What I’m Reading, Watching, Eating, Thinking, Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’, plannin’ and dreamin’

Cheers to anyone who picked up on the Dusty Springfield reference in my blog post title.

Apparently I write in this blog once a year, which is just frequent enough for me to keep the domain active so no one else steals my creative blog name hardy har har.

Today’s post is a light one and mostly a hello again to my dear devoted followers, who right now are mostly my siblings and closest friends – but to reward you for your devotion I have some fun content today! I hope to use this post to blow the dust off this blog so I can resume serious blogging at some point in the future. I miss writing, I miss creating, but mostly I just miss putting art into the ether and letting it float around like an opportunistic amoeba, waiting to latch onto someone’s heart and maybe make them feel some things.

me to me: I made this

What I’m Reading

I definitely have a problem and can’t read one book at a time – it’s physically impossible for me. If I start a scary book, I need to have a happy one to off-set the midnight spookiness so I can sleep alright. If I am reading a dark intense historical book, I need a mindless romance to offset the feeling of despair about reading about historical atrocities. If I am reading a memoir by someone I admire, I need to read something I don’t really care about that much to listen to while I do chores, so it’s not the end of the world if I miss a little chunk of the audiobook while the vacuum is on.

A few books I’m reading now (there are more, but it’s a little too embarrassing to showcase all of them and show you how big of a problem this book greediness is), are:

One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London

I am really enjoying this book right now. Believe it or not, I’ve never watched the Bachelor or the Bachelorette. This book examines a fictional Bachelorette show called “The Main Squeeze”. Bea, a plus sized blogger, posts a critique about the show’s lack of diversity in only casting skinny models to be on the show, and the next thing she knows her rant inadvertently goes viral. Due to the publicity her rant receives, the producer of the show calls to cast Bea as this season’s next “Main Squeeze”. In order to grow her fan base and take the show to task, Bea goes for it and soon gets to pick from a wide array of gentlemen suitors. It’s an interesting take on fat-phobia, feminism, dating shows, toxic masculinity, staged elements of reality shows, and our own preconceived notions of ourselves. I’m about halfway through, but so far it’s a fun read about a subject I don’t really know much about – dating shows- from the point of view of a plus sized woman who’s typically excluded from them.

30 Days a Black Man: The Forgotten Story That Exposed the Jim Crow South by Bill Steigerwald

This non-fictional historical book recounts the true story of a reporter in 1948 named Ray Sprigle who went undercover disguised as a Black man in the Southern United States. Sprigle was already a decorated journalist, having won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black was once a member of the Ku Klax Klan. Sprigle, obviously not a stranger to controversy, disguised himself as a Black man to write about his experiences in the Jim Crow South. This book is written very matter of factly and while dry at times, is fascinating to me because it is about a part of history I knew very little about.

What I’m Eating

I am a newly diagnosed celiac, which means I cannot have gluten. This has put a damper on my food loving soul, but to my great delight there are SO many good gluten-free options out there. I have become OBSESSED with this chickpea pasta, Banza. Normally, gluten-free pasta can be hit or miss, but this pasta is a HIT every time. It’s hard to tell that it’s not normal pasta, and the taste profile is simple with a slight nutty after-taste afterwards that is easily disguised by sauce or cheese.

probably not gluten free

I’ve also discovered these amazing amazing amazing rich and decadent cinnamon crumble bars. I’ve only seen them at Whole Foods but maybe they’ll be popping up in other stores if they get more popular. They’re half shortbread cookie half cinnamon roll meets a pie, and they’re DELIGHTFUL.

What I’m Watching

I just discovered this teen thriller show, Outer Banks, on Netflix, and it’s SO MUCH FUN. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt but with teen models who surf, dive for lost treasure, and most unrealistically of all, have no adult supervision while doing all of this, (you can tell I’m a mom now) while living in the Outer Banks (aka one of my favorite places in the world). Unfortunately, the show isn’t actually filmed in the Outer Banks – which I could kind of tell the minute it started, because it didn’t look like any part of the Outer Banks I know – but despite the fact that it’s filmed in SOUTH CAROLINA (cough cough INAUTHENTIC!), it’s still a super fun show and perfect for an easy summer watch.

Jeanette’s Pier in the Outer Banks (WHICH IS SADLY NOT IN THE OUTER BANKS SHOW)

Bake Squad – also on Netflix- is another perfect summer treat. This show is fast paced and more American than the best baking show ever, The Great British Bake Off, but Bake Squad captures some of that innocent joy and teamwork that makes GBBO so good. Hosted by Christina Tosi, who owns an epic bakery called Milk Bar (that makes GLUTEN FREE BIRTHDAY CAKE AND GUYS IT IS SO SO SO GOOD I HAD IT SHIPPED OUT TO ME FOR MY 30TH BIRTHDAY AND IT WAS INCREDIBLY WORTH IT so here’s a photo of the cake ok one sec…)

my gluten-free Milk Bar cake on a beautiful paper plate

Anyway, back to Bake Squad – Christina Tosi is a bright and joyful host who not only knows how to make an amazzzzing cake, see above, again, please, guys look, how beautiful, amiright? – she also knows how to assemble a charming cast of bakers and candy makers who come together to make DELIGHTFUL cakes and desserts for various celebrations in a friendly competition. It is utter joy, sheer delight, and cotton candy for your eyes. Please indulge yourselves and watch – you will not regret it!

TV Reviews

Better late than never… a first timer experiences Seinfeld

Mindless, gentle, and soothing – Seinfeld might be the perfect medicine for this year.

There’s a 9-year age gap between myself and my husband, and while most of the time, the age difference doesn’t come up much; it does tend to pop up the most with television and movies that I missed out on.

My re-education of movies and media that I missed began when we were dating – Gremlins, Willow, Labyrinth, and the Dark Crystal were a few experiences (and occasional nightmare fuel, by the way – what is with the weird trippy 80’s “family-friendly” movies and shows that are super dark? That’s a blog post for another day, though…) that I missed out on and had to watch with him.

But none of those missed bastions of culture shone to me from afar, so bright and alluring, as that of Seinfeld. The references to Festivus and the soup Nazi, the knowledge that I was a George Costanza even though I had no idea who he was, and the idea of missing out on a sitcom that was so prevalent in our culture for so long, wore me down until finally, at long last – I sat down and watched them all.

And, let me say, it was worth the wait.

The first season or two were a little hard to get into, but once I got to the third and fourth seasons, I was hooked. The witty writing, the relatable every day problems, and the “no plot” plot, all made for a very fun and enjoyable experience.

I think one thing that Seinfeld did so well – or should I say didn’t do – that other sitcoms like Friends and How I Met Your Mother fell prey to, was the complete lack of moralizing. There was no point, no higher message, no value being pushed. Even those other comedies, in all their shallow silliness, had some moments where a light shone down on a character or a subtle message was pushed with the gentle nudge of moralization. But with Seinfeld, there really was none of that.

The beauty of the no-moralization sitcom was that it really provided easy watching, with the knowledge that this would not provoke cliff hangers, or whose baby is it quandaries, or on – again off – again relationship tears à la Ross and Rachel of Friends.

It’s the perfect sitcom to watch during 2020.

There were definitely a few episodes that didn’t age super well, (jokes about sex, race, or disability that I would bet wouldn’t go over well nowadays), but to the most part, the show was really just good, clean, fun. The problems the friends encountered were simple and petty and ever so relatable, and the show was as calming to watch as… a guided meditation led by a paranoid narcissist at a New York diner.

I am grateful that I experienced Seinfeld at long last, and if by some off chance that one of you reading this also missed this show, you should watch it too.

In parting, I leave with you these words from the great George Costanza, “If it wasn’t for the toilet, there would be no books.”


Star of the Show

I have been the star of the show a few times in my life.

I love it.

When I was sitting in the hair and makeup chair behind stage before The Merchant of Venice, I remember having a moment of introspection. The girls doing my hair and makeup were putting all this effort into making ME looking good, but they were the ones doing the thankless job behind stage and not getting any glory.

I asked one of them if she minded being the silent star of the show, the girl who made it all happen behind the scenes.

She said she loved it.

It was the first time I had realized not everyone likes being the star.

I had always assumed that the best place to be was on stage, but not everyone likes being the star. Most people don’t.



Even though not everyone is cut out for the stage, I think every now and then being the star of some type of show is healthy and beneficial.

Being able to sit back and let people dote on you is something that many people struggle with, but it’s necessary and good at times to allow others to do the behind the scenes work so you can shine.

Recovery postpartum, being a bride or groom at a wedding, having a bachelor or bachelorette party, retiring from work, celebrating birthdays, recovery from surgery, being ill – all these times of life tend to involve others “doting” on us.

Sitting back and letting others help us, serve us, love us, and celebrate us can be hard for some of us, but we need to learn to let them. It’s actually healthy to sit back and be the star every now and then.

As contradictory as it seems, it actually brings joy to people to bring joy to you.  It’s a service to others to let others serve us. By allowing people to help us and to serve us, we are showing them that we appreciate their love.

Some people like being behind the scenes, some people like the spotlight.

But no matter who you are, we all need to be the star of the show every now and then.




A Few New Year’s Resolutions

I have been neglecting this blog, so my New Year’s resolution is to write more!  *frantically grabs laptop and tries to knockout a quick post while daughter sleeps*

Now that Christmas is over, the era of FUN winter is over. Now, winter is in full blown CRAP winter mode, and so I am trying to think happy thoughts and keep plants and flowers around the house to remind myself that spring will be here eventually.  *sobs quietly into a mug of hot cocoa*




My mom and dad recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in Florida, and they brought me back this gem of a book called “A Mother’s Manual” by A. Francis Coomes, S.J. (For those non Catholics here, S.J. stands for Society of Jesus- the Jesuit order). It’s a tiny book that can fit in the palm of my daughter’s hand, and it’s absolutely precious. There are prayers for expectant mothers, breastfeeding mothers, mothers of children getting engaged, bereaved mothers, and mothers who want to be better wives. Some of the advice in the book is a little outdated – think 1950’s era housewife stuff – but the beautiful devotions for moms really make it worth it. It’s less than $5, and I think it would be a great gift for a new mom (along with a 10,000 calorie meal).

In fact, that’s where my mom first heard of it- it was a gift to her when she was in the hospital after having me! She was gifted it by a nun who visited moms in the hospital who just had their babies (what a beautiful vocation!). My mom still has her copy (dog-eared and underlined!) and has carried the tradition on by giving me my own.

If you’re interested in ordering it, this is the book:


My second New Year’s resolution is to read 25 books, and for once in the history of anything I have ever tried, I am on track! Look at the encouragement from Goodreads!


If only all things in life were this encouraging.

I’ve been trying to branch out of my comfort zone with reading. This means, instead of my usual fare of classic literature and modern fiction, I am trying to read more non-fiction. This list from Bill Gates really inspired me to read more about science this year.

Here’s the list, if you’re interested:


Another New Year’s resolution is to start working out again, because having had a baby two years ago really means I can’t keep referring to my tummy as a “postpartum pooch”.  I’m giving intermittent fasting a try, and also only eating 6 chocolate chip cookies per day.  Praise meeee.

I don’t usually like New Year’s resolutions- they stress me out, and in general I don’t keep them. But maybe I can keep these!

Til next time!






In Defense of Guilty Pleasures

I love the summer for many reasons- hundreds, probably, but perhaps one of my favorite of the lesser of these reasons is the soothing and silly night time show, America’s Got Talent. My husband and I get excited on Tuesday and Wednesday nights in the summer, blocking off the time to make sure we won’t miss an episode.

It’s goofy.  The judges’ lines seem cheesy and scripted.  The pre-recorded shows are heavily edited and curated to appeal to a mass audience. Nothing about this show’s production is very original or intelligent.

It’s bombastic and at times ridiculous.

But, I can’t look away.

I have many a fond memory of the first few months after my daughter’s birth, nursing her in the midst of postpartum anxiety, and being able to briefly let go of all the worries of new motherhood and just watch the inane and vapid unfold before my eyes.

The bickering of the judges, the silly jokes, the crazy costumes, and of course, the horrible and cringe worthy auditions of people who got buzzed off the stage.

The beauty of America’s Got Talent, though, is that it’s not ALL inane.

There is something stirring and rousing in seeing humanity perform at its best.

The deaf girl who sings better than Taylor Swift.  The 12 year old who is a self taught ventriloquist.  The plane crash survivor disfigured by burns who finds the courage to sing in front of millions.  The dance crew from Ukraine who perform gasp inducing stunts with lights that make you feel like a child watching magic for the first time.

The little girl with an angelic voice whose father died of cancer just two weeks before her final performance on the show.

The human spirit is indomitable.

Being able to capture the beauty of life and distill it down into an art form that people can watch, admire, cry at, and discuss over and over is a beautiful thing. The magic of a performance done well –  of art that is truly good – is that it elevates the human spirit. It truly captures what it means to be alive.

I recently finished the book “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel due to a good friend’s recommendation.  The book is set in a world that has been ravaged by a deadly flu, and among the remaining survivors; a ragtag band of actors and musicians is formed. The troupe performs Shakespeare plays while traveling the Mad Max reminiscent landscape, but people still come to their shows despite the danger.

The concept of the arts surviving in a post-apocalyptic world is a fascinating idea.

We work to make money, and with that we have a triage of needs. We make money to spend on the necessities- food, shelter, warmth- and then we use it on the things we enjoy.  The things we enjoy, the arts and crafts of this world – are things that make life worth living.

These things are not necessary for survival, but they make survival enjoyable.

It would certainly make sense then, that art would outlive electricity.

So, when I watch America’s Got Talent, I marvel at the talent of humanity. The precision the dancers have. The perseverance the dog trainers must have to train their animals to do crazy stunts. The courage of the deaf girl who sings in front of millions, with no idea how her voice sounds.


Humanity is truly astounding. We are a varied bunch, a ragtag troupe. All of us have something unique to offer the world. It might not be a flying trapeze act on America’s Got Talent, but it is still something beautiful and innately you.

And so, to all the guilty pleasures out there, I salute you.

You make life worthwhile.



Not Another Mommy Blog

I promise, this is not just another mommy blog.

I love to write.  I’ve been encouraged to blog by many people, so I decided to finally start one. I know everyone has a blog these days, so I doubt my contribution will be much of a ripple in the pond that is the mommy blog world, but hey.  A girl can dream.

I drink a lot of coffee. Probably too much for my own good because I get chest palpitations sometimes after my second or third cup o’ joe. Yes, I realize this is a problem.

I love literature and I read books. A lot of books. Being a stay at home mom has enabled me to finally finish the hundreds of books I have always wanted to read.

I’m a practicing Catholic and I love my faith.

I love to act.  When I think of death bed regrets, the biggest regrets I can imagine are not loving God or my family enough, and never having starred in a major production. My college performance as Portia in The Merchant of Venice doesn’t count, in my book.

My favorite pastime is eating.

Welcome to Cafe Au Running Lait.