WIAW: The Birthday Edition

Good morning, and happy Wednesday!

It’s a good day around here: today is my birthday, which I’m pretty stoked about. I’m getting a massage after work, which will be followed by dinner with Brandon at our favorite steak restaurant (it’s a pricey venue, so we only go for special occasions). Adding to which, I have a good feeling about this year — and, in the interest of full disclosure, let’s call it like it is: I’m turning 32, not going for a perpetual repeat of 29.

Although I know it’s not normal for women to like anything about the aging process, I have to say: I’m actually a big fan of getting older.

Now, there are definitely some things I don’t enjoy, like those blasted wrinkles (if I’m going to be old enough to get wrinkles I at least want to be old enough to stop getting zits, m’kay?) and the occasional gray hair. I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I didn’t own at least one bottle of anti-aging wrinkle cream, and I’ve totally searched my scalp for silvery strands (and carried out strategic strike hair-pulling operations) on more than one occasion.

But whenever stuff like that really gets to me, I have two counter-arguments that shut it down faster than Katniss Everdeen would be able to shoot a lame, morbidly obese rhinoceros with her bow and arrow:

First and foremost, I think it’s important to have a sense of perspective. Here in the developed world, we’re taught to fear aging — but if you contrast the life expectancy in the U.S. to the life expectancy in countries like Swaziland (where it’s an astoundingly low 31.88 years), one thing becomes clear: when compared to places where it’s normal to die of AIDS before you’re 30, where it’s standard for children to succumb to preventable diseases before their fifth birthday, and where young women are routinely killed by pregnancy complications and a lack of access to emergency obstetric care, it’s a privilege to get older.

Sign me up for the wrinkles.

Secondly, one thing I like about getting older is the feeling that I’m really progressing in my life. When I look back on the last 10 years (I published that post yesterday, and it’s easily my favorite blog post thus far), I’m struck by how much I’ve done, experienced, and learned…and that’s just in the last decade. Who knows what else I will have done and learned by the time I’m 42, 52, and beyond?

I’ve always loved the idea of the wise, kind, well-lived older woman — women like Madeleine Albright, Helen Mirren, and a long list of similarly amazing role models — and I hope to grow into that role someday. At this stage in my life, I love learning and experiencing as much as I can — but it’s something that can only be done if one is, y’know, alive and thus growing older.

So when people ask how old I am today, I’ll proudly say that I’m 32. No perpetual 29’s for me: it’s onward and upward for this cowgirl.

Aaaaaaand with all that being said (my apologies for the Tolstoy-esque intro here), it’s time for What I Ate Wednesday, as hosted by the lovely Jenn over at Peas & Crayons!


I started my birthday off with toast and coffee, per the usual — seriously, coffee is the nectar of the gods. Whoever came up with the idea of drinking it needs to be canonized, or given a monument, or something to commemorate their awesomeness.

After my workout, I slurped down a green smoothie made with kale, a frozen banana, frozen mango, and non-fat kefir:

Snacks du jour included a soy hazelnut latte (thank you, Starbucks, for the free birthday drink — or, in LOL-speak, MOAR KOFEEZ), blueberries with Greek yogurt and granola, an apple, and carrots with hummus.

Lunch? Soup! After this weekend’s moving bedlam, I wasn’t about to attempt something wildly over-achieving like making a soup from scratch for the week. I normally do that on the weekends, but I’m a big fan of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good — or in this case, not letting my usual drive to be uber-healthy keep me from being pretty darn healthy — so I decided that it’d be perfectly acceptable to rely on pre-made soups this week. I combined a can of Progresso lentil soup with some French onion soup, and voila: three days’ worth of lunches.

Dinner: We’re going out to our favorite steak house for my birthday dinner, and since we won’t be back until late, I figure I’ll post a picture of our first legit meal in the new apartment: smoky BBQ turkey chili. It was delicious, and it was the perfect meal for a rainy, gross Monday. I’ll post the recipe later this week, so check back if you’d like to get the recipe hook-up.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a fabulous Wednesday!

Letter to My Younger Self

A few years ago, I was browsing around Anthropologie (and not buying anything, since their offerings are all waaaaaaay beyond the confines of my budget) when I stumbled across What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self, by Ellyn Spragins. The timing couldn’t have been better: I was newly graduated from college, unemployed, and scared out of my mind about the future.


I’ve thought of that book often over the last 10 years, and so, on the eve of my 32nd birthday, I decided that I want to write a letter to the 22-year-old Lillian who stood mesmerized while reading in the back of an Anthropologie store in Philadelphia.

Darling girl (yes, I’m giving you a term of endearment),
Happy 22nd birthday! As you know, you’re on the cusp of some big stuff. Graduation is looming, and I know you’re scared out of your mind about the future.
First and foremost, I want you to know that everything’s going to be fine. You’re not going to wind up living in a refrigerator box on the banks of the Potomac, and you’re going to do and experience some awesome things over the course of the next ten years.
You also will learn a lot, which is to be expected in the turbulent decade between 22 and 32. Here are some key lessons to bear in mind as you venture out into the real world:
  • Remember the time at Girl Scout Camp when Susie basically begged you to stop being so mean to yourself all the time? She was totally right: you don’t deserve such harsh treatment. One of your biggest challenges has been loving yourself, and it’s high time that you show yourself as much love, compassion, and kindness as you show everyone else. You deserve it. It’s your birthright.
  • Trust your instincts. Always, always, always do this. They’ve never led you astray, despite what your brain so ardently tries to tell you. Trust your instincts on when to go, when to stay, and with whom you spend your time.
  • There are going to be some challenging experiences over the next few years. There will be times when you feel crushed by the stress of your job or the pain of a breakup, but I promise that each one of these experiences has a purpose. More specifically, each one sets you up for something better. With each of these cases, you’ll eventually find your footing and launch yourself into bigger and better things, but the challenge is a necessary prerequisite. Each of these difficult experiences forces you to grow — which, in turn, will enable you to achieve some of your biggest life goals and dreams. 
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett, the English author who wrote The Secret Garden, once said “Hang in there. It is astonishing how short a time it can take for very wonderful things to happen,” and it’s absolutely true. When things look unrelentingly bad, remember this. You’ll see this very phenomenon play out time and again.
  • A word or two on boys: stop trying to mold your life to accommodate their plans. You’ll be tempted to do this more than once, but remember that the right guy won’t require such accommodation. Build the life you want, and trust that the right one will fit seamlessly into your plans. He will move forward with you, not hold you back.
  • Spoiler alert: in the interest of saving you hours of heartache and worry, you should know that yes, the right guy does exist. You’ll find him and marry him.
  • Fitting in is overrated.
  • For that matter, so is perfection. It’s unattainable, no matter how perfect some people may seem — so stop comparing yourself to them. Do the things that make you feel happy, alive, and edified, and do them to the best of your ability. Don’t worry about whether you’re keeping up with the seemingly perfect people, because running around that particular track is a recipe for misery. 
  • You have a purpose. You’re not sure right now what that purpose is, and it’ll take a while before you really figure it out — but I promise that, much like the right guy, it’s out there and you will find it. 
  • Finally, the best piece of advice I can give you comes from someone else. Ten years from now, you’ll read this quote on CNN and feel like it was written specifically for you:
I have bad news for you: you’re not clairvoyant. Not even a little. You have no idea how the future will unfold. But it will unfold, slowly and quickly, and slowly again, in ways that you cannot now begin to imagine. So stop trying to guess what’s coming next. All the effort you put into trying to figure out what will happen, all the scenarios you play out in your mind — they’re useless. And that’s a good thing. 
Relax and allow the future to arrive on its own time and in its own way. 
Allow yourself to be astonished.
~ Robin Bernstein, Historian at Harvard University, as quoted for the International Day of the Girl
Take good care of yourself over the next ten years, and enjoy the ride!
With love,
Your Older Self

Awesomeness Ensues

Good morning and happy Tuesday, lovelies!

I have to say: I’m beyond excited right now. We’re finally, finally on the other side of our move — moving day went about as smoothly as a move can possibly go, and we’re making serious headway on unpacking and getting set up in our new abode.

And I have to be honest: I loooooooove our new apartment. It’s a bit smaller than our old place, but it’s much, much nicer; I keep looking at all the upgraded amenities and, for a moment, getting nervous about whether or not we can afford it…before remembering that we’re actually saving money by living here. Score!

I’m also super excited (as Brandon said, “If you were a puppy, your tail would be wagging vigorously right now”) about the fact that I’m soon going to be a contributing writer for Girls Gone Sporty! I’m a huge fan of GGS, and I’m thrilled to be able to a) contribute to their mission, and b) do some writing. Ever since I decided to focus on writing, I’ve had all sorts of ideas for how I can do that — and as soon as the GGS opportunity arrived, the little voice in the back of my head practically screamed “Yes! Do this! This is awesome!”

It’s also the day before my birthday, which I always get excited about (who needs to worry about aging when there are presents and steak dinners involved?!). I have a pre-birthday retrospective post that I’ve been working on for a long time — I’ll put it up later today, so check back this evening!

In the meantime, I hope everyone has an awesome day!

Thankful Thursday: The Big Day Is Almost Here

Good morning, loves – Happy Thursday!

For this week’s Thankful Thursday (many thanks to Jessie from Jessie Loves to Run for hosting), I have one key point of gratitude to focus on: the fact that the big move is almost upon us.

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Full disclosure? Sweet fancy Moses, am I ever ready for this move to be over. I’m sick and tired of packing boxes. I want to be on the other side of this gig, stat. I miss all my kitchen supplies, which have been packed up for the last few days. I miss my stuff.
This is what I see when I walk in the door each night. Blergh.
Now, I know everybody talks about the importance of owning less. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people carry on about this. The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you. Roger that.
(Insert other pithy Zen-like phrases here.)
But the fact is, we moved a lot when I was growing up, and the one thing that remained constant for me was my stuff. My belongings — my art posters, my books, my pictures, my bedspread — were the only things that helped me stay grounded whenever there was a lot of upheaval in my life. They provided stability and a sense of continuity, which was comforting when faced with a new school (or, in the case of our move to Pennsylvania when I was 16, a new town that I’d never even heard of before we moved there).
 
I swear, we’re not alcoholics – liquor stores are a great source of free boxes!
As a result, I’m the total opposite of all those Zenned-out minimalists. I’m very, very attached to my stuff. I feel terribly unmoored — and ridiculously agitated — when I can’t have access to my belongings.
This also means I’m totally neurotic about unpacking once I move into a new place. On more than one occasion, I’ve forgone sleep just so I can get everything unpacked, organized, put away, and decorated within the first 48 hours of moving. If it takes longer than that to re-gain access to my belongings, I start getting twitchy.

With all that in mind, I’m incredibly glad that this process of migration is nearing its end. 48 hours from now, we’ll be loading up the truck, and I’ll be a very relieved cowgirl. ๐Ÿ™‚

What I Ate Wednesday: It’s Frickin’ Freezing!

Ok, so I have to take a moment to kvetch about the weather: It is so. Effing. Cold. Frigid, if you will.

Today’s high is 25, and the wind chill is going to dip well into the single digits. This is what I keep re-enacting, over and over and over again:

At times like this, the only things that keeps me going are hot drinks and hot soup. In fact, during my walk to work from the Metro yesterday, I spent the entire 10 minutes trying to distract myself from my frozen face by mentally chanting “Hot beverage, hot beverage, hot beverage” and dreaming of the electric tea kettle in my office.

So, as you can imagine, today’s What I Ate Wednesday (with many thanks to Jenn over at Peas & Crayons for hosting) offerings are all based on one objective: stay warm.

I started my day with the customary cuppa joe, a banana, and 2 slices of gluten-free toast before heading to the gym. (Post-flu and bronchitis workout update: I’m back up to 2 miles at a 9:04 pace, which I’m incredibly happy about — heal, lungs, heal!)

My snacks du jour included Greek yogurt with blueberries, a Kind bar (nuts + dark chocolate + sea salt = heaven), an apple, a grapefruit, and some carrots. Lunch, which I got reeeaaaaaalllly excited about (I was starving, and the idea of a big bowl of hot soup was insanely appealing – I was sitting in an important meeting while my stomach growled loudly, which added a nice ambiance to the whole experience), featured chicken and rice soup with carrots and spinach:

And, of course, tea. Lots and lots – okay, craploads – of tea. Green tea, chai, red tea, herbal tea: it’s all happening here, folks. Me and my electric kettle are besties for life.

Dinner featured herb-roasted chicken with salad and – surprise! – more tea. (Humor me and pretend like you’re shocked by the news that I drank my 8th cup of hot tea after wolfing down dinner.)

I hope everyone is having a fabulous Wednesday – stay warm! (Now, can someone please change the rules regarding the impropriety of wearing sweats at work? Because I’d really be a lot more comfy if I could be sporting my favorite sweats, a hoodie, and three pairs of socks. Someone needs to get on this, stat.)

Everything I Need to Know I Learned When I Was 17

A few months ago, I was having a momentary freak-out about, well, some trivial thing that I don’t remember, when suddenly I realized: I was a lot more confident when I was in high school.

Now, it’s more than a little weird for a huge nerd like me — especially one who was decidedly not popular — to have had more self-confidence at age 17 than at age 31. That’s not to say that I loved every minute of high school (I definitely didn’t), but I suddenly realized that had a lot more confidence and chutzpah circa 1998.
When I was 17, I knew what I was interested in, and I knew I wanted to pursue something combining health/medicine and international affairs. I knew that this combination was bewildering to most people, but I didn’t especially care. It made sense to me, and I loved both fields and knew they could be combined in innovative and satisfying ways.

I’m the one on the right, hangin’ with my high school besties circa 1998

When I was 17, I went on a date with the guy who would wind up being my first “real” boyfriend and, while I looked nice, I kept my hair in a ponytail and my makeup to a minimum. I wore jeans and a sweater (and my Doc Martens…hey, it was the 90s). When my parents asked why I was wearing the same clothes, hairstyle, and makeup that I’d worn to school, I replied that if this guy was going to date me, he needed to like me for me — and that involved seeing me in my normal state.

 Somehow, between 1998 and 2012, all that changed.
I’m not sure how that change happened, but I think it had a lot to do with both a handful of painful rejections and an increasing desire to fit in. I’d never really fit in anywhere: I’m way too Colorado to be East Coast, but a wee bit too East Coast to be 100% Colorado; a self-designed major in psychology and international affairs who, because she was both, could be in the honors societies and clubs for neither; too nerdy to roll with the popular crowd, but too social to roll with the nerds; the sort of gal who is bawdy yet sensitive; who equally loves both football and fierce shoes, science and international affairs, high-brow entertainment like art museums and low-brow entertainment like slapstick comedy movies and the Twilight books. (Yes, I read them and liked them. Don’t hate.)

Basically, I’m the sort of gal who balances on the cusp of a bajillion categories but doesn’t fit neatly into any of them.

 Comparison is the Thief of Joy, Teddy Roosevelt
For whatever reason, this really bothered me. I felt like I really needed to fit in, find a niche, be classifiable into at least some of the clearly defined categories that seem to suit so many people. Looking back, I have no idea why I felt like this, but I can tell that it eroded the confident, self-assured, “I’m not afraid to do things my way” young woman I used to be.
Once I realized this, I started thinking about the whole issue of fitting in. Suddenly it hit me: I’ll never fit in, and not only is there nothing wrong with not fitting into an either/or dichotomy, but it’s actually a really good thing!
Why Fit In Art Print Dr Seuss Quote Funky Whimsical by BethNadlerArt

My interests always have been, and always will be, varied. I’ll always love both medicine and international affairs. I’ll always love both the girly world of fashion, shoes, and celeb gossip and the guy-centered world of wildly inappropriate comedy movies (Tropic Thunder and Ted are among my favorites) and full-contact sports. 
Furthermore, I realized that I knew at 17 what I wanted my dream career to look like: I knew I wanted it to involve both medicine and IR, and I knew I wanted to be helping people through whatever work I wound up doing.
Basically, it took me the better part of my post-college adulthood to re-realize what I knew almost 15 years ago. That knowledge and wisdom was there all along — it just got buried beneath the muck of trying to fit in and make people like me. 

 Believe in You
In the last year, I’ve really started excavating that inner knowledge, and it makes me incredibly happy to rediscover the things that, deep down, I’ve known all along. Two things have played huge roles in that process: my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and blogging. As far as the latter is concerned, I want to thank you all for a) reading my ramblings in the first place, and b) your insightful, kind, and generally wonderful comments. I feel incredibly lucky to have such awesome friends and readers, and I want you all to know that you mean the world to me. 
Thank you for being you, and big hugs to you all!

Weekend Recap: New Shoes, New Pants, Boxes Galore, and Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Good morning, everyone!

Hopefully most of you have a holiday today, and hopefully those of you with a day off have fun plans! With all the inauguration bedlam going on in DC today, Brandon and I intend to stay as close to home as humanly possible. We briefly went into the District yesterday, only to get caught in a series of blocked roads and massive traffic jams — so our game plan is to avoid the city at all costs. Gargantuan crowds, traffic, and standing in the cold for hours are a recipe for my own personal hell, and (surprise!) I just don’t want to put myself through that. Whoda thunk, right?

Inauguration traffic aside, this weekend has been hectic (and is going to continue being that way, since we’re now T-minus 5 days until the big move), but still fun: the big news (!!!!) is that I finally, finally felt well enough to go for a run yesterday. It was glorious, people! The sun was shining, I got some vitamin D, and I got to break in my new Garmin, new running shoes (the exact same model as my old ones, but still exciting), and a new pair of pants from pv.Body. I’m kind of enamored by these pants — I love the cropped look, the fold-down waist has an asymmetric hemline (so fabulous), and the waist is lavender (one of my favorite colors: so, so, fabulous). Adding to which, they’re super comfy. I loved running in them!

New kicks! New pantaloons! Excitement ensues!

I knew I was going to need to keep this workout short and easy, since three weeks of illness-induced exile from exercise means that I’m definitely out of shape. I also knew I was probably going to struggle mightily, since the flu and bronchitis involve all sorts of respiratory misery that have left my lungs in pretty rough condition.

Knowing all that, I decided to not worry about my pace. I only ran 2.5 miles and I needed an embarrassing number of walking breaks, but that’s to be expected at this stage. I know I’ll eventually work back up to where I was before I got sick, both in terms of pace and distance, but I’m going to give myself time to gradually improve. To that end, I loved getting to use the Garmin that Brandon got me for Christmas — instead of clocking my pace, I was able to watch my distance and know exactly when to turn around and head home. This thing is freakin’ awesome.

I lurve this thing. Have I mentioned that my husband is the best?

Meanwhile, amidst the packing, organizing, and the glorious return to running, I decided to, y’know, get insanely ambitious and add a few things to my plate. Namely, baking.

Now, each person has their own way of dealing with stress. My coping mechanisms usually involve exercise, yoga, reading, and, occasionally, bawling my eyes out in the shower. Over the course of the last year, though, baking has become one of my go-to stress relief activities. There’s something comforting about the way a baking project comes together from a gaggle of ingredients, and I’ve noticed that whenever I’m stressed out, I get back from running/the gym and immediately start eyeballing the Kitchen Aid. I have no idea why I’m suddenly channeling June Cleaver, but hey, it’s better than bawling my eyes out in the shower!

I found this recipe for gluten-free vegan banana bread with chocolate chips from Monique at Ambitious Kitchen, and I decided to turn it into muffins. (This way I can take them to work, which helps ensure that I don’t wind up eating all the baked goods.) I made some small modifications to the recipe — I added 1/8 cup agave nectar and one tablespoon of flax seed mixed with 1 tablespoon water — but the muffins turned out beautifully.

Of course, I had to test one to make sure they tasted as good as they smelled when they were baking. It’s a hard job — really, my selflessness knows no bounds — but somebody’s got to do it. (Insert excessive whining about how hard my life is here.)

I know, I know: you feel sorry for me. Look at the awful things I have to do.

Now I’m off to do more packing — I hope everyone has a fantastic day!

Spaghetti Squash With Bolognese Sauce

TGIF, people!

Time to celebrate the long weekend – hopefully everyone has something fun planned for the holiday. In addition to the packing/moving prep, I hope to find time to go see Zero Dark Thirty – I’ve been wanting to see it for ages (like, since I first started seeing previews in the theater for it, soooo…six months?), and I’m practically bouncing around in my seat at the very idea of getting to see it this weekend.

(Because I’m four.)

Also cause for celebration and bouncing around in my chair? One of my favorite dishes: spaghetti squash with Bolognese sauce. This stuff is perfect for a cold winter’s night, and it’s easy to make.

I like to try and provide vegetarian and vegan options for most of the dishes I post here, simply because I know a lot of people are plant-based — and hey, I’m all about supporting people in their individual journeys to health!

A great way to make this a veg-friendly dish is to substitute the ground beef with 2 cans of cannellini beans. These little guys are an awesome source of plant-based protein, fiber, iron, and calcium, and they’ll make this dish even more filling.

Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese Sauce

What you’ll need:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 red peppers (preferably organic), chopped
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic, so I used a lot – but if garlic isn’t your thing, you can scale this back to suit your tastes)
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 1 tbs fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 tbs fresh chopped basil
  • 1 lb. extra lean ground beef (I used 96% lean from Trader Joe’s) OR 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to cook it up:

1) Pre-heat oven to 350.

2) Prep the spaghetti squash: cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and set each half face-down in a casserole pan in about an inch of water.

3) In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, saute the peppers, onions, and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the fennel seeds and stir regularly until the peppers are soft and the onions are transluscent.

4) At the same time, if you’re using ground beef, brown the beef in a separate pan.

5) Add the marinara sauce, rosemary, and basil to the peppers and onions. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

6) If using beef: Once the beef has been fully cooked, add it to the marinara sauce. If using cannellini beans: Drain and rinse the beans, and add them to the sauce. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes.

7) Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven – you’ll know it’s ready when you can easily puncture the exterior with a fork.

8) Using a fork, remove the stringy, spaghetti-like flesh from the inside of the squash, and plate ‘er up.

9) Top with sauce and, optionally, parmesan cheese. Enjoy, and stay warm!

Thankful Thursday: Tea, Time, and Ralph Waldo Emerson

So. I had big plans to post the recipe for spaghetti squash with Bolognese sauce today, but a certain someone (cough cough, me, cough cough) was up late last night in a cleaning and packing frenzy (due in large part to the fact that we finally jettisoned our dried up Christmas tree, which left a trail of needles deeper and wider than the Mississippi River) and has been dragging throughout the day.

Adding to which, I totally thought it was Friday when I woke up this morning, so the fact that it’s Thursday felt…slightly cruel.

It was an “I need another cup of chai” day, but that statement was repeated approximately eleventy bajillion times over the course of the last 12 hours. It was the kind of evening when, once I learned I’d be on my own for dinner, I scrapped my plans to make turkey burgers and instead chose to eat an inappropriate amount of cinnamon Chex.

And now I just don’t have it in me to put together a recipe post. Tomorrow, however, it’ll happen!

Tomorrow

And! The fact remains that the long weekend is in sight, which in and of itself is cause for celebration. And! Speaking of cause for celebration, it’s officially time for Thankful Thursday, hosted by the delightful Jessie from Jessie Loves to Run. I always enjoy taking time out of my week to be grateful for all the things that are going well; it can be really easy (too easy) to focus on the things that are aggravating, so re-directing my attention to the positive things in life is a welcome activity. ๐Ÿ™‚

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…The fact that we don’t move into our new place for another week. I’m chomping at the bit to get into our new home, but — as I may have mentioned a time or forty — there’s a lot of stuff to do to get ready, and I’m glad we have a bit more time to get it done.

…The upcoming long weekend. I love, love, love long weekends (who doesn’t?), especially when they coincide with a time when my to-do list seems as long as an adult brontosaurus. Things feel a lot less overwhelming when you have an extra day off.

…An upcoming visit from my aunt and cousin this weekend. They’re going to be visiting DC for the inauguration, and I can’t wait to see them!

…Tea. I know, I know: this is seriously mundane, but it’s seriously fabulous. I love tea in all its forms, and nothing warms my soul like a hot cup of herbal tea on a cold winter’s night.

 

…Quotes from authors whom I love. This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is part of a prayer that we used to say before dinner each night when I was growing up, and it perfectly sums up all the things for which I’m immensely grateful:

 for each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything thy goodness sends. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

What I Ate Wednesday: The Rain, Rain, Go Away Edition

Good morning, and happy Wednesday!

I’m stoked that we’re reaching the halfway point in the week — I’m ready for the long weekend, especially since the big move is coming up and there’s still a lot to do.

I somehow managed to seriously underestimate the amount of effort it would take to move us into our new apartment. (For the record, the amount of effort it takes can only be described as ridiculous; if it were quantifiable, it’d probably be a metric ton.) As it turns out, there’s an insane amount of stuff to do!

I realized today that the metric ton of tasks is due to the fact that this is my first time moving as part of a couple. Yes, up until this point I repeatedly surveyed the landscape of boxes, scratched my head, and thought, Why is this move so much harder than all the other times I’ve moved? It’s taking forever to get ready for this!  Cue the light bulb going on over my head.

When Brandon and I moved in here, we were combining my stuff with his stuff — and although it took a lot of work, we were still coming from separate apartments. I packed up my little studio apartment, and that was that. (*Brushes off hands, pats self on the back, has a margarita to congratulate self on a job well done.*)

All my other moves had been from single rooms (during college and before living overseas) or studio apartments (during grad school and when I first moved back to DC) — and in a fact that will shock everyone, it turns out I had a lot less stuff then than I do now.

You’re stunned, I’m sure.

Other stunning facts: apparently two people own more stuff than one person does. Also, weddings and wedding registries apparently ensure that you and your spouse wind up owning a lot more stuff than you did before you got married. And in other news, the sky is blue.

Life lessons, folks. 

Anyways, enough with my kvetching about moving processes. It’s time for What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by the lovely Jenn from Peas & Crayons!

Upon stumbling out of bed, I had my customary cup of java. I’ve been loving every sip of the Almond Joy coffee I bought in Texas, and it just keeps getting better. It’s like sorcery in my coffee cup, people!

Breakfast consisted of GF toast, which didn’t make the photoshoot on account of the fact that I gobbled it up before I could even contemplate taking a picture of it. Sorry, toast.

Snacks? You know I love me some snacks. I had an apple with almond butter, a banana, Greek yogurt with blueberries, a clementine, and carrots with fat-free poppyseed dressing.

Lunch consisted of some luuuuuurvely Moroccan lentil soup, which kept my my estomago warm and made my insides happy, as well as canteloupe and kombucha.

Dinner: In the interest of keeping things warm and toasty to counteract the plunging temperatures outside (not to mention the rain…the relentless, miserable, freezing cold, and generally despicable rain), I whipped up one of my favorite recipes for dinner: spaghetti squash with bolognese sauce.

It’s a cakewalk to cook this dish, and it can also be easily made into a vegan/vegetarian entree by substituting cannellini beans in place of the ground beef. Either way you make it, it’s filled with veggies, vitamins, and protein — and it helps soothe the winter-weary soul. I’ll post the recipe later today!

Hope you’re all having a fabulous Wednesday – here’s to the weekend being within reach!