July 2012 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Change. Oops, made you cringe. Why does change stir us up so much? Change is a part of life. Everything undergoes change. Think of a butterfly. At first it is just a cool caterpillar doing its thing, living its life. Then there comes a time when it has to leave its old life behind and move on. Does it want to change? I don't know, I'm not a caterpillar. But it's the natural way of life. The little guy must build a cocoon and then metamorphosizes into a butterfly. 

Today I underwent a huge change in my life. So I guess I'm a butterfly too. If I'm being honest with you, I'm not completely stoked on it. However, I can't let that get me down. And don't let change get you down either! Change happens. Actually, change already happened. 

We can be stuck in the past and spend the day/week/month/eternity thinking about how things used to be. Unfortunately, there are no time machines (that I know of). The past is the past. Don't be saddened or bummed by it. Learn from it. Grow from it. Keep living your life and drive forward not backward.

Art of the Streets: Seattle Edition

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Street art is awesome. Art is on walls, the back of signs, the ground. It's all public, like an enormous free museum. Someone took the time out of their day to make it and display it anonymously. Some are stickers, some are stencils, some are drawn by hand, but all are rad. Kick back and take a look. Enjoy the art of the streets.

Hey! What's up, guys? For this installation Art of the Streets, I've got street art from the wonderful city of Seattle. It's definitely a change from super sunny California, but I'm always down to mix it up. So I was trekking the streets and kept an eye out for graffiti and street art. Here are my favorites. Hope you enjoy. Keep smiling. Have an extremely legit day. 

Murder is unacceptable. Don't do it.

The Delirium Diaries: Part II

Thursday, July 12, 2012

As you may or may not know, I am a writer. What I write about, however, ranges dramatically. I can conjure up a well-researched news article. I can interview cool folks for a feature. But I can also get creative. My mind wanders and I'm often lost in my own world. All the books and movies really aided my imagination, I'd say.

I keep a notebook where I  collectively pen my thoughts. I've noticed that the later I stay up, the crazier and more intriguing I write. And I created a special title for those late night (or is it early morning?) writing sessions. I called it The Delirium Diaries. 

Where is The Delirium Diaries - Part I, you ask? Well, it's tucked safely in my notebook, for my eyes only. Why? Not everything I come up with is a masterpiece, sometimes it's just silly or stupid or simply too personal. But some I will share and Part II is a prime example.

50 Things To Do When You're Bored

Sunday, July 08, 2012

We're human. We all get bored from time to time. But don't waste even more of your life by sitting on the computer. Stay psyched with this rad list of things to do when you've got nothing better to do. It's okay. We all have those days. Sometimes you feel like you aren't accomplishing anything. Sometimes you feel slightly unmotivated. Now it's time to get up and do something! Here's an idea: cross off all 50 things from this list. Try to do as much as you can in one day or take it slow. It depends how bored you are.

1. Walk in the park- The weather is nice. The sun is out. The temperature is warm. You'd be a fool not to spend the day outside! Put on some comfortable shoes and get trekking! You can do a simple stroll through the neighborhood or venture farther. Locate your nearest park and enjoy the scenery. 

2. Pick fresh fruit - Take a break from your ordinary trip to the grocery store. Hand pick your fruit from a tree, bush, plant. Blackberries, blueberries, cherries, figs, grapes, lemons, nectarines, oranges, peaches, raspberries and strawberries are in season right now.

2. Pick fresh fruit - Can't go wrong with fresh strawberries.

8. Take a trip to the library - Run on down to Seattle Public Library for example.

14. Write a letter - Katie was stoked when she received my letter.

16. Make a sandwich - Experiment with the ingredients in your fridge. Mustard? Spinach? Avocado? Olives? Cucumber? Strawberries? Hummus? Falalfel? Try something new!
17. Make a smoothie - Same as above. Add a variety of fruit, ice and some soy milk, coconut milk or almond milk and you're practically there. Snazz it up with cinnamon, flax seeds or vanilla.
19. Read the news - Are you aware of what's going on around you? What happened yesterday? What's happening right now? Read a newspaper and find out. 
20. Play a board game - Life. Monopoly. Cranium. Scrabble. Clue.
21. Visit a botanical garden - There's such a vast variety of flowers, trees, plants and shrubbery out there. Take a trip to a garden and view some of nature's most beautiful creations. 
22. Try a new food - Seitan? Swiss chard? Surinam cherry? Broaden your horizons. Be adventurous. Eat something new!
22. Try a new food - Vegan chili fries? Don't mind if I do...

23. Go to the dollar theatre - Maybe it's $1 or $3, doesn't really matter. It's cheap and just as good. Going to a regular theatre can cost over $11 these days. That's ridiculous. 
24. Drink a glass of water - It's good for you. It's great for you! But how much do you drink per day? Water is imperative to all living life forms. Water flushes out toxins from vital organs and carries nutrients to cells. Go grab a glass and gulp.
25. Count your change - Sort your quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Then count them  out and put them in rolls. Next time you're at the bank exchange the rolls of coins for cash. Ca-ching!!
26. Learn a new word - Expand your vocabulary. Dictionary.com has a Word of the Day. You could also flip open a book until you find a word you don't know. Look it up!
27. Play with your pet - I'm sure your dog, cat, bird, rabbit, snake, rat, turtle would adore some attention from you. If you don't have a pet, I know you know someone who does.
27. Play with your pet - Pebbles appreciates the lovin'.

28. Invite a friend over - Have a spontaneous day or night (or both) with a pal. What's the point of your cell phone if you don't utilize the contacts that you've been hoarding all these years? Call people up until someone agrees to hang out with you. 
29. Jot down a To Do List - Grab a pen and paper. Scribble down everything you want/need/must get done within the 7 days. Buy groceries? Do laundry? Wash the car? Finish building the toolshed? 
30. Do what's on your To Do List - Chip away at the list. Cross each one off once you're done. Prepare to feel accomplished.
31. Donate your clothes - Go through your wardrobe. Get rid of the items you haven't worn in over a year (and can't see yourself wearing anytime soon).
32. Pen a poem - You've got feelings, right? Express yourself...with words. You'd be amazed how thoughtful you can be once you take time to write down how you feel. It can feel silly if you aren't comfortable writing a poem, but try. If you're feeling up to it, write something deep, something personal. Let it out.
33. Smell the roses - Literally. Go sniff a rose or a flower of some sort. They smell heavenly. Pick one petal as a souvenir. 
33. Smell the roses - They smell bomb!

34. Jam to some music - Close the computer and listen to some music. Use an iPod, CD, radio or any music player. Blast your favorite tunes, the louder the better. Jam! Thrash! Mosh! Dance! Do whatever the music tells your body to do.
35. Volunteer - Don't have a go-to organization to volunteer at? Click here to search. Simply input your interests (example: animals, military families, hunger) and your area code and they'll match one that suits you. 
36. Buy a plant - It just livens up the place a bit, gives you some fresh air. You can get a succulent, flower or whatever catches your eye. Some are quite cheap. It's a fab way to decorate the house as well as help your health.
37. Do a mini workout - Get your heart pumping for a few minutes. Do this: 50 jumping jacks. 50 squats (25 with each leg). 50 crunches. 20 pushups.
38. Clean out the fridge - How old is that salsa? How long have those leftovers been there? Yeah...it's time to clean and toss.
39. Take a self-portrait - You'll look different in a year. You'll look way different in  10 years. And you'll look extremely different in 20 years. Document your life. Aim the camera at your mug and smile. Remember what you looked like today.
39. Take a self-portrait - My beautiful face.

40. Make handmade popcorn - It's super easy and even more tasty! Click here to learn to make your popcorn. All you need: corn kernels, pot, oil. Add salt and pepper, vegan butter or my personal favorite, chocolate chips. 
41. Read a book - If there's a book that's been sitting unread on your bookshelf for years, today is the day to crack that baby open. Flip to that first page and dedicate 20 minutes to reading.
42. See a foreign film - Practice your Spanish. Watch that strange French movie you heard about. How about a German film? There are a lot of options out there.
43. Doodle, draw or paint - Get your creative juices flowing.
44. Recycle your bottles and cans - Don't toss them. Recycle! Keep them separate from the trash. Be sure to rinse them out to prevent gnats and stinky smells. Search online to find the nearest recycling center to you and you can earn a few bucks.
45. Meditate - Turn everything off. Turn off your cellular device, the computer, the tablet, the music makers and other electronics. Do your best to clear your mind. Close your eyes. Listen to the silence. Really listen to it. Pay attention to your breathing. Be aware as you inhale and exhale. Know each breath. 
45. Meditate - Let peace wash over you.

46. Save $10 - Save $10 for later that is. Stash your cash or get some to stash. Put $10 in a jar, tighten the lid and save it for another day when you're really, really bored.
47. Develop some photos - Choose some photographs to get developed. It's more personal to have one physical photograph hanging in your room than 10,000 images on a computer screen. You can frame a couple or scrapbook them, if you're into that sort of thing.
48. Create a craft- Be a tree-hugger and reuse what you currently possess to concoct something new. I have three ideas for you: 1. A picture frame using trinkets you've been collecting. 2. A do it yourself aroma spray to freshen up your room. 3. A reconstruction to liven up an old shirt. Here's an archive of everything from Carmen's Crafts.
49. Go on a hike - No, not just a walk. Go on an arduous, lengthy, sweat-inducing, uphill battle hike.
50. Sit on a bench - Search until you find one. When you do, sit your bum down. Perch yourself on that bench and just ponder.

3. Make your bed - Is it made? If you're anything like me, probably not. Start your day off in a productive mood. Straighten your sheets. Fluff your pillow. Display your stuffed animal collection.

4. Wink at a stranger -  Take it a step further than simply smiling at a stranger. Wink!

5. Smile at yourself -  “If you smile when you are alone, then you really mean it.” ― Andy Rooney

6. Go to a record store - There are some excellent records out there. You just have to spend some time flipping through them. I got a Van Halen record for $1 at Burger Records. What a steal! It's practically a crime. 

7. Call a relative - Phone up a family member or try to see them in person. It's a fabulous day to chat with your aunt or grandpa. How are they? How's the family? Where are they working now? Anything new and exciting going on in their life? I'm sure they'd love to hear from you.

8. Take a trip to the library - Remember when you used to go to the library all the time when you were a kid? Continue your literacy. Traipse on over to your local public library and take a gander at the thousands of pages of literature at your disposal. Check out five books.

9. Get a haircut - Snip. Snip. It's been getting too long anyway.  Just go for a trim or get a completely new 'do. Switch it up!

10. Go on a jog - Okay, you may want to save this for a non-scorching day. You can do this in the evening, once it starts to cool off. Get some cardio. Break a sweat. Remember: exercise is a good thing. You don't have to sprint, just do enough to raise your heart rate.

11. Nap in the sun - The definition of perfection, no?

12. Watch the entire _____ series Lord of the Rings? Godfather? Matrix? Indiana Jones? Back to the Future? Harry Potter? Star Wars? Die Hard? Jurassic Park? Pirates of the Caribbean? Austin Powers? Twilight? Watch an entire series. That ought to occupy your mind for many, many, many hours.

13. Organize your closet - There's got to be a more efficient way to store all those clothes. And there is! It's called organization. Take everything out ― yes, everything ― and start fresh. How do you want to store your stuff? By color? By garment-type? By season? It's up to you.

14. Write a letter - When was the last time you did that, huh? After you're done writing the letter, get an envelope. Put a stamp on the envelope. Put that envelope in the mail.

15. Have a pool party - Invite your friends and neighbors. Bring some sunscreen, snacks, drinks and tunes to stay awesome. Then you can splish splash all day. Pools rule!

18. Breathe - Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and then exhale. Do that 10 times. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

That's all, folks. Tell me which ones (if any) amuse you!
Peace. Love. Good vibes. Seize the day.
All photos by Carmen Varner.

Strawberry Summer Salad with Key Lime Vinaigrette

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Salad doesn't have to be boring! It's not all lettuce and tomatoes! If you're tired of salad, you're doing it wrong. This is a sweet out-of-the-ordinary salad perfect for serving on a hot summer's day. This refreshing salad pairs fresh fruits with fresh ingredients. The fragrant strawberries and tart juice of the limes tantalize the taste buds. Try this easy cheap vegetarian recipe! 

Strawberry Summer Salad with Key Lime Vinaigrette 

For the salad:
4 Persian cucumbers
2 carrots
8 strawberries

Key Lime Vinaigrette Dressing:
2 key limes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of salt & pepper

  1. Simply chop cucumbers, carrots and strawberries. Mix together and add to a bowl.
  2. Cut key limes in half. Squeeze into bowl of minced veggies.
  3. Toss in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  4. Add a pinch of salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Bon Appétit!

5 Things To Do This July 4th

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy birthday, America! Today we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence, signed hundreds of years ago on July 4th, 1776. Relish in the day. Every day is a cause for celebration.  So why not enjoy the 4th? Have fun and stay safe this holiday!

5 Things To Do This July 4th:
  1. Host a (vegan) BBQ 
  2. Watch fireworks
  3. Wear red, white and blue
  4. Sing a patriotic song
  5. Spend time with friends & family

Needs some last-minute meal ideas? Here you go...



Dessert ideas:

Sparkling Grapefruit Juice

Monday, July 02, 2012

Here in the U.S., specifically in Southern California, the temperatures have been on the rise. Sun-kissed skin turns to sun-baked skin in this heat. Stay cool during the summer with an invigorating drink. Sparkling grapefruit juice is a fabulous choice to go with if I do say so myself. It's more tart than other juices, which is refreshing. It's perfect for serving for a gathering with family and friends or at a picnic at the park or just chugging at home.

- Grapefruit juice
- Sparkling water
- Ice
- Your favorite glass

I prefer my drinks less sugary. To make it the way I did: add 1 part juice, 1 part sparkling water. If you like your drink sweet, mix 2 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part sparkling water.

Enjoy this with friends over a movie. Add vodka for an adult night!


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