Sunday, June 28, 2015

"Time of the Month" Brownies

Hi! Miss me?

It seems this six year old blog has gotten awfully dusty. I suppose life got in the way and instead of documenting it, I decided to live it. I got a new job, I continued to edit and write (albeit significantly less than previous years, thanks that new job), my husband has been busy kicking butt and taking names at work, we somehow managed to end up with a child who is going to enter GRADE ONE and another who is going to enter JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN!!!! this September, and I am in the midst of making overwhelming life decisions that shouldn't be nearly as difficult as they are. Phew.

But I must admit, I've missed the outlet that blogging gives me. I miss writing just to write. Just to share. Just to put my voice into the universe, no matter how many or few ears it hits.

And so, I have decided to return to my space and offer up the most amazing recipe I have managed to create entirely by accident. It's my "time of the month" brownies.

Now, I don't know about you, but that time of the month is absolutely h-e-l-l for me. I am super moody, bloated up beyond belief and cannot eat enough; seriously (to steal a line from my fav Amy Schumer) I cannot fit enough food in my dumb mouth. Specifically, chocolate.

In a fit of desperation this month, I raided my pantry, found some cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate chips, decided I needed to pour all of them down my throat and somehow managed to create the best brownie recipe ever (there were a few more steps in that story, but you get the picture).

They are chewy, moist, chocolately, and just perfectly crunchy on the top. The sprinkle of sea salt at the end is probably the best choice this hormonal girl ever made.

And without further ado, I'd love to share the recipe with you.

You'll need:
1 cup butter, melted (measure one cup of butter and THEN melt it)
3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 eggs
Sea salt (to sprinkle atop after baking)

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking pan.

Combine melted butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl on low. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly each time.

Slowly mix in flour, cocoa powder, and salt on low until completely mixed. Mix in chocolate chips by hand. Spread batter evenly in greased baking pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven, immediately sprinkle with sea salt, and cool pan before cutting and devouring (you probably didn't need that last part of the instructions, but just in case...).

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Sunday in Picture

This is old. I found it in my drafts, along with 50 other posts that I never pushed publish on.
Drafts are a weird thing. A lot of what I wrote was great but it didn't feel like something I should publish. A lot of what I wrote was also crappy. That's how writing goes, you know?

Anyway, this is a few years old. It's definitely not an interesting post by any means, but I'm reminded of what it was like to have a baby... and a 2 year old. And man, I am reminded that I do not wish to go back to that time AT ALL!

Anyone else HATE the baby phase? I will take a 3 and 5 year old over two babies any day of the week!


Sunday is generally a lazy day, reserved for church, take out and family time. However, as the 20 month old has taken to acting like a caged MMA fighter when we try to drop him off at Sunday School, Sundays have become lazier than ever.

A typical Sunday now includes:

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Plus Sized MODEL Not a Plus Sized HUMAN

There has been a lot of buzz about the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue including a "plus sized model" in their pages this year.

Here she is:
Sports Illustrated’s Newest Model, Robyn Lawley. Credit: James Macari/Sports Illustrated

Her name is Robyn Lawley and she is beautiful! She a has a body that most women could only dream of having (reminds me of Kate Upton, right?), and she is a size that is a bit more realistic than most swimsuit models.

So what's the stink about?

Well, at size 12, she is considered a plus sized MODEL.  Of course she is.  The normal size for a model is between 5'9" and 5'10" and a size 2 (although I'm guessing they love a size 0 even more). Even "curvy" Victoria Secret models come no where close to a size 12.

But let's face it, much like the television and movie industry, the modelling industry is built on illusion. Those clothes being trotted down the runway? You will likely never wear them. That crazy hair and over-the-top makeup? You won't be leaving your house looking like that any time soon. It's fun, make-believe and fantasy- like little girls or boys playing dress up. THE MODELLING INDUSTRY IS NOT REALITY.

And so, in that fake world, being a size 12 is considered "plus sized". But remember that context is key.

In the world in which we live- the everyday world where we work, parent, and just try to survive- size 12 is considered the norm. In fact, the average women is estimated to be 5'4" and 155 pounds (which is about a size 8/10). So, in the context of our everyday living, Robyn Lawley is perfection. But in the context of the modelling world she is "plus"; she is larger than is normal.

Does it suck that those considered to be amongst the most beautiful in the land are often smaller than seems humanly possible? I guess. Listen, I'm 5'5" and wear a size 4/6. I'm smaller in size than the "average" person and yet I am no where close to meeting model (or television) standards. But I also understand that no matter how hard I tried, I could never reach those standards. And I also understand that I am not MEANT to meet those standards, because they are an illusion, a false reality, a make-believe fantasy.

For some reason we seem set on making all things into a controversy, when there is very little controversy here. For some reason we as a society have decided that any time we use the word "plus" we are equating that with "less than" or "wrong" or indicates that people find someone who is "plus" disgusting or ugly. But it doesn't mean that- not at all!!  It simply means that Robyn is, for better or worse, larger than the fantastical illusion of the modelling industry standard.

Should the industry be providing more and more examples or "healthy" (i.e.: strong, fit) female bodies? Sure! It is always great to see more attainable figures in the fashion and modelling industry- something that is slightly better than the average but not completely and utterly unattainable.

But should we get our knickers in a knot because an industry built on impossible-to-attain standards considers a size 12 to be plus sized? Absolutely not.

Robyn Lawley is gorgeous, fit, healthy, and an absolutely regular (or even smaller!) size HUMAN- let's celebrate and encourage that- but she is not a "normal" sized MODEL.

And let's just leave it at that.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - The Year That Was

I would be lying if I said that 2014 wasn't a huge year for me. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that this year held more opportunities and realizations of dreams than any year previous- even dreams I dared not say aloud to anyone.

In no particular order, here's what 2014 held for me:

I wrote a nationally-printed (newspaper) column (and then left!!!).
This actually began in 2013, but continued into 2014. It was the encouragement from a dear friend (who is a bonified, amazing, envy-worthy journalist) at the end of 2012 that led me to submit a piece of writing to a national newspaper. It was printed. And that was really the beginning of my journey toward becoming what I would consider a "writer",  as I accepted the amazing opportunity to test out my writing skills as a columnist, which eventually led to a paid, weekly column.  But by April 2014 I realized that writing a weekly column, especially one that included opinion, may not be exactly what I wanted to tie myself down to at this point in my writing career. The column was such an amazing opportunity and it was extremely hard to muster up the courage to leave, but I think we all have a voice inside that tells us when we are done and, as scary as it is to listen to that voice, it is important that we do. For me, at least, it was the catalyst to a million new opportunities that I never dreamed of!

I was in a national commercial!
I saw a casting notice on my Facebook and, on a whim, I clicked on it (sorry to the person in my timeline that had liked it because they wanted to audition!). I had some beautiful head shots done and thought, what the heck, I'll just submit. And then I forgot about it. Until I got an email indicating that I had been chosen for an audition. This is where my husband stepped in because if it wasn't for his unbelievably awesome encouragement, I never would have gone to that first audition. I thought I was being silly for even trying. The night of my audition I received a call back. And again, my awesomely encouraging hubby made me promise I would go. And the night after the call back, I found out I was "on hold" for the commercial. The next day I received word that I did indeed make the cut and was going to be in the commercial. I don't know if I will ever forget that feeling.
We shot the commercial and print ad over one VERY LONG but exhilarating day and the commercial was seen nationally during October and November, 2014. I don't know if I will have the opportunity to ever act (or audition, even- I find getting national auditions to be the hardest part, as this was my FIRST national audition!) in something like that again but it truly was a dream come true!

I became a talk show host!
I still have trouble typing this because it seems as if I am typing out a dream or resolution and not my reality. The week I was set to shoot my commercial, I was also given the opportunity to audition for a daily, live talk show as the host. To be fair, I had recent experience on my side- I had shot commercials and been a regular guest on news programs- but I had never been "the host". And, once again, it was my husband that encouraged me to make the audition happen because it was a crazy busy week for me and I wasn't sure how I could make time for the audition. But I did. And I got it. I GOT IT. My family was in the car and I was locking our front door, when the call came to let me know I was chosen to host the show. And I cried. And then I fretted about what to do because, in reality, going back to work outside of our home would result in a huge family shift. But in the end, I took it. And I  couldn't be more happy that I did. My new job has opened me up to a world that makes me feel (professionally) happy, fulfilled and excited every single day. I am more grateful than you could imagine for this opportunity and, although it is only a maternity leave contract (meaning 2015 may spell the end of my time at Daytime Durham,) the lessons I have learned about television, hosting and myself will be lifetime ones.

I realized how important my family was.
Truth? I was so sick of being at home. I needed more and I was taking my boredom out on my family.  At the perfect time (God always does that, doesn't He?), all those opportunities I listed above came my way- just when I thought I was going to crack- and my family fully supported me. They barely even blinked when I was making all these crazy life choices, they just supported. My husband could have balked because taking a television job meant a significant increase in work on the home front for him- but he didn't. My kids could have cried that mommy wasn't going to be around as much- but they didn't (in fact, they have been so freaking awesome). My mom and mom-in-law could have left me floundering- instead they stepped up and babysat or just helped out every time I asked. It was amazing to see aunts and uncles and siblings simply support when I needed it the most. It made all the transitions so worth it.

I got a mantra. And I love it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

On-Air Makeup Routine

Live television is like nothing I have ever experienced. The hustle to get an hour long lifestyle show on air, day after day, is an exhilarating ride that leaves you high for hours after a show is done. 
But, as much as I love live television, it also means there is no opportunity to go back and make changes...especially to the way you LOOK during the show.

It has taken a few months but I have managed to come up with an on-air makeup routine that is flattering, relatively easy, and looks good each and every time that camera goes on! Considering the lack of good "how to do tv makeup" information that I have found on the internet, I thought I'd share my routine with you!

Here's the finished product:

And here's how I do it! (all products listed in the exact order I put them on!)

✏️MAC Studio Fix Fluid (NC15)
✏️MAC Studio Finish concealer (NC15)
✏️Veil illuminating complexion fix
✏️️Maybelline Master Bronze (Weekend Bronze) *I use this all over my face AND as my blush when combined with my contour colour*

✏️Hard Candy Glow All The Way
✏️️MAC Taupe powder blush

✏️BellaPierre shadow (Champagne & Pure)
✏️Maybelline Master Precise liquid eyeliner
✏️Brows: Coquette eyeshadow (MAC)
✏️Lashes: Extended Play Gigablack Lash (MAC)

✏️Rimmel The Redder The Better

And just in case you want to see some more of the everyday television face in action: