Thai Peanut Soup

Thailand was seriously one of the most amazing experiences of my life thus far.  I learned so much about a vastly different culture.  I became part of a new community.  I worked with the most beautiful, hilarious kids.  I really did meet some amazing people during my two months in The Land of Smiles.

Every person I met was warm and comforting; colorful and bright; spicy and coconutty.  Oh.  Wait.  I think I got sidetracked by memories of ridiculous Thai food.


But can you blame me?  Thai food is fucking awesome.  I’m pretty sure my veins are still filled with curry instead of blood

When I was in Thailand, I actually took a cooking class.  I’ve been wanting to recreate those recipes, but they all require a special trip to the Asian market to hunt down Thai-specific ingredients and I’ve been way too lazy (see: curry pumping through veins).

So instead, I made this Thai-inspired soup.  It definitely isn’t 100% traditional, but it is full of easy-to-find ingredients, amazing Thai flavor, and peanut butter.  So how about we shut up about “traditional” and just drink our liquid peanut sauce in silence.


This soup is definitely a new favorite.  The coconut flavor is perfect with the peanut butter, and the noodles and chicken really make it hearty.  The lime zest and spices give it so much flavor, but it isn’t overpowering.  SO GOOOOD.


Thai Peanut Soup

Serves 6-8


2 T sesame oil

1 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 lemongrass stalks, outer layers removed and finely chopped

1 inch piece of ginger, grated

2 T brown sugar

4 cups chicken broth

2 13.6-oz cans coconut milk

2/3 C creamy peanut butter

1/4 C soy sauce

3 T rice vinegar

2 T fish sauce

1 lime, juice and zest

1-2 tsp sambal oelek (fresh ground chili paste), add more or less depending on desired spice level

2 tsp dried Thai basil, or 2 T fresh Thai basil

1 tsp powdered coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 potato, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces

4 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 red pepper, sliced

1.5 cups snap peas, cut in half

1 pound chicken, thinly sliced

1 6.75-oz package dried rice noodles, soaked in cold water according to package’s directions

salt & pepper, to taste

Optional for garnish:

lime wedges, crushed peanuts, fresh Thai basil, fresh cilantro, green onions


Put sesame oil into a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, brown sugar, salt and pepper, and cook until onions are translucent.

Add in chicken broth and coconut milk.  Whisk until coconut milk is melted into the broth.  Add in peanut butter, whisking constantly, until combined.  Add all ingredients from soy sauce through cumin.  Stir.

Raise heat to medium-high until soup is simmering.  Add potato, carrots, and rice noodles.  Cook until veggies are nearly fork-tender (about 5 mins)  Add pepper, snap peas, and chicken.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove soup from heat.

Serve with a squeeze of lime, crushed peanuts, fresh herbs, and some green onions.



I’m pretty sure this soup reminds me of the flavors of Thailand, but maybe I should go back just to make sure?

Intuitive Eating Tip #1

Eating intuitively is hard, and at times it really doesn’t feel intuitive at all.  There are times when, “intuitively,” I want to order a Dominos pizza at 11am (right when they open; I’m embarrassed I know that information) and eat the entire thing in bed while watching Parks and Recreation reruns until my stomach explodes and pizza splatters all over my walls.  My body told me that’s what it wanted, okay?!

Even now, a couple years into the whole “honor your cravings, moderation, mind-body connection” shit, there are times when intuitive eating doesn’t come easy.  And I’m guessing I’m not the only one who struggles with this.  So, I’ve decided that every Monday, I’ll share an Intuitive Eating Tip.  Just little tips and tricks I’ve found really helpful throughout this process.


And so, the inaugural tip:

Stop Making Excuses.

I spent months and months promising myself that I’d try the new Intuitive Eating fad once I lost x amount of weight.  I was terrified to stop restricting my diet.  I was sure I’d balloon up to a thousand pounds and I wanted to have an insurance policy in case I did gain weight.  Do you do the same thing?

Stop it.

Stop promising to give your body what it needs after you achieve a certain appearance.  Stop letting your size dictate your confidence.  Stop making excuses.

If you want to make a change – to love yourself, to stop bingeing, to have a healthier relationship with food – do it now.  Because trust me: if you don’t do something now, chances are you never will.  Excuses are easy.  Taking that leap of faith is hard.

The good news?  This leap of faith is into a giant pile of bagels and gelato and roasted green beans and cocktails and full-fat yogurt.  There are worse leaps of faith to take. 

If you’re interested and don’t know where to start, I’d recommend checking out the Intuitive Eating book.  Or doing Jamie’s 21 Day Challenge.  Or browsing blogs and forums and tackling it on your own.  Shoot me an email if you want.  Or don’t.  Whatever works for you.

If you’re thinking about it though, just jump in.  Stop the excuses, and do it.

Dear Nutritionist

Dear Nutritionist,

Remember me?  I came into your office when I was sixteen.  I was blonde and tan and about 50 pounds lighter than I am right now.  Ringing a bell?

I told you my predicament.  I was trying to lose weight, but couldn’t.  I told you that I felt stuck and that I didn’t know what to do.  I cried in your office.  I cried pretty much every time I talked about my disgusting, fat, uncooperative mess of a body.

You used your calipers to pinch my nonexistent belly and arm and thigh fat.  I stripped down to step on that scale in the bathroom.  You pulled out a soft pink measuring tape and wrapped it around every part of me: calves and arms and hips and butt and boobs and waist.

You focused on those numbers.  You quantified my body.  I don’t blame you, though.  I loved being able to boil my happiness down to controllable numbers.  I thrived on that.  It’s want I wanted.

You were just doing what I asked for.  I wanted to lose weight.  You tried to help me do that.

But, Nutritionist, why didn’t anything about me raise a red flag?  Didn’t my obsession with weight loss tip you off?  I was already fit and healthy and by no means overweight.  Did you have many clients like me?  Was I the norm?  That thought makes me sad.

Nutritionist, why did you tell me to eat a mere 1800 calories per day?  I told you I was active.  I worked out at least three hours per day (another red flag right there).  I was young and growing and busy.  I shouldn’t have listened to you.  I should have listened to my body.  But, my body and I weren’t exactly on speaking terms.  I was screening the ol’ body’s phone calls.

Maybe it was my fear of sodium that caused me to accept your advice sans the proverbial grain of salt.  Maybe it was my age.  Maybe it was my desperation for a solution to the “problem” or my renewed hope that maybe I’d finally get my dream body.  It was probably E) All of the above.

Nutritionist, do you want to know something else?  Your willingness to help me lose weight was a confirmation that I needed to lose weight.  If you thought I was skinny enough, I rationalized, you wouldn’t have helped me.  By pinching and prodding and measuring and restricting, you were inadvertently saying, There is something wrong here, and I will help you fix it.  I know that wasn’t your intention.  It still sucked though.

I am sorry I came into your office.  I didn’t need a nutritionist.  I probably needed a therapist, instead.  I’m sorry that you didn’t notice how much I was struggling.  I’m sorry that I let your willingness to help confirm my self-hatred.

But, Nutritionist, look at me now!  I’m healthy and happy and content.  Based purely on appearances, you’d think the present-day Carly would need a nutritionist much more than the 2009 Carly did; present-day Carly eats donuts and pizza, and not always in moderation.  THE HORROR.

But I’m okay, Nutritionist.  I don’t need your scale or your calipers or your measuring tape.  I don’t need your diet plan.  I don’t need the unnecessary supplements you tried to sell me.  I’m really okay.  No — I’m great.

No thanks to you, Nutritionist.

Sex and the City Lies

I love Sex and the City as much as the next idealistic, out-of-touch twenty-something. And although I didn’t watch it as it aired – I was 5 when it premiered, and for whatever reason 5 year olds just cannot grasp the concepts of rim jobs and rent-controlled apartments – I was firmly invested in all of Carrie’s love affairs (Team Aiden), sexcapades (remember when The Politician tried to pee on her?), and fashion choices (WHYYY ARE YOU WEARING A BANDANA WITH TYE-DYE LEGGINGS WITH HEELS?). I loved (to hate) it all.

But, as someone who identifies firmly as a “Miranda,” it’s in my nature to be a little bit cynical. Sex and the City gave me hugely unrealistic life goals.


Sex and the city lied to me.  Let us count the ways…

1. You can live in an apartment with no food (other than expired Triscuits) and not die of starvation on a daily basis.

2. It’s totally okay and professional and classy if you decide eschew undershirts and let your bra show in the back at all times.

3. When a thirty-something woman’s shopping-addiction and refusal to ride the subway causes her to go into debt, it’s really no big deal – her rich friend will just give her a Tiffany engagement ring to sell!


4. Sex is either mind-blowingly good or terrible. Did nobody on that show ever have seven-minute, pre-dinner, socks-on, perfectly lovely Wednesday night sex?!

5. Heels are totally practical footwear to be jaunting around New York City in. In all types of weather. All the time.


5. Drinking copious amounts of alcohol on a regular basis will not lead to a stomach ulcer.

6. You can get Carrie Bradshaw arms without working out.


7. Smoking is sexy.

8. Insecurity is sexy.

9. “A hole is a hole.” — Samantha Jones

10. People won’t be offended if you throw an “I don’t have a baby shower.”

11. 97% of men can’t fuck you worth a damn.


12. Farting in bed with your long-term boyfriend is totally embarrassing and gross.  Somebody should’ve told Carrie that she’d probably been farting in her sleep for weeks before the Fartcident.

13. You won’t notice if you get shot in the face with a man’s ejaculate while watching a tantric sex demonstration.

14. If your cleaning lady steals your vibrator and leaves a religious figurine in its place, you should definitely keep her as your housekeeper/nanny forever.


15. Your very intelligent, very sexy, seemingly well-adjusted boyfriend might say “I love you” for the first time on a fucking cookie.

16. Bisexuality doesn’t really exist. It’s just a layover on the way to gay town.

17. It’s easy to coordinate the schedules of four highly successful women for multiple meet-ups per week.

18. Getting mugged at gunpoint isn’t really that traumatizing in and of itself, unless that motherfucker tries to steal your Manolo Blahnik’s, in which case you should definitely put your safety at risk to bargain with said motherfucker.


19. Getting broken up with on a Post-It note will generate enough pity to get you off the hook for public drug use.

20. You can get your face on a bus for writing a small column in a small magazine (next to ads for penile implants).

21. Old Russian artists are super sexy.

22. You can wear overalls, a puffy coat, and a stupid hat and not be mistaken for an overgrown 6 year old boy.


23. It’s healthy to have three super close girlfriends, one or two “gay best friends” (<< HATE that phrase), and zero other friends you actually spend time with.  All of your eggs are in one basket, ladies.

With that said, the basket was filled with some pretty fabulous eggs, so I can’t say I blame ya…



Did you watch Sex and the City?  Did it give you any impossible life goals? 


Remember when I wrote about 8 million words about a 4 day stay in New Orleans?  Remember how much FUN we all had reading that?!


Wait!  Come back, you guys!  Please?

I only spent 3 days/2 nights in Nashville, so this recap shouldn’t be any longer than 4,000,000 words.  Phew.

Despite our delayed flight from New Orleans to Nashville, we arrived at our hostel in time to check in, change, and go eat.  Even though our hostel was very conveniently located, walking was rough because it was fucking freezing — quite literally, it was in the 20s at night – which inspired a whole lot of whining among us California girls (so hot we’ll melt your popsicle acclimated to a Mediterranean climate that we fail to back appropriate clothing for cooler climates).

Dinner, luckily, made up for the arctic walk.  We went to the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, which houses hundreds of beers and has plates covering every surface of wall and ceiling.  What more could you want in a restaurant?  Beer and plates!  Jackpot.

We did question what would happen to the plates in the event of an earthquake, but then we were all like, Toto, we’re definitely not in California anymore and this city isn’t built on a dangerous fault line.  

Speaking of earthquakes, the giant pretzels we ordered rocked my world (bad pun… sorry).  The queso and chive cream cheese on the side were the perfect BFFs for the warm, soft, salty pretzel.  This lasted 3.5 seconds or so.


After dinner and drinks, we headed over to Broadway, the main stretch of bars in downtown Nashville.  Holy bachelorette party!  They were everywhere!  Swarms of them!  Taking over the world! We saw at least 684 groups of women wearing (a) tiaras, (b) matching shirts with cheesy phrases like “If lost, please buy me a drink,” (c) more glitter than a craft store, (d) plastic penis necklaces, or most often (e) all of the above.

We did a little dancin’ and a little drinkin’ and I pretended to know the words to country music. (<< It isn’t hard.  Just sing words like “bourbon” and “Mississippi” and “boots” with a country twang.  You’ll blend right in.)

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The next morning, we decided to feed our hangovers some brunch.  I use the term hangover loosely, because after several days of consuming only sugary alcohol and fried carbs, I think our bodies were literally beginning to shut down.

So obviously, we got cheese fries as a brunch appetizer.  But then I got a chicken salad sandwich with fruit on the side, because PROTEIN and NUTRIENTS and #fitspo.


We eventually called the most incompetent Uber driver ever to take us to the Grand Ole Opry House.  For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s a theater where country singers perform.

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I imagine the tour would’ve been really cool if you loved country and/or watched the show Nashville, which I’m not and I don’t.  As a result, it was a pretty meh experience, but I’m glad we did it.  It felt like a Nashville must-do.





On our way back, our (new, and slightly more competent) Uber driver let us stop at the grocery store so we could pick up food & drinks.  It was probably the one smart decision of our entire trip.  Our hostel had a kitchen so we just picked up a frozen pizza and beer (okay fine, it was cider and Lime-A-Ritas) for dinner.  That choice saved us about $40 each, at least.  Win.

We also met a bunch of people at the hostel which made for a really hilarious night.



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It was such a fun night.  Truly, I can’t recommend the Downtown Nashville Hostel enough.  It was clean, quiet, close to downtown, and about $30/bed/night, plus we met tons of awesome people.

The only downside?  Your incredibly fun night will lead to another morning from hell.  UGH.

But we persevered because we had tickets to the Country Music Hall of Fame.  No pictures of inside because I don’t know anything about country music and also I wanted to die the entire time I was in there.

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Good news: I ate a Goo Goo Cluster which is basically a less-delicious Snickers.

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After perusing the Hall of Fame, I packed up the rest of my stuff and headed for the airport.  I was pretty sad to be leaving, though I don’t think my body could’ve handled one more day of such gross mistreatment, so it was definitely for the best.

After several more delayed flights, I (SPOILER ALERT) made it back home to real life responsibilities, such as work and vitamins.  I’ve been stuck here in this real life B.S. ever since.


It’s Okay, part 8

(Because we all need a reminder sometimes…)


…If instead of doing one, economical, efficient grocery stop per week, you go every single morning to get just enough food for that day.

…If you find yourself rooting for the Bachelor couple du jour even if you think the whole concept is really stupid.

…If you get pathetically wrapped up in whatever book you’re reading, to the point that your mood is affected by the characters’ lives (or lack thereof, WHY DID HE/SHE/IT HAVE TO DIEEEEEE?!!!!!).

…If showering becomes an optional part of your everyday routine.  Just rub deodorant everywhere, it’s basically the same.

…If you thought that the new workout attire brand, “Fabletics” was pronounced “Fable-tics” instead of “Fab-letics.”  Yeah.

…If chocolate-covered caramel corn is your new favorite snack.

…If you hate the idea of any sugar-free food.  Bars, ice cream, chocolate.  Yuck.

…If you still love the idea of all sugar-free drinks.  DIET EVERYTHING PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

…If your only vegetable intake from the past week was a single pickled green bean from your friend’s Bloody Mary.

…If pretty much every kids movie makes you cry.  Toy Story 3 when all the toys hold hands before falling into the fire?  Stop.  Up, when they can’t have a baby and then again when Ellie dies?  Tears everywhere.  Big Hero 6?  Don’t even fucking get me started.  Just don’t.

…If you spend way too much of your time with children under 5.  See above.

…If you contemplated getting a one-piece bathing suit for about a year before biting the bullet and actually doing it.  YES I SURE DID, and it’s hot as hell.

…If you spend 20% of your time and 80% of your phone battery playing Trivia Crack (<< add me: @carly.goldstein).

…If you pay a little too much attention to things like Instagram likes.  How else will we measure how well-liked we are if not by number of likes on a picture of french fries?!

It’s Okay 1.  It’s Okay 2.  It’s Okay 3.  It’s Okay 4.  It’s Okay 5.  It’s Okay 6.  It’s Okay 7.

New Orleans

I never know where to begin with these trip recaps.  On one hand, I’m always so exhausted after a vacation that I just want to dump all of the pictures into a wordless blog post.  On another hand, I want to recap the entire thing in excruciating detail so I remember it all forever.  On a third hand (we’re using your hands by this point), I want to not feel the need to preserve everything on social media and let the memories be just that — memories.  On yet another hand, I feel like nobody is even reading this stupid paragraph anymore.  Hello?  Hellloooooo??

Anyway.  New Orleans.

It was a truly incredible city with the nicest people I’ve ever met. And I’ve been to the Land of Smiles, you guys, so you know it’s legit (10 points for that “I’m so well-traveled” humblebrag).

So I arrived in New Orleans at about 6am, a day later than the rest of my friends (#fomo) and promptly lugged my overpacked suitcase up to the hotel room and passed out for another 3 hours or so.  Once we all woke up, we decided to start the day at Cafe Du Monde.


Holy beignet, these were fucking awesome.  They were hot and sexy (and single and IN YOUR AREA, CALL NOW) down to every last crumb.  We started with one order and our waitress looked 10% amused 90% annoyed when we ordered a second.  They definitely lived up to the hype.


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I literally licked the plates clean.  I had to resist doing the same to the other tables’ plates as well.


With our veins pumped full of deep-fried carbs and sugar, we felt ready to shop (and eat more).  Obviously.  We strolled through the French Market, and showed valiant restraint and didn’t purchase anything, much to the happiness of our savings accounts.  LOL JK WE COLLECTIVELY BOUGHT SO MUCH SHIT (between the four of us, there was one giant fan, 2 random T-shirts, a couple bottle openers, and many more useless souvenirs).


Oh, and we also ate an alligator sausage.  I realize how dirty that sounds.


Thank goodness we had that protein-packed ‘gator on a stick to fuel us for the next 30 or so minutes before we were able to eat again!  We walked around  the city, which is ridiculously quaint.  I kept comparing it to New Orleans Square in Disneyland, which is obviously a really stupid comparison, because the latter is based on the former, but still.  It’s just really freakin’ cute.

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After listening to some street music and walking into lots of random shops, we eventually headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

We went to an incredible oyster bar called Royal House, but since I don’t really like seafood, I stuck with hushpuppies, French onion soup, and dessert.  I did, however, consider shooting up the garlic butter sauce that covered the oysters (but settled for bread instead of a hypodermic needle).

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After dinner, we went out on Frenchmen Street (sounds promising, no?) and listened to (/embarrassingly danced to) live music.


And also took the most expensive pedicab ride home, probably ever.  Mostly because silly New Orleans doesn’t have Uber.  WTF, Nola?!  Get it together.  (I decided to forgive the city though, on account of its abundance of fried food).


The next morning, we were up bright and early, hopped on a bus with Josephina, our hilarious driver, and made our way to the Honey Island Swamp.  We saw alligators and snakes and raccoons, but the most exciting part by far was the wild hogs.  THEY CLIMBED ONTO THE BOAT and we all had a blast together.

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After Le Tour De Swamp, we ate some more. Are you really surprised?

I only took a picture of the banana pudding, which was unreal, but we also had cheese fries and grilled cheese and po’ boys and fried pickles.  Oh, lordy.


Post-lunch, we switched hotels and decided to have a low-key night.  We got some dinner at a supposedly haunted restaurant (shoutout to Marianna and Maria Theresa, the sister ghosts) and relaxed back in the hotel room.  It was much needed.


The next morning, we woke up refreshed, energized, and ready to stuff ourselves with more fried food and booze.  Enter: Elizabeth’s.

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This place was awesome.  So good, in fact, that Jamie Lee Curtis was there for breakfast as well.  We were too into our praline bacon to notice, but apparently she was there through part of our meal.  I’m just relieved that I’ll have something to talk about when I meet JLC one day.

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That evening, we headed to Pat O’Brien’s piano bar for Hurricanes and music.  The music was great and the Hurricanes were dangerous.

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After we all sucked down our drinks, we did it up big with some cajun classics for dinner.  There were lots of bites shared, and I ended up eating some French onion soup, a few bites of the muffuletta sandwich, and red beans & rice with alligator sausage.  It was all delicious.

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After dinner, we headed out to Bourbon Street.  It was a crazy fun night, filled with too-sugary drinks, tons of dancing, and hilarious people (namely us).

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No pictures from really late in the night (ahem, early in the morning), because drunk.

After a solid three hours of sleep, we packed up, got breakfast, bid adieu to New Orleans and headed for Nashville, Tennessee. Update coming soon (ish).

Let’s Have Happy Hour #3

If we were at happy hour, I’d order something frozen and fruity and tropical.  It’s getting warm here in California, and a drink that comes with an umbrella feels really necessary.  You’d order wine or something classy like that, and I’d look like the douchebag slurping on a freaking umbrella drink in what is technically still winter, but that’s okay.  You wouldn’t judge me at all.


If we were at happy hour, I’d tell you that on Monday, I’m going on spring break!  You’d give me a face and say something like, Spring break?  You’re not even a student anymore.  Who do you think you are?  And I’d be all like, I’M NOT A GROWNUP YET DON’T MAKE ME, and then calmly explain that I took time off work (nannying) and internships to go to New Orleans and Nashville with a couple friends from high school.  And I’d ask you for any recommendations, because you’ve obviously been to both, you well-traveled power goddess.

If we were at happy hour, my drink glass would already be empty.  You’d notice and order a second round for me, like a good friend should.  You just get me.  They don’t call it Thirsty Thursday for nothin’.

If we were at happy hour, I’d tell you that I’ve pretty much made a grad school decision.  I haven’t heard back from every school, but I got into my top private (read: expensive) school and my top public (read: I won’t exclusively eat Top Ramen for every single meal for the rest of my life) school.  You’d ask all the right questions about my decision, and I’d tell you that because the public school is about $40,000 less per year, I’m leaning toward that.  Then I’d tell you that I’ll update the blog with the actual school names in the near future (couple of weeks, probably).

If we were at happy hour, I would apologize for talking so much about myself.  I just have a lot going on, I’d rationalize, and you’re always the best listener.  You’d eat the flattery right up and let me continue rambling on about life.  Thanks, buddy.  You’re a rockstar.

If we were at happy hour, we’d order round three, and round four, then go out on the town.  I think we could both use a night of drinks and dancing, wouldn’t you say?

Social Media Blast

Just thought I’d pop in for a quick social media blast.  God forbid you aren’t following my glamorous, interesting life on every single social media site!  The horror!

1. Instagram

Filled with random pictures of life.  Sometimes I post one million times per day, and sometimes I don’t post for a week.

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2. Facebook

Blog updates.  One of my goals is to be more present on the Snack Therapy Facebook page.  What would you like to see more of on the Facebook page?

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3. Pinterest

Mostly just my cheesy vision board.


4. Twitter

Lots of old blog posts to peruse and occasional wisdom.

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What Do You Wish You’d Known?

Since I got back from Thailand last summer, I’ve been working in an opportunity program at a middle school. The students I work with are the most hilarious, resilient, interesting, awesome group of kids ever.  But, amidst all of the joys of being around such cool people, there’s one part that stands out as kind of strange: you have to relive what it’s like to be in middle school.



I know that I’m young and have plenty of time to make a fool of myself, but a hefty portion of my most embarrassing/awkward/cringey moments happened in 7th and 8th grade (among those moments: Googling “how to make out” and cutting all of my hair off).

So lately I’ve been thinking…

What do you wish you’d known at thirteen years old?

If you could tell your thirteen-year-old self one thing, what would it be?

For Thinking Out Loud Thursday, I’m asking you to do the heavy lifting…

Share your answer in the comments below!  I’ll compile all of the answers into one hilarious, wise, nostalgic blog post.

Ready… Go!

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