Thursday, June 29, 2017

someone could have told me

I feel like Nora McInerny is one of the many women I want to be when I grow up. She's not an optimist, but not a total pessimist, either. She's a little offbeat and she speaks in tangents. I feel like she is fiercely loyal to her people and could be the voice in my head that narrates my life, only she is drier and funnier and has dealt with a lot of really hard stuff. I saw this tweet a few weeks ago and listened to the ensuing episode of Terrible, Thanks for Asking and have been thinking about it ever since.

So I started thinking about things I wish I had known sooner. Things I wish I had learned before 30ish.

- Like that a job can be more than just a paycheck. You can work in a field you feel passionately about, or do a job that makes a difference. You can be picky in what you do (sometimes, not always) and you don't have to take the first offer.

- A commitment to clean sheets is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

- The greatest gift we can give to anyone is our time. The time to call or text, or hang out, or to run an errand. To sit and listen. I feel like time gets more valuable the older we get; it's a finite resource with more and more stuff competing for it. Isn't it lovely when someone gives you some of theirs, though?

- And on that note, adult friendships. They're hard to come by and take time and effort to maintain. They show their strength easily when life gets inconvenient.  But the people who get you well enough to share a WTF moment or offer advice when you need it are more of a luxury as you get older, whereas they were just a thing that happened when you're young.

- Everyone needs a hobby.

-It's okay if said hobby costs money. I mean, maybe compulsive gambling shouldn't be your hobby but there is more to life than saving money and watching TV every weekend. Having something that gets you excited makes you an interesting person.

- Flossing is important and you will feel so much better in the morning after you do it.

- You will not wake up one day and enjoy cooking or be a morning person or keep a clean home with minimal effort. Lots of things come with aging, but that kind of magic doesn't.

- Ask questions. Be curious. It makes you informed, and interesting, a good friend, a great job candidate, a listener, a critical thinker. So many things become better when you get beyond the surface.

- Sometimes people just need to vent; don't give them your advice unless they ask. Not every problem is meant to be fixed, and not necessarily by you.

- You need goals, even if they are far off or unattainable. They give you direction.

- Cheap wine is not your friend and never will be again.

- Try the food you think you don't like. I didn't like avocado until I was like 24 since I started hating it when I was 5. I wasted so many years and so much guacamole being stubborn.

And that's just a start. Frame of reference is a funny thing, and my perception is colored by my experiences. What seemed like a revelation to me just days ago may be something you were taught your whole life. And vice versa. Tell me, what is something you wish you had known sooner?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

add it to my list: june 2017

Maybe one day I will get my act together and write one of the many posts in my head and do more than join three link-ups a month. But today is not that day since it's already the last Tuesday of the month and time for Add It To My List with me and Bre.

In the rare circumstance that you're new here, here's what you do: write about things you're recommending to people in real life, leave a comment for your hosts if you're so inclined, and click around and see what other people are recommending. So easy!

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Anyway - onto my list!

Add it to your Netflix Queue:

Glow on Netflix: Andrew and I went to the ATX Television Festival earlier this month (recap possibly to come?) and got to screen this show. I loved it. It's set in the 80s, so the costumes and music are great. It's going to have a female, ensemble cast so I don't think there will be many if any lame romance storylines to get in the way. And, it seems different - I mean I've never seen a show set in the world of women's wrestling before. Andrew seemed to like it too, so we are going to watch it together and haven't had time since it came out on Friday but I am really excited to get into it!

Also on a TV note: Master of None is fantastic. I didn't like it much when it first came out, but I picked it up again and wondered what was wrong with me. It's funny but not laugh out loud, realistic yet still unique, and just a TV world I like spending time in. If you want something lighter and fluffier, Younger starts season four this week (on TV Land if you are old school like me and still pay for cable) and I got to see the premiere at the aforementioned festival and it promises to be a fun season.

Add it to your "things to look forward to" list:

Prime Wardrobe: Have you guys seen this yet? Amazon is starting a Stitchfix-esque service for Prime members. Basically you pick out three or more clothing items (it can be womens, mens, or kids), they put it in a box, send it to you, you try it on at home, and are only charged for what you keep. The more you keep, the more of a discount you get. Free shipping both ways. It is missing a Stitchfix stylist, but I'll try my luck with what I pick out and save myself a styling fee. You can sign up to be notified when it's available in your area. Since I'm already in the market of buying clothes on Amazon, I'm excited to check this out.

Add it to your phone:

Ibotta app: This app is legit and I am kicking myself for not using it for so long. You grocery shop every week, so you can get money back every week. You check the app before or after shopping, select what you bought, scan it if needed, take a photo of your receipt, and you get paid. I love that there is often cash back for produce I bought anyway or .25 back from any grocery receipt. You can even access Uber through the app for money back. It also seems to be the first place to feature new snack food, so sometimes I scroll through the offerings and add things to my shopping list because I know it's on Ibotta. I love things that make money off of what I'm spending anyway. (Disclosure, that is a referral link. You get $10 in your account if you sign up using it, which is halfway to redeeming for a reward, so we both win.)

Add it to your shopping list:

Salted Caramel Craze "Trail Mix" at Kroger: This stuff is so bad for you. I shouldn't admit that I eat it. It's SO addictive, though, and satisfies my afternoon sweet craving. I try to just eat a little handful at a time (but sometimes I fail). It has almonds (healthy!), butterscotch chips, chocolate caramel candy, and I think cashews. I put trail mix in quotes because really, it's candy, but everything in moderation, right?

That's all I've got for now - tell me what you're loving this month!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

back in the reading game

Travel time means book time! I've had a few trips in the past two months and found a few books I couldn't put down, so Show Us Your Books is looking pretty good for me. Excited to link up with Steph and Jana when I have something to share.

Damage Done - This book kept my attention, but it was unfortunately compared to Gone Girl which means I was looking for a twist that was pretty apparent less than halfway through. There was a little more to said twist that wasn't revealed until the end, though, so even though it was a twist that I could barely see happening in real life, there's that. This book totally kept my attention but it had the typical YA puppy love mixed with tragedy. I wouldn't say I would recommend it, but I gave it four stars on Goodreads simply for keeping me entertained enough to want to read again after a long slump.

The Hearts of Men - I really liked the way this story was told. It started with a boy in the 60s at Boy Scout Camp and featured a character who had shown him a small kindness, then went to feature that character as an adult with a teenage son in the 90s, and ended with the son's wife a few years in the future. Much of the story revolves around the camp itself. It's one of those books where not a lot happens, but I liked the internal thoughts of each character enough to want to keep reading.

Her Every Fear - A British woman who has already experienced one traumatic event switches apartments with her cousin in Boston and a murder takes place the day she arrives. The story switched POVs, but it annoyed me here less than in other books; it seemed to do so for a reason. The way it was written made the main character's anxiety and paranoia come through on the page. The plot requires a huge suspension of disbelief, which I often have a hard time with, but for whatever reason, I stayed up late reading this book. I would recommend it as a quick plane or beach read - nothing life-changing, but it should keep you interested.

The Handmaid's Tale - When I was in college, I tutored high school kids in standardized test prep. One of my "regulars" had a huge project on this book, so I sped through it, thinking that it was awesome and I wished I had been taught it in high school. Then I never really thought about it again until it became a show on Hulu that people like. It was a free download with Amazon Prime, so I was excited to give it a reread. Some of the things in it are so freaky when compared with American life today. It's about a woman in a dystopian future America; not like a Hunger Games dystopia with crazy TV and fancy make-up, but one that looks a lot closer to real life. It makes you think while telling a great story. I think the fewer details you know, the better, but it's worth picking up.

Small Great Things - You guys. If the words white privilege and equity and social justice mean nothing to you, please read this book. You will learn something and you will read an interesting, thought-provoking story. I feel that any gateway is a good gateway to understanding systemic racial issues in the U.S. I have also witnessed so much "accidental racism" lately (ie, people who comment on how well-spoken a black person is... that is not a compliment) that I love this book for giving examples and explaining how what you think is a nice thing to say really shows that you are expecting something negative from a person of color. In addition to that, I thought it was an interesting story and I wanted to see what happened next. While the ending was a little ridiculous, everything it took to get there sold me.

Talking as Fast as I Can - This is Lauren Graham's memoir. I have to respect a celebrity who doesn't give a tell-all to sell books, but I also maintain the right to comment on the fact that a book doesn't have enough info in it to be terribly interesting. If this book wasn't written by a beloved actress, I don't think anyone would have read it. While her tidbits about filming the Gilmore revival were cute and sometimes interesting, her use of extended metaphors throughout the book to avoid giving more details got a little old for me. I did love her old lady character who doesn't understand our culture's social media obsession, though. Nonetheless, I tore through this really fast and found it entertaining; it just wasn't what I was hoping for.

I'm excited that the latest from Taylor Jenkins Reid is out today and I'm on a plane headed to Vegas for a work conference. Hopefully I can spend some time with a good book while I'm there.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

what's new with me: april and may

I meant to recap April in a post and never did, so this post is going to be a double whammy. It definitely qualifies as a post that's more for me than for you, but if you ever wanted insight into the minutiae worth remembering in my life, here it is.

In April...

- Andrew and I had our annual BBQ and Bluebonnets trip to the Hill Country where the only requirements are smoked meat and pretty flowers. We found a great spot and had good food, so I was thrilled.

- One of my favorite friends got engaged! I thought we were at dinner for another friend's birthday, but really, that friend and another had worked with her (now) fiancé to get her out of the house. I was riding home with the birthday girl when we got a text from the newly engaged with the news. She (and I!) had no idea. This is exciting because I think she is my last close friend to get married and she is letting me plan things for her, which I love.

- We staycationed at the Sam Houston Hotel in downtown Houston. We maaaaay have said it was our anniversary and were treated with strawberries and champagne (it was six weeks post our dating anniversary so that kind of counts, right?) and we used points, so the stay was free. We had dinner with friends at Ritual (so meaty, with a butcher shop in the back of the restaurant - the squeamish like me need to be mindful when choosing a seat as to not have to watch), bar-hopped a little downtown, and tried a new speakeasy called Tongue-Cut Sparrow hidden in the back of a noisy tequila bar. Then we had brunch at Kitchen 713, an old favorite in a new location.

- I went to NYC for a Benefit Dinner for work. I still feel really new in my role, so seeing how an organization like mine brings all event elements together was really interesting. I also got to see a lot of my colleagues in person who live in NYC or who also flew in for the event. I fell in love with the Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts from Gregory's Coffee (what is in that? still dreaming about it.) and got to eat Rick Bayless food at the airport in Chicago on my way home. The prickly pear aqua fresca would make a fabulous cocktail, in case you were wondering.

- Andrew and his BBQ partner sold sauces and spice rubs at a church craft fair. I spent an inordinate amount of time creeping on the petting zoo. The piglets were so cute, I vowed to stop eating pork. That lasted less than two weeks, though so far I have only had bacon and sausage; I'm not sure when I'll eat pork chops again.

- I went to New Orleans for a work meeting. There is an awesome place there called W.I.N.O. where you get a card and put it in a machine and can self-serve wine from dispensers in either a taste, half pour, or full pour. By the time I met my coworkers there, they were nearly ready to leave so I didn't get to do as much tasting as I would have liked, but I found out there's a place here in Houston with a similar set-up that I need to go check out. I didn't have much time for good food since the meeting took up most of my time, but the hotel restaurant was a John Besh restaurant, and I have been wanting to eat his food for a long time, so at least I got to do that (Luke at the Hilton on St. Charles. I had a fried chicken biscuit and some amazing savory grits).

- U2 was scratched off my concert bucket list! A long time ago, Andrew and I talked about artists that we would have to see in concert if they came through Houston. U2 was on it, so when The Joshua Tree tour was announced, he used his ticket ninja skills to get us tickets (he has the best luck with Ticketmaster; it's truly a gift). We got there when doors opened to get a good spot since we opted for general admission floor seats and it was worth it to see such a great show up close. The stage was phenomenal, but I don't know that I need to see the band again. I'm so glad I got to once, though. And, The Lumineers opened and were fantastic - this was my second time to see them live and I liked it more than the first.

- I almost got another cat. I have wanted another cat for so long, but since Bauer has medical problems and can be expensive and is also kind of a jerk, Andrew doesn't fully support this. But, I was out walking Duncan one day and he pulled harder than usual toward a tree. The tiniest grey kitten was under it, all alone and crying. At the same time, a woman and her son came walking toward us and I asked if they happened to be looking for a kitten. They weren't, but the little boy was about eight and started giving his mom a hard sell on the cat even though she said they couldn't take it. I couldn't leave the poor thing there, so I called Andrew to bring the carrier and started dreaming up names. I picked up the cat and fell in love at first sight (even though it hissed and tried to scratch me) but then passed it to the mom and her son. He was so persistent that they agreed to keep it. I was a little sad, but happy the kitty had a home since I'm traveling a lot in the next few weeks and it isn't an ideal time to get a new family member.

I'm sure there's more, but those are the highlights! I especially wanted to talk about the food since I feel like my online persona hasn't been much about eating or drinking lately, despite my username. What's new with you?

Linking up with Kristen and Gretch.