Slow Cooking …In Texas!

Hey Y’all! I hope your week has been as hot as mine. If you’re in North Texas, you know that there isn’t any escape from the heat at this time of year. I was in Austin for work and found it nice and pleasant…and by nice I’m referring to 86°F of sunshine. That was heaven compared to the miniature hell hole I have found myself in the last couple of weeks 😦 I can literally cook breakfast aka make scramble eggs on the bonnet of my car – it’s not even funny anymore; and ‘No!’ There is no upside to this situation. No bag of gold at the end of this rainbow, just heat…and lots of it. Anyways, I just needed to whine for a quick second.

In spite of the heat, I found myself making excuses just to stay home in the cool and do nothing; it wasn’t long before the scale started to ‘lie on me’…ha ha!

My Turning Point

Here I was trying to figure out how I was going to get more exercise without straining myself excessively when I got a message from a friend of mine asking if I wanted to go walking in the evenings? My reply was…YES!!! I got off my couch, put on my trainers and literally ran out the door before I could convince myself otherwise. My first walk was painful…and yes I said “walk’. I didn’t realize how unfit I was. We started walking a little over 5 miles four times a week. JUST. LIKE. THAT! If i could spend time watching TV for at least an hour each day, then I could walk for an hour and some every other day. So we would meetup at a park close to both our homes and off we went. Its been almost a month since I started walking outside and I feel so much better. I’m not up to running yet but I can do a light jog…(tongue hanging out) LOL!

Benefits of Walking

You’re out in nature.  You’re breathing in natural air and not central air. You get to catch up with friends. You will improve your circulation and in turn, your heart will thank you. You will begin to loose weight at a steady pace over time instead of crash diets and killer workout routines – in this heat!!

Safety Tips When Walking

•      Have your phone on you always.

•      Walk with friends or fitness buddies.

•      Having pepper spray on you doesn’t hurt.

•      If you’ve got allergies, take medication.

•      Walk in well lit areas.

These are a few pics from my trail. Let me know what tips you can share to stay fit. until I come your way again, stay cool, fit and hydrated.

 

Periwinkle Starr

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Cooking For Friends!!

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Happy Easter!!! …and April Fools Day! Its been a minute y’all and I am so relieved that this years Fool’s Day didn’t fall on a work day. I would have walked into work skeptical that everything would be booby trapped; all thanks to the pranksters I call coworkers 😀😎 But on a more serious note, Spring is here and it’s time to get back into the swing of things.

One of my best friends and I had a pact for years where she stopped by my house on Christmas day and I at her house on Boxing day. We loved hosting!  I am no cordon bleu by any long shot but cooking for friends has been a fun hobby, something I have loved doing for ever but not as much as I would like these days. Nothing beats great company, home cooking and lots of humor… any day. The fact that we live and work in a fast paced environment where there’s a location for every meetup, we tend to loose the intimacy of being in our friends homes and getting to know them on a deeper level. For some, this might be an issue that brings anxiety but I am going to share some fun realities about cooking for friends and hosting that should set your mind at ease for the next time or the first time you have friends over at your place!!!

Fun Realities About Cooking for Friends  

  • You ‘finally’ get to clean!! If you are somewhat of a perfectionist or borderline O.C.D., you can skip over this point. But for those who never ‘EVER’ get around to spring cleaning, the thought of having people at your home should at least scare you into action…at least for their sake..ha ha! There is a saying I have heard that ‘the state of your personal space or dwelling is a reflection of your mind’. So look around you😨

 

  • You can finally see your dinner table!! For the mass majority, we are the generation that eats the most meals in front of the TV. Having guest over will finally motivate you to get that ‘library’ off the dining table for once. Lets stop deceiving ourselves that we’re reading all 25 books at the same time. They belong on the shelf with page markers so you can pick up where you left off anytime you want. 😎

 

  • You get to perfect your hosting skills!! Don’t you just admire and look up to accomplished women or men who are seasoned at every and any thing they do? Let me give you a spoiler alert…Those skills did not pop up over night. It took practice and in many cases, a lot of failed moments. Just like a muscle that you don’t use, don’t expect to win a marathon if those legs haven’t been trained to do so. Practice makes perfect!😘

 

  • You get to use all your cookware. Don’t you find it amusing that you find things you didn’t even know you still had when planning to have guests over as well as realizing what things you DON’T have. Sometimes looking for certain items turns into a spring cleaning moment because lets be honest, – there’s are some gadgets we will never use. So finding someone who will appreciate it is way better than just taking up real estate in your space.

 

  •  You don’t always have to break the bank. 😕 You can host on a budget and still have a great time. Designate who brings what and you should be good.  At the end of the day, community is everything. Having a good laugh and just relaxing with people you care about and vice versa does good for the soul.

As always, I would love to hear from you, your fun stories, burn stories and everything in between – the first time or last time you had friends over. Until I come your way again, I remain

 

Periwinkle Starr

Kayaking on Lake Grapevine!!

 

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Hello Y’all and welcome Fall 2017! I hope you’re enjoying the cooler weather these past couple of days that it’s been so nice outdoors. I have always wanted to go kayaking but the timing has been far from perfect. This time, there were few people from my meetup group who were going and I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to finally try my hands at it.

Prior to the trip, it seemed everyone and I mean E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E had an opinion about kayaking on Lake Grapevine; Even the checkout guy at the sports store said ‘the water wasn’t clear, you couldn’t see the bottom’…Wa! Wa! Wa! In my mind I’m thinking, ‘there’s a reason why it’s called a lake :/ and if you want to see crystal clear to the bottom, you’re going to have to wait a couple more weeks for Irma to be done. 😐 A friend of mine gave me a ‘what to do if you get screwed while kayaking’ list of sorts…ha ha!. Some of the items on that list were outright hilarious. One of them was: ‘If you see something huge moving around or under your kayak, paddle faster’! 😐 To where? If I might ask – when I’m right in the middle of the lake for Pete’s sake. On a more serious note, I found those tips very useful especially if you don’t plan on being a part of the 6 o’ clock evening news. :/ I also did some research and found a couple of tips that would be useful to anyone interested in the sport.

Do’s and Don’ts of Kayaking – 101

  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Let friends and family know where you’re going, when and who you’re going with.
  • Do not drink prior – No mini martinis, wine tasting events or a ‘few’ beers before.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Wear water shoes.
  • Have a water bottle to stay hydrated.
  • A whistle and a light along with your name and phone number taped to the inside of your kayak – necessary if you’re in a big body of water.
  • Wear a life jacket.
  • Wear polyester – wet clothing made of cotton against the skin makes your body lose heat at a faster rate.

Are You Ready to Paddle?

The weekend was finally here. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shinning but it wasn’t hot.  😀 I arrived a few minutes into and met other members of the group. Our instructor Steve Walls strikes me as an ‘all things outdoorsy’ type of guy. He was very friendly but firm on safety.  He was getting the first batch out on the water and then it was our turn. It was one of those days I wished I had a go – pro camera than risk damaging my phone in the water.

Getting into the kayak was when it dawned on me ‘What on earth have I gotten myself into’? After wobbling a few times, I got my balance and headed out with the rest of the team. I learnt certain tricks on how to maneuver the kayak against the tide and avoid running aground.

After the first 30 minutes of paddling, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to vomit or take a nap (I learnt that this is pretty normal to first timers) but since I was in the middle of the lake and I had signed up for TWO WHOLE HOURS of fun, there was no quitting now. 😀 😀 We made it back to the shore and it was awesome!! I hope you enjoy the outdoors while you still have it. Here are a few pictures of the beautiful Lake Grapevine!

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Special thanks to:

Steve Walls – http://www.discoverkayak.com (Certified Instructor)

Paul and Kate Kuthe – Canoe and Kayak Magazine (info source)

 

Until I come your way next time, I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Summer Games!…Are You Winning?

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Hello Y’all! I hope you’re doing amazingly well and the heat feels just as wonderful as it looks :/ If you’re in my neck of the woods, you’d know that its office volleyball season  – where co-workers get to bond outside the four walls of the office and team build – that’s putting it nicely but we do get a chance to be out in the sun, socialize, make utter fools of ourselves and have a fun time doing it 😀

I happened to be drafted into our office league after many failed attempts to convince our Supreme Leader aka Team Captain that I was better off cheering on the side than actually playing; but for some reason, he had more faith in my athletic abilities than my actual track record in ANY kind of sports. So game day arrived. Our team had been on a winning streak the past week. Our morale was high. We were pumped and scheduled to play against ‘Shots n Sets n Bulls**t’…Now I’m thinking to myself, who on earth gives their team that sort of name anyway but at this point no one cared.

Game On!!

The games begin. We had four solid players on our team; the rest of us were just bodies. I also realized much later that the goal was to actually hit the ball instead of running from it…ha ha. In the end, we got beat by ‘Shots n Sets n Bulls**t’ 2 to 1. The game was over. We  would do better next time…I meant ‘they’ 😀

But whenever I hear the word ‘Winning!’, my mind always goes to Charlie Sheen and his epic meltdown a couple of years ago. He was on rampage acting like he was doing great on the outside when his world was falling apart on the inside. How often do we come across people who appear to have it all together so much so that we’re tempted to question if we’re trying hard enough or aiming high enough in our own lives. Its almost like trying to ‘Keep Up with the Kardashians’; although beautiful in pictures they have lives that are so tumultuous a normal human being would question their sanity on a daily basis.

But in my opinion, winning in life doesn’t necessarily mean you have ALL your ducks in a row or you’ve arrived and all your dreams have or are coming true. Winning in life means you’re taking steps (whether big or small) in the right direction (however that applies to you) to meet an expected end goal with a time frame in mind. The questions we must then ask ourselves is: Are you winning in life or are you giving people the impression that you are when you’re really not doing so good? And if you’ve lost sight by living from the outside inwards instead of from the inside out; how can you get back to ‘really’ winning in every area of your life?

Looking forward to winning the next game and maybe a little more practice will help. But until I come your way again, I hope y’all have a cool and fabulous weekend!!

 

Periwinkle Starr

 

 

Are You A Runner?

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Hello Y’all! Its been a minute 😀 and I hope your week has been ‘Aah-mazing’ so far. If you’re in the States, you know you’ve hit the jackpot when you get to stay home on a Monday and pretend like you’ll sit still and do absolutely nothing…which probably never happens anyways… :/ ha ha.

Over the weekend, I was driving home from the gym. The heat is slowly beginning to creep in and its taking a bit longer to cool the car in between errands which is a mild irritant….but hey! its Texas right :/  So I get to a traffic stop and as i’m waiting on the green light, I see this couple running. I look at my dashboard and its 95 degrees  outside and I’m wondering why on earth anyone would do that to themselves in this heat and my mind flashed back to high school.

Growing up, I went to boarding school…and yes we wore uniforms (the whole nine yards). A lot of people liken it to an upscale lifestyle…but truth be told; I honestly didn’t like it and as much as it did ‘straighten me out’ according to my Mum, I have quite a few pet peeves as a result of my time spent there. I remember we had schedules for E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G and it was like boot camp – clock work – day in – day out – year in -year out. 😦 :/ There were days where we were awakened  early in the morning to go running by this annoying bell that sounded like 10 million angry elephants auditioning for the Dallas symphony orchestra at the same time. :/ And I, being the rebel I was back then remember skipping out, jogging over to my big sisters dorm room, climbing into her bunk bed and catching a few more hours of sleep while all the ‘great athletes’ ran their hearts out…’And for what’? my teenage mind would ask. In my mind, a lady was supposed to look like a lady…not the buffed up ‘manly girls’ with deep throaty voices and hairy legs that the matrons were in some way trying to transform them into…Not me sweetie, that ship had left the dock even if it couldn’t sail just yet. 😀 😀

But I do find that in life, we are all runners. Whether you’re running from something or you’re running to something. And for every individual, it all boils down to your state of mind. Scientist say, the human mind is the most powerful thing you could ever come across; but just like any smart machine, it has to be trained, re-set and reprogrammed ever so often in order to function at it’s ultimate best. I like to think that the mind is likened to a computer running programs in the background while you work – in other words, your life as a whole is a product of your mindset… more than anything else.

As you go into this amazing new month of June,  I encourage you (myself included) to take some time to re-evaluate, ponder, breathe and reset your mind so you can be up and running in the right direction – whatever that means in your personal life. I invite you to share your thoughts in the comment section but better still become an amazing Starr reader by following this blog. Until I come your way sooner 😀 I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Green Thumb?…Or Not

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Hey Y’all! I hope your weekend has been as windy as mine. 😀 Hangouts are the norm these days especially with the weather being so nice and it not being too hot; but like any lazy day, the conversation often turns to what I like to call ‘what if’ situations. You know it  kind of goes downhill from there…ha ha!

With ‘ALL’ of the movies on global meltdowns, apocalypses and world wide destruction; the question came up…’what if there were suddenly no grocery stores, I mean no stores whatsoever, no farmers markets…NO NOTHING!’ There was a 30 second silence until (as always) Emma blurts out, ‘we’re all screwed’. 😐 Everyone busted out laughing. I laughed so hard there were tears in my eyes so much that my stomach hurt. If such a thing ever happened, the only survivors would be the ‘Swamp People’ and the ‘Last Alaskan Bush People’ followed by a few farmers. For the rest of us… the shows over 😦 😦

Hard Truth

After reflecting on the reality of this hard truth, I have resolved to try my hands at growing an urban garden! I think that’s pushing it a little. I am going to try my hands at growing a couple of veggies. Now if you’re like millions of regular people (myself included) or you’re a city slicker, a suburbanite or a townie and you have no skills whatsoever on how to grow anything edible past a 6 month marker, I encourage you to take this challenge.

P.S. That cactus plant sitting on your window ledge does not count…ha ha 😀

Get Help From Friends!

We ALL know someone who is a ‘Green Thumb’. Someone who has a natural talent for growing plants. Trust me, these gifted friends would be delighted and willing to share tips and tricks on how to get started. I am sharing some pictures from what I would like to call my – Urban Garden Start-Up 101. Feel free to share your experiences. For some, it would be trying to grow ‘a’ plant. For others,  it would be tips on how to keep a garden 😀 Do sign up to get the latest posts sent directly to your email. Until I come your way again,  I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Road Trips & Spring Break!

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Hello Y’all!! How have you been? Spring break is over so its back to work and reality 😀 This week, I will be sharing my thoughts on road trips. Road trips are fun! Going away forces your brain to break out of its normal routine because you’re no longer in your personal space neither are you in control so you are more or less at the mercy of the road – which could be good or bad depending on what situation you’re in. The feeling of breaking my routine and doing something fun and exciting away from home is always a welcome distraction any day. A lot of people love road trips for totally different reasons. For some, its the joys of driving for hours on end while for others, its the views – where you get to see things you’ve actually never noticed before even if you’ve probably driven past that same route a zillion times 😀

 Each road trip has its own unique experience and a story to it which I like. On this particular road trip, I got to meet Janet Esteves aka Mrs Mickey and tour her home. She is the current Guinness Book of Records holder for the most Mickey Mouse memorabilia on the planet with a collection of over 11,000 pieces that took over 40 years to accumulate.

The Tour

Walking in the front door, we were warmly welcomed by this charming lady into this exquisitely all white decor town home; it felt as if we had known each other for years. When I was invited to meet her and tour their home, I wasn’t certain on what to expect because my mind was thinking – if there are over 10,000 Mickey Mouse pieces in this home, there’s going to be a ton of stuff E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E for sure – I was mistaken. The home was very modern, beautifully decorated with tons and tons of Mickey Mouse figurines, cookie jars, ties, mugs, table cloths, key holders (you name it, she had it!) laid out or arranged so intricately and beautifully, the word ‘blown away’ is an understatement. During the walk through, I asked her how she kept track of ALL the inventory over the years; she smiled and she showed us an iPad with all of the items; no two items were the same.  😐 It was such a fun tour and an experience I won’t be forgetting in a very long time. 😀 😀

Special thanks to Mrs Mickey! 😀 Since it was a private showing, we couldn’t take any pictures but I found this link on YouTube and wanted to share it with you all. Feel free to share a road trip experience you’ve had recently. Until I come your way again next time. Ciao for now!!

Periwinkle Starr