So I share with you today the Instagram account of Aspen the Mountain Pup. Ain’t he cute?
I rarely talk about food because I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with the external world regarding to my food choices. I went vegetarian back in 1999 when I was 12, and I stayed one until my early 20s. During that time I learned how judgmental people can be about food. It felt like every time I told someone that I didn’t eat meat, I was met with, “Well, I LOVE meat!” They usually went on to list the meats they loved and more or less berated me.
In my early 20s I wavered back and forth between eating meat and not eating meat. However over the past two years, I’ve had moments of, “I want to be a vegan!” But I wasn’t able to sustain a vegan lifestyle until recently. I have the YouTube vegan community to thank for that.
About a year ago I started watching Freelee the Banana Girl and Happy Healthy Vegan. Though I watched their videos religiously, I always came up with excuses about why I couldn’t go vegan. Then I saw Freelee’s video on Cowspiracy. Something clicked. I didn’t want to watch this documentary due to my sensitivity to animal cruelty, but I knew I had to watch it. Afterwards I realized there was no sustainable and ethical way for me to eat meat. I decided I was really going to go vegan this time, no excuses.
Not only has my outlook on the world changed since going vegan, but the way I look at myself is different. Since my diet is plant based, I eat so much food. I no longer view food as the enemy. When I weigh myself it’s more out of curiosity than judgment. If my weight goes down, cool. If it goes up, shrug! I know that what I’m putting into my body is healthy and I no longer judge my level of health based on a number on a scale.
I’m five weeks into my vegan journey, and all I can say is I’m excited to see the ways that I will change moving forward.
My last name may be a very Italian sounding “Mirenzi” so most of you probably don’t know that I’m part Polish. That means I grew up eating just as many pierogis as I did bowls of pasta. What’s a pig in a blanket, you ask? Don’t tell me it’s a mini hot dog in a crescent roll because clearly it is cooked ground beef in cabbage! Needless to say, my attendance at the second annual Polkapocalypse was pretty much mandatory.
Since it was basically monsoon-ing in Austin all weekend, this year’s Polkapocalypse was pretty low key and held inside a local rec center in the Hyde Park area. While there, I got to see not one but two polka bands–Polish Pete & Polka? I Hardly Know Her and Conjunto Los Austin, who can be seen at the White Horse every Sunday. I always feel a bit homesick upon seeing an accordion because my late grandfather played one.
One of the coolest parts about Polkapocalypse was the traveling screen printing station put on by Bibliographia, a new Austin-based company run by husband and wife team Abraham Mong and Delilah Knuckley, who are just delightful. They screen printed t-shirts on the spot. I opted for a mint green one with white ink.
I got to Polkapocalypse in the Chevy Equinox that I’ve been test driving since last week. The car was very reliable and safe in the rain. Heck, I was even happy to be stuck in traffic because it’s just that lovely. I’ll have a more in depth video and post review later this week!
Needless to say, I’m pretty certain that you’ll see me at the third annual Polkapocalypse!
More Photos From Polkapocalypse
In the past year, I’ve had a few job interviews where I was told to dress casually. At first I thought this was some sort of trick. Since high school I was taught to dress business casual for a job interview. However, as the tech sector has grown the job interview game has changed.
I came to realize that being instructed to dress casual wasn’t a trick. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to pick out the right outfit. Here are just a few ideas to help you get dressed for your next casual interview.
This is not a test!
Striped Blazer (similar) | Tignanello Perfect Pockets Leather Medium Tote (similar) | Land’s End Women’s Plus Size Mid Rise Trouser Jeans | Suede Kitten Heels (similar)
Jeans are the ultimate way to meet the “casual” requirement of your job interview without seeming too casual. I recommend going for a dark wash denim and avoiding jeans with holes at all costs. The same goes for jeans with too much fading or a lot of whiskering. You can dress jeans up or down in a ton of different ways.
In terms of cut, you shouldn’t wear jeans that cling to your legs or jeans that highlight your butt. After all, this is a job interview and you want the interviewer to be focused on your skills and not your behind. I find trouser cut and looser cut jeans are a great option.
After you’ve picked out the jeans as the base for your casual job interview outfit, you’ll want to do for a top. I think a blazer is always a safe bet. You can also do a nice sweater or a button down with an interesting pattern.
Once you have your jeans and a top, you can pick out your accessories, shoes and a purse. For jewelry, I think less is more. For a bag, I almost always prefer a classic leather shoulder bag that’s large enough to fit a portfolio and the rest of the items usually in my purse. For shoes, I like to wear a simple high heeled shoe with a lower heel around 2″. Flats are also a good idea, but just make sure your shoes are in good shape and don’t have any obvious signs of wear.
As always, good luck!
Meet my newest foster dog, Captain Timon, who is an Italian Greyhound. Named after Timon of Timon and Pumba of The Lion King, you can easily see why where this little guy gets his name from. He can’t quite close his mouth all the way so he looks like he’s always smiling. What a character!
I started fostering dogs back in 2009 when I lived in South Carolina. I had the opportunity to give about 15 or so dogs a temporary home until they found their fur-ever homes. It was an extremely rewarding experience, and one I’m more than elated to start again now that I live in pet-friendly Austin. Boston, where I used to live, was unfortunately not known for its dog-friendliness. Finding an affordable place that accepted both cats (I have 2) and dogs was next to impossible.
One of the most common responses I get to fostering is, “I could never do that! I would just want to keep the dog!” Fostering is an amazing experience, and yes, sometimes you do keep the animals you foster. In the shelter and rescue community, we call this a “Foster Failure.” It’s a loving term of endearment. I’ve foster failed before and now have two little feline buddies that have traveled with me all over the country though the ups and downs of life.
I wanted to provide my perspective on why I foster in hopes that I can turn more people onto the opportunity. It is a truly amazing experience!
Reason One: You’re doing something great for an animal in need.
Many rescues and shelters operate in such a way that if volunteers didn’t foster dogs (and cats), less animals would be saved. This means you are truly doing something great for the dog you’re fostering as well as the animal who’s filled the spot that’s opened up in the shelter. When you foster, you give a dog a sense of normalcy. Chances are they were surrendered or found by whatever organization you’re working with. They need love and stability more than anything and fostering provides them with that experience before they transition into their forever home.
Reason Two: Every dog is great.
Foster dogs come with their own sets of issues for sure. Some pee on your furniture. Others chew it up. Some might try to murder your cats. Others might cuddle with them. Each little pup comes with their own unique personalty that makes them, well, great. Getting to know any dog, but especially a foster dog, is like getting to know a stranger. You get to teach the pups the rules of the house that will help them transition once they finally get adopted.
Reason Three: Every dog is great but isn’t necessarily a great fit for you.
This was the biggest lesson I learned from fostering over the years. Since each dog comes equipped with their own personality (obviously), it can be difficult to find one that fits with your dynamic. If you’re a single person living alone, this is probably less of an issue. But if you have even one cat or another human living with you, finding the “right” dog can be a challenge. Fostering is a great way to figure out if a dog fits into your lifestyle. If they work out and you love them, great, by all means, foster fail away! However, if it’s not a great fit for whatever reason, you can just love and support the dog until he or she gets adopted.
Reason Four: You always have support.
The most popular way fostering works is a shelter or rescue allows you to take care of the dog and treat it as your own until they find a permanent home. This means the dog belongs to the shelter or rescue community. You always have someone to call and ask for advice if you’re having an issue. It also means most rescues and shelters will take care of vet bills for routine medical exams and any accidents.
I hope you considering fostering! Without a doubt, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.