Coffee Talk: October

neighborhood-walk

I love Amber Thomas’ and Rachel Dawson’s monthly coffee dates, so I thought it might be fun if I joined in (a little belatedly). I think the structure is really fun, and I’m interested to play with it and see what happens.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d probably be late. Because honestly, I’m almost always late. I don’t have a great sense of time and I tend to try to do “just one thing” before I head out the door and then inevitably, I’m late. I’m trying to do better, but if I’m honest I’ve had an especially hard time getting out the door the past few months.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d apologize profusely for being late, and order my drink. A plain iced latte if we’re at Starbucks, but if we were at Minuti (a local Italian-inspired coffee chain that I LOVE) I’d get an iced chai. It’s creamy and cinnamon-y and not too sweet, which is perfect. But always iced, because it’s not quite chilly enough in Houston to drink something hot.

If we were on a coffee date, we’d have a lot of catching up to do. It’s been quiet around here on the blog, partially because I’ve been in a writing slump, and partially because I’ve been unsure what to do with this space. I’ve really struggled to find a focus, so for now I’ve decided to do more personal writing, since those are always my favorite blog posts to read. We’ll see where this goes!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d confess that I’m disappointed our Halloween plans fell through. I’m planning on wearing my costume next year, but it was just so good that I’m really disappointed that I can’t wear it this year. I’m planning on making peanut butter balls and eating them on the couch while we watch a movie instead. Reese’s is the only candy I’ve really missed since I’ve started eating low carb, so I’m excited to try making sugar-free peanut butter balls. Fingers crossed they turn out!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d remember that I started my low carb diet almost a year ago. And since then I’ve lost 46 pounds (so 55 pounds total since April 2015). I’m feeling pretty dang proud of myself! I’d probably also advise against a major dietary change the week of Halloween. Speaking from experience, it’s just not a good idea. 😉

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask what your holiday plans are. Christmas is my very favorite holiday, so I love hearing about other people’s fun family traditions and disaster stories that are retold so many times they become legendary. My first Thanksgiving with Teddy’s family was a group Thanksgiving dinner with some people from their church who we’d never met. When we realized we were the first Huizingas to arrive, we were so petrified of knocking on a total stranger’s door that we parked down the street and hid in our car until Teddy’s parents came. Even after we were inside the conversations with the church group were SO awkward and the boxed-mix mashed potatoes were SO bad we decided next time we’d ask to have a family-only Thanksgiving. Teddy and I still laugh at that awkward first Thanksgiving as a married couple.

What about you guys? Can you even believe it’s already October?? Do you have any fun holiday traditions you’re looking forward to?

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Lately – June 2016

candy cane rose

 

Hiya friends! It’s been quiet around here. I’m trying to learn to embrace the ebbs and flows instead of fighting it. There are so many blogging rules, but since I don’t run a business blog I’m trying not to get too bogged down by rules that don’t apply to me.

Since it’s been quiet, I thought I’d give y’all a little life update. Lately I…

  • Am TIRED. Seriously beyond tired. Last week we flew out for Teddy’s family reunion, this weekend we helped Teddy’s sister move… I am just totally worn out. Everyone talks about how relaxing summer is and I have no idea what they’re talking about. Summers are always the least relaxing time of year for me. Is there a summer secret I’m missing out on?
  • Have been getting past some crippling creative self-doubt. I’ve always been pretty self-confident (for the most part) but somehow last September all my self-confidence seemed to evaporate into thin air. It’s been a long 9 months, but I think I’m slooowly feeling more like my old self. I’m not all the way there yet, but I’m getting there.
  • Have eaten ALL THE CARBS. I’ve been eating low carb since last November, (with some breaks for holidays and emergencies — i.e. pizza cravings) but since we were so busy this weekend we decided to ignore carbs temporarily. I had french fries, pizza, and a pancake AND a slice of french toast at breakfast. It was great, but I’m all carbed-out now, so I’m secretly excited to go back to eating low carb.
  • Ironically since I’ve had so much creative self-doubt and eaten my weight in carbs, I’ve been feeling really comfortable in my skin lately. I’ve still got a ways to go to reach my goal weight, but I’m feeling really good. I’m loving it!
  • Am wishing for a puppy. Teddy and I both love dogs, and were hoping to adopt an adult dog for our first dog together. Until I started seeing puppies everywhere! They’re so cute, I’m tempted to get a puppy instead! I’m really torn. But since Teddy and I share a car and work for 8-10 hours a day, it just doesn’t seem fair to get a dog right now. Someday!
  • Am wearing this tank top non-stop. I love sleeveless shirts that are office appropriate (as long as you wear a sweater) and comfortable enough to wear outside on hot Texas weekends. So far I have one in black and pink, and I’m thinking about getting one in navy blue next.
  • Am craving a short, relaxing weekend trip, just Teddy and me. It probably won’t happen until September or October, but I’m already daydreaming about a quick getaway without any plans or obligations. Heaven!
  • Am excited for a three-day Fourth of July weekend. Last year I spent the the Fourth alone in the airport, so I’m THRILLED to be in town for my first Fourth of July in Texas. I am slightly nervous that our neighbors will take the Texas “go big or go home” mentality a little too seriously though. 😉

What about you? Are you having a relaxing summer? (Please give me all your secrets!) Do you have fun plans for the Fourth?

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Lately

Flower arrangement

Hey guys! It’s been a while! What started out as a break after my gallbladder surgery ended up stretched waaaay past that. I had been feeling frustrated about my blog/ blogs in general, so I think I needed a break to clear my head.

Since we haven’t talked in awhile, I thought it’d be fun to update you on what I’ve been up to. Lately I’ve…

  • Gone to two weddings. One for my college roommate, and one for Teddy’s high school friend. Both were really fun, but man, those wedding weekends take it out of ya! We had to wake up at 3 am on Sunday to make our flight home, and I’m still recovering.
  • Had my gallbladder removed. And I feel sooo much better! I’m getting more sleep (you know, when I don’t have a 5 am flight) and it honestly makes such a huge difference! I can also eat normally again, without having to worry about my gallbladder throwing a temper tantrum because I ate cheese.
  • Fallen in love with making my own flower arrangements. I haven’t had the best luck with keeping a plant alive, but I’ve been getting better at keeping cut flowers looking fresh for as long as possible. Progress?
  • Worn my favorite jeans non-stop on the weekends. I fit into them again (!!!) and summer’s coming fast, so I’m wearing them before it gets too hot to wear anything but shorts.
  • Speaking of summer, I’m planning on stocking up on these muscle tanks. I love that I can wear them with a sweater for work and by themselves on the weekends. Plus, I’ve been trying to learn more about ethical clothing, so I like that they’re made ethically in the US. (Without the huge price tag that usually goes with ethical clothing!)
  • Snuggled with my doofus cat on the couch every night. Since our last trip she’s decided that 4 am is breakfast time, so I’m hoping her inner clock will go back to normal soon.
  • Been drinking lots of coffee. I’d cut waaaay back on it, but lately that’s gone out the window. Ooops!
  • Brainstormed 16 blog post ideas on the plane! I always thought I was a night owl, but I’ve noticed that I tend to be most productive in the mornings. Who am I?
  • Been daydreaming about summer. I’m ready for swimming and drinks on the back porch and our second anniversary!

What have you guys been up to lately? I’d love to hear!

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What Leslie Knope and I have in Common

Ummm, it’s not the hat.

Do you ever try to match yourself or people you know to your favorite characters on TV? Teddy and I do it all the time, but I think our closest “matches” are Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt. This is me:

Ben Leslie2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is Teddy:

ben gif2 ben gif3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I didn’t know better, I’d think the writers had eavesdropped on actual conversations we’ve had.

 

I’d never watched Parks & Rec consistently until last fall, when Teddy and I binge-watched seasons 1-6. (I still haven’t watched the last season because last seasons make me sad. If I haven’t watched it, it’s not over, right?)

 

At the time, I was feeling pretty crummy about myself. I had finished the rough draft for a novel, but I had no idea where to go from there, and I had the sinking feeling that it might be fatally flawed. I was left without a project. So I guiltily watched too much Parks & Rec, and then I noticed something. Leslie and I are a lot alike when it comes to work.

 

Leslie loves working. All she does is work work work — on vacations, on her days off, when she’s sick. Always working. When she can’t work, she makes up new subcommittees and community projects and runs them all herself. If Leslie doesn’t have a government project to do, she spirals into a lovable, super caffeinated tornado.

 

I do the same thing when it comes to my creative projects. Even if I’m not directly working on them, I’m thinking about them. I love projects, and I always want to be working on (at least) one. And if I don’t have a project, I get stressed and irritable. (Sorry, Teddy!) I’d love to be working on a creative project right now, I just can’t swing it. It’s felt like I’ve been running into one brick wall after another. I was thinking about it recently and I realized that in the past year I:

 

  1. was diagnosed with PCOS
  2. made drastic lifestyle changes
  3. lost 45 pounds (woohoo!)
  4. had to change my birth control because it wasn’t doing its job (not in a pregnancy scare way, but in a “my period started a week early AGAIN?!” way).
  5. had gallbladder problems which means I’m getting my gallbladder out in April

 

That’s a looooot to handle. And I realized recently that writing a novel sounds totally exhausting and not fun right now. The thought of seeking publication/ marketing sounds like self-imposed torture. (Just like Leslie, I have the tendency to be a *smidge* hyperbolic.) I just do not have the creative energy to pursue that at this stage of my life.

 

It’s honestly terrifying to type out those words. I know there are lots of people who might be rolling their eyes at this post and saying, “Really? That’s what’s stopping her? She just couldn’t cut it, I guess.” I also didn’t want to admit to myself that writing wasn’t working for me. Haven’t I wanted to be an author since I was 12? I’ve literally been working toward this dream for over a decade. Does this mean I’m a failure, or worse, that I’m giving up on my dream? What do I do now?

 

I don’t know the answer to the last question, but for right now I’m trying to show myself grace. I’m still writing down random story ideas and journaling. I’m trying to read about other interests/ think of new things I’d like to try. And Teddy has told me 1500 times that even if I stop writing now, I can always come back to it. I’m *finally* starting to sort of believe him.

 

I keep thinking about the recall vote that kicked Leslie off of city council. That setback didn’t stop Leslie Knope, and this won’t stop me either.

 

Note: If you are working on a novel or other big project, this post is NOT intended to discourage you! This post is talking about how writing isn’t working for me right now. I’ll be the first to cheer you on from the sidelines! Go get ‘em, tiger!

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A Quick Life Update

Making friends with our new neighbors.
Making friends with a super cute new neighbor.

 

How has your week been? I hope it’s been a good one! My week’s felt like an old Friends episode — remember the episode where Monica’s mom says she “pulled a Monica” because she baked a fake nail into her lasagna? That’s pretty much been my life this week.

 

But besides my “pulling a Monica” moments, I managed to finish my rough draft on Tuesday! I had originally planned on finishing it by November, and then I decided I could finish by October 15… and then I finished a month early. I still can’t believe it! I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about it, which I’m planning on talking more about next week. So far this week I’ve been celebrating with ice cream, and I’m planning on visiting a bookstore and getting some tacos this weekend!

 

Teddy and I decided to eat vegetarian for a week, and so far it’s been going pretty well! So far we’ve stuck to old favorites like Joy’s spicy vegetarian tortilla soup and Jeanine’s spring green lemon & basil pasta. Tonight we made some quick pickled veggies which weren’t as quick as we expected… so we went to Chick-fil-A. But that means our pickled veggies will be ready for dinner tomorrow. I’m excited! We’re not planning on becoming full-time vegetarians, but we’re hoping to incorporate more vegetarian meals during the week, so it’ll be nice to have some favorite recipes in our back pocket. I have my eye on this jalapeño and cauliflower mac n’ cheese for next week!  

 

I’ve been craving a non-writing project for a while, but ever since I finished my rough draft I’ve been pinning so many DIY projects — and I’m the girl who avoids DIY projects at all costs! (I usually agree with Victoria: DDIY — Don’t Do It Yourself.) Right now I’m leaning toward this weaving tutorial: now all I need is a loom and some yarn.
That’s pretty much all I can think of that’s new around here. Hope you guys had a great Thursday, and that your Friday is super short!

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