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March 5, 2012

Today, you are you. That is true-er than true. There is no one alive that is you-er than you!

March 2, 2012

Our next project from Fueled with Passion involves a fantabulous, amazingsome, mantaglical man: Dr. Seuss!

Lauren and I love love loveeeee Dr. Seuss and his beautiful words: it all started with our obsession with his book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. If you haven’t read it, you should definitely check it out. It’s one of the most inspirational books I’ve ever read. Whenever I’m down, I pull it out and I feel like I’ve had a bucket of cold water over my head. I think, however, that ALL of the Dr. Seuss quotes I have found over the years have touched me in more ways than one–each is unique in it’s own way. I was surprised, also, to find out that Dr. Seuss passed away on my birthday, twenty years ago :/

However, in perfect timing, my mom asked me if I wanted to go see The Lorax tonight with my family; it conveniently came out today, on Dr. Seuss’s birthday! I was speechless after watching it; it has one of the best storylines I’ve seen in a movie in a very long time. I don’t want to give it away–go see it! I will say this though; to all you guys out there trying to get the girl: you should take a lesson from Ted. There’s nothing more attractive than a man who’s driven by passion and wants to make a change in the world 🙂

That being said, what we have for you here is a tribute to Dr. Seuss! Lauren and I donned some funny costumes, nabbed 50 beautiful balloons, and put down our favorite Dr. Seuss quotes! We hope you enjoy watching this as much as we had making it!

For anyone watching the signed interpretation; please excuse the cut-off-ness of my head: we’re trying to find a decent backdrop for me, so at the moment, it’s the couch XD Also, I had a large chunk of PSE with some ASL to try and best convey the quotes. Bear with me!

Today, I’m thankful for, who else? Dr. Seuss! Thank you for your wonderful words, your amazing spirit, and most of all for reminding me that I should be myself each and every day. Because there’s no one like me! 😀

AND I am SO THANKFUL to WordPress Support for teaching me how to finally embed this darn video instead of just posting a link! Unlink your videos before you shortcode them, folks!

NP: “Mama” by My Chemical Romance

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.

It’s not.”

–Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

What is Self-Confidence?

February 22, 2012

OMG. I think I’m about to pee my pants.

Lauren got our newest video from “Fueled with Passion,” our new YouTube channel (go ahead, you know you want to subscribe!), uploaded today and I can’t believe the feedback we’ve already received…and not necessarily from girls, but GUYS! We always acknowledge boys when we think about self-confidence, but do we really think about how much guys have self-confidence issues too? We’re not the only ones looking into a mirror, ladies! Therefore, Lauren and I want to work on a video over Spring Break getting guys to talk about their issues with self-confidence, just like we did in the video I’m linking below!

Trying not to cry like a little girl after seeing this in real time: we’re out there! Hopefully WordPress will stop pissing me off and allow me to embed the actual video, but until then, the link will take you to our YouTube channel.

Ah-hem: let me nab my soapbox to stand on–if you didn’t notice, there’s also a little something at the bottom of this video that will (hopefully) be appearing at the bottom of all of our future videos as well: me herpin’ my ‘terp for any Deaf viewers out there (that’s interpreting for you non-PID folk)! If you don’t know, I’m technically a “Professions in Deafness” major with a “concentration” in Interpreting for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. That being said, I am a huge advocate of the Deaf Community and the belief that Deaf people can do anything and everything, except hear (thanks for reminding us, I. King Jordan). I understand that I’m blessed to have an almost insider’s view into the Deaf World because I’m training to be an interpreter. I have a true, burning, uncontrolled, and slightly crazy passion for the Deaf Community and everything they stand for, and I believe that through the spreading of knowledge, hearing people could learn to understand and accept the Deaf for who they are. To often, Deaf people feel oppressed by the rest of the “hearing” world, because they don’t understand the Deaf Community and their lifestyle. Likewise, it’s easy for Deaf and their hearing supporters who ARE knowledgeable in the Deaf Community to get angry and lash out at ignorant hearing people for not understanding. Here’s the plan: we need to bridge the gap, folks. Nab your nearest interpreter and sit down with a Deaf person. You’d be surprised at what you can learn from each other. Or hey, while your at it, contact the nearest Dept. of Services for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing and take an ASL class 😀

Anyway, back to the point. From my experience with Deaf friends, I’ve learned that sometimes, especially with YouTube videos, closed-captioning just doesn’t cut it. SO, Lauren mentioned that I grab a corner of our videos and interpret them in sign language. Keep in mind, I’m certainly no professional, and I’ve been known to downright suck. But I love it, I think practice makes perfect, and I believe in this with all my heart and soul. This is why I get up every morning. I believe that total communication should be provided for all people whenever possible in whatever means possible. We all deserve that.

Don’t fret, this isn’t the last of my Deaf-related ramblings you’ll see on this blog. This is just a little intro of why I’ll be trying not to massacre an interpreting job for all of our videos. Until then, please watch and give us some feedback. Thank you!

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

Dr. Seuss 🙂

Is there really no such thing as a stupid question?

February 21, 2012

Okay, so last night we all gathered ’round the TV to watch Courageous, which has a very good message if only gently marred by the awful acting. You should check it out, it’s worth it. Anyway, one of the characters mentioned lemonade, and of course, my circle-brain decided I wanted some. I had two gawgeous lemons in the fridge that had been there for quite some time; they needed to be used before the Mold Monster kidnapped them. So as I set off on my lemonade adventure, I had a thought.

How the hell do you make lemonade, anyway?

I mean, yes, I wasn’t born yesterday–I know it involves sugar, water, and lemon juice (this would be fresh squeezed; even better!). But haven’t you heard all those horror stories about having a mix-up of lemon-to-sugar-to-water ratio and ending up with the dreaded pucker face? I only had two lemons, I didn’t want to mess up. AND I’m one of those who likes my lemonade on the strong side, so I didn’t want to add too much water.

Luckily, thanks to the fine contributors of my Google search, I learned that it really is simple: the base of lemonade is nothing but 1 cup of sugar dissolved in one cup of hot water (to make a simple sugar) add to one cup of lemon juice. To finish, add three to four cups of cold water for diluting. This leaves you with around a quart of delicious lemonade! I’ve already finished off all mine XD

credit: lemonadedietx.com

Btw, the two lemons proved to not be able to squeeze out enough juice for one cup, but thankfully a bottle of lemon juice made his humble appearance from behind the condiments in our refrigerator. I think my fridge needs a name, as much as I talk about him. I’ll get back to you on that one 😉

Over and out–without a pucker face.

Today I’m thankful for teachers who cancel classes!

NP: “Cry Out to Jesus” by Third Day (I’m obsessed).

“If what you’re asking is how I debated whether or not to love him the answer is I didn’t. Not at all. It just happened. I didn’t ever question it; by the time I realized what was happening, it was already done.”

This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen

Fueled by Passion.

February 21, 2012

Hello out there, whoever in the whole wide world might be reading this!

So I’ve mentioned my roommate and one of my best friend, Lauren, many times before in previous blog posts, but this is something a little different.

Lauren IS one of my few dearest and best friends in the whole universe mainly because she is my other half. She gets what I’m saying before it even comes out of my mouth. And because of this, she and I end up scattered around our living room talking about EVERYTHING, from why the sky is blue to whether giraffes are preferable with or without freckles (that one actually included a few more people). We can be found anywhere from standing on the tables or dancing on the raised bar while having these talks about life and how the world revolves around us. And we love these bouts of craziness–it’s what makes us US. To be honest, I feel like I have to fit in a somewhat normal box all day, and when I’m at home, I get to take off my braces and be freely, 100% me. We both talk at 90 mpm and babble on for hours; I’m pretty sure if someone overheard our conversations, they’d think we were speaking another language.

That being said, we believe that we need to share this craziness with the rest of the world. It began one MLK Jr. day when we decided to hit the road for a spontaneous roadtrip–we jumped in the car and took turns yelling “RIGHT!” or “LEFT!” at each intersection we came to–I talked about this in a previous blog post (Note: I’m bad for repeating myself and other stories; feel free at any time to tell me to shut up and talk about something new).

Keep in mind that Lauren is a fantastic vlogger and makes amazing videos for YouTube; you should subscribe to her channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/BeautyGuRhew?feature=g-all-s. She had the bright idea to make videos with the two of us talking about different things, much like we do almost every day in the comfort of our home; a way of sharing what we have to say with the rest of the world. These talks are usually times when we get “Ah HA!” moments about life; things we realize about ourselves and decisions we need to make, things we realize we believe in/support, etc. A warning: Lauren and I are very passionate and emotional (not necessarily in the crying department, don’t worry) people. We yell, jump up and down, punch the air, and pretty much act like ridiculous evangelists when we get passionate and excited about a topic. But that’s what makes us us. And I’m sure that at least one person out there can get something out of what we have to say–maybe it could be you. So listen to our craziness, it’ll either give you something to think about or give you a good laugh, I can promise you that.

So the first video we made was during our “Destinationless Road Trip,” and Lauren has created it as an introduction video of sorts: giving you a snapshot of who we are and what we want to do with this. We’ve come to a small draw with what we want to call this, and it falls somewhere between “Fueled by Passion” and, pardon our French, “Shit that Matters.” Because we are a good mixture of both: coming to you from wherever we happen to be to talk about, what else? Shit that matters in a manner that is fueled by passion to change the world. Basically because life is too short to shut up and not say whatever shit needs to be said.

Without further ado, I present to you: us. 🙂

WordPress is being a you-know-what and not letting me embed the video, but here’ s the link: Hit it!

note: the picture that shows up on the video feed makes me look like an old maw-maw. sound off?

“Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come. The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present – and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.”

February 21, 2012

Thank you, Ms. Audrey Hepburn, for today’s title.

Gasp, I made it to another day. Here in ol’ NC we enjoyed just enough snow to piss people off and delay classes until 10am. I picked my craft/art project for February, though I’m sure it may stretch into March before it’s fully done.

Basically, I kinda lost track of where I’m going in life. Most of my friends are graduating from college this May, and they’re picking out jobs, deciding what could be a career or just a new pathway. It’s giving me (who graduates in a year and a half, thanks to transferring) some time to think about what in the WORLD I want to do when it’s my time to pick my “big-girl job,” as I’ve taken to calling them recently. I’ve always known I want to travel the world, but I’m also a home-body. I go home alot, and I miss my family like crazy–so much that I can be pretty emotional about it (ew.) But I realized, after talking to Lauren about what jobs she was applying for, that I’ve been selling myself short. I’ve been thinking about just staying put here in NC, maybe even meandering back home to be an Educational Interpreter in my old school system.

Then I mentally slapped myself, and took a good look at what had just spat itself out of my brain. Here’s the thing about small towns: while they are lovely, once you go back, you tend to stay there. And I’m not quite ready to stay yet. And while this small-town happens to hold my AMAZING family, Lauren gave me an important message to remember–

“Home will be here when you get back. I know it feels like you’re going to miss everything, but home isn’t going anywhere. And when you do come back, it’ll feel like you never left.”

Besides, what happened to that loud-mouthed, whiney, angst-filled teenager that morphed from my body when I was in high school? The one who wrote angry journal entries about how I was being smothered in this small-minded town, and how I could hardly WAIT to graduate, get the hell out, and never look back??

I guess you eat your words sometimes.

But all is not lost; while yes, I was your stereotypical ungrateful teenager who didn’t appreciate what I had, after a half-decade of experience, I realize that I wanted to get away from the small-town-life for more than one reason. For one, I AM too big for a small town–I have big ideas that would be smothered if I stayed there. And for another, I have a theory about the world. I believe that God went to the trouble of creating every continent, every country, every city and town just for us. I feel like I would be shaming Him and all the amazing works He gave me if I didn’t get my butt out there and see it all. Or at least give it a shot. Besides, my life can’t start if I’m just standing still.

So I grabbed a bunch of posterboard and am now in the process of making my own personal map of the world on the walls above my bed. I’m painting it and trying my best to not massacre the shape of the continents. I’m hoping it’ll keep me out of slumps like this one and remind me that there is SO much of the world left for me to see.

I’m aware of the fact that not everyone who reads what I have to say will be a Christian, and that’s totally fine. What I have to say isn’t about being a Christian, it’s just about believing in what drives us through life. It’s about what shows us why we wake up every morning. Why we keep going when we feel like we can’t get up off our knees. For you, it could be anything. For me, it’s Jesus Christ.

With that said, I found a new gem today that I’ll definitely be nomming on til I’m old and gumming this down (but here’s to hoping I’ll always keep my teeth :/)

I was looking through the Eat Up, Slim Down recipe book I’ve picked up quite a bit recently, and I think I’ve found the easiest dessert known to man:

Hot Fruit.

huh?

Yeah bra. Yummy, delicious apple-pie-tastin’ hot fruit.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve passed by this many a time asking “WHERE’S THE GOOD STUFF IN THIS DESSERT SECTION??! I NEED CAKE.”

And no, this isn’t cake, but I’ll be darned if this isn’t golden deliciousness (no pun intended) in around 4 minutes.

Here it is:

1 apple, cored and chopped (the book calls for Granny Smith, but I prefer Honeycrisp)

1 navel orange, peeled and chopped

1t cinnamon

1/2 cup fat-free yogurt

2 T chopped pecans or walnuts

Microwave the chopped orange and apple in a covered, vented microwave safe dish for around 4 minutes or until fruit is heated through and tender. I used a Tupperware dish with a vented lid. Drain excess liquid and divide fruit into two bowls. Divide the yogurt and nuts and pour over hot fruit.

OHMYGEEZYUM.

Try it. I promise it won’t let you down. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of this deliciousness, but I ate it all XD

And, wussup!, it’s 174 calories! Even better.

Today, I’m thankful for watercolors.

NP: “Sound of Your Voice” by Third Day. I love them.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

–Jeremiah 29:11

wow. isn’t that such a comfort to know?

“Let your faith be bigger than your fear.”

February 19, 2012

Thank you, Hollie’s Quotes, for providing me with the most fulfilling title ever for today.

So today is February 19, 2012. The last time I made a post was February 6. And I’ve realized something about this blog, which was the point, right? To find things about about myself. Here’s what I learned: this every day/three times a week/deadlines thing isn’t going to work. It’s not news to me that I’m a procrastinator. As a matter of fact, if you’ve read my “About Me” on this blog, you’ll find me admitting that first thing. SO here’s the deal: thinking that I’m going to post every day is unrealistic. Between editing photos, cooking, having the attention span of an gnat, and doing the 239458734952834 million other things that take up time in my life (large portions also being school and work), having the goal of posting a specific amount every day/week or whenever is doing nothing but making me dislike my blog and feeling like a terrible person. But I’m not terrible, and I LOVE my blog more than words can say. I don’t, however, like feeling like a failure. Solution: let the blog do its own thing. I’ll p0st when I post, as much as possible. That way each post actually feels like it has substance instead of feeling worthless. Because who wants a worthless food blog post? That’s like eating natural peanut butter spread on a rice cake: in the end, you’re good intentions leaving you feeling pissed off and dreaming of Creamy Peter Pan. No offense to all you natural PB-rice cake folks out there.

So, I’m going to do a couple catch-up posts for the great things I ate this past week that I want to share with you few folks that actually read this thing. I still want to post a new photograph each week, post a new craft every month, and update wewriteoutloud every week, and then I can come to you all with less “catch-up” posts. I don’t like doing those. I do, however, want to keep posting what I am thankful for every day, because that is something I keep up with. As for the rest, it’s in God’s hands 🙂

That being said, this was my week to cook, so I decided to pull out a 202 favorite: my Alfredo recipe.

There’s fairly strange background behind this one. I first realized you could make Alfredo sauce from scratch when I was in the seventh grade, and my best friend Michelle and I took a week-long camp at the local Community college called, what else, “Cooking Camp.” I think it was fantastic idea though, because it really sparked my love for all things food and cooking, and it gave us kids a hands-on experience in the kitchen. You learned new techniques all week, and then at the end, you got to get into groups and decide what meal you wanted to fix. Apparently, ours was so good that the local TV station came out to interview the camp and they ate our Alfredo on camera! I vividly remember the head reporter stuffing her face the whole time. Needless to say, our director was the coolest: when we decided on Fettuccine Alfredo he said, “Why don’t you make your own pasta, too?” I wish I could still do that today; we made the dough and ran it through the pasta machine, dried the noodles and made them ourselves–it was incredible. I also learned how do devein shrimp in the same day: we wanted to cocktail shrimp in the dish, decorating the edge of our huge bowl of Alfredo with boiled jumbo shrimp. Our director okayed it, but he had to watch from afar due do a terrible shellfish allergy. He directed the process while we pulled out the shrimp intestine.

However, I’ve always loved making Alfredo and over the years, through many trial and error batches, I’ve come up with my own recipe. I like making it with tortellini, and my roommates have somehow fallen in love with it. Personally, I think it tastes nothing like the rich, creamy sauce you get at a restaurant or in the jars at the market, but I do enjoy it and it’s uniqueness. It’s entirely different from traditional Alfredo: the texture, taste, and ingredients are all different from recipes you’ll find around the internet and cookbooks. Primarily because I use Brie cheese instead of cream cheese–to be honest, it’s because I tried Brie for the first time because I had read about it in a book. While I was eating it, I thought, hmm, why does this texture remind me of cream cheese? Don’t get me wrong, I love cream cheese–I could eat my weight in it. But I wanted to break out of the box, especially the box that makes Alfredo include heavy or whipping cream. That just feels wrong. I’m from the country but damn, I might as well just eat a spoonful of lard than voluntarily add heavy cream to something–it has HEAVY right there in the name! So I’m trying to get around it. Not that this dish is healthy: on the contrary, it’s got quite a few calories I’m sure.

Three-Cheese and Spinach Tortellini

Anyway, I tend to fix my Alfredo with baked chicken rolled in breadcrumbs. When I went back to the Hairy Teet (Lauren’s name for Harris Teeter) today to gather ingredients, I went to my main man (or today, WOman) at the butcher counter and got ANOTHER deal on chicken breasts–WINNING! And look at these suckers:

That’s a big bird!

That’s just one chicken breast! I got my money’s worth. Go hit up your friendly neighborhood HTeet.

Birds aside, here’s the Alfredo recipe. Keep in mind this is one of those “little of this, blob of that” recipes. I used to hate when people gave me recipes like that, until I started making my own recipes. It’s really the only way to measure XD

Here’s the melted Brie, milk, and garlic mixture.

12oz. wedge of Brie

1 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup milk

4 gloves minced garlic

1/2 cup sour cream

Add milk to sauce pan and bring to simmer. Do NOT let it boil. Add garlic and cook until somewhat clear. Remove rind from Brie and cut into 1″ cubes. Add to pot and stir until mixture is smooth. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, then add sour cream. Stir until smooth. Right before serving, stir in Parmesan cheese. The sauce will be lumpy until cheese melts, and even then it won’t be completely smooth. Sauce consistency may vary. I find it best to pour the sauce over my noodles and chicken instead of ladling it.

Add in the sour cream!

I steamed some broccoli and sauteed a few mushrooms to toss with the pasta and baked some cheesey garlic bread to complete the meal. Bon appetit! 

Burner Neighbors!

This guy’s ready to join his brothers and sisters in my boiling pot on the stove–he’s also pretty excited to be my photo of the week for February 12-18, 2012.

Tonight, I’m thankful to have a warm house to stay in, mainly because it’s SNOWING in North Carolina! It doesn’t look like it’s sticking, but keep your prayers up and your fingers crossed!

NP: “Revelry” by Kings of Leon.

“Five seagulls are sitting on a dock. One of them decides to fly away. How many seagulls are left?”
“Well…  four.”
“No,” he responded. “There are still five. Deciding to fly away and actually flying away are two very different things. Listen to me carefully. Despite popular belief to the contrary, there is absolutely no power in intention. The seagull may intend to fly away, may decide to do so, may talk with other seagulls about how wonderful it is to fly, but until the seagull flaps his wings and takes air, he is still on the dock. There’s no difference between that gull and all the others. Likewise, there is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place.”

Andy Andrews