Maps

maps2

I’m somewhere in between a Come-To-Jesus moment and Quarter-Life Crisis – or perhaps they are two of the same, depending on how you look at it.

Lately, things have happened that have made me run into Nostalgia, Happiness, Sadness and Wonder all on the same street corner.  Hey there, fancy meeting you all here. At the same time. Right at this moment.

I used to think that I was not an emotional person. I’ve lost, succeeded, and remained stationary all while barely blinking. And then I picked up my life and graduated and lost important people and made new friends and realized that little things and big things alike do not necessarily make you happy. And also learned that life is one big run-on sentence.

I have spent a majority of my past two years learning to navigate a map.

A “How to Figure Out What You Want to Do With The Rest of Your Life” map

A “How to Make New Friends in a Large City” map

A “How To Pick The Best Wine for the Least Amount of Money” map (that one is located in Trader Joe’s in case you’re wondering.)

A “How to Move On” map

A “How to Learn to Love Again” map

had a plan. I used to have a plan that was so detailed it was almost scary. Don’t get me wrong, I knew my life wouldn’t map out perfectly, but at least I had a map. Then one day I woke up and everything changed. My old map disappeared and I haven’t quite been able to interpret my new one.

I want someone to read the map and say, “You need to go in this direction, and when you get to the intersection of X and Y, go left and you’ll find it – whatever it is.”

Being in your early-twenties is truly confusing. You’re at a weird place that is between trying to remember why you chose the path you did and having hope that the big picture will soon make an appearance. You find yourself laughing and crying, usually at the same time accompanied by cheap alcohol. And you find yourself constantly planning for the next best thing, whatever that may be.

So in the meantime, all we can do is read our maps the best we can and hope a great thing is around the corner.

A Christmas Miracle

I know that a majority of my posts have something to do with food. What can I say? This gal loves to eat. So, until I find a new hobby or completely perfect my cooking skills, y’all are just going to have to deal with these stories.

With that being said, I kind of just set up this post to be about failure, didn’t I? Sorry if I have misled you, but I have some wonderful news, people. I hope you are sitting down.

I just made the best Christmas cookies, ever. I did not mess this up. And honestly, I don’t even know if they’re technically considered Christmas cookies, but tis the season.

Now, I’m going to share this recipe with you under one condition: this is only to be used in emergencies – say you have completely fudged up a recipe and need to redeem yourself or perhaps you don’t know what to get your boss for Christmas.

Note: Everyone loves cookies (especially bosses), and if they say otherwise, run far away.

 Ingredients:

Pre-baking
Pre-baking

1 ¾ cups of flour

¼ teaspoon of salt

¾ cups of softened butter

½ cup of sugar

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Enough raspberry jam to fill the center of each cookie *I use the kind of jam that has seeds in it simply because it’s awesome.

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper, or lightly spread butter on them if you don’t own lining (like me).
  • Add the flour and salt in a bowl and whisk together.
  • Add the butter and sugar into another bowl and cream together until it becomes a fluffy mixture. Also add the vanilla extract and mix all three ingredients.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture with a spoon. This will obviously harden the butter/sugar mixture, and it may seem crumbly, but no worries!
  • Pinch off approximately 1 tablespoon of the dough and roll into a ball. Once you have placed them on the baking sheet, use your thumb to create a well in the center and fill each cookie with jam.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. *I actually baked mine for about 12-14 minutes, so keep an eye on how done you want the cookies to be.
  • Resist eating the whole batch of cookies. I may or may not have failed at this step.
The finished product.
The finished product.

A Little Butter Never Hurt Anybody…

Sometimes, I like to think that I am creative.

Examples: decorating my apartment, this blog, attempting Pinterest recipes… should I go on?

Last night, I decided that I was going to bake a sweet (no pun intended) recipe for my intern to celebrate the fact that it was Friday and we hadn’t lost our minds…yet. So, where does one go when she needs to find a quick recipe that will prevail the biggest of dessert critics (or just needy interns)? Pinterest, duh.

Now, here’s the thing about working with people. You really learn their quirks. For example, about a month after working with each other, I soon learned that Cat (our all-star intern turned junior associate) really had a thing for peanut butter. Which is dandy because I do too. So instead of taking coffee runs, you can often find us in the kitchen bonding over the one of two jars of Jif that I keep in the fridge. No shame.

The inspiration.
The inspiration.

Naturally, I decided to make homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter bars. I printed off the recipe, dashed to the store and figured that there was no possible way I would screw this up because all you do is mix and freeze. Boy, was I wrong.

I put in the one-cup of graham cracker crumbs, the three-and-a-half CUPS of powdered sugar, the one-and-a-half cups of peanut butter and a tablespoon of butter. One of these things is not like the other.

You mean, this isn't what homemade peanut butter cups are supposed to look like?
You mean, this isn’t what homemade peanut butter cups are supposed to look like?

Needless to say, my recipe was actually a recipe for disaster. It looked like straight sand. My world crumbled in my hands. Literally.

Maybe blame the bottle of wine, but I realized that I had to have missed something. And by something, I mean 2STICKSOFBUTTER. Paula Deen would be so ashamed of me. So ashamed.

All I remembered was my fourth grade teacher saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” So that is what I did. I dumped my mixture of failure into the bowl and added two sticks of butter.

And, whatdoyaknow, it turned out perfectly. If I can redeem myself, then so can the Democrats.

Happy intern, happy office.
Happy intern, happy office.

Sweets, Treats and Automobiles

This weekend was one for the books. My little came to visit me and it was our first time seeing each other since her graduation and trip to China. To add to this special weekend, West Virginia played Alabama. It is officially fall.

On Saturday, we decked out in our team’s colors and headed to an alumni owned bar to cheer on our team. We saw old friends, made new friends and left at halftime to cheer on Clemson. What? I know, it sounds absurd, but we had both a Clemson and UGA fan with us. That made for an interesting experience!

We headed to Georgetown on Sunday because no trip to D.C. is complete without cupcakes, even if you have to wait an hour for them. These cupcakes are good, don’t get me wrong, but it seemed as though everyone on the east coast traveled this holiday to get a cupcake. The banana split and blueberry cheesecake treats were oh-so-worth-it, though. As soon as we got inside the store, it started storming. Luckily, we made it home before the downpour that soon followed.

It had been quite a calm day – that was until I decided to try to park my 8-passenger car into my assigned parking place. I am not the best driver, so combine that with a tiny space and we have a recipe for disaster. After 20 minutes, I made do with the fact that I didn’t hit the car or pole beside me and realized this would not suffice.

So, the question is: What do you do when you need to convince your leasing office to give you a new parking spot?

Answer: Make them baked goods.

I knew I had some ripe bananas and enough ingredients to make banana bread, so I got to work in the kitchen. After 45 minutes, I had twelve perfectly scrumptious little banana bread muffins to pass out to the staff at my apartment complex. And, my leasing office graciously assigned me a bigger spot.

Below is the recipe incase you ever find yourself in a bind and need to charm someone:

Banana Bread Muffins

2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

¼ teaspoon of salt

1 stick of soft butter

¾ cup of white sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

3-4 over-ripe bananas

Yield: 12 muffins

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, soda and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, add soft butter and sugar. I blended these together with a wooden spoon
  • Stir in eggs and mashed bananas to butter/sugar mix until well blended
  • Stir in banana mixture into flour mixture. I used my KitchenAid mixer on low speed. **Note: the batter will be sticky
  • Line muffin tins with papers and fill them with batter. I filled them ¾ to the top.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

 photo 1 (1) 

Now, I’m going to enjoy this day off and eat the rest of my cupcakes! Xo

 

How To Make the Most of Your Internship Once It’s Over

The beginning of August is here, which means that interns will soon be leaving and returning to college.

Personally, I loved being an intern. An internship teaches you so many different skills that you cannot learn in classroom. It gives you an opportunity to interact with coworkers, learn how to handle situations and to understand the workplace environment.

I often see interns stroll in the office, do a wonderful job and then when their internship is finished, they disappear. People, remember this: if anything, your internship should serve as a networking tool.

From a former intern, here are a few steps that you can take to ensure you make the most of your internship once it’s over:

  • Write thank-you notes. This goes a long way – believe me. Before you leave the office for the last time (or if you have already departed, you can mail your note), you should write a simple note expressing your gratitude towards your mentor and/or boss. Explain what you learned and little moments that impacted your internship. You want to leave on a great note, and this is a perfect way to do so.
  •  Secure your references. You should have one person who worked closely with you serve as a reference on your resume. You can also ask them for letters of recommendation if needed!
  •  Check in with your office. Every couple of months, you should email or call your supervisor to see how they are doing and to ask for advice. You can get their advice on your senior project, what type of jobs you should be looking for, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your job search – more than likely, they will want to help you!
  •  Promote your company and internship program. You should let people know how wonderful your experience was and that you still want to be involved. If there are any events that your office is hosting, you should ask to volunteer and bring other students with you.
  • Keep in contact with your intern pals. You are going through the same thing. It’s tough to graduate and move into the real world. You’re friends will have similar experiences and can help you through it and give you advice. I still keep in touch with my “intern union” and we have helped each other through our first jobs, celebrated promotions, and listened when one of us had a bad day.

Being the first one to the office and the last one to leave can be tiring, but your boss will remember the little things that you did. Not only is it important to impress your coworkers during your time in the office but also afterwards. Now, go start writing your thank-you notes!

What advice do you have for students as they finish up their internships?