Another Small Wedding Update

Well, here we are nearing the end of March and we have 122 days to go until the wedding. 122 days…yikes.

I have one of my two tasks done for the month, which were to buy wedding shoes and to buy a wedding band for my fiancé {who I’m going to call Cowboy, since writing “my fiancé” is going to get old quickly}. Guess which one I have done. The shoes, of course.

I’ve shown them to Cowboy already, so there’s no harm in showing them to you!

wedding shoes

Aren’t they gorgeous?! I wanted something that I could wear again and something that would be comfortable. I also knew I didn’t want any kind of heel. Folks, I’m 5’9″ in my bare feet. I don’t need a heel of any kind. Besides, I don’t want to tower over Cowboy, who is also 5’9″. I looked on various different web sites for a pretty flat and I looked for cream colored flats, for sparkly flats, for blue flats. I looked and looked and just couldn’t find anything that made my heart go pitter-pat. I finally came upon these. When I saw them, I gasped and sat up straight and I knew they were the shoes. If you’re interested in a pair for yourself, I got them at uku2. They’re well-made and they fit like a glove and I’m so glad I bought them.

Now, buying a wedding band for Cowboy is proving to be an ordeal. I have three to choose from and I’m weighing my options. There’s this one, this one and this one. I’m not at all sure which one to get because I like them all. I’m going to sleep on it and try to order this week if I can. I kind of want to keep it a secret so he’ll not see it beforehand, so I’ll not show you which one I pick. *Insert slightly mischievous cackle here.*

We’re gradually pulling stuff together and I hope we have it all done in 122 days. If we don’t, then I hope everyone has a great time! At the very least, there will be food and wine and dancing and smiles. What could go wrong with that? :-D

CDF Struggles – Part One

I have been struggling with my Core Desired Feelings lately. I am starting to think that what I want to feel is atypical of my personality. I am a Type A person {or a Type 4 person, if you ask Carol Tuttle}. As a Type A/4 person, I don’t feel relaxed or languid or easy-going or any of those types of things. I am starting to think I just don’t have it in me to be one of those free-spirited folks who can fall asleep in the middle of a massage. I say that because I have a hard time letting people take control of my limbs. I just. Cannot. Relax.

For instance, for the last week or so I’ve written Flow & Glow, Relaxed, Calm, Sensual {I’m sorry, what is that?}, Light and Playful in my Desire Map journal. Did I accomplish any of those? Well, no. I did manage to flow through a few days last week, which was nice. I was relaxed and calm, but there’s always this underlying current of…worry? No, that’s not quite it. I think I’ll call it uptightness. I think that describes it nicely.

I think this feeling up uptightness stems from a need to always be in control of my own self because that’s about the only thing I can control. I know you’re laughing at me, and I’m chuckling at myself too. We all know that we don’t have any control over much of anything, though some self-control does happen in our lives from time to time. I believe that I tend to take it too far the other direction. I get obsessive if I don’t have a plan. I stress over it and I think about it all. the. time. This is one of my least favorite things about myself.

I want to be one of those people like Liz DiAlto. This woman has sensual down pat. She flows and she glows and she’s light and playful. At least, that’s the side I see of her on social media. She has a smile that lights up a room and when I see a picture of her smiling, I can nearly hear her laughing. At least, that’s the side I see of her on social media. I’m sure she has her crappy moments too, as everyone does, but I think she’s one of those bubbly people.

So, how do I reconcile how I want to feel with who I am right now? Truthfully, I have no idea. And that is why I think how I want to feel isn’t consistent with who I am. I just don’t know….

I mean, I can say I want to be relaxed and calm and sensual and light and playful, but I don’t know how to be those things. I want to learn to be those things. I think I’ll start by making a list of things I could do to feel all of those CDFs and then move on from there. And, here we go:

Relaxed and Calm

·         Book a massage, facial, or yoga session using the gift card my future sister-in-law and her daughters gave me for Christmas.

Sensual

·         Take up belly dancing? I really have no idea what sensual looks like. The women in my family are not the most sensual of beings. We feel, yes, and we feel deeply, but we aren’t all that emotive about it. We all grew up thinking being sensual was a carnal and fleshly thing that didn’t belong in our lives. It was, quite frankly, evil. So, all that to say that I really don’t know how to be sensual. Also, I think being sensual is a whole lot different than being emotive about our feelings.

Light and Playful

·         Stop being so serious all the time. I remember when I was little, I couldn’t take a joke. I was so very serious all the time. Think of Wednesday Addams and that was me, without her sense of morbidity. Much like my above reference to sensuality, I don’t know how to be light because it wasn’t modeled for me when I was a child. Playful was, so I know how to do that, though I believe I need to let go of quite a bit of uptightness before I can be truly playful. As I’ve gotten older, I can now take a joke and I can tease people in a good-natured manner as well and I can laugh at myself. These things are hard-won. Back to light. I don’t know what it feels like to be light. I think that’s part just the way of my life. My responsibilities far outweigh my ability to go on adventures. Somehow, I equate lightness with a lack of responsibility. I am never without responsibility and we all know responsibilities are very serious things. I think I may need to rearrange my thought process about lightness and responsibility. It must be possible to have responsibilities and be light in the midst of those responsibilities. Can’t it be possible?

So this didn’t really turn into any sort of practical task list, with the exception of the first bullet point. I also think I’m doing what I always do, and that’s to over-analyze any changes in my life I want to make, no matter how big or how small. I’m also being really hard on myself {that’s normal for TypeA/4 people too} and I do realize that I have come a very long way. I am not who I used to be and I have made many changes for the better! {And you have 1000+ words of this to read, without any type of resolution}

Start small, woman.

Book that massage, or yoga or facial…or whatever will make you relax and chill out.

Question of the Day
For you Desire Mappers, have you ever wanted to feel a Core Desired Feeling that isn’t consistent with who you are? What changes did you make in your life to feel that CDF?

For you non-Desire Mappers, how do you make changes in your life to do the things you want to do and feel the way you want to feel?

In Which I Join the 21st Century + A Small Wedding Update

My new -to-me laptop and the requisite hot beverage.

I now have my very own laptop. It’s a little archaic, but it works just fine. It’s certainly better than poking blog posts out on my phone. :-) I love looking at web sites on a larger screen too. I hope this means I’ll be able to devote more time to my blog! At the very least, I’ll be able to keep up with all of my favorite bloggers!

It’s amazing how much I haven’t missed having a computer at home. It’s been at least four years since I’ve had a computer at home. I am glad to join the 21st century again! I think I didn’t miss it as much because I am on a computer all day at work. I don’t have cable tv either…my tv can play movies and that’s it. I definitely do not miss having tv. Anything I want to watch can either be borrowed from the library or I can get it from Netflix. Besides, about the only four things I’m interested in watching are the following: Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Outlander and The Walking Dead. Anyway, I now have a laptop  and am a proper blogger!

Some of you may or may not know that I am getting married. And if you didn’t know, well, now you do! We have been slowly but surely marking things off the list I have. We have a little less than five months until our wedding, and sometimes it seems like we’ll never get it all done. I think a lot of the tasks happen at the very end and I’m prepared for that {or, at least, I think I am}. I’m a little worried I’ll forget something major, but I also think that I’m organized enough that I won’t drop the ball.

As of right now, I haven’t turned into Bridezilla. I’ve turned into OCD Bride and Type A Bride {they are different, trust me}, but not Bridezilla. I hope to keep it that way. OCD Bride and Type A Bride don’t make everyone run away in terror. My family and friends just know I can get a little OCD until I figure out a plan or have a solution to a problem and then I turn into Type A Lady. And so, they bear with me while we plan a party. I really hope it’s a fun one!

People have asked me if I’m ready for the wedding? My answer to that is, “No, I’m not ready for the wedding, but I am ready to marry him.”  I think that about sums up my thoughts about the wedding and marriage. I just want the wedding to be over so we can get to the marriage part. That’s the steak, the wedding is the salad.

I probably won’t post too much stuff about the wedding, unless you’re interested in it. If you are, drop me a line in the comments and I’ll write away!

How to Use Your Crisper

I’m ashamed to admit that I recently had to look up how exactly to set the air flow for my crisper drawers. I never knew some produce needed a specific air flow and I didn’t know how they worked. I doubt I’m the only adult who didn’t know how to use her crisper drawer settings, so I thought I’d share this information with all of you too!

I did a little research online and I found this article from thekitchn.com to be helpful. Here’s the gist!

How your crisper drawers work:

The temperature setting basically either opens or closes a little window in the drawer, which lets air flow in and out of the drawer. The low setting opens the window all the way and the high setting closes it.

Now, which setting do you use for which produce? Read on!

The general rule of thumb is to put things that rot {for example, apples and pears} in a drawer with a low setting and put things that wilt {leafy greens and herbs} in a drawer with a high setting.

Here’s a comprehensive list for each category!

High Humidity Setting {low ethyline gas producers}

  • bananas (unripe)
  • Belgian endive
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • cucumbers
  • eggplant
  • green beans
  • herbs (cilantro, dill, parsley, thyme)
  • leafy greens (kale, lettuces, spinach, Swiss chard, watercress)
  • okra
  • peas
  • peppers
  • strawberries
  • watermelon

Low Humidity Setting {high ethlyne gas producers}

  • cantaloupes
  • apples
  • pears
  • avocados
  • figs
  • honeydews
  • kiwis
  • papayas
  • plantains
  • stone fruits (apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums)

There are a few produce items I never, ever ever put in the ice box. Here’s my list!

  • tomatoes – I find that the taste and texture changes once they’ve been refrigerated
  • potatoes – they get gritty when refrigerated
  • melons – I don’t refrigerate it until I’ve cut into it…I’ve heard they lose antioxidants once refrigerated
  • onions and garlic – they get moldy quick
  • basil – it wilts so much faster if it’s in the ice box

I also don’t refrigerate apples, pears, avocados and citrus fruits…frankly, they get eaten so fast at my house that there’s no point in even refrigerating them.

How about you? Did you know how to use your crisper settings? Share in the comments!

Reverse Bucket List

I first came across this idea over at Blue Sky Daze {here’s her post} and I love this idea. I love it because there are so many times that I think I haven’t accomplished much of anything. It gets a little overwhelming to think that I haven’t done much with my life. It’s a fear, I suppose, and I think that since I haven’t done much, I’ll continue to be a waste of space.

Oh, the lies…the lies I believe.

I. Am. Not. A. Waste. Of. Space.

So, in an effort to no longer believe those lies about myself, I’ve created my very own reverse bucket list! Enjoy!

  • Birthed a child and raised him to the age of 11 without ruining him for life. This is a pretty big deal.
  • Learned to love my self as I am. I’m still working on this and I get better at it every day.
  • Learned to speak up if I don’t like something in my life. Whether it’s a situation, a circumstance or a person’s actions towards me, I’ve learned to speak up when I see something that doesn’t gel with my soul.
  • Did a few things that scare me. Here are a few of them: Joined a women’s Bible study group, talked about my feelings and fears, was single for a while, learned to love again, became more open {still working on the last two}.
  • Went to Scotland and had the time of my life. I didn’t want to leave.
  • Had a pen pal for over 10 years {Peter, from Sweden}.
  • Lost 35 pounds and became a healthier version of myself.
  • Did a whole bunch of work on my emotional, mental and spiritual well-being {I’m still at work on this too}.
  • Went to the roller coaster capital of the world…and rode the Millennium Force. Realized that I love roller coasters.
  • Lived in one place for more than five years. As a child, we moved quite a bit and didn’t stay any one place more than five years. The apartment I’m currently in has been home since 2008 and that’s the longest I’ve ever stayed in one house.
  • Won a college scholarship when I was in 8th grade. Sadly, I think I wasted it. I don’t have anything to show for my college years.
  • Moved to California from Nebraska when I was 20.
  • Started blogging so very many years ago and kept it going through many editions.
  • Bought a car by myself when I was in high school. It was a green 1997 Dodge Stratus.
  • Learned to flip omelets in high school. I think I can still do it.
  • Did a Whole30.
  • Learned to set healthy boundaries and also learned to put myself closer to the top, if not at the very top, of my priority list.

Wow, I guess I’ve done quite a bit :-) I think this list is something I need to add to every so often. Have you created one for yourself? Share in the comments!

Fun Friday Five!

Hello, lovelies! How are you this fine Friday morning? Here are the fun things I found around the web this week! Enjo

1. Getting What You Want in Life is Easier than You Think {Hint: All you have to do is ask} – As much as I love this concept, I’m afraid of it. Terrified of it, in fact. I’m afraid that if I start spending money, I won’t have enough for rent or the phone bill or groceries. Clearly, I need some a whole lot of work here.

2. 7 Cultural Concepts We Don’t Have in the U.S. – My favorite out of the seven is wabi-sabi, which is the celebration of the worn, cracked and imperfect. Which is your favorite?

3. This song. I cannot wait for the full album!

4. Picturing an Imaginary Animal Kingdom – Oh, my…wow. These are so stunning.

Image from here

5. And last, but certainly not least, this group of photos from one of my favorite photographers, Andria Lindquist – So sensuous, so peaceful, so beautiful. So much more than beautiful, actually. Go take a look.

Enjoy your weekend!!!! I plan to spend some time outside!

Question of the Day
What are you doing this weekend? Share in the comments!

Hiking the Pinnacles

On Saturday, I went for a glorious 7.3 mile hike at Pinnacles National Park. Today, my calves are complaining. We {meaning the man and myself} climbed quite a few hills on Saturday and it was so much fun! I don’t care if my calves are complaining :-)

Pinnacles National Park is primarily a hiking park. Though the trails are well-kept, it is advisable to wear hiking boots or walking shoes with good tread. Bring plenty of water as there isn’t an opportunity to refill a smaller water bottle on the trails. The trails are well-marked and easily visible. When you go in the front gate, you’re provided with a map. Use it!

We stayed primarily on the east side of the park, as neither of us had been to that section of the park in some time. We called it an adventure and that’s exactly what it was!

I had to snag a quick picture before we set out, just to prove I was there {hi, Mom!}. I had my trusty Camelbak strapped to my back with 5L of water. I made it through about 2.5L by the time we were done. I absolutely love carrying my water with me this way because it allows for my hand to be free and nothing is swinging off my waist. For me, it’s an easy way to stay hydrated, especially when on long treks.

We couldn’t have chosen a better day for it, honestly. The sun was out and it was warm, but there was a slight breeze so it wasn’t stuffy. I enjoyed every step! I loved being out in the green grass! My soul needed the time away from civilization to recuperate. This is exactly what I needed.

As I mentioned before, we did a lot of hiking hills and mountains. Some of it was rather steep and narrow and a little unnerving, but with a view like this, the climb was totally worth it!

Do you see the two people in the foreground? I love the scale of this photo, just because it shows how big the rocks are. I also loved that I could see for miles and miles. That’s not something that I can say when I’m along the coast of California. I can see for miles and miles, but it’s different when I’m looking at the ocean. The mountains provide a different, though not necessarily better, view.

The rock formations are really quite neat to see. It reminds me of some of the geography in the southeastern corner of Colorado. In some places, you can see where the volcanic rock slid down the hill when it was still in its lava stage. It’s quite fascinating.

In March, April and May, there are plenty of wildflowers in bloom, especially in the canyons. I loved seeing the red, orange, purple or blue flowers!

As I mentioned before, we hiked 7.3 miles and it took us about 5 hours. We made a few stops to catch our breath and enjoy the vista. I have no clue how many calories I burned, but I do know that I earned my supper that night!

I’d love to go back and explore the caves again! There’s so much to see!

Question of the Day
What did you do this weekend? Share in the comments!

Who’s Up for Whole30 Round Two?!?

I am, that’s who! I decided a couple of days ago that I could really use another Whole30 round. By now, I’m sure you’re sick of me telling you about it, but I want to get this down for myself so I can refer back to it later.

Goals

  • Drink 75 ounces of water a day.
  • Sleep 8 hours a night.
  • Take measurements at Day 1 and at Day 31.
  • Enjoy the process.
  • Live my CDFs {this doesn’t really have anything to do with Whole30, but it does have to do with my own holistic well-being}.
  • Exercise if I feel like it. Don’t beat myself up if I don’t.

How I Feel Right Now
Right now, as I’m writing this on Friday morning, my teeth hurt. It’s not really my teeth, it’s more like my sinuses hurt, though I do not have a sinus infection and I’m not sick in any way. I think it’s because I’ve eaten a bunch of sugar {thank you, PMS and stress}. I’ve also had a headache for the last few days. Again, thank you sugar, PMS and stress. I’ve eaten a breakfast of scrambled eggs with butternut squash and spring greens {shown below}. I topped the whole thing with a thumb’s worth of coconut oil. I feel pretty good about that and my body likes it. I feel light{er} and less bogged down already.

Beginning Measurements {here are my stats from Round 1}
Right thigh – 23″
Left thigh – 23″
Hips – 38.5″
Waist – 31″
Chest – 38.5″

Discoveries Since My Last Whole30
I extended my first Whole30 through February 9, so I’ve been non-Whole30 for about a month now. I’ve tried gluten, dairy, beans, corn and sugar. I’ve tried alcohol. And here’s what I’ve discovered:

  • Gluten gives me a bellyache within about 3 hours of eating it. I have a headache for 2-3 days following. The bellyache is so not worth it.
  • Dairy is okay in small amounts. Eat sparingly. Also, goat cheese is perfectly fine to consume.
  • Beans are okay in small amounts as well. But, I don’t crave them, so I can take them or leave them.
  • Corn…I get indigestion when I eat corn chips, which is very sad since I really miss chips and salsa and splitting a plate of nachos with the boy at our favorite Mexican restaurant. There are alternatives {like plantains!} and I’m excited about that!
  • And last, but certainly not least, sugar. Sugar is indeed an evil beastie. It makes my stomach and my sinus cavities hurt, it makes my joints ache and it makes my whole body feel like lead. Not fun, folks, not fun.

The Menu for the First Week
I have a few entrees and sides planned for this coming week, all of which have come out of Well Fed 2. We’re going to have salmon cakes, West African chicken stew, garlic green beans and carrot salad. So far, that’s what I have and I’ll probably add to it as I go along. The salmon cakes and stew will give us entrees for supper and leftovers for me for lunch at least for a day or two.

So, here’s to Round 2 and I’ll do my best to keep you up to speed with all of this! I have a chicken recipe in the works for you too, so stay tuned!

Fun Friday Five!

Oh, my gosh, this week. I’m so glad today is Friday. This week has been a bit of a doozy and I’ve felt a bit melancholy, but I think a hike this weekend should cheer me up! I had jury duty on Monday and Wednesday and then a parent-teacher conference on Thursday. Due to the timing of those two things, my workout schedule took quite a hit. And, I’ve been wanting to EAT ALL THE CHOCOLATE and ALL THE SUGAR. Ugh. I succumbed and I discovered that sugar gives me a nasty headache, makes me grouchy, makes my body ache and makes my sinuses hurt. Uncool, sugar dragon, uncool.

Anyway, here are some nifty things I found around the web this week. Enjoy!

1. This picture. The colors, the dustiness, the togetherness…yet the separation and the reflection. Gorgeous.

Image from here

2. This song, which I pulled from Moonologie. Swoon.

3. And this song, too. I could listen to it on repeat.

4. This water bottle. Folks, I’ve been looking for a good glass water bottle that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg for some time. Recently, I bought a fancier, more expensive model, but it took a trip to the concrete the day after I bought it and shattered, so…I’ve been hunting for a narrow-mouth, glass water bottle with some kind of protective sheath around the exterior since then. I’ll admit that I am somewhat of a water bottle snob and that I dislike the thought of plastic and chemicals leaching into my drinking water {even if it does say it’s BPA-free}. And here, is what I found:

Image from here

I love it because it has a narrow mouth and it has a stainless steel lid. Having bottle with a narrow mouth means I don’t drown myself or soak my shirt when I take a drink. I really do just have drinking problems with water bottles that have wider mouths. Anyway, you can write me down in the Encyclopedia of Water Bottle Snobs and include my picture.*

5. Breakfast pizza??? Yes, please!

Question of the Day
What’s your favorite water bottle? Share in the comments!

*I really really hope there is no such encyclopedia!

Chicken Pesto Bake + The Boy Has a Separator

I could have sworn that I had posted this recipe here before, since it’s one of our all-time favorites. The boy loves it and he gets really excited when he knows it’s on the menu. But, I can’t find it anywhere on my blog, so I am going to rectify that and share this delicious recipe with you.

It should be noted that this recipe is in no way Paleo or Whole30. Just so we get that out of the way. And if it looks like a whole bunch of cheesy goodness, that’s because it is exactly that.

Chicken Pesto Bake {recipe slightly adapted from here}
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
4 T pesto
1 medium tomato, sliced thin
1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
4 T grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan {whatever you have on hand is fine}

Heat oven to 400*F. Wash chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Slice each breast horizontally to create four thinner cutlets. Season with salt and fresh pepper. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread one teaspoon of pesto over each piece of chicken. Bake for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Remove from oven and arrange sliced tomatoes on top of each breast. Place sliced mozzarella cheese and grated cheese over the top. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Slice and serve over leafy greens as a salad or alongside your favorite roasted or steamed veggies.

Part of the reason we love this recipe is because it takes 20 minutes to cook from start to finish. Another thing that’s nice about this is that you can use whatever cheese you have on hand. Sure, mozzarella is nice, but a nice Monterey Jack or even a chevre {as pictured on the right above} is delicious too. I probably go a bit too heavy with the pesto, honestly. It’s so delicious and this is probably the only time I eat it. So, going overboard is okay, right?!

If you don’t like pesto, you can also use any jarred tapenade you prefer. I know the boy would absolutely LOVE it if I made it with his favorite jarred tapenade from Trader Joe’s! Note to self: try that next time and omit the tomatoes as the tapenade has plenty of liquid.

Last week, the boy got braces on his bottom teeth and a separator in the roof of his mouth. He’s gradually been adjusting to the feeling of metal in his mouth and learning to eat with the separator. We had green beans over the weekend and that wasn’t a good choice since they get stuck in the wires of the separator. So, we’re eating other veggies for awhile until he figures out how to chew and swallow without pieces getting stuck in the separator.

Sorry for the nostril shot…but you get the full effect this way.

Poor kid. He’s doing really well with it. And, he has a tiny little freckle in between his nostrils. I have no idea how a person would get a freckle there, but he has one.

He will eat a full serving of Chicken Pesto Bake, even when his teeth hurt. And that, my friends, is saying something!