August 29, 2010

Do Fun Stuff!




I am a bit of a blog maven, but mostly I just scroll, skim, scroll scroll skim. I have exactly 2 blogs that I read every post top to bottom and am always pleased that I did. Ryan Marshall's blog, Pacing the Panic Room, is one of them. It inspires me to make my own blog better (even if most of my improvements are still in my head) and his content is always uplifting in some way, plus he has an adorable family and I can't get enough of his photos.

So when he put the call out for bloggers to spread the word about the launch of a kids album he curated to raise money for Smith Magenis Syndrome (click the 'Our Cause' button above the monster to learn more), which his step-son was diagnosed with last year - I knew I had to be a part of it.

Awesomely, 100% of the proceeds from the album, Do Fun Stuff, go to research. And if you don't feel like you need a kids album or would like to contribute more than the $9.99, the "Make A Donation" button is for you. Ryan has said in his blog that it's kids music for adults and I totally agree. Always A Blue Sky by Rabbit! is one of my favs. I'm sure our new little one will love it. I can't wait to play it for him!
Check it out and get yours on iTunes by clicking the blue button on the interactive monster.
August 27, 2010

Freedom of Body


First let me say that I want to give no one the impression that I am at all ungrateful for the wonderful pregnancy that I've had. I have really enjoyed the experience and am so excited to meet the little person that is constantly squirming about in my gigantic belly. But just for a moment, I need to air just this one little thing that has been growing larger and larger in the back of my mind this week - week 33 of this process. I want my body back.

I don't mean I want the shape of it back, although being able to bend over again will be lovely, I mean I want control over my body again. Mainly, I want the right to abuse it as I see fit. The week before we found out we were pregnant we visited Foxen Winery and I have a bottle of their Cabernet stashed in a cabinet and it's calling to me. I want to drink it, the whole thing and not share with anyone.

I want coffee! Not a cup of coffee. I want so much caffeine coursing through my veins I can't keep my teeth from chattering. And cheeses, chunks of veiny blue Gorgonzola, oozey brie and the goat cheese from the guy at the farmers market who taunts me with his free samples. And I can't wait until I can eat a peanut butter sandwich without contracting heartburn so bad I have to call the fire department because flames shoot out every time I open my mouth.

Today in a stressful, pitiful moment I laid my head against H's chest and said, "I want a glass of Grey Goose on ice, so frozen it pours like syrup, and 4 blue cheese olives." He kissed me on the head and said in his most sympathetic voice, "Oh baby. You're an alcoholic." Which 8 hours later is still making me giggle because it's been 8 months! (Okay, so for the first 4 I didn't know I was pregnant and probably had some wine - sorry little man.) But seriously 7 months! That's over half a year without an ounce of alcohol passing over my lips.

The other day H and I drove by a pasture with a blindfolded horse in the middle of it. I immediately burst into uncontrollable sobs because I assumed the horse was blind and all the little starving children in the world combined were not as sad to me as a blind horse at that moment. Turns out it's just screening to keep the flies out of the horses eyes, he wasn't even blind. So yes, I am excited to return to some semblance of a rational person again.

7 weeks - that's nothing. I can do this. Clearly. It's my child and I'd do anything for him and he's not even here yet. But still...I want.
June 30, 2010

Sweet Dreams Are Not Made of This

{Photo by: HDR}

It's pretty well known, at least among pregnant women and women who talk to those women, that pregnancy can make your dreams pretty bonkers. I began looking into this a bit, because I love dreaming and especially love when I can remember them. It's such a nice break from reality. In my research I started to come across a few things that said dreams about ex-boyfriends or flings or just crushes can become super frequent towards the end of the 2nd trimester and even more so during the 3rd.

I asked my go-to pregnancy posse about this and most of them confirmed that it's not just dreams with those guys (or girls) in them, but they are like hot, steamy, way-better-than-it-ever-was-in-real-life kind of dreams. So I was like - bring it! I have, for the most part, good relationships with all the guys I've dated and I was interested to see where the old subconscious would take it.

I'm wrapping up my 2nd trimester here and low and behold, my dreams start getting more vivid and memorable and bang! my nights are visited by ghosts of dating past. Here are some of the juicy details (names omitted to protect the innocent, of course) -

I'm sitting in a life guard stand at the beach on a fall evening, wrapped in my date's hoodie to keep away the evening chill. I break my gaze from the full moon's reflection on the water to look into my guy's eyes...which are full of tears. I realize he's crying and explaining why in two weeks I'm going to tell him it's not working out because of our age difference, but in reality he knows it's because he's overbearing and he makes me feel like the oxygen has been cut off to the room whenever we're alone - but not in a good way. WHAT? The man speaks the truth, but where's the hotness??

I've had two more since that one, involving two different guys and both have been my brain just rehashing the crappy stuff from real life. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not like starved for passion or anything. I was just really curious to see what residual stuff was still lurking in the crevices of my psyche. I mean, I'm pretty practical and pragmatic in my day to day, don't I deserve to enjoy a bit of torrid dreaminess?

Please brain, spare me from the next time I have to sit with the dream version of an ex and write a list of the reasons why it would have never worked between us. I'd just as soon lose that dream to the night and not wake with the memory.
June 11, 2010

Welcome to Boy-ville

{Make of this what you will.}

Last week my husband and I found out that our first child will officially be a boy. He began celebratory dancing immediately and even now will occasionally break into an impromptu song directed at "his baby boy" in my belly. For me, however, the news took a moment to settle in. It's not that I was disappointed that I was carrying a male child, although I did need a moment to kiss all those cute little dresses and hair bows goodbye. It was more that I was stunned. This whole time I had been 100% positive it was a girl. I don't think I gave more than a fleeting thought to the fact that it could actually, in fact, be a boy. Silly, I realize, since there was a 50/50 chance, but true none the less.

Now that I've had some time to think about it, it's really kind of strange that girl was my default assumption. When I was in high school and college I mostly hung out with the guys. I like Sci-Fi, collecting vinyl records, watching Star Wars and reading comics. Not that these are strictly dude activities, but they aren't considered 'girly.' On the other hand, I love fashion and make-up and shoe shopping (again, not strictly for girls, but you get my drift). Clearly if he's arty, nerdy or gay we'll get along swimmingly.

So now I feel good and I'm really excited to meet the little guy. I have day dreams of outnumbering H and getting to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy again and again. And I feel super stoked that I don't have to explain why Barbie isn't an appropriate female role model or deal with a Disney Princess phase. Of course, if he wants to dress up like Cinderella, far be it from me to stop him.

But what if he's sporty? Baseball is about as far as I go in the realm of sportsdom. But I can always learn the rules of whatever sport he's into, so I don't cheer at the wrong time while I'm sitting in the stands. Then I'll make sure he practices his piano when he gets home at night. Because well rounded is really the goal, right?

The more I think about it, raising compassionate, emotionally balanced boys is just as important as raising strong, independent girls and I'm happy to take on the task, no matter what his interests are. Now if he one day declares himself a republican, that's a whole different ballgame.
May 26, 2010

Loving Louisville - A Case For Small Cities Everywhere

{via}

I'm finally awakening from a long blogging slumber. Real life, however, has been far from restful, however exciting. Back in February H and I found out we're expecting our first child - much more on that later - we're very excited, to say the least. Then at the end of March we picked up our lives and moved from Los Angeles to Louisville, KY.

Whenever we told anyone about our plan, the first question we always got was a simple - why? There are really so many answers to that question. So here are a few...

The Obvious -

Our best friends live here and within a few hours drive of here. H's parent's are just across the river (they have a pool! and like to feed us) and my family is a half day's car ride, easy enough for weekend jaunts.

The Big Picture -

LA gets a bad wrap, but it grew on us and ended up feeling like home. It will always be the place where H and I started our lives together and that's special. But we had some goals for the long term that we couldn't see happening there. They all stem from our need to live more sustainably. We want to own a home, exponentially easier to do in the Ville. Homes in LA are outrageously priced and it would take a big down payment and some serious pay hikes to afford a mortgage there.

We want a decent size yard - room for a vegetable garden and maybe some urban chickens (popular here). H has aspirations to create big things - large sculpture and furniture, so a garage or shed, even a basement would be awesome. These are things we couldn't see ourselves accomplishing while apartment living.

While resources need to be conserved the world around, we couldn't justify living in an over-populated city that didn't have enough resources, namely water, to support us.

The Connection

I was longing for a greater connection, and I don't mean in a skipping the line on a Saturday night at the club kind of way. We have friends and acquaintances here who are doing amazing things. I can count on two hands how many of our friends own their own businesses and are working towards making this community stronger and shaping it into one they want to live in. H and I plan on joining these ranks eventually, but I already feel a connection to this place, the community and the world around me by just being a part of it all.

The Unexpected

What we didn't expect was to be so busy. This city is truly a happening place. In the 2 months we've been here we've attended a variety show, a play, 2 movie premiers (Carbon Nation & Typeface - find both however you can), a fireworks show more intense than any I've ever experienced, an art fair and some truly amazing restaurants. There is so much going on all the time, we haven't had one free weekend. It's fantastic!

I really haven't missed Los Angeles even once. So here's to Louisville and all it's charm and culture. It's a perfect hybrid of big city and an affordable, liveable neighborhood. I'm so happy to be here.
February 23, 2010

Elsewhere


Just in case you aren't a Fan of the Manifesta on Facebook or don't follow the tweets, here's a little round up of my blogging elsewhere on the interwebs.

Blush

Eco-fashion sale roundup - http://blog.blush.com/index.php/eco-fashion-with-a-sale-tag/

Living Green with Glamour - (find me there every Tuesday with eco-beauty tips)

Spring nail polish colors - http://www.livinggwg.com/beauty/jumpstart-your-spring-look-with-pretty-polish/

DIY beauty products - http://www.livinggwg.com/beauty/diy-beauty-simple-make-at-home-skin-remedies/

Love struck (little late for V Day, but these things still apply for various occasions) - http://www.livinggwg.com/beauty/1498/
January 24, 2010

Gardein & Field Roast Comment on GMOs in Their Products

Just last week (or so) I wrote about my concern for GMOs and wondered if they were being used to make a few of my favorite meat alternatives - Gardein and Field Roast. I emailed both of the companies to find out and they both responded. Below are the emails they sent me:

From Laurel at Gardein -

"Thanks for your email and your inquiry about our gardein™ products. Our products are non-gmo as we only use 'identity-preserved' soy protein (which basically means, it helps to ensure that our soy protein is not genetically modified)."

From Jennifer at Field Roast -

"
We are not certified by any body that we can make claims with. But we do not use GMOs by conscious decision of what we buy!"

Do these emails set your mind at ease?
January 20, 2010

Smell The Roses Documentary

Smell The Roses from zack mctee on Vimeo.


I want to make sure I drum up as much interest as possible in my husband's worth while and entertaining adventure. So watch the teaser above. Go to his website. Read his blog. And follow him on twitter - @hroddd. He is anything but boring.

January 13, 2010

What's A Vegetarian/Vegan To Do?

{Via}

I've read enough to know that Monsanto ranks in the top five most evil companies in history. For those who may not know they are a biotech corporation that makes herbicides - like the Roundup people use to kill weeds. The super heinous part is how they also own the genetically engineered seeds that are the only thing that can survive their chemicals. So they basically have strong armed the American farmers into only using their seeds; poisoned all of our food with their chemicals and...well just watch Food, Inc. It does a great job at explaining it.

So I was already really turned off GMOs (genetically modified organisms) when a friend of mine sent me this article from the Huffington Post about how Monsanto's GMO corn is damaging rat organs. Ugh. (double ugh for animal testing) I mean who ever thought that manipulating an organisms genes to gain fortune or fame would be a good idea? Hasn't anyone ever read a science fiction book? It never ends well.

Because of this culmination of information I've been ingesting as of late, I've been taking a closer look at my vegetarianism. In the fifteen years I've been off meat a lot has changed. Vegetarian options abound. Not only in grocery stores, but in restaurants and I'm not talking about a grilled veggie plate or a Caesar salad, hold the dressing. I'm talking about "meat alternatives."

There are so many faux meat options at Whole Foods these days it's hard for a girl to choose. Most of it is really good. But lately I've been wondering - what's it made of? The short answer is - soy.

And that brings me to this article by Jennifer Grayson where she informs that 91% of soy is GMO. Yes, 91%! That means all the tofu, the veggie burgers, the Facon (fake bacon) I consume is most likely from Monsanto GMO seed. I don't want to support that! Nor do I want to ingest it.

According to Grayson there isn't much we can do about supporting it. GMO cotton grown in the US is at 87%. And cotton is nearly everywhere. The answer is buy organic, of course. Buy organic cotton clothes where you can and buy food that is 100% organic.

Oh, what's that you say? It's not that easy to find things that say 100% organic on the package? Well you're right. In fact two very popular vegan meat options Field Roast and Gardein, don't say anything about using organic veggies or non-GMO grains in their products. (I emailed both of them and hope to share the responses soon.)

Morningstar Farms, a company owned by Kellogg - cereal giant, does have a line of organic soy products. They aren't vegan, however. I also found Soyboy - organic tofu and tempeh - that even sports a non-GMO logo. So that's good news. I can give up the fake meat, but tofu too? That would be unfair. Their website does not list a location for purchase, only a generic health food store near you, but I'll be keeping a lookout.

I am a little depressed and also angry about all this. My goal in abstaining from eating meat was to make my little mark against the way this country produces and process its meat. And it's clear the way it produces its crops is no better. I try to remember though, that being a conscious consumer is the only way things will change.