Not Gonna Disappear

20130610-160545.jpgI’ve been simultaneously busy and lazy while not having the mounds of time I used to have to draft and plan posts. I’m lacking inspiration, yet overwhelmed with all the stuff I want to do.  I’m also dealing with some mild depression and anxiety. Additionally, I’ve been plagued with so many craft fails, it’s rather embarrassing to showcase anything. Unfortunately, that amounts to neglecting you, dear blog and dear readers. I haven’t had anything to say. I totally suck.

But, fear not, dear friends! I’m coming back. Got some things to chat about. I’m coming back with more blah and blah. Happy Monday and I’ll holla at you soon.

 

2012 in review

Happy Blogging Birthday to Me!

Can you believe I have been blogging for a year now? I started this blog out of sheer boredom and a desire to write and although my other blogging efforts bit the dust (less said, the better) I have actually kept up with writing! I hope that I can can continue to devote time to making this a interesting read. Yay me!

WordPress.com prepared a 2012 report and it’s below. This is what I learned about my wee little blog.

  • My readership is super, duper small but that’s okay.
  • People like my TTV post. I should do more of them.
  • I average about 1 written post a week.
    • Except not really. It’s kind of skewered because I tend to have a few ideas for posts and then I get busy and forget to write them down and when I remember, I will blast through and will write a ton in one go.
  • People also really liked the recipes and DIYs. I will try to write more of them. I have some in mind.
  • I need to add more pics!

Anyways, click the report to read more. I thought it was kind of fascinating.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas Cooking

First of all, I swear I started writing this post a week ago but I can’t find a draft. My mind must be playing tricks on me..

So Christmas cooking. Like I said in the last post, we had a really scaled down Christmas and Thanksgiving feast. The Husband didn’t want to make a lot of dishes (he does about 95% of the cooking in the household. I can see his point.) There are only three of us, including a picky eater. Food will often go bad before we can consume everything and we were really lacking in the holiday spirit. We had the usual dishes for Thanksgiving–turkey, cake, roasted Brussels sprouts, more vegetables, homemade cranberry sauce and  dressing–I’m from the South, it will always be dressing. Unfortunately, my dressing is not like my mom’s and I’m starting to dislike making it and eating it.

Overall, I feel like this was our most healthful holiday meal EVA! We mixed it up really good. We had our roasted Brussels sprouts and green beans but we had a lamb roast (so good!) and a blackberry/raspberry cobbler with a handmade crust using some berries in the freezer from one of the many u-pick farms in the area.

Quinoa:

Yummmmm, quinoa… (Pic from wiki commons)


I decide to nix my regular dressing in exchange for a recipe for Sage and Stuffing Dressing Seasoned Quinoa.

It turned out both great and okay. Here’s why I say that: I think the recipe was very good, but I shouldn’t have added the celery (I generally don’t like it). The celery tasted odd and unpleasant to me when I reheated it. Maybe I overcooked it originally and it didn’t hold up to a reheating? Also, I could have been more adventurous with the spices. I tend to add as I go along and this time I didn’t. I pretty much followed the recipe. By no means was it bland but I’m so used to adding as I go, I think I missed that about my own cooking.  Since The Boy won’t eat anything he isn’t familiar with and The Husband was feeling “meh” about it because it wasn’t dressing; I don’t know if I will cook it again for the holidays. I do love that it was a healthy alternative and I loves me some quinoa. Maybe I’ll add it into our regular rotation.

Buttermilk Biscuits:
Biscuits are an utter pain in the ass to make.  In order to make good ones, you need to sacrifice a least a month of your time kneading and pleading. In most recipes, there are so many steps, I refuse to make them on principle alone. Then I came across the game changer: Easy buttermilk biscuits made with whole wheat flour. The hell. You say.  It can’t be true. You guys, seriously. Seriously. You guys. It really worked. These were better than restaurant biscuits and I made them myself and my arms only hurt minimally. As usual, I did make some changes. The UGC used regular milk but I used buttermilk. I followed her advice about using half whole wheat and half all purpose flour. The Husband and I loved them! The Boy said he liked it, maybe. Which means not really. **Le sigh. I’ll keep trying.

I Spy with My Myopic Eye

I needed glasses. I broke one of the arms off of mine in September. I was using my handy E6000 glue to keep it together. That worked for a while until I forgot that I couldn’t fold my glasses away and then I’d break them all over again. It had been about three years since I bought them, a slick pair of oxblood Burberry glasses.* At the same time, I also got a pair for the husband. I think I spent around four hundred dollars and that was with the “kick ass” insurance (according to the woman who rang up our purchases)! In my mind, I’m thinking, “damn, that’s expensive” but my mouth was saying, “What a great deal!” It wasn’t., though. Not at all. And it was stupid annoying that I couldn’t get sunglasses under most plans, including my current one.

Did you know that most of your eyewear brands are owned by one company? Luxotica owns most of most popular eyewear names, like Oakley and Ray-Ban? Did you know that almost all the designer brands have licensing agreements with Luxotica?  *Those cute oxblood Burberry glasses? Made by Luxottica. Ralph Lauren, Versace, Tiffany, all Luxottica. Retail chains like Pearl Vision, Lens Crafters, the eyewear places in Sears and Target? Guess who owns them? One of the largest  vision insurance plans? Sensing a pattern now (or a broken record)?

Now, you may ask, what’s the big deal? Why should anyone care? The reason you should care is that if one company owns the entire market, then they get to choose the price that you pay. When they own the market, then there really isn’t a market and you really don’t have choice. You can try your local optometrist but if they are getting their frames for Luxottica or if they are competing with Luxotica, they will charge just as much. So what to do? What to do?

A few years back, I ran across a blog extolling the awesomeness of buying glasses online. She used two or three different companies and she got like 8 pairs for 200 bucks! Say what!? From her blog post, I did some research and this is what I found.

  1. Zenni Optical: Probably the most well-known of the online prescription places.Basic glasses start at 6.95. Anti-scratching comes free for every pair.  If you need additional things, like anti-glare or if you want your glasses tinted for sunglasses, they are an additional small fee.  http://www.zennioptical.com/
  2. 39 dollar glasess: Basic glasses start at 39 bucks. Their selection isn’t as extensive as Zenni Optical but they offer a lot of coupons and discounts. http://www.39dollarglasses.com/
  3. Warby Parker: A little bit more expensive and trendy than the others, but all basic glasses are 95 bucks each and for every pair that you buy, they donate a pair to a person in need. They have a generous home try-on and return policy. http://www.warbyparker.com/
  4. 1800 specs: Don’t know much about these guys as they are up-and-coming. They also donate a portion of every sale to charity groups who help people who can’t afford glasses. http://www.1800specs.com/
  5. Glassy Eyes Blog: This is a blog that reviews a lot of the online prescription sites. He’s been around for a very long time. http://glassyeyes.blogspot.com/

I decided to use Zenni because I’m super cheap. I ended up getting three pairs for me and two pairs of sunglasses, one for me and one for the husband. I got all this for $78.00! My only complaint, which isn’t really a complaint, it’s just me whinging, but it took two weeks for delivery. Which isn’t a big deal at all but I am rather impatient when I’m excited. I’ll put up some pictures later this weekend of my glasses.

My tips: If you decide to go online, do you homework! Research, research and research! Also, make sure you get your PD or your Pupil/Pupillary Distance. This is essential! You can measure it yourself, but your optician can measure you accurately. Make sure you get this as well as a copy of your prescription. It is your legal right to have this information! Also, if you have a Costco membership, you can get your eyes checked for $50. This was really helpful since the optician approved by my insurance was only open during business hours.

If you have questions about ordering online, please leave a comment. I’m happy to help!

One last thing: This is not a paid post by anyone. Just my opinions.

French Motivation

Continuing with my word posters…My mom worked at a bank when I was growing up. They were throwing out a bunch of those corporate motivation posters. Ick. My mother brought some of them home so that we could decorate our rooms and I choose one with this desolate-looking tree. I mean, it looked like it was straight from a nuclear blast site.  I can still see it in my mind, all barren except for the sad tree. Above the tree was this quote,

* “In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” 

Now, I was only like eleven or twelve, and I had no flipping clue what that could mean. I had so many stupid questions about that poster that kept me up at night: Was it saying that summer was gonna be awesome, that I was gonna be awesome, that I was only gonna be awesome in the summer? What does invincible mean? Why is the tree dead? Why do I have a dead tree on a poster on my wall? And who is this Albert Cay-mus person? And so on, and so on. I stared at the poster for years and now I intensely regret that I threw it out for whatever boy band poster I replaced it with. (See, I can’t even remember what boy band! Oh, the folly of youth.)

Fast forward to a few years ago when I read The Stranger and a bunch of other essays from Albert Camus for a French literature class. That quote is staring at me in French! All those memories came flooding back. Suddenly, that quote isn’t so foreign anymore. It’s quite profound. I’ve used that quote as an email signature for years now and every time I see it reminds me of so much hopefulness that is within us and within the world.

When I made this poster, I initially wanted to recreate that poster from my childhood but the image that came to mind was more, well, it was more the lack thereof of images. I kept seeing the words on a colored background. Not too much work to make this but feel free to download it and be inspired.

Click photo. Then right click and save or drag to desktop. Use and enjoy.

Cheers,
-Joy

*  (P.S. Holy shit! You’ve got to love the internet! I found a picture of the poster! I had to re-edit bits of this post because of the discovery. It wasn’t quite as I remembered.)