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Oh, btw, during my trip to San Francisco last weekend, I recorded a video with a little help from my friends.  Here’s the link!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOYIOWOXlRU

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vlogging?

I made a second YouTube channel…  bold, considering I’ve neglected my first channel, right?  Sigh.  The point of the second channel is to be able to share about some of my travels with family and friends (or anyone else interested).  It’s not meant to be really polished or complicated.  I like that.  It takes some pressure off and I’m excited about that.

If you’d like to check out my first video, here’s the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbxduQXbvvs

On a side note, I have wifi in my apartment now! Seriously, I missed having wifi.  Seriously.  🙂

New things!

So, I’ve disappeared off the blogosphere for quite some time…  there are excellent reasons for that.  I’ll share the updates and spare you the whining, okay?  Okay.

Well, I left the job I’ve had in Chicago for the past five years and I started a new one that will allow me to travel to different locations throughout the U.S.  My first assignment has brought me to Fresno, CA.  I did a weeklong road trip with my mom and visited all these amaaaaaazing national parks.  It was a great time for sure – maybe I’ll share about some of those experiences later, but for now…  this is the first time I’ve been completely on my own.  I don’t really know anyone here yet except those I’ve met at work.  I am lucky to have found a good room mate who is willing to share her apartment with me.  Other than that, I am flying solo.

It’s a good opportunity, I think.  It’s good for me to be uncomfortable every once in a while.  I find that I grow the most as a person during these times.  The last time I took an adventure like this was when I was in Australia for 4.5 months.  It was one of the best experiences of my life.  I’m hoping for more of the same.

Holy hell, I can’t believe how drastically different my life is from one month ago.  The change is astounding.  I’ve gone from driving 3-5 hours a day to get to work to maybe 30 minutes, give or take.  I used to have Sunday and Monday as a weekend, but now I’ve joined the Saturday/Sunday club.  It’s nice to be back to that.  I actually get to work 8 hours a day and leave – no overtime for me!  I’d often put in way longer at work and then drive for hours to get home.  This is a much better quality of life now and my heart is thankful.  I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief.  The past six months have been pretty stressful overall and I realized that slowly, but surely, I had completely cut out all the fun things in my life so I could drive/work/sleep/repeat.  I didn’t have time for fun and I was stuck in my routine.  Things had to change.

So…  here I am.  I left my life behind, at least for a little while.  My assignment in Fresno is only until the end of the year.  Who knows where I’ll end up next?  I’m really looking forward to delving back into the things that bring me joy, like music, cooking, photography, videos, etc.  Hopefully, I’ll have more to share soon.

On a side note, you guys have no idea how ridiculously excited I am to have free wifi at my disposal!!!  I’m at a cafe, drinking a peach lavender honey tea.  I’m wishing it was a bit stronger…  but I admit, I love the internet and I’ve missed it so much.  Sigh.

Anyway, enough geeking out.  I’m glad to be back and reporting happier times.  I hope to post more stuff in the future.  I anticipate having wifi in my apartment soon, but if not, I’ll have to come back to this cafe.  Thanks for reading!

Here’s a recipe of what I made for dinner (and consequently lunch tomorrow).  It would go great with zucchini noodles, but I only had one zucchini…  so, I just ate it with a side of roasted cauliflower.  Yum!  

I apologize that this recipe will be a little annoying, precisely because I measured nothing!  I can’t help it, it’s just how I cook.  I’m giving you my best “guestimations.” You may wonder, why am I posting this?  Because I like it enough to want to recreate it…  this is the template I’m going to use next time. I will make adjustments accordingly and re-post!  I figured, there are probably other people who are similar in how they cook, so maybe they’d like just a template.  Maybe?  Also, I got all my ingredients from Trader Joe’s, except for the bison and herbs. I got the bison at Costco and the herbs from our garden at home.

Sandy’s bison spaghetti sauce (serves 4 with leftovers for the next day)

1.25 lbs. ground bison

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 small can of tomato paste

1 jar of roasted red peppers, diced, no liquid

4 sprigs dried thyme

2 tbsp crushed dried oregano

1 cup of yellow onion

4 cloves minced garlic

~ 2 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. Sriracha sauce

1 tsp. coconut sugar

Sea salt (to taste)

Black pepper, freshly ground (to taste)

2 bay leaves

Peeled tomatoes (I used some we froze from last summer, but you could use one large can of San Marzano’s or something)

Put oil in enameled cast iron Dutch oven and set heat to medium-high.  Put in the tomato paste and let it caramelize, stirring to prevent burning. You don’t want it to char! You’ll notice the color should be a little deeper and the consistency is just a little thicker. It took me about 8-10 minutes.

When it’s ready, I stir in the garlic, onion, oregano, and thyme and let them get fragrant. I made an empty spot in the middle of my pot, added a tiny bit of olive oil in the pan (since it looked dry), and put in the ground bison.  I don’t know why I did it that way, but it just seemed right.  I added some salt and pepper to the meat and then began browning it and beginning to mix it with my tomato paste mixture. At this point, I added the roasted red peppers and let the meat continue to brown.  I added the peeled tomatoes when the meat was almost done cooking and covered it to let the whole thing come close to boiling before I reduced the heat to a simmer.  While it was simmering, I added the bay leaves, fish sauce, sriracha sauce, coconut sugar, salt, and pepper.  Add the sauces and salt/pepper to taste, please. I think it’s personal preference. Simmer until the flavors meld, at least 20 minutes. 

Roasted Cauliflower (my lazy version of Bon Appetit’s recipe, they add onions, thyme, and cheese)

1 head of cauliflower, cut up into bite sized pieces

4 unpeeled cloves of garlic

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Heat the oven to 425 F.  Cut and wash cauliflower.  Place the cauliflower and garlic in a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and toss.  Roast for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you want cheese too, sprinkle on some grated Parmesan or whatever hard cheese you have on hand at the end and roast for an additional 5-10 minutes.  I love this recipe. You can season it however you like and it’s just so delicious!

I’m happy to share that I finally posted my first video on YouTube!  You can watch it here:

As cheesy as this might sound, I’ve really enjoyed the journey of making this first video.  I haven’t perfected anything, but it’s satisfying to have made it through the process, stumbling and learning along the way.  It just feels good to learn something and be able to apply it immediately.  

I’m also really glad that my MacBook Pro from 2006 is still doing well enough to achieve what I sought out to do.  I have an ancient version of iMovie, where I did my editing.  It stinks not being able to have more than one video clip playing side by side, but it was manageable to sync my audio.  It also took a long time to import video footage into iMovie, something around 30 min per 5 min of footage.  *sigh*  Well, if anything, I have MAD respect for those who edit film.  They are amazingly patient and have fantastic imaginations.  Editing can be so hard, but I hope to get better at it!

It was also a challenge trying to figure out how to export my video into a format that works on YouTube without losing quality.  I can only use footage in 720/30 HD because my processors can’t handle 1080.  Luckily, 720 is good enough for what I need to achieve.  When I tried to use the “Web Stream” option for exporting my video, it was crazy baaaaaaaaaad.  Those default settings were horribly outdated, but I was relieved to find that the “Expert Settings” allowed me to enter my own values.  I have to say, YouTube offers an amazing amount of resources so if you dig hard enough, chances are, you’ll find the answers you need.  It’s nice to feel like they want new YouTubers to succeed.  🙂  

All in all, the journey was a good one.  I’m already plotting what my second video will be!  Thanks for reading and please check out my video.  Let me know in the comments below if you have any suggestions for videos or any tips on how to edit.  

Inspired!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately…  and perhaps that’s part of my problem.  I think too much.  I need to get to the action part.  

 

Slowly, but surely, I think I’m gathering up the courage to actually DO some of these “things” I’ve been thinking about so much.  Hopefully this blog post won’t be too long or ramble-y, but I was really inspired this weekend by some words of wisdom from someone on YouTube.  

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve returned to being Primal (I’ve been mostly successful so far and I can feel the difference).  In addition to this, I bought a groupon for CrossFit.  Um.  I’m terrified.  I need to sign up already, but for whatever reason, I keep putting it off.  What am I scared of?  Ha.  I’m scared of hurting myself.  My job can be pretty physical and if I’m injured, I can’t work…  I’m also terrified that I’ll be embarrassingly bad at it. 😦  I know…  it sounds so stupid!  I read all the FAQ’s about CrossFit and they go on and on and on about how things are scalable and grandmas can do it, but really?!  Really?!  What I’m really hoping is that I have an unrealistic idea of what it’s all about.  Man, I just need to go and see what it’s like for myself…  I know that I like lifting and I really liked gymnastics when I was a little kid.  The rings were my favorite!  Hopefully that will play in my favor.  Oddly enough, I’m also afraid that I’m really going to like CrossFit and that I’ll just be obsessed. I guess there are worse things, right?  

 

Another thing I’ve thought too much about is posting videos on YouTube.  Truthfully, it’s kind of daunting to put something out there because there are always haters.  There’s also so much content out there!  Who will want to watch my collection of videos?  I see other YouTube channels and they have a niche: beauty gurus, movie parodies, comedy sketches, product reviews, short films, etc.  I think the main thing that is stopping me is over-thinking all the logistics.  When it comes down to it, I just want to post videos so I can share my thoughts and create.  That’s all.  I was worried about putting myself in a niche first, putting out “professional” content, having perfect video editing skillz, etc.  I understand now that I don’t have to start out perfect, but enjoy the journey of learning about all those things and just get STARTED already.  If people like what I post, that’s amazing.  I just want to start making stuff and sharing.  So.  I’ll have a video out in the next week or so, depending on how much time I have after work.  (I work crazy long hours and commute a looong distance).  I think the first thing I post will be music related…  We’ll see.  

Thanks for reading.  If you have words of wisdom, please comment below.  Is there anything that you’ve been afraid of that you’re finally ready to take action on?

 

What’s to come!

As I said in my previous post, I’m returning to the blogging world!  After some thought, I decided I really want this blog to be a place where I can share my thoughts on the wide variety of things I’m interested in.  I think a lot of my posts are going to be reviews, from products to recipes to movies/concerts, etc.  Every once in a while, I’ll share about a project I’m working on, whether it’s a photo project or jewelry or some DIY thing I sucker myself in to.  One thing I’ve realized lately is that the internet is a wonderful way to learn new things.  I feel like I’ve been learning from others for a while and figure, maybe I should share some of the things I’ve picked up along the way.  I’ll post my first review soon…  and by that, I mean, really soon.

Return to blogging!!

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m coming back to the blogging world!  I’m excited to start posting again!  I’m not totally sure who will follow this blog, but I’ve been wanting to share about all the things I’ve been learning about lately.  See you soon!

Day 30

The last day of my 30-day experiment.  It’s been a lot of fun!  Thanks for sticking with me through the past few weeks.  I think I’ll take a little break so I can put together a little portfolio of the many, many photos I took, loved, but never posted.  There are a lot of photos to sift through.  When I’m ready, I’ll post a link to a flickr account (or something).  Maybe later on, I’ll start the project anew, but maybe with some new twists added in.  If you’ve got any ideas, let me know!

Until next time…

too much fun

so many toys!  there is so much fun to be had, milo.  🙂  my bedroom floor has become my baby’s playground.