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Five Favorites Friday: Valid

Bongiorno, my friends! As you read this, I am sadly in the process of leaving Pittsburgh.

You all know that I typically talk food stuffs on Fridays–recipes, #strangebutgood combinations, workplace solutions. And next week, I have in mine what I think will be a KILLER new recipe. I’ve actually had it in mind since last Friday, but knowing that I would be gone for the interior of the week meant that I decided to put it on hold until I could devote sufficient brain time to it. But I think that it will be a hit!

Because this middle of this week has been action heavy, I thought that I would take a little time off from recipes and strange but goods and simply discuss some things that just made me HAPPY this week. Parties courtesy of Clare and Heather!

five friday Collage

1) Five Favorites from the Oscars

a) Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron presenting together.

Chris+Hemsworth+86th+Annual+Academy+Awards+tRmJy5DhJJ1lHave a child together, for the sake of humanity and the human race.

b) The fact that Hemsworth and Theron are my and Alex’s Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free-Cards (respectively, but we both also agreed that, should the need/opportunity arise, we would not turn either down.). Also, the fact that we discussed this in the midst of the Oscars, and basically raised it simultaneously to each other without prompting. Paul Walker previously held this title. He gets a picture in memoriam.

paul walker

c) Lupita’s poise, speech, and that dress. No explanation is necessary.

lupita

Your dream is valid.

d) Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey. I am not usually huge fans of theirs, but you know what? Last night, I became a big-time supporter.jl mm oscars

Their OBVIOUS genuine love for their families, their humility, and that devil-may-care-attitude–Hollywood needs this.

e) Idina’s performance of “Let it Go.” Chilling.

idina

hahaha I just realized how bad of a pun that was.

2) Five Ingredient Favorite Salad that is No Longer Offered at One of my Favorite Restaurants

I got a rude surprise when Alex and I went to one of our fave local haunts for dinner and they had changed their menu. I typically allow this. But not when you take my 2 favorite salads off the menu. I don’t care if their are summery–you should have changed in months ago in that case.

So to preserve its memory, I am going to share the components. It is an excellent option if you want something light but tasty–Alex and I typically share this place’s FAB Sweet Potato Fries, so strategery is necessary!

—OK I Lied, let’s #RecipeFriday it up a little bit.—

Thank you, Ms. Candy!

Thank you, Ms. Candy!

5-Ingredient Thai Shrimp Salad

d4 thai shrimp saladedited

  • Poached or grilled shrimp (simply seasoned)
  • Jicama (julienned)
  • Fresh Basil and Mint
  • Shredded Cabbage and Carrots (feel free to buy slaw mix, but fresh is best)
  • Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette (Would also be great with everyone’s favorite Mango Coconut Pepper dressing, gochujang, or a lighter peanut dressing/sauce.)
  • Add-on suggestions:
    • Serve on a bed of mixed greens
    • Chopped scallion
    • Crispy rice noodles
    • Red Bell Pepper
    • Sesame seeds or chopped nuts (peanuts or cashews)

3) D4 Sweet Potato Fries with Light Cinnamon-Sugar Dusting and Cucumber Chipotle Dipping Sauce

d4 sp fries2edited

They may have taken my salad, but their SP fries and bomb.com dipping sauce still live on.

4) Meeting Caitlin, my trip to Pittsburgh, and all of the the things I did and ate with Caitlin. Not even worth trying to fit into 1 post, so deal with it. I will not choose a favorite moment from my trip, and you cannot make me. 

I tend to stay in my happy little bubble. But this time, I said F it, I’m going. Sure, I was employed when I bought the tickets, but I can’t say that I wouldn’t do it now, either. This step out of my box was so, so necessary. Not only to meet Caitlin and Joe and Caitlin’s brother and sleep on their couch and take up space in their bathroom and make their world revolve around me for a few days. Not only to see a new place and to walk new streets. But to do something for me and on my own again. It isn’t like I am totally dependent on Alex, or anything–I am a very independent person who like her space and in fact, demands it. But I needed to prove to myself again that I have a life that expands beyond Chicago and my worries here.

I needed a break from Chicago, from the same (awesome!) view every day. From the same gym, the same stresses. Would I have loved to have gone back to Mexico, or somewhere warm? Sure. But you know what? I would have endured any sort of weather for this trip. Was it perfect? hheeelllll no. I wish I could have run through the streets with her, both of us pain- and care-free. But it was cold and snowy. (So what else is new?) But it was raw and real and delicious and I am so, so, so unendingly glad that I decided to do it.

5) The very fact that she spur-of-the-moment asked me to come at all.

I have a tendency towards feelings of insignificance, maybe even unworthiness or ineptness. I think that was one of the aspects of waitressing that kept me at it–the chance to make someone or their night feel special, through a smile, a transformative culinary experience, or the fact that I care enough to fix something that is off. I REVELLED in those moments when I would suggest something and people would rave and tell me how amazing it was. I could be relevant, even in the smallest ways. 

My dreams are valid.

Most of all, I am grateful for friends like Caitlin, who have come into my life at a time when I didn’t know just how much I really, truly, needed them. Friends like these don’t even get a number on the list of favorites; they are the reason the list can even exist in the first place. They remind me of my own importance, my ability to contribute to the larger picture. I may never get the chance to make a huge, groundbreaking speak like Lupita, but I do matter. I will never get over the feeling of thankfulness and even surprise that people (other than just my mom) want to see me, to have me in their lives.

Not only are my dreams valid, I am valid. SO ARE YOU!

fist pump 2

What reminds you that your dreams are valid? Is it something you fight with? Or do you naturally come by a feeling that you are a force?

I know I am a presence, but I tend to forget that I can also be a force.

#SwirlOn #SwirlStrong #SwirlSisters

#SwirlOn #SwirlStrong #SwirlSisters

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