Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Monday (Er, Tuesday…nope, nope. Didn't make that either...Wednesday) Mantra: Perspective

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Keeps things in perspective

I've learned a lot about myself these last  72 96 hours.

For example, I can survive off of 3 hours of sleep a night. Not well, and I don't make any sense or do things correctly, but hey, I'm alive, so that's the good news. I learned that I appreciate really weird things, like notifications from my electric company on my crazy usage thanks to moving and having to leave the doors wide open all day long in summer- in the desert! And how much I like the better and far more stylish shopping cart returns at the Lowe's by my house, which I now frequent hourly. Or - the best one - (Folks, you might want to sit down for this) how I managed to find the the only house in Arizona that doesn't have wiring for Internet hookup, resulting in a two week unwanted No Internet ban because a special permit has to be attained through the city just for my house.

Oh, the joys of moving. Which is why this is happening on Tuesday Wednesday instead of Monday.

Thanks to the Universe trying to kill me and ruin my life (movers broke my furniture, painter didn't have a chance to finish because carpets weren't dry from cleaning because prior owners failed to mention/demonstrate how filthy/smelly their carpets were by masking it with what must have been a gigantic bottle of Febreeze and fancy interior furnishings) I have become somewhat cranky and ungrateful.

But the Universe put everything right back into perspective for me, too.

The other night I found out that my dear, dear friend was going to have emergency surgery. A big, scary surgery.


Just like that, all my stupid and angry and irritating things didn't matter at all. I can replace almost everything, but I can't replace her.

It's so easy to get caught up in the little things that feel big. They feel huge and monstrous and awful. Until something that actually is huge and monstrous and awful comes along. Then your perspective changes.

For me, and maybe this would work for you too, next time something feels disastrous, I'm going to really pause a moment and weigh the situation out. Is it really that bad? Or does it just feel like it in the moment? I'm sure this will save us all a lot of grief and unnecessary stress.

Of course I need to throw in a Public Service Announcement, which is: Spend time with the ones you love. EVERYTHING else can wait.

With that, my friends, I'm taking a few weeks off from the blog. I'll miss you, but there are some things I need to attend to. Take care of yourselves and the ones you love. Everything else can wait.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Monday Mantra: Unconditional Positivity

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Never apologize for who you are
Society 6

adjective: self-deprecating
  1. modest about or critical of oneself, especially humorously so.
    "self-deprecating jokes"

I want you to understand unconditional positivity.

Sometimes it's fine to make fun of yourself. Sometimes it's even healthy and hilarious and humbling. In ways, it connects us to each other through the dumb things we've done, bad decisions we've made, and horrible fates we've faced.

But sometimes it's too much.

Sometimes we unnecessarily beat ourselves up just to fit in with others. Sometimes it's due to our own lack of belief in ourselves. We lessen ourselves for others when we shouldn't.

I want to show you how important it is to build yourself up instead of break yourself down.

There's a writer who I just love, but who always - without fail - puts herself down. On one hand, this allows me to relate to her scenarios and that gives me comfort to know I'm not alone. It even makes me wonder if I should write that way more often because I want you to feel good about who you are and be able to relate too. But more than that, more than anything, I want you to feel empowered. 

Empowered to be who you are without having to apologize for it.

That's why I try not to write, too often, in a way where I beat myself up. We see that enough in the world. We feel it from those who are fighting this battle themselves. We hear it in the ghosts of negativity that haunt our minds whispering "You aren't and never will be good enough, and everyone knows that."

 I want you to feel unconditional positivity.

I want you to know you are a valuable, important, irreplaceable person on this earth.

Arrogance isn't where I'm going with this. Arrogance is the extreme opposite of what we're talking about. Balance is our goal. The ability to find confidence in yourself that doesn't hinge on what others believe about you. The ability to neither have to say how awesome you are or how terrible you are at something, rather to simply be who you are and know for yourself. 

I have a friend who has never, not once, shown insecurity in herself. I think it is the most beautiful thing I've witnessed and quite possibly the hardest thing I've had to understand. Because at first, when we hang out, I feel so measly in my own self confidence near someone who totally and completely embraces who she is. But then something changes. Then I find a way to do that myself. I find a way to embrace and let go, all at the same time.

That is what I want for you. 

To embrace who you are and to let go of thinking that's not enough. To embrace your faults and let go of apologizing for them. To embrace your good and bad decisions and to let go of feeling that you have to break yourself down just to measure up to everyone else.

I want you to experience unconditional positivity.

I want you to give that to yourself.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Perfectly Seasoned Steak

I'm a big fan of BBQ's and grilling, but sometimes I want a simpler way to cook my steak without having to heat the grill, go outside in the blazing Arizona sun, and then clean the grill later. For me, that's broiling. I find that it gives me richer flavor and only takes a fraction of the time. First, you need a good piece of meat. I prefer grass fed steak and get mine from a local farmer, but the grass fed variety in grocery stores these days is pretty good too. If you can, however, I recommend supporting your local farmer friends and purchasing directly from them. There's my PSA for the day. Thank you, thank you very much.

Once you've allowed your steak to defrost fully, evenly sprinkle across it:

  • Sea salt
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Paprika (careful with the amount on this one)
Depending on your personal preference add more or less of each of the items. Remember, less is more in many cases, but with most of these you can go heavier. Let the seasoned steaks sit in your fridge and soak in the seasonings for at least an hour, but longer if you can. 

When you're ready to get cooking, put your oven on broil and give it a few minutes to heat up. It's important to have your oven rack right about in the middle of the oven, but this, of course, varies by oven type. Be sure, however, to place your steaks on a broiler pan as this allows them to cook more evenly. There's a lot of debate around leaving the oven jar open for broiling, but I have personally found it to be better if I close my oven door.

Then, depending on the size and thickness of your steaks, set a timer for anywhere from 6 -12 minutes. Again, this varies on the steak sizes, so if you're unsure go with a smaller time frame at first. Remember: You can always cook them longer, but you can never cook them less. After the timer goes off, check your steak by cutting into the thickest section of it. Normally, I like to flip mine over for roughly 4 more minutes of cooking to get it just where I like it, which is medium-rare.

Once it's at the point you like, pull it out and let it sit for a couple of minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

All Around The World: Isle of Capri (Naples, Italy)

Wanderlust: A very strong and irresistible impulse or desire to travel the world.
ImagineNations Bouquet Wall Map

Isle of Capri

First and foremost, per the instructions given to me by my tour guide, I am to tell you that you absolutely, positively cannot call this island kuh-pree, like the pants. No, no, no. This is cap-ree, the isle of heaven on earth. (Clearly, I should do this pronunciation of words business full time. F-uh-ll tie-mmm) Anyway, feast your eyes on this beauty.
We were only here for a portion of a day, but this is hands down one of my favorite places in the entire world. I would come back in a heartbeat. The scenery, the little roads that wind through the town with the numerous stores to shop in, the overwhelming beauty -  beyond believable. If and when you go, you must see the handmade jewelry boxes (the specialty of this island) the giant lemons, and Italian shoes made right in front of your eyes.
Jewelry boxes found in this little shopping section.

The Boyfriend's giant bear hands next to the even bigger lemons.
The best part of Capri? The views. But first, to get to the amazing, breathtaking, life changing views, you must take a chair lift to the top…a chair lift that goes over people's houses and farm land.

Oh, hello down there, sir. Planning a BBQ, I see. Oh, and ma'am, sorry to disturb you on laundry day. Carry on!

The view on the way up. Lovely, serene, peaceful.

And this. THIS. I mean really, whoa!
The Mountain Society 6
Once your chair lift ride ends, you find a sidewalk and some stairs that lead to, what seems like, the edge of the earth bordering on what can only be described as heaven.

Up Society 6
These next couple of pictures are what caused us to, uh, get left behind from the rest of the tour group and almost get left on the island entirely. Worth it. I can think of worse things to happen.

What you're seeing is the view from the top all the way down to the ocean full of boats below. 
The View from Heaven Society 6
Capri Society 6

Once back down the mountain and after we realized we were left behind, we grabbed a bus, found our group, and ended up in the main part of town. I would have happily and aimlessly wandered through all of the little streets for days. This little sitting area was great for relaxing and provided more glorious views of the island.

The Isle of Capri is not to be missed. If you're in Naples and have a day to kill, find a tour that takes you from Naples to the isle for one of the best and most memorable days of your life.