my slobbery, comforting shadow

Hi friends! Just wanted to let you know that my essay “My Slobbery, Comforting Shadow” — about how our beloved family dog Murray helped me during a difficult time of my life — was recently published on the website Sweatpants and Coffee. You can read it here.

“Welcome home, honey,” my mom said, ushering me inside the front door of my childhood house. My dad followed close behind with my suitcases. As soon as we stepped through the door, we were greeted by a wriggling 82-pound bundle of brown-furred energy: our family dog, a boxer named Murray. I hadn’t seen him in five months, not since I had been home for Christmas. He yelped and barked with joy, leaping up to kiss my face, then running around the living room—his own version of welcoming me home.

“It’s good to be back,” I said, petting Murray’s head. He slobbered all over my hand, but I didn’t mind.

“I’m going to make you a sandwich,” my mom said, heading into the kitchen. “I can tell you haven’t been eating enough.”

I didn’t argue—I hadn’t really been eating or sleeping much the past month and a half, not since my engagement had quite suddenly but irrevocably unraveled….

Read the rest of the piece here: http://sweatpantsandcoffee.com/personal-essays-slobbery-comforting-shadow/ 

on doggie halloween costumes, early birds, & the 4 a.m. mystery

Hi, friends! My morning started off right with a bowl of Trader Joe’s flaxseed oatmeal with some raspberries + strawberries stirred in. Yum!

berry oats

I’ve got a random odds & ends post coming at ya today… just some tidbits I wanted to share!

Does anyone else watch Nashville? Three episodes into this season, and I’m already hooked!

Are you a night-owl like me? I am all for embracing one’s natural cicadian rhythms, but I also love the feeling I get when I rise early and get a jump on my day. I thought Courtney Carver had some great tips in this blog post: A Gentle Guide to Help You Wake Up Earlier.

Speaking of late nights, Holly sent me a link to this imaginative & witty TED talk: The 4 a.m. mystery.

I can’t get enough of Ed Sheeran’s new CD. Or his performance at the iHeartRadio music festival, which you can watch on YouTube here.

Gotta close out with this amazing “dog Halloween costume” my brother sent me a picture of…

pugglewrap

HA! The expression on the little pug’s face kills me. Sort of reminds me of this photo of Murray, that I call his “glamor shot”:

murray glamor shot

Somehow though, I don’t think we could get Murray to hold still long enough to wrap him in bubble wrap. He is never calm enough for a Halloween costume! That’s okay, Mr. Mur-dog. We still love you.

Now I’m off to get some writing done before heading out to Fremont this afternoon to teach, and then I’m meeting Allyn’s sister Allyson for dinner! The community center where I teach is right across the street from the high school where she works, so I’m hoping we can make Thursday coffee/dinner dates a usual thing… it’s such a treat to get to spend time with her!

Questions of the morning:

  • What TV shows are you hooked on?
  • Are you a night owl or an early bird?
  • Do you dress your dog up in Halloween costumes?

goals + recipes for the week of 8/17

Happy Sunday, everyone! It feels like it’s been for.ev.er since I popped in to say hi… I guess it’s only been a few days since my mid-week meditation post, but it was one of those weeks where a lot happened!

  • I got back to the Bay Area on Sunday night, and there were all sorts of little errands and such I had to squeeze in to get back into my everyday routine. You know how it is, getting back to real life after “vacation mode” 🙂
  • I taught a wonderful week of journalism and public speaking camp to a group of super awesome fifth graders. I was so proud of all of them!
  • I’m housesitting/dog-sitting for my aunt and uncle right now, so there was a bit of schedule juggling involved to make sure the doggies were comfortable and cared for throughout the day when I was at work. Everything worked out fine in the end!

poodles

There were also lots of fun events:

  • I got together with Dana for dinner at Pizza Antica — yum!
  • I got my first-ever professional massage {more on that coming soon!}
  • We celebrated Makena’s birthday on Tuesday and Bianca’s birthday on Friday! We had a joint party for them both on Wednesday evening, and it was so much fun. They are such kind-hearted and beautiful young ladies, inside and out!

m and b bday

This week is looking to be even busier! Tomorrow my grandma is getting much-needed hip-replacement surgery; she’s in a lot of pain, so we are all excited that this procedure will hopefully provide a lot of relief. Still, getting an operation is always a little scary, so we would be so grateful for your good thoughts & prayers! I will be sure to keep y’all posted on her recovery.

me and gma

Then on Tuesday, my sweetheart comes home!! He is currently driving back to the Bay Area from New Orleans… I think he’s somewhere in the middle of New Mexico right now. Your safe thoughts for his travels would also be very appreciated 🙂 I am over-the-moon excited to see him!

me and al bday creamery

This week is the last week of summer camps for Communication Academy. I’m teaching a public speaking class for teenagers and I’m really looking forward to it. Gonna be a great week!

Before I head out, it’s goals time…

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week: {I bit off a little more than I could chew, as I am so prone to doing!}
– revise 25 pages of my novel-in-progress
– teach a successful week of camp
– connect with three friends
– finish reading Invisibility by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan
drop off donation to Goodwill

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– revise 10 pages of my novel-in-progress
– teach a successful week of camp
– help take care of my Grandma as best I can
– finish reading Invisibility by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
salted caramel apple crisp via Panera Bread Co.
grilled zucchini and corn tostadas via Two Peas & Their Pod
– chunky sausage and veggie pasta sauce via Chew Out Loud
dark chocolate chunk peanut butter blondies via The Pajama Chef
– my own coconut zucchini muffins

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over lately?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

fabulous friday #8

Happy TGIF, friends! It’s been a beautiful sunny week in the Bay Area, though the weather has been drier than ever — which means wildfires are a very real danger. Please send your thoughts & prayers for rain!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on January 20th. I can’t think of a better way to remember Dr. King than a national day of service in his honor. I’m excited to get involved with a community service project on Monday. Here’s a wonderful link about the Day of Service with a helpful guide to find projects happening your area! Or, do an act of kindness!

2. Morning yoga. I’ve started going to a yoga class that meets every Tuesday & Thursday morning. I may not be the most talented yogi in the land {a not-so-nice instructor once told me, “You are the least flexible young person I’ve ever seen!” Ummm, thanks? At least I’m trying!} … but I always feel way energized and refreshed after yoga class. And I’m improving, little by little, day by day. I’m even contemplating adding a morning Saturday yoga class to my routine!

3. Big ol’ salads. {Which always makes me think of this Seinfeld episode!} One of my health goals for this year is to eat a salad or a green smoothie every day. My body just feels better when I feed it good fuel. Right now I can’t get enough of crunchy toppings like fresh bell pepper, celery and edamame. YUM.

big salad

4. My aunt’s two poodles, Lucy & Rocca. This week I’ve been writing at her house during the day to keep her dogs company so they don’t get too lonely. Mr. Mur-dog will always hold the key to my heart, but these two dogs are pretty dang sweet and adorable, too! {Just don’t tell him I said that.}

poodles

5. This “revamp my spirit” playlist by Heather Waxman. My current favorite playlist, guaranteed to start my day off on a great note! I especially love the first track, “Riptide” by Vance Joy.

Now, your turn:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • Any fun plans for the weekend?
  • Are you going to participate in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Monday?

happy friday!

I have finished teaching my afternoon class, which means it is offically SPRING BREAK here at Purdue! Woo hoo! There may still be snow on the ground, but it is beginning to feel a little more like spring. Today’s temperature was a balmy 40 degrees, and it is staying light out later and later, which is so nice after a long winter of 5 pm sunsets.

A few fun things of late:

  • Yesterday I saw Warm Bodies, a zombie love story. It was witty and hilarious and surprisingly moving. I loved it! If it’s still playing where you are, I’d highly recommend it.
  • Today I had lunch with good friends at Panera {shout-out to Sarah The Pajama Chef: fuji apple chicken salad is the best!} My friend Matt and his wife Casey recently got the most adorable basset hound puppy named Merriwether, and I could not stop petting her soft ears and wrinkly face. I miss our family dog Murray a TON — I even dreamed about him last night! — and I can’t wait to see him this summer! He would have been jealous at all the attention I was giving Merriwether.

murray jealous

  • I just finished reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, a suspenseful, twists-and-turns mystery that was recommended to me by mulitple people and I have to say, I really could not put it down. The book is over 400 pages but I flew through it in a matter of days, even staying up late to read it a few nights! I was over-all satisfied by the book and very impressed with the author’s plotting and characterization talents, but for me the ending was disappointing. It felt like a roller-coaster that is building and building, and then just stops before the final descent. There is a final twist, but my main feeling when closing the book was frustration. Has anyone else read Gone Girl? What did you think of it?
  • The next book I’m planning to read is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green as part of the March PBF Book Club. I have read other books by John Green in the past and LOVED them, so I have high hopes for this one!
  • Maybe I am feeling book-crazy because I stopped by the local library this afternoon and spent some time browsing — one of my favorite things to do! I go to the library pretty much once a week and stock up on not just books, but also DVDs and CDs. Before I moved to Lafayette, I often used to overlook the library as a wonderful treasure trove of free entertainment.
  • I’m super excited to be participating in The Lean Green Bean’s Foodie Pen Pals group for March! It’s free to sign up, and you’re paired with another blogger or reader to send a box of treats and food goodies to that month. I’m having a blast picking out things to send to my pen-pal. You can learn more about the group and sign up for next month at The Lean Green Bean.
The Lean Green Bean

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Anyone else getting spring fever?