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To the Families in Uvalde: I Hope the Sea Splits for You

There are a lot of important conversations happening in the wake of the absolutely monstrous tragedy that took place at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday.

The weight of the lives lost—the where and how—is unbearable, and the why remains so far beyond understanding, I have trouble even asking the question out loud.

We all want to fix it, to say something that will take the events of that day back, or, at the very least, ensure that something like this will never and could never happen again.

I understand that want and that need, and I will continue to listen and contribute to the conversations and elections that hopefully will make that difference.

But when I was reflecting on what happened in Texas. When I thought of the families and the children and the teachers. As I bared a fraction of the pain that they are carrying right now, I kept having one image come to mind: The ocean.

I kept imagining being in the middle of the ocean, with no idea where to go or how to stay afloat, all while the waves raged and crashed. That’s how I imagine grief like this—like losing your child to senseless violence, like seeing an unspeakable tragedy unfold in your backyard—must feel. Like unendurable chaos. Like drowning.

While many of us will read about this tragedy online, waiting for the chance to vote or advocate or donate to causes or laws that aim to prevent this from ever happening again, there are people and families that will continue to feel like they are actively drowning. Amongst all of the arguments and social media posts and anger and hatred and blame and desperation, these people will still be feeling the full weight of this grief, holding on for dear life.

And so I’m thinking about them today—thinking about you.

I know that “thoughts and prayers” is practically a cliché at this point. So I want to be clear that when I say I’m thinking about you and that I’m praying for you, it’s not vague and it’s not impersonal.

I am hopeful that I can somehow pray to exactly where you are—right there in the water.

There is a story in the bible when Moses, who is freeing slaves from Egypt, parts the Red Sea so that they can get across. It is perhaps one of the most well-known bible stories, and one that shook me as a kid. I liked to imagine walls of fish higher than the Israelites heads, swimming around like nothing was out of the ordinary, like the sea hadn’t just split in half and humans were walking through it.

And while this notion of “splitting the sea” only literally happened once, the metaphorical experience is referenced a lot in the community of faith.

In the song “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music, there is the lyric: “you split the sea so I could walk right through it.” And in the song “Graves into Gardens” by Elevation Worship, there is one that says: “You turn seas into highways.”

And so my prayer is that through the support of your family, your friends, your community, our country, and the world, you will find something to grab onto, something to help keep you afloat as you mourn. I pray that you would not focus on the why—for nothing, no answer, no reason will take this pain away or make it make sense—but rather on the who. Who you lost. Who they were and how not just their death but their life changed the world.

I pray that in time the sea will split for you. That these raging waters will turn into solid ground. That you will find a path—not out, not away, but through. Right through the center, between the high walls of fish. And I pray that you’ll find freedom on the other side. Not from the memory of those you’ve lost, but from the darkness that would gladly hold you captive forever. I pray there’s a sunrise, and every color imaginable, I pray there is good where evil thought there could be none, and I pray there is hope when it once seemed impossible.

I am thinking of you, and I am praying for you. May faith find you, right there in the water.  

Learning Internet Slang (Part 5)

It’s that time again, my friends.

Time to search the corners of the internet for the strangest slang terms in circulation and then see if my friends and family have any idea what they mean. As always (in my opinion) the guesses were better than the actual answers, and we even decided to completely redefine one of the terms—at least in the confines of our family.

Here were the results:

1) Speaking cursive

Urban Dictionary Definition: speaking so abstractly it sounds like gibberish; usually performed when intoxicated.

Dad’s Guess: Being very elegant and precise when you talk. Because cursive is impossible for me.

Natalee: You have the most “print” style writing ever.

Mom’s Guess: Quoting someone else.

Natalee’s Guess: Talking fancy? Like, “Now you’re speaking cursive.”

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2) Simp

Urban Dictionary Definition: someone who does something nice for the person they have feelings for in the hopes that it will make that person want to date them.

Natalee’s Guess: I put “so important.” As in the “s” from so and the “imp” from important, and you would say, “that’s a simp thing to remember.”

Mom’s Guess: Simple. “That’s so simp, I could do that in a minute.”

Natalee: That’s where my head went first too, but then I thought, “That’s too simple.”

Mom: Too simp?

Natalee: Exactly! That’s so simp!

Dad’s Guess: I did the same as mom. I said easy, as in, “I could do that for you, it would be totally simp.”

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3) Big yikes

Urban Dictionary Definition: a situation that has evolved from a “yikes” to a more severe type cringy, uncomfortable, embarrassing or otherwise unfortunate moment.

Mom’s Guess: Holy moly! Big yikes! Something bad.

Natalee’s Guess: Oh no. Wowza. That’s a bummer. Big yikes.

Dad’s Guess: Super scary but in a stupid sense. Like if my parents almost caught me with alcohol when I was younger, big yikes.

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4) Wheeling

Urban Dictionary Definition: used to describe the phase before two people start dating

Dad’s Guess: When you decide you’re down with being a third wheel on a date, you’re just wheeling.

Natalee: Hey guys, I’m wheeling tonight.

Everyone: OOHH I like that!

Natalee’s Guess: Following someone or going after them in a pining or obsessive way. Like, “I’m wheeling for you.”

Mom’s Guess: “I’m taking off, I’m wheeling to the beach.”

Me: *gives real definition*

Natalee: I like dad’s way best.

Me: I agree, do all parties agree that this is our new definition?

Natalee: Motion carries.

Me: *bangs imaginary gavel*

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5) Periodt

Urban Dictionary Definition: when you finish a sentence and you know you were damn right, another way of saying, “and that’s final.”

Natalee’s Guess: End of story.

Mom’s Guess: Over it. Periodt. Done.

Dad’s Guess: Mine’s horrible. I thought it was something a guy would say to his friend about how he was on his own tonight because his gal is on her cycle. Like “period time.”

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6) Curve

Urban Dictionary Definition: to ignore, avoid or sidestep someone’s obvious expression of interest through flirting or any means of advance.

Natalee’s Guess: An unexpected turn. That took a curve.

Dad’s Guess: When someone’s telling you to change the subject fast. Like if I was talking to Troy (my brother) and he saw mom coming and thought I should change the topic he would say, “curve.”

Mom’s Guess: Twisted. She cray cray. She is curved.

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7) I’m dead

Urban Dictionary Definition: you died of laughter; something was so funny that you laughed so hard you died.

Mom’s Guess: That’s when I’m in trouble with my mom. Big trouble.

Natalee’s Guess: When you are so over or cringed out by a conversation that you are dead.

Dad’s Guess: Anytime that something affects you so much that you can’t take it anymore.

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8) JOMO

Urban Dictionary Definition: Joy of Missing Out; when you cherish moments of aloneness.

Natalee’s Guess: It’s the opposite of mojo. When you’ve lost your mojo, that’s when you’re jomo. “I feel really jomo right now I need my mojo.”

Mom’s Guess: I don’t know, something with motion? Like, join the motion.

Dad’s Guess: Well that’s funny, because mine was join the movement.

Mom: Come on, jomo with me!

Dad: We’re going to the park today, come on jomo!

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9) A Karen

Urban Dictionary Definition: the kind of person who is unhappy when little things don’t go their way; the “can I speak to your manager?” kind of gal.

Mom’s Guess: Is it the opposite of bye Felicia? Instead of I’m over you, bye Felicia, it’s *smirk* hellooo Karen.

Natalee’s Guess: She’s like that voice command in your car that always goes, “please fasten your seatbelt.” She’s such a Karen. Like, she’s such a bitch.

Dad’s Guess: It’s the boomer version of a female. When a younger person feels that they are out of touch with reality or too set in their ways. “Don’t be such a Karen.”

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10) Clout

Urban Dictionary Definition: being famous and having influence.

Mom’s Guess: If you have clout you are respected.

Natalee’s Guess: Yeah, you carry weight around here. You’re important.

Dad’s Guess: Reputation that elevates your status.


 

You can find the previous version of this post here.

Learning Internet Slang (Part 4)

There are few things I enjoy more than tracking down new slang words and phrases to quiz my friends and family with. Not only do I love seeing the reaction of my poor, unsuspecting victims contestants, but I love hearing the creative responses they give as they try to figure out what on earth these words and phrases could mean.

For this installment of Learning Internet Slang, I enlisted the help of my sister, and our cousins, Spenser and Ashlynn, who we recently went to visit in North Carolina.

Here were the results:

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1) Boomer

Urban Dictionary Definition: A person from the baby boomer generation, or really anyone who is older than the person using the word; usually used if said person is being annoying or talking shit about a younger generation.

Spenser’s Guess: Baby boomers?

Natalee’s Guess: I first thought of baby boomers, but then I thought maybe it was the new “banger.”

Ashlynn’s Guess: Old people.

Me: So you use it when someone older is complaining about something the younger generation does, and the person from the younger generation would say—

Ashlynn: —okay, boomer.

Me: Exactly.

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2) NSFW

Urban Dictionary Definition: Not Suitable/Safe For Work.

Spenser’s Guess: I don’t know what this one is.

Natalee’s Guess: Not safe for work!

Ashlynn’s Guess: Do not open this email at work because it is probably dirty.

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3) Don’t @ me

Urban Dictionary Definition: A phrase used on Twitter when you say something and you don’t want people to respond directly to you because you don’t care what people have to say about your opinion.

Natalee’s Guess: Don’t come for me, don’t judge or attack me for this, I’m posting it and owning it.

Spenser’s Guess: Don’t come at me with your second tier shit, my shit is right.

Ashlynn’s Guess: Don’t blame me or involve me, don’t call me out.

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4) Finsta

Urban Dictionary Definition: A combination of the words “fake” and “Instagram.” When people have a “finsta” they post pictures they only want their closest friends to see.

Spenser’s Guess: A fine gangsta, like a good looking gangster.

Ashlynn’s Guess: When you want to say Facebook and Instagram but heaven forbid don’t want to use two separate words.

Natalee’s Guess: A fake instagram account, or secondary account.

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5) Weird flex but okay

Urban Dictionary Definition: When someone proudly boasts or brags about something that most people would find either awkward, irrelevant or just plain weird.

Natalee’s Guess: I feel like this is a strange thing to be showing off, but go for it, I guess.

Spenser’s Guess: You are strange, but I don’t want to get into it.

Ashlynn’s Guess: When someone is into something that you’re not into, and it’s a little out there but you’re supportive because you’re like, “Hey, I like you. You don’t suck.”

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6) Humble brag

Urban Dictionary Definition: A form of self-promotion where the promoter thinks they are, almost subliminally, bragging about himself in the context of a humble statement or complaint.

Spenser: I’ve never heard of this in my life. I mean, those words are two completely different things.

Natalee’s Guess: Is it like, I’m trying so hard to make this as simple as possible for you but I have so much going on?

Spenser’s Guess: Maybe it’s, I thought I was the best but it turns out I’m just really good. For example: I’m the best at rock paper scissors, I’ve literally never lost, but you beat me, so good job.

Ashlynn’s Guess: When you casually brag about something and you try to seem like it’s not a big deal but you know that it’s awesome.

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7) VSCO girl

Urban Dictionary Definition: a term used to describe a girl with a specific look; she wears oversized t-shirts or sweatshirts with Nike shorts; has Vans, Crocs, Birkenstocks, and wears a shell necklace; she always has a Hydroflask; she can’t leave home without a scrunchie and her favorite car is a Jeep.

Natalee: Did this start on TikTok?

Me: No.

Natalee’s Guess: Oh, well then this might be wrong but: a girl on Tik Tok who wears giants sweatshirts and sunglasses and is an influencer; someone who is considered cool but honestly looks kind of slouchy; they’re not trying hard, but somehow they look perfect and have 8 million followers.

Spenser: V-S? C-O? What in the hell is that? Look, I just tried to type it in my phone to write down my guess and it autocorrected to bacon.

Ashlynn’s Guess: She loves a good scrunchie. She dug the 90’s and loves big bold colors and fun outfits.

Spenser’s Guess: Okay I have two guesses. 1) a very successful colorado girl. 2) a 2020 version of a disco girl.

Ashlynn: Like the millennial version of disco person?

Spenser: Exactly.

Me: *gives the definition*

Spenser: Wait, what does VSCO stand for? I’m looking it up. Visual Supply Co? Oh, guys, it’s a photo editing app.

All of us: OOHHHHHH.

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8) No cap

Urban Dictionary Definition: no lie; to tell the truth.

Natalee’s Guess: No capitalization. Everything I’m saying is very unexaggerated and deadpan.

Spenser’s Guess: Oh, I got it. No guns allowed (as in no busting a cap) this is a street fight. As Ron Burgundy might say, the only other rules are there is no touching of the hair or face.

Ashlynn’s Guess: It’s a command. As in, stop yelling, you’re using capitalization to express a lot of angry feelings and I want you to stop. No cap. No need to yell. I’m right here and can hear you fine.

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9) Bet

Urban Dictionary Definition: same as “for sure” or “okay.”

Natalee’s Guess: This is a shout out to Troy Bolton, aka Zac Efron, I’d bet on you forever.

Ashlynn: I’m sorry, what? So you’re saying this is a direct reference?

Natalee: Yes, it’s the song he sings in the second High School Musical film. It’s iconic.

Spenser’s Guess: I took it the exact opposite. As in, “bet”, it’s a 50/50 chance, you could be right or you could be wrong.

Ashlynn’s Guess: It’s when someone is saying, “This is the truth that I’m telling you. You can bet on it.”

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10) Slaps

Urban Dictionary Definition: to describe something that is incredibly good, usually music.

Natalee’s Guess: Someone did a good job or said something that everyone likes so they say, “Slaps my man, good job.”

Spenser’s Guess: It’s a new high school dice game. It’s a combo of craps & jacks. Maybe they say, “I’m gonna be beat you at slaps, and buy some VCSO scrunchies with the winnings.”

Ashlynn’s Guess: “Yeah, great job, man.” It’s like a high five but without putting your hand in danger [of germs].

Spenser: Like a verbal high five?

Natalee: Slaps, my man.

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Bonus) CEO

Examples of the correct usage (if you were referring to me or my blog): CEO of teaching friends and family slang. CEO of italics. CEO of writing the blog the night before posting it. 

Me: On this one I want you to guess how it’s used, because the definition (Chief Executive Officer) is the same.

Natalee’s Guess: Maybe when someone does the best video of a certain challenge on TikTok or something. They would say, “You’re the new CEO of this challenge.”

Spenser’s Guess: A title that is given to the most popular boy or girl in the school. Like, “you are the CEO of this class.”

Ashlynn’s Guess: A person who wears the pants in the relationship, “the CEO of the relationship.”

 


 

You can find the previous version of this post here.

 

Learning Internet Slang (Part 3)

One of my favorite series that I do on my blog, and probably one of the most requested is when I teach my family (and myself, honestly) current slang terms that are circulating the internet. It’s always both fun to see what they come up with, and educational in that we often start using the words in the context we create because it’s way more fun than the actual definition.

This time around we also had our friend Cody in town, and it proved that for these posts, the more the merrier.

Here’s how they did:

1) Has Left the Chat

Urban Dictionary Definition: when someone has left some kind of impact, typically bad, that forces a person or group of people to check out or leave out of embarrassment or disinterest.

Natalee’s Guess: When you’re in a group chat and somebody gets roasted and then they say,  “woah,” and they leave the chat because it’s been too much.

Dad’s Guess: When you leave a conversation but you don’t think that anybody else knows you left.

Mom’s Guess: When you’re really done with a conversation and so you leave.

Cody’s Guess: When people are gaming and someone stops responding and so everyone goes, “Hey, where’s mike?” He left the chat.

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2) Skrrt

Urban Dictionary Definition: to move away, get away from somebody

Natalee’s Guess: Well it’s in an Ariana grande lyric from her song “Imagine.” “Step up to the two of us, nobody knows us, get in the car like skrrt. So going off of that I think it means we gotta go, we wanna get home and you know.

Dad’s Guess: When there’s a good looking girl around and so you say, “Bro, skrrt!

Mom’s Guess: When you see somebody and they’re eyeing you but you’re not interested so you say,  “No thank you, skrrt!”

Cody’s Guess: Making a move to the side.

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3) Mood

Urban Dictionary Definition: used to express something relatable, or to sum up your life

Natalee’s Guess: When you’re describing something that is extra. Like if someone said they are eating a bunch of McDonalds after work, that’s a whole mood. 

Dad’s Guess: I think it’s the combination of “dude” and “mood” to describe when two dudes are having a moment of friendship, a mood.

Mom’s Guess: When you’re trying it get in to a club and you say,  “Mood dude, let me in.”

Cody’s Guess: When a good song comes on, that’s a big mood.

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4) Thicc

Urban Dictionary Definition: when a person has fat in all the right places, creating sexy curves

Natalee’s Guess: Do you remember that movie Summer Catch? There was a guy in that movie, Marcus, and he loved thicc women.

Dad’s Guess: It’s a polite way of saying that you are not into someone, you say, “they are tough, they are thicc.”

Mom’s Guess: A lot of woman.

Cody’s Guess: Girls with big butts.

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5) Glow Up

Urban Dictionary Definition: an incredible transformation.

Natalee’s Guess: All I can think of are those Instagram posts that got popular a couple months back where everyone was saying “then vs. now”.

Dad’s Guess: When you want to go out but you don’t want to get recognized so you put on a disguise, you glow up.

Mom’s Guess: When you’re going out on the town to party, you’re going out to get glowed up.

Cody’s Guess: Getting all prettied up to go out.

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6) Let’s Get This Bread

Urban Dictionary Definition: a phrase originally used to mean “let’s get money”.  Nowadays, the term”let’s get this bread” is more loosely defined as a sort of battlecry in a sense, calling upon the will of the person(s) to succeed, not necessarily in just gaining monetary fund.

Natalee’s Guess: The night is young, let’s get this bread, we have so much to accomplish.

Dad’s Guess: When you’re trying to help your friend get a girl you would say, “hey man, you’re butter, go get that bread.”

Mom’s Guess: When you’re wanting to, you know, get some, you want to get some bread. 

Cody’s Guess: It means to get money, to go out and have a good day.

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7) Smol Bean

Urban Dictionary Definition: someone who is innocent and/or adorable

Natalee’s Guess: It ain’t no big deal, it ain’t nothin’ but a smol bean.

Dad’s Guess: Maybe the opposite of thicc? Like a super skinny girl.

Mom’s Guess: She’s too young for you, she’s just a smol bean.

Cody’s Guess: You’d say it to someone to put them down, like, “you’re nothing, you’re just a smol bean!”

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8) Phubbing

Urban Dictionary Definition: snubbing someone in favor of your phone. 

Natalee’s Guess: Fibbing is kind of like lying, and fat with ph means something is cool, so maybe “phubbing” is lying to go somewhere cool.

Dad’s Guess: Being someone’s substitute spouse for the night, like you’re subbing for the real one.

Mom’s Guess: When you go on a binge, like, “woah, that was way too many Oreos. I’ve been phubbing all night.”

Cody’s Guess: I think it’s a replacement for “fucking” like, you’ve gotta be phubbing kidding me.

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9) Bruh

Urban Dictionary Definition: word you say when someone says something stupid.

Natalee’s Guess: A term of endearment. “That guy over there, he’s my bruh.”

Dad’s Guess: It’s just like, “what up, bruh?”

Mom’s Guess: I was also thinking it was a term of endearment for your friend.

Cody’s Guess: It’s like, “Come on, bruh, what are you doing?”

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10) Ratchet

Urban Dictionary Definition: of poor quality; very bad

Natalee’s Guess: This is an adjective and it is used to describe someone who is doing the most in the trashiest of ways.

Dad’s Guess: When you wanna kick things up a notch. “Hey guys, let’s get some Jameson and ratchet.”

Mom’s Guess: When somebody looks like a mess.

Cody’s Guess: Someone who is gross. “Bruh, she’s ratchet.”

 


 

You can find the previous edition of this post here.

Strain then Stir (Episode 7): Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings Hungry for More (Part 2)

I’m not sure how many of you watch Game of Thrones, and I’m not sure how many of you watched it last night, but if you have and you did, there is obviously A LOT to talk about. I won’t be talking about it here however, because I’m not a spoiler-er and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day, so instead I’m going to talk about food.

Food is safe, right? Food is comforting. Food is our friend. Let’s talk about food.

Checking in from last time, I am currently cooking my way through Chrissy Teigen’s second cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More, and it has yet to disappoint!

Over the last couple months, I’ve really felt like I’ve not only learned new recipes, but I’ve learned new skillzz that I can take with me into many recipes to come.

These have been some of my favorites recently:

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Vegetable Noodles

This might have been totally obvious to everyone except me, but I had no idea you could turn veggies into noodles using a vegetable peeler. I thought you had to have one of those fancy spiralizer things or, I don’t know, some other extravagant cooking tool. So imagine my surprise and delight to find the secret to one of the most delicious and healthy things I’ve eaten lately was sitting in my cluttery utensil drawer all along!

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Blueberry Cream Cheese Pancakes

When I was training for my marathon, most of my Saturday mornings were spent logging lots of miles. I dreamed about the day when I could sleep in and make a big breakfast. This past weekend, I finally got to fulfill that dream and I spent all morning dancing around the kitchen in my sweatpants, whipping up these practically perfect in every way pancakes. Fun fact: The recipe calls for buttermilk and I forgot to buy it, so I Googled substitution options and found that if you mix 1 cup of milk (even dairy free!) with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and then let it sit for 5 minutes, you have yourself a buttermilk substitute!

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Goat Cheese Nicoise

One of the biggest surprises about this cookbook for me is how much I’ve loved the salads. I would in no way consider myself a “salad person” but there has yet to be one that I haven’t loved, and this was no exception. I even went so far as to leave the lettuce completely out of the recipe because who needs lettuce when you have green beans and potatoes and goat cheese and tuna steak.

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Spicy Honey Butter Carrot Coins

I mean, the name of these should let you know that Chrissy is not messing around. She’s making carrots taste like a damn DESSERT. I could’ve have licked the pan. (I might have licked the pan)

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So yeah, it’s safe to say that I’ll recommend this book every chance I’ll get because wow, yum, hey-o and YES.

Do you have any recipes or cookbooks you’ve been loving lately?

Strain then Stir (Episode 6): Chrissy Teigen’s, Cravings: Hungry for More

One of my goals for 2019 is to cook my way through a cookbook. The whole thing. No recipes left behind.

My choice for this feat? Chrissy Teigen’s, Cravings: Hungry for More. And let me tell you, I made the right choice. Not only have the recipes been the good kind of challenging. But they’ve been absolutely delicious!

Here are some of my favorites so far:

(Note: all credit and rights to the photos belong to the team behind the cookbook.)

Salted Maple Granola

This was the very first recipe I tried, so naturally I assumed I was ruining it the entire time it was cooking. To add to that, I’ve never been a big granola person because I’m not a big yogurt person and for whatever reason I thought they were the PB&J of breakfast foods—can’t have one without the other—so I just avoided both all together. Turns out, you can totally eat granola like trail mix. And since the recipe made a big batch (I had about three medium sized mason jars full) I was able to munch on it for almost two weeks. It made for the perfect mid-morning snack!

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Veggie Couscous

It took me three trips around the grocery store to figure out where to find the couscous—which ended up being on the bottom shelf in the rice aisle, by the way—but it was worth it. Couscous ended up being the fluffy love child of rice and quinoa I never knew I needed in my life. Did you know it cooks in, like, THREE MINUTES?! Talk about instant gratification. And then this recipe called for both sweet potatoes and zucchini to be simmered on the stove in broth with cinnamon, cumin and cayenne pepper and ahhhh my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Is it possible to miss couscous? To long for it? Because that’s what’s happening.

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Roasted Carrot & Avocado Salad

Since I could probably count the number of times “a salad” was my answer to the question, “what are you making for lunch?” on one hand, it was understandable why my sister stopped in her tracks when those words came out of my mouth on a Saturday afternoon. “You’re what?” she said, and I shrugged, pulling the carrots out of the oven, trying my best not to talk myself out of the whole thing. If you happen to be a fellow salad shunner, allow me to introduce you to our new friend. This salad is DELICIOUS. The carrots. The dressing. The avocado. The crunch of the sunflower seeds. I was genuinely sad when I finished this salad and I can’t wait until I make it again.

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Thai Seared Tuna Salad

While this goal is supposed to broaden my horizons in the kitchen, it has also opened my eyes to new corners of the grocery store. I mean, would you know where to find a tuna steak off the top of your head? Because I sure didn’t. But you better believe that when I found it—at the fresh fish counter—I ordered it like I’d done it all my life. “Yes, one pound of the tuna steak please.” This is another untraditional salad recipe, and my sister and I were pleasantly surprised by how filling it was. I did forego the Thai bird chiles (because I’m a baby that can’t handle spicy foods) and the cilantro (just because I hate it) but it was still delicious and made me feel like an accomplished adult capable of cooking something both healthy and yummy. Hummy? Yealthy? You get it.

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Thus far, I’d 100% recommend this cookbook for anyone looking to spice up their life. The recipes are different than anything I’ve ever made before, but they are not impossibly difficult, which is encouraging and fun. I look forward to many more mornings, afternoons and evenings spent in the kitchen half stressing out, half excitedly stirring, all while consistently and pridefully stuffing my face. Thanks, Chrissy!

Learning Internet Slang (Part 2)

Back in June, I posted this blog where I had my sister, Natalee, and my parents guess the definitions of some popular slang words. It was an educational experience for all. So much so that I thought we should do it again.

Gotta keep up with the times, you know?

Here’s how they did:

1) Sus

Urban Dictionary Definition: short for suspect; suspicious

Natalee’s Guess: I think it means, that’s what’s up. Like, you wanna tell me I have tacos tonight? Sus.

Dad’s Guess: Short for suspect, like when a kid is talking in code and says, “I think my parents sus me.”

Mom’s Guess: I went for: “seems you suck.” S.U.S.

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2) Shoot your shot

Urban Dictionary Definition: to take a chance no matter if your fail or not, especially regarding someone you’re interested in.

Natalee’s Guess: Go for it, bro. Shoot your shot. Live your life. Get your dreams.

Dad’s Guess: Hit me with your best shot. Whatever you throw at me, I can take it.

Mom’s Guess: Tell me your opinion, let me know what you think.

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3) Tea

Urban Dictionary Definition: gossip or personal information; the scoop; news.

Natalee’s Guess: gossip. Like, that’s the tea. That’s the word on the street.

Dad’s Guess: Awake.  Like I’m still on the tea. Or if you were drunk you’d say,  “I can’t drive, I’m still on the tea.”

Mom’s Guess: I think it’s like saying, “got it.” We’re gonna go down to the shore and fish? TEA.

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4) Receipts

Urban Dictionary Definition: evidence or proof, often in the form of screenshots.

Natalee’s Guess: I’ve heard this and I know Taylor Swift talked about this but I don’t actually know what it means. In the song she sings they got their receipts and reasons” so I’m going to say facts, but not actual facts. Evidence.

Dad’s Guess: I think it means I understand. If someone told you they weren’t interested, you would say I totally understand, receipts.

Mom’s Guess: Taking it all in. Receipts. Got it.

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5) Bae

Urban Dictionary Definition: abbreviation for “before anyone else”; baby; sweetie.

Natalee’s Guess: I know what this one stands for but I said before anything else, because I like to associate it with more than humans. For example, Laycee (our family dog) is my bae.

Dad’s Guess: Boyfriend or husband. I would be mom’s bae.

Mom’s Guess: It means before all others, right? Bae? Wait. No. Before…all…wait I have to know it now. Before anyone else! That’s it!

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6) Thirst Trap

Urban Dictionary Definition: a sexy photograph or flirty message posted on social media with the intent of causing others to publicly profess their attention.

Natalee’s Guess: When you’re trying to get at someone. Like posting a dirty picture to get someone to pay attention to you. 

Dad’s Guess: A bar. Like if you were driving around you might say I’m going to stop at the first thirst trap I see.

Mom’s Guess: I said the same thing: a bar!

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7) Throwing shade

Urban Dictionary Definition: to diss someone without actually saying their name but making it obvious who you are talking about.

Natalee’s Guess: Insulting someone. I’m coming for you because I don’t like you. You have a dumb face. OOH, shade was thrown.

Dad’s Guess: Talking shit behind someone’s back. As in, why is Natalee throwing so much shade at me?

Mom’s Guess: Talking crap.

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8) Yeet

Urban Dictionary Definition: an exclamation used to express excitement; a word one may scream while propelling an object through the air at alarming speeds and heights.

Natalee’s Guess: I’m sorry, what? I have no idea. Maybe drugs? Like, “hey you got any yeet on ya? Can I score some yeet?”

Dad’s Guess: Yeah, I’m stumped on this one. Is it when you eat when you’re not hungry? I’ve been yeeting all day for no reason.

Mom’s Guess: A teenager that’s trouble. That one’s a yeet.

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9) Gucci

Urban Dictionary Definition: a versatile slang term based on the luxury fashion brand meaning okay/good/great/awesome/fresh/etc.

Natalee’s Guess: It’s all good. What’s Gucci? What’s good? What’s cracking?

Dad’s Guess: If you’re wearing it and it’s Gucci, it’s expensive. This belt is totally Gucci.

Mom’s Guess: I thought similar to dad. If you’re talking about somebody and say “oh, she’s Gucci,” it means she’s rich.

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10) Finna

Urban Dictionary Definition: abbreviation for “fixing to”. Normally means “going to”.

Natalee’s Guess: Trying to. Like I’m finna get full on tacos tonight.

Dad’s Guess: You completed your task, whatever it might have been. If you wanted to get drunk and you did, you’d say, I’m finna drunk. 

Mom’s Guess: She’s finna. As in, she’s fake, she’s plastic, she’s not real.  


 

You can find the previous edition of this post here.

Strain then Stir (Episode 5): Becoming a Member of the Squash Squad

Honest question: did you know there is more than one kind of squash?

Did you know there are more than ten different types of squash?

Yeah, well, I definitely DID NOT.

But I’m learning. And if I’m learning, than I think you should be learning—if only because squash is a delicious subject that you (and your taste buds) should know more about.

First off, let’s meet the squash family as a whole:

There’s:

  • Butternut Squash (a.k.a B’Nut)
  • Kabocha Squash (a.k.a Kabby)
  • Spaghetti Squash (a.k.a SpaSqua)
  • Acorn Squash (a.k.a Ace)
  • Sweet Dumpling Squash (a.k.a Sweetie D)
  • Sugar Pumpkin (a.k.a Sugar P)
  • Red Kuri Squash (a.k.a Big Red)
  • Delicata Squash (a.k.a DC)
  • Carnival Squash (a.k.a Carnee)
  • Buttercup Squash (a.k.a Baby B)
  • Blue Hubbard Squash (a.k.a Blubby)
  • Banana Squash (a.k.a Lil Nana)

I haven’t met the whole fam yet. In fact, I’ve really only dipped my toe into the squash squad. But if things keep going the way they’re going, I think I’m on track to be invited to Thanksgiving next year.

On that note, let me formally introduce you to the squash I already scheme with. The gourds I’m already getting down with. The—okay no, I think two was enough.

Note: All squash pictures (squash snapshots? squashots?) featured below belong to Food Network. I got them from this article, where you can find more recipes and information about the squash fam—though no cool nicknames!

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First up, Spaghetti Squash.

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SpaSqua was a love of my life I didn’t know existed for far too long. I’ve mentioned him in a previous post, but I feel it’s only fair to bring him back up—because WOW. I even have a folder on my computer marked “Spaghetti Squash recipes” that I fully intend on trying the minute I get my hands on another SpaSqua. In the meantime, here’s old faithful that first proved to me the spaghetti squash’s flavorful worth.

Spaghetti Squash

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On my to-do list:

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Next, Acorn Squash

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Ace was a squash I never thought I’d ever meet, but now that I have, I hope we never grow apart. Like any squash, I had to research what Ace was all about. How do I cut her? How do I cook her? How do I help her reach her maximum YUM? Enter this recipe stage right, which made all of my dreams come true. I made it without ground beef—because I forgot to buy it—but it was still delicious and filling and hey I feel healthy and not gross after I finished it. And I mean, what else can you ask for?

Stuffed Acorn Squash

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On my to-do list:

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And finally, Butternut Squash!

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I think it’s safe to say B’nut got his name because of his similarity in shape to a p’nut peanut. It’s also safe to say their similarities stop there—except if you count that they both have a hard exterior and a delicious surprise in the center, but other than that, they’re really totally different. After sifting through a bunch of different B’nut recipes, I ended up deciding on this pancake recipe, because I was in a breakfast for dinner type of mood, and I was pleasantly surprised at how moist and delicious they were! The recipe was super easy to follow, especially after I followed this advice on how to get a quick and easy “butternut squash mash” for the batter, and I personally thought the pancakes were great with honey on top.

Butternut Squash Pancakes

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On my to-do list:

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Y’all, just trust me on this: your world is better with squash in it. With allll the squash in it. And with fall officially here, it’s the perfect time to meet a squash you never met before. Tell them Kim sent you—some of them will know me.


 

Read the previous episode of Strain then Stir here.

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.

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.”