Distinctive Characteristics

The other night I was watching Dancing with the Stars. Yes, I know, it ended a few weeks ago, but I was on vacation so I DVR’ed it. I finally got caught up and I”m soooooo happy with the final results. I might have been a bit shocked as the order of 2, 3, and 4, but 1 was who I wanted to win.

Anyway, I wanted to see Emma Slater and Rashad Jennings win it, mainly because I wanted to see Emma win a season. I always tend to root for someone who hasn’t won in the past, that is when it comes to the Pro Dancers. Obviously, unless it’s a come back show, the stars haven’t won the mirror ball :).

Again… moving back to the topic I started with… I keep getting side tracked…. For some reason the evening that I was watching I started paying attention to Emma’s face. Something about her facial expressions reminded me of Kate Winslet. Then I started thinking about other English actresses and Kiera Knightly popped into my head, that’s the reason for the three photos up above. The more I contemplated and debated, the more I realized that these 3 women had similar features.

Now I know, I know, there are a lot of women out there who are English, these are just the three that popped in to my head. But it made me start thinking… different nationalities have similarities in their looks, right? Does it make it easier to distinguish if someone is this nationality or that nationality without ever hearing them speak.

I’m not sure I’m being very eloquent with my words right now…. But I guess what I wondered is, do American’s have similarities in their looks? Something that distinguishes them from other nationalities, or is it just the pompousness that I hear we have about us. I prefer to think I’m not arrogant, but I sometimes wonder if I don’t have that pretentiousness about me too.

Just random thoughts for this Tuesday. Now back to regularly scheduled programming. ha!

Failure

Failure is a hard thing to really define because it has many different meanings to many different people. You could have failed a test, a class, or feel like you’re failing life and each one of those things is measured by different terms. So what is failure? If you ask the dictionary, the overall broad answer is, Failure is the lack of success. haha… okay so what does that mean?

Do I really have a definition, no? I don’t. I wish I did. Most days I feel like a failure. A Failure as a mother, wife, daughter, etc. It’s so easy to be our own worst critics. It’s so easy to plug in everything we did wrong and dwell on that fact. When you do that you have a tendency to make yourself feel even worse about a situation.

The state of the world is difficult and hard. It even has a tendency to wear on a person. I used to be the biggest optimist about everything. Almost to the point of being an annoying optimist. These days I fall more on the pessimistic side of life. I try not to and my New Year’s Resolution was to be happier. That’s something I work on everyday.

No, I’m not depressed. I just feel like I’m having a midlife crisis and hopefully, I’m not at midlife. I’m not sure where I fall in, I’m not sure what comes next. It’s weird to look back and see how things unfolded. It’s sometimes hard to let go of the past. It’s sometimes hard to not wish you’d have done things differently. The thing is… if you did them differently you may not be where you are today. That could be a good thing or it could be a bad thing.

I guess the point of this post is…. Don’t let a failure define you. Learn from it. Overcome it. Do better. Move on. Leave the past in the past. Let Success be your definition. Now excuse me while I go look in the mirror and tell myself that!

Carrot Cupcakes

Here it is Monday after Easter and I think I’m still in a food induced comma. I sure hope you ate well, I know I did! By now I’m sure you’re aware I challenged myself to bake all 12 cupcakes in the Food Network Magazine January/February 2017 edition. The editor says there doesn’t need to be a reason to have a cupcake, therefore one for every month. This month happens to be the Carrot-Walnut Cupcakes. Those would be perfect for Easter, right? We didn’t eat them on Easter though… nope, but the week of, you bet!

I should immediately point out, I didn’t put in the walnuts, that’s why the title says minus the walnuts. Mark doesn’t handle nuts real well (we’ll leave it at that.. haha) and I’m not crazy about Walnuts. If I had used any nuts, they would have been Pecans. I prefer the milder taste of a pecan over a walnut any day.

I wasn’t sure about these cupcakes when I initially started mixing up the batter. The smell of the cinnamon and nutmeg seemed to overpower the small amount of flour. Truthfully, how they know how to mix up to get exactly 12 cupcakes is amazing. Now If I could just learn to measure out exactly 12 cupcakes. I tried the ice cream scoop method and came up shy. If nothing else, I hope to learn how to make perfect cupcakes by this challenge!

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Rainbow Cupcakes

It’s time for the next installment of this cupcake thing I’ve been up to. Remember, these come out of the January/February 2017 Food Network Magazine.

When I woke up the morning I made these, I was worried about having 2 ingredients. Lemons, which I was fairly certain I had and Cake Flour, which I was pretty sure I didn’t have. I did go to the pantry to see if I had cake flour and surprisingly I did. WHAT?!?! I guess I bought it for something else one day and had some left over. So… if you don’t have cake flour, not to fear! Make your own! Wait, what? Make your own cake flour. Yup! You read that right!

Cake flour:
1 cup all-purpose flour minus 2 tbsp (that is subtract 2tbsp of the ap flour). Then add in 2 tbsp corn starch. Use your handy dandy sifter and sift 5-6 times to incorporate the corn starch. Bam, your own homemade cake flour.

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Chocolate-Strawberry Cupcakes

If there is one thing they tell you to do, it’s try something new. While baking cupcakes isn’t a new concept for me, I’m not so good at it. It’s really always been a bit of a challenge for me, and I’m not really sure why. So when the January/February 2017 Food Network Magazine came out and they had a whole section devoted to cupcakes for each month, I just knew I had to partake… and at least try.

As we know, I messed up the January cupcakes just a bit… but it was more icing related issues than it was cupcake related issues. And the cupcakes themselves were excellent.

When I saw the cupcakes for this month, I was quite excited. While they don’t want them to be for a special occasion but say a random Tuesday, these cupcakes scream Valentine’s Day to me. No, I didn’t make them on Valentine’s Day or even for Valentine’s Day because I was busy getting ready to attend a wedding, but I knew I was going to make them no matter what.

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Champagne-Vanilla Cupcakes

There is one magazine I love to get and that’s Food Network. I really credit Food Network for my love of cooking. Truthfully it was my grandma’s (both of them), but when I went to college I kind of lost that until I stumbled across Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals show… I then somehow became hooked again. So the re-found my love my grandmothers instilled in me.
I used to get the magazine, long ago before I went to grad school. Then grad school came and I didn’t have time to read anything other than school books, but now I’m back to reading Food Network Magazine. My first issue was the January/February 2017 issue. I read the editor’s note and she mentioned that they came up with a cupcake for any reason for every month of the year. I decided right then I needed to partake and try them all. Some sound better than others, but still… I need to try them, right? Something to do anyway.

January’s cupcake is the Champagne-Vanilla Cupcake. Yes please.
The first thing I was supposed to do was pour the Champagne (or in this case sparking white wine) into a bowl and whisk until the bubbles dissipate. ✓

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I Painted a Purple Cat… or something like that

Do you get the reference? It’s from Girl Meets World. I love that show. I was a big fan of Boy Meets World back in the day.

So anyway on Girl Meets World, Riley has a friend Mya. Mya is a great artist and Riley draws purple cats. I can barely draw a stick figure so I figured I might as well just draw the purple cat and be done with it.

Ultimately I blame Jillian for this want I have to paint. She’s always blogging about how she and her friends attend paint nights and she always does a fantastic job too, I might add. I thought it sounded like a blast. Then a friend of mine hit me up about a big group of us attending a paint night one night to try. Well that was a year ago and we still hadn’t looked in to it. Finally another friend brought up something… maybe posted on her facebook page something about one of those paint night places around here and I hit her up about it.

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To keep or not to keep, that is the question

Going back to that list of blog post ideas, there was one that was, what are bad habits of yours and share why you won’t give them up. Ever.

Today I was texting a friend of mine and telling him about what’s going on in my life (I promise I’ll fill the blog in ASAP) and I told him I was kind of sad. His response was, that’s because your sentimental about things like that.

Hmmm…. I’m not sure why but that has hung with me most of the rest of the day. I know I’m sentimental but I told him in a response, that’s probably one of the bad things about me. He disagreed, but he tends to play devil’s advocate with me, a lot… Just talk politics with him… (btw, he votes like I do.)

Then I pondered on if being sentimental is a bad thing…

Recently I’ve been going through cabinets and purging things I don’t like or don’t use. Why keep them around if I don’t use them? But there are still a bunch of things I keep. Why? I had a karaffe in my arsenal of things I’ve been hanging on to. I’ve never used it. It’s really pretty, but again, I’ve never used it. So why did I keep it around? Because my Grandma S gave it to me.

My Grandma S passed away in 2007. I still miss her to this day. Even if I don’t see that karaffe, knowing it is in my kitchen made me feel closer to her. Was it hers? No. Was there anything special about it? Not really. So why did it hold that sentiment? Well, because I told her I liked it or something similar to it and so she made sure I got it.

I finally decided that I didn’t want it, but the more I think about it, I really kind of do. It’s really pretty. Decisions, decisions.

That’s just one example. So I guess in this case, it can be seen as a bad habit. Justifying keeping something that I don’t really need, but something that I still really like. I’m not sure where I’ll wind up on the to keep or not to keep, but know this… I probably won’t be giving up this “bad habit” any time soon. And once I decide, I’ll let you know. My decision should come soon!

Btw, do you want to see the karaffe? It’s really pretty!