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 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

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!