So, the last few months have been crazy, and this little blog is mostly here just for fun so… I went ahead and just disappeared. Stay tuned for posts about trips to New Orleans, Reykjavik, and Prague, oh… and we’re moving across the river into DC. And I turned 30. (Like I said, busy!)
I had what was probably the best doughnut I’ve ever had in my life the other day. It was vegan. No! Wait! I’m not crazy, hear me out…
I really love plants. I go through times where I don’t eat meat for awhile. In fact I haven’t had any since Christmas and I’m thinking about making the change more permanent.
But if you had told me a week ago that I’d have a savory “everything bagel” doughnut filled with cream cheese, and it would be the best doughnut I’ve ever had, and that it was VEGAN… well, I would have called you a dang liar. Actually, I would probably have said something slightly nicer than “liar”, but I would seriously have questiond your sanity.
My favorite juice/smoothie place, South Block, has been taunting the area with a sign saying “Vegan Doughnut Pop Up Coming Soon” for a few days. I was super curious, so when the day finally came, I tried one. Ok, actually, I tried two. Guys. They’re amazing.
B. Doughnut is a local doughnut shop with locations across the DC area. So far, they’re only offering vegan versions of their doughnuts at South Block locations – but I hope they’ll be expanding. Because… wow. Full disclosure: I’m not a sugar hound most days, so doughnuts aren’t my usual jam (unintentional jelly-filled joke). But, I do enjoy one occasionally, so I gave the coconut flavor a shot because I haven’t really run across anything coconut that I didn’t like. It was so good I tried the everything bagel one as well.
I regret nothing.
Not being a huge doughnut person it’s hard for me to describe/compare – but these things melt in your mouth. And the savory version especially, was out of this world. The dough + savory topping combination reminded me of langos, a Hungarian fried bread that I fell in love with in Budapest.
Sure, these aren’t the healthiest options for breakfast, but I don’t think it’s healthy to never indulge, either. Life’s too short not to have something fried every now and again 🙂 As an added bonus, I can treat myself to one of these without having to worry about the nasty consequences of having dairy (I love it, but it does not love me…).
The Clarendon South Block location assured me that they would be stocking them for the foreseeable future, so you can get your fix there if you want to give it a shot. The other Virginia South Block locations will be selling them as well, check with your location for more info!
*sigh* You can really lose yourself in this place. Packed with thoughtfully-curated home goods and gifts, this place is an entertainer’s dream. Or a place for a would-be entertainer to dream about all the dinner parties and soirees they need to have (I might know something about that kind of aspiration). The shop also stocks creative craft tonics, mixers, and bitters, as well as other kitchen goodies like truffle salt and olive oil. Some of the small-batch items are made right here in DC – our city is full of creative entrepreneurs!
Below are some of the items you might find if you stop in at their Union Market location in DC. When I visited last weekend they were getting ready for a store refresh/makeover – I can’t wait to check it out and see the new look!
How lovely is this store?
I’ve been wanting to try a reformer class for awhile, but honestly, I’ve been kind of intimidated by the machine. I finally decided to challenge myself and signed up for a class at Pilates ProWorks. They use a custom-built, reformer-based machine called a FitFormer.
Pilates Proworks has a beautiful and spacious studio in Alexandria, VA. The reformer room is large and open with high ceilings and plenty of natural light. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to some other group classes in the area (I’m looking at you, barre class that shall remain nameless) that pack in as many people as possible.
Now for what you really want to know…
Yes, it was crazy hard. But I modified, I took breaks, and actually, I found the class went really quickly despite being very challenging. The instructor struck that delicate balance of coming around enough to correct my form/give advice and letting me struggle through and feel it out on my own, hahaha. Sometimes you just need to do it to understand, you know?
The two most difficult parts were keeping my weight evenly distributed between the stationary and moving portion of the reformer, and worrying about falling off or having a muscle give out and toppling in/over the machine. The fear of falling is easiest to solve – you just go to your personal limit, which, as the instructor pointed out, will be different than your neighbor. Additionally, she gave us plenty of modifications, which I recommend taking during the first class. As for the weight distribution – I’m sure that, like most workouts, this is something that just comes with practice.
I was told upfront that I’d feel a bit wobbly at first, so I’m guessing everyone has a bit of a learning curve. If you’ve been looking to try a reformer class, but are intimidated, I definitely recommend giving it a shot.
2017 began with the inauguration of Donald Trump – a bigoted man who bragged about grabbing women. The news from the executive branch pretty much went downhill from there (shithole countries? REALLY??). The day after Trump’s inauguration, however, was full of optimism. Women from across the country showed up in Washington, DC to say “we’re here for each other”, “the fight isn’t over”, “have faith, we’re going to change the world.”
It was a good reminder that there are a lot of smart, capable women that are working hard for equality, compassion, and progress.
It was a great day:
This weekend, one year later, my friends and I walked over the Arlington Memorial Bridge, signs in hand, to the Lincoln Memorial, where we marched yet again. To be surrounded by so many strong women and so much positive energy was really invigorating. It was a good reminder that there are a lot of smart, capable women that are working hard for equality, compassion, and progress.
After I got home I was still excited, and I went online to look at pictures from the day. And I looked at Twitter. Yes, that was a mistake. There was so much vitriol stuffed into so few characters and the weight of those comments really brought me down. One question stuck out to me, however. It was along the lines of “why are women even marching, [insert one statistic here about how things are totally fine now now]”.
Why are we marching? Good question. I’m going to pretend that it wasn’t a rhetorical question that comes from a place of ignorance, and instead answer it as if it came from a place of genuine curiosity and a willingness to learn.
We’re marching because…
- On average, women are paid 80% of what men are paid for the same work. For women of color, the disparity is even worse. (source)
- 1 in 5 women in the US have been raped in their lifetime. (source)
- At least 1 in 4 women experience sexual harassment at work. Those numbers are probably much higher, since we only have data from those who have reported. (source)
- Why don’t more people speak up about harassment at work? Well, one study found that 75% of those who have reported workplace harassment experienced retaliation. (source)
- After car accidents, homicide is the second leading cause of injury-related death for pregnant women. (source)
- In the US, 26% of pregnant teenagers report being abused by their boyfriend, and half reported that the abuse started or got worse once they told their boyfriend they were pregnant. (source)
- The United States is the only industrialized country without paid maternity leave. (source)
- We have a president that brags about assaulting women by grabbing them by the genitals (source) AND — we live in a society where people think this isn’t a big deal and voted for him anyway. What does that say about how we value, or DON’T value women?
- We have a vice president that won’t have dinner with a woman that isn’t his wife. (source) So… women are a sexual threat to his marriage instead of colleagues. Doesn’t sound like women are going to get a fair chance to advance.
These issues affect our everyday life. They have an effect on the choices that young women make in school, at work, and in relationships. They alter every woman’s very existence in a fundamental way. That’s why we march.
On a lighter note – take a look at these awesome, funny, creative, and thought-provoking signs. Sometimes they were all of those at once!!
When I got an email about “Asana and Architecture”, a monthly yoga class held at the National Building Museum, I couldn’t resist. Washington, D.C. routinely scores as one of America’s fittest cities – we like our workouts. It’s also a city that is teeming with museums. And full of nerds like me that wouldn’t mind combining the two.
Beth A. Wolfe, the instructor behind kitten yoga and goat yoga, led us through an energizing all-levels class in the light-drenched great hall of the museum. There were plenty of modifications for both beginner and expert yogis, and the only pose I had to worry about was savasana. Because I had a hard time keeping my eyes closed. Because look at this place!
If you’re in the DC area, or plan to visit soon, you’re in luck! The aptly-named “Asana and Architecture” is a monthly shindig and it includes a tour of the museum! Check out the building museum’s calendar for more info.
If you’ve been looking to brush up on a language you’ve probably heard of or downloaded the app Duolingo. It’s a great way to brush up on the basics of a language, and the gamification of the process (points/levels/timers) makes it a lot more fun than flashcards.
But that’s not all the fun there is to be had. Some of the translations are pretty entertaining. I’m not sure if it’s an algorithm or a programmer with a goofy sense of humor – but there are definitely some sentences I would not recommend using in real life. For example:
The uber honest:
This had to be on purpose, right? Even the grumpy old man character is on point.
Uh, why are you asking?
The SUPER creepy:
Witnesses to WHAT?! Are you and the “do you live alone” guy in this together?!
Presented without comment:
You know that awesome feeling you get when you put your hand into the pocket of a coat you haven’t worn in awhile and you pull out a dollar? This is like that, but with photos, and 1000x better.
I was rooting around some photos that were backed up on my computer and found some photos from Ireland 2015 that I thought were lost! This includes some amazing drives like Slea Head, the Dingle Penninsula, and the Ring of Kerry, as well as…
This cute little photo was shot at a sheep farm in County Galway, a lovely place called Joyce County Sheepdogs. This family-run farm breeds sheepdogs and also provides an amazing herding demonstration with their dogs and herd of sheep. Joe, a third generation sheep farmer and owner of Joyce County, is inspiring to watch and his bond/communication with his dog is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Get ready for lots of Ireland posts y’all – hope you enjoyed this quick taste of things to come!
We all have one. It’s lurking in the hall closet, beneath the bed, in the attic. Guiltily stashed out of sight, it taunts you every time you happen upon it…
It’s the abandoned DIY project.
Be honest y’all, we all have them. The materials you picked up for that Pinterest-inspired art project. A stack of prints that you were going to artfully hang on your wall. The pile of corks you were going to turn into coasters or some s*** that now just make you think maybe a dry January isn’t the worst idea ever. Been there, am there, this blog is called the Sampler Field Guide, so yeah… I’ll probably always be there. Why is that?
Time, money, inspiration, laziness, sure, that all be a part of the problem. However, I think there’s a common issue that is a part of many of the projects I haven’t finished: Fear.
Think about it. We all procrastinate – especially when it’s something big, and even when it’s something we’re really excited about. Why are we so afraid to create? We, we want it to be perfect. And that’s a problem. You just have to try it!
Make it work!
It might not be perfect, but you won’t learn a thing if you don’t give it a shot. Heck, it might look even better than the Instagram picture once you put your own spin on it – how do you know? On the other hand, if it fails, that’s ok too. That’s how we learn… in life, and in DIY projects. It’s also how the hashtag #pinterestfail survives. Think of the hashtags! They need you!
Forgetting about perfection can put you on a path to happily creating. Example: I had a whole bunch of white frames I’d picked up with the idea of making a wall collage of a bunch of our travel photos/tickets/maps/etc. Pretty basic, there’s tons of resources out there – but I was kind of paralysed by the worry I’d screw it up. I’d looked at the tutorials with their measurements, and examples, and even the paper templates traced from the frames (in theory you can place them on the wall and move them around). 😳
One day, I just threw up my hands and did it. I got my hubby to help me hold/place things and we just… “ished” it. We’d try a frame in one spot… and then another… and then we’d guess about the amount of space inbetween and just nailed that bad boy up.
It’s not perfect. When I took pictures today I actually straightened a few that had been sitting there crooked for months 🤷🏼♀️ But I love it. And now I don’t have a bunch of unused frames and photos abandoned in a crate. Instead they’re on my wall and make me happy. Easy.
I’m going to go take my own advice now and conquer something 🙂 Go! Make it work!
I’m going to share something I feel a bit guilty about.
I wrote an Instagram post awhile back about how being healthy is taking things choice by choice, day by day, and making the healthier decision as much as possible. I was feeling reaaaaaaaally good about myself that day. To be clear, recent weight gain/bad eating aside, I’m lightyears from where I started and am still proud of that. But what made me think I was qualified to write something AS inspirational and sunshine and rainbows – I’m not sure. I guess I got caught up in trying to present just the good. But here’s the honest. I was totally binging on chocolate chip cookies within 24 hours of that post. Not one or two, like, legit going to town.
I freely admit I have a tendency to go full steam ahead or just abandon things all together. I do this with projects, books, eating habits… it’s why I call myself a sampler ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
But obviously, I felt like a huge hypocrite and I beat myself up about it. I don’t want to say something inspirational and be all “go get em”, and then turn around and not take my own advice. But I also think part of the advice was on point… you don’t have to be on point all the time. But as much as you can. And seeing as how I have a tendency to go all in or all out – maybe Whole30 isn’t a healthy mentality for me personally.
I got a little ahead of and full of myself that day – but I think there’s something I can learn from it – day by day, choice by choice is good. Trying to hold myself to something I can’t stick to probably won’t pan out.
I’ve done Whole30 twice and I’ve learned A LOT. I totally recommend doing it once. It’s forced me to think about how I plan/shop/assess food (omg SO MUCH HIDDEN SUGAR). But I’ve always felt that paleo (which seems like the natural progression), wasn’t perfect for me. The last time I did Whole30 I really felt like it was too much meat for me personally, which of course means I’d really need to bring back some legumes and perhaps a pseudocereal like quinoa.
This, in combination with my tendency to be 100% or 0% makes me think two Whole30s are enough for me.
I haven’t found that happy medium yet. Even before even the holidays, I was definitely eating some nutritious things but mostly? I was eating crap. I’d like to make the simple change of just flipping that. Eating mostly healthy, and some crap. The 90% balance of clean eating with being a normal human.
So… I’m going to take it choice by choice. Shoot for 90%. Not all in. Not all out. Just mostly healthy 🙂