Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012: fearlessly.

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever."

--Neil Gaiman

Happy New Year, loves. All that you want and wish, I hope it comes to you. 

In 2012...

A few days ago, after I reviewed my 11 for 2011 list of 'resolutions', I couldn't decide whether or not to make a list for the new year. I'm currently in the middle of accomplishing 23 new things before I turn 23 (I know, I know... I love lists.), so it seemed silly to make another list of things to accomplish at a different time. And yet, I felt I couldn't start the new year without a little something contemplative and resolution-y.

And so, I bring you: In 2012, I'm looking forward to... 

  • Exploring my town. I grew up here, but spent my formative years (i.e. college) elsewhere, and I'm looking forward to getting to know my town again on my own, living right in the middle of it all and really making the most of it.
  • Traveling. This one is pretty much a constant goal of mine, but I have some big plans in motion to make it happen this year (spoiler alert: one trip involves visiting a fellow blogger! blerg!) 
  • Finishing my first year of graduate school. Grad school is simultaneously harder and more awesome than I thought, and it's kicking my butt and I love it, and I can't wait to say that I have a full year under my belt.
  • Having 'me' dates. I love my contemplative 'me' time, but I haven't been getting much of it lately. So I hereby promise to take more walks, go read alone in more coffee shops, to see a movie alone (never done it!) and to generally revel in glorious happy me time.
  • Having my golden birthday (and oh, will it ever be golden. Roommate, watch out, I plan to host the blingy-est party you ever did see.)
  • Finishing my 23/23 list and start 24/24! 
  • Having more fun. I get way too easily sucked into the cycle of school and work and forget that I'm a 22-year-old person who needs to have fun on a regular basis. 
  • Rolling with the punches, accepting the surprises, reveling in the changes, and just being. I can tell already that it's going to be a good year :)
What are you looking forward to in 2012? 

Monday, December 26, 2011

11 for 2011

If you've been with me on this here blog for a while, you know I LOVE lists. I'm currently in the process of doing 23 things before I turn 23-- but before that, I made a list of 11 new things I'd like to do in 2011 (and even before that, 10 things in 2010) Now that the year is ending, I thought I'd take a look at my list and see how far I've gotten this year!

1. Rock Climb.
BAM! Done and done. I went rock climbing a few times with friends at the awesome rec center at my undergrad university. I learned that my upper body strength, uh, leaves a bit to be desired, but otherwise it. was. awesome.

2. Have a conversation in Portugese.
Check! I loved my Portuguese-for-Spanish-speakers class and had to have multiple conversation in Portuguese this year. Next stop: finding a speaking buddy to help me practice here in Milwaukee!

3. Graduate from College.
Check! Four years on the dot. It was awesome and exhausting and to celebrate, I decided to get my Masters degree. Sigh. Will I ever learn?

4. Travel.
Fail. I wish I would have traveled more this year, but with everything that was going on this year, it simply didn't happen. Luckily, I have some blogger-friend-related travel plans for this coming year-- stay tuned :)

5. Take a dance class (preferably latin dance, but really, any class will do!)
Sorta fail. I did go to a few for-fun latin dance classes with friends, but never anything structured. Goes back on the list!

6. Re-learn how to play piano or teach myself how to play the guitar.
EPIC fail. I would use the excuse that I didn't have access to a piano or a guitar for most of the year, but that's lame. 

7. Keep a separate journal, writing one line per day for 365 days.
I started this, and petered out somewhere around March. Unfortunately, I don't have much of an excuse for this one either-- I still am a consistent journaler, just not every night.

8. Try a Bikram (hot yoga) class.
Done. It was hot. I prefer nice, yummy, hatha or kundalini

9. Write my own poetry.
I dabbled in this a little-- I'm going to make it an ongoing goal :) 

10. Go completely vegan for a week.
Done! I liked it, but like every strict diet rule that I try, I find I am much happier as an everythingtarian instead. 
11. Trust my gut.
Okay, this isn't one I can just check off-- but I'm going to give myself a pat on the back for this one this year. More than ever before, this year has been about trusting my gut, listening to my intuition, and following my heart. Cheesy-- maybe. But it has been a great year :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sunday Morning Poetry

It was like this:
you were happy, then you were sad,
then happy again, then not.
It went on.
You were innocent or you were guilty.
Actions were taken, or not.
At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.
Mostly, it seems you were silent — what could you say?
Now it is almost over.
Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.
It does this not in forgiveness –
between you, there is nothing to forgive –
but with the simple nod of a baker at the moment
he sees the bread is finished with transformation.
Eating, too, is now a thing only for others.
It doesn’t matter what they will make of you
or your days: they will be wrong,
they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,
all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.
Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,
you slept, you awakened.
Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.

Merry Christmas, lovelies! I hope you get to spend today with the ones you love. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, lovelies! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and get to spend the holidays with those you love :)

(and maybe this Michael Buble song (with which I am totally obsessed) on in the background :))

Sunday, December 18, 2011

5/23: Bacon gorgonzola parmesan spaghetti squash (aka: heaven)

I realized a few weeks ago that I've kind of been slacking on my life list. If you're new around these parts, on my 22nd birthday, I made a goal to do 23 new things by the time I turn 23 and blog about as many of them as I can! One goal that I was particularly excited about checking off my list was creating a new recipe completely from scratch without any guidance or ideas from a pre-existing recipe. Basically, I want to be the Pioneer Woman, and I don't care who knows it. I've made plenty of let's-throw-all-these-things-in-a-pan-and-see-what-happens dinners before (because they're the best kind of delicious accident!), but I really wanted to make a real recipe this time. Anyways, I'm experimenting with eating a mostly grain-free diet (more info here, if you're interested!), so if you like to stay away from gluten or grains, this recipe will be perfect for you. But even if you're not, I PROMISE this dish will delicious anyway! I'm not ashamed to admit that I literally licked the bowl. And now, the recipe :)

this looks like mashed potatoes, but I promise it's a bowl full of spaghetti squash and delicious cheese :)

Bacon gorgonzola parmesan spaghetti squash (aka: heaven)

Shredded Parmesan cheese
Crumbled Gorgonzola (or any bleu cheese)
Heavy Cream (you could use half + half as well, whatever you prefer)
Salt + Pepper
Spaghetti Squash (click here for great instructions  on how to cook spaghetti squash! I had frozen leftovers that I used, but fresh is great too :))

(sidenote: I eyeballed all of these measurements-- feel free to do the same and go by taste!) Heat 1-2 cups of heavy cream in a saucepan until small bubbles begin to form. Add in 1/2 c. gorgonzola and 1/4 c. parmesan cheese (less or more is fine depending on your tastes, this will help the sauce thicken since we're not using flour) and stir until melted. Add in a pinch of salt and pepper to taste, and stir for a few minutes to thicken. Meanwhile, cook a slice or two (or five) of bacon, and chop into small pieces once cooked. Stir your cooked spaghetti squash into cheese mixture and stir for a few minutes to combine. Once most of cheese sauce has been incorporated into squash, remove from heat, plate, and top with bacon. Devour. Enjoy. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Handmade & Under $15!

If you're looking for great holiday gift ideas under $15 (which, let's face it-- who isn't?), and especially if you're participating in Viktoria & my blogger secret santa swap, we've been compiling great ideas on our handmade & under $15 pinterest board! (and Viktoria's post on other great gift ideas!) So far I've found some awesome DIY beauty gifts, cute homemade accessories & tons of great websites with hundreds of affordable homemade gift ideas. Also, if you're a pinterest addict like myself & you'd like to be a contributor to the board, drop me a line! 

(including these cute homemade hand warmers! I LOVE this!) 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blogger Secret Santa!

I AM SUPER EXCITED ABOUT THIS. (okay, calming down :)) 

I am so excited to announce today that I'm teaming up with one of my very favorite bloggers, Viktoria of Viktoria with a K, to host an awesome Blogger Secret Santa holiday swap!


Let me say-- I adore secret santa swaps. Viktoria and I both participated in a blogger secret santa swap last year, and we both had so much fun that we decided to team up to host one for our lovely readers this year! 

Interested? Here are the deets:
We will be accepting the first 14 bloggers who comment on our posts (check Viktoria's blog today for her post about the swap!), and we will only accept 14 total, so if you're interested, comment ASAP! You must include your email address in your comment so that we can contact you. Viktoria and I will also be participating in the swap, for a total of 16 gorgeous, stylish, and awesome bloggers secret santa-ing.

We'll email you with a quick questionnaire to fill out about what sorts of things you might like to receive from your swap, your interests, etc, as well as the dates & details of the swap. After we've got everyone together, we'll send out emails to everyone telling you who you'll be gifting to-- but who will be sending you your gift will be a surprise until you receive it!

You must send your gift to your secret santa by Wednesday, Dec 21. You also must commit to writing a blog post about what you by the time January is over (earlier is great!). We really want to see what you've all gotten from your secret santas!

Spend no more than $15 on your secret santa-- we're all thrifty girls (and guys!) and it's fun to find a great deal, especially when you can gift that great deal to someone else. Also, Viktoria and I both are poor grad students :)

Now for some fun extras:
We'd love for you to spread the word about our project! The more bloggers who participate, the more fun it will be for everyone :) Feel free to grab this icon for your blog & spread the word about our swap if you'd like (or just because it's cute, whatevs)! 

Also, we'll be putting together great gift ideas under $15 on pinterest for the next few weeks during the duration of the swap. Check it out if you're stumped for ideas, and drop me a line if you'd like to be a contributor! 

We are so excited to get going, and can't wait to collaborate with such beautiful, incredible bloggers on such a fun project! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Radvent: Caring

Here's the thing. I care about a lot of things. I care about plenty of good things, like my friends and family and cat and savings account, and taking care of my body, and being happy, and finding shoes on sale or making the most delicious grilled cheese. But I also care about a lot of icky stuff that is kind of a time-waster in the long run, like trying to please everyone and the lack of ca-ching currently on my debit card and being lint-free, all the time. 

So when I read this radvent prompt about caring, I thought, huh. This is all well and good and lovely, but I don't really feel like writing about any of it. Until I got to the last three lines. List the things you don't give a sh*t about. Seriously? That's kind of awesome. I have to admit, this was a little daunting. I've spent a big chunk of my life respectively caring/not caring about things based on the opinions of those around me, and I've finally shook that off and am beginning to form some own radical opinion of my own. 

But still. It's not like I sit down and list all of the things that I used to care about and I no longer care about. So this was a little intimidating.
But can I say: wheeeeeee! It was super freeing. I highly recommend you do it too. 

Things I don't give a sh*t about:
Hockey. Sorry, Minnesota. 
Fancy things. Yes, I like things. Even nice things. But I could really care less if my eyeshadow costs $2 and not $22, or whether or not my wine came straight from the cellar or Trader Joe's. 
(addendum: things I do give a sh*t about: finding a good deal!)
The exclusivity of my music collection. I like music, a lot. I have a massive iTunes library filled with artists that even the pickiest music connoisseurs would enjoy. I also have every single Dave Matthews cd and a plethora of Taylor Swift, and the list goes on and on. Quite frankly, it is super boring to pretend to only like music that would make it on pitchfork. I like what I like, and that is that.
Whether or not my scarf matches my hat, matches my mittens. I have no matching sets, and I look like a rainbow. I am perfectly fine with that. 

PHEW. That was awesome.
Also: if you love fancy things and matching winter accessories and pitchfork, I think that is AWESOME. You most likely don't give a sh*t about things that I adore. That's what makes this so great :)
I want to hear it! What don't you give a sh*t about?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Radvent: Balance

Um, hi.
*cough, cough*
Is this thing on?

So, here I am. I guess I don't really know what to say about how besides the fact that I haven't written a physical post in about a month, I've really been checked out of blogging mentally since I bid adieu to Undergradfab and moved over here to Babble + Bloom. I guess I was waiting for this blog to feel like me, and when it didn't, I got bummed. I completely failed to remember that if I didn't put myself into my blog, it would never feel like me.

I'm glad I took some space, but I've been feeling a hole in my life in the last few months, and I think I finally realized that it came from the loss of my identity as a blogger. I'm going to try this again, and I hereby commit myself to blogging a lot in December and see how it feels, and go from there.

I stumbled upon Princess Lasertron's Radvent posts via some other lovely blogs I follow, and it seems like the perfect way for me to get back in the blogging habit while simultaneously doing something I adore: reflecting.

So! Let's do this, shall we? I'm skipping back a few days to Day 2: Balance (can I just say: holy links, batman. Sorry for the overload in this post :))

Last fall, I was living in Minnesota and finishing up my last year in college. One particularly gorgeous day, I was headed to class & I happened to park a bit farther from campus than I usually do. As I was walking to class, I stumbled upon this poem pressed into the concrete sidewalk.

if you love this as much as I do, you can find out more about St.Paul's sidewalk poetry here

I snapped a picture of it on my phone (because how often do you stumble upon poems on the sidewalk?) and moved on with my day. I've revisited that picture on my phone time and time again over the last year. I tend to be a bit black-and-white with my actions and with my thoughts. Either I must be the perfect blogger or I can't blog at all. Either I must eat 100% (enter one of the following terms here: vegetarian, vegan, paleo, clean, intuitively, etc) or I have completely failed. I must be the perfect daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, student, etc, or I have done something wrong.

I'm absolutely, one-hundred-percent positive that most of you are the same way and know exactly  what I'm talking about.

I have finally decided I am done with perfect. it. is. exhausting. I try, and I let go. I breathe a little deeper, and I cut myself some slack. I do a little yoga. I take a little nap. I go for a walk. I dance around my apartment. I try something new.  I get out of the house.  I call my best friends. I cry a bit, and I ask myself what's missing. Usually, it's love, connectedness, and patience. I have honest chats with myself aloud in my car, completely weirding out all my fellow drivers. I stop trying to plan, and let myself live in the here & now.

I certainly don't know enough about balance to tell you how to do it, but I would like to think we're all getting there.

Want to join in on the fun? Check out more about radvent here. And how do you find balance? I would love to know :)