Monday, November 7, 2016

Teach a Kid to Shop, He'll Spend Money for a Day. Teach a Kid to Sew, She'll be a Badass for Life!

Friends, I have a thing to say...
TEACH THE YOUNG PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE HOW TO SEW! If you don't know how, find a friend or family member who'd be willing to teach them. Check out local rec center classes. Sign up at a fabric or craft shop. Get some books from the library and youtube that shit.

I think this is so important for all young people, especially girls. And let me tell you why. If you know me, you know I am not about that gender norms shit. "Oh sewing is only for girls. It's a female activity." 1. Miss me with that "female" bullshit. 2. Until I see men and boys running around buck ass nekkid with a full lion pelt tied around their bodies, sitting on rocks, sleeping on a bare bale of hay, you're not off the hook. You utilize sewn goods every day too and there's no reason you shouldn't be able to make what you use.

Here's the biggest reason I think sewing is mega important for girls...the fashion industry is not for us. Back in the 1950s, the hourglass shape and related proportions/measurements was the sizing standard and only 8% of women fell into that category. I'm not sure how something that doesn't accommodate 92% of the population it's supposed to serve is a standard, but hey, that's just me. Even now, there is no standard sizing guide (which you know, if you've ever been into a store and put clothes on your body). I have not met one man or boy who hasn't been able to run into a store and pick up a specific size pair of pants, NOT try them on and be good with their selection. Or worse yet, ask YOU to get them a pair of pants, armed with only a waist and inseam measurement and whatever you chose was fine (My husband asked me to do this, which caused me anxiety, swiftly followed by rage.)

Industry sizing "standards" aside, maybe the girls in your life want something different than what's out there. What the big head fashion people think everyone should want. If you want a princess dress with robots on it, more power to you sister! If you want the comfort of yoga pants, but not for the world to see your entire ass through cheap fabric, god bless you! Getting started can be pricey, and there's a lot to learn, but it is SO rewarding! There are definitely plenty of items that I will still buy (the money and effort that goes into making a tshirt that I could easily buy for $8 from Old Navy is not even worth it). But making a dress or pants that look amazing and fit like nothing off the rack is BADASS.

Friday, October 14, 2016

What's in Your Kitchen?

A few days ago, a friend of mine said that she and her husband were planning to go vegetarian for a week and that she was prepping meals. One of the items she made was black bean burgers. That sounded delicious and the hubs was at work on Sunday, so that was a perfect time to get all up in some veggie foodstuffs making, right?

I found this recipe for Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers from the Minimalist Baker and it looked GLORIOUS! So I said, "Well duh, I'm totally making this!" But I didn't have black beans. Or nut meal. Or green onions. That's fine. I'll just improvise with what's in my cupboard (because, you know, I'm funemployed. Gotta use what I have!)

In my mind, black beans= chickpeas and kidney beans. Nut meal=coconut flour (from an ill-fated and totally unnecessary attempt at gluten free-ness). Green onions=yellow diced onions.

Cool. Let's do this.

Bake the sweet potatoes and cook the rice. Baked the sweet potatoes. Didn't see the last part of that instruction...
Okay, so the recipe says to lightly hand mash the potatoes and half the beans. I'll do them in the food processor. It'll be faster.

Next, add the rest of the beans whole in the recipe. Well, I guess I should break those up a little bit, because those kidney beans are ginormous!

All right, all right, all right! Add the nut meal and adjust as needed to make sure the mixture isn't too moist. Huh. This kinda has the consistency of pumpkin pie filling. And adding more coconut flour is DEFINITELY not unmoistening it... That's okay. When I add the rice, it'll firm right on up.

Oh. I was supposed to cook the rice while roasting the sweet potatoes. Well shit. Definitely didn't do that. Guess everything is on hold until the rice finishes cooking. And of course it's brown rice (healthy and shit) so it takes FOREVER.

Make the patties! Measure them out with a 1/4 cup measure. 1/4 cup definitely isn't enough. I'm HONGRY, so I'm making 1 cup burgers! Oh Jesus, the 1 cup is too much! TOO MUCH! Finish with 1/2 cup. Still big but not unmanageable.

Mega 1 cup burgers
Cooking time! Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes. That's going to take far too long and I'm starving. So here's what I'll do...I'll bake one and fry one, just to see how they turn out each way.

Baked=Mad Max Fury Road Dry
Fried=Disaster Zone
Final result: Frying was a terrible shitshow. The whole thing totally fell apart, but tasted really good. Baking took almost an hour, held its shape much better but looked a little scorched earthy. Also, not having the fat in it took a little something away from the flavor.


I probably had enough mix (dough? batter? filling?) to make 14 patties but because I made a few big ass monster patties, I ended up with 10. Cooked 2 that first day and froze the rest. I did end up making a couple for dinner 2 nights ago and I figured that because they were frozen, they wouldn't fall apart as badly if I fried them (because of course again I was STARVING and didn't want to wait to bake them). They actually held shape pretty well, but soaked up SO MUCH oil they were almost inedible. Don't worry, I powered through.

Verdict: I'd make them again, but actually follow the recipe a little more closely. Until then, I have to figure out what to do with my remaining 6 sweet potato pucks...Maybe I'll bake them for a shorter period so they're softer and use as the protein on a salad?

Monday, October 3, 2016

35 by 35

Well, it's been quite a while, huh? A lot has changed over the past couple years, but no need to get into all that. Let's look forward...

Soooo, I just turned 34! I am now solidly in my mid 30s and this is kinda stressing me out. As I look toward the big 3-5, I have some things I want to do with my life. By the time I turn 35, I want to be stronger, feel better and live more. Over the past few years, I feel like I've lost myself a bit. I'm more nervous, not as adventurous, less extroverted, not as connected with the people who mean the most to me and I want to get out of that. This is the year for me to get stronger, feel better, live more and get back to me. Old Amber is pretty rad, and this shell of myself that I feel like is not the business.

So, without any further ado, here's my 35 by 35. All sorts of things that I want to accomplish over the next 360 days. And friends, I'm definitely going to need some help to get through them all! Some are out of my comfort zone, some I have no idea how to do, and others are specifically built to do with people.

Let's do this!
  1. Shouldermount (This has been my nemesis move for all my poledancing life. It will happen this year)
  2. Deadlift handstand (Another nemesis)
  3. Milk a cow
  4. Make booze (We tried to make hard cider a couple years ago. Epic fail but we've got some ideas to make it better this time around.)
  5. Perform in front of at least 50 people (A play? Pole dance? Pechakucha? SO MANY OPTIONS!)
  6. Write something that gets published (I think this is the year of He Said/She Said...)
  7. Make clothes to sell
  8. Design and sew a sweet ass party dress for my 35th birthday (This means I'm going to have to throw a sweet ass 35th birthday party. Get ready)
  9. Hot air balloon ride
  10. Plan an event for at least 5000 people
  11. Complete a triathlon
  12. Complete a half marathon (I started training for this yesterday AND ran a full mile without stopping. What??!!)
  13. Visit another country
  14. Be in a play (If at least 50 people attend, that's 2 birds with one stone!)
  15. Drop social media for a month 
  16. Get back to once a week
  17. Girls' weekend road trip
  18. Make cheese
  19. Visit 5 national parks
  20. Go rustic camping
  21. Go glamping
  22. SPLITS! Right, left and box
  23. Learn a new skill...blacksmithing, maybe? (Columbus Idea Foundry, here I come!)
  24. Tough Mudder
  25. Go on a cruise (I'm terrified of cruises. The idea of being stuck on a boat that may have mechanical failures, or norovirus outbreaks, or sink in the ocean gives me anxiety. But I could maybe manage a river cruise...)
  26. Give back to the community and join a board
  27. Put together a business plan for my own event space!
  28. Waters Family Vacay!
  29. Get my CMP
  30. Take a fangirl picture with a celebrity
  31. Go to a fancy schmancy gala
  32. Attend a professional sports game
  33. Present at PechaKucha
  34. Do at least 1 random act of kindness a month
  35. Hold crow pose for at least 15 seconds (This one has been my yoga nemesis for years! I can kind of almost get it occasionally, but I'm so scared I'm going to break my face open!)
So there you have it. It's ambitious, but why not live that life??

Happy Monday, lovebugs!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Year in the Life of an Old Married Couple

The husband and I recently celebrated our first anniversary. We took an awesome trip to Kentucky to do the Bourbon Trail and it was AMAZING! To start the anniversary shenans, he got several of our friends and family to help him put together an anniversary video (which, of course, made me cry).

So we had this whole trip planned out and I wanted to surprise him with a little something extra, so I got us tickets to go to the Newport Aquarium to do a penguin experience. Yay! Tuxedo birds!

Only to find out that he had a surprise planned for me at almost the same time. He got us tickets to go on an Indy Car ride along at the Kentucky Motor Speedway. Yay! Fast cars!
So after all that craziness went down, we made it to Lexington and drank lots of bourbon. And then we made it to Louisville and drank more bourbon. We also bet on some ponies and did some underground ziplining. Which was amazeballs.

Through all of our anniversary activities, it seemed quite apropos that we came full circle in the best way possible. He proposed to me ziplining in a tree and we celebrated our first year of wedded bliss ziplining underground. It doesn't get much better than that. Happy anniversary, boo face and I can't wait for many more years of getting into all sorts of weird, ridiculous shit!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hashtag CurlyGirlProblems...

So, I have a little anecdotey-dote for ya! But you need to know a few things first:

Fact 1) I have to be up and on the road to Cleveland for work by 5:15 tomorrow. As in "a.m." That's a real life time.
Fact 2) I really enjoy sleep. Like to the point that I get real cranky real fast if I don't get enough. Realistically, I'm a 7-8 hours per night kinda gal and my hubs makes fun of me because I have to plan my sleep schedule. Trust me, it's just better for everyone involved if I get enough sleep.
Fact 3) My hair. It is a fact of life.

And here we go. As I have to be up and a productive member of society before the sun has even rolled out of bed, I decided, like any mature, responsible adult would, to take a shower and try to wrangle my hair tonight. Because lord only knows what will happen if I try to make anything happen with it while I'm 3/4 of the way asleep, and truly, it's just too much hair to fuck with at that time of the day (night? Whatever, I'm asleep).
This is what my hair would do. Jesus, this is terrifying on so many levels...
Mid-conditioner and the unthinkable happens...

Rest in heaven, Little Brush.
True life representation of my shower experience.

So now, I'm stuck raptor clawing a busted ass hairbrush, it's taken me twice as long to finish my shower, because NO MATTER WHAT I cannot leave my hair only half brushed and of course, the water has now gone cold. But in the end, 2 socks, 2 ponytail holders, 2.5 brushes, leave in conditioner and hair gel later, I got this sweet ass bun cracking and I don't have to mess with it in the morning. Hair - 0, Amber - 1. WINNER.

There's an entire pair of (mismatched) socks in there!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Beauty of Being Cold

I went for a drive yesterday. I had a doctor's appointment that let out with over 3 hours until my dance class. So I decided to drive the surface streets from BFE 'burbs across town. During rush hour. (Hello, my name is Queen of Road Rage. Nice to meet you...) And I was okay with it because I didn't have anywhere to BE. I could just drive and take my time and not be frustrated by the jackwagons driving like, well, jackwagons. And as I was driving, I passed several metroparks and I was struck with the overwhelming urge to walk. So the next park that I passed, I pulled in. I drove around for a bit before I found the spot where I wanted to walk. What I really wanted was to get deep into the woods and the quiet and the nature and the solitude. Buuuuuuut, being in the 'burbs of the 'bus, my options were limited. So I found a cute little bridge and decided that would be my starting point. I put on my crazy cat lady hat, buttoned up my coat and I was off.

It was just...right. The crunch of the snow under my boots. The rustle of the wind through the trees. The nip of cold air along my cheeks. I walked for about a mile, just as the sun was thinking about setting, and in the middle of my walk, I came to a river. I stood there for a few minutes savoring the gurgle of the water and watching the geese play. Then I kept walking. Not fast. Not to GO anywhere. Not for my health (Sidebar: I crossed paths with a guy a few times running and he looked MISERABLE. It's cold out playa. Way too cold for all that running business. But Yak Trax Jackson was working on his fitness, so I can't be mad. That is ded-i-ca-tion!). Wait, I take that back. It was for my health. My mental health.

My cute little bridge. Yak Trax Jackson was hanging out in the trees across the way.
The overwhelming urge to get out in nature was (I think), my mind telling me to slow down and stop worrying about everyone else's shit. Just take some time to be quiet. I also think my body needed to reset itself. You know I'm the Cold Averse Queen. I get home, the pants come off and I basically swan dive into the cozy heated blanket on the couch. But yesterday, I got to be cold. And it was what I needed.

I realized that if I'm in the nature, I'm not going to freeze to death. My body got to make itself warm instead of relying on external electric temperature regulators. So being cold and quiet and alone gave me some mental clarity. When I got back in the car, I didn't turn the heat on. I turned the radio off and just drove. The radio was too much aural stimulation. The heat would have kept me from fully experiencing the tingling in my skin as I came in from the cold. And as I drove back into the city, I was totally relaxed and my mind was quiet. I was almost completely silent (a few fuck words may have eked out. Jackwagons, I tell ya!).

Eventually I turned the heat on to its lowest setting, turned the radio on to a quiet volume and just gently let my normal car ride come back. But I don't think I want that to be my norm. Perhaps I just need to be cold to get to my quiet.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

31, Let's Have Some Fun!

Hi friends! It's been about a month since I last wrote, but what a month it's been! There have been tons of things going on, like ya know, getting married, going on a honeymoon, quitting my job and getting a new one. And I'll be 31 in 3 days! So even though I have lots of things to say, I'll get to those later. But right now, I want to see just how on track I am with my life, according to newly birthdayed 29 year old me. Now, this list was technically full of things that I wanted to do before I turned 30. Technically. However, since last year was a pretty shitty birthday month, I'm giving myself a mulligan and seeing how much I accomplished, since I still am 30. Based on the answers in red, I've done some things and not done some things. But in the end, life was lived and the past 2 years have had a little bit of the good, the bad and the ugly, and 31 will be a new and better year of life :-)

1.     Dance on a bar. True story, I’ve never Coyote Uglied it up. I feel like I missed out on some coming of age ritual in college. Son of a bitch! Still haven't done it!
2.     Learn to thread and use my sewing machine.
3.     Make myself pants that fit like a dream so that I don’t feel like a giant, misshapen lump when I try to go pants shopping. See above
4.     Go surfing. No surfing. But I did go snorkeling. Both start with "S" and happen in the water. I'll count it!
5.     Perform on stage. I did one of the monologues in the Vagina Monologues earlier this year (the one I did was “My Angry Vagina.” Really, did you think it would be anything but that one?), and it was AWESOME and I can’t wait to perform again! Yup. Date 2 Remember and dance recital.
6.     Have an amazing vegetable garden. Last summer's garden wasn't the worst. This summer's garden definitely was. There's always next year?
7.     Learn how to snowboard to the point that I can do jumps and whatnot without falling and breaking myself. Didn't go snowboarding once this year. Went once last year and someone stole my damn board. I think snowboarding just isn't my thing...
8.     Buy myself a new (to me) car…I’m thinking a Mazda 3, a Mini Cooper or a Fiat. Hmm, this is an interesting small car thing I’m into. But can’t you just see me ripping around corners and driving like a bat out of hell in a little nugget of a car like these?? This is postponed. The job sitch wasn't the best in the past 2 years.
9.     Take a trip abroad…Australia, Sri Lanka, Japan, you know places where I know folks :-D St. John is kind of abroad...I mean, I did have to go through customs to get on the plane. It counts.
10. Lollapalooza Nope.
11. Warrior Dash in under 45 minutes Didn't do Warrior Dash again. But I did do the Colorpalooza in under 45 minutes. Wait a minute! Since it has "palooza" in it, can I use that to partially count for Lolla? No? Okay.
12. Yup, I’m gonna just suck it up and go for it…complete either a half marathon or a sprint triathlon. If I’m feeling super saucy, maybe even both! Negatory, Ghost Rider. But I'm still on board for a triathlon. I have been swimming a lot recently and I even got goggles and a swim cap, and a new bike. And I've taken up running again. I'm getting there before 32.
13. Dye my hair. Nothing too cray-cray (a girl’s still gotta work ya know!), but maybe some red streaks? Done. All my reds and golds and browns have done wonders :-)
14. Get another tattoo. I’m thinking a dragon to match my phoenix. Well, this has been the most successful one. I did, in fact, get a dragon tattoo. And a signature. And a song lyric. And a poem. Mama has only love for the ink! I think my next one will be a partial sleeve...
15. Learn at least one graphic design program. Yup. As evidenced by our glorious wedding invitations!
16. Throw awesome themed dinner parties. They aren't always themed, but the awesome does come into play. I think the next Sunday Dinner will be a potluck and we'll actually get to the firepit this time!
17. Start playing the cello again. I got it fixed. And I have played several of the songs that I have music for. But I don't do it regularly. I will though!
18. Take ballet classes. I'll do you one better. Pole dance classes. And I have another recital coming up in about 6 weeks. Giggity giggity!
19. Get married. 11 years is quite a long courtship, and I love the beau <3. Oh, that happened. And it was GLORIOUS!
20. Climb a mountain. It doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary or require mountain climbing equipment, but it does have to be at least a challenging hike! Yeah honeymoon, killing like 8 birds with one stone!
21. Create a strong group of friends that actually gets together on a regular basis. This is an interesting one. I think with the creation of Sunday Dinners, we've had a rotating group of friends get together. But throughout the course of wedding planning, I've had the pleasure of reconnecting with some of my best ladyloves, and it has been so refreshing to have that group in my life on a regular basis again!
22. Be in one of the Columbus magazines, CBus, Columbus Style, Capital Style, you know, any of those publications that start with C… Sure thing. At this point it's just been pictures in Columbus Alive a few times, but I'm still holding out for getting in one of the wedding mags :-)
23. Go on a rustic camping trip. Pitching tents, building fires, pooping in holes, bathing in streams, the whole shebang! No camping trip yet. But we did get a tent for a wedding present, so I think we'll get there this year!
24. Create something that I can sell. I think I’m a pretty creative person, I just need to find what I’m passionate about making. This hasn't happened yet, but I've been thinking more and more about starting my own business, and I think it's going to happen sooner rather than later!
25. Build a second bathroom and/or update the first bathroom. Uh uh. But it's in the plans for the end of the year, with some of our wedding money. And honey, we need it!
26. Stop biting my damn nails! Still a chronic nail biter. But I did start getting more regular gel manicures, so it helps A LOT!
27. Read the Bible, Koran and Torah. No, I am not religious. But I do want to be well informed about what makes people feel justified to do such crazy ass things in the name of religion. Not even a little bit.
28. Create several really good dessert recipes. I think I did that last summer. I cooked all of just about nothing this year. Sad face.
29. Referring to #6: Can things and make pickled veggies. Refer to #6.
30. Earn a sweet ass nickname. People call me random things, but it would be AWESOME to have a universally known nickname. Or a theme song. I’d be okay with a theme song… I don't think I have a nickname. Unless there's one floating around that I don't know about. If I do, please tell me. Even if it's bad!