Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cozy Holiday Wishes

To all those who happen to stumble upon this page and read these words, I wish you all a very Cozy Christmas and a Happy Holiday season!  Whether sipping on hot chocolate, cuddling in fuzzy blankets, reading next to fireplaces, or even all of the above, may you stay cozy throughout the winter months.  

No matter your religious beliefs or holiday traditions, I hope that you had a moment to cherish some time with your loved ones or to venture on hobbies that you enjoy.  Continue through the winter season remembering that the best gift that you can ever give is your love, compassion, and talents.  Every single one of you have the ability to spread some holiday cheer.

Stay cozy,

Michelle, The Cozy Escape

Monday, December 21, 2015

Keep At It - Reach Out to Those Who Motivate You

Visit my new Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/thecozyescape
The movies have portrayed the scene right - sipping a freshly brewed cup of a coffee while listening to the rain gently tap the window panes sets the perfect atmosphere for creative types to let their minds drift off into their creative outlets.  I don't know whether or not this setting encouraged some kind of inner yearning within me to play the role of a mysterious artist, but at least it finally inspired me to write.   

Friday, November 27, 2015

Light's Out - It's Not Black Friday

With people camping out for hours in the cold and mobs pushing through their fellow crazed shoppers on well-planned store routes, the day after Thanksgiving has become no better than a mouse maze teasing consumers with their prized cheese at the end.  This nationally acclaimed day has garnered more attention and recognition than the actual holiday it follows.  In fact, advertisement clippings that usually broadcast all of the products and decorations associated with the upcoming holiday barely display any Thanksgiving decor; instead, the focus surrounding the words "Thanksgiving" includes deals, steals, freebies, and the most concerning enticement - the word "open". 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Change Your Perception, Change Life

People are so mean.  There is too much hatred.  Technology causes more of a burden than anything.  The education system doesn't work.  Buildings destroy nature.  No one takes care of anything.  Everything is rush, rush, rush!  The world is messed up. 

With all of the crimes and evil taking place in the world, it's rather easy to have such a negative perception about life.  News stations constantly bombard us with all of the terrible happenings of the day; people stumble through tough obstacles by the minute.  It cannot be denied that we are all surrounded by awful doings and harsh scenarios.  However, we don't have to allow these situations to overshadow all of the good that does exist.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Broccoli and Cauliflower Herbed Quinoa

I don't know about you, but one of the reasons that I love going to Costco is because of their food samples.  On a good day (go Saturday, around noon, especially before the holidays), you can walk around, get some exercise, look at all the interesting new gadgets, and basically have a full course meal from sampling all of the delicious tasters lining the aisles.  Okay, so this might sound pathetic, but I actually really do enjoy this venture.  Not only can you find new foods for purchasing that you are otherwise too apprehensive to buy without knowing how it tastes, but you can also use these samples for your own cooking inspiration.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Mug of Hyson Tea With Me: A Hyson Package Unboxing and Tea Review

Do you still get giddy over something that has been perking you up since childhood?  That is the feeling I get every time I receive a package in the mail.

For me, receiving mail and packages is like spotting gifts under a Christmas tree.  Although the purpose of Christmas is not about (or should not be about) receiving gifts, the excitement and thrill that awaits you underneath the tree is always there, peaking your curiosity.  You anxiously wonder what is tucked away in each package.  Big boxes or small, they all hold something of mystery that you secretly can't wait to discover. 

When I spot the mail pushed into our mail slot or resting on our stoop, I secretly hope that something exhilarating is hiding behind the seal.  Typically, my innocent fervor is crushed with the unfurling of bills and advertisements.  However, a package I recently received held for me the excitement and wonderment  that I crave.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Thanks - It's Not Just For Thanksgiving

When I was a little girl, I was blessed to have a mother whose creativity extended way beyond handing me a video game counsel to play with (thank you, daddy).  My mother constantly designed projects for my brother and me to work on.  We made dream catchers, an octopus out of yarn, our own version of an American girl doll, Play-doh sculptures, and countless other crafts. 

My mother was and still is the epitome of crafty, especially when it comes to paper.  Since my mother always wanted to be a teacher (she would have made one of the most inspirational out there), she lived out her fantasy classroom through her children.  She would decide upon a theme and we would travel to the local library where we checked out stacks of related books and VHS tapes.  Not only would we read and watch videos about the subjects, but we would also work on worksheets and listen to little lessons that she put together.  From gardens to space, my mother always found ways to make the topics interesting.  Eventually, to culminate our "unit", we would turn a corner of our tiled kitchen wall into a mural illustrating our current theme.  A large colored sheet would set the background, and then using construction paper and paper cutouts that she handmade, we would craft our own interpretation of our lessons.  These projects truly were some of my most memorable childhood activities. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Baked Spicy Orange Pork Loin Roast

Pumpkin spice, apple pie spice, cinnamon spice - fall seems to be all about the "spices".  Today, I have a recipe for you that has a citrusy hint with a kick of some actual spice!

Although you may think of sipping on a tall, refreshing glass of orange juice in the summer, oranges are actually considered winter fruits since they are harvested during the fall and winter months.  High in Vitamin C, oranges will boost your immune system, helping to keep you healthy during the formidable flu season that falls along with autumn.  Along with the spicy ingredients, this recipe will help keep your body strong and healthy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Essena O'Neill: Stll Inspiring Offline

While cooking and cleaning around the house, I have developed a habit of listening to "vlog" style videos on YouTube for some background noise.  Up to date on all my subscribed YouTubers' videos, I browsed through YouTube's recently uploaded video feature to find some white noise to help entertain me through my chores.  I came across a recent video by YouTuber and social media celebrity Essena O'Neill.  To be honest, although she has a large following all across social media platforms, she's an entertainer younger than me, catering to a younger audience.  I had never heard of her before.  However, the title of her most recent video instantly peaked my interest and being quite adventurous when it comes to watching new videos, I decided to listen to it.  Note:  I consider this "adventurous" only as a mock on how society's values have changed with the influx of social media presence, as O'Neill's video teaches.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

'Tis the Season...So Celebrate It


Ahhhh, Halloween's over!  Finally, I can prepare for Thanksgiving!  Maybe I should start Christmas shopping...Ohmygosh Valentine's Day is soon.  What treats am I going to bake?!

If those above words are streaming through your mind, stop.  Breathe.  Relax.  You aren't alone.  In fact, I think the stores are many holidays ahead of you. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Carving Traditions

For as long as I can remember, my Halloween has not been complete without carving pumpkins. 

A night or two before All Hallows' Eve, my mom, dad, brother, and I all face a critical decision: what pumpkin do we want to carve and which pattern do we choose.  Our 4 (or 5, or 6 depending on how carried away we get) pumpkins stand at attention and undergo a careful examination by every one of us.  Eventually, each canvas is drafted by their artist, and awaits patiently to be sculpted in the kitchen.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cozy up With Tea: My Tea Bag Recommendations

You need not be a British aristocrat nor a Buddhist monk to cozy up with a cup of tea. 

Chinese legends say that tea dates back to an ancient emperor who relaxed beneath a tree while his servant boiled him drinking water.  When the wind blew, leaves fell from the trees and into the pot.  Naturally, the flavors of the leaves steeped into the water, brewing the first pot of tea. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Scary, Spooky, and Silly Hallowen Movie Recommendations

In the dark, you mask yourself within the shadows cast by the full moon's light.  Your chest rises up and down, up and down, up and down.  Creeeak.  A door opens.  The harder you try to silence your breath, the louder it whispers to him, calling him nearer.  Errrrack.  The wooden floor boards murmur.  Your fingers grip your knees closer to your chest.  You desperately try to squeeze yourself into disappearance, but your fingernails carve deeper into your skin.  The pain reminds you that you're present.  And so is he.  "Heh,"  you hear faintly. He waits behind the door.  Knock, knock, knock.  "Can I come in?"  Although you can't see his face, you know that he smiles.  A devilish grin slowly unfurls across his cheeks while he sardonically asks for permission.  He doesn't need your answer; he doesn't need your consent.  He wants to come in.  He wants you.  He enters. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Saladspiration: Balsamic Chicken, Lima Bean, and Hummus Spinach Salad

I'll admit - I have a lot of eccentric mini-hobbies.  I love reading ingredients on label packaging (both food and inedible products).  I love Yelping every new restaurant I pass by.  I recently love collecting acorns.  While the usefulness of these hobbies is questionable (someday I WILL make something out of my acorns!), some of my mini-hobbies actually hold some kind of benefit.  One of these hobbies is looking at pictures of food.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Nature's Wisdom: Advice from a Lone Leaf

Advice from a Lone Leaf - The Unique Stand Out
From the drying grasses to the turning leaves, autumn's touch transforms nature all around us.  Attracted to the vibrant hues of reds and yellows, many people focus on this beautiful scenery that falls with autumn.  The new foliage trends seem to harvest much of the attention.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

10 Ways to Boost Creativity


Photo Credit: chrismetcalfTV
 Have you ever watched The NeverEnding Story?  There is one scene in the movie where Atreyu's (the main character) white horse, Artax, gets stuck in this mucky, muddy Swamp of Sadness never to get itself free.  I'm sorry to repaint this image in your minds first thing in this post; it really is a horrifically sad moment (that is still just as traumatic now as it was watching it as a child)!  However, this scene comparably depicts the sensation of being stuck in a creative rut. 

Having a lack of inspiration or ideas, especially for those that depend on their creativity to make a living, feels like you are slowly being sucked into a black hole of nothing, not even daunting, gothic darkness!   It's like your hands, feet, and mind are being held so strongly that they are forced to wither.   
How can you save your creative self from sinking into a hole of unproductive nothingness?  Whether you are writing, drawing, photographing, crafting, building, or cooking, try out my 11 suggestions to save your inner Artax and set it free! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It Helps if You Turn the Stove On

Your brain is  a file cabinet, tucking away hundreds of recipes for your dreams and goals.  On those wistful days where you relax and daydream about what foods you want to devour, you rummage through your dream cookbooks, coming across a recipe that spikes your inner cravings.  Your mouth waters, your tongue dances across your lips, and your stomach yearningly moans as you imagine those recipes fully prepared, plated on the most intricate china next to the finest silverware that will be used to carry each bite to your lips.  You've found your recipe. 

Once your hands elevate that recipe out of the rest, you excitedly throw all of the ingredients you need into a pot, anxiously anticipating the moment where your meal will boil into the most delectable feast.  Except it doesn't boil.  It waits on the burner, still cool, still uncooked. 
 
You forgot to turn the stove on.   

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Healthy Creamy Sweet Potato and Tomato Sauce Pasta

During these chilly, autumn days, a lot of us like to cozy up with steaming, hearty dishes like creamy pastas, meaty stews, and gravy-topped everything.  Unfortunately, many of these hearty dishes require the use of heavy, not-so-healthy ingredients, such as heavy creams and butters.  While indulging on an unhealthy meal once in awhile won't do you too much harm, frequently relying on these types of meals to fill you up will sure enough wreak havoc on your health and your gut. 

Fall wants us to enjoy cozy meals, so it graciously gives us a bountiful harvest of healthy, nutrient-filled ingredients that will give meals the illusion of being heartier without making them unhealthier.  One of these ingredients is the mighty sweet potato. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Chickpea, Broccoli, and Onion Stir Fry

Stir fries are always a perfect go-to meal, especially when you want to quickly toss together whatever is in your fridge.  One of my favorite parts about stir frying food is that you can have a lot creativity with your ingredients.  If you don't mind having a simple, basic stir fry without special authentic Chinese sauces and the like, you can whip together ingredients that you already have on hand.  Almost all types of veggies are fair game, and so are your proteins. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

5 Steps to Choosing Healthier Groceries

Avoid gluten.  Eat more fat.  Eat less fat.  Buy whole grain.  Whole wheat is better. 

With all of the different diets in the world, going grocery shopping for the "right" healthy products can get rather confusing.  There are recommendations for all sorts of food items to buy, and many of those recommendations contradict each other.  So, how do you know what grocery items are the healthiest to purchase?

Of course, you'll never go wrong choosing fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and the like, but some of us may not be ready to do a complete 180 on our lifestyle, completely avoiding decadent desserts and "junky" snacks.  However, I have a few tips to get you thinking more about the food choices that you make.  No matter what diet you follow, you can use these tips to help you develop a healthier lifestyle.

Here are 5 grocery shopping steps to help you make healthier purchases:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Don't Wait to Appreciate

Closing up and winterizing our tiny cabin is always a sad experience; it is officially putting an end to the year's summer traveling and is a gloomy reminder that we won't be back to our cozy forest cottage until next spring.  However, besides all the goodbyes and closings, my family and I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful "end of summer" vacation.  Although autumn's cold hands have already touched us, the weather warmed up, the stars twinkled brighter than on any of the summer nights, and our family spent most of the days enjoying the outdoors. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wisconsin Travels: Traveling Along the Wisconsin Mississippi Byway

Disclaimer:  I apologize for the quality of the following pictures, but most of the photos were taken from behind a fly-stained window in a moving vehicle on a cloudy day.  As the passenger, I had little say about when we could stop to snap photos, but this probably was for the better as I don't think that I would have made it home.  Almost overwhelming, the plethora of scenic views and historical stops could provide a month's worth of entertainment for any nature-loving enthusiast, photographer, history-buff, or adventurer.  Like most of Wisconsin, the nature along this drive captures your heart, seduces your eyes, and replenishes your soul.    

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Snuggle Up to a Good Movie: A List of My Movie Recommendations

On chilly autumn nights, there is nothing better than to simply snuggle in a blanket and cozy up to a good movie, especially one that you love.  

I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but sometimes, when I am all settled into the couch with my bowl of popcorn, PJs, and fuzzy blanket, I actually can't think of a movie to watch!  If you are ever in this scenario, check out my list of top 10s (okay, sometimes I cheated, but it actually is really hard to narrow down your favorites!) in the following movie genres.  I've organized the movies into the genres that I consider each of them, but some may fit into other genres as well.  The movie titles are in no particular order, but my absolute favorites have *s next to them.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Baked Autumn Harvest Turkey Breast

It's turkey time! Well, the beginning of it, anyways.

One of my favorite meats to eat during the fall season is turkey.  Besides its popularity with Thanksgiving, turkey lends itself to this cozy time of year because its milder taste pairs extremely well with late summer and early autumn's heartier harvest.   It is a lighter meat that lets you eat heartier sides without feeling disgustingly full (unless you eat the whole bowl...that's another story).

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Why I'll Never Force My Body Back to a Size 0...Unless It Wants to Be


This is probably one of the toughest posts that I will ever write.  Typically, I do not like delving this deep into my personal life and sharing this to the world.  But I write this as much to help those struggling with a similar issue as much as I write this as a reminder to myself that what may be healthy to one person, may not be healthy to you.  

I was never anorexic.  I was never bulimic.  But I did something just as terrible to my body - I stopped listening to it. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Nature's Wisdom: Advice from a Mushroom

Keep your eyes open.  Listen.  Observe.

Existing from the beginning of time, nature has some of the most influential, meaningful messages to share.  Although it has changed throughout the centuries, nature has found ways to preserve itself and adapt to the changes.  It has never given up, no matter how harshly others have treated it.  Having experienced change, obstacles, time, fruitful moments, and the other many facets of life, the wisdom that nature has to offer exceeds even that from who you consider the most intelligent human beings. 

As you walk through nature, don't ignore the messages.  Instead, learn from the many secrets and advice hidden between the leaves and the branches.  Grow with the plants.  Evolve with the earth. 

Advice From a Mushroom: Even the Broken are Beautiful

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Warm Buckwheat, Cabbage, and Kohlrabi Salad

If you haven't heard of buckwheat yet, it is time to introduce you to this delicious, nutritious food.  Perfect for those with gluten sensitivities and sensitive stomachs, buckwheat is a seed used in an assortment of ways including noodles (Japanese soba), flour, and porridge.  Buckwheat is typically more common in Asia and Europe, but it needs to start making its presence in the North American culinary world because of all the health benefits that it offers.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Dear Diary: 4 Things to Write About For a Better Night's Sleep

Have you ever read that book that drifted you off into a fantastical world too mesmerizing to escape each night? Or have you ever read an article that inspired you to march right out into the world and make changes?  What about reading an ad in a magazine that made you crack up so hard that you could barely breathe - have you ever read one of those?  Thus is the magic of writing.

Writing is a powerful tool used for a variety of purposes, from advertising to telling stories to offering instructions and tips.  There are so many things that writing can accomplish, which is what attracts it most to me.  It is a creative tool that can be manipulated to have any voice, any style, and any purpose that you wish.  Better yet, through writing you can make an incredible difference in someone's life, including your own.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

6 Simple Ways to Start Your Morning Right

Photo Credit: Mislav Marohnic
Some fortunate people are morning birds that are raring to start the day from the moment their alarms buzz.  Others aren't as lucky.  For the latter folk, the early morning can feel torturous, pulling them away from their restful sleep.  Many people have written healthy tips for morning routines, but "tips" such as 15 minutes of journal writing and 30 minutes of exercise are obviously meant for and written by those morning birds. 

Starting your day in a healthy, good way does not have to be complicated or time-consuming, even for you night owls out there.  You don't have to surrender that precious hour just to have a good start; this extra hour of sleep is necessary to some people!  Today I have for you 6 easy, time-conscious routines to add to your morning that can you get your day started on the right side of the bed.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Start Your Day With a List

Feeling unaccomplished can be one of the worst sensations.  You become a judge harsher than Simon Cowell, negatively criticizing your actions each day.  You make yourself wrongly believe that you are going nowhere.  Once you start believing that your goals are failing and your tasks never get done, you lose any sense of motivation to complete the things that you have to do.  If you never can achieve anything, why start trying now?  This kind of thinking, especially at the beginning of the day, can actually stick you into a never-ending cycle of unproductiveness that is hard to escape.

Trying to reverse negative thoughts about your progress can be more difficult than the process of actually getting somewhere.  To get out of this vicious cycle, you literally need to prove to yourself that you are wrong, and people rarely enjoy admitting to that accusation.  Physical proof of your accomplishments is the evidence you need to turn your critical thinking around.  This evidence can be as simple as checking off a list.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cozy, Small Fall Haul for the Home

Famous (or not so famous) words once wrote that fall is more than just pumpkin spice lattes.  But that doesn't mean you have to ignore all of the cozy decor, scents, and flavors associated with fall. You just shouldn't let them be the prime focus!

When you step foot inside your home, you should automatically feel comfortable and cozy because it is your shelter; your home should protect you and allow you to rest.  While owning a home certainly comes with responsibilities and the occasional unpleasant mishap, the aesthetic of your home should never cause you additional stress.  Instead, it should ease you from all the other stressors that you have.  You may not be able to take frequent vacations or relax everyday in a cozy little cabin nestled in the woods, but you can definitely make your home feel as if you are in paradise.   

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mexican Miso Pumpkin Chicken Wrap

Mixing culture-specific flavors together is a creative way to experiment in your kitchen.  Pulling together seasonings and ingredients from different cultural dishes gives you access to a whole new range of meals.  When you love certain Italian herbs, try combining them with spicy Mexican ingredients.  Add a little Asian flare to your hearty European dinner by incorporating chili oil and leafy vegetables.  By integrating your favorite flavors from one cultural dish to another, you can avoid eating similar-tasting meals day after day.   

Using my leftover Mexican-style Grilled Chicken Breast (recipe here) and Japanese miso and kabocha squash, I made a quick, healthy, and hearty lunch wrap incorporating both South American and Asian flavors.  Since this recipe uses leftover ingredients, it is easy to make and takes little time. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mexican-style Grilled Chicken Breast Rub

When I season meat, I almost never measure out the ingredients.  After cooking for awhile (and experimenting some not-so-delicious cooking mishaps), I've learned to just "eye-ball" ingredients.
 
This recipe will be a little different than most of the other ones that I will post.  I'll share with you the ingredients that I used, but I don't have the exact measurements of everything (sorry, sorry, sorry!). 

Although a recipe without precise measurements may be a little intimidating, testing it out and experimenting for yourself is a great way to start becoming comfortable in the kitchen.  Too many times, people are scared to veer off from a recipe, thinking that the meal will completely ruin if numbers are not followed word-for-word (baking is a different story...don't use this advice or you may just have flat cakes...).  Other times, a recipe may force you to run to the store to buy a certain unique spice that will remain in your cupboard, never to be used again.  However, recipes should not restrict you and your palate.  Everyone has different flavors and spices that they like and dislike; perhaps you like your meals a little saltier or spicier.  Whatever the case is, go ahead and cater the dish to your liking.  Don't be afraid to manipulate the recipe.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Never Stop Holding Hands

As I was driving through my neighborhood, I witnessed a scene that never fails to melt my heart - an elderly couple holding hands. 

Assuming that they have been together for many years (which is not always the case!), they have endured beautiful moments, fights, and obstacles.  Some can say this elderly couple is experienced in the battlefield of life, yet they still cling to each other, relying on their partner for support, guidance, and comfort. 

I don't know what the exact age is when people start feeling embarrassed to hold another's hand.  Perhaps it's the middle school independent years that make a child fear being caught holding their mother or father's hand; for sure, their crush or friends would think them "uncool".  Or perhaps it begins whenever we feel too experienced and mature to be held along the way.  Whatever the time may be, most people eventually let go, and this limits both our own progress and that of others.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fresh and Simple Chickpea Salad

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are an awesome meatless protein source.  Not only are they filled with heart-healthy fiber, but they also contain iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, and other essential vitamins and minerals.  Helping to fight unhealthy conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, chickpeas are an excellent legume to add to your diet.

What Would Tiana Do? Wise Words From Our Youth

This morning, I came across a video that was both adorable and incredibly heartfelt.  A young, yet incredibly wise 6-year-old girl, Tiana, instructs her parents on why they need to be nice to one another. 

In Tiana's words, "if we live in a world where everyone's being mean, everyone's going to be a monster in their future.  What if-if there's a little bit of persons and we will eat them?  Then no one will ever be here". 

If you notice your "mean heights" up too high today, think "what would Tiana do?" and bring them down a little.  Such a young girl can think rationally, so you can, too.  Besides, you wouldn't want a world full of monsters now, would you?

Video Credit: Cherish Sherry  (must be logged into Facebook)


Must watch!! After came back from badminton I Open the garage door try to drive my car in and heard Tiana voice yelling...
Posted by Cherish Sherry on Wednesday, 16 September 2015


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fall: It's Not Just About Pumpkin-Spice Lattes

I will be the first to admit - I love fall and all the cozy decorations, sweaters, and pumpkins that typically get tagged along with it.  As soon as this season arrives, pumpkin-flavored everything and autumn-leaf decor hit the shelves, and for whatever reason, people go crazy about collecting it all.  Sure, the season offers refreshing, crisp scents and beautiful color schemes, but fall is more than just about pumpkin-spice lattes.  If we take a moment to delve into the core of this transitional season, we can learn a few lessons that can be applied to our own lives.

Here are five features of fall and the lessons they can teach us:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

15 Reasons Why a Dog Makes You Happy

 
Sure, owning a dog can be a lot of work.  You have to take them out, keep them clean, and you'll always have another mouth to feed.  But all of the responsibilities that come with owning a dog are sure worth the hassle at the end of the day.  A dog is more than a best friend - they are a loyal companion that always seem to bring a smile to your face. 
If you are searching for reasons to coerce your roommate into getting a dog or are looking for something that will bring you joy, here are 15 reasons why a dog makes you happy:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Everyone Needs a Cozy Escape

At my little, yellow cabin tucked away into the secluded pine forest, life seems to pause.  Stress, noise, worry, pressure - all of these just melt away, as if their haunt never loomed.  Time goes by, yet somehow, the date never can be remembered.  Plenty of work is needed around the land, but this work is simpler, more relaxing than the rest.  Maybe it's the way the sound of chirping crickets and scattering squirrels lulls me; maybe it's the clear air that allows me to breathe.  Whatever it is, something about this cabin - something about these woods - brings peace to my life.  It is my cozy escape. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Just a List: Fun Fall Activities


I don't know about you, but I always think of activities to do while I'm busy doing something else.  When it comes time to plan a fun adventure, my mind goes blank and I have a hard time remembering all the activities that I've been wanting to do.  Writing lists helps me to centralize and remember all my ideas - I use them for EVERYTHING!
 
Today I share with you a list of fun Fall activities to enjoy with a date, your family, your friends, loved ones, or even yourself!  Go ahead and escape on a cozy, Fall day!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Quick and Easy Recipe: Leek, Bok Choy, and Tofu Stir Fry

 
Stir fries are delicious meals perfect for fast and easy dishes.  This quick tofu stir fry takes very little time to make, so it is a great choice when you want a filling, healthy meal but you don't have extra time to spare.  With stir fries, the cooking process is the quick part; preparing the ingredients and cutting your veggies are the most time consuming parts.  Therefore, you want to make sure that all of your veggies are prepped and your ingredients are gathered before you start cooking.  Otherwise, your stir fry can overcook or even burn.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Try It Out: Palmolive Soft Touch

Of all products to use as my very first "Try It Out" suggestion, I choose the most invigorating one: a dish-washing soap!
In all seriousness, I was just washing the dishes, my mind roaming in its land of randomness, and I was thinking about how much I actually loved this dish-washing soap.

Most soaps wreak havoc on my already sensitive, dry hands, but of all the dishwashing liquids that I have used so far, this one has the most gentle effect.  My hands still need a drop of lotion after I wish the dishes (they are REALLY dry so I don't think any kind of soap would help), but they only need a drop after using Palmolive Soft Touch rather than half a bottle.

How to Move on from Rejection: Advice from the Rejected


Rejection - even that word causes your skin to cringe.  Whether you get rejected from a job, lover, or another opportunity, the emotions that you feel afterward are the same: they suck. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When Feeling Blue, Dress in Gold: How Kicking Off those Sweats Can Improve Your Mood

Unmotivated? Check.  Lazy? Check.  Feel miserable about everything not going your way? Check, check, check.  Let's throw on those sweats!

Sweat pants, baggy clothes, pajamas, uncombed hair, and unshaven legs (don't worry, I'm not going to feel them, so I'm not judging you) seem to have some sort of magnetic force to us when we are feeling a little down.  When we are in a bad mood, sometimes we gravitate toward ill-fitting clothes and an unkempt appearance because one - we want some kind of comfort, and two - no one understands what we are going through so why are we going to cater our appearance to their standards, trying to please them when we can't even please ourselves?!  Or so we tell ourselves.  Of course, we also might be in a bad mood because the laundry has piled up and we don't have any decent clothes left, but I digress.  Those two thoughts cause even more trouble for our already gloomy selves and thus need to be squashed, or simply groomed away. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fast and Easy Leftover Grilled Chicken Breast with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Onions

One benefit of leftovers is that you have a quick, easy meal the next day with very little prep.  However, eating leftovers day after day can leave you dreading a meal, even if it tastes delicious.  To prevent the monotony of leftovers, don't be afraid to get a little creative.  This simple leftover grilled chicken dish proves that a leftover can turn into a brand new meal without needing a lot of time or ingredients!  (Note: This will be just as good with fresh grilled chicken breast, too!)

Monday, September 14, 2015

7 Yoga and Stretching Videos for the True Beginner


Can you contort your body into one of those mind-blowing, gravity-defying yoga poses? No? Me neither, which is why I need the very basic of the most basic tutorials.  When you search the web, you can find countless videos labeled as "beginner".  The videos start off nice and calm, you think to yourself "hey, maybe I could teach yoga", but then halfway through, you need to twist your right leg over your heard while bending your left arm back to reach your other leg that is extended completely straight back.  Next video.  Unfortunately, some "beginner" videos are a tad bit more advanced for those of us that feel the burn while trying to reach our toes.  However, I have come across some yoga video gems throughout my searches that I would love to share with you.  These yoga videos help with everything from calming the mind to exercising your body.  I have also thrown in some stretching videos for flexibility to help you become more nimble for your yoga journey.  For the most part, these videos have pretty simple techniques that are clearly shown and easy to follow.  Of course, you may not be able to get as flat as these yogis can (I sure can't), but stretching as far as your body allows helps you nonetheless!  Be sure to check these out, my yoga beginner friends!  Namaste.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Why You Can't Find a Job


To all my fellow jobless lovelies out there who are currently looking for a job, you might have realized that job searching is one of the most terrifying, horrible experiences that you could ever go through (not really, but kind of).  You search and you sweat for days, perhaps months, and you just can't find anything.  You wonder why there isn't a perfect job out there waiting for you where you could show the world how wonderful you truly are.  Today, you do not have to wonder why anymore; I've answered that question for you!  Here are 21 reasons why you can't find a job...or here are 21 reasons why I can't find one.