Category Archives: Writing

Bringing Your Attention to a New Feature…

About a month ago, my mom asked if I had ever considered including some sort of index on my blog where people could easily locate recipes that I have posted.

I’ve been hesitant to do this. Partially because I still have some adolescent resistance to doing things my parents suggest, even if it’s something I had thought of myself.

Mainly, though, it’s because I don’t see this as a food blog. It’s a mix of things that I’m interested in sharing, and as it turns out, a lot of the time, I’m interested in food.  (Probably because, as busy as grad school can get, I still have to eat.)  But I have absolutely no culinary training.  I’m completely inconsistent in the format I use to share recipes.  In fact, a lot of the time, I just include a link to the original recipe.  And the meals that I post that are my original creations are very loose and most certainly have not been tested beyond, “This is what I made for dinner and this is what I think I remember about how I did it.”

I like to think of it as being reflective of how I would converse with friends about cooking- sharing recipes, ideas, and improvisations. But the benefit of a blog is that it’s like having all of these conversations archived and available to refer back to.  And having an index certainly makes that easier.

So, now you can find all the recipes and I’ve ever talked about right here, and there’s a handy Recipe Index tab on the home page.  You can thank my mom.

 

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Wise Words From Myself, Six Years Ago

Last January, my sister (who is far more organized and on top of things than I am) volunteered her time on a Saturday to be my moral support while I worked on cleaning out our office.  By moral support, I mean that she helped me from getting too distracted, or rewarding thirty minutes of work with a three-hour “break”.  And thanks to her guidance, one year ago, we had a functioning office where I could sit by the window and read, work on the computer, or clear out enough space on the desk to do some painting.

One year later, the reading chair has a two-foot-tall pile of books and random stuff on it, I choose to use my laptop in the living room, and while there technically is room to paint, the overall clutter and dust (oh, the dust…) makes it a less-than-inspiring space.  About the dust- the office unfortunately also serves as the home for the litter boxes (joys of apartment living).  Thus this room accumulates dust about 20 times faster than the rest of our apartment.  I try to keep up with it, but once the chair got reclaimed as a clutter receptacle in the fall, there was less motivation to enter that room for any reason other than cleaning the litter boxes.

I really didn’t intend to tell you all that. This is not supposed to be about my disorganization and questionable cleaning skills.

What it is supposed to be about is the fact that I do enjoy office cleaning and organization because of all the fabulous things I find. Today I decided to make some effort to get the room back in order.  So far, I have found the following:

  • a lock that Nick gave me two years ago so that I could safely stow my laptop while at school.  Only this past fall when I started teaching did I really feel a need for it, and of course at that point I could not find it.  And somehow between now and then I created a false memory that Nick asked if he could use it for something. (I have no idea what. Sorry, Nick.)
  • an X-acto knife that has been missing for several months but I gave up on because I created a false memory that Nick broke it and promised to buy me another one.  (Seriously, Nick, I’m really sorry. Don’t worry, I didn’t hold it against you.)
  • a book that one of my favorite friends gave me for Christmas several years ago. This wasn’t necessarily lost, but anytime something reminds me of Katie it makes me happy.
  • a card that another friend/former coworker gave me when we were both leaving our jobs.
  • a journal with two entries, presumably when I was wanting to start a new journal, perhaps one that focused more on personal growth instead of boyfriends. (Note- I have since returned to writing in the latter, about 4-5 times a year.  I’m happy to say there is a good balance between talk about personal growth and husband, but not boyfriends.)

The first entry is from November 2006, just after I graduated with my masters degree in psychology, got my nose pierced, and started what would be almost nine months of temping in the legal department of a national food distributor while searching for a “real job”.  The nose piercing lasted just about as long as the temp job- on the first day of orientation for my real job, I was quickly informed that the piercing had to go.

Anyway, this first entry is a list of goals, not unsimilar to about 100 lists I have made since then:

11/21/06   Things I Want to Work Toward:

  • Painting on a regular basis (That coming year I definitely did. Since then… well, see above about the office.)
  • Writing more often (Oh honey, I don’t think you meant scholarly papers, but yeah… you’re writing more often, trust me.)
  • Reviewing Spanish (Does our honeymoon in Mexico count?)
  • Finally reading the wine textbook I have (That hasn’t happened. I think it’s in a box in the basement. Also, you’ll be shocked to know that your wine consumption has decreased greatly.)
  • Reading more. (Not always, but probably averaging more books/year now.)
  • Taking care of myself: less time at the computer, more time outdoors or exercising; cooking more and eating less pre-prepared foods (Let’s start with the good news: cooking more and eating better? Yes, absolutely. Unless you’re talking about during finals. The computer vs. outdoors and exercise thing is still a constant challenge.)
  • Starting to review for the GRE’s in case I want to take them next year (Well, you don’t take them until 2009, but I can tell you that you rocked them.)
  • Continue expanding my social circle and maintain the positive friendships I have right now (Some of the friends are the same, some that seemed positive at the time really were not. And you’ve accumulated some amazing newer friends since then, too.)

The second, and final entry:

2/7/07

Enjoy right now. Enjoy having a job you don’t care about because it means you’re not tied down. You can take a day off in the middle of the week and sleep in, have a late lunch with a best friend and a bottle of wine.

(Yeah, that probably was not the best idea.)

Enjoy not feeling pressured to find someone to date and being content to be at home on a Saturday night. Enjoy knowing what’s ahead of you: A great job or an experience at another school;

(Done and done.)

A man (or a woman) who makes you forget the one who got away;

(Yes. Well, the man part. The woman part never happened, but nice to know I was open to possibilities.)

Fantastic trips and adventures that you can only imagine right now.

(Some, but still imagining others.)

Inevitably, there will be a time 5, 10, 20 years from now that you miss where you are in this moment. So enjoy it. Embrace the challenge (ok, fear) of barely living paycheck to paycheck. Embrace not having anyone else to worry about and getting to do exactly what you want to do. For the first time you’re checking off the things on your to-do list. And constantly finding new things to add.

It concludes with some cheesiness marveling about how it had been four years since I turned 21 and how time moves so quickly. Oh, 25-year-old Sarah, you have no clue. But despite that, you had some admirable ideas and aspirations. It’s good to see I haven’t let you down.

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Filed under Family, Life, Love, My Crazy Mind, Writing

Versatile Blogger Award, Third Round of Nominations (finally)

Remember back in January when I was excited to announce that I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award? And how I quickly posted the first ten nominations?  And then… things happened.  There was The Cleanse, and then school started, and finding the time to think about the last five blogs to nominate got a lot tougher.

But now I’m enjoying spring break, and finally had some time to think about this.  So, I am happy to share with you five more terrific blogs:

Sarah’s Place.  I’m always wary when I encounter other women named Sarah (although not as wary as when I encounter women named Sara).  I think I hold Sarahs up to higher standards than I have for most people, as I don’t like to share a name with people who don’t seem awesome.  So when I say that this Sarah is an awesome person with an awesome blog, you can be sure that I mean it.  To begin, she loves Bon Appetit magazine as much as I do.  And despite being a self-proclaimed “professional worrier,” she bravely tackles recipes that I find incredibly intimidating.  I mean, she made Raviolo Al’Uovo, which requires nestling uncooked eggs yolks into ravioli dough during assembly.  I was impressed.  This is not just a food blog- Sarah also covers her travels and creative pursuits outside the kitchen.  Her photos, and the blog layout itself, are beautiful, too.

Ordinary To Extraordinary.  The subtitle for this blog is “Live Inspired” and I can confirm that this will inspire you.  Micheline and Amy, whose families share a farm, pour so much enthusiasm into their posts about that it’s difficult for me not to feel completely energized after reading their blog.  Whether they are organizing spices or redecorating a chicken coop (because chickens enjoy some color just as much as the rest of us do), these ladies absolutely turn ordinary into extraordinary.  If you’ve ever wondered about repurposing a fruit bowl as a lighting fixture, or how to turn newspapers into a stunning dress, this is the blog for you.  And be sure to check out the Gallery with Micheline’s beautiful artwork.

Awesomely Awake.  I love reading parenting blogs.  While this might make Nick a little nervous, I can assure you that this is a completely (or almost completely) scholarly pursuit.  As someone who is studying child development, and particularly how parent-child interactions and play can promote development, it is so inspiring to read about real-life parents who encourage playful learning and meaningful exchanges with their children.  And what I like about Shawn, the writer behind Awesomely Awake, is that she does so in a way that seems doable for busy families (says the grad student with no kids), and that she comes across as a mindful, supportive, and fun parent.  But beyond my interest in this from a purely academic perspective, I think Shawn’s messages and ideas can be applied towards being more present in any type of relationship, or aspect of our lives.

Sydney’s Kitchen. Sydney is amazingly prolific.  It seems like she posts a new, delicious recipe every day.  There are lots of wonderful baked goods (my weakness), such as Mocha Eclairs and Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread.  But she balances it out with plenty of savory dishes, many of which are healthy, with clean, bright flavors, like Seared Scallops and Shrimp with Avocado Mousse and Jalapeno Sauce, which I cannot wait to try.  Plus, she has her own video demonstrations and a page full of bread trouble-shooting tips.  Whenever I finally find the courage and time to get into bread-making, I will definitely be relying on Sydney as a great resource!

Attempts in Domesticity.  I just discovered this blog, but it immediately became one of my favorites.  I was sucked in by the great titles- “Chicken for Procrastinators”, “Why I Think Farro is the Shit” but it didn’t take long for me to realize this is a blog I need to follow.  This writer and I clearly share some common ground in food interests, as she’s made the same kale and brussels sprouts salad that I made for Thanksgiving, and admits to being tempted to eat spoonfuls of pesto, which is a temptation I have definitely given into.  Did I mention that she has cats?  And threw a bee-themed “bee-day” party?  She just started writing in December, but already has a ton of great posts, and I can’t wait to see what she’s going to cook next!

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Versatile Blogger Award, Part Two

For information about the VBA in general, and my first five nominations, go here.

My next round of nominations:

eat. love. journey. cure.  Angie is a first-year medical student.  Even though med school is an entirely different experience than the program I’m in, it’s always nice to read about the ups and downs of a fellow graduate student.  She also happens to love food, so clearly Angie gets some bonus points there.  Mainly, she made this list because whenever I read her blogs, it’s hard for me not to smile. She is incredibly positive, but doesn’t hold back when she’s not feeling so happy.  And I’ll admit it: as a brand-new 30-something settled down with a husband, I like living vicariously through someone in their early 20’s.

A Glossy LifeOkay, yes, Abby is one of my close friends, which is why I know of her blog, but it absolutely is one of my favorites and always inspires me to bring more style into my life, whether it be clothes, stationary, or table settings.  Abby is the only person I know who can convince me that yellow is ever an attractive color or can refurbish a $1 footstool with $10 of materials and have it look awesome.  My favorite part?  While there are the occasional “let’s drool over this $3000 sofa” moments, this is a blog for people whose budgets don’t include lamps that cost more than their rent.

The Itty Bitty Kitty CommitteeCats!  Lots of them!  Especially little ones!  In photos that are cute without being too cute.  (You know what I mean, right?  There’s not an overabundance of pink or wicker.)  But Laurie doesn’t just post endless cute photos of kitties for the sake of cuteness.  These are real kitties, looking for real homes.  Laurie does what I would love to be able to do one day- she fosters kittens until they are matched with a good family.  It’s pretty amazing to me that someone can give these kittens a place to live and lots of love (and awesome names) and be able to give them up when they find a forever home.  It’s a good thing I don’t live near Seattle, where Laurie and the kitties are located.  Otherwise, I’d probably be trying to convince Nick that Bailey and Matilda need another sibling.

The Moonlight Baker. I want my food photographs to look like The Moonlight Baker’s photos.  And I want to eat every single thing she has baked.  I also absolutely love her writing.  I hate to make a big deal out of someone’s age, but I was absolutely shocked when I realized that she is a college freshman and started this blog when she was in high school.  Since starting college, Kim (aka the The Moonlight Baker) hasn’t been blogging as much, which is quite understandable. Kim, wait until grad school to spend too much time on your blog.  In the mean time, I look forward to whenever you do find the time to share your delicious recipes!

stresscake. So I think we can all agree that the name alone is deserving of acknowledgement.  I think I first stumbled across Kathy’s blog when I was helping Nick search for fancy humburger roll recipes and her pretzel roll recipe popped up in Google.  Her Christmas cookie endeavors make my own look like … well, a much smaller-scale endeavor.  And I should hope so- she is a professionally-trained pastry chef.  Yet she presents recipes in a way that seem totally doable for the rest of us, along with lots of helpful tips.  So many things to add to my “to-bake” list, whether I’m stressed or not.

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Versatile Blogger Award! (Part 1)

On New Year’s Day I woke up, grabbed the laptop, and crawled back into bed to check my email.  There was the usual assortment of Groupons, sales at Banana Republic, and emails from my dad with links to New York Times articles.  Among all these was a notification from a fellow Word Press blogger who was kind enough to nominate me for the Versatile Blogger Award!  What a great way to start off the new year!

I had heard of this before, but I wasn’t entirely sure what it entails.  Fortunately another VBA winner started a blog with the guidelines for accepting your nomination.  Basically I need to nominate 15 other bloggers and then share 7 things about myself.

First though, I want to thank In Her Chucks for nominating me.  In addition to being the mom of a beautiful little girl, In Her Chucks manages to create amazing-looking meals, often taking advantage of the produce that she gets delivered weekly (which has further encouraged me to think about doing the same thing).  Really, she had me at Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.  Beets?  In cake??  Brilliant!

So now, the first five nominations:

Annie’s Cooking Lab.  This morning when I received my daily blog subscriptions and saw Annie’s recipe for Cookies ‘n Cream Popcorn, I remembered why I had been intending to include her in this list.  She offers delicious recipes for lots of baked goods and vegetarian meals, all with the help of her faithful sidekick and yellow lab, Boomer. I’ll admit that the picture of Boomer with the cupcakes is what first drew my attention to the blog.  His intent gaze towards the cupcakes reminds me very much of our late black lab-Dalmatian mix (whose name, coincidentally, was Annie).

Most Likely To Marry.  Tammy’s blog, which focuses on her marriage, is wonderfully honest.  As a newcomer to marriage, I really appreciate how upfront Tammy is about struggles that she and her husband have encountered, and what has worked for them. The fact that she manages to be open about all aspects of marriage, including sex, without creeping over into exhibitionism is something I admire.

Movita Beaucoup. Not everyone can meld well-written recipes with beautiful photographs and an awesome sense of humor.  Movita can.  She also holds Gingerbread House competitions on her blog, which is pretty darn cool.  I like interactive blogs.  And as I was just scanning her impressive list of recipes  (there are a lot!) I’m thinking I’ll be revisiting the list in a couple weeks after this food cleanse is over.

Spite or Flight. I know I’ve mentioned Ashley’s blog before, but she absolutely deserves to be on the list.  She cooks delicious-looking things, makes beautiful-looking things, and tells hilarious stories.  My favorites are the ones about her mother.  She is another person on this list who is open about rather personal things (I mean, the tagline of her blog is “One woman’s tales of baby-making, joblessness, and eating too much”) but never strays over to where you think, “Uh, is this really something you want to be broadcasting to anyone with an internet connection?”

The Surfing Pizza. If you’re ever around first thing in the morning and hear me laughing out loud, it’s probably because I’ve just received an email with a new blog entry from The Surfing Pizza.  I was first introduced to the Surfing Pizza when his Thanksgiving, Third Grade Lunch Style was freshly pressed. And I was sold after reading about his honeymoon in Disney World.  Thank you, Surfing Pizza, for making me laugh and the numerous, “Oh, I remember that!” moments.

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A Blogging Challenge …. and a (Revised) Yoga Challenge

According to my friend Ashley, today is the beginning of National Blog Posting Month (or, NaBloPoMo, for those of you who like fancy acronyms…. Is it still an acronym if it’s shortened words, rather than one letter from each word?)  Ashley and I were not close friends in high school, but I remember her being pretty hilarious.  And thanks to the wonders of Facebook, it’s been confirmed that she is still hilarious and has excellent taste in television shows, as well as some impressive print- and magnet-making skills.  Check out her blog, Spite or Flight.  If you don’t laugh, there is something wrong with you.

Anyway, I haven’t looked into the specifics of National Blog Posting Month but I do like the idea of trying to get myself to write everyday.  I had actually considered using today as a starting point for trying to do yoga every day for a month, but that seems to have been derailed (more about that in a moment).   So, instead I’ll try writing every day.

Awkward pause….

Oh right, what’s my excuse for backing out of my daily yoga challenge?  Well, I am just about six weeks away from turning 30, and it looks like my body decided to celebrate early by giving me the gift of back pain.  I have no idea what I did this morning, but after powering through an hour  of data collection this morning (which involved sitting about 10 inches off the ground in those tiny chairs made for 4-year-olds), I retreated home to take Advil, cuddle up with an ice pack, and see if Nick would be willing to do my laundry for me.  It’s a good thing I’m able to do lots of reading and stats homework on my couch, so I can still feel productive.

Now I know there are a lot of yoga positions that probably will help my back, so I am not writing off yoga completely.  The revised challenge?  I will try to do at least some stretching and breathing exercises every day this month.  If I am able to do more than that, awesome.  If not, that’s okay.  For me, one of the biggest struggles with exercising is just making the time to do it.  By building in a chunk of time where I’m focusing on taking care of my body, I’m taking a step in the right direction.  And now I’ve told all of you that I’m doing this, so I’m stuck with it.  The fact that I’ve also just committed myself to writing every day conveniently forces me to check in.  So, we’ll see how this goes!

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