Be Awesome: Be Inspired

Be Awesome: Be Inspired

Be Awesome: Be Inspired

It’s been almost two years since I first swallowed my embarrassment and hit publish on this silly little blog. I spend an excessive amount of time thinking and daydreaming about food and blogging for someone who works full time at a job not related to either of those things. My dream of making blogging my job is just as implausible as it was two years ago, and yet I can’t quit.

Why am I even saying these things out loud? I promise it’s not to bore you, though that’s no doubt what I’ve done. When I started this blog, I made two hard and fast rules; to have fun and to be true to my voice. 

When blogging starts to feel like a chore, I’m breaking rule number one. When I think about my stats more than my own creativity, I’m breaking rule number two. It’s time to reevaluate. It’s time to be inspired. 

inspiration

 

I’m inspired every day by the ocean and the mountains that surround me, the rainbows that spring up like magic, and even the rain that traps me inside.

I’m inspired by a walk through the grocery store, spying new flavors and imagining new combination. The colors and smells make me smile. I could spend all day just wandering the aisles.

I’m inspired by my husband and my daughter who love me even on days like today when I’m trapped in my own head.

I’m inspired by you, you crazy kid. You keep reading, and I don’t know why, but I love you for it.

And because I can’t bear to leave you with only my own pathetic musings, here are the bloggers that really inspire me. They are endlessly creative. Their voices are pure and go straight to my heart. Their success feels effortless, though I know they must work their butts off. I think it’s the dancer in me that believes effortlessness is a virtue. 

When I grow up I want to be just like:

  • Darla at Bakingdom. I have secret plans to stalk her across the globe until I can finally meet her one day and buy her a chai.
  • Jessica at How Sweet It Is, who manages to talk so winningly about her personal life without making a complete dork of herself.
  • Joy at Joy the Baker. She is everything!
  • Tracy at Shutterbean. Can I just live in her photos?
  • Megan from Take a Megabite. She’s just too adorable to live.
  • Sarah at The Sugar Hit. Everything about her site is so tight. It’s the perfect delicious little package.

Who inspires you to grow? Where are you trying to get to? What do you want to be when you grow up? Whatever it is, never stop moving toward it.

10 Awesome Award-Winning Classic Films

10 Awesome Award-Winning Classic Films

10 Awesome Award-Winning Classic Films

The Oscars are almost here, and for once I’ve managed to see all the best picture nominees before the big day. It was a pretty great year for movies. But now that we’ve got all that out of the way, we can get around to all those classic films we’ve been meaning to see but never find time for.

My insane quest to watch every Oscar winning film ever has led me to watch some completely awesome films from way back in the day. It’s a nerdy practice, but it means I get to share my wisdom and unrestrained enthusiasm with you. Just because these movies are in black and white and don’t contain excessive nudity or destroyed cities doesn’t mean they’re not amazing stories. If you haven’t seen these yet, be sure to add them to your list. 

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1. It Happened One Night– 1934 (Available on Amazon Prime) I try to set aside the feminist in me when I watch classic films. It was a different time. A time when Clark Gable is charming and Claudette Colbert is really good at hitchhiking. This film made me smile. 

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2. You Can’t Take It With You– 1938 I always assumed depression-era cinema would be completely escapist, but there’s something to be said for wide-eyed idealism as well. I’m also in favor of being wildly eccentric.

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3. The Grapes of Wrath– 1940 This film is based on one of my all-time favorite novels. I imagine it was pretty subversive for it’s time. It’s a bit of a tear jerker. Be prepared.

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4. Rebecca– 1940 There’s nothing like a good ghost story. Just when you think your life is perfect, everything goes crazy. Who could resist?

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5.  Mrs. Miniver– 1942 We’re still feeling the spiraling effects of World War II to this day, so to see a perspective from the thick of it is so intriguing. War affects more than just soldiers. It’s complicated, kids.

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6. The Best Years of Our Lives– 1946 If being in a war is difficult, coming home from one isn’t much easier. PTSD has been in the news a lot lately. It didn’t have such a long name back then, but I’m happy this film was made and hope that it made it a little easier for someone when they saw that they weren’t alone.

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7. All About Eve– 1950 (Available on Netflix) The theatre world can be brutal. Just when you think you’re at the top of your game, a there’s someone waiting to push you down the stairs. Way before Showgirls, there was All About Eve. Best girl fight ever.

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8. A Streetcar Named Desire– 1951 I imagine most of you have already seen A Streetcar Named Desire, but I couldn’t leave it off the list. Hooray for method acting. Hollywood is growing up.

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9. The Quiet Man– 1952 (Available on Netflix) People have probably seen plenty of John Wayne Westerns, but I prefer him as a reformed Irish boxer. Again, set your feminism aside for a minute. This film is loaded with machismo, but it’s still fun. Also, Maureen O’Hara is hot. Remember that movie that’s playing in the background when they set the frogs free on ET. Yeah, that’s this film.

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10. From Here to Eternity– 1953 First off, I’ve been to that beach, and it’s beautiful. I often try to imagine what my current hometown was like back before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This film really helps to fuel my imagination. Don’t miss it.

What are your favorite classic films? I need to put them on my list.

 

Be Awesome: Take a Break

Be Awesome: Take a Break

Be Awesome: Take a Break

I took a bit of a break from blogging this week. I’m sure nobody noticed but me. I hadn’t planned it. I just woke up last Sunday feeling very anti-work. The thought of going in to my kitchen made me want to smash things. I work hard at my job all week, and for once, I wanted to have a weekend where I didn’t have to do even more work. Work for which I get paid mere pennies, I might add. I knew I wouldn’t be able to create anything special, which would only make me feel more frustrated. And I don’t want to give you guys anything that’s less than awesome.

The strange thing about it was how guilty I felt about the whole thing. No cooking and shooting over the weekend means no posts for most of the week. Taking Sunday off turned into disappearing from the internet for days. It was troubling and liberating all at the same time. I may have lost my mind.

Guilt has always been one of my biggest struggles. I’ve always had big dreams, a thirst for excellence, but with no extraordinary talent, I knew the only way to achieve it would be through hard work. Plot twist. I’m kind of lazy. I like watching movies, reading books, and eating long meals with friends and family. It’s how I recharge. None of those things move me closer to my professional goals.

And yet I wonder, when I’ve reached the end of my life, what moments will mean the most to me? It would likely feel pretty gratifying to have created a successful blog that helped people not only eat awesome food, but relax and enjoy their lives without worrying how much money they’re making. But how can I encourage people to be awesome if I can’t even allow myself to take an occasional weekend off without feeling like a total loser?

It was my daughter, one of the wisest people I know, who simply said, “Mom, it’s okay to take a day off now and then.” As always, she was right. I stepped away, tried to relax, even though it was difficult, and now I feel refreshed, inspired, and ready to share something awesome. I can go back in to my kitchen with a smile and know that the food I produce will be flavored with love and not frustration. It’s a good thing.

I missed you, friends, but I’m happy to be back. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, by all means, follow my daughter’s advice. Take a break. You don’t have to go to an expensive spa or take a fancy vacation. Just shirk a few of your lesser responsibilities with abandon. Maybe shut off your computer, or even put down your phone. Do the things that make you happy so that you can be better at your work on the other end. It may feel a bit selfish, but please, do your best no to feel guilty about it. That’s the hardest part.

We’re here to be awesome, kids. Let’s do it!

How to be Awesome When You Have a Cold

How to be Awesome When You Have a Cold

How to be Awesome When You Have a Cold

Alternate title: How many times can you really watch Harry Potter? Answer: As many times as you damn well please. AKA: At least once more.

You may already be able to tell that I’m a bit delirious. I feel like my whole face is swollen from sinus pressure. My nose is red, and there’s a huge pile of cough drop wrappers on the table next to me. But you know we can’t let a little thing like a raging head cold stop us from being awesome. Here’s how we make it work.

1. Ditch work (if you can)- I know a lot of people work hourly jobs, and this isn’t an option. Or you run your own business and if you’re not producing, you’re not getting paid. But for crying out loud, if you have 40 hours of comp time saved up from all that overtime you worked last month, use some of it to take a dang nap. Your co-workers don’t want you sneezing all over them anyway. It’ll be fine. Really. Those emails can wait. Right?

2. Drag yourself to the office if there’s an awesome restaurant waiting for you at the end of the day- I always manage to get sick when I have something really fun planned, like trying out a new restaurant with co-workers. So, maybe you went home sick the day before, but you can’t very well call in sick, but still show up for dinner when your boss is going to be there. Take whatever cold medicine you can get your hands on, put on a ton of makeup, bring your box of tissues, and get through the day because there’s going to be Moscow Mules and key lime pie at the end of the day. It’ll be worth it, even if you do feel like death by the time you get home.

3. Invest in good tissues and tasty cough drops- You have a cold. You’re suffering. Spend the extra dollar and get the tissues with lotion in them. You’ll feel much better and you won’t have a nasty, scabby red nose when you go back to work. Also, go ahead and get cough drops that actually taste good since you’re probably going to need a thousand of them. I’m really enjoying Halls Breezers in Cool Berry. 

4. Get yourself a tea elf- Put on your saddest, most pathetic face, and get your spouse, partner, roommate, mom, or passing stranger to be on tea making duty at any given moment. You’ll probably need a minimum of five cups a day, so make sure you stock up. Around here, if it’s not Tetley, it’s not tea.

5. Watch what makes you happy- Just go ahead and watch Harry Potter again. Who cares if you have the whole movie memorized. It’s not hurting anybody. It makes you happy. It makes you forget, if only for a moment, that your head is about to explode. Okay, I guess it doesn’t have to be Harry Potter. It could be Star Wars or James Bond or whatever else you’re in to. But seriously, it should probably be Harry Potter.

6. Take a super hot super long shower- You have my permission to waste as much energy as you want when you are congested. It may be the only place you can breathe. Just go ahead, and stay in there a little longer.

7. Blankets blankets pillows blankets and pillows- Seriously, just go ahead and build a fort. Snuggle up. Everyone else can just shut up. 

Okay, so if you’re really sick, you should probably see a doctor, but for now, curl up, drink tea, get your own trash bag next to your side of the couch, and wait it out in as much comfort and style as you can. It’ll be over soon. In the meantime, don’t forget to be awesome.

Be Awesome: Be Patient

Be Awesome Be Patient

We have big dreams. We have so many adventures we want to take on. So many places we want to see. Sometimes it feels like if it doesn’t happen right now, it will never ever happen. Time is such an impossible concept to really grasp. A day at work can sometimes drag on for ages, and yet another year has come to an end without me fully realizing it was happening. 

As we watched the sun set over the pacific ocean on New Year’s Day, there was a moment of sullenness as we realized how far we still have to go to reach some of our goals. But it was also this moment when I realized how far we’d come. It was only two years ago that we were counting every dollar, trying to scrape by, worrying about making the rent, not even bothering to dream about the future. It seemed like nothing good would ever happen to us.

How very wrong I was. We both finally have jobs that we love where we are treated with respect and paid a fair wage. If you’ve never worked in a toxic work environment or been paid much less than you know you’re worth, I’m not sure you can fully appreciate how revelatory it is to not wish you’d be hit by a train on your way to work. We are able to enjoy our lives and still save money. It is only because of what we have accomplished that we are even able to dream about bigger things in our future. That alone is worth celebrating.

I learned at that moment to take a deep breath. Be patient. Let life take its course. 10 years ago, my life was completely different. I literally could not have possibly imagined that I would be sitting here today in Honolulu next to the most charming and loving man I’ve ever known. If that much can change, how can I possibly foresee what will happen in the next 10 years. 

Plans and dreams are excellent. I would never for one moment suggest that you not bother with them. But don’t let yourself get hung up on what you haven’t done yet. Allow life to be lived. Smile right now. Wait. Breathe. Be patient. Your life is already awesome, and chances are, if you live it with love, it will continue to be more awesome. Maybe those plans and dreams will come to pass, or maybe your life will take you on a path that is even more remarkable than you could have dreamed. 

Be patient. Be awesome. Wait and see. It will be beautiful.

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