16 October 2013


You might recall that I recently celebrated a pretty big birthday. As part of the celebration I created my ultimate 30th birthday wish list and included some crazy out of control items. Unfortunately, I didn't get that sailboat but I did get a glam necklace, some new kicks, a perfect potted plant, and the watch that I really wanted. I have the greatest family ever and really did celebrate a truly fantastic day that I will forever be grateful for. And I'm lucky to be grateful for so much more.

That blingin' watch that my kid sister got for me doesn't just help me look even more superfly than I normally do, it also helps the world in a little way by contributing 100 meals to the United Nations World Hunger Programme. Today is World Food Day and in an effort to promote the cause and help hungry people around the world, Michael Kors and the World Hunger Programme have teamed up once again. By flashing my wrist around on the interwebs, I'm helping out too and that makes me feel mighty good. Heaven knows I wouldn't even have a food blog if I didn't have food. Food is my passion and it makes me sad to think that there are people out there who aren't able to indulge and enjoy the way I am able to. Every little bit counts in the fight to end world hunger, education and promotion is important. So do what you can, even if it's just to take a moment to be reflective of what you have, and watch hunger stop.

12 October 2013

one week in... and banana bread

I wanted to wake up early to send nice, encouraging messages to some of my friends who ran in the Baltimore Running Festival today, but then I realized it was Saturday and that I ran my own 5k a week ago and that I haven't slept in in about a month. So I slept until 8:51AM, lazied downstairs, and made some banana bread. Better late than never - Michelle, Rachel, Jaime and Meg, I hope y'all stayed dry and ran like the wind!

Well, I've been 30 for a whole week now and what a week it's been. I had one of the most wonderful and happy birthdays I've had in a very very long time. I started out by waking up extra early for my big 5k, a banana and some coconut water for breakfast, running shoes on, Britney pumping through my headphones, and I was off. Would you believe I finished that race in my best time ever? Because I totally did! Even though there were moments when I thought to myself 'Ugh, I hate this, I just want to walk; why are there so many people around grr grumble grumble' I kept on truckin' and finished those 3.1 miles in 27 minutes and 9 seconds, coming in 121st place! That's pretty damn awesome among over a thousand runners (441 of whom were timed like me,) especially since it was my very first 5k. Afterwards I enjoyed what Honey cleverly referred to as a Runner's Mimosa - 1 can of sparkling white wine and a fresh orange - before heading out to a giant, delicious, waterfront brunch of a fried egg and crabcake sandwich with avocado and sriracha on Texas toast with a giant, spicy Bloody Mary on the side.

basking in the glow of completing my first 5k - a healthy happy birthday!

After a long nap (I'm allowed to take naps now since I'm old,) my honey made me the most amazing supper ever - apple brined thick-cut pork chops, spicy bacony collared greens, and a root vegetable mash with thyme and rosemary infused cream. Holy cannoli was it delicious; seriously, the best at-home pork chop I've ever had in my entire life. I'll make him type up the recipes so I can share them because that's the kind of meal that deserves to be shared. After our early supper we headed off the the movie theatre for some 3D IMAX space action. Gravity is the scariest movie I've seen in a long time. Since we got there late the only seats available were in the very front row so it was pretty much like we were drowning in space. My hands were gripping the seat, I jumped a few times, spilled popcorn all over myself (though to be fair, I do that in almost every movie because I'm a popcorn slobollahead.) Go see it. It was terrifying.

you're never too old to make a wish

Home again home again for cake and ice cream and champagne and presents. And not just any cake, a scratch cake! And one that completed the theme of my homemade meal - that everything gets better with age. He whipped up a Caramel Apple Redemption cake. I'd never heard of it before either and thank goodness because I pretty much ate the entire three layer, fluffy, gooey confection on my own. Now that I'm 30 I have an excuse for being an old frump and going to bed early and boy, did I take advantage of that. 11PM bedtime on my bday, yes please! Between the fabulous day of and the wonderful weekend before I can safely say that this was one of my best birthdays yet. Thank you to everyone involved. Let's make sure this year is the best one ever... until 31!

Side note: Even though I didn't sign on for the Baltimore Running Festival today, I did take myself out for a quick little jog through the park which coincidentally is part of the marathon route. So I guess I technically ran part of the marathon. Like, maybe an eighth of a mile or so. And because bananas are good running food, here's that banana bread recipe to get you all pumped and energized - 

perfect for canceling out the calories burned while running
elise's friend heidi's friend mrs. hockmeyer's banana bread 
adapted from simply recipes and spiced up by me
4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 c salted butter, melted
3/4 c dark brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp bourbon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 tsp roasted cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp garam masala
equal sprinklings of cloves, ginger, allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl, stir melted butter into smashed bananas using a wooden spoon. Mix in sugar, egg, vanilla and spices making sure to blend completely.
2. Sprinkle in the baking soda and salt before mixing in. Lastly, mix in the flour being sure to incorporate completely.
3. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack before serving.

05 October 2013

birth day - a special guest post from the one and only Lizzie B

Last night, as I was wrapping up my final ten blog post, I got a call from my mom. After giving me a hard time for not going to bed earlier to ready for the race, then very humbly accepting my praises of her meatballs and jarred tomatoes, she told me that she had an idea. What would I think of having her write up a brief little recap of my birth day to put up as a guest post? I don't think I let the entire thought occur or the words come out of her mouth before saying yes! Of course I would want my wonderful, amazing, brilliant mother to rehash those painfully awful hours of her life. This morning she sent me this email, appropriately titled "Birth day", and I'm sharing it with you here along with the photos she attached. Enjoy:

Dave's timing
It started with a little ache. I was staying at my mom & dad's since Dave worked nights. I was nearly 10 days past my due date. Mom said, it's time, call dave and tell him to come home to be with you, you will be having the baby some time tomorrow afternoon (side note: my grandma was a nurse so she knew things.) He picked me up at about 1AM. We drove home to wait. Three hours later, the ache was more of a pain and Dave, who always follows the rules, started keeping track. He said contractions had to be regular  for a few hours before we were supposed to call the doctor, (we learned this in Lamaze class.) But things were moving too fast to go by the rules, so he called the doctor's service. The doctor called right back and said "Get her to the hospital! You don't wait when the contractions are minutes apart!"

We drove to Princeton Hospital in the MG (another side note: this is an MG,) with the headlights not working and running red lights. They put me in a bed in the labor room. Dave and I tried to get comfortable thinking we'd be there for a long time. You know the drill - not enough centimeters, not dilated, you don't need the doctor yet. Then, before you know it, as any mom will tell you, the next scene is a blur. Dave kept helping me to say "hehehehe heeeeeee" (breathing method,) feeding me ice chips, while I'm screaming "Get this out of me!" Dave is jumping back due to a tidal wave of water gushing out of me, Dave runs for the nurse because - well &*%^$, this baby is in a hurry, and at 9:19AM a little girl came out fast.

The nurse cleaned her up and gave her to Dave. Daddy said "Hi Jillian Lee," I smiled at her and said hi Jillybean.

Oh I love love love her. Jillian may have wanted to hang around inside me extra long, but when she was ready to join us, she moved fast and with a passion. Nothing has changed in 30 years. Happy Birth day to me and to my daughter, Jillian Lee. My friend, thank you for 30 years of adventures. Happy Birthday!

I'll admit this made me all gooey and emotional. Thanks Lizzie B for sharing this story with me and my darling friends. And thanks Daddy-o for getting us to the hospital in one piece. Happy Birth day to us all, indeed! xoxo, bean

hello world, I'm 30!

At this exact moment thirty years ago, I was born.

hey boo

little miss & daddy-o

Thanks Mom & Dad for being absolutely amazing and combining all of your greatest qualities to create me. Thanks to my sister, Tricia for coming along a couple of years later to humble me and be my built-in best friend. Thanks to my extended family for being such an incredible part of my life and being surrogate moms and dads when I was an angsty teenager (alright always) who wouldn't listen to Liz&Dave. Thanks to my Honey (and my Macaroni) for so much more than I can say on the internerd, but mostly for being my best friend. Thanks to all of my friends, old and new, near and far, ever-present and distant, for such a full and wonderfully rich life. I've been so lucky to have been surrounded by such a warm and beautiful universe of people for the past thirty years! And hopefully, if our luck keeps up, we'll find a few more people to drag into our circus.

Here's to us all for making it this far! May we have many happy returns together. I love all of you. But most importantly - Happy 30th Birthday to me!

04 October 2013

the end of an era

time to carbo-load!
Happy birthday eve to me! I'm spending the last Friday evening of my twenties quietly reflecting on the past 29 years of my very eventful life. That's right, rather than going out and partying til four in the morning and relishing in the joys of a new decade, I'm sitting on my couch, blogging, reading, watching my stories, and thinking. Since I've got a pretty big day tomorrow I'm trying to take it easy tonight; so easy that I'm not even treating myself to a glass of wine. What?! You see, my birthday gift to myself is the gift of health wrapped up in the running of my very first 5k tomorrow morning! To prepare for it I'm carbo-loading with a big bowl of spaghetti, spinach, meatballs ala Lizzie B, and sauce with tomatoes and basil from my garden and Mom's. I've got to be sure to get to bed early(ish) tonight so that I'm not terribly tired in the AM but I can't finish this decade without giving you one last update, the final ten essential things that I've got to accomplish before turning 30. Here goes -

not much has changed... at least I know how to use a fork these days.

91. - 94. - This handful of essential things are a little scandalous and I'm pretty sure my grandmother reads this blog. They're about personal, financial or sexy-time kind of things and you'll just need to trust me when I tell you that they've been accomplished and can absolutely be checked off.
95. Dub the "Greatest Hits"from your childhood - I spent all day trying to come up with thirty songs that really capture my childhood. It was way too hard. I didn't really know what years counted as childhood years - was it Disney through Depeche Mode, Raffi to Radiohead, B52s to Bon Iver? I was so confused. So, I came up with a list of thirty songs that really make me feel like a kid when I hear them; songs that hold specific memories of my very much younger days. I present them for your listening pleasure!

96. Be your own muse - Like so many other items on this list, this one did not come easy and it did not come quickly. It's taken me nearly all thirty years of my life to finally find inspiration in myself and it absolutely shouldn't have. I've accomplished so much and been through even more. I not only finished college but I also went on to get my MLIS. I've sang karaoke in three different countries. I've compiled a collection of delicious recipes that I'd be proud to serve at any fancy dinner party. I've got an amazing group of friends and great relationships with everyone in my family. I broke my leg two years ago and tomorrow I'm running a 5k. I am an inspiration and I will be one for myself for all the rest of my years.
#97. Picasso I am not.
97. Draw and frame a self-portrait - Amongst the comic books and dead presidents is an ink drawing of myself. Whether it's accurate or not, it's what I imagine and desire myself to look like from outside my body. A body that...
98. Write a body manifesto - has been through hell and back. I've fought a lot of battles with this meat suit I'm in. I haven't always liked it, in fact I hated it plenty. But in the past couple of years I've found what makes my body tick. I know and care about what I put into it and, with the wisdom of my years I've kind of come to love it. My body is unique just like my personality; there truly is only one me and I want to be the very best me there is. I think I'm finally on the right track and if I can run these 3.1 miles tomorrow, I'll have proven to myself that I really own it. I spent some time tonight to really reflect on myself, mentally, physically and emotionally. I wrote my manifesto and I wrote it for me.
99. Find your religion - I'd be lying if I said I tried them all but I have dipped my toe into many spiritual fountains. About ten years ago my sister gave me a book of various religions, The World's Living Religions by Archie Baum, and I read the heck out it. I wanted to find a religion that catered to all of my own personal beliefs and left me feeling light and connected with the world around me and all of the people in it. I couldn't find one religion in particular that fit the bill to a tee but throughout my spiritual journey I picked up bits and pieces from many that have helped me feel that connection that I desired. I believe that religion is a very personal belief and that, even if you practice one in particular and consider yourself a part of a larger organization, you bring much of yourself and your own identity into it making it unique. Mine is not a religion but a spirituality, a connection, a faith that keeps me hopeful and optimistic about our world and how we all interact with one another in it. Though I like to think that I'm an honorary Jew, a balabusta, and will continue to celebrate the cuisine of the chose people as long as they'll welcome me at their table.
100. Declare your birthday a national holiday - After so many years of ignoring my birthday and playing the martyr, ignoring my age and running away from celebrations, I've decided to take ownership of my big day. October 5th, the most common birthday in the world (where my New Year's babies at?!,) is my own personal New Year's Day. It marks the end of another successful year (I survived it after all) and the beginning of a bright new one. My day is deserving of balloons and sparklers and glitter, confetti and parades, pinatas and toasts because it's mine and that's what I want. So tomorrow, my head will be filed with all of those things as I run across the finish line and venture on into a new decade that will be the greatest one yet!

party on dudes.
And there you have it. All 100 essential things to accomplish before turning 30, done and done! I kind of can't believe I did it but I checked and double checked and everything is done. At 9:19 tomorrow morning I will enter my thirtieth year, a brand new decade, and I cannot wait! I've been looking forward to 30 for as long as I can remember (alright, since I was about 23,) and I know that good thinks are waiting for me. So with spaghetti in my belly and 29 years to reminisce on I leave you for the evening, dear readers, and will see you again in a brand new year!

see you next year!

03 October 2013

thirty years ago...

My mother was ready to pop. I was due on September 25 but I guess I was so comfy that I decided to hang out for a little while longer. My parents are the greatest and I'm pretty sure I get my goofiness from them. Case in point, this picture -

Look at them, Lizzie B in the red polka dot maternity dress and Daddy-o in the grey suit, hamming it up with their friends at a wedding. They are of course, the hammiest of the bunch! I can always count on those two for a laugh. Thanks for making me, Mom and Dad. You guys are pretty rad and I'm glad to have gotten all of your best genes. (Sorry, Tricia. I'm sure I left something for you. wink wink)

the days of my life

Like sands through the hour glass, my time is running out. Seriously, my birthday is going to come and go before I even realize it. A few years ago I forgot how old I was. I had a lot going on in my life at the time and, though I'm pretty sure I must have celebrated somehow, I forgot about the actual number. I hit fast forward and was suddenly 28 instead of 27. It wasn't until my actual 28th birthday was approaching that I realized what I'd done. So for two years when people asked how old I was I replied '28.' Yikes! Well, 30 is a much bigger deal than 27 or 28 in my opinion and with all this hemin' and hawin' I better make an effort to savor every moment of it. Hence, my dirty thirty bday countdown. How am I doing? Let's look to numbers 61 - 90 to see how we're progressing...

#61. these guys! here's an embarrassing picture.
now we're even!
61. Forgive your parents - For what? They never really did anything wrong. Well... Let me take this moment to publicly forgive Lizzie B and Daddy-o for a few things - not letting me play the drums; refusing to let me eat fruit roll-ups and gushers; keeping the house so chilly that Tricia and I would fight over who got to sit on the heater vent, then making us say something nice and hug; not letting me have a kitten because I was "allergic"; letting me get away with all kinds of things I probably shouldn't have gotten away with. Seriously, I jokingly hold a grudge against them for this meaningless list of "wrong-doings" but most of them were actually ok. I have very few cavities, I love my sister a whole lot, I now have a kitty, I'm energy efficient and aware of the value of a chunky sweater in the wintertime, and I've learned a lot from everything I got away with. So there's no real need for them to be absolved of anything. The drums though... I only begrudgingly forgive you for that. 
62. Stop chronic over-apologizing - Sure there are a lot of things I'm sorry about and, when it's necessary and right to apologize to someone because I'm at fault, I will not hesitate to utter those two little words. But there are a lot of things I shouldn't be sorry for and you know what? #sorrynotsorry I'm proud of my accomplishments and I know when I'm in the right so I will not be shamed into saying sorry. I'm sorry, did that sound too mean? Just joshin!
63. Be a dork - Have you met me? Have you been paying attention at all? I let my freak flag fly high and am not ashamed of my dorky, dweeby, nerdy, geeky, or goofy habits and hobbies. I can't help but give Miss Zooey Deschanel credit for introducing the world to the term 'adorkable'. Yup, I like to think that's me to a tee.
#64. life lessons learned from Mean Girls
64. Stop slamming other women - I am very very very anti-bully. I was bullied as an adolescent (at various times and to different severities,) and it led me to be an anxious, self-conscious, and confused lady for a long time. It was awful but I toughed it out. Over time I've grown out of most of my insecurities and I've become the best version of myself; confident and content with who I am but still wanting more in an unselfish way. But it was hard for a long time and I don't want any other woman to feel the way I did. Because of that I refuse to contribute to any conversation that could actively or passively lead to another person, not just women, feel bad about themselves. Stop hating, dissing and envying each other and just be supportive and loving, it's a lot easier.
65. Get waxed down there - TMI but we'll just check that off and move on...
66. Adopt another motherland - So long as it isn't Brazil! (see above) My first solo travel adventure to Spain was incredible. I still plan on spending a year of my life there, even if I have to wait until my 80th birthday to take that plunge. The beautiful countryside, the vibrant cities, the food, the warm and generous people, the culture! That beautiful place stole my heart and I dream of it often, awaiting my return.

#66. viva Espana

67. Tell someone your deepest, darkest secret - It's deep and dark for a reason. You'll just have to trust that it's been told to someone because that someone sure as hell isn't the entire internet!
68. Read your old diaries - How humiliating! I've been keeping a diary since I was in the fourth grade. I remember that first one very well - bought at a stationary store while visiting my grandparents in Chesapeake, VA. It was bound cloth and paper with an antique stamp design and I used multi-colored scented pens to write entries about my earliest crushes, wild ideas of adulthood, plans for my future, fights with my mom and sister, complaints about all manner of inane things, awful school stories, teenage girl poetry, and myriad daydreams. It's funny to look back on them and realize that, though the handwriting and eloquence has changed (drastically,) what I write about hasn't changed too much. I don't know if that's a good thing or not. I've shared bits and pieces with people every once in awhile but I still keep most of what I've written to myself. Maybe one of these days I'll pull out one of my earliest entries and share it for you, dear readers. I can't imagine anything more humbling than that!
69. Have your fortune told - I wanted to have this done in New Orleans but I never got around to it. I did have my tarot cards read when I was in college and that was interesting.  I think that counts.
#70. can you please hand me a tissue?
70. Cry often - Is it strange that I love a good cry? Like anyone else I've had my fair share of usual cries - break-up, wedding, life (funeral or birth,) one too many glasses of wine, fight with a friend, injury, et al. But every once in awhile I just need a good cry to let it all, but nothing in particular out. I've got a few go-to sources for these water works including, but not limited to, sad song playlists, saccharine sweet rom coms, favorite books, and baby animal pictures. I still don't quite understand why baby animal pictures open up my flood gates, but a little donkey with pink casts. I can't, I'm tearing up just thinking about it.
71. Give yourself flowers - I love flowers. Lovelovelove! In my humble opinion, fresh flowers always make a house seem homier and warmer and more welcoming. When I have the cash to splurge I always make sure that there's a little mason jar filled with pretty blossoms on my kitchen table or end table. When the cash isn't flowing, I have been known to snip a street hydrangea or pop some pretty herbs in a bud vase, which actually adds a lovely and natural scent to a room while still being pretty, green and alive. My favorites, in case you wanted to send some my way, are poppies, peonies, tulips and ranunculus. 
72. Stop looking for a soul mate - I'm a self-admitted romantic of the worst kind. I love a good rom-com, love songs make me cry, I love big bold YouTube proposals (though would never want one for myself,) and I yearn for my very own Lloyd Dobler. But I do not believe in soul mates. There are far too many people in this world, it's just a terribly illogical concept. If soul mates existed that means that most people are settling for something less than that because they've never traveled the world or met millions of people and it's hard to believe that your one-and-only is found as conveniently as they typically are. Seriously, having to live through a bunch of internet dates before finding someone you love is not a lifelong quest to find your other half nor is it that inconvenient (unless you're a Charlotte and no one I know wants to be the Charlotte.) There are many opportunities to love and, if you're lucky, you find an out of this world love that works for you and only you and that's what really matters.

#72. Wild, wonderful, lose yourself, unconditional love is not the same as soul mates. 
73. Give props to a teacher - After I successfully passed my first few college Lit courses, I sent a thank you note to Mr. Schultz, the greatest teach I've ever had. Seriously, I don't know that I would have found my direction had it not been for his instruction. Thanks again Mr. Schultz! You were truly amazing and I'm grateful for everything you taught me.
74. Learn how not to be a flake - I can't take total credit for this as it's actually Lizzie B's doing. She always made sure I was ready and waiting (oftentimes sitting patiently on the bottom step,) when someone was coming to pick me up or meet me for something. Now I'm always the one waiting on other people and lateness/flakiness is something I don't tolerate very well. I will always be on time for everything.
75. Be notorious for something / 76. Bounce back / 77. Develop a Plan B - This is a pretty personal one for me so I won't go into too much detail. This also kind of goes hand in hand with #37 to some extent. I thought I had a plan and I did my very best to follow through with that plan. Needless to say, unfortunately or fortunately, it didn't work out exactly as I'd hoped. But I learned a lot - about myself, about love, about life, about relationships and expectations - from that experience and I think I'm slightly better for it. Did it have to go down the way it did for me to become who I am? Probably not but that's life, right? C'est la vie - #28. What matters is that I did come back from it with a lot of knowledge and experience and new ideas about how I believe my life is meant to be lived. It wasn't immediate, it wasn't easy, it just was. And although those experiences haven't been forgotten just yet, they're fading in the distance of my very bright future.
78. Buy a kick-ass mattress / 79. Build a raging campfire - I can't say that I've done either of these things myself but I'm checking those off because I've found a honey that's done them for me. I had a pretty rad mattress but his was bigger (fit for a Queen,) so when we moved in together it was his that we kept. Though I bought the box spring for it so that kind of counts. As for the raging campfire, how about a bonfire on the banks of the East River at 5AM? Sure it resulted in a ticket for trespassing and a visit to court but it makes for a good story. Plus we got out of the fine for being so adorably romantic and in love; also, we ate delicious Russ & Daughters bagel sandwiches for breakfast after our early morning judgement!
80. Read: Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, MD - I didn't read this but I did read The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan and I think that it was an important and educating lady book so I'm checking this off anyway. I'll put the other one on my reading list and be sure to read it by 31.
#81. Brian & Jillian, BFFL
81. Track down your best friend from kindergarten - Thanks to Facebook this isn't that hard to do, you can keep in touch and stay in contact with everyone you've ever known. Also, thanks to the fact that our grandmothers were bridge buddies, our moms have been friends forever, and our birthdays are just about a month off, we're still pretty close. We're almost like brother and sister, really. Hey Brian, I hope you're taking notes because the big 3-0 is just around the corner for you!
82. Jettison your "skinny" jeans / 83. Give yourself a make-under - I'm pretty sure this is called Sunday.
84. Tie a few knots - I can thank Honey for this one, too. Though he can tie his own tie (Catholic school,) and loads of other knots (Eagle Scout,) I've watched him enough to get the gist of it. I'm also unbelievably good at untying knots. I think this is a result of my mop top of kinky curls. Double check for this one!
85. Negotiate for something expensive - I once found the most beautiful vintage fancy cocktail dress, almost a ball gown but tea length. It was so stunning but about three sizes too small (you know how vintage sizes work.) Well, even though it didn't fit my busty, chubby ass I wanted it. But not only did the garment not quite fit, the price was a little too big for my ittybitty wallet. So I bargained for it and I got it! Now my shape has shrunk, my wallet has grown and I wear my fancy dress around to bars every once in awhile just for the heck of. I'm fancy, huh!
86. Perfect your AM stretch - I've learned from my cat, Macaroni the joys of a good, long stretch when you first start moving. Mmmm I love a nice reach in the morning, after a workout, even while standing at the counter making supper. I should go to yoga more often.
87. Stock an emergency disaster kit - My emergency disaster kit contains wine, beef jerky, candy, a deck of cards and a good book. My much more prepared and realistic honey is better about this than me and makes sure we have fire starters, tools, knot skills, food, water, camping supplies, a bow, etc. It's that Eagle Scout instinct, I guess. However, I'm the one with the entertainment!
88. Escape creeps and kick criminal ass - I've fallen in with the wrong crowd before. I've gone places I probably shouldn't have. I've been robbed. I am aware of the many bad things that can happen to people in this unpredictable world. I've never taken a self defense class before, but I'd be lying if I told you that being able to stand up for myself and hold my ground wasn't part of my motivation for getting shape. And now I can beat honey at arm wrestling... well, thumb wrestling at the very least.
89. Research your family's medical history - Now that I have health insurance (#31) I finally have a regular doctor. But until now, I've had to visit clinics and residency programs and hospitals to get my bumps and bruises fixed up. That meant filling out new forms every time I had the slightest of sniffles. Because of that, I'm pretty familiar with the medical woes my family has faced.
90. Get over yourself - I am not perfect. I am not the most beautiful person in the world. I have flaws. All I can do is strive to be my most perfect self and be a positive part of the lives surrounding me. I'll tease about my awesomeness, but I'm well aware that there are millions of people in this world far more intelligent and earth-shattering than me, making differences that I've never even considered. Be the change you wish to see in the world is some pretty good life advice. I try to think of that often. Also, by being kind, humble and gracious the world can be a more loving and beautiful place to exist. I want to live in that world.

Ten more list checks and two more days. Tick tock tick tock.

02 October 2013

bringing back(wards) an old trend

Fashion. I like to think that I'm pretty good at it and that, after thirty years, I've finally settled on a style that's all my own. It hasn't always been easy for me to look good or feel good about what I was wearing; those of you who were also born in the early 80s might understand what I mean. I went through a Punky Brewster phase before I wore a lot of hats and sunflowers a la Blossom, then I was a chubby middle schooler in the mid-nineties with baggy everything topped off with some flannel, evolving into a really uncomfortable chubby teen who couldn't squeeze into the microfashions of mall chain stores, gradually evolving into the early aughts punk and glam vision studded with vintage duds and ripped tights, before I finally settled into my current look. 

What is that look? Classically chic with a peppering of preppy. Think Audrey, Katherine, Jackie with a little pop of Ann Margaret. I would like to be able to look at a picture of myself and not be able to attach a date stamp to it (yes, I'd also like to be ageless.) I've learned when to cloak my curves and when to shake what my mama gave me. I know my modern day sizes and the vintage ones as well. I mix patterns like a pro and go from day to night with ease. Thanks to the clean lines of J. Crew, Jack Wills, Madewell, and Boden, the perky and whimsical looks of Anthropologie, and the preppy pop of Kate Spade, I'm able to pack my closet with pieces that I actually enjoy wearing over and over again. Like I mentioned in numbers 46, 47 & 48 on my dirty thirty to-do list, I like to dress age-appropriately with tailored pieces. That doesn't stop me from falling victim to some very trendy or throwback pieces (polka dots, military, rompers, yacht rock,) or from dipping into the archives and bringing in vintage or antique pieces. But I like to think I incorporate them well into what I've already got. 

One of the quintessentially vintage preppy looks that I absolutely love is the reverse cardigan... and I've decided to bring it back. It's so very ladies prep school circa 1950s and I love it with a bright pencil skirt and some beat up boots. Now my collection of cardigans (a cardigan collection is required of all MLIS candidates,) can do double duty so my wardrobe is even bigger! It's flattering, fun and a bit of a surprise. What do you think of the look?

Also, I made a super delicious supper tonight - pepper jelly grits topped with beet greens sauteed with onions, tomatoes and spices, topped with an over easy egg. It was simple, easy, maybe healthy and quick! I gobbled it up too quickly to take a picture of it, but that description of it pretty much says it all. Spice it as much as you like, sprinkle a teeny tiny bit of cheese on the grits, top them with the sauteed veggies, and finish it off with a perfectly runny egg that melds it all together. Breakfast for supper with a bit of Southern flare. Hopefully my frequent adventures in Southern soul cooking don't make me bust those back buttons! Back to training tomorrow.

01 October 2013

the final stretch

Welcome to October, the greatest month of the year, the real welcome wagon of Autumn, and my birthday month! Though I've been counting down for the past thirty days, we've now entered the final countdown and are quickly approaching my big day. Don't worry though, I'm checking off items from my dirty thirty to-do list just as quickly as the days go by. Here's another update for those of you who are keeping track of me and my homework. For our second installment, numbers 31 through 60 -

#32. look at all this pretty stationary waiting to be
signed, sealed & delivered to the perfect pen pal!
31. Get health insurance - It took a long while and there were many medical problemos along the way. I became a familiar face at the urgent care clinic and got used to waiting hours and hours for a new dose of asthma meds. But I survived it and now I have a job that I love and that loves me back by providing me with health care options! Though now that it's October, just about anyone can find themselves some form of these benefits.
32. Collect correspondence with friends - I love pen pals! I actually have a drawer full of cards, postcards and stationary just waiting to be mailed out. I love the excitement of getting something other than a bill or take-out menu in my mailbox (I don't mind catalogues so much because I love fake shopping,) and I like to surprise other with that same joy and delight. I actually just read this Buzzfeed bit about how everyone needs to start writing more letters and I couldn't agree more. If you'd like to be my pen pal, just send me your address!
33. Live through a blind date - A mutual love of mopey, sad sack indie rock does not make for a joyful date. It does, however, make for a good concert buddy so thanks for that set-up Mom.
34. Be a gracious guest - Well, I've never been banned from anyone's home and I usually come with a bottle of wine or homemade baked goods.
#38. one of many pairs crowding my closet.
35. Invest in ear plugs - We have oodles of these lying around the house but I have to say that I'm not particularly fond of them. My dad gave me a bunch when I moved to noisy New York but I actually enjoyed the city sounds. I much prefer some quite music through ear buds than the muffled, pseudo silence of little foamy bits in my ears.
36. Know your blood type - I've been a regular blood donor since my 18th birthday. The Red Cross and I are pretty friendly.
37. Confront someone who's done you wrong - It hurts to be honest sometimes, to know that you've done wrong and that has done wrong to you, to admit all of those wrongdoings. But it's awfully cathartic when you can air it our and let it go. Sometimes it takes longer than you'd like, but it's always worth it in the end, grudges just weigh you down.
38. Walk in heels - After I broke my leg I was terrified of two things - that I'd never ride my bike again and that I'd never wear heels again. Thankfully I've been able to continue doing both things. 
39. Watch the sun rise and set on the same day by yourself - At times I can be both a night owl and an early riser so the opportunities to follow the sun are not foreign to me. Most frequently, I enjoyed the orbits while Honey napped on our camping trip to North Carolina.

#39. sunrise.
#39. sunset.

40. Disagree. Out loud - I'm from New Jersey; I love a good debate.
41. Memorize your ring size - In case you care to buy me anything off my baubles, bling & shiny things Pinterest board, I wear a 6.
42. Have a mantra - Does "It's always better with bacon" count? Other than that, I'd have to say that my favorite word to live by is 'hopeful', my own realistic version of optimism.
43. Open a bottle of champagne - Haha I'm an old pro! My other mantra might just be Hester Browne's words of wisdom - "Always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes the special occasion is that you've got a bottle of champagne in the fridge."
44. Adopt an awkward teenager - My time as an after-school librarian was well spent mentoring and befriending dozens of awkwardly goofy but brilliant teens. They reminded me of better versions of my past self and I relished being the grown-up friend they needed.
#47. style icon
45. Eat soy - I love soy! Tofu, edamame, miso, all of it. I'm definitely not veggie but I do participate in Meatless Mondays and many Tofu Tuesdays.
46. Cultivate your own style / 47. Dress for longevity / 48. Own a cashmere sweater - Two words for you - Preppy & British. I love a classically chic outfit that is so timeless it could have been worn by a Hepburn or a Hathaway. The key is fit and fabric. I like to live by the word of Tim Gunn I'm a huge fan of J. Crew, Boden, Jack Wills, Madewell, Kate Spade & Anthropologie. Mix in a few key vintage, trendy or antique pieces for an effortlessly fashionable look that will never go out of style. 
49. Defy gravity - The kindly Jewish lady on Orchard Street helped me with this one. A quick glance at my boobies and she knew exactly what I needed. Never again will I be confused by all those ill-fitting over-the-shoulder boulder holders regular stores have hanging on the racks (no pun intended!)
50. Use a great dermo / 51. Get a massage - Ahh to be pampered. I miss NY for this very reason - the best facials in the world could be had at Christine Chin Spa and a great massage was right around the corner at the cheapy nail place. Gosh I miss those $8.50 manis!
52. Sleep in a hammock - I'm slightly terrified of hammocks because of an incident a few Fourth of Julys ago when I was rudely flipped out of one and did some damage to a few ribs (thanks again for that Pat, and happy birthday tomorrow!) But that fear hasn't stopped me from dozing poolside at the old homestead.
#49. do you buy a Titzling or do you buy a Brassiere?
53. Own a toolbox with all the basics / 54. Hook up something high tech by yourself - My father gifted me a basic blue toolbox when I moved into my very first apartment Junior year of college. It's followed me around ever since and helped me hang pictures, build a bookshelf, put together awful Ikea furniture, and so much more. High tech though? Does scanning photos and creating a digital catalog of my archive count? I'll say yes.
55. Memorize your favorite smells - Surround yourself with them. Like the sparks song says "the olfactory sense is the sense that most strongly evokes memories of the past." Spaghetti sauce cooking on the stove, delicious foods roasting or baking in the oven, fresh cleaned sheets with lavender spritz, a light breeze carrying hints of the bay, and freshly sawed wood. But my two favorite scents are ones that immediately bring back memories of the past and people - I love the waxy, perfumed scent of lipstick because it makes me think of my mom and her reminder to always wear lipstick. I also love the smell of pipe tobacco because it makes me think of my dad. Not because he smoked a pipe but because when I was little he would take me to the hardware store with him and the old man who worked there smoke pipes. I love those sentimental smells.

56. Fall in love (or lust) without blowing off your friends - Why would I want to ditch all of my awesome gals for my equally awesome guy? That seems so silly, especially when their combined awesomeness makes my life so much better!
57. Care about where your food comes from - I absolutely care about what I put in my body and where it all comes from. If I could always shop locally, organically and seasonally I would but it gets to be very expensive. I'm very fortunate to have a few very well supplied and varied farmers markets and little shops in my neighborhood and I frequent them as often as my wallet allows.
#58. the good life.
58. Fly first class - :) This might just be my favorite of all 100 items on the list, mostly because I never thought I'd be able to get it checked off since I don't frequently travel by plane and I'm certainly not wealthy enough to buy a first class ticket. But, every once in awhile things work out and prove that patience truly is a virtue. Here's how it all went down - On my way back from the SAA conference in New Orleans my flight was running a little late because of some passenger confusion. When I heard my name called over the loudspeaker my eyes nearly fell out of my head from rolling so hard. I begrudgingly walked up to the check-in desk only to find out that they simply wanted to see if I would mind them moving my seat to convenience a few difficult passengers. Of course I didn't mind, put me in the teeny tiny bathroom for all I care, just get me home to Honey! I could tell that, despite my flexibility, the poor airline staff was still having difficulties with a few of the not-so frequent fliers so I went back up to the desk and told them to seat me last. That they really could put me anywhere, just worry about getting everyone else on the plane first. And as a joke I let them know that I wouldn't mind sitting in first class if that's the only place they could find me a seat. Well, my kindness and easy breezy attitude didn't seem to be getting me that fancy front row seat because I found myself being shuffled to the back of the plane... only to be tapped on the shoulder and informed that seat 3C was available for me. 3C?! I was greeted with a chilled glass of white wine, a smile, and a huge reclining seat. Kindness and patience really do pay off!
59. Carry something to read, a notebook and a pen at all times - In our fast-paced modern times all of these items have essentially been replaced by our smartphones. Unfortunately they run out of a charge every now and then. I've always got a pen and a piece of scrap paper in my purse or pocket. To read, well I'll read just about anything and those free newspapers are always lying around cities when I've left one of my many books or magazines at home.
60. Make a killer cocktail - I've hung out at enough bars and befriended enough bartenders to learn a few tricks of the trade. I prefer the classics and perfected the art of the Manhattan, the Martini, and the Negroni. Though I really love going out and watching the real masters at work, I might just mix you up something if you came by for a visit.

Stay tuned throughout the rest of the week. I'll do my best to put aside party planning and keep you posted about my progress. Four more days!