What I Read This Winter

Friday, January 27, 2023

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I've still been reading, but my reviews have fallen by the wayside (as has my bookstagram account, oof). I don't want to stop reviewing books, though, so I finally sad down to comb back through my recent reads and bang out my opinions on all of them. 
And I knowww winter isn't over yet, but some of these books were ones I read in the fourth quarter of 2022, and I didn't want to wait any longer to post about them. I've already read five books in the new year, so I decided I'd just post about them all. I seem to be on a roll, so... more book reviews, coming soon! 

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My New Obsession with Press-On Nails

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

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I've always hated having my nails painted. It feels like they're suffocating! No one else in the history of the world seems to feel this way, but I have just never been able to deal with the feeling. On top of that, I'm bad at doing my own nails, and it's way too expensive to have anyone else do them with any regularity, so I've just never bothered.

Why I do not feel that press-on nails are suffocating my real nails is beyond me. If anything, they should feel worse than nail polish, right? Alas... I bought a set of press-ons two weeks ago, and I've been obsessed ever since.

I don't know what compelled me to try them in the first place. Tale as old as time, really: I fell for an end cap display at Target. They sell Olive + June products now, and for some reason, I just felt compelled. They were $10. Why not give them a try?

I bought the Outlined French design in "short squoval," and I put them on midday one afternoon when I wanted a little break from work. They were very easy to apply, just a little dab of glue on each nail and then 30 seconds of pressure to get the job done. I filed them down a bit to make it easier to do things like, you know, type and remove my contacts, but once they were slightly shorter, I was in love with them.

In my memories, press-on nails are janky and cheap. They look ugly, they don't stay on for more than 24 hours, and everyone can tell they're fake. But these? Not so. Press-on technology has come a long way, baby! 

My first set stayed on for about a week, and I swapped in new ones almost immediately. By that time, I'd already amassed multiple options, not just from Olive + June but also from imPRESS, which costs even less. Those are technically stick-ons, but I added a dab of glue to keep them on for longer, and they worked just as well (if not better).

Now? Well, now I want to own and try every single kind of press-on nails, of course. It's like suddenly the world of nice nails is wide open to me, and I want to catch up immediately. I've got my eye on this set in Glitter Party Pink, but they only come in medium, and filing them down seems like a pain in the ass. Still, I might go for 'em.

I've added, like, two dozen sets to my Amazon wishlist. Hot Strawberry! Besties! OMG! How could you not want all of them? Should I get all of them? I want more glitter options. (Dear God, who am I?)

I haven't yet been to a boxing class while wearing them, and I'm a little nervous about whether they're hold up/stay on inside my boxing gloves. But I guess the worst that can happen is that one of them falls off and I just... glue it back on? Seems pretty low stakes.

So! That's me right now! Just obsessed with press-on nails like a girly-girl tween in 1997! And I am wholly unashamed. It's so fun to find something new and small and joyful. I highly recommend it.
What are you into right now? And are you a fun-nails person? 
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Stop Bailing on Your Social Plans

Sunday, January 22, 2023


I love when people cancel on plans we've made together. I enthusiastically say yes to things and then, when the time comes, I want nothing more than to not go. It's not usually because I'm lazy or sad or well or because the weather is bad. Usually, it's just because I start to feel kind of anxious, and I'd rather just... not bother.

On one hand, I embrace the idea of cancellation without regret, of realizing you're not in the mood or don't have the emotional bandwidth to do something social. I'm all for drawing boundaries and recognizing your limits and saying "no" without apology, etc., etc., etc.

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How My Holidays Were

Sunday, January 8, 2023


The week between Christmas and New Year's is always so weird, isn't it? It's just so slow, and I love it, but it also feels like a rush, somehow, like you have to tie up loose ends and prepare for new beginnings. I wrote most of this post then, but I didn't publish it because I needed to fit in those other end-of-year posts

Once January begins, the holidays automatically feel like a distant memory, but it feels worth writing about them for posterity's sake. Here's how mine were.


Spent Hanukkah with lots of loved ones 

Mike and I had a really lovely Hanukkah this year, lighting candles together every night and often lighting them with other people, too, including his sister, who's staying with us for a week, and his parents, who were here for the sixth and eighth nights. My mom was here for the eighth night, too, as we wrapped up a family Christmas.

We spent the fifth night with our friends Derek and Emily and their seven-month-old son, who invited us over for brisket and a fancy cocktail they named the Toasted Squishmallow (there was DIY marshmallow toasting involved). Derek's family is partly Jewish, and though he isn't observant, he sometimes likes getting Jew-ish with us by association. It was great to light the menorah with them for their baby's first Hanukkah!


Hosted our families on Christmas Day 

We hosted Christmas dinner twice before the pandemic, when we lived in a duplex apartment where we all barely fit. This year, with substantially more space, we were thrilled to host Christmas at our new house, just as we approach the one-year mark of living here. There were 11 of us in total, including Mike's parents, sister, aunt and uncle, two cousins, his cousin's girlfriend, and my mom.

There was a lot of food but not necessarily too much. Mike ordered a honey-baked ham, Maggie made John Legend's mac and cheese, their mom brought a tenderloin, his aunt made salad and rosemary potatoes, and my mom assembled a truly magical charcuterie board and some incredible cookies. I made coquito, a Puerto Rican coconut drink, and we ordered an apple pecan pie from Rood.



Took it easy the week in between

I had the Monday after Christmas off but worked the rest of the week; I think I was the only one on my team who was in all four days! I haad plenty of vacation days left, but I'd basically clung to them all year long out of fear that I'd run out, so I just let them roll over to this year (so that I won't have to do it again). 

With everyone else out, I decided it would be a good time to be in, with no meetings to attend and not much else to do. I was surprised that I not only hit but actually surpassed my weekly writing quota, which seems impressive for such a laid-back week.


Welcomed, 2023!

We spent New Year's Eve at our friends' house with a bunch of other friends. We hadn't gotten together for the last two years, both times because of COVID, so it was nice to finally ring in the new year with loved ones again (even if we did, to my dismay, watching the Ohio State game instead of New Year's Rockin' Eve).

I'm glad 2023 is here. Of course, we never know what's to come, but I'm excited for an upcoming trip to San Francisco with some of my old D.C. friends, traveling for a couple weddings (one in Plattsburgh, NY, and one outside Seattle), doing more freelance work, continuing to decorate and organize our home, leveling up in boxing, and hopefully getting a better handle on my health. 

Here's to whatever comes next. Happy new year, friends.

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My Small Goals for January 2023

Thursday, January 5, 2023


The return of small goals, anyone? I've made a to-do list for the new year (because resolutions make me twitchy), but I realized that I miss doing these monthly small-goal posts, which seemed to hold me accountable in much more manageable ways. I quit doing them during the pandemic because what was time, even? but now I'm back.

Here's what's on deck for this first month of the year. 

1. Make a smoothie every weekday.

My mom bought me a NutriBullet for the holidays, and I am already all-in on it. I’ve made a smoothie for breakfast every day since Christmas! I need to get more fruits and vegetables, and this is the perfect way; plus, I can add protein powder, collagen, and heart-healthy ground flaxseed. I’m going through so much spinach and couldn’t be happier about it. (The exception to this goal will be the two weekdays this month that I'm in California.)

2. Schedule a DXA scan.

I need to get a bone density scan, per my menopause doctor, who prescribed it in… oh, you know, September. Have I made an appointment yet? Of course not — and I even had to push back my next appointment with her because of it. I’ve gotta get it scheduled and done so that I can be sure my primary ovarian insufficiency (POI, a form of premature menopause) isn’t impacting my bone health. 

3. No fast food at night.

I don’t eat much fast food, and if I eat it during the day, it’s because I’m really in a pinch — so I don’t want to swear it off entirely, lest I be very hungry in a situation without many options. What I really want to cut out is my occasional late-night, post-boxing Arby’s mozzarella sticks runs. I’ve really gotta retrain my brain out of this craving. 

4. Organize and put away Christmas decorations. 

Trying to find all of our Christmas decorations was a real pain in the butt, as they were all stored in different places and largely unlabeled. This year, I bought matching clear plastic bins and wreath bags to store everything in, and I’m going to take the time and energy to do it right and save myself the headache when next winter rolls around. 

5. No booze (mostly).

Mike and I are doing a Dry January, which tbh I don’t think will be all that difficult for me. I still like to have a few beers when I’m out with friends, but overall, I don’t drink that much anymore, and I almost never drink at home. I’ve also finally started to like unsweetened iced tea, so I have a non-soda alternative when I’m out and want more than just water. Again, the exception here is my California trip, especially our Napa day. I rarely drink wine, so I'm calling this my No-Beer Start-of-the-Year

What are your goals for this first month of the year? Got any resolutions to share?

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In for 2023: My List

Monday, January 2, 2023

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Have you seen those "in for 2023/out for 2023" lists going around? I feel like they're everywhere, and for me, they're the best kind of meme — the kind that aren't empty and fleeting but genuinely born of thoughtfulness and the desire for growth. 

I haven't made an "out" list because the only thing that's really out for me is shaming myself for any of the things I do or like, even if I maybe shouldn't do or like them. I'm all about adopting better habits without being mean to myself for retaining some of the bad ones.

What's in for you in 2023? Here's my list.
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What I Like About Starting a New Year

Sunday, January 1, 2023

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The thing that I like about the new year isn’t that I expect to try to change in a handful of likely unattainable ways. It’s that I know I will change in dozens of unexpected ways both big and small — that no matter how hard I do or don’t try to become someone new in the year to come, I will become someone new, even if just a little. 

Because that’s just how time works. 

No, the first of the year isn’t some magical date upon which everything shifts and resolve steels and motivation appears. But it is a tangible, memorable, measurable date, a marker by which to examine where you were and where you are and where you hope to be. We could do it any time, sure, but most of us don’t; we’re not waking up on April 23rd or September 7th going “Now, what exactly has happened in the last 365 days?” 

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2022 in Review: Honestly Kind of a Lot

Friday, December 30, 2022

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For once, I've mostly kept this list throughout the year instead of trying to compile it all at the end of December. It's been a helpful way to reflect on the year as it passes, not just once it's already passed.

This was actually a pretty good year, but it certainly had its fair share of troubles, from infertility to job stress to other health issues and overall self-esteem struggles.  We didn't do much travel, preferring instead to stay close to home to enjoy our new house and just be a little cozy, which was a nice change from years past but doesn't necessarily make for a fun end-of-year roundup.

But the joy was in the small things, the dinners with friends and experiences out on the town. It was in decorating our new home, honing our cooking skills, hosting friends and family at the holidays and throughout the year. It was feeling suburban in a good way. It was growing up and settling in. 

Here are some highlights.

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A Letter to My Boxing Friends

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

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A letter to you, my PGB friends,

I’ve never done very well in groups. I was in a sorority in college, and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I’ve never felt more out of place, more alienated, more unworthy of friendship. And even though I’ve successfully been a part of multiple friend groups since then, that experience has always stuck with me. It’s become a deep and inextricable part of the story that I tell myself about myself, like it’s a fact — I have brown hair, I have a loud voice, and I don’t do very well in groups.

This year, though, had been the year that I’ve started rewriting that part of my story — and so much of it is thanks to you, the women in this room and the others who have been here throughout the year, even briefly and in passing. Every single person and every single interaction in this gym and on GroupMe and during our social events has taught me not only about all of you but also about myself. 

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Welcome (or Not) to New York. It's Been Waiting for You.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

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I was supposed to go to New York City last weekend for what would've been my first visit since spring 2019. It was the third time in three years that I have canceled a planned trip to the city.

I don't know why, but visiting New York seems incredibly overwhelming to me post-pandemic. Obviously many, many other people live there, and they're managing just fine, but to me, New York seems very much like the before times, like a different version of my life wherein I was a different person who had different abilities that I have now inexplicably lost. 

I used to pride myself on how easy it was for me to manage in New York, even as this lifelong Midwesterner who should, for all intents and purposes, have absolutely no idea what to do in a city that damn big. It always felt normal to me, the rushing and the observing and the rude-when-you're-in-a-hurry-but-kind-when-you're-not vibes that New Yorkers have.

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