We have the opportunity on the daily to make a positive impact on the world around us.
Whether one goes through their day searching for good deeds to be done,
or simply takes advantage of random opportunities to spread love,
every action (or inaction) has a resounding impact.
The question is: Is your impact today going to be positive, negative, or indifferent?
I have been told that one person can't make a difference.
I affectionately call these people "dummies"...
Those who actively try to hold the rest of us down,
those who would rather watch you drown than help you soar, those who can't grasp the power of positivity to create change.
Whether it's a great recipe found, or an uplifting story to share, you can be sure to find it here.
Let's start a Positivity Revolution, and drown out the dumb!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Healthy Movie Snacks

Last time we went to the movie theatre, I was crazy excited to see Apple Chips for sale at Concessions. Granted, they were $5 for a tiny bag, and they touted being a healthy alternative to potato chips, but they also contained 3 servings in one bag, and as many calories as a typical bag of potato chips. So, I refrained from buying them, instead making a silent promise that I could do better at home.

Enter two weeks later, when I realized I had 3 old-ish apples and a boyfriend who was on a business trip. I Googled this recipe from Alex Guarnaschelli, who I adore, and let my apples soak in the simple syrup mixture overnight. In the morning, I followed the reviewer's suggestions, and made sure to lay my apple slices in a single layer on a grill pan so they wouldn't stick too bad. The recipe said it would only take an hour to cook these to a delicious chip-y crisp, so I popped these babies in the oven at about 225 degrees.

Alas, after an hour and a half, they were still rather soft. I'm not going to lie and tell you that these turned out amazing, because I got impatient, cranked the heat up, and burned them to a dark brown crisp. However, I believe in this recipe! I think these apple chips in a patient person's kitchen would be utterly amazing.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cover Yourself!

Making a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+ cover is a simple way to use aesthetics to help boost your online presence, whether you're looking to connect to more people for business or pleasure. Pictures draw folks in, convey a message, and can help create your "brand". Thankfully, you don't have to be a computer wiz-kid to make something beautiful, and this post will show you how.

When I first started this blog, I used Pixlr's free tool and this article from WonderForest to muddle through creating a blog header from scratch. It was a great learning experience, and I'm happy I know how to do this on my own now, instead of trying to spend money outsourcing. I used PicMonkey, another free online tool, to create a similar-feel Facebook cover. But what about all the other covers in my online life? I don't want to have to start from scratch each time, and I need the same feel for all of my online platforms. Enter fotor.com, where I can make a cover page for nearly every online platform, all on one site! I'm eager to give this a try!

I'm going to start with Facebook, making a cover for my amazingly talented sister, who owns Emenaye Catering. I upload a picture that is prominent on her website, with some beautiful purple flowers...

1) Click on the Camera icon under Background, and upload your photo.
2) Alternatively, you could click on the Patterns icon under Background, choose 'None', and upload your photo using the 'Open' button on top. Then, drag and adjust your picture to the given area. This gives you more flexibility with the size and position of the photo.
3) Play around with the options with stickers, colors, and text. I'm keeping this simple and clean, so after adjusting my picture to the right, I'm going to add black text with her company name.
4) The tiny pen icon at the bottom of the text box allows you to change size, color, and font.
5) Click on the tiny eye icon to see a preview as you're creating, and when satisfied, click the disc icon to save.
6) Then, click on 'Choose Another Cover', and keep going to create a cohesive brand!

Here's my Facebook cover draft (we'll see if she decides to use it):

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fancy Flank Steak

Giant Eagle has stellar sales on meat, and it's almost like Christmas when I find things like flank steak, which is typically pretty expensive, for something like $8. Yep! I'll cook the crap out of an $8 dinner! I found this recipe on Epicurious.com, and it's definitely a keeper.

I actually sliced my single flank steak width-wise to make two very thin steaks, and I pounded these with a meat mallet. I marinated for about 30 minutes, while my very-slow oven preheated to "Hi Broil" (honestly, I couldn't tell you exactly what that means, but it makes the top coils very hot, lol). I arranged a small rack atop a shallow pan, and cooked for about 5 minutes on each side. These turned out a perfect medium-rare, but I think this would be made even more delicious by charring on the grill before serving, just to get some extra texture.

This was a perfect weeknight dinner, taking only an hour to prep and cook, along with homemade mashers and a big huge dinner roll. Matt got me totally addicted to these rolls, and now I carb-load at every dinner!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I have recently fallen madly in love with online shopping. That shopping thrill can be achieved anywhere, anytime, quickly and without having to speak to real people...AAAHHHHH. I did most of my Christmas shopping online this year (and with the use of eBates, even made a whopping $8 back!), and I am officially hooked.

Speaking of "hooked", a couple years ago I had a customer who had an affinity for purses. She always had a different bag in hand when I saw her, and they were all equally stylish and ladylike. One day, she whips out of her purse a tiny silver hook, attaches it to the bartop, and dangles her bag from it. I thought it was a little odd, not yet being purse-obsessed myself, why not just sling it on the back of your chair or set it at your feet? I forgot about this little purse hook and the lady with the beautiful bags.


I realized that I had been setting my gorgeous new purse on the back of my chair at bars and restaurants, only to have my wallet exposed and my bag banged around by every person who walked by. On New Year's Eve, when there was standing room only, I had to hold my purse the entire night, or it would have been subject to sitting on a filthy bar floor... Yuck for my beautiful bag!

I remembered my client with the purse hook that night, and found a great bargain on Amazon.com for a purse hook--under $10! I figured, if it was really ugly or didn't work well, it's not a fortune to spend, so I was willing to gamble. The best thing about this was that I completely forgot that I had ordered it until I got the package in the mail. Unexpected packages are just like Christmas! The piece is adorable, with a teal flower on the top and a simple silver hook. It's sturdy but not clunky, and even comes with a little bag to protect it. I cannot WAIT to go out again, just so I can try this snazzy little thing out. No more floors for my purses! No more wondering if the person that is standing too close to my chair is trying to steal my wallet! (Yes, I'm a little paranoid.)

Interested in snagging one of your own? Check out Silverhooks.com.
(PS-I'm not endorsed by this company, I am simply in love with this product!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sisterhood is a nice story...

The ladies that I work with can be pretty darn amazing, and the email sent to all of us from one of them made me take a step back and think about how I interact with other women. I've always thought of myself as easy to get along with, willing to take on extra responsibility for the good of the team, social but not involved in silly office politics...When I read this article talking about the importance of"Sisterhood", I took a step back. Is how I view my actions the way they are actually perceived?

Take a peek at this article about Sisterhood, and share your thoughts about how you can embrace this for 2015, or if it's unattainable...

In the spirit of being vulnerable, I have to admit the sisterhood thing is easier said than done after a lifetime of shutting women out. I’ve always tried to surround myself with people who push me to be my best, and who truly want to see me succeed. Women have never been that way to me. We should be constantly lifting each other up, not to “attack the enemy”, but to create trust and a healthy work and home environment for us all to succeed and thrive. We should be willing to assist each other every day because we actually care about our fellow woman's success, not because we are trying to cover our own assess or prove that we are better.

That being said, what do you do when the kindness is not reciprocated? What happens when you have nothing but good intent, you give over and over, and are met with animosity or suspicion by other women? I've known this to be true with both peers and management my entire life, and it's what has held women back as a whole. Until we celebrate each other's beauty, success, ideas, and talents without anger and jealousy, we will never rise above. It's one thing (a healthy thing, I might add) to be competitive. But not at another's expense.

How the heck are we supposed to run the world when we waste time pulling women down all around us? It's my strong suspicion that men have mastered this dance between healthy competition and supporting each other, and that's why they are the controlling majority. I think it's time for a switch-a-roo, don't you?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Thin is Dumb

I am a lazy lady.

Not when it comes to my job or anything very serious, but when it comes to treating my body the way I should...I don't do the best job. It's hard to love food as much as I do and not eat just constantly. Damn you, Bacon and Pizza! I love carbs and salt SO MUCH!

While discussing the ever-popular topic of New Year's resolutions for 2015 with my good friend Dawn, I decided that I am not dieting anymore. Obviously I wasn't doing a great job at this on 2014 (it seems that I have to eat pizza at least twice a week or I may shrivel up and die), but I continue to silently obsess over my bad food habits. This is exhausting, and I'm done.

I want to spend this year enjoying every minute, even when I'm eating carb-a-licious Jimmy John's or a giant serving of mashed potatoes. I also want to learn to love my body every day, to let go of the notion that fat is all bad (after all, this is where the lovely smooshiest parts of me are!), and just RELAX. Life is too short. And there's too much food to enjoy to live it with restrictions in order to be just skinny . How boring.

This rather long introspection brings me to my point...I love Kate Upton. Did that come out of left field? Let me explain. I think she is adorable. I think she is an inspiration to women who think you have to be a size zero to be beautiful in this twisted world of ours. (It's ridiculous that she's considered plus-size, but that's another point altogether.) I feel like I read an article about her start in modeling that started my mild obsession, where Miss Upton was given the option to lose a substantial amount of weight to be a "regular-sized" model, or gain a few pounds to become "plus-sized". Recalling from my memory, which I admit may be incorrect, she chose the latter, and began to shatter stereotypes on what size means in relation to beauty. Her decision to pursue modeling against traditional odds has made waves, and no doubt inspired more women than just me.

In researching a bit more about her, I found that she works her butt off in the gym, and eats freely. I also found too many articles to count calling her fat, when she's anything but. It's sad that the majority still cling to the theory that super-thin is the be-all, but I also feel it shows some growth as a very judgmental society that she has made it so far. Modeling may not be the end-all of our views changing on healthy versus skinny versus beauty, but it's a start, especially because so much of what we view as acceptable comes directly from the media. As a woman who spends a good deal of time thinking about her looks, it's nice to know there's some wiggle room, even when you jiggle.

I'm starting an experiment, details coming soon...Here's to drowning out the dumb on thin!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Homemade Hot Chocolate

I love the holidays, because it gives me the excuse to get crafty and give gifts of the homemade nature without looking like a weirdo. This year, I opted to give a few of my clients homemade gift baskets instead of the generic fancy baskets, and they were a big hit! Taking the time to make these hot chocolate sets was worth all the stress and prep work, and I feel like the personal touch was priceless.

I visited the one store that truly has everything: Wal Mart, to pick up ingredients for my hot chocolate mix, including glass jars, candy canes, tissue paper, baskets, and some colorful oversized mugs. I loosely followed this recipe for dry hot chocolate mix, and filled a glass jar with the mix. I filled a second glass jar with mini marshmallows (who knew they have a thousand flavors nowadays?), and tied red ribbon around each. I attached a note card to the cocoa mix that included the ingredients, and advised a one-to-one ratio of mix to water or milk. Mini candy canes were sprinkled into the cups and throughout the basket, and viola!

Do you have any homemade gifts that have been home runs? I'd love to give them a try if you'll share!