THE MONTH OF MAY

With it being the first full week of June, I thought it’s now a good time to begin a new segment in the Chocolate and Politics register: monthly favorites. In order to break up the philosophical, profound blog posts with something a bit lighter and easier to digest I am introducing a monthly roundup of all my highlights, favorites, and discoveries. Going into a new month always brings excitement and possibilities of new beginnings, and along with that, reflection on the previous month. Starting off with May, here is a little piece of something for everyone: reading, food, and fashion. Please feel free to share your monthly endeavors below, we could all use a bit of inspiration going into warm, sunny June.

My May Highlights:

This month has flown by, as it seems every month on the calendar has been doing recently. In the month of May, I completed my junior year of high school and the first half of the International Baccalaureate program. The entire year taught me a lot, but it all seemed to culminate over the last few weeks of May, where I made a couple big realizations and lots of “end of the year” memories. I spent plenty of time with myself this month and truly learned the difference between being alone and being lonely. I learned that having fun in your own company is nothing to be ashamed of; it does not make me a loser or loner, it makes me strong and able to recognize my own self-worth.

This month I got to view the professional photographs from my brother’s wedding which brought me back to moments when I felt nothing but pure joy and pride for both my brother and his wife. It reminded me that a picture speaks a thousand words and has inspired me to take more pictures in my daily life. I am so grateful to May because it provided me with the greatest gift of all: time. Particularly the end of this month brought me a much-needed period of rest and relaxation, giving me time to do the things I really love. I now have moments to sit in the sun each morning and read, making my way through more books than I ever have. I have also been re-cultivating a passion for hobbies that I had fallen out of touch with including playing and writing music and cooking new meals each day. But, just as May has brought me joy and peaceful bliss, I have also witnessed a fair share of suffering.

The Russo-Ukrainian War, the insurgence of mass shootings across the country, and the U.S. passing the threshold of 1 million deaths due to COVID-19. Some of these events shocked me, and others seemed to become commonplace as the same headlines reappeared day after day. This repetition though only serves to highlight the prominence of these issues. In June, I will continue following these worldly affairs because it is these events that inform our future. Just because school is out, does not mean I stop learning.

May brought with it the longest total lunar eclipse in 33 years resulting in a blood moon. It gave me a moment to appreciate nature, sitting in my backyard, and for the first time in a while, actually noticing how many stars exist in the sky. It was a time of celebrating those I love with mother’s day, my mother’s birthday, and my parent’s anniversary, I am always reminded in this time of the gratitude I hold for my parents and the amazing life they give me each day. I also celebrated those moving to the next phase of their life… graduating seniors! Going to cheer on my friends who have graduated this year, and seeing the absolute pride on the face of their friends and family gave me that extra bit of courage to keep pushing through– because they all made it out the other end, prosperous and prepared.

May has been full of all kinds of ups and downs, with each day bringing something different. Nonetheless, it has given me the opportunity to reconnect with old and new friends alike, feel my toes in the smoldering sand, babysit my cat-niece ;), and watch the sun go down each night only to re-appear the next morning. May… you’ve been good to me, I cannot wait to see what June holds in store.

My May Favorites:

My May Read: Educated, Tara Westover

“An education is not so much about making a living as making a person.” -Tara Westover, Educated

This month I read Educated by Tara Westover. I always love reading memoirs and autobiographies (as my readers may know), but this book particularly widened my view of the world, and how restricted the world is for some. Educated follows the life of Tara Westover as she grows up in a survivalist Mormon family in Idaho. It portrays many themes including abuse; how both abusers and their enablers tend to brainwash victims into accepting a distorted version of reality. Furthermore, it is a coming-of-age story detailing the importance of receiving an education in Westover’s quest to separate herself from a religiously-zealous, abusive family. Westover’s recount of the ways in which she was able to overcome hardship and expand her own world, in turn, helped me to expand my own world and view of the factors which shape a person. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone willing to listen to a story that is both heart-wrenching and eye-opening. The chapters are a great length, the style of writing is personable and captivating, and it holds a certain honest quality that is difficult to come by.

My May Yum: Cheesecake

Strawberry Cheesecake Baked Oats:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 TBSP yogurt
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup or honey
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla
  • Optional: 1 scoop vanilla (or any) protein powder
  • Cream cheese
  • Strawberries

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients except the cream cheese and strawberries together.
  2. Pour mixture into a greased oven-safe dish.
  3. Place a (decent) scoop of cream cheese in the center and cover with the batter.
  4. Top with sliced strawberries
  5. Bake at 400 Degrees F for 23 minutes (but keep a watch on it and test frequently!)
  6. Top with more strawberries if you want and enjoy! 🙂

As a foodie, each month I tend to have a yum. Something that I crave again and again. In May… it was cheesecake. I’m not sure why exactly, but this month brought me many opportunities to have cheesecake — and I am not complaining. To reiterate though, food to me is more than a taste, it is the memories that come with it. The gooey caramel, rich chocolate, and crunchy peanuts of the turtle cheesecake I shared with my parents on their anniversary. Digging into a cookie cheesecake with my two sweet friends, laughing our heads off because we knew the answers to none of the ’90s music trivia game’ we were attempting to play. Even making my own version of strawberry cheesecake baked oats for breakfast because it’s summer…and I can. Yeah, sleeping in and cheesecake for breakfast is the life.

My May Style: COLORS

My favorite color pairings:

  • Light pink and light blue
  • Hot pink and light green
  • Light/lime green and brown
  • Teal and black or gray
  • Maroon and white
  • Light purple and navy green
  • Pale yellow and deep orange

I am someone who constantly seems to be switching up their style. One minute I am obsessed with a certain way of dressing and the next minute I am sporting the complete opposite. In May, I found myself really enjoying bright colors. While neutrals are great for the fall and winter months, something about summer screams for bright colors. My favorites are pink, light green, orange, and dark purple. Mixing and matching colors is a fun way to add some personality to each outfit, and even accenting neutrals with colorful accessories can elevate a basic look. Honestly, I never thought I would say this, but I have even been wearing colorful athletic wear/athleisure. I was never the girl to wear leggings or sweatpants as an outfit, but something about light pink joggers with a dusty blue top just works. That’s where my style is right now, but let’s see how that changes ever so quickly.

My May More and Less

MORE:

  1. Nourishing my body with what it needs and craves.
  2. Listening to/reading self-development content.
  3. Moving my body for strength, mobility, and endorphins.
  4. SLEEP.
  5. Journaling and reading.
  6. Time with family and friends.
  7. Trying new recipes.
  8. Balance between school and life.
  9. Long beach walks.
  10. Music.
  11. Pictures of the sky.
  12. Stopping to breathe.

LESS:

  1. Apologizing for being me/existing.
  2. Scrolling.
  3. Focusing on things I cannot control.
  4. Procrastinating.
  5. Comparison.
  6. Engaging in negative or harmful conversations.

Finally, to finish my May recap, I decided to share an activity that I did at the beginning of the month: my “more and less” list. Essentially, as April was winding down I wrote out a list of the things I wanted to do more along with the things I wanted to do less. This helps me hack my habits and brings into focus the objects and practices that I find either draining or enriching. Obviously, there are some items on this list that I did not follow through with, but everything is a work in progress. I am proud of what I accomplished in May and will continue to work in June towards further self-improvement.

If you made it to the end of this post I would like to give you a round of applause. I realize that this is very different from my usual posts and centers much more around my personal life. However, I do think that it is important to share who I am behind the face of Chocolate and Politics with all my readers. Please let me know if you enjoy these types of posts in the comments below. I hope June brings you happiness, rest, and everything you are looking forward to.

Happy Living xx

“You are as welcome as the flowers in May.” -Charles Macklin

Published by Ria Pai

Hi let me introduce myself. I was born and have lived my entire life in a beach area as a child of two amazing parents who immigrated to America from India. I love art, music and writing so I try to combine the three. I enjoy deep conversations on a number of topics from politics, to friendships, to fashion. I’m a natural perfectionist, but sometimes find this to be a bit overwhelming. I love mangos, dark chocolate and tea. I make art whenever I get the chance…painting, songwriting, dancing, and writing are all forms of art to me. Since I live in a warm area, I cannot stand any weather that is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and always find a way to swim in anything from pools to the ocean. I have one dog, a Lhasa Apso who I am envious of because he does nothing but eat, sleep, and lay around all day. I experiment with my style. I am horrible at geography and sitting still, and it’s not uncommon to find me with paint all over my hands. I like to wear bold clothing and I always find a way to wear the same white sneakers with any outfit I can. Hi, my name is Ria, nice to meet you.

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