Monday, November 25, 2013


This weekend was pretty relaxing. I didn't get a lot of the stuff I needed to do done, but I did get some rest at least.

Copper wouldn't let me sleep in on Saturday though, so I was up before 8am. I made myself some tea and had some apple slices with peanut butter for breakfast. After that I read The Hangman's Daughter for a while. I'm a little over half-way finished with it (I started it a couple months ago...), but it has been pretty good.

Later that day I walked over to the library (I love having a library so close to my house!) to pick up my new library card and check out a couple music books. When I got home I took Copper for a short run. Neither one of us did too well. She either wouldn't keep up with me or kept trying to run ahead of me. We didn't get very far. My asthma was terrible thanks to it being so freaking cold.

Despite my horrible asthma in the winter and the cold weather in general, there are some plus-sides to running in the cold. Mainly, I usually wear a jacket that has pockets, so I can carry more stuff with me, like my inhaler, which I definitely need in the winter. Plus, I'm just wearing more clothes in general. Pants means no thigh-chafing!

Copper and I took a mini-nap when we got home from our run, and after that I actually got out my violin and played for a bit! Later that day I got our dinner ready for that night. Chris and I have decided to try a new recipe every week (this doesn't always happen, but we're working on it) because we've been getting really bored with our meals lately. One of the new meals we tried was homemade sesame chicken.

I found the recipe on Pinterest, which led me to the blog Table for Two (that link will take you to her original recipe). I changed a few things, so here's what I did:

I forgot to buy garlic, so I used garlic powder instead. I don't think it really made a difference either way. I'll probably try to use real garlic next time though. And I used boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins rather than chicken thighs (in the comments she said you could use breasts, so I figured tenderloins would work fine too).

I put the chicken tenders on the bottom of the crockpot then mixed all the other ingredients together and poured that over the chicken. I cooked mine on low for about 4 hours. Her instructions say to take the chicken out and cut it up, but I found that mine were practically falling apart when I tried to cut them, so it was like half-cut and half-shredded chicken.

She also said to add some cornstarch to thicken up the sauce a bit, but she doesn't say about how much. I've never used cornstarch for anything before so I just mixed some with a little water and added it, but I don't think it made much difference. I might just skip the cornstarch altogether next time.

Chris made rice to go with it (I really wish I liked rice) and I made broccoli and then poured the chicken over the broccoli. I didn't bother buying sesame seeds because that just seemed like a waste of money to me. I wanted the flavor, not the "look." All in all, it was delicious and I can't wait to make it again!

The second recipe I tried was on Sunday while Chris was at work and I was at home pigging out on leftovers and such. I decided I needed a healthy snack to break up all the other junk. This is another recipe I found through Pinterest. Here's the link to the original recipe:

I love dipping my apples in peanut butter, so when I found this recipe I was pretty sure I would love it. It's honey, greek yogurt, and peanut butter. I think she used vanilla greek yogurt in her recipe, but all I had was plain. I still think it tasted amazing though! And it's healthy too!

I'm always looking for some simple crockpot recipes for us to try, so if you have any good ones, send them my way!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

I've never been a huge fan of Thanksgiving (or Christmas for that matter, but we won't get into that today). I don't really like turkey or most of the other traditional side dishes. I hate having a million different places to go. It's just never been my thing.

My family doesn't have a lot of Thanksgiving "traditions" either. We don't go out in the yard to throw around a football (although I kinda wish we did). We don't all sit around together and watch the parade.

What we usually do is go to church the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. I always love going to that one. It alternates between our Catholic church, a Methodist church, and a Lutheran church. And they kind of mix the three together and all the pastors from each of the churches get involved. I really enjoy it.

Like I said, on Thanksgiving day, we don't really have any thing that we do every year. It varies where we go and who we see. I do have a favorite Thanksgiving though. It was two years ago I think. My mom and dad decided instead of going to a bunch of different places and seeing a ton of different people, we would stay at home and have our own Thanksgiving dinner, just the four of us. We got to decide exactly what we wanted to do and eat (which included turkey, stuffing, mac 'n cheese, cranberry relish, broccoli, among other things). The food was delicious and it was just a great day that we got to spend together just the four of us, which rarely happens on holidays.

We have rarely gone shopping on Black Friday. I remember two times that I ever went. Once was with my mom to buy me a new jewelry box that was on sale somewhere. The second time was with one of my cousins to buy ourselves new laptops. That was it. Never again. I hated every second of it. And I don't enjoy shopping to begin with, so going out on the busiest day of the year isn't really my cup of tea.

One thing that almost always happens on Friday is that my mom's Christmas tree goes up. She plays Christmas music while my sister and I help her decorate. It's not something I've always enjoyed doing, mainly because I dislike decorating trees and Christmas music and whatnot.

While I've never been a huge fan of Thanksgiving, I do think it's important that we take the time to be with friends and family. We should be thankful for what we have--not out shopping for things we want to have.

So this Thanksgiving, I plan to spend time with my family and friends and be thankful for them. And I'm going to [hopefully] spend some time resting and being thankful that I will have three days off to do so. I will be avoiding the malls and other stores. I will stay home (when I'm not out doing things with family) and drink tea or coffee and relax and watch movies, and maybe do those things I've been missing lately.

What do you normally do on Thanksgiving? Any special traditions? 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Things I'm Missing

I miss writing. Now that I've quit school and have slightly more time on my hands, well I'm still not writing much of anything other than these blog posts. I miss my poetry.

Reasons I'm not writing:

  • I don't have the energy. 
  • I don't really have a lot of spare time. The spare time (and energy) I do have goes into looking for jobs. 
  • I haven't felt motivated or inspired in quite a while. I feel like I just don't have much to write about or say lately. Aside from my exhaustion and pending possible unemployment, my life has been pretty great lately and I've been happy. Considering 99% of what I write is heavy, depressing stuff, well "happy" doesn't exactly help me get any writing done. 
  • I also feel like I tend to focus on the same things, and I'd like to branch out to other topics (even if they're still depressing), but I'm not quite sure how to do that. Maybe I need some writing prompts or something (although most of the ones I've seen I completely hate and think they're dumb, so if any of you know of some good ones, send them my way!).
Reasons I should be writing:
  • Even though my poetry is generally depressing, writing makes me really, really happy. 
  • It makes me feel accomplished (even if none of my poetry is ever published again). 
  • Poetry is something I can create. I'm not a good cook, or a crafty person, or an artist, or anything like that. Poetry is my art. That's something I can create. And I can destroy (unlike meals which I mostly just destroy :p). I can mold it into whatever I want it to be. I can share it with the world or keep it to myself. 
I really need to get myself a new journal. One small enough to fit in my purse so I can take it with me everywhere I go. So I can write down lines that pop in my head. Or really great quotes I find randomly throughout the day. Yes, I have an iPhone that I could easily do all of these things on. But it's not the same as putting pen to paper. I love journals--although I rarely fill any up--and I think it's time for a new one. 

Something else I really miss is playing my violin. It has been a very, very long time since I've played. The reasons I haven't are pretty much the same reasons I haven't been writing: I just don't have the time or energy. 

I also miss running. I really can't remember the last time I went for a run. My body actually aches from the lack of physical activity. I'd give anything to trade the soreness and pain I get from spending 4 hours in my car every day for the muscle soreness I get from a good (or even a not-so-good) run. 

I did just find out that I've got eight sick days (yes, EIGHT) to use before my last day. I have no idea how I'm going to fit in that many days off, but I'm totally gonna try because I could definitely use them! And I'm hoping those days off will allow more time for all these things I've been missing so much lately. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Weekend Recap

New glasses! :)

I went to pick up my new glasses and contacts last Friday. It's so nice to be able to wear contacts again (and sunglasses!) and glasses that are nice and light. 

We had a couple events in St. Louis on Friday for our newest book: 

We had a great turnout for both events. I love getting the opportunity to meet the authors and hear them tell their stories. Unfortunately we didn't sell quite as much as we had hoped due to time constraints at the second event, but we sold a decent amount of books. While everyone else went out to a fancy dinner that night after the second event (which was at the STL Public Library and that building is so cool!), I went home to eat pizza with Chris and then sleep.

I've been so exhausted lately. And that's making me cranky. It's really bumming me out that I just don't have the energy to go out and do stuff. I got my oil changed Saturday, we took Copper, our horribly behaved dog, for a walk on Sunday, and had dinner with my parents later that night. And that's really about all I did. I didn't clean or do any of the other things I should have.

Probably the best thing to happen all weekend was that I was asked to send in my resume for a possible job! I really hope something works out with that one because it would be an amazing organization to work for. Fingers crossed!!

Who's ready for Thanksgiving? On the one hand I'm totally excited to only have to drive in to work 2 days next week, but on the other hand, it means Christmas is too close for comfort. I have gifts to buy (with money I don't have) and places to go, etc, etc. I'm looking forward to the family time and stuff, but I'm also really hoping for some time to just rest next week. I need it. Badly.

I'm starting to feel sick, even though I've been taking Vitamin-C regularly, drinking a lot of water, eating fruits and veggies, etc. I'm hoping it's just allergies and nothing worse. I don't think I can handle getting sick and needing more medicine.

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

To make up for all my negativity in yesterday's post, today I'm going to share some things in my life that I'm thankful for (in no particular order):

1. My current job. I've learned a lot here and gained really valuable experience that I think will prepare me for whatever the next chapter of my work-life holds.

2. Chris. He's always there for me and he listens to me whine and cry and puts up with random mood swings. He's really fantastic, and I don't tell him that nearly enough. Like yesterday, I came home to an incredibly clean house, which he did on his day off--I mean, clean, put stuff away, did laundry, did the dishes, etc. It was amazing.

3. My parents. They've always been supportive and understanding and I'm so grateful for that. And for their food. They feed us about once a week and it's always delicious. And I love getting to spend that time with them. :)

4. My pets. Even though they're generally obnoxious and getting into all kinds of shenanigans, I know they love me and I love cuddling with them. Copper is sweet and loving and excited all the time--she's even nice to Cocoa some times! And Cocoa is a really good snuggler, especially when I don't feel good.

5. New glasses and contacts...which I don't have yet. I'll be picking those up tomorrow, but I'm so very happy that I'll have contacts again! And I'm pretty excited for my new glasses as well. They should be tons lighter and more comfortable than my current pair.

6. Books. Even though I haven't done a lot of reading lately. Total slacker. But I love books. I will always love books.

7. Caffeine. Still can't have any, but I will be so grateful when I can.

8. The fact that it's National Pickle Day. I love pickles. So I'm gonna eat some and celebrate!

9. All of you. I really do appreciate that you all take time out of your days to come read my blog. Especially since this blog was supposed to be about running and I haven't done any of that lately.

What are you thankful for this week?

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Can't Catch a Break

I've been kinda down lately for a lot of little reasons, none of which should affect my mood this much, but they just keep piling on top of each other and I could just really use a break.

I was on antibiotics a couple weeks ago for an infection. Took the meds, felt better, finished the meds, everything was fine.
A week later, I have a UTI. There was no reason for me to possibly get a UTI other than the first antibiotic I was on. So now I'm on more antibiotics. (None of my doctors have ever told me that antibiotics could cause--or make me vulnerable--to other infections.)
This new antibiotic says I can't have caffeine while I'm on it. I didn't realize just how much I really depend on those 1-2 cups of coffee every day. I'm irritable, exhausted (barely making it to 9pm the past two nights before I go to bed when I normally stay up until 10pm), and getting headaches.

On top of that, either a hubcap fell off of my car or it was stolen. So I'm down to 2 hubcaps on my car now. It looks awesome. Plus I need an oil change. And this stupid-cold weather makes the low tire pressure light come on, even though I check and check and there's always plenty of air.

Did I mention this ridiculously cold weather? Yeah, I'm over it.

Then there's all the stuff that keeps going wrong at the house (where I only get to spend about 8 hours a day during the week, none of which is in daylight). Our storm door is broken (thanks wind), our garage door is broken (or the motor is dead or something, I don't know), and one of the drain pipes is broken.

And this whole job-hunt thing is exhausting and discouraging. I've sent my resume and applications in to a lot of different places and I either haven't heard anything yet or got emails saying they went with other candidates. I haven't even gotten any kind of interview yet. It's extremely frustrating and worrying. I struggle daily to be calm about it and stay positive. What if I don't find a job? What if we can't pay our bills? It's terrifying to think that I could leave my current job in January (which is less than two months away!!) and not have another job to go to.

I'm sorry for the rant and all the negativity today. I just needed to get all that out. Poor Chris has to listen to me complain about a lot of these things on a pretty regular basis. I'm trying to be positive, but it's like everything is working against me right now and that makes it really hard.

If any of you have any job-hunting tips in general, or know of a place in St. Louis that's looking to hire a writer and/or editor and/or communications specialist, please let me know!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Copper's 1st Birthday

I finally got my pictures to upload! I didn't have nearly as many as I thought...and most of them are of Copper lol. Here they are:

She was not happy about wearing that cone.

She still managed to play with her toys and run
into everything and knock stuff over. It was cute
at first. After a while it was just irritating lol

She's special :)

Baby Madison as Snow White for Halloween. 

Today is Copper's birthday! We celebrated last night though.

We got her some yummy "pupcakes" (mostly because
I was too lazy to get the stuff to make some myself.)
Maybe next year. 

We went to several different stores looking for
party hats. I guess people don't wear party hats

Copper was not too happy about wearing these hats.
And would hardly sit still for these pictures. Brat.

I can't believe she's one! 
As part of her birthday present/party yesterday, we took her for her first walk in our new neighborhood. I wanted to take her a lot sooner, but couldn't find her harness anywhere. Turns out, it was just hanging on one of the dining room chairs under a coat. Woops. She did okay. There are a lot of dogs in our neighborhood though, so of course she wanted to play with all of them. She still has much to learn. All in all though, it was a good day :) 

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Going "Natural"

As I said yesterday, I haven't been able to work out much lately. Okay, that's basically a lie. I haven't worked out at all in the last month or so. Spending 4 hours a day in a car and working all day and then job-hunting most evenings is pretty exhausting.

I've still been reading a lot of blogs and stuff though and there was one thing that I kept reading about over and over: the amount of chemicals and unnatural things that go into the stuff we eat, bathe with, clean our houses with, etc. The more I read about all the horrible effects these chemicals can have on people, the more inclined I was to start making some changes.

The problem is "going natural" can get expensive. With our current budget, we just can't afford to buy natural or organic everything. Buying and eating all healthy food is really hard and expensive. The speediness and convenience of frozen meals and fast food right now isn't something I can completely cut out right now. I don't have the time to cook every night or do meal prep or anything like that. And sometimes I just really want a cheeseburger and fries. Don't judge.

So while I am making a small effort to eat healthier, I just can't make any major diet changes right now. The next thing I tackled was soaps. Reading about all the negative effects that fragrances and detergents used in shampoos, body washes, laundry soap, etc. made me want to make some changes.

I now buy handmade soaps from Herbaria Soap in St. Louis. I use their soaps for everything now: body, hair, face, hands. Switching from liquid soap to bars was rough for me at first. I've never liked using bars of soap. But knowing exactly what my soap is made of, where it's made, how it's made, and who my money is going to was all worth it. Oh and they smell pretty incredible too! I highly recommend their soap. While it hasn't solved all of my skin issues (most recently and most frequent is itching all over), I do feel that it has made a difference. And I love that I'm not buying a ton of different (and expensive!) soaps and cleansers all the time.

Since my itchy-skin-issue wasn't resolved just from switching soap, I decided maybe it was time to try some "free and clear" laundry soap and dryer sheets. Again, I haven't noticed much of a difference. However, I did read that detergents can linger in fabrics even after several washings with natural soaps, so if that's the case, I could be itchy for a very long time. (Yes, it may be time to see my doctor about this, but I'm using that as a last-resort.)

That leads me to my next issue: allergy medicine. First of all, that stuff is really expensive. Second, what I had been taking (and what had worked most of the time) has recently stopped working so great. So I tried something else instead. That hasn't worked either. I'm tired of spending money on medicine that only works for half the time it says it's supposed to (like, 24 hours maybe lasts half a day for me). So I've decided to look into some natural allergy relief. What I've found so far is that Butterbur and Vitamin C are the best, especially working as antihistamines. I also read that a combination of the essential oils lavender, lemon, and peppermint can help relieve itching and inflammation.

I've been considering trying a natural deodorant as well. I've even done quite a bit of reading on DIY deodorants, but I think I might just buy some from Herbaria first and see if I like it.

Eventually I want to move to using as much natural and/or homemade products as possible, but that takes time and money.

What's your take on "going natural"? Do you have any tips or tricks or natural/DIY products you use? 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I'm Back!

I know it's been quite a while since I've written on here :( Because of my recent move and grad school, I had to take a little break from the blog to focus on everything else.

We've been living in our new house for about a month and a half now and it's been pretty wonderful. I love the house, I love living in St. Louis again and getting to see my family more often.

Spending 4 hours a day in my car really sucks though. And school on top of that? Well that was a recipe for disaster. Technically, I'm only in my car an extra half hour each way than I was before when we were living in Farmington. I didn't think that would make that much of a difference, but it totally did.

I was exhausted, cranky, felt like I was wasting lots and lots of my time and money, angry, depressed, etc. So I made the decision to quit grad school. At least for now. My last day at my current job is the beginning of January and I have to have a job by then. Spending a ton of time on school work that I wasn't interested in doing in the first place became even more frustrating when I knew that was precious time that could be better spent elsewhere, like looking for jobs.

So I quit. And I feel so relieved. I now have a little bit more time in the evenings and tons more time on weekends to scour the internet and apply for jobs (I've applied for 4 or 5 so far...not having a ton of luck). Plus, I get to spend my extra time doing stuff I actually want to be doing like reading books I'm interested in reading, and maybe running again! It's been a very, very long time since I've gone for a run. I'm hoping to change that soon though!

Here are a few other things that have happened lately:

My aunt and uncle had a baby! Contrary to what certain people may think, I'm extremely happy for them. I'm just not a baby-person, so I'm not all gushy over her and holding her and whatnot. But as far as babies go, she's pretty darn cute (coming from a person who thinks most newborns look like tiny aliens). Her name is Madison and she's about 3 weeks old now. So her and I will hang out in like 3 years. lol

Copper got fixed. Finally. It was expensive. And kind of stressful. Although those sedatives they gave us to give to her were awesome for a while. Until they were gone. And she chewed through her cone. Yep that's my dog. And she'll be a year old on Monday the 11th! I can't believe she'll be 1 already. :( And yes, we're getting her a doggie cake and a party hat!

As I already said, I quit school. It was a difficult decision to make, but once I made it, I felt so incredibly relieved. I'm not saying I'll never go back and finish my master's at some point, but now is just not that time. I'm ready to have a career I love and be able to come home at night and go for a run or read or watch movies or do whatever the heck I want because I don't have homework to do.

I got hit in the face with one of Copper's toys and broke my glasses. That started as a fantastic day and turned into a crappy one real fast. So now I'm stuck wearing the glasses I hate until I can go to the eye doctor this Friday and get a new prescription for contacts and glasses (I can't wait to wear contacts again!). Lack of contacts is part of the reason I haven't started running (or trying to run) again since quitting school. I just can't wear these glasses and run. Doesn't work for me.

I think that's just about everything. The important stuff anyway. I tried several times and several different ways to upload photos to add to this post, but I'm still having problems with it, so no pics for this one. I will keep trying to figure it out and hopefully I'll be able to add some photos to one of the next posts (which I promise will not be months from now!).

Thanks for stopping by to catch up! I hope you all have been doing well!