HISTORICAL PHOTO CONTEST

This year is the year of trying new things…so I decided to enter a photo contest for the downtown revitalization project happening in my new city! Backstory about my new found interest in the photographical arts (not sure that is even a word; I totally made that up)…

Frustrated with the lack of portrait studios in the area I now live in (my brother would say I sound like an old lady now), I came up with the idea to try and start taking my own family photo’s. So, I put the bug in Santa’s ear last year he ended up bringing me a Nikon D3500 camera (thanks Amazon and the extensive research he conducted).

A few weeks ago, I got an email alert from the “city happenings committee” about this contest. The downtown area is very old and in new of some sprucing up so some love it is being shown! The city is hosting a historical photo contest; all you have to do is submit a picture of an old/historic building as a framed 8×10. The winner will get a trophy but even more cool than that is all of the photo submissions will be on a display for all to see before/during/after the revitalization. This is a great way for people to see the new without forgetting the old.

I took all my gear downtown and came across this abandoned gem:

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I peeked inside to see what I could see but there was a ton of confusing things in there…such as a little boy’s red tuxedo/suit hanging randomly on the wall and a few heavy looking safe’s scattered about. There was also a lot of construction type materials around so I could not really tell what this storefront used to be. I tried digging up old property records but those results didn’t yield much other than a description of “mixed use” in nature. Anyhow, it is a cool creepy old building and I thought it would be perfect for me to test my non-existent photography skills out on.

Wish me luck readers…and TRY SOMETHING NEW THIS YEAR (within reason of course)!

JUICE PREPPING RECIPES

Last year, I starting juicing in addition to the daily green smoothie I had been doing since March of 2018 (yay 35lb weight loss and lower cholesterol). It was the Medical Medium phenomenon that got me thinking about it…so I started with celery juice. YUCK… straight up celery juice was a no-go for me. I even tried the “pinching your nose” trick to gulp it down but it was still a big NO. In an effort not to give up, I added a red apple to it and voila’…I love it now.

Months of the celery/apple combo led me to try other flavors. Scouring the internet for recipes produced some gross results…namely for me, ANYTHING with cantaloupe or honeydew. Gag-a-riffic. However, I did manage to find, test and love a few combo’s which I have listed below:

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  • Green juice- celery and red apple
  • Red juice – beet, carrot, red apple, lemon and ginger root
  • Orange – carrot, red apple, lemon and ginger root

The mason jars I used are 12oz each and I bought them for just under $5 at WalMart for a pack of 6. The juicer I have is the Oster JusSimple Easy Juice Extractor and I bought it at Target. I started off with a $5 score of a juicer from my local Goodwill but after sterilizing the shredder part for a bit too long, it warped and I couldn’t fix it so I invested in a decent one. Ooops.

I don’t have an exact count of how many of each item I actually use to make the recipes above. Most of it was trial and error to see how I was able to make the taste work for me. Especially the beets…verrrrrrrry earthy tasting. My tip on that? Use half a beet to yield two of the 12oz mason jars and balance the taste of your front lawn with extra carrot!

Most websites/blogs that I have read say that you should drink celery juice fresh every morning (uh, ya’ll got kids?) or at least drink your juices within a day or so. I don’t have the time (I have a 4 year old who needs something every 14 seconds) or patience (my juicer has 7 pieces that I would have to clean every single time) so I prep 6 mason jars at a time. The contents DO separate but give it a good shake, and the cold juice goes down easy! These juices taste as fresh as the day I made it so I am going against popular advice and will keep on preppin’…

*Advise on sending the fresh lemon and ginger down the chute: put in in the middle of the items you are juicing so the items you juice at the end will force the lemon and ginger out of the juicer. Since these items don’t product that much juice, you need something to help it along. Kinda like what fiber is to your colon…

Juice on people and if you have a recipe you would like to share, please leave a  comment!

VEGGIE “FRIED” RICE

Ugh…riced cauliflower.

“Riced” anything except for actual rice sounded BLAH at first but this a game changer people! This is the year of BIG changes for our family and healthier eating is one of them. I grabbed a bag of frozen riced cauliflower that already had some peas and carrots in it rather than try and rice it on my own…I have zero patience and time for that. Honestly, I don’t even know what “ricing” means…

I followed a super simple if-you-mess-this-up-you-are-a-dummy recipe and it came out AMAZING. This is my latest addiction…recipe below:

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1 bag frozen riced cauliflower

3 eggs

1/2 bag frozen peas/carrots (or any veggies you choose)

chopped rotisserie chicken

soy sauce

garlic salt

Microwave the frozen riced cauliflower according to the package directions…also the frozen peas/carrots. Heat a frying pan on medium with a little bit of olive oil (or any oil you prefer) and scramble the eggs. Dump all items in the pan and add a few drops of soy sauce (go easy…it can get pretty salty very quickly!) and sprinkle garlic salt. Use the items to your taste…and serve. Enjoy!

Thank you for reading…

AN OPEN LETTER TO MYSELF

As the end of 2018 began approaching, I began to think of all the things I wanted to do differently in 2019. Since making and sticking to resolutions has never worked for me in the past, why repeat that? Isn’t that what the definition of “insanity” is? Thus, an open letter to myself was drafted…

Dear Kara-

I am writing this letter to you as a way to hold yourself accountable for a better 2019 rather than another list of New Year’s resolutions that will fade into the distance after a week. I could sit here and post the 287 things I think you need to work on but let’s go with the top #5 that have bugged you for a looooong time. Here goes:

First on my list is to CALM DOWN. Not everything has to have a DEFCON1 level reaction to it. Some things are just not worth it. You are the only one that can determine what to give attention to and what to pass on. If you can’t change it, why worry about it? If it won’t matter 5 years from now, why give it 5 minutes? Food for thought. Chill out.

Second on the list is DON’T LOWER/DROP YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF PEOPLE. Why should I? I keep hearing “well if you don’t have expectations of people, you won’t be disappointed.” Well, I am. This is where I am going to be more vocal about how someone has upset me and not just let it go. I work better like this…get it out and move on. If they are a repeat offender, this is a good time to determine if you really want them to be a part of your life or not.

Third on the list is STOP ABSORBING OTHER PEOPLES ISSUES AS IF THEY ARE YOURS. You can have empathy, but just like America, you are not the world’s problem solver. Deal with your own sh*t and let others figure out theirs.

Fourth on the list is to KEEP BUSINESS AS BUSINESS AND PERSONAL AS PERSONAL. With a few exceptions along your career path, most people you work with are not your friends. They are business associates and should stay that way. Don’t take the chance of pouring out your soul to someone your work with only to have it come up in the most inopportune time and of course, against you. Leave your personal stuff for the closest of friends.

Last on the list is to MAKE YOURSELF HAPPY AND STOP WORRYING ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE. Do you think for a second someone else is thinking about what YOU think about a decision they are making? Uh, no. Make YOU happy. Your happiness hopefully will be an inspiration for others to follow their path to happiness. Oh, and if you want to cut your hair short because that is truly who YOU are, DO IT!

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Happy 2019!

THE CHRISTMAS SMOOTHIE

I have no idea why I called this the “Christmas Smoothie” because nothing about it says Christmas/holiday season except maybe the color. I am sure this recipe (or some variation of it) lives in a blog or website somewhere but here is my latest obsession:

1 huge handful baby spinach

1 small banana

1/4 avocado

1 cup frozen mango chunks

local honey

water

Blend away…it is sweet, creamy, wholesome, filling and super healthy! Enjoy!

COFFEE ACROSS THE MILES

Relationships have always been very important to me. Back in October, my family and I made a “change of life” move from Florida to Texas leaving behind friends and family. Though 1200 miles separate us from the ones we love, it is important to keep in touch as best we can with them. What better way to do this than to meet each weekend for coffee…via a video chat. Thank goodness for technology!

This is my bestie Laura (yes, I did get her permission to use this picture); we catch up weekly via WhatsApp. Its free and pretty reliable.

Video Chat with Laura

I even have both sets of parents using video chat as well! Don’t let distance become an excuse for not keeping up with the ones you love…its 2018.