Awesome in September

September has been a truly awesome month. I started a new job, and I love it so far. It’s challenging and creative, and best of all, I get to serve my community. I feel so lucky. I also got to take an amazing weekend trip to New Jersey to tour the Duncan Hines Test Kitchens. Is this even my life? And it was my husband’s birthday. September might be my new favorite. Here are a few other things I loved this month. 

Awesomest Pub Crawl

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We saw The World’s End starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I love these guys. This movie totally delivered on it’s promise. I feel like I may have laughed louder than anyone in the theater. If you haven’t seen Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz yet, I highly recommend all three.

In The World’s End, a gang of old school friends reunite to attempt a 12 pub crawl in their hometown in the hopes of recreating their glory days. Things take a turn for the weird in the third pub. There might be robots and blue blood involved. You’ll just have to see for yourself. One of the things I really appreciate is that this film does not at all romanticize being a washed up loser, like American films often try to do, but it still manages to be funny without being too depressing. Get yourself to The World’s End. Have a pint or two first. It will be an awesome night.

Awesomest New Author Obsession

blind-assassin

This month I read The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I also listened to an interview with Atwood on Diane Rehm, since she has a new novel coming out. Here’s the most important question. Why haven’t I read everything this woman has ever written? Handmaid’s Tale has been on my list for ages, but I’m just now getting around to reading one of her novels. Now they all have to go on my list. Atwood’s descriptions are perfect. Her style is poetic, but not flowery. 

The Blind Assassin is about the complicated relationship between two sisters born into a wealthy family that was forced to make compromises. There’s a story within the story as well, a haunting world of blood and sacrifice in another dimension of time and space. Read The Blind Assassin. I loved it, and you will, too.

Awesomest Way to Put Yourself in a Sugar Coma

Photo by Hayley of Domestic Rebel
Photo by Hayley of Domestic Rebel

One of the funniest and craziest baking blogs out there is The Domestic Rebel. This girl is an evil genius, and the stuff she does with sugar is just insane. This month, she made an oatmeal cream crack pie with one of my favorite grocery store treats. I will definitely be trying this. It looks just absolutely insane. When it comes to sugar, sometimes you have to go nuts. Put some oatmeal cream pies into a pie pan and add a creamy filling. What could go wrong?

Awesomest Taiwanese Tea Fix

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I’ve mentioned before that I really miss Taiwanese tea shops. Guess what?!?!?! A Taiwanese tea shop has opened up in Waikiki, and they serve my favorite drink, passion fruit green tea. It’s called Dragon Tea, and it’s located on a side road between Kuhio and Ala Wai. If you go up the road with the Starbucks across from the International Marketplace, they’re on the right side of the road.

You can get plenty of different flavors of fruit tea, as well as milk tea, with or without tapioca pearls. We met the owners the first time we went in there, and they’re from the same town in Taiwan that we lived in. What a small world. Please visit Dragon Tea as often as you can. I need to get my fix, and I don’t want this place going out of business.

Things you thought were awesome

You still love waking up to chocolate because the number three post is double chocolate muffins. I don’t blame you, guys. They’re freakin’ amazing! 

For some reason, you crazy kids are into what I wore to work. “Awesome work clothes on $20 a day” is the number two post. It’s so weird seeing my dumb face on Pinterest.

The winner for this month is chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. Every time I see the name or the photo, I want to eat it all over again. Nigella never lets me down.

September has been so good to me. I can’t wait to see what October will bring. What was the awesomest part of your month?

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Be Awesome: Make a Comeback

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Sometimes you need a do over. You just need to hit the reset button on your life. If you don’t like the direction your life is headed, you should be allowed to change it. And you shouldn’t have to apologize for it.

After seven years of teaching, we moved to Hawaii, and I decided not to pursue another teaching job. There were a million reasons behind my decision to leave my career, some more painful than others, but it left me wondering what to do with my life professionally. The things I really loved made no money, and money was not something we could do without. But how does one with no particular skills redefine oneself? 

For two years, I worked for a measly paycheck, first in retail, and then as an office temp. It made me a bit of money, but it didn’t give me purpose. In the meantime, I watched my former students living the beautiful lives they deserved, one of them even published her first novel. I worked at the mall. I was feeling like a total loser. I was depressed and felt like things would never change.

Starting next week, I’m making a comeback. I’ll be starting a new job as the development coordinator for a local homeless shelter. I’ll be coordinating all their small donor campaigns, assisting with fundraising events, and helping with resource drives and in-kind donations. It’s been a long road to this new beginning, but I have a sense of purpose again. I cannot wait to conquer this new challenge.

Okay, so hurray for me, but that’s not the point. The point is, I am not extraordinary. A series of circumstances led me down a path that resulted in feeling supremely frustrated with my professional life. I thought it would stay that way forever, but I managed to change my circumstances. If I can do it, anyone can.

It might not be simple, and for me, it certainly didn’t happen quickly. But I strongly believe that if you don’t like the direction your life is taking, you have to seize control and do whatever you can to change it. You may think you’re down and out, but you can make a come back. 

Believing in myself has never been my strength, but I believe in you. I believe in your own power to search for the thing that you love. I believe in your power to keep working toward finding deeper meaning in your life. I believe in your power to change yourself. It will feel awesome.

Anyone can make a comeback. Even me. Even you. 

 

Read more about my journey here.

Awesome in August

August seemed to go by slower than molasses. The heat continued to weigh us down in the afternoon and keep us awake at night, and I worked at the most boring job imaginable. But exciting things are on the frontier. August was a month of waiting, and waiting isn’t fun.

 

Awesomest bar without windows: Home Bar

 

My awesome photo of tater tot nachos disappeared. This one has my stupid face in it. That cider is great, though.
My awesome photo of tater tot nachos disappeared. This one has my stupid face in it. That cider is great, though.
 
We finally made it to Home Bar this month, and I cannot wait to write a happy hour post for you guys. This place is definitely a bar. It’s dark, no windows, and there are large TV screens on every wall. This is part of what makes it awesome. I suppose if you are the sort of person who likes to watch people throw things at each other, this would be a great place to do it. But if you’re just a person who likes to relax after work with a cold cider and some tater tot nachos, definitely check out Home Bar. It’s old school dive bar good times.
 

Awesomest thing to stuff in your face 24 hours a day: Breakfast Burger

 

Photo by Jessica of How Sweet It Is
Photo by Jessica of How Sweet It Is
 
The brilliant Jessica from How Sweet It Is posted the most beautiful breakfast burger. You guys! I cannot wait to try this. I absolutely love a bacon and egg burger, and this one is just ridiculous. Maple aioli adds an extra sweet and spicy hint of excitement. And she served it on a toasted English muffin because she is the smartest/coolest. Just look at it. Don’t you want to dive in face first?
 

Awesomest time machine to 2000’s politics: The West Wing

 

 
Where was I when The West Wing was originally on the air? Well, I was most likely watching Food Network. That’s pretty much all I ever did back then. But man, I can’t believe what I was missing. Sometimes Aaron Sorkin can be so pretentious you kind of want to tie his shoe laces together, but I am totally behind the Bartlet administration. I think Josh, Donna, CJ, and I should definitely get together for pancakes. Netflix streaming is pretty much the best thing ever. First Firefly, now The West Wing. I can get all the best stuff whenever I’m ready. It’s the future, kids. Get on board.
 

Things you thought were awesome (hint: it’s chocolate)

 
 
You fell in love with the amazingness that is no-bake chocolate peanut butter pie. How could you not?
 
Just in case you didn’t get your choco-PB fix already, you are also totally digging chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. I feel you. I can’t get enough, either.
 
But you really really love to wake up to chocolate. Double chocolate muffins were your favorite post this month. Maybe I should just make nothing but chocolate from now on.
 
August is over. We made it. New and exciting things are coming in September, and I for one can’t wait to get started. 
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