Monday, January 14, 2019

consider this a long, verbose instagram story

Sign me up alongside the loooong list of bloggers who have abandoned daily trips into the lives of others for one reason or another. Blame time, blame instagram stories, blame laziness. All are accurate.

I started bullet journaling in summer of 2017 and have done it off-and-on but mostly on ever since. I have a separate instagram account for it (@brunchandbujo) because grown women posting about pens and stickers is fun for me, as is having an excuse to get together with girlfriends over brunch to ooh and aah over each other's pens and stickers and also meet people I wouldn't know otherwise. If you need something that makes you feel marginally crafty and can document whatever you need to document, I recommend it.

But that was my really long way to say that bullet journaling a) documents how I spend my time and b) provides me with social time I was looking for in blog life. So, there's that.

I can't believe that I've been at my current job and have worked from home for two years in a few weeks. No traffic, no real clothes, no coworkers (what is with me and this sentence formatting? I guess in not blogging, I have also forgotten how to write). But it's been two years of growing professionally and personally and improving my confidence in ways I didn't know I needed. Not all days are good but a lot of them are and I am truly grateful for my professional life more often than not.

Through work, I'm doing an Identity Development... thing. Like, working at a progressive non-profit, race, class, and privilege are something that are common in conversation. I check in-person programming for representation and took "ladies and gentlemen" out of a program today for non-binary inclusion. So, in that work, I am reading a book on race in the classroom (Courageous Conversations About Race, if you're interested, which I have thoughts on) and having near weekly conversations about it with my small group. And from that, I want to hear more voices not like my own. I'm trying to listen to podcasts by or about people not like me, and read books by people who don't look like me. Even fiction with Asian American characters counts. But anyway, it was an opportunity that was presented to me and I wanted to say no because it's extra work but I said yes and I am glad I did.

Um, so what else? I do miss talking books which I decided to highlight on Instagram stories because a simple sentence and screenshot is easier than coherent thoughts, which is honestly the opposite of the point of reading. TV is still my first love but finding shows to watch alongside my husband is a chore. I am watching season three of True Detective with him now, which is interesting, and our old standby Top Chef. We're watching Succession on HBO but I don't love it. I like Kieran Culkin's character enough to keep coming back, though. Halt and Catch Fire and The Americans were my favorite TV moments of 2018, I think, so those are my current recs. Maybe I should do an entertainment post once a month like Bre does because it is fun.

I also miss adding thing to my list. 2018 was the year of skincare for me. Like, moisturizing more days than not and finding value in undereye cream. I am also on the jade roller bandwagon simple because it feels good and it was $15 and that is all I need to know. A friend gifted me Birchbox for my birthday and it's a great $10 per month if you have it to spare on a little surprise for yourself. I store my samples in a caboodle (they're back, y'all) and make sure I use something from it at least once a week, whether it's MAC mascara when I am going out or a facemask at night. And I track that in my bullet journal as self-care. It's all cyclical, y'all.

Hmmm, what else? Drinks. Those feel important. I finally acquired a taste for La Croix after many years of trying. Andrew and I have been drinking hot tea at night instead of dessert as the caffeine doesn't impact either of us and I like that, too, after a lifetime of being a tea hater unless I was sick. And I got a Nespresso for Christmas and it's life-changing and delicious, albeit totally unnecessary. But, it saves me from cleaning the coffee maker and "having" to go to Starbucks. So needless to say, I am starting 2019 super hydrated, if nothing else.

In 2018, I tried to focus on being intentional and I want to carry that into 2019. I'm not doing the best with friendships and relationships, so that is a place to start. Reaching out and making plans, asking questions, and being there. Blogging at least quarterly to justify a part of paying to keep my custom URL and use the hashtag houstonblogger on instagram should be on that list, too. Cheers to my best intentions.



Monday, September 10, 2018

check in

The whole summer has happened and I have not posted a thing, but I have used my trusty bullet journal to document some memories and I make a conscious effort to check in with IRL friends (even if they are friends I have never met IRL but have a real life text/gchat relationship with) daily, so the needs I created my blog for - friendship and remembering my life - are still being met. And I think that's important.

I like to do my day-to-day life updating via Instagram story and I feel like most people I interacted with regularly here are there, too. If you want to know what I have added to my list lately, chances are, it's there. I like the challenge of brevity, the imperfection, being able to make faces, and how it's so much easier to respond. As someone who normally hates every photo of myself, only wants to take photos when my hair is a certain way, and has historically only seen the negative in her own image, it's also a great mental exercise for me to just put something out there. Chances are, in the ten seconds I'm sharing, you are listening to me (probably only halfway) and can't tell if I'm wearing mascara or if I have a pimple or whatever.

The world is a dumpster fire and I have created my own online echo chamber, and in a way, a web of IRL friends who are all like-minded. It's safe to talk about politics at work because even though it isn't a political org, it is an inclusive one and the current administration isn't. Like if I am going to go see friends on the more conservative side of the spectrum, I have to remind myself not to talk about all things political or at least to do so kindly. I explained white privilege to someone the other day and maybe made her understand, at least a little.

We got a new (to us) car a few months ago and I realized it came with a Sirius trial. I played with it this weekend (Andrew was driving, don't worry) and fell in love with the Yacht Rock station. This Spotify playlist has been getting me through this dreary, icky Monday. I'm tempted to make some tea and burn a fall-ish candle because the lack of sun has the temps at a humid, mosquito-y 77 degrees which means I'm not forced to move downstairs to work in the afternoon. We have central AC, but the upstairs gets warm and I don't have a ceiling fan.

I miss book talk and new books recs so maybe I will be back tomorrow to join Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books. I have yet to find anything I absolutely adored lately, so even when I don't play along, I do creep for recs.

Monday, May 14, 2018

rambles

At this moment, I miss blogging and as it is the end of my workday, I'm gonna seize the opportunity.

I think with all of the different forms of social media, it's really easy to know where people are and what they are doing. I doubt there is a single person reading this who doesn't "know" me elsewhere. But, as I have been lazy about even bullet journaling, some reflection via typing just felt right.

So this weekend I was in a wedding and you have likely heard about the dress fiasco. What no one complains about loudly enough when it comes to weddings is how expensive and almost ridiculous it is but then how seeing your friend that happy and glowing makes it worth it. Almost. It was damn expensive. Glad I could put my event planning skills to good use and diffuse crises while wearing a long dress. Being in a wedding also highlighted how little make-up I wear on a daily basis. How does one teach herself to use an eyelash curler at the age of 33?

We went on a vacation. I think being in your 30s is the height of needing a vacation from your vacation. But really, getting life in line and figuring out how to be a solid adult is hard. I went to the grocery store at 6:30 a.m. so I could feel somewhat together this week.

My cat woke me up on Mother's Day by puking twice. True love, am I right?

Still reading a lot, still scrolling too much. Read The Wedding Date in one sitting (on a plane, but still) and it was easy and delightful. Highly recommend if you need something for the beach or pool.

We are going to the ATX Festival for the fourth year in a row and TIM RIGGINS will be there and I am psyched. And also an Americans reunion/reflection on the series. That show is worthy of a rewatch.

I want to be better at sharing. I see so many things shared, or going viral, and I am like ME TOOOO, why didn't I think to say that?! How do you train your brain to realize where you are unique, and where you bring value? I have the same issue at work - it's hard for me to realize where I am an expert. I feel like so many things I know are common knowledge, but they aren't.

I need to make an agreement with one of my friends that I will be their Jonathan Van Ness and they should be mine. I love how every pronoun is "her" and he doesn't allow negativity and I want to be that bright light but I think my DNA is just too sullen. It's always funnier to point out the ridiculousness of something, but it's much more satisfying to pick out the good stuff.

(Responding to comments is my kryptonite...)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

add it to my list: march 2018

This month flew by for no good reason. I did get to go to Phoenix for a combo work/family visit last week and I have eaten some good food but have otherwise been pretty low-key. However, that doesn't mean I don't have some things to share with you, since sharing things is something I love to do.

Link up with me and Bre below if you are so inclined! Since you got no notice, the link-up is live for a month, so take your time...

Add it to your shopping list:

Ulta Lip Oil: the past few times Ulta has had a free gift with purchase, I haven't been able to help myself - I spend the $20 and feel like I get SO MUCH stuff to try. This month, my favorite thing in the bag was their lip oil. Despite the fact that it is coconut (not a favorite), it is SO hydrating that I can overlook the flavor. I also paid for a tinted one, and for someone like me who doesn't love a lot of color, it's a perfect attempt at trying without feeling made up.

Mrs. Meyer's Cleaner Concentrate: I just like the way Mrs. Meyer's products smell, honestly. I love the option to buy the concentrate as it's more eco-friendly and it takes forever to go through a bottle of it. Sure, you spend $7 up front but I'm not even halfway through the concentrate and I have refilled my spray bottle at least three times.

Add it to your watch list:

Queer Eye on Netflix: Allison and everyone else who said this was great, I'm sorry I doubted you. I watched the original and it was fine, so I thought I could skip the reboot, but when I travel, I like something I can download that Andrew won't want to watch. I thought I would give an episode a try and I was laughing out loud on the plane. The show is light, upbeat, teaches you a few tips to pass to the guys in your life, and just makes you want to be a better, more supportive friend. There are only eight episodes so I am trying to reward myself with them on trips to the gym. I feel like Karamo would approve.

Add it to your dinner list:

Easy Shredded Harissa Chicken: This is the easiest thing ever - a jar of harissa (a Moroccan condiment made from bell peppers) and chicken in the crock pot or instant pot. Take it out, let it cool a little, shred, and eat. It makes two meals for us, so I will have it with couscous, tzatziki, marinated chickpeas, and veggies one night and then on a Greek salad another night. Andrew loves it, and he could take or leave most chicken dishes. I have done the same thing with a jar of salsa and it made perfect enchilada or southwest salad chicken.

Add it to your podcast list:

Order 9066: After reading Dan Rather's book, I realized this was a huge part of American history that I knew embarrassingly little about, so when I heard about this podcast, I had to try it. Our country rounded up citizens, put them in tiny rooms, and barely fed them because they thought they might join sides with Japan in a war. Oh, and there was no evidence pointing to that. If you need a history lesson, check this out.

Tales from the Pits: Okay fine, I'm biased, but my husband and his business partner started a podcast about Texas BBQ and if that is a thing you (or someone in your life) is into, then check it out! They have gone all over Texas interviewing pitmasters, pit makers, and fellow BBQ fans and their research, curiosity, and genuine appreciation is obvious in every episode - it isn't just two fools with microphones. They're also giving out a Yeti cooler starting today so if you're in Texas, listen in and find out how you can win (and I think it will be hand delivered.... so maybe I will make that trip!). If you listen and like, please rate (with stars) and review (with words) - it helps!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

add it to my list: february 2018

Add it to my list is back with me and Bre. If you want to link up, you can do it below. This is just a chance to post your monthly favorite things that you are recommending to people in real life.

Anyway, onto my list:

Add it to your podcast list -

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd: Dax Shepherd just seems like a cool guy and his podcast is just a conversation with him and one of his famous friends on anything from vacations gone awry to race relations. The first episode is with his wife, Kristen Bell, and as much as I do not want to perpetuate that they are relationship goals, they basically are. And she wanted to stop the interview so she could go to Michael's. I also loved the Jimmy Kimmel episode. The episodes are super long (nearly two hours) but they are really interesting!

Add it to your people to follow list - 

Comments by Celebs: such a good instagram account that screenshots comments celebrities leave on social media accounts, especially those of other celebrities. There is a strong John Mayer influence here and I love it.

Add it to your things to buy list - 

A hairbrush cleaner: I had no idea these even existed. I use dry shampoo, and my brushes get really gross. It's also hard at times to get all of the hair out, and I do get oddly paranoid about how icky it looks on the off chance someone sees my brush. I was at a fancy shop in Brenham, Texas of all places and saw a brush cleaner like this and even though I normally don't buy things like this, I had never seen one before and I didn't google on the spot and it came home with me. I regret nothing. It pulls everything out and is also good for fine-toothed combs.

Annie's Organic Fruit Snacks - one of my friends brought these to Vegas as snacks. I probably haven't had a fruit snack in twenty years but I tried them because they were there and they are so good! They taste fruity, not weirdly sweet. Costco has a 42 pack on sale for like $12 right now which is insane and they are only 70 calories a bag so the giant box will probably only last a month... ish.

This striped, ruffle-sleeved shirt from Walmart: This is a repeat if you follow me on instagram stories, but both Sarah and Kristen bought it after I posted so it's worth sharing again. It looks super unflattering on the hanger but is really cute on and for only $10, worth grabbing if you're near a Walmart anytime soon.

Now it's your turn - link up your list below or let me know something you have loved lately.