Time is Flying: Dinner Ideas for Hot as H*ll Summer Nights

It’s already the middle of July, and Summer is half over. The Korn concert I’ve been looking forward to is a month away, and our vacation to Italy and France is less than two months away. Time really flies by when your sights are set on the future and you forget to live in the present. Although it is sometimes difficult to live in the present when every day is the same as the last, and you spend the majority of your time working, running the household, and making plans for a much more exciting and enticing future event. It always seems that the fun things you have planned will never come to fruition when you’re in the thick of it – slaving away at a job that barely makes ends meet, running the daily gamut of errands, chores, housework, and daily activities that are anything but relaxing or fun. Alas, one day you blink your eye and an entire month has passed and the thing you looked forward to for what seems like forever, is happening in three days! That is always how it goes.

Speaking of time flying by, my niece just turned nine last week, my dad is turning 70 next month, and I am officially looking like a middle-aged adult at the age of 33. It’s funny (no, it’s really not…), but I feel like I woke up one day just looking old. They say that you’re as young as you feel – I feel like I should still look 26 in that case. I don’t know if it was the stress from 2020 or what it was, but I used to look young for my age, and now I am convinced I look five years older than I actually am… and it really seems to have happened overnight. All I can keep thinking of is the Hemingway quote from The Sun Also Rises, in regards to my rapidly aged appearance: “gradually, then suddenly.” In the book, that line is in response to someone asking the character how he went bankrupt, and his answer is “gradually, then suddenly.” However, this line is eerily spot-on when it comes to how I’ve ended up here – looking old overnight, with fine lines that seemingly came out of nowhere. How did I go from looking younger than my age to how I look right now? I’ll tell you how: gradually, then suddenly.

Sure, there were subtle signs here and there that I was getting older over the last 10 years or so. My skin texture changed and became rougher, I lost some baby fat in my cheeks, I don’t look so hot waking up the morning after a night of drinking or no sleep anymore, unlike my early twenties when I looked just fine the next day. Then, before I knew it, suddenly the fat pads under my eyes seemed to all but hollow out (now, when I smile, I get huge bags under my eyes that make me look like my 73 year old uncle), my forehead suddenly has horizontal lines that don’t go away, even when my face is relaxed, I’m losing volume in my lips and cheeks, and I just kind of always look tired (even on the RARE occasion when I actually got a full 8 hours of sleep…).

I’m not trying to complain (even though it is most definitely coming across that way right now). I generally like the way I look, but fucking shit! I feel like I went from looking 27 to looking 36 in a year’s time. Things have gotten so bad, that I have vowed to quit drinking and partying altogether in order to save up for botox and a laser treatment. I am not even joking – it makes way more sense to stop squandering money I already don’t have on shit that makes my life worse off in the long run. Every time I want to buy wine, go out for cocktails, or spend a night at a rave abusing my body with mind-altering substances, I am going to take that $50 or $100 or $200 that I would normally blow on crap, and put it into a savings jar for future cosmetic procedures. I probably should have started doing this two years ago…

I have also vowed to start exfoliating every day, which up until this week when I decided I want botox, was not something I did regularly. It will be way easier to complete step 2 (exfoliating), since I will also being doing step 1 (abstaining from alcohol), which as we all know, makes a person very lazy when it comes to nightly skin care routines.

It’s been really hard to save money lately, not only because I live in NYC and a large chunk of my salary goes towards monthly rent and the cost of living, but because I feel like every month there is a birthday, holiday, etc. that I end up spending what would otherwise be my discretionary income on. Seriously – I feel like I rarely spend money on myself, and when I do, it’s Forever21 clothes because that is the only thing I can financially justify. I feel like I’m always spending money that could be put into my savings on family member’s birthday’s, dinners out to celebrate said family member’s birthdays, my cats’ expensive prescription food, or the occasional night where I actually go out and be social (which is maybe twice a month, but I always go all out, since I don’t go out often and probably feel the need to make up for lost time). It sucks – I need more money. Plain and simple. At this rate, I’ll never be able to save for a house or a move across the Atlantic. I can’t even save for a fucking botox consultation at this rate!

I kind of feel like I went a bit overboard in my last entry on here. I was feeling pretty feisty when I wrote it, after a 45 hour work week and a bunch of other factors that contributed to my higher-than usual stress level. I hope no one reading this was offended (I don’t know why anyone would be, but you never know). I feel bad I bitched about the endless saga of the stray cats I helped rescue and get off the streets. Things have finally calmed down. I actually fed one of the cats while her owner was away for the weekend (that’s the more feral of the two, that was adopted by their long-time feeder). And, thankfully, the older cat (who currently has a foster mom) is doing much, MUCH better. She uses her litter box like pro now, and finally has been granted free reign of the apartment, as she is getting along better with the other resident-foster cat, and stopped trying to climb walls and windows!

I’m sure everyone reading this will understand how stressful life can get at times, since it gets that way for all of us, but it always seems to be that one last straw that breaks the camel’s back. I was just barely holding my shit together, working a crazy work week, NOT getting out for exercise or fresh air (which is even more important for me to do during a crazy work week), and feeling sorry for myself because everyone I am close to hasn’t worked for the past year and a half and they all get to go to the beach and take naps during the weekdays, while I’m stuck in front of my laptop. I was also feeling sorry for myself, because my boyfriend and I are like two ships passing in the night. We don’t have weekends together, evenings together (we eat our dinners alone, at separate times), we rarely have holidays together, his job keeps him from attending every family get-together and birthday I celebrate with my family upstate, and we have opposite schedules so we are both always tired – him because he works 12 hour days, 6 days a week, and me, because I either wait up until midnight each night so I can see him for an hour before falling asleep, or because my sleep is interrupted when he gets home from work at 2am and I’m already asleep on the couch. Now that I’m writing this, this is probably why I’ve been looking so old lately… stress and lack of fucking sleep.

I also started feeling sorry for myself, because everyone else I know seems to be getting married, buying a house, or having a baby (not that I want a baby, but still….) and humble-bragging about it on Instagram. This, in turn, led to feelings of being fucked over, because everyone else gets to have a shower thrown for them when they complete these “life milestones.” Since I’ve never completed any of these so-called “milestones”, I’m always the one buying the gift for said shower, and never the one BEING showered. I know that sounds petty, but it kind of sucks sometimes. When will it be MY turn to have people throw a party for me? When will it be my turn to create a registry and get a bunch of fucking gifts for my house, just because someone finally put a ring on my finger? I don’t know. But between 45 hours of working at a job that does not fulfill me, just to make ends meet, seeing another smug couple humble-bragging about buying a home or spending a weekend away together on social media, while I never having a single fucking weekend off with my boyfriend, and then receiving texts containing sad and upsetting news about the cats I gave my all to help, really put me over the edge. It’s OK though; I’m back on track now. I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself when I am in an able body, of sound mind (…. that’s actually debatable), in good health (as far as I know), I’m smart, funny, and I’m capable. Everything else is just crumbs.

You wanna’ know how I got these bruises? (said in manner of the Joker)… honestly? I don’t even know, but I haven’t consumed alcohol in over a week, so they certainly weren’t from getting sloppy drunk.

Speaking of being back on track, I’m also back in the office a few days a week. Yes, I know I said I would have a new job or end my life before I ended up back in the office, but here I am. There just wasn’t enough time to find something better, and I have things to live for – my new goal is a new job when I come back from my vacation in September. Bring back in the office hasn’t been bad so far, but then again, it’s only been two weeks, and a lot of people are still out, which means I don’t have to see them. It is nice to have a reason to get my ass up and into gear so early in the morning. Because I hate taking the subway so much, I’ve also motivated myself into walking to work. It’s really hard to do since it means getting up and out of my apartment much earlier, when I could just sleep an extra hour… but it’s worth it. It’s also nice getting my exercise in before the work day starts – this way, even if I get blindsided and have to work overtime, I already got out for fresh air and physical activity.

In addition to planning the itinerary of my impending vacation, at decided I needed to order a few dresses for the upcoming trip. Enter ASOS…. they have the biggest selection of clothing imaginable and a nice spectrum of pricing to accommodate every budget:

This orange tie-dye dress was my favorite out of the three dresses that I ordered. It’s a maxi, which is a style I usually avoid because I fear it makes me look even shorter than I already am. However, this one is exceptionally flattering on my upper body and the color also worked in my favor
I always avoided the color orange – this is my first article of orange clothing, and it is so complimentary to my coloring that I may need to reconsider this color in the future. P.S. Peep Tuna in the background… ha
This mumu style frock is being returned tomorrow. It always looks great on the model (of course it does – they’re always like 5’9″ or taller with chicken legs…), but it never works on my body. I had to try it anyhow, because I loved the color and the eyelet trim. Oh well, more money in my pocket I guess … all $30. LOL.
This little frock, I was very excited for. Based on the online photo and model they showed it on, I thought it would fit perfectly. It was slightly too large, however. ASOS carries a lot of styles in petite sizing, but this dress is not one of them. I considered returning it, but I’m glad I didn’t, because sizing it down was pretty easy. I had to shorten the straps, take in the waist, and take up the hem, but the material is patterned cotton, so it wasn’t too difficult to do. Just time consuming (what isn’t?).

Once again, the temperatures here in NYC have been in the high 80s/low 90s, with humidity levels upwards of 75% each day, rendering it too hot to run the oven or do much cooking in my apartment. I should just post a good salad recipe, but I don’t consider throwing together a salad a recipe. I guess in lieu of a recipe, I’ll provide a few suggestions for things I like to make or throw together when it’s too hot to turn on the oven!

Hot Weather Dinner Ideas:

  1. A hearty salad (should have a source of protein to add substance, whether it’s chick peas, tofu, chicken, fake chicken, shrimp, or another kind of bean)
  2. Taco salad
  3. Non-meat tacos (**the fake meats they have cook super fast either in a microwave or a few minutes in a saute pan, so minimal heat is required)
  4. Caprese salad
  5. Ramen (this is not a toilsome soup that’s going to keep you chained to the stove for an hour, since instant ramen cooks in like 3 minutes). I suggest adding in some fresh veggies (bok choy, mushrooms, canned baby corn), diced tofu, and if you’re not vegan, boil a hard boiled egg in the same pot you cook the ramen in.
  6. BLTs (with real or fake bacon) – also works well with avocado or smoked salmon in place of the bacon.
  7. Tomato sandwiches
  8. Grilling the entire meal (veggies, potatoes, protein) … unfortunately I don’t have this luxury since I don’t have a grill here.
I made this Cobb salad last week when it was 90 degrees using Morning Star buffalo “chicken” bites, blue cheese dressing (sorry, it’s real blue cheese), etc.
These are my fake bacon BLTs from a few weeks ago – super fast and super tasty for a weeknight dinner or lunch
These tacos were a hit! Super fast and easy to prepare since the toppings are not cooked. I just sauteed some fake meat “beef” crumbles in a saute pan, and of course the tortillas need to be toasted a bit, but it really doesn’t require much heat output at all
Instant ramen, jazzed up with fresh veggies and an egg – literally takes 5 minutes to cook. Just beware of the sodium content!!!!!