The Horses of Burr Oak Farm

We got the chance to help the family shoot some footage of the horses for prospective buyers this Thanksgiving weekend. The buyers are way out in Oregon, so they’re unable to check out the horses in person.

It was my pleasure to step out of my comfort zone and help them with this.

The more I work on creative projects that allow me to explore new realms, the more inspired I become. Now… those of you who know me may be REALLY shocked to see me anywhere near a horse – let alone in my forces, hello! – but I had a blast.

We plan on getting down more often to help mom and dad elevate their customer experience and show off the beautiful horses of Burr Oak Farm.

 

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Loser

I’m such a bad loser. Most of the time I can feel myself getting angrier if I’m not doing as well as I’d like to be.

Back in high school I was on the varsity bowling team and I would be so annoyed if I scored anything lower than 175; my highest game bowled is 257.

 

I can remember every sour note and terrible solo performance from my high school band days and still haven’t revisited those recordings since then; I graduated in 2005.

Flash forward to today. The people playing Mario Kart online today are ruthless and I’ve been stuck at the back of the pack.

As mentioned above, I could feel myself growing angrier with each shell that met my cart; with each explosion I run into. My subtle bitching turned into silence. Still doing my best, I could see it just wasn’t happening for me today and I’d lost way too many points.

 

I could feel S looking out the corner of his eyes to gauge how agitated I’d become. I suppose it was my turn to be full of rage because of a video game today – usually it’s him!

Oh well. We like to have a couple drinks and play video games to decompress when we’re hanging out at the house. Maybe I’ll do better later.

He’s still playing at the moment. I had to step away.

Not It!

I open my eyes slightly to see if Reynold has clocked my being awake. “I’m in the clear,” I think to myself as he stirs at the foot of the bed. “If I’m lucky, S will be on early morning potty duty.” Puppy dog already knows this is a fight he’ll always win, it’s just a matter of who will be accompanying him.

S and I brought Reynold home when he was only eight weeks old and from that moment on it was game over for me. Because I was the one doing most of the crate training and taking him out at all hours of the night, I immediately became the hey-dad-I-have-to-poop dad.

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I remain in my statue state. “Make eye contact, and you’re done.” I remind myself as I strengthen my act. When Reynold catches your eye it’s like facing Medusa, but instead of turning into stone, you end up taking him out or fetching the ball that’s stuck under the couch. The dude has an iron stare, for sure.

I make the mistake of twitching a bit, but S begins to move more than I in this moment. “YES.” You see, S messed up here because now Reynold begins to climb all over us and barrel roll his way between us; basically telling us to get our asses up so he can go on his morning stroll.

 

S slowly swings his legs over the side of the bed and I know I’ve won. Reynold is going on and on at this point. He does this weird mix of a growl and snort – it’s odd and hilarious – when he’s talking to us. I’m almost positive that these sounds paired with his raspy bark translates to “Hurry the EFF up, dad! I’ve got to go!”

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S makes his way towards our closet and Reynold begins to bounce uncontrollably all over the room. He knows he’s minutes away from getting to patrol the perimeter for birds and chipmunks. NOW I can open my eyes and play with him right before S takes him out.

“I Win. No morning poop duty for me today.” I revel in my small victory and enjoy the 15-pound monster that’s darting all over my bedroom. I love my dog, but this dad needs a break sometimes. So under these sheets is where I will stay until he and S are out the door 🙂

A Deck of a Mess

Home ownership is the most frustrating thing at times. Our only goal today was to pressure wash our deck and clear it of old paint the weather had already begun to peel up. The plan was simple: Get to Home Depot right when the tool rental counter opened, pressure wash the deck, and return the washer with plenty of time to spare within our 4-hour rental window.

I don’t like housework that involves anything on the outside of the house. When it comes to the inside of the house and decor, it’ll always be on and poppin’, clean and sparklin’. Both our moods shifted when we realized this was going to take longer than we’d planned.

The plan never goes like it should, though. S and I of all people should know this with all the adventure we’ve had with our condo already. The tip we needed, for the spray nozzle,  to make the most progress removing the paint was broken. Not wanting to waste too much time, we immediately packed the washer up and returned to the store.

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We didn’t know the tip was the issue before the customer service rep tested our machine and the replacement in the store. Deep down we were thankful, because on the car ride over, we both thought “If something is wrong with our water pressure and this house, we will rage.” We ended returning home with our original rental and a new tip.

Sadly, the new tip made no difference in the rate at which the paint was coming off the deck. We imagined the paint would just fly off as the water made contact, but this was far from the case. S and I spent a good amount of time switching roles on the project. Scraping and spraying, we longed for larger pieces of paint to come up, but found we were barely making any progress. Our good friend, Google, ended up informing us that the machine we’d rented from Home Depot was only half the power required to execute a project like ours.

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This made sense. Why in the hell were we spending ten or more minutes spraying one spot, only to see a speck of paint chip off at a time? This couldn’t be right. We confirmed gas pressure washers were stronger, but were also instructed not to go that route because there’d be a high risk of damaging our deck. S called his dad and we’ll be borrowing his pressure washer next weekend. It’s the right amount of power, and our deck isn’t huge, so we should be able to get the work done in a decent amount of time.

Sigh… maybe we can hire some eye-candy to do this for us. Probably not, but a dude can wish, can’t he?

Brunch Fave: Sausage & Cornbread.

So can you tell bread was one of my favorite things before living a low-carb lifestyle? I’m telling you, I could turn anything into a sandwich. Sandwiches – no one in particular – were my favorite food and I’d have them often. That’s why so many of my last meal remixes have included keto bread. It must be a craving coming to test my will.

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Today, I put a twist on one of my favorite college brunch items: sausage and cornbread. The original recipe comes from an old friend and roommate. With a single box of Jiffy cornbread mix, baked over cooked, crumbled breakfast sausage, the epic breakfast dish is ready when golden brown.

 

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Instead of using the keto bread recipe to make biscuits or buns, I spread the uncooked dough over spicy crumbled sausage I’d prepared in the skillet. I doused the sausage with cayenne pepper, black pepper, and Italian seasoning as it sizzled in the heat, so this dish was going to have just the right amount of kick. If you can make it spicy? Make it spicy. Let the dish bake until golden brown and spread REAL butter over the top before letting it rest. After about ten minutes, cut and serve with sugar-free syrup.

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This looks like a heavy meal, right? I was pleasantly surprised at how light the meal was; the complete opposite feeling of the one you have after eating the original recipe. I had two pieces in the beginning and felt completely satisfied – not too full – after I’d finished them. We love to make this and bake the mixture in cupcake baking sheets. You get the perfect single serving if you make it this way. Side item? Scrambled eggs and spinach cooked in bacon fat.

Yum. Absolutely, yum.

Pepsi & Kendall Jenner Stir Up Controversy with New Jump In Ad

A fabulous wrap-up about the new Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner. Well said and presented.

Alexis Chateau PR

When it comes to public relations and marketing, Pepsi Co. is a brand to be reckoned with. Over the years, the mega-food company has attracted the endorsement of pop culture and music legends like Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Britney Spears, Beyoncé Knowles, Aretha Franklin, and The All-American Rejects.

So why not Kendall Jenner?

The Backlash

But when Pepsi released the Jump In commercial, starring Jenner, on April 4, 2017, it was not to critical acclaim. Journalists and consumers alike labelled the ad “tone-def”, and called it an appropriation of the Black Lives Matter campaign to sell a can of soda.

Symone Sanders, a CNN Political Commentator said:

Literally, Pepsi just used Kendall Jenner to co-opt the resistance to sell a freakin’ can of soda. Okay?

There were no police pictured in riot gear as they often are when Black and Brown people are putting their bodies on the line…

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All Work. Hopefully Some Play.

I’m frustrated. Frustrated because most of my family lives outside of Indiana. Frustrated because my brother is coming to visit the first week of May, and I’m not sure if S will be able to get any time off. As a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) at a corporate establishment, it’s hard for S to get off during their month-end-close weeks – the last week of the month were all deadlines and balances are due. This visit was originally planned as a surprise and falls during the week of my brother’s birthday. Unfortunately, the first week of May happens to be one of these ridiculous weeks where S will probably be working late and won’t have much free time.

 

That’s the business I suppose. My corporate gig is much more lax and doesn’t run on any tight deadlines; making it much easier to say “Hey, I’m going to be out for a week. Cool? Thanks.” I know this isn’t anything S can control. He’s an extremely hard worker, and by the sounds of most post-work download moments at home, he’s always helping team members with their tasks and keeping productivity stay at a decent level.  

 

Sure, some notice before flights were purchased would have been nice, but it was a surprise. My brother had no idea until after the flights were scheduled. Blame is not what I’m looking to place. I’m more just hoping that S’s job can find a way to survive without him for a couple to a few days that week, or at least let him leave at a decent time since his brother-in-law is coming to visit from 3,800 miles away.

 

As soon as we found out my brother would be visiting, I thought “let your job know, if that’s your busy week, so they can plan for your absence, be flexible, or plan to step it up that week.” From what I understand about the accounting world, you can only plan so much and a lot of how smoothly the gig is executed depends on your team. Currently I’m a supervisor in corporate customer service, so sacrifice and hard work is something I know a thing or two about… Accounting versus Customer Service – they both have their pros and cons as they relate to each other. From a leadership point of view, I’m thinking “Why aren’t your other team members as good a S? Can no one dig as deep as he does, Monday through Friday, and get the job done?”

 

That’s the gift and curse of leadership – having to carry others, even when you don’t really want to at times, but then you’re reminded why you’re a leader – you know deep down why you’re a leader – with that amazing feeling of accomplishment.

 

In the end I’m more aggravated because S always deserves a break and rarely takes one for himself. If there was any way he could get at least two days off the week of the visit, I’d be happy, but we’ll have a great time no matter what ends up happening with his work schedule. I’m annoyed at the timing of things, BUT I’m beyond stoked to spend my brother’s twenty-eighth birthday with him. The last time my siblings and I were all together was Summer 2014. With sis now living just down the road in Bloomington, we’ll be sure to have a great week together.

 

Last night I received a text from one of our great family friends, asking/letting me know that he’d be joining my brother on this trip – he’s basically a brother to us. He’s coming up from Florida, so we’ll have visitors from opposite corners of the country! Schweeeeet.

 

End vent/ramble/whatever-this-post-was…

Back from the West and Ready for Ink

Hello, everyone! Long time no WordPress post, huh? As most of you know we’ve been busy traveling, visiting friends out west in Los Angeles and Seattle. What a trip. Man, we hated to come back, but more on that later. I’m currently going through all the video footage we collected on the trip and will be putting together TWO YouTube videos – one for each city – to share with all of you.

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FRIDAY. This Friday I get my new tattoo. I’m nervous and excited. Mostly excited, though. The nerves are probably coming from the anticipation of getting the tat done. Originally, I planned on getting this done on my thirtieth birthday, but I unexpectedly had to get a new car. The time is now and it’s going to be epic. My fresh ink will meet me on the upper right part of my arm. A strong representation of my personality and representation of the North, this will be my biggest and grandest tattoo to date.

I view tattoos as an expression of who you are. Not every tattoo needs a story or a meaning, but that’s the theme I try to stick to with mine. I have a scorpion on my foot, because I’m a Scorpio and complete Astrology nerd. I have a trumpet on my left forearm because I’m a trumpet player and music has been, and continues to be, a huge part of my life. The lyrics underneath it read “It’s a bittersweet symphony this life” because that’s what life has been for me. I have a totem style Alaskan salmon on my right thigh to rep my home state, Alaska, and persistence, instinct, and determination. I got this one a week before I graduated from Indiana University. Those of you who know me personally know what that journey was like for me.

So what will my next one represent? Stay tuned! And comment with pictures of tattoos you have and what they mean to you.

Netflix and Still.

I’m not sure what’s happened to us. Making a selection on Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming platform has proven to be mostly annoying and fruitless. Let me partially take that back. I have shows that I don’t mind watching and will pick in a heartbeat when I have the remote control in hand and S isn’t home. Black-ish, Scandal, Atlanta, Game of Thrones, Insecure… anything witchy, really.

 

“What do you want to watch?” I proceed to list of all the shows we’re currently watching in hopes that he picks one that we haven’t been binging on every night. “Uhhhhhhh…..” This is how most of the show/movie watching selection process goes for us. Recently we’ve been binging on The Office – great show if you haven’t gotten into it – or keeping up with whatever Real Housewives season is airing at the moment. Variety, though. Variety goes a long way.  

 

This happens, right? Couples have shows they watch together and shows they watch separately. I know in my mind, when I’m offering up suggestions on what to watch, that those are my shows. The both of us would love to watch old Real World episodes, but none of the quality seasons are available on Hulu or anywhere else. You’d think MTV would sell that shit. I know of at least two queens in Indianapolis who would snatch up and buy all of those (golden) lost episodes.

 

For now, I’ll do my best to remember his shows; or more of the us shows. This could be some form of a hidden gift – us being as busy as we have been. We didn’t really have time for television the past year. Maybe it’s a sign if we’re scanning for minutes upon minutes and still haven’t picked something to watch. It’s winter outside, so eff a walk, but maybe it’s a sign I should go practice some yoga. Maybe it’s a sign S should play some more video games or continue his post-school chill however he wants.

 
Who knows, but we’re back to scrolling now. The Office it is.

Back on Track

It’s Saturday! And I’ve managed to successfully stick to my set fasting windows. This was the reset I needed. The beer last weekend was delicious, but my body KNOWS when intruders – carbs – are strolling through my system.

Outside of sticking to fasting windows, ranging from 16-37 hours this week, I’m patting myself on the back for making every planned workout. As of late, I’m unable to pop right up and be gym ready in the morning. Lifting weights before work was convenient because I like to go STRAIGHT home after work. I’ve never been a fan of errands or veering too far off any scheduled plan; and yes, a scheduled plan includes my drive home (haha).

This week I decided to step outside of my stubborn-overly-scheduled mindset and just wing it. If I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t eat. This is largely due to keeping my healthy fat intake at 75% and my protein and carbs at good ketogenic levels. I had two, half-hour lifting sessions this week, and did yoga for 25 minutes two mornings. Every workout was focused, calm, and productive. I say calm because my body felt rested; even in the act of ripping my muscles apart and working on inversion poses.

How much a sweat comes out of a workout has never been a marker of success for me. With that being said, however, I’d never sweat so much during a workout. TMI, sorry, but I’m not sure what that could mean. Maybe it means nothing. I’ve never been a heavy sweater in the gym, but could working out in a fasting state be serving as some form of detoxification for me? The day after each lifting or yoga session, I felt as though I’d worked out, but the recovery period was much faster.

This morning we made these amazing breakfast sandwiches. Almond flour biscuits, egg, ham, extra sharp cheddar, jalapeno, and a bit of mayo.

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They were so bomb. It’s been ages since I had a breakfast sandwich and we were both too excited to eat them. S and I are looking into local butchers so we can level-up on healthy fats, our cooking, and culinary creativity. Whatever you eat, you’ve gotta have fun with it. Can you imagine this sandwich with some freshly sliced, thick-cut bacon? My weekend has been made already 🙂