Get at me, Pharrell

We’ve all got some things we’d rather change about ourselves, and this is one of mine: I have incredibly lame answers to the most-asked questions.  One such question, which is often a variation of “what do you want to be?” or “where do you hope to be in 10 years?” I usually respond with a casual, “oh, you know.  Happy.”

I know.  I KNOW.  It’s so annoying, terribly common, lacking in creativity and deep thought.  Because at the end of the day, surely we all just want one thing–the feeling of contentedness, joy, success within our professional, creative, personal lives, our relationships, the manner in which we wake up in the morning and put ourselves to sleep each evening.  [Or wake up each evening and go to bed in the morning–we’ve all got our things.  Maybe that’s your thing.]  

Yet, despite my own self-judgment, I have to also play defense.  There’s something distressing about that concept that happiness has become so common as to seem so trite and lackluster.  Should it be packaged into an answer you can pick off the shelf like a can of diced tomatoes?  Is that how it seems?  Should “I want to be happy” equate, meaning-wise, to a young child’s “I want to be a firefighter?”  [Is there something wrong with WANTING to be a firefighter?]  As per usual, I have a pocketful of questions and an empty handful of answers.  But it’s okay.  I don’t want to solve any puzzles today, but I do want to talk about happiness and what it means to me.

Internal comfort was not something I came by very easily.  Self-acceptance and high personal esteem were two incredibly vague and foreign concepts to me for quite some time, for reasons probably known to science and the universe but mostly mysterious to me.  Anyone who has felt darkness within themselves can understand this entirely too conventional sentiment; how to long to escape from devastation through numbness, desperately wishing to feel nothing at all–and that’s on a good day.  

But, as is the way of the universe, the bad is only known through the relief of the good.  A lemon is only sour because sugar makes it seem so.  And in my second year of college, the sweet relief of independence and sisterhood and almost 365 days of summer proved to me that attaining the big H is not a mystery or a myth or totally out of the question: it’s just a matter of timing.  It was light.  I felt light.  And sustaining that light, as it turned out, was neither a struggle nor the result of just a really good day.  

College ended, as it does, and suddenly things didn’t feel so light anymore.  Adulthood does that to you.  [I guess.  Am I an adult yet?  When does that happen?  Who am I?]  And, I guess, I got really down on myself because although things appeared to be in place and I was managing well, it didn’t feel the same.  I felt like the good days had ended and it was just another 70 years (if I’m lucky..) of worrying about paying bills and feeling fulfilled in my career etc etc etc.  I’m only 24 goddamn years old . THIS CAN’T BE ALL THERE IS.  

The reason I’m writing this today is because I’m a late bloomer and just realized that I’ve been putting happiness in a box where it doesn’t belong.  The thought that you can only feel one way to make it “count” is ridiculous (but yet something I thought for just about the entirety of my life).  It’s like love, I think.  I always worried about “knowing” what to look for when you were in love.  Like, what are the signs? How will I KNOW?!  What if I don’t recognized it until it’s too late? 

As an introvert, I have a bad habit of internalizing and overanalyzing everything [EVERYTHING].  So the thought that I couldn’t put a defining stamp on the face of a feeling seemed, frankly, unacceptable.  As in, “happiness looks like [___________].”  For me, it looked like living in a big house with 22 of my closest friends, being able to get a sweet tan on my walk to class every day, having a room with a balcony and a door I could open any time of the year for some soothing Florida breezes, intelligent conversations in class with people who didn’t judge me for loving The Heart of Darkness, late night grilled cheeses, good-naturedly stealing orange traffic cones whenever and wherever possible, and flamingos–everywhere–at all times of day.

That was an excellent kind of happiness, but it’s far from the only kind.  I feel honored to recognize that now.  Currently, I am dating the best man I have known, who gets my dry sense of humor, allows me to be a part of his highs and his lows, who is an excellent cook, who doesn’t apologize for being who he is, who makes me excellent breakfasts and watches nature documentaries with me and always makes me feel like numero uno.  This is my happy now.  I have a job, which has given me wonderful new friends and is helping to point me in the direction of my career path–and there’s always an abundance of adorable dogs and cats of all size and shape.  For all intents and purposes, my happy now feels a lot like a combination of security and spontaneity. 

I don’t know if happiness can be ranked, but I think that might be thinking about it a little too much.  It should just be.  And it is.  

Speaking of happiness, the Californian love of my life has started a blog which I encourage everyone to read.  Even if you don’t know her, I think you will find her stories captivating.  She has lived about five lifetimes in her 23 years.  http://bayarealist.blogspot.com/

I’m sure it’ll be another three months until I write again, so until then, and as alwaysthank you for being a part of my happiness.  

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Paying my rent in change

Oh, God, I know.  I know.  It’s been months.  Events have occurred,  holidays have come and gone, one thousand cups of coffee are now mere memories.

But, it’s a new year, and I’m back.  And today, I want to talk about my New Year’s resolution.  Generally I stay away from them, because I know myself and my track record: giving up dairy (two days), going to the gym regularly (I think the longest I went with that one was a month), not dying my hair again (hello, dark brown red).  However, this year I decided to go with something that wasn’t superficial: something more than a surface change.  This year, I want to work on an issue that I know I’ve had since, I dunno, the cradle (maybe that’s too harsh…….baby Kelsey is not to blame).

Here’s the truth: I can be a flake.  [A resounding “no one is surprised” circles the room.]  I’ve often taken for granted the amazing people in my life, because I’ve been rudely confident that even if I drop off the planet for months at a time, the people who love me will pretend I’ve been here the whole time.  And, often, I got away with it.  I went to college in Florida, over a thousand miles away from where I was born and raised–immersed myself in classes and my sorority–often ignored my ringing cell phone–rarely called my parents.

Last year, my friend and ex-co-worker Sara introduced me to the idea of “paying rent” to the people with whom you associate.  On a particularly terrible day of work, where a certain person chose to be extra horrible to the staff, Sara minimized her distress following this logic: this person was not “paying rent,” in the form of kindness or well-intentions, to take up space in her mind–so she wasn’t going to allow him to.  Just like with any apartment, you have to turn in your checks to receive the benefit of a roof over your head and a warm place to rest–and friendship is the same way.  I’d never thought about it like this before. And it made me wonder, do I pay enough rent to the people love?  It’s easy to pay kindness to those you live with/near, but what about my friends and family at home and farther away?  Am I paying my rent?  Am I showing them that I value their making room for me in their lives?

So, for my New Year’s resolution, I’mma start writing my checks.  Um, not for money, though–I also have to pay my ACTUAL rent.  But it has become abundantly clear to me in the past few weeks that I have struck gold in the friend and family department throughout my life, and it’s my duty as a gentle(wo)man and a scholar to start showing my appreciation.  (Again…..not with money.  I’m sorry.  Though I can probably spare five bucks if you need it.)

As for 2014, it’s already been quite the experience so far.  The Jess to my Cece is ENGAGED! (which technically happened at the end of 2013, but I’m counting it for this year) and I am going to be a Maid of Honor for ze first time.  The Broccoli to my eggs, my Angela, is on her way to Belgium today to begin the coolest and most envy-inducing job of traveling the world and making money doing it.  I’ve met a lot of new, fantastic people, one of who took me ice-skating by surprise and brought me socks.  My favorite red-head is living the California dream and teaching a new aerial conditioning class (oh, you know, which she came up with).  And it is only January the 19th.  

On an unrelated note, there is a T-rex living in the parking lot outside my apartment complex.  I’ve heard him yelling twice now.  Accepting name suggestions beginning today.  I’m thinking Rothbart.

Well, Happy Sunday, friends.  I hope you get to drink your coffee (or mimosas, or tea, or whatever your drank of choice may be) and find a little peace in the day.  I, for one, am going to clean my apartment, watch Batman, and probably make banana bread.

And, as always, thank you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My 24th Birthday and Me, Me, Me

This is a post about myself.  I just needed to forewarn everyone.  If you are not interested in hearing me talk about my life, I will certainly not be offended if you close the tab now.  I’ll also never know if you do, so there’s that.

In my last post, I mentioned that I only want to write about something I’m passionate about.  Then I turned 24, and had every intention to write a long blog about how much I love my family and friends, and how much I owe the past–well, entirety of my life to the people who have made it wonderful.

The thing is, though, birthdays are hard.  It’s all fun and games (and booze, and cake, and confetti) until you find a quiet moment to yourself and are forced to acknowledge the fact you are yet one more year older and perhaps haven’t accomplished all you’d like to have done by now.  I’m 24, and I’m still single?  I’m 24, and I’m not a rock star?  I’m 24, and I don’t feel the slightest bit like I have my shit together?  When I was a kid, I had plans for my twenties, and here I am almost halfway through them with little to show for it.  Life just, I guess, got in the way of those plans.

EDIT: I know I have A LOT to show for myself.  Just accept the dramatics.

I was home this past weekend, not only for my birthday, but also to attend a beautiful funeral service.  I don’t need to tell anyone what those are like (and if I do, you are incredibly blessed), but what struck me the most was how much of a celebration of life it turned out to be.  It is incredibly heartbreaking to watch the loved ones of the deceased have to say their final goodbyes, and to say your own, but it was also a kick in the pants to remind yourself that life goes on.  This person lived a truly astounding 93 years, and in his final days, he was surrounded by people who loved and admired him for the love and admiration he provided in return.  We  mourn that those we lose are no longer with us, but we should also be grateful for all the memories we have of and with these people–the way they cared for us; they ways we cared for them.

Okay, circling back.

This particular birthday was difficult for me because with this newfound adulthood, with my new job, with the more permanent move to the DC area, I have felt a profound sense of separation  that has been very hard to shake.  And for the anniversary of the completion of my 24th year of life, [not a particularly important year, but a year nonetheless], I realized how increasingly difficult it is to tell and to show the people in my life that I am too grateful, too overwhelmed with love for all the love I have received thus far.  I am neither typically a show-er, nor a teller;; anyone who has tried to have a phone conversation with me can attest to the latter (in my defense, I have trouble hearing people over the phone–I don’t know why).  I get too wound up in my own feelings to actually be able to share them with others.  This inability to communicate has lost me many things and many people, but it is a part of who I am (and something, I swear, I am working on).  So when the morning of my 24th birthday arrived, and I realized I could not, with any success, tell it on the mountain and get everyone I know in a room together to say THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME BE IN YOUR LIFE AND THUS CHANGING MINE, it was a little bit of a bummer.

I have an incredible flair for the dramatic, and I’m also very privileged to even have this as a problem.  I’m aware.  But as a birthday present to myself, I decided to allow myself to have these feelings and not push them down.  That being said:

THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME BE IN YOUR LIFE AND THUS CHANGING MINE.  I don’t think my birthday is about me.  I think it’s about my friends and family and gratitude [and picking out Christmas trees, and Boston Cream Pie, and sister-made gingerbread].

When it is time for me to reach the Pearly Gates, or the land of Nutella, or whatever else will happen when the fates cut my cord, I know that I have at least 24 solid years of memories to bring with me.

So, thank you.

Now I’m starving.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Flamingling

I recently decided that if I’m going to write, I want to write about passion, with passion, passionately.  Because if I had to pick one thing I believe in–it would be the power of words, of language.  A single (literally one) word can ruin or improve your day.  Someone passes you in the hallway on a day you’re wearing a new item of clothing, and they say, “Oh, that [item] is nice.”  And you think, NICE?  I just spent $200 on this NICE thing.  What do you mean, nice?  And then you sit and stew about it for hours, until you decide finally at the end of the day that you no longer wish to own your new thing.

Okay, or maybe that’s just me, because I’m dramatic.  But I know I’m not wrong about words.  They are the structure of everything.  The building blocks of love, or of hatred, or of pain–especially when there is an obvious lack of them.  [That’s called the silent treatment, and I am very good at it.]  I guess that’s why I was an English major–I just get them.  

That is my overblown explanation for why I haven’t written on this blog for a while.  I haven’t been passionate about anything in particular, so I’m not going to waste energy on something I know I won’t like.  But today, today, I have a lot of words.

Today is November 16th.  On this day in 1970, a group of women, formerly members of a national sorority that just didn’t quite fit what they were looking for, founded something that would change the lives of women for years to come.  I’m not much of a history buff, but I owe a lot to these ladies.  And that’s what I want to write about today.  This sorority.  These women, who (perhaps unknowingly) changed the definition of what it meant to be a sorority woman–maybe not on a national scale, but for the few and proud of us who call ourselves Daisies.

As a freshman, I hated most things about college.  [I would venture to say all of them, but I’m not that much of an extremist.]  I didn’t drink, or party, or go out to clubs, because I was raised in a log cabin in the middle of cow town New Jersey and that was just not who I was.  So when my friend Kate convinced me to attend a sorority open house with her in the Spring of 2009, I was pretty sure the constant diet of Easy Mac and Ben & Jerry’s had gone to my brain, not my hips.  (Really it was both.)  Kate is alt-cool; I was constantly surprised that she wanted to be my friend, because I considered myself to be far less interesting than she.  With her lip ring, tattoos, incredible sense of humor, and really neat clothing, she was a lot of the things I wanted for myself but didn’t have the means to be.  Anyway, I was surprised she even wanted to join a sorority, but on our way to the house that night she said, “No, really.  The girl who invited me has a lip piercing, too.  They’re cool.  They’re all really cool.”  [That girl then became Kate’s Big. Fate.]

The open house only lasted about an hour, but in that hour I chatted with no fewer than ten girls, all with piercings, and/or tattoos, and/or really cool, un-pretentious (maybe a word?) personalities.  I was so confused.  This…well, this can’t be a sorority, can it?  I thought.  These girls don’t give a fuck about what other people think, and isn’t the point of being in a sorority–to give A LOT of fucks, and to overly care about how you look, act, dress, and feel at all times?  Kate and I walked home, both very excited, and me very grateful to her for making me go.  An hour later, we got phone calls offering us bids.  [I had no idea that was even on the table.  I thought it was just an informational session.  Oops.]

I was in this sorority for four years, so don’t worry–I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow on everything that happened over that period of time.  But the beginning of the story is very important, and this is it: I, like most (if not all) the girls who joined, did not consider myself to be “sorority material.”  And, for the first semester (really, the first two semesters), I fought VERY HARD to not be a part of it.  I tried to quit a bunch of times.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested in the sorority–it’s that I still couldn’t believe they wanted me.  Everyone was so COOL and I  felt like less.  It wasn’t until I had to fight for the sorority that I realized I was a million percent where I belonged.

My sophomore year, we almost lost it.  It’s not important why.  We didn’t do anything wrong, but it looked very much like the end of the road.  And I, quiet Kelsey, had never felt so enraged, alive, PASSIONATE, about anything like it before–we needed to remain a sorority because suddenly I realized that I needed it.  Non Compis Mentis is not about being anything but yourself, and I still had myself to find.  Not to mention, I had formed some of the greatest friendships of my life, with people I still thought were more interesting than me, but whom I loved fiercely and couldn’t imagine not living with, laughing with, crying with, working on papers at midnight and eating celebratory Hostess cupcakes with when the clock struck 12 on our mutual birthday (looking at you, Twin).  Sometimes it takes a really horrible experience it make you realize what matters the most, and I couldn’t be more grateful for it.  No pain, no gain, they say.  And they’re right.  One day, I found myself in the crowded campus center at lunchtime going from table to table, asking people to sign a petition.  Who the fuck am I, I thought.  

I’m still awkward and strange, but NCM taught me that I’m doing just fine.  It taught me to love flamingos and daisies, to not be afraid of other women, and to belong to yourself–not to what other people expect.  I learned that it is cool to be smart—the opposite of what I encountered in elementary, middle, and high school — and that being philanthropic should be a priority.  I also learned that being a part of something is not about self-promotion, but learning how to put yourself aside and promote a bigger cause.  I learned how to be a Little; how to let someone strong and fantastic show me the way.  And I learned to be a Big; to be a role model for my two incredible, incredible Littles, who really didn’t need much from me, but whom I was (and AM) very proud to call mine. 

I took some of the greatest naps of my life in a chapter room full of screaming women.    

Here’s the other thing–through NCM, and being a part of the sorority/fraternity environment on campus, I met a lot of the “typical sorority girl” types and let me say this–that label is bullshit.  It doesn’t exist.  Television and movies like to make us think that every sorority girl is tan, bleach blonde, judgmental, and materialistic, and that’s just not real.   Are there sorority women like that?  Yes.  Most definitely.  But I’ve met many a tan, bleach blonde sorority lady, and the majority of them are just as fucking weird as my sisters.  Maybe WEIRD is the typical sorority girl.  Who knows.  But being in NCM forced me to realize that I was perpetuating inaccurate stereotypes.  And on that note, not all fraternity guys are out to rape you, either.  Oh, believe me, I know many a douchey frat boy–but I also know just as many fraternity men who are smart, motivated, and genuinely great people.  So to everyone who refuses to change their perception of the “Greek Standard,” fuck you.  We didn’t buy our friends.  We bought t-shirts and the right to live in awesome houses.  The incredible friends we made were free of charge.

The worst thing about being in NCM was graduating.  I don’t live in Florida anymore, and I can only name maybe 30% of the current active sisters.  Being an alumna is so shitty sometimes, and it often seems unfair, but then I remember alumni weekend is coming up.  And there’s Facebook.  And there is my brain, full of memories about eating Taco Bell and going to Midnight Mass at Backbooth (not a church) and carrying cardboard Justin Bieber around campus.  Being a part of NCM doesn’t end with graduation, it just changes a little.  For example–now I have a job, and a consistent paycheck, so I can now actually AFFORD all the flamingo items/alcohol that I want.  It’s totally new and I’m still adjusting.

Happy Birthday, NCM.  You’re the wings beneath my wings (as my boss said the other day–accidental, but accurate).  Here’s the 43 more years (and then a million years after that) of helping weirdos like me accept themselves for how strange they really are.

And now here are some photos.  I’m not explaining them.  This is a short snapshot of 4 years of insanity.  But hey, at least it’s chronological….mostly.

 

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Things I Should Do With My Face

Friends, let’s talk about expectations.
 
When I’m walking down the street and I spot a Sir with his trousers around his knees, I think to myself, “Lord, someone buy that boy a belt.”  I think about this for a few seconds, and then I continue with my day.  If I see a girl with a skirt so short I could almost see her lady bits, I think, “Wow, that’s a tiny piece of fabric.”  And then, I move on.  Never do I consider going up to these people and telling them what I think of their choices.  Maybe that guy’s butt gets really hot during the day, and he needs a good ventilation system.  Maybe that girl wants to wear her skirt that short, because she feels like it.  My fleeting and unsubstantial opinions mean nothing to these people–and I don’t expect them to.  Honestly, do what you want to do.  I’m sure people judge my ridiculously grandma-esque oversized sweaters, or that I mix patterns, or that I wear brown shoes with black pants.  You and me, man, we don’t have to feel the same way about each others styles.
 
Today, I was futzing around at my desk when a male co-worker approached me.  “Can I ask you a question?” he ventured.  [Obviously I said yes.  I’m not a monster.]  “Why are you always so serious all the time?  You need to smile more.”
          I froze.  Oh, trust me, this is not the first time I’ve been told that I “needed” to smile, like it was imperative to my well-being.  No, it wasn’t shock that made me stop in place–it was outrage.
 
Let’s ignore for a second that I am terribly stubborn and hate–despise–loathe being told what to do.  My anger stemmed from the notion that this was a statement he thought was okay to make.  My face, unsmiling and therefore unfeminine, was such a disappointment to him that he felt he needed to right my very substantial wrong, I guess.  But, here’s the deal: I don’t need to do anything.  You can continue to live your life as usual, and I’ll do the same, and the world will keep spinning as it has for the past, I dunno, few years.
 
Dude, that’s my face you’re hating on.  As my friend Sharon points out, “That’s pretty much saying you look like a bitch.”  And it is.  You’re telling me that my face, which is MY face, and has been my face, and will continue to be my face, because weirdly enough, face transplants aren’t a common practice when you haven’t been horribly injured, isn’t good enough.  So, I need…more face?  Better face?  Improved face?  Or do I just need to have you draw me a rendering of what my face SHOULD look like, and I’ll cut it out and paste it over my own offensive mug?  [Yeah, I’m being a little juvenile.  Then again, you’re being a lot misogynistic, so we’re even.]
 
Now, I don’t want to make this a gender thing.  But of the collection of people who have had said this about me, 99% of them were male.  I kid you not.  A bunch of dudes, young and old, decided that I wasn’t fitting in to their idea of “what a woman should be,” and needed to tell me so I would change my ways (woops, now it’s a gender thing).
I don’t have to smile because you think a woman should be pleasant and smiley and accommodating at all times. I don’t have to smile because you think it makes me more attractive.  I don’t have to smile because you’re afraid I’ll develop frown lines (areyoufuckingkiddingme).  Bottom line, I don’t have to smile, period.  I smile when I’m happy, but mostly importantly, I smile whenever I damn well feel like it.  Would you tell a dude he needed to smile more?  No?  Yeah, neither would I.  Because I seriously don’t care enough, and I don’t expect a thing from him.
 
To be fair, let me share the story of the woman who pointed out my “bitch face.”  I do have to stress that she didn’t actually tell me to smile–or even say anything to me at all.  When I was a senior in high school, the [female] superintendent asked my then-boyfriend, “Oh, you’re going with HER to prom?  Does she ever smile?”  Because a girl who looks angry all the time out of habit can’t possibly be worthy of affection, or a date to a high school dance.
 
Men, women, children, please: can we stop with the compartmentalization?  None of us need to be anything.  Can it be enough for you that a human being is his or herself?
 
Gentlemen, a slightly ramblatory [not a word] piece of advice.  [I have never experienced a woman doing this.  It’s totally possible that she has.  I’m only speaking what I know for sure.]  You have a tendency to make women crave your approval by planting seeds of doubt in our heads.  For example:
“You would look so much prettier if you let your hair down”
“You should wear your glasses more often, that way you’ll have that sexy librarian look”
“I bet you’d look even sexier in heels”
and, to go full circle–
“You look so much prettier when you smile.”
There isn’t a woman in the world that needs to change herself to fit your idea of beautiful.  She already is.  Get over yourself.
 
To sum this up:
People are people because they’re people and they’re going to continue to be people regardless of your outdated view of how people should be people.
I’m a person.  I have a face.  It’s true, sometimes (often) that face is contorted in such a way that I look very serious and/or angry and/or stressed out and/or not in the mood for your bullshit.
And regardless of how I am actually feeling inside, it’s still my face, and you’re either on board with it, or you aren’t…I don’t care either way.
 
Okay, after I wrote this, I found this hilarious article which is far more articulate than I could ever be: http://jezebel.com/why-i-love-my-bitchy-resting-face-514067148
 
I love my bitchy resting face too.  Thank you and good night.
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Hey, is anyone surprised I’m writing about food?

Hi, friends.  Yes, this post is a little late.  I struggled all week with my brain and my thoughts to come up with a blog topic, but I couldn’t think of anything worthwhile/meaningful to anyone but myself.  And now that I know people actually read this, I’d rather like for it to be more than me spouting my own beliefs because I really, really like to read my own opinions.  

I have nothing.  Truly.  This is an off week.  But I’d still like to share at least a smidgen of myself, so what I shall do for the remainder of the space below is share a few of my favorite recipes.

A little backstory, for those who don’t already know: I love cooking, baking, eating, and I have been following a vegetarian lifestyle for over seven years.  If I’m annoyed or sad or hungry, I bake.  My cooking style, once confined by the strict instructions of a recipe in a cookbook, has morphed into a process of finding something that sounds delicious, adding my own ingredients, and loosely following a set of directions that I may or may not choose to deem “necessary.”  The internet has proven instrumental in my finding enjoyable meals, and I’d like to share my favorites with you now.

These are not my recipes.  I did not make them.  If I modify them, I’ll share my suggestions, but at not point will I take credit for the idea.  Please refer to the link for the originator of the dish.

————————————————

Shepherd’s Pie 

As I mentioned above, I definitely do not eat beef.  But I’ve modified this recipe to use Morningstar or Boca ground “crumbles,” which look like ground beef, taste nothing like it, and are a lovely substitute in recipes requiring it.  I know the photo looks disgusting.  

  • 1lb ground beef (I use a package of Morningstar/Boca crumbles)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use olive)
  • 2 cups instant mashed potato flakes (If I have potatoes on hand, I prefer to make real mashed)
  • 1 cup shredder cheddar cheese
  • *I also add whatever other vegetables I have on hand*
 

Directions

  1. Heat oil in frying pan. Add chopped onions, and fry until golden brown. Add ground beef, and keep stirring until meat is browned. Add crushed tomatoes, and continue to cook until liquid from the tomatoes evaporates. Salt to taste.  [Add whatever vegetables you have as well.  Make sure you have a giant frying pan.]
  2. In the meantime, prepare the mashed potatoes as directed on the packet.
  3. Spread the meat mixture into the bottom of an oven proof dish. Cover with a layer of mashed potatoes, and top with grated cheese.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C), or until cheese has melted and browned.

I have never tried this recipe but I imagine it is even better.

————————————————

When I moved into my new apartment, I went on a weird baking kick where I made a lot of things just to make them.  I also experimented with vegan baked goods recipes, flourless recipes, etc.  This one was a favorite.

Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Author: Detoxinista.com
 
Prep time:  15 mins
Cook time:  15 mins
Total time:  30 mins
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup natural organic peanut butter [Used regular peanut butter; could have used more]
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup mashed) 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract [Didn’t use this, they turned out fine]
  • 3 whole eggs
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup honey (or stevia, to taste) [Used 1/4 cup brown sugar instead]
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional add-ins: ½ cup chocolate chips, or 1 cup fresh raspberries, or ½ cup dried raisins or cherries, or 1 sliced banana
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. [Or just rub olive oil in it]
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients mix until smooth. At this point, you can fold in one of the optional add-ins, if desired.
  3. Scoop the batter, using a ¼ cup, into each muffin liner.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes at 350F. The resulting muffins should be firm, and lightly golden.
  5. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.
  6. Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week!

————————————————

I posted this recipe on Facebook after falling in love.  I didn’t have mayo on hand, because I don’t use it, but I reeeallly wanted egg salad–this is what I found.

Mayo-less Egg Salad

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice [Note: lime juice will also work if you don’t have lemon, although it will be a little more bitter]
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced [Unnecessary]
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, minced [Dried parlsey is fine; add to taste]
  • 6 oil-cured olives, pitted and minced [I love me some olives, but again, not necessary]
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Serves 4

PREPARATION

In a small bowl, whisk together a dressing with the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard; set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the eggs with a potato masher or a fork. Add the dressing along with the scallions, parsley and olives and fold in until well mixed. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

————————————————

I have tons more, but I’m late for life, so I shall leave it at three for now.  Hope this inspires some cooking and baking!  As always, thank you for reading and being lovely.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Octuber

This week has royally sucked.

If yours was great, I applaud you.  I am astounded at your strength of character to be able to find happiness amid the hurricane of shit to hit the fan these past few days (though I will also admit your shit and my shit are not the same shit).

I need first to apologize to a few individuals.

1. To my Twitter followers.  I know you were really anticipating a week full of positive, witty tweets such as “This sudden pick-me-up brought to me by the realization there is a brownie in my work bag,” and were instead assaulted with harsh complaints like “I need everyone to understand how shitty today is and how it continues to worsen.”  My intention is never to be that dramatic, and I unfortunately had to let the flood gates loose.  I hope you’ll all forgive me.  I also hope the rest of you will forgive me for still using Twitter.  What can I say, it’s important everyone know exactly what time of day I am making olive tacos.

2. My sister.  I know I’m usually difficult to live with, and even more so when there is a persnickety little bee living under my bonnet.  Also, thank you for bringing home wine today.  It was much needed and unbelievably appreciated.

3. Everyone to whom I have sent angry chains of text messages.  I know, I hear you, I agree.

I’m sure there are others, but I can only handle things in threes right now.  For example, here is a list of items that have made this week almost unbearable:

1. Oh, did you hear our government shut down?

2.  This crazy bitch tried to run down a barricade today.  Instead, she ran down a police officer.  Because what Capitol Hill really needed was MORE drama.

3. A series of “not my job” jobs that have somehow become my job.  The mantra running through my brain this week has been something like AreyoufuckingkiddingmeAreyoufuckingkiddingme etc etc.

To be sure, that is neither comprehensive nor telling of all the happenings that have seriously gotten my goat since, oh, last weekend.  My only method of coping thus far has been to employ a series of animal cliches to fully elucidate my uncontrollable rage; other methods involve using stupid fucking words like “elucidate.”

HOWEVER

After yet another seriously maddening day that is only just ending, I’ve decided to try and turn my frown upside down (just kidding, I’m going all out with the cliches, animals or not) and attempt to create positivity in what has been five days of crap.  Here goes.

I BELIEVE wholeheartedly in self-healing.  (Writer’s tip: begin every chapter by capitalizing the first two words.  It makes everyone care more.)  As a woman who has experienced normal human pain through a seemingly never-ending series of heartbreak, emotional distress, fear, childhood bullying, panic that I may just not be good enough,  and menstrual cramps from Satan resulting in many a night spent curled in a ball on the bathroom floor, I think I’ve got a pretty solid background in what it is to suffer.  Let me say it again, my suffering has been fairly by the book.  I make up a lot of crazy crap in my head and sometimes it turns out to be true.  I trust the wrong people, I miss the signs, I end up in pieces.  But I’m still here, right?  Nobody glued me back together; many a kind person has helped me pick up the scraps, and applied the glue, and held my hand, but no one had the ability to physically fix what things that were broken.  Guess who did that?  I fucking did.

Okay, and you do, too.  When was the last time you, maybe, thought you were in love, found that love unreturned, and then stopped existing?  You didn’t give up.  You hurt for a while, maybe a really long time, and then you decided it was okay to fix yourself.  Even if that love never went away.  I think that we’re all highly dependent upon our friends and family to provide attention and care, but that when it comes down to it, we’re really the agents of our own change.  (Also, I definitely just plagarized myself.)  As I’ve said before, I totally think it’s okay to mope and sit in our own tears, but after a while, we all want to feel better.  So we start by treating ourselves to a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.  Or a movie with some funny jokes that make us laugh.  Maybe, we write a song, or a poem, or a story, or we paint, or we do yoga and remind ourselves that we ARE allowed to heal.  

Lest anyone think love is my issue today, it totally isn’t, I’m really just using it as an example because it’s a great one thank you very much.  

That being said, I realized tonight that I don’t have a list of things I know will make me feel better.  Everyone always says, “Oh, what one thing can always brighten your day?” and my response is, “I dunno, food?”  While that’s not untrue, it’s not the extent.  I’m a fat kid at heart, but I do like other things.  And since I have had just an incredibly frustrating few days, I think a list such as that could come in handy.  So without further ado (haHA), I present:

Kelsey’s List of Immediate Pick-Me-Ups

1. Homemade banana pancakes.  (Food had to be first, come on.)  This is actually a new discovery, but also my new favorite, hence it’s place in the #1 slot.  Despite my habit of uncontrollably rolling my eyes whenever that ridiculous Jack Johnson song plays, I do have to admit that banana pancakes are delicious and not good for you.  My recipe: whole wheat Bisquick mix, water, vanilla extract, a little sugar, a lot of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and sliced bananas.  Mix everything up.  Fry it on a skillet.  Eat with peanut butter and Nutella.  Forget about the calorie count.  Done.

2. The “Great Day” Digital Short from SNL which JESUS GOD I CAN’T FIND ON THE INTERNET ANYMORE.  Thanks a ton, Hulu and Youtube.  Anyway, if you have not seen it, do yourself a favor and try to find this gem online somewhere.  I don’t have the patience.

3.  Baking something.  Anything.  It can end up being terrible, and it does not matter, because the product is not the point here.  It’s the ability to mix some shit in a bowl and set it almost aflame and know that you are the sole reason your house is not burning down right now.  The science is too complicated for me to explain right now, so just take my word for it.

4. This song.  Sometimes I need to force myself to ingest rainbows, and 99% of the time it works, every time.

5.  Watching my cat use a toy as a pillow oh god brain melting.  Sorry.  Surprise guest entry.  Moving on…

6.  Taking a nap…but wait for it…not a relaxing nap.  I like to put myself to bed with the expectation that when I wake up, I will have found a solution to my problem.  Sometimes, my best thinking happens when I’m totally unconscious.  I’ve found so many lost items in my dreams.

7. Washing my face.  I dunno.

8.  Taking out a pen and writing down every thing that is bothering me.  Even if it is something small like, “lint in my pocket” or “wrinkle in my shirt.”  Once everything is on paper, it doesn’t look as bad.

9.  Blogging.  I cannot begin to explain how therapeutic this is.

10. Purchasing a random food item from the grocery store and eating it, just eating it, without caring.  Today I bought a jar of green olives and tomorrow that jar will be in the recycle bin.  Watch me.

Let me interrupt myself by saying that yes, I realize turning to food for comfort is not a good or healthy habit.  But I will say that in my defense, I’m eating pancakes and olives– not lining my body with spoonfuls of Crisco.  Things could be worse.

11.  Hiking, or generally being outdoors.  My issues look ridiculous compared to the wide world around me.  (It is very difficult to force myself outside when I’m pissed off, so I don’t employ this one as often as I should.)

12. The Boondock Saints.  Willem Dafoe is a god and a master and his performance makes me want to just do better.

I’ll stop at 12, shall I?  It’s my list, anyway, and doesn’t apply to anyone else so much.  But maybe this will you to make your own list, if you don’t already have one.  Because it is okay to know what you like, and there’s no shame in feeding your base instincts if it means you can start working again towards the best version of yourself.  Or myself.  Or maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.

In other news, TGIF in two hours.  My aunts are coming to visit this weekend for which I am VERY EXCITED!  And trying to plan a trip back to Jersey for the weekend of October 12-13, because a girl needs her Mama and Papa Bears every now and then.

Um, I guess, tell me what makes your shitty days better?  I think that’s a fun discussion to have.  Even if it is ridiculous.  I don’t know if it is possible to leave comments on WordPress because I haven’t had the energy to care, but if not, leave me a Facebook comment or something, or don’t, the choice is yours.

Also–thank you, seriously, for reading my blog.  I have received such lovely feedback and I really am truly grateful for the support.  Even if you HAVE to support me because I’m your sorority sister 😉  Or actual sister.  Or best friend since kindergarten.  Or family member.  Regardless of how you got here, I’m glad you did, and I hope you keep reading.

LASTLY–Stefanie’s can of oats exploded on our counter and it was hilarious.  Image

EDIT: 10/4/13

Sorry, I really need to add a 13th pick-me-up to this list.  This is always fantastic and makes me gigg.  http://youmakemetouchyourhandsforstupidreasons.ytmnd.com/

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments