Thursday, April 30

B.Read List: January - April 2015

Well, as it's looking so far, I'm not on top of my one book per month goal... but that's okay! I usually make up for it later in the year by reading some extra books. At least I'm succeeding in staying within the confines of my own bookcase. Shawn and I have been working on paring down our belongings and it actually feels great to read a book and then let it go. Most of them have been sitting on my shelves for years, untouched. And yes, there are other books out there that I've heard about recently but don't own and would like to read, but they're not going anywhere, so they can wait.

Let's start with Jose Saramago's Blindness; it was given to me by a friend years ago, under the pretense that I would enjoy it. Perhaps a few years ago, I would have! The premise sounds interesting enough - a whole city falls into white blindness and chaos ensues... it's supposed to be a commentary on humanity and how we treat each other in times of desperate measure. But I can't say that I enjoyed reading it. I actually found it very difficult to get through, not because of the story line (although there were some plot holes that I won't get into here), but because of the way it is written. There are no quotations! So whenever there is dialogue occurring, it's difficult to make out who is saying what, since it reads like a straight paragraph. Perhaps this is an issue of it being translated, or perhaps that is exactly as it was intended; either way, I had a tough time getting through the book and needed something more light-hearted to follow it up with.

Enter, Adrian Tomine's 32 Stories. So, it's not a book so much as a graphic novel... but sometimes after a big novel you need something easy to cleanse your palate, if you know what I mean. I picked this up years ago, after falling in love with Tomine's longer graphic novels. 32 Stories is a compilation of his earlier works, when he was still trying to get his style down. It's a fun, quick read if you're a Tomine fan, but if you've never read anything of his I would recommend starting with Summer Blonde or Shortcomings.

And lastly, Arthur Nersesian's The Fuck-Up; the story of a slacker just trying to get by in New York City. I remember really enjoying this when I first read it, back in college. Probably because I was in more of a place to relate to it then... sadly, it just didn't strike me as much the second time around. It was a good story (if you're into gritty New York City stories), but I just didn't connect to it in any way and I don't mind putting it in my pile of books to donate.

All of these are now sitting in my To Donate pile. So I shifted gears for my next book and picked something off of my Favorites shelf to re-read. So far so good! I'll give you an update in another three months or so...

Tuesday, April 28

The Cat Life - Interaction

Shawn does all our laundry on Mondays, since it's his consistent day off. Last week Lloyd watched him bring all the clean laundry back in, proceeded to watch him sort it, and as soon as the last item left the basket, Shawn turned around and Lloyd was already settled in. When I got home in the evening, Lloyd was still in the basket. Apparently he spent all day in it...

On a different note, Shawn and I were remarking how differently the cats interact with both of us. They're both very vocal with him, but I can barely get a meow out of them when I'm home. On the other hand, they love to get in my face and make their presence known that way, but they don't consistently do that with Shawn. It's interesting how they're just like us in the sense that they interpret personalities and act accordingly. I certainly don't interact with Lloyd the same way I do with Sylvester, so why should they interact with Shawn and I the same way? Have any of you cat owners noticed the same thing with your cat(s)?

Monday, April 27

Project 365, 110-116

I'm not sure what happened here... the exterior and interior melded together as one.

What's so interesting out there, boys?

Sun bathing.

Not my usual commute.

Sunsets and long legs.

Made Deb's new chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I baked them a touch too long and they were crispier than I like. Plus, I'm silly for forgetting that I have actual chocolate chunks somewhere in my arsenal of baking ingredients.

I just love trees and clouds, ok? Ok.

This past week kind of got away from me.... it started off with good intentions, and then on Wednesday my car started making an unusual noise and, well, let's just say the rest of the week seemed to follow suit. My car won't be fixed until Tuesday, so in the meantime I'm commuting by train, or with a colleague. It certainly changes your perspective when you have to change the way you do something that you're used to doing every single day. I don't really need a car around here, but it's a luxury I've become somewhat dependent on and it's definitely weird not having it for a few days. It's nice not to have to worry about parking though! But I've never had to worry about the train schedule in relation to work before. It's amazing how many people live in the city but commute to the suburbs... what?! Why would you do that?! I've always just figured that people who live in cities also work in said cities. I guess not!

On top of that, I've been trying to find a place near Cape May to spend a weekend at in July for a friend's bachelorette party... I had no idea it would be so difficult! There are plenty of places available... if you're looking to spend a whole week at the beach. Otherwise, everyone pretty much expects you to stay for at least three days. But, after hours of searching, and contacting various homeowners and hotels, I think I've finally found a place that will accommodate us.

Last week wasn't all bad though. I had a pretty great weekend, actually. On Saturday I attended an arm balance yoga workshop with Christina Sell and it helped calm my mind. I woke up sore and bruised on Sunday, but with a clearer head and some stronger abs. Then I went to a country club for a few hours to attend a friend's fundraiser for the nonprofit organization she works for. It was fun to dress up and to see all the other ladies from work all dressed up; it's not something any of us do very often.

Here's hoping this week goes a little smoother....

Friday, April 24

Fun Finds Friday #88

Such a pretty jewelry tree.

Artfully plated junk food....

I LOVE this cat furniture!!
Too bad our walls are made of something that makes putting anything in them nearly impossible...

+ What you can do with 9,000 post-its....
+ I've been enjoying looking at this blog.
+ Another interesting TED Talk!
+ I do enjoy a good cat plant.

Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, April 21

The Cat Life - ALL the boxes

"What is with this guy?" - Sylvester

YOU GUYS. I seriously cannot get enough of this cat! I'm so grateful to have this ridiculous little guy in my life, and I'm so so so so happy that I reached out to Kaylah about taking him in. My heart still breaks thinking about how anyone could possibly have left him behind. How?! Such ridiculousness needs to be embraced and adored, and I love that I can share it with all of you!

Sunday, April 19

Project 365, 103-109


Caught the sunrise; I wish I had noticed it while I was still outside!


That face!


Spring is most definitely here!


The perfectionist in me loves chopping up lemon rind for candied lemon peel.


Shawn made epic burgers for dinner... with carmelized onion, smoked gouda, and tomato atop focaccia rolls.


Seeing flowers everywhere makes me smile.


My second attempt at making donuts went much better than my first.
These are Tracy's blueberry crumb donuts... they're soooo good!!

This week I took Tuesday off because I had to work on Saturday. Of course it rained on Tuesday and then Saturday was the nicest, warmest day of the year so far. But at least this time of year those kinds of days happen much more often. The worst is when you end up working on a nice day during the colder months, because then you really feel like you're missing out! It's so hard to go to work now that the weather is getting better; all I want to do is spend every minute outside, soaking up some sunlight! I have some fun weekends coming up though that I'm really looking forward to.

I hope you had an awesome week!!

Friday, April 17

Fun Finds Friday #87

These coffee paintings are amazing!

Did someone say dinosaur necklace? I can't decide if I like this one better....

Bees making art!

Plastic re-use at it's finest!

+ I love the idea behind these dolls.
+ A great post about knowing what you don't want.
+ The postcard project.
+ Jaw-dropping underwater photos.
+ So cool! I love the new levels street art is taking.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 15

You Ain't Seen Muffin Yet!

When I'm developing a recipe, I search for similar recipes online and piece together various aspects from my favorites until I have something that looks like what I'm envisioning. Of course, this works better for savory recipes than it does for baking (you know, the whole science thing and all...), but having 7+ years of baking experience under my belt, I feel pretty comfortable doing it. The recipes don't always turn out the way I hope, but it always gives me a good base that I can then tweak as needed.

I used this process when I set out to make a healthy banana chocolate chip muffin. I took a little from recipe A... a little from recipe B... mixed in a few elements that I knew I had in the pantry... and this recipe was born. Absolutely zero tweaking needed! It's always satisfying when things bake up exactly how I'm picturing on the first try.

These muffins are amazing! They're bonkers delicious! And they're healthy, I think. After all these years I'm still not really sure what qualifies something as truly healthy, but anything that's filled with whole wheat flour, bananas, oats, coconut oil, and millet can't be too bad for you.

Whole Wheat Banana Choc Chip Muffins

makes 8 jumbo-sized muffins

3 small ripe bananas
1 large egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil **
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond milk **
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons millet
1/2 cup chocolate chips

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flours, oats, baking soda, salt, and millet. In a large bowl, mash up the bananas and mix in the egg, sugars, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and almond milk.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Using a scoop or a spoon, fill the muffin liners 3/4 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes* and let cool completely. Enjoy!

* This bake time is for jumbo-sized muffins (the only proper way to eat a muffin, in my opinion!); if you're using a regular sized muffin pan they will probably need closer to 20 minutes. They are done baking when you press the center lightly and they spring right back up.

** If you don't have almond milk or coconut oil at home, feel free to replace with whatever milk you have and/or a different neutral oil, like canola. I just prefer coconut oil and almond milk!

Tuesday, April 14

The Cat Life - On a Cloud

I walked into the bedroom this day and Lloyd looked like he was sleeping on a cloud. How come the bed never looks that comfortable when I want to sleep in it?

Sunday, April 12

Project 365, 96-102


Took a trip to Terrain after work; I love that place!


I ordered from Vain Pursuits about a month ago and my package finally arrived! I'll be doing a post about it once I've had a chance to use the products for a bit. So far so good!


Lloyd accurately depicted how Wednesday felt. Or the whole week, for that matter. Too many rainy days in a row.


We had dinner with some friends at a local pub. At some point, an older Irish gentleman (one of Shawn's regular customers) approached us and taught us a funny napkin folding trick. I was the only one actually paying attention to how it was done... everyone else was too busy laughing!


I love waking up with cats!


Shawn decided to make cheddar potatoes to go along with the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches I made... it was delicious, but far too much food.


Today was warm and bright, so I insisted that we take a walk. We walked to get tacos, and then walked back. (Food is the best motivator.) Also, Sylvester loves chips. Whenever he hears a bag, he's on your lap lickety-split!

I hope you had an awesome week!!
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