The Big Decision:
Hello, my friend. It’s been a little while since we’ve chatted, or rather, you’ve read my musings and typed up a lovely comment in response, and I’ve squealed with joy. The truth is, I’ve been working through some major life decisions lately. I suppose I’m in my early (ish) twenties and that’s par for the course, but spending a weekend at a strange “wellness” exposition that was really more hokey pokey than scientific had me re-evaluating my life.
I don’t believe that a “medium” can manifest things for me by blowing into a microphone, but for some reason this experience gave legs to an ongoing reflection on where I’m at in life right now, and where I want to go.
Ask yourself this question: Do I feel like I’m living true to myself in all areas of my life? Continue reading Savoury Apple Crisp with Mozzarella and Gorgonzola + A Big Decision
Organization = relaxation
Right now, I’m sitting at my computer breathing more slowly and purposefully than I have in a while. I set my alarm a little earlier than usual this morning, and began crossing things off my to-do list as my day went on. This allowed for a kind of focus that I haven’t felt in a while. Throughout the past couple weeks, my brain has been all over the place and filled with existential questions like “What am I going to do with my life?” and, “Why am I always running out of socks?”
You understand. Continue reading Best Brownies Ever
How I discovered I didn’t want to be a commercial baker:
If you’ve ever worked in a commercial bakery, you’re probably familiar with the bins of flour so big you could dive right into them. A plastic four-cup measuring cup usually has a home in the bin, and as you reach in and take a big scoop, the measuring cup glides through the flour like a figure skater on ice. Even the process of measuring is beautiful in itself.
You name your giant mixers, understanding their quirks and moods and when to give them a break. You’re the momager of the machines, effortlessly timing your work, washing and re-washing, only to wash again. You learn that buttercream frosting has to be washed off right away, or the solidified guck on a stainless steel mixing bowl will be highly resistant to even the experienced dish scrubber.
You’re also the number one taste tester for anything you pump out of that kitchen. A quick spoonful of chocolate cake batter every hour or two does wonders for your mood. The once daunting task of icing a cake becomes second nature, the offset spatula an extension of your arm.
Sounds like a dream, right? So why did I leave? Continue reading Little Lemon Layer Cake
It’s a common stereotype that people who study psychology are gravitated to the field because of their own experiences with mental illness. I’m not sure whether that stereotype has any truth to it, but it certainly proved true in my case, even if I wasn’t aware of my mental illnesses when I chose my major. Coincidentally, one of the disorders that fascinated me the most is one I was diagnosed with near the end of my degree: PTSD.
With most mental illnesses, there is a combination of biological and environmental causes that sneakily work together. One biological factor (of many) that relates to whether or not an individual will develop PTSD is having overactive amygdalae. Your amygdalae are responsible for emotions, among other things. If you’ve ever felt yourself getting really worked up about something, that’s your amygdalae doing their job!
But what about when you get worked up about something in a semi-conscious state? As a kid, I was a chronic sleep walker and sleep talker. I don’t sleep walk anymore (at least to my knowledge…), but nightmares have been a regular part of my sleep since as long as I can remember.
Nightmares are a strange phenomenon. During a nightmare, a part of your brain remains awake and active. That’s the reason that emotions and experiences in dreams can be so intense. But when you have hyperactive amygdalae like me, those nightmares can be even more intense. We’re talking an amalgamation of a thriller film and an amusement park fun house (I’ll spare you the details of those ones.)
Even though I’m not working at the restaurant now, I still have the dreaded serving nightmares. If you’ve ever been a server, you know the ones I’m talking about! You forget to punch in an order, and, all of a sudden, the world ENDS. Everyone you’re serving starts complaining. You get fired, start crying on the spot and…BAM! You’re awake. Continue reading Caramel Cream Cupcakes
As I finally move towards a stable routine with my new job and this site, I’m considering making more of an effort to do freelance writing. Somewhere along the way, I think I gave up on the possibility of joining the ranks of seasoned freelance writers and stuck to a safety net of small, local magazines. There’s certainly nothing wrong with freelancing locally, but it has limited my writing to some extent.
I’m starting to miss my days at the university newspaper where I wrote about everything and anything. I miss the challenge that is exploring a new topic I know nothing about, while somehow writing with the authority of a professional. I also miss being paid to write. Who wouldn’t? 😉
Income is definitely a factor here. For a while I wanted to throw all my time and energy into this site to make an income, but that path isn’t feasible at this point in my life. I’m past the “unemployed university graduate” stage, but have not quite reached the “comfortable working professional” stage. Feasibility aside, the type of writing that enriches me the most is not the type of writing that content pushing, fast-growing blogs tend to share.
So! This combination of posting once per week and allowing as many words as I wish to flow from my mind through the keys, has freed up my time a little (to this workaholic, that means I now have a weekend day off and don’t know what to do with myself).
I achieved a rare moment of stillness this afternoon that I haven’t felt in months. Laying in my nest with my laptop propped up on a pillow, I opened up a blank document and within half an hour’s time had written a personal essay of over 2,000 words. Shonda Rhimes calls this experience “the hum“, and it’s something I didn’t know I missed until I felt it again. Continue reading Chunky Monkey Chocolate Bark
Happy Valentine’s Day! Or day after, I should say. Are you reading this while raiding the supermarket shelves for discounted candy? I’m going to make my way there mid-week, because the best candy heart deals come along a few days after Valentine’s Day. I think the grocery stores are catching on to us, because these the 50% off chocolates don’t show up until at least a few days after the big day.
How did you spend your Valentine’s Day? I’m actually writing this on Valentine’s Day, but the magic of the internet lets me do things in advance and press a “schedule for later” button. If only this button were permanently stamped onto my arm in bright purple ink. I’d schedule everything for “later” or for “future Katy” and spend the whole day cozying up with my blankets and re-runs of The Mindy Project.
That’s exactly how I’m spending today, since I can still feel a chill from my outdoor adventures last night. Every February, in the dead of winter (the coldest two weeks of the year) Winnipeg hosts its annual Festival du Voyageur. And, every February, Winnipeggers don their long underpants, neckwarmers, and red sashes (ceinture fléchée) and brave the biting wind for maple taffy, wood chip floors, and folk music in celebration of Métis culture. Continue reading Double Coconut Cupcakes
How do you feel about wild, fun haircuts? Constantly on a quest for individuality, I’ve had nearly every short haircut under the moon. A few years ago, I chopped off my long, flowing locks (once I acknowledged my queerness–it seems as though this is a right of passage for queer women), and quickly discovered the joys of changing my haircut every few months.
I’ve had the Miley Cyrus circa 2013, and following that, my hairstyles were in my partner’s hands. It was mostly just an excuse to hang out when we were first dating, but somehow I felt comfortable enough to hand him the electric razor, saying, “Be creative!”. That lead to something of a faux-hawk, an undercut, and finally, I shaved my head completely. Continue reading Chocolate Curry Coconut Cake
First off, I want to say thank you to all of you who offered your congratulations on my last post, and your tips for stress relief on the post before that. When you take time out of your day to leave me a comment, it is so heartwarming. This blogging community is a pretty special one.
February is right around the corner, and with February comes Valentine’s Day. What’s your verdict on this Hallmark holiday? I used to be the Valentine’s Day grinch and thought the whole holiday was stupid, stupid, stupid. Even though there are singles events abound on V-day, it’s definitely a holiday geared towards couples and can be pretty exclusive for someone who might not fall into that category. I’ve spent many Valentine’s Days happily single, but unhappily feeling left out of the holiday itself. Continue reading Iced Sugar and Spice Cookies
I have a really great feeling about this week.
It’s a fresh start, in a way. I’ve bid farewell to the restaurant and am beginning a new job that more closely aligns with my education and training. It’s a job I believe in, that I’m excited about, and it’s going to be a wonderful fit with my schedule.
For a while now, I’ve had this feeling deep within me that was signaling a need for change. Positive change. I need and want to start taking better care of myself, and this new job is one very right step in that direction.
To keep me organized with my new schedule, I bought a new agenda (again). It’s huge and full of lines for writing anything and everything. Unlike some other contenders I was flipping through at the store, this one doesn’t block off half a page for a meaningless stock photo. Why do agenda designers do that, anyways? Don’t they know people who use big giant agendas need to write down their every step? 😉
When I think about my new agenda and my new job, I breathe a giant sigh of relief. My brain feels like it’s navigating away from the cloud full of scribbles and lines and dots and disarray, and towards a beautifully organized shelf with colour coded boxes, neatly fitting into their homes like a freshly opened box of sugar cubes.
If you’re a perfectionist, those last two sentences will make total sense to you. If not, I probably sound strange, but I’m totally okay with that. Continue reading Chocolate Coconut Pudding Cake
Lately I’ve been purposefully thinking about stress, and its effect on my life. Did you know that stress is actually adaptive for our bodies, and without it we wouldn’t be alive?
Stress exists to prime our bodies against a real or perceived threat. Your endless to-do list might be a “threat”, and your worry and anxiety about your to-do list would be the “stress” you experience. Stress is a reaction, not a situation.
Unfortunately, some of us are primed to have a difficult time shutting down the stress response. We can’t control it. In my case, when stress relates to a mental illness, it’s very difficult to turn off that reaction.
But none of us are immune to regular old kick-you-when-you’re-down stress that occurs due to major life events or changes, work stress, family problems — anything, really. We all feel it. We all wish we didn’t.
When I feel stressed, it feels like I can actually sense the cortisol running through my body. My chest tenses up, my mind loses focus, and I start fidgeting, talking really fast, or getting upset about small things. I’ve been thinking alot about how to reduce the amount of stress in my life, and to do that, I need to try to eliminate some of the situations that cause that stress. A good friend of mine gave me this sound advice. Continue reading Chocolate Dipped Funfetti Rice Krispie Squares + Some Thoughts On Stress
What kind of music have you been listening to lately? I’m fairly all over the map when it comes to music, but I generally stick to a few genres: folk, indie rock, experimental electronic, dubstep, jazz, and every once in a while, pop and R&B. Okay, maybe that’s more than a few. 😛
It’s kind of a strange mix, but I often find that the genre of music I choose has to match up with my mood. I’m sure it’s similar for you too! As I write this post, I have this album on repeat. I definitely need to listen to something upbeat in the morning to give me that extra kick in the butt to get moving.
When my brain is all over the place and I’m feeling distracted, dubstep is the genre of music that brings me back to earth. Half the time it sounds like noise, but when done well, it’s so artfully experimental and the rhythms can be very reminiscent of jazz rhythms (previous band geek over here). Even when it sounds like metal garbage cans being dragged down the street. 😉 Continue reading Cappuccino Crumb Cake
How do you keep organized throughout the week? I’ve been a strong proponent of the agenda ever since I got my first one in middle school. I write everything down. I even write things down after I’ve already completed them. It’s so satisfying. There’s something about having a physical book to write in that really etches things in your memory.
Confession: My real name is actually Monica Geller. 😛
In all seriousness, this post was meant to go up yesterday morning, but my 2015 agenda ended (much to my surprise), and thus I’ve been disorganized all week. By the time I realized my mistake, it was 9 p.m. Tuesday night and I was zonked after a 12 hours work-day that I just could not face to look at anything else online except Scandal reruns. Also, I was already on my second one of these and feared my editing skills might not be quite up to par. 😉 Continue reading Chocolate Cupcakes with Maple Bacon Frosting