Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Small Joys

Tablescaping, Thanksgiving Table

I've spent a lot of time this month reflecting on gratitude and the big things I'm grateful for. There really is so, so, so much that is wonderful and amazing and completely, perfectly, abundantly blessed about my life, and it's been good for me to remember and write about those things in other places (my journal).

But when I spend three consecutive nights in a row in and out of sleep because of massive cramping and Braxton Hicks contractions that leave me aching sore and unable to walk in the morning... well, it's harder to remember those big things I'm grateful for about my life. It's funny that it seems to be the small things, these small joys, that actually get me through these rough patches (and by rough patches, I mean this pregnancy that is going to kill me).

So for now I'll spare you a list of the big and obvious things I'm grateful for (it may or may not be true, but somehow it feels a bit indecent to publicly share those things, like "Look how utterly amazing my life is!"), and just continue to share the small joys that got me through November.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Recipe Files: Sweet Potato Souffle

sweet potato souffle, casserole, Thanksgiving

Oh, right. Thanksgiving is over. We've all moved on to busily talking and thinking and gushing about all things Christmas. Forgive me, for half a second, if I indulge in posting a very Thanksgiving-y recipe. If I were any sort of considerate food blogger I would've posted this recipe on November 1st so you all could've had access to it as you meal planned the biggest feast of the year. But I'm not a food blogger, and I didn't have a picture of this dish to post until I actually made it on Thanksgiving day. Besides, the point of me posting recipes here is entirely selfish and for my own electronic files anyway.

That being said, I highly recommend you pin this recipe and remember it next year when planning your Thanksgiving dishes. Or better yet, make it for your Christmas dinner this year, even if you've never done sweet potatoes for Christmas dinner before. Believe me, no one at your table will be complaining. Because honestly, this is the BEST sweet potato dish I've ever had. This stuff is practically a dessert, it is so, so good.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: Leave Me

I stumbled across this book almost by accident, just seeing it while scrolling through my library's app on my phone. I read If I Stay by Forman a few years ago. Confession: I picked it up in a bookstore and speed read the whole thing in one sitting because I didn't actually want to buy the book but the premise was so interesting I wanted to see where it was going.

A similar thing happened with this one. I read the little blurb, and was immediately intrigued. A mother who actually walks away from her unsupportive, ungrateful children and husband? Hm...

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Book Blab Episode 10: Books and Food!

Guys, if there's one thing I love as much as books, it's food. So an entire episode of The Book Blab devoted to all things books and food? Basically, Amy and I could've gone on for hours and hours. This show is packed with book suggestions and recommendations (all listed in the show notes below), so please enjoy.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thanksgiving Decor (With Maybe Just a Little Election Ranting)

I don't delve into politics much here on the blog, but I will say that I abhor election season in America. It just seems to bring out the worst in people, and then it drags on and on. In undergrad, French was my minor, and we studied French politics in one of my classes. We followed their presidential elections which, campaign to election, lasted a matter of weeks. Why can't we do that here? Anyway, whether my candidate wins or loses, usually on election day I'm just grateful that the whole stupid campaign process is finally over.

This is the first time post election where, as much as I hated the campaign season (more so than any other before), I woke up the morning after wishing we could go back in time and just be in that liminal space again where the nightmare (of either candidate winning) was a looming yet hypothetical future, not a present reality.

What I have loved in the aftermath is all the searching for a silver lining, all the reminders that despite who our leaders are we can still be good, decent citizens living moral, honest lives, while raising our children to be better, kinder, and more understanding than the generation before. It might feel a bit shallow, at this time of great national division, to write a post about holiday decorations. But what better time than now to focus on a holiday all about gratitude? It's been my mental savior this whole pregnancy, focusing on the little things I'm grateful for, and it's a far better coping mechanism than drowning in the feeling that all hope is lost.

So let's talk Thanksgiving decorations.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Writing Projects and Reading Lists

Writing, goals, books about writing, books and roses, books and flowers

Three years ago (I can't believe it's been that long, it feels like last year) I participated in NaNoWriMo, or, for the uninitiated, National Novel Writing Month. I really didn't have an idea for a plot when I started. There was no plan, no big idea, I just had the time and the goal and so I plunged in. Needless to say, the resulting product was terrible. But I still did it, still got 50,000 words down in somewhat of a story form, and I really enjoyed the process of just having a creative writing project.

This year, I made another goal for myself to tackle a big creative writing project. The difference this time around is that I actually have an idea for something I want to write (less a novel, more a fictionalized memoir type thing). I have no expectations for this being any good, but I'm excited by the idea and excited just to have another project in the works.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Books I Read In October

And poof! Just like that it's November. Isn't November such a lovely month? I love November.

But we're talking about October. Specifically, the books I read in October. For the past few years I've been getting more and more serious about intentional seasonal reading, and October is one of the months I fixate on "getting this right." However, I don't do horror or anything too gruesome or scary, so it can be tricky finding new material. I really like classic Gothic horror, like Rebecca or Woman in White, so this month I was on the lookout for material like that. Creepy atmosphere with a dose of mystery. I can't say I found anything spectacular, but I made an effort.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

This one has been on my to-read list for a while now, but after reading a bunch of reviews, I went in with pretty low expectations. I was still intrigued by the heavy Shakespeare influence, but yeah, it's not necessarily one I recommend. The three sisters this book revolves around are all train wrecks, and I found I had little patience for the poor choices they'd all made. While there is a nice tidy dose of redemption in the end, and I did enjoy the Shakespeare stuff, this one is nothing special.