Tuesday, December 24, 2013

merry and bright

Taking just a moment to wish you a very merry Christmas that I hope is filled with laughter and loved ones, rest and relaxation, and a sweet treat or two ;)

Have a safe and happy holiday!!

xoxo, Mary

Sunday, December 22, 2013

30x30: Get Bangs

This is a post about hair. More specifically, this is a post about my new haircut. Now, before you scroll down to see if at any point I start to wax poetic, spout profundity, or attempt to solve a world crisis, let me stop you right now - I don't. This is and will always be a post about hair.

That being said, I got a new haircut! And it includes bangs! I've been wanting to try a new style for a while now (I've had roughly the same haircut since 2007) and a day off earlier in the week prompted me to just go for it. The picture above was take almost immediately after I got it cut and styled, which is why it looks so good. Due to an unfortunate cowlick (damn you, DNA!) I unfortunately haven't been able get my bangs to do again what the stylist intended, but for those few days before I was forced to wash my hair I look goooodd ;)

All photos were taken by me with my trusty iPhone 4s and edited with PhotoToaster, Snapseed, and/or A Beautiful Mess. 30x30 is my name for a silly little bucket list project that I intend to complete by my 30th birthday at the end of March, 2014.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

30x30: Try Acupuncture

Ok, so the above picture is just a silly little thing I threw together because I needed a graphic for this post. Acupuncture has nothing to do with poison or skulls or crossbones, but the app I used had a limited pool of drawings and I didn't want to get too wrapped up in finding the perfect Rod of Asclepius.

Anyway, so today I completed 30x30 Challenge #20 - I went to an acupuncturist and subjected myself to 20 minutes of lying facedown with a dozen or so needles sticking out of my back and legs (hence why I couldn't get a picture of said activity). Why would I do such a thing, you ask? Well, I've always been curious about the "softer" medicines and Eastern healing techniques. I'm in no way an objector to modern medicine and science, but I do think that there are definite benefits to yoga, tai chi, massages, positive thinking...the list goes on and on. I have spent most of my adult life dealing with a problem neck/back/shoulders and basically my whole life living with migraines and headaches, and my patience is running out. So I figured it was high time to see what an acupuncturist would have to say.

The session began with a quick lesson in proper standing and lifting techniques. Since my job routinely requires me to lift/crawl/move in mysterious ways, it's entirely possible that my back problems are related to how I move throughout the day. Then we moved to the actual needling, which was nowhere near as scary as I had thought it would be. I laid facedown on a masseuse table, he inserted the needles, turned on some classical music, and then left me there to rest underneath a heat lamp for 20 minutes. I felt nothing (other than the soothing warmth of the lamp), and rather enjoyed my brief nap.

All too soon I was woken up and told to get redressed and come into the waiting room. We then had a brief chat about how I was feeling (perfectly fine) and about my diet - which is apparently not perfectly fine. I was told that eating foods containing high levels of sulfides is a major cause of headaches, and that dried fruit, red wine, and cheese have the highest levels of sulfides among most commonly eaten foods.

I won't say which, but two out of three of those aforementioned foods make up like 90% of my diet. I haven't yet decided how far I'm going to go with his suggestion (slightly, greatly, or completely cutting out sulfides), because I frankly don't know how much it's worth. Yes, being headache free would be fantastic, but if it means that I can never have a slice of pizza or grab a piece of cheese from the snack tray...that just doesn't sound like a very enjoyable lifestyle for me.

Case in point - just hours after I was told to cut cheese and red wine out of my diet, I decided to roast some Brussels sprouts for a quick snack - but it was only after I had started chopping the sprouts that I realized my recipe contained both cheese (a sprinkle of parmesan) and red wine (drizzled over the top with some salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar - delicious, if I do say so myself). Clearly, this isn't going to be a quick adjustment.

While the majority of my 30x30 challenges have been more New York Bucket List-type activities, I do acknowledge the benefit in choosing experiences that help further my education and prepare me for the next 30 years. If that means being more responsible in the foods I chose to eat, than maybe that's just what 30 is all about.

All photos were taken by me with my trusty iPhone 4s and edited with PhotoToaster, Snapseed, and/or A Beautiful Mess. 30x30 is my name for a silly little bucket list project that I intend to complete by my 30th birthday at the end of March, 2014.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Salt and pepper sweet potato chips

I had one lone sweet potato left over from Thanksgiving and couldn't figure out what to do with it, so this afternoon I made these incredibly easy and tasty sweet potato chips! To make them, simply slice a washed sweet potato into very thin rounds (the thicker the slices, the longer you have to bake the chips) and spread evenly onto a large cookie sheet. Brush both sides of the slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (I used truffle salt for an added kick) and roast at 200 degrees for 2 hours, or until the edges have curled and the potatoes are crispy (times may vary due to differences in your oven). That's not a typo, by the way - slow roasting at a low temperature for a lengthy period of time is the best way to lock in the flavor without the vegetables getting dehydrated. One sweet potato generates enough chips for a solo snack, but if you're cooking for a party be sure to add a few more to the order ;)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

365 photo-a-day - November wrap-up

homemade bread bowls - 7-layer sunday - sunset - bagel bites - colorful
green-wood cemetery - poffertjes - chilly but clear - fall foliage - pecan pie rugelach
sweet potato pie - weekend greenmarket - arancini - coffee date - stuffed dates
more colorful - fresh produce - a tree grows in brooklyn - afternoon sun - rocky terrain  

Wait, what's that, you say? November is over? As in, it's already December? Well, huh. Fascinating.

Technically speaking, this past month was an utter failure in terms of me sticking to my goal of taking one photo per day. In my defense, I did not have a ton of opportunities to achieve said goal. Of the thirty days in November, there were a total of 2 days in which I did not step foot in a theater or rehearsal hall, and one of those days was Thanksgiving where as hostess-elect I was way too busy making sure I didn't serve a side of salmonella with the turkey to take many photos. 2 days. That, and sometime during the second week of November the weather turned utterly ugly -rainy/sleety/freezing/windy/puffycoat/nasty. Just walking to the subway became a hunger games of will and determination, not a scenario that lent itself to beautiful and inspiring photos.

This was also the month where the project became more of a stressor than a fun challenge. I am so close to finishing and yet tripped up in the 11th hour. While I did manage to go on a few "photo hunts" early in the month, the time ultimately just got away from me. I also felt the external pressures of pintergrambook, where seemingly every housewife in America captured that perfectly cooked and well-lit turkey picture a week before Thanksgiving, where as by the time I got the bird out of the oven it was already dark outside and the terrible lighting in my kitchen made my turkey look grey and sickly (it wasn't though. it tasted wonderful and sans salmonella, thankyouverymuch)

Oh well. There are much more serious things to worry about in this world than this silly little project. I did get a few lovely pictures, and though it went undocumented, achieved personal success in getting seven different types of food to the table at the same time and correct temperature on Thanksgiving. There is only one month left of 2013, and thus one more month of (attempting) one-photo-per-day. It pains me to realize that December has the very real possibility of being much like November - more shows, more rehearsal halls. But, there is also the whole holiday-lights-Christmas-merry-cheer thing to attend to. In theory, this final month is the most photogenic of them all. In actuality, well...we shall see ;)

November by the numbers
Total number of photos: a sad, sad 20
Photos of my feet: 1
Photos of other people: 1 (2 if you count the shadowy stranger walking down the street)
Selfies: 1
Photos of the sky: 5
Photos of food: 8.

365/Photo-a-day is a personal undertaking to capture one photograph per day in 2013. All photos were taken by me and processed with Instagram, Snapseed, PhotoToaster, and/or the new A Beautiful Mess app. The images were compiled using Picture Collage Maker Lite. What to see my pics as they happen? Follow me @maspad on Instagram!