A Vicious Cycle

Well well well, hello friends. First, I would like to apologize for my 6 month hiatus. Life just happens sometimes. Unfortunately, I find it easier to write when I have an eye opening experience and that just hasn’t happened in while… Until now.

A vicious cycle is what I have caught myself in. I keep going around and around and I can’t get out. I promised myself that I would not get wrapped up into it, but I have broken my promise. I’m not sure why I broke my promise either. It could be caused by a lapse of judgement, or it could be caused by insecurities. Regardless, I’m here to say right now, I’m breaking this vicious cycle. I’m going to take back control of my thoughts, actions and life. I make my own decisions. I make my own choices. I have the power to control who hurts me and who takes away my piece of mind. We all have these powers, we just sometimes don’t practice them like we should.

Similar to powers, we all have our own lives. Key words in that sentence are OUR. OWN. As in nobody else’s but yours. So don’t you dare allow anyone to dictate it. Don’t allow others actions affect how you live yours. This is a lesson that I’m still working on learning, but I’m positive that it is an important one.

Although I have broken my promise to myself, I still have another one that holds true: Never lose confidence in yourself. I am confident that I can break this vicious cycle. If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?

“So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out and decide.”

I Suffered, I Learned, I Changed

It has been over a month since my last post…. and it’s safe to say my life has been hectic. I have been recently liberated with an overcoming sense of empowerment, which is the result of a not so pleasant situation. The truth is, I give people the benefit of the doubt, even when they don’t deserve it. Like I have mentioned before, I always want to see the good in people. The problem with always seeing the good is that you sometimes lose sight of YOUR values and opinions, which is something that I hold extremely close to me. Thank god I have the courage and willpower to say enough is enough.

Reflecting on this recent situation, I have realized that I am a “fixer.” I try to fix anything and everything and from experience, I have learned that this is unachievable. I can not change people, they can only change themselves. By trying to make everyone else happy, I tend to put my feelings on the back burner. This is only hurting myself. Searching for happiness within other people is impossible, you have to find it within yourself. Having the strength to realize this is empowering.

I have a very strong sense of self. I refuse to let people steal my inner peace and happiness. A word to the wise: never let someone degrade or disrespect you. More importantly, never believe what those people say. Words are just words. Yes they hurt, but at the end of the day THEY have to live with that guilt, not YOU. I always forgive, but I do not forget. Living well is the best revenge.

“Once you learn how to be happy, you wont tolerate being around people who make you feel anything less”

You Had Me At Pie

Some people like salad, some people like chicken pot pie.

I don’t know what it is but recently nothing sounds better to me than a freshly baked savory chicken pot pie, so I took matters into my own hands. I spent hours looking online for the perfect recipe but nothing was catching my eye. Instead of settling for a subpar pie, I decided to create my own.

Rosemary Apple Chicken Pot Pie

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This recipe may sound complicated but it is really very simple.

What you will need:

  • 2 pie crusts
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 medium sized granny smith apples
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 bag of frozen vegetables (carrots, green beans, peas, corn)
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of milk
  • Olive oil
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper

First, you will want to pre heat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet, sauté your chopped up onion with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. After your onion is translucent, add your diced sweet potato and apple. Allow them to cook for 15 minutes. After, add your chicken, rosemary and garlic (Add spice to your liking, I usually add 2 tablespoons of rosemary and 2 tablespoons of garlic). Allow your chicken to cook and then add your frozen vegetables. Lower heat and allow to cook.

Next you are going to make the gravy for your pot pie. In a medium sized skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter at low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of flour to the melted butter and whisk together. This is going to make a roux for the gravy. Add 2 cups of chicken stock to the roux and mix together. Allow it to thicken for a couple of minutes. Add 2 cups of milk and allow to thicken again (the texture should be like gravy).

Pour the gravy into the large skillet with your vegetables and chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour mixture into a pie dish that is lined with pie crust. Use the other pie crust as the top of the pie. Seal them together with a fork and cut a couple of slits into the top crust. Cook in the 400 degree oven for 30 minutes (or until crust is light brown).

Once all is said and done… ENJOY (and make sure you share with friends)!

Only The Good Die Young?

I guess I should take Chi Omega sorority out of my “About Me” section…

candidly yours

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Well, no one died but it sure feels like we did.

I’m 21 years old and have legally possessed the right to make decisions regarding majority of my life choices since I turned 18. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, I relinquished this right when I accepted my bid to the Mu Alpha chapter of the Chi Omega fraternity at the University of New Hampshire my freshman year at school. From that moment on, I became a Chi Omega before I was Hilary Gaumer and for a while, nothing made me happier. Chi Omega came to me as a saving grace at a time where I felt so desparately lost and alone; I met my best friends, got involved on campus, happily devoted countless hours to community service, and overall grew both personally and professionally.

Over the past six months, however, any positivity brought into my life by this organization was overshadowed…

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Vulnerability

Here I am again, stuck between a rock and a hard place. I am a strong believer that you should always surround yourself with people that make you happy but what happens when the people that make you happy are the people that are also bringing you down? It’s frustrating that a person can make you feel happy one second and then the next make you feel horrible. It all comes down to judgement of character.

Here’s my problem… I can’t see the negative. I make excuses for people just because I want to see the good in them but when is enough, enough? At what point do I put my foot down and say forget about them? I often blame myself for other people’s faults, as if I made them become who they truly are. This all seems silly because it is obviously not true. You can not change a person who does not want to be changed.

Vulnerability. Nobody likes to be vulnerable. It’s much more comfortable to hide within yourself. The fear of rejection is what stops us from being vulnerable, but to be honest I would rather be rejected for being who I am then to be loved for being who I’m not. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable takes courage. There are three things that I have learned:

  1. Don’t ever be ashamed of how you feel because that’s what is true to you.
  2. Don’t ever allow someone to belittle you.
  3. Don’t ever be afraid to cut out the negativity in your life even if it seems impossible to do.

“As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.”

Authentic Cooking

It has been quite some time since I have posted about the one true thing that makes people happy; Food. As many people may know, cooking is one of my passions. In fact, when I was younger my Pa use to video tape me cooking and I would pretend that I had my own cooking show (No, I will not post those videos online). Cooking has become a creative outlet for me since I was not blessed with an artistic bone in my body. When I’m in the kitchen it’s a free for all. I always have an idea of what I want to make but more often times than not I end up with something completely different. That is what makes cooking so exciting for me, I never know what I am going to end up with.

For example: Tonights dinner. I set out to make quinoa pasta with chicken sausage and ended up with baked quinoa with eggplant (Regardless, it was delicious).

Baked Quinoa with Tomatoes, Mozzarella Cheese, Chicken Sausage and Eggplant

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This was a very simple dish to make. I cooked the quinoa as I always would and sauteed the tomatoes and chicken sausage together. The eggplant was the tricky part though. I never know the best way to cook it. I drizzled the eggplant with olive oil and garlic and then broiled them on high. As soon as they started to brown on one side, I flipped them over and did the same thing. I added the quinoa to the skillet that I sauteed the tomatoes and chicken sausage in and topped it off with mozzarella cheese. After a quick 5 minutes under the broiler…. Voilà! Baked quinoa with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, chicken sausage and eggplant.

Spinach and Feta Pizza with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

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Pizza, pizza, pizza. It super easy to make and always a crowd pleaser. My trick is to drizzle the pizza dough with olive oil and garlic and cook it a little before you add the toppings, it will make the crust extra crispy. And of course instead of sauce, I always use roasted red pepper pesto!

Egg Sandwich with Goat Cheese and Avocado

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Your egg sammy doesn’t have to be boring. All you need to do is add goat cheese and avocado to it! Pair it with 1/2 a grapefruit and you have yourself a scrumptious breakfast.

The Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie

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(Obviously had to add a picture of my baby aka my Kitchen Aid mixer)

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Who doesn’t love a homemade chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven? Most of the recipes out there for chocolate chip cookies are the same but my trick is to add a tiny bit extra flour and it will make them especially fluffy. (Shout out to my nugget friend Amanda for helping me make these guys!)

Eat, drink and be merry!

It’s a Dreamers World

Some may call me a day dreamer. I have so many aspirations for myself, that I wouldn’t put it past people if they called me unrealistic. My dreams of opening a coffee shop, writing a book, inspiring people in one way or the other all may seem like I’m dreaming BIG, but they don’t seem so impossible to me. Everybody holds dreams that are true to them.

I’m sure we all know people that have these amazing aspirations but then turn around and say that they could never accomplish them. What happened to the time of dreamers? When people believed that they could do anything they set their minds to. To be honest, I’m sure there are people reading this saying, “Alana, you are crazy” but am I really? What is stopping people from doing what they want to do? If you want it bad enough, there is always a way.

Through out all of our journeys, there has been some voice telling us what we should want; wealth and success. Although those may be some peoples dreams, they are not everybody’s. To me, those two things are the result of following and accomplishing your dreams. Whether wealth be money and/or having a wealth of knowledge and happiness.

There is no correct path of life, you have to create your own. What should guide your path are your dreams, values, passions, and love. Don’t allow people to dictate your dreams, but instead inspire them with your ambition and drive. You can be whoever you want to be.

“People will always have their opinions of you despite who you are and what you are capable of.”

Sophrosyne

I just had an epiphany. As I was scrolling through my other blog (tumblr), I came across a word that somebody posted; Sophrosyne. Sophrosyne is defined as a healthy state of mind, characterized by self-control, moderation, and a deep awareness of one’s true self, resulting in true happiness. Is this the golden ticket to what everybody is searching for?

I am blessed in many aspect of my life, but I have this unexplainable happiness that can not be explained by merely “fate.” It is not until now that I realized what this unexplainable happiness is. Sophrosyne. This is what has led me to a place where I am at peace with who I am. If happiness is what everyone desires, why are we looking in every which way for it? The unconditional happiness that we are all seeking lies within us, we just have to awaken it.

Happiness is unachievable if we do not have a healthy state of mind. A healthy state of mind does not mean a “perfect” state of mind either, but a stable and clear mind set. Being able to be honest with yourself, see other people’s perspectives and shine positive light on negative situations all are aspects of having a healthy state of mind. Along with a healthy state of mind comes a deep awareness of one’s true self, which is arguably the most challenging aspect of sophrosyne. We often question if who we are is right or wrong. By second guessing ourselves, we are hindering our true potential. We are who we are. If we conform to what the world wants us to be, we will achieve nothing. By accepting our flaws and recognizing our strengths, we create a path which will eventually lead us to an awareness of one’s true self.

Don’t get me wrong, I experience hardships and downfalls just like everyone, but it is those moments of complete bliss. The moments where I look around me and feel that unexplainable happiness. I now know that my happiness does not depend on what I am surrounded by, but the sophrosyne that I have found within myself.

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”

The Truth

We live in a world that often makes us feel like we shouldn’t be vulnerable, like we shouldn’t feel what we actually feel. I have noticed that we often don’t always say how we feel, as if we’re ashamed of it. Why should we be ashamed of something that is true to us? People shouldn’t be ashamed to feel passion or love or even anger, isn’t that what makes us human?

I’ve have no shame when it comes to my feelings. My motto is this is me, take it or leave it. I embrace what I feel with all of my being. If it is positive, I hold onto it. If it is negative, I feel it and then let it go. This is a process that works for me. On the contrary, I have trouble excepting things I can not change. Not everybody feels the way I do and that’s okay.

We are all different. We all handle situations differently. I have realized that I can not change people, but only try and understand where they are coming from. There are always going to be people that let you down, but it is how you react that truly matters.

“An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.”