Superpowers or David Foster Wallace? Why everything just works out for me


I called my mom today and broke the news that I’m very likely an X-Man.

After explaining to her who the X-Men are…

(let’s face it – when the whole ‘Ma, Wolverine and Storm ma’ was crickets, I was successful with “they are GMO superheros and villains”. Luckily I’m fluent at speaking three languages: Affluent Trader Joe’s hippie, sassy hearing impaired elderly, and sarcasm – I will not share which of those is my mother. But she knows.)

…I shared that everything that I think about lately is just manifesting into my life experience. I’m not ready for a meeting…BOOM, it gets cancelled. I’m thinking of calling a friend I haven’t talked to in years…BOOM, they call me. I want to fly back to my hometown in Iowa but it’s crazy expensive…BOOM, work trip to Iowa in two weeks paid for BY work. I’ve been wanting to have a legit chance at writing something to get published…BOOM, my lovely friend writes me and offers me that chance. It’s like The Secret ya’ll – the better it gets, the better it gets!

Mom of course reminded me of the Law of Attraction – that I’ve been beating the drum of joy and gratitude these last few months, singin’ in the rain and viewing all my ‘negative’ emotions as taps on the shoulder from the universe that there is something important to learn NOW. Her loving words to support me through tough times with tough people are, “It’s not them honey, it’s YOUR shit to work through.” So, even on days where I’m handed a sandwich that is 95% shit and 5% Tofurky, I’m calling that shit a Tofurky sandwich and enjoying every bite. Noms Mom. Noms.

Sakyong Mipham talks in his book ‘Ruling Your World: Ancient Strategies for Modern Life’ about “being a student of cause and effect”.  When I trace back the lines of time to when the supernatural goodness began, I stop at many platforms/causes along the way like learning about the Law of Attraction and giving up my addictions for healthy food and movement.  In recent history things really began to click after listening to this one speech by the infallible David Foster Wallace. I’m confident the message in this speech was thee ah-ha moment that put us back on the killer path of awareness and optimism, of relishing in the nuggets of joy that exist in the present moment, of practicing allowing not tolerance, and that ultimately ignited the not so coincidental coincidences over the past month.

The only thing that’s rocking my boat at the moment is I don’t know how to use Photoshop to mark up the badass picture in my mind of my signature X-Man look. If I had one word to describe this fantasy look it would be guns. If I had two words, they would be finger guns. Yep, I need two words.

Enjoy!

Redefining Freedom as we Grow Up


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The last few months we’ve been in this crazy warped universe of not following through on the things we said we were going to do (i.e. post on the blog everyday) and busy crossing items off the “things we will NEVER do” list. First and the most time consuming, mind blowing, most unpredictable to our friends and family NEVER do is buy a house in the suburbs. When I say suburbs ya’ll I mean off a golf course and sandwiched between retirees on the outskirts of a ‘city’ that is already considered on the outskirts of Oregon. This means we also bought a lawnmower (lawn care: never-do #13), purchased several area rugs (buy more then we can fit in our cars: never-do #8), and pined over whether or not the tablecloth pulled together the formal dining room (have our stuff own us/cause stress: never-do #11). These NEVER do’s were written to keep us in a place of feeling freedom, allowing us to do, be, have, seek out, experience all life has to offer without feeling like we had chains on our ankles. So when the conversation came up about buying a house, we were both quick to list all the reasons this be counterproductive to freedom, which just left us feeling like arrogent, close minded prats. SO – we set out to make a new list that defined the current version of what freedom really means to us…

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…and this is what we came up with:

  • Finding the humor and light-heartedness in all the mundane, frustrating, confusing, unjust, painful, ridiculous shit that happens in life and not taking ourselves so seriously 
  • Our stuff tells a story that is uniquely ours *we threw away everything that felt arbitrary or that didn’t bring us joy when we passed it and filled our home with our voice – yes, some people might not understand our strange infatuation with kitschy animal art but I’m not putting up a stock photo from Ikea just because it matches well with the paint
  • Accepting ourselves and appreciating others with SUPER intentionality (this one takes some deliberate work)…
  • then never shutting up about everything we appreciate, beating the drum of all that is going well – the more we believe what we do is meaningful, the more meaningful it becomes
A fancy house needs a little bit of alleyway art - but these birds make me laugh a little every day

A fancy house needs a little bit of alleyway art – but these birds make me laugh a little every day

What really feels free and amazing is setting a literal and proverbial fire to that damn never do list – then spending time re-writing the very short ALWAYS-do list which includes:

  • Find happiness now 
  • Appreciate others
  • Be your own best friend and ally

We LOVE this house! We love the way the light finds a new resting place each day, how the kitchen already smells like garlic and has great acoustics for music and laughter, that we are surrounded by books and pictures in every room, how we are finally sitting at the base of a mountain and that people here are easy to smile and say hello. Life is soooo good!

*Thanks for hanging in with us during this long break – much more to come of food, observations, and inappropriate language over the coming days, weeks, months, and years. 

With the nook in full view

With the nook in full view

 

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Not pictured - sweet firefly lights that warm up the porch at night and the smell of lilac

Not pictured – sweet firefly lights that warm up the porch at night and the smell of lilac

 

First piece of refinished furniture. Let's just say it looks really good*  *from a distance

First piece of refinished furniture. Let’s just say it looks really good*
*from a distance

 

Get the Gear!


Now that we have our New Year’s resolutions rolling, our race schedule set, and our travel plans beginning to take shape, it’s time to make sure we are outfitted properly for all our activities.  Whether we are running down the streets of Portland, cycling through the outskirts of Bend, or trekking through the trails in the Applegate Valley, we like to rep one of our favorite vegan/wellness/training blogs.

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve been fans of Matt Fraizer and his site, No Meat Athlete for over 3 years and have used many of his ideas, recipes, and training plans.  We also have several shirts in the NMA line, including some t-shirts, running shirts, tanktops, and hoodies.  Their is currently a pre-order happening on cycling jerseys, as well as a sale on many of the great NMA items.

If you are in the market for some running or workout gear, or need some good plant-based training advice for your next race, half-marathon, marathon, check out Matt and No Meat Athlete and GET SOME GEAR!

Kickstart my Vegan Heart

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Being huge fans of the website Kickstarter, we find ourselves constantly looking for independent businesses, projects, and ideas to support in hopes of expanding the ever-growing world of vegan commerce.  When you add in our passion for cookbooks, new and old, it’s no surprise that we jumped at the opportunity to fund an all-vegan cookbook inspired by the author’s world travels and culinary adventures.  This project was met its funding goal last October, and we have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the finished product.  The authors have done a great job of keeping us posted on the progress, sharing additional recipes and thoughts along the way, and building the excitement up to the release date.

We recently received our copy of The Lotus and Artichoke and couldn’t wait to crack it open and start cookin’!  Along with the author’s story and pictures of adventures, the book features amazing recipes from all over the globe representing multiple cuisines and ethnic fare.  We’ve already “tested” a couple recipes, and have several more on our growing list to try out over the course of the next month or so.  They will definitely make an appearance on the blog, and we are looking forward to sharing these with all you in.  In the meantime, check out the official website for the Lotus and the Artichoke, and head on over to their Facebook page and give them some love.  If you feel inspired enough, pick up a copy or three for yourself and two of your best friends and get cookin’ yourself!

If you need some extra inspiration or a soundtrack for your cooking, we leave you with this gem.

MLK day – celebrate in gratitude

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Tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr Day, and it’s the hand’s down winner as my absolute favorite national holiday. MLK for me represents the possibility within every one of us – the power of one, the fundamental worthiness of this life for all of us, and the profound yet simple impact unquestioning love and acceptance has on uplifting this life experience – and I love that we can honor and celebrate that ideal as a nation.

Every year, I celebrate in the same two ways. First, I listen to his “I have a dream” speech and, without fail, am transported to a place of gratitude and reverence. Secondly, I use that momentum of gratitude to write down the things I am thankful for in my life and this world – this is what’s swirling in my nog at the moment:

  • I’m so gratitude for this amazing life where I get to hang out with silly, wonderful people whom I love and love me – sometimes despite of, sometimes because of my general neurosis and cringe worthy communication style.
  • I’m grateful for being such a habitual quitter who dropped out of everything that made me feel inadequate, I wasn’t at least fairly decent at, or required me to wear unflattering clothing. *If you’re not a quitter, I highly recommend it – I don’t see the point of spending your time on things that don’t bring you absolute joy/pride/excitement when you could be investing time in things that connect you to the best version of yourself.
  • I’m grateful for stumbling into vegetarianism and discovering veganism – my heart, soul, belly, blood, and every other nugget of my being has improved after those few little decisions.
  • I’m grateful for all the shit I’ve been through. Every single terrible relationship and draining, dead end job and bug-infested apartment and the terrifying loneliness of the Army and the credit card debt and the gaining and losing of the same 30 pounds at least a dozen times….all.of.it. All that junk was just contrast that allowed me to pick and choose “I want more of THAT and less of THAT” – then I had the courage to choose the paths that brought me closer to feeling good! 

PHEW! Lots to feel good about – and that’s just a start. I can’t say it enough, but we are so grateful for each of you that tune in for our adventures in life and food – we read every comment and your well wishes, ‘likes’, and views brighten up our life every day. THANK YOU!

Make it a great week – and happy MLK day!

Web Feast Friday


I don’t mean to toot our own horn, but we are on 18 days and counting on our 2013 resolution to blog every day. We’ve even accomplished one of our 2013 resolutions by hitting the 100 post mark on the blog.  This may not seem like a great feat to those seasoned bloggers,  but coming from a couple folks who can justify doing/not doing many things, we continue to amaze ourselves!  We’ve found a routine that is keeping us on track, and we are definitely taking plenty of pictures and cooking delicious foods that will definitely make an appearance on the blog.  This weeks Feast includes links and lists that can help create routines, or provide ideas to incorporate into your current routine.

Kick your morning off with any and all of these AM activities.

Let’s all commit to this list for 2013!

Lot’s of Top 10 lists always get kicked around this time of year.  This top 15 list is 5 better.

So true.  So true.

For those of you joining us for “Raw February,” here’s some helpful tools.

For those of you still looking to detox from the holidays, or adopting a more detoxifying lifestyle, here’s some tips.

This recipe has Sunday dinner written all over it!

Actually, I’m making this on Sunday.  This too.

This song just popped up while we were watching Girls, and I totally forgot how great of a jam it is!

Our Top 100 favorite things about being vegan (celebrating our 100th post!)

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HAPPY 100th POST TO US! It’s been so much fun sharing our food, laughs, and life with you over the past year and we are excited for hundreds of more posts to come! As a tribute to what plant-based lifestyle has done for our lives, we are breaking the barrier of our normal hump-day laziness to share our top 100 reasons for being vegan (in no particular order).

100 Favorite Things About Being Vegan

  1. Having enough energy to workout, work long hours, cook delicious meals, write a blog, plan and partake in adventures, and live passionate life.
  2. Saving 50+ animals a year

    We found a magical snow elephant snowshoeing this weekend!

    We found a magical snow elephant snowshoeing this weekend!

  3.  All the amazing, compassionate, open people we have met because of our interest in plants
  4. Losing over 60 pounds between the two of us
  5. Creating and re-creating favorite meaty & cheesy meals
  6. Kayrn’s on Green (oh man – our fav)
  7. VooDoo Donut Apple Fritters
  8. Quick recovery time after hard workouts
  9. Discovering new substitutes (and proving that vegan cookies are breathtaking)
  10. MindBodyGreen
  11. Taking a more mindful interest the role each meal plays in the quality of my life
  12. Helping others to discover their healthiest, happiest selves (even a few more plants is great!)
  13. Yumm sauce
  14. Veg-fest’s galore: Portland, Chicago, San Fran

    Rockin' Out at Chicago Veg-Fest 2011

    Rockin’ Out at Chicago Veg-Fest 2011

  15. Eating Animals – good for thinkers of going veggie
  16. Papa G’s

    Deli of vegan deliciousness in Portland

    Deli of vegan deliciousness in Portland

  17. Portobello
  18. That sweet potato fries can be considered a meal
  19. Cruelty free products not tested, or made with, sweet fuzzy loving animals
  20. Daiya – we lika the cheeze!
  21. Post Punk Kitchen
  22. Coconut Bliss Ice Cream
  23. Veganomicon
  24. Predictable and extraordinary poops
  25. Millennium
  26. Vegetarian House

    All vegan chinese restaurant in downtown Portland - and right across the street from VooDoo Donuts!

    All vegan chinese restaurant in downtown Portland – and right across the street from VooDoo Donuts!

  27. Tofutti Cream Cheese
  28. Farm Sancutuary
  29. Food, Inc
  30. Vegan Essentials
  31. Clear skin (not for everyone, but most see an improvement)
  32. Lara & Halo bars
  33. Vegucated
  34. Sweet and Sarah marshmallows
  35. The Vegan Sourcebook
  36. Forks over Knives
  37. Trader Joe’s Vanilla Almond Milk
  38. Mastering the art of making our own meats
  39. Scott Jurek
  40. Sizzle Pie – Spiral Tap Pizza will bring you so much joy100_sizzle
  41. Finding veggie friends using Meetup.com
  42. Asian markets
  43. The Green Owl Cafe

    Where our love from BBQ Jackfruit was born

    Where our love from BBQ Jackfruit was born

  44. Vega products
  45. Soy milk commercials
  46. Food coop’s (and getting memberships to actually support them!)
  47. The China Study
  48. Happy Herbivore
  49. Planning vacations around restaurants, and maybe fitting in some other things
  50. Trumpet Blossom (get dessert peeps!)
  51. Vegan MoFo (vegan month of food)
  52. Chef Chole Coscarelli
  53. Babycakes
  54. Vegan Cuts – sign up for their monthly vegan snack box
  55. Diet for a Small Planet
  56. BBQ Jackfruit (and knowing what Jackfruit is – never would have ordered before going veggie)
  57. Tofu scramble Sunday brunch
  58. The Vegan Stoner
  59. Herbivore clothing
  60. The day that you can feel your body begin to crave vegetables more than junk food
  61. Vegan with a Vengence
  62. Isa Chandra Moskawitz
  63. The Joy of Vegan Baking (best.cookbook.ever)
  64. Taking our love for all beings to another level
  65. Warrior Force protein powder
  66. Sage’s Cafe – and Salt Lake City
  67. Mad City Vegan Fest
  68. No more cholesterol!
  69. Two Beans or Not Two Beans
  70. The Shop ‘N Kart (Our new favorite grocery store.)
  71. Getting creative at Thanksgiving and blowing your families mind
  72. Cinnaholic

    The best part of Berkley after the people watching

    The best part of Berkley after the people watching

  73. Meat is for Pussies  – veggies for bros!
  74. Vegan Brunch (another favorite – you can tell by the amount of pancake batter between the pages)
  75. Finding new and interesting ways to use tempeh
  76. Rich Roll
  77. Juicing – and having your body show you how happy it can really feel
  78. Prepping ourselves for our first visit this summer to NYC as vegans
  79. Dandies marshmallows
  80. Thunderbird Energetica Bars
  81. Chocolate-Covered Katie

    I love a girl that loves cupcakes:)

    I love a girl that loves cupcakes:)

  82. Upton’s Natural’s Seitan
  83. So Delicious coconut milk egg nog (that’s right, I said egg nog mofo!)
  84. Kickstarter funded veggie cookbooks like The Lotus and the Artichoke
  85. Earwax Cafe  – the place it all began for Evan, and we are still mourning it’s loss
  86. Cocomels – sea salt are the bomb
  87. VITAMIX!!!

    The day we finally got rid of our old blender and bought a Vitamix. We had feelings.

    The day we finally got rid of our old blender and bought a Vitamix. We had feelings.

  88. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
  89. Thai food – especially Tom Kha with Tofu NOMS!
  90. Veggie Superbowl menu planning!
  91. Bearded brother’s bars100_beard
  92. Moo Shoes
  93. Cornbread Cafe – I could curl up and live in their menu

    Cornbread Cafe in Eugene - sandwiches of the gods

    Cornbread Cafe in Eugene – sandwiches of the gods

  94. Sea vegetables on everything
  95. Babycakes cookbooks
  96. Slowly beginning to use coconut oil for literally everything
  97. Food Democracy Now
  98. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
  99. Bare Escentuals  – cruelty free beauty
  100. Getting to do this amazing blog for you amazing people every day – we hope you enjoy reading it even half as much as we love sharing it with you. LOVE!

Web Feast Friday


It finally feels like winter here in the Pacific NW, and we have a brand new dusting of snow on  the hills throughout the valley.  We’re eleven days into the year, and still holding strong to our commitment/resolution of blogging every day!  We have lots of great ideas for posts, and lots of great recipes and stories to share.  We also have some exciting adventures on the horizon that are sure to create even more blog fodder. Snowshoeing is on the agenda this weekend, along with a little wine tour.  In the meantime, sit back and relax the second installment of Web Feast Friday for 2013!

Simple.  Easy.  Indian flavors.  Love it!

For those of you who want to go raw with us next month, here’s a recipe to bookmark.

The EPL household is a big fan of savory waffles.  These just made the cut for Sunday brunch.

Health vegan Twix bars?

We’re everywhere!!!!

We’re hosting a vegan Super Bowl party this year, and you KNOW this will be served!

Lot’s of recipes this week means lots of cooking and baking is taking place.  One such cooking escapade involves a shopping trip to the Asian market, no real plan, and $100 in groceries.  Stay tuned for that story!

We leave you with some winter running inspiration and motivation.  Play outside this weekend and cook some good food.

Oregonians for life!!!


 

 

 

 

I think Evan was a little scared heading back to Iowa for holiday vacation. See, I am madly in love with my mom and I could see him cringing and praying that I wouldn’t feel a stingy longing to move back ‘home’. Our time in Iowa was amazing – especially since some of our favorite past times of sleeping until 10, watching Ghost Hunters marathons, playing scrabble, and housing copious amounts of chex mix were realized. Evan was happy to hear that, for the first time in my life,  Cedar Rapids will always be my hometown but no longer felt like OUR home. I’m so grateful that we had the courage to listen to our own voice, making the risky decision to move a dot on the map we had never even visited.

This first weekend out after the return to OUR home of Medford affirmed that the risk was totally worth it. Just a few hour drive had us hiking through the Redwoods and watching the sun come up on giant waves and brave surfers. We are so happy and feel, more then ever, that anything is possible.

Now our little project begins – convince our Iowa posse to move to us:)

trees_jan2013 trees_boyscout surfers_2013 oceancouples ocean_Jan13 ocean_2013 evonneocean burl bike_2013 beach_2013