Microblog Mondays-Getting over the hump

I used to write all the time. I kept a journal from fourth grade through high school, going through at least one marbled composition notebook a year (and as a kid, I was ADAMANT that it was not a diary). In college I still found time to write about once a week. I journaled sporadically through law school and probably once or twice a year since then, but I managed to blog semi-regularly instead. Then life happened–law school, marriage, a cross country move, bar study, job hunting, a crazy stressful job. It’s ironic that the things that most improve our mental health (sleep, eating well, exercise, emotional/creative outlets) are the first things we drop in times of trouble. Last year I concentrated on my physical health but this year I want to feed my spirit. It starts here.

Click this link for more info about Microblog Mondays, which supports people who want to reclaim their personal blogs.

Bits and bobs

  1. No more stretchy pants!: I have mentioned before that I’ve been working on my fitness and some of my pants that had gotten tight around the middle are fitting better. I’m going to keep the winter weight at bay by pledging to wear fitted pants in the colder months. I love me some leggings (and passed up on buying a super cute plaid pair) because they stretch with you through all the beef stew, grilled cheese sandwiches, turkey & stuffing, and mashed potatoes and come March you gotta go on a liquid diet to get summer ready. Not me, not this time!
  2. White feminism & power: I listen to some liberal media podcasts and sometimes they are just so damn privileged sounding. This episode of The Waves was talking about how women are naturally uncomfortable with having power, and some lady wrote a book about making power a verb instead to make it more palatable. Excuse me, what? All I ever wanted was power. The power to control what I do with my body, my career, my family, my life without someone who doesn’t care anything about me telling me what I have to do. Just like how white women scream #MeToo and then waste the power they do have by voting for a p*ssy grabbing, chronic sexual harasser. :/
  3. Why do you care?: I think I was born with too few f*cks to give and they all got spent early. People say you stop caring about little shit when you turn 30. I stopped caring about little shit at 21 and now I’m just plain disgusted by grown folks who live their lives based on what other people think. “THEY” don’t care about you! 🙄 So why would you waste all your energy? Listen, I work a 9-5 job. I play the game but only to the minimum extent necessary to secure my bag. The truth is that you can be the most agreeable, talented, people pleasing, hard working employee but if someone really has it out for you they will find a way to get you gone. I can’t control how other people feel about me and I can’t stop anybody from screwing me over. So I’m going practice self-care by not completely repressing myself to be Employee of the Month™.
  4. Your bad kids: I am officially a grumpy old lady because I get so tired of children in public places. I know that they will be loud and running around but I can’t take your offspring all in my personal space. Please teach your kids how to form a line, say “excuse me”, etc because I will elbow little Danny in the face if he doesn’t get from behind me when I’m at the checkout counter! Also, stop bringing your kids into fast food establishments and letting them order. My parents told me what I wanted to eat, they didn’t let me waste people’s time trying to read the menu when I didn’t know my ABC’s yet!  
  5. Currently loving: Grocery delivery (Hello Fresh meal kits and Prime Now for my Whole Foods fix), sweater weather (boot game proper!) and Aquaman (more shirtless Jason Momoa, please).

 

Finally, plus size fashion done right

I’m a bit of a clotheshorse. I’m not the most trendy person, and I’m certainly not Instagram-ready every day. But I love shopping and keeping up with the trends. My favorite feature in my new home is a walk in closet that, in conjunctions with my dressers, is big enough to house my entire wardrobe. No more being late to work because I had to go upstairs and dig in the guest closet for the blouse I wanted! I’ve been shopping less this year (#budgetlife), purging my closet, and trying to make sure I can get multiple wears out of whatever I do bring into the house. Fortunately, I have better options today than I did five years ago. Ironically, it’s at the same time that I’m starting to lose weight but, c’est la vie.

One of my favorite brands, Eloquii, has undergone a rebranding over the past year. If you follow any plus sized fashion blogger, they’ve modeled multiple pieces from Eloquii with good reason. They used to focus more on fun casual clothes that were good for everyday and could easily be dressed up or down. They have always had a dedicated formalwear/going out looks section, but in the beginning it was more conservative and in line with their former parent company The Limited. Now, they are moving in an edgier direction, going toe to toe with brands like ASOS Curve and City Chic which caters to a more adventurous and trendy customer who isn’t afraid to turn up the glamour. I’m still a frequent customer, but my style is a little more understated. I go to them primarily for statement tops and going out dresses. Click to enlarge the gallery images below.

See what I mean? There are a LOT of statement pieces there. But that’s okay. The entire plus sized market is underserved but basics are much easier to find than special, stand out ones that don’t look cheap (Forever 21+ and Fashion Nova Curve don’t work for everything). They still have enough basis to keep me coming back.

Loft is completely my style, but it was only just this summer that they started doing plus sizes. I’m happy to report that the wait was somewhat justified by the quality. In a move unique to plus size lines, almost every single straight size piece is available in plus. And the trendiest items, the ones that make the campaigns and the new arrivals page, are available in plus as well. I haven’t done exhaustive research, but every piece so far that has caught my eye in their social media advertising has been available in my size–and FOR THE SAME PRICE! This is a major, major win in the plus size world and one we’ve been asking for forever. Here’s a look at their selection (click to enlarge):

If you compare the homepage for the general website and the plus section, you’ll see that the overall look and feel is the same–they are treating the plus size customer the same as their overall demographic. Shocking, I know, but unfortunately that is rare and to be commended. Loft serves a large age range of customers, from my 25 year old coworker to 45 year old soccer moms to 65 year old grandmothers who are young at heart, and it shows. But the classics are classic for a reason and Loft does them well.


I’m so glad to have better options. Old Navy’s quality and fit are wildly inconsistent. GAP doesn’t do plus sizes but I can fit into their upper range depending on the fabric and fit. Target has cute stuff, but quality and fit are a problem plus the significant upcharge for plus size items ($5-10 over the straight size equivalent, but hidden by the fact that plus sizes are different brands, except for Who What Wear). I simply can’t justify dropping $40 on a paper thin, ill fitting shirt. Fortunately, there is now enough brand diversity for the plus size market has some competition. I’m looking forward to better quality and better fashion for all.

Home for the holidays

Our Christmas tree was the first thing we unpacked.

It’s official–we’re homeowners! My husband and I closed on our house on December 21 and started moving in that night. By December 23, all our stuff was out of the old rental. This is our sixth move together and in some ways it was the easiest because by now I know G’s routine. He hates clutter and being uncomfortable so he literally will not sleep until he passes out in the middle of packing boxes. I was prepared to lose my husband as a sane man for the next week. This time was hard because I came down with a bad head cold literally the day after we closed. Normally I would lay around the house until I felt better, but I had taken 2 weeks off work and I wanted to be able to relax for at least one of them. So that meant front loading the move to finish by Christmas. It majorly sucked, but we did it. Everyone told us to pace ourselves. But the last thing I wanted to do when I go back to work is to come home and pull a second shift unpacking. We did it, because the one thing I love about my relationship with my spouse is our ability to laser focus on a singular goal.

It was only this week that I’ve been waking up in the morning and feeling settled in. We’ve been in a frenzy of unpacking, cleaning, organizing, and various projects. We ran some errands, went by Marshall’s (where I bought half off Christmas decorations, two accent tables for the living room, a storage bench for our bedroom, and discounted bath & body products) and then back to the house. We binged this season of Vikings, Cloak and Dagger, and Runaways because, what the hell is a Bird Box? It’s been a good week, all in all.

Cozy vibes.

I’m spending the rest of my break being lazy as possible, and we rang in the New Year at the house with a glass of Martinelli’s finest sparkling apple cider. Why leave? I have to get $220,000 worth of enjoyment out of this place. LOL. I have a brand new stove and refrigerator and finally sprung for an automatic trashcan. It’s the little things that I enjoy. It’s rainy and cold today so I have the fireplace going for maximum cozy vibes. We aren’t fully furnished and there are still a few stray boxes, but finally we have a home of our own.

Foyer
Dining room
Currently blogging here. My office is the last thing I need to unpack!
Upstairs den
My kitchen, with cabinets for everything and a magic trash can.
My kitchen nook is a work in progress.
Coffee bar
Living room
Bedroom with a view
My dream closet in the master bedroom

His & hers sinks and a gorgeous bathtub

Wife Life: Savory Sausage Scramble recipe

I am making a lifestyle change and part of it is seriously limiting starchy carbs and junk food. You know how most diets have cheat days? Well I’ve had a cheat LIFE, and it’s time to hunker down. But I love breakfast and everyone knows the best part of breakfast is carbs. I usually have a big breakfast on the weekend which typically includes a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit, or some Eggo waffles and bacon. I’ve already been incorporating a green smoothie several times a week, so making that my Monday-Friday mainstay isn’t a big deal. And I do love oatmeal topped with fresh berries & a splash of cream, or sliced banana, shredded coconut, and honey. But what about when I want something savory instead of sweet?

This recipe is actually adapted from my brother in law. He made it the last couple times I came to visit my sister and it’s not only delicious, but satisfying. I prefer chicken sausage and included my favorite brand, but of course you can sub out turkey sausage or even a meat substitute. Same with the cheese. You can also change this to make it an omelette. Have fun with it!

SAVORY SAUSAGE SCRAMBLE
Serves: 1 
Ingredients:

2 eggs
2 links Applegate Farms chicken & apple sausage
2 mini sweet bell peppers
1-2 tsp shredded Mexican cheese blend
Salt
Pepper
Butter

1. Cut of stems from peppers, remove inner seeds, and chop to your preference. Cut the sausage into bite size pieces. 
2. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add pepper to taste. Whisk until well mixed.
3. Melt some butter in a small pan over low heat (you only need about a teaspoon).
4. Pour in the eggs, sausage, and peppers. I don’t like my cheese to stick to the pan so I sprinkle it on in the last few seconds, but you can add it at this step. 
5. I like a soft scramble so I keep the heat really low and the eggs are on for a minute or two. If you like more solid eggs, 30-60 seconds on low-medium heat will do.
6. Plate and enjoy! 

I love this recipe because it tastes similar to the egg skillets I sometimes order at brunch, but without the potatoes or too much cheese. If I don’t have the peppers, I’ll do just the eggs and cheese but add a sprinkle of Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning. I don’t like Mexican for breakfast (weird, I just have a mental block) but you could also do this southwestern-style and add avocado & salsa.

Wife Life: Southern Vegetable Soup recipe

While you’re planning your Thanksgiving menu, don’t forget to think about the weekend! You don’t want to be fighting the shopping crowd at the drive through, and the leftovers always go quicker than you think. During my cleanse at the start of the month, soup was my dinner for the day. I hate soup normally because it’s not hearty enough. Especially vegetable soup–the canned version tastes like baby food! So I had to adapt this to be hearty and satisfying. It’s perfect as is for the day after Thanksgiving when you’re emerging from a turkey coma and want something a bit lighter. I plan to make this ahead of time so I have a few quick and easy meals ready for after Turkey Day.

Roll that beautiful bean footage! Actually, the soup does not photograph well but it’s delish.

SOUTHERN VEGETABLE SOUP
Makes 6-8 generous servings

Ingredients:
1/2 lb fresh green beans
1/2 lb okra
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch collard greens
1 bunch scallions
28-oz can diced tomatoes, low sodium
32 oz chicken stock 
1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
Pepper
Italian seasoning

Note:  Frozen veggies will do if you don’t have fresh, but I encourage you to buy fresh if you can. If you have leftovers, the fresh veggies won’t get mushy as quickly. 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Wash and chop all your veggies, as small as you want. I like larger pieces so I have something to chew. The collard greens will be a bit unwieldy, just make sure you run the water over both sides of each leaf (perfect time to use the hose attachment on your sink) and wipe down the leaves to dry them. This will take care of any dirt that is hiding in the nooks and crannies. If you like, you can save all the spare veggie bits to make vegetable stock (I’ve never done this but I saw this tip on Facebook).

2. Heat up a tablespoon of your preferred oil and toss in the minced garlic and scallion whites. This will caramelize them a bit and give the broth a richer, more roasty flavor.

3. Once the garlic and scallions are fragrant, add in chicken stock, tomatoes, and all your chopped vegetables. Season with a generous amount of pepper and Italian seasoning. I use Italian because it’s a nice mix of several herbs like parsley, rosemary and thyme so I don’t have to buy individuals of those.  With the chicken stock, you really don’t need any salt.

4. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes.

5. Serve and enjoy!

VARIATIONS

This is just a base but you can make any soup with a combination of chicken, beef or veggie stock and your favorite vegetables. You can add shrimp and link sausage to this one for a sort of jambalaya stew. You could do a crab boil soup. You could sub out the okra for zucchini and add some meatballs for an Italian stew. The possibilities are endless!