Be Awesome: Stay on the Path

Be Awesome: Stay on the Path

You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t stay on the path. Life may try to lead you astray or take unexpected turns. Don’t worry, it’ll be awesome.

Today is my mom’s birthday. She would have been 59 this year. I often wish she was here to cheer me on in my quest to become a professional food blogger. Bloggers always talk about when they were starting out and the only person reading their blog was their mom. Mine passed away four years before this blog was started, but I think she would have liked it.

While I would desperately love to have her back, I literally would not be where I am today if she hadn’t died from a brain tumor. It was the bit of money I got from her life insurance that allowed me to move to Taiwan. It was that money that allowed me to meet the my husband. I can draw a direct line from her passing to where I am sitting right now. I know none of this would have happened otherwise.

The paths of our lives are so winding, so complicated, so unpredictable. There’s simply no way to know the long term consequences of our actions from day to day.

I’ve taken a lot of twists and turns in my life. I’ve made plans that have gone so horribly off the rails, I almost lost track of who I was. I eventually managed to build something stable, though. A nice normal life that lots of people would envy. So, to have a new career goal at my age seems foolish most days. Why can’t I just be content with my 9 to 5 government job with good benefits? Why do I want to change my whole life?

I don’t know the answer, but when I close my eyes and envision my path forward, I see myself owning my own business. I see myself working from home creating recipes and sharing them with the world. Maybe I see myself baking treats for people, and I see the joy that brings them. I see myself having the freedom to travel with the people I love. I see myself helping others find the courage to choose their own path and stay on it.

In reality, this path is still unclear. I have no idea how I’m going to achieve all this. But there was a point in my life where I never could have imagined I would be where I am now. Keep working, keep learning, keep trying. That’s all there is.

There’s no way to know if what I’m doing right now will actually lead me to where I want to be. So much has happened to me that I couldn’t have planned or predicted. I do actually have a crystal ball, but I haven’t figured out how to get it to show my future yet. All I can do is stay on the path and believe that what I want will come to me somehow.

Awesome at 40 | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Awesome at 40

It’s my 41st birthday, friends. I’ve been in my 40’s for a whole year now. Have I gained any wisdom? I don’t know, but I’ve certainly learned a few things. Turns out, being 40 is actually pretty awesome.

Awesome at 40 | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

For most of my 39th year, I fretted about turning 40. My mom died when she was only 48, so it felt entirely possible that the end of my life could be approaching. Having a 4 at the start of your age seemed so much older than a 3. People still accomplish things in their 30s. People in their 40s are supposed to be settled, stable, normal.

I didn’t really feel like any of those things. My job, while decent, was a dead end. I felt broke all the time. I worried that being 40 would change things. Turns out, like most things I worried about, it was no big deal.

On being 40

Considering the fact that when I was 30 I completely blew up my life, I guess I actually was pretty settled and stable at 40. I’m married to a man who absolutely treasures me. He’s someone I definitely wouldn’t want to live without. I have confidence in my relationship, and I know how special that is.

I know myself better than I ever have before. I’ve set boundaries around my life and my energy that serve me and allow me to sleep at night. And while I have yet to completely break the habit of stressing about money, I actually feel like we’ll be okay financially. That’s a big deal.

And now that I feel all stable and settled, I can finally start thinking about what makes me feel most fulfilled. I’ve developed a spiritual practice that was completely absent for most of my 30s. I’ve realized it’s actually fine to focus on myself. And guess what. I’m much happier.

Old Lady Advice

Most of my friends are much younger than me, and I find myself constantly giving them lots of unsolicited “old lady” advice. Here are a few things I wish I had known when I was younger.

  • It’s okay to say no, even at work. Protect your energy. Energy is everything.
  • If you’re not getting paid, don’t work late. Your energy and expertise have value, and you should be compensated for them.
  • Just go to dance class. You can probably still keep up with those college kids, and even if you can’t, who cares.
  • It will always feel awesome when someone says you look 27.
  • Wear sunscreen every damn day.
  • Getting carded at the bar eventually just becomes annoying.
  • If you want to change something in your life, just do it. You don’t need anyone’s permission.
  • With a few exceptions, you’re never too old to start something new.
  • Going to bed early with a stack of books is actually what all the cool kids are doing.
  • Napping is the new black.
  • Find the thing that makes you feel connected to the Universe. If that thing happens to be witchcraft, even cooler.
  • Consider an item’s value and cost, not just its price. Buy things you love that will last.
  • Don’t waste your time on people who don’t respect you. Be polite, but don’t be a pushover.
  • Always keep ice cream in your freezer.
  • Most of the things you are worrying about right now are no big deal. Let it go.
  • You’re going to make mistakes. Apologize, and most importantly, forgive yourself.
  • You don’t need to do anything to be enough. You are already enough.

Beyond 40

I’ve enjoyed being 40, and I’m excited to see what I can accomplish in the next 10 years. I know who I am and what I want, and I’m less and less hungry for approval with every passing year. Yeah, I have some wrinkles, and I can’t move as quickly as I used to. It’s worth it to know that I am worthy of love. It may have taken me longer than some other people to get where I’ve gotten in life, but what I’ve learned at 40 is that it takes as long as it takes.

It’s a kinder, gentler world at 40. I’m loving it, despite the previous fretting. Aging is a privilege denied to many. I plan to do my best to enjoy every day. I hope you do, too.

Be Awesome: Just Decide

What’s the first step in changing your life? It’s something so simple and simultaneously so complex, but I promise, you can do it.

Be Awesome: Just Decide

There are a million little things that we let stand between us and the life of our dreams. Money. Relationships. Timing. A lack of skill, talent, or knowledge. A bunch of excuses for why something will never work. When you distill it down and remove all the bullshit, you’re left with something simple. You don’t believe it will work because you don’t believe in yourself.

You know that moment when you realize the number one barrier between you and your goal or dream is your own damn self? That! That is everything. It took me along time to finally see it, but I don’t want you to have to wait another day.

Be Awesome: Just Decide

I’ve recently come to realize that the number one most crucial first step in starting any new big project is to just decide to do it. To intentionally make a decision to change your life. Not to just wish and hope, but decide and act.

You’re thinking, “well, d’uh!” but ask yourself, how many times have you let an opportunity pass you by because you just weren’t willing to believe in yourself and make the commitment? You might have given a different reason. I can’t afford it or it’s not a good time. But were those really just excuses? They were for me.

I’ve been writing this blog off and on for six years, and it wasn’t until last month that I finally decided. Now is the time to change my life. I’m worth it. I deserve to be happy, and I don’t have to apologize for feeling that way. And neither do you.

So, what do you want? What do you really want for your life? Not what do you think you should want. Not what do you think you can reasonably get. How do you want to design your life so that you feel outrageously happy? Allow yourself to sit with that question. See it in your mind. Feel it. Write it down or speak it out loud.

If all this is easy for you, if you’ve already got it all figured out, I take my hat off to you. For me, this process has been difficult, even scary. There were actual tears. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be happy. I told myself that living your dream life is for other people. Rich people. Lucky people… Good people. Not for me.

Truly accepting that I am a good person who deserves to be happy was a revelation. Something I’d denied for the past 20 years.

But I’ve decided. I’m changing my life. It’ still terrifying, but in the most exciting way. And I’m so far from having all the answers. I don’t yet know how I’m finally going to start making money off my blog. I’ll figure it out. Other people have done it, and I can, too. It will be hard work, but I’ve done the most important thing. I’ve decided to show up and do the work.

Be Awesome: Just Decide

So let’s take this journey together, friends. Let’s build the lives we truly want. Let’s start now and not waste another moment envying someone else’s life. You deserve it because you are awesome.

Hold That Thought | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Hold That Thought

Thoughts and feelings are swirling right now, friends, and I’ve made some decisions. The past few years, I’ve been really inconsistent and non-committal with this blog. I didn’t give it the energy that it really needed to be properly nourished.

In the past I’ve taken long, unplanned breaks because I just didn’t feel like I had anything to say. This is different.

I wanted to let you know that I’m taking a planned, totally intentional, and completely focused break this time. There won’t be any new posts here for a couple of weeks at least. In the meantime, we’ll be doing a bit of tidying up in this space. Cleansing. Renewal.

I’m still sorting through exactly what that will look like, both literally and figuratively. Some archived recipes might disappear from the feed to give us a fresh start. Or not because you can’t erase your past. Renewal is a process, and I’m still working through it.

What I do know is that I’m committed. I want to have my own business someday, and I feel like this blog could be the key that unlocks that door, or maybe even the door itself. We’re making things happen, friends. Come along for the ride.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your feedback. What kind of content do you most enjoy? What else would you be open to reading about? Where do you like to hang out on social media? Leave a comment and let me know.

I hope those of you who read this blog will stick with me. If you visit and things look a bit wonky, extend a little patience and know that it will all pay off. I’m here for it all. It’s gonna be awesome.

Awesome in December

Awesome in December

Awesome in December

December is so jam packed with awesomeness it’s almost hard to take. My favorite thing about this December was that I got to spend my birthday with my daughter for the first time a long time. It made turning 39 much less harsh. The burgers and milkshakes from Five Guys didn’t hurt the day, either.

The weather has been unforgiving which is a perfect excuse to drink all the hot chocolate. We visited the Christmas market, took in the lights, and spent lots of time at home cooking, eating, and watching all the latest Golden Globe nominees.

Santa brought me three new Nigella Lawson books this year, and I’m so excited to read every single word. So many new treats coming your way!

Food blogs were absolutely out of control with unbelievable holiday food this month. It was practically raining pomegranates out there.

I’m dying to try these Baked Brie and Prosciutto Rolls. Anything filled with cheese goes n my must eat list.

These Overnight Chai Spice Sweet Rolls seem absolutely dreamy. Why did I marry someone who hates cinnamon?

This White Christmas Sparkle Cake is absolutely gorgeous. 

Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Your favorite recipes this month were Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail, Whipped Ricotta, and the Brown Elephant Cocktail. Sounds like a swanky cocktail party. Count me in.

January is a time for new beginnings. Let’s make it more awesome than ever.



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