if you ever want to know more, let me know! Maybe I’ll do a spotlight every now and then to keep you at your sharpest.

Have a great night everyone — you survived Monday!

Apparently, Breathing Burns Fat

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News alert! I read this magazine called Prevention; I think it’s sort of catered to an older crowd than myself, but the magazine focuses on health, fitness and nutrition – all of which I love and care about – so I buy it when I see it. I totally recommend anyone in any walk of life give it a whirl someday; you never know! Anyway, I’m being discursive.

The point I wanted to share was this: you know how we’ve (well, at least I have) been led to believe that fat left your body via sweat? WRONG! Two researchers recently proved that 84% of fat exits your mouth and nose through simple exhales. How wild is that? Don’t suddenly get the lazy mentality due to this fact, though. It would be quite silly to think you can burn off a bunch of fat just my breathing a lot. You can’t replace exercise.

A thousand exhales take about a half hour [when on a hike-run]. Given that 30 minutes burns about 350 calories [for me], 3 exhales is the sound of burning 1 calorie.

Am I the only one who finds that fascinating? Essentially, you exhaling carries converted fat in the form of carbon dioxide.

Another cool fact I picked up during my reading was a way to judge the ripeness of a pineapple. If you smell the base and it has a light pineapple fragrance, then it’s a winner. Don’t focus on color.

Before learning this, I would always choose a pineapple by squeezing it – if it’s too squishy, it’s too ripe; if it’s akin to a bowling bowl, it’s not ripe enough – or by pulling on the center leaf directly in the center of the fruit. If the leaf pops out with hardly a tug, it’s a good choice. Those two methods have not let me down before, but now I have an arsenal of three!

Keep in mind that pineapple’s make a great snack to satisfy your sweet tooth. I use them a lot in juices as a sweetening agent. They are healthier for you than cookies and they contain bromelain, which is an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties.

The best pineapple I ever had was fresh off the trees in the Costa Rican forest back in high school; we were white water rafting and that was our snack break. The tour guides cut them with machetes, it was amazing. I will never forget that pineapple and hopefully I can go back to that region for another taste. As I like to say… fresh is best. You don’t get any fresher than plucked from the tree!

Night my darlings xxoo

I’m In Love With My Mixer

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Good evening my beauties!

How is everyone doing on this rainy Saturday night? I just came back from a nice, mild climb and a filling Thai dinner with Sarah. Now, I’m sipping on a “Grey Lady” from Cisco Brewers, enjoying life. I’ve got no complaints.

In honor of today (3.14 “Pi Day”), in this post I wanted to vaunt about the new toy I acquired a few weeks ago: My Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Oh gosh, is she magnificent. I’m obsessed. I purchased an Artisan Series, and there is a reason these beauties are so coveted. Seriously. I will have this for many, many moon phases and my belly (along with the bellies of loved ones) will be constantly contented. Any requests are welcome!!!

Obviously, I have been putting her to work. So far the concoctions we have created together are limited, but damn delicious. The maiden voyage were these bad boys:

THE BOMBLet me assure you, they were even better than how they looked. The were fudge brownies with an emphasis on vanilla extract (my homemade vanilla extract); the ones on the left are topped with peanut butter frosting and the ones on the right have nutella frosting. Yes, that is correct. Those didn’t last long.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

My Homemade Vanilla Extract! Jus d’Azure

Once the brownies disappeared, I made baked oatmeal with walnuts, dark chocolate, strawberries and banana. Another great success. Normally, I don’t even enjoy oatmeal, but this is one I will definitely be making again for a climbing trip breakfast.

The last project I took on were mountains of almond butter and banana bread cookies. Essentially, they were healthier shortbread cookies with a twist. Autre fois, they were thoroughly enjoyed.

Almond Butter Banana Bread Cookies

Here’s where I got really crafty: I had made too many cookies and wanted to do something creative with them. So, I smashed up a few and lined a pan with the crumble, forming a pie crust. From there, I made pecan pie bars that are deadly awesome. Need I say more? Nope.

Now that I am sufficiently drooling (kidding, sort of), I’m going to leave you all to have a little treat – aka, my pecan pie bars. Have a splendid Saturday and take advantage of Sunday… go live! Sending out my love, as always.