Love Actually

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       “Distance is just a test to see how far love can travel…”

Love, it is a funny thing. It comes when you least expect it and it stays when you need it most. Love is the meeting of two souls, fully accepting the dark and the light within each other bound by the courage to grow through struggle into bliss. It is more than just a word or material things…love is, well… multifaceted, delightfully complicated yet simple, and above all it is wonderful. You know that moment when someone is trying to tell you something, but you don’t know what it is? Where you think you aren’t going to ever be able to have that certain thing you have been looking for so you just give up and say fuck it? Then all of a sudden it just…well happens? That basically describes this whole situation, at least basically.

I have had a rough time in the dating world. Unlike most of the population that is focused on external things and not much for rocking the boat, I on the other hand have a more old fashioned way of seeing things…with a dash of a modern twist, of course. I love deeply, I think deeply (and often), I feel deeply, and I have a more grand understanding of what is going on around me than most of the people I have come into contact with. I do understand that having a brain, plus being relatively attractive does make me a bit intimidating. I have scared the shit out of many men, I have made many a man mad, and I also have caused many a man to turn into a beast and make a total ass of himself (not on purpose, mind you). I hate to say it, but I kinda gave up on love for that very reason…almost. Not completely, but I was rather fed up, to say the least.

How did it happen? Well, it goes a little something like this… I received a message from someone who was in town for furniture market and wanted to hang out. Needless to say, I bit for a moment, but decided maybe it wasn’t a good idea to get involved with someone who wasn’t going to be around for very long. So, I went about my business as usual. Then, one fine day while I was working a very handsome man decided to show up to the store. I admired his ensemble and thought he looked rather dashing in his “where’s waldo” like hat. Once I got a good look at him though, I realized i had seen this man before…but not in person. I watched as he looked about puzzled through the store, occasionally giving me glances with the same thought I had rolling around in my head. “Who are you and why do I know you?” He walked up to the register and I was blunt and said, “Are you here for furniture market?”

He replyed, “Yes, I am.” “Are you a photographer?” “Yessss…I am.” he said puzzled. “I think you messaged me.” “Yes, I think I did…” “Hi….my name is Michelle and it’s nice to meet you.” I waved my hand in a slow circle. “Hi, my name is Jeffery and it’s nice to meet you.” We both laugh a little bit at the situation, make idle chitchat about kombucha, and then said we should talk more. then he left. Needless to say, I was a bit taken aback at the randomness and highly unlikely situation that just occurred in the past 10 minutes. I received a message a little bit later saying, “Well, now that we have met in person, would you like to hang out tomorrow?” Of course I said yes…and so we met for crepes the next day.

I wore my hair curly and donned my favorite sweater-dress that had a fox on it, along with cowgirl boots because I just got off of work. He just being off work as well wore a very nice red plaid aztecy button down and jeans. We talked over a vegan crepe. He had coffee and I had Le Croix. We decided to take my car to head to the “big city” of Winston and I took the back roads. I showed him around a few of my favorite spots, grabbed a cup of coffee that was a bit too hot so I made it into ice coffee, then settled on having drinks at a few of my favorite bars. He let me try his scotch while I had an old fashioned. We talked the night away, laughed and shared stories. Later a girl came by and he bought me a rose, which he said were his favorite. We kissed…and in that very moment I knew this was different than anything I had ever experienced in my entire life. I had fireworks, my heart lit up like a Christmas tree, and I felt a warmth that I had never imagined was possible. Everything just stopped…and the rest is history.

We have been talking ever since and even though we don’t live very close, the passion is still there. We message, talk on the phone, send random e-mails and pictures of what we are doing, share songs that we think the other would like, and even watch movies together (at the same time at least). If distance makes the heart grow fonder, I will go ahead and say that is a damn true statement. I honestly cannot wait to see him again and the feeling is mutual. I don’t know where this road is going to lead me, but I am going to go with it because I feel like there is some higher forces in the cosmos at work here. Love is an amazing thing and I am glad it happened over kombucha in a small town during furniture market with a one in a billion chance. My dreams are leading me there, so lets see how it goes. Namaste.

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Embracing Uncertainty

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“I know nothing with certainty, but the site of the stars makes me dream.” –Van Gogh

As I mentioned in my last post, I am planning on moving to New York. For me, this is a huge step because I have never lived anywhere else other than the small town of Winston-Salem. Granted, I have traveled a lot and I get asked all the time why I am still here. But you know what? I am ready for this…mostly. I still have a lot to plan and have to hammer out all the details in the process. The good news is I have the support emotionally to be able to do this. I think the biggest challenge for me is…well, myself.

We all do it, we hold ourselves back. Sometimes more often than others. Why? It is the whole, “I have no idea what is going to happen, so I am just going to play it safe and keep all my I’s dotted and T’s crossed.” This whole year has basically turned my view point on its head. From changing jobs, meeting new people, new relationships, traveling like crazy, the way I eat, and deciding what to do with myself I basically have no other choice but to let go and embrace the unknown. I can’t play it safe anymore, I just cannot do it. I am meant for greener pastures and have the ability to do whatever I choose to do. I don’t care what anyone else has to say, I have to believe it for myself. So, I am making it a point to actually do that.

When you embrace what scares you the most, then you have no choice but to surrender and let go. For me, it is embracing failure. If I don’t try, then I don’t fail, but in the end I did fail because I never tried at all. I want to be a yoga instructor and guru. I want to help people though the ancient practice of Yoga and Ayurveda. I want to travel the world doing what I love and I can and will do it, dammit. If your dreams don’t scare you, then they are not big enough…or so the saying goes. So, if I fail to do that then that is perfectly okay. I am sure that something better will arise if it does not happen, but I am going after my dreams regardless.

So, ask yourself, what scares you the most and why? What are you holding yourself back from? Make it a point to recognize it, accept that it is fear, and then take the steps to let it go. After all, most fears are not based in reality and it is pointless to hold onto them. Namaste.

 

Reevaluation

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“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
― Gautama Buddha, Sayings Of Buddha

Well, that was a bit of a hiatus, to say the least. Hi all, I am back. Life got the better of me for a little while and because of that, I really couldn’t bring myself to blog. I did, however, write quite a bit. It just was more for myself and my own musings so I could figure out where I was. In that time I have found a steady job (go me!) at a local health food store called The Only Earth in High Point, North Carolina as well as had my figure modeling take off. I have painted, traveled, done lots of photography, learned lots of different recipes, dated a few people, and met some really interesting individuals along the way.

I also have decided to undertake my yoga teacher certification and am trying to plan my Exodus of North Carolina to greener (or more concrete) pastures of New York City. Yep, that is right… This small town girl is going to make it in the Big Apple. Why? Well, I have a few reasons. One of them being that it has been calling my name since I visited back in September of 2012. As soon as I was on the bridge and started walking on the streets, I knew I was home. The rush, the liveliness, the smells, the people, just all of it. I HAD to go back.

Another reason is because every single person I have come into contact with has asked me why the hell I was here and why haven’t I gone somewhere else. “You are too smart, pretty, cultured, amazing, [insert other reason/complement here] to be here. What in God’s name is holding you back?!?!?!” Needless to say, I really haven’t had an excuse except fear. Fear of failing, fear of the unknown, fear of making a mistake, and most of all the fear of disappointment. I have known for a very long time that, yes, I don’t really fit in around here. But, instead of just wallowing in the uncertainty, I am just going to put on my big girl britches and do it.

My final reason is because…well the opportunity has arrived, more or less. You know when you really want something, but you never think you are going to get it, so you just avoid it? Then the Universe just smacks you upside the face and goes, “HEY! YOU! This is what you want so have at it. You’re welcome.” Then you just stand there a bit flabbergasted and then you run with it because you know deep down you CAN and WILL make it happen? Yeah, that kinda happened. I am going to leave that one there for now and explain later in more detail because one blog post will not do it justice.

So, that is where I am at in life. Am I scared? Maybe a little bit. Will I let my fears get in the way of things? Hell no! I am probably the happiest I have been in a very long time because frankly, I am going after what I want. That being said, I am trying to revamp said blog, so if you see some changes ascetically, then that is why. Stay tuned, I will be writing more often now that I actually have my head screwed on properly. Namaste!

Where to Eat in Winston-Salem (Camino Bakery)

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“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy cupcakes and that is kinda the same thing.” -Unknown

If you are looking for a good cup of coffee and awesome baked goods in Winston-Salem, then you should check out Camino. It is located on Fourth Street right near the intersection of 4th and Cherry Street, right in the heart of Down Town. This is one of my absolute favorite spots to go and hang out. I come here quite often and the staff  have a habit of remembering locals, which is very nice. The staff is very friendly and upbeat and absolute geniuses when it comes to coffee creations. They always are changing up the menu with the seasons AND they can make just about any drink vegan.

The other big plus is not only do they use local ingredients for all of their drinks and baked goods, they have both soy and almond milk. I am a big fan of almond milk and you can’t get almond milk in most places in Winston. Not exactly sure why, since it is about the same price as soy milk… Most of the baked goods (sadly) are not vegan. They do have Vegan Cupcake Mondays and make enough for the next day or so (depending on how fast they are bought) which is really nice. They also sell sandwiches for lunch, which are made in house, and they do occasionally have vegan ones depending on the day. They are looking to expand their menu so I am very hopeful and can’t wait to see what they come up with.

The other awesome thing is they stay open the latest out of all the coffee places in Winston. Monday through Thursday they are open from 7AM to 11PM, Friday and Saturday from 7AM to Midnight and then Sunday from 8AM to 8PM. They have an excellent beer and wine menu with different specials throughout the week. Plus they do occasionally have wine tasting and block parties during the summer. So, if you are looking for a chill spot with awesome service, this is your place. It is very popular among the college students and townies alike, so stop on by the next time you are in town. Hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

Where to Eat in Chapel Hill (411 West)

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“Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco. (translation) Not all donuts come with a hole.” –Italian Saying

Looking for some yummy Italian food while on Franklin Street? 411 West is probably your best bet if you are looking for atmosphere and great service. We ended up stumbling upon this lovely gem because Butternut Squash (vegetarian) and Lime and Basil (Vietnamese) were both closed. The odds of both of those places not being open made me a bit upset, however I am not complaining in the least bit. I normally don’t eat Italian food because I have been a bit spoiled with having friends that are from Napoli, Italy and them knowing how to make authentic food from scratch. I am sorry, but Olive Garden just doesn’t cut it.

I will say, this place did make quite an impression on me. First off, the decor and the indoor patio/garden room are amazing, not to mention romantic. I really enjoyed the lighting because it was quite a warm day so it ALMOST felt like we were eating outside, but without all the bugs and pollen. They brought us out bread and butter (in which I did not partake in the butter) and I had awesome sparkling water with lime while Bryce had the in house made citriusaid, which was quite tasty! They had a fantastic wine list as well and we both had a glass of the Malbec which had been recently added. I really liked the fact that they gave details about each of the wines on the list so you could get a feel for what you’re getting before you order it.

I started off with a wood-grilled pear salad. Can you say amazing? Local mixed greens with grilled pears, walnuts and in house made balsamic dressing. It was suppose to come with gorgonzola but I opted out of having cheese (of course). It was probably the best damn salad I have had in a good while. For my entree I had the roasted wild mushrooms over a polenta cake with hazelnut-butter and rosemary. Yes, it was vegan and yes, it was fricken tasty! The meatiness of the mushrooms was so rich and it melded to well with the creaminess of the polenta. I need to learn how to make that…it was that good. I didn’t get to taste Bryce’s dish because it wasn’t vegan, but from what I could tell it was a small version of a handmade personal pizza with a flaky crust. It looked quite yummy.

I did cheat a bit and had dessert which wasn’t vegan, but we ordered the dessert sampler so I only had a bite or 2 of each thing. I didn’t get sick either afterwards probably for that very reason. I think they didn’t have that much dairy in them to begin with…but no dairy for awhile. It included the key lime pie, millionaire’s pie, chocolate gelato, and creme brulee. They were all decent, but I am still fond of vegan desserts more so. They did have sherbet though so I will be having that next time to satisfy my sweet tooth. In short though, if you want a restaurantthat appeases both carnivores and herbivores alike, this is a safe bet.

We went during lunch, but from what I have gathered the place is popping at night and is a great place to go for Sunday brunch. So next time you get a pasta craving, go here. I hope you all enjoy and Namaste! (more pics of the food below)

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Where to eat in Chapel Hill? Red Lotus Asian Kitchen

“Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.”–Ancient Chinese proverb
So yesterday I took a lovely little excursion to Chapel Hill. While visiting, the plan was to go to a lovely little vegetarian restaurant called Sage Cafe. Sadly, it was closed, but we did end up discovering a hidden gem while on the search for food. We though sushi would be a good idea, but ended up at The Red Lotus Asian Kitchen. Can you say Best Chinese Food Ever?
First off, I cook a ton of authentic Chinese food at home. I have never had authentic Chinese out and about; it has always been Americanized which makes me rather sad. I thought for a long time if you wanted REAL Chinese, you have to go to a huge city like NYC or San Fran to get it. WRONG!!! Only an hour or so away from my house. *does happy dance* From the outside, it just looks like another strip mall food place, but once I stepped in and saw 3 Chinese newspapers from today just sitting there on the table I knew I was going to be impressed.
It was quite busy for a Sunday night, the staff was friendly and answered all the questions I had, and it just felt homey. The tea was excellent, not the bagged kind you get at most Asian restaurants, but the real stuff that had the powder from the leaves  that came out in the last cup. We ordered some veggie pot stickers that were pan fried and the sauce was even made from scratch. I really enjoyed the fact they could make ANYTHING on the menu with tofu or “soy chicken” and they could even veganize some of the soups too. 🙂
So I had the Honey Glazed Walnut Soy Chicken with brown rice and Bryce had the San Shan Jan Pong Noodles. Can you say AMAZING? Both of them were quite tasty and I am sad I didn’t have any leftovers to bring home. I will defiantly be going back. I think anyone who enjoys Chinese food should check this place out, herbivores and canivors alike. I hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

Art in Winston-Salem (March Art Hop)

A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.–Oscar Wilde

Here are some of the pics from the Art Hop on Friday. These are a few pieces from Delurk Gallery. All in all I was quite impressed, but I didn’t get to take as many photos as I would have liked. This was my favorite collection though and that is what matters. Enjoy and Namaste!