PSAs

5 Lessons Learned From Just 10 Minutes of Daily Meditation

I’ve been meditating for ten minutes a day for about three months. This makes me, and I’m shocked I have to explain this to you, an expert.

Why meditation? Why now? It seemed like I couldn’t turn on a podcast without hearing people sing meditation’s praises, and I was really curious to see if it would affect my overall outlook. Besides, it’s nice to mix things up once you realize most of your waking hours are spent dealing with unwanted hair.

Jules-meditation
That’s a lot of surface area.

I was pretty amazed to notice a difference in just one week, especially because most of the ten minutes were spent thinking, “Am I doing this right?” (Spoiler alert: You are.) I felt calmer, lighter, and happier, and all I’d really done was sit on the sofa, eyes closed, hands in my lap, listening to nature sounds on YouTube. Every time my mind would wander, I’d bring it back to my breath.

What was even more helpful than breathing deeply was doing a body scan, checking in with each part of my body. Most days, my shoulders and neck screamed once I paused to listen – a testament to my terrible posture and long hours in front of a computer. I also realized, on days when I felt most rushed, the anxiety seemed to pool in the middle of my stomach. After a few weeks, I began to understand that that was where my anxiety always lived.  It was startling to realize that I went almost 36 years without knowing that.

What really made me think these meditation evangelists might be onto something, though, was when I had a completely uncharacteristic reaction to someone saying something rude to me about a month into meditating. In the first instant, I had my normal response – horror, indignation, hurt. But just one second later, I burst out laughing. This bubble of pure joy erupted as I saw the absurdity of their behavior. This person’s comment (or more specifically, their tone), had nothing to do with me. A moment later, they were laughing with me.

That’s it, I thought. I’m sticking with this meditation sh*t for good.

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you purchase the linked product, at no additional cost to you. I only ever link to products that I truly love. Like this.

5 Lessons Learned From Just 10 Minutes of Daily Meditation

1. You’ll Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.

Ten minutes is a long time when you’ve got Twitter to check and Wheat Thins to eat. And once you get past those impulses, you might start (gasp) feeling even more things. Things you might not want to feel. You might relive moments you’d wish would stay buried somewhere in your parents’ basement along with those Koosh ball earrings. Like the results of this past election. Don’t stop. Don’t get up. Just keep breathing. You’re building a muscle that no CrossFit gym can ever provide.

2. This too shall pass.

If you’ve gotten past number one, a funny thought might occur to you: Everything is going to be okay. As you learn to live and breathe in the present moment, everything else becomes superfluous. You realize no matter how anxious or desperate you might feel in any one moment, it will change. Meditation helps you practice bridging that gap between feeling and action before you race to mask your emotions with the aforementioned Twitter and Wheat Thins.

3. Nothing is perfect.

Not even the dog who decides to loudly munch his kibble (probably to make sure you don’t get to it first) just when you start to meditate. Your inner critic will vie for your attention as soon as you even start to think about meditating. What’s the point? You’re doing it wrong. Ten minutes can’t possibly make a difference. You’re definitely doing this wrong. Just remember: The amount you resist meditation is a direct correlation to the amount it can help you.

And if 10 minutes a day sounds overwhelming? Try 5, or even 1. I picked 10 because it was the amount, for me, that I knew I couldn’t talk myself out of. Anything is better than nothing. Dan Harris, the ABC News guy behind 10% Happier, reminds me of that on his podcast [that I’m now addicted to] every week.

4. It’s all about me.

I probably should have warned you about this upfront, but something very disturbing will start to happen if you carve out ten (or five or one) minute(s) a day to just be. You will start to just be you. All that is gloriously and wonderfully you, without any distractions. As you let those thoughts and feelings come and go without judgment, you’ll start to feel an energy flow through you, and that energy feels a lot like love.

5. It has nothing to do with me.

The best and worst thing about loving yourself? Only you can do it.* And once you do, you’ll realize all of the negativity in the world can’t touch you, because it has nothing to do with you.

*That’s what she said.

Uncle-Jesse-Groomed-26Sep12
Go ahead. Just try to meditate.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Have you tried meditating? What do you think?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Advertisements
TV Junkie

Why You Need to Watch Santa Clarita Diet

Wayyyy back in the day, this blog was called Go Guilty Pleasures! Yes, with an exclamation point, because I make it my mission to tell you how you feel about what you’re reading. Back then I waxed poetic about Darren Criss and Justin Timberlake, but eventually I evolved to more mature matters, like eating dog kibble.

Well, old habits die hard, and I’m here to tell you how you should feel about Santa Clarita Diet, the morbid, quirky, irresistible Netflix show starring Drew Barrymore and that guy from Girl Next Door. (…Anyone?) They’re back for season two and I just about puked from excitement.

anta-clarita-diet-puking-drew-barrymore
If you can get past the puke in episode one, I promise it’s worth it! Photo credit.

This show is filling the Buffy-sized hole in my heart. It is utterly absurd, and yet entirely lovable, with characters who make the most implausible seem as commonplace as eating an entire box of Wheat Thins in one sitting. (…Anyone?) Take, for instance, this dialogue from the beginning of season 2, episode 1:

~*~*~*~*~

INT. MENTAL HOSPITAL – DAY

JOEL (male lead a.k.a. Drew Barrymore’s husband) is inside a mental hospital. He shares a room with CRAZY HOSPITAL PATIENT and decides to come clean about his wife.

JOEL: She’s undead.

CRAZY HOSPITAL PATIENT: Really? How is that going?

JOEL: Honestly? Mixed. She has an intensity I love, but having to find human flesh for her to eat? That’s been hard.

CRAZY HOSPITAL PATIENT: I can’t imagine.

JOEL: We’re realtors, so, killing people and stuffing them in the freezer doesn’t come naturally.

~*~*~*~*~

If you’re reading that cold, I’ve probably convinced you to never watch this show. But guess what? THAT’S EXACTLY WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS SHOW. They make that work.

Chyeah. I know. Catch you on the flip undead side, Chipmunks!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

humor

I Owe You: Your Friday Palate Cleanser

I know I just made you watch a video of me stealing my dog’s vegan kibble and eating it.

Jules-eating-dog-food
Tastes great…less meaty!

I can’t believe you came back.

I love you so much.

As an apology and token of my affection, I’d like to offer you a palate cleanser.

IMG_20180319_222807519_LL.jpg
Wait for it…

You might recall from the aforementioned debauchery that my dog, Uncle Jesse, just turned 8 years old. And guess what? You can teach an old dog new tricks! A few years ago, I accidentally taught him how to stretch before our long walks. Recently I thought, “Wouldn’t it be helpful if he learned how to shake off all of this excess snow/water/disgusting street sludge before we get into the living room?”

IMG_20180321_104427297_HDR.jpg
Oh sure, it all looks fine and dandy right NOW…

I figured it would be a tough one, and yes, it’s taken Uncle Jesse a lot longer than usual to decipher my funny mouth sounds. Sometimes when I say, “Shake shake shake!” he sneezes. Sometimes it looks like this:

But now (…most of time)? Behold!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Have any favorite dog tricks?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Animals, Food, humor, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now, Uncle Jesse

That Time I Ate Dog Food

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you purchase the linked product, at no additional cost to you. I only ever link to products that I truly love. Like this.

Guess what? Today is Uncle Jesse’s 8th birthday!

And I thought, “What better way to honor him than to steal his food?”

As luck would have it, our latest shipment of V-Dog plant-based kibble just arrived!

V-dog-kibble-30-lb-bag
30 lbs. Also the exact amount of weight I’ve gained since entering grad school.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that this was one of my favorite vegan food hacks, albeit one enjoyed by my fur baby and not so much me.

Uncle-jesse-eating
Until (spoiler alert) NOW!

I was keenly aware of the bag’s poundage, and my own, as I lugged it up two long flights of stairs and into the tiny apartment.

In a recent post, I said that this plant-based kibble smelled so “decent,” and Uncle Jesse loves it so much, that I might actually try it myself. And that if I did, I would, of course, blog about it.

Because why stop at peeing on houses when you can still sink a little lower?

pee-cottage

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry.

…If this goes viral, I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it.

If you’d like to celebrate how much we love our furry families, and every kind of love, I hope you’ll consider doing what I just did and buy a copy of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s new children’s book, “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.” Proceeds go to The Trevor Project and AIDS United. (And if you really want to geek out, check out the line-up on the audio version!)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Just For Fun, Kvetching, New Jersey is breathtaking

Snow Many Women, Snow Little Time

Ah, snow.

pretty-snow

It blankets the drab and sometimes unforgiving world in a pristine swath of white, sparkling like a new beginning. You always know it’s going to snow because of the sky and the smell. And the stillness. The wind quiets and the clouds create an alabaster ceiling. If you breathe in deeply, your nostrils tingle with a chill that’s more inviting than foreboding, and you’ll catch the faintest hint of ice, a scent that’s almost impossible to describe.

Ah, snow.

snow-tree-down

God%^*&@#$^*!!!!

Every March the clock springs forward giving us more precious hours of sunlight, and at least in New Jersey, a crocus or two pops from the ground, winking and promising that Spring is nearly here.

crocus-stock-photo

We make plans, eagerly lugging our bicycles and gardening tools from the basement, and then Mother Nature says, “Psych!”

bad-snow-message-1

I suppose it makes sense that the ones who face Mother Nature’s wrath head on have something huge in common: gender.

During last week’s nor’easter, I received text after text from female friends and colleagues. It looked a little like this:

snow-girl-power-text-2

snow-girl-power-text-1

Over the next 24 hours, my gal pals rallied as they faced everything from:

Broken equipment…

snow blower deathsnowblower-death-2

snow-shoveling

…to driving 40+ miles to work…

snow-traffic

snow-girl-power-driving

…to fixing a broken generator…

snow-power-out

 

Yes, sir ma’am. These ladies put the “win” in “winter.”

bloody-snow-text

I’m hashtag blessed to have so many women in my life who handle Mother Nature’s little curveballs with poise wine, grace vodka, and humor. It doesn’t hurt that they now write blog posts for me, too.

How are ya’ll doing? Everybody good? Have (girl) power?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Food, Lists, Veganiness

Save Money and More: My Top 5 Vegan Food Hacks

Everywhere I turn, I hear people say, “How can I be more like Go Jules Go? What’s up with this vegan thing? What do you eat? Do you save money?”

I’ve only been vegan for two years, but I’ve been a foodie for 35 and counting, which means you can be dang sure I’ve found a way to eat fabulous fare even after parting ways with my old standbys, cheese and bacon.

Whether you’re interested in improving your health, spending less money, or putting your dollars towards preserving the planet and protecting animals, just a few vegan food choices here and there can truly rock (y)our world (and your wallet).

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you purchase the linked product, at no additional cost to you. I only ever link to products that I truly love. Like this.

Go Jules Go’s Top 5 Money-Saving Vegan Food Hacks

1. Frozen potato and onion pierogies

pierogies

Poppy’s brand pierogies are currently EIGHTY CENTS a package at my local New Jersey ShopRite. Caramelize an onion, maybe toss in some bell pepper or spinach, and put your carb-o-phobia on hold while you enjoy this filling meal for two. (I dip mine in ketchup…shhh.)

2. MUNG BEANS (yes, they demand all caps)

mung-beans

I buy these little green gems in bulk from Whole Foods and, when combined with onion, garlic, ginger and coconut milk, you have yourself a fine ass curry. They taste like a delicious split pea-bean hybrid, and they’re a nice change of pace from your standard lentils and legumes. (In fact, Just brand is coming out with a vegan scrambled egg liquid made out of mung beans!)

3. Peanut (satay) sauce 

peanut-sauce-bowl-2

Need I say more?  Use some of that leftover fresh garlic and ginger from your mung bean curry, and – bam! Put over pasta, stir fry, rice/grain bowls, even raw cabbage/veggies for a salad… you can’t go wrong. You can prepare ahead of time if you’re entertaining (it’s a major crowd-pleaser) and it even freezes pretty well. My go-to recipe is a lot like this, with some lime juice and cilantro thrown in.

IMG_4742
When it comes to peanut sauce, the sky’s the limit! (With Sriracha hearts because I’m a show-off.)

4. Banana ice cream

banana-ice-cream
What? You think it looks like… YOU’RE SO IMMATURE.

Do you like watching freezer-burned bananas turn into creamy dog doo deliciousness? This “recipe” is that magical! Peel a couple of ripe bananas, cut them into chunks, and pop them in the freezer for a few hours. (I don’t recommend leaving them in there for more than 24 hours.) Then, put them in a food processor and let it go. Wait at least a minute or two, and you’ll have yourself some silky smooth banana fro-yo. You can add chocolate chips, peanut butter, cocoa, strawberries, your lost dreams of ever working on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, whatever. It’s miraculous! (AND cheap. AND healthy. You’re welcome.)

5. V-Dog kibble

Uncle-jesse-v-dog

Hear me out. After gobs of research and learning that vets prescribe plant-based kibble to dogs with skin conditions, I switched my 8-year-old pooch, Uncle Jesse, to V-Dog. (Whereupon he immediately rejected the old stuff.) That was over a year ago and he’s crushing it, with a flawless bill of health from his normal vet. While this decision wasn’t financially driven, it turns out V-Dog costs about half of what I was spending on high-end animal-based kibble. (It smells so decent I might actually try it. If I do I promise to blog about it.)

vegan-Uncle-jesse

And because I love you – a bonus hack!

6. InstaPot Hummus

InstaPot
KNEEL BEFORE ME AND BEHOLD MY AWESOME POWER TO ROAST, RICE COOK, STEAM, PRESSURE COOK, STERILIZE, SEAR, SAUTEE, AND SLOW COOK!

If you’re one of the proud new owners of an InstaPot, the countertop multi-cooker on crack and Amazon’s #1 Christmas gift for “The Person You Care About But Also Resent Because They’re Implicitly Forcing You to Feed Into the Consumerist Machine to Prove Your Affection,” this recipe is for you! My manager who totally reads this blog and did I mention she is the cat’s meow? sent me this amazing InstaPot hummus recipe using dried chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans). The trick is using the warm, cooked beans and cooking liquid to whip ’em into a pillowy bean dream after they’re done in the iPot (I’m trademarking that). Grab a bag of dried chickpeas for about $1.00 and don’t do what I did yesterday, which is cave to convenience.

hummus-rip-off
Guess how much. No, no. Just guess. FOUR DOLLARS. FOUR. DOLLARS!!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Have you tried (or would you try) any of these? Have any other plant-based hacks?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Kvetching, New Jersey is breathtaking, PSAs

WTF? You’ve Been SERVED.

citation note pads

Earlier this week I told you about THOSE G.D. CHURCH BELLS that go off at ALL HOURS one block from my new apartment.

Church-bells

After four months in this neighborhood, I’m starting to wonder what the ever-loving chipmunks is going on. The church bells are just the beginning. Odder still, this town is a mere two miles from where I grew up, and yet it’s as if I’ve stepped into The Upside Down. Nothing here makes sense, and it’s starting to scare me.

stranger-things-winona-rider
New Jersey: As confounding as Winona Ryder’s comeback.

Since everyone else seems to have accepted this lunacy as status quo, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.

That’s right.

Go Jules Go, keeper of peace, server of justice, lover of being alone and eating peanut butter straight from the jar without any interruptions thank you very much, HAS ARRIVED.

Jules-old-timey-sheriff
Helloooo, sweet, cinnamon-swirly justice!

First order of business? Handing out citations to the town’s most egregious offenders. Aside from His-Church-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, behold:

CITATION #1

Wile-e-coyote

A few weeks ago, someone left -I’m not making this up- a red package labeled “TNT” on top of a mailbox on my block. A passerby notified the police, and within moments, the bomb squad arrived. These cartoonish hijinx shut down my street and kept me from enjoying the eight cases of wine I’d just purchased from Trader Joe’s for an entire hour.

WTF-citation-coyote

CITATION #2

sad-dessert

Hi. Meet my dessert. She comes from a restaurant around the corner from my apartment, where they also consider Bachelorette tea parties the height of merriment. Don’t they know it’s not dessert unless you hate yourself afterwards?

WTF-citation-dessert

CITATION #3

citation-tree

The town center’s crowning Christmas jewel, and the view from my living room all December long.

WTF-citation-tree

CITATION #4

And last, but certainly not least…

Neighbor-note-doctored

I found this note in my mailbox on Tuesday, from someone I had only briefly met when I first moved in. “Phoebe” later revealed her question via text: “Hey, would you be interested in swapping apartments [from your studio to my much more expensive 1-bedroom]? My boyfriend and I just broke up :(.”

WTF-citation-neighbor

I’m sure this won’t be the last of the nefarious acts in my new topsy-turvy world. Stay tuned. Stay vigilant. Stay safe. Sheriff Jules, over and out.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Any heinousness happening in your neighborhood?

~*~*~*~*~*~