The Respect Award

The Respect Award



“The “Respect” Award is my personal award for fellow bloggers who consistently reach out to other bloggers, offer support, are kind, struggle to understand differences in people, and who treat themselves and other people with kindness and respect.

Thank you so so much to Tingting for this award! I feel like this might sound a bit awkward, but whatever I’m saying it anyway – I am so humbled and thrilled to be receiving this award from someone as kind, positive, and motivational as you. Tingting’s blog, Empower Love, is a collection of posts focused on helping others boost their mental and physical health. Honestly, I’m a huge fan of what I’d call ‘feel good’ blogs in general, but what makes her blog so special is the sincere care you can tell she has for others through the heartfelt messages she writes. One last big THANK YOU and now I’m super excited to keep the respect going with my own nominees!

I would like to nominate:

Anoushka from Peachy Tales, you are such a lovely and warmhearted person. Every time we’ve chatted you’ve been one of the nicest people and your ability to show kindness to people across the world from you is incredible!

Brey from Ordinary Adventures, you are such an inspiration to me. You’re always setting goals for yourself and work so hard at accomplished all of them. Plus, with everything you have going on you’re more than willing to talk to readers and help with any advice you can offer them.

Jenny from Peace from Panic, you have such an incredible story and your blog is one of those wonderful spaces that really gives a voice to the experience of living with struggles in mental health. I just discovered your blog and can’t wait to read more!

Nandini from Goan Imports, I’m always so impressed with the recipes you post! Not only does your food look incredible, but I’m so impressed that you’ve set your blog up to help educate readers on your culture as well.

Rachel from The Cricket Pages, I love your writing! I think your stories resonate with me so much because of how you always incorporate your pets (and sometimes others) to give everything a lovely lighthearted feeling.

About the Award:

  • You don’t have to do anything for this award.
  • You can choose to copy the Award Picture from my post and give the award to the people who have earned your respect or you can do nothing.
  • This is my way of saying thank you.  You have earned my respect.

So definitely go check out Tingting’s and all my nominee’s blogs if you haven’t gotten the chance and have a wonderful day!


Coping with Depression

I don’t normally do this, but I’d like to ask everyone reading to please be kind in the comments section. Since the thought of writing this entered my head I’ve had so so many reservations surrounding whether I should even make this post. Would I be able to express myself properly? Should I really be writing about something so personal online? I think even after I post this I’ll wonder if it really was a good idea. Doubts aside, I hope by writing this I can give other people going through similar mental health issues a feeling of camaraderie as well as, hopefully, give some advice on what helped me through my most recent bout of depression.

Depression for me isn’t just a feeling of unhappiness or apathy. When I say I’m depressed I mean that I feel as if every bit of myself has been stripped from my body –  like I’m a walking shell of a human. Sometimes it feels as if someone has such a tight grip on my heart that searing pain is being strangled out of my core and I can do nothing but curl into a ball and wait for it to pass. Other times it’s as if I’m being suffocated by a pervasive cloud of self doubt and hate. During those times I’ll lay on the floor thinking that everything I have done, am doing, and will do is for nothing and that I am a useless piece of trash single-handedly dragging society down. However even with all of these terrible feelings tearing through me the absolute worst part of my depression is constant and absolute hollowness. Like I’m not a part of myself anymore. Nothing makes me happy and all I can hope for is that my depression will pass quickly.

Two weeks ago on Monday I woke up and immediately knew some sort of chemical imbalance had gone off in my brain because I was drowning in my usual symptoms.

Rationally I knew what was happening and the ways to combat it – after all I got my bachelor’s in psychology. However, there is a difference between knowing the information you were taught sitting behind a desk in a classroom and the ability to execute those coping mechanisms when you can’t be bothered to get out of bed because all you can focus on is the empty feeling that has settled into every pore of your body.

I was finally able to muster enough energy to drag myself out of bed around one in the afternoon. I brewed myself a cup of tea and began my (current) routine of grad school applications. Which went terribly because I could not get myself to focus on anything. So I decided, okay clearly this isn’t helping me – time to try something else. Which was when I thought I could try starting up on an art commission my friend had asked me to work on for his new office space. Now I’m not going to say I was immediately put back in a regular state of mind, but oh my God was planning and working on that painting essential in getting me out of the pit I’d fallen into. There was something about being able to work on a project that gave tangible results each day that helped to bring back bits of my self-esteem each day. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy to get myself out of bed each day and paint. There were definitely days I had to force myself, but I was able to because I knew each time I added a bit more to that painting a bit of my melancholy would be released and some feeling of self would return.

I finished the painting last week and, although not completely myself again, I am in such a better place.

So my advice to anyone else who may be going through similar troubles is to take something that will challenge you and POUR yourself into conquering it. Perhaps you have your own painting idea or craft project or exercise routine or recipe you want to try out. Find an activity that has a clear ending and execute it. No matter how badly you want to curl up and do nothing, no matter how pointless you think it is at the time – finish your project. Seeing that you can accomplish something, even if it’s just in small fragments, will help to clear the fog of depression and bring you back to yourself.

For anyone else who suffers from depression or any other mental health condition I want to remind you that you are not defined by your illness. The person you are and the person your ailment momentarily forces you to be are two different people. You can overcome the negative feelings pushed upon you by your brain and become the best you, you can be. And please remember if you’re feeling too overwhelmed and alone there are mental health experts out there who are more than willing to stand by you and help ♥


The Versatile Blogger Award

Hello everyone! Hopefully no one missed Monday’s post too much. In case I break schedule again check my twitter for details on where I’ve gone off too. I decided that Monday would best be used for graduate school essay writing and spent all day doing that. Which turned out quite well because I finished both my personal history and goal statement! So there’s a bit of stress off my shoulders – now I just need to take that pesky CBest. Before any of that though, I must address this very very exciting news. I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Passionate Mom Honey Bee!

So of course I have to start this by giving a huge shout-out to Honey Bee for the nomination! It was so sweet of you to nominate me and it is such a lovely feeling to know that someone out there is enjoying my blog. So thank you so, so much! Anyone who enjoys exotic recipes and mouth watering pictures of food should definitely  take a peek at her blog. My personal favorite posts are her baking recipes and one day I’m determined to gain the courage to try out her Zebra Bundt Cake –  which is seriously one of the most beautiful cakes I’ve ever seen. So yes, go check out her blog and then come back for the rest of the award post!

Rules for the Versatile Blogger Award
an award to celebrate the bloggers who bring the most joy to your life – the blogs I’ve nominated are filled with awesome crafts, witty humor, gorgeous pictures, scrumptious sounding recipes, gripping stories, and overall incredibly written posts that keep me coming back to them day after day!

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank the person that has nominated you ✓

Include a link to their blog ✓

Nominate 15 blogs of your choice ✓

Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination ✓

Share seven different facts about yourself ✓

My 15 Nominations:

1. Cooking WIthout Limits
2. Empower Love
3. Fae’s Twist & Tango
4. The Falling Thoughts
5. Foodie Thailand
6. From Food Stamps to a Future
7. Fuelled By Oats
8. How to Get Things Done in 10 Ways
9. I Need a Feed
10. Lady Turned Madam
11. Living on Annette
12. Organic By Nerve
13. Puddle Side Musings
14. Optimal Prime
15. Robynchristi Things and Stuff

Seven facts about myself:
1. Despite considering myself Midwestern, I was actually born in New Jersey and moved to Ohio with my family when I was three.
2. My favorite food is Macaroni and Cheese with muenster and spaghetti sauce added in.
3. When I was two my dad asked me what I was going to be when I grew up to which I answered “Barbie!” Lofty goals – even then I knew one career path just wouldn’t be enough for me hahaha.
4. I am a huge Nintendo fangirl – some of my favorite series are Animal Crossing, Pokemon, Tales, and Zelda.
5. Ever since I could find sorting quizzes online I have been sorted into Hogwart’s Slytherin House.
6. I have been dating the most wonderful man in the entire world for the past eight years. Eric is the most supportive boyfriend to me and I’m so thankful to have him in my life.
7. Seven is my favorite number because of my birthday July, 7th.

I hope you enjoyed the post and have a lovely day!


September Changes


Hello everyone! As you may have noticed, a few changes have been happening around the blog for the past two weeks. I’d like to apologize for messing with the theme so many times! I’m sure it was a little disorienting, so yes, sorry about that! Anyway, I just wanted to write a quick blurb on what’s been happening and what you can expect in the future, so grab a cup of your favorite warm beverage and let’s get to it!

First thing – the top navigation bar has expanded! This past month I made a point to use my free time more constructively –  which resulted in me spending more and more time working on my blog. And because of the extra time I was spending here I was inspired to write about more of my hobbies and activities outside of the realm of food. As much as I love posting recipes I also found posting about crafting projects, photography, and especially interesting days to be really fulfilling as well! Unfortunately, whilst I was making these posts I noticed anything not food related was being slightly thrown in a corner and broadly labeled as a ‘life’ post. So – being the compulsively organized person I am – I went through every post and re-categorized each one previously labeled ‘life’ to a more specific category. And even though that was a bit of a pain I can now honestly say – I am so happy with how everything has turned out. I feel like the new labels have not only made the blog easier to navigate, but have also allowed me to feel better about deviating from my usual recipe posts to a broader range of things that interest me.

The next change you may have noticed is quite small and nestled into the very front corner of the navigation bar. I added an about me page! To be completely honest I had the worst time deciding whether I even wanted to write one of these. Mainly because I find writing about myself terribly, terribly awkward. Then (once I finally wrote up a first draft) I obsessed over whether it gave everyone the best possible impression of me. I feel as if I never know if I’m properly conveying myself online – I’m always worried that my personality isn’t quite making it fully through or that I’m inadvertently being awkward or that I seem mean or really just any and all sorts of worst case scenarios. In the end though, I really wanted to add a personal touch to my blog and discomfort aside the best way to do that was an about me. Hopefully I didn’t completely fudge it up, but I suppose even if it’s not perfect I at least got over my weird aversion and wrote something (and can always change it later).

Now, the last thing I wanted to talk about is the new posting schedule I’ve made for myself. Sometimes I Cook has morphed into many different things for me. Originally it was just a place to catalog recipes. Then, after moving away from Cincinnati, it became a place to show my family and friends what life was like in California. Now that I’ve been talking and interacting so much more with everyone on WordPress I want it to be a place that’s interesting for a huge variety of people to visit. With that hope in mind what better way to add interest than by posting more? So I’ll now be posting three days a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The posts will mostly be the same content wise, a bit more lifestyle heavy than before I suppose, there will just be quite a bit more of them!

Well I think that’s about it,  hopefully you’re as excited as I am about the new directions the blog is heading in and I’ll see you Wednesday!


Goodbye August & Burning Man Update

It seems that this will be my last post for August because for the next week I shall be romping around with friends in Black Rock City at Burning Man! I spent all of today working on my last burner preps and when I finally, finally finished (literally five minutes ago) I figured a short update post was in order before I set off for the desert.

I have a couple of posts planned for when I return – specifically an August favorites list and a small breakfast recipe. My hope is by having posts planned I won’t be discouraged by my absence and will be able to get right back into the swing of things.

So, with that, I hope everyone has a lovely first week of September, here are some pictures of what I worked on all day today (crayon flower gifts for Burning Man), and I’ll meet back up with you later!
Continue reading