Tea Time

jocellyn88 instagram. Photo grid is the best thing since Reese’s Cups ❤

Perhaps for obvious reasons pertaining to heat, I don’t drink tea until the snow starts to fall. I tried a few weeks ago, and my body pretty much shut down any attempts. My tongue and throat had no use for the warmth, faint flavor, and honey. (Bad) luck would have it, because Burlington, VT had a mini-flurry storm last week, and yesterday I finally accepted that my trusty circle scarf and cardigan were no match against the dropping temperatures and uptick in wind speed. I went to Old Navy and bought a long down jacket, purchased a small box of tea from TJ Maxx, and decided to see how the body would feel about it. Yankee candle lit and mug in hand, my tummy welcomed the hot liquid with open arms. Goodbye mason jars of flavored water and hello tea.

I’m off to Okemo, VT with a friend for a day of frolicking in the mountains and apparently a good bottle of wine.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

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The Sickies

I’ve only had the flu once. And not even the long, drawn out two week flu where you lose six pounds and get to gain it all back with pizza and ice cream. It was the 24 hour flu that takes your life away and gives it back, well, 24 hours later. I’m also not prone to the stomach virus. Everything I get tends to be in the upper regions. Post nasal drips and ear infections are my specialty. A little over a week ago I started to get the scratchy/wet feeling creeping down my throat, and as the day progressed I started to feel myself getting more and more congested. Naturally, these ailments always seem to happen during our busiest days.

Over the past year, I’ve taken a 70% homeopathic 30% medicinal approach to staving off sickness. Since this cough didn’t seem like anything unnaturally horrible, I decided that a few days of tea would be both soothing and delicious. Lucky for me, I had most recently Pinned a Martha Stewart Spearmint tea recipe. A bundle of fresh mint at City Market was three dollars. I already had agave on hand. There is always the odd lemon lying around the kitchen in some phase of freshness or decomposition. The cold was in the opposite corner, and I was about to come out swinging hard.

^^ Brave. Sad. This is how I often feel every time I get a cold. I’ve always had a flair for the dramatics 😉

 

Mint Tea

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 4 ounces fresh mint (1 large bunch), leaves and stems
  • 2 strips lemon zest, about 1/4 by 2 inches each

Directions

  1. In a teapot or large measuring cup, combine agave nectar, mint, and lemon zest. Top with 4 cups boiling water and stir to combine.
  2. Steep for 5 minutes and strain.
  3. Serve hot or over ice.

The lemon zest isn’t entirely necessary—I forgot to use it the first time—but I think it adds a nice touch and makes it smell a little better. And, all you mason jar lovers out there, the tea is the perfect temperature after it has steeped for 5 minutes and sat for another 2-3, so don’t even think about putting it in some unsightly, bulky mug.

Drink this during the day to keep things “loose” and have some before you go to bed to make sure you don’t get stuck up. I knew this tea was the perfect blend for me when, after trying it for the first time, the next morning I woke up and expelled the most vile glob of mucus from my throat. Oh how the little gross things matter in the annual war against the common cold.

It’s not a 100% cure all, which is why I threw out the “red stool” (Aka: some Ibuprofen , Aka: Million Dollar Baby Reference) for some added reassurance. Hey, all is fair in love and war and colds.

 

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

…and all we need is a fixed gear bike

#Instagram Because I’ve been too lazy to charge my camera batteries 0:-)

I’m going to pull the infrequently used hipster card out of my wallet and throw it down on the table. I was into mason jars before this whole craze blew up. I swear. Which means when people are throwing away their mason jars tricked out in lace designs and gold matte spray paint—geesh, blasphemy, why don’t we just start burning hotel Bibles or something—I’ll still be prominently featuring my non-bastardized version in the kitchen cabinet.

During the summer of 2011, when I worked at the Goodwill, someone brought in a bunch of mason jars, lids still intact, which I scooped up the moment they went on sale. They’re great glasses to have: sturdy, thick lipped to make Beyonce jealous, and rustic. They come in all shapes and sizes and willingly accept smoothies, leftovers, salads, spa water, and cocktails to-go. But never wine. Never, ever, ever wine. Whip out the good glasses for that! Though, you might be able to make an exception for sangria….

Lately I’ve been moving away from the  liquid-only mind set, and thus, the rumors are true, I have been spotted heating up ball jars of left over Thai noodles and nourishing quinoa meals. For class on Thursday, which I scampered into at the last minute, fending off a rough night of Le Vielle de Ferme Rose (13.5%) and a strong Vodka  Redbull, I sheepishly took sips of water from my big girl mason jar and preoccupied my woozy mind by tending to a regular size jar, which I filled with layers of tomatoes. Stacked in alternating colors, I salvaged these beauties from the reduced produce bin at City Market. Drizzled in a drop of olive oil and a generous helping of balsamic vinegar, I rotated the jar the between my hands to ensure even coverage. After a good two hours of soaking, I broke into them during the afternoon shift at my workstudy job. By then the world didn’t seem like such a bright, cruel place.

Happy Trails and New Beginnings

Gal pals, dude friends, I’m sorry I haven’t been around. I have a new love and I’ve been spending all my time with it for the past few days. We spend wild nights together and sleepy eyed mornings. I sneak in quick, sexy bites between classes. I always go to bed content. My new love is food.

Alas, not a 6 foot, six-pack packing, smooth skinned man with locks that flow just so, but food doesn’t argue back with me, or steal the blanket, and we rarely have those “I swear that’s never happened before” moments. This all might seem rather silly, because I’ve always enjoyed food and cooking and sharing that enjoyment with people, but I think it has transferred finally over to love; it was a long time coming situation.

My shopping trips to City Market have been the highlight of my week. I look forward to poking around the bulk bins for spices, different gummy bears to try, and grains to consume. I give flirty eyes to this really cute black guy who works in the produce section (can I come see your band play sometime? Can we talk about afro maintenance?) I squeeze a lot of tomatoes and get super excited when I see bundles of organic bananas and pints of blueberries in the reduced produce section. I take my sweet, lush time in the wine section, selecting the perfect blend for a light-headed night. This is not to say my life has been so dull that I’ve resorted to elevating this seemingly mundane weekly task to the pinnacle of weekday fun, no. It’s just that this trip, which I no longer rush through, is what enables me to have magical mornings, evenings, and get me through the day afternoons. Hell, I even like schlepping back home the block and a half with reusable bags full of my day’s bounty- I consider it a solid workout.

Because of that, I’m “rebranding” the blog. Oh, the dreaded, throw around R-word. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll be switching platforms, or even the new name, or what style font I’ll be using, but I’m turning this blog into one full of food and sumptuous photography. It’ll still be funny and sassy, sprinkled with innuendo, and  filled with lots of food to fill your soul and stomach. You’ll be getting the same me with a new look. Keep checking in for posts, though, so when the big changeover happens you won’t feel like I broke up with you on a sticky note.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Slow Cookers: The Imaginary Chef in the Kitchen

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Apologies if this offends you, but for months slow cookers screamed mom status—much like the mighty casserole, which I refuse to make unless I have some Rugrats under foot. Slow cookers sang the (reasonable) defeated cries of the woman tired of carting her kids back and forth to extracurricular activities; the woman who was just trying to get something onto the table. A slow cooker just wasn’t for me. I was young, energetic, with time on my hands and a passion for frantic kitchen forays. And then I looked at my school schedule, and my upcoming work schedule (26 hours a week, baby), and realized perhaps the slow cooker, the original set it and forget it machine, needed to have a supporting role in the kitchen.

Prejudice aside, the wheels started turning. Why, I could throw everything into it during the morning, go to class, come back to check in, and go about my day. Six to eight hours later I would have a fragrant smelling home and enough food to last me throughout the week. My weekly soup obligation started to seem like less of a hassle, and, of course, the 21 year old in me saw the potential of still having a hearty dinner(s) during the weekend, despite a moderate hangover. Seeing as I have to pass through the kitchen to reach the bathroom, the hallowed resting spot for the all mighty Tylenol bottle, even angry at the world, mildly still inebriated me could toss a few things into the slow cooker and go back to bed. Hallelujah!

I was in no position to buy a slow cooker, so casually I called my mom, asked her about her life and nonchalantly asked if she, oh, had an unused slow cooker around. She did. And it’s probably older than me, because I have never seen her use it. Sturdy and made before the time of planned obsolescence, the old gal started up fine.

In keeping in line with frugal meals, I chose a spicy black bean soup. The ingredient list was simple: a pound of black beans soaked overnight, some spices, and good quality chicken broth made sweet kitchen love for six hours. Much like the rice and beans, the soup was humble looking, but surprisingly pleasant on the taste buds. While I don’t think anyone under the age of 30 should resort to making a tuna casserole (or any sort of casserole), I think all 20-soemthings can find a place in their heart—and kitchen—for this safe and efficient appliance.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Follow Me Outside of WordPress

Hello, readers,

Here’s a techy heads up! News flash, I’m also on several other digital platforms. I highly encourage you to follow me! My Instagram page is primarily photos of all the foods I eat and make, with a few random pseudo-artsy crops of steeples and sunsets sprinkled in. And now that I just downloaded a framing app, you can see step by step pictures of how I bring meals together. My username is jocellyn88.

You can also find me over at Pinterest were I have food, clothing, crafts, and photos that I love. Pinterest is where I find a lot of my favorite recipes and food blogs to follow. It is also giving me lots of inspiration for fall fashion ideas; can you say sheer black tights all day every day for my senior year?

There is also my pseudo defunct Facebook page, which I would really consider booting up again if I had more followers.

Hint, Hint.

 

I like to write a lot on this blog, and that isn’t changing anytime soon, so Instagram and Pinterest are great places to pop in and pop out of my world having to read. Everyone needs an eye break.

Peel Away and onto those pages ❤

Jocellyn

Living Room Facelift!

Normally I’m a craft klutz. My fingers are not nimble enough for knitting. I don’ have the precision for intricate design. I eyeball levels. I stare in awe at those awesome hex bracelets that have neon string running through the holes, creating an industrial and feminine, fun look. My parents never hung my art projects on the fridge. But just like there is a yoga fairy, the mystical ball of energy that sometimes allows you to do an asana you are struggling with just to prove that you can, before letting you return to flailing, I think there must also be a craft fairy. I imagine her being an older white woman with grey hair, a 1950s housewife voice, and crisp white button up. Just when I’m thought my living room could not look more rag-tag, she blew invisible glitter over the living room, allowing me to be struck by inspiration– but only for a few brief hours!

With all these new and exciting changes going on in my life, I decided it was time to move the living room around. In case you’re new, when I signed the lease for the apartment back in January, I was still seeing Chris. Our amicable breakup occurred at the end of the year, so we decided to see how living together would still go. Being the break up initiator, I decided to be the bigger person and settle into our well sized living room. During the first few weeks I procured two dividers to block the view of my bed, lest Chris’s friends see me in a rare display of open mouth sleeping. I slowly started to realize that Chris enjoyed spending his time with his friends in his room. Without even wanting it, the living room had essentially become my domain. If this had been a high income divorce, it would be like me getting the boat, the beach house, and the limo driver.  (Dear Chris, if you stumble upon this, feel free to come sit on the boat—aka the couch—anytime you want!)

Silliness aside, the most glaring issues in my glorified room and lounge was the cheap green 2 panel shutter I had been using for a divider, which was far less charming than the 3 panel white and wood one my upstairs neighbor had given me upon his departure. The nails I had weren’t strong enough to hang it on the wall, and I didn’t have enough scarves or belts to weave through the openings. Plus, it is right in line with the door, so I wanted something good looking for guests coming in. Being a writing major and poet lover, I do, however, have large collection of books; sadly, none of them are leather bound. With a little bit of finesse and common sense physics, I was able to fit at least half of my soft cover books into the slots of the shutter. When the weight of the books was too much, I covered the unused area with random pages ripped out of a poetry book I’m not particularly fond of. Come on, is this cool or what?!

A cute way to display my earrings on the other divider

I plan on continuing my text heavy motif throughout the living room. The coffee table  we had in our last apartment that was curb side rescue I plan on upcycling along these lines. I’m also going to cover the lower half of a wall with fun chalkboard paint to write down whatever I want. Perhaps I’ll even buy a bunch of throw pillows so guests can have comfy cheekies while they stun me with their chalk drawings, because, remember, I’m certainly no Picasso. Essentially, I want to find the same solace and excitement in my living room that I have in the kitchen, and it order to do that I need to make a few minor tweaks.

What room is your favorite? Do you take the time to decorate it?

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

When in doubt, look to Goldilocks!

Because it’s important to be a conscious blogger, I do want to point out that this blog post has the potential to be triggering for anyone struggling with an ED. Please, read at your own discretion.

 

This past weekend I had the awesome pleasure of trying out SUP Yoga (stand up paddleboard yoga), which is all the rage at yoga festivals that are way outside my budget. Thanks to the generosity of a woman in our class, and the Burlington Community Sailing Center, 20 of us yogis and yoginis took to Lake Champlain with giddy ambitions.

Getting my sea legs!

Not impressed with warriors one bit!

 

Headstand felt surprisingly balanced, as well as bridge. Warrior 2, not usually thought of as a difficult posture, sent many of us flailing into the refreshing waters. Om, shanti, shanti. Om, humility, humility. It was great fun. I learned, that day, the value of staying firmly rooted in the middle of the paddleboard, lest I pop a sweet endo or look like some 18th century helpless girl getting thrown off a horse. The center is safe and seemingly monotonous. Sometimes we have to scurry, tip-toe, or tumble onto the other sides to remind ourselves how awesome stability is! These past few week’s stress and circumstances have taken my body all over the place, and although I wasn’t happy with myself at the time, I did learn a lot about what makes me confident, healthy, and happy.

 

While being short does give me the luxury of going to basement parties and not hitting my head on the ceiling, makes it easier for me to date more men (and wear heels while doing it!), and ensures that air travel is a tad more comfortable, it does not leave room for over indulgence or error (kind of like an American Apparel dress…) As my friend so awesomely put it, there is less length for me to hide the pounds. Someone 5’8 can gain a pound, several pounds, before anyone notices. I gain a pound and it looks like I’ve packed on 10. However, the same thing is true in the other direction. I loose a pound and I look like I’ve been hitting the gym hard (and we all know I just don’t work out…)

 

A few weeks ago I was coming off humiliation that made me want to devour everything in the world. Bacon, coconut-chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, and peanut butter were not safe for a few days. They shook in the cupboard waiting for the sweat-pant wearing, hadn’t showered in days (sexy, right?) monster to amble into the kitchen and shove a big spoon into them. Oh, the horror. I looked in the mirror after 3 days of body punishing. What I saw disgusted me. If you are gaining weight while eating a healthy diet and exercising, then you are probably meant to. And although I smelled like I had been working out, I certainly wasn’t hitting the weights or eating anything of proper nutrition. I was mad at myself for doing this to myself. Over indulgence and a bit of self-hate had gotten the best of me and I felt like a frump-o-potamus.

 

What quickly followed the next week was a mixture of getting sick (no one likes eating when they’re sick) and having to go home for a few days to get my car looked at. For many people going home means parents buying food and a fridge full of goodies. Going home for me is essentially accepted starvation. Yes, I could have gone grocery shopping myself, but I was mule stubborn and insanely broke. Scheduling a detox was out of the question, as my siblings generally like to take me out for drinks and heavy food. After the 4 eggs vanished, I subsided off of gelato, frozen fruit bars, a few slices of bacon here and there, and sheer determination. By day 4 I was picking fights with my parents. Hungry Jocellyn is not a happy Jocellyn.

 

When done properly, fasting (either on water or fresh juice) doesn’t necessarily mean you balloon out after it is over. If you slowly reintroduce foods back into your diet, all will not be in vain (though I’m a firm believer that fasting should come from a place of relaxation and ‘reset’, not trying to loose weight). However, what I was doing was not fasting, per say. It was starvation and whenever I gave myself food at random times, it was generally unhealthy and too much. My body held onto what ever I gave it with a grip that would make super villain  Bane totally envious (yes I deffs saw The Dark Knight Rises last night, and I’m still geeking out!!!!) Despite only eating a handful of times when I was at home, I left looking like a black Buddha, sans cheerful smile. And when I got back to Burlington at 1am (so I could make the SUP Yoga class—check the determination!) I didn’t have time to eat a lot or even energy to prepare food. Everything was so much harder. My stomach receded, pulling in tight to show definition I rarely see. For a few minutes I looked good. Damn good.  And then I didn’t feel so great about it all. How could I feel good about these flat abs that I didn’t earn through diet and exercise? I mean, how often do you say no to a flat stomach? Well, you should if you didn’t get there by healthy means! Not to mention I was a starvin’ marvin’. Whoever said “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” was wrong for so many reasons.

 

Over indulgence can cause our body to undertake a form that makes us self-conscious. But sometimes when we reach what we think our “ideal” form should be, we have to stop and ask ourselves if “there” is where we really want to be—and if you got there properly then revel in your bad self, but if you didn’t, or you’re just plain unhappy, then dial it back a bit. You’d be surprised how close the middle is to where you want. I’m excited to return to the happy middle, where my taste buds are satisfied just so and I feel comfortable with my body.  Sometimes we have to teeter-totter to remind ourselves that it ain’t really that bad.

 

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Cooking for the ones you love: Why Italian mamma’s are always so happy

Sometime last week I was making dinner and wondering why it just felt different. Was I still easing my way into the new kitchen? Was I too lazy? Were the issues I was dealing with hampering my appetite?  These were all legitimate and probable ideas, but then it dawned on me halfway through. Chris was out, coming home sometime, and I wasn’t exactly making dinner for us. I was making dinner for me, myself, and I. And he would stumble in sweaty from basketball, ask what pans I was using, and then make dinner for himself.

Perhaps loving him made eating healthier, especially in the early stages, more enjoyable. I wasn’t nourishing my own body but someone else. I had another set of taste buds to please (or to wallow with me when I made a stinker of a meal.) Perhaps that is why I still regularly save a small spoon or fork full for him whenever I try out a new Thai-inspired sauce, which I’ve been doing quite often as of late. Part of me thinks I’m still showing off, but maybe I’m just trying to keep that small sliver of mutual satisfaction alive.

So this epiphany, though bittersweet, has inspired me to add another dimension to living a healthy lifestyle. It goes beyond healthy eating, exercise, mental clarity, and self esteem. You got to do it from the heart. And I mean do it from the heart for someone else. Love yourself. Love yourself a lot. But don’t forget to love others too when it comes to working out (invite a friend on a run or to yoga class!) or trying a new all natural skin care recipe with a gal pal (there is always so much left over anyway) or, in the case of this blog post, cooking a meal for someone (only the Pope should have to eat alone.) This other person doesn’t need to be a lover. It can be an old friend, a new friend, a sick or down classmate/co-worker, or your parents. Even if it is once a week—or even once a month—try making a commitment to that person (or large group of people) to get together and cook for each other. I know I had tons of fun making cookies and sangria when the girls came over awhile back. The meals don’t need to be extravagant. Bring your seven layer dip, your favorite mixed drink recipe, or your mom’s perfect chicken marinade. There’s no need for a theme, or dressing up, or pomp and circumstance (unless you want all of those , in which case pomp away.) As long as you are surrounded by people you enjoy (people that will gladly help you wash dishes) then I think that is love enough!

Okay, enough with the sap. You want a sappy black woman talking? Go watch Oprah, mmmhmmmm.

Here’s the recipe for the aforementioned Thai style meal: an orange-soy glaze over scallops.  Where I shop a pound of large scallops (not the small ones) is $16.99 and  that is probably on the cheap end. Check to see if your market sells scallop pieces, which I get for $7.99/LB! Your stomach won’t be the wiser, but your bank account will be much, much happier.

 

Seared Peppered Scallops with Orange-Soy Glaze

From Bon Appetit (don’t tell my internship supervisor @ EatingWell!)

“ Ingredients

4 tablespoons peanut oil, divided (I used coconut oil. Feel free to use whatever you have around)

1 1/2 pounds sea scallops, patted dry with paper towels

2 teaspoons ground peppercorn blend, or ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)

1/2 cup orange juice (freshly juiced if possible!)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon (packed) grated orange peel

Preparation:

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large skillet over high heat. Sprinkle scallops with pepper blend and salt. Working in batches, add scallops to skillet in single layer; sauté until brown on outside and just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer scallops to plate, leaving drippings in pan.

Add garlic and remaining oil to drippings in skillet; stir 30 seconds. Add orange juice, soy sauce, and orange peel. Boil until sauce thickens to syrup, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.

Pour sauce over scallops and serve.”

I served this with a plate of green beans covered in salt and pepper that I cooked up in the cast iron. Okay, I do admit this recipe might be the one you make with a LONG TERM significant other or a best friend that you’ve known for ages, you know the one that held your hair back as you puked. Why? This sauce is to die for. Like, lick the plate clean to die for—I speak from experience. Your besties or beau will love you (well, they might have a disturbed look on their faces), but the first date and new found friend might, well, not call you back for round two!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Checking Back In

Sorry for my unannounced hiatus from the blogging world. Last Sunday through Wednesday I was house sitting for a professor and watching his 2 cats and 1 dog. I had full ambitions of blogging, photographing, and being super productive. Most of the days were rainy with come-and-go clouds, so those plans were traded in for relaxation, Netflix, and lots of Redbox. I watched Apollo 18 (cannot say I’ll ever feel the same way about rocks again), Bucky Larson (I have cheesy guy humor when it comes to movies and I’m proud of it), and We Need to Talk About Kevin (this furthered my reason for not wanting kids, lest I push out the son/daughter of Satan). I got hooked on Breaking Bad and watched 10 episodes of Pretty Little Liars in one day, and I must admit it is my new favorite show.

Employed, academic, tied down, go-go-go Jocellyn from 2 months back would have stuck her nose up at such sloth behavior. Jocellyn right now is admitting the week of laziness was needed and a-okay. I’ve been dealing with some friend business that has been making me sad, but the time to just chill and veg out has helped me realize the situation I’m in, that I do have other great friends and I’m not alone in this tiny city, even though I’ve felt that way for most of the month. I must include a personal shout out to miss Laura P. for letting me call her through the blubbering and sputtering; decade long friendship is pretty awesome.  I dealt with some anxiety (forgot how much that sucked), feelings of uncertainty, and after this past weekend I’m feeling a lot better about where I am and more sure of where I want to be these next few weeks, which leads me to my next endeavor.

One thing I need to do is start (okay, okay, for the millionth time) working out again. I’ve built a workout schedule that centers around the areas I want to work on—booty and abs, baby, booty and abs. I spent several afternoons searching Youtube videos to find the “personalities” I wanted to follow. There are some people that are great to watch, but the type of workouts they employ are either too intense or repetitive for my body.  I’ve also decided I’m going to pick up light running again. Last summer I was into it, but not doing it consistently enough and thus getting injured. Plus, I was concerned it was hurting my yoga practice. Well, it has been a year of no running and I’m only a few centimeters closer to getting into lotus , so I figure a bit of cardio isn’t going to hurt me. I’m going to be running 1 mile a day 5-6 days a week. Last summer I was running around 3-3.5 miles at a time. However, I was only making it out once and week and, as stated above, haphazardly. So now I’ll be running less distance at once, still getting in some cardio, but covering more distance per week. There is a track at the local high school, so I’ll be off the concrete and it’ll be a nice morning routine where I can be alone and, as the yogis say, set an intention for the day. I’m figuring once my shins have gotten accustomed to the running, I can start working on sprints, and maybe even dedicate one day to doing hills (lord only knows Burlington has enough of those!)  1 mile doesn’t seem that exciting or monumental, but I’ve come to accept that right now in my life I’m not a 5k girl, nor do I want to be one.

My break from reality was unexpected and highly needed, but I’m excited to be back with you all.

Peel away this weekend and start Monday off fresh and new ❤

Jocellyn