Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Round Up: Weddings, Romance, and Love

The Pro Bloggers Tribe is pulling out another round-up with some of our friends! This week is one of my all time favorite topics so I couldn't help but host it myself! From wedding food to romantic love to celebrating Mother's Day with those special women, we have a little bit of everything to get that sentiment flowing. And don't forget to enter into the giveaway! Enjoy!





Saturday, April 25, 2015

To Reproduce or Not To Reproduce, That is The Question

This is going to be by far one of, if not THE most personal posts I have written so far, but this is something that has been weighing very heavily on my mind lately. Why do we reproduce?

I know in the beginning of time it was essential to reproduce to fill the earth and all that good stuff, but now the earth is over populated. I know in the more recent past children functioned as free labor. However, large families are not only nonessential in today's time, they can be a financial strain as costs of food, housing, and education continue to steadily increase giving us less bang for our buck. Which leads me back to why?

Some people find their purpose in their children and families. Some people want to continue their lineage. Some people want someone to love who will love them back. And those are all completely valid reasons. Where my quandary comes into play is what if there are no selfless reasons for choosing to make more people who then have to participate in the increasingly difficult scheme called life?

I in no way mean to offend as all of those used to be my reasons for wanting to have children. I wanted someone to want and need me. I wanted someone who would always be around so I wouldn't be lonely. I wanted to be able to finally have someone to live for that wasn't me. But all of those reasons are innately selfish.

Why would I choose to force the hardships of life onto someone I would love more than life itself? Why would I choose to watch her suffer and get her heart broken and feel lost and desolate like I did? Why would I willingly add another person to this world for him to be tainted and lose his zeal like I did? Thinking about the amount of pain and hurt in this world literally brings me to tears when I consider having a child who would have to go through it like I did.

My parents did a fantastic job of raising me to chase my happiness and keep life simple. I am so incredibly grateful for them, and I have asked my dad for his story of why I came to be. I have asked others as well. So I guess what I'm really hoping for with this post is for your why stories if you don't mind sharing them. There will be no judgement from me. I am just at a moral crossroads and am in need of some perspective.

So if you don't mind sharing, what are your why's for choosing to have children? I know everyone says the love is beyond worth it, but what about the sadness they go through? How do you handle that?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On That Work Grind

work, training, teamwork, company

Finally got a job you guys! I was job hunting for all of twenty-two hours before I got officially hired. Here is my brief little disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions written here about my workplace are my own and in no way represent the beliefs of the company; they're solely my own opinions and beliefs and all that jazz. So ya, Convergys is pretty great. If anyone is in need of a job, feel free to mention my name, and we'll both get a little referral bonus on our checks ;) just putting it out there.

But anywho, I'm in a night training class, and I have NEVER worked a night shift before in my life. Well, I mean except at the movie theatre, but I was on break between semesters so I didn't have anything else to do. Most of my paid work has been in childcare so I'm more accustomed to waking up early instead of staying up late. Especially since my dogs won't let me sleep in.

I finished up my third week as of Friday, and it's going pretty well so far. I got my first paycheck (just in time for my birthday actually). I'll be on the night shift for quite a long time, but I'm actually a part time hire so once training is over my shifts will be so much easier. I'll be home for dinner most of the time as opposed to now only getting to see my husband on the weekends. But hey, gotta do what you gotta do.

Now that I've been there for three weeks, I feel like a have a handle on the people and the environment I'm in, and I really enjoy it. Of course there will always be those few people you just don't get along with, but other than that, I fit right in. Body modification isn't a big deal. Promoting up is as easy or difficult as you make it. AND they're super understanding of my being a vegan. We had a luncheon with pizza, and they made sure I could get a pizza with no cheese or meat. How great is that? AND when we had a pot luck, several people made an effort to bring vegan dishes as well!

The right opportunities will come to you as you need them whether they are trials to grow by or blessings to live by. All of life is a learning experience. Take it all in with a grain of salt, and remember to always be able to laugh. This chance pretty well fell into my lap, and I couldn't be more grateful. So many steps in the right direction can be taken thanks to Convergys. Life is twisty like that, you guys. Just as things are starting to get unbearable, the silver lining shows its face, and BOOM!!! Like a flip of a switch everything can change.

What are some life events that have impacted you in a big way? Has any opportunity become your saving grace? Does anyone have any advice for the night shift with early bird animals other than naps and caffeine?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

How Adult Friendships Are Different From High School Friendships

friends, work, fun, different

For a lot of people in high school, they think the friends they make there will be their lifetime people. Thankfully, I wasn't one of those so I wasn't disappointed or surprised when graduation day came, and I stopped talking to almost all of those people. But for those who are shocked by that harsh reality, for those who didn't realize you make and stay friends with the people in high school simply because you see them five days a week, here's what I've learned about friendships in adulthood.

Adulthood, no matter how old you are when you finally choose to grow up, comes with a lot of hard stuff. Adults know this, and because of this shared awareness of the possible struggle, friendships can have a more fluid presence in life. There are the friends you make because you see them often such as work friends. There are the friends you make because they are in a similar situation or age group such as friends made over social media. There are the friends you make because of common interests such as friends you make at dance class.

Now let me explain what I mean by friendships being "fluid." In adulthood, since everyone who chooses to participate is aware of bills and responsibilities and time constraints and prioritization, suddenly you don't have to talk or see people everyday to know their status won't change. It's almost as if when you are interacting, you are friends; and when you're not, the relationship is on pause. For example, I have made a lot of great friends through Facebook as I mentioned in The Sisterhood. However, now that I have started a new job on second shift, I don't see or talk to them as much. But as soon as I can make plans or have a need, we pick back up right where we left off.

Same thing goes for work friends. Work friends are the most like high school friends in that the friendship is based on needing to get along so work won't be unpleasant, but in adulthood, that doesn't necessarily mean the friendship ends when you move on from that job. Often times that is exactly what it means since the basis of the friendship is known, but sometimes the work friends are also friends with similar situations and/or common interests so the friendship can continue under one of the other guises.

The last thing I'm going to touch on is friendships that end. In adulthood, awareness of what you need to flourish in your own life can help to catalyze the ends of unhealthy friendships. In adulthood, letting go of toxic people is as easy as breathing so long as you choose to walk away and mean it. For some reason, high school makes it seem like you have to stay in touch with people no matter how much you shouldn't be friends with that person, but it is okay to say that you can't handle having a certain person in your life due to negativity or lackluster personality or whatever other traits should have stayed in high school because guess what. This is adulthood. Ain't nobody got time for that.

In closing, friendships aren't as complicated in adulthood. Yes, they can be more fleeting, but this really is the time when you can actually make and keep those lifetime friends while simultaneously being appreciative of those friends who are meant for only a season. It isn't as big of a deal. We are all allowed to stand up and make for ourselves the lives that we want to have. So go ahead and choose the right influences without feeling guilty about doing what's best for you and yours. And bask in the light that is adult friendships.

What are some differences you have noticed between high school friends and adult friends? Do you see a fluidity in adult friendships or would you describe it as something else? 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Vegan Ice Cream Blueberry Muffins

delicious, sweet, breakfast

I just want to start by saying that Pinterest is amazing, and I would run out of things to cook without it. Pinterest and Thug Kitchen are my staple cookbooks. However, I actually found this recipe on Twitter from BuzzFeed Food. The original recipe is by Christine Byrne I believe, and thankfully it was pretty simple to make it vegan. I just had to swap out dairy ice cream for non-dairy and voila!

The muffins themselves are delicious without being overly sweet so I'm sure you could use the muffin batter as a base for several different flavors of muffins, but Husband is suddenly on a blueberry kick so I thought I'd humor him. That was a bad idea. I didn't even think to taste a blueberry before I threw them all in there, and mine were quite sour unfortunately. But one thing I absolutely loved about this is the ice cream made the batter a little more on the sticky side which prevented the blueberries from all sinking to the bottom.

I used Luna and Larry's Organic Coconut Bliss Vanilla Island ice cream. Why? Because it was new at the store so I figured it must be good. I honestly still haven't even tasted the ice cream. I just melted it into these muffins and called it a day. At least this lack of a taste test didn't end terribly like with the blueberries, and I have a second pint in my freezer waiting for me.

I have no idea how Christine fit an entire pint of blueberries into the batter. Mine got pretty well full with just 6 ounces. And with these muffins only requiring four ingredients, getting the balance right seemed pretty important (in hindsight I should have added some sugar to help cancel out the sour blueberries, but generally you wouldn't need that fifth ingredient).

I took the liberty of putting the muffins in my cupcake liners because I had them and wanted to use them finally so we add a very spring-themed breakfast with the pastel pink, green, and yellow. Since the blueberry juice stained my fingers, I was pretty grateful for that little barrier.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 6-oz container of blueberries
1. Preheat your oven to 375° F and melt your ice cream in the microwave (or you could leave it on your counter for a few hours or the fridge for a day).
2. Add the flour and baking powder to a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir/whisk until evenly distributed.
3. Add the melted ice cream and stir. You will end up with a shiny, smooth batter.
4. Stir in the blueberries.
5. Prepare your muffin tin with either cooking spray or cupcake liners.
6. Evenly distribute the batter to all 12 slots, and make sure there's a blueberry in each one.
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the muffins are slightly golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean. The blueberries will be leaking juice so poke with care.
8. Allow them to cool before eating. The blueberry juice is incredibly hot and will burn your mouth.

Just warning you all, I am not very creative. I have never once managed to create a new recipe that actually tasted good, but I can tweak existing ones! So if anyone has any old favorites and wants to give me a challenge, go ahead and comment those recipes! We'll have more regular food posts if this is something the majority enjoys.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It All Started in a Restaurant

Last month, or it may have even been February, I was invited to one of those dinners hosted by a rep of Martinsburg College. Mostly, I was there for the free food. What can I say? Food is definitly a thing. As the evening progressed, the information piqued my interest. The food was served and consumed, most everyone had already left, and there I was: pleasantly conversing with the lady about MyCAA and trying to choose a totally free program I could take to better my business.

We decided to regroup at Starbuck's when it was earlier in the day to give me time to think everything over and talk with my husband. The courses were all online, work at your own pace, and completely covered by my military spouse's scholarship. And the best part is they are no where near as long as college. I was (and am) sold.

Our Starbuck's date arrives, and we continue our conversation over coffee and hot chocolate (not a vegan beverage, I know). She told me that it only takes an hour a day, Monday-Friday, to complete the course within the 8-month timeframe, but even then most people can finish it in 6! I am definitely more of a fast paced person when it comes to things like work and school so I love that there is no penalty (and it is actually encouraged) to finish early.

As the first hour draws to a close, I have started all the paperwork and applications and am pretty well ready to start. That little trip to the coffee shop offered a new chapter in my life that I wouldn't have had otherwise. And to think, I was only there for the free food.

Has anyone else taken a course thanks to MyCAA? What opportunities are you pursuing? Anyone else take courses to better their direct sales businesses or blogs?

April '15 Goals

I almost completely missed setting goals for this month, but thankfully another blogger shared hers which reminded me. I'm just going to jump right in with an update of how last month's goals worked out, which ones I met, what needs improvement, and then finish with my new goals.

I succeeded at my first goal of getting involved in more social media. I now have an Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin' in addition to Facebook and Pinterest. Twitter is by far the platform I have the most trouble with using. As for spending half an hour every day, on average I got that. In reality it was more sporadic with missing a day or two and spending hours instead of keeping it in small manageable chunks for daily application. I haven't quite found my niche beyond love and marriage, veganism and health, and the tragedies of life so I guess I'm going to stick with those and fine tune as I go along.

Goals for this month:

  • Take some classes about blogging/websites (design, promotion, social media usage, etc.)
  • Spend consistent time on this
  • Start logging my time use in my planner
  • Have more non blogger interaction
The last one is more wishful thinking on my part, but I figured I'd go ahead and throw it in there. I've been blogging for only a couple months, and I already have over 1000 views. That to me is incredible. Thank you all for supporting me and my journey. I'll be doing a reader survey at some point to see what all everyone likes, dislikes, and wants to see more to help me to keep putting out posts that are interesting and enjoyable or at the least get you thinking.

Thanks again to all of you. Yes, I started this as an outlet for myself, but I wouldn't have kept it up without your support. You mean the world to me, and if any of you ever needs to talk, feel free to find me on any of the platforms I'm on (Facebook would be the quickest since I'm on that one the most).

Saturday, April 4, 2015

When Misfortune Strikes

My sister called me on Friday to let me know that her apartment caught on fire. Thankfully, she has renter's insurance, but her textbooks and such for college were in the apartment. She wasn't home at the time, but her roommate was. No one got hurt, and they do have the coverage for their damaged belongings, but now everyone effected is homeless.

My heart aches for my baby sister. I am so far away and can't do anything for her, but my parents are nearby so she has somewhere to stay for the weekends. It's crazy how life works out. Fire is one of those things that you never expect to happen to you, and now that it has it's like all bets are off. I find that good and bad things usually come in three's so we'll see what comes next.

My sister is really good at staying light hearted and flowing with life and all the twists and turns. She is still in a good mood with her sense of humor even though she hasn't yet figured out her new living arrangements. She doesn't yet know about how the rest of her semester is going to go since quite a few of her books were toasted.

I admire her strength and resilience. She is certainly one tough cookie. We were lucky to grow up how and where we did with the parents that we have. We learned a lot about the good in life and how to get back to it and make our own happiness. I am incredibly grateful for my parents and family, and I know that my sister will be okay no matter what because of them. So many of us are spread across the country so we can't always be nearby in times of crisis, but we are always there for each other to help with every need.

How do you cope with misfortune or the unexpected? Anyone have tips and tricks for making lemonade out of these lemons? When disaster hits, people tend to come together. What keeps you and your people together through the good and the bad?