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Applying Myself

August 7, 2011 2 comments

Let’s talk about unemployment, shall we?

It’s boring. It’s really, really boring. I even have a fiance and two kittens to keep me company. I have no idea how people who don’t have those things do it.

Because of this boredom (and because of, you know, money) I’ve been applying to everything in sight. Retail, non-retail. If there’s a job within an hour of my apartment, I’ll consider it. Including waitressing at the casino. I need to get out of the house.

However, that’s not the kind of applying I was talking about in the title of this post.

No, I’m talking about the blood, sweat, and tears kind. The “I gained a ton of weight during my last semester of law school and the bar exam” kind. During 3L and during the bar, there were constantly things vying for my attention. There were things that I had to do for my job and for school that wouldn’t wait. There were endless lectures and practice questions. There was an increased amount of stress and panic.

And now? I have nothing to fill my days except for job applications and the activities I make for myself. So, in addition to cleaning my apartment, I’ve decided to use this time to get healthy. I’ve got new bike shorts, new workout pants, and a plan to bike and jog (and eventually run) my way back into fitness.  Before the Great Employment SNAFU of March, I was able to run 4 miles without stopping. I was about 15 pounds lighter. I felt better. I looked better. I had a waist. I want to get back there and to keep going.

But just training isn’t enough. I also have to stop the ridiculous eating habits I’ve developed. And to help out there, I’ve started making green smoothies, or a spinach-based fruit and veggie smoothie for my breakfast and after-workout snack.  I know in theory it sounds gross, and that they definitely look gross. But I assure you, the one I ate today was heavenly.  Here’s what I used:

The Ingredients:

  •  2 handfuls of baby spinach
  •  1 cup passion blend frozen fruit (peaches, pineapple, melon, and strawberry)
  •  1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  •  6 baby carrots
  •  1 tablespoon peanut butter
  •  1 cup vanilla soy milk

I just put it in the blender and hit “puree.” In about a minute, I had something that looked like this, and was able to be easily poured from the blender into a glass.

The end product was a little more textured than a regular fruit smoothie. It wasn’t really sweet, but tasted like vanilla, with a hint of peanut butter.  The recipe will yield 2 servings, if you’re using 12 oz glasses.  And, according to MyFitnessPal, each serving contains:

  • 192 calories
  • 24 g carbs
  • 6 g fat
  • 13 g protein
  • 6 g fiber
Since I have a hard time feeling like I get enough veggies, I think I’ll be adding these to my morning routine. I ate it along with a single egg, and felt full and satisfied. And I have one more serving to use as a post-workout snack this afternoon. Bonus? The Fiance doesn’t like them, so unlike the rest of the things in the fridge, I don’t have to worry about him stealing it.
Categories: health, Photos, recipes Tags: , ,

Tests, Kittens, and Uncertainty.

August 4, 2011 4 comments

Once upon a time, a girl moved four hours away from a city she loved to be with a boy she loved. She started studying for the bar exam. She started a blog. She even got a kitten. And then? She fell off the face of the bloggy earth.

Whoops.

Not surprisingly, a few things have changed since I last posted over here.

As those of you who follow me on Twitter know: the kitten is a girl. Oops. Her name is Tessa, and she’s twice as big as she was when we got her a month and a half ago.

But we’re not a one-cat household anymore.

Hello there!

Meet Gus. Much to Tessa’s initial frustration, when I was in Roanoke for the Test That Shall Not Be Named, I stopped in Lynchburg to pick up a kitten that my college friend Mary Jo rescued from a gas station but couldn’t keep. He’s the sweetest kitten on earth, and incredibly laid back. He loves water, loves to cuddle, and loves to lick. He’s kind of like a little puppy in cat form. Because of his look, temperament, and size I’m pretty sure he’s at least part Ragdoll. While the two of them weren’t super good friends at first because Tessa flipped out, they now love each other. Observe:

Let me get that off your foot for you!

In the next few days, I’ll catch you up on the other random happenings. The MIL is currently not really on speaking terms with us.  The Fiance’s job has been delayed, so we’re both frantically searching for anything that pays. We’re trying to figure out when and where to get married. And, I’m trying out new recipes and workouts to lose all the weight I put on during 3L and bar study so I don’t look like a whale anymore.

Until then, let me just say: my stress level hasn’t decreased after the bar exam like I was promised. It’s just changed. I’m bored, and yet overwhelmed by how few jobs are out there for people like me who are just starting out. Things are hard, and we’re not entirely sure what’s next.

Right now, my life feels a lot like it feels to drive on a country road late at night. I know there are bends and turns, but I can’t see them. I don’t know what’s coming up, and it’s scary. I’m not sure how to prepare, or really where I’m going. I can only see the little bit that’s illuminated in the headlights. Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll find something to do for money and figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Until then, I’m going to finish my glass of wine and snuggle some kittens.

Categories: Photos Tags: , , , ,

Bad Blogger. Bad.

June 9, 2011 1 comment

I’ve been pretty silent here the past week and a half or so. I’m sorry for that.

The truth is, it’s not because of bar prep or a lack of things going on (though both of those would be convenient excuses). Rather, I’ve been having a hard time adjusting. I miss home. The internet was really buggy for a few weeks, which cut me off from what seems like my only connection to the outside world. Basically, I’ve been throwing a giant hissy fit over here. Fiance has had to deal with it because he lives with me, but I had the good sense to try to keep it off the blog.

The past day or so, I think I’ve turned a corner. I’ve settled into a little bit of a routine, and buckled down on prep, because I’m getting into the harder subjects that I know less about. And, last night we went out with the neighbor across the hall to participate in trivia with some of his friends. It was a really good time, and restored my hope that we’re going to make friends.

So, with that little pity party out of the way, how about we talk about what’s being going on here in West-By-God-Virginia since we last saw each other. Last week was iPhone week, so this post is complete with iPhone photos. Incidentally, I have NO idea how I lived without this little piece of heaven before. No idea.

A few days after my last post, Fiance and I had lunch with The MIL at her favorite restaurant – Bob Evans. If it wasn’t clear from past posts … the MIL leaves me feeling very conflicted. On one hand, I know she’s old and lonely, and I don’t want to be mean, because my parents raised me better than that. On the other hand, she’s oppressive, and sometimes really mean to me. Despite my best efforts to make excuses to The Fiance (food poisoning! Migraine! Eaten by a bear!) I was forced to attend this lunch.

Much to my relief, The MIL seems to understand that perhaps we’re not so keen on the way she’d been treating us, and seems determined to suck up, which I am 100% fine with. To this end, she showed up with gift cards for graduation, and some additional presents for me. The most useful were the keychain with my name engraved (very sweet) and the red tote.

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The Huge Red Tote. I think it's meant to be a beach bag, but I love it for my bar prep stuff.

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To show how big this sucker really is. That's my Redbook for Kaplan. It's probably a good 2 inches thick. Still plenty of room in there.

Those of you who don’t live in the WV/MD/VA area may not know, but the summers are evidently humid as all hell, which is a definite adjustment from Pittsburgh. To combat this, we went to the diner down the street from our little apartment and got cold deserts. I’m not sure they even still make sundaes like this anywhere but small downs. I felt like I was back in the 1950s. An aside: there’s a drugstore down the street from us that still has an honest-to-God lunch counter.

 

 

 

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Delicious. Very, very delicious.

 

There’s another local business I think you should know about. It’s the coffee shop in Shepherdstown, called The Lost Dog.  It’s … well, I’ll let the picture speak for itself:

 

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The inside of The Lost Dog. Cluttered, blaring indie music, and full of hippie, environmentalist (and sometimes Anarchist) art and propoganda.

 

The photo simply doesn’t do it justice.  The coffee and drinks are amazing, and the reusable mugs cite its location as “Shepherdstown, Best Virginia.”  And if you were wondering about the ownership’s attitude? You should read this Yelp entry in which Garth, the owner, responds to Jessica M’s review of his coffee shop.

And finally, did you know that Sheetz gas stations are basically the best gas stations ever? For instance, not only can you get Made To Oder (MTO) sandwiches that are actually pretty good, most locations actually sell fresh fruit. Observe:

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And it wasn't rotten and gross, either!

 

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. I’ll try to keep my hissy fits to a minimum, and keep up with the regular postings.

Categories: Photos

Shepherdstown Farmer’s Market

May 29, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s Sunday in the Eastern Panhandle, and that means: local organic goodness at the Shepherdstown Farmer’s Market. But before those photos, how about a very quick photo tour of the teeny tiny little town?

One side of downtown Shepherdstown.

 

Side 2 of downtown Shepherdstown. Full of little craft shops, semi-swanky restaurants, and wine and cheese stores. They come and go, and every time one closes, another opens up.

 

This white building ahead is the Shepherdstown Public Library. It's got crazy hours, and seems to be mostly historic. Soon, I will investigate the inside, and hopefully get some photos. The farmer's market is located directly behind it, and the Sweet Shop is directly to the right of it.

 

Before heading into the farmer’s market, we got breakfast at the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop, which The Fiance tells me is one of the few constants on the main drag in town. The others include Stonewall’s (a pizza place/bar), the Lost Dog (a really good local coffee shop) and Betty’s (a local diner open for breakfast and lunch).  While enjoying our ham and cheese croissants, we spied some evidence that we are, in fact, living near some very environmentally  conscious/crunchy people:

This is a protest flier for a local industrial site. It talks about the noise and hazardous chemicals and machinery that are being used.

 

This one is a flyer announcing appeal hearings for a mountaintop removal/strip mining operation that they want to put in near us. We're planning on going to them. Strip mining is bad, bad bad. For tourism and the environment both.

 

And then there was this guy. He was protesting in the middle of town. I know you can't read his sign from here, but it says "War is not the Answer." And then, that little white addendum on the left says, "Who will we attack next?" It's a pretty liberal place.

After breakfast, we headed over to the farmer’s market, which looked approximately like this:

 

We spent a total of $32.50, and purchased the following items:

2lbs of grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free sirloin steak, from Kearneysville, WV, which is approximately 10 miles down the road from us. $18

 

2lbs red potatoes, from the same farm as the steak. $2.00

 

One quart of local strawberries. $5

 

Basil and rosemary starters. Sold to me by two people with dreadlocks. $5.50 for both. I'll be getting real pots for them this week.

 

Homemade macaroons, $1 each. Enjoyed with milk upon returning home.

And there you have it – a very successful trip to the farmer’s market.  I had the actual camera with me this week, so I felt awkward about taking photos of the vendors’ stands.  Hopefully this week after I get the iPhone, I’ll be able to more subtly take photos of the crazy things I see around town.

Small Town Saturday

May 28, 2011 2 comments

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera when we went into Shepherdstown today to do some shopping/meandering. But don’t fear – we’ll be back there tomorrow, so you’ll soon be bombarded with photos of organic foods, artisan breads, local meats, and hippies.

However, I *did* remember my camera when The Fiance and I ventured across the street to try the new taco place. And while the entire apartment isn’t ready for photos (So. Many. Books.), I figure that the least I can do is show you some of the areas that are mostly organized.

So, without further adieu, here are some photos of the place:

View of our building from across the street. Why yes, we *do* live above an AAA agency.

Entryway of our apartment, as seen from the second floor. That image is of the building, and indicates that it used to be a rather fancy dress shop.

Kitchen. Please excuse the dishes in the sink and my keys on the counter. Not pictured: HUGE walk-in pantry that I'm standing in, the refrigerator, or all the empty space where the kitchen cart will eventually go.

Bathroom. Rather unexciting, except that it's long and skinny. That's kind of awkward, but the garden tub makes up for any space concerns. I didn't realize how fantastic a larger tub was. Now I'm spoiled.

The "bar" in our dining room. In reality, it's a salvaged and repurposed nightstand that I saved and refinished the summer before 1L. Up front is the bottle of Carmenere that I found in Shepherdstown today. I may have squealed and hugged the bottle. Don't judge.

This evening, The Fiance and I found ourselves hungry, but not really interested in cooking. We thus decided that it would be an excellent time to try the Habanero Grill, which is located near our new place.  This required stepping out of the building into “downtown.” Behold its … metropolitan? splendor:

"Downtown" looking to the left coming out of our place.

"Downtown" looking to the right, across the street.

After getting to the grill, we noticed some interesting wall art on the side of the restaurant. I’m not really sure of the significance, but it’s evidently folksy.

This mural is on the side of the Habanero Grill. Evidently it's supposed to celebrate the folk history of the area? I'm mostly confused by the violins. Do a lot of people in this area play them? Are they particularly folksy? I NEED ANSWERS.

And then, delicious tacos were procured:

I obviously forgot to record these tacos until I'd already taken a bite. They're beef with hot salsa, onion and lettuce. The Fiance got chorizo with the same. We also shared chips and queso, and an order of sopapillas. All were fantastic.

Finally, on the way back home, we decided to stop in at Lupida’s Groceria, a Mexican grocery down the block from our place. We didn’t spend much time browsing, but were able to locate some Mexican Coke, much to our delight.  For those who are unfamiliar with the difference, Coca Cola in Latin America is still sweetened with real cane sugar, and has a different taste. It also comes in a glass bottle, at least in some varieties, like the ones we found.

Delicious cane sugar sweetened goodness.

And that was our day! Stay tuned tomorrow for photos from the Shepherdstown farmer’s market.