Awesome Dinner Alert: Mediterranean Chicken!

Today I tried a new dinner recipe. I really just threw some things together and it turned out wonderfully so I wanted to share. The picture really doesn’t do it justice but this is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever made!

 

 

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MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN

Ingredients:

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 can pureed tomatoes (14 oz)

3 tbsp basil pesto

3 tbsp chopped black olives

1 red and 1 yellow sweet bell pepper

Pepper, cumin, paprika & garlic powder to taste

Feta cheese to taste

 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Chop your bell peppers to the desired size.

3. Put your chicken in a flat pan. Season them as much or as little as you want with the spices, then top with the bell peppers.

4. In a bowl, mix the tomato puree, pesto and olives. Then pour over the chicken.

5. Sprinkle the dish with feta cheese, then cook for about 35-45 minutes.

6. Enjoy your amazing meal!

 

When Technology Goes Wrong

I’m far from a Luddite. My husband is a computer engineer so we’ve got a lot of tech playthings. Between us we have four computers, one tablet, four smartphones, three external hard drives, various spare computer parts, and a Kindle e-reader. We have our own modem (not the Comcast one) and a shared home network so we can access files from any device. I have multiple email accounts, multiple social media accounts, and this blog. I spend most of my day online- it’s where I work, play, shop, and communicate with friends.

Even so, I have my limits.

Sometimes I can be a little bit paranoid (although the recent NSA  and iCloud leaks proved that much of my paranoia is actually good sense). So as connected as I am, I don’t like to have too much brand integration. Even though all these entities are likely buying, selling and sharing my information amongst themselves, why make it easier by having my whole life wrapped up in one company? So I use different platforms for email, video chat, and cloud storage. Plus, if any given one of those platforms crashes, I don’t lose ALL my information. Still, there are some things I just can’t get with.

Wakie App

I was watching At Midnight the other week and they did a segment on a new app that lets randoms give you a wake up call in lieu of an alarm clock. Wait, what? That’s terrifying for me. That would be the WORST morning ever, not to mention an introvert nightmare. Having to get out of bed before 9:30 is bad enough, but having to do so while being forced to talk someone who I don’t know is just too much. Stranger danger and unwanted social interaction at the same time? *shudder*

Microsoft Band

When I look at this I can’t help but think about the sci-fi show Continuum. One of the plotlines was that Canada became a fascist police state, where the people are controlled through biofeedback from bracelets that are the latter day incarnations of fitness bands. Now I do have a Fitbit, but Microsoft Band ties in with the Microsoft Health app where you track your health statistics (blood type, weight, blood pressure, etc) along with your doctors, appointments, and your family history. I don’t trust it. Next thing you know you’ll be getting targeted ads about Jenny Craig or Ensure.

ADT Smart Home & Smart Appliances

This is just egregious to me. Why on earth would I want to remote control the locks on my house? If I can do it, that means anybody can do it because all this information is transmitted over some type of wireless or data network, and those can be hacked. And I suppose it’s helpful to have cameras in your fridge and text alerts when you’re running out of milk. But it’s also kind of creepy. Artificial intelligence is advancing by leaps and bounds. It’s only a matter of time before somebody f*cks up and decides robots should have choices. Whatcha gonna do when your house locks you out?

 

Basically, I’m not here for the Internet of Things. As connected as I am now, all I have to do is turn off my devices and I’m back in a mostly analog world. Neither my Zune mp3 player (yep, I’m riding that horse into the sunset) nor my Kindle Touch have to be connected to the internet for me to use them. Every part of your life doesn’t need to be automated. We’re getting to the point where the convenience of emerging technology is far overshadowed by price we pay in privacy and autonomy. Stay woke.

Being Human

From my Facebook page:

These riots didn’t happen in a vacuum. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning them. But people are feeling angry and hopeless. For the past 200 years black folks have been trying to beg and plead our way to acceptance. The model of peaceful protest, Martin Luther King Jr., got shot in the head anyway.

What more do you want us to do? We change our diction; we straighten our hair; we starch and iron our clothes; we use our inside voices; we get degrees and move to the right neighborhoods. What happens? We get a pat on the head and our brothers and sisters who are too poor or maybe too proud to stamp out every sign of their cultural identity continue to be slaughtered in the streets and thrown in jail for offenses that result in no arrest or mere community service for their white counterparts.

THE GAME IS RIGGED. And in the age of information, a refusal to see the facts or connect the dots is willful complicity in the perpetuation of racism. Yes, racism. If you see a white man with a gun as a patriot exercising his 2nd Amendment rights, but a black man with a gun as a thug, you’re racist. Period. But you know what? Change is the only constant in life and you have the ability to break free of your mental conditioning. But most of you won’t because it’s easier to believe that black people are incapable, or choose not to succeed, than to admit that a large part of your privilege and comfort in life was built on the backs of slaves and continues to benefit from the blood, sweat and tears of black folks.

Trayvon Martin. Jordan Davis. Renisha McBride. Mike Brown. Tamir Rice.  What do they have in common? They were all gunned down by scared white people.

Fear is a monster. And I will never understand why it is so hard to see past brown skin to our shared humanity. We, too, sing America. We like to eat, drink, sleep and fall in love. Just like anyone else. So our voices are louder, our speech more colorful, our hair more buoyant and our features fuller. We are people first and foremost. Some of us are slowly starting to understand that degrees and the King’s English won’t protect us. Ever since we were carted across the Atlantic, the idea that we might one day rise up against our oppressors and exact bloody vengeance has taken deep root in their collective psyche. The truly sad thing is that most black folks don’t really want that. Nor do we want “special treatment”. We want TRUE equality. The kind that means a multi-syllabic, creatively punctuated name won’t get your resume tossed in the trash. The kind that means we can ask for help from a neighbor without fear that we’ll be shot in the face. The kind that means we can trust the police to serve and protect us too. The kind that means a black man in baggy clothes can be thought of as a hipster instead of a thug.

When will America get that there is nothing to fear? That love is more powerful than hate? That all we want is to be your countrymen in word, thought and deed?

 

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In Defense of Millenials

I love to see a good anti-millenial article. It makes me chuckle. Why? Because all this concern trolling intentionally ignores the fact that the world is fundamentally different than it was when our parents were our age. Like, 180 degrees type different. If I had graduated from law school in the 90s, I could have easily landed a $60k/yr job with full benefits at a local firm (BEFORE passing the bar) and that would have been considered mediocre. These days you’re ecstatic to get $40k/yr. And if you can get $50/mo on your health insurance premium and two weeks PAID vacation? Ballin’!

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So in defense of my generation, today I’ll be cheerfully dismantling some of the vicious lies spread about us. All aboard the Snark Express!

 

1. Millenials are responsible for stores being open on Thanksgiving day because they’re “more than happy to leave the dinner and go shopping.” Well, when you’re already living with your parents, Thanksgiving is just another Thursday! The turkey’s gonna last a week and we can DVR the football game. We definitely can’t afford a house and the new smart tv only goes on sale once a year. Fiscal responsibility FTW!

2. Millenials are destroying brands like McDonalds and Coke. When you can’t afford health insurance, you realize pretty quickly that your health is your greatest asset- and maintaining it means staying away from the things that you know for a fact are going to kill you. Coke? Nah, we’ll have the water without the side of stomach ulcer. McDonalds? We’ll save our dollars for Chipotle- at least their meat is 100% actual meat. *shudder*

3. Millenials are failures at dating and don’t know how to love.  Ha! Money can’t buy you love, but it sho nuff pays the bills. Between grad school, our unpaid internship, our minimum wage part time job, and our side hustle, who has the time (or disposable income) to date anymore? Sex is free and we can squeeze it in between class and updating our resumes. Besides, if the Greatest Generation had Tinder back in those days, they wouldn’t have bothered with dinner dates either. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

4. Millenials don’t know basic skills like sewing. I’ll take that L. The only thing I can do with a needle and thread is stitch a hole and put a button on. It would be nice to be able to make an outfit from scratch, but when you can just pick up a $12 shirt and $25 pair of jeans from Old Navy…why bother? Besides, these skills were usually taught in classes like Home Economics, which are getting cut all the time to make room for more standardized test cramming. Knowing how to make  Rice Krispies treats and wool socks isn’t going to get us into college.

5. Millenials are to blame for Hollywood’s excessive mining of nostalgia to sell movie tickets. When you’re thousands of dollars in student loan debt and can only afford an apartment by living with 3 roommates, you tend to take comfort in your childhood pastimes. Since our childhood memories are wrapped up in media that is still readily available, we can and do indulge frequently. The emergence of social media also means that our media consumption habits are amplified and easily quantified by the Hollywood brass. Sorry we’re not sorry! #TeamAutobot

6. Millenials are lazy and taking too long to grow up. Ah, the catchall indictment of 20-somethings. The great irony is that not a single one of us is really excited to be living the struggle life. I for one would love to have the funds to put down $10k on a house. I look forward to the day when I make $300,000/yr and don’t have to rely on a tax refund to pad my savings account. Unfortunately, the business world simply can’t (or won’t) support the influx of young, educated people at a wage where we can achieve complete financial independence. Sure, many of us are entrepreneurial- but it usually takes 3 years for a business to turn a profit. In the meantime, our choices are a) hit up mom and dad; b) sell drugs or get on the pole; or c) give up and live in a box on the sidewalk.

All humor aside, any rational adult should be able to realize that millenials are just trying to make it. There were plenty of self-involved Boomers, they just weren’t visible on the same scale that we are. The only reason many of us seem “entitled” is that we know for a fact we’ve worked harder than previous generations and have zero to show for it. Think about it: high school math now goes through calculus; the SAT has an extra section;  many of us had to pass a standardized test just to graduate high school; college admissions are more selective than ever; and we’re competing for jobs with people who will work for pennies overseas. Expensive cars and home ownership are out of reach, so why not buy the new iPhone? Until the government intervenes in a big way- like forgiving some (or all) of our student loans, subsidizing mortgages for folks with advanced degrees and low incomes, or making corporate America funnel some of that bailout money into entry- and mid-level jobs that require professional skills- we’ll just have to muddle through as best we can. And instead of crying about it, we’ll smile- and take a selfie.

 

Adulting.

Yeah…so today I realized that in about two months I’ll be 27 years old.

Where did the time go???


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The last time I was really aware of my age and could rattle it off without thinking was around 22 or so. After that, I kinda lost track. But now I am for real almost 30 years old. It explains a lot about why I have to work harder just to maintain my weight (uggghhh). But it’s only gonna get harder from here, so I’m going to suck it up and get it right, get it tight from now through 2015. This time next year I want to be down 30lbs and on autopilot with my diet and workouts. I’m getting there with baby steps, though. My knee that I had surgery on is doing worlds better; I still can’t run full out but I’m on the treadmill jogging and have made noticeable progress in just two weeks. My main motivation is that if I were to have a baby tomorrow, I’d be feeling more than the usual discomfort with my post pregnancy weight.Pregnancy is a lot of work for your body and it’s a good deal easier if you’re already in shape.  I don’t plan on having kids for another 2 or 3 years, but I want to be read. Speaking of which, somebody tell my uterus to shut up. Literally overnight I went from “Kids? Yeah, they’re all right” to “Oooh you should have a BABY!” Not. cool. Sunny was super excited to hear about me considering motherhood (and I’m sure my mother would be too, which is why I’m not mentioning it). Kids are just so much damn WORK. And time. And money. I need us to have a  house before we have a kid. I would not make it if I had an infant underfoot in an apartment. No ma’am!

In other news, the job search continues. It’s been 18 months since I graduated law school and I’ve had exactly one offer for full time employment that I had to turn down, and that just happened last week. It hurt my feelings too. The offer was from a private financial services firm to be a full time tax preparer. However, I was expected to work at least 12 hours a day M-F and 8 hours every Saturday during the 10  weeks of tax season. With no overtime pay for a salary that worked out to about $14 after taxes. I reallllly wanted to take it, but I had to be honest with myself that I would not make it. As much as I enjoy working with people, as an introvert I need time to recharge. 12 hour days, plus a 2 hr round trip commute and I don’t even get a full weekend? Shoot, I wouldn’t be even to be able to enjoy a quiet lunch & dinner in the break room because the schedule is so onerous, folks’ families come camp out at the office. Where they do that at? Plus, they still wanted me to work a full 40 hour week the rest of the year even though business drops off by like 200%. Come on now, I’m working slave hours almost 1/4 of the year and y’all can’t give me one Friday off a month? The pros and cons just didn’t balance out for me, especially since I’d be getting no more experience than what I’m getting doing taxes part time and on my own schedule.

I’m at the point where I’ve about had it with sending out resumes and begging people to hire me. I plan to form an LLC since my dad hired me as a legal consultant for his company, and I was thinking why not take it all the way and start my own firm? It will be a lot of work on the front end (I’d need like 3 business bank accounts), but one thing I do have is time. Not to mention, the legal landscape is changing and law practice is changing. So why not create a virtual practice for the 21st century? I’ve seen so many of my college classmates become successful entrepreneurs, and I definitely have a valuable expertise. I used to think that I would need 5-10 years of experience to run my own firm. Now, I’m not so sure. I think I may be underestimating myself. Most small business owners get in trouble over taxes/improper accounting and I’ve already got the jump on that. I certainly won’t be violating any laws. So why not take the plunge? I want a flexible job, where I can pick who I work for, get paid a living wage, and do the things that I’m good at and also enjoy doing. If there isn’t a job out there waiting for me, I just might have to make one.

 

Esquired.

Bar results came out yesterday and I PASSED!

it's a celebration

Because you can’t be excited without referencing Dave Chappelle as Rick James.

Hugely relieved. Results weren’t due out until today, and I actually went to the website just to see what time they’d be dropping and saw the link. I scrolled down the list in slow motion and there my name was! Texas actually gives you your score and I actually passed by a comfortable margin, which was a nice ego boost. Husband and I went out for dinner at Cheesecake Factory to celebrate. Still in a state of disbelief- I’ve been dreaming of this day for so long and it finally happened. I’m a lawyer. Of course, my friends and family never doubted me. I was 75% sure I had passed, but it’s such a grueling exam and I had to learn new law since I was coming from out of state. Plus, this was a hard bar year- passage rates were down a full 10% from last year! Oh well. This news has made my month. I’m out of J.D. limbo and I feel like I finally have some job options. I’m a lawyer, y’all!

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