Watch “Hello again. GRWM (no foundation, ft. Natasha Denona, MAC, Covergirl, etc.) plummy autumn look” on YouTube
Am I really a Dinosaur?
(This was a bit stream of consciousness and therefore a tad rambly, apologies for this!)
I was late to the blogging game, I fully admit. By the time I got here the days of high profile blogging were already long gone. Meaning that today, in order to get “seen”, you have to exceedingly special or, in some cases, brave, in order to be heard above the crowd. Is it OK to be average? Is that allowed?
I once worked for a woman who constantly reminded me that it was alright to be ordinary. In her view, to underachieve was disrespectful to one’s self, while overreaching expectations could be disrespectful to one’s colleagues. This was difficult for a here-to-fore overachiever to wrap her head around. Wasn’t perfection always the goal? Since when was mediocre ever OK?
While I still don’t fully agree with this “tall-poppy”-ish, zero-sum type stance, I will concede that age has taught me a few things about perfectionism and persistence. Mainly that they are relative to your particular situation, and a few other things:
- Perfection does not exist. Full Stop.
- Comparison is everyone’s Achilles Heel. Even if it’s comparison with yourself in a different time span.
- Persistence will be exhausting. Expect it.
- Persistence will (almost) always pay off.
- Being “average” but persistent, will usually yield better results than being “perfect” but lethargic.
So here I am, hanging on. In a sea of bloggers, all vying for our voices to be heard. Me, without any videos or fancy fonts. Thinking average thoughts and writing about mediocre things. An average middle aged woman with an average day job and an average family.
And I am SO grateful for all of these things (including my lovely readers)!
Am I really a dinosaur (i.e. old and irrelevant)? Probably, but I am learning to see these wrinkles as the reward for a life of effort.
Thanks for listening, stay cozy!
Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes… (School & Side Hustles)
Hi all! To say that I’ve been away for awhile is a bit of an understatement. I’m afraid that my family and I have had a lot going on lately and blogging had to take a major backseat. I apologize for being gone without an explanation…so here goes!
My son started (and is in the middle of) first grade…and several clubs…and several other groups. Our schedule is a bit ridiculous, and there’s been more than one occasion that we have been double booked. There’s also nothing like finding out that your little one has an assignment due in less than 24 hours that requires both work and supplies that you have not yet acquired. In all honesty, it’s great fun watching a little one navigate school and social situations, if not a little nerve wracking.
I have been doing quite a bit of experimentation in the kitchen and you can expect to see some new recipes coming soon! My focus lately has been on whole foods, i.e. trying to reduce the processed stuff. I have tended to enjoy recipes that are simple to cook and fewer than 7 or so ingredients lately. More to come on that!
I have been working my day job a lot. Probably too much. I have started a few new hobbies because I needed more to do *chuckle*. I have been dabbling a lot in graphic design and photography over the last year. This has lead to the opening of my new Etsy shop. Feel free to take a look, if you’re curious.
Oh, and it’s been snowing here….
How have you been? Has it been a crazy year for you, too?
Hope things are evening out! Stay cozy!
My Life Has Become a Wes Anderson Movie
Greetings blogging friends! My sincere apologies for my internet hiatus. I’m afraid I’ll be away awhile longer, but I hope to be back in full force by the middle of April. Things have gone (quite) a bit Wes Anderson-ish around here and the Cozy and Sage family have some hurdles to tackle before we expect to be back to normal.
Wish us luck?
Best to all of you! And stay cozy!
Tuesday Thoughts: To Makeup or Not to Makeup?
As I sit here with my coffee and one of my favorite YouTube channels blaring in the background, I shop through some online makeup shops while simultaneously checking for blog reviews. After an hour or so of this (having filled my Nordstrom’s cart to over $200), I pause to think about how much I will actually use these products.
Do I love eyeshadow? Absolutely!
Will I actually wear it? To be honest, most mornings are consumed by coffee and making myself look vaguely presentable for work. Of course, I do usually wear makeup, but only two or three products, and nothing that would require wielding a brush in any kind of precise manner (although my reliance upon concealer borders on addiction).
It feels weird to state that makeup fills any sort of utilitarian purpose in my life, that idea makes my life seem so trivial. However, having said that, the manner in which I actually use makeup IS quite utilitarian.
Am I trying to be artistic or relax myself every morning, hunched over my makeup mirror, attempting to apply products in a pleasing, yet mostly undetectable manner? No, I’m just trying not to look too sick or tired to work. That’s the truth of it, no matter how I attempt to delude myself.
Which brings me to the next logical questions…Am I uncomfortable with how I look? Am I not able to accept myself as I am? Why is that?
It’s true that over the course of history both men and women have worn makeup for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, status, class, culture, etc. The practice of painting our faces is in no way anything new. However, in this day and age of barefaced models posting selfies on Instagram and everywhere else, one would think that going “un-made” might be more the norm.
The thing that perplexes me the most is that while I desperately want to accept my face as it is and bear it to the world, I am also concerned about the perception it gives. Wearing makeup does give me confidence (by helping me not look dead), and yet it simultaneously saddens me that I can’t allow myself to go to work without it.
It seems like such a *ahem* superficial thing, but my internal conflict about the status of my makeup dependence can get rather deep at times.
There are so many folks I see everyday with beautiful faces, made up and not. I often wonder to myself why or why don’t they wear makeup. It’s one of those questions I wish I could pose to the masses.
Hey, maybe that’s what Twitter is for…
I’d love to hear from you about what your feelings are about wearing makeup; stay cozy!
Three (Almost) No Prep Vegetarian Dinners
Sometimes life just feels as though it is moving too fast. Well, ok . . . maybe that’s most of the time (to me, anyway). On those weeks when I have not been a dutiful meal planner and have not created a detailed list of groceries, dinners can become quite chaotic in the Cozy and Sage household. I am a diehard believer in the power of planning (meals and everything else), but when I do fall off the wagon, these are some of the meals that save our family dinners.
Note: One challenge in preparing vegetarian meals for my family is ensuring the meal contains enough protein. Canned beans have become an easy, healthy go-to solution for us; thus, all of the recipes below use some form of canned bean.
- 2-4+ baking potatoes (depending on the number of individuals you are feeding)
- 1 can black beans (mostly drained)
- shredded cheese
- chopped tomatoes
- sour cream
- Adobo seasoning
- chopped onions (if desired)
When I’m running late and dinner needs to be fast, I love to throw a few washed and pricked baking potatoes in the microwave. After those are done, I microwave the black beans for about 2 minutes with some of the Adobo seasoning and about a quarter of a cup of chopped onions (optional) stirred in. Then I simply set the potatoes and the toppings out on the table and allow folks to dig in!
(Simple) Red Beans and Rice
- 1 bag frozen rice steamer bag (I use frozen brown rice steamer bags from my local Kroger)
- 1 can dark red kidney beans (drained)
- 1 can diced tomatoes (half-drained…leave a little juice)
- salt, pepper, cumin, onion powder (or garlic powder) to taste
First, I toss my bag of frozen brown rice into the microwave and cook. (Sometimes I am super ambitious and make my own frozen bags of rice ahead of time, but I usually resort to store-bought. Just being honest.) After the rice is done, I combine the beans, tomatoes (with a little of the fluid), and my desired spices, then microwave the beans for about 2 minutes. When done, stir the rice and beans together in a large bowl and serve. Et Viola! Dinner is served!
(Effortless) Chickpea Salad
- 1 can of chickpeas (drained)
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 6 ounces crumbled feta or goat cheese (goat cheese makes for a creamier dressing)
- favorite Italian dressing, added to taste (our favorite is the Kraft Tuscan House Italian)
Chop, chop, chop! Toss everything in a bowl, stir, and serve. It doesn’t get any easier than this, folks! This is an especially nice dinner for hot summer evenings (and a handy side dish for other meals, too).
While it’s true I use a microwave to cook most of these meals (because I am almost always in a rush), they can be prepared in an oven/on a stove top as well. Just FYI.
I hope this post is helpful and thanks so much for stopping by! Stay cozy!
Review: Laura Mercier Crème Cheek Colour
The first thing to say is that, used with discretion, this is arguably the most natural looking blush that I have ever used.I am still perfecting the precise movements of my application method, and so far I am preferring fingers to brushes. I know that many prefer to use brushes with cream products, however, I think this cream lends itself to the cheek better with the aid of the warmth and pressure of finger tips.
This product DOES NOT accentuate any dryness in my skin whatsoever, as I suppose could be expected from a cream product. I was surprised, however, by its lack of greasiness (we’ll see how it fares in the heat of summer).
The color is well concentrated, so not much is needed per use which means that this tiny container should last me at least six months. Also, its dainty size means that this product can fit into any makeup bag and would make a wonderful travel companion!
Speaking of colors, although the selection is small, the colors seem to be both powerful and versatile for most skin tones. I chose oleander, the lightest pink, to match my ghostly skin tone after this long winter. It can also be applied in varied amounts to give more or less color as desired.
This product lasts all day on my skin, without accentuating texture or dehydration. Although I do not have oily skin per se, sometimes my cheeks can go a bit greasy and this blush still seemed to work well, not concentrating shine or oil. Therefore, I think most skin types, except perhaps the oiliest, could use this product with ease.
I am in love with the tiny, yet sturdy compact, and have been using this product with gusto over the last few weeks! Highly recommend!
9 Tips for Navigating the Healthcare System
Twenty years working with and around healthcare professionals, as well as being an occasional patient, has taught me a few things about our current healthcare system (in the U.S., anyway). Along the way I have a gathered a handful of suggestions that I give to friends and family (when asked), and that I use myself when interacting with what I feel to be the primary elements of healthcare.
*This article is NOT intended to give medical advice. The intent of this article is to offer ideas about how to navigate the healthcare system. Readers use the ideas in this article at their own risk. (I really do think they are good tips, though!)
- Be candid. Your doctor needs to have all of the information in order to access your situation accurately. Missing bits of information can delay diagnosis as well as treatment. No need to be embarrassed, physicians are trained to deal with what might seem to be the most personal physical issues. If you’re worried about privacy, take heart. In the United States, HIPAA laws help keep your information safe from others, and also available to you.
- Write stuff down. This is important before and after the appointment. Writing down details prior to your appointment about frequency, duration, and type of symptoms can help give your clinician a clearer picture of the situation, and you can avoid the chance of blanking on important details while in the office (spoken from experience). If your doctor isn’t already in the habit of giving patients a printout after the appointment, detailing the visit, writing your insights down right away will help you remember important points and instructions that you may have been given.
- On occasion, don’t be afraid of getting a second opinion. As much as we hate to admit it, sometimes medicine is more an art than a science. This means that not every treatment will work in the same fashion for every patient. Getting a fresh perspective from another trained professional and trying a new modality to solve a problem can occasionally be the difference between successful treatment and failure.
- Pay attention. Most pharmacists have trained at least six to eight years, and many hold doctorate degrees in pharmacy. You may only spend five minutes at the counter when picking up your prescription, however, a lot of critical information can be conveyed in those five minutes (side effects/possible interactions/what to do if you miss a dose). Paying close attention and asking questions at the counter ensures that you get the most out of your prescriptions.
- Read the label and call back if you need to. It might sound odd, nevertheless, sometimes instructions change depending on various factors, not limited to: what size/strength the pharmacy has in stock, if the pharmacist noted an issue with the prescription and called your doctor to verify the order. At any rate, always read the label and confirm the instructions with the pharmacist before you leave. If you have questions, or feel as though you might have missed some information from your visit to your pharmacy, feel free to call back. In my experience, the best pharmacists are more than happy to share their knowledge!
- Plan ahead. To make your visit to the pharmacy quicker and easier, make sure you have your prescription insurance card (sometimes a separate card from your medical insurance card) with you, and that you know your drug allergies and the names of other medicines that you take (over-the-counter medications, as well). When ordering refills, note that many physician’s offices request 24 to 72 hours to reply to a refill request. Try to order at least three (business) days before you will run out of medication so that the physician has adequate time to call back the pharmacy for your request.
- Avoid Surprises. When your physician recommends a new procedure or treatment, it may be helpful to call your insurance company ahead of time. This allows you to confirm whether or not the procedure/treatment is covered (and at what cost to you). If it’s not covered, it may be worth asking your doctor for an alternative modality.
- Understand your policy. Not nearly as simple as most of us would like, knowing things like what your deductible is, how much your copays are, and what kinds of services are covered can help you avoid unexpected bills, and also help you determine if your policy serves your needs.
- When traveling… When you are on your way out-of-town, a quick review of what your “in” and “out” of network hospitals are, might be a good idea. Nobody plans on getting ill over vacation, but (again, speaking from experience) it happens. Knowing what facilities your insurance will cover at your destination can help lower your stress levels (at least a little). If you are heading out of your home country, you may want to find out if you have overseas coverage.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy year! I hope at least a few of these tips are helpful to some of you. Stay cozy!
Super Simple Homemade Granola
As we enter the new year and attempt to re-adjust to real life after the whirlwind of the holidays, getting back to eating real food (and not all the chocolates) tends to take priority again. I myself, am just beginning to recover from my continuous holiday food-coma, and am finally curious about what is actually in my food again. What better way to begin the year than with a hearty homemade granola?
I have loved granola my whole life, and I find it to be both a tempting snack and hearty breakfast. For the longest time though, homemade granola seemed like such an elusive and complicated undertaking, requiring time and ingredients that I didn’t have.
Turns out, homemade granola is not nearly as arduous as I thought! In fact, I invited my kindergartener to help me out and we actually had two batches out in one morning. Some simple measuring and watchful waiting was all it took to create a homemade and delicious breakfast that could last the whole week!
If you like know what’s in your granola, and like an easy recipe that you can ask your kids to help out on, read on!
Super Simple Homemade Granola
4 cups oats
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Combine all dry ingredients, then add honey, olive oil, and vanilla. Spread onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes. I suggest giving it a quick stir in the last 5 minutes or so. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes, and store in an airtight container.
This is a variation of a recipe that I found via Pinterest at Recipe Tin Eats. I like her basic framework very much and I really appreciated the ease of her format. Her approach made the prospect of homemade granola very approachable. I did have to tweak the recipe a bit for our tastes, and the cooking time had to be adjusted a bit, but I was very happy with the results!
I’m looking forward to what I hope will be a great year of simple, homemade (mostly), and tasty recipes; stay cozy!