When you imagine yourself as awestruck or giddy with excitement, what are you doing?

Monday, January 14, 2013 | | 0 comments
This is the 7th post of an 8 part series, answering questions from "Eight Bucket List Questions to Ask Yourself"posted by Psychology Today.

Question seven...

When you imagine yourself as awestruck or giddy with excitement, what are you doing?

I immediately friended the dog at a winery in Seattle

Only one thing has the ability to consistently make me giddy with excitement: puppies. I don't discriminate sizes, breeds, colorings, age, or cuteness. All dogs are puppies and all puppies are cute. I get giddy with excitement when I see dogs walking, sitting in cars, playing in the park, and sitting on porches. In fact, as soon as I see a puppy I get giddy. I love dogs. A. LOT. So what am I doing when I imagine myself giddy with excitement? Laying on the floor surrounded by dogs who are eager to give me kisses.

My 3 favorite dogs
I do have three favorite dogs. My dog, of course, is number one. His name is Huxley and he is a black and white mix between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Bichon Frise (known as a Cavachon.) He's pictured above on the right. He joined the Hasty Family in May of 2011. Eric and I drove all the way to Kansas to check him out. We wanted to meet him before we committed to buying him. As soon as we saw him flop out of the car, our hearts melted and we knew he was ours.

My number two and three favorite dogs are Truman (pictured in the middle) and Wilson (on the left.) Truman is also a Cavachon (hard to believe, right?! He doesn't look anything like Huxley!) Wilson, we were told, is a Westie (but we have a suspicion he is a mix between a Westie and a Bulldog.) Truman and Wilson joined the Steffes Family shortly after we lost our beloved family dog, Dakota. Dakota was the perfect family dog who we all adored dearly. She lived a long life, with many ups and downs. Dakota was found in a coma one morning, shortly after we got her. She had several tough months and we didn't know if she would make it. She came through and blessed us with many years of happiness and joy.

I could go on and on about all the dogs that have touched my life. But to keep this post short and to the point: dogs make me giddy with excitement.

When you imagine yourself as really, really relaxed and happy, what are you doing?

Friday, January 11, 2013 | | 0 comments
This is the 6th post of an 8 part series, answering questions from "Eight Bucket List Questions to Ask Yourself"posted by Psychology Today.

Question six...

When you imagine yourself as really, really relaxed and happy, what are you doing?

This is the easiest question EVER! I used to have a hard time relaxing, but I recently went on a vacation in Hawaii and I learned how to relax! There are three steps to relaxation:

1. You need to be in Hawaii
2. You might have a good book
3. You might be doing yoga on the beach (or just sitting on the beach, depending on the day.)

Since this post was so short, enjoy these beautiful photos I took in Hawaii!

What do you like consuming that you might like to have a go at producing?

Thursday, January 10, 2013 | | 0 comments
This is the 5th post of an 8 part series, answering questions from "Eight Bucket List Questions to Ask Yourself"posted by Psychology Today.

Question five...

What do you like consuming that you might like to have a go at producing?

As a professor of Apparel Merchandising and with three degrees in Fashion and Apparel, I'd say I like "consuming" clothing. I often have an image in my head with the "perfect" outfit for a particular occasion. For example, I was invited to a 1920s themed 30th birthday party last month. Since I had studied costume history in graduate school, I knew exactly what I wanted my dress to look like. However, when I started shopping for that perfect 1920s dress, I found that I was pretty particular about what would be acceptable.

Ready for the 1920s themed 30th Birthday Party

First, the silhouette absolutely had to be 1920s, that is really what makes the decade. It either had to be straight or with a drop waist. Second, it had to be appropriate for the occasion. I couldn't wear a garden-party 1920s dress to an after-hours speakeasy type party! I began lamenting that I couldn't just produce my own dress. Why couldn't I produce the dress that I so perfectly imagined in my head? Because despite a Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Marketing and Management a Masters degree in Textile and Apparel Management and a PhD in Textile and Apparel Management, I never once took a sewing class or a pattern-making class. Tragic, right?

This pearl necklace I received for my Masters graduation was the perfect accessory!
Luckily, in a last-minute desperate attempt at finding a dress, I went shopping at TJ Maxx of all places and found a suitable dress. But if I could have produced my own outfit, it would have saved me hours of agonizing over what to wear. So maybe, just maybe, I might find the time and the energy to have a go at producing my own clothing.

What bucket list goals have you thought about but not pursued because you'd feel embarrassed if anyone knew you had that goal?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 | | 1 comments
This is the 4th post of an 8 part series, answering questions from "Eight Bucket List Questions to Ask Yourself"posted by Psychology Today.

Question four...

What bucket list goals have you thought about but not pursued because you'd feel embarrassed if anyone knew you had that goal?

Hmmm...this is a tough one. I can't think of any bucket list goals that I haven't pursued because I was embarrassed (and I probably wouldn't blog about them if I did!) But I don't often tell people about my bucket list goals because I don't want them to know if I failed or I was afraid they would think my goal was silly. So I guess I felt embarrassed about those.

Ever since being diagnosed with Crohn's I've had drastic weight fluctuations. Over the course of 2 and a half years I've weighed under 100 pounds and over 140. That's pretty significant. But most people, when they look at me, wouldn't say I have a weight "problem." Crohn's disease has forced me to take a different perspective on weight, diet, and health. Before being diagnosed, I never thought twice about what I ate or how much I weighed. Now I have to think very critically about what will make me feel sick, what might cause a flare, and what will cause me to gain or lose weight. In addition, when I was sick, I was unable to eat food for extended periods of time. I was often put on liquid diets. This caused my relationship with food to change. What was once a meal to sustain energy throughout the day became a privilege. I began seeing meals as a scarce commodity that I had to take advantage of when they were offered. Every meal, when I was able to eat food, had to excellent. This had a negative affect on my waistline and my wallet.

Where I workout with my personal trainer

This year, I have a goal to lose weight. I have hired a personal trainer who helps me with more than weight loss, but also improved posture, higher energy, and better digestive health. I am also very careful with my diet, avoiding foods that often negatively affect digestion, are high in sugar or have lots of carbs. Finally, I have started up my Yoga practice again. I am always happiest and feel the best about myself when I'm practicing Yoga.

This was a long, roundabout way of saying that I'm a little embarrassed that my bucket list (or new year resolution) includes losing weight. It seems so cliche. It also seems silly that I have this goal when my weight is perfectly acceptable for someone my age and height. Perhaps my mindset stems from the disease, or from my profession in the fashion industry that requires women to be thin, or from my parents who have dieted for as long as I can remember. Whatever the cause, now you know that I would normally keep this goal a secret but thanks to this prompt everyone who reads my blog now knows my secret.

What challenges (if successfully achieved) would give you the biggest confidence boost?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 | | 0 comments
This is the 3rd post of an 8 part series, answering questions from "Eight Bucket List Questions to Ask Yourself"posted by Psychology Today.

Question three...

What challenges (if successfully achieved) would give you the biggest confidence boost?

I am an avid art collector. I have 12 original pieces of art ranging from sculptures to paintings to pen and ink drawings. I've purchased them from as far away as Japan (a friend of mine was living there when I commissioned a pen and ink from her) and Hawaii (I picked up a sculpture and a painting during my vacation there over Thanksgiving 2012.) But I am most proud of the pieces I've purchased from local artists in Columbia, MO and Bloomington, IN.

One of the art pieces I've purchased from Jenny McGee

In addition, I love love love visiting art museums. I am a member of the St. Louis Art Museum and I frequent the IU Art Museums and Indianapolis Art Museums as often as I can. I also bring my students to the IU Art Museum every semester. I especially like the contemporary and modern art galleries. I love looking at art, absorbing it, but also learning about it and its history.

But secretly, I wish I could create my own works of art. So the challenge (if successfully achieved) that would give me the biggest confidence boost would be to have a series of paintings featured at a gallery. I would love to create a series of abstract paintings.

I am overly critical of my abilities as an artist. I once took a figure drawing course in college and my instructor said I should choose a different path. (Therefore I decided abstract paintings would be better for me than realistic paintings.) I would love to have the opportunity to take lessons from an artist. I heard that one of my favorite artists in Columbia, MO was offering lessons. I wish I lived close enough to take advantage of that opportunity!

Alas, I should probably take steps toward creating an original painting but I remain too insecure. I don't think if I managed to produce a painting I would want to show it publicly. I tend to take criticism very personally. It is hard enough for me to have students review my teaching much less art critics critique my paintings! This may be a challenge I'm not ready to face, even if it would give me the biggest confidence boost if successfully achieved.

Where would you like to travel? If you could only do 3 things when you got there, what would you pick?

Monday, January 7, 2013 | | 0 comments
This is the 2nd post of an 8 part series, answering questions from "Eight Bucket List Questions to Ask Yourself"posted by Psychology Today.

Second question...

Where would you like to travel?

If you could only do 3 things when you got there, what would you pick?

My top 5 countries to visit include: England, France, Spain, Australia, and Brazil. If I had to stay in the United States, my top 5 places to visit would include: Main (the rocky beaches), California (I would love to go back to Napa Valley, where Eric and I went on our honeymoon), Hawaii (yes, I know I just went there but it was the best vacation and I was more relaxed there than I've ever been), New York (because you can never do everything that there is to offer), and The Virgin Islands (not technically in the United States but I'm counting it anyway.)

But for the purpose of this blog post, I'm choosing...Spain. Why? For the food.

So the second part of the question is which three things would I do once I was there. Turns out, this was the easy part of the question! According to the 50 Best Restaurants, these three restaurants are ranked in the top 10!

1. El Celler de Can Roca
2. Mugaritz
3. Arzak

Photo from http://www.cellercanroca.com

El Celler de Can Roca

The passion for cooking and hospitality shared by the three Roca brothers is palpable, but the food is playful rather than serious – caramelised olives are brought to the table on bonsai trees – and Catalan ingredients are given centre-stage billing on the menu. Clever techniques complement simple flavour combinations designed to titillate the palate and the memory rather than confuse the mind. It’s clever stuff – but thankfully it is also utterly delicious. - An excerpt from http://www.theworlds50best.com/awards/1-50-winners/

Photo from http://www.luxurytraveladvisor.com


Mugaritz is a place where diners go to have their preconceptions of food smashed to pieces. Its dishes are designed to tell a story, evoke an emotion, and bring some magic to the dining experience. The food is exceptional, of course. Andoni Luis Aduriz and his kitchen would have been found out long ago if their approach was all style and no substance, but it is the overall package that makes Mugaritz such a unique and beguiling restaurant. - An excerpt from http://www.theworlds50best.com/awards/1-50-winners/

Photo from http://moveablefeastscookbook.blogspot.com


(I especially like that there is a female chef!) 
The philosophy of father and daughter chefs Juan Mari and Elena is simple: take good, honest Spanish food and raise it to new heights of flavour and texture, and transform eating it into a multisensory experience. While certain dishes, such as monkfish with gooseberries, are now served on computer screens, classic Basque recipes remain the bedrock of all the restaurant does, and flavour the guiding principle. - An excerpt from http://www.theworlds50best.com/awards/1-50-winners/

Photo from http://www.elbullimovie.com/

No discussion of Spanish cuisine could be complete without mentioning El Bulli which sparked my fascination and admiration of Spain as a culinary genius of a country. I first saw the documentary about El Bulli at the True/ False film festival. After seeing the documentary I swore I would eat at the El Bulli restaurant someday. Unfortunately, it closed shortly after the release of the documentary. After a short period of utter devastation, I found that Spain was full of culinary geniuses. And now that I have a sense of urgency to try the best Spain has to offer, it has been bumped to my number one place to visit and all three things to do there include eating incredibly delicious and innovative cuisine.

Who would you like to meet?

Friday, January 4, 2013 | | 1 comments
Earlier this year, Psychology Today posted an article titled "Eight Bucket List Questions to Ask Yourself." I thought the questions were interesting, so the next eight blog posts will be my answers to those questions. This seemed like a good way to get back into blogging and start 2013 off with some reflective questions on who I am and who I want to be.

First question...

Who would you like to meet?

There are a million people I'd like to meet. But, since this is a blog, I thought I would choose two bloggers that I've been following who seem like pretty cool people. I imagine getting coffee with these two would be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Borrowed from The Daybook
The first is Sydney Poulton from The Daybook. I started following her when her blog was primarily a fashion blog. Since then, she's had a beautiful baby boy and her blog has turned into a chronicle of her life with her growing family and her thoughts on the world. I enjoy the beautiful photos on her blog and her frank discussions about the ups and downs in life. If we met, I would ask her about parenthood (I imagine she would be candid about the ups and downs of raising a child), living a public life on her blog (the pros and cons, what she doesn't like about so many people commenting on her life), and her favorite book (just curious, but I think she'd have an interesting choice that I wouldn't have thought of.)
Borrowed from Nat the Fat Rat
The second is Natalie Holbrook of Nat the Fat Rat. I'm a relatively new follower of Natalie, I first began following her through Instagram and later followed her blog. I love seeing pictures of her life in New York City. She is also a mother of a handsome young boy. She's a beautiful mom and often posts about her outings with her family. I enjoy her beautiful photos (I do love a good photo) and especially her Instagram photos. She's witty and seems like she'd be a wonderful friend and fun to hang out with. If we met, I would ask her about parenthood (especially what it is like to raise a child in the city, but also about balancing being a mother with being a woman), what makes her the happiest (besides the obvious husband and child and family...what does she do for herself), and her favorite places in New York City. I would really love to get a tour of the city from her.
So, yes, I chose two everyday people. No one famous (how could I relate to a movie star?) and no one intimidating (what could I possibly say to someone who won the Nobel Peace Prize?) I imagine, in another time and place, I could be friends with these two women. I would love to get coffee with them on Saturdays, talk about life, complain about a bad day, and share in victories. They seem very down-to-earth, fun, and kind people. I'm so happy that I can play a small part in their lives as a follower of their blogs.

December in Photos

Thursday, January 3, 2013 | | 0 comments

1. Eric and I went to see Rock of Ages at the IU Auditorium. Such a great musical!
2. Eric hung our Christmas lights outside, I just love the soft glow of Christmas lights!
3. I'm really trying hard to workout more, in addition to my personal training sessions once a week.
4. So much grading to do at the end of each semester, this is my least favorite part of my job.
5. Look at these lovely winter berries outside our apartment!
6. Huxley came to work with me this day and took the prime seat in my office, right in front of my computer.
7. My Themester students created posters to present at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, they did a fantastic job!
8. I was supposed to wear this dress to a holiday party, but the zipper broke and I had to do some last-minute emergency shopping.
9. This is a piece of art that we purchased on our trip to Hawaii.
10. I read The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace by Lynn Povich. I loved it.
11. Huxley found a more comfortable spot to lay the second time I brought him to work with me.
12. We are hanging stockings just in time for our little family Christmas. We got Huxley treats and a new sweater!
13. I just discovered Gingerbread Kahlua, and the cocktail possibilities are endless!
14. A gingerbread martini, made with the Gingerbread Kahlua
15. A big happy birthday celebration for my friend, Jessica!
16. Huxley modeling his new sweater in front of the Christmas tree.
17. Started a new book for bookclub: Some Girls, Some Hats, and Hitler by Trudi Kanter
18. Our home with the Christmas tree lit and decorated.
19. I'm starting to do Yoga again! It is one of the best things I've done for myself in awhile.
20. The first snow of the season!
21. Packed and ready to go to Missouri for the holidays!
22. It's a Christmas miracle! Eric is holding a baby!
23. Christmas with Eric's family. We enjoyed spending a few days visiting his family before the holidays!
24. Christams Eve: A full contact dining experience. Eating a delicious meal prepared by my dad to the tune of A Christmas Story.
25. Merry Christmas from the Hastys!
26. Enjoying a delicious brunch at Rooster in St. Louis.
27. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a new show this year!
28. Reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I'm really amazed with the quality of books I read this month. They were all SO. GOOD.
29. A last-minute trip to Kansas City to see the Plaza lights
30. Discovered a new quirky restaurant: Happy Gillis Cafe and Hangout
31. A new year's eve celebratory dinner at Pastaria!

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