7. Crunch Time

Do you know how many muscles in your back it takes to sneeze?

Pretty much all of them.

Last week, I "threw out" my back. Not sure why that's the term...should be more like I was going about my day and my back decided to go on strike. For the past 9 days, I've spent more time than I'd like to admit popping handfuls of Advil, laying on heating pads and ice packs while watching trashing TV, and devising various tricks to prevent me from having to bend down to pick things up. {One more week of this and I might have my dogs trained to hand me things!}

Let's get kinda deep for a Tuesday. Spiritually, I believe in a mix of Karma, fate, and controlling your own destiny. Strange combo, but I basically believe that good and behavior will reflect upon an individual, and even though fate plays a role in our lives, we do control our attitudes and behavior. Do I believe my back issues are a result of me gossiping about someone? Not likely. They're a result of a car accident back in December {thanks gold minivan driver that shall remain nameless} and poor core strength. However, I do believe this is the universe's way of {not so} politely knocking on my door and telling me to get up off my lazy ass and fix myself.

I recently read a surprisingly great book, The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson. I don't know what I was expecting, but that was not it. But I loved it. The premise is to live a happy, fulfilling life, one needs to take extreme measures to protect and care for one's body, mind, spirit, and life. This means cutting toxic people out of your life, finding time to exercise and eat right, avoiding negative, desensitizing news stories, and only accepting commitments that you are happy to honor.

This experience has really helped me to tune into Richardson's message. Once I've started healing, I'm embarking on a journey to get healthy for one reason: myself. I've been putting up all sorts of psychological road barriers when trying to lose weight, and I'm sick and tired of myself. It's time to do this for myself and myself only. I deserve better and I can't possibly live life to the fullest from the couch anymore.


6. Things I'm Digging Right Now

If you lack the ability to resist purchasing cute things, turn away now. This post will entail pictures and links to some of my very favorite things right now.

1. Vera Bradley. Anything Vera Bradley.

Ceramic animals. I purchased a Gurgle Pot in Seattle {I guess that's the wrong kind of pot to purchase?} and want this elephant tea pot in the worst way.

Matroyshkas {or more commonly known, Russian Nesting Dolls.}

Talk about an odd combination. I can't help it --- I love what I love. {And I seem to be loving very strange, hippie-esque things right now. Don't even get my started on my obsession with TOMS.}


5. The Lazy Vegan {Or: A Successful Pasta Salad Recipe}

I'm a vegan. I'm also lazy. Therefore, I like simple recipes that adhere to clean eating principles: nutritious, filling, no crap/fake food. {Well, you know, when I'm not convincing myself that cheese should be included in the vegan food pyramid.}

So imagine my delight when I discovered this recipe: Wagon Wheel Taco Pasta Salad. Was I skeptical? Absolutely. But the result: utter deliciousness. I, for vegan-related purposes, did not add any cheese to the recipe, and also, just because I didn't have any on hand, omitted the cilantro. I also added about 1/4 cup of finely chopped red onion. I also try to avoid gluten, so I subbed in brown rice penne for the noodles.

This is the exact type of recipe I love: easy to make gluten-free and vegan, able to throw it together in less than 20 minutes, oodles of leftovers for lunches, and above all, super tasty. Even my carnivore husband liked it. I will say, however, that my version was not attractive at all, hence the absence of pictures in this post. We have renamed it "Ugly Taco Pasta Salad."