Thursday, February 22, 2018

thursday list

A list because that is what I could come up with.

1) I have come to realize that I love local coffee shops a possibly unnatural amount. But, if you are going to put me in a new city (and give me a per diem if I'm working) and um, I need coffee daily anyway, why should I settle for crappy hotel coffee or Starbucks? Over the weekend I took a quick trip to Austin with Andrew and had lots of time to myself so I checked out two. Fleet Coffee Co. is a tiny place in East Austin that thinks really highly of itself - they had a gingersnap drink with gingersnap-infused milk that sounded amazing for a whopping $6.50 - but I still enjoyed my slightly lower-priced vanilla juniper latte (housemade syrup is my favorite). On Sunday, I went to Mazama Coffee Co. in Dripping Springs and basically fell in love - it was insanely cheap, had homemade baked goods with three lemon-blueberry options (heart eyes), and my lavender latte was delightful. And, it had a kid-free zone and as the person who always has a play date park next to her when she is trying to get work done, I loved that. (No offense, moms. Y'all have as much of a right as I do, but sometimes when the coffee shop is large and seating is plentiful, it's just like, Really?)

2) I have nothing new to add to the Parkland conversation but it has taken my attention and thoughts over the past week. The students are incredible and the NRA is the literal worst. If a teacher is willing to take a bullet for their students, then more power to them and they are amazing human beings; however, this should not be an expectation placed on them. They have families and lives, too, and are humans who might run. Forcing guns into classrooms is about the worst idea I have ever heard.

3) On a similar note, it's time to early vote in Texas. Houstonians, get your guide here and remember that your polling place is determined by your registered party, so do your homework!

4) I deactivated facebook last week. I don't feel that I have gotten time back from doing so - I just find other distractions instead - but it has saved me the headache of misguided gun conversations this week. I was tempted to re-activate tonight but realized that my sanity is worth more than creeping on people I must not like enough to keep up with any other way.

5) I think our first Brunch and Bujo was in August and we have had one every month since, with one coming up on Sunday. I really do look forward to them, especially when they force me to be an extrovert. And I say our but really Bre does all the work and has all the friends. I mostly just remind her that the end of the month is coming and commit to showing up.

6) I've really been trying to up my dinner game. I get tired of the same foods on repeat and want to be healthy-ish. I also love making a meal that will last for two nights so I only have to cook half the time. This week, I made spinach and ricotta stuffed shells (after a weekend of BBQ, a vegetarian meal sounded great, even if it wasn't low-fat) and shredded harissa chicken. The first night with the chicken, we had it with couscous (from a box), cucumber, tzatziki (pre-made), and marinated chickpeas (used this recipe as a guide but subbed in a lot of dry spices because lazy) and for the second night, I got stuff for a Greek salad but we have leftovers of nearly everything so I'm not sure what we'll do. What is it about seeing what other people are eating that is always interesting?

7) I should have saved the above for Add It To My List, which we are bringing back because we like it and a few others do, too. It will be the most un-linkup ever in the case that I will not promise to comment anywhere as that is my blogging downfall, but I do like to see what people want to share. It will be on the last Tuesday of the month which is this Tuesday, the 27th. And now you know.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

books lately: 2018 so far

I've read a string of great books so I want to talk about them. I read at least one that was so-so but I don't even feel like talking about it.

What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen: Loved this book so much that it inspired its own post. I keep thinking about it. While there was so much I couldn't relate to, I loved the way the info was presented and the themes throughout.

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination: This was a college commencement speech that JK Rowling gave some time ago in book form. If you need a graduation gift, grab it. Really compact, uplifting book for someone standing on the edge of adulthood. You can read it in less than a half hour.

Sourdough: I've never read a Robin Sloan book before, so I had no idea that magical realism was waiting for me. It was realistic enough to keep me interested but the fantasy element made it kind of weird and fun. Basically, a woman who works in the technology industry gets a magical sourdough starter and baking bread takes over her life. It's a fun world with a smart, female character who had no romance that was completely unlike anything I've ever read. I want to read more by the author.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: I saw a preview for a movie called Love, Simon that just seemed like it stemmed from a book I would enjoy and here we are. It was a cute YA book whose characters I liked and a world I enjoyed spending time in - kind of the way I felt when I read Dumplin'. If you like young love and pen pals and teenagers worth rooting for, add this one to your list. I'll probably even watch the movie.

Little Fires Everywhere: Everyone seems to love this book and so did I. Everything I Never Told You (same author) was my first-ever audiobook, so this author holds a special place to me. I waited forever to get this from the library and it was worth it. I like reading books set in the recent past (1997) so that some things that technology would alleviate today aren't options. I like twisty family stories and the omniscient way that Celeste Ng's stories are written. I loved how people's intentions were examined, but I wanted more about Moody and all four kids' upbringing. It was also one of those stories where I would have loved more of an epilogue. But, overall, I loved the many directions it went, the writing, the setting, and the way it all unfolded. If you don't mind a book where there isn't a lot of action, it's a great one.

That's it. If you loved any of these, let's chat!

Linking up with Steph and Jana because these books are worth having a conversation about.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

on my mind

I made a goal for myself to write two posts per week for the month of January and only missed my last one last week, so not too bad. I like making writing a habit, and getting outside of my head and forcing myself to really think through what I feel and why. Even if it's as simple as recommending a TV show, isn't it nice to consider the why, at least sometimes?

Between twitter and instagram stories and one-on-one communication, I can never remember who knows what anymore. If you know me in real life, you know I have a tendency to repeat myself (sorry - my memory is just that bad) so for all of my virtual friends, consider any repeats in this post part of the "knowing me in real life" experience.

I'm going to Vegas tomorrow for a bachelorette party. I'm excited to eat at Lotus of Siam (called the best Thai place in the U.S. Andrew and I went over the summer and it was great), see the Michael Jackson ONE Cirque du Soleil, and of course visit my beloved Bellagio Fountains (it's where Andrew and I got engaged). Of course, I'm stressed about what to wear even though my rational side knows that anything goes. I bought this $20 dress on Amazon and thanks to instagram stories, it was determined to be Vegas appropriate. It has thick material, I think I can wear a regular bra with it (paperclipped in the back to be racerback), and it's super flattering.

Andrew and I are celebrating a dozen years together this month! Our first date was February 11th (right?) and we went to a sports bar. The Olympics were on in the background. This year, we are both pretty busy on weekends so we celebrated this past weekend with dinner at Nancy's Hustle. It's a really unassuming restaurant - more hipster than casual - but some of the dishes we have tried are going to make my personal Houston must-have list. The burger is so good, we nearly ordered two - something we never do. It's got the textures and flavors down perfectly. They serve Nancy cakes, which are small, savory pancakes with whipped butter and trout roe. I was weirded out about the trout roe but I decided to just try it and honestly... it was totally fine. We have also gotten the chocolate souffle on both visits and it's perfectly rich yet still tastes like chocolate. I love a good meal in an unfussy place where I can just show up and chat with my husband.

I've been working on feeling better about me, and this has meant using My Fitness Pal and going to the gym. My Fitness Pal hasn't been too bad - I give myself a cheat meal once a week and some grace on the weekends (like, I did not count every tortilla chip I ate during the Super Bowl but I know that a serving size was 12 and I think I stayed in that area). I ate spaghetti squash for the first time and it was really good! The gym is still terrible. My neighborhood has a nice facility I already pay for, so I have been going there and reading on the treadmill. Probably not the best workout, but it has been getting me there. I think next week, I'll try a trial of Aaptiv (anyone tried it?) and if that still doesn't work, look into some class options. But those are expensive and I'm a quitter.

The Super Bowl happened. I didn't care who won this year as long as Andrew's fantasy football team did well since it's for money. The ads were meh, but this NY Giants fan house l-o-v-e-d the Eli/Beckham Dirty Dancing commercial. I was pretty excited for Justin Timberlake's halftime show but thought it was overall underwhelming. Then again, I feel like as a collective, our expectations for what a 15 minute performance should be are pretty sky high and I don't know what would have made it better or I expected to see. That said, I kind of give Justin a pass. However, this popped up in my twitter feed about "why Justin Timberlake is trash" and I gotta say.... a lot of it has print/video to back it up and he kind of seems like a garbage human when you look at all of that together. Now that we see so many men in the media are awful, where do we draw the line? When will we look the other way, and when do we say no more? Do we ever accept the "yeah, but he's changed" argument? How do we accept that we are all different and able to have our own set of values while only supporting things that mostly align with what we hold dear? Who knew Justin Timberlake would cause me this level of self-examination?

And now I need to make the long commute upstairs to get to work. I love working from home.