Friday, 11 January 2013

Konnichiwa, Sushi Anyone?

#67 on my list: I've always wanted to...

This is a retrospective "check" from my bucket list, but extremely blog-worthy, nonetheless. This is where really putting my bucket-list into motion all started.

For the past, let's say, year, I have been really struggling with my happiness and truly being myself. Discovering one's true identity can perhaps be one of the hardest internal struggles. Some people go their whole lives being someone else, someone that society has made them, or someone their family, friends or significant others have molded them to be. To be able to let go of all external factors, look deep into yourself and see who you really are, and be that person in every instance of your being is life's greatest accomplishment, in my opinion.

As I previously said, I have been keeping a bucket-list for over 10 years. I have not been able to show anyone this list, because it contains things that the real me wants to do. As silly as it seems, showing this list to anyone would expose me for who I am really. Every weird, quirky, far-fetched, or big-dreamed goal is exactly what I want out of life, but not what I tell everyone I want. To avoid the, "ya, wouldn't that be nice?", or "how do you expect to do that?" or "haha and when does a 'real' job fit into there?"reactions, I usually only share my more conservative aspirations.

Now don't get me wrong, I have some amazing people in my life that I am proud to call my family and friends, and I do not know what I would do without them. I would gladly share this list with them, however, on the other side of things, there is a certain ownership that one must take once goals are shared. For example, people publicly set goals to hold themselves accountable. There was definitely part of me that did not want to share my list so that if I didn't accomplish something on it, I wouldn't necessarily be a "failure".

How silly is that!?

Why wouldn't I want to do, what I, "want to do". What is life if you're not doing what makes you happy or not seeking fulfillment from life? A pretty lousy one I must say. This thought process started creating a change in me...

As I said, I was internally struggling a lot this past year. I went through some ups and downs, I broke free of some bad habits and things that were no longer serving me or allowing me to grow. Bit by bit, I removed the negativity from my life. Want to know what happens when you free up the space that negativity holds? You allow for some AMAZINGLY positive things to come into your life. What a concept eh? I wish I could have done this a long time ago.

As the negative went out, the bad feelings left, the anxiety subsided, and some amazing things changed in my life. I made some new fantastic friends, traveled a bit, had photography opportunities, my creativity came back, my ambition and joy of life emerged.

One evening, Chad discovered my list, and upon asking if he could read it, I surprisingly let him. He read it, and besides getting excited for me and wanted to start one himself, he said, "I want to help you check some off, I know exactly where to start."

Alas, came sushi making night!!!

Making sushi, LIKE A BOSS!

There is a very wide range of goals on my bucket-list. Some are silly, and some are larger-than-life. From "die my hair" (which I have checked off) to "sky-dive over mount Everest"(which I have not). One that I have always wanted to do happened this night:  Make sushi!

It was so much fun! The best part I learned from the whole process is: sushi can be whatever you want it to be. I was so focused on making the perfect sushi rolls that I have had in restaurants, but realized I can make whatever I want. If I think certain ingredients would taste great together, then do it! And so I did! After a beautiful fall walk, we went to the grocery store and found various fresh, yummy ingredients:

-Portobellini mushrooms

Then, we got the nori paper, sticky rice, rice vinegar to cook the rice, Sriracha sauce (because it's delicious on anything), and rolling mat.

Let the sushi making begin!

Prepped all ingredients. Even learned to "segment" a lime :)

Smoosh the sticky rice onto about 2/3 of the nori paper. (Bowl of water to dip fingers in so rice doesn't stick to hands)

Lay chosen ingredients horizontally on the center of the rice bed.

Mmmm asparagus, cilantro, avocado and artichoke :)

Cucumber, avocado, and we sauteed the mushrooms and tofu to bring out the flavors.

All the combinations were delicious! I made sure all of mine had avocado in them :)

Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom!
Roll them up! This process might require video instruction. Basically, just fold over, away from you and make sure everything is very tight together.As you squish the roll together with one end of the mat, pull the other side of the mat away from you. This will ensure the roll is very tight. You will make a square shape of the roll. Continue until the far end of the nori paper is rolled.
Cut rolls into about 1.5 inch sections using a very sharp knife.
Now, the best part: eat them! Paired with a crisp Californian Fume Blanc, I was in culinary heaven.

All of the combination were amazing! We did a pretty good job I must say :)

January's bucket-list check, coming soon!


Friday, 4 January 2013

Welcome 2013, you're mine!

Happy New Years Everyone!!! 

I hope the holidays brought everyone lots of love, happiness and cheer :) And yummy food :)

I ended up double fracturing my foot a week before Christmas. As much as the timing was horrible with work, not be able to go out  present shopping and do Christmasy running around, it was definitely a blessing in disguise.  Ever have those moments where you know the world is testing you? That is exactly what this felt like. Someone, or something was telling me to slowwww downnnnn. My test: relax!

I had that nagging voice telling me to slow down a long time ago. I guess a broken foot was the only way I would listen. My biggest struggle in the last 2 weeks has been to be ok with relaxing and not "being productive". Previously, even on my days off from work, I would feel anxious with any free time and always needed to busy myself. I would run errands, work out, and literally do anything to fill my time. I went from working 12 hour shifts, running, yoga, working out, photographing and general flailing about, to nothing, absolutely nothing. I had no idea in the beginning how much I would struggle with this. The first few days were an absolute nightmare! I felt like I was in a jail cell! I could not leave my apartment or drive anywhere.  Even getting up to get a glass of water was an endeavor of hopping, balancing and dealing with shooting pains.How I was going to last 6 weeks, I had no idea!

As time went on, some days became easier. That is when I decided I was either going to drive myself crazy, or  take the opportunity to do all the things I have wanted to but could never give myself the time or permission to do so.
On top of the priorities: edit photos! I had so many backed up from various photo shoots that I had not even uploaded from my SD cards. The editing process takes a lot of time, but that is all I had, time.

Fitness photoshoot from November.

Didn't realize my favorites were mostly black and whites...

Then, I baked a lot of yummy vegan treats! Four batches of raw "Lara" balls, (mmmm) granola, gluten-free gingerbread "men" (turned out to be various limbs,  "abstract" shapes and circles). I Christmas shopped for anything I hadn't already bought from the luxury of my computer (yay lululemon for everyone!) haha

One of my favorite "broken foot" projects was painting my massive canvas! The blank canvas had been staring at me for almost a year. It was daunting leaning against the wall in all its blankness, but for some reason I could never start it. Firstly, I never felt inspired enough, and secondly, I was nervous about what to put on such a massive space. I felt like it had to be an epic masterpiece. As part of my lessons in relaxation, I set it all up, and waiting for my artsy mood to hit. When it did, I just painted with no plan! Can you imagine!? No plan at all, no idea of what I was intending to create, I just let the right side of my brain lead the way, with the help of some killer tunes of course! It was, magical! The painting is no where close to complete, but it was such an amazing feeling to let go, stop thinking, and let my body and brain do whatever they wanted.

Unfinished - Acrylic on Canvas (went in a peacock, dragon kinda direction...)

And finally, I had this fresh start by tying some lose ends, finishing up projects and getting my mental health up to check, I decided that 2013 was going to be a pivotal year for me. It was time for a serious resolution. Not year long change, this was going to be a life time change. Time to switch my gears and to start doing what I want. To be authentic and live my life exactly how I want to be living it.
Alas, my resolution: check off at least 1 item on my bucket list every month.

I started this list back in high school and I have been adding to it ever since. I have about 120 things I want to do in my lifetime thus far, with only 22 checked off. So,  I am committing to at least 12 things this year, but planning to do way more than that.

On top of this promise to myself, I also thought, why not blog about it?? So, as I check off my life dreams, I will be sharing them with you too! Aren''t you lucky!?

I have completed January's already... stay tuned...

-Em :)