This Week’s Recipes

Wow, it’s been quite some time since I shared some new recipes I’ve tried. I was so busy the last term of my undergraduate degree and work over summer that I barely had time to try new recipes or was enjoying ones I already knew and liked. I’ve been trying to be more vegan-inclined, so here’s what I’ve tried:

Vegan goulash: Admittedly, not the best, but edible. However, the tofu I got wasn’t smoked (simply just baked to harden it) and I skipped out on some of the more obscure spices I didn’t have lying around.

Potato tacos: Pretty good! I don’t think I cooked the potatoes as I was meant to, but it turned out decent nonetheless!

Buddha bowl: This is similar to some previous recipes I’ve tried. Unfortunately, I didn’t have toasted sesame oil, so it came out a little off. Plus, I made way too much and ended up eating the leftovers all week so needless to say, I’m a bit turned off by it now.

Peanut butter banana overnight oats: So good! I’m obsessed with these overnight oats, I have them most mornings now. I also often follow a more generic recipe and try different fruit and (non-dairy) yogurt combinations.

Vegan mushroom alfredo: To die for! I was skeptical at first, but this turned out tasty, even though I omitted the lemon juice and used regular almond milk instead of unsweetened. This is one I will most certainly be making again soon!

World Mental Health Day

Today, Tuesday, October 10th is World Mental Health Day, a day to bring awareness to mental health issues and show support to those who are struggling.

I’ve talked a few times about my mental health and struggles with anxiety and depression on this blog in the following posts:

I don’t always know how to put into words how I’m feeling or what I’m experiencing, which is why I don’t talk about my mental health much, but for today, I’ll make an exception.

I met someone last week and when they were over one evening, it was time to take my medicine and when they inquired what the pills were for, I was open about how I’ve been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I know I put them in an awkward place, but they said they didn’t expect me to have depression because I come across happy-go-lucky and they told me that I seem to be doing well.

Although on paper I’m at a good place in my life (good university student, involved with extracurriculars, strong friendships, healthy lifestyle), that doesn’t mean I’m “cured.” Only recently did I have a few of the worst anxiety attacks I’ve ever experienced and have been especially fatigued. Additionally, this past summer, my anxiety seemed to be at an all-time high almost constantly and has only recently subsided to “normal” levels. I’ve come to accept that although I can do my best to combat bad days, they are inevitable and I should prioritize taking time I need to rest my body and mind. Fortunately, I have my anxiety and depression under control most times and while symptoms are usually not severe or persistent, they’re still there and a part of me.

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Music Monday: Going to Gigs Alone

I’ve been to a fair few gigs and a handful of them have been alone. In this post, I will weigh the pros and cons of going to gigs alone.

My favorite thing about going to gigs alone is that I can do my own thing. I don’t have to worry about losing my friends in the crowd and I can get there when I want and hang out until the wee hours of the morning. In this, I can also meet new people, usually others going to concerts alone, as well.

On the other hand, something I like about going to gigs with someone else is the general companionship of a friend: someone to get excited with, share the experience with and talk about it afterwards with. Also, having someone to talk to between bands and before the gig is a good way to pass the time!

On Enter Shikari’s Take to the Skies ten year anniversary tour, I went to two dates: one with my friend Tim in Riverside, California and one alone in Phoenix. For the California date, Tim was nice enough to give me a ride, supply the drinks and we both got excited over the gig together. He was also the one who got the band’s attention on Twitter before the gig so we could give them a fan book I made. Although Tim and I lost each other inside (he was towards the front and I was in the mosh pit), we cross paths a few times and easily found each other after to talk about the show from where we were in the crowd and our favorite moments. Thankfully, Tim is just as into the band as I am, so he was more than happy to wait after the show to speak with them, which sometimes isn’t the case. We had a great time with each other, the band and meeting other fans.

A few days later, I went to the Phoenix date of the same tour alone. I arrived as the doors were opening, hoping to see the Enter Shikari band members during the openers. Before Enter Shikari, I had a good conversation with a couple, which probably wouldn’t have happened if I was with a friend. The actual performance experience was about the same: excellent, except for the fact that I sprained joint in my collar bone that night. Like the California show, I hung out after and got to talk to some of the band members again.

Both shows were great in their own ways and I usually don’t mind going to gigs alone, but it’s definitely preferable to go with someone, especially someone as awesome as Tim! I’m looking forward to going to a lot of upcoming gigs with my roommate Diego and a few other friends, including Enter Shikari twice again.


My View: Gun Control

“In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

That post was made by a political commentator in 2015 and still rings true today, even following the worst massacre in Las Vegas on Sunday. As an American who has been privileged enough to live and travel abroad and experience these tragedies both close to home (in one case, a bit too close) and from the other side of the world, I’ve come to have a certain perspective on the issue of gun control.

I’m sure most Americans have a story of how they have been associated with a shooting. Most recently, I was going out for my friend Lilli’s birthday in my hometown of Tucson when I heard about a shooting in a restaurant someone she knew worked near. The workers in nearby shops were told to lock up and get down. This was also especially close to home for Lilli because her dad is a firefighter and the fire captain was the perpetrator, killing two and himself. I ask you: how close to home do these have to be until everyone is outraged at the lack of gun control?

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” are almost certainly the weakest argument out there. It’s widely known that gun control was highly regulated in Australia after a mass shooting in 1996 and there hasn’t been any since. Under a conservative government, semi-automatic rifles and shotguns were banned and bought back by the government and background checks with “justifiable reason” to own a gun were put in place. In addition to no mass shootings, rate of homicide and suicide with the use of guns have gone down since the gun ban as well. With the gun ban, there was widespread decreased deaths. Coincidence? I think not (watch: comedian John Oliver on guns in Australia vs. the United States).

However, I don’t believe such a gun ban would work here due to our (slow) government structure and misinterpretation of the second amendment. What is an amendment in the first place? A change to the constitution. Who says we can’t change it further? For my constitution enthusiasts, surely you’re familiar that the 18th amendment prohibited the manufacturing or sale of alcohol and its repeal some 15 years later. We need legislation more up to date with the state of gun violence and technology available.

Personally, as an advocate for recreational hunting, a total gun ban wouldn’t be appropriate, even if it was politically possible. I also don’t mind owning simple handguns to shoot recreationally in a range. When you enter these spaces, you are expected to know and adhere to safety procedures and an ethical standard of fair chase.

However, there is absolutely no reason, at all, whatsoever, you need to own an assault rifle. If nobody has these guns, then you won’t need it for “self-defense.” Even the police in lots of European countries don’t carry firearms because gun violence isn’t a problem in the first place.

I’m not proud to be a part of a country where people can continue to make excuses for mass shootings. One innocent life lost was too many.

First Term Goals

Well, it’s that time again. The first of three terms of my Master’s degree is underway and it’s time to set some goals.

  • Get a job and work 20 hours a week
  • Meet up with Buddies twice a month
  • Get involved with societies
  • Read one book a month
  • Stick to my budget
  • Watch two documentaries every month
  • Go out on the town once a week
  • Skype with family and friends back home every other week
  • Try three new recipes every month
  • Listen to new music (two albums a week)
  • Complete Red List training
  • Beautify Twitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin’
  • R training

I will post an update with my success in December.

Note: This is a queued post.

September In Review

September was a whirlwind, where did the time go?

I started off the month on holiday with my dad in New York and Washington, D.C. You can read more about my time there by following the links, but highlights included: The American Museum of Natural History, Kinky Boots and the Brooklyn Heights promenade and walking the Mall and walking the Mall (and seeing it at night) and the Holocaust Museum.

After the trip with my dad, I had a few days to say my final goodbyes to my family and friends before I moved to England on the 11th (landing on the 12th local time).

My first few days in Brighton were really hectic. My housemates and I moved into our house on the 13th and spent the next few days getting our ducks in a row with all sorts of shopping trips and university errands.

Then, I spent a week giving the Camino de Santiago my best shot. I started in Porto, Portugal and got about halfway to Santiago de Compostela in Spain (about 150 miles) before tapping out. My blisters still aren’t healed so I’m glad I didn’t try for more. I hope to return and walk the last 100 kilometers of the Camino at some point in the near future!

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House Tour

Before my Camino trip, I settled into my new house for the year!

I arrived in Brighton on the 12th of September and moved in the next morning. Once everyone was at the house, the agent walked us through the house and explained how to do inventory. Everything in the house looked (relatively) okay (for a student house) except my bed: I was expecting to have a single bed (I even bought sheets and everything at this point), but the bed in my room was a double and dominated the already small room. I inquired about changing my bed to a smaller one with the landlord, but after a few days of slow progress, I decided to keep the bed I have now. It’s brand new and really comfortable and heaven knows what they’d give me instead if I switched. Unfortunately, I couldn’t return my single-sized duvet, so it looks a bit goofy on my double bed.

Once the agent left, it was crunch time. The lot of us hurried around town buying things we needed for the house and making repairs. After a few full days of shopping, we finally got everything we needed. The next few days, we all got to know each other (besides Diego who waited a few more weeks to move in) and had a great time playing card games and drinking (some of us more than others…) (okay, that might have been me).

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