Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Recipes: Summer Fruit Crisps

For the past few weekends, my mom and I have been doing some skill-swapping: she makes me my favorite summer fruit crisp, and I make her hers. Translation: we both get to eat two dishes we love while giving off the appearance of being very considerate and generous. Also, I should probably mention that, for my mom and me, “fruit crisp” is actually code for “Yes, I know this is technically a dessert but it has fruit in it so let’s just pretend it is actually a breakfast food”.

I wanted to share these recipes here since they are both pretty terrific, and I thought it may encourage someone to bake for a family member or friend. It will be the most selfless thing you do all week.

My Favorite: Nectarine Blueberry Crisp

This crisp is a perfect blend of sweetness and tartness, and verges on turning into brown sugar and fruit soup, which is probably why I love it so much.

View photo.JPG in slide show


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
Fruit Filling:
  • 1 1/2 pounds nectarines
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. To prepare topping: Mix the flour, sugars, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. 
  3. To prepare fruit filling: Pit the nectarines and cut into 1/3 - 1/2 inch-thick slices. Toss the nectarines n a bowl with the blueberries, sugar, and flour. Pour the fruit into a 9 or 10-inch square baking dish. 
  4. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit.
  5. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is browned and the juices are bubbling. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
My Mom's Favorite: Fresh Peach Pinwheels

This recipe is actually more of a combination of peach crisp and peach cobbler. You get the best of both worlds with a cinnamony-biscuit topping over crisped peaches. It was my mom’s favorite recipe when she was a kid, so her mom would make it for her all the time. And now I make it for her. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how she managed to go from having her mom make this for her, directly to having her daughter make this for her, without any kind of progression in between, but I’ve been working on a Jedi mind-control theory for awhile now.

View photo.JPG in slide show
Peach Mixture:
  • 3 1/2 cups sliced peaches
  • 3 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond, or vanilla, extract
Pinwheel Mixture:
  • 1 cup biscuit mix
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light cream
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
Pinwheel Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine peach mixture ingredients and pour into greased 9x13" baking pan, or ungreased casserole dish. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine together pinwheel mixture ingredients. Stir with fork to make a soft dough. 
  4. Turn dough onto floured board and knead 10 times. Roll into 6x9" inch rectangle. 
  5. Spread dough with 2 tablespoons soft butter, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. 
  6. Roll dough, as for jelly roll. Cut roll into ten slices. Lay pinwheel slices on top of peach mixture and bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until pinwheels are golden brown. 

Get out there and make one (or both) of these for dessert breakfast for someone else…and yourself.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Hurricane Survival Guide

DISCLAIMER: This survival guide should in no way replace the hurricane safety tips that are available and should be followed as the East Coast prepares for a doozie of a storm.
The purpose of this survival guide is to provide you with some tips on how to occupy your time spent sequestered indoors, and hopefully how to take your mind off the apparent end of the world (KIDDING, folks, kidding).

In the hope that a loss of power does not occur for the entire weekend, or longer (or if you are one of the lucky devils in the neighborhood near my house with underground power lines), select a few movies that you have been meaning to watch.


Better yet, break out a few of the classics.


Or catch up on some television shows that you are behind on.

Then, when you do lose power, but there is still daylight available, pick up a good book or two that you, again, have not had the t*%$ to read.


Or tackle that project you have been putting off for awhile. Par exemple, I plan on copying recipes into my new recipe book (yes, I’m 22, and I have my own recipe book, and I am darn proud of it), and furthering my progression on this:

You mean your first thought about the hurricane wasn't "Oh! I can knit my owl sweater!"? Mine neither.

There are lots of things you can do: organize your closet or desk, clean out all the dust bunnies, etc. I still remember my mom spending the day putting photos in albums when we were snowed-in during the Blizzard of ’96. But this time she has big plans to clean out our pantry. She’s a wild one.

Then, when nighttime comes and you are left with just flashlights and lanterns, here’s a novel idea: have a good old-fashioned chat with your family, friend, roommate, significant other, or whomever (I am also not opposed to the idea of having a heart-to-heart with yourself…just ask my car). I would also suggest playing a board game or two, but none of my board game opponents live in the same state as me. Damn you, Adulthood.

And last, but certainly not least, since many people own iPods, and most iPods have pretty good battery lives, put together a Hurricane Playlist. Or steal mine:

  1. Une Année Sans Lumière – Arcade Fire
  2. New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down – LCD Soundsystem
  3. Wheel in the Sky – Journey
  4. Shelter from the Storm – Bob Dylan
  5. I Feel the Earth Move – Carole King
  6. Hurricane – Something Corporate
  7. Chaos – MuteMath
  8. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan
  9. Treading Water – Nada Surf
  10. Octopuses’ Garden – The Beatles
  11. Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
  12. Hurricane Drunk – Florence + The Machine
  13. Buckets of Rain – Bob Dylan
  14. Rainy Day – Coldplay
  15. Baba O’Riley – The Who
  16. A Lack of Color – Death Cab for Cutie
  17. Blowin’ in the Wind – Bob Dylan
  18. Stormy Weather – Ella Fitzgerald

Oh, and we’ll probably want to be in prime shape when the apocalyptic zombies attack to either run away and/or fight them off, so maybe we should try to do some kick-boxing this weekend too?

But in all seriousness, hope everyone stays safe this weekend.

See you on the other side.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Very StarKid Post

About a year and a half ago I learned that there was a Harry Potter musical, called A Very Potter Musical, which had become a YouTube sensation. Um, a Harry Potter musical? I thought that only ever took place in my dreams?! But, *cough* I didn’t have enough time *cough*, I waited until the end of the summer in between summer studying and school to start watching it, and I instantly fell in love. Thus, another StarKid was born.

A Very Potter Musical is not your ordinary “boy is orphaned, boy lives under the stairs, boy learns he is a wizard and has to defeat the most powerful evil wizard of all time” story. This musical is bursting at the seams with humor, pop culture references, sarcasm, and geekdom (did I make that up?) galore.

Joey Richter as Ron, Darren Criss as Harry, and Bonnie Gruesen as Hermione in AVPM 

Harry is a total “bro”, Dumbledore has no problem being open about his sexuality (just ask Snape), and Draco rolls around on the floor with ambitions of going to Mars in a rocketship to attend Pigfarts. While watching, I burst out laughing so many times that my mom kept coming to check on me to make sure I was okay. You will never look at the Potter characters the same way again (anytime I watch one of the Harry Potter films, I am so darn disappointed that Draco isn’t rolling on the floor!).

Lauren Lopez as Draco Malfoy in AVPM

And if you couldn’t tell by the amount of humor and wit that is in the writing, then the songs will most certainly prove to you that these kids are damn talented! A Very Potter Musical was the brain child of a group of friends (one of whom is Darren Criss of Glee), now known as the theater company Team StarKid, during their senior year at the University of Michigan. If there is anything that can shame me into stop using “not having enough time” as an excuse for things, it is these guys. Writing words, music, and lyrics, building sets, rehearsing, and performing an entire musical on their own during, literally, their last few weeks of college? Way to make the rest of us look bad guys! Not only that, but Team Starkid continues to write and perform original shows and scores, including, A Very Potter Sequel (prequel to A Very Potter Musical), Me and My Dick, and, most recently, Starship (“Damn that G.L.E.E.! They’re always making twisted abominations of everything!”).

Team StarKid, based in Chicago, is able to continue to put on shows, primarily, as a result of the huge fan base that has grown as a result of AVPM, and which is affectionately known as “StarKids”. Honestly, I don’t think the fans would LET these guys stop writing shows even if they wanted to! Tickets for shows and events literally sell out in minutes, and Team StarKid merchandise can barely be kept in stock (although I managed to snag myself a pair of totally awesome blue StarKid sunglasses!).


I am also happy to say that I have made some small contributions to this fandom by insisting that all of my friends watch AVPM until they have now become as infatuated as I am. Proof of point: my friends and I spent the majority of our spring break at the beach quoting AVPM and rolling around talking about rocketships (and for those of you who may not know us that well…we were sober). In fact, there may, or may not, be a video of me rolling on the floor one morning in my pajamas asking for a rocketship. You will never know for sure. But, despite this success of corrupting my friends, I will not rest until I bring everyone I know down with me. And if you are reading this, that now includes you.

Joseph Walker as Prof. Umbridge in a A Very Potter Sequel

So go watch the shows on YouTube, listen to the songs on iTunes or Bandcamp, or check out their supermegafoxyawesomehot (had to throw that in somewhere) merchandise.

But if you are still unconvinced that Team StarKid is totally awesome, then take a look at all of the talent that this group has to offer in addition to their production company. Darren Criss, who plays Harry Potter and wrote the entire scores for AVPS and Starship, is the most publicly-visible member due to his shot to Glee-fame, but in addition to his Glee role, he is one swoon-worthy musician (and my kindred spirit in awkwardness). Joe Moses (an extremely loveable, yet creepy, Snape) performs one-man comedy shows in New York. Nick and Matt Lang, the chief writers for Team StarKid recently illustrated The Bully Book. Then, there is also Lauren Lopez (a.k.a. my hero), Joey Richter, Joe Walker, Dylan Saunders, and so many others, all who never cease to astonish me with their vocal and acting abilities. Sometimes I wonder if the Galactic League of Extraterrestrial Exploration discovered these guys on Talented-Beyond-Measure Planet (that’s only a few light-years away from Farm Planet) and brought them to Earth to spread the delight.

If you were completely lost by that last sentence, then go watch this.

Guess what? Now that I have some free time, I plan on watching all of the StarKid productions all over again!

If you haven’t heard from me in awhile, I either died of laughter, or I FINALLY found a rocketship and went away to Pigfarts.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mad (Mad, I Tell You, Mad!) Men

I have only ever heard good things about the television show Mad Men. But I had never watched it, mainly because I knew that in order to start, I would have to catch up on a few seasons, and I didn’t have enough, you guessed it, time.


My brother recently began to catch up on all the episodes of Mad Men at the encouragement of his girlfriend, and they both encouraged me to take it up as well. Since the three of us share a deep obsession love for LOST, I trust their judgment when it comes to this kind of thing. But I still had the problem of trying to watch four seasons of Mad Men without having to buy them or have them clog up my Netflix queue (yeah, yeah, I know, what a terrible dilemma).

Netflix Instant to the rescue: all four seasons just became available for instant streaming. Plus, the fifth season does not begin until spring, giving me ample time to catch up.

Turns out, I don’t need all that time. I began my foray into the 1960’s Madison Avenue advertising world exactly one week ago and I already have season 1 and most of season 2 under my belt (let me just say, before you think that I am completely bonkers, that there are “only” thirteen episodes per season). I think it is safe to say that I have officially been won over by Mad Men.

It certainly is not hard to be won over by this show though. It presents a very realistic and fascinating peek into the way society functioned in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s. In their world, no one blinks an eye at a pregnant woman smoking and drinking, the men drink at work starting around noon, and it is rare for a woman to be anything other than a housewife or secretary. Yet, all of these fascinating and provocative tidbits are just on the surface. When you look deeper, you find complex, multifaceted characters.

There is no character on this show that I completely like (except for Bobby Draper…I would adopt him if I could), and no one that I completely dislike. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses about them; they are all flawed. Translation: they are all human (gasp!). I forget that I am watching actors play their roles, instead I often feel like I am spying on others’ lives. And that, my friends, is the make of great acting, on a great show.

This love-hate relationship is particularly true for the infamous Don Draper. I find myself routing for him one second, and then hating him the next. Yet, even while I am routing against him, I feel sorry for him. I think many people are a product of their upbringing and their environment, and I think this is painfully true for many of these characters, but especially for Don Draper. I’m looking forward to learning more of the intricacies of his character.

Next to Don Draper, I think the most complex and intriguing character is his wife, Betty Draper. It is the same situation of love-hate in which my heart aches for her, as she seems to be on the edge of a complete nervous breakdown, and then the next second I am deterred by her moments of shallowness.

Yet, her character is the epitome of what I love most about this show. It is a constant reminder to me to be grateful that I live in a time when it is commonplace for women to go to med school and getting married doesn’t mean that you have to stay at home and have dinner ready on the table when your husband gets home.

As much as I enjoy getting a glimpse into this world, I appreciate that I don’t actually have to live in it. Except for the clothes, I wouldn’t mind getting to wear some of those clothes.

Betty Draper, Joan Holloway, Peggy Olson in Mad Men

Don't worry! After watching Mad Men, I would still pick scrubs over an apron (but I do love a good apron)!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Soundtrack: Rainy Day Playlist

I love rainy days.

Probably more than sunny days. But not more than sunsets and sunrises.

Today is another rainy day in a small string of them, so wanted to share my Rainy Day Playlist that I always listen to on days like today.

  1. Rain - Priscilla Ahn
  2. Stormy Weather - Ella Fitzgerald
  3. Platano - Cassino
  4. The Chain - Ingrid Michaelson
  5. Make You Feel My Love - Adele
  6. All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem
  7. That's All - Nat King Cole
  8. Brothers on a Hotel Bed - Death Cab for Cutie
  9. I'll Be Seeing You - Billie Holiday
  10. Infinite Arms - Band of Horses
  11. Fly Me to the Moon - Frank Sinatra
  12. Save Your Scissors - City and Colour
  13. Hometown Glory - Adele
  14. Don't Think Twice It's Alright - Bob Dylan
  15. View From Heaven - Yellowcard
  16. Embraceable You - Ella Fitzgerald
  17. Dream - Priscilla Ahn
  18. I'll Follow the Sun - The Beatles
  19. Control Freak - Copeland
  20. Videotape - Radiohead
What do you listen to on a rainy day?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Websites: The Celebrity Edition

The number of webpages on the internet is staggering, and while a lot of those websites are complete rubbish, I have also found some pretty amazing (and addicting) sites during my travels through the world-wide web. And as my friend Alex can attest, I enjoy sharing my finds with others in order to spread the addiction enjoyment, so expect several of these types of posts.

Here are three of my, recently-discovered, favorite sites, all of which happen to be founded, or co-founded, by celebrities.

I have already confessed to my love of Zooey Deschanel so you can imagine that I was pretty stoked when I encountered HelloGiggles.
Founded by actress/musician Zooey Deschanel, producer Sophia Rossi and writer/Internet Sensation Molly McAleer, is the ultimate entertainment destination for smart, independent and creative females. Everything hosted on the site will be lady-friendly, so visitors need not worry about finding the standard Boys Club content that makes many entertainment sites unappealing to so many of us.”
A website filled to the brim with articles, reviews, etc. written by many talented, funny, and intelligent women? Yes, please! Visiting this site makes me feel like I’m reading stories from all of my long-lost friends as opposed to it being “just another entertainment website”. I think that everyone can find something on here that will bring a giggle to their lips, from video-chat karaoke, to reliving all the episodes of Saved by the Bell. Heck, these kickass women can put a smile on your face even while touching on more serious issues. It’s also where I happened to discover the previously blogged about Brother/Sister. Oh, and they are all for revisiting aspects from their childhoods, which is right up my alley. So head on over to say “hello” and share in a giggle or two.


If you are a fan of Zooey Deschanel, then it’s kind of an unspoken rule that you also like Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And if that is not the case, then you are not human in my opinion. Plus, how can you not love a guy that would come up with something like this:

HITRECORD.ORG is a project I started almost five years ago now, and in 2010, we evolved into a professional open collaborative production company. We create and develop art and media collaboratively here on our site. So rather than just exhibiting and admiring each other's work as isolated individuals, we gather here to collectively work on projects together. Videos, writing, photography, music, anything -- we call them all RECords.”

Since I do not consider myself to be very talented, I have not officially joined this site and collaborated, but I enjoy going on and browsing through all the different RECords. So far, my favorite things to browse are the snippets of poetry, or “mini-stories”, and then seeing the illustrations that people have suggested to go along with the text. If you do not feel like going on the site and browsing through tons of RECords, then maybe try this instead:
Let me just say that the amount and caliber of talent that is out there in the world is truly incredible and is one endless web of talent and collaboration, one that you have to experience for yourself.

Am I the only person who thinks that Gwyneth Paltrow is pretty much perfection personified? Is there anything that this gorgeous, multi-talented woman CAN’T do? Because of this, if someone were to say to me: “Would you like to receive weekly advice, recipes, and suggestions from Gwyneth Paltrow?”, I would say: “Where do I sign up?”

Oh…right here!

Goop is a newsletter that will usually come once a week. I will be sharing recipes, my personal travel notes, the advice that I get and follow, and so much more. GOOP is constantly evolving- I'm excited to have you join us.”

The topics for each newsletter consist of suggestions and thoughts on what to Make, Get, Do, Be, See, or where to Go, from how to put together the perfect cheeseboard, to ways to relieve stress.
While all past newsletters are nicely cataloged on the website for easy reference, it is nice to know that you don’t have to go looking for new information since it just shows up in your inbox! I can’t wait to try out some of these recipes and read more of her travel notes!

Hopefully, if you are reading this, you will enjoy one, two or all three of these sites. Or maybe you think I’m behind, if so, let me know what websites you think I may be missing out on.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Soundtrack: "Muppets: The Green Album"

It isn’t easy being green.
But it just became a lot cooler.

Growing up, The Muppets were considered a staple in my house (at least to me and my brothers). I’ve followed these guys from the nursery…


…to the stage,

From the wonderful…

…to the not so wonderful.

I could go on for hours about how much I love all of the wonderfully unique characters that have emerged from The Muppets, but that is not the topic of this post so I will refrain from doing so. But you can imagine that when I heard that Disney was coming out with a new Muppets’ film for the first time in over a decade, I was happier than a frog in a swamp.

Then, when I learned that as part of the promotion for the film, an album would be released featuring popular Muppet songs covered by some of my favorite artists, well, I could hardly contain my excitement.

“Muppets: The Green Album” ranges from heartfelt and sentimental, to fun and unique. My favorite on the sentimental side of things, is “The Rainbow Connection”, a tremendous song in the first place, is featured as a duet with Weezer and Hayley Williams. Listening to this song made me feel like a kid again, that I still have all the time in the world to grow up. My favorite of the more upbeat songs is The Fray’s version of “Mahna Mahna”. I never thought I would get to say “The Fray’s version of “Mahna Mahna” in a sentence so that in itself is awesome. This unexpected little number will have you smiling and tapping your toes while reminiscing about The Snowths. Other highlights for me include My Morning Jacket’s cover of “Our World”, Alkaline Trio’s “Movin’ Right Along”, and Rachael Yamagata’s “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday”.

The thing that I love the most about this album is that it brings The Muppets, something so beloved from my childhood (and to this day), into the “adult world” in such a perfectly balanced way. There seems to be a recent trend of introducing characters from my generation’s childhood to kids today (Example: Smurfs). I think this is wonderful, but what I love about the idea of the new Muppets movie and this album is that it is introducing these beloved characters to new generations while simultaneously targeting the generations that knew them the best and loved them the most. To me, “The Green Album” is another way that I can incorporate my childhood into my adult life. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

So, whether you are a new or old friend of The Muppets, I recommend picking up a copy of “Muppets: The Green Album” on August 23. Or, if you are like me, and you really can not wait, head over here to stream the entire album for free.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Soundtrack: Brother/Sister

Despite the name of their indie-band, the members of Brother/Sister are, in fact, not related, unless you count a friendship that dates back to the sandbox. But a lack of blood-relation sure does not prevent this duo from packing a fervent punch that will stay in your veins after listening to their songs.

Their entirely self-recorded (could have fooled me!) EP, entitled The Accidental Zoo, features three songs that will have you dreaming up images of surfing California waters back in the 60's. Or maybe that's just me. Either way, these songs have a retro vibe that gets me every time. 

Do you want to know the best part? The Accidental Zoo can currently be downloaded for free over at Bandcamp! Although, if you have the means, I encourage you to pay the few dollars it costs to help support these guys. You won't regret it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Say Yes! But, Uh, Only If You Really Want To...

Last night I had the pleasure of watching the 2008 movie "Yes Man" for the first time.

I know that I'm probably the one that is a bit behind on the times, but for those of you may not know (Mom, I'm looking at you), this movie stars Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel and consists of Jim Carrey's character saying "Yes" to every single proposition that comes his way in an attempt to get his life back into gear. As you can imagine, this results in him getting himself into quite a few pickles but he also has some pretty terrific adventures, like learning to fly a plane and meeting one heck of a moped-riding songwriter/running photographer.

The film is actually based on the book, of the same title, by British comedian Danny Wallace. It recounts six months that he spent "saying Yes where once I would have said No" in order to be more positive and put some spice back into his life.

I don't know about you, but I am kind of in love this idea. How many times in our lives do we say "No" to something simply out of fear? Then, after the fact, you regret not agreeing to whatever it was that you turned down. How many adventures have I missed out on because of this?

However, let me counter this by saying that I am also a recent fan of the "No Movement". While I have missed out on things in the past as a result of saying "No", there have also been too many times in my life when I have said "Yes" to people when I really did not want to. Look up the definition of "people-pleaser to a fault", and you will find a picture of me. Bottom-line: don't say "No" to something out of fear, but more importantly, don't say "Yes" out of fear either.

I think there is a lovely balance to the "Yes Movement" and the "No Movement". Zooey Deschanel's (also, let me just confess, here and now, that I have huge crush on her in a I-really-really-wish-you-were-my-best-friend kind of way) character explains it best with the line: "The world's a playground. You know that when you are a kid, but somewhere along the way everyone forgets it."

Think about it, as kids, decision-making consists mainly of "Am I going to have fun doing this?" rather than "Do I have time for this? Do I have enough money? Is this the responsible thing to do? Will someone get mad at me?" Thus, I think it may be time to remember again how "the world's a playground".

Ready for the take-away message?

Do what you want to do. Not anyone else. But try to surprise yourself once in awhile by going out of your comfort-zone. Life is too short to not go out and play on the playground every now and then.

So the mission for the week, yours and mine (should we choose to accept it), is to say "Yes" to something that we may not normally would have. But only if it is what you really want.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My New Year

Here I am, making my first big step into the wide-world of blogs! I have enjoyed reading several blogs in particular over the years, and I even wrote a temporary blog to document some time I spent abroad last summer, but this will be my first real attempt at making a contribution to the blog-o-sphere.

I have toyed with the idea of writing a blog in the past but the issue of time always prevented me.
Time and I have a long-standing, complicated relationship. In my opinion, Time has always been extremely stingy and needy with me. Although the real culprit here may in fact have been school and my own masochistic, over-achieving need to constantly study and overload on courses. I have even spent my past few summers taking classes and working. Basically, school has always been my excuse for not having time to do certain things.

It is likely that I would have kept myself in this cycle for several more years since I had planned on going to medical school as soon as I graduated from college (which I did in May!), however, I encountered a few bumps in my road (as we all tend to) that have caused me to take a slight detour from my original path. I still have every intention of going to med school and becoming a doctor, it's just going to take a little bit longer than I originally had planned.

I have both some negative and some positive perspectives on this state-of-affairs:

The Negative
  1. It kind of freaks me out when things don't go according to plan (My name is Mandy, and I have a Type-A personality). Don't get me wrong, I can hang pretty well with you spontaneous folk out there, but when it comes to long-term goals, I need a plan. So when plans have to change and I have to readjust, I tend to get a little lost and scared.
  2. Studying has always been my security blanket. It's a good distraction. It's safe. Plus, I'm a total nerd. I can not honestly remember the last time I had absolutely nothing to study for. My studying career has pretty much been a long stream of college courses, MCAT studying, summer college courses, high school classes, even summer work in high school. Imagine my shock and dismay (remember, I don't adjust to change very well) now that my safety blanket has been torn away from me (some of you out there probably think I am off my rocker for being upset that I can't study anymore, but to each his own I say!). What do I do now? Well, this is where the positives come in.
The Positive
  1. Dude, I actually have time to do all of the things that I have been wanting to do for so many years! I can bake and experiment with cooking to my heart's content, I can go to concerts and shows (funds permitting of course), I can finally put dents in my queues of knitting projects, movies to watch, books to read (Golly! I can read books for fun again!), and television shows to watch, and I can spend more time with my family and friends. I can even try my hand at new things! AND, I now have the time to write a blog where I can document all of my new adventures.
  2. But the thing I am most excited about having the time to do? Traveling and exploring. I am such a sucker for any form of travel, whether it be a road trip to a new state or backpacking around Europe, solo or with family and friends, I am gamer than game. So, it is probably a very good thing to attempt to get a bit of my extreme wanderlust out of my system before I start on the long doctor-path.
  3. Honestly? There's a good chance I would have burned myself out had I kept going at the pace I was. Sometimes, we need someone or something to slow us down because we can't see just how fast we really are going. I know that I need this time off, I was just too stubborn to admit it until I had to.
As you can see, there are more positives than there are negatives, but I definitely still struggle on a daily basis with the negatives. Yet, I am doing my best to overcome this struggle by keeping those positive outlooks. There are two quotes that I believe can sum this up (Get used to this because I am a fan of quotes. And parentheses):
"We must let go of the life we planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us" - Joseph Campbell

"Don't wear fear or no one will know you're there. You're there."
- Cat Stevens

This blog is my (small) attempt at letting go of the year I had planned, accepting my new one, and at being a little more "there".

I hope some of you out there will join me in my new year as I finally take the time to explore new places, music, projects, recipes, movies, books, and oodles more.