Ted Talk Friday: Beautiful new words to describe obscure emotions

I recently learned that a loved one passed away yesterday. She loved words and was a scrabble master until the day she passed away in her late 90s. Such a sharp and thoughtful mind and spirit. This talk on words is something she would certainly enjoy.

I have always enjoyed learning about new words and etymologies. This talk takes a fascinating look at how we view words and how we create meaning. I always think of my favorite word in Spanish, sobremesa, which is the conversation that occurs at the table after dinner. There is no direct translation into a singular word in English and it exemplifies the cultural differences and differences in the way we express ourselves. I hope you enjoy this talk and glimpse into the world of meaning-making with words.

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Do you think we need new words? How do you feel about making new words?

Salted Caramel Mug Cake (SF+DF)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes all I want are sweets–which is not exactly conducive to a healthy lifestyle. I believe that is moderation is certainly important, but I also love coming up with healthy alternative recipes. It brings me so much joy to develop a recipe that packs more nutrient value and still tastes amazing.

I came up with this salted caramel recipe recently after craving a warm cake late one evening.

Ingredients:
-2 tbsp oat fiber
-2 tbsp coconut flour
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-dash cinnamon
-1 egg (or 1.5 egg whites)
-Almond Milk or water, 3-7 tbsp
-Caramel Syrup
-Dash sea salt
-Dollop of whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine oat fiber, coconut flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  2. Add in egg and 2 tbsp liquid and mix well.
  3. Slowly add in one tablespoon of liquid at a time until you reach cake-batter like consistency.
  4. Pour batter into a large greased ramekin and microwave on medium-high for 2-3 minutes or until the top of the cake is firm to the touch.
  5. Remove the cake from the microwave and pour on a generous amount of caramel syrup, a dash of sea salt (about 1/8 tsp), and a dollop of whipped cream.
  6. Enjoy your own mini piece of heaven!

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What’s your favorite healthy alternative recipe?

Ted Talk Friday: Are emotions contagious in the workplace?

I saw this talk in person in the Spring of 2016 and fell in love with Brandon Smith‘s work as the “Workplace Therapist.” I found his ideas fascinating before working in an office, but now that I work a regular 9 to 5 job I see his theory in action. I am lucky to work in an office that has contagious emotions, but contagious emotions of almost exclusively the good, productive kind. It is common knowledge that the mood and outlook your friends have rubs off on you, but the same goes for your coworkers. Choose wisely!

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Have you experienced contagious emotions in the workplace? How do you handle negative people?

Warm, Creamy Rice Pudding: Two Ways for Winter (GF)

I have been craving different desserts with winter-themed tastes reminiscent of cinnamon and hot, deep cocoa flavors. Sometimes I feel like my mind is blank and lacks all creativity, but I recently had a stroke of creative genius for two different cozy, rice-based desserts. I love picking up different seasonal fruits and vegetables and I just picked up a bag of fresh cranberries. I love a nice cranberry sauce so I started with a simple homemade cranberry sauce and used it as a base for a creamy vanilla pudding.

Cozy Vanilla Cranberry Rice Pudding

Ingredients:
-1 bag Miracle Noodle Rice
-3/4 cup fresh cranberries
-1 tbsp water
-stevia, to taste
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Prepare Miracle Noodle Rice according to directions on the bag.
2. Combine fresh cranberries and water in a small microwaveable bowl and cover with a plate. Cook in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until you hear popping.
3. Remove cranberries from the microwave and combine with stevia until it is sweet enough for your liking.
4. Combine the cranberry sauce and vanilla, mix well.
5. Mix the prepared rice and cranberry sauce well.
6. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and enjoy!

Creamy Hot Cocoa Rice Pudding 

Ingredients:
-1 bag Miracle Noodle Rice
-2 tbsp special dark cocoa powder (or your favorite cocoa powder)
-2 tbsp almond milk (or dairy, soy milk, etc.)
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tbsp vanilla protein powder (or hot chocolate mix)
-Stevia, to taste
-1 tsp coconut oil

Directions:
1.Prepare Miracle Noodle Rice according to directions on the bag.
2. In a separate bowl, combine milk, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, protein powder, coconut oil, and stevia to taste.
3. Combine the cocoa mixture with the miracle rice, stirring well. Add slightly more milk if the mixture is too thick (or more cocoa if the mixture is too thin).
4. Place the mixture in a bowl and enjoy hot or cold with a dollop of whipped cream!

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What’s your favorite winter dessert? Do you use rice for dessert recipes?

Ted Talk Friday: The Magic of Not Giving a F***

***Explicit Content Warning***

I LOVE this mantra; I completely relate to this. While I still occasionally struggle with caring too much about certain things or what others think, I often fall back on to exactly what I want to do and how it will make me feel. If I am faced with the choice between a party I am not thrilled about or a night of complete self-care…guess what I will choose? 😉

While I think there is a certain level of privilege that comes with some of these choices–for example, we might socialize with people to help create professional connections–overall, I think this method is such an easy, simple way to improve wellbeing.

 

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Do you agree? What do you wish you cared less about?

How you view intention + how it shapes your interactions

I believe we construct so many detrimental stories about others and how they treat us. We assume they are trying to leave us out, trying to make us feel bad, or trying to ignore us. But what if we change that and instead assume they are oblivious, self-focused, or are struggling with their own issues? While this does not change the actions of others, it can help us feel better about the intention, about the why we so often struggle with.

When we frame others as humans who only want belonging and happiness, the negative assumptions we make often melt away. I don’t want to seem naive; sure, there are always those malicious people who are actively trying to hurt us, but they are far less common than we think. I know I would rather feel naive than bitter.

This way of thinking is self-protective and inherently positive; leaving the space for us to give others the benefit of the doubt where we often fill in the blanks with malintent.

I think of all the times someone made an off-hand comment or forgot to thank me when I assumed it must have been a purposeful, spiteful choice. In my experience, spite is the exception, not the rule. While it is not easy to cultivate a positive outlook on others, it can be easy to begin questioning assumptions–and even asking the person directly in some instances.

What if that guy who cut you off in the parking lot just lost his job or is worried about his ailing mother? Would you feel differently about how he stole your spot? Maybe you wouldn’t cuss him out or send over a death glare. Maybe you would instead feel compassion for him and his situation. I know feeling compassion always leaves me feeling happier and healthier than an expression of rage or frustration in moments like these.

Ted Talk Friday: How to Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals

A friend of mine shared this talk with me and thought I would like it–he knows me well! Duneier, the Guinness World Record holder for the largest crocheted granny square along with numerous other accomplishments, provides great concrete examples of how small tweaks and changes we make in our life can add up slowly and make a huge difference. For example, I started listening to Ted Talks consistently four years ago and I believe my knowledge and general perspective on life has changed dramatically.  It is all about those small little choices we make, not the drastic New Years resolutions so many of us make in a few short weeks. Start little, start now.

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Do you agree with Duneier’s advice?

Holiday Travel: the good, the bad, the ugly

Holiday travel can be unpleasant, to put it mildly! I hate traveling on the average day (the flights, not the destinations and experiences), but somehow the holidays amplify the stress and bring out a little extra crazy. I’m now flying home from the West Coast and opt for overnight flights to avoid losing a day at home or work, plus these flights are often less pricy. In an effort to make my travel as comfortable as possible, I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks that help me.

  1. Make a packing list: you’ll probably tell yourself “oh, I would never forget that..,” but there is nothing worse than arriving at your destination without underwear or the murder mystery you were halfway done reading.
  2. Packing cubes:
  3. Water bottle:
  4. Chargers:

Specific to overnight flights:

  • Pack a pillow! I recently bought a Turtl pillow (yes, I realize how silly they look). It is so important to have good neck support so you can sleep and wake up without serious neck pain when you arrive at your destination.
  • Take something to help you sleep whether that’s melatonin or a low grade sleeping aid; just ensure that you have enough time in the air after you take it so you are not too drowsy when you land. Depending on what you take, I like to have a minimum of six hours of buffer time after I’ve taken my melatonin or other sleep aid.
  • Pack socks–nothing is worse than cold feet! They take up so little room and will definitely be worth it.

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Will you be traveling this holiday season? What are your best travel tips?

Ted Talk Friday: What makes technology so habit-forming?

Nir Eyal is an Emory alum and has been referenced numerous times in one of my favorite podcasts, Note to Self. He poses an interesting idea about technology and why it has a death grip on our minds and behaviors. I think he is really on to something; I find myself compulsively checking my Instagram, Facebook messages, and even this blog on occasion. I think it is all about setting healthy limits and using technology in ways that enhance wellbeing rather than detract from it.

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Do you agree with Eyal’s argument?