I’ve left my heart in so many places

This quote resonates so deeply with me. Having lived in many places during the different phases of my life, I’ve left behind pieces of my heart in each of them. My closest friends are scattered across the country – San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, New Orleans, Boston, Baltimore, New York, and my parents in Spokane. It’s a blessing that texting, calls, gchat, and social media allow me to keep in touch with them relatively well, but it makes me so sad to have to miss out on my friends’ special events. This past weekend one friend had her bridal shower and another celebrated her birthday, both in the Bay Area, and I wish I could have been there with them. Since I moved to the east coast and away from an area where my friends are concentrated I’ve been telling myself that it’ll get better – I’ve become closer with a few friends here in NY and I have Alex, and we want to move (back) to San Francisco down the line. But this weekend was the first time it really dawned on me that moving back to the Bay Area isn’t going to completely solve the problem. It’ll be amazing to be reunited with my friends from home, many of whom feel like family to me, and I will be extremely grateful for that. And I’ll be closer to my college friends in LA and Vegas so it will be easier to see them more often. But I’ll still encounter the same problem when it comes to my friends from law school, spread out across the east coast and south, and Alex’s family. It’s never going to end! For the rest of my life I’m going to be married to bicoastal plane trips, planning friend reunions, and having to choose what events I can attend and which I have to miss. This is what I get for leaving my heart in so many places and falling in love with a man who hails from clear across the country. The bright side of this, aside from having a ton of places to visit and open houses to crash at, is that many places feel like home. After all, home is where your loved ones are.

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Sex and the City sick days

There are many great things about getting to work from home, even though the reasons are often a little crappy, like being sick, or today, having an annoying medical appointment disrupting the day. Wearing my yoga pants, having my cat jump up in my lap hourly, and getting to make food at home top that list. But my favorite part is being able to watch Sex and the City reruns in the background. Even though I own the entire series on DVD (SUCH a wise investment), there’s still something special about my favorite episodes airing on TV. E! is currently in the middle of airing season four, which is definitely one of my favorites. I don’t love the earliest episodes as much because of the strange narration and I dislike Aleksander in season six, and the middle seasons contain the juiciest material in my opinion. I love how different the four women are, yet how close they are and how well they complement one another. I also love how independent they all are, even Charlotte who initially seems a little too focused on the perfect appearance. On a side note, I just learned that her engagement ring from Trey was 2.17 carats. Damn.

Veronica Mars

After much waiting for the movie to come out, I got to see Veronica Mars last weekend! I can’t believe how quickly they made the film – it was released on the one year and one day anniversary of their Kickstarter campaign and I think the filmed/produced it in about 8 months. It’s been years since I’ve watched the three seasons of the TV show so it took me a moment to remember some plots from the past, but they quickly came back to me. Seeing all the characters made me feel as if I were attending my own high school reunion! The funny thing is, when I told Alex I wanted to see it he didn’t believe that I’d watched the show. I guess in the 4 years that we’ve been together it’s never come up that I marathon watched the first two seasons with my college roommates one summer and that  we all watched the third season live together. Or how we loved the song “I Touch Myself” because of its appearance in the series during the party scenes in which Veronica was raped and would often drunkenly belt it out. It makes me happy though, to know that even after dating for such a long time there’s still more to learn about each other.

Veronica is definitely an example of a badass female heroine and good role model for teens/young adults who watched the show. A lot of time is spent discussing differences in the treatment of women without much change, whereas I think powerful female role models have a greater influence. Not that I am trying to discredit the movements of the last few decades – women have many people to thank for the equality that we experience today. I am referring to the fluffier campaigns that circulate society today. Take, for example, Ban Bossy. What is this really about? Sheryl Sandberg wants to “ban” a word that is used to describe women more than men. I’m all for encouraging girl leadership, but banning one negative word isn’t going to change anything in my opinion. A boy can just as easily be called bossy as a girl. Further, there’s other words that can and are used to describe predominantly unliked women that are synonyms of bossy – pushy, overbearing, strict, and later in life, bitchy. Should we ban all those as well? Also, to be fair, there are words that are usually used to describe unliked overly assertive men, like egotistic, arrogant, or simply an asshole. Perhaps we should refocus our efforts on other reasons girls lose interest in leadership that don’t relate to one of many hurtful words she may be called in her lifetime and teach both men and women to disregard the negativity in their life. Haters gonna hate.

Posted in TV

Four leaf clovers

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope everyone got a chance to celebrate at some point this weekend or will be able to tonight. I got together with some friends on Saturday and dressed in ridiculous green outfits, drank Guinness, and ended the night with a drunken game of Monopoly. I don’t think I had played the game since I’d first visited Atlantic City two summers ago, so it was fun to revisit all the property names after having seen the streets in person. Also, I miss playing drinking games/games while drinking. Although I have friends who enjoy them, especially Cards Against Humanity (LOVE that game), the social scene here is much more about going out than it was in New Orleans or Santa Barbara.

A good law school friend of mine sent me a Ted Talk on happiness today, found here. Shawn makes some really good points in the video, especially about the link of happiness and success, and the habits correlated with happiness at the end reminded me of why I started this blog. Although I think I’m great at encouraging my friends to look at the bright side, sometimes I get so caught up in the things in my life that don’t go my way that I don’t take my own advice. I really should make more of a point to be happy about what I do have, which is a lot, and stop focusing on things that I would like to change but can’t right now. In addition to being a creative outlet in my life of routine, I created this blog because I want to focus on the little things that make life good. Whether it’s a day of sunshine in the middle of winter, an inspiring quote, or a weekend getaway, these are the things that deserve my attention.

Nail biters

Aside from my pizza addiction, one of the biggest longtime problems that I’ve battled with has been nail biting. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember – when I’m bored, nervous, anxious, tired, you name it. I tried to stop countless times starting in my teen years but would never go more than a few days without relapsing. I tried all the tricks in the book to help, including dipping my fingers in Tabasco sauce and using Thum, to no avail. Last June I read an article discussing the classification of nail biting as an obsessive compulsive disorder in DSM-5, the psychiatric bible. For some reason learning that nail biting was not just a gross habit and poor hygiene but an actual psychiatric disorder gave me the motivation I needed to stop for once and for all… almost. Although I’ve been extremely good about not biting, I have to admit that I’ve relapsed a few times including once during a particularly close Oakland A’s divisional series game.

What helps me the most when it comes to not biting is making sure that my nails are always painted. I think it works twofold – keeping my nails pretty keeps me motivated and painting them hides the length that I was (disgustingly) accustomed to biting off. Since I can’t afford a weekly manicure habit I realized that I had to learn how to paint them myself. This was something I’d purposely avoided doing for years because I was SO BAD at it. Seriously, it looked like I had let a kindergartner experiment with my nails. But in light of my new midyear resolution I decided to give it another shot, and then another, and another. And it turns out that practice made me MUCH better. Now I keep my nails painted about 90% of the time and I am constantly getting asked if I got them done!

As with everything else, I tend to steer towards bright colors when it comes to nail polish. Most of my favorite colors come from Essie, OPI, or Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Extreme Wear. I also recently discovered Zoya, which is not only eco-friendly (it omits 5 ingredients linked to toxicity) but also has amazing colors and stays on very well. As for topcoats, I’m partial to SecheVite’s Dry Fast Top Coat. It’s the number one seller on Amazon for a reason!

Warmer Weekends

Happy Daylight Savings! New York was blessed with 58 (!!) degree weather again yesterday, which prompted Alex and I to have another day walking around the city. This time we focused on the East Village and Union Square and walked back home through the Lower East Side and Chinatown. I must say, I’m really digging our warmer weather tradition and hope that it continues. Anyway, our first stop was lunch with one of my coworkers and her bf at Bareburger. I really liked the restaurant because you can completely customize your burger, from meat to toppings to types of bacon. I tried bison for the first time and loved it! It didn’t hurt that there was a perfectly ripe 1/2 an avocado that topped it. They also offer other unusual burger meats, like elk, boar, and ostrich. I’ll definitely be back to try some of these other ones. The remainder of the afternoon was spent walking around and doing some shopping. I scored 2 dresses at the Union Square Nordstrom Rack, which was rare given that I usually don’t find much at this location. The exercise was much needed after Bareburger and our dinner on Friday night – we went out to a New Orleans themed restaurant with some friends, including two from law school, as a late Mardi Gras celebration. The food was better than expected, but of course not quite as authentic as back in Nola.

Sundays are typically devoted to exercise and errands. I decided to walk to and from my barre/hybrid workout class even though it was only 37 out because it was so sunny. Apparently I’ve begun alternating between being ridiculous when its slight cold out, bundling up in many layers and ignoring any fashion considerations, to dressing as if it’s much warmer than it is in some sort of wishful thinking. Today’s walk was done in cropped leggings, Uggs, and a sweatshirt which left a considerable patch of leg exposed between my shoes and pants. Next thing you know I’ll be one of those people who wears shorts out when the temps hit 40 that I’ve always made fun of. With any luck spring will be here soon and I won’t have to stoop down to that level.

Baked Salmon

As I’ve mentioned before, I used to be very challenged in the culinary department. Back when I was in college one of my favorite places to shop, especially when my parents were in town and taking me, was Costco. Although most of the items I’d purchase fell decidedly into the unhealthy category, there was one item I always had to have that was surprisingly nutritious. That item was the salmon fillets with basil pesto butter that are ready to bake. The butter and the seasonings combined with the fatty fish come out moist and taste SO divine. Given the lack of storage space in our 700 square foot apartment we rarely find a need to go to Costco anymore, so my basil pesto butter salmon cravings go unchecked. However, I buy salmon fillets locally quite frequently, and though I have not yet tried to make the basil pesto butter (though I JUST acquired a food processor last Christmas so I will have to try it soon), I have developed my own recipe for salmon that is a winner. It requires much less butter, it’s super simple, and the cleanup is ridiculously easy.

Baked Salmon with Butter and Seasoning

  • .75 lb salmon fillets, cut into 4 pieces (it’s best to use wild salmon, but organic farmed will do)
  • .5 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with Pam. Spread the 4 pieces of salmon out on the cookie sheet. Cut the butter into 4 slivers and place one sliver on top of each salmon piece and cover all pieces with the seasonings. Bake for 15 minutes, longer if the salmon is still visibly rare when you cut it open* (try another 3 minutes and check again). Serve with steamed vegetables and rice of your choice.

A tip: many fillets are much thicker on one side than the other. Try to cut the fillets so that you have thinner and thicker pieces, that way you can take out the thinner pieces first and let the thicker pieces cook a few more minutes – that way you don’t have overly dry or overly rare pieces!

I think I’ll go to Boston

After a fun weekend in Boston it’s back to real life here in New York. I was visiting two of my best friends from law school for a girls’ reunion – one lives in the area and another flew up from New Orleans to escape the madness of Mardi Gras. Although I was only supposed to stay through Sunday evening, my flight home got cancelled due to a potential storm. In a completely unsurprising turn of events the weatherpeople and the airlines had all overreacted; less than an inch of snow was waiting to greet me when I did finally make it home. But it all worked out for the best – I rebooked my flight for Monday night and spent an extra day with my friends eating, drinking, shopping, and catching up. Even though we weren’t in New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year my body feels the way it used to after those marathon party weekends. I guess we’re not getting any younger…

A few highlights from my trip:

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Posing with the Make Way For Duckings ducks at the Boston Public Garden. The last time I did this was 3.5 years ago while visiting for a job interview. One of my friends pictured (the redhead) was present last time, too. Unfortunately in those previous pictures I was wearing a giant knee brace – not a cute accessory.

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Cheers at the Top of the Hub restaurant! Such a pretty view and they had an amazing lunch special – $25 for 3 courses.

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I cracked up at this sign! Also, it didn’t occur to me that it meant General Hooker as in military.

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Flight at the Harpoon Brewery. Eaten with a pretzel made of spent wheat. Both were delicious! We also visited the Sam Adams brewery, which I had been to before during my first trip to the east coast 5 years ago. But last time I was only 20 so I wasn’t able to take advantage of the tasting room!

Best friend book club

When I was little I used to LOVE reading. Every week on Tuesday nights, after my piano lesson, my mom would take me to the library. During the summer we’d also go on random afternoons, and after picking out my books I would go to the adjacent park to play. As a kid my preference was for fiction (shoutouts to the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High!!), but I also enjoyed various non-fiction reading. For a long time I was very interested in outer space and wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up – I still remember exactly where the astronomy section in the library back home is even though I haven’t visited for many years. Today the idea of space travel terrifies me, especially after watching Gravity. If I were Sandra Bullock’s character I likely would have had a complete breakdown.

I stopped reading as much when I went to college. Between attending classes, occasionally reading for those classes, my part time job, and my devotion to drinking about 5 nights a week I had other priorities. Then when I got to law school I developed what can only be described as an aversion to the idea of reading for pleasure. For some reason, even though I didn’t spend that much time reading caselaw for class, I just couldn’t bear the idea of picking up a book that wasn’t required by a professor.

Now that I work instead of attending school I’ve rekindled my passion for reading. One of my best friends, Ashley, who now lives in LA loves books even more than I do. I don’t quite remember how we got started on this, but last year we decided to start sending each other books that we had finished and thought the other would enjoy. It costs less than $3 to ship a paperback across the country when you use media mail! This has proven to be a great way to ensure that our limited shelf space don’t get overcrowded with books and a nice way to share something when we are almost 3000 miles apart. Another outlet for my spare books is right in my apartment building. Two of our common areas have bookshelves where people regularly take and leave books, so it’s not just a great place to donate but also to pick up a new read. My most recent acquisition from the common bookshelves is this book that purports to answer a question I often ask myself.

So, why not share your favorite reads with your favorite friends? It’s easy, cheap, and fun to discuss!