Followers ♥


dear followers,

this news has already been announced to close friends and family members, but i wanted to make sure that you were also well aware of what big changes are about to take place in my life.
first and foremost, i owe a big thank you to each and every one of you for supporting me and reading my words and giving me encouragement over the last year and a half since i've moved across the country.  it means more to me than you know and i appreciate each one of you so much.  when i was home in december, sara asked me to write a guest post on her blog.  i was excited, but initially couldn't think of a thing to write.  she said this to me, "write about being far away from home and your friends and family.  or write about food!  write about anything."  so i decided to explore all three since they all happened to be things that were currently in the front of my mind.  the truth is that i've had a blog post inside of me just bursting to get out for months now--but i wasn't sure how ready i was to uncover everything i wanted to say.  i ended up spilling my guts a little more than i meant to, but in a very vague sort of way.  below is bits and pieces of what i wrote.  this blog was called "the three F's".


there's not really any easy way to explain how hard it is to be so far away from your family.  to me, family not only consists of the three loving souls who supported and nurtured me into being the weirdo that i am today.  my family is also spread up and down the east coast.  from aunts, uncles, cousins, and a grandmother in new jersey who adores me enough to mail me sandwiches, to close friends in raleigh who have watched me grow from braces to beers over the past twelve years, to a second family in south carolina who love me like one of their very own.  these are the people that i wish were part of my daily routine, but sometimes life just isn't that easy.  when you go from sharing cheese fries with your closest friends every day, to then only seeing them every couple of holidays--it reminds you to appreciate those special people that much more.  when you go from sharing nightly meals with your parents and your sister to then mapping out your dinners since your time at home is limited--it reminds you to treasure every bite in their presence.  when you go from sharing a recliner with your best friend to having to fly across the country just to give her a hug--you remember to make every simple second together a priceless snapshot that you hold onto when she's far away.


everyone is scared of something.  some of us are afraid of heights, some of us are terrified at the sight of a crab.  
oh. i guess you can't really use that potato metaphor unless you're speaking outloud...
anyway, the point is that all of us have fears, and all of us have our very own way of overcoming them.  i never realized how much i would accomplish in the "getting over my fears" department when i zipped up my suitcases and moved to LA.  i knew that i always wanted to go, and i knew that i had to go--but i never knew that it would bring me so much clarity on so many difficult parts of my life.  i'm not really the kind of person that advocates the idea of diving in head-first when it comes to conquering a fear.  for example, if you're afraid of trying sushi--i wouldn't recommend ordering eel or anything that still appears to be moving.  however, when it comes to actual moving--my strategy was clearly to face my fears head-on.  my entire life, i've been faced with the challenge of homesickness.  and i don't mean the kind that happens in first grade when you have your dad come pick you up from the slumber party.  well, i did that too--but my homesickness continued on into early adulthood, restraining me with anxiety and panic attacks any time i left the comforts of raleigh.  even though my symptoms were at full force pre-cross-country move, i had no other choice but to push myself west and see what happened.  not only have i accomplished more than i can even begin to explain in the homesickness category, but i've found myself growing and changing in ways that i never even thought possible.  i set off on my adventure with a very specific goal as my driving force--but as it turns out, 
things change.  
sometimes you realize that what you thought you wanted so badly may have only been a vehicle to get you where you needed to be to accomplish other goals and cross other bridges.  in this sense, you find yourself in a place of peace.  
you stop trying to count your triumphs, and begin to count your blessings.
you stop being narrow-minded and accusing yourself of changing your original plan, and instead pat yourself on the back for how far you've come.  
so remember--don't just conquer your fears to cross something off of your list, do it because you never know what you might find out about yourself along the way.


coming from a family of foodies, a love for all things eating has been a built-in part of my brain since day one. 
i learned all of the basics and so much more from my dad, and then as time has progressed--my new teaching environment has become a little more virtual.  think of it like this: you watch one 22 minute long cooking show, and probably pick up at least 3-5 tips.  i usually keep food network on twenty four hours of the day, so my brain is constantly absorbing new information, recipes, and cooking methods.  with all of this knowledge bouncing around in my head, i've had no choice but to experiment in my own kitchen.  from strawberry goat cheese bruschetta to spicy homemade chicken chili, i can't get enough of playing with my food. 
the reason i bring this up as one of my f's is because this passion for cooking and food blogging that has recently expanded beyond belief has a lot to do with my move to the other coast.  had i stayed closer to home, i don't believe that i would presently be so in-touch with my kitchen.  i think that had i been surrounded by more familiar things the past year, i wouldn't have turned to cooking--and writing about cooking--as a way to get out my energy.  having so much more alone time has constantly sparked my creativity and allowed this eagerness for food to come bursting through the surface.  it's become more than a hobby--it's developed into a realization that this is something i want to do every day.  once again, moving away has brought up the dilemma of questioning the purposes why i went out there in the first place.  but at the same time, it's reminded me to not be judgmental of myself and just accept the things that make me happy.  maybe part of moving to california was to uncover some hidden talents and enthusiasm for cooking and writing that will lead my life in a new direction

now back to our originally scheduled program...
well...did you figure it out yet?  
either way, keep reading:
i believe that you should do something until it doesn't make sense anymore.  these last seventeen months here have had such a major purpose in my life, but part of me has begun to realize that i may be ready to move on.  i've been feeling the pull to move back to the east coast since last september, but now it feels like everything has fallen into place in my mind. i don't feel like i'm moving "back", i just feel like i'm moving on to the next chapter in my life. i never had any intention to stay out here forever, and i think that's a mistake that a lot of people make. the truth is that i moved out here not only because i wanted to, but because i knew in my heart that i had to. i still have a lot of growing up to do, but taking myself so far out of my comfort zone has really changed my life.

i also know that had i not moved to hollywood, i never would have found this raging passion that i now have for cooking and writing.  it's funny how you find something when you didn't even realize that you were looking for it.  i know that i want a career where i get to be around food, so i have every intention of finally starting a catering business--which has been in the back of my mind for as long as i can remember.  don't worry--i'm not giving up on acting or improv or any of those things that put me in front of an audience.  i've always felt like i was put on this earth to be in front of people and touch them in some way.  
i always related "being in front of people" to acting and playing somebody else, but this year i've come to realize that i can still inspire people and make them laugh by simply just being myself.
(somewhere--my mom is clapping right now)
well i might as well say the word:
yes. wilmington, north carolina.  

 also known as the next chapter in my life--or chapter three as i like to call it.  i spent over twenty years in raleigh, a year and a half in hollywood, and now i'm ready for whatever is next.  olive and i will be making a pit stop back to koupela drive so that i can secure a job and an apartment in wilmington--but that will just be short-term while i recollect my pieces and prepare for yet another move.  i know many of you may be wondering why i'm not prolonging my life on the the west coast, but like i said--i never had any intention of living here forever.  i just knew that i wanted to do it at some point in my life.  so i did.  and now i'm ready to move on.  i've made incredible friends out here and experienced the glitz and glamor, and the ups and downs of living in this city of lights all by myself.  california was an amazing ride, but i always knew it wouldn't be a permanent home.  let's be honest--i'm expecting the worst from outsiders.  i'm expecting to hear things like "you're giving up".  however, i believe with all of my heart that the people closest to me will support me and encourage me and know that i'm not giving up on anything, i'm just following my heart and seeing where it takes me.  

i have to do what's best for myself, and right now that means taking everything i've learned over the last year and a half and moving forward with my life.  yes, this does mean that the raleighwood to hollywood blog will come to a close--but that opens up space for a brand new blog!  i'll keep you posted on that.  i'm blessed to have all of you in my life who have stood by me and supported me along this life-changing, eye-opening journey, but don't worry--this isn't where it stops.  my eyes are still full of stars and my stomach is still full of butterflies with the excitement of knowing how many ways i still plan to make my mark on the world.