Author: Kimberlee Koehn

Hello, my name is Kimberlee. Yes, there are two E’s, let’s not get into it. I love traveling, writing, hiking and sweet potatoes. We can go ahead and be friends now.

Strain the Stir (Episode 4): I’ve Leveled Up!

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Strain Then Stir, a no-cameras, diary-esque cooking show blog where I attempt to transform myself from a two-meal Tina into a full course Frank…or at the very least, be capable of feeding myself more than cereal and pasta.

In the time since our last episode, and I don’t want to get cocky, but I think it’s safe to say I’ve leveled up.

As mentioned in my latest favorites post, I recently signed up for Imperfect Produce, which is a company that sells you fruits and vegetable which, while perfectly edible and delicious, are not quite “pretty” enough to be sold in stores. I signed up for the small box that comes every two weeks, and each Thursday before I get a new box, I get an email giving me the option to customize it.

Now, in an effort to improve my cooking ~skills~ I’ve tried not to make too many adjustments to each prepared box. Often when I log in to make my customizations, I just remove the foods I don’t like (such as lettuce or cilantro) and then leave the rest the same. That way, when I receive my box, I’m forced to look up recipes that incorporate both the ingredients I’ve been given and those I have in my kitchen, and I do my best to make something delicious!

Here are some of my favorite creations so far:

Steak & Nectarine Salad

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In one of my first boxes I received two nectarines. And since I’d never even tried a nectarine, I was not only worried whether I would like them, but I also had no idea how I could use them in a recipe. When I found this one however, I was sold. I even made a separate trip to the grocery store to pick up a cheap cut of steak. It was worth it. (Note: For anyone out there who is a fellow lettuce hater, I forwent it in this recipe and it was still absolutely delicious!) (Find the recipe here)

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Red Onions & Feta

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I am no stranger to the magic that is sweet potatoes, so when I got one in my box, I had a number of ideas pop into my head. This one however, helped me figure out a good way to combine a few things that I already had, as well as use one of the red onions I got in my box as well. (Find the recipe here)

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Spaghetti Squash

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Being an avid watcher of Food Network and skimmer of cooking blogs, I’ve heard my fair share about spaghetti squash. But after receiving one in my box, I still had to Google what it actually was. I had no idea how to cut it or what you do with it afterwards, and I wondered if my carb worshipping ways would hinder my ability to give it a fair chance. Thankfully, it took all of one bite to fall head over heels in love. Now, I’m not saying I’m breaking up with pasta or anything, but you can put it on the record that I’m having a full blown affair. (Find the recipe here)

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Apricot Smoothie

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Apricots were another fruit that I’d seen around but had never really made up my mind whether I liked them or not. On an average shopping trip, I never would have picked some up, but when I had four arrive in one of my boxes, I had to expand my horizons a little. I’ll admit however, I did do a good amount of procrastinating on these. Every day I’d vow to either bring one with me to work as a snack or bake a few into some kind of dessert, but then every day I’d forget or get lazy or just plain not want to. Sooner or later however, the apricots (with an assist by the hot summer weather) took matters into their own hands. They started to fade fast, threatening to be completely wasted, and so I finally took the time to find them a home. The end result was delicious and jump started me on a smoothie kick, so I guess thanks is in order, apricots! (Note: I used almond milk instead of yogurt, and vanilla extract instead of almond extract because that’s all that I had. It still tasted good though, and gave my morning a good fresh start!) (Find recipe here)

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Bonus Recipes:

In the spirit of my growing cooking confidence, for my family’s Fourth of July barbecue I decided to branch out and make two special dishes. These weren’t based on anything that came in my Imperfect Produce boxes, but rather foods I thought my family would enjoy. Thankfully, they were both a hit!

Jalapeno and Goat Cheese Grilled Stuffed Mini Peppers

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My sister is lactose intolerant, so oftentimes holidays like the Fourth of July will offer a bunch of delicious foods that she can’t have. In order to try and combat that on one of her favorite holidays, I made these which feature two of her favorite things: goat cheese and spice. It was a super quick and easy to follow recipe and both she and my dad loved them! Also, if you don’t like/can’t handle spicy food (a.k.a me), I made a few with just goat cheese and they were delicious as well! (Find the recipe here)

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Banana Cream Pie Muddy Buddies

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These were for my mom. Growing up, she often made Muddy Buddies for a wide variety of get togethers, so when I found these, I naturally thought of her, both for that reason, and because she instantly loves anything banana flavored. One tip I have for this recipe a la my mom: pour your Chex mixture into freezer sized Ziploc bags when you are ready to mix in the powdered sugar. That way, rather than trying to keep it all contained in a bowl, simply pour the sugar into the bag, zip it up and shake. (Find the recipe here)

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Here’s to another few months of trying my best, which, as it turns out, is getting better day by day! Who would’ve thought there was this great big world outside of pasta and cereal. (No offense pasta and cereal, I still love you.)


Read the previous episode of Strain then Stir here.

The Last Thing on My Phone

While scrolling around the black hole of YouTube, I found a series from both WIRED and Glamour that asks celebrities to answer questions based on the “last ____ on their phone.” It’s an alternative interview to give actors and actresses that are on press tours for whatever new movie/television show/etc. they are starring in.

For the average YouTube consumer, these may be relatively boring interviews, but for whatever reason I can’t get enough of them. I like to think it gives me a more realistic picture of the person being interviewed and provides them with a new set of questions to answer rather than the same old spiel they’ve been toting around. I’m also just plan nosey, so there’s that.

The other night, I was sitting at the table with my roommates and I decided we should answer the same set of questions, just to see what we came up with. Here were the results:

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1) What is the last photo you took?

Rachel: This is the last photo I personally took rather than screenshotted, and it’s pretty great. It’s from just outside a dive bar right near Dodger Stadium and I just thought I needed to…well look: IMG_7104

Natalee: I have this one of the two of us (meaning her and I) celebrating [our friend] Nicollette’s birthday this past weekend.

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Me: Mine was also from Nicollette’s birthday, but it’s of this cool window.

Natalee: Yeah, that sounds like you.

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(Note: if you’re ever in the Ventura area, check out The Tavern. It’s a really cool bar made up of a series of different rooms/outside areas, one of which is a speakeasy type room where I took this photo, right before we started dancing to swing music.)

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2) What is the last thing you Googled?

Natalee: “Paprika spinners chips.” Rachel and I were talking about types of Cheetos and then I found these and I wanted to order them on Amazon but they aren’t on Amazon so I Googled them and it turns out they’re only sold in the Netherlands. So…

Rachel: I have two that I made right around the same time. First is Natalie Imbruglia who sings “Torn”, that song that came out when we were kids. And then the other is Heaven’s Gate, a cult I was recently researching. I’m big into cults right now.

Kim: I was trying to look up which skateboarding competitions Shaun White was going to be in to see if we could go watch any.

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3) What is your last text?

Rachel: I mean, technically my last one is just, “oh yeah.”

Natalee: I sent one to our roomie group message asking Rach what kind of ice cream/donuts/Hot Cheetos we should get on our snack run.

Kim: Yeah the last one I sent was in response to Rachel’s response to that, which is this Bitmoji of me casually skateboarding with a raccoon.

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4) How many alarms do you have set?

Rachel: Oh gosh. Oh, actually I only have two right now. One is for 3:00 a.m. and another is 11:15 a.m.

Me: I don’t think I have very many. Nope, just four. One for work, one for church, one for naps, and one to take my pill at night.

Natalee: I must have some kind of record. I have 15 different alarms and they range from 3:55 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. They’re not all set at once, some are set for just Wednesdays, some Tuesdays and Sundays, some just for Saturday, you know? My favorite one is for 7:01 a.m. because I’m usually supposed to be up by 7 o’clock for work and that one extra minute makes me feel like I’m being risky.

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5) What are your most frequently used emojis?

Rachel: My phone says these: face-throwing-a-kiss_1f618heavy-black-heart_2764expressionless-face_1f611thumbs-up-sign_emoji-modifier-fitzpatrick-type-1-2_1f44d-1f3fb_1f3fbsmiling-face-with-smiling-eyes_1f60a  But if I were going to go with my most frequent I would definitely say this one: i-love-you-hand-sign_emoji-modifier-fitzpatrick-type-1-2_1f91f-1f3fb_1f3fb I’m not sure why it’s not in the top ones, though. Actually, now that I look at it, I have a train on my frequently used that I’ve definitely never used before. I also have a motorcycle and a gondola? I don’t even know where these came from.

Natalee: Mine also seem kind of messed up, so I’m just going to give you the ones I know I use the most: face-with-tears-of-joy_1f602sign-of-the-horns_emoji-modifier-fitzpatrick-type-1-2_1f918-1f3fb_1f3fbwoman-shrugging-type-3_1f937-1f3fc-200d-2640-fe0fyellow-heart_1f49bface-with-rolling-eyes_1f644

Me: I think mine are pretty accurate: face-with-tears-of-joy_1f602smiling-face-with-heart-shaped-eyes_1f60dnerd-face_1f913thumbs-up-sign_1f44dsmiling-face-with-smiling-eyes_1f60a

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6) What is your last voicemail?

Me: Mine is from my dad. It’s from a couple of weeks ago when my car started making this bad grinding noise and I called him to come check what it was. We decided to take it to the shop the next morning but he followed me home just in case and then left a voicemail telling me that in following me it didn’t appear as though my car was going to blow up before morning. So that was nice to hear.

Natalee: Mine is from some random company saying that it’s “very important” that they speak with me, I didn’t call them back.

Rachel: Mine is from CVS and they’re practically threatening me to pick up a prescription I don’t even want.

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7) What is the last selfie you took?

Me: Mine is with our sunflowers that I took for one of the Plant Aunt videos. (For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram, I’ve recently been documenting the growth of the sunflowers we planted in the backyard. It’s essentially me rambling/trying to stay involved because Natalee does all the work in watering them. Also, I’m pretty sure the neighbors think I’m crazy.)

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Natalee: Mine is too! I had a full on sunflower photo shoot the other day.

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Rachel: Oh no. You guys…

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8) What is the last app you downloaded?

Natalee: Ballpark. It was from when I was at the Dodger game getting to sit in the fancy seats for a day and this app let you order beer to be delivered to you!

Rachel: Mine is probably Game Time, that app that lets you download tickets on the day of a concert or sporting event.

Me: I don’t know which one was last. It was either Runtastic, which is a running app that is partnered with Run for the Oceans, or The ASL App which I got because I want to learn sign language, but I haven’t opened that one yet.

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9) What is the last podcast you listened to?

Rachel: Ooh! Dr. Laura, Call of the Day.

Natalee: S-Town.

Me: Modern Love.

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10) What is the last note you made?

Natalee: Mine is boring, it’s just work notes that I typed up and then sent in an email.

Me: Five minutes ago, when you guys were discussing your opinions on Cheetos, that’s a blog post waiting to happen. (Natalee picked up a few different bags of Hot Cheetos during our aforementioned snack run and then she and Rachel sat at the table and had a very professional opinion on which Hot Cheeto flavor reigns supreme, stay tuned for those results.)

Rachel: It’s notes for a calendar that I’m working on full of daily quotes that sound like they should be inspirational, but they really aren’t… (Also stay tuned for this, y’all, it sounds hilarious.)

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All in all, I’d say it was both an educational and overall enjoyable experience. It’s interesting to check in on where you’re at with your phone, especially since we spend so many mindless hours staring at it. Plus, it’s always fun to be a little nosey.

For that One Person

It’s easy to want to be famous. To get a lot of attention. A lot of views. A lot of love from a lot of people you don’t know. It would make you feel important. Valuable. Loved. At least that’s what it seems like it would be.

I’ll admit, I struggle with both wanting that fame, and wanting to not want that fame, but I don’t fault myself for it. I love writing. And to gain fame, and thus gain value in the writing field, would give me the chance to make writing my one and only job.

But when I think about “fame” and all that it entails, I know I don’t really want it. I want to write, yes. I want it to be my job, yes. But I don’t want to write because it’s my job, because that’s not why I started writing in the first place.

I started writing because someone else started writing, or singing or making movies or simply smiling or laughing or just feeling honestly and openly for me to see. I started writing because I wanted to be as open and free as the people I saw doing the same thing. I wanted to feel and I wanted to make other people feel.

When I write, I try to spill out whatever I’m thinking, be it a serious thought, a goofy one, or somewhere in between. I try my best to say, “hey, this is where I’m at today, care to join me?” And it is my hope that somewhere someone is sitting or standing or lying down, reading that blog and saying, “yes.”

I write for that one person, hoping I can do for them what someone else did for me, even if it was just being honest. And when I think about doing that—or even better: accomplishing that, I realize that in no life would I ever need “fame,” because I imagine I have something far greater.

The way I see it, I’ve been given love, and I share that love (or at least I try to) in my writing. And if someone somewhere receives that love and then passes it on, I’ve already done the most important thing I could ever do.

For you, the person reading this, I hope that someday I can do that for you. And I also hope that whatever you do, you try your best to spread love with it. I hope you’re out there, living your life, living your love, feeling open and honestly, because you never know who’s going to need you. As you go about your day, there very well may be someone in your path who needs you to be exactly who you are, because it will inspire them to do the same. I for one am happy you’re you and I hope you know how much it encourages me to be me.

2018 Goals Check-in #2

Whoops, I blinked and now it’s July. Time to check in on those goals.

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1) Do a handstand in yoga

1st Quarter Progress: 33.33%

Current Progress: 33.33%

I’ve definitely made more of an effort to go to yoga classes these last couple months, which is good, and I’ve been working hard at strengthening my arms at the gym. Now I just have to start trying to do a handstand. I’m only slightly terrified, but I’ll give it a go.

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2) Take a kickboxing class

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

Unfortunately, I have not got around to this quite yet. The last few months have been extremely busy, so when I do squeeze in the time to exercise, I usually stick to what I know. But the next few months are a lot slower paced, so hopefully I’ll venture out and find a class.

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3) Visit (at least) 20 museums in Los Angeles

1st Quarter Progress: 4/20 (5%)

Current Progress: 4/20 (5%)

This is another one that has fallen victim to my lack of time over the last three months. I think any spare moment I could find I spent sitting on the couch or trying to nap. That being said, with the beautiful summer weather sliding into play, I have no doubts I’ll find my way into more than a few museums over the next couple months, if only for the free air conditioning.

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4) Get CPR certified

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

This one is still on hold until the fall because my aunt offered to take me with her when she gets re-certified before the coming school year. That being said, please hold all emergencies until September.

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5) Shoot (at least) 1 roll of film per month

1st Quarter Progress: 3/12 (25%)

Current Progress: 6/12 (50%)

I’ll admit, those first couple rolls were a little rough on me. Both because it was hard to get back into the groove of shooting film, and because it was awkward to be behind an actual camera rather than a tiny phone. I felt like I was making everyone uncomfortable, but I’m pretty sure the only one that cared was me. Thankfully, these last few months have felt a lot more natural, and I’m genuinely excited to get my film developed.

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6) Complete the 104 things to Photograph book

1st Quarter Progress: 10/104 (9.62%)

Current Progress: 23/104 (22.12%)

This one continues to be kind of hard to track because I take pictures of things and have no idea if they correspond to the list or not. So once I get all my film developed and scroll through the pictures I’ve taken on my phone, I think I’ll have a better idea of where I’m at. But for now, I’m taking a guess based on things I know I’ve taken a picture of.

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7) Visit the sea glass beach in Fort Bragg, CA

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

I did some research on flights/how to get there/etc. and as of now, my roommates and I are planning on making the trip this fall! 🙂

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8) Go to the dentist

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 100%

Yes, I went to the dentist. No, it was not fun.

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9) Watch 20 documentaries on Netflix

1st Quarter Progress: 4/20 (20%)

Current Progress: 4/20 (20%)

Honestly, I blame The Office for this one. I mean, I know I need to make more progress on this, but I also know that Jim and Pam just found out they’re pregnant. So I kind of need to see that (and three more seasons) through before I can really care about re-commit to this goal.

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10) Perfect an omelet

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

I’m still on the hunt for a good omelet worthy pan. Anyone have any good suggestions?

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11) See (at least) one movie in theaters per month

1st Quarter Progress: 3/12 (25%)

Current Progress: 6/12 (50%)

Even though things have been busy, I haven’t missed a month yet! Plus, this summer promises a bunch of good movies, so I don’t think I’ll have any trouble continuing to find ones I’m interested in seeing. Here’s a list of all the ones I’ve seen so far. In case your curious, I’d say A Quiet Place is my favorite so far.

  1. I, Tonya
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  4. 50 Shades Freed
  5. Red Sparrow
  6. I Can Only Imagine
  7. A Quiet Place
  8. Book Club
  9. Incredibles 2

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12) Read 20 books off the Time’s 100 List

1st Quarter Progress: 2/20 (10%)

Current Progress: 6/20 (30%)

I really tried to crack down on this one in the last few months, and it didn’t hurt that I spent a good amount of time waiting around in airports. The funny thing is, the more books I check off this list, the more I wonder if I’ll ever make it through this list. The books are tough, and long, and um, boring? Okay, not all of them, but I have struggled through a couple, and I’ll admit, I did quit on one. However, I’m still counting it because I made it 60% through, which is more than I wanted to, and I heard there’s a movie version so I’m just going to watch that and round it up to finishing the book. Hey, my goal, my rules.

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13) Pay off credit card

Current Progress: Progress

Yeah so, let’s just say progress has slowed on this one. It hasn’t stopped, which is what counts. But these past few months have held *expenses* and I’ve had to crutch a little. I’m not worried about it though, I’ll get there.

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14) See 3 WRLA’s – COMPLETED!

While on a trip to Seattle and Canada this past month, I was unexpectedly able to complete this goal, seeing the World’s Largest Cowboy Hat & Boots in Seattle, WA, the World’s Largest Paper Airplane in Mukilteo, WA, and the World’s Largest Tin Solider in New Westminster, BC, Canada!

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15) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

1st Quarter Progress 0/5 (0%)

Current Progress: 2/5 (40%)

I’m excited to say I’ve found my way back into the groove of volunteering! It always takes all of one time for me to remember how much I love it and how good it makes me feel. After that, I’m constantly logging on and finding new opportunities. I’ve volunteered twice in the last couple months and already have three more dates on the calendar. Yay!

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16) Donate Blood

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 100%

As I mentioned in my first check-in, I did have an appointment to donate blood at my church. And while I did go to that appointment, I did not give blood. Not because I chickened out, not because I overslept, not because I made any excuse whatsoever not to. My iron levels were just way too low, so I was physically unable to give blood. With that being said, I have decided that, for now at least, this goal is completed. I’ve also started taking iron supplements and done a lot of research on ways to start incorporating iron rich foods into my diet. Who knew this goal would be so educational?

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17) Do the 1 second/day video challenge

1st Quarter Progress: 95/365 (26.03%)

Current Progress: 185/365 (50.68%)

I totally love this goal. Sure, it’s a little stressful when it’s 11:47p.m. and I sit up in my bed, panicked, realizing I didn’t take my second of the day. But I also love to see what I come up with in a pinch. The way I see it, on days when I’m out doing something exciting, it’s easy to remember to whip out my camera and record a snippet, but when I have a normal/routine day where nothing of interest really happens, I have more trouble. On those days, when that 11:47p.m. panic might take place, I find myself working through my routine again and picking out parts of it that I like/find interesting. In my first check-in, I gave a little sneak peak of what the seconds look like strewn together, but I think I’m going to keep the rest a secret for now. Stay tuned for the final product!

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When we add that all together, my total progress is about 34%. As always, I’m a little behind, but I’ve found that tends to push me forward. It keeps me motivated and doesn’t give me room to slack off, which I need, especially when the thermometer is about to start reading consistent triple digits and all I’m going to want to do is sit around watching rom-coms and eating popsicles. (Though to be honest, I’ll probably still do that pretty often.)

If you set goals this year, I hope things are going well for you, and if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start! 🙂

30 Good Things that Happened in June

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in!

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1) This sheep had a great day

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2) This dad jumped in to dance with his daughter after she had a meltdown on stage

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3) This woman answered honestly when a friend asked her what it was like to be a mom

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4) After the Washington Capital’s won their first ever Stanley Cup, this father and son shared a special moment

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5) Also after the win, Washington Capital, TJ Oshie, shared this sweet sentiment about his dad suffering from Alzheimer’s

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6) This teacher didn’t wake his student who had fallen asleep

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7) This woman caught a foul ball in her beer

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8) This boy took the school picture for both him and his twin brother

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9) Two years after being badly burned, this runner made her way to the NCAA National Track Championship

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10) This raccoon made an inspiring climb

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11) This high school pitcher consoled his childhood friend after striking him out

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12) This woman received a wedding gift from her father…nine years after he passed away

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13) Jimmy Fallon and Lin Manuel-Miranda wrote an ode to goatees

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14) This woman’s friends came to her side without her having to ask.

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15) These cats cuddled

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16) This girl met her bone marrow donor

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17) These teachers finally got to be a little honest

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18) This high school graduate made creative use of her cap and gown

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19) This dog stayed with its family’s three year old daughter for 12 hours while she was missing

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20) Minnie Mouse used sign language to make sure this little fan could feel special

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21) And this girl used sign language to help out her fellow airplane passenger

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22) This grandma got a new pet

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23) This boy ensured his girlfriend’s skin care routine was completed

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24) This pup learned CPR

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25) Singer Andy Grammar was reminded that we’re all connected

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26) This mom wrote a letter to other mom’s of boys

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27) This dad made it to his son’s graduation

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28) After hoping for 100 cards on his 100th birthday, this war veteran received 50,000

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29) This boy gave a powerful speech

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30) And finally, this dog played the piano

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what July brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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May/June 2018 Favorites

Hello and welcome to another favorites post, where I hand out real life “like” buttons to things I’ve fallen in love with over the last couple months.

Let’s jump right in.

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Ear Hustle & S-Town

After catching up with almost all the podcasts I listen to regularly, I did some research to find some new ones. Among the many articles I read, these two podcasts were constantly among the top recommended, and after listening to them, I can understand why!

Ear Hustle is all about San Quentin state prison. It goes through different stories and struggles associated with people inside. I was pretty much hooked from the first episode and binged the entire series until I was caught up.

S-Town is about a mysterious man named John B McLemore, who sends an email to a journalist at This American Life, the company responsible for the widely popular Serial podcast, requesting he look into a murder that was swept under the rug in his hometown in Alabama. This journalist is then immersed into the very strange and secretive life of John B McLemore, and ultimately discovers that no murder ever took place. My sister and I binged the entire podcast during our drive to and from the mountains over Memorial Day weekend, and were left completely baffled. (find Ear Hustle here, and S-Town here)

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Love

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I’ll admit, I’m not all that great at keeping up with/finishing must watch shows, both on TV and on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. As a result, I tend to try and watch them all at once, and then never finish any. However, there are some that particularly hook me, causing me to sit down and watch them in their entirety without cheating on them with another show. Love is one of those exceptions. It is such a funny, relatable, different show that I’ve been spending a lot of quality time with lately. And since it’s third (and final) season only just came out in March, I like to think I’m not too out of the loop on this one. (find it on Netflix)

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James Bay & Shawn Mendes

In the music department, I have these two gentlemen to recommend to you. They are both ridiculously talented, and recently released albums that I’ve been listening to on repeat. And since I can never quite do the description justice, here’s how iTunes describes them:

Shawn Mendes by Shawn Mendes: “an adventures voyage of texture and tempo”

Electric Light by James Bay: “a questing set of songs that crosses into simmering funk pop, taut alt-pop, and folky electro R&B”

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Left Neglected51IB8yjROpL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

I would not even be slightly exaggerating if I said that I told everybody I know about this book. Okay, well not everyone I know, but mostly certainly everyone I came into contact with while I was reading it. It just blew my mind! The story follows a woman who, after getting in a nasty car accident, wakes up to find that her brain has completely lost contact with the left side of her body. She can’t move her left arm or left leg, she can’t see anything to the left of her center line of vision. As far as her brain is concerned, left doesn’t exist. I mean, just try not to constantly talk about it. (find it here)

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Pores No More

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I am honestly shocked that in back to back favorites posts I have a beauty product to recommend to you, but here I am. I got this guy from Ulta a little while back, and as I do with almost every new makeup product I buy, I put in my bag and never used it because I was afraid my skin would rebel/catch on fire/etc. Luckily, when I finally worked up the courage to try this bad boy, I absolutely loved it! It didn’t irritate my skin, it helped with my oily complexion and it served as a great base for my makeup. Consider me a lifelong fan! (find it here)

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White Chocolate Dipped Animal Crackers

A few weeks back my family and I drove up to spend Memorial Day weekend in the mountains. While we were there, we stopped by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. My mom and my sister were eyeing the candied apples, but not being a fan of them myself, I perused the outskirts of the store, trying to find something that suited my fancy. Enter these bad boys, stage right. They might be one of the greatest treats I have ever tried, one which I’ll never be able to deny should I find myself in the vicinity of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. (Unfortunately they don’t list these on the website, so in order to find/try them, you’ll have to go into a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store. BUMMER.)

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Imperfect Produceblack_logo

After seeing this constantly advertised across my social media platforms, I finally decided to look this company up and see what it’s all about. For those of you also wondering: much like the company name suggests, this company sends you produce that is imperfect, or in other words, isn’t pretty enough to be sold in stores. So, they sell it to you at a discounted rate. You have a few different options regarding both box size (I do the smallest box), and shipment frequency (I do every other week), and on the weekend before your box is delivered, you can log in and customize it, adding or removing fruits and veggies you want/don’t want in your box. For example, I usually leave my box the way they have it, only removing produce I know I don’t like/won’t use like lettuce or cilantro. (Note: if you want to try it, you can click here. Full disclosure: this is a referral link from my account, but if you sign up with it, we both get a credit of $10! It’s a win win!)

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The Skimm

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And finally, I bring you The Skimm. I’m not even sure where/how I found out about this, but I’m very glad I did! It’s a roundup of the day’s top news stories that gets sent to your email every weekday morning. After signing up at the beginning of May, it’s quickly become part of my morning routine. Once I get to work, I read through my email from The Skimm, clicking on any links that I want further information on, and then I officially start my day, feeling well informed on what’s happening in the world. (find it here)

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

I Went to the Dentist

So yeah, the fact that I had to include “go to the dentist” on my list of goals this year because it was the only way I was ever going to do it is a little embarrassing. But hey, it got me there, so oh well.

To be honest, when I walked in I felt like I’d forgotten how the whole thing worked. Did the cleaning come first? Or did they check for cavities first? At what point would a drill be involved in today’s visit?

Before I had time to sit in one of the waiting room chairs and try to recall the last time I’d been to the dentist—which ended up being so far back they had to search the archive files for my charts—they were calling me in.

“How are you feeling today, Kimberlee?” the woman asked as she walked me back.

I DON’T FLOSS,” said my guilty conscience.

“Fine,” said my mouth.

The woman sat me down in the chair and moved the levers up and down and back and up, until I was in position that was definitely less comfortable than before, especially now that I was looking up at a bright rectangular light that gave me flashbacks of the orthodontist.

Am I getting my braces off today?!

Nope. Maybe next time though. Come back in six weeks.

*walks back to the waiting room with a bag of dental party favors, a new set of wires that are nowhere near as inconspicuous as they promised, and a healthy dose of despair*

The woman clips a bib on me and leans me back even farther. For the briefest of moments I wonder if anyone has ever slid backwards out of the chair, but then she stacks some tools, gauze and whatever else she can fit onto my bibbed chest, and I realize that this countertop treatment must even out the gravity.

The doctor comes in and greets me and asks how I’ve been, even though we’ve never met, and I think she knows that, because she’s looking passed me at my chart, which shows it’s been a solid four seasons of Game of Thrones since the last time I was here. She takes a seat in her chair, next to me, her end table, and goes to work.

Recalling previous visits to the dentist, I wait for the terrifying metal tool she’s poking around my mouth with to make that sticking noise. The one that goes all metal detector at the beach when it finds a cavity—HERE’S ONE. AND HERE. AND HERE!

Much to my surprise however, nothing happens. My teeth are like a roll of knockoff scotch tape—they ain’t stickin’ to nothin’! Pride surges through me, and I picture them giving me an award for my superb brushing that protected my teeth all these years. But then the doctor leans back, slides her mask off and nods sympathetically.

“So it appears as though you have quite a few cavities, Kimberlee.”

Don’t you use my full name like you know me.

Apparently my teeth are “completely free of plaque” (#superbrusher) but my complete and utter lack of flossing caused there to be little cavities in between my teeth (#apparentlyflossingisforreal).

She then goes on to explain “the plan” as if my upcoming cavity intervention is as complicated as a corporate merger. I barely listen, only hearing every couple words as I wonder whether dentists are trained to sympathize with you, only to send you on your way and do a happy dance in the break room.

*dials phone*

“Honey, it’s me. Yes, I just had a patient with a good handful of cavities, go ahead and buy the boat!!”

I’ve now gone to two appointments to fill the aforementioned cavities. One of which left my mouth so numb I had to look in the mirror to put on chapstick. The other was so early in the morning I almost fell asleep, but I was so scared and vulnerable—what with the drills in my mouth and all—that I forced my eyes to stay as wide open as they can go which, picturing it now, was probably an incredibly scary sight for the dentist looking down at me.

So, some lessons learned here.

  • For real.
  • Go the dentist every year rather than every presidential term.

Hey, I’m learning.

 

Learning Internet Slang

Recently I’ve noticed that the Internet is chock-full of…well, gibberish. It seems like I’m constantly having to Google new words so I can try and understand what the hell people are talking about. I still never end up using them, but at least I feel like I have some context clues.

This got me thinking.

Since I am probably the most informed on slang—mostly because I feel like as a blogger I have to be—but still continue to struggle, it might be kind of funny to see how tuned in my family is.

So I asked them. (Well, everyone except my brother. But that’s only because I’ve heard him use some of these words so I felt like this would be too easy for him.)

All I gave them was the word. I wouldn’t give it to them in a sentence, so as to avoid giving them context clues, and I asked them all separately so they wouldn’t play off of each other.

These were the results:

1) Woke

Urban Dictionary Definition: a reference to how people should be aware in current affairs.

Natalee’s (my sister) Guess: Oh, um, like you’re really in the times. And you know what’s up. So like, if you’re drinking the fizzy water, you’re probably pretty woke, because that’s what people do now. So, you know, I’m woke.

Dad’s Guess: Like W-O-K-E? Woke just means to be highly alert.

Mom’s Guess: I feel woke, I’m ready to roll. I’m awake and ready to go.

2) Lit

Urban Dictionary Definition: When something is turned up or popping

Natalee’s Guess: Oh I know this one! Well…I don’t really know how to describe it. Umm, it means it’s a banger, that’s another term right? Like it’s really off the hook.

Dad’s Guess: That means it’s like, happenin’.

Mom’s Guess: I’ve heard this one used. Do you say, “she’s lit” or “he’s lit”? Doesn’t that mean that they are IT? Like, they’re cool.

3) Fire

Urban Dictionary Definition: incredible, hot, crazy, nice…etc

Natalee’s Guess: Can you give it me in a sentence? Because I’ve heard people say, “that’s fire” so does it mean, like, awesome, turned up? Is it the same as lit?

Dad’s Guess: The only thing I can think of is being on fire, like going 4 for 4 in a game or making three beer pong balls in a row.

Mom’s Guess: Well that one’s…dumb. That shouldn’t slang because it’s an actual thing. But I guess it has to mean you’re hot or maybe something that’s cool. Wait, is it like an oxymoron?!

4) GOAT

Urban Dictionary Definition: greatest of all time

Natalee’s Guess: GREATEST OF ALL TIME.

Dad’s Guess: Greatest of all time! Kobe Bryant!

Mom’s Guess: GREATEST OF ALL TIME! A.k.a DAD

5) Extra

Urban Dictionary Definition: over the top, excessive, dramatic behavior, way too much

Natalee’s Guess: Oh! Well…I mean, it just means extra. You’re just very in it–just all the way.

Dad’s Guess: Other than the literal meaning of wanting more of something I can’t think of what else it would mean.

Mom’s Guess: I just learned about this!! What did you tell me it meant?! Wait, hold on, let me go back in my brain. When somebody’s extra they’re…isn’t it like…shoot I didn’t pay attention. I think it means a lot, like a personality that’s difficult.

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6) Salty

Urban Dictionary Definition: Being upset, angry, or bitter as result of being made fun of or embarrassed.

Natalee’s Guess: Oh, this is when you’re upset but also sarcastic. So you’re not like “angry”, you’re just like woah, salty. You’re not really pissed, you’re just kind of…irritated.

Dad’s Guess: I would say that means you have a negative opinion on everybody. You’re just a salty old dude.

Mom’s Guess: Somebody who, like, “ooh you’re salty, spicy, you’re wild.”

7) Snatched

Urban Dictionary Definition: This term took over for “on fleek” and is often used to describe your eyebrows, your clothes, your hair—anything that looks on point.

Natalee’s Guess: Um…snatched…does that mean you’re taken over by something?

Dad’s Guess: Oh man. I can only imagine what Urban Dictionary’s definition is. Snatched….snatched…snatched…I would say uhh…snatched…that one’s almost as hard as “extra.” Hmmm…snatched. Ummm like you were ripped off?

Mom’s Guess: You’ve been kidnapped? Or maybe you are taken. You are in love.

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8) Keep it 100

Urban Dictionary Definition: To tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth

Natalee’s Guess: Tell the truth, be yourself, no bullshit.

Dad’s Guess: I would say that means to put all of yourself into everything.

Mom’s Guess: Be completely honest.

9) Bye Felicia

Urban Dictionary Definition: When someone says that they’re leaving and you could really give two shits less that they are.

Natalee’s Guess: Isn’t it the same as “boy bye”? Like bitch, get out.

Dad’s Guess: When you’re writing someone off.

Mom’s Guess: What people might say to Trump?

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10) Savage

Urban Dictionary Definition: badass, cool, someone who does not care about the consequences of his or her actions.

Natalee’s Guess: When somebody burns you or says something that is like WOAAHHHH, that is really savage, that really got you, they called you out.

Dad’s Guess: Savage would mean something that’s just ruthless—you don’t care who it offends. It would be like if I walked up to you and took the last chip off your plate even though I knew you were hungry.

Mom’s Guess: Somebody’s who is super athletic.

11) Hundo P

Urban Dictionary Definition: 100%

Natalee’s Guess: (completely sarcastically, because she, like me, had never ever heard of this) Oh, well that obviously means like, when you’re in line for a club and you have to pee but don’t want to lose your spot, so you pay someone $100 to hold your spot, and then you go to the bathroom real quick. Then when you come back, you get your $100 back, because you were never really paying them, it was more of a placeholder. But only for the VIP’s. Hundo P = VIP

Dad’s Guess: I would say that means you got lots of $100 bills in your wallet—you’re loaded.

Mom’s Guess: I think it’s when you’ve been drinking a lot and you’ve GOT TO GO.

12) Stan

Urban Dictionary Definition: overzealous fan

Natalee’s Guess: Does every letter stand for something? Like supporttalk…and then I don’t know.

Dad’s Guess: I’m thinking it’s what you call someone that’s unsociable. “That guy over there is being such a stan.”

Mom’s Guess: Someone very feminine.

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13) Ship

Urban Dictionary Definition: to endorse a romantic relationship

Natalee’s Guess: It means you, like, support

Me: Specifically…?

Her: Relationships?

Me: Correct.

Dad’s Guess: S-H-I-P? I would say what that means is you’re so hip, you’re just…I don’t know. You’re with the times.

Mom’s Guess: I don’t know, maybe like a…bigger person.

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14) OTP

Urban Dictionary Definition: one true pairing, a couple that is perfect for each other

Natalee’s Guess: um, original…true…PERSON. Like, you the realist.

Dad’s Guess: The only thing that comes to mind is from work: On Time Performance. That’s all I can think of.

Mom’s Guess: On the period. Like, you might say, “I’m OTP right now.”

 

I Love Me

A couple weeks ago my friend and fellow blogger, Allison A, posted a blog all about self love. She brought up the frustratingly common tendency we have as a population, especially as women, to not only talk down about ourselves, but to make a point not to brag about ourselves. To counter this, she asked some friends to purposefully list things they love about themselves, both to inspire self-confidence in them and empower other women (and men!) to do the same. Enter me, stage right, LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

So, in the spirit of that blog, I come to you today with a my own. But instead of asking a handful of friends, I decided to ask my mom and three aunts, four women I have long considered role models. Over the years, I’ve seen them turn a blind eye to compliments, always deflecting, always putting others first, and I wanted this to be a way that they could finally sit down and realize how wonderful they are.

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My Aunt Jacque

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(She’s the lovely lady on the left)

I love that family will always come first for me, no matter what the circumstances.

I love that I have two long term polar opposite friends, in personality, that round out parts of my personality.

I love that I have planned my financial life, so that God willing, I will always feel “secure”

I love that my very favorite thing to do is laugh.

I love that I recently realized that I don’t have to be busy all of the time. That I have earned some quiet time

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My Aunt Candee

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I love that I have made a difference in the lives of so many children. (She’s been a kindergarten teacher for 19 years!)

I love that I have a responsibility gene, gifted to me by Mary Poppins, AKA grandma…. I always give my all at work and in life in general.

I love that I am a loyal friend and confidant.

I love that I genuinely and passionately love and care about my family and would do anything for them at a moment’s notice.

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My Aunt Tracy

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I love that I belong to a fantastic family and that I am an essential part of making it fantastic! (Both my immediate family and extended family)

I love that I can get ready to go just about anywhere in a short period of time.  Doesn’t matter if I just rolled out of bed and we are going out to breakfast….or if we have a big event to go to and we get home from a volleyball tournament with 30 minutes prep time.  I can quickly pull myself together and it doesn’t take forever!

I love that I have created so many family scrapbooks (and I am sad that I haven’t continued!).  We can be sitting at home on a Friday night and one of the kids will grab a book and we can all look through it and remember the days.

I love that I am able to maintain long distance/long duration friendships and that we can get together and pick up right where we left off.

I love that at the ripe old age of 53, I still play beach volleyball two days a week….although I am hurt right now…but I plan to be back out there soon!

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My Mom, Gina

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I love that I am patient, looking for the good instead of the negative.

I love my stubborn streak.

I love that I don’t mind being alone at times, not needy for constant motion or activity.

And I love that I can be forgiving of people and past experiences.

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And finally, me!

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(That’s me on the right, alongside my mom and sister.)

I love that I’m creative, and have become brave enough over the years to fully express that.

I love my sense of humor and constant curiosity.

I love that when I put my mind to something, I can truly accomplish anything. (Like run 1000 miles in one year and hike Mt. Whitney

I love that when I get to know someone, I fully dive in and look for even the littlest quirks about them. I also love that in doing so I can often find ways to make them feel special or known.

I love that I’m constantly learning, willing to grow from mistakes, and that at the end of the day, I always try to find the positive.

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I have to say, not only was it not too hard to find things that I loved about myself when I sat down and thought about it, it was even easier after my aunts and my mom did it. (Not to mention reading Alison’s post, which started this whole movement.)

On that note, if, after reading this, you (anyone, man or woman!) are feeling inspired and empowered to make your own list, please do! And if you feel comfortable, please share! Sit down and have some “me” time and rather than criticize, compliment! Love. Own.

Let’s keep this wave going forever and ever.

My Google Search History (Part 2)

Hello and welcome back to another episode of why does Kim never close any Internet windows?

In this post a little while back, I talked about my tendency to max out the number of search windows open on my phone. And now, almost six months later, to absolutely no one’s surprise, I’ve once again reached the cusp of capacity, even though after that first post I closed every single window.

So, since this habit shows no signs of slowing down, I thought it was about time I took another dive into the mind of past Kim. What has she been Googling lately?

Let’s find out:

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1) USA vs. Russia: Miracle on Ice/2024 Olympics/Daily Curling Schedule

My best guess why: These were three different searches but I grouped them together because they were all on the same topic: The Olympics! As I’ve mentioned before, I am essentially an Olympics addict. I even make a spreadsheet every year where I keep track of medals and make notes on athletes that were especially inspiring/cute/etc.

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2) Sister Jean

My best guess why: I don’t consider myself much of a basketball fan, but during March Madness this year I was totally roped into the magic that was Sister Jean and the Loyola Chicago Ramblers. I’m still a little bummed they weren’t able to take home the championship, but there’s always next year. #TeamSisterJean4Ever

Sr.-Jean-e1522203989306

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3) Gregory Peck

My best guess why: I was recently asked who my celebrity crush was and I mentioned this guy and needed some photographic support. This window staying open is the least surprising, as I’ve caught myself on more than one occasion scrolling through and glancing at this picture. I mean…

Gregory Peck

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4) Washtucna, WA

My best guess why: Whilst on our spring break vacation in Seattle this past March, my friends and I spent a wonderful afternoon at the park, laying in the grass and watching planes fly by. At one point this teeny tiny city worked its way into the conversation and I wanted to see what it was all about. Spoiler alert: not much.

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5) Banana Bread Recipe

My best guess why: As I mentioned in this post, I’ve recently been trying to do better at not letting leftover food go to waste. So once I saw my bananas starting to turn a little more brown than I was comfortable with, I did some research on how to put them to use.

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6) Where to find mascarpone cheese in the grocery store?

My best guess why: My mom’s birthday was in April and I had one of those “I can do anything!” moments while researching recipes for birthday cakes. Little did I know, I was in WAY over my head, starting with the trip to the grocery store for the ingredients. I wandered up and down the aisles, slowly gathering what I needed, but mascarpone cheese had me totally stumped. FYI: depending on the store it’s either by the specialty cheese in the deli or by the cream cheese!

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7) Stagecoach FAQ

My best guess why: Leading up to my first ever Stagecoach Country Music Festival, I was avidly reading any and all information provided. There were definitely some good tips and tricks I found, and when I got back from the festival, I wrote my own.

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8) When was happy birthday written?

My best guess why: I mean, haven’t ever wondered? It was in 1893, by the way.

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9) Rose Bowl Parking

My best guess why: Another example of pre-event anxiety, I was desperately looking for the best way to get to and from the Rose Bowl for the Taylor Swift concert in May. If you ever find yourself in the area, park in the Parsons parking lot and take the shuttle, it’s the only way to go!

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10) What are hushpuppies?

My best guess why: Since I’m a giant baby when it comes to spicy foods, whenever I see something on a menu that I don’t recognize, I’m always quick to Google it in order to avoid profusely sweating at the table. In this case, I had absolutely nothing to worry about as a hushpuppy is just deep fried cornmeal dough.

Hushpuppies

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11) What’s the difference between forest and woods?

My best guess why: Again, have you ever really stopped to wonder? Consider me your one stop shop for fun facts you never needed to know. A wood is an area covered in trees, while a forest is a much larger area of trees, that often also includes shrubs, underbrush, etc.

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12) Where to buy Bluebell Ice Cream?

My best guess why: Little known fact (at least to me until a couple years ago): Bluebell ice cream is THE BEST ice cream. Another little known, much more heartbreaking fact: they don’t sell Bluebell in California. So after finding my mom’s dream flavor (Banana Pudding) on our recent trip to Arkansas, we were heartbroken to know we wouldn’t find it in the freezer section back home. (If you’re curious where you can find it near you, look here!)

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13) “Hoofs”

My best guess why: This one made me laugh out loud because I have absolutely no idea why I Googled it. Was I checking my spelling—which was wrong, by the way. Did I need a quick reminder what hooves looked like? Was this a typo that I got too distracted to correct? I guess we’ll never know.

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14) Badass names for plants

My best guess why: A couple months ago me, my sister and my dad spent a whole afternoon planting sunflowers, tomatoes, and peppers in our backyard. Since then, my sister has taken incredible care of them, making sure to water them every morning. I however, haven’t done much. Aside from one fateful afternoon where I was in charge of watering, and decided to take that opportunity to name all of the plants. There was one plant in particular that I thought had this buff, hardcore quality about it, and I wanted a name that would really do it justice. Unfortunately, Google didn’t really come through for me here, so I ended up naming it Denzel. IMG_4293

(In case you’re wondering, Denzel is thriving.)

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Well, that’s all for now. I’m again going to close all the windows (except Gregory Peck) and see how long it takes me to max out again. Which to be honest, shouldn’t be too long…