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texas blogger

Food

Trust Me, Peanut Butter & Veggie Curry

Did You Know? Herbs are derived from a plant’s leaves whereas spices are sourced from the bark, buds, roots and seeds of a plant. This means you can have two very different flavors and products from the same plant.

( v i a )


I really scored with this recipe & now you will too.

 Peanut Butter and Veggie Curry

You know I hate boring or bland.   I love fresh, flavorful & different.  This is it!    I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I request that you do NOT allow yourself to be afraid of food.  Spices, new ingredients, mixing flavors are all wonderful! Let yourself try them.  Indian food & curry are stereotyped to making your stomach boil but I would argue that, as it’s never happened to me.  I think it depends who makes your curry & what you’re actually eating. (McDonalds makes my stomach boil.)

Spices are the cream of the crop.  They add so much to any dish.  Be familiar with lemons.  Cumin.  The real flavor of Salt & Pepper individually.  GARLIC. Pine Nuts.  LOL!  I just loooooooooove food so f-ing much.  I can’t stand picky eaters, open your palette & taste food of the beautiful mother earth!  There’s nothing better.

Creativity in the kitchen is like creativity in a painting.  Fun & talented.

This recipe isn’t mine so CLICK HERE for a direct link, trust me –  Delicious, delicious, delicious!!

Veggies & Lentils in Peanut Sauce by Vegan Richa

I added chicken.  I slice the chicken, cook it on the stove in a little coconut oil w/ salt + pepper, then throw it in when I mix everything together.  The only veggies I use are 2 onions, 2 red bell peppers, and a handful of spinach.  With a ton of lime juice & rice to serve.

Anyone have other interesting, easy delicious recipes? Let me know!

As always, be thoughtful!

Xx

 

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Places: Texas, Travel

Quick Trips: Houston, TX

Put It On Your Bucket List: The Houston Rodeo reached a record high attendance this year at approximately 2,611,676 people!  The show features rodeo action (bull riding), livestock competitions, concerts, a huge carnival, pig racing, barbecue, International Wine Competition, shopping, sales and livestock auctions.

( v i a )


If you’re following along on Snapchat (UN: MissBassmaster) or Instagram, you’ll have noticed I spent the weekend in Houston. Wafiq & I had tickets to the Houston Rodeo –  When in Texas, right?

Quick-Trips_Houston

Quick-Trips_Houston

Hermann Park

Quick-Trips_Houston

Workout w/a view // (Camp Gladiator)

As long as I’ve lived in Austin you’d think I would know more about Houston & Dallas but I definitely don’t – other than the reputation that Houston is hot & humid, which is enough to keep me away most of the year.

I brought my princess child so we did our best to do & go places that were pet friendly. We ate A LOT but every single thing we had & place we went was delicious!  I’m pretty picky when it comes to eating out. Like, really picky.  Because I make most of my meals at home & love cooking, I don’t like eating out – it’s never as good as my own kitchen!  And I imagine where the food came from, who touched it, how long it’s been in the freezer, what ingredients were added (I worked in a kitchen while in High School, I know too much).

Quick-Trips_Houston Tiny Boxwoods

@ Tiny Boxwoods

Quick-Trips_Houston Tiny Boxwoods

Tiny Boxwoods Nursery

Quick-Trips_Houston Brasil Cafe

Quick-Trips_Houston Brasil Cafe

Cafe Brasil // Brasil Benedict & Eggs w/Salmon

Food I Loved:

Tiny Boxwoods //  I think this restaurant was created for me.  Tiny Boxwoods is a café/restaurant in the middle of a flower nursery.  I mean, it doesn’t get better than that for me.  Take a stroll through the nursery while sipping Rose.  Even before the food I was hooked, but once I took a bite of the pizza I was SOLD.   From the instagramable moments, the relaxed setting, the incredibly fresh & flavorful food, the superior service – Tiny Boxwoods was by far my favorite.  We finished the meal with a cookie… and 4 to-go.  (They’re opening one in Austin soon.)

Brasil Café //  After our morning workout happened shockingly well, we hit up Brasil Café & as we were sipping coffee,  working our way through the Brasil Benedict & Eggs, we were proud of this decision.  Exactly the place we were looking for, an easy Saturday morning breakfast with bae (Bernice).

Boheme //  This place was cute.  We went at night & the lighting was a little romance.  There’s plenty of seating & a generally good atmosphere.  We tried their popular Vietnamese Fries << Spicy!

Axelrad // I wish there was somewhere close to my house similar to Axelrad.  Luigi’s Pizza is next door so you can order your pizza & eat it at Axlerad while you drink wine/beer & listen to music.  They have tons of seating, a huge projector, and hammocks as seating.  Very chill place, great spot to end a busy day.

Barnaby’s Café //  The only problem here was portion control.  I felt like their burgers & salads were HUGE. Needless to say, the general atmosphere of this place hit the spot for a Sunday morning meal.   Burgers, salads, and Strawberry mimosa’s… Perfect!

Quick-Trips_Houston(7)

Quick-Trips_Houston(7)

This animal sold for $345,000 !

Quick-Trips_Houston Rodeo

Obsessed w/all the dresses (w/pockets) @ Zara right now // Dress: H E R E

Quick-Trips_Houston

Brad Paisley concert after the Rodeo

Besides the food, we spent most of Saturday at the Rodeo.  Wafiq & I have never seen actual bull riding & horse bucking before so this was a new experience.

I would say anyone who keeps a bucket list needs to add the Houston Rodeo to it.

I’m SO happy we experienced this now, while we’re in Texas & have the opportunity.  We felt like we were in an old Western movie.  I’m desperately searching for Western belt buckles & cowboy hats for both Wafiq & I.  There truly is nothing sexier than a Cowboy.   Take a trip to the Houston Rodeo & you’ll get it.

Both of us were ecstatic no one died.  I was very confident, at minimum, 1 person dies per rodeo.

Quick-Trips_Houston

Little babies herding sheep

OMG I almost forgot to mention, we watched the dog herding competition prior to the rodeo.  The dogs herd sheep through an obstacle & into their cage under a certain time limit.  I cried twice.  I couldn’t bare seeing the doggies lose!  They were working so hard!  Each dog looked like my little Bernice so I imagined how disappointed she would feel if she failed me.

So, I cried.

Wafiq made us leave.  I seriously question how I could ever have a child, I’ll cry at the freaking spelling bee!!!  I can’t.  My emotions can’t handle it.  Hats off to parents.

Besides the Rodeo we spent Sunday at Hermann Park.  They had a little kite festival, perfect weather, and a huge ass blooming conservancy – of course that’s where you could find us.  We loved it. Bernice loved it. Parks are our jam.

Quick-Trips_Houston

Hermann Park

Quick-Trips_Houston(4)

Look at those tree vines!

Houston was fun! So much bigger than Austin & diverse, I miss big cities 🙁

I hope you’re off having a great week & enjoying the blooming… As always, be thoughtful

Xx

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Life, Travel

How A Poem Cleared Up My Weird Travel Emotions

Did You Know?  1/3 of the world’s airports are located in the U.S. ( v i a )


I was looking through poetry the other day for National Poetry Day & the next thing I know 4 hours passed, I ordered 6 poetry books off Amazon, & I confessed to Wafiq that I’m going to become a song writer.

This too shall pass.

When You Don't Want To Travel

One poem really stood out.  Take a quick read:

Let me tell the tale
Of a girl who didn’t stop
Who climbed up every mountain
Without a pause upon the top
She’d dance until each blade of grass
Was clothed in drops of dew
And the sun knew her by name
But the silver moon did too
For a fear had setled in her bones
A fear of sitting still
That if you’re not moving forward
It must mean you never will
So in time her dance got slower
And she looked at all she’d seen
But found gaps inside the places
That she’d never fully been
For she was a human doing
Human moving, human seeing
But she’d never taken time
To simply be a human being
– e.h

When You Don't Want To Travel

When I came back from Dubai I couldn’t figure out why I hated the idea of traveling so much.  The biggest drag was talking travel.  I couldn’t get inspired or motivated to think about vacations, explorations, studying abroad, beaches, getaways, culture, language, hotels.  BLAH.

And this feeling stuck with me until about 3 months ago.  I spent at least a year in that feeling of travel = BLAH.   I wasn’t even the slight bit interested when I met someone with an international accent, or recently back from another country.  It was weird (…and now I’m realizing a little racist?)  I used to DIE to ask people thousands of questions about their recent vacations or country/state of origin, but I found myself completely uninterested.  (I wrote this post: here during that time, and I can tell, HA!)

I was pretty confused as to why.  After all, I’m the girl that moved across the country after high school, studied abroad by myself in a country that I didn’t know the language (at all), moved across the world with a suitcase & no clue what the hell I was going to do!  Travel gave me life & truly fulfilled my spirit…  I used to spend my life googling where to go & what to do. Who I could meet & where.  How I would get there & how I would convince my family I wasn’t crazy.

Why the fuck couldn’t I be amused by it now??!!  I felt really bad.  Not even a beach vacation?!  Boooooring.

Give-Yourself-A-Break(3)

When I read this poem it made sense to me.  I was always moving, moving, moving, & going, going, going… I swear even if other people didn’t see it, all they had to do was be in my mind.  FULL of plans & what’s next, constantly.  So afraid of stillness because it meant being stuck.

Without much intention, the past year I’ve gone to bed amazed with what I have & my routine.  I got way better at taking time to be present & patient, which I’ve never done before.  I literally look at the wall of the rooms where I live & am like “hot damn Katie, you’re fucking living. YES! YES!”. HA!

Although all of those moving, moving, moving choices gave me the best experiences of my life, this is a new kind of best experience – Like they have all been.  To be still for a quick minute & feel the stillness is a brand spanking new best experience.  Making sense?

When You Don't Want To Travel

Now, do I have plans to pick up my shit & move to Iceland tomorrow?  Maybe…  I’m getting back to feeling excited about travel & adventures, but it took some time.  This poem helped me feel excited about that time, like I’m not going to miss out on being a “human being”.  I want to be a human being too!  Not just a Human Moving OR a Human Doing!  A Human Being!

Anyways, because this particular poem helped me understand myself a little better I really wanted to share it.  I wish I read it when I was in the thick of “TRAVEL = BLAH” because it would’ve helped me feel comfortable with the feeling.

Thoughts?

As always, be thoughtful…

Xx

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Beauty, Food, Life, Style

5 Things I Can’t Go A Day Without

Did You Know? 68% of the people suffer from Phantom Vibration Syndrome, the feeling that one’s phone is vibrating when it’s not. ( v i a )


I love investigating peoples routines & what they do every single day, meaning they’re obsessed.  For a long time that was Target for me.  Not a product, but a place.  I went to Target all the time & it was the one thing I desperately missed when I was out of the country.  I’ve gotten it together since then.  (*Amazon Prime*)

But of course, there are still products you use every single day that you can’t go without & those are the secret’s I need to know about!

Below are mine…

5 Things I use Every Day

5 Things I Can’t Go A Single Day Without:

1. Coconut Oil:

I’ve recently started experimenting with other oils as moisturizer, which I’ll update on later, but I still use coconut oil every single day in the kitchen.  I love the taste it brings to a dish.  I use it as oil when sautéing, mix it in my oatmeal for breakfast, or give my little doggie a spoonful as a treat.    I prefer cooking fresh meals as often as possible & coconut oil goes right along with that – I use it for everything in the kitchen & I love that it doubles as a use for pretty much anything else.

2. Hair Clips:

I can’t go through an entire day without using a hair clip.  My entire life I’ve had long, thick hair which I’ve loved but have only been able to manage with a tight ponytail.  I started hating the huge line mark that a tight  ponytail was making so I made the brave switch to hair clips & haven’t looked back.  I either: 1. Half dry my hair & twirl it into a bun, securing with a clip 2. Pull half my hair up once wearing it down has had its moment  3. Clip up when I get out of the shower when my hair is still wet.

Keep in mind, hair clips give your hair room to move so you’re less likely to have breakage.  And I should note, I currently do not own a curling iron so the only way I achieve any volume or curl is by wearing my hair in a bun w/a clip all day or overnight.. When I let it down, BOOM – curls.

3. White Shoes:

They’re too easy.  I wear these either letting my dog out in the morning, at work, after work, a quick run to the grocery story, the beach, with a fancy dress for a night out… Shit, I’ll wear them with anything, anywhere.  I buy a new pair OFTEN because they’re so affordable & there’s nothing better than clean, bright white shoes.

4. Moisturizer / Chapstick:

Cannot survive a day without my moisturizer.   I’ve always had super dry skin & I’m pretty much always trying to hold a self tan, so a moisturizer is an absolute MUST.  The past year I’ve been using my oil of choice & this Tepez Cream.   My face is super sensitive & will break out if you look at it incorrectly, so I’ve tried TONS of products that haven’t worked.  Oils & Tepez Cream never let me down – but I’m still looking.  Anyone have a fantastic moisturizer or eye cream that pumps in moisture they swear by?!  I’ll send you a thank you note if you tell me your secrets… Seriously.

And of course I carry chapstick everywhere.  The one place I NEED it daily is next to my bed.  I smear it on before I sleep and it moisturizes my lips all night long so I wake up fresh.  I can’t fall asleep without it.

5. Huge Sunglasses:

Even on a cloudy day I’m wearing sunglasses if I’m outside (or in a bright room?).  I can’t stand the strain on my eyes from squinting.  Once you realize how much huge, dark sunglasses helps your eyes you’ll never be able to go a day without them.   {They also come in handy when you’re super hungover, at the grocery store, buying frozen pizza, and run into your ex boyfriend.}


When I think about the things I can’t go without, these come to mind.  I feel like each of them serves a purpose in my day to day functioning, including my $15 H&M pants I was wearing in my recent Instagram pic.  As long as I have these items, I’m good to go, ready to conquer the world!

What products can’t you live without?

Have a great week & be thoughtful!

Xx

 

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Beauty

My All Time Favorite Topic: Bronze Skin // Tips & Tricks To Self Tanning

Did You Know? Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon. ( v i a )


Likely my favorite thing to talk about is fake tanning & bronze skin.   Needless to say, I’m proud to finely share, promote, & push you towards fake tanning.

Easy Self Tanning

Summer is right around the corner & if you’re in Texas it’s already here.  This means – SKIN.

The sun is an asshole & I have NO CLUE HOW OR WHY PEOPLE IN 2017 SIT IN THE SUN FOR A TAN.  I understand sunshine makes people happy & gives you Vitamin D, but I don’t think either are strong enough arguments to make me believe sitting out & baking in the sun is a good idea.  I didn’t understand it in 2015 & here we are in 2017, still shocked.

Also, the sun is fucking hot & uncomfortable – the shade, with a cool margarita is where it’s at.

Easy Self Tanning

My spray tan story starts with stupid tanning beds.  I hated using them but I hated being white more, so I fake tanned or sat in the sun – both of which my inner self hated, whether I would admit it or not.

Then, my tanning salon brought in the Mystic Tan.

I gave it one try & I was sold.  I looked super orange, missed my feet, was a shade too dark, and had huge contrasting spots all over my hands, but I was fucking excited.  The possibilities were endless. I still remember boasting around with happiness as a friend of mine from a distance was screaming “what happened to your feet!?”

From there, the spray tan machines only got better & I never saw the sun rays again.  I’ll admit, my tan can be patchy at times, orangeish other times, but I passionately don’t care because that’s much better than baking in the sun w/no ozone layer as protection.  Spotty hands?  I’ll take it.

Easy Self Tanning

I even hunted down the one salon in Dubai that owned a spray tan machine & paid all my commissions to use it.  I’m 99% sure I was the only person that ever used the machine & I knew how to work it better than the people that worked there.

Not to mention they were all local Emirates, which I rarely interacted with, so it created a very uncommon friendship as I walked into the salon with my legs & hair barring, no need to stop at the abaya closet to hang my hijab.

There were no men allowed inside & the women didn’t speak English – so one can imagine how those conversations went, being the only white girl asking to spray my skin “dark brown.”

The women all stood around the window when I boasted out the door straight into the car with Wafiq.

Eventually, I started passionately hating the spray tan mist in the machines.  The thought of inhaling any product freaked me out, no matter how long I held my breath or how organic the product.  I imagined my healthy blood-red organs turning…tan.  When they wanted to stay red!

On one of my binge sessions with YouTube I started seeing hard promotion of Loving Tan.  A tanning mousse that you apply yourself.

I’ve tried other self tanning brands before & have been super let down.  Often times they’re patchy, one time I broke out in a horrible rash across my chest, and the end result never compares to the natural look the mist machine gives.  BUT I was fed up with the cost & process of misting so I went out on a limb & ordered Loving Tan.

That’s where I am today – I don’t think I’ll ever change back to the mist.  I’m 100% satisfied with getting my summer glow via tanning mousse vs. the sun or misting machine.

I’ve been doing it this way for over a year & if you’re white like me – you need to get on board.

Easy-Self-Tanning

Self Tan: H E R E // Highlighter: H E R E // Brush: H E R E

Self Tanning Steps:

  1. Shower, Shave & Exfoliate.  But do not apply moisturizer when you finish in the shower, just dry off.

  2. Apply mouse all over the body with a mit.  It’ll look a little patchy, don’t freak out, most of that goes away when you rinse it off. It’s the bronzer guide that shows you what you’ve covered, it comes off.

  3. Ask someone to help with your back, or attempt yourself, but don’t skip it!

  4. Use a fluffy brush to do your face.  For a long time I used a super cheap one from Walmart – now I’m happily using this one: Here.

  5. Use a fluffy brush to get the top of your hands and top of your feet.  Make sure you don’t miss any creases in your fingers.  Anyone who spray tans knows the hands are the hardest part, so be patient figuring this out.

  6. Wait several hours.  Either plan on sleeping or not leaving the house for 6 hours.  I usually sleep in my tan, then shower in the morning.  Loving Tan also offers a 2 hour mousse if you’re not the type to wait around.

  7. Shower & rinse off your tan

  8. Moisturize (SUPER important)

  9. Should last 1 – 2 weeks, then re-apply! Forever!

Easy Self Tanning

Before & after with no edits. Pics from my iphone. //  This is the 2hr Dark Mousse from Loving Tan: H E R E.    //     Full Disclosure: This is not my whitest, I didn’t want to blind the camera, it’s happened before.    //    (Fav Sports Bra: H E R E )

Tips:

Don’t be afraid – I’m not afraid of spray tanning & never have been.  I’m afraid of the fucking sunshine.  But I have a lot of friends who act like the only option spray tan can give – is to end up looking like an Oompa Loompa. I’ve NEVER had those horror stories happen to me.  The formulation of the products these days has progressed – they know people don’t want to look orange & work hard to have a formula that doesn’t have that result. ( Very 1999 to think you’ll look super orange.)  Start with a light color & you’ll eventually want to step it up once you see how sexual you become.

Have a spray tan outfit – It does rub off on your clothes & sheets but you’ll be super sexy once you wash it off so is it worth it? Yes.

Don’t give up –  If you missed a spot your first time, who cares?!  Try it again next week.  The more you do it the better you’ll get at making sure you don’t miss a spot.

Put it on your face – I know we’re all afraid of putting any product on our precious faces but you have to tan your face.  I usually put a shade lighter on my face than my body because I notice it sets dark.  BUT you have to do your face because it’s like having permanent makeup.  You really look like you just came out of the sun – no makeup needed.

Buy several colors – Sometimes you don’t want to look super dark. I always buy Dark & Ultra Dark in Loving Tan mousses.  If you’re just starting, try light if you want to be cautious.

Easy Self Tanning

Favorite {ever} Sports Bra: HERE

I’m obsessed.  As a translucent white person I’m incredibly thankful there’s a product that can make me feel like a bronzed goddess WITHOUT sitting in the sun.  Once you try tanning, you’ll start feeling uber sexy with a JLO glow & you’ll understand.

Alright, anyone else an addict of fake tans?  Let me know what you use & what’s working!  If you’re new to fake tans, let me know if you have any questions, I consider myself an expert & LOVE talking to people about it, especially virgins.

Have a great day & be thoughtful…

Xx

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Life

Understanding An Asshole & How To Deal w/Them

Did You Know? In 1962, there was an outbreak of contagious laughter in Tanganyika, Tanzania. It began as an isolated fit of laughter among a group of schoolgirls, but rose to epidemic proportions spreading into neighboring communities. The outbreak lasted for six months & was so serious that schools were closed. ( v i a )


Dealing with an Asshole

There are a few types of assholes that exist in the world:

Assholes that maintain a steady level of asshole at all times, or an asshole that only cares about themselves & absolutely nothing else, or a wealthy asshole that’s degrading & objectifying, or an asshole that has ZERO ambition, or an asshole that doesn’t listen – ever, or an asshole that thinks they know everything about anything, or an asshole that’s asexual because no one deserves their precious parts.

But today I’m addressing the assholes that swing far & fast. Swinging assholes. When you meet this type of asshole they’re super nice, bubbly, generous & welcoming. But in a split second they can turn into a fucking wicked, twister destroying miles & miles of city in seconds.

We’ve all met one.

Understanding an asshole

Dress: Here // Similar: Here & Here

Last week I observed one of these assholes in true form. They were nasty, aggressive & destructive about something minimal – but it was their trigger. Enter: TWISTER. All cities & communities torn down.

Ewwwwwww.

I met this person several times before & he has always had a welcoming persona of extreme kindness & generosity. But he also comes with a whispered warning to walk on egg shells around him because at any moment he can snap. You know these?

As I saw this person the following day, we made eye contact. There he was, charming his way through a conversation with a fellow female, but for a mili second I saw sadness in his eyes.

Understanding an Asshole

Maybe I imagined it, but this is the result – I think people who have extreme mood swings don’t understand themselves. Being known as both the upbeat, generously kind person AND the person who can flip into a ramped twister with the flick of a light switch is frustrating even for the asshole. I don’t necessarily think they want to be mean, they haven’t figured out their own emotional responses to certain situations & are deep down embarrassed.

To deal with this, the asshole kisses ass after a rampage & sweet talks their way into a place where they hope everyone will disregard their unfathomable outbreak. Which usually works because people around them fear triggering the rage into come back, (which I believe actually enables the asshole, but that’s another post.)

This is in no way validating the asshole, they’re still a huuuumongous fucking asshole, but I decided understanding them should help the innocent (Ha!).   The innocent that are unfortunately around the asshole during these outrages shouldn’t feel personally attacked or offended, even if there was a mistake on the innocent’s end.

Remember, the asshole is having their own mental rage they can’t figure out, and it has nothing to do with you. You don’t have to react, or be okay with it, or try to make sense of it – because it doesn’t make sense. The asshole doesn’t even understand!

Understanding an asshole

And let us admit, there are times it’s impossible to ignore a swinging asshole, which is why my tip is to walk away. No matter what or who the asshole is.

Even if you’re at work. Exit the email, walk out of the office, hang up the phone – no one in the world has to listen to irrational raging, under any conditions.

I’ve seen & been a part of this scenario so many times & people around me always try to make sense of it as a way to help me feel better. “Ignore it” “Don’t take it Personally” “That’s just how it is”.

Whatever.

I suggest >> You. End. It. That’s the strongest move to make!  Because we’re made to believe exiting a situation is weak, I think it’s actually incredibly strong to walk away. Leave it. Bravery babes, bravery. This is an awesome tool to have.

A swinging asshole has their own emotional frustrations they can’t understand & you’re likely not a paid psychiatrist so it’s not your problem to solve or emotional baggage to carry.

I’ve noticed understanding them has made it easier for me to walk away, WITHOUT carrying anger.

I’m hopeful you don’t have to run into many assholes in your life, if you choose wisely you likely shouldn’t. In the case you run into a swinging asshole, I hope this talk through helps you feel like you’re not alone & we have your back.

And if YOU are actually the swinging asshole, there’s hope for you too. First, recognize. Second, ask a counselor about your feelings.

Understanding an Asshole

There we go, cheers to avoiding assholes! Nothing like that to welcome a weekend!

If anyone has any great asshole stories to share, please do. We’re in this together!

Have a great weekend, and be thoughtful…

XX

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Home, I recommend..., Thoughts

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas to Help You Clean Out Your Living Spaces

 Did You Know? Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.  Compulsive hoarding affects approximately 700,000 to 1.4 million people in the U.S. and only 15% know their behaviors are irrational. ( v i a / v i a )


MissBassmaster crashed – alllllll the users I’ve been having crashed it!  Just kidding, I wish. That sounds much better than the truth, me forgetting to renew my domain name.  Procrastinating & ignoring emails that I don’t understand finally caught up to me.  Thank God for my super helpful, wonderfully intelligent friends that can fix all my problems 🙂

 Cleaning-Your-House

It’s the end of January & time to talk my favorite activity – PURGING.  The New Year, especially when things have settled down & gotten back into a routine, is the perfect time to clean out your living spaces.  I actually attempt to throw things away every single weekend, in case immigration knocks at our door and kicks Wafiq & I out of the U.S., we’ll easily be ready to catch the red eye back to Dubai :0

Getting rid of things doesn’t come naturally to me or feel comfortable.  I cried when I had to get rid of a $10 box TV and $25 bright red sofa a few years ago as I was moving. Wafiq had to pry me off my red sofa as it was sitting outside by the dumpster waiting for someone to pick up for free. (#neverforget)  In the moment, it was traumatizing.  I latch on to items because they’re tied to memories & money.

One of the better parts of leaving the United States & living out of a suit case was having to get rid of everything.  I’ve done this a few times. All of a sudden you can live with minimum items & surprisingly barely notice, so I know it’s doable.

Since moving back to Austin, finally getting an apartment, and having more than -$100 in my bank account, I’ve tried to keep a handle on the “things” I have.  If I don’t have enough room for something I take it as a sign to clean out!  To brag – I’ve been doing a fantastic job.  Border line too good?  I’m throwing things out faster than I have a chance to doubt my decision. BYEEEEEEEEE!

Cleaning-Your-House

“Things” to get rid of TODAY:

Bedroom & Closet

  • Clothes that are uncomfortable
  • Clothes that are cheap
  • Clothes that are broken, tearing, or have holes (this includes bras/underwear)
  • Old Swimsuits that’s don’t match or fit
  • Shoes that are old or broken
  • Shoes that don’t fit
  • Clothes that don’t fit
  • Old jewelry that has changed color
  • Jewelry you won’t wear
  • Mismatched socks
  • Worn purses
  • Old pillows
  • Paper/books/magazines that collect in your bedroom

Random

  • Furniture (I’m serious.)
  • Pens/Pencils/Markers/Tape Rolls/Paper Clips/Stapler
  • Gifts (Yes. Gifts.)
  • Anything you have 2 of
  • Photos.  (Unless they’re very special, scan & throw them.)
  • Greeting cards.

Living Room

  • Books
  • Furniture that you don’t like
  • Paper (scan everything you actually need & save to a hard drive)
  • DVD’s  (one word, Netflix)
  • Video Games
  • Magazines
  • Decorations – knick knacks, wall hangings

Kitchen

  • Tupperware that doesn’t have a matching lid
  • Plastic Cups
  • Old food you’ll never eat
  • Cookware you have 2 of or that’s old
  • Serving utensils you have 2 of
  • Your entire junk drawer

Bathroom

  • Old makeup
  • Towels with holes or torn or too small
  • If you have too many towels, get rid of the ones that don’t match
  • Hair products you don’t use
  • Soaps, cheap lotions, old candles, old toothbrush, hand products – ANY product you don’t use
  • Unnecessary decorations

 Cleaning-Your-House

Tips:

  1. Understand the term: OLD.  If it’s old, it needs to go.  The items might not be old in age, but may be old in use or appearance.  Yes, you can judge your items by physical appearance.  If you have to question anything to determine whether or not it’s old, it’s old.  Throw it away.

  2. Don’t ask yourself – What if I could use this in the future?  That’s a killer question & a no win.  If you can answer it, that would make you a fortune teller.  If you end up needing something similar in the future you’ll buy another one or find something else.  It’s not worth the clutter in your house to ask yourself: What If?  What if you never need it again?  It’s just sitting there. Taking space.

  3. Less is more. Trust me when I say, it IS better to have empty/open space than space filled with crap.  Open & empty is trending & totally chic.  If you have a big ass table that the dogs ate the legs off of, throw it away.  You don’t have money to replace it?  Don’t.  Let the space be open.  (We did this & it’s fine.)

  4. Don’t feel bad about throwing things away.  This was the hard part for me, to literally throw items in the trash can.  Especially when you see how much you throw.  When you don’t have money you never want to throw ANYTHING away.  If you can’t find a charity, or if it’s broken & a charity doesn’t make sense, then throw things in your trash can.  Yes, waste it.  Recycle it if possible, but it needs to go.  Once you come to terms with the fact that you’ll be “wasting” things, and throwing things in the trash can, you’ll get better at it.  Not ideal, but sometimes that’s your only option.

  5. Always assume you don’t need it until proven you do.  I always tell myself I don’t need whatever item I’m debating about.  If I can’t find a great reason to keep it, it’s gone!  Unless you’re currently wearing it, cooking with it, or sitting on it – you don’t need it.

 Cleaning-Your-House

A few places to consider donating: Goodwill, Half Price Books, The Salvation Army, Safe Place but it’s also super important to google local organizations that are looking for donations. Unfortunately, Texas has an overwhelming amount of homeless people so Wafiq & I will bring them extra blankets, pillows, and jackets/clothes that we’re done using. Having a place to bring a lot of the items you’re getting rid of also makes the entire process easier. Find what works for you…

Cleaning-Your-House

I can’t imagine starting this process if you haven’t done it before.  I have very little to go through & it’s still an overwhelming day, but it’s worth it.  If you’re a newb, take it room by room.  Even closet by closet.  Do one this Saturday & another one next Saturday, eventually you’ll get there & your living space will have never felt better!  Throw on Michael Buble station from Pandora, pour a glass of wine & get to work. I’m telling you, it’s life changing & one of the most rewarding experiences I can share with you.  HA!

As follow up, I’ll need a report card from you.  I would like an A for excellent, impeccable, everything-serves-a-purpose room & an F for I’m hoarding but am scheduling with my therapist.  I would like a letter grade for each room you go through.  I’m holding you accountable!  And I’m not a fan of excuses.

 Cleaning-Your-House

Woofta! Here’s to a new week & a start to the most loving month – February.  Yes to big ass hearts & big asses, pounds of chocolate, extra kissing & hugs, romantic dinners & spreading the love – WE FREAKING NEED FEBRUARY THIS YEAR.

Now, more than ever, please remember to be extra thoughtful to all the peeps.  Just be thoughtful.  That’s it.  Nothing more.  I think that’s easy enough for everyone.   <3

Xx

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Food

White Bean & Spinach Comfort Soup

Did you know?  As little as 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon daily can have positive effects on blood sugar levels, digestion, immunity, and more. Stronger doses are also extremely beneficial for improving heart disease risk and cutting risk for diabetes, cancer, and neuro-degenerative diseases. ( v i a )


For those of you that are cold and looking out the window to snowy days & frozen eyelashes, be grateful.  To have winter means you likely have the privilege of enjoying 4, individually beautiful, seasons.  I spent 18 years hating the snow & literally chose my college based on physical location – the farthest point away from snow that I could get. But here I am missing the variety of weather that I once took for granted.

White-Bean-Spinach-Comfort-Soup(2)

On another note, today we’re making soup.  I’ve been eating this soup for years & currently have pounds of it frozen in my freezer waiting for our lunch date together.

I wanted to share with you because it’s incredibly simple, super tasty, affordable, fast, fancy, healthy, and makes enough for everyone + some. And you can easily add loads of garlic & consume with ease, meaning if you’re ever sick – eat this instead of sugar infused Sprite or vitamin C powder.

White-Bean-Spinach-Comfort-Soup(3)


White Bean & Spinach Comfort Soup

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

2 Cans White Beans (Cannoli Beans, Northern Beans, White Kidney Beans – anything similar.  Rinsed & Drained.  For a real curve ball, mash half of the beans with your hands so they become clumpy – this will add a little texture to your soup and a little realness to your hands. )

4+ Cups Fresh Spinach (Rinsed)

15 Cloves of Garlic (Peeled & Chopped)

1 Large Yellow Onion (Diced)

1 Teaspoon each – Salt & Pepper

1 Tablespoon Cumin

1 teaspoon Cayenne

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

Lemon

6 Cups broth

Optional: Parmesan Cheese

Optional: Plain Yogurt

Optional: Sliced Pancetta or precooked Sausage sliced & rolled into balls

Directions:  Heat a deep soup pan over Medium/High heat with 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil.  Coconut Oil is the shit, I always go heavy on it.  When oil is melted, throw in onion & garlic.  Add Salt & Pepper.  Stir until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  (If garlic starts to burn, turn down the heat.  If adding Pancetta, mix in once onions & garlic are near done & stir for another minute.) Next, add the spinach.  Continue mixing as the spinach slowly mixes down into the onions and garlic, about 5 minutes. Once the spinach is mixed well and melted down nicely, add more spinach. Jk. (Unless you want to.)  Then add all the spices, mix well.  Add Beans.  Mix well.  Pour broth over mix & turn the heat to high until it begins to boil.  (Throw in sausage balls if you choose to use them.) When boiling, lower to a simmer & let sit for at least 20 minutes, longer if you have time.

To eat: Squeeze tons of lemon on top.  Add fresh garlic if you’re sick, it will blend in nicely.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top OR skip the cheese & lump a spoonful of plain yogurt on top.  Add fresh ground pepper.  Eat with sourdough toast.  The options are honestly endless.  My personal fav: tons of lemon juice, yogurt, and fresh pepper with a side of toast.


White-Bean-Spinach-Comfort-Soup

You’ll make this soup & think it’s too easy to be delicious.  How and why?  You’ll want to put more effort into cooking your dinner.  How can you make such a fantastic impression as a chef with such minimal work?  Don’t tell anyone how easy it was – that’s how.  You worked fucking hard for a good 5 minutes. You’re a champion.  Well done.

 White-Bean-Spinach-Comfort-Soup(4)

This is my go-to, quick, healthy dinner.    I also love spaghetti but haven’t figured out how to make the carbs look good on my waistline, I’ll let you know when I discover the trick.

Anyone else have secret, “super hard” recipes to share?  I have another one for cookies that I plan on sharing soon..

Have a great weekend and remember, be thoughtful!

Xx

Cherry on your Master Chef cake:

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Blogger, Book Club, I recommend..., Life

Best of 2016: Findings

Did You Know? This year, 212 million copies of the IKEA catalog were printed in 29 languages and 62 editions. For comparison, that’s more than double the average world sales of the Bible each year. ( v i a )


And my last & final Best of 2016 list is: Random Findings.   Every once and awhile something pops into your life & changes it forever…

Best of 2016 Findings

1. Cravings

Starting with the obvious here, this cookbook allowed me the opportunity to appreciate cookbooks again.  I was a loyal fan of “pinteresting” recipes, but after reading this cookbook I’ve spread my wings and began the exploration of other colorful cookbooks with a hot model on the cover.  I don’t know if Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are so hot that all of a sudden I’m attracted to the steak sauce on pg 72, but it’s happening all the way from the front to the back of this book.  I haven’t tried a recipe that I haven’t fallen in love with, the only caution – calories! Portion control is necessary.

2. Amazon Prime

How/Why/Where/Who am I?! I can’t believe I haven’t discovered the glory that is Amazon Prime until this year!  Amazon Prime is the way cool people use Amazon, for a super small annual fee you can order wonderful amazon products and get 2 day shipping for free!  2 days?!  (I ordered by toothbrushes last night.) I almost skipped Christmas shopping outside my apartment all together thanks to all the glory that is Amazon Prime and I haven’t been to Target in months!  This is where we’re headed people, if you’re not on board now – it’s time.

3. Jazz Music

Jazz is the perfect background noise & has a way of making you feel fancy while sitting in your pajamas, drinking cheap wine, and reading your favorite book.  Need I say more?

4. Camp Gladiator

Camp gladiator is a work out group that I recently joined, they likely have something similar wherever you are. The reason I bring this up is because it’s the one thing that’s helped me consistently be on top of working out.  I’ve always been pretty good at going to the gym or more particularly, running – but in a group fitness camp I feel like I’m held accountable for showing up to workout, to the point where I start having FOMO when I miss one.  If you’re looking to start 2017 in a healthy way and want to stick to it, try a group camp in your area so you’re held accountable to show up.  As hesitant as I’ve been for years to join one, I’m glad I finally did.

5. Betches / My Therapist Says

These two Instagram accounts have saved my existence as an honest human being…  Don’t you love when you start following an Instagram account that clicks with everything you’ve ever felt?  These two accounts have the power to take my anxiety away with their realness and 0 fucks given attitude.  Bless them real hard.

6. Waterproof Phone Case

This summer, I was obsessing over my discovery of this $10 waterproof phone case, but I bought it near the end of the season and barely had time to use it.  I don’t know why everyone doesn’t own a couple of these. Super affordable, easy to use, and great to have on hand for a quick trip to the pool. Eeeeeek Snapchat lovers embrace.

7. NEEDTOBREATHE

I started listening to this band about 2 years ago but really engaged this last year, the music speaks to me!  It’s not too much of one genre.  I feel like if you’re listening to Rap, Jazz, Pop or Rock you’re really committed to that style – where this band feels somewhere in between, making it perfect when there’s people with different preferences together.  And, lucky me I got to see them live this year 🙂

8. Ikea Knives

No, I haven’t fell off my rocker and bumped my head – I can not live without these knives!  How do people cook without them!?  They STAY sharp, SUPER sharp.  And they’re $2!  I’m telling you, I can’t imagine a kitchen without these knives, change your life and buy a (sharp) knife.


That’s it!  All my favorites of the year 2016.  Is it weird I’m already over it, feeling deep into 2017?  Nothing better than a fresh year with a fresh outlook. Other wonderful new things – The Bachelor. I’ll be catching up tonight & feel pretty excited about it – I’m a Nick fan, poor guy needs a wife.

Remember, kick ass and be thoughtful!

Xx

+ Best of 2016 TV & Movies: HERE
+ Best of 2016 Beauty: HERE

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Life, Thoughts

5 Things to Do This New Year RATHER Than Goal Setting & Ridged Resolutions

Did You Know? “In Colombia and Peru, some believe in throwing three potatoes underneath the bed on New Years Eve: one unpeeled, one half peeled, and one completely peeled (“pelado”). Without looking, you must reach under the bed and grab the first potato your hand bumps into. Colloquially, if someone is “pelado” this means they are financially “broke.” Thus, if you grab the potato that is completely peeled you will find financial hardship in the new year. A half peeled potato means some economic troubles ahead, while a potato that is not peeled may mean money is in your future.” ( v i a )


How many of you have completely fucked up your New Years resolutions already?  OR, have: “Create Goals” on your To-Do list?  Setting goals was always on my to-do list, lingering forever.  I would finally write them down and get ridiculously excited about the million dollars I was going to make in the upcoming year.

 Goal-Setting-and-Resolutions(2)

2017 is the first year I’m 100% satisfied not making any goals. Fuck a goal <<  When I first started saying this to myself, around July, I was kind of joking.  Then I started saying it out loud (“fuck a goal”) and started believing myself. Eventually, I rationalized how terrible a goal was.

Growing up in cute Minnesota & being a cautious child, I followed all the rules.  And in a way goals were part of rules, to keep you on track.  S.M.A.R.T. goals. (If you don’t know what that is, google it & horrific high school memories will come blaring into your mind.)  I hated the pressure of having goals, making them, looking at them, and reaching them.

2017 is the first year I’m giving myself a break.  Goals are predictable.  And I want to welcome change – open arms with a glass of wine and some jazz music perhaps.  Or Eminem, depending on what kind of change is ahead.

I’m still an advocate of the New Year / New Start mentality because there’s something refreshing about January, having the chaotic holidays behind and a new year ahead.  It’s a fresh start.  A mental reset, perhaps.  But I don’t think SMART goals are… smart. Cuz who the fuck knows what’s going to happen.

 Goal-Setting-and-Resolutions(3)

5 Things to Do This New Year RATHER Than Goal Setting and Ridged Resolutions

  1. Create A Vision Board:  I’ve noticed instead of writing down goals & each step to achieving them, creating a vision board that you can easily see every morning creates a bigger focus.  Without too much planning or intention I’ve been creating a vision board throughout the past 10 years or so.  I have a huge magnetic board & I throw any special notes I receive, quotes I love, daily reminders (ex: call my family), future visions, personal pictures & mantra’s – all items and words that give me warm feelings.  Without realizing it, this focuses my daily life. And the board is constantly evolving so it’s always in sync with my bigger vision.

  2. Clean out your kitchen:  It’s 2017.  We all want sexual bodies & we all want to feel good.  We also know that a TON of food is actual crap.  There’s no arguing whether or not diet soda is good for you, or spaghetti sauce with 3,000mg of sodium is a smart decision.  Take the beginning of this New Year to throw out anything you have in your kitchen that you know is shit.  Throw it away, give it away, but get rid of it.  That step alone is going to feel good.  Unclog the kitchen cabinets. Create space and organize it with yummy, delicious, ingredients. If you don’t know whether or not something is crap, Pinterest it.  Ask me. Ask a friend if they would eat it.  Throw out the feelers and if everyone says its fucking shit – throw it away.

  3. Loosen up:  If you’re working towards an achievement & it’s not going exactly how you planned, let it go.  Take a break & relax.  Remember how lucky you actually are.  One thing about goals is how strict they can feel, almost too focused?  And, when does anything really go as planned?  Never.  If it does, then you’re probably doing it wrong. If you’re uber focused on one particular mission going exactly how you want it to go – you’re going to lose.  So loosen up.  What’s meant to be, will be.

  4. Work hard:  Do the best you can do at every task.  Every single day put your best foot forward.  If you’re at work, work hard at having an impressive day.  If you’re working on a hobby you want to turn into a career, work hard at pushing a little closer each day.  If you’re listening to someone, work hard on giving them your full attention. If you’re exercising, work hard at having a powerful work out.   If you’re walking your dog, work hard at using the time to relax and enjoy the moment. If you’re driving in your car, work hard on not letting the traffic bother you.  Every day, WORK. HARD.

  5. Slow Down:  Rushing is one of our favorite things to do.  Rush here, rush there, rush home, rush to bed, rush to the movies, rush to the grocery store, rush through traffic, rush out of work, rush through dinner, rush to the restaurant.  Most of us probably rush around in our dreams at night too.  One thing I picked up from my time living in The Dominican Republic is the beauty of slowing down.  I don’t think that means be late (that’s fucking rude and inconsiderate to other’s time) but be realistic with time slots.  Leaving your house, driving to the grocery store, buying groceries, driving back home, creating a meal, while calling your family members and getting ready – IS going to take longer that 15-20 minutes.  Start creating realistic space that allows time.  Understand that you may have to skip the movie or a dinner with a friend or coffee with your mom or a walk with your dog or a workout at the gym – prioritize and eliminate.  Appreciate the present moment – let it live, don’t rush to the end.

Goal-Setting-and-Resolutions

I think I’ve said before, each Sunday I loosely plan my week to make it a week I’m proud of.  Workouts, dinners, work, entertainment.  If it happens the way I wanted it to, that’s awesome, if it doesn’t – fuck it.

We’ll see how this year goes without the ridged goal setting.  Come 2018 we’ll see if that was a fun little idea of mine to skip goals OR if I’m liberated and strong OR feeling lost and abandoned!  Mentally, I’m already feeling excited and relief, so throw some points in the non-goal making bag.

Thoughts?  Goals vs no goals?!

Have a GREAT WEEKEND and remember to be thoughtful, always.

Xx

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