Redefining Productive.

Pro·duc·tive

Achieving or producing a significant amount or result

God, I hate this word. I have had several therapy sessions, pages of journals filled, and many tears shed over my hatred of this word. 

Don’t get me wrong, there’s no feeling quite like a productive afternoon of running errands, cleaning your room, putting fresh sheets on your bed, folding some clothes, topped with lighting a candle to relax for the evening. 

That is one of the best feelings in the world. It’s a basic girls ‘productive’ ritual – the lighting of a candle after cleaning a room is almost Holy. 

Side note, in this ritual ‘running errands’ equates to buying things we don’t need at Home Goods, digging through the dollar section at Target, and sniffing dozens of candles until we find the perfect one to commence the final part of our ceremony. 

Don’t laugh at me. I KNOW YOU KNOW.

If you don’t, you’re probably a man in denial about what your wife is doing when she says she needs to run errands and that might be for the best. 

A lot of people would consider the room cleaning, candle lighting ritual a productive afternoon. 

For me, when I get to the whole candlelight, relaxing part of the basic girl ritual I sit down, look around and instantly come up with 50 other things I should be doing. 

Now, if you’re a woman or a mom – you probably also feel this. It’s in our nature, we are productive beings that go, go, go, go, go. Maybe I’m normal, I don’t know. But it doesn’t FEEL normal. 

Or at least the reaction I get to this doesn’t feel normal. 

Like right now; I just baked cupcakes for my nephew’s birthday, cleaned my kitchen, took my garbage out, washed and folded two loads of laundry (or will by the end of the night), cleaned my living room, cleaned my bathroom, tidied up my bedroom, and worked out. 

AND I worked 9 hours today. 

The basic girl ritual has been fulfilled, the candle lighting part of the ceremony has begun and the relaxation is well deserved. 

I sat down with a beer in my hand and cute little kitties curled next to me. 

Then it starts. 

My chest feels heavy and I start breathing rapidly. 

My mind starts racing and I think to myself, what else could I do? 

Should I scrub the bathroom floor? Or the wall. The wall DEFINITELY needs to be cleaned tonight.

My closet is messy, I should re-organize it tonight, right after I scrub the walls… 

I better do the walls in every room, not just the bathroom. 

Maybe we should rearrange the living room, I need to scrub the baseboard behind the couch anyways. 

The Christmas decorations make it too cluttered in here, should I put them away? 

Maybe I should reorganize where things are in the kitchen to make it look better? 

And on. 

And on. 

AND ON. 

AND ON. 

Sometimes I give in to it and do something crazy like completely rearrange our bedroom, by myself. 

Other times, I force myself to sit in the anxiety of it and try to let it pass. 

There are times the anxiety gets so bad that I shut down and do nothing for a solid week, resulting in feeling horrible and filled to the brim with unspeakable disappointment and disgust with myself. *Cue an entirely different shame spiral*

This is a really weird thing because I’m also a very messy person. I have a lot of things. And I REALLY like being lazy.

It’s a constant internal battle and I hate it. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given up amazing quiet mornings, fun at-home dates with my husband, or outings with friends because my need to do something ‘productive’ has completely possessed me. 

Or the shame I feel if someone comes over and GOD FORBID my apartment looks like someone actually lives here. 

THERE SHALL BE NO LIVING IN THIS HOMESTEAD AND I HEREBY DECLARE WE MUST DO CHORES ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. 

-My head, every day.

It’s not hard for me to pinpoint where this comes from. Growing up, ‘lazy days’ weren’t really a thing. There was always a project. Always something that needed to be done. Always something more important than just…. being. 

And there was always a terrifying response if we had the nerve to just be. Or do our homework instead of ‘being productive’. Or spend time doing something that didn’t better our home or our property. 

I am almost 30 years old. I have lived on my own since I was 18. 

I am almost 30 years old and my heart jumps at the sound of my husband opening our front door. 

Suddenly I am 15. 

My eyes dart around the room to make sure it looks okay. 

If I’m sitting on the couch, my first reaction is to jump up quickly and make it look like I have been busy. 

YOU WILL NOT CATCH ME ON MY ASS, SIR. I will not give you the ammo. 

Then, we start chatting and I find a way to list all the things I’ve done that day… 

“Hi babe, how was your day? Oh good? Cool. I cooked dinner and cleaned the kitchen and did some laundry!!! And tomorrow, I’m going to repaint our entire apartment complex… yeah yeah, I know – it’s an apartment complex, it’ll cost a fortune and I’ll get in trouble… but PRODUCTIVITY!!!! I think I’ll wash all the cars parked here while I’m at it”

Okay, the second part of that is an exaggeration – but I can’t tell you I HAVEN’T thought of it…  

It’s as if I’m looking for his approval. I jump at the opportunity to tell him these things so he doesn’t look around the apartment and wonder if I just sat on my ass. Begging for his acknowledgment of all that I’ve done so he doesn’t think I was worthless all day. 

So his face doesn’t turn red with rage, his brows don’t furrow, his hands won’t clench into fists at his side and so doesn’t get in my face and scream. 

So he doesn’t tell me I’m a disappointment. 

If he even THOUGHT the word ‘lazy’, I would shatter beyond repair.  

My husband and I have been together for 8 years at the end of this month. 

I can count the times he has truly ‘yelled’ at me on one hand and most of the time, when he ‘yells’ (if you can even call it that) at me it’s because I WON’T STOP DOING PRODUCTIVE THINGS. 

Or because apparently, I cook eggs in a way that will ‘ruin the pain’ or some bullshit like that – PLEASE

(I ate eggs for dinner and just frantically jumped up to clean the pan while writing this because I do in fact, destroy the pan every time I cook eggs.. I don’t know how to fix it, someone send help)

My husband also does not care if the dishes are in the sink (unless it’s an egg pan, see above), or if there are blankets on the couch or laundry in the hamper, or if I just said fuck it and didn’t move from the same spot on the couch all day. 

Oh, on the contrary; he PRAISES me when I don’t move my ass all day because if you ask him, I’m the most productive person he knows and I never stop. It drives him batty. 

So this is clearly a stupid and irrational response. 

It’s amazing how the things that happen when we are young stick with us and influence the way we respond to things as adults, without even realizing it. 

So, something I’ve spent a lot of time working on this year and something I’m REALLY proud of is redefining my idea of productivity. 

Don’t worry, I STILL CLEAN MY APARTMENT AND DO MY LAUNDRY, and I will forever frantically clean my egg pans before he can see them…

But what I’ve done this year is make a list of all my values and what productivity means in relation to those values. 

Now, on days that I feel the anxiety creep up and start to get the urge to do 500 million things when it’s time to relax, I reflect on those values. I journal and I focus on what I did that filled my cup. 

That means now a lazy day with my husband watching TV or by myself is productive. 

It means a weekend getaway doing something I love is productive. 

It means spending time with family is productive. 

Reading or writing is productive. 

Yes, I still do A LOT of the other things every day, I still get a little stressed when the sink is full or the laundry is overflowing, but it’s a manageable and appropriate amount. 

Now, productivity does not need to result in something you can visibly see. It does not need to be something I do to seek approval. It does not need to control my life. 

This year, I have redefined productive and in 2021 I am going to do my best to live up to it. 

 Pro·duc·tive 

Achieving or producing a significant amount of joy to fill my cup and align my soul with my values. 

Sweet and Spicy Breakfast Hash

Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal, and I’m a huge fan of a good breakfast hash. They are so simple to make, easy to do in large quantities, and always a crowd-pleaser.

This sweet and spicy hash is the perfect blend of the two flavors paired with bacon – what more could you want?

This will give you enough for two large services or four small ones – I guess it just depends on how hungry you are! My husband and I split the whole thing in half and ate it all in one sitting… whoops.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 package of bacon
  • Four eggs
  • One sweet potato
  • Two cups of spinach
  • 5 mini bell peppers or one large one
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro for topping
  • Diced jalapeños for topping
  • Agave nectar
  • Garlic infused olive oil (you can use garlic powder if you’d like)
  • Salt, pepper, and chili powder
  • Cast iron skillet – I prefer to do this in a skillet so I can start it on the stovetop and easily transfer to the over

*When you buy something using retail links in my posts, I may earn a small commission. I will never recommend anything I don’t own and love.

“I could eat this skillet all day every day, I’m drooling”

-Me, while eating this skillet.
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Dice up your sweet potatoes, bell peppers, bacon, green onion (separate the green and whites), cilantro, and jalapeños.
  3. Heat the garlic-infused olive oil and scallion whites on the skillet until the pan is warm.
  4. Add potatoes and drizzle with agave nectar. Sauté until soft, then add in your bell peppers and bacon. Top with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Continue sautéing until the peppers are soft and bacon is cooked halfway. Add in spinach and cook for one minute.
  5. Add four eggs to the top of the skillet, cover, and bake for 8-12 minutes depending on how you like your eggs cooked. Eight minutes will give you runny yolks and 12 will give you more of a hard-boiled consistency (as pictured).
  6. Top with cilantro, green scallions, and jalapeños.

Happy Eating!

Drop a comment and let me know what you think.

Howdy, Y’all

Howdy, y’all???

HOWDY, Y’ALL?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Is that really how I started this? Why is that the very first thing that popped into my head? I’ve never said ‘howdy y’all’ in my entire life.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the intro – It’s a great greeting! If you say howdy y’all, you’re probably a very nice cowboy, a southern bell, or Rachel Hollis. It’s just… not me (unless Rach is reading this, then I take everything back and am sticking with my original intro and howdy y’all is totally me).

Husband, friends, anyone I interact with on a regular basis – please never speak of this again. This is a sacred place, okay. I’m nervous, give me a break. What happens on the internet, stays on the internet – that’s the rule, right?

Okay, now that we got the awkwardness out of the way, please let me try again.

Hey, how you doin’? (a little better, maybe?)…

My name is Caysi-Rae, but you can call me Caysi or Cays if you’re in a hurry. Caysi-Rae is reserved for a few select friends and formal occasions, mostly because it just sounds weird.

I’m 20-something years old for a few more months and am in the midst of my quarter-life crisis. I’m married to an amazing man and together we parent three purrrfect fur-children. I work in finance by day and am a daydreamer by night.

I ended up here because – WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, 2020? What part of the universe royally screwed up and gave us 20 years of fuckery in 12 months? Whoever it was, I hope they were fired.

This year, I have spent a lot of this time by myself. Not as much time as others, but for me, it was a lot. I worked from home for a good chunk of it and my husband is a delivery driver so he’s been delivering all of your stupid Amazon packages on overdrive.

The time I have spent with my thoughts has dug me into a deep, dark hole that has manifested into a quarter-life crisis. For a lot of reasons, I haven’t been able to spend a lot of my life figuring out what I really like or enjoy or want.

In solitude, for the first time in my life, I was able to embark on a path of self-discovery and now I’m stuck in the rut of it. How does one even figure out what they like?

Thus, we are here. I love writing, I do know that. I’ve started several blogs in my day – all of which I have passionately slaved over for a few short weeks, given up on or gotten too busy for, and then moved on. Only to start or revisit said blog years later.

Each time, there is a common theme – complete, paralyzing self-doubt that no one would care what I had to say. This time is going to be different – this time, I’m writing for me. To hold myself accountable to the things I want to do, to the things I want to share, and to all the self-discovery I have left.

Also, it has to be because I paid for this domain name.

If you decide to embark on this with me, I can’t promise I’ll change your life, inspire you to discover yourself, or unlock the secrets of the universe – after all, I am just a girl laying in her underwear drinking hard cider.

What I can promise you is several perfectly placed cuss words, real-life stories, summaries of my growth, poetry, a few good recipes, and some absurdly cute cat pictures.

Come hang out with me, or not – either way, I’m excited to document this next journey even though I’m not entirely sure of what it will be.

Okay byeee,
Cays

A Lens of Perfection

In a world overflowing with highlight reels of perfect lives and great adventures, and so much time to scroll through them, I’ve been struggling to keep up.

Struggling to keep my apartment clean, eat healthily, workout, and work from home. Be a good wife, a good sister, a good friend. Check projects off of my long, long list.

Then I find myself snapping a photo of the fleeting moments that I actually do one of these things, and I post it.

I create my highlight reel as I sit in anxiety, stress, and depression trying to make it look like I have it all together.

As if posting filtered photos of my perfectly decorated cupcake is going to make it all go away.

We position something just right in our lens and slap on a filter of perfection that doesn’t exist and together we built this massive world of FOMO and insecurities.

We feed our feelings of unworthiness all day long as we scroll and we pin and we post and we tweet and we retweet and you get the point.

For me, this leads to a lifetime of chasing perfection.

From late nights reorganizing my apartment for the 100th time because it’s not perfect to early mornings in the kitchen because the thought of the dishes in the sink kept me up all night and as hard as I try I can’t stand the thought of it.

It’s feeling unworthy at work because I made a small mistake, but in my mind, I’m not allowed to make mistakes.

It’s collapsing in my husband’s arms, trying to catch my breath because I failed… Again.

And I’ve realized, this cannot just be me; regardless of the scenarios, I’ve made up in my head of everyone else’s perfection.

Now, I’m craving a social media connection on a real level. I want to see your dirty dishes, piles of laundry, a picture of the dinner you burnt and isn’t plated perfectly.

Sure, your vacation photos are amazing. But, I want to hear about the days and the nights you spent on the couch. The weekends you did nothing.

I want to hear about the things you think failed at and share in those experiences because failure is splattered all over the pathway to success.

The idea of living moment to moment only looking for perfect snapshots is tearing out so much of the beauty of life.

I’m so tired of the highlight reel of life filtered through a lens because even though it’s possible and wonderful to have moments of perfection in our lives, it is small and it’s not what matters the most.

I want to see your outtakes and your moments of imperfection because that is where the beauty is and that is what we all need because no one is perfect.

Butternut Squash & Leftover Thanksgiving Soup

Looking for something to do with all your leftover Thanksgiving food? If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that sometimes the best answer is throwing everything in a blender and making soup out of it! I know, it sounds weird… But after almost two months of a liquid diet in 2019, I’ve learned that almost ANYTHING is good in soup form (even grilled cheese, tomato soup and bacon.. two months of a soft/liquid diet means desperate times people).

So, here it is – Butternut Squash and Leftover Thanksgiving Soup.

This is best in an Instant Pot if you have one. If you don’t, trust me on this – BUY ONE! They have some great sales right now on Amazon. You can cook frozen chicken in 12 MINUTES. Yep, you read that right.

*When you buy something using retail links in my posts, I may earn a small commission. I will never recommend anything I don’t own and love.

If you don’t have one – I have included stove top directions as well.

Start out with all of your leftover Thanksgiving goodies.

Roasted vegetables, poultry herbs, an apple (though I think I would prefer the soup without this), butternut squash, leftover turkey stock, and turkey. I threw some fresh peppers in there because I needed to use them up. Really, any type of veggie will be good with this, so just use what you have on hand! I would have liked to add more carrots if I had them. Also, I like a little spice with everything, so I tossed half of a jalapeño in there.

Instant Pot Instructions:

Cut and deseed your butternut squash. It doesn’t matter how you cut it, as long as it fits in your Instant Pot. No need to take the skin off, we’ll do that in the next step.

Add in about a cup of the turkey stock. If yours has solidified as mine did, add 2/3 – 1 cup of water with it. If you want more flavor, dice and add in your remaining herbs.

Lock and seal the instant pot and set it on pressure cook, high for 7 minutes.

Oven Directions:

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can roast the entire butternut squash in the oven! You’ll want to roast it at 425°F – 450°F for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your squash and your oven. You’ll know it’s done when you can easily stick a knife through it.

Once roasted, let the squash cool enough so you can peel the skin off and take the seeds out and chop into 4 or 5 pieces (depending on the size of your blender).

Additionally, you’ll want to heat up your stock and water on the stovetop on medium heat for about 5 minutes to warm it up before moving on to the next step.

Blend it up:

Once your butternut squash is roasted in the oven or depressurized in the Instant Pot, you’ll want to remove all the flesh (and seeds if you roasted it whole).

Toss the squash, turkey stock, and all the veggies in the blender and puree until smooth.

If you’re in the market for a new blender, we love this Ninja Blender. We picked it up right before my double jaw surgery about two years ago and it has worked wonders.

*When you buy something using retail links in my posts, I may earn a small commission. I will never recommend anything I don’t own and love.

Add in the turkey:

Once the soup is pureed to your desired consistency, move it to a serving bowl. Dice up your turkey and add it to the soup. I also added some celery for crunch and topped it with sour cream to even out the spice of the jalapeño.

And, enjoy!

Drop a comment and let me know what you think!