Because writing is how I cope with bad things…

Number 40 on my adventure list is to write a book of poetry.  This week I had some writing inspiration.

 

A Car Burglary

My anger is like the ocean, coming in waves.

Sometimes it’s small, like that little ripple of adrenaline I feel

as I am walking to my car, wondering if once again

I will find shatters of glass,

and something taken.

Other times, the anger is so powerful that it steals my breath

like when I am trying to fall asleep at night,

and salt water is streaming down my face,

every creak and noise causing a flinch

forcing me to wonder if you’re here in my home

because stealing my bag wasn’t enough.

And still, at other times the anger is so deep

that it’s more like a swell of rage

as I envision myself taking revenge against you

with a baseball bat, a gun.

 

My anger isn’t only directed at you.

I feel angry at the police

for taking my report by phone,

for not even sending an officer to the scene,

even though just miles away

I know there was one sitting in his patrol car,

waiting to give out another speeding ticket.

 

I feel angry that the security footage was worthless

because the camera was covered in frost

and I was parked too far away.

I feel angry that in a busy parking lot

in broad daylight

no one reported seeing anything.

I feel angry that you will never be caught.

 

And I feel angry at the people who told me,

You shouldn’t have left your bag in your car,

Don’t you know how many times

I have re-lived the moment when I told myself

It’s only for a couple minutes, it will be fine.

Don’t you know that blaming the victim

is not okay.

 

I feel angry when people tell me,

It’s only stuff, it’s replaceable.

It wasn’t just stuff.

It was my schedule, my thoughts,

my appointments, my anniversary date.

It was money that I worked hard for,

the brown leather bag I picked out specifically for my new job.

It was my photo, my height, my weight,

my address.

 

It wasn’t just stuff.

It was my library card, my new wallet I got with my best friend,

the clipboard I bought as a graduate student

for my first therapy session with a real client.

It was my little pink scissors I’ve had since kindergarten

that I kept them in my bag to do art therapy projects with kids,

my name printed neatly on the handle by my mom

so they would never get lost.

 

It was a piece of me, my identity.

It’s not replaceable.

I am not replaceable.

 

So today, I’ll go again to the place

where you stole me

from me,

I’ll search the ditches,

the woods, the creeks,

hoping that I will find something…

my planner, my green water bottle from college,

my driver’s license, my favorite pink lipstick,

my work files, my health insurance card,

something,

anything.

I keep thinking that maybe, just maybe,

if I find the pieces of me

I will start to feel whole again.

Another month bites the dust

A whole month of my 27 before 27 has already slipped by!  This is an eye opener for me as I am not as far along on my goals as I hoped I would be.  I think the key to meeting my goals lies with the dreaded (but oh so desired) Number 13 on my list – Become an Early Riser.  I keep thinking, If I could just master this one, I would have time to do everything else I want to accomplish.  Please share your tips for getting up in the morning and not hitting snooze – that is my greatest downfall.  I have all of these lofty plans at night, but come morning, I cannot get up.  I need to be more disciplined.

98decc53fff07c4413e49b0879c9f9bdI have made some progress, though.  For Number 5 (Complete the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge), I am a little behind on my timeline, but I have read 3 books so far.  Flawless (Sara Shepard) and Sun Kissed (Catherine Anderson) were both pretty good.  I loved Cheyenne Amber (Catherine Anderson).  I am working on Me and Mr. Darcy (Alexandra Potter) right now.

23855c5143940833bf3026f2158b4d0dI’m doing pretty well with Number 10 (Become financially self-sufficient).  I am finally off my parents’ phone plan as of this month (about time, I know, I know).  Now that I have a salaried job, I have taken over part of K and I’s mutual bills as well.

The month started off well with Number 16 (Stick with the Dave Ramsey budget system for at least a year).  However, life happened.  Unexpected vet bill, my last bit of self-employed taxes was more than I planned, and some other expenses were more than I budgeted.  I am ready to try again for February, though!

8affeb6f267b1b3e530aeca0022471fbNumber 18 (Start an exercise routine and stick with it for at least 90 days) – I did start this one January 2nd, but it quickly tapered off.  I really need a workout buddy but there are none to be found.  I’m thinking of setting some sort of incentive for myself to increase my motivation.  Any tips would be appreciated!

5e85b581fb0df7ea0967de61965dafd7I’m getting this one done just in the nick of time – Number 20 (Blog at least once a month for 1 year)  And it is doing the trick…blogging today reminded me of my goals.

Number 26 (Go spelunking) is in the works!  This will be happening in April on our trip to New Zealand!

 

Until next time,

A

27 before 27

b2ae5592c8589e4abe7ba720b1c19769My 25th year has come and passed.  I hope to make 26 my best year yet.  Here are the 27 things I want to do this year before my 27th birthday.  I sorted them into categories…because I like categories.

For the love of reading.  I used to read all the time.  At some point, other things started taking the place of books.  Netflix.  Pinterest.  Facebook.  TV.  None of those things make me feel as fulfilled as reading a good book does.  I want that back.

1. Read ten of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels.  The master of mystery.

2. Read every book by my favorite author, L. M. Montgomery.  I’ve read 14 so far and there are 6 left.

3. Read five biographies.  Already picked my five out.

4. Brush up on American and World History.  Because it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a history class.

5. Complete the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge.  I tried this one a couple years ago but didn’t quite make it (I read around 30).  My best friend is doing this challenge with me this year, which I think will help keep me on track.  :)

Skills.  I need some skills.

6. Become financially literate.  Stocks, bonds, 401ks, oh my.

7. Learn how to sew.  Because I still have to take clothes home to my mom to fix if a button falls off.

8. Learn how to drive a manual car.  K gave me one lesson a couple years ago…I think we’ve both recovered enough from that experience for me to try again.

9. Learn some geography.  If I’m going to travel the world, I better understand this.

10. Become financially self-sufficient.  I’m just about there.

11. Grow my own vegetables.  “We” did grow tomatoes last year, but to be honest, that was all K.  I occasionally remembered to water the plants.  This year, though, I want us to have a real garden.  And I am going to be a gardener.

12. Learn how to make sushi.  K is awesome at making sushi.  I have helped before, but I want to be able to do it from start to finish on my own.

Love, Peace, and Happiness

13. Become an early riser.  I have struggled and struggled with this one over the last couple years, but I’m bound and determined that this will be the year that I become an early riser.

14. Be completely debt free.  So close, so far away.

15. Take a week break from TV/Netflix and all social media.  I want to live, not live online.

16. Stick with the Dave Ramsey budget system for at least a year.  I’m starting this one January 1st.  One year of using the envelope system!

17. Pay for a stranger’s groceries.  I’m aiming to do this one next December around the holidays.

18. Start an exercise routine and stick with it for at least 90 days.  Starting January 1st.  I’m planning to mix it up with some yoga, walking, and dancing.  Thinking about joining the Y, too.

19. Eat fresh vegetables or fruits once a day for 30 days.  I know I need to eat healthier.  This is a start.

20. Blog at least once a month for 1 year.  If I keep up with my blog, my blog will hold me accountable for accomplishing my 27 before 27 list.

21. Marry the love of my life.  This will be happening in about 3 months!

Adventure is out there.

22. Host a dinner party.  Because it sounds fun.

23. Break a piñata.  Because it looks fun.

24. Go parasailing.  Because it looks REALLY fun.

25. Take a trip with my best friend.  We’ve always talked about taking a trip.  This year we are making it happen.  Maybe Chicago.

26. Go spelunking.  I love caves and I’m ready to take it to the next level.

27. Attend a masquerade party.  Masquerade!  Paper faces on parade.  Masquerade.  Hide your face so the world will never find you.

It’s almost the New Year.  What are some of your goals for the year?  What are those things that you have always wanted to do?  Why not start now?

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-A

A year of adventure

It’s almost a New Year, which means it’s almost time for me to post my new 27 before 27 list.  But first, there are a few more adventure list items that I crossed off this year.

#37. Take an oil painting class

For Christmas last year, K signed me up for an oil painting class.  This is something I have always wanted to try.  My great-grandfather was an amazing painter and I ended up with one of his paintings and quite a bit of his art supplies.  Sadly, I did not inherit any of his talent, but the class was so much fun anyway.  My instructor was great.  Creative, passionate, confusing – exactly as you would expect an art instructor to be.  He told us to “paint in a spiral” and “paint the emotions of the colors”.  It was good for me to step out of my comfort zone.  I was not used to being in a classroom setting where I didn’t know what I was doing.  I think it’s important to be new at something every once in awhile.  This class was such an adventure for me.

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My first painting in the class – a still life.

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Close up of my apples

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Self portrait. Spent 3 class periods working on this.

#97. Order ice cream from the ice cream truck

I crossed this off my list spontaneously.  I was visiting my best friend and we heard the music drifting down the street, growing louder and louder.  Her younger sister exclaimed, “The ice cream truck!” and we all ran outside.  It was so much fun, and my treat was delicious.

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#101. Move in with the love of my life

All the driving back and forth is finally over!  We found a great house to rent in a nice neighborhood.  Lots of space for the kitties, a back yard, new kitchen, and best of all, a library with a fireplace.  :)

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#105. Run a 5k.

I crossed this one off my list over the summer, along with K and my brother and sister-in-law.  We didn’t run just any 5k, either.  We did a Warrior Dash!  I don’t enjoy running.  The so-called runner’s high has always been elusive to me.  But the obstacles in this 5k were SO MUCH FUN.  Jumping on top of cars, leaping over fire, climbing mud mounds…  It was a blast.  I can’t wait to do it again next year!

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#106. Complete the 100 Happy Days challenge.

I chose to do this challenge when I found myself stuck in a negative rut.  Each day, I took a picture of one thing that made me feel happy.  It was a really good exercise at focusing on the positive.  After doing it for 100 days, it stuck with me.  I don’t take pictures every day, but I find myself thinking more about the good things that happened.

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Day 65: Meeting this gorgeous guy while volunteering at the shelter today made my day. He is so sweet! When I sat down in his kennel after brushing him, he gave me a big lick on the cheek. #100happydays

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Day 91 (for Sunday): Went to Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, beautiful! #100happydays

I didn’t quite accomplish everything on my 26 before 26 list, but this was definitely an adventure-filled year.  Next up…my new list for 2015.  And this time?  I’m crossing everything off.  What are some strategies that help you follow through with your goals?

-A

The Land of the Long White Cloud

In March of this year, I crossed off my first international adventure list items!  I think going to New Zealand for my first overseas trip set the bar pretty high.

The flight was long (I think around 10 hours from San Fran to Auckland?), but I passed some of the time by watching The Desolation of Smaug (The Hobbit), which I think was appropriate.  And plus, it’s always fun to travel with K as he makes new friends everywhere we go.  :)  All of K’s family lives in NZ, so it was great to spend time with them.1977311_10202028443254932_34556646_n

Here are a few of the adventures we had…

13. Tour Hobbiton in New Zealand.  This was just as exciting as I thought it would be.  I’ve always been such a big fan of LOTR, so it was kind of surreal to be here.  The only downside was the tour groups were too big.  Being the introvert I am, I would have preferred to wander around with just a couple other people there.

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With K and his mum

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Having some drinks at The Green Dragon Inn. So cool!!

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My favorite part of Hobbiton. It was super exciting to see Bilbo’s house.

72. Go to Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand.  This was the most magical, beautiful place I have ever been in my life.  The tour ends with a boat ride in complete silence as you look up at the star-like ceiling (well, semi complete silence…there are always those people on the tour who are obnoxious and loud).  Once again, the only thing that would make this amazing sight better is a private tour.

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I didn’t take this photo as pictures weren’t allowed in the cave, but I wanted you all to see what it looked like. Breathtaking.

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103. Try surfing.  If you remember reading my post last summer about water skiing, well, surfing was about like that.  K was a very good teacher and I did finally, briefly, stand up on the board and ride a wave in.  However, once I had accomplished this feat, I was done.  This was only my second trip swimming in the ocean, so I found the waves to be a bit intimidating.  I definitely preferred to be closer to shore.  K is a very good surfer and spent much of our trip surfing – I don’t know how he does it!

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Since K and I were both in the water while I was learning to surf, we have no proof that I actually did stand up on the board in the water. But I did!

And we had adventures that weren’t even on my list…(but aren’t those some of the best ones anyway?)

Bridal Veil Falls.  We took a picnic lunch and ate at the bottom of the falls.  This was a very scenic, beautiful place and I will never forget it..because…

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At the bottom of the falls, K proposed!

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Perfect day.

Climbing Mt. Karioi.  The mountain was very scenic and I loved hearing the tui birds sing.  I was not sure I would make it to the top, though.  It was quite a hike and very steep at times.

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Here’s the mountain we climbed.

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Nearly to the top…

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We made it!

Exploring Maungatautari Ecological Forest.  Once again, another beautiful spot!

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Yep, we climbed this.

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Paddleboarding.  This was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  So fun and relaxing.

1896760_10152684161484062_783317507_nWhakarewarewa – Living Maori Village.  Very interesting and historical spot.

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Rotorua Boiling Mud Pools.  Doesn’t smell great, but was so cool to see.

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Lots of new food.  I tried mussels (which I LOVED), Hokey Pokey ice cream (only the best kind of ice cream), meat pies, lamb, and cockles.  And of course, I had fresh fish and chips.  It was all so good.

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It was such a great trip and I can’t wait to go back again.

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Where was your first international trip?  Anyone else been to New Zealand?  I’d love to hear about your experiences there!

-A

 

Don’t let your dreams be dreams.

It’s been awhile…  But I’m back to blogging!  I’ve been in a bit of a motivation rut the past few months.  It’s far too easy to put off your dreams and goals, telling yourself, tomorrow.  However, if it is important to you, why not start today?  There are only so many tomorrows.I’ve decided to break my adventure list down into some smaller, yearly goals.  I definitely want to accomplish this entire list in my lifetime, but setting specific goals for this year will make it more likely that I will be able to accomplish them.

63729d6d81693eb4fbd1acc2fd6b87cdI’ve picked out 26 things off my adventure list to cross off this year before I turn 26.  There are a couple that I actually did earlier this year, so I will be posting about them soon.  I’ve got about 5 months left until my birthday to cross off the rest.  :)

26 before 26

1. Tour Hobbiton in New Zealand (crossed this off in March 2014, post soon to follow!)

2. Take an oil painting class (crossed this off earlier this year, post soon to follow!)

3. Try surfing.  (crossed this off in March 2014, post soon to follow!)

4. Go to Waitomo Glowworm Grotto Caves in New Zealand. (crossed this off in March 2014, post soon to follow!)

5. Read ten of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels.

6. Read every book by my favorite author, L. M. Montgomery.

7. Learn how to make sushi.

8. Become financially literate.

9. Learn how to sew.

10. Learn how to drive a manual car.

11. Learn some geography.

12. Become an early riser.

13. Become financially self-sufficient.

14. Host a dinner party.

15. Be completely debt free.

16. Take a week break from TV/Netflix and all social media.

17. Dig for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.

18. Visit a blues bar in Chicago.

19. Break a pinata.

20. Order ice cream from the ice cream truck. (crossed this off in May 2014, post soon to follow!)

21. Move in with the love of my life. (crossed this off in May 2014, post soon to follow!)

22. Read five autobiographies.

23. Visit 15 new places/towns/cities.

24. Brush up on American and World History.

25. Run a 5k.

26. Complete the 100 Happy Days challenge.

f296f7fbecfc38e70121d320aa8690daWhat are some of things you have always wanted to do?

-A

A Year of Crafts

Time to cross Number 38 off my list – make one Pinterest craft a month for a year.  Although I made more than twelve crafts, I didn’t always make one per month.  However, I am still counting this one as complete since the point was to craft more (instead of just pinning pictures of crafts on Pinterest).

Back in January, my first craft was to make a jewelry stand.  The next month, I made a bucket list board.

And then I got behind on posting my crafts on the blog.  :)  So here are my other crafts for 2013.  Some of the things I made are very similar to something I pinned, and some I changed quite a bit.  Check out the links to see the original pin.  I love each thing I made and rediscovered my joy for crafting, so I’d say this item on my list was a success.

Craft Number 3 – Card Keepsake Album

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At my old apartment, I had a wall where I put up special cards and notes I received throughout the year. What started off cute, ended up being an explosion of mess as you can see here. So…

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I took all of it off the wall, bought a photo album (and hole punch), and put everything in the album.

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All organized and pretty – yay!

Craft Number 4 – Our First Christmas Tree ornaments

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First, I sawed a couple pieces off the end of K and I’s Christmas tree.

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I used a permanent marker to write on the wood, a screwdriver to drill a hole through the top, and some red string to make the hanger.

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Other side

Craft Number 5 – Dave Ramsey cash envelopes

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I got the pretty paper at Hobby Lobby. The blue is for K and the purple is mine.

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I used a template (click on link above)  – worked great!

Craft Number 6 – Framed Jewelry

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I had some old jewelry that belonged to my grandma and great-grandmother and I really wanted to display it. I may eventually move these to a shadowbox, though.

Craft Number 7 – First Car Key Ornament

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My car got totaled earlier this year. :( I had that car since I turned 16, so it was sad to let it go. I decided to make a Christmas ornament out of the key, because I’m sentimental. :)

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The top beads say My First Car and the second set of beads says Lizzie, because that’s what I named my car (after Elizabeth Bennett, of course). I used nail polish to make the top of the key sparkly and the rest of the key red.

Craft Number 8 - Canvas Art Quote

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I used scrapbook stickers on a blank canvas (I reused some of the letters as I painted). The stickers did not stick well to the canvas, so I painted with one hand and held the sticker down with my other. Also, I used oil paint instead of acrylics because I already had some.

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All finished! I used some white paint for touchups, but overall, this worked pretty well.

Craft Number 9 – Glitter Mason Jars

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This one looked a little better in the original pin, but I still like it. Very easy – just painted glitter and glue/water on the inside of the jars, then added a tea light.

Craft Number 10 – Cat Food Tin

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Silver spray paint and gold/blue acrylics. I got this tin at a thrift store for super cheap.

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Kitty food area! I hand painted the letters rather than using a stencil or stickers.

Craft Number 11 – Mod Podge Quote on Canvas

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As you can see, I had two helpers. ;) I had an extra copy of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so I mod podged some pages on this blank canvas, then added scrapbook stickers. I used gold acrylic to paint over the letters.

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Peeled the stickers off and voila! Love it.

Craft Number 12 – Custom Name Plaque

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I found this plaque at a thrift store – it was exactly what I was looking for! It already had the gold chain hanger, which was perfect. I painted over the previous picture on the plaque. Took several coats, as it was quite dark before. I got the wooden letters and apple at Hobby Lobby. Painted them, added some glitter to the apple, and then glued everything on. I also brushed some gold around the sides of the plaque. I made this for my sorority little sister, who just graduated and will be an elementary school teacher. :)

Craft Number 13 – Workout Shirts

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I took these old shirts and followed the linked tutorial.

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I learned that I’m not great with scissors. All three shirts are wearable, but didn’t turn out as nice as the tutorial.

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However, this will still work great as a yoga shirt.

Craft Number 14 – Scrabble Art

This one is a Christmas gift that hasn’t been opened yet, so I will have to hold off on posting a picture.  :)

Craft Number 15 – Acrostic Poem Art (didn’t have a Pinterest inspiration for this one)

Also a Christmas gift, so I’ll post a picture after the holidays.

Anyone else do any fun crafting this year?  :)

-A

Baked with Love

Number 51 on my list is to make one new recipe per month for a year.  I have been bad about blogging recipes every month, but I have definitely made at least one new dish every month.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Key Lime Pie (used this recipe for the crust and this one for the filling)

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I’m not a huge key lime fan, but it is my boyfriend’s favorite so I made it for him.

Apple Pie (Unfortunately, I can’t remember what recipe I used.  I did use one recipe for the crust and one for the filling.  I also used Pink Lady apples instead of the apples called for in the recipe.  This helped me figure out how to do the lattice crust.  Turned out delicious!)

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Whole Wheat Rolls

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So, so good!

Chocolate Cornstarch Pudding

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I have made this several times since. What a great comfort food, especially warm from the stove.

I also tried a single serving hot chocolate recipe, which was pretty good, and Sour Cream Bacon Chicken.  A couple weekends ago, I made Buffalo Ranch Chicken Dip – yum!  K and I made Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps last week, which we really liked.

I did try one recipe that I didn’t really care for – Brownie in a Mug.  I never thought I would say this, but it was too much chocolate.  I could only eat a few bites.

Stay tuned for my next post with an update on Number 38 on my list – make one craft a month for a year!

-A

 

You Raise Me Up

Last night was the best so far when it comes to crossing things off my adventure list.  I saw Josh Groban live, Number 48 on my list.

I’ve realized lately that there are some things in life that don’t end up being as great as you thought they would.  So many things that I was really looking forward to this year, like graduating with my Master’s degree, finding a real job, and moving in with a close friend, have ended up being not just anticlimactic, but utterly disappointing.

Josh Groban was not one of these things.  His concert was everything I ever hoped it would be, and more.  After the summer/fall I’ve had, I needed something to remind me that some things are as wonderful as you always dreamed they would be.

1380323_10200994899696989_1808042387_nHe sang my favorite songs, Remember When It Rained and February SongStarry, Starry Night was amazing, too.  And I am really falling in love with his new song Brave.  Oh, and he sang The Prayer!  And of course, You Raise Me Up.  Lip quivering tears happened, multiple times, but at least I didn’t full on sob (dangerously close, though).

1379723_10200997007509683_1883231259_nNot only was his music beautiful, but he was funny as well.  I think K had a surprisingly good time.  I mean, at one point Josh (we’re on a first name basis now =P) imitated Gollum, congratulated Kansas City on our football team, joked about the protestors outside (Seriously, he is like the least offensive person ever.  Why would you protest Josh freaking Groban?!) and he made fun of Bieber.  Josh, please take me (sorry K, I mean us, of course!) to Dublin.

1385150_10200997004789615_1973967876_nThis was my first real concert.  I’m still a bit A LOT excited.  Thank you to K for getting the tickets and taking me.  Major brownie points!

1379776_10200997020630011_1447751434_nAnd Josh, thank you for raising me up and lifting my spirits.

-A

P.S.  I need another week for my One Week challenge.  This week was better, but there is still work to be done.

 

Small Steps to Inner Peace

After coming across an inspirational blog recently, I decided to start another project in addition to my adventure list.  I will be making small changes in my life by subtracting something negative (e.g., excessive worry, distractions such as TV/internet, etc.) and adding something positive (e.g., mindfulness, writing, exercise) for one week at a time.  I think that this experience will help me learn about myself and grow into the person I want to be.

ded414e7dc8fb293d1444cc344a165f7Read more about this project, and my One Week ideas, here.

For my first week (Oct. 10-16), I will be going one week without negativity and one week with random acts of kindness.  I have really been struggling with seeing the glass as half empty lately.

fce4d393dbfedcb2e010102d78642129But what will happen if I stop dwelling on my own frustrations and help others instead?

My plan is whenever negativity strikes, I will turn things around by doing something nice for someone else.  Read more about how good deeds help relieve depression, anxiety, and stress here.

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I’ll post next week about how my first One Week challenge goes.

-A