Thursday, September 29, 2016

Small Joys

Puffin in Bloom Box Set, books and flowers

I feel like my first trimester nastiness pushed right up to the half-way point of this pregnancy, and then I had a bout of second trimester relief, when things felt like they were getting better, and I might not actually hate being pregnant so much, and we could get out of the house, and I had energy and could do things and there was hope. That lasted all of two weeks, and then third trimester miserableness hit and hit hard this month (never mind I won't officially be in the third trimester for three more weeks, these pregnancy hormones don't care for rules like that). Exhaustion, back pain, swelling, leg cramps, heartburn, exhaustion, and more back pain. I just... do I really have three and a half more months of this? Really?

So before I spiral back down into my well of self-pity, let me count my blessings again and remind myself that life is actually very good. Very, very good. Here are my small joys for September.

Monday, September 26, 2016

How To Throw A Literary Themed 30th Birthday Party

Step 1: Make it a mid-year resolution, commit the goal to paper, or it will never be anything more than a pipe dream.

Gatsby party, goodbye roaring 20s, hello 30

Step 2: Enlist the help of a friend with a vision. Steal her vision, because yours is hazy and probably unrealistic. Besides, hers involves a literary theme that's awesome for a party and perfect for your bookish tastes. It doesn't matter if you don't actually like the book in question, there is nothing better than a Great Gatsby party. Also, party planning is way more fun with a friend you can spend hours drooling over Pinterest with, instead of making all these decisions by yourself.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Birthday Eve

white hydrangea, flowers, birthday eve, vase

When my husband and I first started dating ten years ago (!), one of the ice-breaker-get-know-you questions we asked each other was "What age do you feel like you are?" At twenty-one, my (then-future) husband admitted that he still thought of himself as a seventeen year-old. And in so many ways, that is his age-at-heart. He's just a big kid who loves to play games and have fun and be care-free.

Which is a nice balance, because despite being a freshly-minted twenty-year-old, I told him at the time that I'd always felt more like a thirty-year-old. And in many ways, that was pretty accurate. I've always been a bit of an old soul, more comfortable around adults as a teenager than my own peers, more responsible or mature than others. And the older and older I've gotten, the more and more comfortable I've felt in my own skin.

So it's actually a very nice feeling that tomorrow, my outside age will finally match my age-at-heart. Yep, I'm turning thirty!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Recipe Files: Broccoli Quinoa Salad

broccoli quinoa salad recipes

Oh, look, another recipe. I'm not sure how many more of these I'm going to post, but the more I go through my files, the more recipes I realize are missing from my Pinterest archive (including some of my paper recipes that I would really like to transfer online). So there may be more, but I'll try to spread them out.

Okay, I know that picture doesn't look super appetizing, but you're just going to have to trust me when I say that this is one of my favorite salads of all time. While it's technically not 100% vegetarian (I suppose you could omit the bacon bits, but then, you'd be omitting the bacon bits), it's still packed with other super healthy high nutrient foods (and a little sugar in the dressing, but you know, whatever).

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Two Traits of Fictional Teenage Boys that Really Bother Me (or, Never Send Your Boys to Boarding School)

Okay, so, it's come up before. Of all the categories of human beings in the world, I find teenage boys to be the least... likable. In middle school and high school, I mostly just tried to ignore them. Individually there were some nice ones, but as a group they seemed incredibly stupid, so I figured they just generally weren't worth my time. Even after falling madly in love with my husband, I was appalled by stories of his high school self, and I've told him repeatedly it was a very good thing I never knew him as a teenager, because I'm not sure I could've gotten over it (in all fairness, the feeling would've been mutual had he met my own awkward, snobbish, overly-opinionated teenage self).

Books have done little to help me overcome my distaste for the male adolescent portion of our species. It's a bit funny, because I'm actually quite capable of swooning with the best of them if the story is told from the perspective of a teenage girl and the male adolescent in question happens to be the handsome and charming nice guy in love with her (oh, Gilbert Blythe, I would've forgiven you for calling me "Carrots!"). But if the main character is a teenage boy himself, and the book tends to dwell in any measure on the inner-workings of his adolescent mind... it just gets depressing so fast. To support my arguments, I present the following evidence:

Monday, September 12, 2016

Recipe Files: Cilantro Lime Sweet Potato and Black Beans

sweet potato, black beans, lime, cilantro, recipe

As promised at the end of my last post, here is the first of my vegetarian recipes that I need to update my Pinterest recipe archive (since I'm weaning myself off paper recipes). Also as promised, the amateur food photography (but Pinterest does require a photo for pinning).

I don't really expect anyone else to care, but a note about this recipe just in case. I love this dish so much. It combines my two favorite foods (sweet potato and black beans) with the stellar flavors of lime and cilantro. It's beyond delicious. It's also super easy to pull together. The original recipe source I got this from (no longer available to link to, unfortunately) called this a side, but I treat it like a main dish. My favorite is to serve it with a tomato/avocado salad-- a perfect meal in every way, except there are never enough leftovers.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

More Thoughts on Food: On Being Mostly Vegetarian

Avocado Toast, Cucumber/Tomato Salad, Pickled Beet Salad

A little over a year ago I wrote a post all about my complex feelings around food, plus a reading list. Well, recently I've been diving a (very little) bit into my next book club book: How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Dr. Michael Gregor. Perhaps I should wait until I actually finish the book before writing on the topic, but even the little bit I've read has dragged up so many of my foodie issues. That, and the fact that I'm finally (finally!) able to eat a little bit more normally, means that food is on the brain, and so here I am, writing about it all over again.

In that post last year, I mentioned my anxiety over choosing a healthy, daily diet for my family. I'm a fairly avid blog reader, I follow all sorts of cooking blogs as well as "lifestyle" blogs, and I tend to get super anxious when I read about other people's super committed diets to Paleo, or Whole30, or Extreme Raw Veganism, or whatever. But I'm becoming more and more confident in the pattern our daily family diet is developing. Using extremely unscientific methods such as experimentation, trial and error, gut instinct, and a smattering of what is probably biased research, I've decided that the best overall diet for our family (re: my shopping and cooking style), is to be about 90% vegetarians. We will never, ever be 100% vegetarians because: bacon. Also, barbecue. (And we will never, ever be vegan because: cheese).

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Being Mortal: A Review and Thoughts


I think I added this book to my library holds queue after I finished When Breathe Becomes Air because I was all like "I need more books about dying written by doctors!" Okay, so Atul Gawande is not actually facing/reflecting on his own imminent death, nor is this a poetic tribute to what it means to be alive. This one is much more straight fact nonfiction.

But it's still very well written, incredibly interesting, and a very important read. To give a brief summary, Gawande realizes at some point in his career that he, as a doctor, and the modern medical profession as a whole, really don't know how to face death. To modern medicine, death is a failure, death is to be avoided at all cost, whatever cost. There is always another treatment, always another surgery, always another experimental drug, and never a way to tell patients they are going to die. And yet, we all die, we are all still mortal. So Gawande sets out to explore what death means in this modern medical environment, and how best to go about the medicalized process of dying. The first part of this book focuses on aging and the medical practice of geriatrics, while the second half focuses on the medical journeys of people with terminal illnesses.

So, this is a super depressing book. It's not fun to think about death, or even just growing older. In fact, my husband kept asking me why I was reading this book because I would complain to him every night about all the discouraging and depressing things I was reading, and my answer was, "It feels important. It feels like something we should all be thinking about a little bit more."

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Books I Read in August

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

You guys, if there is any other proof needed that I have finally turned a corner in this pregnancy and I'm starting to get my groove back, it's the fact that I read EIGHT books last month. That's slightly less than two a week! Considering I've only been managing a paltry average of three books for the past few months, this is a definite uptick for me. Might even be a record. There were some good ones, some fabulous ones, and some just okay ones. Let's dive in.