What I'm Struggling with "Post-Pandemic"

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

First things first: I don't like using the phrase "post-pandemic" because we are still very much in the midst of a pandemic, even when it doesn't feel like it. Worldwide, 3.9 million people have died of COVID-19, & the delta variant & others are real & threatening. 

For the purposes of this post, though, saying "post-pandemic" really means "post-quarantine." Now that restrictions have lifted & life largely feels safer (for me as a fortunate, vaccinated, science-beliving American human), I'm struggling a little bit. That feels unfair, doesn't it? We've all struggled enough during quarantine; now we have to struggle coming out of it, too? 

How I Take Breaks During the Remote Workday

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Before a work call the other day, my boss asked us each to come prepared to share what we do during the day to keep us happy & motivated throughout the workday. 

She talked about her love of fancy non-alcoholic drinks (like the iced cardamom rosewater coffee with honey she'd just made), while other folks talked about what they're inclined to do during their breaks, like gardening & walking the dog. I don't have a dog or a garden, but after decade of that work-from-home life, I do have a lot of little tricks for break-taking & motivation-stirring. 

Here's are 10 ways that I work small breaks into the day & how the activities I choose help my brain recharge for the work to come. 

What I'm Looking Forward to for the Rest of the Summer

Friday, July 9, 2021

One of my favorite things about summer (not the heat) is looking forward to all the adventures on my calendar. That wasn't a part of summer 2020, for me, as we didn't go anywhere, for the most part. We ate on a patio once or twice, but even that felt fraught. It was a summer of fear & indoorsiness.

But #vaxxedgirlsummer is here! I'm not yet fully vaccinated, but I'm one shot down & still hopefully riding some antibodies, so I feel relatively safe. I'm still not ready to hop on a plane or head to a crowded concert, but I finally feel ready to hit up some events & spend time with friends & family.

Here are some of the things I've looking forward to for the rest of the summer. How about you?

What I Read in May & June

Friday, July 2, 2021




Two months down, seven more books under my belt! 

OK, actually, it's nine more books under my belt, but I've been relistening to the Harry Potter audiobooks, & I'm not reviewing those here. We all know how I feel about Harry Potter by now, right?

My last two months have included some pretty good books covering a diversity of topics & voices. The lowest score I gave any of them was three stars, & even then, it was still a really enjoyable read. Here's what I finished & how I felt about them.

I am a Proud Cleveland Public Radio Nerd! (Plus, a Giveaway from a Local Artist)

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

I was never an NPR person… until suddenly I was. As a kid, something about the voices of public radio hosts seemed to lull me to sleep, reminiscent, no matter the show, of long car rides with my parents. And although I don’t know when the change happened, exactly, at some point in my 30s, out of the blue, I became an NPR listener.

I get NPR news alerts on my phone. I listen to whatever NPR show is on when I get into my car. And I listen to Up First every morning, the NPR Politics Podcast every weekend, and Pop Culture Happy Hour whenever I want to lighten things up.

Here in Northeast Ohio, I have ideastream – the home of Northeast Ohio’s member-supported public broadcasting stations – to thank for that. And now, on the 20th anniversary of its founding, ideastream has become Ideastream Public Media.

Here's Where I'll Take You If you Visit Cleveland

Friday, June 18, 2021

In May, for the first time in more than a year, I had not one but two visitors: First came my NYC BFF, Rebecca, & then Brittany came up from Columbus for a weekend. In June, Sammi came to visit from Atlanta, & Christina came home from Tennessee. Thanks, vaccine companies!

It's been incredible to see my friends after so many months apart. And without even meaning to, I realized that I took them to a lot of the same places – places I love & hoped they would, too. As people start to travel & explore again, I thought I'd share my old standbys with you in case you're looking for places to check out or to take visitors, too.

Things I Love Right Now (V. XIII)

Monday, June 14, 2021


I tend to think I do these "things I love right now" posts all the time, but every time I go to write one, it turns out it's been, like, an entire year. And I open with a variation on that same sentence every single time. I'm nothing if not consistent in my inconsistency! 

Anyway, this last year has been too weird for me to tell you all the things I've loved lately, but here's what's rising to the top at this moment in time. Howwww 'bout you?

I'm Suddenly Pretty into Meal Kits

Sunday, May 23, 2021

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal of trying 30 new recipes this year (see recipes 1-5 and 5-10). I've sort of put that goal on hold for now, though, because Mike & I started using a meal subscription kit – two of them, in fact. So, yes, I'm making new things, but it feels a liiiiittle bit like cheating because I don't have to, like, plan at all? Or really do anything? 

Anyway. We've been using both HelloFresh & Green Chef, as I got a free week of each from friends' referral codes, & now we're just kind of alternating between them. I've been sharing some of them on Instagram & thought I'd round them up here just for the sake of general interest and/or so I can remember what I've made in the past.

A Day in the Life: An Average Awake-to-Asleep Look at Being Me

Monday, May 17, 2021

Full disclosure: This seems like the most egotistical blog post to write, but I never feel that way when I read them from other people. I always love a little behind-the-scenes peek at other peoples' lives, so I figured I'd try my own. Have I ever done one of these? Who can even recall? 
Anyway, let's do it. This was a random Wednesday toward the end of April, after I'd started my new job but before I'd gotten into the swing of things. Here we go!

What I Read in April

Saturday, May 1, 2021

This month was a lotta murder... & then I slow down & branched out a little to other topics: mommy playgroups, celebrity alcoholism, teen angst, & the Cleveland mafia. Listen, I'm a woman with many interests.

With this month's seven books, I've read 21 out of my goal of 55 books for the year, which puts me a little bit ahead of schedule. (Yes, I intentionally undershot my goal in the hopes of being able to meet it, & no, I am not ashamed of that.)

I currently have a billion books on my TBR list & literally a dozen of them downloaded from the Libby app & about six recently purchased audiobooks... & at this rate, I will never read any of them. But at least the ones I'm reading are good, right? Onward!

5 Things I Learned from My First Distance Riding Challenge

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

I first learned of PeloFondo from Lara, a social media friend & host of the podcast Will You Accept This Podcast? PeloFondo describes itself as "a community event for Peloton Riders, focused on long distance mileage." You sign up, you commit to a certain amount of mileage, & you have a whole weekend to achieve it. 

I participated in my first PeloFondo April 17-18, just a month after recovering from COVID. I hadn't been riding much because my body was still just too fatigued, & I didn't want to push myself. About a week before PeloFondo, though, I started feeling better, started feeling well enough to ride again, & I did a few classes before jumping all the way in with my commitment of 35 miles.

Here's what I learned.

Why I Can't Yet Get Vaccinated

Monday, April 26, 2021

Nobody uses the term "FOMO" anymore, but right now, it's the only phrase that seems to fit my situation, Because ugh, I have such bad FOMO.

Now that every adult in the U.S. is eligible for the COVID vaccine, we who believe in the power of science should all be celebrating, right? And I am! Just... not for myself. Not yet.

In mid-March, the day after I turned the corner in terms of a few days of brutal COVID symptoms (including tachycardia, sweating, body aches, & more), I went to a nearby Cleveland Clinic* location to receive a monoclonal antibody infusion, a COVID treatment recommended for elderly & obese individuals who have asthma. My BMI just barely qualified me, but I was thrilled to be able to be shot up with antibody therapies that made me feel better within hours and made it safe for me to return to the world once I tested negative.

Here's the catch: After you've received a monoclonal antibody infusion, you can't get the COVID vaccine for 90 days.  

How I'm Trying to Find My Chill Amid the Stress of Starting a New Job

Friday, April 23, 2021

I told you last week that I was gearing up to start a new job after 13.5 years at the old one. The truth is that I did start a new job in between, way back in 2010, but it wasn't the right fit... so I ended up going back to the job I'd had before it! I'm not planning to do that this time, but the fact remains that starting a new job – even the right one – is incredibly exhausting.

Simply put, it takes a lot of brain power to do new things, even things that are technically simple. Switching from Zoom to Slack & from Basecamp to Trello & even from one laptop to another can be surprisingly taxing, creating new mental pathways that identify my "new normal." And that's on top of learning the ins & outs of the job itself & interacting with a whole slew of brand new people. 

In short, it's stressful to be the person who doesn't know anything. So I'm trying my best to stay calm & cool & collected (lol, yes, so in keeping with my personality) by feeling in control of other areas of my life. Here's how.

On Moving Forward, Making Friends, and Finding Myself

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

I've been thinking a lot about the last post I ever wrote on my old Xanga site. Remember Xanga? Man, I loved that place. I wrote there all throughout college.

My last post was on July 4, 2007, just over a month before my graduation from Kent State University. The day after commencement, my mom, aunt, & I loaded up two cars with all my belongings & drove me to Washington, D.C., where just two days later, I started my first post-college job as a legislative assistant at a Jewish nonprofit. I expected to work there for a year & move home, but instead... well, I never left.

Until now. 

Oh, the Places You Won't Go: 12 Places I've Eaten Amid the Pandemic

Monday, April 12, 2021

Things are starting to feel a little bit more normal here, especially after Mike & I both recovered from COVID. With antibodies coursing through our veins like superpowers, we've been feeling more & more comfortable heading out into the world even going so far as to eat inside restaurants a couple of times. 

Before we contracted COVID, though, we did our best to keep supporting restaurants new & old, from places we'd long loved to new spots we hoped would succeed. Here are 12 of the best places we've eaten from lately – mostly takeout & delivery – throughout the last few months of this pandemic.

What I Read in February & March

Friday, April 2, 2021

I kept thinking I hadn't been reading enough to do a roundup, but... oops, I did it again. Yes, I'm still operating on a much slower pace than in years past, but I've definitely recovered quite a bit from my peak-COVID reading pause. 

This round of reads includes a little bit if everything: nonfiction history & science, a memoir about disability, a fictional royal love story, a short-story thriller, & a YA fantasy series. And everything was pretty darn good! Here goes:

25 Things about Me as a Reader

Saturday, March 27, 2021

The last year has changed so much about our lives, including, for me, how much reading I do; it's like I just can't focus on a book anymore. Still, I'm finally back in the swing of things, if not at the same volume as before, & I'm really relieved to be able to rediscover my love of reading along the way.

Awhile back, Stephany of Stephany Writes wrote a post titled "25 Things About Me as a Reader," & I am straight-up stealing that idea today. I don't know if this will be interesting to anyone but me, but it seemed like a fun list for me to think of.

Here's a bit about me, my books, & my lifelong love of reading. 

Outdoor Fun, Even During a Pandemic... in the Winter

Wednesday, March 24, 2021


Yep, that's me under there, bundled up beneath layers & layers so that as little of my skin as possible is exposed to the very, very cold elements. It's in the 70s as I write this, so this much snow & cold feels fairly distant, thankfully, but even in frigid temps, my friends & I were doing our best to, well, make the best of things, pandemic be damned. 

Here are just a few of the outdoorsy events we enjoyed at near- or below-freezing temps before things started to warm up. 

What It's Felt Like to Have COVID-19

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

I’m eight days out from my COVID diagnosis, & I’ve come a long way. Those first few days were absolutely miserable — “mild,” technically, but miserable nonetheless. 

I first went to the ER with a rapid heartbeat that, at one point, surpassed 140 BPM. I didn't have any other symptoms of illness yet, but I was jittery & panicked, too afraid to move much for fear of overwhelming my heart. That, it turned out, was likely the result of thyroiditis, which the endocrinologist says sometimes happen in cases of illness — your thyroid freaks out & dumps all of its thyroid hormone, which can cause an array of issues.

My other symptoms, which kicked in slightly later, were debilitating. 

I Have COVID

Saturday, March 13, 2021

I was sitting at my desk on Sunday night doing exactly nothing when I got an alert from my Apple Watch: My heart rate was inordinately high. Weird, but I felt fine, so I didn't pay too much attention to it. The next morning, though, I woke up to a whopping nineteen alerts that my heart rate had gotten too high while I slept

On Monday, my doctor told me to go to urgent care, but no local urgent care has an EKG machine. I tried to put off care for awhile because I was equal parts anxious & lazy, but on Tuesday, I headed to the ER at Fairview Hospital. 

How Do You Measure a Year in the Life?

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

It's hard to believe it's been a year since the pandemic began. 

Do you remember the last thing you did before your quarantine began? I do. I went to Saucy Brew Works to play Bachelor trivia with a Twitter friend I'd never met in real life before. We lost badly, & afterward, I grabbed a drink at Jukebox, across the street. The next day, I got coffee at Civilization, talking with one of my favorite baristas about the weird "coronavirus" that seemed to be headed our way. Would it really impact us?

And then I basically never went anywhere ever again.

The 30-Recipe Project: Recipes 5-10

Friday, February 26, 2021

As a still-relatively-new cook & baker, I'm on a mission to make 30 new-to-me recipes in 2021. I shared my first five recipes of the year, plus a few holdovers, in mid-January, & now I'm back with five more. I've slowed down my cooking & baking in February, but I expect it to pick back up when my seasonal affective disorder lifts a little bit. 

Here we go, recipes five through 10. I have a feeling I'll hit 30 pretty easily... & then keep going!

What I Read in January

Monday, February 1, 2021


Annnnd we're off! In my goal to read 55 books in 2021, I'm going to try to get back in the habit of writing monthly "what I read" posts. I finished five books in January, which puts me a little bit behind schedule, but I'm pretty happy with everything I read. 

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

I both loved & hated this book, but mostly loved? I think? Doyle is a truly incredible, beautiful, fantastic writer, her words like a poison & a balm all in one. I loved this memoir, a series of short essays about life, generally, & lessons learned from the smallest & largest pieces of it. The "hated" part, though is just because... it's a lot sometimes. She's a lot sometimes – & that's OK. It's just occasionally a lot, is all. Sometimes I was like "OK, lol, this is not at all relevant to my own small life." ★★★★☆

Apartment Tour: Welcome to My Home Office!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021


This January marked a decade of my working from home! In a world where many, many people now work remotely, it's started to seem like the norm - but for the majority of my time as a work-from-home staffer, it was considered somewhat unusual & potentially only for lazy people. I once even wrote a piece for Thought Catalog (remember what that was super popular?" titled "11 Things That People Who Work From Home Hate Hearing."

Recently, I shared a photo of my office on my Instagram Stories, & my coworker @PaigePlates expressed delight at it, noting that she only ever sees the one little square right behind my head on Zoom calls. I thought I'd share it here so people can see my work-from-home space, where I spend the majority of my time in my home. 

The Best TV Shows I've Watched During the Pandemic

Saturday, January 23, 2021


So.... whatcha watchin'? The pandemic, now nearly a year old, has sent me into a tailspin of TV-watching, as, without any out-in-the-world plans to make, I've turned to bingeing whatever seems like it might be good enough to keep me from focusing on the state of the world.

Below is just a bit of the TV I've made my way through in the past year, from a comedy about an Indian-American teenager to the most classic mafia show in American history... & basically everything in between.

365 Days of Not Being a Mom

Thursday, January 21, 2021


It's hard to believe that today marks one year since I learned of my miscarriage, since setting into motion the double D&Cs it took to get my body back to normal. But it's not back to normal, is it? I'm not back to normal. 

In the midst of my miscarriage, I thought, "I will remember every moment of this, & I will write it all down later. I will tell my version of this story for women who can't figure out how to tell their own." It felt too painful in the moment, though, too much emotional energy I didn't have – & I found that when I "recovered," I didn't have it in me anymore to tell that story, to go back, to delve that deep.

The 30-Recipe Project: My First 5 Recipes of the Year

Sunday, January 17, 2021


Each year, I set a Goodreads goal for myself: How many books am I going to read this year? My 2021 goal is 55 books, up 10 from my 2020 goal. Back in 2018, I set a goal of 80 & read a whopping 101. I decided to take the same approach this year toward cooking & baking. 

As I've shared here before, I've finally learned how to do a little bit of both since the start of the pandemic – & while I'm nowhere near becoming an Ina Garten or a Mary Berry, I have started to enjoy exploring new-to-me recipes & trying my hand at getting things right. I'm setting my cooking goals a little bit lower than my reading goals, though: In 2021, I'd like to try at least 30 new-to-me recipes.

What Life Looks Like Right Now

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Sometimes when I don't know what the hell to write about or don't have the brain capacity for a "themed" post, I just do these round-up posts that round up... life lately. What have you been up to? Here's where my brain is these days. 

An Ode to Washington, D.C., My First Favorite City

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

I am 8 years old & visiting Washington, D.C., for the first time with my parents. My dad & I are sitting on a bench on the National Mall when a bird poops on his head. I am particularly enamored of public transit & of the Metro's colorful, extremely '90s logo. I write it all down in my diary, where I say that it is my favorite city in the world, as if I've been to others.

I am 14 years old, & my mom & I have taken my exchange student brother, who is from Peru, on a family vacation to Washington, D.C., so that he can see the U.S. capital while he's living here for the year. We visit the Air & Space Museum with my cousin, Patrick, & then we stand at the wrought-iron fence outside the White House, agog, in awe.

A Few (OK, Many) Words on the Christianization of the Bachelor Franchise

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

First things first, I was gonna write all this up into a nice packaged piece to submit to Alma, one of my favorite Jewish websites... but somebody else did it first. See "Is The Bachelor Just a Christian Dating Show Now?" by Emily Burack, the smart & insightful gal who beat me to the punch. 

After having a few conversations in a few Bachelor-related Facebook groups (Dear God, I am embarrassing), I realized that I've written enough words in there that I might as well put them into a piece to be shared here. I don't need to send my piece off to a publication if I've got a "publish" button right here! 

SO. Let's get to it.

What I Read in November & December

Monday, January 4, 2021

I know, I know, we're in a new year! Let 2020's memory be forgotten! But I couldn't close out the year without rounding up the books I read in the last two months of it. I think I might finally be back on the monthly review-writing bandwagon...

Oh, yeah, & if some of these individual reviews look familiar, it's because you read them in my Favorite Books of 2020 post, published last week. Check it out, if you haven't yet – & let me know what your favorite reads of the year were, too!

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