Posts tagged ‘Fear’

January 21, 2013

Granola Balls!

I think we’ve got it all wrong. We should be working two days a week and have five days to play and having fun and work on our projects and bake and whatever else we fancy. I know that’s more or less a ridiculous idea, but hey, a girl can dream, right?

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about work lately, about how this job was always supposed to be temporary, something to get me to the next phase of my professional life, which, in seven and a half years since I graduated from college, just hasn’t happened. After contemplating it a little (and freaking out a lot), I came to the conclusion that there are three reasons why I stay at this job, which doesn’t satisfy me in the least: #1. The money. Isn’t it always a little bit about money when you dislike your job? #2. I DO enjoy working with my brother…most of the time…when he’s not throwing office equipment. and #3, the biggest of them all: I don’t know what else to do.

Sure, I enjoy certain things that have the potential to become money-making endeavors: photography, writing, baking. But none of them are go-out-and-apply-for-the-job type careers. They take time to cultivate into something that can translate into our mortgage payment. And I’ve never been patient. And honestly, I have a hard time taking an idea and converting it into action. I get the brilliant beginnings and then they fizzle out, seeming to hit a mental brick wall in my brain.

And now I’ve started ranting about it and you probably think I have some profound conclusion to present to you now. I’ve figured it out! Right? But alas, I haven’t. All I got for you is a pretty cool recipe for what I’m calling “granola balls.” Jim helped me come up with the name. They’re kind of my take on like protein or energy balls, but Jim likes to eat granola bars for breakfast, so I told him they’re granola balls so the transition would be easier for him.

granola balls1

Granola Balls!

(yes, they do have an ! at the end)

makes approximately 16 balls…if you don’t eat about a ball’s worth while you’re mixing

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

2 tbps honey

3 tbsp protein powder

handful of chocolate chips

handful of shredded coconut

Mix and mash and smush it all together. Roll into balls. Enjoy!

As for that other stuff we talked about today, I’ll keep you posted. I think I’m beyond the freaking out phase and into the lets-get-something-done phase. It’s hard for me. But I can do it. Just keep telling myself that, right? I can do it!


Any photographers, writers or bakery owners out there have any advise for me on how to run a successful business in those fields?

December 30, 2012

End of one chapter, Beginning of another

I’ve written before about how anti-Resolution I am when it comes to the new year. And I maintain that position because of how particularly useless traditional resolutions are. That does not, however, mean that I am completely oblivious to the convenience a new year provides for making goals and starting fresh.

And this year, in light of having a new house and a new pooch, I’m feeling a fresh start with an acute ping. How could I not? My entire life has been flipped upside down. Where I once was a newlywed living in a 900 square foot apartment, now I’m a full-fledged wife with a 1500 square foot house, an adorable black lab mix and a million new opportunities that I didn’t have a month ago.

I don’t necessarily mean that all of a sudden huge doors have opened. I don’t suddenly have contacts in high career places or anything like that. But I’ve always been a firm believer that it’s the small things that matter most. Like inviting friends over for dinner and dog sitting for my mom while she’s out of town (for better or for worse…..). I have enough space in my living room to bust out my 30 Day Shred DVD without having to rearrange the furniture to do it.

These little things can be as life changing as huge things. And I’ll keep you posted as I make this journey to finding my new self in my new circumstances. But since it’s a new year, I decided to do something I’ve thought about but never actually done until now: make a vision board. And I invited my friend, Reanna, over to make one with me (something I wouldn’t have done at the apartment).

The stack of magazines we were working with. It took HOURS to go through them all!

The stack of magazines we were working with. It took HOURS to go through them all!

I’ve seen multiple people do them. And people all seem to have their own philosophy and strategy when it comes to content, layout, purpose. I know people who look at the vision board as a request to the universe for the things that they want. Some are almost superstitious, being careful not to use words or images that might be taken too literally. I look at it as more of a reminder of the things I wish to accomplish in the year to come, an organization of thoughts and goals in a place where I can see them on a daily basis. I don’t expect them to come true simply because I put them on the board. But they’re there. Sort of like a paper Pinterest for the new year (anyone else see the irony of a “paper Pinterest?”).

Getting there

Getting there

While I don’t believe that the universe is taking note of my desires, nor do I believe that by putting my wishes/goals on a board that they will come true, I did notice that certain patterns emerged. I do believe in the psychology of our choices, the subconscious repetitions based on things we don’t necessarily notice at first sight. Like my friend Reanna. She got all of her photos and phrases on her board and realized that her overall theme was more of self-improvement than it had been in previous years. She also had far more wording than she was used to. She left our house with a lot to think about.

Since I haven’t done a board before, I didn’t have anything to compare to, but I did notice patterns. Like I cut out more than one phrase about “fear.” Likewise with “happiness.” I had many photos and phrases about travel and a handful about food and several about photography. While some people feel that using words on a dream board is a bad idea, I feel like my board without words wouldn’t be MY board. Words are such an important part of my life, it would just seem wrong not to have them present. I like my board. I think it feels very “me.”

The finished product

The finished product

I’m really excited for 2013. The past twelve months have been challenging to say the least, but I am really optimistic about the coming year. I think there is a lot of growth, a lot of fun, a lot of excitement and a lot of change on the horizon. For the first time in my life I feel like I might just be where I’m supposed to be. I feel like I might be getting a clear picture of who I am and who I want to be. And I can’t wait to see how the next year unfolds.

Happy New Year, everyone! Do you have any goals for 2013? Do you make a vision board every year?

April 26, 2012

I vow to have more adventures


I’ve learned lately that I’ve lived a lot of my life in fear. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear that the tiny voice inside of me that insists I’m not good enough is actually right. It’s left me more or less perpetually stuck in the zone I’m in: same job, some apartment complex, never going after the things I’ve wanted most, and with the nagging feeling of guilt and sadness that I’m 28 years old and I’ve barely lived.

Although people who know me would challenge that statement, I think. I mean I’ve done some traveling. I’ve been to Europe, to New Zealand, to all 50 United States. I’ve graduated college and I’ve gotten married. But when you lie those things alongside the things I didn’t do (Publish a novel, move to London, get my master’s degree in creative writing), they don’t look so amazing.

Granted, you’ll probably say that it’s not too late to do any of those things. And it’s not, I suppose. But that’s not the point. The point is, those are the things I chose NOT to do in the past because I was too darn scared.

But I’ve decided that I need to change that. I’m making a vow to myself and to you, my readers, that I will have more adventures. I will not let fear get in my way any longer.

I started this new plan yesterday (actually the process began a few months ago, but fear had left me dragging my feet on finishing it)…when I walked into the City of Roseville and applied for a business license. As soon as that puppy arrives in the mail, Stephanie Sutherlin Photography will be a real, official business.

Jim and I are also in the process of contemplating buying a house. And you know what? I’m terrified. It’s such a huge commitment and has such a huge price tag! There are a million things that could go wrong, a million places where we could fail. But you know what? We’re doing it anyway.

And with these couple huge decisions, I’m finding myself taking more small risks, too. Even as small as trying new foods and finding the strength and courage to tell someone the truth, even when it may be hard for them to hear.

I have a list of Things to Do Before I Die on my blog, and I intend to begin checking them off. In fact, I checked one off last night: “Start my own business.” And I plan to add to this list….little things. Tiny things even. I love checking things off lists! But that’s not the point. The point is, I intend to make every day count for something, to have an adventure, even a mini one, every single day!

I’m excited. And happy. And PROUD of myself! It’s an amazing feeling to realize your weaknesses and then be able to overcome them.

Have you ever overcome a huge obstacle that changed your life?

Help me think of some exciting mini adventures!

March 23, 2012

Mediterranean Couscous salad + silencing my fears

I’ve mentioned it before. My fears more or less try to run my life, and a lot of the time, I let them. And I know that’s not right, and that I should focus on the positive aspects of any situation, but I’ve only recently come to the realization that I do let my fears rule most of my life, so it’s going to be a process to retrain my brain to think differently.

On Tuesday, I went in for a massage with my wonderful friend Christie, who is a little bit like magic. She can work muscular miracles. She actually taught me how to relax and let my massages work for me. But she’s more than just a massage therapist because when I go in there, I don’t know what it is, but my brain starts going to these crazy places. It’s like I find these pockets of clarity. I’ve come to more realizations about my life on that table than anywhere else I can think of.

And this week’s realization was that my commute time is killing me. It’s where I do my most dangerous thinking. It’s where I make plans, where I contemplate my future, where I do my best worrying and over-thinking.  What else have I got to do for 45 minutes each way? Sure, I listen to the radio like most Americans, but it isn’t enough to really take me out of my head.

So I decided I need to find a way to distract myself while I’m driving (of course not too much because I still have to drive!). I’ve always used reading as a way to escape my own life. What better way to forget your own problems that to become engrossed in someone else’s? So I bought a couple of books on cd and I’ve been listening to them in the car the past few days.

And let me tell you, I feel much better! I don’t get caught up in my head AND I feel less stressed about driving. I drive slower (not that I’m a lead foot or anything, but I noticed I hover a lot closer to 65 than 75 lately), and jerk drivers just don’t seem to annoy me quite as much. I don’t care as much about them because more interesting things are going on in my car!

On a completely different but equally exciting note, I promised you a recipe, so here it is!

I adapted this recipe from one in my new cookbook, Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for great vegan recipes. I haven’t tried a recipe I didn’t like yet.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

2 cups dry couscous

2 cups water

2 tbsp olive oil

3-4 small zucchini, cut in half-circles

a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

10ish kalamata olives, halved

1 cup frozen or fresh corn

1 leek, sliced thin

a handful of spinach, roughly chopped

tarragon (I hate to add measurements for spices. Everyone likes their own amount. Use as much or as little as you’d like)


garlic powder

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar


Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add couscous. Turn off heat and let sit for five minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, saute zucchini, leeks, corn and spinach with olive oil and spices. Add soy sauce and vinegar. Mix and let veggies absorb liquid a little. Add tomatoes and olives and let cook until these last ingredients are just warm. Maybe a minute. Toss couscous with veggie mix. Let sit for a few minutes so the flavors can be absorbed in the couscous. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve and enjoy!

Christy says this salad tastes amazing cold as well as hot. I was having it for dinner, so hot seemed right, but I’m curious to try it cold. Maybe for lunch today!

This is a seriously delicious, amazingly easy dish. I think it will be a go-to for summer dinners.

Well, I’m off to lunch with my mommy (yes, leftover couscous salad) and then a fun-filled weekend with my husband and “little sissy,” Ashley, who is hanging with us! I can’t wait!


January 30, 2012

Conquering Fears

This weekend was about facing my fears and telling them where they can shove it. And it wasn’t even what I set out to do. But sometimes you’re offered opportunities, and somehow I’ve figured out where to find that unique ability to just say “Yes!”

They actually made a movie about this concept, I believe. “Yes Man,” it was called. Not a bad movie, actually. I like Zooey Deschanel.


Of course, this is a little bit overboard and I have no intentions of becoming a “Yes Woman,” but I think there’s definitely something to be said for seizing opportunities….even if they’re scary.

So we started the weekend with the party at the Nugget in Reno I was telling you about. It was a ton of fun.

Photo booth fun!

My brother, Matt, brought the baby, who was, of course, the star of the show. Poor guy didn’t have a nap all day, though, and true to form, he fell asleep on me on the dance floor.

My favorite part of the evening, though, was just before the party. In my family, I’ve sort of learned to just do my own thing because waiting for them to figure out what they’re doing can cost you a whole evening. So Jim and I got dressed, and since we were starving, we went downstairs to the bar at Orozko and ordered a couple of drinks and appetizers. As we sat down….at the best seat in the house, we later learned…the evening’s entertainment arrived, a guy with a microphone who sang Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra and Neil Diamond (among others). It was just nice to sit there, listening to good music, drinking a martini, enjoying some delicious appetizers and just being together before we had to go into the party and turn on the schmooze.

After the party, like we usually do, we all went back downstairs to do a little gambling. Now, I’m not a big gambler. I like to play $10-$20 on the penny slots and call it good. Except my brother came up to me and said “Let’s go teach you how to play blackjack.” And honestly, it scared the crap out of me. $5 minimums=lots of potential lost cash!


But I did it anyway. And we lost some cash (fortunately we wrote it off as a “business expense”). But I did it. I looked my fear in the eye and I said “I’m going to do it anyway.” ….Oh, and I doubled my $10 on the pennies. Just sayin’.

On Sunday, we got up leisurely (after going to be after 2 am!), had breakfast with my youngest brother, Dan, who is going to school in Reno and then went to Rome Valley Vineyards, where we got married.

I wish I had photos of this day, but it was one of those days you just live. I didn’t have time to whip out a camera and document it. Besides, I had no pockets and was on the back of a quad, so…. If you knew the size of my scaredy-catedness, you’d have been proud of me. Not only did I ride all over the vineyard (lots of steep hills!!!) on the back of a quad, I shot a gun AND walked into an old mine to the point where I could barely see sunlight behind us anymore.

I may not be a tough girl yet, but I’m working on it! One step at a time.

How was your weekend? Conquer any fears lately?


January 4, 2012

What to do with all this fear

I’ve spent the majority of my life in some sort of fear. I think after all of my contemplating lately, I’ve narrowed it down to that.


I’m afraid of disappointing the people I love.

I’m afraid of being wrong.

I’m afraid to let my true self show….to almost anyone really. In fact, last night I printed out the first chapter of the novel I’m working on and let my husband read it. And you know what? The world didn’t end. He didn’t laugh in my face and tell me I should give up now because my writing sucked harder than our vacuum cleaner.

I’m deathly afraid of failure. I wrote a novel. I sent it to a few agents. It was rejected and suddenly I’m so terrified of being rejected again that I can barely get words on the screen. And I want to start a professional photography business but I’m so scared that I will mess that up that I’ve been carrying around the paperwork to get the business started for over a week.

The thing is, I think I’m pretty darn good at photography. It’s like when I was in school. I always had the right answers, but I never raised my hand because there was a slight chance I wasn’t right.  I did start a facebook page for my photography, though. I guess that’s a good first step?

One of my favorites from this past spring

So this year, I am trying extremely hard to embrace the things I love, get go of the fear that holds me back and become the person I want to be.

I’ve started working on my novel again. It’s hard, and I still freeze up every once in a while, but when I can send the rejection out of my head, my thoughts usually flow pretty easily.

And, of course, how I feel about myself is directly correlated with how I feel physically. So I am on day 1.5 of my mostly plant-based, as “whole” as I can manage diet, and we’ll see what my energy does from there!