I Sold My Soul to Game of Thrones


It took me 6 months. I trooped through. I conquered.

I have read every single page of those five daunting books and have officially been pulled into the cruel grasp of George R.R. Martin. Let me just say, it’s been a battle– pardon the puns.

Granted, it took me 19 years (the first book was published in 1996) to jump on this bandwagon. I don’t know what it is, but the majority of popular books sit on my “to-read” shelf much longer than books that no one talks about. I think my ego takes it as some slight that I’m not discovering something on my own, but having it pushed on me by popular culture– or in this case my friends and family. That said, once I committed to the first book I was determined to whiz through them. The books sucked me in more than I would have liked, and I found myself falling for characters knowing they would end up dying.

See, that’s the thing with getting on this particular bandwagon. I had my fiancé read Game of Thrones (the first book) before me, and he absolutely hated it because he heard everyone dies. So while Martin’s storytelling keeps you enthralled, and you want to know what happens next, M didn’t want to go through the trouble for all the characters to end up dying. Martin creates an incredible world, right up there with LOTR (OK maybe not quite, but awfully close!). My fiancé hated it because of the spoilers. The Song of Fire and Ice series has an infamous reputation with all the characters dying– in swoops and swarms. Even though you know it’s coming, you somehow don’t see it coming. After reading the first book for myself, I actually felt hopeful that people were just being overly dramatic about it. Then I found this on Pinterest. Someone went so far as to mark every time a character died in the book.

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It’s ridiculous. In this case it’s a little extreme because they obviously marked the death of both small and main characters. Still, my fiancé read the first book and went through the turmoil of “watching” while his favorite characters died. He warned me it would get worse. I didn’t listen.

Martin pulled me in. He made me loathe characters and he made me love characters. And then he killed them with no particular favoritism. At the end of the last book I was screaming at him for pulling me along just to have my heart torn out, and he isn’t even finished writing them!

I spent 6 months devoting my free time to immerse myself in his world, and he had me squirming the whole time. Many would argue, including myself, that because he creates such reactions in his readers that he is a writing genius. Yet, sometimes it makes me wonder if he goes too far… Is there a line that can be drawn?

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My original intent was to be able to watch the TV shows after reading the books. But, it has left me in a serious conundrum. I can’t stand the show. There, I’ve said it.

I’ve only watched two episodes of the first season but the show is already too unlike the books to enjoy. It’s frustrating because of how well-loved it is, but there is no going back for me. I could love the people that play the characters (or hate them, they did an AMAZING job casting Joffrey) but the storyline already annoys me just two episodes in.

I’ve created a complicated relationship with the books and an even more complicated one with the show. For now I’ll embrace the respite while Martin takes his time figuring out who he’s going to kill off next and viewers of the show bicker over the way the screenwriters are changing the original plot line. At the end of the day, Game of Thrones has been an interesting phenomenon to witness and dive into, but it’s time to come up for air.

I’m curious- has anyone else read the books and watched the show? Thoughts? I’d be intrigued to hear other perspectives. And good luck to those trying to tackle the books, winter is coming…

Sippin slow…


It’s the first time in years that spring has burst into color with such vibrancy. The storms have left everything like a meadow. As someone who has grown up in a drought, it’s crazy to think this is the way it’s supposed to be. This weekend is for sleeping in, even if it’s just for an extra thirty minutes, a glorious thirty minutes. I’ll be sipping slow, enjoying my view, and signing off. I felt like keeping it short this week. It was a crazy one. Enjoy whatever view finds you this Saturday morning.

  

©LiveSimplyKMM

Making Life a Weekend


The end of the week is here! And while I am definitely a TGIF gal these days, I also know it’s a sticky rut to get out of. So, here are the things that inspire me all days of the week and remind me that happiness isn’t just confined to the weekend. Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

“Celebrate today for its simple joys and tiny miracles” ~T.T. Asai
Kayaking the river never ceases to create awe-inspiring discoveries. And who says you can’t make room for a quick adventure during the week? It’s all about making the time or just doing something rather than vegging out in front of the TV (which sometimes is a joy within itself) Thanks M for being my adventuring partner in crime any day, everyday.

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Snagged this precious piece from James Avery Jewelry’s Pinterest page. I keep falling in love every time I look at it. This would be a perfect reminder to always keep writing, no matter what.

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Speaking of James Avery Jewelry, this little guy. AKA Tweet-Tweet. Can’t stop. Too much warm-fuzzy. Seriously though, with this little bird perched on my finger it’s hard to take life too seriously. IMG_2734

Every evening that I get out of my car to go inside or vice versa, I find myself gazing off into the sunset. It’s the sun’s promise of tomorrow.

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I leave you with this thought because the sheer stubborn drive to continue is the one thing that inspires me every day without a doubt. No matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, you are here now and you are a steady progression of yourself. You can’t be alive and not be growing even if it seems to be at a snail’s pace. When I graduated college, I really thought the world had ended because it was the only thing I had ever been good at. But now I know that my life has truly just begun.

I’ve watched people I love stumble and fall and “fail” but the fact they are still doing the best they can– well that inspires me to keep going too. So wherever you may be and no matter how many failures you have at your back or on your doorstep, you’re different than you were five seconds ago sheerly because you exist.

Have a happy weekend!

-Kassie

**All images except the Typewriter Charm from James Avery Jewelry and the final quote from Pinterest are my images**

A Very Lazy Productive Day


Today is one of those days that I got to sleep in thanks to poor weather. Apparently, Texans are horrible at handling slippery streets, but I am not complaining since my classes were cancelled and I could cuddle up all morning. I even tried making M a happy face in his latte today… it turned out to be more of a good morning smirk, but I am getting there!

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Someday!
Source: theendearingdesigner.com

Anywho, I found myself being lazy productive. Yes, that is a thing. Essentially, it consists of me contemplating future goals and plans while in bed. Pinterest may have squeezed in there throughout this process (but of course!). My lazy productive contemplations of the day are as follows:

-Looking for a baking recipe sans eggs. We ran out of eggs at breakfast, but I have to bake on iced-in days; therefore, I found a way around it and made these decadent snowy day treats….

 

I also probably pinned 10 other recipes whilst in the process of looking for something eggless. And, yes, they were pretty much all scone-related. I have been deprived without my Lemon Poppy Seed scones from Whole Foods.

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Here’s a yummy looking recipe for them at http://www.onceuponacuttingboard.com

–Next, I went perusing on what I want to do with the rest of my life. To be honest, I do not take this too seriously anymore. And ironically enough, life has become a lot simpler and enjoyable. Now that I’m not worried about being a successful 20-something-year-old, I’m actually finding things I enjoy, well…. enjoyable. I am also considering making pretty drastic changes to my degree plan, and while that would have terrified me in the past (more time in college, oh my!), I am getting genuinely excited. These days, I figure I need to get a degree in something I love. While I love English like nobody’s business, I have become enamoured with communication design and it has a lot to do with my blogging escapades over the last few years. Not to mention Megan and Mike are incredibly inspiring to me over at their website thefreshexchangeblog.com .

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I really want this phone case from her online shop at http://society6.com/Hitchdesign/Live-In-The-Sun_iPhone-Case

I seriously think Megan is incredible and her design creations inspire me to continue on with where my heart has been leading me lately, which is design and words– add those things together and I get sappy. I am slowly becoming a font hoarder as well. Her designs are beautifully simple.

–The next thing I did on my lazy productive day was read for class. I’m an English major taking 17 hours. Enough said. But, the weird part is I’m loving it. It is crazy what great professors can do to your motivation. All those gnawing fears that I made the wrong decision transferring, completely gone out the window. It is a lovely feeling. I feel as though I have finally found bibliophile nerds after my own heart. As of this moment, we are reading:

Tartuffle by Moliere

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Source: en.wikipedia.org

Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde by Stevenson

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Source: lovelaughterinsanity.com

Lysistrata by Aristophanes

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Source: okhanorhan.deviantart.com

Lysistrata has been interesting. Who knew the Greeks were so bawdy? I didn’t, ’til now. Writing papers on all of these may kill the fun a little, but I’ll endure!

–I also got to sport my comfy get-up all day. I do not even care if M makes fun of my “Eskimo boots”. He is secretly just jealous.20140124-163552.jpg

–Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I snuggled with my Zen kitties. It is crazy to think there was a time when I was solely a dog person. Leave it to a cat to curl into your heart.20140124-163705.jpg

I have lived with several Zen masters– all of them cats.

~Eckhart Tolle

The moral of the story is, it is possible to have lazy productive days. In fact, I try to have one every day. Living in the moment is becoming a lot easier these days. Things do get better if you just let things go and simply live. 🙂

Best Wishes,

Kassie

Bath Lover Finds Lush


Perhaps one of my favorite things to do on this blog is to share my favorite things. In the past, this has consisted mostly of books sprinkled with a few recipes here and there. But, for you bath-takers/lovers/relaxers, I couldn’t help but share my excitement with this brand.

In 2011 I made my infamous (to me anyways) trip to England. Sadly, it was only for a week, but we devoured as much history, sight-seeing, shopping, and food as we could. In fact, I was pretty impressed with us. We had a short 3 hour visit to Bath to meander the abbey and the Roman baths. However, by the time we had made it to Bath, we were pretty exhausted (we had just endured freezing rain at Stonehenge).
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M and I on our Bath escapade, obviously staying hydrated.

So, we ended up just roaming through a few shops and grabbing a bite to eat while warming up with some much needed coffee. We took this downtime as an opportunity to look through shops for souvenirs. We found the Jack’s of Bath shop and picked up a few things and I found myself following a fragrant odor outside a soap shop. I thought I would be incredibly clever and buy my mom some soap while in Bath and was pretty intrigued by the huge slabs of soap that the shopkeepers would cut into chunks for you. My senses were pretty overwhelmed, but I managed to pick up something I thought she would like and we made our merry way.

Kid you not, now 3 years later, I discovered I had been in a Lush shop. Which just so happens to now be my all time favorite bath store. Apparently it was fated those many years ago. I ordered my first few bath bombs (or ballistics as they are called in the UK) on blind recommendation from an acquaintance, and was immediately taken by this new bath experience. All of their products are handmade, some are vegan, and all cruelty-free. Not to mention they donate to numerous grassroots non-profits. I’ve been so taken with the brand, I have literally had a dream about going into one of their shops again. I’m pretty sure M is about to smack me the next time I bring them up (he is also upset that I made him glitter after he took a bath after me-whoops).

I also know I am insanely behind on this bandwagon….once again. But I’ve been bribing family members to take me to the nearest store 2 hours away, so I think I’m pretty devoted.

So far, I have loved the Cinders bath bomb which is a warm fragrance with citrus and cinnamon. 20140105-183615.jpg

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My favorite part about this bomb is the crackling noise it makes when it fizzes- alluding to the “cinder” name. I thought it was clever enough that I could look past the yellow bath water after its done, plus it smelled really good!

Next was the Shoot for the Stars bath bomb. This one leaves you in a luxurious twilight-esque water with little white floating stars.
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I swear these things make me like a squealing little girl in the bath tub- that’s how excited I get when I discover all the little details and surprises within the products. This one does have a little glitter, but it doesn’t really stick to the tub or the skin.

The last one I have tried so far is the one M was furious about. The infamous Star Light, Star Bright bath melt. This one is very luxurious with cocoa butter. However, it is a glitter bomb in the tub.
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I would recommend using if you are wanting to sparkle and not get your hair wet. But, I don’t mind the sparkle personally. M on the other hand… I’ll have to clean the tub out immediately after next time.

I am currently dreaming of a trip to one of their shops or just breaking down and experimenting with some other ones. They also have soap, lotion, and pretty much everything skincare and hair care related under the sun.

All that said, it is definitely something of a luxury- their products range from $5 up, which for a little bath bomb can be quite pricey.

Yet, I don’t see that stopping my newfound bath time adventures!

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Doesn’t it look like a candy store!!?? 😉
Let me know if you have any experience with Lush and what your likes and dislikes are! These products are just another thing that gets me excited about the little things 🙂

**Unfortunately, Cinders and Star Light, Star Bright are unavailable at the online USA lush store. These were popular Christmas editions.
***All Lush images found via Google search. I tried taking my own photos but they just didn’t do them justice.

A New Coffee Discovery


I’ve been making coffee since the age of nine or so and consider it a therapeutic thing. Is that weird? Especially considering I didn’t drink coffee until I got hooked on Starbucks in high school, and actually started drinking coffee coffee in college (go figure).**

When M and I lived in a dorm, I picked up the habit of actually drinking the coffee I made for him. I can’t drink a lot of coffee because of health reasons, but because of the ridiculous amount of sugar M was putting in his coffee at the time I was actually able to come to terms with the taste. We eventually weaned ourselves off of so much sugar and perhaps similar to wine tasting (starting with whites and slowly working to the reds), I eventually acclimated myself to stronger coffee. But I will always be on the sweeter side, whether it be through creamer, milk, chocolate, caramel, peppermint, etc (you get my gist, I don’t do black coffee, although it sounds bad-a**).

Anyway, back to coffee making. I have made the traditional pot of coffee many times. The kind that makes me think of diners and I’m just a litte nostalgic about. For some reason, there is nothing like actually getting to pour your coffee yourself. I’ve done the coffee makers that grind the beans for you, and I’ve used a separate coffee grinder too. I witnessed the evolution to one-cup-at-a-time coffee, dispensers, and Keurigs. I have to say I absolutely love Keurigs for their ease of use and variety. Bar none. That is, if you can get over the ridiculous price of a small box of k-cups. However, I can make myself a cup of anything in less than a few minutes. It’s the epitome of coffee on the go (or any liquid substance really…tea, lemonade, cider etc). Unless of course you get drive-thru, but even then that can be chaotic depending on how many other coffee zombies are trying to get their coffee at the same time. Scary.

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My most recent foray in coffee machines has been a Nespresso U plus the Aeroccino Plus (the milk frother thing-y, I should probably look up the actual term…). My mom ordered this right when I was trying to wean myself off of caffeine. Ha yeah. M and I threw up our hands in defeat. Who are we kidding, right? Who knows, it may just be a phase, but I’m kind of obsessed with this fancy little espresso maker. I now can make coffee shop quality drinks in my own home. Not to say our Keurig has been booted, because you can’t beat its simplicity, but our little Italian Nespresso has kept me from making any unnecessary runs to Starbucks for a Mocha or a Caramel Macchiato…or a Peppermint Mocha.

In fact, I’ve been perusing for some coffee syrups so I can just make it all at home now.
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Is that cheating somehow? Oh well. But, the downside is the fact that it is espresso and pretty complicated to get the hang of. I’m still not sure if I’m making a cappuccino right and I haven’t even gotten to the lattes, but I don’t really care because what I’m doing works and looks beautiful. I’ll call it the Kassie-ccino.

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I throw in some of William Sonoma’s amazing hot chocolate mix. I have a sweet tooth!
My last comment on the Nespresso—it’s fun and I’m obsessed with the aesthetics of drinks and the Nespresso is going to allow me to play around with that. If you are interested, keep a look out on sites like Gilt and Hautelook for them, you can usually find a much better deal (they are pretty pricey!).

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Got my milk mustache and everything!
I also think it would make a great gift if you have any real coffee connoisseurs on your gift list.

**By coffee coffee I just mean coffee that is Folger’s and comes in those huge containers for just a few bucks. A college kid’s dream right there. Plus I would take whiffs of it throughout the day, coffee is such a nostalgic and good smell! Gasp! Do you think they make coffee scented candles?!?!

How to be a Workout Bro (or not)


I don’t know what it is, but after high school, “working out” has become a chore. I used to love running and being outdoors- riding bikes and hiking. I played tennis competitively from the age of 10 through high school. I even had a spurt with yoga in high school and I loved it too (despite the fact that I’ve still never been to an actual class). So when M decided he was going to explore the military route, I knew our activity level was about to go back to the pre-college (no more comatose studying) stage– and getting back into it has been an uphill battle.

Apparently working out as a couple is great for your relationship (according to a ton of different people, just google couples workouts!). But what do you do when you can barely run a mile under ten minutes and he is supposed to be running a mile and a half in nine or under?

Well, usually, I end up huffing and panting out the words, “go on”. Most of the time I ride my bike beside him, but let’s be honest, that’s a little degrading (kind of like the running joke that if he gets a motorcycle I’ll be in the side-car. Seriously?). I’m not even going to talk about the 5K that I had to run completely unprepared while he ran circles around me singing. I think if looks could kill, he wouldn’t be alive today. But, hey, I finished the 5K and crawled around my house for the next week in pain– but victorious (I wasn’t the last one to finish!). Note to self- train for those things!

Getting ready to bike like a bro. I look so happy....but this is the before...

Getting ready to bike like a bro. I look so happy….but this is the before…

The bike cam! It's a decent view.

The bike cam! It’s a decent view.

I want to support M 100% and beyond. Sometimes, I would love for one of his guy friends to jump in and take over the reigns. But then I realize how special I am that he still wants me to go with him after all the times I’ve been incredibly obnoxious about it. I have a nasty habit of going with him to the gym and after 15 minutes (I initially wrote 30 minutes, but M made me change it to 15… so maybe I’m a little more impatient than I’m willing to admit!) on the bike and some weights I become the 5-year-old in the backseat repeating “are we there yet” (aka can we go now).

The after- let's just say I live in a hilly neighborhood!

The after- let’s just say I live in a hilly neighborhood!

Therefore, I’ve decided to accept my workout bro title and come up with a list of things I’ve learned about being a bro (working out with a guy) and about my own survival techniques of getting active again in general.

-Have a banana or something right before, because chances are this workout isn’t going to be quick. And I start running out of energy if I haven’t eaten recently. Plus, it helps with cramping. I also believe in pickle power for cramps, I’m pretty bad about getting them while running.
-If the guy is more fit than you, don’t let it stop you from getting a good work out. I find myself wanting to just follow him around and do nothing since I can’t keep up, but I need to work out too! In these cases, I found that it’s okay to split up, especially when you need to rest so your lungs don’t explode and he really needs to make it to the finish in the next 24 hours. I used to think we HAD to stick together, but that just became incredibly unrealistic for both of us.
-One must not be afraid of sweat. It’s gonna happen and it’s not like bros hug. I don’t sweat a ton even when I’m really pushing myself, so it’s kind of relieving to know I don’t sweat like a guy….
-Be prepared to be a medic or a lifeguard. Maybe my “bro” is just weird but he tends to do crazy stuff like climb cliffs and jump into freezing water. It’s probably a good idea to be Red Cross Certified. I’m seriously considering this, mine expired a loooong time ago.
-And most importantly have fun! That’s key!

All in all, while there are times I lament that I would rather be running and talking with my lady friends (or in the corpse yoga pose– it’s my favorite), I definitely think being M’s workout buddy is rewarding. Not only does it add to our relationship dynamic, but it also gets me out of my comfort zone and keeps me more active than my book-reading-self would be on my own! In fact, in some ways, I should thank M for helping me keep off any of those “freshmen 15” pounds. Not to mention, it isn’t illegal to run and chat in bro code and sometimes its a great opportunity for some one-on-one chat time.

Whether or not it actually helps him is an entirely different story…. especially since now I’m going to go make a Pumpkin Pie (sorry M!)