Friday, September 24

Is nothing safe?? Deception at the farmers market?


Well this is just depressing.

I guess even the farmers market isn't safe anymore.
It makes sense, although it makes me sad.

It's now so 'in' to buy local that farmers markets must be growing and becoming more profitable.
So of course, there are people who are trying to make some money by lying to customers.

Check out the NYTimes article here.

Pesticides in "organic" fruits and veggies and produce from Mexico being packaged as locally grown.


Wednesday, September 22

A little re-post on behalf of Faith Aloud..

 Sometimes I feel silly posting about home-made hamburgers one day, and great non-profit work the next..but that's pretty much where my interests lie and how my brain works!

So today I bring you a link to a recent blog post written by Krista Taves. Krista is currently the board president of Faith organization that is very near and dear to my heart. I had my first "real" job at Faith Aloud after I finished college, and my 18 or so months at the organization helped me really define my academic, personal and career interests. I learned so much about non-profit management, the importance of faith in reproductive justice work, and why it's important to stay passionate about the issues that should matter most.

I'm currently serving on the national board of Faith Aloud and am really excited to be passing along Krista's thoughts. Although I come from a very different faith perspective, I loved reading her post.
So go check it out here.
Learn more about Faith Aloud and about the people who are working to further the cause!

Saturday, September 18

On behalf of Ben's arteries: I'm on a hamburger strike!

Lately Ben has been realllllllly into hamburgers.

Not that he hasn't always been a fan, but the last few months have been especially hamburger filled!

First he read an article about the best $5 burgers in NYC and dragged me all around to try them all out. I think I made it to 3/5 places--one of which was in Queens!

Yes, we traveled around 45 minutes to try an under $5 hamburger! It was tasty, but that's a long way to go for a sandwich.

After finishing off the $5 list, he started finding other lists of the "best" hamburgers in New York.
So far not a one has trumped his favorite (Zaitzeff).

To be perfectly honest, most of them taste the same to me. I did notice that the bun was too thick at one restaurant, and that I liked the sweet potato french fries more at another..but otherwise?
Eh. A hamburger is just still a hamburger to me!

After traipsing all over the city and paying other people to make him hamburgers that never lived up to his favorite, I decided it might be fun to have make-your-own gourmet burger night!

So a few weeks ago, we made these little beauties:

(Ingredients include: chopped onion, parsely, garlic power, and mustard seeds. The mustard seeds were KEY!)

The burgers were a little too round and the buns could have been better, but overall it was a pretty successful experiment! I would show you pictures of the finished product, but the only semi-decent photo I could get occurred after Ben had already taken a big bite. Not sure anyone wants to see partially eaten hamburger!

We watched Hubert Keller's video a few times for cooking tips and then went to town searing and then devouring our creations.

I think I'll upgrade our bun choices next time and spend a little more time learning the art of a flat hamburger, but perhaps the strike will only extend to restaurant made food!

Friday, September 17

Merging my work life & life work

A few weeks ago a friend at work helped me re-vamp my cover letter and resume (thanks K!).

Although I really like all of my current jobs, it's still my hope to eventually move into something a little more structured.

Working for 3 different non-profits in some type of part-time or freelance capacity is really interesting, but I (think) at some point I'll be ready to rejoin the daily grind! Not that working from home several days a week isn't really fun..but I think I just might be a little too type A to enjoy the flexibility.

Pretty sad, right?
I have a flexible work schedule and can do much of my work in my PJs and I really just want to be an in office!

Anyway, although I've clearly had a bit of success finding these small projects that I can string together I've had far less success with full-time offers. Or I suppose I could have been offered them and declined..perhaps that should be my blog 'party line' from now on!

I decided that despite several edits and help from others, it was time to really overhaul the documents that are supposed to represent me to potential employers. Work friend K is just a few years older, but has had really phenomenal success transitioning into new positions both here in NY and back in her hometown. I casually broached the topic, and she was kind enough to offer to help!

One thing that really struck me in the new cover letter she helped me conceptualize and write, was the idea of merging my work life with my life work (hence the title of the post). I made a conscious decision a few months ago to only pursue jobs that I find genuinely interesting.

I know that I am in an incredibly lucky position thanks to (a little) my part-time work and (a lot) to  Ben's support, because this type of 'choosiness' is an incredible luxury. But K's thoughts about expressing this in my cover letter were right on point--I've been (slightly desperately at times) looking to find a position that meets these needs.  Despite the low pay associated with both non-profit and gov't public health work, I'm really committed to doing work that represents my own passions and social justice interests.

Now I just need someone to pay me to hang out in the office all day..
And by hang out I clearly mean "work very hard" because hey..I am pretty type A!

Thursday, September 16

A little NYC love a.ka. the day I saw the Batmobile!

Sometimes this city can be really overwhelming..even for those of us who have eschewed living on the island!

But sometimes it's just a darn fun and/or funny place to live.

Good example?
This past week, my entire office heard that they were filming the new Batman movie right outside. A bunch of adult women, who spend their day working to end sexual violence all got really excited and giggly and ran downstairs en-mass to see the BATMOBILE!

 That's right, we all ran outside to take pictures of a car from a superhero movie franchise.
Which is pretty funny, especially since it seems like they're filming something around us every 10 seconds. Usually it's fun to look for a second and then move on, but for some reason we all really wanted to hang out and see the batmobile in action!

Oh New York.

ps. We later learned that it was indeed the Batmobile..but they were NOT filming Batman. Apparently it's a remake of Arthur, and as part of the movie plot the guy rents the actual car used and then crashes it. I guess that's why the front was all crumpled and it was sitting on a tow truck!

Monday, September 13

1 year pre-wedding anniversary celebration

B and I decided to spend Sept 4 (our wedding date NEXT year!) celebrating our future anniversary date. We spent the day calling it the P.W. celebration, but when we told some other people the story they told it should be called our "reversesary" so we are henceforth calling it by that name.

Anyway, we thought it might be fun to check out the new Italian-style market/restaurant/food hall: Eataly.

Despite the super punny name, it's a neat concept: it's like a market, travel agency, food hall, and Italian culture center all rolled into one.

We didn't realize that were were going just a few days after it opened, and on a day when Mario Batali (one of the Eataly creators) would be showing up to shmooze and take pictures. So we had to wait in line just go get in to the actual complex!

We wandered around for a bit despite the massive crowds, and then started to eat our way through the food stalls! We didn't end up sitting down at any of the 7 or 8 (?) restaurants scattered throughout the building, but we did try plenty of other things--including some delicious cheese and a lovely glass of prosecco!

I think B's favorite might have been the pear and vanilla gelato, although I don't know if he was more or less to excited to try it after Chef Batali hopped behind the counter to grab himself a few scoops. Although the people around us were certainly excited!

Not too bad for a bit of Italy in NY! Although, we'll have the chance to compare the real thing as we head of to visit B's Italian "mom" in a few weeks!

Wednesday, September 8

Oh, yeah..I also went to Mexico this summer!

I've been so remiss in my blogging this summer that it somehow never came up that I spent a week in Mexico with some of my friends!

I won't bore you with too many details, so here's the quick overview:

1. Mexico was awesome! We stayed in a super swanky resort courtesy of a friend's family and spent a ton of time sitting around in the sun reading. Reading + beach walks= awesome!

2. A few of us toured Chichen Itza.

It was really interesting, but I with they had let us climb up or in some of the monuments. Apparently they used to let you climb the ruins, but people used to deface or chip away pieces of stone and now it is off limits. We were all really disappointed, but it was still a great morning!  We also got to swim in a sink hole a few miles away which was a tiny bit scary, but also very cool.

3.  They let me drive a speedboat! Into open-ish ocean! It was mildly terrifying, but very fun. Then we got to snorkel. That was also kind of scary given my love of animal attack/disaster movies, but I made it through with only a few squeaks of terror.

4. The seafood. Enough said. Or not.. SO DELICIOUS.

Monday, September 6

Cooking club: fried green tomatoes

Despite being a big fan of the movie, I've never tried to make fried green tomatoes.

Thank goodness for Wednesday night cooking club!

I don't know if I would have done this on my own, but with some adventurous food buddies by my side, it was pretty darn easy. Mostly because I got to: slice tomatoes, stir polenta, and then eat. Pretty good deal!

Ended up with fried green tomatoes, cheesy polenta, green beans, and delicious little fried green tomatoes.

We started out with these:

And ended up with these:

I don't know why I didn't take a picture of the finished plate, because it was pretty cute.
But it all tasted great, and that's all that matters!

Saturday, September 4

Wedding update: The S & B extravaganza is slowly taking shape!

Despite being really ill this past week (thanks ER for the misdiagnosis and medication that made me sicker!) I'm still in the midst of wedding planning.

So far we have:
1. Wedding colors
2. A venue in PA
3. A few possible caterers
4. A verrrry long list of people we would like to invite

and that's it!

I've also been to one bridal store with friends, one friend who makes dresses, and one custom-made dress store.

Still need to figure out the food, the photography and pretty much every other detail..but at least we have a bit of a plan!

Oh, and a secret wedding website.
We also have that.

Friday, September 3

The no-sugar diet recap

Well, not sure that the no sugar diet I tried worked very well.

But that might have something to do with the fact that I'm a big idiot.
It's especially shameful as I'm the recipient of a science degree.
You'd think I would be able to craft an experiment that would actually work!

So I went off sugar for a few weeks.
My doctor said it might help my psoriasis clear up partially/fully and I thought it was worth a shot.
I use some pretty heavy duty topical medications and I would love to stop using some or all of them at some point.

Anyway, I tried to cut out all refined sugar.
I did see some improvement in my psoriasis.
I was feeling both mildly pleased by the success and really grumpy from the sugar withdrawal when I realized that I never stopped using my medication.
In fact, I was probably extra vigilant because I was thinking about it more.

So not a very good experiment!
There's no way to know if the extra vigilance helped clear things up, or if it was the lack of refined sugar.

Perhaps I'll try it again in a few weeks for real!

Thursday, September 2

And I'm back..on the sugar, on the job hunt (ish), and on blogger!

Well then. Seems like I took yet another semi-accidental hiatus from blogging.

Turns out this summer was not quite as relaxed as planned.

I thought I would enjoy my part-time jobs, figure out the full-time situation and bounce around the city a bit having fun.

Well, my main full-time job went into crisis mode due to a change in funding.
After 10 years the city council decided on (what seems like) a whim, to reduce the organization's funding from $295,000 a year to $5000.

Cue all hopes and dreams of transitioning into full-time totally imploding.
Or is it exploding?

Either way, I was sad, the organization went into panic mode and I spent a lot of time making semi-panicked calls trying to raise money.

It's been both frustrating and exciting; frustrating to learn how little our city officials know about the organizations that serve city residents and exciting as we kind of chart a new path forward as a group.

Anyway, it made for a lot less free time and fun than I was expecting!

More life, wedding, job etc. updates to come!