Hello Ember!!

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Hello Y’all! Labor Day has come and gone folks and when that happens,…you know what’s next….HARVEST!! I had the pleasure of hanging with a close friend who resides in the country over the weekend. It is so peaceful and therapeutic out there that if I wasn’t a town mouse, I sure would signup in a heartbeat to be a country one. We had the pleasure of plucking pears off the tree…something I have not done in years. I was as giddy as that rambunctious 7 year old that I was growing up. The joy of climbing trees and playing out in our backyard which was about 3 acres of lush greenery, fruit trees and a small farm. It was pure heaven. There is a stillness that the country gives that I miss because I live in the city, but getting healthy doses ever so often kind of make up for it.

I equate harvest time with pies. There are so many pies to be made around this time of the year and when the temperature starts dropping, staying in with a freshly baked pie is more tempting than being out on the town.  For the freshly picked pears resting on my countertop, I sure will be looking up some pie recipes and will be sharing the recipe I decide on.  Come to think of it, I have done a lot of cakes, buckles and cobblers recently but no pies yet, so that might be something I will consider including in my next post.  The beginning of September for some mark the end of the year. It can be amazing but it can also bring low feelings especially if you haven’t achieved what you set out to do at the beginning of the year. If you feel down about ANYTHING that you have been through from the beginning of this year up until now, stay with me…

Do Not Give Up…It’s Not Too Late. Things Can Still Change!

♥          There is a difference between being overly positive without being realistic or logical. This is not what we want or should be doing. Facing (head on) the reality of outcomes whether good or bad is one of the best ways to live. Knowing what you did right and what you can improve on is a key to moving in the right direction.

♥          Get back to the drawing board.  Look back at the steps that got you to this point and re-strategize. Maybe working out twice a week isn’t giving you the desired results, bump that up to four times a week. Maybe studying on your own isn’t helping much, then consider getting a tutor or joining a boot camp.

♥          Take a deep breath. Cry if you need to. Take a sulk day (and yes, in my world, there is such a thing as a sulk day. It’s a day I take a moment for myself and officially give myself permission to be up in my feelings; to nurse the curve balls life has thrown my way and just wallow in it aka acknowledge it, sit in it, reflect on it, and just be still for a moment.  After I’m done, I pick myself back up, encourage myself, square my shoulders, get back out there and face whatever obstacle with everything I have in me. There are no quitters here – its only over when we die.

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Life isn’t perfect folks, striving for perfection is a recipe for disaster. I have met people who strive for perfection and they are not happy, can’t ever be happy and unfortunately, will never be happy. One of my mantras in life is “I will accept 80% completion over 10% perfection”. And it has helped me change my way of seeing things in a less stressful way and in a more forgiving light.  Life is beautiful, filled with a variety of quirkiness, craziness, pleasant surprises and curve balls. Our goal is to be at peace while navigating our way through it the best we can. To be good, be strong, be honest and kind, to be considerate of others knowing fully well that what we give out is what we will get back in return. It isn’t over yet folks. Miracles do happen.

Until I come your way again, chin-up and brace yourselves because the best…is yet to come!

 

Periwinkle Starr

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Fitness Instructors From Hell!

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Hello Y’all and welcome! Fall is here!! Its been a good summer in North Texas, not that I was out in it a whole lot but it feels like 2019 has been way better.  Its been an extremely busy year but worth every darn minute. I started back up with my fitness routine and decided to take it more seriously this year because I found out that just eating salads and boring food wasn’t really cutting it for me. So, I had to get my behind back on a gym routine and see if the scale would be ‘kinder’.

Working out during the week is not an easy thing to do because I get beat up….TWICE. Now, let me explain, I am not a member of fight club by any long shot hehehe but the thing is, you go to work, have meetings, run errands and everything else. But by the end of the day, you’ve survived round one. On this particular day, I was meeting up for my regular Zumba class. I arrived on time and as I was walking in, I could see the other tired souls drudging their tired bodies into the gym as well. They looked like they didn’t want to be anywhere near the gym, but hey – ‘you’ve gotta do what you gotta do’, right?

So we get to the class and I’m looking out for the instructor and I can’t see her anywhere. It turns out she had to be away and had a duo – a guy and a lady sub for her. Now if you ever see a guy instructor in a fitness class like Zumba,  just know it’s going to be a rough night. But, here I am still hopeful about it not being so bad until the class starts. This duo are not human, THEY ARE MACHINES. The lady not only wants us to do ALL the moves but scream as we do them. There is no hiding place in the  back folks because she was right there with us screaming at us to scream louder. Her face is beet red and she screams through the mic attached to her head piece, ‘I can’t hear you’ like four inches from some ladies face. I’m awake by then…Ha Ha! Just let me know how many decibels you require Ms. Jillian Michaels. But wait…

Timeout! Timeout! Timeout!

Today is Tuesday. Its way too early in the week to be this excited, we barely survived Monday – that happened just a couple of hours ago. But oh no – they keep going. At this point, I am totally out of sync because in my mind, peoples feet aren’t supposed to move that fast and besides I came here to get my heart pumping and not to have it explode all over my organs. Just then, out of the corner of my eyes, I see my friend take a step and next thing I see she’s flat out on the floor – BAAM! The instructor runs over to see if she’s okay. Just as she says she’s fine, the instructor lets Arnold Schwarzenegger’s half brother takeover. Now we’re really screwed. People start leaving, dropping out like flies.  We look like sweat lodge participants by this time. But they keep going. For some weird reason, the word ‘on steroids’ keeps floating around in my head somewhere…Ha Ha! But we made it through without anyone dialing 911. No heart attacks. No nothing. We just got two rounds of beating is all. That scale better be nice to me tomorrow or else…LOL.

Until I come your way again, feel free to share your fitness horror stories with me. Please follow, like and comment. Bye for now!!!

 

Periwinkle Starr

 

 

 

 

The Beauty Of It All.

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Hello Y’all! Hope you are doing well in your part of the world? It’s been great in North Texas right until I remembered that school will be back in session real soon; I literally went from a solid six to a two…on the ‘patience for traffic’ scale and yes, I made that up LOL. Anyways, I am going to savor the nicely flowing traffic with the occasional wreck here and there before the madness begins. The high point of my week has been my discovery of one of my favorite ice cream places very close to my work – simple pleasure of life get me everytime.  But on a more serious note, there has been so much going on in the news lately. The saddest and most horrendous things have happened in quick succession that burying my head in the sand or pretending that it does not exist is no longer an option.

Hmmm…(Sigh)

These days people are afraid of people. Afraid to interact. People react because of a mindset that expects a negative outcome even when there isn’t a threat and I feel we are slowly being conditioned so much so that we isolate ourselves thereby widening the wedge between us as people, as humans. Life is too short to keep walls when there are tremendous opportunities to be gained by interaction and community and I am not just writing this but I am speaking to myself as well. Now, I’m not recommending going out and hugging strangers on the street but just having an open mind about every circumstance we find ourselves in before concluding the worst.  My life Mantra that I try to follow is to:

Give everyone a clean slate…to show you who they really are.

Until then, I feel like we can make use of those freed up brain cells for doing more relaxing or productive things instead of waiting for the next shoe to drop…which in most cases never does; or when it does drop, it’s the ones we don’t expect that surprise us the most.  We live in a fallen world and there will always be bad things or bad breaks happening all around us (and even to us sometimes) but the goal is to be able to see the beauty of life despite the negativity, despite the trials. I’m not a good horse rider but I love love the idea of the blinders they place on the horses head that force it to keep looking straight ahead and not at the noise and distractions happening on each side. I made up my mind a long time ago to not let people, events or bad breaks make me cynical, hardened and bitter. In my opinion, that’s too much power that no one deserves to have over me. I decided not to let a bunch of bad apples ruin the bunch – whatever that means or however it applies to you and I.

Anyways, Fall is around the corner and before you know it, we will start our progression towards the years end. Until I come your way again, stay safe, upbeat and open to the things we do find beautiful in life.

 

Periwinkle Starr

 

The Baking Frenzy – Cherry Cake and Tea Breaks!

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Hello Y’all!! I hope you’re doing amazingly well in your corner of the globe. The heat wave is on and there’s no getting away from the mugginess and hell-ish atmosphere we are going to be stuck with for the next couple of months.  Trust me when I say we have it ‘nicer’ in North Texas – I had to be in McAllen, Texas (a small town near the Gulf of Mexico)and when I stepped off the plane, I was welcomed with a wave of heat, a tight vacuum of hot air and beautiful palm trees. 🙂 The sunlight over there is pretty intense. Its almost too bright that at certain angles, it can be blinding. But I survived it….and that’s all that matters.  The weekend was all things ’90 Day Fiancé – Happily Ever After Reunion Part 1. And yes, I said PART ONE… hehe. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, please do so. I promise you it will be worth your while…ahem (fake cough), that is if you love reality TV and all the craziness that comes with it!

On a brighter note, Summer is here and there’s fresh fruit every where!! I have been so occupied that I marvel at the time I find in my schedule to bake. I liken it to therapy – but with rewards LOL!  There’s fresh produce everywhere and I cannot do without trying at least one cake recipe that has fruit in it. The only ‘Disclaimer’ I’ll add is that you increase your workout sessions as you enjoy these recipes because the scale don’t lie; and after a while all those ‘placing on carpet versus tile or shaking it immensely coupled with undressing down and even removing your plastic teeth aligners will not save you…LOL!

Recently, I went grocery shopping over the weekend and came upon a deal that was too good to pass on. I got a big bag of lush organic cherries for 1/3 of the price.  I only realized a couple of days later that I had to figure out what I was going to do with them before they started going bad. Something easy and quick is my go to motto for recipes unless I REALLY want to go all out. So I finally decided on a Cherry Cake Recipe in the end, so Cherry cake it was! I wasn’t planning on blogging about it until I was halfway through and it occurred to me that it would be something y’all might like to try so I hope you enjoy the photos however few they might be.

Ingredients:  2 cups fresh cherries (pitted), 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 lemon zest, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup regular yoghurt, 1/4 cup milk.

Toppings: Whipped cream, melted chocolate.

Instructions: Pre-heat oven to 350F, grease  and flour 8 inch cake pan. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Ina separate bowl, beat egg and sugar until fluffy (2-3 mins), add zest and vanilla and beat for one minute. Slowly add oil. Add yoghurt and milk and keep mixing. Slowly add flour a little at a time. Fold half the cherries into the batter and pour into the pan. Top with remaining cherries and lightly press down using a spatula. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar on top (if you wish). Bake for 40-45 minutes.

The Results Are In!!

This is such a scrumptious cake that you would probably need a fork to eat. Its very moist with bursts of juice from the cherries in literally E-V-E-R-Y bite.

So until I come your way again, be safe, stay healthy and have fun!!

 

Periwinkle Starr

Summers Here!!

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Hello Y ‘all! Its been a while since my last post. I hope you’re doing well in your part of the world? Fourth of July has come and gone. Getting a few days off to rest, be outdoors and not worry about work and deadlines is always nice. Besides, the heat is back and those delicious ice cream flavors are not going to eat themselves now. Its amazing how fast this year has run by, we are already in July and before you know it, we’ll be organizing our closets for Fall and then Winter. I have been trying to get back to being healthy but I find it so hard because when I’m on the road, its so much more difficult to make healthy choices that after a while, you just don’t.

Summers here and one of the things I like to do around this time is evaluate the year from January up to this point. Here are a few things I like to do that I feel will benefit you so stay tuned and thank me in the comment section below…ha ha!

♦      Finances: Look back on all things ‘money’. Are you saving up for the future? Is your debt going up or down and what effect does it have on your credit score?  Are you making wise choices when it comes to money and do you have a plan B just in case something unexpected happens?

♦      Health & Wellness: Are we making the right choices that will ultimately have an effect on our health. Are we staying fit, going to the gym, walking or running on a regular? Are you keeping up with your routine health checks (especially if you’re 30 and up)?

♦       Are You Keeping Up With Relationships, Friends and Family: Always checking in to ‘really’ see how you’re doing with your partner, catching coffee or in my case tea with friends. Going dancing or meeting up for drinks at happy hour really does help take the edge off adulting and everyday living.  Having a good belly laugh does wonders.

♦        Skincare & Lifestyle: These seem like an odd pair but your skin is a mirror image of your lifestyle. Something as simple as getting enough sleep at night, wearing sunscreen, brushing your teeth before bed (I know…no need to roll your eyes but it does matter), not smoking, taking off your makeup even though you’re dead tired or turning down the offer for that third drink that might seem trivial but the benefits (in the long run) are almost priceless. A little here, a little there and a few drops become a huge lake…or so I’ve heard.

♦        Play: Find time to let your inner child out. I recently went whirly balling with a group of friends and it was so fun – my body and I had a come to Jesus moment the next day LOL!! So I urge you to get out, go kayaking, hiking, explore the world around you. Get out of the work-home-grocery-repeat cycle and enjoy!!

I missed writing and I sure am glad to be back!! Feel free to tell me what you plan to do this Summer. Like, Comment and be a Starr Reader! Until I come your way again which will be sooner, be safe and have fun!!

 

Periwinkle Starr

 

Its Fun Day Monday, Let’s Bake!

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Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing well in your part of the world. It’s fun day Monday and what better way to start the work week than with a sweet treat to end a busy day.  I am trying a new recipe that I found online. A big shout out to Tieghan Gerard from Half Baked Harvest, I knew I wanted to make this from the moment I saw the outcome. This is going to be a little bit more complex than the recipes I usually make but I don’t want you running for the hills before figuring out what exactly it is.

Bursting Blueberry Cardamom Buckle!!!

I love blue berries and I think they taste great in E-V-E-R-T-H-I-N-G from muffins, cereal to pancakes. They are rich in antioxidants that help fight against aging and even are known to aid in lowering blood pressure. One of the things that make this recipe so easy to make is the fact that the ingredients are items you already have – lying around in your pantry. The only item I had to purchase was Cardamom and the grocery store brands are quite affordable so no excuses. There are three parts to this buckle. We have the batter, the berries and the crumble. Lets get started!!

Ingredients for the batter

♥ 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter melted, 2/3 cup whole milk, 2 large eggs (or alternative), 2 tsp vanilla extract.

The berries

♥ 2 tsp lemon zest, 2 cups fresh blueberries.

The crumble

♥ 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 4 tbsp salted butter at room temperature.

Lets Do This!!

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch spring form pan. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cardamom and sugar.  Add butter, milk, eggs or alternative, vanilla. Mix together and set it aside.

Rinse the blueberries. Shave the lemon (in my case lime) unto the berries and mix together.  Pour the batter into the greased pan and sprinkle the zest-ed berries unto the batter.

For the crumble, mix together the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Hand mixing works great to ensure an even distribution of ingredients. Sprinkle unto zest-ed berries and bake for 45-55 minutes until golden on top. Let cool for a few minutes after baking and serve warm.

 

I hope you enjoy! Until I come your way again, I remain

 

Periwinkle Starr

 

Boundaries: The Key to a Healthier You!

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Hello beautiful people!! Its been a fun minute since my last post. I hope you’re doing well in your part of the world. I am so excited for the weather like you won’t believe. The warmth is here. There’s more daylight to enjoy and the Duchess of Sussex JUST HAD A BAYBAY!! Anyways just  like I always say, when it comes to the weather, we can never be happy for any extended period of time so I have resigned myself to the new norm – enjoy it until you don’t! This week I’m writing about something that’s very important to our existence as human beings and it’s called boundaries; so grab a cup of tea, some biscuits and get comfy.

In the past, I always thought of boundaries as something on the external, outside of me. Ever hear of the term, ‘they invaded my personal space’. Its often used to describe physical things – separate or outside of ourselves but there is a different way of looking at it. A boundary is something that bounds or limits according to the Urban Dictionary…

My Definition of Boundaries

What I will or will not permit, what I will or will not accept, what I will or will not yield myself to either in my emotional, mental, or physical experience as a human being.

In life, there are things we have control of  and there are  things we have no control over. An example would be setting off on a trip with no control as to what happens after you leave your home to get to your said destination. Whatever comes your way during your journey – you need not get worked up or attempt to burst a blood vessel because – it’s out of your control.

Boundaries are not just physical barriers that we put up to protect, preserve or maintain order but it can also be emotional, mental as well as spiritual boundaries. Without it, we would descend into chaos. Without boundaries, we would be out of sync and we would lack peace within ourselves and I mean the peace that radiates from the inside out not the faux zen with a thriving volcano seething just beneath the surface. Here are a few areas of life where I believe you and I need to maintain healthy boundaries in order to function at our optimal best. If we are lacking or out of sync in one or more of these areas, we might need to take a closer look and re-evaluate our reality.

•   Boundaries Within Families. It is very important to have boundaries between spouses, between parents and children and between siblings because these are the closest points of influence to us. When healthy boundaries exist in a family unit, it’s great but when it’s lacking, it could be hell-ish.

•   Social Boundaries – These are your interactions with people in your social circle. It’s very vital to surround yourself with healthy, upwardly mobile and those who make you grow in ways that pleasantly surprise even you. If there’s drama, gossip, knit picking and all kinds of elementary school foolery; it’s thank you – NEXT according to Ariana Grande.

•   Work/Life Boundaries.  A saying I can never forget says, ‘Work is a part of life. Work is not equal to life’. If you find yourself spending more time at work instead of with family, I believe it’s time to break the cycle and re-establish our boundaries again. By the way, there’s nothing to feel guilty about because we’ve all faltered at some point in our lives and will continue to do so. The goal is to enjoy life and not strive for unhealthy perfection.

•   Mental Boundaries. This is taking responsibility for your own mental health, wellness, and growth. Life happens to everyone and our goal (you and I) is to choose the right things to focus on in spite of our life circumstances. Knowing when to look at the big picture of events and when to zoom in to the fine details of life is key.  Getting facials and massages are nice but being responsible for your own mental growth and overall well being is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.

•   Re-Learning the Art of ‘NO’. Have you watched a toddler that’s learning to speak. My guess is their favorite word is no. Even for the things that they do need..ha ha! Now, that’s a little too extreme but I find that there are grown adults who have literally forgotten the art of saying no. They are bent out of shape and stretched too thin by takers who care nothing about the fact that these kind souls are literally ripping at the seams and cannot muster the courage to JUST SAY NO. We have all been there and done it at some point and there is no shame or judgement here. But a time comes when you come to yourself, you realize that even if you gave all you had including the very last drop of blood in your body to these people or person, it would never be enough. This realization is the beginning of freedom which in turn leads to the re-establishment of boundaries.

So feel free to like and share your thoughts and comments with me. I hope you enjoy the weather while its still ‘nice’ out. Until I come your way again, I remain

 

Periwinkle Starr