Poker face

Finally, I am back in action! Since getting home late Sunday night, I have been cooking up a storm, but simply haven’t had time to blog about it. To get back into the groove of things, I started by making a recipe or two from magazines. When creativity is lacking, there is no harm in looking to other’s – I assume that is why y’all read my blog after all! If you think about it, starting a blog is quite an egocentric activity. Unless you keep it completely private, you are assuming that people want to read what you have to say. Part of why I haven’t been blogging much lately is because I want the content I post to have meaning and value to you. I don’t want to just slap up a recipe or ramble about school. Providing useful recipes, workouts, and information about health-related topics is my primary goal for this blog, but sometimes it is hard to make the time create more meaningful posts.

Anywho, the reunion was wonderful. Just like last year, the entire family stayed in a house on Lake of the Ozarks and each day was filled with tubing, BBQ, fancy schmancy Wii games (that I can’t figure out how to play), ice cream, and swimming.

gramps and I

Spending time with my family brings me back to my roots. The stress of school, personal demons, and the daily grind melts away and I am left with my core self, which is both good and bad. Without all the distractions of daily life, the flaws that I see in myself become unavoidably clear. I need to be more patient, more agreeable, and more giving on other people’s terms. It is not challenging to be agreeable, patient, and giving on your own terms. What really counts is when you can be those things at the most inconvenient of times. I also want to be more vocal about my thoughts and feelings for others.

I really love people.

Instead of seeing the negative or irksome qualities in a person, I always see their best qualities first. And if I finally do notice someone’s lesser qualities (which is usually pointed out to me by another), I typically spin it in a positive light. For example, if a girl is a bit over the top and dramatic, instead of labeling that as obnoxious or self-centered, I would say it is because she is very confident and has highly developed social skills (and can work a room like no other). Or, I can justify a negative quality with something positive that outweighs it. For example, I have a friend who flakes on me often, but instead of thinking of it as rude, I simply think it is because she leads a very busy life and handles it with insane dedication and work ethic. It is nothing personal, she just wants to please (by saying yes to plans), but simply doesn’t have the time.

Usually, this way of thinking is good. For the most part, I think it enhances my relationships with others and lets them grow when others would cast off a friendship prematurely. Very rarely do I justify wrong behaviors or qualities to the point of getting myself hurt in the process, although it has happened. Anyway, back to the point, I have all these positive thoughts and emotions tumbling around in my head about my family, friends, and even people I don’t know very well, but I usually don’t express them. Half the time, I am probably walking around with far too stern of a face. I should probably smile a bit more and speak up a bit. Who doesn’t want to know how fabulous they are?

Moral of the story: Spend time with your family. Remember the truly important things in life are love, relationships, and one’s happiness and health. Notice things you want to improve about yourself and hop to it!

Im going to end this crazy tangent right now and present to you the recipe that got me back into cooking.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Basil Oil

watermelon and goat cheese are a match made in heaven

Recipe: makes 3-4 servings

adapted from Martha Stewart

3 cups watermelon, cubed

1 cucumber, cubed

2 tomatoes, sliced

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup basil leaves



Directions: Blend the basil and oil in a blender until just combined, so there are still a few chunks of basil. Set aside. Slice the tomatoes, cucumber, and watermelon and place in a bowl. Toss with lemon juice and goat cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with basil oil.

does anyone notice my ridiculous captions?


Watermelon * a great source of vitamin A, C, B1, and B6. The antioxidants derived from the vitamin A help fight inflammation which contributes to many ailments, including heart attacks, diabetes miletus, and arthritis.

Tomatoes * also contain a LOT of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that has been shown in studies to reduce the effects of smoking. ThisΒ does not mean it is okay to smoke, but if you do, it is a VERY good idea to make sure are getting lots of vitamin A daily. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, which has been proven to halt the growth of cancer cells!

It was even better the next day!

15 thoughts on “Poker face

  1. I don’t know how many times people have told me to smile more! It’s not that I’m unhappy at all, I think that’s just the way my face is.

    That’s great that you seek people’s best qualities first & always spin their lesser qualities in a positive way πŸ™‚

  2. I love this post! You are very insightful, my dear. πŸ™‚ I love spending time with my family as well. My sisters keep my feet on the ground and I love both of my parents so much. Your salad is so beautiful and perfect for summertime!

  3. I loved every word of this post, Lauren πŸ™‚

    My family hasn’t been fully together for years now (due to work, school etc) and I think that is a big factor in making my personality worse – more irritable and impatient. I so dearly miss the old time I happily spent with my dad…and I’m so scared if it’s ever going to come back, as we all get older and busier day by day.

    Anyways, this post has just inspired me a lot. It makes me contemplate about many things. After all, family is “the most” important. They are the only ones that will ultimately stay with me and love me unconditionally.

    Thanks πŸ™‚

  4. Wow, I just love your positivity. What an amazing way to look at things that so many others would call out as faults. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt and you, no doubt, know how to give it. I know what you mean about walking around with a stern face though, I’m pretty sure I do this ALL the time. I’m trying to recognize it more and FEEL it so that I do a bit more smiling. It’s the smallest gesture with the biggest impact!

    I’m so glad you had such a great time with your family. Family is the best. You’re making me more and more excited to go spend a week with MY family in August. We have a big fam wedding and cottage week planned and I know it will be the highlight of my summer.

    You and your gramps… SO cute πŸ™‚

  5. Glad you had a good time with your family! I think it is great that you always find the good in people, I always try to do the same.
    That salad looks amazing, so fresh and so summery! I recently tried the watermelon cheese combo and loved it πŸ™‚

  6. You are so insightful! i love this post. I can totally relate: spending time with my family always seems to bring my faults to the forefront. While that isn’t always a bad thing, it makes me wonder why. And you’re spot on when you say your family IS your core self.

    so i am in love with this recipe and am already planning to try it tomorrow night! I just wrote on my blog that i needed summer recipes, so this is beyond perfect! πŸ™‚

  7. mmm amen girl! i love this post, and i really admire you for being able to look at people in such a positive light! that’s awesome. i love people too and am working on expressing that even more than i already do (because i think i keep quiet a lot too!)

    anyhow, i can relate to the feeling of being my “core” self when i’m back at home – having been away for so long (traveling all of last year) really took a toll on my mental/emotional health and since being back in california, i feel “normal” again. i think it’s the process of growing up, it’s kind of bittersweet!

  8. I LOVE watermelon salads! This one sounds tasty…. I might go with feta instead of goat though, since I’m not a huge fan πŸ™‚ Thanks for the recipe!

  9. i saw u in the ozarks
    with the cousins named tom john joe ali matthew james david cody keith brad katie grant molly addison

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