Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

by Marianne Williamson

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fashion Week

I find fashion week completely bizarre. Where else do they take beautiful stick figures, put horrible makeup and hair on them, and make them walk in front of hundreds of people, wearing the oddest combination of clothes possible?

Although I do appreciate the creativity of the spectacle, I don't really understand it. I'd much prefer to see beautiful women of all ages, shapes, and sizes, walking down the runway looking gorgeous, in something I designed, that flatters their body type. This is my dream anyway.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New Beginnings are Scary!

"Because," she said, "when you're scared but you still do it anyway, that's brave."
Coraline by Neil Gaiman

I've always done what other people expected me to do, been who they wanted me to be. Today I am saying no more. It is my life and I'm going to live the life that makes me happy.

Living life according to other peoples' standards has done nothing but make me miserable. So I'm going to take some time, figure out what makes me happy, and then I'm going to pursue it. You may not agree with some of the choices I make, but please respect that I have the right to make them.

I have a long exciting journey ahead of me. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it in the end. You are welcome to join me on this road or cheer for me from the sidelines, but be warned if you are negative or try to control me, I will leave you behind.

I am searching for myself, not someone else's idea of who I should be. Any advice that is unasked for, will most likely be ignored, no matter how well intentioned it might be. I do promise to ask for help though if I really need it.

Faith and the Mustard Seed

The interesting thing about the mustard seed isn't really it's size necessarily. It is the fact that such a small seed becomes such a huge plant. A tiny amount of faith is turned into this enormous plan God has for your life, but first you have to step out in faith and trust Him with your future.

I find it funny that my strongest gift is faith, and although I trust the Lord completely with taking care of my needs and my future, until this year I didn't trust myself and I chose the path of least resistance. Now I know better and am making the changes necessary to ensure my future growth and happiness.

 ~ things I have learned this year ;-)

Mustard Seed

Matthew 17:20

New International Version (NIV)

 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Mustard Tree 

New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
 30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

Sunday, July 31, 2011

From a Caterpillar to a Beautiful Butterfly

I used Paint to draw this, this morning. It really makes me wonder what I could do with a graphics tablet and photoshop.

I've decided that butterflies are my theme for this year, two of my birthday cards had them on it. Plus they fit well with the journey I'm undertaking, to become the person I'm supposed to be.

*Side note...every once in a while something like this pops out of my head and completely blows me away*

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm Braver Than I Believe

"Promise me you’ll always remember: you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~ Christopher Robin

About a week ago I wrote a letter to someone who had meant an awful lot to me growing up, but because of circumstances and immaturity on both parts, we had lost touch. To my surprise a few days ago he wrote back, and actually answered a question I'd wanted to ask, but didn't, which was "why". I'd waited 18 years for that answer and I'd never have been able to read it, if I hadn't been brave enough to finally send the message. 

If there is anything that I've learned this past year, it's that you've got to listen to what the person inside you is saying, and that I'm my own best therapist. I've made more progress this year then I ever did seeing a"shrink", though I've had to face some uncomfortable truths along the way. 

Now I just have to motivate myself. Ah well, Rome wasn't built in a day!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Favorite online stores that cater to Plus Size women

Currently I live in the fashion barren wasteland called the Midwestern United States, so I've been desperately searching online for clothes that are fashionable and in my size. I've recently lost 30 lbs so have gone down as much as 2 sizes depending on the clothes. I'm finding this really, really exciting, especially since I wasn't actually trying to lose weight. My current goal is 180 lbs or a size 16/18 which might be an XL or 1X depending on the store. Here are the stores I love so far and a favorite piece from their collections:

Oh man I love this store! Beyond awesome clothing, from a lot of indie designers, in sizes up to 24. If you are looking to stand out from the crowd, and for something girly, this is the store for you. Not everything comes in plus sizes, but there are some real gems if you're willing to browse, and believe me you won't mind a bit. Lots of retro, hipster, and vintage galore and not just clothes either! They have some interesting stuff to decorate with too, including actual vintage pieces.

Like Sunday Morning Dress in A Snap

This store I really like, though you will have to translate it from Danish and remember to change the cart to whichever currency you use. It can be a bit pricier than some, but the style and fabrics are to die for and so are the sales. It is a very European style and there are not a lot of bright colors, but everything is designed to make you look fabulous. They carry sizes 12-22 (US)

Hotshot Black

They carry sizes 10-28 (US) and have some really cute clothes that won't make you look like a soccer mom. Not that I have anything against soccer moms, it's just that I'm not one and until I am, I don't want to resemble one. This store has everything you could possibly need to put together an outfit (including shoes if you wear a wide width), basically if they don't have it you probably don't need it. They also have plus size men's clothing which is not something you come across often and FREE Shipping on ALL orders! You've got to love that! I do wish that they used more natural fabrics though.

Joe Browns Tie Back Top

The main reason I like this store so much is their Retro Chic section which is so sexy. They also have a great selection of tops and graphic tees and an albeit small, but cute, selection of maternity clothes. They carry sizes 12 to 32 and their prices aren't bad either.

Lucky 13 - Hells Bells Black Satin Dress

Not so favorite online stores but mostly worth a peek at:

This store does have a nice selection and some very cute items, however the glaring absence of natural fabrics does not impress me. Of 51 dresses I could only find 8 that were made with natural fabrics. Prices tend to be a bit higher than you might be use to paying, but they do offer free shipping though and for that alone it's worth a try.

ASOS CURVE Off Shoulder Top

This store has obviously not gotten the memo that horizontal stripes and big prints really do NOT look flattering on plus size women. Basically it looks like they took clothes meant for smaller sizes and just made them bigger. The dresses are also very short, which I tend to think makes plus size women look cheap. However there are a few really cute woven tops, though very few made with natural fabrics.

Embellished Surplice Top

Well there's my list, though I don't expect everyone will agree with me. Perhaps though it will get you thinking about ways to improve your wardrobe and make yourself look just that much more fabulous, in which case I've done what I set out to do.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Pencils!

Woke up from a nap to a lovely prezzie, new colored pencils! ;-)
Now the dresses I’m designing can be in color! yay!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brats N Beans

This is the most ridiculously easy recipe and quite yummy as well.

1 lb of brats (you can also use any other kind of brat like sausage you have on hand, polish sausage is excellent with this, though I cut it up into about 1/2 inch slices)
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (I prefer the petite diced ones myself)
1 28 oz can of country style beans (like Bush's Baked Beans)
2 tbsp of molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Using a 2 quart baking dish layer the ingredients, brats on the bottom, then mix the tomatoes, beans, and molasses in a bowl, so the molasses gets incorporated and pour over brats. Put dish in oven and cook for 1 hour on 350 degrees F.

This is sooo me!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Finding My Future

I recently realized it was time to make some changes in my life. I've made too many life choices that were easy, now it's time to make some that are hard.

So the question is what do I want to do with the rest of my life and what am I supposed to do? I have considered studying costume design and/or set design and working in films and movies. If I do this I could go to quite a few schools and shouldn't have too much trouble getting into a good one.

However lately my muse has led me back to fashion design. I've sketched 15 dresses, 3 shirts, one ring, and one fascinator in the past 2 weeks. Sometimes as many as 6 things in one night, it's like a slide show playing in my head full color and everything. I'm almost wondering if I'm channeling someone, that wouldn't be unheard of for me, albeit a bit unusual. The biggest issue with this is the best schools are expensive and in big cities where I don't know anyone. The very best, Central Saint Martins, is part of the University of the Arts London, and costs about $21,000 a year just for tuition. I really wouldn't mind living in the UK, it's where I want to eventually move to anyway. I'm just not sure how I would ever get that kind of money to afford to do that. The really weird thing is that the best schools are mostly in Europe and are actually less expensive than the ones in the United States.

Even if I don't make it as a designer I could still become a stylist. Good ones make pretty good money, though they tend to do a lot of freelance work. So many possibilities, so many interesting, nearly impossible choices to make.  

I'm also worried that my age and disability could hinder my chances to do what I really want to do. Then again God never leads you to something if he doesn't have a plan for your success. I think I'm just soooo scared because it's a huge leap and I don't appear to have a net below me. I have to do it though, I should have done it 20 years ago and I didn't. It's exciting and scary and wonderful all at the same time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lisi's Pork Enchiladas

Sorry I haven't updated this in a few weeks. I've been busy trying to make enough money to pay the water/trash bill by doing HITS on Amazon Mechanical Turk. I'm up to about $28 now, so I'm almost there, yay me. I've done some transcription, which probably doesn't pay nearly enough for the time involved, but it's an interesting experience anyway, and also some studies/surveys for universities. The studies/surveys pay better but they can fry your brain a bit. Anyhow it's something I can do from home on my own time and I like that, but of course it does take time away from doing other stuff.

I'm also trying desperately to fight off a Dementor attack, but I can't seem to conjure a Patronus very well, I blame my broken wand. (The HP fans among you know what I'm talking about ;-) It's hard to keep your chin up sometimes, when you feel the walls are caving in, but I'm doing my best. Anyway without further adieu, here is my recipe for this week.

Lisi's Pork Enchiladas

1 lb of shredded pork (you can substitute any kind of shredded meat here)
1 jar of chunky salsa
1 can sliced olives (drain before using)
8 oz of shredded cheese (about 2 cups)
1 package of 10 flour tortillas (you will probably only need 7-8 depending on how full you stuff them)
2 15 oz cans of enchilada sauce (I usually use red but green would do nicely as well)
one 9 x 13 baking dish
preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix the shredded pork with the jar of salsa, olives, and about 3/4 of the cheese, set aside.

Using a dish slightly larger than the tortillas pour in about 1/2 can of enchilada sauce and then dredge the tortillas in the sauce. Pour the other half of the sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. Place sauced tortilla into baking dish and add enough filling to cover the middle of the tortilla. Roll up tortilla and place in dish seam side down. Repeat until the baking dish is full, then cover with the remaining enchilada sauce(including any leftover from dredging).

Place dish in oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Five minutes before you remove it from the oven cover it with the remaining cheese. You can turn the oven off when you do this and it will continue to cook and melt the cheese.

For the shredded pork, I just take a pork shoulder (pork loin will work as well), put it in the crockpot with a packet of Mesquite marinade and water, (about 2/3 of the way up after you put the roast in) and cook on low for about 8 hours. Makes the most awesome yummilicious pork, perfect for when pork shoulders go on sale. It makes quite a lot and you can freeze the leftovers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Roasted Garlic Cheesy Potato soup

Sometimes you want to eat something comforting, but you know you don't/won't have time to cook, this is a recipe for just such an occasion.

Roasted Garlic Cheesy Potato soup
(Very important, read entire recipe before you start)

32 oz bag of frozen O'Brien hashbrown potatoes (the kind with onions and peppers in them) I've found that the cheaper kind has smaller dices and makes a nicer soup.

1 jar of Cheesy Ragu Roasted Garlic Parmesan pasta sauce
(I am looking for a healthier substitute for this so if anyone knows of one please let me know)

1 can of diced tomatoes with roasted garlic and onion (plain tomatoes or tomatoes with onions will work as well)

1 box of Brown n Serve sausage (the precooked kind) thawed and diced (you can substitute diced ham, diced kielbasa, cooked bacon or omit it altogether for a vegetarian soup)

Turn slow cooker on low.
Add entire bag of hashbrowns, whole jar of sauce, whole can of tomatoes(juice and all), and all of the diced sausage, mix thoroughly. Then add 2 cans of water and one jar of water (you want to get all of the yummy sauce out of it so put the lid on and shake well), mix again to incorporate all of the water. Put the lid on the cooker and cook for about 8 hours. You could also cook it on high for 3-4 hours instead if you are in a hurry but make sure to stir it once an hour if you do so as it can stick otherwise.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Can't Brain Today I Have the Dumb

*grunt* *nod* *crash* *ouch* *cawwfee*
One of the lovely things about ADD/ADHD is that occasionally you wake up and find that you have no coordination and your powers of speech have vanished. Thankfully for me this does not happen everyday or it would be a huge problem. It's funny because you can still think of what you want to say but somehow all the words don't quite make it to your mouth. So instead of saying "I need some coffee" it comes out "coffee", only like a troll said it. Good morning often becomes well nothing really, kind of a grunt and a nod. Oh and forget smiling because the face hasn't mastered that one yet. The most fun part is walking. Basically you look like you are either quite drunk or a young child is behind the controls, so you walk into things...a LOT. The only thing you can do is either drink some coffee or take your medicine and wait for either or both to kick in. Makes for an interesting morning(or whatever time it was when you woke up) that's for sure. I'm having one of those right now... :(
PS Think something went horribly wrong with hubby's coffee again this morning, I have dim memories of hearing him say some choice words and filling the carafe with water. :-s

How to Make Clear Coffee

Yesterday evening I washed out the coffeepot and put everything back together. Then I got it all ready to make coffee in the morning, so all hubby had to do was turn it on. Well this morning he turned it on and after about 4 minutes he said, this is the clearest coffee I've ever seen. Even though I could have sworn I'd put coffee in the filter there was none there, personally I think Aliens took it. ;-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lisi's De-Stress Tea

I came up with this recipe one day, after I discovered how well Celestial Seasoning's Tension Tamer tea actually worked, and how much I disliked the taste of it. I thought what would happen if I mixed it with another tea? I happened to have a new tea on hand at the time which was Celestial Seasoning's Chocolate Caramel Enchantment Chai so I used that. Then after it was brewed I thought if a little chocolate is good then more would be even better so I added some hot cocoa mix to it as well. Then for good measure I added the tiniest bit of vanilla creamer to it, the result was so yummy I've been making it ever since.

Unfortunately they have since stopped making the Chocolate Chai tea but you can use their India Spice Chai instead.


2 cups boiling hot water
1 Tension Tamer teabag
1 India Spice Chai teabag
2 tbsp of hot cocoa mix (sugar free will work fine here)
1 tbsp vanilla creamer (optional feel free to substitute something else here or leave it out entirely)
*Every once in a while I'm in pain and stressed out, for those times I add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. The capsacin in the pepper is a known pain killer. It also gives the tea the nicest little kick. ;-)

Steep the teabags in the water for about 4 minutes. Remove the teabags and toss(or compost them), then add the hot cocoa mix and stir. Add the creamer and cayenne pepper and serve, this makes either one large serving or 2 smaller ones.

RIP Chocolate Caramel Enchantment Chai I'm sure gonna miss you!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


For a while now I've been using the menu planning ideas outlined in Stephanie Nelson's books to try and save money on our groceries. It's worked rather well for us, I am down to spending about $50 a week or less. This is great because, due to some rather unpleasant circumstances beyond my control, our finances have basically been cut in half since early December. Instead of just buying whatever I feel like making, I now buy the very best deals on sale and base my menu upon those items and what I already have in the house.

I've been very lucky in recent weeks to be able to stock up on all the ingredients necessary to make Lasagna.
We used to buy the On-Cor frozen lasagna at $3 each but it only made one meal for us and contained a lot of things I couldn't pronounce and too much sodium. My sister is rather famous for her lasagna so I asked her for the recipe so I could try and make my own. I found out that lasagna is actually ridiculously easy to make and the recipe is completely adaptable. This is the recipe I started with, starred items are my notes, the rest are hers:

Barbie's Lasagna
9 Lasagna noodles cooked (*this is half of a package)
1 lb or less ground beef, browned and drained.
1 30 oz jar spaghetti sauce. (I use Prego either the one with Italian sausage, or the Vegetable one), Prego is thicker. (*they don't seem to make this size anymore)
8 0z mozarella cheese grated (honestly I use a pound.)
Cook noodles. Cook meat, and drain grease, add jar of sauce and heat. Layer in baking dish (13x9x2) small amount of sauce on the bottom, then 3 noodles, then meat sauce, then cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Very easy, very yummy!! The more cheese the better!

This is how I adapted the recipe to suit us:

9 Lasagna noodles cooked (this is exactly half of a package, I use Ronzoni Healthy Harvest)
1/2 pound of Farmland Pork N Bacon Sausage (this might be a regional item but you can substitute 1/2 pound of diced bacon) cooked with
1/2 pound of ground turkey (or beef, pork, venison) browned and drained. (I actually cook 1 pound each together then freeze half for use later) 
The resulting meat is much like what you'd find in a bolognese sauce and quite yummy.
I don't recommend using just ground turkey in this recipe, the meat is rather flavorless and you really want that flavor.
1 26-28 oz jar/can spaghetti sauce (I prefer Hunt's Chunky Garden Vegetable)
2 8oz packages of grated mozzarella cheese
12 oz or 1 1/2 cups of lowfat cottage cheese (I used 1/2 of a 24oz container) to which I add
2 tsp of powdered garlic
1 tsp of oregano (you could use Italian seasoning instead but I didn't have any)

Cook noodles. Cook meat, and drain grease, add jar of sauce and heat. Layer in baking dish (13x9x2) small amount of sauce on the bottom, then 3 noodles, then meat sauce, then cheese. Next layer 3 more noodles, a small amount of sauce and then spread the cottage cheese mixture over it and more mozzarella cheese. Then repeat what you did for the first layer. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. (It seems to take longer with the cottage cheese layer added)

This is a cost breakdown 

Pork n Bacon Sausage .50 (bought on sale for 1.00 lb)
Ground Turkey 1.00 (bought for 2.00lb)
Lasagna .75 (on sale for 1.50 package)
Cottage Cheese .50 (on sale for 1.00 for a 24 oz container)
Mozzarella Cheese 2.00 (bought for 1.00 each 8 oz package)
Spaghetti Sauce 1.00 (sometimes this can be bought for even less)
Spices (cost negligible as I already had them in my pantry but you can find them for about 1.00 a jar)

Total 5.75 for 9x13 pan which makes either 3 meals or 2 meals and 2 lunches for hubby.
I freeze half for use at a later date when I don't feel like cooking.
Using these figures I saved $3.25 making it myself and got a far superior product as well.