Category Archives: Living | Personal

Vegan Finds in Tulsa Town

This past Saturday was one of the most idyllic days of the semester. It was a lesson in how weekends (or off-work days) are meant to be, a perfect pause filled with relaxed exploration and recuperation, a genuine break in the daily grind. 

Riding along in the passenger seat of a best friend’s car, fluffy “snow trees” in full bloom whirl past the windows, spring’s beautiful answer to a winter devoid of its miniature icy sculptures. As the downtown buildings come into view, thoughts return to our culinary mission: to admire and experience the chocolatier treasure trove said to be found at Glacier chocolates. 

A mutual friend and Glacier chocolate guardian has sent us on this hunt, one that, with the bumbling grace of college students, we have meant to go on for weeks. However, no other day could have compared with this day’s perfection, and we rest in the happy knowledge that some serious good has come from our accidental adventure-procrastination. 
Glacier is located in Tulsa’s quirky-cool zone, The Brady Arts District. The old brick buildings and stark blue sky contrast nicely with the just-modern-enough interiors of restaurants, bars, art galleries, coffee shops, and music venues. With a casually chic mix of professionalism, historic, artsy, and modern tones, it is a place where anyone can find their favorite niche, or even explore others, without too high a risk of being looked down on for your perceived “cool factor” in the process. 

Walking into Glacier you are almost instantly met with rows of artisanal delights that any chocolate lover could melt over, and thankfully our faithful friend is behind the counter to guide our overwhelmed and delighted souls through the grandeur before us. 

While we start to excitedly pour over the goods, I creep over to the vegan section Ty has revealed (THE VEGAN SECTION!) afraid to get too excited – but alas! Two varieties of chocolate turtles, and multi-flavored and hued gem-shaped chocolates wink gold, ruby, and sapphire off their polished surfaces. It is beauty, it is grace, it is Miss United States, and as I follow my friend to check out with 3 vegan dessert jewels (checking my collegiate bank balance in the process), the primary chocolate mission is complete.

 However there is more to experience and Ty, now dubbed the foodie guide, tells us to check out Antoinette Baking Co. and Chimera around the corner. 


While Glacier is a treasure hall of chocolate kings, Antoinette is the epitome of queenly indulgence. “Let Them Eat Cake!” reads a sign outside the front door (too soon?), and indeed there is cake and plenty more to be had, in voluminous, luscious quantities. However, it is a culinary adventure for another day, as this 20-something vegan and her fellow 20-something adventurer were getting too hungry to ingredient-check everything in the place.

We stepped out from Antoinette’s bright, indulgent atmosphere and strolled across the street to Ty’s other recommendation, Chimera. Passing by fashionably groomed bearded men and casually stylish women on their way out the door, we enter a very different zone. Art appears on every wall, and natural materials lend a warm woodsy tone that nicely softens the sleek urban vibe. Chimera seems to be a place that is at the top of its game in every culinary aspect – food, coffee, and drinks are expertly crafted behind the neat, somewhat vintage looking bar, drawing crowds of professionals, art lovers, and foodie freaks like myself. And lo and behold – EVERYTHING.

EVERYTHING

CAN BE MADE

VEGAN.

It has been months since I was last able to dive into a culinary world of this many scrumptious possibilities at the same time (Spiral Diner, looking at you, you beaut), and the excitement for this foodie is overwhelming. A plethora of breakfast tacos, a somewhat traditional childhood meal and delight (that was recently reunited again at Whole Foods), gleam on the first half of the page with quirky names to boot. Bowls of goodness on the next half, am I salivating? – and I know I must cease and choose or risk turning the friendly face across the counter into one of annoyance. Asking for help, for a foodie guide (where are you, Ty?!), for anything, the bowl is decided on, and (internally) I skip off on a cloud of glee to meet my friend at the table, where she awaits a beautiful donut and one of the epic breakfast tacos. 

Feeling decidedly uncool and loving every minute of it, the dishes arrive and – oh my. The bowl is stacked with leafy loveliness, perfectly done tofu eggs, fresh avocado, incredible potato wedges, deliciously smoked adzuki strips, black beans, and I chose the tomatillo salsa to top it off. (Looking back I’m realizing the chipotle sauce may not be vegan, a mistake made in hunger and excitement, but if it’s not it would be easily substituted out for anything else).

My friend’s delicious looking breakfast taco arrives as well, a small mountain of black beans, caramelized onions, Fauxrizo, arugula, avocado crema and cilantro. 


We are stuffed, we are delighted, we have not done any homework and now must drive out of the arts district to a favorite coffee shop better suited to studying – Fair Fellow. 

Fair Fellow has a bright, white, clean, simple interior, accented by tasteful pops of color, plants, art, and wood. Large windows aid in the airy, energized feel of the place. Their beans can be found in shops around the city, and for good reason. Though Fair Fellow has an amazing house made almond milk, I’ve been trying to cut back on the “hard caffeine drinks” and opt for their kombucha instead. It. Is. Amazing. Refreshing, sparkling, and bright, the flavors revive the senses and bring me back to a state of calm wakefulness. There, as the coffee hits and kombucha sparkles, the perfection of the day bubbles over, sending us into fits of laughter and off the wall hilarity as our computer screens remain utterly blank. 


I still can’t remember if any homework did get done that day, but the foodie finds and laughter releases were worth every penny and minute spent!

Signing off for now,

A Contented Treasure Hunting 20-Something

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Brain Storm

Have you ever had so many big ideas, so many huge hopes, so many big dreams that you begin to feel a little lost in the midst of your brain storm?

I’ve definitely been there, and in fact frequently am there when I let my mind wander – but I’m beginning to learn how to dance in the downpour.

Lately YouTube has worked its way into my “chill out” routine, and recently I found myself watching a new video by one of my favorite YouTubers, Olan Rogers. Watching his videos has made my spurts of quirkiness seem far less weird, and far more entertaining, and now that I’m thinking about it, that channel has definitely helped my self-confidence grow in some small, comedic, lighthearted way.

In this short vlog he discusses allowing yourself to be “greedy with your dreams…have ten! Have twenty! You’re allowed to be greedy with that,” and not letting one dream “stress you out so much…making you a little miserable, because you want it so bad.” While it’s certainly not necessary (and probably not helpful!) to give up on the big dream(s), not letting those big dreams consume you to the point where they develop into a massive, dark thunderhead that blocks out all the other wonderful things you can do might be key, for your own sake (and maybe for everyone around you, too ^_^).

And who knows, the other things you do on your journey may end up being the exact  mismatched building blocks you needed to climb that Everest of a dream! The point is, we shouldn’t allow dream paralysis to happen. I’m preaching to myself, here.

Does it seem too big? Too impossible? Too far in the distance?

Try writing it down, and then lift that burden off yourself, and seize the day! Yes, this day, this beautiful moment you have. How do you want to fill it? Who do you want to be in it? What are one of the small dreams that you know you want to, and can accomplish within the next hour, the next day? Start there, it’s OK! Better than OK, it’s a profound part of growth! A seed doesn’t instantly shoot up out of the ground the second it’s planted, and neither do we – every stage, step, and growth spurt is important.

After watching that video I was inspired, and instead of not “going for it” because it was “unrealistic,” I acted – I grabbed some sticky notes, a favorite pen, and began rapidly jotting down each drop of an idea as it fell from my brain storm cloud (which evidently had desperately needed to rain). It was incredibly fun, and now instead of being “bored,” I can look at all of those sticky notes and choose one thing that either accomplishes, or moves me towards, one of the many “smaller” dreams that I’ve allowed to sprout up. So far, it has been a more fun, freeing, and, dare I say, fulfilling, way of thinking and living than how I was thinking and living before.

Obviously old habits die hard, and I still catch myself starting to beat myself up for not “being there,” with “x, y, or z” – but I’ve given myself grace even in those moments, and it helps the anxiety wear off much quicker, and creates needed space for peace.

I guess to summarize in my incredibly corny, earthy-metaphor way –

we’re all growing, and we’re all growing at different paces and places. That’s fantastic! Don’t fear your big dreams, don’t give up on them, and leave room for other dreams to grow. You can plant a whole huge dream garden if you want, with seeds for massive trees, seasonal fruits and veggies, flowers and hedges. Pick out the weeds of bad ideas, and embrace a beautiful wild flower every now and then. You can even share seeds with others and vice versa, and visit their idea/dream gardens when you want to be inspired or find out how they make their gardens grow

And when those brain storms blow in, breathe easy, and let it rain 🙂

 

With peace in Christ and life,

 

A Growing 20-Something

 

 

Growing Pains

I’m sure we all remember growing pains. Those random aches in our joints growing up, so subtle and brief, finally resulting one day in a doctor-deemed “growth spurt.”

I wish they were only physical pains.

The aches that come with the growth of your soul, your mind, your heart – they hit so much deeper. Sometimes they’re brief, and sometimes they last for months at a time. There was a period of my life spent in depression, and now, looking back, I wonder if it was more of a powerful stage of growing pains in my heart. I came out broken and bruised, maybe not everything grew right, but I had more heart, more love, more empathy afterwards. I wonder if the things we see as so bad, so “negative,” are not sometimes just waves of growth, pushing us further upward toward the soil and the sun.

This past year has been a good one. I’ve been surrounded by the company of my dear mother, new and old friends, a new place in a new city, and our ridiculous pets. I’ve acquired a job that I’ve wanted for a long time that constantly deals with my favorite addiction: coffee. We’ve had teas, had adventures, strolled through the arboretum, taken walks. I’ve discovered so many interesting, beautiful people, I’ve gained friends and realized that I may not be as entirely hopeless in getting a date as I thought. I’ve made progress in some areas, gained knowledge, and learned more about – everything. I’ve had my prejudices challenged and diminished towards the Ever Wealthy, seen playing fields leveled and seen grace in action.

This past year has also been difficult. City life, I’ve learned, may not entirely be for me (something I would have completely disagreed with a few years ago). This job may also not be for me (something I would have certainly completely disagreed with for the past 8 years). I’ve learned that outside of community I wilt, that a job always surrounded by swarms of people and 8-minute timers sucks my soul, and that I can become so twisted from the base of who I am outside of a steady relationship with God and other people who try to have the same. I’ve remembered why I quit restaurant work and yet couldn’t bring myself to go back to assistant jobs. I feel more lost than I did a year ago, so much less sure of myself, of my life, of anything. The people that I thought would be steady strongholds undermine my confidence, say the most degrading things, cut others down with their words and laugh about it later in a show of insecurity and spite. The people I was unsure of, but looked up to, have turned out to be the most steady, kind, and sometimes misunderstood of anyone I’ve met. I’ve learned that first impressions are absolutely not everything, in fact, they’re usually nothing. And I’ve learned how good it feels to be honest, hence this post.

So, here I am, writing again for the first time in a long time, in the midst of a growth spurt.

I’m broken again, bruised again, breathing again. I’ve spent time with God, I’m figuring out life, and a spark of hope has been reignited. And I may even call up that guy and ask for another date, snide comments be blast. It’s time to live again.

These Weeks!

The past two weeks have been an up and down and up again type of roller coaster.

I’m currently sitting in the living room, snow drifting down in the tiniest of flakes outside, eating a feast that I only have one shoddy phone picture of. Julie & Julia is playing and so of course that’s what prompted me to write. (Not to negate the valiant efforts of WordPress reminders, but there’s no better inspiration than a movie that combines cooking, blogging, and the sweet plot twists of life). Homework is completely – well maybe there’s a hint of denial in there – finished and out of the way. So that’s the current scene of my running life dialogue.

Image

I’ve gone from not knowing how I’ll be employed to an instant and joyful reunion of happy acquaintances that resulted in nothing other than a job at Starbucks. Starbucks is my addiction, during years of depression my “happy place” (thanks to the kind-hearted baristas and freebies), and the most wonderful of companies to work for. It’s funny how God answers the prayers that we sometimes feel are too petty to pray. This coming Saturday I will be “out there” – truly behind the counter, serving countless people and learning the tips and tricks of how to make someone else’s day as much as other baristas have made mine. The excitement is extravagant.

I’ve been learning some wonderful things in my walk with God as well – more of the lovely purpose of being single right now, a new appreciation for old things, and realizing that a time of immense stretching and growing is about to begin, but that He’s right there with me. It’s grand. Not that I haven’t struggled! I have! By all means I have! But that’s what makes the contrast between Him and His way and the temptations and struggles all the sharper. The song “I can see clearly now…” comes to mind. ;)

Friendships are dearer, the extent of my own selfishness is being unveiled (another reason why I’m excited to get in on the daily giving side of the counter!), and every bit of anxiety has been refuted as God’s promises are blatantly revealed. (Which also makes it easier to kick creeping up anxieties in the face).

And that is all I feel compelled to jot down so I’ll stop here!

Thanks for reading, you lovely individual you! :)

Sincerely,

A Supremely Relaxed 20-Something