Homemade Kettle Corn & HSP

Hi Friends 🙂
As Katie pointed out yesterday, I do try to respond to your comments – I’m working on having a better system (responding through email instead of on the blog) – so bear with me and thanks for reading/commenting in the first place!

Kettle Corn.

I realize the picture above looks just like regular popcorn, but let me tell you, it tastes so differently! Who doesn’t love it, seriously? When Jason and I went to Twins games this summer we had the BEST Kettle Corn. It was definitely worth the $5 pricetag 🙂
Last week we were watching a bit of Rachael Ray on Food Network and she made her own kettle corn on the stovetop. This had never occurred to me! We don’t eat much popcorn, but if we do, it is the microwavable bag…
Kettlecorn Recipe and Instructions

Next time I make this, I will definitely ask Jason to take pictures — I felt like such a doofus shaking the pot while the kernals popped. But, if you let the kernals sit too long they burn, so you have to keep them moving. Some kernals did burn:

I took my small bowl of kettle corn to the couch to read a bit of this:

Averie and Kelsey have both highly recommended this book, and I can’t thank them enough for that! The book has a small “quiz” in the beginning to determine if you are most likely an HSP. I answered “yes” to too many of those questions. The author explains that having a sensitive nervous system has advantages (being aware of subtleties) and disadvantages (being easily overwhelmed after being in a highly stimulating environment and feeling exhausted). Just reading this paragraph about the author made me cry:

If I could only begin to describe the situations in which that was true in my own life! I remember feeling (and still do!) completely overwhelmed in social situations (school, work) and just wanting to hide. But at the same time, I wanted to be a part of things but my body/mind was literally too tired. I am only 2 chapters into the book, but hopefully over the next few weeks I’ll be writing more about HSP. I like that the author immediately explained differences/similarities between HSP, introversion, shyness, etc. I honestly think I fit into each of those categories, at least a little bit. I’m not looking to label myself, but I think any info I have to better understand myself (and for Jason to understand me) is good to have.
*What book are you currently reading?
*Are you popcorn/kettlecorn fan? How do you prepare it?


Costumes, Chili & Comebacks

 Hi Friends 🙂

10 days until Halloween! Do you have your costume picked out yet? A few days ago I posted pics of the fabric for our costumes and a few of you guessed correctly:

I will be Princess Leia:

Jason will be Obi Wan Kenobi:

I have yet to actually make the costumes, the supplies are sitting in the corner of the living room:

(yes I bought a Lightsaber at Target to complete the look!)

Last night I made one of our favorite dinners: CD’s Almond Butter Chili from Heather Eats Almond Butter!

HEAB we eat this at least once per week – please tell CD thanks for the 100th time 🙂

After dinner I read through your comments yesterday, concerning my passive aggressive coworker and whether you stand up for yourself or not. Most of you wrote that if the relationship is worth it, or if work is becoming unbearable, you would say something. I struggle with this because I don’t always have the right words to say at the time – I’m the person who wakes up in the middle of the night thinking “THAT’S what I should have said!!!” Or I come up with comebacks days after a situation occurred.

Lately when he makes comments that hurt me – along the lines of working half-assed, being bored with nothing to do, not doing anything, etc – I start to feel bad about myself. That is when I need to fight off those negative thoughts with positive ones, such as: knowing I am a valuable employee, knowing that my coworkers respect me and treat me nicely, that my boss tells me regularly how well I am doing and how appreciated my work is. This doesn’t completely counteract the negative comments, but it lessens the blow.

*What about you? Are you good at coming up with comebacks or do you need time to think about things? I need to process information before I can really give answers. I work this way in meetings too – I won’t contribute much during the meeting, but afterward I will have plenty of good ideas. I just don’t work well “on the spot”.

*Do you make the same things for meals each week? Is this a bad thing necessarily? Jason and I eat the same things for meals, just not always on the same days. But we always have chili, tacos/burritos, soup/sandwiches or homemade pizza at least once per week. It makes grocery shopping really easy!

Have a great day! ~ Holly

Super Size Me

You’ve all seen this movie, right? Morgan Spurlock spends 30 days eating McDonalds food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it! The way his health deteriorates is ridiculous and downright scary.

What have you tried for 30 days straight? A new diet or an exercise routine? Or maybe you did what I did, which was participate in Tina’s 30 Days of Reflection for Self-Love.

This series really helped me a lot, and I think every comment I left for Tina included the words “thank you” – because although it was emotionally tough and overwhelming at times, it was totally worth it and I appreciate the time and effort she put into those posts. You can click *here* to read all of the posts – they are listed at the bottom of that post.

So do I love myself now? Well, I can’t honestly say “yes” – it is not something that (I believe) can be achieved in 30 days (no offense Tina!) – but the 30 Days series was definitely a big move in the right direction. Appreciate what you have and love the body that you were given.

The posts titles “Gifts of the Body” were my favorite because for so long I have beaten up my own body – eating too much or too little, exercising too much or not enough. Squeezing myself into clothes that made me feel uncomfortable and unattractive which led to more body bashing. My inner negative dialogue was so loud sometimes that it was hard to truly SEE myself in the mirror – all I saw were the negative qualities, when I really have plenty of positive ones!

So thanks to the 30 DRSL I do feel more confident in myself — and that is also the result of my own self reflection and movement towards a healthier lifestyle and a healthier outlook on life in general. So I guess I Super Sized my self esteem??? 🙂

So thanks Tina and everyone who had participated over there — I loved reading others’ comments.

*I know I said I’d take weekends off, but if I have something to write about I’m going to write! I’m just going to take it day by day.*


1. Did you participate in the 30 DRSL? What did you learn about yourself?

2. What are your plans for the weekend? Jason and I are going to a MN Twins game today –woohoo! Tomorrow we are running in the TC 10 Mile race (wish me luck!!!) followed by a birthday party for Jason’s Grandma — she recently turned 70!

3. Do you have any goals for October? I’m in the process of figuring mine out 🙂 and will be posting them hopefully tomorrow or Monday morning. As usual, I want to focus on nutrition, fitness, spiritual wellbeing, intellectual wellbeing and my marriage. I try to cover all my bases!

4. What are some of your nicknames? Did you parents call you something when you were younger? Do they still? I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few, but my Mom used to (and still does) call me Holly Dolly 🙂

Have a great weekend!


The Fear of the Mirror

Hi Everybody!

It seems like almost everyone had a nice weekend doing absolutely nothing! 🙂 Those are the best, when you can just be at home, relax, get small tasks done and just give yourself a mental break. I like to have Saturday as our “do nothing” day and then on Sunday I become super productive. I guess I can’t stay too relaxed for too long!

Some of you have commented or emailed me after a few of my posts wondering if people I know in real life read my blog. The answer is yes. For now, my mom , my sister Myra and Jason all read my blog. I also have a few friends who read it as well. I’m not close enough with my coworkers to share this much of me! I don’t have anything I need to hide from my friends and family, and if anything, writing about my struggles helps me become more confident in talking to my family. If there is something you are struggling with, I encourage you to talk to someone. There are plenty of issues that we cannot deal with on our own.

I hope you aren’t all tired of hearing about this book. You can read my other post *here* This book really has given me tools to use when I am feeling anxious, and it also explains anxiety in a way that makes me feel “normal” – that I’m not the only one to think this way.

I was most excited to dive into this chapter. The author begins by stating that body shame can start very early. She tells a story about a teacher telling girls that “God made canaries yellow and elephants gray” – the teacher went on to explain that regular sized girls could choose bright colors but that large girls should choose solid, dark colors. She compared the larger girls to elephants!

The author explains that we feel body shame for different reasons: we are overweight, underweight, out of shape, our doctor tells us we need to lose weight, our family/friends tell us we need to lose weight, we see pictures in magazines and on tv and think that is the norm, we might be unpopular and think our weight/looks are to blame or we see the millions of commercials and ads for makeup/clothes/shoes shown on unrealistic bodies. Or, someone makes a statement (like the teacher in that example) that causes us to look at our bodies in a negative light.

I feel shame about my body because once again, I have ridiculous expectations for myself that I cannot meet. I see the images in magazines, and although I remind myself over and over that those women are not real (photoshopped beyond recognition). I also remind myself that everyone is different – some women carry extra weight in their hips, some in their waists, some women are short, some are tall, etc.

The author tells us that we need to embrace our differences. She also said that we need to do the best with what we have and move on. There is no reason to sit and dwell on our imperfections — that gets us nowhere. Look at your strengths: are you a good friend? A loving daughter/son/wife/husband? Are you a hard worker? Look at your body: what do you like about it? Start to appreciate yourself.

I encourage you to take a look at Tina’s posts entitled “Gifts of the Body” that are a part of her 30 Days of Reflection for Self Love:

1. Gifts of the Body Part 1

2. Gifts of the Body Part 2

3. Gifts of the Body Part 3

If you feel shame about yourself or your body, I hope you take a moment to think about what you do like about yourself, whether those traits are on the outside or on the inside.

I also encourage you to read Katie’s post “Loving Little Katie”. She wrote about how she does not treat herself as her own best friend. In that post she wrote  “any time I’m tempted to call myself ugly or fat or whatever, I have to tell it to this Katie” with a picture of herself as a child. This was very powerful for me to read! Here is a picture of me as a child:

How could I call this child fat, ugly, worthless, lazy and boring? And yet I tell myself those things! Katie I loved your idea and I am going to use it! I could never tell Little Holly those awful things, and I think this imagery will really help.

Did you catch Thintervention last night?

Jackie spoke to the clients about “talking to your little self” — she even had them bring in old pictures! They each had to talk to their younger selves. What would you say to your younger self?

What are some things you like about yourself? I like that I am a very loyal friend and a hard worker. I like that I am a good wife to Jason and I try to take care of many of the household work (laundry, dishes, cooking, etc). I like that I am strong: that I have completed a marathon and that I can exercise intensely. I like that I am caring and loving, that I am funny and ridiculous.

On a less serious note, I’m making a pizza tonight for dinner and watching The Biggest Loser premiere! Although I can’t stand certain aspects of the show, I love to watch it!


The Secret Power of Shame

Hi Friends 🙂

As you read this I am already at a blogger meetup with Kate! I am so excited to meet her! I’ll have pictures and details tomorrow.

Saturday was a pretty productive day. Jason and I slept in and even took a nap later in the day. OK that doesn’t sound productive, but it was! Rest is so important and I take what I can get! I also worked a bit on my September goals too. I organized the stuff still in the garage:

I know it looks like a lot, but the furniture on the right is being sold this week to a Craigslist buyer, and the middle stuff is all being donated. Plus Jason’s uncle is buying our old washer and dryer. We’ll be parking in the garage again in no time! Do you get these cards in the mail?

The Vietnam Veterans of America are having a “donation day” next week where they will pick up all your stuff. They then sell those goods to private companies. The funds they raise cover half of their annual needs! It feels good to get rid of the stuff and it feels good to support this organization.

I also got some reading done:

I have about 100 pages left and I will be able to finish it within the next few days. The last chapter I read was very interesting:

Part of the chapter discusses the difference between shame and guilt. They sometimes seem like the same thing. The author explains that “guilt is about DOING and shame is about BEING”. You feel guilt for something you have done: hitting a parked car, taking the last treat, being mean to your spouse, etc. But shame is so much deeper than that.

Without sounding too depressed on here, I have to be honest and say I do feel shame. I usually feel ashamed of myself in social situations and sometimes at work. I want to be the best, I want to be perfect and I want to look good in front of others. I know that sounds shallow. It’s not that I want to be better than anyone else, I just want to be the best I can be. I set ridiculous expectations on myself and by doing so I am setting myself up for failure. When I feel like I “failed”, then I feel ashamed of myself.

I think my introvertism and my shyness definitely play a role in that as well. I want to be social and interact with others and make new friends and be confident at work. I want those things. But, I struggle with feeling comfortable acting that way and feel ashamed that I am “not able”. I feel as though I am not good enough and that I shouldn’t even bother trying. It keeps me hidden.

But I’ve gotten better. I’m trying more. I’m saying what is on my mind. I’m taking care of myself more: on the outside and the inside.  When I look good I FEEL good. To be honest this blog has helped me a lot. I read the comments on here and I realize that I DO know what I’m talking about and I do have valuable things to say. I just need to gain the confidence to act this way in real life! I think that by becoming more confident in myself can I overcome this shame.

There is an example of a woman named Paula who felt ashamed of her son, who had accidentally burnt down a small building. Paula eventually worked to overcome her shame:

“Paula cut her shame down to size. She forced herself to show up. She practiced talking to others with a dignity she did not feel at first. She acted as thought she had nothing to be ashamed of, and in the process of pretending, she moved closer to believing this truth.”

To me that advice is “fake it til you make it”, right?


  1. Do you or have you experienced shame? I understand if you don’t want to explain why, I had a hard time publishing this post. It is hard for me to admit what I am trying to change within myself.
  2. On a sunnier note, what are your plans for this fine Sunday? I am meeting with Kate for breakfast, then I am going to church (Sept goal!) and taking the rest of the day to clean up the house, go grocery shopping and maybe do a bit of baking.
  3. Tell me about the book you are currently reading. What do you like about it? Would you recommend it? Do you like to read self-help books like the one I am reading? Or do you think they are a bunch of nonsense?
  4. Do you like to donate old things? Or do you try to sell them? Throw them away? I usually like to bring a box/bag of clothes every couple of months to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. This VVA pickup is pretty sweet, since I don’t need to load up my car or drive to the nearest drop off location. Super easy!

Enjoy your day!


Revenge of the Introverts

Hi Friends 🙂

Thanks for all the nice words about me ditching running for a while. I really enjoyed it last spring and for most of the summer, but lately I just haven’t been feeling it. There are so many other activities I enjoy, like workout dvds 🙂 Last night I did this one:

I had to –  it was Monday night, which meant it was Thintervention night. Did you watch it? What did you think?

Last week I asked a lot of questions about whether you are introverted or extroverted, if you like social gatherings, how you talk to someone new, etc. I am definitely introverted and most of the time, down right shy. I always have been. I try to “come alive” when I need to (at work) or if I am meeting someone “important” (job interview, Jason’s family members, etc). But for the most part I tend to want to be by myself doing solitary activities. I was in Barnes and Noble yesterday and this caught my eye:

I had to buy it. The main article was so interesting. It talked about the main difference between someone who is shy (wants to connect with others but finds socializing difficult) and someone who is introverted (someone who prefers time alone). I actually think I am both, not one or the other. I struggle with getting to know new people, making new friends or having a good time at a party (whether I know people there or not!), but I do prefer time alone.

The article also explains that introverts may seem like poor communicators, but in reality they are actively engaged in the conversation…but in their own head. They are taking in information, thinking about it, waiting for a turn to speak, etc. I can’t tell you how many people in my life have said to me “do you just not talk?” – they don’t realize how difficult it is for some people (me) to say what they want to say. I want to make sure I say things right the first time.

My favorite part of the article (besides the pictures, like the one above) was this line: “we hate people telling us how to be extroverted, as if that’s the desired state”. Once again, I wish I could tell you how many times someone has tried to help me be more extroverted. How about everyone becomes more introverted, huh? What about that?

When I was at B&N I also picked up this book, after reading a review of Kelsey’s blog. I’m excited to dig into it:


  1. Are you interested in Psychology? If you consider yourself introverted, do you think you are shy as well? Are you a shy extrovert? I think I already explained that I am a shy introvert 🙂
  2. Do you like to buy books, borrow them from the library or do you have a Nook or Kindle? Or are you not much of a reader? I like to buy book and get stuff from the library, Jason has a nook and he loves it. Sometimes I wish I had a little electronic book thing, it would make reading in bed easier, plus for traveling I wouldn’t have to lug around any big books!
  3. Are you back in school? What class are you most excited to take? Thank God I am done with school! But my favorite class ever was Criminal Law — I loved reading old cases and briefs.

Enjoy your Tuesday!


Beloved Treasures & Cinnamon Chickpeas

Happy Thursday!

Thanks for all the nice words about my POM Quinoa Parfait – I still want to work on it a bit to get the right flavors, hopefully next week all will be revealed! And if you missed Thintervention this week, check it out! I really enjoyed the show.

Last night Jason and I sold one of my beloved treasures:

My Pier 1 dishes! I worked there all through high school and college and I bought that set as a college graduation gift to myself. For the last 5 years it has sat in my cupboards or in a box. Jason and I are planning on selling our townhome/buying a new house over the next few years and that is why we are trying to get rid of stuff. But it was still sad to pack them up and sell them. BUT, the buyer was totally “worthy” – she found my ad on Craigslist and drove 2 hours to buy the set! I know the dishes are in good hands 🙂

Dinner tonight was swiped from Becky: Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas! I didn’t have honey so I subbed maple syrup and they turned out wonderful:

I appreciated the comments yesterday about living in the moment vs. dwelling on the past or future. It seemed like there was a good mix of responses. I definitely dwell on the past and wonder if I’ve been making good decisions, if I “should have done this” or “could have done that” and I also think about the future: how are my decisions affecting my life later on? That’s why I wanted to focus on reading more this month:

Dancing with Fear was recommended to me and I am enjoying it so far. It brings me a sense of peace to know that I am not the only one who feels this anxious about certain events, certain people or situations. I think that understanding anxiety will help me gain control of my emotions and thoughts. If you have any other book recommendations for me, I would love that!

Oh and I *loved* reading which Team you love: Edward or Jacob. Here is more proof I am Team Edward:

My lovely sister in law gave that to me last year. It is the type of gift that I will probably never get rid of!


  1. Have you ever sold something that meant a lot to you? What was it and why did you sell it?
  2. How do you feel about social events? Are you extroverted or introverted? Do you enjoy the company of others?
  3. When you are feeling nervous, how do you calm yourself down? (or do you never feel nervous?)


Spam Queen

Good Morning Friends 🙂
I’m glad I’m not the only one on Earth without a Garmin. Maybe I’ll get one someday, but there are many things I would rather get first, like a new bedroom set. Jason and I are saving up for a new set and I hope it looks something like this:

I will not apologize for my love of cabin type furniture. I live in MN and that’s what we like here! 🙂 I would love to have my whole house decorated with wood logs, pine trees, bear pillows, canoe bookshelves, etc. You get the idea.
I wasn’t sure if I would post this or not, but after thinking about it, I decided that I had to put this out there. I had to get it off my chest.  I have written to a few companies expressing interest in trying their products. Most companies have been thrilled to have someone try their products and to write review. I recently heard back from one of the companies. Here is their response:

Dear Holly,

Thank you so much for your request to review Bragg products on your blog. One of the requirements for us is that we share the same health philosophy –
or a similar health philosophy. We usually work with healthy lifestyle bloggers on reviews, not so much giveaways.

Are you familiar with the Bragg Healthy Lifestyle Philosophy?

How many readers do you currently have on your blog?

I looked at your blog and as much as I enjoyed it, I noticed that a lot of the food you write about on your homepage is processed and on the unhealthy side and I know that Patricia might have some concerns about that. But it might be a way to introduce and inspire a healthier
lifestyle to your readers?

Kind Regards,

This email pissed me off. Am I just being too sensitive? I never claimed to have a perfect diet only full of whole foods and unprocessed ingredients.  Are my foods on the unhealthy side? It bothered me to read this, because I don’t agree with her, but at the same time, is she right?
If the post she looked at was my State Fair post, then sure, you could say my diet is full of processed foods. But that was one day out of the whole year! I don’t eat that way every day. Does she consider peanut butter processed? I do, but I wouldn’t put it in the same category as a Snickers bar. “Processed” to me could be interpreted differently, but to me “unhealthy” cannot really be taken the wrong way.
This letter infuriates me because it is this kind of talk that results in me feeding into my Holly Monster. I let in self doubt when I read this email. I went back to those feelings of “I’m not healthy enough to have a blog, what am I even doing?” Once again I had to constantly remind myself that I am doing the best I can. I am moving forward towards my goal of peace with food and my body.
Why should I let a complete stranger (who has seen only little snippets of me) define me? I shouldn’t, and yet I do. I never claimed to be perfect and I refuse to completely deprive myself of any food. If that isn’t good enough for this woman or her company, then I certainly don’t want to give her any business.
But seriously, this needs to stop, I can’t give anyone power over me and my feelings. I know who I am, I know what I eat, I know my feelings. This woman knows nothing, and passed (what I think is) an unfair judgment on me and my blog.
So I eat processed foods now and then. I drink Diet Coke most days. I ate a Deep Fried Reese’s PB Cup at the MN State Fair. I eat chocolate chips in my oatmeal. I’ve eaten at McDonalds (THE HORROR!!!). But I also eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and nuts. I aim for balance, not perfection. If I eat some foods that are not “whole and clean” does that throw away my whole diet? I’m trying to get away from that all-or-nothing attitude and yet that email feeds right back into those feelings.
For now, I suppose I should take my seat as the Queen of Processed Foods on my Spam Throne 🙂

I may not be the healthiest blogger, but I try to keep a balance, and I try my best. That is all I can do!
Psst: check out Tina’s 30 DSLR today!
How would you describe your diet? My diet is all about balance: getting in fresh produce, lean proteins, healthy fats with a splash of indulgence now and then.
Are you a saver or a spender? What are you saving for, or what do you like to spend your money on? I am definitely a saver, and Jason and I are saving towards a new bedroom set and hopefully a nice vacation in the Spring.