next steps

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A year ago I used blogging as my escape from my capstone coursework. Now, blogging is something that I like to do but don't feel the need to do as often. My break really showed me that I'm not in the rat race like many bloggers. I don't really care about page views or monetizing right now, so why am I spending hours of my time producing consistent and (sometimes) new content? 

I want to make blogging personal again. My favorite posts have always been the around here/currently/thought dump ones because, in 10 years, those are the ones I want to read again. Link roundups and small business talk and the posts that are supposed to get traffic are the ones I'm waaaaay less interested in, but I did them because that's how you get readers and sponsors and everything. Eh, that's not where I am anymore.

I'm not going to lie, I really did think about just deleting this blog altogether at one point, but I ultimately decided not to do that yet. It may happen down the road (especially when I have to renew my domain), but for now I'll keep making my personal posts. Maybe once a week, maybe twice a month…who knows. I'm in a weird place where I'm trying to find what sticks for me, and monetizing and whatnot just wasn't. It was producing too much stress and anxiety, and I draw the line at waking up at 3:30 in the morning because I realize that I forgot to write that day's blog post.

So, we've covered what's next for this space. What else is next for me? I'm not going back to school next semester, and I'm enrolling in yoga teacher training starting in February. I've realized how little I care about traditional school now that I've had a taste for freedom, and I've been seeking that next step in my life. I'm also painting again (good sign!) and my vegetarian eating has been on point lately. I'm also getting new advice on my thyroid treatment and visiting a naturopathic doctor to see if that's where I want to go. I'm still reading when I can, although my book of choice isn't always on my list of books I need to finish (and by that I may mean I'm re-reading Michael Pollan…again). I'm also having fun decluttering both my physical world and digital world. Yay new beginnings!

I also got my Star Wars tickets and preordered Adele's new album on vinyl last week, so I have that going for me too.

Clearly, there will still be tons to write about, and none of it will feel as forced as it was starting to get. Will be top-notch quality content that will draw in thousands of readers a day? Probably not, but it will be something I'll want to read 10 years later. That's all I want right now from this.

sometimes you just need a break

Taking a long coffee break

As I mentioned last week, I've been stuck in a massive rut and don't really know where to go next. I mean, I kind of do, but we'll see if those things can actually pan out.

As part of figuring out what comes next, I'm giving myself a two week break away from this blog to let my mind rest. The constant wheel of generating new content is starting to get to me, and I may have written Monday's post at 3:30 in the morning because I couldn't sleep knowing that I forgot to get something up. When that happens it's time to step away for a little bit.

I might come back, I might not. It all depends on how I'm feeling. I still have this domain until September 2016, so I can pick back up on a month or two. Or I can scale back to posting once or twice a week. Either way, I need some time to figure out how or if this blog fits in to fixing that rut.

In any case, I'll see you back here on October 28th with at least one more post.

In the meantime, go play around in my archives. There's some great recipes from 2014 hiding in there.

quinoa-stuffed poblano peppers

Quinoa stuffed poblano peppers

I started using poblanos in stuffed pepper recipes after seeing a recipe for it in Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan Brunch book. I'm all for stuffing bell peppers when I'm using meat as a base, but poblano peppers provide enough of something more for when you're stuffing with something a little more delicate like quinoa. This is still a hearty meal, so don't be fooled.

quinoa-stuffed poblano peppers

2/3 cup quinoa
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups baby spinach
1 cup cooked or canned black beans
4 poblano peppers, halved and seeds discarded
8 oz tomato puree
3 tbsp heavy cream
3 tbsp cornmeal
1 1/2 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium pot with half of the spice mix.Add quinoa and coat. Add 1 1/4 cups of water to the quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Sauté half of the garlic  and remaining spice mix for 1 minute. Add the tomato puree and cook until heated through. Add the heavy cream and cook until fully combined. Taste for salt and pepper.

Add cornmeal and a cup of spinach to the quinoa, adding salt and pepper as necessary. Stuff the peppers with the quinoa mix and sprinkle with cheeses. Top the peppers with half of the tomato sauce and bake for 12-15 minutes. While the peppers bake, sauté the black beans, remaining garlic, and remaining spinach together in a pan with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. When the peppers are done, remove from oven and top with remaining tomato sauce. Serve the peppers over the spinach and black bean salad and enjoy.

what comes next?

What comes next

I've been feeling stuck again. If you gave me the option to leave my job and school and start working on an urban farm and teaching yoga I would take you up on it 100%. That's where I'm at in life right now.

Maybe I was right to question going back to school. I'm just not as into it as I used to be. I LOVED these classes in 2010 and 2011, but now I'm just not. Maybe it's because I started off with the wrong class, maybe I'm more jaded about the planning process now, but maybe it's because I'm just done with school. I have my MBA. I have a decent amount of experience in my field. I can start sitting for certification exams next year. Yes, this degree may help me get a "real" planning job (at least make it a little easier) and give me a path into what I would like to study at the PhD level, but I really feel like I'm done, at least with traditional higher education.

After my day job, I want to come home and read a book for fun and cook a delicious meal and get in a meditation and a yoga practice and work on that scarf I started in March. I thought I was lost, but now I realize that it's ok to not have concrete activities all the time. My evenings were my time. I miss being able to do what I wanted to do on my time. It took me nine months to finally feel comfortable with an open evening or an open weekend, but I don't want to give it up any more. I feel like this blog is also suffering my lack of time and enthusiasm. I just don't have the time to brainstorm and cook and photograph and write and research like I used to. I want that back.

I find it funny that, at one point, I didn't know what I would do after school ended. Now I'd give up school to get that back in a heartbeat.

So, what's next?

  • I'm really considering not going back to USF in January. It's alright. I tried to make it work and I'm recognizing that its not before I throw even more money into it.
  • I have to volunteer four hours at the farm I get my CSA share from, but I'm planning on helping with the weekly harvest a lot more than that, especially once class ends. I want to help out the community that benefits from our local CSA.
  • I've been really researching yoga teacher training (YTT). The 200-hour training is about the same investment as a semester at USF, but I can actually have a payment plan. I could write a whole different post on why I'm drawn to this idea, but what it comes down to is that I want a deeper dive into something that really speaks to me and I want to help people discover that too. And with a fixed 6-month schedule there would be an end in sight, unlike where I am with grad school.

There will still be time for blogging and reading and knitting and cooking and all of the things that make me happy. I knew 2015 would be about finding myself, and I think I have. Now it's time to act on it. It's not a guarantee that any of this will actually happen, but as each day passes I become more and more sure about where I want my life to go.

the glorification of busy

Glorification of busy

I really don't think there is a phrase that sets me off more than "I'm busy." I feel like everybody is so busy these days, like that's a completely normal thing. I understand having a lot to juggle. I was a full-time grad student who also worked full-time. However, I feel like I wasn't busy all of the time. Yes, there were things that needed to get done and priorities to shuffle around, but I still found enough time to sleep the recommended hours each night, cook (somewhat) nutritious meals, and have a life (to an extent). Now that I'm done with that part of my life, I still feel like there is a need to be "busy," like people look down on me because I'm not an adult who is constantly hurrying from point A to point B all day, every day.

There is totally a glorification of being busy these days. But here's the thing: you're going to burn out always being so busy. It happens to everyone. We're not designed to function on fumes. So why do we glorify those who work crazy hours? Why do we glorify not having down time once in a while? I also feel like people use the word busy in place of priorities these days. They'll use the "I'm busy" phrase when they really mean "My priorities are different right now." Saying "I'm busy" tells others to go away without having to offer an explanation or an alternative. So, not only are we glorifying the ideal of being busy, but we're also diluting the word.

I'm tired of everyone having to be so damn busy all of the time. Here's my challenge to you: find ways to end the "busy" in your life. Maybe you just need to redefine what success looks like to you. Or maybe it's time for a digital detox so you can reconnect with your life. Or maybe you can find solitude for a few minutes a day. It's time to take back the word busy and realize that we are allowed to feel relaxed. You'd be surprised at how much more productive you can be when you're not feeling hurried all of the time.

I'm completing a daily meditation using Calm, along with yoga a few times a week. What will you be doing?

PS: Check out my post on diminishing returns to better understand why being busy all of the time may not always lead to success.