6.21.2012

I was going to blog ... and then life happened

 Just over two-and-a-half weeks ago, I was going to write up a fabulous blog post. Something had struck my fancy and I was feeling uber creative.

And then, I got sick. Like, literally, got sick. So blogging got pushed back.

About two weeks ago I was going to finally post the 16 recipes I've been meaning to put up, mainly so that I can clear out all their pictures on my phone and camera.

And then, cleaning and laundry got in the way. Like, literally, in the way. They were piled atop my computer. So blogging got pushed back some more
About a week ago I was going to finally catch up with all my readers, fill them in on all the big and exciting things happening in my life. 

And then, a baby was born (no, not mine, I haven't been pregnant for NINE whole months and hiding it from you). Like, seriously came out of my best friend's body. So blogging got pushed back.

Today, as I cuddled in bed with my two-year-old daughter, I tried to come up with a hoard of witty things and pearls of wisdom I could impart on anyone who stumbled across this blog post, something that would make up for the fact that I've been basically missing in action for three weeks.

And then, I started crying. Like seriously, crying, because I was laying in bed, snuggling with my little girl and instead of treasuring every butterfly kiss and giggle my squirmy daughter was letting loose (solely to avoid bedtime) I was creating a mental grocery list of all the things I wanted to do tonight, needed to do tonight and could be put off tomorrow. 

I was cursing my husband for not helping me clean up more (despite him having worked a 10-hour day and then coming home and sitting on the floor while his daughter made him play dollhouse and Barbies for an entire hour). 

Ultimately, I was cursing myself for not being able to do more. In the course of the day, I hold so many things over myself, from not feeling like I'm making enough worthwhile work contributions for my bosses and coworkers to see how much I love and appreciate my job, for not waking up at 4 a.m. and working out obsessively, for not whipping up some healthy breakfast (lunch, dinner) for my family to nosh on, for there still being a heap of laundry overwhelming our chair and a half, for the fact that I'm not skinny, for not finding more patience for my daughter, for needing to get the carpet cleaned, for not knowing where half the stains on the carpet even came from, for feeling so utterly suffocated in my house because there is literally stuff EVERYWHERE, for letting all of these little things bother me so much and for not being the woman, mother, person, friend, daughter, sister, cousin, niece, I think I should be. 

Since getting pregnant with my daughter nearly three years ago, some kind of switch went off in me. The kind that wants things to have a proper place, the kind that gets irked by all the tiny leaves that seem to float into our house even though the trees shouldn't even be losing their leaves, the kind that penny pinches and overexerts herself between a 40-hour job, her Saturday column in the newspaper, anywhere from two-10 softball lessons in a week and the kind that overall feels frazzled most days.


I love my life, I truly do, I count my lucky stars for my husband, my daughter, my supportive family members and loving the hell out of my job everyday, not too many people can say these things, I know.

Yet at the end of some days (particularly days like today), I can't help but feel like maybe I'm not doing it right. Maybe life isn't all about the bills, being skinny, 5-inch heels, big televisions and fancy houses. 

Maybe, at the end of the day, life is about watching your little girl put her Barbie babies to bed, rock them in their crib and sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to them. Maybe it's about the compassion your two-year-old baby displays when you're lying in bed with her, overwhelmed with everything and although doing your best to avoid crying in front of her, to avoid losing it, the way she kisses your cheek and says "I love you mommy," "you're my sugar" and "don't be sad." 

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much laundry remains unfolded, how many blog posts remain unwritten and how many stains are decorating the rug. It's about letting go of the little things and learning what the big things really are.

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6.04.2012

The top five kitchen accessories I already own

Last week I regaled you all with my current lust list for kitchen gadgets. While most were made of over-priced copper and metal, they're the essentials I feel I need to make my kitchen truly Chubby Vegan Mom friendly.

Several of you shared with me on the blog, on Facebook, on Twitter and through e-mail what kitchen gadgets you were obsessing over (most of you made me feel better since you were saving up for fancy blenders, vegetable steamers, stand mixers and rice cookers yourself, so thank you!). In addition to all your super awesome wants and needs, I received a lot of questions about what exactly I had in the kitchen that I found useful. This may or may not have to do with the fact that my kitchen lust list  was filled with many things people find necessary to actually function in a kitchen, like pots and pans, a place to store them and a mixer. So while browsing my not-so-hidden kitchen shelves and walls this past weekend, I found it really, really easy to pick out my five favorite, thank goodness I have them or I'd be miserable, accessories.


Surprisingly, aside from one item, I think you could add all the other ones together and they'd still be cheaper than most of the items on my lust list! Guess it doesn't take the fanciest of things to make you happy.

My first, most awesome, most used, must-have item for any Chubby Vegan Mom (or heck, anyone trying to actually make food in their kitchen) is a seriously adorable apron. I know, I know, it sounds super corny, especially if you're a Chubby Vegan Dad, but you don't want to be worried about messing up your clothes while you're getting your cook on. Trust me ladies, if you splurge on a cute apron for yourself you're going to feel so much better when you're in the kitchen, I swear by my cupcake apron and ribbons in my hair.

Truth be told, I'm not even that girly, nor do my feminist beliefs fall in line with the 1950s housewife quip, but there's something uber sexy and uber fabulous that makes baking, cooking and whipping things up in a cupcake apron SO MUCH more fun. I can't wait to get Pearyn her own frilly, cupcake-donned apron when she's old enough to help out more in the kitchen.

Trust me on this one folks.

The next kitchen thing I find absolutely essential is my French rolling pin. This isn't any ordinary rolling pin with it's big tube-like shaft and awkward handles on the side, this is a sleek, handles-free, get your hands dirty, ends taper off just a tiny bit to make spreading dough out so much easier rolling pin.

You're probably trying to figure out how on Earth someone could be so particular when it comes to rolling pins. To be honest, I lucked out when I made this purchase. I had spent the last few years rolling dough out using our drinking glasses, anything roundish that I could get my hands on really, because I just didn't feel like I rolled dough enough to necessitate my needing a pin specifically for that.

Boy was I wrong. Finally my husband decided it was time for me to grow up and purchase an actual rolling pin (probably after some homemade pie dough came out less than awesome and even) and so we started perusing stores. I came across a wooden, no handles, looked easy enough to use rolling pin and purchased it. It's been history ever since. It was possibly the best $25 I've spent on something I only use maybe once or twice a month.

The next super fabulous kitchen item I own is none other than the Vitamix blender.

You can insert the ohhs and ahhs here.

I think we were basically the last vegans on the block to finally purchase a Vitamix and let me tell you, everything the people say (and more) is true. We were convinced to buy it after watching an all-day Vitamix marathon on QVC. There was salsa, soup, ice cream and every concoction of smoothie you could ever imagine created during that infomercial.

After watching them make brocolli soup in the blender in five minutes I was absolutely sold on it.

It comes with a hefty price tag, but I promise you, it's more than worth it.

Not to mention all you do to clean it is squirt a little dish soap and some water and set the carafe back on the base and turn on the motor, let it run for a few seconds (or more depending on what you're washing off), dump, rinse (repeat if needed) and call it a day folks.

The next phenomenal thing making my top five kitchen line-up is my bad-ass cupcake-shaped cupcake tote. I kid you not folks, I have a red, oversized cupcake carrier that I use to carry 24 of my baked goods in when traveling to some exotic destination (you know, like a baby shower or something).

Not only is it the cutest cupcake carrier I've ever seen, it was a steal at under $20 and it seriously functions folks. My husband convinced me to splurge on this, I was always a "we'll just carry them in a cardboard shirt box" kind of gal until I fell in love with this adorable carrier. It's got three levels, each hold eight cupcakes and they lift out super safely and easily.

The best part?

There's enough space between all the tiers that you can add layers upon layers of tall frosting and any other hooplah you want to top your cupcakes without bumping into the bottom of the others.

I call that a win!

And last, but definitely not least, my favorite kitchen, not necessarily "essential," but seriously appreciated and loved, is the vintage cookie press I bought of eBay this past Christmas season.


You might remember me gushing about how it was the same cookie press my grandmother used when we used to have cookie days every holiday season. And seriously, it's as awesome as I remember it.

This past Christmas season my aunts, cousins and I got together, drank some champagne and baked a whole bunch of cookies, which included both my aunts teaching me how to actually USE said vintage cookie press.

It's official folks, I'm a believer.

And while it's not my go-to tool when making up a batch of chocolate oatmeal cookies, I've basically come up with a way to incorporate any and all of the quirky press shapes into a holiday, from camel cookies for the Christmas Wisemen to suns for the summer and fourth of July.

The best part about it though, besides it being ridiculously well-made and durable, is the childhood memory it brings back to me.

That, my friends, is something you can't put a price tag on.

What are your favorite kitchen accessories?