Monday, January 30, 2012

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these cookies last week and they were pretty good.  And by pretty good, I really mean that they were delicious and I wish I had some right now.  If you are looking for a true crispy cookie, try making a batch of these.  The recipe doesn't make too many so you won't have to worry about having dozens of cookies to get rid of...although that's really never a problem in this apartment. : )

Just follow this recipe!

I took these photos for one of the Daily Creates last week.  The assignment was to take a photo of a finished product and at least one of its raw materials.

 It's like the ying and yang of baked goods!

The recipe only calls for half of a 12oz bag of chocolate chips (mental math - how many ounces would that be?).  When my darling suitemate asked if she could have some of the leftover chocolate chips I responded with a snappy, "NO!".  Not very polite on my part, but it's for her own good - now I can bake another batch!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bag of Gold?

            Human beings seek out order in a world of chaos.  Modern civilization is an accumulation of all the ways in which the human race has attempted to order and structure society.  We have a system for everything: education, financial transactions, transportation, etc.  There are so many aspects of our lives that are regulated and ordered.  Why?  Because organization, repetition, and predictability create a sense of security while alleviating a bit of the chaos that ultimately is life.  This “Bag of Gold” that Gardner Campbell speaks of – it’s not part of the current plan.
            I believe it is the fear of the unknown that makes individuals reluctant to accept the Bag.  How do we know that this is the right move for society to make next?  Where are the guarantees?  Where is the evidence that this is all going to work out well?  How do we put our lives online without giving up our privacy?  How do we create personal cyber infrastructures that truly reflect our personalities without becoming jaded or fake or cyber-robots?  These are the questions that make me question how much I want to buy into the idea of creating a personal cyber infrastructure of my own.
            Setting up my own website this semester has made me realize how much I rely on third parties when it comes to how I employ the internet.  It scares me to think of just how much information I have knowingly (and unknowingly) given to sites like Facebook and Blogger.  So I must admit, one of the best advantages of creating a personal cyber infrastructure is that I am in control.  What goes up online and what doesn’t is up to me.
            It’s a double-edged sword though.  Why would I post or publish things that don’t reflect myself in a positive light?  And if I only show the best part of myself online, are you really seeing who I am?  I don’t think so, I don’t think so at all.  That is the problem I have with personal cyber infrastructures.  While they may feed creativity and stimulate productivity, I also feel that they may feed our egos as well. 
            I am intrigued by this whole personal cyber infrastructure idea; I’m just not ready to dive headfirst into anything just yet.  Maybe that is what we all need to do though, proceed with caution.  Fear of the unknown is not a bad thing, we just can’t let it prevent us from advancing and growing, as individuals and as a whole society. 
            These are just a few of the thoughts I have on this topic.  I am excited to read what my classmates have to say about Gardner Campbell’s lecture and essay.  I also predict future posts about how I feel about my own cyber infrastructure.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Resolutions: Part Deux

Well I am back to share with you goal number two of three that I have for 2012.  Drum roll please!  Just kidding, it is not that exciting.  Goal 2: Stop buying clothes just because they are a good deal and start buying clothes that I really love and say something about my own personal style.  Sub-goal: start developing my own personal style.

Here's the thing, I have some unofficial rules about clothing: Jackets and coats should cost $30.  Pants should cost $20.  Shirts should cost $10.  Socks should be free.  I will pay more for shoes because blisters are not fun.  Now along with being cheap frugal, I also want to buy clothing that is well-made and won't fall apart after a few trips through the washing machine.  So basically, I want some bang for my buck.

In the past I think I've done a pretty good job of picking out articles of clothing that are well-made and reasonably priced by shopping mostly on sale racks.  It is not often I pay full-price for clothing.  But now that I am getting older and hanging onto clothing for longer periods of time, I want to get out of the habit of buying things just because they are a good deal.  I want to buy clothes I love because then I know that I will wear them and get a lot of use out of them.  And since the real world is coming up quickly, I also figured I should maybe buy some nicer clothing.  Jeans and sweatshirts might not cut it when it comes to job-hunting.

Over winter break I put in some effort and made some headway on my goal.  It was tough, but I shopped those outlets like it was my job!  Pants, tops, sweaters, shoes, a dress - everything on sale but also ngs I love and know that I will wear often.  Now I actually have things to wear to my internship and a reason to use my iron at school.  And actually, all the pants I bought were $20!

This goal is not super hard and more fun than anything else but still, it's a goal.  Maybe I need to reign myself in a little bit though...I don't exactly have a need for the crushed velvet platform heels that I somehow ended up taking home from Marshalls before break ended...but they're so pretty and they were on clearance!

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year, New You!

Try saying that title five times fast!  And now, make it your mantra for 2012 - it's a somewhat sincere but mostly sarcastic kind of way.  It's not that I don't like making resolutions for the new year, it's just that I actually kind of like who I am right now.  I know, you're asking yourself, "Is this girl serious?  Because there is some definite room for improvement!"  And I agree, there's always room for improvement, but I've also come to accept who I am for the most part.  Life is just a whole lot grander when you like who you are and let other people's jealousy of disdain for you just roll off your shoulders.  You can never please everybody, right?

All this being said, I do have three goals I'd like to strive for in 2012.  I will leave you with just one now because honestly, why give it all away in one post when I can stretch it into three!  No, one of my goals is not to post more often, it's just your lucky day (times three!).  So here we go, goal numero uno:

Eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed food.

Yeah, me and everyone else who makes a New Year's resolution, right?  I never said these were going to be unique goals or anything!  Basically I would just like to get into the habit of purchasing more fresh produce, preparing a greater majority of what I eat myself, and slowly (ever so slowly) phasing out things like soda and chips.  There have been brief periods in my life where I've considered completely giving up meat or attempting a vegan diet but I have now accepted that I love McDonald's chicken nuggets (and sweet and sour sauce) and to give up the occasional dollar menu indulgence may help my health but steal my soul in the process.  And when I said brief, I really meant a few hours of pondering a raw diet and then realizing how expensive vegan substitutes are and how difficult that would actually be to do.  Plus, I love me some dairy products!  Everything in moderation is my new view on what I eat.

Now I could end this post here but I'll keep going and tell you a little secret.  I can't think of one female friend I have who, given the option right now, would not opt to be thinner.  And I include myself in this group.  Now let me tell you another little secret.  My friends are beautiful.  Beautiful.  We might not look like the actresses you see in movies or the models gracing the covers of magazines, but go ahead, check us out.  Give us a great pair of jeans and a little mascara and we are good to go.  We're regular people and we look like regular people, just like you.  We're also happy, successful, talented, and attractive people, just like you.

So the other part of goal numero uno is to stop comparing myself to what I see on TV or in Cosmo and thinking that my life would be so much better if only I were taller, thinner, tanner, more "enhanced" shall we say (haha), or fill in the blank, you name it, cause you know what I'm talking about.  Despite whatever messages the media tries to send me daily about how to improve myself, mostly via physical attributes, I know that life gets better when you start doing things you love and surround yourself with good friends who support you and love you, just as your are.

And that is just what I plan on doing in 2012.  Good thing I love eating fruits and veggies - I hope my wonderful friends do too!  Here's to good (physical and mental) health, great friends, and a big ol' "Screw you, misleading photoshoppped images!"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Year (Sort of...) of Blogging

I have to say "sort of" because there were long stretches of time when I kind of forgot about this blog.  That probably worked out well for you though, I can imagine I get to be a bit boring at times.  Hard to imagine you might not want to read about every little detail going on in my life but I suppose you may have better things to do.

Blogging is such a craze this day.  It seems like almost everyone has one.  I love reading the blogs I follow and I'm always finding new ones to explore.  It is a little weird though that just by reading what someone chooses to publish on the internet I can begin to feel like I actually know them quite well.  I admit, I can be quite the blog stalker.  Perhaps this habit is a bit unhealthy but I figure as long as I don't start actually stalking anyone, I'm okay.

5 Things I learned from blogging for a year:

1. I care a little too much about other people's opinions of me.  There have been many times I have not posted something I've written because I'm afraid of what other people would think of me.  That's kind of lame and something I am hoping to work on in the future (that's right, the blog will live on for at least a little while longer).

2. My blog title is "made by maura" that alone signals that it is kind of all about me and a little self-centered, sorry.

3. When I get a new follower it's like having someone friend request you on facebook - way more validating than it should be.

4. Writing is therapeutic for me.  This year I kept a journal pretty consistently and I've realized that it is an incredible outlet.  Writing down random thoughts, worries, and hopes helps me organize every little idea bouncing around in my mind.  I cringe when I read over things I've written and I would kill anyone who read it without permission, but it is nice to have a little book of my history.  I laughed out loud the other night reading over a short paragraph I wrote about winning a kickball game, but they say life is all about the little things so I guess that's why I chose to journal it.  Also, I'm not the best at telling people out loud what I'm feeling so writing short notes, emails, and letters has become a good way for me to make sure my friends know how much I appreciate them without me having to awkwardly fumble over words or even worse, hug them. : )
So long story short, I enjoy writing and a blog is a great way to fuel this hobby and passion.

5. If I wanted to, I could force myself to blog more regularly or even on some sort of set schedule.  But I don't want to make this a chore.  When I do blog, I really enjoy it and for me, that's enough.  Sorry December, you got zero blog posts - and I'm ok with that.

So there you have it, my first ever blogiversary and 2012's first post.  Thanks for reading!