Rejoice! Rejoice! It’s Saturday. | November 22nd.

The weekend is exciting! So today, I felt like sharing things that currently have me excited. Let’s go!

I love cute blogging families (I actually just typed “flamlies” on accident. A cousin of mine used to say it that way. Hopefully I’ve ruined you all now. Welcome to the flamily!). My two current favorites are Fit Mama Real Food and Lauren’s Latest. I’ve been reading them both for a couple of years now. Whether you’re a mom or not, have kids or don’t, love food or don’t (or don’t? Is that possible?), both of these blogs are enjoyable to read. Strangely enough, I think both these families live near Portland, Oregon! Fit Mama Heather’s Instagram feed is just pure joy and full of her adorable son and daughter. I want to squeeze them! ;) And Lauren just revealed a clip of her and her family in the kitchen. I hope there will be more videos like this soon! What family foodie blogs do you like?

Speaking of cute families and babies, I’m working on a fleece fox toy for my little cousin for Christmas! She’s just about the cutest thing (my cousin…well, and the fox!). Here is the free pattern. I’m not an extremely experience sewer, so I’ll I’ve done so far is cut out the pattern. Makin’ progress! I really hope I get to see my little cousin during the holidays so I can give her the fox in person.

Fox Pattern
I’ve been on a boot hunt for months. I’ve had one pair of cheap, brandless boots (I think they were from Kohl’s) for a few years now. I’ve really worn them out, but I couldn’t seem to find a suitable replacement. I’m always cold, though, so I knew this was the winter I would find a nice, higher quality pair. Leather = warmth, after all. I ended up with 2 pairs! Wearing them around the house to make sure they’re right. Here’s a photo of my Boot Flamily.


The left pair is called Hilaria from Report Shoes. They aren’t leather, which is disappointing, but I found them before the middle pair, and they were the first comfortable boots I’d tried. Which leads to the glorious pair in the center: Cayden style from B.O.C.. Cayden doesn’t seem to be available on the B.O.C. site. These come up to my knee, are LEATHER, snug and hold my foot in place. And they’re warm! I originally didn’t want a pair that came to my knee (shorties, raise your hand!), because I felt it really cut my short legs in half. But I actually like how they look, and love how they feel so far. I think we’ll be very good friends heading into the even colder winter months. And the right pair? My long-time buddies <3 Anyone know where they might be from?

Enough shoe talk. Last bit of weekend excitement! I’m performing in a community Messiah Sing-along, and I’m thrilled to say I was selected to sing the Soprano “Rejoice, O Daughter of Zion!” solo. I’ve been singing everyday and working hard. I’ve missed this kind of musical work. Collaborating with fellow musicians, listening to all sorts of recordings, and that crazy-obsessed, ultra-focused feeling you get when you spend a lot of time with one piece of music. Plus I’m inspired by fellow soloists and our awesomely talented accompanist. I’m grateful. I have more work to do before performance day, but I’m excited!

My score :)

My score :)

What has your attention or is inspiring you lately?


The ever-evolving blog | November, 18th.

I often get trapped by rules and guidelines I set for myself. I struggled to stray from something after I’ve decided it’s what I’m doing. It’s the perfectionist in me, and in everyone that struggles with this. This behavior can be unhealthy, and makes you really feel stuck.

Perfectionism(Thanks, Pinterest!)

I’ve done it with food, exercise, hobbies, plans, etc. Lately, I’ve felt myself doing it with this very blog! This blog was started as an advertising class assignment. We had to write a certain number of posts by the end of term (hence my numbered posts). They needed to relate to the advertising and media industry. Since that class ended, I worked hard to keep to the blog’s theme, even as my interests and blogging inspiration drifted from the advertising world. I struggled multiple times trying to decide how to fix it, but I would end up writing posts about varying interests, yet always feeling like I had to tie it back into advertising. I thought about starting new blogs (A food blog? Healthy living blog? Music blog?). I would brainstorm those for a week or so, but then feel defeated when I’d assume that I wouldn’t have enough content to make it worth while (that thought right there is so full of fear of failure and negativity! Shoo, you!).

Just recently I’ve realize that…who says I have to start a new blog? Who says I can only write about one topic on a blog? Who says that I have to continue writing about the same things, despite the fact that I have so many topics I’d enjoy talking about? I’ve realized that it’s me who says those things. I’ve made these rules for my blog that I thought were set in stone. And if I started a new blog with a new theme, I’d almost definitely fall into the same trap.

I like this blog. I want it to be fun! It’s a wonderful creative outlet, its origins bring fond memories, and I’m proud of the content on it so far. So I’m breaking my own rules! I already did so by writing this post (I had another topic planned in my mind when I sat down to write). It’s time for this blog to evolve and change, just like I am. This blog will still have posts about media and advertising, but I won’t let myself not write a post because it might not relate to that. I won’t let it stifle my creativity! I want to keep writing about food, music, crafts or whatever is inspiring me in the moment! I’m wiggling free from my own blogging rules :)

I have to give a holler to my college friend Teniola over at Anchors ‘n’ Oceans – her blog posts are always inspiring me so much! I read a post today that motivated me to write this post right after.

Bloggers, how do you deal with this issue? I’d love to hear!

Perfection is Paralyzing(Another good one from Satsuki!)


64. ♪ In Baltimore, you will find what you’ve been waiting for…and it’s Berger Cookies.

I participated in The Lean Green Bean‘s Foodie Penpals program in October! It’s been a few months, and I’m so glad I got back in on the fun. Especially since Lean Green Bean Lindsay just gave birth to an adorable baby boy and will be taking a break from hosting Foodie Penpals until next year. I’m sending warm, well wishes to Lindsay and her family!

Foodie PenPals
My penpal for October was the awesome, pumpkin-loving Emily from Maryland! This was her first time participating in Foodie Penpals, and the two of us were both super stoked to exchange boxes of fabulous treats, goodies, and noms. I’ve done Foodie Penpals twice before, but Emily is the first person I’ve been paired with to be closer to my age, which was fun! As the end of October approached, I eagerly awaited my package. It came on a chilly, cloudy Wednesday…

It was way more challenging to hold the phone steady, open a box and form coherent sentences all at the same time than I thought it would be. ;)

Can you guess what I tried first? I had just made a cup of Celestial Seasonings tea before getting the mail. Wouldn’t a cookie go great with that? Have you had a Berger Cookie? I had never had a Berger Cookie. I clearly wasn’t living life before my first Berger Cookie. Or my second. Or third…these rich, gooey, fudge-dipped Berger Cookies were the obvious star of the foodie package. Before she put my package together, Emily had asked me if I like sweets because she wanted to send me a “Baltimore treat.” Thank goodness I said yes. Yummmm. My brother tried two one as well, and he said he’d be willing to pay cross-country shipping to get a box all for himself. Yep, that good. Of course, we could always make our own with King Arthur if we got really desperate.

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Emily also told me about an ice cream shop in Baltimore that makes Berger Cookie ice cream sandwiches. Be still, my heart. Could it be here?

The Somersault Snacks didn’t last long either. I didn’t even get a photo of the snack itself! While Dad said they were “interesting,” my Grandma wanted to go around to local grocery stores and put in a stock request. Thankfully, I spotted them for the first time while shopping over the weekend. They’re light, salty and crunchy! The texture sort of reminded me of the airiness of a rice cake, but more seed-y. Since they don’t contain nuts, they weren’t dense at all like some granola and nut bars. They have a ton of flavors, and I’m hoping I can find more of them locally! Dutch cocoa, I’ve got my eye on you.

Somersault

I was of course thrilled about the Justin’s Almond Butter and Hazlenut Butter packets, Beanitos and the kind bar! I had never tried the Justin’s Chocolate Hazlenut Butter, simply because I never liked Nutella. Oh, how silly of me! Move over, Nutella. Justin’s version is SO delicious and chocolatey, but not too sweet at all. Plus, it uses all-natural ingredients. That’s tough to beat. Also, while working on this blog post I discovered Justin’s has a WHITE CHOCOLATE peanut butter cup?! Must find.

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Isn’t the card adorable?! Aww. Thank you SO much, Emily! I loved every part of my goodie box. I can’t wait for next year when Foodie Penpals starts up again! If you’ve never participated, you should give it a shot!

Have you don’t Foodie Penpals? What’s your favorite foodie item you’ve received?

 


63. Baking Bootcamp – Apple Pie Biscuits

It’s officially fall! That means bakers are gonna bake, bake, bake, bake, bake…

I stumbled upon Joy the Baker through Instagram about a week ago (I think I saw this person, who I follow, like one of Joy’s beautiful photos. Ah, roads of the internet!). I was browsing her site when I saw that she and King Arthur Flour were teaming up to do a Baking Bootcamp. How do you participate in the bootcamp? Simple! Bake these fall-icious, tasty apple pie biscuits. Snap a photo (or 2 or 7). Share it on Instagram with the #bakingbootcamp hashtag, and follow both Joy and King Arthur Flour. You’ll be entered to win a year’s supply of flour AND a Baking Essentials box full of amazing kitchen tools and gadgets. Plus, you’re going to wind up with some out-of-this-word apple pie biscuits. You can’t loose, really.

Oozing with apple-cinnamon goodness!

Oozing with apple-cinnamon goodness!

Joy’s easy-to-make biscuits looked delicious, so I gave them a go last weekend. My teen brother was having some friends over, so I knew the house would be full of hungry boys!

Since I didn’t have my own King Arthur Self-Rising Flour, I just made my own! Joy explained how to make both regular self-rising flour and gluten-free self-rising flour. How great is she?! Did I mention my little foodie heart nearly burst when I saw Joy got to hang out and bake with one of my favorite Food Network Stars? Also, every blog/recipe post is like a work of art! Beautiful imagery and clever words to match. It’ll leave you drooling on your keyboard! Joy sneaks in other tidbits that aren’t all food-related into her posts, making her blog feel well-rounded, yet still focused on baking. I feel like that’s a major struggle when I blog, so I’ll definitely be looking to her posts for inspiration! :)

But back to the flour. I mixed it up the night before so I’d be all set to get baking in the morning.

Flour  Flour Mixture

Bright and early the next morning, I got to baking! Check out Joy’s post for step-by-step pictures and directions.

Apple Slices

Apples: CHOPPED!

Melting butter

Channeling Ree Drummond with this butter action.

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Placing the apples, being powered by Legend of Zelda

Collage

This recipe made 12 small biscuits. All VANISHED by the end of the morning. I munched on mine with some delish Fage greek yogurt, which complimented the cinnamon and slight sweetness of these tasty treats.

The above collage is what I shared on my Instagram to enter the Baking Bootcamp contest. Both Joy and King Arthur Flour liked my photos, and King Arthur Flour even left some comments! I just love seeing brands interacting with their fans through social media. It builds an instant connection!

A huge thanks to Joy the Baker and King Arthur Flour for holding such a cool bootcamp. It brings bakers together in a fun way, and teaches everyone how to create something new and delicious. Some of my coworkers even saw my posts and now want to try this out over the weekend.

Wanna participate? You have until October 11th! I’ll be watching the #bakingbootcamp hashtag for fellow bakers’ creations. I’m already looking forward to the next Baking Bootcamp! Maybe something Thanksgiving or Christmas-themed?


62. Magic Road

I forget how I came upon these pictures, but I found them just a few days ago.

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They’re taken by Japanese photographer Nagano Toyokazu, and I think they’re all simply fantastic! His dream is to one day photograph Korean Pop girl group Girls’ Generation. Most of the photos are of his daughter, taken on an empty road. While it’s empty, his adorable daughter and all her props bring this road to life! A viewer commented that Nagano’s photos transform this ordinary road into a “Magic Road.” I love it! Every picture is unique and has its own special feeling. They definitely make me feel inspired to work on my own photography.

Short post – just wanted to share. I hope everyone checks out his Flickr page!


61. Friday Things – how is it Friday again?

Inspired by bloggers like Kasey and Brittany to do another Friday Things! They call theirs “Friday Favorites” and “Friday Five.” I like it!

1. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners new case study, I Am The New Creative. Watch it!

2. Quest Bars – all day, every day! I used to inhale one each afternoon, but now it has evolved into a nighttime snack. Cut it up, bake it, devour with some nut butter and greek yogurt. Oh yes.

Quest Bars

3. Mad Men. I don’t even care that I’m 7 years late. Better late than never! Currently binge-watching Season 1 on Netflix.

Doctore Who
4. Jamie Eason‘s Live Fit Program! If you’re looking for a FREE way to add structure to your weight training, I really reccommend it! I trained with weights for about a year and a half without seeing my strength improve much. With Jamie’s program, I don’t have to think about or really plan my workouts, which I really like! It gets me to write down how much I’m lifting, so as the weeks go by I can see my strength increase. I’m not following her food plan, not weighing myself or counting calories, and sometimes I alter the workouts to fit how I’m feeling each day. Haha! Does that mean I’m doing my own version of Jamie’s program? Either way, I feel so empowered each day that I can lift a bit more :) Today I did Phase 2 -> Day 48 -> Back/Delts.

5. This ridiculously amazing video from Nintendo Direct. I just love rolling on the floor. Can I work at Nintendo now? I think it’s full of comedians…plus I’ve invested in so many issues of Nintendo Power.

That’s it for Friday things! What fun things did you discover, do or watch this week?

 


60. Amy Poehler’s Body Talk.

This video is over a year old, but I just saw it on Upworthy‘s Facebook page this morning. It’s one of the many uplifting, fun and inspiring videos from Amy Poehler’s “Smart Girls” series/community that she and her friend, Meredith Walker started back in 2008 (check out their Facebook and Twitter for more videos, news and info!).

All I can say is…Amy Poehler, you are awesome! This video made my eyes fill with tears, which was enough to convince me to share it in a blog. It’s wonderful to hear positive body, self-image and self-esteem talk from anyone, but especially someone in a business where your image is so important and constantly being scrutinized. A friend of mine shared the same advice about talking to yourself as if you were talking to a child or your daughter. I think, in general, we’re way to hard on ourselves, constantly judging. Have you ever kept track of how many times a negative thought about yourself slips into your mind? Or how you describe yourself? It’s important to give yourself a break and speak some kind words to yourself. Have you tried looking are your own reflection and reciting things like “You’re beautiful!” or “I love you.” Unless you’ve worked hard on positive talk and self-love, it’s much more difficult than you might think!

Since this is usually a media-related blog, I’ll tie it back in by saying that I hope more women (and men!) in the media share words like this. Teach young men and women to love and accept themselves – not judge themselves!

Perhaps someday we’ll be as confident as Hal from Malcom in the Middle?


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