Archive for January, 2013

2013, January 28

Sometimes, the answer is ever-changing

What does “a good life” mean to you? This was the question. And there were so, so many wonderful, heart breaking and tears inducing answers.

My answer?

“Hmm…” (I typed that and immediately ran a different direction leaving my comment on my friend j’s blog post in midair. Then I went back and elaborated on that).

I was thinking I don’t know how to define a good life. Or how to best describe it. How to say everything I want to say in less than a way too long list.

So I’ll just say this. Maybe it isn’t about a definition. Maybe it isn’t about the best description. Or saying everything in a list or in one word.
Maybe it’s all about that little inner compass pointing North when we’re headed in the right direction, and standing still when we have reached it.

And maybe, just maybe, the answer is ever-changing. Much like ourselves.

2013, January 21

Recipe of the month: Pumpkin Spice Syrup & Latte

Most of you might know by now that I’m not a fan of coffee. Lattes and cappuccinos are okay, but they need some extra yumminess in there, like caramel syrup and a ton of sugar to make sure I drink them.

One morning before leaving for work at 6am, I drank a cup of coffee. Not because I wanted, but because there was no way my eyelids would stay open on their own. So I drank the coffee… but did not like it one bit. That was in November, and I still can’t even look at a cup of coffee!

So the other week, after I stayed up way past my bedtime the night before, I decided to have some coffee. The mere thought of it sent my mind screaming “NO way!”. But then, I started searching for and found something my friend Janel recommended.

Pumpkin Spice Latte. I gave it a go, and my gosh was it wonderful!

page pumpkin spice latte

Pumpkin Spice Syrup & Latte


  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tsp. honey
  • butter-vanilla essence


  1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Toss in the cinnamon sticks and whisk in the remaining spices and the pumpkin puree. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks (or strain through a fine mesh strainer).
  4. Store in the refrigerator.
  5. To make a pumpkin spice latte: combine 2 ounces of hot coffee or 1 shot of hot espresso with 6 ounces of steamed low-fat milk. Stir in 2 tablespoons of pumpkin spice syrup. Taste and adjust amounts accordingly. Top as desired with freshly whipped cream or a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.

    Goes wonderfully with stroopwafles! <3

Happy latte-drinking ;)


PS: You can use the strained leftover pumpkin for baking an easy pumpkin sheet cake. I always do!


*Recipe slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats.

2013, January 18

Love Letter Request for January, 2013

Tiffany_Farley_0271 I just finished writing the love letters and realized I haven’t posted about this month’s requests on my blog.

Here it is, better said by the More Love Letters Team :)

Hey, hey, hey! We’ve. Missed. Your. Face!

It’s 2013 and we are all sorts of ecstatic to start the New Year off with you! Our whole crew was on a much-needed hiatus from December 14-January 7. Sorting and mailing 3,500 love letters from the 12 Days of Love Letter Writing is no easy task!

But we are back for you and we’ve packed this post to the brim with love letter requests for you!


Each month, we send out a “call for love letters” (just like this one) for an unsuspecting receiver (or in this case, receivers) in need of a little handwritten goodness. You will then have TWO WEEKS to send over a card or letter to the More Love Letters PO Box. We’ll bundle the letters and mail them all together to a lucky, lucky mailbox with an explanation note from on top. It’s simple. It takes 5 minutes. And really, what’s better than a monthly pinning of “heart to page” for someone who truly needs some love and syllables?  So gather your friends, your students, your coworkers or church group, and take on the monthly mission together!

The following letter requests were requested by close friends + family of the recipients:


“Rick and Jennifer are the proud parents of two children.  Recently, their little boy was diagnosed with leukemia. This family has been through so much in the past year, from uprooting their lives, to losing jobs – it’s been a fight to keep their heads above water. Rick and Jen are giving, loving, wonderful parents and people in their community.  They are pillars of strength but it is my hope that the MLL community can be a source of strength and love and light for Rick and Jen as their son undergoes chemotherapy and various treatments. They are a family who could use all the love and hope in the world right now. ”


“Allie graduated from college a couple years ago with a degree in English Literature. She is very introverted and lately she has been feeling very worthless and low. She is too afraid to apply to any jobs that are within her field. She wants to be a high school English teacher or special ed teacher, and eventually work to change educational policy and help better the school systems in America. She is so afraid of failure and doesn’t understand just how precious she is.She is so kind and caring. Allie is the most selfless person I know. She loves everyone she meets. She just needs a little push to show her that other people will love her and accept her just the way she is. These letters will give her the confidence and support to go make her dreams come true.”


“My cousin Michelle was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2011. The doctors have given her 3 to 6 months to live and she is trying one last chemo with a poor success rate. She is doing this because she can’t bear to leave her loving husband and two boys who just want their mom to get better. I am asking for her family to be given words of encouragement, that even though they have been through so much they will be able to get through this. I know how difficult it is to see someone you love struggle to hold onto life and then slip away. I just want them to know that they aren’t alone in this struggle.”


January’s Bundles
PO Box 2061
North Haven, CT 06473

Letters can sent all in one envelope or individually, whichever you prefer. We’ve got little elves to sort them all out.  Write for one, two or all three! Please postmark all love letters by JANUARY 25, 2013. Please & Thanks.

New to letter writing? Get started here! Or want some tips + tricks from our team writers? We got em’ right here.

2013, January 14

I can has time management tips?

Hello world!

I’m back :) Not that I was really gone, but during the craziness that November and December were at work, all I could muster were some blog posts in the form of lists, I let photos do the talking, and wrote one single (proper) article about gifts for writers.

Lately, I’ve been feeling kind of blah… I’m doing well, don’t get me wrong. Except when people ask how things are with me and I say “Good, thanks.” their reply is usually “That’s not too convincing.”

And the thing is, they’re probably right. I might not sound too convincing when I say that I am fine. Because as well as everything is going in general, I’m tired exhausted.

The reasons?

Well, for starters, the shop I work in is in a mall. And it’s loud. I’m constantly listening to at least three stores’ music blasting at full volume, to shut out the loud mall music from the hallways. I’ve checked actually and, if I stand in one exact spot, I can best hear the music from Mango (across the hall and slightly to the right of us), and if I stand in another exact spot, I can best hear the music from Kenvelo; and so on.

(Currently playing are: that French chick I seriously dislike, and we tryyy, tragedy, twilight, and that song from “The Ugly Truth”, mixed with a few others I can’t make out. And you’ve read these “titles” correctly. My mind simply can’t recall titles at the moment. Or my own name for that matter.)

I barely listen to music at home anymore. It irritates my eardrums! I turn my mom’s radio off as soon as, depending on my work shift, I get home or wake up and walk into the kitchen.

The good thing is that the shopping craze has cooled down, so this month I get to say “I’m bored” and I’ve actually been able to read (three books and counting) at work. I’ve slowly, painfully slowly, taught myself to shut out the noise while I read. But that’s about the only time I can manage it.

Also, at the moment I’m writing this blog post at work. Can barely focus properly, so I don’t see this becoming a regular thing even if time permits to type away.

You can imagine how much this whole situation appeals to my seriously introverted self…

The other issue is the schedule and my virtually nonexistent free time.

The commute takes about an hour, each way. It is also sprinkled with mismatching bus schedules which keep me in the cold for a good ten to twenty minutes in different bus stops.

When I work the morning shift I work until 5pm, but get home around 6pm. From waking up at 7am, and sitting in this noise for eight hours, I’m usually spent by the time I get home and all I want to do is have dinner and go to bed. That never happens though, as things tend to pile up around the house which need attending to.

When I work the afternoon shift, I wake up, have breakfast and maybe have time for an e-mail or two, feed the cats and do the dishes before I need to leave for work. Maybe. Then I’m at work until 10 pm, getting home around 11pm and all I do is take a shower, eat a few bites and crash into bed.

Repeat on the following day.

I only have one full weekend off, and if I’m lucky, another half a weekend off. The rest of my days off are spread out, one or two at a time, throughout the week.

And here I stopped writing. It took a while before being able to form thoughts again, and add the following.

I lack the skills to excel at time management!

Or if not, I can’t figure out what I am doing wrong, but I am not getting things done. Not as much as I’d like.

People keep saying I should turn stuff down, stop doing a few things.

But… babysitting and tutoring are behind me being replaced by this job.

Then, I’ve already reduced my blogging to just one post per week, I gave up participating in 10K Days, I hardly ever leave comments on other people’s blog posts (am so glad when I get to at least read them!), I’m giving up my plaster casting business (though I didn’t accept orders since I started working here anyway), and I’ve refused a few other commitments as well.

And there still isn’t enough time to do the minimal things I have to get done. What else do I need to give up that I love?

I need some love today.

And some tips. How do you get things done? What does proper time management look like? How do you make time for everything and everyone?

2013, January 7

Looking back, 2012 on camera

Following is my year in review, 2012 caught on camera. I took some of them during my Seasonal Photo Challenge. Some, outside of that box’s contents, just because.

And, while going through my pics from last year to choose only 12 for this blog post, I noticed: 2012 wasn’t all that bad.
If 2013 ends up being only half as good, it’ll still be awesome!

2012 jan feb mar apr

2012 may jun jul aug

2012 sep oct nov dec  

Want to join in? What was your 2012 like? Leave me a link in the comments to your photos :)

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