Hoppy Easter My Lil' Bunnies

I don't know why, but I thought that would be cute title for today's post...'cause it's Easter, and Easter makes me feel extra cheesy and stuff. Now, I know for many this is a religious holiday, and that's awesome. For me, today means one thing: EASTER EGG HUNT. Call me shallow, but I am mostly concerned with finding the golden egg.

Now, you might be thinking, "What's the golden egg?" Well, I will tell you. The golden egg is an egg that is golden and it is hidden by husband'sAunt Kathy. If you win it, you get a special prize...maybe the prize is money?...anyway, it is tradition to have an Easter egg hunt in their family and it is a ton of fun. The only problem is that I kind of suck at these eggs hunts.

Everyone else is running around like, "I got seven eggs" and I'm looking down at my basket with a measly two eggs. I try to kick my egg hunting into high gear and all I see are these little kids hosing my sorry non-egg finding butt.

I realize why: I am bad at those games where things are hidden and you have to find them. Like, Where's Waldo never really worked for me. Cross word puzzles are my worst nightmare. And those ISpy books? Torture.

And yet every year we go to my husband's family Easter celebration, I somehow come down with egg hunt amnesia and I truly believe I am going to be fabulous at the egg hunt. I mistakenly think that this could be the year that I finally find the golden egg and find out what the prize is. This year would be no egg-ception to the rule.

This year: I AM GOING TO FIND THAT GOLDEN EGG!!!

And if I don't? Well, there is always next year.

So tell me, what are you doing for Easter today? Do you hope to find the golden egg or are you just looking forward to a little champagne? Leave it for me the comments section below! 

Five [Little] Minutes of Meditation

It’s five minutes...but seriously, there are some days where I feel like the world will cease turning if I take five minutes for myself. Self centered? No, anxious! Not that one is all that much better than the other. Look, I’m a busy body. I have a hard time sitting still for this reason.

The fact that for nearly three months now I have been mediating daily is a small large miracle. This fact is not lost on me, and I have to say I keep on with it because I see clear benefits from meditating. Some of these are big, like the fact that I connect with my emotions faster. I am more calm in general, which is a good thing. When I start feeling anxious, I start breathing deep and can get it under control. Others a bit smaller, like that I eat less (this was a surprise to even me, and I am not entirely sure, but it could also be related to the fact that I drink more hot tea.)

Even with the fact that I have been doing this daily, these five little minutes dog at me sometimes because I feel a little bit stuck in my practice...it's mostly for the fact that I am still at five minutes a day and I wish it were more. Now, allow me to also say that I recognize that I have this issue, like, in life. I always seem to want more. Whether it’s food or sex or now meditation--I want more!

Maybe I am simply being impatient on my road to enlightenment. You can’t rush these things. Some days I find it a struggle to get through five minutes, and other days, I find that as my five minutes is drawing to a close, I want more while at the same time, I’m ready to move on to the next task of the day. Either way, though my ability to actually sit down meditate daily for those five little minutes,  I find I still have trouble with setting aside this time for myself.

I know I can’t possibly be alone in this...tell me, what do you mean do each day that you find you have trouble with? Do you struggle to sit still while meditating or just doing things for yourself in general? Share with me in the comments section below!


Quick Fix: Rigatoni w/ Bacon Vodka Sauce

Yes, you read that correctly: BACON VODKA SAUCE. It all began, as you can imagine, quite innocently one afternoon when I told my husband I was going to make rigatoni with vodka sauce. I love vodka sauce because it has two three of my favorite things: pasta, vodka, and sauce. Then he said it: "Why don't you add bacon?!"

Brilliant!!!! The funny thing is, that my husband's contributions to recipes lately seem to exclusively include the phrase "why don't you add bacon." Not surprisingly, he is always right when it comes to bacon.

This meal can be made in about 30 minutes which makes it not only the most delicious thing you'll eat all week, but one of the easiest too. I made a recipe for four, but guess what? We ate it all. *Surprise* (Seriously though, I hope you are not surprised.)


YUM! Bacon and onions cut up and stuff. 


Throw your bacon in your pan and allow it to cook and brown. 
If you don't want that bacon fat in there, you can drain it. I don't. I like the fat. 
*No judgements!*


Then add your onions. 
Allow those to cook about 4 minutes and get all yummy/fatty/cooked.



Now, add your quart of sauce to the pan. Stir. 


Now add your vodka. YUM! 
You are gonna bring it a bubble...which is to say that you don't want your sauce going crazy boiling because red sauce will spit at ya and get all out of control. What you are going to do is basically cook down the vodka (reduce it) for 20 minutes. In the beginning, it'll be very strong with the taste of vodka, but don't worry, as it reduces, that will go away. (You know, just in case you taste it before you ought to.) 
Also, this is a great time to get your pasta water boiling and then cook your pasta. 


After it's done reducing, add your cream. Do a little moonwalk dance because you love adding cream to stuff. 


When you finish moonwalking your way across the kitchen, add some parmesan cheese. I used the cheap stuff, 'cause that's how I roll. Straight ballin'! Cook until the cheese is melted. 


My dialogue at this point goes something like this:
"Hey pasta, you feeling all hot and cooked and stuff? You ready to get smothered in some bacon vodka sauce? You naughty noodles!" 


Yep, you guessed it, I am pouring my sauce right over my drained pasta! 


Holy mother of god, this is the center of my pasta universe! 


Serve. Drool. Enjoy. 

Billie's  Rigatoni with Bacon Vodka Sauce

Time: 35-40 minutes, start to finish | Serves 4 | Difficulty: Easy 
You Will Need:

1 onion, diced
6 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
1 cup of vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 quart of marinara or other red sauce

1 pound pasta (I used rigatoni, but you can go crazy and use whatever you want)

Method:

In a skillet over medium high heat, cook your bacon until it is browned, about 10-12 minutes. If you prefer, drain fat (I don't prefer, I like the fat!)

Add onion to the bacon and cook 2-3 minutes more.

Add your quart of red sauce to the pan, stir and bring to a simmer. (You may find you need to reduce the heat a bit at this point).

Add the vodka, and simmer (I like to say, let it bubble) and reduce for 20 minutes.

While the sauce is reducing, bring a big pot of water to a boil and add your pasta. Cook according to manufacturer's directions and drain.

When the vodka is reduced, stir in the cream and combine.

Add the parmesan cheese and allow to cook until it's melted. Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and stir to combine.

Serve and devour! 

Being Mean is Cheap & Easy

Re-pin this poster if you agree! 

I read a lot about shame culture and embracing authenticity. Being as authentic as possible tends to come in handy in my line of work (which is mostly me, being myself.) So, when I was reading Brene Brown’s “Gifts of Imperfection” and came  across a sentence that said, “being cruel is cheap and easy” a lightbulb went off for me.

I talk about being kind to other people--especially women being kind to other women--and I truly believe it’s important. What is equally important is understanding why we get to a place where we become mean. If we can understand that, we can be more conscious of our behavior and seek to change it. (And this isn’t just between women...it’s in general.)

When someone says something mean or cruel to us, some of us will go into shut down mode as a response. Others of us...eh-hem me and perhaps you too...want to go into fighter mode. I can be particularly good at coming up with snappy one-liners that are particularly mean and cutting. Not proud to admit it, but it can be true.

Why do we do it? It’s easy and it’s a quick fix that acts as a salve on our hurt feelings, especially when someone is mean and we sling it back at them. If they feel just as bad or worse than we do, then we’ve gotten a fast measure of satisfaction. In the long run, though, it doesn’t actually work. Generally this behavior leads to greater divisions, more anger, and a cycle that breeds bad feelings (and mean one-liners.)

This is the thing that always gets me about human nature. We like the easy ways--being mean, eating poorly, etc--but they are generally the worse option. My mother used to hammer this home to me a lot, and I have to say it has stuck with me over the years; she would say, “It can be harder to do the right thing.” She was right. It may be harder, but it’s always better.

So, the next time that someone zings you with a mean line, action, or something that just plain hurts your feelings, how can you change your reponse? Well, it takes a little forethought. If you know that you have the ability to go into fight mode, be honest with yourself. I have replaced my own tendency toward this behavior by ALWAYS putting time in between myself and the situation.

For instance, if I get an email from someone saying something nasty about a blog post I wrote, and my feelings are hurt, I don’t write them back right away. Instead I close the email and I put at least a night’s sleep between myself and that email. If a situation happens when I am face to face with a person, or over the phone, and I don’t have the luxury of modern technology, I might ask for what I need--time!

Crafted responses where you can take out emotion tend to go over much better. Our society is often so instant, we sometimes forget that we can take our time when we need it. Sure, reacting in anger is a quick and sometimes satisfactory way to soothe our own emotional turmoil, but rarely is it the best answer to any given problem, and on an intelligent level, we know this. It's important to keep in mind that while reacting in anger may cost you later, being kind is always FREE!

I want to hear from you--do you tend toward this style of response? How do you change it or do you often give in? What are some ways that you try to be kinder when people are unkind to you? Share in the comments section below! Agree with what I have to say? Re-pin the picture above to spread the word!

Bossy Italian Wife on Delmarva Life!

Guys, I hope you are all as excited as I am about today. Why? Because this morning I am headed to WBOC, our local news station, to be included on their show Delmarva Life! I'm doing a cooking segment. It's exciting because I love being front of the camera, but also because you guys can watch me making THIS CRAB DIP RECIPE on television. All in all, I think we can agree this is fun and cool. Also, I am gonna rock a cool apron.

I'm really excited to make my television debut on WBOC and I am hoping that there will be more television opportunities in my future. *wink wink* Either way, I am super stoked to be getting a little more exposure for doing what it is I love: cooking and blogging!

I hope you will join Bossy Italian Wife on Delmarva Life, which, incidentally rhymes and has a ring to it, don't you think?!?!

You can watch the show locally at 4pm, but for my fans out there who aren't local, fear not, you can still check me out on the show. CLICK HERE to be taken away to the Delmarva Life website where you can click the calendar and watch clips. The episode I am on will air today at 4pm EST and I'll be on toward the end of the show.

I felt like this button really describes how I feel today (and really, most days!) I hope you all feel the same way I do! In honor of today being a happy day, tell me in the comment section below, what makes YOU happy?!

Bossy Italian Killer B

Ladies and 'gents get your shakers ready! Today I have a great drink for you guys that isn't too sweet, but is more a kick in the pants (in all the right ways!)

When it comes to drinking, I am a savory kind of gal. I fancy a bloody mary over a sweet cocktail any day, which presents some challenges, I do have to admit. I mean, there aren't a ton of savory cocktails out there. That was why I was SO excited when I came across the Killer B recipe on Saveur's website.

Now, the original recipe called for a pepper I couldn't find locally and it also involved gin. I'm a vodka fan, so I figured I would just make my own version of the recipe!!! It turned out really well....though I will say that I wished for a little more heat in my drink. But the flavors were good and for savory drink peeps like me, this drink--overall--is a big winner!

The most complicated thing about the drink is the simple syrup...which by definition, is supposed to be simple. But you have to let it sit overnight which means this cocktail takes a bit of planning.

Any-who, let's start with that syrup.


Let's start by cutting up some peppers. You are gonna need two spicy peppers...I have no idea what kind these are. Anyone got a clue for me? 

Also, I would like you all to take a moment to appreciate the irony of this picture. I used a green cutting board and a green knife to cut a green pepper...then I took a picture.


Simple syrup: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water. Bring it to a boil and boil until the sugar dissolves. 


Lightly crush some peppercorns. 
I realize, of course, that it looks like I am using a giant nail to accomplish this task. It only looks that way. This is actually an oyster tool meant to look like a nail. If anyone would like to send me a mortar and pestle, I would be really grateful. 


Put your pepper and your peppercorns in a vessel (I used my measuring cup) and pour the hot sugar water over top of them. 


It's pretty, no? 
Cover, allow it come to room temperature, and then refrigerate overnight. 


The next day, when you are ready for that drink, juice one lemon. 


In a shaker filled with ice, pour a big ole shot of fancy vodka. I used an ounce and a half, but hey, I'm telling you what to do or anything. 


Now, you can use a half ounce of your simple syrup...and if you want to strain your peppers and peppercorns, it wouldn't be a bad idea. Me? I suffer from a chronic impatience, so I skipped this step. Que Sera! 


Half ounce of lemon juice! 


And it's time to..... Shake your groove thang, shake your groove thang yea yea!!! 
(Show 'em how we do it!) 


And pour. 
And *sigh*


And enjoy! 
'Cause this is one KILLER drink!!!! 

Bossy Italian Killer B 
Time: Overnight + 10 minutes | Serves: 1 | Difficulty: Easy 

You Will Need: 

Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 hot peppers (I wish I could tell you what I kind I used...but I can't)

For the drink:
.5 ounces of the simple syrup
1.5 ounces of Vodka
.5 ounces of lemon juice (fresh squeezed)

Method:

Crush the peppercorns a bit and cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Place them in a cup or small bowl.

In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil and allow it to boil until the sugar dissolves. Pour the hot sugar water over the peppercorns and peppers. Allow it come to room temperature and then cover and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, you can run the simple syrup through a sieve to get out the peppers and peppercorns. In a shaker filled with ice, combine the simple syrup, lemon juice, and vodka. Shake it up really well! Pour into a glass and enjoy!


6 Types of Sex I Have

They say that our brains are wired for organization. What does that have to do with sex? Well, for the purposes of this post, EVERYTHING. You see, over time I have noticed some patterns have emerged in my sex life...that is, we have “types” of sex. Does anyone else notice this in their relationships?

Well, since I noticed it, I have been making a list of the different types of sex we have...because I like lists and I also like talking about sex. So a sex list seemed to be the perfect thing to do. Read my list, and then tell me in the comment section below (c’mon--be brave!) what your favorite type of sex is! And if there is one I’ve left out, by all means, add to my list!

Silly sex 
We have a lot of really joyful “laughy” sex where we are making jokes right up to the point of climax. I like silly sex because it’s like having sex with my best friend. Not that I have ever sex with my best friend, but it’s more what I imagine it might be like. My husband is one of my very best friends in life, but it also goes beyond that....it’s just different. Silly sex is as close as it gets to BFF sex.

Ovulation sex
Oh. My. God. Ever since I went off birth control and started ovulating, I am like a wild beast when it comes to sex during ovulation. It’s biological, and so therefore not my fault. What I can tell you is that my appetite during ovulation (despite the fact that I am not trying to get pregnant) is ravenous. So it’s gets freaky. Fre-kay. It’s awesome.

Morning sex 
I love morning sex. It’s like, “I’m already in bed and so I am ready to go.” Plus, morning wood makes this even more convenient.

Middle of the night sex 
I fall asleep somewhere between 9 and 10:30pm nearly any and every night. So, sometimes on my way to bed I’ll tell my husband, “Just wake me up if you wanna have sex later.” I love getting that late night wake up because I am somewhere in a dream state and it heightens my sensitivity. I love it.

Slow love 
A more recent development, I have to admit. It’s me, not him. I am more standoffish to really close intimate sex because I’m strange. But lately, the connection and the ability to let my guard down enough to have the really slow love is there more frequently than it has been in the past.

Business as usual sex [we could also call it “straight up sex”]
I don’t want to scare anyone by being honest about this point...but sometimes you just need to get down to business. We’ve been together nearly ten years and sometimes you just need to get laid. Fact. I don’t think either of us is uncomfortable about this. Does the end justify the means? Heck yes--there is a time and place for everything. It’s like, take your clothes off, I need sex, and I need it now. I don't have time for foreplay, mmkay?

So tell me, what's your favorite type of sex? Do you notice you have different sexy styles?!?!? Leave it in the comments section below!


Sex Partner Awareness + Giveaway Winner Announced!

When it comes to announcing my winners for my giveaways, I like everyone to feel like they are getting something....even if they aren't the "winner" per say. We're all winners, right?! Well, today, I wanted to announce my giveaway winner and share with you something a little bit funny and a little bit scary. So I guess you could say you're all getting a semi-weird sexual wake up call this Sunday morning. I aim to please, what can I say?

I came across this calculator this week and it's called "Sex Degrees of Separation." It's a calculator that tells you how many indirect sex partners you've had. For me, the words "indirect sex partners" are a little funny because I haven't thought about those people I indirectly slept with  in so long ever. 
Anyway, you plug in your number, and it gives you an even bigger, scarier number....you know, in case you wanted to know the true depths of the sexual ripple effect. 

Because I am completely unafraid, I went ahead and calculated my number. Because I am brave, I'm actually going to share it with all of you.... It was lower than average coming in at about 556,000 people. The average for my age? Close to 2 million!!! Now, I haven't had that many sexual partners , so I was astounded to learn that indirectly, over a half a million people could have been involved. Shew. I feel like I should be more tired. 

If you want to know your number....or you want to pretend like you don't want to know but you are secretly dying to find out, CLICK HERE to be truly horrified. Oh yea, and please use condoms... 

And that concludes the sex partner awareness portion of this blog post. 

Now for the winner of my giveaway this week (if I haven't scared you off already) 

......AND THE WINNER IS: 

 Rose Moschelli!!! 

CONGRATS! 

(And sorry, Will, we know that you may starve to death as a result of not winning this giveaway and so we wanted to direct you to Pear Apple's Etsy page, where you can get some towels and slowly relearn to join civilization.) 

7 Things I Don't Care About Anymore


Pleasing others
It’s not like I am aiming to displease other people, but I try to make myself happy FIRST. I find that if I do that, other people are generally happy with me as well. You only have one life to live and you might as well do it your own way. Best of all? It’s never too late to start doing it.

Gossip
I just don’t care. I have better things to talk about other than the misfortune of others and things that turn out to be mostly untrue. If you are talking about someone and saying something you wouldn’t say to their face, you should just keep it to yourself. It’s just that simple.

Counting calories
I used to diet a lot in high school. I counted calories in my early twenties. Now? For the love of god, I don’t care about calories. I indulge a little and just try to live a healthy lifestyle overall. At no point do I want to feel like I have to keep track of everything of eat--torture I tell you, torture!

That TV is bad for me
If it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. I have friends who don’t watch TV and they are awesome, but I don’t have the foggiest idea about how they do it. I love TV. I am a junkie and watch a ton of it. I don’t care about the fact that some people say you shouldn’t. It’s cheap entertainment and I’m a slave to it.

Politics
I try to care, really I do, and I used to be so [politically] charged. I guess I might have burned myself out or something. I just can’t be bothered to go too in depth anymore. Sure, I am aware that we’re a divided country--heck, I’ve got my own opinions about it all--but I just can’t care enough to engage in a passionate conversation about it. (That, and I enjoy liking people more than knowing their politics.)

Trying to be perfect 
There are a great lot of people out there trying to be perfect while pretending they aren’t trying to be perfect. I know because I used to be one of them. I’m over it. When you come over I might not have vacuumed, and there may be dishes in my sink because I’m busy just like everyone else. I’m over it, and you should be too. Oh and I get pimples still, and I’m not going to try to hide them so get over that, too.

I’m not a vegetarian, or a vegan or even anywhere close 
Do I wish I didn’t eat meat? Only once every nine years for like two seconds. I’ve done my duty--I was a vegetarian for over five years. Meat is great and I’m sorry but I’m over trying to feign feeling bad about it. I love animals just as much as the next and I believe we should treat them ethically and with love and care...before we eat them.

So what don't you care about anymore? There's gotta be something! Share it with me in the comments section below!


Quick Fix: Chef Salad

Ah, the good old chef salad. It's easy to forget about, isn't it?!? If you haven't thought of a chef salad in a while, you are in good company. I'll admit, it's one that I sometimes forget about as well..but it's a terrific way to use up that lunchmeat that you know is gonna go bad. Plus, you don't feel bad about eating all of said lunchmeat because there's the word "salad" in it.

Another point of about the chef salad is that it's pretty to look at. I like arranging all the elements of the salad and looking at them and saying, "WOW! That is one symmetrical salad!" Makes me feel good.

I didn't take a step by step picture diary of this quick fix. Call me crazy, but I somehow think you guys may know a thing or two about cutting vegetables and rolling slices of meat. So, in the name of common sense, I am just going to talk about the salad rather than  show you pictures of me chopping onions and stuff.

There are basically two elements that make a chef salad, in case you were wondering, like I was. That is the lunchmeat (it can be roast beef, turkey, ham, you get the picture) and the hardboiled egg. I love hardboiled eggs on my salads. I determine the level of fanciness of a salad by whether or not it contains a hardboiled egg.

As for the rest of the salad? It's up to you. I like to use whatever cheese I have on hand as well as onions (extra onions for my husband) and in this case, we have some radishes. Other things I like to put on my salad: artichokes, chickpeas, tomatoes, arugula, and pickled beets.

Bossy Italian Chef Salad

Serves: Two | Time: 10 minutes | Difficulty: Easy 

You Will Need:

One head of lettuce (I used romaine)
Two hardboiled eggs
Lunchmeat- I used turkey and I did about 5 pieces per salad, but this is more preference than anything)
Cheese 
*Onion
*Radish

*These are completely optional, add and subtract topping as you see fit! 

Method:

Wash and chop lettuce and distribute evenly between two plates. 

Roll your sliced lunchmeat and arrange on sides of salad. Slice cheese into halves as well and lay them out on the plate. I used a couple slices each, but you can use more or less to your liking. 

Peel hardboiled eggs and cut them in half lengthwise. Place two halves on each plate. 

Dice onions and slice radishes. Top salad with them. 

Serve with your choice of dressing and enjoy! 


BIW Versus Long Distance Relationships [VLOG!]

Long distance. It happens all the time and even more so, I find, in the age of the internet. It's hard to escape a proper go-round with the long distance beast, and I have even had my own epic fails with long distance (which you can read about in my book, A Moment With Each of My Lovers.) But can it work? Watch the video to hear what I think!



video

Now you've heard what I think--so what do YOU think? Leave it for me in the comments section below...whether you agree or disagree, let's talk about it!!! 

Testing The Product: Pam Cooking Spray

I feel obligated to admit right at the beginning here that I haven't used a product like Pam in years...like maybe eight years. That's a long time. I know that some people can't imagine life without a product like Pam, but call me crazy I'm a straight up extra virgin olive oil kind of gal. So that was the challenge: to see if there was a place in my kitchen for Pam.

There was one place that I really wanted to put this Pam to use: on my roasted potatoes. No matter how much olive oil I coat those suckers in, they invariably seem to end up stuck to my pan. And there is nothing more frustrating than that. So, this was the best place to put my Pam to the test. My skepticism, as you know, runs high with products, so my hopes for success were not high.

Well, the funny thing was....it worked. Not one of those potatoes got stuck to the pan. Can you even believe that?! I didn't even have to use a spatula! I used a dang wooden spoon. I was floored. I was excited. I was....a Pam convert?!

This is a little hard for me to swallow. Sure, I'll admit, there have been times when I wanted to cave and buy Pam and say, "Darn it all!" But I hadn't. And now, well, I sort of felt like that woman in the Prego commercial who has been buying Ragu for years and then wonders what other questionable decisions she might have made. I briefly wondered if, for instance, I should start buying marshmallow fluff again.  (For the record, I did not.)

What I did decide, though, was that a little Pam every now and again won't hurt anyone. Even though I am still a bit skeptical, I believe I can trade a little nonstick action for my pride of only using olive oil.

So what about you guys out there is cyberspace? Do you use Pam or products like it? What products have you not bought in the past that you might have recently realized you like?! Tell me in the comments section below. 

We Need To Talk: Ovulation

If you are an adult female and you are over the age of 25 and you've never had a proper conversation about ovulation, I want you to know: this is normal. I didn't say it was "right" but it's normal. Ovulation does not seem to be a subject that is breeched until a woman is trying to have children, and then--what do you know-- people wanna tell you all about it. I find this strange.

You see, when I got off birth control, something funny began to happen....my body began to act normally and I began to ovulate. At first, I had no idea what was happening. I don't believe any woman should have to wait until she is actually ovulating to find out what the heck it is. (And no, that weird video from elementary school they showed us does not count.)

Let's break it down, shall we?

What it is, exactly
Ovulation is when your egg is released into your fallopian tube. This egg has one job: to find sperm. The body, is a beautiful and miraculous thing...so while all this egg business is happening, in the name of fertilization, your body goes a little cookoo bananas.

When It happens
Day one of your cycle is the first day that you get your period. (Just so you know exactly where I am starting.) You ovulate about day 14, but this is NOT a hard and fast rule. Basically, you are gonna ovulate about two weeks into your cycle, but it's more of a "window" than an exact day. I track mine using an app for my iPhone. Yep, there's an app for THAT!

What It Feels like
I'm not skipping the grit on this one ladies and gents. Ovulating is like getting smacked with a horny monster who is taking over your body. You get...how should I say this? There's no other way: wet. Really, extremely so. And it's different from any other time in your cycle. This is one of the biggest indicators of ovulation. Your discharge becomes "stretchy" for lack of a better word.

And you want to tackle every penis ever created. Ever. Created. You know those scenes in movies where the woman is like "I'm ovulating!" and she attacks her love partner? Yes, that is probably the most accurate thing you will ever see in a movie. That is precisely what happens to me, anyway.

What else it feels like
On the day I am ovulating, I can feel a pinch on my side where the egg is coming down. I realize that I am incredibly sensitive in all things "body" but I am told a great number of women can feel ovulation, if they know what to look for. Only one egg is released each month, from either the left OR right side. Others say that they can't feel it. But tracking it is one way to know if you can or can't and how your cycle works.

When it doesn't happen, I notice
I am so familiar with ovulating now that I even notice when it doesn't happen. This is a great way to know when you are going to get your period, or to know when you haven't ovulated. This is helpful in knowing your own body (do you notice a pattern?) and knowing what is normal for you. Every woman is different and it's important to recognize the unique rhythms of your body.

How to prevent pregnancy 
As you all know, I am not on birth control anymore. If you are on birth control and it works for you, by all means, stay on it. My doctor all but prophesied my upcoming pregnancy, and as it turned out, he has a penis and knows less about vaginas that his degree and experience would give him credit for. IE- I use condoms when I know I am ovulating, or I don't have sex (which mostly never happens.)

So, I know I am not the only woman out there who is experiencing ovulation and wondering why we aren't talking about it. I want to hear about your experiences. Let's talk about ovulation, ladies! (And gents, by all means, feel free to chime in!) Leave your comments in the section below!

Stuff I Use: Knitted Dish Towels + Giveaway!

This is the last giveaway in my four weeks of giveaways and I have to say, I am REALLY stoked on this one....because it's handmade by my friend, Shaye--creator and knitter extraordinaire over at Pear Apple Knits! Shaye and I went through school together and when I say "through school" I mean elementary to high school, so our history is long.

Pretty much, Shaye is awesome and makes me smile with her sense of humor (which I dare say is much like my own.) I admire her knitting abilities because I once tried to take up knitting and found that I was horrible at it. What can I say? Some people have a gift and she is one of them. This is why I was ecstatic when she approached me about doing a giveaway for you guys!

She also gifted me two dish towels because, as you might have guessed, a gal has to test out her products. She also probably didn't want me to be jealous. I am happy to report that I love her dishtowels!  I should say I spent two days being afraid I would mess them up, but then I realized that they wash really well, and I was no longer afraid. She sells these suckers in her Etsy store, which you can access by CLICKING HERE. Give her a little love--you know you want to! Also, place special orders and all that jazz.

Her towels are the perfect addition to any kitchen, no matter what the style. And they are majorly soft. Majorly. Soft.

I am giving away the awesome turquoise colored one...even though it was my favorite one and I wanted to keep it for myself. It's these small sacrifices that I am sure you all appreciate.


By now you ought to know my giveaway drill. You have to FILL OUT THE ENTRY FORM and LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW, telling me what you making for dinner tonight. You must DO BOTH to be entered in this giveaway. The winner will be randomly generated on Sunday, March 24th at 7:00 AM. 

Good luck everyone! And I hope you have enjoyed four weeks of giveaways as much as I have! 



Happy St. Paddy's Day + Giveaway Winner

Well today is a Sunday so I am guessing you Irish lovers might have tied one on last night. I'm sure that you might be quite feeling your party today and I want you to know that I understand. I have nursed far more hangovers thanI would like to admit in my life. Turns out, animals are just as big of lushes as the rest of us.

So, if you are hanging with your hangover today, I thought I would give you something to laugh about. Because laughter, as they say, is the best medicine.




Now that you've had your chuckles, I would also like to announce the giveaway winners for this week's giveaway!!! In case you can't remember (I know, it's St. Paddy's Day and all), I'm giving away two awesomely awesome Tervis Tumblers.

And the winners are.......... 

DANA GODWIN & TAMMI DEANE! 

Congratulations ladies!!!! 

Truth: My Boobs Are Uneven


I read a while back that Jennifer Lawrence discovered via x-ray that her breasts were uneven. I love Jennifer Lawrence, and I love her breasts...but I have to wonder about why she hasn’t been looking at her boobs enough to realize that they were uneven. Because every woman’s boobs are slightly asymmetrical. Also, I look at my boobs quite a lot. They are mine to look at, after all.

Consider this my boob’s “coming out” post. I have known since the age of 12--which was the year my breasts simultaneously grew out of nowhere and then just stopped growing--that my breasts were not exactly the same size. I spent years obsessing about this and measuring the distance between them, which I can tell you, is slight yet significant enough for me to have noticed.

The problem boob? Well, depends which one you ask. My left boob would say my right boob is too big and my right boob would say my left boob is a hater. It’s all about perspective.

The older I get, the less like one another my boobs become.

To be honest, I spent so many years in my teens worrying about whether or not my boobs would ever even out that at this point, I am just over it completely. I don’t actually think I have ever slept with a man who noticed, and that was when I knew I had to let it go. I mean, if it’s not getting in the way of others liking my body, why in the heck should I care?

Actually, I hadn’t even thought about it for several years until I read about Jennifer Lawrence’s realization. It was only then all the memories of measuring my breasts repeatedly as a teenager came rushing back to me.

Now, this scenario doesn’t exclusively apply to breasts. Whether it’s a boob that is bigger than the other, stretch marks on your thighs, or pimples on your back--we’ve all got a portion of our bodies that give us pause. The challenge is to reach deep inside and learn to appreciate that we all have something we don’t completely love about ourselves and then to embrace it and learn to love it anyway....love the imperfection!

We can celebrate and embrace our imperfection and put it on a shelf. You don’t have to be defined by the traits in your body you don’t like. And you can still love your body.

So tell me--since I’ve been honest about my breasts with all of you--what don’t you like about your own body? How can we begin to embrace our bodily imperfections and love them anyway?! Leave it in the comments section below!

Quick Fix: Orange Vinegar Cleaner!

I really love Pinterest, and I am not ashamed to say that I spend time cruising the pin boards for everything from fancy pants nail designs to fashion ideas to crafts and food. So one day I was doing my daily sweep and I found THIS great idea--using oranges and vinegar to make a cleaning solution!!!

It also happened that I had both these items (vinegar and oranges) so I figured I would try it myself and share it with all of you! This has to be one of the quickest of the quick fixes I have done in a while, and it's so easy, too. Since I have been using vinegar to clean my coffee pot lately, I figured this could only add to my natural cleaning arsenal, (which I hate to admit is somewhat smaller than I would like.)

So, basically, you peel two oranges, eat the inside and place the peels into a pint jar. (Good way to use something you might normally throw out, too!) I used one blood orange and one regular orange. You put the rinds into the jar and then fill it with white vinegar. Then you simply put a cap on it and let it sit for two days.

I have these really awesome plastic lids I bought at Southern States that are made for my Ball jars. I love them! But you can use the traditional lids that come with the jars as well.

So then, you pour your vinegar into a spray bottle and you use it as you would any other all purpose cleaner. I'm using it to clean my counter tops! Really neat and easy right?!?!? And just so you guys know--this smells amazing. It doesn't smell all harsh or like chemicals.

What type of cleaning products do you use in your home? Are you totally natural or do you stray to the chemical side? I have to say, I am guilty of sometimes using bleach....It makes me feel secure. Share in the comments section below! 

Bossy Italian Book Review: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Image from Brenebrown.com
After reading her first book, I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't), I knew that Brene Brown was a genius of sorts. Well, Brene Brown, you've done it again. This book goes just a little bit further than her last book and it also has a lovely brush up on shame (which is the subject of her first book), so I dare say that if you didn't read the first one, you could go for this one anyway.

This is book is chocked full of great empowerment goodies. And no, it's not necessarily a self help book. You could certainly derive a lot of great life skills from everything Brene Brown talks about, but this stuff is meant to be a process, not a quick fix, and it isn't the simple easy stuff that promises to fix your life.

What Brene Brown is talking about is how to live. If that sounds simple to you, congratulations. For the rest of us, this book is the permission you need to stop being perfect and start really thinking about what makes you happy and joyful. It's a guide to living fully with your whole heart.

If being authentic sounds daunting and generally scares the crap out of you--this book is for you. If you are always trying to be perfect--this book is for YOU! If you are obsessive in any way (which, let's be honest is everyone) this book is for YOU!!!

Since I have been practicing releasing myself from a cycle (and culture) of shame since I read the first book, I was ready to tackle my ridiculous need to be perfect all the time. I am happy to report that since I read this book, I have been less perfect and LOVING it. I didn't set the table until right before dinner several times (which, is--hello--a big accomplishment.) I left chipped nail polish on my fingernails THREE times. And, admitted twice when I was just too tired to make dinner. These things are hard for me. They may seem small, but small is a good place to start.

Being who we are is the greatest gift we can give the world, and Brene Brown gives you the tools the do just that. It won't be easy--and in fact she is the first to say that it might freak people out--but it's worth it!

Now where do I go? Well, on to the next book of course---Daring Greatly by Brene Brown is next and can't wait to see what else she has in store! 

Chicken Marinated in Pickle Brine

A friend of mine had told me that I threw my chicken in pickle brine and let it soak, that it would be the best chicken I ever, ever ate. I really wanted to try it, but I am hard pressed to part with my brines... because I use all my brines in my bloody mary. It was just my luck then, when my mother-in-law gave me some of her extra brine!

On a dreary Friday afternoon, I decided the time had come to soak my chicken in pickle brine. Of course, me being me and all, I couldn't just leave it alone. I had to also add a little leftover brine I had from my pickled beets as well. It's all brine in the end, right?!?!

One thing I will admit is that the beet brine's color made the whole marinade look a little gross... it made it look like chicken juice. I thought this was really funny.


See? Isn't something about this really funny? 


Anyway, I let it marinate alllllll day long and when I was ready to cook them, I put a little olive oil in my pan. Over medium high heat, I let them cook five minutes on each side, turning only once. 



I like them to get a nice, crispy skin on the outside. 

Once they have gone five minutes on each side, I pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes on 350 degrees. 


Works like a charm every time! 

I served them with a side of cornbread and a salad. 

Billie's Pickle Brined Chicken 

Time: 40 minutes (plus all day to marinate) | Serves: 2-4 depending on sides | Difficulty: Easy 

You Will Need:

4 chicken thighs (sure, use breasts if you like, but you are missing out!) 
Pickle brine...and a little beet brine or whatever other brine you have on hand. Enough to cover chicken

Olive oil 

Method

When you wake up in the morning, throw your chicken in the pickle brine. It'll be ready by the time you want eat dinner. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

In a heavy skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Remove your chicken from the brine and discard the brine. 

Add your chicken to your hot pan and allow it cook for five minutes on each side, turning once. This should give it a really nice crispy skin. 

Since I use cast iron, I just take my whole pan and transfer it right into the oven. Allow the chicken to cook for 30 minutes in the oven or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. 

Serve with cornbread and a salad and watch it disappear. MAGIC! 


We Need To Talk: Birth Control & Anxiety

It came on like a rushing wave; at 23 years old I was experiencing my first anxiety attack and it was of epic proportions. My knees were knocking, my body was shaking, and I felt sick to my stomach. God love me, I thought I had a hangover which was funny because I had only had a couple of drinks the night before....

After that first attack, the feeling of anxiety kept coming back--furiously--and without warning. One minute I would be enjoying myself and the next I was overcome with hot flashes and then came the sickness in my stomach, the wonky room feeling and all the rest. The panic was palpable and I began to fear the fear itself.

For years, I struggled with the betrayal of my own mind and body...which is what anxiety basically feels like. Sometimes there was a reason for an attack--stress being the biggest one. Other times there seemed to be no rhyme or reason for the panic at all. It was an unpredictable beast.

Being the problem solver that I was, I began to tackle the issue head on. Therapy and close work with my doctors taught me how to manage my anxiety, but it was just that--management--and it wasn't being solved. This was never more evident than when life was practically devoid of stress, and yet, I was still having panic attacks.

Over the years, my doctors had "stepped" down the amount of estrogen in my birth control. It was never talked about in conjunction with my anxiety, but all at once, like a light bulb turning on, I realized something funny about the stepping down that had occurred. Each time they lessened the amount of hormones I was talking in my birth control, I would be fine for a few months (free of anxiety) and then, once my body adjusted to the new birth control--BAM!-- anxiety would rear it's ugly head again.

Armed with new knowledge I went to my OB/GYN and told him I needed to get off of birth control. I was sure, I told him, that it was the cause of my anxiety. This was how the conversation went:
Him, "You wanna get pregnant?"
Me, "No, but--"
Him, "Then stay on the birth control. See you in six months!"

I was shocked. I made an appointment with my primary care physician and broke down hardcore in his office. I was crying, telling him I knew it was my birth control and explained to him what happened with my OB/GYN. My doctor looked me in the eyes and said, "This ends today. Don't take anymore of that birth control." Essentially, he gave me permission to stop taking the pill.

It has been almost a year and a half since I got off the pill (which I was on for 12 years). I am happy to report that I have been virtually anxiety free since then, and contrary to what my OB/GYN had said, I am not pregnant and have no plans to become pregnant in the near future. (They have these things called condoms--they tend to work.)

While I am not advocating every woman go out and ditch her birth control, what isn't being discussed is the link between the hormones in birth control and panic attacks. I know this to be true because since I have been off of birth control, I've been talking to a lot of women who have been experiencing the same symptoms as me. None of their doctors have brought up the link between birth control and anxiety.

So, tell me, are you are birth control? Have you experienced bad side effects as a result of longterm use on birth control. I want to talk about this with my readers and I hope that women looking for answers will be able to benefit from a healthy discussion. Don't be shy--share your experiences in the comment section below! 

Stuff I Use: Tervis Tumblers + A Giveaway!

My collection (minus a couple that were in the dishwasher)
I am super stoked about today. First of all, I get to show you all my Tervis tumbler collection, which I am totally excited about because it's pretty awesome. Secondly, I get to giveaway two [awesome] Tervis tumblers this week and it has been really hard to keep a lid on this giveaway!

First, let's talk Tervis.

I had always loved my friends' Tervis tumblers...some of my friends have some pretty extensive collections that rival mine any day of the week. Yet, I only had two tumblers in my collection. After all, I had a fairly large collection of pint glasses and wasn't in need of any new cups.

When my husband and I got a new butcher block dining table, though, we came to an immediate realization: putting our glass pints on the tabletop was going to leave rings. Sure, we could get a bunch of coasters and monitor our guests like overbearing hosts, but seriously? No one would like that, least of all me. That was when we decided to switch over to Tervis tumblers.

Why, you ask? Because these awesome, (and did I mention made in America!?!!) cups do not sweat. It's all in the design. Because they are double insulated, they don't sweat like traditional glasses, which means they don't leave those pesky rings on your tables. It also means that they keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold.

Now as if all that wasn't already cool enough, they come with these awesome designs on them as well, which, let's face it, is one of the major selling points. What we quickly found was that once you get one Tervis tumbler, they sort of become addictive....like potato chips....or MacDonald's french fries. Before we knew it, we had replaced nearly every glass with a Tervis tumbler. Here are some of my personal favorites from our collection:


Dogfish Head! Local, awesome Tervis tumblers. 


I'm not that into sports but I definitely HAIL for these Redskins tumblers! 


Once a Deadhead, always a Deadhead. We love these. And so do others.
We actually had a Grateful Dead tumbler stolen from one of our parties. Ridiculous. Get your own Tervis, jerks. 

Now, let's talk giveaway.

I am giving away TWO Tervis Tumblers to TWO lucky readers. This giveaway is sponsored by Tervis Tumbler, which, I have to say was really nice of them. All I had to do was ask. Literally.


From the new "Contrast Collection" I think you can agree that this Tervis tumbler is completely adorable. 


Classic mustache Tumbler. I wanted to keep this one, but I know that one my readers is going to give this tumbler a good home. 


TO ENTER: Using the widget, enter your information and then COMMENT BELOW and tell me what beverage you would drink from your new Tervis Tumbler!  YOU MUST DO BOTH to be eligible to win!