Toilet Paper: the right way

Toilet Paper. Not usually something you talk about with others, and yet if it ever comes up in conversation it happens to center around whether the toilet paper roll has been put on the right way. Yet, is there a right way? Does it go over or under? There are definitely two camps: over the roll and under the roll. Actually maybe there are three camps. I fall in the third camp which equates to: “I do not care.” Chris falls in the over camp, and since I do not care, the toilet paper in our house goes over. I am used to it, but at the end of the day, I just want to use the toilet paper and go on with my day. It does not change my world one way or the other which direction it comes off the roll. All I want is a clean toilet, bathroom, and toilet paper. There is nothing worse than a gross bathroom, a filthy toilet, and no toilet paper.

Over the years I have become picky about the quality of toilet paper. At some public restrooms all you get is the thinnest of tissue paper. How can they even call it toilet paper? You need ten times the amount just to make sure it does not soak through. It should not be too thin or too harsh. It should be soft and absorbent. Think about it. They put lotion in Kleenex, which tells us that you should be soft and gentle with your nose. Why would you not treat your bum in a similar way? No one wants chafing, just like everyone hates a raw nose after a cold or the flu.

This Huffington Post article shares that a 1891 patent shows that Chris is definitely in the right camp, toilet paper goes over. Who knew!

So while I could care less about the over or under battle, I would pay more for the “Bounty” of toilet papers. It makes a difference. So — are you an over or under addict?

Random recipe: Chicken Taco Chili (Crock Pot)

It has been a full week. Heck, it has been a full month + year. Yesterday when I came home from work and walked into the house it smelled wonderful. Chris had made a new recipe: Chicken Taco Chili. It was a struggle to actually get dressed and go for my run. I even dabbled a bit and had a few bites with some lime chips before my run — I just could not resist.

In terms of the additional toppings the recipe lists below. We added the cilantro, shredded cheese, and sour cream on top. It was delicious. Although as I ate a bowl after my run (scooping up bites with my favorite — lime chips) I thought this is basically nachos. I laughed because I recently read Jim Gaffigan’s book “Food: A Love Story” and he mentions how mexican food is all the same ingredients served in different ways. Quesadillas are tacos, grilled in a pan, which are the same as enchiladas and nachos. You get the point. In any case — enjoy!

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili (The Comfort of Cooking)

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

① 1 16 oz. can black beans, drained
② 1 16 oz. can kidney beans, drained
③ 2 garlic cloves, minced
④ 1 medium onion, chopped
⑤ 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
⑥ 1 green bell pepper, chopped
⑦ 10 oz. package (1 1/4 cups) frozen corn kernels
⑧ 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
⑨ 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
⑩ 1 tbsp. cumin
⑪ 1 tbsp. chili powder
⑫ 1 tsp. dried oregano
⑬ 1 tsp. kosher salt
⑭ 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, uncooked
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Optional toppings:
Additional cilantro, shredded cheese, chopped scallions, red onion, sour cream, etc.

Directions:
Combine ingredients 1 through 14 in a slow cooker*. Stir until combined. Place uncooked chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Thirty minutes before serving, pull chicken breasts apart with two forks. Stir and continue cooking. Top with fresh cilantro or any other desired toppings.

* Tip: If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can also use an oven safe, 5 1/2 quart or larger pot. Simmer at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours.

Wake you up

I had a great conversation with a friend yesterday over lunch. She was lit up. Yes, shining bright. Our conversation ebbed and flowed over what was happening in our worlds. Eventually my friend shared that she had been smacked into reality by a mentor, someone who she had not spoken to in a while and at the right moment in time the words she shared with my friend were just the ones she needed to hear. The right words at the right moment. It resonated with me.

I am a blunt person. I tell friends what I think. I hope sharing from my experience or intuition could potentially help them. I do not mean that in a cocky way, I mean it in a genuine way. If I feel that I have something to share, I will. Especially if the friend has asked for my opinion. Having said all that, there are times when I know I hold back. Maybe at that moment in time it did not feeI right to be so blunt. Or, maybe I felt that this was a situation that they had to wade through on their own. While I might be by their side, they had to make these decisions from their own heart.

Even knowing that, our conversation yesterday made me think about how many times I have not been blunt and maybe should have. My friend sharing her conversation reminded me of how much we sometimes need another to open our eyes. How often we might need someone to pull us from our fog and wake us up and remind us of who we are and who we have always been. I want another to do that for me, but am I doing that for someone else? Do we get so caught up in our own little worlds that we forget how to pull someone out of their own potential deep water?

It is always harder to truly be in someone else’s shoes. It is hard to know what another individual needs. But — we usually know when someone is off… when they are not themselves. Those are the times when we must walk out to the edge of the diving board and bring them back to safety. We do it because we care. We do it because we love them. We do it because it is at the core of who we are.

Be sure you are present to wake others up.

Business Casual?

What is business casual these days? Last week I spoke at a conference in San Francisco. The dress code was business casual and I had to spend time on the Internet exploring what that really means these days. If you work for a company that does not dress up, what does that mean when you have to take it up a notch? Business casual does not exist for me. Every day is casual. So when you are in a situation where you might be interacting with customers, vendors, clients, or partners what is the true meaning of business casual?

From what I can tell it means no jeans. However, is that really true? With today’s tech world, are jeans still out of the realm of business casual? I barely had an outfit to wear to speak at the conference and I realized I went from working from home for so many years (and basically living in my pajamas and sweats) to my current company which is very laid back. Why should I add outfits to my closet that I will never wear? I know the origins of business casual are probably not much different then “casual Fridays” — a chance to dress down and be more relaxed. In my mind everyday is “casual” Friday. Yet, my terminology for business casual is not in the traditional sense. My version of business casual equates to: “Am I comfortable?”

Yes, I am not a traditional one. Going from my early career where I had to dress nice (and no, I no longer have any of those clothes) to spending almost a decade hoping that I had showered before Chris came home. I would roll out of bed and immediately go to my laptop instead of acting like a normal human and actually getting dressed. Why should I have when I saw practically no one all day? When you spend most of your day as the voice in a grey conference room speakerphone in the middle of a long table 3,000 miles away from your house to now, where I have a lot of work outfit options. I can be comfy and I can dress nice, so what is the 2015 version of business casual? Has it changed too much? Have we evolved and become a more laid back society? Or do lawyers and Wall Street exec’s still dictate the definition of business casual?

So I ask you, what does it mean to you?

Live for yourself

Do you crave pleasing others? Do you care what others think? Or are you out for your own success? It all depends on what drives you. Sometimes I think we get a bit conflicted as to who we make our decisions for, many times bending over backwards to make someone happy. Do we do it for them? Do we do it to impress someone else? Or, do we do it for ourselves?

I am someone who craves excellence. I have extremely high expectations and think there is always room for improvement. Do I do it for others? Not really. I want it to be the best because I see the vision of where it can go. So often I think individuals get lazy, quit, or just decide that something is not important. Not me. I want to evolve things so life can be better for me and everyone else. Many call me relentless and it is true. I am relentless. I recently came across this quote:

“When you work to please others you can’t succeed, but the things you do to satisfy yourself stand a chance of catching someone’s interest.”

-Marcel Proust, Pastiches Et Melanges

I thought this quote was interesting. How often do we try to please others? How often do we realize that we are never going to make others happy? I love thinking of the idea that if I am satisfying myself, then that is actually when I am interesting. It is true. We are most fascinating and most interesting when we are living for ourselves and no one else. It is a hard dilemma. How often we make decisions because we are making someone else happy, than doing something because it makes ourselves happy.

Live for yourself and what you want to do.