Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jamaican Jerk Burgers with Orange-Chipotle Mayo

I have made these burgers more times than I can remember and EVERYTIME they get a rave review. Seriously, they are mouth-watering, savory, delicious and sure to be a staple in your BBQ'ing routine.  Recipe is courtesy of epicurious.com

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Jamaican-Jerk-Burgers-with-Orange-Chipotle-Mayonnaise-107083



Jamaican Jerk Burgers with Orange-Chipotle Mayo
Yields 6 burgers

Ingredients

Orange-chipotle mayonnaise
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chilies*
Jerk sauce
  • 1 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 small habañero chili or 2 medium jalapeño chilies, seeded, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 pounds ground beef (15% or 20% fat)
  • 6 sesame-seed hamburger buns, toasted
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 6 romaine lettuce leaves

preparation

For orange-chipotle mayonnaise:
Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
(FYI- I usually cut this in half and it still makes plenty.)
For jerk sauce:
Finely chop first 4 ingredients in processor. Add sugar and next 3 ingredients; process until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Set aside 3/4 cup jerk sauce. Shape ground beef into six 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick patties; place in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour 1/2 cup jerk sauce over patties and turn to coat; let stand 20 minutes.
Sprinkle patties with salt and pepper. Grill to desired doneness, brushing occasionally with remaining jerk sauce, about 4 minutes per side for medium.
Spread mayonnaise over cut surfaces of buns. Place burgers on bottom halves of buns. Top with onion slices, tomato slices, lettuce, and bun tops. Serve, passing reserved 3/4 cup jerk sauce separately.
* Chipotle chilies canned in a spicy tomato sauce, sometimes called adobo, are available at Latin American markets, specialty foods stores, and some supermarkets.

Goes great with sweet potatoes, salad, beans, potato salad, etc on the side.


SERIOUSLY DIVINE!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

If by playing games you mean UNO, then yes, I play games.

I read articles. ALOT. Like, all the time. I love them, and equally such I love the comments- I enjoying reading how people re-acted to what they just read. One thing I read alot about is relationships and the other day an article struck me hard. It was all about how to play games, the right way, in order to keep a man with you. The advice was the typical: don't return a text for 5 hours and a phone call for 2 days, never let him see you without makeup, etc.

I don't get this.  I mean if you want a superficial, broken floorboard, Jenna and Tito type of relationship by all means! Return Tuesday's missed call on Thursday and never let him see you not looking like a fox. I am old-fashioned yes I admit but I do have modern flair, I've known this about me forever and it's not going anywhere so keep in mind that does play into my own article here.

When Adam and I first started dating it was an interesting process.  I never felt we were playing games with eachother, but we were independent people who needed a moment to make sure we were both making a good decision for ourselves. I didn't date other people while Adam and I dated, I think he saw a few casually. I never worried or resorted to taking 5 hours to return his texts because I knew that if he wanted to be with me, he would.  And I knew in my mind, what I wanted more than anything was to be with a man who truly wanted to be with me.  If that was him, score! If not, tears for days would have poured out of my eyes but I was willing to take that chance to find out if his intentions were true.  There were times.  Times he made me wonder--but I always had my feet planted firm.  When he made me question him I would say things like, "If you act like this I don't feel important to you and that hurts me." I didn't demand he apologize or cower to me, I just stated what I needed from him if he wanted to be with me.  To much my pleasure- he would respond with," If you let me see you again I will make it up to you" and other things of that nature.

BOTTOM LINE. I teased and enticed Adam but never played games with him to where he questioned ME: my integrity, my honesty, or my commitment to him.  I never invited him over and had another guy there, and played stupid that I double booked (yes I've known girls who have done that) and newsflash it just makes you look skanky, and like you have a bad memory!!! I just did what I had to do to kept him interested, like kissing him with intense passion before sending him home so that I could study. If I was ever unavailable to him, which I was, it was because of a school, work, friend or family function not because the club had a special on $2 shooters. I respect'd myself, and made sure he did too.

When we first met, I was 26 and Adam 29.  He is a successful, privatized individual and becoming a 'we' was not an overnight task.  I had to prove myself to him.  Prove that I was loyal, funny, sexy, caring, true and that I had his best interest at mind always.  Time has done that for us and our love now has taken me to new heights and taught me things I never knew were possible. He is my best friend and I adore him to the moon and back.

We are not married, but I hope someday that we are.  A love like ours deserves marriage, it screams it! So, I do not know that my way of doing things, aka not playing games works since we can not measure it by the marriage mark but if you consider a loving, respectable, fun, amazing relationship that is filled with great sex and laughs by the dozen a good test of measure, then yes, it works. So, my advice, just drop the games and be your sexy fun self, it's the best way to catch a genuine man. As for Adam and I, we will stick to playing Uno by the fire at night, now THAT is a game we enjoy.




Thursday, September 5, 2013

Shit just got REAL.

I am 28 years old.  According to History I was 18 when I graduated high school. According to Math 28-18=10.  So that means I have been out of high school for 10 years. Really?

My 10 year high school reunion is this weekend and you better believe I have been hit with a rush of emotions, thoughts, memories and more from those awkward teen years.

I had a weird experience in high school, just plain weird.  I can sum my problem up in one sentence but that would make for a pretty dull post.  I wasn't teased in high school, I wasn't out casted, in fact, most of my peers were really nice to me despite the fact I struggled inside, my issue was I just didn't love myself and in retrospect I can see people picked up on that.  IMHO, my problems stemmed from my struggles with religion and family.  I was raised Mormon and the issues that arose from that are a whole different post entirely.  My family had some issues, my parents were divorced and we were never taught to focus on loving ourselves. My mom was so unhappy she could only handle the basics, like making sure we had a healthy dinner on the table and our grades were up.  My Dad hurt my Mom alot and my Mom felt she did not have the emotional capacity to give me any emotional strength as she was struggling with the same issues herself. Instead, I was made to feel ashamed for all that I wanted and felt.  I was constantly beating myself up, wondering how I could be different? I found myself constantly rebelling and in trouble at home.  Looking back, it's no wonder I wasn't my Mother's favorite child, but according to my memories, instead of getting talked to and consoled I just got grounded, again probably because she had little available to give.

No shocker, the minute I hit 18, I moved out and never went back.  Completely un-grateful my struggling mother had raised me to the best of her abilities. Most people at this point would hit the pavement full speed, but no, not me, I just got a regular Accounting job and started working.  My self-worth was still not there.  I was still a scared little girl who had no faith in herself and wanted to be popular in high school and take 2 inches off her waist. What finally shook me from my shell, was dating someone who had zero self-worth.  It was so easy for me to see that he wasn't living his life.  He was coasting.  Scared to make decisions.  Scared to fail.  And then in true Rachel form, I had a moment.  An Oh My Gosh, stop pointing the finger moment. I realized everything that I found 'wrong' with him, was 'wrong' with me and that I was basically being a petty little baby. Talk about getting hung up on the little things.  Why didn't I love myself? Why didn't I think I was amazing? I felt like a burden to my parents. My smile isn't perfect.  And when I smile that not perfect smile one eye gets smaller than the other.  I've always had some pudge around my lower belly. Oh no my parents weren't perfect? My legs are short. My sense of fashion is always once accessory short.

Truth be told, alot of those issues were my parents, and the other ones are just trivial and lame, and every flaw I highlighted took away from a strength that I did have. I FINALLY woke up and learned to toss that shit to the side, like taking out the trash I let all that go. Maybe I went overboard, maybe not, but I ended that relationship with a quickness.  I found inspiring blogs like, www.tinybuddha.com that helped me a TON. I started dancing at concerts, I started doing my hair differently, I wore whatever I wanted, I embraced my body by walking around naked and loving the flaws, I exposed myself to strangers, I let my snort come through in my laugh and I just plain fell in love with myself.  Genuinely.  Lots of times I look in the mirror and look at my forehead wrinkle, or my teeth that Zoom! can't even whiten and I just smile.  I feel so complete (ok, most days!!!) and fulfilled, I just feel that I am who I am and now that I'm not comparing myself to others, I feel so much more uplifted.  I fail at times obviously, but I always try to make sure to rise again and make myself the best I can be. This is not something that I did overnight, and not something that is as easy as the fore-mentioned taking out the trash.  There were emotional conversations with my Mother, there were drunken nights I went too far, there were setbacks.  But ultimately I knew (and still know) that my relationship with myself is the most important one.  I know that if I don't take care of myself, I won't be the best partner I can be for my love now, and he deserves the best.

Life could be worse.  Life could be better. My favorite quote that I have lived by since I read it,"Personality starts where comparison ends." Life is not about comparison. We are all our own versions of awesome, and the best favor we can do ourselves and the world is to highlight the best things about ourselves and share them with the world while uplifting others to do the same.


 
PS- I'm not going to the reunion.  Although I am at terms with my high school years, I feel moving forward is the best way to...well....move forward. Going back seems completely un-necessary. And unlike my past years, I love my life, and myself now.
 
 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

This is not a parking game, so no, I will not validate you.

I have been thinking lately about validation and what it is all about.  When I think about my life I always try to think about what I can do to be more like the people I admire.  Selfless, happy, humble, non-judgemental, etc. are some of the random attributes I strive to work on.  But when is the last time we all tried to be good for the sake of being good to ourselves, not for external validation?  I want to point out, external and internal validation are two completly different things.  For instance a person who constantly strives to work on their outer appearance but never works on their character would be mostly concerned with external validation.  Someone who spent the majority of the time working on their psyche and thoughts vs physical looks would be more into internal validation, as a general statement. So it's no surprise many people are worried about what others think, who saw them do what they just did, and if nobody was around- why couldn't they be? How many times have we been caught in a situation where we didn't want anyone around (maybe in the bathroom!!) and thought man it would be nice to get some privacy right now! How many times have we done something really nice and looked around only to discover that privacy we so craved had been obtained but all at the wrong time.  Well, as fate would have it, we can not control who is around us at what times in all given situations. The truth of the matter is, whether positive or negative it doesn't matter who sees what we do because the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. We account to ourselves everyday, not our family or partners but just ourselves. The thought that plagues me is why more people don't do the right thing for the right reason; themselves. 

If this is an area that we are struggling in, here are some thoughts on how to progress with it.

When acting and making choices ask yourself....

-Am I being true to myself?
-Am I making daily choices that bring me happiness?
-Do I care what others think?
-If so, why?
-Would I admire my actions in another person?
-Is my motivation correct?

I am not claiming total innocence here, but I can say I have had it happen to me where I have had something nice done for me and I have expressed a simple thanks!  A heartfelt, but simple thanks! Only to receive a text message later saying that the person felt unappreciated and taken advantage of, etc.  We, as friends and family, should not do this to eachother.  We should give of our resources freely and not expect anything in return.

I have often heard people say that after they give selflessly of themselves they always feel better about themselves, which sometimes can lead to feelings of guilt.  I strongly encourage you to release that guilt.  Do you stop wearing makeup because it makes you feel prettier? No. So don't stop being the change you wish to see because you feel uplifted. This feeling is a natural by-product, that you deserve to relish in.

I challenge you all to consider a recent favor you have done for a friend and stop and think about why you did it..... did you do it because you wanted to feel good about doing it? Did you do it because you wanted the recognition from the friend?

I encourage us all to do the right thing for self-peace, self-love, internal radiation, and comfort of our souls.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

De-frosting a husband.....A response to a reader's letter

Hi Rachel,
I really like your blog and outlook, and was curious if you could help me with something. I feel like I need to de-frost my husband! By that I mean he is just cold to me, also quiet and distant. We've been married for 15 years and have 2 kids, ages 8 and 10. Any advice for me would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
The Lonely Wife




Hi Lonely Wife! First off, I want to clarify, I am not a therapist or even married, but have a passion for love and am more than willing to offer you my humble, novice advice. It's hard to offer advice when you don't personally know a couple but I can generalize, and will do so! I am curious to know how long it has been this way with you and your husband- weeks, months, years? 


In general I feel that husbands want to know why their wives are always angry with them and wives want to know why their husbands ignore them. There’s a simple answer to that. Over time, marriages fall out of their cycle. For example, the more she nags the more he blames her for whatever the issue might be. The more he blames her for the problem, the more she nags, criticizes and harasses. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle: nagging angry wives match up with cold, blaming, quiet and distant husbands. And so it goes. The connection that you founded your relationship on slowly dissipates.  Each blames the other for the pain and neither seems able to break the grid-lock in their relationship.


That part’s simple, describing the problem. What to do about it is another matter. Both men and women fail to understand how sensitive emotionally a man can be. Generally speaking men are not as developed emotionally as most women, so emotional matters can scare him, but only because he has not been given the skills or the practice of managing himself in intense emotional situations. While women were growing up they were learning emotional relationship skills, even mimicking relationships with dolls. Guys on the other hand were out exploring, doing muscular activities, burping, and solving practical problems in physical reality. Few men understand things you can’t see or touch, like emotion, Santa Clause, and their wives feelings. Truly, it can seem as though men and women grew up on different planets.

Something I have learned along my journey is that whatever it is you want more of, you need to give more of. Quite the lesson for me, and I'm still learning. As the baby of 7 kids (I am the only girl, and have 6 older brothers) I was well taken care of. If I wanted something, I asked, and I usually got it. I found quickly in my huge and loving family, if I asked and someone wouldn't do something for me, someone else would so I did not learn to support myself very well. Now as an adult I am learning to backtrack that upbringing, and am realizing I need to take more responsibility for my feeling and my actions, and if I want something I need to learn how to give in order to get it, not just ask, sit back, and expect it.
So, enough about me, here are some thoughts for your situation...

Stop complaining and plan instead.
Rather than complaining to your husband how you never do anything together, step up and schedule a babysitter or nanny and take your husband on a date.

Go to Him.
If you want to be with your husband, be with him where he is. IE: Don't attempt to re-kindle your romance by inviting him to the ballet: epic failure! If he’s watching TV on the couch, sit with him on the couch and watch whatever he’s watching. If he’s in the garage tinkering with his hobby, go to the garage and help tinker with his hobby. Attempt to bring along a little emotional sunshine too, guys dig that. This will show him that your priority is him, not the activity.

Take it slow.
If there’s something important you need to talk about with your hubby, do two things before you start talking: 1. Set a time and place with him to talk about your topic of concern and tell him what your concern is. It is important to tell your husband the topic you wish to discuss, if you leave it open-ended, their minds wander with possibilities and they generally end up flustered and overwhelmed by the time the conversation actually happens. 2. When you begin talking to him, start slowly and avoid his emotional shutdown with your full gunnysack of complaints. Here’s some insight: If your husband cares about you, he wants all your problems fixed. If you continue to complain, he feels inadequate because it means he has not fixed your problems. What he doesn’t understand is that women sometimes just need to talk and whine a bit in the presence of someone they feel safe with and get “it” off their chests. However, when she does that, the man often feels like he’s let her down, otherwise she would be happy and not so “emotional”. Once again, he’ll make an attempt to solve the “problem”, or give up and go cold and quiet because “She is hopeless. I can’t ever please her.” Alot of women just want to be heard, some do prefer the advice in return, the best advice I can give here is to know your partner and fine-tune your actions to their needs.

Reach out and touch him.
When you feel angry, contemptuous, misunderstood, or lonely reach out and touch your husband but say nothing. If he looks surprised as you stand there with your arms around him or your cheek next to his, stay quiet. If he demands to talk about this physical contact or he is worried that something’s up, reassure him by simply saying, “I miss you, just relax and enjoy it."
Remember, based on gender stereotypes (which I have to use since I don't personally know you or your hubby) you have superior emotional skills when compared to your husband. Therefore it’s your responsibility to be careful and gentle with him when in emotional interaction. He can’t take emotional heat like you can so matter of factly. With that in mind, here’s a final tip: nagging and criticizing your husband will almost always get you the opposite of what you want.  Touch is powerful. Remind him of your gentle side, not your angry side.

Side by side, or head outdoors.
I've heard it frequently said that men have a hard time communicating face-to-face. It has something to do with their innate sports ability, and when you think about it...at any sporting event, when two men are facing off, they are literally doing just that: facing off. They are staring at eachother square in the face, waiting to ball it out and compete. A discussion in a marriage should never feel like that. Instead we as women should strive to create a comfortable place for men to talk about their feelings: perhaps an outdoor deck, or on the couch. And instead of face-to-face try chatting side by side, it can be very beneficial and help men lower any communication walls they may have. Maybe even pour two glasses of wine, turn on some music, whatever it is that you as a couple enjoy, try and bring that to the table to comfort him. Remember, communicating is more than likely not as easy for him as it is for you. Another hint: alot of men prefer to walk and talk, so head outside, stroll to the park or to a local yogurt shop while you discuss whatever it is you need to.

So, lonely wife, I hope that helps. I hope that you are able to thaw out a cold and distant husband and maybe save a marriage! Love is worth fighting for, which you obviously know or you wouldn't have reached out. Best of luck to you and the husband!! Keep in touch.

Sincerely,
Rachel

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

We have a winner!!!

Ok so apparently May 7th was a few days ago!  Whoops.  Anyways, a winner has been selected by random drawing and the winner is.....NIKI!  Niki, I will be in touch to get your shipping information.  Thanks for checking out my blog and I hope you stay awhile!

XOXO
Rach

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Labor of Love.


Last night while Adam was studying I found myself with a little free time. Being as he works so hard and deserves nice little treats from time to time....I decided a foot massage would be really nice. So I set off to get my supplies. I gathered them up, sat in front of him and  began massaging his achy, tired feet.

Due to his moaning and groaning the entire 30 minutes I was doing this, I'd say I did a good thing. Afterwards he mentioned that he had never had anyone do something like that for him and how amazing it felt. Note to self/others: Do sweet stuff like this for your Man. Men notice love in actions as they are so physically orientated. Women tend to notice love in verbal forms but this is how love can be lost in translation. Learn to show your partner love in a way they can recognize it!!
I posted a small tutorial below so we can all spread the love!
 


 
 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why you little ship jumper you!

I read a quote the other day that completely inspired me. "The grass isn't always greener on the other side, the grass is greener where you water it."

How many people are actually willing to work on things instead of just replacing them?  How many people ditch any and everything they find currently inconvenient? In a modern day society where people get ticked if their 4G isn't fast enough or their car doesn't go 0-60 in 3 seconds, we learn quickly that waiting is inconvenient. There really is no doubt that the whole 'I want it yesterday' philosophy has been completely assimilated into most peoples everyday lives. Applying this thought to relationships also makes one understand why people can simply shrug when they hear the divorce rate is over 50%.

If you don't like your job, get a new one.  Tired of your car, get a new one.  It's resonated everywhere in this cheap, Made in China world we live in.  However, I have always believed that what goes on around us can be shut out with the close of a door.  What happens in the 'outside world' stays there when we come home at night to our families and close that divider. I believe that people are worth investing in.  I believe that you don't just toss things out when they spoil, let's save that philosophy for food- not husbands and wives. I believe in cherishing your partner. I believe in being grateful and humble that your partner has chose to spend their life with you. I believe in relationships, when you get married and start your own family unit that it is just that.  Your own family unit. You don't divorce family.  I believe in re-building, trust, passion, struggle and longevity. I believe as long as the people in the relationship are good/healthy for each other, they can conquer anything.

I am not trying to sound like a girl who caught a high from a Disney fairytale here.  I understand there are cases where you can give and give, do everything right and still find yourself at a dead end if there is one person in the relationship that doesn't want to admit to problems or put in effort.  But when you consider the connection and intense quality of the intimacy two people in love can share when they've invested years in each other and have numerous memories and timeline highlights, why wouldn't you try to salvage that? As someone who currently just dreams of long-term true love I can just imagine what sweet bliss it is, I imagine it's not even comparable to new love. Sure, new love is amazing.  It's whimsical, thrilling, and well, new and that's great! But just as things that are shiny have their appeal, so are things with history and a story. The trick lies in what you and your partner value. My point is this- If you have two healthy people committed to the relationship, and committed to each other- you can make forever a reality despite all the roadblocks we humans face today. Not a mind-numbing new idea, but something worth reminding ourselves of.

And always, always, remember the BEST relationship advice ever: CHOOSE THE RIGHT PERSON.
 

Lauren Conrad Earring Giveaway!!!

Like what you see? All you have to do to have a chance at snaggin' these cuties is comment on your favorite post(s) on this blog.  Umm...yea...that's it!!  I'm just a curious little bee trying to figure out what posts ya'll like and why. So, just for a lil positive feedback you can add some bling to your wardrobe!





**All comments MUST be posted before May 6, 2013. Winner will be chosen at random and notified on May 7, 2013. Open to residents of US only. And yup, you guessed it, multiple comments=multiple entries so get commenting!!  Shipping charges paid for by Rachel Meets Rachel.

WHEN YOU COMMENT---PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN NOTIFY YOU IF YOU WIN!! IF WINNING PERSON DOES NOT RESPOND TO AN EMAIL WITHIN 7 DAYS, NEXT PERSON WILL BE CHOSEN.

Thanks for checkin us out! Stay awhile.

XOXO
Rach

Thursday, April 11, 2013

TORN


This is challenging.  Trying to find the emotions, words, and actions to handle certain situations lately has been challenging.  What has been plaguing my life with difficulty lately is my relationship with my best friend.  She is the greatest, sweetest friend any girl could ever scale the earth to find and I am so beyond lucky to have her to fill such an important role in my life.  However, lately, I’ve been feeling distant feelings from her.  It could have absolutely nothing to do with me, or it could have everything to do with me.  She is currently going through a serious break-up, she spent 5 years of her life with someone who ultimately just couldn’t come through in the end.  After many late night talks and much turmoil, they decided to move out of their rented home and call it quits.  This all took place about 3 or 4 months ago.  Those last 3-4 months have no doubt been very hard on her, and coincidentally it’s all happening to her during the same time when Adam and I have been blossoming, growing, and falling completely head over heels for eachother.  Watching Adam and I’s relationship grow has been such a beautiful journey, but that’s a different post entirely. 


Bottom line, I know deep down she is happy for me, but I know that she is unhappy and it doesn’t seem she wishes to be surrounded by me and my in-love-glowing state.  When we go to lunch and she says how are you? It's hard for me to want to tell her, well, Adam and I told eachother we love eachother for the first time Sunday and it made me so happy I could cry, etc etc. so instead I talk about work, or my Mom and that makes me feel more distant from her.  I am in a ridicously happy place in my life and I want to share this with her! However, sharing those things would make me feel completly insensitive to her, so I don't. I try my best to not talk about the sweet things he does for me around her.  I try to tone down our amounts of physical affection around her, but I sometimes can’t help it. I know she is hurting, but lots of times when I ask her if she wants to talk about it she just says she is ok. And here we come back to the beginning, it’s all so challenging!  I know she doesn’t want to watch my love with Adam grow while her relationship is falling apart but that is what life has dealt both of us.  My life has not been easy and it’s not like Adam just walked into my life.  I put forth a lot of effort and made very difficult, but conscious decisions to put my life in a place where I could fall in love with someone like him.  I don’t want to feel bad for being happy, but I want to be sympathetic to her too!? She is definitely a priority in my life, she has been a constant for me over the last 4 years and I love her indefinitely for that.  It’s just so hard for me, I love Adam so much, and if things keep progressing the way that they have been, he may be the last guy I go through the progression of love with. If that does turn out to be the case (and even if it isn’t) I want to treasure all my moments with Adam, I don’t want to feel like I have to apologize for my happiness.  How do I honor my good life choices and relish in my relationship with Adam without being insensitive to her? 

Any thoughts on how these two monumental life moments can be integrated? Maybe someone has had something similar with pregnancy? What would you do if you got pregnant and your best friend had been trying for years? How do you deal with this??!?!?!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tax Season Anyone?

In my little slice of life, things have been a little crazy lately.  Usually Adam and I are pretty good at being a 'cumulative couple'.  By that I mean we meet in the middle and do our best to both contribute to the relationship.  But lately it's been just a little nuts since Adam is nearing the end of tax season and as a Senior Accountant he is surely feeling the pressure.  It's my job to pick up where he needs and fill in the blanks he can't right now.  Something I have no problem doing because A) I love him. B) I know he would do it for me. Right now my main concern is not keeping things spicy between us or really anything even related to that.  At the moment, we are sticking to basics like keeping dinner on the table, getting enough sleep, and not having an emotional meltdown during this really stressful work time. So, in an effort to keep my man happy I made him a coupon today for a free massage. Certainly there are other girlfriends/wives of accountants that need a sweet pick me up for their man, if so, consider your wish granted!


Can be printed, or right click on the photo to save and email to your sweetie!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Serious Girl Crush

As this blog grows I really want to start incorporating more posts about fashion.  My style tends to be California cool, designer meets vintage, timeless, and always comfortable.  My goal is to assemble ridiculously cute, trendy outfits that are completely obtainable so stay tuned!  For now, I'm going to highlight my FAVORITE fashion blog...meet Shea Marie of Peace Love Shea.  She is fabulous. Talented. Gorgeous. And OH so good at what she does.






All photos belong to Shea Marie at Peace Love Shea



Thursday, March 21, 2013

Squeaky Clean.

In my house, we do our best to eat clean.  I started a new job a few months ago that requires 10 hour days on the reg and my sweetie is a Senior Accountant smack dab in the middle of tax season....needless to say we don't have endless amounts of hours to spend preparing dinner each night.
However, we try and not make excuses and do our best to eat as clean as possible.  The website, Gracious Pantry, has helped me a ton.  Eating clean can get a little tricky, and with contradicting information available for grabs people can easily get confused. But, the best information I have found along my journey that I try and use as a general rule of thumb is that if it's processed, I try and avoid it.  Of course there are things like crackers that are going to be processed but we just do our best to look at the box before we buy: we look for multi grain, fiber, and a short ingredient list when making decisions in the aisles.  The trick to eating clean is not to get too hung up on the small things and just DO YOUR BEST! Also keeping healthy snacks on hand to avoid binging is a good tip...check out the website below for great tips and tricks. The first link I posted will help you with some basics, the second is a how-to on cleaning out your pantry to prepare for clean eating.  ENJOY!

The Gracious Pantry: Getting Started

The Gracious Pantry: How to Stock a Clean Pantry

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An update on my pants.

So, in the life of a crazy 28 year old scatter brain, shit happens.  Everyday is so consuming, things are always changing and staying on top of stuff is a full-time job in and of itself.  Anyways, as I was re-reading through some of my blog posts I realized I never really updated the 'Giddy but Reserved Pants' post.

My journey to being a couple with Adam was a little like a back country dirt road.  It wasn't paved, clearly marked, or smooth.  It was thrilling and a little bumpy, and it was our own.  If you've read the previous Pants post you know that I had reservations about the relationship, and was confused by some potential red flags. As it would turn out, the red flags were flags but they were not permanent problems, they were merely road blocks. All during our coming together, I had a feeling about Adam, a sense that he was a little confused but that he was a great person with even better intentions. At times I felt like he had one foot in and one foot out. The thought that he had one foot out clearly troubled me, but the thought of him having one foot in intrigued me at the same time. Adam definitely displayed interest in me, he sent me sweet texts, I knew I was on his mind, and I knew he liked me, I just wasn't sure why the reservations.  Men are confusing creatures, and trying to figure out if they really, truly care about us women in the beginning of a relationship can often times be very confusing.  I was definitely in that boat with him, but I'm so glad I didn't give up and toss him overboard!!!!

Through understanding and communication I learned that Adam had a lot of past 'business relationships' ...and I am quite different from that.  I am old-fashioned and one of those 'nice girls'- a true homey homie if you will, a hard combination to understand in modern times.  He had entwining relationships from his past that were holding him captive until he knew what was going on with me.  I had hesitations in the beginning too, and not wanting to come off too needy I held back as well.  Put the two scenarios together and in retrospect those are the feelings that ignited the original post.

Fast forward to now....Here we are 4 months after all this dating pre-screening business, stronger than ever and I'm sure nowhere near as strong as we will be someday. Adam told me just the other day that I fill a void that has been in his life for longer than he cares to admit.  I often find myself lost in his eyes and dreaming about our future. We actually share an address now, the bachelor pad he use to call home is now in boxes. I don't have the slightest desire to be with anyone else, his companionship completes me.  I've always liked Adam a lot, and I realized that with that came unwanted pressures and that I was pushing expectations onto him that he wasn't ready for.  I was on one playing field and Adam was on another. Adam had reservations of his own, he was getting to know me, and as a very guarded person he did not understand my intentions or level of sincerity which led him to pull back/come to me at a slower pace.

I am so grateful that I did not give up on Adam.  The purpose of this post is to share with people that often times people holdback/hide their inner selves not because they are jerks or incapable of caring but because they are living, breathing human beings with a past. My hope is that women can be smart in dating, and see the difference in between men who are a waste of time and men who just need a little reassurance. Instead of judging him, I took things slow, had a lot of patience, and communicated my thoughts very clearly because I really liked him and felt the relationship deserved the attention. With a little work, I've got myself a great relationship.  Adam and I are definitely 'that couple'.  The couple that radiates happiness, respect, and love and it was and will be worth every drop of work that goes into it.




Photo credit: Annie B Art
Title: Dancing Tree Spirits
http://www.annieb-art.co.uk/gallery.htm

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I'm imperfect and it's ALL good

 
Today I find myself with a renewed love for patience and communication.  I don’t know why I continue to let myself get so worked up for nothing.  I let these thoughts swirl around in my head, come to conclusions, get upset- for nothing! Sometimes I don’t know what’s going on with Adam, as he tends to be a bit of a ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it type’.  I know and understand that the only way to TRULY  know what someone is thinking is to ask them, yet, somehow I have a hard time putting this knowledge into practice- for reasons I do not fully understand.  Throughout our 6 month relationship Adam and I have had plenty of conversations, all of which have been filled with patience and clarity, and in the end we were both left feeling more connected and better understood.  So, why then do I still feel this hesitation to say the words ‘we need to talk’? Is it uncomfortable at times?  Yes. Do I have a problem owning my feelings? No.  After all, I think I am a reasonable girl!!

Last night I wanted to talk to Adam about the "little things" that I felt our relationship could improve on.  Sort of a hard thing to talk to a man about because I never want someone to feel like the things they actually do aren’t appreciated. But just because you do some things well, doesn’t mean you can’t do more, a hard difference to distinguish.  I really do care for Adam so much, and I try my best to show him frequently so that he knows.  I feel that he could do a better job of reciprocating that. A little difficult when he is definitely a 'man’s man' but he shocked me in the best way last night.  At first when I put the topic on the table he came back with, well I’m a man babe, and I use to be sentimental in my early 20’s but I kinda lost it, he continued to say that a lot of guys are this way but that he felt he was getting feelings of sentiment back through his feelings for me.  He also said that as men get older and move away from that early/mid 20’s stage, the sentimental, sweet side returns. 

He asked for a specific example of where he had fallen a little short and I expressed I was upset he didn’t do something a little more meaningful for me for Vday. I took sexy naked photos for him and got him a card with a long thoughtful note written in it. And it is important to note that he did go to a local music store and pick me up some Taylor Swift piano music which was beyond sweet--BUT what I really wanted was to hear how he felt about me.  I tried my best last night to communicate that to him but my words for whatever reason were coming out twisted and odd but he somehow took our thoughts full circle and everything clicked.  He said, "When you wrote that note for me I was touched, and really appreciated it, uh, wow, ok, I just got it."  My response was simple, I just smiled at him and said, thanks babe.  Then we furthered the convo and I told Adam, just because you don’t see the importance of something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, you need to think of my feelings and do things because I want things done.  He said, wow babe, that is such a lost art but I think we should bring it back.  Our male parents (Ruben and Bill) are that way, they do everything for their spouses and vice versa and they are sweet to make sure the other person’s needs are met. I can definitely tell, and know from asking, that the past couple relationships Adam had were very shallow, and as Adam calls them “business relationships”.  Not at all what I’m looking for, and I know that sort of relationship is not what he wants either so in this relationship it will be different: we are learning how to grow and progress with compassion, together.

I am really glad that I took the time to talk to Adam about my issue.  Instead of secretly being disappointed on the inside and harboring feelings of ill will I decided to communicate with him calmly and apparently effectively.  Although it may be difficult or challenging in the immediate, I know in my heart this type of behavior is much better for the long term health of our relationship. I have to be real, I can not expect any man to read my mind and know everything I want, that's typical bad girl behavior! It's interesting how women connect loving them to mind reading..can you say MYTH?! My brothers always say," I need a girl who can gently show me the way and help my stupid ass out without putting me down." Right on.


Simply put: Adam is not perfect, but neither am I and I am head over heels for his imperfect self.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mom. Mommy. Mother. Madre. Maman. However you say it, it all stands for love.


In response to a post that I feel was a little harsh against my Mother, this post has been born. Whenever I do or say things in a slightly angry mood, I wonder, is this the truth spilling out? Are all my years of frustrations coming to a head? Or am I mad and conjuring up things that shouldn't be that big of a deal? Or maybe misplacing anger? Very hard distinction to make and sometimes I'm just not sure which is which. Just add it to the plethora of reasons that make up my love for writing. Most of the time when I write, I just write, I go, go, go and just let it flow.  THEN I go back and re-read, often times realizing what I wrote doesn't make sense! More often than not, thoughts, feelings, and emotions get swirled around in our good ol heads and the truth of the situation gets lost.  Writing helps me gain that clarity back.

Anyway, I feel it needs to be said that I love my Mom, alot. She is not my best friend, but she is so close to me in a way I can't fathom. Perhaps its because I spent the first 9 months of my existence in her womb. Perhaps its because she raised me and cared for me while my Dad was too busy furthering his career. Perhaps it is because her existence made my existence possible. Perhaps its because she has always been there for me. Perhaps its because she is wonderful. Perhaps it is me that is too hard on her, honestly that's a stretch, but I just hope she knows that I love her despite our differences. I have a hard time reaching out to her because it seems whenever I do she assumes I'm up to something and questions my motives, which in turn makes me feel bad about myself-even tho her assumptions are wrong, which makes me not want to do it anymore. So then I stick with that 'forget it' attitude, then I miss her, then the cycle starts all over.....

Does anyone out there have a less than ideal relationship with their Mom? Maybe some tips that have helped you to overcome?

Friday, February 8, 2013

.oLe.

I love Friday nights. 5 days a week the alarm goes off and I am forced to pry myself from Adam's warm arms and into the shower....which leads to work clothes...which leads to work.  Hopefully that doesn't come across as negative...I love my job. It's pretty much perfect and I really do enjoy my days.  However, snuggling with handsome Adam is pleasureable as well :) Life is good.  Margaritas are flowing through my casa tonite, John Mayer and misc. on the radio.  Feelin great.



I am grateful for:
Ellie
My health and functioning body
Adam
My mother
LOVE
My huge crazy loving family
Emotions
Possibilities
Margaritas
Money in the bank
My car
Opportunities
Court
Growing up gracious
Smarts
Sexual desires
Nature
Sunshine
A good head of hair

Amongst a million other things...

One of my favorite lessons learned as a child is to STOP and count your blessings.  When feelings of negativity creep into my world, it helps me so much to stop and make a list of all the things I have to be thankful for. Sometimes once I get going I find it's hard to stop! What is it that you are most grateful for?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake

I cook quite a bit! I'm always trying different things, making sure to weed out the bad recipes.  This recipe is hands down my favorite so far.  AND all my friends love it. AND my boyfriend loves it (who use to be a chef by the way). Try it for yourself, you won't be disappointed!!!! I found this recipe on: www.mamawhatsfordinner.com




 
 
  

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. uncooked rigatoni
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 3 cups cubed cooked chicken breasts
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz) container chive-and-onion cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded mozzarella
Directions:
Prepare rigatoni according to package directions.
Meanwhile, spread oil on bottom of 11x7 baking dish (I used larger); add onion in a single layer. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or just until tender. Transfer onion to a large bowl, set aside. Drain chopped spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels. Stir rigatoni, spinach, chicken, and next 4 ingredients into onion in bowl. Spoon mixture into baking dish, and sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake, covered, at 375 for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly. Servings: 4 to 6
Time to Prepare: Prep 15 min, Bake 1 hour
Submitted By: Erin
Original Source: Southern Living