Mismatched Mess

of life, love, fashion, & forgetting to update


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Facing It

face

I make eye contact
With the reflection I know.
I face my imperfections,
The aging.
The scars, scratches and subtle features.
There’s a slight wrinkle along my forehead.
Cheeks riddled with scars.
Indentations on either side of my mouth
Formed from two years of a too-long sentence with braces.
The soft, splotchy brown that divides my face in two;
A birth mark starting at the corner of my tear duct
Snaking its way across my cheek and falling down my neck.

I make eye contact
With the reflection I know.
I face my imperfections.
My eyes tell a story
Of tired days and bright adventures.
My mouth slightly curves upward,
Whether I’m smiling or not, no one could tell.
The features of my face show maturity,
But only the kind of wisdom that comes
To a woman in her mid-twenties
When she finally realizes
She knows even less than she thought she did.

I make eye contact
With the reflection I know.
I face my fears, failures and facts of my life.
The facts that were too long left buried
Which I finally find the courage
To dig out and
Find a way to move forward.


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The River

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There’s a calm in my mind that exists at a time that doesn’t make sense. There’s a warmth that spreads through me like a sleepy river, constant and unwavering. The calm glides through me and into you, and your calm floats downstream into me.

No mask. Nothing fake. Pure and sweet and harsh and bitter. We bite into the fruit that opens up our world, our minds, our hearts. And the acerbic taste brings us pain, the substance brings us closer, the sweet aftertaste brings us calm.

We trust what we cannot know. We connect and reconnect. We hurt, but we hurt together. We bring the calm.


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Blackberries

Wild blackberries grow along the wooded path we enjoy walking. A wooded path that runs alongside the River Stour, providing a small escape from the city. This fascinated me.

It reminded me of my childhood. It seems like a dream. Family loaded in a car, traveling to the magical forest of Harleton, Texas where buckets full of blackberries awaited.

The hot summer sun made the days longer. Sweaty, uncomfortable hours that stretched into eternity. Time didn’t matter, until it did; until it was uncomfortable. Juicy blackberries staining our hands and mouths red, thorns pricking our arms and legs, mosquitoes leaving itchy welts along our skin. Foot races between mother and daughter, father and daughter, sister and sister. A memory that seems like a dream, stretched into a timeless, shadowy vortex; swirling fact with fiction.


What is fact? What is fiction?

What can the imagination truly erase, if it’s written on someone else’s memory? Can we control our stories if they all just end up as hazy dream-like substances floating along our subconscious? What will be remembered if we let it all fade away?

The power of remembering is a gift. Even when it’s a curse. Even when you remember guilt or pain. At least you remember. Even when you want to forget…it’s probably better to remember. It’s easier to remember pain. That gives you the power to blame. Blame yourself, blame someone else…blame gives you power to color your memories in pain, even if it wasn’t all painful.

Remembering through ‘love’ might be harder. To color your memories with love, where there was love. To scream and fight and wrestle with the idea that love still exists, even in the moments that are factually, historically painful. And to remind yourself everyday that love still exists when the evidence isn’t in front of you. When it’s not something tangible, anymore, does love grow stronger or weaker? Or does that depend upon the stories you create? And does it grow weaker if you can’t control the story? If it’s written on someone else’s memory, does it grow weaker if they don’t, also, make themselves remember that love exists? The phrase ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ comes to mind. Does it? Will it?

Multiple stories. Multiple memories. You can’t know what you’ll easily forget; what will hurt the most to remember. You remember the sun making you tired as a child. You remember blackberry bushes scraping your skin. You can’t know how other people see the same story. You just remember they were there. They were a part of something. It was real. You weren’t alone.


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A Week in Nijmegen, Netherlands

Nijmegen, Netherlands

Our trip to Nijmegen was very different from any trip we’ve taken together in the past.

Edinburgh, Dover, London, have all been weekend trips.

This trip lasted five days and we both still had to work during our time there. Taylor attended a conference related to his PhD work, which included people from all different fields, including his advisor, presenting papers.Nijmegen, Netherlands bikingNijmegen, Netherlands

Each day was a little different–for instance, I attended the conference the first day. While it was quite over my head, I did enjoy myself and took advantage of the free coffee that was always available. The next two days I chose to stay home and work, but I explored the town center a little as well. It was fun to explore, but weird being on my own.

Still, I’m glad I did it, and was able to show Taylor all the lovely nooks, crannies and alleyways I found along the way. I brought along my DSLR and camcorder, but ended up only snapping quick shots with my phone.

Nijmegen is a good sized biking city, and is apparently the oldest city in the Netherlands. While we didn’t get to see too much, we enjoyed our time exploring, eating the delicious food and hanging out in our amazing Airbnb flat!

Nijmegen, NetherlandsNijmegen, NetherlandsNijmegen, NetherlandsNijmegen, Netherlands
Nijmegen, NetherlandsNijmegen, NetherlandsNijmegen, NetherlandsNijmegen, Netherlands
Nijmegen, Netherlands


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Dover Travel Video…and Bloopers

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I have begun making travel videos for our adventures abroad.  I love these videos and wrote about my basic plan for them last week.

Our trip to Dover last weekend was so fun.  After I made the initial ‘pretty’ travel video,  I decided to make a blooper reel as well.  In the videos I show you serene scenes of landscapes and buildings set to lovely music,  but in reality my husband and I are two dorks and our commentary is so contradictory to the lovely scenes you see.  Have a look!  And check out my YouTube channel for more #TexansAbroad funny and lovely videos!


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Kale, Mushroom and Broccoli Burgers

Kale Broccoli and Mushroom Burger with Spicy Mustard Sauce

 

These are delicious! Taylor and I loved the Kale and brussels sprouts burgers I made awhile back, so I decided to give another go to our green burger! The spicy mustard barbeque sauce makes this meal! You can get the recipe for the mustard here.

Kale Broccoli and Mushroom Burger with Spicy Mustard Sauce

You can see a more in depth recipe below!

Recipe makes: About 8 small patties | 4 normal patties

2 cups chopped kale
1 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup chopped mushroom
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1 tbsp chopped onion
1 egg
Pepper, salt and spices to taste
Bowl of flour
Vegetable Oil

Preheat skillet to a low heat. Add vegetable oil.

Mix kale, broccoli, mushroom, crackers, onion, egg and spices together in a bowl. Make sure all the ingredients are coated with egg. Let sit for a few minutes so the mixture can begin to meld together.

Using your hands, form small parts of the mixture into patties. Sprinkle/dip the patty into flour on both sides. Carefully add the patty in the skillet to begin browning. Be careful not to move/mash them as they are quite delicate!

After browning both sides, set aside to cool. Make the spicy mustard sauce and enjoy with whatever you like! We used toast and cheese.


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#TexansAbroad | Dover, England

Dover Castle Grounds

This past weekend me and Taylor took a 40 minute train ride to the coast to visit the town of Dover. Hopping off the train, we made our way through town in search of a map of Dover and breakfast.

There was nothing remarkable about the particular breakfast place we chose. It called itself The Mean Bean. It served strong coffee and cold pastries. It was rather early so the place was empty when we sat down. As we sipped our lattes and made a loose plan for our day, the coffee shop slowly began to fill up. Each and every customer greeted the owner with conversation and camaraderie. They spread themselves out amongst a few tables, but the conversation never stopped. A few patrons table-swapped to have more personal catch-ups with their friends. The place filled with laughter, British slang, and the smell of coffee. We had stumbled into a local establishment.

This was actually a major find for us. We love Canterbury so much, but between all of the universities and its only industry–tourism, you can’t just walk into any given place and be met with locals. This place was the real deal. It was wonderful and amusing and refreshing.

Dover was refreshing.

Dover, Kent Ocean

Dover still has quite the tourist draw, with its famous white cliffs, a major castle, and its lovely seaside location. But there was such a difference between it and Canterbury. We were thrilled to step away from the hustle of tourists in Canterbury to the slower paced Dover.

We had an amazing time hiking the cliffs, visiting the castle and eating like locals.

Dover, Kent white cliffs of Dover

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Dover_Kent_2015 (181)


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Motivational Monday – Reflecting On Losing–and Finding–Focus

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1. 5 Steps to a Productive Morning by thedailypositive.com | 2. How to Lazy-Proof Your Day by Bravely | 3. Progress, not perfection daily goal checklist by EliseJoy | 4. Motivational Poster by The Motivational Type

There’s something so fluid about productivity. That is, if you allow it to be fluid.

I can go weeks with doing everything right. I can follow the few steps I’ve laid before myself; waking up early, maintaining a decent pace at work, even exercising and cleaning. I can be wholly there and I feel great. I feel amazing, actually. Each day gets better and better as my body adjusts to a productive schedule and a full life.

It only takes one day. Not one day to allow myself to take a break: one day to stop everything. It’s like I’m cursed in a fairy tale. As long as I stay productive I can be the adventurous, independent hero the story knows and loves, but as soon as I stop, I turn into the slothful troll who does nothing but make a mess of the story line.

Maybe that analogy made sense.

I am not a marathon runner in this race of life. I’m either sprinting full speed ahead or tumbling down a hill so fast back into a lazy way of living, and I’m still trying to figure out how to balance this. I know this kind of laziness is not healthy for me. Sleeping late, eating terribly, no exercise…. it physically hurts me. The back pain I’ve been dealing with for years comes back full force, my skin starts battling between too dry or too oily. Sure, I still work and still get things done, but nothing feels good. Nothing inspires me.

It’s interesting that I do this to myself. So yes, I’m still figuring it out. Perhaps it will always be an issue, but as I learn to work at home and learn more about myself, I feel like I’ll be able to better manage myself more and more each day. I’m just going to make being productive a habit that I can’t break.

So here’s to you, Monday, the start of another work week and another chance to make this week a healthy, productive one!