Recipe: Buttery Pecan Cookies

1 Cup of softened butter

1 teaspoon of maple syrup

3/4 cup of sugar

2 1/2 cups of flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

an egg

1 small bag of pecans.

 

1.) In a mixing bowl, add the butter (softened) and sugar together. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy.

2.) Add in the (1) egg and maple syrup.

3.) In the same mixing bowl, continue mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.

The mixture at this point should seem like dough.

4.) kneed the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap. Then place dough into the fridge for 1 hour.

One hour later….

5.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

6.) Roll it thin with a rolling pin, into shapes.

7.) Cookies go in until bottoms are a tad golden brown.

 

  • S.B

 

 

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My Christmas Traditions.

One thing I have been thankful for is that my family was rich with tradition. Growing up, during December, we had a special thing going on (almost) weekly. Christmas was my mother’s and my grandmother’s favorite time of the year. My grandmother would start putting up her Christmas village in November. Her Christmas village, as a child and even as an adult, was the most fascinating time of the year. This year, to my dismay, she is only putting up one table (her village typically is over five tables). Below I have listed my holiday traditions, that I have been doing since I was seven years old.

25 days of Christmas – Starting the first of December, I would receive a candy box, that would have chocolate hidden behind the numbers. Every day after dinner, I would search for the correct number (day in the month) and I would pop open the door and a small piece of chocolate would be there.

Kathy Treats – Last year I made a blog post all about Kathy Treats and how to make them. Everyone knew it was Christmas season when my aunt would bring home, salted pretzels, M & M’s and Hershey Kisses. This year, I did not shop early enough for the Hershey Kisses, they go into stores starting in November, and they stop selling the last week of November. They are impossible to find in December. Instead this year, I will probably find white chocolate melts, and do it that way.

St. Nick’s Day and Ornament giving – On St. Nick’s Morning, we would receive an ornament to place on the tree. This ornament would be specific to the year you had. The year I learned to play guitar, I got a guitar ornament and the year I learned how to drive, I got a steering wheel. The ornament would have my name on it and the year that it happened.

Christmas Eve – On Christmas Eve, we would get to open one gift. Which was always fresh new Pajamas to wear on Christmas Day.

Santa’s Hat – on Christmas day the person to hand out the gifts would be the person wearing Santa’s Hat. It was always really important to me, because I came from a huge family, and I was considered one of the youngest.

Tis the season to be merry.

  • S.B

Speak Love: Donation Post

In the next coming months, I will be able to make a greater impact in my community, specifically with my college. As many people know I am part of the movement called, Speak Love. Which is an all-inclusive group that focuses on love and accepting one another no matter what our walk of life is. Nick Jackson, who started Speak Love, is also my friend and mentor who has helped me through this journey with setting up the Gateway Branch. Although, we primarily focus on suicide prevention speeches at high schools and colleges, we would be taking a new route with Gateway.

Not only will we be focusing on suicide prevention, we would also be focusing on poverty within education. Many of the volunteers for Speak Love understand what it’s like to only have a few bucks in our pockets, trying to make ends meet. Hopefully, through donations we would be able to donate the little things that mean a big thing. These times would include socks, diapers, pencils, notebooks, ext. However, we cannot make this part possible if we do not have people willing to donate the items.

Which is why I am now asking those who read this blog to donate to this cause. Every penny counts and I know that Speak Love and Gateway would be grateful knowing that there are people out there willing to donate. Below is the link if you can do so.

 

With much love and respect,

 

  • B

 

https://www.gofundme.com/gatewayspeaklove

 

Speak Love – TIE

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Click the photo to see what exactly went on at Gateway today!

If you haven’t already make sure to subscribe to the YouTube Channel to receive more updates on Speak Love and it’s journey to Gateway!

 

  • S.B

October Playlist

On October 1st, I woke up and the first thing I said was, “IT’S BOOT SEASON!” Now that is not the only exciting thing about it officially being October. During the first week of October, I download my “Halloween Playlist” back onto my iPhone and my laptop. This playlist typically consists of 10-15 songs, it just depends on what I want to include on it. I include all the traditional Halloween music, however sometimes I like to include Disney Channel Soundtracks, such as the movies that I grew up watching, that were considered spooky. This year however I am keeping it strictly Halloween themed. Also if you want the playlist, visit my Spotify!

 

This is Halloween from The Nightmare Before Christmas

Thriller by Michael Jackson

The Monster Mash by Bobby (Boris) Pickett

Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr.

Spooky Scary Skeleton by Andrew Gold

I Put a Spell on You by Annie Lennox

Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show

Spooky Scary Skeleton (remix) By The Living Tombstone

Seven Wonders by Fleetwood Mac

Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon

Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell ft. Michael Jackson

Medley: This is Halloween/Werewolves in London/Ghostbusters from The Sing Off

The next chapter

As most people know, I have been house jumping for almost two years now. Straight out of high school I ended up house jumping at few different friends’ houses and had quite a few jobs to keep me afloat. Earlier this year Brandon and I decided that we would try and find an apartment of our own, and thus we would be roommates. It seemed far-fetched at the time, mainly because I had struggled to get approved by multiple different apartments. And at first, it was hard. Brandon and I started looking at a dozen different apartments, most were weeded out due to issues with pet policies or distance. However, after searching for nearly five months we ended up directly down the road to where we had currently lived. In August, we got approved at the apartment of our dreams. It had everything we were looking for, including some bonuses.

We have spent nearly two weeks in our new home, and everything is slowly but surely coming together. Our family has grown as well. We started out with just Alfred, the guinea pig, then in early August Brandon adopted a bearded dragon, named Glaurung. About three weeks ago, we needed up adopting a kitten, and her name is Nala. I never thought I would be anything but a dog person, yet here I am, taking care of a reptile and a kitten. All the animals get along, except for Alfred and Glaurung. It’s not that they are aggressive towards each other, it is just that, for a short period of time their cages were next to each other and that ended up causing some sort of conflict between them. Glaurung’s crickets that would make noise, Alfred getting up at 2 am and making all sorts of noises with his cage. That’s okay though, because Nala gets along with both Glaurung and Alfred.

On other notes, Brandon continues to work on his book, and I am still getting my poetry together and making notes about what the poems mean to me. Hopefully by Christmas or New Year’s I will have a rough draft of what I would like my first poem book to look like. I don’t really know when Brandon’s first book will be finished, but I know he’s also working on short stories and some other creative writings.

I still would like to continue to blog about new food places that Brandon and I go to, we just haven’t been able to get out of Northern Kentucky since we have moved into our new home. Financing our money is now a huge priority. However, hopefully soon we will be able to eat somewhere awesome and I can write about it. There are so many restaurants that I haven’t been to that I would love to write about, maybe even ones I have been to, that I just haven’t talked about.

Brandon and I, for the first time in five years, did not make it to comic-con. Rent is due this week, and therefore we had to make some budgeting cuts. We were both super upset, because so many people and vendors we love were going. However, there is always next year. It will always be a tradition, just like hosting Friendsgiving and Friendsmas. Which we do plan to host again this year. Which will also be documented just as the Christmas Recipes will be.

I am also a part of a really cool organization called Speak Love, which is an all inclusive group that focuses on loving and respecting one another, no matter our walk of life. I’ve known about the group for about five years now, and every year I go to the Anthony Munoz Conference, however Nick (who started Speak Love and is my mentor) came to me and told me that he thought I would enjoy volunteering with the group. He was right, I am not trying to start a branch at Gateway, so more students can be a part of it. Speak Love means so much to me right now, just because I struggled so much to find peace in my heart and now I feel like I have that.

All our friends are doing well as well. New chapters in their lives have begun and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of all of them. I don’t want to spill the beans on them, because a lot of our mutual friends have a more private profile, but I can tell you that Hypha is doing great (Also I know she reads this blog faithfully, so if I don’t at least mention her I know I am going to be in for it). Everyone in my life seems to be doing well, Phoebe started school a few weeks ago, and although I told her Kindergarten doesn’t last forever, that there are other grades that come after that, she still says she loves school. My grandparents are enjoying the traveling lifestyle, which I’m so happy that they are doing. My grandparents have done so much for all their grandchildren (especially me) the last five years, and now that all of us are all grown up, it’s time that they start thinking about themselves.

That’s about it with my life right now. Not really traveling, but still writing. Still (trying) to do well in school, although it’s hard with being a part-time worker and having other stresses. But I’m learning to cope with those stresses a lot better, through therapy. I am happy for all of my friends with their lives and how they are living. Overall, after a year of drought, I’m finally getting some rain, so now I’m just going to wait and see how many plants grow.

Until next time,

S.B

An Open Letter to the Manager That Crossed a Line.

In the past years, keeping up with my mental health has been a struggle for me. When I was younger, I used to go to therapy to discuss what was stressing me out, and how to deal with the people in my life. I stopped going when I was about thirteen years old, and it was around that time that I stopped taking 90% of any medication that was prescribed to me. Due to what has happened to me in the past year, I decided to go back to therapy. Starting around late May, every other Friday for about an hour, I am in counseling sessions that deal from a large range of topics.

In August, I started working as a hostess at Ihop. Due to my school schedule, and therapy, my work times are limited and non-negotiable. It’s not that I don’t want to work more hours, it’s that I go to school for 8 hours a week, and I have just about 8 hours of homework. Combined, that’s 16 hours of schooling, and 20 hours of working. Every Friday that I have therapy, I reserve that specifically for therapy. I don’t do any homework, and I don’t work those days. When in counseling, my therapist and I do a lot of writing and a few things with EMDR. Everyone responds to EMDR differently, and I get very tired and sometimes can get headaches from it. However, my therapist believes that it will work and help me cope, and I believe him.

On Sundays and the Fridays that I am not in therapy, I work with a co-worker that is rude and nasty to me. This coworker is unavoidable, because she is a hostess as well. Since I have worked there she has had issues with me. When I first got the drawer at work, she complained because I had gotten it sooner than she had. Then, it was because I was well organized. After that it became a dozen of petty issues. I got yelled at for getting in the drawer when nobody was to be found, again when I took a to-go order and on top of that got a huge tip from the person. Typically, I get along with everyone and if I have issues with them I just look at them and say, “Hey, I notice we have this issue can we work it out?” but even when I tried to be nice or ignore the issues at hand, nothing seemed to work.

I work with the scheduling manager, specifically on Monday nights. This is the only time I work with him, so sometimes, I understand that I overwhelm him with such complaints. However, any time I have tried to tell him that something wasn’t right, I was told that I was complaining to much. Then again, I was told that I was over stressing, that I shouldn’t stress so much. But never did this manager look at me and say, “maybe there is an issue here that we should take care of.” Last week I finally had had enough of all the fault being put on me, saying that what I was concerned about was unreasonable. I finally told him that I didn’t want the conflict at work so I asked for my hours to be cut by two, in hopes that that would help with whatever was going on when I worked with her.

It’s not that I’m not willing to work my job, when I work I am efficient and a team leader. I tell my coworkers, “Dream work makes the team work!” Meaning that if we can all make an effort together, then the rushes won’t be so bad and we can get everything completed properly.

On Sunday, September 24th, there was an incident at work that caused me to complain to my managers. I was told that I would get written up, so would she, but ultimately, I knew, that I was at fault for not being the bigger person. I had told the manager that was there at the time, that I was finished with the pettiness. That it’s not fair to me to have to come into work every Sunday and Friday and must put up with how rude she is being. I was told that when the scheduling manager came in, to talk to him. I immediately knew that I wouldn’t be taken seriously. I told myself that I would be calm and polite, and just tell him that I stressed the same concern. I would confront him ten minutes before my shift ended, in hopes to finally end the conflict at work.

When our scheduling manager came in, I approached him and told him that there was an incident at work that I felt the need to discuss with him. He had already heard the story and had made up his mind that I was at fault. In fact, he looked at me and told me that out of the 75 employees that he has, I cause the most issues and that I work the least number of hours. I pointed out that not by choice do I work those numbers of hours, I just can’t work more than what’s given to me. On top of the hours given to me, I am sent home about two hours early any time we are not busy, and I do it without complaint. He continued to yell at me and finally he told me that I needed to get my shit together.

What struck me the most, that left me having a panic attack in my car after the conversation is that he told me that he “accommodates to my issues”. My managers are aware that I have PTSD and High-Anxiety Disorder. I tell them, not to pity and treat me differently, but so they are fully aware that sometimes I might need a 30 second breather. Which I had needed that day. Multiple times, a few managers have mentioned to me about why I don’t work every Friday after therapy, or why I don’t work Saturdays. Saturdays are a different story, that ultimately, if they told me I had to work or I would lose the job, I would do it. But they told me it wouldn’t be an issue. So, I enjoy my Saturdays with my little sister, taking her out to do things and have fun.

I was fully aware at that moment, how I took that statement was that that manager was throwing my “issues” in my face. That I would always be at fault because I couldn’t work 30+ hours a week. I have worked at a lot of different fast food places and restaurants, because I believe that you must enjoy going to work to go to work. That if you don’t like your job then you have all ability to change it. I initially liked working at Ihop because despite that one coworker the managers seemed nice and the rest of my coworkers and I got along. But the more I started to address my concern with the one coworker, the more I realized that none of the managers were willing to confront the conflict. On top of that, last week I had one of the managers look at me and said that they were a dying business and that corporate didn’t really care about them. Another manager told me that she didn’t care about the job because she doesn’t need the job. Why would I want to work for a company when nobody believes that conflict is an issue and that what they are doing with their lives matter? I don’t.

On Monday I started looking for a new job, and I decided the moment that when I got my first paycheck from the new job I would put the two weeks in at Ihop. I won’t work for a company that doesn’t have the same morals as I do and won’t respect mental health.

On Tuesday I went back into work, and he sat me down after he essentially ignored me for two and a half hours. He apologized after he complimented me a bunch of times. As if the excuse, “I had three hours of sleep and I worked the night shift prior to Sunday morning” was acceptable. He kept saying the word “issue” to the point I finally cut him off. I told him, “Don’t say issue if you are talking about my work ethic. Don’t say issue if you are talking about what happened with the coworker and I, specifically say, ‘concern’” He asked me to stay, and when I mentioned getting other jobs, it was like all of my hours were justified and because he needed me on Sundays he was willing to work with me on the hours he just complained he didn’t really need me on.

Yesterday, I hesitated to publish this post. Why? Because the manager apologized for what he had said to me on Sunday, but it still happened. Maybe, I took everything out of line and what he really meant was that he was finished with the concern at work. Maybe, if I wasn’t so upset he would have thought it was acceptable. Or maybe if it is because he was just having a bad day and everyone has bad days.

Well, I decided to publish this. Why? Because regardless of how sorry he is, regardless of the apology, it still happened. It still upset me, and in some ways, even after the talk that we had on Tuesday, it still upsets me. At the end of it all, it doesn’t matter what he meant, what matters is how I took it and the response because of that. What matters is all of the events that lead to that one moment. And non of that is acceptable.

Today I go into work for Ihop, and Thursday I have job interviews lined up. And I still stand by what I said, I won’t work for a company that even on bad days, a manager crosses the line.