Friday, August 31, 2012

Ramble On: August 31 -- I'm "Hard to Love"

I heard this song last night, and I really, really like it. (I don't know what's got me on this country kick, but I've definitely been all about it lately.)

Lee Brice-- Hard to Love

This song reminds me so much of myself. I'm probably the most difficult person that I know, which definitely makes me less than easy to love. I'm stubborn to a fault, and easily the most independent girl that I know. I don't have to look to hard to figure out why I'm this way--I come by it honestly.  My Grandma Bulah was the only lady I've ever known who was more stubborn and independent than I am (which probably just means that as I get older it's only going to get worse!) but I love that I got that from her.

It's hard missing someone as much as I miss her, but it is easier when I realize that I have so much of her in me. The characteristics and qualities that I inherited from her are the ones I cherish the most and am the most proud of. If you would have told me a few years back that this is where my life was going to be now, I'd probably have laughed in your face. I used to have every step of my life planned out, at least two years in advance.  Now, I know my situation until the end of September. Then, who knows. The path I had expected to be on is miles from the path I've actually chosen. But I'm making it work. I'm progressing on the thesis (so please, quit asking me about it!), I've got a job that I am so lucky to be able to keep as I try and finish things up, and a place to live with the best, nicest, overall greatest friend that I have ever had (who I know doesn't read blogs but just in case, thanks for the millionth time and I love you to the moon and back C.A.T.!!!). 

Look at that blonde haired, fat faced little pumpkin!

 I may be hard to love, but I'm so lucky that you all choose to put up with me. I am blessed. "I don't deserve it but I love that you love me."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

You may have to be drunk to follow this one

Brace yourself- this isn't going to be coherent. But if you've read any of my other posts then you should already know that this is not the place to come for coherency. My excuse for today: It's thursday. If you need to know what that means then you already do.

So here's my life today: I almost just passed out in the bathroom, partially due the extreme upside-down hair flip I just did that got a little outta control, and partially due to the shock I got from realizing that someone was laying on the couch (yes, we have a couch in the bathroom-- we're very accommodating like that) and saw me almost knock myself out while doing the extreme upside-down hair flip. Try playing that one off like you meant to almost fall into the mirror headfirst. Damn near impossible. Though I guess a person laying on a couch in a bathroom is really not a person who's judgement I should be too terribly concerned about.   

 Ok, now to music, the point of this whole rambling mess:.

Three Days Grace-- Lost in You

I'm not sure why I'm so drawn to this song today. I just can't quit listening to it after I rediscovered it. I'm in no way in a sappy, lovey mood at all. Though this lost phone that my favorite PPD guy* turned into the office that keeps getting precious messages from "I Love You Baby;)!" is about to make my heart all warm and fluttery. Just kidding. Add that to my list of things I've lied about in the last 24 hours, right behind "this leftover zaxby's salad is really tasty, just as tasty as it was last night" and "i'm not getting too crazy tonight because I have to work tomorrow."
*You may be thinking, "How does one become your favorite PPD guy?" Answer: You  WD40 my office door and save me from going insane from the constant squeaking. The three additional times you came to wd40 it up again were likely not necessary, but whatev. I appreciate your dedication. (And speak of the devil, as I was writing that Mr. PPD came into the office again to get candy from the candy bucket and check on the found lost phone. I think we just became best friends. Next time I might even share some of my secret snickers candy stash with you.)

I think that's all the internet can handle of me today....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dustin Lynch, I'm mad at you.

Ok, I guess I'm more mad at myself. Because I just listened to his entire new album (for the third time now) and I like it. I don't want to, but I like it. A lot.

The self-titled album, Lynch's full-length debut, is full of the kind of music I usually hate. Song after cliche-filled song that's just another version of the "I'm from the sticks and I like to sing about it" that every other country artist is putting out these days.  Something about it is just different, though. I don't know how or why, but these songs are just...good. Really, really good. Good enough for me to not only tolerate when I'm with my country-listening friends, but to even listen to when it's not forced.

I could literally kick myself for knowing the words to a song called "She Cranks My Tractor." (I can just see the judgement on some of your faces as you read that. And I know. It's ok to hate on me for that one, I'm majorly hating myself at the moment, too.) I'm as against songs about big green tractors/plowing the field makes me happy/rain makes mud as one can be. They typically just annoy me. But I just can't hate this one (which actually ends up annoying me even more).

"Waiting" is Lynch's version of the country standby where the girl leaves him, and he realizes too late that he loves her. It's got the usual elements: whiskey, a truck, and a broken, lonely heart. Why is this different, better than the million other songs about the exact same subject?  I don't know, I can't figure out the science behind it. It just has that thing...the same "it" factor that oozes from Lynch himself when he takes the stage. I've seen him twice now, and both times I was incredibly impressed. He has a captivating stage presence that just stays in your head even after you've left the show.

 "Cowboys and Angels" is all over the radio, and is easily one of my favorite country songs out now, and the perfect first single. I'd say its success will be hard to follow up, but in reality the hardest part of keeping up this momentum will be choosing which of the other 12 songs should be released next to let people fall for.  This album is really that good.

"Hurricane" might be my favorite of the entire album. It's simple. It's pretty. It's not going to change the world, and there's nothing about it individually that's all that earth-shattering. I can't dissect it-- somehow, it just comes together and hits you right in the chest, the heart, the soul. And what else can you really ask from a song? 

If you're a country fan and you haven't heard of Dustin Lynch yet, then save yourself the time and trouble and just buy this album now. Trust me, you're going to want it eventually, if the first single didn't convince you then the next surely will. This boy is going to be huge, go ahead and jump on the bandwagon now.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ramble On: August 20

Monday's suck, especially this one. Here's three new songs that don't:

Three Days Grace-- Chalk Outline

Halestorm-- Miss the Misery

Hurt-- How We End Up Alone

Official video on top, which is actually really a really great, make-you-think kinda deal, and below is an acoustic performance of the song that I think is AMAZING.

“I think that I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least a voice. Of a generation."

Somedays, I wake up as a little ray of sunshine. Other days (most days, actually), I'm quite the opposite. Today I am far more overcast than sunny. That's probably because I slept less than four hours last night since I did nothing but nap yesterday and then wasn't sleepy when it was actual sleep time, and also because I became completely addicted to the HBO show "Girls" and I had to watch the entire first season before I could make myself go to bed.

If you are a twenty-something girl and haven't watched this show, then I don't know what you've been doing with your life. You HAVE to watch it,  ASAP. I'm serious- it's wonderful. It's a reminder of the fact that not everyone my age has it all together (though they may make it look that way on Facebook) and that it's kinda ok to be neurotic and uptight and extremely awkward, all at the same time. There are times when I think I'm the only one of my friends that feels that way, and it's comforting to know that there are other girls out there that I can relate my weird, anal, sometimes crazy tendencies to.

If you need more convincing, look at some of the quotes on this tumblr page that I found.
I keep falling in love all over again just reading them.
Watching it last night made me feel a little better about the current state of turmoil in my life that just seems to keep escalating as the small percentage of things that I though I had somewhat of a grasp on are now slipping through my hands. I'm homeless in 10 days, unemployed in 40, and completely incapable of making any decision more difficult than what flavor of ice cream I should buy and eat in one sitting. (Well, two sittings if you count me starting to eat it in my car, with no spoon, as soon as I walked out of the grocery. And by walked, I mean hobbled, as I think I have gotten some sort of infection/flesh eating disease/lockjaw/random other 18th century malady in my foot that will likely result in me loosing the entire left side of my body. Bright side: I will lose so much weight if they have to cut off half my body! My left hip is totally fatter than my right, so I'm actually pretty lucky it's worked out this way.) 

That little rambling segues perfectly into one of my favorite Marnie quotes from "Girls" that is something I think on a daily basis: 

I couldn't have said it better myself.
And they say these are our best years. That's awesome, because I just don't think I could handle it if things got any better.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lunchtime Ramblings

Guess what! I've figured out my life! Everything is all working out perfectly and I just can't wait to start the next phase of being a grown up!

i have creepily long fingers...eww.
Just kidding. Did you really believe me? Ha! You clearly don't know me at all. Actually, the big events in my life have been going like this: last night for supper I ate my body weight in cake batter muddy buddies and sugar free amp and I have a cheetah print accent nail, a la teenager. My new career explorations have shifted from anything reasonable and sensible to moving to Austin, Texas (somewhere I have never been, mind you, but live music capital of the world, ya'll!) and doing something, unbeknownst to me at the moment. I;m also looking for a job as a nanny or au pair for a super rich family who will pay me lots of money to play with their kids all day. Clearly, I've got my affairs in order. Maybe it's due to my near death experience the other day at the pet store:

That is real fear in my eyes. Look at its beak, open and ready to eat my face.

For real though, I am now certain of two things:
1. Liquid eyeliner is pretty much 1000x's more amazing than the pencil kind, if only you are talented enough to get it on the outside of your eye and not INSIDE- because that hurts like a mother and looks really, really gross.
2.Using  coconut oil as a deep conditioner may be the greatest idea I have ever found on Pinterest. For reals, ya'll, I greased up my mop the other night with a crap-ton of coconut oil that I got at the wal-marts, put on a shower cap, and hair driered it for 15min. (For a while I considered throwing some shrimp in there, just to maximize my time and my coconut oil, because there was seriously enough to fry up a batch.)  After I washed away all the greasy goodness and dried and straightened my hair, I was amazed.  It is seriously the softest and shiniest it has been in soooooo long. I murder my naturally curly hair on a daily basis with the curling iron and/or straightener, and it is in deep need of some tlc. The coconut oil did what no other product (and trust me, I've spent a lottttt of money on trying out different products) has done. And it was less than $10. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: Thank God for Pinterest.

liquid eyeliners and super soft, shiny hairs...

And finally, the song I can't quit listening to today:

Ball Park Music-- It's Nice To Be Alive

This song was recommended to me by a very sweet boy who said he thought of me when he heard it, though he will likely a)hate the fact that i said he was sweet and/or b)never know of my calling him the "s" word because he'll probably never read my blog again, or at least not make it past all the girly makeup & hair & nail ramblings to even get to this part if he does start to read it. But oh well. If you do see this, thanks again. It did, in fact, make me feel better. 

 "Don’t stress, That’s dumb
I’m here, and it’s nice to be alive
Chill out, It’s alright, kiss me,
It’s nice to be alive"

Those are really the only lyrics that make a bit of sense in the song, but they're enough. The music is upbeat and happy, the video makes me smile, and those words are just what I need to remember. Everything is going to be just fine. I know this. I'm wasting my time stressing about it. I have a guaranteed job for the foreseeable future, and I have plenty of time to explore a world of opportunities that are available to me. Telling myself this as I listen to this song is as comforting as a nice chest-pat (which is, actually, a bit comforting once you get over the initial shock of someone beating on your collar bone. Ok, not really, but it's the thought that counts.)

This all reminds me of one of my most favorite quotes from one of my most favorite books:     

"Breathe. And just appreciate, for a moment, the freedom in this chaos"
                                                                            -Dexter, This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ramble On: August 6- Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons-- "It's Time" 

"The path to Heaven runs through miles of clouded hell"

-- My favorite lyric from the song

When a song is so stuck in your head that, even though you only remember one line (which happens to only be "I get a little bit" which does not make it easy to figure out what it is actually called or who it is by, just in case you're wondering) you have to get up out of bed and listen to it at 2am, then you know it's good. It's even better when you find a super bad ass, way big amazing video of an acoustic performance of it that makes you fall even more in love with the song. 

This acoustic version of "It's Time" is so organic and natural, it showcases the real talents of the band. The singers can really sing, the musicians are actually capable of playing their instruments. This song, especially this acoustic version, makes you feel. And what more purpose does a song have than that.
Click here to go to iTunes and buy the song.

Ramble On: August 6 - Queen

Just last night someone asked me if I was a Queen fan. My response was my typical one that I give him when he asks if I like a band that I just haven't put a conscious amount of effort into exploring: I answer by saying "ahh, they're ok" and leaving it at that. Of course I'm familiar with Queen, but I'm far from the president of the Freddie Mercury fan club.  I've liked most of their songs I have heard, I just haven't dug deep and fallen under their spell.

But sometimes, it just takes one song to really change that and convert me from a casual listener to a crazed super fangirl. "It's Late" might be that song for me when it comes to Queen.  As I was watching a documentary on Kurt Cobain earlier (because my life is wildly thrilling and I've developed a minor addiction to Kurt as of late) there was one part where Kurt was being interviewed about his childhood and he talked about sitting in his father's truck while he was working and listening to Queen until he ran the battery dead. In the background, "It's Late" was playing, as I discovered after using the Soundhound app on my phone, and I fell in love with it instantly.  I had to buy it, and I've been playing all six minutes of it on repeat since then. I highly recommend you do the same.

Other songs from the News of the World album that you may not have heard before but I really recommend: "Spread Your Wings" and "Sleeping on the Sidewalk." They're not the typical overly theatrical, rock-opera like songs that I was really used to hearing from Queen. And just in case you're wondering now, I can easily say I am, in fact, a fan of Queen. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes...Is this real life?

Earlier I posted a blog about my attempt at being healthy and avoiding carbs. I did pretty good all week, so I thought I would satiate my intense chocolate craving and bake something. Usually, me baking something turns into a massacre of butter and sugar, a la Paula Deen. Trying to keep up with my healthy ways, I thought I'd try a new recipe (do you even have to ask if it's from Pinterest?) for low fat chocolate cupcakes. 

I know, I know: low fat chocolate cupcakes. Sounds like an oxymoron, right? But I was dying to eat something chocolatey and cakey, so I decided to try.

The recipe is simple, and only had four ingredients:
  • 18.25 oz Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix
  • 1.4 oz sugar free, fat free, instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 1/3 cups water

The directions are just as simple: Just combine all the ingredients. First, mix together the pumpkin and water (and warning, if you're as messy as I am, you might want to just stir these together with a spatula and not the hand mixer so that you don't spray the walls and yourself with orange splashes). 

The batter is extremely thick, which made it easy to scoop into the cupcake holders. When they bake, though, they don't change shape a whole lot, so if you want them to be pretty then you need to scoop them in pretty little balls. If not, they looks a little rough. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full (and they really don't rise much at all, so make sure you get them pretty full) and bake about 25 - 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

My biggest worry was that these would taste strongly like pumpkin, or just really gross in general. But they really didn't! They were actually good. Clearly not a full-fat chocolate cupcake, but if you're looking for an alternative then they really are worth a try.

Looks ugly. Tastes yummy.

These taste the best when warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds, then topped with a little fat free whipped cream. And, of course, sprinkles. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I love carbs. and carbs love my butt.

I love all things carb-filled. Cake, rolls, cupcakes, bread sticks, pretzels, basically anything that is full of flour and sugar, I crave. Unfortunately, loving carbs is keeping my big fat butt big and fat. I'm struggling with losing the last 10-15 pounds that I'd like to shed to reach my goal weight, and this week I decided to step up my healthy eating and cut out the processed carbs to see if that would help.

Birth Weight
My goal weight is much more realistic than this. My bones are bigger now than when I was born, so I add on at least ten pounds to my birth weight.

So since Monday I've tried my hardest to avoid all processed food and carbs, with the exception of fruit. I did the low carb thing in high school and tried to cut out everything carby, including fruit, and it was miserable. Besides, if I'm choosing to eat watermelon instead of cake, I feel like I need a dang trophy and not guilt. Thanks anyway, Mr. Atkins. 
Going all unprocessed is actually kinda easy for me in the summer. I love to eat fresh fruit and veggies from the garden, so really all I have to do is replace all the unhealthy, bad stuff with all the good (and did I mention free, because I am a broke ass and the food from the parental's garden is for free). Plus my friends who are lucky enough to not constantly worry about what they are eating and if a piece of bread is going to make them gain ten pounds aren't in town, so my meals are for the most part up to me. 

No surprisingly, I have felt really, really great this week and I think I may have lost a few pounds (I don't own a scale on purpose because I really don't need one to obsess over).  I thought I'd share some of my favorite low carb and mostly unprocessed meals that i have eaten this week, in hopes that they would work for someone else!

My breakfast was fruit each day- specifically a banana. And coffee, which I know is bad but necessary when you're not a morning person yet forced to deal with humans in the morning. I don't use sugar (only Splenda) and no creamer in my coffee, so that helps a little. 
  Lunch was raw veggies. I know it doesn't sound very filling, and probably isn't the healthiest, but if you eat a lot of them and drink lots of water, it can really fill you up! I usually had a piece of fruit, too, if I was still hungry and needed something to help me avoid the office candy bowl. 

Mmm, tasty. It actually wasn't too bad, really. Cucumbers and peppers, straight from the garden with a little salt and pepper.

Dinner was where I got my protein. Plus, it gave me a chance to cook, which is something I really love to do. Monday night I had a "cleaning out the fridge" meal. It was going to be an omelet, but the egg stuck to the pan, so it became scrambled eggs with a side of sauteed mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes. And some avocado, because it was in the fridge and I do love avocado. It was seriously really, really good. Random as can be, but still pretty tasty. And even better than that, I added no fat to any of it, no unnatural anything. Just eggs and veggies, and a little salt and pepper. 

It's like a fridge cleaning fiesta. 

Monday, I was super proud of myself because I didn't cheat one single time. Tuesday, not so successful. Mi madre came to Lex and we went out to dinner. I had sushi, and not the really healthy all raw, no rice kind...because it kinda scares me still. I suck, I know, but I'm getting there. Wednesday lunch I was a super cheater too because the office ate chicken salad, wheat thin chips, and fruit for lunch. My carb cravings were super intense that day, just from seeing and starring at the chips, so I had to give in and eat a few.

For dinner, though, I had some of my very favorite healthy food in the whole world- ground turkey. I also had (free!) cabbage from home, so I decided to go all intense and make cabbage rolls/stuffed cabbage. Seriously, if you're trying to eat healthier, you have got to try substituting ground turkey for hamburger. It's 97% fat free and really doesn't taste that much different. 

I made cabbage rolls! I may be an old lady, but I'm a good cookin' old lady.

Not surprisingly, I went to Pinterest and found a recipe for the cabbage rolls and then basically ignored it and did what I wanted instead. I boiled some cabbage leaves then filled them with a little bit of the turkey-filling mixture: turkey (obviously), egg, onion, garlic, seasonings, and some broken whole wheat spaghetti because I didn't have rice. I put them in a baking dish, covered them in tomato juice and some more spices and stuff, put aluminum foil over them, and baked them til they were done! And they really were tasty, with no added fat or carbs, aside from the spaghetti.   

Tonight, I used more turkey, but in a different way. I made mini turkey meatloaf muffins! These are some of my very favorite Pinterest-inspired recipes I've ever made: I just took turkey, a little splash of tomato juice, a splash of buttermilk (because I had it in my fridge and didn't have any more eggs since I dropped the last one on the kitchen floor last night- congrats Kelli, you suck), some more broken whole wheat spaghetti, onion, garlic, salt, and  pepper and mixed it all up. Then I spooned it into a muffin tin and baked them until they were brown! They are extra super delicious when you put barbeque sauce on top, but I didn't have any, so I cut up a tomato and pretended it was barbeque sauce instead (I can be very tricky with my mind and my belly when I try). 

I also cooked cabbage for the first time! My mom makes super tasty delicious boiled cabbage, and part of the reason it is so super tasty is all the bacon and other assorted salted pork products  and fat she cooks in with it. Mine was just water and cabbage and lots of salt and pepper: and it was really good! Mama would be so proud (after she got done thinking I was crazy for leaving out the fat).

Mini turkey meatloaf muffins! Yummmm

 Whether or not I've actually lost any weight this week or not (though I really feel like I have) I just feel so much better about myself. My body feels better without all that heavy, bad fat that is so unnecessary. Eating as clean as I can makes me feel skinnier, and really, that's almost as important to me as actually being skinnier.