Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Five @ 5

Boat Run. Boat portion.
1. I started a new morning exercise routine this week and I think it's kind of wonderful. Boat run. What? Boat run. I've done it four times now. I live about a 7-minute walk from Long Wharf. There's a ferry that goes from there to the Charlestown Navy Yard. My T pass covers this ferry so, no charge really. I get on the ferry at 6:30AM, take a very scenic 10-minute ride across the water to the Navy Yard, and then run the mile and a half back to the North End. Well, let's be honest. I run/walk. Running is hard, man. What do I look like, a fitness instructor? Psh. Sometimes my run/walk back to the North End includes a stop for breakfast or coffee and several pauses to take pictures. Early morning Boston is pretty. I guess this routine isn't exactly exercise. Maybe it's exercise for the soul.

2. The new season of Bachelor in Paradise started this week and I don't know what to do with all of my happiness about it. I really don't. I was so filled with joy watching the premiere this week that every time someone new arrived in Paradise I had to stop myself from actually, physically waving at the screen and saying, "Heyyyyyy!" I don't know what it is about the Bachelor franchise that I love so much. It's completely ridiculous. Maybe it's that I've watched it for so long. The love I have for all the Bachelor shows is similar to the love I have for Matty in the Morning on Kiss 108. I've listened to Matty almost every morning since 7th grade. I'm listening right now. I've seen every episode of every season of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, and let's not forget, Bachelor Pad since the premiere of The Bachelor more than 15 years ago. It just makes me so happy. We are entering into a dark time, though. After Paradise we have to wait until JANUARY for a new season of The Bachelor. We don't even know who the next Bachelor is yet. My money is on Dean, Kenny, or Eric, though I'd LOVE to see it be Wells who is serving as the bartender on this season of Paradise because Jorge left to start his own business.

3. Speaking of bartenders, I've stopped drinking alcohol. Plenty of people don't drink alcohol, and now I'm one of them. It's not a big deal. I'm not going to hide in my apartment for the rest of my life, I'm not going to stop eating in restaurants I can't afford multiple times a week, I'm not going to stop going to the Four Seasons when I have a bad day, I'm not going to get all smug and judge you if you drink alcohol. I'm just not going to drink it anymore. I'll drink other things. Now. Of course, there's always more to a story. I didn't just decide this out of the blue and for no reason, but I've only just started to unpack the 13 years that came before this one and that led to this decision, and I'm going to keep that story to myself. For now.

4. It's feast season in the North End. This weekend is the Fisherman's Feast. My favorite. The best part is Sunday night's Flight of the Angel. Two young North End residents (I think they are 8 years old? 10 years old?) in angel costumes stand way up high on balconies over North Street and recite an Italian devotion. Then, a third little girl "flies" from a window and is lowered to meet a statue of the Madonna below. The street is FILLED with people and when the ceremony is over there is a huge celebration with confetti like an actual blizzard, you can barely see. It's so fantastic. Am I going this year? Nope. Because I'm terrified that someone is going to drive a car through the crowd. I was walking home last night and saw the set-up for the Fisherman's Feast and stopped to take a picture. Nice moment. Then I remembered what happened in Spain earlier that day, immediately felt terrified, changed my mind about going, and sent a message to my mother asking her if she and my dad could please skip the feast this year. I know we're supposed to be brave and continue with our lives, and that if we stop doing the things we normally do because we're afraid then we are letting "them" win. But I have to be honest, I'm scared. Way too scared. I admire those of you who still show up for things like the Fisherman's Feast. I really admire those of you who go to marches and protests, and if you're going to the Common this weekend all I can say is thank you for doing the thing that my anxiety keeps me from doing and saying the things that need to be said, but please be careful. Last night I watched the Vice documentary on what happened in Charlottesville last weekend and I don't think I've cried that hard since 3am on November 9, 2016. I can't believe this is where we live now.

5. Instead of going to the Flight of the Angel on Sunday night, I'll go to a double header at the yoga studio to chill my anxious self out and then make THIS amazing recipe I found yesterday: Heirloom Tomato Garlic Toast with Basil Whipped Feta. It's not a confetti-filled dance party in the streets of my beloved neighborhood, but it'll do.

Happy weekend, you guys.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Tale of Two Lemons

For years I've quietly refused to shop at two places: Haymarket and lululemon. They don't have anything to do with each other and I didn't swear them off on the exact same day, I've just had them both on my "nope" list for 3+ years. I have no idea why this happened, but they both returned to my "okay" list this weekend within 14 hours of each other. I thought I'd write a little review of each since my feelings have changed towards both.

Haymarket. Sigh. One night several years ago, some girl who was part of a group of individuals I was only socializing with because they were friends of my then boyfriend was going on and on about being thrifty and responsible and saving money. On. And on. And on. And on. Grocery stores were so overpriced and blah blah blah Haymarket Haymarket, yay Haymarket. I didn't like her. (I didn't like my boyfriend either, ha!) Anyway, regardless of the fact that I didn't like a single person who was influencing my behavior and decisions at the time,  I was desperate to fit in and be thrifty and responsible, so I tried to make myself shop at Haymarket. Long story short, the last time I tried this one of the vendors screamed at me and told me to go to Whole Foods and pay four times the price if I wanted to choose my own peppers. I just sort of looked at him and said, "You're right." End of story. Off to Whole Foods. Fast forward to this morning. I needed a lemon. I needed limes. I didn't feel like leaving the neighborhood today. I was sitting on the Greenway. I slipped some dollar bills into my fist and casually and cautiously meandered towards Haymarket. Well well well, look at you, jerk face. I mean, I have refused for years to even walk through it. I walked around it. Full on shunning. But the lemons looked pretty good. And they were six for $1. Last week in this same situation I paid $1.29 for a creepy looking lemon at 7-11. Nope. So I shyly approached the vendor with the good lemons. Get this. He took my dollar and I jumped backwards figuring he had to pick the (shittiest possible) lemons and give them to me. He smiled, handed me a bag and said, "Go ahead, honey." Seriously?! Psh. Okay....? Same deal at the lime guy a few vendors down. $2 for six. #goaheadhoney Maybe I was going to the wrong vendors before. Maybe everyone at Haymarket just got nicer. Maybe I got nicer. I have no idea what changed. But my bowl of citrus looks tremendous on my table and for $3? I'll go ahead, honey.

lululemon. I mean. Do I own items from lululemon? Yes. Five. (Well, six after last night.) Do I like them? I try not to. Did I buy them between three and six years ago and are they all still in pretty great shape after being pulled and stretched and sweated on and hurriedly rolled up into balls and shoved into bags multiple times a week? Yes. DAMN them. But I hit a point with that place three or four years ago where I couldn't do it anymore. Too much. Too expensive. Too fake. Too in-my-face in the store. Then the pants were rumored to be sheer. The CEO apparently didn't like anyone over a size 0. Screw you. Goodbye forever. Fast forward again. I started taking yoga regularly seven months ago. I really REALLY enjoy it. I also teach multiple fitness classes each week. I've tried to love my Old Navy leggings, but this week in class I spotted another hole in another pair. (I still love you, Old Navy. For $15 the fact that your leggings last as long as they do is a miracle and you should be proud of yourselves.) Last night I was leaving the Prudential and passed lululemon and thought I'd just take a look. The experience of the store was largely the same. "HI I'M AMY ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH OUR PANT WALL?!!?!?! WHAT KIND OF EXERCISE DO YOU DO?!?!?!" Various. Can you stop yelling? Thanks. "DO YOU WANT TO TRY THOSE ON?!?!?!?! WHAT'S YOUR NAME??????????????????????" Ugh. Simmer down. So annoying, but I have to hand it to them, the Wunder Under Hi-Rise Tight was everything I'd ever wanted. Perfect length. Zero chance of the waistband rolling, that thing is locked in way up high. Soft but SUPER compression-y. These tights literally make you feel like you're naked AND you have no fat on your body. That is the only way I can describe them. I had to get them. I walked to the register and told the girl that I was an instructor and that I'd been part of their discount program several years ago and I'd like to re-enroll. Thunderclap. Scream. Carmina Burana plays. So many personalities at lululemon. She glared at me and demanded to know where I worked as an instructor as if to say, "They let YOU teach?" Well yes they do, sweetheart. Come to Brookline on Monday night, oh wait you won't be able to get a ticket. I regained focus and suffered through the speech she gave me, "The PROGRAM has changed. And it's not just for anyone who considers themselves an athlete anymore. It's way more serious now. Way more serious. And the discount............ is now 25%." She paused for my reaction. Stone face. Paid. Left. Those pants were one hundred dollars. One hundred. Dollars. And yes, the discount helped and I love them and literally could not wait to wear them to class this afternoon but, damn. Get it together, lululemon. Your products are ridiculously high quality and over the years have gotten better and better and I will begin to buy them more regularly again, but your stores are completely psychotic. Take a page from the kinder, gentler vendors at Haymarket.

Happy Saturday, all.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Off The Bench

Sunday started out so well. I slept late. I went to yoga and worked really hard. I came home and made scrambled eggs and homefries and coffee. I got on the couch and read this book for a couple hours, and then I decided to take a walk. I headed over to the waterfront. I love being near the water. I was on a little dirt path when I turned a corner, stopped DEAD in my tracks, and gasped like someone had slapped me. It was a bench. A bench I'd totally totally forgotten about that I sat on on a day I'd almost totally forgotten about. I'm not going to get into the details of what actually happened on the bench, let's just say I sat there one afternoon a couple years ago with someone who was very unkind to me and it made me feel dreadful to see it again. So naturally I walked over and sat down on it and settled in for a good wallow. I'm a wallower, I've mentioned this. I need to work on that. I sat. I wallowed. I got choked up. I shed a few tears. I thought I'd feel better. I didn't. I felt worse.

I decided to get up and keep walking. Walking always helps. Movement always helps. Nope. Still felt shitty. Put some loud music on and walked faster. Nope. Turned around to head back to civilization. Stopped at the grocery store and got ice cream and whipped cream and hot fudge, came home and fixed myself a sundae. Nope. Ate one bite and knew it wasn't for me. Walked to The Thinking Cup with my laptop, got a coffee in a big mug, got the window seat, tried to do some writing. Still nope. Nope nope nope.

As I sat there trying to write and continuing to feel like crap, I finally typed out the words, "What do you need right now?" I'm trying really hard lately to get better at coping with stress, sadness, anger, etcetera. I've tended in the past to do things that weren't all that healthy or productive when the going got tough. I think a lot of people do that. You get to a point where you feel lousy, and you just want to numb it any way you can as quickly as possible. With alcohol. With shopping. With food. Whatever. I'm realizing that doesn't really work. It doesn't work and it can make things worse in the long run. So, I decided to sit with my awful bench feelings and ask myself what I needed to process them and move on. My answer came as a huge shock. I needed to sing. Sing? Sing. Like at the top of my lungs into a microphone. I'm not a singer. At all. But I wanted to sing. I then remembered that there was a very nice establishment (sarcasm) only a 10-minute walk from The Thinking Cup that had karaoke on Sunday nights. I decided to shut my laptop and walk over and see. Maybe I'd just sit there and watch, maybe I'd give it a shot.

I got there and RAN to a seat in the corner to hide. I looked like hell. I mean, HELL. No makeup. Flip flops I bought for $3. Jeans. Ratty old striped top. Bun on top of my head leftover from that morning's yoga class. Puffy eyes. But I immediately liked it there and felt a tiny bit better. The other patrons seemed happy and nice enough. No one seemed out of control drunk or belligerent. I really enjoyed listening to people sing and I noticed that there was a vibe within the crowd of everyone wanting everyone else to do well. One girl did SUCH a good job that I felt compelled to tell her. She was very friendly and we ended up tackling a song together. I loved it. But it was more of a rap song and I still wanted to do something on my own and really WAIL. I'd never sung anything by myself before so I still have no idea where this came from. I'd done karaoke, but I always rapped like I did with my new friend. Finally I signed up and when my name got called I crossed my fingers and went for it.

I cannot even TELL you how much I enjoyed this. I sang So What by Pink. I didn't even know I liked that song? For some reason it was exactly what I needed. I belted it and people seemed to think I did okay. I couldn't believe how loud I was. At one point someone even leaned in sang one really really loud line with me. I got three high fives on my way back to my corner. And most importantly, I felt 100% better. I couldn't stop smiling. I sat for a few more minutes and listened to the next song, walked home, hugged my cat, and went to bed. I still haven't stopped smiling.

Maybe I sound like a crazy person, but I think there is something to the karaoke community. Yes, I just called it a community. You are putting yourself out there, you're doing your best, it's cathartic in some way, it's loud, and people cheer for you even if you're terrible. Sometimes they cheer even louder if you're terrible. How great is that?

The thing that makes me happiest about this, though, is that I didn't crawl into an emotional hole for three days when I got upset. I didn't drink too much, shop too much, or eat too much to temporarily numb things, I just figured out how to feel better. It was totally ridiculous, sure, but I don't care. It worked.  Off the bench. Onward and upward.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Five @ 5

1. Hi. Yeah. I never write these anymore. Oh well. I looked at a few other blogs this morning and noticed that I'm not alone in struggling to find time to pursue this hobby, so I'm not going to beat myself up about it. This is my first real day off in a while. I cannot tell you how nice it is to sit down at my kitchen table, listen to Matty in the Morning, and drink coffee made in my Chemex instead of caterer coffee in a paper cup. Thought I'd get up and throw some words out onto the internet while I'm in such a good mood.

2. I went to have my annual physical yesterday. For part of the appointment my doctor was reviewing my notes from last year's visit to see if anything had changed. Where do I work, what do I do for exercise, do I still teach, do I still like it, do I smoke, how much do I drink, what's my diet like, what's my home like, my sleep, etc. All of my answers sounded positive, nothing had changed. She moved onto the physical exam and that was fine, too. Again, nothing had changed. I could consider taking Vitamin D, hit the dermatologist again this year because I'm pale and freckled and she'll see me in a year unless anything comes up. I was horrified. How is this possible? I'm fine? No I'm not. Look at the year I just had. Check me again, Johns Hopkins-educated MD. I left feeling really uneasy. I wandered around the Back Bay pouting for a while. It started to rain so I took my pouting into Marshall's and tried on 6 million tops. It was in the Marshall's dressing room that I realized I was being a real asshole. I'm healthy. My doctor just told me I'm healthy. How many people don't get that news when they go to the doctor? Someday I won't get that news. I need to stop being such a wallowing hypochondriac and appreciate the fact that things are good right now, things are stable. Yes, it was a shitty year, but I survived it. I'm unscathed. Stop wallowing, Ann. Ugh.  

3. In more serious news, I've decided that I'm done with Spanx. DONE. Goodbye forever. They are in the trash. If I put something on in the fitting room at the store and look in the mirror and think it would only look good if I wore Spanx with it, then I'm not buying it. That means it doesn't fit me. I'm not buying shit that doesn't fit me anymore. I like feeling good. The only time people ever tell me I look nice is when I feel good. When I'm physically comfortable. Spanx make me feel awful. I could have the most gorgeous dress in the world on, but I'm walking around feeling like I'm wearing bike shorts. Bike shorts. I don't feel good in bike shorts. Maybe you cyclists do, but I don't. A few years back I decided that anytime I went shopping for clothes I'd get in the fitting room, put the items on with my back to the mirror, and only turn around and look in the mirror if they felt good. I'm going back to that.

4. I love taking myself out to eat. I enjoy going out with people, of course, but I really enjoy having a meal at a bar by myself. One of my favorite things to do. The first time I did this I was 17 years old. It was the middle of the day at school and I decided I really needed to buy opera length gloves for my prom. It needed to happen right now. Sorry, education. I told one of the Deans who seemed to think I was an okay kid that I didn't feel well and he signed me out for the day. I kind of can't believe that was okay? Anyway, I went across the street and hopped on the train and went into Boston to buy my gloves. I went to Saks Fifth Avenue in the Prudential and bought them. A woman named Nathalie sold them to me, I still have her business card. They were $80. Why not? I was making $5.50/hour at Walgreens at that point. Anyway, after my shopping success I realized I was really hungry and had earned a good feed. I took myself out for an elegant lunch at the Chili's in Copley Place. I sat at the bar and had a huge Coke and an Old Timer burger and, of course, the free chips and salsa. Best day ever. I fell in love with the solo bar meal that day, and 20 years later it's still one of my favorite things. Also still on my list of favorite things is the salsa from Chili's. OMG. How delicious is that? I was talking about it with a friend last Saturday and proceeded to crave it for the next five days. There are no Chili's near me so I needed to take matters into my own hands. Last night I attempted a new salsa recipe that I thought could yield a salsa similar to the amazingness of Chili's and it WORKED. You should all try it. It makes a thinner, restaurant style, tangy, somewhat spicy salsa. Try this: 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, one jalapeño roughly chopped, 1/2 a red onion roughly chopped, handful of fresh cilantro, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, the juice of half a lime. Throw all of that into a food processor and pulse. Dump into a jar or container and cover. Refrigerate as long as you can stand to not be eating the salsa. Open it up. Prepare for your life to change.

5. A very close friend of mine had a baby boy a little over a month ago. She sent me a video of her little man this week since she knew I was having a stressful few days and it was just precious, calmed me down right away. This friend is the closest person to me to ever give birth. I'm so happy for her. But also? It's crazy to me that she MADE A HUMAN BEING WITH HER BODY. I realize this sounds insane. This is literally, actually THE tale as old as time. But it's like, wow. You made that nose. You made those legs. You made them. You made legs. With your... you. You made them. Mind BLOWN. Does this make sense? I'm late to the party, I know. But wow. I felt the same way at her wedding last year. I was standing up there in my bridesmaid dress half choked up and overwhelmed with love and happiness, half in shock thinking, "you're going to literally tell this guy how you feel about him in front of all these other people? It's possible to like someone enough to do THAT?!" I'm so thankful for this friend. She is the closest thing to a sister I've ever had. We've laughed and cried and danced and fought and talked too much and talked not at all and from the day we first met to today I am always learning what's possible from her. V^V^V^V

Happy Friday, all.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Five @ 5

The ocean. Provincetown. Fall 2016.
1. Smitten Kitchen re-posted this glorious recipe yesterday and I'm SO jazzed because I'm headed to a place this morning where I can buy really good choriço. The name of that magical place? Fall River, Massachusetts. I love working for the state. I've lived in Massachusetts my entire life (minus one year) and I'd only seen a fraction of it before I started my state job. Looking forward to meeting you, Fall River. Looking forward to a (hopefully) great event with the best crew of co-workers I've ever had.

2. I am newly obsessed with Veep. I started maybe a month ago and, WOW. WOW. This is a good show. I think it's making me more vulgar, but it's a great show. I only have one more episode and then I'm fully caught up and I'm so sad about this. HBO is a gift to us all. Truly.

3. It's Mother's Day this Sunday. I'm very close with my mother. I'm in touch with her before noon pretty much every single day. Sometimes I even run into her on the street on my way to work or in line at the coffee shop - this happened just yesterday and it was the best. She is the sharpest, kindest, most resilient, most loving, nastiest nasty woman I know. There is literally no one on the planet I'd rather spend time with if I had the choice. I'm very, very, very, very, very fortunate to have her as my mother and to have her so close-by, and I'm more conscious of that this year than I ever have been before. Love you, mama. 123.

4. I've started teaching on Friday nights. Last week was my first week. I think I'm going to love it. I never thought I would. I always sort of assumed I was too tired by the end of the day on Friday to stand up in front of a room full of people for two hours and pour my whole self out onto the floor in the name of fitness. But then I realized that I work harder on Friday in my day job than I do any other day of the week. My friend, Carmen, always comments on how I walk (stomp) around the office on Fridays when I'm in my zone. I LOVE Friday. I love that the clock is running out and I absolutely have to get things done because the weekend is looming. If you give me 5 days to do something, I might get it done. If you give my 5 minutes and 5 other things to do on top of the thing you need me to do, I will get all six things done. I will get 10 things done. The later it gets on Friday the harder I go. 3pm on Friday makes my head explode. So teaching at 5:30pm and 6:30pm is going to be good I think. I'm into it.

5. Switching gears, but sort of staying with fitness: I LOVE yoga. This isn't a flash in the pan like that phase I had with spinning or my last few (all but one of my) romantic relationships, this is LOVE. I'm not totally new to it, but I'm new to doing it regularly. For years I liked it. I'd dabble. I'd go every few months. I'd leave feeling nice-ish but wishing I loved it more and knowing I wouldn't be back for a long time. Well, the day has come. I love it. I think I love it now because I really need to. Several years ago I was drowning (metaphorically), and adding movement back into my life by way of taking dance classes at the gym was the thing that, at least for a while, yanked me out of the ocean. A little over a year ago, something crappy happened and I started to drown again. I now teach the dance classes at the gym that had previously brought me "back to shore," so I had to find something else. I'm not out of the water yet, but yoga is the thing that seems to be giving me the motivation and clarity to at least try and tread water. I can't fully explain why I love it, but there is something about movement paired with stillness, something about the really unique heat it generates, something about the "try and touch the floor/try and grab your other wrist while twisted around yourself and feeling unsure if you're even standing up or lying down anymore/try and balance and not bash your face into the floor" aspects of it that are making me feel brave and like I could potentially roll the dice and consider fully rejoining the world again. I took my 50th class of 2017 yesterday. Not a flash in the pan.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Five @ 5

1. Oof. Been a while. I think I'll just accept that this is going to be an occasional thing for me. I've missed posting here, but have just been too scattered. What a weird year 2017 is turning out to be. I can't say that I dislike it as much as I disliked 2016, but I can't say it's been a good year so far either. Some sad news. Some weird news. Some strange vibes. And Trump. Meh.

2. At least there is food to cheer us up, right? I'm making this Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup tonight, and these Marinated White Beans for lunch this week.

3. Speaking of food, if you're not following the Food of Elan on Instagram you should get that going.

4. Has everyone been shopping at LOFT except me? For some reason I got it into my head that I didn't love that store but it turns out I LOVE THAT STORE. I got this and this. Not bad. I felt swishy and pretty in both of them, and both were 40% off.

5.  Rosé season is upon us. I don't love the warmer weather but I do love rosé and the smell of tomato stems and having a lower electric bill because I don't need to turn my heat on. We can't all afford Whispering Angel all the time, at least I can't. I found a super cheap rosé at Trader Joe's on Friday that I loved almost as much. It's the "Les Portes de Bordeaux Rosé" and it's $6.99. Six ninety nine! I love Trader Joe's.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday Five @ 5 - Couchbound Edition

1. You know when you meet someone new and within a few minutes of talking with them you realize they are EXTREMELY savvy and you'd do pretty much anything they recommended you do? I have a new co-worker like this, and last week when I started feeling sick she recommended I get myself some Manuka honey. Have you all heard of this? It's pricey - $35 for an 18-ounce jar (to me that's pricey), but after five days of a horrible sore throat and visiting the doctor today only to be told that what I have is viral and I'll get over it eventually, I was happy to plunk down my cash and try this magical honey. BOY, am I glad I did. It is like nature's Chloraseptic spray. I take that back. It is nothing like Chloraseptic spray because unlike Chloraseptic spray, Manuka honey actually WORKS. I took a teaspoon of it - that's not true - I ripped the lid and seal off of it and feverishly shoved a giant blob into my mouth as soon as I got home from the grocery store. No lie, it cut down on my pain almost immediately. After I'd calmed down a bit, I made myself some tea and added a little honey to it and things only got better. If you get sick this winter, do yourself a favor and get this honey. Apparently you can also use it topically to soothe bug bites and cuts. And, it just happens to be from New Zealand - the birthplace of Jam.

2. I want leg warmers. If I hadn't just spent $35 on honey, I'd treat myself to these.

3. I made up a recipe this weekend. I'm calling it Faux Pho. I used to LOVE to eat Pho Ga from Pho Pasteur when I was sick so I basically took everything I used to love and thought I could taste in that and put it in a pot and cooked it. This is NOT real pho. Not even close. Hence the name, Faux Pho. Here's what I did: boil a gigantic boneless/skinless chicken breast in salted water with a whole shallot peeled and cut in half (it was all I had in, you could use any onion.) Take the chicken out after 20-ish mins (leave the water in the pot) and shred it with two forks. Add one Wyler's chicken bouillon cube (I know) to the pot along with a cup or two of water. Heat that up. Grate a fair amount of fresh ginger - ginger makes me feel better - and add that in. Slice up a few cloves of garlic and cook them in a little oil in a separate pan until the slices are golden, then throw those in. Add the shredded chicken. Add some lime zest. Add some Sriracha - a teaspoon-ish, more if you're REALLY congested. Or if you're nasty. Add a tiny bit of soy sauce. Let all of that hang out and simmer a bit. Soak some rice noodles in hot water until they are soft - 15 mins or so. Put the rice noodles in a bowl and ladle the broth/chicken over the noodles. Top with cilantro if you have it, scallions, and a hearty lime squeeze. Eat. Immediately feel a little bit better.

4. There are SO many movies out right now that I'm dying to see. On my list for my holiday break - Jackie and Manchester By The Sea.

5. Two weeks from today it will be 2017. Aside from the fact that we are (probably) going to inaugurate a complete and total moron as President, I REALLY cannot wait to get started on a new year. 2016 was a rough ride for me and seemingly for everyone else, too. I'm not ready to dive into my reflections on this awful year just yet, but I did dive into making plans for sending it on its way. I decided I wanted to spend New Year's Eve alone. I'm taking myself to a class at North End Yoga that will run from 10pm to midnight on December 31st and then I'm going right to bed. I'm getting up on January 1st and doing my favorite thing on the planet (teaching fitness) followed by my second favorite thing on the planet (feeding myself.) What are you doing?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday Five @ 5:30 - PM Edition

When Harry Met Sally
1. I only watch two TV shows: The Bachelor/Bachelorette and Law and Order: SVU. I don't like most of what's on these days. I loved 30 Rock. I liked Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's first season, but if I'm honest I thought the second season was blah. I tried Grace and Frankie and lost interest. I HATED the couple episodes of Downton Abbey I watched. I don't really know what Game of Thrones is. I'm just not a TV person. But I want to scream from the ROOFTOPS about NBC's This Is Us.  If you aren't watching it you absolutely need to start. I'm only three episodes in and I'm hooked. There is a Mad Men-style twist at the end of the first episode that will blow your entire mind. I still have chills. Get on that.

2. So everything at Old Navy is basically free right now. Not really. But 50% off isn't bad. I'm getting a second pair of these leggings. I CANNOT SAY IT LOUDLY ENOUGH: Old Navy has the best leggings in the universe. Do not spend more. Do not. I'm also getting this and 5 of these.

3. I'm so sad and angry about the election that I can't form polite, coherent sentences and talk about it like a compassionate, intelligent, thinking, loving person just yet. I'm in a blind (devastated but somewhat controlled) rage. There is literally no one I won't offend with what I really have to say about all of this, so I'm going to pretty much leave it alone. The one thing I will say about it is that it's changed me. I don't yet know if it's for the better or worse. I felt something snap in my heart at 3am on November 9th when I saw that HRC had conceded. I can remember the exact feeling. There was this little "click" (onomatopoeia?) in my heart and I fell down on my living room floor in a heap and cried harder than I have in probably eight years. It shook something loose in me and I'm not the same version of myself that I was when I stood in line to vote with my mother on the morning of November 8th. In some ways I feel like I have more patience and compassion, in other ways I feel like I LITERALLY can't look at anyone. I'm introvert-ing more than usual. I definitely don't believe in Santa Claus anymore. So-to-speak.

4. Deep breath. Hey. It's the holiday season. That's great. Yesterday I got to teach Thanksgiving Day classes at Healthworks. I freaked out BIG TIME about what exactly to teach, but it ended up being a blast.  When I mentioned to a few non-Healthworks friends that I'd be teaching on Thanksgiving they seemed shocked that people would want to go to the gym on a holiday. It got me thinking. I so do not think of Healthworks as a gym. And I REALLY do not think of myself as a fitness instructor. It never occurred to me during my classes yesterday to mention burning enough calories so we could all eat Thanksgiving dinner later and not feel badly about it. It was more about kicking off a holiday doing something we all really love to do. I'm going to keep teaching from that place.

5. What's your favorite holiday movie? I have been watching When Harry Met Sally basically on repeat for the last week. It's not TOTALLY a holiday movie but it kind of is because it ends on New Year's Eve. Actually, there are at least two New Year's Eve scenes and they purchase a Christmas tree at one point. It counts. I'm also into Love Actually. I can't stand White Christmas. I'm sorry. I tried. Meh.

Have a wonderful weekend, all.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Five @ 5

Let's do this.
1. I walk by this new boxing club in my neighborhood a few times each week and through the window I can see people going absolutely nuts on these big punching bags. I've been feeling absolutely nuts lately, so I decided I needed to try it. Title Boxing Club North Station, I will see you tonight.

2. I shared this on Facebook earlier this week, but it can't hurt to blast it out again. Everyone go make this for breakfast right now. This recipe has completely addicted me to chives, I want them on everything.

3. It just needs to be November 8th. I can't look at the internet and I also can't look away. I want to know what the polls are saying and I don't. I want it over with. I want to celebrate HRC's victory, have a cathartic cry, hug my mother, walk home, and go to bed.

4. I'm so HAPPY to have a weekend off starting in 10.5 hours. I love being busy, but wow I need a little break. In addition to my first attempt at boxing, I'm going to wash my comforter, take yoga, visit Tom at Miniluxe, try a new restaurant, FINALLY go see the Boston Public Library's renovations, and finish the great book I'm in the middle of. I'm most excited about washing my comforter. Nothing is better than clean bedding.

5. Sigh. It just needs to be November 8th. Happy Friday, all.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Five @ 5

1. I had two good friends get married in the last two weeks. I was a bridesmaid in one wedding and a guest at another. The highlight of both experiences was seeing my friends so happy. These are two lovely and completely badass women who I genuinely adore and respect and who married dudes who have made them both amplified versions of their very best selves. Good job, you two. Anyway, also on my list of highlights from these two beautiful events was my (far more shallow) first experience with something that has really changed my life: the gel manicure.

Holy shit. I was hesitant for years to get one. It sounded weird to me that something could stay on my nails for weeks at a time and not chip. But I had two weekends of weddings and time for only one manicure, so I tried it. Where have you been all my life, gel? I'm sure you're terrible for me. But I don't care. I didn't realize I needed you. My friend Katie had given our mutual manicurist, Tom a heads up that I was coming in for my first gel manicure. When I arrived he looked thrilled. "FIRST GEL!" He was right to be that excited. I couldn't believe how shiny and perfect my nails looked when he was done. But the best part was the effect the no-chipping had on me. Not that I typically spend all my time worrying about my nails, they usually look pretty blah, but it was SO nice to have some part of my appearance look reliably nice for two whole weeks. It made me feel better about myself. Even if my hair looked sad and I'd forgotten to use the lint brush before leaving the apartment, my nails looked good and that meant I was a grown-up woman with her act together. If you haven't tried it, you should. Miniluxe will even remove it for FREE when you get tired of it.

2. Fall makes me want to cook. The blogs have been teeming with awesome recipes lately. I'm planning to make thisthisthis again, and ESPECIALLY this in the next couple of weeks.

3. I rolled the dice with my fitness teaching this fall and decided to take on more classes. Being busy with teaching keeps me on track and out of trouble, and (best part) I get to eat more. Last night I added my final class. I think I've ended up with the best five days of teaching I could have imagined. Sunday, you are the hardest working group of human beings in the city. Monday, you are my lobster. Tuesday, you are the biggest and most wonderful surprise of my year. I didn't know I could smile quite that hard while sucking wind. Wednesday, you fill the most enormous studio at The HW to the brim with your energy, and I want to hug each one of you at the end of class. And Thursday, I can already see your wheels turning and it amazes me how quickly you put my words into action. I can't believe I get to do this work five days in a row. I really can't. I laughed out loud walking through the Prudential last night thinking about the fact that people actually pay me to teach fitness classes. I feel like I should pay them. I don't know what I'd do without it.  

4. "He's fearless. And always had a chip on his shoulder."   I enjoyed this.

5. I feel so sad for a friend of mine who lost his beloved dog this week. I saw the news on Facebook and my heart broke a little. I had to go to the ladies room and have a quick cry. I think there's something really special about having a pet. I have a cat. He's an old man and he has diabetes and a thyroid condition. I have to give him insulin injections and thyroid medicine twice a day everyday, exactly 12 hours apart. (Minus the two nights each week when I don't have time to come home between work and my classes and my wonderful father comes over to shoot and medicate the little big man. Thanks, Dad.) I don't LOVE that Buster is as sick as he is, but in a weird way it makes me feel good to become even more responsible for his well-being as he ages since over the years he's been so responsible for mine. I really think our four-legged family members take care of us just as much as we take care of them. I'm glad I'm a pet person. I'm glad I prioritize my little big dude. If that makes me a "crazy cat lady" I'm 500% fine with it. I think people who love animals are the best people, and the friend I mentioned above is one of the most loving pet owners I've ever met. I'm sending a ton of love his way this weekend, you should too.

Happy Friday, all.