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selfdenial

A Case For Self Denial

Growing up Roman Catholic, I quickly became accustomed to fasting from meat on Fridays, giving up television, and doing random acts of service during the holy season of Lent. Lent lasts 40 days and is meant to cleanse, reorder, and prepare the soul for the Passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter. A noble cause to be sure, but let’s be honest…as a kid I dreaded Lent! Who in their right mind voluntarily gives up something he or she desires?

The great philosopher Plato once said,

“The first and best victory is to conquer self.”

This is the mentality for fasting, or giving up something for a period of time. When I was in high school I read a fascinating book entitled, The Maker’s Diet. It was indeed a diet book, but the focus was less on losing weight and more on a holistic approach to cleansing one’s body. In it, the physical benefits of fasting one day a week on nothing but water are explained, as this gives the body the chance to reboot and take care of any toxin buildup and digestive failure.

Fasting is also an incredible psychological exercise. Denying yourself something that is pleasurable seems contrary to all instinct and yet it is precisely the way we separate ourselves from animals: free will. Choosing something for a higher good (i.e. discipline) rather than immediate gratification is not only virtuous, but also encouraging. It often exposes one’s habitual pulls and lazy vices.

Take my recent alcohol fast, for example. A few months ago I decided to give up purchasing and drinking alcohol in all forms for an undetermined period of time (it ended up being about 25 days). My reasoning was informed by several observations. First, I realized that I had been spending a significant amount of my “self” allotment of my budget on cocktails at social gatherings and beers for the “hang-in” nights. All my fun money, however slight, was going to responsible drinking instead of buying new books, new clothes, taking mountain drives, buying a new candle, or taking classes. I realized that while I had been feeding my liver I had been neglecting my other hobbies, and it was time to give them some wiggle room.

This fasting is a simple example of self-denial, and doesn’t always have to be food/drink related. Freedom is classically defined as the “ability to pursue the good.” If you find yourself overly attached to spending, speaking, texting…take a break, my friend! Your guilty pleasure will still be there when you return, stronger and clearer, or maybe even no longer important.

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20 Little Things I’m Thankful For

This was going to be a list of all of the things that I’m thankful for. But I realized that creating a comprehensive list would be next to impossible. While this is a list of things that I am grateful for, these are the little things that make my life, day to day, a truly lovely one.

If you’d like a more condensed, serious list, check out the video that Kate and I filmed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL2Tae0nyRY

So, I’m thankful for all of those things, plus:

1. Hot Water – For bubble baths, mostly. It just comes out of the faucet in my house, and most of the world doesn’t have clean drinking water. Blessed? Completely.

2. My Puppy – Sometimes, it’s the little (furry) things that can lift my spirits and make me smile after a long day.

3. Music – “If music be the food of love, play on.” That Shakespeare guy knew how to put words together.

4. Lazy Sundays – While my husband and I do like to go out, we tend to keep Sundays set aside for rest. It usually ends up being my favorite day of the week.

5. Laughter – I’ll let Mark Twain take this one. “The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.”

6. Red Wine – Few things can relax me like a glass of red wine and a great book. I’m thankful for those moments.

7. Words and Language – Every summer in high school, I worked on the production of The Miracle Worker that takes place each summer at Helen Keller’s birthplace in Tuscumbia, Alabama. That show gave me an incredible appreciation for words and language. Towards the end of the show, Anne Sullivan says to the mute Helen Keller, “You can see five thousand years back in a light of words. Everything we feel, think, know and share, in words, so not a soul is in darkness or done with, even in the grave. And I know, I know, one word and I can put the world in your hands.” I love that. It’s a beautiful reminder to be thankful for the gift of language.

8. T.J.Maxx and Trader Joe’s – These are the stores that I frequent most often. I’m thankful that they are close by and cost effective.

9. Seasons – Living in Southern California, the seasons are anything but varied. So, the times when I get to experience the seasons, I’m truly thankful.

10. Change – I can’t express how thankful I am for growth and change. It can be scary as heck. But it really is a beautiful thing.

11. Sleep – A soft pillow, a warm blanket and a few hours. Bliss.

12. Dancing – We all need a good solo dance party every now and then.

13. Chocolate – This might be a bit cliche. But my name is Bridget and I’m a chocoholic.

14. Plans – I’m a planner. I love making plans and having them actually happen. But plans change. And that’s okay too.

15. Hugs – Got troubles? Hug it out.

16. Coffee – A hot cup of coffee with some vanilla almond milk is a Monday — scratch that — an everyday, must have.

17. Challenges – Overcoming a challenge is something I live for. There’s nothing you can’t do. I’m thankful for the challenges I’ve overcome and the ones I have yet to conquer.

18. Driving – The road, good music, a travel buddy, mmm mmm good.

19.  Productivity – I’m thankful for the time when I can get things done. It makes those times of rest that much sweeter.

20. You – I’m truly thankful for you! Thank you for reading this and supporting Broke But Bougie!

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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Breaking Bad and Cupcake Fails

Last night was the premiere of the final episodes of Breaking Bad. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s on AMC and tells the story of  Walter White, a struggling high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer at the beginning of the series. He turns to a life of crime, producing and selling meth with a former student, Jesse. 

The show is definitely on the darker side but is an incredible look at how one man with good intentions can be sucked in by the allure of money and power. But I digress…

I wanted to make themed cupcakes for the premiere. No box mixes here! I was going to make them from scratch, darn it!

I found this “Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcake” recipe and proceeded to start making them!

  • 1 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Add the soft butter and beat until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla in a measuring cup. Beat half this mixture into the flour/butter.
  5. Beat on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, add the remaining wet ingredients, and beat for another 30 seconds.
  6. Fill paper liners 2/3 full with batter, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
  7. Cool completely before topping with frosting.

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Mmm, look at that batter!

All was going according to plan until I baked them. Here was the “finished product”.

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I like to think I’m a pretty good cook but let’s just say I haven’t quite mastered the chemistry of baking. So, with my homemade cupcake recipe a complete fail, I marched back to the store and went the box cake route. I was beaten but not broken! The box cupcakes turned out much better.

To achieve the breaking badness of these little cakes, my graphic designer hubs made little flags with different quotes from the show and glued them to toothpicks. I picked up some blue rock candy from the candy store in the mall and broke it into smaller pieces with a hammer.

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Here are they are! I love how they turned out. Yes, my homemade cupcakes didn’t turn out like I’d hoped, but in this case it was the idea that counted!

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Women Like Me – Daniella – Producer at KTLA

She might not be a news anchor but she’s the lady who makes it all happen over at KTLA. Check out my interview with segment producer, Daniella.

 

B: How did you get started in news?

D: I had an internship at a local news station in San Diego, KUSI, and that turned into a job for me.

B: So how did you get your current job at KTLA?

D: News is kind of a gypsy business. People you work with at one station know people at another station. I started at Channel 9, and then my producer from that station actually ended up becoming a manager at Fox 5 San Diego, and he asked me, “Hey, if you want to come over here, we’ll pay you more.” So then I went over to Fox 5. I worked there for about two years as a writer, but they also trained me to produce at that station.

After that, my now-husband got a job at KTLA. I wasn’t going to live in San Diego without him so I quit. But fortunately for me, one of my directors is actually very close with the executive producer at KTLA. He put in a good word for me, I got an interview, and then I got hired — I got hired as a per diem writer who could produce. But eventually, I started producing more than I wrote, and a weekend position became available, and now I am the weekend producer.

B: So your current position — what is the best part about your job or your favorite thing that you do everyday?

D: I would have to say it’s a constant challenge. No day is ever exactly the same, and it’s very high-paced.

B: So what’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened during a taping or with a guest?

D: One time, we had a Victoria’s Secret model on as a guest, and I don’t think she realized it, but there are cameras in the green room, and they were on and she decided to use the room as a dressing room. No one told her, so she probably still doesn’t realize what happened. Stuff like that happens all the time. This is a crazy business. You don’t deal with the most sane people.

B: Did you always want to work in news?

D: From high school on, I knew that I wanted to work in news. I didn’t necessarily think I was going to be a producer — I don’t even think that entered my mind at all, but it’s kinda what I fell into.

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B: Where do you see your career in ten years?

D: I really like producing. Maybe in ten years, I’d be into more of a manager position. I’ve been so caught up in the day-to-day stress that I haven’t looked out that far yet

B: What’s some advice you would give to a young woman who’s interested in broadcast journalism or, even more specifically, producing?

D: Get an internship and explicitly state that you want to be a producer. If you say that, it’s basically a guaranteed job. Hardly anybody wants to produce. Most people interested in journalism, when they get an internship, they want to be a reporter or they think they’re gonna be an anchor right off the bat. It’s much harder to land those jobs. Great producers are hard to come by. And be ready to work your butt off with no thanks, but it’ll pay off in the end.