Be Awesome: Find Your Tribe


So I told you about what went down on my Duncan Hines trip. Plot points are fun, but you know I can’t go more than five minutes without talking about my feelings. I learned a lot about baking, but I also learned something about myself. Something that I hope I can use to make my life a bit more awesome.

When I knocked on the door to the hospitality suite at the Duncan Hines Sweet Stars event, I was more than a bit terrified. My social anxiety was pretty out of control. This is exactly the kind of situation that freaks me out. Trapped for a weekend with a bunch of people who don’t know me. My husband, my best friend, my rock was in the middle of the ocean. I had almost no confidence in myself to make it through this weekend without completely humiliating myself. I gave it a pretty good shot Saturday morning, too.

I have to admit, it started off pretty shaky. Everybody seemed to know each other. Everybody seemed to have money and stability and a normal life. I didn’t know how to communicate with them. And of course, I can’t be anything but myself, so I’m sure at least a few people thought I was pretty weird. 

Events like this are no different than the high school cafeteria. I’ve learned that this dynamic never really goes away. There are always going to be the alphas, the betas, and then whatever I am. That’s how life goes, and I’m used to not being cool enough. It doesn’t really bother me.

Eventually, though, I found my tribe. The people on my wavelength. The people who made me feel like I belong. You have to have a tribe. It’s imperative to social survival.

There were a few people at the event that I could feel comfortable with and that I liked so much I wish I could take them home with me. 

The world is a big place, so there’s a good chance that someone out there is at least a little bit like you. If you can find those people, your life will be filled with much more laughter. Although I have a policy of being nice to everyone, and I sincerely try, I find I only truly connect with a few people. I think it’s perfectly okay to focus most of your energy on them.

I don’t have a need to be liked by everyone, but I do have a need to connect. I worried that I would spend the entire weekend by myself because I’m too much of a goofball to go up to people and just start blabbing about my real life and too stupidly honest to play it cool. Luckily, there were other people there who were much more outgoing than me, and they reached out. And though some people surely thought I was nuts, I found a tribe that accepted me and didn’t allow me to be tossed aside. I am so grateful to them for taking in the new girl.

I always dread social situations, but they usually end up being pretty awesome. Your tribe is out there. No matter what you’re into or where you are in life, there’s bound to be somebody who thinks like you. You can be exactly who you are. Somebody will appreciate you and laugh at your jokes. You never have to feel alone if you find your tribe.

Buffalo Chicken Tacos from Awesome on 20
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Mexican Lasagna from Awesome on 20

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


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


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


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?

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Be Awesome: Make a Comeback


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.

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