Sunday, September 30, 2012

I Have Officially Pinpointed What I'm Meant to Do With My Life

As many of you are aware, I tend to dream big.

In the seemingly neverending quest to figure out what the heck I'm supposed to be doing with my life, I've already determined that I'm meant to be a talk show host or a news anchor... anything that involves getting to hear people's stories, let's be honest here.

Although I raise this dream in a slightly joking manner with many people in my life (many = all, in this instance), I'm also quite serious. If there's one thing I've learned in my 20s, it's this: It's great to have a solid career- I am entirely grateful for the career path I've developed to-date. But if you really want to have the most fulfilling life possible, you really ought to take a step back, pinpoint your true interests and passions and determine how you can reasonably pursue those interests by leveraging the skill sets and qualities that you have to offer.

Deep, I know.

Anyway, while I actively discuss my hopes and dreams of becoming a talk show host or news anchor with any/everyone, I feel like I need to take a step back and at least outline some tangible, attainable milestones that can be used to track my progress to this dream goal of mine. (Talk about taking a consultant approach to this whole effort... next thing you know, I'll be creating a Powerpoint slide outlining my step-by-step approach to achieving this goal... a Gantt chart, if you will.)

Just this afternoon, I was watching a couple of DVR'ed OWN shows- one being one of Oprah's Life Class episodes and another being TV Guide's Top 25 Oprah Moments. The Life Class episode was about "joy rising"... it's such an amazing, uplifting episode that really just makes you want to get out there and give anyone in a difficult situation ANYthing they need (including a big, fat HUG). Similarly, at least one of TV Guide's Top 25 Oprah Moments involved surprising individuals going through difficult situations.

It's by watching these snippets that I've more specifically pinpointed what I would like to focus on should I ever have a broader reach/presence (and/or available funding). I think giving people going through tough situations useful, meaningful surprises would legitimately be the ultimate dream job of mine. Honestly, it's hard to describe the sheer joy I get out of watching some of these snippets (either on Oprah reruns or on Ellen). I mean, hearing these individuals' stories of hardships and struggles never fails to put my own "problems" into perspective. And then seeing the pure, unadulterated JOY that they express in their own unique ways when presented with their respective surprises... God, I know these people are complete and total strangers, but my heart still gives a little leap just knowing that, for at LEAST that moment in time, their lives are just that much better.

I have to say, I think Oprah and Ellen have transformed television talk shows in that regard. They have clearly demonstrated their true passion to leverage their means and celebrity for the greater good of society. Actually, come to think of it, I sure hope Katie Couric does similar types of things on her new show (I mean, I'm assuming she would... surprising people with random acts of kindness? If that doesn't scream Kaite Couric, I just don't know what does.)

And that, my friends, brings me to my new dream job/goal. Since the Katie show is still in its infancy, there is so much opportunity for growth and expansion and, quite frankly, I think this type of segment would be so fitting for her show. So that's my goal. To become a special correspondent for the Katie show- specifically, I want to hear compelling stories of people/communities in need and be tasked with the act of surprising people in their homes/schools/local communities/etc.

My heart just went all a'flutter at the prospect. I mean, anyone who knows me knows I get a natural high off of being around people. But to be able to SURPRISE people with random acts of kindness? Seriously, I don't know how I'd be able to contain my excitement. (I'm envisioning my role to be similar to the role of Jeannie (sp?) on Ellen's show or Gayle on Oprah's show.) Hell, I'd even VOLUNTEER to do this kind of thing!!

Oh man, now that I've more specifically determined what I'm meant to be doing with my life, I can't stop thinking about how I'm actually going to make this happen. Baby steps here, people...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Submission for Ellen's Bad Paid-For Photos

Do you guys watch Ellen?

I sure hope so because... well, because it's just such a happy place. It's such a perfect blend of creativity, celebrity, generosity... and HUMOR. My God, I know Ellen's a comedian, but seriously. The amount I laugh out loud at each and every episode is legitimately unreal.

Anyway, so as some of you are aware, I have a list of things I want to do over the course of the year (not really a new year's resolution list, since I don't believe in resolutions and since I created this list in May, but you get the idea, right?).

One of my goals?

That's right! Going to the Ellen show (well, if we're going for accuracy here, I actually want to be ON the show... but whatever, I'll settle for going to the show as well)!!

OMG- if I end up getting tickets to an episode of the Ellen show when Rosie and Sophia Grace are on, I will ABS-olutely die. Have you seen these girls?!?!?! They are only the most adorable girls EVER- Ellen discovered them through a random YouTube video she found and now they are TOTAL celebrities. For good reason, too... these gals have some personaliTAY.

Anyway, sorry, that was a slight tangent. I get a little overly excited (surprise, surprise). Back to the point of this post... okay, so if you do watch the Ellen show, you are aware of a recurring segment that Ellen has called "Bad Paid-For Photos". Basically, it's an opportunity for people to send in GODawful pictures of themselves from way back in the day that... well, that everyone can laugh at.

I know, I know. Most people shudder at the thought of reliving some of their childhood pictures (I mean, Glamour Shots? Wowza, that's all). But, well, who DOESN'T have a bad photo from back in the day, right?

Right. Since shamelessness is my middle name, I've decided to take my chances and submit a picture for Ellen's "Bad Paid-For Photos". The things I'll do to get on TV, really... sooo, are you guys ready for it?


That's right. Hello, third-grade. How I had any friends in the third-grade is fairly questionable, given the hot mess state I was in. I mean, there is NOTHING right about this picture! What in heaven's name were my parents thinking, letting me out the door in this state? And to think... this is what I looked like on school picture day, when more effort than usual was put into my appearance... scary, huh?

Here's the thing- if you know me at all, you know that I care very little about my appearance in general. But this picture? I mean, that's taking "caring very little about my appearance" to a whole new level.

All I have to say is- God bless the inventors of braces and contact lenses. Heavens.

And those BUTTONS?!?!?! Those SHOULDER PADS?!??! I understand it was the 80s and all things wrong in fashion really came outta the woodwork, but really? REALLY.

And finally, let's discuss... that HAIR?!?!?! One, WHAT is that haircut? The bangs aren't even close to being evenly chopped (I forget... I may have done this myself... awesome.), the bottom of the hair isn't close to even (and you KNOW I wasn't aiming for a "layered/angled" look)... and well, again, God bless the inventor of the hair straightener.

And heavens- I can't believe I almost forgot to point out those GLASSES?!?!?! I mean, clearly (clearly) I was a fan of pink... but really? Those pink frames? No words...

Ah, the good ol' days. If anything, I would like to think that this post will give kids hope. Hope that things CAN get better as you age. (Ah, the Maliyacular... deep, isn't it?) I mean, if one individual can go from THIS:


...Well, at least you know you can go nowhere but up (and by "up", I just mean anywhere north of... well, that third-grade train wreck).

*Although most of you reading this are aware of what I currently look like, I had to insert this "current state" picture per Ellen show requirements, as I'm simply linking to this post for my submission to the Ellen show.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Here's to You, Biscoff Butter

So I have a guilty little secret.

You know how plane food is notoriously disgusting (if even existent, given how stingy airlines are nowadays)? I'm right with ya... I'm not a picky eater by any means, but you really just can't get plane food right by any stretch of the imagination.

With one exception.

Now, I don't fly Delta all too often, but the few times that I have... well, I've discovered a random little silver lining in the world of airline food.

Have you guys ever had Biscoff cookies? Delta hands out little packages (with two mini cookies in each package) on most of their flights, I believe.

I. Am. Slightly obsessed. With them. Without fail, I always help myself to one little package of cookies when the stewardess comes around the first time... aaaand then proceed to shamelessly stalk the stewardess throughout the flight with just a few friendly follow-up inquiries for "just a couple more packages of those sweet little cookies you were passing out earlier".

Hey, at least I'm friendly and innocent. It helps things out quite a bit, if you will.

Anyway, if you haven't had Biscoff cookies before and you don't really fly Delta all too often, not to fear! Just recently (and by recently, I mean a few years ago, because quite frankly, when it comes to something as important as cookies, I do my research), I discovered that they SELL those cookies at GROCERY STORES!!! Each time I go home to Cincinnati, you better believe I stalk my neighborhood Meijer for package after package of those dear sweet little Biscoff cookies.

I mean, my GOD. If you've ever had these before, you'll totally understand the (slight) obsession. So sweet, so delicious... happiness in a cookie, if you will.

Given my love of the Biscoff cookie, you can only imagine my jaw-dropping DELIGHT when I learned that the land of Biscoff has expanded to... Biscoff butter.

OMG, I just tried typing a few sentences and just had to keep deleting them because they were nothing but frenzied, spirit-fingery nonsense. In short, BISCOFF BUTTER IS ONE OF THE GREATEST CREATIONS IN ALL THE LAND.

I have been DYING to try Biscoff butter for like the past year or so, when I first heard about it through a blog I stalk follow. I'd originally heard that Biscoff butter was only sold at places like World Market (which I never really go to), but each time I went to any other grocery store,  I would be keeping my eyes peeled. But to no avail, to say the least. For the life of me, I could NOT track this stuff down ANYWHERE I shopped (okay, granted, I could've branched outta the world of Trader Joe's for a bit, but whatever).

Anyway, imagine my utter DELIGHT when I go home to Cincinnati last weekend... only to discover that my mom had seen the Biscoff butter at our neighborhood grocery store and thought it looked "interesting". I can safely say that "freaking out" didn't even begin to describe my reaction when I spotted the stuff right in my family's kitchen. Let me just tell you... it took NO time at all for me to take a spoon to that jar of Biscoff butter sitting right on my family's kitchen island. And even less time than that to help myself to a second... and sure, maybe a third heaping spoonful.

Oh my God, you guys just don't understand. This stuff is everything I hoped and DREAMED it to be... and more!!! It looks exactly like peanut butter (which I am also slightly obsessed with and can eat by the straight up spoonful... God, yeah), but hooooooly mother, move OVER, peanut butter, you have got some LEGIT COMPETITION!! Biscoff butter, while similar in consistency to peanut butter, is MUCH sweeter than peanut butter... it's more of a cookie butter* than anything else. AND you can choose between a crunchy variety or a creamy variety. Since I love crunchy peanut butter over creamy, I figured the same would hold true for crunchy Biscoff butter over creamy.

Well, I can't even compare, because I've only just begun my Biscoff butter sojourn and only tried the crunchy variety thus far. And holy mother, it's everything I could possibly imagine it to be... it's not crunchy like crunchy peanut butter, but rather, more like a grainy type of spread... it's basically Biscoff crumbs mashed into the spread itself.


You better believe I currently have two containers of crunchy Biscoff butter sitting in my kitchen cupboard because I DEFINITELY hit up the local grocery store when I was in Cincinnati so I could stock up for my Chicago apartment.

AND!! It was on sale and everything!! Bonus time!!! It was just meant to be, if you will.

Seriously, guys. I HIGHLY recommend you go to your neighborhood grocery store and find yourself some Biscoff butter. You will NOT regret your OWN decision to "take a spoon to the Biscoff butter", as dainty as ladylike as I made this experience out to be.

*Have you guys tried Trader Joe's cookie butter before? HOLY MOTHER, before I discovered the wonders and glories of Biscoff butter, Trader Joe's cookie butter sufficed... and do NOT get me wrong, Trader Joe's cookie butter is one of the most heavenly things ever to grace this fine planet we call Mother Earth. Second only to Biscoff butter, if you will...