Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pistachio Snowball Cookies

Hi everyone! I'm super excited to share another yummy recipe with you! What goes perfectly with hot chocolate by the fire on a cold Sunday afternoon? Pistachio Snowball Cookies made with American Pistachio Growers pistachios! In this recipe, I decided not to roll my snowballs in powdered sugar a second time, but you totally can! Thanks for stopping by. Let me know what you think! :)

Pistachio Snowball Cookies
makes about 13 cookies

½ cup butter
¼ cup powdered sugar
a dash of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 TB all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped pistachios
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cream the butter with the
¼ cup of powdered sugar and the vanilla. Mix in the flour, pistachios, and salt. Roll about 1 heaping tablespoon of dough into balls, roll into your extra powdered sugar, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake in preheated oven until bottoms are golden, about 15 minutes. Once they have cooled, you may roll them in powdered sugar once more, if desired.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Make Your Dream Come True Day

Yesterday was "Make Your Dream Come True" Day. Have you ever had a dream SO big that it seemed impossible? I remember my freshman year of college when I presented my goals and dreams to my Freshman Leadership Group. I remember specifically saying, "I want to be Miss America," and I couldn't say it with a straight face. It would make me laugh. How could I ever become Miss America? It sounded crazy. In some moments after announcing my dream, I would get embarrassed. Were they thinking the same thing I was thinking? That this girl couldn't do it?

My views since then have changed...I have realized the amount of WORK it takes just to get a local title. I have learned how HARD it is to get to the state level. At my fourth local pageant, I was crowned Miss Solano 2013 and was granted the chance to compete at Miss California 2013. I'll admit, although I'd like to think I had some humility, I thought I could make top 12 easily. Why not? I'd done mock interviews and won interview at my local, I knew I could sing fairly well, I worked with a personal trainer, I read the news, I knew my platform...

When I got to Miss California 2013, I was in shock. I remember telling my mom, "mom, I'm not running with the big dogs." You are surrounded by such incredible women. While I realized my own faults, most of my faults were in my lack of preparation, lack of discipline. Of course, when I saw these women, I may have felt bad for a minute. I could have worked harder. But when you surround yourself with excellence, you rise to the top. It was a wake up call.

I used to want a body like Katie Stam, a voice like Shilah Phillips, an interview like Caressa Cameron, or just to be Betty Thompson. But what's wrong with just being Angela Laird? How can I be a role model in this organization, or to my younger cousins, if I didn't love being myself and truly love myself? And don't we have the power to mold ourselves into the best daughters, sisters, friends, people we can be? 

So, yesterday was Make Your Dream Come True Day. What are you doing today to achieve your dream tomorrow? 

Keep aiming high!
xoxo Angela

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Fitness Journey

My entire life I have never been very athletic. The only sport I ever participated in as a kid was dance and ballet, and my shyness and insecurities held me back from continuing. In 2005, I started receiving private voice lessons which boosted my confidence. In fact, those singing lessons helped me try out for a play in 8th grade, where I was cast as Cleopatra, one of the evil stepsisters in The Glass Slipper. 

Of course, this blog post is not directly about confidence. But these actions gave me the confidence to try out for my high school cheerleading team. To my surprise, I made it. I entered this new world of running, jumping, and kicking. As I mentioned earlier, I had never been much of an athlete and I sure wasn't someone who RAN. I remember being the very last person on the track after running maybe two laps. My team, being cheerleaders, waited at the foot of the track, cheering me on. I hated every second of it. It was borderline humiliating. Not only was I the slowest person there, everyone was watching me, waiting for me to hurry up. My stamina never improved throughout my 4 years of cheerleading. Maybe a little, but I still remember struggling to make a 10:30 minute mile in my PE class. 

It wasn't until college that I started understanding my body and how to strengthen it. As cheesy as it sounds, I took control of my fitness and health because of the Miss America Organization. I have always been thin but never had much muscle definition. When I first started, I just wanted abs and thought cardio, one set of 10 reps of bicep curls, and maybe not ordering a milkshake with my burger and fries might get me there. I worked all summer before my sophomore year of college, in the gym and on the elliptical machine. That October, on a Thursday, I started prepping for my first 5k (which was on Saturday). Thursday I ran two miles straight. Friday I ran 2.5 miles straight. I couldn't believe it. As someone who could not run a straight mile in high school, I ran my first 5k in 32 minutes without stopping or walking. I was pretty proud.

Would I have done that if I wasn't involved in the Miss America Organization? Probably not. But maybe. This organization has changed who I am today in more ways than one. I am looking forward to see how I grow (pun intended) through my fitness journey and as an individual in charge of her own health. So cheers to a healthy 2015! May your year be filled with protein, vegetables, water, and muscle mass. Don't forget to follow my "Fitblr" Fit for a Crown!