Get to know me: Week 2

mountainWhat’s your favorite food? This is hard because I love so many different foods. I would say my top three favorites are probably chicken, coffee & red wine. You can cook chicken in so many different ways and flavors. Coffee is delicious and I can’t start my day without it. Red wine pairs perfectly with food and I love discovering new blends. Plus, I got married in a winery.

What is your eye color? Green

Scary movie or happy endings? Definitely happy endings. I’m not a huge fan of scary movies.

Summer or winter? Summer

Computer or television? Computer, for sure. My husband and I actually don’t have cable at all. We watch our favorite shows through Netflix or Hulu Plus and love it.

Do you have any special talents? I wouldn’t exactly call them special, but I’m a pretty good horseback rider & skiier. Unfortunately for me, some of my favorite hobbies growing up turned out to be really expensive. Sigh.

Where were you born? Scottsdale, AZ.

Do you have any pets? Yes! My childhood dog is a miniature dachshund named Cheerio. He is 12 years old and lives at my parents’ house with their other doggies. My husband also had a dog before we got married, a black lab/greyhound mix named Emma.

Do you have any siblings? I have a sister named Lenna (23) and a brother named Micah (20). My sister is getting her Masters degree at Azusa Pacific University right now while my brother is Pre-Vet at Northern Arizona University.

What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home? Seoul, South Korea. I did a DTS with YWAM in 2008 and our outreach was to South Korea.

Favorite smells? The smell after monsoon rain in Arizona & freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

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Why I Quit My Desk Job at 25

CoffeecupSo, a few weeks ago I made one of the biggest changes in my life thus far. From the outside it looked random and maybe even irresponsible. The truth was that I had been mulling over this decision for months, if not an entire year. My condition was self-diagnosed as a “quarter-life crisis” but I wasn’t sure how or when anything was going to change. I had the typical “signs & symptoms” of a quarter-life crisis. I woke up each morning unsure of my purpose. I dreaded Monday morning, not because I hated my job but because it was another reminder of how time was passing by without moving an inch towards my dreams. And what were my dreams? No clue. At the end of the day I just felt lost.

You see, I was in weird spot: not happy but not miserable either. It’s where I think a lot of people are in their jobs- not living their dreams but also not miserable enough to do anything about it. I hated this middle ground and tried desperately to find purpose in each day as I navigated through all the options before me. To try and sound less like a typical millennial, I want to clarify that I don’t think everything in life needs to make you happy. If I have a purpose and am working towards a goal, that’s enough for me. My problem was lack of vision, not unhappiness. In fact, I loved the company I worked with at my former job, an ad agency. I will miss my co-workers & company culture like crazy.

I finally got enough freelance marketing work on the side that it was time to choose. I either needed to turn down work or quit my day job. I was raised by entrepreneur parents so I know it’s always a risk to go out on your own and become self-employed, especially in today’s economy. But in this particular instance I knew I needed to make the jump if I was ever going to create the life I wanted to live. I had to make a plan, decide to make it work and … jump.

It’s only been a few weeks but I’ve never been happier. I actually work longer days, getting up earlier and staying up later on my laptop. But I get up with a purpose and a plan. Not knowing where my long-term income is going to come from has lit a fire in me to work harder than I ever have. It’s not for everyone, but it’s right for me. To summarize why I left my desk job at 25 in one quote: “If you don’t build your own dreams, someone else will hire you to build theirs.”

Have any of you experienced a “quarter-life crisis”? What pulled you out?

Bridesmaid Do’s & Don’ts

Hope everyone had a relaxing Easter weekend! This upcoming weekend I have the pleasure of being a bridesmaid for one of my childhood friends. I have been in several weddings since college and along the way I learned some important lessons. I also think that once you are the bride, everything makes even more sense. Below I’ll be sharing some do’s & don’ts for being a bridesmaid:

Do’sbridesmaid bouquet

  • Do realize how special it is to be asked to stand next to your friend as she makes the biggest commitment of her life. Sometimes we get so caught up with the superficial elements of a wedding, albeit fun, that we forget to stop and think about what an honor it is to be chosen for such an occasion. You aren’t there just to look pretty or throw the bride an awesome bachelorette party. You’re taking part in a commitment that lasts a lifetime!
  • Do go out of your way to help when asked & even when you’re not asked. From being in different weddings I realized that no two brides are ever the same. Some may have everything pulled together and may not need too much help from her bridesmaids besides to show up. Others have a lot on their plates that they would gladly delegate to others, but feel like they are imposing. If you have the bandwith to help out, let her know.
  • Do make amazing memories with your bride. To you, it may just be another party or trip to the department store, but to her, each step in the wedding planning process is huge. She will remember these events vividly as she thinks back on her engagement.. As much as you can, make all of these little events special for her. Bring a bottle of champagne to toast with in case she finds her dream dress when out shopping. While you personally don’t have to throw every shower or party, the bridesmaids need to make sure they are happening & duties are delegated. If you are on a group email about the bachelorette party, respond. Remember that your friend only gets one chance to be the bride & you’re being a good friend by going the extra mile as her bridesmaid.

Don’ts

  • Don’t agree to be a bridesmaid if you’re not willing to spend money. We all know that weddings can be crazy expensive. The average I spend on a typical wedding as a bridesmaid is about $600. That’s a very general number but typically it breaks down to about $275 for a dress, alterations & accessories, $125 for shower/bachelorette/wedding gifts, $150 for the bachelorette party & $50 for shower contributions. Keep in mind, this is a scenario where the bride lives in the same city so no travel cost is incurred. For bridesmaids who live out of state, that cost doubles or triples. Bottom line, being a bridesmaid can be more or less expensive than the above but if you agree to be one, expect to spend some money. It’s worth it!
  • Don’t wait until the last minute… for anything! Depending on the length of your friend’s engagement, decisions on showers & bachelorette party dates should be planned as far in advance as possible. The bride has more than enough on her plate, so find some dates that work for the bridesmaids and then run those by her. If most of the bridesmaids live out of state, it might be courteous to take that into consideration when planning the timeline for the wedding events. Some ideas I’ve seen: having the bridal shower & bachelorette on the same weekend, the bachelorette party on the Thursday night before the wedding & planning the shower/bachelorette close to another holiday in which the bridesmaids will already be flying home for the weekend. The longer in advance you can plan these things, the smoother it will go and the less stressed out everyone will be.
  • Don’t give your opinion about everything. While it may be tempting to speak your mind whenever the bride is making a decision about something wedding-related, it’s not always a good idea. If she asks, by all means. But even then, be careful about how you respond. If she’s asking your opinion about something she’s already bought or reserved, proceed carefully. Wedding details often have sentiment attached to them and the last thing you want to do is offend or question your friend’s taste just because it is different than yours. Not to be cliche, but it’s her special day. This advice also goes for the dress… unless she specifically asks you to choose your own, she picked the bridesmaid dress with great thought & thinks her bridesmaids will look beautiful in it. Even if you disagree, keep it to yourself. I’ve been guilty of this before & know from experience that it’s not worth it.

I could probably go on & on with the “don’ts” list, as I’ve either made the mistake or seen them made many times. What bridemaids tips do you guys have?

Spicy Guacamole

guacamole final

Today I’m sharing the recipe to one of my all-time favorite healthy snacks, guacamole! It’s the perfect thing to whip up for a BBQ with friends or to pair with lunches throughout the week.

The way I make my guacamole leaves the actual avocado smashing until the very last minute. This is because when entertaining, I like to have the ingredients for my guac already prepped. Mixing the avocados in last minute allows for optimal freshness & a “tableside” feel to the dish.

The ingredients you’ll need are below:

3 avocados, chilled
½ cup chopped red onion
1 chopped tomato
1 chopped jalepeno pepper
1 fresh lime
1 tsp cumin
1 large garlic clove, pressed
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste

photo-5

Step 1: Chop the onion, tomato & jalapeno.
If you prefer less heat, remove the inner seeds of the jalapeno before chopping.

chopped veggies

Step 2: Add pressed garlic, cumin, cilantro & cayenne

garlic cayenne

Step 3: Cut & squeeze the lime into the mixture. I used this handy tool:

 lime

Step 4: This step happens right before I serve the guacamole. I peel the avocados & scoop them out using an avocado scoop.

avocado scoop

Step 5: Season with salt and just a dash of pepper, mash avocados & serve!

Mashed

Variation: I recently had dinner over at La Hacienda at the Scottsdale Princess Resort. They served a “Pomegranate Guacamole” that was to die for. It was a basic guacamole topped with a medley of chopped green apple, mango, pomegranate, pistachio & balsamic drizzle. It really cooled down the dish and was an amazing twist on traditional guacamole!

The best thing about guacamole is that every recipe can be tweaked to fit your liking. People have different preferences on level of salty & spicy which is super easy to adjust when making it.

Enjoy!