Monthly Archives: March 2011

CinnaBon Craving Conquered!

I am one of those people who wakes up singing “Good Morning, Baltimore Auckland!” most mornings.  Even when I wake up before sunrise!  I love getting an early start because I know that I have a very full day of my lovely life ahead of me.  And since I had student teaching today, a full day it most certainly was 🙂 (I’ll update you on the school shenanigans later)

Breakfast was a delicious cinch at 7:15am with Coconut and Mixed Berries Overnight Oats (made with oat milk and lots of cinnamon!)

I also (efficiently) grabbed an Americano with a splash of soymilk from Starbucks on the way to the bus!  I was not late at all this week!  😉 (Read that funny story here).

As a snack during morning tea, in which I had a mug of french press: REAL COFFEE!!!, I brought along a homemade snack bar:

Lunch was a big old salad made with lettuce-wrap leftovers (plus almonds, chickpeas, and watercress!)

and an apple with crunchy peanut butter 🙂

On the way home from school, I had a very intense craving for a hot, gooey cinnamon roll (specifically: CinnaBon) that I almost stopped into Starbucks their sad excuse for a cinnamon bun that they have available.  After the thoughts: 1) I don’t need it, 2) it won’t be vegan, and 3) I already gave Starbucks nz$4 today, I decided against it.  Upon entering the lobby of my apartment, I was blasted with an aroma of baking cinnamon.  No kidding.  Someone was baking something wonderful in the communal kitchen.  Thus, I sprinted into my own kitchen, toasted a piece of wholegrain bread, slathered it with Hannah’s honey (sorry, hon!) and doused it with cinnamon.  It was tasted amazing and satisfied my craving, yet I didn’t feel guilty about its sweetness or restricted by its simplicity!  It was simply scrum-diddly-umptious!

After the thoughts of CinnaBon cleared and I could see clearly, I decided I wanted sweet potatoes kumara for dinner, so Hannah and I made roasted veggies with pasta.

Roasted kumara, zucchini, and onion dressed with s&p, Italian herb paste, garlic, and EVOO.

Hannah and I have been dying to try this cookie place downtown for SO LONG (it always smells like heaven when we walk past) so we decided we wanted to venture there after dinner.  Fail.  It was closed.  But we aren’t quitters!  Especially when it comes to hunting for dessert.

We ended up at Elliott Stables Epicurian Village again.  At the Mexican restaurant, Besos Latinos, we shared Chilean chocolate walnut cake with vanilla bean ice cream.

We joked about how the “carob tasted so much like real chocolate” and the “soy ice-cream was just as creamy as the real thing.”

Some vegan I am, eh?

What have you been craving lately?




Filed under Food, Life, New Zealand

“Are you a vegetarian now?!”

I got that (sort of desperate) email from my good friend Tara the other day.  (Fun facts about Tara: she has been committed to a vegetarian diet for the past few months and she is currently living in Galway, Ireland!  and I miss her.)  I was a vegetarian for about five years, for animal rights reasons, until I started college and my roommate Jocelyn and our good friend Kelsey began to force feed me wings every so often 😉  We managed to keep it a secret until I felt too guilty and had to come clean.   Plus, after watching Food, Inc. I realized that it was not just the American meat industry that I didn’t agree with, it was the entire American food system!

So for the past year, I’ve tried to live as closely to a “thoughtfultarian” diet (as Kath described) as I could.  This means eating wholesome (organic, local, karma-free) foods whenever possible, wile not restricting myself AND sticking to my college-gal budget.

But I must be honest: I haven’t been happy or satisfied with that diet.  I still truly believe that animals can serve a much greater purpose in life than our dinner (just look at Heifer International).  My response to the veg question lately has been, “I have vegetarian sympathies,” though personally, I still identify myself as a vegetarian.  In fact lately, I’ve been even more closely identifying myself as a vegan.

  • I am trying to avoid dairy because of my skin issue and a slight lactose-intolerance I tend to suffer from.
  • I am trying to avoid meat because I believe in the life-changing potential of all animals
  • I am trying to avoid all animal products because of the cruelty they suffer and because I wish to eat karma-free
  • I may never be able to give up fish because of the strong fishing culture of my family and its unparalleled health benefits
  • I am trying to eat produce that is local, organic, and in-season for the sake of our depleting family-farm values, our environment, and its nutritional value

But at the end of the day, I’m not going to kid myself.  I know that right now I cannot commit to this diet because of money and my frequent traveling.   Though inside my little head I believe I am a “vegan,” I can’t publicly identify myself as such because I don’t want to offend those who do live a committed vegan diet.  But I can commit to awareness. I can commit to eating a wholesome, healthy, balanced diet, and that is the most important eating philosophy of all.

So what did I eat today, you may ask?  Before my run, I had a piece of wholemeal toast with crunchy peanut butter.  Best fuel ever.  On my way home, I stopped at The Juicery for a Green Monster!  My yoga friend, who owns the place, asked me if I was out “Sporty Spice-ing” lol!!

As I power-walked the rest of the way home, I enjoyed an ice-cold blend of leafy greens, apple juice, pineapple, banana, almonds, and sesame seeds (and I added chia seeds!).

Yay a new sticker for the collection!  For lunch, I had some very eggy French Toast.

Two slices of wholmeal bread dipped in an eggy mixture (eggs, cinnamon, a dash of oat milk) then grilled crispy-perfection

and loaded with mixed berries and banana!

On the way to class, I had one of my homemade oat bars:

It wasn’t enough 😦  I have class from 2-7:30ish every Wednesday.  Class is held in the Marae, a sacred Maori building in which you cannot eat or drink.  This is proving to be very challenging for me.  By the time class is over, I’m totally out of it with a headache and ravenous hunger.

(Class was very interesting today, despite my fatigue.  In Maori society, we learned about the mysterious discovery of New Zealand.  Maori tradition and Western beliefs clash!  In Leadership, we talked about the importance of being proactive.  We learned about the first female Maori Queen who was a pretty cool chick!  More on that later, I have to write a paper on it.)

Dinner was very replenishing and satisfying: lettuce wraps!

While I babysat the quinoa as it cooked on our ghetto stove,

Hannah cut some tomatoes, carrots, and zucchini.

I ❤ balls falafel balls

I love when I eat something that is also an activity, I had so much fun building my wraps!

I also enjoyed an Isaac’s Pear Cider.  SO refreshing!

The rest of the brownies were eaten for dessert.  I’m sad to see them go 😦  But maybe my next dessert rotation will be vegan!

What kind of diet to you try and follow?



Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand, School

Kick-Butt 20-Minute Yoga

Look at this cool thing I found at Harvest Wholefoods over the weekend:

A dairy-free cookie called “Emma’s Delight!” I knew I had to get it for myself so I could be delighted.  It’s made from brown rice flour, sugar, dairy-free chocolate chips, eggs, shortening, tapioca, and baking soda.  It boasts that it’s 90% organic!  Close enough for me! 😉

This morning, after breakfast (oatmeal with oatmilk, bananas, cinnamon, and a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter–YUM so filling) I skyped with my mom and dad for an hour and a half.  Phew!  I really needed a nice long chat with them.  While they had dinner, I was had morning tea:

The cookie wasn’t very delightful, I must admit.  It was hard, like all biscuits are here in New Zealand, and it was sort of flavorless.  It needed more chocolate flavor, the brown rice flour was pretty dominant.  It was made slightly more delightful when I dipped it in my tea!

Then it was work, work, work, work, and work some more on my literacy paper.

I only stopped to prepare a working lunch.  I quickly heated up leftovers from Sunday night by sauteeing it with chopped watercress.  I ate it on top of some cold lettuce for a warm fish salad.  That lettuce is seriously the most delicious lettuce I’ve ever had! I got it from the Framer’s Market, of course 🙂

Since the cookie was such a disappointment, I decided that I should probably have a brownie square.

Heated up and enjoyed with a fork.  Not THAT’S delightful!

Here’s a silly blogger thing I do:

For the best lighting, I often photograph my food while it’s on the windowsill in my room lol.  The sandals are there drying out (they got a bit wet over the rainy weekend) and to the right, there is some seaglass I found on the beach while kayaking!

Since I talked to my parents so long, I missed my morning run and, true to form, I didn’t feel like doing it later in the day.  I was feeling pretty anxious for some reason (probably all that researching!), so I did do an intense little yoga sesh.

It’s cramped in here, but I’m making it work!  Since most studios allow you to borrow one of their mats for class, I wasn’t planning on buying a yoga mat while I’m here in order to save a few bucks.  But I was noticing my home practice fall by the wayside, so I finally broke down and got one at the Warehouse for nz$19.99.  It’s a fine, standard Gaiam mat, but I always make sure that the side with the name, “The Firm” lol, is facing the ground.

I kicked my own butt during my home practice today. It only took 20 minutes, but I was shaking and sweating like a beast afterwords, which is a good workout in my book!  Here’s what I did:

5 Suryanamaskara A (Sun Salutation: A Form)

5 Suryanamaskara B (Sun Salutation: B Form)

5 Navasana (Boat Pose) with lifts in between (when you go back to seated, you push off the ground to lift your bum)

I spent the rest of the afternoon researching, finally stopping to make dinner: brown rice with sausage, sauteed chard, and mixed beans.  Plus salsa on the side 🙂

(Confession: I did have another small brownie square after dinner =D)

In true Tuesday night form, we headed down to Father Ted’s for Trivia Night after dinner.

lol, Hannah.  This week we came THIRD-to-last instead of the usual second-to-last!  We are moving up in the world!  But, we had a particularly good time at trivia because we met up with a lot more friends than usual!  It was good to spend some quality time with the friends we’ve made here.  We don’t know them very well, but we always have a good time when we run into each other!

In case you were curious, Hannah and I sang “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell at karaoke.  We laughed our badonkadonks off as two of our friends sang their very German hearts out to “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley.  Some lady was bringing down the house with “Love Game” by Lady Gaga and apparently she heard us singing along like crazy, because she came over and gave us the mic to us for a verse!

Forget running, a fun night out with friends is the true cure to homesickness 🙂

What song would you sing for karaoke?



Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand, Recipes, School, Yoga

Confession: I’m a Yoga Rule-Breaker

I woke up excited to try out my new friend:

Yesterday, I took a run to the closest whole foods store (3 kilometers away!) to check it out.  The organic section in Countodown is 😦  so I’ve been on withdrawal!  Plus, I really wanted to get some non-dairy milk so that I can still enjoy oatmeal and such, but cut down on my dairy intake.  The store was called Harvest Wholefoods and it was super cute and well-stocked!  I got some quinoa and lentils from the bulk section, plus this oat milk for just nz$3.95.  I was searching for almond milk, but my choices were soy milk, rice milk, and oat milk.  This O.M. was on sale, so I figured I’d try it out!

I made my oatmeal with it this morning.  It was very tasty! I noticed that the oats absorbed it faster than cow’s milk, so I needed to put more in.  But I loved the flavor!

Oatmeal with bananas, cinnamon, and shredded coconut.  The bananas were very under-ripe and sour.  Ick.

Then, I got down and dirty: I had a massive amount of lesson planning and research to do.  I basically made a rough outline of all the lessons I will be doing this semester and got other logistical stuff organized for my internship.

Plus, I have a paper on literacy due in three weeks that I decided I should start.  I need to research and discuss this quote:  “Reading is not a natural activity, but a set of gradually acquired component skills intitially learned independently, but later integrated and automated” (Owen & Pumfrey, 1995, p. 80).  It’s definitely an interesting topic (if you are a teacher, that is!) and there are so many aspects of it I can discuss!  My first priority is to research the topic, then form a thesis, but here are some of the roads I might go down:

  • “Competing” theories on literacies are really all correct
  • Reading is essential for learning: reading is understanding
  • Implications for struggling readers
  • Implications for a culturally diverse classroom

So many possibilities! Are you as excited as I am?!

I worked straight through until lunch.

Mondays are awesome because at Pita Pit, just around the corner from my apartment btw, the large ginormous falafel pitas are on special for nz$8.

It’s a beast.  I basically got all the (vegan) fixings: tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, shredded carrots, jalapenos, black olives, sprouts, pickles, hot sauce, baba ganoush, and grilled falafel, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers.

I was a bit let down because they didn’t have wholemeal pitas!  I was stuck with white.  Also, I missed the feta cheese and tzatziki, but you know what?  I don’t need it.  But who am I kidding? That pita rocked my world!  (PS – I only need 6 more pitas until I get a one free!)

I needed something sweet after all that spiciness.

I enjoyed a small brownie square.  (The dye form the mini M&Ms is weirding me out.)

I like the nuke them in the microwave and eat them with a fork.  Heaven!

After my treat, it was back to work for me!  More reading about reading, tee-hee.

I was a very bad yoga girl today.  I had a snack a little over an hour before class.

4 big multigrain crackers (two with hummus, 2 with crunchy PB).  You are supposed to refrain from eating the two hours before a yoga class; it’s better for your practice.  But I would rather have a slightly full tummy than be hungry!  In my opinion, that’s one of the B.S. rules of yoga.  Sort of like the rule that women who are menstruating shouldn’t do inversions.  Load of crap.  That definitely sounds to me like something a man made up.

I had a great yoga class today, despite the crackers in my stomach 😉  I want to write about the great studios I’ve found, but it deserves its own special post!  Coming soon…

Are you a yoga rule-breaker?



Filed under Fitness, Food, New Zealand, School, Student Teaching

Live. Fit.

I have added some exciting stuff to the blog!  Check it out!  Mostly, the Fit and Live tabs.  The “Fit” tab houses all my posts about fitness other than yoga and running.  The “Live” tab is just a random collection of some miscellaneous posts from my old Tumblr blog.

Also, I have added 12 flashback posts!  I have been trying to consolidate my online stuff and make sure that everything from my old Tumblr blog transitions safely over here.  The 12 flashback posts are about my first few weeks in Auckland.  Check them out if you haven’t seen them already!  They can also be found under the Travel tab.

or, go back to today’s normal post here.

It’s about Saturday’s and Sunday’s dinners!

Also, this:

No Hulu in New Zealand

and this:

No Pandora in New Zealand


Let me know if you have any suggestions on the structure of my blog!


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Filed under Life

Final Preparations

Flashback: February 2011

Next week, I will be in the ’70s.  Degrees Fahrenheit, that is.  Goodbye wind chill/snowice/sleet/freezing rain!!

Skyping with Tara and helping her pack for her semester abroad in Ireland.  I don’t know how we function with such distance between us.  She leaves Saturday, I’m going to miss her sooo much!  And I’m super jealous.  Pretty soon she’ll be chillin at an Irish pub….

NEW ZEALAND SHOES!  Tara, this is all for you.  Here are the shoes I have purchased for New Zealand.  This is not an exclusive photo gallery of all shoes I will take the New Zealand, just of the ones I have bought with New Zealand in mind. (Totally lol-ing at myself as I took pictures of my feet.)

Black shoes: The Teacher Shoe.  Dansko Mary Jane Clogs.  So comfortable!  Friends Hannah and Julia own pairs.  Highly recommendations, obviously.  I actually think it’s a law that in order to graduate with a degree in education from the University of Vermont, you must own a pair of these.  Check!

Maroon heels:  $6.48 from Target clearance shelf! Whoopie!  Perfect closed-toe dress shoe. Super. Cute.

Sexy sandals:  Speak for themselves.  Sorry my sexy feet are not pictured in the sexy shoes, but my toes are un-pedicured, so therefore they are temporarily un-sexy.  My apologies.

Am I done packing yet?


Today, my mom and I did some VERY important, last minute preparations.  Like getting our nails done.


My feet have not seen the light of day in soooo long.  They were in desperate need of some pampering because it’s sandal-weather in NZ!!!  They clean up pretty nice, don’t they?  I really love my feet.  Don’t ask me why but I’ve always thought that they are beautiful!  Especially when they are all dressed up!


I also got my first French manicure!  I feel like a princess! (Marie Antoinette, I decided)  Though the procedure freaked me out a bit.  I got this thing called Shellac, which is supposed to make it last longer, but it required several layers of mysterious chemicals….I’m not a big fan of chemicals.  But I am a big fan of how it looks!  We had such fun.  Thanks Mom!

We also did more legit errands, such as buying my required travel literature (Women’s Health, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan magazines) and a few of my favorite travel-sized toiletries that I’ll need to stay fresh for the 24+ hours of travel ahead of me.

Then, after dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill (I eat Bison Burgers! Are you shocked? I’m sure there will be no Bison Burgers in NZ), I officially wrapped up my packing, checked in for the flight, and added almost 200 new songs to my iPod.

And with that, I think that I am ready.


Filed under Life

The Flights!

Flashback: February 13th, 2011

Hello, everyone!  After living in New Zealand for 2 weeks already, I finally have internet in my apartment! Which means, bring on the blog……

I have been keeping a little journal about all of my adventures so far, so I’ll share it bit by bit until I catch up with myself.  Here it goes!


We traveled more than 9,000 miles to get here!  Our first flight was an evening flight from Newark, NJ to LAX.  The flight was undersold, so we were able to switch our seats and get a whole row of 3 seats to ourselves!  How luxurious, right?  Our goal for this 6-hour flight was to just stay awake so that we could sleep on the “big flight.”

There was a bit of a letdown because my headphone portal didn’t work, so I couldn’t listen to any movies on my TV screen.  It wasn’t a big deal though because I was able to read Women’s Health cover-to-cover  and listen to some of the awesome playlists my friends made for me before we left.

My mom gave me the coolest (and prettiest!) activity books before we left.


One was hangman (sweet!) and the other was logic (turned out to be more work than fun, lol).  Hannah and I had a good time doing to Hangman, we impressed ourselves at how good we were!

We landed on time in LAX, but realized we had NO idea where to go for our connecting flight.  But, it’s a good thing that we are skilled eavesdroppers, because we heard the people sitting in front of us say that they were looking for Air New Zealand, so we non-creepily followed them lol.  Apparently we had to take a shuttle to the other terminal.  We ended up talking to the young couple, and they were  MOVING to New Zealand!  She had a job as a professor in kinesiology somewhere in NZ.  Pretty cool, eh?  (Note: Kiwi’s say “eh” a lot, just like Canadians!)

We got to our gate, and although we originally had a two hour layover, we were scrambling for time!  We dashed around getting food, going to the bathroom, and exchanging US dollars to NZ dollars.  Most importantly, we didn’t have seats next to each other, so we spoke to the woman at the gate (one of the rudest people we’ve met so far on this journey, by the way).  I whispered to Hannah, “kill her with kindness!”  She was quite the beyotch, but a few minutes later, she called us back and not only did she get us seats together, but we were also on the end of a 4 person row with an empty seat next to us!  She said something funny to Hannah at the gate about trusting her and how she came through for us.  We cured her with our kindness 🙂

It was great to have so much room for the 13-hour flight.  By some miracle, Hannah and I slept for almost 9 hours of the flight!  They gave us two meals and I was able to watch a movie, but mostly I just slept.

Which is good, because when we landed it was 7:30am in Auckland, and time to go….go…..GO!!!!!

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Filed under Life