Awesome in January | How to Be Awesome in $20 a Day

Awesome in January

Awesome in January | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

January always feels so long. From the hope and celebration of New Year’s day to the dreary cold work days at the end of the month seems like a million miles. But we made it friends. Here’s what was awesome in January.

We actually left the house at one point and went on a date. We tried burgers and shakes at a place that already appears to have shut down. So, I gues we got there just in time. I gave them a solid B so…

We also went to the theatre to see 1917. It was beautiful and horrible and intense and visceral and so so good. I’ve enjoyed a lot of Sam Mendes’s films over the years. This one was intense. My heart was racing, and I was squirming in my seat probably enraging the people around me. If Roger Deakins doesn’t get a damn Oscar the world has gone mad.

I’ve watched a lot of other good films this month as well. I enjoyed Rocketman more than I expected. It was remeniscent of All That Jazz but more mainstream.

I’m a huge fan of Knives Out and think that’s probably a movie I’ll watch again and again.

I can see why Jojo Rabbit might not everyone’s cup of tea, but I was all in. It’s definitely my pick for best production design, and Jojo’s pal is the most adorable child actor I’ve ever seen. Can I move into Jojo’s house and get Scarlett Johansson’s entire wardrobe?

I also felt myself strangely invested in Ford v Ferrari. I thought Matt Damon was great, and they somehow got me to care about car racing. This is some quality story-telling.

We also watched Chernobyl and were stunned and horrified the whole way through. If you missed this series, go back and give it a watch.

Somehow I also managed to finally finish a novel this month. Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon took me a while to get into, but it eventually hooked me, then completely mesmerized me. The language is highly stylized, and there are a lot of characters, some of whom have nicknames. There are also some non-linear points in the timeline, so you need to really be paying attention. It’s worth it, though, to get an in-depth glimpse of a very specific time and place.

In amongst all the salads and veganuary dishes, the internet did still offer up some tasty treats this month. I’m totally into this Poutine with Waffle Fries from Spoon Fork Bacon. Can you imagine the texture?

Can you believe I’ve never had Tres Leches Cake. This one from A Cozy Kitchen looks beautiful.

I would be so happy to wake up to this Cinnamon Streusel French Toast from Two Peas & Their Pod.

Whipped Ricotta | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The posts you thought were most awesome in January were Whipped Ricotta, Frito Chili Cheese Wraps, and Amaretto Sours. That’s quite a span of tastes. I love them all.

My favorite post from January was definitely Satsuma & Dark Chocolate Brioche. I’m eating that whole loaf by myself.

I hope your January’s been beautiful, friends. There’s more light on the horizon. It’s gonna be awesome.

Why I'm Falling in Love with Modern Witchcraft

Why I’m Falling In Love with Modern Witchcraft

I find having a spiritual practice of some kind is extremely important to keeping me grounded and compassionate. Today I want to share why I’m falling in love with modern witchcraft. It’s helped me to see the world from a different angle, and I’m tremendously grateful for that.

Why I'm Falling in Love with Modern Witchcraft | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve dabbled in a lot of spiritual practices and communities in my life. Raised by free thinkers, religion and spirituality was something that I came to on my own. I’m so grateful to my parents who taught me to read and study everything I could get my hands on and make up my own mind.

For a time in my mid-20s, I actually worked as a youth leader at a liberal Christian church in Oklahoma. It was a hugely rewarding experience. I connected with the Baha’i community in Nashville, and again met some of the most gracious and compassionate people I’ve ever known. But mostly I’ve been figuring things out on my own.

What is modern witchcraft?

If you’re wondering “What the heck even is modern witchcraft?” don’t panic. I didn’t even realize this was a thing until I heard about it on NPR. Obviously. I remember my husband overhearing the podcast and saying “You want to become a witch now, don’t you?” I was all, “Sorta, yeah.” At that moment it still seemed a little bit crazy and weird.

That was in October of 2018. It wasn’t until August of the following year that I really started to dig in. The idea had continued to float to the surface of my brain, but I didn’t allow myself to take it seriously until then.

Witchcraft is not about flying on a broom and communing with the devil. For me, witchcraft is about connecting with nature, tuning into my own intuition, and most importantly, focusing my energy on my explicit intentions. If you had to distill it down to it’s simplest definition, I think it would simply be about using your energy to manifest an intention. That’s really all there is to it. Except that there’s so much more.

There are so many things you can learn about in the world of modern witchcraft. Tarot, crystals, astrology, mythology. You could study the rest of your life. Naturally, this is another thing I love about it. There’s always more to learn.

Do I need to buy a bunch of stuff to be a witch?

Maybe you’ve seen some #witchesofinstagram and thought, “that looks expensive,” let me tell you that you need absolutely nothing to practice witchcraft other than your own mind.The tools are just physical symbols to help you bring your intention out of your head and into the real world. You can spend a ton of money on pretty rocks and exotic herbs, or you can use what you already have. Quite often, I just go to my kitchen and see what’s in the pantry, then create my spell from there.

One of the things I love about modern witchcraft is that it is so individual. One witch’s practice doesn’t have to look anything like another’s. You follow your intuition and do what’s most meaningful for you. It’s given me permission to focus on myself and what I want and allowed me to cleanse myself of the guilt that I carried around for so long.

I also like to use candles quite a bit in my practice. There’s is nothing supernatural about magick, but I’m here to tell you that there is immense power in writing down all your fears and worries, setting it on fire, and flushing the ashes down the toilet. It makes my soul feel lighter, and that changes everything.

Where do I start with witchcraft?

As with most things, I think any new witch’s best friend is Pinterest. Of course, you have to wade through some nonsense to find what’s right for you, but whatever you’re drawn to will be there.

Through Pinterest, I discovered Mumbles & Things. I joined the mailing list and signed up for the free e-course Witchcraft 101. If you can get over the multiple typos, I found this to be a simple, systematic, easy to understand introduction. If you’re like me, and you like things to be presented in an orderly fashion, I’d recommend this e-course.

I was also lurking in the spiritual section of the bookstore one day and found the book Waking the Witch by Pam Grossman. I haven’t had the chance to read her book yet, but it’s on my list. What I discovered in the bookstore that day was that she also has a fantastic podcast called The Witch Wave. I absolutely recommend listening to this if you’re at all interested in anything even witchcraft adjacent. It’s the perfect balance of scholarly and entertaining. She gets incredible guests. I also went back to check that original NPR story, and of course, Pam Grossman was one of the guests. Synchronicity.

There are lots of entry points into magick and witchcraft. Start reading and find what your drawn to. For me, it was working with the phases of the moon that first drew my attention. I now have a Moon Phase app on my phone, and I keep a lunar journal, modified from this one, again from Mumbles and Things.

Naturally, I’m also drawn to kitchen witchcraft, as that’s where I spend most of my time. I have loved learning about the magical properties of the ingredients I use in my kitchen all the time. I can infuse my food with a positive intentention and share that with my friends and family. Can’t hurt. Might help. Makes me happy. Why not?

You can also make your own bath and beauty products and infuse them with magick. Homemade Brown Sugar Body Scrub is perfect for a little new moon cleansing magick in the bath or shower.

You can use magick and witchcraft to help you achieve whatever you want. All you need to do is set an intention, focus your energy on that intention, and take action to manifest it. Want a car or a big fat mansion? There’s a spell for that. What I want is peace in my soul and to own my own business. Witchcraft is unquestionably helping me to achieve that.

What I didn’t realize is that I was already on the path to becoming a witch before I even knew you could actually be one without a letter from Hogwarts. I was already doing mindfulness meditation, yoga, and aromatherapy. I have been a long-time lover of Joseph Campbell and mythology. I’ve always been fascinated by the stories we’ve told ourselves to try to figure out our purpose in this world. It’s hardly a wonder that witchcraft was awaiting me on my path.

If you’ve been wondering if this whole witchcraft thing might be for you, I definitely encourage you to dig in and do your research. I’m no expert. I’ve only been doing this a few months. But I do know it’s made a difference in my life. I’m more confident and more determined then I’ve been for most of my adult life.

If you’re hesitating to learn more about witchcraft because you think it’s a bit too woo woo or you’re worried what other people will think, just give it a try. Pick up a book from the library, or dive into a witchcraft website. It may feel silly or strange at first, but I think you’ll know pretty quickly if it’s right for you. And if it’s not, that’s cool, too. Anything that makes us more connect to each other can only be a good thing. Find what makes you feel most connected and embrace it. For me right now, it’s witchcraft, without a doubt. I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.

Be Awesome: Keep Working | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Be Awesome: Keep Working

There’s only one thing you can do to reach your goals, and that’s to keep working toward them. And don’t forget to be awesome.

Be Awesome: Keep Working | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

If there’s one thing I’m really good at, it’s quitting. I’ve lost track of the of how many times I almost quit writing this silly little food blog. I’d put in a bunch of time and energy for a few weeks, then life would get stressful, and it was an easy thing to eliminate. “Nobody reads it anyway, so what’s the point,” I’d tell myself. I’d throw a little pity party in my mind and justify not putting in the effort.

I completely erased the possibility of making blogging a job. I sucked, so what was the point? No, I wouldn’t even let myself think about it. I should just learn to be satisfied with what I have. It’s not a terrible life. So what if I wasn’t completely in love with my job? Most people aren’t. I’m just being selfish wanting something that I will clearly never be able to achieve. Just quit.

But for some reason, I always came back. Sometimes I’d disappear for weeks, but I’d always find my way back somehow. Why? Why couldn’t I just make a clean break and walk away?

I think it’s because I still really wanted it. I still had a spark of belief that I could do what other people had done and support myself with a food blog. Look, I don’t need six figures. I just want to have some control over my life. I want to have my success measured by my own work, and not by the whims of a teenager. Mostly, I just really want to bake cookies in my yoga pants instead of going to the office.

But when I feel overwhelmed and discouraged, quitting is so easy. So tempting. Nobody else is depending on me. I can just walk away, and it won’t matter. It won’t matter to anyone but me. I’ll know that I failed at yet another thing. I gave up because I’m a loser.

One of the things I’ve been doing the past few months is really putting a lot of intentional effort into changing the way I talk to myself. I was extremely hard on myself, and maybe you are, too. How many times a day do we allow the voice in our head to criticize and belittle us? Probably too many to count. You would never, for a minute, considering talking that way to a friend, but when it’s just you alone in your head, you suddenly turn into a complete monster.

Despite all these good intentions, there are have been times in the past few weeks where, yet again, that voice in my head has told me to quit. I’m wasting my time. It will never work. I’m awful, and I should just give up now. Take a nap or watch a movie instead. I suck. Get used to it.

But this time, I’m not listening.

I’m trying to change a lot about myself and the way I approach my blog right now. I’m never going to turn it into a business if I just keep quitting. The only way to get ahead is to keep moving forward. Maybe it’s true that I’m just not good enough. That’s one version of the story I could tell myself. Or maybe I just need to work harder, get better, become so good they can’t ignore me.

I choose to keep working. To keep learning, to keep growing, to keep trying, right here in front of your eyes. And I sincerely hope that if there’s something you’ve been turning away from because it was easier not to try, that you give it one more go. Put your whole soul into it this time, and just see what happens. And then when it seems like it’s not going to work, just try a little harder this time.

Trust me. There are enough people in this world who want to tell us that we suck. We don’t need to do it to ourselves. So let me tell you right now that you are brilliant. You deserve to have your dreams come true. Whatever you do, don’t quit. Don’t let that negative voice boss you around. Get up in the morning, take a shower, put on your favorite shirt, remind yourself that you are awesome, and go out there and kick some ass, friends. It’s gonna be the best year yet. We’ll get there together.

Awesome in December | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Awesome in December

Awesome in December features my favorite things from the past month. Read on to find out what I loved, as well as your favorite recipes from December.

Awesome in December | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

December has been an absolute whirlwind. It’s only been the last day or two that I’ve actually been able to slow down. I set an intention to work hard, and I guess the universe heard me. I’ll be more careful with my words next time.

We did get to spend time with family over Christmas, which was lovely. I also got to eat some mac and cheese chicken and waffles from Buck’s Bar before seeing the new Star Wars film. Turns out the chicken was the highlight of the night. Have you seen Star Wars yet? What did you think?

The Golden Globe nominations have led me to some great viewing this month, though. I loved Unbelievable on Netflix. Well, maybe that’s not the right word for a show about a serial rapist, but I found it deeply compelling, well-acted, and important.

I also enjoyed Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. It was definitely not a typical Tarantino film, but I found myself engrossed nonetheless. Marriage Story on Netflix was also engrossing, if painful to watch. Divorce is painful. That’s all I’ll say about that just now. But Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver were both terrific.

Awesome Recipes

December is the biggest month for food bloggers, so they’re pulling out all the stops.

Have you seen these Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies from The New York Times? Apparently you have to stop and bang them on the counter like three times? Is it worth it? Only one way to find out.

These Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread Muffins from Broma Bakery are a great idea. Ingenious for sharing.

In case you feel the need to eat something other than cookies, this Potato Sausage and Rosemary Galette from The Candid Appetite looks so delicious and elegant.

Classic Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Three of your favorite recipes this month were Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels, White Cheddar Fondue, and Classic Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies. Sign me up.

January is a fresh start. Not only a new year, but a new decade. I hope it’s completely awesome.

Have an Awesome Christmas

Have an awesome Christmas

Hey, friends! I hope you’re having an absolutely beautiful day doing exactly what you want with people who make you laugh. You are all a gift to me. Thank you so much for reading my words and cooking the food I share.

I hope you have an opportunity today to find of moment of peace, light, and hope and truly look in awe at this amazing complex, terrifying and unbelievably beautiful universe we live in.

Be merry, friends. Lots of love to you.

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