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Trust Issues

 

I watched Hillary’s speech last night. I’ve been watching parts of the DNC to see my favorite speakers speak, and to also witness the historic milestone that’s happening for women in this country. You can think it’s not a big deal, but it is.

 

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Image via Mashable

I almost forgot, while texting my friends during the speech, how important it was. I was sending out snarky comments and jokes about Morgan Freeman and the “fight song” and stuff. Then my friend goes, “Stop being so cynical – we’ve been waiting for this shit since we were little – a fucking woman president.”

It felt like when your mom calls you out, basically saying “stop being an asshole” – and you realize that you were being an asshole and feel ashamed and you’re like, “Sorrrrryyyy mooooommmmmmmm….”

Anyway, I snapped back into the moment. But what I realized later is that maybe I am more cynical then some of my peers when it comes to poltics. Today I was talking to a friend about Hillary, and she said “this is why I love and hate her.” And my feed is full of Bernie uber-fans that are mourning their loss right now – there is just a lot of emotion in the democratic party currently.

It made me think about how I’ve never had strong emotions for politicians like that (at least not for Democrats. I obviously have strong feelings of dislike and disgust for some Republican politicians – can you blame me, when they are trying to tell me who I should be and what to do with my body and sexuality all the time? And trying to make people in my country feel like second-class citizens?).

With Obama, I was smitten. But I was mostly emotional about the historical significance – once I got to grad school, I became more cynical and came to believe that all politicians, or people in large social institutions, are never perfect (what human is) and that they are a product of the larger machine. I stopped seeing them as people to get attached to, and more as facilitators of change, good or bad – I removed the emotions from it.

This wasn’t a hard thing for me – I have this thing with trusting adults, in general. It’s hard for me to do.

….I just realized I said “adults” which is hilarious, since I suppose I count as an adult at 27 years old. Ha.

What I mean is: people my parents’ age, and particularly those in a role of authority. So Anthony’s parents, my friends’ parents, all good – professors, bosses, boss’s bosses – I keep my distance. I just don’t trust them – I expect them to let me down. And a lot of them do. Because they’re human.

Don’t get me wrong – I get very emotional about politics in general. I’ve been known to take things to a weird place when we’re talking politics in a bar and talk unreasonably loud and look like I might cry at any second. I’ve cried in restaurant bathrooms about the fact that rape is a thing. I’ve cried in cars about how hard it must be for transgendered people. I’ve almost cried in class from being overwhelmed by my white guilt. I’m not trying to be like, “look how empathetic I am” – I’m just saying I’m not this stoic person when it comes to the news.

Bernie was saying everything that I dreamed a politician would say some day – and I never thought it would happen. He really surprised me and gave me hope – that a democratic socialist agenda could be widely embraced. It was almost too good to be true. I didn’t think he would make it to the nominee, so honestly I unhooked from it all. I voted for him in the primary, because if anything, I wanted the party to move more left. And I think that happened. It was amazing, watching his whole movement. But I never like, fell in love with the guy. Out of all the politicians, he would be the one I would get emotional over – but I just didn’t.

With Hillary, I don’t love her or hate her. I am for SURE going to cry my eyes out if she wins, seeing that insanely amazing historical event take place. But it’s not about her. As a person. She’s fine – I respect her. What I hear from some of my friends is “but I just don’t trust her!” And I think – “Of course I don’t trust her. Why is that even relevant?”

Does that make me weird?

I guess we should define trust… Like I expect her to do things I won’t agree with. Do I think she’ll tank the country? Of course not. I think it will be MUCH like the last 8 years. More of the same. Not ideal, but not bad. Just what I have come to expect, at a federal government level. I have hope for change in people’s minds and hearts and through socialization and person-to-person contact – those things then get fought for all the way up to the top – by people at the bottom.

I don’t know – I just beleive that there is no point in putting our trust in a politician – trust as in, “I know they won’t let me down, and if they did, I would be crushed and surprised”. I can find politicians that I will agree with most of the time – but if it turns out that they are secretly fucked up in some way, I’m not surprised. I feel this way about Cory Booker, Liz Warren, Joe Biden, etc. There is just no way I know their entire track record, or that something in the future won’t come up that I will disagree with them on. These are people I don’t know – why would I trust them to always make decisions that I agree with?

I feel the same way about people working in the legal system, people in other government roles, spiritual leaders – people in large social institutions. I won’t put all my chips behind an insititution, or someone representing an institution’s interest – because inevitably I feel that they will do something I don’t agree with. Institutions are slow to change. They aren’t on the cusp of new ideas and aren’t the first to embrace social justice movements – they move slowly, and try to uphold the status quo. That’s their whole thing.

One of my friends says that subscribing to a label – feminist, democrat, republican – clouds your judgement. It makes you follow that group blindly and not research the facts independently. I definitely post things on social media without an independent investigation on my part from sources that seem to me to be promoting the right ideas. Ideas I agree with. That is also not ideal. But I think it is important to embrace labels and movements like Feminist and Black Lives Matter, to promote change that needs to happen. That doesn’t mean I agree with every democrat or feminist, just because I apply those labels to myself. But I get what he’s saying. I don’t think that groups in this arena can be trusted blindly to never go astray from what I believe in.

You know who I do trust? My sister. Anthony. Friends who were there through my grad school idealist phase of realizing how fucked up the world is and who agreed and let me rant for hours and listened. I trust that whatever they are saying to people regarding politics, that they will say what I would say. And that’s an amazing thing. I know that if Anthony is in a room where someone says something racist, or homophobic, or sexist, that he will speak up (he is much braver than me when it comes to these confrontations) and that he will say what I would. I can’t believe it sometimes – it’s amazing.

 

I wish I felt that way about politicians.

 

 

What do you think? Do you think people like me are too cynical about politics, or maybe not cynical enough? Do you trust certain politicians? How do you define trust when it comes to politics?

 

 

{How To:} Revamp your social life

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Last week I told you how I revamped my closet. This week, I wanted to tell you about the amazing idea my sister had a few months ago to revamp my social life.

I have been going through a phase where I really want to build my friendships and get more close girlfriends – I am so used to having a big group of awesome girlfriends from being in college and grad school. Once I moved to Santa Barbara and started working, I had just a couple here and there – some are super busy and hard to hang out with regularly, some moved away – but I am lucky to have a handful that I see regularly. I wrote about this on a post a while back – I was feeling a little insecure and stunted in that category and wanted to meet more people.

Then I talked to my sister, who had a great idea. We were talking about how hard it is to get something going with a new friend you like. So you meet a new neighbor – what do you do, invite them over for dinner? Sounds nice – but a little intense and pressure-y, from my introverted perspective. We were talking about it and I said “I wish there was just a casual way to just see people and get to know them better without having to make a big deal about it.”

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Then she was like – wait, duh. I used to do this in college. You just make a day where you all meet at the same place every week for beers – then you can invite whoever you want, and it’s no big deal. They had Woodstocks Wednesdays in downtown San Luis Obispo, and it was an awesome social hub to fall back on every week. Then I remembered – I had one in college, too! It was Family Dinner Night – every Thursday (I think…) at my friends’ house. We would have a potluck and catch up and everyone would bring new people all the time.

So we thought – this does not need to just be a college thing. And Yellow Belly Tuesday was born.

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As it turns out, Anthony and I and our two friends were meeting at Yellow Belly about once a week anyway, just to catch up during the week. It’s perfect, because it’s walking distance from our house and we are regulars already. Yellow Belly opened sometime last winter I think, and everyone loves the great food and beer. We started calling it our dining room, since our place doesn’t really have one, and we eat there so much.

It was the perfect place for our weekly gathering. Our first Yellow Belly Tuesday was on July 7th, and it has been a hit ever since. I feel like I see people regularly that I wouldn’t otherwise, and I have gotten to know some acquaintances a lot better – and now I can call them my friends. I think it was the perfect solution to my new friend slump – if you are having one too, I highly recommend giving your social life a face lift and starting your own.

Set up your own weekly gathering:

Choose a place.

For us, it was a no-brainer. And honestly, we were pretty selfish about it… since we were starting it, we got to choose our favorite place. But if your favorite place is a super romantic Italian tiny restaurant with candles and white tablecloths, it’s not the best choice. Ask yourself a couple of questions when choosing a place:

  • Is it big enough to accommodate the number of people you want to come?
  • Is it casual?
  • Does it have food?
  • Does it have a menu that most people could choose from?
  • Is it out of the way or in the middle of town?

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Choose a day and time.

We wanted it to be during the week, to break things up and to have something to look forward to. You probably won’t want to have it on the weekend, since a lot of people go out of town or will have other stuff planned. This way you can catch up with a mix of people during the week, and have the weekend to hang out with your typical group and relax. We wanted to choose something mid-week and landed on Tuesday to avoid Anthony’s ensemble’s rehearsals that typically happen Wednesdays and Thursdays. Think about who will probably be the regulars and take a poll with your core group to see what day is most convenient for most people.

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Even if Tuesdays aren’t great for some people, we end up staying so long that most people can at least swing by on their way to or from something else if they wanted to. Ours goes from 6:15-9ish usually. It might sound like a big investment and way too long to be at a restaurant – but it actually happens naturally that way. Even before we started YBT, we ended up staying until around nine just with friends. Consider if you could hang out at this place for that long, or if there would be a changing set of people that would be there for an extended period of time – it’s nice to have a big window to see the most people around their schedule.

Invite people!

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We use Facebook to spread the word, every week. It’s nice to remind people (even those that come all the time) and make posts about that week – for example, if it’s someone’s birthday and we’re celebrating, or if we need to let anyone know that we (the core members who started this whole thing) can’t make it.

Facebook doesn’t let you set up recurring events (if I’m wrong let me know!) so we update the date every week until it doesn’t let us anymore, then we create a new one and start over. Facebook works for us because we can make it public and people can invite their friends on their own. If you choose to use Facebook, make sure to add a few people as the admin so they can update the event if you can’t.

Facetune

Engage with your new place.

Tell the waitstaff about your weekly meet up and tag their social media pages when you take photos or check in. It’s always nice to have connections with a local place that you love.

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I know you are already super pumped about this – but just to seal the deal… Here are a few benefits of this kind of set up:

  • Friend dating someone new? This is a super casual way for you to meet and get to know them.
  • Do you have a friend-crush on someone in the office, but don’t know how to be friends with them in real life? Invite them as you’re leaving work so you can integrate them into your friend group.
  • Want to meet more people? Encourage everyone to bring their office friend crush, their boyfriend/girlfriend and their friends, etc – your friend network can potentially grow exponentially.

 

Please tell me if you already have something like this that you do (weekly bookclubs maybe? Too bad I only read in random phases – beer is more of a constant in my life) and what you like or dislike about it. If you end up launching one of your own weekly hangouts, let me know how it goes!

 

Amazing photos taken by my talented sister, Mary, at Two Happy Lambs Photography

 

 

The ultimate work out playlist

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How do you get your heart pumping during a work out? I recently realized that calm podcasts like Dear Sugar or Serial weren’t really motivating me to sweat my butt off.

But Ariana Grande? She works like a charm. We are BFFs now, in case you were wondering.

I thought I would share my work out playlist with ya’ll, in case yours needs some beefing up. Mine definitely does – I could use some more variety – so please share your favorites in the comments!

Let’s start with the maybe-normal-person-with-a-pop-bias playlist:

  • Flawless Remix ~ Beyonce, Nicki Minaj
  • Dark Horse ~ Katy Perry
  • Hypnotik – Original Mix ~ Keys N Krates
  • Yeah 3x ~ Chris Brown
  • Carried Away ~ Great Good Fine OK
  • Applause ~ Lady Gaga
  • Don’t Worry ~ Madcon, Ray Dalton
  • Domino ~ Jessie J
  • Just Fine ~ Mary J. Blige
  • I Need Your Love ~ Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding
  • Feel so Close – Radio Edit ~ Calvin Harris
  • Wild Ones (feat Sia) ~ Flo Rida
  • Trust a Try ~ Janet Jackson
  • Coming Down ~ Buchanan
  • Break Free ~ Ariana Grande, Zedd
  • Habits (Stay High) – The Chainsmokers Extended Mix [umm, okay…] ~ Tove Lo
  • Want To Want Me ~ Jason Derulo
  • Forever (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Remix) ~ HAIM, Prins Thomas, Lindstrom
  • Hey Mama (feat Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack) ~ David Guetta
  • Latch ~ Disclosure, Sam Smith
  • Dancing On My Own ~ Robyn
  • Part Of Me ~ Katy Perry
  • Too Much to Handle ~ Great Good Fine OK
  • Sweet Nothing ~ Calvin Harris, Florence Welch
  • Work B**ch ~ Britney Spears
  • Love Myself ~ Hailee Steinfeld
  • Worth It ~ Fifth Harmony, Kid Ink

Then there’s some cool down tracks in there:

  • Replay ~ Zendaya
  • You’re The One For Me ~ Great Good Fine OK
  • Where are U Now (with Justin Bieber) ~ Jack U, Skrillex, Diplo
  • Crooked Smile ~ J.Cole, TLC

…and finally, the I’m-a-14-year-old-girl songs added in for flavor (sorry not sorry):

  • Problem ~ Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea
  • Beauty And A Beat ~ Justin Beiber, Nicki Minaj
  • Don’t Hold Your Breath ~ Nicole Scherzinger
  • Miss Movin’ On ~ Fifth Harmony
  • You’ve Got The Love ~ Jessica Sanchez
  • C’Mon ~ Ke$ha
  • One Last Time ~ Ariana Grande

I use Spotify to create my playlists – what do you use? Do you gym it up or do something else to werk it out? What’s your favorite method for cardio?

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P.S. I also just started using the Under Armour’s MapMyFitness app through a discount at work – it’s mostly fun just to pat myself on the back for what I’ve done this week. I feel like I have proof of things now – like, “LOOK! I worked out THREE TIMES this week. THREE. Plus I ate a salad once. HERE’S THE DATA!” …Yunno, just in case someone stops me in the street and accuses me of not taking care of myself or something. Totally prepared.

 

 

 

Easy Enchiladas

 

My sister swears it’s not hard to cook.

I’m not sure I believe her.

It’s not that I think it’ll be hard, really, I just don’t enjoy cooking. Or grocery shopping. I am famous for eating microwaved quesadillas for every dinner at home – I just want to eat, I don’t care enough to make something.

But my sister has been so helpful in giving me recipes when I entertain the idea of cooking at home for once and not heading back to Jersey Mike’s for dinner. She actually shares my disdain for cooking, but has come around by necessity – she is, after all, a mom of two hungry babies.

Here is one of her recipes that only requires a Stephanie-level of expertise to pull off:

 

Mary’s Enchiladas

1lb ground turkey (or anything or nothing)

1 can sweet corn

1 can refried beans

Small can sliced olives

Taco sized flour tortillas

Lots of grated cheese

Small 10 oz can of red enchilada sauce

Pour sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and brown turkey. Add taco/burrito seasoning to turkey if desired. Mix turkey, beans, and corn together. Lay out as many tortillas as you can squeeze in there (4?6?8? I was able to fit 7) and coat them in the sauce. I find stacking them taco style is helpful while I coat each one. Then spoon in filling (about two big scoops with a tablespoon each) add grated cheese on top of the filling (I used tongs to take the cheese out of the bag without getting it dirty) and roll loosely, turning them seam side down. Don’t try to fold the ends.

Put grated cheese on top and olives over that. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 15-20 min or until heated through. I sometimes broil for a few minutes if the cheese on top isn’t melted or I just want to crisp them a bit on top.

Delicious and easy!

 

Thanks sister!

 

What’s your favorite easy dinner solution?

 

 

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