Snippets of life right now

Is it gorgeous by you yet? This week spring hit our neighborhood in full force—every tree is full of tiny baby leaves and the wind smells fresh and sweet. I was finally able to open up our living room windows for the first time in months, and it completely transformed the room. Isn’t it funny how a little bit of fresh air can make a room feel totally different?

Since we’re all breathing fresh and deep this week, I thought it’d be fun to do something a little different and play a game of Currently. Have you ever played Currently? You just jot down whatever pops in your head at the prompts. It’s fun to capture what you’re up to even if you don’t share it with anyone—think of it as a time capsule for the start of this year’s spring.

So without further ado, let’s play!

LOVING: Gin Rummy. We’re on a card-playing kick lately, and for some reason there’s nothing more relaxing to me after a long day of work than playing a card game together on the couch. Maybe it just feels so analog and old-fashioned when the rest of life is so digital? I don’t know. But I think Jarrett and I are ready for our retirement home.

Speaking of gin, we’ve also been loving these Cucumber and Basil Gimlets that Jarrett made for us a few days ago!

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READING: I’m finishing up Unshakeable by Tony Robbins—it’s definitely the book to get if you felt intimidated by all 688 pages of Money: Master the Game. They both cover the key things you should know about investing, but Money definitely gives you both depth and detail. Up next: I have An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler waiting for me on my nightstand. I’ve heard such great things about it, so I can’t wait to dig in. And, because I’m almost always working through a new cookbook or two, I’m also reading recipe by recipe through SkinnyTaste: Fast and Slow. It’s perfect for some light and fresh spring cooking!

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SHOPPING FOR: I really want a fresh pair of white cotton sheets for the spring and summer. We finally tucked away our flannel sheets (we adore these from L.L. Bean), but we ended up hating the cotton sheets we got from our wedding registry last year. (Never again will I buy sheets online without feeling them first!) I want a set of soft, breathable, but not too expensive 100% cotton sheets, but I don’t really want to go to a store to stand around stroking different sheets like a nutcase. So I guess you could say this is what I’m currently not shopping for—ha!

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EXCITED ABOUT: Our honeymoon to Greece next month! We’re off for two whole weeks to Athens, Meteora, Santorini, and Ios. We’re doing AirBnB abroad for the first time, and we’re hoping it’s pretty seamless. We’ll be doing hotels in Athens and Meteora, but I’m so excited to have more space (and a kitchen) when we’re on the Greek islands. I get so tired of eating out meal-after-meal when we’re on vacation. I just start to feel overly stuffed and sluggish, and I hate missing out on visiting the outdoor markets and being able to actually cook with new ingredients. So I cannot wait to have that last week in Santorini and Ios to lounge on the beach and cook fresh fish and eat feta. Mostly eat feta.

TRYING TO: Keep building our family gallery wall. One of my ongoing projects this year has been to print and frame our wedding guestbook print and a few of our other wedding photos. We’re building out a big family photo wall in our bedroom, and now that we have a few wedding photos up, I want to keep layering in photos of both of our families. I’m planning to have dinner with my Yaya this week and look through old photos together, so slowly but surely, we’ll keep this project going!

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WORKING ON: Proposals, books in production, books fresh out in the world, books, books, books! By the way, have you seen my Spring 2017 books? They’re full of so much goodness and happiness for your home, your kitchen, and your day-to-day peace of mind. You can get organized in a sane way with Organized Enough, cook up some fresher, easier Southern fare with Add a Pinch, then clean up that kitchen with Simply Clean. If that’s not a nice little sequence to kick-off your spring, then I don’t know what is!

ENJOYING: Midday walks with Pepper, aka Peppy. It’s such a great way to break up the workday when I’m working from home, and it forces me to step away from the screen and get outside to enjoy the open sky and warm weather. Isn’t it funny how hard it is to break away from the computer sometimes, but how very good it feels when we finally do? It’s my daily version of a deep breath. And it’s much easier to bring yourself to do it when you have this little face next to you pleading for walk-time.

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USING: Lavender essential oil. I swear, I sleep better when I put a few drops on my pillowcase before bed. It’s magic.

WEARING: This new J.Crew tunic I bought a few weeks ago. Please don’t make me admit how many times I’m wearing it per week. It’s just so comfortable, and it feels like spring in fabric form to me. Maybe this just means I desperately need more spring-y crossover tops.

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PLANNING: It’s on my to-do list to research and plan a trip at the end of the year for my 30th birthday. We both get the last two weeks of the year off, so I’m hoping we can spend 4-5 days around my birthday volunteering either abroad or in another part of the country, and then we’ll spend Christmastime at the farm in Michigan.

SINGING: I’m really into this song lately. Again, it just feels like spring to me! (Ignore the cheesy video!)

NEEDING: More time for yoga. I love my midday walks with Pepper, but it does leave me with less time to squeeze in a yoga class. Lately, I’m lucky if I get to yoga once a week. Can there be Doggy and Me classes somewhere, please?! Pepper is already pro level at Downward Dog.

LEARNING: How to relax. This is an ongoing thing for me, but I really love this little book for a quick dose of relaxing reading before bed. It’s great for tucking into a nightstand or purse, and it helps quiet down all the noisy thoughts that can keep us from focusing and staying in the moment.

LISTENING TO: I listened to this podcast of Linda Silverstein in conversation with Anne Lamott and Glennon Doyle Mellon last week and loved it to pieces. Is there a cooler lady alive than Anne Lamott? She’s another voice that helps me breathe deep when life gets crazy.

WISHING: We were in the mountains. I miss being surrounded by gorgeous green nature. Must mean it’s time to plan a camping trip!

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DOING: Eating our way through the freezer. We got together with some friends this past weekend for a big freezer cooking day, and now our freezer is past capacity—as in, we have most of our food sitting in a friend’s deep chest freezer! Time to tighten (er, loosen) our belts and get to work.

DREAMING OF: Jarrett’s surprise birthday activities on Saturday. I have a whole day planned full of fun stuff for him, and I might be even more excited than he is!

So that’s what we’re up to! How about you?


What I’m Reading This Week:

This is a time of year that awakens our hibernating senses, so I thought it’d be fun to weave that springtime theme into the reads this week, too!

To Become a Better Cook, Sharpen Your Senses (Julia Moskin for The New York Times): “But recipes are inherently limited when it comes to sensory information. An instruction like ‘simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, until thickened’ can produce endlessly different results. The recipe doesn’t know what your stove considers ‘low’ heat. It doesn’t know what your pan is made of. It doesn’t know what ‘thickened’ looks like to you. That’s why the best cooks learn to work not just with their minds and their taste buds, but also with all their senses.” This is so true—there’s only so much we can convey in recipes. That’s why I love recipes that have a layer of touch or smell cues to them, both for the reading and eating pleasure they bring.

 10 Ways to Sharpen Your Kitchen Senses (Julia Moskin for The New York Times): And if you’re looking for some practical ways to bring the senses back to your cooking (and not just the sense of panic and rush!), here’s 10 experiments to try.

6 Mindfulness Practices for Busy Weeknight Cooking (The Kitchn): And since we’re on the theme, here’s a piece I wrote for The Kitchn on how to slow down and be more mindful and present when you’re cooking.

How to Produce an Emotional Response in Readers (Donald Maass on JaneFriedman.com): Just like with cooking, success in writing begins with being clued in to the senses and emotions. This matters just as much for nonfiction as it does for fiction. I always tell my authors that they have to make the reader feel something, no matter what they’re writing about, because that’s the only way on this earth to get people to care.


What We’re Eating This Week:

I’m off to NYC this week, so the pickin’s are slim. Here’s the real, unvarnished truth of what we’re eating for dinner:

Monday: Spaghetti with Bolognese we made during our freezer cooking day. I swear by this recipe.

Tuesday: Tortilla de patata and looking through old family photos at my grandma’s place.

Wednesday: Dinner out with my mom—sushi maybe?

Thursday: Soup from my favorite spot in the city. I can’t come to the NYC office without getting Kabilah’s split pea soup with fresh herbs! I need to hack this recipe.

Friday: White Chicken Taquitos from SkinnyTaste: Fast and Slow. And maybe definitely margs.

Cheers!

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