A Change (Or Four) Would Do You Good

I have this strange behavior; an odd way of thinking. I think it’s odd. It may be perfectly normal to someone else, but for now we’ll define it as “unusual”.

When I come to a point in my life where I feel the need to have a fresh slate from anything, I make something new. A new twitter handle, tumblr account, email account, username, etc…the list goes on. This has been something I have done for a while now. It can drive people crazy, I know. It drives me crazy, too, but regardless of how annoying it may sound?

It makes me feel better. It’s like I have taken in a deep breath and exhaled a whole lot of weight that may or may not have been there.

My reasons may range from anything from “I’m bored with the name”, “I wanted a new name”, or “I just need to start over”. Whatever the reason is, though, sometimes I wonder if there is something more to it. Is it some very mild case of OCD? A generic compulsive behavior? ADHD?

Yes, I know. It’s easy to jump on these particular bandwagons when trying to understand little ticks and quips about yourself and others. It does make me think, though. Like I said, this is not something that just recently came about, but something I have done for a number of years.

Regardless of what it is or what the true nature of the behavior may be, I think if it makes me feel better and happy, why not do it? I think if I were changing these sort of things every few days or weeks, there would be a more immediate need for concern, but it’s not like that.

Not at all.

Maybe it’s just the way I’m programmed where a different person does something else that makes them feel better; feel refreshed and renewed.

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

I have learned that when one is feeling blue, there are a multitude of things that help lift the spirits.

The other morning, I colored. Yes, I’m an adult and I still buy coloring books and crayons. Although these particular crayons were not self-bought, but were a gift from a very dear friend. Glitter Pirate crayons! How could you go wrong? With the selection of shades, I dabbled in my Hello Kitty coloring book and my Marvel Heroes coloring and activity book.

I can’t say it enough, but it really can be the simplest things that bring a smile to someone’s face.

This morning, I did another very simple thing: I made a list. A list of things/people/places that make me smile, or that I just truly enjoy. Sometimes I think we get lost or forget what truly makes us happy because we get caught up in what everyone else likes. Not everyone, but I think it happens to a good amount of us. I know it has happened to me on more than one occasion. You want to feel accepted, so you go with the proverbial flow. Things that you like? Well, you don’t share them because you don’t want to feel out of place or silly. I wouldn’t call it conforming, but you hide your true self.

Thus, my list was born. I warn you that it’s a very long list, but a great one none the less!

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The Many Faces of Kellie

I love when people (or questionnaires) ask me about my hobbies and interests. Have you ever sat and thought about the things in life that you really enjoy? Have you ever considered how wide the hobby and interest spectrum spreads?

Some days I am a fashionista. I love playing fashion design games (Covet for both iOS and Android), reading fashion blogs and magazines, and styling outfits.

Some days I am a hardcore gamer. I use the term “hardcore” loosely because I certainly do not put the hours into my game time like I use to. Maybe an hour or so here and there depending on my current mood. However, my interest for games is just as extensive as my general hobby list. MMOs and MOBAs are becoming my favorite, though.

Some days I am a chef. Whether it’s baking, cooking a simple dinner, or creating something new and inventive, it’s another form of art that I have come to love!

Some days I am an organizer. This isn’t often, but when I fall into that role, I’m pretty good at it!

Some days I’m a crafter. Who would have thought that I would come to love crocheting as much as I do?

Some days I am a photographer. Nature pictures or abstract shots. Those are my favorite things to photograph and those are what I enjoy sharing with others when I capture fun shots.

Regardless of which face or hat I’m wearing, the most important thing is that I am always me. Staying true to who you are and being happy with yourself are two very important things that we need to do. Look at yourself in the mirror, smile at yourself, hug yourself, and tell yourself that you are beautiful. You are amazing. You can do anything and you can be anything.

Remember that no matter which role you are filling today, you are a queen and a beautiful human being.

Be Hopeful, Be Humble, and Read All the Time

Only a month behind schedule, but spring has finally arrived in Ontario. The temperatures have been so pleasant and I can’t wait to see how it’s going to continue to improve as we get closer to summer.

It goes without saying that I am hoping with all hope that the summer will be just as nice. Fingers crossed that it won’t get too hot, though nothing will ever beat the summer heat of Florida. Sorry Canadian family, but I can’t complain when the high reaches the low-80s with humidity factored in! I won’t do much complaining anyway after the frigidly cold and too long winter we had. I will be happy to sweat in the heat and squint when the sun is too bright. Bring it on!

Speaking of hope, there have been a lot of people and places that have needed a hefty does of it lately. So many tragic and terrible events have been happening all over the world, but I won’t go into them. This is not a place to rehash the negative, but to grasp and hold onto the positive.

Hope is important. I recall the amount of times that Ginnifer Goodwin’s character, Mary Margaret/Snow White, on Once Upon a Time falls back on it. It’s a powerful, driving force that, when used, can help a person through even the worst situations. I needed a lot of hope these past few months and, while things have improved for my personal well-being, I am still holding it close to me.

Which is why it’s refreshing to wake up with a reminder around my wrist to ‘Be Hopeful’. In contrast, there is also the reminder to ‘Be Humble’.

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When I first saw these bracelets on Instagram, I thought it was the next ‘fad’ that people were going to be wearing. They were originally only in clear, but when I saw the blue ones, my interest was slightly peeked.

Lokai works in partnership with a variety of non-profit charities. In March, to celebrate healthy water for all, they partnered with charity: water. They created this exclusive blue bracelet with 100% of the funds that were donated through the purchase to help bring drinkable water to the less fortunate countries in the world. I am a strong supporter that drinkable and healthy water is not a privilege. I am hopeful that this ideal will be eradicated along with poverty, starvation, and the myriad of complications that exist in our world.

The black and white beads hold mud from the Dead Sea and water from Mt. Everest. The lowest and highest points in the world. “Be Hopeful” and “Be Humble”. The constant reminder that everything will be alright and to never think too highly of one’s self or what you may have. Achieving a perfect balance is difficult, but can be done. This I believe to be 100% true.

Why? Because I’m achieving it.

While my roadblocks in life are not nearly as comparable as the difficulties others have faced, I can say that I am starting to see a smoother path. Much smoother than it had been in quite some time. There are still some bumps, but that is to be expected. The important thing to remember is that you can get over them, albeit a bit slowly, and continue on your way.

Making time for yourself is part of this, which is what I have been doing every morning and every evening.

I recently read an article in Real Simple magazine where a reader got up in the morning, made herself coffee, and then read until she either finished the cup or it went too cold to drink. I started following this routine last week, through the weekend, and I have never felt better. Most people would think waking up at 6:30 AM on a Saturday would be torture…and it is. For the first five minutes. Then I fetch my coffee, open my curtains, and sit in the calming coziness of my bedroom, sipping my coffee, and reading. I missed reading and had challenged myself that I would read a total of 20-50+ books throughout the year.

I was 8 books behind schedule. Unacceptable! That needed to change.

Then I read the article and I realized how amazing it can make you feel. Sure I may be in bed between 9-9:30 PM and asleep by 10:00 PM, but it’s worth it! I suggest others try it, whether you take the time in the morning or evening. I’m fortunate that I can do both! I am finding that I am enjoying the books that I read even more as I am able to take in the content without interruption.

My recent reads included: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Enclave (#1 in the Razorland Trilogy) by Ann Aguirre. I highly recommend both! I’m currently working on Starcrossed which I am enjoying, but still have a strong sense of skepticism of how I’m going to actually feel once I’m finished.

Be Hopeful, Be Humble, and Keep Smiling! Everything will be alright.

It’s Time to Spring Forward!

This is my own gentle reminder that tonight I need to turn the clocks forward one hour. Don’t forget!

In other news, it’s been far too long since I’ve written a blog post. Shame on me! I have a good reason, though.

Things have been pretty hectic for me on an emotional level, but I am doing a lot to get myself in a good place. It’s important to remember that these things are not immediate. It is a journey and one that will have plenty of ups and downs.

I have had a lot of downs with the onslaught of cold weather. I am ready for winter to be over with!

To try and conquer the winter blues, I have been trying to do some crafts and healthy living. I recently joined Nerd Fitness, which has been such a blessing. Imagine a place where the nerds and geeks of the world gather to support others in their quests for better living, health, and exercise. It’s fantastic! I’m currently working on my first 6 Week Challenge and it’s going very well thus far.

I’ve finally gotten back into crocheting, which has been fabulous! I’m working on a “skinny scarf” in a collection of absolutely gorgeous colors. Photos will be forthcoming!

So, in lieu of this dreary weather, try and keep your head up. Embrace your roadblocks, allow yourself the time to get your emotions out, and let it strengthen you.

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For 40 Days and 40 Nights

Wednesday began the tradition of Lent.

Since I can remember, I always made an effort to give up something for the tradition and not eat meat on Friday’s. While I have not been to church in quite some time, I remain spiritual.

Religion is not what this post is about, though!

This is about what I am choosing to do for Lent.

Rather than give up something, I have decided to make better what God has given me. That means, taking care of myself and giving myself a better image.

Eating better, not slumming around in pajamas all day, being more active, sparking creativity, challenging myself, and making that climb to a happier and healthier Kellie.

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Here are my steps to getting back on track!

1. Clean eating – This is not as difficult as it sounds. After doing some quick reading, I realized that most of the time, we are already doing this as a family. Now it’s just a matter of being more portion-conscious.

2. Breakfast – I’m really terrible at this. I was making smoothies almost every day and when I was, I was feeling better. This is something I want to get back into doing. They were delicious, filling, and gave me that boost that breakfast gives to you.

3. Drink More Water – I’m pretty good at this, but I could be doing better.

4. A Power Hour – I’m usually getting up with my little brother in the morning, and for a while, I was getting up at 7:00 AM to have coffee and me time before the hustle and bustle of getting off to school started. I need to get back into doing this.

5. Dress With a Smile – It’s important to fill every day with positivity. Smile when you wake up. Tell yourself that you’re beautiful and worth it. Remind yourself that you matter and that people love you.

Keep at it and don’t get discouraged. Everything takes work and if you’re willing to put in the time, the results will be amazing!

Things That Make You Go…and Smile!

I’m still diligently working on my Winter Survival List and I wanted to share things that make me smile!

Dreamcatchers

I have always found them to be both fun to make (and easy!) and beautiful to look at. This one I found via Pinterest and have linked the makers Etsy shop via the photo. Sadly, this particular one has been sold, but the maker has some lovely ones in their store. I would love to start making them along with my other crafting projects this winter!

Irises

I love these flowers so much. They’re a lovely color, appropriate for any season, add brightness, and have a very fresh aroma. I also appreciate the varying colors that you can find them in, though the royal purple is my favorite.

Daffodils

Or Narcissus if we’re being scientifically correct. Again, I love this particular flower. It’s bright, it has such a unique shape, and comes in a variety of colors. Put them with a few irises and greens? You have an arrangement that should bring a smile to your face whenever you see it.

Glitter

Things that sparkle, shimmer, and shine always make me smile. The end.

Sea Turtles

I just love these little guys! Even if they’re not so little.

Fashion Police

Kathy Griffin could never fully replace the magnificent Joan Rivers, but she is fabulous along with Brad Goreski, Kelly Osbourne, and Giuliana Rancic. Even if it’s raw and biting, they always find a way to point out the good assets that the faces of Hollywood bring to the world.

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives

Out of all the food shows that I watch (and I definitely watch a lot of them!) this one has to be one of my favorites. I love to listen to Guy talk about food and to see how proud the people are to show off their creations.

This clearly does not include everything that makes me smile or laugh, but it’s a start! It’s good to remind yourself of the little and simple things that are out there that can bring that moment of brightness to your day.

Food For Thought

Maybe one day I’ll be posting my own creations, but for now, I’m thanking Betty Crocker for this recipe.

Sometimes I’m at a loss at what to make my family for dinner. Usually my Mom guides me along since my step-siblings can be rather picky on their choices. To be honest, though, it’s not as difficult as I make it sound. I can make spaghetti, chicken, potatoes, chicken nuggets, and other simple foods and everyone is happy. When it comes to vegetables, it can be a bit more difficult. Especially for me, who absolutely loves anything and everything vegetables.

So what do I do when my the little bro comes along and asks for scalloped potatoes with dinner?

Tell him no problem and then tear through the internet to find something to make with said side dish and chicken.

Usually, for me, scalloped potatoes go with pork chops and peas. It’s been a staple my entire life, and one that I really love. However, we run into the problem of people not liking pork chops. Okay. I can still make it work!

What do I find on the back of the scalloped potatoes box? A recipe for Creamy Chicken Stove Top Casserole.

While I modified it to my family’s liking, it was a quite the hit!

Rather than chicken thighs, I used skinless chicken tenders and my veggie combination included peas, carrots, snow pea pods, and baby corn. I think, aside from the butter since I use skim milk, it was a pretty healthy meal. We even omitted the cheese and bacon and everyone ate their veggies! That is always a plus in my book and I think my Mom would be proud.

My list of things I want to try making has grown quite a bit over the past few months. I desperately want to learn how to make my own donuts and bagels. I would love to try making a frittata. I want to get better at roasting vegetables after the recipes I keep seeing.

I can’t go gourmet, but I’m hoping that I can slowly introduce some new spices, flavors, and food groups to my family!

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Two pairs of socks, a foot warmer, two blankets, and at least two layers of clothing, and I’m still cold.

I saw this on another blogger’s website – Modern Mrs Darcy which I highly recommend – about things that get you through the winter.

Growing up in Maryland, cold weather shouldn’t be new to me. Snow, slush, and ice were expected. Granted, our level of snow was nothing compared to the massive amounts that other areas get. This I know. More often than not were were calling in the National Guard to assist with snow removal and keeping a general sense of order.

Even with the 20+ years of living in that area, the cold bothers me. Where are you, Elsa? Could I borrow a bit of your magic just for a few minutes?

Maybe it was from living in Florida. Even living in the warmer climates for a short period of time has thinned my blood to where I’m cold when it’s a comfortable 10C (50F in case you were wondering!) outside. Either way, -24C (-11F) is very cold.

So how am I getting through the winter? It hasn’t been easy, but I have been relying on these warming necessities:

1. Coffee & Tea

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Coffee in the morning for the initial caffeine boost and tea to maintain the much needed warmth. It definitely makes the day better to sit with my Panda mug that I picked up at the Toronto Zoo and watch morning talk shows. I’m currently loving the Donut Shop Favorites variety pack with International Delight’s Hazelnut creamer. My teas contain a mixture of Tetley Earl Grey Vanilla or Twinings Blackcurrant Black Tea. I’m not a coffee or tea connoisseur, but I use a little sugar in either and I’m as content as can be!

2. Blankets

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You can never have enough blankets. Even if you think you have too many, you don’t. I wrap up in, at least, two and sleep with five. Keep in mind that these are not overly heavy blankets made of pure sheep’s wool. They are your average weight blankets, but the layers are such a comfort.

3. Socks

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The first thing I go for in the morning. Sometimes it’s even two pairs. Either way, they are essential and something that helps keep me warm. The heavy, the better!

4. Music

Depending on the mood of the morning, I go between Spotify.ca’s Have A Great Day! list or the Acoustic Morning list. Either way, good music that makes me smile, is soothing, makes me sing, and has me dancing is a great way to get rid of those wintry blues.

I plan in building more to this list and will be sharing new additions are they come.

What are some of your favorite things that help you get through the cold months?