Fun Clothing Pieces I’m Uncomfortable Wearing

Your style is the most immediate way to present who you are to the rest of the world. And I keep hoping that one day, I can be someone else. I bought/acquired these things with the intention of wearing them, but I haven’t done it yet. Here are some of my favorite pieces that I love to stare at longingly in my closet:

Who, me? I’m always casually standing under trees.

Polka Dot Crop Top. I bought this shirt at Goodwill without trying it on, and I thought it was a few inches longer. I want to be a person who’s comfortable with showing this skin, but I’m just not. I love the outfit though, so I forced myself to wear it once. I got catcalled on a side street ten seconds after leaving my house, and felt self-conscious all day, silently willing the shirt to grow more fabric as I tugged at the bottom of it. I haven’t worn it again, even though I want to.

Backless Sleeveless Top. When I was talked into buying it I thought, “yes, I can be the kind of person who wears this shirt.” But I can’t. I can only be me – a person who does not wear this shirt. It’s backless which is kind of confusing – no bra, I guess? Seriously, how do people wear things like this? I want to understand.

Plaid Romper. Oh how I hated rompers for so long. But now I see people wearing them and find myself thinking…could I? This one’s cute! It’s plaid. And blue. But wearing it still feels like such a bold move. It’s backless, but I didn’t get a picture of that because by then I had crossed over into complete self-consciousness about being photographed (Exhibit A: Leaning Tower of Romper pose). It also might be too big, but that’s fixable. I haven’t given up on this one yet – my hopes are high for summer!

 

(Photography and insecurity-wrangling by Inae Bloom.)

Achieve Your Goals: Reward Your Progress

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We all have goals we’re trying to achieve, and it can be hard to commit to making progress on them. For example, my goal right now is to get more sleep – I’ve been getting headaches and feeling dizzy a lot, so I’m finally compelled to try out basic healthy habits. The problem is, I work at 8am and I love staying up late (I become my best self after midnight). It’s been an uphill battle, but finally this week, I went to bed before midnight three nights in a row! Great, right?

But don’t forget: if you want to stick to your goals, it’s important to celebrate small milestones by tanking all the progress you’ve made.

That’s right! After feeling well-rested and healthier for three full days, I rewarded myself by staying up until 1:45 last night. It felt great to indulge a little bit and completely undo the healthy pattern I’d just barely started to develop. It’s just the kind of reinforcement that will make it even harder to achieve what I set out to do, and it felt great. And then, the next morning, awful.

It’s 11:44 now and here I am, back at square one. 🙂

 

4 Things I Love (That You Should Arbitrarily Care About)

 

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This object is larger than it should be, and is also hilarious.

This is a lifestyle blog, and lifestyle blogs LOVE “five things” lists. They also LOVE weekly series. So in order to be a successful lifestyle blogger, every Wednesday I will post a list of four things I loved during the previous week (five seems really ambitious). That’s a lot of loving of stuff, but I think I can handle it.

  1. Stone IPA with Blonde Coffee Roast. I had this beer at Jay’s Bar the other night. All the alcohol of a strong beer plus the bitter dregs of an over-burnt Starbucks roast? Count me in. That sounded sarcastic, but it was perfect. The added perk is that the caffeine is definitely included. I skipped dinner and drank it at 10pm on an empty stomach, which is an experience I recommend. Afterwards I wandered the aisles at Von’s, confused. I think I made a cameo in someone’s grocery store snapchat. I either stayed up all night or fell asleep immediately, and I couldn’t tell which one it was. It’s an experience I’d like to repeat ASAP.
  2. Tastemade’s Tiny Kitchen. This is a series where disembodied hands cook tiny versions of popular dishes. I find it hilarious when any object is smaller or larger than it’s supposed to be, so I’m powerless against this clickbaity nonsense. On the other hand, I can’t even get it together to make myself normal-sized French toast that I could eat for a regular human meal, so it downright offends me that somebody has time to make novelty meals. Feeling torn about this one.
  3. Apocalyptic Weather That Would Be Benign Anywhere Else. I woke up on Monday to a horrible, loud, crashing noise like I’d never heard before. I thought maybe plane fell out of the sky? I was terrified! Except it was thunder. That’s it. Just thunder. In the midwest, storms happy like three times a week and they’re 100% normal and fine. In LA, cloudy skies are a call for panic. Free anxiety? Count me in!
  4. Vending Machine Breakfasts. I was really responsible for about a week – I bought a box of oatmeal packets so I could eat breakfast at work. But those days are over, because I keep forgetting to buy more. So lately I’ve been getting morning snacks from the office vending machine. I love it because it’s better than eating saltines from a drawer in the kitchen, but cheaper than going out for a bagel. Usually I’m responsible and choose something like chex mix or vegetable chips, but this morning I answered the siren song of the mini vanilla sandwich cookies. I feel ill.

If You Don’t Know Much About Curry, Then Yes I Made Curry

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I went to the store the other night because I wanted a pizza, but then I thought “I should buy groceries, too.” I am very responsible! So I bought a bag of sliced mushrooms and a bottle of wine.

Did you know it’s hard to cook with only a bag of mushrooms?

I planned poorly. But I still had part of an onion in the fridge – remember when I sliced my finger chopping it last week?? It’s the same onion, but it’s probably still fine. Those were the backbones for what I’m going to go ahead and call a curry.

You’ll need:

Mushrooms, Onion (sliced), Can of diced tomatoes, Can of corn, Curry powder, Cumin, Garlic (all measurements are imaginary)

Instructions:

Mix together in pan over heat. End of instructions.

It tasted pretty good! Calling it curry is really a stretch, and putting it over rice would probably improve it a lot. Maybe we’d call it a stew? But there’s one thing I know I’d call it: a success 🙂

Too Much Cheddar

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SandwichQuest: Part Two led me downtown to The Sandwich Shop, a place that put as much effort into its decor as its name (a fact I admire – sandwiches don’t need frills). I went around noon for a work day lunch with my friend Bradley. The sandwich immediately got points for involving both turkey and avocado. Because when you’re looking for your soulmate sandwich, you know what you want even if you’re too scared to require it outright.

Anyway, the turkey-avocado-cheddar also contained some chipotle mayo that I found delightful. My only problem was with the cheddar. And you know what they say, “when a sandwich tells you who it is, believe it” – cheddar was right in the name. So I should have known that this might not work out. Still, I’m open-minded, and I like cheese. Ultimately, while I enjoyed the time I spent with this sandwich, the cheddar was a little overpowering.

I found myself envying Bradley’s vegan chicken bahn mi, and sandwich envy is an ugly feeling to have. I’d order this sandwich again, but it’s not an every day sandwich. And I’d definitely try the bahn mi first.

Grade: B+

Spiritual Wholeness Quotient: On par with the moment you realize you just ate half a jar of queso dip, but the dip was delicious but still, you ate half a jar of it

How to Choose Happiness

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I was feeling down the other night. We’ve all been there, right? Everyone gets bummed out from time to time, but it’s important to remember not to give in to the temptation to wallow in it. Happiness is a choice, and it’s a choice you get to make every day. So I’m going to let you in on this little secret – one small thing I do that reminds me that things aren’t so bad.

Eat an entire pizza.

That’s right. It’s that simple. I went to the store, bought a pizza, popped that sucker in the oven and 13 minutes later…I was on the road to feeling better. Just like that! The best part is, anyone can do this. That’s right, even you! So cheer up – happiness is a choice and you can choose pizza.

(Disclaimer: I’m a lifestyle blogger with integrity, so I need to confess that I can only eat half a pizza. The fact that I can’t even follow my own advice correctly is, frankly, soul-crushing.)

Tax Tips for People Like You

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Fiscal responsibility.

My favorite thing about taxes is how much work it is to account for the tiny amounts of money I make. It really gives me a chance to examine my life and feel terrible about it. This year I got a 1099 from the State of Illinois for $11! And while some might find this annoying, I see it as an opportunity. Here are my tips to make sure you’re not just doing your taxes, but really experiencing them:

  1. Put it off as long as possible. Theoretically this should mean until April 14, and in a perfect world it would. But at a certain point, the taxes’ looming existence will become paralyzing. This is the point where you need to begin working on it.
  2. Start small and work your way up. Make a TurboTax account, but don’t use it yet. Glance at one of your W2’s for a few minutes before bed every night, just to get familiar. Not too close to bedtime or you’ll have nightmares. Maybe around dinnertime?
  3. Imagine worst case scenarios. Like getting audited over forgetting to report $50 and somehow setting off a chain of events that leads to going to prison. Or forgetting to report $75 and somehow setting off a chain of events that leads to going to prison (all my scenarios end in going to prison).
  4. Drink. This is one of the best-kept productivity secrets, and it works in most situations. It’s hard to panic over those taxes when the edges of the forms have gotten softly blurry. (Disclaimer: If you do your taxes while drunk, refer back to #3 for further panic.)
  5. Cry. It never fails. Also, it’s inevitable so you might as well do it now.
  6. Hyperventilate. The crying might be enough, but if not, breathing too fast is a great way to get worked up into a full panic attack.

I still have not finished my taxes, but my using these simple tricks, I did keep myself from even starting them today! Time to cry in bed.

Kitchen Hack: Garlic Salt

If you’re like me, you often look around two weeks after a grocery trip and see that you still have weird odds and ends left in the fridge. None of them are appetizing, but they do exist. I found myself in that situation tonight, and let me fill you in on a little secret. I want to stress that no company is paying me to tell you this. The secret is:

Throw everything in a skillet and douse it in garlic salt.

Easy, right? Beyond the existential hurdle of making it into the kitchen in the first place, despite knowing that no matter how much you eat, you’ll soon be hungry again…YES! It’s so easy. Tonight I used chopped onions, the tail end of a bag of spinach, and leftover quinoa. I threw them in a skillet, and doused it in garlic salt.

Was it good? No. Did it have flavor? Yes, a few of them in fact. Was it dinner? Technically, yes. I’m still hungry, but aren’t we all kind of hungry, really?IMG_0940

Jackfruit is Crazy

One of my prime lifestyle ambitions at the moment is my quest to find the perfect sandwich in LA, and become spiritually whole in the process. I’m talking very specifically about a reliable go-to sandwich that costs less than $7 (okay, less than $10) and makes me better understand the meaning of life.. I’ve gotten a series of recommendations from friends (and Yelp), and created a sandwich spreadsheet to guide my journey.

SandwichQuest: Part One was a trip to Organix deli and fancy-hippie grocery store in Eagle Rock. I walked there with my friend Jen, who read an article about it and was interested in their fancy vegan wares (neither of us are vegan). Organix does not have a public bathroom! I had to pee pretty badly and was really assuming they’d have one. It factored into my experience a little, so just pretend you have to pee while you read this.

We both ordered the puerco, which is a jackfruit BBQ sandwich. Jackfruit is a fruit (you can guess this; you’re not stupid) but if someone told me I was eating pulled pork, I would have believed them. I don’t eat a lot of pork, so I’m not the foremost authority on this subject. Either way, the fruitmeat was good, the bread was good, and there was some cabbage on top with a purplish sauce situation that I found very enjoyable. While this won’t be a go-to sandwich (Eagle Rock is too far away, and this sandwich contained neither turkey nor avocado), I do highly recommend it.

Grade: A

Spiritual Wholeness Quotient: On par with staring at a waterfall as it thaws after winter. (I had to pee.)