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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Frustration. Discouragement. Caffeine. Bailey’s.

At 2:00am, I’m writing this because to my dismay, the Bailey’s did not counteract the coffee like I hoped it would. Duly noted, caffeine, duty noted. You have and always will win against sleep.

But, I’m not writing about sleep, I’m writing about a myriad of things that have congealed to form the collective passion-block I’ve been experiencing lately. I say passion-block because it exceeds the depth of a typical creative block. I’ve reached a wall, and I know exactly what caused it.

I started this blog as an outgrowth of my desire to live successfully in this unique stage of life. A time when young adults grow more fully into themselves and shed the old identity of being their parents’ dependent. We act like it happens overnight, but there’s nothing magical about turning twenty, graduating from college, or even getting married that prepares us for the confusing road ahead.

While we rejoice at the chance to discover our own tastes, put down our own roots, and discover more truly who we are, we’re met with the daunting reality that the world is a whole lot bigger than we thought, and the decisions that impact us for the rest of our lives now rest on our shoulders, whether we know what the heck we’re doing or not. By the way, we don’t know what the heck we’re doing.

In a simple world, there would be answers for those who seek them–I myself am a nearly obsessive answer-seeker, spending great amounts of time just researching things that interest me. The problem isn’t that there’s no answers. It’s that there are too many answers.

One thirst I cannot quench is the desire to learn how to live healthy. From choosing the right foods to finding a realistic fitness schedule and even natural remedies to health problems, I’ve got a whole lot of questions and I know everyone else does too. The problem is, the second I think I’ve got it figured out, I find conflicting advice.

For example, it seems organic milk would be better for you. But then again, many of the concerns about nonorganic milk, like antibiotics, are tested before the milk gets released and milk containing antibiotics isn’t sold. But organic milk contains more vitamins. But it’s ultra-pasteurized at a much higher temp than normal milk so much of the nutritional value is lost. But, but, but…

The evidence is all so contradictory it makes my head spin…how can an already indecisive woman make a simple choice like buying milk when everybody seems to disagree? On the recommendation of a friend who happens to be a dietician student, I’m going to pay closer attention to my sources to clear out some of the static. She recommended a few sources I’m going to check out.

I’m really trying to figure out and make positive changes in my lifestyle before children enter the picture. I’ve wanted to blog about running, but a shinjury (yes I made that up) early on has kept me from running regularly the past few weeks and its not getting better. Then, this week I learned that the very product I blogged about earlier, natural peanut butter from Smuckers, was recalled for possible bacteria contamination. Mind you it was the crunchy variation that was recalled and not the smooth that I bought, but it was enough to make that jar look so unappetizing that I bought a jar of regular old JIF today.

I’m upset that my attempts to get healthy are being foiled, and my discouragement is leaching into my blog.

If you’re still reading this, I congratulate you. I hope you stick around to see me through this season of frustration, because I’m sure I’ll emerge from it a little bit wiser and more convicted.

Love, a really exhausted twentysomething


The Stick, Revisited

I know I left all of you hanging with the Pee on a Stick post last week, so here’s the update:

I was right. Did I not tell you his claims were unfounded??

In other news, my sister in law announced she is preggers, so husband now assumes that the pregnancy vibes he was getting came from her, 100 miles away. As long as the vibes stay there (for now), that’s cool with me. Anyway, I’m most certainly not planning anything, but I’m a twenty-something who is approaching her fifth year of marriage, (I married as a teenager — it’s okay, you can judge me) it’s only natural to take this indefinite pre-baby time to plan everything.

Because that’s what I do. I plan.

So, even though I have no business doing so, here is a picture of my future nursery theme:

I'm obsessed with bird nurseries. If the baby comes out a different gender than expected (as I did), there's no need to restyle.

And another…


This one, not so gender-neutral—but I do love the name Liam, and the tree decal is spectacular.

Thanks to Pinterest for ruining me for the next few years while I plan every detail of my future baby’s life. Or at least its nursery.

Natural Peanut Butter….Be Brave…

Natural Peanut Butter….Be Brave…

According to every health food article published in the last 2 years, everything you can’t pronounce in processed food labels either makes you fat or gives you cancer. Or both.

It’s no wonder why so many people, including myself, are so skeptical of every food they purchase. It’s hard to keep straight what kinds of fat are good today, or whether chocolate is a miracle drug or death sentence. In light of all of this doubt, my food philosophy has gradually been shifting to “back to the basics.”

My friend Allison, who was in culinary school at the time, told me several years ago that I don’t want to know what’s really in peanut butter. The additives that relieved us of menial tasks like *gasp* stirring actually take a relatively healthy protein source and put it in the fatty-fat-fatty club. I looked at the label and said “hydrogenated what?” and then put it back and tried not to think about it.

Years later, the “natural” movement has led to an emergence of natural peanut butter in mainstream brands like JIF and Smuckers. I love peanut butter, and haven’t been able to really enjoy it for years now (thanks, Allision), so I decided it was time to try the natural stuff.

Here’s the lowdown on natural peanut butter:

  1. It contains two things: peanuts and salt. That’s it.
  2. The oil separates and forms a welcoming party at the top each time you screw off the lid. You need to stir it.
  3. Because it’s a little runnier than regular PB, it needs to be refrigerated for that thick consistency we all love

My Natural PB Experience

(Sounds dramatic, right?)

While at Target (they’ve recently embraced the natural/organic crowd), I found a selection of natural PB’s. A quick search on my iPhone showed that the Smucker’s variety tested well for the folks at Real Simple. So, I grabbed that one. Here’s the product:

Remember when I said it’s supposed to be refrigerated? Well, I tried it right off the bat, and the texture definitely threw me off a bit. It was pretty runny and a tad oily-tasting, perhaps because I didn’t stir it enough. Even though it was the smooth kind, there were still tiny chunks. I knew there were no sweeteners, but the reduced sweetness took me by surprise—I’m thinking the corn syrup in normal peanut butter has me fooled into expecting unnatural amounts of sweetness.

Anyway, I let it sit in the fridge overnight and tried it again. MUCH better this time, I think the fridge was needed to get that consistency right and it didn’t taste oily this time. It was more like normal peanut butter, just with little chunks and not as sweet. Here’s what it looked like (notice you can see the knife grooves from a sandwich I made, so it clearly holds its shape):

Anyway, overall I was pleased with it and I think after I get used to it, there will be no going back. It’s worth being able to enjoy my peanut butter without hearing the haunting echo of Allison’s voice.

I think my next jar will be the variety of Smucker’s with honey in it, just because I still like my PB a little on the sweet side. So there you have it—the green light to go try peanut butter, knowing the rules (refrigerate, stir, enjoy) to making it a tasty, healthy snack. Or meal, if that’s how you roll.

“So…When Are You Going to Pee on a Stick?”

“So…When Are You Going to Pee on a Stick?”

My husband made a prediction over two weeks ago that I was pregnant. Let me just say, we’re not trying to get pregnant (in fact, we’re taking precautionary measures to avoid parenthood for the time being), and I think his prediction is completely unfounded. He just “has a feeling.”

While I think he’ll most certainly be wrong, after weeks of getting questions from him (and now the friends I have told) about how the “little guy” is doing, I decided I had to prove him wrong as soon as possible.

So, I came home with an early pregnancy test. Out comes the husband’s nervous laughter—I suppose this makes his goofy prediction a little more “real.” As much as I don’t believe it’s true, (after all, he said this over two weeks ago and I’m just now approaching the time that I could even take the early pregnancy test—see, I told you…unfounded) I still have heard enough eerie stories about women whose husbands predicted pregnancies way before a test or any symptoms could show up. I also found out that while pregnancy at the beginning of a cycle is not the “norm,” it’s happened to quite a few women.

So it’s not impossible, per se, it’s just….it’s just unfounded! (What else can I say?)

I’ll probably take it the morning after next, since that’s well within the window the test claims to be accurate in. Then I can tell my husband to keep his mouth shut until I’m a little closer to test-taking time, because two weeks is too long to endure false statements about my child-bearing-ed-ness.

So, stay tuned, I guess…for the answer you know is coming (negative!).

Love, a comfortably non-pregnant twentysomething