Whole Awakenings

I’ve been sitting here and wondering how to start this, and realized I should just start with a hearty HI!

whole

A whole HI, if you will. A hearty HI, and a whole HI, equals a wholehearted HI. And that’s really why I’m here today. It’s to tell you everything I hope and dream for the next year or so, and if I were to label it under one word, what would it be?

whole

It would be WHOLE.

Second place might be awake, because every time I think about this or put it into words, I think of the movie Wide Awake and the movie Awakenings. Then there’s this gem of a song by Ben Folds. I sometimes feel like I sleep through parts of life.

“I know it seems that I don’t care
But something in me does I swear
I don’t remember all last year
I left you awake to cry the tears”

It’s funny to me how you can sleepwalk through certain aspects of your life, while putting others at front and center attention. You don’t even realize it. And then when you realize it – usually through no credit to yourself – it seems so OBVIOUS. Why? Why didn’t you notice? Why did you sleepwalk through parts of life? Why did you leave others awake? Alas, as a wise friend said, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just do better. Fuller. Wholeheartedly. Longer, harder, louder.

(Bear with me – those three words come up later.)

For the better half of last year, or the worse half, I was sleepwalking through parts of life. I had enough work to do to make me cry, daily. I think it could have sunk a ship. Blogging has busy seasons, photography has busy seasons, but nothing prepares you to do them at once. Then when you get offered a data entry job that would literally sink a ship (tons of boxes of papers), and have to do that on top of two very busy seasons of careers, well, you could cry. But there wouldn’t be time for that.

So you just laugh maniacally.

I have big dreams for this blog, both in terms of coming right back to the heart of it – this weird free-writing I do with relevant(ish) photos – and the career work I do here. I do it with all my heart. Whether it’s the blog, or other social media platforms – it’s more than a career; it’s love. It’s more than love; it’s a career. I feel meant to be connected. The fact that I can get paid to do that is a little unreal, but it reminds me of what I let slip slowly away from me at the end of 2016.

Doing things with my WHOLE heart – and not just to get them done.

Before the holiday break, I worried I had forgotten how to feel. We saw Rogue One in the theaters and it hit Cassidy hard, among others. I felt broken by not being able to wrap my head around it. Weeks later on New Year’s Eve, Cassidy’s good friend suggested that maybe the movie didn’t give the emotional foundation to care so much about the characters. Or maybe it did, but an alternative to me being “broken”, is that different things hit us differently at different times.

And maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

I really believe that every numb feeling, and idea or emotion that doesn’t quite reach my heart or eyes, means I care too much. Sometimes it pays for me to be covered in Band-Aids, and only sometimes lifting them up – slowly but surely – rather than ripping off all the things. Movies and books, love and laughter, celebrity deaths and scary political elections. Travel dreams realized, and travel dreams still to become. School starting, and the endless, slowly rotational act of letting them go.

Little by little.

Piece by piece.

Better by better.

Milestone by milestone.

Breath by breath.

What does it mean to do things with my WHOLE self? It’s about honoring the whole deal, and taking it that extra step. The little things are the big things. Skim a blog post? Nah, read it. Better yet – SHARE it. Take that love to FB, Instagram, and Twitter too! Outside the career love, take those steps with every aspect of everything. What’s the summary of that?

Not only am I not going to phone it in, I’m going to take extra steps. LEAPS.

I want to..

Hug for a little longer

Kiss a little harder

Laugh a little louder

Dance a little longer

Love a little harder

Sing a little louder

Oh, and drink water a lot more

Eat a lot better

Exercise a lot more and for a lot longer…

WHOLE.

Five Ways to Jumpstart 2017

I’m not really a resolutions kind of girl. I’d like to say I’m a goals person, but sometimes things take a long time for me, and sometimes I get scared. What I really think I am is a wakeup call person. I like to act on wakeup calls. At the end of 2016, I felt less healthy than I should. I felt older and less fit. I felt like I could and should be doing more to be all-around healthier.

When I was a teenager, I went on a life-changing trip through Canada and upstate New York. It was my first time away from home for nearly two weeks, and it was also my first time discovering so many cities and towns, nestled in another country. I was battling some demons during those days, as one sometimes does during those tumultuous teen years, and I wound up better and stronger for doing so while on the road. The world never looked the same for me. Colors got brighter, music got louder and more meaningful, and relationships got stronger. I got happier. That doesn’t mean I’ve honored everything I learned along the way as much as I should have as an adult, but I loved the experience of growing and exploring the world.

Around the same time, I saw a trailer for one of M. Night Shyamalan’s first movies – Wide Awake. I know too well that feeling of suddenly feeling “wide awake”, as if you’ve been sleeping or not paying attention for a long time. For me, 2017 is a time of wakeup calls to be answered. I’m not a resolutions girl, but I’m a wakeup call girl and I want 2017 to reflect change.

One thing I’m doing is re-focusing on myself and feeling inspired in the new year. That requires me to carve out some “me time” and to also focus on new ideas with cooking, cleaning, parenting, health, fitness, relaxation, and overall goals.

I’m jumping into the new year with hope and love. I had SO much fun creating this video – which shows you the five ways I jumpstart my day, and my year – and feel my absolute best. I hope you have as much fun watching it as I did making it!

To summarize, that’s drinking plenty of water, having a wholesome breakfast, taking time to rest and relax, finding time to snuggle up with loved ones – even pets – and being active. For #4, I love this recipe using my favorite Grape Nuts:

Recipe:

Crunchy Berry Stuffed French Toast

Crunchy Berry Stuffed French Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 medium loaf of brioche or other soft, thick bread. I used maple oatmeal
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, ricotta cheese, or marscapone
  • Butter and maple syrup
  • 1 cup fresh berries and bananas (optional)
  • 1 cup or so of Post Grape Nuts

Instructions

  1. Slice the bread
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until foamy and then add milk, cream, salt, vanilla, and sugar, and whisk to blend
  3. Pour into a sheet pan with sides - I used 13x9 baking pan
  4. Let the bread soak in a single layer in the mixture
  5. Heat butter until foamy in a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat
  6. Working in 2-3 batches, cook the soaked bread until lightly brown (3 minutes)
  7. Lay slices of cream cheese/ricotta/marscapone on top of the bread
  8. Place berries and Grape Nuts on top of the cheese
  9. Place another slice of bread on top of the soaked one - to make "sandwiches"
  10. Press firmly with back of spatula
  11. Rotate the "sandwiches" and brown the other side for another three minutes
  12. Serve with butter and syrup of choice
http://tamaracamerablog.com/five-ways-jumpstart-2017/

I’m a big fan of texture, so when you get the sweet and eggy French Toast, then pair it with fresh and tart berries, use some form of spreadable cheese for flavor and stick factor, and then add in the crunch of Post Grape Nuts? Awesomeness.

In the great theme of trying for and being what we want, isn’t it amazing that cereal can be eaten at all times of the day, and for various occasions? Whether it’s on or with French Toast for breakfast or brunch, whether it’s snack time, or whether you want a good bowl of cereal at any time of the day or night, it’s always welcoming, comforting and delicious.

And so, what would you make with your Grape Nuts?

Head here to download a coupon for your favorite Post cereals today!