Fictitious Dishes

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I love food. This is no secret. I enjoy cooking it, I enjoy eating it, and I even enjoy looking at it. I also enjoy books and reading, as we also know. Perhaps that’s why I find Dinah Fried’s new book particularly captivating.

She created and then photographed meals from various books, and the result is fascinating. She set the meals up as they would have looked to the characters in the books (the top photo here is from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and the bottom photo is from To Kill a Mockingbird). Holden Caulfield’s cheese sandwich and malted are presented on a diner counter.

Fried feels that the act of reading fiction is a sensory experience. For this book, she focused on one sensory element from fiction – food – and created visuals to match.

“Each photograph does not represent a meal exactly as it was explained by the author, rather aims to capture the essence of each novel, evoking the setting and atmosphere of the narrative. Whether or not you’ve read the books, these images should provide a little taste of what they’re like.” (Huffington Post)

Kind of cool, right? The Huffington Post link has a slideshow with more meals pictured, and you can also peek inside the book on Amazon. Worth a look!

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90 Days

I have what I like to call Veruca Salt Syndrome. You know, the girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory* who doesn’t care how, she wants it now? Yeah, that’s me. I have a hard time understanding why when I decide I want something I can’t have it right away (i.e. house hunting). I enjoy instant gratification. I want those shoes, I buy those shoes. Very little effort is involved. So when i come up against something I want but can’t have right away, I immediately become frustrated, angry, and sink into a deep pit of despair.

It’s not a good habit. I’m working on it, honest.

It’s a habit that has also made me lazier than I am. And I’m pretty lazy to begin with. When I identify something I want but can’t have right away, or may have to put in a lot of work into getting, or just plain don’t know how to get, I get overwhelmed* and just give up all together. I’ll just stay in this crappy place, thanks, because I’m too lazy to figure out how to fix it. Or if it’s going to take longer than I thought or be more effort than I originally planned, I just end up quitting. I find myself in an endless cycle of try try try! and then give up spectacularly. It’s ding dang exhausting. For myself and for everyone I complain to.

So instead of complaining all the time, and feeling frustrated all the time, I’ve decided to do something about it.

It really all started when, as usual, I find summer approaching and I feel like a pale, jiggly, blob from a winter of staying indoors and eating ginger snaps obsessively (sooo goood). As standard for me, I immediately jumped into a 24 day cleanse, clean eating, continuing to work out at my beloved barre studio, and then burning myself out and immediately dive bombing into a plate of nachos with a side of beer. Thus getting nowhere in my battle against the bulge that is my muffin top. “Why isn’t this working?” I’d moan. “I was sooo good for like, three-ish days this week!” I’m not that stupid. I get that consistency is my problem. I know that one bad meal or a few rest days won’t make me fat and out of shape, but it’s never one bad meal or a few rest days. It’s multiple bad meals and multiple rest days.

So it was time to face the facts. What I’ve been doing isn’t working. It’s time for something new. So instead of making a grand plan for changing my body and my life as fast as possible, I’m taking a new, slower approach. I’m setting relatively small goals for myself and they working on achieving them. Slowly, one step at a time. I am trying to focus on the long game rather than an immediate payoff. It’s more of a mental shift more than anything, and I’m hopeful that it will bring a sense of clarity and peace to my life that I find myself lacking more often than not. It started as a quest to get into shape, but I can already feel it morphing into so much more.

I’ve arbitrarily set a 90 day time period for me to get this endeavor off the ground. That brings me to the end of June, essentially the start of summer, because I want to start my favorite season off in a happy and healthy place. Mentally and physically.

My goal for the month of April is consistency.

Consistently make good choices when it comes to eating, consistently work out, consistently wash my face and floss before bed (I know, I’m gross, but I never consistently do those things), consistently make the choice to feel positive and happy instead of letting negative thoughts get me down. I know we’re only 10 days in, but I’m already feeling good about this. It’s not about being perfect, just about making the best decisions I can every time I have the opportunity. Small steps that will hopefully lead to big rewards.

Also, just because that got a bit too serious for my liking, I plan on teaching myself to juggle this month. Just because I need a talent and I just recently read somewhere that literally anyone can learn to juggle. So there’s that.

 

 

*The original, not the creepy one with Johnny Depp. Sorry Johnny, I love you, but no.

*”I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” “I think you can in Europe.” Name that movie!

 

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Orphan Black

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The Internet has been telling me to watch this show for ages. I keep stumbling upon various articles saying that “Orphan Black is the best show you’re not watching” or some iteration of that.

And now I am here to tell you that Orphan Black is the best show you’re not watching.

I binge watched the entire first season this past Sunday. Actually, that might be skewing my opinion slightly, because most shows are better if you binge watch them, because you don’t have the frustrations of having to wait to see what happens or the risk of forgetting about a small tidbit of information that later in the series turns out to be a huge tidbit. Regardless, the show is really good.

Sarah Manning is a street dwelling ne’er do well who witnesses someone who looks exactly like her jump in front of a train and kill herself. Seeing this as an opportunity to at the very least rob this woman blind, Sarah assumes her identity. Only to find out she is actually one of several clones, and someone is trying to kill all of them. As you can imagine, ish gets cray.

The best part of the whole show is that one actress (Tatiana Maslany) plays the part of all the clones, each of them having wildly different personalities and even different accents. It’s freaking incredible. You forget they are all being played by the same person, she does such a good job differentiating between all of them. N came over just in time for the last two episodes and I attempted to give him a brief rundown of the series and as we’re watching a scene with three of the clones in it he says “Wait, she’s playing all these characters right now?” and I basically flew off the couch saying “YES. I KNOW. I CAN’T EVEN.” It just blows my mind.

So I’m here to add to all the other articles out there telling you that you should be watching this show. The good news is you have plenty of time to binge watch before season two premiers on April 19th.

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Grand Budapest Hotel

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N and I had ourselves a nice date night consisting of dinner and a movie this past Saturday and we went to see Grand Budapest Hotel. We’re big Wes Anderson fans (N got me into his movies when he forced me to see The Life Aquatic and I ended up liking it far more than expected) and we’d heard good things about this one, so we were really excited.

We also smuggled wine juice boxes into the theater which may or may not have had an effect on our excitement level.

Anyway, we loved it. It was hilarious and, of course, completely beautiful. The colors! Oh Wes, you know how the internet feels about your color schemes. This movie is suddenly making all those pink tiled bathrooms we keep seeing on our house hunt look really exquisite. I highly recommend this one, and I hate going to the movies.

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February/March Books

Started to lose track of what I was reading in February and March! I believe everything below should cover it, bringing the grand total so far up to 13.

 

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Beautiful Chaos – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

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Beautiful Redemption – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

I had started this series awhile back and never got around to finishing it, so I picked up the last two books so I could get a couple of quick reads in for this challenge. It wasn’t the best series I’ve ever read, but I enjoyed it and they were indeed quick reads.

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The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Everything you have heard about this book is true. It is phenomenal. Yes, it’s sad, but it’s so much more than just a sad story. Green captures teenage romance and that feeling of first love so well. His characters are interesting and complex and strong. I’ve added his other books to my list. My barre studio just started a book club (it’s really the best barre studio ever you guys) and this is the first book we are reading. So pumped.

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Crazy Good – Rachel Robinson

This was sent to me from the author as an advance reader copy. Ladies, if you are looking for a steamy romance novel, this is it.

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Orphan Train – Christina Baker Kline

This one was SO good. The story switches back and forth from present-day to around the time of the Great Depression. I haven’t read many stories that take place during the Great Depression, so this was particularly interesting to me. The bits about the actual orphan trains were particularly interesting. I’d highly recommend.

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We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

This was another advance reader’s copy (if you sign up to get Publisher’s Weekly emails sometimes they send offers for ARCs, totally worth it). I’d never read anything by this author before, but the synopsis sounded intriguing. I read it really quickly, which is always a good sign, and the ending is still sticking with me, which is also a good sign.

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The Thrill of the Hunt?

N and I still house hunting. I have a feeling this is going to be a slow and frustrating process. We were thrilled to find out we could afford more than we thought, but our bigger budget hasn’t made the hunt any easier.

I was SO EXCITED to start this chapter of our lives, but it is totally not as fun as I thought it would be. Turns out when it comes time to make your dream into a reality there’s a lot of anxiety involved. It doesn’t help that this dream of ours is also going to cost more money than either of us has ever spent in our lives. So it makes sense that we’re being super picky, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

We went to a few open houses yesterday, but nothing was speaking to us. We both want to have a feeling when we walk into our future home, a this is it type of feeling. We did, however, both agree that if the house containing this wallpaper had been The One we would have kept it. As N said “This is so bad it’s come full circle to good again.”20140324-113635.jpg

After the disappointment that was yesterday’s open houses, there was really only one thing to do. Go buy Frozen on DVD, a giant bottle of wine, and head home. We watched Frozen (I’m completely obsessed, along with every other small child in the world), drank the majority of that bottle of wine, and then made a delicious stir fry for dinner. So Sunday turned out to be a pretty ding dang great day after all.

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Looking Back: February

I almost forgot to do this! Not much to report for Februaries throughout the years. It is a short month, after all. It is the month I started blogging though, so this recap goes back to 2010. Not that 2010 was thrilling in the least, apparently. I have a lot of fun looking back though. So glad I have even this small record to remind me of the little things and how far I’ve come.

2010

My first blog post! I would say 2010 was probably the year when it occurred to me that life is fricken hard. Every other post from this month was short and stupid.

2011

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I did a 30 for 30 challenge! This was fun and I considered doing one again, but I already feel like I don’t wear all the clothes I own nearly enough. Been toying around with the idea of attempting to wear every item in my closet to see if I actually like any of this stuff. We’ll see. Anyway, for my first outfit I wore a shirt with a stain on it. I just don’t know sometimes.

I had my first (and so far only) story published! This was so exciting for me.

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N and I went away for valentine’s Day and stayed at this lovely hotel in Maine that is one of my all-time favorite places to stay.

2012

I wrote up a little post on how to pack for plane trips with only a carry on. Honestly you guys, there are very few instances where I feel you need to check a bag. If I’m going away, the last thing I want to do is spend any time hanging out at a baggage carrousel. And when you look deep down inside yourself, don’t you usually only wear half of what you packed for vacation, anyway?

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I went snowshoeing while N was snowboarding and got minorly lost in the woods. The woods filled with signs warning me of moose. And bears.

2013

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Nemo happened. I’d take Nemo over the winter we’ve had this year any day.

I did a January recap and apparently lost 5lbs last January. Good for me! This year isn’t going quite as well.

Apparently February has been a historically taxing month in my life. Good thing it’s so short.

Apparently I won’t have anything to look back on from February of this year because I didn’t post. It was a pretty good month other than the bitter cold and snow! I’d like that to go on record.

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Daydreams

What if I decided to pack up all my worldly belongings and toss them in a U-Haul trailer and drive off into the sunset? I’d drive and drive until I could once again feel the warmth of the sun on my shoulders and a breeze in my hair.

I would throw away all my pants  and fill my wardrobe with dresses. Every morning I would get up and put on a dress and not have to worry about a jacket, or mittens, or a hat. I’d leave the house with wet hair, my waves being dried by the wind as I drove around with all the windows in the car down.

My bathing suit collection would have all the prime real estate in my dresser, instead of being tossed and tangled in a bin in a dark corner of my closet for ten months out of the year.

I’d smile more. My skin would glow. I’d go to yoga as often as I always say I’m going to. I’d walk everywhere. I’d live someplace where I can walk everywhere. I’d go to the farmer’s market and spend long weekend afternoons sitting outside of a little hipster coffee shop, reading and writing and dreaming. I would have friends over and we would sit in the tiny backyard behind my tiny bungalow cottage and we would drink and tell funny stories and eat tacos.

My job would be amazing. It would be fun, and challenging, and creative and I would be paid just a little more than enough. Enough so I was never wanting but not enough that I was exorbitantly rich. I would sleep in on Saturdays and spend all day Sunday at the beach. Maybe I’d finally finish that novel. I’d write it while sitting at my kitchen table, a ceiling fan lazily spinning above me. Then I would go for a run just after sunset but before it got dark. Twilight. I’d run further than I ever had before.

I think I would be really happy.

It was eight degrees this morning. It’s supposed to snow again Thursday.

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January Books

So, remember when I made the resolution to read 100 books this year? It turns out that’s a lot of books. I mean, I know how much 100 is. I knew it was a lot going into it. But then N so helpfully did the math for me (math is obviously not my strong suit) and told me that meant I needed to read one book every three-and-a-half days.

That’s a lot of reading, you guys.

No matter, I am still trucking along. Let’s see how close I get to 100, at the very least. These are the books I finished in January:

 

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If You Were Here – Jen Lancaster

Thoughts: This was just okay. It was a fluffy, easy read. It read like a fictionalized account of her real-life experiences, which is pretty much exactly what it was. Her memoirs are all really funny, and I think her writing style is better suited for memoirs.

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The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman

Thoughts: Loved this one.  A unique story, it didn’t feel like anything I’ve ready before, which is always refreshing when you read as much as I do. Definitely pick this one up.

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The Boy in the Suitcase – Lene Kaaberbol

Thoughts: Meh. I didn’t love this one. Apparently it’s the first in a series and I don’t care to continue with the series, so that says something. It’s a crime drama which I can take or leave. It’s somewhat in the vein of The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, but only in that it’s Scandinavian and involves crime, I suppose.

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Stardust – Neil Gaiman

Thoughts: Loved this one. Adding everything else Gaiman has written to my list for this year. This was a wonderful, whimsical, fairy tale. Ugh, so good.

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The Phantom Tollbooth – Norman Juster & The Mark of the Dragonfly – Jaleigh Johnson

Thoughts [Tollbooth]: I didn’t love this one. I know it’s a classic and all, but it didn’t knock my socks off. It was definitely clever and fun, but not my favorite.

Thoughts [Dragonfly]: The publisher was giving away ARCs for this book, and I like free things. That being said, I also thought the cover was pretty, and I judge books by their covers. Now that we know I am a cheap and judgmental person, I will tell you that I thought this book was pretty good. It’s sort of a middle grade steampunk-fantasy type story. I hope this is part of a series, because while this book stands on it’s own just fine, there’s definitely a lot more to explore in the world Johnson has created here.

 

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Hollow City – Ransom Riggs

Thoughts: Obviously I ordered this as soon as it was available, since I liked the first one so much. I don’t know why. These books are good (I read both really quickly), but they’re so weird. I don’t know how else to describe them. Good but weird.

So that rounds out my January total at 7 books. I gotta step up my game here.

*Note: This post does contain affiliate links. They will all re-direct you to Amazon, where I purchased 90% of these books.

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Looking Back: January

One of my main purposes for having a blog is so I can look back at my life and reminisce. So I have some kind of documentation of the things I have done and the places I’ve been and the people I’ve known. It occurred to me recently that I don’t actually ever look back through old posts.

So for every month this year, I’m going to look back at posts from previous years for that month and pull some of my favorite moments.

January 2011:

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I’m Taking a Vacation – We got SO MUCH SNOW this winter. Look at those snowbanks! It snowed heavily once a week for a good three months.

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Sweater Weather – This set of photos are my favorite ones I ever took from my foray into fashion blogging. Speaking of fashion blogging: oh my GOD am I glad I quit that. I never felt completely comfortable doing it, and I wasn’t very good at it, either. It is fun now to look back and see how my style has evolved, though.

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Happy New Year, TooI’m including this because it’s also what I did for NYE 2013 and 2014, essentially. I even took the same food picture.

January 2012:

Dieting – Honestly, I have posted something to this effect so many times. I am so sick of it. I am sick of hearing myself talk about dieting, and working out, and losing weight. So I’m really trying not to do it anymore. At least, I’m trying not to obsess over it. I am happy, I am healthy, and I enjoy food. Being healthy, looking good, and feeling good about myself are all still important to me, and I feel like I am coming closer to reaching a balance between enjoying life and maintaining a figure I am comfortable with.

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Turtle, Turtle, Turtle – I can remember wearing this outfit and feeling weird about it, but looking back I am actually digging it. I may even recreate it. Turtlenecks for the win!

Sleeping Bag Coats – I still love my sleeping bag coat. With how cold this winter has been, I have more than once considered upgrading mine to the version that reaches my ankles. Seriously, I don’t like the cold touching me.

January 2013:

2013 ResolutionsHahahaha. Nope. This is why I’m not making resolutions anymore.

Winter of Me – Ugh. This was really, really hard to look back on. Last year was just the worst. I can happily report that “Boyfriend” and “N” are one in the same and we are happily together again. 2013 was definitely a rough year for me. It was a growth year, for sure, and I needed it, but it was HARD. I am hoping 2014 will bring more growth, but maybe be a bit more gentle on me.

Know When to Walk Away, Know When To Run – Like I said, 2013 was rough. I was obviously in a difficult spot in January of last year. This whole past holiday season, despite the fact that I wasn’t really feeling it, I was so grateful to be in a better place than I was last year.

I am still extremely grateful to be where I am now. Life isn’t perfect, by any means, but I feel as though I am more content. I am excited for everything in life I have to look forward to, and I’m ready to just go with the flow a bit more. No more timelines, no more goals and planning. I just want to live. So maybe that’s my New Year’s resolution – to just be.

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