Be Awesome: Make a Comeback

downtown

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.

A Dozen Awesome Labor Day Party Recipes

A Dozen Awesome Labor Day Recipes

A Dozen Awesome Labor Day Party Recipes

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be more excited to be looking down the barrel of this long weekend. And I get a bonus fourth day off since I’ll be starting my new job on Wednesday!!!!! I can’t wait. I’ve got a little shopping planned, and I just found out we’re going to a bbq on the beach on Sunday. 

I hope you have some relaxing with friends planned for this final hurrah of summer. For me, there’s really no point to a party if there’s not great food. Make any of these, and I’m pretty sure everyone will love you.

Awesome Party Snacks

 

Show up anywhere with a plate of jalapeno deviled eggs and you are instantly hip. Retro deliciousness!

You’ll have to race my husband to the bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. He might not leave you any. We brought these to our last bbq on the beach. They didn’t last long.

I think this time it looks like we’re going to show up with sausage rolls. Who else will think to bring British food to such an American holiday?

Awesome Party Burgers

 

You have to have burgers at a bbq. Here’s a great basic burger recipe.

Or you can spice things up with Spicy Southwest Burgers. Get excited! We’ve made both of these at the beach. What else is there?

Awesome Party Salads

And I suppose you should serve something to go along side your burgers. That’s what grown ups do. Keep it traditional but fabulous with this dill potato salad.

Or if you’re diggin’ that spicy action, keep it hot with Southwest Pasta Salad. We make this for almost every picnic.

Passion Fruit Green Tea from Awesome on 20

It’s going to be hot so you’re going to need a giant jug of sweet tea. Make it tropical with passion fruit green tea. And spike it with vodka. It’s a holiday.

Awesome Party Desserts

 

Of course, if you want to be a real labor day hero, show up with a bottle of booze and dessert. Bring giant chocolate chip cookies and everybody will be your best friend.

Caramel swirl cheesecake bars travel well, and are pretty much heaven to eat.

If you love the summery citrusy flavor of lemon, and you want to show some extra love to your gluten-free friends, take along this lemon polenta cake. Not only does it taste amazing, but since it’s unfrosted, you don’t have to worry about anything melting.

And seriously, make someone’s day extra super awesome by making these orange cream cheese swirl brownies. I cannot urge you vehemently enough. Just do it. You can thank me later.

And if you are lucky enough to get Monday off from work, take a moment out of your feasting and relaxing to give thanks to all the people who fought so hard for things many of us take for granted, like a weekend. That hasn’t always been a thing. Even if you’re like me and you have a very unglamorous, low-paying job, you’re still much better off than workers a hundred years ago.  And if you’re interacting with someone who isn’t fortunate enough to get this holiday, for heaven’s sake, be extra nice to them. They’re serving you on a holiday. Make it as special for them as you can.

Happy feasting! Don’t forget to be awesome!

 

 

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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