An update on life, vacations, and carrot cake

Hello, world!

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written, but for good reason. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, from vacations to Thanksgiving to still trying to be an adult.

Let’s start with vacation. Two weeks ago (second week in November? Maybe?), I took a vacation to the happiest place on Earth: Disneyland! Disneyland is truly my favorite place on this planet, and it was my first time visiting during the holiday season.  And it did. not. disappoint. I spent five days exploring the two parks, eating some amazing food, and even got to take a backstage tour and take a picture inside Walt Disney’s private apartment above Main Street! I’ll be honest that this was barely a “vacation”; I came back more tired than when I left, but it was nice to unplug and be in a place with some of my favorite people.

I took a red-eye from LAX to MCO on Saturday night and had Sunday to recover. Monday brought me back to work, but not for long! I took Tuesday and Wednesday off to head to Louisiana for Thanksgiving. Can you say “NOLA”?!

You shouldn’t, because we headed to Broussard, a small town about two hours west of New Orleans, where my sister and her husband live. We packed up my car and left for the nearly 10-hour drive. It was a great week and it completed two of my 25/6 items: I baked an AMAZING carrot cake from scratch and practiced my Spanish with my Abuela!

The carrot cake is a copycat recipe of the cake from Morton’s Steak House. It’s a recipe from my brother-in-law’s side of the family, so I unfortunately can’t share it, but it is a three-step process involving hand shaving carrots and more buttermilk than I’ve ever needed in my life. It was so good that I couldn’t get a picture, but if you ever need a flawless carrot cake, give me 48 hours of notice and I can certainly whip it up!

My Abuela came with us for Thanksgiving, providing me with five days of Spanish lessons.  My lack of Spanish skills is a blemish to the family, so Abuela made sure I spent plenty of time practicing my verb conjugations while learning how to properly cook platanos (in her words, this will make it easier for me to find a “novio”).

I’m actually very excited to get back to work and have some routine back in my life. And finally cook for myself after a few weeks of takeout and frozen dinners!

Erica

 

 

We’ll call this a progress report.

When I started this blog, I didn’t think through the logistics of it.  Would I post every day? How would I track my progress? Do people even care?

The answers are hmm, not sure, and nope not even a little, in that order.

For a while I’ve kept a sort of “journal”; it started as a bullet journal, but I found that format to be unproductive for me.  For reference, a bullet journal is used to keep every part of your life in order: meal prep, budgeting, to-do lists, etc.  It failed within a week.  I’m doing a modified bullet journal of sorts; let’s call it an “Erica journal”. It uses a similar format to a bullet journal, but I’m primarily using it to log the things I’m trying to accomplish, like books I’m reading, recipes, etc.  So far, it’s not been the most helpful, but I suppose it’s a start.

My list of 25 things is still approximately 10 things short, but it’s a work in progress.

The last few weeks have been, in a word, hectic.  Richard Spencer, a white supremacist and leader of the Alt-Right, was on my campus two weeks ago, leaving all professionals to do whatever we could to protect and support our students.  That meant the following week was catch up.  This past week was the first time I felt I could actually tackle my adventure into being present.

Short Term Goals:

  1. Cook one new recipe a week–y’all, I did it, and it was MAGICAL.
  2. Write a letter to a friend once a week–it’s signed, sealed, and (almost!) delivered!
  3. Journal daily–See above.

I want to talk about this recipe I made.  I’ve been really into fake noodles, aka vegetables turned into noodles.  It seems like the latest fad, but I’ve been very anti-pasta for a few years now (for clarity, I mean against pasta, not super into the delicious Italian appetizer).  My pasta aversion is more about avoiding carbs and less about taste.  In college, pasta was a staple in my diet, so it’s no surprise the freshman 15 became reality. Pasta is too tempting and too easy to have on hand at all times.  But vegetable noodles have all the appeal and none of the guilt.

The problem, as I have found, is that vegetable noodles are NOT noodles.  They are vegetables and nothing more.  I could go on and on about how mad I am that people try to pass them as pasta (just like how recipes say mashed cauliflower tastes JUST like mashed potatoes YEAH OK thanks for the lies Rachel Ray).  But I take these with a grain of salt and I’ve been trying to adventure more with ways to make them taste good.

This week, I found a recipe that will stay with me forever.  This recipe  for butternut squash pasta was delicious, and actually tasted like pasta! Best part? It took me less than 20 minutes and 6 ingredients! You literally bake the noodles, mix butter with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley, and done. For someone like me, with zero cooking skills, I was impressed.

This week, I’ve got some beet noodles to try and I’m aiming to spend my lunch break catching up on some reading.

Until then!

 

Day 1: Succumbing to self-consciousness

12:50 p.m.

Is self-consciousness a word? We’ll keep it for now.

Today is day one of this adventure, and I’m already self-conscious.  Who am I to think that I have anything worthy of reading? I have a barely there, very basic bucket list of things most people are already doing, and I’m blogging as if I live a life of adventure, spontaneity, and fun.

I recently (as in 2 minutes ago) posted the link to this blog on Twitter, and I already feel sick. Is it because I’m nervous that no one will care? Or is it that I’m self-conscious about the things I’m writing?

I can’t say I have the definitive answer, but for now, there’s an imposter syndrome-sized pit in my stomach that makes me want to delete this whole thing.

Is adulthood embracing the things that scare you? Let’s find out.

 

 

25 before 26.

I’ve been 25 for two weeks, and I haven’t felt the affirming adulthood I thought I would. I imagined this feeling of clarity,  of suddenly understanding how to be an adult.

Fun fact? 25 is just 24 but with cheaper rental car insurance. There isn’t a sudden change in who you are; you don’t wake up to a mortgage and three kids wondering where your life went.

But I’ve been struggling with the line between adult-ish and adult. I don’t feel like I’m “young” anymore; I’ve got a full time job, a master’s degree, and I’ve been toying with the idea of life insurance.  But I’m certainly not an adult.  I am nowhere near ready for marriage or kids (which are obviously not the definitive or only signs of adulthood), I still have no clue how to do taxes, and I regularly call my mom to ask about laundry.

I’ve decided to embrace this ambiguity.  I’m creating a list of 25 things I’d like to accomplish before I turn 26.  Some are adventurous and freeing and remind me that I’m just 25, and some are grounding and progressive and remind me that I’m 25.

This blog is that ambiguity. It’s my unfiltered, unabridged attempt at living. I think this is my 3rd blog, and if you know anything about me, you know I have commitment issues. I don’t tend to stick to things or follow through (especially when it comes to the gym). I’m hoping that this will give me some accountability and remind me to actually do these things.  I hope that it’ll also remind me to be present and to not let another year go by where I don’t actively reflect and think about my life.

I don’t have the complete list yet, but it’s on its way. Suggestions are welcome!

Here we go.