HBD Robert Burns!

posted on: January 22, 2015

Happy Birthday to my Great, Great, Great, Great… Grandfather Robert Burns!

My inner nerd is going to come out now and let you in on a secret. I’m really into genealogy, you know like 85 year old Episcopal church ladies. Ha! My family has always had an interest in genealogy, where we came from etc… and I totally caught the bug!

Knowing about your ancestors and where they came from can be pretty cool, like me you could learn that you are a direct decedent of someone pretty cool- like Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet. I’ve known that I’m related to Burns my whole life, he was kind of a big deal in my family. On my Dad’s side of the family “Burns” and “Bess” are very common first or middle name and in the 70’s my Great Grandparents traveled back to Scotland to donate several family heirlooms back to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

In the last few years I’ve been surprised to learn that people celebrate his birthday (January 25th) with what is called a Burns Night Supper. It’s a whole night dedicated to celebrating him, you eat traditional Scottish food, drink whiskey and recite some of his most famous poems.

Now, you may be reading this and saying “who the hell is Robert Burns” haha, it’s no big deal and if you don’t know him there really isn’t a huge reason why you should. BUT, you will probably know him from this song…

Recognize that? Maybe you’ll recognize it from this,

It’s the traditional song we sing on New Year’s Eve as the ball drops or right when the clock strikes midnight and the new year begins. It’s one of my favorite songs (truly; I did a report on it in the 5th grade), if you listen to the words and whats being said it’s just so… deep, and knowing that I’m related to someone who wrote that, well it just makes my day.

You might also know Robert Burns from this prayer- the ‘Selkirk Grace’

Some hae meat and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it, But we hae meat and we can eat, And sae the Lord be thankit.

My family has said this prayer (the more updated english language version) my whole life.

So, how am I related to this ‘bard’ of Scotland? Well first things first – you need to know that Robert Burns had several mistresses and several children with them and his wife. My ancestor was Elizabeth Paton, who had Burns’s first child, Elizabeth Paton Burns. Elizabeth Paton was a servent to Burns mother and the baby, Elizabeth Paton Burns stayed in the care of Robert Burns mother until he passed away and she went back to live with her own mother at age… 21. There is a poem about her called, ‘A Poet’s Welcome to his Love-Begotten Daughter’. 

When I was pulling this blog together I actually found a family tree diagram that had MY NAME on it? What? LOOK,

Picture 1

^^That’s me, Andrea J. Britt (maiden name)^^ Here is the actual link, to find me or my family you need to scroll down till you see Elizabeth Paton on the left hand side. http://www.burness.ca/ld2.htm 

While trying to find some pictures of the Burns Museum I stumbled across these, 2 pictures of Scotland that I took 21 years ago with a purple film camera that I took everywhere with me (it had automatic load and rewind). For some reason, I just love there amateur and grainy look.

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^^Here I am, 21 years ago standing outside the Burns Museum^^ – we have a better picture of me and my dad and you can see the whole home with it’s thatched roof and all, but sadly my parents couldn’t figure out how to scan/copy and e-mail it to me super fast. But, I promise on the back of this picture in my Mom’s handwriting it says Burns Museum,  Ayr Scotland.

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^^I found a statue of Burns in Central Park on my first visit to the City and was so thrilled and made Seth take my picture with him^^

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^^That little old lady is my Great Grandma, Bess Burns Liver Weimer, she was fierce and an amazing cook^^

See, family history and genealogy can be really cool. You can discover some pretty amazing facts and stories along the way- my favorite thing to think about is whether or not certain skills or traits are passed down through genes or if they are absorbed through the telling of stories? I have a huge love of writing and for words and I also love to cook. I can’t help but wonder if it’s all in my genes or if for the love of my family I’ve wanted and taken on those same traits to in some small way emulate where and who I come from.

I guess we will never know!

Cheers- now go discover your family and your story!

-xoxo

Jane

sh*t day

posted on: January 20, 2015

I’ve had a shit day.

Today, Tuesday January 20th 2015 has just been one of those days. You know the kind where one thing after another leaves you a little stunned. Nothing is going my way today, from my hair to my car to trying to get around town (I thought the tourists were supposed to be gone by now?). I stood in line at the post office for 37 minutes and like 12 seconds because of course, I counted. I also let myself sleep in so I rushed around getting ready and eating breakfast this morning like I was a crazy person. I have a zit that I’m just sure the ENTIRE world can see and is judging and I ate trail mix and 3 pieces of chocolate for lunch (aka NO vegetables, like I’m supposed to).SIGH.

As much as I want to be on top of things (my life) I’m just not right now, I’m running from one thing to the next and juggling too much in my head and in my arms. My acupuncturist told me that my pulse feels like a car that someone let run for 5 days straight. So, that is cool right?

Just when I think I get the hang of this thing called life, I get a wake up call that I don’t. Just when I zen myself out enough to think my tomorrow will be rose blossoms and fairies- it’s not.Oh, and my hair is dirty and you better believe I’ve noticed everyone elses hair who looks just outstandingly perfect today- but not mine.

That’s life though right? I mean when we whittle it down to the core that is just life? Sometimes we are heavy hearted and sometimes we are not?

I want my life to the most beautiful Instagram feed you ever did see, every day all day- and it’s not. I want my workout regime and diet to be Women’s Health cover worthy- but it’s not. I want my attitude to win some character counts awards- and it just doesn’t.

I really struggle with this, with assuming my life/year/week/day should be one way and then having to accept that it sort of went the total opposite. To be honest I struggle with this every day of my life and like most things I haven’t figured out how to just let that go yet. ANY TIPS ARE WELCOMED!!!

I wish I would though, I have a feeling it would turn my ‘shit days’ to just ‘days’.

Oh, since you are one the kindest humans and just read through my bad day ramblings I wanted to share some of these super cute photos with you. They helped remind me to take the good with the bad and just s t o p and smell the roses.

-xox

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^^say hello to pet therapy^^

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^^luckily married to the greatest guy who both loves me and makes me laugh every day^^

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^^because whiskey ice cream, duh^^

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^^friends and family who just ‘get me’^^

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^^champagne, the most perfect drink ever created^^

 

almond bark.

posted on: January 9, 2015

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IT’S FRIDAY!

I’m so happy to see this Friday roll around. I’ve had a little rough start to the new year, delayed more so than rough but you get the point. I had this bright idea that Monday (Jan. 5th) I would magically have healthy pre-made lunches, on point dinners, super great and long work outs and all sweets out of my house! I’d wake up extra early to have time to actually sit and have breakfast and I’d start a new book!

Well, surprise! That didn’t happen. Ha-ha but don’t fret I’ve come to terms that you (I) can start anywhere and just because this week didn’t go as planned doesn’t mean that today or next week won’t.

So, because of this what did I do this afternoon? I took some leftover baking chocolate from the holidays and made almond bark! Some really yummy almond bark at that!

I love almond bark because it always looks like it took so much more effort then it actually does!

Here’s what you do:

  • melt chocolate in double broiler
  • pour melted chocolate onto parchment lined cookie sheet
  • smooth over till 1/2 inch thick
  • drop on your toppings
  • place cookie sheet in freezer for 30 minutes
  • break with knife into bite size (or not so bite size pieces)

*I used orange zest, pistachios and hickory smoked salt on the white chocolate and red chile, sugar and walnuts.

Happy weekend!

-xoxo

 

 

 

 

I exist.

posted on: January 7, 2015

Hi,

I’ve written and scratched out this sentence about 14 times, but I’ve had all of these words in my head for years. I wanted to first re-introduce myself to you. I feel like, perhaps we don’t know each other as well as I’d hoped. I feel like, perhaps the Internet, social media has portrayed me in a way that might be fake. This might have been my doing, this might be the social media conspiracy BUT I felt like I wanted to explain myself a little bit better. I want to me more real and honest.

My name is Andrea Jane; In face to face life I go by Andie and on here I go by Jane. Jane was my grandmothers’ name and Andrea was 2nd best to Bridgette, which I was not named because my Mom felt Bridgette Britt just didn’t sound right. I’m currently 27 years old, I’m married and I live 4-5 hours away from my hometown. I’ve lived in 3 different states since leaving high school and I’ve traveled to 5 different countries and lots of different states.

I’ve ran a marathon and then vowed to never run more than 6 miles in my life. I’ve eaten pigs ears and have been held at gunpoint in Mexico. I’ve had the chance to see the sunset over the Caribbean ocean multiple times and I’ve smoked a cigarette on the steps of the Piazza del Duomo, in Firenze.

When I type all of this out, it sounds interesting but most days I don’t feel interesting. Most days I feel defeated and a little crummy (but I’m working on it). You see there was a point in my life, in high school when I hated the person I saw in the mirror. I remember feeling like my bones and insides were aching with the amount of hatred I held for myself. I allowed a series of events and decisions to affect me to the point where I felt like I didn’t deserve well…anything. This lead to a lot of self-hatred, which lead to a lot of harmful personal decisions that had a lot to do with body image. So, I’ve also dealt with an eating disorder and excessive exercise, depression, guilt, and the general loss of self-esteem.

 

Once I was able to really process all of those feelings from high school I was able to let things go and really step forward into life. It was those dark and scary things that in the end really pushed me towards a much more adventurous and loving life. One of the biggest things that woke me up from all of that, was the moment I realized I deserved the life I had dreamed of, I deserved the adventure. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of good and bad and fun and scary things, but since the moment I realized I deserved it, I committed to becoming a curator of a beautiful life. The curator to MY beautiful life. So this is why I blog, this is why I post pictures on Instagram, why I post funny, inspirational or random things on Facebook and Twitter. It’s why I try to make our house a home, why I try to make every meal as special as I can and celebrate as much and as often as I see fit. I feel like I deserve a beautiful life, that we all deserve a beautiful life – whatever that looks like and I’m just devoted to making mine the best that I can.

Somedays seeing the beauty of things is hard. I’m introverted, I hold myself to an extremely high standard and I’m very sensitive. I’m also determined and passionate, altruistic, creative and insightful. I wanted to share with you my thoughts and some moments of my true self. This is the first ‘creative’ project I’ve done since sophomore year in college and that was a personal essay. It’s a big step and I’m still not sure if it all worked out but I felt the need to make and share it nonetheless.

I want you to understand that I’m not as perfect (as much as I try everyday to be), I fail a lot. I don’t have extra finances that allow me the luxury of high fashion or globe trotting- but I do value style and travel and work hard to make that a part of my life. I get home from work and feel exhausted but still want to make dinner and make it well because Seth and I deserve that. I choose to celebrate the small things because honestly I’m just happy I can face my own face in the mirror. This year I’m hoping for more good days than bad, but I also really understand that the bad parts are unavoidable – I accept that. I want to put forward a more authentic version of myself in all that I do. Not one that looks happy on the outside but one that is joyful through tears because honestly it’s only the people like that, that I can connect to. Like really connect to and this year in 2015 I hope to connect to more people like that. Meet people where they are at, just sit together in the knowingness of what was and the possibility of what might be. I miss that in my life and it’s interesting to see what a gift that is, the gift of hard times.

Words mean so much to me and while I share them often I want to share my favorite poem. It’s been with me for awhile now and I’ve memorized it to help me see more hope on darker days.

 “I exist as I am, that is enough,

If no other in the world be aware I sit content,

And if each and all be aware I sit content.
One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself,
And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait.” ― Walt Whitman

 

Here is a video I made with Seth, I wanted to develop this concept to bring Walt Whitman’s words to life the way I feel them- with much anxiety and angst but joyful content in waiting. I was lucky enough to be married to a guy who can both film and write music. It’s amazing to see something that was in my head come to life.

Jane The Philosopher – I Exist from Seth Fuller on Vimeo.

Here are some photographs that Brad Trone took. (I’ve known him since I was… like 8, we’ve shared a many a Sonic runs and car rides listening to loud music and turn out he grew up to be a pretty dope photographer) My hope was to show you who I a really am. Apart from any selfie or great shot on my profile picture these emotions, this is who I am everyday.

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Biscochitos.

posted on: December 25, 2014

‘On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:, 12 Drummers Drumming, Eleven Pipers Piping, Ten Lords a Leaping, Nine Ladies Dancing, Eight Maids a Milking, Seven Swans a Swimming, Six Geese a Laying, Five Golden Rings, Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree’…AND I give to you Biscochitos!

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Biscochitos are like the [New Mexico] state cookie. I do think they might have to grow on you but they have definitely grown on me, I could eat like 12 at one time if I let myself.

Here is the recipe

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups butter, crisco or lard*
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 eggs
2 teaspoons anise seeds
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
About 3 tablespoons brandy or red wine
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

Mix brandy or wine with anise seeds and let sit in cup for at least 30 minutes before baking cookies.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter* and 1 cup sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and anise seed/brandy/wine mixture, and beat until very light and fluffy. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Mix thoroughly to make a stiff dough. Place dough on a long piece of waxed paper (towards one end). Bring the long end over the top and press to about one inch or slightly less in thickness and refrigerate until chilled; about 30 minutes at least.)

Roll out dough between waxed paper to just under ½ inch thickness. Cut with flour dusted cutters. Combine the 3 remaining tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon in a shallow bowl; dip unbaked cookies into the sugar-cinnamon mixture on one side. If dough seems to sticky do to this, just sprinkle the tops with the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 10 to 16 minutes or until tops of cookies are just firm. Cool cookies on wire racks.

*Notes: lard or margarine can be substituted for the lard, however the cookies will not be as crisp and moist. Lard is an original ingredient to these cookies. Apple juice, orange juice or milk can be substituted for the brandy or red wine, however they don’t compliment as well.

Makes 4 dozen cookies

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Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!!!

-xo

 

 

Christmas Movies

posted on: December 25, 2014

‘On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Eleven Pipers Piping, Ten Lords a Leaping, Nine Ladies Dancing, Eight, Maids a Milking, Seven Swans a Swimming, Six Geese a Laying, Five Golden Rings, Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree’…AND I give to you my favorite Christmas movies.

When it comes to Christmas movies people can have some big opinions on their all time favorites. I’m a firm believer in ‘to each their own’. So, here are my all time favorite Christmas in order.

1. Love Actually. Love Actually is one of my favorite movies ever really but Christmas time gives me an excuse to watch it 14 times and feel okay about it. Here is one of my favorite scenes …..

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2. Home Alone I and Home Alone II (not the III one). Growing up I LOVED this movie and would laugh hysterically at basically the whole thing. My favorite characters were ALWAYS the old man and the bird woman. Even as a 7 year old I loved how they turned out to be kind people.

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3. A White Christmas – I mean the outfits, the songs…. I don’t know how someone can’t like this one. That being said my Mom doesn’t like it so I have to sneak it in before family time.

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4. Elf….. there are just too many good lines in this one. (SANTA….i KNOOOWWWW HIM!!!!!!!)

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5. Miracle on 34th Street

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6. It’s a Wonderful Life (George lassos the moon!)

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AND…. The Holiday and Family Stone

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I have luckily gotten the chance to watch all of these this year and I have to say they have made my holiday much more festive. I hope that you’ve been able to take some time to see your favorites and if you haven’t I think you need to add it to your to do list. Because, I mean why not?

Lots of love,

-xoxo

Jane

 

Chewy Ginger Cookies.

posted on: December 21, 2014

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‘On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Ten Lords a Leaping, Nine Ladies Dancing, Eight Maids a Milking, Seven, Swans a Swimming, Six Geese a Laying, Five Golden Rings, Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree’…AND I give to you Chewy Ginger Cookies.

Hi friends, can you believe Christmas is this week? I can’t, I really can’t believe it’s already here- but I guess I do this every year. Seth and I have 1 more day of work and then we are heading down South to celebrate Christmas with our families. I am definitely looking forward to spending time with them and friends from our hometown but NOT looking forward to a 5 hour car ride with 1 dog, 1 cat, 2 suitcases and a bunch of presents. Wish us luck!

Anyway, I love a good ‘chewy’ ginger cookie and this is my favorite recipe for them, it’s slightly modified from a bon appetite one. I don’t make them very often because they make ALOT … like 48 cookies. But it’s Christmas time and I couldn’t resist. Plus a ginger cookie always makes me feel a little bit better about the fact I’m eating a cookie. Ginger = healthy, duh.

Wishing you all the best this week! Check out the recipe below.

******SERVINGS: MAKES 48*****

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

1/2 cup blackstrap (robust) molasses

2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

1 cup raw or sanding sugar

3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1 cup (2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg

Instructions:

  • Preheat to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Whisk flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Then using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar and butter in a large bowl, scraping down sides halfway through beating, until fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add egg, molasses, grated ginger, and vanilla; beat just to blend. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend (try not to over mix). Mix in crystallized ginger (dough will be very soft and sticky).
  • Place raw sugar in a shallow bowl. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out dough. Using a second spoon, scoop dough from tablespoon measure into bowl with raw sugar; turn to coat well. Roll into ball. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with half of remaining dough and sugar, spacing balls 1 1/2″ apart.
  • Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are firm and centers appear cracked, 10–12 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool.
  • ***Be sure to use new parchment on the remaining trays of cookies.

-xoxo

Jane

Red Chile Popcorn

posted on: December 20, 2014

“On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Nine Ladies Dancing, Eight Maids a Milking, Seven Swans a Swimming, Six Geese a Laying, Five Golden Rings, Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree”…AND I give to you red chile popcorn- my favorite TV or movie watching snack.

But, first before I tell you my super easy recipe let me show you this picture.

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I caught Flynn just waiting so patiently and totally eyeing our popcorn- He’s the cutest.

But, here’s the super easy super fast recipe for Red Chile Popcorn

*we pop our popcorn on the stove or with an air popper

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Ingredients

1/2 cup of popcorn or 1 bag microwave popcorn

1 Tablespoon of olive oil (if cooking on stove)

1 Tablespoon of melted butter

Seasonings; salt, pepper, red chile powder, garlic (you can season as heavy or has light as you like)

Directions

Once your popcorn is popped melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, once melted add as much as the spices as you like. Stir to combine and then pour over pop corn. I like to put half the popcorn into a bowl and then add half the butter, pour the rest of the popcorn and then the rest of the butter. I also sprinkle a little bit more salt and red chile powder on top to add a little bit more flavor.

And… done!

We are enjoying it tonight while we finish up some wrapping and watching Netflix and clearly even the dog is jealous!

-xoxo

Jane

 

Christmas Carols.

posted on: December 20, 2014

“On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Eight Maids a Milking, Seven Swans a Swimming, Six Geese a Laying, Five Golden Rings, Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree”…AND I give to you my favorite Christmas Carols (for this season at least).

 

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas- Sam Smith

Blue Christmas- Elvis Presly

Let It Snow- Michael Buble

All I Want For Christmas- Mariah Carey (also please notice the play views on this video….)

Silent Night- Bing Crosby

Hark the Herald Angels sing- St.Paul’s Cathedral – London (UK)

And there you have it, my top 6 Christmas songs this year that I basically have on repeat.
If you are in spotify you should check out Fireside Songs it’s a great mix of Christmas songs and… Christmas ‘vibe’ songs.

Cheers and happy listening!
-xoxo

Piñon Pine

posted on: December 18, 2014

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‘On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Seven Swans a Swimming, Six Geese a Laying, Five Golden Rings, Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree’…AND I give to you Christmas fireplaces full of piñon wood.

 

Oh, and a only the most purrfect cat ever on the fireplace mantel. What?! I was so pleased with myself when I captured this shot. But, back to my main message. Piñon wood, or more precisely Piñon Pine is New Mexico’s state tree and piñon nuts are just totally delisious. My favorite thing though is the way it smells when you burn it – it’s Santa Fe’s signature winter smell and walking through our snowy, winding, almost non-American streets in the winter, this smell is just magical. It just seals the deal if you know what I mean. If you ever hear any reference to Santa Fe’s smell you can bet your money that it’s burning piñon wood. 

Here’s my favorite holiday dessert with piñon nuts.

Here’s my favorite way to ‘burn’ piñon in the summer time. 

So, a big Christmas cheers to you all and I wish you were right here with me in my living room so you could smell the smell of Santa Fe and… so you could meet the best cat of my life.

-xoxo

Jane