Don’t Let Your Dreams Be Dreams

A little over three years ago, I sat on a deserted beach separated from civilization by three miles of sand dune, peeled back the cover of a brand new Moleskine notebook and wrote a list of 50 things I wanted to accomplish in my life. I didn’t set limitations or qualifications, I just wrote.

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I guess I was feeling particularly ambitious during that time; I had just graduated college and signed a lease in a new city. In the last days of that summer, I felt like I had the rest of my life stretched out before me like a big, open, blank book, waiting to be written in. The whole world felt like it was six inches from my fingertips. I was bound by nothing; no debt, no obligations, no expectations — there was only possibility.

I remember that summer as an anxious waiting period before the start of “real life.” After graduation, I moved to my family’s home on Cape Cod for the summer, where I lived with my mom until the start of my September lease in Boston. Everyone kept telling me how lucky I was to have a summer of basically doing nothing, but I found it nearly impossible to enjoy the leisure. Here I was at the starting gates to the rest of my life and I had to wait for them to open for me. I spent the summer pawing anxiously at the ground beneath those gates, counting the days, the hours, the seconds until I was released into the world.

It’s probably not surprising that when “real life” finally came around, it presented a number of problems for me. I found myself riddled with constant anxiety, I struggled to find people who I could connect with in this new city, I settled for a job that amounted to a lot of pushing around paper, and within a year my longest relationship was in ruins. I accepted the possibility that my dreams might just be dreams and that the items I wrote down in that Moleskine a few years before were probably logistical impossibilities. I’d take out the list every so often and remark to myself that it was nice to aim high, but maybe I should think about more realistic alternatives to my dreams, or content myself with focusing on a few I knew I could achieve. I felt haunted by the portrait of my future life that I had painted many years ago. We grow up with huge plans for our lives, believing we’re each so incredibly unique, but when the gates to adulthood finally open, we’re left to cope with the possibility that we’re not all pack leaders, that maybe most of our lives will end up being the average of our best dreams and our worst fears.

Three years ago, on the second line of a page titled “Dreams,” I wrote down “be an editor at a well-known magazine,” and a few lines later “get paid to write about food.” This September, I crossed those items off my list. A month ago, I left my job for a dream position as an editor with a well-known culinary magazine. Every day for the last month, as I’ve adjusted to life at my new job, I’ve had to pinch myself. I’ve truly never been happier or felt there was more possibility ahead of me.

Though it’s been awhile since I’ve written here, I felt the need to tell those of you who have supported Two Veggies over the last three years. Though I didn’t realize it until recently, this blog has been the guiding light; a true lesson that even if the options seem limited, there’s always a path back to your dreams. As writing takes a more central part in my life, I’m planning on updating here more and more; not just about food, but about writing, life in Boston, life as a professional cook and editor.

I hope to see you around here.

A Tale of Two Veggies

This is the third life of this blog.

My name is Lauren, I’m a vegetarian, and A Tale of Two Veggies is my beloved blog.

I know what some of you are thinking: “Beloved?” you ask, “This is just your first post!”

Well, my friend, the truth of the matter is that Two Veggies isn’t a new blog, in fact, it has a long(ish) and varied history. Today I’m opening a new chapter in this blog’s book; a fresh start, a new page… but the nostalgia in me has a hard time just discarding Two Veggie’s old roots and moving on without mention of the chapters that came before. This little bloggy has gone through a number of drastic transformations, and before I kick off its new life with a bang, I want to pay homage to everything its gone through…

Melodramatic? Quite possibly. Super duper interesting? You betcha!

So for all my former (and new!) readers and subscribers out there who might be confused (and for whoever else cares…), below is the tale (thus far) of A Tale of Two Veggies:

A tale in three parts…

Chapter 1

Once upon a time, in the summer of 2008, I lost a lot of weight. Like, A LOT of weight… like, 50 or so pounds. To help hold myself accountable, I started Two Veggies (under a different name) as a place to blog about healthy recipes and all the crazy ups and downs of weight loss. It was going pretty strong for awhile, but soon summer ended and I moved back to college, where I resumed a steady diet of Ramen noodles and dining hall fro-yo…

You can probably fill in the blanks about what happened…though I managed to keep the weight off for a significant period of time, my life was severely lacking in anything remotely resembling a vegetable, and so, little by little the weight crept back on and Two Veggies laid dormant and forgotten.

Chapter 2

Flash forward two years later. Me and my most significant veggie-friend graduated college and moved to Boston, where we knew no one. Jobless and friendless with a little too much time on my hands, I may have watched Julie & Julia one too many times, and decided to solve my newfound identity crisis the way any true foodie should — with a blog! But not just any blog; a blog with a challenge!

Having regained all my former weight, I wanted to do something that would make weight loss fun again — something that would challenge me to quit my bitchin’ and get my ass crackin’ in the kitchen.

Being the devoted Veggie that I am, I chose to cook my way through the Bible of all vegetarian cookbooks: Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.” Thus, A Tale of Two Veggies (Mr. Bittman and I, for all who haven’t caught on) was reborn.

Unfortunately, after a month or so of pestering the publishing company for the permission to reproduce the recipes on Two Veggies, my request was denied. I could still post pictures and blog about my progress, but the recipes themselves had to remain super top secret and, well, what’s the fun in that?

Bruised from my break-up with blog attempt numero duex, I tried my hand at rebound blog over on blogspot for awhile, but in the end, I came crawling back to Two Veggies, where I decided it was time for a reinvention.

Chapter 3

Here we are at the start of the third, yet unwritten chapter of Two Veggies. I’m thinkin’ these days, Two Veggies will be just a regular ol’ food blog where I post pictures that make me hungry and vegetarian recipes that make my tummy happy. As for the name of this blog, well, I’m thinking it’s here to stay… partially because there are still two veggies in my life (me and le boyfriend), but mainly because coming up with a clever name for a blog is hard work, and my brain doesn’t have the stamina for that sorta thinkin’.

You’re probs wondering what happened with the weight loss… well, it’s something I’m workin’ on. At the moment, other important things in my life have taken the front seat, but I’m 100% confident that when the time is right, I’ll get back to my ol’ skinny self. Happy and healthy go hand-in-hand after all.

The former lives of this blog will occasionally make an appearance: healthy recipes, minimalist Bittman style food, but for the third life of Two Veggies, I’m leaving the “theme” open-ended. In the coming weeks, months, years (maybe?), I challenge you to help me write the third chapter: send me your recipes, tell me what you want to see!

I know that was a pretty long introduction to who this blog is…all you newbies out there may still be wondering who I am. You can learn more about me here, or you can do me a super big favor and subscribe *hint hint* and learn more about me in upcoming posts. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me, I’m always happy to hear from you, ‘specially you little biddies that knew Two Veggies in its former lives!

Here’s to happy cooking and a successful start to chapter three!