Cheater Shortbread from Awesome on 20

Cheater Shortbread

Cheater Shortbread from Awesome on 20

I am such a cheater. A lazy, worthless, no good cheater. I mean, that’s one way to look at it. On the other hand, I could be a totally frugal time-saving genius. It could really go either way.

You see, we had to meet strangers, which I, as an awkward introvert, find slightly terrifying. Geoff had some distant cousins, his mother’s cousin and her family I think, who were visiting our island. We went to meet them for an afternoon, and Geoff wanted me to make something to take to them. This happened to coincide with a moment when I had precisely zero spending money. I had to make something simple and beautiful without going to the store and buying any new ingredients.

Cheater Shortbread from Awesome on 20

That’s when I found the easiest shortbread recipe ever! And guess what? It was awesome!!! And so easy. No special ingredients required. The Scottish shortbread I made a few months ago is probably much more authentic, but this cheater version still tastes great, and comes together with much less fussing. This would also make a great base for lilikoi bars or cheesecake bars.

I love the sweet simplicity of buttery shortbread. It’s just so purely awesome. They’re the perfect accompaniment to a brew, which I’ve learned can mean either tea or coffee. I think it’s instant coffee, though. I’ll be having tea, please. Milk. Two sugars. There are still so many things I don’t understand about the English.

Cheater Shortbread from Awesome on 20

 Maybe I should have made something more impressive for long lost relatives from England/Louisiana, but like I always say, you have to work with what you got. A little pink paper makes anything seem a bit more fancy. I hope they enjoyed them. I secretly wished I could keep them all to myself.

Cheater Shortbread
Serves 18
Buttery, beautiful, and oh so simple shortbread cookies
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
  2. 1/3 cup sugar
  3. 1-1/4 cup flour
  4. Pinch of salt
  5. Powdered sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. With a mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar together for about three minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Turn mixer down to low and mix in flour and salt until just combined.
  4. Press dough evenly into an 8x8 baking pan.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Cool shortbread in pan, dust with powdered sugar, cut into squares, and put into a cute box.
  7. Make tea and try not to eat all the cookies.
Adapted from 1001 Fast & Easy Recipes
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Full English Breakfast from Awesome on 20

Hometown Tourist

palm trees

It’s your day off, and you’re desperate to leave your house, but you only have $7 to spend between two people. What’s to be done? Emily and I faced this dilemma one day, and we decided to become hometown tourists. 

We walked into Waikiki with our swimsuits, our towels, our cameras, and our $7. We had a great time pretending to be fancy tourists without actually spending that much money. We even put on cute outfits and lip gloss. You have to look the part.

em and flowers

After a swim in the Pacific, we got lunch, hot dogs and a can of iced tea at the ABC store. Two people, five dollars. Perhaps not the most nutritious or delicious, but we weren’t hungry. Then we set off to explore. 

All the hotels in Waikiki have open lobbies with shops and exhibits, so it’s almost like going to a museum for free. There are even some animal attractions if you know where to look. 


I had a lovely day following my daughter around as she took a hundred photos of every little thing in Waikiki. She was having a blast trying to get the coolest shots of flowers and art work and signage. 

yellow hibiscus

The great thing about being a hometown tourist is that you don’t have to live in a touristy area like Honolulu to do it. Pick up your camera, and see your own hometown in a totally new way. You’ll see things you never noticed before. And you don’t have to spend a dime.

Be Awesome: Follow Your Bliss


When you’re struggling for every dollar, you often have to make tough choices. Sacrifices have to be made so that living can happen. And maybe you end up doing something you don’t really care about because you want to stay in your apartment and cook a decent meal once in a while. There’s nothing wrong with that. But what about your soul?

There are also moments in your life where you have to take risks. I’m not saying you should quit your job right now and become a juggler. That’s insane. But you definitely should spend evenings juggling if that’s what you’re into. Whatever that thing is that you don’t get to do because you’re too busy trying to scrape by, you need to do it.

Joseph Campbell says to follow your bliss. Find the thing that makes you feel more alive and do it. As often as you can. If you are one of those people who gets paid to follow your bliss, consider yourself amongst the most fortunate of humans. Most of us are not so fortunate. But trust me when I say, no matter how tired you feel at the end of the day, nothing can bring you back to life quite like following your bliss. I did it yesterday, and it was terrifying and beautiful.

I auditioned for one of my very favorite musicals, Cabaret. I’ve wanted to be in this show since I was 18. You see, dancing is my own true bliss. I’ve been doing it practically since birth. When life abruptly shoved me off my path to the stage, it took a lot of years before I found the confidence to ignore my fears and insecurities and audition for a show again. But once I was cast, I felt like I was home again.

I still spent a lot of time trying to talk myself out of this audition. I mean, I’m getting way too old for this. When it came time to dance, I was easily the oldest person by 10 years. But then I’d hear Joe whispering in my ear, “Follow your bliss,” and I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.

I’m not sure if I’ll get cast in this show, particularly because of a conflict which will be a great opportunity for my blog, another passion. I will be sorely disappointed, but at least I’ll never have to wonder. I took the risk. The rest is out of my hands. 

Maybe community theatre isn’t Broadway. I don’t care anymore. I’m doing the thing I love, and the size and scale have become irrelevant. People think it’s crazy when you show up at the office and tell them about dancing with a giant pretzel on your head, or you try to explain why you have to go to work today with finger waves in your hair. But I’m living my own life, not theirs. It makes me wildly happy.


Please, please, please, don’t give up on the thing that makes you wildly happy. Sometimes the path to it can be so shrouded, you hardly know it exists, but you just have to find it.You simply must. As much as we all need money to survive, it might not actually make the world go around. Find a way to squeeze some bliss into your reality. You will smile more, and fall in love with life every time. It can be frightening, but the risk, once taken, is well worth the reward.

Go be awesome. Take back your power. Follow your bliss and love life.

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