Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Honey I'm Home!

I actually am home right now. Yay I have a home and it is finally starting to feel like home.
Here are some quick updates from my new life in Austin.

First: I know this is a horrible picture, but it was so yummy I didn't care. :)
This news will come as a shock, but I broke up with Cafe Rio. I know, how could I, but I did.
Torchy's Tacos is the new mexican food resturant in my life. 

On a lighter note, the trees are beautiful, it has been raining a lot and there are tons of birds.

Remodeling is the nightmare that never ends. Enough said.

And the pretty flowers are crawling with bugs and snakes, but they're pretty.
All in all we're liking it here so far, just missing our peps.

I'll be back with an update on current books and writing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine

My little sister read this book and told me to read it. Considering that I am currently the only girl in my little family unit and that, as much as I like boys, I really don't know a thing about what goes on in their brains, I borrowed it from her the next day.

It was facinating. I learned a lot and my perspective towards all the men/boys in my life changed forever. Now that I really think about it I guess I thought male and female brains were more similar than they are. That type of thinking makes it very frustrating to try and understand why the males in your life might be making such, shall we say, interesting choices. 

One of my favorite parts was learning about the part of the brain that registers fear and horror. apparently it takes a lot to activate in teen boys, more than even adult males. This makes so much sense. I can't tell you the countless hours I lectured my little brothers about their violent video games and how horrific they were, they just didn't see it. I would have nightmares for a week but none of it phased them. News flash our brains are different. Mine was telling me 'AHHHHHHH!' and theirs was quoting Brooklyn 99 'c-c-c-cool cool, no doubt, no doubt, no doubt.'

The other thing that I just didn't get at all was the whole watch-sports-on-tv thing. I drive my husband crazy every time I walk in the room and some game is on with all my questions like "Why does any one care about this?" I just had no level of comprehension there. I didn't grow up in a household that watched sports so I wasn't even exposed to it until college. I didn't know what march madness was and I had never seen the super bowl. I know, but it's true and my degree is in exercise and sports science, so it's not like I don't like to play sports and be active, I just didn't get the watching it aspect. Well this book shed some light on that too.

There are some parts of this book that, if you take it at face value, I morally, strongly disagree with. The key is to keep in mind that even if your brain is telling you something, you still have a choice. Hormones and brain structure are not cop outs for poor behavior in either gender.

With these things in mind I would recommend this book to males and females. It was enlightening. If you read it let me know what you think.

Happy reading! 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Books vs. Movies

I have a problem. I've written about four blog posts and never published them. It's the closet perfectionist in me coming out. None of them were quite right. The problem is that i now haven't posted for a while because of it. It's sabotaging my goals. SO I'm squishing the inner perfectionist and posting what will inevitably be a flawed post. Luck you for being my reader.

The book vs. movie thing is something that has always bothered me, even as a child. I had a really hard time with the book/movie crossover, in both directions. I usually prefer the one I'm exposed to first.

Like these Harry Potter books. (Don't ask me why I have two of book seven, unless you're one of my siblings and you're missing your copy. Also that Dwane Wade book isn't mine, so if you're a sports fan I can't help you out with a recommendation.) Back to the HP books, they are way better than the movies, but the Ron in my imagination has just never been the same.  

Here's some contemporary one's that I've not even seen the movies of, because what's the point? It is never as good as the book.

And then you have these babies with the reverse problem, I love a movie so I resist reading the book because I'm afraid it will ruin the movie for me. If you were to peruse my book shelf you would notice a conspicuous absence of Ann of Green Gables and Gone With the Wind, because no matter how much my sister begs me to read them I just don't want to. Those movies are a cherished part of my childhood and I don't want to give that up. 

I do have to admit one exception, Jane Austin. I am in love with her books and the movie re-telling, at least the good versions. Also the above image is misleading, for the Austin thing, but also because I actually like Jane Eyre in book form and not at all in movie form, and I am sad to admit that I just bought that copy of Little Women for myself for Christmas this year. Here's hoping the love crosses over like with Austin.

Is anybody with me or am I the only weirdo that thinks about this stuff?

Happy reading or watching!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Pecan Macaroons with Sea Salt

Every year one of my friends throws this awesome Christmas party called a cookie exchange. I'm sure some of you have heard of it, but for those that haven't, this is how it works:

1. Find some friends. (could be the tricky part)
2. Each of you make a set amount of one type of cookie. (we do six dozen) 
3. Have a party and swap cookies so when you leave you have say six dozen of lots of different kinds of cookies. 

This is what I made this year.

The idea is to then use these cookies to give as neighbor gifts or something of that kind. Well that's not how it goes down in our house. This is my dear husbands favorite girls night/party that I go to all year. If something comes up he makes it a priority to help me get there because the pay off is so so sweet. 

So why do you care? You might not, but this awesome friend also puts together a recipe book of all the cookies brought that year so if you love it you can remake it. So I sent in my recipe, late of course, and rsvped, also late, but the worst part is that I went to make the recipe that I sent in and I couldn't make it for many reasons that I will spare you from having to read. Bottom line is I ended up kind of making up my own recipe modified from this one that I love. 

If you went to that and want the real recipe or if you like coconut cookies, here's she is...

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Pecan Macaroons with Sea Salt
  • 3 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 5 cups shredded coconut
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 cups sugar
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • sea salt
Mix all the ingredients in large bowl and pat down lightly. Refrigerate for two hours. Pre-heat oven to 340 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Scoop refrigerated dough onto the cookie sheet by packed tablespoon 1/2 inch apart. Bake for about 8 minutes or until starting to brown slightly. Once cooled dip in melted chocolate chips and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy!

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Writing vs. Reading

This could be a personal problem but I'm thinking it's something that lots of you can probably relate to. One of my constant struggles in my writing process is time. Big surprise right? I know news flash that's how lots of people feel about just about everything, but my problem with writing is more specific, at every writing conference I attend and every book I read they have two suggestions

1: Write. The only way to get better at writing is writing. 

2: Read. It will make you a better writer. 

 And my brain goes So......... Pretty sure those suggestions kind of conflict...... and then a full on battle rages in my head when I have an hour or so to hone my craft. Which is more important?

With my reading list starting to look like this, I finally have an answer that works for me. When you're in the zone with writing, write like mad.

But when you hit a wall or want a brake, aka: your writing becomes more like looking out the window then at your computer or note pad, then its time to read like mad (and maybe binge watch Brooklyn 99). Who knows maybe it'll spark something and at least your neighbors won't feel like you're spying on them all the time.

What's your balance?

Happy writing!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bread Pudding

In the summer I'm always like 'I'll just have a smoothie for breakfast.' But when it starts getting cold I love at least the occasional hot breakfast. Enter Bread Pudding.

This is another dish that will always remind me of my mom. She loves bread pudding, this could stem from her love of England and the almost two years that she spent there serving the people of England on a mission for our church, but I didn't know about it until a few years ago when she got really really sick.

That was a scary time in our lives. She had a hard time eating anything and lost a lot of weight. One day she said that the only thing that sounded good was bread pudding. That's all I needed to hear. I went straight to the computer and looked up every bread pudding recipe I could find. I started with the sweet version and made many variations on it. If she would eat it, I would cook it. I felt helpless seeing her so sick and making food that she could eat was that only way I felt I could help.

Thankfully she is doing great now, it almost seems like that time in our lives didn't happen, but things have changed because of it.

As I was writing this post and procrastinating for days. I was looking on my mom's blog and realised that she already posted a bread pudding recipe that is similar to the one I was going to post. The only difference in mine was that I used 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup instead of sugar, so choose your poison and head over to her blog here for the recipe. She also tells you how to make easy caramel sauce. I vote you use my version with maple syrup topped with vanilla Greek yogurt for breakfast, and her version with sugar topped with whipping cream and caramel sauce for dessert. So many options.

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

English Royalty

This is a little lame, but since we've been in London for a while I secretly thought it would be cool if we saw some members of the Royal Family. I'm not into following celebrity news or anything like that, so this isn't normally my thing. I also thought that all the situations that I would potentially see them would be supper crowded and annoying, waiting around for a glimpse of the back of a head, so I figured it wasn't likely to happen.

Surprise! I was out on a walk before dinner tonight and there was something different about the group congregating in front of St. Paul's Cathedral. Usually people are everywhere, all over the steps and just going in and out at 5 when evensong starts, but tonight there was only a small ring of spectators pushed back behind a ring of pillars near the street.

We walked passed a gap in the crowd just as a small black car zoomed into the courtyard behind us. It pulled right up to the steps and some men got out. By this time I knew something was going on, but I had no idea who these people were. Luckily a woman standing next to me did. It was Prince Philip. Tonight was a special evensong attended by the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. We had no where to be for the next hour or so why not go to evensong at St. Paul's with the Duke of Edinburgh. 

This was our third time in this cathedral, but it doesn't disappoint and is of course gorgeous on the inside and the music was so beautiful. I'm not Catholic, but I appreciate learning about and experiencing other religions and learning more about their beliefs. I love finding common ground between my beliefs and others.

 It feels a little bit like cheating because I just stumbled upon it, but at the end of the day I got to make another check on my bucket list. Yay!
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