Tag Archives: reading

Currently.

2nd February 2015

Photo on 12-8-14 at 7.28 PM #4

*taps mic*

Is this thing on? I was looking back at this space a little while ago and realized that I hadn’t posted since November! Steven keeps pointing out that I need to do something. Write something, anything, and so here I am. I’m glad that I took a break from being here. I needed to do it to preserve my own sanity, but also because it didn’t feel like a safe space anymore. The less said about that, the better, but I will say that I’ve spent the past few months contemplating life, stressing about things, being utterly excited about things, and working hard to find peace in the chaos. I think I’m getting better at it.

There are a billion little things to write about and I’m not sure where to start. I think sometimes it’s hard to find a perfect way to jump back into something. Thank goodness for “Currently” posts. ♥

Reading: I’ve been savoring Anne Lamott’s book, “Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace” for weeks now. I bought Steven a copy as part of his Christmas gift and ended up buying one for myself, because I simply couldn’t resist the thought of having a “read off” with him. I used to do that with my brother when the Harry Potter books were released–we’d each get a copy and hole up in our rooms for hours reading until one of us had finished. The first person to finish was the winner, of course. But with this book, I just couldn’t do that. I think Anne Lamott is a person who was put on this earth to do great things, I really do. She is somehow magical and startlingly real at the same time. I don’t know how she strikes the balance of providing pure wisdom and examples of our bumbling humanity, but she does it so beautifully. I approach each new chapter with a mix of anticipation and dread thinking, Are we going to laugh today, Anne, or are we going to cry? Most of the time it’s both.

Sometimes, when I read the bible, I’m struck by a moment of complete understanding and grace. I can feel it in my heart. I know that what I’ve read is right for me at the time. And then other times, I have absolutely no idea what the heck is going on. I’d like to think that God knows this about me and provides me with other sources to dispense something into my mind, and so he brought me Anne Lamott. Because she’s funny and thoughtful and flawed. So when I needed a good piece of writing/thinking/inspiration to make me consider a big problem in my life, I was given pages and pages of words in “Small Victories” to help. I’d been working (let’s be real, I’m still working) on the idea of forgiveness and letting go and how hard it is to do those things. Then I read this…

1. “A lack of forgiveness is like leprosy of the insides, and left untreated, it can take out tissue, equilibrium, soul, sense of sense. I have sometimes considered writing a book called: All the People I Still Hate: A Christian Perspective, but readers would recoil.” (For the record, I would read that book so hard!)
2. “So you sacrifice the need to be right, because you have been wronged, and you put down the abacus that has always helped you keep track of things. This jiggles you free from clutch and quiver. You can unfurl your fingers, hold out your palm, openhanded.”
3. “Forgiveness is release from me; somehow, finally I am returned to my better, dopier self, so much lighter when I don’t have to drag the toxic chatter, wrangle, and pinch around with me anymore. Not that I don’t get it out every so often, for old time’s sake. But the trapped cloud is no longer nearly so dark or dense. It was blown into wisps, of smoke, of snow, of ocean spray.”

And little by little, I started to move on. Thanks, Anne.

Watching: There are two shows that I watch consistently: The Mindy Project and Extra Virgin. I’m not sure which one makes me happier. Maybe Extra Virgin, because it’s about food (food porn) and life and few things are better than that.

Listening: Shakey Graves! Well, one of his songs. I don’t even know what this dude’s real name is, but I guess it’s not important. This duo with Esme Patterson is perfection. As is Esme’s dress/boots combo. Priorities, y’all.

Loving: My daily indulgence: Lindt’s A Touch of Sea Salt dark chocolate bar. Give me a tiny square on the drive home from work and I am a happy girl.

Thinking: About school and teaching. Always, always, always. Also trying to figure out how to personalize our wedding as much as possible, while still making sure that it’s inclusive enough of other peoples’ tastes and traditions. On the plus side, I’m not thinking about what I’m gonna wear because I bought my dress during winter break (a goal I was so happy to have accomplished) and it’s all sorts of pretty. Booyah! It was a strange moment for me when I realized that I couldn’t Instagram a shot of it for my friends. What’s a social media lovin girl to do?

Working: I’m working on feeling centered as a human being. How much of a hippie do I sound like right now? But seriously. I promised myself at the end of last year that I would work on becoming my best self in 2015. I usually use this blog to write down my goals/resolutions for the year, but I felt like I needed some time to sit with them before writing them down over here. In a few weeks, I’ll be 29 and I thought it was a good time to get my shit together. Or at least some of it. There are a lot of things that are out of my control, but my health has a lot to do with the choices I make.

I set a goal for myself to lose 25 lbs by the time I get married. It’s less about a number on a scale, though, and more about helping to establish healthy habits. I’ve been working out at least 5 times a week and keeping track of what I eat. I’ve been more mindful about what I’m putting into my body and pushing it to do better every single time I exercise. I’ve lost 6 lbs so far and I plan to keep chugging along, not because I have to, but because I want to. I’m excited that my body is beginning to change in small ways. I can feel some confidence oozing in and it just makes everything better. I want to know that when I get married in October, that I feel great about my body. I want to know that I worked really hard for it, too, because then maybe it’ll help keep me on a better path as I get older. I’m doing this because I care about myself and I’m doing this because I care about the life I may have in the future. Because I want to be the kind of person who encourages healthy habits in her children.

I’m glad that right now, the wedding seems to be a huge incentive for the people in my life, too. My parents have been encouraging each other to eat better and will start incorporating more exercise into their lives soon. Steven signed up for a half marathon and I can see how happy it makes him to reach certain running goals, and so it makes me happy too. I will never ever be a skinny girl; I don’t want to be. That’s not what this is about. It’s about cherishing the life that I have, and the body that I have, and actively working to make things a little better.

I hope that you all have a wonderful week and that my fellow anal retentive folks cherish the thought that our month looks like this. Thank you, February. Thank you.

(Thank you to Dani Hampton of Sometimes Sweet for the continued inspiration behind these Currently posts. They make for a great start.)

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Currently.

22nd September 2014

Currently. You Are Awesome.

My summer ended in the middle of August and since then it’s been absolute madness. Work has pretty much taken up all of my time. My weekends have felt…fleeting. Now that things are starting to settle (thank goodness), it’s time to head back to this space. September is the start of something new for so many and it’s the same for me. That energy. It’s in the air. The leaves are changing and we’re finally nearing the one year mark of our wedding countdown. Suddenly things are starting to get real. I haven’t spoken about the planning too much on social media, partly because there hasn’t been a lot of it, but also because I don’t want to start posting like mad when I know that we have to keep the guest list on the small side and a lot of people will be “left out.” I’m freaking out about it actually. But the plan is still to share some of the process on the blog. Maybe it’ll help some of you who are going through the process. If not, it’ll be a record of all of the hard work we put into our day.

For now, it’s time to play catch up. Here are some things that I’m currently into…

Watching: In my teens and early 20s, September always marked the return of my favorite television shows. Nowadays, my excitement has waned, but that’s probably because I’m too tired to ever stay up to watch anything. My television schedule is as follows: local news in the morning, local news in the evening and/or some HGTV/Food Network/Cooking Channel (maybe). I have three episodes of Doctor Who to watch. It’s pathetic. One thing I have seen and am super duper excited about is The Mindy Project. I’m happy to have all of those crazies back on my screen. Though the plot sometimes goes in questionable directions, I still find Mindy Lahiri to be as charming as ever. I love how flawed she is. I love her style. I love how she reminds me of myself in a lot of ways. Also, if you caught the premiere, please watch this lovely reminder of the final scene. *fans self*

Listening to: My boys, Empires. They’re my boys even if they don’t know it, because I staked a claim on them way back when they posted their first ever demos. I fell in love with them that night and even though I don’t get to see them live very often (stop playing in Brooklyn on weeknights, you assholes), I’m so excited for the music they make and the future they are creating for themselves. Their new album, Orphan, comes out on Tuesday. Yayness!

Reading: When Anthony Bourdain talks, I listen. When he writes, I read. I can’t pinpoint when my love affair with him began, but it’s been a very satisfying relationship so far. I’ve caught up on many of his “Parts Unknown” episodes on Netflix and now I’m slowly making my way through his book, Medium Raw. It’s basically a series of essays about life, travel, and food. I’ve been purposely taking my time with it, because I don’t want it to end. If you’re in a book store and can pick it up, I’d recommend checking out the chapter called “Lust.” He makes food sound so sexy.

Thinking about: Steven (the hubs to be) and sending him good vibes as he starts his new job as the director of the theatre program at our former high school. I know the choices for the fall drama and the spring musical and I am so excited to see what he and the kids come up with throughout the rehearsal process. There was an amazing piece from This American Life about our district, East Ramapo, and the struggles it has had in recent years. The report is thorough, complex, and more than a little heartbreaking. Please give it a listen if you can.

Excited for: Boots! Apple picking! Apple cider donuts! Frizz-free weather! A weekend in Michigan! Weddings! The smell of leaves everywhere! S’mores! Sweaters! Red cups! Basically all of the things. I just realized that my Twitter profile and background have been fall-related all year. Proof that it’s my absolute favorite season.
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(As always, credit goes to Dani Hampton for her “Currently” inspiration.)

I hope you all have a fabulous week! I missed you. ♥
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Today is the day I gave up on “The Interestings”

12th January 2014

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The ladies of A Beautiful Mess started a book club for 2014. Their first book of the year is Meg Wolitzer’s. “The Interestings.”

My boyfriend’s mom has a thing about reading the first 100 pages of a book before deciding if you like it or not. I have dragged myself through 73 pages (it should not take an entire week to read 73 pages) of “The Interestings,” and I can officially say that I’m done. Why?

1. I don’t give a damn about any of the characters.

2. “The girl who’d sat on a bed with a white iron headboard and parted her labia in front of him…”

3. EAT MY PUSSY, AMANDA, YOU ARE SUCH A LYING SACK OF SHIT!

4. “…as she lifted a leg to reach the next rung the most private section of herself would have been briefly cleaved and displayed. The hair, the shadow, the pinch of lip, the stingy little anus–how could she let him watch that particular show?”

5. “This man would climb a ladder first and let her see his balls and the thick dark twine of hair that wrapped them in some kind of atavistic protection. The slipperiness of those balls in their thin sack…”

Stop. No, seriously. Stop. I know that these moments aren’t actually supposed to be sexy (or at least I hope not), but I think they’re superfluous little tidbits that do nothing to further the story. I’m done.

I’m genuinely curious to know if anyone out there desperately loves this book. Can someone help me see why I should keep reading?

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2014? Seriously?

7th January 2014

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Six days in and I can’t quite believe it’s already 2014. The holidays zipped by in a flurry of activity–there was lots of baking, gift wrapping, card writing, cooking, and hangout times. Lots of thinking about the future and my career. Thinking about this little blog space. And a whole lot of watching Mason sleep, which is pretty much my favorite activity ever.

Here are a few snapshots of the past two weeks…
Baked Raspberry Macarons and Ginger Chocolate Chunk cookies!
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Tried some delicious Dutch beer! (Thanks Jorn and Blanca!)
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Bestie times.
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Grandma times.
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Bro times.
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Snow. Wretched, wretched snow.
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Everyone has been talking about goals and resolutions for the new year. I’ve tried to keep up with my lists for the past few years, with Project 365 or reading one book a month, and it’s all been hard. Things that usually come naturally to me suddenly feel almost forced or make me feel frustrated when I don’t see them through. Steven has his 2014 intentions down to a few words and I thought that might be good for me, too.

In 2014 I’d like to….

Read
Love
Experience
Taste
Feel
Move
Pray
Learn

…more.

I bought a handy new washable bottle to transport my morning smoothies and I started doing Zumba again. I’m going to do my best to follow along with the A Beautiful Mess book club because I check on that blog every day and it’ll be fun to follow along with them. The first book of the year is “The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer, which I’ve heard a lot of great things about. So far I’m not loving it–lots of pretentious theater kids pondering their lives, politics, and art–but I think it’ll get better. My best friend also bought me a wonderful book called, On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes, which is very much a Cristina kind of book. I’ll be following through with more cooking/baking experiences, simply because it’s fun. [I’ve been pinning tons of recipes (and DIY home awesomeness) on my Pinterest page if you’d like to follow me!] I’ll also be participating in the 52 Week Money Challenge (this links to a helpful, realistic and semi-alternative to the plan)[Thanks, Brighid, which should be pretty simple for me. I’ll be saving a lot less than I want to (though nearly $1,400 isn’t too shabby), but this year is still about paying off debts rather than saving huge chunks of cash.

And that’s pretty much it. In a lot of ways, it feels like I’m just going to be doing what I normally do, which is fine. 2013 was on okay year, no better or worse than others, and 2014 should be fine. I don’t feel thrilled about anything in particular, but I’m always grateful for another day of life and another opportunity to exist in this crazy universe of ours. Did anyone post goals or intentions for 2014? I’d love to read them!

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Currently.

18th August 2013

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This week was all about the interview. I had three job interviews, two of which were excellent. I think I drove into the Bronx or Manhattan every single day this week, which I haven’t done in months, and I’m happy to announce that I accepted a position at New York City’s first ever public Montessori charter school. I’ll be an associate teacher in a lower elementary classroom (ages 6-9) and I’m absolutely terrified and excited a whole bunch of other emotions! The school is located in the South Bronx, which will be an interesting change from working on the Upper West Side for three years, but the staff couldn’t be more amazing. They all speak of the struggles within the community, but also of the triumphs and it’s clear that everyone cares very deeply not only about the Montessori philosophy, but also about the children. The school is new and still developing and I’m excited to be involved. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to use some of my blogging/computer/passable-photo-skills to help support the school and students!

Okay, let’s get down to the Currently list…

Reading: I picked up a copy of Yes, Chef by chef Marcus Samuelsson at The Village Bookstore of Pleasantville (Great, great place. I cannot recommend it enough!) I love memoirs and I knew of Marcus Samuelsson (Hello, sir. I ate at your restaurant beneath your restaurant!), so I figured this would be a good fit. (The folks at the Village Bookstore also feature suggestions throughout the store and this was one of them. Seriously, go there.) I’m less than a third of the way in so far, but I’m in love with the crisp and descriptive language he uses to describe food and how it connects with his upbringing. Definitely excited to read more!

Here he is hanging and cooking with Eric Ripert!

Watching: Like everyone else, I have fallen in love with the new Netflix series Orange is the New Black. I’ve seen a few episodes and I want to know everything there is to know about the ladies in that prison. It feels special and fresh and here’s a great piece on why you should be watching, too!

The opening credits and theme song are fantastic.

Thinking: About the new Woody Allen film, Blue Jasmine. Steven and I went to see it last night and it was very powerful and not what I expected. The film is funny, engaging, touching, and sad. Cate Blanchett plays the title character with such amazing force. She’s Ruth Madoff. She’s Blanche DuBois. She’s every woman who has every been lied to. She’s every person who has looked the other way. She’s a liar and a manipulator, but she’s also a person suffering from so much. I would be shocked if Cate doesn’t get nominated for heaps of accolades because of her role in this movie. There’s a great, potentially “spoilery” bit of meta here along with these two interviews of Cate Blanchett discussing the film and her craft. She is so lovely and talented.

Excited about: My copy of the A Beautiful Mess: Photo Idea Book arrived in the mail yesterday! I’ve been flipping through the pages and getting super excited by all of the amazing ideas laid out in the pages! Elsie and Emma’s rundown of their 20 Favorite Photography Posts inspired me to buy their book. I love their blog already and I’m excited to start snapping away!

(Courtesy of ABeautifulMess.com)

(Courtesy of ABeautifulMess.com)

Loving: Oh, Welcome to Night Vale. Oh, oh, oh Welcome to Night Vale. This is a “radio show” about the strangest town in existence. There are angels (Angels do not exist!) and an Apache Tracker (We hate that guy!) and a dog park (There are no dogs allowed in the dog park!) and a glow cloud (All hail the glow cloud!). Like most people, I started seeing all sorts of art and posts about it on Tumblr which made me want to check it out. I’m not sure that I can really pin point why I like the show so much. Could it be Cecil’s voice? The “weather” reports? Carlos? Sweet, beautiful Carlos? The floating cat? It’s a combination of a lot of things. Mostly I like that it’s weird. It’s also the number one podcast in America, so if you’re not listening, you should get on that.

Thanks to Danielle of Sometimes Sweet for inspiring these posts! (Congrats on being a mama again! Yay for baby Charlie!) Have a great weekend, friends!

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