Lessons Learned, Personality

Is everyone else loving Johnny Weir as much as I am?

From Johnny’s instagram:

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Source: http://instagram.com/p/kuLs2xhhUp/

I’m just relaxing watching the Olympics tonight, and I LOVE Johnny Weir.  I love to see Johnny being himself.  I like genuine people, above all else, and as easy as it is for me to recognize this fact when applying it to other peoples’ lives, to accept it in my own was and still is difficult.  Yet being yourself is the best advice I could give.

For me that means being Sarah.  I formally recognized this idea when reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  It is one of her secrets of adulthood: Be Gretchen.  (Rubin also says it’s easier to do something every day rather than once in a while.  Hence, my goal to post on this blog daily.)

In the book, Gretchen writes that it took her until adulthood to realize she shouldn’t feel guilty for liking what she does and not enjoying certain activities that most people do.  For instance, I went to Ohio State University and unlike most of its rabid fans, I really don’t care about football.  I don’t root against the team, but I never found it enjoyable to go to the games and get all worked up with the rest of the fans.  I wish I liked to do this because it seemed like a great bonding experience for a lot of my friends, but I just wasn’t into going to the games.   I can think of many other activities too that most people find fun but that I don’t.  I don’t like to go out to eat much (mostly because, being the food snob I am, food at restaurant chains can be terrible and expensive), and I don’t like to drink alcohol.  My preferences are honestly kind of unfortunate because again, these are social activities people do together.  While I love the company of others, some activities I just don’t like doing, and it took reading the advice straight from Gretchen’s book to realize I shouldn’t beat myself up over these things.  I’ll click with people that are similar to me, and if Johnny’s Olympic role has taught me anything, I might just be admired by everyone who’s anyone for being me.

So keep vamping, Johnny!  I love the eyes he gives the cameras…

johnny weir sochi olympics green blazer headband Johnny Weir: Fashion Gold at the Sochi Olympics

Source: http://spoiledpretty.com/2014/02/johnny-weir-fashion-gold-at-the-sochi-olympics/

Healthy living

Back to Basics in the Kitchen

This is one of the top articles being emailed on NYTimes.  Now, usually I cringe at mainstream “diet” books, and even though this article’s title, “Learning to cut the sugar,” is a slight misnomer, the article’s message is right on the mark for me.  Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist and author of The Fat Chance Cookbook, is known for his viral lecture, “Sugar: the Bitter Truth.”  I guess it is for this title that the NY Times article is called “Learning to Cut the Sugar.”  However, Dr. Ludwig “says that ‘anti-processed food guy’ would be a more appropriate nickname” (O’Connor).  YES!  I wholeheartedly agree, and I wonder how much of this wisdom came from not only his experience running a childhood weight management clinic but also from his Norwegian wife.

I spent about seven months in France last year teaching English to a group of high school students and I was blown away by the food at the school’s cafeteria.  We’re talking beef roast (some variety of main dish protein), two extremely generous servings of vegetables, a baguette, a piece of cheese, fruit choice, and a dessert.


The French really know how to do lunch.  Thus, I was struck by Dr. Ludwig’s corroboration of my observation.  He said, “The bottom line is every country has its cuisine, and every cuisine works for that country. But there’s one thing that doesn’t work for any country: processed food” (O’Connor).  In France, and I realize things are changing but for the most part, people still cook.  People know how to prepare simple meals at home.  I am just starting a new job and every day at work I am confounded by the number of young people who have absolutely no idea of how to make anything for dinner…to the point that they are only eating 1. out, 2. pasta, or 3. the breakfast route: yogurt or cereal.  WHAT?!  Aren’t you hungry, tired of eating the same things, and sick of restaurant meals???  And, for the record, even the people of my parents’ generation are eating microwaveable meals…yugh.  Have I mentioned I am a food snob?

I had a German roommate, Alina, in France and she unknowingly taught me the most important thing to do in the kitchen: sauté with garlic.  My mom definitely cooked for my family growing up; however, she is not a great cook (her words, not mine).  That is, it’s not something she’s fond of doing, and she doesn’t naturally know how to do it without following a recipe.  [She once told me to bake plain skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes…Yes, that cooks them but OMG are they bland.]  Alina was the one that introduced me to real garlic gloves and the ease of heating up olive oil, tossing in garlic for the most amazing aroma, and then cooking vegetables, meat, or whatever on the stove top from there.  My favorite Christmas gift I got this year was an OXO garlic mincer, so my hands don’t get sticky (see below).

Picture 1 Picture 2

Source: http://www.oxo.com/p-472-garlic-press.aspx

My mom never learned to really cook because her mom never learned (my great-grandmother died of tuberculosis when my grandmother was only 9).  The art of cooking was lost.  And I believe that holds true for the vast majority of Americans, while our European counterparts, whose appetites for convenience and fast food are definitely catching up to ours (the French are the #2 consumers of fast-food in the world behind Americans), tend to actually cook from scratch, rather than starting with a packaged food product.

I truly believe Dr. Lustig is on to something though.  Being healthy is far easier in some ways than what most Americans imagine.  It doesn’t mean you can’t eat cookies, but I strongly believe it does mean that you will spend solid chunks of time (for my husband and I on the weekends) preparing your own food.

In my next post, I will continue this conversation with my husband’s personal experience losing 30 lbs. eating my homecooked meals!

Sources:  O’Conoor, Anahad.  “Learning to Cut the Sugar.”  NYTimes.com.  February 19, 2014.  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/learning-to-cut-the-sugar/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0.  Accessed on February 22, 2014.


Envisioning your soul mate? …Think again

I was reading this NPR article (I’m obsessed with NPR, for the record) about interracial relationships, and I want to discuss one line in particular: “A common story went: I always thought I’d date one type of person, but I ended up falling in love with another.”


I think about this whenever I think about online dating.  (Aside: no idea why I think this much about online dating but I’m always thinking about random things, including baby names although I have no intentions of pursuing motherhood for a good couple years!)  Because I’m seriously convinced that people are not good at accurately predicting what it is they want/need in a mate.  There are things my husband does and qualities he possesses that I wouldn’t have thought, prior to our meeting, to put on a mental list of attributes I wanted in a life partner, and we so perfectly complement one another precisely because of these qualities I couldn’t have anticipated.


He’s super patient when I’m anxious, and he’s so loving and kind whereas I can be ruthless.   Had I been asked what is important to me in a boyfriend at the time, I would have prioritized the “on paper” match, and yet that ignores any spark when you just click with someone.  Basically, it’s scary for me to think, given how arbitrary our first meeting in high school was (we didn’t even go to the same school and met at swim meet, in which neither of us was participating), our chances of dating had we tried online dating could have been even more tenuous.  There are so many intangibles that can’t be captured in the “This is what I want” list.  I find myself often wondering what happens in this situation; anyone watch the Bachelor this season?  I feel like Sharleen has had this curse on her this season.  Juan Pablo didn’t match the idea in her head of with whom she thought she would end up, but she said how just….happy she was with him… and then promptly left the show.  I obviously don’t know whether there was more to that story, but it makes you wonder how much people hold themselves back.


I am a Feminist, Married life

Woman and Wife

It’s been eight and a half months since tying the knot and contrary to what my friends anticipated, living together is not the most challenging part of my new awesome life; that’s the best part.  The hardest dimension is something I did anticipate and that is being the woman in the marriage.  It’s nearly impossible for me to not think of where I fit into the statistics on working men and women and the sharing of household chores.  This aspect of my new life was especially challenging given that my husband, Jon, was three years established in a career whereas I was first moving to be with him after our wedding.  Consequently, priority number one was being together and once married, I would search for a job.  We didn’t prioritize Jon’s job over mine.  It was just that he happened to have one before me, and we acted accordingly.

Naturally then, I was the one to take care of the house.  My gender had nothing to do with that part of the decision.  It was just who happened to hold a job and who happened to be at home all day.  Initially I felt pressured to have a very clean apartment and nice dinner every night because what else was I doing?  Not only that but what all was my husband doing at work?  I thought we had to share equally.  If he was working at work, he shouldn’t have to lift a finger at home.  And this is where things become tricky because I can’t separate how much of that is my desire to be fair and split tasks 50/50 versus how much is an innate, insidious mentality about women being in the home.

I have to think back to a class in college when I volunteered to take a Harvard implicit association test for gender bias in the workplace.  (You should definitely try it if you haven’t already—it sneakily tests your biases by seeing how quickly –or sluggishly—you associate men’s and women’s names with both household and workplace ideas, in this case.) Well, I was labeled extremely prejudiced against women in the workplace based on my unintentionally delayed response times in linking female names with traditionally male roles.  These results are pretty disappointing considering that I went to an all girls’ high school with an obviously strong emphasis on female achievement, not to mention the fact that I consciously and conscientiously believe women are equally as capable and talented as men.

However, I was raised by a stay-at-home mother with a working father and nearly all of my friends’ parents in childhood followed this pattern.  My mom did return to work but only once I was in high school; perhaps the traditional set-up I grew up with was ingrained in my thought patterns by that point.  I want to make clear though, never once have I thought my mother was any less intelligent than my father.  No, the prejudice has always come when thinking about working women.  I would be lying to say that my immediate concept of a family, far beyond any conscious contemplation, doesn’t involve stay-at-home mothers, or at a minimum women running the household.  For better or for worse, I associate the mother staying at home with young children and more immediately applicable to my situation, myself doing a larger share of chores.  Why not if I prefer cooking to fixing things?

Many tasks, like dinner and laundry, I would do regardless of marital status.  But is that the point here?  There’s now a second person to whom I can pass some of these chores.  Repairs take less time and occur far less often than the every day emptying of the dishwasher, prepping meals, and wiping down counters, to name a few chores.  I especially feel my “womanness” when I’m in the kitchen cleaning up after cooking and serving a meal and my husband’s lounging on the couch.

Any other females out there struggling with this “instinct” to pick up the slack around the house?  I’d like to take this time now to make clear that my husband has far fewer—close to none according to the results of his Harvard implicit association test—preconceived notions about women working than me and is more than happy to do his fair share of housework…if only I make clear my expectations of him in the form of a honey-do list. J Do my ideas then have to do with how I was raised, or do they stem from culturally created gender expectations?  I 100% consider myself a feminist. Why are my unconscious thoughts so misaligned with what I say I explicitly believe?

What and where is the happy medium?


About Me

I just got married to the love of my life (!!!).  That’s about all I have figured out. I’m still trying to find what I want to do and what kind of life I want to have.  In that vein, I am blogging to an audience because journaling is too introspective for me, and I don’t think I could hold myself accountable to do it regularly.  (I’ve tried.) I have a variety of interests, so although I’d like to be more focused, initially my intent is to write every day about what I’m thinking and doing.  This blog will be a record of everything I’m learning/have learned thus far and hopefully an open discussion with my readers.  I have a tendency to ask a bajillion questions (watch this ad to see what my husband’s life is like), so I decided I’d give my husband a break and write down my thoughts instead of (in addition to?) voicing all of them.  Also, I’ve been toying with the idea of writing for a couple months now, and I’ve read a couple of authors concur in saying that the best writers are just the ones who have continued to write, day in and day out for years.  So here I am trying it out.