The Next Chapter

Onto the Next Chapter

I’m back! I took a few days off from blogging to accompany my husband to Houston. He had another job interview there. We are praying we get it! It’s funny. Six months ago, I would have never entertained the idea of moving, but with so few job options here in San Antonio for an oil & gas based engineer, you have to go with the jobs are.

It’s strange. Our job was so secure. It’s a big lesson in how nothing is truly secure and the rug can be pulled out from under you at any minute. If anything this whole lesson has made me thankful. It’s hard to believe we will be losing a job, but in 14 weeks we become officially jobless. It’s scary. Especially when you have two babies and a sizable mortgage.

the next chapterLast month, we interviewed for another position. It was an amazing opportunity and it seemed like everything was falling into place. The interview seemed to go well. I mean, we were so confident, we didn’t even consider not getting the job. That’s how assured we felt. Well…we didn’t get the job and we’ve been trying to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps. It’s not as easy as I thought.

Ultimately, I gave it to God. I don’t know why it didn’t work out. I don’t understand what He’s doing with our future. But I do know that He is a good God and He has better plans for us than we could ever imagine. So, I’m giving God the ashes – the broken pieces, the remains. I believe that He will restore us and bring us out of this pit.

Time Away

Since my husband was interviewing for another job in Houston, we decided to turn it into a short family vacation. It was just a few days, but I think we needed some together time. It helps to step away from the worry and stress, even if it’s just for a weekend.

But this weekend marks a very special anniversary. You see, seven years ago, my husband and I started our whirlwind romance. I went down to seem him in Houston and we had a lovely date that basically lasted all weekend. We went to Moody Gardens, Kemah Boardwalk, and The Houston Museum of Natural History. Before we had kids, we would go back and relive our first date. As kids came, that became much harder. It was definitely different with kids in tow! For example, you can only really do one thing a day.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science

The Houston Museum of Natural History is one of our favorite museums. It has an IMAX theater, planetarium and collection of mollusks. Some of it’s permanent exhibits are amazing. There is a huge Hall of Paleontology featuring the evolution of early man and of course…dinosaurs! This is a must-see stop for any child. HMNS has a working Foucault pendulum that is over 60 feet long.

On the first floor, there is also a stunning collection of over 750 gems and minerals.  Let me tell you a secret – when Dan and I were there on our first date, we suddenly found ourselves alone in the Gem vault. There was only us and Cole Porter singing Night and Day. It would eventually become “our song.” The lyrics are even inscribed on my engagement ring. But that moment was our first dance and it was the first moment when I knew I’d found my husband. Magic doesn’t even come close to describing the moment.

dinosaur houston museum of natural science

The Hall of Ancient Egypt is amazing and of course, it’s complete with mummies, cartouches, and sarcophaguses (or is it sarcophagi?) On the lower level is a Chemistry Hall dedicated to the periodic table of elements and related subjects. There is also an Energy Hall. Houston is the perfect place to showcase how oil is sourced and how it is refined into many other products. In fact, there is one section dedicated solely to the Eagle Ford Shale asset which is where my husband currently works as an engineering manager.

Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens is a little gem in Galveston. Galveston is a coastal city about 45 minutes south of Houston. Moody Gardens is an educational tourist destination. It has a golf course, hotel and there is Schlitterbahn water park located on the premises. There is also nature conservatories including an aquarium and rainforest pyramid. They also have a 4D theater. The discovery pyramid has an amusement ride. There are also zip lines for the adventurer.

 

moody gardens

 

dan    Mary

Jack was so excited to see the penguins at the aquarium. He kept calling them Peso. Thanks Octonauts!

 

 Around the Bay

In between we spent the remainder of our time around the bay area (Kemah, Clear Lake, Friendswood, and League City). I swear, we ate too much rich food. We ate so much that I was ready for a salad when we got home. I just wanted veggies! Cheesecake Factory, Yardhouse. So much has changed around Baybrook Mall. This was Dan’s old neighborhood. It’s changed so much in seven years.

Alas, we made it home in time for Easter Sunday, but we were so exhausted. Traveling with two kids under the age of three isn’t for wimps!

 

yardhouse

 

dan and tristan

Onto the next chapter…

10 Things You Dont Know About Me

I’ve shared some deeply personal things on My Beautiful Mess. I’ve opened up about my bipolar illness, postpartum depression, even our journey with my son’s clubfoot. However, I thought it would be great for my readers to learn more about me. People that know me well, probably know these facts already. But for those who don’t, I’m going to share 10 things you don’t know about me.

1. I Was On TV

About a decade ago, I was working part time as an actress and model. I did some local theater and some low budget movies from local filmmakers. However, for a few years I worked as a specialty extra for NBC’s Friday Night Lights. If you squint really hard, you might see an out of focus side line reporter at one of the overnight football games – that was me. I was also an extra in NBA player Tony Parker’s music video Balance Toi. I did some commercials and some local modeling. It sounds glamorous, but it isn’t. It’s lots of standing around and repetition. It was fun though. I met some great people and made some extra cash.

Mary Lentz

2. I Was Married Before

This is harder to write about than I thought. I was married briefly in my early 20’s. I had met him in England and lived abroad for a number of years. We married on my 20th birthday (forever changing how I feel about my birthday). Looking back, I feel fairly certain he never really loved me. The relationship felt very one-sided. Ultimately, the marriage ended when he had an affair with another married woman. It was incredibly painful and it took me nearly a decade to recover from the rejection and hurt. Today, I’m married to a man so good, it feels like a fairytale. At the time, I felt like my life had ended. If only I knew the amazing man that was waiting for me ten years later.

3. I’m an Accomplished Artist

When I was living in Europe, I was a artist-in-residence. I worked as a full-time artist, curated works within the gallery and experimented in many different mediums. I had previously shown my work at galleries. In fact, at the age of 13, a figurative cubist piece I did was prominently displayed in an Indiana library. My favorite genres are cubism (both figurative and abstract), expressionism, and colorist work. I prefer working in oils or mixed media. But I’ve worked in just about every medium except for marble. These days, I sell things here on the blog and on my Etsy shop. It’s a great way to get out my artistic yearning. Your purchases help support the costs incurred with running this blog, so thank you!

4. I’ve Written For Years

Gee, where do I start? The first time I was published I was about 12 or 13. My poetry was published in a national chapbook of poetry. Over my teenage years, I wrote for lots of small media outlets and small press publications. In my twenties, I continued to write as a freelance writer and I was also the editor-in-chief of my own magazine, SWAG (Southwest Actors Guild). I started this blog when I first got married, but never really took it seriously. I can’t tell you how much I regret that decision. When I think of where I could be today if I had just kept going, I could slap myself. Take a lesson from my life – don’t wait for tomorrow.

5. I’m a Perfectionist

Hi, I’m Mary and I’m a perfectionist! It’s true. I have a deeply rooted problem with perfectionism. Perfectionism is a sign that you are out of control on this inside, so therefore you have the need to control external circumstances. However, perfectionism and control are just an illusion. The truth is, no one is ever in control. I have a bad habit of getting my self worth from accomplishments. As a second child, I always felt overshadowed by my older brother. In fact, as a child, I only remember receiving positive attention when I had accomplished something good. I became addicted to praise. I needed it in order to feel loved. The bad part is that we can start applying perfectionism to other people. I’m working on my perfectionism. I’ve not arrived, but I’m a work in progress.

6. I Love Horror

It’s true. Now, this isn’t to be confused with a love of the occult. I’m opposed to that. However, I do love a good horror movie for fun, in particular ghosts and supernatural stuff. But I also love some good zombie flicks. I know, I’m weird. But I get weirder. I also love true crime. I love to watch Investigation Discovery channel. You can keep your CSI shows! I love watching true crime shows. Everyone knows about my love for Joe Kenda! My husband affectionately calls it “Murder Porn” because most of the shows are about murder and it’s so addictive to watch. I know, it’s terrible. Don’t care.

7. I’m Obsessed With Happy Planner

I don’t care how ridiculous it sounds, but I have an obsession with Happy Planner ®. If you haven’t heard about how much I love it, you need to read the post, How Happy Planner Changed My Life. You might say I’m addicted. I’m embarrassed to say this isn’t even my whole stash. I use one to run this blog, one for fitness / wellness. I have one I use as my regular daily planner and teacher planner for my homeschooling. I don’t always have time for artwork, so being able to decorate my planners, really helps get out my desire to be artistic.

Happy Planner

8. I Once Lost 183 Pounds

Early in my 20’s I was over 300 pounds. After my first husband left me, I was determined to get the weight off. I did Weight Watchers and it took me 18 months to get from 325 to 140 lbs. I kept it off for eight years without gaining. But I started to regain weight after 2014. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve regained a lot of the weight back. In fact, I feel a lot of judgement from people because of it. I’m utterly disappointed in myself and for the last few years I have felt completely defeated by it. But since I did it once, I remind myself I can do it again.

9. I Was Born With My Hip Dislocated

As strange as that sounds, it it’s true. When I was born my hip was out of the socket. So for the first year of my life I wore a harness. My parents jokingly called it my “parachute” because that is what it looked like. It was a fabric brace that held up my leg into the socket and was leveraged by shoulder straps, hence the parachute look. It didn’t stop me from walking or crawling. I was walking by the age of one. But the really odd thing is that it is hereditary. My dad was also born with his hip dislocated! True story.

10. I Was An Insurance Professional

I worked for 15 years in the insurance industry. I held a variety of jobs within the same insurance company. However, I worked the longest as a property adjuster. Obviously, people close to me know this. But I handled large property claims like fire and water damage. It was a very demanding job. It had long hours, coupled almost impossible deadlines. Additionally, the job was naturally combative and argumentative. Hurting people lash out and hate insurance companies. The job was so stressful at one point, I had a full-on nervous breakdown. They called me the human dumpster because I would fix the awful claims that had gone sideways. I was planning to quit after giving birth. But a manager insisted I work a fire while I was pregnant, so I ended up quitting before I expected. Let me tell you, I don’t miss that job one bit.

Your Story

Someone once told me, “your life sounds so exciting, it makes mine feel boring.” I was never sure how to answer something like that. First, it’s a compliment wrapped in an insult. I don’t see my life as exciting. I’ve just decided to try passions of mine and see if it leads to something.

Let’s be clear. No one’s life is boring. Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes you are up and other days you are down and out. The truth is my life has been filled with depression, suicide attempts and hardship. Everyone’s life is a unique story and one that deserves to be told.

Never compare your life to someone else’s. We’re all on our own path, trying to do our best and figure out life. Jealousy is hatred and love at the same time. Don’t worry about people who aren’t happy with you. They likely aren’t happy with themselves either. Go out and be the person you were made to be!

In the comments below, I’d love to hear an interesting fact about your life.


How to Choose Job Interview Accessories

Please give a warm welcome to guest blogger Julia Alex Markle. In this post, she shares how to choose job interview accessories. If you’re a working mama or a stay-at-home mom reentering the workforce, I know these tips will help you! Please follow Julia on Twitter and on her website.

How to choose job interview accessories

Stats say that 65% of hiring managers choose the better dressed one between two competitive candidates. So, you know that your dress can make or break an opportunity for you. But how to decide which factors you should consider when dressing for a job interview? Tiffany Yannetta, who is the shopping director at Racked, says you should appear professional, fresh, and be comfortable.

Professional outfits

“You want to look professional,” she says and points out how, for women, it can be a little more challenging to decide what to wear. You should look serious about the interview and it should be clear that you have put an effort to dress too. Since your appearance will speak for you before your mouth does, be sure to make no mistakes here.

Since your appearance will speak for you before your mouth does, be sure to make no mistakes here.

How to ace a job interview

Job interviews can be overwhelmingly intimidating. You may find yourself overly anxious right before the interview and a wee bit too conscious during the interview. However, don’t let the nervousness trickling down your back make a home in your mind. The Muse recommends telling yourself you are excited rather than forcefully calming yourself.

The website also suggests you surround yourself with positivity and stop being overly self-critical. Apart from doing a good amount of research and prepping yourself up for the questions, put forward your most confident self in the battleground. Be there on time, be polite, and be smart. Maintain eye contact and ask your questions too. Oh and of course, don’t forget to dress the part.

Here’s how you can get ready for the job interview

What you wear depends on where you’re going. This is why it is essential to know about the dress code and environment of an office beforehand. A marketing company may require you to keep your look crisp and clean while a software house may not mind a laidback style. It all depends on whether the environment is business casual, business formal, worker or casual. Some tips that apply regardless of which environment the office has:

Candidates
  •  Less is more
  • Avoid being too loud with your outfit choices
  • Don’t expose too much skin

Typically, most offices require you to stick to formal style. So, let’s cut to the chase and discuss the main points of what you should wear for a job interview keeping that in mind.

1 – Dress

When it comes to what outfit you should wear to the interview, be sure you choose colors that are not too bold or popping. As per a survey, the best colors to wear to a job interview are blue and black. Orange, yellow, red, shocking pink and other similar hues are best avoided. You can also pick white and camel color. If the dress code is formal, go for a pencil skirt with a button-down tee.  Wearing slacks with a plain fitted shirt and a blazer on top is another good option.

Dress

2 – Handbag

The first rule that you should follow with the handbag that you can carry when headed to a job interview is that the bag should fit all your essentials. Don’t take a bag that is too sparkly or small. Avoid trendy handbags and stick to satchels and totes. Go for colors like nude, beige, brown, grey and black. Pastel hues such as powder blue and baby pink may also work depending on what you are wearing. Avoid clutches and cross body bags.

Handbag

3 – Shoes

Coming to what shoes you should wear, go for close-toed sandals that do not have very high heels. Never wear flip-flops for an interview and avoid platform shoes or very high heels too. In this regard, kitten heels are an appropriate choice. Slip-in pumps will also work well. Go for neutral colors, again nothing too flashy. Avoid shoes with straps or laces and give slip-on heels a preference. Make sure there is not even a slight trace of a design in the form of embroidery, a bow, etc. on your sandals.

Shoes

4 – Fragrance

Several people find themselves torn between whether or not they should wear perfume to a job interview. The answer is pretty simple – do not spray on a strong fragrance that annoys the other person. In some cases, there are policies that offices have stating that people should not wear fragrances. Be careful about that beforehand since several people are allergic to certain scents. Either don’t wear a fragrance but if you decide to wear one, go for a subtle scent.

Perfume

5 – Jewelry

Have you ever seen an employee wearing too much jewelry? We bet no. Therefore, don’t wear too many rings or bracelets. Just your wedding band and a watch will do. Keep in mind simple is sophisticated. Don’t wear dangling earrings or any ostentatious neck pieces, etc. Just wear small studs in your ears. Also, make sure the little jewelry you wear appears to be of high quality. Cheap jewels never leave a good impact. Lastly, don’t expose your tattoos.

Interview accessories

Things not to wear to a job interview

Wearing the wrong things is even worse than not wearing the right things. This is why it is essential to plan and prepare beforehand. To clarify matters more, let’s also jump into what you shouldn’t at all wear to a job interview:

  • Don’t wear something that makes you stand out but also doesn’t look boring
  • Strictly refrain from glittery or sparkly accessories
  •  Don’t wear clothes that you are uncomfortable in
  • Don’t wear clothes that not neat or smell of sweat or strong detergent
  • Don’t wear shorts or low-cut necklines
  •  Don’t wear low-rise pants. Your underwear must not be visible

Key takeaway

When headed for a job interview, appear serious and look professional. Don’t over-expose, keep it simple, wearing nothing too loud, and go for safe, solid and neutral colors. Appear classy but not so much so that you look over-confident. Be sure to be confident, though. Above all, know what the environment of the company is and if it has any set dress code in place. 

Author Bio: Julia is a self-motivated, having team player qualities with excellent communication and marketing skills and is self-employed from the past few years. Having vast experience in the field of marketing & Blogging.

The post, How To Choose Job Interview Accessories, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.


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White Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Warm white chocolate raspberry muffins are the perfect addition to your breakfast repertoire.

white chocolate raspberry muffins

Welcome! Today we are cooking up something yummy for breakfast. I’ve been making these amazing white chocolate and raspberry muffins for a few years and it all started with a kitchen throw down!

If you are unfamiliar with a throw down it’s where you use ingredients on hand to make something amazing. Part luck and part intuition, some recipes are fails while others are total wins. Well, I had a basic muffin recipe I’ve used over the years to make blueberry and chocolate chip muffins. Well, I had neither on hand, but I did have fresh raspberries and some left over white chocolate. Boy was this a happy accident. It has become one of our favorites!

Making White Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

I learned the secret to perfect to great muffins from a professional baker. He said that to keep muffins soft and fluffy you should avoid over-mixing. Mix just enough to the combine ingredients. Always either grease the pan or use a muffin paper liner. Otherwise your muffin will be impossible to remove. Additionally, you always want to aim for filling your muffin tin about ¾ of the way full. This makes sure to give you those beautiful golden-brown domed tops we all love. Lastly, when you remove them from the oven, you’ll also want to remove them from the pan. Letting them cool in the hot tin and cause them to dry out.

You can check muffins for doneness in several ways. First, muffin tops should be a rounded peak and golden brown in color. When touched the warm bread should spring back. Lastly, when you insert a toothpick directly in the center it should be clean and batter free when removed.

Muffins can be stored in a covered container at room temperature for about 3 days. You can also freeze your muffins for storage up to 3 months. Just make sure you wrap them well with heavy duty tin foil and then place in air tight freezer bags. Taking the extra step of wrapping tin foil will help prevent freezer burn.

Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins

Raspberries and white chocolate are the two delicious main ingredients in these simple scratch muffin recipe.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12

Equipment

  • muffin tin
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Lrg Egg
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • ¾ Cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 5 Tbsp Butter Softened
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Raspberries

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • In a stand mixer, add egg and beat slightly
  • Add vanilla, softened butter, sugar, and cream on low until combined
  • Add milk
  • Slowly add flour and baking powder a little at a time. Mix only enough to combine ingredients.
  • Take bowl off mixer and add raspberries and white chocolate. Gently fold into batter
  • Spoon mixture into greased muffin tin or paper liners in tin.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until tops are fully risen and golden brown.
  • Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center. Toothpick should come out clean.
Keyword breakfast, easy breakfast, easy desserts, easy recipe, fruit muffin, muffin, muffin recipe, pastry, raspberry, white chocolate
white chocolate raspberry muffins