Oooh, 2019.

2019. Jeez oh man. I realize that the way us humans divide time doesn’t really mean anything, and if you’re having a bad year, the year ending certainly doesn’t mean you actually get to start fresh, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to…well, start fresh.

I’m sure I’m being a bit melodramatic, but 2019 was the worst year I can remember in a long time. I’ve said many times before that at least since moving to Delaware, each year has been better than the last, and that’s been true…until 2019. This last year was a real stinker.

A quick note – I’m writing this strictly for my own records, as kind of a year-end journaling activity. The state of the world is by no means lost on me – things are scary, bleak, and incredibly upsetting. That said, I’m only focusing on my own little world here – but I do not in any way intend to imply that my problems even come close to the problems the world is facing as a whole.

I know it’s not fair to claim that the ENTIRE YEAR was bad. There were plenty of good – no, great – moments. We went on an amazing cruise! I finally got a new job – the position I’d considered to be “my dream job” for several years! I got to visit my family multiple times, and stayed in a gorgeous new hotel on the lake each time! We learned A LOT. There was plenty of good folded in to what felt like a heavy, stressful bummer of a year.

It started in January – I had been told towards the end of 2018 that a new position was being created for me at work. This was a long time coming – I had been kind of stagnant in my role for at least a couple of years, and had been told multiple times by multiple people that I was working above my level, but was essentially told to sit tight because “something good was coming.” So I sat tight, was told point blank that I was being given a new role that was being created specifically for me…and then that role was given to someone else. So that was disappointing. I was told that it had nothing to do with me and was all due to office politics, but this started a several month cycle of roles (mostly ones that I didn’t really want, if I’m being honest) being dangled in front of me, and then snatched away. When I’d ask for feedback for what I could do better to succeed in the future, I was given nothing but positive lip-service, and claims that my rejection had nothing to do with me.

Finally, around springtime, a role that I had applied for in the summer of 2018 and hadn’t gotten opened up again, and the hiring manager sought me out to tell me it was more or less mine if I wanted it. This was amazing news – this role was in Marketing, where I had wanted to move for years, so I jumped at the opportunity. And it’s an amazing gig with even more amazing flexibility. The people I work with are great, leadership is great, there’s tons of room for advancement, and I’m learning so, so much. But it’s also a VERY STRESSFUL ROLE, particularly the specific project I’m working on (it’s a longterm project, with no end in sight), and I’ve been experiencing crushing imposter syndrome since I’ve started. My accomplishments feel amazing, but are almost immediately followed by various setbacks – some avoidable, some not. Training was very minimal, and I have zero experience. I constantly feel like I’m on the precipice of failing. I’m hoping this will get better over time, but I’m living in an almost constant state of panic. So that’s the career-related part of what made 2019 rough.

On to the various…I was going to say disasters, but that’s definitely melodramatic. Let’s just say “incidents.” In February (Valentine’s day, actually), right smack in the middle of my rejection cycle at work, I had a very scary warning light come on in my car. It was one of those bright red “GO TO THE DEALERSHIP IMMEDIATELY DO NOT PASS GO DO NOT COLLECT $200” lights. So I go to the dealership, and they don’t know what’s wrong. Of course I drive a VW, and of course it’s the dealership, so of course they need to run multiple diagnostic tests and order parts that my car may or may not need, which cost a fortune. I have absolutely no doubt that they did their best – I don’t feel like I was bamboozled or that they were being shady in order to charge me more – but after just under $1K in tests and unnecessary parts (most of the bill was for tests, which is bonkers), they discovered that the only issue was that, during my last oil change, an off-brand oil filter had been used, and it was all mangled up and needed replaced. I JUST NEEDED AN OIL CHANGE.  Now, in the grand scheme of things, ~$1K isn’t that big of a deal, and it’s not lost on me how fortunate I am to be able to say that. However, I was already not in a great mental place at the time, so I had a bit of a breakdown (especially during the time where I didn’t know what was wrong, and was picturing a $10K repair or something).

So then, the house. Our downstairs toilet had had a relatively minor leak for a while – the floor would often be wet, but it was nothing that felt like an emergency. Sometime during the year (probably around March), it had started to get worse, so we decided to take action. I don’t remember the order of events, but long story short, we found out that there was massive damage to our floors including a buttload of mold, and when we had an insurance adjuster come out, he (very regretfully – seriously, I thought the guy was going to cry) told us that ZERO PERCENT of the damage was covered by insurance, because it was “slow damage.” Basically, we suck at life and should’ve fixed it right away, but because we didn’t, we were now solely responsible for what would probably end up ACTUALLY being $10K in repairs. The mold ended up not being toxic THANK GOD, and we were able to stop the spread of it using industrial fans and dehumidifiers for several weeks, but we ended up needing to replace the toilet (which wasn’t a big deal, it needed to be replaced anyway), and will need to completely rip out and replace that bathroom’s floor at some point before we sell the house. So that wasn’t great, AND it was 100% our own fault, which felt very shitty. I guess at least it was a learning experience.

And then there was the OTHER water leak. I’m still not totally clear on how this happened, but in I think February, our water bill was $500. It’s normally like $30. I alerted Jeff, and we found out that our outdoor faucet had been running since…I don’t know, a long time. We think that the lines had frozen at some point during the winter, but then we had a warm snap and they unfroze, causing a huge leak. This was easily fixed by turning the water off, but it ended up costing us two months of $500 water bills. Another financial loss caused by being big stupid idiot home owners.

I realize that everything so far (other than my career stuff) has relatively minor financial setbacks caused by our own stupidity, and that our privilege is glaringly obvious in that we were able to deal with all of this stuff without issue. And that’s totally valid, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t stressful to deal with, and it felt like issue after issue after issue. Just please know that I do recognize how fortunate I am, and I definitely realize that so many people have it so much worse.

Anyway, moving on to what was actually the worst part of what was already an exhausting year…poor Jeffrey’s health. Around mid-year, Jeff decided to follow up on a few (what he thought were) minor health issues (as a sidebar, this is the exact reason I’m terrified of going to the doctor – you go in for something you think isn’t a big deal, and pandora’s box opens and suddenly you’re on death’s door. Not that Jeff is or was on death’s door, and I know this is an idiotic fear…moving on). So Jeff goes to his GP for what was initially ongoing stomach issues – he’s had various gastrointestinal issues since I’ve met him, and they’ve never been able to figure out what’s wrong. And that part didn’t change – after exhaustive testing (including two endoscopies, and various ultrasounds and CT scans), they still haven’t found anything wrong with him, but he’s continued to have symptoms (mostly bloating/discomfort) on and off for over 10 years. He was on Accutane as a teenager, and I blame that.

So he had to have a ton of tests done on his stomach which was unpleasant and stressful (mostly to me, being the basket case that I am), but on that first appointment, he also casually mentioned to his GP that his hip had kinda been hurting for a couple weeks. Now, we were almost 100% convinced that this was due to his sleeping situation – we had switched out our mattress with the guest room’s crappy memory foam mattress over a year ago (don’t ask me why). Also, our bed had broken several months prior and we couldn’t be bothered to buy a new one, so we had jankily fixed it, and it had been crooked/sagging in the center since it had broken. His GP agreed that it was likely due to poor sleeping conditions, but ordered a x-ray just to be safe. In the meantime, we also finally replaced our bed.

So then the x-ray came back (by this time, it was mid-summerish and his hip hadn’t stopped hurting despite the new bed), and the results were more or less “you’re probably fine, but there’s a tiny chance you could have this condition called avascular necrosis (or AVN), so we’re sending you for an MRI.”

So he gets the MRI, and low and behold…he does, in fact, have AVN. AVN is a rare condition in which the blood flow to the hip is cut off, causing the bone to die. It causes pain that progresses with varying speed which causes mobility problems, and can eventually lead to your leg completely giving out, potentially causing your femur to break. They don’t know what causes it, and there’s no cure – it eventually requires a full hip replacement. He was diagnosed with this condition in both hips, and they initially tried to wait it out (he was told to use crutches for a few months, and when that didn’t help they recommended him to take it easy to see if his inflammation reduced), but his pain got worse instead of better, and he decided to have his right hip replaced before the end of the year (his left hip is still holding strong for now, fingers crossed).

So, on top of everything else that had already occurred/was already occurring, this whole ordeal with Jeff’s hip was, of course, extremely upsetting. He felt awful because he felt broken – he couldn’t walk long distances, and when he did walk, he had a severe limp. I just wanted him to feel better, but was also terrified about the surgery – even though his surgeon is extremely talented and did a lot to assuage our fears, it’s major surgery and that’s scary. But the surgery went perfectly, and now, almost exactly a month post-op, Jeff is well on his way to complete recovery. He’s still limping, but he doesn’t even need a cane anymore – the recovery time has been shockingly quick. Of course, this also cost thousands of dollars…by fitting the surgery in before the end of the year, the cost was much less than it would’ve been otherwise (due to the ridiculous amount of tests/scans he had throughout the year, Jeff ended up hitting his out of pocket max), but all in all it ended up being a pretty expensive year. Of course it was all worth it to have Jeff healthy and confident there’s nothing lurking below the surface.

So! 2019 was a year. Although I know the idea is in and of itself pretty dumb, I’m still confident that 2020 will be better. I’m doing everything I can to lessen my stress at work (although if I’m being completely honest, I think a lot of that is unavoidable), and I’m planning on starting therapy to manage the stress I do have better. Jeff is, fingers crossed, healthy, and the surgery is behind us. (Although there’s still another one at an unknown point in the future…but hopefully it won’t be this year. And even so, at least we know what to expect now.)

I do have a few minor resolutions: although I’ve tried and failed before, I want to regulate my sleep schedule and start waking up earlier. I’d like to go to bed and wake up at a relatively similar time throughout the whole week including weekends, give or take an hour or so at night and a half hour in the morning. This is the year I’ll make it happen! I’d like to reduce impulse purchases, and spend more money on experiences and less on things. And, on a related note, I’d like to learn to stress less about money. We’re comfortable and extremely fortunate to earn what we do, and I stress way more than is necessary about the amount of money we have or do not have in the bank. We have enough to cover emergencies and are regularly saving, so I want to worry less about the state of our finances, give back more, and be less materialistic. Having grown up without a lot of money I struggle with scarcity mindset, and I’d like to try to correct that way of thinking.

That’s about all I have to say for now – I write these (particularly this year’s post) not to dwell on the negatives of the year (or brag about the positives), but so that I’ll be able to look back and remember (and laugh!) I’m excited to see what 2020 holds!




A Strange Development…

So, I’ve always (at least as long as I can remember) gotten the WORST PMS. Irritability, crushing anxiety, loss of energy, acne…you name it, I get it. About a week before my period hits I start noticing EVERY TINY IRRITATION is making me want to throw things, and this feeling of impending doom starts to creep up for no reason whatsoever. I’ve gotten pretty good about recognizing it for what it is over time, so I try to take these feelings with a grain (or really, a huge chunk) of salt, but it’s unpleasant nonetheless.

Well, not to jinx myself or anything, but my chemicals seem to have shifted over the past three or four months. At first I noticed I was having less physical evidence of PMS (my breasts weren’t quite as tender – this was a new development by the way, I had only been introduced to the misery of a week of boob pain within the past year or so – I wasn’t seeing as much hormonal acne, I wasn’t getting quite as much brain fog), but then I noticed that…I wasn’t WILDLY ANGRY? This is pretty easy for me to notice due to my job – I interact with the public, which can be pretty irritating as it is – and I immediately noticed that I wasn’t ready to fly off the handle right before my period hit. And now, here I am 4 days before my next period is due to arrive, and I’m practically elated for no particular reason today. I’m seriously in THE BEST MOOD. No anxiety to speak of, Jeff’s not bugging the crap out of me (bless him for dealing with the PMS monster for the past 10 years), and I feel relatively energetic. I have a few minor symptoms that my lady time (yuck, sorry) is encroaching, but man…I don’t know what this is, but I’m not hating it. (Please no one tell me that this is a symptom of some terrible terminal illness…if it is, I don’t want to know thankyouverymuch.)





Plastic Paranoia

Being the neurotic and anxiety laden person I am, I’ve begun to really start thinking about the amount of plastic we’re exposed to on a daily basis, and the negative effects it has on our health. While I’ve come to accept that some plastic exposure is just going to happen (I’m not about to start eliminating every type of food or beverage in a plastic container), I figure I should at least do what I can to limit my family’s exposure to harmful plastics.

Although most decent quality plastic containers are now BPA-free, I’ve read lots of credible articles claiming that BPA-free plastic can still produce negative, potentially cancer-causing effects. With that in mind, I’ve decided to make some changes in my home:mwga-17-a17_2

I already don’t typically drink bottled water – I typically use filtered water from our fridge, or the water machine at work. But I’ve now swapped our plastic Nalgene sports water bottles with aluminum S’well bottles for both myself and Jeffrey (that one was a no-brainer – S’well bottles may be a bit heavier and a tiny bit less convenient than plastic bottles, but they keep water cold FOREVER).


I’ll be replacing our mismatched plastic Tupperwear with a set of glass containers. This one hurts a bit, because they’ll take up more room…but it’s for the best, and I won’t have to deal with the ugly, stained, half-melted (I put them in the dishwasher knowing full-well I’m really not supposed to) mess of containers I currently have. This set comes with a good variety of sizes and gets high ratings on Amazon.


No more plastic cups…I can’t get rid of ours (Jeff refuses to drink out of a real glass unless we’re having a dinner party or something), but I’ve stopped drinking out of the plastic cups we stole from the movie theater (yep) in favor of using a real glass (we have this set). I actually originally did this less for the health concerns and more because the plastic cups were starting to pick up a funky dishwasher detergent taste…yum.

So, it’s not much, and I could be doing a lot more, but these few changes make me feel a little better about what I’m putting into my body. If anyone has any other (realistic) ideas of ways to reduce plastic exposure, send ’em my way!


A Secret Tip to Make Time Fly

Or maybe not so secret…


Get up and walk around! I know there’s tons of articles and studies discussing the importance of moving during the workday (especially if you work in an office), but I had always kind of brushed them off. Well, a few weeks ago I jumped on the FitBit train, and I’ve been getting up and walking at least 250 steps each hour since (I’m a slave to those goals).

Of course, it’s a healthy habit…but I’ve noticed that an entirely unintended side effect is that it makes my day pass so much faster. Whereas before it’d feel like hours for 5 minutes to go by, now I’m shocked when my FitBit buzzes and tells me to get up and move – it usually feels like I just made my last round a few minutes ago!

That’s it – just a quick, simple tip to make the day drag a bit less. Give it a try!

Happy 2018

Happy New Year, friends – I hope your holidays were joyful, restful, and restorative.


I just went to look back at my “resolutions” post from last year, and found that…well, there wasn’t one. So that makes my job easier today – no goals from last year to review progress (or lack thereof) on. Last year was a weird one…it felt very eventful, but I don’t feel like anything of much substance occurred in my personal life. Or maybe it just feels that way, since the previous few years were chock-full of milestones (engagement, wedding, new job, first trip abroad, etc. etc.) So, instead of reflecting on the past year, I’ll just move right along to what I’d like to accomplish in 2018.

I’m actually setting resolutions this year, which isn’t something I generally do. But this January, I’m feeling a little mentally cluttered and unfulfilled, and I know there are specific things I can do to remedy this…so I’m going to do my best to. I do want to note that I’m only going to include more personal types of resolutions – so, for example, I’m not going to include, say, re-doing our porch, even though that is one of my goals. These resolutions will be more about keeping myself happy, healthy, and sane, rather than little things I’d like to fix with my home (which will need to also involve Jeff).

So, without further adieu, here are my resolutions for 2018:

  1. Bring less stuff into my home/live with less/use what I have. Over the past few years, I’ve slowly developed a pretty hardcore online shopping addiction. It started somewhat out of necessity – I was truly lacking a lot of practical things that I needed – but devolved into buying all the things, just because they were on sale and/or pretty. Not only is this financially unwise, it’s created a lot of clutter in my life, and it’s starting to make me a little crazy. This was really hammered home after Christmas this year – Jeff and I went all out on gifts for each other (we figure it might be our last Christmas without any little ones to buy for), and while nice, it ended up feeling a bit self-indulgent, and I’m feeling overwhelmed with stuff. So, I’ve decided that this year, I’m only going to buy things that I really, truly need, and instead of shopping sales like a fiending crackhead, I’m going to invest in quality items that will last me years. This applies to not only clothes and accessories, but also home decor – I tend to buy lots of small scale things because they’re more inexpensive or seem like “great deals” in the moment, but buying a ton of tiny things just makes my house look cluttered and cheap. Instead of buying every little pretty thing I see, I’ll wait to purchase larger scale items that I really love and will complement the rest of my decor.
  2. Purge unwanted items. On a related note, it’s time to go through my storage, weed out things that I no longer need or use, and donate them (or throw away anything that’s not fit to donate). At this point, we’ve been living in our house for over 4 years, and there are still tons of things I’ve held onto since we were in our apartment “in case I need them someday.” At this point in my life, I’m lucky enough to be able to let things go, and if I really need them in the future, I’ll be able to replace them with upgraded versions that I’ll actually use. Examples include, but aren’t limited to: old, plastic picture frames from the dollar store, cheap square glass candle holders, undersized, mismatched throw blankets, cheap, outdated “placeholder” decor, damaged Ikea furniture, and the list goes on. Along with the purge will come a reorganization – somewhere along the way, I started throwing things anywhere they’d be out of sight, and I no longer have a dedicated place for everything. This is going to change in the coming months.
  3. Get our finances in order. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that the old Raum finances are kind of all over the place. We’re comfortable in the overall sense and aren’t struggling by any means, but we also don’t have a budget (at all – zip, zero, zilch), overuse credit cards, and never know exactly how much money we have at any given time (due to said overuse of credit cards). We could also definitely be saving more efficiently. I’d like to prioritize paying off any outstanding credit card debt and go back to paying cash for most things (only putting large purchases on credit cards for cash back/points, and paying the balance off right away), and working to combine our finances – with Jeff now making double my income, it no longer makes sense to keep everything separate (plus, we haven’t really functioned as though our finances were separate for years).
  4. Exercise consistently for stress relief. I’ve set fitness goals in the past, but this is different, and possibly my most important resolution: I NEED to exercise consistently (meaning at least 4-5 days every week) to manage my anxiety and keep my mental health in check. This isn’t about training for a marathon, or losing weight, or even being in shape (although that is important to me), this is purely for the purposes of mental health. This means, at the very least, moderate cardio – it has to be in addition to any strength training or core classes I take, and it has to be non negotiable. At this point I can confidently say that the vast majority of my anxiety and depression stems from periods of being sedentary, and I can’t deny it any longer – I need to stay active for my mental health. My end goal is to get over the hump where running is painful to the point where it becomes enjoyable, and then maintain it – I’ve been able to get there in the past, but I always trick myself into thinking I can let it slide for a bit and then I fall into a vicious cycle of not wanting to start up again. No more.
  5. Prioritize my health. It’s not that I’m NOT healthy, per se (I rarely get sick, knock on wood); this is more about maintaining my health with preventative care. I’m famously terrified of anything medical and NEVER go to the doctor, and if we’re going to start a family, this needs to end. I increased my medical coverage for the year, so now is the time to take advantage and start actually getting routine health screenings.
  6. Take care of my stuff. Just like I need to prioritize maintaining my own health, I need to start prioritizing maintaining my material possessions. I’m terrible about letting the condition of my things deteriorate until I simply re-buy it (for example, I bought outdoor furniture covers for our brand new patio furniture this year, but have yet to put it on after countless rainstorms and a handful of snow storms), but I’m 33 freaking years old and I need to cut that shit out. No more being wasteful – I’m going to start putting the work in this year.
  7. Be kinder to myself. As is everyone, I’m my own worst critic (can you tell? Ha!) – this fuels my social anxiety, since I feel like everyone is judging me just as hard as I’m judging myself (even though I know this isn’t logical or true). I need to start accepting myself for who I am and learning to recognize the awesome parts of myself as well as embrace my flaws. I also really want to get to a point where I feel comfortable sharing my true self with others, rather than trying to force myself to be a different version of myself depending on who I’m around. I know this is always everyone’s resolution, but man…self love can be tough, can’t it?

And there you have it…I have a lot to work on in 2018, but I’m excited for a fresh start. Cheers to what’s ahead!

Instant Happiness

I swore that this week, I was going to start waking up early and hitting the gym before work. To the surprise of exactly no one, I haven’t succeeded in dragging myself out of bed in time to work out yet, but I did pull it together enough to suck it up and run to the gym for a quick workout during lunch today. And, you guys…it was like magic. Prior to leaving, I had been struggling to keep my eyes open and even felt like I had a cold coming on, but once I got moving, I felt like a totally new person. I’m still a tad bit sniffly (these things miraculously cleared up a cold in literally ONE DAY last week, so I’m going to whip them out when I get home), but I’m wide awake and in a fantastic mood now. I always forget how much simply moving my body can affect my mood and physical well-being until I do it, and after I’m always like, “duh!!”

A couple other things that can snap me out of a “blah” mood almost instantly:

– Listening to music

– Drinking a nice cup of hot tea or coffee

– Watching one of my “happy” shows (Sex and the City and The Kitchen are frequent go-tos, but I have a long list)

– A hug from Jeffrey

– Chatting on the phone with my mom

– Taking a long, hot shower and then wrapping up in my comfiest jammies

Pretty standard stuff, but exercise is generally the most effective – the hardest part is just getting myself to get up and get moving (that whole “objects at rest wish to stay at rest” deal is legit). Here’s to hoping I can keep it up throughout the winter to ward off the seasonal slump…




Happy Friday!

And a great one it is! Today is my last day of work until next Friday, and I’m pumped to kick off the holiday season. This weekend will be spent mostly preparing for the holiday rush – deep cleaning and shopping and such – and I also hope to enjoy bit of relaxation before the craziness sets in.


A couple friends & I went to Joe Biden’s book tour in Philly this week, and celebrated with cereal-flavored ice cream and cocktails.

I’ve also decided that instead of ditching the gym from Thanksgiving until Christmas like I usually do (which would be impossible, since I haven’t gone to the gym in months…oops), I’m going to make an attempt to head off the 15 pounds of cookies (and eggnog, and wine…) I’ll consume over the next 2 months by hitting the gym THROUGHOUT the holiday season. Maybe I’ll also try to get a few hikes/outdoor runs in before it gets too frigid. I figure this might set me up for success throughout the rest of the year, and maybe chase the seasonal depression monster away. Wish me luck (I’ll need it)!

Lentil Pasta (plus a recipe!)

Have you guys tried red lentil pasta? I was a bit skeptical at first, but after hearing several rave reviews, I snagged a box of this from Amazon (I was having a hell of a time finding anything other than chickpea pasta at the store – which I also snagged and have yet to try – but it turns out Trader Joe’s sells red lentil pasta for something like 2 bucks a bag, so Amazon proved to be unnecessary). Red lentil pasta is just that – pasta made from 100% red lentils. Nothing else. The calories are relatively similar to traditional pasta (about 200 calories per 2 oz serving), but the noodles are packed with protein and are gluten-free. I’m by no means a gluten hater, but let’s be real – traditional pasta isn’t exactly health food.

The texture of these noodles is pretty close, if not totally spot-on – they’re a tiny bit denser than your typical pasta, but if I didn’t know they were different prior to eating them, I’m not 100% sure I’d be able to tell. I also haven’t noticed any “off” flavors or aftertaste at all – it just tastes like pasta to me. If you’re a picky eater and you’re worried about flavor, I’d recommend using them in a more flavorful sauce or dish – since they’re pretty neutral, they don’t add much additional flavor to your recipe.

Speaking of flavorful recipes, I figured I’d use this opportunity to share one of my favorite, crazy simple weeknight dinners. It’s delicious, takes under half an hour to throw together, and it can be customized in infinite ways, depending on what you like/have in your fridge. Plus, it’s healthy to boot! Win-win-win (win).

Veggie-Packed Pasta Bake

I used the lentil pasta here, but you can also use traditional pasta (I love penne for this), spaghetti squash, or veggie noodles – you do you. I’m also not above using jarred sauce as a shortcut – as I’ve mentioned before, I’m obsessed with Rao’s (especially the arrabiata sauce), but your favorite sauce (or homemade, if you’re feeling ambitious) will work just as well. For veggies, I used onion, mushrooms, spinach and roasted broccoli this time, but whatever you have in your fridge is fine. If you can dream it, you can eat it.

8 oz pasta (of your choice – if using spiralized noodles, I’d say 3 or so medium sized zucchinis or equivalent would do, or 1 spaghetti squash, roasted and scraped)

1 jar pasta sauce

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz button or cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 head broccoli, chopped

1 bag baby spinach

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Grated parmesan cheese


Pre-heat oven to 425F. Place broccoli on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper; toss to coat. Roast in pre-heated oven for around 20 minutes, or until charred.

In the meantime, cook pasta including to package instructions. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high until hot, add onions and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes or until soft. Add mushrooms and season with salt & pepper; cook about 5 minutes or until mushrooms have started to release their moisture. Add spinach to pan and stir until wilted; add sauce and stir until heated through. Add broccoli and pasta; stir until combined.

If your pan is oven-safe, sprinkle pasta/sauce/veggie mixture with shredded mozzarella and grated parm (if your pan isn’t oven safe, transfer to an oven-safe dish before adding cheese). Bake for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and has started to brown.



What in god’s name is going on with my skin?

How does my skin know when summer’s over?

Why is my skin FLAWLESS all summer long, and then the second the leaves start to turn, I look like a pox has been thrust upon me by some type of evil witch?

At first, I figured it had something to do with the temperature – that was the only thing that made sense, but I always had a nagging doubt in the back of mind mind, because I actively moisturize all year round and my skin isn’t any drier or less dry in the winter than it is in the summer. BUT, this year the acne came back before the temperature changed AT ALL. What IS that? I always thought it was strictly hormonal (and it probably is, judging by the type/location of said acne), but then, like…why was my skin perfect all summer? Was I not a woman this summer? Did my hormones take a summer vacation?

Diet? I think not…my diet isn’t the best (nor is it the worst), but either way, it’s relatively consistent. No changes there.

When I say my skin was perfect this summer, I assure you that I am not exaggerating. Nary a blemish to be found. Acne scars disappeared as if by magic. I’m a lifelong faithful foundation wearer, and I considered many days going completely makeup-free (and some days I did just that)!! While my skin usually clears up incrementally during the summer months, this year it was better than it’s been since I was (miraculously) a totally fresh-faced teen. I experienced a brief glimmer of hope that this would be the year – that somehow, 32 and a half was the magical age at which acne would cease to kiss my face and from this moment on I’d have clear skin forevermore. But no. Practically the second October hit, my skin went back to normal. And normal sucks.

I know what you’re thinking – “Go to a dermatologist, ya turkey!” but you guys…I’m JUST NOW working up the courage to go to a normal doctor for the first time in my adult life (other than emergencies)…you’ll need to give me a moment to incorporate specialty medical professionals into my situation. So…I don’t know. I’d ask what miracle products everyone uses, but I’m skeptical regarding their effectiveness for my particular situation (as am I weary of being offered various MLM products) – I’ve tried most types of treatments, and nothing topical will cure this if it’s hormonal anyway. Birth control isn’t an option because of the whole possibly making a baby situation, so…I guess this is just my skin. Cool. Wish for a miracle for me? (Not really – don’t waste your miracle wishing on my dumb skin which is mostly fine save for some relatively mild annoying monthly acne. Use it for something cooler.) Okay bye.


Gyro Bowls

In my attempt for us to eat healthier, I decided to whip up a spin on one of my favorite foods – the gyro. But instead of pita filled with (delicious) greasy lamb, I decided to go the bowl route, and sub out the lamb for turkey meatballs (I have a bit of a love affair with turkey meatballs).


If I do say so myself, it turned out pretty darn tasty…I almost actually prefer the meatballs to lamb, and I barely missed the bread at all! And you guys – I LOVE me some bread, especially pita or naan! I riffed off of this recipe, with the following tweaks:

-Instead of beef, I used turkey (duh)…I also cranked up the broiler for the last couple minutes in the oven to add some color

-Instead of couscous, I used red quinoa…after the quinoa was cooked, I stirred in the juice of one lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, a handful of sliced kalamata olives, and plenty of salt and black pepper.

-I swapped out the parsley in the tomato cucumber relish for cilantro. Not quite as authentic perhaps (let’s be real, any “authenticity” in this dish is pretty much out the window), but I’m a cilantro freak. I also added a bit of lemon juice.

That’s about it! Super easy, healthy and yummy…I can’t wait to polish the leftovers off for lunch! I’m going to try to post more recipes here…mostly because I always forget which recipes we really enjoy, so I’ll be able to use this as somewhat of a reference. Stay tuned!