Fish or cut bait, shit or get off the pot, put up or shut up.. however you say it, it boils down the same. And it could not be more true at this moment. There’s so many loose ends and unfinished business in my life right now, and it’s starting to drive me crazy! I’ve reached my breaking point with it all, and I finally decided it’s time to fish or cut bait.
Do you ever have these times in your life, where it feels like you just have so many things up in the air, half way done, drowning in whatever it is, feeling so overwhelmed (by nothing important), but really getting no where. Or you have an idea, but it never really becomes more? I hate that feeling. And I have had it constantly lately.. it’s just time to figure it out. Make the decisions. Put things into action – or just give it up and stop wasting my time and energy.While I have a ton of ideas that I would love to drop everything and dive in, it’s not always that easy. It’s not like I can just quit my day job, and say “Here I go, off into adventureland, hopefully something works out!” – I mean, as much as I dream about doing that Every. Single. Day. I’m not brave enough for that – yet. Bills still have to be paid, bellies need to be full, and I have to go to my 9-5 job, each and every day to make that happen. So, for right now I have to work out the kinks, and figure out how to make it all work for ME. But, let’s hope that some day I become brave enough to say fuck it, and go on that adventure!
For now, I have so many projects and goals that are half way there and that I need to give more attention to, or chop all together. The feeling of having some not completed or figured out, gives me stress. And the longer it goes on for, the worse the stress gets! I can’t make a good, clear, well thought out decision with a cloudy, stressed mind! However do all the decisions we make need to be clear, correct, and well thought out? I doubt it.
My major tasks up on the air right now – I’ve got my nutritional studies (with a due date looming over me), my 9-5 job (which is not my career, won’t be forever, but is it really what I should be doing with my time?.. I mean, I guess so.. if I want to be able to eat or have a place to live, plus I do enjoy what I do most days), my blog (which has been creating a lot of really great opportunities, but still, I feel like I can’t keep up with it).. the candle company (which, omg is probably my number one cause of stress.. after the other three things I listed of course! Ha!)
So – to start I have to make a decision about every single goal I want to reach. From big goals like my blog and the candle company – to small goals like drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, eat healthy, or exercising to lose 10 lbs..I’ve got to prioritize, plan, actually put in the work to making them a reality. I can’t go around saying, I write a successful blog, unless Im actually doing that (although it already has become more than I thought it would.. so small win!), I can’t say that I am a Registered Holisitic Nutritionist, unless I actually become that. I don’t want to be that person. The one who constantly spouts off all the things they are great at, or that they have created and accomplished, and really it’s just a bunch of bullshit. I want to actually do them. I want to bring them to life. I want them to be successful. And none of that is going to happen by just thinking about it. I have to make myself accountable. Time to buckle down, make the decisions, and get the ball rolling!
If you need me..I’ll be over here..fishing.
This will be quick because there is literally not much to it! We all know how hard it is to get kids (and even some adults!) to eat their veggies. This idea is a fairly well-known one.. however I still get a number of people who sound surprised when I mention this one to them, and after having it happen a couple of times over the past week, I figured.. why not just get it out there?!
This one is the Creamy Mashed Potatoes – with Cauliflower! Now let’s get serious here.. who in their right mind does not love to gorge on creamy, delicious, buttery & garlicky mashed potatoes. Okay, well I suppose that there may be some who don’t like them, or can not eat them for health reasons (allergies, etc.), but for the most part, mashed potatoes are a staple. And a completely delicious one at that!
This one is so easy you guys. I don’t even use a recipe for it anymore, I just do most of it to taste. But.. for those who really enjoy following a recipe, or maybe their “to taste” skills aren’t up to par (which is totally okay!).. here you go! And remember – any of these quantities can be increased or cut down depending on how many people you are serving!
What you’ll need:
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut up
- Approx 1 TBSP of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic – smushed, minced, or just cut up into smaller pieces
- Reduced fat cream cheese – this one truly is to taste.. I use a few tablespoons.. but it depends on how “creamy” you want them to be.
- 1/2 TBSP butter
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (sometimes I use a full cup if I’m feeling extra cheesy)
- Salt & Pepper
- Steamer (sauce pan, steam basket)
- Pan (small one to cook garlic)
- Food processor
What you’re going to do with it:
- Get out your steamer, put in some water and let it come to a boil.Toss in that cauliflower and let it get a good steam for about 7-10 min. (depending on how big or small of pieces you cut it into.) You should be able to stab through it with a fork.
- While you’re waiting for your cauliflower to cook, heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a pan, over med heat. Add the garlic and let it cook down a few min until it’s softened. Don’t let it burn, or it will turn bitter!
- Once the cauliflower is cooked, put about half of it in your food processor. Blend on high. Add the rest of your cauliflower slowly, blending until creamy. Then, add in your butter, garlic, parm cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper and blend until mixed.
Voila! Enjoy!!.. Hey I said it was delicious, not completely healthy!
Meet TJ Pepper. Think she’s just all good looks?! Think again. Hair magician. Super mom. Amazing musician. Killer friend. Half of team Wilderness Barbies. The Thelma to my Louise. And.. she’s married to a stud. And that’s just what I can ramble off the top of my head!
Let’s start off by letting them in on who you are, and where you are from!
I am TJ Pepper, I am a Master Stylist at Élan hair studio and a Platinum key educator for KEVIN.MURPHY. I also Sing in a special events band called Big City All Star Band, and have two boys, aged 9 and almost 3. I’m born and Raised here in Winnipeg, MB, but love to travel!
With so many talents under your belt…Why hair? How did you decide to go down that road?
I’ve been attracted to this Industry since I was a high school student- Constantly coloring my friend’s hair, and cutting my poor brothers hair. After graduation I tried University for a few years, but after some encouragement from my Hairdresser, I enrolled in Cosmetology and never looked back!
Well, I think we can all agree that you chose the right avenue! I know that the hair on MY head thinks so! Where do you find your inspiration to be so creative? What inspires you? Who inspires you?
Inspiration can come from anywhere, but I definitely find myself spending hours on Instagram looking at all the amazing work out there! Social media has impacted our industry in a major way, and not just from a marketing and advertising angle. We’re now able to see what Hairstylists (and clients!) all over the world are doing. Trends are becoming more global, rather than localized, and more rules are being broken everyday.
I’m also lucky to work for a Fashion driven Brand, KEVIN.MURPHY. Kevin is an extremely Sought after Session Stylist. This means He is either doing editorial hair for Major Fashion Magazines, or designing looks for Fashion Houses to use during their Runway shows. I get to learn from the man who creates trends, rather than follow them. His work and the amazing team of Style Masters that work with him keep me so inspired!
With so many new trends, and styles it must be hard to pick a favorite. But! If I were to make you choose just one…What is your favorite hairstyle to create?
I love to style hair that looks lived in. Real. Giving Clients a cut and color that will actually work with their lifestyle, so they can feel pretty everyday, not just the day they get their hair done!!
I know these are usually locked in the vault.. But just this once, can you let us in on any of the upcoming trends for 2016?!
Short Hair is here to stay- you’re seeing a lot of bobs on Celebrities these Days… and if you are willing, an Undercut is a great way to make that classic look feel modern fresh and edgy
Also i think the ‘swag’ (swingy shag) is going to be a big look this spring and summer. A Choppy fringe with irregular dimensional layers for a collapsed texture. More and more women are embracing their natural wave and, and this is a great way to show it off!
5 secret or at home hair tips!… GO!..
1. Go Sulphate Free! Find a great shampoo and conditioner that contains no sulphates. They will oxidize or ‘rust’ your hair so the color will look faded and dull quickly, and make your hair feel brittle. For the cold Prairie Winters, my personal favourite is KEVIN.MURPHY’s Hydrate.Me wash and rinse.
2. Don’t over wash- There is no need to wash your hair every day.. I try to have my clients wash every 3rd day, (or every second if their hair is very fine). The more we cleanse our scalps, the more oil our body will produce, so we quickly develop a vicious cycle. For those days in between, a little dry shampoo along your hairline and part line will go a long way!
3. Cold water is Key- if you want to try a vibrant red, ashy Grey or a platinum blonde, always wash with cool water. the warmer water will wash more of that Color down the drain.
4. Splurge on a good Blowdryer- Chuck that nasty old Conair and find something Ionic or ceramic. These dryers can break down water molecules so your hair can dry faster, and contain technology that can dry your hair from the inside and outside, cutting down your blow dry time, minimizing damage and leave the hair looking shinier. Any time you are using a brush you should always have a concentrator nozzle on as well!
5. Always use protection! …from heat. Flat Irons are now reaching temperatures of 450 degrees, (hair melts at 500) and UV rays are continuing to get stronger. so it is so important to be using a heat protector EVERY TIME we are going to be exposing our locks to heat especially if you are trying to grow your hair. There is a huge variety of professional options out there, so finding one that fits your regular routine shouldn’t be difficult. Our KM range carries heat protection in everything from a smoothing cream to a spray-in conditioner. We even have a beach-texturizing spray with extra UV protection for your Hot Vacation
Seriously…Is there anything you can’t do?!
Ha! plenty- I’m terrible at Drawing, i”m constantly loosing keys. I suck at water-skiing ( although I keep trying) and an exceptionally bad basketball player, just to name a few. I always wished I could sew…
How do you juggle such a busy life?! Between work, music, kids, hockey practices, and play dates.. And hubby time.. Any tips for staying sane during the crazy times in life?
I quickly learned how to become organized after my second son Tucker was born. I had always struggled with Time management and scheduling before that. But I’m old school.. i have the Giant Mom calendar on the fridge in the Kitchen, and I write EVERYTHING down on there.. My Husband and I sit down about once every two weeks and update it.. I’m a Huge believer in the Tribe. I am so lucky to have a fantastic group of friends and and family to help me raise my kids in a happy, healthy environment. I couldn’t do half of what I do without my mom to. She’s fantastic.
As far as staying sane, I try to balance family time, hubby time and solo time… I find I’m a better parent if I get some time without the kids around once and a while.
Okay, time for some randoms!..One item/person/habit/thing you can not go one single day without/doing.
Gotta be singing… Its a major stress reliever for me too, nothing feels better after a stressful day than cranking the tunes and singing along at the top of your lungs!
How many times do you have to listen to a song you love before you hate it.
Usually half way through the first listen I know. I’m annoyingly opinionated about music.
How many times have you hurt yourself while dancing in the shower?
Only once. since then I discovered Singing in the shower has a much lower injury rate.
How many bottles of wine have you finished without actually pouring any of the wine into a glass?
If we’re counting my early 20s, I’m sure more than I care to admit.. these days if I’m going to be chugging anything out of the bottle, I need the whole next day off- and that’s pretty rare!!
What was the last thing you ate?
I am currently eating a red velvet cupcake from Sweet Impressions… and making a mess of myself while doing it.
Alright, so tell us…What’s next for TJ Pepper?
Spring is usually a busy time for me- The salon is busy, and I’ll do hair at some big trade shows in Western Canada working with KEVIN.MURPHY. I’ve got some great gigs lined up with my band as well! As soon as Hockey season is over, any free time will be spent at the lake. We bought a cabin this fall, and I can’t wait to spend some time up there making memories with my two little Peppers!
You can follow TJ on Instagram! @tjpepperhair
This is one of those easy sauces that you can easily whip up for a weekday dinner, or a Sunday afternoon project that you can do in bulk, and freeze for when you need it later! It’s a Tomato Meat Sauce. It’s easy. It’s simple. And it’s pretty darn good!
Tomato Meat Sauce:
Olive oil or butter to cover bottom of your pan/pot
1 lb Ground meat (beef, elk, bison – if using elk or bison, you can cut it half and half with beef)
Handful or two Mushrooms – diced
1-2 Onions (1 Big guy or 2 littler ones) – Diced
3 Garlic cloves (or more or less depending on your love for garlic!) – Minced
Herbs – thyme|oregano|basil|italian seasoning (Season to your personal preference, I usually add about 1-2TBSP of each)
3 Grilled tomatoes (or roasted if no bbq)
One Large Can of Seasoned Stewed Tomatoes with the juice
One Small can of tomato past
Meat sauce. Enough said.
Toss some oil or butter in your pan, medium to high heat, and add your ground meat. Once it’s pretty much browned up, add your onions, mushrooms, and garlic and let it cook down until translucent. Add in the herbs, grilled tomatoes, and stewed tomatoes. Let simmer on low-medium for about 15 min stirring throughout. Once it starts all coming together, add in your tomato paste until the sauce reaches the thickness you are looking for. Let it simmer on low heat, about an hour, so it can cook through, stirring occassionally.
The longer it simmers the more intense and delicious your flavors will become. I try to let mine simmer for at least an hour, or longer..but of course there have been nights I have just whipped this up and tossed it on just as soon as it was done!