Vacation was beautiful and I never wanted it to end… but here I am, back in NYC. Back to work, back to everyday reality in a city I have outgrown. New York is a young person’s city, or a rich man’s city. It’s not a good place for a person like me at this time in my life. I feel empty and lost here. I have a good job, but it’s not what I want to be doing. The few things I liked about this city when I was 26 don’t exist anymore. The nightlife isn’t what it used to be, the parties aren’t what they used to be, the places aren’t what they used to be, and neither are the people. I don’t know why anyone would ever want to raise a kid here, unless of course they were rich… but even then….When I moved here at 24, I thought I needed to be here in order to achieve artistically, whether it was writing or painting or whatever. Clearly, the entire world is now connected through online media, remote work, and no one really needs to be in one place to do what they love or achieve what they want with their career (unless they’re an actor or a musician maybe… but even then…this just ain’t it, kid).
When I walk the streets, there are only remnants and relics of the past that I once enjoyed and for a short time loved. Now, I walk the streets and instead of daydreaming about a future or life in the city, all I daydream about is being somewhere else. I day dream about Europe, a slower lifestyle, a smaller and cleaner city or even a small town in the countryside or mountains. I daydream about a relaxed pace of life, dinners with family and friends, clean air, a house with a view. This city has made me tired and sad.
Tonight I walked past a couple of baby/children’s boutiques with adorable winter sweaters and high-quality stuffed animals on display in the windows. It hit me that I am never going to have a kid. When I was in my 20s, I thought for sure one day I would have a kid, but now that I’m 34, I’ve realized it’s just not happening. I don’t feel sad about it; it’s my decision, after all. It’s just weird to walk around the neighborhood where I spent so many days walking around and hanging out with my then-infant niece and my sister, who was three years younger than I am present-day, back in 2012. My how the times have changed in these past ten years. How the city has changed; the world has changed. Not for the better.
I grow more jaded and cynical each and every day I am forced to live in this city. Maybe I would have had a kid if I’d been married by 30, and before the current state of world took a turn for the worst. Now I realize that to have a kid would be more selfish than NOT to. It just seems unfair that the world made my decision for me. If there wasn’t a war happening, daily threats of nuclear holocaust, and another climate catastrophe every day, perhaps I would have been happy to have a kid.
I am engaged now… finally, after 9 years as a couple. I likely won’t be married for another 2 years. I am in no rush – I mean I waited this long, didn’t I?! My family certainly seems to be in a rush; they keep expecting that I will have the wedding next summer (which is only 10 months from now). Not happening, sorry. Although, perhaps I should have it next year, because because who knows how things will be two years from now (given the current political climate, war, nuclear threats, global warming, and advancing age of all of our parents). Maybe this world won’t even exist next year….
I am lucky that I live where I do, as opposed to so many other places where life would be much worse off right now. This world is falling apart … I try to enjoy every day now, for what it is. I try to enjoy every day that I have to work, once I have some free time to myself and the work is done. I try to enjoy every weekend day I spend alone, even though my boyfriend is working – there are pleasures to be found in being alone. You never know what each new day may bring, whether that something is good or bad. So it is best to just enjoy each day as it is, even if it is not ideal. If these last few years have taught me anything, it is to appreciate the little things in life and the (hopefully good) people that you have in your life.
I could go on and on about vacation. I feel incredibly lucky and fortunate that I was able to take such a great vacation. I feel fortunate to have the boyfriend I have, the family and friends I have, and the in-laws I have. I am lucky to have all that I have in this life, even though I bust my ass for most of what I have… I am fortunate that things have somehow come together over the last five or so years to get me to the point that I am at today (not that most days aren’t still a struggle, but at least I’m not contemplating suicide as I do three nights of floor-set at Hollister every month and wonder how I am going to afford a dinner out for someone else’s birthday).
Instead of going into depth writing about my vacation, I’m just going to post a shit ton of photos that sum it up. We started in Venice, traveled to Tuscany with his parents for a week, hit up multiple wineries and medieval towns while we were there (Siena, Montalcino (the town closest to our lodging), Montepulciano, Pienza, etc.). My in-laws went back to Venice when we departed Tuscany, but we made several stops: Modena to see not one but TWO Ferrari museums, a night and a day in Milano (more on that later), and then we spent a night in Lake Como because we just weren’t ready to go back to Venice yet. It was all so fucking amazing, words cannot describe.
I wasn’t a fan of Milan – even though we were only there for 24 hours. The hotel we stayed in was cool – very modern with lots of fun art pieces and installations. It was also super close to the city center, which came in handy for me, since I spent a day alone wandering around Milan, while Christian got a tattoo by a famous Italian tattoo artist he was able to book last minute (don’t ask – I already had my ring at this point, so if it made him happy… whatever). I did 9 miles by myself that day, and realized that I could never live in Milan. The city is a mix of very old and very modern structures – it is almost similar to NYC in that sense, but obviously much cleaner and prettier. All of the women are emaciated (and I am not lying). Most of the women also seemed to be under the age of 30… I saw mainly students and young people while I walked around that day. But, of all the women I did see, old, young, middle-age… they all had some serious eating disorders. Like, most of them looked like they needed to be in the hospital… and I am NOT exaggerating. I felt like such a cow next to these women…. and I am not a big person. I don’t think I saw a single woman/girl who weighed over 95 lbs. I get that it is the fashion capital of the world, but holy fuck. My ego took quite a blow that day, and I couldn’t really enjoy food for the rest of the trip… I’ve never felt so fat in all my life as I did walking around Milan that day. I was really happy we decided against spending a second night in Milan and decided to drive to Lake Como, since it is only about 1.5 hours from Milan, and Christian had never even been, despite having lived in Milan for several years! It was worth it:
Before we ended up in Milan and then Lake Como, we had briefly entertained the idea of spending the last few days of our vacation in Greece. It just didn’t make sense to waste another day spent traveling or buying plane tickets just to spend 48 hours or less in Greece, when our time with Christian’s parents and friends in Venice is already so limited each time we are there. We decided to just go back to Venice so that we could enjoy the rest of our vacation and see his friends and spend more time with his parents. We made it out to Lido not once, but twice this time… both nights were a lot of fun… maybe too much fun. Thank God Lido now has electronic rental bikes, because when we were ready to leave each night, there were no Ubers to be had and we needed to get back across the Island to catch the ferry back to Venice proper.
I could post a million more pictures and tell a million more stories. I wish I never had to come home… apart for being reunited with my babies (my cats) and seeing my own family. I hope that some day very soon we can live in Italy or France… or somewhere else close by, where life doesn’t move at the pace of NYC and every moment doesn’t pass by in a blink of the eye the way life does here in New York.
I’ll leave you with the food highlights from the trip (since that is what this blog was/is supposed to be about):
Now that I am back in NYC and inspired by the skeletal women I saw in Milan, I am trying to get back on the straight and narrow (i.e. no meat, save for special occasions, minimal wine consumption (sure, Jan…), and healthier eating in general). Wish me luck! Venice is great since the cuisine is primarily seafood, but boy did I go to town on meat in Tuscany: you have to… it’s the Tuscan way (when in Rome, do as the Romans do, am I right?!). Anyhow. We are still waiting for a case of wine we bought at the castle winery to arrive. This is what motivates me. I’m not sure where we are going to store it in our 1-bedroom apartment, but I’ll find a way.
Sitting here in my apartment on yet another 98 degree day, waiting until the sun goes down and work is over so I can get out for walk. I had an entire entry written, including a recipe and all, but my 2015 piece of shit Chromebook refused to let me publish it when I tried hitting “Publish,” and then also deleted the entire entry, even though I had repeatedly saved it as I worked on it. So here I am, retyping it all… convinced the first version was the best and this won’t be as good as what I originally composed, since I am now angry and hurried. I make more money than I used to, and still can’t seem to justify buying a new $1,500 MacBook. So, I will continue to use this ChromeBook, a relic of 2015, a piece of technology that does me dirty every time I use it.
I am on a mission to lose 10 lbs. over the next five weeks, prior to my vacation. I WILL WEAR SHORTS and I WILL WEAR SUNDRESSES like a normal human – like a normal, average American woman – if it is the last thing I do. I am tired of hiding my lower body in black jeans on hot summer days, and I am taking action and holding myself personally accountable. I will reduce the size of my legs, and I will wear shorts with confidence.
I choose to focus on this seemingly attainable goal, since I am unable to control the political climate of this country, global warming, all of the helpless, homeless and sick animals I see on the streets of my neighborhood, and the out-of-control shootings and stabbings that happen daily here in NYC and also throughout the nation. I can only control myself. And so, I help sick animals when I see them, try not to buy single-use plastics, recycle, and try my hardest not to eat meat, which is easy to do here, but impossible to do when I visit my parents upstate, and now, I will try to lose 10 lbs. I can’t control the war raging in Ukraine, I cannot control the crimes committed in Myanmar by the national army (which I made the mistake of reading about yesterday), but by God I can call for help if I see a sick cat suffering on the street, and I can control the circumference of these thighs.
My neighborhood is trash… literally. Covered in trash and the people are trash. They get pets they don’t spay/neuter and then kick them to the curb when they get pregnant or, in the case of a male cat, start spraying. I wish I could abuse people the way they abuse animals. The sidewalks are a mean place around these parts, and the summer heat makes the psychos that walk these streets even more psychotic. I worry that I will die at the hands of a psycho due to gun violence or stabbing before I have the chance to get out of this God forsaken city. It is a legitimate fear. My fear of climate change that I cannot control is a daily undercurrent to all of my other activities and thoughts. Even when I am working or busy these days, I cannot stop thinking about how fucked the future of this planet is. There is nothing I can do though, apart from hold myself accountable for my own actions. I cannot control the people I encounter on the street though – and there are more crazies than ever before.
I want to leave this country, but mostly, I want to leave this city forever. I fantasize about going to Italy and not returning. Maybe we can buy a small property in Tuscany, and I can work remotely from another time-zone. Who has to know? Better yet, I would quit my job and just work on restoring the property and promoting it as a retreat and establishing a small farm-to-table restaurant. I can’t stay here any longer. Me and NYC are done. It has nothing left to offer me.
I wrote a recipe in my last entry that was deleted before I could publish, and now, I am too lazy to re-write it. Sorry. Here is a picture of the ingredients that I bought at Eataly though, and also a picture of my finished pasta dish:
You can use your imagination and the picture of my ingredients above as a reference point if you want to make something similar.
For the first time in a long time, there is an actual recipe featured on this blog (scroll down, if you don’t believe me). I love cooking and I love writing as two separate pastimes, but writing down the recipes from my head is frankly, rather tedious and time-consuming, and I find no pleasure in it. I wish I had someone to take notes as I cook and then translate the process into instructions and a list of measured out ingredients (I don’t use measuring tools when I cook, and this is why I hate baking – precise measuring is required).
Christmas has now come and gone (how many other blogs have I started with these exact words?), and it’s almost February – one of my favorite months of the year. Christmas this year was pretty great for me – I was able to work from home the entire week between my nephew’s birthday on the 19th, right up until a couple of days after Christmas when I decided to curtail my binge eating and head back to the city (I ate non-stop for an entire week while I was at my parents’ house… and you could certainly tell). We had snow before Christmas, and after Christmas while I was upstate, but not ON Christmas, unfortunately. Christmas day was about 53 degrees and rainy (thanks, global warming!). I took both cats out for a stroll on their leash in my parents’ backyard to test out the snow – Peeper loved it and didn’t want to come back inside (despite the fact that it was cold and windy), and poor Tuna hated it.
Christmas Eve dinner took place at my sister’s house. I made a delicious cocktail with a limited edition Hendrick’s gin, pomegranate juice, lime juice, and fresh thyme. After we came back from dinner, I helped my mom finish up some gingerbread man cookies and chilled. I did a whole lot of chilling for a week, which was exactly what I needed (maybe, without the sedentary days and non-stop potato chip consumption). I truly love being home – although maybe not for periods of longer than four days. Despite hating life in the city, I was itching to go home after a full week under my parents’ roof (no offense to my parents).
I feel like every time I write a blog here I extol the virtues of being surrounded by nature and quiet, but if you are living in a major city and haven’t left your urban metropolis recently, I encourage you to do so. Especially if you’re stressed or suffering anxiety (or anger issues, like I do from time to time) – getting out of the madness of the urban jungle and listening to the sounds of birds chirping and silence at night is what we all need for a hard reset sometimes. Find the cheapest hotel or Airbnb you can and just spend minimal time there; take advantage of your family or friend’s offer to let you stay with them if that is an option. Even if it isn’t the “nicest” or “coolest” small town (lord knows my hometown in Chenango county certainly is no Woodstock or Hudson), getting out of the city is better than not getting out at all. I am hoping to go home next month, maybe after my birthday. I also think I’d like to go to a salon while I’m home and go back to red hair without paying a fortune in order to do so (I am so over being this blonde – it just isn’t me).
I am thankful that I spent as much time at home as I did this year. Usually, work and the combination of my boyfriend’s work schedule mean that I am never home for more than three days and do not get to see all of the family I hope to see while I am home.
My plan was to return to the city so that I could celebrate NYE here properly, since everything was cancelled last year. However, my plans were once again foiled. My boyfriend, who assured me he would be out by 12:30AM at the latest, did not get home from work until 3AM. Naturally, I was passed out on the couch, and he was exhausted from having worked a 15 hour shift. It sucks since we bought tickets to a party that only went on until 5AM. We decided to go out the next night, but that also turned out to be a dud. It was pouring rain, and the party we decided to check out at The Good Room in Greenpoint, turned out to be a gay party. We stayed 20 minutes before peacing out and going back home. Nothing against the gays, but it’s not really fun to be at a gay party unless you’re a gay man looking to get laid.
Before wasting more money on party tickets for another party we wouldn’t stay at, we had dinner at Maison Premiere. That was the highlight of the weekend for me. They reopened a few months ago, having been closed for all of 2020 and most of 2021, and I was so happy to be back for the first time since February 2020 – it is one of my favorite Williamsburg staples. The atmosphere, small plates, and cocktails are the best (although the prices are not).
The food was just as great as it has always been. I had the steak tartare (It’s my weakness and uncannily enough, my favorite food ever, despite my best efforts to NOT eat meat….). We also had oysters, mussels, and the cod toast (another favorite). This place is such a gem – I am so happy they’re back in business! Would definitely not recommend if you’re on a tight budget and very hungry though… there are much better paces to go if you’re ravenous or want to get lit (cocktails are too expensive to get lit here).
I am honestly kind of relieved that our NYE and NYD were so low-key. Every time I party now, I basically need a whole 48 hours to recover. Partying honestly isn’t as fun as it used to be – the prices they charge for tickets these days should honestly include a gram of the drug of your choice, since they are so fucking steep. I also think I have an allergy to alcohol. If I have more than two glasses of wine, I wake up looking like Charlize Theron as Aileen Wournos in Monster. I digress ….
My aunt and uncle gifted us a certificate for a shop in Greene, NY, that I had never heard of: Hymn & Hawe. I was expecting a gift store or some sort of country store akin to the Masonville general store (which I love), but my expectations were far surpassed upon entering the store. Not everything was necessarily my style, but they had a lot of very nice furniture at what seemed like very reasonable prices. They also had a really nice selection of art from estate sales, and we ended up buying both a print-on-canvas, and also a small painting of Venice! I definitely am looking forward to going back to this store, and highly recommend to anyone living in the area.
I must say, I am very sad I no longer have my little Christmas tree to brighten up the apartment. I milked it for all it was worth, and left it up until a few days after epiphany. The poor thing was dry as a bone and shedding like crazy. I was truly tempted to buy a light-pink fake tree and decorate it for Valentines day, but let’s face it – this apartment doesn’t really have room to spare or storage space. Plus, I am against buying more plastic, if I can help it (although I think the concept of a pink tree is really cool, and the idea of a Valentines tree is still tempting).
Work has slowed down to the point where I am once again questioning the security of my position. There is truly no in-between for this industry: it’s either a balls-to-the-wall, 55-hour grind of a work week, that makes me feel absolutely psychotic and explosive, or it’s a radio silence, bare-minimum 35-hour week, that I treasure, since I can actually live my life, but also makes me worried I’m about to be “let go” at any given minute. A happy medium would be nice. When work is slow and I fear losing my job, I just make sure to tell myself to enjoy each day, since I am still able to get out for walks, cook leisurely meals, and chill after 6PM without my email notifications blowing up all night. Thankfully, the week of Christmas wasn’t crazy and I was able to enjoy my time home.
I truly love that week in between Christmas and the New Year – even though I haven’t had that week off since I was a college student of 20. I love that everyone seems to be in a happy, laissez-faire mood. No one at work is in a rush to get things done, everyone is happy and satiated from Christmas celebrations and the abundance of high-fat foods, sweets and chocolate in their lives. People are jolly and good-spirited. I wish every week could be like this week generally is. The world would certainly be a better place. I am happy January is almost over – it is the most depressing month of the year, once the Christmas decorations come down and everyone resumes work and daily life again. It’s also so dark and dreary in January – snow would definitely help to brighten the situation, but we haven’t really had any that has stuck so far in NYC. We had a snow the week after New Year’s Day, but it had melted almost fully by the second day after the initial snowfall.
I am hoping that we have some more snow in time for Valentine’s Day (not that I celebrate) and/or the week of my birthday. I’m sure If I am able to go upstate following my Birthday, there will be snow – there usually is in late February/early March.
Other than working my day job (that’s how I like to think of my job… as a “day” job – it helps put life into perspective), I am currently focused on getting healthy (when am I not?) and also rescuing four cats that are trapped across the street. I’ve been coordinating with Greenpoint Cats and a couple of other local cat rescues to set things up, and we will be trapping them this weekend. Long story short (because I could certainly go on a rant of epic proportions right now), the cats are not and spayed/neutered and have never seen a vet. They are not exactly spring chickens either. These poor cats do not get direct sunlight and have lived their entire lives in the shade of a building and the confining walls of some shoddy courtyard where they are confined. I have no idea what the bottom/ground of this courtyard looks like, and I am kind of scared to find out (I hope it’s not cluttered with litter, garbage, broken bottles, trash, etc., but something tells me it is). They’ve also had litters of kittens that have died from lack of care and exposure over the years, and the worst part, is that they have to climb a 6-story fire escape (in all kinds of inclement weather) in order to eat. The guy who has been feeding them isn’t the one who brought them in – apparently the building super brought them in as rodent control for the basement of the building. I’ve been told that they have “access to the basement” (whatever that means), but I really do wonder how they get in and out and if it is at all warm in the basement. I highly doubt the poor cats have bedding down there.
Anyhow, we will be trapping them this weekend and then they’re off to see the vet on Monday. I started a GoFundMe to raise money for the cost of their vet visits/spaying/neutering surgeries, which will undoubtedly add up fast considering they are senior cats and have had no preventative care up until this point. If you’d like to donate, please see below link. All leftover donations go directly towards helping other cats in need.
The shittiest part about living in a low-income neighborhood surrounded by projects, is the abundance of strays and the neglect/abuse of animals that seems to be rampant. I don’t care about the mentally ill, possibly dangerous homeless men smoking crack on the street, or the fact that gangs sell drugs on the street corner two blocks down, or even that someone was stabbed to death in a local deli a couple of years ago. I’m a grown woman with pepper spray, a taser, and a hot temper, and I can and will fend for myself. What I care about, are all of the animals suffering on the streets here, without a voice, with no choice in the matter of their circumstances, and their daily suffering, which is overlooked by almost everyone passing by. I know it hard for people to care about animals when they are struggling to feed and house themselves and their family and living in poverty. But it blows my mind that these people, the same ones who struggle to put food on the table for their kids and themselves, think taking in a kitten is a good idea. These kittens are the ones that end up un-spayed or un-neutered on the street 8 months later, when the family decides they can no longer afford to take care of it, or they abandon their 6-year old cat in a crate in the middle of winter, when the cat keeps peeing on the couch because it has a UTI they left untreated (don’t even get my started on the people who hoard animals, or get dogs they keep confined to a kennel). I know that people of all income brackets are capable of animal abuse and neglect, but it is way more prevalent in neighborhoods like mine, where the majority of families struggle to live day-to-day life and keep their human kids clothed and fed. There are stray cats all over my neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and most people do not bat an eye at their suffering, because they just don’t have the time, energy, or resources to care or help. Oftentimes, they do not even know that sources are available to help, at no cost of their own. Sorry… I could keep going, but I’ll stop.
Onto the recipe! Sorry for the very long-winded diversion…
CURRIED LENTIL SOUP (to feed the soul)
Warning: lentils are high in fiber and therefore can make you extremely bloated (especially if you’re like me and finish the entire pot of soup in two days). I would not recommend eating this soup if you have a hot date the night of, plan to wear a body-conscious dress or crop top, or plan to have sexy times (if you know what I’m saying). The great thing is, that because of the high fiber content, this soup will also make you go to the bathroom (I don’t need to get into specifics), and you’ll have the flattest stomach ever after your morning coffee the next day. LOL.
1 and 1/2 cups of dried red lentils (green lentils or French lentils could also work)
2 medium-sized carrots (chopped)
1/2 of a large white/yellow onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
2 stalks of celery (diced)
1 pack of frozen spinach, or 1 box of fresh spinach
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your pot)
Approx. 4 cups of chicken, vegetarian chicken, or veggie stock (I use the “Better Than Chicken” bouillon and just add it to the boiling water!)
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of coconut milk
3 TBS (yellow) curry powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp tumeric
1 TBS granulated sugar
1 tsp granulated/powdered garlic
a generous pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste (salt usually isn’t needed since the curry powder is salty and the stock may be salty if using bouillon as the base)
**Feel free to add in the following if you have on hand, or need to use up: Mushrooms, potatoes (1 or 2 max), arugula, any other veggie you think might go well!
Prep the veggies – Wash veggies where applicable and chop the onion, carrots, celery and mince the garlic (carrots and celery do not have to be chopped finely)
In a large pot, heat olive oil over low heat, add in the onions stirring occasionally and cooking over low-heat until translucent and yellow.
Add in the celery and garlic and continue to cook over low heat for another 3-4 minutes.
Add in the dried lentils, the carrots, all of the veggie/chicken stock, and raise temperature and bring to a gentle boil.
Cook at a gentle boil until the carrots and lentils are almost tender – about 10-12 minutes (I think?)… occasionally sample a lentil or two to see how tender they are..
Once the lentils are softened, add in the crushed tomatoes and spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted (or, in the case of frozen, is no longer frozen)
Turn down the heat and add in the spices – tasting as you go along to make sure everything is coming together nicely. You may need to play around with the ratio of spices (I do not measure with measuring tools – just taste testing)
Continue to cook over low heat until the lentils begin to break apart (that’s how soft they should be!)
Finally, add in the can of coconut milk, stir in so it’s incorporated, and if necessary, add 1-1.5 TBS of sugar and any additional spices you think it might need to reach its best potential
In other, more superficial news, I am so over my blonde hair. I thought it would bring me joy – it brings me none. I thought it would make me feel pretty – it makes me feel trashy. It’s been almost 2 months now since I bleached it. I think I will go back to a nice strawberry-blonde shade sometime soon. I just worry that my hair is not healthy enough to fuck with right now, since I’ve been experiencing a lot of breakage since the bleach. I was warned – I should have listened. Live and learn I guess, right?
I feel like having COVID and living through 2020/2021 in NYC had added years to my face, aesthetically speaking. I was tired of looking tired, even when I didn’t feel tired inside, so I decided to take time back (at least, aesthetically speaking, since we can never get that time back), and so I tried botox for the first time in November at the age of 33. It’s a decision I am happy I made – I no longer wake up with lines on my forehead that don’t go away during the day. And, despite the fact that I used to talk mad shit about girls with obvious lip fillers (*I regret having this attitude*), I also decided to take the plunge and try lip fillers in November. The real deciding factor in both of these decisions? EVERYBODY’S DOING IT. That sounds terrible – and who the fuck wants to be a follower?! Not me, although, I guess now I am to some extent… Honestly though, I live in NYC (I assume this is the same scenario with any major city) and *almost* EVERYONE from the age of 27 on is having work done, if they can afford it. Most people just don’t talk about it openly, but if you scroll back a few years on their IG account, you can tell.
I have always liked the shape of my lips, but in recent years (maybe the past 5), I feel like they’ve deflated significantly (kind of like how a helium balloon looks, 5 days after the party has ended), and they look perpetually dry, even when I am quite hydrated. The only time my lips have looked truly luscious in recent years, is after a night of drinking and/or high sodium intake – I would wake up and hate that the rest of my face and body was bloated and puffy AF, but I’d admire how full and pouty my lips were. I feel like it’s still taboo to some extent, to talk about shit like this (that’s why I’m writing about it here, where only a select few will read). But, if you know me and see me regularly, you can probably (scratch that: DEFINITELY) tell when you see me (in person), that they’re bigger… so I thought I’d just throw it out here (for anyone who reads this). It was actually kind of another spur of the moment decision (kind of like this blonde hair… I told you, I am clearly going through some sort of crisis…), but one that I do not regret. I had them done at JECT when I got my botox.
I should have taken into account how long I’d be bruised from the ordeal – I had them done the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and they were still bruised and swollen AF when I had to go home and face my family five days later. Naturally, I had to admit what I had done to my sister and my brother, who both separately confronted me. My parents played it cool, but my sister told me that my dad separately brought it up to her and my mom, saying “I think she may have had her lips enhanced.” Apparently my mom, ever oblivious, replied “You know she always likes to over-line her lips, Tom.” This actually makes me chuckle, because that much is true. I spent the ages of 19 – 28 over-lining my lips in an attempt to make them look bigger, before I realized how obvious it looked in broad daylight, and then stopped doing any sort of lip color altogether until now. Side note: you can totally get away with over-lining and clever lip gloss placement in a dark restaurant or nightclub, or even a photo, but in real life and in natural light, it looks not-so-good (especially up close).
Anyhow, after the swelling went down (which literally took a full 2 weeks for me), I had a couple of unsightly lumps which were a dead give away that I’d had injections, and also made me super self-conscious when talking with people. I went back to JECT and they dissolved the lumps (free of cost, since it was their fault), and I am now completely happy with the results. I am happy that my top lip no longer completely disappears when I smile (which is honestly probably part of my endearing charm to those who know me (JK), but also something I’ve been self conscious of for most of my life). I am also happy I no longer feel self-conscious when my face is in its natural, resting bitch face, which always gave my mouth a particularly stern and thin appearance.
Anyhow, I feel lucky to be in a place in my life where I can finally afford to finance these endeavors… I probably would have done this years ago if I wasn’t struggling financially. I hate myself for giving into the pressure, but at the same time I feel so much better when I wake up and assess my face each morning. I wish I didn’t care so much, it goes against all of my feminist ideals… but I always have cared and sadly, I always will.
Can you believe I started writing this blog a month ago and never finished? I sure as hell can. It’s been forever (what’s new?). This year is almost over, and the sad reality of a COVID Christmas season is upon us. I know I thought I had corona virus back in March, but I guess I was mistaken, because I actually tested positive for Corona last month, in October. Cheers fam. I survived unscathed… apart from the fact that four weeks later, I can still barely taste or smell. But if that’s the small price to pay for not being critically ill, well by God I’ll take it! So yeah, if you follow me on Instagram and wonder why I haven’t been cooking as much, it’s because for the last few weeks I haven’t been able to taste or smell ANYTHING. You could have held dog shit or the world’s most expensive perfume under my nose a couple of weeks ago, and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference because I wouldn’t have smelled either. As far as taste, that is also coming back. Two weeks ago I could only taste extreme salt or sugar. I couldn’t taste spicy though or sour. I could eat chocolate or Nutella and it would just taste sweet, but not chocolaty. I still can’t really smell or taste coffee. Thankfully, my sense of smell of taste and smell are slowly coming back… SLOWLY.
Leading up to my positive diagnoses, I had a slightly elevated temperature and felt a bit “off” for about a week prior, but I thought it was the change of seasons. Honestly, a common cold would normally include worse symptoms than what I experienced. My throat didn’t hurt, but felt a little “tight.” Kind of like when you first turn the A.C. on when summer hits. I had no body aches, no cough, no real fever (my temp was like 100 degrees one day, but I thought it was because I was hungover). I knew that I needed to go get tested though, when I lost my sense of smell and taste one night… since normally I have the sensory capabilities of a bloodhound (I can usually smell if someone had one drink 6 hours ago and what the neighbor two floors down is cooking). I went to a walk in clinic knowing I was going to test positive, and sure enough I did.
Needless to say, I wasn’t very hungry for the first couple of weeks that I couldn’t smell or taste, and much to my entertainment, I lost a few pounds. This was the only upside. Sadly, after I tested negative, I went home to watch my sister’s kids for five days (like all day and overnight… not just “babysitting”), on top of also working from home. The stress of this arrangement caused me to senselessly binge eat for five days straight and gain back all the weight I’d lost plus some. I can never win. I am honestly just thankful that I didn’t pass the virus onto my sister or to my niece and nephew, because they are the only people that I hung out with (other than my live-in boyfriend) for the week leading up to my diagnosis. I am also thankful that I lost my sense of smell and taste, otherwise I might have never gotten tested and unknowingly passed it onto my parents.
SIDE NOTE (after watching kids and basically being a single mom for 5 days):
If you are reading this and you are a mom, I applaud you. Legit props to any mothers out there, especially working moms. I don’t know how you do it, because I was ready to off myself numerous times throughout each day that I watched two kids, and I was so damn tired each night that it was honestly all I could do just to scroll through Instagram after the kids were finally asleep. Kids and motherhood are a beautiful thing for some people, but I’ve decided I am NOT cut out for that life. Furthermore, we all know that moms do like 90+ percent of the work when it comes to child-rearing and keeping the house clean and running functionally, so like, extra extra props to all of you.
Anyhow, despite this last month that is both a total blur and a total shit-show, I’ve still been cooking (just not regularly posting what I cook). Because I have been cooking for so long now, I know how much of and which seasonings and ingredients to add, regardless of whether or not I can actually taste/enjoy the finished meal. It’s a true gift…. possibly the only thing I was gifted with in this life, besides my twisted sense of humor.
I don’t think that we are going home for Thanksgiving this year do to COVID cases picking back up and my boyfriend’s work schedule (and mine). It’s honestly not that tragic for me. Having worked a few years of retail in the past, I’ve missed a couple of Thanksgivings in my life, and I can honestly say that there are some upsides. I won’t have to dodge questions about why I don’t have any turkey on my plate. I also won’t end up binge eating for 4-days straight, which is usually what happens on any given weekend spent home (the stress of being with family, coupled with the availability of my favorite snacks, paired with the boredom of being in a rural town always sends me into a tailspin…). Honestly, missing Christmas is much more tragic… I’m hoping that doesn’t happen.
Also, my sister and her family will be overseas, so that really takes away from the joy and excitement (kids really do make holidays better…my mom wasn’t lying). I think I’ll do a vegetarian or pescatarian Thanksgiving for just me and my boyfriend here in the city. I will plan to make all of the sides (mashed potatoes, *mushroom* gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, etc.) and then do either a fo-turkey, or lobster or scallops as the main dish. I mean, you can’t pour mushroom gravy over seafood, but l’ll improvise and adjust all the dishes once I know for sure what the game plan is. My favorite Thanksgiving dishes were always stuffing and green bean casserole – both of which I have perfected in the art of making vegan, so that’s a done deal.
As the pandemic drags on into the 10th month, and winter is fully upon us, the outlook seems bleak. The days are shorter, and we have complete night by 4:30pm each day. The impending doom of another shutdown/lock-down is also making anxiety and stress levels go up across the world. With everything being so dismal, it is important to take time out (when we can) and take care of ourselves (to the extent we can). I mean, if I was really taking care of myself, I’d probably need to see a therapist weekly, start hitting the gym, and stop drinking wine. But, alas… since these things aren’t possible in the time being, I resort to long baths and painting my nails. One of the worst things about the entire last ten months has been the fact that none of us (most of us) don’t really have anything to look forward to (or so it seems).
It’s hard finding motivation to take care of yourself when you aren’t regularly seeing people or socializing. I find myself asking “what is the point?” more often than not. I miss being able to have future plans that I looked forward to – concerts, travel, parties, etc.. I know that these will come back one day (hopefully sooner than later), but in the meantime, I honestly don’t know what to look forward to, because even weekends kind of suck now.
Anyhow. The way things are going, I am prepared for a very emo holiday season. Christmas is normally my favorite time of the year. This year is not looking so bright or merry with cases picking up all over the globe and everything shutting down again. Things were so promising for a few months – why the fuck couldn’t we keep it that way?! I’ll tell you why – because we got careless and sloppy and now we are all paying the price (myself included in this demographic).
I am scared about getting laid-off if things haven’t improved by early next year. I am also scared about another shutdown of restaurants/bars here in NYC, since my boyfriend and most of my friends are working in the hospitality industry, and have either been out of work for months, or will be out of work again. Scary fucking times ‘yo. But honestly, what can we do? I guess all we can do is take it day by day and to appreciate the little things in this life. Or, rather, appreciate the important things.
If you have a roof over your head (even if you’re scared of losing it in a couple of months), food in your fridge and in your belly, a small network of friends or a family who you know will help you out when times are tough, and if you are healthy, you are doing better than most of the world. Be thankful for all of these things that you might regularly take for granted. The worse this world gets, and the more uncertain my future is, the more thankful I am for even the things I used to take for granted (my health, my *sometimes dysfunctional* family, the people who love me unconditionally, having food to eat, etc.).
Well, it’s been over three months since I last wrote an entry and shit has only gone further downhill in the good ol’ USA. In some respects, things are improving, but only nominally. NYC is no longer a hot-bed of COVID activity, but other states have spiraled out of control and various states/regions have shut down again. Much needed (and long overdue) discussions and protests regarding systematic racism and police brutality in the United States have swept across the nation (and other parts of the world) in a movement to address and end racism, and societal reform seems (thankfully) inevitable, so long as we all keep doing our parts to raise awareness, demand justice, and make changes where we can. Hopefully this world will get better in some respects, although it is bound to get worse in others (*cough* GLOBAL WARMING *cough* POVERTY GAP).
I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been so depressed over the current state of the world. What can I write that hasn’t already been said, you know??? The city (NYC) has gone downhill tragically. Everyone who can afford to is moving out (I wish I was part of this demographic), and crime has increased everywhere, including neighborhoods that were once exempt, like the Upper West Side. There are homeless encampments everywhere, junkies fighting over who had the last hit of crack down the street from me, and heroin junkies openly shooting up in Times Square (my boyfriend sent my photos from the lobby of his work building)…. classy. We’ve had degenerates somehow gain entrance into our building lobby and rip open half a dozen packages that were sitting downstairs for the building residents, even though there is clearly a camera facing the door. Like whoever has the balls to come into a building where people live and tear open packages in front of a security camera has no fear of being caught, and this scares me. What if myself or someone else came out of the elevator or down the stairs and caught this person in the act??? I’ve never in my life felt scared to live here before, but it honestly feels lawless here now… like the wild fucking west, but without saloons and horses.
I am terrified about what will happen when Fall/Winter arrives, since indoor dining and entertainment (movie theaters, bowling alleys, bars, restaurants etc.) has yet to open back up. If restaurants and bars cannot open once colder weather hits, and outdoor dining on the disgusting streets is no longer feasible, we are all literally fucked. More than we already are. I have so many friends that have been out of work or forced to move home since the beginning of this pandemic since they worked in the hospitality industry and lost their jobs indefinitely. NYC has already fallen so far, that it will never recover if restaurants, bars and entertainment venues cannot reopen soon. What is the point of living in this city if you are able to work remotely? What is the point of living in a city that was once the epicenter of culture and dining and entertainment, when all of that is gone???
We (my boyfriend and I) have been wanting to leave NYC for the past few years, but now we are basically desperate to . Owning our own business (a small farm-to-table restaurant and farm) has never looked better. I want to live in the country and I want to live a simple life (kind of like Paris and Nicole). I want to rely on myself for work and do something I love. I am sick of the fear and uncertainty that comes with being employed by a company who could furlough or cut my position at any time and without notice. Of course there are benefits to working for a company: health insurance, a 401K, paid time off, etc.., but I mean, even with health insurance my deductible is astronomical and my basic-bitch birth control isn’t covered by my insurance and thus costs $225 out-of-pocket each month, so like, fuck it. Before COVID my biggest fear of living in this city was getting blown up by a terrorist in the subway, but now my biggest fear is getting raped or murdered by some degenerate who broke into my building lobby and is opening FedEx packages when I intrude on them.
The 2020 presidential election is only a couple of months away and things are looking… well, scary. Don’t even get me started on Trump supporters and his evil chronies. I’ve almost gotten into physical altercations trying to reason with Trump supporters before. Despite the increasingly hot frying pan that is our world right now, I try to remain positive where I can. Global warming will probably kill us all in the next 10 years, or at least be the catalyst to wars or plagues that will kill us all, so I try to remember that life is short and to do things that make me happy each and every day, whether it’s buying some platforms I’ll never have a chance to wear outside the house because parties and raves are a thing of the past, or eating another helping of pasta, despite bitching about my burgeoning thighs.
I’m not sorry if this is depressing, because it really is fucking depressing, and sadly this is our reality (unless you’re filthy rich and on a yacht in Mykonos right now, with a plastic surgeon on-call to administer your botox injections, a private tutor for your spoiled brats, and rapid COVID tests being administered to your private guests). We should all be doing everything that we can right now as individuals and collectively, as a society, to turn this fucking world around, or this world is not going to be here for future generations or even for us in the next 5-10 years (if you’re selfish like that…). Life is already an increasing struggle each and every year… imagine life another few degrees hotter and with water and food shortages here in America, on your own land, instead of countries you don’t give a fuck about (generally speaking here, because I’m sure some of you do give a fuck, as you SHOULD) like India and Yemen. Imagine all of the bad things you think only happen to other people happening here on your own soil, because they will happen and you are not exempt (unless you’re Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg).
I am trying harder than ever to change what I can and control what I am able to, in order to improve myself and make this world a better place for all (including, and especially, animals (since I care more about the well-being of animals than most people)). Even if all I can control is eating less animal products and buying oat milk… or shopping second-hand so as to eliminate the carbon waste from the clothing industry, at least I’m helping somewhere down the line, as trivial as it sometimes may seem. I think it’s important for us to remember this – and I’m not trying to be preachy here – because lord knows I am an deeply-flawed and sometimes sadistic person – but, if we can all make small changes in our own lives, collectively, these changes make a huge difference. Take a stand for your black/gay/trans/disabled friend, or even for a random person, next time you witness them being treated unfairly or discriminated against. Stop eating factory-farmed (abused animal) meat. Stop being a dick to people who upset you, because at the end of the day, we are all going through some rough shit right now.
I won’t leave you with any recipes because I’m emotionally spent after writing this. But here are some photos from the past couple of months.
I probably end every entry like this, but hopefully I’ll write another entry sooner than later and include a good recipe. I have been cooking, it’s just that writing the recipes from my head is so taxing at the end of a work day. I hope everyone who reads this (all five of you) are staying safe and healthy and sane #cheers.
Got a bit derailed there for a while, regarding the last several blogs… but hey – isn’t that how life goes? What fun would life be if you never derailed a bit? Good to stay on your toes and take the punches as they come… or something like that.
I am finally back to write about food/cooking after writing about my personal life, the quarantine, fictional characters by the name of Indigo, and whatever else I felt like writing about for the last several blogs.
It’s not that I haven’t been cooking – I have been… it’s just that I don’t ever use precise measurements when I cook, and so when I think about trying to transpose the recipe as into written word, it’s a bit daunting trying to mentally compute the measurements of each and every ingredient I used. In other words, I’m fucking lazy sometimes and it’s difficult to transmit what’s in my head into words after another long day of being me.
If you know me, you also probably know that I’m obsessed with soups, both making them and eating them. Split pea is one of my favorites, and the one I make is vegetarian, but would otherwise be entirely vegan, if not for the finishing touch of crème fraîche! I also want to apologize for the lack of ‘process’ photos for this – I actually made it for lunch while I was “working” (aka working from home, aka my laptop is open and minimal work is coming in)… so I failed to take or post any pics and videos for the ‘gram.
1 and 1/4 cups of dried, split peas
2 medium-sized carrots (chopped)
1/2 of a large white/yellow onion (finely chopped)
4 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
2 stalks of celery (diced)
1 medium potato (Idaho or russet)
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your pot)
4 cups (one 32 oz. carton) of vegetable stock (**can use chicken stock if you’re not opposed)
2-3 cups water (depends on how thick you want your soup to be!)
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp granulated/powdered onion
1 tsp granulated/powdered garlic
a generous pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
YOU WILL NEED A BLENDER OR IMMERSION BLENDER FOR THIS RECIPE
TO FINISH (OPTIONAL):
Small dollop (a generous teaspoon) of crème fraîche or sour cream
Crackers, croutons, or a side of toasted baguette… I used the below bruschetta toasts, which I’ve really been digging lately:
Prep the veggies – potato, carrots, celery should be washed; carrots should be chopped (relatively small pieces), onion finely chopped, garlic finely minced, potato chopped into cubes, and celery chopped.
In a large pot, heat olive oil over low heat, add in the onions stirring occasionally and cooking over low-heat until translucent and yellow.
Add in the garlic and continue to cook over low heat for another minute or two.
Add in the split peas, all of the veggie stock, and a cup of water – raise temperature and bring to a gentle boil.
Cook until the split peas are almost tender – about 25-30 minutes (I think?)… occasionally sample a pea or two to see how tender they are..
Once the peas are almost tender, add in all of the other veggies (chopped carrots, celery, and potato), and then add in another cup of water.
At this point, I add in my spices – add in the granulated (or powdered) onion and garlic, celery salt, a generous pinch of cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, black pepper and some salt.
A TIP: Taste-test to see if anything more is needed spice/seasoning-wise. I honestly never measure my spices or salt/pepper when cooking – I start with a reasonable amount and add more as I go along. This way you can achieve your desired taste, spiciness, level of salt, etc…. it’s always better to start with too little than too much!
Continue to cook over medium heat (or at a low boil) for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check to see that vegetables are thoroughly cooked (soft) by sampling. Once the potatoes, carrots, celery and split peas are all soft, it is time to blend!
Using an immersion blender or a ladle to move soup into an actual blender, blend around 2/3 of the contents of the pot of soup. This creates a rich, thick puree, but also leaves some chunks of veggies for texture and aesthetic. When blending the split-pea soup, I try to avoid ladling the carrot pieces into the blender (some are obviously fine), in order to achieve added color and texture to the finished soup.
Continue to keep soup over low heat once fully blended, add in more seasonings if necessary.
Serve hot, with a small dollop of crème fraîche and some crumbled crackers/croutons/toasted bread.
And now for the pasta dish! This one was a hit – I topped with bacon for the BF and ate mine without, but it was every bit as flavorful!
Pasta of your choice (I prefer an egg noodle fettuccine for this dish, since it is lighter and holds the sauce well)
3-4 strips of bacon, roughly chopped into bits (*this is optional)
1 bundle of asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces (make sure to chop off the ends of the stalks and discard, as the base is very woody/fibrous)
3 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your saute pan)
2 Tbs. butter (***if you opt not to use the leftover bacon grease)
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup water (*more or less depending on how thick your sauce is)
generous pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
freshly shaved/grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to finish
For the pasta: fill a large pot with water, add a generous amount of salt, and set on high heat to bring to a boil.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over low heat, and add in the chopped bacon. Cook over low-medium heat until desired level of crispiness. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside in separate bowl.
You can use the bacon-grease/olive oil in the saute pan as it is, if you’re OK with eating bacon – it will add more flavor to the sauce. If you’re not OK with eating bacon, you’ll have to start with a fresh saute pan and olive oil.
Add the chopped asparagus to the saute pan, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. You’ll want to cook the asparagus like this until it is fairly tender, but not mushy. Add in the minced garlic after the asparagus has been cooking for about 6 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Once the asparagus has cooked for about 10 minutes in the saute pan, add in the half and half and the water and bring to a low, rolling boil. Cook for an additional 10 minutes in the liquid, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is very tender.
Add in the nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
Now that the asparagus is tender, you can either pour the contents of the saute pan into a blender, and blend on low, or, you can manually mash with a fork or masher (this is what I did). Mashing by hand leaves more texture and visible bits of asparagus so sauce is not a complete puree.
Once you’ve mashed down the asparagus, you may find the sauce is too thick and you need to add a bit more water or half and half! You should also taste test to see if more seasoning is needed.
Once you’ve achieved your desired level of thickness and taste, add in the butter, and stir until dissolved. Leave the sauce on the lowest heat setting, so that it remains warm once pasta is done.
Once your pot of pasta water is boiling, add in pasta and cook according to time suggested on pasta box.
Drain the pasta once finished, and add to sauce, gently stirring/tossing to thoroughly coat the noodles.
Serve on plate with freshly grated parm, and top with bacon (if desired)
PHEW! Writing these recipes really does take a lot more brain power and work than actually cooking them!
I’m thankful that it’s Friday, so I don’t have to be on high alert watching my emails or glued to my laptop for the next couple of days. I think the rest of the weekend is going to be cold and shitty, but honestly I don’t care… I’m kind of happy. I’m definitely not feeling confident enough to wear summer clothes at this point, following almost 8 weeks of quarantine (aka binge-eating), so the cold and rain is a welcome relief… not like I could go out looking like a THOT anyhow since all bars, restaurants and clubs are still closed until further notice. You hear that? I’ve got a few more weeks to shape up… literally. LOL.
In other news, I was tired of all of the white hairs springing up around my temples, and couldn’t possibly wait another month (or longer) to have a professional cover them. I’ve never used dye at home before, and usually only get lowlights/highlights once every 4-5 months. I was really overdue for some lowlights, and couldn’t bare the sight of the whites any longer, so I took a bold step and purchased custom dye from eSalon. I was always scared to try anything with my hair at home because of lack of experience, but also I have a fear of burning off/chemically frying my hair to the point of no return. My boyfriend assisted, and the result is pretty decent, in my opinion.
What else can I say… not much is new, if you know what I mean. I’ve got my daily routine down pretty pat at this point. Work, walk, work, car ride, cook, TV time, sleep. Sometimes I’ll throw in a walk before work to spice things up, or if work is slow, cook in the middle of the day.
I hope you’re all still staying safe and sane at this point. I’m running out of inspiration for recipes since I’m kind of just over everything. If there’s anything you want to see me cook or try my hand at, feel free to email me or DM on Instagram. I’m always excited to try cooking new things (preferably without meat – but open to seafood)! #Cheers
I’d like to start this blog off by acknowledging how lucky I am – I am still employed and able to work from home (for now… that may all change in the coming months), I have a roof over my head and food in my cupboards, I am healthy (physically-speaking… mentally, not so much), my family and friends are healthy, I’m not working from home while trying to parent/educate my children at the same time, and I am not a health care worker or food-service worker who has to put my own health at risk each and every day. Shout out to everyone still going to work each day in the health industry, food-service industry, or whatever line of retail or service industry that has you leaving your house to deal with the general public – you’re the real MVPs.
However, this quarantine, now that it has been extended another month, and the state of the world in general has made me feel extremely depressed, and has me wondering what the purpose of life is, if things will ever really get better, and feeling like nothing really matters.
I have lost interest in things that brought me joy, like cooking (food shopping and cooking isn’t nearly as exciting as it was when I was trapped in an office all day and looking forward to coming home and unwinding by cooking something labor-intensive and exciting), writing (I started 3 different blog drafts about three weeks ago, finished none, and haven’t logged back onto WordPress until now), and painting (no inspiration whatsoever). I feel trapped inside this apartment, trapped inside my mind, and I don’t even have a date to or event or anything to look forward to to keep me motivated. It’s really hard to stay positive when you don’t even know when quarantine will end, or if things will ever go back to being even remotely close to how they were.
Will we ever be able to go to concerts or festivals again? Will restaurants and clubs and bars be the same when this is over? Will we constantly be anxiously awaiting the next pandemic or disaster? Even when this pandemic ends, there is still global warming and all of the shit that entails to deal with.
I’ve tried to keep myself active by getting out for walks, if not daily, at least every other day. They seem to help while I am on them, but after I return to my apartment and the high of walking 4 miles wears off, the depression sets in again.
It’s a struggle not binge-eating because there is nothing else to do BUT eat, and I constantly have an empty void inside my soul that needs to be filled with something – whether that something is shopping, cooking, fun activities, or now, food. If I eat too much than I get more stressed than ever, since I am not getting nearly the amount of physical activity I was when I was going into the office each day. I’m not trying to body shame anyone, but the last thing I am going to deal with on top of all of this other shit is hating my body, since I have to live in it and see it every day.
I miss my family and not knowing when I can go see them again without the fear that I might be carrying the virus and infect someone unintentionally. I mean, I could get in a car tonight and drive upstate to stay with my parents, but that is not what we are supposed to do, and like I said, I might possibly and unintentionally get someone sick if I have been exposed to the virus.
My boyfriend and I haven’t been to Italy together since August/September 2018. We were looking forward to a trip this summer to spend time with his parents in Venice and to see his friends and travel to other countries for our own pleasure, and now all of that is not only on hold, but we don’t even know when travel bans will be lifted. It’s just really stressful and anxiety provoking not to know what the future holds. We cannot even make plans so that we have something to look forward to when all of this ends.
My skin has been breaking out terribly, probably from a combination of stress and poor eating habits (excess sugar, excess fats, excess dairy in the form of cheese…). This in turn makes me even MORE STRESSED and fucking crazy. I am trying to remain calm, but it’s kind of hard to do with this current state of affairs. My skin is inflamed and aggravated with ugly, red, painful zits all over my cheeks and chin. It is definitely a combination of hormonal acne and wearing a fucking mask every day when I go to run an errand or take a walk. By the way – I know all of this is trivial bullshit compared to what others are dealing with and going through right now. I know that this is trivial bullshit… but it still fucking blows.
I wish I had a yard to sit in and to take in some fresh air, sans-mask. I wish I had some woods to walk in or a lake to take a paddle boat or canoe out on, or just anything other than these ugly, grey, dirty NYC streets.
I’m really trying to stay positive because I know having a positive mindset is everything… it’s just really hard right now. Work has slowed to a crawl… which is scary but I also have more time to take an afternoon walk. I guess only time will tell. In the mean time, I am trying to focus on the things I can control… like staying semi-healthy and fit.
Scratch that title… today was day 10 of quarantine (for me… I’m sure some of you have been home longer or shorter, depending on your situation). I started this blog two or three nights ago, but I’ve been working 12 hour days without leaving my apartment or getting any fresh air or mental breaks. No physical activity apart from manic dance sessions, a few push-ups and some floor ab work. Which doesn’t do shit to negate all of the food I’ve been consuming – not only out of absolute and total boredom, but also the stress of working 12 hour days. It’s a vicious cycle… it really is. I have to stop eating tomorrow (at least, stop eating in the manner I have been, which is probably similar to what a body-builder might be consuming calorie-wise), otherwise, if and when summer finally rolls around and we are allowed to be social again, I won’t be able to be social at all since I will be so unhappy with my physical appearance. Not going out and getting fresh air is killing me. I know I’m not alone in this… but fuck it is draining on my mental state and emotional well-being.
Being stuck inside has really made me value my mobility and my freedom. I feel so much worse now for all of the elderly people and disabled individuals who cannot up and leave their house when they want, or depend on someone to accompany them so that they can leave their house. I feel terrible for all of the elderly people who are home alone 24/7 without even the company of internet friends or family to chat with on the phone. I always had empathy for this group of people, especially because one of my grandmothers rarely got out of her house in the last years of her life, but now I just feel terrible. No one should be so alone and cut off. I’m one of the lucky ones, since I am at least stranded with my boyfriend. At least I have someone to argue with…. JK.
I suppose the most important thing is that we’re all healthy in my family and among my group of friends/co-workers. I am also still employed, which is a relief and puts me in a better position financially than many others who suffered lay-offs as a result of this virus. But HOLY FUCKING SHIT. I am going crazy trying to stay sane and stay inside without my daily 5-6 miles of walking and these 12-hour work days glued to my laptop. I have been dancing like an asshole to 80’s bands (Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, etc.), MC Hammer, classics like “The Humpty Dance,” Michael Jackson, etc. It’s the only way I can burn some energy:
All of the food supplies I bought two weeks ago were used up last week… shows you how good I am at planning for a pandemic. I mean, I didn’t stock up on TP or anything really, because stocking up is impossible when you live in an NYC apartment (Brooklyn, if you’re looking to get specific)… there is just not enough space to store anything in bulk. Grocery stores, delis, and pharmacies are still open for now… so until fresh produce runs out in a few months, I’ll be OK. I still keep thinking this isn’t real… maybe it’s all in my head. Every morning that I wake up, I think I am dreaming and it takes a few minutes to come to terms with reality: no, I don’t have to get up and commute into my Manhattan office; yes, we are quarantined; yes, the world is in-fact FUCKED. Even as I write this, part of me feels like I’m in a dream and this cannot be real life – quarantined in a Brooklyn apartment.
Since working from home has been so stressful thus far, and each day is so long (8am – 7:30pm or later….), I have been treating myself with copious amounts of wine as compensation. NOT GOOD. I can’t stop though… like, I’m not getting exercise and I can’t leave the house. I’m scared to spend money on anything that isn’t a necessity…. what else do I have to cope??? This week I’m going cold turkey. After the last of the Malbec is gone, I’m done.
Even though work has been off the hook, I’m still scared that I will get laid off in the coming months. Who knows. I guess none of us can possibly know.
I started writing this blog on Tuesday or Wednesday night and it is now Friday. Even though I am trapped inside, I’m thankful I can sleep in tomorrow and not have to concern myself with being glued to my laptop or phone, checking work emails. My big plans are finishing a painting that I started months ago, and taking a walk to the pet store for cat litter. Isn’t that exciting???
Hope you’re all staying healthy and as sane as can be expected.
I’m sure many of you reading this feel the exact same way that I do right now, but holy shit… what a time to be alive!! Am I right?! As if the last few years haven’t been mentally and emotionally taxing enough given the current political environment, global warming, mass extinction, catastrophic natural events, threats of war, and impending societal collapse, it now feels like we’re all living in some surreal world, or, rather, in one of the many apocalyptic movies that came out between 2006 – 2016.
We’ve basically reverted back to medieval plague times – I feel like Beetlejuice when he makes the joke about having ‘lived through the black plague and had a pretty good time during that.’ All I can do to stay sane right now, is keep cracking inappropriate jokes and making memes about Coronavirus. I know this virus isn’t a joke, but we’ve basically shut down the entire world, the economy is crashing and isn’t going to be able to recover for a long time, many are losing their jobs and sources of income (depending on the industry they work in), and people are going insane stockpiling supplies and food like they’re anticipating nuclear fallout! It’s the insanity of the media whipping everyone into a crazed frenzy that is going to lead to the most devastation, I believe.
How is it that people have gone so far off the deep end, that grocery store shelves are empty, and psychos are fighting over packs of toilet paper and hand-sanitizer? This is everything that is wrong with our world, and more specifically our country today. This is why the world is going down the toilet. I understand the immense pressure being placed on the healthcare system and hospitals and healthcare workers right now, and the lack of testing and resources – it’s a major issue, and certainly one that the U.S. should be panicking about and enacting cautions around (i.e. recommending people to stay at home and cancelling concerts and events). But how is hoarding toilet paper going to help with that?
I am worried about the elderly and those with compromised immune systems as much as the next person. I feel sympathy for anyone who has already lost a family member or loved one due to this virus. I worry about my boyfriend’s parents in Venice, and my own parents upstate. The fact that there is now a travel ban in place is what really makes me nervous though – what if we needed to go to Italy to take care of his parents???? It’s crazy to think that weddings, funerals and births have all been affected, postponed, or not gone as expected as a result of the travel bans in place and red-zoning happening around Europe.
I’ve still been commuting from my apartment in Brooklyn into my office in Manhattan all week. The subways have been empty and the streets quiet, not only because of people working from home, but also for the lack of tourists. It took my company until today to recommend that we all work remotely, starting on Monday. I was excited at the prospect of this a couple of months ago when I first started reading about Coronavirus, but now? Not so much. I like having routine in my life, and I’m scared if I am home I will be bored and binge eat and start fights with my boyfriend. I honestly don’t care if I get the virus, I know that I will be fine. I understand the reason we’re all going into quarantine mode, working remotely, and avoiding public gatherings is to stop the spread of the virus, and to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. It is also an attempt to not overwhelm our already-fragile healthcare system. But the media really does seem to be going overboard.
This virus is really making class disparity all the more visible. People who have the capacity to work from home (‘white collar’ jobs, so to speak), have been doing so for over two weeks now. In my own office, all of the partners haven’t come into the office in about two weeks time, as they have the luxury of working from home. Retail workers and workers in the hospitality industry (hostesses, servers, dishwashers, line cooks, bartenders, managers, etc.) have no such luxury, unless they’re working in the corporate sector of their respective industry. They have to show up to a brick-and-mortar store or restaurant to work their shift, and on top of that, be exposed to a rotating cast of the general public who patronize their venue. Same goes for teachers, gym instructors, dog-walkers, nurses, daycare workers, construction crews, etc.. People who are financially well off enough have been taking Ubers or other car services into work so as to avoid the subway or public buses. Most people can’t afford to take private cars into and from the office each day. Now that everyone has seen what happened in Italy, with towns being locked-down, those who have secondary homes are fleeing NYC to go to the countryside, so they don’t get stranded here in the event that no one is allowed out or in.
What about the rest of us poor slobs? I guess we’re just left exposed to extra germs and carrying on as usual. I walked to work a couple of days this week, just because I am ambitious and enjoy walking, but what about everyone who has been mandated to come into an office or restaurant or retail store, and has had no option but to ride a train or subway or take a bus? I feel especially bad for gig workers – the babysitters, personal trainers, tutors, pet-sitters, etc. of the world who have had jobs/gigs cut since everyone who employs them currently has reduced need for them. We live in a society where 78% of the population lives paycheck to paycheck. Unless the government steps in with stipends or some sort of compensation, how will these people pay for rent and food and medical expenses? Especially considering that the majority of gig workers do not have insurance….
Maybe this will be part of the wake-up call that Americans need regarding the need for universal healthcare and/or childcare.
If this city does get shut down, I have approximately 1 large sack of white rice, 1 bag of oats, 1 bag of split peas, 1 bag of lentils, a couple boxes of pasta, and 2 rolls of TP (TP = toilet paper, for those of you who didn’t already know that) to see me through a quarantine. Hopefully, in the event that I am housebound for a few weeks, I’ll come out looking ‘as thin as a needle,’ to quote Britney Spears. I also hope to come out on the other side with better skin, since I will be getting way more sleep if I don’t have to commute into work each morning. I’m looking on the bright side here guys….
Maybe the Illuminati sold our entire world/human population to aliens, and they need us all to be complacent and contained when the aliens touch-down their UFOs to enslave us next week. We will all be like sitting ducks, trapped in our homes and cities when the alien takeover occurs.
Just kidding with the above. I’m not really one for conspiracies, but I am pretty sure this virus was intentionally released or accidentally released from a lab in China. I don’t doubt that. I don’t really know what to think or how to feel in today’s world, honestly. Anything is possible. I put nothing past anyone or any government.
In the event that “they” tell us not to leave our residences (like they have recently enacted in certain cities in Italy – Venice, included), I think I may go insane. If I can’t get fresh air and some physical activity, I risk going off the deep end.
I hope everyone out there (all five of you who read this), and everyone’s family and friends are staying safe and healthy during this trying time! Hopefully it will be over soon and we can all resume life as usual.
Annndddd … I just spilled hot coffee on this keyboard…. #WINNING!!!! <— This actually just about sums up my last two months, if not my entire life…
Despite the title of this blog, there isn’t really much to catch up on to be honest… the last two months have flown by at lightning speed, as all months tend to do once you’re over a certain age. I never believed my parents or grandparents regarding ‘how fast time goes the older you grow.’ It wasn’t until I hit about 25 that I began to experience this strange phenomenon first-hand. The last seven years are a blur, punctuated only by precious moments and mental stills – both good and bad – nights, sunrises, people, lessons learned, the highs and the lows; experiences and memories that I wouldn’t trade-in for anything else. I feel like the last seven years basically happened in the span of one or two.
I think we finally become our “true self” around the age of 25-26. Before this age, you’re still a kid and don’t really know what’s up, because you just haven’t lived long enough or experienced enough or even met enough people to shape you yet. I think our personality kind of solidifies by the time we hit 26 or so…. I still feel like the same person inside at the age of 32 that I did when I was 26. I guess this is also the sad reason that elderly people look in the mirror and are shocked by the reflection they see once they hit a certain age – because even though their body is betraying them by aging physically, they still feel not a day over 26 on the inside. Such is life. My mom always says that ‘youth is wasted on the young’, and she’s not wrong.
This is 32. I figure I’ve only got a few decent years left in me before I start resorting to fillers (**if I can ever even afford them) and healthy living (i.e. green juices, yoga, no more partying, actual work-outs…). I’ve been wearing SPF all these years and avoiding the sun, so at least I have that going for me. It’s definitely hard being a woman and getting older though. I know we hear female celebrities saying this all the time… but it is SO SO true, and I’m not even technically “middle-aged” yet. There is so much pressure to not only stay young (literally impossible to do), but also to stay looking young (which takes effort and possibly money, if you have enough to spend on treatments, the best skin care, etc.).
Despite society telling us that as women, we are only valuable when we’re still young and attractive (and given how shitty that can make you feel inside once you start getting white hairs and fine lines), getting older is a blessing. I feel more confident and more grounded than ever. I know who I am and who I want to be, and I am less selfish and foolish than I was in my twenties. To grow older is a gift and an opportunity that many people will never have. So remember that next time you bitch about turning 30, or whatever age. Some of your peers didn’t get a chance to turn 30.
We all have this idea in our head when we’re younger, of where we will be at a certain age. When I was 25, I definitely thought I’d be married by my current age, possibly a home owner, and definitely working at a more fulfilling and creative job. Even if I am not where I once thought I’d be, I am happy to be where I am. Even with the outside pressure that is put upon me by others and by society, I am OK with where I am right now in this time and place. I sometimes feel like it is easier to grow older in a major city like NYC (at least up until a certain point), especially when you have failed to meet the stereotypical “milestones” set by society. If I were this age and living upstate right now (or in any small, rural town in America), I think I would be bored out of my mind, since almost everyone I know or went to school with is married and has kids now. I don’t think I’d have any friends to go out with or who share the same interests as me at this stage in life given the fact that I am unmarried and child free. I also feel like it would also be 10x harder to live in a small/rural town and be single at this age, since everyone is either married or divorced with three kids. Slim pickings for singletons for sure. Not really sure where this train of thought was going….
I think that what I’m saying, is that even though I ‘hate’ this city and want to move out someday sooner than later, this city has allowed me a chance to flourish as an individual and come into myself fully. This city does not put same pressures to marry and have kids on me that life in a small town might. I guess turning another year older has had me thinking of all of this recently….
I had a relatively low-key birthday this year – stayed in our favorite Airbnb in Woodstock and a nice dinner with my sister on my actual birthday. Tuna also celebrated his birthday (1st birthday, to be precise!) the day after mine. Here we are, together, basking in that birthday glory and, in my case, basking in copious amounts of sugar.
I was also spoiled with sweets at work – cupcakes and macarons. I am not being sarcastic when I say that I feel so loved when people go out of their way to get me food or presents for my birthday. I never feel like I deserve these things or the effort or thought that goes into them … it literally made my entire day, even if my skin paid the price for a full two weeks (major acne flair-up thanks to my diet of Cadbury creme eggs for breakfast, cupcakes and macarons for lunch, and funfetti cake for dinner for a whole week straight).
It’s been so long since I posted that I haven’t even posted this amazing dress/robe I got on sale at Victoria’s Secret. Who knew that one of my favorite brands, For Love and Lemons, did a special line of lingerie and clothing just for VS? I know VS is tres gauche these days, but fuck it. I get a gift certificate for VS every Christmas and it’s just about the only time of year I treat myself to overpriced underwear, etc.
As per usual, one of the only things that gets me through each work day or lonely weekend where my BF works a 12-hour shift on a Saturday, is planning what I will cook for dinner and then executing it. I’ve cooked some really time-consuming things in the last couple of months, including, but not limited to: homemade pasta, homemade gnocchi, Focaccia and French-style baguettes from scratch, and recreated the amazing shrimp etouffee dish that I had on my birthday at Maison Premiere.
I truly hope that Maison Premiere never closes their doors. They’re a Williamsburg institution at this point, serving oysters, cocktails, and a variety of raw-bar foods and plates in a cozy and cool atmosphere. If you live in the greater NYC area, I would highly recommend for a nice date or intimate dinner or drinks with a good friend/couple of friends.
Anyhow, I’m too fucking lazy to write out any recipes, but here is some food porn…. use your imagination and go wild:
I’ve been so bad at finding/making time to write food posts here these past couple of months. If you want to see the process and ingredients behind my recipes/meals, feel free to follow my Instagram (instagram.com/lilywhitedaydream). I usually post stories to my IG while I am cooking, as long as what I’m cooking seems note-worthy enough to warrant as such. I mean, if you’re even reading this blog, you probably already follow me on Instagram… since that’s the only way I think anyone can find this blog ;p Anyhow, I digress…
[Insert long rant here about the current state of world affairs, animal liberation v animal subjugation, why humans need to go extinct, why I want to get the coronavirus, etc.]
[Delete long rant, after realizing I sound like one of the preachy types of A-holes that I hate and realizing no one gives a shit… ]
Side note: I am a work in progress and actively working on my anger management skills.