New Journey; New Blog Efforts

I have some big news! After two years of exploring a foreign land, meeting the locals, and discovering my passions (yes, this worked out kind of like a book), I will be ending my stay in Georgia and returning to New Jersey! I’m coming back loaded with experience and drive. Unfortunately, it took being 800+ miles from home to gain this experience. I’m a woman who needs to learn the hard way. Throwing myself into bachelorette life seemed to be the only way to figure out how to be independent and sort out what makes me happy: reading, writing, cosplay, gaming, primal eating, libertarianism, and being near my friends and family in NJ. Please make note that I didn’t say what makes me financially secure. That’s a whole different can of worms. Also note that I am happy in Georgia. I’m just homesick. My co-workers and new friends are making the decision to leave particularly difficult. Stupid co-workers and friends being all fun and nice and junk. Pfft!

With this move in mind, I need to make the most of my time left. I have sunk myself into cosplay thanks to a friend of mine down here (one of those co-workers making this all hard and whatnot!), and I’ve read a handful of new books to inspire my writing. I’ve decided I’d like to be a libertarian YA fiction author. I mean, freedom IS magical so why not play off of that? My hobbies are pretty introverted and that suits me just fine. It doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t go out with people, but that has its own snag. Because I’ll be leaving one job and not necessary settling swiftly into another, I also need to save money this last month of Georgia adventuring.

Here is my May money saving strategy.
1. Absolutely NO ordering out. Any food I eat is what I buy specifically from the grocery budget or is given to me (gift, free table at work, etc.) Also, this food will at least be gluten free. I’m demanding that of myself to gear up for getting back on primal track.
2. Only necessary electricity is used. If I’m not in that room, the lights are out and electronics are unplugged. If I’m not paying attention to the TV, it’s off. Microwave is ALWAYS unplugged except when in use. If the sun is out, the lights are off.
3. No extraneous travel. If it’s not pre-planned, I can’t spend the gas money on it. Prices are leaping back up just in time for me to need them low! It doesn’t help that my renter’s insurance folks just snatched a big chunk of change from me that was unexpected.
4. If I spend it, or must spend it (bills), write it down! Don’t lose track of what you’ve spent. Especially if you’re a cosplayer, the money can and will get away from you.
5. STICK. TO. YOUR. BUDGET.

With this strategy in place, I’ll hopefully have money for the home stretch to MomoCon and not be in the red while apartment hunting! So much to do, only 29 days in which to do it! It’s my first convention without the family to steer me, and it’s my first time cosplaying in an expected cosplay zone. Personally, between MomoCon and then Edge of the Empire game night as my last night in Georgia, I think I’m going out with a bang!

Thank you for all you’ve let me do, Georgia! See you June 3, New Jersey!

Passions should make you passionate: Coconut Shrimp Soup

Well this has been an eventful few weeks. I wish it were more positive, but a slip is a slip and I tend to go nuts and lose track of things. Three solid weeks I was on a roll. Go me! But I’m remembering just how difficult it is to get back on track for me. But anyway–!

I went apple picking in Elijay! We were able to eat apples right off the trees! Yum! Picnic didn’t work out like we’d hoped, but everyone could still enjoy the chocolate chip pumpkin brownies I made. We’ll ignore my evening at my part-time job that same day. I’ve had just about all I can take in that respect. And later on I made an unsuccessful apple pie with my half peck of apples, but I ate it anyway. Not wasting those apples for anything!

Panda Wrimos united!
Panda Wrimos united!

We’re also coming up on NaNoWriMo!! I met up with people in my area and we’re going to be meeting every week at this adorable coffee house. I might swing by on a night they have their jazz band come in. Although I think it’s a Saturday which means that’s not happening in the month of November. Bring on 50K!! I’ve never written with people before so maybe that’s what’ll get my writing off the ground.

Almost couldn't get me out of the dress for sheer excitement!
Almost couldn’t get me out of the dress for sheer excitement!

I think I’m getting kinda semi-serious about cosplay. My friend inspires me. I don’t think she thinks highly enough of the work she can do, but she’s quite talented and she’s going to help me with my Aurora dress. She’s also busy with school and life so I sympathize with her stress levels. Then I got the idea to perhaps get back into burlesque via nerdlesque because it combines two things I enjoy. And I don’t have to build two completely separate costumes necessarily if I’m doing a cosplay. I like to streamline things. Haha! But I don’t know if Atlanta has a nerd troupe like that. I mean I can still do NOT nerd related burlesque, but I think that’s my next goal as my brain frantically follows all of my interests simultaneously. I’m watching performances on youtube for further inspiration. What an incredible machine, the brain.

Featured recipe: Coconut Shrimp Soup by The Meanest Momma

Happy soup season!
Happy soup season!

It’s soup season! I could’ve started the season with a hot bowl of thick squash-type soup, but that wasn’t what my brain told me to do. My brain said, “Brenna, it’s a shrimp week. Don’t worry about needing 3 1/2 pounds of shrimp between the two recipes you found. Just get it at Kroger!” That was a mistake. The cheapest suitable shrimp was still $8 a bag and I had to devein it. Wow. Lesson learned. But shrimp was the theme of the week so I made both garlic butter shrimp over roasted broccoli and this lovely soup with a hint of heat. I’m not a pepper kinda girl and I don’t do spicy food. This was an adventure into both and I’m quite pleased with the result! The recipe is super simple and once you start cooking, it takes no time at all.

It feels so good to have a full fridge again. Maybe that’ll jump start my next clean streak. I swore that by my next convention I’d be the healthiest I’ve ever been in all my life. I’d like to hold myself to that.

 

Vacation Log

It’s a good feeling to get your act together. It’s not fun when cravings hit, but it’s fun to beat them! What’s life without some challenge, yeah? Like how you feel when you beat a video game by yourself. I haven’t experienced that in a while. Better bust out my DS again soon. And my brother reminded me of making a food log so I can see my victories and struggles. I used the template from the 21DSD. Funnily enough, the timing for 3 weeks of information covered the week before vacation, the week of vacation, and the week following vacation. It’s good to be honest when vacation is arriving. And damn I was good!

Seriously, the only “bad” days were Labor Day and the very last night before I got back into Atlanta. And Labor Day was planned. Oh man, I’m so glad that day went well. Mine and the boyfriend’s parents met for the first time. @__@ Seriously, all that morning you could’ve cut the tension with a knife. Not that *I* was worried. I was cool as a cucumber in the freezer of an Eskimo in Alaska that fell through the ice of a frozen lake. . .yup. Cool. Soon as my folks arrived, everything was lovely. I mean, other than being blatantly asked by our mothers when we’re getting married. I do love my mama. And his mother is lovely too. But c’mon ladies! Yes, I’m talking to you, mom. You know what you said. . .but it was nice to have you both there while I made whipped cream for the first time.

Our featured recipe comes from Labor Day too! I wanted to bring something because no one should show up as a guest empty handed. Finally decided on fruit with homemade organic whipped cream and organic deviled eggs. My brother and I got the ingredients from Whole Foods, made our own mayo, whipped those bad boys up, and apparently they were the greatest deviled eggs known to man. 🙂 Wasn’t expecting that. And that whipped cream. . .WOW! Never having canned crap again! It was also  really nice to spend time with my friends again. A lovely day and week all around. Apparently I’m not too bad at Pitch & Putt too. The boyfriend sounded like my mom teaching bowling when he was teaching me to golf. That’s probably the best compliment you can ever receive.

The trip up was prepped with ham and cheese slices, cashews, seaweed slices, and leftover gluten free cookies. The trip down was PaleoKrunch. And my first night home was the best meal I’ve had literally in MONTHS thanks to my brother. Glorious steak done in butter/garlic sauce and basil with a side of broccoli. Oh my freaking Grok. Close to being the highlight of vacation. But then there was the boyfriend. He’s pretty special. And discovering Child of Light, the basis for my next cosplay.

I knew coming back to Georgia would be rough although I didn’t anticipate how rough the first week back to work would be. But that’s why I kind of forgive myself for last Wednesday night’s discretions. But if that’s the worst I do–Wendy’s pretzel bun cheeseburger, some small cookies, and popcorn–I’m damn proud of myself. I decided when I got back I would throw myself into my passions. I’m writing and getting inspiration by watching Nika Harper on youtube. If you like to write and don’t know Nika Harper, go get yourself an education. I’m also going to get started on cosplay for POC and maybe even Halloween if I can wing it. The point is, I’m occupying myself with things I really love and the positive mentality is keeping my spirits up and my kitchen clean and my belly happy so as not to distract me from the important things. Things are going quite well. I hope this lasts longer than ever! We’ll ignore the raisins I just shoved down my throat. n__n

Featured Recipe: Deviled Eggs with homemade paleonnaise

These devils NEVER cry. #gamergirl
These devils NEVER cry. #gamergirl #nerd

Holy yum, Batman! This is probably one of the easiest recipes you’ll come across in all your life. Hard/Soft boil your eggs, take the yolk out, mix it with mayo and seasonings, put the yolk back in. Boom. Done. The trick is making them look pretty enough for your “in-laws” to appreciate which is when my mom taught me the spooning technique. Y’know there really should be a better term for addressing your significant other’s parents before y’all are officially in love according to the government. Oh gubment.

Anyway, the hardest part about this was making the mayo. It’s easy to wiz the four or so ingredients together, but there’s a tricky balance. To me, since my brother let me take charge in terms of taste, it started off tasting too oily. We added a dash more vinegar. Then it was too much vinegar. But we made it work once we added it to the egg yolk along with our other seasonings like garlic powder and salt and a hint of pepper. Like I said before, apparently these were the best deviled eggs ever made. They were quite delicious. Go team organic!