Doodle Therapy

It’s been a while since my last post, but the summer months have provided some time to discover new inspirations for practicing positivity.

While roaming the aisles of Barnes and Noble, I found a coloring book…for grown ups! The pages are filled with intricate designs ranging from floral to abstract. You don’t need fancy tools to feel like an artist…just find some classic crayons, colored pencils, or markers (I personally prefer Crayola markers because of the bold colors). I’ve spent much of my summer coloring during long car rides, late at night with a movie, or in the morning while sipping tea.

After a few pages of coloring within the lines, I decided to make my own designs! The below images are samples of doodles that I created on the blank pages nested within the book.

Owl  Art Elephant Art

 

If you would like to begin your journey in the art of “doodle therapy,” check out Doodle Designs Artist’s Coloring Book or other coloring books at your local bookseller (Barnes and Noble definitely has a large selection).

Coloring is no longer for kids…it’s a great way to relax and explore your creativity without the intimidation of a blank page. Please do comment below if you decide to try it out. : )

A snow-day please, with a cherry on top…

As the weather forecast shows a chance of snow, students and teachers alike hope for a day off from school. We patiently anticipate a text, tweet, or email notification advising to stay home, stay safe, and stay warm.

To cheer up those whose hopes have fallen time and time again this season, here is my latest cookie concoction: Cheery Cherry Vanilla Cookies!

2015-02-23 20.25.17 2015-02-23 20.25.34

Cheery Cherry Vanilla Cookies

Ingredients

½ cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

a pinch of salt

½ cup chopped maraschino cherries

1 ½ tablespoons maraschino cherry juice

OPTIONAL: coconut flakes

 

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream thawed butter with sugar

Beat in egg and vanilla extract

In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt

Add flour mixture to creamed mixture

Mix in maraschino cherries and juice

Refrigerate or bake right away for 10-12 minutes

Top with a sprinkle of coconut to taste and serve with vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup

 

While the sweet news of no school may be up in the air, these cookies are certain to be the “cherry on top” of your sundae.

 

Cardamom Sugar Cookies

While I enjoyed President’s Day off, my mom had to attend meetings all day. It’s hard to maintain positivity on a Monday, especially when the forecast is cold and gloomy. So, I decided to surprise her with something sweet…

But, what to bake? Pinterest to the rescue!

The following picture pinned from Country Living provided the perfect inspiration.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 7.41.25 AM

As mentioned in a previous post my parents love chai tea and always pair their daily cup with various crackers/cookies/biscuits. A tea bag-shaped cookie seemed quite appropriate for afternoon tea on a rainy day.

Using a basic sugar cookie recipe as the base, I added a few twists to create a treat that’s great for dipping in a hot beverage or enjoying alone.

IMG_4008 FullSizeRender (2)

Cardamom Sugar Cookies 

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Flour for rolling

Method 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Cream butter and sugar (thaw butter to allow smoother creaming)
  • Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla
  • Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a separate bowl
  • Gradually mix flour mixture into creamed mixture
  • Add ground cardamom and mix well
  • Roll dough on a floured board
  • Use a knife to slice dough into rectangles, and cut two adjacent corners to create the tea bag shape
  • Use a toothpick two create a small hole for inserting your tea string
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes
  • After cookies cool, thread a string through the hole you created and add a tag to complete the tea bag-inspired look (I ended up using the string from actual tea bags)
  • OPTIONAL: Dip your cookies in melted semi-sweet or dark chocolate, add colored sprinkles, and place in fridge to cool

 

Media with Meaning

I know it has been a while since the Super Bowl. However, I think many of this year’s Super Bowl commercials provided a breather from media negativity and shared a more lighthearted, encouraging perspective on life…

Super Bowl XLIX became the most watched event in American TV history with an average of 114.4 million viewers per minute. The much-anticipated commercials did not fail to please either. While ads are generally criticized for pursuing customers through pointless drama, this year’s compilation of Super Bowl commercials seemed to lean toward inspiration rather than innuendo. Here are a few I felt conveyed positive, meaningful messages…

  1. Coca-Cola: #MakeItHappy
    Coca-Cola’s spot comments on the negativity streaming through social media. When a bottle of Coke spills on the internet wires, all of the hatefulness turns to love. The ad promotes the use of technology, and Coke of course, to spread happiness.
  2. Jeep: “Beautiful Lands” 
    Advertising the Jeep Renegade, Jeep takes a new spin on Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” depicting landmarks from the Grand Canyon to the Great Wall of China. Extending the meaning of a patriotic song to lands and people around the world led to media controversy. Personally, I think the commercial does a nice job of evoking a sense of oneness through Earth’s beauty.
  3. Toyota: “How Great I Am” 
    Toyota promotes its “Bold New Camry” through the triumphs of paralympic athlete, Amy Purdy. With Muhammad Ali’s passionate “How Great I Am” speech playing in the background, Purdy snowboards and dances on prosthetic legs. The ad depicts Purdy falling and getting back up again to Ali’s famous lines, “I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.” Alluding to Purdy’s bronze medal win in Sochi and successful “Dancing with the Stars” run, the ad advocates the results of bold choices and determination.
  4. McDonald’s: “Pay With Lovin” 
    While it has received a bad rap from health critics, McDonald’s spreads the concept of “random acts of kindness” through its commercial. Through February 14, the fast-food chain will randomly accept “lovin’” rather than actual payment for your order–telling your mom you love her, giving your family a hug, or dancing on the spot are a few examples shown in the ad. Even if McDonald’s is not your restaurant of choice, the ad definitely reminds us that love is the most powerful  form of payment.
  5. Dove Men Care: “Real Strength” 
    The words “dad” and “daddy” resonate throughout the spot, emanating the loving relationship between fathers and their children. The ad shows a softer side to the manly image of a father, challenging the gender stereotype that men don’t care about things like shampoo. Dove suggests that men show real strength by caring.
  6. Always: #LikeAGirl 
    The video begins with teenage girls and guys enacting what it means to “run like a girl.” The teens display what would be considered a “girly” jog, flailing their hands and worrying about their hair. However, when little girls are asked the same question, one boldly answers, “it means to run as fast as you can.” After studies showed the significant decrease of girls’ confidence during puberty, Always first aired the ad in 2014. The Super Bowl spot widened the commercial’s audience, encouraging millions of viewers to change their perspective on the phrase “like a girl.”
  7. Budweiser “Lost Dog”  Of course, I couldn’t leave out the #BestBuds sequel…beautiful Clydesdales befriending an adorable Golden Retriever puppy is the epitome of love, bliss, and loyalty.

 

TV is a national pastime. If we fuel what we watch with meaningful messages, we may be in store for a more optimistic future.

Works Referenced:

http://www.ibtimes.com/super-bowl-ratings-how-many-people-watched-new-england-patriots-seattle-seahawks-game-1803116

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/02/01/usa-today-ad-meter-2015-super-bowl-money/22378605/