superficial rant {fashion}

Okay, so I think it’s time to come up to the surface-level from my deepness on consumerism last week.

Let me be clear: this is not a fashion post. Trust me, I am not stylish enough to give you advice on what to wear. This is, however, a fashion rant.

[Shall I get up on my soapbox? Okay, good.]

The topic at hand: leggings.

Now, this is certainly not another treatise on how leggings are not pants. We all know that, unless you don’t ever get on the internet. In that case, you wouldn’t be reading this anyway.

Let me be clear that I love love love leggings. They are extremely comfortable. Also, they are comfortable. And did I mention they are comfortable?

Oh no, my qualm with these spandex glories is twofold. First, I never can seem to find them long enough. Seriously, after like one wash of my “ankle length” beauties they shrink to cropped or capri length. [Nope, I don’t put them in the dryer. I’m not an idiot.] This problem leads me to a confession: last fall and winter, when my “baby” was already a year old, I wore my maternity leggings. I’m talking about the kind that has the full panel to cover the entire third-trimester belly, so now that the belly is no longer, they come up to my armpits. Why would I inflict such a disaster upon myself? Well, they actually reached my ankles. Imagine that.

And this length-situation is ridiculous, because I have extremely short legs. Like, I have to get every pair of pants I own hemmed, or I have to wear them with heels. I roll the legs of almost all my jeans. Most middle-schoolers have legs longer than mine.

That brings us to the second issue, which is the main point of this post. And this is “bunching.” I have legs that are very far from skinny, and yet, I always seem to get bunching around my knees and/or ankles. I see models with legs the width of angel-hair pasta and their leggings fit snugly. How, oh how, is this possible?

Case in point: Even though we’re keeping things pretty simple around here, financially-wise, I decided that I just couldn’t wear maternity leggings for another season. Also, logic tells me that the material and simplicity of leggings means that I should be able to find a decent pair for under $25. Am I asking too much? Apparently.

After hours of procrastinating my work google-ing legging recommendations, I saw a few bloggers highly recommend the Lauren Conrad brand at Kohl’s. [Incidentally, I am proud of LC’s success in comparison to all of her reality co-stars disastrous lives.] These leggings were not available online [my hermit-self’s preferred method of shopping], so I packed up the toddler and drove alllll the way across town to this pseudo-department store. They had my size in black. Of course I actually tried them on…and they were perfect! And cheap! I felt so smug in my “researched,” thrifty purchase.

That is, until I tried to wear them today. As soon as I put them on, I noticed how crazily they fit. Nevertheless, I wore them anyway, because it was literally 8:55, and we were going to 9:00 Mass. [I know I know…]

Would you like to see some pictures to prove my point? Yes? Your wish is my command.

Here is the whole outfit to get some perspective. Please note the classy pleather shoulders:

"Do you really want to stand in front of the vent?"- Ryan  "Is that actually the look you want to have on your face?" -Ryan

“Do you really want to stand in front of the vent?”- Ryan
“Is that actually the look you want to have on your face?” -Ryan

This has nothing to do with the point of this post, but I just really like my necklace. I got it for like $4 a few years ago, and every time I wear it, I mentally give myself a high five:

IMG_7702

Okay, here is evidence of the bunching:

leggings 2

This is ridiculous, right?

Maybe I am too short? Maybe they are too cheap? Maybe my knees are oddly shaped?

I really have no idea the point of this tirade. There are significantly more pressing issues in the world and even in my own life, but if you can’t vent about a fashion atrocity on your own blog, then where can you do it?

So… Do any of you have long, non-bunching legging recommendations? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

[Meh, since this is technically What I Wore Sunday, I might as well link-up.]

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recipe: pumpkin pie “green” smoothie {Tasty Thursday}

pumpkin pie "green" smoothie

In the morning, after I’ve changed the ridiculous-bundle-of-energy-when-she-first-wakes-up toddler’s diaper and after my somniferous haze has slightly lifted, our conversation usually goes like this:

Me: Do you want to go downstairs for breakfast?

P: Yeah!

Me: What do you want to eat?

P: Cor! Cor! Cor! [translation: corn. Her new culinary obsession.]

Me: Okay, fine, you can have some corn, but what else do you want?

P: Cor! Cor!

Me: Yes, yes. You can have some corn. Would you like a smoothie too?

P: Ssssooo! Ssssooo! [translation: smoothie]

Me: Great! Who’s going to put the strawberries in the blender?

P: Pssss! [translation: Philomena. Explanation of this oddity here.]

Me: Who’s going to put in the banana?

P: Pssss!

Me: Who’s going to put in the spinach?

P: Pssss!

Me: Who’s going to pour in the milk?

P: Mama!

And so begins our day.

I don’t know why I told you all of that…but, the point is little people love their routines, and smoothies are part of ours. And corn too, of course…but, I didn’t think you would need detailed directions on how I prepare her frozen corn. [Okay, okay. I run hot water over it until it’s unfrozen. So there.]

Anyway, as I said before, I am completely cliche and faaaaaaar from unique in my love for pumpkin, the king of autumn foods.

The other morning I broke from our usual smoothie routine and attempted a pumpkin one. It was delicious! And healthy! And easy!

I thought you might like the recipe. You know, to eat after your morning bowl of corn.

mena with pumpkin smoothie

===

Pumpkin Pie “Green” Smoothie

recipe adapted from Healthful Pursuit

Ingredients

1 cup milk of choice* [I used homemade almond milk, and it was fantastic.]

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 of a banana

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

a handful of spinach* [maybe 3/4 cup?]

a handful of ice

optional– 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

1. Put all ingredients in the blender and blend on high until smooth. Taste. Add a little more maple syrup or pumpkin spice, if necessary.

* Recipe notes: This makes a fairly thin consistency, so if you prefer your smoothies thicker, just use less milk and/or more ice. Also, the spinach is totally optional; however, it really doesn’t affect the pumpkin flavor, and it adds lots of nutrients!

if only

One of my favorite quotations of all time went a little Catholic-viral on the Facebook today. Most likely because today is the feast day of the author, St. Teresa of Avila.

nothing disturb

I’ve been a fan of these words since I was in high school. I wrote them inside my order-taking-pad when I was a waitress in college and on the front cover of my journal when I was a volunteer in Belize. I even taped this quote to my computer screen when I was a teacher.

However, today I began to think and pray about how different my life would be if I actually followed these lines…the utter joy, the peaceful surrender that would ensue.

If only I took to heart the startling reality that, indeed, God alone is enough.

apple pickin’

Once October rolls around, I like to embrace all of the autumn cliches: pumpkin everything, apple cider, scarves with boots, chili with cornbread, and plenty of, “oh, I just adore the fall leaves!”

Yesterday Philomena and I joined some friends for yet another cliche: apple picking.

I hadn’t done this since I was a little kid, so I was psyched. The weather was absolutely perfect. Mena ran up and down the orchard, and ate all the apples her heart desired. It was a fabulous morning.

We arrived at the end of the season, so most of the apples were pretty high up on the trees, but they gave us a long contraption that just picked them right off. If you live in the Wichita area, I highly recommend you visit Entz Orchard next year.

Because you care deeply, here are some pictures of the day:

apple 1 apples 2 apples 7

apples 3 apples 4 apples 5apples 8apples 6

the tension of consumerism

A couple weeks ago Mena and I were at Target fairly early in the morning. It was one of those rare instances in which we went in for one thing [dishwasher detergent] and came out with just that one thing. Nonetheless, the red bullseye kept up its time-warp reputation, and we managed to kill over an hour in the process.

The first half an hour was spent stalking the man cleaning the floors with an electric buffer. Philomena kept excitedly exclaiming, “mower! mower!” So, we followed the “mower.” Ordinarily, I would have attempted a more stealthy pursuit, but it was just one of those, “screw it, let’s unabashedly follow this guy all around Target” kind of days. I kept reassuring myself that he must be thinking, “aw, how precious!”…and not, “they don’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the crazies at 8 AM.”

After that novelty wore off, I decided to peruse the clothes. I had a gift card from my birthday that was burning a proverbial hole in my diaper bag. Maybe Tarjay has a great fall line this year, or maybe I just don’t get out enough, but for some reason I wanted to buy everything I saw. The wish list totaled significantly more than the gift card would allot. Frustrated, I pulled Philomena away from her beloved dressing room mirrors, and we checked out.

As I left the store, I had this restless feeling, a pit in my stomach. It remained for awhile, and it took some time for me to realize its cause. This sounds silly, but I was upset I couldn’t buy more that morning. I kept recalling “my single days” with a more disposable income and a professional reason to have a more extensive wardrobe, a time in which I wouldn’t think twice about buying a few new fall clothing items that struck me.

This is a familiar feeling. It creeps in when I read fashion blogs or home decorating magazines. I tell myself I’m reading them to be creatively “inspired,” but really I just like looking at pretty things. And yet, that moment inevitably comes in which the looking becomes wanting which becomes frustration that it can’t be having.

To be more specific, the true restlessness that emerged that Target morning was not that I couldn’t afford a whole new wardrobe, but rather the fact that I wanted it. Does that make sense? I was disturbed by that consumeristic pull inside of me…to want more things. 

I’m not saying that wanting “things” is wrong, of course. But when that becomes a predominant thought, or when not having them causes you sadness (as it did for me in a little way that silly morning)…it’s time for a reality check.

And mine came later that afternoon.

Every week when I drive to pick up our CSA share of veggies, I take the same street. I suppose I vaguely knew that I always drove by the Lord’s Diner, a local soup kitchen run by our diocese. On this particular day, my timing coincided with the line forming for the dinner crowd.

Suddenly I was struck by the irony. Here I was driving a few miles to pick up specialty, organic vegetables [translation: expensive] while for most of these people, this would be their only meal of the day. I started to think about the ridiculousness of the blessings in my life, namely that I’ve never truly wanted for anything essential. I mean, really, I *take pictures* of my food for fun. Ugh.

In this moment, I was moved by more than just ordinary middle-class guilt. It was something deeper. I felt that tension that is always inside of me, probably inside of most of us: the interplay between the consumeristic mentality that is entrenched in our culture, our mindset, our hearts…and that deep, profound gratitude for truly wanting for nothing.

I don’t have an answer to this conflict. Maybe it’s not a conflict? Perhaps I need those moments of disgust with myself over wanting a stupid gold and navy scarf I shouldn’t be buying right now. I suppose it’s that kind of frustration that brings me head-on with the reality that my life is, indeed, quite luxurious. And perhaps that encounter with the truth will provoke a gratitude that should have been there all along.

“Learn from the way the wild flowers grow….If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”

sunflowers

a new look

Confession: I was thisclose to shutting down the blog for good. I actually googled, “how to keep all wordpress posts when you get rid of a blog.”

Why? Basically, 99% of the time this whole endeavor feels silly and self-involved. I really think there was a time in which I wrote things that were at least moderately entertaining or even a tad thoughtful. Anymore, it’s like, “uhhhh, here’s a recipe” [that could have been found easier via the google] or “uhhhh, here is an out-of-focus picture of Philomena” [that could have been seen on Instagram and/or Facebook a week previously] or “uhhh, how about I do a link-up” [in which about 100 bloggers all say pretty much the same thing.]

I would read other people’s blogs that are hilarious or interesting or deeply introspective or point to the Lord in a profound way. And I would think to myself, “dang, Sarah, you aren’t any of those things.”

However, with a little bit of prayer and a lot of thought I came to the realization that that kind of thinking is the worst type of self-involvement. You know? Like, I’m not going to try something, just because I’m not perfect. Instead, I shall go wallow in my mediocre party of one.

Wallowing is for wussies. Agreed?

I decided to go the opposite direction of taking down the blog, and instead I’ve given its appearance a tad of an update. I created a new banner, slightly changed the “about” page, and added a few menu choices. It’s not much, but it’s a start. So, if you’re reading this via Feedly or Bloglovin’, you might want to click on over to the actual website and let me know what you think.

Let’s be honest, this is still a pedestrian little blog. I’ll probably continue to be ramble-y and uninteresting at times. My pictures will never be professional.

Yet, I’m okay with all of that. Because this is real…and that’s all I can ask of myself.