Questions to Fight the Small Talk

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Image via Karissa Nickish
Small talk. Let me tell you - I hate it. Naturally, I know I am far from good at it, tend to cringe or often duck & hide whenever it arises. And, I am not the only one: Eleanor Roosevelt claims, "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people". I think Eleanor gets my intense dislike and would probably of rather had an in-depth one-on-one conversation with someone than talk about the weather any day. For, small talk is what it's name recalls - small. We are prone to talk about surface similarities and the lives of others which ultimately does not allow for the authentic understanding of one another that we so crave.

So, how do we get past talking about the weather? My answer: be curious. Be interested in others past the initial thing we have in common, past the obvious, and past a factor unrelated to conversation. This does not mean going down the TMI road, but simply choosing to ask good questions that simulate a real and rooted relationship.

01 | What was one of your favorite seasons in life?

WHAT THIS DOES: Sometime the present is not always pretty or fun to talk about, so this question grants us the opportunity to recall a time that we hold dear and share that with one another. Getting to talk about why a year of your childhood was so sweet or how much you adored a certain semester of college creates a space to learn about one another outside of what is right in front of us. 

Image via Karissa Nickish 
02 | If time, money & resources were unlimited, what room would you like to add to your home?

WHAT THIS DOES: Showcases, quite literally, what we want to make space for in our lives. Whether it be a space to create, cook, read or play, this questions allows for our mind to dream out loud and together.

03 | What is one of the best gifts you have either given or received?

WHAT THIS DOES: Allows us to talk about what we value when we give and receive. Birthdays, holidays and various other celebrations come around so often that an idea should pop into our head with ease to avoid the silent stumped face and "that's a good question, but..." response. When we give, we are thinking of the interests of others - this can let us acknowledge the traits we admire in those we love. And, the gifts we like to receive normally come from those who we are fully known by, thus letting it be a natural avenue to talk about ourselves in a real and honest way.

Image via Karissa Nickish
04 | What is one thing you always keep with you?

WHAT THIS DOES: Identifies a unique quirk that you may not notice or guess at first glance. Whether it is a photograph, go-to makeup product or that emergency 20 dollar bill - these small aspects, though material, can showcase a consistency in a person's life that is translated through both their purse and personality.

05 | [...] How are you learning from that? 

WHAT THIS DOES: This is a good follow up question that goes past the "what" of a situation, but doesn't cross into the "why" territory that could be uncomfortable for someone to navigate through in a conversation. By asking someone what they learned from a small instance that may be easy to divert from in a conversation (i.e. doing poorly on a test, a difficult week at work, relational problems), it opens up the door for a friendship centered on growth and authenticity.

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Other go-to questions that cultivate that deeper relationship we desire: What would you want to implement in your daily routine if you had an extra hour each day?, What you would tell yourself to not worry about five years ago?, or What are ways you would reinvent your life (i.e. jobs, locations, hobbies)?

Keep the conversation goin': Do you dislike small talk? How do you get past talking about the weather? 
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Summer Recipes that Even a Gilmore Could Make

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Let's be real - eating well can be a challenge. Especially considering other factors that are inevitably apart of our lives: budgets, business, tiredness and emotions & situations that are seemingly unpredictable. In Gilmore Girls, Lorelei gives the following advice to daughter Rory after going through a breakup:

"Get back in your pajamas, go to bed, eat nothing but gallons of ice cream and tons of pizza." 

And, you know - I like that advice. That guidance feels good and holds a bit of truth in the area of comfort. Yes, for a period, wallowing and eating junk food may be necessary. But, does that advice truly satisfy?

I have partnered with fellow Gilmore Girl lover and nutrition-savvy friend Sawyer Cobb from The Wholesome Blog to share with you three easy summer recipes that even a Gilmore girl could make. (Well, almost - throw in a Pop-Tart and we can call it a day, alright?) Creating meals that both satisfy our body but don't let the preparation consume a large portion of our day is a creative endeavor at its very core. So, let's get creative with our meals this summer with these three recipes.



01 | Homemade RX Bars

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup shredded unsweet coconut
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp pure coconut extract
4 egg whites
10 dates
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup carob nibs

Instructions:

1) Throw it all in a high powered blender, and BLEND.
2) Lay it all out on a small baking sheet.
3) Bake on 35o for 20 minutes.
4) Let them cool and cut them in squares! It should make about 6 square bars.


02 | Veggie Curry

Ingredients:

1 jar of Maya Kaimal Jalfrezi curry (Ingredients: Onion, tomato puree (water, tomato paste), sweet red peppers, coconut cream, expeller-pressed canola oil, lemon juice from concentrate, apple cider vinegar, salt, spices (including turmeric), garlic, ginger, cilantro, Serrano chili, xanthan gum.)
*I got the jar of curry at drug emporium but they also have it at natural grocers and market street
1 can of full fat, unsweetened coconut milk
1 zucchini
1 sweet potato
1 bell pepper
1 bag of crinkle cut carrots (You can use any kind, but I used the crinkle cut ones)
1 large head of broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
1 tsp of cinnamon

Instructions:

1) Mix the can of coconut milk, jar of curry, and cinnamon in a pot and turn the heat up to medium/high.
2) Let this heat up for 5 minutes and then add all the veggies and stir it together.
3) Put the lid on and simmer it on medium/high for 45 minutes, stirring a few times.
*To make the cauliflower rice all you do is throw it in a high powered blender and blend! Then put it all in a skillet and turn the stove top to medium heat then stir it around for 5 minutes.

03 | Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cans of unsweetened full fat coconut milk
1 cup of coconut sugar
1 cup of strong brewed coffee (I used Intelligentsia coffee made in a french press)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup carob nibs
2 tbsp coffee grounds
 INSTRUCTIONS:
1) Mix milk, sugar, and coffee together in a saucepan and whisk together on medium heat until it is all combined.
2) Remove from heat and add in the vanilla and coconut extract.
3) Put in a container and chill overnight.
4) After chilling it, it is ready to be added to the ice cream maker and just follow the instructions that your ice cream maker gives you.
5) About 5 minutes before done, add in the ground coffee, chocolate chips, and carob nibs.
6) If you do not have an ice cream maker, these would also make really good popsicles too! I want to try that in the future!
*Side note: this will not taste like dairy milk ice cream. Coconut milk always tends to be a little more icy than dairy milk. This recipe is vegan, gluten free, and dairy free!

A LIL' PSA ON VITAMIN B12:
"Sources include red meat, milk, & eggs. B12 helps regulate proper red blood cell formation, normal brain functions, and distribute energy throughout the body. Without adequate intake of this vitamin, one can become anemic and begin suffering from always being tired, sick, and weak. Doctors recommend that if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you should get your levels checked regularly and consider taking a B12 supplement."

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Thank you so much, Sawyer, for sharing these three great recipes for the summer. We eat well because we love our body and want to treat it right - plus, if chocolate chip ice cream can be healthy, I'm in. OH, and be sure to follow along for more recipes + fun with Sawyer on her Instagram  and  The Wholesome Blog!
Join the Conversation: What is your go-to meal for the summer, or a recipe you want to try?

Ten Years of Missing on Father's Day

Sunday, June 18, 2017

*Note: A personal post. I learning it's good and important to talk about stuff like this. Even on the internet. YEAH, the internet. Okay. Here's a piece of my heart, dear friends.*



I can almost feel the old, droopy ceiling lining of my dad's green Jeep Cherokee just barely resting on my head. (We always meant to get stuff like that fixed.) Listening to James Taylor on the stereo, windows down, probably driving to do something fun + carefree. Maybe ice cream or a trip to the pool. It was five and six and seven years old - and all the years before that - that my childlike nature was natural and distinct. The constant question asking and curiosity that quickly turned into nosiness, the afternoons spent in the backyard unaware of time, the way in which life seemed stable. Peaceful, even. And, yet, these childlike years were blended with first encounters of pain, grief, and confusion.

A decade later, today marks the tenth father’s day without my dad. That number feels heavy these days. Sometimes as weighty as it felt those first few years and sometimes barely noticeable at all. A lot has happened in these years - times of joy and grief. Seasons of letting go and starting new. Spaces + people to laugh, cry, and share in the everyday with. It’s stuff like this that is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking. 

I'll be honest - I like to ignore this day. It makes it easier. I never really know how I will feel on Father's day, but I do know one thing: I will choose to celebrate because it’s a day worth doing just that. Celebrating the time I had with my dad - the sweet stories and moments both big and small. The strength, the grace, the fun he shared with me + so many in each circumstance. Celebrating the immense growth over the years - a lot due to the love of family + friends + mentors who have walked beside me in both obvious hard days like today and the basic missing that lingers in each day since his passing. And, ultimately, I am choosing to celebrate the pure grace and power of the forever Father we have in Jesus. 



These days (months, years - you name it) I am learning a few things:

01 | Celebrating can look like laughter and shared stories, but also comes in the form of reflecting and tears and longing. I’m learning to be okay with that. Missing is a beautiful thing, for it declares how beautiful and temporary this life is only further pointing us to better days. Today, celebrating looked like getting ice cream for dinner after work and sitting in my car teary-eyed as I felt the weight of all that this day means to me. The joy, the pain, the love, the growth. We've come so far, I kept saying to myself, we've come so far. It is grief and it is grace - both heartbreaking and beautiful.


02 | Healing happens in the passing of time. In choosing to grieve. In community & letting people be apart of your life that is too heavy to deal with alone. And, it happens in Jesus since he provides purpose in that passing of time. It is only through Him that I can say how thankful I am for this long + ongoing season of loss. There are not many words that allow me to genuinely explain this, really. (&, I hate that. I like to be able to accurately account for these things well. My writer soul is kicking myself right now.) Thankfulness for such a hardship seems odd and honestly, a bit wrong. Yet, being able to walk through this period (& continuing to do so) with an overwhelming sense of joy is only possible through the power of Christ. Truly cannot explain it any other way.


03 | I'm so damn human. I am a mess of emotions and feelings and thoughts most days. That's why I am choosing to say "I'm learning..." in regards to a lot of things lately. Learning how to embrace, celebrate, and even grieve the contents of what each day brings. It is easy to convince myself that after a decade, I should have all the answers or understand in full. I’m learning that A) I don’t (haha) and B) It’s better that way. For, it leads me over and over again to the perfect love of Christ and to eternity. I’m so stoked for that. 

Therefore I can say: 
Today & everyday, hallelujah

[ Authors Note: Thanks for reading and being apart of my life, friends - the real and the far-from-pretty life. I know that days like this are hard for so many. Whether you yourself have lost a significant male leader in your life, or perhaps your father is simply not a part of your life or apart of it in the way you long for - I get it. I read this article on Darling that hit home with me today. Maybe it will for you, too. Surrounding yourself with Truth on days like today is so vital. Allowing yourself to be loved on. To cry. Stuff like that. This life can be heartbreaking & beautiful, yet actively choosing to be apart of that kind of life produces joy + hope. All in all, writing this to share my heart and to allow you lean on me if you need it. Comment, message, text or call - we are meant to go through this life together. Here for ya, C. ] 
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by mlekoshi