February brings us all the beautiful first hints of springtime. We start to feel the sun on our faces a little longer, the melting snow reveals budding new life, and inspiration for new beginnings touches many of us. Many of my inspirations are driven by looking for new and interesting recipes, especially those that feel like the current season. Inspired by the legend of Saint Valentine, I was searching for recipes using violets. Serendipitously, a dear friend sent me a link to Gather Victoria’s Wild Violet Sweethearts and I immediately fell in love with the idea. Delicious, light, and simple. Continue reading →
When you’ve done conventions for as long as I have, they become a part of your identity. The excitement and inspiration for new costumes, the meet-ups with friends we haven’t seen in months or years, Artist Alley filled with incredibly brilliant pieces, the occasion of bumping into a celebrity, and the bustle of the convention floor become engrained into your very soul. Sure, I complain about how crowded certain conventions have become *coughSDCCcough*, but despite my annoyances, I inevitably end up joyously anticipating the next one I can attend. When I became a military spouse and then a mom, I began to fear that cherished piece of my identity would certainly become a distant memory. With the constant moving to new locations every few years, how could I develop a community similar to what I was already familiar with in California? When a friend came to visit me in Texas during PAX South, I decided to do that craziest thing I imagined: attend a convention I’ve never been to before with a toddler all on my own.
Autumn has finally arrived! It may still be 90° here in central Texas, but that isn’t going to stop me from enjoying my favorite fall treats and staring longingly at my beloved flannel shirts, dreaming of crisp breezes and turning leaves. Yes, it is in fact so hot here that carving actual jack-o’-lanterns would render them sad, moldy mounds of orange sadness within a day, and makes for pumpkin patch trips or hayrides only enjoyable with several layers of sunblock and summer clothing. To lift my spirits, I started decorating the house for Halloween, planning our costumes, and researching recipes that fit the season. What better way to get into the fall mood than baking a delicious spiced apple cake with some homemade caramel buttercream? Continue reading →
About two months before Hazel was born, I went ham on video games because I knew after she was born, there would be precious little time for anything that didn’t involve taking care of her. Don’t get me wrong, I normally log away arguably too many hours immersed in whatever my favorite game happens to be at the time, but this gave me an excuse to really overdo it. Picture this: a 185 pound, 9 months pregnant woman bouncing around on a fitness ball screaming obscenities that would make George Carlin blush. My husband was seriously concerned that Hazel’s first word might be less than socially acceptable. Then she was born and nothing else mattered in the world except keeping her alive and healing my body and mind. Slowly but surely the days started to get easier as naps started regulating, breastfeeding became second nature, and multitasking was starting to make a comeback. The natural progression for me was to attempt an online match or two with friends while the baby was preoccupied with a boob sandwich. It was an absolute success which not only made me feel normal again, but also made me realize it was possible to still fulfill “me time” as a new mom. Continue reading →
I used to roll my eyes and guffaw at the very idea of making my own baby food. I knew friends who did it for their little ones, saw books and gadgets for the homemade stuff in their baby registries, and plenty of mom blogs proclaiming the benefits of doing it yourself. It always seemed like a Martha Stewartesque waste of precious energy and time when the jarred stuff existed and was readily available on supermarket shelves. When Hazel started longingly gazing at food and smacking her lips hungrily, my perspective shifted a bit. So did the overwhelming sense of, “I can’t bullocks this up; if I do, she’ll forever be screwed up.”
Spoilers: she won’t be, and it’s okay to mess up a bit – pretty much the definition of parenting, in a nutshell. Continue reading →
In my previous fitness post over a year ago, Adventures in Fitness While Breastfeeding, I explained how challenging it can be in our society to be kind to ourselves after having a baby. Instagram is full of celebrity moms snapping glamorously posed shots of breastfeeding and holding their babies oh-so lovingly, making motherhood and the fabled “bouncing back” seems like a breeze to achieve. For some extraordinarily fortunate souls, this may be the case, but for the rest of us normies, it is beyond challenging and sometimes absolutely soul-crushing. We can feel judged and like we are an embarrassment to our friends and family when we gain weight and aren’t as good shape as we once were. We can view ourselves in a warped, distorted manner as if we are standing in front of a fun-house mirror. It won’t matter how many compliments and praises we may get, how we feel about our own bodies is ultimately what matters. Everything else will feel like a lie. What does matter is how we feel inside our own minds and bodies. Continue reading →
My birthday was this past week and my aunt dropped in for a visit, so I decided I wanted to bake myself something delicious and summery to celebrate. I happened upon a mouthwatering recipe for lemon cupcakes with cherry buttercream and decided I would attempt to convert the recipe to a cake. The results were not only irresistible but also quite pretty. This is definitely a recipe to keep in the books for special occasions. Scrumptious! Continue reading →
Before getting pregnant, I was in the best shape of my life. I had worked with a phenomenal personal trainer combining weight training, circuit workouts, and basic stunt choreography (ah, LA life, how I miss thee). I felt strong, confident, and actually liked looking at myself in the mirror and photographs. I had even worn a two-piece bathing suit for the first time in my adult life in public and went to a convention baring my midriff as a gender-bent Star-Lord. I never had the courage or self-confidence to ever do that previously. Body dysmorphia is a real C-word, but I had managed to muffle her out enough to enjoy and embrace the body I had worked so hard for. Then I got knocked up. Continue reading →
Summertime is here and with that comes sipping on sweet tea, dangling feet into the cool water, and munching on watermelon. And nothing, I mean nothing compares to eating a warm bowl of delicious homemade peach cobbler with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Continue reading →
Over my many years of attempting pie crusts and getting impatient, I finally perfected an old recipe of my mom’s combined with multiple different recipes I’ve toyed with online and from cookbooks. It’s super flaky, delicious, is fantastic for both sweet and savory pies, and is easy to prepare. I even like to make mine the night before and sometimes even freeze pre-rolled out bits for pie art.
Trust me, the extra effort of making your own pie crust is not only worth it for the taste, but also the self-satisfaction of knowing you can make a better-than-store-bought pastry. Continue reading →