When coaching my college essay clients on how to write a college essay, I always tell them to talk about their real passion and to tell their real story – not to talk about what they think other people want them to talk about.
In that vein, today, I’d like to share three of my favorite things with you. One is a recipe, one is a book, and one is a blender. They are all related. And they have little to do with job search or LinkedIn, but they have everything to do with commitment and passion. You could say this is what I might write about for a supplemental college essay, if I were writing one.
One of the things that is most important to me in my life, besides writing and personal growth, is health and wellness. I’ve written articles that include kale references, and I blogged on July 17th about the value of regular exercise for productivity.
What I put into my body is extremely important to me, and I’ve recently been excited by a book I stumbled across: Zero Belly Smoothies
It was love at first sight, and have spent many a Saturday afternoon trying out the recipes that grace its pages. The book, which is now my smoothie bible, has not left its spot next to my Blendtec blender since I started my craze.
You might not know this, but smoothies are one of the best ways to get nutrients into your system – they make a great breakfast and are also the perfect replenishment after a workout. I drink them for both occasions! The best thing is that they can be both healthy and delicious.
Did you know that you can put black beans, avocado, and banana in a smoothie and make it taste like a rich dessert, while getting 25g of protein? I didn’t, until a few weeks ago. And my life has been transformed.
To share my joy over the above-mentioned potion, I’m giving it to you here. You can find this delectable recipe and more at ‘Zero Belly’ Smoothie Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dessert.
RECIPE: Chocolate Decadence Smoothie
1/2 banana (preferably peeled and frozen)
1/4 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and quartered
1/4 cup black beans
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup chocolate plant-based protein powder
6 ice cubes
Water to blend (optional)
300 calories, 9 g fat, 34 g carb, 11 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 25 g protein
I also particularly like Zero Belly’s Velvety Elvis smoothie, which includes banana, spirulina, and almond butter. What a treat – and it looks like the ocean! But I can’t find it on the internet and dare not violate any copyrights. Plus I really think everyone with any interest in smoothie creations must buy the book.
Of course, you’ll need a blender to do these recipes justice. Whole food smoothies, sadly, cannot be made by hand.
Not a Blender Fan?
You might be lamenting, “My blender smells like rubber anytime I make it work hard.” Or, “My blender is so hard to clean!” or “My blender leaves big chunks of food in my drink. ‘Smooth’ is the last word I’d use to describe the sludge my blender produces.”
Or you might be saying mournfully, “I have an awesome blender I paid hundreds of dollars for and it’s sitting there on my kitchen counter, next to my unused juicer. I’ve given up.”
If you have a Vitamix or Blendtec blender and it’s wasting away unutilized, it’s time to dust it off and get it cranking! If you have any other type of blender, and you are inspired to get serious about smoothies, it’s worth investing in a good one… either a Vitamix or Blendtec. In my opinion, Blendtecs are the better value. I’ve had mine for years and love it more every day.
Another advantage of smoothies is that you can freeze them and have your supply ready for the week; and if you’re on the go, they make a quick 1-minute meal. (I’m not a fan of savory “lunch” or “dinner” smoothies, but give those a try if you’re curious.)
One of my favorite tricks is how to bring a smoothie onto an airplane (it starts as powder and turns into a nutrition-packed meal)! If you travel for work, bringing “smoothie packs” along with you is a great way to stay healthy while on the road. Ask me if you want to know more about that.
Not Really a College Essay
So I didn’t really write a college-essay-worthy essay here, since I would never want any student to give advice in a college application. But have I gotten my excitement across – and provided some insight on how to write a unique college essay?
I hope so, and if I’ve transmitted any of that excitement to you, I’d be happy to share more of my favorite recipes privately. They might just change your life too.
And if you want more advice on how to write a college essay, check out my article, How to Write a Great College Application Essay: 2017-18 Common App Prompts, or check out my college admissions services and work with me one-on-one.
I tried to hold the canvas as close to me as possible without risking touching it. It was dry, but with oil paints you never really know. It’s painting care 101: Don’t move your painting around when it’s wet. Any artist worth her salt knows that. But if you had spent the better part of a month – sometimes fourteen hours straight a day – painting, you couldn’t wait to deliver it either.
I used to assume that ‘real’ artists are passionate about the process of art: the meticulous mixing of colors in search of that right shade, the thrill of sliding down the sleek brush down the white canvas and watching the paint settle in the fibers, the smooth transformation of hues as they fuse together, the slow evolution of the picture.
But not me.
I’d always worried that I must be a lousy artist as far as true passion goes. My enthusiasm lasts for all of the first hour. After that every painful, imperceptible movement of the brush is an irritating itch; every line that doesn’t follow the path I dictate, every shade that changes colour without my explicit permission, and all the annoying invisible details that I have to somehow find, decipher and change (and then change again and again, like running blindfolded through a maze, hoping this time I’m on the right path) until it looks about right, is a frustrating process.
But watching the picture slowly fill up the blank canvas like the pieces of a puzzle coming together is somehow fascinating. When the last inconsistency in color is glossed over, the small extra fleck of paint is dissolved and the last touch of white to make sure his eyes gleam a little brighter is duly placed, and you finally get to lay down the brush, take a few steps back and look at your handy work – that’s where the true magic lies. A bold face peeks out from his two dimensional world, his eyes following you around as if he knows who it was that sat by him day in and day out.
It often feels as though the face is no longer just layers of dyes that I diligently painted but a life force that sneaked onto my canvas over night when I wasn’t looking. The enchantment of the final piece has always been incentive enough for me to chain myself to a piece of cloth for months; so I can ‘wear’ it around proudly like a badge of honor when I take it to the exhibition.
Yet I often find myself trying to recall every difficult detail of the process to feel in its possession again and reestablish my identity as the artist. Because stepping away also makes everything impersonal. The flat familiar face that had become almost a friend becomes a stranger again. The connection I feel with the portrait ends with the process and I find that as much as I love my finished piece, I miss that intimacy. I miss the sheer exhilaration of figuring out what is wrong and the surge of power I feel when I can set it right.
It’s a very quiet unobtrusive sort of power but to feel it, is to truly feel alive. Painting might have once introduced me to it but now I can recognize it for what it is every time I figure out a twisted physics question, or get off a podium knowing I braved every one of my demons by giving a speech: the feeling of triumph over my fears and weaknesses.
I don’t worry about the authenticity of passion anymore. It’s not about enjoying every second, but loving every second enough to persevere through the boredom, frustration and fear because, inevitably, the realization dawns that the struggle is what makes the destination worth the road. And passion is just my insatiable thirst to overcome that challenge.
Mirzajani, Nasim. "The Colour of Passion" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 07 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2018. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/common-app/the-colour-of-passion/>.