The 5 Second Rule

Everybody put Mel Robbins’ book The 5 Second Rule on your reading list for 2019. Or go listen to the audiobook for free on youtube.

She’s like Brene Brown – she will change your life. (Consider yourself warned!)

: )

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Gluten Free/Paleo Sugar Cookies

I meant to post about this earlier and forgot: if anyone needs one, I found a paleo/clean/gluten-free Christmas cut-out cookie recipe.

Here’s what you need to know to make it:

  • Erythritol is NOT GOOD. Use coconut sugar.
  • Skip the GF flour and go straight for almond flour. It will reduce the impact of these on your blood sugar.
  • Don’t make the frosting recommended – just go to Amazon, Target or Wegmans and get this stuff. Trust me… so worth it.

Also, temperature makes a huge difference in this dough. To make it easy on yourself:

  • Chilled as instructed once it’s blended together.
  • Roll out between two pieces of parchment.
  • Pop in the freezer until it’s fully set.
  • Cut your shapes into the dough and use a spatula to lift them out.
  • Let it sit until it softens enough to reroll.
  • Pop in back in the freezer to set before cutting your next round of cookies.

This sounds like a lot of work, but it’s actually not – and it’s a TON easier than dealing with uncooperative dough! Although these hold fairly well, I found it worked out well to bake them off a handful at a time. It made the recipe last for about four days and kept our sugar consumption down.

I generally expect to make these exactly once per year, but it’s nice to have the recipe, so I wanted to pass it along. Enjoy!

Like a Storm Concert

Like A Storm(This post generously written by my handsome husband, in case it wasn’t immediately obvious.)

Last Friday was a night on the town!

A couple of years ago, my international travels introduced to a rock band from New Zealand called Like A Storm. Formed by three brothers, the band holds lots of energy in both their rhythms as well as their lyrics. And one thing that really makes the band unique is the lead vocalist often rocks out with the traditional aboriginal instrument, the didgeridoo! You would not think that it would work, but it actually does.

If you check them out, I recommend listening to “Chaos,” and working your way out from there. Or, if you prefer something a little slower, “Break Free” is an amazing anthem of breaking away from the trauma that tears people apart from the inside.

To make a long story boring, I have been a fan since then, and was excited to see that they were coming to Salt Lake City during their Catacombs Tour.

So, last Friday, we headed on down to The Complex in SLC for a concert, and were entertained right off the bat. Security declared no pens of any kind were allowed amongst the other obligatory measures. I got stopped at the beepers, because I have had a mini-Swiss knife on my keychain for well over a decade. The tiny nail file and scissors which not even TSA care about were declared weapons, and I was forced to return to the truck to relieve myself of my toothpick and tweezers. Jamie almost got in trouble as well for having a ballpoint pen in her purse. At the time, it was annoying, but now find myself amused by the silliness.

The concert opened up with a local Metalcore band called Echo Muse. Their genre of music isn’t really my cup of tea, but they were really talented. As I am currently learning how to play guitar, I was impressed by both their rhythm and lead guitarists.

The next band was Farewell 2 Fear. I had never heard of the band before that night, but from their first note, I was in awe. The band had a lot of energy and stage presence. I soon found myself jumping around with the rest of the crowd, straining my short term memory to learn the choruses so that I could sing with them. They ended their string of songs with their most popular song, “Diamonds,” which we found on youtube when we got back to the truck, and played about seven times on the way home. Afterwards, they were in the lobby, selling albums/gear, and were very approachable. I was impulsive, and bought their albums on the spot, and they autographed it all with glee.

The next band after F2F was Palisades. Described as post-hardcore, they were again not my particular taste of music, but I could still appreciate their skills. They had lots of energy, and the frontman has an excellent skill of getting the crowd involved.

Finally, 3 hours after entering the venue, Like A Storm took the stage while the rain outside turned to snow, prompting a lot of people to leave the concert early.  Opening with an excellent bass riff, the drums and guitar joined in, and soon everyone in the concert hall was on their feet, and pounding a fist in the air. Those Kiwis put on an amazing show, full of creativity, crowd involvement, and adding a few things extra that didn’t make the final edits on their albums. I knew every song they played by heart, and despite the dwindling crowd size as the storm outside got worse, I was making every effort to show the band my support and excitement. By the time we got to the encore, all I could do was clap, because my voice had long since burned out. Chris, the lead vocalist, ended up jumping off the stage and sang the last song with a couple of people up front. The barrage of selfie pics in those final moments was almost as entertaining as the fiber optics on their drums!

In the ultimate twist of irony, the storm outside ended just before the last song of the night, and a few stars peeked through the clouds on our drive back home. While there, we saw that Within Temptation, a symphonic metal band from Netherlands, will be at The Complex in March. We will be back for them as they are absolutely worth the drive.

Lessons well learned: Leave the evil tweezers and nefarious pens at home, but bring ear plugs. My ears were ringing for hours afterwards!

23andme

250px-23andMe_logo.svg_Years ago, when I was studying to get my NTP certification, several of the other women in my class were elbow-deep in interpreting 23andme results – with fascinating results.

If you’re not familiar, 23andme is a company that does private genetic testing. They advertise it primarily as learning about your personal background and family history, but (more importantly, in my opinion) they also offer health and wellness results along with their ancestry reports. They test for common markers of big-deal conditions like Alzheimer’s, certain types of cancer, etc. Although they don’t spell it out, they ALSO test for less common but incredibly important things – like a genetic tendency to methalyze poorly (which means that your body doesn’t detoxify efficiently).

Although they warn people not to “make medical decisions” based on the information provided, the simple fact is that most people don’t have access to that kind of information without paying a lot of money, usually out of pocket, to go see Naturopaths or similar professionals. And, frankly, most conventional medicine doctors wouldn’t know what to do with the report if you took it to them.

I am fully capable of doing the homework, though, and have long been interested in getting tested. (I’d kill for specifics on why I don’t detoxify well and am perpetually magnesium deficient because it’s usually an easy fix… if you know the base cause.) We looked at getting tested years ago, only to find that the backward state we were living in didn’t allow you to get the results I wanted. It wasn’t safe for people to have that information themselves… only their doctors could be allowed to order and view that stuff. *glares in Klingon*

But now we’re somewhere new and guess what? This state doesn’t care! So my Prince suggested that we get tested now…. and we did! Our kits are in the mail, en route to testing and we should get our results in January. I expect there to be some serious elbow grease on my end interpreting everything I want when they get here, but I’m super excited (and feeling very spoiled to have a husband who is on board with the strange things I want).

On that note, we have four 30% off coupons that came with our kits. If anyone else wants to give this a try and would like a coupon, let me know and I’ll send some your way!

The Nutcracker

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Twenty years ago, before we were together, my now-husband called me up and asked if I wanted to go see The Nutcracker with him. It was a beautiful evening.

This past weekend, he took me to the ballet again. It was a gorgeous day to be out and nice to have an excuse to get all dressed up. We stopped at a coffee shop we’d never been to before for lattes before the show. The shop was tiny but had a ton of atmosphere. They made fresh almond milk and vanilla syrup in-house, which made my latte positively decadent.

The theatre was beautiful in a very ornate, old-school way (the mezzanine was steep and the rows of red velvet chairs very close together). There was live music in the lobby, huge crystal chandeliers that evoked a Phantom of the Opera vibe, and it was fun to see everyone in their festive holiday best.

The show was beautiful and wonderfully done. Lush costumes, superb dancing – just impressive all around! I’m very impressed by the variety of small(ish) theaters scattered around our new home of choice the sheer quantity and diversity of options we have. I look forward to more afternoons on the town like that one as we continue to settle in and discover the hidden gems in our new home.

December

So, we’re more than halfway through December and I’m way behind on my posting. Rather than be super long and rambly, here’s a recap of what’s important since I last posted:

  • Winter out here is absolutely something I am happy to get used to! We get snow, but not a lot and the temperature regularly runs between the 20’s and low 40’s… but yesterday it hit 57! Ice is very much a thing as everything melts during the day then freezes at night, but it hasn’t been bad… and it definitely beats the several feet of snow we’d have had by now at the old house. (The photo of the mountains above doesn’t do them justice, but that was the view as I took the dogs for a walk this morning. I think I tell my Prince every day how beautiful it is here.)
  • I have reluctantly reached the conclusion that I can no longer put off looking for a new job. Work has been an exercise in massive frustration since Thanksgiving (though my husband brought me flowers unexpectedly last week and that helped lots!). The short version is that my employers continue to “update” how they want things done and shift where the focus of our writing should be, and every update makes the process and subject matter noticeably worse. All signs point to my job continuing to go downhill, regardless of my best efforts, and it is no longer tenable to keep trying to work around it. So everyone cross your fingers or say some prayers as I apply for new things!
  • My husband has spoiled me and let me have some of my Christmas presents early. He bought me an amazing Artoo Detoo top to wear to yoga which I LOVE (R2D2 is my spirit animal) and an ionic foot bath (far right photo above – yes, the water is supposed to look gross like that). Ionic foot soaks definitely leave you ready for a nap, but they’re also powerful detoxifiers and I’m delighted to have one.
  • I’ve discovered that several grocery stores near us have “riced” veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, butternut squash, etc.) in various combinations, and they are my new favorite food option. I can take them out of the freezer and dump them into the rice steamer (with or without a little bit of rice and some chicken stock) and dinner is done in 30 minutes with almost no work from me! They’re clean, too – just veggies! No gluten, soy, etc. It’s amazing for busy days and I’m incredibly thankful.
  •  I figured out that I can’t have corn… like at all,  with the exception of very small amounts of organic cornstarch. This is annoying, but also immensely helpful to know. I like feeling good, and it’s easier to avoid foods that don’t like me than to walk around not feeling great and being frustrated because I can’t pinpoint why.
  • Tango and yoga continue to be awesome, and we actually added an extra night of yoga to our schedule each week. (My Prince is doing *amazing* in his yoga inversions class!) We also made huge improvement in my attitude and functioning by setting aside one night a week and one weekend morning as “at home” time. Dumb as it sounds since it didn’t actually change the schedule much, the introvert in me is a lot steadier with that time mentally blocked out for catching up, regrouping and investing in home each week. (Kudos to my Prince for being patient and supportive while I was caught in work-and-activities-overwhelm and helping me figure out a simple solution that satisfied everything we wanted/needed.)

We’re already looking ahead to next year and being very aware of how quickly the schedule will fill up, but excited for the awesome things ahead.