Lately

School is back in session, and I am (slowly) getting back into the swing of things.  I’m still working as a middle school paraprofessional during the day and taking graduate classes towards my master’s in teaching at night, which means free time is more or less out the window until mid-December.  Despite the strain, I have a feeling that I’m really going to enjoy this semester.  I get to take all of my content area classes this semester, which means I can let my English geek out to play a bit….which I am embarrassingly excited about.  I’m even taking a creative writing class; it was a risky move for me, but I’m looking forward to see what I come up with!

Even though this semester will doubtless be a busy one, I fully intend to plan out my time well enough to still allow for plenty of fun on the weekends.  I didn’t do a great job of that last semester, and I found that I burned myself out way too quickly.  It is so important to find a happy balance between work and leisure, and I’m going to try my best to find mine this fall.

In the spirit of making time for fun, I checked out the Vegan Food Truck Festival this past weekend with some girlfriends.  While I was the only plant-based diner in the group, my friends were just as excited as I was to try out some new and interesting vegan cuisine.  

{sadly, this was a short line!}

Located in Cambridge, the festival housed about ten trucks and a beer tent.  I think the plethora of options led to our rookie mistake of breaking up into different lines to buy things that we individually wanted.  I waited in one line for 25 minutes only to learn that the one dish I wanted to buy was sold out when it was my turn to order!  I ended up hopping into one more line and only sampled food from one truck that day.  If I learned anything about food truck festival-ing this weekend it was this: ALWAYS divide and conquer.  Looking back, I think that we would have been able to get much more out of the festival if we chose a few trucks that we all wanted to try, and each waited in a different line to buy a bunch of dishes to bring back to the group to share.  Next time!   

{victory looks like lentil pie}
{so a vegan and a carnivore walk into a food truck festival…}
Despite the long lines and not being able to sample everything we wanted, the day was a blast.  I mean, how can you complain about eating delicious vegan food on a beautiful Boston day with some of your best friends?
   {witches? not sure…uncomfortable.}

Sunday was brunchy and deliciously lazy.  I wanted about eight more of these Bloody Mary’s.
{T and a bloody}

What do you do to unwind?  Did you do any food truck festival advice?  I’d love to hear all about it!
Until next time!
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"Dear Fat People": A Response

I know I’m probably a little late to the game, but today I had the misfortune to stumble across “Dear Fat People,” a YouTube video uploaded by Nicole Arbour.  I will not degrade my blog with a link to this sad and disappointing excuse of a “comedic” video clip, but I will share my thoughts about it.

Long story short, don’t waste any of your time watching it.  All you’re missing is a sad woman making fun of morbidly obese people’s bodies and trying to justify her remarks by claiming that she’s merely concerned about their health.  Right.  I should disclose that I could not make it through the entire clip, so I cannot speak to the last two to three minutes of video.  I can however discuss the four or so minutes that I did watch, and I have so much to say.  

Firstly, body shaming of any sort should no longer be accepted as funny or even excusable.  I do not care if someone is being made fun of for being too fat, too skinny, too blonde, too pimply, too muscular…whatever it is!  Poking fun at other people’s bodies is not only grossly unfunny, but is significantly harmful.  While Ms. Arbour seems to think that her “jokes” aimed at obese people are justified because she wants them to be “healthy,” I am defiantly not laughing or agreeing with her.  

While I am not obese, I can certainly relate to feelings of shame due to jokes aimed towards my body.  Like millions of other people, I got teased in middle school due to a chunkier frame, and will always vividly remember a peer telling me that I “really needed to lose some weight” in 8th grade French class.  I have cried over my weight, felt ashamed when wearing a bathing suit at the beach, and agonized over how I looked in certain styles of clothing.  It’s no secret that these struggles would have felt trivial or even nonexistent had I not been teased in middle school, or raised in a culture where being “perfect” is everything.  

Even while I have and still occasionally feel terrible about my own body, I can only imagine how the targets of Arbour’s video feel.  Again, I repeat, THIS IS NOT OKAY, FUNNY, OR ACCEPTABLE.  Instead of making groups of people feel negatively about themselves and their bodies, maybe Ms. Arbour should have made a video that promoted treating yourself well and working towards a healthier lifestyle.  For the record, healthy is NOT synonymous with skinny, and sick is not synonymous with fat.  Instead of shaming people into making “healthy” decisions (Arbour suggests that fat people just stop eating altogether), maybe we should try *gasp* actually promoting body confidence in a real and doable way.  If we are taught to love our bodies, wouldn’t it make more sense to treat them well?
This being said, I do believe that people whose weight is leading to severe health problems (which can be true of “heavy” AND “skinny” people) should heed medical advice that guides them towards a truly safer and healthier life.  However, these lifestyle decisions are intensely personal and are the sole business of the individual.  Additionally, a person’s size, even if considered medically dangerous by some, should NOT render him or her as unworthy of self-love and acceptance from others.   

 It is certainly not Arbour’s place to post disgusting videos on YouTube that target fat people in the name of pushing them to be healthy.  Her clip is cruel, judgmental, indecent, and a shame.  I want to see videos like hers banned from the Internet and replaced by videos of people of all shapes and sizes promoting healthy lifestyles that everyone can achieve.  I want to see a community of these people promoting workouts to strengthen our minds and bodies, healthy recipes to nourish us, and body-positive messages to make our souls and spirits sing.  While it is true that some people, both big and small, should strive to better themselves in the name of all-around health (and not a number on the scale), Arbour’s fat-shaming method is sure as hell not the way to go about sparking those changes.  Only love can do that.

Bachelorette Weekend (Not for Me)

In a little over a month, one of my nearest and dearest will marry her high school sweetheart!  While I started noticing a year or two ago that EVERYONE my age that I knew from high school and college seems to be popping the question or rocking a ring, Lauren is my first close friend to walk down the aisle.  Needless to say that I am over-the-moon happy for her, but it still feels strange to watch her move through all of the rituals that go along with getting married.  Even though I’m not the one saying “I do” quite yet, watching my friend get married makes me feel like more of an adult, and leaves me reflecting on how much my friends and I have all grown up without our noticing.  Lauren’s wedding won’t only be the most magical day of her life, but will also mark a new era in our circle of friends.  I can’t wait to see what waits for me, for all of us, in this new age of so-called ‘adulthood.’

Behind every good wedding is a great bachelorette party, and we threw Lauren’s this past weekend.  Between enjoying a mead tasting (I was skeptical about drinking it, but I left the meadery with two souvenir bottles in tow to enjoy with T), indulging in girl-talk and junk food in a cabin in the woods, and showering the bride with naughty gifts and a blow-up doll with Jon Snow’s face***, I think it’s safe to say that the evening was a success, and Lauren has everything she needs in her new life as a wife!

 {toast to the bride!}
 {champagne cheers, post mead drinking}
 {inappropriate penis crowns are the best crowns}
 {you know nothing, Jon Snow}
And of course, no matter how much fun I have with my ladies, I’m always so glad to come home to these two.  I mean, come on.
{T and Daisy}  

Do you have any fun Bachelorette party stories or ideas? I would love to hear about them!


***As fun and hilarious as blow-up dolls are, this is the only picture I had of him without his, ermmm, equipment showing.  I wanted to keep it classy(ish) like that!
  

Summer’s End

{swingin}

This past weekend one of my best friends, Liz, trekked from Brooklyn to Boston for some much needed girl time!  Her visit was a good excuse for a group of our old mutual friends, both from college and high school, to get together in the city and catch up.  The highlight of the weekend was a trip to Lawn on D in Boston…which is basically a huge playground with these awesome swings that light up at night, plus-sized Jenga, and lawn games galore.  Oh, and did I mention they have a bar that serves up wine and beer at night?  It’s basically the perfect place to release your inner child while sipping on a delicious IPA, which is more or less my idea of heaven.  If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out while the summer weather is still here!
Girls weekend was just what I needed to wrap up the summer before school starts TOMORROW!  I’m more excited for this year then I ever have been for a first day of school for two reasons: I’m working with the same group of students (who I love to pieces) for the third year in a row AND I get to start my own student teaching in the spring!  It feels like everything is falling into place perfectly in my career, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  I can only hope that my students, present and future, are as enthusiastic as I am!
Do you know of any cool places to visit in Boston? Have any good first day of school stories? I’d love to hear about them!
Until next time!