One of my resolutions for 2019 is to cook more, both with my family and on my own trying new recipes. Two days into the new year, I thought, “I already go to the library weekly and usually pick up at least one cookbook. Maybe I can review a book every couple of weeks and enjoy the triple benefit of keeping my resolution, spending more time writing, and using social media in a more productive way.” I have to commend past-me for having such an industrious outlook. Past-me decided that five recipes would be enough to get an idea of one cookbook’s merit, and that the copy of Martha Stewart’s Pressure Cooker I already had on loan would be a fine place to start.
Oh boy, was I wrong. Continue reading
For the first time in my adult memory, I am happy to report that I am bidding tomato season farewell with a smile on my face.
I have not developed an aversion to tomatoes; on the contrary, I’m a big fan of their versatility and their fresh way of signaling the heart of the summer season. But 2018 marked a departure in my perspective on tomatoes: I enjoyed my tomatoes a hell of a lot more this year than I did in years past because I didn’t spend half of August and September longing for my favorite CSA crop, sweet potatoes. (If you’re curious about what makes second place, it’d be a tie between beets and butternut squash, both of which show up around the same time.) I’m certainly glad they’ve finally arrived, and hope very much to post a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi with sage and brown butter soon, but I didn’t let any tomatoes go to waste in the back of the fridge this year while dreaming up autumnal dinners. Continue reading
I can’t believe it’s already March! Where did the first two and a half months of the year go? I noted last month that a big part of my life lately has consisted of studying and taking certification exams. I’m sad to say I’m still stuck in the worst of it with a big exam coming up in just a few days. Luckily I’ll have a brief respite from testing after this one, but the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t make it any less painful of a slog! To be honest, I’m certain I’ve only survived the grueling cycle of work, housework and studying for this long with the support of my husband (he is a saint!) and because of the habits I’d been working to build up over the last couple years. If I were to pin my sanity on just one factor, though, I would say I owe a lot of the credit to meditation.
Please don’t imagine, though, that I spend an hour each day, eyes closed and legs akimbo, in peaceful contemplation. My days are as full as anyone else’s, so I don’t think an hour a day will ever be realistic, but 5-10 minutes? Too easy! And five minutes is about all it takes for me to really get focused in the morning or get my head straight to settle down in the afternoon. Continue reading
It was my sincere hope to kick off 2017 with weekly blogging, but life just has to get in the way of our favorite hobbies, doesn’t it? January went by in a blur of working, working out, and so much studying for my Network+ certification exam. (Side note: if you find yourself studying for the same certification, Professormesser.com is the best study tool for it!) Unfortunately I still have a very long studying marathon ahead of me, but I hope writing here can still be a relaxing break for creativity when I can’t force myself to look at my books anymore. Continue reading
I try to keep things relatively positive when I put things on the internet. This is in part because my life is pretty good by all accounts and doesn’t warrant too much complaining, but also because there is already enough negativity in cyberspace as it is. It occurred to me recently, though, that this isn’t just true of the internet, but increasingly of life in general, especially here in America. Our lives are full of garbage. Actually, I might even go so far as to say that life is garbage. Continue reading
Some time ago I wrote about the mind-calming, mood-lifting power of carving out time for a morning latte. While escape from our daily woes might come more easily for you in the form of time stolen for a walk, a workout, some knitting, or a bit of dancing, a morning latte is still what does the trick for me. Since turning the clocks back, though, I’ve gotten into the habit of sleeping 8-9 hours a night. This change has unfortunately transformed my typically calming coffee-based latte into a very jittery way to start the day. Luckily for me, a good friend of mine introduced me to a very delicious alternative many years ago: the matcha latte.
What makes life feel luxurious? I’ve been mulling this over lately and trying to distill some formula for elevating the mundane into the marvelous.
I traveled for work recently and had the good fortune to have a beautiful room all to myself for a couple days. Despite its simplicity–the room only housed a bed, a desk, two nightstands, a television, and a couple chairs on either side of a small table–everything in the room was well-appointed. Each morning I found myself wishing I could linger a few hours longer in the plush, cozy bed, wrapped in a cocoon of soft linens and fluffy pillows. Evenings found me reading in one of the chairs, completely relaxed in its not-too-firm-but-not-too-soft goldilocks comfort. The contentment I felt in that room is a rare feeling for me outside of my own home, but I can’t say that I was surprised. The hotel got right what so many others get wrong: the details, all the little things that elevate the quality of an experience. Continue reading
It’s hot, hot, hot!
No, I’m not starring in my own cheesy 80’s-style musical performance. Hot, hot, hot, is what I find myself saying these last few days–okay, many days–every time I sit down in my car, touch our front door’s handle, or foolishly step outside without shoes on. The heat and humidity have gotten so bad that my new favorite hobby is cruising the AirBnB app for possible places of refuge. Maybe like Alaska.
Unfortunately our vacation budget for 2016 has already been spent on our upcoming beach getaway next month (woohoo!), so Alaska will have to wait. For now the best I can do is try to turn this weather-induced frown upside down, and what better way to do that than with a bit of imagination? No, the heat isn’t melting my brain–this weather is wonderfully tropical! Code red air quality my arse–let’s enjoy this wonderful equatorial weather.
Still not convinced by these lies that the weather’s nice? Well, maybe our imaginations need some props to help us along… Continue reading
I never like to start things on a negative note, but the last couple months have been a bit rough. To be fair, I still live in a nice little house in a relatively nice neighborhood, and I still have a job and enough money to eat. Believe me–I can hear the peanut gallery asking what’s so rough about my 1st world life. I’ll tell you:
- My ill-conceived wish to be part of my neighborhood’s HOA recently came true. I now spend a chunk of my leisure time–already missing 6 hours a week because of a class I’m taking–on that weekly when I’d rather be enjoying time with family and friends.
- Our cute little puppy has been having anxiety attacks. At least, that’s the only explanation I can find for him eating massive holes out of the carpet and scratching up the walls near our front door.
- Bonus: Our older dog revenge-pooped all over the house because we gave the puppy so much attention. The carpet is trashed.
On top of it all, I still spend pretty much every day/week doing my best to balance work, school, and maintenance of a household with my selfish goals of improving my physical fitness and finding time for the occasional bubble bath. Despite the hustle and bustle of this day-to-day grind of an existence, I don’t actually find myself stressed at bed time or wishing for a lie in when my alarm goes off on a weekday. I think I may have actually found the cure for being stressed out by a busy life.
Are you ready for this? It’s revolutionary: Continue reading
I really thought 2015 was going to be my year. Truly. Genuinely. I really believed 2015 would be the culmination of all that I’ve learned so far about finding balance between enjoying the good parts of life and enduring the not so great parts as well. To be fair, 2015 was actually an excellent year for me, M, our mastiff, and the sweet new puppy we adopted over the summer: we started new jobs, we started in a new town, and we finally started making time for fun again.
It was with enthusiasm for all these new beginnings that I started this blog early last year. Life was so busy, though, and then so awesome that I barely paid any attention to my page at all. I’d jot ideas down, but then get distracted by hanging out with friends or catching up on sleep. I didn’t post again until two of our best friends made the move back to Italy, a change that left a big gap in a previously active social life. And then there was The Purchase.
Any hopes I had for additional posts last fall flew out the window when we decided to
spend finance a purchase for a ridiculous amount of money–money that we obviously didn’t have in hand given that we signed on for several years to pay off The Purchase. First I felt panic–what had we done!? and in the same year we bought a house!?–but that quickly turned to disgust. How could I claim to be living the good life on a budget when I’d clearly spent way beyond my means to buy something that wasn’t actually adding to my day-to-day happiness? I lost faith in myself and my priorities, and I shamefully let my blog fall by the wayside.
But after some time to really process it, I’ve made my peace with what’s been done. If given the chance to go back in time, I’d probably find some way to avoid spending so much in 2015, but I don’t think I could have come into 2016 so strong in my belief that money can’t buy happiness without any hiccups. And now that there are four months of distance between me and my big mistake, I can see that by sharing a little bit about what makes my days wonderful, maybe I can help someone else make the mistake of confusing the power to buy with the power to find happiness. If anything, at least writing about all the ways we find happiness will remind me not to confuse the two or make the same mistakes this year!