An Honest Review of Every Plate From a Not-So-Great Cook
So first, you should know that I am a TERRIBLE cook. Like burns everything, can't follow a recipe, smoke-filled house kind of cook.
I've tried many subscription food boxes because I wanted to get better at cooking and because I'm terrible at coming up with recipes for dinner. I've tried all of them out there, pretty much. And usually, I find that they're really expensive, I can't recreate the meals, or the meals are so odd, my family hates them.
I gave Every Plate a try after a friend suggested it. I've received one box so far and chose the following meals (Pictured above):
And after one week of trying the box, here are the pros and cons.
Pros to this box:
Cons to this box:
All in all, Every Plate has been my favorite food box I've received to date. I think it's definitely nice to mix up your dinner routine and to not have to think about finding recipes or making shopping lists. It was fun to try new recipes and to just know what was for dinner three nights this week.
If you want to give Every Plate a try, use this link and get $20 off your first box.
Yes, Romance Does Die When You Get Married
They say romance dies with marriage. Nine years in, I can say this: romance does deaden, dull, diffuse as the years pass.
The roses he got you will be few and far between. Fancy dinners, sexy outfits, and exotic destination vacations will feel out of reach. Hot, steamy kissing sessions will take the backseat sometimes to work, exhaustion, stress, and taking the garbage out. The traditional romance from the movies will seem like a faraway star you can't quite grasp anymore.
But as the romance fades, other things take its place. Beautiful, soul fulfilling things.
The knowledge that he knows you, every part of you, and still chooses you every day. The awareness that you can be unfiltered, uncensored, and true in front of him....and he won't judge you for it. True friendship. True laughter. Easy nights on the sofa watching Netflix in sweatpants having the laugh of your life. The faith that he will go to war for you even when he doesn't know why you are battling an outside force....he takes your side unwaveringly. He is always there. Always.
Inside jokes. Sweet kisses at midnight. Your favorite ice cream flavor on a Tuesday.
Romance will dull, but bigger things will grow. Give me the friendship, the trust, the support, and the laughter over roses, candles, and wine any day.
Because to me, these are the things that make marriage and love worth it all.
An Honest Review of the NYT Bestseller 'Untamed'
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"People will like me or not, but being liked is not my One Thing; integrity is."
Glennon Doyle's "Untamed" is a self-help/memoir novel that focuses on finding your true self and not being afraid to show that self to the world. It really relies on psychology similar to Carl Jung where he talks about the Persona and the Self. The persona is the mask we show to the world, and the self is our inner truth. Glennon's book really encourages readers to go wildly after their true self and to stop masking who they are. It also really encourages readers, especially women, to trust their inner knowing.
I have a ton of quotes I underlined in this book that I found motivational and helpful. She really made me think, too, about how women are silently conditioned to be small, shy, and fragile in our society. I appreciated that unlike many books, though, she didn't just explore gender stereotypes with women; she included a chapter that explores how we are conditioning men to tame themselves as well.
I did think the first half of the book was stronger than the last half only because it felt more focused and purposeful. The last half of the book felt a bit repetitive and all over the place. Additionally, I think it is very clear what Doyle's political views are. If you had different political views that her, I think it might feel like you were being criticized at certain points in the book. I think one could take the message in certain chapters to be: Listen to your inner voice of truth, unless that voice tells you something different than Glennon's political beliefs. I am not a political person and do not align with any political party, but I definitely think in certain chapters certain political views are challenged. With that being said, I think as long as you remember that every book is an expression of the author's views and it's up to you to take what you will from it, everyone can benefit from this book.
Overall, I think this book is a read modern society should explore because in a world that praises conformity and exhaustion, Glennon reminds us to take a moment and "be still and know."
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How to improve your budgeting skills during the pandemic
We are living in scary times. The nation is in a health crisis but also a financial crisis. With so many of us losing jobs, having hours cut, or just facing financial uncertainty, a lot of us find ourselves in a major wake-up call moment in terms of our finances.
Even if you aren't facing financial hardship right now, the realization that things can change in an instant may have you considering your family's current financial position. But for so many of us used to sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to finances, where do you even begin when it comes to budgeting?
We all know that budgeting is essential to financial success. Like anything in life, you have to have a plan when it comes to what money is coming in, how you will use it, and what your long-term goals are. Budgeting can help you reach those goals and make sure that sale at your favorite store doesn't distract you from what's really important in the long-run.
I'm not a financial expert. I'm an average, middle class teacher who hates spreadsheets and enjoys sales. However, in light of the financial crisis, I've been paying more attention to our family's budget. Here are some tools and tips that have really helped me with my budgeting.
1. Focus on savings
When you're in panic mode, it's hard to look at the long-term. You want to self soothe, which means treating yourself to quick purchases that make you feel better. But those small purchases add up.
Suze Orman is a financial expert who I really admire. Her advice has always been to have savings equal to 8 months of your current household expenses. This means that you should have enough money saved to float you through eight months of essential bills and living expenses.
It might sound overwhelming, but Suze is big on emphasizing the peace of mind that comes with saving. If you keep this big goal in mind, it will be easier to stick to your budget for small expenses and say "no" to the items you don't really need.
2. Calculate an effective budget
In order for a budget to work, you need to actually have it written out in detail. You need to allocate every dollar of income to a category. But for many, this is overwhelming. So many of us hate the idea of spreadsheets and calculations. Plus, there's the confusion that surrounds a budget. How much should you really spend on each category?
I've recently come across an amazing tool that does all of the work for you. The personal budget planner at Pigly.com helps you allocate your monthly income to various categories. It allows you to adjust those categories according to your expenses, and even gives you a low and high end cost for each category. I love that it serves as a foundation to create an effective budget.
They also have other tools to help you decide if you can afford a car payment, how long credit card debts will take to pay off, and other useful financial tools that are free and easy to use.
3. Find Deals on Items You Love
Sticking to a budget doesn't mean you have to cancel all fun. There are ways to find cheap and inexpensive things to do with your family. Search coupon sites online for deals and sales on your favorite items. One of my favorite sites to find deals is the Krazy Coupon Lady. You can find entertainment, dining, and even household item deals and coupons that will save you money and help you achieve your budget.
4. Communicate with your family
In order for budgeting to work, you need to make sure your entire household is on board with your budget and financial goals. Have weekly finance meetings with your family to assess what is working, what isn't, and how you are doing at achieving your goals. You need to make sure that you are staying on track as a family.
My husband lost his job in the fall, and we have found that having weekly discussions about our finances and our goals has really helped us improve our finances and our relationship. There is less tension about our goals, our money, and our spending. We have learned to work as a team and move toward the common future we both want, which has been a really wonderful thing.
The financial crisis won't last forever, but if you follow these tips, you'll leave 2020 feeling better about your financial direction, your finances, and your control of your money.
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