including you

Sometimes I include you,
Without even meaning to.

Your spirit is never too far away,
I thought for sure you went astray.

I’ll be cooking a delicious dish
And think, “He’d surely love this.”

Or I’d find your old clothes,
And remember you wore those.

I hope you are well and happy,
Ending this now before it gets sappy.

cute baby dog

cute baby dog

The parents of this lovable fur baby say that the black hairs at the tips of his ears are from his “younger” kid years. So cute. It fascinates me that I’ve become such an animal lover. I never grew up having furry pets due to my parents preference, affordability and their lack of desire to care for them. Despite this, little cats and dogs have carved out a space in my heart for sure.

butterflies

blue butterfly

The newness and inspiration can be overwhelming in anything. Forget thinking about what ifs and consequences, let’s just act. Create art that doesn’t need explaining or a backstory. The kind of atmosphere that isn’t so serious and stupid. I want the kind of feelings I got when I first fell in love. The butterflies that started in my heart and never wanted to fly out.

c’est la vie

c’est la vie
is your attitude.
no one matters,
only you.

your carelessness
is poisoning
the good
for your amusing.

i show up anyway
caring more than i should
by putting myself in harm
since no one would.

c’est la vie it is,
i learned from the best
to put myself first,
and screw the rest.

that’s what would happen
if i ever became you.
but i am me,
i am not cruel.

c’est la vie it is,
i learned from the best
to not be that person
& to not make a mess.

the big tree

circle tree
Used the Paint program. I know, I paint like a kid.

I miss the big tree. It used to sit comfortably in the center of the lawn. The picture above does not look like it at all, but it’s the thought that counts, right? I think I didn’t realize how much I loved it until it got knocked down after a big storm. And then just like that, it was gone.

During the summer heat, the leaves would protect us and lower the temperature a good ten degrees or so. We’d frequently get out our chairs to sit and talk under this beloved beauty. I’ve learned to roller skate and play Double Dutch right by it. I’ve seen squirrels climb up and down and I just never imagined it’d ever go away.

I remember how I would look up at it just to see the little spaces the leaves left open and the distance was so far away. Or so it seemed.

It’s been years since it fell. But the yard still seems a bit lonely, even with the two new trees that have grown since then.

No matter how much time has passed, moments like these remind me that we are creatures of habit.

sweet love

sweet love

I made this from the Paint program. Used the watercolor and marker brush option. I don’t like bubble gum flavor, but I’m assuming this ice-cream would taste like. Maybe cotton candy.

I grew up never having a real sweet tooth. My dentist at the time would wonder why I never had cavities. Then I got to college and I had one vanilla ice-cream cone and then I wanted one the next day. I still don’t consider myself a huge sweets lover, but it’s way cuter drawing an ice-cream cone than a potato chip.

so warm

I see you and I think about how it used to be. Laughter shadows late after midnight and days become possible, lovable distractions. The songs we played were nostalgic even before we started the night. It began and then each moment after were followed by our eyes of Polaroid captures. There is no photo album to return to. Seeing our history through the kaleidoscope; our past looks at each other, the silly gazes and inside jokes make me overly emotional. Like the way punk, alternative’s lovingly unloving songs want me to feel. Bittersweet nostalgia. We turned over a new page. Invested our time in other practical ways. Combined our efforts for adulthood and ventured into a reality we can’t ignore like paying bills and looking presentable. But when I see movies and hear songs, I remember these days. It brings me so much warmth knowing that as long as I’m here, they are, too.

always, we.

Always, will I have the memories.
Always, will I have our conversations.
The lessons I’ve learned.
The love he gave.

Always, will these things be carried by me.
They are me.
Always, he will be.
Always, we.

There have been so many moments in which I think of him; moments that are wedged in-between times I was occupied with real life circumstances like cooking a delicious meal or waiting for the train. I hope to see him again. This feeling has now become a part of me like all the senses I have. My hope is a hopeless one. It’s the kind that needs to be changed.

And now it kind of has.

Because my hope isn’t standing alone anymore; no longer a missing puzzle piece. It’s not geared to be fitted to be somewhere and restricted in a confined space. It has evolved into one that transcends the surface of its definition; its identity.

It’s now free and whole.

Always, will I have the memories.
Always, will I have the words he’s spoken.
The lessons I’ve learned.
The love he gave.

Always, will these things be carried by me.
They are me.
Always, he will be.
Always, we.

no takeout for 30 days – notes & tips

My family and I have not eaten takeout for about a month now for any meals. It was purely by accident. This realization came about when I was out grocery shopping for turkey burger ingredients that I’m going to make today (ahhh, so excited to figure out the seasonings and assembling the final product with melted American cheese, a slice of tomato, lettuce and a homemade sauce). In the past, takeout would be more frequent within the month. I’d just drive over to the nearest fast food place, place an order and pay. Wait. Drive home. Avoid crazy drivers (can you hear the annoyance in my voice haha) Eat it–knowing I’m poorer for it and not knowing how the burger was made. If I felt motivated, I’d make my own, but it wasn’t, sadly, my first instinct to do so. It just felt too much of a hassle. And weirdly, now it feels the opposite: it’s a hassle to get takeout.

Cooking has become a bit therapeutic for me. I really enjoy it. My favorite is cutting the veggies and sauteing them in the pan. In the past, I’ve posted a lot of my home cookin’ here. This renewed love for it has overflowed into my daily life and now my family and I can enjoy the delicious creations.

Here are some of my favorites from past posts:

After coming to this realization, I wanted to share a few notes and tips I had in case it’s something you want to try out, too.

The Benefits

  • I feel like my diet is more in my control. I’m not on a specific diet per se, but more in that I am aware of the amount of veggies I’m eating and my serving size. It’s not decided for me as it would be if I were to order out. Was anyone else shocked when you learned how many more calories were in a fast food salad as opposed to french fries? What?!?
  • I’m saving loads of money. Well, not loads, but a lot based on calculating the amount of what it would cost for each meal. I never eat out for each meal, but you know what I mean. For example, if I were to make mac & cheese, the cost of the ingredients alone would be a fraction of a price of a bowl of it at a restaurant. And homemade would be for a family size, not just a cup.
  • The act of making something for myself and others and having it be enjoyed is so gratifying. It’s instant, too. Now I understand my mom’s love for cooking more. She’d always want me to get seconds or to bring some leftovers with me when I left. It’s a form of creation and love.
  • Cooking at home is another way for me to exercise my creativity. I love finding recipe gems I’ve used over and over, but also modify each time. Maybe this needed more onion powder or less soy sauce next time. Maybe next time I’ll use shrimp instead of beef.
  • It seems to put everyone in a good mood. Good food is important for our health in all aspects of our lives, including emotional and mental. And homemade just always tastes better to me. It’s nourishing.

Tips

  • Start with super easy recipes and start small. The first step is to develop confidence in the cooking process itself and feel comfortable with what you have.
  • And you don’t need to be fancy for every meal. You have a loaf of bread, eggs and cheese? That’s a breakfast or lunch. So is just plain cereal. You have some frozen spinach, onions and rice. That could be a meal, too.
  • Frozen food is a good one, too. We’re currently working on eating up frozen pizzas we bought, which we will unlikely buy again since it just doesn’t taste good.
  • I’m not sure if this is true for everyone else, but the more food I made, the more I was inclined to continue. I went from basic easy recipes to more elaborate and time-consuming. A genuine passion develops and the food starts to taste a lot better with all the practice. And my motivation to seek out new recipes.
  • Plan a few days in advance about which dishes you want to make and then go to the grocery store. The more supplies you have ready at home, the likelihood you’ll want to use it (at least this is the case for me and needing to be budget conscious). The more you do this, the more you realize which food items are your staples and which are just special once in a while items.
  • Always have the right basic tools ready. It’s annoying to be in the middle of cooking only to find out you are missing that 1/3 measuring cup or a mixing bowl big enough for the mixture.
  • Experiment with the different spices and seasonings that are available. There are so many amazing flavorings out there that are available to us. I’m still learning this myself. Spices are expensive, so I want to make sure I actually use them. Some basics I always have on hand and replenish are: onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, vanilla, cinnamon, sesame oil, and soy sauce. I feel like I’m forgetting something, but this is the gist.

I hope this was helpful. I hope I continue on this streak. It makes me genuinely proud and happy. And I am so grateful to find peace and joy in cooking.

My cooking/baking goals at the moment (but I’m in no rush):

  • Bread loaf
  • Ice-cream
  • Thai yellow curry from scratch
  • Chili
  • A delicious pie

love for maggie rogers

Maggie Rogers is a phenomenal performer, singer and songwriter. Her passion for music and her live performances give me life. It’s a renewal. She woke me up from the slumber of the droning hum of what I used to consider current music. She has changed what I identify as music, its culture and a new definition of love for it. I think we all feel it. That change of sound, the openness of originality and creativity; not just from her, but from a couple of contemporary artists today. I truly feel grateful.

As I wrestle with my current writer’s block on my other posts, I thought to share my love for Maggie’s music and why. She’s infectious. She takes the energy she feels and illuminates it; pours it out of her being. You can see and feel the warmth when her music is being played. I feel like she got it. This genius honesty and gratitude. She’s not in-between or waiting. She’s here and she’s ready and she’s got it. Here’s her performance from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. She doesn’t make life seem exciting. She is life.

Oh and forgot to share this video, as well. I love this video so much. I’m a sucker for those one-shot productions. Their impressive and raw.