What rejuvenates you?

I’ve always relished weekends as the opportunity to carve out my own “me” time. It’s an integral part to my week and something without which could easily send me over the edge. A few of my favorite things that constituted “me” time back in the summer and after which I felt so much more relaxed and rejuvenated (and optimistic, overall) included: running outdoors, a nice hot bath with epsom salt & coconut oil and sunbathing with a good book in hand.

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My typical runs along the Hudson River back in the summer in NYC – from Battery Park (in the Financial District) to piers nearby TriBeCa. The times when I made it this far were moments to be proud of!

As the number of hours of sunlight per day diminishes and I wake up with more frost on the grass, I’m seeking new ways to still partake in activities that make me feel good but don’t involve me cooking up a storm (as I generally tend to lean towards desserts). However, a couple things never fail to make me feel rejuvenated as these are completely guilt-free pleasures in which to partake:

  1. Spending time outdoors. There’s something about having the wind blow against your face, moving past your hair and being able to inhale fresh air while remarking on either the moody and turbulent nature of the clouds or the warmth of sun rays. I particularly love visiting parks wherever I am. While I was spoiled by being within 10 min walking distance of Battery Park back in NYC, I try to make the most of my weekends by getting my fiancé to drive me to a nearby park – Myrtle Edwards, Seward, and Green Lake are all spacious parks that have a route that makes it perfect for either pedestrians and runners alike to get moving. A 4-mile run yesterday from the utmost northern tip of Myrtle Edwards all the way down south to the Olympic Sculpture Park left me feeling so alive as I hadn’t seen that much of Downtown in the past several weeks.
  2. Watching a thought-provoking film. Had the chance to watch both Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (available on Netflix) and Cooking Up Dreams (view on YouTube here) this weekend. This was the first von Trier film I had ever watched and I thought the Tristan & Isolde musical score went perfectly with the unsettling nature of this particular end-of-the-world film. Cooking Up Dreams is a short hour-long documentary on Peru’s increasingly globally-popular and commercially successful gastronomical scene. It’s incredible the plethora of options Peruvians have available with which to experiment – fresh seafood from the coast, unique fruits indigenous to the Amazon forest, and the variety of methods for cooking meat (including with hot stones and then buried under the ground) are a testament to the widespread appeal and well-deserved popularity of Peruvian cuisine.

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    Photo courtesy of Hemsley & Hemsley
  3. Roasted veggies. No matter how healthy and beneficial a food can be, it’s inevitable that we can grow tired of it, especially if we eat it in the same way. Now that it’s approaching winter in the Northern Hemisphere, I’ve absolutely loved roasting vegetables and adding them to salads or eating them on their own. I’ve been obsessed with roasting a wide array of vegetable (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes are my favorite) after seeing this recipe by the Hemsley sisters’ weekly roast veggie dish (recipe here). Tonight for instance, I roasted two heads of broccoli and one sweet potato for dinner and it left me feeling satisfied for HOURS.

Recommended Post of the Day: Traveling Teaches Students in a Way School’s Can’t

Anyone who has traveled or studied abroad will know that traveling to other countries expands one’s viewpoint and in some cases, the experience causes a paradigm shift. While I believe there is much value in traveling to both first- and third-world countries on this planet, I was particularly struck by the validity of just how Anglo-centric school curriculums shape young minds in this country. But isn’t it amazing to think that a person who grew up in a rural area of the world that practices polytheism could just as easily been an Atheist had he/she been raised in a different culture with a completely different set of parents? The plasticity of the human mind never fails to amaze me sometimes.

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