Running Forward

Two Year Anniversary

It just hit me- today marks my two year anniversary of moving to NJ. Looking back at the past two years makes me realize how quickly time flies and how much I’m still changing and discovering what I want from life.

Most notably, though, these past two years have been my happiest years yet. I tend to rant and rave about my dislike for the South and life in Georgia (sorry, everyone), but it’s just because NY is the first place that made me feel like I belong. I was always the odd man out in the south and never fit in with a specific clique. Even in college I struggled to find my place and always felt overly self-conscious and awkward. Perhaps the most unsettling feeling was being surrounded by people all the time (classes, social functions, etc.) yet never feeling more alone.

Let’s turn this around now- flash forward to January 26th, 2013. I’m taking my first one way flight by myself with two suitcases containing the contents of my life. I was excited, but also incredibly terrified. I had never met my boss, never stepped foot in my office, and didn’t have a permanent place to live. Luckily, it ended up being the best decision of my life. I quickly adapted to my new surroundings (lots to learn about dressing for winter), learned my way around, and took comfort in the fact that nothing is permanent. Whenever I got overwhelmed I simply told myself that I could change the situation if I really wanted to, nothing is set in stone (except death and taxes, right?). Thank goodness I loved my job, figured out an apartment situation, and started trying to meet people. It took a good year to feel truly settled and make a good group of friends, but it was a very productive year.

Now that things are comfortably in place (except my love life, but that’s a whole different story) I find myself trying to figure out why I’m so much happier here. Here’s what I have so far:

  • Anything Goes: You can do almost anything and nobody will think twice about it. As long as you’re confident, people will respect you.
  • NYC is huge: I was always used to being a small fish in a small pond, so being the small fish in a giant ocean feels nicer. Even celebrities find that they can blend in with the crowd.
  • Opportunities: I really lucked out with my job and savor being one of the youngest people in the department. At times my inexperience frustrates me, but I learn a tremendous amount every day. My boss is incredible and allows me to own some great projects and lets me take part in anything I’m interested in.
  • Meeting People: My position is unique in that I get to interact with some of the most influential people in cable on an almost-daily basis. Talking one-on-one with them might be my favorite part of the job because they have so much advice and wisdom to offer. I also love getting to interact with our “talent” and learning about their worlds. I even found a great mentor in one!
  • Life is Fast: People walk faster, drive faster, talk faster, and I love it. I’m a high-anxiety person who doesn’t like to have a lot of free time, so this environment fits me well for now.

Well, that’s probably enough for now. I know it’s cheesy to say, but if anyone struggling with his/her current situation reads this, just remember that nothing is permanent. I never thought I could be so happy, but I am. It happened. I truly love the person I have become and savor the fact that I’m still young and have countless adventures ahead of me.

So, happy anniversary, NJ! I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Hopefully more snow! 🙂

1.26.15

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Roasted

Let’s rewind back a bit to New Year’s Eve. I stayed in with one of my roommates and cooked us a delicious and healthy dinner to ring in 2015. The star of the show was a roasted chicken and the supporting cast included smoky collard greens and black-eyed pea salad. Let’s start with the chicken for now.

I roasted chicken years ago while I was still living with my parents, but it had always been a team effort. So, this day marked my first time going solo with the bird. I went with one that was around 4.5 pounds (actually one of the smallest ones I could find at my store) and pumped myself up for a new cooking venture. (Ignore the fact that I look like a bum in the picture)

I first patted the bird dry over the sink and had a bit of a moment when all the organs and neck plopped out, but that was an easy clean up. Once the bird was dry I set it onto the rack I found and filled the inside with chopped onion, garlic, and some orange segments. To keep everything from falling out in the oven I tied the chicken’s legs together with some string. Then, I rubbed minced garlic underneath the skin along with salt, lemon/pepper seasoning, and orange slices. Right before I put it into the oven I also rubbed the outside of the skin with some olive oil to crisp it up. I’m not a skin fan, but still wanted it to look pretty.

Then I slid the bird into my preheated 350 degree oven and let it cook for about 20 minutes before basting with some of the cooking juices and chicken broth. I continued basting every 20 minutes or so until the bird was fully cooked, which took about two hours. I turned up the heat very high right before taking out the bird in order to get the skin to brown a bit. Once I took the chicken out to rest I was thrilled with how it came out. The white meat was incredibly tender and juicy while the dark meat was delicious as always. And, as a bonus, the apartment smelled amazing.

I had leftovers for a week and plan on roasting another bird in the not-so-distant future. Maybe next time I’ll be able to find some cornish hens.

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Sick Day Musings

I officially jinxed myself. During my team meeting at work on Tuesday I proudly told everyone that I never get sick. Two days later, BOOM, I have strep throat. First time in almost ten years! I’m the kind of person who never goes to the doctor since I had such crappy health insurance growing up. But my new corporate plan is awesome, so I’m becoming a doctor-going citizen finally! My mom convinced me to go to an urgent care clinic, so I went to AstraCare Urgent Care in downtown Hoboken- highly recommended!

As soon as I walked in the staff was very helpful and friendly and I noticed how clean and new the space looked. It’s been there a year, but is furnished quite nicely and is a comfy place to have to wait when you feel like crap (and it was delightfully warm instead of cold like a typical doctors office). By the end of my appointment I had a flu test, strep test, and a finger prick to test for mono. First time I’ve had my finger pricked actually. To make a long story shorter, I have strep. Boo.

I was feeling a little better since i had breakfast right before leaving the apartment, but then came Walgreens. I had to wait around 30 minutes for my prescription and genuinely thought I was going to die (not to be too dramatic or anything). I was shivering, thirsty, and thinking about how I should put together a makeshift will on my iPhone. I somehow stumbled 3 blocks home after finally getting my meds and spent the day answering emails/phone calls, consuming cough drops, and watching my fair share of TV. Did you know Kix revolutionized breakfast cereal because of its manufacturing process? Yeah, me neither.

I somehow managed to make myself a huge pot of soup, which should come in handy tomorrow since my Friday is looking the same. So, now I end my day with a viewing of Pretty Woman and thinking about how great Julia Roberts makes it seem to be a prostitute. I mean, she ends up with Richard Gere and a pretty bad ass wardrobe. Come on, writers, get a little bit more realistic next time.

Now enjoy this video. I did.

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Hot Banana Bread for a Not-So-Hot Day

Even though it’s a short week due to a holiday on Monday it’s been quite the roller coaster so far. Today was crazy at work and now (dare I say it) I think I may be getting sick. And if you know me, you know that I DON’T get sick. Ever.

So, when I came home from work hungry I happily made my way to the banana bread I baked over the weekend. Even though it’s the last little nubbin of bread left it still made my day that much brighter. It had been a while since I baked a normal loaf of banana bread (as opposed to a healthier, lighter version), so I found a recipe online and tweaked it according to the ingredients I had on-hand. You see, my Friday plans were canceled so my baking venture was a spontaneous decision. Shout out to Krysten for letting me borrow two eggs!

By midnight Friday I had one large loaf and two mini loaves fresh out of the oven. By Monday the biggest loaf was devoured and my roommates begged me to make more. In case you find yourself home alone this Friday and get tired of your Netflix binge, break out your apron and throw together a loaf of this bread. Your roommates will love you for it.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup oil

2 eggs

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)

A few drops of vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

sprinkle of cinnamon

Chocolate chips (no measurement here!)

Start by preheating your oven to 350. Next whip together your sugar and oil, incorporating the eggs once the sugar and oil are mixed. Next add your bananas (you can pre-mash them or try to use fewer dishes like me and mash them in the batter bowl). Stir in the milk and vanilla extract until all the wet ingredients are well incorporated. Add your first cup of flour along with the baking soda and salt. Once mixed well, add the remaining flour. Lastly, time for the chocolate chips. Frankly, go as crazy as you want. I mean, too much chocolate is definitely never a problem.

Pour your batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes adding additional time if necessary. If you’re a smart cookie like me, you’ll risk burned fingers to try a slice right out of the oven. I’d say it’s worth it, but it’s always delicious the next day too. Good luck making it last though!

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I’m baaaaack!!!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything, but let’s see if I can get back into the groove.

Back in September I moved to a new apartment (third time’s a charm) and finally signed a year-long lease! It was a Craigslist deal, but I lucked out big time. My roommates are wonderful and have made such a difference in my life. We crack each other up and have regular philosophical chats about life, dating, and our careers. Not to mention the hilarious antics we get into, especially when we all end up a bit tipsy at the end of a night out. Basically, I love them.

My job is fantastic, as always. With each day I realize how lucky I am to work with such a wonderful team. I can’t share too much of what I do online, of course, but I’ll post my adventures when I can.

Lastly, for tonight, my dating life. I have been on more dates this past year than I can remember. Yes, it can be disappointing and incredibly frustrating at times, but I have so many hilarious stories to tell my future grandchildren. I took a break from online dating for a bit, but I’m jumping back in for the heck of it. I firmly believe that you can learn something from every person who enters your life even if it’s only for one date. And the possibility of free food and drinks is always a plus. 🙂

This past year was a huge learning experience and I’ve grown tremendously. I’ve met some truly amazing people, become more comfortable in my job, and am without a doubt happier than ever. Let’s see what 2015 brings! So far it’s brought some pretty great SNL skits.

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