Weekly Weaknesses: Nutella Heaven

This week, I rewarded myself with the most delicious creation. No joke. Doubt it? I dare you to try it yourself and have a different verdict.

To set the scene, let me say that it’s such an awesome feeling to see bananas turn brown. I personally like my bananas on the unripe side of the spectrum, so I know that if they are brown the only thing to do is make banana bread. After a little research, I came across this recipe from Sweet and Crumby and knew that it had to be done.

Nutella + banana bread? Damn. I knew it would be good, but I had no idea how delicious it would be to have the moist banana bread coupled with a swirl of melty chocolate-y taste. Man, just writing this is making me want to go get a slice from the kitchen.

nutella banana bread

Needless to say, it turned out fantastic! My cooking compadre and I each made a loaf (we knew that sharing would be tough), and I have been rationing it out over this week. Enjoying a slice is a thrilling and special way to end an evening or start a morning.

The other big plus is that there were no kitchen appliance malfunctions during this project. I’ve been having trouble with microwaves lately (in the last few weeks, I have melted a measuring cup, exploded butter, and literally charred my edamame – after 30 seconds!) so this was a relief. Yes, I am fully aware that microwaves are user-friendly.

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Bus Snoops + Balancing Act

I’m on the brink of Week 3 in my novel writing attempt (backstory can be found here). The good news is that I’m still in it to win it.

Defying all odds, I’m almost all caught up to where I should be at this point! I’m currently at 22,200 words (which I find insane), but that makes sense because the month is almost halfway done (also insane). I’ve gotten better in my fight against procrastination and have accepted that each day I am going to sit down and write for a few short sessions. And you know what? I find it satisfying. Here are some recent revelations:

1) I like writing on public transportation. I have found that the best way to squeeze writing into my day is to do it on the bus and train on my daily commute. Somehow the motion of the bus and the activity of the people and the city makes me feel productive and efficient. It’s also fun to see the people sitting next to me try to slyly read what is on my screen. Unfortunately, this always happens when I have just written something that I don’t want anyone to ever see because it is incredibly melodramatic and/or angsty.

2) Writing 1,660 words a day is hard on the ol’ balancing actI have been trying my best to fit in work, writing, exercise, household maintenance, cleanliness, and a social life into my waking hours. Not surprisingly, a few things have fallen to the wayside. In some ways (my cooking ambitions, housecleaning, and writing), I am more productive, but in others (exercising and returning phone calls), I have been bad. This is especially unfortunate because a) I am running an 8K race this weekend and have not been training and b) I am in a long distance relationship that functions on phone calls. So maybe it is time to trade fancy risotto dinners for phone calls and just resign myself to pb&js and grilled cheese for the rest of the month.

Also, it’s spring.

springtime

Small Thrills: Flip it and Reverse It

Getting dressed today, I realized that the inner stripey side of my shirt was way cooler than the humdrum gray of the outside. Why do stores do that?! I understand having cute hidden details that make you feel special, but that should only be allowed if the outside is also cute and not boring. I checked to make sure it wasn’t actually a reversible shirt, but there is absolutely a tag sewn onto the back, so I’m assuming that reversibility wasn’t the intention but…

Why not?

And voila, I’m wearing my shirt inside out today. I have a blazer on, and it covers up the tag on the back. I’m weirdly excited about this. No one knows that I’m making a fashion faux pas!

inside out

It is such a little thing, but regardless it is giving me a small thrill to know something no one else knows and also to break the rules, a tiny tiny bit.

After getting to work, I discovered a tag that I didn’t previously notice – you know the one that is on the side seam that has the washing instructions? I am bad with washing things, so I didn’t want to cut off the tag and lose the instructions. So, I’m rockin’ dat tag, too.

Hope you can also find a way to rebel today.

Weekly Weaknesses: Juicing Everything

I’m a strong advocate for making goals, and I am a big believer in having rewards for reaching them. I think a little bit of indulgent encouragement is quite a good thing.

That is where the idea of Weekly Weaknesses came from – I know weaknesses are often seen negatively, like a flaw that needs to be fixed. NOT HERE. A weakness – defined as “strong fondness” or “enthusiasm and high regard” – is something special that you indulge in because you deserve it. Each week I will be documenting one thing that I have been swooning over and appreciating – the thing that helped me get through laundry or my commute or the other tedious parts of my day. It’s the little things, right? I think focusing on these little joys will help me to celebrate days that maybe had more downs than ups.

Please feel free to share your own weekly weaknesses! I’d love to hear how you are rewarding yourself and keeping life spicy.

So, cutting to the chase: this week, I’m housesitting, and the owner of the house encouraged me to try out her juicer. She dared me not to get addicted.

One my friends came over to try it out. We picked out a few recipes and then excitedly got to work. Despite its tendency to send out projectile pomegranate seeds (or maybe that was the fault of the operators), a juicer really is a miracle machine. It magically extracts the seeds and pulp from the fruit you put in, leaving you with pure fruit nectar.

Our first juice was made with blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, pomegranate seeds, and a lime. It was INCREDIBLE. The juice was smooth, slightly syrupy, and sweet with a little tartness. We were blown away.

Emboldened, we tried using beets, carrots, and oranges. The juice was a gorgeous color, and we know that it would taste delicious…if not for a rookie mistake.

fellow juice explorer + beet juice

I’m sure professional juicers out there will laugh and shake their heads in pity, but we forgot to wash the beets. Oh, yes. Consequently, our beautiful rich juice tasted like dirt. If anyone has any juicing mishap stories, please share so that I feel less alone in my failure of common sense.

But, don’t worry! I didn’t let the dirt incident put me off juicing. Today I whipped up a delicious blend of blueberries, blackberries, grapefruit, and kiwi AND made extra so that I could have some to send me off to work on Monday. That will help make me a little more cheerful about saying adieu to the weekend.

Proof That I am Not Taking Myself Seriously

So, I pledged to be this carefree, un-self-conscious, whimsical, no diggity spirit here – but where’s the proof?

Here it is, my friends. I am currently writing a novel. 

I know, I know. It sounds so moody and lofty and angsty and like I picture myself as some sort of Hemingway. No, none of that is true (and don’t get me started on Hemingway).

Here’s the backstory (yes, that is a technical writing term, and yes, that means I’m practically published already): in January, one of my literarily-minded and go-getter friends excitedly emailed me about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), in which participants throw caution (and their inner editor) to the wind and write 50,000 words in a month. My inner editor is extremely dominant and aggressive, so that made me a little nervous. But the idea is that anyone who has ever wanted to write a novel can do it. Having a month to finish this task provides a deadline that overrides any overthinking and pressure to churn out a National Book Award Winner. The official month is November, but we saw no reason to wait and decided to see what our brains could do in March.

So, here I am, seven days into my month-long attempt. I’m at 9,000 words (if you do the math with the 1,660 daily word quota, you’ll see I’m already behind). At this point, I have embraced my mundane plot, cliche dialogue, and completely inconsistent characters (one minute she’s a prissy brat, the next she’s a selfless nature-lover – oops).

What I have discovered in this first week:

1) 1,660 is a big number

2) I have no idea how my brain comes up with things. Why does the old cranky janitor have a snowglobe and a pair of lace lady’s gloves on his bookcase? I don’t know. I don’t even feel like I consciously typed that, but the words are there on the page so I must have.

3) It is freeing to accept cliche and mediocrity. When you are going for quantity over quality, you have to lower your standards. Normally, producing work less than your best may make you feel sad and unsuccessful, but, trust me, when I reach my daily goal, I am stoked and proud, regardless of what I actually wrote. When I read it later, it is admittedly bad. Inexplicably, I don’t care, and I enjoy it more than anything I have ever written.

4) Taking a chance to do this is making me feel bolder in other parts of my life. I admit that I like to do things well, but this experience is getting me used to the idea that it is absolutely okay (and enjoyable even) not to be stellar at everything, and so that shouldn’t hold you back from trying. There’s some intense training for work that I have been putting off since I was hired…last May. This week I decided, hell yeah, I’m going to get it done by the end of next week. Ain’t no stoppin’ me now.

4) I am a really productive procrastinator. This Sunday, I knew I had to write 3,000 words to catch up to where I should be. But, before you assume correctly that I did not reach this goal and begin to chastise me, listen to the things I did instead! I went on a 6 mile run, I stretched thoroughly afterward, I took a nice long shower, I made scones, I washed all the dishes, I watered every plant in the house, I took a survey about which Downton Abbey character I am, I did laundry, I met up with someone for coffee, and I made broccoli chicken lemon risotto (ahhh) with friends.

Wow, what truly beautiful photography. But regardless of how it looks in that photo, the food was delicious, and as a bonus it cleared away all the guilt I had for not writing. Temporarily.

An Auspicious Day, Indeed

Happy birthday, baby blog. Welcome to this world.

To all of you observing this miraculous sight (honestly, it’s probably a small crowd – but hey, this should be a private moment after all), wouldn’t you agree that it is an auspicious and marvelous day for a blog’s birthday?

To make matters more wondrous, I have christened the baby blog “No Big Diggity.” A big name to grow into, I know. But I hope that the playfulness, ridiculousness, and spirit in that name will infuse into every cell of its being.

Because of the name, no one will be able to take baby No Big Diggity seriously. That is, believe it or not, my goal.

Every time I say or read the three words in the title, I will be reminded that it’s fine to lighten up and sound a little foolish sometimes (no offense baby blog, but your name is a little bit silly. Sorry). I will also be reminded to adjust my perspective on what is a big deal and what is not.

Alright, it sounds like I’m getting a little bit emotional and deep. Time to go.

But – I welcome you as well to this celebration of bad jokes, good jokes (hopefully), optimism, nerdiness, thriftiness, exploration, risk-taking, and opportunity-making.