Monday, May 12, 2014

Real Life

Real life isn't glamorous or stylized like these lovely ladies. At least that's not my life. For example, I found a recipe for Tomatillo Ranch Chicken on Pinterest months ago that I actually thought I could attempt making. It's taken me a month to get all eight ingredients. Pathetic or amusing? I think it's both.

So tonight, after two previous grocery store trips and a Peapod delivery, I decided to finally make said chicken. And yes, I had to go to the grocery store for a third time because I'd forgotten to buy cilantro. Awesome. I'm just glad I escaped the rain storm or I might have just sat right down in the middle of the sidewalk and cried. Oh, and did I mention I made my chicken while wearing an old grubby sports bra and shorts because it's so dang hot? Talk about sexy.   

I live in the city and don't have a car, which means I only buy as many groceries as I can carry. Inevitably, I always forget at least two or three items on my list, even when I write things down. I'm single and live alone so I don't cook a new dish every night. And if I'm being honest, most of the time "cooking" involves warming up a frozen Trader Joe's entree (lately I've been loving the shepherd's pie, although you can never go wrong with the full fat mac & cheese) or making eggs with broccoli or a grilled cheese sandwich. On a good week, I'll make two different dishes and then alternate them for lunch and dinner. By the end of the week I vow to never make said dishes again for at least a month.

I don't know how food bloggers do it, let alone moms. My mom is a whiz in the kitchen and can make deliciousness out of nothing. I'm not quite that skilled. Perhaps my lack of regular, full-on cooking is to blame. But every time I try to expand my horizons I am faced with the scenario I opened with. Damn those ingredients.

So this is my life. It's never going to look like those glamorous girls eating donuts and cola. And that's ok. Real life is making half as many trips to the grocery store as there are ingredients in your recipe. This chicken better be worth it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom from Mr. Hastings

I would not be who I am or where I am today without the guidance and wisdom of my high school history teacher. Mr. Hastings continues to influence my education and personal development even though it's been 10 years since I sat in his classroom at Everett High School. He believed in me and recognized my potential. He understood my values and genuinely cared about my future.

In the classroom, Mr. Hastings prepared me for the rigors of college. I learned how to study, how to take tests, and how to write--all at a college level. My gen-ed courses were a breeze thanks to the study habits and learning techniques I adopted during Mr. Hastings' U.S. Government and Honors State History classes.

Although I excelled academically my freshman year of college, it was a difficult year for me personally. Health problems led me to withdraw shortly into my sophomore year. At 19, I found myself at the first major cross-roads of my newly earned adulthood status. I needed to change schools and my major. While I contemplated how to move forward, I remembered something Mr. Hastings told me my senior year. He said that whatever I chose to do with my life and for a profession, that I should never stop writing. I had a gift and I owed it to myself to cherish and develop that gift. With those words in mind, I turned to Mr. Hastings for advice and direction.

I was no longer his student, but Mr. Hastings took the time to meet with me in person to research potential colleges and program options. Together we charted a new course for my life. Because of his help, I chose to attend Utah State University and major in English with an emphasis in professional and technical writing. Attending USU was one of the happiest times in my life. I know I may never have gotten the opportunity to rediscover happiness and passion if it hadn't been for Mr. Hastings' guidance.

During the summer and holiday breaks that came while I pursued my bachelor's degree, Mr. Hastings and I would always get together for lunch to catch-up. Now faraway from my hometown, it's been a few years since I've seen him but he his wisdom still plays a role in my life. In a month, I'll graduate with my master's degree in journalism. I think that accomplishment would make him proud. Yesterday I had a personal essay published on a major website, which got a phenomenal response.When I doubt myself and my abilities, I often remember Mr. Hastings' words.

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. I know my life is only one of many Mr. Hastings has touched and influenced. He's the kind of teacher you don't forget. I am grateful for teacher's like him who take the time to get to know their students on an individual level and are invested in their success beyond the classroom.

Because of my teachers, my life has been forever changed. What teachers have inspired and influenced your life? Follow Webucator on Twitter for more great stories!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Dear Shonda Rhimes

Dear Shonda Rhimes,

Thank you for constructing a graceful exit, true to both Dr. Cristina Yang's character and journey. I wondered how #BurkeIsBack would play into Cristina's story. I gasped during the most recent episode, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, when Burke emerged from the shadows much like the beast in "Beauty & The Beast". Not all stories get to come back around, but I'm glad theirs did.

At the end of the day Cristina is the job. She lives to be a surgeon. Nothing else, not even love, takes greater precedent in her life. We've watched her struggle to make that choice over and over again for the past 10 seasons. Thus, it seems natural and right that given the opportunity to run a state-of-the-art heart institute, she would take it.

As you know, television shows are fickle. Unlike the writing of a novel, real people and their choices impact the telling of the story. Death seems to be the default choice when an actor decides to leave a show (even you, mastermind that you are, have chosen this fate for many a character on "Grey's Anatomy"). I understand that not everyone gets to be Matthew Weiner and kill a character off simply because that's how he intended the story to be told. And then there's poor Julianne Fellows, forced to kill off the beloved Matthew and ruin his masterpiece. Ah the injustice. 

I don't want Cristina to leave Grey's but since we have no choice in the matter, you could not have imagined a more perfect ending to her story. Well done, you TV-writing legend. You got it right.

Your Devoted Fan,


image via

Monday, May 5, 2014

Published on The Everygirl!

 I'm so excited and honored to have my writing published on The Everygirl today!

A few months ago after writing this post, Alaina contacted me about expanding the post into a feature-length piece. I was so touched that she reached out to me. My first summer in Chicago I had the chance to be among the first batch of Everygirl interns. It's always been a goal of mine to have a feature piece published on the site.

I wrote many drafts until I felt my essay accurately conveyed my feelings about being single. I couldn't have done it without the input and feedback of two dear friends, Sarah and Tasha. Thanks ladies for helping me figure out what I wanted to say and how to say it!

I hope this essay resonates with readers and helps someone in some small way.
"I don’t want to be alone but right now that’s my reality. Even though I’m uncertain about my future, I’ve learned to put my trust in hope rather than fear. My life is not the way I pictured it. I’ve had heartaches, successes, and adventures I would have never imagined. And even though I’m afraid of ending up alone, I know the fear won’t last forever. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel—I’m sure—it’s just further away and a different hue than I always expected." - Clarissa Fidler