Saturday, March 29, 2014


Well, it seems that I left things a bit unfinished here. Did you miss me?

Truth be told, signing on for 30 things in 30 days was a bit ambitious of me. But I did accomplish one more big, scary thing back in September that I didn't ever document here.

I quit my job and started a new one. Okay, so that's not as scary as quitting my job and starting up some new business or quitting my job and moving to Paris.

But it was still terrifying.

I left behind three years of friendships, accomplishments, systems I had helped create and maintain, projects I had started but not yet finished. And as much as I knew the time was right for me to leave and the new job was a great opportunity, I struggled with guilt, confusion, and a good dose of fear. The job I left was, in fact, my first "real" job. And after three years I was comfortable there. Leaving meant stepping out of my comfort zone. Leaping out, actually.

The new job was a new position with the organization, one I would be (am, will be) responsible for shaping. Terrifying stuff.

So, needless to say, that took precedent over some of the other things I had planned.

I started the new job on October 1, my first full day as a thirty-something.

Oh, a quick note about my birthday party. I wasn't up for planning anything huge, so I invited some friends over for Cake & Champagne, a birthday tradition I plan to keep up for many, many years. About halfway through slicing and serving the cake (this one) my cake stand wobbled and the cake slid to the floor. After a moment of panic, my friends helped me pick the remains up (they stayed remarkably in tact) and continue slicing and serving. I guess being 30 makes it easier to laugh off near-disasters. And no one seemed to mind eating "floor cake" because I have the best friends ever.

There's still some things on my 30 til 30 list that I'd like to accomplish, so look for more updates here. Oh, and I've come up with a list of scary recipes to tackle, so I'll be documenting those as well (sourdough starter and bagel dough are on my kitchen counter as I type!


Monday, September 16, 2013

halfway there

Folks, we are halfway through the last month of my twenties! I have some catching up to do, but right now I need to tell you about what I did on Sunday morning.

What did you do on Sunday morning? Sleep in? Go to brunch? Nurse a bloody mary to cure that hangover?

Not me.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


First I made a giant mess of the kitchen.

And then I waited.

And waited some more.

And then things got interesting.
And then things got delicious.
Recipe here, if you're feeling jealous.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an entire sink full of dishes to wash (#worthit).

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Je suis la jeune fille.

You guys, my face hurts. I just got home a little while ago from a French Meet Up, and apparently speaking French uses face muscles I'm not used to using (million dollar idea: French Women Don't Get Facelifts). Or maybe it's that feigning understanding uses all those unfamiliar muscles.

rejecting my inner child

I planned to title this post "embracing my inner child" because I thought I'd write about trying to cling to those youthful days with no cares or worries. The thing is, I was kind of a nervous kid. I'm not sure why, but I wasn't the most adventurous, and definitely wasn't big on breaking rules.

Yes, okay, I was the goody-goody over-achiever. And I avoided those things I didn't excel at in order to escape embarrassment. I also made it through childhood and the following years without ever breaking a bone, getting arrested, or any number of other rites of passage from carefree youth to responsible adulthood.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

adventures in viennoiserie

When I was drafting my #30til30 list I asked my dear friend Tatiana for suggestions. She pointed out that my list was lacking culinary pursuits. We chatted about some scary kitchen tasks (deboning a duck a la Julie and Julia? canning jam and hoping I don't give everyone botulism?) and I took to Google for more ideas ("most intimidating recipe"). Although I pondered complicated Asian dishes and expensive ingredients I settled on croissants.

I've dabbled with homemade versions of foodstuffs that are usually purchased or professionally made - pizza dough, crackers, bread, ricotta cheese, toffee at Christmas time. But croissants always represented that dividing line - only professionals or totally crazy DIYers made laminated dough from scratch. The dough is called laminated because the time-consuming process includes incorporating a thick layer of butter into the yeasted dough, then folding it many times, with breaks for the dough to rest and the butter to chill, all to create the many flaky layers the finished pastry is known for.

The recipe calls for two possible overnight rests, and many hours of chilling and folding.  I decided that I could devote a day to the process, and get lots of things done around the house during the resting/chilling intervals.

So yesterday, after a grueling 10-mile run, I looked at the recipe again and broke down the timing to see how much I could get done before bed. The goal was to wake up, shape the croissants, shower and make coffee while they rose one last time, and then enjoy a leisurely breakfast of delectable homemade pastry. I was pretty confident.

smiling at strangers

After six years of city living, I've developed a pretty serious case of "commuter face." You know it, right? It's based on expressing very little, with a distinct lack of eye contact.

I've also developed some pet peeves on public transit. The number one, far and away, is this:
It's a crowded morning rush hour commute, and you snag an outside seat. Inevitably, the person on the inside seat is departing exactly one stop after you sit down. This is usually made known by a verbal cue ("I'm getting off at the next stop") or a physical one (gathering belongings, pulling the cord, placing one's hand on the grab bar or railing and beginning to stand). This is all fine, but things get problematic when the person on the inside seat insists on getting up and exiting the seat before the bus has come to a stop. It's rush hour, the aisle of the bus is full, there's nowhere for anyone to go. But I, as the outside seat dweller, am forced to stand up while the bus is in motion, and attempt to move aside into the already crowded aisle to allow you to exit. The worst part is that practically no one uses the verbal cues. They just fidget to indicate that they are getting off soon, and shoot you a pointed glance to get out of the way. And if you don't move aside quickly you're left with a faceful of backpack.

So, clearly, I've given this some thought. I take the bus every day, and this drives me bonkers. It's not the only thing. I'm annoyed by able-bodied young people occupying the front seats while older passengers stand. I hate when riders are so caught up in their phones that they don't realize there's room to move back and they are blocking the aisle.

What I'm trying to say is that the bus ride isn't a very pleasant time. But does it have to be this way?

A few days ago I challenged myself to smile at strangers. I've always thought the bus ride would be more pleasant if we all used our words, communicated politely, and were a little forgiving towards each other.

Although I found few people met my gaze as I looked around the bus, I did have two (!) remarkable moments of actual friendly communication with fellow passengers! The first was a man seated right near the front of the bus. He apologized for the awkward placement of his feet, which was making it hard for me to keep my balance. Turns out his seatmate had a seeing-eye dug under the seat and this man was just making sure the pup's paws weren't impaled by some commuter's stilettos. I looked him in the eyes and smiled right at him.

The second instance came later in the ride. Having inched slowly toward the back of the bus, I took a seat - an outside seat. Of course I wasn't surprised that as we pulled away from the next stop my inside seatmate put away her book and started making the signs that she'd be exiting at the next stop. Instead of sighing heavily, I turned to her and smiled. "I'm the next stop" she said. I kept on smiling and began to stand. "Oh no, you can wait til the bus stops, there's no hurry!" I was grinning at this point. When the bus came to a stop I stood up, but the aisle was packed with others making the same maneuver. "Don't worry," she assured me, "I'm in no hurry, let them go first." As the aisle cleared out I stepped aside to allow her to pass. She thanked me and I enthusiastically wished her a good day. And I really meant it.