Thursday, December 30, 2010

A New Year, A New Me...

   As I sit here working on a few articles before the CRAZY weekend I have in front of me, I can't help but think about what 2011 will hold... I'll have a Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology before June, and although the program focused a bit more on topics I care less about (like Correctional Psychology), it has been a learning experience and a Master's Degree is still a Master's Degree. There aren't too many of those in my family, so it's a big accomplishment.



   In 2010 I started writing freelance for several websites, including two Examiner positions, Suite101, Break Studios, Experts123, and Demand Media Studios (primarily eHow.com articles). I have wanted to write since I was in the second grade and a story I wrote won a young author's award. But I also have always had that fear that I was wasting time wanting something I couldn't have...
   I have been writing online since May 2010 and have made my first "pay checks" since before I got married (Sept. 2004), and that has felt really, REALLY good. I'm still working on getting more consistent with my income, and eventually working toward higher-paying writing jobs, but until this last semester is over I'm pacing myself.



   I became an Independent Beachbody Coach in June 2010 also. I've been a Beachbody customer since 2004, when my husband bought us Slim in 6 before our wedding. I did two days of it then quit haha! It took me 2 years to finally go back to the program, but when I did, I did with purpose. I completed the 6 weeks twice, then moved on to more challenging workouts from Beachbody. I also became a Club Member. Coach seemed the right next step. It allows me to save money (25% off all my purchases) and I can earn commissions (up to 50%) and bonuses as I build my Team.
     It's a work in progress, but I hope to build a successful Team and help as many people as possible. I struggled with my weight for so long (most of my life) and now that I am getting it under control, I want others to feel as great as I do!



    So... what does 2011 hold for me?
    Well, for starters, I'm doing something on New Year's Eve, which I have NEVER done... normally I just stay home. I don't like big events, I don't drink, I prefer to go to bed early, and I'm really quite boring... but I found something that I wanted to do and so we're doing it! I'll share the details later, with pics and all!



    I'll graduate, as I mentioned, with my Master's in Forensic Psychology, which is still cool.



    I'm having jaw surgery in March, to correct a malformation.... basically my jaw didn't form right as I grew and it's caused problems most of my life. I had braces as a teenager that didn't fix the problem, so now I've had braces on sine July 2010 and will have surgery in March 2011. The braces will probably come off in the middle of the summer, assuming everything works out right.
    It's scary... wicked scary! And braces suck so bad! But it's a minor, temporary inconvenience that will improve the quality of the rest of my life. Yeah... it's worth it.

(No, I'm never this happy in the dentist chair... haha)

    After school finishes I plan to spend the 40-45 hours a week I've been spending on school on writing instead. Some writing for online, but also working on a novel. I've had two that I wanted to write for a long time, and my husband and I are doing some "family planning" so it doesn't look like I'll be working in a typical job for a long time... that's actually fine with me because it allows me the freedom to work from home, as I have been, and the freedom to work on a novel (or two) which I could finally FINISH....


    I also have work to finish on some websites... mine and for Taiheiji (my temple in Hawaii). It takes a lot of time so with the chaos from school I have to pick and choose what gets the little bit of focus I have left after school work... I look forward to improving all the sites, and this blog as well.

    Family planning is a big deal... I'm getting older, it's about that time haha... we're hoping to have one, then adopt 3 or 4.

    So, 2011 holds an awful lot... a lot of accomplishments, a lot of changes... some big plans.... and a lot of progress.

Happy New Year!

Hahaha! I won't smile because of my braces!





Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Entertaining Vegetarians During Holidays

     I suppose technically this advice works for all occasions, not just holidays.  I have my phases where I will eat absolutely no meat, and other phases like now where I feel I have to eat some meat in order to sustain my bdy (I workout a LOT!)  When I'm not eating any meat, or dairy, it can be hard for those who invite my husband and I to get-togethers or parties and such because we get there and I'll realize everything contains dairy and 90% of the choices contain meat. I remember once ordering a side of green beans in North Carolina at a restaurant with friends, thinking it'd be "safe" and they came cooked in bacon grease.... yeah, seriously.... or having dinner with family when they have smothered the pasta in meat sauce...

     Anyway, I included this article with tips for converting basic menus for a party to accommodate vegetarian guests even without having to venture into unknown territory, like tofu haha.  Just the fact that you considered the vegetarian's food preferences will mean so much to them, and taking the little time it requires to make a slight substitution or serve sauces on the side with alternatives will really make the event more enjoyable for them as well.




Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Gifts for Vegetarians

     For some, finding the right gifts to give is more stressful than holiday traffic and money being in short supply.  When trying to find a suitable gift to give a vegetarian, some easy homemade gifts can give a more personal touch and show thought and consideration for their dietary choices or needs.  Try this:











Sunday, December 5, 2010

Interviewing and Interrogation

     In honor of a recent class I am finishing up, I thought I'd finally write a new Suite101 article and discuss differences between interviewing and interrogating.  This is a basic overview with the hope that I will write at least several more on the topic because I find methods of detecting deceptions in interviews and interrogations very interesting.





Bodhi Day 2010

     For those who are Buddhist, interested in becoming Buddhist, or simply interested in Buddhism and want to know more, I do my best to publish interesting and informative articles as the National Buddhism Examiner.  At times, with grad school, my articles are infrequent.  This is because, rather than publish half-hearted content I'd prefer to wait and publish something I put some time into.  Schoolwork can interfere at times, even though the Examiner articles tend to be short, but school is almost out!

     I have less than two weeks left for this Fall Semester and then only one semester left, January to April, before I can take my Comprehensive Exams and graduate!!

     Anyway, I wrote an article today since it's December 5th and December 8th is Bodhi Day.  I appreciate everyone that takes the time to read my articles, and comments are always welcome!



Japanese Language Learning Strategies


     As a student of Japanese, I can relate to the frustrations of many students. I personally did only "okay" in structured classrooms for learning Japanese, and tend to excell in independent studying.  I have written a couple o articles suggesting strategies for learning the writing systems or ideas for improving vocabulary and usage as the Japan Expert at Experts123.com.











As always, I am open to suggestions and comments on or about my articles, and I appreciate everyone that takes the time to read them!






Sunday, September 26, 2010

Updates and New Articles

     So, I'm not exactly "loving" my graduate program right now and that's making the workload about 2-3 times more difficult.  It's my own fault because ultimately I should have read through the curriculum more carefully before jumping into the program, but I was in a rush to get started with my student loan repayment date closing in.  It's okay though... I'll stick it out and graduate in the spring.  But I'm planning on changing my focus from Forensic Psych to Sports and Performance Psych when I move on to my Doctorate.  That's become a bit more "me" anyway (^-^)v

    I have a couple new articles for the Buddhism Examiner this week, and with changes to the Examiner policies I'm hoping to start writing more frequently!  These are both about meditation in Buddhism, Zazen in particular because I am a Zen Buddhist:





     I also have a link here to a refined Google search listing all of my eHow articles so far, which I have written through Demand Media Studios. 

     For those that aren't aware, I am also an Independent Beachbody Coach and over at Demand Studios I saw an article about choosing a Team Beachbody Coach to sign up with.  Naturally I snagged up that assignment and it can be found here: How to Choose a Team Beachbody Coach to Sign Up With.
    My Coach site is www.beachbodycoach.com/SashaM5381 for anyone interested in learning more about home fitness programs, nutritionals for improving health and losing weight, and also for anyone interested in learning about becoming a Beachbody Coach for the opportunity to build a home-based business with GREAT earning potential!

    While school sucks up a large amount of my time at the moment, I am trying to follow through on my promise to create and donate a website to my Buddhist temple in Hawaii.  What I have so far all are welcome to check out: http://www.sotomission.com/   Keep in mind that not all links are active yet and we're still working on the design specifics, but it's up and coming.

    And lastly, my new fitness site is up and getting started.  I only published it so far so I could share it and get feedback but that can be found at: http://www.sashas-real-fitness-real-results.com/
    I wanted to start separating the Beachbody Coach stuff from my original site and sort of "de-clutter" that one and return it to its original purpose - a cookbook and resource for my sisters and friends.

As always, I hope all are well, and thanks for reading and keeping up with me!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy Aloha Friday!

     It's funny how, during the week it feels "busy" but never feels like I'm really stressed or anything, at least not too much, but then Friday gets here and I just feel exhausted!  That Insanity Max Cardio Conditioning workout at 5:30am probably didn't help (笑)

    I published a couple articles for my Buddhism Examiner post this week.  Both involve Buddhist parables which are like stories meant to help teach a lesson:





   I also published another for my Japan Expert post at Experts123:




    And I've been slowly collecting links to articles I've written at Break Studios and adding them to the articles I have listed on my website.  Break Studios gathers articles for several sites, but I find most of mine end up at MadeMan.com so a lot of topics are "dude-ish" but they're relatively simple so it's good for my pocket ;-)


    I'm in the last 2 full weeks of this session so I'm REALLY looking forward to a short break and a change in classes.  I don't mind the Psychology of Criminal Behavior class much, in fact I enjoyed it, but this other class I have focuses on Assessment in clinical and forensic settings and it's really not my cup of tea.  During my break (which really isn't a "break," a week I think) I'm hoping to finish the beginning of Taiheiji's website.  Taiheiji is my temple in Hawaii, a Soto-Zen temple.  I've been working on building the temple a website since I have very modest web design skills and the current/previous site was a bit lacking.  Hopefully it'll turn out all right!

Anyway, as always, thanks for checking in and keeping up with my writing!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Cool Announcement!

     The minister at my temple in Hawaii, Taiheiji, has read my Buddhism Examiner articles and requested permission to reprint some in the monthly newsletter.  Though it's not the same as being requested by TIME magazine or something, at the same time, it is JUST that cool to me.  Because of that temple and that community I was able to endure a 15-month long separation from my husband while he was deployed to Iraq, as well as the stress of being in school above full-time (so I could graduate before we moved again), and being isolated, not just from family but from the continental US.  It's an island, you can't exactly cross state-lines haha.

    Naturally, I said I'd be happy to grant them reprint permission, so I'll get to see some of my writing starting in the August newsletter (^^)v 


お楽しみに!

Considering Our Own Perceptions

     Today, as I wrote an assignment for school, I used my own tendency toward stereotyping as an example.  Many are not brave enough to do so, but stereotypes are human nature.  They allow us to classify and understand information faster, though perhaps not at maximum efficiency since they can be misleading.  I mentioned how, by recognizing stereotypes that influence my behaviors toward certain people initially I was able to overcome that bias that was making the relationships, in general, slightly more difficult.

    Then I was searching for topics for my two Examiner articles for today.  The Challenge is almost over so those publications will no doubt slow a bit, but it was nice having the motivation to write more each day.  I published one on a local natural food store with a deli and seating and all.... not that interesting to people not in the area haha.  But I wanted to publish one in the Buddhism Examiner section and so I decided to use this story, which may be only a story, but never the less, an interesting way to present a lesson that was along similar lines to the lesson I had previously learned that I was explaining in my assignment.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vegetarian Examiner - Milk Chocolate and Cheesecake

    I received information that today, July 28th, is National Milk Chocolate Day.  And also that Friday, July 30th, is National Cheesecake Day.  I decided to write two articles for my Fairfax County Vegetarian Examiner position on these two "National Celebrations" and those articles follow:





♥ ♥ ♥ As always, thanks for reading and keeping up with ♥ ♥ ♥
♥ ♥ ♥ me and my writings ♥ ♥ ♥


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Story of Siddhartha

    The trouble with the Examiner articles is they are supposed to be kept short.  Hopefully this one won't get flagged!  It's the skimmed down, bare-basic version of the beginning of Prince Siddhartha's journey to becoming the Buddha.



     I also published a local article on the Mystery Dinner Playhouse, which does offer a vegetarian entree if requested when making reservations, so I thought that was cool.


Monday, July 26, 2010

More Buddhism Examiner Articles

     I wrote two more for today.  The Examiner has a challene goingon so I'm trying to get my two articles in each day (^^)v
   
    Today I wrote two for my Buddhism Examiner position.  One is on Karma, an often misunderstood concept that is quite important to understand in Buddhism, or in life and nature regardless.



*This is another photo used courtesy of my friend, Mike :-)

   The other article tells a story of one man's journey to meet with the Buddha in hopes that the Buddha would help him solve his problems.  The man had a misconception of who and what the Buddha actually was, and about Buddhism as a means of improving one's life in the sense of eliminating suffering.




As always, thanks for keeping up with me :-) 

For more articles I have written, please see my website's Publications page.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

More for the Buddhism Examiner

    The Heart Sutra can take some getting used to because of the old-school names and words in it, even in translations, but it is a valuable Buddhist sutra chanted during nearly every service at my temple in Hawaii, Taiheiji.


     In Buddhism, parables have long been used as a means of demonstrating the Teachings, in a memorable and safe way of getting the points across.  I have presented two stories so far, and plan to present many.  I'd like to include as many short Buddhism articles as possible so that I can share what I have learned, and what I continue learning, while keeping the articles easy, quick reads for a general audience.  If I pique anyone's interest, feel free to contact me with Buddhism-related questions, and if I do not have an answer I can get one from my Minister.  That goes for my other articles as well, I'm always open to answer questions or providing more information ♥


**This photograph is courtesy of my friend Mike and was taken in Japan while he is 留学している


It took me a while, but I found a pic that did NOT have a spider in it haha.

♥♥♥ Thanks for reading, and keeping up while my writing grows ♥♥♥

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Becoming Buddhist

   I wrote today about becoming Buddhist.  I feel this is a good "next step" in the Buddhism Examiner articles since I have covered the initial Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, and Five Precepts, though I plan to go back and touch on the core Teachings more in depth in the future.



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Class Discussion...

    So we're reviewing each others assignments today and supposed to comment on them and I'm reading this woman's paper on the Insanity Plea.  Then I get to part of her paper discussing civil commitment of criminals, locking them up in mental hospitals instead of charging them and sending them to prisons or locking them up in mental hospitals after serving their sentences in prison to keep them off the streets.

    As I read, I realized what I was reading sounded REALLY familiar.  I had written that!  I started to get mad because I had posted my assignment in the discussion earlier than she had, but when I went back and reviewed my assignment, it wasn't the same.  So why was it so familiar?

    I read on a little further and realized she cited me in her paper!!  She had taken the information from one of my Suite101 articles on the topic and then cited me haha.  Her citation was incorrect, not in APA style, but I gave her some pointers on fixing it next time and told her that I thought it was funny when I read that part of her paper and realized it was mine, then saw she had cited my article.  Kinda cool after that :-)

Here's the article she was citing: Civil Commitment of the Mentally Ill


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Five Precepts

    For my Buddhism Examiner position I published an article on the Five Precepts today.  I have been approaching the initial Buddhism Examiner position by writing about core beliefs of Buddhism and plan to take the articles in multiple directions as I progress.  I then wrote a similar article, but longer and a bit more involved, for Suite101, trying to expand on the topic a bit as it's one of my favorites. 


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Japan Expert at Experts123

   I am currently the only Japan Expert at Experts123 but figured I would post a link to my articles there as well.  I try to post at least one article a week on a Japan-related topic, but change it up so it's not all culture or all language-learning.  I am open to suggestions or requests for future Japan articles if anyone has any, as well.



   Please don't forget to click "like" on the articles you read if you enjoy them, it helps my value with the site go up (^^)v  ありがとうございま~す!

The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path

     As mentioned, I have recently acquired a second Examiner post and now I write as the local Fairfax County Vegetarian Examiner as well as the national Buddhism Examiner.  I have decided to begin the Buddhism Examiner articles at the most reasonable beginning: The Buddha's Teachings.  As I present the Teachings, I will then later re-approach them with parables sharing different ways the Teachings may be applied to daily life, thought, oneself, and so forth. 



   The Vegetarian Examiner post is only meant to be localized to this area and so I will likely resign that position when I move in a couple of years, but I do try to provide information that could be helpful to others as well.  I will attach a few links below:




Other articles in that section can be found here.

   I always wanted to be a writer, since I was in second grade and won an award for a story I wrote.  I never thought I'd actually have the chance, though.  Writing is a tough business to crack into and I didn't study writing I studied (and study) Psychology and Japanese.  I am grateful to my husband for providing support and encouragement while I work on building my writing platform and get through this graduate degree program.  When I graduate next Spring, I will devote a large amount of time (currently spent on schoolwork) to writing and hopefully have a first manuscript draft completed by Christmas! 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Buddhism Examiner

     I was recently given a second Examiner writing position and so now I hold.  I published my first Buddhism article today which can be found here: The Buddha's Teachings: The Four Noble Truths.



   I published another article at Experts123 for my Japan Expert section as well: Japanese Society: Women's Issues - Work and Home Life.

   I write for several sites, including Suite101 and Break Studios and a list of my published articles, so far, with links (for as many as possible) can be found at my personal website: Princess Soy Milk - Publications.

   With school, finding time for my own free writing can be difficult, but I am working on a novel as well.  I hope to be able to finish it within the year (Summer 2011-ish) following graduation from my graduate program in Forensic Psychology.