Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Thank You, Past

Hello lovelies,

I am going to my 5-year college reunion this summer, and I am incredibly excited. I have been looking forward to this since last year, and I just can't wait. I am now going alone, and although I wish I could have someone close to me accompany me on my trip down memory lane, I think I'll have an incredible amount of fun regardless.

I've been reminiscing moreso recently, and I have been remembering, so vividly, all of the emotions of my late teens and early 20s. Everything was confusing and frustrating and exciting and electrifying and new! I had moved to Massachusetts from Hawaii without visiting the state first. I had never lived without my parents, and I had no family around the area. AND I had only one other person from my high school who was going to be there. When I say new...I mean n e w.

Of course I was afraid and nervous. BUT the possibility of discovering and learning and growing outside of my little box was so much more intriguing and attractive and outweighed the fear that I had.  When I first landed, it was raining and dreary and I felt that there was nothing familiar at all about my new home.  The architecture was different, I saw no one that looked at all like myself, and I was so scared to talk to anyone. Then...I walked into my dorm and met my entrymates and exchanged a couple smiles. I met my roommate for the first time, we laughed, the sun came out, and my world changed.  My mother and father eventually left me, I gained my bearings, I met new people (including a new man, who is still a good friend to this day), and began to experience another side of me.  There were some many stumbles and many tears and a few fights with the ones I loved.  But through it all, I gained a new family and a sense of self.

Coming home from college, I found myself a little lost again; I knew how to navigate the east coast but I didn't know how to be as a 20-something in Hawaii.  For a few years, I felt lost and I intertwined my sense of self with another. Now, though, I have come to find myself, and I feel that I have made it full circle.  I now fully own and am myself, no matter where I choose reside. I have rediscovered that person I once was, and I finally feel like I am fully in control again. As a close friend of mine said, it doesn't matter what others think of you when you know who you are inside. Although reputation can matter in certain circumstances, at the end of the day, it is who you truly are to yourself that matters.

I am thankful to have had 4 years so far away from my home to truly self-discover. I was on my own to invent myself as I wished; virtually no ties existed there that tied me to my identity at home. I became anew, and I love that. I am so thankful for the aches, pains, and joys of my past. I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for the sorrow and oblivion. I am so glad I let myself feel so deeply.

Cass xx

Monday, April 6, 2015

Independence Established

Dear lovelies,

It is official. I have a new apartment. I am going to sign the lease this week, and I am looking forward to this move so much. I don't know if I've ever been this excited before in my life. Ok, I probably have been, but still. I AM SO EXCITED.

Finding my own place and living on my own is going to be a challenge but a challenge that I willingly and most graciously accept. I feel like everything is falling into place as it should. I'm flying to an outer island for business and then flying in to move into my apartment in two weeks. I am looking forward to being immensely happy discovering the world as it presents itself to me. And how can I not be happy with a new apartment that has a pool and gazebo. :)

On a side note, I did some self-discovery within the past week or so. I found that I detest feeling even remotely caged; I would rather feel completely uncertain than feel caged by  a security that I do not completely want. In all experiences, I seek the freedom to be who I am. Feeling like a dulled-down version of myself is not an experience I enjoy. I am so excited to finally do what I want, when I want, and how I want. I'm not saying that my choices don't have consequences; what I am saying is that I am willing to face those consequences if those choices are completely my own. Live and let live, baby.  We only have one life to live, and to prevent ourselves from seeking something that would give us happiness/pleasure (as LONG as that something does not hurt another) would be unfortunate for our own sakes.

With that, I am going to start putting myself out there and trying new things!  I need to go to more gastropubs and bars and hikes and restaurants and cafes and beaches...etc etc. AND, I need to go to the art museum more, especially since I'll be living so close by.  I see wonderful strolls through art exhibits in my near future. I'll bring my journal and just immerse myself in art and, of course, have a coffee at the cafe. SO EXCITED. I used to have days to myself at my college and stroll through the countryside of Massachusetts. I think it's time I had those days back...just the strolls have to be in Hawaii now haha.


Hope you all are getting what's yours and exploring the world! Don't let yourself be your own barrier! 


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What Does It Mean to Be Happy?

Hello all,

Okay, I know the title of the blogpost is a little...abstract and is on the verge of being too obviously philosophical. Bear with me.

So, right now, I am lounging around with some cheap red wine that I just bought from Don Quijote, a grocery story by my work place. It's nothing special but still a nice finish to a long day.  Today was nothing too out of the ordinary, but I did get to meet a couple new faces at the coffee cart I usually frequent in the mornings. I didn't catch their names, but, as I was talking to the barista, they came up and casually started conversations. In the course of 10 minutes, one man revealed his possibly relentless need to discover more and I found out that a woman was familiar with where I went to college up in MA. Pretty awesome. I am finally opening up a lot more nowadays, and I am feeling more and more like the person I had grown to love many moons ago.

Anywho, as I sit here with my red wine, I remember the first time I had ever fully drank wine at all. It was in college (yes, I was a good little high school girl), and my friends and I planned a "Greek" symposium on a weekend night. We planned to drink wine, dress in togas (aka our bedsheets from our twin extra-long beds), and philosophize. So, someone bought us boxes of wine (FRANZIA), we dressed in our ridiculous garb, we gathered in a common room, and our young minds began to answer the philosophical question posed, which was..."WHAT IS HAPPINESS?" I was excited to partake in the event, and throughout the course of the evening, our somewhat intellectual discourse turned into laughter and fun. Unfortunately for me, I had just recovered from a breakup and my mumbling and pathetic answer, I believe, had something to do with reciprocal love. I woke up the next morning feeling physically awful and embarrassed at my answer. My friends, though, just laughed and smiled and offered me water. The years went on, and now I look back fondly.

What's funny is that, this morning, I engaged in a conversation with one of my favorite baristas about the concepts of love and happiness and equality.  Surprisingly, my answer now is not too different from what it was then.  I know that, for me, love is still a component of happiness...but not necessarily in the same way as I thought it to be back then.  Love for family, love for the world, love for a lover...all can make one happy. But to keep happy, I feel you need love for yourself. You need to love yourself and allow yourself to feel joy. And loving yourself means knowing yourself or at least knowing the nature of your being.

And with that...I leave with this gem.

I hope you all love or are growing to love yourselves. And I hope you all realize how much each of you deserve that self-love.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Starlight, Star Bright

Hello all,

Today I took the time to stand on my balcony (with a glass of cold vermouth, of course) to watch the sunset. I had gotten home just in time, after a long day at work, to enjoy one of life's most beautiful everyday occurrences. It seemed to me worthwhile and something necessary today.

As I put on some music in the background and let the orange rays engulf the world around, I felt suddenly melancholy and euphoric simultaneously.  It was as if a rush of emotions came at me, all at once. So much has happened to me within the past week, and I guess I really don't know how to emotionally process all of it. The melancholy is probably a result of all that I have realized that I lost, and the euphoria is the excitement and extreme bliss at the thought of all that I could gain. I have always been one for adventure, even if not necessarily physical. What I mean is, I often love uncertainty. It scares me yet excites me. I find predictability wonderful too, but riding life's adventures freely makes me the most happy.

Anyway, as the sun set and the stars began to shine more brightly, I found myself gazing higher and higher into the night sky. I found myself staring at one of the brightest stars and wondering who else was looking at it too. I find it so wonderful and fascinating that us humans can be bound by something so distant. I was probably not the only person looking at that same star tonight, and even though I may never meet those others staring at the same star, we shared a moment in time. No matter how different we may be, we shared an experience somehow. I think anyway.

I also had the inevitable last thoughts. No, not those of "the end" but those of moving forward. I will be leaving my apartment at the end of the month, and I will no longer see the stars from the same angle. I have grown to love my apartment over the last 3+ years, but I am so excited to get my own place and start a new chapter of my life. I think it will be an amazing time to grow and learn. I am also someone who values her space, so I'm so excited! Still, I will miss this home. Of course, I am still planning on living on the same island and in the same city, so I won't be moving that far :P

I will leave you now with a photo I took this evening, right as the sun was leaving as.

Hope you all have a wonderful day/evening/afternoon, wherever you are. xx

Friday, March 27, 2015

Moving Forward

Hello lovely bloggers,

I haven't written in a while. My life has been a jumble, and I am finally getting it back in order. Which means I finally have time for some blogging. I find myself at a computer more times than I am at my journal, which is an unfortunate happenstance but oh well. I love journal-ing, but I do get joy from sharing my personal thoughts with the world too. Ok ok...I'll stop rambling now.

Recently, I found myself re-evaluating my life choices. Life is flying by more rapidly than I thought possible.  I feel like the year has just begun, but it's already almost April. CRAZY! I feel like time is whirring past me, which is not necessarily a terrible thing. But this feeling has made me realize how important it is to seize each day and make it yours in the best way possible. We all have only one life to live, and each moment that passes instantly becomes a blip in time that you can never have back.

Let me be clear. This reminder of life's finite nature is not something I found depressing but rather invigorating and eye-opening in a way. Now that I'm well out of school and am working, I am finally able to focus on me, what makes me happy, and what can make my dreams come true.

I had to make a few painful decisions as of late, some of which may be too personal to lay out in this medium, but I think they have all been for the better.  I have decided to make each day as full as possible so that I go to bed with a smile or at least with a sense of satisfaction. I vow to become more involved with my passions and to do all of the things I say that I want to do. Life is too short to spend it simply daydreaming. What a waste that would be. Although, daydreaming can be a form of introspection, which is necessary for progress. But I digress...

I also vow to remain positive. The world is so full of opportunity, beauty and love, and only you prevent yourself from fully appreciating all three. Even in the darkest times, there is always light. Or at least light to come. And that light to come is what should matter.

Right now, I am looking forward to: my new apartment (I'm finally living on my own!!!), new friendships, possibly dancing again, my college reunion (which means seeing my besties!), travel, and days full of laughter and learning. I'm so excited. YES.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Recipe Feature - Classic Beef Meatballs & Spaghetti

Hello wonderful people!

Sorry I have neglected my blog, yet again. I need to be better about this lol. Anyway, as an apology, I have decided to share a recipe that was a recent hit with my family! It's a classic dish: spaghetti and meatballs! BUT this is one of the best meatball recipes I have ever tried. I modified a little here and there (modifications are in green), but I pretty much followed the instructions as is.

Classic Beef Meatballs (Source)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds 80 percent lean ground beef (I used 85% lean ground beef from whole foods)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried) (I used 1 tablespoon of italian seasoning)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 4 cups Classic Tomato Sauce (I made my own simple marinara; read below!)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle olive oil into a 9-by 13-inch baking dish; using your hand, evenly coat entire surface. Set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, use your hands to mix together beef, ricotta, eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, red-pepper flakes, and fennel until fully incorporated. Roll mixture into firmly packed 1 1/2-inch balls.
  3. Place meatballs in prepared baking dish, taking care to line them up snugly so that they are touching one another in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. Transfer baking dish to oven. Bake until meatballs are firm and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball reads 165 degrees. (I just baked them for about 16-18 minutes)
  4. Meanwhile, heat Classic Tomato Sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
    * OR you can make a quick marinara if you have less time
    My Marinara Sauce
    32 oz  organic tomato sauce
    1/2 medium onion, chopped
    2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1-2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
    pinch of salt and pepper
    - heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
    - saute the onions and garlic in the oil, until slightly browned.
    - pour in the tomato sauce and season with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
    - simmer for at least 15 minutes...and you're DONE!
  5. Remove meatballs from oven and carefully drain excess grease from pan. Pour heated sauce over meatballs and return to oven; cook for 15 minutes more. Serve. (I served mine on a bed of angel hair pasta!)

I really enjoyed this recipe! The meatballs were incredibly tender and fully cooked through. I found that using the Italian seasoning (instead of oregano) was fine, esp if you have that on hand instead! I served mine with pasta, and it was perfect. I can't wait to make this again and maybe try a pork/beef combo? If any of you try this, let me know! 


Thursday, October 2, 2014

When You Fall...Get Right Back Up

Dear blogosphere,

I am sorry for my absence. Life has taken me on a wonderful ride, and I felt the need to live it! Still, I am glad to be returning to blogging. It is important to me to share my thoughts with the world and to somewhat artistically express myself lol. I missed blogging and I thought it appropriate to come back, esp during this time in my life.

I recently failed at something terribly important to me. I had prepared and prepped and endured months of agony... and still failed. I found out recently about my disastrous failure, and I sobbed and ate ice cream and sobbed some more. I thought my heart couldn't bear it. I sat in silence and stared into space. I really truly wallowed (for those of you who have watched Gilmore Girls, wallowing is necessary says Lorelai).

After my wallowing, though, I decided to open the windows to let the light in. I decided to listen to music and watch some funny TV (Gilmore Girls, duh).  I decided to eat something other than ice cream and donuts. I decided to put on a pretty dress and walk out into the world. I decided to GET UP and to BRUSH IT OFF. And I am so glad because it has done me a world of wonders.

As the Ancient Ones said, errare humanum est...which means "to err is human."  This past week, I was assaulted with my humanity.  It was not fun. It SUCKED. But I got up because I wanted to and because I had to. And also because many of those around me showed their support for me and their love for me, despite my failure. Thank you to all those who still believe in me and who have been a shining light during my time of sadness.

It has been a tough few days and it will continue to be a tough few months.  However, nothing beats sadness like positivity and the will to move forward and try again. Onwards and upwards!!!

Source: bananarepublic.gap.com