entertainment

The Miracle Season…

I am so excited about this project that I wanted to take a minute and share a trailer with you! The Miracle Season is based on the inspiring true story of West High School’s Girl’s Volleyball team. After the tragic death of their star player, the rest of the girls must band together under the guidance of their coach, in hopes of winning the state championship. This trailer moves me so much, so I am eager to see what the film does! Here’s the trailer

The Miracle Season will be in theaters April 13, 2018

I am really excited behind the heart of so many movies coming out in the new year!

 

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chronic illness, confession, depression, fibro, friendship, gifts, gratitude, holiday, home, journey, Lately, list, self care

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

Happy Friday!

Since last week’s post was SO long, (but so full of information I find value in…) I will keep this week’s list pretty to the point.

Here in our little corner of the world, (which isn’t as much a corner as a saying) we have been gifted sparkling mounds of beautiful snow. They’ve caused me to slow down a little. This is partly a chronic illness thing, and partly a savor the moment sort of thing. At any rate, there has been some gift wrapping, some baking, some new recipes and lots of intentional moments, which is essentially the point really…

I am sure you will notice a sort of theme in this week’s list… (also a theme, in my life, this week: spilling. Coke Zero on my couch, Kahiki stix on my couch, coffee all over the floor/side table and coke zero on my laptop.)

1.) Hand Warmers… I had no idea such a miraculous little thing existed until a girlfriend of mine brought some when we were going to be evening shopping downtown.

2.) The Magic Door on Amazon Alexa. I have already shared this with quite a few people. I absolutely love it!

3.) These Jane and Bleeker slipper socks. I am obsessed. I may have ended up buying several for gifts because I love them so much!

4.) Pretty much, if I’m not doing something uber productive or important, I am going to be hanging out under this… Fibro is a nightmare on a good day. On the days when the cold and moisture are extreme- well, there currently is not an adjective for such things. It’s the little things, like this, which really make a difference.

5.) This lotion! If lotion were to be a soul mate, this lotion would be mine. Not only does it smell divine, but my skin adores it, and it adores my skin! What more could I ask for?

Whether your home has snow, or not… Whether you are able to find stolen moments of peace, or are quietly aching for them- I hope that you are at least able to savor a moment, here or there, and be swept up in more of the beauty and simplicity of the season, than the stress and greed. Take a little time for some self-care!

beautiful, books, confession, creative, entertainment, family, friendship, gifts, gratitude, holiday, home, journey, Lately, list, marriage, music

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

How in the world is it already December 8th? I was going through our calendar today and caught myself pretty off guard by the fact that Christmas will be next week, in just a few days. I mean, what?!?!?!

I really love doing these Friday posts, and I really love the conversations they inspire. I get great feedback, through various means, about what you guys thought regarding the things I’m loving. I have also been directed toward cool things that I was not aware of, and I am so grateful! When I first began blogging, comments were EVERYTHING. People subscribed, and that was how conversations happened. Now, half of my readers read my posts in their email in-boxes and just hit reply. That isn’t counting the responses from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Blogging has really evolved and I need to remember that. Sometimes old school Misty gets all down and out, whining about a lack of comments, while the reality is that I have great connections with so many of you guys and several of this blog’s readers are now people whom I am lucky to consider friends. I love that! My goal, from the very beginning of my blogging journey (twelve years ago last month,) was to forge genuine connections and have authentic conversation. I have most certainly accomplished that and so much more…

This week’s list is a little different. All five of these things are VERY MUCH things I am loving this week. The points themselves, however, are a little tendrally, bear with me:

1.) Christmas music. Of course. I don’t love most of the music that plays on the Christmas music 24/7 stations, so I’m not super giddy over that. This is the first year we haven’t subscribed to Sirius in years. I would always get so excited as the stations transitioned over to Christmas music, only to sit back in disappointment after-the-fact saying that’s right, yuck. The thing is, if you were to ask my expert opinion (expertise on my taste, and that alone) I would tell you that I love really great Christmas music. New or old, classic or modern, as long as it is GOOD. Like this album (and yes, I mean album. You guys, it’s time to admit it- VINYL IS BEST) and in the last post (or maybe the one before it) I mentioned this one. I finally tracked a copy down and I am in
Christmas HEAVEN. I mean, the BEST way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear. Other than that, I’m just listening to Elvis and lots of classic records that have been in my family since way before I was born.

2.) I finally managed to see The Man Who Invented Christmas, and I can say it was well worth the wait! Such a lovely film and honestly, from a writer’s perspective, it gave me all sorts of feels…

3.) I LOVE Trader Joe’s. Anyone who knows me, knows this. So many people are right there with me. Some people don’t care and others hate it for some strangely incomprehensible reason… (It’s healthier, it’s fun, it’s creative and it’s affordable. What’s not to love?) What I am about to share, however, surpasses my regular, every day love for many things Trader Joe’s. Have you had Jingle Jangle ice cream? In case you aren’t quite sure what Jingle Jangle is, (and no, this is not an obscure Riverdale reference)  It is a holiday snack mix consisting of various sweet and salty bits. I am sure it can be quite tasty. The problem, for our family though, is that we never tried the snack mix before indulging in the ice cream. The ice cream is far superior. (well, assuming you love ice cream. And have taste.) The beloved TJ’s fave was a total let down compared to its creamy counterpart.

Imagine that this TJ’s bullet point were an album. On side A, we have the heavenly delight that is Jingle Jangle Ice Cream. This would be the delightful B side: The Taste Test of Caramels. Serious holiday fun, and it is delicious. Chw is a major lover of dark chocolate. The snobbier and blacker the chocolate, the better, as far as he’s concerned. (I, on the other hand, cannot stand dark chocolate) Super fun fact: I LOVE Caramels! They can come in the classless version of gooey goodness known as Milk Duds. They can be the square gems of luxury in the cheap and almost oxidized heart-shaped boxes of Februaries past. Caramels are life! (no. I’m kidding. Mostly I’m illustrating a here.) Follow up fun fact: Chw detests caramels! (we need to pause for a moment here… Ok.) It is totally like West Side Story up in here, sometimes. The tension is real, yo. Obviously, the prospects of this Caramel flight are equal parts torture and pleasure for us. We split them, one mystery caramel, each evening. We discuss and debate their layers of buttery sugar and bitter chocolate, and then (only then) we reveal peak at its flavor. Sometimes we are right. Sometimes we are very wrong. Last night’s Caramel (Fig and Honey) was one that Chw was the most terrified of, and guess what?!?! We both loved it. So far we haven’t had one we did not really enjoy, proving once again that TJ’s is amazing. It is the professional helping me to come to peace with disgusting dark chocolate, and my dear misguided husband embracing caramel. (#traderjoesforever)

4.) Really awesome gift finds. I am a gift giver. We all know this. I love it. I live for it. I am fairly descent at it, in most cases… This year I have discovered some really cool things and I want to share them here, just in case you find yourself in need of some ideas…

  • The Gentleman’s Box. I LOVE this! Neither my husband nor my son would love to receive it, but I personally think that it is super cool.
  • Baby Lit. Does everyone in the world know all about Baby Lit, and I am just a loser? This entire product line is like one of those instances where I admit that I totally could have done this first, and been set for life. (Wait, is this company’s person (er, people?) set for life? I certainly hope so, because, BRILLIANT!
  • Blue Q. About a year and a half ago a friend sent me socks from Blue Q. They were edgy, and funny, and timely and unique. Since then, Blue Q has moved beyond socks and it is wonderful (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Ticket to Ride. It was early this year when our family boarded the TtR fan club, and when we commit, we COMMIT. Between the lot of us, we’ve got most editions covered. (no Rails and Sails, but someday!) Super fun game, for pretty much anyone over the age of 7/8. I was 40 when I started obsessively playing this game, and I learn so much from it, so that’s pretty cool.
  • Salt Massage Stones. I think I may have mentioned these before, but they were a high point this year, for sure. It is amazing, when heated, how they literally pull tension.
  • Le Creuset French Press.  Hands down, THE BEST French Press either of us have ever used. The coffee is incredible, it stays warm, it is super easy to clean. We love this thing!
  • Tarte Eye Shadow Palettes. Absolute favorite eye colors this year. Perfectly pigmented, blends beautifully. Ethically made. Just love them!
  • Novel Journals. Seriously, brilliant. Such a simple, cool and meaningful way to incorporate a classic book into a useful and intentional gift.
  • Cuisinart immersion blender. Truthfully, this gadget would make my list, EVERY SINGLE YEAR. It is, hands down, the best appliance we have in our kitchen.
  • Book That Takes its Time. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! It’s amazing! Most favorite book ever!
  • Instant Pot. I am not going to say much else. If you haven’t ever heard of it, I am shocked- and props to you for shielding yourself from every form of social media.

5.) This toaster oven. I am OBSESSED. To clarify, NO I do not own one, and I likely won’t ever.I will also have you know that I blame Oprah for making me aware of its presence. (thanks, Oprah!) It is incredible. (and sold out, because that is what happens when Oprah makes something her favorite) (but I don’t have a budget for one anyway, so it’s all for the best. Enjoy your amazing ovens, Oprah fans.)

So, in closing, let’s review a few important things… Vinyl is best. Everyone needs to see The Man Who Invented Christmas. JINGLE JANGLE! (#traderjoesforever) There are some cool gift ideas out there. If you are trying to reach me, and can’t, I am probably staring hopelessly (pathetically) at a website feature of the Toaster oven, and drooling.

Also, if I were Oprah, you’d all be going home with these really cool things and everyone would be so happy! (especially me, because I would have the toaster oven.)

chronic illness, confession, creative, depression, family, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, marriage, parenting, parties

I know it is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year…

 

Holiday baking is this really incredible, magical ideal I have always had. My grandmother was the sort of woman, of her generation, who loved others through the food she made. She canned, preserved, baked and stewed almost 24/7, in one way or another. She believed, to her core, in hard work and I realize looking back that she lived the life of an authentic feminist, just at a time when this was more a way of life and less a mouth driven, man-bashing subculture. That woman truly needed a man for nothing, but had chosen to love one until his death. She was incredible, my grandmother… And the holidays were no exception. Her cookies, (often times colored and pressed, in that vintage way that is all about nostalgia now) her candies, cakes and pies were seamlessly there and ready, dependable and delicious, just like we’d grown up knowing they would be.

My own mother wasn’t much of a baker, or a cook really, but she certainly believed she was. Even now, in her state of dementia, when she begins talking about the days before her illness, she was the cook to beat all cooks. My childhood consisted of lots of microwave dinners, (unevenly heated and disgusting, mind you) bologna sandwiches and then when my step father was around (5-10 days a month) we had real meals. Sometimes my mom cooked them, (if that were the case, a box or can of something was typically ALWAYS involved) and sometimes he grilled them. Cakes involved mixes, eventually cookies involved mixes. She was all about that short-cut cooking which was introduced to America around the same time she was. It makes sense. It wasn’t that she was lazy… The woman painstakingly made chocolates to die for, and they were loved by many, many people, across the nation.

I remember when I learned how to cook, (a sordid and woeful journey, poor Chw…) I was very excited to share with her, my skills. That is how most young girls are. No matter what ill hurts lie between a daughter and her mother, that desire to get her approval is strong. My first big success was lasagna. An elderly woman, who was very dear to my husband, was also the brilliant cook to create his all-time favorite dish and as a wedding gift she was teaching me, from her wheelchair, how to make it. My mother was full of complaints and disgust over my perfected deep dish of love, and I was devastated. This became a theme, really… Mom, look at my new couch! It’s hideous, I’d never own something like that. Mom, I finally perfected a lemon cheesecake. I had thought it would taste way better than this, it’s almost inedible. And on, and on, and on.

And now I sit, at the start of another Christmas season. I have my dutiful little list all written out… What I will bake, and for whom. When. And slowly the dread of doing so, and the self-doubt of why begins to trickle in. Over the past few years I have the same pattern, and though I plan and list otherwise, it will play out the same. The past few years have been the first where I have not had a holiday season filled, to the brim, with friends and family upon which to force my confections. This is far more bitter than sweet for me. This season it is mostly just the two of us, and Chw’s perspective is that of- there is no need to stress yourself out and go to the trouble when it’s just me and I probably won’t eat much of it anyway.

And I am sad.

I always say that I don’t love baking, but I remember loving it. I remember sugar cookies, ornately decorated, every season of my motherhood, until we moved back to Michigan. I remember reveling in my cheesecake masterpieces, creating cakes centered around loved one’s likes- for their birthdays, I remember delving into flaky pastries and pies and tarts and loving it all.

And then nothing.

No new cheesecake adventures, and truly I miss it. I do. But if I were to craft a new cheesecake, half of it would go into the garbage, and that hurts my feelings, though it probably shouldn’t. No cookie exchanges, no holiday parties or gatherings. It is easy to see how the holiday season can become so depressing for people. I look back on the good old days, where holidays were full of love and faces and people, my home always full and people enjoying what I’d made as we conversed and laughed over board games and quality moments. I knew then, that these were the life moments I loved, and how great things were. I remember pausing my life for a micro-second, simply to absorb how great it all felt. I remembered to appreciate it, always. What I never expected was it gone completely, all that is left is the reoccurring holiday list…

cookies

cupcakes

marshmallows

cheesecake

It is doubtful that any of it will get done. The thought of doing it exhausts me, (because, why?) but the thought of not doing it stabs me somewhere gutturally. And I think about these women before me, the holiday sugar journeys and how grateful I am for them. Maybe this season and phase of my life are meant to go in other culinary directions. I am strongly (and overwhelmingly) toying with the idea of tamales. I grew up with the eating of them a Christmas eve tradition. This was also in New Mexico, where everyone you know makes them, and they are readily accessible. I, myself have never made them and I am thinking that, maybe it’s time…

I am also toying with a few other adventurous little recipes to try out, since it is just us. I am both excited and tempted to just stick with doing nothing at all.

What about you? What baking/cooking will you plan to do?

birthday, chronic illness, confession, entertainment, family, fibro, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, holiday, home, journey, Lately, list, marriage, parenting

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

Minimal sunlight is streaming through the drawn blinds and my Wonder Woman mug is full, (refilled, mind you) and steaming with the caffeine loaded nectar of the PNW gods, in easy reach. I am curled up on my couch, laptop on lap (isn’t that where it is supposed to be, anyway?) and I am flat-out exhausted.

I’m a little under the weather. (I have been blaming my beautiful daughter in law for sharing her bug, over the holiday, but let’s be honest- I have a chronic illness and am coming down from the craziest month of travel/busyness that I have had in a really long time. It isn’t her fault, but even if it were- it’s a cold… I’ll live.) Yesterday was the first day, since Sunday, that I believed I could actually be a functioning member of the human race. To commemorate the very special occasion I decided to pour my heart and soul into a huge project, and not crawl into bed until nearly five in the morning. Those of you under the ripe old age of 40 are probably thinking yeah, so? But I haven’t been able to successfully pull of such great feats in a very long time. Also, I woke up around 7:45, and crawled out of bed around 8:15… I’m dragging. (There is not enough coffee in all of Michigan to help, I fear.)

At any rate, it’s a good thing I work on my list throughout the week, because otherwise there would simply be five bullet points stating SLEEP, and that’s no fun… (also, this post is covering two weeks, as I was away on Holiday last week)

1.) Scrunchies. The truth is, I have really naturally curly hair. Depending on the weather, temperature, humidity index and whatever mood my fickle hair is in, at any given moment, my hair can look really beautiful. These rare and glorious moments are the ones I dream about. In reality though, unless I’ve had a blowout (which I try to get semi-regularly, just for sanity purposes) my hair is usually a tangled mess of indescribably proportions. My solution to this natural disaster, as anyone who sees me regularly can tell you, is a messy bun. (Lazy hair and I truly don’t care who sees it or how terrible it may look due to the evil baby hairs which frame my face with absolute defiance.) Anyway, (I’m tired and clearly cannot stay on point) over the weekend my daughter acquired a packet of 90’s style hair scrunchies. I thought they were pretty funny and nostalgic. At one point, that evening, a scrunchy was used and the user (I don’t remember who) exclaimed WOW! These are awesome! This gave me pause. Really? Awesome? So, my Friday late night messy bun met a 90’s scrunchy and I think it may be safe to say there is no going back. Ever wondered why I had less tension headaches when I was in high school and under extreme stress and duress, in comparison to adult years? Scrunchies. Every wonder why I still can’t wrap my mind around the amount of hairs which tangle themselves around a hair tie? Scrunchies. In a time when we are surrounded by problems and we simply need solutions, I’m beginning to wonder if a scrunchy may not be the answer. (also, I’m tired. But still, my bun is scrunchied and I have no headache or tension pull, so there ya go.)

2.) Intentional Gifts. I know this probably seems stupid, but hear me out. Anyone who knows me even 3% knows that gift giving/receiving is my primary love language. I am a big fan of The Minimalists. Recently they have challenged that this is not a real love language and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I get their point (consumerism, materialism, etc.) but also, I live with my brain/body/soul and know how I feel giving gifts and receiving them. The thing their point did do, however, was challenge me to really introspectively lean in to those thoughts/feelings during the processes. I realized there IS a difference and it has changed the very way I function within the realm of gifts…

Someone VERY special to Chw and I just celebrated her 30th birthday. It was a milestone birthday and we wanted to do something really thoughtful for her. We purchased a couple of small, yet sentimental gifts, but honestly it just did not feel like enough. What do you give someone so vital to you, to celebrate a pretty huge birthday, on a nominal budget? (because without the lack of independent wealth, we would have spent the year traveling with her, and rolling in stacks of money, obviously) We talked, and talked, and talked about this for the better part of a month. Then, a few days before her birthday, we got an idea. We’d make her a playlist of songs from the year she was born… (1987, which we learned was the year we both really blossomed into our love of music and movies, which is pretty cool.) The playlist morphed into one of those 1987 fact sheets to share with our family, in honor of her birthday. This eventually became a game. A 30 part trivia game complete with 1987 inspired commercial breaks, music videos, movie trailers, historical facts and a big bag of 1987 inspired prized. (i.e. SCRUNCHIES) I’ll admit it, we got carried away. (By we, I mean me, though Chw was VERY enthusiastic.) I spent every waking second, for several days, working on this game. And naturally, doubt set in… They would hate it. It’s OLD stuff and they won’t get any of the references (they being a bunch of awesome people, under the age of 30) so when a friend offered to be a test subject, I jumped at it. Halfway through the performance of the Game (it was NOT a smooth run through, you guys) it occurred to me that these friends were our age so this messy run through was very possibly as good as it was going to get. It wasn’t. It was really fun, and it went much smoother, and it was REALLY fun. And she felt loved, and felt special, and it was a memory. This is when I realized that is the whole point of giving a gift. It cost some time, and a few bucks in prizes. In the end it was a chunk of quality time centered around someone very worthy of the effort and we all enjoyed it. Much more meaningful than a “big” dollar purchase, and my gift love bank was full.

3.) Our family Thanksgiving tradition is going to the movies. It’s a little tricky at this phase of familyhood because we’ve got grand-babies and babies don’t love movies, (and most movie goers share the same sentiment regarding babies in movies) but tradition is tradition so some of us went. We chose Coco. Chw felt it might be a little easier on the boys (6, 7 and 11) than Wonder, and I was pretty fine either way. A few times, during the movie, I questioned if maybe this was the WORST choice to see with them. By the end however, I was a sob-filled-blubbering mess absolutely moved and in love with Coco.

4.) Whipped Cream Maker. We’ve actually had it for years. It isn’t anything new to us, but it does sit unused for large amounts of time. And then, Thanksgiving rolls around (PIE!) and melts into the Christmas season (hot chocolate!) and we pull it out and fall in love with the miracle of it, over again. Incidentally, last week my poor husband made a not so tasty batch of whipped cream. This inspired me to get creative with flavors and types. It’s a whole new world up in here… (impromptu hot chocolate and game night, anyone???)

5.) Listening to Christmas music on Vinyl. I love it. I had HIGH hopes of adding this little record to my growing collection (because this album is kind of one of the best), but alas, it is sold out. Sad days… So, I’ll listen to it on Spotify, and my other Christmas records when I’m not.

What about you and your week? What are you loving?