Every year I set intentions for what I’d like to bring into my life.  Some years I am more excited than others.  This year I’m over the moon about them, so I thought I would share.  🙂

  1. FINISH PROJECTS

A ‘Lightbulb Moment’ is an exhilarating and humiliating cocktail to choke down, isn’t it?  “I’m so excited for my life now!!!” mixed with a splash of “How could I be such a dumb ass for not recognizing something so common sense before?!”   Truly, a mixed martini of life realization. 

Six months ago my life felt entirely different.  I was a workaholic.  I wasn’t happy.  I was depressed.  And although I was planning a wedding and had my whole life to look forward to, I wasn’t living my life.  I found myself, again (AGAIN???), surviving it.  

I chose to leave my job and people I loved– people that treated me insanely well (in a valley where jobs are sparse mind you), to step out in faith.  I wasn’t sure what was next but I needed the Universe to know that this workaholic lifestyle wasn’t in line with my life’s purpose and no longer served me anymore. In my heart, I’m a creative and an artist. This is when I feel I have something to offer the world.

I wrote a description of what I wanted my new life to be and what that would look like on a daily and yearly basis. In my grandiose, gold colored ‘impossible’ dreams, I am making my living as an artist and I am actively participating in a variety of creative things that give me joy. Basically, a life full of rich and lush, creative experiences.

In my heart, I am a comedian, a writer, a baker, a photographer and a singer.  I’m also a blogger, a dancer, a professional poker player, an activist and a treasure hunter!  Not to mention– whatever the hell else I want to be! I know how ridiculous that sounds;  I would need 26 lives to make that happen.  

A majority of creative and artistic people that I know making their living creatively ‘double down’ constantly. They are theater directors and poets, producers and bloggers, magicians and novelists.  So the big question became ‘How do I go from being MandiCrocker, recovering food industry workaholic, to MandiCrocker, creative powerhouse?  How does one tap into a life full of lush, rich and creative experiences?   Then, the lightbulb.

“Oh.  I should finish something.”

How can I make my living at any of these things if I have nothing to pitch?  I have no finished book, no finished screenplay, no framed and printed photography to sell… It just seemed SO FLIPPING OBVIOUS. Over the years, I have probably started a novel twelve times.  I have started a television series, twice. I choreograph countless dances in my head waiting to be the size of Julianne Hough before I dance again.  In hindsight, it seems like ‘the definition of insanity,’ as they say.  Action is required.  

GOAL #1:  FINISH &$%ING PROJECTS.  🙂

2.  BECOME A GOOD LISTENER

I am a really horrible listener.  The other day I asked one of our local girls, home on break, how she was liking being overseas.  Before she even completely finished her answer, I cut her off with an assumption and another question.  I care about this girl and as a person that loves traveling, I am over the moon she is overseas at such a young age.  Why do I do this??? 

My Aunt Amy is an incredible conversationalist.  You can tell she is genuinely interested in people, asks questions, listens and is always super enthusiastic about what you’re doing.  It’s a gift I really admire! I think it’s a mix of my shy and insecure Virgo ascendent (completely uncomfortable with small talk) mixed with the creative, spiritual tendency to self examine to a narcissistic degree.  I’m also a Libra, so I hear something and run it through a filter of how that has happened in my life.  It’s meant to relate but while that filter is running, I often miss everything. 

I do this to my poor honey, too.  I’ll say something, pause and ask, “Is that what you just said?”  IT’S SO HORRIBLE!!!  I’m always in my head.  I am always dreaming. I talk way too much.  Whatever the reason, I don’t like it!  I love people. I’m fascinated with stories.  I think being present and a good listener will help.  PLEASE FIX ME IN THE COMMENTS BELOW SO I DON’T HAVE TO PAY A THERAPIST.  🙂

3.  BECOME STRONGER

Sarah Connor.  Maggie.  Princess Leia. The Stark Girls.  The Mother of Dragons.  Katniss. Ripley. Sydney Bristow.  All the Clones. I love strong women.  I love powerful women.  I love women that kick ass.

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When I first moved here, I lived with my aunt and uncle. To say the least, they are ‘outdoor sports people’ and that summer I stayed with them I was hiking, biking and rock climbing almost every day.  I can be insanely determined.  I think I lost 20 pounds in three weeks. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.  Ha! It was very emotional.  In hindsight, I still have stress fractures in my feet that have never healed from pushing myself way too hard, too soon.  It was aaaaall me!  So stupid!   BUT! At the end of the summer, I felt STRONG.  I loved and appreciated everything about that feeling.

Three and a half years later, wedding planning under depression and anxiety, I have not felt strong. If anything, the path I’ve been on has literally scared me physically. Thankfully this new path, putting my creative self first feels so selfish and wonderful, it also makes me want to put my physical self first.  The snapshot of our world inspires me to be strong. So, I’m focusing on joining the kick ass list of fictional characters above to manifest a very real one for myself. 

It’s not– and can’t be– about numbers, ‘exercise,’ or ‘losing weight.’  Instead, it is about being my own princess and being my own superhero.  The desire to run to and away from whatever the hell I want is very strong in this one.  🙂

So that’s it, folks!!  My News Year’s Resolutions! Anybody else feel inspired this year to set resolutions? Maybe a resolution to set no resolutions? Ha! I always love how everyone’s resolutions are different!  🙂 Happy January 22nd, everyone!  xoxo

 

I had a very limited fruit experience growing up as a kid in upstate New York.  We always ate apples, oranges and bananas.  Strawberries and blueberries were typically ‘too expensive’ and if we got plums, nectarines or peaches they were always tasteless and rock hard.  Mangos or pineapple were also too expensive and “too much work.”  As for pomegranates?  Forget about it.  I think my first experience with pomegranate was in a martini (ha!) and later on a fruit tart we sold at the bakery where I worked. 

When they were on sale at our local grocery 2 for $5, I couldn’t resist.  I was going to make something with pomegranate, dang it!  It was a flavor I thoroughly enjoyed and who says a salad has to be boring?! It was time for this love affair to begin!

Luckily for me, my honey even mentioned a video about how to de-seed a pomegranate from a regular visitor to our valley and kick ass video blogger named ‘The Fresh Princess.’  Meet Corinne! She’s a doll… 

 

You should also know that I have a love/hate relationship with salad.  I LOVE TO EAT SALAD.  I HATE TO MAKE SALAD.  However, this kale salad is quick AND super delicious.  Not only is it incredibly healthy but because kale is such a hearty green, it doesn’t pertain to salad pet peeve #2.  You can toss it in dressing and let it sit for  a few days without it getting mushy or gross in the fridge.  YAY!!!  The pomegranates, pumpkin seeds and sliced almonds add a great crunchy texture and a ton of flavor!

Kale Pomegranate Salad

Notice the bottles of alcohol in the background? I was totally ready for something healthy after the holidays, feeling totally maxed out on sugar and alcohol.  This was supposed to be a ‘Detox from New Year’s’ blog… And here it is January 19th.  How does time move so quickly!?  Smart asses, don’t answer that… 

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Anyway, if you’re in a winter stew slump, this light and refreshing salad will do just the trick! I was going to make it again but alas, there are no more pomegranates to be found at our grocery until next Christmas.  Oh, mountain life… You big city dwellers, hug your year round pomegranates tight tonight.  😉

What healthy meals are you cooking up?  Please share any ideas in the comments below. I always love new recipes!  xoxo

 

 

Kale Pomegranate Salad
A seeded kale and pomegranate salad covered in a tangy, refreshing dressing! Super healthy and easy!
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FOR THE SALAD
  1. 1 bunch of kale
  2. 1 pomegranate, seeded
  3. 1/4 c. pumpkin seeds
  4. 1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted
FOR THE DRESSING
  1. 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  2. 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  3. 1 T. dijon mustard
  4. 1 T + 1 tsp. honey
  5. 1/4 tsp. salt
  6. 1/8 tsp. pepper
Instructions
  1. 1. De-vein your kale. Massage the leaves for a couple of minutes.
  2. 2. Throw the kale into a bowl with pomegranate, seeds and nuts.
  3. 3. Whisk all of your dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Massaging kale leaves helps to reduce its toughness and bitterness!
MandiCrocker https://mandicrocker.com/

 

 

 

Yesterday I came home in a panic.  I had a deadline for the paper and a million hours of work to put into it.  For a brief second, out of total anxiety, I thought, “Ugh! This is so much work!  Why do I have to do this?!!”

A few seconds later, I stopped myself.  It was like I’d been hit on the head. My inner voice, like the mother in the movie ‘Nebraska,’ screamed at me, ” THIS IS THE LIFE YOU WANTED, YOU BIG IDIOT.” 

Just that very morning I got up early to interview a local climber for the paper which was fun, intriguing and inspiring.  I came home to my super cute desk (that is FINALLY set-up) with a warm cup of coffee in hand, all perfectly dreamy.  I Marie Kondo-ed my house so everything feels comforting and lovely.  When I think about making my living as an artist, my romantic, cinematic visions always included a safe quiet space for writing.  

When I left the bakery last year, I made a list of what I wanted my life to look like moving forward.  I wanted to feel rested. I wanted to inspire and be inspired. I wanted to bring other artists into my life.  I wanted to make my living as an artist so that I no longer had to work on my feet in the food industry.  I want to be able to write pilots and movies, develop recipes at leisure.  I want to shoot projects that are important to me and a myriad of other things.  

I couldn’t believe I was living my dream that day, with cute space included, and I was about to complain about it! WHO DOES THAT???

Needless to say, I flipped a switch and suddenly I was relishing every moment. I couldn’t believe I was a writer!  The day I was living was everything I had ever asked for!  I felt like the end of a Lifetime movie and my happiness had a million likes on instagram. 

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I thought I would share this little artistic life lesson in case anyone else was about to start complaining about their dreams coming true or letting anxiety win.  😉  

What do want your life to look like?  Are you living that dream?  If yes, do you recognize it? And if not, why?  There’s always room in the day for a baby step.  

Deep thoughts for us artists on Monday afternoon… xoxo.