Saturday, March 31, 2018

Musings - March 2018

New things are good, right? (That is, after all, what spring is about, new beginnings and trying new things.) This was one of those months when I tried a bunch of new things. Some of them were awesome (Kismet Cosmetics) and some were "interesting*. This may be because next month is my birthday. And it may be because I'm trying to make some positive changes.

Books: I'm still doing the thing where I read 10 pages per book a night of 3 books - one history, one fiction, and one business. (Except the JR Ward book which I just read straight through because mind-candy!) Which means, I'm making slow going on some of the longer books - especially if I have to miss a night due to exhaustion. As noted, I finished out J.R. Ward's The Beast (which, if you haven't been reading her whole series is just too involved to jump in.) It was on sale at the store - and sometimes a girl needs a treat. I also, finished out Amber Hurdle's The Bombshell Business Woman. (I would have edited it differently to be a lot less personal upfront, but after about chapter 3 - it's filled with solid business advice and a ton of resources. This one should be a must buy for entrepreneurs and small businesses, especially those in the service sector. It now sits squarely on my business book shelf.) The Way of the Witch is actually 3 novels in one. And I'm through the first 2. And here's my thought - the author is in love with long and unusual words that get in the way of the story. Also, so far, the  first and third are the better books. The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn by Retha Warnicke is a very dense history book filled with superfluous names; this is one of the books that is benefiting from the 10 pages a day per book as it makes the information chunk very manageable. Local Dollars, Local Sense by Michael Shuman is an interesting premise of investing local that I started apres the Hurdle book.

Gratitude: So, I decided that I needed to re-align with a more pervasive spirit of gratitude. Which is why I re-connected with a gratitude journal a business friend wrote a few years ago. A nice nightly reminder to take 5 minutes and think about gratitude. And right now, I'm grateful for lilac buds, sunrises, beautiful skies, gracious friends, and the annual JC Penny dress sale.

Listening: The Bombshell Business Woman (podcast), Chalene Johnson (podcast), Susan Hyatt (podcast), Marketing Over Coffee (podcast) and tons of jazz. (Pandora is the best.)

Perfumes: This is the apex of my scented life. I've reached the point where I have upstairs perfume, downstairs perfume, purse perfume, and emergency office perfume. And that means I am certainly not sticking with any one scent! The emergency office perfume is a variety of DSH Perfume samples which I bought for that purpose. The current purse perfume is Pacifica's Tunisian Jasmine Lime roll-on. Upstairs is Paper Flowers. And, downstairs, I finished off the Magazine Street. Which was both sad, as I don't see a re-purchase in my near future due to pricepoint, and fun because now I get to try more stuff!

Recipes: One word for our recent late spring cold spell - casserole! I made the superfood, super nutritious quinoa casserole again. And folks, there is a secret to making quinoa. Rinse it first.  Here's the quinoa casserole recipe:
- Make quinoa according to package instructions. (I like red quinoa - which I rinse - and then make in the ratio of 1.5 cups quinoa to 3 cups of boiling water.)
- Cut and saute 1 sweet onion in a bit of olive oil (5-7 minutes)
- Cut the crowns off 2 heads of broccoli, rinse and separate the florets. Then throw them in the onion pan. After 2 minutes, add 1/4 cup of water and cover. Take off heat after 5 minutes.
- Add pre-cooked, butternut squash cut into squares to the onion/broccoli pan.
- In a large bowl - combine everything. Add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
- Transfer everything to a very lightly greased (EVOO) casserole pan. Top with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
- Bake it for 20 minutes or so at 350 degrees (until cheese is bubbly and melty)

This is nutritious, surprisingly delicious and stores well for about a week in the fridge. In total it takes about 1 hour to make this but it's an easy hour.

Self-care: A couple of my brands had sales for various holidays. My favorite was from Kismet Cosmetics. I've bought a few lipsticks from them and I really want to like them as a start up US brand. (Since last time I shopped them, they now have this really cool new service were you send your picture and they help you pick your best lipstick color.) They had this nifty idea about a surprise box. You set your $ of purchase and the box, depending on your amount, had between 2 and 5 new products to try. I ended up with Country Roads lipstick, which is not a color I would have tried but works for summer/fall. I'm trying out the new bronzer next week in Texas, too. (Midwest pale legs versus a warm weather climate!) We will see how that goes.

The other thing I tried is a new (to me) fashion line called Cabi. A business friend, Elisabeth, introduced me to the idea of personal styling for those of us who are regular working people. I got a few new (and awesome) cardigans and jackets. (See top picture for a bit of one of the pretty color cardigans.) The price point is higher than I usually go, but not by much, and with Elisabeth's help I've chosen things coordinate with what I currently have - extending my wardrobe and making my style more current with these flattering wardrobe additions.

Stress: Do you ever think about how much of your stress is from your own thoughts? Sometimes I do! And a recent article I read about negative thoughts has given me a good bit of food for thought on that line plus a few new tools for dealing with stress you make yourself. 

Things 11 Told Me: 
- Anything is travel sized (1 - she's not wrong; 2 - I guess the idea of travel sized is lost on 11 year olds as they grab the full-sized version for a sleep-over and forget to bring the item home)

Watching: Designated Survivor, Queen Sugar, Nikita. (Apparently I'm trying to channel Maggie Q. Maybe it will make me want to exercise more!)

Random: Adventure ahead. You just have to choose it.

*Take-away - Chinese fortune cookie definition - "May you live in interesting times". You get to decide how if it is meant well or as a mild curse.

Original musings posts you may enjoy:

All photos by moi! And you can tell...

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