Thoughts on turning 35

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I’m turning 35 today.

It’s one of those ages where you aren’t exactly sure where you fit in – I certainly don’t feel old, but I can’t hang with the 18-year-olds anymore, that’s for sure. That’s becoming more and more apparent during general admission concerts, where I used to wait outside for hours, then stand for several more and not feel creaky the next day. If Hanson could play seated shows from here on out, that would be great!

And at 35, I finally feel like I can do my make-up, fix my hair and cook decent meals, yet it kind of makes you panic a bit because forty is looming closer every year! There’s still so much I haven’t accomplished that I want to do before hitting “middle-age.”

I still need to buy a house; I haven’t made it to all 50 states yet; Am I saving enough for retirement??

But then I look at all the things I HAVE done and I’m pretty proud of how the last 35 years have gone.

I got married! 

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49/50 states have been checked off my bucket list.

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I’ve also traveled to Canada, Mexico, England, France, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, Greece, Iceland and some various islands in the Caribbean. 

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Not only have I paid off student loan debt, but I’ve also paid off my car. 

I’ve found my tribe. 

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Swam with dolphins.

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Met Hanson. Multiple times. 

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Donated hair (twice) to Locks of Love.

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Was a 10-year 4-H member. 

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Went on two mission trips in high school.

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Saw the Cubs win the World Series.

Written book reviews for Indianapolis South magazine. 

I’ve earned two degrees! And I’m pretty proud of my Masters of Library Science and what it has allowed me to accomplish in my career. 

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I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but these are just a few things that stand out to me when looking back over the years.

Here’s to the future and whatever God has in store for me!

 

 

Easy Cheesy Mexican Skillet Rice

I think I could eat Mexican food every night of the week. Tacos, burritos, chimichangas, chips, salsa, queso…need I go on? I also love the Mexican rice that goes along with these dishes in the more traditional Mexican restaurants, so when we have a taco night at home, I usually try to make a version of it myself.

After trying several similar recipes I found on Pinterest, I just wasn’t all that satisfied with the final product, so I started adapting them to my liking. What I ended up with is a staple that’s good enough to eat by itself!

My recipe makes enough for two people plus a little extra for leftovers. If your family is bigger, you’ll need to double up on ingredients.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup of white rice
1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 cup of water OR chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth too)
Fresh cilantro
Frozen corn (I like Trader Joe’s Mexican Style Roasted Corn)
Frozen peas and carrots
Chili powder seasoning (I also like Trader Joe’s chili lime seasoning)
Salt
Pepper
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

How to make it:

Add your rice and water or chicken broth to a large, deep dish skillet. Cook for 5 – 10 minutes, then add in the tomato sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Mix and cover; cook on medium high heat for another 10 – 15 minutes.

Make sure you stir the mixture from time to time so it doesn’t stick to the pan.

Add in the corn, peas and carrots. Cook 5 – 10 minutes more until the rice and vegetables are cooked through.

Top with fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, serve and enjoy!

*You could probably also make this in an Instant Pot. My suggestion for that would be to throw everything in the pot, cook for 8 minutes, then do a natural release for 10. I have not tested this with this recipe, but if you did do the Instant Pot instead, I would up the amount of water or broth that you use so it doesn’t dry it out.

 

The Best Murals in Louisville

“LOVE” mural: found right across the street from the Butchertown Crossfit, 37 Buchanan St. 

This past weekend my friends and I had a “Galentine’s Day” get-together in Lexington, KY. The drive from Indianapolis to Lexington takes me through Louisville, and since the day was bright and sunny, I decided to leave a few hours early to chase some street art in the city made famous by the Kentucky Derby.

I’m sure I only covered about half of the murals in town, and many of the neighborhoods I drove through had so many other pieces of street art that if you go, you might find something even more unique than the walls I found.

Flower Mural on the side of the Red Tree Furniture Store, 701 E Market St.

These next few murals are all within blocks of each other; a word of caution – this neighborhood was kind of sketchy. Since it was during the daylight, I didn’t feel terribly unsafe, but I would probably take a friend with me if I went again. These are in the Shelby Park area.

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On the side of Red Top, 1127 Logan St. I should have been paying more attention to what Red Top is because apparently it’s a gourmet hot dog place & who doesn’t love hot dogs??

This raven mural is one of my favorites! I love the literature vibes it gives off and the raven seems like it might be some kind of nod to Edgar Allen Poe.

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Right across the street from Red Dog.

This next mural, on the side of Scarlet’s Bakery screams spring! I love all the swirly pastel colors and had to take several selfies in front of this one 🙂

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Scarlet’s Bakery, 741 E Oak St

A few feet away from Scarlet’s, you will find this other bright mural with primary colors.

A few blocks over is this super cool “To the Top” mural which was designed by the Often Seen, Rarely Spoken group. They painted it on the side of Abell Elevator.

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1256 Logan St.

On the wall adjacent to To the Top, is a fun geometric mural.

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Then literally right down the street (you can see it from To the Top) is another geometric design, which from a distance is supposed to look like flowers. I didn’t see it really, but I also didn’t go across the street. I also probably should have worn sunglasses so my eyes weren’t so squinty in this photo, haha.

This next one is a favorite of mine! Also on the side of a bakery, the bacon and donuts mural is so cute! It was tricky to get this shot because it’s shorter than me and I had to prop my tripod up and angle it weird, but I think the picture turned out pretty good anyway!

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Nord’s Bakery, 2118 S Preston St.

And finally, the mecca of murals, the Greetings from Louisville mural that’s near UofL and Churchill Downs. The details that Greetings Tour puts into these murals is stunning and I hope they make it to Indianapolis one day!

1101 Central Ave.

 

 

Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

“In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the slayer.”

Welcome back to the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer…minus Buffy. In Kiersten White’s new young adult series set in the same universe, Buffy may be gone but a new slayer is picking up where season 8 ended. (For those unfamiliar with season 8, that’s because it exists in comic book form instead of on TV)

Nina and her twin sister Artemis have grown up in the Watchers Academy where they are trained to act as guides to the slayers. The girls’ mother serves on the Watcher’s Council alongside some familiar Watcher families, and Nina really wants no part of the lifestyle. Artemis has always seemed born for the storm, not her.

To top it off, Nina’s hatred of Buffy runs deep – when Buffy destroyed magic, it prevented witches from using their powers, ended the slayer line and also deeply impacted Nina’s life in more ways than one. So when it’s Nina instead of Artemis that begins to manifest slayer powers, it’s a shock to everyone at the Watchers Academy. And she really, really does not want to become a slayer.

In the first few chapters, White does a great job of catching up readers who might be unfamiliar with the Buffyverse and even though this is an original story, it fits in nicely with the tone the TV show set for it.

And just because Buffy is gone, she’s definitely not forgotten; her presence can be felt in a big way within the story, especially when Nina and her friends start taking down demons and vampires.

Slayer kicks off a new and exciting young adult series that should appeal to fantasy fans even if they didn’t grow up watching BTVS. A solid first effort.

 

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Me at Buffy’s House in Torrence, CA