2014 was the start of letting go and opening doors to a new path for myself...
Exactly one year ago, together, my colleague and I quit our jobs as lawyers at a law firm we were working at. It was an extremely toxic environment and I was unhappy, exhausted, burnt out, unfulfilled, and quite honestly, very very bored. Since then, I have dedicated myself to finding, exploring, and pursuing my passions.
What does “my passion” even mean? To me, it means what sparks me. What gets me excited to wake up everyday. What fulfills me. The goal is obviously to create a life where work no longer feels like work because the love for what you do is so strong that you get the privilege of living your dream out everyday. Why is it then that so many of us are willing to settle for lives much different than that? I can’t answer this question for anyone else, but I can tell you why I let myself go down a path I knew would not make me happy. I did it because it was what I was “suppose to do.” I chose to go to law school to pursue a career in entertainment law because I fell in love with the entertainment industry during a summer internship at MTV in New York City. My desire (plus a push from my parents) to become a professional of some sort steered me toward the law. As a creative person, I figured I could still be part of the creative entertainment world if I worked as an entertainment lawyer. The choice to be a lawyer created a ripple effect influencing the rest of my life’s decisions.
Naturally, after graduating law school and passing the California Bar Exam, one would find a job as a lawyer, so that’s what I did. I wanted to practice transactional law as an in-house attorney at some large and hip entertainment company. But I ended up in Los Angeles as a litigator, albeit I was practicing entertainment litigation, I already knew (even before law school), that I did not want to be in litigation. The lifestyle was not for me. It’s not that I don’t want to work hard or that I’m lazy or that it was too hard. It was just that I grew tired very quickly of working hard, busting my butt, spending all-nighters at the office, wiping away tears, feeling constantly stressed out, and arguing for living. In general, I found the profession generated a lot of negativity in my life due to the adversarial nature of the job. I’d ask myself what all of it was for. And at the end of the day, it was for something I didn’t feel passionate about. Some people love it and I respect and honor their dedication to the profession. Sometimes I wish I felt that same draw, which would have made my life a lot easier in terms of not needing to think about switching gears. But I didn't and still don't feel that working at a law firm ignites my soul. I realized that if I could channel my strengths, persistence, and hard work into something that actually sparked me, that I could really have a chance at finding happiness in my work.
I knew in law school that a life of a lawyer would not excite me the way it does for some people. But I ignored the signs because I was already in too deep to turn around. Then after I graduated and passed the Bar (which was not fun by the way), the feeling of wanting more kept poking at me. I applied for my real estate license, feeling an urge to explore that avenue. I also enrolled in culinary school, but backed out last minute after orientation due to a lot of guilt for not pursuing what I’ve worked so hard for…being a lawyer. Again, I focused on what I was “suppose to do.” So I got a lawyer job, moved to Los Angeles, and began as an Associate Attorney writing briefs, doing research, making appearances in court, followed by more writing and more research and more reading. Needless to say, fun stuff.
After I quit, I was still torn between the path I was “suppose” to go down and the one I wanted to pave for myself. Part of me thought that I should continue to try out law since I spent so much time, effort, and money into becoming a lawyer. Essentially, I didn’t want the last 4-5 years of my life to be “a waste.” I cannot tell you how many people have looked at me and said “June, it’s such a waste to not to continue with law, you’ve come this far. Stick with it.” I see your point people, but my point is that I didn’t want to continue “wasting” time only to have the same inevitable feelings of an unsatisfied work life come back and haunt me 5 to 10 years from now. Then I would have “wasted” up to 15 years of my life rather than accepting the facts and moving forward now. I worried for a long time that I would be taking multiple steps backward by not finding another salaried job as a lawyer. But a friend of mine put it very simply, she said, “you’re not taking a step back, you’re just taking a different path and that’s not going backwards.”
Of course, there’s always the what-ifs. What if I find a niche in the legal field that I love? What if I find an awesome company that makes up for the things I don’t like about the actual legal work? But the bigger what-if that I know would always nag at me more than any other is what could I have done with my life if I just let myself live, explore, grow, and chase? I knew I could be a lawyer. But what I didn't know is what I could be if I wasn’t a lawyer.
I’ve set out on a journey to find out and I started with this blog. Stir + Style is a true union of what I’ve found to be my passions where food meets fashion. Life didn't get put on hold because I decided to try something different. And with life, comes bills. The bills weren't letting up, so I couldn't completely stop working. I currently work as legal counsel for my own client who owns a production company. Consulting clients on my own allows me to work remotely and to make my own schedule freeing my days up to work on my other pursuits. At the end of 2014, I become a licensed real estate agent, which I am already enjoying very much!
I’m not ashamed to say that I’m proud of myself for taking a step toward my dreams. I have a ways to go in my journey, but I can promise you that no day is stagnant and if it is, then the day isn’t over yet. This year has been off to an exciting start and I have some exciting news that I’ll be sharing soon!! Now onto the Stir + Style of today’s post…
Strawberry Cheesecake Bites! They’re portioned out in case you have a tendency (like me) to eat entire cheesecakes, pies, and/or cakes by yourself. Now you can go ahead and eat the whole thing without feeling like you did something bad, because it’s mini! My boyfriend bought some strawberries from a vendor who came by his restaurant and brought some back for me! So sweet…the strawberries were too ;). Here’s what you’ll need to make these little guys:
1 (12 oz) package of Nilla Wafers
1 ½ tbsp. coconut oil
2 8oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. skim milk
1 tbsp. cornstarch
½ cup white sugar
3 cups chopped fresh strawberries
2 tbsp. agave (or to taste)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pulse the cookies in your food processor or Nutribullet into fine crumbs. Add the coconut oil and give it a stir with a spoon until fully incorporated. Press about 1 ½ tbsp. of the cookie crust mixture into the bottom of each of your foil cupcake liners and up the sides a bit. Apparently you can use both the paper layer and foil layer together, but for these, I stuck with just the foil layer. In a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese, milk, yogurt, vanilla, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir well after each addition. I sadly don’t actually have a mixer at home, so I used a whisk and my muscles. It worked just the same! Fill the cups until they are almost full and bake them in the oven for 15 minutes.
While the minis are cooling, stir the strawberries and agave in a small pot over medium to low heat. Stir well until they soften (about 10 minutes). Once the topping is done, scoop a spoonful over each mini cheesecake. Take a picture, email it to me, and then enjoy!
Red is a power color and when you wear it, you feel bold and confident. I love wearing red, yet it’s not a color that’s prominent in my closet. Moral of the story: I need more red clothes! The detail on the front of the shoulders of this Lily White blouse is my favorite part of the whole outfit. It gives the solid red color a break and draws attention to your shoulders in a tasteful way.
White jeans can be a tricky thing. First of all, the fact that only certain kinds and colors of underwear can work with white jeans requires you to plan your laundry days accordingly. Secondly, because I'm so accident prone, I'm always worried I may sit in something or spill something on myself. But after you get over those minor issues, the brightness of clean white pants adds a pop to your outfit that makes an outfit look crisp. Not to mention, whether you actually are or not, you look neat and tidy.
As I’ve mentioned before, comfortable shoes (that are still stylish) is one way to my heart. If you’ve ever owned a pair of regular slip on TOMS, you’ll understand when I say they can be worn for miles and miles. They mold to your feet so they’re always a perfect fit. TOMS “desert” wedge booties in taupe are more comfortable than some of my flat shoes. They’re cute and casual, but the wedge gives you that lift you may sometimes want to boost your outfit. I love them!
Don't be shy! Feel free to contact me or email me about anything including sharing with me your experience in your current work situation (whether it be good or bad), dreams you've been wanting to chase, or other mini cake recipes you've tried!