December

Unless you’ve spent the days leading up to Christmas with me, it’s impossible to grasp just how much I love this holiday. I love buying and wrapping gifts. I love going to Christmas parties. I love Christmas decorations, watching Home Alone, being around friends and family, eggnog (and Bailey’s!), snow, trying to cook, Christmas music, playing games, everything! I. Love. Christmas.

I’ve been to five holiday parties this month. That’s five times I’ve put on real clothes and makeup and left my house. Willingly. That’s huge for someone who spends January through November weekends like this:

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True story.

And those five times don’t even include my birthday party, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Eve! Guys…December is my month.

I hope all of you have happy, laughter-filled holidays rife with cocktails, cookies, loved-ones, and Kevin McCallister.

Joyeux Noël !

Joyeuse Fête de Hanoucca !

How To: Make Mousse au Chocolat

  1. Decide the day before that you’re adept enough with this dish that you can whip it up the day of (Thanksgiving, in my case).
  2. Wake up early on Thanksgiving morning with an attitude because you stayed up the night before binge-watching shitty Netflix horror movies that Netflix warned you that you wouldn’t like, but you don’t like it when people/computers tell you what to do so…
  3. Stumble into the bathroom to wash your face, brush your teeth, and silently lament the audacity of your loved ones to expect you to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner. Then remember that they begged you not to make anything for Thanksgiving dinner because you suck at cooking. But…no one tells you what to do.
  4. Defiantly shut off the water and stomp into the kitchen. Decline to gather the needed ingredients in one place ahead of time because you don’t cook enough for that good idea to even pop into your head.
  5. Grab six eggs out of the fridge (which should be room temperature, but you forgot that part and now there’s no time) and separate the yolks from the whites. Crack open the first egg and get the disgusting surprise of a bloody egg yolk.
  6. Scream.
  7. Throw the egg into the sink.
  8. Scream.
  9. Lie down on the couch for fifteen minutes trying to recuperate and pledging to be a vegan fo’ life.
  10. Remember that there will be mashed potatoes infused with juicy, flavorful bits of bacon at dinner, so this vegan lifestyle isn’t going to work out.
  11. Woman up and stomp back into the kitchen. Disinfect the sink.
  12. Unwrap the chocolate (bittersweet baking chocolate) to melt it. Realize that you only bought 100 grams, but the recipe calls for 200 grams.
  13. Scream.
  14. Resign yourself to halving the recipe, and if you don’t have enough for everyone at dinner you’ll just blame the guests who were able to have some for eating it up from the others.
  15. Place the chocolate into a double boiler and let it melt.
  16. Time to brave the eggs again. Now you’ll only need three.
  17. Become really cocky when you separate the first two eggs like Chrissy Teigen, then accidentally drop the third yolk into the bowl of egg whites.
  18. Scream.
  19. Try to spoon out as much of the yolk as possible. Think about starting over with new eggs, but ultimately decide that a little yolk in your egg whites is pas de problème (i.e. no big deal).
  20. Mix the egg yolks and set them aside.
  21. Dig out your electric mixer, because it’s time to whip the egg whites into a meringue.
  22. Turn the mixer on high and submerge it into the bowl of egg whites.
  23. Scream when they fly everywhere.
  24. Clean up the mess, while cursing silently to yourself.
  25. This time submerge the mixer first, then turn it on high to whip the egg whites.
  26. Become concerned 5-7 minutes later when they are just as liquid as they were 5-7 minutes ago.
  27. Remember that you’re melting chocolate, and breathe a sigh of relief once you realize you haven’t burned it. Take the chocolate off the stove to let it cool.
  28. Go back to whipping the egg whites. Curse aloud when they are still liquid seven minutes later. “What the fuuuuccckkk?!”
  29. Google “how to stiffen egg whites”. Add cream to the egg whites and watch nothing happen.
  30. In frustration go back to the chocolate—which has now started to solidify again.
  31. Curse your family for teasing your lack of cooking skills, resulting in forcing you to prove them wrong.
  32. Melt the chocolate again.
  33. Once the chocolate has melted pour it, bit by bit, into the egg yolks and mix. You don’t want to do it too quickly or the heat from the chocolate will curdle the eggs.
  34. Watch in disbelief as your egg yolks begin to curdle.
  35. Walk back to your egg whites while repeating to yourself, “This is not happening. This is not happening.”
  36. Beat the egg whites another five minutes. Still liquid.
  37. Throw up your hands, yell “Fuck it!” and pour the egg whites into the bowl that is now chocolatey scrambled eggs.
  38. Try to mix. Nope.
  39. Dump the mixture into the garbage.
  40. Scream.
  41. Lie on the couch for fifteen minutes trying to recuperate.
  42. Search your pantry for something (anything!) to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. Rice? No. Black beans? Why on Earth?
  43. Find one single, solitary box of Trader Joe’s coffee cake mix. Shout hallelujah!, do a praise dance, and promise God that you will no longer use the word fuck again (unless shit gets real).
  44. PAY VERY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE INSTRUCTIONS AND MAKE THE COFFEE CAKE.
  45. Pat yourself on the back for single-handedly saving Thanksgiving.

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And if, by any chance, you still want to brave making mousse au chocolate, here’s a great recipe.

Sweaty Sunday

For the past two and a half weeks, I’ve worked an absurd amount of hours and have slept a fraction of the time a normal, functioning person is supposed to sleep. This weekend I was finally able to catch up on sweet, sweet sleep. Also on Chicago P.D. and Law & Order SVU. And maayybeee The Kardashians.

The entire time I was working, I kept thinking to myself how much easier would this be if I had been eating spinach instead of chips or continued running three miles a day like I used to? I mean, four hours of sleep is not enough no matter how you slice it, but I probably wouldn’t have wanted to kill myself as often if I had gone into the last two weeks in tip-top shape.

Sooooo…

In between (beautiful) sleep and moments of consciousness yesterday, I reaffirmed my commitment to fitness and health and looking good in my leather leggings. Then this morning came and I wanted to cry when my alarm went off. How is it that I can be so motivated and firm one moment, then eight hours later I have to be dragged out of bed by my ankles? Le sigh.

I did manage to keep my promise to myself, though, and I went to a Pilates class this morning and played tennis afterward. It wasn’t as satisfying as lying in bed and watching YouTube videos, but…what is?

Sundaze

If you’ve ever thought that Trader Joe’s wasn’t as busy at 9am on a Sunday morning as they are at, say, noon on a Saturday, then you were WRONG. And so was I.

I like to make a special breakfast on Sundays. Well, not special. But something requiring more effort than a fried egg. Sometimes French toast. But usually this or this:

Of course, I didn’t have everything I needed, so I had to go to the store where I had to navigate a bunch of people who leave their carts in the middle of the aisles, who stop walking abruptly causing me to almost crash into them, who stand directly in front of items while trying to decide what they want thus blocking anyone who knows what they want and is trying to get to it. These things are not okay! I should write a book on supermarket etiquette.

I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I really like grocery shopping. At 10am on a Wednesday.

What else, what else?

Oh! They removed Everybody Loves Raymond from Netflix, and I am DEVASTATED. What do I watch now when I’m making breakfast? Or when I’m cleaning the house? Or when I’m procrastinating? Gah.

Now I’m going out to rent bike and enjoy a leisurely bike ride. And hopefully find a brunch place selling bottomless bellinis on the way!

Bisous !

The Salt Water Cure

Several years ago I had a private blog that I used to share with only a small number of people. It was called Kristin’s A Jerk, so you can probably imagine some of the things I would write.  I would vent to my friends about whatever was pissing me off at work, at home, at the grocery store. I used strings of vulgarities, plotted practical jokes, and derided people for frequently misspelling words on Facebook. I miss it.

Not only because I can’t write about the idiots I encounter daily, but because I miss being able to write about all the things/people that gave me the most joy, the times that I have been broken and the people who put me back together, the times I have been lost and scared, and the times I have been so happy I thought I would burst wide open.

If you hadn’t noticed, I’m not a big share-er. I’m okay sharing anger and incredulity with people all day, but that’s about as far as it goes. I don’t even know what my point is except that I miss writing that way. Maybe one day I just won’t care and I’ll be like,  “I have all the feels and I’m not afraid to share all the feels with you!” I mean, I doubt it. But stranger things have happened.

I will say, though, that things have been trying lately so I took a quick vacation so as to prevent future gray hairs. I went to the beach, which is very unlike me. I don’t like most things about the beach during summer. Sun beating down directly on my skin? Kill me now. Birds flying over my head ready to shower me with poop at any moment? This is not okay. Sand burning my feet? Nope. None of that makes a good time.

BUT at night, I love the beach. I find it very peaceful and beautiful and soothing. The sunsets, the stars, the sounds. Those things just can’t be beat. So during the day I stayed indoors, refused to put on pants, drank lemon drops, ate croissants, and napped. And at night I grudgingly put on pants, drank more lemon drops, took pictures of the beach, stared at stars (I’m obsessed with stars), and made up dumb jokes and laughed at all of them (I’m my own biggest fan).

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It was a good escape and just what I needed.

Although, returning to real life where pants are required can be quite shocking to your system.

Snowy Vacations

Every single day for the last two weeks I’ve heard someone going on and on about Stranger Things. That it’s so great. That it’s so amazing. That I have to watch it. Look, I watched it. I didn’t love it. Kanye shrug.

I will, however, admit that I’ve been egregiously mistaken about Game of Thrones. HOW HAVE I BEEN SO WRONG?! I was forced to watch the first season, and two episodes in I was hooked. I’m a convert. No matter how late it is when I get home, I have to watch at least one episode.

So… Stranger Things–meh. Game of Thrones–yes. And the jury is still out on the new Frank Ocean. I’m leaning toward yes, but can’t commit yet.

It has just now occurred to me that maybe you don’t care what I think about any of those things?

Here’s something else…

I’m saving for a winter vacation. Don’t know where yet. But definitely somewhere cold and snowy where I can make snow angels during the day and burrow under thick, soft blankets at night. Doesn’t that sound like a dream? Add snowboarding, hot chocolate, marshmallows, wine, and a Scrabble board and now we’ve got a party. A pretty tame party, but still–my kind! Also, old school Chucky movies. Because it’s not winter until you watch a Chucky movie, am I right?

I know I am.

Anyway, this vacation is my top savings priority (also my robot vacuum–lest we forget).  Gonna be eating a lot of rice & beans dinners and driving sadly past Starbucks without stopping during the day. It’s okay. I’m up for it.

Consistency

I worked out at 9pm last night. This is simultaneously a failure and a triumph. A failure because I was supposed to work out at 6am and a triumph because I eventually got it done.

For the last month, I’ve been working on being consistent. In everything. Exercise, French, writing, … This is not something that comes naturally to me. In fact, I suck at it.

Even after a month, when the alarm goes off on Sunday mornings, the very first thought I have is, how can I get out of playing tennis this morning? And it doesn’t matter how much fun I had playing tennis the previous Sunday and the Sunday before that. I always want to skip it for another hour in bed. But I don’t do that anymore. I bitch and moan, kick and scream, shriek into the pillow–and then I climb my lazy ass out of bed, sulk all the way to the tennis court, then have myself a really good time playing tennis.

Same with writing and French. Doing them with any regularity is a massive undertaking. But I’m always happy after I get them done.

I’ve only been working at this change for a month, and it hasn’t gotten any easier. But maybe it will? Either way, I’m adamant now about not allowing “not feeling like it” to be an excuse for not doing something. I’ve been able to skate by in life thus far, but I’d like to be better. And really, how disappointing would it be if I wake up at 50, 60, 70 years old with the same flaws I have today? I think I would really regret that.