inspiration

Thoughtful Tuesday

Last week I wrote about self-love. Today I’m going to talk about self-acceptance. To me, they are not the same.

You can love yourself in a moment. When you like those jeans or you had an awesome workout, or maybe you made a good decision that lead to good things. But self-love can be fleeting.

Self-acceptance is longterm. For me, the definition of self-acceptance is accepting that it’s okay to be different, to not move with the crowd, to express yourself in ways that others don’t, to love yourself despite how you look on the outside all the time; being happy in your own skin, all the time.

I don’t have a lot of friends who share the same interests I have. It’s always been that way. I rode horses growing up and had very few friends in school who rode; they didn’t understand my love of horses. I wasn’t good at articulating it either at such a young age, so I’m sure that didn’t help haha! I have dear, close friends who do share that love and I am so thankful for them. But the majority…it wasn’t a shared interest and I always felt like an outsider. I related better to horses than people.

I’ve always been a fangirl. I don’t know why, I just have always had a fascination with cute boys and fictional characters. Whether it’s a book, a movie, a show, or a boyband (LOL), I immerse myself in it and have to know everything. I’ve always been into pop culture, I suppose. As a child, I was surrounded by people who liked the same things but very few who truly got me. One of my first friendships in high school started with the question “oh my gosh, you like Justin Timberlake?!” Cue fangirl squealing. But as an adult it’s hard to find people around me who have this same common interest. Makes it hard to accept that part of myself.

I’m fascinated by the Royal engagement. But guess what? Not ONE person I’ve spoken to about it is. Why do I like stuff no one else likes?!

The Kennedys. The Revolutionary War. American history in general. I mean, they’re nerdy topics but does no one like this stuff?! LOL

Why am I different? Am I different? Should I just not like things? To me, I feel like letting that part of me, the part that yearns for that bit of excitement, whether it’s climbing on a horse or reading an exciting book, is part of what brings me to life. If I let it go I’m just conforming. But how do you accept being an outsider too? I’m stuck.

So while writing this post, I’m working to start fresh. I’m working toward embracing the parts of me others don’t understand or simply look past (and then probably wonder why on earth I’m interested in such things). We have to remember that we are not here to please others–we are here to be ourselves. Life is too short to spend it wishing you were different. I know that’s cliche but isn’t it true? Do you want to spend every day wishing you were better understood? Let’s stop trying to be understood. Let’s start embracing what makes us different. We aren’t all that different, but we definitely aren’t all the same. Embrace the things that make your heart sing every day and ACCEPT who you are because of them. I need to do it and if this speaks to you, I encourage you to do it as well 💛

(All images credit to google search)

writing

Storytime Wednesday

This one is a one-shot, standalone. I don’t necessarily ship Steve and Natasha together so I left the female lead nameless here. But the more I wrote, the more I decided it was  in fact Natasha. You be the judge of that.

Title: Come Over

Rating: PG-13 for referenced adult situations and language

Setting: Pre Infinity War

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement intended. This is just for fun.

Continue reading “Storytime Wednesday”

Lessons Learned

Self-love ❤️

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This little girl teaches me things every. There’s always something to see through her eyes. She makes me aware of simple beauties and simple joys. To be a kid again…

Something she does that I adore and find so completely innocent and yet profound is her self-love. She showers herself in affection, no matter what her hair might look like or how she’s dressed. Yeah, she’s a kid so that’s pretty normal. But when we as adults struggle with self-hate on a daily basis, there’s something to be said for loving yourself despite all.

I struggle. A lot. I’ve had some health issues and some mental stuff to work through and I’ve struggled desperately to lose the baby weight. I don’t often look in the mirror without some kind of self-hate or doubt crossing my mind. Especially as of late.

So I’ve been working through it and watching my child embrace herself no matter what. She loves what she loves and doesn’t bother with what she doesn’t. There’s something to be learned from that. She’s sweet and kind to all and has been showing affection since she was less than a year. There’s such a true innocence in children that we often attribute to their age and lack of knowledge of the world. But what if we all lived like that?

So instead of spending my time staring at my reflection and obsessing over the size of my hips or my c-section scar, I’m taking the time to praise myself and love myself. Do what makes you shine, tell yourself what you need to hear. At the end of the day, no one can tear you down unless you allow it. You are your own cheerleader, first and foremost. And what kind of example am I if all I exhibit is self-hate? I want to cultivate her natural state and teach her to grow, not show her how to tear herself down.

Am I exactly where I want to be? No. Will I be? Eventually. But in the meantime I’m gonna love myself. Because what’s more beautiful than self-love? Take a moment to appreciate yourself and what you love about yourself. It’s not being vain, it’s taking a minute to truly embrace the person you are today, for all your flaws and the things you love about yourself. Because flaws are beautiful too and make us unique ❤️

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recipes

Recipe Review–Slow Cooker Pot Roast

I love to try recipes when I can and this one looked too good to pass up. My husband was traveling and he usually does the cooking so this was my chance to give it a try! And it was so good I’ll definitely be doing it again.

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Original picture from original post. Click pic for recipe!

It was savory and perfect for the chilly (for SC) nights we have been having. I have eaten it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner over the last two days LOL.

I left out the mushrooms because they’re not my fave but I think next time I’ll try adding them!

Warning: this pot roast was a little over 2lbs and about $18. I was surprised by the cost. It was worth it but I didn’t expect it.

Do you use your crock pot a lot? I need to do a better job of using mine because everything I make in there is so easy and good!

I cooked it the full nine hours just to be sure all the flavors meshed and that the meat was super tender. It was the perfect amount of time.

It was all tearing about the few times I stirred the veggies under it, so I mixed it all together about 3/4 of the way through.

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I still have about 4-5 servings left so I’ll be eating it for the next few days, lol! Makes a great lunch on to go and also a delicious dinner paired with red wine. I may even lay an egg over it for breakfast today. I love love leftovers! You can do so much with them! Just wait until after Thursday! LOL I’ll be talking all about our Thanksgiving meal (we’re hosting) and how we use the leftovers after.

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I had it with sweet potatoes the first night, but it was delicious with red potatoes mashed too!

Let me know if you try this recipe too! Enjoy and Happy Monday!

Recipe credit to: https://www.thespruce.com/low-fat-slow-cooker-pot-roast-2245933

travels

“Our Town” Reading And Atlanta

The fangirl in me will fly to San Diego for SDCC to see a one hour long panel staring a cast of people I adore because that’s how hardcore I am (The Last Ship).

That same fangirl drove to Atlanta a few weeks ago to meet up with a wonderful friend to fangirl over the Avengers cast doing a reading of “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder.

It was a one of a kind, amazing experience.

My friend sent me a picture of the ad for the play a few weeks before with the message “Wanna drive nine hours and see this with me?” She was being funny but my answer was literally HELL. YES. With a cast like Chris Evans (*flailing*), Robert Downey Jr, and Scarlett Johansson?! In Atlanta?! How could I say no?!

So I bought a ticket, booked a hotel room and proceeded to count down the sleeps until I saw Chris Evans in person. The reading itself was for Puerto Rico, which only added to my desire to go. A night out for a great cause? Count me in.

This was the first time I’ve ever road-tripped by myself. At 31 years old I set out on my first solo adventure more than an hour away. I took back roads for about 40 miles and it was gorgeous! Cotton fields, corn fields, horses, forest, tractors…basically my home town! I had an amazing playlist full of country hits to keep me going and I was feeling blissful!

Upon arrival in Atlanta, my friend and I settled into the room and got ready like true girls do! We pre-gamed with some prosecco and did our makeup, chatting and catching up 💛 #perfection

The reading happened at The Fox Theater. The theater was beautiful and the reading was even more incredible. Pictures weren’t allowed and I am not one to break rules. Our seats were phenomenal. Between Scarlett’s emotions, Jeremy Renner’s humor, Mark Ruffalo playing Jeremy’s father and Chris Evans not having page 12 (talk about a funny moment! He has such a great sense of humor!) it was captivating. We laughed, we cried and we soaked up every minute. RDJ was the stage director and narrator and he did fantastic. To see these amazing stars up close and in such a personal and raw state–once in a lifetime. I still can’t believe it happened. I want to go back and do it all again.

The next morning I toured myself around a little for coffee and breakfast, and checked out the Georgian Terrace Hotel. I stayed at the Hyatt Atlanta Midtown and I highly recommend it. The area was clean and nice, the staff was wonderful and our room had a great view. Thoroughly enjoyed lazy-ing around the room before I had to head out.

And then I headed home back the way I came. I did a little soul searching along the way; the play was very moving and made a lot of great points about how we live today. Take the time to truly communicate and look at each other when you speak to someone. Appreciate every moment. We only get to do this once. We don’t get to go back. So take it all in, embrace experiences and people. Say I love you. Be honest. Life is short. Live it well and meaningful, whatever that is for you 💛

Let’s see where fangirl life takes me next….

fitness · recipes

Protein Mug Cake ftw!

So I needed something sweet the other night and I started messing around in the kitchen with ratios I knew would work based on other protein items I’ve made and some recipes I’d read. This cake came out deliciously. The perfect sweet treat on a chilly night without breaking the macros!

You can use one scoop of any protein powder you have! Chocolate works best but I’m sure you could use vanilla too!

-1 egg white

-2 tbsp almond milk

– 2 tbsp cocoa

-1/4 tsp baking powder

-1 scoop protein powder

Mix it together in a mug or a bowl and cook 1 minute and 15 seconds for gooey deliciousness. Top with whipped cream or cool whip and a dash of sprinkles (to keep it festive haha)!

Enjoy!

writing

Storytime Wednesday

Continuation of this post

Life in a Northern Town–a (fan)fiction

As stated in this post, one of my favorite things to do is write. I don’t do it often but sometimes I like to get out my emotions by writing. This little blurb came from an idea I’ve had for a while and I decided to start writing and posting little by little. Like it? Leave a like or a comment?

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement intended. This is just for fun.

This is an original work by me. While you may recognize a character or two I am putting them in an entirely new situation. I discussed this a little in this post.

Chapter 1

1944

Bucky Barnes tossed the bale of hay down from the hayloft with force. One by one, the Timothy-Alfalfa bales fell from the small hole in the ceiling of the dark red barn planted on 115 acres of farmland in northern New York. The fall was growing colder to make way for snow, but Bucky hardly noticed the cooler temperatures, too caught up in the constant ache in his left arm and hand, and the demons consuming his mind.

He’d been home from the war for six months, had been out of the war for almost a year. Six months were spent in an Italian hospital while his left arm and hand healed from the burns he had experienced in a firefight between the 107th Infantry Regime and German forces. The skin had been burned in some places almost down to the bone, and he’d almost lost the limb. Forever thankful to his best friend, Steve Rogers had gotten him to a command post not long after it had happened, and he’d been transported to a local hospital. It had taken three transports before he’d ended up in Italy–where he had stayed until the infection was gone and the healing had all but finished. Well, what healing he would have. Unfortunately the scarring was dramatic and extended the entire length of his left limb, from where his shoulder met his chest and all the way down to his finger tips. He often kept the hand and arm covered–it was easier than explaining. And he hoped it made his young daughter a little less weary of her angry, absent father.

Charlotte Barnes had been a year old when he’d been drafted. And despite his arguing with the Army, and spending money he didn’t have on a lawyer, no one else seemed to agree that leaving his young daughter with her grandparents was not the best idea. She’d already lost her mother, now she might lose her father, too? No one saw his side of it, and he was shipped off to England only two months after her first birthday. She’d gone to live on his parents’ farm after that. He’d written her letters, missed her every day. He’d spent every day with the little girl, all up until he’d left. Little did he know it would be three years before she saw him again. And when she did, she didn’t know who he was. And that moment was etched in his already broken heart forever.

He didn’t bother pulling the glove from his right hand as he jumped down from the loft, moving the hay to an empty stall, setting it up for feeding the horses over the next few days. There was always a method to the madness, a reason for all they did on the farm. He’d move round bales later for the cows, corn for the chickens, and then start chores. Shortly before chores, Charlotte would be home from school and she’d help him with feeding the sheep and the pregnant mares. Those were her favorite of the animals; the soft bleep of the sheep and the promise of foals as the spring came closer.

Bucky’s father has died before he’d returned from the war; his mother Winifred and Charlotte on their own for almost a year before Bucky’s return. Winifred had hired hands to help tend the farm but upon Bucky’s return, he’d ran off almost half of them with his terrible temper and his perfectionist attitude. As far as he was concerned it was better off that way, he could do most of the work himself. And he did. Day in and day out.

Saddled with his self loathing and self pity, he worked the farm until late each night, taking time only for dinner and tucking Charlotte in. And while she’d grown closer to her father, they were still miles apart. There were often times she would disobey and run the opposite direction because Bucky had no idea how to talk to a four year old and no patience to learn. Winifred did the best she could to bridge the gap but it was a difficult feat with both parties as stubborn as Bucky and Charlotte.

The familiar sound of tires on gravel alerted Bucky to company he wasn’t expecting. He didn’t really have time for interruptions. He had stalls to clean, cows to move and horses to feed, along with re-stacking the hay bales. Sighing, he climbed down once more from the hay loft, jaw set and ready to send whoever it was packing back where they came from.

“You know, your face is gonna freeze that way if you don’t smile once in awhile.”

Bucky visibly relaxed as he looked up from the hay to find his best friend since childhood, Steve Rogers, leaning against a stall door a few feet away. The horse inside sniffed at his uniform, his warm breath fogging up the cold steel of the Sheriff badge he wore. Steve scratched behind the horse’s ear as he spoke. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were angrier than usual,” came the playful tease only a friend could pull.

“Fuck off,” Bucky grumbled, allowing a hint of an annoyed smirk to touch his lips. “Charlotte has been extra difficult the last two days as if she knows it makes it even harder for me,” Steve was the only person Bucky could open up to besides his mother. He allowed the words to tumble out before he could stop them. “Girl has a wild streak the size of Texas.”

“Sounds like she didn’t fall far from the tree, but we already knew that,” It came as no surprise to Steve that Charlotte had a way of pushing Bucky’s buttons. But he had known Bucky as a kid and Charlotte couldn’t be anymore his daughter if she tried.

“Well she needs to be a little more like her mama and a little less like me,” Bucky grumbled as he picked up two bales, on in each hand and began for the small stall he kept them in for easy feeding. “If you’re here, you might as well help…,” he threw over his shoulder at Steve, who chuckled and grabbed two bales, following him down the barn aisle.

“Listen, I didn’t come here to help stack hay, I came to see about you meeting Peggy and I for dinner at Hal’s. It’s been awhile since we all got to together and his wife is making that pumpkin pie I know you love,” Steve set the bales next to Bucky’s with ease, having helped on the farm as a kid. His parents had owned a store in town and while Steve had terrible asthma as a child, he still insisted on helping where he could and learning what he could about his best friend’s farm.

“I don’t think the diner is anywhere I should be going, no one wants to look at my hand while they’re eating,” his angry tone wasn’t directed at Steve and the man knew that. But that didn’t mean he’d allow it.

“No one cares about your hand, Buck. You went to war and you were fortunate enough to come home.”

“I care,” he shot back in a low tone, heading for more bales.

“It’s not my invitation you’re declining, it’s Peggy’s. And you know how she is about declined invitations.”

Bucky stopped with his back to Steve and let out a heavy sigh. Leave it to Steve to use his wife to get Bucky in to town.

“You can’t stay here forever. I know your Ma does all the shopping and you don’t get out of the truck when you take Charlotte to school,” Steve continued, “Peggy will come over here herself and drag your sorry ass to Hal’s if you don’t come on your own accord. Please don’t make me have to deal with that,” Steve added with exasperation, and while Bucky knew he /would/ have to deal with that if in fact the invite came from Peggy, he also knew Steve was carrying on because he thought what he was doing was right. It wasn’t, but maybe he didn’t need to tell him that.

“I might not stay for pie,” Bucky warned as he turned, “but I don’t want to piss off you lovely wife.”

The smile that split Steve’s face at first was much bigger than Bucky was sure he meant it to be. Asshole. Steve pulled it back and nodded.

“It’ll be good for all of us to catch up. It’s been since–”

“Yeah yeah, don’t say it. Get outta my barn before I change my mind and throw you to your wolf,” Bucky waved his hand at his friend before grabbing two more bales.

“See you at six, don’t be late. You know Peggy hates that.”

“I’m wondering who married her, me or you,” Bucky chuckled a little as he headed back down the aisle.

Bucky could hear Steve laugh as he climbed in his car. Once he was gone, Bucky swallowed hard and sighed. Steve was right, he couldn’t hide here forever. But that didn’t mean it made it any easier to head into town where he knew all the pitying eyes would lay upon him. In small towns, word gets around. Everyone knew his issues with Charlotte, his near death experience, the loss of his wife and father. The farm was barely hanging on.

Town was not a place Bucky felt comfortable or  felt he belonged. And he was sure dinner wouldn’t change any of that, only cement it more.

Lessons Learned

Simplifying…

Wow life got really complicated for a hot (and long!) minute. Decisions I️ made and things I️ packed into my already packed day really have gotten the best of me lately.

I️ don’t do well when overwhelmed. Does anyone?

Being a full time working mom makes everything very busy. My girl is going to be two and doesn’t tolerate the phone or computer well. She wants my attention. I️ don’t blame her. And I️ don’t want her to remember the phone I️ had in my hand the whole time because I️ had to answer that text or email or I️ had to make that social media post.

I’ve gotten better at work emails, there is designated time for that. But social media…it’s been running my life. I’m taking back the reins and bringing this wild horse to a stop. Now.

I️ can hardly get my workout in, I️ definitely don’t have time to be posting about it. I’m not that witty and honestly, it’s become dreadfully stressful to try to be. I️ just want to be me, does that make any sense?

I️ want to embrace each day, and do as I️ want with what time I do have. I’ve removed Facebook from my phone completely. Nothing urgent enough to demand my attention can happen there. If someone needs me, they can call me. I’ll check it on the computer when I’m fortunate enough to be at one. #momlife LOL

Social media is amazing for keeping up with people. I want to see ALLLL the babies and I want to see what my family is up to, friends’ photography, what my friends did this weekend, who’s expecting and who’s engaged. I️ do! I️ want to see it AALLLL! But I️ need to stop looking at it every second of the day!

I️ love instagram because I️ love pictures. I’ll admit, instagram stories is a weakness of mine. I️ haven’t updated it in 48 hours *GASP*. I’m cutting back. I️ have to. I’m done letting life control me. I️ want to embrace it and enjoy it, not be busy documenting it.

I️ have read some amazing blog posts the last few days that have showed me I’m not the only Mom living in this realm. Everyone has their own life and their own decisions to make–this one is not for everyone and I’m not judging anyone for how they live and do and document. I’m talking about ME and what I️ NEED TO DO FOR ME. I️ miss the things I️ truly love to do that I️ haven’t been able to do–writing, reading, running, riding–because I’m too busy being attached to my phone. If I️ don’t document it on social media, did it happen?

Social media is an addiction I️ need to break. I️ feel sick about it in my belly and in my heart. I️ need more time for me and more time for my girl. She’s only going to be this little once. Shouldn’t I️ experience it first hand? And shouldn’t what I️ post mean something?

This isn’t to say you won’t ever see posts from me–don’t start thinking I’m saying one thing and then I do another. There will be posts, and there will be pictures. Just not on the reg. I️ need to take a break. For my sanity.

Do you feel this way? You aren’t alone! Comment below if you wanna chat about it!

if-youre-passionate-about-something-do-what-you-love-denzel-washington

family · travels

Weekend in North Carolina

My daughter and I disappeared to Laurel Springs, NC a few weekends ago with my father and stepmom. My husband had to stay back due to work but I took it as the opportunity to be independent and take my first road trip with my little one.

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Traveling with a toddler is not easy. B is so easy, but sometimes life happens and seven hours in the car is a long time for anyone! She threw up for the first time on the way there and it was so sad but she was such a trooper. I think it was a toss between reading books and watching Frozen that upset her belly. We survived though!

We arrived late the first night and I couldn’t wait to see our surroundings the next day! Having grown up in rural Maine, I love the mountains and the outdoors. I’d move to the mountains in a heartbeat.

The first day we went the to Brushy Mountain Apple Festival. I bought so many crafts! I really enjoy buying homemade items for the holidays. It adds warmth and hominess. B thoroughly enjoyed the music and the apple cider. I bought so many apples. I’m still baking with them, haha!

The next day we drove around visiting all the sweet little towns in the area. We drove to Banner Elk, Boone, and West Jefferson. Man it’s beautiful up there! It was rainy and overcast but that didn’t stop our explorations. I honestly think it just adds to the experience. Charleston hardly ever feels like fall or winter, having the rain over the weekend while in the mountains made me feel right at home (Maine home that is lol!)

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B and I left Monday morning. We enjoyed delicious treats, amazing accommodations, wonderful family time making memories, some classic cars and she got to add another experience to her little world. She slept like a champ all three nights and the ride home was just the two of us, no traffic and a lot of “Love is an Open Door” and “Charlie Brown Christmas”. My kind of road trip.

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One of the things I loved most about the area was the Christmas tree farms everywhere! Wouldn’t it be awesome to own a Christmas tree farm?! I’m obsessed. Where do you get your Christmas tree?

Enjoy Instagram stories? Follow me on Instagram! I’ll try to keep it interesting ; ) @cortneymarie307

recipes

Plan Approved Chicken Salad!

If there’s one thing I hate about ‘diets’, it’s that you can’t eat food you love! Well that’s not the case with my current plan. And this is definitely approved! I’m craving it as I write this for you!

Ingredients

  • 1 baked chicken breast, skinless (could also use rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 cups fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard (or whichever mustard you prefer)
  • lime juice
  • garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (or your preferred nut for the crunch)

Chop your spinach and red onion.

Cut your chicken into cubes or pull it off the rotisserie chicken. Place in a bowl with onions, spinach, chopped pecans.

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Then mix together your yogurt and mustard in a separate bowl!

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Combine the yogurt/mustard mixture to your chicken mixture, add the capers and lime juice and mix. Season to taste with the garlic powder, salt and pepper.

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I like it alone, but you could eat it as a sandwich, add grapes or cranberries. Whatever you prefer!

This recipes makes about 4 servings at 172 calories per serving! Happy eating!