Thanksgiving Test Kitchen Success: Roasted Brussels Sprout and Quinoa Salad

So as it turns out, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but being the only vegan in my family, I often have a hard time making recipes that my whole family will enjoy and not just me. Usually my parents are fans, but my Grandma is far and away the most difficult person to please. First she sniffs the dish and makes a face, then she pokes at the dish with her fork and makes a face, and then she finally takes a bite and exclaims “ohhhh no.” As someone who loves to cook, this is my worst nightmare; especially because I’ve been told I’m a rather good cook. Part of the problem is that I grew up in a meat and potatoes family. I’m always introducing these “exotic” new vegetables: butternut squash, any type of fall squash, brussels sprouts, or fancy mushrooms. These are all staples in my diet, but not my family’s. My challenge every year is to try to come up with a dish that my whole family will like. So far, I’ve struck out every year.  This year, I think I finally have a winner. Enter the Roasted Brussels Sprout and Quinoa Salad. This dish has one thing all the others lacked: staying power.

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Ohhh yes. This salad is just so delicious and I am reallllllyyyy hoping it’s as much of a hit with my family as it has been with my friends. Without further ado, here’s the recipe to make for you and yours!

Ingredients:

- 1 cup of quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth (optional)
- 1 to 1.5 lbs of brussel sprouts
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
-  1 or 2 drizzles of balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 or 2 drizzles of pure maple syrup (a or b)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
-1 teaspoon paprika
-1/2 teaspoon salt
 
 
Directions:
 
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the quinoa in a small pan according to the directions on the box using 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vegetable broth for added flavor.
 
2. Chop the brussels sprouts into quarters or halves if they are small. Chop the sweet potato into cubes. Put the chopped brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil and add the cumin, paprika and salt. Mix the ingredients around so the brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes are coated evenly. Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet and put those suckers in the oven to roast.
 
3. After 10 minutes, flip the roasting vegetables over to cook the other side and cook for another 10 minutes.
 
4. Once the quinoa is cooked and vegetables are cooked combine them in a serving dish along with the cranberries, maple syrup, and balsamic vinagar.
 
5. Use the same baking sheet you used for the vegetables to quickly toast the walnuts. Switch the oven to high broil, spread the walnuts on the baking sheet, and cook for about 2 minutes. You will smell the walnuts before they burn.
 
6. Add the walnuts to the serving dish and stir thoroughly. This dish can be served cold, but I would serve it warm because anything with maples should be served warm. That’s just like a fact of science.
 
 
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This salad is so satisfying and warm and encapsulates my favorite things about fall. Roasting the vegetables adds another level of flavor that you simply cannot get from boiling them.
 
If you need substitutes, here are some ideas:
My mom has a nut allergy, so I will serve this with toasted pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts. I would imagine you can also use raisins instead of cranberries. If the maple is too much for you, I would add some fresh lemon juice to counteract the maple or just add less maple.
 
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as me and my friends did and I hope it makes it onto you Thanksgiving Day menu. If it does, be sure to let me know how it goes! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
 
-B
 
 
 
 
 

Shut IT down

If you had told me when I wrote my last post 10 months ago that democracy was going to get worse and not better, I would have laughed at you and asked “How could it get any worse?” Well as usual, I am back to my blog when I have something to say. It’s political, but also personal. The government shutdown is affecting real lives. It comes on the heels of a terrible financial crisis that we have yet to recover from and threatens to put us back into those dangerous economic times. But putting aside the propaganda of whatever party, the government shutdown is affecting real lives…mainly my parents.

As long as I can remember, my father, who I am extremely proud of, has served his country. He grew up in Opelousas, Louisiana in a family with 11 children. My grandparents were not the wealthiest people in the world, so the boys joined the military so the girls could go to college. My dad was in the Air Force for 20 years. They (my family before I was born) lived in some pretty cool places and even I got to live in Spain. I was a lucky military brat because my dad wasn’t away as much and he retired when I was 8. But even though he retired, he has never really stopped working for the government. He either did work for them through a civilian company or worked for them directly. As long as I can remember, my dad has been a servant to his country. The thing is, he likes his job, he actually really likes it, most of the time (like any other job). Unfortunately, because of the shutdown, he spent one week at home and another week at work without pay. My parents aren’t old, but they are certainly thinking about retirement in the not too distant future and they’ve made responsible investment choices to do so. They aren’t totally at a loss because my mom is still working, but her paycheck usually goes straight to savings and retirement.

My parents raised some great kids if I do say so myself and they are at the point in life where the should get to enjoy themselves. They usually go on a cruise every year for their anniversary and we had talked about taking a family trip to Europe this summer with my Aunt who is from Sweden. All these plans are on hold, not because my dad didn’t work hard enough or do his job, but because Congress is broken. And when I say Congress, I really do mean Republicans and when I say Republicans I really do mean the Tea Party. When I read about things like Resolution 368, I question whether we still live in a democracy and more importantly, when my dad will ever get a paycheck again. Maybe the Tea Party didn’t learn this in law school, but one of my professors used to tell us “this is not a joke, these are people’s lives.” I hope and pray that my parents can go back to living their normal life soon. They are going on 33 years married and still hopelessly in love. After the years of cutting coupons, tight budgeting, and working a newspaper route to put a down payment on the house they now live in, I just want them to relax and be happy and that can’t happen until the government reopens. In the name of all the times you sang me to sleep, cheered me up after a temper tantrum, read me a story, and comforted me through hard times, I sincerely hope the government reopens so you can continue to live the life you worked so hard for. I love you mommy and daddy and I’m so sorry the Tea Party sucks.

P.S. I know the shutdown has much larger repercussions for other people, but I just needed to take a minute to acknowledge how it is affecting my parents and the way they live their lives. They are by no means extravagant, but they do like to enjoy the life they’ve worked so hard for. And to be clear, I’m sorry for anyone who works for the government and is currently without a paycheck. It is certainly an unnecessary hardship for you to bear.

Here’s to Better Democracy in 2013

Well I’ve been thinking about this issue for about 4 months, but thanks to law school and Stanford Football, I’m only now just getting around to writing about it. This post may come off as a bit dramatic, but the lack of respect for the Presidential candidates and those that supported them really disgusted me this year. Shortly after the election, I read this article from The Washington Post and it broke my heart. Although I probably vehemently disagree with many of this woman’s viewpoints, I found myself respecting her views and respecting her candidate and thus, this post was born. To be clear, I include myself in any “we” you see below.

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I don’t think anyone was particularly thrilled with how the elections went down in terms of how the presidential campaign was run. The 2012 campaign was full of cheap shots and low blows, and it downplayed any valid information that voters actually needed to make an educated decision. The campaign played out more like a reality TV show on Bravo than a campaign for President of the United States.

I don’t know if it’s a result of our country’s obsession with reality television or what, but last year’s elections were full of high drama and low amounts of relevant information. Each side cheered during debates as candidates slung insults back and forth at each other. Then of course there were the heated “debates” on various forms of social media where constituents postulated which candidate represented the end of earth or a regime of terror.  Finally, there was the name calling of the presidential candidates: idiot, clueless, robot, moron, etc. You name it, it was said.

It seems to me that somewhere along the lines and throughout the years, we’ve forgotten what it means to run for office and to actually be President of the United States. Now the focus is on who is more or less scandalous, which wife wore the dress better, and whose children are better behaved. I don’t know if there was a yester year when the American public truly focused on the task at hand, which is electing who you believe to be the most capable official to run our country, but if there was, I long for it–deeply.

I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but the presidential candidates are not actually idiots. They are actually really smart people who may have achieved more in a year than you will in a life time. They are well prepared, generally well spoken, and their degrees are decorated with fancy school names. It is not an easy job to be a politician, to have your name repeatedly slashed in the press, and to subject your family and friends to the eye of the public. I don’t know why, but for some reason, we, the general public, tend to treat being President as a job that could be done by pretty much anyone. Or at least, that’s how I often feel we treat it. Like it’s not a big deal. Like any guy or girl in a fancy suit who has worked an office job and had to give an opinion before could do it. Somewhere along the lines, we lost our respect for  and understanding of what it means to be President.

In times like these, I believe it is more important than ever to have faith and respect for the Presidential candidates. Even if they take what may be a misstep in your mind. Even if they misspeak or accidentally say something stupid. As the people, it’s our duty to press them on the hard issues. Today’s hard issues stem from the fact that our country is part of a global world. We can’t hide or escape from globalization because it is an integral part of who we are. As the world becomes more and more interconnected the answers and solutions become less clear. In this election we needed to hear about climate change, we needed to hear about the economy, and we needed to hear about foreign policy. We needed to hear about what happens if Greece goes under, we needed to hear about immigration issues and we desperately needed to hear about education. Instead we heard about the 47%, how Obama is a terrorist, and that Obama and Romney are idiots. Our country is at a turning point, and it’s our duty to ask the tough questions. When we focus on the drama, it means candidates have to focus on it too. Each time we respond positively to drama, we cost ourselves an opportunity to hear a politician speak about their views on important issues. Each time we focus on drama, we inhibit a politician’s ability to do his or her job. Each time we cheer at unnecessary insults, we cost ourselves an opportunity to become a better America.

Maybe I’m too idealistic, too much of an old soul, or just completely clueless, but I firmly believe that we can do better. We can demand more from ourselves and more from our politicians. Lets leave the reality TV to Bravo and lets hold ourselves and our representatives accountable in the New Year.

ACL Round-Up

Man oh man. This time last week I was exhausted, in  love with Gary Clark Jr. and reminiscing about Austin City Limits Music Festival. This week I am tired, still in love with Gary Clark Jr. and blasting his new album Blak and Blu on repeat. More on that later. For now here’s my ACL round up!

1. THE BLACK KEYS: I was determined to have a good experience at this concert because I had a rough time when they played at Coachella 2010. It was definitely a success. I wasn’t all that close, but I just wanted to hear them live and enjoy the music and that I did. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say the experience wasn’t mind blowing because I wasn’t close and because I had seen them before. Howlin For You.

2. ALABAMA SHAKES: Okay. I was pumped. I was excited. But come the time of this concert, I was underwhelmed. Overall, this band is awesome. I actually love their music and listen to them a couple times a week. The problem is at a concert, slow song after slow song, after teary-eyed emotional song can get a little stand still. I like when bands slow things down, but that’s only after they get me playing the air guitar and make me bust a move, even if the move is a jazzy two-step. One of their more famous songs is: Boys and Girls. I HIGHLY recommend listening to them. I think they are the kind of band I want to see in a small intimate cafe setting where I can stand up and slow dance with my imaginary boyfriend or sit down and sway while I sip my fancy cocktail. Know what I mean? Okay moving on.

3. MICHAEL KIWANUKA: Ok, let me just be clear, my heart just melts for a soulful black man with a guitar. No talk of bangin’ some b*tches while yelling over some crazy beat in the club with lyrics that make your Grandma say bless us Lord Jesus. Just a man and a guitar and a sweet soothing voice that makes you want to snuggle on a couch. World, meet Michael Kiwanuka, Michael, meet the world. I actually discovered this guy on Spotify a while ago, so I was excited to hear that we was coming to ACL. This was a concert Maddy and I decided to enjoy as background noise while we enjoyed our dinner (did I mention Maddy came all the way from Newport to visit me because she’s the best friend ever?!). Anywho, his sound was solid, soulful and sweet as usual. This is another one that I would like to hear in a more intimate setting…like my bedroom. Not like that! What I mean is I would like him to tuck me in while singing me to sleep because I know if that happened, I would go to bed happy every.single.night. A lot of people love Home Again, but I really enjoy Tell Me A Tale.

4. TENNIS: Okay they are not as well known, but this band is plain old feel good music. Like sit under a tree with a picnic with friends while this band plays you happy music with fun tunes. I say that because that is exactly what me, Maddy and Ted did, minus the picnic, while Tennis played us fun music. This wasn’t a band I knew anything about and we went to this concert based solely on the recommendation of one of Maddy’s co-workers. They have great energy live and like I said, they are just plain fun. Oh and I think they’re foreign, which in my opinion makes them extra adorable! Warning, some of the tunes are actually quite dark, but the lead singer’s voice will counsel you through it! It All Feels the Same

5. KIMBRA: Yes. Just yes. Over and over again. First of all her voice is amazing. Second of all, her music perspective is simply fascinating. If you haven’t been listening, you’re missing out. Her concert was my 4th favorite and it would have been 3rd except The Avett Brothers randomly just killed it. Her music is that nice in between where you can study to it if you want, but you can also dance at a club to it. She also collaborates with Foster the People fairly often so ya, that means she’s legit. I think this song is the one most people know: Settle Down. But I also like when she slows it down in Two Way Street

6. THE AVETT BROTHERS: 3rd favorite show, 2nd biggest surprise of the concert. I love The Avett Brothers. Their songs are folky, sweet, calming. These brothers are family men and you can study to their music and feel at peace. BUT THEIR CONCERT IS ROCKIN’! They take the tempo up a notch for many of their songs and have some sweet jam sessions and did I mention their cellist is just plain hysterical and desperately hoping for a back up singer role in the next year or so. That guy knows every word to every song and he sings them while he effing kills it at the cello. There were times where I wanted to dance all night and times where I just wanted to be held. I love concerts where the artists can take you through the full gambit of emotions and this was exactly that. Okay, confession. Remember that time I said I wouldn’t accept a marriage proposal unless the song Question by Old 97s was involved? I lied. Future husband, if you incorporate January Wedding, I’ll forgive you (someone tell Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

7. CHILDISH GAMBINO: Sooooo I don’t usually like rappers’ concerts. Saw Kanye at Coachella in 2010 and thought it was lame. Saw Lupe Fiasco at Outside Lands whatever year that was and thought it was fine. Saw Childish Gambino this year at ACL and thought it was DOPE! Dirty words that make your Grandma cringe and all! Oh man his concert was fun. SO much dancing and jumping, yelling, screaming oh and casually free styling?! I think I loved it because this guy is hilarious on Community and then gets on stage, sheds his acting lifestyle and just raps the hell out of a beat or whatever the proper term for that is. Even better is he was in the airport with Maddy the next morning at like 5:30am waiting in the security line like every other normal person. All of it is good, but here’s some samples: Freaks and Geeks and Heartbeat. I reallllyyy like Heartbeat.

8. GARY CLARK JR.: Man oh man. Hats, bras and panties off to you Gary Clark. That’s from every straight woman and gay man aged 18 to 60. I don’t even know where to start. As far as talent goes, sky is the freaking limit for this guy. He’s so soft spoken (probably cause he was super high at the concert), but my god he has the voice of an angel and the guitar strum of the filthiest guitar player you can ever imagine. He gets totally lost in his music on that stage and he takes you on his crazy journey with you. His music will make you laugh, cry, and dance. His new album Blak and Blu is the only album that I’ve sat down and done nothing else but listen to it from start to finish. Yes that’s right. Today for 78 minutes, I sat in my desk chair and listened to Gary Clark, Jr.’s new album. His sound is so fresh but it’s so nostalgic. He sounds very bluesy but then he gets all rock n’roll on you and then he R&Bs the crap out of you. I just don’t even know what to say about his music. When I listen to it, I am just truly dumbfounded. He was just incredible live. I thought about his concert all week long. I love lots of his songs, but today I was humming If You Love Me Like You Say and When My Train Pulls In, but there’s also Bright Lights, Please Come Home, Numb, Things Are Changin’. Ahh the list goes on. Just listen, OKAY??!!!

Alright, I’m done. Debate time!

p.s. Go see Looper if you’re part of the 1% of the population that hasn’t seen it already!

Coming Full Circle

So I was just looking through my posts and besides noticing that I haven’t posted in forever (sorry!) I also noticed that I had yet to share a new development in my life. No, I am not having a baby, but I am pretty much right back to being vegan. Ya I know, I don’t know how it happened either. Let me try to explain myself and then explain why I think it is one of the best decision I have ever made for myself.

Lets start from the beginning. So as you probably know, I was vegan for lent  and it actually went pretty well. However, by the end of lent I was craving fish, eggs and cheese more than I ever knew I would and could not wait to return to my happy life of eating all of those things constantly. When I went back to eating pretty much everything, I binged in ways I didn’t know I was capable of. It was like I was 14 all over again with extremely high metabolism. I was eating cheeseburgers, all of the bacon, rotisserie chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, yogurt, just everything. It all tasted SO delicious. That is, it tasted for the first couple of bites and then it was just sort of blah. Not bad blah, but not exciting blah (if there is such a thing), sort of like just being whelmed (not over or under). This alone wouldn’t have been enough to stop me, but after eating said foods my stomach KILLED me! I didn’t quite reach this level, but I seriously considered carrying a bottle of Mylanta with me wherever I went. It was better than being double over in pain within minutes after eating. My body had spoken and it was simply not interested. So I did what any person in my situation would do, I forced it. I forced my body to eat bacon, fish, eggs, cheese and other things for a month until I just couldn’t force it anymore. I decided in May that I was at the end of a crossroad, I could give this whole vegetarian thing a try or I could continue to make myself miserable.

As it turns out, there was a third choice that was a happy compromise: be a pescatarian, but limit fish intake to twice a week! I was headed back to Cali after all and the fish was finally going to be fresh and the sushi was going to be everywhere! I went to California with one goal: don’t eat any meat. With the exception of one strip of bacon and a bite of chicken in a moment of weakness and starvation and a veggie option that consisted of a plate of steamed vegetables (I was at the horse tracks), I did it. And furthermore, during my last 2 weeks of the summer I said goodbye to meat entirely as in no fish. As I prepared to leave Cali and head back to Austin for law school round 2 I made the decision to cut out the dairy as well. Nothing serious and not nearly as strict as I had been during Lent, but just make an active effort to stop eating cheese, yogurt, regular butter etc.

So what pushed me over the edge? I read the book The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone of all people. Yes, that is the girl in Clueless. Now this is an extreme book and I actually don’t really recommend it except for the recipes in the back, but what happened to me while I was reading it was that she was describing everything I had just went through in the past few months. The truth of the matter is that dairy, more so than fish, was making me feel gross. All the time. For days at a time. I had dairy hangovers. So while I still had a taste for cheese, my body just could not and still can’t handle digesting more than a bite or two of it. As for actual meat, I just lost my taste for it. Simple as that. You know that one moment of weakness I had? I ordered a chicken club at the horse tracks. I took one bite, didn’t really like it, so I removed the chicken and half of the bacon strip (gimme a break it’s freakin’ bacon!!!!) and essentially ate a tomato and lettuce sandwich. Trust me, I was as weirded out by myself then as you are right now. But whatever, it happened and I am rolling with it.

After that I decided that it was officially time to make the switch. No need to be strict about it, but I officially was not eating any more meat and decided to just stop buying cheese and eggs. The nice thing about not being super strict is that when I’m out at dinner with friends, I can order a couple of vegetable sides and not be super anal about whether they were cooked in Earth Balance or regular butter. As far as cooking goes, I’ve started a new cooking adventure. Every time I go grocery shopping now the only repeat vegetables allowed are some sort of salad mix and kale. Otherwise, I make myself get different vegetables every time and it has been quite an adventure learning how to cook all of them. Perhaps the most rewarding thing is learning that lots of these vegetables are easy to prepare. Roasted beets, mustard greens, kale, chard, red kuri squash, bok choy, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, edamame, and the list goes on. I’m going to do the same things with grains now that I’ve got my mason jar system going! Right now I have bulgur and brown rice, but next I’ll probably get quinoa and couscous and just keep the cycle going until I exhaust the bulk bin resources.

I think what really matters to me at the end of the day is this: I feel great, I’m helping the environment in my own small way, and for the first time in my life, I’m not afraid of the food going into my body. I am by no means telling you all to be vegan, but I do think it is important to figure out what food makes you feel good. For me, it happens to be fruits vegetables and grains, for one of my friends it happens to be meat and mostly vegetables. Screw the latest fad diet, save your money instead of doing a juice cleanse, and just listen to your body.

In Reality, You Can Have it All

Okay, so I’m not sure if y’all could tell, but my last blog post was just really a warm up so I could talk about this article: Why Women Can’t Have It All. This article is a big ugly monster hanging out there over the heads of 20 and 30 something year old women telling us we can’t accomplish everything we hope to career wise and still have a family. As I read this article, I thought about all the stories my professors shared with me through the years about their time in the White House as the Secretary of Defense or as a Special Assistant to the President. Both were males and guess what? They couldn’t have it all either. When you work a high pressure job that requires you to value a good night of sleep at 4 hours, you are obviously not going to have any work life balance. If, in addition to choosing to work such a job, you then also choose to leave your family in New Jersey while you commute back and forth to DC, you are definitely not going to have it all because you won’t be getting your love at home. My problem is not that she wrote the article, but rather that she was somehow surprised that she couldn’t have it all.

Read those sentences again. When you work in the White House, getting 4 hours of sleep is awesome. When you work in the White House and choose to commute back and forth between different states, it’s hard to see your family. In my mind, Anne Marie Slaughter chose not to have it all. She chose that path and then she was surprised by the reality that she couldn’t have it all as if she somehow didn’t know it was coming. The lesson I take away from her article is that you have to be realistic. The fact that women are more attached to their children or are still expected to be the main caregiver does keep women out of high powered jobs. However, at the end of the day, your ability to “have it all” depends on your definition of “having it all” and whether or not you are realistic about how to get it.

Anne-Marie hit us with some big statistics, some angry rants, and most importantly a personalized story of what was essentially self defeat. The important thing to remember here is that Anne-Marie’s job was one of the most high pressured, time demanding jobs in the world. She essentially took her 0.001% experience and projected it onto the rest of women. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a large gap between men and women in terms of who is running Fortune 500 companies and the likes, but I have a problem with her assuming that those men have it all.  Sure, their marriage might be okay, but what if they maybe have children with behavioral problems because of their father’s absence? What if he and his partner don’t’ connect emotionally or physically anymore? What if he’s divorced and a bachelor with no one to really call home? There’s so many aspects that we don’t know about because the home life is something that happens mostly behind closed doors. For Slaughter to assume that because there’s more men in high powered jobs, then they really have it all, is crazy to me.  It goes against her highly credentialed academic background in social science to make such an assumption and it unnecessarily deflates the hopes and dreams of women following in her footsteps.

I don’t think her article is worthless, I just don’t think it focused on the right point. The point to me is not that we can’t have it all, but rather it is imperative for women today to define what it means to have it all and accept that that definition might change over time. While I don’t think I have it all at age 25, I’m pretty close to being almost exactly on the right track career wise for having what I think is all for the moment. But I also don’t think my current vision of having it all will be the same in 5 years. It might not even be the same in 2 years. Life itself is an adventure and you have to be flexible and you have to live in the present. What is having it all for you at this very moment and how can you get there? There is a fluidity to this concept. Its dynamic, its ever changing, just like your life. Your hopes and dreams change with various life experiences and you have to be tolerant of that phenomenon. You also have to acknowledge that your work life balance is not always going to be perfect. In fact, it might never be perfect. Sometimes, you will have to sacrifice one or the other if it means being happy. Perhaps my biggest problem with Anne-Marie’s article is her definition of having it all is a few decades old. I guess she missed the memo, but happiness is the new black. Happiness is the new having it all and its time for all of us to get with the program.

Get Your Love at Home

To be a 23 year old and worry about how to be in a relationship and be successful at work is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, but that was me almost exactly 3 years ago. I had been working as a paralegal for a few months and I officially knew that my desire to go to law school and be a successful lawyer was actually real life. I knew what I was interested in and I knew I wanted to start working in a law firm and potentially consider working in house at a production company or a record label. Sadly in the back of my head forefront of my thoughts was the idea that I could not be a good girlfriend, wife or mother and pursue the career I wanted to have. My boyfriend at the time was an investment banker and consoling him through the ups and downs of that type of work was exhausting. I knew I was doing a terrible job of putting myself first and therefore making myself more and more unhappy, but I didn’t know how to quit the cycle. My mother trained me to be an amazing housewife and probably an incredible mom as well. My biggest flaw is that I am loyal to a fault and that I put the success and goals of others that I care about before my own success and my own goals. When I finally came to terms with this fatal flaw, I broke up with my boyfriend, put all my energy into applying to law schools and I never looked back.

Fast forward three years: I’ve had an incredible first year and I landed my dream summer internship. I am very lucky and everyday I thank myself for putting me first and having the courage to chase my dreams. I have made a conscious choice to put my personal life mostly on hold at the ripe age of 25 soon to be 26 because I know I’m not at a maturity level to do both.

This summer, I attended several conferences for women in the legal field and I heard the same thing over and over again: “Get your love at home.” Wait, what about kids? When should you have them? “If you wanna have kids, have them. If you do good work, no one remembers you were gone and everyone will be waiting for you to get back.”

These are not the answers I expected to hear. These women were actually talking like they see their kids and their husbands. Some were partners, some were associates and some were junior general counsel, but they all managed, they all had figured it out. And most importantly, they told me this: “You can love your job, but your job will never love you the same way back so you better find somewhere to get your love. You better figure out how to get your love at home.” No one has ever told me that before. In a society where your job is a be all end all and particularly in the legal field which traditionally expects individuals to sacrifice everything to get ahead, I had never considered the fact that my job was not going to love me the way I loved it. Nor had I considered the fact that the relationship is essentially one sided. Now my plan to have my nose in the books for 3 years seems stupid, short sighted, and painfully naive. What I’ve learned this summer is that you cannot survive the challenges that work throws at you alone. You need a support system. You need family, you need friends, and as it turns out, you need a partner.

While this new information doesn’t have me ready to jump on match.com and settle down as soon as possible, this summer has changed my perspective on the work life balance and has definitely given me some more things to consider. I like where I am right now, but now I know I don’t need to have a plan and that some way or another, when I decide its time to start dating seriously again, I know that my job and I can handle it.