A Brand New 36 year old’s Reflection: 30’s vs. 20’s

I remember my mom, as well as several other women older than I, saying that they still felt like they were 25 but just in an older body. It true! Well, sort of.

Let’s compare 25 year old me to the just turned 36 year old me (yes, 36. Old AF. JK JK)

25 year old me:

  • Did not care about skin care creams or their ability to fight aging
  • Was fresh out of a bad relationship and living in NYC
  • Also fresh off going to Italy by myself, propelled to do so because of said breakup. At least, that was my excuse. I really just wanted to go back to Italy if I’m being totally honest.
  • Was mainly motivated to meet new friends, have wild nights and crazy experiences, and just soak up everything Manhattan. Marquee. Hamptons share house. Zipcars. The late mid-late 2000’s in NYC  were quite fun! P.S. All of those things sound like lots of missed sleep and hangovers to me now.
  • Did NOT want a boyfriend, husband, kid, boss (except I had to have a boss, because I had to pay my bills, yo!)
  • Spent way too much time worrying what other people were thinking about me
  • Was a runner (no more than 2-3 miles), picked up boxing at Gleasons in Brooklyn, tried yoga for the first time, drank a lot of iced coffee (even in winter), ate a lot of meat
  • 20-something year old me has a birthday: Invite everyone I know to some loud bar/club and dance all night. Brunch the next day. Amazing!!! (Thank goodness social media hadn’t really taken off!)
  • Had late nights that probably included tequila shots and met up with friends for brunch the next day to discuss previous night’s events. Probably go out that night too. Probably go for a run first and get an iced coffee.
  • Biggest concern: Will I miss out on something really fun if I stay home?

This would be some time in….2007 I think?? One pic is in the Hamptons, the other was at Pink Elephant. We decided we had jobs and could get our own damn table and bottle service, thank you! #goals

36 year old me

  • Have taken an interest in the benefits of botox, face creams, and general jeti mind tricks of trying to wish away wrinkles
  • Have come to terms with the fact that traveling is a medicine I need in order to keep myself sane and have decided that it must be a life priority
  • Mainly motivated to be the best mother, wife and person I can be, and to find the next show I can binge watch while my toddler naps
  • I have a husband, baby girl, distinguished dog, and I am my own #girlboss
  • Care very little about what anyone thinks of me unless they are my kid. Or my dog. Or my husband, sometimes.
  • Still a runner (3-4 miles at a time mainly, unless it’s not 97 degrees in which case I may go further), half marathon completer, boot camp lover, meditator, and extremely part time yoga enthusiast. Eat very little meat, lots of cauliflower, still drink lots of iced coffee.
  • 36 year old me has a birthday: go to dinner at 5:30pm with my husband followed by a movie with very buttery popcorn and in bed by 10pm. Heaven!
  • Has more than 3 drinks and feels like complete garbage for the next 2 days, and swears to never. drink. again. Oh, and also gain 10lbs from those 3+ drinks. No clue how that happens.
  • Biggest concern: How can I make sure my child doesn’t grow up to be an a-hole or sell street drugs? Also, wrinkles.

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That would be circa now, the picture fit for a baby mag.

The part of me that still feels 25 is the part of me that still seeks adventure, friendship, and happy times. The part of me that is different wants to live my life for me and no one else, learn all I can and focus on living life in a happy vibration. I also watch way more tv shows than I ever have in my entire life now. I’m not exactly trying to proudly wave that flag, but I just tend to prefer that or a book and go to bed early rather than have some booze fueled house party til 2am. Clearly, there is no in between.

In the last year I’ve become extremely aware of my mortality and all the potential problems that could arise to take me away from my sweet baby or make me less able to do all the things I want to do! I see food as the fuel I need to generate the most Kung Fu cells in my body that can fight off any rogue cells that try to make their way into my organs and wreak havoc. I see my mind as a tool that can control my life and my happiness, so I spend a lot of time trying to get my mind on a high vibration (hello, meditation, mindfulness, and getting rid of negative thoughts!) I no longer think that everything is circumstantial. If I’m in a bad place in life it’s my own damn fault.

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This is actually from Burning Man just last year. I may be mid-thirties, but I still love doing crazy ish!

Health is extremely important to me. Now when I see someone drinking a Coke or a Pepsi I want to run up to them and say something like, “You are poisoning yourself! How can you treat yourself so poorly?!” But I don’t because that would be super un cool and probably get me punched in the face. But between me and you, I don’t understand why people complain about health problems while simultaneously poisoning their bodies.

I’m quite sure I’m not the only woman who got into their mid-thirties and started re-thinking life. I’m pretty sure I won’t be the last. 25 year old me would think 36 year old me was a wack job and made no sense. I may even make fun of me a little. 25 year old me also thought Lean Cuisines were healthy and meditation was the “devil’s work” and children were annoying.

25 year old me loved being friends with all types of people with all types of interests – even if it were interests I shouldn’t be around – because it kept things exciting. 36 year old me only wants to spend my precious time and life around people who live a positive life and influence me to keep living one as well. Negative types, pity party-ers, and users need not apply.

25 year old me thought I was pretty ok and did not do any self improvement what-so-ever, except for restrict my calories when I thought I had gained weight. 36 year old me realizes that I am far from perfect, will constantly keep evolving, and there are so many things that I don’t know. There are so many things that I don’t know that I don’t know! (Sacred Geometry?! Black holes?! Why Sex and the City had to end?!)

In the end, I wish I could go tell my 20-something self to stop partying so much, watch what I’m putting in my body, and follow my dreams without being worried about what others would think or waiting for the “right” time. I eventually did many of these things, it just took a long time for me to get there.

I can’t wait (wait yes I can) til I’m 46 and I look back and think what a clueless person I was when I was 36. It will be interesting to look back at this and probably roll my eyes…at myself…. while I drink coke and eat cheetos (actually that’s probably the least likely scenario but wouldn’t that be ironic).

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My husband and I in his village in Fiji 2 years ago. Traveling is my HEART!

 

1 Puff Sleeve Blouse, 3 Looks!

I was unsure if I would like this top – I have wide shoulders and usually things that accentuate my arms or shoulders make me look like a football player. Not a cute look. But I think since this top is so lightweight that I actually ended up really liking it!

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I immediately felt like this needed to be paired with a skinny bottom, like skinny jeans, but I wanted to try it with a few not-so-obvious combinations first. Which is why I freaking love fashion; there are no rules! OK well maybe there are some but I choose to ignore almost all of them 😉  I decided it would be fun to put this top with some trouser pants that had a print. I like this look, although I think if my pants fit a bit more snug it would look better.

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Then I decided to try it with a skirt – my faux leather skirt by Gentle Fawn is always my go-to skirt because it lets me pair an easy, no-tuck-in top and feel all comfy while looking like I spent some time on my outfit 🙂 I ended up liking this more than I thought I would! I also think it would be fun to pair this with a fitted printed skirt but I don’t have one that I think would work right now.

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Last, this is my favorite look of the 3! I don’t know why I always love skinny denim and heels – especially my sparkly Jimmy Choos (did I mention these were my “push” present from my husband? Worth having that baby without any drugs!) 🙂 I like this look the best and will definitely be rocking it many many times this year. Luckily, in northern Florida it will be easy to wear this look almost year round!

I didn’t try this out yet, but I plan on putting this top with my faux suede leggings and over the knee boots this winter. It *might* look a little like I’m about to ride a horse or be knighted in to King Richard’s army…but if it doesn’t resemble any of those scenarios I think it will ROCK!

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And look, you can even deal with your toddler who will not stop putting rocks in her mouth in this blouse! My top is from Walter Green Boutique.

4 Amazingly Tasty, super easy, kid friendly (and vegan!) Cauliflower Recipes

I am not sure why, but I love cooking with cauliflower! Not plain jane, nothing but salt and pepper cauliflower, but all the delicious recipes that can be created with it. I’m mostly vegan and sugar free (I still have my vices…. hello coffee!) but these recipes are vegan. Even if you DON’T like cauliflower, I dare you to try these recipes and not change your mind…

P.S. Cauliflower is anti-inflamitory , cancer fighting, detoxing (unless you dump a bunch of cheese on it), and has tons of healthy vitamins and minerals! Plus it has basically no calories (if you’re worried about that) 🙂

Buddha Bowl with Cauliflower and Chick Peas

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THIS receipe… if you try just one, try this one. Even must husband, the ultimate no-veggie-eating carnivore who once told me when I said I was making cauliflower…again… said that “cauliflower just pisses me off.” I mean, he hates it. But, he LOVES this recipe! Not only that, but my 19 month old little girl LOVES it as well! WIN!

You’ll need:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 can of cooked chick peas or 1.5 cups, drained and rinse
  • 1 batch of quinoa (cooked)
  • salt n’ pepa
  • olive oil

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I use the pre-squeezed because who has the time!)
  • 1 tbsp of tahini (it’s ground up sesame seeds…most stores have this)
  • 1 large garlic clove (or, like me, buy the already cushed garlic in olive oil)
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 6 tbsp water or more to thin out as much as you want
  1. Soak the cashews in water for at least 2 hours. I put them in water in the morning and when I get home to cook them they are perfect. In a pinch, you can also boil them for 10 minutes and they should be good to go.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  3. Put the chickpeas in a pan and sprinkle some olive oil on them and stir.
  4. Put the cauliflower and broccoli in another dish and sprinkle with olive oil.
  5. Put both of these dishes in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes stir the chickpeas and cook both dishes another 10-15 minutes until they are done. (aside: when I just don’t have the time for this, I steam the broccoli and cauliflower for 7 minutes and then roast for about 10 and back the chickpeas the same time (about 17 minutes).
  6. Meanwhile, mix all the dressing ingredients in a blender (I use my nutribullet)  and blend on high speed until smooth. Sometimes I’ll make this early and store in the fridge to save me time when my toddler is desperately wanting my attention.
  7. After the veggies are done, mix them all together. You can either mix all the dressing with it,  or let each person spoon out however much you want.
  8. Put the veggie mix over your grains (the quinoa), mix with the dressing, and enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley

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This one is from Gweneth Paltrow’s recipe book, It’s All Good. I’m sure there are several other recipes in there that are great (I think I remember a sweet potato one being pretty tasty….) but this is the one that stuck with me. I was cooking it twice a week sometimes! My husband and child aren’t super crazy about this one, but I LOVE it! But I also love mustard and that bitter taste. My friends who I have shared this with also love it!

Ingredients:

  • a 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained and dried in a kitchen towel
  • 1 head of cauliflower,  cut into bite-sized florets
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon seeded mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes. Again, if I don’t have the time to sit around and wait 45 minutes for this to cook, I steam it for a few minutes, roast for about, oh, whatever I have time for, and it’s good to go!
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil with a big pinch of salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper.
  4. While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature. It’s so freaking good!!!

 

Creamy Vegan Lemon-Pepper Pasta

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This is another dish my child LOVES! Little does she know she’s eating a whole bunch of cauliflower and healthy nuts. I make this at the beginning of the week and give it to her for lunch for the next few days.

This is another recipe which you’ll need to soak your cashews for a few hours (again, just put them in water in the morning and by cooking time they are soft and ready to go!)

Ingredients

Pasta

  • 12 ounces gluten-free linguine or rigatoni* 

Garlicky Lemon-Pepper Sauce

  • 2 1/2 cups small (1-inch) cauliflower florets (fresh, not frozen) (I just get a big head of cauliflower and call it a day)
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain plant-based milk (I use coconut milk), plus more if needed to thin
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours or in a pinch, boil for 10 minutes.
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste if desired
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (more or less, to taste) 

For the Pasta

  1. Cook your pasta according to package directions. I like to salt my water and put a little coconut oil in it which I feel like helps the pasta not to be so sticky.

    For the Garlicky Lemon-Pepper Sauce

    1. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets to the pot and boil for 7 minutes or until very fork-tender. Strain off the water.
    2. Add the boiled cauliflower florets, almond milk, cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and black pepper to a high-speed blender (do not use a food processor. I use my nutribullet.)

    3. Blend on high for 2 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy. Set within reach of the stove.
    4. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large sauté pan over low heat. Cook for 2 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.
    5. Stir in the cauliflower sauce, increase heat to medium, and simmer for 3 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
    6. Turn off the heat, add the pasta to the pan, and toss to coat. If a slightly thinner sauce is desired, add more plant-based milk, one small splash at a time, to thin. (Note: If you add more milk, you’ll need to increase the seasoning to accommodate.)

    7. Taste and generously season with more sea salt and black pepper to taste.

    8. Serve immediately.

    Recipe Notes

    *For a rich and super creamy pasta use 12 ounces of pasta. For a slightly less saucy pasta, use up to 16 ounces (1 pound).

     

    Roasted Panko-Parmesean Cauliflower

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If you like things on the spicy side, this is for you. I can’t do spicy so I tone this recipe down a bunch and it is delicious! The first time I made it, it was VERY spicy and my husband was all about it. Sometimes my child likes this recipe, sometimes she doesn’t. The other 3 are way more kid friendly.

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 lb cauliflower florets [around 6-8 cups] Again, I just use a head of cauliflower.
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes – for less spicy, do 1/2 tsp
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika –
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper – for less spicy, do 1/4 tsp
  • ½ tsp oregano or dry Italian seasoning [optional]
  • ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spritz a large baking sheet liberally with cooking spray then set aside.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and stir until coated. Add the remaining ingredients. Toss until evenly distributed.
  3. Arrange on the baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle lightly with additional olive oil.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once midway through cooking.
  5. After 30 minutes, increase the oven temperature to 500°F and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes until golden.
  6. Serve with thinly sliced green onions, if desired. If you’re not going vegan, try sprinkling some parmesean.