to be so bold.

“I did something kind of weird,” I confessed to one of my best friends in a drunken haze. I was visiting her in our sleepy college town–a place where we had found soulmates in friendships, but not in boys.

“What?” she replied, politely listening while trying to fight off sleep (I’m notorious for chatting all night while people are trying to go to bed).

“I told the universe I was ready for the big love. The man I’m going to marry,” I said with a dumb, inebriated smile on my face.

“Do you think it will really happen, though? Like, this soon?” she asked. A valid question.

“I really do.”

Fast forward a couple short weeks, and that’s when I met him–Craig.

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Stitch Fix #10!

If you have ever complimented an article of my clothing, at this point 80% of the time I chipe in that it came in a Stitch Fix box. I love this service, and think it is extremely helpful for bizzay ladies like myself. Not sure how Stitch Fix works? Let me explain real quick, or you can check out my first review:

You get a Stitch Fix account. You fill out a detailed, wide-encompassing style profile explaining what you like, what makes you feel confident, etc. From there, you are assigned your own personal stylist that hooks you up with 5 super unique pieces. This service costs a $20 styling fee. Once your items have been shipped and you receive them on the date of your choosing, you have three days to play around with the items. Try them on, pair them with things you already have–just don’t rip off the tags! Love just a few items? You pay for only the things you keep, and deduct the $20 styling fee from your total. All you have to do is plop the things you don’t want to keep in a prepaid envelope and ship it back in your mailbox. Love it all? Enjoy a 25% discount on TOP of deducting the styling fee. It’s pretty much the sweetest deal.

So now that you get how it works, let me show you how my November Stitch Fix turned out!

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Man, honestly? It’s hard to remember the first time.

I remember the first time I outwardly thought I was fat.

I was putting on a favorite dress of mine–a little worn, probably a little old. I may had outgrown it a bit since I was growing quickly. I was 5 and my mom was helping me get dressed when I asked her, point-blank:

“Mom, am I fat?”

I remember the look of surprise on her face. Here was this tiny creature, dressed sweetly in a 101 Dalmatians dress and bare feet, asking one of the most loaded questions possible. Her surprised face became a furrowed brow. “No, you’re perfect just the way you are,” she told me, as stern as I’d ever seen her. “I think I like the way I am,” I remember telling her. And with that, I demanded my photo be taken in my favorite dress.

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Not me in the aforementioned dress, but looking cool as hell with Jasmine. Unabashedly baring my belly!

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Fall Has the Best Foods: Chorizo Chili, Y’all

I haven’t posted a recipe in awhile, and this one was too good to pass up. As any of you are probably well aware, my Crockpot & I are good buds. I turn to my Crockpot when I want something delicious, homemade, and requires me to pay no attention at all. Lots of Crockpot recipes require pre-made ingredients, but I’ve been fortunate enough to find recipes that can be quickly adapted so that I can make some ingredients by scratch.

Chili is probably one of my most favorite things to cook in a crockpot, because the smell is so gratifying throughout the day. To complement smell with health, I made this turkey-based chili last night. And as Leslie Knope would think, it was so good…it was pretty sexy.

Get it, ladies.

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True Life: I’m An Almost-30 Something That Unironically Loves Taylor Swift

I wrote one of my final papers in college about how Taylor Swift was detrimental to the feminist movement and a negative influence on young girls.

I was adamant in my writings that her lyrics perpetuated dated female stereotypes, created an unhealthy competition between women for male attention, and–most importantly–she determined her self-worth based on her attachment to a man, rather than from within and based on her own talents and contributions as a decent human.

For years, I rolled my eyes when she came on the radio, and I proudly wrote snarky Facebook statuses proclaiming my distaste. I applauded my famous heroes, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, for burning her at the Golden Globes and snarled when I heard Swift’s infamous response. I howled with disdain when she insisted that she was not a feminist. I joined the chorus of “WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING BESIDES YOUR RELATIONSHIPS, TAYLOR SWIFT” that filled my favorite feminist blogs and friendship conversations.

Then, something shifted.

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lessons.

I had a discussion with a good friend of mine recently that there are some things I wish were actually told in college, or high school, or whenever. Yes, academics are important and awesome, but there are just things I wish someone had shown me or told me about before they happened. To save you all some grief, I’ve typed out some of the things in my life that have happened I’ve been analyzing, and wish someone had explained to me in a text book earlier.

  • All relationships take work, not just the one with the person you’re in love with. Friendship takes effort, too.
  • You’re going to grow separately from people you have spend a considerable amount of time growing alongside, and that’s ok. If you keep lines of communication open, this will help.
  • Be available when you can, but don’t be afraid to say “I can’t”. If doing something will make you unhappy, you don’t have to do it.
  • Know your limits, and when it’s time to walk away. This goes for everything: friendships, jobs, and too much pizza.
  • If you’re a lady, don’t be afraid to be intimidating. Use your voice and be loud if you want. Use your brain and don’t apologize for it. If you’re a dude, be cool with ladies being intimidating, and support them when you agree.
  • People will always try to knock you down for wanting to be more than what they are.
  • Random acts of kindness go farther than you could ever initially believe.
  • Be an ally.
  • Remember to celebrate everyone’s successes, no matter how unrelated to your success it may be. We all have different goals and dreams, and just because it’s different than yours, it doesn’t mean it’s less than.
  • Never, ever let a boss tell you you’ll never do better than a job with them. It’s degrading, and you can do better. Promise.
  • Traveling the world doesn’t define an open-minded person. You can be just as close-minded after seeing the world as someone who has never stepped out of their hometown.
  • Live music is great, but sitting down at a concert is THE BOMB.
  • Always have a little money saved in case of emergencies, like your health insurance prices going up…or that pair of shoes you have been lusting over going on sale.
  • COOK FOR YOURSELF, DAMMIT. Don’t eat out (too much)! Cook and cook for others all the time.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell someone when they’ve hurt you. I was a doormat for many years of my life. When I stopped being a doormat, people stopped stomping all over me because they stopped visiting, and that’s ok too.
  • Try hard at your job, and ask for help when you need it.
  • Find a partner when you’re ready to ~settle down~ (dumbest term). Not a boyfriend/girlfriend, not a dude/lady to bone. You will have plenty of those. But when it’s ~The One~, you’re going to want a ride-or-die, defend you always, awesome partner that you will have to compromise, be honest, and be deeply in love with.
  • At some point, you’ll stop asking people how old they are, and friendships will bloom regardless of the years between your ages.
  • EXERCISE. I can’t stress it enough. Find some sort of weekly outlet of something you enjoy to do. Your metabolism will slow down and your body won’t be able to enjoy eating half a frozen pizza in one sitting like it used to.
  • You’ll start to bond with friends over something other than getting drunk and going out together (but you’ll still bond over that, too).
  • Hobbies will never stop being important. Get involved in things you’re passionate about and don’t stop.
  • Get your hair cut often and buy clothes that fit well.
  • Invest in things. Invest in good clothes, stock markets, and good people.
  • Celebrate and enjoy community.
  • When in doubt, NPR podcasts cure all ailments.
  • You’re never too old to start or rekindle a passion for doing something you love.
  • You don’t have to like everybody, but if you’re gonna be a jerk, have a solid reason to be one.
  • It’s totally fine to have a weird, loud laugh.
  • Falling in love with yourself is the most important thing you can do.

I love how everyone I know and care about is constantly evolving and learning, growing and exploring. We all figure out things on our own time, and these are things that have taken me years to understand and appreciate. I can’t wait to keep seeing what changes are ahead for all of us, and I hope you’ll share with my the knowledge you’ve gained along the way, too.

What We Ate Last Week: 2/8-2/14, 2015

I got such a positive response from posting my dinner menu last week, I thought I would share it all again! We enjoyed lots of tastiness, a variety of flavors and ingredients, and not enduring the cold weather outside.

Monday, February 8th

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Thoughts & adjustments: First of all, I used a cup of quinoa rather than a cup of couscous because ~someone~in my house claims to dislike couscous (when we were eating this yummy dish and I asked him the last time he even tried couscous, he said he couldn’t remember! I’ll get him to like that grain!). I adjusted the spices a bit (adding more than suggested), but it contributed to a very flavorful, yummy dish that we enjoyed as leftovers for a couple more days. I enjoyed the variety of veggies & meats hanging out together.

Tuesday, February 9th

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Thoughts & adjustments: These tasty little guys were my contribution to a book club meeting. My girl Laura shared this recipe with me, and it was one of her strongest finds. As I was gathering my ingredients, I realized that I only owned one normal muffin tin, but 2 mini-cupcake tins, so these turned into mini taco cupcakes. If you check out the recipe, that means I only made one layer rather than two. All my book club ladies said they liked the bite size option, and topped these treats with fresh pico de gallo, sour cream, and chopped cilantro. I would try this recipe again, but without a time constraint, I would make my own refried beans (check out my favorite from scratch recipe here). A crowd pleaser, for sure.

Wednesday, February 10th

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Thoughts & adjustments: During busy weeks, Craig & I indulge on Blue Apron boxes (which you should totally try!). Not only are the recipes delicious, they are fun to replicate on your own. This was one of my most favorite recipes that was given, but I made a few adjustments. I used ground turkey rather than ground beef, eliminated the almonds, and couldn’t find a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, so substituted some good salsa. Regardless, this is a easy, tasty dish that highlights some yummy veggies. Simple & delicious.

Thursday, February 11th

Thoughts & adjustments: This was a pretty fast meal, and I was able to serve it for four of us. Marinating the steak is key to keep in some of those traditional Greek flavors. I followed the potato recipe pretty closely, but threw in 1/2 cup of grated parmesean cheese (because I mean, why not?). Everyone gushed over the potatoes. The asparagus was simple and added a good contrast to the potatoes. A great ensemble of dishes if you are a lover of Greek food.

Saturday, February 14th

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Thoughts & adjustments: Lobster tail is a traditional Valentine’s Day meal, and that tradition does not skip our house. Rather than fighting others for reservations, Craig and I enjoy cooking together on the sappiest day of the year. I must admit that we had a bit of a pasta disaster (heart raviolis are tougher than they look!), hence the store-bought tortellinis, but we made our favorite salad dressing to go alongside our favorite part of the lobster. Lobster tail shouldn’t be for just V-Day though–enjoy it throughout the year (Earthfare often has lobster tail deals every month or so).

It was a very tasty, vibrant week of meals at our house. Let me know what you’re going to try, I look forward to hearing your adjustments and ideas!

What We Ate This Week: 2/2-2/8, 2015

I’ve been talking about food a LOT with my friends and family lately. Food is awesome. Food helps us sustain, food can be pleasureable, food gives us energy and joy and all those great things. In our society, we have created a dichotomy of “healthy” versus “fatty”, and to me that is just detrimental. I think the best dietary lifestyle you can choose is one of being conscious–being aware of what you’re putting into your body, its ingredients, and where it all comes from.

Most people who know me (or follow me on Instagram) also know how much I love to cook. In our home, we cook about 5 nights a week. Granted: we are a childless, upper-middle class couple that has access to grocery stores, farmers markets, and other resources that make eating consciously attainable, and for that I am extremely grateful. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I encourage you to try the recipes I will be posting each week. So many people say that finding recipes, grocery shopping, and prepping for meals waste too much time, but I want to show all of you that eating at home can be just as delicious and satisfying as a night out. I gather most of my meal ideas from Pinterest, Eating Well magazine, and various other cookbooks I have collected over the years. So, for the week of 2/2-2/8, 2015, this is what Craig and I ate for dinner:

Monday night

  • Korean beef over white rice + Sriracha green beans
    • Recipe for Korean beef: http://veryculinary.com/2015/01/04/cheater-korean-beef/
    • I made the white rice traditionally on my stove
    • Green beans: I make these by ear every time. Usually it involves sesame oil, soy sauce, and Sriracha, garlic powder, and more-or-less stir frying them for about 8 minutes.

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Thoughts: This Korean beef dish is ADDICTIVE. I had it again for lunch the next day and it was amazing leftovers–and the cooking of it all was so simple (literally took 15 minutes). This is a great way to try unique flavors without the stress of finding rare ingredients and a difficult cooking process. I highly recommend.

Tuesday Night

Thoughts: I freaking loved these tacos, and didn’t miss having any kind of meat. Adding some favorite hot sauce and sour cream perfected it. I fry my own taco shells, but Craig had his with just doubled-up corn tortillas, and we were equally satisfied. If you’re trying to go veggie a couple nights a week, but are afraid of being denied the fullness and satisfaction of meat, you should definitely try these.

Wednesday Night

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Thoughts: Carbonara is my favorite pasta dish, but I do miss the variety of veggies found in most red sauces. Adding peas and using the “Hidden Veggie” noodles make me feel like I’m not missing out on my vegetables and being too indulgent. Although it’s hard to pass up bacon, I used proscuitto for a leaner meat. This is a pretty common recipe in our house, and it should be in yours, too.

Thursday Night

Thoughts: This was my second time using the Garlic Chicken & Potato bake recipe, and the potatoes are DEFINITELY the highlight of this dish. Baking it all together saves you some dishes, but it is a timely meal. As for the asparagus, it’s my favorite vegetable, and I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it. Cooking it in a sauce was different than my usual roasting technique, and I was pretty satisfied.

Sunday Night

  • Crockpot Chicken Sloppy Joes, spicy ranch potato wedges, and homemade cole slaw
    • Recipe for sloppy joes: http://www.fivehearthome.com/2014/05/14/slow-cooker-chicken-sloppy-joes/
    • Recipe for potato wedges: Heat your oven to 500 degrees. Slice one Russet potato into wedges by initially cutting the potato in half, then making diagonal chops (should produce 13-15 long wedges). Sprinkle with ranch seasonings and crushed red pepper. Drizzle olive oil on potatoes, toss to combine. Bake on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes, checking on them frequently to avoid burning. Easiest & tastiest.
    • Recipe for cole slaw: I used a package of pre-chopped and sliced Dole Coleslaw, about a cup of mayo, 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar, and who-knows-how-much amount of garlic powder & Season All. I know this is not super helpful, but coleslaw is really just one of those dishes I trust my gut on. Also, lots of recipes tell you to add sugar, which just sounds ga-ross to me.

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(I feel like this picture does not do justice to the yumminess of this sandwich)10988746_10101539857590138_197544628_o

Thoughts: Sunday is my coveted Crockpot day. I love my Crockpot. We are like, really good friends. And she did not fail me last night. These “sloppy joes” were delicious and made from scratch, so there were no added preservatives. I literally have no idea why people still buy Manwich when it is so easy (and delicious) to make your own sloppy sauce. Coleslaw was yummy as always and I got distracted so my potatoes got a little crispier than usual, but what can ya do? Still tasty 😉

Let me know if you try any of these recipes this week, and what alterations you made! Keep cooking!

Why Slut Shaming Makes You Look Bad, Not Other Women

I’m so tired of women using the word “slut” to describe other women, or using the word as an adjective to describe another woman’s behavior.

It reminds me about when I was going into middle school. An older friend of mine sat me down and explained the hierarchy of my new personal hell school. “There are preps and jocks, weirdos, nerds, but you definitely don’t want to hang out with the sluts,” she warned.

“What makes someone a slut?” I asked. This word was new to me, and I wasn’t even sure what it entailed.

“It’s a girl who always flirts with other guys, does things with them,” my friend explained. I didn’t quite understand how a girl who got the attention of guys was someone I didn’t want to be friends with. Or how her behavior was any different than my popular friends who turned into giggling maniacs whenever a dude entered the room. I tried to agree that yes, being flirty with boys was so not okay, and entered middle school with a sexist knowledge that would take years to erase.

It is because I learned the word “slut” in middle school that I associate it with juvenile behavior today. Not that being promiscuous is juvenile, but rather caring so much that you give it such a demeaning title makes me think you are a lot immature, and perhaps a wee bit jealous.

I never grew up in a home where words were used lightly. “Shut up!” was the equivalent of dropping the F-bomb, or maybe even less tolerable. My parents never described other women as “sluts” or “skanks”, and corrected me when I was a teenager. I remember casually calling a classmate a “whore” at the dinner table, and my dad asked calmly: “You have prostitutes in your class?”. When I immediately told him that of COURSE we didn’t (c’mon, dad), he responded “Then you shouldn’t call anyone that.” It sank in.

Throughout my young adulthood I have had friends that view sex on a varying degree, ranging from those who want to wait until marriage to those who want to wait to the end of this sentence. I can’t remember a time–as a young adult–I’ve ever truly cared about their preferences. I do not view those abstaining any less than those who are bountiful in their conquests, or visa versa. As long as it is being consensual (which sex should ALWAYS BE)…

what the hell do I care?

I feel that slut shaming is one of the biggest detriments we have to modern feminism. The classic dichotomy of virgin versus sex-crazed maniac is a double edged sword that does nothing for either side. Everyone’s personal view of sex is just that–personal–and should be viewed as such. Just because I have been in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship for the past three years does not make me better (or worse) than anyone else, and I don’t claim to know the best way to have a relationship for everyone. I know what is right for my sexual and mental health, and I want that for everyone. You should not be having to combat society’s stigmas while simultaneously trying to figure out your comfort levels with sexual behavior. Using words like “slut”, “ho”, or any variety of the word do nothing for us as women but bring us down.

There is the argument of reclaiming words like “slut” in the positive sense, and if that is your choice, by ALL MEANS, go for it. However, using that word in the negative sense is not pro-woman, and just not okay. If you are calling yourself or another woman “slutty” to bring about a negative view of a behavior or individual, you are not doing anyone any favors. Your personal view of sexuality does not need to be imposed on every woman. If you have a voice, you should use it to advocate for women’s sexual rights rather than demean them.

I understand that a lot of times, a woman’s sexuality is viewed as something that is done for the attention of men, and that in itself rips it of it’s empowerment. To that I say “poo poo”. Not all women are having sex solely with straight men, and your view of “why” a woman should have sex is just as damning as a man’s thoughts that he is owed sex. A woman should have sex because she wants to and is digging it with the partner of her choice.

So what I’m saying is this: if you identify yourself as a feminist (which everyone should, because it is 2014 and we’re not a bunch of idiotic Neanderthals), stop using the word slut negatively to describe the behavior of women. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s hurtful and sets us back about 40 years. If you have concerns about a friend’s sexual choices, find a different way to approach it. You can inquire about someone’s sexual business with different words or tones.

Or keep your damn opinion to yourself, and keep doing you. If that’s what you’re into. 😉