The Twentysomething Taste: An Intro

Hello and welcome to my very first post in my new blog segment, “The Twentysomething Taste!” I am so excited to share this with all of you. On the Twentysomething Taste, you will find helpful tips, tricks, and trades of the twentysomething kitchen, including some quick and easy recipes!

twentysomething taste

Some background: I am fortunate enough to have two parents who are chefs and caterers. They’ve owned restaurants my entire life. I was never one of those college kids who survived on ramen and cereal, and I never feared going hungry. But, in the spirit of twentysomething conversations, I’ve noticed a lot of the people I’ve talked with have some trouble with healthy home-cooked meals. So let me help you! Leave me a message and let me know what types of questions or comments you have in your kitchen, or any recipe ideas you want me to conquer!

Check back next Tuesday for a new recipe! Happy cooking 🙂

 

 

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#AlumniStatus

This past weekend, I visited my alma mater-SUNY Geneseo-for Alumni Weekend. And I have to say, it was pretty incredible.

Before I get into the “twentysomething” part of this post, a brief preface: I graduated in 2013, much to my dismay. I was excited to move onto the next step of my life, until the first time I went back to visit my now ex-boyfriend. I felt completely out of place. I didn’t have a home anymore. I knew I had outgrown Geneseo, and Geneseo had outgrown me. When my ex-boyfriend and I separated, I was even more hesitant to go back. By going back to campus, I was plagued with old memories, throwing my mind back into a place I did not want to be in.

Before this weekend, I hadn’t been back to visit in over a year. I stepped away from Geneseo, stopped donating, and didn’t really know anything about the campus anymore. But as a twentysomething, I felt that it was important for me to go back this weekend. So many good friends were going to be there, and it was only an hour away. All the signs were pointing towards Geneseo.

So I went. And much to my surprise (even though I guess I’m not surprised at all), I fell in love with the campus all over again as soon as I turned on to Main Street. The quaint college town, rows of trees and beautiful flowers lining the campus, the community feel, and of course, the people. All of the positive memories started flooding back and I knew I had made the right decision.

Something was different though. Yes, I had graduated, the new social science building had opened, and the dining hall had been renovated. But there was something else. Two years after graduation, I was finally able to appreciate my time at Geneseo without wishing I were still there, and recognizing that although I may not love where I am in life right now, I really have grown past the Geneseo phase of my life and am excited for what the future holds. Geneseo will always have a special place in my heart, yet, I realize now that it is a time of my past that I am removed from (except maybe on Alumni Weekend). An old chapter of a scrapbook.

So being a twentysomething. How does this all relate? Michael, just get to the point!

Okay, okay. Sorry.

Being a young alumni is just as problematic as being a twentysomething. There are so many conflicting emotions! Do I chain myself to the College Green hoping that I never have to go back to work? Do I go out and pretend like I’m 19 again and get plastered with my friends? Do I donate to a college that is constantly begging me for money when I barely have enough of it for myself? These are hard questions. And if I learned anything this weekend, the twentysomething spectrum for young alumni is NOT the same for everyone.

What kind of young twentysomething alumni are you?

The Alumni on Memory Lane
“Do you remember when we did this here?” “Do you remember when we had this event there?” “Oh my gosh look at that tree where we sat one time!”
These alumni are great when conversing with other alumni. They can bring back great memories, good times, and certainly lots of laughs from previous years. The only problem is when they are having these conversations with current students, they can come off as annoying and too old to be there.

The Hot Mess Alumni
It’s fine. We’ve all been there. This person goes back for Alumni Weekend because they want to pretend for just one or two nights that they are in college again. They might forget their tolerance has decreased a little bit since graduation and they still think they can pound shots like nobody’s business. They may or may not wake up the next morning feeling like a complete train wreck. This is okay maybe once a year, maybe. But just remember, you’re no longer a young college student.

The Out-of-Touch Alumni
This person thinks they know everything about the campus, but in reality, knows nothing. A perfect example that is totally hypothetical and not real at all: Someone who says, “I’ll meet you by the big tree.” And then the other person proceeds to go looking around for literal big trees, completely forgetting that The Big Tree was a restaurant on Main Street. This kind of alumni needs to give their brain a little shake and dust it off a bit.

The Washed-Up Alumni
The former student leader. The one who used to be involved in everything. Over-involved. And now, life post-grad isn’t nearly as good. Maybe they have a good job, maybe going to grad school. But really, they miss college life. A lot. They may or may not realize that they are that alumni, but regardless, they haven’t acknowledged that the campus has moved on past their graduation date.

The Never-Leaving Alumni
“Well, I’m here now, so I’m never leaving.” Nope, sorry. You do have to go back to work on Monday. Real-life does exist outside of the college campus, and you need to go back to it. This person is all over social media with pictures of their beautiful campus. I wish I was a student again! Look how beautiful this building is! These were the best years of my life! etc.

I think everyone is probably a little mix of all of these. I feel like I’ve gone through every type at least once. Where do you all fall on the spectrum? I’d love to hear some other young twentysomething alumni experiences!

Dear Valentine

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day, everyone!

As I was sitting down to write this post, I was having a difficult time thinking of a unifying theme. I try to write about topics that every twentysomething can relate to, regardless of where they are in life. And then, boom, Valentine’s Day hits, a celebration of love, where literally every single person on the planet has a different view of what this day should look like. How the heck am I supposed to write about love? I thought. A topic that is so widespread, especially among our twentysomething group. I’ve narrowed it down to a few categories.

1. The Newlywed
“I cant believe it’s already been a year with the love of my life! We are so happy together.”
We’ve all seen these types of posts on social media, right? You are most likely so incredibly happy that you just can’t help but to post about your amazing love life for the rest of the world to see. And why shouldn’t you? You have worked hard to maintain a successful and loving relationship and you deserve to have every single one of your Facebook friends write a congratulatory note to you. Your plans for Valentine’s Day probably included dinner and movie or some variation. Most likely with some steamy time in the bedroom afterward. Get it!

2. Over It
When is Valentine’s Day again? Oh yeah, the 14th. Just like every other year. Whatever, it’s no big deal to you. You’ve seen enough Valentine’s Days. You’ve had plenty of valentines that may or may not have worked out. Either way, it doesn’t matter to you because you would rather pamper yourself anyway. Why waste time and money on flowers and candy for someone else? Your day probably consisted of a true Treat Yo Self day with a full-body deep-tissue massage, day at the spa, or luxury shopping trip at the mall.

3. The Bitter Ex
You hate Valentine’s Day. It’s a commercial holiday anyway, isn’t it? A way for the card and candy industries to make a few bucks. Even if you had a valentine, you wouldn’t even exchange gifts. It’s just another day, people. And though you put on a tough act for all your friends, the harsh reality is that you’ve probably had your heart broken, maybe even more than once. Maybe it was the “Happy Valentine’s Day!” email you once received from your ex-lover, or maybe it was the oblivious ex-valentine who forget entirely. Either way, you probably spent this year’s Valentine’s Day looking through old photos and drinking heavily.

4. Forever Alone
No matter how many dates you’ve been on in the past year, it never seems to work out. You can swipe right as many times as you want, but regardless of that hot match less than three miles away, this Valentine’s Day has left you alone, once again. And while all your friends are out on dates, you awkwardly decline their invitation for fear of being the third wheel for the fourth time that week. Your plans for Valentine’s Day probably involved binge-watching romantic comedies on Netflix, crying excessively at all the romantic parts, and drinking wine. Lots of wine.

5. The Friendly Valentine
Who’s up for a Galentine’s Day celebration?! No matter the day, you know what really matters to you. Friends, family, and yourself. You have your priorities in order and you know what’s important. Even though you may not have a valentine this year, that’s okay. You have plenty of people surrounding you that show you love every day. Your Valentine’s Day consisted of a nice brunch with friends or family, followed by an outing on the town full of smiles, laughter, and craft espresso beverages from your favorite local coffee shop.


Which valentine category did you find yourself in this year? Regardless, I’m sending positive thoughts to all of you for a belated Valetine’s Day!

Twentysomething Birthdays!

It’s official. I have lived through twenty-four birthdays. Happy Birthday to me!

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Birthdays are an interesting time. As Drew Dudley says in his TEDtalk Everyday Leadership“We celebrate birthdays, where all you have to do is not die for 365 days-and yet we let people who have made our lives better walk around without knowing it.” Yet, with today as my birthday, I’m seeing this quote a little differently. Aren’t birthdays a time for others to show you how you have made their lives better? At least in some way?

Birthdays as a twentysomething are hard. In college, birthdays were always surrounded by friends. There was never any doubt. Birthday dinner, drinks, and a night out full of dancing, fun, and partying it up, surrounded by the people you love and care about. For the past two birthdays, coincidentally the past two years since I’ve graduated, my birthdays have been in a new place. New people, new friends, new me. What do I want to do for my birthday? Where do I want to go? Who do I want to be with? And to those questions, I’m not really sure. I’m new to the area still, the friends that I’ve made are great but I haven’t yet found that core group of people that always hangs out together all the time, and regardless of my #1 Birthday Wish, I was still stuck reading most of the day for class.

Another thing about birthdays as a twentysomething: it’s okay (and almost expected) that you may not celebrate your birthday on your actual birthday. This year, mine happened to be on a Sunday. Aka the day that everyone is stuck at home reading the material everyone procrastinated reading for Monday classes. So with that, most of my celebrating was last night. A group of friends and I went out for a nice dinner and then to a local bar for some drinks. It was low-key but everything I was hoping for. The friends I was with are relatively new friends, but it was good company and it made for a really nice birthday celebration. And then tomorrow is my “work birthday.” The office organized a little get-together in honor of my special day, cake included! So I am looking forward to that.

Regardless of where you are as a twentysomething, birthdays are a great reminder of how many people love and care about you. I got a phone call from my best friend from undergrad last night, exactly at 12:00 AM. Even though she is hours away, she was still thinking of me. I talked to so many good friends today who sent positive messages my way. They took the time to call, text, send a Facebook message. It was just really nice. A nice reminder. Because sometimes, as a young twentysomething, you forget. You’re ostracized from old friends, close family. Consumed by your work, your job, your failed relationships and all the could-haves.

But on any birthday as a twentysomething, I think it’s important to indulge in something that makes you feel good. Even if you have to work, even if you have to read for class all day long. For me, it is this delicious glass of wine I’m having right now. It’s taking some time out of my day to write this blog post. Yes, birthdays do change as you get older, especially as a twentysomething, but what better way to celebrate all that you have done in the past year?

But celebrating you shouldn’t only be once a year on your birthday. What are some other fun and exciting ways to celebrate all of you other twentysomethings being so great?

A Little Soup for this Twentysomething Group

Being a twentysomething leaves little time for cooking and/or being healthy about it. I have one friend that is constantly posting pictures of all her new recipes that she has time to cook. Each photo screams five-star restaurant with ingredients that I’ve never even heard of, all covered with a drizzle of zesty balsamic glaze. For the rest of us, I don’t see how that is possible. We work jobs, go to school full-time or part-time after our jobs, and on top of that, try to have a social life.

I realized the other day that I have been an accidental vegetarian ever since I moved into this new apartment. It’s not that I don’t want to eat meat, it’s that I literally do not have the time it takes to defrost the chicken from my freezer and then cook it. I’m lucky if I find myself eating any meal that is comprised of a protein, a starch, AND a vegetable. Most nights, it’s just whatever is in the fridge already prepared. And if that means leftover canned corn and lettuce, I’ll call it a salad and move on.

I’ve noticed that being in this state of mind, I haven’t been making the healthiest of eating choices (as evidenced by the time I bought an entire box of junior mints last night and ate the whole thing in one sitting on my couch, and then proceeded to wash it down with half a bottle of wine). Needless to say, I’ve been looking for some alternatives for my Saturday night.

Some other twentysomething friends swear by their Crock-Pot. But for me, I hate using a Crock-Pot. In fact, I say Crock-NOT. Okay, I have to be honest, I’ve been planning that joke for three whole days now. Maybe it’s by grandmother’s voice in the back of my head telling me never to leave anything plugged in, or maybe it’s the irrational fear that my apartment will burn down, but I just don’t like them. I’m also an instant gratification kind of person. I don’t want to wait 6-8 HOURS for my dinner. And surprisingly, there is usually too much prep work involved. I’m a lazy chef.

Right now in Upstate New York, it is a balmy 17 degrees Fahrenheit. What better food to make on a chilly winter night than soup?! I’ve learned that soup is surprisingly easy to make, too, which I love. So for this entry of Twentysomething Months, I’m going to provide some easy easy easy recipes for soup that I hope will warm you up on a cold winter night or warm you up from the coldness of your ex-hookup’s heart.

First things first, this is a magical appliance and you should all invest in one:
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For those of you that don’t know, it’s an avocado slicer/masher. I got it two years ago as a gift from a family friend thinking I would never use it ever in my entire life. Surprisingly, it has come in handy on multiple occasions, especially for these two soup recipes. If you don’t have one though, no worries. It’s not required.

Soup #1: Tomato-Basil 
For this one, it’s soup-er easy. Okay, sorry. I’m done. First, take the tomatoes and mash them up in a medium pot with the avocado masher. If you don’t have one of these fantastic appliances, you can just cut up the tomatoes instead. Heat that up. Add the can of image1condensed tomato soup and one can of water. Stir that around a bit. Then, add a few spoonfuls of salsa and hot sauce if you like things spicy. Salt, pepper, and basil to taste, and voila! The best part about this soup is that technically it comes from a can, but it tastes so much healthier because you’re using real tomatoes!

Soup #2: Spicy Black Bean
For this one, also super easy. Take one can of black beans, juice and all, and dump that into a medium pot. If you have a masher, go ahead and start mashing. image2If not, no big deal, leave the beans whole. Next, add the second can of black beans, 16oz. of whatever kind of broth you have, salsa, hot sauce, chili powder, salt, and pepper. All to taste. It’s a really scientific process here, can’t you tell? Heat it all up, and top with sour cream if desired.

The one similarity between these soups? SALSA. It is a gift from the culinary gods. It has tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices…all chopped up and put in one jar! No more cutting and dicing teary onions or working with spices…it’s all taken care of for you.

So there you go! I hope you enjoy these simple and quick recipes. Each one serves 2-4 people. Let me know what you think, and feel free to add your own easy twentysomething recipes below!

How to Break the Twentysomething Silence

Hello.

Welcome to my blog! This is a new adventure, hopefully a positive one, to counteract the complete and utter mess that has been my life as a twentysomething-year-old so far. Recently, I have seen a bunch of articles floating around social media about the twentysomething experience (here and here), so I decided, what better way to start TwentysomethingMonths than with an article of my own?

Up until a few years ago, my life had been nothing but sugar plums and gumdrops. I went to a small, public, liberal arts college where my biggest concern was the dining hall running out of my favorite flavor of ice cream. I was involved and engaged. A well-known student leader on campus, walking beside the ivy-covered brick buildings, hearing the bell tower chime every quarter hour, and waving along the way to the multiple friends and coworkers that were also walking around, enjoying the scenic views of campus.

When walked across the graduation stage two Mays ago, I experienced an immense feeling of pride swell up in the depths of my chest. Yet as soon as I walked off the stage and down the three little steps back to my seat, I was hit with a brick wall of reality and truth. I was no longer a college student. I was no longer surrounded by a group of people that I felt a part of. I no longer belonged. My concerns went from dining dollars to paying taxes with real money, engaged to depressed, and self-confident to trying to find myself yet again.

Being a twentysomething has questioned everything I have ever known. My own values have been challenged, and I may or may not have succumbed depending on the situation. Certain things I had frowned upon previously, **coughcoughonlinedating** are now taking up way more of my time than I would like to admit. Seeing friends every day has now turned into an occasional phone conversation maybe once every other month (if I’m lucky), and family has become even more estranged and separate.

The worst part is that nobody ever talks about this weird limbo time that we are all finding ourselves in. When I was growing up, I was encouraged to do one of two things: 1. Stay young forever, enjoy my childhood, etc, or 2. Grow up, get a job, get married, and have children. No one suggested a third option: 3. Lose yourself, move away from everyone you love, and download tinder. Nope, that was never talked about, and yet, I would like to strongly identify with choice number 3. Anybody else out there agree?

So, I encourage everyone to break this (awkward) silence of the twentysomething life. Why don’t we talk more about this? Maybe if I had grown up with this kind of conversation, I would’ve felt a little more prepared for it all. I want this blog to be a conversation, a space for all twentysomethings to be able to come together and have these conversations. It’s never too late to start, right?