Being Who You Are

Since I’ve been blogging and reading lots of blogs from both my friends and people who are now professional bloggers, it’s got me thinking how social media has changed our culture and how we’ve changed how we respond.

I don’t have tons of original insight on this particular topic, but I do want to share an article from a blogger that I really admire, Rosetta Thurman.

She discusses social media in the work force, particularly about its use in nonprofit organizations. Her take? Social media is a powerful, useful tool that ought to be welded responsibly.

Another point she drives home? You cannot separate your personal life and your professional life on social media. Most importantly, you shouldn’t want to. Read the article, it’s great.

Mostly, I just want to put this out there as a discussion point. I know people who have gotten into hairy situations for their online activity. How do you handle your social media activity? Are you facebook friends with your boss? Do you feel comfortable expressing the same opinions at your workplace that you do online? Do you believe in, as Thurman coins it, online integrity?

YOU GUYS

I just made the best smoothie of my life, no kidding. I’ve honestly never tasted a smoothie more delicious than this. It is so good that I’m completely disregarding (ok, rescheduling) the post I was going to put up today TO SHARE THIS AMAZING SMOOTHIE RECIPE!

I give you the Breakfast (and Lunch and Dinner and Dessert) Apple Pie Smoothie!

I can’t find the recipe anywhere online, but I got it from a Taste of Home Cooking School magazine when we hosted the event in Kirksville last spring. I stuck a post-it on it earlier this week while I was doing my meal planning because I’ve been in a smoothie kick lately and we just got a new blender! Also, I’ve always got apples on hand so it meant that I wouldn’t have to worry about picking up too many more ingredients.

Ingredients:
-1 cup water
-2 large (or 3 small, in my case) apples, cored and unpeeled
-2 ounces cream cheese
-2 tablespoons vanilla pudding mix, dry
-1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
-2 cups ice (this ended up being about 12 cubes for me)

Blend it all up, one ingredient at a time, in the order given. This will give your smoothie a perfect consistency and your blender won’t have to work so hard which is honestly something that I literally just learned today. Normally I just shove it all in there and watch it suffer. This is better.

I couldn’t resist putting it in one of these foo-foo wine glasses. It’s SOOO DELICIOUS! This recipe makes 4 servings, but I, uh, might have had two-thirds of the pitcher…. I SKIPPED LUNCH OK!

According to my recipe, if you use reduced fat cream cheese and sugar-free, fat-free pudding mix, then each serving is 3 Weight Watchers points, so that’s pretty cool!

Monday Media Review

Since today is like my Sunday, (thank yoooou veterans) I’m gunna do my media round up post today! Also- I forgot to do it yesterday.

Books:
So I’m still working through the Vonnegut biography, slowly but surely. I think I’m going to have to renew that one at least one more time. It’s thick! In the meantime, I’ve continued on through the Harry Potter series. I read the second one yesterday. Like, started and finished it. I just eat them up. I’m watching each movie as a finish the corresponding book, so that might be a little motivating. My cousin Emily had a great idea to have a discussion group and talk about the differences between the Muggle and Wizard worlds (her point: why don’t they know what a dentist is? haha)

Here’s a photo of the cast looking just dangerously attractive, imho:

(I’m Team Neville, all the way)

Blogs:
I read Jezebel pretty much everyday. I really love it, but warning- if you aren’t a super liberal feminist, you won’t be in to it. Like, if you have a conservative bone in your body- keep a wide berth. But, because I happen to be one of those, I dig it. (Though honestly, sometimes I’m even like really ladies? Really?) Anyway, I read this post about plus size bloggers and the corresponding NY times article, and I did in fact, want to go shopping. My favorite part of the article was this statement:

“When you feel that your current body is temporary, why spend money dressing it well?” said Ragini Nag Rao, 27, who writes for the blog A Curious Fancy from England and India. “Fat women need to realize that their bodies are worth dressing well.”

That just speaks to me. I know I’m guilty of that. I’m constantly convincing myself that I’m on the verge of losing weight. That, as we know, can lead to some tricky emotional baggage. Anyway, Brett and I went to Columbia this weekend and fresh off working my tuckus off at the trainer and reading that article, I was full of shoppy confidence! Here’s some photos of me rocking new purchases:

A really great and flattering royal blue shift with my new boots. Super comfy all around.

Been die die dying for an animal sweater and I, of course, find one at Target. I was going to make one folks. That’s how desperate I was getting. Shit, I might still make one. Also, hello pink pants.

Another great flattering shift. Navy blue. Threw my lacy top over it and gave it a sort of peplum feel. Would definitely wear with tights this time of year! Great work wear!


TV/Movies:
As mentioned previously, I’m catching up on my Harry Potters. We found the last two on sale for $10/each this weekend which was a total score. I expect I’ll be doing little else until I finish the whole series in a couple weeks.

The good news is that I got yarn to crochet at lap blanket for Brett and I at the Chiefs game, so I’ll be able to multitask!

Music: 
My friend Kimber reminded me of the excellence that is the Now 5 CD. I want to meet the person who owns this entire collection. AND HUG THEM.

Sustainability

Friday night I went to a yoga class with my friend Rachel. I took yoga for the first time when I was in college and really enjoyed the experience. I’ve made a few feeble stabs at getting back on the horse since then, but there’s nothing quite like having a friend and a classroom setting to be in. A video just won’t do the trick.

As we were going through the poses, our instructor (a med student named Judy with a really nice voice and a great presence) said something that struck me so hard I practically started crying in class.

It’s much more important that you find the place where you can do it sustainably than to push yourself to reach your maximum

It’s obvious she was talking about poses here, you know shortening your stance if your legs hurt or coming up out of the pose if the stretch is too deep, but as is often the case with yoga- her advice lifted right out of the studio and hit me right in my everyday life.

Guys, this is such a lesson for me. If you’ve read my “About Me” page, you know that I jokingly refer to myself as a “Jill of All Trades,” the emphasis being on the “master of none.” I so often feel like I stretch myself thin so that I’m doing a hundred things and none of them well. I let myself get taxed out at work, then at home, and then I volunteer for another project- at least I did.

I’m a certified perfectionist. I’m the oldest child, I was a “smart” kid, and in my nontraditional family- I always pushed myself to stand out and be “special.” That’s translated into some successes for sure, but also a lot of anxiety in my adult life. It’s embarrassing to say, but it’s a bit of a revelation to me that it’s better to say no to auxiliary activities in my life and focus on what I can feasibly do, sustainably- that is, what habits can I build for a lifetime? What behaviors can I cultivate that will take me into old age? What commitments can I accept that I will do with joy, and in doing so, bring blessing to others and myself?

Let me say this- working part time has made a tremendous difference in my ability to handle my shit. And I’m just thankful to God everyday that I have a boss who fought hard to get me the position I have now and a husband who was willing to say, “it’s okay, we’re going to be okay.” Debi and Brett and probably the two strongest and best influences in my life.

When I look at how I spend my time now, I see a lot of joy:

-Stimulating and challenging work
-Training at FKS
-Running (okay, walking) and yoga with Rachel
-Quality time with my husband
-A happy, tidy home
-Crocheted scarves, hot tea, Jessica Fletcher
-Game nights with good friends

I cannot tell you how incredible it feels to say that this is how I spend my time now. Folks, I was down to broken earlier this summer. I was crying a lot, I felt incredibly trapped, and bitterness was creeping up all over me. I really, really needed a break from that and I hope it doesn’t sound like gloating to say I’m thankful that I’ve gotten one.

I’m sure I won’t work part time forever. Who knows what new opportunities will bring? However, it’s incredibly important to me that I continue to evaluate my life from a stand point of sustainability.

How would you describe your schedule right now? Are you over taxed or have you found a great balance? What are your coping mechanisms? How do you stay healthy, mentally or physically?

Traditions

So I’m a big fan of traditions. My own family (my nuclear one, anyway) growing up was kind of all over the place, so I don’t recall any regular traditions we had.  When I got the sense the Brett was around to stay, I latched onto making some our own traditions. Now that we are married? My mind is going into overdrive!

Lots of our traditions center around holidays, of course. When we put up our Christmas tree, usually shortly after Thanksgiving, we play lot Christmas music and eat one of those yummy Hickory Farms sausage and cheese baskets. On Christmas eve, we eat Chinese food and play games. On Christmas morning, we gorge ourselves on stuffed french toast and open presents together, just the two of us. (Can you tell that all of our traditions center around food?)

I can’t wait to start new traditions as a married couple and I’m particularly looking forward to the kid time in our lives when things like that become even more fun! (I’m definitely planning to implement the Mini Van Express on Christmas Eve!)

Earlier this week, Brett and I hit our one month anniversary. Married for one month! It’s a bit funny because neither one of us paid much attention to that (it was election day) because honestly, once you’ve been together for 5 years, a month goes by fast!

To the end of starting a new tradition, I decided we should write letters to one another, to be opened up on our first anniversary, a la time capsule. We each wrote a letter to ourselves one year from now. I am really looking forward to doing this each anniversary! While it first occurred to me that we should do letters at 5 year intervals or so, I realized that we might have some years where that’s just not soon enough!

I adore love letters. Brett and I have several boxes of letters, cards, love notes, coloring pages, and other little cutesy things we’ve given to each other over the course of our relationship. I feel reconnected to that moment, reconnected to Brett, and often, recommitted to our partnership when I read them again. Now that we live together, we write notes a whole lot less, so I want to start this a tradition as a way to make sure, at least once a year- we’ve got a love letter to read!

What traditions do you have? Do you have different ones as an adult that you had as a child? Did you carry any over?

Recipe Review: Egg Muffins

The last time we went grocery shopping, Brett and I bought an extra dozen eggs with the specific intent of trying out this recipe. Luckily eggs are inexpensive, so if the whole thing went bust, we weren’t out much.

Again, searching for low carb options for breakfast lead me to this recipe for egg muffins. I’ve seen it pinned lots of times and thought it seemed like a great idea for a quick breakfast, but wasn’t troubled enough to try. But when Brett and I decided to opt out of starchy, sugary, enriched flour that pretty much eliminated our breakfast options- bagels, cereal, waffles, pop tarts… (ps- if you aren’t watching your diet TRY THE PUMPKIN PIE OH MY GOSH LIFE CHANGING).

Again, we know my criteria for a good recipe- easy and cheap.

I chopped up some lunchmeat ham and green onions and threw them in a muffin pan with some cheese:


Then, I put the entire dozen eggs in a bowl and whisked them up and poured the it on top of my cheese, onions, ham.

When I poured the eggs into the liners, it was a little globby. I probably should have whisked a little more throughly. They baked for about a half hour- the whole house smelled like a breakfast restaurant so that was a major perk!

Mine aren’t nearly as pretty as the original recipe and you can tell how they are kinda globby. Also- apparently the right side of my oven gets significantly warmer than the left side?

I also forgot to spray my liner. That was a bit of a mistake because I think I lost about a quarter of my muffin to the liner. I think maybe those aluminum liners would work great for this recipe if you don’t have a silicone muffin pan (as I don’t.)

Overall taste? Just okay. I can see how I could do these better next time. More cheese, for one. I’ll whisk my mixture better and maybe use a little milk to smooth it all out. However, they were really filling (I only needed two for breakfast) and I anticipate it will be quite nice to throw them in the microwave this week and have insta-breakfast available.

Day-Off Style

I have a confession. 

Most of the time on my days off, I don’t bother to get dressed. I mean, I might switch from sweats to leggings and I usually put a bra on, but other than that. Nope.
Which is totally fine. I mean, I know all of you full time workers out there are like DUH! What kind of insane person gets ready on their day off? But hear me out here. 
Now that I work part time, I’m contributing half as much income to our household. Working less is doing wonders for my mental and physical health, but unfortunately job satisfaction won’t pay our electric bill. Brett would never ask me to, and to be honest I’m doing a pretty piss poor job thus far, but I’ve made it a goal to try to keep our house tidy and livable and enjoyable to be in as part of my contribution to the Moser Lifestyle. (Have I said this before? I feel like I’ve said this before.) 
Anyway, for some reason, I find it SO MUCH EASIER to accomplish something with my day when I am dressed and my teeth are brushed and I’ve moisturized my face. I just feel less like a dirty slob and I’m happier doing whatever it is I’m doing- folding laundry, painting legs for a pet bed, or whatever. 
So today, I put on some pants, busted out my new denim shirt and got some shit done! Here we are (that’s the royal we): 

New shirt? $13 at Walmart. Total score. This $80 one from J. Crew? Can suck it! 
Also, I swear I haven’t been wearing shoes around my house all day. It’s just for the picture. Getting dressed is one thing, but wearing shoes? That’s weird. 
Anyway, if you really get into daily style blogs I highly recommend What I Wore as it is wonderful and Jessica Quirk is everything I wish I could be and also Hello, Gorgeous because her style is just so right on in terms of how to look professional and stylish on a reasonable budget.

Bathroom Bloggin

So my awesome cousin Katie (who blogs at Life with the Little R’s) suggested that I do a house tour for a blog post. At first I thought- great idea! The second thing I thought was- oh my gosh no, my house is a pit!

Ok, it’s not a pit, but Brett and I are constantly struggling to determine an overall aesthetic or design concept and to challenge things further, we are renters so we can never decide how much money or energy to even devote to our temporary setting. That said, we are people who need our outsides to match our insides and we try to keep our space clean, cute, and clutter free if possible.

We got lots of great decor items as wedding gifts and we’ve tried to make special places to showcase some of those awesome things. I’ve got some plans for a major switcheroo in the office nook of the kitchen and with our upstairs bedroom, and I want to do at least a little staging in each room before it’s picture worthy anyway! So the easiest option was to start small.

Thinking about Katie’s request for a house tour got me thinking about our upstairs bathroom. I thought to myself- I will never take pictures of this place. However, I decided to challenge myself. I decided to upgrade the bathroom using my crafty innovation, decorations on hand, and a teensy tiny budget.

Here’s what it looked like to start:

A very typical rental bathroom, and one we haven’t done much to improve. We’ve hung up a couple shelves and some hooks for my jewelry. I pulled in a nightstand that sort of floats around to different areas of our house to use for extra counter space (as you can see there is none.)

Our shower curtain is navy and cream and it’s a little nautical themed. At one point, we’d picked up some strange “nautical” decor- a lighthouse figurine and this old fisherman that hung on the wall (no, really.) They were too weird and kitschy and we ditched them. Now, we’ve got this barely functional, hardly attractive bathroom that I’m hugely impartial to.

So, here’s what I did.

Firstly, I made up a little frame for my broaches and earrings.

I had leftover fabric from the wedding and a square frame that wasn’t being used that I decided was perfect. I cut out cardboard to size, used a little felt for padding, and wrapped it with the blue fabric. I didn’t even end up gluing. I just used scotch tape!

I fit the cardboard into the frame, put on the frame backing (which made for a very tight fit!) and hung it up!

Simple enough. We are working with pretty much one wall to decorate, so naturally, I opted to create a small gallery with some prints (found here and here) and frames leftover and a couple other wandering decor pieces.

I’m so loosey goosey with when I hang pictures. These made for a pretty easy upgrade. (Except my printer OH MY GAWD MY PRINTER- but that’s a story for another time.)

The other little project I did for the bathroom was.. wait for.. to dye my bath mat. I know, I know, but go with me for a minute here. We have this basic white bath mat. It’s fine, but of course we put our grungy little feet on it every single day so it’s never clean and it bugs me endlessly. The bath mat market is a TOTAL RACKET so I figured, why not spend $3 and dye the damn thing?

So I did.

I used an old wooden spoon to do the mixings. 

Here’s the thing. It looked pretty stupid. I wanted it to be navy and it wound up more like cornflower. You know, cornflower. Also, a little splotchy. BUT WHATEVER OKAY. I have like a 95% success rate so I’m allowed a bomb every now and then.

I also swapped on some baskets, put out some flowers, did some “fluffing.”

So, here’s what it looks like now. It’s a long way from my dream bathroom, but considering that the only thing I had to buy was the $5 flower arrangement- it’s a pretty vast improvement!

My weird rug.

Welcome! Come inside! Fix your hair, brush your teeth, take a pee!

Well there you have it folks! My upstairs bathroom! Can’t wait to show you some more!

Recipe Review: Taco Soup

So in our quest to find some healthy, lower carb options for dinner, Brett and I immediately gravitated towards homemade soup and chili. And, with the weather cooling down, we are looking for cozy meals that will warm us from the inside out!

Last night we tried this Taco Soup recipe from a website called Kalyn’s Kitchen. My review? 4/5. (4 out of 5 “whats” you ask? I dunno.. Stars, Cats, Soup Bowls…)

I took some very grainy cellphone pictures. Seriously, these are low quality. Bad. It is becoming more and more evident that I really should invest in a nice DSLR camera. But I digress.

Ingredients-

This isn’t a slow cooker meal, so disregard the crockpot. Also disregard the cantaloupe. That’s not a part of this story either.

Finished product-

To me, a great recipe has inexpensive, common ingredients, makes plenty of leftovers, and causes inadvertent sounds of satisfaction. This recipe was good, not great, but easy and made enough for lunch today. Qualifies as a keeper for me!

A few tips:
-This is basically a chili that is sort of taco-y. To enhance the taco-ness, I would have used a packet of taco seasoning in my ground beef, in addition to the cumin, chili powder, and oregano.
-Go for mix-ins. The recipe suggests cheese, sour cream, avocados, corn chips. If we weren’t watching carbs, I would have done them all!
-I used considerably less broth than what was called for. I used about half, because we like a really thick chili.
-Did you know there’s a “right” way to dice an onion? I didn’t. In case you want to try it, here’s a tutorial from The Kitchn that made me feel like a pro.

Sunday Media Review

Practically took the weekend off from posting! I’ve been doing good about writing up posts when I’m off work, sometimes churning out a couple in one day and having the luxury of scheduling up to a week’s worth of posts at a time. I’ve used up my queue however, so I’m gunna have to sit down and get creative again!

What would you LOVE to see me post about? Seriously- I’ll take requests!

In the meantime, I thought I’d do a quick run down (might make this a regular thing) about what I’ve been reading/watching/listening to lately!

Books:

As you know, I started in on the first of the Game of Thrones novel. The first of this series was very engaging and considering how visually dense the book is, I can only imagine what a treat the television show is going to be.

I’ve also restarted reading the Harry Potter series. I just *gush* cannot ever get enough of the whole Harry Potter world. I’m going to read the Chamber of Secrets after I finish the book I’m currently reading which is-

And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life. This is a biography of Vonnegut by Charles J Shields. I simply adore Vonnegut for his simple prose, his deep philosophy, and his dark humor. I know very little about the man outside of the image he projects into semi-autobiographical plots and characters in his novels, so it’s great to read about his parents, his children, his jobs, and so on. It’s very touching and I expect my admiration will only grow when I finish.

If you’ve been reading along, you know that I’ve also recently finished Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes. It’s got an intriguing message and I’d say certainly worth a read.

Blogs
As I begin posting more, I’m trying to expand my blog reading list too! My absolute favorites are, of course, from the people I know personally. So, some shout outs:

My cousin Emily writes great posts about what she and her husband have been up to, bits of solid advice, and general pondering on the whats and hows of life. Good stuff.

A new friend Sarah has started taking photos more than recreationally and she does wonders with a camera. I can’t wait to see her talent and her client base grow. If you’re in the KC area, I’d highly recommend her!

I’ve also been keeping up with Iowa Girl Eats, a blogger with a great philosophy: “Eat well, Run often, Travel far”

TV/Movies:



I CAN’T STOP WATCHING MURDER, SHE WROTE! Honestly, I’m usually pretty noncommittal when it comes to television. I mostly like short-form, children’s cartoons.  But there’s just something so charming about Jessica Fletcher and her 45 minute hijinks. I lurve it.

Also, Brett and I started going through (chronologically, of course) animated Disney feature films before the wedding to get in the mood for our Disney honeymoon. We didn’t get all the way through our list, so we are still trucking along. Besides, I’m always in the mood to watch a Disney movie! We just watched Hercules and it’s as adorable as I remember. Next up- Toy Story!

Music: 
Y’all ever used Songza? It’s a free online music player that matches a play list to your mood/activity/day. It recognizes what time of day it is and then suggests play lists to set the stage. Brett and I really like it. I’m rarely disappointed in the play lists. You can also search for play lists by name. I suggest “70s Pool Party” which is chock full of 70s disco and rock and perfect for a Saturday night drinking whiskey cokes and playing cards which is exactly what Brett and I did. Currently, I’ve got “Harvest Moon” pulled up which is right up my alley with artists like Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Joni Mitchell. It’s perfect for the newly crisp weather!

Happy Sunday friends!