Continued From “To Be Continued…”

This post starts where this post left off.

There are so many reasons to justify being pessimistic, especially after watching the news, but I encourage everyone that is reading this (that probably only includes my Mom, let’s be real) to think optimistically.

There are a lot of self-help ideas throughout the internet on how to overcome being a pessimist, but I’m going to share mine too. Deal with it.

Assumptions: No, the world is not out to get you. Also, I understand that being quick to judge is human nature, but I’m challenging you all to think differently. Please don’t label someone before you get to know who they are.

Smile More: It might sound almost too simple, but it’s true. When you are more conscious of good things happening to you and around you, you feel better! Give it a try. Smile when good things happen. Smile when you think something is funny on the internet. Smile because you’re content. Smile for whatever reason. Just Smile.

Think Ahead: Stop pondering the past. Bad things happened, so what? Your life will always be a part of who you are, but you should wear your past like a red badge of courage. You’ve grown from those experiences, you’ve become stronger from those experiences, and those experiences don’t define you. You should embrace that life goes on.

Surround Yourself With Love: Make friends with positive thinkers to help you along your journey of becoming a more optimistic person. Consider releasing yourself from toxic relationships.

I have been practicing these ideas for almost four years, and, though I am still sassy and witty (though, maybe I only think that I’m witty), I am in a more positive place mentally.

Take this challenge. Let me know how it works for you!

Find my tweets and chat with me: shawnltremblay
#ShawnsBlog

#MusicMonday

If you have been following me since my humble blogging beginning (what was I thinking?), you’ll remember that I used to talk a lot about music (after all, I was a music industry major during undergrad).

Well, I want to incorporate the world of music back into my frequently talked about topics. (Yes, I understand that I don’t write frequently enough to have any frequently talked about topics within my repertoire. Haters.) Though, come to think of it, maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t highlight the lackluster music of 2014.

Let’s start with Nate Ruess.

The Iowa-native, who is most recognized in popular music as being the lead singer of the group Fun. (and he was a member of The Format, but that’s another story), has begun releasing tracks from his upcoming solo LP Grand Romantic, which is scheduled for a mid-June release date. While the group Fun. hasn’t officially broken up, they released a note to fans in February 2015 stating they are in an open relationship. (Insert eye roll emoji.) Why am I starting with Nate? Well, he released a new track today, so there’s that. Convenience.

“Nothing Without Love”, released February 23, 2015:

Choice Lyric: “I am nothing without love, I’m just these thoughts without a pen, And I would take credit for this song, But I am nothing without love”

“ahHa”, released April 27, 2015:

Choice Lyric: “I was lost among the pavement, Lower than the basement, And I couldn’t stand and smile, I thought of taking my own life”

“Great Big Storm”, released May 11 2015:

Choice Lyric: “You know I gotta find my own way, Through mistakes that I can’t change”

“What Is This World Coming To” featuring Beck, released June 1, 2015

Choice Lyric: “I think I’m going to shine in the afterlife, Leaving the fight for peace of mind instead”

I must say, I do hear similarities between this solo project and Some Nights by Fun.. Nate is acknowledging his past (even providing a nod to his former life with The Format in “Nothing Without Love”), and he isn’t afraid to show where he came from. You can tell he is confident in his work, which is really refreshing in the industry.

Okay, that’s it for this #MusicMonday. What do you guys think of Nate Ruess? Leave feedback in the comment section below!

Chat with me on twitter: shawnltremblay
#ShawnsBlog

You have GOT to be kidding….

Have you ever had one of those days when everything is so utterly frustrating to the point you “go off” due to the most insignificant inconveniences? That’s what this post is about.

This past Wednesday was that kind of a day for me. (If you’re reading this in the distant future, just imagine that it was the Wednesday that most recently past.) I woke up to the neighbor mowing his lawn at 7:15 in the morning, and, even though it was literally only five minutes before my alarm was scheduled to sound, I wished death on him. My wish was so specific that I even asked the universe to ensure his bloodline always remain barren. (I must have just watched Into The Woods, or something.)

The day only continued to grow in annoyances. After being so audibly nudged awake, I went to use the restroom, per usual. I could feel myself tense up as I saw that the previous person emptied the toilet paper holder and put a new roll vertically on top of it, instead of replacing the roll properly. (This is a common occurrence in my house). I remember gritting my teeth while I was sitting, patiently, to pass a nugget.

The tension grew significantly as I was finishing up washing my hands in the restroom. Tell me, America, why is it so difficult to get the toothpaste out of the tube, onto your toothbrush, and into your mouth without it getting all over the sink? I’ll wait for your explanation. (And, while we are on the topic, why can’t you clean your spittle off the mirror after the toothbrush flicks your pasty mouth water onto it?) Still waiting.

The following items fuel my hate fire for life:

  1. My work computer deciding to self-restart mid data entry.
  2. People who do not cover their mouth when they sneeze/ cough.
  3. People that cover their mouth with their hands instead of the inner side of their elbow.
  4. People that leave their laundry in the washer or dryer well after the cycle has finished.
  5. Drivers that park their car too close to one side of a parking spot.
  6. Drivers in general.
  7. When my gas tank takes more than 11 gallons, even though I have an 11 gallon tank.
  8. Coffee that cools too quickly.
  9. Iced coffee that warms too quickly.
  10. People who interrupt others/ people who talk too much.
  11. Sticky tables.
  12. Clutter.
  13. Backseat drivers that change the song on the radio. (I am a total hypocrite with this one.)
  14. People who take walking selfies.

So, I was taking a walking selfie the other day…

(To be continued…)

One Day At A Time

I have truly been blessed with amazing educators and role models in my life, and I wish that I hadn’t taken my time with them for granted. I now look back and see how much more they could have offered to me growing up, and how much more I could have grown under their guidance and influence. I often think about what one more conversation could have led to with each (or any) of them in terms of where I am now in my life. It’s an amazing thought.

As I continue to make progress with my personal writing goals, I reflect on the words my history teacher shared with me at the beginning of my senior year of high school: “Life can seem overwhelming, but remember you only have to do one day at a time.” She was referring to the high expectations she had for everyone in the class regarding learning the subject material, but I have taken it to mean so much more. I often look back on these words of advice, and I am so happy that I had decided to pay attention in class that day. This is the best advice that I have ever received. (Unless you count that one time a homeless man in North Attleboro, MA told me, “How about it, keep goin’. So inspiring.)

Writing is Hard

Who among us hasn’t ever dreamt of writing or starring in a TV show that is loosely based on the adventures of his or her own life? We are all guilty, and most us never bother to follow through with such a dream because it’s only a “nice thought” and real life “get’s in the way”.

I cannot even count the number of times that I have had been hanging out with close friends and thought to myself, “why aren’t we filming this?” (Probably because no one finds me quite as hilarious as I find myself, for I have an extremely dry and sarcastic sense of humor which I completely acknowledge as an acquired taste.)(Also, it took so much will-power to type “I cannot even” instead of “I can’t even” because I’m so basic.) Back to topic, hindsight is always 20/20, but, also, who honestly knows how to work one of those old school cameras? (I say old school, because I imagine that I couldn’t afford one of the newer, seemingly user-friendly recording devices, so I would have to settle for an archaic piece of equipment that could only be found for cheap at some yard sale, or, even worse, on Craigslist. Actually, since we’re on the topic, you can find some stellar deals and steals on Craigslist… if you’re willing to risk your life. True story, I once heard about this guy who started with a paperclip, or something as minuscule, and eventually traded up for a house. Why can’t that be my life?) Now, some of you out there in the safety of the internet are probably asking, “what about vine?”, or saying, “GoPro’s aren’t that expensive, Shawn.”. Well, here are my thoughts on those areas:

Vine: I WOULD KILL TO BE VINE FAMOUS. My life is kind of a joke right now in terms of relationships and friendships, as it always is. I studied away at a small school in New Haven for undergrad and grad (no, this is not some cheeky attempt at stating that I went to Yale), and I made great, life-long friendships. The problem, however, is that essentially none of them live close enough to me to brainstorm and film Vines when inspiration strikes, and the friends that do live close enough are too serious about life, in a good way, to participate in such an activity.

Don’t even get me started about how difficult it is to make new friends as a post-grad adult. (Hint: it is the literal worst thing ever.)

GoPro: (See, Vine.)

I get so distracted and have a variety of loud thoughts all of the time that I cannot stay focused long enough on any one item, and that’s why writing is hard. Well, that, along with finding inspiration and finding your voice. For me, inspiration is Ellen DeGeneres and Mindy Kaling. Both of these strong women represent what it means to be yourself in a world telling you to be anyone else. That is so inspiring. Aside from her humanitarian approach with life, I want to mimic Ellen’s ability to make celebrities do insanely hilarious, out of their comfort zone activities. (Actually, she does this with non-celebrities as well, so, really, no one is safe.) Mindy has a way of seeming self-deprecating, but actually she is being a phenomenal feminist. Conveniently enough, I recently finished reading Ellen’s Seriously… I’m Kidding and Mindy’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns), and they both focus more on observational and life experience humor and less on shock value. Why is this a dying genre within comedy?

My voice, I’ve been told (because I just, right now while writing this, asked my best friend), is tenor, warm, familiar, safe… aka slightly feminine, but that’s not what I meant about finding your voice. My writing voice is very candid, like a conversation. (This writing style has definitely led to receiving less than desirable grades on academic papers, so tread lightly.) Like Ellen, I don’t understand the need to use pretentious vocabulary in writing. I want my friends to read what I write and I want everyone to be my friend, so it makes sense for me to write in this candid way. (I have a real sibling complex, I guess.)

Anyway, I am tired of my personal excuses for not writing (and people who don’t put a new roll of toilet paper on the roll holder but just leave it on the old roll, like WHY???), so I am going to, finally, start again. This time, however, I am going into to this with very little expectation. We’ll see how this goes.

Wish me luck!

Pizza is Always the Perfect Choice

Guest post from Matt DiGiovanni. Follow him on twitter!

Last night Liz and I decided pizza was the perfect dinner choice (realistically, pizza is always the perfect choice). Not just any pizza would suffice though; we would be making French Onion Soup and Bacon, Onion, and Pineapple pizzas!

photo (1)

(Left: French Onion Soup Pizza, Right: Bacon, Onion, and Pineapple Pizza)

Here’s what you’ll need:

French Onion Soup Pizza
½ bag of pizza dough
1-2 Large Vidalia onions, halved and sliced
3-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2-3 tbsp of butter
1 cup beef broth
¾ cup dry red wine
1 tbsp flour, with additional for the dough
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup heavy cream
1/3 lb Gruyère cheese, shredded

Continue reading

Welcome Back. Let’s Hear It For Pasta.

Our last post left us in a sort of limbo. It was evident that we needed to upgrade and reorganize our vision, and it was clear that this project had the potential to become community-based endeavor. So, without further ado, welcome to the new Edible Opinions!

Pasta is one of those meals that can be so versatile. I could eat it, well, always. So why wouldn’t I come back from a very long hiatus with a pasta post?

Let’s get started.

I tend to treat pasta as a vehicle for other edible wonders, like sauce, cheese, avocado (thanks to my roommate), etc. For this recipe, though, I wanted to bring the focus of a pasta dish back to pasta, so that’s exactly what I did!

What you will need:

1/2 Red Pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 Orange Pepper, thinly sliced
1 Small Onion, thinly sliced
1Tbsp Garlic, crushed
1Tbsp Butter
2Tbsp Olive Oil
I Box Pasta, of your choice

To start, thinly chop onion and peppers.

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Continue reading

Am I Homophobic?

I begin this quest of a blog with an internal dilemma:

Am I homophobic?

As a gay American male, I am suppose to long for acceptance, tolerance, compassion, blah, blah, blah… But what I am finding lately is that I just want to be left alone. It is a really interesting concept, and I hope that I can find some sort of answer with no level of hypocrisy.

I want to be like everyone else. Not in the sense that I want to “blend in” and be some solid grey matter with zero identity, but I want to live in a society that doesn’t humor ideas of gay marriage, same-sex weddings, same-sex parenting, etc., etc., etc.

To be completely honest, I think the fact that we talk about marriage equity is great, but can’t we leave it as just that? Equity? Why is it that everything in the LGBT community has to be titled with the word “gay”? My marriage one day to another man should be thought as just one word– not some hyphenated phrase to make someone feel more comfortable with acknowledging it. (Not to mention that placing the word “gay” or the phrase “same-sex” makes it unequal. Again.)

Marriage equity has its foundation rooted in the idea that a civil union is not good enough for gay and lesbian couples because of the fact that the rights between couples within a civil union and a couple within a marriage differ greatly. What’s more, civil unions reinforce the idea of “separate but equal“. A civil union is an illusion– it’s all smoke and mirrors.

One must wonder if linguists had such trouble in defining other  words, like swag.

What is marriage? Marriage is a social and legal bond joining two people together. That’s it. Well, legally speaking, it is much more complex than one sentence (i.e., benefits available through the federal government), but we’ll regard the abridged version for ease-of-use purposes. Why are Americans so ignorant when it comes to civil rights issues?

So am I homophobic for not tolerating words like “gay” or phrases like “same-sex“? I don’t think so. I’m sure someone, somewhere, has an issue, but that’s ignorance. And a story for another day.

Updated Chapter Titles

Hola!

As the book has progressed, I have had to update some of the initial chapter titles. Take a look!

Chapter One: Meeting the Enemy

Chapter Two: Rise to power

Chapter Three: Hurricane Irene

Chapter Four: You’ve Got To Be Kidding- The Characters of Student Government

Chapter Five: I Didn’t Get Any

Chapter Six: Yes, It’s Seriously Been Over Three Years

Chapter Seven: Devil Spawn

Chapter Eight: Old Man Winter

Chapter Nine: Social Media Warfare

Chapter Ten: The Many Faces of Love

Chapter Eleven: Elections and Erections

Chapter Twelve: Rubbing Elbows

Chapter Thirteen: Poop.

Chapter Fourteen: Nana’s Drunk and I’m Out of Here

Chapter Fifteen: I’m Moving Home

 

Happy Tuesday :)

-Shawn

Meeting the Enemy

Hi there, (insert something witty and semi- insulting to the reader):

Here is the first extended look at Chapter One of my book, A Collection of Unfortunate Truths!

Enjoy!

“Debra Palomino is what you’d call an alcoholic. I take that back. Kind of. I met Debra during the 2010- 2011 academic year at our undergraduate institution. We were both a part of the student government organization, and we really thought relatively highly of ourselves, but you’ll hear more about that later.

We all have those friends that have had a negative experience with a certain individual and then they really try to push those negative experiences onto those that will listen. I used to be someone that listened. All growing up I was told that it was respectful to pay attention when someone was talking to you—you know; make him or her feel important. Never again. Debra was one of those individuals that had a bad rap before I had even met her. In fact, I hated her.

You see, a friend of mine (and I use this word very loosely for I am no longer associated with this said person—you could say that there was a falling out of sorts) had an issue with Debra because she was a part of a sorority that had quite the reputation of not being so welcoming. It turns out there was just some insecurities and jealousy involved. But you know how friendships at a young age work; if one friend doesn’t like someone, then the other friend, without question, doesn’t like them either.

It wasn’t until maybe midway through the year that I had even spoken to Debra one on one in a non-professional manner. We had many chats prior to this one, but they were always on a topic related to student government. I was her superior on the Senate, so we had to talk relatively frequently. If I remember correctly she said something a little catty and I thought it was absolutely hilarious, and, against all better judgment, I initiated a conversation revolving around the topic (of which I’m sure was related to how we had a mutual disgust for someone that worked closely with us).

Up to this point, you’re probably assuming that the enemy referenced in the title of this chapter is Debra. You’re wrong. To avoid a lawsuit (and to make sure that I don’t ruin anybody’s future career endeavors), all names have been changed.

The devil spawn that I am referencing is actually someone that I thought was a friend. A friend that should have been willing to aid in my rise to power, not cripple it. But you see, power is an idea that tiny minds just can’t understand. I wanted to be a great leader. I wanted to be a leader that actually worked with his advisors, and one that understood that a leader was only as successful as his followers. But no. This asshole saw what I had, and he wanted to take it from me. ”

I think it really sets the tone for what is to come next. Would you continue reading? Tell me what you think!

-Shawn