Monthly Archives: November 2012

Remember Your Dreams?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything from within the depth of my brain but I realized recently that I’ve made great strides in my life and I want to tell you all about it.

My dad always said that graduating from college came as a great shock to him. Financially, he was suddenly making money and had credit cards and basically went crazy with it. Emotionally, he went from being at the top of the food chain to the very very bottom of the barrel. Luckily, I’m not finding the transition quite as drastic but man is it a shock! I thank goodness architecture steeled me for servitude, the hard work thing isn’t a problem. And my finances have just switched from spending the bank’s money to all the money I make now being given right back to them. My belt will remain cinched for the next 15 years. There’s no sudden freedom in that department.

The area I have had trouble with is figuring out where and how to channel all that passion I graduated with. School was hard. I’m talking drive you to tears almost daily, lock you in the same room with the same people on lots of red bull for days at a time hard. School was hard. But it also made me an incredibly strong, capable, ambitious woman. It forced me to define a reason for every one of my actions. It forced me to cut out the bull crap and focus on my immediate and future goals. My goals, upon graduating, were both for my career and personal life.

Personal: I wanted to travel and find a place I love to finally settle down and, eventually, have a family. I wanted to remain close with some incredible people I met in college while hopefully branching out and meeting new people. I wanted to get back to my family. My lovely, supportive, completely outrageous, and weird family, who I love and miss so dearly. I wanted to get back to them. And I wanted to stay with this amazing man that I met in my final year. Mike, my other half. I wanted our relationship to continue to grow and get stronger.

Career: I wanted to get some experience under a construction contractor, enough to have some confidence in my ability to know and direct the process. Then I wanted to start designing and building anything and everything. I wanted to have my own business as soon as I felt confident enough.

Wow was I shocked at how quickly a person’s ambition and dreams can be crushed under the weight of real life. While I am continuously working towards those goals, and am actually reaching some of them right this moment, I’m finding that so many of them were lost in the shuffle. So, in order to keep my goals at the forefront of my mind, and to keep myself from going insane in my current position in life, I remind myself why I’m doing what I’m doing.

What am I accomplishing for my life but also (and this is new for me) what am I bringing to other people’s lives. I am finding that, in helping other people define and reach their dreams in my place of work, I’m discovering and reaching my own. My dreams shift and meld with me. With each new experience, I try to improve as a person. As I become a better person, my dreams become better too!

A dream, a goal, and ambition does not have to be static. In fact, it’s better if it’s not. Dreams should flex as I grow as a person. They will become more detailed or more blurry. They will, sometimes, completely change direction. But the important thing about reaching my dreams, I realized, is that I find fulfillment in all the steps along the way. I will never get to the end point and think, was that really worth it?

So what are your dreams and goals? When was the last time you defined them? Maybe it’s time to write them down.

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Potato Pancakes

I am a big believer in spending some time on breakfast. One of my favorite things about having a day off or being on vacation is being able to spend time cooking and enjoying breakfast.

A yummy pile of food + a book/newspaper + a good cup of tea or glass of mulled cider + good company = AWESOME MORNING.

This past Sunday, Mike and I enjoyed a new (and now frequent) recipe. I hope to enjoy an equally lovely breakfast every day of this Thanksgiving holiday.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped small

3 eggs

1/2 cup almond butter (or whatever nut butter you have)

1/2 cup milk (unsweetened almond, coconut, whole milk, whatever…)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp sea salt

high heat cooking oil (coconut, grape seed, or sesame oil)

Instructions

Boil sweet potatoes until soft when stabbed with a fork. Start heating pan on Medium during this last step. Drain then add sweet potatoes and all other ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth.

After preheating pan for 5-ish minutes, pour two small pancakes at a time. Flip when the centers start bubbling. Cook on other side for 3-5 minutes.

Stack a pile, add a topping (bananas, sautéed apples, raisins, honey, maple syrup, etc.) and ENJOY!

*this recipe was adapted from Sammie Kennedy.

By the way, thanks to everyone that commented on my post yesterday. Recognizing the amazing qualities of the people around you starts to make you more amazing too! If you want to add to the comments, there’s still time! I’ll be reposting them on all Friday.

What are some of your favorite breakfast traditions?

Motivational Monday: C’mon People…

Well I posted Friday’s post a little late but still…C’MON PEOPLE! 79 people saw last Friday’s post but only one courageous soul decided to reply. I know you all are listening because I’ve asked for your help before and you came out in the masses. So why is it that when I ask you to tell me what you think about ME, you’re all for it, but when it comes to other people, you’re silent.

So today, I will continue the exercise. Comment here, or on Friday’s post. All you have to do is compliment someone in your life. A genuine, heartfelt compliment that has nothing to do with their looks or outward appearance. Include their first name and last initial.

Some encouragement:

Helping others find happiness means you are that much closer to your own.

So do it, NOW. Comment here, verbalize something nice about a person you know and respect.

*Note to Ben, my brave reader, your quote will be published on Friday along with the others. Thanks for participating when no one else would 🙂

Bahahaha! This photographer (Seth Casteel: amazon, source) takes awesome pics of doggie underwater. HAPPY MONDAY (and almost Thanksgiving!)

 

Friends and Family Friday: Compliment Much?

My team meeting for work this week was AWESOME. Each of us four coworkers stood up front and received one compliment from the other three. It was interesting to hear nice things from people who I greatly respect but don’t really have a personal relationship with.

So we’re going to try it here, in my little corner of the blogosphere. If you do this, the outcome will be awesome.

And yes, I’M TALKING TO YOU.

3 simple steps:

1. In the comments section below, hit “reply.” If you’re reading this by email, also hit “reply” and I’ll get it as a comment (my Gran discovered that one).

2. Write a something nice about a person in your life that you’ve never complimented before. And I’m not talking, “Hey I like your sweater.” No. Something about they’re character, personality, and/or lifestyle. It can be ANYONE. Include their first name and last initial.

Example: “Ami G. I know some of the physical and emotional challenges you’ve encountered in your life and your positive attitude and love for life are inspiring.” <it doesn’t have to be that mushy but you get the idea.

3. Tell them in real life OR send them the link to this blog. I’m going to publish every single one of your compliments on Monday.

If you are hesitant to do this for a someone you aren’t too close with, imagine how good it would feel if they did it for you.

Take a minute to think and then write it out!

🙂

Thriving Thursday: Back to Basics Applesauce

When was the last time you had applesauce? Does anyone remember the blue kind? Why do kids love to eat weird colored food? Scratch that, why do PEOPLE love to eat weird colored food? Anyway! In my quest to get healthy, I’ve started cooking lots of stuff from scratch, in big batches, and then eating it for a week or two. It’s actually amazing how simple some of these recipes are.

So this week I tried to recreate my favorite Trader Joe’s chunky applesauce.

Back to Basics Applesauce (large batch)

Ingredients

8 apples, cored, peeled, and chopped

1 1/2 cups water

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp stevia (optional)

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and cook on medium for 15-20 minutes or until apples are soft.

Then mash them up with a fork, masher, or in a blender. For chunkier sauce, wait until apples are cool and do not blend.

Enjoy! I even saved my old TJ’s jar and all the sauce fit perfectly 🙂

Ashley Life Update: I have to boast a little, I am a serious BAMF (bad ass mother f’er). A couple of friends (yep friends) and I went on a bike ride on Sunday morning. The winds were about 30 mph and as I was parking to get ready, I realized my shoes were at home, 20 minutes away. So I biked 25 miles in my Crocs with shoe covers on. I usually chicken out when something like this happens so I’m really proud that I stuck it out. And it was even better because I got a great ride in and met a new friend 🙂

So! What recipes do you think would be even better/healthier homemade?

Workout Wednesday: Whicooooosh!

I picked it up with the workout last night. People were getting complacent and you know what that means, whicooosh!

So just like every Wednesday the workout is as follows:

– 20 seconds on, 20 seconds rest

-6 exercises, do each one 3 times (12 minutes total!)

 

1. low jacks

2. backward lunge (keep shoulders over hips)

3. burpees

4. crunches (feet on floor OR knees at right-angle OR legs straight in the air. lift SHOULDERS not head)

5. elbow-in push ups (on the wall OR on your knees OR on your toes in plank)

6. toe taps (tap each foot in front of you QUICKLY but stably, tap the ground, an elevated surface, or a fitness ball)

photo credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Ashley Life Update: It’s a weird feeling to be settling into such a hectic lifestyle. I guess routine can get you anything and everything. I’m finally figuring out how to work my 50 hours at job #1 and 5 hours at job#2 plus keeping the house clean, cooking healthy meals, and working out. This is what normal people do, plus kids!?! My respect for my parents and grandparents goes up with each year I’m alive. Anyway, regardless of the routine, I’m exhausted and SO excited for a real rest at Thanksgiving.

Also, yesterday I had 70 followers and today I have 69. Someone stopped following me! That’s kind of an odd feeling. Like someone found it worth the time and energy to stop reading my words. But I’ve done it to other blogs so I guess I can’t be sad. It just happens. Welp, that’s my life right now, learning all these weird, important lessons from all these normal, tiny things.

Anyway, I hope you’re all having wonderful days. I want to send some love out to my family right now. I’m missing you all exceptionally. Love and hugs (and weird texting pictures),

Question for YOU:

What have you been taking charge of in your life recently?

Tasty Tuesday: Steak and Potatoes

I don’t really love steak. I’m not a big-slab-of-meat kind of person. But when I asked Mike what his favorite meal was and he replied, “steak and potatoes,” it became the dish that I cooked for him for our “date” this past Saturday. I entered into the situation with a little bit of trepidation because I’ve never cooked steak before but I’d say it turned out pretty well.

I knew I would have very little time on Saturday so I prepped everything the day before. I put the grass-fed steak in this awesome Zesty Dijon Marinade (I found the recipe here):

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup Dijon mustard (we didn’t have any so I used honey mustard)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp salt

2 garlic cloves

Mix it all together, add the meat, and refrigerate concoction for 3 to 24 hours.

Then I cut up all the potatoes and stored them in a plastic bag for the night.

When Saturday came, I took him pottery painting (haha. more on that later) and then came home and popped the potatoes in the oven with a little salt and pepper (I added some garlic cloves and chopped red pepper at the last minute)

and then threw the steak on my new iron skillet (5 minutes for each side of a 1 inch steak).

And voila! It was pretty delicious. A little overcooked but I’ll get better at the timing thing. Also, it’s important to mention that I completely disregarded my stomach’s dislike of red meat with this recipe. I haven’t been experiencing any negative symptoms from the grass-fed beef so I thought I’d be fine. I think it was the sheer quantity of beef that did me in but my stomach was a little grumbly and stubborn for about 24 hours after this meal. And of course, Mike was fine.

I hope you’re all having wonderful days. It’s not Monday anymore. YAY!

🙂