things I’m not loving

This blog is no stranger to “favorites” posts.  I’ve mentioned in several of them how I love Fridays and all the summary posts of the week (well, add in Joy’s Sunday posts to that list.) Today, I’m splitting a bit from favorites and sharing some “not favorites”. This is not meant to be negative but just a bit of safe venting.  Maybe?

Being a grammarphile

So, I thought I made up that word but then Googled it. Grammarphile is a word! The Urban Dictionary definition is, “A lover of all things grammar related.*  **Not as harsh as the “grammar police”, but devoted all the same.”

The junior high I attended had a HIGH focus on grammar. At the time, I hated it but as I moved in to high school and college, I was forever grateful. The only problem is internal cringing in 2016.

Pioneer Woman tackles common grammar mishaps in her “Mean Ol’ School Marm” posts.  I love them! She covers words that don’t exist like “irregardless” and “supposably” and also words I can never get straight like “further” and “farther”.

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My two current cringes are as follows:

“I” and “me”. School Marm addressed this. Where I struggle most with this misuse is in photo captions. I read dozens of ministry newsletters a month and far too many have photo captions like this, “Joe and I at the Great Wall!”  Nope. Take away Joe and you would never ever say, “I at the Great Wall!” Well, maybe you would but you shouldn’t. Somewhere along the way the word “me” has become negative in the minds of humans. It’s not a bad word. “Suzy and I went to the Great Wall.”  Yes! “Suzy and me went to the Great Wall!” No.

“Who” and “that”. Olympic commentators butchered these two over the two-week coverage. I hear it on the news almost nightly. I hear it on podcasts.  People “who” and things “that”. “It was Julie that just made that perfect dive!” Nope. “It was Julie who just made that perfect dive!” Yep. People “who” and things “that”.

Don’t get me started on “invite” as a noun…

Aging

I loved turning 30. I loved my 30’s. I loved turning 40. I have so far loved my 40’s. I like the freedom of getting older. At the tender age of 13 I remember reading the poem “When I’m an Old Lady I Shall Wear Purple” at a craft fair. I didn’t understand it. I do now. There is freedom and a smidge of “who cares?” that comes with a few years under your belt.

Now, on to belts. That’s what I don’t like about aging. I miss wearing belts. From 2008-2010 I worked really hard and lost 50 pounds. I wasn’t thin but I was at a very comfortable weight for those succeeding years.  Well, two years ago things shifted.  Age 43 brought the disappearance of my formerly tiny waist. Whether I was a size 6 or 18 (I’ve been both), I could always count on my small waist. It’s gone. 12 pounds have crept back in with no change in my diet or exercise. Those pounds have landed squarely between my knees and my ribs. Not cool. This spring I went to my doctor and begged for blood tests to find ANYTHING wrong with me. She called apologetically with all negative tests. Again, I have no desire to be thin but I do want to be healthy and the comfort of clothes fitting and not being tight is a true joy. Sigh. No part of me wants to eat only lettuce for the rest of my life. I’m at a place now of wondering if I just accept current reality or just eat lettuce. It’s probably obvious which will win out. Oh, and if you want to recommend a MLM weight-management system to me, you may restrain yourself. I’ve tried Plexus, Arbonne, and a few others. I’m allergic to most and Isagenix has ingredients I don’t like.  I’m so happy if you enjoy them but they aren’t for me.

I want to be a woman who walks in the confidence of Who created her and in Whose image she is made. Lies creep in. Insecurities rise. It stinks.

 

Is there anything you are currently “not loving”? Feel free to vent. A friend walking through infertility told me recently how she’s so over Facebook birth announcements.  Sure, she’s happy for those girlfriends but the in-your-face feeling can be crushing – especially when said baby is called an “oops baby”. I went through a week last month where I had to get off social media for all the friends locally taking their daughters to see a musical that had come to town. My heart aches to take a daughter to a musical. So, how about you? This is a safe place. Welcome to the no-judgment zone.

favorites from the internet

I keep a list of current favorites on a note on my phone. After pulling it up this week I realized they all had two things in common: all things to ingest and all things found on blogs or the wonderful microblog world of Instagram.  Here goes!

Melissa’s chicken

Fresh Market has boneless, skinless good chicken breasts on sale every Tuesday. It’s a good deal but I’m often stumped what to do with it.  A few weeks ago Melissa d’Arabian posted this recipe.

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I cooked up three half breasts and it is so yummy! I made the chicken Wednesday and realized yesterday that I hadn’t used it all so I stuffed some enchiladas with the concoction. I wondered if the herbes de Provence would not jive with enchilada sauce. Wrong-o.  It’s delicious! This is a keeper recipe for sure.

Also, if you were a fan of Melissa from Food Network Star or her shows on the same network, she now does a weekly Facebook live broadcast from her new kitchen on Tuesdays.  Her personality and love for Jesus really do shine. She also sends out a weekly email that I love.

Egg cooker

Yes, I said, “egg cooker”. I love to cook but I have never mastered hard boiling eggs.  It’s crazy, I know! I’ve tried every trick and tried and true recipe I can find. Always, always, there is a green ring or they are undercooked.  I love a soft boiled egg when I want a soft boiled egg but now when I want a hard boiled egg!

Meg posted about this egg cooker.

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Superfluous appliance? I think not. I have LOVED this little machine. It hard cooks eggs perfectly. I’m hooked.

Over the years, Meg has pointed me to some of my favorite things including this travel diffuser. While I’m on the subject of my girl-crush Meg Duerksen, I bawled my way through her interview with Kendra Adachi on Kendra’s Lazy Genius podcast this week. They talked a lot about walking with Jesus through raising teens.  Gah, I was convicted I haven’t prayed for friends with teens enough and will now do so. Her honesty is refreshing. If you start the podcast, please finish. It’s a long and important conversation.

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And while I’m on the subject of Kendra, LISTEN TO BOTH OF HER PODCASTS!!! Yes, I’m yelling.

Inflammation drink

I have itis’s. Lots of them. Inflammation stinks. Jessica Seinfeld has one of my favorite Instagram accounts.  Yes, that Seinfeld. I took note of this post a while back:

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And, I made it:

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It’s good, y’all. It’s also very spicy. I love vinegar so I didn’t find it that horrible. This isn’t a cleanse that makes you go-go like a crazy person. It did make me less puffy that day for sure.

Zucchini

My friend Tabatha gave me a HUGE zucchini from her garden last week. I’ve grilled a lot already this season and wanted something different. I was about to make squash (zucchini) casserole when this recipe popped up on Instagram this morning!

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I made these little wonders and they are delicious and super easy! Think latkes without the potatoes.

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(I just noticed there is CFA Honey Roasted BBQ sauce on my tea bag holder in this picture.  Welcome to my kitchen.)

I just wanted to show how easy peasy this recipe is.  I had every single ingredient on hand already. The only change I would make is to use less salt.

So, those are a few of my current favorites.  I’d love to hear yours!

::

A few years ago I sat across a table from a friend of almost 30 years. I don’t even know how we got to this place in our conversation but she said, “Oh, I just assumed you never wanted to be married or have kids.” This is a moment I’ll never forget.

This week I sat beside an acquaintance of 15 years who is becoming a dear friend. She said, “I’ve always wondered… do you want to have kids?”

I was the one who played house and was always “the mom”. I was the one who played school and was always “the teacher”. The only “job” I have ever wanted is to be a wife and mother. While I appreciate these friends’ honesty, I was baffled. What vibe have I put off that communicates this “never”?

This is a new season for me. Biologically it’s pretty not possible for me to have children. Only those who have walked through infertility or are in my same place can understand this hole. It’s a deep ache.

This hasn’t been a choice of mine. You may beg to differ but it hasn’t.

Over the last three years I’ve watched Lisa Harper become a mom at 52 by adopting her daughter Missy. Oh, what a joy to follow their journey on Instagram. I don’t have the resources for that choice but it’s fun to watch her.

I am beyond grateful for dear friends who invite me in to their families’ lives – the ones whose kids call me “Aunt”. It’s a gift I don’t take for granted.

One friend who has walked through YEARS of infertility often includes me in those conversations. At those times I feel “seen”. I know it’s not the same but the ache is similar.

My peers now have kids in college. Many are becoming empty nesters. It’s like they have lived a whole 20+ year life I’ll never know.

I don’t feel less because I’m not a mother but I do feel different. Like there is something normal almost every woman experiences that I haven’t.

 

This is one of those journal-type posts I’m not putting on social media. Only those of you who subscribe to my blog will ever see it. I’m grateful for you, too. Thanks for allowing me to ramble tonight.

wiww #170 – dressing with purpose

So, this one is a little different than my normal link up with Lindsey (check out her WIWW post from her Mediterranean vacation!). Let’s recap what I wore  in the “Dressing with Purpose” fashion show at the Southern Women’s Show last week.

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This is the second year that our local blogging group TriFABB was invited to participate in the Southern Women’s Show.  I shared a little about last year’s here. When my friend Molly asked some of us to model again, I jumped on it.  We had a blast and laughed a lot.

The theme this year was “Dressing with Purpose”. Molly wrote a stellar recap with lots and lots of links to specific items and the stories behind them. The men who are no longer in gangs.  The women rescued out of sex slavery. Other women who can now afford to send their children to school.  These are possible because artisans in the US and around the world are using their skills to make clothing and accessories.  This is an opportunity to dress with purpose; to take a moment to think about who made your clothes. Both Emily and Molly wrote beautiful posts last week about this very topic.

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Before I get to outfits, I had to share the program. Between this and Molly’s thorough post of the weekend, any lingering questions you have should be answered.

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The gang’s all here! Models plus Molly.  Our clothes and accessories were provided by The Flourish Market and shoes by The Root Collective (use that link for 10% off your first order, but warning, they are addictive and so wroth the price)

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Bag made in Rwanda :: Black top by Elegantees :: Necklace made in India :: Flats from The Root Collective

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Taupe top from Elegantees :: Bag made in Haiti and a part of Em’s Mother’s Day box :: Necklace by 31 Bits

View More: http://em-grey.pass.us/southern-womens-show-april-2016-em-grey-photography

Dress  :: Wrap/ruana   :: Clutch made in Haiti :: Necklace made in Uganda

Photo credit: Em Grey Photography

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These you don’t get to see on me.  These ridiculously soft jammies from Sudara were a thanks for being in the show.  Y’all, I’m hooked and they have a great story as well.

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OK, one last pic that has nothing to do with dressing with a purpose.  tWitch! Y’all, I’ve been a huge fan of his since he was on So You Think You Can Dance and he was on stage right before us Friday. I totally fangirled and he was so gracious.  Check out our group picture in Molly’s post.

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Linking up yet again with Lindsey. She started this whole fun-ness to get herself out of yoga pants as a homeschool mom of littles.  Now it has morphed in to a fun community sharing ideas each week.

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These are actually not just from this past week but were random pictures on my phone from the last two months where I thought, “Hm, if I do another WIWW post, I’ll use this outfit.”  Here goes!

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Sweatshirt – Lou & Gray (last year) // Scarf – Charming Charlie’s (old) // Jeans – Kut from the Kloth at Nordstrom Rack and they’ve discontinued the Katy style – big boohoo from me because I LOVE them // Flats – my continued addiction with flats from Lucky Brand (you can find good prices on that brand at Nordstrom Rack)

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Um, color theme much, Kristin?

Peplum top – Elegantees taupe Rebecca purchased at The Flourish Market // Jeans – see above // Flats – Millies from The Root Collective (yes, that’s a link where you’ll receive 10% off your order and I get $10 store credit!!!) // Long tank – Target

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My LuLaRoe addiction continues with these fun butter leggings I won from LuLaRoe consultant JJ Friberg.  To tone them down I wore them with a denim dress from Old Navy (I can’t find it online to link).

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Black top – Asha (I think) from Elegantees purchased at The Flourish Market // Jeans – old Madewell I’m thankful I could squeeze in to // necklace – Noonday purchased from Ambassador Emily Sexton.

Two random thoughts: first, I’m really ready to be done with braces in four weeks and resume wearing lipstick and second, notice all the background changes in my pictures? I did a bathroom purge last weekend.  Oh yes, I tossed (took to Origins for recycling) bottles and sprays that weren’t empty because I hadn’t used them in months and didn’t love them!

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2 new favorites

I teased this on Instagram the other day…. bacon jam.  Law, y’all. My friends Merideth and Aimee have mentioned this goodness before after food swaps. I’ve drooled from afar and have pinned recipes. So, when I saw it at Trader Joe’s and knew I could skip the steps in making it, I grabbed a jar.  Normal me would put this in the pantry and save it.  Adventurous me texted Merideth on Sunday with an SOS of “what the heck do I do with this stuff???” Her response? “Do this – sharp cheddar, avocado, bacon jam, fried egg grilled cheese. Doooo itttt.”  I did.

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I was out of bread but found some naan in the freezer which worked quite well.  Not wanting the avocado to get hot and mushy, I fried the egg, removed it from the pan, and then placed the bread open faced (one with cheese and the other with the jam) in the pan and topped with a glass lid to help the melting process. Then remove both pieces from the pan and add the egg and sliced avocado. Sit down and prepare to enjoy one of the yummiest sandwiches ever.

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I think I’ll try it on scrambled eggs next time or maybe even on a burger!

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Next favorite is actually a brand and a person.  Way back in November I shopped through a Pop Up Market at Sola in Raleigh. I love walking through markets like that where craftspeople are right there to share their home/handmade goods.

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I was drawn to Lizzie and the Lo & Behold table of lovely body products.  For Christmas gifts this year I considered making them myself for friends. Then I saw hers and decided to support a local business and save myself some time – doesn’t mean I don’t love my friends and family any less. Well, I gave some of her goodies as gifts but got nothing for myself and finally did last week at yet another Pop Up Market! Lizzie puts a ton of TLC in to her products and she ships too.  :-)

The next product of hers I want to try is the Lavender and Rosemary Lip Balm. It sells out fast and I keep missing it!

As usual, I’d love to hear about any of your new finds or favorites.

Are you Looking for Lovely?

Have you ever felt like you were reading your own journal but someone else was the author? Someone who is more of a feeler than you?  Well, that’s how I felt from page 1 of Annie Downs‘ book Looking for Lovely. In fact, I was sort of mad at her for having read my journal and living my same life 9 years later (sub NASCAR for soccer).  I’m kidding, I wasn’t mad at her but there’s just some sort of relief that comes from reading someone’s words and realizing you aren’t alone. I’m not alone!

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Part of me wants to fill this post with quotes from the book and part of me wants to just let it lie so you can enjoy it yourself.

After finishing her book yesterday morning, I wanted to hear her voice.  Having met Annie At The White Barn last summer, I knew her voice and I read her book with her voice in my head. Head over to this podcast from April 1st to learn more about Annie.

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I’ve had the privilege to be on yet another book launch team. When done well, they are so much fun and the two I’ve done have been done well!

 

 

spring has sprung

So, I took this picture of my dinner tonight and thought, “Hm, I can’t post ANOTHER food photo on Instagram.”

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Oh yeah, that blog! The good ol days when I did things like post recipes and fun stuff a few times a week.  Instagram really is a fun little microblogging world and my for real blogging has slacked of significantly since IG started but I miss it!

So, back to that dinner.  Isn’t it the picture of spring? My plan was to give credit to Melissa D’Arabian.  See her recipe below? I’ve steamed my second favorite vegetable for a good 30+ years so this method was new to me.  I’m hooked!  It’s delicious! Don’t do it with thick stalks.  Let’s be honest, thick stalk asparagus just isn’t that good anyway. Any other Melissa fans out there? I really miss her Ten Dollar Dinners show on the Food Network.

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And since it was on my phone, one more dinner idea. About two years ago my friend Mason introduced me to simmer sauces.  She made a yummy dinner when I was visiting of chicken and broccoli and a yummy tika masala pre-made sauce.  I had blown right by these at the grocery store.  Before you snub your nose and tell me you make everything from scratch, sometimes you just have to take shortcuts and it’s OK.

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This was step two in my Green Curry dinner (and lunch for the next few days) yesterday. Cut up and brown some chicken in olive oil.  Add S&P and cook through. Add in whatever cooked vegetables you have on hand.  Well, the carrots were raw.  The broccoli was cooked frozen broccoli and the peas were leftovers from dinner a few weeks ago I had frozen because I was leaving town. You really could add anything you like. The last step is to add the sauce and simmer. I used Trader Joe’s Green Curry sauce for this meal and sloshed the jar with some water to clean it out and thin out the sauce a bit.

Happy spring and happy spring veggies!!!

jtb’s small batch granola

Have you made granola at home? It’s delicious but most recipes make enough for a family of 6. I just can’t eat granola three meals a day for a week – well, I probably could but I shouldn’t.

Since this recipe is in my oven for the second time this week, I thought it a good time to share. Joy the Baker is one of my favorite blogs. I’ve mentioned her Sunday posts before. Last week she posted this small batch granola recipe and I’m hooked.

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This is the batch I made on Tuesday. I didn’t have coconut but I did add dried cherries and TJ’s chocolate chunks. While I loved the taste of the cherries, they were pretty chewy and I currently have braces so not a great choice. I love the chocolate chunks but they got a bit too melty (thus her recommended nibs). Still, this tasted so good!

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Today I skipped the cherries and added cranberries, coconut, cocoa nibs, and ginger.

For over 20 years I’ve known ‘acts of service’ and ‘words of affirmation’ are my love languages but I think Chapman needs to add ‘toasted almonds’ as a sixth love language.  Melt my heart with those treats.

two new favorites

Y’all tell me you like these ‘favorites’ posts.  In fact, they are some of my favorites of bloggers I follow!  These two favorites (have I overused that word yet?) come from other bloggers’ recommendations.  AKA, reading blogs makes me spend money but I also save money learning about great deals!

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Before Christmas Myquillyn posted about The Bouqs. I had every intention or placing an order but didn’t.  THEN a few weeks ago Emily posted about The Bouqs! After seeing Emily’s post a friend came to mind I thought might enjoy some flowers delivered to her door.  I mean, who doesn’t love that?!?!?

Exploring their site was a joy.  It is clean and simple and they carry some of the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen. These aren’t your typical carnations with ferns.

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These two photos are from the friend I sent my order to.  Aren’t they gorgeous? I haven’t seen these colors before.  Sigh, maybe I’ll send some to myself? I’m a firm believer in having fresh flowers around at all times.  Thank you, Trader Joe’s.

If you use this link (or the ones above) you’ll get $10 off your first order!  And they’ll give me a little referral credit as well.  I didn’t post about this until I was sure of their quality – though Emily and Myquillyn’s recommendations are pretty dern reliable.

Now on to a totally unrelated favorite.  Makeup brush cleaner.  Yep.

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Last week in Kate’s monthly favorites video she mentioned a Japonesque brush cleaner. I clicked on her link, read reviews, and went on with my day.  Later in the week I was placing a Sephora order online – because free shipping plus 8% ebates on items I always use!  8%!!! I looked for that magical brush cleaner and didn’t even see the brand.  Duh, Kate said it came from Ulta.  I digress. In my inability to locate it, the Sephora brand popped up in the search. Of course it did.  I got the small travel size (yeah, because I clean my makeup brushes when I travel?) because the regular wasn’t in stock.  Y’all, I love this magical little brick of whatever it is.  I’ve used purity cleaner for years on my brushes and it doesn’t hold a candle.  My brushes are like new and the stuff that came out was pretty gross.  So much pigment.

Please share any new favorites you have!