What We’re Watching
The Bachelor (ABC)
Yes, I do watch the Bachelor. (Okay, and the Bachelorette... and Bachelor in Paradise - don't judge me). I watch them because they give me time to quiet my brain and disengage from intellectual stimulation. These shows entertain me and also occasionally make me feel good about myself. My fellow Skidmore grad and friend, Deb Kamin, who is an incredible journalist (and mom) based in Tel Aviv, Israel, summed up everything I feel about watching this ridiculous franchise here.
Everyone who knows me, knows that I love me some SJP. I’m an early adopter – I loved her since I first watched Hocus Pocus and I’ve seen everything she has been in since. Divorce is uncomfortable to watch sometimes and it hits close to home as a newly-married daughter of divorce, but, it’s real and it’s representative. Sometimes I am drawn to shows that make me examine my life and challenge my behaviors. Plus, the acting is top-notch and the production quality is gorgeous.
Alias Grace (Netflix)
I feel like Alias Grace got none of the hype it deserved (although it did get a 99% rating from the notoriously-harsh Rotten Tomatoes). I read about it on a blog and was immediately sucked in. It’s a six-episode miniseries – so it’s bingeable without ruining your life - based on a book by Margaret Atwood (author of the Handmaid’s Tale). Each hour-long episode tells the story of Grace Marks, a young Irish immigrant and household servant in Northern Canada who finds herself accused then convicted of murder. The series is captivating and will leave you on the edge of your seat. The cast is brilliant (not to mention gorgeous) and I am already praying for Season Two. Watch it. Trust me.
The Crown (Netflix)
I’m currently watching the Crown, or, trying to. I can’t seem to get “into it” but everyone I love and respect is a fan so I am forcing myself to watch when I have spare time and don’t feel like reading (I’m only about two episodes in after six weeks so that should give you an indication of how little free time I have).
What We’re Reading
Nick is reading Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines of HGTV/Magnolia fame. I bought it for him for Christmas in the hope that he might break his no-reading streak for a piece penned by his self-proclaimed “spirit animal.” So far he’s still in Chapter One.
I’m really into addiction memoirs and just finished My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty & Staying Clean by Amy Dresner. Addiction memoirs are always raw and painful but beautiful in their complexity and authenticity. They remind me where I’ve come from and how far I’ve come. I continue to analyze what I want my future to look like – will I always be completely abstinent from drugs and alcohol or can I strike a healthy balance with some things, so long as I avoid my main vices? I’m not sure the answer is black and white, but what I do know is reading these stories keeps the pain of my past fresh, which is important as I make decisions about the future. This book, written by a drop-dead-gorgeous comedian in LA, is full of the horror stories you’d expect but peppered with sharp wit and social commentary that make it fun to read.
I'm currently in the middle of In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende. This is my first month back to book club after dedicating my fall reading hours to business school, and, I couldn’t be happier that my friends chose this book. It’s the second Isabel Allende novel we’ve read (after House of Spirits) and our strong and different personalities all agree she is a magician with language and tells the most beautiful stories. I’m halfway through this unexpected tale of three people whose lives become intertwined entirely by accident but who share much more than meets the eye. I hope – and expect – it will end up a love story.
What We’re Eating
Guys, I’ll be honest, we’re eating SO much macaroni and cheese. SO MUCH. Daisy became a horrifically picky eater out of nowhere in January and this is the only thing that is a 100% guarantee. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it too. I will eat only two kinds of pasta out of a box: Annie’s Mac’n’Cheese and Trader Joes White Cheddar & Shells – and Daisy seems to share my affinity for the foodie version of Kraft’s orange elbow product. I get a little personal with it and while the pasta cooks, I sauté a diced shallot in the butter that I blend with the cheese and shells when they’re done cooking. Sometimes I deglaze the pan first with white cooking wine.
Pasta Puttanesca from Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart by Alex Guarnaschelli
I am constantly craving things that are salty and briny during this pregnancy - for some reason it seems to keep my nausea at bay. This is one of my favorite classic Italian pasta dishes – named for the “women of the night” who supposedly perfected it in the early morning hours when restaurants were closed and all they had were the preserved capers, olives and tomatoes in their pantries. This particular version comes from Alex Guarnaschelli, chef and owner of Butter Restaurant in New York City and one of the America’s favorite judges (ours too!) on the Food Network’s hit show Chopped. My dad gave me her cookbook for Christmas and I highly recommend it – chock full of 300 classics easy enough to master for weeknights.
We're also loving the Beefsteak Tomato, Bacon and Red Onion Salad from the above cookbook. I'll throw together one huge platter of it and Nick and I nibble on it throughout the evening. This is a nice twist on the traditional steakhouse wedge, minus the iceberg and fat-filled buttermilk dressing. I love the crunch of the bacon and the acid of the vinaigrette against the sweet tomatoes. I add a little bit of crumbled Stilton for extra zing.
Welcome Home Salad by Teri Turner of No Crumbs Left
I follow a lot of professional chefs and home cooks on Instagram. Often, I just like to draw inspiration from the photographs but find that the recipes are too time-consuming for my daily life. Teri Turner’s No Crumbs Left, however, is a gorgeously-curated blog and Instagram account that focuses on healthy eating that is sophisticated and elegant but simple enough for weekday cooking for the family. This salad is an amalgamation of everything I love – crispy potatoes, baby lettuces, pomegranate seeds, marinated onions, creamy (but healthy!) dressing… It is divine, like everything on her site. If you’ve never tried one of her recipes, head to her blog and choose one to try this week! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Right now, we are focusing on manners with Daisy. She has perfected the art of saying “thank you” (which she pronounces ah-you”) but has a way to go with remembering to say “please” (although she can sign it and says "peas" when she's really motivated). She knows what she wants and how to communicate that she wants it, so that's a good thing.
Daisy is expressing a lot of interest in the potty lately. She will often point to her diaper and say "pee" or "poop" when the time is right but we've decided it doesn't make sense to start potty-training now given that we have to go back to diapers for the 9+ weeks Daisy is in casts this spring/summer. For now, we have put a potty in her bathroom and talk about how to use it and practice sitting on it. Maybe this makes me a terrible mom but I'm a little relieved we have an excuse to prolong the potty training thing? I am really not looking forward to that learning curve.
We are enjoying the slower pace of life in the suburbs. Our new home is absolutely perfect for us – it’s quiet, expansive and so peaceful. We are making the most of our time with Daisy still walking before baby comes and enjoying every second of it.