Or should I make that, welcome back Kristen?! (That is me, for those who are unaware).

“What are we welcoming you back from, Kristen,” you may ask. Well isn’t that a great question, thanks for asking!

2012 has been a trying year, filled with overwhelming defeats, as well as outstanding accomplishments. For the most part, this year has played out like one big, long, tear-enducing country and western song. This being my first post back after quite a long stint away, I have heartily debated, hemmed and hawed if you will, about what the topic should be. Should I launch right back into recipes like I hadn’t missed a beat, take a whole new direction? I thought about what has gone on in the months since I last posted, and the purpose of this blog, which has always been to serve as an outlet for me, my passions and my predilection towards creative writing and storytelling. With so much business writing in my daily life as a marketer, sista needs a place to speak her own piece!

So, in that vein (different vain, I know…bear with my sprinkling of musical interludes throughout this post), I will give you a quick (albeit somewhat depressing) synopsis of my 2012. It was a rough one and I look forward to putting it behind me, but as with anything in life, you have to look at challenges as inspiration. They make you stronger, wiser, and test you in ways that force you to take stock of your life, be introspective, and continue to grow and evolve as a person. In starting this blog, I made a promise to myself to be candid and honest, so decidedly, that is what my first post shall be.

So, before I bust into a Kelly Clarkson song, here it is…

At the start of the year, I took a leap of faith and I switched to a new job that I quickly realized was not for me, after having left a job that I had been in for four years prior. Armed with this knowledge, and rather bummed, I left about as quickly as I arrived. It was an utterly defeating moment for me personally, as I don’t take failure well, but don’t believe in dwelling where I am unhappy. The realization that the basket you have placed all of  your eggs in is equipped with a hole in the bottom did not bode well for me and took quite the toll on me mentally and physically.

Putting that experience behind me, I was faced with a new reality. One that I hadn’t been present in for years. I, you see, am a workaholic (self admittedly), and I suddenly found myself without a job and rather scarred by life. One thing I knew for sure was that no matter how difficult the situation at hand, there was a reason I was in it…I was destined and ready for a change. Now, I just had to figure out what that change would be, seeing as the last venture was not it. Petrifying? Yes, but I was dealing with it and jumped right back into a new job search, taking into account what it is that really drives me, certain that my next move would be a staying version. Things couldn’t be worse in my book, so good luck was sure to be around the corner.


This post in no way reflects upon my feeling of tuna fish, or other members of the tuna family.

Well, slap my ass and call me Charlie! I never really understood that saying, but thought, if that saying were to be appropriate anywhere, it seemed appropriate here. Imagine my surprise. Just a few weeks later, my boyfriend of several months, whom I cared for ever-so-deeply, broke up with me most unceremoniously. This was no doubt a domino effect set in motion by my recent setbacks, as I am sure I was an utter joy to be around, but still…I couldn’t help but begin to get the sensation of being kicked whilst already down. Feeling the sting from all of the recent occurrences, I was completely unaware that a string of unfortunate events were still piling up and waiting to follow. First, this very blog you are reading got hacked by some evil, soulless nerd out there, rendering this site (my passion) useless. I couldn’t even manage to access all of my writing. It killed a little piece of me.


I’m only human, of flesh and blood I’m made.

Next, my car (which had been acting up for months) broke down and required maintenance that a girl out-of-work simply cannot afford, my pricey DC Zone 2 parking sticker expired and needed renewal, my car was due for inspection again, as it failed the previous try. Add to that rent being due, bills to be paid, and an overdue haircut needed that I couldn’t bring myself to apply personally with a Flowbee, it seemed as though anything that could go wrong did.


Not gonna do it…wouldn’t be prudent!

I had a choice, I could let life kick me in the goodies, staring listlessly into space, blaring Randy VanWarmer’s 1970’s hit ‘You Left Me‘ on repeat, barreling down a bucket of ice cream and feeling sorry for myself, or I could make lemons out of lemonade. When life gives you lemons, cut them in half and squeeze them in life’s eyes! Yeah…that’s more like it. That’s the spirit!


So, that I did, figuring that this was the universe’s way of telling me, you need a break dipshit. I listened. My hiatus from life had arrived in tandem with the beautiful spring/summer weather. Much like George Costanza, I declared this the ‘Summer of George”, only I replaced that ‘George’ with a ‘Kristen!’..otherwise it would have sounded weird.


TRY to avoid feeling relaxed here….I dare you….

Thanks to my Dad taking pity on me, I was able to make the essential repairs on my car, get my oil changed, and got my wheels back. I jumped in the car and took a trip to North Carolina, where I went on to spend two weeks in total, one trip for Fourth of July, and another around Labor Day.


It was rejuvenating. When things go wrong, Mom always seems to make them feel better. I spent both of these weeks with her in Atlantic Beach, mending my spiritual and physical wounds, playing with our beautiful black lab Lucy, laughing with my Mom and Dad, and yep, you guessed it…cooking. It is the recurring theme and constant in my life that when it gets you down, there is always Mom therapy, and always cooking therapy to make me feel better and get me through the rough patches.


I ate LOTS of this…


I ate even more of this….


And, of course, me…getting my relaxation and sunburn on.


And who DOESN’T feel more relaxed after a couple of rounds of cornhole with strangers at the local bar?!?! Wait…that doesn’t sound right…I think you know what I meant…


Hi. I am adorable. Pet me and feed me from the table and I will give you lots of hugs and kisses.

I hung in there, enjoyed my summer, reconnected with myself, and built new friendships, rising like a Phoenix from the pile of craptastic ashes I was standing in. I know that things could have been MUCH worse, like friends of mine who have battled cancer, or faced the loss of loved ones. This was just a hiccup in life. And, in keeping with the music theme I seem to have going here, and in the words of country crooner Tracy Lawrence, you really do ‘Find Out Who Your Friends Are.’ And those friends know who they are…I appreciate every last one of you.


I’m so sad. It’s raining, we are leaving the beach, and I have a snaggletooth.

Months passed, the sun began to set on my ‘Summer of Kristen’, and tanned and rested, I started a new job with a company that I am super passionate about and that I love every day I go to work. That is the moral of this long-winded tale. I tell it not to be depressing, but to be real. Life happens while you are making other plans. Thanks to a dear friend of mine, and a dear programmer friend of his, I was able to get this site back up and running, and in better shape than before. I feel renewed…revived…and probably needed that break that life dealt me. This is the stuff that builds character. Take a queue from my neighborhood buddy and remember…even when life has you down, you HAVE to keep your sense of humor!


With all that said, I plan to make 2013 the ‘Year of Me’ and keep this spirit alive. Stay tuned here to read about my adventures, trials and triumphs, both in and out of the kitchen. I am going to make big things happen, starting with back-filling the blog with all of my writing and experiences done while my site was down over the course of the past few months. I am armed with a fancy new camera that my Dad so graciously passed on to me, so I am assuming my dreams of photography will begin to develop and flourish, hopefully spilling over onto my blog. I have business ventures in mind, a half-marathon planned with a few of the old sorority sisters this spring, and a new and better outlook on life. I hope you will join me on my exciting journeys to come in the New Year!


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