Spoiler Alert! *this post contains a lot of spoilers*
What better show to watch during quarantine, than a show all about making connections while being stuck in an apartment by yourself? Here's my top five surprising things that I learned while watching the first season of The Circle.
1. Humans are not as shallow as you think. Several cast members went on the show thinking that the way to win was to be the most attractive. While it didn't exactly hurt to have a good profile picture, there were several surprises with this theory. For example, the first person to get kicked out was a model, and when Sean revealed her true self, the other players seemed to connect her even more. Even Mercedes, aka Karyn, got mad love from Chris when he finally met the real player behind the screen. After all, it was her personality that made them click in the first place.
2. Be Yourself - Real relationships can only be made if you're really being yourself in them. Shubham aka "Shooby" set out to prove this, and I think he achieved it especially well. In a lot of ways the "catfish" prevented themselves from making closer relationships by pretending to be someone they weren't. People can feel when you have a wall up or are being ingenuine - even from behind a screen.
3. Loyalty = friendship/time. Those newbies didn't even stand a chance against the original players from round 1. Bonds are formed over time and that's just human nature. Are you new to an area or maybe just started a new job? Keep this in mind and give it time to break into a new group of friends. I always say it takes two years in a new city to make your closest friends. Four cities and I finally have proof that the enemy is time...or lack thereof.
4. It is possible to cultivate and grow relationships without meeting face to face. This is possibly the best takeaway for all of us stuck at home right now. Rumor has it - Shooby and Joey are still bff's. How satisfying was that finale where they all got to meet?
5. The key to building relationships is...reaching out. The next time your contemplating reaching out to that old friend or that new co-worker you think would be fun to hang out with... do it! The finalists in this show all had one thing in common, they reached out to each other. The common theme among those voted off? Other players felt they hadn't had a chance to "connect" yet.
Well, it's official, we're in lockdown here in KC, and if you're anything like us, you are officially going stir crazy. Kids are home for a month, people are working from home or out of work, and hospital staffs are working round the clock, some without proper supplies. It's a stressful time for everyone, so we thought we'd write about the upside to being locked in for 30 days. Here are 10 ways to take advantage of this time.
1. Workout - yes, gyms are closed but there are plenty of ways to workout from home. Try streaming workout videos or dust off that bow-flex you bought and never used. Staying active is a great way to stay sane, and taking care of your body helps you take care of your mind. Don't forget that you can still get outside to take walks and go on runs - just keep a safe distance from passing neighbors.
2. Cook - How often have you told yourself that you wished you had time to cook a healthy meal? Use this time to whip up something nutritious for your family and spend the time around the dinner table discussing topics with the tv off. Apps like Plan to Eat help you plan meals ahead of time and create an efficient grocery list for you so you can get in and out of Hy-Vee in no time. After all, the less trips you have to make out of your home, the better.
3. Meditate - practicing mindfulness during times of stress can be beneficial to the whole family. You can find guided meditations on podcasts like "Guided Meditations" by the Yoga Bunny. My personal favorite is to light a candle as a focal point. Find more tips on staying mentally healthy from my BFF Alyna Huennekens at Total Transformations Life Coaching.
4. Connect with friends face to face - on video! Are you an extrovert locked inside? Plan a group video chat through facebook or zoom. You can even watch Netflix together with Netflix's new platform: NetflixParty. Anyone else watching Self Made right now? It's UH-MAZING!
5. Learn a Foreign Language - I always say this - "I'm going to relearn Spanish"... and now I have time. A few minutes a day on the Duolingo App can help you get there. You can even compete with friends for the most points. Morgan Hall is currently kicking my butt from Australia.
6. Clean - deep clean away those germs, and spring clean! Sort out old clothes and items to donate later, and throw away those useless jeans with a hole in the crotch - you're never going to wear them again. As for those clothes that you wear on repeat? Now is a good time to put on some yoga pants and wash everything - on sanitize.
7. Get Creative - All those projects you've been wanting to finish? Now is the time. Paint a wall, color with the kids, write a song... whatever fills your cup. Do you sew? Fill your philanthropic and creative cup by making masks for your local hospital. I found this page particularly helpful for the sewing process.
8. Youtube University - My dad once told me that if he was a millionaire, he would want to spend his time learning new things. You can literally learn ANYTHING on the internet. Don't ask me - ask my dad who recently learned how to improvise scales on the guitar by watching youtube videos. Video proof below.
9. Enjoy - Enjoy time with your family. Enjoy spending time alone. Enjoy taking a break. Play games, spend time together, and connect in a way that our busy work-obsessed lives don't always allow. And take care of yourself. Read a book, do a face mask, treat yourself to a beauty treatment. Do something that you don't normally take time for.
10. Write - We all have a lot on our minds. Whether it's on a blog or in a journal, allow yourself time for self reflection and put it into words. Working through your fears, your work, and your gratitude can help keep things in perspective.
Whatever you are doing right now to contribute to society, from bettering yourself at home or bettering others in the hospital - Thank You. We are all in this together.
The Art of the Snow Day
5 Things To Do When You're Snowed In
It's a cold day - at this moment there are about four inches of snow piled on top of my deck railing. It's Sunday, and although I work almost every weekend, snow days always seem to mean free days. It's such a sweet and rare day with nothing to do and nowhere to go, and I don't ever want to waste these precious moments of stillness. The world quiets down and we get to choose how to spend our day rather than be pushed around by our ever evolving schedule. Here are just a few ideas to enjoy the day.
1. Have a slow breakfast
It's not often that we have time to sleep in and enjoy the mornings. Snow days are perfect for rolling out of bed at 9am (or later!) and cooking breakfast with the family. At our house, we love a cheesy omelet and a large french press of coffee. Breakfast is always best served with music and good conversation.
2. Disney +
If you have kids, this is a life saver. Keep the family nice and toasty while watching Frozen or any of your favorite family friendly movies while the snow falls outside. There's nothing like snuggles on a cold winter day
3. Play in the Snow!
There's nothing more magical to a kid than making a snowman or having a snowball fight. And don't even get me started on flying full speed down a hill on an innertube... (ok it's me, I'm the kid who can't get enough snow) Even though Bryce can't walk yet, we spent just a few minutes getting familiar with the snow. He immediately went to grab the snow with a big smile on his face. Wide-eyed, he stuck his tongue out to catch the snowflakes. It was pretty cute to watch.
*No kids? Snow ball fights aren't just for children and you can make it interesting by adding a little Baileys to your morning coffee. Your childlike wonder will be back in no time.
4. Build a Fire
This one is especially gratifying after playing in the snow. There's nothing like coming inside, covered in snow, peeling out of your snow gear, and cuddling up to a real fire. we keep firewood in our garage for just this occasion.
5. Make Something Yummy
Whether it's sugar cookies with the kids or spiked hot chocolate with the hubs, the kitchen is a warm cozy place to spend your time on a snowy day. Try this EASY recipe for a rich, spiked hot chocolate:
The Art of Being a New Wife
Happy Anniversary to my husband of 4 years, Josh Burke! Here's a flashback to what it was like being newlyweds, working over 40 hours a week with a 2 hour commute, and sharing a bank account for the first time.
Originally published on 1/13/2015 by Kristi Burke
Being a Wife comes with unique responsibilities and opportunities. Here are a few things I've learned in my 5 months of marriage.
1. You will both continue to work 40+ hours a week or more
... Because you both "NEED" to live on the Westside close to the beach
... Because YOLO
... Because the wedding was expensive
2. You will spend your day off... Cleaning
... Because your new hubby is dirtier than a freshman frat boy
... Because you are convinced to have a "big girl" apartment.
... Because you're less of a "Martha Stewart" type and more of a "I should hire someone to do this, right?" but you can't afford a cleaning service yet
Wife Rule #1: Finders Keepers - Any money found cleaning and/or doing laundry is now yours $$$$
3. You will need to negotiate how you spend that joint account of yours
Him: "Acting classes are too expensive. You don't even want to be an actress."
Me: " If I don't do something different, I will live and die working at the MALL!"
Him: "Now you are just being dramatic"
Me: "See I could be an actress!"
4. You will stare at your wedding photos and have a giant mug of Irish Coffee
.... Because you married the sweetest man in the world
....Because you honeymooned in Ireland where you spiked your coffee every morning
.... Because you are done making payments to the photographer
Because the Joy of Cooking is a big, complicated myth
Go Ahead and Tie on that Apron from Anthropology that you registered for and snap a pic because the best part of cooking is... duh... the Instagram!
Step 1: Thaw out some wild-caught salmon
...Because your friend, who is a chef, says that "farm-raised" means they swim around in their own poo
...Because you saw a news segment on how ALL fish is frozen at some point before it gets to you, so there is no point in spending more for it to be de-frosted
....Because you believe anything anyone tells you
Step 2: Put a couple of potatoes in the microwave for 12 minutes
...Because those suckers take, like, an hour in the oven
...And who cooks for an hour?
....Because it's the microwave or fast food, pick your poison
Step 3: Put the salmon skin down on a frying pan (medium heat) and sprinkle it with whatever spices you have in your pantry
...Because I'm not Rachel Ray and spices are expensive.
....Why does every recipe call for some rare dried out herb?
...like what actually happens if I skip a few ingredients anyway?
Step 4: Finish your first glass of wine and then put on some Jazz... and almost immediately change it to Top 40
...Because you are not as sophisticated as your Aunt Julia
...Because you are a disgrace of a musician
...Because that's what the "private listening"on Spotify is for
...Because "you're too sexy beautiful, and everybody wants a taste, that's why..." #NickJonas
Step 5: Put those potatoes in the oven for 5 minutes and snap a photo for Instagram: "Baked Potatoes and Salmon tonight, I totally rock at cooking!"
...Because what people don't know can't hurt them
...unless scientists are right about the whole "cancer caused by microwaves" thing, in which case, I am a murderer
Step 6: Remove salmon from the frying pan and place it in a baking dish. Bake at 350 for 5 more minutes.
...Because food borne illnesses can really kill a dinner party, and you already gave everyone microwave cancer
...Because you had to pre-heat the oven for the potato photoshoot anyway
Step 7: Drink more wine and Instagram Away!!
...Because even your grandma has Instagram now, and she would be proud
...Because wine makes you a better host
...Because if you don't post it, did it even happen?
Originally released 1/14/2015 by Kristi Burke
The Art of Finding Inspiration
Hey, all stories need a problem...
1. Start by making sure that every day leading to this day are as long and unproductive as possible
...because you are the worst person in the world when you're tired (seriously, you shouldn't drive or talk to other people as it's likely to get ugly)
...because nothing will put more pressure on your day off then a leftover plate of duties from the rest of the week
...because your husband bought all of the Star Wars movies so finishing them has been a priority
2. Make a list of the things that need to be accomplished in this one single day and make it as impossible and unrealistic as you can
...because your last day off was super lazy and you feel guilty
...you even wrote a blog about it
...because you're an auto-masochist
3. Start with the hardest stuff on the list
...because that will make checking things off the list seem slower and more daunting
... Start checking things off like "clean the entire house" before you let yourself "write a list of 10 funny things for a blog"
....make sure to run a mile or two before starting anything
4. Make sure the only thing you "needed" to do is at the bottom of the list
...Because you don't know how to prioritize
...Because "watching new girl" can count as writing research
...Because, who needs clean underwear anyway?
5. Add some things to the list that have no relevance or importance and make them your obsession for the day.
... "buy desert plants for the balcony"
... "research how dishwashers work"
... And my personal favorite, "spray tan" for absolutely no occasion at all
6. While driving back from your spray tan, make sure you run over the curb good enough to get a flat tire
...Because you're easily distracted
...wait what was I going to say?
...Because you're not supposed to drive when your tired! I already told you that!
...Because your husband has somewhere to be tonight, and you think it'd be funny if he's late
7. Call your husband and ask him to join you in your misery
...Because you aren't actually sure how AAA works... in fact you aren't actually sure if you have AAA
...Because some older man saw you hit that curb so you drove away on your flat embarrassed & now you're parked somewhere weird and awkward
...Because if you could change your own tire, you probably wouldn't be the type of person who hits the curb in the first place
8. Walk to the grocery store while your husband waits for AAA
...Because neither of you know how to remove your new custom rims
...Because he didn't eat all day and that's going to be bad for both of you
...Because you can't handle another repair guy asking you "how the hell did you do that?!"
9. Make sure what you buy for your husband from the store has rye bread
...Because he likes all kinds of sandwiches
...Ham, Turkey, Cheese, White bread, Wheat bread, Italian, Meatball...
... just not rye bread sandwiches
10. Drive him to kickball
...Because the AAA man turned out to be a saint
...Because you could have probably could have dealt with this by yourself
...and finally because you have 10 things to write about now
Warning: One tire was destroyed in the making of this blog. The curb sustained no injuries. All humans are safe, except one human may be very hungry at a kickball game right now. All other players should heed caution when trash talking this hungry human as he is likely a ticking human time bomb.
This original article was first published on 5/11/2015 by Kristi Burke
Kristi is a wife, mom-to-be, writer and real estate agent living in Kansas City.