Monday 5: Togetherness & other things I’m excited about this week

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Baby breath flowers

I bought these for the first time yesterday and was blown away at how much I loved how they looked. They remind me of flowers you would pick on a field and add such a simple elegance to any room. Fresh flowers are one of those simple pleasures that can make a big difference and make me smile every time I look at them. Baby breath reminds us that you don’t have to be fancy to be beautiful.

This Hawaiian Chicken and Pineapple skewers recipe

I tried this recipe over the weekend and definitely plan on doing a repeat. It’s a relatively simple process and they were still good even without cooking them on the grill. I like that it includes protein and vegetables and fruit in one yummy dish. It’s also easy enough to double and make for several people; good for hosting or bringing to an event!

Sailing

This weekend we were able to go sailing around the Charleston harbor with the other first year pediatric residents (rough life, right?). It had been quite a while since I had been out on the water and it felt incredible. There’s something so simple and mindful about sailing; there aren’t really a lot of things to distract you from the beauty of the ocean and the people you’re with. It’s not something I get to do very often but I hope to do a little more in the years to come here in Charleston; it seems like such a good way to take advantage of the surrounding water.

Togetherness

Being in the same place as Nicholas has been such a treat for the past few weeks. While long distance was fruitful in it’s own way, being together has helped us grow more and face various challenges head on that were easier to avoid when we were apart. It’s tempting to get caught in the trap of thinking that relationships should be easy – and if they aren’t it’s wrong. But good things require effort; that’s what makes them good…and not just easy. One thing that has been great is being able to do so much more together than we could before. Things like going swimming or running, getting drinks with friends, having people over, cooking, going to Mass, praying, salsa dancing [or attempting to], even just working…it has been truly wonderful. Chores like grocery shopping are a lot more fun when you’re with people you love. Today we place a lot of emphasis on the individual and our independence; but I think there’s a lot of beauty on sharing your life with someone and working toward something together (even if it’s a little more inconvenient sometimes).

This quote

Love between two people is unthinkable without some common good to bind them together. – Saint John Paul the Great

I listened to a good podcast this weekend about love and how it’s more than just ‘I like you, you like me.’ While that is certainly an important part of it, we have to remember that there’s something bigger taking place. The speaker on the podcast gave the example of a professional sports team: they are a group of men or women working toward something great. That is what separates them from just a group of men or women kicking a ball around. They aren’t just there for their personal enjoyment; they’re working toward a higher good – winning. The same applies for couples. It’s not just about the pleasure or even joy that we get out of it (and that will come and go anyway); it’s more importantly about growing together and serving each other and your friends and family. In other words, it’s about being fruitful. We want to be better people and help others; those are the goals we strive for and that is what keeps us together when being alone seems more appealing.

Hope your Monday is enjoyable and fruitful (even if you’re like me and feeling a little sleepy).

xo

Miranda

 

Monday 5: Endurance & other things I’m excited about this week.

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This weekend was a good one. Friday evening we hosted Nicholas’ medical themed housewarming party and it was a good night. I had so much fun working on the preparations (white balloons with red crosses, candy as ‘prescription meds’, sangria as ‘type O negative’ wafers as ‘tongue depressors’, medical wristbands for guests) and I think people appreciated the thought (and even if they didn’t I still had a blast). It got a little hectic right before, we were running around trying to get everything together right until the first person showed up; but the chaos, if a little stressful, was also exciting.

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Saturday was more relaxed, we attended a recital for the Charleston International Music Festival where I played with a chamber music group. It was a really good concert, I was so impressed with these high school and college students who play at a professional level!

Later we had a barbecue with the players and teachers. Sunday we went out to lunch with my brother and one of his friends and then enjoyed a laid back evening before the work week started.

Not every weekend is going to be super exciting, but I think a little thought and planning can help us make the most of those two precious days. I hope yours was a good one too!

Regardless, Monday’s can be tough so here are a few things that might help make it a little more exciting!

This TED talk

Recently I’ve been trying to listen to more podcasts. I love music, but I think podcasts can offer a good alternative that is a little more informative and gives you something to think about. This TED talk I heard was certainly thought provoking; given by a doctor who had lost her husband (also a doctor) to cancer, she talks about what makes life worth living in the face of death. One of her key points I thought was very important was the idea that living fully includes accepting suffering. And suffering together makes it more meaningful and less painful; or as she put it: “it makes it okay; even if it’s not.” I enjoyed her refreshing perspective on what is really important in life and how to persevere during difficult times – definitely worth a listen!

Miniature saints

Last year I won a key chain that had the miniature images of saints Louis and Zelie Martin – the first married couple to be canonized. I thought they were so adorable and have love having them on my key chain since. I looked them up and was even more excited to find that they are only $5! With shipping it comes to about $7. I think this is such a good gift idea, they are so cute and inspiring! They have a ton to choose from so there’s really something for everyone.

Scrapbooking

I think photographs are so important. While having pictures on your phone or computer can be helpful, to me sitting down and looking through photos is one of the simple joys in life that I think can also be really fruitful. That’s why I decided to print a bunch of pictures and put them in a scrapbook. I bought a photo album but instead of slipping them in the plastic sleeves, took the sleeves out and glued the photos directly to the paper underneath so I could write quotes around the edges. On the sides I wrote the date and little comments about the photo (like what we were doing, the context, fun memories) and then around the margins I wrote quotes that pertained to what was going on and that were also inspirational. It has been such a fun project and there’s something really beautiful about flipping back through the moments while reading quotes about why they matter.

Endurance

When I think of endurance, I think of someone who has run a marathon (or even more than 2.5 miles) or a Gatorade commercial. But I think endurance is also really important outside the context of sports. When you work out, your muscle fibers break down because of the stress, but instead of collapsing completely and leaving you incapacitated, they build back up stronger than they were before. In life we often encounter strenuous challenges; these can feel like they’re breaking us and leave us weary and disheartened. But just like those squats or an uphill run, that strain actually makes us new…it makes us stronger. Strength isn’t an absence of weakness, it’s the result of enduring suffering or strain. I think this is really important to keep in mind as we face the various difficulties -some worse than others- the tough times are preparing us to be more…and they don’t last forever.

Quotes

More and more I’ve been realizing the importance of surrounding yourself with inspiration. The music we hear, the words we speak, the movies we watch…they all have an influence over us, whether we’re aware of it or not. That’s why I’m becoming such a big advocate of keeping a stash of good quotes around that you can refer to frequently. I have a notebook, in addition to the ones I put in the scrapbook and the snapshots I have of quotes I come across on Instagram. Reading them often gives me a little dose of truth and beauty that reminds me what life is really about and why the things that stress me out aren’t worth it.

Hope your week is full of inspiration!

xo

Miranda

Monday 5: ‘Modern Romance’ & other things to be excited about this week

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I hope your Mother’s Day weekend was filled with quality family time and (if you’re a mom) some well-deserved rest. Friday night we met up with some friends at one of my favorite spots in Charleston, The Vendue Hotel, which has a sweet rooftop bar. My go-to drink there is called Takes Two to Mango which is yummy and just a little bit spicy.

Saturday entailed of some Mother’s Day preparation (and a long-awaited visit to the gym) as well as some volunteer work with the Charleston Food Bank.

Sunday was mostly dedicated to Mother’s Day celebrations, including waffles and a trip to the beach.

Regardless of whether you are ready for Monday or not, here are some things to be excited about this week.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Blue Away!

I borrowed this nail polish from my mom and loved it. The color is such a perfect summer shade and as someone who hates to sit around, I really appreciate the Insta-Dri part.

Article on self-compassion

One of my favorite sites for good reading is called Mind Spirit. Here they combine psychology with spirituality  with a really wholesome perspective. I get so much good advice and inspiration from this site and especially appreciated this recent article on self-compassion. As someone who can be pretty critical of myself (and sometimes others), I think this article really hit the nail on the head with the idea of self-compassion. It’s hard to extend kindness to others when you don’t show it to yourself first.

The Giver

This weekend we watched The Giver, a YA post-apocalyptic movie based on a book. It takes place in a ‘Utopian’ world where people can no longer experience emotions, see colors or have memories. I liked the movie because it depicted well the importance of accepting the good with the bad. With all the struggles, hardships, pain and suffering, there is also redemption, joy, beauty and of course, love. While sometimes not feeling anything seems preferable, life is good because it is an adventure, which includes adversity. I also appreciated that the hero was motivated by fatherly love for an infant he grew close to. He endured much suffering and gave up a lot to save the baby. This was a nice change from a lot of the other YA books/movies out there which focus on the romantic love a lot more. While not ground breaking cinematography, I thought the movie was well done and especially appreciated the message it conveyed.

White jeans

Saturday also included a trip to Goodwill during which I found a pair of white jeans which I’m really excited about. While I’m definitely more of a dress person, I think white jeans during the summer can be such a good look that is super versatile. You can easily dress them up or down depending on your top or shoes. And even more exciting is when they only cost you $5…right?!

Aziz Ansari’s ‘Modern Romance’

This book was loaned to me a while ago by a friend who suggested I might find it interesting (shout out to Mark if you’re reading this). He was right. Aziz poses a lot of good questions a lot of us have about dating today and his responses are definitely food for thought. While I don’t agree with some of his stances, I think he largely represents the average dating millennial today and it is always good to  know how people are thinking and feeling about a topic before confronting it.

What are you excited about this week?

xo

Miranda

 

 

 

 

 

Maxi-nista

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I mentioned this maxi in my Monday 5 and promised a pic…so here you go!

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I came across it at T.J. Maxx so of course it was a steal! I love how flowy the maxi style is…so fun and feminine!

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My favorite part of it is probably how soft it is…so comfy! When cute and comfy can describe one outfit I’m a happy girl.

What’s your favorite maxi dress?

xo

Miranda

The ‘safe space’ we actually need

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As I mentioned in this week’s Monday five, I went to the University of South Carolina on Saturday to attend a chamber music competition. Beforehand, we were exploring the music department and came across a room that was labeled as a ‘safe space.’

While I had read and heard of these before, it felt a somewhat surreal to come across one in real life; it took seeing one in person to realize that this is something that is really happening…not just a story the media is making up. At the risk of sounding insensitive, I think the concept of ‘safe spaces’ is a little silly. Not because anxiety or stress isn’t real or trivial, but because of the idea that somehow a room – like the one we found at USC – can somehow fix our emotional or psychological distress.

How is that room different from any other? Because no one can challenge you or tease you? Because it is a designated space where you can break down? How is that helpful?

If we think that four walls that protect us from the outside world will solve our problems, we are sadly mistaken.

We shouldn’t need an office at our school to hide from our problems…which are most likely not caused by our peers anyway.

The fact is though, we are distressed. More and more of us are starting to take medications for anxiety and depression. The fact that a ‘safe space’ is becoming commonplace on college campuses is indicative of how our generation is feeling.

The reality is, we do need a safe space. But it isn’t a room in the music department of a college campus with bad lighting and gray carpet…it’s our home; it’s our family.

Mothers and fathers (or other primary caretakers) play an irreplaceable role in not only teaching us good habits, but also our temperament, our ability to be in relationships with others, our proficiency at interacting with the outside world and our emotional and psychological health.

This has become more and more clear to me, especially taking a human growth and development class in which these formative relationships are especially emphasized. There is so much evidence which demonstrates that distant relationship between children and their parents is strongly associated with personality disorders (including anxiety), drug and alcohol abuse and delinquency.

The home is where we are formed…physically, emotionally, psychologically and intellectually. When we come from a strong, loving, supportive family, we are able to go out into the world confident in our ability to face the challenges that inevitably will come our way. When we don’t have that stability in our lives early on, our skill to interact with the outside world and develop close relationships with others is stunted…we are immature and therefore unable to deal…hence the need for a ‘safe space.’

When we look at the importance of the family and how many of ours are broken today, it really shouldn’t be surprising that levels of anxiety, depression, alcoholism and drug abuse are increasing more and more. That safe space that a close, loving family provides is essential. Of course even the healthiest of families has it’s problems, the difference is the family that remains close despite them, instead of allowing them to separate or distance them.

I think as Americans we pride ourselves in being independent. We started off as a nation of independent thinkers who strove for freedom. However, the idea of the self-made man just isn’t true…just ask their mother. We were made in, for and to love; and that is something we can’t teach ourselves. How can we possibly love if no one teaches us how or what that looks like? We don’t expect a five year-old to teach themselves how to read…the same logic applies to this. We are born dependent on others and that doesn’t really change as we get older. You may know how to feed yourself (thankyouverymuch) but there is probably nothing more detrimental to the human person than loneliness. We need others and that is not a weakness, it is the beauty of being relational creatures.

We all have dreams and goals that we want to achieve, and that is perfectly healthy. However we have to remember that close relationships with others – love, essentially – is really what gives our lives meaning. That starts at home. Family is where we learn to love and be loved…it is the sanctuary of life. What do you think of when you think of sanctuary? Maybe some place sacred…certainly some place safe, a refuge. Nothing can replace the safety that family provides and we are seeing the consequences of it’s loss with the increasing levels of distress, especially in our young adults (who should be the most lively!).

It isn’t silly that we need a safe space, we do. But a college campus can’t provide it, and the sooner we realize this the better off we’ll be.

 

 

Monday 5: Cleveland edition

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Happy Monday! Do people ever ask you what you did over the weekend and you completely blank? That happens to me all the time and even now I’m having trouble recalling all that happened…and it’s not even over!!

The highlight of the weekend was certainly a concerto competition we attended at University of South Carolina in Columbia. There were eight quartets composed of high school students from various states in the Southeast, they were all so talented! The music was lovely and watching teenagers master a skill that takes so much dedication was pretty inspiring.

Last week I promised to share a few things about my trip to Cleveland that I’m excited about…so here they are! It really was a fun couple of days and I was impressed with how picturesque some of the areas of Cleveland are…and how big Lake Eerie is!!!

Barrio Mexican restaurant

On Monday night we ate dinner at a local chain called Barrio which had really good (and inexpensive) tacos. What really stood out especially to me was their Tuscan guacamole which had a balsamic vinaigrette, pine nuts, goat cheese (my fave!) and sun-dried tomatoes..among other things. It was seriously so good. The environment is also cute and fun, a little different from your average Mexican restaurant. We went to the location downtown but they also have one in Tremont area, Lakewood and Cleveland heights. Highly recommend a meal there! Don’t. Forget. The Guac.

Rooftop bar at Hilton hotel 

This hotel is new to the downtown Cleveland area and I’m so glad we stopped by because they have a sweet rooftop bar. It’s called Bar 32 and is (conveniently) located on the thirty second floor. The view it pretty incredible; you can really see how massive Lake Eerie is and so much of the city! It’s the perfect spot for a delicious gin and tonic (and a cool pic for Insta).

Westside market

We ate lunch here and it was probably one of my favorite parts. Walking around to see all the different vendors and eating lunch on a bench on the second floor overlooking the whole place was awesome. You can come here to grab lunch or a snack or even buy some groceries. We saw several bakery stands, meat vendors and various types of international cuisine (we chose Judy’s oasis gourmet middle eastern food where we bought some yummy Baba Ganoush, tabouli and pita bread to share). The building itself is very picturesque with incredibly high arched ceilings and huge windows that let sunlight in. This is a fun place to walk around if you’re downtown, and the amount of sweets they had was incredible.

Buckeyes 

I had heard rumors about this Ohioan dessert and was eager to try one for myself while I was in Buckeye Nation. It turns out you can’t really go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter (who knew?!). We bought a few at Westside market and they were delicious. I tried both milk and dark chocolate and somewhat preferred the milk chocolate but both were good. I really want to learn how to make these now, they seem like a fun, simple dessert to bring to a party or have people come over!

Saint John the Evangelist 

We went to Mass Monday evening at the cathedral downtown called St. John the Evangelist. It was such a beautiful church, definitely worth stopping in for a few minutes to look around. The artwork and organ are so impressive! There’s something so romantic and therapeutic about admiring beautiful churches, you kind of feel in awe of the grandeur, a little smaller. I think it’s a healthy way to focus on something larger than life (or whatever we’re currently worried about at the moment) for a few minutes…to be reminded it’s not really all about us (which is actually kind of a relief).

I hope this comes in handy if there are any upcoming trips to the Cleveland area. I’ll admit I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and hope to go back soon 😉

Happy Monday!

xo

Miranda

 

Unoffendable: The importance of living in truth in a culture of offense

As a general rule, we’re not nice in our family. Snide remarks and brutal honesty prevail, and if you receive a compliment, it’s probably sarcastic (‘you’re a genius’ is one I get pretty frequently).

Being sensitive, this dynamic caused me a lot of angst growing up. Storming off to my room in tears was not uncommon and I still feel the need to warn people before they come over about any harsh words they may hear while visiting.

While I did get hurt often and felt envious of the families where “I love you” was not responded to with an “ew”, I am very appreciative of this idiosyncrasy now.

On a regular basis I hear people talking about being offended, or how they (accidentally) offended others, or are worried they might offend someone. We tread lightly and tiptoe around the feelings and beliefs of others, not wanting to offend someone, or come across as offensive. We live in a culture of offense, where we are fearful of being considered offensive and looking to be offended by someone else.

Having grown up in the family that I did, I am often perplexed at the comments/jokes/media that people find offensive…like you should spend thirty minutes at my house and see how you feel.

The reason I’m now grateful for the tough (and highly offensive) love I received growing up, is that it has made me a lot stronger than I would be otherwise. Being offended easily is a weakness, it makes us a victim.

You made me feel this way. Your comment had this effect on me. My feelings are hurt by what you said.

This mentality causes us to hand over our happiness (and long-term, our well-being) to someone else. We are no longer responsible for how we feel but rather reliant on the words of others.

There is a psychologist who lived in a concentration camp during WWII who talks about this phenomenon (can you think of anything more offensive that what happened to the concentration camp refugees?). What he assures us, is that between someone’s comment and our reaction is choice. We can choose to not allow someone’s comment/joke to offend us. Furthermore, we do so because we live in truth.

If someone says something about you that you don’t like, there are always two options: either it’s true or it’s not. If it is true then you’re upset because you don’t want them to bring it to light or comment on it; if it’s not true you’re upset that they’re saying a false statement about you.

Both of these rationalizations for our feeling offended are understandable. We don’t like it when someone points out a flaw or shortcoming and we also don’t like it when someone says something about us that is not true. However, if we live in truth, the appropriate response isn’t offense, it’s acceptance. Because if the comment is true, then it’s true! And we should be okay with that. When I make cookies and my sibling says ‘these aren’t very good,’ I don’t like it, but I also know that they aren’t that good (if that is the case…I have about a 70% success rate with baking), so them pointing that out isn’t offensive, it’s just a truth…that I don’t like.

But if the comment is untrue, (like when I make cookies that are really good and someone says they’re not) then the fact that they say it shouldn’t bother us. It’s not true, so who cares? What is the purpose of getting upset over something other than reality?

This acceptance of what is true and what is not brings so much freedom. We don’t have to be upset because someone said something that we don’t like or agree with, our emotions aren’t determined by a passing comment or joke.

I used to spend way too much time upset over careless words or jokes I did not find amusing. Even though I am often affected by the words of others or the media I take in, I know better now than to waste time and energy wallowing or allowing anger and resentment to build up inside of me. I can move on knowing and accepting what is true (and what isn’t).

After all, the truth will set you free (from living offended and second guessing everything you say)!

xo

Miranda

Monday 5: Trustful surrender & other things to be excited about this week

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Happy Monday! Today came a little too soon this week but I know writing about the things I’m excited about or looking forward to helps me muster up a little more enthusiasm about the new week.

This weekend I was able to get in my share of social time. I caught up with friends over dinner, at birthday celebrations and during bonfires! Probably my favorite part of the weekend, though, was going out to walk on the beach with my mom. We got some #carelessfreetime in and it was lovely (and a little rebellious).

I hope your weekend was enjoyable and that your Monday isn’t too painful. Here is this week’s five, in case you need a little bit of inspiration today (or just something to distract you from work for five minutes).

All This Time by One Republic

I love this song and have recently been listening to it more frequently. I’ve really enjoyed music from One Republic for several years now and this song by them is probably one of my favorites. The lyrics and tune are so sweet and the message offers a nice alternative to the more cynical songs we hear a lot of today.

 

March!!!

I am so excited that March is starting this week. I absolutely love Spring and it is one of the best times of year to be here in Charleston. Typically the tourists don’t come until early summer but the weather is just beautiful…so we really get the best of both worlds for a little bit. I’m also excited that the time change is this month and the days will really start to get longer! There are so many opportunities to spend time outdoors around here, I’m excited that the weather will be even more conducive to that in the upcoming weeks, #yayspring.

 

Lent

Lent is a period of forty days before Easter when many Christians make a sacrifice as a way of preparing for the upcoming celebration. The idea is that giving something up that may not help you spiritually/emotionally/physically is a good chance for personal growth. I actually really love Lent because it gives me the opportunity to really focus in on something that I may need to work on but haven’t had the time/motivation to before. I’ve always found this time to be a great practice of discipline that continues to be fruitful way after Lent is over.

 

Tennis shoes

So I realize tennis shoes have been back in for a while. But as someone who tends to be a little stuck in my ways, it’s only been more recently that I’ve started wearing them. I now love my white Keds and think it is so fun to pair them with a sundress or skirt! I love that they add a fun, childlike aspect to an outfit without being tacky or inappropriate. So cute!

 

Trustful surrender

Anxiety is a word we hear thrown around a lot and I certainly understand the battle. What I’m slowly (think glacier pace) starting to understand is that anxiety is a result of a lack of trust…a need to control. The  fact is that while we have the gift of free will, there is little else we can control outside the realm of our own actions. At some point we have to come to terms with this and realize we have two options: stress or submit. Certainly there are a million ways things can go wrong and a million more we can get hurt, but anticipating them doesn’t do much other than cause distress prematurely. I have found that a lot of the things I worried would happen…didn’t. And often acting from fear that something will happen, actually causes it to take place, #selffulfillingprophecy. The antidote to this is a letting go, what is called a ‘trustful surrender’ to whatever outcome occurs, hoping for the best and doing what we can to make it happen. I think a lot more good comes from acting from place of trust than doubt. This has been a hard-earned lesson for me and one I continue to struggle with, but I’m excited for the opportunity to grow in trust.

Here’s to another exciting week!

xo

Miranda

Monday 5: Commitment & other things to be excited about this week

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This weekend we had the best weather in Charleston. While Saturday was a little cloudy, the seventy degree temperature definitely made up for it, and Sunday was just perfect! I even found the motivation to go clean my car… something that has been on my to-do list for an embarrassingly long time. Better late than never!

I hope your weekend was lovely (good weather or not) and that your week is off to a great start! Here are five things I’m excited about this week (and that might get you a little excited too):

White blouse:

A while ago my mom gave me a simple white button-down blouse, which I promptly stuck in the back of my closet and left there without too much thought (sorry mom). A few weeks ago I purchased a pair of Lily Pulitzer pants which I realized would go perfectly with that top. And then I realized how well a simple white button-down goes with everything! Duh, Miranda. Jeans, a skirt, trousers… you name it. I love too that it doesn’t just go with about anything, it kind of makes any outfit a little classier… without going over the top. I’m very excited about this discovery and owe my mom a sincere apology.

Stationary

Recently stationary has been making a comeback and I’m so excited. In a world of one-word texts and emojis a handwritten letter has become kind of sacred. There is something so much more intimate about writing down your thoughts (whether a simple ‘thank you’ note or a love letter) than typing them out. Probably because it takes more time and effort, writing seems much more meaningful. I love brands that are coming out with not just cute stationary, but also clever and funny cards. One of my favorite brands is Slideshow Press. We have about a million of their greeting cards so when a thank you note or ‘you are awesome’ card needs to go out we can send one. Of course I love to write, and letters are one of my favorite medium for connecting with others.

Lemon crab cakes

This recipe from the magazine ‘Louisiana Cookin’ is one of my new favorites. So yummy! It doesn’t take too long and isn’t too difficult. The hardest part was probably forming the patties… turns out crab meat doesn’t like to stick together too much. Other than that it was simple and so tasty! It’s a great option for a dinner party or family meal or date night in! Highly recommend it. The downside of using recipes from magazines is that they are harder to come across online. So, I’ll be posting the recipe later this week in case anyone wants to try it!

Gratitude + humility

There are always so many things in life to be grateful for. Sometimes we see it and sometimes we have a harder time with that… recently I’ve been more aware of blessings in my life and how often I take them for granted. I realized that part of this was due to a lack of humility on my part. This may sound strange, after all what does humility have to do with gratitude? I think the good things in life (family, friends, good work, health) are often things that are granted to us. Meaning, you may eat healthy and exercise regularly and sleep well, but that doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get sick. Similarly, even if we are really good at what we do, that doesn’t mean we will keep the job or move up the career ladder. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we’re not the ones solely responsible for the good things in our lives. We don’t make other love us, they choose to. We don’t get jobs, we are hired. When we have something really good (like health or a loving marriage), to be grateful requires some humility. We didn’t make that thing happen on our own. Gratitude implies gift… this life is a gift and really the only appropriate response is a humble and sincere thank you.

Commitment

As millennials, we are notorious for our dislike of commitment. Getting married, sticking to a job, even accepting an invitation in advance often seems too much of a challenge for us. The reasons behind this are interesting to explore… is it the infamous FOMO that holds us back? I think fear of missing out certainly plays a role; but I think even that is a symptom of a deeper fear… fear of choosing wrongly. We don’t want to make a mistake… we don’t want to fail. Instead of giving our all to a few things, we spread ourselves out to avoid becoming too invested in one thing. This effectively protects us from losing something we might really care about. While this approach has it’s merit, I think in reality we’re losing more than we realize. Recently I’ve had to made decisions that require sacrifice. I realized doing it all wasn’t an option…I also realized part of the reason behind my hesitation to give anything up was because I was scared what I did stick to would backfire horribly. It’s true that committing to one thing/person is risky, but I think there’s something really beautiful about a worthwhile risk. There isn’t much certainty in life and if we wait around for it, we’ll be on hold for a while (forever, to be exact). Committing is an act of faith and hope… two virtues we have quite a lot to gain from practicing.

What are you committing to this week?

Happy Monday!

xo

Miranda

 

 

Monday 5: Careless free time & other things I’m excited about

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Happy Monday!! I hope everyone had a relaxing couple of days. On Friday, my dad, who lives in NC, and my sister, who studies at USC, came to visit my brother and me. We had the best time, enjoying the excellent cuisine Charleston has to offer, the beautiful weather and just spending time together. My steadily improving health was also a plus.

I finally got a chance to visit the Angel Oak tree on John’s Island, so cool!

Of course all the excitement left me pretty worn out. Even coming up with this week’s five wasn’t easy! But I definitely felt more energized after than before, so I hope the list helps you with any lethargy you may be experiencing this morning too.

Otherwise coffee is also an option.

Recipe folder

This weekend my mom came back from a conference with a handful of magazines which I quickly went through looking for any recipes I might want to try. As much as I love Pinterest, I’m hoping to step up my cooking game a little and often Pinterest seems to focus on convenience as opposed to high-quality cuisine. While I love quick and easy recipes, I also would like to try something a little more challenging, even if it does take more time (and is more risky). Magazines such as Martha Stewart, Southern Living or Real Simple tend to have great recipes with various levels of difficulty. I’m starting to pull a few when I see one I want to try and am keeping them in my recipe folder to keep track of. It’s just a regular folder (I mean a pretty one, obvi)… labeled ‘MK’s Recipes’ but I’m really excited about it! As I attempt the various dishes I’ll post the good ones (that I don’t mess up).

Health initiative: baby steps

Being sick for so long really took a toll on my exercise and eating habits. Irregular appetite and low energy levels tend to do that. I realized as I started to feel better that getting back into my routine was going to be more challenging than I thought… turns out going to the gym isn’t as fun as I remembered. I therefore have been setting myself tiny goals to slowly improve and get back to where I was. Two weeks ago my goal was to go to the gym twice… which I did not accomplish (*embarrassed emoji*). But this past week I aimed for three workouts and made it! It’s not much, I know, but I’ve found slow, gradual improvements to be more effective and lasting than dramatic changes. There’s nothing like being sick to make you realize how incredibly valuable our health is; learning to nurture it is more of a lifelong journey than a New Year’s resolution, in my opinion. In any case, yay for baby steps!

Careless free time

I came across this term years ago. I remember picking up a book at Barnes & Noble about relationships when I was fifteen or so (I have always been a little too serious for my age) and read about careless free time and the important role it plays in healthy relationships. I have no idea what the title of the book was or who it was by (some psychologist I think) but I do remember vividly the term and it’s meaning… for some reason it came to mind this past week and I’m glad it did! The idea was that for relationships (of any kind) to flourish, careless free time is essential. This means time that isn’t spent watching a screen, a sporting event, or at a dinner party. It’s just time together unencumbered by a time limit or to-do list. For example, this weekend during the time I spent with my family perusing downtown, visiting the Angel Oak tree and walking by the waterfront, we weren’t checking the time, rushing, or watching TV…we were just together. And it was awesome! I think today we have a hard time with this concept as we feel pressured to be productive and to be available via phones 24/7, but the truth is without intentional time together focused on each other, it’s hard for any relationship to flourish.

Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant ‘Forever Festive’

On the more material side of things…I came across this nail polish just in time for Valentine’s day! It is a beautiful, deep red and has a thinner brush that is easier to maneuver. I typically don’t like to go with colors that aren’t neutral on my nails, but a good red is definitely the exception- so pretty! And perfect for date night.

Romance

Okay before you get all judgmental on me and say how incredibly cheesy that is, hear me out. Valentine’s day can be seen as a commercial gimmick invented to sell chocolate hearts and expensive flowers. But, Saint Valentine lived around 200 AD and is commemorated for marrying Christian couples (which was a no-no under Claudius in Rome) and converting individuals under persecution. Because it was so long ago, there isn’t too much known about him but I think in any case real romance is something to be celebrated. In today’s cynical ‘no strings attached’ culture, we sometimes forget that good and wholesome relationships are a thing; not using someone to feel better about yourself or avoid loneliness, but authentically encountering another person by developing a friendship that turns into a romantic relationship. Romance can partially be gifts and sweet words, but to me it’s even more so just getting to know the person, spending time with them and making each other a priority. Doing those things is risky (at least more so than hooking up or buying someone flowers) but then so was marrying Christians in 200 AD.