The One With Luke (Not Skywalker) – Someone Like You

Hello friends! By the time you’re reading this, I will be just waking up from the annual Sleep Out fundraiser I participate in each year that benefits homeless youth programs at Covenant House California. If you’d like to support my Sleep Out campaign for homeless youth, you can donate here. There’s still time! <3

Every other Friday a new episode will air with a new voice sharing their story of surviving life on the streets AND how they got back on their feet. This show is all about answering these three questions: who are the homeless, how did they become homeless, and how do we begin to end homelessness?

This week on Someone Like You we meet Luke. A great dude who was born and raised in Terre Haute, Indiana, with a small stint in Missouri. He was a part of the Jump Rope Club and was a running back on his high school’s football team.

Luke was a pleasure to talk to, I can’t even begin to describe how much fun I had joking back and forth with him. There was so much laughter, he’s a good dude. That being said, he’s walked a lot of life and I want you to hear his story. After building a relationship with someone in the music industry he hopped on a plane to L.A. to chase his dreams.

It went south moments after he landed in the entertainment capital of the world.

The interview format is a little more casual this episode, trying to figure out what format is more pleasurable for those listening. So let me know how you like this episode layout versus the previous four episodes.

There is nearly 6,000 homeless youth searching for a safe place to sleep each night in Los Angeles, and nearly 4.2 million young people will experience a form of homelessness within the next year and I’m willing to bet these kids are a lot like you and me. The solution starts with us and I truly believe we’re better together.

Welcome to the fifth episode of Someone Like You. I’m glad you’re here. 

PS: If you haven’t subscribed, rated or reviewed the podcast please do so now! Thanks, friends! I’ll see you back on the radio in two weeks for another voice to meet.


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Girl, Routine Can Make Me Neurotic If I’m Not Careful

I’m not kidding girl, routine can make me neurotic if I’m not careful and I’ll tell you why in a minute. But first, can I get a high five for realizing this about myself? It’s like a huge exhale. Who knew it was so important to be curious, especially when it comes to yourself.

Over the last few weeks, I have been participating in Rachel Hollis’ #Last90Days challenge which is all about taking ownership in your own life and because the last 90 days of the year can be the most challenging, with holidays and extra family functions, it’s a great reminder that you get to choose what happens inside your own life.

The success in owning your last 90 days is completing Hollis’ 5 To Thrive each day.

  1. Get up an hour earlier than you normally do and use the time for yourself.
  2. Workout for at least thirty minutes.
  3. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  4. Give up one food category you know you shouldn’t be eating.
  5. Write down ten things you’re grateful for every single day.

Simple or overwhelming, depends on the person. Know what I’m saying? This is where I begin to explain the title of this blog and first, I must note Hollis makes a point to stress these five are to motivate you not strangle you i.e. you’re not going to be on your A-game every day, so when you do slip up, don’t waste anytime crying over spilt milk.

A few months ago I wouldn’t have been able to HEAR the reminder because I don’t accept anything less than perfection when attacking a challenge or professional goal.

Case and point. For two years I had a strict exercise routine which included a morning mile and a half run every morning, legs every Tuesday, ClassPass once a week, swimming (during the summer) in the afternoons (my ‘fun’ exercise for the summer but not a replacement for cardio), arms and abs every other day and sometimes I’d double up.

I didn’t believe in rest days or legs that didn’t hurt for three days after Tuesday. If I skipped a run or just didn’t feel like doing the sit-ups, I’d feel like a failure and spin into an awful negative self-talk about how awful I was for not being able to complete one simple task, how could I be so lazy?

The over-exercising led to other issues. I ate whatever I wanted because I was exercising so much it didn’t matter. So when the wheels to my train eventually flew off, it took an additional year to figure out where I went so wrong.

BALANCE. I lacked balance. I’m an intense person, mediocre isn’t in my vocabulary. So I go balls to the wall with everything and have a hard time accepting I’m human, who can’t do all. the. things.

Let me say it again for those who might be sitting in the back row. If I’m human, you sure as shit are, too. BALANCE. BALANCE. BALANCE. BALANCE! There’s no reason to choke yourself, writing this because I need the reminder for myself!

And that is what I’ve brought to my Last 90 Days challenge. My Five To Thrive is tailored to what I need, not what I should be doing.

For example, I don’t get up an hour earlier than normal because my normal is already an hour early so I can run my pups. Instead of giving up a food group I’ve given up my fourth meal because it’s a bad habit I’ve been ready to give up. My thirty-minute exercise doesn’t have to be balls to the wall (like, can’t walk for three days) in order to ‘count.’ If I take the dogs for a walk for thirty minutes–that’s good, it’s about getting out and moving.

The best gift I’ve given myself these last 90 days is grace. I’ve missed a few gratitude journals and I give myself rest days from exercise. The world is still turning, and I’m not beating myself up about it.

“We tend to forget that baby steps still move us forward.”


play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. I also just launched a podcast centered around understanding the homeless youth epidemic, subscribe and join me on this brand new journey! 

 

 

 

The One With Eustolia – Someone Like You Podcast Ep. 4

Like I promised last week, we are back to regular programming and this week we meet another Covenant House California Alumni, Eustolia. She is now twenty-five years old and living in her very own apartment while attending Pasadena City College for her AA in welding.

For those who may have forgotten: Someone Like You is about putting a face to the homeless and answering these three questions: Who are the homeless? How did they become homeless and how do we begin to end homelessness? 

There are 4.2 million young people in our country who will experience a form of homelessness within the next year and I believe we can make a difference by learning who these young people were and their story.

We all have a beginning that influences the rest of our story. Be sure to listen to this week’s episode and subscribe on Stitcher, Apple, and Spotify.

Here is a little sample of what you’ll hear on this week’s episode to get you started:

Eustolia, can you share what was your worst night on the street what you remember the most? It was back when I was still a minor and using drugs. I would stay in the hallways of apartment buildings and I still remember the pain in my back, I feel the cold, and then having to go to school the next day. I couldn’t go home you know? All the fights with my Dad and other stuff just made me feel like I needed to suck it up.

Her father never provided a stable or safe living environment her whole childhood. They were constantly bouncing from house to house because rent could never be paid and she was placed around in different foster care homes before she got put into the juvenile detention system. 

There’s a pattern here. A lack of parental and adult guidance. She never had a stable living arrangement and her father constantly let her down in a big way, I’m not talking like he missed one of her soccer games I’m talking like her safety was never his concern. When you have a parent who can’t provide for you and you as the child can see the decisions they’re making aren’t smart then it’s incredibly difficult to understand the world around you.

Not to mention, she attended a poor school where funding was low and the teachers were more like babysitters than educators, who didn’t care about the success of their students, regardless because they were under the assumption they’d end up dead or in jail. That’s a tough realization to notice as a kid. She needed an adult who believed in her.

Listen to episode four The One With Eustolia, to hear more of her story and where/what she’s doing today.

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play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.

The Best Carrot Cake Recipe I’ve Ever Frickin Eaten and Made

This is the best carrot cake recipe I’ve ever frickin eaten and made, hand to the dessert Gods. I had someone who hates ‘vegetable cake’ beg to take some home, a woman who isn’t a fan of super sweet desserts rave about its taste, and someone who was strictly doing keto practice the 80/20 rule and had a taste after everyone at the table told her it would be worth it.

That’s how good this recipe is, seriously.

We were having a birthday party at the office for a coworker and I opted to make her favorite cake to celebrate. If the previous paragraph didn’t convince you, it was a huge hit and I highly recommend it.

Here are some tips based off my first time baking it:

  1. Make sure the cake is level in the pie tins. Slam it straight down on the counter a few times to make sure it’s even, otherwise, you’ll end up with a cake that looks drunk.
  2. I didn’t use all of the glaze to soak each layer, it was way too hard to get out of the tins when I tried to soak all of it into the cake. I’d guess I used about half the second time around, and while it was still very wet, it was manageable.
  3. A rubber spatula and butter knife work just as well to ice the cake, don’t worry about not having all the fancy equipment. My double broiler was a pot of boiling water and a glass bowl on top, you can do it!

This is what mine looked like via my iPhone, haha.

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PS: yes, I used my big Tupperware container as a cake carrier.

Here is the recipe that I think was published in Southern Living but made famous by Chrissy Teign and I found here.

Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (3 ½-oz.) can flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Buttermilk Glaze:
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup butter or margarine
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:
¾ cup butter or margarine softened
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.
  2. Stir together first 4 ingredients.
  3. Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and next 3 ingredients. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Make the glaze: Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring often, 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
  5. Make the frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  6. Remove cakes from the oven and drizzle buttermilk glaze evenly over layers; cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Hope you enjoy! If you make it, let me know how it comes out and share a picture in the comments.


Come be my friend on Instagram, I’m on Facebook but I think I play better on IG, lol. I also just launched a podcast centered around getting to know our homeless youth in hopes to better understand how to stop it by getting to know the young people who survived it. Listen to the very first episode, here.  

The One With Why – Someone Like You Podcast

The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
      To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
      Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
      And whether pigs have wings.
Why am I so passionate about homeless youth? Well, it’s layered. This week’s episode tells my first experience that unlocked a much more personal reason.
When I was twenty I hit a rough patch. I dumped my boyfriend (now Husband <3) because he loved me too much, yes you read that right and didn’t want to stay at my apartment because my roommate and her boyfriend lived there. So without mine, it felt like I was intruding on their home, so I stayed out.
Ate out, drank out, went out. For the first time in my entire life, I was irresponsible with money and it got me in trouble. My roommate wanted to move in with her boyfriend and I needed to find another place to live, but I didn’t have enough to put down another first month’s rent and security deposit.
This is where it gets tricky, and what I buried for years until participating in my first Sleep Out. Listen to today’s episode to hear the full story and I promise, next episode will follow the regular programming.
Thanks, friends!
Ps: if you’d like to donate to my 2018 Sleep Out campaign via Covenant House California, you can support me here: https://www.sleepout.org/participant/17254 – every donation instantly doubles because of Marconi Foundation for Kids

Someone Like You podcast is dedicated to answering these three questions: who are the homeless? How did they become homeless? What can we do to end homelessness? So join me as I try to find the solution, one interview at a time. 

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play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.

Will You Support My Sleep Out Campaign via Covenant House California?

I need your help. Will, you support my Sleep Out campaign via Covenant House California and donate today? Donate here. On November 15th, I have accepted Covenant House’s challenge to spend a night sleeping on the street so homeless youth don’t have to.

The Sleep Out is not about pretending to be homeless. It’s an act of solidarity with the 4.2 million young people who experience homelessness each year. It’s a decision that we can’t stay indoors while so many kids remain outside.

One night can make a difference.

If you’re curious as to what the Sleep Out is all about, watch this video from last year’s Sleep Out (where I helped raise $30,000 for Covenant House California!).

They say ‘third times a charm’ and I’m hoping my third years means breaking the bank in donations to benefit Covenant House California and its homeless youth programs, and I need your help to break my fundraising goal. 

57% of homeless kids spend one day of every month without food.

Some may remember my first Sleep Out experience, I shared a video and blog the morning after and shared how much impact this one night had on me. You can read it and watch the video here

It opened my eyes in a big way. Covenant House offers these young people so much more than a safe place to sleep – they welcome each young person with absolute respect and unconditional love, and their continuum of care provides essential services to help young people transition from homelessness to independence.

46% of homeless kids on the street are fleeing violence at home.

Can you imagine being in high school and making the decision that being on the streets is safer than in your own home, and then following through with it?

Every donation matters, it doesn’t matter if you give $25, $50, or a whopping $100. It makes a difference. Plus, your donation instantly doubles because the foundation I work for is providing a match. So your $50 becomes $100 in the matter of one click.

Please help me help these kids in need by making a donation in support of my efforts!

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play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. I also just launched a podcast centered around understanding the homeless youth epidemic, subscribe and join me on this brand new journey! 

The One With Mark Anthony – Someone Like You podcast

It’s Friday and the SECOND episode of Someone Like You has dropped! This week we meet Mark. He’s a twenty-two-year-old Pasadena college student who wants to one day run his own business that incorporates his art.

In his words, he was chronically homeless all throughout school and when he entered his Senior year of high school his Mom kicked him out from their living arrangement at the time, so he had to figure out where to go after the final bell rang.

Growing up he didn’t have a father figure or a role model because his father went to jail and got deported. Mark’s uncle (which he now realizes could’ve been a role model) died after a horrific motorcycle accident around the same time he lost his father. He was only seven years old.

The house he claims as his ‘childhood home’ had his grandmother, big sister, aunt and her son, his mom, and uncle all living under one roof. The reason quotations are around childhood home is because Mark rarely ever stayed there while he was growing up.

His story is complicated, as many of the youth who have experienced homelessness are. Take a listen and meet Mark, and if something strikes you tell us about it in the comment section below.

There are nearly 35,000 kids searching for a safe place to sleep each night in the U.S. alone, and if you’re living in California like me, Los Angeles has about 6,000 youth out on the street each night and the Bay area has about 3,500 kids.

Someone Like You podcast is dedicated to answering these three questions: who are the homeless? How did they become homeless? What can we do to end homelessness? So join me as I try to find the solution, one interview at a time. 


play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.

Do You Know A Modern Day Pharisee?

Have you ever heard of the word Pharisee? I hadn’t until a coworker of mine used it as an analogy to describe someone they knew. My coworker explained the Pharisees were similar to people who know it all and make you feel guilty for not following their lead.

Next came Google.

Nine articles, a few passages, and one rabbit hole later, I came to this conclusion of who the Pharisees were in a nutshell. They were the strictest and most righteous group of people who couldn’t stop condemning others for not following law or tradition over God’s will. This made the bar so high to get into Heaven that no common man could ever achieve it. And if I’m being frank (which is my favorite) they sound like arrogant know-it-all-assholes.

For those who have a hefty religious background, this next part might be redundant to you but those who are in the same boat as me, here are a few definitions I gathered online.

“The Pharisees in the Bible were members of a religious group or party who frequently clashed with Jesus Christ over his interpretation of the LawThe name “Pharisee” means “separated one.” They separated themselves from society to study and teach the law, but they also separated themselves from the common people because they considered them religiously unclean.” – ThoughtCo

 

“‘Woe unto you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites!’ (Matthew 23:13). It seems that the word hypocrite is almost a synonym for Pharisee because the members of this Jewish sect seemed to always be in conflict with Jesus and the disciples. Pharisees were considered the strictest sect of the Jews because each member had taken a pledge to devote his life to keeping every point of the law.” – House to House Heart to Heart  

So, who would be considered a modern-day Pharisee these days? Back to Google to see what the masses had to say.

Some of the answers were interesting. One mentioned if the person spends more time talking about what they’re against than for, they might be a modern day Pharisee. Or, if they get angry and offended when rebuked against, and my personal favorite, showing up every Sunday makes you right with the big man upstairs regardless of what you did that week.

One man wrote about the 12 signs of being a modern-day Pharisee and at the end expressed the reason he could write the post was because he had experienced all twelve in his own life. If you’re curious, click here.

But how do you deal with modern day Pharisees? Ignore? My Google results were inconclusive but I found this Bob Marley lyric that felt fitting instead.

“Who are you to judge the life I live?
I know I’m not perfect
-and I don’t live to be-
but before you start pointing fingers…
make sure you hands are clean!”- Bob Marley


play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. I also just launched a podcast centered around understanding the homeless youth epidemic, subscribe and join me on this brand new journey! 

The One With Armond Bell – Someone Like You

I’ve rewritten this opening line a thousand times because this is too unreal. Back in March, I had an idea that maybe I could make a difference regarding the homeless youth problem by creating a podcast that’ll help but a face to homelessness by interviewing those who have experienced it. Well…

Today’s the day. It’s here! The very first episode of Someone Like You (SLY) is available for download anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Never in a million years did I think this was ever going to get off the ground, so I hope you’ll join me on this journey by subscribing, rating, reviewing, and sharing it with friends.

Someone Like You is a podcast that’s exploring the homeless youth epidemic that’s currently suffocating and stumping our country. Every other Friday I’m going to interview an individual who has experienced homelessness in hopes to get a better understanding of how to end it.

Every night nearly 6,000 kids search for a safe place to sleep each night in Los Angeles and I believe the solution starts with you and me. It’s important we get to know these young people in order to put a face to homelessness because I’m willing to bet once we get to know them, they’re Someone Like You.

People are hard to hate up close, move in. – Brene Brown

Stay tuned.

Cultivate it.

Judge, Jury, and Executioner – Guilty As Charged

This past weekend was interesting. I had a few conversations with different people about vastly varying topics that all came together (somehow) on one of the drives home. Ya know, during the debrief conversation with the Hubs after an all-day social outing. Everyone does that, right?

These conversations can be either enlightening or argument inducing, thankfully it wasn’t the latter and left me with a new little gem about myself I can carry into interactions moving forward.

Conversation One: my sister-in-law came to visit this weekend with her brand new baby boy. We got away one afternoon and walked around Fashion Island so she could get some of her favorite treats to bring home to Reno and during one conversation we discussed her new role as a mother.

She had a difficult time conceiving, suffered from PCOS, went to numerous doctors, tracked her ovulation and did rounds of scientific intervention via a pill I can’t remember. All she wanted was a baby. The stress was unbearable and she began to question her worth.

If she couldn’t have a baby, what kind of woman was she? (her words not mine) This statement led to ‘conversation one.’ She sat on one end of the spectrum regarding womanhood and I realized that I sit very far on the other.

Conversation Two: this actually had multiple conversations intertwined but I want to stick to the largest point because it led to convo three. And yes you guessed it, this convo involved my arch nemesis, love.

I don’t even like writing the word love, just seeing it makes me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable and blehhhhhhhh. But if I’m being honest, I feel like the word love is another one of those words that get overused and holds no value anymore. People just say it all willy-nilly and it doesn’t seem right (to me).

So with the above mentioned in mind, conversation two was with someone who loves a whole lotta people, would literally do anything for their large group of friends and family, who also includes me in this circle.

The thing is I have a hard time believing any words of admiration thrown my way because, well, they say it to a lot of people so how do I know it’s not bullshit?

Conversation Three a.k.a. The Debrief with Hubs: I like to hear how my Hubs percieves topics regarding relationships because usually, we have two different understandings or presumption. So I brought up convo two to hear his take…

Apparently (according to the Hubs & does seem to be true) if it were between believing someone and not believing someone, I would err towards not believing someone. “If there’s no smoking gun or proof, you don’t take it to be true,” said the Hubs, “and sometimes it makes talking to you more difficult than it needs to be.”

To stay truthful I did ask him to give me an example, and it’s because I don’t like guessing. I don’t want to assume it might be one thing when it could be another. I like to stay ahead of the ball, so why bother fucking around with assumptions when I can get a straight answer by asking the question head-on.

And without missing a beat, he provided one. And to stick with being truthful, his example is an argument we’ve had a few times and because I’ve yet to see it in action, I don’t believe it. 

His other one-liner for the car ride home to be noted is, “you make it my job to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.” I gather he means it’s not everyone’s job to put on a trial for the judge and jury which just so happens to be me.

Okay, but how do all three of these relate to one another? Well, the conversation regarding motherhood is the base for this trifecta. I don’t operate based on opinions of others or what ‘everyone else does,’ because it comes back to my mom’s good ‘ol saying, “if they jumped off a bridge, would you?”

If you aren’t giving me ass, grass, or cash, you outta keep your yipper closed.

Society has been putting pressure on women for a zillion-bajillion years for no other reason than, ‘they said so.” Literally, the weakest fucking argument known to mankind. You’re not a good woman unless you get married, have babies, and be this well-rounded individual who can manage the household and ALL THE ERRANDS.

My response to the societal norm? “Oh HELL no!”

Just because I’m a woman I’m expected to get married and have children, and I don’t buy it. Just because people say they care for you, doesn’t mean they do because actions speak louder than words and I gotta say, a lot of people will say it but not act like it.

The moral?

And just because I know this about myself, now I can pay attention to when I’m starting to get a little judge and jury. This is a good quality to have, but not in all instances. Some things don’t provide proof and I have to learn how to trust.

#balance

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude towards the strength I possess that helps me have those hard conversations. Growth is hard, but my ears are finally open. What are you feeling gratitude towards? Let me know in the comment section, below. 

Cultivate it.

play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.