Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Inner Search for it All

Happiness. Joy. Inner peace. Self love. Purpose. Confidence.

These are ideals that, I think, we all ultimately want. I know I do. And I
have been on a journey over the last several months to find it. I
thought I was happy. I thought I had joy in my life and then life
happened in such a way that shook me to my core and showed me that
much of what I was was surface and incompleteness. I want more than
that. So began my search.

My journey of self love and discovery has led me to many books, many
documentaries, many a tear-stained-pillow night or afternoon or morning.
Countless YouTube videos of Abraham Hicks, Brad Yates, and guided
meditations. I am so grateful for my friend and mentor who has shown me
a whole new way of looking at the world and how I perceive it.

I’ve become much more aware of the words I speak, the thoughts I think,
the energy I emit and that is emitted around me. With this new awareness,
I pick up more on the positive energy of those around me, which led me to
write this series on happiness. Not just on finding happiness, but on
already having it. I want to talk with those people who seem to emit an
energy of ease from within themselves, whose joy seems to come from deep
within. I want to talk to those people who have what it is that I feel I’m lacking.

The first person in this series is the inspiration for it. She is the amazing
Jasmine Holloway and she is a former co-worker of mine. One day while
working with her I just wanted to ask her what it was that makes her tick. She
has a beautiful aura of joy and of confidence. She was kind enough to speak
with me for a few minutes and it was an incredible conversation.
Goosebumps, even.

SKM: To what do you attribute your happiness?

JH:  A lot of little things. Tiny gratitude. I’ve also learned over the years to
check myself. There’s a lot of self awareness. Am I taking responsibility
for the actions that are happening right now? I’m a big believer in whatever
comes into your space is not by accident. Somehow you create that. Your
being creates whatever is happening to you. So when certain things happen
I ask myself, ‘Who am I being right now in order for that to happen?’ It
literally happens millions of times a day. It really is work through the day in
order for me to just clean up whatever is going on and continue moving. I
don’t believe in putting out bad vibes just because something is going on in
here. That’s not anyone else’s business. They’re not responsible for that.
If i’m upset I’ll take ownership of that.

SKM: I’ve had to seek all this out for myself. Was this something that was
taught to you at any point?

JH: The gratitude I’ve learned through conversations and just stumbled

My responsibility checkpoint I learned during a personal development
program called “Advance Education” (
A lot of my personal tools that I have in my bag to create the results that
I want in my life came from that course. You get to know yourself, there
is a floodgate of awareness- one part of the course allows you to discover
who you are, why you do what you do. Then in the next part, you get to
break down this box that you put yourself in, that was created throughout
the years and that helps you get to the core of who you are. In the final part,
you finally have all these tools, you know who you are -now that you know
this- how do you create the world that you want to live in? In order for you
to be transformed completely, you get to transform everyone around you-
so what are you about? You’re not just a person existing in this space,
you're a living being in this great big society, so let’s get responsible for
that. What will YOU get to create so when you eventually leave this place,
it’s in abetter shape than how you found it? It was a very powerful course.

SKM: Is there a difference between happiness and joy?

JH: Happiness is so fleeting. I’d rather say, ‘joy,’ that’s so much stronger.

SKM: Do you find a correlation between knowing yourself and the happiness
you feel?

JH: I’m still figuring out who I am. I’m still on the journey and I take
pride in the journey. We will never find truly who we are. We are constantly
changing. Be the person that you’re trying to seek out to be and joy will
get created through that.

SKM: Do you know your life’s purpose?

JH: I’m starting to realize it more and more each day, which brings
me so much joy. I’m realizing how powerful I am and to use that power
and love and patience and tenderness to work with youth through music
in order for them to get who they are and to support them in discovering
their own voices. As adults, we had a lot of time to deal with the heavy
blows life gives us. They’re just now starting to feel the heavy blows. I’m
starting to get that I can support youth in their journey. So far that’s what I
have discovered.

JH: I enjoy singing and music and poetry, but that’s secondary. What really
turns the corners of my mouth up to smile is visualizing their growth.
Helping them find confidence in themselves. They become kinder and
more compassionate people. Being able to start to create a world that is
more patient and more kind and more loving. It starts with them.

JH: When you do discover your purpose, whenever that is, and you
speak it out loud, it’s so powerful it will give you goosebumps- that’s
how you know you found it. Whenever you have that idea in your mind
speak it out loud and speak from the heart and if it gives you chills,
go, just go!

And, indeed, I could feel the chills from hearing her speak her
life’s purpose. This is part of my journey as well- who do I want to be
and what do I want to do? I believe we’re all here for a purpose and once
we find it and can speak it out loud, a piece of that happiness puzzle
snaps into place.

Although, I think Jasmine is right, we will never finish this puzzle
called life, and that’s okay. Once we can see the beauty of the picture
complete with its incompleteness, that’s where true happiness
starts to emerge.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Gordon Ramsay's Huevos!

Yes, today I'm talking about GR's eggs (not to be confused with anything else)! He calls them "Sublime Scrambled Eggs" and I'd have to agree. These are the best eggs I've ever cooked and, if I may brag, I've gotten pretty good at them.

On a recent trip to Ireland I realized how much I really like soft scrambled eggs but didn't really understand how to cook them that way. But GR has answered my scrambled egg prayers! Who knew that you'd really need a recipe for scrambled eggs, but I'm glad I found one. This has really changed my breakfast dining experience.

You start them in a cold pan, with cubed butter and stir them over the "lowest heat possible." According to Mr. Ramsay, they should start to scramble within 4 to 5 minutes. I did not find that to be the case. It was more like 20-30 minutes. Which makes me wonder- how hot is his lowest heat? The Brits must be cooking on hotter stoves than I am. So far it looks like all my GR recipes involve slow stirring on low heat.

Once the eggs finally start to scramble, you add more butter and créme fraíche and then garnish the final product with fresh chives. The chives are such a great touch! I really love the flavor they add. The only problem with chives is that you generally can only buy them in large bunches and you only ever need just a little bit. (What's that about, chive packaging companies? Maybe I'll get my own chive plant, like my friends Mandi and Craig had when I made these eggs for them on a weekend getaway to their neck of the woods!)

(Don't worry, for those of you who know I don't eat much meat- that's not real bacon in the photo.)

I've been so proud of these eggs, that I've just been making them for people as often as I can. After the weekend with Mandi and Craig, a bunch of us went out of state for our friends' wedding and I made a huge portion of eggs for the 6 of us staying together. It definitely took about an hour to cook these eggs, but they were delicious and everyone seemed to like them! (We felt very business like in our conference/dining room and came up with some brilliant solutions to all the world's problems as well as putting together an impromptu Madrigal performance for our friends' wedding reception that night. You should have seen it. I think there's video, actually).

The only draw back is the time it takes to cook them. Scrambled eggs are supposed to be quick and easy. So the last couple of times, I've cranked the heat up just a bit and when I see the eggs start to scramble, I take them off the heat (GR does tell you not to let them sit on the heat- maybe I'm just figuring out how to incorporate that technique) and I'm finding that this method works well at cooking the eggs faster but still giving you that creamy consistency. I also have omitted the butter, just for health reasons and only add the créme fraíche and chives if I have them.

This morning, with my sublime scrambled eggs and decaf coffee, I was reading "Julie and Julia" and I gotta tell ya, I'm really glad I'm not attempting Oeufs en Gelée any time soon. Look it up if you're curious.  

(Neither is that real bacon. The same fake stuff as before. It's actually not too bad).

Friday, October 21, 2016

Things I'm loving today

My roommate's new milk frother! It just makes breakfast time way more fun!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Gettin' My Grub On!

As you can probably tell from my last post, I like Gordon Ramsay. I've decided to start amping up my cooking skills by pulling a "Julie and Julia" and start cooking my way through GR's, "Gordon Ramsay Makes it Easy" cookbook. So far I've made three yummy recipes and have learned lots of things- like what arborio rice, shallots, and oyster mushrooms are. I'm also learning a bit more of the metric system, as he's included both the US standard of measurment and the practical one that the rest of the world uses.

So I shall take you on the journey of my first recipe: Risotto with Wild Mushrooms.

My first day of cooking actually began with the purchasing of GRMIE ("Gordon Ramsay Makes it Easy." Julie abbreviated "Mastering the Art of French Cuisine," so I figure I can abbreviate my cookbook as well). It was quite a lot of fun! I went to the Barnes and Noble on the Upper West Side after work and perused the cookbook section. I actually stumbled onto MtAoFC, flipped through it's massive weight and knew it wasn't for me. It was kind of like stumbling onto some ancient holy text.

I also picked up Alton Brown's latest book. I've always liked him. I remember being introduced to him in one of my video production classes in college. The professor used his TV show, "Good Eats" as an example of some cool camera shots and great production value. Plus he grew up in Georgia, like me.

And I learned that Kelis has a cookbook! Who knew? I wonder if there's a recipe in there for milkshakes...

I finally found the section I was looking for- cookbooks alphabetically arranged by author's last name. I found the GR section on the very bottom shelf, practically hidden behind a big beam. I was a little miffed by this blatant disregard for Mr. Ramsay, but I got over it and pulled out GRMIE (yes, it was my very first pick) and sat on the floor, leaned up against said beam, crossed my legs, as I am apt to do, and flipped through the pages.

(This was actually taken on the floor of the Barnes and Noble. Note the carpet a the top of the photo).

I found it to be quite easy to read, really liked the font and format and all the fun pictures! It also comes with a DVD that I have yet to watch. (Mainly because I am one of the most technically unsavvy 32 year olds I know and I don't know how to work the many different DVD/Playstation/Wii sources attached to our ginormous, fancy new TV. [Thanks Christine!]).

The next stop was the grocery store, as I'd already decided to make risotto. I have, in fact, made risotto twice before, having been inspired by "Hell's Kitchen." And, actually, the first page I opened the book to was the mushroom risotto- it was obviously meant to be. That's where I learned about the rice and the shallots and the mushrooms. Picture it- me, at prime grocery shopping time, in one of the smallest grocery stores I've ever been in, on the UWS, bustling with post-work suits (male and female suits), and me on my smart phone, with my NYC purse large enough to hold my work shoes and Krav Maga gloves and now, a Gordon Ramsay cookbook, looking up shallots, oyster mushrooms and the difference between chives and scallions.

(This is how I marked items off my shopping list. I took a pic of the book, then crossed items out with the editing function of my phone. Who says I'm not technically savvy??)

They fit a surprisingly large amount of food in that tiny, fancy, two story grocery store. The best part, though, was the check out. They have a separate line just for strollers. Then the rest of us go through the smallest amusement park-like line I've ever been in, complete with steel barriers to keep you in order. There's no way a stroller is fitting on that ride. (I really wanted to take a picture of this system, but I thought the people in line might not appreciate that).

I made it home with all my bags and cookbook and bottle of cheap cooking wine and got started! Risotto takes a little bit of time and I have always wondered how they made it in Hell's Kitchen in such a short amount of time- you have to slowly add broth to the rice and be constantly stirring it. Maybe one day GR will tell me his restaurant secret.

The final product was pretty yummy, if I do say so myself, although not as creamy as it looked in the photo. My roommates seemed to like it pretty well. But for this first recipe, I think I had the most fun shopping for the ingredients and learning all the new things I learned!

Next up: GR Sublime Scrambled Eggs.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Today's Top Ten
The Top Ten Things I love about Gordon Ramsay

All those deep wrinkles in his face he doesn't seem to give a shit about.

The way he says "risotto."

How awesomely cute he is with kids.

His cookbook, "Gordon Ramsey Makes it Easy." 

How brutally honest he is- whether your food is incredibly delicious or incredibly shitty.

(There don't seem to be any images online of Gordon being complimentary, which I think is unfair).

How he says, "What is that??"

His witty British sense of humor.

(I don't know if he actually said that.)

His Instagram page.

His passion for cooking. 

His passion for life.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

It's been a while, but I'm back!

Hello blogger world!

It's been several years since I've posted and I've decided to start this up again. A lot has happened in the three years since my last post. For 14 months I was in an incredible, life changing relationship and now I'm not. There will be plenty of posts about that, I'm sure. I'm still living in NYC pursuing the artistic world in its various facets. I've started writing for my friend's magazine "Read Me," where I'm writing a series on finding happiness and joy. (This break up really did a number on me. I've found myself in the most depressed state of my life this past year, so I'm seeking happiness all over again.)

I'm in therapy now. I'm trying to figure out what it is exactly that I want to do and be and have. I'm not as happy-go-lucky as I used to be and I want to get that back. Re-reading my older posts really hit hard the difference between the person who I once was and the person who I have been for the past ten months. There are definitely big things that have changed, that have become truer than that girl who made some of those posts, but I also miss the care free, happy girl who enjoyed making her Top Ten lists.

I'm on a journey. A journey to healing. A journey to happiness. A journey to acceptance. And everyone keeps telling me it's not about the destination- it's about the journey. So if you care to take this trip with me, I welcome your support, your comments, or just your silent presence on my blog site.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Today's Top Ten

Top Ten Things I Love about Georgia!

10. Small theme parks.
9. Lush, green trees!
8. Dishwashers.
7. Laundry in my house.
6. Central heating and air.
5. Driving around in my car with the windows down!
4. Fields and cows and horses.
3. Southern hospitality.
2. Fried okra, chicken and dumplings, buttermilk biscuits with apple butter!
1. All my family and friends who live there!