thanksgiving

Let Us All Give Thanks to Our Grey Sweatshirt

If you look at almost any picture of me from high school, I am wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt.

It was nothing special. Just a plain, thin, cotton hoodie that was probably from Target, and did absolutely nothing for my figure or for fashion. But somehow, for some reason, I wore it every. single. day. Even when it got frayed and old. Even when there was a slight toothpaste stain on the pocket. Even when it had been washed so many times and the inside had been so stripped that it was barely comfortable.

I wore it and I loved it and I hid all of my insecurities beneath its thinning, grey fabric.

You might have had something similar in your own life. A pair of jeans, a headband, bright eye shadow, a daring haircut, shoes you wore with every outfit, a jacket you wore far past its prime, an accessory that people knew you by, etc., and if you’re like me, pictures of this thing might make you cringe now. They might make you wonder, WHY? Why did I think that was a good idea?

But then if you look deeper at those pictures, and at yourself, and at all the things they can only show you, you might feel a little different. You might remember what you were going through, what you were worried about, what felt like the biggest deal in the world. You might see the insecurities trying to be hidden, the confusion of self identity, the immaturity, the loneliness, the trial and error of being genuine, the safety net that this thing provided, and how, for some reason, the day, the outfit, the moment, the you at that time just didn’t seem right unless you were wearing or carrying or within reach of this one thing.

I don’t have that sweatshirt anymore. But sometimes I look for it when I’m shuffling through the hoodies in my closet for something to cozy up in. And while I’m glad I grew up, grew into myself, grew out of the part of my life where I’d rather cover up and hide than be seen and known, I’m thankful to have had that sweatshirt to give me time to get here.

So today, on a day when we often talk about all things we’re thankful for, I wanted to say thank you to you, grey sweatshirt, for all that you did for me in those hard four years of high school (and probably a few too many after.)

Thank you for acting as my security blanket. As something that I could put on and not think about, even when I felt so insecure in my skin that I wished I was invisible or thought I wasn’t worth looking at.

Thank you for staying together, for surviving the hundreds of washes, both late at night and early in the morning; and for those times I probably washed you on the wrong setting and rolled you around in the drier over and over when I was too lazy to take my clothes out and fold them.

Thanks for giving me time to develop my own sense of style. For allowing me to buffer inside your thin cotton lining and hide inside your loose-fitting hood.

In many ways, I am as far removed from that hoodie as I am from who I was in high school. I have grown and changed so much since then. I have learned to appreciate myself, learned about myself, learned to accept where I’ve come from and how to work towards where I want to go. But I could never have gotten here if I hadn’t started there. None of us could.

So let’s all give thanks to the awkwardness, the confusion, the struggle, the WHY, and the things that helped us get from there to here. It might not be easy over here on the other side of those struggles, but it’s comforting to realize how far we’ve come, and inspiring to think about how much more we have ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

In Case You’re Looking for a New Thanksgiving Staple

When I was little, my maternal grandparents used to host Thanksgiving every year. And just like any other holiday, I would arrive looking for a few key staples: the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the pre-meal black olives that I would place on my fingers and pretend I got a manicure, and the cheese filled celery sticks that I would lick the cheese out of and throw the celery away.

When I got older and my parents starting hosting Thanksgiving, I wanted to find my own staple to bring to the table. Something that people could look forward to and rely on me for, and something that I could pass down to my kids when my mom passes the turkey down to me, so I can undoubtedly take on the job as if I am precisely diffusing a bomb for five hours. 

One year, I decided this staple might be rolls. As the turkey cooled for carving and the final touches were being put on the side dishes, I volunteered to butter and bake the rolls, which to some members of my family are arguably the most important part of the meal. I thought it was a can’t lose move. But it turns out, when you reach in to grab your cooked rolls and accidentally light your oven mitt on fire, filling the whole kitchen with smoke and a burnt smell that begins to overtake every other pleasant smell, just as your guests start to arrive, you put yourself in a can lose situation.

So I ditched the rolls. Or rather, gave them back to my aunt, who’d failed to ruin them or set off a smoke alarm even once. Show off.

Then, after a solid year of pouting and self-deprecation, another year of Internet research, and then a tentative shopping trip for cheeses I’d never heard of, I found my side dish. My staple. My claim to Thanksgiving table fame.

This Martha Stewart Macaroni & Cheese recipe.

I will admit, it’s not a walk in the park. And while I’ve gotten into a good rhythm over the years, I still usually sit down at the Thanksgiving table looking slightly weathered and a little sweatier than I’d prefer, but it’s always worth it. So if you’re looking for something to spice up your Thanksgiving, your Christmas, or even just your Tuesday, might I recommend this recipe. It’s DELICIOUS.

Plus, if you make it enough, people start to forget that Martha Stewart created it and start calling it “your macaroni”, allowing you to feel like an innovative culinary queen (or king.) And that, my friends, is a can’t lose situation.

Also, pro-tip: grate your cheese before you start.  

5 Square Pegs I’m Thankful For

It’s Thanksgiving time again, which means we have reached that point in the year where there is an entire day dedicated to something we should all strive to do a little more of: be grateful. I personally feel like I could talk for hours about all that I am thankful for, but that’s not to brag, it’s more to criticize myself for all the moments I let trivial things make me forget.

This year has been a trying one for our world. Fear and hate have tried their best to dictate who we are and what we do. But among this darkness has also been the constant presence of love. There are people helping people and loving people and saving people. There is still an ever presence of light that is trying it’s best to bleed out the dark.

Here on my blog, I’ve been doing my best to highlight the good things that have been happening amongst the bad in a monthly segment called “All the Good Things.” It’s a list of positive minded and/or inspiring actions/events that happen during a specific month, the length being equal to the number of days in that month. Come December, I’ll have done 11 “episodes” which equivalate to 334 good things that have happened so far this year! (And that’s only the ones I included on the list!) For me, making this list each month has given me a constant source of hope and positivity. It’s inspiring to know how many good hearts are out there in the world!

Speaking of good hearts. Last year for Thanksgiving, I wrote a post about 8 badass women I was (and still am) thankful for. Starting with my girl, Gina Rodriguez, the list showcased 8 women who had truly inspired me that year with their character, courageousness and all around badass-ery. This year I have a new list, and while they are not all women, they are all people who I’ve looked up to this year . For amongst all the repetition and imitation found in this age of social media, these 5 people are paving their own way with passion, innovation, inspiration and kindness. These are the square pegs challenging all the round holes—don’t make it weird. They are the ones standing out for good reason, showing the true benefit of being yourself and standing up for what you believe in.

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1) Ellen DeGeneres

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If you’re ever looking for a smile or a safe place to laugh, Ellen is your go-to girl. With her unwavering positivity and message of kindness, she is a constant source of joy for anyone and everyone, especially those who watch her show. I am constantly inspired by the goodness she brings to television and social media and I can only hope to be part of projects with such a positive impact one day.

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2) Malala

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Honestly, I don’t even think there are words I can say that could possibly describe the magic that is Malala. But maybe that’s the point. After all, it is not only her voice but her actions and her unshakable bravery that make her someone I continue to look up to. If you don’t know her story, I highly you suggest you look it up in its entirety, but here’s a sneak peek:

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3) Gal Gadot

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A small part of me wishes Wonder Woman would have come out last year so that Gal Gadot could have been properly featured on my list of badass women, but the rest of me is glad it came out this year, because she is the superhero we all needed. It’s no secret she’s a badass, but it’s also no secret that she’s humble and kind and an incredible role model for young (and old and any age really) girls and boys alike.

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4) Chance the Rapper

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I don’t like being behind the times, so when I started hearing everyone talk about Chance the Rapper’s album Coloring Book, and then realized I could only listen to it on Spotify, I almost immediately handed over my $7/month so I could see what this guy was all about. After doing so, let me just say that regardless of whether or not you like his music—which I do—you can never be too late to the party that is Chance the Rapper. Bottom line, he’s just a great person that is so full of life and love that it makes you want to be full of life and love.

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5) Lin-Manuel Miranda

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A few months back I had the opportunity to see Hamilton when it came to LA, which was everything I wanted/hoped it would be times 1000. Afterwards, I more or less love-ranted my way into a blog post called “5 Lessons I Learned from Hamilton & Lin-Manuel Miranda,” which says pretty much everything I want to say here, save for a few more thank you’s. As someone who’s constantly exhausted by what I find on social media, Lin-Manuel Miranda is always a breath of fresh air.

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Sometimes I have to remind myself that these tweets are not written directly to me. But then again, maybe they are. Maybe they are exactly what I need to read in order to get me where I need to go, which in a perfect world, is a place where I can write something that is exactly what someone needs to read in order to get them where they need to go. I’m all for this assembly line of inspiration, kindness and productivity, Lin. Let’s keep it moving!

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Thank you to all these square pegs and to the many more that are out there making a positive difference in the world. I have so many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and you are all among them!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

8 Badass Women I’m Thankful For

Besides Christmas and National Donut Day, there are few holidays I love more than Thanksgiving. And as much as my body and mind are in a tailspin about that fact it is actually tomorrow (!!) I thought it was important to 1) accept that, and 2) take a look back at some of the things I’m most thankful for this year.

If you’ll recall, I recently started a bi-monthly “Favorites” post (the first three editions of which you can find here, here, and here) so in many ways I’ve already discussed the things I’m grateful to 2016 for bringing me. However, even though Nature Valley Granola Bars are a very important part of my life, they’re not exactly what I’m most thankful for this year. No, that top spot would definitely belong to my family and friends, closely followed by the women I’m about to tell you about.

2016 has been a big year for me in terms of character growth. It’s provided a glorious number of days where I’ve looked in the mirror and actually known who I was and was proud of that person, which is something new and incredible for me. And while yes, I definitely could (and should and do) give some credit to those sitting in the top spot as well, these 8 women inspired and encouraged me in ways my friends and family couldn’t. Because you see, sometimes the best thing we can ever do for someone, be it a best friend or a distant stranger, is be ourselves, fearlessly and proudly, and that’s what these women did this year, and I’d like to let them know how grateful I am.

 

1) Gina Rodriguez

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It’s no secret I have a giant girl crush on Gina Rodriguez. But when I wrote this post last December to proclaim that fact, I was still only scratching the surface of what a beautiful, kickass woman she is! Over the last year I’ve kept up with all that she’s been accomplishing (which I would totally list if I had time and space because the list stretches far and wide) and I’ve constantly been left in awe. Honestly, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve said, “that’s my girl, Gina Rodriguez!” over the past year, I could pile them up and swim around Scrooge McDuck style.

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2) Millie Bobby Brown

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In case you lived under a rock for the entirety of 2016 and/or did not live your life to its fullest potential, Millie Bobby Brown played 011 in Netflix’s Stranger Things a.k.a the inspiration for my Halloween costume a.k.a my instant, ultimate girl crush of 2016. The best part about 011 however, is that she is played by Millie Bobby Brown. To be brief and mushy: I’m just so glad she exists. To be a little less brief and little more mushy: In both her on and off-screen persona, Millie Bobby Brown reminds girls that they too can be superheroes, and in all honesty, I want to be like her when I grow up.

 

3) Lilly Singh

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I’m not one to use a lot of slang. Not because I have anything against it, really, mostly because I’m too busy making up my own slang for no reason other than to make myself laugh. That being said however, Lilly Singh gives me no other choice but to constantly say, “Girl YAAASSSSS” whenever I see her doing her thing. She’s just a fountain of endless talent and wonder and admirable AF. She also started the girl positivity movement #GirlLove which, GIRL, I LOVE. YAASSSS.

 

4-8) The Final Five

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It was almost 4 months ago now that I was screaming in the middle of my parents’ living room as the Final Five won the gold medal. As they were standing up there on the podium, I was applauding and throwing my fist in the air. They were crying and I was crying and it was just a really great day. And while I could easily throw out a “congratulations” to the team and be done with it, I think it’s important to note that the team is made up of five individual women who all worked their asses off to make their dreams come true. They are each a testament to hard work and perseverance and I feel so lucky that they competed for my country. That being said, Aly, Simone, Laurie, Madison and Gabby, thanks for the inspiration, congratulations (again) on the victory, and I wish you all the best in your next adventures, whether they include future Olympics or not. Also, buy yourselves an ice cream, on me. Well, not on me because I can’t actually pay for them via blog post. So buy yourselves an ice cream from me, you earned/deserve/should eat as many as you want because you were incredible.

 

Thanks again, ladies. You are all wonders. I hope you know how lucky the world is to have you!

 

Have any badass ladies that have inspired you this year? Let me know!

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thanksgiving: What I’m Thankful I Don’t Have.

So in case you haven’t heard, Thanksgiving is tomorrow. TOMORROW. Yes folks, the time has finally come to swim in the buttery mashed potato waterfalls. To pile one half of your plate solely with rolls, just because you can. To look at the desserts and tell yourself no, and then grab a fork for each hand.

I personally have been dreaming about Thanksgiving dinner since a humid evening this past July and I’ve smelled turkey in exactly 5 places since then. Strange, understandable, yet worrisome, I know.

Throughout the 4 month stretch of award worthy patience, I thought about all that I am thankful for. Family, friends, faith, health, the men that make up the LA Kings hockey team.  And amongst my gratefulness for what I have, I also came across a number of things I’m thankful I don’t have. Both myself in particular and our world as a whole.

1) Transparent tissues. Never, please. The tissue will always be the pool at the bottom of the water slide, catching the riders and their inner tubes, and none of us need to see what color their bathing suits are. Keep doing what you’re doing Kleenex, don’t blow it. (Ha.)

2) The nose of a Proboscis Monkey.

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3) The last name “Whereameye.”

“Hello my name is Kim I’d like to place an order for delivery.”

“Last name”

“Whereameye”

“I’m sorry?”

“Whereameye”

“I assume you’re at home…”

“I am.”

“Last name”

“Whereameye.”

“Are you okay ma’am?”

“Great thank you, Whereameye”

4) A car that only drives backwards. They’d call me carsick Kim with the crooked neck. Talk about a complex.

5) Hover cars. Sure, the technology would be incredible. But are we really ready for the old “I cut you off because a pigeon was chasing me” excuse?

6) Rain water made of Windex. I’ve washed windows and mirrors for many the holiday occasion, and have shot Windex in my eye roughly 85% of the time. This would be a nightmare. Great for glass houses, though.

7) A burrito phobia. Life would be such a cold, dark, BRC-less place. I can’t even think of such pain.

8) A voice that only sings. No one wants to hear the Broadway version of “I have cramps.”

9) A law that requires everyone to watch ED commercials on loop for 24 hours in order to qualify for the job they want. (Although football fans essentially do this every Sunday.)

10) Hands that are just rocks. Aside from destroying most everything I touch, I wouldn’t really get a lot done, except maybe annihilate “scissor” dealing people in Rock Paper Scissors. It’s too obvious they’d think. She won’t use rock. But I would. Every time. Amateurs.

The important thing however, is to remember what we do have, and that is always more than you think. Like when everyone else is sure you’re out of toothpaste, but you know better. You squeeze and twist and squeeze and twist until finally you get some onto your toothbrush and then you smirk the smirkiest smirk you’ve ever smirked. I get you. So this year, think of all the extra toothpaste you have. (Weirdest advice ever?)

Happy Thanksgiving!