Month in review: October 2019

Happy November! While most of 2019 has flown by, October actually seemed to pass at a good pace. It was still a busy month though! Mostly because…I got married! Given that wedding planning is insane and all-consuming in the weeks leading up to the wedding, I am honestly shocked that I managed to get anything else done at all. Let’s reflect back on October:

Books read:

I finished two books this month (which is honestly two more books than I expected to finish). Lab Girl is a memoir by academic researcher and university professor, Hope Jahren. As a young scientist myself, I loved this book for its honesty about the stress of trying to “make it” as an academic researcher, and also for its beautifully written passages about how trees grow. Frankissstein is a novel that ponders how technology will change life for humankind, and particularly how it will change how we relate to our bodies. Frankissstein was an interesting philosophical read, but at the same time I didn’t particularly care for most of the characters or their “love stories.”

Bakes inspired by the books:

For Lab Girl, I attempted to bake meringues with a lime curd swirl on top. As you might be able to tell from the picture, these meringues were a baking fail. But I posted about them anyway because I wanted to review Lab Girl, and I wanted to own the fact that sometimes my bakes aren’t successful on the first try.

For Frankissstein, I made chocolate linzer cookies with cherry jam and lime curd. These were delicious and made me feel much better about the Lab Girl meringue fails. I also got to use the rest of the lime curd that I had made for the meringues.

Books in progress/plans for November:

I’m currently reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I resisted this book for a long time – I’m not sure why – but someone recently gifted it to me, and I immediately got sucked in. I already know what I want to bake for this book, and I can’t wait to post.

I also want to read The Invention of Nature and Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis – two books that I had initially planned (unrealistically) to read in October. Also, the comedian Ali Wong recently published a memoir and I might want to read that, too.

Great blog posts of the month:

I read so many great blog posts this month…but my brain was so fried that I forgot to bookmark my favorite posts. So here is ONE post that stuck with me so much, I remember it even without having bookmarked it: a heartwarming story called “Pizza it Forward” from Vee at Millenial Life Crisis.


BLOG-tober #3: weird things about me.

A couple weeks ago, Ashley at Mental Health at Home posted her answers to an “eleven weird things about me” challenge. I loved this post, because I feel that it’s important to embrace and be open about our weirdness. I also thought that this topic fit in perfectly with “BLOG-tober,” since October is the month of Halloween (AKA all things weird). Here is the link to the original post, if you are interested! My weird things are:

1. Talking in my sleep

Sometimes, if I have a dream where I am saying or yelling something, I will say or yell that thing out loud in real life. It has woken my partner up many times before, and I often wake myself up that way too. In college, I had a dream where I couldn’t move and needed to call for help. Apparently, I screamed “HELP!” out loud, because I woke up to my housemate pounding on my door to check if I was okay.

2. Crazy cat lady

I love cats! I only have two cats, but I love them and talk to them as though they are actual babies. I also own some cat-themed clothes and accessories including but not limited to: flats in the shape of a cat’s face, rhinestone cat ears, and two pairs of cat-print pajama pants.

3. Lover of fungi

I also love fungi. This is weird to some people, but I just think they’re so cool! I get really excited when I encounter interesting mushrooms and slime molds in nature, and I’ve gone on several hikes for the sole purpose of finding interesting fungi.

4. Falling asleep on the couch

Nearly every night, I end up dozing off on the living room couch in my apartment. Since it happens without fail, I should know by now to avoid this situation and go straight to bed. And yet…zzzzzzzzzz.

5. Cautious (teetering on paranoid) about food-borne illness

I took a food microbiology course in college where we learned about the most common agents of food-borne illness and what foods they are found in. Ever since then, I have become more cautious (excessively so, according to my partner) about food poisoning.

6. “Once I’m out, I’m out”

Once I leave my apartment in the morning, I do not return (unless I have forgotten something ESSENTIAL, such as my work badge or public transit pass). This mentality has backfired on me many times, such as last week when I made the decision to go to work without an umbrella.

7. Perfectionist AND procrastinator

I am somehow both a perfectionist and a procrastinator. Being a grad student only accentuated this tendency of mine, because I worked with MANY other perfectionist-procrastinators at my old institution. I’m probably like this because I thrive under intense pressure…but sometimes these contradictory tendencies set me up for failure.

8. Cold brew queen

I enjoy a “malted cold brew” while my partner drinks a regular coffee.

I have started to become *that* person that drinks cold brew year round. I started drinking cold brew pretty regularly this summer, because both my office and my neighborhood café serve really good cold brew. Now, I am physically dependent on cold brew, because it has a higher caffeine content than regular coffee. I will probably continue to drink cold brew even when it is snowing and icy in the winter.

9. Keeping my opinions to myself

From an early age I have been very reserved, and hesitant to share my opinions with others. I’m afraid of being judged for having “bad taste” or stupid ideas. Luckily, this blog is helping me a lot to overcome my fear of expressing myself.

10. Using men’s deodorant

Ever since college, I have used men’s deodorant. (I think that) it works better than any women’s deodorant I’ve ever used before, and there is one particular brand/scent of men’s deodorant that I absolutely love.

11. Spooky story time!

I can’t think of any other weird facts, so here is a “weird” story in the spirit of Halloween. Around this time last year, I noticed a couple wasps buzzing around my door as I was trying to leave for work. I was so scared that I didn’t lock my door – I just slammed it shut and ran off to work. When I got back home at the end of the day, though, the door was locked. I (again) freaked out, and asked my male neighbor to help me check out the apartment. We opened the door and checked every room – nobody was there and nothing was missing. When we got to the kitchen, I saw a slip of paper saying that pest control (a normal thing in the South) had visited my apartment that day – they must have locked their door on the way out.

What are your “weird” things? If you have eleven that you’re comfortable sharing, please feel free to post your own answers to this prompt!

BLOG-tober #1: my autumn 2019 bucket list.

Hi wordpress friends! I haven’t been posting much over the last month, in part because I have been a lot busier than usual lately. At the same time, though, I love engaging with the wordpress community and posting my content here too. So, in an attempt to not let blogging fall to the wayside, I’m challenging myself to publish 10 original posts this month. These 10 posts won’t follow my usual “books-and-bakes” format (because I already know that I won’t get much baking done this month), but hopefully the posts will still be interesting!

With that, here is my first BLOG-tober post: a list of all the things I hope to do this autumn! Perhaps this list is over-ambitious and/or unrealistic, but I think eight activities in the next twelve-ish weeks should be doable! Anyway, here is my autumn 2019 bucket list:

1. Go apple picking!

This is a fall MUST for me! Apple season ends in about a month (where I live, anyway), so I would like to get this trip done by the end of October! Also, many of the local apple orchards make apple-cider donuts and/or apple cider, which I am definitely interested in. If I make it apple-picking this year, a couple apple-themed bakes will certainly follow.

2. See “Love is Calling” at the Institute of Contemporary Art.

This is what online previews of the exhibit look like: a room full of brightly colored icicle-like sculptures.

The Institute of Contemporary Art recently opened a flashy exhibit called “Love is Calling” by Yayoi Kusama, and it has definitely piqued my interest. I’ve never been to ICA before (actually, I have only been to one museum in Boston), so seeing “Love is Calling” would be a good opportunity to check that out!

3. See The Nutcracker!

From Boston Ballet’s website.

I concede that The Nutcracker is probably more of a WinterThing than an AutumnThing, but showings start in late November. And technically Autumn doesn’t end until mid-December anyway. Regardless, seeing The Nutcracker is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time but never have! I would like to finally go this year, so it gets a spot on the bucket list.

4. Drink a maple latte.

This may seem silly, but I recently moved from the South to New England. While pumpkin spice lattes are universal, maple lattes are apparently a quintessential New England AutumnThing. So even though I tend to be a year-round cold brew drinker, I’ll have to make at least one exception to try a Maple Latte.

5. Go on a hike during the Fall color change.

This was one of the best Fall color changes I’ve seen in my life…I think this year is going to knock that view out of the water!

The color change is just starting to occur in parts of my neighborhood now…but for the most part trees are still green. When the color change is really underway, I want to go on a walk or hike where I can take in all the Autumn beauty. I’m thinking that my local arboretum, or the cemetery in my neighborhood (which sounds creepy but really isn’t) could be good options.

6. Celebrate Halloween!

From a Halloween party that my friends and I hosted a few years ago (in 2013, I think).

I LOVE Halloween! I love dressing up, seeing others’ creative costumes, listening to Halloween playlists, playing spooky games, and sharing creative food and drink with others. Hopefully my partner and I can find something cool to do this Halloween – perhaps a party or an event at a local brewery. Or maybe just inviting friends over for a fun Halloween-themed spooky games night!

7. Have a progressive autumn dinner with my apartment-mates.

A classic comforting autumn meal.

I live in a three-story flat shared by three couples (my partner and myself included), and we all love cooking, baking, and hosting others. We also all get along very well! We had the idea of having a “progressive” autumn-themed dinner that moves through each apartment in our building. We would do appetizers on the third floor, dinner on the second, and desserts on the first…with drinks to accompany each meal, of course.

8. Drink tea-themed cocktails.

From the tea lounge’s facebook page – doesn’t it look so inviting?

I recently learned about a bar inside the public library that serves tea-themed cocktails (all with book-related names)! Tea, books, and exploring new places are all things that I love – so this bar seems like a must-visit for me.

That’s all for this year’s Fall bucket list! What’s on your bucket list (autumn-themed or otherwise)?