Monday, January 31, 2011

InYoga Center Review: Lo Flow Class

Today I went to my first yoga class at InYoga. I bought ten classes for $30 through a Groupon a couple of weeks ago and now that I've activated them I have four months to go to nine more classes. I think I can accomplish that. It's located on Laurel Canyon Blvd. on the southeast side of the intersection with Magnolia (5-10 minutes from my house!).

The studio itself is really cute, and the people who work there are really friendly and unintimidating. They sell some yoga supplies, healthy snacks, cute eco-friendly clothes, and extras like incense in the front room.

The clothes are actually really cute. I would have taken more detailed pictures but I didn't want anyone to tell me to stop. Heehee.

I went for the Lo Flow class from 10:30-12. I didn't really know what to expect or how difficult it would be. I have done yoga videos for a decade (and recorded every episode of Namaste Yoga on FitTV - it's awesome!!!) but never taken a class anywhere besides the YMCA... and those classes are stupidly easy. I had this image in my mind of LA yoga classes like the ones you see on TV shows, full of tiny, impeccably coiffed women who don't think twice about headstands.

The demographics: It turned out that at least half the class were in their forties or above, and there were a couple guys. Only a couple girls looked like bendy yoga freaks, but there was only one overweight person.

The studio: Because the studio is right on Laurel Canyon, there is traffic noise. But this is Los Angeles... so I think traffic noise is to be expected. The room is nice and spacious and pretty, and there are little blue dots on the floor giving you an idea where to put your mat. The teacher is on a little stage at the front, which is nice. I hate it when you can't see the teacher. Blankets (for your knees), straps, and blocks are supplied, but I think you need to bring your own mat or buy one there - I didn't see any out to borrow.

The Lo Flow class: The class started with a little meditation and saying, "Om." That felt a little ridiculous to me, but it was also funny because it reminded me of being in choir. Then the teacher turned on some soft music and lead us through various beginning and intermediate poses. We eventually progressed to planks, a warrior sequence, chair pose, stretching by holding the strap behind our backs while in warrior, and finished up with eagle and wheel poses.

What I learned about myself: I'm better than I thought! Some of the moves that were supposed to be difficult were easy for me. But I have a couple issues. To break it down:

  • We did the elbow stretch where one arm goes up and and the other one down, and you bend your elbows and try and hold your hands behind your back. I could do this no problem, hold it for as long as she asked, and do the warrior and forward bend poses while holding it. I only saw one other person and the teacher do this -- everyone else held on to the strap because their hands didn't reach.
  • Eagle pose was supposedly really hard, but I thought it was pretty easy. That's where you stand on one leg, wrap the other one around, wrap your arms around each other, and bend down. The hardest part was not getting thrown off by everyone else wobbling and falling down.
  • She warned us against trying wheel pose if we weren't ready, and I only saw a couple other people do it. I didn't know what wheel pose was at first but once I looked around and realized it was just a backbend I thought, no problem! At least I got something out of my years of being a bad gymnast -- backbends are easy!
  • My hamstrings and knees are frustratingly inflexible. I've worked on them forEVER and I think it's genetic. My dad has never been able to sit Indian-style, even as a kid. So my downward dogs are not very impressive. At all.
  • I do not enjoy the plank. At all.

The price: As I mentioned, I bought my classes with a Groupon. Normally, a single class is $18, except for the 1-hour Community Flow class (mixed Lo Flow and Mo'Flow), which is $10 for one hour. There are packages and monthly memberships, though. If you buy 5 classes it's $14/class, buy 10 it's $13/class, buy 20 it's $11/class. But there's currently a new student special of $30 for 15 days of UNLIMITED yoga.

The classes: The classes they currently offer are:
Intro to Yoga
Yoga Basics (beginner-level flow class)
Lo Flow (beginner/intermediate flow class - this is what I took)
Mo' Flow (faster paced, more advanced poses)
Community Flow (Low Flo+Mo' Flow)
Shadow Yoga
Gentle Yoga
Candlelight Restorative
Yoga Stretch
Pre/Post Natal
K-Flow (for kids)

Next time I'll try Mo' Flow. Maybe it'll kick my ass, I don't know. I just hope it doesn't involve headstands. And I'm definitely going to try Shadow Yoga, which is described as "a unique hatha class that incorporates martial arts."

In general, I liked it and I'm glad I bought the Groupon. I'd recommend checking it out, and if you're intimidated of LA yoga studios, this might be a good one to try! They have a lot of options for beginners.

If you aren't sold on yoga in general, just try it, and keep in mind that there are many different kinds of yoga and you might enjoy some and not others. And while I love it for the flexibility it imparts, yoga isn't just stretching - I always end up feeling sore in some muscle I forgot I had. And just wait until you're holding a difficult pose for longer than feels necessary. Your muscles will be shaking, you'll be sweating, and you'll admit that yoga is a real workout. ;)

Links of the day: 8 famous fictional archaeologists who suck at their job - including Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, and Nicolas Cage's Benjamin Gates of the National Treasure movies. Jason Robert Brown, e-mail fighting with a teenage girl over illegally downloading and trading his songs. I can't believe he wrote back to her so many times! A play-by-play of Mean Girls 2. I will never need to watch it now and I laughed so hard just reading this review. Seriously, look at it.

That's all! Hope you guys had a good weekend. I did - I got to see some old high school friends! Fun!

Do you do yoga? Have you taken classes, or do you do DVD's? What would you say your level is? Are you intimidated by "yogis"?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fashion Friday: Matt and Nat

Today I feature an ode to my Matt & Nat bag.

If you're familiar with vegan fashion, you know Matt and Nat. They make beautiful vegan bags of excellent quality, created with fashion, compassion, and the environment in mind. From their website:

Matt & Nat products have never used animal by-products. That said, the brand is more than just vegan. It has always been a trailblazer in the environmental movement. Each product contains at least one recycled element and on average 21 plastic bottles are recycled to make linings for our bags. Matt & Nat has always been a pioneer in eco-fashion.

Now, I don't pretend that these are the MOST eco-friendly bags. Those are probably made out of hemp or raffia or something. But these bags are freaking gorgeous. Just like Olsen Haus are my absolute favorite vegan shoes, Matt & Nat are my favorite vegan bags.

I bought a Matt and Nat Samsara bag on sale almost two years ago and I'm so in love with it.

Isn't it gorgeous? If it looks familiar, it's because it was on the floor when I was trying on shoes at Buffalo Exchange a couple weeks ago.

I've carried this bag a TON since buying it and I'll admit, I'm not one of those people who takes super great care of my bags. It does go on the floor and gets crammed with stuff. But it's so well-made, it isn't showing its age at all. The stitching is strong, the faux leather doesn't flake or fade at all. The hardware is solid and hasn't tarnished. I love that there's a strong zipper as well as a magnetic snap that hold it closed. And it has feet to stand up straight.

Yes, it's a little bit dirty. My fault. I'm totally going to clean it now... which I should have done before taking the pictures, but oh well. I'll admit, I've never cleaned it.

The faux leather is incredible. I know some vegans don't like the idea of faux leather, and don't think we should be propagating the idea that leather is attractive. I totally get that. But... I don't really feel the need. I'm not going to pretend that leather looks bad, because it doesn't. It looks great. It's just horribly cruel. (If you aren't convinced of this, do a little research or listen to the Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast episode on leather. It's not an "innocent byproduct." In fact, many cows and horses are slaughtered just for their skin and are usually emaciated because they aren't being used for their flesh.) But anyway, back to the texture. Matt and Nat has totally spoiled me and now plastic-y faux leather drives me crazy. I know it can be done well!

Whenever I'm carrying this bag and somebody makes a comment either about it or about veganism, I tell them that this bag isn't real leather and it blows their minds. Kabloom.

I took a couple pictures in the sunshine so you could see the color.

Yes, that's my hand shadow in the corner. I am not an excellent photographer.

I think I got this bag for about $80. So no, it isn't cheap. But I would also say that's a pretty excellent deal for such a well-made bag that will last for years.

Here are some others I saw on the Matt and Nat website that I like:

The Pharaoh. Normally $285, now on sale for $142.50. I saw it in red for $114 on Amazon.

Laroux, normally $185, on sale for $92.50. 100% recycled pink faux suede interior.

It's pretty obvious I have an affinity for studs and shiny things, isn't it?

The Vania satchel. $165 with free shipping on Amazon. Comes in orange (shown), green, cream, and black.

I could keep going for a long time. Plus, Matt and Nat recently started making belts, as well. Maybe they'll try their hand at shoes someday...

If you look at sample sale sites, keep an eye out - I've seen Matt and Nat on sale several times. I'm pretty sure that's where I bought mine, but I don't remember because it was so long ago. There are also lots on Amazon and on eBay, where you can find ones way below list price. Even though I seriously love Matt & Nat, I would never pay list price. There are just too many places where you can get them on sale.

OK, I'll stop now. I might have to re-visit this brand on a future Fashion Friday, though. I'm too in love.

I have some exciting news - soon I'll be a contributor on Chic Vegan! I'm working on my first article now and I'll let you know once it's up. But I love Chic Vegan anyway, so you should check it out just because it's a great site.

I have an audition tomorrow, and that's about it for weekend plans. I've been doing a lot of cleaning and organizing and it feels great. What a weirdo I am.

What do you think of the Matt & Nat bags? Do you like them? What kind of bags do you like? I'm kind of picky - and I require that they can be worn over the shoulder. I'm not into impractical bags and I hate clutches. I'm all about hands-free.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oscar Nominations!

I didn't post yesterday because I couldn't think of anything to say. I've been working so much on the book that my brain is kind of fried. The good news is that I've made a ton of headway - the manuscript is totally formatted and ready, including pictures, I got my ISBN number (that's the identifying number every book has, usually with the bar code on the back), and now all that's left is to find someone to review the book and supply a blurb for the cover (I did get someone cool to agree to read it, but I don't know yet if he'll like it) and get the cover designed. I'm not doing the cover design myself because I'm not an incredibly visual or artistic person and I want it to actually be good. =)

Somebody took a picture of me at the LA Actor's Tweetup on Monday night:


That's me and my new jacket (second from left, y'all).

I've been rather boring in the health department. Eating my three-fried beans, some of this:

(That would be salad) And some of these:

(Veggie burgers)
And lots of spinach, for some reason. Loving spinach. Oh, and edamame! I've been eating that like crazy because it's so easy to take on the go.

For workouts I've been riding the exercise bike, doing Pilates, walking, and lifting weights. I actually did a bunch of side bends yesterday so I'm sore in weird places.

But anyways, that's all kinda boring. And I'm not here to be boring, so let's talk movies! The Oscar nominations came out yesterday, and I've seen all but a couple of the major contenders.

Best Picture:
127 Hours: I just saw this tonight. OMG. OMG. Hyperventilating just thinking about it. This movie was so stressful yet amazing. The directing is fantastic and interesting, and some of the visuals are just mind-blowing. You know it's a good movie when you're totally drawn into the story even though you know how it ends.
Black Swan: I wrote about Black Swan when I saw it on Christmas and now I've actually seen it twice. I think it's an incredible movie and Natalie Portman is absolutely amazing in it. It explores the gruesome apex of perfectionism. I saw some of my worst characteristics reflected in Nina, which was a little disturbing.
The Fighter: I regret that I haven't seen this yet. I'll fix that soon.
Inception: Ah, this movie is amazing. Unfortunately, because it came out this summer and didn't get much of a marketing push, it's largely being overlooked this awards season. That's really unfortunate because this movie is not just a visual stunner, it also has an engaging story and some incredible emotional acting (Leo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard especially). And come on, that zero-gravity fight scene in the hallway is amazing.
The Kids Are All Right: I saw this back in August. I still don't get this title, but the movie is good. It's a nice story of a marriage, and I like that it admits that relationships don't have clear rules. Do you leave someone because they cheat on you? Can you feel an attraction to someone of a gender you're not usually attracted to?
The King's Speech: I just saw this last week and I liked it. But it's kind of a sweet, small movie, and not really what I would classify as BEST picture.
The Social Network: I haven't seen this! I suck!
Toy Story 3: Ditto!
True Grit: I definitely liked this movie. It's like a tall tale come to life, and it's shot beautifully. The performances are great as well as surprising. Rooster Cockburn (Jeff Bridges) talks constantly, LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) is quirky, annoying, and endearing, and Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld) is like a 14-year-old going on 40. And the ending is oh-so Coen Brothers.
Winter's Bone: I wrote about this a couple months ago. The story is very dark, the setting is bleak, and the acting is great - you can't believe that a couple of them are actors and not actually the characters (especially Dale Dickey). There's also an interesting twist at the end.

There was some controversy last year when the Academy expanded the Best Picture race from five nominees to ten, but I'm glad they did. I think it makes it more interesting, spices up the race, and includes some deserving pictures that might otherwise have been overlooked (like Inception).

Highlights of the other races:
Best Actress: This needs to be Natalie Portman. She is so fully committed to this character that it's unbelievable. I haven't seen Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole or Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine (though I hear great things about that movie and hope to see it soon), but I can't imagine anyone deserving this more. Jennifer Lawrence was good in Winter's Bone, but no way was it better than Natalie Portman. Same for Annette Bening. I like her, and a lot of people are saying it's her year, but I think that is more because she's been in the business a long time, made a good movie, and people want to recognize her. That is not how the Best Actress race should be decided.

Best Actor: I'm at a bit of a handicap because I haven't seen The Social Network or Biutiful. But from what I've seen and heard, both are impressive performances. Jeff Bridges is very fun in True Grit, and Colin Firth is one kick-ass stammerer in The King's Speech. But I have to root for James Franco in this. His performance was so incredible because he's the focus of the entire movie, crammed in a little crevice, and he's captivating. His emotional journey is exhausting and a revelation. And of course, he makes a great pain face. Seriously, holy shit. He deserves the Oscar.

Best Supporting Actress: I really want to see The Fighter to see Amy Adams, who I've heard is great. Helena Bonham Carter is certainly fine in The King's Speech, and it's nice to see her not being Tim Burton-ed out, but it wasn't earth-shattering. C'mon. Hailee Steinfeld was not actually a supporting actress in True Grit (she's in every scene!) but oh well, that's political.

Best Supporting Actor: Once again, I need to see The Fighter. John Hawkes is amazing in Winter's Bone, so I'm glad he got nominated. He's just so believable, you forget he's acting. He's also menacing and frightening, which is different from the last movie I saw him in, Me and You and Everyone We Know. Geoffrey Rush is good. Jeremy Renner is good. Mark Ruffalo is adorable in The Kids Are All Right, but he's still Mark Ruffalo. You could have transplanted him from that Reese Witherspoon ghost movie. I really wish Leonardo DiCaprio could have been nominated for Inception instead (though it's kind of a leading role, but whatevs! He actually should have gotten nominated for Lead Actor for Shutter Island and bumped out Jeff Bridges...).

So much to discuss!
Have you seen any of the Oscar contenders? What are your thoughts? Who are you rooting for? Did any movies or actors not get nominated that you thought were more deserving? I want to know!

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Boots; Tropical Three-Fried Beans

Interesting response to the NuNaturals post. I realized, since I did a two posts in a row about specific companies, I'd like to make something clear - I get nothing out of this. I'm not writing ads. I do like to give back to those who give to me, so when I win something I'm likely to post about it, but I wouldn't ever say I like something that I don't.

I mentioned in my post on motorcycle boots that I ordered a pair. Well, they came in the mail! Here they are:

I'll get a better picture later. The company is Ikon & Co, which I couldn't find much info about. I bought them on the sample sale site Beyond the Rack. I wouldn't really recommend buying from them, though, because they have high shipping prices, take a long time to get to you, and charge you for shipping again if you need to return them, regardless of the reason. Shopping off of Amazon or Endless is much more consumer-friendly.

I went to Target yesterday to pick up some necessities and I fell in love with this faux leather jacket. I had a gift card and just couldn't resist.

Sexy, right? Sexy!

I made an interesting dish yesterday. Also known as weird, but it was good. I had a plantain

and a can of salsa-style low-fat refried beans.

Add some corn and artichoke hearts. I used frozen artichoke hearts but I would definitely say canned are tastier.

Brown 'em up.

And add beans.

It looks gross but there is NO way to make refried beans look good. No way. I called it Tropical Three-Fried Beans because I stir-fried refried beans. Heehee.

Serve in tortillas or over lettuce like taco salad.

Made a couple jars of leftovers.

These aren't my favorite refried beans - I like the Bearitos fat-free black refried beans best. But these were half the price. I think this would taste good with a bunch of spinach and some salsa, too.

Today I spent more time on the book, Skyped with Mom, and went to the LA Actors Tweetup. I wore my sweet new jacket and my new boots and looked pretty fly.

Do you like refried beans? I used to hate them with a fiery burning passion. I hated all beans, and refried beans were the worst. And they look like poo. But now I like them, though I only ever eat the fat-free kind, which really aren't fried at all.

I Discovered a Mythical Creature!

... Stevia that doesn't taste bad!

Okay, I didn't discover it. Averie did. I won her NuNaturals Stevia giveaway a couple weeks ago, and my prize came in the mail this weekend! I received liquid vanilla-flavored stevia, stevia powder packets, and baking blend that you can use like sugar.

Verrry potent liquid drops.

They also sent me a bunch of recipes using stevia.

And some articles.

So far, I've tried the drops and the packets. I performed the ultimate taste test by trying them in my coffee and was elated to find that they taste great! I've tried several brands of stevia and they always tasted off, to the point that I couldn't enjoy my coffee. And that's the entire reason I drink it. But I guess brand really does matter when it comes to stevia, because both the liquid and the powder packets tasted great in my coffee. Yay!

I spent most of my weekend fervently working on my book. I can't even tell you how many hours I spent on it - maybe thirty? I got SO much done. It's all formatted and I did one last edit that took about 12 hours. Almost all of my photos are added, minus a couple that I have to get from Mom because I don't have any copies of them on my computer. I also did research looking for potential reviewers to contribute a blurb for the back cover. And I got to do a little bit of gazing down memory lane:

I just snapped this photo of one page in the photo album my mom made for me when I graduated high school. These are all pictures from when we lived in Germany. Up at the top left is my mom, me, and my dad in his Army uniform.

I did still manage to work out and get outside this weekend, and I took a trip to Target today that I'll feature tomorrow. Aaand the boots I ordered came in the mail. So I have a couple fun things to show you this week. =)

Do you like stevia? What sweetener do you use in your coffee, if any? I confess, I've been a pink and blue packets kind of girl, but I've been won over to stevia now. I wish I was cool enough to drink my coffee black... but I'm not. Oh, well.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fashion Friday: Industria Designs Handbag

I am so excited about my Fashion Friday post today! Incidentally - I feel like I just wrote a Fashion Friday post. Time sure is flying by.

My day was very productive - I worked out, went grocery shopping, did laundry (and hung it outside to dry), studied lines for my callback tomorrow, worked for several hours on formatting my book for self-publishing like I talked about yesterday, and I did a little photo shoot with my new favorite purse!

Yeah, this one.

A little backstory -- the fabrication shop my best friend works for in Bloomington, Indiana has decided to expand their business and they recently started making purses designed by a local woman named Lucia Bennett. They offered to send me one for free if I would talk about it and hand out business cards. Well it turns out I don't even need to try and talk about this purse - it's a conversation piece, plain and simple. The first second I had this purse it got a comment. I opened the box, carried the bag out of my room into the living room, and my roommate's friend said "I need to touch your purse."

I had no idea what it was going to look like so I'm so glad that I love it! Check it out:

It's made out of aluminum, copper rivets, and rubber. And because it's a small company, they'll customize the design for you.

Something else I like - right on the website it's called the VEGAN Industrial Chic Aluminum and Rubber Handbag. I love that they not only use the word vegan but put it in all caps!

Signed on the inside by the designer.

Here are the reasons you should buy this bag:
1) It's designed and made in small-town America.
2) You won't have the same handbag as anyone else you see - it's so unique.
3) It's vegan, duh.
4) It will instantly make any outfit more interesting.
5) It's a great length - carry it on your arm or over the shoulder.
5) It just looks crazy cool.

The Etsy store is here:

I definitely encourage you guys to check it out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Revolution Will Be Self-Produced

We are living in a revolutionary time. The internet and new technologies have democratized the creative industries and now anyone can make their own movie, record their own CD, or publish their own book.

Several decades ago, Hollywood was ruled by the studio system. Actors were essentially owned by a studio, and groomed by them into a marketable product. The studio system is long dead but until fairly recently, movies were so expensive to make and distribution so elusive that studios still controlled the film business. But now, actors and writers and directors who are sick of waiting can gather a group of industry contacts, shoot digitally, edit on Final Cut Pro, and publish on the internet (If you've never watched a webseries, check out Somebody's Basement and introduce yourself). BTW, I filmed a role in a webseries that will be coming out soon and I'll be sure to mention it on here once it's available.

Instead of shelling out thousands for studio time, bands can record their music with Garage Band. I've done this! (If you're curious, you can hear my demo CD at Warning - I am a terrible music producer, but I think my singing and songwriting skills are good.)

In the last few years e-books have taken off, to the point where e-sales recently outpaced "real" book sales on Amazon for the first time last year. It used to be, if you wanted to publish a book you wrote, you had to first query for agents, eventually find an agent who would find a publisher, and they would publish your book and you'd get a royalty (and even then, you could languish in obscurity). If this system failed for you - as it often would if you didn't have the requisite connections - you could self-publish by paying a small publishing company to print a few thousand copies of your book, which you would then be tasked with selling. But now, you can publish your book as an e-book, make it compatible with the Kindle, Nook, iPhone, and iPad, and sell it in paper form on a publish-on-demand (POD) basis.

If you're a blogger, you're part of this revolution. Maybe you have a DIY personality, like I talked about a couple weeks ago, or maybe you just need a creative outlet. Many healthy living bloggers have written their own recipe e-books, like Kristen. I mentioned being embarrassed about blogging yesterday, even though I'm really not. I just feel a little strange sometimes when people I know read my blog. All kinds of self-production have their detractors - people who wonder why you would make your own webseries or publish your own e-book. But the fundamental link between all self-producers is that we have something to say, and we don't need permission to say it. And I am excited and proud to be a part of that movement.

The reason I'm writing about this today is that I've decided to self-publish a book I wrote. I've been a writer for a long time - I wrote my first full-length screenplay at 12, several short films (which I also directed, produced, and starred in) during high school, hundreds of songs, and one full-length book called Let's Travel With Erika: Europe. I wrote it after my seven-week trip to Europe in college, and it's really the book that I wanted to read before I left. I wanted to read the story of someone else who had backpacked around Europe, and I wanted to know how they had done it. Every book I found was either a how-to guide with no story, or a story of a trip most people could never do (i.e. The year I took off work to be a hobo in France). So I wrote and re-wrote the book a dozen times, wrote a kick-ass query letter and book proposal, and started researching literary agents. And in the past couple years, I've submitted to a bunch of agents. I've gotten some responses and generated some interest but it always ended with "Sorry." So recently I started thinking - what is it that I really want out of this book? I always had a dream of going to the Borders in Bloomington, Indiana and seeing my own book on the shelves. But you know what? That Borders just went out of business. That's what made me realize that I don't need a bookstore to get my book to the people who need and want to read it. And I want to get it to them now, so the information is as relevant as possible.

And I want to put this picture on the cover:

Wouldn't you read that book? I totally would!

And the cool thing is, I already have a follow-up half-written: Let's Travel with Erika: China.

(That's me at the Great Wall)

I'll keep you updated on my self-publishing adventure. And then when I finally self-publish, I will hassle all of you to buy my book.

Links of the Day: The Cri de Coeur Charisma boots I blogged about last Fashion Friday are on sale for one more day!

So, what do you think? Are you into self-producing? Are you excited about the democratization of creativity?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vegan Caprese Salad; Blog Life vs. Real Life

At Trader Joe's a couple days ago I bought a jar of hearts of palm:

It inspired me to create this vegan "Caprese" salad.

Warning - this recipe is not supposed to taste like Caprese salad, it just looks like it.

Vegan "Caprese" Salad

1 jar hearts of palm, sliced
1 container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh herbs
2 tbsp Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp Bragg's or sea salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp garlic powder
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Slice your hearts of palm and tomatoes. Rough chop your herbs. Basil would be great, but my basil plant died so I harvested my parsley and mint instead. Mix herbs with remaining ingredients, pour over hearts of palm and tomatoes and mix well to coat. If you wanted to make this more Caprese-like, you could use some marinated tofu or cashew cheese (like the soft "cheeses" Gena makes).

I used this vinegar:
It was perfect but you could use another flavored vinegar, instead, if you don't have it.

For dinner I ate half of this on top of mixed greens.

It really has a great, fresh flavor. I recommend it!

Did anyone notice that my roommate commented on my blog yesterday? I thought that was funny and it also made me start thinking about "blog life" versus real life. I don't hide my blog from people I know, but I don't really tell them about it either. The only person who I think reads my blog is my mom. I don't mention my blog on Facebook, which I use for friends and acting contacts. But I do talk about blogging on Twitter because I use Twitter for three things - acting, friends, and blog networking. I've vaguely thought that I need multiple accounts but that would be kind of crazy. I'll just have to deal with a little confusion!

I also feel a little embarrassed about blogging sometimes. I recognize it can seem like a pretty silly hobby, writing about what you eat or how you exercise or what you wear. But I do enjoy it and I like reading blogs.

How do you feel? If you blog, do your real-life friends and family know about it? Do you ever feel embarrassed about blogging?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Easy Food for a Busy Weekend

I had a busy weekend!

On Friday I went to my acting class, Nature Mart Bulk Bin, and then the audition where I played an Egyptian girl. It went really well and it turns out the director had seen another short film I did and that's why she called me in. Which also means she knew what I looked like already, so I didn't worry my headshot had somehow mislead her that I look more Arab than I really do! Because I was out all day I brought some snacks with me. That's the red pepper eggplant dip I bought from Trader Joe's last week.

At Nature Mart I refilled my Dr. Bronner's soap and I bought a couple dry soup mixes, mostly out of curiosity.

On Saturday I had a fairly important audition. I wore a skirt to celebrate the warm weather:

Tan shirt with little birds on it I've had forever, $6 Plato's Closet skirt, my sparkly Converse, and tights Mom gave me for my birthday.

I try not to think about my auditions too much afterward, because I have no control over what happens and I'll probably never hear anything. So to distract myself I went on a walk in the 80 degree weather and then went to Buffalo Exchange to look at clothes. I found some vegan Cri de Coeur booties for 15 DOLLARS (normally 200 or something). I tried them on:

But they were too small so I didn't get them. (And yes, that is my fabulous Matt & Nat vegan bag on the floor)

On Saturday night we had a little party at our apartment. It was fun! My roommate brought out a new tablecloth and placemats for the occasion.

I've lived with her for a year and she still brings out placemats I've never seen. I have no idea how many she owns!

On Sunday I had a casting director workshop, Skyped with my mom, then watched the Golden Globes with my friends. My fave vegan celebrities Natalie Portman and Olivia Wilde looked amazing!

Today I spent most of the day at the LA County Museum of Art - it was free today!

That's me in the sculpture garden. I'm wearing a $6 skirt I got at Plato's Closet, a simple cami I've had forever, a Target cardi, hand-me-down Guess purse from my mom, hand-me-down sandals from my step-grandma, and hand-me-down jewelry from my grandma. Seriously, check out this jewelry.

Isn't it so cool? I love it!

Food all weekend was healthy and simple.

Broccoli, roasted for 20 minutes at 400.

Salad mix with a shredded carrot, roasted beets and parsnips, edamame, mustard, and fat-free balsamic.

I tried both of the soup mixes I bought. They are SO easy - add an equal amount of water to soup mix, microwave for one minute. I don't remember the exact nutrition facts but I remember they were both pretty low-calorie, very low fat, and had a great ingredient list of dried veggies, beans, TVP, and spices.

The corn chowder had a great flavor and really seemed creamy! Totally vegan, of course.

Curry lentil soup. I didn't detect much curry but I always enjoy lentil soup and this one was good, too. Honestly I couldn't tell that these soups came from dry mixes and I would definitely buy them again for a 1-minute meal that's ready in a jif.

Tonight I tutored an actor friend of mine, helping with her American accent. I studied World Languages and linguistics in college and I'm kind of an accent expert. So I'll consider that my good deed for MLK Day. =)

Link: I read this article about how young is too young in the fashion industry and where the line is between art and (child) pornography. Warning - I found some of it really disturbing.

By the way, I don't know if you noticed, but I changed the blog around a little and added an About Me page and a Blogs I Read page. I mostly did it to clean up the blog a bit and use my space better, reduce the clutter.

What did you do this weekend? Any highlights? Did you celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day today?