My veggie list!

Hey everyone!

So a delightful old friend KAYLA from college requested that I give a list of my veggie hot spots. Of course, this will include books :D


The Kind Diet. Pretty much my vegan bible. Sandra, you may ask, why are you using a celebrity guide for your veggie journey? Well, it was published just at the right time.

It was the Babycakes bakery that introduced me to veganism, because I had received an electric mixer for Christmas (still, by far one of my best gifts received!), and I was exploring what delicious baked goods I could make.

Either way, Ms Silverstone's book was a great introduction to why folks go vegan in the first place, could you incorporate veganism without it being this "big deal"? I really developed a passion for vegan cooking from this book, and I loved experimenting. The biggest contribution was her "flirting" section, which seemed tailor made to me. A girl could look into the vegan lifestyle without the worry of labeling herself as "Vegan" with a capital V.

Veganism is by-far one of the most political parties we've got! I hate to say it, but anytime I've tried, I've been in a terrible position to experiment with a new style of eating. Most of the vegans writers I've encountered in this challenge have been less-than-validating.

Thankfully, there are books like The Kind Diet that are more on the "just try it", Meatless Monday, let's-have-everyone-make-as-big-an-effort-as-they-can bus.

Phew! Love it! Girl is looking like she's on bargain via amazon.com :D


Seriously, Gillian McKeith is fierce. This is basically the book that got me hooked on smoothies! I love that her approach is so militant, not because I think it's practical, but because it's a good read when I'm in a rut and need to remember how to eat well. Indeed, I think I'll be slim for life! :)

Of course, VegNews Magazine

Their website is also pretty awesome. Vegan caramel? How is that possible!?!
They also have great listings, blogs, dedicated to vegan sources re: shoes, coats, lifestyle products.

In general, I have been devoting my time to making sure my cosmetic products are animal/cruelty free, but I have not yet switched to leather-free. I've always thought fur looked pretty tacky (sooo 1980s thrift store....and not in a good way), so that was always a given.

TOMS shoes has a whole Vegan footwear section. Don't say I didn't warn you, they're pretty cute!

Sophie Dahl is my Idol. She's a model, and a delightful cook who just wants to spread the love. She keeps the meat to a minimum, and truly exemplifies what I believe is real beauty. I love it, check out her Voluptuous Delights! I cannot wait for her next book, already available in the UK! (hint hint, Ms. Kayla!)

Heidi Swanson. Oh my! SHE IS AMAZING.

Natural foods are a big part of the veggie world, but somehow Americans get stuck in a rut of the same rice and veggie stir-fry meals, and an abundance of pasta that's quick to make. Her writing helped me seek out the use of wheatberries, and roasting vegetables with just the right kind of spices.

Roasted Tomato Soup
Her website, 101cookbooks.com, introduced me to this glorious roasted tomato soup recipe. Fabulous. Of course, the photo credit is her own.

In light of the holidays, I hesitate to make the "these are my favorite things" reference...but why not? :)

Don't forget that this is the time for listening to A Charlie Brown Christmas!

(and don't forget the Arrested Development reference!)


Going Vegan for a Month! :)


I am going Vegan for a month, and here is my first VLOG post about it.

We'll see what happens ;)



Peachy keen :)

First comes the roasted tomato soup, then comes the peach dessert!

I have been obsessing about Sophie Dahl (again), as her newest book just came out in England (boo hoo, not in the states until next year!!)

This post has been a long time coming, and I hope you enjoy the photos.

I will probably update with a few others. For the exception of the cheese on the croutons, and the greek yogurt + honey, everything in this is vegan!


Curvaceous women-Real women have curves!

Going through my DBT program text, I keep noticing a strong connection between women's upbringing and poor associations with food. I LOVE FOOD, and I've had my fair share of self-hate and fear of getting bigger.

There have been many movements to help women love themselves, but it's an everyday effort. The woman who walks with grace, self-respect, dignity, and who DOESN'T go against her fellow women. The competition and pettyness is the worst. The first step is to love each other. :)

Maria Callas
Jayne Mansfield (mother of Mariska Hargitay!)
Mariska Hargitay (founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation)
Sophia Loren
Kate Winslet (new St Johns ad, in September Vogue issue!)

Sophie Dahl!! One of my favorite cookbook writers....and former model :D
Crystal Renn, author of Hungry- yes, she has lost weight. I'd rather look at a size 8 model than a size 0!

A few ladies with curves- and successful careers! Let's bring healthy back ;)


Upcoming Book Signings


One Day's author David Nicholls will be discussing his book with Lisa Birnbach, the author of The Official Preppy Handbook at the McNally Jackson Bookstore in Soho; 52 Prince St. THIS WEDNESDAY at 7:00PM (August 3rd!)

Isabel Gillies- I freakin' love her! Mrs. Stabler on Law and Order, and now 2nd time around memoir writer. Yes, it's a little cheesy, but her stories about first, her marriage falling apart (Happens Every Day), and now of her finding love again are sure to strike a cord. She is absolutely perfect on Law and Order: SVU. Who would've known that her "breaks" from the show (i.e. Stabler separation period!) was so she could indulge her husband's academic interests at Oberlin College.

She will be signing at Crawford Doyle on September 15th! :) Go Isabel!

Ahh Little Children. The Abstinence Teacher. Election. Who but a talented writer could create these characters (notably, Tracy Flick , the overachiever who we've all encountered at some point)! I remember when I visited NYC back in the day, the Barnes and Noble near Lincoln Center (now closed!) was doing a book signing for Mr. Perrotta and I was leaving before I could go. Second chances! Tom is coming out with The Leftovers, which based on its description seems a bit of a deviation in terms of "reality-based" writing. Regardless, I am a huge fan- Mr. Perrotta is up there with Ian McEwan, Joyce Carol Oates, and other writing loves!

Tom Perrotta will be signing books September 7th (the day before I turn 24!) at 7:00PM at the Barnes and Noble on E. 86th st!

Isn't the cover beautiful? I think it's the UK edition, but man oh man do I want to read this book! Primarily, she is a badass female writer in England. Secondarily, she is Colin Farrell's ex-girlfriend and a former therapy patient. After her psychotherapist died, she explored her life as well as his, trying to figure things out.

Emma Forrest is beautiful and, probably, a fabulous writer. Can't wait to meet her! :)

I mean, what's another mental health read for a budding DBT clinician?

She is speaking with the author of The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson.

They read/speak together August 11th at McNally Jackson bookstore.

Hope to see you all there! :D


Things I love!

Sorry for the lack of an update my friends!

Obviously I have been busy working at a courthouse (yay!) and a failing bookstore (not-so-yay) .

I needed a few pick-me-ups other than the coffee I am downing between shifts!

First, lots of books! I just finished The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women by James Ellroy, and Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. Currently, I am on the second of Chelsea Cain's Gretchen Lowell/Archie Sheridan series, entitled Sweetheart. LOVE IT!

As Border's faces its demise, I no longer feel any guilt for helping our fellow bookstores for the future! McNally Jackson has a few book signings coming up, as well as Barnes and Noble.

Tom Perrotta will be at the Barnes and Noble on 86th and Lex on September 7th (day before my birthday- what luck!) Maybe he'll dedicate his next book to me on account of turning 24!!

The above posted pics are from the BabycakesNYC new book! Vegan, gluten-free rice krispies!

I have yet to try any of the recipes for lack of spare change to buy the intense ingredients.

Lucky for me that I received
a free jar of coconut oil from Nutiva! They were already a sweet company, which is why I wrote a letter stating that I like them (they're cheaper than a lot of coconut oil companies, too). I couldn't believe it when I opened the package! A nice surprise!

Let me tell you, the book describes these krispies as perfect for cheapskates and lazy people- mission accomplished Babycakes. Delicious!


New layout with my favorite color: red! (and other things I love!)

I don't know why I didn't do it before. Red is my favorite color, and my blog needed a change! I still think there's work to be done, but now at least I can get to my blog page and feel a little more at home :)

First up, things I have tried and loved!

Coconut milk yogurt, by So Delicious. Considering that it's made by Turtle Mountain, probably the best vegan ice cream purveyor, it's no surprise to be that there's a lot of saturated fat and sugar. But, for those days when I just can't do the milk thing, this fills in quite nicely. I am told that the plain version only has about 12 grams of sugar, so I might add a post later about a coconut-yogurt mango smoothie. YUM!

So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt - Plain

The Dress, Design, Decor blog that I came upon is a new obsession. A yoga instructor at my internship (ending next week! so sad!) taught me a little something about how visuals are so necessary to have in our lives. Simply put, looking at pretty things is important for happiness. Kind of explains why I read Vogue, huh? Can't afford a damn thing in that magazine, but it still fulfills an aesthetic need for my brain.

Find Daniela's blog here: http://dressdesigndecor.blogspot.com/

Really, I just love her! :)

Threadless has a cute store in Chicago, and I have really missed their constant presence (on people's shirts!) in the hipster parts of my neighborhood (because I'm in Harlem...not as hipster as Lincoln/Wicker Park!)

But I've tapped into my roots with Urban Librarians Unite, with really sweet, educated men and women of Brooklyn and Queens. The threadless shirt design above mirrors the "We Will Not be Shushed" logo and I love it!

It's mango season. I've had at least 2 a day. My nails are looking gooooood!

Francisco Goldman's new book Say Her Name is just beautiful. I saw him speak at the McNally Jackson bookstore in Soho, and it was really great to hear his perspective about Aura, his young love who lost her life in a bodysurfing accident. I'm about 50 pages in, and it is just one of the "prettier" books I've read in a while.

I just finished Portia de Rossi's new book, Unbearable Lightness. It was really fascinating, and definitely a different take on a personal eating disorder. You really feel for her pressure to be thin, especially in the Hollywood environment. A great read!

AND OF COURSE...Magnolia cupcakes! I felt a little jilted after BabycakesNYC didn't call me back for a job, but now that I'm employed again I'll probably hit them up again! Nothing like sugar during finals week to curb your stress.

Magnolia has great seating at their Columbus Ave. location, and they recently got a cute cupcake (with a raspberry on top!) that donates a $1.00 the Japan Society's relief fund!

A special shout-out to one of my best friends, Ms. Dana. She got engaged and her fiancée is moving with her to Seattle. They are gonna rock it there, and I am so excited for their new adventures! You two make a beautiful couple, and I am just in awe of the maturity and warmth that went into your decision.

Love is in the air this spring! Spread love as if it were Tofutti cream cheese on a toasted bagel...generously!


I have been trying to think of what to wear to Green Fest when I'm home in Chicago (and I wanted to wear a vegetarian themed shirt!).

I think this fabulous Threadless design may have won.


Natalie is not my name

It's hers....

A fellow barista is also a big fan, so I thought I'd post some pics for inspiration :)

(images from google images)


LOVE your library!

Hey everyone!

I have been super bad about updating, aside from my desire to show how AWESOME Heidi Swanson is. I got her book Super Natural Everyday and it is breathtaking, also featured in Whole Living magazine this month. It's a good thing I pre-ordered...considering that amazon.com sold out! I'll admit I haven't tried a specific recipe yet, but the tips that she gives are always great! Go veggie!

I just finished Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane, and let me tell you it was well worth the procrastinating. So many themes and so much talented writing in one book. After my intense social work research, mixed with lighter chick lit, this deeper read was very welcome. I also read 7th Heaven by James Patterson, which was just so bad that I felt like I couldn't be my normal find-the-good-in-all-social-worker because there were so many clichés and stereotypes that I was not impressed. Next, I'll be reading Unbearable Lightness, by Portia de Rossi. As an LGBTQ advocate, and a huge fan of Arrested Development, I'm excited for this read!


Felt the need to include the NYTimes book review podcast, which keeps me SO updated on the book life whilst commuting for hours to my internship in Queens. I am back working at Borders in NY, and I'm so glad to have the security of employment this summer.

Others aren't so lucky. Libraries have been such a big part of my life, and when my friend Torie and I found out that there were going to be ridiculous budget cuts in NY, we began advocating as a source of our advocacy classwork. However, our need to really help preserve this essential part of the NY communities (esp. Queens and Brooklyn) has become such a big part of us!

Help join the postcard campaign, and join us in June for the Read-In! Seriously, I hope I can get a sweet spot where I can re-live my acting days, haha!

For more info, check out: http://savenyclibraries.org/

I met up with some uber-chic librarians in Greenpoint, and it reminded me so much of Chicago! Love my hipsters out there :)

Be well, and let me know what you're reading!


Everyone needs an update!

So madame Sandra is here, and feelin' pretty good!

I finally have a break from my staying-up-late-to-finish-procrastinating work, so I have the lovely privilege of entertaining Mr. Andy's sister and one of my best friends.

We are both cupcake lovers who appreciate the baking process, so we've hit Magnolia, BabycakesNYC (Where I am praying for a counter job! Keep your fingers crossed!), and soon Butterlane.

I don't have nearly enough time to divulge into many topics I've wanted to write about, but here's a few.

1) Border's in Evanston closing. As much as I sold my soul to pay my rent, I met a lot of people and solidified my love of literature and everything books. Hopefully the e-books don't take over!

2) Japan. Tragic. My love goes out to absolutely everyone affected. One of my friends from LUC is doing business in Japan and my heart about stopped when I heard the news. Thankfully she's ok, but we realize that life is short. Working in a senior center, I fear for the older generation in Japan who saw Nanking and Hiroshima. They are put in this horrible position of having survived this trauma, only to re-live it.

3) On a lighter note: New cookbooks! I have pre-ordered the books seen above. Super excited!

Sending so much social worker love to all! I was accepted to our Dialectical Behavioral Therapy special project for second years. To learn more, click this link. Marsha Linehan, PhD created this remarkable therapy to help those with suicidal thoughts and who engage in self-injurious behavior. I cannot wait for this exciting and thought-provoking opportunity!

Some extra love to my family. When I was back home I realized just how much I love them, and how much support they have given me over the years.


P.S. I've started to at least type the recipes!


Cultural competence, a reflection

In our Direct Practice course (basically clinical work 101) we are studying how to be “culturally competent.” This is a subject that I think social work students could gab about for ages because our sense of justice and equality comes from a very personal place in each of us.

Our current discussion involves the clinical treatment of Native Americans. I wanted to comment on how marginalized this group can be. A social worker in his own right, Marlon Brando’s famous Oscar acceptance (or rejection) where he sent Sacheen Littlefeather in his place to accept the award for Best Actor (the Godfather). The reception was far from inviting, and is still seen by some as a time when the Oscars became too political.


Even as a huge Natalie Wood fan, the image of Native American culture in the Western “The Searchers” is really laughable.

This reminded me of an episode from when I was in 1st grade: the whole classroom was dressed in typical “cowboys and Indians” garb. Typically mistaken for an ethnicity other than my Polish heritage that I felt so close to, I felt particularly excited to dress as an Indian. For one day, my ethnicity was not in question ~ I was in costume!

My father’s family is from South Dakota, a state that still has a rich Native American culture. Even from a young age, I was always told to respect the culture with the proper terminology. “Indian” was not ok, because the people that my family saw, and the culture surrounding us, was not connected with people from India. As a kid, I thought “gee, that makes sense.”

So, “Native American,” or preferably whichever tribe someone was in, was the most appropriate. I have always loved my parents for this strict “terminological” upbringing. I felt like I could bring myself closer to others, with the given knowledge of how to respect someone.

So, in 1st grade (or come to think about it, maybe even kindergarten), when we were sitting around and talking about what “Thanksgiving” was about (we know now as adults is a water-down representation of a giving ceremony), I felt the need to be a mini-social worker. When we began talking about “cowboys and Indians,” I spoke up and said that I preferred if we said “Native American.”

Possibly out of concern for my feelings, my teacher’s first reply was “Are you Native American, Sandra?” to which I replied, “No.” There was an awkward silence, and then nothing more was done. I felt ashamed and embarrassed that my desire to be warm, inviting, and especially thoughtful, was not met with any encouragement from this teacher. Likewise, the other students kept asking me why I had made such a “big deal” about it.

This is similar to the feelings I get when I defend Latin American/Hispanic people and their plight, being mistaken frequently for being Mexican, Spanish, etc. People find out that I’m Polish and suddenly my opinion is irrelevant.

Without being a member of the oppressed group, we are far too frequently disregarded as having a valid opinion. This also applies to the never-ending plight for gay rights. In college, it was understood by many that I had to be “at least” bisexual (even though, to me, one’s sexuality is not on a greater/lesser scale). I wanted equality for something that spoke to me as inherently equal and necessary. It’s normal for people to fear the “other,” it’s quite another thing to deny rights to people who differ in sexual preference. Although on a superficial level I don’t care (anymore) what people think about whether I “swing that way,” or not, but it says something awful about our culture and our ability to speak on behalf of the RIGHTS of others.

So the next time you hear someone talk about what is right, ethical, proper treatment, biased, tragic….hear what he/she is saying, and not if it directly applies to that one person.



A few of my new favorite products and/or trends :)

Full Story™Origins full story mascara. The gentleman at the counter said that even though my hair and eyes were dark, that I should use brown mascara so as not to over-power the rest of my makeup when wearing it at work (everyday makeup, rather than going out). It coated extremely well, and the fact that it's natural and uses recycled packaging, it's about as green as it gets.

ALSO if you bring in your old shampoo bottles, makeup containers, any primary cosmetic container...you get free samples! I have already tried their Checks and Balances facial cleanser (worked very well!), and Modern Friction (their facial scrub- you can tell that there are oils in it, so I would recommend this scrub for ladies and gents with drier skin).
SUGAR LYCHEE EAU DE PARFUM 1OZ Ahhhh Fresh! One of my faves. Their mascara is wonderful, too, but this fragrance really stood out for me! I'm not sure if it's too sweet for me, but it definitely caught me off guard (and I have sampled MANY fragrances looking for the perfect one). The whole Fresh fragrance line is great to look at, especially for when summer rolls around~ their scents are very light! Their soaps also make pretty presents!
YUM! Now that I have my blender, Sambazon açaí smoothies are back in my life! These packs are about $6.00 and include 4 smoothie packs. I prefer the unsweetened. If you try the juice by itself, it has a dark and sweet flavor that many say resembles chocolate. Delicious!
Nature's Gate has been known for their natural lotions, soaps, etc. I was starting to run out of mine and decided to try their fragrance-free lotion for sensitive skin. My skin is not particularly sensitive, but I didn't want a lotion that conflicted with my perfume, etc. It is great, and at Whole Foods is a mere $7.00 for 18oz.

Up next I will be reviewing the soap bars from Dirty Business Bath Company. After all....they keep it clean so we don't have to! ;)

I'm off to drink some honeydew+pineapple juice...yum!