My Very Vegetarian (and Very Homemade) Day

I had a very healthy and inadvertently meatless day today.

A day that started off with greek yogurt and fruit, progressed to a wonderful southwest salad, and ended with me making a mess out of the kitchen for a few hours — But I made our entire dinner from scratch!

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The picture is pretty terrible (sorry about that! We ate dinner in our blanket fort. A long story for another day.) But in it is the culmination of my evening of hard work. We had Falafels with fresh Pita and Tzatziki. (My pita bread wasn’t quite as soft as I would have liked so we ate them like little pizzas.)

Are there things I would change next time around? Sure! But for tonight this dinner was perfect.

Here’s where I got the recipes for dinner:

Falafels from here: Mine weren’t as pretty though.

Pitas and Tzatziki from here: We haven’t made the delicious looking steak gyros yet. (We were going to Sunday but got swept up in making an AMAZING Steak and Ale pie.)

Thanks for listening! These recipes were just too great not to share!

Happy Tuesday!

A Wednesday Update (On Thursday)

Here’s my WIP Wednesday update, posted on a Thursday that I woke up thinking was a Friday.  (I’m having a more than hectic week.)

I also don’t have much to update but don’t want to lose my posting momentum. In general, I foresee progress being slow over the summer as we have family events almost every weekend. But here’s what I’ve got.

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I’m not sure if I’m going to jump into the stained glass in the doors or do more solid work and come back to it later.

I have a free weekend this weekend, so hopefully I’ll have a better update next week.

Happy Thursday!
Happy Crafting!

Stranger than Facebook

I pose this honest question to you as I am interested in knowing if I’m the only person experiencing this “phenomenon.”

Is anyone else’s Facebook feed full of strangers?

I don’t mean this in the way that you’ve grown apart from your friends and suddenly they just seem so strange to you. Or that you’ve just witnessed someone’s differing political views and you think to yourself “Do I even know this person?”

No. I’m talking about legitimate, full blown strangers. Like, I could pass you on the street and not give you a second thought because I have no clue who you are and we’ll both just be on our merry way – strangers.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day (Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!) and I decided to check Facebook. [Backstory: I stopped posting on my Facebook in mid-late November of 2015 because it was just getting to be too negative and hate filled for me. In general, I log in occasionally to see what people I know are up to or to send the occasional “Happy Birthday” message, etc. But in general, it is no longer the social media giant in my life that it once was. Which is refreshing.] So I log in, and start to scroll through my feed. Here is what I see:

  • Post from a silly DIY page I follow.
  • Post by a friend about how her awesome her mom is.
  • A stranger holding a baby with a note about Mother’s Day.
  • An ad.
  • A post of an old (80s?) picture of a mother and a daughter, neither of whom I know.
  • A mom and her two sons, none of whom I know.
  • A young-ish mom and with what I would assume is her daughter – who knows? Not me!
  • A post from my best friend about a cooking show.
  • A picture of strangers smiling together looking like they might be at a Mother’s Day Brunch.

I’m sure you get the point. In short, my feed is filled with people I don’t know. How? Because people I do know are liking their pictures. Which is all well and good, but there is no setting I have found on Facebook that allows me to block their “Likes” posts from my page without blocking the entirety of my friend’s posts. And while I’d like to see the things my friend’s post, I don’t need to see every single thing they hit the “like” button on. Frankly, I don’t want to see it.

I can’t express how creepy I feel seeing personal photos of people I don’t know with their families and personal, sometimes intimate captions about their loved ones. And this, unfortunately, goes beyond “I know that person, we just aren’t friends on Facebook.” These are people who are complete strangers to me and I’m seeing photos of them in hospital beds with their freshly-born infants. I’m seeing touching epitaphs people are writing on pictures of their deceased relatives.

I feel like this isn’t information meant for my eyes. Sure, seeing ultrasounds are wonderful and exciting, but when I don’t know who you are, I don’t feel like I should be seeing it.

And, at least for me, the feeling goes the other way as well. I’m glad I’m not posting things on my Facebook anymore because now I’m aware that the rest of the world can see them, not just my friends. (I have a limited friend’s list as it is because I feel awkward sharing information with people I don’t know or speak to.) But, in general, I don’t want complete strangers seeing pictures of my vacation with my boyfriend. If he were to propose or I was to find out I was pregnant, sure I’d want to share those photos with my friends and family, but knowing that with just one simple click of a button, they’ve opened that picture up to more strangers than I probably know about is terrifying to me. From there, not only can they do whatever they want with those pictures, but now a complete stranger — unbeknownst to me — knows details of my life I’m not likely to have told them otherwise.

I wouldn’t go around showing the person in line in front of me at the grocery store pictures of my ultrasound and, at this point, posting them on Facebook is no better.

Sure, I understand I could tighten the belt on security regarding my posts and who can see them, but I feel like even that only gets you so far. Furthermore, none of that stops people from using the “Share Externally” option for pictures of Facebook Mobile. It’s a shame really that people are thinking their posts are private when the rest of us are seeing them.

I guess I just needed to get this out in the world because I feel like I’m the only person bothered by it. I’m beginning to get pretty weary about technology in general. Things like this seem to be become a common theme and I’m not ready to share every detail of my life with the entire world.

If you got this far, thanks for listening!
And sound off in the comments if this is happening to you too!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Alright, I’m a bit early, I know. But I was very excited and wanted to share the cupcakes I made for Mother’s Day.
I started practicing buttercream roses earlier this week after watching tons of YouTube tutorials. (See my last Wednesday post for my first few.)

All that practice was for these!

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And these!

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And these ones had some defects so they are ours.

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I’m so excited to show them off tomorrow!

Thanks for checking them out!
Happy Mother’s Day!

Wednesday Updates

I didn’t do nearly as much crafting in the last week as I would have liked to in this past few weeks because I’m going through one of those “Life keeps getting in the way” phases.

That being said, I did make a bit more progress on my cross stitch. Check it out!

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Had to go back to the craft store because I realized I had forgotten another color, but it’s coming along.

Also, I started practicing making frosting roses. I want to put some on cupcakes for Mother’s Day.  I’m not great at it, but I’m happy with it 

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I’m going to work on making some pink ones out of a homemade buttercream one night this week.

That’s all for now though!
Happy Wednesday!
Happy Crafting!

Student Loan Debt

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Today I want to talk about debt. Specifically, I want to talk about student loan debt because that the one I’m dealing with. Thankfully, other than my car loan, it’s the only real debt I have.

If you’ve been following me for a little while, you know that in 2016 alone, I’ve paid off 2 of my 8 student loans. While part of my feels incredibly proud, it’s important to admit that these were both incredibly small loans compared to at least 4 of my remaining 6.

But today I had this moment that really exemplified how incredibly difficult and unfortunate the debt situation is for recent graduates in this country. 

But first! Some important personal facts.

I graduated from a small, moderately priced, private college in 2010 with a B.A. in Professional Writing (read: Journalism.) I also graduated with about $80k in debt.

I am completely alone in my loan journey. My entire college education was funded by student loans in my own name. My parents have no loans for my education, make no payments on my loans, and make no donations to me (even on holidays) that might lend themselves toward my loan repayment.
For the record, this is not because my parents aren’t good people, but my parents live just about on par with the poverty line, don’t have the best credit, and can barely afford their own monthly bills without having a loan for my education on top of it.

I have been diligently paying my student loans for the past 6 years. I have never made a late payment. In the past few years, as my salary has increased, I have worked on increasing the payments (of my loans with the highest interest – 10%!) to amounts above their minimums.

I live a fortunate life where the majority of my money is able to go to my student loans. I understand that I am by no means the norm. My better half makes significantly more money than I do. He pays our mortgage, all our home related bills, and most of our groceries. Financially, I am only responsible for my student loans, my monthly car and phone payments and some easy things like occasional groceries and things I want. So ultimately, I’m in a prime loan repayment situation.  My number 1 priority is paying back those loans.

Back to my sad realization.
Today I was reviewing my loan balances while playing the “what year would be a good year to start thinking about having kids because I don’t want to have tons of child expenses on top of tens of thousands of dollars of debt” game. (It’s looking like 2019, btw.)

I must admit I do this almost monthly. There’s something satisfying about seeing balances continue to decrease and counting down months until freedom.

Today, however, as I was reviewing my largest student loan (with middle of the road interest, so it isn’t being aggressively paid down as of yet) I noticed a bit of information that made me feel sick.

Over the course of my repayment for a $20,000 loan, I will have paid this particular company $49,360.

That’s more than twice what I have borrowed.

Now, this is not for a lack of understanding of how loan repayments and interest works. I am a bookkeeper for my company and understand this is normal.

I just think that in regards to student loans, this is a travesty.

Student loans are not like credit cards filled with frivolous purchases. They are for degrees that, at this point in time, the majority of us need in order to even have our job applications considered! We’re living in a world where having a degree no longer gives you a leg up in the world, but rather is required to be in the running.

And rather than any sort of congratulations on doing it, we proud recieve our degrees and six months later are buried under crippling debt.

People ask me all the time why I’m not out traveling and enjoying life while I’m still young. The answer is sad, but true: I need to work every hour I can to make as much money as I can to make my loan payments so that I can maybe (if I’m lucky) begin to save for my future and live a debt free life at some point in my 30s. Because if I don’t do that, I would be making loan payments until almost 40.

I feel better now that I got all that off my chest. It’s been bothering me a bit, not even so much about how much I’m paying in loans, but in the general misunderstanding some people seem to have regarding them — The misconception that my generation has had things handed to them.

Because let me tell ya’, if this is what it feels like to have things handed to you, I’ve got more lucky stars to thank than I realized. 

Happy Monday, everyone!
Keep your chins up! You are not alone!

WIP Wednesday (and a new craft!)

Because I had people over for the weekend, there hasn’t been a ton of progress made in my crafting. Thursday and Friday were spent cleaning, Saturday was spent watching space movies, and Sunday was a bit lazy (with lots of cooking competition shows being watching while laying on the couch.)

As for this week, I’ve barely been home. I spent Monday evenings at my parents house, where I usually do some crocheting, last night I was at a “going away” party for my best friend/cousin who is moving to Canada. In fact, I’ve even got dinner plans tonight and Saturday, so it’s going to be a busy week!

So, while I’m excited to get back to cross stitching, I haven’t worked on it at all since my last update. I’m hoping to spend a few hours with it tomorrow after work, as long as these allergies stay at bay and I can keep a clear head.

Crochet
I haven’t updated my crocheting in a while so here’s where I’m at!

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I’ve still got about 30 rows to go before decreasing, so I’ll probably be at it for another while still. And I crochet while I’m watching TV with the better half so it’s slow going. Mostly because we don’t watch a ton of TV.

Tatting

Tatting is my new hobby. If I’m honest, I have no clue how I stumbled across it because I’m pretty positive I didn’t know it existed before last week, but I instantly fell in love and decided that I needed to learn how to do it.

For three days, I spent hours watching youtube tutorials, reading articles, attempting to decipher patterns, and trying to visualize it all coming together. On Monday, I bought my first pack of shuttles and some thread and went to it.

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These are my first few practice loops. I’m pretty proud of them. Then last night, while I had some time to kill waiting for the party to start, I decided to try my hand at a pattern.

I used a metallic thread, which was going fine until the metallic strand snapped about 3/4ths of the way through, and spent about an hour making this flower.

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I left the tails long and tied them nicely so it can be used as a bookmark and i gave it to my cousin.

I’m really enjoying tatting, although i need some more practice with making even picot sizes. I’m pretty excited about it!

Now I’m working on a simple pattern for a beautiful lace heart.

Because I’ve got so many hobbies all going at the same time, I’ve started alloting them times during my day/week.

Cross stitch – primary at home craft

Crochet – TV watching craft, since my living room is a less than ideal set up for cross stitching

Tatting – Travel craft. It’s pretty compact so I’m going to save it for car rides and when I visit my parents.

Reading – Half hour before bed craft.

Speaking of reading, I need to get back on it. I’ve been just falling asleep out of sheer exhaustion lately.

Either way, that’s what I’ve been up to!

Happy Wednesday!
Happy Crafting!

Finished Off Friday (Sort Of)

Yesterday, I embarked on a brand new project. (But first, have a novel about it! Lol!)

I’ve mentioned it before, but we have lived in our house for about a year and a half at this point. And so far, we’re about 90% unpacked, about 60% organized  (we have two/three rooms currently serving as catch-all rooms) and of the 3 bedroom house we live in, we still have 2 rooms completely unfurnished, and another 2 that only have some essentials, but are in no way complete.

A big point of contention has been furniture. To the extent that better half now refers to it as “The F Word.” It’s not that we are struggling financially to afford it, but rather my better half isn’t really one for decision making and is, overall, kind of picky about what he wants to spend his money on. All of which translates to a situation where I can’t just ask for the credit card and go furnish the house because he wants to be part of the decision making process, but every decision is incredibly long and drawn out. (I’m surprised we got a couch as quickly as we did.)

I’ve been bargaining for a coffee table (and end tables) as well as a desk for our half-together office for at least a year now.

And as for the coffee table, it has been an uphill battle. For the last year, we have had a plastic tote — a see-through one in which you can see all our glittering Christmas decorations — serving as our coffee table.

This:

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(In this picture it has halloween lights in it as we were decorating for Christmas. Please excuse the decorating mess.)

And much to my dismay, better half has become quite attached to this “coffee table.” He can put drinks on it, eat dinner at it while watching tv, and he can move it when he wants more space on the floor. All of these are valid points, but we’re adults (somewhat, I mean we’re rapidly approaching 30) who have people over regularly and, frankly, it’s a plastic storage tote. We’ve even gotten to the point where his parents regularly offer to buy us a coffee table  because we use this tote.

If you’re on the Internet, I’m sure you’ve seen lately this surge of “how to” videos for making a “wine” crate coffee table. I thought it was kind of neat and cute and showed it to the better half. He agreed that it actually was kind of cool and asked if it was my way of bringing up the dreaded “F Word.”

I proceeded to enthusiastically convince him I could make one and then we wouldn’t have to go shopping for one and it would still be moveable, like his beloved tote. He seemed to go along with it, so I pounced at the opportunity.

Yesterday, after work, I stopped at the craft store and the hardware store and about an hours worth of work later (I stopped for dinner and had to run back to the hardware store because I had the wrong screws) my new coffee table was complete. Mostly.

Drum Roll Please!

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It still could use a bit of sanding in some spots and we’ve discussed staining it (the decision of what color is sure to be another process) and potentially adding a bevelled glass top for sturdiness and a nice level top, but ultimately it’s complete. And just in time for weekend company!

And I learned a lot about using the right screws and screwdriver head for the power drill while I was at it! That was both fun and frustrating!

So there you have it. The story of my new coffee table and how it came to be. I’m very proud and excited about it. (I also managed to snag two extra crates for some end tables!)

Hope you have a great weekend!
Happy crafting!

A Note About Adulting

Today I discovered that every part of my vacuum that is not grey (I have a Dyson) can and should be removed and cleaned occasionally — every 3 months per the manufacturers instruction.

I’ve had mine for about a year and a half now and just took a stab at cleaning the brush bar. Holy gross, batman!

On the bright side, with the filters abd brush bar clean, my vacuum works like new again!

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