Jan 21, 2017

Uruguayan Chajas Recipe

Recently, I had a project in my Spanish class which involved following a recipe, and then translating it into Spanish. We got extra credit if we actually prepared the recipe and either brought it in or showed photographic evidence proving that we made the dish. I love to cook, and I figured a cultural dessert would make for a perfect blog post! 

These Uruguayan Chajas have an interesting history...  Originally, they were made with strawberries, but because they do not grow in Uruguay during the majority of the year, the Castellano family makes it with peaches instead. The family is very secretive about the recipe, but there are many recipes available that are inspired by the Castellano original. In other recipes, the pastry is sometimes made with apricots.  The dessert is named for the chaja bird, because a family friend of the Castellanos first described the pastry as “light and soft” and that it reminded them of the bird. It is now one of the most common desserts in Uruguay.

Other than the fact that the dessert is light and soft, it is also really delicious and fairly simple to make. The recipe I had initially attempted was extremely difficult to follow. So in essence, chajas are like a pastry lasagna, and you need to make them yourself ASAP!

Jan 16, 2017

Self Confidence + Blogging

I've drafted a "What I've learned in three years of blogging" post about 20 times, and for some reason I just haven't been satisfied with how the words are flowing. I'm probably just being overly self critical and paranoid, but hey that's okay. One thing that's easy for me to write about is how I've grown up confident in myself and how blogging has influenced my confidence as well. Happy Monday, team and here's to a new blog post! 

It's pretty difficult growing up. Especially throughout the teenage years. There's so many outside pressures, expectations, hormones, all while learning the necessary college readiness skills and applying for jobs and whatever else. I'm not going to say it's harder for girls, but I don't exactly have any experience as a boy, so I can only speak for my struggles. 

I started this blog when I was 13. I don't count 13 as a teenager despite the obvious "teen" in thirteen. I was still in middle school learning vocabulary words and doing fun assignments and not having to worry about standardized SAT's, ACT's, AP exams and other things that occupy my conscience now. I was awkward, unsure, and scared. I didn't like talking to people, talking in front of people, and I just preferred to keep to myself. People knew me as a nice girl only because I didn't speak up or say anything that I really thought.

Because I was too scared to speak about anything of importance in class, I asked my parents if I could create a blog where I could share my thoughts and find myself. My parents were down and Classy Cathleen was born. 

What my blog has done for me has showed me what I can do for myself and has made me the girl that I am today, and I honestly cannot fathom what the majority of my awkward teenage years would have been if it weren't for blogging.

I mean, since age 13 I've been working with companies and brands, collaborating with other young bloggers, managed a consistent editorial calendar complete with written content and social media posts. I've hosted linkups, twitter chats, and provided advice to other young girls aspiring to be a blogger and social media influencer. In essence, I've had a job these past three years. Of course, lately I've had to take some more time off from this job, but the quote "Wherever you are, be all there" definitely described my first 2 years of blogging, and I'm working to find myself and "be all there" again. 

But back to my self confidence. 

It takes a few balls to reach out to a company and request free products or a collaboration, or a paid opportunity. You have to learn the art of self marketing and business pitches in order to be successful at this. For a 13 year old girl that on a good day wanted to crawl out of her skin and find a better body and become a bigger, more relevant person, this was scary. I didn't want to hide behind an online persona, so I made a list of positive characteristics of myself and my blog at the time. After I had been blogging for about 8 months, I reached out to my first company. I mentioned some of the characteristics I had listed and formulated them into a solid pitch for the company to partner with me. I was successful. I couldn't believe it. THEY WANTED TO WORK WITH ME! 

For someone that often didn't feel good enough, pretty enough, cool enough, etc. This was a huge deal. This is where my self confidence and my blog ultimately took a turn. Someone other than my family thought I was worth their time, and that changed my perspective. At this point my faith was a little shaky too if you couldn't already tell, so I know this all may seem silly or artificial, but believe me to a 13 year old who was striving for success without her classmates or community finding out, this was a leap in the right direction. 

If you've never stopped to think about what you like about yourself and what other people like about you, I highly recommend that you do it. It's really eye opening as well as therapeutic. 

After I begun to feel confident in myself and my abilities, blogging became easy. My words weren't forced, they flowed easily. 

When kids at school found my social accounts and later my blog, I was nervous at how they would receive it. If they would receive it. If I would be "accepted". Then I stopped to think about what I was thinking. Why did it matter if others thought what I was doing was silly and stupid? Answer: It didn't. When I got called "Classy Cathleen" in class, I accepted the title like a badge of honor. I learned that you have to show people how you want to be treated and what is okay for them to talk about. Things only hurt you if you let them... boy, how cliche did that sound... but I am serious, and I firmly believe that if throughout middle and high school, you show people what's okay and what's not okay that they will either respect that, or their true colors will show. That's true self confidence. 

Putting yourself out there on the internet is slightly frightening at first, but surprisingly easy which is how some of my peers can get into trouble. However, producing content - writing + photography has kept me busy and motivated. Where some of my peers are scared about the future, and have no idea what they want to do for the rest of their lives, I've been practicing - in a sense - for my career every day since the 8th grade. I've learned that instead of becoming someone else to be successful online, sometimes your real and raw, authentic self is more than enough to be successful. 

Skip ahead three years and I'm here, in my bed, at 4 in the morning, blogging. Nothing's really changed. I'm more confident, and I don't care what people think about me. People at school know about my blog and read it too. My irrational fear of not being accepted or appreciated or whatever I was even afraid of is put to rest. Without having a blog, I never would have become the person that I am today. I'm forever grateful for whoever and whatever put the idea of blogging into my head. Because without it, I have no idea who I would be. 

Thanks for sticking with me through another long and rambling post, friends

Dec 27, 2016

Life Update + Christmas With The Slagles

How's it going, y'all? 

For my more long time followers... (the ones that have been following me since 2014, you know who you are) let's just say you've seen more consistent days FOR SURE. 2016 was a pretty rough year for blog growth. In other words, I didn't grow at all in 2016. Which is disappointing, but altogether okay. I didn't write, because I simply didn't have anything to say. I never wanted my blog to be a place where I could add purposeless content to the internet so honestly it's really for the better that I kept some thoughts to myself and stuck to journaling and photography instead of publishing here. 

Christmases with the Slagles are usually casual and small. A relaxed morning filled with thoughtful gifts and the day spent with family watching Christmas movies in Christmas pajamas followed by a campfire and s'mores that night. We always make a Christmas pizza and eat cookies that were made on Christmas Eve. In the video, I show you some of what I received as well as updating you on what's been going on recently in my life... Which includes Christmas, but some things are easier to talk about than write about y'know?

I sincerely hope that each of you had a spectacular holiday, and spent time doing fun things with fun people. 

Here's some Christmas candids and enjoy my attempt at a YouTube video :)

Dec 25, 2016

What I Got For Christmas // Blogger Secret Santa

Merry Christmas my loves! Today is my most favorite holiday hands down, and I'm just overwhelmed with so much joy this holiday season and I can't wait to celebrate. Everyone, please try to see past the materialism today and spend time with the people you love doing things that matter. In fact, I really hope that you aren't reading this post today and that you simply stumbled across it while catching up on other blog posts. I for sure won't be spending much time online today... There's too much to celebrate!

However, If you'll remember back to a previous post... Abigail of Living The Gray Life and I hosted a Blogger Secret Santa during these past few weeks. Well, all the names were chosen, gifts were purchased and sent and opened and now it's time to give a proper thank you shout out to the gal that shopped for me! 

Savannah of Always, S was my Secret Santa! I've always and forever been a huge fan of her blog, and I've been lucky enough to have been following her for a great many of her adventures. She has such a kind heart, and an adventurous spirit and I honestly admire her so much. Her writing style is beautiful as are her photos, and as I look forward into my future college years, I seriously value all of her advice and experience that she shares with studying abroad, transferring, rushing for a sorority etc. Also, she's a fellow Carolina girl (Well, she's North and I'm South but you know it's close enough)! 

Savannah sent me a pack of five pens in various metallic colors and patterns. I'm a huge sucker for pretty pens and other cute office supplies, so these fit perfectly on my desk! Also I mean, their gold pens... Who doesn't love gold pens?

I also received this too cute for words Christmas tree ornament. Look at it's cute little face! This ornament will fit in perfectly because in my house there are 6 people and 6 dogs. Sounds crazy, but imagine Christmastime... Everyone's running around and the more fragile ornaments are seriously at risk. But like I said, this ornament is just too cute for words. Thanks Savannah!

The last gift was this black and gold notebook! I've always had so many cute notebooks all around my room, and until recently they were all blank and unused save for a couple to do and grocery lists. But I've begun bullet journaling and lately I've really been enjoying using my notebooks for that.

To everyone that participated in Blogger Secret Santa, Abigail and I are so thankful for you and sincerely wish you the merriest of Christmases. We hope you enjoyed the process and join us next year for more! 'Till then, give my cohost Abigail and my Secret Santa, Savannah on their social accounts!

Abigail - instagram // twitter // blog // facebook // youtube

Savannah - instagram // twitter // blog // facebook // pinterest