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Strain then Stir (Episode 3): How to be Ingredient Conscious (Part 2)

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Strain Then Stir, a no-cameras, diary-esque cooking show blog where I attempt to transform myself from a two-meal Tina into a full course Frank…or at the very least, be capable of feeding myself more than cereal and pasta.

It has been quite a while since our last episode, though I suppose I have the holidays (and blunt procrastination) to blame for that. It always seems like the beginning of November turns into the beginning of January in the blink of an eye, doesn’t it?

If you remember last episode at all—don’t feel bad if you don’t, I had to go back and look because I had absolutely no idea—you’ll recall I talked about being ingredient conscious, which was essentially just me learning to better utilize leftover ingredients rather than letting them go to waste. Going back and reading it, I was a little disappointed in myself for not including some actual recipes I was using. So in the hopes of making up for that, I’ve brought some today!

In these last few months, I again noticed that my pantry and refrigerator were starting to pile up with ingredients that weren’t being used and were just sitting there taking up space. Eventually I got tired of looking at them and I went on a mission to start using them all.

Here are some recipes I found to help:

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Leftover Ingredient: Bananas

Recipe: Banana Bread

Have you ever bought bananas, brought them home, eaten 1 or 2 and then totally forgotten about them until they are brown and gross? Yeah, that’s me almost 100% of the time I buy bananas. Luckily, banana bread thrives on overripe bananas, and acts as a haven for your forgetfulness. I came across this recipe about a month ago when I was on the verge of throwing my bananas away, and it was so delicious, I will never again commit such a crime! (Find the recipe here!)

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HT_Chrissy_Teigen5_cf_160226_4x3t_384Leftover Ingredient: Sweet Potatoes

Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I also happen to be guilty of buying sweet potatoes and forgetting about them until they’ve grown vines and look more like a monster than a food. In my last post, I talked about using sweet potatoes in an omelet, which was great, but this recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook is to die for. (Find the recipe here, find her cookbook here)

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Leftover Ingredient: Brown Rice & Frozen Veggies

Recipe: Rice Bowls

Whenever I go grocery shopping I like to buy brown rice and frozen vegetables in bulk, figuring the combination of the two is always an easy and healthy option. The only problem is, after a while rice and vegetables can get a little bland. An easy solution I’ve found for this however, is to:

a) Get more creative with my rice bowls, for example, you can check out a bunch of recipes here and here.

b) Add more flavor to my rice bowls. Growing up I was never much of a spice person. I’ve always been super sensitive to spicy foods and as a result tend to shy away from almost all spices. Recently however, I’ve been trying to ease in different herbs and spices to—wait for it—spice up my life a little bit, and let me tell you, it’s been life changing! (Check out this article for 15 easy ways to spice up brown rice) 

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p_R103186Leftover Ingredient: Cannellini Beans

Recipe: White Bean & Tuna Wraps

When I was working my way through Kayla Itsines’ book in the first episode, I bought a couple cans of cannellini beans for one recipe or another but then completely forgot about them. As a result, they were sitting in my pantry for months! My biggest issue with finding a recipe home for these guys was that I wasn’t exactly sure what they were or what they tasted like, and oftentimes when I’m making dinner, I’m too hungry or lazy to do that kind of research. But in the spirit of cleaning out my pantry, I finally took the 2 minutes to google “cannellini bean recipes” and I came across this bad boy. Honestly, I’m mad it took me this long to find it. (Find the recipe here)

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Over the next month or two I’m hoping to dive into another cookbook and find some new recipes to learn. If I were to sum up what I’ve learned so far in only two words, I’d say, who knew?! because it seems like the farther I go into this journey, the more I’m finding that is always something else to know.

You Won’t Win Unless You’re Willing to Lose

In October of 2017, as he was training for the 2018 Winter Olympics, Shaun White had a horrible crash that resulted in 62 stitches in his face. In an interview a few months later, he was asked whether the crash gave him doubts about his ability or willingness to continue, especially in pursuit of a spot on the Olympic team. He nodded his head, saying that while he looked in the mirror at his nearly unrecognizable face, he realized that by agreeing to continue, agreeing to step back out there and try again, he was more or less accepting that this could happen all over again.

At first, this statement seemed obvious to me. Being a complete outsider to the sport, the corresponding danger is constantly at the forefront of my attention. I mean, they are literally throwing themselves through the air, flipping and spinning and twisting at high speeds, all the while hoping they’ll land flat on a thin piece of fiberglass. With that in mind, of course it could happen again, Shaun! Honestly it seems like it should happen more.

But as the weeks went on and the Olympics came and went, the quote sat with me, churning around in my brain the way all lessons waiting to be learned tend to. Eventually I started thinking about the risks I take in my own life. Both small and big. I thought about my writing, both on this blog and outside it in pursuit of other projects, accolades, etc. Every time I write a blog post, I accept the fact that people might not like it, or that it might not do well. Every time I submit a piece to a contest or a magazine or a publisher, I accept the fact that it might lose or get rejected. Every time I try to succeed, I accept the fact I can fail.

After a while, I realized this mindset can apply to almost every aspect of our lives.

In relationships, every time you make yourself vulnerable you accept the fact that you could get hurt.

In finances, every time you make an investment you accept the fact that it could fall through.

Plans can fail. Accidents can happen. Hearts can break.

In this world, there is a lot to be afraid of, there is a lot that can go wrong, and there are a lot of opportunities to fail. But every day we get up, every day we step outside, every time we accept those fears and try again, we give ourselves the change to succeed, to win.

On February 14th, after spending months both recovering from his injury and working his way back into the physical and mental shape needed to make the Olympic team, Shaun White won the gold medal in the Snowboard Halfpipe event, making him the most decorated snowboarder of all time.

In many ways it was expected, hoped for, anticipated, both by Shaun White and the millions of people tuning in to the competition. But the only guarantee would have come from him not trying, not taking that risk, not stepping back into the sport all those months ago. The same goes for anything you hope for, I dream of, we all aim to accomplish. So even though failure is hard, vulnerability is terrifying and losing sucks, it’s worth the risk. Not only because it brings you one step closer to success, but because it makes you stronger, braver and smarter than you were before. And although it might not feel like it, trying and failing will always show more courage than avoiding failure all together. So take the risk, make the try and see where it takes you.

2018 Goals Check-in

Can you believe we’re already 3 months into this year? I seriously can’t get over how fast everything is moving! And with the end of March officially marking the end of the first quarter of the year, it’s time to check in on how I’m doing with the goals I set for 2018.

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1) Do a handstand in yoga

Progress: 33.33%

So I have to admit, I haven’t been doing great at going to yoga. I started strong at the beginning of the year, but that petered out fast. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy yoga, I just didn’t particularly care for the class I was going to and haven’t been that motivated to find a new one. HOWEVER, I have been doing some at-home yoga using Yoga Girl’s program and have been very diligent about going to the gym. Thus, I am getting stronger, which was the ultimate plan in working myself up to do a handstand. Stay tuned!

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2) Take a kickboxing class

Progress: 0%

I have not got around to signing up for a kickboxing class. However, I’ve done a bunch of research on where I can take them. In doing so I found a bunch of promotional deals on sites like Groupon, as well as a number of gyms and classes near me that offer a free class for beginners. So I will definitely be taking advantage of those opportunities in the near future.

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3) Visit (at least) 20 museums in Los Angeles

Progress: 1/20 (5%)

This was another one that had a great start but has been in a solid lull since then. However, I’m not too worried as I love museums and I think it will take just getting back to one for me to fall into a rhythm and go consistently. As of now, I’ve only gone to is The Getty, but I’ll keep a running list in case you’re interested!

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4) Get CPR certified

Progress: 0%

This one is on hold until the fall because my aunt offered to take me with her when she gets re-certified before the coming school year. That being said, please hold all emergencies until September.

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5) Shoot (at least) 1 roll of film per month

Progress: 3/12 (25%)

It’s funny, I never realized just how long it had been since I photographed with my film camera or how out of practice I was until I shot my first roll. At the beginning of this year, I was feeling pretty confident and decided to ignore my instincts to re-read the directions on how to work my camera, and I moved through the roll of film pretty quickly, thinking, “I still got it!” This overconfidence however, came back to bite me when I finished the roll, tried to unload the film—while STILL not looking at the directions—and ultimately ruined the film all together. Since then however, I’ve got my groove back (and I’ve read the directions) and am currently on target.

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6) Complete the 104 things to Photograph book

Progress: 10/104 (9.62%)

I made a spreadsheet to track this (which surprises no one) but I’m actually not 100% sure where I’m at, as I haven’t developed the film I’ve shot over the last few months. There might be some surprises that can apply to the book, we’ll see!

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7) Visit the sea glass beach in Fort Bragg, CA

Progress: 0%

I haven’t had any time to do research on this one, so no progress yet.

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8) Go to the dentist

Progress: 0%

I’m going to make myself an appointment today. I (probably) promise!

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9) Watch 20 documentaries on Netflix

Progress: 4/20 (20%)

Before starting this goal I was a little nervous I wouldn’t find documentaries I liked or enjoyed and instead would feel like I was back in school trying not to fall asleep during an educational video. To my pleasant surprise however, I’ve found that documentaries come in a variety of flavors, at least one of which everyone is bound to like. Here are the ones I’ve watched so far:

  1. Happy
  2. The Mortified Guide
  3. The Mortified Sessions
  4. Minimalism

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10) Perfect an omelet

Progress: 0%

For this one, I’ve both received tips and invitations for in-person lessons from friends, but the biggest thing holding me back is getting a good pan. So, once I find some extra room in my budget to grab one, I will take everyone up on their advice/help/etc.

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11) See (at least) one movie in theaters per month

Progress: 3/12 (25%)

If you read my January & February favorites, I mentioned MoviePass, which has essentially been the key for keeping up with this goal. After seeing two movies in January for a total of only $10, I quickly convinced my sister and my roommate, Rachel, to sign up and I hope we take wild advantage of it for the rest of the year. Also, in case your curious, I’ll keep a running tally of the movies I see, so far that includes:

  1. I, Tonya
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  4. 50 Shades Freed
  5. Red Sparrow
  6. I Can Only Imagine

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12) Read 20 books off the Time’s 100 List

Progress: 2/20 (10%)

I fell a little off track on this goal after getting sucked into a couple books (Into the Wild & Into Thin Air, both of which I’d highly recommend!) by Jon Krakauer at the beginning of this year. In addition, once I was ready to start checking books off the list, I realized I either had to ask if people I knew had these books, or start working a second job to start buying them all. Luckily, my roommate Rachel discovered something MAGICAL, a.k.a the digital library. It works exactly like a physical library: you check out books and get them for 21 days. However, with the digital option now available, you can rent the books and have them sent directly to your Kindle! What a time to be alive, people! If you are in the LA area, you can check it out here, or if you’re not, I’d recommend researching whether your local library has an online database. It’s a real game changer.

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13) Pay off credit card

Progress: 6.40%

So the whole point of this goal was to pay off my current credit card so I can open up a new one. Specifically one that gains your airline miles because flights are ridiculously expensive. That being said, the start of this year brought a lot of reasons for me to use my current credit card, so I fell a little behind. Good news is, I caught back up and am now in the green in terms of repayment, so hopefully I can keep trucking along throughout the year.

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14) See 3 WRLA’s – COMPLETED!

Progress: 3/3 (100%)

While on a trip to Seattle and Canada this past month, I was unexpectedly able to complete this goal, seeing the World’s Largest Cowboy Hat & Boots in Seattle, WA, the World’s Largest Paper Airplane in Mukilteo, WA, and the World’s Largest Tin Solider in New Westminster, BC, Canada!

 

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15) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

Progress: 0/5 (0%)

I admit it, I’m totally slacking on this one and I need to get on it.

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16) Donate Blood

Progress: 0%

The day I started this progress report my church announced it is holding a blood drive at the end of this month. So, while I’m still slightly terrified, I feel like that’s kind of a sign to suck it up and go for it. Stay tuned for the next update to see if 1) I chickened out, 2) I went for it and passed out or 3) I went for it and handled it like a champ. #3 seems farfetched at this point, but you never know.

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17) Do the 1 second/day video challenge

Progress: 95/365 (26.03%)

This has actually been more fun than I expected. While it is a little stressful to find something unique to record every day—especially when I forget and it’s already 11pm—I ’ve been very pleased with the results so far. My favorite part is knowing I’m the only person that knows what all the clips relate to, as some of them come off pretty obscure. When I watch them back however, they all awaken a specific memory from that particular day.  On March 1st, the 60th day of the year, I compiled all the clips I had so far in order to see what my first “minute” of the year looked like.

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When we add that all together, my total progress is about 15%. So I’ve got a little ground to make up, but it looks like a lot of it will be covered by the end of this month!  If you set goals this year, I hope things are going well for you, and if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start! 🙂

It’s Always Sunny in Seattle & Canada (At Least When We’re There): Spring Break Day 5&6

Day 5

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I’d like to consider me, Natalee and Mel pretty similar. For example, when we come across a highly recommended restaurant online and its menu includes things like “homemade biscuits” and “chocolate fudge waffles,” we’ll all agree it is a must taste. That being said, it wasn’t really a question whether we’d wait out the line in front of Jam Café on Wednesday morning.

It was our first stop of what was sure to be a full day, so after spending a solid 40 minutes waiting in the crisp Vancouver air, we sat down and ordered exactly what our hearts desired. For me, that included a chocolate milk and this masterpiece known as the “biscuit breakfast.”

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Animated GIF-downsized_largeFrom there we made our way up the highway to the Capilano Suspension Park, which was one of our most anticipated sights.

First order of business: crossing the bridge.

While none of us are afraid of heights, it is impossible not to wobble on this bridge, as the entire thing literally wobbles as you cross. To be honest, it kind of feels like standing up from a stool at a bar and realizing you’ve had too much to drink but are determined not to show it, so you try your best to walk straight, only to zig zag your way straight into a stranger.

Once we were in the middle of the bridge, we made sure to take a bunch of photos and videos, both to commemorate the experience, and to deviously show to my dad later who is terrified of heights. #sorrydad

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Awaiting us on the other side of the bridge was a series of paths that led us up amongst the trees and offered us views of the river down below. We walked slow, looking up and down and all around, trying to soak in as much as possible, knowing any pictures we took could never completely showcase the beauty of what we were seeing.

Back on the other side of the bridge, we took a final turn that looped us around on an even thinner path—again, sorry dad!—and then we made our way back to the car. Seeing as we’d soaked in a heavy dose of nature, we thought it was only fitting to head into…more nature!

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So, we drove back into town and rented a few bikes (we used Yes Cycle) to take a personal tour of Stanley Park. The loop around the park was about 5 miles, and we did it in an hour, which included stops to take pictures, say hello to Canadian geese, etc.

By the time we returned our bikes, it was about 3:30 p.m., and since we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, we thought the perfect spot for dinner would be Granville Island. So, after dropping our car back at our hotel, we walked the whopping 5 blocks to the dock and took an Aquabus across the water.

OriginalPhoto-543368639.672033Once inside the market, we had a few things we wanted to accomplish. First, we did a quick lap, taking in all the options both for dinner, dessert, and everything in between. Our waiter at the Jam Café had told us to “follow our nose.” But with the amount of sugary, salty and sweet smells, blindly following that advice would have left us running in circles for the rest of the day. So, after eating everything we possibly could with our eyes, we sat down for dinner on the top floor. From there we did a second lap around the market, this time making stops for a honey dip donut from Lee’s Donuts (a personal recommendation from our waiter), some caramel corn (which I’m currently munching on as I write this), and some red velvet cake (which Mel said was DELICIOUS.)

On our ferry ride back, we were all beginning to fade, but after a solid hour-long veg session, we rallied and made our way to the Shameful Tiki Room, another recommendation from our waiter at Jam Café.

As he promised, the outside of the restaurant was completely blank and easily missable for the average passerby. Once we walked inside however, we were transported into a zombie-fied tiki haven that was as dark and foggy as it was vaguely Hawaiian. The three of us opted to split “the mystery bowl,” a drink served in a large shell that was lit on fire and delivered in precession with the ringing of a gong.

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Note: it was far less poisonous and far more delicious than this picture might suggest. These reactions were primarily provoked by the flash, which in the moment felt like a direct attack on our corneas.

After we finished our drink (which was approximately 4 minutes later) we talked about our favorite parts of the trip, each of us remembering different moments than the other. And as we made our way back to the hotel, there was again a bittersweet air that hung around us, except this time it was mostly bitter.


 

Day 6

On our last day in Vancouver, we were in a bit of a time crunch. Since we were all flying out around 3:00pm and wanted to have ample time to return our rental car, we knew that any last minute adventures had to be timely and organized.

So, with Mel fully loaded with Wi-Fi researched and copied down directions, we pulled away from our hotel for the last time and made our first (very Canadian) stop at Tim Horton’s for breakfast.

Now, it should be noted that of the 5 days we’d been gone, this was the first and only day it rained. But when I say it rained, I mean it rained. Clearly Vancouver was as upset at our leaving as we were. Nevertheless, we proceeded with our sightseeing marathon, never hesitating to run out into the rain and take a picture.

First on the list: the Gastown Steam Clock.

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Next was the Olympic Village, though after following an address to a town square that had street names like “Athletes Way,” we didn’t find much else that memorialized the 2010 Olympics. (Note: we later found out the Olympic Rings are actually in Whistler)

IMG_3853Our final stop was the World’s Largest Tin Soldier. A delightfully tall and unexpected international WRLA! He stood overlooking the Fraser River, both welcoming us and wishing us well as we made our way back to airport.

Once we were on the plane—Natalee and I on one and Mel on another—I took my seat and looked out the window, wondering if I could see any of the sights one last time before we took off. A few minutes later, a family boarded and took a seat in front of us. It was a husband and wife and their three children. They were all on their way to Disneyland for the first time. The kids excitedly looked out the window, amazed at the prospect of flying and propelled by the promise of their first big adventure. It made the sting our adventure ending a little dimmer, as it reminded me of the promise that new adventures are always around the corner.

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Ideas that Never Became Blog Posts (For Good Reason) – Episode 2

In November of last year I wrote this post to honor some ideas that were not only bad, but also somewhat confusing, as over time they’d lost all sense of, well, sense. And since my mind continues to be somewhat of a creative yet chaotic mess, there’s probably never going to be a shortage of bad ideas coming out of this thing. So I figure we might as well keep getting a good laugh out of them, right?

Let’s see what I came up with in the last few months

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“Thank yous for likes”

I vaguely remember writing this down thinking it could be some sort of commentary on the “likes” you garner on social media, but I can’t tell whether it was going to be geared in a positive or negative manner. I also can’t decide whether the giver of the “like” was saying thank you or the receiver of the “like” was saying thank you. When I think about it now, it kind of seems like they both do. Which may or may not have been the point all along.


“Inanimate objects l’d like to thank”

Now THIS would have been interesting. I must have been feeling an extreme amount of gratitude towards a specific thing and decided it would be easy/entertaining enough to make a list of them to thank. But what was I so grateful for? A water bottle that hydrated me? A pair of socks that kept my feet warm? And why did I think anyone would want to read an entire blog post about it?


“Weird is timeless”

I don’t know where this came from, but I want it on a T-shirt, STAT.


I’ll have you know

Committed

Plot Reveal

This was written just like this in the middle of a page in my notebook. There were no other notes and there was no followup. It’s worth noting that it was written extremely sloppy, which usually means I pulled my notebook out at a red light to jot down an idea that popped into my mind while I was driving. It is assumed that when I get to my final destination I can return to my notebook and flesh out the idea, but clearly that didn’t happen.


“Punch in the face change names told”

WHAT?! I mean…WHAT?!?! This looks like someone was drunk but trying to sound sober, so they used predictive text to write a sentence for them, smiled proudly to themselves and then hit send right before they threw up in a bush.


Vowels in the still

Crescendo

Again, I’m at a total loss. But I have to say, I’m kind of invested in whatever I was trying to work out. “Vowels in the Still” would be a great title of something. So if anyone out there is looking for some creative inspiration, consider this one of those vague prompts you get from competitions and make something! No need to compensate me when you start making your millions, just invite me to your premiere or send me a copy of your novel.


 

And so concludes another edition of “Kim, are you alright?” Thanks for tuning in to this and to anything, ever. Here’s hoping good ideas continue to pop up amongst these bad (and damn right strange) ones.

We Are All Complex Characters

In a world bustling with digital content, especially sitcoms and dramas available on both mainstream television and a number of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, etc., it’s safe to say we’ve been introduced to a wide variety of characters in recent years. Some we can relate to, some we can’t; some we love, some we hate. Regardless, we feel like we get a sense of who these characters are, and depending on how long we binge their show on the couch, we sometimes even forget they’re not actually a part of our lives.

I have this problem constantly. When I watch a show I get completely attached to the characters and I talk about them as if they’re my friends or family rather than fictional characters created for entertainment purposes. It’s even worse when I read books.

One thing, perhaps, that makes these characters so real, is a show or book’s ability to give us a nearly 360-degree view of who they are and why they are the way that they are. We can sympathize with decisions they make because we know what’s going on in every facet of their life. And we can root for them because we know the inner workings of their hopes and dreams.

In real life, it’s often hard to remember that we and the people around us are just as three dimensional as fictional characters. We are what they are based on! We, like them,  are all complex and constantly changing and adapting, sometimes to seemingly unbelievable circumstances. We all have individual whys that define who we are and what we do, even if not everyone will be able to see them, or if we are never able to fully identify them within ourselves.

As we go through our day-to-day lives, we will often come into contact with people who rub us the wrong way. And while it’s important to stand up for ourselves and stand firm in what we believe in, I also think it’s important to remember that we don’t know anyone’s “whole story.” We don’t have the 360-degree view. We don’t know how their morning went or how their yesterday treated them and they are equally as ignorant to our lives. So before we jump to conclusions, it couldn’t hurt to give them a little patience.

The truth is, we are all complex characters plodding through our own unique, sometimes over dramatic sitcoms. Some episodes will be good, some will be bad. And just like any multi-season series, you can’t start in the middle and assume you know everything. You have to appreciate that just like you, they’ve probably gone through a lot to get where they are and still have a long road to get where they’re going, and we could all use a little help along the way.

33 Harmless Things I Hate

Playing off the list I recently made of things that make me happy, my mind started swirling with things that do quite the opposite. It was nothing too intense or traumatic, it was just things that irk me. The things, to put it lightly, I’d just rather not come into contact with in my day to day life. For example:

  1. Spoilers (i.e movie endings, sports results, etc.)
  2. Unwarranted rudeness
  3. Hidden pickles in hamburgers
  4. Chewing noises
  5. Lack of decision making
  6. Decision making
  7. People who don’t use their blinkers
  8. People who walk slow
  9. Clothes tags
  10. Nuts in chocolate
  11. When lotion dries out and hardens
  12. Crooked or off-center picture frames
  13. Online articles that promise you lists but give long paragraphs or glitchy slideshows
  14. People who cheat-merge on the freeway (a.k.a wait way longer than they should to merge and then cut you off)
  15. Dictionary definitions that tell you nothing (for example: if you looked up “protagonist” and it told you something like “the opposite of an antagonist”)
  16. Autocorrects that make no sense (I’m looking at you “haga”)
  17. A dirty kitchen
  18. Static
  19. When socks slip off inside your shoes
  20. Being unable to think of anything else to say to someone besides a vague comment about the weather
  21. Car commercials that trick you into thinking they’re advertising something else
  22. Car commercials in general
  23. Wind
  24. The fact that it never seems to get any easier to wake up for work on time
  25. Finally mustering up the energy to go to the doctor, only to feel 100% fine when you get there
  26. Stores with too many scents
  27. My sensitive stomach that gets motion sickness from EVERYTHING
  28. People who say “you look tired.”
  29. TV episodes (especially season finales) that end with “to be continued”
  30. Getting sunburned in the ONE spot you managed to miss
  31. Tea
  32. Loose fitting shoes
  33. Inconsistency (for example: when the first edition of this post was 34 items long, but this one is only 33…smirking-face_1f60f)

Time Capsule Blog Update!

So, we’ve made it. We are officially in the future!

If you remember a few months back—actually I just checked it was in JULY!­—I made a time capsule blog, a blog-sule, if you will, using FutureMe.Org. I gave myself 10 questions to answer and then I sent them off into the universe, promising I would review and re-answer the questions the day before the Olympics started. (Note: The letter didn’t end up arriving until this morning at 2:15, so technically I have to answer them the day of the Olympics, but we won’t worry about the technicalities)

Let’s see what my answers were!

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1) What day is it?

My answer then: Sunday July 9th, 2017

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2) What’s the weather like outside?

My answer then: HOT. AS. HELL. Well, at least it was earlier. It’s actually not bad now. There’s a nice breeze happening and I’m here for it.

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3) What did you do today?

My answer then: Taught in the elementary class at church, went to Quiznos with my mom, then spent the entirety of the afternoon battling the swarm of ants that have taken over our house. #ant-pocalypse2017

Note for past Kim: OH MY GOSH, ANT-POCALYPSE. I remember that day so clearly now. Don’t worry, your efforts paid off! 

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4) What’s your favorite song right now?

My answer then: Thunder by Imagine Dragons

Note to past Kim: This song will probably always hold a special place in your heart because it helped you run 1000 miles last year!

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5) What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?

My answer then: I think the Broadway Melody, though if we really want to get into the meat of my television/movie watching ways, LET’S TALK ABOUT GAME OF THRONES. How did Season 7 end? How are we doing with the way it ended? Oh my gosh I’m overwhelmed by all the questions I have.

Note for past Kim: No spoilers to anyone who is behind on Game of Thrones but, past Kim, it was EMOTIONAL! And now we have to wait almost two years for another season and it’s awful. Also, my favorite part about this question is knowing that after watching Broadway Melody, I watched about 70 more movies before the end of the year in order to accomplish my goal see every film that ever won best picture. Those last two months of the year were HECTIC. Procrastination at its finest. 

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6) Who did you text last and what did you say?

My answer then: A text to Natalee & Rachel in our Roomie text string, in regards to #ant-pocalypse: “they were slowing down pretty good earlier, we found some minor survivors, but applied the appropriate force. I’d hold off on calling for now. Let’s see how the next couple days go.” Follow up question: how DID the next couple days go? Did we win the war of the ants? Did we have to call the Terminix guys and let them take our money?

Note for past Kim: The next couple days went well. After we all had minor panic attacks when the ants returned, we called an ant guy who was an actual, real live superhero and he knocked them out completely. So yes, we did win the war of the ants, but yes, we did fork out some cash to win it.

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7) What is your biggest goal right now?

My answer then: Publish a book

Note to past: In many ways this is a long shot, but the way I see it, even if a book isn’t in the cards, working hard and putting yourself out there is going to pay out to something. So just keep dribbling!

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8) What are you most excited about?

My answer then: At this exact moment, this time capsule blog, but in general I’m excited about the possibility of getting a book out there in the world, I’m excited (and nervous) about my brother leaving for college, and I’m excited about all of the possibilities the future holds if I work hard enough!

Note to past Kim: see above. winking-face_1f609

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9) What are you most worried about?

My answer then: Not accomplishing anything I want to. Being sad, alone, and covered in left over ice cream. The ants coming back. The Dodgers never winning a World Series in my lifetime.

Note to past Kim: Wow, I was feeling pretty down/snarky that day. Don’t fret, past Kim, good things are coming your way! And while the Dodgers still haven’t won a World Series, they did make it to Game 7, and you actually got to go to Game 6!! Bet you never saw THAT coming, did you?! 

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10) Tell yourself a really bad joke.

My answer then: You know you still like the “outstanding invoice” joke from your book. Just admit it.

Note to past Kim: You’re right, I do still love that joke, though only a few people have heard it, since “my book” is not really a thing yet. Maybe one day everyone will hear it. Like I said, keep dribbling!

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Okay now I don’t know about you, but I absolutely loved that. I felt like I was having a great conversation with past me, checking in on where she was then and where I am now, so we can now move forward into what’s coming next. In fact, I think I might just make this a thing. For now I think I’ll stick to the same questions, just to keep things consistent, and then I’ll check in about every 200 days. We’ll call it the 200 Day Time Capsule! You are welcome to join me! If you missed the first time capsule blog, try this next one!

Here’s how it works:

1) Go to FutureMe.org

2) Fill in your email address & put “200 Day Time Capsule Blog” (or whatever you want) as the subject line.

3) Copy and paste the questions below into “Your Letter”

  • What day is it?
  • What’s the weather like outside?
  • What did you do today?
  • What’s your favorite song right now?
  • What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
  • Who did you last text and what did you say?
  • What is your biggest goal right now?
  • What are you most excited about?
  • What are you most worried about?
  • Tell yourself a really bad joke.

4) Answer each question

5) Set your “Deliver on” date to 200 days from now, so: August 28th, 2018

6) Click “Send to the Future!”

Note: It will ask you to verify your email before it “officially” sends, so after you click “Send to the Future!” go to your email and click the verification link to make sure your letter officially enters the internet machine!

Note #2: After you click that link, it will take you to a page that tries to get you to donate money. You do not have to donate money. If you want to, you can, I’m sure the lovely people at FutureMe would appreciate your generosity, but otherwise you can just close the window. 

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Come August, we’ll check in on how we’re doing, which I hope is fabulous!

If you did participate in the first time capsule blog, I’d love to hear your results! And if you have any suggestions for future questions, I’d love to hear those as well. If you can’t tell, I’m minorly nerding out about all of this, so any and all suggestions are welcome.

I hope you have a wonderful day and I’ll see you in the future!

Sometimes Friendship is Gummy Bears

About 3-4 years ago I was going through a period of my life when I genuinely believed I didn’t have very many (see: enough) friends. I considered myself a master of acquaintances, succeeding in keeping most people at arm’s length to ensure that a) I wouldn’t get hurt and b) I wouldn’t disappoint anyone. Some days I told myself I was satisfied, other days I wasn’t so convinced.

Combined with shyness and bouts of social anxiety, I struggled knowing what kind of friend I should be. I read articles and watched how other friendships worked, and though I wasn’t necessarily dissatisfied with my relationships, I constantly worried that other people were. I thought I was too boring, I thought I was too quiet. I was too this or not enough that and I drove myself crazy, making notes on what I could improve on or what I should do differently.

In time, I came to realize that these fears were all linked to the insecurities I felt as a person, rather than the weaknesses I had as a friend. I’m not saying I am or have ever been a perfect friend, however, in not accepting and loving the person I was, I was doing a disservice to both myself and to anyone I tried to start a friendship with.

These days, I consider myself very lucky to have an amazing group of friends. And while I would still consider myself a guarded person, I have a much easier time opening that door because I’m proud of the person I’m introducing on the other side. In light of this however, I still find myself having those doubtful days. With a constant stream of articles, quizzes and social media anecdotes that define what friendship should look like or feel like or sound like, sometimes I’m still left wondering if I’m a good enough/entertaining enough/honest enough/etc. friend.

For example, the other day I read an article that was titled something like, “You Can’t Consider Yourself Best Friends with Someone Unless…” and it went on to list a number of conversations and experiences the author considered defining for a friendship. I clicked on the article in hopes of finding relatable experiences I could share with my friends, however, as I read through it I didn’t recognize myself in a single thing. Does this mean all my friendships are fake? Of course not! Does it mean that we live in a world where friendships are as unique as we are and should be understood accordingly? I’d like to think so!

The way I see it, friendship is what you make it. There is no definable timeline, there are no parameters and there are no “you’re not actually friends unless…” Friendship can be big, it can be small, and it can be shown with words and actions alike.

About a week ago, after having a terrible day and coming home on the verge of tears, my roommate, Rachel, presented me with a small packet of gummy bears. It was the last packet leftover from my sister’s birthday—which featured a taco piñata full of mini alcohol and candy—thus making it precious cargo.

“I just want your day to be better,” she said as she handed them to me. And it genuinely was!

I know it sounds silly and small, but in that moment it made me feel loved and understood, which is really what friendship is all about. It’s not about being a specific this or that or talking about this or experiencing that. Sometimes it’s just someone willing to give up their gummy bears. And when you can find people like that, you stop worrying about whether you have “enough” friends, because having even one friend like that is a far greater gift.

The Dream About Space (Among Other Things)

If you’ll recall from this post a couple years ago, I tend to have weird dreams. I also like to evaluate those dreams using DreamMoods.com so I can pretend I’m not concerned by the subject matter. That being said, I want to take you on a journey through a dream I had about a month ago, which may or may not be one of my strangest dreams ever.

Let us begin.

So the dream starts off with me sitting at a table with my sister, Natalee, my cousin, Cory, a girl named Brooke (whom I’ve never met or seen in my life) and a middle aged man who is not only a stranger as well, but also nameless.

The meeting is just like any other meeting—save for the fact that it revolves around our upcoming trip to space. As in OUTER space. Why are we going to outer space, you ask? Because our family friends just moved there and have invited us to visit, obviously. And when I get an invitation to space, I take it—and apparently invite strangers to come along.

Now, seeing as we’re going to space it is obvious why we would need to hold a meeting. No, not because of the whole earth to space transition—because apparently that’snot a big dealand “I’ve done this many times.” No, the key reason for the meeting is that we are going to be using a different “portal” than usual to get there, and I wanted everyone to know ahead of time.

At this news, Cory and Natalee nod. This is no big deal for them. They just need the when and the where and they will be ready to…you know…portal it up. Brooke on the other hand is NOT DOWN. I get it. I mean, we all have a portal that works best for us, am I right? In the end, Brooke and the nameless dude bail, leaving Natalee, Cory and I in the conference room, where we crawl through a tiny hole that leads to space. (Feel free to give me a call, NASA, I remember what the conference room looked like.)

Once in space, we float through our friends’ new digs, which is mostly a glass sphere with round buttons all over the inside. While I wasn’t visibly upset in the dream, upon waking up I realized that of the six people that belong to the family in real life, only three of them were in my dream. The other three people in attendance were 100% strangers, however, dream-me didn’t seem to notice. #alarming

After getting all of the, “hey, yeah, we’re in space, cool floating pod, do you like it better than your two-story earth house?” type small talk out of the way, we decide to do what anyone would do the first day they were in space: play board games. (Because who needs gravity to hold the pieces to the board?!)

The next morning I wake up leaning diagonally into a wall, yawning and stretching like it was the best night of my life. I then tell my sister I would like to go to church. Naturally she gives me the lowdown, explaining, “lol Kim, you can’t do that, we’re in space,” to which I reply with a crawl back through the hole in the wall, because #portalsarelife.

Once I’m back on earth, I start walking. The portal dropped me off about two miles from my church (in my actual, real life neighborhood) so I take the same route I do every Sunday. Once I’m about a half of a mile away however, I’m stopped. Is it because there’s a roadblock? Is there an earthquake? Am I hit by a car?

No.

I stop—and I mean, come to a DEAD HALT—because there is guy putting on a reptile show for kids. A REPTILE GUY. And do you know what I do next? I hold a snake. Do you know what I do after? I GO BACK TO SPACE.

I can’t even tell you where the portal was this time. From what I can tell, dream-me may or may not have the ability to teleport on command. To make matters worse, when I get back to space and my sister asks me how church was and I say, “oh, I actually didn’t make it,” she says what no one should ever have to say, “Kim, did you get stopped by the reptile guy AGAIN?”

I wish I could tell you I was able to figure this one out. But even after I broke down certain parts I was arguably more confused than when I started.

For example, outer space supposedly signifies “boundless creativity” which, okay, cool, I would consider myself a creative person.

To dream that a stranger is pretending to be someone you know (i.e. when the family I know in real life was not quite the family I found in space) suggests that the person you know is not who you thought they were. So I’m boundlessly creative, but my friends are imposters…okay…

To see or play board games signifies “progress in life.” Now, I could argue my in-dream life is making much more progress than my actual life, seeing as I can teleport on a dime between earth and space and everything. But if we’re only talking about real life, I suppose recognizing my boundless creativity and my imposter friends would be considered forward progress so, okay, I’m still with you.

To see a reptile in your dream symbolizes your basic urges, instincts and suppressed desires. Ummm…yeah, okay, I think this is a safe place to officially draw the line. Let’s just call it a (REALLY) weird dream, okay?