Sunday, December 30, 2012

Goodbye Social media, goodbye.

So, I've decided to give up social media for all of 2013.

Did your jaw hit the floor? Did you laugh out loud? I mean, it's true, we are talking about me here. I've been on Facebook since 2004-- the year it was started. I'm generation Facebook, right? So why would I want to give it all up?

Lots of reasons, all of them good. As much as my online relationships have strengthened via constant connection, for every 1 strong relationship via social media, I have another 25 that act as something to check, something to judge, something to compare myself to, someone to be annoyed with. I think there's a lot of people that I would think better of, if I didn't give myself the constant choice to view their lives and formulate opinions-- which over time I've done again and again (no willpower here)-- and usually over something dumb like grammar.

Then there's a lot of ingestion of media and people's opinions that either I don't agree with, and I can ignore, or there's ingestion of media that I do ignore, but I'm angry about it for the rest of the day.

And ultimately, I find it to be a huge waste of time. I'm the type that feels compelled to check on something-- no unread emails in my inbox, no Facebook notifications left unread, no @ replies on twitter left unnoticed, not even likes on my Instagram photos can go without being attended to. It's exhausting. And I do it over and over and over again even when nothing has changed. Instead of fun and lighthearted, I feel drained and malcontented. I put priority on a life online, while I leave parts of my life, my real life!-- parts I used to really like, such as goal setting and creativity, alone to wither and perish.

So I'm giving it up. I'm changing my passwords, giving them to my husband and deleting my apps by January 1. And I'll be gone for a whole year. I'll still have this blog, and you can still email me, text me, call me or video chat me-- all my info for that will still be on Facebook-- which I'm not deleting, just simplifying there, which is what I'm doing with all my accounts-- not deleted, just hibernating. Who knows-- maybe in a year's time ill have finished my book and ill be online to promote it!

If we don't connect via other methods in 2013, well, then I'm sad that we'll go a year apart. Have a great year.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


If you follow me on social media, you might be aware that I've been posting a lot lately on all of my outlets (facebook, twitter and instagram) about a word count and something called na-no wri-mo.

It's not as weird as it sounds! November is national novel writing month (thus the abridged Nanowrimo) and I'm participating for my 2nd time ever. When I first heard about this, I was in college, and in the middle of writing papers constantly for nearly every class. (I wrote papers like it was going out of style. My major had a heavy writing component, and I churned out work on what seemed like an every other day basis. I was always shocked when my roommates who had more math and science based majors agonized over writing ONE paper for their midterm or final. Just one. The entire semester. I still don't have any sympathy.)
Anyway, I heard about writing 50,000 words in a month for the sake of writing a novel in college, and I about fell out of my chair. Who in their right mind would do something like that?

Well, turns out, a few years later, me.

Last year, I felt like I was finally comfortable enough to really put the work in and write what I have been talking about writing for the past 2 years, only to sit down and agonizingly creep out word after word, only to hate it and start rewriting (and rewriting, and rewriting). I have a really strong voice that spans across all of my writing, and I just couldn't find myself in this text. It was like having a foreign non creative version of me write something that is at its core, intensely creative. It felt wrong.

Even though I had thought about this for months, and I had let it keep me up late at night imagining what could happen and how it could happen, everything seemed so fuzzy. I had a grasp on what I felt like could happen, but the who it was happening to, felt like a mystery. I couldn't write it. I was bitterly disappointed, and I shut up about writing because I felt like a failure.

Later either that year, or very early on in this year, I read "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. Have you read this book? I really like it. Its like reading one person's science experiment, only much less dry, about deliberately trying to make their life more enjoyable, and therefore increasing their happiness. In it, she talks about her love of children's literature and quotes an essay that C.S. Lewis wrote on Children's Literature, titled, "On Three Ways of Writing for Children."

Feeling like this was up my alley, I looked it up hoping maybe to find it in a library nearby or an old copy on in a collection of essays on Amazon, and to my surprise, it was available on Google Books.

In it he describes how an editor asked him to elaborate on how he wrote, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. And he confesses, that he's not entirely sure. That it just happened. What I found really interesting is that he says:

"One thing I am sure of. All my seven Narnian books, and my three science fictions books, began with seeing pictures in my head. At first they were not a story, just pictures. The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: 'Let's try and make a story about it.' " -- C.S. Lewis, Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories, p. 42.

I felt relieved in a way I can't quite describe. First of all, because I shared something in common with C.S. Lewis (which was absolutely thrilling)-- the image of my main character literally popped into my head one day and wouldn't leave me (or the subsequent images that followed) alone. I didn't know who she was, or why it had come. It just did. Second, the bit about the amount of time between when he saw the image first, and when he decided to craft a story around it, was 24 years. I was not the only one who had ideas that just didn't settle immediately and declare themselves. I decided that I could wait a little longer to write what I wanted to write.

The only difference between this year and last year, is that I have a lot less pressure in my life, and that for the first time, I can hear my characters, some of them more clearly than others, in addition to seeing them. It's making the writing come along nicely, for which I am grateful.

And so, I am pushing forward. I am going to write 50,000 words, which now that I've gotten into it, I'm not sure that my whole story will be a nice neat 50,000. It could easily be longer. But then, it's only day three. (See my little widgets off to the side? They automatically update my word count and the calendar turns green when I've met my word goal for the day.)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stretching Creativity

In an effort to try and include people with what's going on in my life (thus, something to put on the blog besides really long updates and emotional traumas), I thought I'd write about some of the projects I've been working on, so to speak.

Maybe this will be like a series on creativity. Maybe not. Who knows.

But as you may or may not know, I do a lot of different things creatively. I like to jump from thing to thing as it suits me, and while that's fun, I'm actually working on being more disciplined when it comes to certain projects. While it's fun to take an afternoon and pound out an idea you had in your head, what's infinitely more rewarding is the eventual pay off from daily work on something. So, I'm taking that approach to my writing. After all, I have a degree in a writing field (sort-of) and I've let that skill slide for awhile. There was a long stretch of time where I had a lot of ideas for writing, but I was really afraid of my own skill, or perceived lack of skill, and so I felt like I couldn't try or whatever attempt that I made at it was beneath the idea itself. Defeatist much? I know.

One of the things that came over today or yesterday, as a pep talk for Nanowrimo (more on that later) and this paragraph resonated with me:

"Regardless of the words that fill those pages, whatever story you choose to tell, the great discovery of this month will be the stack of pages that bears the words that did not exist a mere month before. You will possess the evidence of time spent at your computer, unspooling the narrative in your head. You will have hard evidence, and this will always grant you conviction."- Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

Basically, unless you try, you'll never know. Unless you put in the hours, you won't have a start point to assess growth.

I totally agree with that. You can't say, oh, I'm a terrible X, if you don't put in the work. Why? Because then you aren't writer, a painter, a whatever. You've never even tried.

But what if, like me, you develop a case of the "I can'ts, no, it's not possible, that's a pipe dream, someday when I'm richer/smarter/funnier/thinner" and you doubt your main skill?

Try a different one.

Seriously. Put your main skill down for a hot minute, and pick up something different. And don't just go and pick one out and say this is my new skill. I mean, you can do that, but I tend to like to do things that I'm actually interested in. Over the past couple of years, I've sloooowly made a little headway into paper design and it's turned out pretty nice. People ask me to do wedding invitations and bridal shower invitations and such. It's fun. I love it. I'm not 100% amazing at it. My first christmas card was, I'll admit now, a little too cutesy and cluttered. But what if I had never tackled the christmas card? I would have never learned indesign, or better yet, stretched my creativity in a way that was primarily visual. My loss.

So, I've learned to never say no to a creative process that comes to me on my terms. There have been a few that I've had to turn down because there was no way, no way that I could overcome my learning gap and produce a product that I was comfortable with....but they weren't on my terms, so no loss.

Which leads me into what I've done recently! My brother and sister-in-law have just announced that they are expecting! They told our immediate family a few weeks ago, so we had time to prepare, but one of the things they wanted to do was announce it in a unique way that could get the message across quickly via the internet.   (and I realize that these little shoots are all the rage... in fact, I read an article recently about how its this new thing to glam up what used to be an exciting sentence. oh well. that's millennials for you!) So they asked me to do it. I've never done a photoshoot. I remember very little from my basic camera class in film school (I was more theory and screenwriting...I never got comfortable with the technical stuff).... and I haven't photoshopped anything in ages.

So I said yes! I figured it would be a fun way to stretch my creativity. And while what I have isn't the most amazing thing ever to grace the internet... it's a start. It was fun. I learned a lot. And you know what? I felt like I succeeded, which is the most important part.

Here's the originals:

Yikes huh! We were working with an older digital camera that didn't have great glass as arthur would say (lenses) and while we tried to drench the space in a lot of light... instead of clean and crisp, we got warm. Like drenched in a mexican sunset warm. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew.

So there was a lot of color correction to be done. Thankfully, they were going for a instagram/photo strip look.  And this is what I came up with:

I did loads of color correcting and contouring on this one.

This one's my favorite

I think they look good. It was really fun to do. And I got a big lesson in photoshop actions, color correction and contouring. Which was awesome.

Yay creativity!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What's been going on lately...

Hey peeps...

So, I thought about doing another looong post where I could talk about everything we've been doing lately.
But then I thought that was boring.

So instead, I recorded a video about the biggest change that's happened recently! Fair warning, it's a little shaky. I watched it a couple times on my phone, and I thought fine, but then I watched it on my computer and I was like....woah. So, keep it small screen.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

A long awaited update

Greetings, blog friends. It's been awhile.

I know I sound like a broken record, saying that wow it's been awhile, and I promise, I'll be posting again soon on a regular basis to keep you updated, but believe me this time I had my reasons.

I have struggled to sum up the past months since I last posted in May. How do I begin to put into words what happened? I've been able to talk to friends and family members that are here with me, but I just left this big empty hole in my online life, and refrained from telling "everyone" (faraway friends and the whole of the internet) just because I wasn't ready to close the chapter yet.

So, let me fill you in.

Things were going well in May and the first part of June but they were really busy. I had returned to the salon for work, and as I had feared, I was losing the struggle of work/life balance. I'm a very dedicated loyal person when it comes to work, and I have a very hard time putting up boundaries of leaving things at the office, and bringing emotions and problems home with me. My life is like a wet watercolor page-- all of the paint blurs together, touches and overlaps. When you're painting, you can't go back and make two paints not touch. It is nearly impossible. It did not help that my boss was falling into old habits as well, calling me after hours, and putting immense pressure on me to nitpick at office politics, that to be frank, were not critical to the business. I was getting resentful of going into the office, but I still was enjoying working with my coworkers and my boss, and even though I was struggling with work/life balance, I was still having a lot of fun at the salon. A salon is a wonderfully creative, fun atmosphere with the right mix of people. So, things were getting harder, but in many ways, they were the same as they had always been.

Until I got a call early one morning on my way to the office in mid-june. My boss had not shown up for his first client. More oddly, his first client of the day was one that started a full hour than when he normally began. Chad never, ever missed his first client of the day, at the beginning of the week. Not without calling the night before and making arrangements to change the appointment himself. And when one of his clients was on the books earlier than normal, he was always very aware and prompt about showing up on time. Even stranger, calls to his cell phone from the salon went straight to voicemail. When I tried calling, I got the same result. As I turned into the parking lot, I got a very bad, very weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. By the time I arrived at work, his first client of the day had left because she had waited 30 minutes. I instructed the front desk to call his next two clients and apologize and reschedule. I waited another 15 minutes and then called his family members that I knew and expressed my concern that he wasn't there. I even called a staff member who lived nearby and asked him to go beat on Chad's door. No response.

I locked the office door and called my dad, "Dad, I think something is very wrong," I said and explained the circumstances. He sighed and told me that more than likely, Chad was hungover or passed out, but that I needed to be responsible and cover all my bases. "Call the police. They'll go over." I coordinated with a family member and they agreed to meet the police at Chad's house. I was to wait for instruction.

The next two hours were some of the weirdest of my life. The staff was acutely aware that Chad had not shown up for his day-- his absence in the salon was always conspicuous - and worse they could read that I was very worried about it. I lied and said all was fine, that I was sure everything was fine. I tried getting on with my day, completing tasks that I knew had to be done, while keeping my phone glued to my hand and muttering a variety of prayers under my breath--pleading with God that he was passed out, that perhaps he was only slightly injured and that I could visit him at a hospital that afternoon. I was a ball of nerves waiting for news. Someone pointed out that our color delivery had not arrived yet, and that we were in desperate need of some essential colors and that we were running low on foils as well. I jumped at the chance to get out of the salon-- I've always found that a task and a good drive calms my nerves.

I was on a very busy highway that was congested with lunch hour traffic when I got the call. "He's gone, Jessica, He's gone." I don't remember what I said, or how I got off the phone. The scenario that I had kept on the very edge of my mind all morning, praying that I wouldn't have to touch it, was in fact the reality. I could hardly breath, my mind was racing through cascades of sounds and images, but seemingly empty at the same time.

I immediately called my mother, and I sobbed into the phone-- my gut felt like I had been punched repeatedly for hours at a time, my chest aching with the cold I already had was screaming with pain with these endless racking sobs-- only a mother could understand what I was even saying.

I then called Arthur-- it was his birthday, bless his heart-- and he immediately dropped what he was doing, packed up his work items and agreed to meet me at the salon.

I pulled into the supply store parking lot, (which was a miracle that I arrived without crashing, hitting someone or something, given my state) wiped my tears and got out of the car. It was so strange-- moments ago, I was filled with raw emotion, and yet, as soon as I left my car I nosedived into this numb, dazed-like trance. I had maxed out for the day-- or possibly forever it felt like. I had no more emotion left in me.

What happened next was one of the most tender moments I have ever experienced as a human being. I was checking out, and the girl behind the counter simply asked me how my day was going and hesitatingly I acknowledged out loud that I had just found out that a good friend of mine had passed away. She stopped, asked if she could hug me, and without waiting for my reply, came out from around the counter and gave me the most life affirming hug. It was like tenderness and pure love were being pushed back into my soul, filling in part, these cavities that hung in the center of me. It was so essential, and I have thought many times over the past few months about that moment when a stranger was willing to share empathy and love with me. I was so grateful that God had made this person who felt comfortable enough to do that, and that He inspired her in that split second to do that-- because it so very needed. I needed to get through the end of the day, which was a pretty miserable one.

I don't know how to describe telling your staff, who are really just work friends, that their leader and friend and confidante has passed on. It's awful. You can't explain why, or how, or give them any of the details. Somehow in your head, you think that maybe there was a way to explain it better, or if you knew more, that you could soften the blow. You can't. It's miserable all around-- and I pray that I never have to experience something like that ever again.

The end of the day was filled with more love-- I left late that afternoon and went home and zoned out. Crawled in bed and tried to sleep-- snuggled with Arthur and watched hours of mindless tv. About 8 pm, there was a knock on my door, and to their everlasting credit, my dear sweet friends were there, dinner and birthday cake for Arthur in hand. They came in, sang, made our home feel light and airy again, and were even sweet enough to bring bubble bath and goodies for me too. (Somewhat hilariously, after singing happy birthday to me, they sang in monotone notes, a line of "really sad day for you" which sounds exactly how you imagine it to sound.)

The rest of the week slowed down to an incredible slurried pace. The funeral was on a Saturday. Life moved on, but with this big, giant hole that I was constantly negotiating the edge of.

I have thought so much about Chad since that day. About our conversations, about the way he smells and what his hugs feel like, and his brilliant way of swearing. How he greeted me with a cheery good morning every day, and planted kisses on my cheek all the time. How he would like an outfit someone was wearing, and the way he would complement them or tell me about the latest and greatest in his life. How he was constantly dancing, and how much he loved Rihanna. I even missed his voice so much, that I found old deleted voicemails and listened to all of them-- but they don't have the same zest his regular voice did-- he was very to the point and weirdly aware of what he sounded like when he was leaving a message-- so he never really sounded like him. I desperately miss all of the laughing with him-- no matter what we were working on, or talking about or even just in the process of doing-- there was constant laughter. Loads of jokes and looks and little remarks that he and I shared. I miss him so much. People know that I lost Chad, but a lot of them didn't quite get our relationship. Outside of my husband, father, and brothers, Chad was the closest male friendship I've ever had. Yes, he was my boss, and yes we had a lot of work in our relationship-- but we were very good friends.The future always had Chad in it, which I think in part, made it very hard to go on.

I left the salon towards the beginning of August. It was too hard to be alone in that office without him, surrounded by all of the little things that were him, and what was worse was I didn't have him to turn to. More than once, I locked the door, lowered the blinds and cried my eyes out. We were a team in how we accomplished things together, and there were a lot of questions and situations that I just couldn't handle alone. I don't think I could have pushed the business forward the way it needed to because I was constantly negotiating "What would Chad want? Or what would he have done?" And the truth of it is-- it's not his business anymore. He left it here. I had the sense that something was amiss, and I sat down and talked to a therapist-- who wisely pointed out that I was depressed. When I realized that I had been fantasizing about Arthur getting a job change that would, oh darn, make us move to another country, I realized that I felt trapped. That's not a way to live, ever. I knew it, and I realized that if Chad was here, he would insist that I do the right thing for me.

Mostly good things pop up about Chad now. Every once and awhile I have a blue day, where I get upset and angry about what happened. But that's rare. When I do think of Chad, he pops in my head as he does in my dreams-- we're sitting on a pristine white beach, and there is gorgeous blue water in front of us. No one else is there-- we're just having a conversation, one that's silly and rambling, and Chad is laughing, rollicking back and forth with laughter. I feel lifted whenever I see him like that, and I look forward to sitting on the beach with him someday in the after life, and finally figuring out what we're laughing about.

Friday, May 18, 2012

One Oven Salmon, Asparagus and Baked Bananas.

Welcome to Foodie Friday! Everyone loves the weekend and everyone loves food, so I felt like this was a perfect marriage.

I cooked this up for Mother's Day and it was a huge hit. I found the recipe on a weight watcher's blog, and sadly it doesn't have pictures, and I forgot to take pictures!! But you're going to have to take my word for it-- best healthy meal I've had in a long time. With the dessert, (and I had a slightly larger portion of frozen yogurt) it topped out right at around 500 calories. What I also love about the recipe (which if you click on the link, there's very detailed instructions) is that you can change it up very easily. The fish can be chicken or pork; the asparagus can be Brussels sprouts or cauliflower or green beans.

So, without further ado...

One Oven Salmon, Asparagus and Baked Bananas
Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 15 -20 minutes (depending on your fish or meat)


nonstick spray (I actually used a little coconut oil instead)
1.25 lbs. Salmon fillet (or halibut or orange ruffy... any thin fleshed fish will do), cut into 4 equal peices
2 T plus 2 t Dijon Mustard
3/4 c. Panko Breadcrumbs (see note below)
1/4 c. minced red onion
1 T minced Parsley leaves or 2 t dried parsley
1 pound pencil thin asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed off.
1 t. salt
.5 t. fresh ground black pepper
4 medium ripe bananas, peeled and split lengthwise
1 T lemon juice
3 T packed light brown sugar
1.5 T orange juice
1 t. ground cinnamon
4 lemon wedges
1 and 1/3 c. fat free vanilla frozen yogurt (I like dreyer's yogurt blends)


  1. Position the rack in the center of a large oven or divide the racks into the top and bottom thirds of a smaller oven. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Spray a large, lipped baking sheet and a 9-inch-square baking pan with nonstick spray.
  3. Coat one side of each piece of halibut with 2 teaspoons mustard. Combine the Panko, onion and parsley in a small bowl; divide among the halibut pieces, pressing the mixture gently into the mustard.
  4. Place the halibut, coated side up, on one end of the prepared baking sheet. Lay the asparagus spears at the other end, making sure they’re in a single layer. Spray fish and asparagus with a light coating of nonstick spray; sprinkle the asparagus spears with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the bananas in the prepared baking pan; sprinkle with lemon juice. Divide the brown sugar among the bananas, then sprinkle with orange juice and ground cinnamon.
  6. Place the baking sheet (with fish and asparagus) as well as the baking pan (with bananas) in the oven. (If using 2 racks, put the fish and vegetables on the top rack and the bananas below.)
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the fish will flake when gently pulled with a fork. Remove the baking sheet with the fish and asparagus. Baste the bananas with any pan juices that the bananas may have produced.
  8. Transfer the fish pieces to four serving plates. Sprinkle the vinegar over the asparagus, and toss well on the baking sheet. Divide the asparagus spears among the plates; serve each plate with a lemon wedge.
  9. Meanwhile, continue baking the bananas until they’re soft and lightly browned, 5 to 10 additional minutes after the fish and asparagus come out of the oven.
  10. Place 2 banana halves in each of four dessert bowls; top each with 1/3 cup frozen yogurt. Spoon any pan juices into the bowls.
  • Serving size: One piece of fish, one quarter of the asparagus spears, two baked banana halves and 1/3 cup frozen yogurt.
Panko breadcrumbs are a Japanese specialty; they cook up much crisper than standard breadcrumbs. Look for them in the baking aisle with the other breadcrumbs or in the Asian specialty aisle at your supermarket

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday.

This one comes straight from pinterest, and sadly, I have no link back to who put this together. (If you know it, let me know. I want to give credit where credit is due!)

I love the thought. I have to remind myself of this often-- be the better person. Love more. Think kindly and forgive everyone. It's my natural tendency to put people in this judgy box, but then I remind myself: they're trying to figure it out, just like you are. Give them a break. I think back to college with some of the best roommates I ever had, (you know who you are!) and I think the reason I loved them so much is that they took me for who I was, at face value: a little bit crazy disorganized walking mess of a person, who was trying to get it together. They were gentle friends, and they left me a better person, and much more tender hearted than I was before.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Woot Wednesdays: Welcome Edition!

So, Wednesdays are woot! Wednesdays. I don't know where woot came from, but urban dictionary cleared that up for me:

"Woot originated as a hacker term for root (or administrative) access to a computer. However, with the term as coincides with the gamer term, "w00t".

"w00t" was originally an trunicated expression common among players of Dungeons and Dragons tabletop role-playing game for "Wow, loot!" Thus the term passed into the net-culture where it thrived in video game communities and lost its original meaning and is used simply as a term of excitement."

So, from dungeons and here! I like to use woot! mentally, (I can't recall if I've ever actually said it out loud) when I've accomplished something, or done something I'm proud of. So, on Wednesdays, I'm going to be writing about goals and stuff that I've done, or am in the process of doing. 

This all came about by two different sources: my brother and my friend Jaime. 

A couple of weeks ago... or maybe a month ago, my brother tweeted the following:

I sarcastically replied that my life doesn't go without diet coke and sleep. (Just sleep now, say what! 2 whole weeks with no diet coke!!) But it got me thinking, what are things I do that constantly keep myself propelled in forward motion, in my life? I had a deep feeling of....well, maybe I've stopped what I used to do.

Then, my adorable friend Jaime, who puts nearly all bloggers to shame, by running an awesome craft blog, and then a couple of personal (private) blogs, posted about goal making. In fact, she specifically posted about goals for her life that had come about by taking a personal finance course from BYU, that I had suggested. I'm in the middle of the same course. Have I finished it? Nope. Did I make the goals? Yup. Did I tell anyone about those goals........ well, no. :/

On top of those goals, Jaime also has a happiness project going on, inspired by the book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben. (Haven't read this book? You should. Seriously.) Since I've met her, Jaime is doing something different every month, to inspire happiness in her life. It's so awesome and inspiring. Then on top of that she has her 26 for 26 goals. 26 goals or things she wants to do, in the year that she's 26. So awesome. 

So, with both my brother and Jaime as inspiration, I decided I needed to get back to the things inspire me the most to move forward in my life. I thought about the times when I've worked my very hardest to get things done-- and they were always centered around "getting in" to something exclusive, hitting a benchmark,  or being better than everyone else (ego much?). I realized that in college I started to let things slip when I no longer had something to get in to, or beat someone out at, and that in my adult married life, I've fluctuated where at times, I've wanted to do everything in my life 100% perfect, or on the complete opposite end, just survive the day, only I was just surviving the day, for weeks at a time. 

So, I need big goals that boost my ego. hahaha. I've got a bunch floating around, that you'll see some of next week. But for now, I want to tell you about the big goal that I'm working on right this second: weight loss!

I've struggled with my weight for the past few years, and I knew that I wasn't doing anything right for myself. It just takes a lot of courage to stop blaming and acknowledge, "No one force fed me the brownie. I put it in my mouth. I haven't put on my tennis shoes and hit the gym. It isn't anyone else's fault, it's mine." It just felt like a battle that I was always losing at. Then, something clicked for me: my husband decided to help me out and go to the gym with me....and my gym was doing this thing called TEAM weight loss. I signed up. It's 3 hours every week, 6 am, 2.5 hours of cardio and a half hour of a nutrition class. Then outside of class, it's 2 hours of strength training and an hour of flexibility. Plus counting your calories, and reporting those calories. I've gone for 2 weeks, haven't missed a day, and as of today I've lost 6 lbs. total!!! My goal for the remaining month and a half was supposed to be 10 lbs. but I think I'm going to shoot for 20! I feel I can do it. It's required a complete overhaul of what I've been eating, how I've been sleeping, what I do every morning...but I'm loving it. It makes life feel so full.

So, that's my first woot! wednesday. I'll be checking in next week and sharing some of my other goals. :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Paprika Recipe Manager

First off.... welcome to Tech Tuesdays! When I was deciding how I wanted to blog again, I realized that I needed to break up my posts from just life updates... so each day this week, you're going to see a different type of post.

Tech Tuesdays are all about the "Tech" things that make life easier. Have you ever had that one thing that you want to tell everyone about because its like, so awesome? This is my spot for that. And it might be actually technical-- like an app or a gadget or it just might be something really useful, like a book or organizational doodad.

Sooooo.... Tech Tuesday: Paprika Recipe Manager!

I found this app right around Christmas. I was browsing the app store for something that I could keep my grocery list on... and this one is such a winner. Not only does it keep track of your grocery list, but it's the ultimate recipe finder, keeper, meal planner, and grocery list. It's the perfect pairing for browsing pinterest for all those yummy recipes.

Paprika Recipe Manager is for iphone, ipad and if you have a mac, they also have a desktop app! If you've got it on more than one device, they sync wirelessly via the cloud!  So this mother's day, on Saturday, I already had the recipe I had in mind, I swung by the grocery store last minute, was able to get everything for the meal, with my grocery list in the app. Then, on Sunday, I just took my phone with me, and had the instructions right there while I cooked. Genius!

Here's the app on my phone with a list of all my recipes on the left, and the bookmarks page of food sites on the right.

The grocery list on the left, and the meal planning page on the right.

I admit, I like the ipad layout more for when I'm at home, browsing recipes, planning out meals, and cooking at home.

Top: See how the list of recipes is way easier to browse and plan from in the ipad?
Bottom: This is the best screen to cook from in my opinion. Plus, I love the timer feature.

Top: It's super easy to capture a recipe that's on a blog, that you saw maybe on pinterest.
Bottom: I love the meal planner on the ipad, because it's way easier to see what you're doing  in a given week.

The layout is just a little better for examining recipes, saving recipes from the web. If you're already at a recipe website, like food network, there's an easy button you just have to click once, and it grabs the entire recipe for you.

The only downside to this app is that it isn't cheap. It's $3-4 in the app store per device! At first I only had it on my ipad for a few months, but a couple weeks ago, I broke down and got it on my phone too. To me, with trying to lose weight, and keep my life sane in my work/life balance, the on the go syncing was a must. But it's been a real winner. You can email recipes to friends from the app, and import recipes emailed to you too... but I haven't done that yet. :)

If you end up getting Paprika, let me know and let's start exchanging recipes!

Paprika Recipe Manager,, $19.99 for Mac Desktop, $4.99 for iphone and ipad each.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekend update....

Alright... so this is TWO weekend updates in one.

Last weekend, I did the coolest thing with my friends. We went out to Marble Falls and picked berries! Cute strawberries and big beautiful blackberries.

Om Nom Nom Nom.

Excuse my wonky hair. Jaime called it cute. Whatever.

These girls are awesome. Love em. I have so much fun with them.

Thisssss weekend, I had to work on Saturday, and much to my surprise, when I came into work, I had a package waiting!

My adorable wonderful husband had sent me flowers for Mother's Day and a sweet note-- "You may not be a mother this year, but hopefully by next year you will be." He's a keeper. (DISCLAIMER: We are in no way pregnant now. We'd like to be... but we're not)  We rounded out the evening by going out to our favorite restaurant, The Grove, and by watching War Horse at home. (Save yourself the misery-- don't see it!)

Finally we celebrated Mother's Day by hanging out with my family.

Crazy Argentine.
First we got a call from Ian, who's serving his mission in Argentina. He is still hilariously funny. Even with a strange sing song-y accent.

Lovely Lady. Great Woman. Awesome Friend.
Then, we cooked up dinner (recipe coming soon!) and celebrated Mom. And watched Battlestar Galactica.
Perfect evening, right there folks.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A New Commitment to Blogging

Hello, very few readers of my blog. It’s been what, six, eight months? Yeah, sorry about that. If you’ll allow it, I’d like just a sec to explain myself.

I got stuck in this rut of feeling like I had to blog and explain our lives, every eventful thing we’ve ever done for everyone who reads this blog. And it was kind of weird, because I had decide, what was worth blogging? Everyday occurances? Big events? Life altering choices? I didn’t know. It was very hard to decide. And before I knew it, in terms of chronicling our lives I was 3, 4, 6 months behind. The kind of blog posts that I wanted to produce were past the moment by the mere passage of time. I felt like I was failing at something I really enjoyed. And so I stopped. Didn’t think much about it really, just stopped, and continued living life.

Now, fast forward to last week. A good family friend passed away—Verter was 54, he was cycling, and was hit by an 85 year old man who wasn’t looking. It was really sad. My heart breaks for his wife and children. I went to his funeral on Friday, and while his friends and family mourned his loss, they also made it abundantly clear that Verter LIVED life. He was passionate about nearly everything in his life—from his family, friend and working relationships, to the hobbies he kept up, to the way he actually lived life. It was inspirational to say the least.

Also this past week, I read some really great blog posts by friends. Jaime talked about finishing and completing some of her 26 for 26 goals. Chelsea's post about her kids and life got me through work one day. Karly, whom I’ve never met but feel like I know because I know so many people who know her, wrote the most beautiful birth story I think I’ve everread. My brave friend Crytsal has blogged every step of her IVF treatment and reading it has been so exhilarating! I'm rooting for her every day. Rachel’s events of now balancing two adorable children, Leigh’s hilariousrecounting of a Ragnar race… you get the idea. This past week was a wallop of blog posts that remind me, this is why people blog. You blog for your own self, but also for others. This is the stuff of life—if you aren’t blogging it, or scrapbooking it, or doing something with it—what are you doing? I don’t particularly cherish sentimentality, but I love love LOVE to hear stories from my parents and grandparents about life growing up, and I wish a lot of them were written down. That makes blogging worth it to me.

So, expect to see more posts. They may be a little different that before, but that’s only because I’m trying to get a rhythm and a method that work for me.

And as for the past six, or eight months? We’ve been good. I’ve not worked, and now I’m working. I’ve made new friends. Arthur got fancy and went on an international business trip, even though it was only Canada (it was French Canada and that is foreign). That’ll do for now. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Arthur's baby

Towards the end of October, Arthur decided that he had a grown up job, and a grown up wardrobe, so he ought to have a grown up car. I didn't have much say in the matter, so we went down to carmax (thanks to our friend Cara in the ward) and bought a car. Arthur could go on about how awesome it is, but I think it suffices to say that it's nice, a great ride, and the seat warmers and sound system are awesome. Behold! The VW GTI:

... and one very happy husband.